Links 3/14/19

Chickens ‘gang up’ to kill intruder fox on French farm BBC (Dr. Kevin)

These states want you to eat more roadkill Popular Science (resilc)

A ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Is Thwacking The Central U.S. NPR (David L)

Scientists ‘reverse time’ with quantum computer in breakthrough study Independent (David L)

Sensors go undercover to outsmart the brain Harvard Gazette. John C: “erhaps under the heading ‘Our Coming Cyborg Selves’?”

Ketamine: Now By Prescription Slate Star Codex. UserFriendly:

Anecdotally, I have found racemic Ketamine does wonders for my depression but once S-Ketamine was found to be a more potent dissociative and started replacing the racemic it didn’t work as well. Making people jump through hoops like this to get a shittier more expensive version of one of the safest, most essential drugs is just asking for trouble. Especially since as the street version got popular it inspired knock offs and it’s hard to be sure what you’re really getting.

Eating More Mushrooms Could Improve Your Mental Health—Here’s Why Martha Stewart (David L). Great, but you have to eat a LOT of them!!! Daily! I like mushrooms but sheesh…


China to Overtake US in AI Research Medium (David L)

China’s nuclear reactor building spree Asia Times

North Korea

“CIA implicated in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid” El Pais (Chuck L)

Millions of Myanmar farmers face arrest under ‘disastrous’ land law dpa International (furzy)

Nord Stream 2 eyes way to curb EU oversight Financial Times


Will Northern Ireland dissidents be able to exploit Brexit chaos? Financial Times

From Politico’s morning European newsletter:

EU’s response: The length of the delay will depend on what Britain asks for, but the EU will also be attaching some conditions to either possible solution. Mainly, leaders want to know what exactly May intends to use the extra time for. The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier put it bluntly, asking: “Prolong this negotiation, to do what?” Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas echoed that sentiment when asked what the EU would expect May to say. “A reasoned request is a request based on a reason,” Schinas noted.

Possible justifications, according to EU diplomats: An extension could be granted if May needs a few more weeks to ratify a deal (keep your giggles to yourselves please), to prepare for no deal, or for “political reasons” such as a second referendum or a fresh election.


US Regime Change Blueprint Proposed Venezuelan Electricity Blackouts as ‘Watershed Event’ Consortiumnews (furzy)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook’s Data Deals Are Under Criminal Investigation New York Times

Facebook has been down for hours, Instagram and WhatsApp also affected CNBC

Trump Transition

Manafort sentence reaches 7.5 years in Mueller case Politico

Manafort indicted by Manhattan DA on mortgage fraud charges The Hill

VIPS: Mueller’s Forensics-Free Findings Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)

White House on collision course with Democrats over labor issues in new NAFTA Politico

Breaking: Sanders War Powers Bill to Stop Saudi Attack on Yemen Passes Senate Institute for Public Accuracy

FCC to auction off wireless spectrum that could interfere with vital weather data, rejecting requests from U.S. House and science agencies Washington Post (Kevin W)

Offshore illegal GOP campaign megadonors receive record FEC fines after The Intercept reveals their crimes Boing Boing (furzy)

Green New Deal

AFL-CIO criticizes Green New Deal, calling it ‘not achievable or realistic’ – The Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Not only do we barely have a labor movement, the one we have is worse than useless.


“I Don’t Have Any Clue Why They are Running”: How the Democrats Can Stop Nuking Themselves and Start Obliterating Trump Vanity Fair (resilc)

Beto O’Rourke Is Running for President and It All Started With Weed Intercept

Colbert Smears Tulsi Gabbard To Her Face While Telling Zero Jokes – Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

Elizabeth Warren Isn’t Buying Facebook’s Explanation for Censoring Her Posts Vanity Fair (furzy)

Joe Biden Mulls 2020 Campaign Aimed at the Working Class Atlantic (resilc)

‘Testicular Bill of Rights’ would restrict men’s access to Viagra and porn Alternet (furzy)

Admissions Bribery

David Mamet Pens Open Letter on Felicity Huffman and “Corrupt Joke” College Admissions Hollywood Reporter (J-LS)

Willkie Farr Finally Speaks About Their Partner’s Role In The College Admissions Cheating Scandal Above the Law (J-LS)

737 Max

Trump announces US to ground Boeing 737 Max planes The Hill

Black Boxes of Ethiopian Boeing 737 MAX to Be Analysed in France Sputnik (Kevin W)

SpiceJet to seek compensation from Boeing after grounding 737 Max aircraft Business Standard (J-LS)


Another fictional characterisation of MMT finishes in total confusion Bill Mitchell (furzy)

Mainstream nonsense about budget deficits Lars P. Syll (UserFriendly)

Is modern monetary theory nutty or essential? Economist. Furzy: “Pretty trashy headline!”

Market Concentration Is Threatening the US Economy Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate (David L)

Wall St tries to clean up $8tn market for credit derivatives Financial Times. Way smaller than pre-crisis.

I read 1,182 emergency room bills this year. Here’s what I learned. Vox (Adrien F)

Uber in talks to sell stake in self-driving unit to SoftBank Financial Times (David L)

Class Warfare

The Provocations of Chef Tunde Wey GQ (Alex V)

A Different Class: How autocrats get away with posing as authentocrats Joe Kennedy, The Baffler (furzy)

Connecticut Lawmakers May Curtail Discrimination Against Ex-Prisoners Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

How Swedes and Norwegians Broke the Power of the ‘1 Percent’ Films for Action (furzy)

It’s Magic! Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education allows Grand Canyon University to call itself non-profit while its parent company reports profit margin of 27 percent Condemned to DEBT (userFriendly)

A Church Opens Its Doors To Hundreds of Homeless People To Sleep In, With Free Blankets True Activist

Antidote du jour. William B: “White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX…’You’re probably wondering why I called y’all here today…'”

And a bonus (martha r):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. allan

    From “Manafort indicted by Manhattan DA on mortgage fraud charges The Hill”:

    Manafort’s attorneys could challenge the indictment on double jeopardy grounds, arguing that the charges are the same as the ones the former Trump associate went on trial for in Virginia. …

    Regardless of what one thinks of Paul Manafort and his attorneys, an outside observer gives
    detailed lists of reasons for why this would be double jeopardy under current NYS law:

    Jed Shugerman @jedshug

    CORRECTION THREAD: I think we have a NY double jeopardy problem re: Manafort.
    Let me first note that I have just spent 2 hours on a train comparing today’s new @manhattanda indictment to the old Mueller indictment.
    Problem 1: Today’s indictment is badly written and confusing…

    Anybody who’s seen Abacus: Small Enough to Jail will know that Cy Vance’s ability to be grandstanding,
    vindictive and incompetent all at the same time should never be misunderestimated .

    1. barrisj

      Your concerns are shared by Scott Greenfield, on his Simple Justice blog:

      Vance’s Manafort Moment

      Within minutes of D.C. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposing a second sentence on Paul Manafort, New York County District Attorney Cy Vance sprung his news.

      “No one is beyond the law in New York,” said District Attorney Vance. “Following an investigation commenced by our Office in March 2017, a Manhattan grand jury has charged Mr. Manafort with state criminal violations which strike at the heart of New York’s sovereign interests, including the integrity of our residential mortgage market. I thank our prosecutors for their meticulous investigation, which has yielded serious criminal charges for which the defendant has not been held accountable.”
      Manafort, according to the indictment, lied on his residential mortgage application, making him as heinous a criminal as a few million other New Yorkers and other Americans, particularly during the frenzy leading to the bubble bursting in 2007. Somehow, New York’s sovereign interests survived, hyperbole notwithstanding.

      This isn’t to say that a crime wasn’t committed. Or was. There is no allegation that anyone, any bank, lost a dime on a mortgage, but just that the mortgage was procured based on false or misleading information. It’s not like anyone else obtained credit on false information in America, then paid back whatever was due and no one ever cared again, since no one was harmed.

      But this wasn’t about anyone being harmed. This was about scrutinizing Manafort’s life for every burp, fart and lie that could be found, and then putting the full force of the state to work to guarantee that he would, for the benefit of the angry New York masses, be convicted and punished. As was spewed by the passionate following Judge Jackson’s sentence, “But what if Trump pardons him?” That’s why New York must pile on, to guarantee that this man we despise, connected to this other man we despise, is punished.

      And the fact that the NY State legislature is attempting to redo the state’s very strict double-jeopardy law is even more evidence of prosecutorial abuse, where punitive becomes political:

  2. edud

    ‘Testicular Bill of Rights’ would restrict men’s access to Viagra and porn

    Chastity belts for all!

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Eating More Mushrooms Could Improve Your Mental Health—Here’s Why”

    Good idea that. Mushrooms are supposed to be good for you. Got to be careful though that if you are going to be picking mushrooms, that you don’t accidentally pick some toadstools instead. I was just thinking…there is a good book on the subject that can help you out here called “How to Tell the Difference between Mushrooms and Toadstools” by the late Dr. Richard Cranium. Going cheap last time I heard.

    1. Louis Fyne

      in addition to the beneficial compounds mentioned in the article that study is from Singapore, ie less bread consumption than in the West.

      there is a plausible (but not conclusive cuz there aren’t that many studies) hypothesis that one cause of Alzheimer’s is aluminum compounds (primarily from baking powder) accumulates in the brain, causing protein buildup. so I’d argue cut out bread if you’re thinking of eating more shrooms for brain health. or at the very least make your own bread using baking powder without aluminum phospate??? _____ (i forgot what that leavening agent is)

      just throwing that out there. go look it up on the internet if interested

      1. Oh

        There was a study that was squeched by the aluminum industry in the ’70’s that investigated aluminum of all forms as a cause. There are so many forms of aluminum beiing used in the food industry from wrapping for candy, chewing gum to uses for cooking foods in ovens.

      2. Wukchumni

        Aluminum in natural form was rare in the 19th century, and only became relatively common in the early 20th century, when Polio became a scourge, coincidence?

        It wasn’t until 1825 that anyone was able to produce even a sample of aluminum, and even that wasn’t pure. So despite being incredibly plentiful, aluminum was also very rare, and therefore valued: Napoleon honored guests by setting their table places with aluminum silverware, even over gold. The Washington Monument’s six-pound aluminum cap was an extravagant embellishment.

        Hall kept working to refine the process, at the company that would become Alcoa. And the price of aluminum began to drop, from $12 a pound in 1880, to $4.86 in 1888, to 78 cents in 1893 to, by the 1930s, just 20 cents a pound.

            1. ewmayer

              Also, seriously, you now pushing Alu/polio conspiracy theories? The history of polio chaging from endemic low-level to its more recent rare-but-dreaded form is interesting indeed, but has to do with loss of natural herd immunity as a result of another modern invention which had nothing to do with Reynolds wrap, and which we can ill dispense with, sanitation and clean water supplies. We have enough agnotology circulating hereabouts even without folks like you adding to it via gratuitous trolling.

