Links 3/12/18

A Weaker Gulf Stream Means Trouble for Coastal New England Weather Underground

Attack of the extreme floods Nature

In Photos: Seven Years On, Japanese Live Uneasily With Seawalls Post Tsunami The Wire

‘My world was burning’: The North Bay fires and what went wrong Reveal News

Accounting watchdogs find ‘serious problems’ at 40% of audits FT

Global super rich are booking profits and slashing risk following February’s harsh shakeout, says Citi private bank South China Morning Post

Billion-dollar debts control the future of tech industry Evgeny Morozov, Guardian

The Real Engine of the Business Cycle Project Syndicate


An Unprecedented Peace Offer to the Taliban NYT

Amid little scrutiny, US military ramps up in Afghanistan AP

Saudi Aramco IPO delayed until 2019, UK officials told FT

North Korea

Not just theater: U.S. officials defend Trump-Kim meeting Reuters

Successful Diplomacy with North Korea Requires Compromise The Amerian Conservative

What Does a Trump-Kim Meeting Mean for China? The Diplomat


Huge Chinese Demand Fuels The Next U.S. Gas Boom

Rampaging ‘Gray Rhinos’ pose threat to China’s economy Asia Times


Why Maharashtra’s farmers are protesting and why Mumbaikars are supporting them: 10 points Times of India


Money talks as Britain walks – which means we WILL get a good Brexit deal Sun. “Several prominent Tory Brexiteers — one of them a household name — have told me they would indeed agree to ongoing financial contributions of even around £5billion a year if that breaks the logjam.” Let me know how that works out…

London property prices fall as much as 15% as Brexit effect deepens Guardian

Brexit could be catalyst for more integrated European capital markets Handelsblatt

Europhile reform dreamers wake up – there will be no ‘far-reaching’ reforms Bill Mitchell

Macron going for broke Le Monde Diplomatique

How Russia’s Eternal President Has Changed His Country Der Spiegel

New Cold War

Theresa May ‘is set to blame Russia for the nerve gas attack and unveil a package of tough sanctions against top Putin cronies as early as tomorrow’ Daily Mail

Is Trump the New Clinton? The Baffler. Chinese “meddling.” In 1996. Supporting Bill Clinton.

The Intel Community Lie About Russian Meddling by Publius Tacitus Sic Semper Tyrannis. About those 17 agencies…

The liberal international order mounts a comeback WaPo. Note who’s quoted.

Trump Transition

White House proposes arming teachers, backpedals on raising age to buy guns CNN

Trump Rollbacks Target Offshore Rules ‘Written With Human Blood’ NYT

ACLU: Report to Kris Kobach shows 5 illegal voters out of 1.3 million ballots Capitol Journal

Democrats in Disarray

Dem campaign chief vows no litmus test on abortion The Hill

Health Care

Woman tried to save man found dead under bridge near Scripps Hospital in Hillcrest KGTV (San Diego). “‘For whatever reason, I don’t know why he caught my eye,” said Murray. ‘I just watched the orderly wheel him outside.’ He was discharged from Scripps Mercy Hospital Wednesday night. He was still wearing a hospital gown when he was found.”

Insurers Game Medicare System to Boost Federal Bonus Payments WSJ. Gaming Medicare Advantage with “crosswalking.”

Medicine Markup Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

A nationwide reporting adventure tracks improbably frequent lottery winners Columbia Journalism Review

Our Famously Free Press

The spread of true and false news online Science

Bad Actors Are Using Social Media Exactly as Designed Wired

Sports Desk

Nearly half of Patriots on first 3 Super Bowl-winning teams report brain injuries Boston Globe

He’s running:

Guillotine Watch

Government in Mars will be based on direct democracy, says SpaceX founder Elon Musk International Business Times. No unions, though.

Class Warfare

Saving the heartland: Place-based policies in 21st Century America Brookings Institution

Silicon Valley VCs will not be riding to the rescue of the midwest’s startups anytime soon Quartz

The West Virginia teachers’ strike is over. But the fight for healthcare isn’t Guardian

Oklahoma state officials to join teachers’ strike if lawmakers don’t meet demands The Hill

Big wages paid by marijuana industry eating into restaurant hiring pool The Cannifornian

Scientist turns to Ayurvedic medicine in hunt for a cure to dementia FT

Antidote du jour (via):

Poor kitty recovering from surgery….

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. Romancing The Loan

      For me in Firefox it momentarily gives an error message but then loads the article if you wait a few seconds.

      1. visitor

        Checking that issue I figured out that the Weather Underground uses some Javascript manipulations that return an error page if the necessary script is disabled (which is as I have configured my browser — I like NoScript very much). Once the script is enabled, it redirects the link to the proper page, but interestingly my browser tab is still titled “Error | Weather Underground” even after redirection lands on the correct page. Odd. Web design nowadays results in unnecessarily intricate control flows.

        1. blennylips

          Hey! Can’t loot and pillage without a bit of “unnecessarily intricate control flows“, now can you?

          Weather Underground used to be cool. Guess what?
          Back in 2015:

          The Weather Company was previously owned by a consortium made up of The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital, and NBCUniversal. That consortium sold The Weather Company’s product and technology assets to IBM on January 29, 2016,

          In unraveling that javascrapile, I see that it wants to pull stuff in from, which ultimately lands at
          Adobe data-analytics audience-manager. (I love my RequestPolicy addon…forbid the {family-blogger}’s)

          We are the product.

      2. BobW

        I quit going to Weather Underground since the Weather Channel bought it. It not only drives Firefox crazy, it causes the laptop to overheat, making the fan run at high speed, and often can it only be closed by pushing the laptop power switch. NOAA + zipcode now.

        1. Lambert Strether

          That’s too bad. I enjoy Jeff Masters very much. I’ve never had problems with the page. I don’t see a reason to optimize link selection for NoScript users; sadly, JavaScript is standard across web sites these days.

          Does anyone have an alternative weather site to recommend?

          1. bob

            All of the data for weather sites in the US comes from NOAA and/or NWS.

            The way those sites are laid out isn’t the best, but it’s all there. A lot of their back end is made to serve other, non-public weather forecasters. The private sector has been lobbying for years to get rid of NOAA and their giving away of monetizable weather forecasts.


            “AccuWeather has, in the past, supported measures to limit the extent to which the Weather Service can release information to the public, so that private companies could generate their own value-added products using this same information. In 2005, for example, Myers and his brother Joel gave money to then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who introduced legislation aimed at curtailing government competition with private weather services”

            And he’s the head of NOAA now. I’m sure this is good for global warming research.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Maybe installing NoScript ( on your Firefox might help here. I have it on mine to stop a lot of this junk loading. Sometimes when I download a page I check the .js files in the attached folder before I delete them and some of them are huge. God knows what some of them are doing.

    2. ewmayer

      Hmm … my neo-Luddite FF v22 on Mac (that was the last version that exposed my beloved image-display toggle in user prefs) has no problem loading the page, and NoScript shows all JS disabled for said page.

      PaleMoon, which I recently DLed due to FF v22’s outdated security and https support, also has no issues.

      p.s.: I subsequently found that one can access the image-render toggle via about:config -> permissions.default.image [change from default 1 (display all) to 2 (block all) or 3 (block only 3rd-party)]. Less convenient than the old way via user prefs, but for those who like low-noise-and-bandwidth browsing like I do.

