Links 3/28/19

Yves here. Like Lambert, I am a bit distracted by the Russiagate aftermath, particularly who is recanting and who is doubling down. So I feel even more behind that usual.

In addition, Colonel Smithers, who graciously provided his perspective on the forced deportation of Chagos residents (a sordid bit of British colonial history described long form in a Craig Murray post), asked if Thuto or any other South Africa residents could provide an update on the SA elections.

‘Monster’ alligator strolls on to Georgia golf course BBC

It Was 70 Degrees in Alaska This Week Gizmodo (furzy)

World’s longest salt cave found in Dead Sea’s Mt. Sedom, ‘biblical’ Israel Jerusalem Post (David L)

74% of US Coal Plants Threatened by Renewables, But Emissions Continue To Rise arstechnica

I Rode an E-Scooter as Far From Civilization as Its Batteries Could Take Me Gizmodo. Starting in San Francisco, there is no way you will get far from civilization unless that scooter is capable of riding on/under water.

Bacteria can travel thousands of miles through the air on its own Earth (resilc)

Monsanto Ordered to Pay $80 Million in Roundup Cancer Case New York Times (David L)

UPS eyes in-home health services with U.S. vaccine project Reuters (resilc)

New York county declares measles outbreak emergency BBC

The Anti-Vaxxer Movement Is Getting More Organized and Powerful Than Ever Before Daily Beast (resilc)


The EU bows to ‘systemic rival’ China Asia Times (Kevin W)

US and China resume their dance in latest trade talks Financial Times

North Korea

Judge Identifies CIA Related Man Who Led The Raid On North Korea’s Embassy In Spain Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)


Theresa May says she will resign as prime minister after Brexit Business Insider (Kevin W). Classic May. So if there is a long extension, she’s not committed to leaving.

Bercow issues fresh warning over third vote on May’s Brexit deal Guardian

Theresa May looks to unblock Brexit by cutting deal in half Financial Times

Jeremy Corbyn hit by rebellion over Brexit after whipping MPs to back a second referendum Telegraph


Trump tells Russia to get its troops out of Venezuela Reuters (resilc)


Netanyahu: Golan Endorsement ‘Proves’ Israel Can Keep Occupied Territories (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook To Fight Belgian Ban On Tracking Users (And Even Non-Users) Bloomberg

Airbnb Has a Hidden-Camera Problem Atlantic

French Gas Stations Robbed After Forgetting To Change Gas Pump PINs ZDNet

Imperial Collapse Watch

Navy’s $7.8 Billion Destroyer Now Due for Delivery 5 Years Late Bloomberg

3 reasons to think twice about an infrastructure bill Politico. Resilc: “We don’t think once on the DoD budget.”

A Foreign Policy Without War or Corporate Power New Republic (resilc)

Trump Transition

Trump says he can produce a better healthcare plan than Obamacare Reuters. Resilc: “And Mexico will pay for it.”

Why Trump’s New Push to Kill Obamacare Is So Alarming New York Times

VP Mike Pence: I want Americans back on the Moon by 2024 (or before the Chinese get there) The Register. Kevin W: “Also wants the UK to send over one of their magical sparkly ponies.”

Senators Demand To Know Why Election Vendors Still Sell Voting Machines With ‘Known Vulnerabilities’ TechCrunch


“There Was No Market for Skepticism”: Surprise Mueller Ending Stuns MSNBC—But the Resistance Show Will Go On Vanity Fair (resilc)

AG Barr to release Mueller report in ‘weeks not months’ NBC (furzy)

Despite report findings, almost half of Americans think Trump colluded with Russia: Reuters/Ipsos poll Reuters (resilc)


Warren Unveils Proposal To Bust Up Agribusiness Monopolies New York Magazine. Resilc: “Warren will do better than expected.”

Elizabeth Warren Calls For a National Right-to-Repair Law for Tractors Vice

Will The Results Of The Mueller Investigation Matter In 2020? FiveThirtyEight

Driver in deadly car attack at Charlottesville white nationalist rally pleads guilty to federal hate crimes NBC (furzy)

The Trouble With Stephen Moore AIER (resilc)

‘Making Amazon Look Bad’: Microsoft Is Backing a Major Tax On Itself and Amazon Gizmodo. This comes after Amazon but not Microsoft lobbied against a homeless tax in Seattle.

Lyft’s insurance problem FT Alphaville (Harry Shearer)

Class Warfare

Rankings: Healthiest Communities in the U.S.  US News. Resilc: “Wow, rich white people are healthy. Big news.”

The New Politics of the Retirement Crisis New Republic

IBM Accused of Violating Federal Anti-Age Discrimination Law ProPublica. I was hearing about IBM’s hostility to older workers over 15 years ago. One trick they’d employ to get older workers to quit was to try to post them to places like Brazil, where they had no friends or family, at 1/4 of their current pay, and no promise to move them back to the US.

Millennials don’t want to buy baby boomers’ sprawling, multi-bedroom homes, and it’s creating a major problem in the real-estate market Business Insider (Kevin W). Article gets around to admitting that “can’t afford” is contributing to their preferences.

Walmart and the Push to Put Workers on Company Boards New Yorker

Jamie Dimon Laments the Plight of the Poor While His Bank Pays 0.02% on CDs Counterpunch

Jamie Dimon, spare us your crocodile tears about inequality Robert Reich, Guardian (resilc)

Yale rescinds admission for student whose parents allegedly paid $1.2 million to get her in Boing Boing (resilc)

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Craig H.

      The part that struck me is he clicked on a user agreement which will surcharge him for taking the scooter out of bounds and he doesn’t know how much the surcharge is going to be.

    2. Anon

      The link photo of red bike consumed by the bark of a living tree is “staged”; not an accurate portrayal of what happens when you leave a bike leaning against a tree, for a long time. The new bark of a tree is created from the interior and pushes old bark out away from the interior; and would thus push the bike away from the interior. The most telling observation, however, is that the bike is off the ground (where it would have begun initially). Trees do NOT grow up from the ground, but gain height from growing points above the trunk. A point on the trunk at growth age 5 will be at the same height (approximately) from the ground as it will be at age 20.

      The bike in the photo was likely lifted into a cut made into the tree with a saw and the cambium growth layer in the tree trunk enveloped the bike top-tube with new growth (which became old growth tree bark).

      That said, electric skooters are not replacements for car trips, but substitutes fro walking.

  1. dearieme

    “the largest and most technologically advanced surface combatant in the world”; and if a naval war against a non-negligible opponent begins it’ll quickly become the largest and most technologically advanced subsurface ex-combatant in the world.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Zumwalt makes the F-35 look like good value for money. I can’t recall the source but I remember reading an interview with an ex top military design consultant who said that his first advice to anyone was ‘not to deal with the Navy’. The Zumwalt was designed for the purpose of bombarding land targets (for no other purpose it seems except that the Navy decided that the Army and Airforce were having too much fun, they wanted part of the action). What a long range gun sea could offer that drones or air strikes couldn’t was never explained. Then it turns out the ammunition is far too expensive, even for the US Navy – I believe that a full ammo hold in a Zumwalt would cost not far short of a billion dollars.

      So they have no decided it has to be surface to surface combat. But this means launching missiles – and the Zumwalt can’t hold much more than a regular frigate at a tenth or less of its price.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Have read stories on this ship before and at the moment it sounds like a ship in search of a mission. Just what mission could you send it on at the moment? It is bad as those Littoral combat ships being built. The US Navy is also having trouble with their new Ford-class aircraft carriers too-

        All this ship is doing is to sapping up resources and manpower that could be better used elsewhere but I am guessing that the Navy does not want to admit that they got it so bad nor do all those contractors want to lose out on all that money.
        Know what this reminds me of? The nuclear-powered aircraft program. It kept going year after years after being proved useless and it was only when Kennedy got in that he killed it once and for all-

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Weren’t the Joint Chiefs supposed to address these problems? Now, that I think about it, I feel like they’ve disappeared from public discourse for much longer than the “OMG Russia” narrative. This is a Blue Ribbon panel we can afford to cut.

        2. Chris Cosmos

          The Z has become the perfect symbol for American “defense” spending. It is expensive, it does very little, and reflects perfectly the culture of the USA–we Americans live in film set. Everything is a fantasy. Though Russia spends on eleventh as much as the US does it has strategic parity and has performed better with less in its rather limited wars. As for your comment that the money could be better used elsewhere, I don’t think, by definition, there can be a “good” use of money in the US military. Also, the function of the defense industry is to create jobs and high profits for capitalists. The military, paradoxically, has a 74% approval rating in the USA.

          1. Svante Arrhenius

            Perfect symbol of ALL American spending: it’s designed to suck the most money into the fewest pockets, for the costliest to maintain, lowest manufacturer expenditure. It’s another workfare boondoggle for the reddest districts in ALEC controlled states. Imagine us going up against the Axis with Brewster Buffalo, P39 and Allison powered P51s (Stalin immediately dumped?) Still awaiting that miracle.

