Links 2/15/16

Major central banks tear up interest rate plans as market turmoil forces them into reverse Telegraph

The Fed’s Flirtation With Negative Rates Signals Its Rush Toward Irrelevance Forbes. “Labor is credit personified.” Hmm.

The toxic twins of European finance return Wolfgang Munchau, FT. Yves: “Very consistent with our post on bank risk last week. One of his points is our doom loop; another is on the sucky/unworkable bank resolution process; a third is on how terrible negative interest rates are for banks.”

Germany’s top court to examine if ECB’s bond-buying is legal France24

Quantitative easing is not a superpower FT

‘The Great Reset’: Venture capitalists and startups have shifted from greed to fear Business Insider

Debt Forgiveness “Helicopter Drop” the Next Step in Deflation Fighting? MishTalk. Betteridge’s Law…

The EFD ready to occupy Germany! unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens. “Greece is simply a ‘compass’ according to which, the executives of the EFD [(European Financial Dictatorship) want to impose a certain ‘model’ across the eurozone.”

Don’t Mind The Markets, Experts Say — Economy Not Entering Recession NPR

Recession probabilities Econbrowser. Fun with FRED!

UAE Offers India Free Oil To Ease Storage Woes


Renminbi enjoys biggest one-day gain in more than a decade FT. The Lunar New Year Holiday is over!

China stocks open sharply lower on first trading day of Lunar New Year Reuters. Ditto.

China capital flows: what we sort-of know Eric Burroughs, Medium

China’s Factories Hunt for Growing Markets WSJ. “Shenzhen turns focus to drones, 3-D printers and robots.”

Hong Kong Land Price Plunges Nearly 70% in Government Tender Bloomberg

Chinese Banks May Need All the Help They Can Get WSJ

Severe Contraction and Falling Prices in Japan Signal Tough Test for Abenomics NYT


The “Race To Raqqa” Is Quickly Intensifying Moon of Alabama

Children of the PKK: The Growing Intensity of Turkey’s Civil War Der Speigel

Syria conflict: France urges end to Turkish assault on Kurds BBC

Question of Nusra Front likely to bedevil Syrian cease-fire talks McClatchy (Re Silc). Important.

Syrian Rebels Say a Ceasefire Is ‘Not Realistic, Objective, or Logical’ Vice

Remarks at the 2016 Munich Security Conference John Kerry, U.S. Department of State

De mortuis, Scalia

How the politics of the next nomination will play out SCOTUSblog

Obama Faces War Over Court Pick, Whether Pragmatic or Partisan Bloomberg (EH).

Scalia: The Donald Trump of the Supreme Court Corey Robin. Remarkably few eulogies to Scalia — Obama’s, for example — include any mention of Bush v. Gore. If only 306,000 Florida Democrats hadn’t voted for Bush in 2000… But who’s counting?

Top 5 Scalia Rulings that helped Progressives Informed Comment

Ranch Owner Recalls Finding Justice Antonin Scalia’s Body NYT and Scalia’s last moments on a Texas ranch — quail hunting to being found in ‘perfect repose’ Los Angeles Times. (About the “ranch” owner, John B. Poindexter.)


Possible Democratic presidential candidates in 2016 Reuters. Clinton blowing another lead? National tracking: Clinton: 44.6%; Sanders: 44.3%. Of course, this is a national poll, and people vote in precincts, districts, battleground states, etc. And this poll was taken before Scalia’s actuarial event. Nevertheless, who’d a thunk it?

How America Was Lost Paul Krugman, NYT. “The G.O.P.’s new Supreme Court blockade is, fundamentally, in a direct line of descent from the days when Republicans used to call Mr. Clinton ‘your president.'” Very true, and from the ’90s, too. Making the dominant Democrat faction’s decision to run on bipartisanship in 2008 and then compromise in 2009, having taken office, all the more mystifying. Or not.

Nevada’s foreclosure crisis is causing unexpected problems for Clinton and Sanders’ campaigns Raw Story

Reaction to the Republican Debate Taeggan Goddard’s Political Wire

The Republican Party’s Internecine Fights Spill Into the Open The Atlantic

Trump crosses the 9/11 line Politico. “‘Everything we know about political strategy suggests that Trump’s decision to attack George W. Bush will backfire,’ said Curt Anderson, the GOP strategist who guided Bobby Jindal’s campaign [!!] last year. ‘If it doesn’t backfire, then it will be official; nothing can stop him.'”

Trump would tax Carrier air conditioning units for moving to Mexico Reuters. An “exit fee,” if you will. Why not?

When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein Counterpunch

These Renters Were Hit Hardest by the Financial Crisis Bloomberg. “Chances of home ownership decreased the most for affluent Hispanic millennials.”

Tension Simmers as Cubans Breeze Across U.S. Border NYT. Wait, what? You’re telling me all “Hispanics” are not alike?

An Open Letter to Rep. John Lewis. The South Lawn

Obamacare Hits 12.7 Million Enrollments––But Only Grows 8.5% Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review

What Tasers Do to the Brain New York Magazine. “[E]lectroshock can impair a person’s cognitive functioning for up to an hour after being Tased, which “questions the ability of … suspects to waive their Miranda rights knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily within 60 minutes of a Taser exposure.”

Nuclear Fuel Storage in South Australia Seen as Economic Boon Bloomberg. I know what it’s like to live in a sacrifice zone. It’s not a “boon.”

Troops betrayed as Army dumps hundreds of heroic war dogs Daily Post

The most bizarre, outrageous Airbnb feud story you’ll ever read San Francisco Chronicle

Most romantic line in the English language revealed Telegraph

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether has been blogging, managing online communities, and doing system administration 24/7 since 2003, in Drupal and WordPress. Besides political economy and the political scene, he blogs about rhetoric, software engineering, permaculture, history, literature, local politics, international travel, food, and fixing stuff around the house. The nom de plume “Lambert Strether” comes from Henry James’s The Ambassadors: “Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.” You can follow him on Twitter at @lambertstrether.


  1. allan

    “Trump would tax Carrier air conditioning units for moving to Mexico “. Trump is increasingly staking out some positions to Clinton’s left (which isn’t hard). In the absence of a clear left-right choice in a Clinton v. Trump general, it would come down to picking between corrupt Establishment v. reality TV hucksterism.
    And Americans do love their TV.

    1. Jack White

      United Technologies holds many DoD contracts. Perhaps DoD holds more power over UT than the IRS does.

        1. Jack White

          The taxpayers might like a tougher contract negotiator when dealing with Corporate Individuals, as well as Pharma, Congress etc.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      Bernie should respond to this with a more sensible program based on the German model. When large German companies propose to close plants or shift work/jobs, they are obligated to negotiate a “social plan” covering the workers that will lose their jobs, not just “negotiate” (take it or leave it) but actually come to an agreement beforehand with the works council (German equivalent to local union but also includes local management) on severance, retraining, placement, etc. Because costs of closing plants tends to be high, German employers often choose not to. Not perfect but a huge improvement over what we do.

      Who benefits from taxing the company? Better to get benefits directly to workers affected. Or, ideally, to have the threatened cost of such benefits change the cost/benefit of the decision to move.

      1. montanamaven

        Good idea. I think I read about Bosch in Bob Fitch’s “Solidarity for Sale”. Bosch wanted to open factories overseas. German employees said “Well that’s fine so long as no German jobs are lost.” Not only did Bosch’s business grow but all German employees stayed employed. Bernie should jump on this and Trump should look into it too.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Benefits directly to the workers is a GREAT IDEA.

        Credit goes to Trump for giving it publicity – on this, he’s to the left of Sanders…for now.

        Hope whoever wins will refine it to incorporate the German model.

    3. MDBill

      I posted this below, but really belongs here, so I’m reposting.

      Not that I’d credit Trump’s statement any more than I would his other campaign rhetoric, but it’s ironic that “American Marxist” economics professor Richard Wolff has been promoting ideas such as this for quite some time.

  2. abynormal

    re: Economy Not Entering Recession:

    “‘ Tis destiny,” Sam Barrell cried;
    “Once I had gold of Ophir;
    Now humbled is my former pride,
    And I’ve become a loafer.”
    “Not strange,” said Turnbull, passing by,
    “That you with fate should fare ill.
    The destiny that rules you, I
    Have always found in barrel.”
    Ambrose Bierce

  3. upstater

    re. Troops betrayed as Army dumps hundreds of heroic war dogs

    I run most days. We live in a semi-rural area and there is a side road which gets very little car traffic. Runners and dog walkers like it for that reason.

    A neighbor, who is a veteran, got one of these “heroic war dogs”, a German Shepherd. I would see them many days during Fall and always say “hi” or “nice day”. The dog would usually growl or bark, but then could be calmed by the owner. It would be foolish to stop and chat and try and pet the dog.

