5.19.2019

Sunday Morning


The Puke Funnel

The Russian "Firehose of Falsehood" propaganda model. - Like Naked capitalism said you can replace "Russia" with any other media you like, or don't like, and the article applies. 


Four Simple Steps the U.S. Media Could Take to Prevent a Trump War With Iran - I don't think any of these are going to happen.


Facebook bans major fake news operation run from Israel
Interestingly, one of the visuals on its website appears to show a demonstration in Venezuela, suggesting a covert Israeli role in the US-led effort to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

..  the Israeli influence campaign spent more than $800,000 on fake ads since 2012 – eight times more than what a Russian troll farm is said to have spent on social media ads ..

U.S. news has shifted to opinion-based content that appeals to emotion; newspapers have shifted less than TV has
I like the stock ticker symbols showing but no mentioning that corporate, for profit media is really at the heart of the problem. 
The sample included the New York Times, Washington Post and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CBS CBS, +0.04%  , ABC DIS, -0.34% , CNN T, +0.57% , Fox News FOX, +2.05% FOXA, +2.22%  , MSNBC CMCSA, +0.81% , Politico, the Blaze, Breitbart, Buzzfeed Politics, the Daily Caller and the Huffington Post.
The following ignores the real problem. Old people watch Fox News which has pushed opinion as new for 20 years.
The good news: Most Facebook FB, -0.90% users did not share any fake news articles during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, according to a study released earlier this year. The small number who did were mostly Republican-identifying Americans over the age of 65. The findings suggest the need for “renewed attention” to educate “particular vulnerable individuals” about misleading information, the authors said. 
So why are Republican baby boomers more likely to share fake news on Facebook? One theory: As they didn’t grow up with technology, they may be more susceptible to being fooled in an online environment. (Case in point: the variety of scams that have had success with older Americans by preying on their lack of familiarity with how computers and technology work.)
This chart is good but I'd like to see one for social issues and one for economic issues. Fox and CNN wouldn't be that far apart on the economic side.



Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell - I agree. She's right in her description of Fox and has nothing to gain by giving them air time.



MAGA

ANGELA MERKEL IDENTIFIES U.S. AS GLOBAL RIVAL THAT, ALONG WITH CHINA AND RUSSIA, EUROPE MUST UNITE AGAINST - The Trump administration's recklessness toward, well, everyone, is pushing Europe away.



MAGA - really



War

Are we sure Iran is the main threat to peace? -  Syria says missiles fired from Israeli-held territory at Damascus - Twice? - Syria reports second Israeli attack in a row on Saturday

Really though, right now Trump, Bolton, and Pompeo are the main threats to peace.



Equality or lack of...

Stumbling and Mumbling on inequality - HOW INEQUALITY MAKES US POORER

Why capitalists hope you have a short memory


Downward Mobility Matters More Than Liberal-Conservative Labels




Wikipedia - Wage share - the downward slope of worker income started in the 70s and except for the dotcom and housing bubbles has been on a downward trend since. The Bush years between the crashes saw the worst declines





Here's a walk through this period.

When American Capitalism Meant Equality



5.16.2019

Thursday


War 

Top Ten differences between the Iraq War and Trump’s Proposed Iran War - Yes but we're probably not going to invade Iran. We'll just make up some reason to bomb the shit out of them.


Are we sure Iran is the main threat to peace?  - Saudi-UAE coalition carries out deadly air raids on Yemen's Sanaa: Six Civilians killed.

Not everyone believes the administration on Iran. US claims of Iran threat to coalition forces in Middle East rejected by British general



War - Cyber Wars

Lawyer involved in suits against Israel's most notorious cyber-arms dealer targeted by its weapons

More on  NSO Group is a notorious Israeli cyber-arms dealer


War - Currency War

Trump Asks the Fed Start a Currency War With China


War - Trade War

The United States is preparing tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. Here are all the products that will get hit. - There are a lot of things Real-'Muricuns buy on that list. Inflation is on the way.


War - On Women

Sharia Law comes to America - Could abortion become illegal in America? All signs point to yes


Humor

Earthquake at sea causes tremors on Israeli coast and Jerusalem - Netanyahu blames Iranian-backed terrorists !? (not really, just a little humor this evening)


Media

Stumbling and Mumbling: Debating the Far Right - Good post. Lots of connections to Trump's popularity and right-wing media power. Of course it would all apply to the left too but the world's sort of stuck in right-wing mode right now.

