Links 1/24/2020

Steve Coogan on Terry Jones: he was the heart and voice of Monty Python Guardian

Ex-Wells Fargo CEO banned from banking, must pay $17.5M fine for role in fake-accounts scandal Des Moines Register

Ronald Reagan’s “October Surprise” Plot Was Real After All Jacobin. Did anyone ever doubt this was true?

NASA has now decided what it is going to send to the moon next year MIT Technology Review

Let’s make recess great again Treehugger

Yes Minister Fan Fiction Craig Murray

Guillotine Wtach

Jeff Bezos, Tabloid Man NYT. I don’t mean to pile on Jeff Bezos – actually, yes I do!

Planet Just Had Costliest Decade for Global Natural Disasters: Insurance Industry Report Common Dreams

Poland: Lawmakers give green light to judge ‘muzzle law’ Deutsche Welle


Too Important to Kill  LRB

Why the New Silk Roads are a ‘threat’ to US bloc Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

The power of political killings Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Class Warfare

Portuguese banker named in Isabel dos Santos probe found dead /a>FT

Matt Stoller dismantles Jamie Dimon’s hypocritical Davos socialism attack Rising (JS) Matt Stoller. Make time for this clip. And see Jamie Dimon gets a raise to $31.5 million after record 2019 profit at JP Morgan CNBC

Robert Reich: Davos Is the Source of All Our Ills TruthDig

Globalists Gone Wild Politico


George Soros rips Trump and Xi, says the ‘fate of the world’ is at stake in 2020 CNBC

Trump’s Davos speech exposed how US isolationism is reaching its final narcissistic chapter Independent. Robert Fisk.



Please Stop Calling Bernie Sanders a Populist (JS) NYT. TF: This is so awful it’s almost hard to believe. how could a man get words so upside-down?


Clinton Says Sanders Achieved “Nothing.” My Community Clinic Shows She’s Wrong. TruthOut


End of Blame Game: Sanders (and His Supporters) Helped Hillary Win Popular Vote in 2016 Common Dreams

Decoding the polls: Sanders surging and more takeaways from the newest numbers Politico

Bloomberg On Health Care: Translating His Mayoral Record To The National Stage Kaiser Health News


A Cesspool of Constitutional Nonsense-Impeachment in the Senate Counterpunch

The Imperial Presidency Is Alive and Well Foreign Affairs

Erwin Chemerinsky: Trump Violated the Law But Will Walk Capital & Main

Our Famously Free Press

How the Washington Post pulled off the hardest trick in journalism Columbia Journalism Review. No time to shred this today – so I leave it up to you, dear readers, to do so.

The Enemies of Writing The Atlantic

Health Care

Sick of Big Pharma’s pricing, health insurers pledge $55M for cheap generics Ars Technica

Australia Apocalypse

Counting the cost of Australia’s raging inferno Asia Times

737 Max

737 Max engine software revised to address icing thrust loss Flight Global


India Slips by 10 Ranks in Global Democracy Index, Lowest Since 2006 The Wire

Modi, Kashmir, economy, terrorism: A portal into Imran Khan’s head, at WEF The Week India

Pakistan may be out of FATF grey list next month Economic Times


Meng Wanzhou extradition case embarrasses Canadian court, lawyer says, rejecting Huawei fraud claim SCMP

Wuhan virus: Number of cases in China tops 800, death toll hits 26 Channel News Asia

China Locks Down 40 Million People as Anger Grows Over Virus Bloomberg

Juiian Assange

WikiLeaks Editor: US Is Saying First Amendment Doesn’t Apply To Foreigners In Assange Case Caitlin Johnstone

Trump Transition

Trump issues new rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections The Hill

Operation Encore and the Saudi Connection: A Secret History of the 9/11 Investigation ProPiublica

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

How Washington Is Ramming REAL ID Down Our Throats American Conservative

Rogue NYPD cops are using facial recognition app Clearview NY Post

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Henry Moon Pie

    A nice reflection from Naomi Klein on what the Sanders movement is becoming:

    This, I think, is the most radical meaning of “Not Me. Us.” Because without this shift from a culture of hyperindividualism and unending interpersonal competition, we have no hope of achieving the bold policy transformations we need. The campaign — out on the doorstep, in union halls and high school gymnasiums and breweries — has become that kind of space, a place for hundreds of thousands of people to escape the nonstop self-promotion and self-obsession of our Trumpian times. To become a little less “look at me” and a little more “feel the power of us.” Particularly for his many young supporters, raised to be terrified that they will fall behind if they do not frenetically maximize their productive output and constantly perform the most marketable version of themselves, “Not Me. Us.” has become an invitation to imagine another path to a good life: through the collective, generational mission of rolling out what Sanders has called “the decade of the Green New Deal.”

    1. timbers

      Nice. Sort of along the lines of the point Jimmy Dore made when he said, even her signature slogan (I’m with her) was about…her, not us.

      1. campbeln

        “Not Me. Us” versus “I’m with her” (and these attached interpretations) is, IMHO, a perfect way to sum up 2016.

        1. a different chris

          This really explains the expressions on the NYT’s grand poobahs faces when Bernie addressed them.

          They are literally people who admire themselves every morning. Who have been all “me”, not “us” for their entire lives. That’s why they have the jobs they have. They understood Bernie about as well as a tiger shark understands a vegetarian soup. They wouldn’t eat it even if it did manage to hold together in their environment.

          Go around or over them. The one thing they’ve successfully written about these times is their own epitaph.

    2. DJG

      Henry Moon Pie: First, compliments on the use of the word sipapu yesterday, although I recognize only the Hopi and their sipapu (not Commentary and its font of resentments).

      This article by Naomi Klein is a brilliant summation of revolutionary ethics and what might be described as those “rising expectations” that supposedly accompany a revolution (this second hypothesis remains to be proven).

      Naomi Klein talks about removing one’s internal Trump. I’d go further: The ethic requires a kind of internal leveling, removing all tottering structures of belief like the “free market,” salvation through faith alone, quarrelsome opining as a substitute for discourse, prejudices associated with one’s social class, the swamp of thinking that there is such a thing as race.

      And yet I don’t believe that one should *be* the change one seeks in the world. After that internal leveling, there is no justification to natter on about how the personal is political. As the Greeks new, everything is political. We are political animals, and everything around us is an emanation of political choices, from the stingy U.S. medical system to the source of one’s organic kale to that garlic (mysteriously) flown in from China, to one’s freedom-lovin’ firearm.

      So I recommend reading Klein: Her elegant writing is refreshing indeed.

      1. Carolinian


        This is why, after Trump was elected, I started calling for all of us to “kill the Trump within,” whether it was our Twitter-addled attention spans, or the absurd idea that we are all individualized brands in a marketplace rather than people in communities — or that sees other people and even other movements as rival products competing for scarce market share. And of course, the Trumpiest part of us all may be the one that can’t resist joining a mob to shame and attack people with whom we disagree — sometimes using cruel personal slurs and with an intensity set to nuclear.

        That we all have a “Trump within” is a useful insight and certainly not one to be found among the TDS crowd. That we can “kill” it is dubious. Adam Curtis once made a documentary about how the ruling class clevery side tracked the 60s revolution by means of “me” marketing that led to the the so-called me decade of the 70s. But it could be that people will finally become tired enough of all this raging egotism to elect a candidate who isn’t quite so full of himself. This could be the true source of Sanders’ appeal.

        1. p coyle

          i am one of the many (apparently) who voted for bernie in the primary back in ’16 and failed to vote for HRC in the general. i do have a soft spot for naomi klein, but she omits the fact that whilst some have a “trump within” while avoiding the fact many have an “obama within” or an almost identical “bush within” is a, shall we say, hurdle that current political discourse is lacking some sort of solution to overcome.

          klein: If there was one moment when this power began to be unleashed, it was the Queens rally with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in October, when Sanders exhorted everyone in the 25,000-strong crowd to look to someone in their midst, someone they did not know, “maybe somebody who doesn’t look like you, who might be of a different religion, maybe who come from a different country. … My question now to you is are you willing to fight for that person who you don’t even know as much as you’re willing to fight for yourself?”

          should not this sentiment be extended to, for an example or two, at least some of the people protesting for gun rights in virginia? the OWS crowd that was shut down not by trump, but his predecessor? i could go on and on. i for one would like to counter george carlin’s pessimism about how the big club works in the long run, but nothing in the current landscape allows me this luxury.

          i like to hold out the hope that tolerance is not a one way street, and if so, perhaps the true source of the problem will someday be addressed, not by any one person, but an inclusive group of people with an interest in the common good rather than a small group of people interested in their own common good.

          yes, i am a dreamer.

      2. Goyo Marquez

        “Salvation through faith alone”?

        That was an odd jump.

        I’ve yet to here a clear explanation of why the left is so willing to sacrifice it’s hopes for a more just society on the hill of wars of religion.

        Who cares what religious people believe.

        The left seems more obsessed with playing the truth police than justice. It’s talk like this that makes religious people conclude that the left is anti-democratic, wishes to persecute religious believers, and is not worthy of trust.

        1. Watt4Bob

          Yes, the rhetorical minefield we are forced to walk through on our way to understanding each other, has been carefully crafted to ensure we have an ever-increasing chance of offending one another by our words.

          As you point out, there are many opinions that we have been encouraged to adopt that if spoken carelessly, thwart any of our otherwise sensible efforts to join in common cause.

          That common cause is so important, we’ve got watch our tongues most carefully.

          1. p coyle

            i cannot agree more. except to disagree that a sharp tongue just might rally some disparate folks around an actual, common cause.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its about people who feel good about their prius and then drive to a gym to do cardio.

          1. Jokerstein

            A valid use case for this is where someone (==me) lives about five miles away from the local gym, and time is a constraint.

            1. Adam Eran

              The missing ingredient here: land use planning. Why do suburbs exist? Because states permit and banks encourage them. Yes, I know some people want isolation, and want to drive between every destination (home, shopping, work, gym, school, etc.) but “planning” as currently practice ignores what people actually pay premiums to live in: pedestrian-friendly, mixed use (commerce, offices, etc. among the residences).

              So…odds are your five mile walk (or better: bike ride) is so littered with autos that it’s dangerous, if the suburbs are where you live. A ride or walk like that on streets that accommodate something other than autos is a pleasure. The U.S. has been building the walk out of its cities for generations now, and we’re a nation of couch potatoes, consumed with the diseases of chronic inactivity (obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, etc.)

              For more, see Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream by Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Speck

        3. Eclair

          Ah, I did not read DJG’s remark that we must eschew the idea of ‘salvation through faith alone,’ as referring literally to the religious belief that one can achieve Paradise through inertia, if we have faith, good works not being necessary.

          I understood it to be a metaphor for the kind of change in world view or mind-set that will be necessary if we are not to be forced to endure decades of climate chaos, strife and mass extinction. And, since economics and religion may both be described as ‘a language and a methodology for governing that hides political assumptions from the public,’ (thank you, Matt Stoller), we need to question the assumptions of neoliberal economic theory (such as ‘the free market will fix it’) that currently chain us to a political future that advocates austerity for the workers and more tax breaks for the wealthy (among other things.) A kind of political/economic Reformation.

          But, I may be misinterpreting both of your comments and imposing my own prejudices upon them.

        4. skippy

          Time restraints don’t permit long form, so…

          Firstly one would need to define what is meant by religion in the context of this conversation E.g. atomistic individualism brand or commonweal i.e. its a big tent to say “Religion” and then talk about some notion about ” the “Left” – especially since the Overton window makes anyone with say a Roosevelt Democrat outlook some radical far left socialist heretic.

          This is compounded by say Bush Jr [Foxnews] years and the politicization of U.S. religion for political and geopolitical reasons, hence anyone in disagreement with those agendas was automatically labeled an anti freedom and liberty socialist commie.

          I would also suggest a quick search of the web for Christianity = Libertarian free market material. I mean its not controversial that some think wealth is Gods invisible hand at play, early Libertarians were quite anti democratic for some reason, and its not like Austrians [AET] was making the rounds pre GFC holding conferences with all and sundry, in positions of authority, [public and private spheres] and notifying them of their divine status to rule over others by the dint of their individual success [not that it matters how they got there] – it was apparent and rational [reversed engineered] and they should embrace this fact of life – otherwise you might be considered a self hater.