    When hunting season starts, I wear ORANGE fleece. Well, the first day I went by the dog and its owners, the dog went bat-sh*t crazy. It barked, growled and nearly pulled the owner down. The road is straight and open and goes up a slight hill another half mile where I turn. The dog never stopped barking at me. I turned and went down the hill, passing again, and the still barking dog almost pulled the owner over to my side of the road. This same behavior continued all through hunting season. The road is covered in snow and unplowed now so I have not seen them since mid-December.

    These dogs, unfortunately are trained killers. They apparently are not “untrained”. The use of animals in this manner, just like their soldier-masters, is wrong. But we must recognize that no matter how sweet the pictures are of these animals and their owners, innocent people are going to get attacked by the dogs.

    1. Bill Smith

      Never knew of a war dog used by line units to be a killer. Anyone had experience with one trained to be a killer?

      1. Christopher Fay

        Perhaps Upstarter was overstating the personalities of the dogs. But this dog is aggressive and easily a threat that could lead to harm.

      2. dimmsdale

        I read as much of the article as I could stomach, and my reaction was “huh–spotlight on the news: private DoD contractor makes tons of money selling trained dogs to law enforcement while pretending to follow the conditions of their contract that mandate dogs being returned to their now-civilian handlers; result being, dogs are hurt, their handlers are hurt, promises made and not kept, no accountability for the goons who perpetuate the scam, and lots of money being made by a few”–the perfect Republican universe functioning as intended, in other words.

        I have a relative who was a dog handler in Vietnam. He’s been trying to track down the fate of his dog for years, with no success. I can’t speak to the safety of releasing these dogs to the general public, but releasing them to their handlers in civilian life ought to be first priority, PROVIDED public safety can be guaranteed. Given the strength of the bond between these dogs and their handlers, jerking veterans around like this is contemptible, inhuman, and very wrong.

    2. nycTerrierist

      What galled me about the situation is that the vet dog handlers, many suffering from PTSD,
      were given the run around when they wanted to adopt their wartime dog buddies.
      There is no better therapy than an animal companion and together, the dog and human vets would help each other cope. What a stupid waste for everyone and traumatic for the vets and the dogs.

    3. alex morfesis

      Since you were running your skin pores were open and your adrenaline was pouring through your skin. Since it sounds as though you give off fear and anxiety when passing the dog at a non walking pace it took up the opportunity to let you know who is boss. Sadly the owner should have better control of his pal but maybe he enjoyed letting his beast growl or gave it some subtle instruction…dont confuse Hollywood tv nonsense about dogs with reality…dogs are naturally pack animals but we keep them solitary forcing them to adjust and creating a tendency on their part to be the alpha in the house and the world around them if the “owner” allows it or does not even realize what they are facilitating…and size is not the issue. Have a relative who had taken in a shelly dog who was a few years old but she treated it like a carnival stuffed toy prize leaving the dog to attempt to run the household. Her twin daughters noticed how when i visited by some simple but firm commands the dog listened and seemed calmer. At age seven with the dog still bigger than them they became the alphas to the dog…

    4. diptherio

      You wear the same color as a Gitmo prisoner and the Army dog wants to tear you apart, almost as if they had been trained to attack anyone wearing that color….

      I love dogs. I’ve also spent a lot of time at the pound. We do not need more dogs in this country, and certainly not ones that have been trained to be aggressive. I’d much rather we try to find homes for all the non-aggressive labs and retrievers rotting away in animal shelters.

      1. HotFlash

        Seems that dogs can’t actually “see” orange, so not sure how this could be. This dog agility competition trainer has some useful thoughts, seems reasonable to me. BTW, I am an animal person, one of my nicknames is Beastmistress, dog owners are sometimes dismayed when their pet will insist on crossing the street to say hi to me (and no, I don’t give them treats). I have, however, encountered a few dogs that are overtly hostile to me — perhaps b/c they think I am a threat to their alpha dog-itude? I have noticed this more among dog owners who do not (perhaps cannot) take the responsibility of being the pack leader, as mentioned above.

        And also, as mentioned above, dogs are non-verbal and understand what we ‘mean’ since they mostly don’t understand what we say ( the great Larsen cartoon “Blah blah blah blah Ginger”). So yes, a dog will be aggressive even if his/her owner is merely passive-aggressive and would never *dream* of personally shitting on your lawn.

        OTOH, I have seen too many dog/owner pairs where the dog totally calls the shots. One fairly recently. Nice guys, just clueless. Luckily, the beast only got my sweatshirt sleeve, not my arm, this time.

    5. Rex

      Quite a story about the military dogs. Trained as they are they would be valuable to many abroad. Something stinks, suggests the story. Black market export for gain would be powerfully corrupting, for the military staff involved and the DOD contractor. Why adopt these dogs to their handler, when I can make thousands on the black market? Just another war dividend. How many Saudi Sheikhs and Mexican Cartel end up with these dogs?

      1. HotFlash

        Well, maybe not so much. The average life span of German Shepherds is 10.95 years, according to Wikipedia, so how many years can they get out of a veteran, ie retired, dog? How old are they now? Factor in that dogs are considered unclean in many parts of the (hostile) world.

    6. bob

      I have to trespass (legally) as part of my job. German Shepard are by far my biggest ‘fear’. Not fear, because, yes, they do notice that, but I am very aware of them when I see them, or anything that looks like it might have Shepperd in it.

      They are extremely territorial. At the same time, they are great with kids for this reason- no one is going to get near those kids without a lot of barking, and maybe, biting.

      Pit bulls and rottweilers get all the press, but in all of the work related research I’ve done, all of the emphasis is on German Shepperd’s, and how to recognize them, and how to deal with them. #1 rule- don’t look them in the eyes- that’s a challenge.

      Also, just like with cops- Hands up! where they can’t reach your arms or hands. It takes a very aggressive dog to try to take your leg. At all costs stay on your feet.

      Dogs also only have one real weapon- their mouth. Put something else in there, or put something bigger than their mouth right in front of them. Confuses the hell out of them.

      Really big dogs are normally the lowest risk, which seems counter intuitive. I was working away on the side of the road one day and looked to my right to find a 160lb? great dane. He snuck up on me. No ill intent, just wanted to say hello. I spoke with his caretaker, he couldn’t keep him in a fence. The dog would dig under in an hour, or go over it. Then walk out to the front yard and lay, more or less, in the middle of the road.

      Even that seems out of date or skewed. I looked up the USPS stuff for mail carriers and they also single out German Sheppard’s as the most likely to bite, Post men anyway.

      Don’t show them any mind, don’t look at them, and keep on your way. Do not try to pet it, especially on it’s turf.

      Dogs can’t see color. Normally, in my experience, they are more threatened by hats.

      1. bob

        Also adding that the most “scared” I ever got was when surrounded by 6-8 little dogs. No idea on the breeds, big rats. One, especially, was very aggressive with his posse behind him. I was scared that I was going to have to start punting them. Then you get the owner. on his or her turf. Much more dangerous.

        It worked out, no animals, including myself, were harmed. Slow, measured steps within a planned escape route.

        1. optimader

          …Also adding that the most “scared” I ever got was when surrounded by 6-8 little dogs…
          …At all costs stay on your feet..

          Ok, I had a good laugh.

          Don’t be Dennis Nedry

          1. bob

            It’s a weird place to be in. The company I work for is very scared about dog bites, for the reason of disability. But, they seem more scared of one of their employees hurting a dog that is trying to attack the employee. Lawsuits.

            It has happened a few times, and it’s always the desk jockeys that get hurt. Let them out of the office for one day…

            And, once you accuse a dog of biting you, it’s all on the record, and the police become involved. The dog very well may be put down for it, depending on local law.

            Never happened to me, and I hope it doesn’t. When it does, I gotta go to the hospital to get rabies shots, and then report it to the police, because some overfed pet rat bit my leg? And then they kill the dog. Lose, lose lose.

            Not newman yet, but getting there.

            1. optimader

              Some time ago, I read a USPS management memo someone posted. Basically the rules of engagement for postal delivery people when confronted with an attacking dog. I wish I still had the link.
              It was unintentionally funny due to the ISO9000 kinda procedure enumeration . One of the first procedures in a situation of eminent attack was along the lines of “…Feed the dog your non-dominant arm…” shiiiit, easy for you to say.

              One thing I will suggest, form fists with thumb inside palm ( protect your sandwich hooks and those wonderful opposable thumb). Electively punch in nose.

              One of many times I was chased by a (large dog) I was doing +30mph on my road bike, long down hill grade.

              No doubt I was irresistible sport, and the stupid dog ran a vector right into the front wheel of my bike. I was launched, fortunately w/helmet on, back when not many people wore them. (It had to be retired –cracked and with gravel buried into– still have it , hung on the garage wall of shame — broken bike parts)

              I was soooo incredibly pissed at that dog I started running toward him with cleated bike shoes. not sure what part of the dog got into my wheel but it had to hurt.

              That and me coming at him made for quick change of strategy and a hasty retreat on his part.