White House Mulls Plan to Send Up to 120,000 Troops to Middle East: NYT - Trump called this fake news? This is getting complicated. It could be fake news but since almost everything Trump says is a lie, I doubt it. It's most likely true given the other recent headlines.

Could it be fake news planted by the administration to help build on Trump's fake news mantra? The last several administrations used leaks to sway opinion and promote their agenda while the media just ate it up. Part of the Trump administration's agenda is to convince the Fox News watchers that the other media is really fake news. What better way to do this than to leak a few fake stories and then call them out.

I don't think you can trust anything at this point.


Politics

Political Confessional: I Think Democrats Should Compromise On Abortion To Win Votes - I think Ds and SDs should ease up on gun control to win votes. Out here in the sticks of rural Indiana Teabagistan folks who once were loyal union member Ds are now rabid NRA right wingers. 


Demographics

The Coming Generation War: The Democrats are rapidly becoming the party of the young—and the consequences could be profound. - It can't come too soon. The dying Boomer-Reagan generation rules the world right now and they are fucking things up at an astonishing rate.

Make Elizabeth Warren Hate Again: We don’t just need Elizabeth Warren’s ideas. We need her rage. - Our current left just hasn't had the rage of the boomers in the 60's but I feel it's coming. Warren and Bernie are the oldster leaders and are OK but really AOC is a godsend in that respect. She fights back. We need more like her.

Falling US Birth Rates - It looks like that North Dakota Oil boom has led to a baby boom too.

















5.14.2019

Tuesday


Media

Our liberal media isn't. - US Press Reaches All-Time Low on Venezuela Coverage

Our liberal media isn't #2 - US mainstream media is contributing to rising risk of war with Iran



Health Care

Democrats Have No Safe Options On Health Care
"First, it’s important to understand how health care has morphed over the past decade from just another issue to one of the issues voters care most about. In the 2018 exit polls, 41 percent of voters said health care was the most important issue facing the country, up from 25 percent in 2014 and 18 percent in 2012. (It wasn’t asked about in 2016.) And although Democrats are more likely to prioritize health care than Republicans, a Pew Research Center poll from January found that a majority of Republicans say health care costs should be a top priority for Congress and the president."
Health care the #1 Priority in 2018 -  Midterm exit polls: Health care is top issue for voters

The real issue is the D voters want healthcare reform but the D donors don't.



Wars - Trade Wars

2. Trade talks become trade war
"If we want China to embrace structural reform, that requires real commitment—it’s not something we can just twist their arm to do, they have to buy into it. And they have to believe that it is not going to sink them or hurt them. When you basically strongarm them into doing something they really don’t want to do, and they’re convinced it’s harmful to their interests, at some point they are going to cheat, push back, or scuttle it, and it’s just a question of when."
Bullying is really all Trump knows how to do. As a business man he bullied with money or lawyers. As a politician he's added his mouth, the US military, and the US economy. 

Dow plunges 617 points after China retaliates with higher tariffs - China doesn't like to be bullied!



War - Real War

The neoconservative push for war with Iran is not in the American people’s interest

The Mysterious “Sabotage” of Saudi Oil Tankers: a Dangerous Moment in Trump’s Escalating Conflict With Iran

SAUDI ARABIA SAYS OIL FACILITIES ATTACKED BY HOUTHIS IN 'ACT OF TERRORISM' - Since the Saudi's are bombing the shit out of the Houthi in Yemen, I don't see how this can be an "Act of Terrorism".



War - Digital Wars

WhatsApp voice calls used to inject Israeli spyware on phones



Economy

6. How to stop credit card interest rates from rising
By the numbers: U.S. cardholders are expected to pay $122 billion in interest charges in 2019. That's 50% more than what they paid as recently as 2014.
Don't worry, I'm sure wages will increase by at least that much..... 


Media - Propaganda

China Retaliates in Trump's Trade War. The Dow plunges 700 points but Fox Stays on message.

Not a word about China retaliation or the Dow drop.

Fox News Front page 5.13.2019 appx 2:30pm EST









5.12.2019

Weekend


Music





The Fox News Cult

Why We Join Cults
.. [the] five-point definition of a cult:
One: The leader is charismatic and authoritarian. Two: The structure of the group isolates people. The third thing is total ideology, like, ‘You only need me and no other belief system has any relevance whatsoever.’ The fourth thing is the process of brainwashing … [the fifth] is creating deployable followers who will do what you say regardless of their own survival interests.
Sounds like Fox News to me. Trump has replaced Fox as the "charismatic and authoritarian leader."


