Links 3/31/18

Pope Francis says ‘ashamed’ by state of world in Good Friday prayer DW

Camera rescued after two years lost at sea BBC (Robert M)

An Italian experiment is tantalizingly close to detecting dark matter Salon

Shipping faces demands to cut CO2 BBC

States that are passing laws to govern “smart contracts” have no idea what they’re doing MIT Technology Review (David L)

Political arguments inside Google have gotten so bad that 100 employees formed a group to stop cyberbullying Business Insider (David L)

How corporate dark money is taking power on both sides of the Atlantic Guardian

Stress May Not Only Affect The Brains Of The Stressed Psychology Today (David L)

We now have the first clear evidence cell phone radiation can cause cancer in rats MIT Technology Review

North Korea

North Korea: Why Kim came in from the cold Financial Times

North Korean military efforts can be traced far off home base Asia Times

France paralysed as unions revive the spirit of 1968 The Times

New Cold War

Russian Embassy in UK files official explanation demand after Aeroflot plane search RT (Kevin W). They should figure out how to arm the planes with tear gas canisters going forward….

Russia expels more British diplomats over spy poisoning row Guardian

They want Corbyn dead! He is an obstacle to War. Defend Democracy. Not an exaggeration.


UN seeks investigation over Gaza deaths BBC

Israel assasinates Palestinians Defend Democracy

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Under Armour says 150 million MyFitnessPal accounts breached Reuters. EM: “MyFitnessPal sold my data to identity thieves and all I got was this lousy T-shirt!”

US may tie social media to visa applications BBC

Trump Transition

Trump: U.S. A “Third-World Country” In Many Cases, “It’s An Embarrassment” RealClearPolitics. UserFriendly: “Wow, out stumping already.​” Moi: Would be nice if he had a real plan, as opposed to private-equity-enriching smoke and mirrors.

Beware The “Lawyer Acquaintance”: How Fifty-Six Words May Have Just Sunk Trump and Cohen In The Daniels Litigation Jonathan Turley

Big American Money, Not Russia, Put Trump in the White House: Reflections on a Recent Report Counterpunch. Tom Ferguson’s study is the lead story.

Health Care

Why Some Americans Are Risking It and Skipping Health Insurance Bloomberg

Walmart in Talks to Strengthen Ties to Health Insurer Humana New York Times (Kevin W). “Ties” is a word that should be abolished from journalism.

Congressman’s Office Gets High School Student Suspended For Expressing His Displeasure With Congress Techdirt (Chuck L)

Texas woman gets five years prison for illegal voting Fort Worth Star-Telegram (UserFriendly)

Drugs, lies, bribery exposed in Virginia’s transportation agency JTM: “A reminder that corruption never sleeps… unless it’s with a sex worker or subordinate…”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Stephon Clark was facing away from police when they shot him, lawyer says Guardian

Alton Sterling shooting: Baton Rouge officer fired as graphic body camera footage released USA Today

The Grift

Ex-Kirkland Partner Robert Khuzami Banked $11M Partnership Share Adrien F: “Revolting.” For those of you who followed the crisis, Khuzami refused to pursue CDO related abuses, no doubt because any hard look would go back to patient zero, Greg Lippmann of Deutsche Bank, where Khuzami had been General Counsel of the Americas from 2004 to 2009.

Facebook Fracas

Tim Cook says Facebook should have regulated itself, but it’s too late for that now Recode (David L)

Internal posts show Facebook workers condemning leakers and fearing ‘spies’ Guardian

Fair Housing Groups Sue Facebook for Allowing Discrimination in Housing Ads ProPublica

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Bruce Schneier

Should Tech Companies Be More Tightly Regulated? Project Syndicate (David L)

Tesla Says Autopilot Was Engaged in Fatal Crash Under Investigation in California Wall Street Journal

Tesla reveals the driver killed in a Model X crash was traveling with Autopilot engaged, received ‘several’ automated warnings before the collision Business Insider (David L)

Regulators decline to challenge CLO retention exemption Reuters

Royal Dutch Shell and Total flirt with becoming utilities Economist

Does Foreign Direct Investment Generate Economic Growth? A New Empirical Approach Applied to Spain: Economic Geography: Vol 0, No 0 (UserFriendly). Important.

Class Warfare

Kentucky teachers to skip work after lawmakers’ ‘bait and switch’ on pension reform CNN. Paul R also points out this reddit thread.

McVey: Teenagers should take on Saturday jobs to prepare them for world of work Belfast Telegraph (Kevin W). Ahem, most teenagers who aren’t from families of means do wind up doing part-time work in their teens, either to help the family or to earn pocket money. And the assumption is that the fall in #s of working kids is due to lack of application, as opposed maybe to lack of steady work.

Amazon employees start their day by answering a simple question about work CNBC. Kevin W: “Oh god! They start on you before you even have time to get your first cup of coffee.”

Evidence is mounting that Amazon’s HQ2 will land in ‘the bull’s-eye of America’s internet’ Business Insider. A reader predicted earlier that the HQ would be in DC. Please stand up and take credit in comments.

Capital-is-Me: Conditioned to Cheer for the Rich as We Despair in Economic Anxiety Ghion Journal (UserFriendly)

Goldman Sachs, Google Women March Ahead With Gender Bias Suits Bloomberg

Mount Holyoke Women’s College Orders Professors Not To Call Students “Women” Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour. Timotheus: “All over Latin America, Semana Santa is occasion for a total shut-down of pretty much all activity. So I thought perhaps this animal friend might be a good antidote for one of the upcoming weekend days.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Altandmain

    I have been thinking in depth about manufacturing in America. The big issue that nobody seems to be discussing is that the US is no longer the world’s leader in many areas. This is a problem that will take a generation at least to fix. In some areas, the US never even got started in some fields that have emerged in the past few decades.

    Let me give an example of a field we may not know. Modern cars.

    Last year Toyota produced 10,213,000 vehicles—more than 6 percent more than General Motors, which in the 1980s produced twice as many cars as Toyota. What’s more, Japan’s car exports last year totaled 4.3 million. And, of course, the Japanese produced countless more cars abroad in foreign assembly plants. Though American policymakers congratulate themselves on how many Japanese-brand cars are now assembled on U.S. soil, such cars are full of components exported from the home islands of Japan and thus contribute strongly to Japan’s trade numbers.

    The US simply doesn’t know how to do a lot of key areas because the industries were never built up (ex: not even outsourced previously). Robotics and the most important value added components are not all made in the US nor does the expertise to do so even exist. A simple tariff by Trump will not fix that. Are there solutions? I was asked this by a friend, and I will share it with you. At least in part by technology transfer. An example of how it worked was China’s high speed rail roll out. In exchange for doing business with China, the Chinese demanded that foreign companies transfer their technology, in effect creating a future competitor. Since they were offering a lot of money, this worked out and of course China has become a leader in the high speed rail field. Now they lead the world.

    Similar demands could be made in other fields, although there would have to be technologies that the US would have to develop from ground up. In some cases, outright reverse engineering (the Chinese are masters of this) might have to occur. Not all fields are transferable though and for obvious reasons, many nations will be unwilling to transfer, so there will have to be many fields that must be developed internally.

    Manufacturing would have to be run at a big loss for many years, something unacceptable to right wing types. It would likely have to be state owned or quasi-state owned/subsidized very heavily. Why? Much like Hyundai in the 1990s when it first began exporting to North America, US goods would initially be uncompetitive. Hyundai, due to the South Korean government’s policies, gained ground and as a result they are now competitive with the best of Japan, the US, and Germany. It would take perhaps a couple of decades to close the gap. There is no assurance of success. There would be failures at first. The first Japanese and Korean car exports are examples. They got better – from laughing stocks to vehicles that often surpassed domestics.

    Now let’s talk about a field that the US still has that China doesn’t. Jet engine turbine blades. They are remarkably hard to make (contrary to the assertions of Clinton Liberals, manufacturing is a very high skill industry at the high end). They need to stand up to immense temperature and pressure. China has been spending huge sums of money to try to close the gap. They may be making progress as of late, something that will have huge implications in both civil and military aviation. (See: The difference is that China knew how important it was and spent heavily on this, like they did in high speed rail. In a couple of decades from now, with heavy R&D spending, the gap will close and they may surpass the US. For any hypothetical US government manufacturing, it may be best to keep any firms state controlled after.

    I suppose we could make the case that Silicon Valley arguably owes its existence to similar investments by the US Government – The Entrepreneurial State, a book by Mariana Mazzucato makes a good case that the state not entrepreneurs is the real hero. The difference is that as flaws as the Chinese government is, it is clearly planning for the type of nation that they want to be 50-100 years from now. Note the contrast between that and the MBA/executive/legal types that seem to screw the nation for a few years of short-term profit that dominate the US. Manufacturing needs a culture with a strong vocational education (see the German apprenticeship program), state support, a sense of noblesse oblige, and long-term orientation.

    That needs a cultural change at the root of society. Another issue is there is more money playing financial games than actually doing something of real value. That is a screwed up economic system. Only the rich win right now.

    1. Jack Lifton

      Well written and well said. The hyphenated society is without a moral or practical compass. Financialization is the end game of capitalism not imperialism.

    2. johnnygl

      Good stuff. You’re quite right that it’s a long term project to create the knowledge base for high end manufacturing. It’s taken decades to pi$$ it all away and will take decades to bring it back.

      Tariffs are an effective tool when combined with a larger framework of steering industry where you want it to go.

      Usa made the final call to give away manufacturing around the late 90s with how the asian crisis was handled. After that, we gave away the lead in semi-conductors to taiwan and then to china after.

    3. David Carl Grimes

      Sadly, I think GE, one of America’s last bastions of manufacturing, will go under due to massive losses in their finance businesses. Then maybe the Chinese will swoop down and buy their jet engine business.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I can imagine Trump stopping that deal.

        Not sure Sanders will…too nationalistic for him, that’s my first reaction.

        1. Sid_finster

          If Trump stops that deal, who else is going to snap that business up for the same money?

          Bondholders will scream bloody murder, since they’ll be taking a bigger haircut.

      2. Altandmain

        There has been a lot of outsourcing already to the Japanese. Eamonn Fingleton has another article on that one.

        A big question is will Boeing follow the same disastrous path that McDonnell Douglas followed?

        I think that in the long term, competition from Japan and China is a certainty. Will they disrupt Boeing the way the Japanese automotive industry did to the Americans big three in the 1980s? Finally Airbus remains a heavily subsidized competitor.

        I wish that my nation’s government, Canada would take over Bombardier and make a serious decision to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. Ironically Boeing has restored to suing Canada over this already. That would not work against the Chinese, Japanese, or EU. We Canadians need to stand up for ourselves more I think to Trump and Boeing.

        Another issue is that starting with Jack Welch, GE underwent a series of transitions from a genuine technology company to the current situation. Lots of outsourcing and becoming a finance company. In the long run, that could be the firm’s undoing. I strongly suspect that Welch also engaged in earnings management, which is a questionable accounting practice.