              1. Optimader

                Where i was going was, and lost my point, my unintuitve strategy when on a walk about is to run at a dog running toward me. In my experience It does spook them, they slam on the brakes and start barking. Then i wistle to them and the usually shut up and give me thrdap version of the wtf look.
                But these are civilian dogs in the hood, not professional soldiers! Hahaha!

                1. Steve Gunderson

                  My friend that is a postal carrier, carries a squirt gun loaded with a mixture of bleach and water.

                2. bob

                  There is no manual, and any attempts I’ve seen do come out as comedy.

                  I’ve got steel toed boots on. I’m not going to give up an arm, or even risk it.

                  I’m more in the sticks than suburbia. The charge works well with the dogs you don’t have to worry about. All bark, no bite.

                  I’ve seen german shepherds that know their lot lines down to the inch. Cross it, and they will attack. Not even “pros” or trained dogs, just ‘family’ dogs.

                  The general trick is not to spook them. Be loud on approach.

                  I’ve gotta give that one to the dog. He took out a bike!

                  I was in a car once (not driving) and saw the same sort of set up. It was an older, wiser dog, chasing a younger one into traffic. By the time I realized what was happening, the car had hit and killed the younger dog. Very sad, but I had very little doubt the older one knew exactly what he was doing, he never got near the road, he broke chase at exactly the right moment. The younger one was on course from the right, to the left, moving, mostly, in the general direction of the car. The driver tried to brake and swerve, but, as I said, it was inevitable. They did the best the could and only managed to slow it down, and catch the dog with the drivers side of the front.

                  55mph road, at 40mph tops, closer to 30 there, slow trip in the snow, Driver was not speeding, by any measure. I went to the house to tell the owners. It took me 10 minutes to rouse them. The news delivery didn’t go well and I didn’t have the heart to tell the owners that the living dog had probably killed the other.

                  1. optimader

                    Too bad for the dog and the driver. I wonder if it was premeditated by the older dog? Like the crow spooking the squirrel into traffic?

      2. bob

        Ok, this makes sense then-

        ” The report also excluded police and guard dogs “at work.” In an ideal world, we’d use a report that factored in the total number of attacks by each breed in the United States, but that information is not readily available.”

        Dogs at work are going to be German Sheppard’s.

      3. jonboinAR

        I have to go into yards as part of my job, as well. I agree about german shepherds. When one is serious about me staying out, I do. I do a certain amount of looking a dog in the eye, because you can communicate with it. One thing you can tell by that is how serious it is. Sometimes I dominate the dog partly by eye contact. I can pretty much tell almost immediately if that’s going to work, or not. Ignoring the dog completely is, as you said, effective, but it’s also slightly risky. I’ve gotten bitten. Also, as you pointed out, great danes are usually pussy cats. Rotweilers, man, you just don’t know. Another thing, I can nearly always deal with the dog if the owners are not around. If they are, not so much.

    7. Plenue

      One thing that stood out to me was the first picture in the article. “In a world of compromise, K-9 teams don’t.”

      In what possible world has the US compromised on anything, foreign or domestic, in decades? Just more of the typical asinine, “kill ’em all and let god sort ’em out” toxic military bravado.

  4. tomk

    The open letter to Rep. John Lewis is excellent. I was appalled when Anderson Cooper brought up the ridiculous Lewis put down of Sanders before the Democratic debate in an interview with Sander’s campaign manager. It’s good to see such a brilliant response.

    1. Steve H.

      Malcolm, 1963:

      According to the August 4 edition of The New York Times, $800,000 was split up between these six Negro civil rights leaders on June 19 at the Carlysle Hotel, and another $700,000 was promised to be given to them at a later date after the march was over, if everything went well with the march.

      Public relations experts were made available to these “Six BIg Negroes,” and they were given access to the news media throughout the country. The press skillfully projected them as the leaders of the March on Washington, and as soon as the Big Six were looked upon in the public eye as the organizers of the march, and their first step was to invite four white “leaders” to become a part of the march “godhead.” This group of leaders would supposedly okay all the plans and thereby control the “direction and the mood” of the march.

      One of the Big Six leaders, John Lewis, chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, was prevented from making a very militant speech. He wanted to attack the Kennedy administration for its hypocrisy o civil rights. The speech was censored by the Rt. Rev. Patrick O’Boyle, the Catholic Archbishop of Washington, D.C.

      The late President has a bigger image as a liberal, the other whites who participated have bigger liberal images also, and the Negro civil rights leaders have now been permanently named the Big Six (because of their participation in the Big Fix?)…but the black masses are still unemployed, still starving, and still living in the slums…and, I might add, getting angrier and more explosive every day.

    2. Steve H.

      I immoderately quoted Malcolm. If you don’t want to wait, search:

      the Big Six (because of their participation in the Big Fix?)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Again, the reputation of John Lewis had not been thrown to the gutter when the Big Fix was in, but only now.

        The popular vote was not an issue for many, except for the thoughtful ones, until 2000

        And the party super-delegate system becomes an even bigger problem than 2008.

        Identity politics – Now, we should be critical of it.

        I think the various fault lines will eventually break up the Democratic party, and maybe it’s not too early.

        With their own problems, perhaps so will the Republican party.

        1. Steve H.

          I hope his reputation is not truly in the gutter. I have a fondness for his work. Malcolm was able to point to the case of censorship by the Archbishop only because Lewis pushed the boundary in the first case.

          He accepted the censorship, and appears to have accepted a place in the machine. However, I don’t know of any scandals involving him. It’s possible he hasn’t abused his position. If the worst he has done is associate his credibility with the corruption that is (are?) the Clintons, well, he may yet reconsider.

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      Considering now that every Dem in congress (except Warren, afaik) has endorsed Hillary ‘Whore of Wall Street’ Clinton, it’s hard to argue there is anything left of the Dem party worth saving. And after the DNC uses the super delegates to block Bernie from the nomination, I will write-in Bernie on election day.

      I know some here think super delegates could possibly flip to Bernie. But I highly doubt that. Super delegates are party loyalists who became a SD as payment (or bribe) by the party. Hell will freeze over before these guys flip.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What you’re saying is the prospect of a combined Rep/Dem congress, a calcified Supreme Court, Big Business, the MIC, main street media confronting a socialist in the White House.

        Will they scheme to put all the blame (on anything) on a stranded Sanders?

        I think the real battle is for control of Congress. I probably need information but it is not too optimistic on that front.

  5. fresno dan

    Trump crosses the 9/11 line Politico. “‘Everything we know about political strategy suggests that Trump’s decision to attack George W. Bush will backfire,’ said Curt Anderson, the GOP strategist who guided Bobby Jindal’s campaign [!!] last year. ‘If it doesn’t backfire, then it will be official; nothing can stop him.’”

    Everything I have read is that Mitt Romney el al ACTUALLY believed that they would win in 2012 – not just saying he would win to help keep turn out high for repubs.
    It certainly seems to me what makes the repubs so repulsive and dangerous is an obstinate refusal to see things as they are. Apparently, Graham actually believes a majority of Americans want to go back to the middle east…

    So I will be extremely interested in seeing how this comes out in SC. But I think the disdain for Jeb! is because of his brother, and that is because of the war….and and the economy. I think these people putting forth the proposition that the country craves more Bush shows reality deficit disorder.

    The question is: have things gotten bad enough for the good ole boy base, that appeals to war and patriotism will finally lose their traction? Will the fact that Trump is the only repub who thinks Carrier going to Mexico is significant be the event horizon?

    1. craazyboy

      Seems to me coming out against GWB is like saying you are against STDs. I don’t know why everyone isn’t doing it.

    2. Brindle

      Americans are supposed to have a predictable response when 9/11 is mentioned; emotionalism, patriotism etc.. Trump, a New Yorker, knows that it;s not that simple. Many Americans see through the 9/11 myth-making and know that people in government failed to do their jobs. Only inside the Beltway are Trump’s 9/11 comments deemed “out of bounds”.

      1. sd

        Condi Rice should have fallen on her sword. She didn’t because dead New Yorkers was a photo op, not an epic national security failure.

      2. James Levy

        Joan Didion wrote a terrific essay after 9/11 where she talked to fellow New Yorkers and people around the country as she went on a book tour that was interrupted by 9/11 and said that people really wanted to talk, to learn, to figure out what had happened and why, but that that conversation was cut short and ruled out of bounds by the media and the government. The flag-waving military-worshiping mumbo-jumbo had to be artificially generated by media and government; it was not the automatic or in any way overwhelming response of most average Americans.

        Although I am no 9/11 “truther”, and believe that al Qaida was capable and more than happy to pull off the hijackings, I do wonder about the down the memory hole anthrax “attack’ that took place on its heels. I’ve never seen anything remotely convincing produced about what really happened there (after two entire investigation teams were summarily fired for no discernible reason), or why 9/11 is mentioned endlessly but the anthrax scare, which for a week or two was as big a news story as 9/11 had been, might never have happened if you studied the media and political discourse. If anything scared people into silence, it was the anthrax scare.