      1. ewmayer

        Update: OK, I found something curious – my initial load of the above page was problem-free, but it was sans image display. Decided just now to have look at some of the Gulf Stream graphics, so enabled image-display, ctrl-r, and got the error otehrs have mentioned. Annoyingly, once I get the error I can’t get back to the article, no matter what combination of settings (images on/off, working online or offline) I try. Thanks, Weather Underground page designers!

  1. kees_popinga

    The link initially says “oops” and then redirects to the correct location. It’s hard for me to read that story because Weather Underground now insists on calling winter storms by cute names.

      1. Edward E

        He also watched the Razorbacks play the Texas Longhorns in Arkiefornia 1969 and if I’m not mistaken snuck off to the Buffalo River with Sam. At least that’s what some old timers told.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Ya! (That’s phonetic Russian for “me.”)

        But I need to do a lot of work on my Russian language skills before I even think of booking a ticket. Russians won’t give you participation trophies for attempting to speak the language. You have to do a good job of it.

  2. ebbflows

    Ref: Government in Mars will be based on direct democracy, says SpaceX founder Elon Musk International Business Times.

    No deliberation period e.g. market based on atomistic individualism w/ a side of public choice theory.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Using a voting app on their mobiles that will give them the results straight away. Maybe not the real results but results just the same. And any dissidents may find themselves out the airlock – without a suit.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Overheard at Mars Election Day 2032:

        “Wait Elon, I couldn’t hear the election results and my tablet’s on the fritz. Please tell me again but take off your helmet this time.”

    2. ambrit

      It all depends on whether or not the “Worker Cyborgs” get to have their control collars turned off before the vote or not.

      1. ambrit

        FWIW: I wonder if ‘Correct the Record’ wasn’t originally meant to be called ‘Correct the Vote,’ but was changed after the focus groups went all torches and pitchforks on the pollsters?

      2. ebbflows

        Sorry if you saying a thing without any means to evaluate its underpinnings is lost on me.

        You see I find it hard to deliberate on it and make a decision by which I might vote on its merits.

        Oh and if I may suggest, do read up on the various forms of democracy and what they portend.

    3. polecat

      But has anyone told the mutants working the turbinium mines that they musk embrace demockracy 2, whether citizens or not ??

    4. Geo

      I don’t care what kind of government Mars has as long as all these tech “entrepreneurs” go there and bring their libertarian bro-culture utopia of immortality dreams and “disruptive” “smart” innovations with them.

      I give ‘em about 3 weeks before a glitch turns their utopia into Lord of the Flies.

      1. Procopius

        I would allow those who fear loss of calcium due to low gravity to move to a seastead, instead. Who was pushing those, Peter Thiel? Only restriction, I would require them to obtain a visa any time they want to visit the mainland, and subject them to the same fees and documentation standards required of people from Thailand.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The more visions he shares, the more apparent he is a god.

      In the meantime, we mortals must confound ourselves with mundane mysteries like whether to eat more omega 3s, or not, here on Earth.

      “Can we send some of our homeless, our tired , our poor, our huddled masses to your heavenly abode on Mars?”


    6. Daryl

      I recommend a reading of Luna: New Moon for a preview of what the technocrat-created gov’t of Mars will look like.

      Spoiler alert: your account will be debited for the air you breathe and the water you drink.

  3. Julia Versau

    I know it’s worthwhile to read what the enemy is spouting, but I couldn’t bring myself to give any time or respect to “Saving the Heartland: Place-based Policies in 21st Century America” from the Brookings Institution.

    The abstract notes: “The enormous social costs of non-employment suggests that fighting long-term joblessness is more important than fighting income inequality.” Then I scrolled down to see that Lawrence Summers is one of the authors. My guess is that this is an apologia for the elite point of view, i.e. “How do we keep the serfs in their places after they’ve seen how much money we have?” My guess is that those “regions” are a lot like the districts in The Hunger Games.

    Funding was provided by the Smith Richardson Foundation, a neoconservative outlet and fighter for the rights and privileges of the oligarchy and “American exceptionalism.” See here:

    Enough ways to trigger my outrage meter today without giving these bastards any of my precious time.

  4. fresno dan

    “But some of today’s pessimism is simply a political fad. It ‘became fashionable, starting in academia and expanding to the public square, brought there by politicians [and] social media,’ Easterbrook [economist Gregg Easterbrook] writes. ‘Today the conventional wisdom is that any informed person should feel the world is falling apart.'”

    Of course the other plausible explanation is that most of the workforce in the United States has seen stagnating wages over the last four decades even as those at the top have become incredibly rich. And, the incredibly rich don’t like to highlight this fact, so there is a big market for people saying that everything is great.
    and see this:

    somebody’s doing real well…but it ain’t most people….

    I can still remember seeing “Harvest of Shame” when I was 5 (I didn’t say I understood it – merely that I saw it). When was the last time you saw a hard hitting documentary on a big 3 network?

      1. fresno dan

        March 12, 2018 at 12:32 pm

        Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, believes the ongoing death of “middle America” has sparked the emergence of two countries within one, the hallmark of developing nations.
        Thanks for that – I agree.
        It seems to me that the broad middle is getting ever narrower. Your either doing very well, or not doing well at all…
        Its things like….. I was reading about what percentage of Americans can’t afford a vacation. But what about all those who can’t have a vacation because they are part of the “contingent” workforce? My friend who only works 20 hours a week (if lucky) is more tied to be home to get what scraps of work he can than he ever was when he had a regular 40 hour a week job. Can’t even go out during the day for a beer – might as well be under house arrest.

  5. a different chris

    The BillyBlog post was good (in a horrifying way), but I have a very technical request for people who post on economics, or really anything to do with numbers:

    “and attracted 12.6 per cent of the total vote (gaining 7.9 per cent on previous election), ”

    In a vacuum, I don’t know if they went from 11.6 to 12.6 or from 4.7 to 12.6?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Came down here to say the same. I wonder how quickly the Northern EU austerians will change their spots once a slump comes their way? When Germany was the Sick Man of Europe we all payed the price but then there was no EMU.

      1. jsn

        I’ve been dealing with a bunch of Mittelstrand German, Swiss and Austrian manufacturers for the last five years and am seeing a marked decline in the professionalism and productivity of the Germans in particular, followed by the Austrians.

        I’m also hearing very polite complaints about immigration and the lack of opportunity for young people. Anecdotal, but growing in frequency.

        The NeoLiberal leeches are deep into the muscle of Europe at this point.

        Germany could turn the NeoLib conquest around overnight should she so choose but she has a mixed record with Functional Finance: Hitler’s central banker Hjalmar Schacht was a pioneer, of course latter he claimed to have been in on the Von Stauffenburg plot as well…

        Like Americans I suppose, doing the right thing after exhausting every other possibility.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I’ve been dealing with a bunch of Mittelstrand German, Swiss and Austrian manufacturers for the last five years and am seeing a marked decline in the professionalism and productivity of the Germans in particular, followed by the Austrians.

          Yikes. I wonder if the same is going on in Italy.

  6. integer

    What’s in Al Jazeera’s undercover film on the US Israel lobby? Electronic Intifada

    The leading neoconservative think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies is functioning as an agent of the Israeli government, Al Jazeera’s forthcoming investigation on the US Israel lobby will reveal.

    According to a source who has seen the undercover documentary, it contains footage of a powerful Israeli official claiming that “We have FDD. We have others working on this.”

    Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former Israeli military intelligence officer, is said to state that the foundation is “working on” projects for Israel including “data gathering, information analysis, working on activist organizations, money trail. This is something that only a country, with its resources, can do the best.”

    Lots more tidbits in the article.

