Links 1/24/18

How waiting for a tsunami that didn’t come turned a small-town Alaska man into an internet hero Anchorage Daily News

Weather from the Ground Up: How Biodiversity Can Help Shape Local Climate Weather Underground. Fascinating.

Battle of the beans: Monsanto faces a fight for soy market Reuters

‘These weasels.’ Bank of America gets ripped online for killing free accounts Charlotte Observer

Bank of America Just Reminded Us of Why We Need Postal Banking Slate

Private equity: flood of cash triggers buyout bubble fears FT

An outrageous US boom is in the making Macrobusiness

The U.S. Drops Out of the Top 10 in Innovation Ranking Bloomberg (Re Silc).

Fairy Tales, Spaghetti And Patience: How Authorities Are Responding To The Paradise Papers ICU Investigations

Has Global Finance Reformed Itself More Than It Appears? Dani Rodrik’s Weblog


Davos 2018: The liberal international order is sick Martin Wolf, FT. “[Princeton’s John Ikenberry] summarises: ‘The crisis of the liberal order is a crisis of legitimacy and social purpose.'”

Economic worries surface at Davos Handelsblatt. Big pulled quote from Rogoff on debt. Grifters gotta grift

Trump’s big choice at Davos Larry Summers

When it comes to Davos, it’s inequality, stupid Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

The Davos non-paradox Stumbling and Mumbling

Davos jargon: A crime against the English language? BBC

Inside Germany’s Rocky Coalition Talks Der Speigel

Exclusive: Trump expected to invite France’s Macron for first state visit of his presidency CNN


The Crown Price and the New Saudi Economy NYT

The politics behind Turkey’s Afrin operation Middle East Eye

Beijing’s Trajectory in Science and Technology Shows India Is Far Behind in the Game The Wire (J-LS).

New Cold War

Ecuador’s president takes aim at WikiLeaks’ Assange ABC

Biden: McConnell stopped Obama from calling out Russians Politico (UserFriendly).

All Glenn Greenwald’s Women Marcy Wheeler, The New Republic (FluffytheObeseCat). Not sure I think much of the headline’s trope, whose vaguely “sexual misconduct” flavor seems to make Greenwald responsible for New York Magazine’s reporting and editing, which erased “key” women from Greenwald’s career path (including, amazingly enough, Joan Walsh).

Trump Transition

What we can learn from a leaked draft of Trump’s infrastructure plan The Week

Jerome Powell Clears the Senate: DealBook Briefing NYT

Man Arrested for Allegedly Threatening to Kill CNN Employees Over ‘Fake News’ New York Magazine (Re Silc).

Dark Money, Not Russia, May Be the Best Way to Explain Trump’s Win Vice. Nice to see Ferguson in a popular venue (and see also NC, 2018-01-12). Includes an interview with Ferguson. This caught my eye:

Who were these people taking a chance on Trump when he looked doomed in the polls? That infusion of money, even after re-reading your report, is hard for me to make sense of.

I think it’s one of the greatest out-of-the-money options in world history, basically, and they thought they could pick it up cheap. And they’d at least take a flier on it. By comparison, Silicon Valley looks almost sedate next to some of the private-equity guys.

Read the whole thing. It’s important and accessible.

Democrats in Disarray

The Dead Enders The Intercept (pretzelattack). A second must-read, especially in conjunction with Ferguson, supra.

Who Owns the Women’s March? Rolling Stone. Good question….

The Daily 202: Seven takeaways from the failed Democratic government shutdown WaPo

Wall Is ‘Off the Table,’ Schumer Says, as Progress on Immigration Unravels NYT

Health Care

Bernie Sanders talks universal Medicare, and 1.1 million people click to watch him WaPo (UserFriendly). But And he’s not even a Democrat!

Price spikes drove employer-based healthcare spending in 2016 Modern Healthcare

Sex in Politics…. Not.

Men Only: Inside the charity fundraiser where hostesses are put on show FT. “One woman who had last worked at the event five years ago sighed to herself: ‘I can’t believe I’m here again.'” Excellent reportage from the FT, who placed two undercover “hostesses” at the event. More like this, please.

MPR says Garrison Keillor wasn’t fired for simply touching ‘a woman’s bare back’ WaPo

The salacious Middle Ages Aeon (AL).

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Welcome to the neighbourhood. Have you read the terms of service? CBC. A “smart city.” There’s that word, “smart.” Watch out!

Class Warfare

One year in: Has Trump been good for US workers? The Brookings Institution

Borrow $5,000, repay $42,000 — How super high-interest loans have boomed in California Los Angeles Times

After Denver hired homeless people to shovel mulch and perform other day labor, more than 100 landed regular jobs Denver Post (UserFriendly).

Only three out of 160 social housing towers reclad after Grenfell fire Guardian. Death traps for the poor and working class. So what’s the issue? (On the Grenfell fire, see NC here).

Re: [RFC 09/10] x86/enter: Create macros to restrict/unrestrict Indirect Branch Speculation Linus Torvalds on good faith at Intel, in the original Finnish. Hoo boy #3.

Ursula K. Le Guin, the spiritual mother of generations of writers; John Scalzi pays tribute Los Angeles Times

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote (Bob):

The photographer: “Some have worried that this owl was stuck but it was not. We watched it float here for about 30 minutes and then it flew to another nearby ice chunk in a part of the bay that was a little calmer.”

Story: CNY man takes mesmerizing video of snowy owl perched on Lake Ontario ice flow.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. RabidGandhi

    Ecuadorian ex-president Rafael Correa on Assange/Moreno:

    I fear greatly for Julian Assange’s safety. I think it’s just a matter of time until this government– which has betrayed all of the ideals of the people who voted for it and placed the Citizens’ Revolution at risk, and which won at the polls– stops supporting him. Pressure from the US to do this would suffice, and the US is certainly doing this. They may just be waiting for the results of [the national referendum of] 4 February to make the decision.

    Lenin Moreno is clearly not a man of convictions. He has obviously sold out to the same powers as usual…. The unmasked interventions by the US Ambassador, who has butted into our internal politics…weren’t happening ten years ago. All of this makes it reasonable to believe that they are giving in on everything, and that they will soon give in on Assange.

  2. Quanka

    I was going to leave the soils topic alone for a few days, but thanks to the Weather Underground post I am going to just have to jump in and comment. :)

    Healthy Soils are never bare”

    This is a truism that must be understood in the context of my grasslands comment a few days ago. 40-45% of the world’s landmass is (native) grassland, most of which we have turned into monocrop, chemically intensive farming. The worst part is that commercial AG practices only “use” this land during the “growing” season. You can’t grow corn in the winter, so they grow nothing.

    This is (one of) they key disrupting features in the carbon cycle. Grasses (native ones) can grow and live essentially year round, and they continually transform CO2 from the air into carbon stored in the soil for plants and micro nutrients to use. This is one reason grasslands and forests are not the same (forests store carbon in the trunks, primarily, rather than transferring carbon into the soil the way grasses do).