          Replies answered in about 8hr, sorry, work.

        5. pretzelattack

          the beliefs of religious people get imposed on a lot of people who don’t share their beliefs via politics, so people are forced to care. abortion is perhaps the foremost example. religion has been heavily politicized.
          “acid, amnesty and abortion” was used to take down mcgovern, and religious people are still undermining teaching the theory of evolution. i don’t care if someone personally believes in evolution, but when they stack the school board to use bogus science textbooks, and divert badly needed school funds to charter school scams, it’s no longer just a question of personal belief.

        6. chuck roast

          The Joe Rogan-Cornell West interview link in today’s Cooler has had 2.6M views in six months. Pretty amazing. If Brother West is about anything he is about the power of love, faith and community. Even us secular schlubs get that.

    3. chuck roast

      The Boston Globe reports (1/23) on a late New Hampshire poll giving Bernie a big lead in the primary. It’s a telephone poll so it probably has a high-geezer bias and a N-426 sample size. More tea leaves.

      “The poll, conducted by the MassINC Polling Group for WBUR, found Sanders with 29 percent of support, followed by South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg at 17 percent, former vice president Joe Biden at 14 percent, and Senator Elizabeth Warren at 13 percent. No other candidate reached double digits.”

      “The WBUR/MassINC Polling Group poll surveyed 426 likely Democratic primary voters by telephone from Jan. 17 to 21. It had a 4.8 percent margin of error.” Voters ‘leaning’ are popped into the ‘support’ column.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you for the link to Naomi Klein’s reflections. The statement by “one of the volunteers” stays with me:
      “Making the case for the candidate and the policies is important, he said, “but what I have found is that the most important thing we can do is listen. People need to share their stories. That’s even more important than talking.”

      Listening is hard to do, and I often forget its importance, but will take particular care to remember and practice this lesson from Bernie’s volunteer. I believe it has broad application to all dealings with other people. Not only for its practical utility but more importantly as a matter of respect.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        That’s sure been the issue since the 60s. Of course, before then, in most parts of the country, Christianity was to people like water is to fish. It was the environment you lived in, and if you didn’t fit into that, you could move to a “sinful” big city like NY or LA.

        The irony is that these attempts to impose a fundamentalist-flavored Christianity through political means resulted from the failure of these churches to grow and maintain whatever internal discipline they felt necessary. They needed the State to help them. It’s a sign of weakness, as is now recognized by people like Rod Dreher.

        It’s not hard to argue that we’re seeing that within Islam and Hinduism as well.

        The old forms are withering away. New ones are on the way. They always are. When I see how the young people in the Bernie campaign think and see their world, it gives me a lot of hope that what will replace those old forms will be a foundation for a new, better world.

  2. Filiform Radical

    The link for the REAL ID article under “Big Brother IS Watching You Watch” is missing a leading h.

    1. LaRuse

      I picked up my VA Real ID this year. Being a married person who changed her name, I had to provide additional proof that who I was 15 years ago is the same person I am today, even though my last name changed – my social security card with my correct name was not sufficient. Why is an SSA card, which already verified my name all of those years ago insufficient. Only a VA certified marriage certificate would suffice and fortunately, mine was readily at hand.
      My poor mom, whose marriage was dissolved in 2014, who is 65, who only had her church’s marriage certificate issued in 1979 had more barriers to overcome since she didn’t bother changing back to her maiden name after the divorce. She had to go to the Dept. of Vital Statistics to get a certified copy of her now invalid marriage certificate, which cost $15. She is 65, disabled, and on a very limited income.
      For our troubles, we both had to pay $45 for the new id because we opted to renew “early.” Both of our licenses expired in the first week of January and we both opted to renew in the last week of December to avoid driving with expired licenses. If we had renewed our licences on our birthdays or after, we would not have had to pay the additional $30 dollars, but we would have had to provide even MORE documentation that was difficult to locate or cost money to provide, AND run the risk of driving on expired licenses.
      Between the two of us, the Commonwealth got $90 just for the licenses and an additional $15 to prove that my now divorced mother was once married.
      I am not opposed to paying taxes; I know my money helps pay the salaries and benefits of the state employees that helped us get our licenses. I was a public employee once and was grateful that those taxes and fees kept me employed. But these fees felt pretty onerous, particularly the “early renewal” fee (especially when late renewal would have resulted in even steeper potential penalties). It was also a stark reminder that we are very privileged that we could scrape the time and money, and had the easy access to both the DMV and Vital Statistics to get this otherwise unnecessary validation of our identities.
      I had never even considered the potential for future requirements for things such as DNA samples or retina scans. I would once have thought that to be dystopian hysteria, but these days, I would rule nothing out.

      1. Bill Carson

        The bureaucracy is just awful. A few years ago, my oldest daughter was getting her drivers license, and we had her birth certificate ready. But since the birth certificate was issued by a CITY and not a COUNTY OR STATE, it was not acceptable. So there was a delay as we had to send off to that state to get a certified copy issued by a state, and when it came it was just a photocopy of the city birth certificate with the state’s border around it. How ridiculous.

        It feels so absurd to me that the onus is now on the individual to prove that we are here legally (i.e., ‘lawful presence’), when that burden has always been the other way around! (I know this sounds entitled, but…) I’m an American citizen, dammit!—I don’t have to so much as identify myself in public, much less carry papers to prove I am authorized to be here. It makes me so mad!

        1. a different chris

          Yes when I went to renew my slightly expired passport, bringing it and my carefully preserved 57 yr old envelope containing my original birth certificate and a second document, it was not acceptable! The problem was that my birth certificate didn’t list my parents, the other document did. Both were notarized, btw, on that oh so blessed day.

          So I’m nearly 60 years old and they not only need info about my parents (one dead so far), for god’s sake they had it but it wasn’t on the right (birth certificate) form.

          They told me I had to get a new birth certificate! I’m like “wait a second I’ve held on to this thing for nearly 60 years but you want me to send off for some newly printed certification that somehow proves what happened 60 years ago because the original one you somehow claim doesn’t do so? Are you listening to yourself? And note that I already have a passport so how much more ID can I possibly need?”

          Talk about an opening for fraud.

          Oh and I was born less than 30 miles away from said post office. Jeebus.

      2. campbeln

        REAL ID is an internal passport by another name.

        I remember so much of modern America as stuff we made fun of the Soviets for doing in the 1980’s. Now, I know my Schoolhouse Rock version of America never really existed, but this is just s sad slap in the face.

      3. gc

        NC DMV claimed to my spouse in Dec when she had to renew that “you *must* also get a Real ID” who replied “No, I have a passport.” “Doesn’t matter”. “No way am I giving whatever insecure entity NC contracts with to process paperwork, too much of my personal info is already compromised.” “You *must* get a Real ID too.” Sigh, this was not in the boondocks.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Me? I don’t drive. Haven’t ever owned a car.

      So, a couple of years ago, when I reached one of those milestone birthdays, I decided to trade the driver’s license in for an Arizona state ID.

      Uh-oh. Said ID isn’t a REAL ID. Gotta change it before October of this year.

      Over to the University of Arizona Passport Office I went. (Tip: You don’t have to be affiliated with the UA to patronize this office.)

      After filling out an application to re-activate my expired passport and REAL ID-compliant passport card, paying one fee with a check and the other with a credit card, it was time for the official photo.

      I posed for that photo, using a facial expression that would kill the scariest of monsters on sight. It was my way of showing the feds how I feel about having to go through this blankety-blank REAL ID process.

      1. Monty

        An Arizonian who never drove. That is incredible. A true unicorn. Congrats! Have you lived with others who did the driving, or have you managed on Shank’s Pony the entire time?

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        As I understand it in MA., if you have a passport and a MA state drivers license, you don’t need a REAL ID. And, if you have a valid MA drivers license, you can drive anywhere in the US. The restriction is that if you ONLY have a MA Drivers license, you can no longer fly inter state without either a passport or a REAL ID.

        I imagine, but am not sure, that if you want to travel outside of the country, you will still need a valid passport.

    3. smoker

      The total lack of push back on this during Obama’s reign was criminal. Just like failing to impeach George W. Bush was criminal, etcetera.

      I put off getting a Real ID when I renewed my license, so currently it reads Federal Limits Apply, as if I’m a criminal.

      And speaking of embedding chips, where the hell are the Congressional Bills making embedding employees illegal? No Opt Out Option™, just fricking illegal.

        1. smoker

          It’s certainly already led to thousands of Deaths of Despair, Suicides, and probably millions of ‘failed and maimed suicides. About time the perpetrators start suffering, or be locked up, preferably on mars.

          OR, never thought I’d suggest the Kevorkian route, since I always suspected it would be used against the voiceless – give some of us the means to painlessly say goodnight with that lovely Van Gogh on the wall and it’s starting to seem preferable every day to this immoral, inhuman hell. Maybe that charlatan David Icke was right, fricking Lizard People.

          Oh shit, maybe I’ll change my mind, that prick MS Bill Gates knew how to spell Kevorkian in 2007, but not surveillance.

          P.S., left you a late note on yesterday’s links, in case you missed it.

    1. .Tom

      I like how they all hoot with laughter at Dimon, who comes over roughly as crazed and out of touch as Clinton.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Oh, so too many people were posting comments saying things “Uck Foober!” and “Luck Fyft!”

      My goodness. What a breakdown of civility toward our tech overlords. Can’t have that, now can we?

        1. ambrit

          Vlad Vladimirovitch is missing a big opportunity here. All he has to do, is copy America’s strategy in 1970’s Afghanistan, and provide anti-armour and anti-aircraft Manpad quality munitions to the various “fringe groups” who oppose the government here. The rest will take care of itself. He could get this done by shipping the ‘goods’ into America via CPS [Cartel Package Service.] That’s a very robust and efficient shipping organization, by the way.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Meng Wanzhou extradition case embarrasses Canadian court, lawyer says, rejecting Huawei fraud claim”

    Here is a thought. The Canadian courts recognize that the charges against Meng Wanzhou are bogus and that they do not have the jurisdiction to enforce US sanctions of foreign persons traveling in their country. So they cut her loose so that she can return home to her family and her job. What is to stop some idiot like Pompeo from ordering US fighters from Hawaii or Alaska to force her plane to land on US territory where she can be arrested and sent back to New York to face those charges?

    The US has pulled stunts like this before such as when they forced the Bolivian President’s plane to land in Austria and to be searched as they suspected that Edward Snowden was aboard. French, Spanish, and Italian airspace was closed to his plane forcing it to land and that was only back in 2013. The President of Austria had to go aboard and make nice with Morales and those European countries made their apologies afterwards but the point was made that the US government had the power to make this happen. It would be awful tempting for Trump to order this to happen with Alaska to the north and Hawaii to the south of Meng’s flight.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      There were news reports that Suleimani was coming to Iraq to a meeting with the saud, iraqi and US on the subject of peace for the mideast. Then he was assasinated by one of the participants. We can’t leave that one out of the list of ‘stunts’.

    2. hamstak

      At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if “they” (by which I mean “them”) simply blew the flight out of the sky, and then blamed it on Iran, perhaps specifically on the new Quds commander, Qaani.

    3. JEHR

      Rev, I have much more worrisome ideas about letting Meng Wanzhou go without handing her over to the US. More tariffs on Canadian goods going to the US could easily ruin our economy which is a tenth of the American one. Besides the Chinese have been reducing their Canadian imports of soya, pork, and so on. A small country (by population) like ours is just fair game for the bullies of this world.

      1. Oh

        If the US is going to retaliate for a court ruling, Canada does not need friends like the US. If you’re worried about this, you’ll live in fear for all other things too.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          For some people, and some countries, the fear of losing or not getting some money is the greatest fear of all. This is why Trump’s sanctions and tariffs are so effective. Most “Western” nations don’t have the courage to tell Uncle Sam to stick it. They are too decadent.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Do like Putin has been doing — you got a base of people who probably know how to “eat it up, wear it ou, make it do, do without,” and maybe enough of a residue of knowing how to make stuff and grow stuff and build stuff, and enough unraped resources, to go for AUTARKY, or as close as you can get.