              1. Wukchumni

                The sanitation and clean water supply situation was no better in say 1850 than 1900, so why does 6,000 year old Polio become the modern scourge around the turn of century, at the same time metallic aluminum becomes common?

                I was only throwing it out there as a possible connection, nothing more.

                1. ewmayer

                  “The sanitation and clean water supply situation was no better in say 1850 than 1900”

                  Seriously, you apparently haven’t a f*cking clue what you’re talking about. This information is not exactly hard to find, either:

                  In the 19th century numerous American cities were afflicted with major outbreaks of disease, including cholera in 1832, 1849 and 1866 and typhoid in 1848.[19] The fast-growing cities did not have sewers and relied on contaminated wells within the city confines for drinking water supply. In the mid-19th century many cities built centralized water supply systems. However, initially these systems provided raw river water without any treatment. Only after John Snow established the link between contaminated water and disease in 1854 and after authorities became gradually convinced of that link, water treatment plants were added and public health improved. Sewers were built since the 1850s, initially based on the erroneous belief that bad air (miasma theory) caused cholera and typhoid. It took until the 1890s for the now universally accepted germ theory of disease to prevail.

                  So, the exact same 50-year period where you claim there were no significant sanitation advances, was in fact the one where the greatest advances were made.

                  Suggest you stick to making puns, dude – that way the only way you’ll be endangering people will be of the “they died laughing” variety.

      3. Copeland

        “primarily from baking powder”

        Most regular bread does not contain baking powder. Most bread recipes use yeast as a rising agent, or “wild” organisms in the case of sourdough. Perhaps commercial bakeries use other aluminum containing substances in their products, I don’t know. We stay away from “chemical bread” in our house.

        Cakes, cookies, muffins, “American” biscuits and quick-breads (banana bread) contain baking powder.

      4. Lepton1

        Aluminum is one of the most abundant elements on earth. Aluminum is very reactive so it is never found in the pure state. Even when you see pure aluminum you are looking at aluminum oxide which coats the surface.

        Clay tends to have a lot of aluminum. Refractory materials are often mostly aluminum oxide.

    2. fajensen

      They have to be Magick Mushrooms to work.

      I do pick a lot of edible wild mushrooms myself during the season. I am confident that I am good at it and I cheat by sticking to species that are easy to recognise and the ones they can be mistaken for are not deadly poisonous.

      I would not eat dried mushrooms prepared by someone else because after drying it is hard to see what species they are. There are some people who will just pick whatever, sell it to restaurants for a quick buck and when the customers start to keel over, they are long gone.

      1. Randy

        The headlines about foods that contain the words “May” and “Could” in the description of their beneficial properties are similar to the questioning headlines that satisfy Betteridge’s Law.

        For the former headlines I think we should create a new law called Lambert’s Law that says, “No, this headline promotes highly unrealistic expectations”.

    3. skm

      response to RevKev: there is no difference between mushrooms and toadstools in that in other languages ther are all funghi or champignons or Pilzen etc etc. The/we English are generally totally ignorant about mushrooms and only eat commercial field mushrooms. An extreme illustration: on the edge of a wood near Coniston in autmn I found, in full view of passers by on a path, a boletus edulis (porcino/cepe/Steinpilz etc} which weighed a kilo!!! I`m still serving it for special friends cooked in home produced cold-pressed olive oil and garlic as a sauce for pasta!!!
      Do you mean that field mushrooms are mushrooms and all wild mushrooms are toadstools, or do you mean that all poisonous mushrooms are toadstools? The question is sincere as I`ve lost track of this toadstool story over time…

      1. The Rev Kev

        I hope that my humour is not getting too esoteric. Check out my last two sentences again.

  4. Dan

    Colbert has become an attack dog. Focuses entirely on Trump and not the issues (as I guess most of the DNC leadership was doing – maybe Pelosi woke up to the folly of that). I personally agree with Gabbard and her foreign policy views. At the very least, previous policies have proven to be but abject failures.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Going to show my age here but I miss comedians on evening shows that were actually, you know, funny. People like Red Skelton, Danny Thomas, Jack Benny and Jackie Gleason for example. Not much fun to be had with neocon comedians like Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher.

          1. Carl

            Carlin was the Frank Sinatra of comedy: at least 40 years of telling jokes. I was lucky enough to see him live in 1979 and I laughed so hard my stomach hurt.
            True story: I have a strong belief that he used to post on The Oil Drum. Ask me why.

            1. newcatty

              My spouse and I lived in Phoenix when we first met…early 70’s. We were walking around in downtown and there was a tent put up in a parking lot. We heard some music and laughter and, so being bold and curious, poked our heads inside. It was a double the trouble Bill! They were showing “Watermellon Man”, the film. George Carlin followed up with his live routine. Never forget it. Brilliant and genuine mind. BTW, the asked admission price was a dollar.

        1. neo-realist

          As a little kid, loved Rowan and Martin. When I watch snippets of them today, I find them more politically courageous than SNL—Dan Rowan did a skit where he played a General and talked about how “War is a business.” Can you imagine SNL or any other present day skit comedy show being that direct about what Empire is about?

          1. Wukchumni

            My parents used to have neighbors over and they’d all get smashed on Daiquiris while watching Laugh-In.

          2. The Rev Kev

            Can you imagine another American President going on a show like that and saying “Sock it to me!”. The trouble was that they did.

      1. cm

        I enjoy watching old Dick Cavett episodes on YouTube. Amazing how much more intellectual the conversations were on late-night TV vs. now.

        1. Alex Cox

          Jon Stewart serves the same political purpose as Colbert and Maddow. I stopped watching Comedy Central after Stewart had Christine Amanpour (sp?) on his show rooting for regime change in Syria. As with Colbert, there were no jokes. Just neocon regime change propaganda.

      2. urblintz

        Sid Ceasar’s “Your Show of Shows” with Carl Reiner, Imogene Coca and Howard Morris was absolutely brilliant. Before my time but one can find plenty on youtube:

        Sid Ceasar was one of comedy’s greats and far too many people don’t know his work.

        …oh yeah… Jonathan Winters was another great from the past

        1. polecat

          I remember watching the Jackson 5 for the first time on Winter’s show back in the day … pre-craycray Michael.

        2. nycTerrierist

          “Your Show of Shows”‘ writers, all legends:

          incl. Mel Tolkin, Caesar, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Danny Simon

          1. Big Tap

            Didn’t a later show in the 1950’s with Sid Caesar also have a writer named Woody Allen.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      I don’t get what happened to Colbert. He’s not funny–he comes off as semi-hysterical and he is very bad at giving interviews. His obsession with politics, and pro-ruling class politics at that, makes him unwatchable at night. I miss the urbane cynicism of Dave who seldom played the holier-than-though act Colbert has fallen into. I stopped watching the guy even if he had guests I wanted to see when he started his Trump bashing obsession–but his show wasn’t up to Letterman’s standards even before the election.

      1. Robert Valiant

        Colbert was really only funny early on when he was mostly unknown and could do ridiculous interviews with important people who thought he was serious. After that, not so much.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The co-creator, Ben Karlin, of the Colbert Report left in 2006. I watch the show early and probably through 2008, but 1130 gets so late. Coming up Colbert was chums with the Sedaris siblings and was on the most bizarre American sketch show, partially because of the time it aired, the Dana Carvey Show which was sketches too weird for SNL.

          I go back to this guy Ben Karlin, but he may have been the brains of the operation. Then there is matching the level of your competition. How hard does someone work when the competition is a guy who ruined every SNL sketch he was ever in? I don’t think these shows come off well or are sustained without solid teams.

          One of the producers of SNL described Al Franken’s role as the guy they brought in to reboot the show whenever it hit a wall. Franken oversaw three major casting and writing changes after his initial run.

          Conan O’Brian is synonymous with “The Simpsons”, but he wrote one episode (“I call the big one, Bitey” alone would have made him a legend). I have the DVDs and have watched religiously, but the people on the commentaries will always discuss Conan’s role while he worked on the show. It boils down to Conan could turn 5 minutes of show they need to turn into 30 seconds while not cutting anything and making jokes work.

          What happened? He might just not have a functioning team. Even funny people produce duds.

        2. wilroncanada

          One early remembrance I have of TV late night comedy, when I was a teenager, was the Jack Parr show, especially when he interviewed Jack Douglas, one of his writers and a friend. I remember them discussing Douglas’ books, My Brother Was an Only Child, Never Trust a Naked Bus Driver, and later from a trip to Japan to visit his wife’s parents, The Adventures of Huckleberry Hashimoto. He and his wife Reiko sometimes did a George Burns/Gracie Allen schtick where Reiko pretended to mangle the English (American) language.

      2. zagonostra

        Watching the Colbert Interview with Gabbard was an eye-opener. You could see all the B.S talking points that CNN and other MSM used in play. Asking what Gabbard thought about David Duke liking her was the clincher…I lost all respect for Colbert (which really was just a residue anyway from his much earlier days).

      3. Baby Gerald

        Colbert’s a diminished person, ethically and comedically. I switched from an every-night Colbert Report viewer to turning him off almost completely during his very first weeks at the Late Show. Six episodes in, he’d already interviewed three corporate CEOs [Elon Musk, Travis Kalanik, and Tim Cook]. His new ‘authentic’ self was just a de-fanged, sorry version of the Colbert we used to know and love. It became clear to me that he’d sold his soul and Les Mooves was pulling all the strings.

        I can’t bring myself to watch him, even in clips. This latest stunt with Gabbard seals the deal on how dead he is to me.

    3. whoamolly

      When Major Gabbard was serving in Iraq, one of her jobs was reading the casualty reports each morning. That’s the kind of C in C that I want to see.

      Good interview with Gabbard on the Joe Rogan show. Her campaign strategy seems to be three words “Tell the truth.”

    4. John

      Gabbard is the voice of reason on foreign policy. Why else the orchestrated attack, why else the exclusion of her from lists of “leading candidates” and even of the alsorans. I would rather vote for Gabbard or Sanders ahead of any of the others. Joe Biden: Corporate Democrat. Beto O’Rourke: another pretty face. Senator this, that, and the other: Why?

      Sanders-Gabbard in 2020

        1. aletheia33

          can treasury break up big tech? let’s put warren where she can do it, like she said she’s gonna.

          in general (embarrassed by own ignorance) is treasury the best organ for regulating the hell out of the whole swiney horde, all the “industries”, in the best possible ways? . . . and would she actually do that? and if not, who would?