    When you shut off the growing for half the year, you (help to) ruin the soil. Water runs off more easily, leeching nutrients out of the soil and alkalizing the soils. Even if we cut off the head of Monsanto today, we still have a fundamental problem of growing the wrong things in the wrong places, and more importantly leaving soils bare 4-6 months out of the year which helps lead to soil degradation and soil loss.

    1. Adrienne

      Modern industrial agriculture gets pretty much everything wrong. We grow annual corn on former perennial grassland, and the bare soil washes down the rivers and helps create a vast dead zone in the Gulf. Then we raise cattle on arid lands–making more bare soil–and then finish them in feedlots, where their manure is a massive pollution problem.

      What nature intended was for ruminants like cows and bison to eat grass, poop on grass, feed the grass. Cows aren’t well suited to the bitter cold of the midwest winters, but bison are. A sustainable meat industry based on bison could be rebuilt on former prarie lands that are now dedicated to corn and soy. Pigs belong in the pasture, too–as well as chickens and ducks. Joel Salatin is probably the most famous farmer to revive traditional mixed agriculture, but it’s also being practiced all over the country to great results.

      1. Mel

        “A sustainable meat industry based on bison could be rebuilt on former prarie lands”

        Maybe, but with a couple of potential problems.
        People have recommended raising muskox as meat animals that can take care of themselves, but the muskoxen haven’t created the surplus value that they’d need to to take care of farmers along with themselves.
        Cattle are docile, bison kind of willful.

        To say these problems haven’t been solved is saying they haven’t been solved yet.

            1. cat's paw

              Domestic bison are bred with varying %’s of cattle genes to make them more manageable.

              Even so, they’re pretty willful and will happily plow right through a fence when it strikes their fancy–which, depending on herd dynamics, individual bison, and all sorts of other factors, could be never or regularly.

              Cows can be a pain in the ass, can go “wild” after prolonged absence of human contact, are not very hardy, and so on.

              Bison can be docile and stolid and manageable– until they are not. And once a bison sets its mind to something nothing short of death itself is going to change it.

        1. Oregoncharles

          There are people who raise bison, even here in the Willamette Valley, where they are not native. I understand that very strong fences are required = a bison is something of a biological bulldozer.

          That said, the Plains Indians probably had it right: just follow them around, harvesting as needed. However, that would require de-fencing essentially the entire Great Plains. Devoutly to be wished, and there are people working on it. Sorry i don’t have a link to hand.

          1. crittermom

            “…a bison is something of a biological bulldozer.”
            Ha, ha. So true!

            I had the pleasure of living with 3 buffalo ranches around me & spending some time with them (including walking among them). Bison are one of my favorite animals. Double fencing is common when (trying to) pasture them. Even that doesn’t always succeed.

            Not only does their brawn take them wherever they wish to go, they can also jump a 6′ gate from a standstill. More athletic than they appear.

            I’ll never forget cruising down the highway one night in my ’61 Rambler when I looked out my passenger window to see a buffalo running in the ditch alongside me. What a thrill!

        2. Oregoncharles

          The main value in muskoxen is in the long, silky hair, which they shed in the spring.

          Meat would be a bonus.

          However, they’re realy only adapted to the Arctic.

      2. Bruce F

        I often wonder, after I read about the virtues of Salatin’s approach, why it hasn’t taken off. After all, its been around for 20 years. He has so many things in his favor, (strong family, access to capital, an incredible personality, and so on) and seems to me that his model has very little room for error. Risk/reward is way out of balance. And don’t you dare get sick (or old)!

        I’m in the process of transitioning our conventional (row cropping) farm to organic and I hear a lot about what I should do. I agree with most of the advice but find it awfully hard to put it into practice. Basically transitioning is presented as a no brainer, followed by the suggestion that anyone who doesn’t do it is an idiot. In so many words.

        If it’s so easy, why, almost 30 years after USDA got into the “organic” business, is the percentage of truly “organic” food so small? I have my own ideas, but wonder what others think.

        (more of a comment than a question)

        : )

        1. SCM

          This is a good point. People seem to underestimate farm productivity. Right now, 1.5% of the population of the United States feeds not only the other 98.5%, but a good chunk of the world to boot. The methods championed by Mr Salatin (who I greatly respect) are far more labor intensive. To be implemented at scale sufficient to replace current production, what % of the population needs to work the land? And how many are willing? That is the fundamental mismatch. Find me 20 million more farmers and we can have a productive conversation.

          1. c_heale

            We won’t have a choice if peak oil is true, since modern agriculture is based on energy from oil. We’ll all be farming just to survive.

        2. JohnM

          Because organic food is little more than a marketing scam? Most of the people i know who go through the bother and cost of organic certification do it for one reason: to get a price premium on their product. They have no commitment to sustainability/reduction of chemical usage/producing healthier food products. In fact, some of these people are all about money, making them *more* willing to cut corners with respect to good practices.

      3. Wyoming

        Adrienne and Quanka

        I don’t have any real disagreements with what the two of you said. But there is a big but here….

        And I say this a former owner/operator of an organic farming operation about 1 hour down the road from Salatin’s place.

        There are a host of evils associated with modern intensive agriculture operations (calling them industrial is incorrect really as all large scale organic operations are just as industrial as the non-organic ones). The problem with thinking that organics, or the version of organic which Salatin practices, or permaculture, or any of the other similar systems are a solution is that big ‘but’ I mentioned above.

        With the global population we have today, and especially with the population we are going to have 20 years from now, it is simply impossible to grow enough food to feed all of those people without resorting to large scale use of machinery, concentrated operations and a vast and complex infrastructure for moving, storing and distributing said food. It just ain’t happening.

        We ‘could’ feed people via much more sustainable techniques if there were 4-5 billion fewer of us. But until you achieve that don’t expect any meaningful difference from what we have now. We are strip mining the soils of the present to feed folks and are guaranteeing privation for those who will be born in the not too distant future.

        1. Oregoncharles

          We won’t be supporting that projected population 20 years from now in any case; I don’t understand why anyone thinks we might. (Sorry, that’s a lie; I understand perfectly why they claim to.) The crucial stocks are already collapsing, from fish to soil.

          The industrial model is already over. Earth is passing judgment on it as we type.

    2. Anon

      Quanka, I appreciate you’re concern for sustainable agriculture, especially the soil. However, native grasslands are mostly comprised of perennial species, while BigAg corn is an annual specie. Big difference. The native grasses (perennials) simply go dormant to survive the Winter (like deciduous trees). Their extensive summer root growth recedes in the Fall and becomes organic “munchies” for soil bacteria/microorganisms. This is what sustains a healthy grassland soil.

      Some of the grassland rootmass is available for storage of starches (created by summertime photosynthesis) which will jump-start the unique intercalary meristem in grasses come Springtime. The prairie grasses and soils have a long ecological history. Agricultural corn, of course, is manipulated for bushels of growth and as an annual has little soil enhancing quality (other than the above ground organic litter).

      The destruction of soil by mono-cultivating annuals is what leads to the depletion and erosion of soil.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “Healthy Soils are never bare”

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that sentence jumped out at.