War

A secret national security meeting on Iran held unusually at the CIA HQ
CIA Director Gina Haskel, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joe Dunford, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats gathered at CIA Headquarters in Langley on Monday, April 29 for a secret security meeting on the Iranian situation. Revealing this, NBC TV notes that such meetings usually take place in the White House Situation Room. It is extremely rare for senior White House officials and cabinet members to forgather at CIA headquarters. All the participants not only refused to disclose the subject of the meeting, but even that it took place.
I guess they don't want to put up with Trump. Also, If Bolton had been there the meeting would have sort of a Super villain like gathering plotting their next crime.

What if the US is “Sowing Chaos” in Mideast & Iran is a Status Quo Power?




Stupid Media Questions

WHY IS PRESSURE MOUNTING BETWEEN THE U.S. AND IRAN?- ANALYSIS - Several reasons.
  • Trump is a bully and has hired a lot of other bullys like Bolton and Pompeo who like to throw their weight around. 
  • Obama worked to ease tensions so Trump has to do the opposite. 
  • Netanyahu want is.
  • The Sheldon Adelson money donated to Trump and the Rs. 

Is Jeremy Corbyn really anti-Semitic? - No. It's a stupid political attack that's used frequently in the US and UK.



The Economy

Trump Is Terrible for Rural America

Killing the Pax Americana



Media

A good discussion on media from Stumbling and Mumbling - ON MEDIA INFLUENCE

He notes that the "The press has always had a right-wing bias". Here in the US everyone believes the press has a left wing bias. Fox news screams it 24-7. Everyone I know believes it. Hell even some on the left believe it.

I think the reality is that the press and media in the US have a left-wing bias on most social issues but there is a true right wing bias in basic political-economic issues.

Our media, well except for Fox, favors the more liberal side of social issues like gay rights, racial equality, pro-choice, environmental issues, and more tolerant of other religions and beliefs.  In the US, that gets you branded as "The Left"

Still, you won't see US corporate capitalist media come out strongly in favor of anti-business issues like Medicare for All, support for labor unions or cooperative business structures. You won't see them stand up against US government support of a third-world strong man or against a US backed over-throw of any true socialist government.  That's true right wing stuff and all major US media outlets take this side.


Right wing bias on display - Liz Cheney edition



Media again

Lawyers, Guns, and Money nails US media - AND THEY’LL NEVER STOP HATING YOU ANYWAY
 “actually thinking Ben Shapiro is some kind of serious intellectual,” this article is more embarrassing than the time they dedicated a half-dozen reporters to examine Alan Dershowitz’s social standing at Martha’s Vineyard


5.11.2019

Saturday


2020

A better than average interview of a D candidate that corporate media basically ignores






Christian Corupitalism

Michael Cohen apparently helped "fix" some potentially embarrassing things for Jerry Falwell, Jr.



Tech

How I Watched Driving For Ridehail Companies Turn From Dream Job To A Joke

The Digitalization of Day Labor as Gig Work



War Drums

Is America Ready for John Bolton’s War With Iran?
"It shows that it is John Bolton, not Iran, who poses the greatest threat to American national security today."


Trade War

Dear President Trump: Stop the Damn Trade Lies



Socialism

Everyone should read and understand this. Bill Gates Actually Made a Good Point About the Socialism Debate in America



Medicare for All

FREEDOM-LOVING AMERICANS SHOULD DEMAND UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE
"The American healthcare system is an imposition on freedom-loving Americans. It is restrictive, invasive, unnecessarily complicated, full of red tape, extraordinarily bloated, and wasteful. Though each universal healthcare system is different, and of course none are perfect, they are leaner, more effective, and give their beneficiaries far more freedom of choice than the American system does. I think Americans know this, too: Most Americans support Medicare For All, including about half of Republicans, and polling has consistently shown that Americans dislike and fear their own healthcare system."


Propaganda

Lots in the news today, May 8 2019, another school shooting, approaching war in the middle east, trade wars with China, Trump's taxes, Cohen fixed Jerry Fallwell Jr's mess, Jared about to blow-up Israel-Palestine, fights between the administration and congress but Fox keeps it's head down and just builds the rage.

Fox front page 2019.05.08 at 8am


5.07.2019

Monday


Sports

How Mapping Shots In The NBA Changed It Forever




























Tech
Irritate your Neighbors



Israel vs Palestine

Gaza Palestinians and Israelis Wounded Past Year by the Numbers: 31,691 v. 250

R's are pissed about Omar's tweet. - Read every tweet in the article and decide for yourself who is the most civilized.