        1. Brindle

          A few years ago (2011) Glenn Greenwald had an excellent piece at Salon where he shows how the FBI did not do anything approaching a competent investigation of the anthrax attacks. I would provide link but that would likely throw comment into moderation limbo.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I just tried to provide two different links to Bernie Sanders’ blasting of alan greenspan during a congressional hearing in July, 2003.

            They did not go to moderation, they vaporized.

            You can google the YouTube video–except for his numbers (and greenspan) the vid could have been made this morning.

          2. clinical wasteman

            Didn’t know that about links. Not objecting by any means, but will bear it in mind henceforth. Is an outside reference with a description of where to look for it but without a direct link preferable?
            Whatever moderation policy Yves, Lambert, David (et al?) take such trouble to run contributes to making these the only comments anywhere that I actually want to read and regularly learn from. The other contribution to that comes from all the rest of you, of course. Sincere thanks all round.

        2. fresno dan

          James Levy
          February 15, 2016 at 11:51 am

          “…. that people really wanted to talk, to learn, to figure out what had happened and why, but that that conversation was cut short and ruled out of bounds by the media and the government. The flag-waving military-worshiping mumbo-jumbo had to be artificially generated by media and government; it was not the automatic or in any way overwhelming response of most average Americans.”

          Exactly. As somebody who worked at NSA, we have a vast and expensive, and by any objective evaluation, incompetent national “intelligence” and police organization.
          (remember people, an attempt was made on the world trade center in ….?1990?)

          As I understand, not one person was fired. Indeed, I have read that the female FBI agent in a north state who raised issues about some of the conspirators was thwarted by superiors, who were later promoted. I don’t think that argues for conspiracy as much as it argues for a culture of irresponsibility. If you had looked into it, at some point you have to ask about their supervisors, and than the supervisors’ supervisors….next thing you know, maybe it reveals the people running the country are nincompoops…

          And of course, our stock phrases are pure bullsh*t – “ready from day one”…..

          1. sd

            You might be interested in DO-5 an obscure joint intellignece operation that was tracking Bin Laden but shut down by superiors.

            1. James Levy

              That’s because bin Laden and his minions had connections with the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Germans at least, not to mention past relations with the CIA. No one before, and very few people after, 9/11 wanted to untangle that nest of vipers.

                1. Steve Gunderson

                  I remember one story of Bush and the Saudi Ambassador smoking cigars at the White House looking out at the smoke from the still burning Pentagon.

                  I believe he was there to make sure that Bin Ladin’s family made it out of the US quickly ( as they did ).

          2. bob

            As someone else said- There should have been an Air Force General hanging from the gallows, at the very least.

            I remember the day very well. The local Air National Guard had a few f-16’s up playing.

            They could have been in NYC in 15-20 minutes.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            ‘… a culture of irresponsibility.’

            Are the words, cult and culture, related etymologically?

      3. Dave

        “I hope the people of South Carolina will send a message to Donald Trump that we don’t like Putin, we like W.”

        What does Putin have to do with thousands of dead Americans, and hundreds of thousands disabled ones who fought for territory in Iraq that was squandered?

        Thanks W, you did such a fine job. Anyone that disrespects your mommy deserves to lose the election.

        At least, Carrier should have to suffer a clawback for all the tax breaks they got to create jobs.

        1. Plenue

          The constant vilification of Putin and fear mongering about ISIS seems to have somewhat backfired. The steady-stream of whining coming out of Washington that Russia isn’t bombing the ‘right terrorists’ is in large part going over like an anvil. Years of war-weariness and casual racism have led to a prevailing attitude of ‘meh, just carpet bomb all them towelheads’. When you have GOP candidates advocating glassing entire regions (to raucous applause), attempts to appeal with stories of dead children, or trying to get people to appreciate some nuanced view of the various groups fighting, are nonstarters.

          I won’t say there’s a sea change going on though; I still see plenty of ‘Putin = Hitler’ type talk. One solution the media has found to minimize embarrassment over Russia taking the lead in actually fighting the ISIS boogieman is to simply not talk about any of it. There is very little coverage even from mainstream internet sources about Syria, and much of that is very carefully written to obscure the reality of the situation.

          On a related note, every few weeks I go through the backlog of videos from the big liberal YouTube channels, TYT first and foremost, and search for words like ‘Putin’, ‘Syria’, and ‘Turkey’. There’s usually nothing, other than maybe another ‘let’s laugh and bemoan the latest crazy domestic policy in Russia!’ segment. Most of these channels do very little research of their own, instead just going through MSM stories and providing their own (usually inane and completely ignorant) commentary. TYT is especially tragic, because of its status as the ‘worlds largest internet news show’. A lot of people watch it in the belief that they’re getting something better than the MSM will provide. Founder Cenk Uygur is not only Turkish-American, but can actually speak Turkish, and his silence on not just Turkey’s involvement in Syria in general, but the fact that it’s possibly leading us straight into another Cuban Missile Crisis type situation, is deafening.

      4. Bev

        Everyone will owe New Yorker Donald Trump thanks if he keeps another CIA Bush from the Presidency.
        Why Would Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll Question 9/11?
        Posted on February 1, 2015 by Kevin Ryan

        In comments:

        CNN’s Judy Woodruff interviews CNN’s Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre as he reports live from the Pentagon on 9/11

        the 9/11 video that was aired once and never aired again

        Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth


        archived site:

        Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?
        Written by Frances T. Shure

        Part 1: Preface and Introduction
        Part 2: Diffusion of Innovations
        Part 3: Obeying and Believing Authority
        Part 4: Doublethink
        Part 5: Denial and Cognitive Dissonance
        Part 6: Conformity
        Part 7: Groupthink
        Part 8: Brain Research, Part 1: Structure and Beliefs
        Part 9: Brain Research, Part 2: Moral Psychology
        Part 10: Terror Management Theory
        Part 11: Systems Justification Theory

        911: A Final Summation
        by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

        American Airlines itself is the source for information that AA Flights 11 (North Tower) and 77 (Pentagon) did not fly on 911. These flights are critical to the the government’s crumbling cover up! Without those flights, Bush and his murderous co-conspirators will have to revise the big lie. They will have to concoct yet another cover story from the ground up!

        1. James Levy

          Yea, the 400+ passengers and crew of the 3 planes, which relatives saw take off, were all diverted to an unknown location and executed and none of it ever leaked out. And all the air traffic controllers were fooled, as were the military radar operators, into seeing planes disappear then reappear and no one said anything and all the records in all the sites were then falsified. All this was done with the “patsies” being 15 Saudis, 2 Egyptians, and 2 Moroccans, so that we could invade Iraq two years later? Doesn’t make sense.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think we’ve all taken a stroll down the dark path of 9/11 truth/evidence, of course there are many crazies, anti-Semites, etc to be encountered along the way, but anyone who spends a little time, especially on the Pentagon bombing, ends up asking themselves questions that are really too horrible to consider answers to.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Well I don’t know, wasn’t one of the hits on CIA Saudi Friend Bush that “he reminded every woman of her first husband”? Ambiguity backfire…

  6. fresno dan

    An Open Letter to Rep. John Lewis. The South Lawn

    I had a boss who would always would try and shoot things down by saying “I’ve never seen that” – so I have a pathological hatred of using that as any kind of an argument. It really is a kind of asinine thing to say.
    I imagine what Rep Lewis was implying is that he saw ALL the “important” people…

  7. Cry Shop

    Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. A little (miss-?)direction of Federal Funds for hosting ASEAN.

    Obama uses California desert estate (Sunnyland) as Western White House in summit with ASEAN leaders
    Barack Obama was the founding Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Anneberg Challenge (CAC) “philanthropic” organization. CAC help gentrify a few areas of Chicago, driving out low income families. The Anneberg Foundation, which provided 49.2 million dollars to the Chicago Machine to create CAC, is the “non-profit” tax shelter owner of “Sunnyland”.

    Walter Annenberg (and his wife, who still runs things) was an interesting mix of neo-con and neo-liberal with large property interest in Chicago. Barack and Michelle would have been quite comfortable with Annenberg’s ideas of patronage and paternalism making pretty cover of abuse of power for profit. Particularly with Michelle’s job as a Chicago Machine Lawyer was mostly finding legal ways to use machine power in return for financial support to feed the need of machine for money outside the oversight of comptrollers and the FBI.

    It’s all legal (as far as we can tell), but as Strether has written many times about the founding fathers standard, it’s still corruption.

  8. fresno dan

    What Tasers Do to the Brain New York Magazine. “[E]lectroshock can impair a person’s cognitive functioning for up to an hour after being Tased, which “questions the ability of … suspects to waive their Miranda rights knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily within 60 minutes of a Taser exposure.”