      My town is devoted — no doubt because of construction interests in addition to a sense of tidiness — to impermeable surfaces. Water that should be soaking the ground rushes downhill, to flood whatever building is unlucky enough to be where the curbs end.

  3. Hana M

    The Vice interview with Ferguson and Intercept’s piece on The Dead Enders were excellent. This quote from the latter seems right on target:

    If money isn’t necessarily the best path to victory, that smart Washington-based operatives continue to make it the key variable regardless raises the question of what other motivations may be in play. For Lynch, the answer is simple: It’s a racket. “The Democratic and Republican parties are commercial enterprises and they’re very much interested in their own survival,” Lynch said. “The money race is probably more important to them than the issues race in some cases.”

    The Intercept asked Lynch if the commercialization he referred to was for the benefit of the officials working in and around elections. “How much of the focus on fundraising,” we asked, “has to do with pumping money into this ecosystem of consultants and everybody else?”

    “That’s what I mean,” Lynch said. “It’s a commercial enterprise.”

    And voters know it instinctively.

    1. Fred1

      Re: The Vice interview with Ferguson and Intercept’s piece on The Dead Enders:

      A market based method for the selection of candidates.

    2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

      Two really important links, well worth reading in full. And I agree w/ Lambert: Nice to see Ferguson’s work getting broader attention.

    3. Steve H.

      The strike price notion resonates: given the Pence link to the Kochs, the question is whether the distraction provided by Mr. T is worth more than the overt hands on the reigns, in the event of the 25th Amendment being invoked.

  4. Wukchumni

    (Soft knocks at the door)
    World: Who is it?
    Trump: It’s me, i’m in Davos. Open up, man, I got a speech to make.
    (More knocks)
    World: Who is it?
    Trump: It’s me in Davos, man. Open up, I’ve got to make America first again.
    World: Who?
    Trump: It’s me in Davos, man. Open up, I think Mueller saw me come in here.
    (More knocks)
    World: Who is it?
    Trump: I’m in Davos, man. Will you open up, i’ve got to talk about stuff.
    World: Who?
    Trump: Listen Davos man. Open up.
    World: Davos?
    Trump: Yeah, Davos. c’mon, man, open up the conference room
    World: Davos doesn’t want to hear.
    Trump: No, man, I’m in Davos, man.
    (Sharp knocks at the door)
    Trump: Hey, c’mon, man.
    World: Who is it?
    Trump: It’s me in Davos, man. Will you open up? I got the stuff with me.
    World: Who?
    Trump: Davos man. Open up.
    World: Davos?
    Trump: Yeah, Davos.
    World: Davos doesn’t want to hear.
    Trump: What the hell? No, man, I am in Davos, man. Will you…
    (More knocks)
    Trump: c’mon! Open up the door, will you? I’ve got Jared with me, I think the FBI saw me.
    World: Who is it?
    Trump: Oh, what the hell is it…c’mon. Open up the door! It’s Davos!
    World: Who?
    Trump: Davos! D-A-V-O-S! Will you open up the goddam door!
    World: Davos?
    Trump: Yeah, Davos!
    World: Davos?
    Triump: Right, man. Davos. Now will you open up the door?
    World: Davos doesn’t want to hear

      1. Wukchumni

        The almighty buck has lost over 95% of it’s value when measured against #79 since ’71, but the claim is that the last 5% is the hardest.

        1. diptherio

          How many hours did you have to work in ’71 to make a dollar? How about today? The whole “the dollar has lost X% of it’s value since whenever” line of thought seems to leave out a lot that is relevant for understanding the situation…and, of course, it’s people with piles of money who need to worry about whether it’s “losing value” or not. For the rest of us, we hover around zero anyway, so we’re much more concerned with the flow of money, and its availablity, than we are with maintaining the value of an asset we don’t possess anyway.

          Just sayin’.

          1. Wukchumni

            To each his or her own…

            A different tack based on something we all use:

            In 1971, a troy ounce bought 99 gallons of gas
            In 1981, a troy ounce bought 300 gallons of gas
            In 1991, a troy ounce bought 310 gallons of gas
            In 2001, a troy ounce bought 180 gallons of gas
            In 2011, a troy ounce bought 440 gallons of gas
            Today, a troy ounce buys 520 gallons of gas

          2. xp

            People should be very concerned about the value of a dollar, and those who are on the lower end of the earnings scale should be extremely concerned.

            The erosions of the value of the dollar means that you cannot purchase what was easily purchasable in the past, when the value of the dollar was higher.

            The erosion is part of the reason that people struggle to afford housing and cannot pay for college degrees nowadays.

            1. JBird

              What is this concern with the value of the dollar? I don’t want to say anything mean (I could be wrong after all!).

              I would say that
              the defunding of higher education,
              hostility to new even slightly dense housing,
              investors emptying housing that before 2009 was owned by occupying families,
              the effective ~10% or more national unemployment rate,
              increasing homelessness,
              the decrease in average wages especially towards the lower half, starting ~15 years ago,
              the effective freeze in wages for the lower 80% starting around 1975
              the capture of effectively all increases in wealth from increasing productivity from 2008 and to a lesser extent from 1975,

              So everyone in the bottom 80% is getting fewer dollars every year regardless of their value and the 0.1% is getting ever more of these dollars also regardless of their value.

              In around 1968 my parents making minimum wage or about $11 an hour today, could rent a whole house with front and back yards. In California. And that effective $11 minimum was nationally. In California today, you (might) get a bad small one bedroom apartment. It’s the concentration of wealth causing the decreasing middle class and the exploding poor class.

  5. Kevin

    Men Only:

    Well, it should be anyway, no woman should be subjected to that – not even at a college frat. Those college frat boys grow up to be: old frat boys.

    1. ambrit

      Actually, those college frat boys do not grow up at all. A world run by adolescents; what could go wrong?

      1. Arizona Slim

        Indeed they don’t. I used to work in an office full of them. Horrible place. To this day, I am glad I left. And that was more than 25 years ago.

        1. ambrit

          Good for you! You seem to have turned out all right, despite your not being a “Team Player.” The term “Team Player” always reminds me of the iconic scene in “Jerry Maguire”; “Show me the money!”
          When I explained to my present manager that I was there for the money, and so were all the rest, he looked like someone had punched him. I sure as H— had felt beaten up when I got cut down to twelve hours a week, which twelve hours in ‘corporospeak’ morphed into, so far, four hours a week. A small silver lining is that, here at least, one can get partial unemployment benefits when hours have been cut below ‘full time.’ Even so, said ‘benefits’ pan out to less than minimum wage. That’s what the ‘elites’ expect the ‘deplorables’ to live on when times get sub par. And why does anyone wonder why the Trump anti establishment vote occurred? Finally, to bring this anti-panegyric to a blessed close; when it becomes obvious that the electoral system does not work as advertised, let no one wonder when the masses turn to extra legal forms of “redress of grievances.”
          I’d hazard the guess that “Not being a team player” is now classed as a form of terrorism.
          The Gods be with you.