          1. JohnnyGL

            Congress can help with legislation, but DOJ has to launch anti-trust lawsuits.

            As usual, who gets to run DOJ is crucial.

      1. Cal2

        She needs 65,000 unique donors to participate in the Democratic primary debates.

        Contribution rules for any candidate

        I am a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident (i.e., green card holder).
        This contribution is made from my own funds, and funds are not being provided to me by another person or entity for the purpose of making this contribution.
        I am making this contribution with my own personal credit card and not with a corporate or business credit card or a card issued to another person.
        I am at least eighteen years old.
        I am not a federal contractor.

        Lots of smart phone usage instructions you can find on her website:

        To contribute by mail, please send a personal check made payable to:

        Tulsi Now
        PO Box 75255
        Kapolei, HI 96707

        Envelopes and stamps are cheap.
        Carry some pre-addressed stamped ones to facilitate those who sound enthusiastic to pop a check in and then mail it.

        1. Rhondda

          Thanks for the reminder and the link Cal2. I’m in and got a purty yard sign too! 65k here we come!

    5. fake weather

      At the very least, previous policies have proven to be but abject failures.

      Must disagree. Previous policies have been an outstanding success. Just ask Hillary and friends.

  5. Harry

    Am I nuts in drawing a connection from the Venezuela blackouts to Facebook and Google experiencing Internet outages? Is this a Russian demonstration of the potential costs of bringing down other people’s infrastructure by hacking?

    Maybe I have been reading too much Atlantic Council material?

    1. Alex V

      The latter.

      If the outages had anything to do with Russia! Russia! Russia! Clapper would be on CNN screaming about it.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If the outages had anything to with Russia, the U.S. fp establishment would deny it while hiding under the bed.

        1. wilroncanada

          I was waiting for my daughter to finish work yesterday at the newspaper she edits (I borrowed her car for shopping). she and two reporters were commenting about not being able to post to Facebook—as is part of their jobs now, and I commented: it could be Venezuela’s Revenge. Then we taxed our memories about rolling blackouts in California, and of course the months-long blackout of Puerto Rico.
          From the halls of Montezuma,boom boom boom.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            I figured its Zuckman combining all its messaging apps on to one server before we break Faceborg up.

  6. Harry

    “That a parent’s zeal for her children’s future may have overcome her better judgment for a moment is not only unfortunate, it is, I know we parents would agree, a universal phenomenon.”

    I made a few small edits

    “That a rich parent’s zeal for her children’s future may have overcome her better judgment for a moment is not only unfortunate, it is, I know we parents would agree, a universal phenomenon. F*ck the poor parents and their poor kids life chances. Who gives a shit about them anyway?”

    1. fajensen

      So, that’s where all the failed consultants we are offered comes from?

      I always wondered why someone who are clearly not very bright decided to suffer the endless torment of a high-level academic career where they will be hanging on by their nails and be routinely mocked by their better qualified peers! University is simply not healthy for everyone and many graduates would be better off by never going to university, prestigious or not.

      I.O.W’s If these parents actually cared for their children’s future and put that over their own ambitions, they would nudge them to sports- or events- studies, one can live very well in technical sales, there is marketing perhaps, logistics …. practical skills like carpentry, technicians, construction, design, … whatever field they can succeed in and have a decent life doing, that’s where their parents should encourage them to go!

      1. notabanker

        One stat that Yang throws into every speech: percentage of US students in trade/vocational schools: 6, Germany: 59

        1. Shonde

          I keep waiting for someone to clue Bernie into adding trade/vocational schools when he talks about free college education. I don’t know any trained electricians working at Starbucks.

          1. Pookah Harvey

            Although it is not mentioned in Sanders’ web site summery of the bill The Nation reported that:

            The College for All Act aims to eliminate tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities for students from families that make up to $125,000 per year. The bill would make community college tuition-free for all income levels.

            But I think you are right in that he should include that point in his presentations about the bill.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The excellent point mentioned by many posters here today about the US educational system, with elite universities (‘elite formations…”), is not directly tied to free tuition, but is just as important, if not more.

            Ours is closer to the Chinese or maybe also the Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese models, where the national examination score determines admission at universiites ranked from elite to not-so-elite.

      2. bmeisen

        The problem is not higher education – it’s the American model of higher education. The American model is an elite system that is dominated by private institutions. These institutions use a meritocratic deceit embedded in a market ideology that exploits the American exceptionalist delusion while leveraging a “gatekeeper” role to buttress the privileges and power of administrators and their wealthy clientele.

        A useful counter-example would be any of the northern European systems of higher education that reject elite formations. These systems are characterized by public institutions, free tuition and extensive public non-debt subsidies that pay for students’ living costs while they are studying. I teach at a German university with 45,000 students. Virtually none of them pay tuition, not even the foreign exchange students. There are no sports teams, no coaches, no campus police. The state provides needs-based cost of living subsidies to students and the results while not perfect are more genuinely educational than those produced by America’s elite system.

        1. pjay

          Yes. A concise and accurate description of the American system. And the *system*, of course, is not questioned in the MSM coverage of this “scandal.” Rather, it is framed as the typical “bad apples” story, this one about “rich folks cheating.” Corporate media coverage, as usual, reflects the interests and experience of the ’10 percent’ (or so) who would, of course, be “outraged” by such scandal. Admission to elite universities is irrelevant to the vast majority of the poor, working class, or middle class population.

          I accidentally caught CNN’s coverage of this story the day it broke. The breathless “shock” and self-righteous bulls**t from the commentators, not to mention the “champion of the common folk” FBI news conference, made me want to puke. Not that I feel sorry for any of the perps, but the story is, as usual, presented to avoid asking any real questions about the *system* that bemeisen describes here.

          1. nycTerrierist

            American schools are marketed as status brands and gatekeepers to
            a ‘decent’ livelihood. (For the non-rich and not-already-connected, whether they deliver much more than lifelong debt is questionable, of course…).
            Sadly, education is not the issue here!

          2. bmeisen

            Thank you for the point about the MSM’s treatment of the blow-up. Administrators are contributing to the “bad apples” thread:


            It will probably blow-over quickly and the racket will resume defrauding students and their families with impunity. The racket is – let me be clear – the “college experience” in American culture. It has become a scam the true dimensions of which are no longer recognizable by those whom it most victimizes. Like other malignant aspects of American culture – transport, architecture, entertainment, health care – the college experience has grown to overwhelm the imagination.

              1. pjay

                Interesting, and very telling:

                “Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods claim that their respective applications to Yale and the University of Southern California were undercut by William “Rick” Singer’s plot to fraudulently get undeserving kids into top schools in exchange for bribes from their well-heeled parents.”

                “Olsen and Woods also claim that the Stanford degrees they are pursuing have been devalued by the cloud now hanging over the vaunted California college.”

                The mindset reflected in this suit by two Stanford student “victims” reveals much of what is wrong not only with the elite education racket, but with our society.

                1. a different chris

                  USC is harder to get into than Stanford? And said degree is thus more prestigious? Wow I am out of touch.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Is there a market where we can trade the degrees we’ve paid for?

                    “How much for this one*? I hope to recoup enough to pay off a debt.”

                    *This Made-In-USA degree comes with a transferrable full-refund promise from my alma mater. Not satisfied? You can get your money back, 100%.

                  2. jrs

                    depends perhaps? Maybe to break into the movie industry that USC degree is the one to hope for.

                    1. nycTerrierist

                      that occured to me as well

                      from an alum: USC = University of Spoiled Children

                      and this was many years ago!

                    2. ambrit

                      My wife’s nephews are proof positive that money is the premiere necessity for ‘breaking in’ to the movie ‘industry.’
                      No matter how good, or bad, (we call it ‘camp,’) your work is, you need money, in effect, backers, (also known as ‘associate producers’ and after midnight, suckers,) to make any actual ‘product’ to set before the public.
                      Oh for the mythical days of “Singin’ In The Rain.”

        2. Harry

          Gosh, I remember when you UK was like that. But then we decided to send 50% of our kids to college.

        3. jrs

          the cheating included to get into UCLA, that’s a public institution. Elite public schools are becoming like private schools in many ways, purely for the elite.

      3. Chris Hargens

        I can’t see these kids going into one of the trades. They don’t need the money. Considering the amount of bribe money paid out — hundreds of thousands, even millions — it looks like these parents are more concerned about their children attending these prestige schools for personal prestige…icing on the cake of their own success.

        1. jrs

          yes thank you, do these kids even NEED to work, if not then all talk of what job training they should get is so much irrelevancy. Maybe bank of mom and dad can just lend them money for several failed business ventures before they find one that might work (if they have any aptitude for that at all).

          Then they can spend their life lording it over people who actually DO need to work and call them boss and owner.

    2. Carolinian

      Perhaps these misguided parents are often less concerned about their children’s success and prospects than their own status. If all your wealthy friends have kids going to Yale or Stanford and yours go to community college then very humiliating. The conservative politicians back in the Reagan era were constantly talking about “values” and the lack of them but they weren’t entirely wrong. It’s just that their values (greed is good) were often the problem. Surely a sense of ethics begins at home and leading by example. Have the participants in this scheme done the most harm to their kids by acting as though success is everything, honesty nothing?

      1. Harry

        I really think this is absolutely right. What makes me think Macy and Huffman’s offspring wont really need academic success to make their way in the world. This is about gilding lilies appropriately. Santa Barbara Community College is a fine school, but it doesnt roll off the tongue like an Ivy.

        1. Alfred

          Plus, the goal of “becoming educated” has been replaced by that of “having the college experience.” The former entailed some achievement, recognized by a degree. The latter, however, can be bought and sold, at various price points, or gifted (by doting or climbing parents), and a “credential” attests to its acquisition. The soaring values of experiences and credentials is of a piece with the devaluation of education and degrees. I think it’s yet another case of exchange values exceeding use values, of appearance trumping substance.

        2. jrs

          Community colleges often offer pretty good education. However every year a large percentage of their graduates never do go on to 4 year colleges. Those who start at 4 year colleges are more likely to get a 4 year degree. So they might be a better bet if you don’t care if your offspring ever get a 4 year degree or not. I doubt that’s what we’re dealing with here.

        3. Cal2

          “Huffman’s offspring wont really need academic success to make their way in the world…”

          Happy birthday Senator @KamalaHarris. Your effort to speak up, fight back, and continuously crush glass ceilings is inspiring. My 16 year old daughter is going into politics because of you. #TheFutureisFemale

          — Felicity Huffman (@FelicityHuffman) October 20, 2018

    3. AC

      College Admissions.