    Well, most countries and all valid research shows that confessions are so fraught with error and coercion that confessions are of very little value, if any. So in this “law and order” society that has a profound antipathy toward objectivity and learning, I see little reason to believe that any meaningful reforms will occur to take this into account.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Trump crosses the 9/11 line Politico

    So what “line” would that be exactly? The one they used to call the “truth?” What a “bully.”

    How fragile must the entire edifice be that simply MENTIONING a known fact causes mass apoplexy and recrimination? The man was BOOED for saying what everyone already knows and has always known.

    (And if he noticed that not one molecule of debris was produced when a “plane” crashed into the pentagon, he’d best keep quiet about it.)

    ‘If it doesn’t backfire, then it will be official; nothing can stop him,’ GOP strategist says.

    American translation: If he tells the truth and gets away with it, it’s the end of “politics” as we know it.

    Credit where credit is due. Thanks, Donald.

    1. jgordon

      I think that more and more people will be coming to appreciate Trump’s hidden qualities. He’s being portrayed as a bafoon by the media and Washington elites, but he’s actually the best candidate the Republicans have had in decades. My fervent hope is that after he’s elected he’ll guilitine all of them. After a proper trial of course.

      1. sd

        There is that small leetle problem that in all likelihood he will bankrupt the US in the process. He does have history after all.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Not even Trump is capable of that, though his whole business has been about ‘debt re-organization.’

          2. Gio Bruno

            I think it’s when no one will buy your bonds or when the printing press at the Mint can’t keep up with inflation. Or maybe it’s when the economy becomes full barter. Not sure which.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trumps crossed his Rubicon.

      Will Sanders forego the tactical advantage of not peeling himself completely away from Obama? “Low blow, senator for saying I called him weak and a disappointment.”

      Trump is moving to confront the MIC, by this crossing.

      Will Sanders?

  10. DakotabornKansan

    Cass Sunstein, Harvard Law Professor, close Obama adviser, tweets, “Devastated by Justice Scalia’s death. One of the most important justices ever, a defender of the Rule of Law, and a truly wonderful person.”

    I have seen Sunstein’s name mentioned as a possible replacement on SCOTUS.

    Is Sunstein’s praise of Scalia a hint?

    It is worth recalling what Glenn Greenwald wrote six years ago: “The horrible prospect of Supreme Court Justice Cass Sunstein”

    1. Carolinian

      Plus he’s married to Samantha Power. The neocon–oh sorry R2P –power couple would become even more powerful.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Commentator Fred Reed practically foretold Scalia’s death in a column dated Jan. 30th:

      I cannot see that it matters who is on the Supreme Court. I think I can name two of the stiffs on the Court.

      The Supreme Court? The Nine Cadavers could have found torture unconstitutional, or affirmative action, or undeclared wars. Nothing. They serve only to certify the status quo. What do they do all day? Sleep in their coffins, I suppose, and come out at night to flap around the Capitol.

      It shouldn’t be that difficult, in the era of post-constitutional jurisprudence, to find a replacement. Hacks in black who enable the NSA panopticon in the noble tradition of the FISA court, admire Anthony Kennedy’s plea-bargain Gulag, and endorse Roberts’s Rules of Obamacare (the first and greatest of which is, “it’s a tax, not a penalty”) are the rule, not the exception.

      1. Jess

        “What do they do all day? Sleep in their coffins, I suppose, and come out at night to flap around the Capitol.”

        LOL. Thanks for that.

      2. heresy101

        It’s surprising that no one has referenced the Saturday news article:
        “Gigantic blob of fat ignites huge ball of fire in Hell.”

    3. clinical wasteman

      Judge Nudge. Yes a truly terrifying prospect. Any other readers who have lately lived in the UK, where that sort of ‘soft’ behavioural coercion has led social policy since a few years before Sunnstein even published the book, will probably know why first-hand. The 2010-15 Tory-Liberal administration set up a dedicated Nudge Unit (sorry, ‘Behavioural Insights Team’), but it was the first or second Blair government (in thrall to Geoff Mulgan’s think tank Demos, in thrall in turn to the Communitarianism of Clinton’s favourite ‘philosopher’ Amitai Etzioni) who gave us, just for a start, ‘Anti-Social Behaviour Orders’, or special criminal offences created just for you, the frustratingly unconvictable non-criminal, by the lowest-level court using at most a civil (‘probability’) standard of ‘proof’. (In practice, billboards went up everywhere encouraging talk radio avengers/Guardian letters page moralizers to report anyone they didn’t like the look of, or maybe just didn’t look like.) The name of those bespoke little laws has since been changed, but worse continues.

  11. abynormal

    ha! run on sentences become songs of the heart…kills the one liners:
    Dance me to your beauty like a burning violin
    Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
    Lift me like an olive branch, be my homeward dove
    And dance me to the end of love

    Coming quickly to terms of all expression laid
    Emotions revealed as the ocean maid
    As a movement regained and regarded both the same
    All complete in the sight of seeds of life with you

    I may be numberless, I may be innocent
    I may know many things, I may be ignorant
    Or I could ride with kings and conquer many lands
    Or win this world at cards and let it slip my hands
    I could be cannon food, destroyed a thousand times
    Reborn as fortune’s child to judge another’s crimes
    Or wear this pilgrim’s cloak, or be a common thief
    I’ve kept this single faith, I have but one belief
    I still love you

  12. Dino Reno

    The notion that Latino voting in this week’s caucus here in Nevada is going to up 250% since the last election according to the above article is insane. The Latino population here has actually declined since 2008 because of the depression in construction. The Clinton campaign has greatly distorted the population mix here to gin up their chances of winning. It will all come down to motivation and turnout and on this score I give Bernie the edge.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      The decline in the Hispanic population due to the housing crash leveled off 2-3 years ago, and much of the loss was among those who cannot and will not vote in our elections.

      Hillary is likely to win here unfortunately, particularly in Las Vegas. And Vegas rules the state.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Well, I don’t know who will win Nevada, but it’s nice to have a Cassandra.

        Maybe it will motivate Sanders supporters to work harder.

        I rather it be like this than everything-is-going-our-way every day, every hour.

  13. ProNewerDeal

    fw another good article I stumbled upon from the Bob Laszewski blog

    quote “But if you are solidly in the working and middle-class in this country individual health insurance on the state and federal exchanges is anything but affordable.

    That is why the Urban Institute found that more than 80% of those earning between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL)–the poor–signed up for Obamacare coverage in 2015 but only about 30% of those earning between 200% and 300% of the FPL signed up. Even worse, only about 14% of those earning between 300% and 400% of the FPL signed up in 2015.” …

    “The Obamacare product just isn’t worth buying if you have to pay anything more than a poor person has to pay for it. Or, if you are sick and will easily make your money back.”

    1. sleepy

      I agree that for many, the policies offered throuigh the exchanges are expensive and unaffordable junk. But do the cited stats indicate that those with higher incomes, thus less in subsidies, turn the exchanges down because of the expense, or because with higher incomes they might have employer provided insurance and be ineligible for the exchanges?

      1. Andrew

        Anecdotally, I am a 32 year old, self employed, married guy with a PhD. I made about $90k last year. I remain uninsured. The math just does not make sense. I don’t qualify for a subsidy. And middle of the road Obamacare for me and my wife would cost 10 percent of my pre-tax income. That is a lot of money for something odds suggest I won’t use at all over the next decade. Calculated risk. But the only sensible choice available.

        Not that readers of NC likely need additional evidence. But I think my case is strongly suggestive of a broken system.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I could be wrong, but it used to be like this:

          To buy life insurance, you start in your early 20’s, often when you think you will live forever. You pay a little. If you want to wait till you’re 50, then you have to make up for not paying your life insurance company the last 30 years.

          You owe them, so goes the logic.

          So, your starting premium when you’re 50, for the same amount, will be higher.

          I think the same cold-hearted calculation, sorry, rational reasoning, will lead an insurer to charge a much higher health insurance premium if you wait till you’re 50 (all this under the previous system, before ACA).

          That’s my understanding and it may not be accurate.

          1. Yves Smith

            The ACA can’t discriminate on individual policies, by law. The only things they use in pricing are age, gender, zip code, and whether you’ve been a smoker.

            Plus they ENCOURAGE people to switch each year, so it’s not as if ht system of the pricing could allow for the idea that someone might stay with the same insurer.

            1. Cry Shop

              Switching is encouraged? In that case is there any rule limiting the price difference for age? What I’m wondering is there anything stopping an insurer from steeply marking up insurance past a certain age?

              For example: under 30, male = 4000 (per annum), while under 40 male gets 12,000, and over 55 male gets 34,000, etc; (and perhaps with increasing deductibles and co-payments as one ages too)? With out some rule that would be an effective way to shed age risk onto other market players, at least til they start gaming it too, and then the whole thing falls apart.

    2. Skippy

      ACA just seem reheated hash a la 401K…. e.g. if the rubes won’t come to you… kettle them… boom velocity – artificial demand…

      Skippy…. party – !!!!!