    1. Craig H.

      I tried to find this on but it was not there. I presume that browser history with Al Jezeera, Electronic Infitada, etc are amongst the top data the NSA’s traffic analysis algorithms use for the input to their smart no-fly lists and similar blacklists. I avoid clicking on such links.

      They are probably granular enough and huge enough to include things like the following:

      Masters of Deception: Zionism, 9/11 and the War on Terror Hoax By Zander C. Fuerza on

      And I know I am on their lists. But I do try and stay out of the top tranches. :)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I tried to find this on but it was not there.

        Here it is.

        I would guess there’s a time lag for the Wayback Machine’s crawlers to load stuff.

        It’s good to be careful, but it’s also good to avoid what the now-forgotten English novelist called “the brilliance of suspicion” (The New Men, a novel about the English atomic establishment). The sense that whatever one sees has a shiny surface with something hiding behind it; a Hall of Mirrors, like…

  7. Brooklin Bridge

    Huge Chinese Demand Fuels The Next U.S. Gas Boom

    So now we have to give up drinking water so that private companies can reap ginormous profits by selling our natural resources to China? What do we get in return. Oh, yea, higher gas prices.

      1. Mel

        Yeah. We already did that. Foppe (I think it was) made that point yesterday. The rules say that they can do things with those keystrokes, just like we did.

      2. John k

        No reason. In fact, that’s what they want… it does seem odd considering they’re supposed to be so smart…

  8. Darius

    More disaster capitalism. The tsunami in northern Japan presented the perfect opportunity to shovel money to the politically powerful construction industry. Much of the coast already was encased in sea walls. Now they’re exponentially larger. Extraterrestrial geologists will find them intact in 100 million years whether or not they serve their stated function successfully.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Japanese have never needed a disaster for an excuse to shovel vast sums of money to regional construction interests. The level of over-engineering for earthquakes and floods around Japan is staggering – and its all about keeping the concrete industry churning out far too much of the stuff. It would be vastly cheaper just to move settlements onto higher ground.

      Even before the tsunami the extent of the destruction of Japans coast and rivers by an obsessive level of engineering was depressing to witness (especially for a people with such a supposedly refined sense of natural aesthetics). It seems that some things never change in Japan.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One guess (a wild guess at that) is that they are still preparing for the Big American Invasion from across the Pacific, on the subconscious level.

        “To the pilots of Kodama airbase, we salute you as we continue to fortify this sacred, divine island nation.”

      2. a different chris

        >just to move settlements onto higher ground.

        Excuse me, I don’t know much at all about Japan, but I did see some documentary which makes me think your sentence would work even better as “just to move settlements back onto higher ground.”

        Always a technical fix is the motto (and will be the death of) the 21st century.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Big wages paid by marijuana industry eating into restaurant hiring pool The Cannifornian

    So, apparently, the economic principle that tight labor supply results in rising wages has NOT been repealed.

    Despite what the bls and it’s “unemployment rate” of 4.1 for months would have you believe.

    Also noted is what else this genuinely tight labor market produces–FREE education:

    At the Culinary Quick Start Program at Emily Griffith Technical College — sponsored by Sage Restaurant Group — students get a four-week, tuition-free course to prepare for a career in the culinary industry.
    At the end of the course, students and employers participate in a hiring fair, where restaurants such as TAG and Urban Farmer battle it out for talent.

    No “mysteries” here–the system works as advertised. So, where’s the disconnect? Maybe the 4.1 is of the “garbage out” variety.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A four week, tuition free course and a career in culinary industry?

      I think for the real estate industry, it’s about 8 or 10 weeks.

      In any case, that’s not much compared with 4 years of high school, but more profitable, according to their sponsors.

    2. Eclair

      What don’t the owners of these trendy new Denver restaurants get about the increasing disconnect between minimum wage and rising rents? I think of them as Potemkin Eateries, all exposed brickwork, shiny metal and the latest in organic, farm-to-table, eat the pig from head to tail, fronts, while the kitchens are dark hells populated by the precariat, frantically chopping, sautéing and scrubbing in an effort to stave off homelessness.

      Real story here: While moving last July, we got to talking to the boss of the packing/loading crew, a young man who had moved to Denver from a southern state when his factory assembly job evaporated. He and a roommate rented an apartment, but, as rents rose, they had to move to a rent by the week motel room.

      Median rents in Denver hover around $1500; you do the math on paying that while making $7 per hour. Outskirts are cheaper, not by much, and you then have to contend with Denver’s rather erratic public transportation system, whose fares keep increasing because they have to show a profit.

      I know one young guy who worked as a bud trimmer; decent pay, in cash, and you could peel the residue off your gloves. But, you worked while the plants were budding, which, as I understood it, was not always. And, it was pretty mind-numbing work. Probably helped to be stoned. And, the grow houses tend not to be on bus routes, so you walk or bicycle. In the winter.

      Denver’s Emily Griffith Technical College, BTW, is a true gem. It has a long history of offering training programs and opportunities for lower class youth. Courses there are essentially ‘free,’ as the school offers access to government sponsored scholarship programs. I knew a single mom, getting her life together after a long bout of drug abuse and homelessness, who completed their yearlong food and restaurant worker training program. She, wisely, moved out of Denver when she completed it, into one of the less trendy mountain towns, where the could make minimum wage but actually afford to live. Just barely.

      1. Craig H.

        > Probably helped to be stoned.

        Menial labor and sensation of time-dilation is a bad combination that I only tried once.

        1. Eclair

          Good point, Craig. I spent 8 hours this past September on my husband’s cousin’s farm, cleaning and sorting and bagging potatoes, so he could meet an order. It’s what family does. I dreamed about it all night. Reach into potato-filled pail, decide if it’s bigger than a chicken’s egg, wipe off clods of earth with rag made from old flannel shirt, drop, carefully, into large 50 lb capacity bag, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. If I’d been stoned …. good lord!

          “Menial” work, now designating low-paid, low-skill, degrading, low-status jobs, derived from the French word meaning ‘household,’ would originally have referred to those actions necessary to sustain life, to keep families and households nourished, warm, sanitary and running smoothly. Like raising and preparing food. Or gathering it. Cleaning.

          Now, it’s ‘exciting,’ well-compensated and high status to design Apps that allow us to find the best local restaurants and get our meals delivered right to our door.

          Meanwhile, further on down (or up?) the food chain, the pickers and the food preparers, who actually produce something, are relegated to the position of ‘menial workers.’

          1. cnchal

            . . . Reach into potato-filled pail, decide if it’s bigger than a chicken’s egg, wipe off clods of earth with rag made from old flannel shirt, drop, carefully, into large 50 lb capacity bag, repeat. And repeat. And repeat . . .

            That would be a good jawb for Flippy. Just a little retraining needed after getting fired from Caliburgers.

            1. Eclair

              Right, cnchal. Cleaning and sorting potatoes is a task crying out for automation. Well, the farm was at the end of tomato harvesting season and at the beginning of the storage potato digging season. So, the single clanky Rube Goldberg contraption that sorted and washed ball-shaped veggies was still being used for tomatoes. I was, in effect, the robot of choice. A spell of mind-numbing, dirty work is good for reminding one of one’s place in the universe.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > At the Culinary Quick Start Program at Emily Griffith Technical College

      Good data point! (And encouraging that some basic level of sanity has returned. Now if we could just get training on the job…)

  10. Livius Drusus

    Re: Bernie Sanders running again, I am not sure if Sanders will run again but I do think that he will likely act as a kingmaker in 2020. If he chooses not to run his endorsement will be a huge prize.

