Links 12/14/18

Observation of tool use in striped skunks: how community science and social media help document rare natural phenomena Ecospjere. Note that community science is an obvious use case for a Jobs Guarantee, with data to drive a Green New Deal.

As Winters Warm, Blood-Sucking Ticks Drain Moose Dry Scientific American

Blankfein’s Final Days at Goldman Clouded by 1MDB Scandal Bloomberg

Wall Street banks turn skittish on leveraged loans FT

Politicizing the Portfolio Governing

NASA Finds Asian Glaciers Slowed by Ice Loss California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Court Tosses Permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline to Cross Appalachian Trail NBC (MR). Good. Leave it in the ground.

Northern member states unite on euro-zone reform The Economist. “The group, dubbed the New Hanseatic League, abhors fiscal transfers.”

Can’t Afford to Tell the Truth LRB. On the BBC.


Theresa May’s attempt to rescue Brexit deal snubbed by EU leaders FT

British Politics in Chaos: Brexit and the Crisis of Representative Democracy Lee Jones, The Full Brexit

Theresa May’s pyrrhic victory puts Britain on the course for political catastrophe Daily Telegraph. “UK politics will remain in a nosedive, with the flight controls now firmly jammed and no functioning ejector seat. Barring a miracle, it is hard to see how Britain can avoid a full-on catastrophe: either no Brexit or another ultra-divisive referendum, the break-up of the Conservative Party, and a Corbyn government, or most likely a combination thereof.”

How Theresa May won the confidence vote but lost the country The Week

Parts of Scottish Brexit bill ruled to be outside Holyrood’s devolved powers The Scotman (ruling).

Yellow Vest protesters erect a GUILLOTINE in Paris bearing French President’s political party name amid revolt that has forced Macron to address the furious nation Monday evening Daily Mail. Obey tradition!

The anger of the ‘gilets jaunes’ Le Monde Diplomatique.

The Global Economics of European Populism: Growth Regimes and Party System Change in Europe Mark Blyth and Jonathan Hopkin, Government and Opposition

The French Protests Do Not Fit a Tidy Narrative Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Understanding the Yellow Vests Movement Through Basic Color Theory Counterpunch

For Emmanuel Macron, How Did Things Get So Bad, So Fast? The Nation

The Yellow Jackets Versus the European Empire The American Conservative

Macron Should Take a Page From Obama to Deal With Protests Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg (CO). Macron (and Bershidsky) should look into the Domestic Security Alliance Council, which is how Obama “dealt with” Occupy.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

British Security Service Infiltration, the Integrity Initiative and the Institute for Statecraft Craig Murray and British Spies Infiltrated Bernie Sanders’ Campaign? Moon of Alabama (pjay).

FBI Files Show Agents Tracked Non-Violent Climate Activists as Part of ‘Domestic Terrorism Case Common Dreams

Taylor Swift secretly used facial recognition technology at concert to find stalkers Kansas City Star. As long as she doesn’t sell the data…


Warring Sides in Yemen Agree to Truce in Key Port City NYT


Chinese elites reel from shock of Huawei arrest FT

The Detention of Huawei’s CFO is Legally Justified. Why Doesn’t the U.S. Say So? Lawfare

Xi, Huawei and China’s powerful military-industrial complex Nikkei Asian Review

Trump Transition

35 years after The Day After Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Technology 202: Trump and Democrats signal support for antitrust action on tech companies WaPo

Here are the winners and losers from the new farm bill Grist

44 ex-senators warn U.S. is ‘entering a dangerous period’ Politico

* * *
A look at where the investigations related to Trump stand Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani says Trump’s legal team wants Mueller to ‘wrap the damn thing up’ Yahoo News

A ‘loud gong’: National Enquirer’s surprise deal could imperil Trump Politico. Full of “might” and “could,” though.

Maria Butina Pleads Guilty to Role in a Russian Effort to Influence Conservatives NYT

‘They don’t care’: Facebook factchecking in disarray as journalists push to cut ties Guardian. Film at 11.

Health Care

We read Democrats’ 8 plans for universal health care. Here’s how they work. Vox. Let the bait-and-switch begin! And for those who remember the 2009 health care battle, Jacob Hacker’s forthcoming proposal for Medicare Part E — [scratches head] “Wait, I know! More complexity!” — will induce hysterical (or hollow) laughter. Can’t these people find honest work?

Democrats in Disarray

The People, No Thomas Frank, The Baffler

Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S. McClatchy. Not new for anybody who followed the Religious Right during the Bush the Younger’s administration.

Class Warfare

“I blame myself”: Retirement remains out of reach for millions of Americans CBS

Blue Collar Worker Shortage Turns U.S. Labor Market on Its Head Bloomberg

Tesla employees launch organizing drive with help of nationwide unions WKBW (DK).

‘Transmissible’ Alzheimer’s theory gains traction Nature. “That the transmissibility of the amyloid-beta could be preserved after so many decades underlines the need for caution, says [Mathias Jucker at the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research]. The sticky amyloid clings tightly to materials used in surgical instruments, resisting standard decontamination methods.” Yikes.

Antidote du jour (via):

A hawk stealing a honeycomb.

Bonus antidote (BB):

BB writes: “This massive hornets’ nest, suspended from a cable wire on the side of the road, was swarming with activity in early September! It’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen around here in upstate NY!”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. emorej a hong kong

    British Security Service Infiltration, the Integrity Initiative and the Institute for Statecraft Craig Murray

    “Must read” doesn’t do justice to this understated comment by Murray (with more promised “next week”).

    ‘Grand Unified Theory of Five Eyes Opposition Sabotage’ (“**GUTFEOP**”)

    might become, before our eyes:
    >Grand Unified **Fact** of Five Eyes Opposition Sabotage

    Pronunciation “Goofy-Ops”? Very headline-friendly, as in:

    ‘Goofy Ops Deadly Serious Threat to Abort Democracy’

    1. emorej a hong kong

      Clarification of formatting: the indents in my comment above are not quotes of Murray, rather they reflect my feeling that “unified theory/fact” is a dramatic (but accurate) way to characterize the consequences of connections between the British Intelligence’s:

      1. Recently documented dark ops against Corbyn,

      2. Suspected involvement in the Trump surveillance-catalyzing Steele dossier; and

      3. Now implied involvement in some of the dirty tricks experienced by Bernie Sanders’ 2016 primary campaign.

      1. vidimi

        that british dude with the posh hyphenated name should be called to testify before congress on whether he infiltrated the sanders campaign on behalf of british intelligence and, by extension, obama and clinton.

    2. David

      Well, this is Murray, I’m afraid. Always interesting and often valuable, but inclined to get a bit carried away. In spite of the title, he says that he’s not actually alleging that any spies have done any infiltration, and the only example of infiltration he can actually quote involved the Police, not the intelligence service, targeting the animal rights lobby. He promises more revelations, but in the meantime all this seems to describe, with a lot of nudge-nudge and innuendo, is case of Information Operations, something that has a very long history in all countries. Incidentally, according to Wikipedia 23 SAS is a part-time reservist regiment, not the feared black balaclava mob, and its not clear what the reference to membership of it is supposed to imply. “Military Intelligence” is not an organisation, so far as I know, though it might mean he served in the Army’s Intelligence Corps.
      There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about this story, as its been reported, without adding unnecessarily to the (melo)drama.

      1. WJ

        Murray is not a commentator who gets “carried away.” His recent maritime legal analysis of the flap between Russia and Ukraine proves as much, as does his recent charitable defense (too charitable for me but that’s not the point) of George Soros. Murray does have first hand experience of how spycraft actually works and so his carefully circumscribed arguments are worth taking very seriously indeed.

      2. witters

        “Well, this is David I’m afraid. Always interesting and often valuable, but inclined to a certain self-assured ‘progressive’ centrism.”

    3. Philip

      Will be interesting to see how long the MSM can maintain blissful ignorance here with Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry asking questions.

      From the lists of names in the various “clusters” in the documents leaked several weeks ago it was crystal clear that this was a Big Deal – see Craig Murray:

      “I have a great deal more to tell you about Mr Edney and his organisation next week, and the extraordinary covert disinformation war the British government wages online, attacking British citizens using British taxpayers’ money. Please note in the interim I am not even a smidgeon suicidal, and going to be very, very careful crossing the road and am not intending any walks in the hills.”

      This is likely just the tip of the iceberg. As more and more crowd-source research/investigation continues, and threads get pulled on and dots connected, the tie-backs and revelations may well prove explosive.

      See b’s initial posting from 24 November:

      and these 2 links from comments on b’s current post:

      Good Night and Good Luck…

      1. Philip

        another document dump from anonymous

        from comments over @ MoA:
        Sifting through these but I found that apparently anti-Corbyn attack articles put though the Daily Beast by Ben Nimmo count as part of the Integrity Initiative Program
        Their official Twitter influence scheme includes the Atlantic Council
        They have interviews planted with their experts in BBC, The Times, Business Insider
        Liz Wahl part of the Integrity Initiative scheme (Abby Martin please note!)
        Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Dec 14, 2018 9:25:23 AM | 66

        Unsurprisingly, Nick Cohen is part of this group and attended a bizarre training session along with Ben Nimmo. Clearly the experts in anti-Left Wing smear campaigns. Eustonites reunite!
        Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Dec 14, 2018 9:32:07 AM | 67

        Well, may be a bit to early for bed, but all the same, Good Luck

        1. Conrad

          As a firm believer that all intelligence services are incompetant (with the possible exception of Mossad) I can only conclude that this is good news for Sanders and Corbyn fans.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the tie-backs and revelations may well prove explosive.

        There’s no particular reason to think that the murky intersection between the intelligence community, opposition researchers, big data, social media, and the press — all of whom are transnational — has been trawled by only one campaign, or even one party, or that such trawling is purely tactical, or that sovereigns aren’t engaged.

    1. Carl

      Yeah, that article made me throw up in my mouth, a little. Where’s this “democracy” they keep talking about? Oh right, these are the “folks” who made their living ignoring their constituents needs and serving their donors. Juxtapose with the 80 year old Oklahoman working at Wal-Mart…enjoying your retirement?