      “Roughly one in four of the richest students attend an elite college…. In contrast, less than one-half of 1 percent of children from the bottom fifth of American families attend an elite college; less than half attend any college at all” NYT Jan 18, 2017

      “At 38 colleges, including Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania, there are more students from the top 1 percent of families by income that the bottom 60 percent (families making $65,000 or less per year…” per NYT see Vox, Libby Nelson, Mar 12, 2019

      According to Pew, in 2013 the federal government spent $75.6 billion on higher education. Federal and State Funding of Higher Education, Pew, June 11, 2015

      Therefore, we are redistributing benefits through tax dollars disproportionately to the top 1 percent. Add that to legacy admissions, elite sports not in public schools, extra and costly college preparation. It is a rigged system.

      1. pjay

        Exactly. Like pretty much every major institution in the US, higher ed is a “rigged system” for reproducing the existing structure of wealth, power, and privilege. And like every major institution, there are enough opportunities for resource extraction by individuals throughout the hierarchy (whether these resources be income, status, or power) that critical voices have little effect.

        I should note that, as in every major institution, there are good people working in higher ed (I’ve known many). But they rarely obtain positions of power at the top.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I believe most people are good.

          So, just as there are good people working in rigged higher ed,, there are good people working in fossile fule industry, and other fields as well .

          1. pjay

            I agree. I’ve known a few good people in that very industry. Unfortunately, it is also true, as Upton Sinclair famously noted, that “it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

        2. AC

          At Harvard, 42 percent of students on the donor list are accepted; the overall rate is 4.6 percent.

          It gets worse. To give a race-based preference, the college must show it’s purpose is to benefit all students. No such requirement for legacy, donor or athletes. Kushner got into Harvard after a $2.5 million “gift” shared with the USA tax payers.

      2. Chris Cosmos

        The fact is everywhere you look ar any nshor American system you see scans, hustles and scores of willing marks shovelling money into that system. These chumps don’t want to be told they’ve been had either.

        1. JEHR

          When billionaires can easily buy politicians, why shouldn’t they also buy a place in elite universities for their children? What’s wrong with that? /sarc

    4. Ain't That Rich

      And,poor people should spend an inordinate amount of time in prison and payment of fines for making a DVD-R copy of any film or music endeavor. Even just once.

    5. Pat

      One thing I will say about the Huffman/Macy involvement, it does seem to be limited to test score enhancement, not the sports fraud. A perfectly fine student might not take tests well, I’ve even known a few in my life. I am actually willing to focus my dislike on the parents’ poor choice to do this and not automatically assume that the child would be a waste of space in anything but a low level college.

      1. Wukchumni

        If only my parents had photoshop, I could have been a contender in the pole vault and gone on to great things in college, but no, they had to face facts, and suffer through a less than distinguished little league career of mine.

        1. ambrit

          Little League Career???!!!
          You’re living in the bloody Sierras (which are a defensible position,) for heaven’s sake!
          I get your angst, but it really is a matter of perspective.

            1. ambrit

              I remember hitting a few ‘doubles’ at the bar once and than hitting on a double, trouble that is. (Never flirt with a Mother in front of her daughter. Guaranteed bad times ahead. Although I did wake up in a strange bed. Then there was the time I woke up on a couch in the Uptown district of New Orleans and discovered a morning Tantric Yoga class in progress in the same room.)

              1. Wukchumni

                Higher education didn’t cost me a dime in tuition, as I didn’t go to college or university, for my campus was the world, and what a teacher real life experience was.

                In my occupation, we used to laugh @ ‘book smart’ competition, which is what higher education is largely about.

                1. ambrit

                  Yes to that.
                  Much of modern “education” is just a paper chase. (Remember the television show of that name?)
                  I can well believe that one can have a ‘feel’ for numis.
                  Question: Is the old custom of “ringing” a silver coin the source of the phrase “dead ringer?” Sounds counter intuitive.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    Question: Is the old custom of “ringing” a silver coin the source of the phrase “dead ringer?” Sounds counter intuitive.

                    Silver has a sweet ring to it when you take a coin and stick it on the nub of a finger and tap it with anything metal, and gold even a more melodious long tone, whereas something made out of lead will have no ring, thus a ‘dead-ringer’.

                    The ‘counterfeit detector’ pen of a century prior, going all the way back to 600 BC.

                2. newcatty

                  Nice Wukchumni. My higher education was a combination of community college, and two state universities as its source. I was the first person on one side of my parent’s family to go to college. I worked for my degree got some grants and paid a student loan for it later. TG, not the rip off ones saddled on today’s kids. I loved being a “book smart” person. I happened to take classes taught by , mostly, intelligent and interesting instructors. It also was crucial, imho, that I put thought and effort into the work. When I did research for a paper, I choose a topic that was of interest to me. There were a few boring or inane general ed classes, but only a few. Kind of like getting through the boring parts of a rode trip. I have done some travel, but nothing like a world wide campus. Yes, real life is, indeed, a teacher for us all. College is not for everyone, but I think it should be free, or almost so, like in some European countries for those who want that experience. This definitely includes vocational and para professional schools, as well.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    Somebody mentioned idyllic college conditions in Germany the other day, and it sounded downright groovy, compared to Gulag U. posing as just another thing we could wring excessive profits out of, and cheer loudly.

                    I love books and the combination of book smart and practical experience smart is as good as it gets.

              1. ambrit

                Remembering the actual drink is only the beginning. Untangling the wicked weave of “the night before” is about as educational as it gets.

      2. a different chris

        It’s not necessarily whether they would be a “waste of space”– it’s that they displaced somebody more deserving.

        At least more deserving under the rules as given, which is an entirely different topic.

        1. Pat

          Not saying they should have that college spot. I’m saying that the reactions about Huffman’s child here (and elsewhere have been distinctly harsh). Not yours which merely states the case that they have taken a spot that should have gone to someone who met the qualifications. But others who have made sarcastic suggestions of where they should go to school – without knowing anything but they don’t test well.

          I should also say as someone who can perform on tests like SAT and ACT well above my actual abilities, I have always thought they were overrated as a means to determine college admission.

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      What is so ‘elite’ about elite colleges? I think C. Wright Mills would suggest the answer is the background of their student body — though not that of all their students. Just getting into an elite school does not guarantee Elite status on exit. You need to be admitted to the ‘right’ clubs and make the ‘right’ friends. This is not to suggest that attending an elite school doesn’t confer certain vital skills like learning to drink scotch instead of beer and make the right small-talk and knowing the right people is a helpful entry to work in the financial money machine. Our Elite are not adverse to making a place for — or at very least making use of — some few poor kids of exceptional brilliance and skill.

      As suggested in comments yesterday, these little indictments of celebrities and lesser notables pulling strings for their children is purely for show — not unlike going after Martha Stewart for insider trading.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That was the question I asked yesterday – does a prestigious university owe its eliteness to its students? How much should they be paid?

    7. jrs

      Yea, how out of touch do these people have to be to think their @#$# is some kind of universal of parenthood per se.

    8. Geo

      Compare this response to the predominately black Atlanta public school teachers who got sentenced to prison for cheating tests, in part to keep their underfunded schools from being closed due to poor performance.

      If the Hollywood elite don’t want unfair punishment they should use their considerable wealth and influence to reform America’s oppressive justice system, not seek special treatment.

      1. newcatty

        One of the most important aspects of the University Blues story is that ,as has been mentioned, that deserving potential college students are not being accepted into a college or university. I think I am correct in thinking that there is an enrollment cap for entering freshmen at each school. The students who are admitted through the fraud of falsified test scores on entrance tests, such as the SAT, are taking the place of a qualified student who honestly takes the tests on his or her own efforts. The student, whose parents go along with having their kids receiving extra time for the test are literally cheating kids who are in need of the extra time, because they do have a real learning disability. The fake athlete admissions are cheating a kid who really is an excellent athlete, who could be admitted due to their ability. Lots of the student athletes are not just great in their sport, but work hard to maintain a good GPA.

        The argument that sports have been turned into a racket, beginning in high schools, is an important point. But, if we just consider that athletic programs are a reality in most private and state schools, then a truly qualified athlete should have the slot in a school based on their genuine qualifications.

        My granddaughter is an excellent soccer player. She loves to play and has worked hard to be a varsity level player in her high school. She is bright and also works to make good grades. It just disgusts me to think that a kid could be admitted to a school with photo shopped head shot into a college program, instead of her. Because she is the real deal, she will get into a program. After all, those programs do have to have real athletes to play on their teams. She may have a particular school to apply for due to her own preference. She is not from a wealthy family, so is working for a scholarship. If photo shopped girl is taking her, or any other deserving student athlete, place in a school then that is ethically, morally and greedily wrong.

  7. Fraibert

    I have a question about MMT that I figure I would ask here as this blog is one of the consistent voices for the combining MMT’s insights with the funding of a jobs guarantee and single payer healthcare.

    I was thinking about it recently and it struck me that the jobs guarantee is facially inflationary. I understand one purpose of the guarantee would be to implicitly set a minimum wage above the current levels. But since wage levels are relative, wouldn’t that also generally compel a wage increase across the board? (That is, if unskilled labor is paid say $17 per hour under the guaranty, then skilled labor such as auto mechanics might expect a wage increase also to recalibrate the relative compensation levels.) At the same time, wouldn’t it be logical for businesses to generally raise prices due to rising wages, in a variation on the wage-price spiral? (After all prices have gone up significantly in the last 40 years of no real wage increases.)

    I understand that both the Federal Reserve and Treasury could adjust any inflation risks using interest rates, reserve requirements, or taxes. But the above methods all seem to also reduce economic activity and possibly even cause recessions. I suppose then the recessions would push people into taking guaranteed jobs which at least would mitigate part of the harm but which would also enable businesses to adhere to previous price increases with greater tenacity.

    I also add single payer to the mix because my understanding is that it is generally thought that employees will capture as wages a decent portion of any funds used previously to pay for private health insurance. To me, this seems to also result in a meaningful boost to wages in the middle of the spectrum but also pushes into the same wage price spiral dynamic.

    I guess, not being an economist, I was wondering if I am just overthinking or if this is a real concern with the overall approach.

    1. Fraibert

      I do recognize that it’s still a better outcome from a safety net perspective. But I suppose where my line of thinking leads is that it could be a worse outcome for enough people if inflation and/or anti inflation efforts eat the wage gains.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Employers will still be paying a payroll tax to fund M4A. Not sure who is counting on corps to pass on much in the way of salary increases.

      1. Fraibert

        My understanding is that single payer should cost less than private insurance. That being the case, even if the payroll tax increases, there is still some additional money that was already slated for compensation (as health benefits), which one would expect to be paid directly as wages after it was no longer necessary for it to be used to provide such benefits.