        2. newcatty

          Unfortunately I have a close relative who married one. She had said she would never ever… Well dated him, fell for surface charm and mistook narcissism for confidence. Married him and ended up broken hearted, a single mom and due to his ” brotherhood ” of connections, including corrupt and smooth divorce lawyers, lives in near poverty. This is a smart, lovely woman who puts her children first. Can not move to less expensive area of country, cause dear dad must have his shared custody and “access” to kids. Yuk! Frat boys are on most part poster children for dishonorable, selfish and greedy “men”.

          1. RMO

            I still remember when I found out that fraternities and sororities were still a real thing! I thought they died off and disappeared in the 60’s and only carried on in cheap comedy movies as a comic device. I’m dead serious. The revelation to me that they were actually a real thing happened in 1991, thankfully not from personal exposure to them! (I didn’t attend University until 1998 when I was 28 and that was a small school with no residences)

    2. xp

      Good grief. These poor little women willingly dressed up as whores, signed a contract, and were paid for their services as ‘hostesses.’

      Give me a break. Are women really that stupid? What did they expect? This is like buying a ticket to a porn movie, then getting all offended over the content of the movie.

      If one doesn’t want to go work at an obviously sexualized event, then don’t go.

      Geez, ladies, this is a situation where you had a choice, and you chose wrong. (and I’m a woman)

      1. ambrit

        Yes, but, are you a hungry woman? Do you have children that you have to feed? Do all of your other “career” choices include, as Terry Pratchett put it, “Negotiable Affection?”
        Things are pretty bad for poor men in this society. I probably cannot even begin to comprehend what it must be like to be a poor woman.

        1. xp

          FWIW, the women certainly did not sound desperate. But if you find otherwise for this particular group, that it was the hostess job versus homelessness, let us know.

          Would a poor woman even be able to land such a job?

          Also, are you aware that women sometimes partake in such activities in order to nab a rich husband?

          1. ambrit

            We have to come to some equitable definition of poor first. Poverty can be “spun” many different ways. What I’m presently making here in the American Deep South barely pays my bills. Up North, I’m told, it would land me out in the street. So, there’s that.
            Secondly, I spent several years attending a University where a lot of the women were there to get their “MRS” Degree. After a while, one could spot those women by their demeanour around the “upwardly mobile” men. So, such behaviour is also seen amongst supposedly “good girls.”
            Finally, let us not allow our pre-concieved beliefs blind us to the realities of survival in out modern neoliberal paradise. The basic point being made here by the cries of disgust and censure is that the men involved have the responsibility to act with civility and honour. Boorish behaviour is, in and of itself, an offence against society. I contend that these women are making the best of a bad situation. They did not set the parameters. In many cases, the alternatives available to them require sacrifices of some sort. That drives the self esteem cost benefits calculation.
            Nothing in human works is simple.

      2. Alex V

        You do realize an event can be “sexy” without being exploitative or abusive… or is that one shade of gray to many?

        1. integer

          or is that one shade of gray to many?

          Human vision is somewhat idiosyncratic, so one shade of gray will be perceived slightly differently by different individuals… See what I did there?

          FWIW I agree with xp.

        2. xp

          Kill me now.

          What do you think men’s only events and clubs are for???

          Women who work there know they are sexual entertainment for the men. Men hire the women to provide sexual entertainment.

          I will bet a few paychecks that the me-too movement spawns a huge increase in the growth of men-only clubs. When you think about it, where else can men go where they won’t be accused of assault? Men can’t even go on a date anymore without being accused of harassment and assault.

      3. adrena

        There’s this:

        “The women – working as ‘hostesses’ for about £15 an hour – reportedly had their phones confiscated, their bathroom breaks monitored, and were made to sign non-disclosure agreements that they weren’t given enough time to read.”

        In the 21st century women are either sex toys or livestock. The “metoo” movement had to happen.

        1. ambrit

          I just read this. You beat me to it.
          Life in our neoliberal paradise. (Sounds a lot like Restoration illustrations of life in a brothel.)

    3. The Rev Kev

      My first thought was that we just had a bunch of Richard Craniums here (probably they are) but I’m gunna have to say in all honesty, are women that different with the fantasies that they have play out? Just punch in the search term men’s strip show at YouTube and you will see what I mean. Girls Just Want To Have Fun? So do guys. The women here put their hand up for it and at least one had done it before.
      If this had been an office setting then that would have been totally different. The right answer there would be probably a slap to the face (or a knee to the nuts for a persistent, aggressive person) followed by an intensive question-answer session with human resources for the offending party. Maybe the key here is the ability to separate fantasies from real life. The real trouble starts when you mix the two and hopefully those guys realize that when they go out the doors of that club, they leave their fantasies behind.

      1. adrena

        Anyway …..

        The President’s Club has closed down.
        The donations will be refunded.
        Government minister Nadhim Zahawi was given a ‘dressing down’ after attending the male-only dinner
        The Dorchester Hotel has launched an investigation.

        I’ve gone back fantasizing about living in a just world.

  6. Wukchumni

    Borrow $5,000, repay $42,000 — How super high-interest loans have boomed in California Los Angeles Times
    The armed forces had a problem about a dozen years ago in gi joes & janes going so far into debt vis a vis the usury regions, that interest rates were topped @ 36% for active military.

    What’s good for the goose ought to be good for the gander, er the rest of the population, no?

    {from 2007}

    The DoD has pushed for a limit on the interest rate that payday loan companies can charge military members, claiming that the high interest rates payday loan companies charge hinder military readiness levels and destroy the morale of troops and their families.

    Last October, Congress passed the “Military Annual Percentage Rate” law, which will effectively limits the ceiling for payday loans at 36% annual interest rate, including all fees charged. The law would also prohibit penalties for prepayment and all fees would have to be disclosed in writing when the loan is granted.

    This law has the potential to effectively end payday loans to troops because most of these payday loan companies will refuse to lend to troops at a 36% annual interest rate. The difference on a 2 week loan (2 weeks in a pay period), is staggering. Most companies charge between $15-20 per $100 loan, which is over 400% annually. If the interest rate is limited to 36% annually, the amount the company can charge is reduced to $1.38 per $100 borrowed. The companies spend more than that to process checks and pay salaries. So, I imagine this sort of lending to troops would dry up pretty quickly.

    Either way, it is unfortunate that military members feel they need to take out these loans. Yes, it is true that many military members do not make substantial amounts of money. But, it is also true that the military has mandatory financial seminars and classes new troops must go through. There are also groups, such as the AF Aid Society, that can financially assist members in need. I am sure each military branch has its own similar foundation.

    With the proper financial education, most troops should learn to stay away from these places. And for those times where the troop was dealt a tough situation, they should feel they can go to their leadership or to one of these aid groups that are there specifically for that purpose.

    1. Jean

      And you thought the Republicans were big business parasites?

      “Nov 14, 2017 … A bill from Sen. Mark Warner envisions a future when anyone could get a predatory loan at 380 percent interest. ”

      Politics is tennis. No matter where people are on the court, who is playing against whom, singles or doubles, it’s all the same game. We the people are the ball.

      We need a second political party in this country.