        Canada and Russia, I looked it up, have pretty much the same GDP,, with a little less than a quarter of the population, and roughly the same climate and arable land area. Lots of elbow room there. Kick out the globalistss, gut the neoliberals, and have a good life, eh?

        Ooooh, whine the Few, that would mean you would not experience all the wonderful, beneficial effects of Groaf! And Trade! Heaven forfend!

    4. Yves Smith


      We wrote about this as soon as Meng was arrested. Canada does have sanctions against Iran which would make the allegations against her criminal if they are proven in court. Under the joint extradition treaty between the US and Canada, that means the US extradition effort is legally well founded and very likely to be approved by the Canadian courts. That is why her lawyer is making handwave arguments that the extradition is political, embarrassing the courts, etc. Those are all irrelevant as far as the basic legal case is concerned.

      Meng is certain to appeal so she will probably be in Canada for years. Her best hope is outlasting a Trump administration and having a new administration drop the case against her as part of kissing and making up with China.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I understand this aspect of the case. However it should be noted that Trump himself offered to make the charges go away as part of a trade deal with the Chinese so how real can the charges be? By now a lawyer could argue that this stunt is part of a general pattern of ad-hoc measures so the US to get its way and the charges be set aside.

        As an example, the French want to put a tax on American tech companies transactions in France and Trump comes back and threatens sanctions on products like French wine if they do. Another is when Trump reneged on the nuclear deal with Trump which was bad enough but then threatened the other countries if they too did not renege on this deal. I think those charges grew out of actions taken since Trump broke that international treaty so lots to argue about in court.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The charges may have been / may be real, and Trump himself may have had no proper or legal basis to “hijack” the case to exploit for a trade deal.

          Trump’s approach to something has zero relation to whether that something was real or not before Trump approached it.

          1. The Rev Kev

            To be fair to Trump, he is only following an old line of thought in Washington. Remember this 2004 quote?

            ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do’

            Want to know something creepy? When I was reading that quote I could hear Trump speaking those lines.

        2. JEHR

          Trudeau asked Trump to delay signing his first draft of the China/US trade deal to put some pressure on China to release the two Michaels who are being held in jail in retaliation for the extradition of Meng. He ignored our PM.

  4. petal

    Barack Obama ‘thinks Bernie Sanders is unfit to be the Democrat nominee to beat Trump and he may soon PUBLICLY denounce the socialist firebrand’
    “Former President Barack Obama is growing concerned about avowed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders’ rise in the primary polls, and may even speak out publicly against the Democratic candidate, according to a new report.

    Obama, who has remained notably silent during the Democratic primary, could soon change that policy due to his concern over Sanders’ increasingly far-out leftist proposals, friends and associates of the ex-president tell Fox Business Network.

    Obama has told people in private that Sanders is both temperamentally and politically unfit to beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election, these people say.

    Adding to Obama’s reported concern is Sanders’ ‘strident’ and ‘confrontational’ approach to politics, and his track record of shunning compromise in the Senate, according to Fox Business.”

    Here’s another one.
    Moment Iowa dad gets into a heated row with Elizabeth Warren over her student loan forgiveness plan, telling the candidate people who have already paid for their kids’ tuition will be getting ‘screwed’
    “Video has emerged showing Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday being confronted by a man who says her plan to forgive student loan debt would be unfair to people like him who worked hard to pay off what they owed.
    *Tense encounter took place after Warren campaign event in Grimes on Monday
    *Unidentified man approached senator and confronted her about her debt plan
    *Man said Warren plan to forgive student loan debt would ‘screw’ people like him
    *He told Warren he worked hard and saved money to pay for his child’s college
    *Man then accused Warren of ‘laughing’ at him before he angrily walked away”

    1. pretzelattack

      he’s a strident, confrontational compromiser–as contrasted with obama, who always stood on principles, whatever they were.

      1. Off The Street

        Channeling his inner Groucho Marx – Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.

          1. ambrit

            If Sander’s lead in the Iowa polls gets big, Obama might wait until before the Super Tuesday voting to get involved. I’m sure a lot of real slime will ooze out from under various MSM rocks if Sanders does well in the early contests. Then Obama will pounce.
            What is truly funny here is that no one that I can see is defending Sanders by playing the anti-Semitism card against his detractors. Curious that.

            1. Wukchumni

              The media would have you believe that Obama is a wunderkind Tom Brady type and could go a few more seasons, and many a franchise would be glad to have him, while the reality is he’s RGIII, showed a lot of promise and faded quick.

            2. pretzelattack

              the nyt has come very close to that line. remember when they didn’t publish a story about bush because they feared it would “influence the election”? i think they prefer to use other memes, like his “radical politics” or his purported irritability or his “unelectability” or his “sexism”.
              on the other side, it’s almost like david brock’s “bernie bros” don’t exist, or aren’t nearly as partisan as portrayed. identity politics have only been weaponised in one direction.

        1. pretzelattack

          hey, he stood on his principles every time he put on his comfortable shoes. it just didn’t seem to ever happen, poor guy never got to wear them.

          1. Oh

            The shoes he wore weren’t comfortable because they had the finance and war mongerer ball and chain firmly attached to them.

        2. Off The Street

          He stood on and walked on principals, professors, teachers, ministers and other unnamed characters in his, er, ascent.

    2. KLG

      The Daily Mail! My better half’s go-to source for hot takes on the news of the day. Usually right on the money.

      All I have to say to the former President is, “Bring it (you miserable phony)!”

      1. urblintz

        Absolutely! If Obama goes there, he once and for all reveals the truth of his fraudulent presidency and the bogus calls for “unity” emitting from the desperate Dem leadership. it’s kinda perfect that the story originated out of Fox news…

        1. L

          Given how this narrative has sprung from nowhere just as Bernie’s polls started to rise and Biden’s polls started to sink, and given that it is based entirely on anonymous `associates’ (not even “confidants” only “associates”) I can’t help but feel like this is not the revaluation of a long held plan, but in fact an attempt by anonymous strategists close to Obama to push him in the race for the benefit of Biden or Buttgeg (aka Biden the younger).

          If Obama really was going to do this he could do it at any point and there would be little value in telegraphing it so early. It’s not like Bernie would change course and so any warning just gives them time to prepare. If he wanted to just stab him he’d do a documentary on netflix.

          But if the goal is to throw the impression that Obama is opposed or to needle him into saying something right before the first primary, well then all the whispering makes sense.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            The Fox story was put out there yesterday (the Daily Mail is basically reporting on a report) and there was pretty hard and fast pushback from members of the elitist circles (Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau tweeted “This is not fucking true – it’s either made up or from sources who only wish it would happen.” and MSNBC’s David Shuster added “Sorry @CGasparino. Democratic party sources who have spoken with @BarackObama tell me your “scoop is absolute BS.” And given your past, I’m certain my sources are correct and yours are made up. I’ll publicly name my sources if you name yours.” Ol’ Neera retweeted ’em both.)

            I do believe it was a trial balloon from the upper echelons just to see reactions but
            it’s pretty clear they’ve painted themselves into a corner (as centrist Democrats always do!) If Obama says anything now, they’ll have a reeeaaalll hard time walking it back. Either they’ll have to condemn Obama’s “interference” or they’ll have to admit their own complicity.

            1. Grant

              A smart thing, which is what Obama would likely do, would be to publicly give a weak endorsement of Bernie but to work behind the scenes to make sure he loses, which is basically what is going on. Ghouls like Tanden have made such strong critiques of Bernie that she really can’t say or do much if he gets the nomination. Her assumption the whole time is that she would never be put in position where she had to support him publicly in any way. So, Obama undermines Bernie, he doesn’t win, and then Biden or Pete gets the nomination and loses. Bye bye legacy, and Obama is many things, but he isn’t stupid. If someone he was ideologically aligned with had a good chance of winning, I think he would step out. But, Biden and Pete are bad general election candidates, he probably knows this, and Warren isn’t great either, so undermining Bernie and then his preferred candidate losing (again) sure ain’t going to make him look good. All of these people though have tons to lose if Bernie wins. Many of them will play no role at all in his administration, and him winning could set in motion a situation where they are permanently out of power.

              But, I also have no patience for anyone pretending that Obama is some objective person calling balls and strikes. He is ideologically on the right on many issues and is now very rich. He has clear and obvious class and ideological biases, and so do all of the other hacky and overpaid consultants. Obama’s action have been revealing for anyone paying attention, and his popularity is frustrating. Yes, he was an important historical figure, but he was also a massive disappointment when he was given power to many people. People that often revere him seem to focus entirely on his historic importance (which I can understand to an extent) or his charisma, without realizing what an utter disaster he was on many policies, strategies, who he empowered and protected and what his presidency even did to his own party while he was in office. Like him on a personal level, but realize his many faults, his ideological and class biases.

              If I were him, I would get back to sailing or surfing with Branson.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Time for the wax to melt from the wings of Icarus Obama, what do you do when all of the lies you told suddenly start catching up with you?

                Though I do love what he said to Biden when he told him he was running: “Joe, you don’t have to do this”.

                As though you’re in a home, with your 78-year old dementia patient uncle, who’s insisting on trying to make it all the way down the hall to the cafeteria using his walker.

                It’s a poignant moment, really, when someone who has known great power tries for one last bite but both mind and body fail him. I see him getting halfway down the hall, the walker tips over, he flops in a heap on the floor, reaching around for his false teeth that have fallen out. “Why why why why why why why!!!!!”

              2. Norm de plume

                ‘Yes, he was an important historical figure, but he was also a massive disappointment when he was given power to many people’

                Barack Obama is, by sheer numbers across the world, the greatest disappointment in history. No one else is even close.

                It wouldnt be so bad if he’d tried and failed to deliver on his promises but he never intended to succeed so there was no need to try.

    3. bob

      *Man said Warren plan to forgive student loan debt would ‘screw’ people like him

      I’ve heard this same line of thinking from other ‘liberals’

      How does that screw you? It prevents others from being screwed. Those aren’t the same thing, except in the minds of people who are sadists. They should not ever be in a position to make these decisions. They should be properly ostracized for these views, not courted as “reasonable” centrists. Call them out every time, the little piggies will probably enjoy it!

      1. L

        More to the point any time you go from something being private to subsidized this will happen. The people who paid for it themselves and just missed the cutoff do get screwed because they are out money that someone else doesn’t have to spend. This applies equally to tax cuts, and socialized medicine.

        The man has a point and we can’t waive it away. The question is really whether the shift is better overall and what, if anything, can be done for those who are already behind but making their payments. I did pay off my debts and yet I still believe that making things free would be better. If anything I think that Warren has done a bad job of owning up to that point and defending it.

        1. Monty

          45 million voters carry student debt. 190 million voters do not. If you think those 190 million Americans generally want to give a freebie to the other 45 million, you haven’t been paying attention to American civic life.

          It would need to be a universal payment to everyone, of college age or older, to appear just and avoid bitterness. It should be sufficient to cover the standard costs of a 4 year college course. That way people who didn’t go to college, to avoid the debt, now get some compensation for that.

          1. Grant

            Couldn’t the same thing been said about ending slavery? Why should we free slaves when I had to be a slave for so long? Why should we end child labor laws when I had to work in horrific conditions when I was a kid? Why should we end the drug war and not throw people in jail for non-violent drug offenses when I was thrown in jail for having some bud on me? Why should we stop people from losing their homes because of this healthcare system when I lost mine when I got cancer (I didn’t, giving an example)? We should never require people to go into debt to attend public education. We don’t require that when people attend K-12, why should we accept it if they want to get more education? Many states did cover higher education in the past anyway. There are positive social externalities associated with a person’s education. Requiring others to suffer because you did isn’t morally defensible and it could have been used as an argument any major advancement in human history. Maybe American’s shouldn’t think in these terms for these reasons, and maybe Warren should have been prepared to answer to this.

            Cancer has really made my life difficult, but I don’t demand that others suffer in this system that get cancer just because I did. Cause, you know, I am not a sociopath and I realize that structural inequality, poverty and injustice isn’t anyone’s fault, and they shouldn’t be made to suffer just because I have. I also don’t like the idea of just accepting the ways that Americans make decisions on these matters in the past as a guide for the future. We as a country have not made good decisions, which is why the country is in such bad shape. Maybe time to not use the past as a guide to the future.