  14. diptherio

    Antonin Scalia: Rest in Putrescence

    From Business Insider a few years back:

    Scalia made it clear he doesn’t have a problem ruling on some of America’s most politically charged issues. “The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state,” Scalia said in October at the American Enterprise Institute, according to The Associated Press.

    He also stuck to his views equating laws banning sodomy to laws against bestiality and murder. “It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd,'” Scalia said in December while at Princeton University. “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?

    Oh yeah, he was such a great guy. No wonder everyone is rushing “to bury Ceasar, not to praise him.” In this case, it would appear that it’s the evil that men do that is interred with their bones, and the “good” (or at least the not-totally-insane) that lives after they’ve shuffled off the mortal coil.

    Oh well, where there’s death, there’s hope.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s puzzling to me, and maybe it shouldn’t, but Ginsburg and Scalia were buddies.

      Perhaps that more media spin.

  15. Eureka Springs

    Wow. I’m no fan of Sachs which is why I find this most damning article on Hillary Clinton (and our murderous foreign policy) by him to be a surprising breath of fresh air.

    Also linked within the article a piece in NYT which I missed.

    describing the CIA-Saudi connection

    in which Saudi funds are used to pay for CIA operations in order to make an end-run around Congress and the American people. The story ran once and was dropped. Yet the Saudi funding of CIA operations is the same basic tactic used by Ronald Reagan and Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s (with Iranian arms sales used to fund CIA-led covert operations in Central America without consent or oversight by the American people).

    1. grayslady

      I saw the article on the Common Dreams website. Sachs says Hillary is “unfit to be President” and “a danger to global peace.” Absolutely brutal takedown.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Uh oh. Years ago I told some Russian friends to always do the exact opposite of whatever Jeffrey Sachs advises, so looks like I’ve unwittingly created HRC supporters in Moscow (to the degree they follow my often flawed advice).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There were more retired pensionless pensioners selling loaves of bread in train stations of Moscow in the early 1990’s than you could count.

          “Privatize everything and invest in MMM. Then you can go retire in Santa Barbara.”

  16. craazyboy

    Looks like the verdict is still out on China. Will they have a hard landing of the Parmesan Asteroid? Or a soft landing of the Camembert Asteroid?

    Knowing which one will be critical for the PBoC to devise an appropriate Cheese and Banking Policy Response. Should they inject black bread and wine? Will things be really bad and the banks will need to get by on spaghetti and garlic bread? I hope they are consulting with western central bankers because we have much experience in these matters. With skillful coordination, maybe the cheese can be contained.

  17. allan

    Peak haggis: Scottish Minister Worries Remaining North Sea Oil Won’t Be Extracted

    Scotland’s finance minister has told the British government he is concerned that some of Britain’s remaining North Sea oil will never be recovered as companies active in the area have scaled down investments due to the weak oil price.

    John Swinney, who is also Scotland’s deputy first minister, urged British Chancellor George Osborne in a letter to cut taxes on oil and gas companies and to consider giving loan guarantees to the sector to avoid early field shutdowns and more job losses.

    Austerity and market fundamentalism for thee; tax cuts and bailouts for me. Adam Smith would understand.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The current propaganda:

      GDP/GDP growth – big corporations must live so little workers can live too. (loan guarantees…avoid job losses)

      Money creation – the government must spend so the Little People can spend too.

      For each, there is a (non-trickle-down version) alternative.

      Right now, we are being held hostage, and have to root for GDP growth and corporate ransom demands.

  18. rich

    We Must Keep Big Money Out of Politics
    Add your name to uphold DNC ban

    Eight years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama took the noble step of banning contributions to the Democratic National Committee from lobbyists and special interest PACs. This week, the DNC reversed that ban, and we believe that’s an unfortunate step backward.

    Add your name to tell the Democratic National Committee you support the restrictions put in place by President Obama that outlaw lobbyist and special interest PAC contributions.

    Where is Hillary on this?

      1. diptherio

        It’s a young woman ripping into the “If you vote for Sanders you’re not a feminist” crowd. The sarcastic title may be the best part, admittedly.

  19. tgs

    Re: Nusra Front

    I looked at the executive summary of the report and it seems to be just another argument that ‘Assad must go’ or the Sunnis will be further radicalized and the west will reap the whirl wind. I think that is fairly likely to occur in any event (if WWIII doesn’t occur first). The report offers a rather bizarre scenario in which the ‘West’ and its allies extricate the ‘good rebels’ from the salafists without further inflaming the Sunnis.

    The U.S. and its Western partners will have to conduct multiple simultaneous and successive operations whose exact course cannot be described fully in advance … They must alter the popular narrative that the West has abandoned the Syrian Sunni Arabs in favor of Iran, Assad, and Russia. This task will be impossible as long as the West offers the Sunni no meaningful support in the face of the Assad regime’s imminent threat to their survival as individuals and communities.

    Since when is Assad ethnically cleansing Sunnis? He fighting a war against hard core jihadis.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Feels to me like Turkey is the next Syria, it has all the required ingredients: strategic pipelines, clashing cultures and national myths, foreign arms-maker salespeople, megalomaniacal double-dealing leaders, geo-strategic New Cold War positioning, proxy puppet armies anxious to please their paymasters, supine Europe getting more supine every day. Anglo-American leadership may just decide that between the economic implosion and the refugee situation the time might be right to distract the plebes and let loose the dogs of war (as if they’re not running loose already).

  20. Bill Frank

    Hedges on Sanders.

    H on Sanders.

    1. diptherio

      I normally like Hedges, and I’m not arguing with his assertion that the Bernie campaign is unlikely to lead to an actual social movement (although I’d love to be wrong), but he falls victim to the old category error here, in a big way:

      The Democrats, like the Republicans, have no interest in genuine reform. They are wedded to corporate power. They are about appearance, not substance. They speak in the language of democracy, even liberal reform and populism, but doggedly block campaign finance reform and promote an array of policies, including new trade agreements, that disempower workers….[emphasis added]

      What he means, of course, is “the Democratic party leaders” and “the Republican party leaders.” The category of Democrats contains many rank-and-file citizens who do not fit Hedges description at all, and the same thing goes for Republicans. Does Hedges not get that there are lots of people who consider themselves either Democrats or Republicans who are, nonetheless, unhappy with the actions of their party’s leaders? Surely he knows this, but that knowledge doesn’t seem to have found it’s way into his rhetoric yet…

      1. Eureka Springs

        It fits if they keep voting Demo. It fits if they so much as register or identify with the D party.

        At the very least if someone wants what Hedges lists and remains a d I’m going to call them one of a number of things insincere, insane (repeating same thing expecting different results), terribly uninformed, self-defeating.

        It’s way past time to quit making excuses for the ongoing criminal D party and their supporters.

        I hear demo peeps rant about the electoral college but I never hear them insist it be dropped or threaten to leave (over anything really) if it isn’t. Have you read ’12 election cycle D party platform? Disgusting. About as anti democratic as it gets.

      2. hunkerdown

        No, he’s right. The Democratic rank-and-file are not, as the conceit goes, members. They’re customers or supporters, or maybe confessors to the faith, but the Party does not define them as peers.

    2. flora

      I used to read Hedges. He was pro Occupy Wall St. Now there’s a candidate who’s taking that platform into the presidential race and Chris’s column sounds like a “what’s the use, nothing ever changes, might as well give up now” nugget of demoralization.

      Hedges says Sanders is insufficiently progressive and will inevitably fail. So give up.
      Hedges supported Occupy and Sanders is bringing Occupy’s messages into the mainstream.
      Now Hedges who rails against the status quo councils surrender before the fight. I’m starting to wonder if Hedges is taken with the romance of ‘resistance’ to the exclusion of thinking how to actually change a system and make it more representative. A more representative system would not require so much resistance.

      Note to Hedges: The US has a presidential system, not a parliamentary system. Even Teddy Roosevelt running as a 3rd party – the Bull Moose Party – could not win. He was a very popular ex-president with much support yet could not win on a 3rd party run. The Parties themselves can be changed. Just look at the last 40 years.
      shorter: Grover Cleveland’s and FDR’s Dem party were not alike. LBJ and Bill Clinton’s Dem party were not alike. etc. You get the idea.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        He is just another voice.

        And it’s a reminder that the goal is not to put one person in the White House, but to put many in positions to bring about change, after the election.

        The real fight starts after the election.

      2. lindaj

        “Even Teddy Roosevelt running as a 3rd party – the Bull Moose Party – could not win.”

        So your vote means nothing. You will vote for whomever can win.

        1. flora

          You mistake my meaning. Grover Cleveland’s Dem party supported free trade, banks, and Wall St. Same with Clinton’s Dem party.
          FDR and LBJ’s Dem party supported labor, regulations on wall st and banks.