Crossing a Cyber Rubicon? Overreactions to the IDF’s Strike on the Hamas Cyber Facility - So what happens when a Palestinian hacker attacks Israeli infrastructure from a European, Asian, or American location?



Propaganda 

Propaganda Works - Cable News Is Covering Biden As Much As Every Other Democratic Candidate Combined - Biden is the establishment candidate. How'd that work out last time?



American Corrupitalism

Reducing Crime Through Environmental Design: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment of Street Lighting in New York City
"..we find that the provision of street lights led, at a minimum, to a 36 percent reduction in nighttime outdoor index crimes"
A good example of  a public good that can be paid for through taxes so,... I'm sure there's someone out there trying to find a way to privatize it, drive the costs up, and get rich.  


Answers to Stupid Media Questions.

Yahoo News- Should the U.S. military intervene in Venezuela? - No..... next question

Al-Jazeera - Has Israel already annexed the West Bank? - Yes,... next question

MSNBC - Is Putin getting everything he could ever want from a Trump presidency? - No.

5.05.2019

The Weekend


Religious Radicals


Why Isn't Anyone Asking Where Poway Shooter Was Radicalized?


Politics

Horrible thought of the day: If Trump were to quit tomorrow, this man could be our President for almost 10 years. Mike Pence: The "Economy is Roaring" So Let's Cut Rates


Libertarians !?

Big business isn’t big politics - Tyler Cowen beating the drum that Business doesn't really control the US government. I think he's lost his mind.
But again, national policy isn’t exactly geared to making businesses, and particularly big business, entirely happy.
I don't know about you but everywhere I look I see government driven by and for big business at the expense of the people, a few I can think of...  
The recent corporate tax cut.

Our crappy health care system kept in place for our insurance and health care business.

Unions continually being beaten down.

We have wars for the arms builders, gambling laws loosened for casino owners, responsibility for old age pensions pushed from employer to employee. Bankruptcy laws created to protect banks over people, Pay-day loan-sharks protected by law, Telecoms killing net neutrality and creating laws to block cities from building their own fiber networks, drug laws kept in place by the big pharma and alcohol industries, private prisons, private schools over public schools, the trade agreements of the last 40 years. Roads and bridges sold to private firms. Gun manufacturers fund the NRA to control our loose guns laws. Business criminals get fines while people go to jail for smoking a weed.
All of these favor business over "the people" and have been driven into place by business control of our government.
And yeah, recently the people have been fighting back. Hell, I think the last 40 years of government of business.. by business...and for business is what ultimately led to the rise of Trump. the left isn't far behind with the recent rise of the Social Ds. 
Also, as the post states, there are a few super rich playing in politics now but they don't really look like they're in it for the common man.
Anyway, to say that business doesn't control the our system might be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard from a smart person. 
Get back with me when we throttle big pharma and throw the insurance companies out of our health care system. 
tnb. 

A few related posts: 
The Noble Crony: Big Business on the Politics of Business

Right to Repair Bill Killed After Big Tech Lobbying In Ontario
 ANOTHER STEP TOWARD MAKING UNIONS ILLEGAL
The economy we need  
Or consider Trump’s obsession with trade agreements. Insofar as US workers have been ill-served by policymakers, it is not because trade negotiators from developing countries outsmarted US negotiators. In fact, the US usually gets almost everything it asks for. The problem is that what it asks for reflects the interests of US corporations, not of ordinary citizens. 
On Mr. Cowen's page on the same day.... The progressive nature of big business - I agree with this, big business needs customers of all stripes so can drive social issues. A few years ago, Mike Pence led Indiana to pass an RFRA act which big business promptly forced him to walk back.

So again, the wishes of big business triumphed over the demands of the religious extremists in Indiana.

I guess crony capitalism isn't always bad.


State Media

Facebook’s Unintended Consequence - People who lack the wisdom and humility to use their power responsibly. Bret Stephens is the old guy yelling at the kids in this opinion piece at the NYT.
Over the past several years we’ve learned a lot about the unintended consequences of social media. Platforms intended to bring us closer together make us angrier and more isolated. Platforms aimed at democratizing speech empower demagogues. Platforms celebrating community violate our privacy in ways we scarcely realize and serve as conduits for deceptions hiding in plain sight.
and   
The issue is much simpler: Do you trust Mark Zuckerberg and the other young lords of Silicon Valley to be good stewards of the world’s digital speech?
I notice the front page of the NYT this morning and I don't see any stories about the US trying to topple the Venezuelan government, the Saudis using US equipment to bomb the shit out of Yemen, Israel bombing the shit out of its open-air prison, Gaza. Also, nothing about how medicare for all, more union membership, increased social security or cheaper college might help millions in the US. Also, I seem to remember something about Judith Miller and the NYT beating war drums a few years back.  
I guess Mr. Stephens really just prefers media that makes us angrier, empowers demagogues, and serves as a conduit of deception while forcing us all into the same line.  
So really the issue is a bit more complicated. 
Do you trust Mark Zuckerberg and the other young lords of Silicon Valley or Bret Stephens and the old lords of state media to be good stewards of the world’s digital speech?
Well kid? 