    4. Jef

      So in your opinion its important to ramp up manufacturing? Production, consumption, distribution, and the massive waste stream that all of that generates? Thats exactly what is destroying the planet as we speak. What part of that do you not understand.

      A few adjustments to that process through efficiencies and “green” energy just delays destruction a tad and in fact there is mounting evidence that even those adjustments would only barely keep up with new demand.

      1. Altandmain

        If we have zero industrial expertise in renewable energy, we are still screwed. We will end up with unsustainable trade deficits and be totally dependent on other nations.

        Notice what nations like China and Germany have done with solar or Denmark and China with wind. Considering the German government and their insistence on austerity in the EU, I am not sure that is wise. Nor is transporting the key components we need across the oceans.

        As far as other issues like car culture and consumption, that is a matter of land usage. We do need to abandon our consumption society, but we also need to have the expertise to know how to do it. There will be will be consumption no matter what. Even pre-industrial society had consumption, just less of it which is what we need to transition to. The issue is if the jobs are here or if they belong somewhere else.

        Even if we got your low fossil fuel society over night, without industrial expertise, we would use less fossil fuels, and have to import everything else. Unless of course you are calling for a regression to a pre-industrial society.

        Otherwise we simply cannot end the status quo very well. Even with the social changes you proposed, unless you have the industrial knowledge base to make real changes, you cannot.

        1. Wukchumni

          I keep seeing solar farms of size appearing out of nowhere in my travels in the tri-state southwest regions, and we tend to get a bit more sunshine than say the fatherland.

    5. Elizabeth Burton

      It would seem one of the first places to begin developing manufacturing in the US would be creating ways to use all that plastic and other trash China no longer wants. I found it interesting that none of the articles I’ve read to date has suggested that, and the most recent was specifically about the US all but demanding China reverse their decision.

      It isn’t as if there aren’t many, many ways our glut of trash could be reused that help rather than damage the environment. India is in the process of replacing asphalt and concrete in roads and sidewalks with recycled plastic, for instance.

      Instead of doing what was allegedly intended—jumpstart investment in new industry/jobs, what have the US corporation done with all that nice money the government just handed them on a platter with garnish? I think we all know.

      1. visitor

        While I wholeheartedly agree with you that a substantial effort at recycling — and even better, prevention of waste — is needed, one should be wary of simple-minded solutions such as this one:

        ways our glut of trash could be reused that help rather than damage the environment. India is in the process of replacing asphalt and concrete in roads and sidewalks with recycled plastic

        The abrasion effect of vehicles driving on those road guarantees that the reused synthetic materials will end up as a pulverized plastic micro-particles in the environment — and we have a massive problem with that kind of pollution already.

        1. polecat

          The watchword for those in the know .. circa 1970’s : ‘Plastics’ !

          The watchword for those in the no … circa 2030’s : ‘Gravel’ !!

          The watchword for those in “oh noooooooooo !” ….. circa 2070’s : ‘Ruts’ !!!

      2. Jean

        Love the initiative and spirit of your suggestion Elizabeth.
        However, wouldn’t it be better to stop making plastic trash that is used for a few minutes and lasts eons? e.g. Straws, cup tops, big gulps etc.

        Technology exists to make plant based biodegradable plastics. An environmental tax of say ten cents for every fossil fuel based plastic straw, cup and other throw away could probably pay for the retooling of the entire American plastics economy.

        Plastic roads still require bitumen and oil and other fossil fuel inputs, there’s no mention of the toxins emitted from the plastic roads nor the dust inhaled by the drivers and nearby residents.

        My nephew is finally listening and is taking community college classes that will allow him to become a machinist. There are no apps for doing plumbing or electrical work either.

        1. MichaelSF

          From what I read at a big machinist forum (I’m a home hobby machinist/fabricator) a lot of USA machinists are still working for peanuts at many job shops and getting pressured to work for even less. There is still a lot of race to the bottom at work in the industry with everyone trying to beat the suppliers down on price.

          A problem is that modern machining uses a lot of expensive capital equipment. You might be able to do some business with older manual machines (like repair work) but if you are going to do production you might easily end up spending $250K on a single milling machine if you are going for moderately high end, and even entry level CNC mills like a Haas VF1 start at $47K and it is easy to add another $10-15K to that for basic tooling. Add in a seat of CAD and good CAM software and you can boost that another $10-15K with the possibility of a couple grand of maintenance fees every year. It isn’t uncommon to have a seat of several different major CAD packages so you can work with whatever the customer uses.

          Add industrial space/power/hazmat/materials (possibly with tariffs) etc.

          That’s a big nut to make every month, and while you can buy used machines for less money you may also have some used-machine issues with higher maintenance if you have some bad luck, and a machine that isn’t running isn’t making any money. A well-used but good condition Mori Seiki or Okuma might still cost as much as that new lower end Haas.

          Suggest to your nephew that he look into machining not so much as a job but rather a way to make his own products if he can come up with them.

          If he isn’t already reading at he needs to start ASAP, as he’ll get a lot of good technical information and the discussions on the machining industry are often pretty eye-opening.


          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            We do not have national policy on anything, let alone something critical like industrial policy, instead mega-corporations simply buy the legislation they need in order to extract the maximum rents on an ad-hoc basis.

            Health Care: policy dictated by Big Pharma and Big Insurance
            Foreign Policy: dictated by Big Armaments sales quotas
            Civil Rights and Privacy: driven by Big Surveillance grifting
            Energy: handouts to Big Fossil
            Finance: puh-leeze

            We’ve substituted any notion of the “common good” with the all-devouring imperative notion of the “Mammon-good”, and if you align with that, you’re doing fine. You’re an engineer in Waltham, Mass designing new ways to incinerate Yemeni children from space; or you’re an insurance broker in Walnut Creek, CA tapping into the flow of rents from premium increases.

            Pope Francis used the right word: “ashamed”.

          2. Jean

            Thanks Michael, great suggestions.

            We have two LeBlond lathes in our garage. One bought for scrap, the other a freebie.

            1. MichaelSF

              I had to pay a fair bit more than free for my Mori Seiki, but it sure is an awfully nice lathe (and way better than I am a machinist).


              The folks at PM are on the front lines of manufacturing (and as with NC there’s people posting from Europe/Asia to give some extra perspective).

              Making stuff is fun, but I’m glad I don’t have to do it (and many other things) for a living!

          3. Jeremy Grimm

            Thanks for the link to practicalmachinist. I went there spotted an interesting thread in the forum discussing the automobile industry []. One comment there discussed the trend for many companies to build “mirrored facilities in multiple countries” to “spread the risk of politics, labor, currency, and local disasters.” Other comments ran contrary to this with: “auto supply chains are now so globally entangled (witness the air bag recall) that we’re not likely to make any huge impact on jobs or balance of trade in the ‘legacy’ auto industry”, One comment echoed Adam Eran’s comment [below] regarding the culture of American management as a major part of the labor issues.

            Regardless of the particulars of the automobile industry I cannot shake feeling that both know-how and manufacturing capabilities are spread across narrow supply chains crossing seas and oceans. I fear global supply chains are narrow and fragile, often whittled down to single-source suppliers, [and geographically spread and subject to catastrophic single point failures — ‘mirrored facilities’ or not]. In addition to manufacturing many U.S. firms have spread much of their R&D and high end design and services across many borders. While less and less remains in the U.S. I am starting to doubt that China or India, or any other country can claim in-country end-to-end supply chains for many of the products they manufacture or assemble.

            I cannot shake feeling that America is being hollowed out from the inside by our wealthy as they prepare to liquidate our assets and move on.

          4. The Rev Kev

            Thought that you guys might be interest in the following two links about wages for a machinist in the US at the moment-


            Just as a comparison, here is the equivalent for an Australian machinist.
            That AUS$32.22 per hour is about is about US$24.75 but having a universal health care system in place means that you have more take home pay.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Trying to at least reuse containers, whether plastic or glass, runs right up against idiotic (yes, I’m judgmental about it) “health” codes, which may actually be national – I can’t get a straight answer out of the Oregon code authority.

          Our local co-op grocery has a big bulk department, where customers can provide their own containers. They also had a good program where they collected and sterilized used containers for anyone to use. Not a huge impact, of course, but a good model. The state inspectors shut it down; one answer I can’t get out of them is why, or what changed. Now they’ve become more stringent even about using your own containers: not with anything refrigerated or hot (the store sells hot ready-to-eat dinner items.)

          There is no health issue involved; it’s got to be ultimately industry lobbying. I’ve been trying to make as much trouble for them as I can; now somebody is proposing to sue but I don’t know yet on what grounds. It’s a classic example of regulation gone wrong, and of what we can be up against.

    6. Andrew Watts

      Oh, I’m sure we could speed up the process if we had a competent intelligence agency deeply involved in corporate and/or technological espionage like virtually every one of their contemporaries. It’s not like it isn’t uncommon for countries to take shortcuts to facilitate this knowledge transfer.

      The real problem is we don’t have a marginally competent intelligence apparatus. That’s why I believe the NSA when they say they don’t do this kind of thing even though they could. The CIA wouldn’t even be capable of it. We keep those people around to torture some folks and fabricate intelligence to justify whatever inane course of action the executive branch wants to pursue.

      1. Altandmain

        These days it seems to be coming up with reasons for war and removing governments unfriendly to neoconservatives.

        It should be used to help the wellbeing of the American people. Sad, but I agree that the system is messed up.

        1. Andrew Watts

          It might be a calculated policy decision. The assumption might be that the US has more to lose by openly engaging in this activity compared to our contemporaries.

          I am extremely disappointed that the NSA isn’t busy ripping off foreign countries and flagrantly lying to people about it. Just as long as it’s not to Congress.

          It’d be better than what they’re currently doing.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Oh, they do industrial espionage, all right – for instance, of the Brazilian state oil company.

            Current evidence implies they then sell in on the private market. In between spying on their significant others.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Grammatical point: “intelligence” in this case should be in scare quotes, to indicate that they aren’t really.

        1. Andrew Watts

          No need for scare quotes. Anything involving the CIA and knowledge transfers is absolutely terrifying. Langley gave Iran flawed schematics for sensitive components used in nuclear weapons. The person they tapped to hand over the schematics tipped off the Iranians to the flaws ensuring the Iranians were that much closer to a fully operational stockpile of nukes. Which is assuming they want to acquire one in the first place.

          Jeff Sterling is in prison for allegedly being the source for that story. Which just goes to show you that our super duper top secret system of classification exists to cover up blunders or crimes.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Has been happening for a very long time going back at least to the 90s. For decades the US has been reading all the telecommunications traffic, including that of nations that they are negotiating against such as France. So for example, the US would read what the French negotiating team for Airbus would be telling Paris about their work in another country. The US would read this traffic and would quietly bring in people from Boeing to tell them what the French are saying to each other which would help the Boeing negotiating team with their work. And this was happening with all sorts US corporations to give them an edge in negotiations.