            “It would need to be a universal payment to everyone, of college age or older, to appear just and avoid bitterness. It should be sufficient to cover the standard costs of a 4 year college course. That way people who didn’t go to college, to avoid the debt, now get some compensation for that.”

            You make it seem as if someone going to school is a fun stroll in the park. They are getting money to get a degree, which is not easy, and thereafter they may make more money, pay more in taxes, and have a greater capacity to contribute to society and their community. If you want to make a case for a UBI, do so, but I don’t see the logic of connecting it a discussion as to whether or not to remove debt people took on because of the stupid ways we have designed the funding for higher education.

            1. James

              You are, of course, exactly right.

              The feeling of having been screwed is very real. Folks need to be able to have the feeling while at the same time realizing that, however unjust things may have been for them, at least it will be less unjust for the next person.

          2. a different chris

            Again, let’s re-instate the draft because people like me didn’t have to go to *any* wars at all! Yea! Believe it or not there was a time when the US wasn’t actually at war with anybody.

            Most of those 190 million voters had nothing like today’s debt burden. Cornell for god’s sake was 7K a year in my time. But a lot of them (me) do have kids that have a ridiculous burden. And more of them have kids that are about to start ringing it up.

            It needs to stop. That isn’t going to be pretty or perfect. This whining doesn’t actually become you guys much, you know?

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              We had a trillion dollar hole in the banking system and Obama ponied up to fund it basically for the benefit of the 1%.

              That’s fine.

              Then Obama stood by while another $3.5 trillion got lavished on them. LA-VISH is the only words to describe the tsunami of manna these “folks” have received.

              And we’re moaning because millions of our youngest people, working their tails off to GET EDUCATED (you know ONE OF THE MAIN THINGS OUR COUNTRY IS SUPPOSED TO DO FOR THEM) are in financial leg irons until the day they die (Thanks Biden)?

              1. pasha

                iirc, all that $4.5 trillion got paid back, with interest. still, it is a shame none of the ceos went to jail for criminal malfeasance and fraud.

                1. JTMcPhee

                  Gee, and where did the money that was used to “pay back” the bank bailout come from? Enquiring minds want to know!

                  Matt Taibbi has this to say: “Secrets and Lies of the Bailout,”

                  Forbes, the Capitalist Tool, has this to offer: “The Big Bank Bailout,”

                  I’m sure there are even better and clearer explanations of how it all really worked and continues to work.

                  “Paid back?” Doesn’t seem that way to me, but then I don’t understand “high finance,” fractional reserve banking, why derivatives are not a form of counterfeiting, and the real nature and meaning of money…

                  I did spend the first several years of my legal career prosecuting consumer fraud cases for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, so I do think I can spot a fraud when I see it…

                2. Yves Smith

                  Please don’t repeat that canard here.

                  First, the Fed made those loans when no one would make them. So what’s the value of the massive discount to what the market price would have been? That ginormous subsidy is curiously missing from your account.

                  Second, the Fed goosed asset prices via protracted super low interest rates. Ed Kane estimated the cost of that as $300 billion a year to savers from the loss of interest income. 11 years of that = $3.3 trillion.

                  Third, the entire financial services industry got a second bailout from the failure to securitize mortgages according to their own contracts, which were utterly rigid by design. No way to fix them with a waiver. The implication was all the mortgage securitizations that used New York trusts (about 80% of the total) from 2005 and for more, back to 2003, had never been formed. The proper legal remedy would be rescission, as in unwinding the deal. For these structures, unscrambling eggs would be easier.

            2. Grant

              Stephanie Kelton co-published a paper on the macroeconomic impacts of cancelling the student loan debt (as well as how it could be done). It would be a huge macroeconomic boost (freeing up tons of money that otherwise go to servicing debt that could now be used to buy stuff), and it would especially help local governments. More spending means more sales tax revenues coming in. So, even if people want think in the terms of, why should we write off your debt when I had to pay so much?, it would be a huge macroeconomic boost. It would be, society wide, like the government running a deficit and all of that new money going to those that could spend, instead of financial capital and the rich.

            3. Monty

              I didn’t brainwash the people with the “Me First” ideology that is extremely common nowadays, but it is out there and it is pervasive. I don’t endorse it, I am just telling you the way I see it playing with ‘regular folks’ a.k.a typical selfish assholes a.k.a. 75% of the electorate. In a democracy, you have to consider what these people want too.

              1. witters

                “I see it playing with ‘regular folks’ a.k.a typical selfish assholes a.k.a. 75% of the electorate. In a democracy, you have to consider what these people want too.”

                So I take it the claims here are i) 75% of the democratic citizenry are selfish assholes – which pretty much rules any common good or anything cooperatively for the general good, but ii) what we have here is still a democracy, and iii) as I respect democracy, iv) therefore I respect the majority’s determinations, but v) I don’t “endorse” this democratic conclusion?

                1. Monty

                  Yes, mostly. It doesn’t matter about me, or what I endorse. All that matters (if you care about results) is what the people we elect do once elected. The way forward is to elect more people that share our goals. Do that by running on policies that everyone likes, instead of falling for these wedge issues. Keep them in mind, and do something when you have the power to act on them. Stick to the winning propositions until then.

              2. jrs

                People sometimes vote short-term economic self-preservation even if you call that selfish (explains some who will vote for Trump for sure, “but the economy is good etc.” and never mind all else).

                But not everyone does, some will vote long term greater good even if it costs them personally (and not in the way it “costs” millionaires and billionaires, I don’t care about them).

          3. Big Tap

            Speaking of student debt. This has made waves in conservative media. Elizabeth Warren and a man in Iowa had a brief conversation about him paying off a student loan for his daughter working two jobs and he didn’t think others who can’t pay should get a free ride. He did most of the talking.


            1. bob

              How about we figure out how to do it for free now, and come back for spite next term? We’ll have a majority then. We have to have priorities

      2. jo6pac

        I’m in on paying all that money back to those students that have paid off the loans. If we stopped the endless wars there would be more than enough $$$$$. Hell who knows my be enough for Medi-Care for All and double SS

        Sorry still a sleep I need more coffee for reality sink in;-)

      3. Fiery Hunt

        One quibble there, bob…
        If I spend $50,000 and 15 years paying off a student loan, that’s money I can’t save for buying a house. If someone else just graduated and has their student loan dismissed, they don’t have that same 15 year “waiting period”. The market for real estate will get a hellva lot more “competitive” since younger people won’t have to wait to enter the real estate market. So in that sense, having to pay for something, that others get for free and who will devote those “college debt savings” to compete directly with me for housing is certainly an argument for getting “screwed”.

        That said, I was once irritated at the college loan jubilee idea. I’ve come to accept (like so much of life as a Gen Xer), that yes, I will be screwed but it’s the only way to break the system that is perpetually screwing most of us.

        But it is definitely an issue…the resentment… that needs to be acknowledged. YMMV

          1. jrs

            This only works if it does stop mass murdering people. This only works if you get a full revolution. If you get a partial revolution (and good chance of not even getting that of course, if a Republican Senate, then you just get what can be done with that) then there are winners and losers period.

            Tweaks to capitalism, like this or that policy and that includes full student loan forgiveness, are still just that tweaks, and produce winners and losers in a dog eat dog world. And people get this, they aren’t dumb, they understand competing in the economic system.

        1. False Solace

          I made a different comment elsewhere, but let’s get real. The student loan problem has ballooned in the last 10 years. It now exceeds credit card debt in size.

          If you spent 15 years paying off your loan, that means you went to college at least 15 years ago when college was substantially cheaper. You already benefited from lower tuition and from graduating into an economy with higher wages and household wealth.

          The figures on student loans are horrific. They show millions of accounts in arrears. The borrowers have essentially no chance of ever paying off the loan. Their discretionary wages don’t even let them keep up with the interest.

          Thinking that you deserve some “acknowledgement” is resentful peasant thinking. I really don’t GAD about your fee-fees getting hurt. This is damaging multiple generations of people who still have outstanding loans. Let’s just solve the d**n problem.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Um…Making some assumptions there, aren’t ya?

            Like so many who carry the debt, there was NO side benefit because
            I DID NOT graduate. So there was no higher wages and no increase in household wealth. And no, college in 2003 was barely if any cheaper than now ($50,000 a year).

            I’m on your side but you’re making it tough. And you’re sure not gonna win over voters like the guy in Iowa with your arrogance,

            1. inode_buddha

              Even if you *did* graduate there wasn’t any higher wages, relative to inflation. This is why I will never again apply for a job that I have any actual experience in (35 years and counting…)

              Don’t give them anything they aren’t paying for.

              1. ambrit

                Too true. About ten years ago I started telling hiring staff to, politely, engage in complex copulatory behaviours, whenever I got an outrageously lowball wage offer. They, to a man or woman could not understand my disgust. The already operational mantra was, “A job is a job.” Since then, I have personally seen a precipitous decline in the quality of work in my former field of endeavour; plumbing.
                An anecdote, tangentially aligned to the subject at hand.
                I considered applying for a job at one of the local WalMarts. The job opening was for a store maintenance man. I figured that I could handle this, due to my commercial construction background. I hunted up the store maintenance engineer to ask a few questions prior to applying for the job.
                I asked him about how technical the job could become. I mentioned my work history in construction.
                “No,” he replied. “They have a regional service company on call to do all of that. You will be keeping the store clean, mopping up spills, cleaning the bathrooms, and the like.”
                “Oh,” I replied. “You mean a janitor.”
                “No,” he retorted. “I mean a building maintenance engineer.”
                “Oh my G-d,” I blurted out. “Well, at least they don’t want a Four Year degree.”
                He was not amused. “Are you sure you want to work here?”
                After I realized how ‘invested’ in the company ethos this poor fellow was, I promptly left.

                1. inode_buddha

                  Preach it brother! Industrial heavy maintenance here (millwright machinist) 35 yrs, 3 trade schools at own expense, pipe welding, own tools and travel, and I’ve never made over 17/hr in my life. This is in the People’s Democratically Elected Republic of New York. They tell me how great the economy is, and how great the USA is, where anyone can make it…

                  1. ambrit

                    Back at ya brother! Plumber here, learned the basics working for my Dad, who was originally a Draftsman/Engineer and then City Inspector. Then various shops over the years. Did my own studying for various aspects of the job. I was a curious worker. always asking questions and being told to bugger off. I don’t know about your experience, but I learned that most owners and foreman were too insecure in their own positions to even contemplate someone ‘below’ them learning as much as them. The two or three, and that’s, sadly, about all I can remember, Masters who were willing to teach their employees anything were a joy to work for. You knew that you would learn something useful when you needed the knowledge. All the rest were, to one degree or another, royal pains in the a–e.
                    I too never made above $15 USD the hour, and that was back in the 1980s!
                    My welding skills are, to be charitable, primitive. I’ll never pass a pipefitters exam. Basic fab up is my speed. But plumbers almost never need that skill. Silver braising is about as close to that as I can get. Did medical gas work on a few hospital jobs. Now that is something you cannot hurry through. I worked on a job on the Gulf Coast where we were following behind a crew that the year before had killed a patient of the hospital due to switching up the medical oxygen and nitrogen lines at the main manifold! The job QC checked up on us medical gas installers every day at day’s end. We had to lead him through the piping we had installed that day and prove that we were doing it right. Despite that, it was one of the better jobs I ever worked on. The foremen, and a forewoman, took their jobs seriously without being overbearing.
                    I learned not to make an issue of being able to read blueprints. Too many sub-foreman, or gangbosses could not, even by the 1980s, and so had a big hard on for anyone who could show them up. Bloody egos ruin everything on jobs.
                    As a general rule of thumb, if we were laid off for a short period of time without having been warned of the possibility at the beginning of the job, I made it a point to not come back, Luckily for me, something always turned up to replace it.
                    From what I have read over the years, this sort of exploitation of skilled tradespeople has been the standard operating procedure over the ages. The trades unions arose to redress the balance with the owners. The pendulum of social relations has swung pretty far into the exploitation zone by now. A sharp and serious swing back is about due. What most youngsters today have never been taught is just how hard and violent that struggle gets to reverse the course of social relations.
                    See you at the picket line brothers! (I am proud to say that I have never crossed a picket line.)