5.03.2019

Friday


Big Data

"You can't hide" or "Toward the insurance group of 1" - How a Google Street View image of your house predicts your risk of a car accident.
"Insurance companies, banks, and health-care organizations can dramatically improve their risk models by analyzing images of policyholders’ houses, say researchers."


State Media

Zero Percent of Elite Commentators Oppose Regime Change in Venezuela



Corporate Media

Corporate Media's Open Hostility to Medicare-for-All
".. reading the financial press highlights the fact that corporate media oppose Medicare for All not because of legitimate queries and concerns about its implementation, but because they are owned by investors with stakes in highly profitable medical and pharmaceutical companies—the very same companies that supply them with millions of dollars each year in advertising. With so many candidates endorsing Medicare for All, it seems the 2020 election will force America to decide between the pain of tens of millions without adequate health care and the pain of wealthy traders losing investment opportunities in the for-profit health care industry." 

From the always good Jeffrey St. Clair's Roaming Charges
+ Russiagate was so useful politically to both Trump and the Democrats, and so valuable financially to both FoxNews and MSDNC, that they will all conspire to reanimate its decomposing corpse. 

Venezuela

You don't usually see articles like this from elite, east-coast media: How an Elaborate Plan to Topple Venezuela’s President Went Wrong
The United States thought all the pieces were in place for Maduro to leave. Then everything came crashing down.


Politics

 Guest Contribution: “No Moore Golden Era for Monetary Policy” - Good read here on the FED, Politics and Stephen Moore.

Good luck with that bill.  New House Bill Would Bar Israel From Using U.S. Military Aid to Detain Palestinian Children



Israel vs Palestine

US and Israeli media almost always present this as the Palestinians firing first. Debka 2019.05.02

















Robot Apocalypse

Amazon Employees Hired and Fired by Robots -  Well.... I'd guess the robots probably have better personal skills than most HR people.



Medicare for All

Medicare For All's Moment Is Here. Don't Back Down.
Those who make billions from our broken health care system will spend enormous amounts trying to divide us. But we cannot rest, and we cannot back down.

From the always good Jeffrey St. Clair's Roaming Charges
+ Medicare: 2.5% of healthcare dollars are spent on overhead. 
Aetna: 17.8% of healthcare dollars are spent on overhead and company profits.

4.30.2019

Tuesday

Music





Trump

The reason Trump shouldn't be impeached.













Democrats


Can We All Keep Ourselves From Being Crazy?
While the Republican Party is unified by having given ownership to Trump, the Democratic Party is once again trying to represent four different political persuasions, namely, Liberal Third Way triage, Leftist anti-plutarchy, Diversity/Identity missionaries, and Climate Change Paul Reveres
Close, but I've fixed it here with the underlined....
While the Republican Party is unified by having given ownership to Trump, the Democratic Party is once again trying to represent four different political persuasions, namely, Liberal Third Way triage, Leftist anti-plutarchy, Diversity/Identity missionaries, and Climate Change Paul Reveres, all while serving the same basic business donor class as the Republicans. 

Pelosi Needs to Go -  Democrats Are Stifling Their Liberal Wing’s Biggest Ideas
“Medicare for all.” Nearly half (107) of House Democrats support the single-payer health care bill written by Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, a leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a bloc of the most liberal figures on Capitol Hill. But there is virtually no chance that Pelosi (who has not embraced the legislation) will put it up for a vote in the full House any time soon.

American Corrupitalism

IT’S A NICE RACKET - Government of the business, by the business.......
 Many of the 73 Roberts Five decisions serve to protect corporations from these consequences.

Israel-Palestine

What we know about the American peace plan - The way the Trump Administration has acted so far, I see no reason to believe it can design any plan that even has a chance to work long term.

Trump’s America, Netanyahu’s Israel

From Haaretz

For Trump and Netanyahu, San Diego Synagogue Attack Is an Inconvenience Best Sidelined and Ignored - "If the Perpertrator ha been Muslim" ?!
