      1. hunkerdown

        Their country. Their democracy. Their national interest. Not ours.

        There are too many moderates on that list for me to take it as anything but concern over their future income streams and cocktail party invitations.

      2. Cal2

        No silly, “Freedom” is what we are fighting for,

        “Corporate Freedom”, a cause well worth our boys dying for in the Sandpile.

        Why pensions are not pro-rated is the question that the 80 Year Old Still Working article asks.

        Aerospace CEOs and hedge fund money mensches that made Big on the McDonnell Douglas merger are spending the 80 year olds’ pension money on exotic gifts about now.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “Why pensions are not pro-rated”?
          laid off suddenly a year before pension “kicks in”?

          Dude did everything right.

          I was never even sure what a Pension was until I got around to studying economics with a will(15 or so years ago, recognising my lack of understanding, and lucking on to a big box of econ books at the library sale, including Marx, Smith and Puzo,lol)
          I don’t know anyone my age(49) or younger with a pension of any sort.
          it’s 401K or nothing at all.
          Teachers, perhaps…but the consensus among them(those not yet retired) seems to be crossed fingers whether Texas will come through.
          There are many, many Blanche DuBois out here(“Kindness of strangers” as “Plan”)
          Bake Sales all around!!
          with a side of Bootstrap Stew!

            1. ambrit

              You just have to Believe! (TM)
              I remember reading about how various “Mystical Cults” faked pictures of practitioners of samhadi levitating above their meditation mats.
              1) Meditant sits on small trampoline.
              2)Meditant begins to bounce up and down in lotus position. (A feat in and of itself!)
              3) At sufficient distance above trampoline, meditant is cued to “look ecstatic!”
              4) Series of photographs of “floating” meditant are taken.
              5) Most ‘convincing’ photographs of ‘miracle’ are released to public.
              So, the ‘official’ versions of ‘self reliance’ etc. are easy to fake. Play “Fun With Numbers” to win a Prize.

              1. The Rev Kev

                ‘Meditant begins to bounce up and down in lotus position. A feat in and of itself!’. Maybe the Meditant would have his young female followers pushing him up and down from below the trampoline. It might account for that ‘ecstatic’ look,

        2. rd

          I am tired of all the tooth-gnashing of the loss of the good old days when pensions ensured a good retirement.

          1. Most pension benefits didn’t kick in unless you worked at least 20 years for a company (so you can never, ever change jobs)

          2. Most people actually weren’t eligible for pensions at all.

          3. Pension funds can and do get raided or go bankrupt. Then you are left with nothing unless it is covered with PBGC or Congress, in which case your benefits may be greatly diminished. This is going to be coming to many public service and multi-employer union members in the coming years.

          The dirty secret of why retirement funding has become very important is that people stopped smoking and medicine for older folks got better so many more people are living into their 80s and 90s instead of dying in their 60s and 70s.

          The dirty secret of why people’s 401ks aren’t great is that companies cut how much they were putting into 401ks compared to what they were putting into pensions when they did offer pensions. “Defined” contribution plans actually were “decreased” contribution plans.

          Social Security plus 6% employee contribution + 3% employer contribution (to a low cost, well-diversified 401k that are now available) for 35 years pretty much ensures that somebody will not be poor in retirement. More employee and employer contributions than that and somebody is likely to have a comfortable middle-class retirement. If those employee contributions are in a Roth account, then income taxes are likely to be very low.

          1. Carey

            “…Social Security plus 6% employee contribution + 3% employer contribution (to a low cost, well-diversified 401k that are now available) for 35 years pretty much ensures that somebody will not be poor in retirement…”

            Say what?

          2. Harrold

            The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 changed vesting of pensions to either 100% @ 6 years or 100% @ 7 years.

          3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I’d just chime in from Australia, 30 years ago they put in a system where employers must fund an employee account that the employee owns and controls. Approx 9% of salary.
            At the time of course the elite insisted this would bankrupt every Australian company.
            Fast forward to today and Australians have the highest median wealth in the world (accent on the word “median”). USA is +/- $60K, Australia is $190K.

          4. Amfortas the hippie

            only that many flaming hoops?
            what about the moat?
            I’m a working stiff, who’s spent his brain matter studying the classics, poetry,ecology, anthropology, etc.
            Must I be an accountant(and tax lawyer), too?
            Unneeded complexity is too often a cover for a hand in my back pocket…if not a gun to my head.
            New Deal was supposed to take care of that…and so was the Consensus between bidness and labor.
            point is, somebody crawfished on the deal.
            and it wasn’t the worker.

            1. ambrit

              My oh my. I’ve eaten in about four of those places mentioned in the link. There are a few good crawfish places in Slidell too.
              Now, for gooooood crawfish, try somewhere in Lafayette and the surrounding environs. The best places will always have a mild variety available, ostensibly “for the kids,” along with the demonically inspired ‘spicy’ versions.
              Hope you do well at the ‘Rattlesnake Roundup!’

          5. Adam Eran

            Recommended reading in this connection: Ellen Schultz’s Retirement Heist… an account of how America’s biggest corporations raided their defined benefit pension plans to goose CEO compensation and stock prices…and how the government let them.

            Schultz says that at one time 70% of the American workforce had a defined benefit pension (roughly twice as remunerative as defined contribution plans).

            Meanwhile: Social Security is not funded by tax collections, nor is any other government program. Where would people get the dollars to pay taxes or lend government if government didn’t spend them out into the economy first?

            As evidence, witness the $16 – $29 trillion in credit the Federal Reserve extended to the financial sector to bail it out in 2007-8. No new taxes! (and no inflation, either!). The figures are from the Fed’s own audit.

            Social Security’s shortfall is only $4 trillion in 27 years. And for only $9 trillion, the Fed could have paid off everyone’s mortgage. But Obama preferred to save the banks rather than the economy, so there’s that.

            It’s “spend, and then tax,” not “tax and spend,” says logic.

            As for national ‘debt’…that’s nothing like household debt. It’s like bank debt. Your accounts in the bank are your assets, but the bank’s liabilities.

            When you write a check, you’re assigning a portion of the bank’s debt to the payee. Currency is checks made out to “cash”

    2. a different chris

      Well I admit to TUDR (too unimportant, didn’t read) but I will say this: I was warmed by the idea of “ex-Senators”. I mean, nowadays between the stickiness of incumbency and the fact that nobody quits until they are on their deathbed we don’t seem to be generating a lot of ex-Senators or even, above a certain level, Representatives when it is clear a lot of them are well past their sell-by date (cough, Peloisi/Schumer, cough).

      We have brought back the aristocracy.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Considering the U.S. Senate, it’s very existence, it’s very purpose is to maintain aristocracy while checking and balancing the country in any direction but democracy.

        The Naomi Wolf link provided by lambert above… Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy. Would never have happened in a senate free authentic democracy. just remember old Nancy and Chuck in this weeks video with Trump. two who desperately wanted to govern in private… the very opposite of OWSers who wanted to discuss government and air grievances in as public a setting as possible.

        1. Wukchumni

          Can anybody think of a movement that ever amounted to anything, whose basic premise was laying siege, as OWS did?

          What if the French protesters all hung out @ a certain streetside cafe, that sported a lending library and everybody conversed to one another in silent sign language, while wearing yellow vests?

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            Reckon that Grievance Culture aspect…avoidance of pissing anyone off…when everybody should have focused on being royally and catastrophically pissed at the corner office…may have played a part…but maybe that’s my own until recently inarticulate grievance with what passes for the american Left.(it’s those great big angry toes! always underfoot! one can hardly help but trample upon them.)
            I wanted to see gallows and stocks and Madame Razors erected all along Wall and evirons.
            OWS certainly had an effect(affect?), but it ended up too easily smashed.
            (which travesty– by “our fdr”… the Savior, O– has vanished down the memory hole in Team Blue spaces…go figger.
            I’ve been pretty pissed since my first damned job.
            Glad, in spite of all the damage, that so many are finally catching up.

                1. todde

                  Online, much as I expected. It’s good place for the son of a CEO to be.

                  Europe is a weird place. I know a Baroness who is a member of the Communist Party.

                  1. Amfortas the hippie

                    lol. is that like the late-80’s suburban sons of privilege I knew who were allowed to dabble in hair metal and punk rock?
                    your cynicism might be greater even than mine own.

                    1. todde

                      I will admit I may be too hard on Yani.

                      He is suspect in my eyes. I don’t think we are going to talk our way out of this.

                  2. Carey

                    Recent Varoufakis quote that made me realize we weren’t on the same wavelength:

                    He [Varoufakis] added: “It’s important to keep freedom of movement, we’re internationalists and we do not want to see borders. The idea that foreigners are a problem is a toxic idea and it’s completely wrong. I reject wholeheartedly the argument that no borders serves the interest of capital because migrants compete with the local working class. This is a pathetic argument, it’s wrong, that never happens. Migrants create jobs – in aggregate – they do not take jobs away.”

                    Not buying it, Mr. Varoufakis.

                    1. Amfortas the hippie

                      from a True Humanist perspective, yes…I agree.
                      but we are still far away from that world.
                      so, no.
                      other things must take priority.
                      currently, we can’t even agree what “populism” means…or whether buying a woman a drink is sexist.
                      so prolly not ready for Free Range Humans, just yet.

                      Otherwise, I consider Yannis on my side, more or less.

                    2. Todde

                      I am under the impression that he sincerely wants to help the disadvantaged, as long as he can remain respectable doing so.

                      He seems to do more good than harm, for sure.

          2. JEHR

            Look, OWS had some really good aspects to it. There is, for instance, Occupy the SEC which is soldiering on and on:

            “Occupy the SEC is a group of concerned citizens, activists, and financial professionals with decades of collective experience working at many of the largest financial firms in the industry. Together, we make up an array of specialists, including traders, quantitative analysts, compliance officers, and technology and risk analysts. Like much of the 99%, we have bank deposits and retirement accounts that are in need of protection through vigorous enforcement of the financial markets.

            We can be reached at”

            I am sure there are other groups that originated from those OWS protests.