    3. a different chris

      >then skilled labor such as auto mechanics might expect a wage increase

      They can expect all they want, the world seems to have been going in the other direction since Reagan, no? In any case I think the number you are looking for, and it was much smaller than I thought when I looked, is what percentage of the population actually makes less than $15/hr. And for a test run look at what has happened in the Seattle(?) area, which seems to be all good. McDonald’s it turns out didn’t seem to care that much.

    4. diptherio

      You are overthinking. Trying to guess what might happen after an adjustment to a fundamental aspect of a complex system is a fool’s game. Just because you’ve got a story that makes intuitive sense, doesn’t mean that it has any explanatory power at all. This is the classic trap that economists have fallen into. They think you can reason through, in advance, the way that a complex system will respond to this or that adjustment…which just goes to show they don’t understand how complex systems work. Even if you know every possible thing about a complex system, there is still no way to tell, a priori, what any given adjustment or shock will lead to.

      There are so many feedback loops and subtle connections between all the different aspects of our economy that the only way to actually know what the result of some action will be is to try it and see. Trickle down economics makes intuitive sense, of a sort, as does the Laffer curve, but both have been applied and the results were not what was expected (we can see the results all around us). We can’t actually know what the effects of a JG policy will be until we institute it.

      And finally, I’ll add that we need to focus on filling human needs, not statistics like GDP or inflation. It’s quite possible that there are policies that would both “reduce economic activity” and do a better job of providing for the needs of the citizenry. Focusing on statistical measures as proxies of progress is part of the way of thinking about economics that got us here in the first place.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        That’s true of most complex systems but the international economy and nested feedback loops are well known and will be increasingly under control of the finance oligarchs through ever more robust and powerful AI programs that manage the financial system surprisingly well. Barring major war, violent social unrest, and major environmental disasters that come quicker than expected (they are coming) the world economy has been gamed except for minor details.

        1. diptherio

          That’s true of all complex systems, including the financial and macroeconomic ones. They call themselves “Masters of the Universe” but it’s just hype.

    5. Mel

      I’m still trying to work this out. My best so far is:
      Traditionally, we fight unemployment with a “trickle-down” or “Phillips Curve” solution: we bribe rich people to hire more. The bribe is always bigger than the payrolls that are generated.
      With a Job Guarantee, the generated payroll matches the outlay almost exactly; that limits the inflationary pressure.

      Note that the Job Guarantee wage doesn’t specifically apply to unskilled labor. It applies to anybody who hasn’t been hired in the Employment Market. It will, of course, set a de facto minimum wage, whatever the results. It won’t be a compulsory minimum wage: anybody who wants to do some particular job for less pay (and I can imagine instances) will be allowed to do that.

      1. vlade

        I’m not so sure on your reasoning, particularly “With a Job Guarantee, the generated payroll matches the outlay almost exactly; that limits the inflationary pressure.”

        JG recipients will be in the category that spends almost all of their income, hence is most inflationary.

        Rich aren’t inflationary (or rather, they propensity to add to inflation is way less than poor) – they spend little of their income. Poor are, as they have to spend (much) more of it. Which is why I have a problem with taxes as a means of restricting inflation – you’d have to tax poor. Money that say sits in govt bills contributes zilch to inflation, so taxing it will not have impact on it either.

        JG would not be inflationary as long as the extra consumption it creates would match (or be less) than the extra productivity it generates (i.e w/o JG there would be resources lying idle, which are now used). If it goes over that, i.e. if the consumption outstrips the productivity, it becomes inflationary.

        I’m not entirely sold on this argument though, as it sounds to me that there should be some equilibrium to avoid inflation (that is that full employment is required for all the available resources to be fully utilised perfectly), and I’m suspicious of anything in social sciences which has the word “equilibrium” in it.

    6. todde

      The answer lies in the relationship between the unemployment rate and the rate of inflation.

      If what you say is true, they should have an inverse relationship.

      I have not ran the numbers.

        1. a different chris


          My eyeballing says the only relationship between the inflation rate and the unemployment rate is that they are both expressed in %.

    7. todde

      the main problem is Labor is getting farther and farther removed from the ‘means of production’.

      How does the phrase “the men who can control men, control the men who control machines, while the men who control money, control everyone.” apply when machines are controlling more and more processes?

    8. Gary O.

      Fraibert wonders whether the jobs guarantee (JG) is inflationary since lower paid workers will demand a higher (and above-poverty-level) wage. Pavlina Tcherneva provides much helpful information about JG in this posting: “Frequently Asked Questions about the Job Guarantee,”, derived from her 2018 Levy Economics Institute paper “The Jobs Guarantee: Design, Jobs, and Implementation.”

      “As a rule the proposed JG wage ($15 per hour, plus benefits) will become the effective minimum wage.” (FAQ 12) She points out that although it might be unpalatable to think about it in this way, this macroeconomic mechanism for maintaining the price and full employment of labor is similar to the mechanism used by the Department of Agriculture for commodities. “For obvious reasons, it is more important to maintain the price and full employment of labor than of soybeans.” (FAQ 14) “Any resulting increase in prices will be a one-time increase, which does not constitute inflation.” (FAQ 15-a) Currently, we have system where the Fed, if it “deems that the pool of the unemployed has shrunk to ‘undesirable’ levels (put simply, that too many people have jobs), increases interest rates [NAIRU] with the intent to slow down purchasing power, increase unemployment, and thus remove any inflationary pressures that may result from too many people having jobs and income. This, as the late Nobel Prize-winning economist William Vickrey argued, is the equivalent of economic vandalism. By contrast the JG expands in recessions (deflationary periods) and contracts in expansions (inflationary periods), serving the exact same function of responding anti-cyclically to changes in aggregate demand that the NAIRU is supposed to serve, except it does it by establishing an above-poverty wage floor, providing jobs for all who need them, producing socially useful output, and reducing the outsized costs of unemployment. (FAQ 15)

    9. Fraibert

      I got unexpectedly busy yesterday so didn’t have a chance to fully revisit this. Thank you to everyone who responded–I appreciate the time and information.

  8. Brindle

    Beto Annnouces….

    Nothing about policies, just hazy “morning in America” schtick—and ” unleash the genius of the USA” —gigo.

    —” promising a “positive campaign that seeks to bring out the very best from every single one of us, that seeks to unite a very divided country.”

    “This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us,” he said with his wife, Amy, sitting beside him. “The challenges that we face right now—the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy, and our climate—have never been greater. And they will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America.”

    1. Big River Bandido

      That’s a lot of empty calories in that announcement. How appropriate for Vanity Fair.

      1. ewmayer

        Did “Beto male” include a bit about running a positive campaign “For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too, we teach you that there’s more to life than just being really, really, really good looking”?

          1. The Rev Kev

            Are you….are you implying that O’Rourke can say “I can see Mexico from my house.”

    2. Pat

      He is trying to run an Obama campaign in a distinctly different time and situation. There are too many new guys on the block, and they will be gunning for him as well as trying to establish their own bonafides. When you are the one new person going up against the known entity you can be dreamy and non specific. Here we have three sort of known entities, half a dozen the public doesn’t know and three the public are familiar with.

      Mind you I think the DLC Dems are still trying out candidates. Even though the person I talked to last night doesn’t think Kamala is crashing and burning all ready, I believe the usual power brokers are clearing the way for great hope two (and three) because she isn’t gaining the traction they thought she would have outside of Southern California and NYC.

    3. neo-realist

      Beto’s end game might be a VP slot: The DNC might want the optics of a white, young and charismatic centrist who can help the ticket draw votes of Purple, Red, and Battleground states, while Beto creates enough national stature for himself to run for the Presidency in the near future.

      Yes it’s a big crowd for the head of the ticket, but as some of us on NC have said, the masses don’t do the homework on policy positions like we do and they like appealing optics from a candidate; They like the mythology, even if the candidate is an empty suit.

  9. Livius Drusus

    Re: Joe Biden Mulls 2020 Campaign Aimed at the Working Class.

    I am not a Biden supporter but I wouldn’t underestimate him as a potential threat to Sanders or Warren.

    From the article:

    John Anzalone, a pollster who has been advising Biden on a 2020 run, pointed to a Harvard-Harris poll from last month that showed that three-quarters of people who said they’d support Biden don’t have a college education, and that he’s winning 42 percent of non-college-educated voters—as opposed to the closest runner-up, Bernie Sanders, who had 22 percent. Likewise, Anzalone noted that Biden was leading among non-college-educated voters with 30 percent in a Monmouth University poll that came out earlier in the week.

    If these polls are accurate and Biden is more popular among non-college-educated voters than Sanders I think it is worth asking why that would be. My first guess would be that many non-college-educated voters are older and have a more negative opinion of the “socialist” label from years of Cold War propaganda about the evils of socialism and its association with the Soviet Union. Another guess is that the activist left is dominated by college students and college graduates and that turns off a lot of working-class voters. A third factor might be Biden’s association with Obama who is still popular among many Americans.

    I think it would be a mistake to downplay the importance of “authenticity” and other fuzzy concepts related to a candidate’s image. Most voters probably do not put a lot of time or effort into reading about a candidate’s policy stances. Most NC readers know that Biden is another neoliberal like Obama but most voters don’t know anything about neoliberalism or have even heard of the term. To give one anecdote, I have a friend who is not very political but voted for Obama because he “seemed like a nice guy.”

    1. Carla

      Sigh. It will probably be at least 200 years (assuming the planet & humans last that long) before history students begin to learn the truth about Barack Obama. So sad.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s the same in many places.

          Even today, for example, the Lin Biao incident is taught differently in China and elsewhere in the world.

          In addition, the Chinse tradition had been for the next dynasty to write the history of the preceding one. Not that it would make it more objective, but it assumed that one (a government, a regime*) can’t write the history of oneself.

          *Not the emperor of his predecessor, but of the earlier dynasty, or republic, etc.

    2. Mac na Michomhairle

      I would agree.

      A contemporary political campaign focuses on the creation of a story that is presented to voters. The candidate is, in effect, a character actor. An important part of Reagan and George W Bush and Trump’s electoral success was because they successfully portrayed themselves and came across as as “regular people.” Obama was “The Reformer,” but Democrats tend otherwise to put forward manager types, who more and more people loathe because of their experience with arrogant oblivious managers in real life.

      Sanders is trying to change this and focus on old-fashioned real-life issues, but the system itself makes this difficult.

    3. Darius

      Biden’s a house of cards. With people like Beto and Kamala in the race, the media won’t unite behind him like they did with Hillary. He’s crashed and burned twice in this game already. He’s got the same gauzy empty suit message as everyone else other than Bernie. He’s got a lurking me too problem.

      I see Biden running out of gas or failing spectacularly in a few months to be supplanted reluctantly but not by Hillary who mounts a late and chaotic run due to the “urgency” of the situation. And as we know, only Hillary can beat Trump. It’s always been true. It always will be.