  7. RabidGandhi

    High tension in Brazil, as Regional Appeals Court 4 of Porto Alegre is currently handing down its decision on ex-president Lula da Silva’ appeal of his nine-year sentence on corruption charges. Some vignettes from the unfolding drama:

    –The army has been called out and snipers placed around Porto Alegre.

    –Outside the court, pro-Lula forces (Workers Party, unions, homeless collectives, LGBT groups…) are staging a huge rally with the motto “Elections Without Lula Would be a Fraud”. Anti-Lula MBL is also staging a counter-rally, arguing that Lula in prison would be a return to the rule of law.

    –Lula was convicted of receiving a remodelled apartment in exchange for awarding Petrobras contracts. He was convicted solely on testimony by a “turned” government witness, and the judge in the case admitted there is no documentary proof connecting Lula to the apartment in question.

    –Lula is leading all polls by well over 15%. His closest competitor, Jair Bolsonaro, is like Trump on steroids. After having one democratically elected president removed, there could be serious social unrest if the most popular candidate by far is barred from standing.

    –If the conviction is upheld, Lula might be prevented from standing for election in October, although this will depend on how the judges vote now, how the electoral court rules, and on how any subsequent appeals/injunctions go.

    –The case against Lula stems from a powerpoint display shown on the local Globo network that “proved” that the Workers Party is actually an illegal criminal conspiracy– the same charge that has been lodged against Correa in Ecuador, Morales in Bolivia and the Kirchners in Argentina. Once you determine someone is part of a criminal conspiracy, there is no need for proof of specific crimes. In all of these cases, the goal is to prevent popular left-leaning political figures from running for office, because they would win.

    –Bloomberg deserves the Sincericide Award for letting slip the real case against Lula:

    Everyone across the country is on edge — from Lula’s die-hard base in the northeast to the traders and investors in Sao Paulo. The latter dread the prospect of a Lula candidacy, fearing that he wouldn’t be committed enough to fiscal austerity to sustain the country’s nascent recovery [sic] from crisis.

      1. Carolinian

        Sounds like the “nascent recovery” is still somewhere up in the birth canal.

        Meanwhile here in el norte things are also booming if you own stocks while our political institutions seem chaotic and corrupt. Perhaps the same invisible hand is at play in both countries.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Yes Porto Alegre is definitely hostile ground for Lula, but the organising has been huge: thus the military response. That France24 article agrees with most sources that there were thousands at yesterday’s rally. And further to your point, it should be borne in mind that Lula left office with an approval rating of over 80%: the highest ever in Latin America. Current president Temer, by comparison, is hovering around the 5% mark.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Dropping this link from a newspaper in Parana for two reasons:

          1) great picture at the top (note the mostly white, middle class looking crowd wearing button down shirts and equipped with rather expensive phones and cameras)

          2) the absolutely comical subhead which calls the crowd “militancia petista”, which seems to translate as PT (workers’ party) militants. Where do these headline writers get the idea that you can suggest the crowd consists of ‘militants’ when no one is carrying guns, machetes, bats, bricks, batons, or much of anything other than the phones and cameras referenced above??

          The media hatred STILL seems to be at cartoonish levels in Brazil. Do these people not understand that they’re making themselves look ridiculous? Or can they not help themselves? They’re at least as bad as the UK press with Corbyn.

          1. RabidGandhi

            The media in Brasil is absolutely bonkers, but in their defence here, militante means “activist” or “party faithful”; nothing to do with weapons.

            1. JohnnyGL

              I’ll defer to you on this one as my Portuguese is pretty poor.

              However, Google translate says otherwise (not that they’re bullet-proof, either).

              1. David

                They are wrong. In all Romance languages there are similar words that mean “party member” or at most “activist”. In French that’s what “militant” means, and I think Spanish is the same. The word for “military” is different.

    1. Jim Haygood


      All three judges at the appeals court in the city of Porto Alegre said Lula had broken the law by accepting a seafront apartment from a construction company involved in a major corruption scheme.

      They increased his original sentence from nine-and-a-half years to 12 years and one month in jail.

      Brazilian stocks rocketed higher. One US-traded Brazil ETF popped 6.5% today. Chart:

  8. The Rev Kev

    Who Owns the Women’s March? A year since its inception, a schism is threatening to stall the movement’s momentum

    So, everything is going to plan then?

    1. Arizona Slim

      At the risk of being flamed right off the Internet and then being stoned to death in the offline world, I’m going to go there and say it:

      This is all too typical of women’s groups. I have yet to see — or be involved in — such a group that doesn’t splinter into a million pieces.

      The fact that the March went to version 2.0 surprises me. I thought it would have dissolved into factionalism last January.

      1. Mel

        But see the comment from yesterday, that “Women’s March Inc.” is sending round letters to unincorporated women, stopping them from saying that they’re marching. An investigator could dig up that incorporation, see who’s behind it.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Very easy to do.

          Find out which state the organization was incorporated in. I’m taking a wild-arsed guess and picking Delaware, the incorporation capital of America. And then you read the names on the articles of incorporation. Next step is even more fun: Publicize those names.

      2. Dandelion

        Women’s groups should be factional. Women are an enormous group, and not every women’s issue is most salient for every group of women, and in some cases different groups of women are diametrically opposed to other groups of women, due to profound theoretical differences, ie the split between radical feminists (radical meaning getting at the root, not extreme or crazy) and liberal feminists, or the split between liberal feminists and womanism, a movement primarily working on black women’s interests.

        If there were a men’s march, would all the leftish of center men of the US, rich, poor, young, old, straight, gay, trans men (ie females), Black, Latino, Asian, blue collar, white collar, etc etc all agree on its priorities, organization, leadership, speakers, etc.? Of course not.

        Smaller focused factions making strategic and tactical alliance is way more effective than broad, corporatized, homogenization — which is actually about suppression.

  9. Jessica

    About the two links “Dark Money, Not Russia, May Be the Best Way to Explain Trump’s Win ” and “The Deadenders”, it is useful to see both of the mainstream political parties having two competing functions: to win elections for their fat wallet backers and to secure maximal funding for the professional electioneers, consultants, pollsters, and what have you, even at the expense of their fat wallet backers.
    This is analogous to financial institutions in which the institution rips of the public, but the management of the institution rips off the institution.

    1. Arizona Slim

      When management rips off the institution, it’s control fraud. Our beloved William K. Black is a world-renowned expert in the field.

    2. fresno dan

      January 24, 2018 at 9:17 am

      Dark Money, Not Russia, May Be the Best Way to Explain Trump’s Win
      Oh, and the crippling inequality overseen by elites from both parties that has nothing to do with collusion, Robert Mueller, or Moscow.
      With the small-donor stuff, in the very last stages of the race, that tailed off a bit. But it still added up to a tremendous sum that was just jaw-dropping. [A colleague] and I have been looking at the American National Election Studies. And you can just see how angry people were—they weren’t buying into this We should be grateful because the recession is over, and Barack Obama has brought us back. So when a guy comes along and says, “I’ll spend my own money,” they just went for it. It’s bait and switch. It’s that simple.