          2. barrisj

            All of these “newest and best” USN surface vessels launched in an era of supersonic cruise missiles, fast-moving “stealth” torpedos, and other advanced anti-ship weaponry reminds one of the early 20th-century “Dreadnought” era, as submarines came into service…instant obsolescence until destroyers and sub-chasers were developed to protect other large surface craft. A scenario such as the Battle of the Coral Sea, or Midway is simply unthinkable in the modern era, but…build they must.
            Prestige, jawbs, anything other than practicality…plus ça change…

            1. prodigalson


              Our elites seem to want a war with Russia or China or both, *bad* though.

              Like mentioned above, all those high tech surface ships are going to turn into atificial reefs and diving attractions if we keep picking fights.

            2. Plenue

              We’re actually in the hypersonic era now; missiles so fast there’s no assurance that AEGIS systems can intercept them.

              Though even without considering that, we’ve never seen modern ship warfare between remotely comparable opponents. Much less between a fleet and shore installations. You can buy a lot of cruise missiles for he price of any one ship. In a real war with China I think they would just drown us with sheer numbers of missiles. Even 4500 rounds per minute Phalanx guns can’t hit every missile is they send them in hundreds at a time.

              1. fajensen

                Even if they do hit the missile, inertia will keep it going as a lump of metal carrying enough kinetic energy, burning fuel and explosives to go all the way through the aluminium ship and wreck everything in its path.

                The British generals we worked with called the phalanx system for “Goalkeeper”, they said that was because it’s function was like taking a penalty shot, it’s luck if the goalie gets it!

                They also said “if that thing spins up, it’s break out the brownie pants time”.

        3. CanCyn

          Hmm – methinks the ship is doing exactly what it was designed to do. Give navy types lots of important meetings to attend and enrich the MIC. Mission accomplished. sigh.

        4. Plenue

          At least the Ford does have a clear mission role: it’s supposed to be the new fleet carrier to replace the Nimitz-class, which are getting quite old and need to be replaced anyway (I mean, they don’t, actually. But as long as our doctrine calls for carrier battle groups..). It’s almost certainly a superfluous and highly vulnerable role these days, but it does still have a clear purpose.The problems with it seem to be that they’re also using it as a test bed for new technologies, which they should really have thoroughly tested before integrating them in the big expensive new ship.

          The Zumwalt seems more like desperation to have something new to sell.

          1. barrisj

            As has been pointed out, in the modern era, against what well may be indefensible anti-ship countermeasures, fleet carrier groups are simply peacetime floating precursors to rusting hulks resting on the seabed in a shooting war.

            1. Thomas P

              Carrier groups aren’t meant to fight equal enemies but to intimidate and attack lesser countries. One carrier group has enough airplanes to overwhelm most countries. They are useful against countries like Iraq, Iran and Venezuela to preserve US hegemony.

      2. Wukchumni

        Reconfigure the F-35 to include the aspects of an Osprey at a cost of way too much and also make it ADA compliant, while somehow squeezing a flight deck on the Zumwalt for a similar amount of semollians.

        Of course you’re worried about the aspect of these 2 white elephants getting it on together, and what about the awful offspring potential?

        no biggie, they’re both fixed.

        1. ewmayer

          “$800,000 per round….”

          Nuh-uh – I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “did he fire $4.8 million or just $4 million?” Well, to be honest, in all that excitement I lost track myself. But seeing as this is a Zumwalt, the most expensive naval toy ever conceived by man, and will blow your budget math clean out of the water, you’ve got to ask yourself one important question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well do ya, punk?

    2. Jeotsu

      I believe the USN only has enough missiles to reload about half the VLS tubes in the navy. So in the case of a peer state conflict”you’d be looking at an orgy of destruction for the first week or so, followed by enough ammunition to reload the half of your fleet still floating. After those missiles had been fired it would come down to a war of industrial production, who could build more missiles, more quickly than their opponent.

      Modern ship-and-sub building is so slow and so laborious (and so vulnerable to occasional cruise missiles destroying limited fabrication capacity) that even in a “long” war it would be effectively impossible to replace more of the ships and planes.

      Sub with very long range missiles might survive to reload a few times. Though there are limited places where they can reload, and the facilities for reloading would be targeted, too.

  2. dearieme

    By the way, how on earth does Yale still get off with being named after a slave-trader? Why haven’t the students insisted on a change of name?

    I know! Hypocrisy!

    1. pretzelattack

      hypocrisy for profit, as usual. he made a generous donation, got the school named after him. at least he died more or less in disgrace, albeit rich. same as it ever was.

    1. gary

      The pulled what looked like a 7′-8′ one out of Lake Granbury in North Texas. We don’t usually have gators this far north… at least we USED to not have them.

  3. Bugs Bunny

    I can confirm the dirt wrt older workers at IBM. They wanted to move me to a country in the developing world on a local contract. Good thing I had started my job search many months prior.

    1. Howard Beale IV

      And IBM has a nice euphemism for letting people go: It’s not a layoff, it’s a “Resource Allocation”.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      While writing resumes, my favorite IBM story (told to me frequently) was about how for decades IBM executives either wore matching black leather belts, shoes and wallets, or matching oxblood leather belts, shoes and wallets. Two options, nothing else acceptible to senior management.

      Urban myth, or ultra-conformist corporate culture?

      1. Bugs Bunny

        I know an IBMer who was sent home to change when he came to the office wearing a blue suit and light blue shirt in the 1980s.

        Talk about getting a dressing down..

      2. James Graham

        I knew ex IBM salesmen who while being trained sang songs in praise of the Tom Watson and his sons.

        I’m sure the lyrics are available somewhere.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “During the 90s, the influencers said millions of lost jobs for the sake of free trade and globalization were worth it. Now, they tell us the loss of several hundred thousand jobs in the insurance industry for the sake of Medicare For All is intolerable.”

    The difference is that all those people that will actually – not allegedly – be put out of work can always go and look for another job. Maybe they can go learn how to code. But the scores of thousands of Americans that die each and every year due to the present health care system can’t just go un-die. Nor can the hundreds of billions of dollars of annual costs that result from all these deaths, untreated illnesses & injuries, lost productivity, missed opportunities, etc. can’t be unspent either.

    1. JohnnySacks

      Here’s a crazy idea – why not put them to work actually helping sick people? If we can afford to pay the ticks feeding on our health care dollars to administer insurance policies, then why not re-allocate that resource to performing actual health care instead of paper pushing?

      1. CanCyn

        Johnny Sacks @ 9:55am – That’s as crazy at the idea that home owners should have been bailed out instead of the banks and finance companies back in 08/09! /s

    2. Earl Erland

      It’s not even certain that there will be hundreds of thousands of job losses. As noted in the next to last paragraph of the NYT article:

      In a Medicare-for-all world, private insurers might evolve into contractors for the big government system. They already perform various functions for Medicare, including helping the program manage paying its bills. The industry could retain that role, or take on new responsibilities.

      As for the stockholders: a rational market would have already priced in the risk of single payer, no?

      1. MRLost

        Regarding insurance company stockholders –

        Many of these companies – especially those built from BlueCross BlueShield entities – are closely held corporations so there are very few of what one would normally call stockholders.

        Back when Hillary Clinton was first in the White House – 1993 or 1994 – she tried to reform American health care and was defeated by big money from the health care industry: insurance companies, hospitals, drug companies, etc. But back then many members of the industry – notably the BlueCross BlueShield Plans and many hospitals – were not-for-profit entities. Those business leaders fought Hillary’s changes in order to protect their big salaries.

        Now, 25 years later, most of the BlueCross BlueShield Plans (all the big ones) and many more hospital “groups” are for-profit companies so changes to the healthcare industry threaten not only fat salaries but corporate profits. Expect far greater resistance to significant changes and far more money to be spent on lobbying against change. Those companies will fight tooth and nail against Medicare For All.

        When Obama negotiated the creation of Obamacare (ACA) one of many compromises he agreed to was allowance for 15% profit levels for insurance companies. Imagine any other industry being pretty much guaranteed a 15% profit.

      2. Mike

        I would have a trust issue with former insurance execs having anything to do with Medicare, but as long as they underwent retraining (a la Stalinist re-education camps) we might suffer them a position under watchful eye.

        I will say it here, however: Medicare-for-all is a compromise, and leaving Medicare as it is will necessitate private insurance picking up the slack and the seams of coverage – supplemental coverage a must, since Medicare does not cover everything as a universal plan would. Any plan brought forth will have to use some private insurance employees to expand its scope and reduce the possibility of fraud or gaming (since the nation will not suddenly become honest overnight).

        Still, the idea of some middle-class types on the dole certainly appeals to this working-class stiff…

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          My reading of the two M4A resolutions is that Medicare will be strengthened such that supplemental coverage wouldn’t be required.

    3. Summer

      Mergers and takeovers will take jobs in the insurance industry anyway.

      At least with Medicare For All, since the govt won’t enforce anti-trust laws, people put out of work won’t have to worry about healthcare costs putting them on the streets.