    That being said, the Sanders vs. Clinton divide in the Democratic Party is far from healed. Even if Sanders and Clinton don’t run in 2020 it will play out again only with different candidates.

    Do NC readers think Bernie will run again in 2020? I am notoriously bad when it comes to political predictions (I had Hillary winning easily in 2016) so I am wondering what other readers think about a Sanders 2020 run.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      As an outsider I can only say that every single thing he’s done in the past 12 months seem aimed at a run. I recall his son even joked that he was on the multivitamins. It would make far more sense for him to run and, if successful, bring on a true successor as VP candidate than to ‘endorse’ someone.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think there are two major issues at play when surveying the Democratic Party:

        -the state of the brand; how does “OMG Russia” move non-voters to voters? Yes, it may turn the people who were definitely voting for Team Blue into super definitely voting for Team Blue, but this doesn’t win elections.

        -After Obama, people are interested in results not vague promises. What Federal office holder can really point to a positive record? Warren? She missed her opportunity to matter and is now “disappointed” in Democrats such as Kaine. Did she not know Tim Kaine until recently? On the other side, there is Nina Turner. She’s never held Federal office, a failure of the Democratic Party.

        Sanders might be old, but I think the only way around these two problems is for Sanders to annoint a successor as a running mate to cover up for a lack of traditional qualifications.

        1. ChrisPacific

          I suspect that Trump voters probably find the whole “OMG Russia” thing insulting. The two primary explanations Democrats have found for Trump’s election so far are:

          1. Trump voters are stupid evil racists
          2. Trump voters were brainwashed by Putin into voting for him.

          If I was a Trump voter I would not take either of those as an indication that Democrats are ready to listen to my concerns or represent my interests in government.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Fame is a fleeting creature.

        Why didn’t Rachel say, ‘Many will be liberated?’

        This on-going focus on one person, one celebrityhood, just says, the rest of you are not important.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The Buddha probably said something similar.

            “We will all be dead, but some enter Nirvana, and are liberated from more reincarnations.”

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                That goes back to Indra’s Net.

                “The Bremer jewel is reflected in all of the other jewels.”

      2. neo-realist

        Gabbard recently supported a Trump budget measure to cut social programs and increase military spending—That might play well to the neoliberal base of the democratic party, but not those that are seeking true change insofar as investing in the commons for a better economy and healthier country.

    2. JohnnyGL

      “Do NC readers think Bernie will run again in 2020?”

      Yes, he’s running. He’ll announce after 2018 midterms. Plenty of time to raise truckloads of small $ donations.

      He’s also the front-runner. Age isn’t relevant because all potential competitors are close in age (Biden, Warren, and yes, HRC). Trump himself isn’t far off, either.

      With HRC having been thoroughly discredited, the establishment needs to build up someone younger who doesn’t have a big name in national politics. They’re trying with Joe Kennedy and Kamala Harris, but the problem is that they don’t control the narrative in public the way they used to and can’t manufacture consent like they did for Obama. 2016 was a clear demonstration of that. The whole censorship-by-algorithm campaign looks increasingly like an attempt to squelch ‘new media’ that often rely on FB and Youtube as a platform. But, even without ‘new media’, there’s a much smaller number of people that trust in what corporate media is saying (both TV and online/print).

      Sanders will likely repeat most (all?) of the victories he won in 2016 primaries and will do much better in those hard-to-reach places like the deep south. If he can’t win outright in states like AL and MS, then he’ll only lose narrowly.

      The fights over the rules in the DNC are very important with regard to voter registration and super-delegates. But, in a worst case scenario, same rules as 2016, then I think there’s enough additional support for Sanders to break the 50% mark pretty easily.

      I don’t think the Dems will use superdelegates to overrule, unless there’s a direct competitor that’s really close and arguably is ‘gaining momentum’. I don’t think Biden can touch Sanders, nor can Harris.

      I think there’s real danger 1) in the general election with Dems trying undermine Sanders and 2) if Sanders wins with whatever potholes the establishment can create to make Sanders fall into.

      The best way to protect against items 1) and 2) is to build a block of reliable reps in Congress. I’m getting somewhat optimistic about getting some good, fresh new reps into congress. If we get 10-20 freshmen that can push from the left, then that is a real asset.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        You may underestimate the DNC’s eagerness to choose a loosing candidate rather than a transformative one in the Sanders vein. But I hope not.

        1. johnnygl

          It’s okay to lose when they aren’t being challenged. The consultants would much rather hang sanders in the general.

          “see, we tried your way and still lost. Now, move to the right like we said.”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I don’t think Biden can touch Sanders, nor can Harris.

        Or Kennedy.

        If the baseline is getting a million viewers for a YouTube presentation with Canadians (topic: single payer) then there’s no other Democrat politician who can match Sanders. That’s an amazing number.

    3. John k

      I didn’t predict trump, but I said the election would be very close, thinking pollsters were missing closet trump voters.
      Bernie is running, will be next pres if health holds because too popular to be stopped by Clinton wing.
      Who will be veep? Tulsi probably best fit, young, good looking, female, vet, and rapidly moving progressive (from not very). Neg is not bringing swing state.
      Recession likely before 2020, in which case landslide with wide coattails, giving Bernie great power. He would have power to move country away from neolib, power that Obama had but didn’t use.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Recession likely before 2020, in which case landslide with wide coattails, giving Bernie great power.

        Good point (although giving the powers-that-be the incentives to avoid one. Which, in their minds, would be better? Giving Trump a good economy to run on, or giving Sanders the opportunity of a bad one?*)

        * Not to say they’re competent to execute because, as neoliberals, they believe crazy things that are not true. But those are the incentives.

    4. Altandmain

      I suspect that the divide will widen.

      Look at what the plutocrats that control the Establishment Democrats have been doing. Bank deregulation alongside Trump for example.

      Even if we get someone like Hillary Clinton in power, it doesn’t matter. Inequality will rise and said politicians will serve the rich, while blaming the left.

      The real divide it seems is class. The Clinton base consists of older, upper middle class individuals. The Sanders base is younger and poorer. I mean, you do have older Sanders supporters and younger Clinton supporters, but we are talking about averages here.

      The big division is class. The key issue is whether the party answers to the plutocrats or the people.

  11. The Rev Kev

    Big wages paid by marijuana industry eating into restaurant hiring pool

    I know that this may be a radical thought for the restaurant industry in that area, but they might consider, say, offering good wages. Maybe even add some benefits? I know that there is an obsession nowadays with food and restaurants as seen by the food channels, cooking competitions, and the social habit of taking an image of your dinner but here is a thought. Maybe there are too many restaurants. If the profit margin for restaurants is too thin to offer working wages then maybe by having numbers culled, the remaining ones can actually off good wages.

    And is that a snow leopard in tonight’s Antidote du jour? Poor kitty needs a steak, that what she needs – either that or a small cow!

    1. ambrit

      I know we’re in trouble when “higher” wages rear their ugly heads. It was bad enough to envision the prospect of “high” returns on investment in the 420 Industry. Next thing you know, someone is going to suggest the decriminalization of dissent!

    2. cnchal

      The restaurants ought to raise prices a bit, now that there are more potential customers with money. A virtuous circle is described as the opposite.

      Of course the jawb descriptions differ quite a bit. What would you rather do?

      Entry-level bud trimmers make $12-15 an hour, but speedy cutters can earn upward of $20, according to This compares with average of $12.83 per hour paid to line and prep cooks — still above minimum wage, but considering the physical demands of kitchen work, many people choose jobs that don’t require them to perform near-constant aerobic feats in a windowless, 90-degree room.