Migration and Broadband

In my area, anything outside of the town's cable TV area has basically no broadband access, well there's always satellite (to expensive) and the cell providers (throttled or limited) but really no good solutions.

I don't see a lot of correlation in the national maps (below) but locally, lack of broadband can make selling a house difficult. I'd expect it to show up in Rural-to-Urban Migration maps within counties.

Population change. from Bloomberg, found at The Big Picture











4.27.2019

Saturday Morning


Marketing




Propaganda (Marketing 2)

Toward an Information Operations Kill Chain - Worth the read..
The throw-in about RT is exactly what this article claims to be trying to stop, planting a disinformation seed without any proof.
Step 4: (This step is new.) Build audiences, either by directly controlling a platform (like RT) or by cultivating relationships with people who will be receptive to those narratives.
This is almost a perfect description of Facebook.
Step 6: Cultivate “useful idiots” who believe and amplify the narratives. Encourage them to take positions even more extreme than they would otherwise.

Politics

Gin and Tacos - Ass Backward - On the establishment D's search for a nice guy D.

Another good reason to Vote for Bernie - Israel Lobby AIPAC slams Bernie Sanders for branding Netanyahu’s Gov’t “right-wing, racist”


The World Order

America Isn’t as Powerful as It Thinks It Is -  In general you can bully people for a while but eventually they tend to gang-up on the bully. Trump and his crew are operating as a classic bully and their end can't be far off. The US Republican party along with the Netanyahu-led fascists in Israel and a few third-world dictators and are about the only friends the Trump admin has at this point.


Taxes

Bernie Sanders Made a Lot of Money — and He Wants It Taxed
They use federally funded highways and federally protected airways. A significant number of their employees were educated at state schools and/or by way of federally funded student loans, as were they themselves in many instances. They are served by state and locally funded fire services. Their tax-funded streets get cleared by tax-funded plows when it snows. Their trash gets picked up every week by tax-funded municipalities. They don’t die by the score at intersections because people stop at tax-funded traffic lights. Their corporations get taxpayer-funded government contracts, and when they run their too-big-to-fail companies into the ground, they get taxpayer-funded government bailouts. 
But “they did it themselves,” so screw paying taxes. 

Economics and Health Care

In American the people bitch about paying taxes while in general, we pay less than the rest of the world and at the same time worship the free market that forces us to pay more than the rest of the world for health care and medicines.

Older Americans are twice as likely to work now as in 1985 - We need to get these old bastards out of the way so the young people can take over some of the better jobs.

Soaring Healthcare Costs Jeopardize Retirement In America
But the heart of the matter is that eternal American bogeyman of healthcare: The system is broken to the point that retirement is increasingly elusive and many are hoping that it will crack soon–and preferably before Baby Boomers end up workers as Walmart greeters just to survive.
Who'll defend Freedom - Stumbling and Mumbling - Speaking of freedom, where I work there are about 20 people who would be free to retire tomorrow if we had Medicare-for-All.


Trump vs Obama

No More Mister Nice is right. The D establishment are wimps.
It's a clichΓ© to respond to an outrageous act by the Trump administration with the words "Imagine if Obama did this," but imagine:North Korea issued a $2 million bill for the hospital care of comatose American Otto Warmbier, insisting that a U.S. official sign a pledge to pay it before being allowed to fly the University of Virginia student from Pyongyang in 2017.

... the main U.S. envoy sent to retrieve Warmbier signed an agreement to pay the medical bill on instructions passed down from President Trump, according to two people familiar with the situation....

The bill went to the Treasury Department, where it remained — unpaid — throughout 2017, the people said. However, it is unclear whether the Trump administration later paid the bill....If the parties were reversed, the GOP and Fox News would be calling this "Ransomgate," and they'd milk it at least until November 2020, and probably for years after that. The Democrats so far? Crickets




4.24.2019

Mid-Week

Economics

Qualifying for the Fed
An independent central bank is one of the rare free lunches in economics: it can secure low and stable inflation without sacrificing long-run economic growth. But acquiring that free lunch requires that the institution be run by high-caliber technicians who shun short-run political aims, focusing instead on the long-run goals of price stability and maximum sustainable employment. In the same way that we want military commanders, public health officials, and nuclear or transport safety administrators to be apolitical professionals, so should we aim for central bankers with technical expertise that is above partisan politics. History is replete with disasters that resulted from the politicization of such key government functions. 