    4. Big River Bandido

      On both the mechanical and the political levels, the “Biden boom” has all the authenticity of a snipe hunt.

      Joe Biden has only run in a single competitive election — nearly 50 years ago, in Delaware — and his name has not appeared alone on a ballot in 15 years. His past two presidential runs fizzled in Iowa before he even got started. His only way to raise money is the same way he did 30 years ago — with “bundlers” who massage money from large wealthy donors. Even that is going to prove difficult this time, because he’s dithered around so long that the dwindling pool of staff “talent (?)” that knows how to run an astroturf campaign is already sewn up by other phony candidates. His claim to working-class votes seems to be based on his boyhood in Scranton, PA, a town closer to New York City than to Pittsburgh, and which in any event doesn’t exist as it did then. This hypothesis has never had a successful test. Some media clown just wrote about Biden’s ability to “connect” with “working families” a decade or two ago, and every other stenographer journalist happily accepted it as truth because one of their own invented it. When you subject that assertion to what has actually happened over the years…it’s pretty thin gruel.

      The idea that Biden could just parachute into the race and undo Bernie Sanders’ work of 4 years actually, you know, campaigning among these voters, makes me disrespect the pundits even more than I already do. Harry Truman was absolutely correct when he said “ain’t one of them got the sense to pound sand in a rathole”. Perhaps “non-college educated” voters (like Truman) are still capable of separating substance from sham?

      1. Pat

        Much of this is based on polls. One would think 2016 would tell them the polls are not all that reliable. Biden is polling well because of name recognition and a lingering nostalgia I don’t understand for Obama. Put him in front of voters and he is going to do what he has done in the past – make them look elsewhere.

        (Although I will always appreciate the Giuliani speech description – a noun, a verb, 9/11).

    5. nippersdad

      I think the best answer to that question may lie in past performance.:

      (unless I am reading this wrong)
      Biden’s percentages of the Democratic primary vote:




      Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results, but he does have a track record in this game, and it isn’t the kind I would care to invest in. His Senate record and the backlash from policies he supported during the Obama Administration is going to haunt him in a populist election, so he won’t even need to do the usual types of gaffes he is known for to fall on his face during the Primaries.

      Those non-college educated voters may like the guy, but they certainly aren’t going to like the litany of trade deals, bailouts and grand bargains that he was on board with. The older generations lived through the effects of all of those, and the younger one is presently dealing with the fallout from his bankruptcy bill.

      With Sanders in the race there are going to be a lot of records going under the microscope, and I don’t think that winning smile of his will overcome it.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Remember though it’s not a race to win, it’s a race to be the candidate. As we’ve seen, the race to be the candidate has very little to do with votes and voters and policies and a lot to do with backroom deals, MSM lies, billionaire/PAC money, feelgood platitudes, ballot shenanigans, skullduggery and murder, and illegal funds transfers from state and local coffers to the prez campaign, where they can be lavished on consultants and Hollywood star appearances.

        Biden/Harris, Trump wins and leaves office a year later and we get President Rapture Pence.

  10. allan

    Fearing for His Life [The Verge]

    Ramsey Orta filmed the killing of Eric Garner. The video traveled far, but it wouldn’t get justice for his dead friend. Instead, the NYPD would exact their revenge through targeted harassment and eventually imprisonment — Orta’s punishment for daring to show the world police brutality. …

    Very few if any of the perps are in the “enabling 10%”.

    1. JBird4049

      I still can not understand why many treat the police as saints rather than flawed human beings who are just like everyone else. What the NYPD and the prison guards are doing to Orta is obviously evil, and that is not an exaggeration, yet they will go unpunished and lauded as heroes.

      1. Big River Bandido

        The post-9/11 fetishization of cops has had disastrous consequences for our public policy.

        1. nippersdad

          Agreed, and the importation of the post 9/11 troop mentality, with the militarization of the police forces, has only exacerbated the preexisting problems caused by nineties era “tough on crime” legislation.

          The chickens have all come home to roost.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Are the police “…flawed human beings who are just like everyone else”? Aren’t many police officers former military back from one of our endless wars? Seems they treat much of the US public like the foreign public in a hostile occupation. What kind of human being could participate in some of our war actions without being adversely affected? And now, they are police officers.

        1. JBird4049

          Sometimes the problem is the hyped-up PTSD combat veteran in the cop car. However, some of the criticism I have read comes from police officers who were in the military; they commonly say that there was much more discipline and efforts at de-escalation on patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan than at home. To paraphrase “I had to be careful not to shoot a family in their living room or car while searching for jihadi terrorists, but here it is I feared for my life and just start shooting.”

          The vets usually have a better understanding of what might be dangerous and on how to react to it.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            I agree with the criticism “…from police officers who were in the military; they commonly say that there was much more discipline and efforts at de-escalation on patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan than at home” — for the most part. The problem is in the other part. I worked with many X-military, primarily officers from support units, and hold them in high esteem — for the most part. I did work with some very ‘nice’ military officers, some of whom were still operational when called upon. They seemed to have a remarkable nonchalance about killing if it were their orders. I was very much frightened by their attitudes, and recalled the book “Ordinary Men” and some of the implications of Milgram’s experiments. I also remember some of the kids who came back from tours in the Vietnam war silent about their experiences, remote, and drinking a six-pack of beer or more everyday.

            I agree with your assertion “The vets usually have a better understanding of what might be dangerous and on how to react to it.” However, that assertion might suggest our police regard most citizens as not dangerous, and fair game.

            1. JBird4049

              …However, that assertion might suggest our police regard most citizens as not dangerous, and fair game.

              And doesn’t that say something really unpleasant about our police. Thinking about what I have read a (very) few cops think the wrong person survived in the short story The Most Dangerous Game.

    2. ambrit

      “Loyal” police are always ‘enablers,’ even if not in the top 10%. Still, the unionized police do have decent civil service level salaries. It is the ‘privatized’ police and prison guards who fall down economically into the ranks of the deplorables.
      This introduces the phenomenon of the “aspirationals;” people who want to enter the 10% cohort and will lie, cheat, steal, and do all the other things the 10% are famous for to achieve that aim.
      To mix metaphors a bit; if the 10% enablers are ‘doubleplusgood,’ then the below 10% enablers are basic ‘plusgood’ functionaries. Consider it as an expression of Machiavelli’s Heirarchy of Deeds.

      1. allan

        Whatever the aspirations of the doubleplusgoods, they’re treading water.
        The chart in this tweet from Gabriel Zucman pretty much sums it up.
        And that’s displaying percentage growth rates.
        If you wanted to display the income growth of the real elite in absolute dollars, you couldn’t,
        without renting the side of the Willis Tower.

        1. ambrit

          Got you. The other one is that we here in the ‘sub-plusgood’ cohort are sinking slowly into the West. Going West if you will.
          Another aspect of this is that such an extreme disconnect between money as a store of value and the top cohorts use, or misuse of it leads to an existential crisis in the “true value” of money.

  11. Carla

    AFL-CIO criticizes Green New Deal, calling it ‘not achievable or realistic’ – The Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Not only do we barely have a labor movement, the one we have is worse than useless.”

    Add this to the news from yesterday’s Water Cooler that SEIU employees in D.C. have authorized a strike against their own union, and UserFriendly’s comment is even more apt:

      1. GramSci

        When I was campaigning for single-payer back in 2007 I remember SEIU *opposing* single-payer.

        1. Baby Gerald

          As a disgruntled member of said SEIU, I can give you all a little bit of insight about this union’s schtick. I’m in the 1199, a chapter of mostly nurses and, as in my case, university support staff. Our health insurance is provided by guess who? SEIU. Every time our contracts come up for negotiation, we are always faced with the same option- crappy raises [1 or 2% each year or even the stupid cash bonus] in exchange for keeping our ‘no co-pay’ health insurance. For those of us who are single and healthy, this means sacrificing a salary increase that actually keeps in line with cost-of-living increases [I live in NYC, so those can be measured pretty easily with each MTA fare hike] so I don’t have to pay anything for my yearly check-up or semi-annual dental check-up.

          Many of my colleagues have families, spouses, health issues, etc. who are all covered by this insurance. Fighting for better raises generally means fighting against these colleagues’ interests because ‘no co-pay’ to them means a lot more than it does to me. Who pockets these health insurance increases at their members’ expense? SEIU. It’s a massive conflict of interest to have your union be your health insurer.

          SEIU’s health care chairman Dennis Rivera was one of the most frequent guests on the Obama White House log book during the months that they were scheming up the ACA. I am pretty sure it wasn’t because he was petitioning for single-payer.

          To top it all off, our union never even took a vote from membership during 2015 as to who we wanted to endorse for president and told us all that we needed to get behind Clinton. So I can see where these union members are coming from and support them in their rebellion against SEIU. I’d lead a strike against the SEIU too, if I could.

    1. Big River Bandido

      As a seething member of the AFT, I have to agree that the labor movement we have “is worse than useless”.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its not much in the way of data points, but:

        The Flight Attendants Union has 26,000 members and ended the government shutdown with the threat of a sympathy strike.

        The AFL-CIO has 12 million members, and um…endorsed the clod who lost to Donald Trump.

        We don’t have enough union members as a country, but we need more nimble unions.

        1. polecat

          Whenever I bring up the corrupt and insular quality of the big unions, my ‘friends, who have worked for, and retired from, their respective municipal unions jobs treat me as persona non grata ! They instantly reject any points I may have that call into question how these ‘big playas’ policies (and not just the big unions mind you) have on the rest of us, who lack ANY representation what-so-ever. To them, I’m looked upon as not worthy of consideration. So, is it any wonder why I might reject unions in general if the conversation it mute from the get-go?
          I was discussing the situation of not having adequate, and reasonably priced health care, and worried that Social Security might be somewhat short in my case, as I age, while he recieves his retirement sinecures from his stint as a county employee. His response was .. and I quote “well, life’s not fair” end of discussion !

          1. JBird4049

            The leadership of too many unions are really working for the business or government that the union is in. Just like in the regulatory agencies, the political parties, or many of the churches, mosques, and temples. The leadership becomes more concerned about keeping the gravy train running rather than doing their job.

            It is very difficult for a person to see that the institution that they are a part of is betraying them; the leadership often uses a “circle the wagons” defense to keep out criticism and block reformers. With the increasing corruption in our society, evermore institutions become corrupt and incompetent. This happening at all levels and in all areas and from the Red Cross to the various religions and to the political parties. Despite the rot there are plenty of good people trying to do the right things, but the powerful just brush them off.