        1. Andrew Watts

          We’re talking about intellectual property theft on an industrial scale. That particular example of yours isn’t in the same vein as stealing designs or other component manufacturing techniques used in making Airbus planes on behalf of Lockheed or Boeing.

          1. The Rev Kev

            And this is international industrial spying on a massive scale which is sales theft. I’m sure that the French here would say that what is the point of producing great aircraft if you are being illegally undermined in selling these same aircraft.
            My reading of history shows examples of western countries in their earlier days engage in intellectual property theft trying to get an advantage while they establish their industries and being protected by a wall of tariffs. And not all modern intellectual property cyber-theft is done by the Chinese you know.

    7. JCC

      It’s also unfortunate that many Americans, even leadership, refuses to admit that the “high tech” of early 20th Century U.S. was gained in the same way China is doing it today. Early radio tech and various automobile tech are two prime examples of early technology that were both were invented and initially developed overseas and either copied or reverse-engineered here… and now many believe it was all invented and developed here in the U.S.

      China is simply emulating early U.S. long term planning, something we no longer have an interest in, to their credit and not to our credit.

      As F. Gump’s mama tried to remind us, “Stupid is as stupid does.”.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s similar to another situation.

        American immigrants into what is Texas and California led to the Mexican-American War and the eventually purchase by the US, with Mexico at gun point.

        And these questions were raised a few days ago

        1. Is it hypocritical to do something ourselves but deny it to another


        2. Is it because we did it before, and thus knowing the risks, that we now argue against it (The Fat Man, for example)?

        Could the Germans have argued that, since they bombed London, they shouldn’t say they have to resist the Americans bombing them?

    8. Lee

      For want of a nail….

      It would seem that our own best and brightest would have us hobbled in much the same way our erstwhile British overlords did through the 1750 Iron Act, whereby raw materials for nails and edged tools were to be mined and shipped to England to produce these finished products. while the expansion of these industries in the colonies was forbidden. This policy was indeed one which contributed to colonists’ resentment toward British rule. I can imagine irate colonists declaiming, “I want to live in a country that can make its own goddamned nails!” A sentiment with which I heartily agree.

      1. Eclair

        Really! But I want to live in a country that can make its own underwear! What’s so f***in’ high tech about being able to make cotton underpants? And bras!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          One example of patriotic autarky.

          We need to shop locally, and manufacture relationships locally as well, like giving Made-In-America brides a try.

          And say no to Mail-Order ones, especially from countries where females are in supply already.

          That seems unconscienable.

        2. Lee

          Your disdain for honest labor performed by your fellow citizens is duly noted.

          Being dependent for anything from a potentially adversarial nation, particularly an anti-democratic and/or inhumane regime, is materially risky and morally reprehensible. Add to that that it almost invariably involves labor arbitrage, wherein the hard won advances of a working class of one nation are eroded by outsourcing to low wage, politically repressive countries.

          Also, the U.S. is almost uniquely capable of a very high degree of autarky. Trade for the U.S. isn’t about necessity, it is a choice. A choice that so far has been in the service of capital at the expense of labor.

        3. CalypsoFacto

          quite a lot of the mills and garment manufacturers were purchased by PE firms after the garment unions were destroyed in the 80s/90s. they’ve been outsourced, hollowed out and stripped into bankruptcy, then closed when the new owners couldn’t compete with fast fashion.

          the US is in a good position to rebuild a lot of that in the next decade IF AND ONLY IF the PE firms are brought to heel for their rapacious behavior and a strong union and/or worker cooperative culture is formed for american manufacturers. it has to be in the next decade because the knowledge and skill is dying off in the elder generation and enough needs to be transferred to the younger (who have no real understanding of local garment manufacturing chains because they were all outsourced when they were being educated; they were trained to be designers and creatives, not how to run the factory).

        4. marym

          There are numerous aggregator sites (for example search on “made in usa” or “[product] made in usa”). They aren’t always up to date though. Here’s one, though I just found it on a search, haven’t used it.

          Basic but pricey):

          It’s easier to find casual wear than underwear. Some stores have “Made in USA” searches available. Nordstrom’s produces lots of results in many categories, though the price range can be from moderate to out-of-this-universe.

 and have moderately priced men’s and women’s casual wear and accessories.

    9. Adam Eran

      One thing not mentioned: manufacturing culture.

      The linked story is This American Life’s radio show about GM’s joint venture with Toyota and is well worth a listen. GM plants at the time were hotbeds of sabotage by both workers and managers. Toyota enlisted the help of its workers, and improved both productivity and quality. In the U.S. the relationship between managers and workers resembled nothing so much as the relationship between warden and prisoners.

      The joint venture sent American workers to Japan for training (they were going to make a Toyota Corolla rebranded as a GM “Geo”). Rather than being resisted, American workers got good treatment as they worked in Japan. When the Americans were too big to comfortably install something, the Japanese made special tools for them. When their farewell party arrived, they literally wept as they thought of leaving.

      GM managers familiar with this syndrome (and believe me, the managers in typical GM plants at the time had just as much investment in the prison culture as the inmates) opine that GM has finally realized its mistake…just as it was on the brink of bankruptcy (Obama rescued it, remember?).

      So you’re right, a “culture change” is exactly what’s needed. Prison still looms too large. The U.S. still incarcerates at five times the world’s per-capita average, seven times more than the Canadians who have identical demographics. Is our crime seven times less than Canada’s?… Nope. A large portion of the incarceration is drug-war related. Does incarceration scare addicts sober? Nope. Rehab is 1/7th as expensive and far more effective.

      The head of planning in Perth Australia says “You Yanks don’t consult the wisdom of democracy; you enable mobs.” … Amen to that.

      1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

        Re: Manufacturing in the US.

        My view is that currently the US dollar is supported by the US military, not manufacturing. Post 1945 it was a combination of both, because the US was the manufacturing power-house of the world, and as a result of war it had gained now tightly held bases all over the globe.

        Given that the patriotic ideal is to make what you can, and import what you can’t, the military elite seems to have been hoodwinked by big business. Their patriotism seems to have been gamed in a process of de-industrialization.

        The arbitrage that supports the import of finished goods can only last as long as the US dollar holds as the currency of convenience. Do intangible contracts support the US dollar? If it is not the world’s desire for the products of US manufacturing, then it seems logically only to be that the tangible threat of military action that maintains the dollar. I recall reading reports of the Pentagon discussing stern measures to maintain the US dollar some years back.

        So, If profiting from low wages in foreign countries and churning financial instruments is the bulk of your business, you’d better make sure the CIA/generals don’t screw it up with ill-considered adventures, and make sure that there are decent jobs* available to the ‘specialists’ when they retire from the military and return to fly-over country.


        *Not prison warders, store security etc. – can’t be in manufacturing because that’s been exported.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Tesla reveals the driver killed in a Model X crash was traveling with Autopilot engaged, received ‘several’ automated warnings before the collision”

    Well in all fairness, the driver that was killed warned the dealership that he bought the Tesla from, that when on auto-pilot it had swiveled to the same barrier that he would eventually die at 7-10 times. Even took the Tesla into the dealership to try to find the cause. Does that make it even in terms of warnings?

    1. cnchal

      Darwin award winner? No, it doesn’t make it even in terms of warnings, when one complains about spooky behavior under certain conditions, and then keep using Autopilot in that exact same condition.

      The more I look at this self driving technology, in it’s current state it’s as if a million Mr Magoos are going to hit the road. Mayhem follows, and not the cartoon type,

      1. Andrew Watts

        Darwin award winner?

        I vote yes for having faith in a technology that is unreliable under the best of circumstances. The rest of us are in even bigger trouble though. Autonomous cars have developed a taste for killing human meatbags. More people will have to die before the techno-utopian illusions fade away.

        I only wanted a jetpack. I cannot emphasis this enough.

        1. cnchal

          I found it interesting that Uber has already settled with Elaine Herzberg’s family for an undisclosed cash amount.

          I went pretty fast from “it was her fault” because she was crossing where she shouldn’t and in the dark too, to settle and move on, nothing to see here.

          What caused the “vision’ system, of which there are cameras, radar and lidar components along with all sorts of electronic middlemen between those vision systems and the AI device that decides what to do with incoming data, to not see her? If that cannot be answered with 100% certainty, what exactly, do we have here?

          The techno-utopians will simply claim moar live testing is needed to get the technology to perform better and pointing out to them that giving a 4000 lb car worse vision than Magoo and letting it loose on the streets may not be a good idea, will fall on deaf ears.

          There is so much that can go wrong at the worst times, that the more AVs that are on the road, there is more potential for disaster. I take no comfort from the bland assurances that these things will save tens of thousands of lives.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            “In this experiment, everyone in the community is a Guinea Pig.”

            Yes, you do have a role in it, even as a pedestrian, or a passenger or drive in another vehicle.

            Since the authorized government elected by the people approved it, in a sense, the voters OK’ed it.

            1. witters

              “Since the authorized government elected by the people approved it, in a sense, the voters OK’ed it.”

              “In a sense” is doing a lot of lifting here.

          2. Wukchumni

            We’ll never know the amount of the quickie divorce from a pr nightmare, but i’m guessing it would have bought the homeless woman half a dozen homes, for cash.

          3. marku52

            Uber went cost cutting. Went from 5 LIDAR sensors to just one on the roof. Head of the company making the sensors says you need one on the side to see pedestrians. They cut the number of radar sensors as well. Those things don’t grow on trees, I suppose.

            If you watch the in car video, you will see that the car never reacts–the nose doesn’t dive under braking, the steering never swerved. The car literally never saw her.


            1. cnchal

              . . . The car literally never saw her.

              It was blinder than a a bat. Why, is the question and not enough sensors may be an answer, however, when she crossed directly in front, the car’s vision still did not see her.

              On the news tonight there was a short segment on the Tesla that crashed into a highway barrier under autopilot and the finger pointing has begun. Tesla claims that there were driver warnings for several seconds before the crash for the driver to put his hands on the steering wheel and, this is key, the sign at the barrier “didn’t look like it was supposed to look”.

              A before and after picture was shown and the difference I was able to discern was that there was some dirt on or mild damage to the sign on the after picture. So far, with Tesla it has only been the divers that have paid with their lives during “live” testing, but eventually it will be passengers and pedestrians too.

              Also, note the level of surveillance Tesla drivers are subject to.

              My nickname for these systems and cars is Magoos. Tesla Magoo. Uber Magoo. Waymo Magoo, the list goes on.

          4. Andrew Watts

            What caused the “vision’ system, of which there are cameras, radar and lidar components along with all sorts of electronic middlemen between those vision systems and the AI device that decides what to do with incoming data, to not see her? If that cannot be answered with 100% certainty, what exactly, do we have here?