      1. Summer

        With a similar outcome assured:

        “It was later discovered that his reputed turnarounds were elaborate frauds and his career was ended after he engineered a massive accounting scandal at Sunbeam Products, now a division of Newell Brands, that forced the company into bankruptcy.[5] Dunlap is on the lists of “Worst CEOs of All Time” published by several business publications.[6][7] Fast Company noted that Dunlap “might score impressively on the Corporate Psychopathy checklist”[8][9] and in an interview, Dunlap freely admitted to possessing many of the traits of a psychopath, but considered them positive traits such as leadership and decisiveness.[10] He was a major benefactor of Florida State University.”

    4. jrs

      they can always go look for another job? 1/5th of suicides globally are caused by inability to find work. they can’t undie either. So maybe we do need that UBI afterall.

  5. Foomarks

    Re: Trump colluded with Russia: Reuters/Ipsos poll

    I love how this sentence is buried 8 paragraphs and 2 as blocks in:

    “Gathering online responses from 1,003 adults, including 948 who said they had at least heard of the summary findings.”

    1. pretzelattack

      i just checked out the guardian, for the first time in months (that i’ve seen) there are no putin articles on the front page– and only one small mueller report article.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Yesterday they ran an absolutely filthy propaganda hit piece on Maria Butina. The language was so loaded with innuendo it made my skin crawl.

        1. pretzelattack

          i hardly go there anymore, so much propaganda all the time. i think i’m still on pre moderation for asking why they haven’t retracted the luke harding story about manafort visiting assange in the ecuadoran embassy. they’re worthless.

            1. Carey

              That Kit Knightly piece on the Mueller distraction at Off-Guardian was excellent. Thanks for the link.

    2. Musicismath

      I don’t know if anyone else has seen it, but there’s a brilliant comment on Russia Gate over at Corey Robin’s blog:

      The gravest Russiagate-related problem […] is liberals’ need for the issue itself to distract from their own role in creating and nurturing the conditions that gave us Trump, to deflect the blame onto a foreign conspiracy whose domestic collaborators just so happen to be liberalism’s preexisting opponents anyway, and to sustain the delusional fantasy of a perfect liberal pre-Trumpian America that could be made great again by getting rid of the nefarious foreign influence. In that sense, the problem with Russiagate-focused liberal anti-Trumpism is how uncannily it fits the ideological contours of Trumpism itself.

      Indeed. The whole comment, of which this is just the final bit, is worth reading, though it does come with a Zizek advisory (for those who need one).

      1. Svante Arrhenius

        But, but… folks right here were foretelling ALL of this obvious scam’s implications weeks before Bernie said he’d back Hillary after the DNC stomped him down, and the DCCC disappeared all the potential down-ticket candidates, terrifying the kleptocracy?

        1. Mike

          Thank you, Svante – we seem to conveniently forget the little asides of this history, and one of them is that Bernie himself waved his tongue at the Russian “interference” scam, and for what purpose? Was it to garner space, or the bigger favor of acceptance, from a liberal watchtower organization bent on destroying him?

          Explanations of Democratic actions along with Clinton sycophants are difficult due to their seeming stupidity, but their agreement with Trump seems to seal it for me; i.e., the move to centralized authoritarian government, something Trump is speeding along. Democrats who could turn into Republicans at the drop of a dime would lose nothing by Russiagate, and gain the destruction of a left wing, thus “purifying” the country & softening it up for further rape.

          1. Svante Arrhenius

            Doubtless more a matter of our extreme old age and cantankerous mindset rather than undue presciece on our part, for the most part? I’m remembering Mississippi’s communistic Black DNC delegation’s assisting Barry, us nattering naybobs electing Nixon, and EVERYSOMEBODY installing Reagan, by our deplorable poverty? Robby, Debbie, John, David Brock and, and…

  6. William Beyer

    Regarding 3 reasons to think twice about an infrastructure bill, the author seems to think that federal taxes pay for federal spending – “One way or another, state and local taxpayers and users bear 100 percent of infrastructure costs; the only question is whether they make payments locally, to their state, or to the federal government.” Obviously never heard of MMT.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I’m not surprised that most Americans appear to still believe in the Russia fantasy–the same thing was true about WMD and many other stories that those in charge of the propaganda organs (all mainstream media is mainly propaganda) that have been clearly debunked. Like the notion that Assad gassed his own people because he wanted the USA to intervene directly in the civil war a story that has been completely debunked and should have been rejected out of hand at the start just like the WMD and Russia stories. These stories never had an ounce of credibility.

      The point here is that the American people will believe virtually anything if it’s repeated often enough. The authorities know this and so it goes. What is the cause of this credulity and deference to authority? Two things stand out–first, the ubiquitous nature of the mass media including generations of “hard-sell” advertising that uses science to understand human motivation this has so softened up the public with false pictures of life as well as products that whatever small amount of reason that may sifted into people’s minds becomes confused and twisted. Second, our appallingly bad education system that is still based on 19th century ideas about education and that actually does not use the science that advertisers and propagandists use, to educate children thus few people I meet even with graduate degrees can reason effectively about general subjects.

      1. Sol

        What is the cause of this credulity and deference to authority?

        Well, my theory is Gell-Mann amnesia. And never letting new facts get in the way of our already-held opinions? It’s called the backfire effect. Neurology has become much more interesting now that neurology and psychology have an inkling that they are both studying the same organ.

        Not to disparage your conclusions, since you are correct. Critical thinking skills are rarer than unobtainium these days. It seems thinking itself – cognitive work, rather than limbic system reaction – has become something of a lost technology. And i do concur that education has much to answer for this.

        1. Grant

          @Sol, I don’t know if I agree. When I look at polling on issues, there is a huge gap between what people want on policy, and what the system does. There is a huge gap between what people want on policy and what candidates often run on. As most here are aware of, many studies show that we are essentially an oligarchy. There is no gap between what the rich want and what the government does, cause they own the thing. There has been a decades long propaganda war against single payer. Both parties, at least those running them, are opposed to it. The media is against it. Yet, it polls well, even among Republicans. It seems that people do in fact have a far better grasp on issues that impact them than those in power. I find the critical thinking skills of those on TV and those that write for the major papers to be horribly deficient. Working people, the poor, seem to be doing a better job of making sense of things than people give them credit for. What they don’t have is a political system that speaks to them, works for them or cares about them. It is a big reason why the poor vote in lower numbers than those with more money, communities of color vote in lower numbers than white people and the young in lower numbers than middle aged and older people do.

          However, when it comes to things that don’t really impact people, like Russia, I do think that you will see people support things that are often in opposition to what the facts show. I think that happens because most people could give a damn about Russia and don’t bother to follow it much. They have too many real things to worry about these days.

          As far as I can tell, the collective functional stupidity of those in power is unmatched by any other group in society. Those people might often be intelligent and highly educated, but their class and ideological biases make them functionally much stupider than they probably are. If you or I had a class or ideological reason to deny the existence of gravity, we too would look stupid, even if we weren’t.

          1. CanCyn

            Grant at 11:48 am – I agree with infinite + signs!
            We should share these words, your words with everyone who thinks that most people are stupid or that we get the government we deserve. Thanks very much for putting it so well.

            PS – I see the same collective functional stupidity in the administrators in my workplace and now I know what to call it! Another thank you!

          2. Sol

            I’m glad you made such a thorough response, Grant. You were communicative enough that I don’t think our analysis is conflicting.

            If it had occured to me to do so, I would have stated in my previous that the under-privileged, the ideologically and economically vulnerable, are possibly our last tappable source of critical thinking and innovation. It’s all about consequences. Much too much of our capital is spent (recklessly squandered, more like) on the attempt to render those with capital free from consequences. An impossibility. Laws of physics laugh at our laws of man.

            Those without capital cannot play this game. And consequences are teaching tools.

            While I am sorry to slander credentialed professionals, I conclude that the most effective thinkers in America are likely those who will face consequences and learn from them. Not bubble-dwellers.

            Logically, I can make a case that we’d be better and more intelligently served if we had political candidates who were barbers and bartenders than lawyers and bankers. Physics can teach the under-privileged what the education system failed to, and yet the privileged seem to believe physics can be gotten ’round with a phone call to the right person in power.

      2. anon in so cal

        “The point here is that the American people will believe virtually anything if it’s repeated often enough. The authorities know this and so it goes. What is the cause of this credulity and deference to authority? ”

        That’s how propaganda works. Even if one hears something one knows to be false, because of hearing it repeatedly, the brain reinterprets the false content as accurate.

        Supposedly, it is easier to brainwash someone than to convince them they have been brainwashed.

        Do you really think it’s deference to authority? Or just acquiescence to massive media presence?

        I once asked gate staff at ORD to turn off CNN but they said they had no control over it; it was under jurisdiction of the Chicago Dept of Aviation. Who has the time to make further appeals?

      3. Tom Stone

        Three well educated women I know have told me that they have not been able to sleep since the Mueller report came out.
        One told me “They got to him, Tom”.
        “Russian Meddling” is an article of faith with these women.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Paula Poundstone is on Twitter telling Mueller she knows Barr is lying about his report and offering to rescue him if he’ll just send her a copy.