        2. flora

          “Democracy is a process, not a static condition. It is becoming, rather than being. It can easily be lost, but it is never fully won. Its essence is eternal struggle.” -William H. Hastie

      3. alex morfesis

        Teddy Roosevelt was leading and was going to win but he was shot a few weeks before the election and there was concern he was not going to live so people split the vote and wilson walked america into ww1

    3. HopeLB

      But couldn’t the Bernie Revolution’s aparatus be used to create and promote Dem candidates who run and win against Corporate/DNC Dems with President Bernie giving Fireside talks endorsing them?

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From the link:

      Sanders said that if he does not receive the nomination he will support the party nominee; he will not be a “spoiler.”

      That’s why Sanders’ jab, I didn’t run against Obama, you did, is not a good one.

      Running against someone can be a mere prelude to support him/her…loyally.

      1. mk

        maybe Sanders could be convinced otherwise, if he thought he could actually win and had the support needed to do so.

        1. ambrit

          So far, I haven’t heard any candidate from any side say they will ‘take it to the Street’ if the corruption gets too obvious or stifling. Gore had a chance to do that with Bush v. Gore in 2000, and refused. The only drawback to that scenario is that the present power elites are just crazy enough to do an ‘Allende’ if someone like Sanders agitates enough to look like the ‘true’ winner of the election. As others have said in the past, what started out as ‘power projection’ strategies in third and second world countries back then are being imported here now.

  21. fresno dan–nye-2016-02

    Terrorism is not the biggest threat facing people in advanced countries. Terrorism kills far fewer people than auto accidents or cigarettes. Indeed, terrorism is not even a big threat – or a small one, for that matter. One is likelier to be struck by lightning than to be killed by a terrorist.

    Experts estimate that an American’s annual risk of being killed by a terrorist is one in 3.5 million. Americans are more likely to die in an accident involving a bathtub (one in 950,000), a home appliance (one in 1.5 million), a deer (one in two million), or on a commercial airliner (one in 2.9 million). Six thousand Americans die annually from texting or talking on the phone while driving. That is several hundred times more than die from terrorism. Radical Islamic terrorism kills fewer Americans than attacks by disgruntled workplace and school shooters. Terrorism is not World War III.

    Global terrorism is not new. It often takes a generation for a wave of terrorism to burn out. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the anarchist movement killed a number of heads of state for utopian ideals. In the 1960s and 1970s, the “new left” Red Brigades and Red Army Faction hijacked planes across national borders and kidnapped and killed business and political leaders (as well as ordinary citizens).
    I’m preaching to the choir of course. But it does show how irrelevant, if not counter productive, our politics are. global terrorism may not be new, but undoubtedly, improvements in manipulating people have advanced…
    “a deer (one in two million)” – plus the damn things eat my flowers…

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Global terrorism is not new.’

      Perhaps the most astonishing example is a barely-remembered event from 1954, which surely would provoke tanks rumbling in the streets across America today:

      On March 1, 1954, four Puerto Rican nationalists shot 30 rounds from semi-automatic pistols from the Ladies’ Gallery of the House of Representatives chamber in the United States Capitol.

      Five representatives were wounded, one seriously, but all recovered. The assailants were arrested, tried and convicted in federal court, and given long sentences, effectively life imprisonment. In 1978 and 1979, they were pardoned by President Jimmy Carter; all four returned to Puerto Rico.

      None of this — from the absence of a ‘global war on terror’ response, to the trial on ordinary criminal charges, to the eventual pardon of the perpetrators — is imaginable today.

      1. fresno dan

        Its really not that long ago that there was no fence around the white house.
        As so many of the posts and links reiterate on this site, the more yammering there is about how exceptional, indispensable, courageous, generous this country is, the more and more opposite it gets.

  22. Pavel

    I’ve been travelling the last 2 days thus off line quite a bit, so apologies if this has been posted already. But one of the best things I managed to read was Froomkin’s masterful post on Kissinger’s various war crimes and Hillary Clinton:

    Henry Kissinger’s War Crimes Are Central to the Divide Between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders


    The difference between the two views of Kissinger is not simply of academic or historical interest. How a presidential candidate feels about him is a clear sign of her or his worldview and indicates the kind of decisions she or he will make in office – and, perhaps even more importantly, suggests the kind of staffers she or he will appoint to key positions of authority in areas of diplomacy, defense, national security, and intelligence.

    Sanders has not made clear who he is turning to for foreign policy advice, if anyone. (What’s your dream foreign policy team? Email me at

    But Clinton is clearly picking from the usual suspects — the “securocrats in waiting” who make up the Washington, D.C., foreign policy establishment.

    They work at places like Albright Stonebridge, the powerhouse global consulting firm led by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, a staunch Clinton backer. They work at places like Beacon Global Strategies, which is providing high-profile foreign policy guidance to Clinton — as well as to Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. And they work at places like Kissinger Associates. In fact, Bob Hormats, who was a Goldman Sachs vice chairman before serving as Clinton’s undersecretary of state, is now advising Clinton’s campaign even while serving as the vice chairman of Kissinger Associates.

    Despite the wildly bellicose and human rights-averse rhetoric from the leading Republican presidential candidates, they’re picking from essentially the same pool as well.

    Froomkin also provides a useful summary of Kissinger’s warmongering, duplicity, and regime change for those who need a reminder. (East Timor, for example, and NB Chomsky’s frequent citation of that genocide.)

    I don’t spend too much time on Daily Kos but go there occasionally to read the debate reactions. I was astonished that some HRC fans were basically saying, “What’s so bad about Kissinger?” and “You have to balance his good acts with his bad.” WTF???

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Taser impairing brain 60 mins.

    Even for 1 minute it is an assault.

    “Sorry, Mr. Lizard for cutting off your tail. It will grow back. The same as it ever was before. Everything cool?”

  24. Andrew Watts

    RE: Trump crosses the 9/11 line

    The following comment probably isn’t going to go over well considering the bias exhibited against Trump on this particular forum but I think that he’s being backed by significant factions of the Establishment. Specifically those within the US military and intelligence community. This is based upon previous statements uttered by Trump about the Middle East being destabilized, his comments about Putin/Russia, and now 9/11.

    The US military must surely know that the Middle East is on the verge of a major regional conflict. This would only accelerate the pace of refugees flowing into Western Europe. The only realistic plan I can conceive of to manage this crisis is for a Russian-American rapprochement. Such an alliance would also be beneficial in bringing about the Islamic State’s downfall as well. Furthermore Trump’s public comments about Russia/Putin and Putin’s response in the media to Trump was a bit of curious political theater. What the supporters of Sanders are casually ignoring is his foreign policy. Which in the case of the Syrian Civil War would only increase the risk of igniting a regional war.

    After 9/11 the US intelligence community was used as a scapegoat for the failure of the civilian/non-intelligence crowd. There’s still probably a lot of dormant resentment for that. Anyway, it’d be remiss to not mention that at least part of the reason for the domestic spying programs was merely a result of the NSA attempting to cover it’s ass and increasing it’s budget. This would almost certainly include most of the CIA’s recent f—ups that can be largely blamed on those people.

    Anyway, I can’t say I’m too enthusiastic about any of this. Nor am I inclined to name and shame the people I think are backing Trump, I support their goals at any rate… assuming I’m right about them.

    1. flora

      Good comment. This fits with Seymour Hersh’s reporting that US Mil passed intel to foreign govt agencies in an attempt to stabilize the ME and the Syrian Civil War.

      1. Andrew Watts

        The Hersh article you’re referencing was one of the pieces of that puzzle. It was also evidence that the US military was throwing around it’s weight behind the scenes.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We have to ‘do our own laundry’ and clean up, at least for the part we are responsible, if not reparation, before we ‘leave it to those savages’ or something similar.

      The way things stand now, Hillary is in no position to discuss many of the weaknesses of Sanders foreign policy.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Agreed. Encouraging some Sunni army to invade Syria and likely come into conflict with the SAA and it’s allies is crazy. It sounds like something Hillary and Obama’s R2P imperialists would think up.

    3. bob

      Bias against trump, when he’s being backed by “significant factions of the Establishment”?

      That’s called fascism, quite correctly.

      ” I support their goals at any rate… assuming I’m right about them.”

      And you are all for it.

      Why so many words to say it? Even our fascists are wimps these days.

      The rest of the supposition and completely loaded statements on the ME are just pure junk. This being a prime example-

      “Which in the case of the Syrian Civil War would only increase the risk of igniting a regional war. ”

      You mean like the ongoing syrian civil war, that was started, and is being fueled by several regional powers, and power vacuums, already, making it “a regional war”. What’s that…4 years now?

      But, you’re all about Truth, right?

      Which intel branch do you work for?

      1. Andrew Watts

        Bias against trump, when he’s being backed by “significant factions of the Establishment” That’s called fascism, quite correctly.

        Oh, please. You use fascist as a smear just like everybody else. They aren’t openly supporting Trump because they’re sensitive to the tradition of keeping the military free of politics. How is that fascist?