            A massive misallocation of capital that cannot find a more productive investment. It’s yet another argument for top-to-bottom wealth transfers at a time of massive inequities in the distribution of wealth.

    2. Lee

      The death wish in the machine? Suicidal robots has not been a topic of much discussion so far as I’m aware.

  3. Arizona Slim

    Semana Santa? Here in Tucson, we have fireworks! Explosions! And lots of them!

    The pyrotechnics started on Good Friday, and they’re part of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s Easter weekend celebration. They’re putting on a Passion play and the sound effects are to mark certain parts of the story. Like the Roman soldiers having that party where they cast lots for Christ’s robe.

    So, Happy Noisy Easter from Tucson!

    1. Wukchumni

      Had a foot wide 25 foot long member of an oak tree separate slowly but surely, and my neighbor took it down with a deft cut, and i’ve limbed up all the useful future firewood and need to incinerate the green, so today is a burn day, with a foot high 8 foot circle of dry firewood ignited and wet wood fed in limb by limb.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In some places in the Philippines, they take the celebration quite realistically seriously.

      Let’s just say nails are typically used there.

      1. JamesG

        Good Friday sign in a Philippine hotel: Bring Your Own Nails and We’ll Put You Up for the Night.

    3. Expat2uruguay

      I have resumed life in South America, and I’m happy to announce that the entire country relaxes, enjoys the end of summer, and hangs out with friends and relatives for the entire week.
      Uruguay is such a beautiful country, and the people are remarkable. There is so much Freedom here. Freedom to not work yourself to death. Freedom to not be run over by an autonomous vehicle. Freedom to attend school without fear of being shot. Freedom to ride the public transportation and get where you need to go when you need to get there. And freedom from militarized police.
      Festejen Uruguayos, Festejen!

      the u.s. knows nothing about real freedom.

      1. Wukchumni

        Our wilderness is still really free, compared to say Europe. There it’s common to see cable cars and other conveyances to get you to the near back of beyond, and eateries and places to stay overnight, with surprising connectivity even before cell phones came around.

        There are vast areas here as of yet unconnected to the mortal coil cloud overhead, aside from satellite phone.

      2. kareninca

        So, since I was wondering if this could all be true re Uruguay, I googled to find out if there actually are downsides to living there, and came up with this: It really does sound pretty fantastic overall. But not really cheap, if that is what you need. And the bureaucracy sounds like a huge pain. And a country of 4 million can change pretty fast. But all that said, it does sound very nice.

  4. Colonel Smithers

    Further to the Defend Democracy link, this week-end’s FT suggests, without quoting any polls, that May is / the Tories are enjoying a bounce, ideal for the local elections in early May.

    The false flag in Salisbury and Israeli coordinated smears are working. #Jobdone and #Killmenow.

    One wonders what readers, especially those in Blighty and members of the Labour Party, make of it all.

    1. windsock

      Mrs May needed her Falklands Isles moment and she has got it. Thank heavens the elections are only local.
      I expect results to broadly follow the general election of last year, although some of the marginals won by Labour may be in play. Also complicating things is that local council boundaries are not the same as those covered by Parliamentary constituencies.

      I’m not a Labour Party member but I do belong to a trades union, so kind of a member by default. Alignment in our branch is still very pro-Corbyn and I personally find it a little creepy… there is little discussion about policy and its development, but a lot about personality. I can understand, because Corbyn represents and espouses most of the policies we would like to see, but what comes after he is gone if there are not a deeply routed set of policies on the left for the next leader to adopt?

      And I don’t trust McDonnell. At all.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        I agree with you about policy, but that has been the trend since Thatcher and Reagan.

        I have heard about the attraction of Corbyn’s personality, but got the impression that it was shorthand for the embodiment of something different, nothing creepy or sinister.

        Is MacDonnell any worse than the others?

        1. windsock

          I am sorry if I was unclear. What I find creepy is that some of Corbyn’s admirers seem unable to question his weaknesses (with a view to overcoming them). He does seem to be the embodiment of the policies they desire. But also, he does seem to walk in to bear traps.

          And of course, I’d rather have McDonnell than Umunna, and as for Abbott running the economy…
          But having watched McDonnell in a room, a find him somewhat shallow and shifty.

    2. Christopher Dale Rogers


      Here’s how toxic things really are in the UK, specifically within the Labour Party and the civil war that’s taking place between the membership versus the Party hierarchy and most of the PLP.

      This week has been most bad, after 8 weeks of unrelenting attacks on Corbyn, a demo against him at Westminster, the throwing under the bus of Christine Shawcroft – one of only two NEC members ever to offer any assistance to 11,000 persons auto-excluded, suspended or expelled from the Party, its bloody hell.

      In my instance, after being auto-expelled for expressing environmental concerns on Twitter, I’m facing a further 5 year expulsion for exchanging Twitter banter with George Galloway. And, a lifetime expulsion for standing up for Palestinian rights and denouncing Israel and the Israeli Lobby.

      Is the effort worth it given, as you and others keep instruction us, regardless of Brexit or anything else, its the thought of a Corbyn led administration that keeps the Elite awake at night?

      Hell, yes, many have entered the political fray, as with Sanders in 2016, and many keep on battling. However, whats disconcerting is the lack of support he gets from the PLP (80% detest him), the lack of support this week from the management team of Momentum, and a lack of access to the MSM by real voices for him.

      They think they have us on the run. Well, no way, but its getting tougher by the week and expect much worse after easter Monday, all in time for 3rd May.

    3. Ignacio

      The rationale of May using russiascare to win votes is clear. I wonder about the support she found in EU countries. Is it they want “stability” to negotiate brexit?

  5. Carla

    “Teenagers should take on Saturday jobs to prepare them for world of work” Correct link:

    I don’t know about Ireland, but here in the U.S. today, very, very few businesses will hire anyone under 18 for any type of work. When I was young, we got “work permits” at age 14 and my first job was as a “page” at the local public library, shelving and checking out books. Of course, check-out has been automated for many years, and those physically shelving the books these days are all well into adulthood.

    My second job was as a clerk in a children’s apparel store; these hardly exist anymore, and brick-and-mortar retail operations don’t hire teens because they have plenty of over-qualified adults to chose from.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can someone be in such a bubble that they imagine that the conditions that existed for them as a teenager back in the early 80s still apply for teenagers in the second decade of the 21st century?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Some might ask that those conditions that they remember fondly should still be there.

        Why not?

        Compared the world today and that of the 70’s or 80’s, I wish or like to imagine some of that world still exist.

        “My GPA was only 3.7 and I just got admitted to the UC!!!!”

        I’m told that’s impossible these days.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          Don’t forget that their GPA’s have been horribly inflated. Some courses I have seen in high school have a 1.2 multipier.. and state colleges are up about half a grade since the early 90’s.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Make that 1.25 multiplier and it would account for the 5.0 GPA I was recently told.

            With Robot Cram Assistants, I expect competition to be even fierce in well-to-do school districts when it comes to take-home projects. (If you’re parents are not rich enough, it’s going to be tough competing with a class mate with 20 robot Genius-level assistants at home).

            “What? Another 500-page report from the child prodigy???”

          2. ArcadiaMommy

            Some schools have different grading scales. At the high school I went to, a 90 was a B instead of an A, so our GPAs were modified in order to remain competitive with students at other schools. If you took AP classes, IB classes, or a college class in lieu of high school class, etc., you also got a bump.

            Also, students are doing a lot more school work these days (probably one of the reasons why kids work at jobs less). I met my husband when I was in college (regular old state school) and he was flabbergasted at the amount of school work we did (projects, papers, midterms, attending events for credit). He is 9 years ahead of me in school and went to private college in upstate NY and private law school in CA. It sounds like even less school work done back in the day. His aunts and uncles, all UC and private college alums, basically admit they did very little school work.

      2. Toshiro_Mifune

        I’m the Ops Manager for an IT firm. Last year we decided to hire some fresh out of school kids and train them on the infrastructures we support (Market Data). What surprised me was how many recent college grads had absolutely no work experience at all. I’m not talking about stuff they didn’t list on their resume but I would ask in interviews as well “Where have you worked? Any retail, fast food, etc”. A very very large percentage had no experience. I knew after school jobs for teens had been fading since the 90s, but it was a bit disheartening; not only because there was a lot you learned about working in your teens by doing that but also because I thought about it and realized that adults were doing the sort of jobs that had once been the reserve of kids.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Where I live, we are surrounded by cram schools like those you see in many Asian countries.

          “Because competition is good.”

        2. apberusdisvet

          A few years back, a construction supply company hired a personable H.S. graduate to manage mirror orders. This entailed taking the measurements, determining the square footage and multiplying by the price per s.f. A problem soon arose that the H.S. graduate was unable to determine the total area of the mirror by multiplying length by width, thus determining the square inches, arrive at a sq ft amount, and thus give a price to the customer.

          Gone are the days when the US was first among nations in math and science; we cannot even be in the top 100 now. A shame, really.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s not so bad to be not first among nations in math and science. We have been told or had been told to go into STEM fields so we wouldn’t let those communists take over the world and the Moon. Consequently, today, we can drone anyone, anywhere, and eavesdrop the same.

            And our brightest go to Wall Street and make billions, studying or retaining little about sharing or wealth inequality from their college days.

            On the other hand, it’s not all bad. Our students are probably more accepting and tolerant than their Chinese counterparts when it comes to gender issues, or diversity issues etc…among our students or during their student days (something must have changed afterwards, or else, how do we account for the difference that the young are always more progressive, all the time).

        3. jrs

          Aren’t internships supposed to be a big thing now? But not enough to go around for every student who wants one. And yes they are cheap poorly and sometimes unpaid labor and not in working people’s as a whole’s interest.

        4. MichaelSF

          One benefit of having a few jobs during school was I got a good idea of what I did NOT want to be doing for the rest of my life.

      3. jrs

        Of course. It’s why teenagers of every generation have always known their parents were clueless.

        Don’t trust anyone over 30 is a truth for the youth. Not because everyone over 30 is untrustworthy, but because the advice about the world is likely to be outdated.

        1. Wukchumni

          30 being the new 20, i’d opt for 50 instead…

          “What a man knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty is, for the most part, incommunicable. The laws, the aphorisms, the generalizations, the universal truths, the parables and the old saws — all of the observations about life which can be communicated handily in ready, verbal packages — are as well known to a man at twenty who has been attentive as to a man at fifty. He has been told them all, he has read them all, and he has probably repeated them all before he graduates from college; but he has not lived them all.

          What he knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty boils down to something like this: The knowledge he has acquired with age is not the knowledge of formulas, or forms of words, but of people, places, actions — a knowledge not gained by words but by touch, sight, sound, victories, failures, sleeplessness, devotion, love — the human experiences and emotions of this earth and of oneself and other men; and perhaps, too, a little faith, and a little reverence for things you cannot see.”