                2. chuck roast

                  I worked in a power plant for a few summers during college. I was a “building maintenance engineer.” There were two guys who always walked the plant with light bulbs. So, I go “Is that all you guys do is change light bulbs?” One of the guys looked at me and said, “Son, we are luminary engineers!”

                  1. ambrit

                    Somehow, I get the feeling that those fellows had a sense of humour about it all. The poor man I was confronted with was cognitively captured by the corporation. He either believed the propaganda line or was secretly afraid to admit the truth to himself.
                    Half way through your comment, I wondered if the workers you mentioned were carrying the light bulbs as safety equipment. As in, the bulbs would light up in an area where a dangerous charge was building up. Thinking more clearly now, I know I confused the light bulbs with flourescent bulbs, which will light up under microwave stimulation. A wrap of conductive wire, in a particular ratio of length to wrap rate is needed to induce the current that lights the bulb. (A trucker’s radar detector. [The Feds and all states ban over the road truckers from possessing radar detectors.])

              1. a different chris

                To crank back on the hostile tone a little bit (apologies) I will say that making decisions like which college is not great for 18 year old hormonal monsters.

                But it is not nearly as costly as it was then for the average student. And if you spent $50K I bet it is beyond shocking what it would cost to go wherever you went today.

                1. Fiery Hunt

                  California College of the Arts…1 year Architecture.
                  Still $52,000.
                  One of 2 programs available in the Bay Area.

                  Wasn’t 18 years old, was 33. Within a year, I had fractured my back, my truck was totalled and my new wife and I had to file for bankruptcy. (Loans non-dischargeable…Thanks Creepy Joe!)

                  So , a different chris..apologies accepted.

                  And can’t the same argument about “unwise” decisions be made about every student loan?

                  The self-righteousness regarding a potential new “entitlement” is amazing.

                    1. Fiery Hunt

                      Seems like a bit of a low value personal attack, eh?

                      Can we get a moderator ruling on this shithead?

                    2. flora

                      The banks and govt entities that handed out/ backstopped the loans (in many cases the same banks/entities that handed out the subprime/fake paperwork mortgage loans) demand their money back.

                      The banks are blameless of course. The 2005 bankruptcy bill making it impossible to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy was written with sheltering the banks in mind.

                      And the govt is making money, too. A lot of money.

                      You could say ‘oink’, I’d just question who’s really making the noise.

                    3. bob

                      The call for the manager is soooo perfect! Really. Asking that a manager come over and….

                      “that needs to be acknowledged”

                      You’ve been acknowledged and ignored. Next!


                    4. Fiery Hunt

                      Sorry Yves, and Lambert, and Jules et al but can we carve this jackass out?

                      Otherwise I’m happy to go full Mad Max on him..

                    5. bob

                      I WANT TO SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER!

                      Go off king!

                      Mad Max! ROTFL!!!! Are you going to put on the face paint? I bet you have it next to your keyboard for those epic manager moments

            2. False Solace

              Yeah, OK, I’m arrogant. Let’s get real. You’ve been fortunate in so many ways. You completed “some” college which gave you a leg up on everyone who didn’t. You had a job during an economic boom, which anyone who joined the workforce in the last 12 years has never seen, and got job experience during a critical time for your career. You were able to pay off $50k in loans + interest which millions of people can’t even dream of.

              You’re talking about the same petty snowflake thinking that convinced Obama not to bail out homeowners after the GFC. A bunch of reactionary “taxpayers” didn’t want to “buy houses” for their undeserving fellow citizens. How did that turn out? Household wealth never recovered and private LLCs took ownership of another 20% of housing stock.

              We can do better than indulging childish resentment as a country. Because if we can’t, we’re doomed.

              1. False Solace

                My personal experience: I graduated in 2003 with minimal loans thanks to the MGIB. By no means were things peachy for me when I graduated. But my younger sister who graduated in 2006 had to hunt for a job in a much different economy. It took 10 years for her to find a full time job with health care. During all those years she survived on a patchwork of part time jobs. The year you entered the workforce makes a huge difference.

                Since then things have only gotten worse. Everyone who’s started work since the GFC has dramatically lower household wealth than the people who came before them at the same point in their lifecycle. But so many people I talk to have zero appreciation of this. They can’t see beyond their personal struggles.

                The system just keeps getting worse. It has to end. And it’s not gonna change unless we make it.

                1. flora

                  I agree with your last para. Of course, now you’re talking like a populist and the Dem centrists hate populists. Which is strange considering the 20th C. Dem party was built largely as a response to populist pressure to reform the system from the gilded age inequality and the robber barons and unchecked finance and monopoly power. But there it is, the centrist (aka neoliberal) Dem estab hates populism.

              2. jrs

                Do you actually assume job experience 12 years ago is valid nowadays? It’s likely to be entirely obsolete, worth nothing at this point. No it does not necessarily lead to great jobs on the resume now.

                Buying houses would be better than bailing out banks in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still a bit painful for renters, who will never buy, because they don’t make the big bucks. So they would of course pay taxes for other people’s houses as well as pay the landlord monthly, still better than the banks, but unfortunate that renters are never considered for a bailout.

                1. inode_buddha

                  “Do you actually assume job experience 12 years ago is valid nowadays?”

                  Yes. Things like physics, and national industrial standards don’t change that much. In my line of work I have done such things as build bridges which you drove over on Hwy 5 in California, and chemical refineries which made parts of your cell phone. Those engineering standards have evolved over *hundreds* of years since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Shall I simply abandon them for new and shiney?

                  You would be *amazed* at how much people take for granted these days, and those entering the field often have to be trained up for years to become useful. It amazes me further that kids don’t seem to be into hot-rodding or anything much mechanical like in the old days. I already memorized the pertinent details of things like bolt sizes by the time I graduated high school.

                  1. ambrit

                    Or something as simple and lowly as building bicycles from parts culled from the town dump. I built several five and ten speeds that way. H—, I built a crystal radio set when I was eight. It worked too! Find the right spot on the crystal to get the radio signal. Change the crystal to get another station. Science and tech were fun! My first stereo radio receiver was a Heathkit. But that leads me to the observation that many techies seem to think that human relations are as simple and linear as basic tech. Alas, it’s not so!

              3. Fiery Hunt

                You think the people graduating into the GFC had it worse than those of us who were at our income-producing peak? We all went through it…just some of us also went thru the Bush-Clinton recession of 1991-1992 and the dot com bubble and burst of 2000 (which cost me my first business).

                And for the record, I’ve never had employer health insurance. And I’ve never owned a home. I have no health insurance and no retirement.

                Everyone’s got a tale of woe.
                Mine’s maybe better than theirs, maybe worse than yours, etc, etc.

                It’s a hell of a lot harder to make up for lost time in your fifties than it is in your 20’s.

                All that aside, we really are on the same side. But if we’re gonna change things, I believe the first step is to not dismiss the concerns of those who may become our allies, our strength.

                “Childish resentment” is one way to describe it…I tend to think of a beaten dog’s bite.

                Quit kicking him and he may just help you.
                See 2016, Presidential election.
                Also 2020, maybe…

              4. flora

                A bunch of reactionary “taxpayers” didn’t want to “buy houses” for their undeserving fellow citizens.

                Uh, no. People wanted the banks cleaned up and the bankers who caused the problems in jail or at least out of a job. O saved the banks and bankers instead.

                “The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.”

                The Quiet Coup by Simon Johnson, 2009


          2. Lambert Strether

            > Thinking that you deserve some “acknowledgement” is resentful peasant thinking.

            I don’t find the moralizing on this thread especially helpful; it seems to me that some of the comments on this thread come dangerously close to categorizing people who paid their debt as “deplorables.” That’s not gonna fly politically, and again you can just hear Trump twisting it.

            The whole college debt system should never have come into being in the first place, since (naturally) it destroyed a universal concrete material benefit, which is what neoliberalism always does.

            Neoliberalism also thrives on and by creating division, which is also what is happening here.

            I think, although this seems to be a minority opinion, that the entire system should rebooted. That includes making people whole who played by the rules in an evil system. If Steve Keen says it can be done, that’s good reason to look into it. That is what I would do, and the campaigns advocating cancelling all student debt should look into this, before it blows up in their faces. (Remember how the Tea Party started as resentment against helping out people whose homes were in foreclosure? That is where the moralizing will get us.)

        2. Bill Carson

          (Two payments left, knock on wood…)

          I’ve just finished paying $120,000 over 25 years to pay off my $50,000 law school student loan debt. I’ve been screwed for 25 years now.

          But it’s even worse than that. If I had saved $448.79 every month beginning in September, 1996, and had invested it in the S&P 500, then today my portfolio would be worth $367,454.41. So you might say my law school education cost me $367,000. (Geez, that is depressing.)

          I’m not going to pretend that I would have been disciplined enough to save that much money every month for the past 24 years, but not having that extra load of debt hanging over me would have been really nice.

          So have I been screwed? Oh, yeah, and they didn’t use lube. (9% fixed interest) But I support SL forgiveness to spare others what I have had to endure.

          1. Phacops

            I would point out that while there is a legitimate dislike of missing such major assistance, if Bernie creates a movement that can get that done, then it promises to be a start to long-term realignment that will benefit that man and his family.

            I went to University when it was not expensive and know that is ethically important to me to see that students are not burdened as they now are and are not made into profit centers for an abusive industry.

          2. a different chris

            >So have I been screwed?

            Yeah. Sorry you didn’t wind up with a sufficiently remunerative career. But if you had kids when you were 30ish – and I bet a lot of your co-collegians did, even if you didn’t – they are looking at college now. See how that works?

          3. bob

            Lots of politics of personal testimony. Good job! gold star!

            “So have I been screwed?”

            Who asked that? Who hasn’t been screwed?


            If time travel were possible, this might have been relevant. You’re just whining, and you appear to be against changing what you are whining about? I dunno. What is your point? Other than you are just so special! And so tough! You’re clearly better than anyone else, especially the youngs who have it sooo easy….

          4. makedonamend

            Fair play to yee. Just throwing my comments below yours as your comment envokes a wider perspective on the issue.

            I can understand why the fella was angry though, and why he vented at Elizabeth Warren. He’s has to be angry on a fundamental level – probably for having to fork out huge bucks for what he might consider a bad investment. His response is quite logical in context. He had to pay, so should others. (Maybe not debate quality argument, but still an argument many citizens can sympathise with.)

            But, given that we live in democracies and have good technology, why don’t we (as the government per AOC) just take over all SL debt and reintroduce bankruptcy? Also, we can lower interest rates, forecast future cash flows, and give some sort of rebates back to people who repay their loans in full. This scheme could be administered by a US postal bank. Eventually we can get rid of the loans altogether. Obviously, the devil is in the detail.

            And when we’re at it, we in the West can stop making education a cash flow source for the rentier class and re-emphasize university and trade college as a learning experience by de-emphasizing the entertainment and leisure complex aspect. I’m thinking of the universities that essentially have become landlords and sports entertainment businesses. Maybe introduce a small yearly fee for all student attendees to give succour to those who paid previously, and allow those who can’t afford it to do a minimal amount of constructive work in their environments.

            my perfectly priced 2 cents.

      4. False Solace

        Clearly, we shouldn’t administer the vaccine for Polio. What about all those people who came down with Polio, suffer the effects to this day, and paid for treatment or lost wages? The vaccine is obviously unfair.

        Let everyone continue to suffer. It’s only fair.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Obama has told people in private that Sanders is both temperamentally and politically unfit to beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election…….

      Alas, an oligarch tool ex-president’s work is never done. Having failed to get clinton elected to continue the “voter-approved” looting, he is again being pressed into service in an attempt to quash the unrelenting backlash against the grift his presidency enabled. He and michelle had better get on the stick unless they want to see the hefty “investment” made in their post-presidency reevaluated.

      Of course if obama decides to go down this road, it won’t be a one and done. He’ll have to keep after it to drive his point home. It could very well destroy the dem party once and for all which, if you think about it, is not the worst thing that could happen.

      1. flora

        I got a fund raising form letter from O asking for a donation to the DNC Unity Campaign Fund. That’s for some elite Wall St. definition of “unity” I guess…. /s

    5. Lee

      If Obama does this execrable thing and ratphks Sanders, I look forward to further shriveling of the Democratic party.