          3. JTMcPhee

            Teach us futility, O Lord… I seem to recall a movement that had a little luck with sieges, right there in France o all places.

            So OWS was a siege? Not just a poorly executed witnessing, suborned by sneaks and crushed by the Massive State as a threat to Elite rule? Part, maybe, at least, of a slow waking up of the Many to the presence and feel of their chains?

          4. aletheia33

            what a strange analogy. laying siege. from a cafe. bit of a mixed metaphor there?
            surely this is tongue in cheek, and meant solely to amuse?

            well, leaving that aside–
            surely you do not mean to quibble with historians’ common assertions that more than once, women and men by reading, sitting, and talking have directly altered the course of world history.
            or that the coffeehouse itself, as a social phenomenon, has served as incubator of great movements of societies.

            and leaving that too aside–
            make no mistake, OWS was an important nationwide development that constituted a serious threat to the status quo, and the owned government reacted to it in order to protect the owners’ interests.

            many OWSers have been contributing crucial work to sanders’s “political revolution” since it started.
            other OWSers have continued their dedicated work in other arenas–Occupy Sandy, Occupy Wall Street, BLM, to name only three.
            the people who chained themselves to the kitchen in zuccotti park when the NYPD came to dismantle it were not ones to give up and go home then. for them that was just a beginning. their resilience and long-term commitment to hard work have been extraordinary. they could well say, then and now, like sanders: “don’t underestimate us.”

            their work, the grinding groundwork, has generated growing and spreading results.
            without OWS, sanders could not have risen as quickly as he did in the national consciousness in 2016.
            without OWS we would not have had AOC.
            or the senate resolution passage yesterday on yemen.
            or the youngsters doing CD in DC for the green new deal this week.

            speaking of which, let us not forget that it was impoverished african-american teenagers in the american deep south, who refused to bow down for one more day, who originally ignited the civil rights movement.
            and let us not forget the community at standing rock, an occupation, not a siege, whose members stood together there because they were ready to die to protect their water, and Earth.

            there may be no hope, whatever stand anyone takes, of a sane future for any place in the world at this point.
            but let us give credit where it is due.

            1. Wukchumni

              I appreciate what OWS did in getting President Sanders elected and he of course has been at the forefront of change in righting things in our country and thank goodness people saw the light and didn’t vote for the other guy, and what can we say about AOC other than potential is a word that means you haven’t done a damned thing yet. But there’s hope for the future, and she may be the catalyst to effect change.

              …stay tuned

              1. aletheia33

                cynicism is normal, familiar, fun, and easy.
                there is no wisdom in it though,
                even though it’s a reality that good cannot “triumph over” evil.
                it is that other thing, whatever it actually is (i have no idea), the antidote to cynicism, that is nearly impossibly difficult.

                  1. aletheia33

                    i emphasized accomplishments, and you mocked me as crowing.

                    “cynical”: 1.2. Contemptuous; mocking.
                    –New Oxford American Dictionary

                    no hard feelings though. do sneer on!

                    1. Wukchumni

                      I like Bernie, but lets get real about the here and now…

                      The leader of the donkey show just related that getting Trump’s tax returns is the most important thing on her agenda.

                      We’re stuck in neutral trying to ascend a mountain, and the brake pads are wafer thin.

                  2. Yves Smith

                    OWS existed for all of TWO MONTHS before the 17 city paramilitary crackdown that put it to an end

                    You have zero perspective.

                    It coined the expression the 99% and you are still arguing about it today. That’s plenty.

              2. knowbuddhau

                I’m with aletheia33 (very well said at that) and JT.

                No, they didn’t accomplish what they weren’t trying to do. Where’d you get those criteria, and why should we meet them?

                No use stepping out of line, getting together in public places with like minded and like hearted people, taking pains to make each voice heard (and what pains at times, amirite?), not being afraid to get beaten to make obvious the violence inherent in the system, unless we can be sure of electing a president? In virtual unanimity?

                From where I’m sitting, that looks just like an impossibly high bar. What makes you think holding it up like that will make anyone jump?

                Exercising our rights is reason enough. We’re still talking about it right now, too, so you can’t say it had no effect.

          5. Lambert Strether Post author

            > whose basic premise was laying siege, as OWS did?

            OWS was literally about seizing territory (“Occupy,” get it?) It was in no sense a seige.

            I’m hairsplitting here because in fact the tactic is important; seizing city squares works in Cairo or Madrid and did in Manhattan, but it wouldn’t work in the suburbs because suburbs are centerless, or in rural areas. Now, one could occupy something else, but that is exactly my point.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Exhibit #345,…0,042 On why we need to abolish the Senate.

      I can’t for the life of me imagine why anyone thought listing Max Baucus and Evan Bayh at the top was a good idea.

      During our service in the Senate, at times we were allies and at other times opponents, but never enemies. We all took an oath swearing allegiance to the Constitution. Whatever united or divided us, we did not veer from our unwavering and shared commitment to placing our country, democracy and national interest above all else.

      Okay, I guess they love America or something. Is no one in the Senate taking their calls anymore? Have the lobbying jobs dried up? I guess when you see some of the ghouls representing the #resistance who get tv appearances one can understand how these former Senators would love a chance to rub shoulders with Joe Scarborough.

      1. Pat

        Nah, I’m pretty damn sure they are still lobbying, but now it is a real job rather than a gratuity for past service. They can’t just call up ‘old friends’ and get their wish list fulfilled over an expensive lunch. The people who sign off have a whole other list of grifters to support.

        Call me cynical, but as despicable as Trump is and the problems that their vaunted time in service have created from and for the increasingly desperate citizens of this country, their tantrums are all about not getting the expected spoils. None of this is about the corruption, the positions, the legislation or the direction of the country. Because frankly it isn’t all that different than most of them advocated for and/or wanted and/or voted for in the past.

  2. WhatAreYouDoingRoy?

    *Farm bill: move to the capitalist right and find a new center

    How about subsidizing/providing forgiveable/low-interest loans for small-scale farm labs and CSAs that look into the negative effects of organic farming before diving into that pile of shit. We enter a scary time when just using massive amounts of copper as an insecticide is “sustainable”. Maybe it’s wonderful that the abandonment of Monsanto’s round-up is on the horizon… but thats not how they work. Now they’re just producing organic cides for the win.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “massive amounts of copper”….if so, it ain’t “Organic”.
      it’s just a kinder, gentler, Big Ag.
      Grape growers use that a lot…for fungus infestations, due to poor management, unconscious row orientation, growing grapes where it’s too wet, and lack of insurance or something for those kinds of years.
      Only time I ever have mold issues is in weirdly wet years like this one.
      and I’ve never used copper sulfate.
      Organic(Real Organic), plus “Sustainable”, Permaculture and Local/Regional Preference is what’s gonna save our bacon, if anything will.
      so unless you’re a Nature Bats Last-er, better educate yourself on the difference between the original Organic Ag and the Corps(e) Perversion of “Organic”.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I have used copper, in preference to the really bad chemicals, but I buy the permaculture argument that this is because the plants are weak, which means the soil is weak, or I’ve planted too many plants of the same kind too close together, or have not planted companion plants.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yeah. it’s better than some of the other poisons…still.
          better to prevent…and like you said, healthy soil= healthy plants.
          the various fungi problems have to do with too much water, plus weak plants…then a bug comes along with a spore on it’s foot and yer screwed.
          we have this difficulty with non-vine curcurbits—like zukes.
          planting in well spaced mounds,and ruthless thinning, so air can get all around.
          some years, it doesn’t matter. excessive rain, etc
          the grape crop out here is a total failure(30+” in sep and oct), in spite of copper sulfate usage.

  3. Wukchumni

    35 years after The Day After Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    Watched a good film from 1965 last week called “The Bedford Incident”

    Richard Widmark plays the role of the captain of a destroyer pursuing a Soviet sub near Greenland, and I saw a lot of our President in him, in his arrogance and little forethought to what could happen on account of his actions, that were out of control, considering the situation.

    It doesn’t end well, the film.

    2 thumbs up…

    1. The Beeman

      AN old favorite of mine – fun movie – Wally Peeper’s and “Dan-O” are in the cast. Yes, it doesn’t end well.

      1. ambrit

        The only sane people on that bridge were the two “Outsiders.” Notice that they share the fate of the fools. That’s the lesson to me.
        (Star Trek stole plots from other sources, such as “The Enemy Below.” That’s OK as far as television goes. How The Federation would have handled a “Bedford Incident” situation would have been a great terminal episode for that show.)

        1. The Rev Kev

          The situation on the bridge in that film was close to what happened on the bridge of the USS Vincennes when it shot down Iran Air Flight 655 killing 274 people. Like in that film the skipper on the Vincennes had his people wound up tighter than a watch spring. Like the Richard Widmark character, he was overly aggressive to the point of recklessness. Only there was nobody on the bridge to stop him. Seeing a chance to possibly kill an Iranian F-14, he abandoned his post, sailed to the other side of the gulf, defied orders to return to his posted area, sailed into Iranian territorial waters and launched those missiles. In the movie, everybody on the US ship and the Soviet submarine are killed. In real life the gave the Captain of the Vincennes a medal.

            1. The Rev Kev

              “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

              -William Shakespeare

              That is as good a reason as any for nailing people for the consequences of their actions – both in life and after their death. Just wait till the first books come out detailing John McCain’s real life to see what I mean.

    2. rmpeditor

      I was the music editor on “The Day After” (working with the composer, David Raksin) and witnessed some interesting events while working on the film. The reason there were no commercials during and after the attack sequence was the network could find no sponsors interested in airing anything during that depressing material. In addition, as footage of the film began arriving at the network, the network basically panicked that the project would be too much for the public to take. They announced to the director, Nick Meyer, that they were going to move the air date to a later time. I remember telling Nick, when I heard the news, that this meant the film was going onto a shelf, never to be aired. It was after this that someone (most likely Nick Meyer) leaked a copy of the film to the press where it created a sensation with much publicity. With that, the network was compelled to show the film as scheduled. I heard the streets of New York were near-deserted during the broadcast.