          Adlai Stevenson

        2. ambrit

          Snark alert. Since when has the world really changed? Human psychology goes back millennia. Advice about a particular society might be outdated, but humans as a species, no.

          1. Wukchumni

            The only thing that’s really changed is that we live a heck of a lot longer than we used to, which adds to the allure of playing the game called life.

            1. ambrit

              I don’t know if I agree with you on that.
              The big change, from what I’ve read is an increase of people who survive childhood and grow into older age. Average life expectancy is an average after all. Cut out much of the ‘preventable’ accidents and diseases that used to decimate children and adolescents and you increase the ‘average’ life expectancy. As for exceeding the old three score and ten, well, I’d place that in the category of “access to resources” based metrics. I had two stents put into my coronary arteries six years ago. That was because a job I had offered a decent healthcare package. I know d–nwell that I wouldn’t have gone to a doctor when the warning signs of impending heart attack showed up because I would have been afraid to have so bankrupted my family. So, access to resources makes a great difference in how well one can live those “extra” years.
              That ‘allure’ of which you speak is a ‘glamour’ to many of us. Enticing but deadly.

              1. c_heale

                In fact we may be living shorter lives than prehistoric man. There is evidencen that the invention of agriculture was extremely bad for our health.

      4. Jean

        Rev kev,

        Why hire temporary teenagers when you can get all the mid-thirties immigrants you want who are willing to work nights, weekends, holidays, ask no questions and be mistreated?

      5. Louis

        You’d be surprised at the number of people who live in such a bubble.

        Every time there is a proposal to raise the minimum-wage because there is a chorus that objects on the grounds that those jobs were “meant” to be for teenagers, as if somehow there are enough “living wage” jobs, however you want to define the term, for everyone who wants one. SPOILER ALERT: there aren’t.

    2. timbers

      IMO we should reply by saying, elected officials, Congressman and Presidents, should take Saturday jobs, to prepare them to represent people instead of corporations and wealth.

      It’s not teenagers I’m worried about.

    3. jrs

      The person shelving books probably has a masters in library science. Meanwhile the person working fast food is an illegal immigrant well into adulthood.

      1. Wukchumni

        Had a whitebread young man in his early 20’s working the fast food counter ask me my name for my order yesterday, and told me he had a biblical name also, and god blessed me upon completion of our transaction.

        The CVBB is a different breed of cat, in California.

      2. ambrit

        I beg to differ. The middle aged person behind that fast food counter is a citizen there because the employers prefer the “illegal” immigrant to do the formerly blue collar decent paying job, for less. Now both groups toil for starvation wages and the ‘middle beings’ anxiously compete with each other in a race to the bottom.
        Financialization has to be rooted out of our economy.
        As Lambert likes to quip: “Burn it with fire.”

    4. nick

      Even back around 2000 when I was in high school no place would hire you for a “Saturday job” unless you had a family connection or some such. I was hoofing it over directly to the grocery store after school for the 3-9 shift at least two weekdays in a week, and I vaguely knew another kid at the same store who did so every day. Why even bother hiring someone for 10 hours or less a week? And then when my 8-year-younger brother came up there wasn’t even those opportunities.

    5. jaxbeau

      I was recently at a chamber of commerce lunch in one of north Seattle’s neighborhoods where the owner of a bookstore remarked that the minimum wage increases here ruled teens out for her because “they’re just not worth it.” The community-building part of me wondered what part she didn’t understand? Shouldn’t small business be part of the effort to give kids a leg up? But prior experience in small business also piped up in my head, and I silently nodded in agreement with her dilemma and said nothing.

      Fortunately my 16 y.o. great nephew recently found ten hours a week at the local Taco Bell. I give him long winded advice to look at employment anywhere as an opportunity to learn how to run his own small business, whatever that might be. “Pay attention to *how* your manager manages,” I remark. “Look at what the problems are and how she (in this case) solves them. Are people coming in late? Leaving their shifts early? Being careless? How would you solve these problems if it was your business?”

      I hope I can instill something of the entrepreneurial spirit in him, for I don’t think he’s college material and he’s yet to discover a skill that he wants to become good at other than video games. It’s frightening for teens out there as the opportunities dry up and they’re increasingly told to “have a game plan for life” in middle adolescence.

      1. Fraibert

        Agree about the game plan point wholeheartedly.

        It’s a shame to hear about the issue with teenage employment. Though objectively, I do understand–payroll tax, unemployment insurance taxes, and workers compensation insurance costs alone for hiring a teenager, in addition to boosted minimum wages, probably make it an unattractive proposition to hire teens. Still…

        1. Louis

          Minimum-wage could be a piece of it; however, it may not tell the whole story. The number of adults desperate for jobs is not insignificant and the employers calculation might be: why hire a teenager who has an unproven worth ethic and may or may not show up on time when they can hire an adult with an established work history?

        2. Felix_47

          It may be cheaper to hire an illegal through a subcontractor to clean your facility (subcontractor so Juan, the subcontractor, has the liability) but if we don’t want to hire “domestics” even though they are not the best workers why are we allowed to do business and profit in the US?

  6. Otis B Driftwood

    As someone currently without health insurance, I read “Why Some Americans Are Risking It and Skipping Health Insurance” with sympathy. But I am confused by one thing: aren’t those families who have opted out of health insurance subject to the ACA penalty?

    That’s what I found out when I, an employee of a healthcare company (ironically), lost my health insurance because I didn’t pay attention to the HR emails and did not to enroll during active enrollment last fall (it had been passive in years past). I found out I had no benefits at all only days before the ACA enrollment deadline, and chose to petition my employer for late enrollment. My petition was denied after the ACA deadline had passed and so now I have no insurance and face a significant penalty in 2019.

    My wife, who works in public education, once enjoyed a healthcare benefit that provided coverage for our entire family – that was removed back in 2008. At least she still has coverage.

    As many know, insurance premiums and deductibles have risen dramatically over the last few years in employer-sponsored plans. IIRC, the ACA plan for me alone was quoted at about $5K for the year.

    As of last year, I am also without a doctor. My primary care physician quit practicing medicine because he and his partners were simply fed up with the poor economics of running their group practice.

    I am glad that ACA has helped so many poor people find healthcare. And I hope I am in the small minority of those who have lost something I once took for granted as a benefit of being employed.

    As I said, I work in healthcare and I talk frequently with people who specialize in handling insurance claims. It is an excruciatingly arcane system and it is no mystery to me why there is so much waste. I reckon every meeting I and so many others are forced to attend where mapping 835s and 837s and explanation of benefits and charge items and CPT codes and all that bullshit further contributes to the unnecessarily high cost of healthcare in this country.

    My healthcare plan right now? Eat well, get plenty of rest, exercise, and don’t do anything risky.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      At this moment, I am looking at a statement from my health insurance provider itemizing (very opaquely) what it paid and what I owe to my health care provider for some routine bloodwork performed at my checkup; the usual stuff, lipids, Vitamin D levels (?!), PSA, stuff like that.

      I suspect my physician, as an employee of the large hospital group, simply clicks items off a menu on his computer, with no indication of how much the group will charge the patient for the work. I certainly cannot tell from the statement, although it purports to be informative.

      The very first line on the statement:

      Type of service: Diagnostic pathology
      Submitted charges: $2,250.49
      Plan allowance: $26.57
      Deductible: $26.57
      You owe the provider: $26.57

      I read this and (a) am glad that the insurance company has a negotiated agreement with the provider, (b) wonder what in the h*ll they did that they think is worth $2250 dollars as I know full well that the sampled blood is simply placed into a Dupont blood analyzer and a very impressive report gets spit out a few minutes later, (c) wonder why they think they can charge $2250 but accept $26.57 for the effort, and (d) wonder just how someone without insurance would fare when facing the ravenous hound that is the provider.

      I imagine a young person, feeling ill, taking a well-meaning friend’s advice to “go see a doctor”, walking into the clinic, having the well-meaning physician clicking a bunch of menu items to help her figure out what ails this young person, and two months later, blammo, the kid gets whacked into bankruptcy because of a minor incident of the flu when a bill for
      $5,656.84 appears in the mail. FWIW, I owe the provider $140.46 for that $5,656.84 work.

      Madness. F**king madness. The weakest and poorest just get screwed to the wall.

      1. oh

        A friend on mine who is on medicare had an MRI on his knee. I asked him how much the MRI cost him and he replied that it was $600 since he paid cash. The Part B insurance that he has apparently didn’t want to tell him if the MRI was covered. If it had been covered, my friend was told by the health provider that they would charge the insurance co. $2000 and his co-pay at 20% would have been $400!

        What a health care racket we have!

  7. adrena

    Two commenters on a Twitter feed suggested the IDF should have used Napalm on the protesters. My heart stopped momentarily. The abject hatred of Palestinians is making me ill.

      1. Plenue

        That the ‘Arab’ Palestinians are the descendents of Levantine Jews who never left in the first place is but one of many critical flaws in Zionists arguments.

    1. Jim Haygood

      In January 2018, Trump announced that US funding to the UN agency (UNRWA) is being cut by $65 million, or about 20 percent.

      Because Gaza is cut off from the world — unable to use its mothballed airport, send and receive sea shipments, or trade by land transport except under severe Israeli restrictions — the majority of Gaza’s population is jobless in its siege economy. They are completely dependent on UNRWA for food, education, health care, and even infrastructure. Israel throttles down electric power to about four hours a day, making it impossible to operate competitive business or industry.

      But for US diplomatic protection in the UN Security Council, Israel’s brutal treatment of Gaza’s occupied population would be sanctioned as the war crime it is.

      Gazans have been reduced to such a condition of destitution and hopelessness that they have nothing left to lose other than their lives. Prominent Palestinian spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi saw this coming in January 2018:

      [She] said the US seemed to be following the Israeli government’s “instructions to gradually dismantle the one agency that was established by the international community to protect the rights of the Palestinian refugees and provide them with essential services.”

      She said in a statement that Trump’s administration was “targeting the most vulnerable segment of the Palestinian people and depriving the refugees of the right to education, health, shelter and a dignified life”, warning that the US was “creating conditions that will generate further instability throughout the region“.

      America’s complicity with Israel in tightening the noose on Gaza gives the lie to our national self-image as big-hearted, generous people. In fact we are natural-born killers, depravedly indifferent to the suffering of brown people whom we bomb and starve as a matter of policy.

      1. JBird

        Much of this fear, hatred, and violence is manufactured because of greed. The Palestinians in Gaza have the legal rights to large gas fields, while in the West Bank there is the farmland, the water, and even some mineral rights. If you look at the current Israeli administration, you will find strong connections, investments, bribes, donations, family(!) relationships between them and the various shipping and energy companies, especially the largest; it has the exclusive contract to manage the shipping into and out of Gaza. The overpriced shipping that is, including natural gas.