      New boss same as the old boss…who was the same as the previous boss.
      Obama got eight years, but I am thinking Trump will only get 4. Mark in 2016 how terrific the economy was said to be by the dems, and mark how terrific the economy is said to be by repubs in 2017. The fact REMAINS that the economy sucks for most.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I read your line “Obama got eight years” and briefly imagined that we had returned to that Glorious Era of the Rule of Law, you remember, when criminals went to jail no matter who they were.

  10. Croatoan

    Ursula K. Le Guin was a freak like me; Anarchist, Daoist, who few people understood even after reading her books.

    “A child free from the guilt of ownership and the burden of economic competition will grow up with the will to do what needs doing and the capacity for joy in doing it. It is useless work that darkens the heart. The delight of the nursing mother, of the scholar, of the successful hunter, of the good cook, of the skillful maker, of anyone doing needed work and doing it well – this durable joy is perhaps the deepest source of human affection and of sociability as a whole.”

    -The Dispossessed

    And check out this speech she gave:

    1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      LeGuinn RIP: I lived in her neighborhood here in Portland OR uand regularly stood in lines with her at the post office or the locql hippy co op grocery. All around wonderful person!

    2. Mel

      The books were at the center of my education — my later education. The line that is her for me is from an autobiographical essay (My Indian Uncles, I think), “raised as irreligious as a jackrabbit.” That’s the kind of line a Taoist comes up with.

    3. ChrisPacific

      Only in silence the word,
      Only in dark the light,
      Only in dying life:
      Bright the hawk’s flight
      On the empty sky.

      Goodbye and thanks for everything.

    4. knowbuddhau

      Thanks for that. Le Guin was a favorite of mine as a kid. Never knew much about her. Daoist, you say? Well I’ll be.

      Just love that quote. It’s totally working for me. Bit Daoist myself (not to be confused with “a Daoist”). I’ve heard that if you forget about everything, and be like a child at play, your vicinity becomes a source of daily wonders, and that’s virtue.

      MyLessThanPrimeBeef, help me out here. I think it goes, Little virtue can’t let go of “Virtue,” thus is not virtue. Virtue has no mind of “Virtue,” thus is virtue.

      Y’all should see me dance-mop to Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand.”

      Daoists rest in pieces
      We never stop flowing with the go
      Argon atoms she breathed we may yet breathe, too
      And that’s hardly the measure of it

  11. Kokuanani

    Just read the FT article on the “fund-raiser”/sexual harassment event. A “follow-up” noted that the intended charity beneficiary [Great Ormond hospital] had returned the donation from the sponsoring “Presidents Club.” [Gee, they named a grope-fest after Trump??]

  12. Wukchumni

    Another winter of our missed content here on the left coast, bottom corner pocket.

    Very reminiscent of the worst drought year: 2014-15, in that there isn’t much snow in the purple mountain majesties.

    I doubt Ullr even has an internet connection, but I am bowing in a prone position towards you, Nordic God of skiing, et al, to come through this winter, lest our boards lay till summer in said prone position.

    And as an added bonus, i’m supposedly distantly related to him, which should bolster chances…

    “Within the winter skiing community of Europe the Old Norse god “Ullr” is considered the Guardian Patron Saint of Skiers (German Schutzpatron der Skifahrer). An Ullr medallion or Ullr ski medal, depicting the Scandinavian god Ullr on skis holding a bow and arrow, is widely worn as a talisman by both recreational and professional skiers as well as ski patrols in Europe and elsewhere. The town of Breckenridge, Colorado hosts a week-long festival called “Ullr Fest” each year in January, featuring numerous events designed to win his favor in an effort to bring snow to the historic ski town. Breck Ullr Fest was first held in 1963.”

      1. shewhoholdstensions

        I was taught as a little girl in the ’80’s to pay attention to that very area. It seems that if we can still see the “fingers” of snow (the legs of the elephant) by April 1st, then there will be enough surface water to make it through until the next winter. No “fingers”, no water, and we would have to pump groundwater.

        I am a child of repeated droughts, now raising two children of the great drought, and am teaching them what I know about conserving. Desert dish washing, weekly shallow baths, sink baths, reuse of clean-enough water and clothing, only watering edibles and trees.

        My in-laws from SD think I’m crazy, but why waste good drinking water?

        1. Wukchumni

          What a great metric to use, and once you’ve seen the elephant, it’s unmistakable as a yardstick, always faithful.

        1. RMO

          A strange combination of sports isn’t it? I’ve cross-country skied and I’ve target shot (informally using a 10M air rifle of a model that used to be used by Olympic competitors and similar in size, weight and operation to a Biathlon rifle in many ways) and the idea of having a pounding heart, sweaty body and tired limbs while trying to hold up a ten pound rifle and shoot it accurately seems impossible.

  13. Jason Boxman

    We can’t have single payer soon enough. After a primary care visit where I ultimately didn’t receive treatment for what I came for, which is another story, I thought I’d get a flu shot. It’s covered as preventative care in my BCBS policy, after all.

    And it seems because it tagged along on a non-preventative care visit, Blue Cross won’t pay. I asked the provider to change the coding as per Blue Cross, but was told it was coded correctly. I can’t fire the insurance company (unless I quit my job). I can’t (without consequence) refuse to pay the health provider. It would have cost less to paid out of pocket at CVS! The only loser here is me; and for being proactive and potentially saving others from getting the flu if I get sick.

    Neoliberalism is indeed a tax on your time.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Go ask Ezra Klein or Paul Krugman, they’ll tell you that ALL of us who have employer-sponsored insurance are just happy as clams and absolutely nothing needs to be changed here.

      A real understated health-care story of the last couple of decades is the crapification of employer-sponsored insurance. The elite narrative is to call this “cost sharing” which is code for socking people with opaque bills which may or may not be justified and are ALWAYS inflated.

      This trend is a big driver behind increased support for Medicare for All. Even when you have ‘good’ insurance, it doesn’t pay for care.

      1. funemployed

        But choice! Markets! Oh, wait, right…. nvm. scratch that.

        Everyone loves their employer’s plans and there’s totally no conflict of interest or power imbalance there!

        Also, nobody ever gets so sick or injured that they lose their jobs. Wait, they do? Scratch that one too. Everyone loves employer-provided health insurance!

        On a more serious note, why doesn’t anyone mention the millions of people who are dedicated and good at their jobs but can’t work more than 30 hrs a week at one place because the ACA creates a massive disincentive to hire full-time workers.

        Also, I very much wonder how many “bonuses” would be handed out by corporations in response to universal single-payer. My guess is not nearly so many as Trump’s tax cuts.

      2. RUKidding

        Yeah well Klen and Krugman can ______________________ (family blog).

        My employer’s health insurance – which truly is among one of the better plans these days – is insanely crappified. I never have a clue whether I’ll be charged for something or not. If I am, it’s typically some insanely high cost for some very typical service, like routine blood work, for example.