          You can’t make this stuff up, and if you did no fiction editor would touch it.

      4. cripes

        Chris Cosmos:
        “fewer people I meet with graduate degrees can reason effectively about general subjects than the average Joe.” – my fix

        …because conformity and unwillingness to question the official narrative are pre-requisites to success in higher education.

        Anecdotally, my experience with many but not all advanced degree holders is that, when confronted with facts contrary to their received dogma, retreat into fallacy of authority. All that learnin’ and so little thinkin’


        -BTW, I always pay attention to your posts because you display a well-developed independence of thought.

        1. Chris Cosmos

          Thanks–I’ve had the same experience. Even when I come up with logical proofs for some debunking of some sacred Narrative I don’t get a debate but anger or a change in subject particularly in Washington milieu I spent most of my life inside of. I’m about as far away as can be nowadays–most people I associate are working-class and I like them better.

          1. cripes

            Because their bullshit detectors are operative?

            They aren’t called Salt O’ the Earth fer nuthin’

          2. Sanxi

            Chris C., by way of feedback, I kindly say, in reading your many comments you are indeed logical, but what if I told told only 47% of all people respond to logic? It’s true by the way. I see it in many of the comments made in kind back to you where there is a disconnect. You can’t use logic if that isn’t someone else’s frame of reference, I’m not trying to teach or preach maybe you already know. It certainly has nothing to do with white or blue class. Criteria of Reality.

        2. Alfred

          One must distinguish people with _graduate education_ from those with _graduate degrees_. Both are being crapified American-style, but from my observation, the latter are being crapified at a much faster pace, and starting from a much lower initial level. Graduate degrees are merely credentials. Credentials have never meant much, and day by day they mean less and less.

          1. cripes


            True, I think.
            When working at a coffee shop requires a bachelors degree, I’d say that’s education inflation. Scale that up, churn out more PhD’s than the “market” requires and we can chat about Descartes and Hegel with taxi drivers.

            1. Elizabeth Burton

              You could probably do that now, with a little luck. My husband studied philosophy in college and could probably hold his own while driving you to the airport.

              1. Cripes


                You are correct. PhD’s driving cabs is a time-worn joke in NYC. Coming to your town soon.

      5. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe the Russia fantasy contrasts markedly with WMDs and many other stories in our propaganda machine. The Russia Russia nonsense should have been seen as false and immaterial on its face. I don’t know how Americans can still believe there were WMDs in or Iraq or that the Bush regime honestly believed there were WMDs in Iraq. The initial assertion was difficult to evaluate from the vantage of a common citizen. The assertions about Russia meddling in our election process were plain nonsense easily identified as such. If the Russians meddled, the size and scope of their meddling as presented in the propaganda was so insubstantial it could not have mattered relative to the all the other forces plainly evident in the election process.

        1. Lepton1

          I’d say the opposite. It is the hard core deniers holding on to the fantasy that Russia didn’t affect the election. They hate Hillary so much that they can’t imagine she could win. You see them condemn the “dodgy dossier” even though none of it has been disproved. Based on Barr’s report they want to sweep this under the rug.

          Any way, the fact is we haven’t seen the Mueller report, only the Barr coverup. Even though Mueller ended his investigation the same grand jury is still “continuing robustly” according to court testimony. Plus there are some 16 other active investigations.

          I’ll wait to see the evidence before coming to a conclusion.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            What evidence? What conclusion? Do you conclude fron wind effects of a kiss blown in a hurricane [other than amorous after effects?]

            I can’t seriously entertain let alone believe in a Russian election meddling butterfly-effect on U.S. elections.

          2. todde

            I’ll wait to see the evidence before coming to a conclusion.

            Sounds like you agree, there is no evidence Russia affected the election.

            Any idea on how long we should listen to people telling us “russia stole the election’ before they actually produce the evidence?

            Can you give me one reason why I should take any action what so ever until they produce the evidence?

          3. Todde

            Odd. When i was a child we had to hide under our desks ro save us from nuclear annihilation from Russian nukes.

            Whwn the ALLEDGED attack came, it amounted to mean things said about Hillary on Facebook.

            O the humanity. And thats if its true.

            Ive known people on the right and left who have hated the Clintons since the 90s.

            We told you exactly what was going to happen, and you didn’t listen

            And you all still listen

      6. Olga

        And I think there is yet another reason for the gullible-ness of the American public – and that is the isolation of the US geographically. As societies to listen to, both Canada and Mexico don’t seem to count for most amrikans, so there is no one and nothing to provide them with a contrary view. Ignorance is bliss – misguided, but still bliss.

  7. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    re: Business Insider about Sprawling homes going unbought. Notice how they ALWAYS skip a generation completely. Like literally no one was born between 1963 and 1980.
    Or got nuked by the Greenspan economy.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m torn really, more of your generation than a Baby Boomer, on the cusp as it were, and sometimes i’ll X-dress to better fit in, including getting a henna tat done in pidgin Tibetan-crawling up my left arm, while looking disaffected watching MTV.


      I am Gen X, and will no longer have to fake it to make it, according to Wiki:

      Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe define Generation X as those born between 1961 and 1981. They argue that those born between 1961 and 1964 are part of Generation X rather than the Baby Boomers because they are distinct from the Boomers in terms of cultural identity and shared historical experiences.

    2. Tvc15

      Gen X, the forgotten generation. We didn’t get pensions or job security like the boomers
      and are buried between them and milenials.

      1. cripes


        I was born on the cusp of the Gen-X generation and I can guaran-effing-tee you that all I have experienced in my work life has been downsizing, layoffs, recessions and 401k’s eaten up by un- and under-employment.

        Anecdotally, there is no shortage of Gen-X and Millennial twerps born on third base convinced they have hit a home run. Who do you think is buying all those 2 million dollar one-bedroom condos in NYC and San Francisco?

        I’d sure like to see actual stats on the number of workers in each generation without pensions, savings or sufficient income for retirement.

        I suspect as the demographic pyramid is squeezed, there are more Randian twerps at the upper end, and fewer in the middle and lower echelons with secure income/pensions than 30 years ago. I see no evidence this is the fault of workers, since it is the overlords of every generation making these decisions.

        1. cripes

          Oh, here:

          “The pension rights center reports that: “Half of all Americans age 65 or older have incomes of less than $24,224 a year – far less than the amount that most need to meet their day-to-day living and health care expenses.”

          These are the boomers.

          Yesterday a disabled friend called a realty office to inquire about a 2-bedroom apt priced about $1,400 she could afford with her SS income and housing subsidy. They informed her she would not qualify with less than $5000 monthly income.

          This is not the high end of the market.
          I figure that 75% of “boomers” would not qualify.

          Staring at age brackets obscures the more important income brackets that define our lives.

          1. Oregoncharles

            The younger boomers were hit hard by the Great Financial collapse, because for many it wiped out their savings just as they were retiring.

            OTOH, their pension provisions were probably better, statisically, than younger cohorts.

            I would consider $24,000 a year pretty generous, but then I’m skilled at living cheaply.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              And if you are young enough to not have chronic disease management issues and expenses, that helps too.

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        I’m a boomer with a monthly pension of [drum roll] $161.81. Sorry you missed out, dude. I’ll pass have my man bring over some cake and bubbly for you.

  8. Brindle


    Beltway liberal Eric Alterman flails away at the possibility of a Sanders nomination. This is a good read because it showcases the establishment Dem view of Sanders. He berates Sanders for hiring Sirota and Gray because they can be mean on the twitter (clutching pearls).

    .–“And I’ve not even mentioned his weakness, relative to Clinton, with crucial Democratic constituencies like African Americans and women. We can also count out the many voters who are uncomfortable with criticism of Israel (much as I admire Sanders for that).

    A Sanders nomination would, I fear, deliver the country to Trump. It would depress turnout among all the groups I mentioned;–”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      So a Sanders nomination would produce Clintonesque election results (1996 was the lowest black turnout since before the 1956 civil rights act)…per a Clinton supporter…

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Jabali did a lot of homework. I don’t think this is the only reason Clinton lost Wisconsin, but it was a big part of it. Really, the whole state felt like the national folks were telling them what to do without a lifting a finger to help, and after having siphoned off all the money.

          Wisconsin in 2016 was a nonstop trainwreck. I’m sure Michigan and Pennsylvania were as bad. I have never seen a campaign like Clinton’s. They didn’t seem to have a single person who had a clue how to win votes. They were all about controlling the party, stomping out Bernieism, and insulting Trump voters. #losers

    2. L

      I actually had to click the link to see if this was really about Sanders versus Clinton (I apologize I just assumed it was a typo) but no:

      I voted for him in the New York presidential primary in 2016. I did so, however, not because I imagined he might win the nomination, but because I hoped that a strong showing by Sanders would help wake up Hillary Clinton to the importance of addressing economic inequality, and also to honor his brave criticism of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

      I have to say for a guy who criticizes sanders for being mean and “campaigning negatively” he really goes there with dredging up Ortega. And declaring your dream of President Clinton while silmulatenously lecturing others on how to win elections seems a bit…idiotic.