      1. katiebird

        I lived in Lawrence, Ks when the film was being made. It was VERY interesting to see what was done to Massachusetts St (the main downtown street) . … Weird white powder covering everything was especially disturbing. The whole town really got into it and I know lots of people who were extras. Also, I think I saw it at a special showing at the KU student union (but that could be a false memory).

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        No doubt. The absurdity really came out in that one.( I quote General Ripper a lot in polite company)
        but I saw Day After when it came on TV…largely because my folks were unaware of it(they would have never allowed me to watch it).
        It made a big impression, and I took to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, micro and macro, to tease out what it was all about.
        But then I had questions, lol.
        I remember distinctly that no one wanted to talk about it.

        1. JBird4049

          Living through the Cold War was an adventure in mutual mass insanity wasn’t it? Forty years of being told and planning for the End of Civilization and the possible extermination of all of humanity very possibly due to mere honest error by some random watch officer or a corporal at some checkpoint or a computer glitch was a multi generation mind screw.

          It reminds me of the current situation. Yes, civilization is less likely to end over a war fought during a long afternoon picnic (just think with no cellphones, you could come home and find out your entire world’s murder happened hours earlier) but the same feel of insanity, that the captain and crew were all drunk and careening through an ice field, and you and your fellow passengers were all locked out of the bridge.

          The horrible thing is that the idiots running things during the Cold War were all survivors of the Great War, the Great Depression and the Second World War so they knew just how horrible it could get for everyone and what making a mistake could cost.

          The current generation of rulers are children who think they are wise because they are deemed the elite, the “meritocracy” when really they are just connected and foolish buffoons. No wisdom, nor any self-reflection, just a yawning pit of ego and greed.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            and here I was gonna go to bed early….

            I’d rather have my grandad in charge than my dad or my brother.
            (I’m Cincinnatus, in this exercise)
            likely because of his experience with the War and the Depression.

            1. ambrit

              Wait a minute. What ‘bridge’ do you intend to defend?
              To this Cynical Mississippian, all today’s ‘bridges’ are “too far.”
              I do appreciate the meme of returning to one’s farm after the crisis is past. Unfortunately, today’s political class has embraced the strategy of the “eternal crisis.”

      2. Wukchumni

        It’s a tour de farce that never lets up on it’s grip, but also never allows the comedy to seem forced.

    3. ewmayer

      Another fine film in the same genre, and released in the same year (and perhaps overwhadowed by as a result) as Dr. Strangelove is 1964’s Sidney-Lumet-directed Fail-Safe, starring Henry Fonda.

      If you like Henry Fonda but want to end the evening on a less depressing note, you could do a double feature of Fail-Safe followed by the 1979 natural-disaster shlockfest that is Meteor, in which Fonda again plays POTUS, and the U.S. must team with the deplorable Rooskies in an attempt to destroy a gigantic asteroid heading straight for Earth. (Back in the pre-Bruce-Willis era such international alliances were alas sometimes necessary to save humankind.)

      1. ambrit

        “…the pre-Bruce-Willis era…”
        Does the gentleman know that he has now been deified unto memehood?
        I suspect that he would appreciate the irony.

  4. emorej a hong kong

    Meng is alleged to have said Huawei and Skycom were separate companies in a meeting with an executive of a financial institution, [after] Reuters reported in 2013 that Huawei was operating Skycom and had attempted to import U.S.-manufactured computer equipment into Iran (CTVnews)

    Such an executive presumably had a duty to do more than accept Meng’s assertions without reasonable investigation. Otherwise, the executive and/or underlings themselves would have been in non-compliance.

    But to me the most interesting part of the story so far is absence of any suggestion that a US-registered portion of HSBC was a victim of the alleged fraud. Beyond the legal technicalities, if the US seeks extradition for prosecution of a Chinese officer of a Chinese company for committing fraud against a non-US bank outside the US, it’s hard to think of a better way to encourage Europe to support a new banking structure that can be ring-fenced from US enforcement of US laws.

    1. Yves Smith


      Huawei could be operating Skycom without someone doing reasonable “know your customer” due diligence being able to figure it out. Skycom could have given Huawei an joint venture agreement that allowed them operating control even if they were a minority owner or had only non-voting stock.

      Moreover, there are tons of secrecy jurisdictions (the Channel Islands, Scottish limited partnerships, the Caymans, to name a few) through which Huawei could have owned Skycom (as in through an intermediate company or companies that would be impossible to trace the ownership).

      I think you should wait for the extradition hearing, where much more detail will be presented.

      1. Anon

        Isn’t HSBC the bank that has been fingered for laundering Billion$ in drug money? It seems like banking AND commerce AND government (and its agencies) have become a massive “den of thieves”. (Seems like we’re trying to find virtue in Hell.)

  5. Todde

    I know 3 Europeans, all very wealthy.

    They don’t have much good to say about the yellow jackets.

    They are clueless. The most ignorant educated people i know.

    Good people that just dont get it.

    1. John

      Were greed still considered the vice that it is, you probably would not call them good. Maybe friendly to those they allow within the bubble. Greed totally displaces empathy and places them within the bubble. And their true reaction to the gilets jaunes is probably fear., now that mock guillotines are appearing in the streets. Social chaos will join climate chaos.

    2. bwilli123

      Background on the gilet jaunes. An article on the Privatization of the French Rail System and a strike in April.

      …”Public services in France were more than conveniences. For millions, they were an ethic, a way of life. In many countries, public services are totally undermined by corruption and neglect. This does not happen when people believe in what they are doing. Such belief is not automatic: it is historically acquired. The French cheminots have been like an extended family, held together by belief that they are carrying out an essential social duty. In fact, many are literally “family”, as the job of train conductor often passed from father to son, as a matter of pride.
      This devotion to social duty is more than a personal attitude: it is a spiritual value that a nation should treasure and preserve. Instead, it is being sacrificed to the demands of finance capital.
      How is that? There is now an excess of capital sloshing around the world on the lookout for profitable places to invest. That is what “neoliberalism” is all about. Ordinary businesses may go broke, or at least fail to turn a profit to stockholders. That is why the public sector must be privatized. The great thing about investing in public services, is that if they don’t make money, the government will step in and subsidize them – at taxpayers’ expense!
      That is the attraction of the arms industry. It can also apply to education, health care, transportation, communications. But the official pretext is that these services must be privatized because that will make them “more efficient”….”

        1. Carolinian

          That Diana Johnstone piece has been doing the rounds for awhile. I was in France when Mitterand was elected and the manager of my youth hostel–an Algerian I think–was elated. He little suspected that Mitterand was an early version of a long line of neoliberal Trojan Horses.

          To hide its anti-social shift, the Socialist Party changed its line to “anti-racism” and “the construction of Europe” (meaning the European Union), presented as the new horizon of “progress”. The concern of workers to maintain the standard of living they had achieved in recent decades was derided as “reactionary”, in opposition to the new concept of borderless, global competition, the new “progress”.

          This all sounds very familiar.

    3. David

      Act 5 of the gilets jaunes is expected tomorrow in Paris and other major cities. Disruption has been going on all week outside the big cities. The government response is a re-run of last week: 8000 police in Paris, public buildings and museums closed, parts of Paris locked down and searches and (probably) pre-emptive arrests. No-one has the remotest idea what will happen. The government has asked the GJ not to demonstrate tomorrow because of the security situation following the Strasbourg shoots, but since the perpetrator is dead, it’s hard to follow the logic. There seems to be little sign of the GJ giving up.

      1. vidimi

        furthermore, this weekend will see some of the coldest temperatures of the year with the mercury dipping below zero. this weekend will really test the gilets’ resolve.

        1. Wukchumni

          Thank goodness for all that extreme cold weather experience on the way back from Russia, a couple hundred+ years ago.

    4. Ignacio

      I know 3 Europeans, all very wealthy.— wealthy means, superior, knowledgeable, better educated?

      They don’t have much good to say about the yellow jackets.

      They are clueless. The most ignorant educated people i know.–clueless because they are poor?

      Good people that just dont get it. Don’t get what?

      1. todde

        Wealthy means…. Wealthy means their Assets vastly exceed their Liabilities. as for education, they are very educated. One went to Brown, for free on the Marshal Plan. The other two are sons of EU diplomats, who went to the “EU” schools and later all the best universities.

        Clueless because they are poor? No they are clueless because they never had a bill they couldn’t pay. Didn’t see Trump coming or Brexit or the YJs. Probably because they never met a bill they couldn’t pay.

        As I tell them “Trump has no agitated? Now you know how I feel every time I have to write a mortgage check.”

        Don’t get what? The anger. As they see it, these people are comfortably well off, protesting to get free stuff and destroy the planet.

    5. Stadist

      Well, clearly there are also anarchists among the yellow jackets, as proven by the looting of some iPhone store. But this is kind of standard story that the State and Media would be expected to run, as this will imply whole yellow jackets movement is a bunch of anarchists. However Anarchists will always jump to action when anything like this happens so that’s a poor excuse to disapprove of the Yellow Jackets movement.

      This movement and events I haven’t been following too closely, lack of time, but I have been following local Finnish news and they just introduced a plan in here to reduce private traffic carbon emissions. These reduction plans are part of the EU emission reduction plans and each country has their own allocated target. For Finland and other richer than average EU countries these reduction targets are quite heavy and so was introduced plan. So now to my understanding both this local Finnish plan and situation in France are connected to the general EU emission reduction targets.

      I have to express my full support for the Yellow Jackets movement, especially because there are parliamentary elections coming in the spring here in Finland and I’m sure the local political leaders are carefully observing what will happen in France now.