        Calling the Insurance Co to get information beforehand – when that’s a real possibility (not an emergency) – is a joke bc mostly no one seems to have a clue (deliberate??) as to what one might be charged or not. It’s also difficult, at best, to determine for sure whether a provide is “in the network.” And then, the Insurance Co has a proviso that they have the last word as to whether they’ll pay for anything or not, and basically, the consumer is screwed.

        Services that I got – up until recently – at no charge to me or for a very very low fee are now suddenly at some sort of cost – with no warning. All of a sudden I get an unexpected bill for a service that I’ve had for years at no extra cost. And suddenly now it’s maybe $150 or $200 for that service with no really good explanation.

        I’m fortunate in that I can afford these random bills, plus I’m super healthy, rarely get sick, and mostly only need routine services. But it’s downright frightening to contemplate if I do get sick or injured.

        My BiL has cancer. He lives in another state. He’s on Medicare. His bills have been astronomical for everything he’s needed, including meds. It’s been really difficult for him and my sis. And they have some money, and he still works part-time (at age 73) as a lawyer.

        Not good.

        I have friends who are still financially struggling since the 2008 crash. Many of them simply don’t go to the doctor, which is also not good.


      1. RMO

        Canadian citizen here – single payer is great, don’t let anything stop you from fighting for it. It should be part of the universal rights of all people. I need cataract surgery (at 47, the eye doctor and I can’t figure out what precipitated it though I’ve managed to get more than my share of U.V. exposure over the years) and there was almost no wait. In fact I chose a slightly later date for the surgery (this Friday) than I could have because I wanted to schedule it for a more personally convenient time period. The system here is good – and if it were implemented competently and honestly in the U.S. it would probably be even better there if only because of scale and population density.

  14. rd

    Re: Tsunami that didn’t come

    If you are close to the shaking zone, then it is not just the tectonic displacement of the crust that can cause a tsunami. Research has been showing that underwater landslides (and some above ground ones that move into the sea) can cause tsunami waves in confined waters like Alaskan fjords. Because the landslides are triggered by the original earthquake waves and the landslide movement is local, the tsunami can arrive earlier than the ocean wave from the tectonic plate movement. They estimate that 85 of 106 people killed by tsunamis in the 1964 earthquake were killed by these types of tsunamis.

    This article describes a tsunami wave generated by an underwater landslide that cause a tsunami to hit a community 4 minutes after the shaking had stopped in the Great Alaskan Quake of 1964.

    Many bad things can happen in the immediate aftermath of magnitude 7+ earthquakes. If you have a nearby earthquake of that magnitude, similar to a hurricane coming onshore near you, there are no such things as “false alarms” because the probability of something bad happening is very high. Just because one time does not have a problem does not mean that will be the case the next time, and the consequences of the bad things are usually high with massive property damage and fatalities.

    1. ambrit

      We can attest to that as regards hurricanes. Before Katrina, our old neighbourhood did not require flood insurance. Even the banks would provide mortgages without flood insurance. After 19.5 foot above sea level flooding, (which I and some ‘survivor’ neighbours verified via a transit and tape rule test,) suddenly, everything south of the Interstate became a “velocity zone,” and subject to stringent flood insurance regulations.
      Velocity, or VE Zones: (See page five of the PDF.)
      Heaven help us here Down South if the New Madrid fault complex goes big time.

  15. Lee

    Dark Money, Not Russia, May Be the Best Way to Explain Trump’s Win Vice

    Contrast to recent Fresh Air interview with Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt ‘How Democracies Die’ Authors Say Trump Is A Symptom Of ‘Deeper Problems’.

    They talk a great deal about deportment, norms, disintermediation of mass media, and democratic institutions such as the two major parties that, largely because party insiders can no longer effectively function as “gate keepers”, and so no longer able to prevent demagogues like Trump from coming to power. Now, largely because of Sanders, the Democrats might further weaken this function by doing away with super delegates.

    Not once did they mention campaign money, or underlying economic conditions that might motivate voter dissatisfaction with the status quo.


    1. Jessica

      General rule: Any discussion of a social issue that does not discuss the role of concentrated power functions on behalf of concentrated power.

    2. JohnnyGL

      If you’re going to take a stab at what’s killing democracy and not mention flat/falling wages, consumer debt, inequality, or shortening life expectancy, you’re probably not worth reading. :)

      1. Lee

        Just listening to the interview triggered my gag reflex; I’m concerned that reading their book might give me a brain tumor.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Stay the F away…..if the cancer doesn’t kill you, the resulting medical bills absolutely will finish you off!

          1. newcatty

            The “two political parties” institutions is a hoax, a tragic farce and still good cover and propaganda for the powers that be. There is no competition for financial support, or “party insiders” to gatekeep to keep any candidate from being the nominee for either party. Two sides of same coin means that the monied “donors” have long decided who will be king (queen) for the day. Until this reality sinks in for people, we will be played and used and hurt. I voted for Jill and Greens. I would have voted for Bernie. Don’t know much about algebra or the Spanish I took, but I know if we love us too, what a wonderful world this could be. What will it take to wake up? How long do we let divide and conquer as we fuss over if women’s movement is more important than environmental or black lives matter or single issues like Medicare for all or rampant economic inequality? United we could stand, divided we fall. Humanity and mother earth is what it’s all about.

            1. RMO

              So to sum up the position of the writers of that book: to prevent democracies from dying we must make them undemocratic. Got it!

    1. grayslady

      Snowy owls are in my neighborhood again (apparently this happens when there is a bumper crop of young owls). Bird watchers on eBird have published some excellent photos of the local owls–one sitting on top of a crane, another sitting on the beach, and yet another sitting on top of ice-covered boulders. We went looking for the owls a couple of weekends ago, but the weather was too cold to stay outside for more than ten minutes. Hope to try again this weekend. Quite a few people at the lakeshore just hoping to see an owl.

      1. skeptic

        Just please don’t approach the owls to make them fly so you can get a “good” picture – that is harassment and is illegal.

  16. Bittercup

    Wow, that Glenn Greenwald’s Women article is depressing. It starts off with an interesting point about the New York Magazine article not quoting any women, but then when it gets around to discussing the things the women could have said, it instead indulges in some dull Greenwald-bashing. Like, Greenwald’s skepticism about the document that Reality Winner leaked is an “alarming attack,” and Greenwald only produces “surface commentary.” If that’s what the other women had to say, I’m not surprised it didn’t make it into the final article, space constraints being what they are. After all, it was supposed to be a Greenwald profile, not an overview of everyone’s opinion on Greenwald.

    The rest of the article is Marcy talking about how her understanding of Russiagate is superior to everyone else’s. Good on her for tooting her own horn, but at some point she really has to grapple with the obvious problems with her own narratives. For example, the Nikulin theory she mentions still has no meat on its bones. (But it’s because “the Russians built in several layers of plausible deniability,” she says!) She then says she knew that Facebook noticed some APT28 activity a year before it was reported. While it’s nice Marcy apparently has an insider source, as far as Russiagate goes, this is not particularly meaningful.

    And, of course, there’s also this bit. “If special counsel Robert Mueller is permitted to pursue all angles of this operation, we’ll learn the damage was worse than most people imagine.” At least Greenwald’s interpretation of events has the benefit of being based on all the public things we know already. Not some unspecified secret-but-definitely-damning evidence that, after years of investigation, has still not been drug out into the light.