      You could almost boil down his argument to four points:

      1) Sanders once believed things he didn’t now and people have files on him/
      2) Sanders is a socialist and some people don’t like that even if they like his policies.
      3) But he is not a “traditional socialist” whatever that means.

      If that’s the best that a “liberal case against Sanders” can do he should have an easy path.

      1. Plenue

        I think the third point is valid. Sanders isn’t actually a socialist; he isn’t advocating socialist things like worker ownership of the means of production.

        Which actually undermines the liberal point, since what Sanders actually is is a New Deal liberal, the platform that was bog standard centrism fifty years ago and that Eisenhower resigned himself to, saying opposition was political suicide.

    3. JohnnyGL

      wow, just skimmed that one….sometimes I wonder, is there anything worse than self-professed liberals/leftists who swear they’re sympathetic to the goals of the left, but then proceed to do a complete oppo dump of every talking point a consultant could come up with (he’s too far left!! But he also used to be MORE left and sold out by moving to the center!)!?!?!?!

      The best data I’ve seen about the existence of ‘never-sanders’ voters is from 538. All major dem primary candidates have a bucket of ‘never’ voters that are around 10-15%, but sanders gets as high as 20-25% at most. So, that’s your bucket of haters among the electorate. Most of the general public that votes in dem primaries like all of the candidates, more or less, to varying degrees.

      That’s not a deal-breaker or election killer. A lot of voters will wander away from a Biden, Harris, or O’Rourke candidacy, too.

      1. Grant

        I have to say, the polling does tend to confuse, and makes it hard to get a good picture of where things stand. CNN recently cited a poll that showed support for Sanders “collapsing”. If you look at polls, he was polling higher a year ago than he is today, why the drop off I don’t know. When I look at the Democrats that are running that have support, I have to just conclude that policy isn’t front and center. I don’t understand, even if someone is economically well off and doesn’t have to focus on policy, how they don’t see the negative repercussions of not offering any solutions to our problems. The environmental crisis alone, but also thinking a bit critically about the context that produced Trump. If you don’t like Trump, how does it not become obvious that you have to change the context that Trump emerged from? You can only do that on policy, a candidate’s identity or their ability to deliver a great speech will have zero impact on anything at all. Policy does that. Harris’s identity and Beto’s skateboard will not make it less likely that lead is in the water of communities like Flint, policy will. Should be obvious that most of these people will try to govern similar to Obama or Clinton. How that matches the needs of today, I haven’t a clue. How that doesn’t maintain a context producing not just Trump but Trumpism, again, I haven’t a clue. I don’t have tons of faith in the voters in the Democratic Party, or those running it.

        But, then I look at the composition of those that CNN polled. Everyone 49 and younger was listed as NA. It was, essentially, a poll of people 50 and over, which CNN didn’t point out. It made it look like the poll represented the general public, when it actually was a poll of a group of potential voters that vote for more conservative candidates. And since elections often have very low turnout, if a candidate can motivate those that don’t vote in large numbers to vote, it could throw everything out of whack. The data shows that black people and Latinos vote in lower numbers than white people. The young vote in lower numbers than middle aged and old people do. The poor vote in much lower numbers than the middle income groups, who vote in lower numbers than the rich. It is a reflection of who the system works for. Independents are also a much larger percentage of the public than those that identify with either party. If a candidate can motivate the poor, lower income workers, communities of color and the young to vote, and if they have strong support from independents, these polls will prove to be pretty much worthless. There is one candidate that does seem to appeal to those groups…

        1. Randy

          Age is supposed to indicate wisdom. I see very little evidence of that. I see more evidence of increased age increasing stupidity in people I interact with.

          1. Plenue

            The only difference between kids and adults is that adults have lost the excuse of inexperience.

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          The CNN-cited poll was also done solely over landlines.

          So far, I see several game plans being used.

          1. Bernie is too old. The response to this is clear, as we now have O’Rourke leaping atop anything sturdy enough to hold him, Mayor Pete chatting about leftist Christianity and how we really need to start just getting along, and Cory Booker basically rewriting his political history. All those good-looking young guys pretending to be progressive while not really saying anything much and tossing out candy from their campaign floats in an effort to drain off specific demographics.

          2. Where are his tax returns!!! The implication being, of course, that he’s withholding them because they contain evil. Never mind that not one single candidate has ever released their tax returns until after they were nominated, including those ten years of Hillary’s they stopped bringing up when you point out they were released in August ’16.

          3. Why won’t he talk about reparations?! The goal with this one is obvious. Despite their boring repetition of the myth Bernie doesn’t poll well with people of color, they know they need some way to entice away all the people of color who are supporting him. This is their Pied Piper issue. They hope. The fact is, he refuses to use the word for good reason, which is it’s meaningless as a way to define what’s wanted and/or needed. Even the African American community is at odds about that. Nevertheless, it makes a great buzzword when applied as above.

          4. Once again the fix is in with the corporate media. Attention was drawn to the fact that a small media site that interviewed Bernie and Mayor Pete on the same day uploaded the latter’s and not the former’s. Kamala Harris (the presumed Anointed) gets 2400 in Houston and is all over the front pages. Bernie draws 31,000 and hardly gets a moment’s notice. The problem with that one is the Sanders supporters knew it would happen and are working to counter it this time. And are seeing their social media streams do really odd things.

          Tulsi Gabbard is getting the same invisibility treatment from the media, partly one suspects because she never bought into Russia! Russia! Russia!. At least with Bernie they’re throwing out hit pieces and “he can’t win” stories. Tulsi they just flat-out pretend doesn’t exist, probably because every time they’ve tried to sucker-punch her in interviews she’s laid them flat.

          It’s going to be a social-media election, unless the establishment does manage to throttle everyone who doesn’t toe the party line. The paid trolls are already out in numbers; fortunately, they seem to have a propensity for shutting up and going away when you ask them who they work for. Sort of like the alleged Venezuelans all reading from the same script as the New York Times about starving people and Cuban doctors who are really evil spies and whatnot.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Right, so the poll largely/entirely missed Sanders’ big supporters, young people….who are displacing older voters every day as more young people come of voting age and more old people die or get Alzheimers.

          Plus the press has been nutso about how Beto and (earlier) Harris, and gives far too much attention to Klobuchar and Gillibrand, as well as fixating on Biden doing a bad imitation of Hamlet.

  9. Tertium Squid

    Navy destroyer 5 years late

    In World War II the US built 99 aircraft carriers in less than four years, compared to Japan’s sixteen and Germany’s zero. The fact that they’re letting it take this long to build a destroyer tells me they don’t really need it, or at least, that the “having a ship” part of this exercise isn’t as important as the “spending the money” part.

    1. Wukchumni

      We have the armament expenditure of late 1930’s Third Reich…

      …and the politics of late 1930’s Third Republic

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      The “spending the money” part is obvious when one notes that surface naval power is obsolete.

      1. ambrit

        The best use of a surface navy I’ve seen lately is as mobile staging areas for humanitarian actions. There are still lots of places where the sea is still the most effective means of access.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Swords into ploughshares.

          Make love, not war.

          Air travel is not green.

          Together, maybe, one day, we turn those war ships into cruise ships or ferries (like those from Bellingham WA to Alasksa), and say good-bye to Airbus.

      2. Louis Fyne

        yes, if the Navy was purely meant to be utilitiarian, the bulk of the fleet would be submarines.

        But submarines aren’t sexy to admirals or politicans. Nor do they need 500-5,000 to operate each vessel and tens of thousands more on shore for support.

        1. barrisj

          Spot-on…when one builds armaments for a global shooting war, one aims for faster, better, cheaper…get it onto the battlefield, in the air, or launched at sea ASAP. However, in the modern era, in far different war scenarios, it’s all about hi-tech sophistication, high-cost/ long development time, inter-service rivalries, duplication of rebadged platforms, and above all, socialism for the “defense” industries, and jawbs in Congressional districts. Although Eisenhower’s “ military-industrial complex” dictum has been and continues to be numbingly quoted and requoted, nobody but nobody dares to heed his tocsin and actually brutally chop DOD and the Pentagon down to size. During WWII, it was all about the exigencies of taking on legitimate enemies on two fronts…in the post-war era, it is all about “maintaining full-spectrum dominance and superiority”, with every few decade a change in “the enemy”, but full-speed ahead on preserving “national security” at any and all costs. By definition there can be no end to “threats”, and no end to preparing for such threats, hence the ca $800bil
          “defense” budget.

    3. prodigalson

      I remember reading awhile back that our industrial capacity for doing mass production of ships similar to WWII no longer exists. I think it was due to a combo of outsourcing and domestic closures since we’re no longer in the making stuff business. That’s before you factor in that the new ships are overly complex paperweights. Also seem to remember that the remaining shipbuilders have lots of problems with quality control. It seems a lot of their hires were high as kites most of the time while building.