      “You can go work in a grow house today and make $20 per hour and sit in a nice comfortable chair in an air-conditioned space with headphones on,” said Peter Karpinski, co-founder of the Sage Restaurant Group, which includes such eateries as Departure, Kachina and Urban Farmer.

      I suspect the bud trimmer jawb description is BS.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        In northern California trimmers are paid by the pound trimmed, not by the hour. Still beats crap kitchen work.

        Always remember: when business say they “can’t find enough workers”, they really “can’t find enough workers at the substandard compensation we’re offering.

    3. rd

      Yes, but the marijuana industry will create more customers for the restaurants, at least the late night snack places.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Just down the street and ’round the corner from the coworking space is a take-out place that seems to be capitalizing on this trend. The name: Insomnia Cookies.

        1. ambrit

          It must be a franchise chain. We have one here in Hattiesburg, right against the University. It must be pure neo-liberal too, since it has an ad on craigslist about every six to eight weeks looking for delivery drivers.
          I would think that late night pizzza places are the logical beneficiaries of the 420. When i worked in the Mom and Pop pizza joint many years ago, the later it got, the more obviously “impaired” the clientele became. My favourites were the furtive heads who asked to have us put their ‘special’ mushrooms on the pie. If no one ‘official’ looking was around, we would do so, in the interests of customer satisfaction of course.

          1. Arizona Slim

            Okay, thanks for the warning. I’ll stick to shopping locally for my cookies. Or I’ll be a good NC-er and make my own.

            1. ambrit

              I’ve always been baffled by the fact that the Girl Scouts sell commercially produced cookies. What about genuine bake sales? I’m a firm believer in teaching cooking and baking to all children, of any of the multifarious genders.

        2. Pat

          Aw neoliberal franchises, it started as a small shop in the East Village that catered to late night deliveries to NYU students. Opened other branches throughout the city. Now they have gone national, who knew. I have to admit when I first heard about them, I thought it was a brilliant idea, remembering the 3 and 4 am food runs decades earlier in my life. Denny’s was for after the parties, but study runs… Outside of 24 hour donut shops when I was in college in the last century the late night study food desperation was met by a restaurant across the street from my University. Yes, they had eggs, huevos rancheros and a killer green chile stew, but they also had huge cinnamon/sweet rolls. No delivery though. It is still there.

          The cookies are okay, but yes baking your own will be better.

    4. perpetualWAR

      Seriously??? A budtender makes $15/hour (Seattle minimum wage).
      Hardly the break-out wage increase!

  12. UserFriendly

    Warren: ‘I’m not running for president’

    Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) on Saturday said she is not running for president, but refused to pledge to serve out a full six-year term in the Senate if re elected in 2018.

    That’s a relief. What cabinet position is she looking for in Bernie’s admin? Treasury? I almost wonder if she wouldn’t rather have SEC cause she could do some real bank busting there. Or maybe VP?

    1. Jim Haygood

      VP you say … looks like she’s angling to replace Pence on the Trump-Warren 2020 ticket:

      Republican lawmakers are openly discussing legislation to limit President Donald Trump’s trade powers after the White House detailed plans last week to impose global tariffs on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum.

      But the support of key Democrats — including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D.-Mass. — for Trump’s “America first” approach to trade stands to complicate any GOP effort to tie the president’s hands.

      The awkward political divisions over trade matters were on display Sunday as Warren backed Trump’s policy while Republican senators rebuked the president from their own party. “When President Trump says he’s putting tariffs on the table, I think tariffs are one part of reworking our trade policy overall,” Warren said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

      Warren, to whom Trump derisively referred as “Pocahontas” again on Saturday, declined to criticize the president’s policy.

      Between Trump, his neo-dark-age economist Peter Rabbit Navarro, and fauxgressive Liz, it could be a hell of a team. :-)

    2. John k

      Fed, nominally independent, regulates banks. Pres with treas sec has great influence with fed… for half a century banks have been under less and less reg, that could change fast under Bernie. For starters, you don’t need new laws to jail white collar criminals, and doing so would get the whole country behind him… well, maybe not dem and rep elites.
      I think she would want treasury, but certainly we need progressive in SEC chair.

    3. Arizona Slim

      She’d make a good Secretary of the Treasury or Attorney General. Or, if those two don’t float her boat, how ’bout the FDIC?

  13. Ignacio

    RE: The Real Engine of the Business Cycle Project Syndicate

    This work has important implications for the Euro area where current account (im)balances influence credit availability

  14. DJW

    Re: Is Trump the new Clinton Baffler Chinese meddling in 1996 elections

    1996 was a good year for election meddling. The Chinese meddled in the U.S. elections to get Clinton elected while Clinton was meddling in the Russian elections to get Yeltsin elected

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I’d say that one is today’s must read and should be forwarded to any ‘resistance’ types.

      Have to admit that I had also forgotten all the China-Clinton connections and the investigations and prosecutions that resulted. It really did get overshadowed completely once Lewinsky’s name came out.

      1. HopeLB

        In an odd way, Clinton’s policies almost seem to have been designed to accelerate China’s rise, deindustrialization with Nafta/Cafta/China in WTO coupled with financialization and privatization. The Chinese are now buying up huge amounts of US real estate and companies. Maybe they will honor Bill with some title and ceremony?
        He even let them have the helium;

        Luckily, it looks like MIT might have found a way to produce more with fusion;

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Have to admit that I had also forgotten all the China-Clinton connections and the investigations and prosecutions that resulted. It really did get overshadowed completely once Lewinsky’s name came out.

        Me too, though I didn’t follow the news as closely then.

        Just another example of something breathlessly claimed to be unique to “The Trump Era” except it isn’t unique at all.

        “This [fill in newly discovered horror] is not normal!!!!” But is is, it is!

    2. Arizona Slim

      The Russians STILL make jokes about Yeltsin. By Russian standards, his drinking was a bit much. And that’s saying a lot.

  15. The Rev Kev

    An Unprecedented Peace Offer to the Taliban

    Funny that. It was only about a week or two that I seem to remember the Taliban making the same offer. I doubt that it is genuine as US troop numbers in Afghanistan are still increasing. The Afghanistan government can give all the offers of safe conduct for the Taliban negotiators that they want but the US military will not honour it. I seem to recall this happened in the past and US forces either killed or kidnapped the envoys. Can’t remember now as it was a number of years ago but I bet that the Taliban remember. I have seen examples where the Pentagon has gone off the reservation over the years and gotten away with it so why would the Taliban trust US forces now? Would they think them agreement-capable?

    1. rd

      The only reason the US and NATO went into Afghanistan was because a few dozen Al Qaeda people there plotted a remote attack on the US. Somehow we have allowed that to turn into Vietnam Redoux.

      I think by now the Taliban have been vaccinated against allowing outside terrorists to camp inside Afghanistan unless they have been taken over by virulent anti-West people inside the Taliban. They know that allowing a foreign group set up camp within Afghanistan to plot another attack on the West would be an invite for re-invasion.

      So, it is unclear why we are still there. all we need is a government in place that will promise not to allow terrorist attacks on the West to be plotted inside their borders. The “democratic” government is probably too corrupt to actually do that, so ironically our best terrorist protection may come from the rigid religious Taliban who are pretty good at enforcing rules and social mores.

      1. visitor

        The only reason the US and NATO went into Afghanistan was…

        So, it is unclear why we are still there.

        One good reason: TAPI.

        Look it up. Its history is intriguing.

        1. Sid Finster

          I’ve heard the theory. Afghanistan is a crappy place to park a pipeline, even if it weren’t inundated with various militant groups.