    1. cocomaan

      “If special counsel Robert Mueller is permitted to pursue all angles of this operation, we’ll learn the damage was worse than most people imagine.”

      I agree with your interpretation of that sentence. My addition would be that this is weasel-wording at its best. This sentence allows Marcy to say later that the investigation was not complete and therefore to continue the hunt and thus preserve her career as a prognosticator.

    2. cocomaan

      Just went to the link that Wheeler provided on “The Shadow Broker Persona”. I didn’t know what she was talking about. Here’s the link:

      TheShadowBrokers is sorry TheShadowBrokers is missing you at theblackhats or maybe not? TSB is not seeing hot reporter lady giving @msuiche talk, was that not being clear required condition? TheShadowBrokers is being sures you understanding, law enforcements, not being friendly fans of TSB. Maybe someday. Dude? “…@shadowbrokerss does not do thanksgiving. TSB is the real Infosec Santa Claus…” really? “Trick or Treet”, cosplay and scarring shits out of thepeoples? TheShadowBrokers favorite holiday, not holiday, but should be being, Halloween!

      TSB special shouts outs to Marcy “EmptyWheel” Wheeler, is being what true journalist and journalism is looking like thepeoples!

      TheShadowBrokers, brokers of shadows.

      This is the most bizarre stuff I’ve ever seen.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Wheeler’s evidence is just more weak tea (italics added) –

      I also arrived at this conclusion with the help of a number of pieces of evidence that, for various reasons, have not yet been made public. As one example, in the days after the hack of the DNC, I learned that Facebook had observed actions in real time it attributed to APT 28, believed to be tied to Russia’s military intelligence. In an April 2017 report, Facebook alluded obliquely to this observation when it said its own conclusions were consistent with the U.S. government’s. Then, last September, an anonymous source told The Washington Post that Facebook shared what it had seen with the FBI. In other words, almost a year before it became public, I learned that Facebook, an independent actor with global network visibility, backs the intelligence community’s conclusions about the hack.

      Well whoop de doo. Almost a year ago I learned that NBA star Kyrie Irving shares the opinions of the Flat Earth Society regarding the curvature or lack thereof of our pale blue dot. And they’re even willing to put their names behind their claims. So that makes it true?

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “is permitted”

      Yes, I noticed that, too. “Is permitted” by whom? I hadn’t thought of Mueller is being an agent run by somebody else, but what other interpretation is possible?

  17. Tracie Hall

    LOVE both owls! I wasn’t worried about the one on the ice drift at all (read the caption after viewing), s/he looked very content.

  18. jawbone

    Depressing read. Seems there’s nothing Trump says which can’t be twisted to what he really wants. Such as massive infrastructure spending leading to the public paying and paying and paying. Never having any control as the private funders get 82% credits toward the cost of the project and 100% of the “rents” from the public forever which will have to pay to use the public/private projects. Forever or until a real revolution.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think if the government allowed corvee labor in lieu of fiat money, the whole pyramid would collapse.

      “The poor have no paper money to pay taxes. Consequently, they pay with their labor, and as a result, money has no value.”

      But we’d have our infrastructure, from their corvee labor taxpayers.

      1. ambrit

        Sorry, but “corvee” labour has little value today. Mechanization has seen to that.
        I can remember when mid sized contractors began to buy mini excavators, (those small tanks with buckets on the ends of articulated mechanical arms,) and they, the mini excavators, replaced human labour in the digging of trenches and all.
        Perhaps a new iteration of the CCC? (Consolidated Corvee Corporation.) Since prisons are being ‘privatized,’ why not chain gangs too?
        Well, time to search the internets for VPPS. (Voluntary penal private servitude.)

        1. Wukchumni

          Backcountry trail crews in Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP’s are in some ways, the last 19th century jobs in the country. Well, aside from gas powered chainsaws & pneumatic rock drills, that is. In some camps such as Hockett Meadow, all crew members ride horses to and from ‘work’.

          Most everything they do is largely human labor or stock assisted, and meals & mail come in on mule train once a week or so, for 4 months of summer in the higher climes, where their camps which they stay @ for 2-4 weeks before shuffling off to another camp, are about a dozen miles from the nearest trailhead.

          1. Jim Haygood

            A day in the life of a volunteer trail crew:


            Photo was taken last April. We were back on the same stretch this morning, digging the trail about six inches deeper into slope and adding banked curves for mountain bikers.

          1. ambrit

            True that. I should be more precise. What I meant was that one machine, with operator, which, in my experience is often the proprietor, replaced two to ten human beings. Those two to ten humans have not been offered alternate employment. Since the ‘displaced’ humans did not have the decency to “Go Die,” well then, what is a Neoliberal Master of the Universe to do?
            Be of good cheer.

  19. trypsix

    on ‘These weasels.’ Bank of America gets ripped online for killing free accounts”

    What’s even more weasel-ish is BOA receiving TARP & QE, using the money to buy up mortgages, and then fraudulently foreclosing on properties all over America, mostly those in poor, rural places, where legal support is zilch. Happened to my wife’s father. He fought them in court for 2 years, and all he got out of it was the money they owed him for fraudulently increasing his mortgage payment (which he refused to pay).

    Just thinking about it makes my blood boil, and I wasn’t even involved. The American elite/politicians are apparently just itching to create a generation of Tyler Durdens with the combination of debt-serfdom and the proliferation of high powered weapons and explosives. There will be a revolution and it will be bloody.

    America went from ‘a nice place to live’ to a ‘debt ridden hand-to-mouth’ society in 20 years. The ire is palpable, the competition fierce, the wages low, the taxes high, and at the end of the day, no one has anything to show for it all.

    1. RUKidding

      at the end of the day, no one has anything to show for it all.

      No offense intended, but at the end of the day something like 42 families have a YUUUUUGE amount to show for it. Something like the .0001%. They are simply rolling in clover at the expense of the rest of us.

      But hey! Look over there! Undocumented worker “stealing” you jawb.

  20. integer

    Everything is a gift of the universe – even joy, anger, jealously, frustration, or separateness. Everything is perfect either for our growth or our enjoyment.

    – Ken Keyes Jr.

    (FWIW I have never read any of his books, nor do I know much about him, but I like this quote, and it seems appropriate here.)

  21. Oregoncharles

    MPR says Garrison Keillor wasn’t fired for simply touching ‘a woman’s bare back’ ” –

    But they don’t say what he WAS fired for, so I assume it was pure panic on their part. That’s an important point: the “moral panic” was mainly on the part of employers and politicians. I’m highly skeptical of the claims that they had law firms “investigate.” I actually believe Tavis Smiley (much more of a loss than Keillor, who was retired already) that it was a star chamber. The firms were hired to give them cover.

    In this respect, “MeToo” promoted the panic but wasn’t exactly responsible for it. Actually, Harvey Weinstein was.

    1. Jean

      Not one more cent to NPR from our household.

      Let’s have a “conversation” about boycotting their fund raisers.

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