          2. ambrit

            The situation continues to deteriorate. I fully expect the looters to trash those municipal pension plans soon. When Social Security goes on the block, then all hell will be let loose. A lot of the Social Security crowd entering their ‘retirement’ are ex-vets and know how to fight a guerrilla campaign. Or, at the least, learn how to quickly.
            One of the seldom noted aspects of the militarization of the domestic police forces is the concomitant loss of public respect for the law and it’s minions. The basic mind set of the ‘militarized’ police is a fear of and compensating contempt of the public. To a man or woman in a uniform, everyone is now a potential enemy. The jump from potential to actual is very short and can happen organically, without conscious volition.
            When you bring war making methods to the homeland, do not be surprised if you have to use those skills in the homeland.
            For those who say that the police forces can contain dissent, well, yes, they can, up to a point. As commenters from France have pointed out, the Yellow Vests protests have uncovered the basic flaw in the “peacetime” policing methods; lack of sufficient manpower.
            When the Watts riots broke out, and in lots of other cities, the basic initial police response was containment. Keep it from spreading. Then send in the National Guard. However, when rioting and protest become widespread? An Occupy or a Million Deplorables March can be suppressed or marginalized, but, what happens when the protests become endemic? Do you nuke the city centres?

          3. jrs

            unions have always mostly represented their members, so yea expectations that they fight for others that are not their members are NOT reasonable.

            HOWEVER unions do tend if there is wide scale unionization to increase the general wage level etc. so they are socially beneficial even to non-members at a certain point, as a spillover effect

            (and yes there might be more solidarity when you are getting into truly radical unionism like the IWW. But that’s more the exception).

            Now the rest of us, even if we are in favor of unionization (ie in favor of workers having a voice in their workplaces) don’t have to support particular unions when they take a stand obviously opposed to the general welfare, like reflexively opposing a Green New Deal. Our fight can be for the general welfare regardless of unions or corporations.

    2. nippersdad

      Reminds me of that debate where Sanders was criticized for pointing out that the leaders of these organizations don’t live in the same world as the rank and file membership. There was a lot of squealing about it at the time, but he wasn’t wrong.

      1. Steve

        It was due to it being about Planned Parenthood. Traditionally they are one of the good guys against the idiotic republicans and those that seek to control reproduction and women’s bodies so it was like Sanders was de facto attacking the average shrill liberal that doesn’t think about elite networks of PP’s corporate board and high executives.

        I don’t even think they had any critique that denies those high executives are deeply networked within the Democratic Party overall, just making fun of any on-point usage of “establishment.”

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Its position is one of three possible scenarios:

      1. Too ambitious, not realistic…

      2. We have only 10 or 12 years, we have to be ambitious

      3. We are beyond the event horizon, beyond help. Nothing will do.

      1. polecat

        4. Prepare to jump through that event hoop, if you can .. and meet the survivers on the other side. That’s my plan … if infirmity doesn’t do me in first.

      2. notabanker

        I think it’s more like we are down to our last few oligarchs that are throwing us bones and now you want to take those away too.

  12. notabanker

    US: Not reason to ground the MAX, must let the investigation unfold.
    US: Send us the boxes
    Ethiopia: No
    Germany: Sorry can’t help, conflict of interest and all.
    France: Ok we’ll do it.
    US: Out of an abundance of caution……

    1. Alex Cox

      Apparently Aeromexico are still flying the 737 Max into the US. A good friend is travelling to LA in one on Saturday. He called the airline and they tried to convince him that the designation 73S meant the plane was an Airbus!

      1. jonhoops

        Just checked Aeromexico’s site. All the Aeromexico flights coming in to LAX on Saturday are 737-800’s which are the earlier generation planes.

    2. dk

      Rather good bit on 737 MAX here:

      To me, from the standpoint of an airline pilot, there was no need to ground the fleet. Just ground each and every 737MAX pilot until he or she has been trained on the MCAS.

      After two accidents, require a week in the simulator—for overkill to make sure it penetrates even the dimmest bulbs. But nobody flies again until they have it. In effect that grounds the fleet, but only so long as the training takes. At the same time, regulatory bodies can require Boeing to eliminate the design deficiency so that the training on the MCAS need not be so intense, a process that could take months if not years.

      But if I were speaking as a non-flying member of the public, and as a politician who must answer to them, I would say: ground the fleet now. As far as the public is concerned, the industry had its chance and blew it. I would have no confidence in the plane nor the industry until an explanation is found and the design changed. Nor would I buy a ticket on such a plane.

  13. Chris Cosmos

    “Breaking: Sanders War Powers Bill to Stop Saudi Attack on Yemen Passes Senate ”

    Link doesn’t go there…?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He seems to focus more on Yemen, but not much on Syria.

      Is something similar possible there?

  14. bmeisen

    Admissions Bribary: Disappointing Mamet letter. The fact is that millions of Americans have taken on extreme levels of debt to pay for degrees from institutions that are to one degree or another complicit in what is ultimately a tuition fraud. His outrage at the virtual pillorying of his friends is human and his public letter trivializes the abuse suffered by victims of tuition fraud. Is there an American out there who doesn’t have a relative who is paying or trying to pay hundreds on a monthly basis, payments that barely scatch the pricipal on an educaitonal loan. Is there an American out there who is the parent of a teenager who doesn’t wonder how they will be able to pay for their child’s “college experience”?

    1. Carolinian

      He’s probably right that this sort of crime shouldn’t (and doubtless won’t) put Huffman behind bars. But whether they can still be regarded as “wonderful folks” is debatable. The wealthy are always full of excuses for their behavior and have expensive lawyer mouthpieces to help out with that. The poor rarely get that privilege.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We are reminded with this news that even the wealthy can not just buy a degree from some universities.

        “Who is more powerful?”

        Apparently, having just search the net for ‘buying a degree online,’ such offers are out there.

        1. Carolinian

          Grifter Nation. We are all Clintons now?

          And really who can tell the fake Gucci from the real thing? If college is going to be all about prestige then counterfeiting is inevitable given all that name brand “value add.”

  15. Arizona Slim

    About that chicken gang taking down the fox: One of my friends has three chickens. And they don’t like her cat. If he dares to venture outside, the chickens chase him back into the house.

      1. polecat

        Oh man .. ain’t that the case !! Imagine a 10 foot tall chicken deciding what parts it’s gonna delve into first … while staring you down with those fixed ‘full-spectrum’ eyes. Like a terminator with feathers !

          1. polecat

            I could see how, depending on circumstance × evolution × the relentless march of time, chickens … and other assorted avians, recovering attributes of their long vanished brethren to adapt to future environment and geological changes … while we humans diverge into various branches of success .. and failure.

            1. newcatty

              Our neighbors, behind our house, though not too close, just put in a high tech looking chicken coop. It can moved around their back yard. There are five big, red chickens at their beck and call. It’s cool, though w/o the coop their back yard looked like a natural meadow. All things must change. Now, I m wondering what will happen if one of the local coyotes come a calling. Sounds like nothing to worry about for our new neighbors. When asked what is happening in the hood: We say, oh it’s just us chickens.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “These states want you to eat more roadkill”

    Not possible in Oz. Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, it is illegal for an unauthorised person to use any part of a protected animal’s body – even after it has died. One guy was prosecuted for cutting off a dead kangaroo’s legs to feed his dogs and was lucky to get only a four-month good behaviour bond. An artist that made sculptures and jewellery out of roadkill found that he could have been prosecuted so I understand he put on one final exhibit before burning all his art.

    1. Carolinian

      “Protected animal”–meaning some are not protected and therefore edible? In the US most wildlife is not considered protected unless on the endangered species list. Dining on roadkill is not a new idea but obviously not for everyone.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’ve had roadkill elk. In a tepee. Very good.

        It really all depends on how fresh it is.

  17. Craig H.

    > Ketamine: Now By Prescription

    Your TL/DR is not what I would have gone with.

    The sinister ploy to patent sinister ketamine worked, and the latest news says it will cost between $590 to $885 per dose.

    (regular old ketamine still costs about $10 per dose, less if you buy it from a heavily-tattooed man on your local street corner)

    1. Duck1

      Looked into off label ketamine therapy in Portland OR a couple of years ago. It was available but seriously pricey, $1000’s/month, likely out of pocket. Probably don’t want to set a depressive loose with a bottle of ketamine and an IV, but out of reach for most. The new format, looting the med ins racket much if becomes formulary?
      Was the club drug IV or other delivery, pills? Don’t know.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Nord Stream 2 eyes way to curb EU oversight of $9.5bn pipeline”

    I can understand the necessity of this here. The European Parliament has been showing neocon tendencies the past few years but a few days ago they went full neocon and declared that Russia can no longer be considered a ‘strategic partner’ i.e. they are an enemy. Part of it seems their demand that Russia gives Crimea to Ukraine as well as bemoaning that their interference stopped Syria falling to the Jihadists. Some of the points in that declaration sound like they were written by Proconsul Pompeo but one section of concern for both Russia and Germany was where it said that they “also reiterate their concerns that the Nord Stream-2 project could reinforce the EU‘s dependence on Russian gas supplies and threaten the EU internal market.” That’s code for Germany should abandon Nord Stream 2 (plus the eventual Nord Stream 3), stick to buying gas transported through an unreliable Ukraine in a system in need of serious upgrade, and maybe buy the much more expensive US gas that has no hope of being transported in the volumes necessary for what Germany needs. Here is that declaration-

    1. Olga

      More on this:
      There is this funny statement: “The Nord Stream 2 project faces opposition from many countries in eastern and central Europe, the United States, and particularly Ukraine, because it risks increasing Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas.”
      No, that is not why CEs oppose it – with NS 2, they will lose transit fees (plus, for Ukrainians, the ability to siphon off gas for next to nothing). That is the main reason (plus, US pressure). But they have no one but themselves to blame, because a while back, they all helped kill South Stream.

      1. Yikes


        Also, this is Macron and other neo-liberals putting pressure on Germany to throw some money their way, ie: good old legislative blackmail, not dissimilar to Montana, North Dakota, etc behavior in US House/Senate. a Union of the unequal has a multitude of issues, not always in favor of the powerful.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s what you have to do under the current system, under which money is important, and therefore the need to raise $, and more $$, for the campaigns that are running.

  19. Yikes
    Most US Coal Ash Sites are Contaminating Nearby Groundwater

    Coal ash is contaminating water across the nation with toxic chemicals—and Maryland is home to to one of the most polluting sites, according to a new study. Exposure to Cancer rates as high as 1:6. No half-life or organic degradation mechanism for these contaminates either,

  20. Michael

    Something notable that was announced by the UN yesterday, ie a 3-5 degree Celsius increase in the Arctic is locked in. This will create a positive feedback to melting methane locked in the permafrost, and a potentially cataclysmic result.