          Besides, why invade? Far cheaper and more effective to pay that Taliban or whoever is nominally in charge a transit fee.

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Agree. As someone in the business I can tell you the ‘pipeline theory’ of geopolitics makes about as much sense as the “Warm Water Port” theories dating back to the Great Game. You want to build a pipeline, you pay the existing gov. Or put the stuff on a ship and go around. You don’t blow up half the country and then set the other half at each other’s throats.

            1. Procopius

              I think it has to do with the neocon strategy behind Project for a New American Century. We need permanent bases there to counter Iran. We first went into Afghanistan in a fit of pique because Mullah Omar refused to turn his son-in-law over to a kangaroo court. Then when Iraq was bumbled (you know, Halliburton actually built something like twenty huge “permanent” bases before the Bremer-caused insurrection “encouraged” us to leave) they realized that bases in Afghanistan would be good.

        2. Charlie

          I never understood why the pipeline theory was plausible, given the opioid industry has been thriving since the war began. Which means the opioid crisis doesn’t get solved anytime soon. Pharma profits galore!

          Of course, the Taliban stopped the drug flow during their time, so there we have it.

          1. rd

            I believe we have turned the Taliban into opium exporters so they could fund their war against the US and the Afghan government.

            It would be interesting to see if they would revert back to their old selves banning opium production if they were in charge and unthreatened.

        3. Aumua

          There always seems to be illegal drugs or oil at stake in these places, somehow. The 2 biggest global markets, I imagine. Hmm.

      2. a different chris

        We went into Afghanistan because we have a trillion-dollar-per-year hammer and we needed something that could be made to look even remotely like a nail. Unless you change that dynamic, you won’t get us to leave.

        1. WheresOurTeddy


          As I was reminded by a former associate who was Army Corps of Engineers in Vietnam, where he and the CoE would build the bases and then KBR (now Halliburton) would “administer” the bases, all while President Johnson was on the board of KBR:

          “The purpose of the war in Vietnam was to have a war in Vietnam.”

          1. Procopius

            Your details are a little shaky. KBR was a subsidiary of Halliburton that broke off and became a separate company after Gulf War I. Famous for the shoddiness of their work. I remember hearing on the radio in 1965 about how they were building a port at Cam Ranh Bay. It wasn’t until after I served there that I realized how long before the introduction of combat troops preparations for it had been made, including the construction of highways in Thailand starting in the ’50s.

  16. rd

    California fires and Parkland police response had poor communications between first responders in common.

    At Parkland, the Sherrif’s department was using out-moded radio systems that didn’t work on a common channel with the Coral Springs Police at a high number of users.

    One of the key findings that came out of the 9/11 attacks was the need to update first responders communication systems and disaster communications with the public. It is clear that this is still a glaring deficiency across the country despite vast amounts of money being spent on anti-terrorist boondoggles over the past 17 years. While full-body scanners won’t help areas impacted by fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc., improved communications systems will. So while we are looking to now provide training to kindergarten teachers on how to carry a gun and actually shoot people, the country is still behind on the most fundamental communication improvements despite repeated demonstrations of these critical failures in 9/11, Katrina, school shootings, wildfires etc.

    But a new radio system and other communication systems with actual organization and training is way less sexy than new Bearcat armored vehicles, armed teachers etc., so it gets short-shrift. Anything that can cut through the “fog of war” should be a key objective of today’s emergency responders. It is that fog where the biggest threats actually occur as that fog is what turns bad situations into calamities.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The simplest way, and the most realistic way (for it is easily accepted, and perhaps desired, and which might provoke a ‘why didn’t we think of it earlier’), is for the government to install surveillance cameras in all classrooms, and all areas outside as well.

      No need to upgrade communication, when all that is needed, after the above improvement, is to alert everyone’s smartphone, including the police officers’.

      “Because Total Surveillance stops bad guys.”

      1. Gaianne

        MLTPB–Did you forget your snark tag?

        One of the creepiest things in Michael Moore’s film “Bowling for Columbine” was the surveillance camera footage of the murders.

        The murders were bad, and watching them was bad, too, but that was not what made them creepy. What made them creepy was that eventually you start to wonder if that footage was the real reason for the cameras. But that thought is just a distraction.

        The key is the cameras themselves. Firstly, their existence tells you that the school is, per se, a hostile environment for kids, otherwise no one would use them or even think of installing them. Secondly, you realize that the kids, implicitly, realize this too, although the movie makes clear in the interviews that most of them will not allow themselves to think about it–though perhaps day to day functioning would be impossible if they did.

        Thirdly, watching the footage, you realize that no one noticed the two killers were disturbed people, and fourthly, that the cameras did not help anyone to notice.

        Fifthly, the cameras were of no help in real time, but only provided an after-the-fact view of what a real–as opposed to Hollywood movie–mass shooting looks like.

        Sixthly, considering all these points are in plain view–waiting to be noticed–and that nobody does notice them, you realize that Americans will never take practical and effective measures against mass shootings: That by the time they might be moved to do so, social disintegration will have proceeded too far for any of this to matter.

        All this is revealed by the existence of the cameras alone.


    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Anything that can cut through the “fog of war” should be a key objective of today’s emergency responders. It is that fog where the biggest threats actually occur as that fog is what turns bad situations into calamities.

      Shining light through the “fog of war” would seem to have broader applications than emergencies. Unless everything is turning into an emergency, of course.

      Thanks for this comment.

  17. petal

    Bankruptcy may be the next step for big radio station chain iHeartMedia
    “It was a big bet on the future of radio, but an ill-timed one. The Boston private equity giants Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners won an auction for the country’s largest radio station operator, Clear Channel Communications, in late 2006.

    Now that gambit is likely to lead to a bankruptcy filing, one that could take place any day.

    That’s because the two investment firms pulled off their acquisition through a leveraged buyout, the kind of deal that involves heavy amounts of debt. Loans were easy to get back then, before the credit market crashed. It was a tough deal to complete — taking nearly two years to close — for a price of nearly $24 billion, including the radio giant’s debt. “

    1. ambrit

      I for one will not shed a tear, even one of the crocodile variety, at the demise of iHeartMedia. Consolidation of radio stations meant mass conformity and semi obvious ‘manufacturing of consent’ through “popular” music streams. Take a listen to any of the iHeartMedia stations on your radio dial and behold, or behear the mind numbing cacaphony of Dinosaur Rock.
      I generally listen to the local college station, which has a very eclectic mix of tunes on offer.
      Besides, it would be nice to see any shareholders at the VC funds scream bloody murder and litigate clawbacks from the top doggies who paid themselves nice fat bonuses while the money flowed. Can one make a case for fraud using the neo-liberal corporate playbook as evidence?

      1. Jean

        Don’t forget the “Manufacture of Dissent” as well. Pacifica Radio stations used to get thousands of dollars in donations per year from our extended family.

        But now that they focus on nothing but the interests and grievances of ‘alternative communities’, we will allow those communities to send them money, rather than exercise our white privilege that they hate so much.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I’m with you on that one, Jean!

          Our local community radio station runs Pacifica’s “Democracy Now!” every weekday at noon. Host Amy Goodman seems to have swallowed a big gulp of the Russiagate Kool-Aid. To the point where it’s hard to listen to her anymore.

      2. petal

        I agree with you on the demise of this company and about the consolidation of radio stations. Clear Channel was allowed to get way too big and it won’t be missed. I posted the article because of Bain’s involvement, and the leveraged buyout strikes again.