    6. inode_buddha

      I am gobsmacked (not) that Obama would have issues with Sanders. After all, every one of my deeply Conservative acquaintances assures me that Obama is a Socialist and therefore he is the Great Satan who will come to take all your money and “papers, please” dictator and russia russia russia

      My experience with the Right wing in America is that they consider anything that is not to the right of them, to be full-on commie totalitarian dictatorship. These people are not capable of rational thought, IMHO, and certainly not capable of the concept of “society”, let alone a society which needs to be organized or governed.

      1. Tom Doak

        Re: “Papers, please”: Who was the real driving force behind Real ID (discussed above)? It was signed into law by Obama, wasn’t it?

    7. Ultrapope

      You know, its kind of ironic that Obama is trying to stop people from voting for Bernie. I can think of no other person whose words and actions led me to embrace Senator Sanders so emphatically.

      If I ever met Obama, I feel I would need to thank him. His betrayal of even the smallest of “progressive” policies he made during his campaign totally opened my eyes to the extensive lies that can hid behind the veil of excellent PR.

      1. Chuckster

        Mr. Noble Peace Prize Winner still has a 90% approval rating among Democrats. If he speaks out against Bernie, it would hurt.

        OTOH – Why is Bernie still screwing around in the D Party after 2016? Fool me once….

        1. KLG

          Just spitballin’ here: Because that is the ONLY way to get on the ballot in every state? Unless he ran as a Republican.

              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                Gary Johnson made it in 2016, and Jill Stein came within a handful of states. (Despite the admittedly bad-to-worse bias against alternative parties and no-party independents.)

    8. drumlin woodchuckles

      Obama may be quietly getting “extorted” by his rich owners and patrons. They may be telling him that they will not give him all the money he was expecting them to give him if he does not take care of this Sanders problem for them.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Agreed. Must have been the same when he “fixed” the 2017 Democratic National Committee election so that Tom Perez won instead of Keith Ellison.

  5. Wukchumni

    She’s an obvious misterogynist, caught in Grimes of passion.

    *Tense encounter took place after Warren campaign event in Grimes on Monday
    *Unidentified man approached senator and confronted her about her debt plan
    *Man said Warren plan to forgive student loan debt would ‘screw’ people like him
    *He told Warren he worked hard and saved money to pay for his child’s college
    *Man then accused Warren of ‘laughing’ at him before he angrily walked away

    1. petal

      You slay me, Wuk. Keep it coming!
      He asked if he could get his money back and she said “no of course not”. Yikes. She’s so toast. Unfortunately I can’t go to that Warren rally today that Ashley Judd is hosting.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Wait a minute. If that guy got a tax cut in the past few decades, would he be willing to pay that missed taxes back because others did not get the same tax break?

        1. pretzelattack

          i got the impression the college loan in question was fairly recent–he was talking about paying off the loan for his daughter, not himself–so the burden would be heavy; of course he had a well paying job, unlike most millenials. nobody wanted to be the last u.s. soldier to die in vietnam, either. i get that a debt jubilee would benefit everybody, but many do feel screwed by the current system, and carry that resentment over to issues like this where it isn’t as relevant. does it matter that he was working to pay off someone else’s loan, and not his own?

          at least warren was willing to shake his hand after the dispute, more than she was willing to do for the long time friend she had just stabbed in the back–but then he was potentially more useful to her, the kind of deplorable clinton lost.

      2. Wukchumni

        Thanks for the kind words, I had to waterboard some consonants into a vowel movement to get them to say anything.

      3. jo6pac

        You just ruined my day;-) I thought Ashley Judd was more progressive than this. I do wish she would run against Moscow Mitch.

        1. petal

          Sorry! Have been wondering if it’s more of a “we need a female D in the White House no matter their policy stands/as long as it’s not a guy” than anything else(I have friends like that). Will check the paper tomorrow to see if they report on it. She also got a mid-career Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School at Harvard, so who knows.

    1. John A

      The Mail had some photos of Meghan walking her dogs, carrying the baby in a rather haphazard way and also of her reclining on a bed. Apparently she is now complaining about the paps intruding on her life, but somehow I don’t think a paparrazo took the photo of her reclining on the bed – tbh it looked a bit like a selfie. Methinks the lady protests too much.

    1. Lee

      If U.S. troops are dependent for their basic maintenance on Iraqi labor, then a strike would be in order and I assume effective.

      1. JTMcPhee

        The Army I was in, back in 66-69, we had to do our own kitchen duties, clean our own grease traps, pull our own guard duty, pick up other GIs’ and officers trash and cigarette butts, clean our own barracks, all that stuff. In Vietnam, a lot of that eventually was done by Vietnamese. The general commanding the First Cavalry Division at that time barred the Division, except for his headquarters company, from shifting domestic duties to the locals. He, of course, had his barracks girls and local cooks and other servants. He also had a personal Vietnamese barber, let us remember a truth about rank has its privileges:

        It turned out that the barber was actually Viet Cong (the bad guys, for you youngsters.) Not only that, he was a forward observer for a mortar unit, directing mortar shells lobbed by the “gooks” into the Cav’s main base at An Khe from inside the wire…

        How many GIs in MENA are killed by “blue on blue” violence? We have no more “business” being in those countries than we did in Vietnam. Though of course the whole sorry mess is “good for business,” including the folks who provide body bags and medical supplies and the rest…

  6. pretzelattack

    re october surprise; joe biden doubted, or said he did, he helped cover it up, “nothing to see here, just move along”. the cia wanted reagan in there. robert parry had a number of good articles on this, i hope they’re still available at consortium.

    1. pretzelattack

      damn why they did they have to go russiagate in that article–parry wouldn’t have fallen for that propaganda, sad to see jacobin has.

          1. pretzelattack

            finally possible with no fanfare 40 years after the fact, when most of the principals are dead, and it is safe. the russiagate narrative still pays the bills, so that has to be supported.
            biden used it to prove his loyalty to the democratic party, by whitewashing it, something both parties devoutly desired. it was the first time i realized how thoroughly corrupt both parties were.

    2. hemeantwell

      Did anyone ever doubt this was true?

      Oh, most definitely yes. Before his Transformer-like morph into a cheerleader for “The West is the Best”ism Christopher Hitchens was a nearly solitary exponent of this idea, usually in the pages of the Nation. It’s likely that his efforts were drawing on Robert Parry’s work, but Hitchens and then, iirc, a bit later Alex Cockburn were the only Names in political journalism that kept this afloat.

      1. pretzelattack

        people today doubt that julian assange is a journalist, and this in an age when we have much more access to information. the nyt and wapost were the “alternative journalism” pushing back against bill buckley and the wall street journal.

        the idea that this was widely believed at the time is revisionist history.

  7. dcblogger

    If people understood that Reagan sabotaged the hostage negotiations Robert Parry would have had his on TV show plus a syndicated column and nothing would named after Reagan.

    1. pretzelattack

      and gee, wonder what the campaign used as inducements. how about weapons for iran, later–“balanced” by helping saddam get wmd’s.

      1. D.M. Dunkle

        The Reagan shenanigans during the 1980 election regarding the hostages were no big secret. Any informed voter knew about them. Unfortunately, Carter did not protest loud enough and the MSM painted him as a wuss. It worked.

        1. Skip Intro

          The NYT made it pretty blatant with their dual headline: “Reagan Inaugurated, Hostages released”

          1. pretzelattack

            part of the whole “morning in america” bullshit, the nyt was busy influencing elections than, just as it is now. but it still had a lot of credibility in those days.

          2. pretzelattack

            it was the first big intel community attempt to apply at home what had worked abroad, imo. casey came from the oss, and was shortly to head the cia. the ham handed obviousness was the tell, as it is now, but there was no alternative media like today to highlight it.

            alternative media then was pretty much the nation magazine, and, wait for it, the new republic, soon to become a useful neocon tool itself.

        2. pretzelattack

          the msm had more sway then, and they did the same thing to him they’re doing to bernie now. the dem party didn’t protest loud enough, they were in on the coverup. joe biden was a great help in doing that.
          very few in the press were saying this in the 80’s, and nobody that i recall at the time of the hostage crisis. later in reagans second term a few on the left like parry were trying to inform after iran contra came to light, and the quid pro quo became more evident. finally there was a whitewash congressional investigation, and it disappeared. the informed voters you talk about in the 1980 election did not exist.
          also, too; “shenanigans”?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have seen a form of this idea before. What Warren means is that only a “market solution” can be found for global climate change and that governments should not get involved. I suspect the reason for the later is that governments typically aren’t allowed to make a huge profit or charge usurious fees.

      1. Grant

        “What Warren means is that only a “market solution” can be found for global climate change”

        It is an absurd thing to claim, and she could never explain how such a thing could work in actuality. The fact is that markets themselves are key drivers in the environmental crisis. Just to give one obvious example; the US economy produces as many as 80,000 or so chemicals, none of which occur naturally in the environment. We have next to no information on about 20,000 of them because they are proprietary trade secrets. We know that markets are missing tons of information (which neoclassical economists call externalities), and we know that because of this markets massively misallocation resources. If the logic is that we are to monetize these impacts, are we to monetize the ecological impact of all of the 80,000 chemicals and demand access to the 20,000 or so we have no data on? Even if we did, how exactly do you pass ecological information through markets? Let’s say that something you buy goes up because we are monetizing these impacts, how do you know what impact caused the price increase? Each of those chemicals will have different impacts in each ecosystem, the chemicals also combine in complex ways to impact ecosystems and public health, so are you expected to take into account all of those impacts in each ecosystem? If so, how do you even do that by using markets? Do consumers and producers have the scientific background to make sense of even manageable data? And if we were to monetize these things, given the scale of the environmental crisis, how much would everything explode in price? What does it mean, from an ecological perspective, that one ecosystem is “worth” twice as much as another? Since market values establish exchange values, does it mean that I can exchange one ecosystem or species that we have monetized for another based on exchange ratios? Then there is tacit information, which cannot be passed on through markets.

        Warren and those like her simply aren’t serious on this issue.

    2. hemeantwell

      Re Warren and Wall Street, she’s burning her bridges to the left faster than a retreating Confederate general. Keep at it, Senator!

      1. EarlErland

        I had a dream last night that I was watching the Super Bowl. During a commercial break Warren appeared on the TeeVee and made a pitch for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

      2. pretzelattack

        she’s a leftist to her bones, and has the dna test to prove it! don’t miss the forthcoming cookbook, “revolutionary recipes”.

  8. dcblogger

    question for NC community, are there an good English language books on how the Scandinavian created their generous social welfare states? I would love to know the history of that.

    1. The Historian

      You might like “Viking Economics” by George Lakey. I haven’t read it yet, but it is on my list of books to get.

      There is a heavier tome out there “An Economic History of Sweden” by Lars Magnusson but I haven’t seen many reviews of it.

      1. hemeantwell

        Glad you brought that disaster/massacre up. I’d only learned of it recently. If anyone wants to understand the supposed ‘viciousness’ of the Bolsheviks’ Red Terror, that instance of White Terror should be studied, and not in the usual “cycle of violence” frame.

        Re books, I’d go with Mark Blyth’s Great Transformations. White Terror successes aside, it’s impressive how flexible capital can be when its under the gun of an organized domestic working class with an anticapitalist power hovering on the horizon.

        1. Susan the other

          I’d think far less flexible now that it is riddled with so many contradictions. I’d like to see their legendary flexibility rise above their greed for the future. Can we clip their wings and still have them participate in an effective way? What happens if we turn the free market into a free forum of ideas which are gleaned for best possible results with every consideration on the table? It just doesn’t sound like it would function. But theoretically, it could.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Show me one single solitary “free market”.
            Show me one single solitary “capitalist” company or economy.
            (OK, ok, the market for jungle meat in rural Uganda…).

            The hyper-socialists (Goldman Sachs, Lockheed, Amazon etc) simply use those labels to misdirect from the real mechanisms at work…in order to demonize any transfer of wealth from The State to, you know, actual people.