      This whole climate change is serious situation, but following news and the political leaders it’s increasingly starting to look like climate change ‘crisis’ is harnessed as a reason to radically change the taxation structure: Basically the situation ‘justifies’ introduction of various consumption taxes, targeted to reduce the climate endangering activities, like driving fossil fuel vehicles. On surface this is justified. However, here the local Finnish plan openly discusses about need to retain the current level of tax income from traffic, mostly collected as 1. Fuel taxes 2. Annual vehicle tax (which is based on fuel efficiency figures) 3. Purchase tax on new/imported vehicles.
      So the plan openly wants to shift most of the tax burden on actual fuel taxes, which will disproportionally hit lower income households, who rarely are original owners of their vehicles, as they will be unable to acquire EVs without some sort of state supported loan system, while the medium to high income households will not have problem buying EVs. Also the plan also talks about state support for buying these EVs, which would once again disproportionally affect citizens depending on implementation, but my understanding was it would be either direct State support to the buyer or some sort of tax deductible implementation, neither of which would be within reach of lower income households. And to remind you, this whole tax reshuffle should be tax income neutral for the State, so effectively the people driving fossil fuel vehicles between 2020-2045 would pay for the EV subsidies for the buyers, otherwise no other tax income from this consumption tax against climate change is even used to fight the climate change, except for the reduction in carbon emissions from traffic, which is still miniscule from total carbon emissions here in Finland. After the transition period (until 2045) they will probably add the fuel taxes into electricity tax.

      Yellow Jackets have my full support, if we close our eyes now political elite will soon reshuffle whole tax structure to make the lowest income households save the planet while the elite keeps on living like there was no climate change.

      1. Wukchumni

        I remember watching the tv, transfixed by all of the looting going on in the midst of the Rodney King Riots in L.A. back in the day.

        Not many of those people i’d imagine, woke up that morning thinking, yeah, i’ll go steal stuff from a store.

        Never try and discern what makes a mob tick…

        1. Anon

          Actually, it’s a good idea to discern what makes a mob tick. You may learn something.

          “… articles about the strained racial climate in Central LA after four white police officers were charged with beating a black motorist named Rodney King. There were other stories I had not remembered though, like the increased tension between local African Americans and the Korean American community. The murder of 15 year old Latasha Harlins by a Korean shop keeper was another factor fueling the racially charged political climate of Los Angeles. All in all, the social environment brewing in America’s largest west coast city was just waiting to burst into flames… and the acquittal of Rodney King’s assailants was the spark that unleashed it all.”

          Some angry (poor) people see looting during social disruption as a way to get necessities that they otherwise may not be able to afford. I’m sure you noticed in the link you proffered that the folks in the video are people of color (black and brown). How do the Rodney King Riots compare to the Shock and Awe perpetrated on Baghdad?

      2. BondsOfSteel

        There are two solutions the government can use to reduce fuel usage; taxes and rationing.

        Taxes are often seen like the only solution since rationing is associated with corruption and unfairness. A failure of government. While Taxes are seen somehow are fair… a natural way of using the market.

        But, we’ve seen over the past decade of so that markets are not always fair. The government itself is willing to put it’s thumb on the scale. Corruption is rampant, and the guilty get ‘Get of of Jail Free’ cards.

        These taxes are regressive; they should be replaced with rationing based on locale. People in cities with transport or EV infrastructure should get almost none.

        1. human

          There are two solutions the government can use to reduce fuel usage; taxes and rationing.

          More local jobs, improved mass transit, no-nonsense efficiency standards, renewable/sustainable development …

      3. Eclair

        ” …. there are also anarchists among the yellow jackets.” Just saw a photo of a sacked and pillaged Starbucks in Paris. Spray-pointed across the front …. “Pay your taxes.” (in French, naturellment.) Not your usual anarchist sentiment. Moi, I could visualize this painted across Amazon headquarters in Seattle.

        And, Stadist, thanks for your reporting from the ground on the situation in Finland. Very interesting.

  6. timbers

    Rudy Giuliani says Trump’s legal team wants Mueller to ‘wrap the damn thing up’ Yahoo News

    Trump should fire Mueller, and immediately appoint his replacement with someone from Judicial Watch who has the smarts to investigate her and Bill and their Foundation relentlessly for years and years.

    It would be a political master stroke, if possible.

  7. Amfortas the hippie

    max boot tweet linked in Tiabbi’s first paragraph:

    “What’s wrong with elitism?”

    surely these folks can afford corrective eye surgery?
    This Big Center that’s trying to be hatched is inimical to the times…even in my very Red backwater.
    Max appears to be one of the main balloon blowers and noodle throwers…not really a household name, so relatively expendable as a public voice.
    I just don’t see an embrace of elitism as a path to electoral victory(of course, with the bipartisan shenanigans regarding the vote, who knows?)
    I’m thinking more and more that I need to re-read Toynbee…Exhausted “Creative Minority” of the previous age, now the “Dominant Minority”…encased in a carbonaceous crust, bereft of the ability to see outside the proverbial beltway, and recognise the simmering discontent, there.
    Luckily, a new lefty narrative framework is finally emerging, it seems…in spite of the perfunctory guffaws and side-eye. I hope with all my heart that the Machine is as clueless and dysfunctional as it sometimes seems(from under the Big Oak, with squinted eyes for to see past the gauzy, near universal, obfuscation)…so that the usual skulduggery and bud-nipping won’t work as well as in the past.
    Let us make this Common Sense, a la Paine:

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      and La Monde :”For salaried employees and small business owners, whose purchasing power has been stagnant, or is declining, taxes seem less like a quid pro quo for public services and more like an extra expense. Their sense of injustice increases when their struggle to pay is combined with a belief that their money is being used to enrich people who are better off than they are.”
      could be said about where I live…even though antitax fervor has long been the province of the GOP. Now I hear these words from Le Monde on the lips of poor and apolitical people…for those same arguments: no quid pro quo, coddle the rich, punish everyone else.
      This is a remarkable development…not ten years ago, this place was rife with excuses for the “Producers”(sic), hatred of the poors(Bootstraps!) and loud support for shutting down the fedgov(even though my county relies utterly on $$$ from that quarter).
      That These People( numerous small-C conservatives, and all but the locally rich repubs) are sounding like Huey Long is astounding, really.
      But they could easily veer Right, if a lefty narrative fails to penetrate.

      1. Polar Donkey

        My conservative relatives in rural Tennessee are more open to voting for Bernie Sanders than my rich liberal boss in the city. The times, they are a changing.

    2. Eclair

      Nice link on the analysis of the Green New Deal proposal, Amfortas. I read AOC’s draft proposal and thought it sounded … well …. common sensible. Big ideas, but climate disruption is a big crisis. Problem looming of it being watered down, compromised, so that all that’s left is some half-hearted swipe. I am counting on the Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion, along with other committed groups, to put pressure on the recalcitrant ones.

    3. Craig H.

      That Tiabbi piece is excellent. Not any new information but a high density of killer quotes if you are looking for some 21st century Marie Antoinette “let them eat cake” material.*

      *Marie Antoinette didn’t actually say that.

  8. zagonostra

    >I blame myself”: Retirement remains out of reach for millions of Americans

    Beautiful, how much clearer could it be. The introjection ( that so many people have succumbed to is wonderfully captured in this article. Let’s forget the oligarch’s dismantling of the social policies put in place to help common folk retire, the skyrocketing healthcare cost, the unseemly, immoral amount of money education cost, and so on and so on…

    When you’re trying to get your children through college, help your aging parents, work 60 hours a week, watch as your healthcare premiums eat up any wage increases you receive and then you blame your F$%ing self for it…gawd almighty…

    This is why I like Jimmy Dore so much he channels some of the roiling anger towards the establishment that I feel…see below on M4All.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      A 2017 Washington Post article tracking the fate of the employees cut loose by the McDonnell Douglas closure of the Tulsa plant noted some interesting tidbits. Just prior to the Tulsa plant closing, executives were looking to cut costs and were considering closing plants in Florida, Arizon and Oklahoma:

      “Tulsa, it was noted, had the oldest hourly employees — the average employee was 51 and had worked there for about 20 years. Many were close to getting a full pension, and that meant closing it would yield bigger savings in retirement costs.”

      Wouldn’t you know it, they picked Tulsa and had a slew of reasons why it had to go — but with no mention of the pension angle. Former employees were none to happy and filed suit against the company:

      “…in 2001, a federal judge agreed that McDonnell Douglas had illegally considered the pensions in its decision to close the plant. The employees case, presented by attorneys Joe Farris and Mike Mulder, showed that the company had tracked pension savings in its plant-closure decisions.

      The judge found McDonnell Douglas, moreover, had offered misleading testimony in its defense of the plant closing. The judge, Sven Erik Holmes, blasted the company for a ‘corporate culture of mendacity.'”

      Alas, the employees may have won the battle but lost the war. The average settlement per employee was around $30,000 — far less than the loss in pension and retireee health benefits.
      While ex-employees like Coomer “blames himself” for the way things turned out, I wonder how those McDonnel Douglas execs faired during their retirement.

      1. Off The Street

        Would anyone be surprised to learn that consultants make bank on advising companies about those oldster pension, healthcare and other line items? Their hollow souls must reside near to those of the cigarette company attorneys.

    2. RUKidding

      Yes, it really made me sad and mad (not at the man in the article) that this elderly man in OK blames himself for his plight. McDonnell Douglas just closed the plant one year shy of his full retirement. Believe me, none of the McDonnell Douglas higher ups are working as WalMart greeters at the age of 80.

      But US citizens have been propagandized to hold only themselves to blame for anything that happens to them. Personal responsibility is important, but there are times when it’s simply not your fault for your circumstances.

      There’s overwhelming fact-based evidence of how the wealthy have amassed their fortunes to the detriment of most of us in the 99%.

      I have any number of friends who are still clawing their way back to some sort of financial well being 10 years after the crash of 2008. Most of them are now in their late 60s and early 70s and are still working full time. And will likely work full time for a number of years to come.

      The media crows about how great the economy is doing now. It IS better, but for many who lost almost everything in 2008, it’s been a long, hard slog to get back to any sort of financial security.

      Woe betide us if/when we have another crash. If so, you can rest assured that the bulk of the mega rich will do just fine. The rest of us? Not so much.

      But it’s never a good time to talk about Medicare for All. We simply “can’t afford it” or something.

    3. EGrise

      “There is nothing pragmatic about an incremental solution to a catastrophic problem.”

      — Ron Placone on the efforts to crush M4All

      Thanks for the link!