        Mostly I stream a wonderful little educational, non-profit radio station that plays alternative music out of Rochester, NY that I grew up listening to. It truly is a community. They help local schools with radio clubs, and teach radio and TV skills at the area voc-tech center. No commercials, music all the time and that isn’t cookie cutter, etc, and then in the car it’s a small classic rock station owned by a company that has a handful of stations in VT and NH.

        1. a different chris

          >I stream a wonderful little educational, non-profit radio station

          Unless you actually work for them I think (looking nervously at the icons of NC) you are allowed to tell us their call letters. If so, then… pretty please?

          1. geoff

            Just wanna plug Memphis’ community radio station WEVL / . Blues, country, bluegrass, soul, r&b, modern rock, punk, metal, ambient electronica, reggae, and even celtic, we got it all. No commercials, funded by local listeners– check it out!

        2. ambrit

          Nice to hear that there is civilization still holding on in pockets of the North.
          Our college station, being where it is, leans heavily to old school Country and Western with a lot of Blues and Soul in the mix. Different DJs play what they like best, so one either tunes the station in for a certain two or three hour slot that one likes, or does the car CD player route.
          The young man who does the old school Country, and I mean sometimes Tammy Wynette or Scruggs and Flatt, often jokes that, “’ll not hear ‘bro country’ here folks.” I’ve gotten to where I’ll listen to all of the styles of music playing on this station. Most definitely not cookie cutter music programming, thank the gods.
          I loosely base my disdain for Corporate Classic Rock stations upon whether they play the AM versions of old songs, or the album cuts. I noticed early on that iHeartRadio played the AM versions; shorter, censored versions of songs. The censorship issue is not limited to profanity either. Some songs have had their non-PC lyrics excised or blurred. “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits is a classic example. When I hear that song played, the version offered defines the radio station for me. As I read somewhere, the difference of styles can be described as: “Edgy or Hedgy.”

        3. Anon

          I put all the music I like on 4GB thumb drives and plug them into my car radio/audio set to “random play”. Better than listening to radio stations. (If i want say, just Jazz, I can set it to play that exclusively.)

          1. petal

            Lambert, thankfully they can be streamed over the intertubes. If you go to their web sites, there is a button to stream. In a world of commercialised radio full of junk, I think I’d go nuts without being able to stream WBER. You get so much more music-and good music at that.

            1. Bern

              Yes, this.
              Personal fave: KCSM, (College of San Mateo, in the Bay Area). The country’s best jazz station. Listened to its FM broadcast since its inception as a 24-hour jazz venue, and (since recently moving from California), streaming it every day.

    2. a different chris

      Oh so Bain Capital will be no more? Taken apart in bankruptcy court… oh, wait, I forgot: “A gentleman chooses which of his debts he will repay”. Never mind.

      1. Peter VE

        Bain Capital & Thos. H. Lee partners don’t own the debt. They are 100% shareholders of the radio chain, which owns the debt. IHeart goes bankrupt, the debt holders are stiffed, and Bain/Lee carries on.
        Based on what happened at another company which Bain/Lee took over, this is what happened since Bain/Lee “bought” Iheart.
        The original purchase was probably about a 10% cash investment by Bain/Lee, with the balance borrowed. Within a couple years of the initial purchase, IHeart will have issued bonds, which were used to pay a special dividend to the shareholders (Bain /Lee). The special dividend will have more than repaid the initial investment. They also will typically have a management consultant agreement, which pays them a nice set of fees each year. Their capital is returned within a couple years, they get a nice income stream as long as it lasts, and the investors in all those bonds & loans get stiffed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  18. Sid Finster

    Random thoughts:

    If Trump were really a “Siberian candidate” the last thing he would talk about on the campaign trail is better relations with Russia. Instead, he’d huff and puff like John McCain hyped up on crack and a full course of bear steroids, then as soon as he took office, he and his minions would manufacture an excuse (“Russia helps us topple international terrorist ring” or somesuch) to switch his position.

    Moreover, if Putin is this alleged genius, able to defeat a $1.2 billion ad campaign and flip elections with nothing but FB posts, able to hack any computer (other than HRC’s homebrew server, of course) and otherwise generally responsible for every bad thing that ever happens in the West, why would he choose a puppet with so much public and obvious baggage as to be uncontrollable and unblackmailable, not to mention a puppet who is *almost* (but not quite) unelectable?

    You’d think Putin would want a candidate that looks too good to be true on the outside, and with some very serious weaknesses that nobody knows about for leverage. Something like a JFK, a ruggedly handsome war hero and Harvard grad, gorgeous wife and cute kids, but in private he can only be aroused by fourteen-year old Polynesians of either gender. The fourteen year olds should be either dead or pretending to be so.

    Even the stupid “Trump owes Russian banks bigly” crap – even if that were true, what are they going to do? Sue him?

    To believe the russiagate crap, you have to believe that Putin has these superhuman powers that make Lex Luthor or Machiavelli look like pikers, but at the same time, no imagination whatsoever.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      But you’ve just explained it, Putin is just that crafty. The reasoning is similar to Obama’s 853rd dimensional chess. You simply aren’t sophisticated enough to understand Maddow’s epic nightly takedown of Trump. :)

      When Putin should zig, he zags. Our intelligence community never had a chance. Its probably more effective to point out the IC officials who “missed” the unprecendented interference in our Democracy should probably be blackballed and companies who hire them boycotted for a gross failure. Is James Clapper a Kremlin plant? His record indicates he wants America to fail.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Who really personifies that Jackie Robinson quote (Above everything else*, I hate to lose)?


      *Here, ‘everything else’ is assumed to include right or wrong. That is, the quote is, right or wrong, I hate to lose. And so, naturally, exposing the nefarious Putin is part of the ‘hating to lose,’ as is not acknowledge Trump’s victory or her defeat (Not my president, and no endorsement).

  19. Jean

    My World is Burning article:
    “Electrical problems sucked resources and delayed emergency response: The fires started early; many were caused by downed power lines, which overwhelmed the electrical grid and lit new blazes. ”

    Pacific Gas and Electric is a criminal organization that extorts money from captive ratepayers to fund safety and often spends it instead on CEO bonuses and other things.

    What’s needed is hard prison time for executives and losses for bondholders, not fines paid by ratepayers. i.e. Customer’s money for power line tree clearance is split between CEOs and tree contractors when lowest bid, least work possible at highest savings is accomplished. A PG&E bill is often three pages of gobbledigook that an accountant might understand.

    “Fearing billions of dollars in future liability, PG&E has been aggressively urging state regulators to make it easier for the company to charge ratepayers — rather than its shareholders — when its power lines and other electrical equipment cause wildfires.

    Top PG&E executives met as recently as last week to lobby officials at the state Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco over the issue, which could arise powerfully in coming months if the utility is found to be responsible for the Wine Country fires, a serious possibility that state regulators are now investigating.”

    In a 30-minute meeting on Oct. 17, Meredith Allen, PG&E’s senior director of regulatory relations, told Travis Foss, an adviser to PUC Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen, that PG&E and other California utilities are in “an untenable situation,” according to a record of the meeting that PG&E sent to the PUC as required under state lobbying rules. PG&E should not have to pay “a disproportionate” share of the costs of wildfires because of the growing fire risk and a tough insurance market, Allen argued.”

    Municipally owned utilities like Los Angeles Water and Power, Palo Alto and Sacramento Municipal Utility District have lower rates, higher safety and better service.

    It’s time for some corporate personal responsibility. PG&E needs to be broken up.
    If private land can be seized by eminent domain for the public good so can utilities.