    To me this is just acknowledgement of something I’ve been harping about for 10 years, but it is important they made it public.

    1. notabanker

      Released out Nairobi. Site of the conference that a whole lot of passengers on the Ethiopian jet were headed to.

  21. someofparts

    The Economist won’t let me read even one free article about MMT without paying for the privilege.
    What kind of chutzpah does it take to make someone pay to read what looks like a cheezy hit piece?
    When someone begins a post by citing Larry Summers as a legitimate arbiter of economic judgment I have no confidence in anything else they might say.

    1. Lee

      Try this:

      If you copy the url then paste it in the appropriate box at you will often be pleased with the result. I’m assuming someone will eventually put a stop to this service but in the meantime….

      1. polecat

        In my book, that would include much of the science community … but I’m not going to hold my lungfull of Ni, Ox, and trace gases.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Also inspiring would be examples from Green New Deal leaders.

          And perhaps new money into rail stations, instead of airports, the sad conditions of many of them in the US were discussed yesterday. A few years ago, I remember reading about the new rail statioin in Kyoto and how really well done it was. That’s one example.

    1. ewmayer

      Hey, your body is more than 50% neutrons, so if you’ve been living with that ‘dose’ all your life, what’s a few stray ones extra? Helps to keep the level topped up, I say. :)

      Aside: Whenever I hear ‘neutron’ I’m reminded of this little 50s SciFi gem.

  22. Lee

    Will Northern Ireland dissidents be able to exploit Brexit chaos? Financial Times

    From a recent interview with Sinn Fein leader, Mary Lou McDonald, she seemed confident that a hard border could be prevented and that this could be accomplished through peaceful political processes such as a referendum. She cited as support for this proposition that Northern Ireland had voted to remain, and that large majorities on both sides of the border absolutely do not want the re-imposition of hard border. I don’t know enough about the mechanisms of governance there to determine whether or not such a referendum could be held or what consequences might follow.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Ultimately, the “consequences” would be a border in the Irish Sea (both ways, I suspect) and a large step toward the reunification of the island. Great Britain would be oh, so pleased. Over their dead bodies, so to speak, but it’ll probably happen anyway. (Secretly, the UK may be hoping to foist that problem onto the Republic. We shall see.)

      I still have fantasies of a Celtic Union, Ireland and Scotland, when all is said and done.

  23. a different chris

    God I hate the medical profession. I love mushrooms. I am happy to eat them morning, noon and night. But:

    The groups that consumed more than two servings of mushrooms per day were found to have 50 percent less cases of MCI than the seniors who ate less.

    There is some babble about “maybe how”, and I certainly hope it is true, but that part is not actual research. The odds are just as good that the connection is exactly the reverse: people who genetically are less likely to suffer MCI happen to also have a taste for mushrooms. The mushroom intake itself could in that case do nothing at all, and forcing them on people (or worse, and I’m sure this is in the works already, having Big Pharma develop pills that supposedly mimic Mushroom’s magical power) will accomplish nothing.

    People who live to 100 years old would have probably lived that long regardless of most everything but being hit by a car. And those of us who won’t, won’t. No matter how much we mimic them.

    1. Lee

      As one who has been walking around on two good legs for years now because of an artificial hip and who did not die an agonizing childhood death because of vaccines, I’m not sure I would agree with your generalized disdain for the medical profession. Flim-flam, bullshit, and honest errors are integral to human endeavor but they are not its totality, except maybe in the FIRE sector. And as it happens here’s a handily available case as to the latter point: Investor praised for ethical investing allegedly bribed his son into USC

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In this area, this facet of life, universities are more powerful than Wall Street investors, it would seem.

        Score one for the Educational Industrial Complex over the Financial Industrial Complex.

      2. a different chris

        Haha fair enough. On top of the real goodies we get today (my knee has been strung back together for instance, something that wasn’t on the table for non-pro-athletes 30 years ago) my family-blogging paycheck comes from the medical profession, so yeah that was way too broadsided. :)

  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: US Regime Change Blueprint Proposed Venezuelan Electricity Blackouts as ‘Watershed Event’

    Thanks for this one, especially the second half of the article. In my more cynical middle age, I think it goes without saying that the US is responsible for the Venezuelan power outage.

    When I was a sliver less cynical however, I used to think that it was an organic native uprising that overthrew Milosevic. I remember watching a documentary that showed hundreds of thousands of people surrounding the parliament building, the police stood down not wanting to fire on their countrymen, and there was no violence against people (although protesters did trash the building once they got inside, hard to blame them for that). One person was injured in a car accident and another had a heart attack if I remember right, and those were the only casualties.

    And now I see this –

    CANVAS is a spinoff of Otpor, a Serbian protest group founded by Srdja Popovic in 1998 at the University of Belgrade. Otpor, which means “resistance” in Serbian, was the student group that worked alongside U.S. soft power organizations to mobilize the protests that eventually toppled the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

    CANVAS has been funded largely through the National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA cut-out that functions as the U.S. government’s main arm of promoting regime change. According to leaked internal emails from Stratfor, an intelligence firm known as the “shadow CIA,” CANVAS “may have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic struggle.”

    A leaked email from a Stratfor staffer noted that after they ousted Milosevic, “the kids who ran OTPOR grew up, got suits and designed CANVAS… or in other words an ‘export-a-revolution’ group that sowed the seeds for a NUMBER of color revolutions. They are still hooked into U.S. funding and basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;).”

    I was in Greece around this time and saw the posters of Bubba’s face with a bullseye on the forehead all around Athens – I knew the US wasn’t well liked and was obviously responsible for the bombings that sent refugees into the surrounding countries, but for some reason I never made the connection that the street protests that took Milosevic down were also pushed by the US.

    I feel pretty stupid now for ever having touted Milosevic’s ouster as an example of a ‘good’ revolution. I suppose there’s no Easter bunny either.

    1. a different chris

      I work with a refugee from Serbia. Yeah don’t believe the hype. The way he put it “that was my President in jail”. And they did fail to convict Milosevic of much of anything, so there’s that. But he died in custody so guess that isn’t any consolation.

      If the truth – messy and not favorably to either side, which is most of my point – of these far-away, culturally if not physically anymore to our over-powered military, of what is going on in these places got thru to the American people then they would really, really bring “the kids” back home.

      I’m not saying Assad is a good guy. Or Putin or Milosevic. I’m just saying there aren’t really good guys on the other side either, and the improvements they promise to “American” interests are probably vaporware and I put American in quotes because it’s the top 0.1%* that would even see those benefits. Not the rest of us.

      *I actually would like to include the top military brass in that somehow, even though financially they don’t qualify. But in reality, at least up to his resignation how closely does, say, Jim Mattis measure up to Bill Gates? Fly where he wants to, when he wants to? Check. Never worries about where his next meal is ever going to come from? Check. Roof over his head? Not as nice, but as nice as you can possibly need. Can get a huge number of people to do what he wants when he wants them to? Actually, that one probably goes to (well, went to) Mattis, and his million-plus people are legally lethal.

    2. pjay

      Thanks for this. One of the reasons I have ZERO tolerance for liberal “humanitarian intervention” crap today is that I also fell for the Narrative on Yugoslavia in the 1990s, even though I considered myself a well-educated and knowledgeable progressive. As the article points out, Otpor and CANVAS are part of a vast CIA-NGO-State Department destabilization network that weaponizes “human rights” and “democracy” in both target nations and our own “liberal” media. To atone for being duped I have spent years trying to (re)educate myself on the mechanisms of soft power and hybrid warfare — a fascinating and depressing subject. Definitely no Easter bunny in this area.

    3. Lambert Strether

      > I feel pretty stupid now for ever having touted Milosevic’s ouster as an example of a ‘good’ revolution. I suppose there’s no Easter bunny either.

      The Tahrir Square activists were also OTPOR-adjacent, sadly. I’ve read Gene Sharp’s stuff — the famous 198 Methods of Nonviolent Protest and Persuasion — recommended to me by non-violent activists. Note that the final bucket of methods, “Political Intervention,” has this final item “198. Dual sovereignty and parallel government.” Which, in its own way, was what Occupy tried to do (why seizing territory was important). However, it’s very obviously what Bolton and his goons (and their spook allies) are trying to do with Guaido in Venezuela.

      So, I try to be cynical, but it’s never enough. There seems to be no good collective impulse that our intelligence community cannot infest and degrade.

      NOTE I still remember a very vivid description, in the New York Review of Books, of fighters alleged to be Serbian preparing to massacre Bosnian civilians, which sold me on humanitarian intervention. Now I wonder if it was simply propaganda, equivalent to the infamous incubator babies story that justified the First Iraq War. (The tearful testimony turned out to have been given by the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter, although that was not reported at the time, quite naturally.)

      1. Lambert Strether

        Adding, on Gene Sharp, that in a past life I used to work with taxonomies, and Sharp’s 198 Methods struck me at the time as not exactly a cabinet of curiousities, but certainly not growing organically from a “theory of the case.” Of course, classification is hard, and IIRC the Library of Congress subject headings have the exact same problem. The Methods struck me as simply a list of tactics, without historical context or consideration of the movements/parties/entities that created them. Now, perhaps, we know why.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > DARPA Is Building a $10 Million, Open Source, Secure Voting System

      “Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence.”

      I’d love to see the requirements. From the article:

      The first-of-its-kind system will be designed by an Oregon-based firm called Galois, a longtime government contractor with experience in designing secure and verifiable systems. The system will use fully open source voting software, instead of the closed, proprietary software currently used in the vast majority of voting machines, which no one outside of voting machine testing labs can examine. More importantly, it will be built on secure open source hardware, made from special secure designs and techniques developed over the last year as part of a special program at DARPA.

      So who’s going to be doing the actual manufacturing? Backdoor, Inc.?

      This does go to show, however, that the national security establishment views preserving electronic voting systems as a priority. One can only wonder why.

      1. Oregoncharles

        A bit ironic, since Oregon does use hand-marked paper ballots. Not necessarily hand counted, though. But there’s no transmission issue, since all the ballots come to a central county office. The counts get sent to the Sec. of State’s office, but any discrepancies would be easy to catch. I’m fairly confident of Oregon’s voting system.

  25. Chauncey Gardiner

    Luved today’s antidote and caption! Reminds of all the lost hours spent in corporate meetings. Thanks!

  26. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

    Re: How much should they be paid:

    This reminds me of questions asked a couple of decades ago about English Premier League soccer crowds. Should they be allowed in for free? The TV viewing experience was as dependent on the spectators as the players on the pitch. The ticket prices had soared and crowds were thin and the roar was increasingly absent.

    Normal ethics-free business practice* tends to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.


    *Check out the current situation and history of Coventry City FC.

Comments are closed.