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Maria Butina Pleads Guilty to Role in a Russian Effort to Influence Conservatives”

    Well of course she did. That is what happens when you undergo torture-lite. She has been locked up in her cell – which is about 85 square feet – the past coupla months now under conditions of solitary confinement. Most people start to go a bit squirrely under conditions like that. She gets two hours to walk round a prison courtyard for exercise by herself. This is between 2 to 4 am. Yes, you read that right. Right when the bulk majority of people are in deep REM sleep, they jank her out at 2 in the morning for her ‘exercise’ so you have to wonder if she is being allowed normal sleep patterns to develop what with ‘cell checks’ and meals during the course of the day. Not long after being locked up she had dental problems but these were ignored by the prison authorities. Probably the deal offered was you plead guilty or else we will keep you here the next quarter of a century. Now the US Justice Department can boast of a captured ‘spy’.

    1. Wukchumni

      My young friend in prison in Arizona was fed about 800 calories a day and kept locked up for 23 out of 24 hours for the first year of his term, according to his mom, and he’s a nobody.

      His crime by the way was attempting to pass a stolen check of a certain amount, which will get you 6 years in the calaboose there.

    2. Pat

      From the description in the Times article, the only difference between Butina and say Sheldon Adelson is that she was a foreign citizen acting as agent and he is not. Oh, and he provides millions as an agent/cheerleader for a foreign power.

      That she has pleaded guilty under the circumstances is, yes, understandable and makes me ashamed of my country and its rulers yet again. Especially with the very clear double standard just on what influence is acceptable, that doesn’t even get into our use of influence in other places.

    3. JohnnySacks

      The patsy tool gets solitary confinement in the prison cell, and the NRA gets to continue doing business as usual with some minor discomfort in having to close down their ridiculously inane TV channel.
      Although seeing the typical outcome of Russians who publicly expose and criticize dear leader, her life span is extended the longer she’s behind bars.

      1. Hameloose Cannon

        Butina is unfortunately under protective custody to prevent self-harm or harm from someone else [ex. poisoning], and is visually checked on every 15 minutes. She has access to the telephone in which she is in contact with her family and is receiving medical care for her arthritis . The Russian complaints of mistreat are rich given their own history of harsh detainment, but diplomacy is a pantomime. The issues at hand are how much Butina is allowed to talk before returning to her own security services for debriefing [medals, disciplinary boards, or worse], for whom will she be traded, and whether she will be acknowledged by her government at all. But Putin seems willing to write-off the NRA penetration affair as a mixed success, making a very televised “who?” remark, and will welcome her back into the herd. [Putin’s weakness is Alpine romance with athletic dames: gymnasts, agents, martial artists. He prefers anti-ingenues with cunning who will give him a little grief over his sentimental doting. I have a suspicion his PR displays of woodland virility is for his paramours rather than the general public. (Did you see me on the tube, “rybka”?) Say what you will, the man knows how to leverage an adversary’s’ insecurities.]

        Now the Alexander Torshin fella…nobody’s seen him lately. He’s about five-three and looks like Patton Oswalt wearing glasses in a Henry Poole.

        1. The Rev Kev

          My Controller says that you have a completely wrong picture of Putin as he is actually quite the fellow having worked with him in Dresden. Putin can talk in complete sentences, does not know what a sound byte is, and actually has a working understanding of grammar. He has no social media accounts whatsoever but will let you know if you are in his bad books. He also finds it painful to have to meet up with people of the caliber of Trump, May, Trudeau, Merkel and Abe and try to hold intelligent conversations with them – a struggle in itself. As for ‘paramours’, it would not matter if he had more of them than I have had hot diners as that is his business. So long as it does not drag the nation into his business – cough. Trump. cough.

        2. Not From Here

          So she’s woken up every 15 minutes “to check” on her. Sounds like sleep deprivation to me. Ya big troll.

  10. Not From Here

    “The Detention of Huawei’s CFO is Legally Justified. Why Doesn’t the U.S. Say So?”

    Interesting article full of useful links. I just wonder, and would not be surprised, if Meng frequently flew through USA airspace, if not landing here. The point of using Canada’s horrible extradtion policy might be a ploy to ensnare Trudeau’s government in another scandal to help the conservatives.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Did you notice who published this article? Yeah, Lawfare – the name explains it all. It is an organization devoted to using the law and legal institutions as ‘a weapon of conflict’. Their words, not mine. See their page at
      Let’s step back and consider this from another angle. Anybody remember that book “Three Felonies a Day”? Google the name and you will see some outrageous examples of what can happen. And I believe that there are twenty-three States in the US with the three strikes rule so those three felonies could put you away for life. The law can be used against you whenever required. Just ask the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri about that.
      My point here is that if law enforcement wanted to, they could use these felonies to put you away for a very long time if they so desired. Maria Butina will be happy to confirm that. And you know what could happen then? Lawfare would probably be quite happy to publish an article explaining why you were put away and how it was all within the confines of the law and how everything was legal. Bah! Humbug!
      I would be more than delighted to read a Lawfare article explaining how on one hand the Mafia Princess’s arrest was quite legal but on the other hand how Trump can say that he could use and then release her as a bargaining ship in a trade negotiation package. Goddamn fools like Bolton don’t realize what they have started as they are too busy gloating over their bright idea. Canada is picking up the tab for that one. A pox on all their houses.

      1. Not From Here

        I did notice, it’s what got me wondering about the two birds with one stone, plus it gives Trump a way to continue to assert influence on China on behalf of his family empire’s operations there. It would be a much more sticky wicket to order charges dropped once Meng is in the USA.

      2. Carolinian

        Apparently some people from the Justice Dept have been telling the press that they told Trump he had no say in overriding their decision to prosecute so this may have been an initiative of people with little connection to Trump or Bolton although Bolton the bomb thrower more than happy to go along. Which is to say it may be a lie that Trump didn’t know in advance or it may be true and he was blindsided. Whatever one thinks of the merits of the case I’d say it’s one with major foreign policy implications that the President should have at least been informed about. Certainly the Chinese are seeing it that way.

        1. The Rev Kev

          If Trudeau and Bolton knew about the arrest and Trump was blindsided, his statement might be a way to short-circuit what is happening as it was done behind his back and made him out to look clueless. If I was Meng’s lawyer, I would claim that her arrest is as a ‘political prisoner’ and cite Trump’s statements here for her not to be sent to the US.

    2. emorej a hong kong

      Precisely my initial and continuing reaction: that Canada predictably would bear more pain from this than China or the USA, and perhaps more than Huawei or Meng.

    3. rd

      Here is the box that Trump just put Canada in:

      Meng’s arrest and extradition process were going swimmingly until Trump opened his mouth about it. Once he said he viewed her as a political pawn, Canadians started getting snapped up in China.

      It will not surprise me if the Canadian judge lets Meng go now that Trump has essentially said that her detention is a bargaining chip even though the original arrest was nothing like that. Trump turned her into a human rights issue instead of an Iranian sanction issue.

      1. Not From Here

        and if that release happens, no matter the truth of it, Trump’s daughter and son-in-law will claim credit for it in their meetings with China officials.

    1. cm

      Yeah, and that isn’t a honey comb, as those are wasps. It isn’t eating honey, but larvae. From your wiki link:

      It is a specialist feeder, living mainly on the larvae and nests of wasps and hornets

      1. Lee

        Thanks for the correction. Obviously, I should’ve read further.

        Yuk factor trigger warning

        Speaking of larvae, we are currently having necrotic flesh removed from our dog with maggot debridement therapy.

        Maggot therapy

        Our local veterinarian. unfamiliar with and reluctant to use the method was finally convinced, after researching and speaking with the maggot supplier, Dr. Norman Sherman at Monarch Labs and affiliated with U.C. Irvine, who has been selective breeding them since 1985. My Vets staff were quite excited about the prospect and they crowded round to observe and one of them filmed the application of the critters to my dog’s wound. They are due to be removed this afternoon and we will see what we shall see.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          stepdad had that done to him at the VA.
          they only eat dead flesh, and so are great for “debriding”–the removal of dead flesh in infected pressure sores…even the tunneling kind.
          pretty neat, once you get of the Ik Factor.
          Old tech, too(was in the film “the Gladiator”, and is mentioned by Galen, etc)

          1. Off The Street

            provides more insight on those hydrogen peroxide bottle label notices about application for oral debriding

  11. cm

    In passing, yesterday NPR’s coverage of Maria Butina’s guilty plea included an off-hand comment that she is being held in solitary confinement, with no further explanation.

    I believe she has been in solitary during most of her time in confinement.

    Does anyone know of a justification for solitary for a presumably non-violent prisoner?

    1. Cal

      Plenty of beans to spill over the phone, to other prisoners, her lawyer about powerful people etc.
      Is the price of a new cold war worth her losing her constitutional civil rights? Yes, she has them;
      If any illegal walking across the Rio Grande gets them, then so should she.

      Wonder if they’ll do a Whitey Bulger on her?

  12. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “FBI Files Show Agents Tracked Non-Violent Climate Activists as Part of ‘Domestic Terrorism Case’ ” — Doesn’t the so-called ‘Patriot’ Act remain in effect? I thought the verbiage in some parts of the readable portions of that act place a broad range of citizen action under a rubric of domestic terrorism. The linked Common Dreams story doesn’t say much past the headline. J. Edgar is gone, but has anything changed since the FBI built its file on Martin Luther King — other than the carte blanche I had thought the Patriot Act offered to them and the many other agencies protecting our “Homeland”?

  13. Wukchumni

    Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S. McClatchy.
    It’s funny how we got here…

    We needed a bulwark against a perceived enemy that was dogma-less in the late 1940’s, and enter Billy Graham with Hollywood movie star looks and an essential God fearing and God praising presence. Every President from then on was titillated to get a photo with him.

    That Cold War has been over for close to 30 years now, but like so much Kudzu, dogma grew and morphed into something that couldn’t be talked about in terms anything other than reverence, giving the evang players their unassailable bully pulpit.

    And here we are today, this article being the epitome of:

    “Do as I say-not as I do”

    1. Carolinian

      The Catholic church was probably more in the vanguard against Communism than the evangelicals. They’ve also had more than their share of sex scandals–one thing, at least, that Billy Graham can’t be accused of.