    1. Eclair

      “Municipally owned utilities like Los Angeles Water and Power, Palo Alto and Sacramento Municipal Utility District have lower rates, higher safety and better service.”

      Add to that list, Seattle City Light.

    2. hunkerdown

      Does Santa Clara still have a municipal electrical utility? I loved that. I also loved laughing at all the suckers on PG&E enjoying Enron’s rolling blackouts.

      1. economicator

        Yes, Santa Clara does. I was very happy there for 7 years with their low bills, about 1/2 of PG&E’s.

  20. Louis Fyne

    –Dem campaign chief vows no litmus test on abortion The Hill

    The Democrats will be a herd of cats pretending to be tigers so long as cultural-identity politics take center stage over economic politics.

    maybe that’s a feature and not a bug.

    1. Eureka Springs

      More of the back room decision making. Anti democratic, by a super delegate no less. Leaving no reason whatsoever to trust the party or its process.

      D party platform 2016 (pdf)

      Appointing Judges
      We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, curb billionaires’ influence over elections because they understand that
      Citizens United has fundamentally damaged our democracy, and believe the Constitution protects not only the powerful, but also the
      disadvantaged and powerless.

      Securing Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice
      Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice. We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured. We believe that reproductive health is core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and wellbeing. We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people. We will continue to oppose and seek to overturn federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion,
      including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.
      We condemn and will combat any acts of violence, harassment, and intimidation of reproductive health providers, patients, and staff. We
      will defend the ACA, which extends affordable preventive health care to women, including no cost contraception, and prohibits discrimination in health care based on gender.

  21. fresno dan

    The rate of wrongful convictions in the United States is estimated to be somewhere between 2% to 10%. That may sound low, but when applied to a prison population of 2.3 million, the numbers become staggering. Can there really be 46,000 to 230,000 innocent people locked away? Those of us who are involved in exoneration work firmly believe so.
    When I was a kid, I was told in school that the US operated under the principal that it was better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man go to prison. TRUE, if you just add the qualifier “rich” prior to ten guilty men…..

    Paul Simon: When I think back On all the crap I learned in high school It’s a wonder I can think at all

    1. Expat

      If you free the ten guilty to let the one innocent go, you will absolutely trash the shares of all those private prison corporations. Can’t have that, can we?
      I suppose that one day the US prison system will be put on par with Stalin’s gulags. Stalin ordered people rounded up to create workers to build his great projects. The US has already had proven cases of judges sentencing convicted to jail terms in exchange for payments from the prison corporations. And while this is likely isolated, I readily believe that the entire system is biased toward detention and skewed toward locking people up.
      So, I would say there are really few wrongful convictions in the US if you look at it from Washington’s and Wall Street’s point of view. The only wrongful convictions are the missing ones: 435 members of Congress and 98% of the people on Wall Street still walking free.

      p.s. yeah, yeah, yeah…I’m a cynic. too much negativism. No solutions. Well, I have solutions, but they require naming me King for a month or so.

    2. rd

      Many of the minimum sentencing laws are so drastic that it is easy to convince a poor person to plead guilty to something where they only go away for a year (but are now officially felons) than to spend 20+ years in jail. They can’t get a lawyer who can effectively do a full-blown trial needed to prove innocence, so they take the lesser of two evils.

      So all of those shorter sentences result in many more people with criminal records that shouldn’t have one. Just one of the motivations for the “ban the box” movement.

    3. Anon


      That is just the intro to the LATimes opinion piece. Grisham (the mystery writer) goes on to excoriate bad cops, prejudiced prosecutors, lazy judges, and more! Definitely worth reading. ( I once told a court lawyer who was extolling the “Justice in our judicial system”, that, yeah, “what’s not to like about a system that puts innocent people to death”.)

    4. vidimi

      i remember coming across a study that found 4% of death row inmates being innocent.

      i suspect that this is a lowball estimate based on confirmed exonerations. many more are put to death without their evidence ever fully reviewed.

      a truly barbaric system. cops decide who is guilty first and fix the evidence later.

  22. Altandmain

    Re: Macron and France.

    We are seeing a real world example of the Shock Doctrine going on in France. Macron will likely be a single term president like Hollande and widely reviled at the end of his term. The question is if someone can someday reverse the damage that he would like to do?

    The NYT has an article on wage Theft.

    It is time that restaurants paid a living wage for their employees.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Agree re: restaurant pay.

      If a business can’t pay employees a living wage, it is not a viable business.

        1. JamesG

          Having shopped regularly at the local WalMart for more than twenty years I’ve watched more than a few full-time employees as they aged over all those years.

          Now that I learn from you that they are not paid a “living” wage I suddenly realize that they must be zombies.

          1. cnchal

            . . . at the local WalMart for more than twenty years I’ve watched more than a few full-time employees as they aged over all those years.

            Ever seen them anywhere else? Living large, trapped in a tiny apartment.

            At Amazon, when they come up to two years of torture at the warehouse, they call themselves the living dead, another term for zombie, so you are correct.

            I still chuckle at Yves comment ages ago about the “desperate looking women at Wal-Mart” and she wasn’t talking about the shoppers.

  23. a different chris

    >Huge Chinese Demand Fuels The Next U.S. Gas Boom

    So Country A imports a fossil fuel from Country B to make stuff. If I was to tell you one was a third world country and one was a first, how would you guess?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We have yet to achieve Peak Neo-conservatism.

      With many wary of more Russian meddling in 2020, there is room to go higher before it peaks, even if we are lucky enough to be teased with Medicare For All after that.

  24. integer

    Re: The liberal international order mounts a comeback

    “We lost sight of what it took to create this international order and what an act of defiance of history and even defiance of human nature this order has been,” author Robert Kagan told the [German Marshall Fund’s Brussels Forum attendees]. “We have the capacity to push back — we just need to understand the pushback needs to start occurring.”

    The German Marshall Fund are behind the so-called Alliance for Securing Democracy, which created the defective Hamilton 68 Dashboard, which was used to create the “Russian bot” narrative, which is now considered a proven fact by establishment politicians and the corporate liberal media. I wonder what diabolical new schemes they came up with at this forum; I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

    1. ewmayer

      Robert Kagan, he of the warmongering Kagan-Nuland axis of foreign policy, tells you all you need to know about this ‘liberal international order’. But the MSM *loves* giving these mass-murderous creeps neverending amounts of digital ink and op-ed space.

  25. Edward E

    Grey Rhino hunting safari: hey I’m not an expert but it appears now that if Grey Rhinos put the country’s financial stability at risk, they WILL be taken over. So is that a good thing or a bad thing? China’s credit gap continues to considerably improve per latest BIS statistics. Wrongheaded?

  26. Oregoncharles

    From the Bill Mitchell article on the EU: “the European Union’s 4th European railway package, which has to be incorporated into the individual Member States’ legal structure by the end of this year.

    This is a big issue for Britain, by the way, if they remain in the EU, as it would severely compromise any attempt by Jeremy Corbyn to renationalise the railways – despite what the Remainers claim.”

    I gather Mitchell does not favor Remaining in the EU – and this sort of thing is the reason Corbyn didn’t, either. Neo-liberal policy seems built into it.

  27. Swamp Yankee

    Re: coastal New England and the Gulf Stream — the future is definitely now here in coastal MA. These last few storms have been unbelievable, especially their tides; and now another 19″ of snow forecast for Tuesday.

    Wish us luck!

  28. The Rev Kev

    Hey, I just think that I woke up to what Lambert did with that image of the snow leopard on last night’s antidote du jour. That is the same feline species as the two cubs that feature on the Tip Jar with every NC page.


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