On Assange

Debunking All The Assange Smears


Politics

It looks like the state D's would rather see an establishment D than someone who can beat Trump. - We Asked Democratic Activists Who They’re Backing — And Who They’d Hate To See Win

Trump Will Leave And Will Not Launch A Coup - I agree with Ian Welsh, Trump isn't looking to stay around. He'll convert his time in the White House to cash as soon as possible. Anyone claiming otherwise is lying to you for political reasons.


American Corrupitalism

When laissez-faire is corrupted

Tax Scammers -  Found at Naked Capitalism


World

In Drive to Overthrow Iran, Trump stops Waivers for Oil Purchases from Tehran - Trump, Bolton and Pompeo being dicks. This probably hurts the US in the long run as the rest of the world works out methods to make deals without using US dollars or banks.


Zogby on Netanyahu's Win
With Netanyahu back for his fifth term as prime minister, liberals must now face reality. They can no longer see Israel as a romanticized “idea” of a progressive state governed by liberal values. Rather it has demonstrated that it is an illiberal ethno-nationalist society that has applied an apartheid-like repressive system to enable their continued rule over a captive Palestinian people.

I thought ISIS had been defeated?










Propaganda

Fox Front Page today and link to the article (which has a different headline).



No More Mr Nice blog has a summary of good responses to the Fox BS.
Let's apply this logic to other situations: 
* Workplace safety laws were a slap in the face to all the people who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. 
* The Voting Rights Act was a slap in the face to every black Southerner who tried to register to vote but was rejected by white racists. 
* Roe v. Wade was a slap in the face to every woman who ever self-administered a coathanger abortion. 
* The defeat of Hitler was a slap in the face to everyone who suffered under the Third Reich 
* Modern anesthesia is a slap in the face to anyone who had surgery after drinking a slug of whiskey and biting on a bullet. 
* Rural electrification was a slap in the face to the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, who read law books by candlelight. 
* The invention of cooking was a slap in the face to our primate ancestors, who ate raw meat and plants.






4.21.2019

Saturday


American Corrupitalism


Business will behave irresponsibly as long as fines are a cost of doing business. We need to start locking them up.





The Truth About Dentistry - It’s much less scientific—and more prone to gratuitous procedures—than you may think.



Always Good

Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
+ Jeet Heer: “So Demorats win a historic wave election in 2018. The upshot? Trump moves further to the right and Nancy Pelosi steers Dems towards the center. In effect, the leadership of both parties moves to the right. Cool, cool.”


Freedom of the Press

Well, Press we like...






Health

Of the 20 counties with the shortest life expectancy, 6 are in Senator Mitch McConnell's (R) home state of Kentucky.

Hey Mitch, where is that Republican health care plan again?

Life Expectancy map
































4.18.2019

Thursday


Fun





This is an old Tom Friedman hit but damn its funny. Don't know how I missed it. Surprise Winner in Thomas Friedman Porn-Title Contest


The Rich

New Jeffrey Epstein accuser goes public; defamation lawsuit targets Dershowitz - My guess is they'll put these two in jail when they are about 3 to 6 months from dying of natural causes.


Business over People

I've read two articles this morning claiming the R's work for the good of business or corporations instead of for the good of the people. Now I agree the Rs suck but god-dammit, so do the Ds. Both of our parties a just factions of the "For Business" party. The D's are just a little more biased toward the people, just a little...The SDs, Bernie, Warren, AOC, etc are the only group that really seems to put people first.

These Democrat vs. those Democrats - Explaining Establishment Democrats to Establishment Democrats. Was going to post a few paragraphs but instead... just go read the whole thing.


Propaganda Works

Bernie on Fox - DO THE FOX NEWS TWO-STEP

I agree with Stevem at the No More Mister Nice blog. Fox knows it's audience and are masters at twisting anything around to hit the left and wind up their base. Bernie might have got a few good shots in but Fox and the wingers will win the post show spin. For a good example check out Gutfeld's Questions he'd like to ask Sanders

Also, it helps divide the Ds. The Paradox of the Democratic “Stop Bernie” Campaign



Propaganda at Work

State CNNews laying the groundwork for military action in Venezuela.
Corruption in Venezuela has created a cocaine superhighway to the US - 


Medicare for All

You need to be in a big group to get the best health insurance deals. Well,... You're on your way to a group of one.   The cutting edge of the insurance industry involves adjusting premiums and policies based on new forms of surveillance.

While they fight like hell against Medicare for All.


World Trade

Switzerland to sign belt and road deal during President Ueli Maurer's China trip - Well, they can't really trust the US any more. MAGA?