      Of course Communism isn’t even still around and yet our elites–sans Billy Graham–are still out to get Russia. Maybe re godless Communism it was never really about that.

      1. Wukchumni

        …and what sort of inroads at the highest levels of our government, has the Catholic church ascended to?

        1. Carolinian

          Checked that Supreme Court roster lately? Taking away Scalia and Kennedy did knock it down a bit. But Catholic influence in the conservative judicial movement is heavy.

          Of course I’m not blaming the Cold War, old or new, on Catholics but it’s no more far fetched than trying to blame all our troubles on evangelicals. Obama went this route with his “bitter clingers” which says something about him.

          1. Wukchumni

            There’s a good reason the President’s approval numbers haven’t gone down, as 25% of his constituency is evangelicals, and they are a perfect fit for one another, as the evangs have been taught to worship authority figures real or imagined, and don’t waver from the course.

  14. Ford Prefect

    Re: Blue collar worker shortage

    “For much of this expansion, manufacturers and other companies have been slow to ramp up capital spending and step up automation, opting instead to take on more workers to meet rising demand for their products and services.”

    Buying automation requires investment. That has been anathema for a while as you can’t layoff investment if you suddenly hit a slow patch. You still have that cost on your books and it is all about reducing costs.

    However, you can terminate people very quickly in the US, ranging from no notice to just a couple of weeks. So people are disposable assets and there is no long-term cost to ramping up your operation by hiring disposable people. This is different from places like Europe where employers have a much tougher time disposing of excess workers, so they are loathe to hire them in the first place.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      How is the blue-collar worker shortage different from the teacher shortage, and the shortage of STEM workers?

      1. Kurtismayfield

        There is no shortage of STEM, there is a shortage of STEM at the prices they want to pay. For example, Lab Techs in Boston make a median of $42k.

        The teacher shortage is due to the poisoning of the profession from many factors.. the millennials got the message and refused to major in it. This quote says it all

        “I feel like teachers are becoming a wedge politically, and I don’t want anything to do with that,” Mr. Branson said.

        The numbers of the drop has been pretty drastic in some states:

        Some large states, like heavyweight California, appear to have been particularly hard hit. The Golden State lost some 22,000 teacher-prep enrollments, or 53 percent, between 2008-09 and 2012-13, according to a report its credentialing body issued earlier this month.

        Mission accomplished!

    2. Cal

      There is no blue collar worker shortage. That’s globalist and elite propaganda.

      There is a shortage of blue collar workers at the wages being offered.
      Raise pay rates and provide benefits and the shortage will go away long term.

      Yet another effect of mass immigration creating jobs that Americans won’t do;
      At the low pay level created by immigration.

  15. Carla

    Highlights include:

    – All low and middle income families would see savings in their healthcare costs; only high-income households would pay more (up to 5.6% more) than they pay now.

    – A single payer healthcare system would save trillions, more than covering the cost of increased utilization by those previously left out of the system. Major areas of savings:
    – Cutting administrative waste (47% of all savings)
    – Cutting exorbitant pharmaceutical prices (31%)
    – Establishing uniform payment rates (based on Medicare) for hospitals, physicians, and clinics (15%)

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the wiki page for “Liberalism” has a yellow flag.
      This has always bothered me, at the lizard brain level.
      Where I come from, yellow is the color of cowardice and “watersports”(!)…perhaps of those trickled upon. Hardly inspiring.
      The Jolly Roger flies over my place on all those flag holidays.

      That said, as Wukchumni has shown with his culturejamming efforts, a yellow vest in America is more likely to be seen as an indicator of one’s job, than of revolutionary sentiments.
      I like the idea of a porcupine on a flag…but a libertarian bunch stole that one.(“Free State Project”)
      a skunk, maybe?
      I also have long admired the giant middle fingers that appear here and there(great big one in some town in Italy, especially)

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          we have numerous flag fetishists…extreme light effects…all shrine-like settings for the (multiple)poles, with tasteful xeriscaping and boulders relocated from the pasture.
          several are not only quick to go to half staff if a cop dies anywhere on the planet(or some dinosaur of a “statesman”), but have…apparently…a flag for every occasion.
          “Come and Take It” serves many purposes, it seems(
          Many of these flags I’ve had to remember to look up when I got home.
          Like the black and blue cop flag.
          The few of these folks I know are all taciturn…rigid…apt to clip the lawn with scissors.
          Our Vibe Bubbles apparently clash uncomfortably, because they are as prone to avoid me, as i am them,lol. Polite, guarded distance.
          Hobbies are good, I suppose.

    2. Anonymal

      You have to watch carefully the deifnitions of low, middle, and high. HGenerally with systems like this High Income families tends to end up being anyone just barely in the Middle Class up to the Upper Middle Class. These schemes are always to keep the middle class down.

      1. marym

        They calculated for sample family incomes of (low) $13K, $35K, medium ($60K), and high $221K and $401K, saying these are average levels for families in lowest 20, 21-40, 41-60, 80-100, and richest 5% respectively.

        Under Medicare for All, net health care spending for middle-income families falls sharply, to an average of 1.6 percent of these families’ income level. This represents a reduction in health care spending for middle- income families of between 2.6 and 14.0 percent of income. By contrast, with high-income families, health care costs will rise, but still only to an average of 3.7 percent for those in
        the top 20 percent income grouping and to 4.7 percent for the top 5 percent income group. Table S6 summarizes these results.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Understanding the Yellow Vests Movement Through Basic Color Theory”

    I have my own theory here because of course I do. When the French people realized their mistake in electing Macron they turned green. In fact, it gave them the blues. Then when the new taxes were announced and they realized how it would hit them they turned white. This sent them into a black mood until they found out the reason for the new taxes was a shortfall in the budget due to eliminating taxes for the billionaires. Then they saw red! Now everybody from pink-skinned kids to gray-haired oldsters are donning the yellow.

    1. Cal

      The White working class in the green small towns that must drive don yellow vests to protest their taxes going to pay for browns and blacks in the blue cities is another way of saying it.

      It’s not just the taxes. Jimmy Dore’s show has another angle on it; Austerity and the need for the globalists to “balance France’s budget” on the backs of the Middle Class to repay Germany’s moneylenders. It’s a repeat of Greece, but with a French braid.

      Healthcare, airports, ports and other publicly funded things are being sold off, this is why people are pissed. (yellow)

  17. Tomonthebeach

    The Full Brexit – Full Monty

    This story suggests that the UK cannot extricate itself from a self-destructive geopolitical act because it would expose the fact that the Parliament is not representing the will of the people. That strikes me as dumb. If that is in fact what has led to persevering with Brexit, despite evidence that the people were a) duped, and b) wish to renounce their vote to leave the EU, then Parliament is even dumber. The will of the people changes, and a parliament that cannot change with it is indeed exposing its charade.

    What parliament would vote to wound its own economy in order to promote the pretense that it is representing the needs and desires of its people when that is clearly not the case? That is dumberer yet.

    1. flora

      The article is paywalled. If your description is accurate, I’ll say this:

      There is a strong and developed ideology, pushed and financially supported by several billionaire libertarians, that democracy is ‘the problem’. (For them, of course democracy is a problem.) They fund think tanks to come up with ‘reasonable’ and ‘plausible’ arguments for eliminating democracy with the bait offered that the world will be better for everyone. They tell lies in their own interest. And one of the favorite lies is that democracy isn’t working. Be very wary about the intent of this sort of article. My 2 cents.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye! some of these nutters have the ears of billionaires in their pockets.

        Part of my epic wade into the American Right(as in “who the frell are these people?!”) included reading people like Mencius Moldbug…which made me read Hans Hermann Hoppe and Joseph de Maistre as background.
        “Neoreactionary” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
        More like Neofeudalism.
        Corporations replacing nation states as to where your “citizenship” lies hyperauthoritarian and heirarchical.
        CEO as Monarch
        no inalienable rights.
        and all couched in this weird, nonthreatening pseudointellectual Gish Gallop that, if one is not careful, can lull you into thinking that it doesn’t sound bad at all.
        come the revolution, those people should definitely be watched.
        and then buried deep.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Hans Hermann Hoppe

          You might enjoy Andrew Dittmer’s careful evisceration of Hoppe and other libertarian ghouls: “Journey into a Libertarian Future: Part I –The Vision“; parts two, three, four, five, and six (I said “careful,” right?)

          From Part Six:

          ANDREW: You’ve explained to me how in the libertarian society of the future, everyone will be free and their rights will not be violated. However, many people will be coerced in a noncoercive way, and a lot of people will be effectively slaves in a rights-respecting manner. Some people will be effectively killed in a rights-respecting manner. Why are you dedicating your life to making this society possible?

          CODE NAME CAIN: I really take issue with the way you describe things. You twist words so that “freedom” and “rights” end up sounding like they are not always good things.

          ANDREW: Can you just answer the question?

          CNC: If you insist – but it will be a complicated discussion. To begin, [t]he natural outcome of the voluntary transactions between… private property owners is decidedly nonegalitarian, hierarchical, and elitist [71]. After all, the “permanently” rich and the “permanently” poor are usually rich or poor for a reason. The rich are characteristically bright and industrious, and the poor typically dull, lazy, or both. [96-97]

          ANDREW: You talk almost as if lower-class people were so different from productive geniuses that they form a separate subspecies.

          CNC: Well, there is something to that. As Edward Banfield says in The Unheavenly City, “if [the lower-class individual] has any awareness of the future, it is of something fixed, fated, beyond his control: things happen to him, he does not make them happen. Impulse governs his behavior, either because he cannot discipline himself to sacrifice a present for a future satisfaction or because he has no sense of the future.” Thus “permanent” poverty… is caused by… a person’s present-orientedness… (which is highly correlated with low intelligence, and both of which appear to have a common genetic basis) [97].

          ANDREW: Are these ideas related to your criticism of democracy?

          The phrase “a rights-respecting manner” is often repeated…

  18. Lee

    We read Democrats’ 8 plans for universal health care. Here’s how they work. Vox. Let the bait-and-switch begin! And for those who remember the 2009 health care battle, Jacob Hacker’s forthcoming proposal for Medicare Part E — [scratches head] “Wait, I know! More complexity!” — will induce hysterical (or hollow) laughter. Can’t these people find honest work?