        The dynamic is much like the Dakota Pipeline protests. Which is probably scaring the heck out of the Israeli government. Peaceful protests, mass peaceful protests are probably the only thing that will stop them. It is harder to kill the unresisting, the optics are terrible, and the blowback from everyone else just stop, and would certainly hinder, the ongoing annexation and ethnic cleansing; that would explaind the tank fire on the protesters as it is an effort to stop the peaceful protests; if the Palestinians can keep the protests going, it will become difficult for the Israeli to continue. It did sort of worked for the Assad Regime as it almost fell, but used tanks and helicopters to get the then peaceful protesters to fire back, and convert the protests into a war.

        Unfortunately, the various fiendishly perverted mixtures of governments, businesses, and media usually controls the narrative, and thus the process. So what worked in Selma, might not work in Israel, but who knows, as beating up a street just full of white-haired grandparents who have lain down on it, because “The Terrorists” would be problematic.

        1. Jim Haygood

          So what worked in Selma, might not work in Israel.’

          This weekend’s violence at the Gaza-Israel border — in which many of the Palestinian dead were shot in the back as they ran away from Israeli fire — has definite echoes with Selma’s Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965, when armed police attacked civil rights demonstrators with billy clubs and tear gas as they were attempting to march to the state capital of Montgomery.

          Unlike the US sequel, in which the marchers successfully crossed the bridge again on March 21 and reached the Alabama capital, the Israeli military has made clear that they will massacre every Palestinian who ventures into the half-kilometre buffer zone next to the border with live fire.

          In Israel, there’s no need for an equivalent to the Green Book which used to guide Negro motorists to safe havens in the segregated South. That’s because the majority of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank aren’t even allowed to enter the so-called Holy Land.

          Jim Crow Israel, which claims to share American values, never had a civil rights transformation. The supremacy of Israel’s ruling ethnic majority over the barely-tolerated religious minority within Israel and the utterly subjugated peoples of the militarily-occupied hinterland, is enshrined in Israeli law. The US heartily approves, underwriting this wealthy OECD apartheid regime with nearly $4 billion a year in unmerited aid.

          This says a lot about both the OECD and the USA, none of it good.

          1. JBird

            Yes, they might well do so, but there is a power in being unarmed. It happened in Selma and India, and it almost did in Syria, which might be the reason for the over-reaction of the Israeli military; they really do not want continued peaceful protest and are trying to stop it from continuing.

            If the Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank are willing to endure being unarmed and open to murderous attacks during peaceful mass protests, at some point, they very likely will win. It depends on whether Israel is like what the United States and the British Empire was, or if it has become more like what Mao’s China, Stalin’s Soviet Union or Germany’s Third Reich. All five were brutally murderous, but the former had some respect for human lives and the rule of law, whereas the latter had none at all.

            Just thinking this out has made me feel ill. To realize just how profoundly the Israeli state has degraded itself and become much like the former oppressors in Europe. The creation of that country has involved some evil deeds, but considering what had just happened it was understandable. Now, not so much, and the true pity of it, is that like we Americans are now discovering, there are consequences for one’s actions. It might take a few years, or it make a century, but there will be unfortunate blowback, as victims tend to have long memories.

    2. Brian

      A region of our planet where everyone shares their DNA, and too many share hatred against their kin.

  8. RenoDino

    North Korea

    With China’s blessing, Kim will trade his nukes for a demilitarized South Korea. Trump can’t/won’t make that deal. The article makes the case that because war is not an option, America will be humiliated and South Korea will go it alone.

    I beg to differ. After America declines that deal, they will launch a preemptive attack. War is the only option because N.K.’s nukes directly threaten America’s elite asleep in their beds.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      1. Trade nukes for a demilitarized South Korea. With North Korea still the most conventionally militarized state in the world (or among the most)?

      2. Trade nukes for a demilitarized Korean Peninsula. That’d be a little more peace, a little less armed. But US forces would be a Japan Sea away, when China crosses the Yalu…the second time. But why should we care? But should the average Chinese care? Perhaps only president-for-life Xi does and that’s all it matters.

      1. RenoDino

        I cannot possibly imagine any scenario where Trump drops his gun and backs away slowly. And when I say Trump, I mean the Deep State. The ultimate goal is always regime change even in the case of Xi.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Will Trump really pull the US out of Syria? That’s the other question.

          Is he in-your-face confronting the MIC/Swamp/Blob/Deep State, where Sanders treads only carefully (ending US involvement in Yemen, but only no-expanded-role-in-Syria, and Go-Russia-Meddling-investigation-Go)?

          1. The Rev Kev

            Trump may talk about pulling out of Syria but I doubt it. There is all that sweet Syrian oil that is just waiting to be liberated. Remember how he said that America should have just taken Iraq’s oil? Just to make it more interesting, the French have moved into five bases in Syria according to Turkish accounts. According to the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu Agency “over 70 French special forces service members are stationed at the Lafarge Cement factory near the Mistanur Hill and the village of Harab-Isk. The agency added that over 30 French service members are operating in Raqqah. France’s 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment and 10th Parachute Commando forces also operate in the area.” Erdogan is not happy and has warned the French already that they could become targets for backing Syrian Kurds.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And would that make Trump as big, bigger or smaller obstacle to war compared to Corbyn?

  9. Wukchumni

    O say can you see by the man made meteor’s light
    Whose orbit failed on the satellite’s last gleaming?
    Whose broad swath and bright streak through the perilous flight
    O’er head we watched, was so gallantly leaving?
    And the space junk’s red glare, most of it disintegrating in air
    Gave proof through the night that the descent was unimpaired
    O say does that star-spangled spanner yet set down
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

        1. Wukchumni

          …the Mao’s that roared?

          Was backpacking the High Sierra Trail with 4 friends a couple of years ago and @ Junction Meadow about 45 miles into our 70 mile walk, one of them swore she heard bombs going off when everyone else was sleeping, and she grew up in South Africa during apartheid, so she knew the sound, and then over the next few days, we ran into other backpackers that had seen what they thought was a close miss by meteorites, but when we got to Whitney Portal, found out it was Chinese space junk flaming overhead.

          1. ambrit

            Hmmm…. The Warring Estates Period of American History?
            We have become inured to hearing small arms fire off in the distance once or twice a week now, here in our Neo Mayberry. Reminds me of “Three Comrades” by Remarque. That book was produced in the 1930s, a time when German ‘Civilization’ was marching to a faster pace. The parallels are spooky. The ending is evocative.
            The movie version.
            Scene: Two men by a grave. Sounds of explosions in the distance.
            One says: “There’s fighting in the city.”
            The two walk off, surrounded by ghosts.

      1. Edward E

        Note from the Easter Bunny: “Sorry kids, I ate all the chocolate, search for the hidden carrots.”

  10. Alex morfesis

    Beware the lawyer acquaintance… Turley is either living on some fantasy island and not familiar enough with intellectual property law and rights or has never bothered trying to read the white wash inquiries of the various bar associations in respects to the accepted and allowed arguments made by foreclosure mill lawyers for how they could litigate in the name of a financial institution when they had no direct attorney client relationship with those banks…

    The law of rules has replaced the rule of law…

    Maybe it was always that way and only now is it openly laughed about…

    The DONALD is a brand…and the lawyer suing knows it since he nailed the presidents interests and progeny on a lawsuit for theft of intellectual property in respects to the apprentice show and properties…

    The entities and trusts that own remainder interests in the brand known as THEDONALD are the ones who paid “the fixer” lawyer…in addition, the entities would have set up a captive insurance Enterprise to specifically defend the brand and another captive to pay for legal fees “and expenses”… Said expenses to include “settling” trifling claims in lieu of costs of litigation…

    The lawyer with a potential problem is the one for the middling porn actress stinky Daniels…since he knew or should have known the structures surrounding the brand commonly known as DONALD Trump but the agreement as written would suggest someone not previously exposed to litigating with the brandDONald…

    The president didn’t have to know about the agreement since his brand and it’s remainder interests are for the benefit of future generations…and the captives are prepaid to “handle” these types of matters…

  11. bob

    Mount Holyoke Women’s College Orders Professors Not To Call Students “Women” Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)


    ….or come to Wellesley and marry them.

      1. ambrit

        No, distaff of Life Sciences. Also a yarn about Civilized Norns. I almost suspect the Administration of MHWC of creedentialism.

  12. Wukchumni

    Must’ve soaked a cumulative couple of days worth last week @ Saline Valley hot springs, and we camp a few hundred feet away from the upper pools shaded by palm trees, which can each accommodate a dozen, and there being no connectivity other than word of mouth, conversation flows like it must’ve in the various temperature baths in Pompeii, in Nero’s day.

    Each time i’ve been, I run into somebody soaking that we have mutual acquaintance with, 106 degrees of separation-if you will.

    This sojourn was a firefighter from Carson City that had worked in Grant Grove in the National Park, and I mentioned a friend that worked for NPS fire, and he knew him.

    The clientele there is a different sort with a 4 x 4 chairot a must, as this is a bit of an ordeal to get to, for 40 miles of dirt and crushed lava road through mountain pass must be driven, which is hell on tires. (got a flat this time, always go with a spare and an extra spare)

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I remember joking about it, along with others.

    Evidence is mounting that Amazon’s HQ2 will land in ‘the bull’s-eye of America’s internet’ Business Insider. A reader predicted earlier that the HQ would be in DC. Please stand up and take credit in comments.

    1. ambrit

      And here I was thinking that the “bulls-eye of Americas’ internet” was somewhere out in Utah.
      And now the FBI is building their own Data Centre in Pocatello, Idaho.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Well there is always the NSA’s Utah Data Center to store the huge quantities of data from emails, phone calls, Google searches and other sources. The joke was that they needed an aircraft-hanger size building just to store all the “selfies” in.

        1. ambrit

          The version of the joke I heard continues that that hangar needed no refrigeration equipment since all those selfies were the epitome of ‘cool.’

    2. Altandmain

      Word on the street was that Amazon has already selected their HQ2 before this whole bidding process began.

      They just want to play the different county and state governments against each other to get the maximum tax concessions from the winner that they chose from the very beginning.

    3. Matt

      Well, I’ve been in DC for six months now and doing ok? How long before I’m priced out? I almost burst into tears when I saw this.

    4. Synoia

      Myself, probably among others.

      Obvious choice. DC is where they can “provide services” to the largest organization on the planet, the US Government. If you are one of the largest rent extraction schemes on the planet, where would you go to expand? The largest cash flow on the planet?

      And it greases the skids for Bezos as ruler of the world President.

      Next: My thoughts on the F35: It is an operating system development project, with the F35 a test bed for the flight Operating System for the next 50 years. The hardware is irrelevant.

    1. ambrit

      This looks like a modern manifestation of mass migrations throughout history. Pressures build up in a region from disruptive sources and entire tribes moved on to some hoped for better place.
      History has not ended, just changed the names and the faces.
      Wait until the real global sea level rises come. Then we’ll see migrations on a massive scale. Some places won’t be able to cope and societies will break down fully.
      I’m beginning to see the logic behind the “Jackpot” as sound.