      I’m not an expert on this area though, so maybe those articles were wrong or i’m misremembering, if someone else has some personal knowledge…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For peace lovers, that should be good news, though, we don’t know if we will again need that industrial capability one day in the future to save ourselves.

        In the same way, with many people not convinced that 5G is a good thing, perhaps, it’s good we don’t make that, though, again, maybe we do, just so that another hegemon doesn’t dominate or corner it.

      2. barrisj

        Numbers produced by a defense indusrty association (2015 data):

        In January 2016, the Aerospace Industries Association commissioned business information firm IHS, Inc. to quantify the economic contributions of the U.S. Aerospace and Defense (A&D) industry to the U.S. economy and provide enhanced understanding of the industry’s extensive supply chain, by economic sector at the national and state level. The key findings of this study measure the economic contribution the A&D industry makes in terms of employment, value added (contribution to GDP), sales (output), labor income and taxes within the broader economy.

        In the study, IHS estimates that in 2015 the U.S. aerospace and defense industry fueled the following contributions to the U.S. economy:

        – Supported 1.7 million jobs within businesses producing end-user goods and services and within the industry’s supply chain, with about 531,000 jobs in the industry’s commercial aerospace segment (e.g. civil and general aviation aircraft, helicopters and space systems) and 511,000 jobs in the defense and national security segment of the industry (e.g. military aircraft, ground and sea systems, armaments and space systems).
        – Represented approximately two percent of the nation’s employment base and 13 percent of the nation’s manufacturing employment base.
        – Generated $300 billion in economic value, representing 1.8 percent of total nominal Gross Domestic Product in the U.S., and 10 percent of manufacturing output.
        – Produced labor income approximately 44 percent above the national average – $93,000 average labor income per job – reflecting the highly skilled nature of the workforce.
        – Provided tax receipts to federal, state and local governments from companies and their employees of $63 billion, or about 1.7 percent of total tax revenues.

        “2% of US employment base…13% of manufacturing base…”
        And employment is quite concentrated in several regions across the US, providing a large lift to local economies, and all but guaranteeing strong Congressional support for maintenance and growth of these sectors. Even when the Pentagon wants to shut down a small base in East Jesus Nowhere, SD, a huge cry arises from the Congressional delegation, and delays usually can be finessed. It’s mother’s milk, and nobody is ready yet for weaning.

      3. Oregoncharles

        My son worked at a shipyard in Portland that built a lot of the WWII Victory Ships. It was a thriving enterprise when he started, but faded away over a few years and sold its largest drydock (the crucial piece of equipment) to, IIRC, Bermuda. Most of the repair work went to Korea.

        Now weeds grow in the employe parking lots.

        The naval shipyards are still operating though. No idea how much they’ve deteriorated. But the civilian backup to produce real quantities is gone.

  10. Pat

    For all those clutching their pearls over the job losses for enacting Medicare for All. I don’t suppose a federally financed training program for anyone who cannot find a job in the new Medicare for All system is good enough. Nor are we allowed to mention the jobs lost in this case are about a redundant and expensive drag on our system since they would also not be being replaced by workers in a foreign country doing the same job for pennies.

    1. marym

      HR 676 had detailed provisions for displaced workers: two years salary continuation, priority job placement in the new system, and training. S 1804 (the Sanders bill) and H 1384 (the new Jayapal bill) have a more generic provision for 5 years of temporary assistance.

      Unlike other workers displaced by globalization, down-sizing, and other neoliberal profiteering ventures, these workers would also have comprehensive health care.

      1. Pat

        Sorry should have used a snark tag. My remark was not meant to be pointed at the complaint, but the hypocrisy of the complainers. I am pretty dang sure that no provision will ever be enough. And they sure aren’t interested in supporting something with benefits of gains for most if not all Americans rather than profits for a few.

        1. marym

          I should have used the I-agree-with-you tag, just adding that pearl-clutching, even if sincere in some cases, is misplaced without considering the actual provisions of the bills. Maybe those provisions need improvement, but there should also be an analysis of the workforce including expected rates of normal attrition, and people continuing to work just for the insurance.

      2. cripes

        Re: employment security for workers in the parasitic deny-healthcare insurance industry

        Funny, I don’t recall any federal job transition provisions for all the workers displaced by alcohol prohibition in 1919-1933, or for the doubtless large number of people displaced in the illegal weed industry who are excluded from employment in the now-legal weed industry despite their sterling qualifications.

        Or crack dealer, for that matter?

        Why the special concern for employees of this vastly more dangerous and criminal enterprise?

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Actually, here in WA State where I live the state seemed to have consciously sought out illegal cannabis growers to convert to legal growers for essentially two valid reasons: those growers knew how to do it, had connections and expertise, plus this was designed to help the legal market supplant the black market. And I think it pretty much worked. Grow busts went from common to rare and I’m not sure if illicit weed dealer is even a thing here anymore. And there has been no perceptible political pressure to go back to how it was at all. Even the people who opposed it see it works and gave up.

          Briefly digressing further, I can see five years past getting M4A done it would be the same — nobody would want to go back. When people see concrete material benefits from a policy it flips the ratchet. Neolibs know and do ratchets to considerable effect, but they can’t own the idea.

          1. cripes


            “Briefly digressing further, I can see five years past getting M4A done it would be the same — nobody would want to go back.” Precisely that.

            Which is why, when Obama and his stinking democrats had the chance to make history and gave us instead the turd of the ACA, I wish upon him, his party and their descendants to the tenth generation a life of rock-splitting on Alcatraz. There’s more then enough Health Care Criminals to fill that Olde Gaol and more. Then build a wall around the island so they can’t enjoy the view.

    2. Shonde

      I would like to see an analysis of the number of government jobs Medicare for all would create considering it would be a major, major expansion of numbers in the program. Also, considering the expansion of services in the bill, wouldn’t that also create more jobs? The insurance company executives might have to go back to school since I don’t think they would be willing to accept government pay scales. Hopefully they would not apply for med school.

      1. Shonde

        Would have deleted this is I had read the previous comments before posting. Good information, Marym. About time for me to read the bill?

        Are Medicare Advantage Plans or something similar in the bill?

        1. marym

          Here’s a link.

          See Title 2 Section 201 for the benefits. They are universal and comprehensive. Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplements, and other forms of private insurance would not be necessary and would not be allowed for any benefits covered by M4A.

          Displaced worker provisions are in Title VI.

          There’s a pretty detailed table of contents linking to the sections.

      2. Leftcoastindie

        i work on the life insurance side of the industry but did work for a health insurance company many moons ago and even then companies were doing the medicare claims processing – that was 40 years ago. That is where Ross Perot made his money selling medicare claims processing software to insurance companies. So a lot of Medicare work is already privatized.
        Most of the IT staffs have been reduced and that work is now done in India – even customer service is beginning to move offshore so a lot of “employees” who would be affected by M4A live in another country.
        I wonder what the pols plan on doing for those of us whose businesses and jobs were destroyed by outsourcing? As a result I have a lot of debt and no pension. It would be nice if they would add in the people whose lives have been ruined by outsourcing and the manipulation of the immigration laws no matter the industry to the federal job transition program.

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      Is there data anywhere about how many of those now working for insurance companies are registered nurses and MDs who could, you know, go back to actually taking care of sick people?

      1. Oregoncharles

        I doubt it, but a retraining program should certainly be part of the transition plan. There will be less need for clerks at clinics, too, but a greater need for medical personnel when people can actually go to the doctor.

  11. L

    Apropos of 2020 it looks like Amy Klobuchar has decided to run for the third way endorsement. According to the Associated Press she recently described her infrastructure plan which calls for a mild increase in tax (up to 25 for corporate not back to 31 as it was) and for a lot of public-private partnerships.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I know these people are all extreme narcissists, but did any further them bother to examine the electorate? Or develop a path to victory?

        1. Eureka Springs

          Third Way who spent 20 million on a “listening tour” of Deploraville USA after the ’16 election. Evidently they did not actually listen.

          But hey, I’m still wondering about that Blue Wave…

  12. Livius Drusus

    Re: A Foreign Policy Without War or Corporate Power.

    Foreign policy might end up being the Achilles’ heel of the left. “Cut the military budget; euthanize the fossil-fuel industry; fetter finance; close the bases, and bring the troops home” sounds good but there are a lot of complicating factors that will make this difficult.

    First, the military employs large numbers of Americans directly and indirectly. I have even heard some people say that it is the closest thing we have right now to an employer of last resort. Corporations also like military contracts in addition to using the American military to support American business interests abroad. Then there are towns close to military bases that rely on the money brought in by military personnel.

    Second, Great Power competition is heating up and will likely get worse in the near future. The most obvious example is the rising power of China. There is also the question of what will happen if the United States withdraws from Europe and East Asia. Will Germany try even harder to impose itself on Europe? What will the Russians do in Eastern Europe? Will Japan become a militaristic power again? Will the Koreas go to war? Great Power politics also complicates efforts to shift to a green economy because it brings up the question of whether a green power could compete economically and militarily with a polluting power on the international stage.