    That would be 5 down and 21 to go.

  19. DJG

    The new Hanseatic League article leaves me highly skeptical:

    But a joint paper by the league’s finance ministers in March stresses that “first and foremost” countries must be in “full compliance” with the eu’s fiscal rules. If each member acted responsibly and whipped its public finances into shape, then it would be able to deal with economic shocks without other states’ taxpayers having to bail it out.

    The list of the Hanseatic includes Estonia (recently implicated in massive bank fraud) and Latvia (solved its public finance issues by throwing out part of the population and enduring charges of bank fraud). If these are the virtuous, they certainly are no different from Greece. At least, the Greeks admit that there are problems.

    And Finland a couple of years ago was in a rather worrisome financial meltdown. And wasn’t the Netherlands implicated again recently as being excessively tax-shelter / fiscal paradise-y?

    Do they all believe that they saved themselves on their own? The EU has had no influence financially?

  20. Lee

    Lovely, thanks so much. My field observations and study as a volunteer citizen scientist has mostly focused on Yellowstone wolves. It’s good to hear from other quarters. The preservation, reintroduction, and rehabilitation of the wolf’s image in the last several decades makes my heart sing.

    1. newcatty

      Yeah…Wild things! They make my heart sing! They make everything groovy…Wiiiillllld things. Always have felt a love for wolves and other wild beings, great and small. Respecting the natural world is to respect Life. It really is ,at the essence of things, interconnected.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Always thought that wolves were in a class of their own. Magnificent looking animals that live in a social group and make great parents for the cubs. Would have loved to have gone to those night Park tours where you can hear the wolves howling to each other. Something primeval about it.

  21. flora

    re: Health care

    Here’s another link on the topic. From August 2018.

    Medicare for All is popular among Democrats. But this doctor may be the only candidate who gets it.

    The only Democratic doctors in Congress, Reps. Ami Bera (CA) and Raul Ruiz (CA), don’t support single-payer — with Bera expressing hesitance because he doesn’t want to upend the status quo.

    The Dem estab is fine with the status quo…. and all the campaign contributions it generates, imo.

  22. Wukchumni

    Well, lookie here what I found…

    Revealed: NZ, other Five Eyes partners met before Huawei arrest

    Spy bosses from countries in the Five Eyes network held a secret meeting in Nova Scotia in July to discuss concerns about security concerns about China and Huawei, according to an AFR report.

    Telcos’ pending upgrades to 5G mobile networks were apparently a topic of particular concern as the agency heads supped on lobster bisque.

    In the months that followed that July 17 dinner, an unprecedented campaign has been waged by those present – Australia, the US, Canada, New Zealand and the UK – to block Chinese tech giant Huawei from supplying equipment for their next-generation wireless networks, the paper says.

    While security agencies have been wary about publicly discussing Huawei, international security expert Paul Buchanan says it’s noticeable that earlier this year, the alliance was fractured, with the US and Australia taking a hard line on Huawei, banning it from mobile networks, fibre rollouts and international cable projects, while the UK, Canada and New Zealand where happy to allow business (or in NZ’s case, even encourage it) with the Chinese company.

    1. pjay

      Interesting link. Thanks. The key sentence might be the one directly following your quote:

      “Now, “All of the Five Eyes partners are coming into line”, Buchanan says.”

      Mission accomplished!

      Also some unintended humor:

      “I believe the US intelligence community consensus that Huawei works hand in glove with Chinese Intelligence,” says Buchanan, who worked as a policy analyst for the US Secretary of Defence and an adviser to the Pentagon before coming to New Zealand to work as a university lecturer. He now runs a consultancy.”

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      is this another area…like Labor…that needs to be internationalised/globalised in response to the supranationalisation of Capital?
      a UN on steroids, somehow beholden to humanity(see the link from somebody^^^ regarding the French Railroaders’ ethical commitment to service!)

      as wary of that as I am….given how hard it is to keep abreast of my little state congresscritter(let alone manage to have any influence)?…i think it’s probably necessary.
      since the Big Boys have escaped the paddock, we need a bigger paddock.
      or judicious application of the elastrator ( the Big Boys.

    3. carycat

      i’ve been watching this thread have not seen anybody reference the 2014 stories about the NSA intercepting shipments of Cisco routers presumably to install their favorite backdoor (as if Cisco’s sloppy infosec is not enough). So people are worrying about Huawei now?

  23. allan

    Area swamp dweller goes through the revolving door a third time:

    Jon Kyl Resigning As Arizona Senator After Replacing John McCain [Huff Post]

    As an ex-senator, paid lobbyist, Kyl introduced Kavanaugh to his former colleagues.
    Then, appointed to replace McCain, he voted for Kavanaugh.
    Then, mission having been accomplished, and who knows what else done for clients from inside
    the world’s greatest deliberative body, our hero is again pursuing opportunities in the private sector.

    But, per SCOTUS, quid pro quo or it didn’t happen.

  24. Robert Hahl

    ‘Transmissible’ Alzheimer’s theory gains traction Nature.

    A lot of careers were built on the beta-amyloid hypothesis, and those people are now retiring comfortably, possibly opening the door to real progress on dementia. (Science advances one funeral at a time.) I think we are nearing the end of the era but we are clearly not yet there yet.

    1. joey

      The finding really has more to do with other neurodegenerative protein malformations having prion-like characteristics. The fact that beta amyloid induces alpha amyloid to beta confirmation has been shown in vitro, so its similarity to prion in that regards would suggest potential for transmissibility. Its presence in the hGH cases is an in vivo finding supporting the same. That doesn’t prove or disprove amyloid as the cause of Alzheimer’s pathology.
      I actually agree with your point that the amyloid hypothesis has been tightly held despite being fruitless in treatment development. Except for the rat model, treats that like a charm.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Speculating freely:

      It’s my impression that Alzheimer’s has existed for a very short time; it was identified only in 1906 (and I can’t think of earlier fictional portrayals of it, the complete loss of personality). If so, the suggestion that it’s transmitted by surgical instruments is interesting; I’m assuming also that surgery also greatly increased in moderm times; anesthesia was invented in 1847. (I’ve also heard Asians say its caused by aluminum rice cookers, but perhaps it’s not the metal, but something “stuck” on the metal).

  25. Anon

    RE: Antidote

    The bird is more accurately an Osprey (I believe). Commonly called a hawk, but different.

    Ospreys differ in several respects from other diurnal birds of prey, toes are of equal length, its tarsi are reticulate, and its talons are rounded, rather than grooved. The eastern and western osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and owls (Strigiformes) are the only hunters whose outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful when they grasp slippery fish.[9]

    And beehives?

  26. BoyDownTheLane

    Can we all please get clear on the fact that the pedophilic and other sexual and other abuse of children cannot be blamed on and is not exclusive to a political party, a religion, a gender, or a nation? This abomination is celebrated in our culture, our media, and is present on every continent, in many if not most nations, in many religions, in many families (including yours) and is a blight on (but not off) those nations, religions and families — except to the extent that people refuse to address the issue and therefore contribute to its continuation. It is the major tool for the corruption of government and business.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Nobody seems to want to connect a general loss of trust in large, hierarchical institutions to abuse. Which is odd. The Catholic church, the BBC; these were not moral panics.

  27. aletheia33

    a late night/early morning letter.

    to my congressional representative:
    dear XXXXX XXXXX,
    i am shocked to see on twitter just now your name on a list of democratic progressive caucus members who own shares in wells fargo. please tell me it’s not true, or at least that it’s your only investment in the bad dealings of our country’s oligarchs. how can you vote and act with integrity in our country’s highest halls of the law if you stand to gain from the failure to indict wells fargo executives for their wrongdoings against the people of the USA, which are widely known and documented? we need representatives who are not afraid to stand up to the power of the ill-gotten $$ that floods washington, DC. so: where do you stand in the current crisis of mass impoverishment and descent into morally bankrupt (non)leadership? which side are you on? please consider how serious our country’s situation has become and make a choice to do the right thing: divest of this investment and free yourself of the toxic stain of this bank’s ill doings and destruction of real people’s lives. your constituents will bless you. and i, for one, from now on, will be watching what you do in DC more closely than i thought was required. thank you for your attention to this concern.

      1. aletheia33


        Following Following @philosophrob
        Congressional Progressive caucus members who owns shares in Wells Fargo:

        Katherine Clark (MA)
        Lois J. Frankel (FL)
        Raul Grijalva (AZ)
        Joe Kennedy III (MA)
        Zoe Lofgren (CA)
        Alan Lowenthal (CA)
        Peter Welch (VT)

        Is it progressive to own stock in Wells Fargo?
        10:08 PM – 14 Dec 2018

  28. JBird4049

    As Winters Warm, Blood-Sucking Ticks Drain Moose Dry Scientific American

    I don’t know the specifics about tick infestation except that in North America it is the whacked out balance of large and small predators and prey species that are a major cause of the problem. Ticks prefer not only certain temperatures but also a specific density and kind of plant cover. The right balance of plant eaters not only only creates the wrong cover for the vermin to hide, survive and find new victims. It also reduces the over availability of the preferred tick hosts and allows the few tick eaters like turkeys and opossums better chances.

    Fewer ticks not only reduces the spread of diseases but (maybe) their virulence too. But that means reintroducing predators like wolves, mountain lions, foxes, and coyotes to hunt Bambi and friends. For all I know bears too. There needs to be a complete mix of all native animals but people tend scream when wolves are mentioned, never mind mountain lions! Of course, since I live near mountain lion, bobcat, and coyote/foxes I’m pretty comfortable with the idea. Although the cougars are mainly way up in the hills or deep in the National and State parks away from me. Although I many Californians have no idea of just how wild parts of the state is.


    Still, reintroducing big predators into areas where they were extirpated is a real problem. With climate change who knows what will happen but really reintroducing and rebalancing the animal species will probably greatly reduce the problem. And with the increasing ecological disruptions due to human stupidity we are going to have to get serious about the problem.

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