      1. Wukchumni

        When I drive through SoCal, sometimes I think to myself, all of those people are dead to me, as they are pioneers on the uttermost outskirts of sustainability, a Car Go Cult.

        Not that i’m that much better in the scheme of things, who am I kidding, my needs are just as tenuous and far flung.

        Was talking with our neighbor in regards to what we’d do if homeless started camping on our land, each of which can accommodate many dozens, and we agreed if it got to that point, it’s not as if law enforcement would be of much use, in ridding them.

        May you live in interesting times is just getting going.

      2. Jean

        “Camp of The Saints” a futuristic novel about third worlders invading Europe.
        Past fiction becomes present reality.

    1. ambrit

      I read the piece and realized that I can make the same dismissive resolution as the writer: ignore things I don’t like and hope they wither up and blow away.
      This sort of ‘holier than thou’ attitude gets nothing done. It also does a real disservice to those who do want to dispossess the Trump agenda. The forces that drive the working class disruptive actions towards the status quo are real. They cannot be wished away. An op-ed piece in the NYT will not feed an unemployed man or woman for a week. A decent job might. This writer and her ilk ignore that basic fact of life at their peril. Why? Because when the lights go out all over, no amount of virtue signalling will stop a hungry, angry mob.

    2. allan

      Blacks largely left out among high-paying jobs

      … An Associated Press analysis of government data has found that black workers are chronically underrepresented compared with whites in high-salary jobs in technology, business, life sciences, and architecture and engineering, among other areas. Instead, many black workers find jobs in low-wage, less-prestigious fields where they’re overrepresented, such as food service or preparation, building maintenance and office work, the AP analysis found. …

      Unlikely to make it into a Roseanne script.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It is no fault of theirs, but of the system itself, that their in-group pay-inequality can be greater than other groups.

        Those lucky enough can succeed and become very wealth in professional basketball, football, sprinting, singing, etc.

        If not, they are more likely to be discriminated and get low pay jobs.

    3. Aumua

      My favorite line from the review is this:

      How do you reach people who make dangerous political choices grounded in self-interest?

      I just… wow. I don’t know, how DO you reach those people and convince them to make ‘safe’ political choices against their own self interests?

    4. Hamford

      Perhaps the NYT reviewer is oblivious to the fact that Roseanne Barr was the 2012 Presidential candidate for the Peace and Freedom Party.

      According to its website, the party “is committed to feminism, socialism, democracy, ecology, and racial equality”, advocating “to build a mass-based socialist party throughout the country”. It is a strong advocate of environmentalism, aboriginal rights, rights to sexuality, health care, abortion, education, housing, employment and a socialist-run economy. [from wikipedia]

      A fact seemingly lost on the reviewers biased unsupported portrayal of Roseanne the person as a right wing transphobic racist.

      1. Louis Fyne

        …..[Rosanne] announced Thursday that she will run for president on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. Her running mate, Barr said in a news release, will be Cindy Sheehan,….

        “The American people are sick and tired of this ‘lesser evil’ garbage they get fed every election year,” Barr said via the news release. “Both the Democrats and the Republicans do the same evils once they’re in office. I’m here to tell the voters: if you want to tell the government and the two domineering parties that you’re sick and tired of all their evil, register in the Peace and Freedom Party and vote for me and Cindy.” ……

        1. The Rev Kev

          Cindy Sheehan? Now there is a name that I have not heard in a long time. Good to hear that she is still active in politics.

      2. Aumua

        Excellent points! There’s a little something for both pro and anti Trump sides to chew on here. The masses are clearly being hoodwinked, successfully and willingly I might add. Makes me a little nervous around my neighbors let me tell ya.

      3. Oregoncharles

        She also campaigned for the Green Party nomination, and gave a pretty good account of herself. She called into the Oregon nominating convention.

        Something happened to her after that; specifically, she became an outspoken Zionist. Some sort of conversion experience. Made me glad we hadn’t nominated her, although the 5 Star Movement, founded by a comic, is an intriguing precedent.

    5. Edward E

      My sources are saying that because the Roseanne sequel is so popular that Fox, CBS are wanting some old shows too. like, Alt in the Family, Bewitched Hunt, WKKKRP in Cincinnati, DJT Hooker, Davy Duke’s of Hazzard…

      But my sources aren’t that good.

  14. Craig H.

    Tried to find the sloth antidote photographer. There is a Russian twitter. Who would have thought of that? No idea who the photographer is or who the twitterer is but they had another one that wasn’t bad:

    Another sloth.

      1. Kevin Hall

        Both images are of toys and nicely done in regards to both the fabrication of the toys and the photographer(s).

        The big tell for me was that the habitat is all wrong. And while the real ones are cute, they are not quite to that degree of fluffy and clean.

  15. shinola

    Re. the murder-by-cop of Stephon Clark:

    -He was in the back yard of his grandmother’s house in a residential neighborhood
    -Cops fired 20(!) shots
    -Clark was struck 8 times

    Where did the other 12 bullets go? Do cops have special magic bullets that dissolve into thin air if they miss their target?

    1. JBird

      And that’s a problem.

      It’s a routine item when the police have shot each other, different suspects, or people completely unrelated to the scene get shot because of the upteen bullets that are fired when the police panic, and it usually does look like panic. You can go on YouTube and seen them. I am amazed that there are not more deaths. Not to mention the damage done to cars and buildings.

      And of course, it is routine when the idiots don’t even get admonished.

  16. Rates

    The echo chamber must be deafening in Facebook. From the Guardian article

    Another said: “This is so disappointing, wonder if there is a way to hire for integrity. We are probably focusing on the intelligence part and getting smart people here who lack a moral compass and loyalty.”

    That sentence alone tells you everything that’s wrong about Techutopia

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It was in yesterday’s Water Cooler.

      And I think it starts with our very educational system, especially the colleges.

      1. Rates

        We’ll just let the parents off right since they are all paragons of virtue and integrity? Can’t blame the colleges since the Chief itself i.e. Zuckerberg dropped out of college. Or maybe it’s because of his “terrible” experiences at college that he decided to drop off and be a psycho. Or maybe it’s Pa Zuck and Ma Zuck or maybe something else. It’s hard to tell nowadays.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Parents, yes and no.

          Yes, in the sense, that parents choose or favor smarter sons or daughters over not-as-smart sons or daughters. But not always.

          No, in the sense the colleges choose/select/admit smart students first, then give extra points for caring, and not the other way around. Here, parents don’t refuse not-as-smart children coming into the world. They don’t abort based on a kid’s potential IQ…as far as I know.

          If parents want their kids to be smarter than other kids, they

          1st, accept them into the world regardless of IQ (no college equivalent)

          2nd push them to be smarter (some colleges do that; most just prefer selecting the smarter applicants). Again, not quite that similar.

          So, this ‘selecting smart ones’ preference goes back to our educational system, specifically our colleges.

          The emphasis of this discussion here is on selecting, choosing, or ‘getting people here’ as quoted above.

  17. ambrit

    Sorry if it’s already been put up here, but this about Julian Assange being denied internet access by the Ecuadorean embassy he is holed up in is chilling. The reason given is to keep Assange from “interfering” in other countries affairs. The implied trigger is Assanges skepticism about the official narrative concerning the Skripal “poisoning” case.

    1. integer

      Hillary Clinton Ordered Diplomats To Suppress ‘Novichok’ Discussions MoA

      After the publication the U.S. and the UK actively suppressed international discussions about the book and the ‘Novichok’ chemical weapon agents. Documents from the U.S. State Department published by Wikileaks show that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton directed her diplomats to not talk about Novichok and to play down the matter should it arise in chemical weapon control talks.

    2. Edward E

      Also maybe attacking the British government for interferences in the 2016 election campaign. He was about to do a big info dump on somebody, from what sources I have. Anybody can speculate though.

  18. allan

    Baylor paid former coach Art Briles $15.1M, Kenn Starr $4.5M after they were dismissed
    in wake of sexual assault scandal

    Former Baylor football head coach Art Briles cashed in after his dismissal from the university following its sexual assault scandal in 2015.

    Briles received $15.1 million in a settlement with the school, former president Ken Starr received $4.52 million and ex-athletic director Ian McCaw got $761,059, according to federal tax forms filed by the school.

    The settlement figures, which were subject to non-disclosure agreements, were obtained by The Dallas Morning News after it surfaced in Baylor’s 990 filing to the IRS this week. …

    Up to 17 women reported sexual and domestic assault involving 19 players since 2011, according to school regents, while another lawsuit, which has been settled, alleged 52 acts of rape by 31 players between 2011 and 2014. …

    Briles has not landed a full time coaching job since the scandal while Starr was considered for a position in President Donald Trump’s administration.

    McCaw has since become athletic director at Liberty University.

    Currently unable to come up with a coherent, familyblogable response to this.

  19. Jim Haygood

    As some of us suspected, the real thorn in Potus’s side is the WaPo:

    Donald J. Trump

    I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!

    7:57 AM – Mar 29, 2018

    While we are on the subject, it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars. The Failing N.Y. Times reports that “the size of the company’s lobbying staff has ballooned,” and that does not include the Fake Washington Post, which is used as a “lobbyist” and should so REGISTER. If the P.O. “increased its parcel rates, Amazon’s shipping costs would rise by $2.6 Billion.” This Post Office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now!

    8:52 AM – Mar 31, 2018

    Potus can bust Amazon’s chops, or he can cheer on the [late?] bull market. But it’s unlikely that he can do both.

    With 64 percent of Americans reportedly having Amazon Prime accounts, Trump’s vendetta against Amazon may not resonate with suburban soccer moms.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Political arguments inside Google have gotten so bad that 100 employees formed a group to stop cyberbullying Business Insider (David L)

      Does Trump think it not fair to break up only Amazon, and not another giant that is sounding like it is already divided?

    2. Eclair

      Not only suburban soccer moms. My latest report from the agricultural hinterlands, via my spouse’s far-flung farming cousins:

      We were visiting with his Washington state dairy-farming relatives last week, got to discussing Amazon’s influence on Seattle and the give-away-the-store-battle among the cities vying to be the Second Headquarters. Farmer cousin, abashedly volunteered that he ‘loved’ Amazon Prime because he could order weird parts for tractors and milking machines on-line and they would arrive at the farm in a day or two. PLUS, he could find cheaper made-in-China parts. Useless to ‘explain’ to him that he’s undercutting US workers, when he constantly struggles to stay afloat in what is probably a losing battle with totally automated mega-dairies, where they cows are milk-producing-units who never leave the barn (because that is uneconomical) and Walmart who will beat down the prices paid to the farmers.