            1. pretzelattack

              i’ve been hearing about the free market of ideas my whole life, haven’t seen that unicorn yet.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      i did some online research in 2015(so as to have my ducks in a row)…and was in half-price-books yesterday and saw a shelf-full of it, in the social science section.
      certainly with the former, and pretty sure with the latter, one must watch out for cloaked neolib/randian critiques that disguise themselves, initially, as reasonable, friendly people(mercatus, and a million other think tanks,have put out such stuff)
      i don’t remember the titles and authors i ended up using…but i do remember that many of the sheepskin wearing naysayers happened to be the only obvious english language treatments on the subject that were FROM scandinavia(as in first 5 pages of google returns)
      bottom line, it’s important to be aware of the publishing house as well as the authors….the friendly concern troll hypercapitalists were, in the end, rather easy to whittle down to weeping ninnies…so there’s that at least.
      “by their fruits…” and all…they were mosr readily identifiable by their focus on recent immigration trends(with a quiet racism evident) and for ignoring the importation of Washington Consensus in the last 20 years by pseudo spooks who infiltrated the minds and such.

      what i came away with from a long slog through actual sincere treatments of the phenomenon, was how remarkable it was that a one time society of essentially biker gangs and beer joints(vikings and mead halls) turned into what appears to be the most enlightened region on earth.(i recommend scandinavian television, too, if you have netflix, etc)
      …and pro-tip: The idea of the Thing—“assembly”—was essential in their development.

    3. John A

      I suggest a good place to start would be to try to find a biography of Tage Erlander who was the prime minister from 1946 to 1969 and leader of the Social Democrat party.
      perhaps this one, though I cannot vouch for it.
      Tage Erlander: Serving the Welfare State, 1946-1969
      Olof Ruin, Author, Michael F. Metcalf, Translator University of Pittsburgh Press $39.95 (367p) ISBN 978-0-8229-3631-2

  9. Wukchumni

    Funny ending for Orwells Fargo, a golden parachute where the lines got tangled up. 2X+ good news!

    Ex-Wells Fargo CEO banned from banking, must pay $17.5M fine for role in fake-accounts scandal Des Moines Register

    1. False Solace

      > The OCC is seeking a prohibition order against Anderson and a $5 million fine. It’s seeking a $5 million fine for Strother, $2 million for Julian and $500,000 for McLinko, as well as a “personal cease and desist order” against all three, which would require them to take steps to ensure they won’t engage in similarly unethical behavior before they can reenter the banking industry. (emphasis mine)

      Maybe they can pinkie swear to never do it again. What’s a few million defrauded customers between friends. Too bad we can’t force the OCC to make a similar promise.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Get Madame President Hilary in there!

        She can go to Wall St. and tell them to “cut it out”

    2. Phemfrog

      They were building something new near our house here in DFW, and as soon as i saw the Wells Fargo sign go up, I made a vomiting noise in disgust. My 5 year old daughter in the back asked why i did that. I told her that mommy doesn’t like WF, because they are liars, cheats, and thieves. Now every time we drive by a WF, she points to it and yells, “BAD BANK!”

      Warms my heart…

      1. pretzelattack

        fwiw they seem to be closing a lot of chase branches locally. i never understood why there needed to be two chase banks within a block of each other.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Maybe they were leftovers from acquisitions of other banks.

          OTOH, if so, then maybe they could have closed one of each pair of neighbors quicker.

          OTOH (on the third hand), maybe they were testing (or just observing) to figure out which ones were better to hold onto.

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            Sorry — didn’t pay enough attention and spellchecker turned OTTH (my contribution to the Urban Dictionary!) into another OTOH.

  10. a different chris

    >US Is Saying First Amendment Doesn’t Apply To Foreigners In Assange Case

    Haven’t read the article yet, and I am certainly no “Constitutional Scholar” but I always felt that the Constitution was about limits on the US government. Period. That is, how said government was supposed to act and there was no regard for “citizenship” of the acted upon. Citizenship itself was only described in an Amendment (again, might be wrong) about who could be part of said government.

    So when it defines a right upon which the government cannot infringe, that right is that of any human being citizen or not.

    But hey that’s just me. Black people and women certainly can roll their eyes.

    1. Barry

      The next step from a regime where constitutional rights only apply to ‘citizens’ is a regime where the government decides which people born in the US are citizens and which are not.

      Perhaps starting with whether they can win a Real ID?

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      in my understanding, it was supposed to be a limiting document…a fence around the government. the Bill of Rights was a Floor, under us.
      I’ll note that the Commerce Clause was used to justify both the New Deal and the Drug War.

    3. Knot Galt

      “Trump administration is arguing that the First Amendment of the US Constitution doesn’t provide press freedom protection to foreign nationals like Assange.”

      Yet Rupert Murdoch gets away with . . . .

    4. Anthony G Stegman

      What does that so-called Constitution expert Jonathan Turley have to say about this? He is never ever at a loss for worlds.

    5. John Anthony La Pietra

      There are more recent cases on point, but we can also look up Yick Wo v Hopkins — a SCOTUS case from 1886!

  11. The Rev Kev

    “WikiLeaks Editor: US Is Saying First Amendment Doesn’t Apply To Foreigners In Assange Case”

    So under this doctrine, Bolsonaro could hand over Glenn Greenwald to US agents in Brazil on bogus charges of espionage, as Bolsonaro is such a buddy of Trump, and he could be flown back to face a Virginian court to face those charges.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I don’t know about Trump, but Langley was the first stop on the recent visit of Bolsonaro and this “judge” that Greenwald exposed.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Well, you can compare many things to many other things. Apples and oranges are both fruits, both with a bunch of Vitamin C, and both available in US supermarkets in and out of their growing seasons in the US. But there are some big differences too.

      (Now, who’s going to be the first to reply with the classic fake essay question “Compare and contrast Charles Darwin”? And who’ll step forward with their favorite comparisons — and contrasts — between Sanders and Trump?)

    2. flora

      What’s crazy (or maybe not crazy for the NYT. heh) is T is a fake populist. A billionaire, tax cuts for the wealthy, populist? right. Sanders is an old-style, New Deal populist; he wants to make life better, less unequal, less financially predatory for the 90%. The elite Dem centrist estab hates New Deal populism since it might reduce the wealth of their elite donors. I bet they’d love to demonize Sanders as a populist, except they’ve already demonized T with the word. imo.

  12. Craig H.

    > How the Washington Post pulled off the hardest trick in journalism . . . No time to shred this today – so I leave it up to you, dear readers, to do so.

    Every for-profit news operation must, to some extent, subsidize important work with fluff, because fluff tends to attract readers much more reliably than important work. Some outlets are inherently embarrassed by this fact, and try to dress their fluff up, as the Times has long done with its Style section.

    1. Only one counter-example is required to falsify a blanket statement. Tip sheets for stocks or horses or football game bets all sell news and they are usually nothing but the content. Sometimes in tiny print with no pictures. I looked up Value Line and if you want print + digital it is now up to 800$ / year. Ouch. I presume they give the public libraries a discount because the last time I looked mine still had it.

    2. Being click-baity is about the last complaint I have for the Washington Post and its ilk.

    3. If you load the main Columbia Journalism Review page they currently have a picture of that stupid actress / British-queen-daughter-in-law.

    (my spell-check objects to click-baity)

    1. Yves Smith

      This is a misrepresentation. The reason for “fluff” sections like Style is to sell ads. And I don’t buy those sections attract readers more than the main news. You can buy much better fashion/lifestyle coverage elsewhere if that is important to you.

    2. Craig H.

      On further review I read the Columbia Journalism Review story that was illustrated with the click bait. It is very good albeit the topic is the National Enquirer.

      There is an iffy claim in there that the Saudis hacked Bezos’ phone before the affair and the dick pic rumors got blasted across the newspapers and televisions.

  13. Wukchumni

    Robert Reich: Davos Is the Source of All Our Ills TruthDig
    Commanists only interested in adding another one to the end of a number preceded by many more of the same is their game exclusively. The paroletariat on the outside looking in is hopeful for a morsel of wisdom which never comes, and they get back on their private jets which whisk away from whence they came.

  14. Kurt Sperry

    “How the Washington Post pulled off the hardest trick in journalism”- It seems like I can never access WaPo links now. I suppose I might see a few before I hit the limit, but I can’t remember the last time a clicked on a WaPo link here and didn’t hit their paywall. If I notice the link is to the WaPo now, I don’t even bother clicking on it, as all it will result in will be annoyance and frustration. I’m not sure how anyone actually reads WaPo content, are there people out there dumb enough to pay the world’s richest man to read his vanity agitprop? Are “Prime members” allowed in? BTW, I’m a huge WaPo paywall fan, they, like the NYT, should constantly be making it higher and more secure, until paid subscribers are the only ones who can ever read it. Then I hopefully won’t have to see their crap in my news feeds and social media any more.

    1. hunkerdown

      The Anti-Paywall addon for Firefox works nicely for the 60 or so websites it covers. I just examined the code (by finding and unzipping the .xpi file) and it’s short, clean, and simple. It simply makes your browser appear to be a Google web crawler, with a couple of extras specific to The Australian, Medium, and the New York Crimes. One of the upsides to Google hegemony is that nobody can afford to turn down a web request that appears to be their crawler.

      “How the Washington Post pulled off the hardest trick in journalism” — convincing the world that journalism doesn’t exist.

  15. jefemt

    Impeachment “Trial”… no witnesses, no testimony, no evidence = no Trial. From flyover country:

    Three Electoral votes. 1 million residents, 600K voting age. We don’t exist.

    1. chuck roast

      Sounds legit, but isn’t there supposed to be an actual criminal charge? You know…kinda like, “This man is charged with stealing that car!” or “This man is charged with boffing that altar boy!” Then you get on with the evidence, witness, testimony stuff.
      These people have been hanging around the FBI for too long. Now they think that they can put a guy in the can because he lied about not trying to dissuade the other guy from stealing the Hershey Bar. Perjury is a tough sell at this level.

  16. pjay

    Re: ‘Trump’s Davos speech exposed how US isolationism is reaching its final narcissistic chapter’ Independent. Robert Fisk.

    So… the problem is US *isolationism*??

    Apparently yes. Fisk goes back to the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, and all the way to the current plight of the Kurds in Syria (suffering under the “well-armed [by Russia] local dictator” Assad) to justify humanitarian intervention –apparently by the US! Not by Trump, of course, who is the chief “isolationist” villain of this piece. Rather, the appeal is to our past “moral authority, possessed by no other nation on earth”, literally symbolized in Fisk’s opening vignette by a shining city — I mean college — on a hill.

    This is truly a bizarre article, given the historical context. It needs to be deconstructed paragraph by paragraph. But I’m not going to do it. Anyone?

  17. Wukchumni

    Steve Coogan on Terry Jones: he was the heart and voice of Monty Python Guardian
    How relevant is Monty Python to a 30 year old now?

    Irrelevancy isn’t exactly uncommon these days…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      More relevant than Dane Cook?

      I saw an article about Spaceballs in the last few years, and the point of the article was that though Spaceballs is by no means the best of Mel Brooks movies it holds a special place as its apparently the first Mel Brooks movie millennials had access and watched. Others were too “racy” for 10 year olds.

      Besides asking Communist thinkers about recent developments in soccer (yeah, I went there) was simply prophetic. So in a way, the real question is whether Monty Python mattered to people who were 30 three decades ago as they bombard their remaining neurons with right wing cable news garbage. Even then, the best Monty Python joke, no the best joke ever, can really only be appreciated by people with deranged latin teachers. I mean Biggus Dickus! Brilliant!

      1. Wukchumni

        Comedy is transient, I never knew anything about Jack Benny who died as I was reaching teenagerhood, and he was about the same age as Terry Jones when he passed, and they tell me his schtick was being cheap, miserly to a point. How quaint.

        I’ve tried watching some Laugh-In shows from the 60’s and it doesn’t translate well-lost in it’s era, whereas I can watch any old Flying Circus episode and laugh my arse off, here have some Hairdressers Expedition on Everest:

        1. ambrit

          I’ll posit that the main strength of the Python’s humour was it’s lack of contemporaneity.
          The Pythons made fun of human nature, an endless source of material for a comic.

          1. Jokerstein

            There were a few, particularly biting, contemporary satires, like the Mouse Man problem. But yes, by and large, the content was/is timeless.

            I think in many ways they deliberately turned their faces away from Cook/Frost/etc. satire.

            1. ambrit

              Yes, and they worked with and for those predecessors in comedy to them. They had the experience on which to draw if they wanted to. I’m left thinking that the style and format of Monty Python was thought out in advance.