        In the 1930s, you could barely pick up a magazine or history book without having fascist slogans thrown in your face. Provide an example where Trump says something along the lines of “Democracy is a sham. Autocracy is the only guarantee of popular rights.” or some other fascist trope.

        You mean like the ongoing syrian civil war, that was started, and is being fueled by several regional powers, and power vacuums, already, making it “a regional war”. What’s that…4 years now?

        It’s a proxy war. I’m talking about a direct confrontation between the Sunni powers (Turkey and Saudi Arabia) and the Shia Crescent. There’s a huge difference.

        But, you’re all about Truth, right? Which intel branch do you work for?

        I’m flattered you think so.

        1. bob

          You would be. They should be in charge and you would be lucky to be boot-licker in chief.

          “They aren’t openly supporting Trump because they’re sensitive to the tradition of keeping the military free of politics. How is that fascist? ”

          In what universe can you project a NOT as evidence, then answer it, as a straw man?

          You’ve now confounded space time and every known rule of logic and rhetoric, in favor of-

          1. Andrew Watts

            You would be. They should be in charge and you would be lucky to be boot-licker in chief.

            That was sarcasm. I’m a literal minded person who probably shouldn’t attempt it.

            In what universe can you project a NOT as evidence, then answer it, as a straw man? You’ve now confounded space time and every known rule of logic and rhetoric, in favor of-

            I’ve stated what I suspect based on conjecture. Whatever. Trump is a fascist based upon your feelings which I’ve offended somehow. Feel free to not read any more of my comments in the future if you’re going to get butthurt over them.

            1. bob

              Wow. I haven’t heard that type of filthy language since the playground. Did you just leave there?

              You’re an advocate for a military coup. That’s fascism.

              FUCK YOU

              1. Andrew Watts

                Supporting candidates during the primary season with advise or foreign policy recommendations isn’t a military coup. Nor is it calling for a fascist takeover. You’ve misunderstood everything I’ve written from the beginning.

                1. bob

                  “I think that he’s being backed by significant factions of the Establishment. Specifically those within the US military and intelligence community. This is based upon previous statements uttered by Trump about the Middle East being destabilized, his comments about Putin/Russia, and now 9/11. ”

                  “Anyway, I can’t say I’m too enthusiastic about any of this. Nor am I inclined to name and shame the people I think are backing Trump, I support their goals at any rate … assuming I’m right about them.”

                  Did you say that?

                  1. Andrew Watts

                    Yes, but it is in the context of shared foreign policy goals. I’m not comfortable with anything that looks like the military undermining civilian leadership. However I don’t think these individuals have exceeded themselves by,

                    a) speaking to journalists like Hersh
                    b) sharing intelligence with foreign countries
                    c) advising political candidates on any of the above matters

      2. lindaj

        So it’s not fascism when the President has a “kill list” (which included American kids)? And even brags about his prowess at killing this way.

        Hedges is right about Sheldon Wolin’s inverted totalinarianism. “Wolin believes the democracy of the United States is sanitized of political participation, and describes it as managed democracy: “a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control”.[13] Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state through the continuous employment of public relations technique.”

        Lesser evilism promotes the lowest common denominator. And boy are we getting there.

        1. Andrew Watts

          So it’s not fascism when the President has a “kill list” (which included American kids)? And even brags about his prowess at killing this way.

          That isn’t an example of Trump or those supporting him. Some of the military officers who probably support Trump have come out against droning people. In any case that’s the imperial presidency at work. Where were you when UN sanctions were starving half a million Iraqi children and raising the generation that the Islamic State is now recruiting from?

          Hedges is right about Sheldon Wolin’s inverted totalinarianism. *SNIP*

          I’ve never really been impressed with Wolin. I prefer Bertram Gross and his book on Friendly Fascism. You wanna know the difference between the two? Gross didn’t believed that these factors were an inevitability and Wolin peddles the same apolitical bullsh– that is so common among the generation that grew up during the Vietnam war.

          Lesser evilism promotes the lowest common denominator. And boy are we getting there.

          Lesser evilism is an effective way of marginalizing the issues people care about. We’ll see how well that works with the supporters of Bernie Sanders.

        1. bob

          He’s advocating Fascism. Openly, with conjecture (his word) of a military coup. He won’t call it that, too few words for his busy little fingers.

          I’m speechless.

    4. VietnamVet

      I think this is correct. Amazingly, Donald Trump has made himself the leader of the disenfranchised American middle class, the military who are fighting Islamists and all those who hate Washington DC for what it did to them. New Hampshire gave the establishment their walking papers.

      The only explanation for the gigantic 21st century SNAFUs is that the western elite have split into competing camps. We are subject to full bore media propaganda with only fragments of reality slipping through such as NYT’s article on CIA’s support of anti-Assad rebels. Corporate media is rock solid on the side of the Saudi Israel alliance. Yet, the White House negotiated a nuclear deal with their arch enemy Iran. Also, the US military has a working agreement with Russia for the combat flights over Syria. Hundreds of thousands of troops are massing in Saudi Arabia for training. Turkey is shelling YPG Kurds, Americas ally against the Islamic State. The Syrian Arab Army with Russian assistance is about to cut the Islamic State supply line through Syria to Turkey. The question is can the West ally with Russia now to eliminate the jihadi threat and return the refugees home or will it green light the Turkish/Saudi invasion of Syria to carve out a new Sunni land and sever the Shiite Crescent.

      In the next year, we shall see if the establishment can stay in control in the midst of an economic depression; also, if Russia is drawn into a world war.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I wrote a different reply with some stuff about Sanders and lost it when accidentally closing my browser. The gist of it was Trump doesn’t have a monopoly on the formerly disenfranchised or the middle class.

        The question is can the West ally with Russia now to eliminate the jihadi threat and return the refugees home or will it green light the Turkish/Saudi invasion of Syria to carve out a new Sunni land and sever the Shiite Crescent.

        I don’t think Erdogan will invade but I cannot say that with any degree of confidence. He doesn’t appear to give a f— about what the Obama administration thinks or says. Russia might be different. The only good news is that Egypt and Jordan appear to be staying out of this clusterf—.

        What I do know for certain is that I’ve run out of expletive words to describe Syria. (ie; SNAFU, TARFUN, etc.) The next week or two will be interesting.

        1. bob

          Did you miss the memo about turkish troops in Norhern Iraq? Does news not reach the sandbox?

          “I don’t think Erdogan will invade”

          He’s already done it. Anything else to pull out of your ass today?

          1. Andrew Watts

            We were speaking of Syria, but I see you’re only interested in scoring rhetorical points.

            Good for you.

              1. Andrew Watts

                Turkey already had troops stationed there based upon historical agreements involving the shrine. In either case they didn’t stay nor did they come into armed conflict with Assad’s forces.

                You are an ill informed shill.

                …and your trolling is a waste of my time. Good day.

  25. MDBill

    Regarding: Trump would tax Carrier air conditioning units for moving to Mexico Reuters. An “exit fee,” if you will. Why not?

    Not that I’d credit Trump’s statement anymore than I would his other campaign rhetoric, but it’s ironic that American Marxist economics professor Richard Wolff has been promoting ideas such as this for quite some time.

    1. tegnost

      Trump would charge mexico for the Carrier move i’m sure of it “Who’s gonna pay for it!” Come to think of it, Trump is the closest we’ve come to a mexican politician that i can remember…and he’s the best the republicans have to offer…(other than hillary, who could switch parties and we’d have a more rational set of choices, but for all the acrimony).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In a chess, you have to anticipate your opponent’s moves…5 or 6 moves ahead.

      This is not an efficient move…probably just wasting more energy.

  26. ewmayer

    Re. Most romantic line in the English language revealed | Telegraph — wait, don’t tell me, let me guess: “Come vees me to zee Casbah.” (Awarded jointly to the 1938 film Algiers and the thence-inspired Pepe LePew cartoons.) What do I win? Oooh, I like it – a small, tasteful statuette of a she-cat with a stripe of white paint down her back. Nice!

    1. Cry Shop

      Agree. The crisis is now, and I don’t think she’d do much good in the court unless and until at least another judge dropped dead (and then if and only if the next president isn’t another neo-con/neo-liberal). Her opinions might make interesting reading on policy, but her control over the docket would be limited.

      The other issue is she is already 67/68 and has shown signs of aging in the last 4 years. It would be interesting to know the average life-span of her parents/grandparents.

  27. Lambert Strether Post author

    “Labor is credit personified.”

    I’m raising an eyebrow that nobody picked up on that. An interesting theoretical concept, surely?

    Rather like a tick saying “Humans are blood personified,” perhaps….. Or a vampire.

    1. Steve H.

      Man muss immer umkehren, ‘credit is labor personified,’ would seem to fit the categories better.

      Unless, of course, you’re thinking of giving your imaginary friend the status of legal personhood.

      Derp, I’m sorry I forgot, that’s what derivatives are, by the principle of jus prima sodomiticae.

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