      This was the first day that his herd had been let out of the barn, where they had been holed-up for the winter. Anyone who says that cows don’t prefer the lush green pastures and the outdoors, hasn’t seen massive holsteins actually gamboling about a pasture. He said that they have to have a crew of workers holding back the cows, once they open the barn doors, since they will all bolt and get themselves wedged into the opening, a la Three Stooges.

      And, yeah, they voted for Trump. (Not the cows.)

      1. J Sterling

        It’s the Prisoner’s Dilemma: whether to Defect and be part of the problem, or Cooperate and be the sucker who carries the can when just one of the millions of other prisoners Defects for personal advantage. It’s why the workers movement had picket lines, and would break the legs of scabs: you can’t strike on your own, or even as a majority. Protest has to be nearly universal to work.

  20. John k

    Pretty alarming re Facebook Corbyn post.
    And pretty worried about Bernie… he’s already made a lot of enemies. And they’re getting worried , too, as 2020 approaches.

      1. JBird

        Everyone, even the politically uninformed and uninvolved, knows just how convenient it would be to have an “accident” or “scandal” with Sanders, Corbyn, pr even Warren especially if they were winning. The political hurricane would be intense. Just think on the what happened when MLK was assassinated…

        I think I should put Legacy of Ashes at the top of my reading pile.

        1. ambrit

          True about MLK but, he’s still dead and the duopoly is still in control.
          “Legacy of Ashes.” On my to read list. Thanks for the suggestion. I just finished Norman Mailers’ “Harlots Ghost.” So, “Legacy of Ashes” is a natural follow up. We did know in passing a Nam Vet who was a chopper pilot in the Aircavalry. He told some stories about buddies who flew support for Air America flights to the Golden Triangle and back. Harrowing stuff.
          His story about why the Jolly Green Giants ended up having to carry their spent brass back to base after ground strafing missions was sick funny. “And then, when those elephants slowed down to land, all that spent brass would roll on to the rear of the plane and make the thing just about stand on its’ tail. Ever see a cargo plane do a wheelie?” I never did find out how that problem was solved.

          1. ambrit

            Oh my. I’ve stepped in it. Phyllis says that Jack spoke about “Puff the Magic Dragon” gunships. On looking I find that Jolly Green Giant was or is a helicopter variant.
            Consider this a lesson in waiting before posting for your memory to catch up with your fingers.
            I ooze contrition.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Here, this might help you visualize the them. The Douglas AC-47D Spooky aka “Puff, the Magic Dragon” was just the military version of the venerable old DC-3 passenger plane. It had Gatling mini-guns stuck out the side that would shoot down a massive amount of firepower which impressed the hell out of the GIs in ‘Nam. Link is at-


  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    France paralysed as unions revive the spirit of 1968 The Times

    It takes a village.

    I think consumers and users can be very powerful too.

    “Delete, delete, delete!!!”

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Stress is contagious link:

    The researchers think the mechanism behind this effect in mice is the release of a “putative alarm pheromone” from the stressed mouse that signals a response in other mice.

    So, it sounds like physical presence is one way.

    Can stress be spread via the internet? Can you catch it discussing, debating, arguing over something from other participants?

  23. Karl Kolchak

    Re: Cellphones and cancer. I carried a flip phone and then a Blackberry for over a decade, usually tucked into a holder clipped to my belt right over the area where my pancreas is located. At age 47 I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given just 11 months to live. I managed to beat it the first time, but now at just over 5 years of survival the cancer is back in my liver.

    I should mention that I had none of the risk factors for any kind of cancer–very little family history; plus I was in good physical shape, didn’t smoke, worked out regularly and drank only socially. In addition, the average age at diagnosis for pancreatic cancer is around 70, or 23 years older than I was at the time.

    Of course, I will never be able to pin the exact reason for my cancer on any one cause, but I certainly do wonder if it was the phones. It would be particularly ironic since I never liked cell phones in the first place and would never have carried one but for it being a job requirement.

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      Thinking of you Karl. Sending positive thoughts your way. Lost a good friend to cancer this morning.

  24. Oregoncharles

    This could prove embarrassing, because I’m just a layman, but the logic behind “dark matter” makes me very skeptical. From the linked article:
    “one can see that they are guided by an unseen gravitational hand that occupies far more mass than is apparent”. That’s more like theology than science. It reminds me of epicycles and phlogiston. Usually, when the theory and the observations don’t match up, one or the other is wrong. And so far, it’s proven undetectable -as the article says, unreplicable observations aren’t good for much. Even very expensive ones.

    1. Synapsid


      The stars in the outer parts of galaxies are moving too fast to be held in their orbits by the gravity of all the stars and gas and dust we can detect directly. Those stars should be flying off into intergalactic space but they aren’t; the gravity of something we can’t otherwise detect is suggested to be what’s holding the whole shebang together. That’s what has been named dark matter.

      The idea is based on observation, not just speculation.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Very true – there has to be more matter somewhere to account for the fact that galaxies aren’t flying apart but I’ve always wondered why cosmologists have started looking for new exotic matter rather than considering there may be a lot of matter they simply can’t observe with current instruments or that their measurements may be off.

        A good cosmologist will freely admit that both dark matter and dark energy are simply terms for ‘We really don’t know what’s happening”.

        Cosmologists have only recently realized that there are a lot more dim class M red dwarf stars than previously supposed, same with brown dwarf proto-stars. And we know that matter is often flung out of galaxies altogether. If they didn’t know this stuff was out there, what else might have been missed? There is a lot of space between galaxies and who knows what it contains?

        And regarding the measurement possibility, trying to “weigh” a galaxy from light years away isn’t exactly an exact science and it wouldn’t be the first time measurements were inaccurate. The teams that won the Nobel prize for discovering that the expansion of the universe was accelerating based their results on just a few dozen Type 1A supernovae if I remember right – not a very large sample considering the trillions upon trillions of stars in just the observable universe. Recent studies using a lot more supernovae data have begun to call the Nobel-winning result into question.

        Not that it would make any difference to any of us personally, but I really do hope the Nobel winners are wrong. The thought of looking up in the sky billions of years form now and seeing nothing but darkness just seems so bleak, even if it won’t be me doing the looking.

      2. Oregoncharles

        IOW, the theory (of gravity) doesn’t match the observations – in this case, the estimates of how much matter is there. One or the other is wrong. Making up a vast amount of undetectable matter to cover over that obvious error is just like the Ptolemaic astronomers inventing more and more epicycles to save their Earth-centric theory. If they find it, I’ll be proven wrong, but so far that isn’t happening, at vast expense.

        Occam says they’re grossly underestimating the amount of interstellar gas and dust, but I certainly couldn’t prove it.

        1. J Sterling

          They’re not stupider than you, they’ve thought of everything you’ve thought of, and the alternatives don’t work. There’s a Nobel prize in Physics waiting for you if you’ve actually got the goods, but I suggest it’s only Dunning-Kruger syndrome.

        2. Synapsid


          Gas and dust affect light passing through them in specific ways–that’s how they’re detected. And they have mass too, so they’re contributing to holding those stars in their orbits.

          Dark matter has actually been mapped in galaxies by using variations in its effects in different parts of the galaxy. It can be located, we just don’t know what it is yet.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In its defense, I have to say it’s better than the theory of rain through rain-dance, though on first glance, they are confusingly (to us not-so-smart ones…like me) similar.

      Theory: If the rain priest does his rain dance, then we will get rain.

      And if we see no rain, it is because there is dark rain.

      “Those days when there was no rain when there should have – those empty entries in the data log – can be attributed to dark rain…rain that was there, but was undetectable with our present knowledge. Tune in tomorrow for a better best-explanation.”

      But I think the similarity ends there.

      We’ll probably never detect dark rain.

  25. shargash

    Good post by b over at Moon of Alabama with some backstory about the “Novichoks” chemical weapons:

    Apparently, even while the US & UK knew that Novichoks existed (and almost certainly had samples), they were officially sowing doubt about their existence and actively working to keep them out of the OPCW’s list of prohibited chemicals. I can think of no non-nefarious reason they should do that.

  26. Daryl

    > Big American Money, Not Russia, Put Trump in the White House: Reflections on a Recent Report Counterpunch. Tom Ferguson’s study is the lead story.

    This was a great article, I do have to take issue with the “Sanders would have gotten nothing done” portion of it. We are seeing right now how much damage a motivated executive can do simply by appointing people.

    Particularly the DOJ — imagine if, instead of trying to execute drug dealers, they were applying some of the very powerful antitrust laws that the US still has on the books. Even absent legislation, there is a lot that could be done.

    I guess we’ll never know now, though.

  27. kareninca

    It is startling flipping back and forth between lefty and righty sites and reading reactions to Hogg. For the most part, to the lefty site posters he is a great source of hope in the war on guns, and a hint of a future utopia to which we will be led by the young. For the most part, to the righty site posters he is an obnoxious attention-seeking little puke teen male, whose lack of information and judgment reminds them of why they think adolescents shouldn’t have the vote. There really are multiple mental universes out there.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Apparently the righties think it’s ok for said adolescent puke teen to have gunz, lots of gunz…?

      1. JBird

        Nah, it is all in the teens’ truthiness. Their actual personal qualities don’t mean a thing.

        If the smart teen has the double plus good “thoughts” and says the right Pravda, then they are wise, maybe even a future President, if the thoughts are double plus ungood, and they speak the other sides “propaganda”, they they are adolescent puke teens.

        Or to re restate it, it’s not who they are, but what they say, that makes them good or bad. It is also a very good way to delegitimize people along their ideas and opinions.

      2. kareninca

        Good point, haha. Well, actually I think he is 17 y.o.. So they’d think in a year he’d be suited to the possession of an armory. To be fair, I doubt they think pukehood causes gun violence; they’d say it’s just annoying.

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Russia expels more British diplomats over spy poisoning row”

    Now that is gunna crimp the British in Moscow losing so many. Certainly the Russian Federal Security Service will have far less spooks to keep track off and takes the pressure off them. The Russian diplomats booted out were in different countries but the bulk majority of the 150 western diplomats were from just Moscow. Guess that they will be redeployed elsewhere, maybe FIFA Games security.
    The Russians are seriously not amused. I don’t think it is about having so many diplomats thrown out (see Maria Zakharova’s suggested “Yes Minister”clip at as the ignoring of international laws and standards. Apparently the CIA was trying to recruit agents from the expelled Russian diplomats which went down like a lead balloon. Turns out too that not only did the US kick out 12 Russians from the UN mission, but that they have been deliberately not renewing the visas for Russians attached to the UN mission forcing them out. Not something that a host country for UN HQ is supposed to do.
    Personally I blame all these young security wonks that sit around a table and think up ways to hit Russia like was featured on NC a coupla days ago. Breaking international laws and treaties may seem the smart thing to do (“move fast and break things”) but they are too young – and stupid – to realize that they are there for a very good reason. They don’t seem to account for the consequences of their actions as well. Nothing else explains the shock when Russia reacts to something done to it with their own countermeasure. It always seems unexpected as in “They can’t do that!”

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