        2. Susan the other

          I think you’re right. Human absurdities, those little obsessions we have, expose us to ridicule as much as pratfalls. I’m so uncouth I still laugh when people trip, stumble and fall. Caveman comedy for me.

        3. pretzelattack

          i wonder if benny’s schtick was rooted in memories of the depression. i never got his humor, but he was popular.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Jack Benny as well as fellow comedians like Red Skelton were part of a generation that had their own brand of laughs that did not depend on being against this politician or against that cause. With Jack Benny, who had a reputation as being cheap, I remember one sketch in which he was asked his Social Security number and with a bit of embarrassment said “One”.

        4. farmboy

          He was an acerbic Rodney Dangerfield, best dead pan ever and he could be the straight man and/or deliver the punch line too. Live TV was a long ago artform unduplicated today.

        5. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its not only humor. Its not the stories but how we feel about the stories. Its the same with humor, but the really great ones, not always appreciated as this at the time, can last.

          The problem with “I’m so cheap/your mamma” jokes is they’ve been around longer than it takes the ISS your mother!.

          I saw John Cleese recounting a discussion between himself and Graham Chapman about writing “Life of Brian.” They were discussing a scene with Jesus and the Apostles trying to make dinner arrangements for the Last Supper, but they realized the jokes were simply jokes about trying to arrange dinner that could apply to anything and weren’t really about the early first century religious fervor in Jerusalem. Not that those kinds of jokes aren’t funny, but they don’t stick. Not every Python scene worked. There is plenty of bad, but they weren’t simply funny people who told updated versions of jokes about the numbers changing at McDonalds after your mother visited.

          I remember seeing an old show once on at a diner type place (I think in Disney) and the tvs were showing old tv. The show on in my viewing area was atrocious, and my dad said he recognized the show as what was on a different channel when “I Love Lucy” was on. One is Lucille Ball and memorable, and one was the equivalent of Helen Keller is so blind jokes.

  18. Wukchumni

    Let’s make recess great again Treehugger
    Ah, free range kids playing smear the LGBTQ, how pastoral.

    I applaud making it great again, and why did we long for recess when we were kids, but were terrified of recession when we’re all grown up?

  19. allan

    Nature or nurture? Yes:

    Explaining the Ruffles of Lotus Leaves [Physics]

    In many ponds in Asia, flat, circular, lotus leaves with wrinkled edges float near other elevated stems of the same plant holding cupped leaves with gently wavy borders. Theoretical work and experiments with leaflike membranes now reveal that genetically identical leaves can grow into distinctly different shapes as a result of mechanical effects, such as the support of water under a floating leaf. The researchers extended a theory for the growth of thin, elastic tissues to account for some previously unexplored mechanical aspects of the environments of lotus and other plants. The findings bolster mounting recognition of the major role that mechanical influences play alongside genes and biochemistry in determining plant shapes. …

    1. Susan the other

      I definitely believe this. Considering how mechanical the microscopic twists and turns of protein can express in an adaptation, epigenetically, to later be vetted and become part of the genome. Mechanicsl might guide all of it. Even atoms have a structure, right?

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I could carry this understanding of mechanics further. I do not believe there have been any characterizations of large scale biomolecules as mechanical structures. So far the emphasis of research has concentrated on using ‘big iron’ to calculate the structure for proteins based on their amino acid sequence. What work is done to treat certain sequences as mechanical structures, like beams and pillars? Biomolecules — indeed molecules in general — are mechanical structures not unlike the assemblage of components into a space vehicle or the framework of a skyscraper. AND they are more! They are structures of electric and magnetic fields and may also construct quantum mechanical structures that perform in ways I cannot imagine. We know far too little about chemistry yet I intuit we stand so close to discovery.

  20. a different chris

    OMG LMAO — they found a “person of color”, an economist of course not a scientist, to sub for all the old white guys getting slapped around by Ms. Thunberg. This playbook is so old…

    Comically she is sort of correct, so much expertise *is* in those companies but it certainly is not the Exxon/Shell/BP leadership that is going to figure this out. I have close contacts of exactly that skillset left over from my days in the oil bidness, and it’s funny although there are truly some serious blowhards in the science part there are a lot of them there that just have found no other way to pay off the Phd level debts and are completely onboard with “this is family-blogged and we’re all gonna die if we don’t change”.

    Just like I drive a gas-powered car to work everyday. If like me you weren’t born with a silver spoon firmly lodged in your mouth, your options have been laid out and locked in, and we for sure have to figure out how to change them ASAP but we are where we are today.

  21. anonymous

    IA caucus training report:

    Martin Oline asked about undecided voters. I confirmed that they are treated the same way as any other preference group. Now that the rules have been changed so that only members of nonviable preference groups may realign, undecided voters, too, may only realign if they do not meet the viability threshold. Undecideds can get delegates; this has happened rarely in the past as protest voting. Before the caucus rules were revised, anyone could realign after the first count. In some precincts, a preference group would send members elsewhere to game the delegate count, for instance, making a nonviable group viable in order to withhold a delegate from a competitor, as long as that preference group would still have enough members not to lose a delegate itself. (I think only allowing realignment for members of groups that are not viable is an improvement.) Anyone who leaves the caucus between the first and second alignments or who refuses to realign is still counted in the total attendee number in the equations.

    Lambert asked how the satellites would be supervised. I asked whether the Bernie campaign had precinct captains or volunteers to monitor the satellites and was told, “We’re on it!”  Sorry, nothing more specific.

    A lot of people were having trouble with the Bernie campaign’s app at the caucus training meeting last night. The app, when we sign in, is supposed to know our precinct and number of delegates, so it is supposed to calculate the number for viability and then help calculate the number of delegates for the candidates. I would suggest that anyone volunteering for a caucus be familiar with his state’s delegate selection plan and have the formulas with him to do the calculations without using an app. For IA, the rules for calculation can be found in the delegate selection plan document on the IA Democratic Party website. The math isn’t hard, but the results can be counterintuitive. For instance, because of the limited number of delegates, because a viable group can’t have less than one delegate, and rounding, there can be a big discrepancy between the proportional raw vote and the proportional delegate allocation. 

    While there were some middle-aged and older volunteers at the caucus training, I’ve never seen so many local younger people volunteering for a campaign. (The campaign staffs have always had younger people, usually from out of state, as workers.) A significant number had never been to a caucus before. There is a big push to “knock Cedar Rapids” before the caucus; AOC will be here Saturday morning for a canvass launch before further campaigning with Bernie and Michael Moore across the state.

    1. Martin Oline

      I have thought more about this and decided that there will likely be few undecided voters who reach a 15% threshold. Some will attend but they won’t be enough to reach that level. There is probably not enough disaffected voters to make up any appreciable protest vote as there is enough variety among the candidates on the ballot to satisfy most attendees. My belief is you would have to be a real masochist to attend a meeting of two to three hour duration and say. “Well, I just don’t know.”
      I am encouraging my son to caucus for Tulsi Gabbard. She may reach the threshold in his precinct, but if she doesn’t he can be wooed by the other groups. That is preferable to being ignored.

      1. anonymous

        In the caucuses I have attended, there have been very few undecided voters. In my precinct, there were no speeches, nobody who had a chosen candidate wanted to be wooed or realign, and everyone just wanted to get home. If we could have voted on having a primary instead of a caucus, a primary would have gotten unanimous approval. That precinct had mostly suburban home owners, as will my precinct this time. Perhaps precincts with more students will have more attendees who have gone to the caucus to be with friends, but aren’t as politically aware themselves, or have gone out of curiosity about the process, and those attendees might be undecided going in. In the 1970’s, Muskie and Carter won the caucuses, but “undecided” came out ahead of both of them.

    2. Susan the other

      I admire Bernie more than any candidate I’ve seen in my long years; and AOC is a close second. She’s a very brave, smart and honest woman with a clear mind and an ability to explain herself better than anyone I have ever seen. And also, Hilary’s nasty swipe at Bernie that nobody likes him – what drivel. Somebody give Hilary a hanky. If Bernie is grumpy, he’s entitled to be. He’s been the lead dog for social equity his entire career. It’s been a long cold journey. I will always admire him.

    3. anonymous

      I want to clarify that the app to which I was referring was for calculating and sending results to the campaign, not for official reporting by the caucus chair.

    4. False Solace

      Bernie’s IA Campaign Director did an interview with The Hill’s Rising and said they expect to have someone present at all 1700 precincts.

      I got an email that said they expect to send 20 buses into IA full of volunteers to knock on doors. There was a big blizzard last weekend so they had a lot of cancellations. This weekend the weather’s in the 30s so there will hopefully be a lot more activity.

  22. Bill Carson

    I turned on the Twitter this morning to find that the polite elite people are losing their s**t over Joe Rogan’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders, smearing Rogan as a promoter of alt-right hate and transphobia. Good lord people, do you ever look in the mirror and ask yourself why so many hate political correctness and the thought police? Rogan and people like him (mostly guys) still believe (horror of horrors) that there are only two sexes. If you disagree, then instead of vilifying them, why don’t you have a conversation and see if you can persuade them otherwise.

    Rogan’s HOUR-LONG, commercial free interview of Bernie Sanders can be found here, and it is great stuff. 11 million views!

    Joe Rogan Experience #1330 – Bernie Sanders

    And there’s clips—

    JRE Clips Bernie Sanders

    And Bernie’s not the only candidate going on the show…

    Joe Rogan Experience #1170 – Tulsi Gabbard

    Joe Rogan Experience #1295 – Tulsi Gabbard

    Joe Rogan Experience #1391- Tulsi Gabbard & Jocko Willink

    (Seven hours of Tulsi!)

    Joe Rogan Experience #1245 – Andrew Yang

    1. flora

      There’s also this: an elected official in S.C. switching from Biden to Sanders.

      ‘“I looked at that, and I thought, ‘[Sanders is] right,’” said Myers, a black woman first elected to the Richland County Council in 2016. “He’s unafraid and he’s unapologetic. … I like the fact that he is willing to fight for a better America — for the least, the fallen, the left behind.” ‘

  23. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re Davos 2020, seems that for our Treasury Secretary a degree in neoclassical economics is NOT the Problem, but the Solution to climate change, environmental degradation, public health impairment, and massive losses of life and property as we have seen with the fires in Australia, California and other disasters elsewhere.

    See article from ABC News at: ‪‬

    To assure the quality of her ‘education’, perhaps Ms. Thunberg can fund her economics degree at one of our fine Ivy League universities with a couple hundred thou in student debt that’s not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Besides limiting her economic possibilities for forming a household and starting a family that might lead to more ‘Little Gretas’, it would also serve to assure her compliance with her future employer’s wishes for many years.

    Alternatively, one could suggest that those holding this view consider both reading MMT and revisiting their own discounted cash flow models, particularly the discount rate they are using. However, I suspect they are perfectly aware of the implications of doing so as the collateral for much of the world’s debts is likely to be materially impaired or even disappear. Their having a conversation with Mark Carney, formerly head of the Bank of England, might also be helpful in both gaining an understanding and appreciation for what is occurring and avoiding a future financial crisis. Of course, whether they do so will tell us much regarding the continuation of their “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone” viewpoint that has already led to so much social and environmental damage for comparatively modest private financial gain.

    1. Susan the other

      thanks Chauncey: when we do reconfigure global/even national economics we must consider that we are “destroying the underlying foundations of the economy. Bec. the collateral for much of the world’s debts is likely to be materially impaired, or even disappear.” I’m thinking this is a very good rationale for officially changing what civilization considers to be a “value” and more-or-less starting over creating a new, logical value, and in turn, a new wealth. There’s no reason we cannot do this. No reason whatsoever. Controlling for human and planetary well being in the process of creating a sustainable human civilization.

  24. Wukchumni

    I’m off to play with matches, a mighty storm with the promise of 2/100’s of an inch is coming, and what better time for a burn pile~

    And while we’re at it, we started out gangbusters in Late November-early December with a series of storms, but has fizzled out and after the crazy amount of snow we got last year, this could be the winter of our missed content. We’re kind of in a drought, Mammoth is still only claiming a 6 inch base, and they’ve got the snow-making machines going all the time.

    Stay tuned though, there’s a lot of winter left.

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