    Third, liberals and leftists seem divided on when to intervene in a foreign crisis and when not to intervene. I have seen plenty of heated debates online between left-wing people over Syria, for example, with the pro-intervention side calling the anti-interventionists “Assadists” and the anti-interventionists claiming that the pro-interventionists are “imperialists.” That is not even getting into the centrist Democrats who are becoming even more supportive of a muscular foreign and military policy especially with regard to Russia. The 2016 Democratic National Convention was even more jingoistic than the Republican convention.

    Fourth, ethnic politics will probably continue to play a role in our foreign policy. Israel and Latin America are two examples. Ethnic politics partially explains why New York politicians feel that they must be pro-Israel and Florida politicians feel like they need to support coups against left-wing governments in Latin America. Think about how Cuban-Americans influenced policy on Cuba due to Florida’s position as an important swing state.

    I am generally favorable to the non-interventionist, anti-imperial position in American politics but I have to admit that foreign policy is really daunting because of the anarchic, predatory nature of foreign policy. I think too many people on the left either don’t care about foreign policy or underestimate how thorny the issues involved are.

    1. Cal2

      Cutting the military budget doesn’t mean force reduction. Most of the money goes for bombs, bases, missiles and fossil fuel, plus expensive ships and aircraft.
      All the military personnel could be retained, kept in reserve and used for useful things in our own country, such as disaster relief and yes, patrolling the southern border, which after figuring the saved social and welfare costs would pay for itself with a profit.

      “Will Germany try even harder to impose itself on Europe?”
      How? Making quality products and maintaining a strong currency base?
      A race to the top helps the world, at least that part of it not foolish enough to go into debt with the moneylenders dangling Euros.

    2. Olga

      Not sure which Livius Drusus you mean, but presumably the use of such a name implies some knowledge of Roman empire’s history. Many answers to the issues you raise may be found in this history. And knowing such answers confirms the futility (or, worse yet, the dangers) of many US policies (part. in the foreign policy arena). Additionally, being ‘thorny’ does not translate automatically into having to be ‘predatory’ (as in foreign policy).

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another factor is Global Warmng inducing great powers to compete for resources (including hospitable territories) globally.

      It was like that since the dawn of civilization, down through the Roman period, to today, but only more intense, and urgent.

    4. Summer

      There are towns, sprinkled all over the USA, that would not exist without WWII. They may even struggle now, but may be just limping along until the next war. The industries that still drive them are still attached to the MIC.

      Until there is a fundamental redirection of the economy, you’re always on the cusp of war.

  13. Carlito Riego


    I was surprised not to see a link to India’s shooting down an old satellite.

    I thought there was easier ways to disable satellites (laser blinding, electronic warfare…) and that there was a consensus that destroying satellites in space was not cool anymore because it creates yuuuuuge amounts of debris that threaten to snowball and forbid humans to use space.

    The NYT article states: “many Indians immediately suspected that his primary objective was more political than technological” and says that Modi is under pressure from coming elections. His bombing of the empty hill top and then losing fighter planes to Pakistan doesn’t seem to help him.

    Should we be worried about the use of military force as a way to divert national attention and in order to gain political goodwill ?

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Indians are having their elections from 11th April to 19th May this year which is less than a fortnight away. The spat with India left a shot-down plane and a captured pilot which was a black eye for Modi. I would guess that this satellite shoot-down is a way of distracting people and having them take more pride in India – and their government – as they start to head towards the polls. Better that than trying for some military success against Pakistan which could backfire.

  14. John

    The navy is just having problems getting the stealth features to work on their new toy destroyer when it is flying above 20000 ft at subsonic speeds. Come on guys, give them a break. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And don’t grinch about the money. MMT. It’s gubbermint money, not the taxpayers. Military Keynesianism. Whoo-ah.

    1. ambrit

      Does MMT deal with the political phenomenon of “crowding out?”
      Also, I notice that different parts of the governmental budget, at all levels, are run on different economic theories. The top dogs in Washington run the Military et. al. on MMT while the local institutions are forced to run on old fashioned “taxation based” methods.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Local and state governments cannot print money. MMT is restricted to the federal level.

        Actually, it would make sense for the federal gov’t. to print that money and give it to the states, as was done in the past.

        1. ambrit

          Agree. I remember when back in the days of Dick Nixon, we had to debate Revenue Sharing.
          There is something profoundly wrong with the “times” when Richard Nixon comes off as a Socialist Politico in comparison with the present crop.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Trump tells Russia to get its troops out of Venezuela”

    Threatening Russian troops? Maybe Trump is worried that he will never get his hands on all those beautiful oil fields after all. I mean he did put North Korea on the back-burner so that he could unleash the neocons against Venezuela and so far nothing is going right. I do wonder what those Russian troops are specialists in though. Cyber-defense? Counter-intelligence? Electrical engineers? Security? Who can say.
    I did see that Pompeo was demanding $500 million for foreign aid accounts to “transition” Venezuela. Sound cheap that. The US spent a minimum of $5 billion to topple the Ukraine after all. But there was a kicker in that demand. He also wants about a 20% cut in the State Department and aid budget from $51 billion down to $40 billion in the budget. That is not going down well on the Hill.
    I did note in that article that Fabiana Rosales, the wife of self-elected President Greedo is visiting Trump at the White house. Does that make her the self-elected First Lady? If she is half-smart, she will be wearing a codpiece on that visit there.

    1. jo6pac

      Some Russian Techs are for the S-300 that have been in place but not turned on until their arrival. When you purchase S-300 and above Russia sends Techs to be with them at all times. It would be interesting if they brought any advance radar systems with them.

      1. ambrit

        I’m wondering if those technicians bought the latest S-300 upgrades with them to install on the units.
        I see no video of what, if anything was driven off the Antonov heavy lifter aircraft. 35 tons of equipment can cover a lot.

    2. Cal2


      How the tedious, Trump Derangement Syndrome Democrats may start a nuclear holocaust;

      They have, are and will keep goading him with being “Putin’s Puppet”, therefore getting him to do stupid things against Russia to show that he’s not weak.

      Those are not my thoughts, they are those of Major Tulsi Gabbard, a combat veteran and house member who is running for president. Paradoxically, she is the salvation of the Democratic Party, along with Sanders, and at the same time, is treated by the party as a pariah.

      Get her in the Democratic debates and on that stage to shame the other ‘democrats’ by sending her a check of any size, or donating.

      Sanders/Gabbard vs. Trump? A winner. Otherwise, Trump triumphs in 2020.

    3. prodigalson

      To be fair, some of the $5b for Ukrainian was part of Victoria Neuland’s chocolate chip cookie budget. The Maidan can’t march on an empty stomach after all.

  16. stefan

    RE: the Nick Pinkston thread

    Historically, there have been four great design cultures in the modern era: the Germans, the Japanese, the Italians, and the Americans. (In the classical era there were also the Chinese and the Greeks, but these were both “form cultures” whose design instincts were perhaps more in 3-D form, less in drawing line. Also, I will skip over the Gothic.)

    Some years ago, the Nautilus exhibit in Groton, CT, had an outdoor historical display of small submarines, one-man or two-man, from Germany, Japan, Italy, and America. The German sub was a remarkably hard-core, heavy duty example. The Japanese sub had exquisite lines, with faceted plates, and meticulous weldments, like an inhabitable katana sword. The Italian was a two-seater convertible, sort of like a torpedo sports car with front and rear seats. And the American was a homemade one-man sub made in the backyard with plumbing parts from the hardware store. Each sub reflected a different national temperament. (The Nautilus itself, first sub to visit the North Pole, has something of the 50s~60s character of a Ford Fairlane 500.)

    In understanding machine tools, it is worthwhile to reflect on the armourer from medieval times to the present.

    Also, I think Pinkston underestimates the toolmaking prowess of the Japanese, who excel at perfecting just the right tool for the manufacturing step. For instance, the making of the geta, an archaic sort of wooden sandal, employs the use of nearly one hundred different special planes, chisels, and saws, each refined for doing one precise cut in the process. This mentality for refinement pervades Japanese culture, such that the new car buyer in Japan inspects the car wearing a pair of white cotton gloves, feeling the car over everywhere and rejecting even the slightest tinge of grime from the undercarriage.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The Nick Pinkston thread told me a sad story of our decline. I think of machine tools and the capacity for machining as a key basis for invention and the implementation of new art as products. At this time, how do we stand as the maker and inventor of machine tools? Another disturbing theme wound through the thread — the extent that invention and the large scale efforts some invention require has through history relied on the exigencies of warfare. This may make a strange epitaph for our species. Even discussions of other problems in need of invention and large scale effort are quickly discusses within a context of warfare. The thread also re-introduced me to the concept of a “product space”. This was an important aspect of the Japanese “just-in-time” manufacturing process — mutually supporting industries were proximate. The American version of “just-in-time” makes thinly stocked warehouses somewhat proximate and exports the supporting product space far far away.