Today in Facism

In first, official US government map depicts Golan Heights as Israeli territory


Crime and Punishment

Scam to get your kid in college and go to jail. - Prosecutors plan to seek up to 10 months in jail for actress Felicity Huffman

Scam kids with a fake college and pay a fine.- Judge finalizes $25 million settlement for 'victims of Donald Trump's fraudulent university

How much justice can you afford?

4.16.2019

Tuesday Night Buzz

Taxes

For those who want to return to the good old days. The graphic below shows what taxes were like in 1950 compared to 2015. (found at The Big Picture.) Also, a good article on  Lies about Taxes.

Basically, since the 1980s we've, well... US leadership....has been cutting individual and corporate income tax rates, which mostly affect the rich folk while increasing other taxes like social security, gasoline, sales, cigarette, etc that mostly affect the working class. Over the same time they've forced people to pickup more of the cost of government niceties like public schools, state colleges, government supplied services like water, sewage, and trash pickup, retirement saving, retirement medical care, etc. And,... they convinced a good portion of the people that it's the really poor folk's fault that we can't have these nice things anymore.Fuck 'em. It's time to raise taxes on the rich.






























Ds vs Progressives

Naked Capitalism with the best comment I've seen on Pelosi's "like 5 people" comment.
Pelosi: Progressive Dem wing represented by Ocasio-Cortez is ‘like five people’ The Hill (resilc). Versailles circa 1788…..


Israel vs Palestine

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is dead. An expert explains why.
“If your solution does not include self-determination for everyone, and basic civil, human, and political rights for everyone — it’s not a real process.”


Fascism

Creeping Fascism - A Land Uncharted: the Persecution of Julian Assange
Indeed fascist leaders around the world, along with the military/surveillance establishment and their neoliberal enablers, are celebrating the silencing of Assange. After all, Wikileaks has represented a major thorn in their sides for a decade. From Netanyahu to Duterte to Bolsonaro to Modi and even Putin, all will be emboldened to expand their own attacks on press freedom. All of them will feel empowered to be even more unrestrained in their brutality.

U.S. Member of Jewish-Arab NGO Questioned, Separated From Luggage at Israel's Airport
Laura Mandel says Ben-Gurion Airport security inspectors asked her 'why an American Jew would be interested in relations between Jews and Arabs'

Four Steps Facebook Should Take to Counter Police Sock Puppets



Rogue Nations

TRUMP: ISRAELIS SHOULD BE IMMUNE FROM INT'L CRIMINAL COURT PROSECUTION
“Since the creation of the ICC, the United States has consistently declined to join the court because of its broad, unaccountable prosecutorial powers; the threat it poses to American national sovereignty; and other deficiencies that render it illegitimate,” the White House said in a statement it attributed to Trump. “Any attempt to target American, Israeli, or allied personnel for prosecution will be met with a swift and vigorous response.”


Tribes

Bernie on Fox - Lots of talk about Bernie going on Fox. Fox reported it pretty well and a lot of progressive types think Bernie got his point across to the Fox Cult.  I'm not so sure.  At this time of the election cycle this interview helps split the Ds so really helps the Rs. You can bet the coverage would be different if it was Bernie against Trump. And Yeah, he did get his message across but I don't really think the Fox viewers got it, read the comments on the link above. The cult is trained to react against this stuff. It's like Fox did a straight-up piece on the bad guy in professional wrestling.



The US

Umair Haque on (How) American Collapse Resembles Soviet Collapse. Read the whole thing it's pretty good.
"The Republicans and Democrats don’t differ very much, do they? The Dems don’t offer any of the following, for example — retirement, healthcare, affordable education, childcare, safety nets, and so on. Instead, both parties seem to believe in more or less the same things — markets as the solution to every problem a society has, populated by greedy, self-interested, profit-maximizing “consumers” on the one side, and corporate “people” on the other. Witness Obamacare — and its legacy of ruin (life expectancy’s falling, my friends.) So the Democrats don’t oppose. Americans are offered a set of false choices — between implosion, the Republican way, or collapse, the Democrat way. Neither of these, though, amounts to progress. The result is the functional equivalent of one-party rule." 
 ".. The answer to everything is markets, profits, advantage — and self-interested “consumers” and corporate “people.” But these answers have failed catastrophically — just the same way that Soviet communism did. They have left people astoundingly worse off, especially compared to their peers in any other rich country. They have created a broken nation of powerless, impoverished people."


Dumb

Dumbest thing you'll read today....Hard to believe he was being serious here.

Opinion: Crony capitalism? Big business is actually losing influence over government

The man is an idiot:  Trump Asks China to Shift Soybean Tariffs to Something Else