      Your descriptions of the submarines built by different cultures was interesting. Regarding the American homemade submarine I recalled the Wright Brothers building an airplane in their bicycle shop. I believe this characteristic homemade feature of some American invention grows difficult to replicate in an age of apartments and limited space. I think your assertions around: “Pinkston’s underestimates the tool-making prowess of the Japanese,” makes a virtue of an attribute the Japanese take so far to the extremes it loses its value. Making an archaic sort of wooden sandal through “… the use of nearly one hundred different special planes, chisels, and saws, each refined for doing one precise cut in the process,” impresses me as a form of madness peculiarly characteristic of the Japanese.

      1. Mel

        ” Making an archaic sort of wooden sandal through “… the use of nearly one hundred different special planes, ”

        Strikes me as an early assembly line. Could be ..

      2. cnchal

        > . . . the use of nearly one hundred different special planes, chisels, and saws, each refined for doing one precise cut in the process,” impresses me as . . .

        . . . a damn good barrier to entry. One would go broke trying to copy that.

  17. Cal2

    “Healthiest Counties”…What a laugh.Not mentioned as a quality of life factor, weather.

    Marin County is right across the Golden Gate from San Francisco, which is another plus.
    Called a friend there, it’s really chilly; 61 degrees right now.
    The trees have budded and flowers are already falling off the plums.

    All the other counties listed?

    1. prodigalson

      Like our “moderate rebels” who sawed off that palestinian kids head. Everytime I think about that it burns me up. The fact that a Navy Admiral tried to fob it off during a press conference and we “paused” funding them just long enough for it to leave the news cycle before we resumed funding is just despicable. That story is still the low point for me personally over the last few years. I was too young to understand Elliot Abram’s death squads in the 80’s, so this was my generational version of that.

      After repeated instances of stuff like this I don’t know how anyone can try to argue we’re a “force for good” in the world. Or continue support for obvious evil stupidity like looting Venezuela.

    2. nippersmom

      They really are blatant, aren’t they? But we’re still supposed to be worried about completely unsubstantiated allegations of Russian interference and “collusion”. I guess only the DNC is allowed to interfere in the electoral process.

    3. WobblyTelomeres

      >Howard Dean to manage Robert O’Rourke’s campaign

      Ha. So much for the looming betocracy.

      He would be just as effective if he stood on the courthouse lawn tearing up hundred dollar bills (MLTPB – that means Benjamins) for a month.

  18. Louis Fyne

    >>74% of US Coal Plants Threatened by Renewables, But Emissions Continue To Rise arstechnica

    the assumptions used by the study cited in the article could be true if electricty was nationalized (state-alized) and cost the same every minute 24/365.

    But the wholesale price of electricity varies due to demand changes—generally most expensive from 6a to 9 & 4p-7p during the cooler months and 4p to 7p during the hot months.

    The daylight times least amenable to solar (and of course the wind doesn’t blow with consideration to human carcadian rhythms).

    Civilization needs ginormous amounts of juice even in the dead of night. Peak to trough, generally, barring weather extremes, electricity demand only changes 20% to 33% from the low around 4am to the daytime peak.

      1. Olga

        We absolutely do not! But the stats LF uses are inaccurate. More often, from the low use at around 4am, consumption doubles (or even more) by the afternoon peak. Of course, all depends on what part of the country one finds oneself in and the season.

        1. J7915

          How about the modern trend of instant on, wall-warts with permanent on status lights, etc. etc. How much electricity would be saved if electrical appliances had mechanical on-off switches?

    1. heresy101

      Not true. Take a look at CAISO (change date to 3/27/19, or earlier):
      Even with the price varying by hour, the total interaction of renewables and storage fits better than coal, which is baseload like nuclear. Coal doesn’t show up on the CAISO graph because it is no longer legal in California.

      As storage gets cheaper, the extra solar will reduce the morning and evening peaks. A number of solar/wind and storage projects have been signed/built for less than coal.

      1. Olga

        Yes, the combination of onshore/offshore wind, solar, and storage could provide enough power (given some time, of course). And wait till we develop sea current (wave) power sources (although not clear what that would do to our fishy friends deep down). The technology to transition to renewables is here – the bigger problems are all the invested capital in the conventional generation (which some insist on recovering), shifting the mindset of a 100-yr + centralised power delivery system, and changing all the existing rules/regs (aka barriers to entry). With enough determination, the inevitable kinks can get worked out – if the vested interests would only allow it. The technology is ready to start the transition – and will continue to evolve, as needs arise.

  19. travy

    lol you guys ignore russia-gate for two years now you’re ‘distracted’ by your victory lap and score keeping. pathetic

    1. Massinissa

      Also, it was hardly ‘ignored’, there were articles on here regularly. Its just they were supplemented by articles that pointed out that there was no ‘there’ there.

    2. pricklyone

      Ignored Russigate? Hardly.

      Don’t worry. We have been laughing at you in an appropriate fashion, all along.

    3. Pat

      Thanks for dropping by, clearly you are new to NC. As you have obviously missed the numerous links and comments over the the Russian boondoggle, let me enlighten you. Start reading older posts from May of 2017 when Mueller was appointed and come back after you become familiar with how often NC and its community noted the lack of evidence of collusion AND Mueller trying to get anything and to provoke response that could be considered obstruction.

      Oh and the only thing most of us would consider worth celebrating would be acknowledgement that the Democratic leadership and MSM sold the public BS for two years to avoid admitting their failures and the need to really change or continue to fail.

    4. prodigalson

      You have no idea what you’re talking about. NC was targeted by propornot and similar thugs specifically for questioning Russiagate and similar elite propaganda.

      Trolls be trollin.

    5. nippersmom

      Your failure to pay attention to anything outside the MSM bubble does not negate the coverage provided by Naked Capitalism (or other independent sites). Sounds like someone has a case of the feels because s/he didn’t get the vindication Hillsy and her True Believers were seeking.

      Better trolls, please.

    6. Yves Smith Post author

      I wonder how people like you find our site, and manage, with such great confidence, put your foot in mouth and chew. You appear to genuinely believe your tripe is effective when it is a massive backfire.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Okay, Yves, that did it. When you come to Tucson for an NC meetup (hint-hint!) I will buy you a drink. Just for that comment.

        (Please, Yves, please come to Tucson for a meetup. Pretty pleeeeez?)

    1. Oregoncharles

      Yeah, I think that’s a good idea. they wouldn’t be hesitating if there weren’t some embarrassing stuff (for Trump, and maybe for the Dems as well) in there.

  20. Randy

    Halloooooo anti-vaxxers.

    Please start railing on about the Shingrix shingles vaccine. Hopefully the wait list will get shorter with a little negative publicity.

  21. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Senators Demand To Know Why Election Vendors Still Sell Voting Machines With ‘Known Vulnerabilities’

    Oooh oooh I know the answer to this one! Because senators decided that the fix for the Supreme Court appointing a president in 2000 rather than allowing the actual votes to be counted was to pass HAVA, allowing fallible machines to do the counting rather than using hand marked paper ballots counted in public.

    And just guessing on this part, but they probably had no language in HAVA saying the machines provided by the vendors had to actually work; in fact it was preferable that they didn’t to allow for easier rigging.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > RE: Senators Demand To Know Why Election Vendors Still Sell Voting Machines With ‘Known Vulnerabilities’

      The vulnerabilities aren’t a bug. They’re a feature.

  22. James Graham

    Wrong: Bacteria can travel thousands of miles through the air on its own

    Right: Bacteria can travel thousands of miles through the air on their own

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The EU bows to ‘systemic rival’ China Asia Times (Kevin W)


    The first UK mission to China, the Maccartney Embassy, was alomst cancelled over the kowtow (which more than just bowing) issue.

    At the end, he genuflected, with one knee on the floor, but not one single prostration, much less nine times.

    Just between genuflecting and bowing, I am not sure which shows more repsect.

  24. Oregoncharles

    From “A Foreign Policy without War or Corporate Power” – which is certainly worth thinking about, and devoutly to be wished: ” as nearly all of United States history shows, the political coalition that dominates foreign policy dominates domestic policy”.

    I can’t really speak for “all of United States history,” but lately, I think this is nonsense. It seems clear that Americans simply don’t vote based on foreign policy, unless there are a lot of American bodies coming home. Some do, of course; most of them are commenting here at NC – and maybe the New Republic, as well. But in general, foreign policy is a gimme for US administrations unless they blow it really badly. Hence, a whole empire has grown up without USians paying much attention.

    Globalization is an exception because it’s an economic policy with direct effects at home – in fact, I’d argue that it’s primarily a domestic policy, and in particular, a way for Democrats to take back any populist policies they theoretically have through the back door. People do notice when they’re getting screwed – but hardly, I think, when people far away are. Sad, but …

  25. Olga

    An interesting interview with Greg Palast, who used to report on Venezuela for BBC and Guardian, on the country and its government:
    Oil, oil, corruption, and money – nothing new. The only thing that is new is how long this coup d’etat is taking. US seems to have lost its mojo…

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