Links 2/20/16

Mockingbird author Harper Lee dies BC

Umberto Eco, Italian Scholar and Novelist, Dies at 84 New York Times

Yosemite ‘firefall’ has hikers transfixed BBC (David L)

Male Sellers on eBay Have an Edge Over Women, Study Finds New York Times. Um, why used a gendered handle on eBay? The study did say they asked users to guess the gender of the seller where the name did not reveal gender, and they were correct a very high percent of the time. However, at least on the very few parts of eBay that I look at, the vendor pages are heavily decorated, and often in colors and typefaces that scream “female”. So a lot of vendors seem to find it necessary or desirable to reveal their gender. Nevertheless, the results part of a predictable and disheartening pattern.

North Korea’s Air Koryo: Why You Should Fly With the World’s Worst Airline Bloomberg (resilc)

All the Ways Humans Have Smuggled Drugs Inside Food Vice (resilc)

Cold-weather friends Economist. From December, but still germane. Looks to explain winter weight gain.

Argentine and Brazilian doctors name larvicide as potential cause of microcephaly GMWatch (guurst)

China?

Sensitive financial data ‘missing’ from central bank report on capital flowing out of China’s slowing economy South China Morning Post

Brexit?

Cameron: We’ve reached a deal with the EU CNN

Open Europe responds to UK-EU agreement Open Europe

Syraqistan

The Terrible Turks – Part Two Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

U.S. Spurns Turkey Demand to Cut Kurdish Ties After Bombing Bloomberg

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

US slams Apple CEO Tim Cook’s refusal in FBI standoff over terrorist iPhone Sydney Morning Herald. EM: “Good reader discussion.”

Preliminary thoughts on the Apple iPhone order in the San Bernardino case: Part 2, the All Writs Act Washington Post (guurst)

Apple: Terrorist’s Apple ID Password Changed In Government Custody, Blocking Access Buzzfeed

The iPhone in the San Bernardino was a work phone owned by the local gov. The local gov had a surveillance front door. They didn’t use it. @ csoghoian (guurst)

Trade Traitors

Lobby-occupied bureaucrats attempt to bypass the enormous popular opposition against ISDS failed evolution

2016

Political risk looks underpriced if stocks are a tracking poll Financial Times

When Will the GOP Defend Economic Patriotism? American Conservative (resilc)

Why Trump’s tiff with the Pope endangers his Political Future Juan Cole (resilc)

‘ANTICHRIST’: NY Daily News slams Trump for lashing out at Pope Francis in new cover Raw Story

Donald Trump Turns Ire on Apple, Calls for Boycott Intercept

Bad news for Ted Cruz: his eligibility for president is going to court Vox (resilc)

The Party Is Deciding On Rubio FiveThirtyEight

Superdelegates, Clarify Your Role New York Times. Editorial.

Hillary’s weakness: traditional & charismatic leaders attack her bureaucratic authority Fabius Maximus

Britney has a Hillary change of heart: Pop star meets Clinton in Nevada but then mysteriously deletes her endorsement Daily Mail (Li)

‘El Viejito’ for president: why Latinos in Nevada are switching to Bernie Sanders Guardian

Why Bernie’s Health Care Plan Is Very Realistic and Achieveable Alternet

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Erica Garner: ‘These cops are still killing us’ DW

Fannie Mae at risk of needing a bailout Financial Times (David L)

Trust Busting: The Effect of Fraud on Investor Behavior CorpGov

Look on my NIM, ye Mighty, and despair! FT Alphaville

The Stressed-Out Oil Industry Faces an Existential Crisis Bloomberg

Siding With Foreclosure Victim, California Court Exposes Law Enforcement Failure Dave Dayen, Intercept (Glenn F)

Class Warfare

Arbitration as Wealth Transfer American Constitution Society (concerned-citizen)

Drug Offenders in U.S. Prisons: An International Comparison Washington Monthly (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Sharon S: “A pair has lived on her lake for 20 years, raises a brood every summer, then chases them off when they mature.”

Swans links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly
Tweet about this on Twitter0Digg thisShare on Reddit0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Facebook0Share on LinkedIn0Share on Google+0Buffer this pageEmail this to someone

269 comments

      1. Lexington

        Putin is allegedly threatening the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Syria yet it is Recep Erdogan who is suffering from the “megalomania’?

        Says a lot about the caliber of the strategic thinking in much of the commentary about the crisis.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          How else would they stop a Turkish invasion? Unfortunately they destroyed the chemical weapons to avert a disastrous western invasion.

        2. timbers

          The reports are not clear. The Saker discussed it at length while adding he personally does not believe it is true but allows it’s possible.

          The specific quote from Robert Perry alleges Putin warned he would use tactical nukes to “save his troops in the face of Turkish-Saudi onslaught.” The article notes that the use of nukes has been threatened before on several occasions, I think only by the U.S.

          Given the reports of possible Russian nuke use are for a SPECIFIC instance and DEFENSIVE nature, I do not agree at all that this can be thought of as “megalomania” on Putin’s part. Here is Perry’s quote:

          “A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught.
          Since Turkey is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.”

          Given Turkey has downed Russian craft, I would Putin restrained.

          1. Cry Shop

            I’d like to see something more concrete about the threat from Putin, because he has re-stated the former Soviet position that Russia would not use nuclear weapons first. While such statements are not worth a great deal, at least he (and the former Soviets) have made them and instituted procedures to make it so. The US has refused to remove the threat of first strike, and threatened nuclear use not only against other nuclear powers, but even against non-nuclear powers (then non-nuclear China over a planned invasion of Kinmen Islands/Formasa, and North Vietnam). That and the US has used them twice against an already defeated in all but name Japan.

            Disregarding North Korea’s developing threat, China is the only other extant Nuclear power besides the USA I know of that threaten first strike use of Nuclear Weapons — in their case against the Soviet Union, in hope of preventing them from supporting Vietnam in the 2nd Sino-Vietnam war). BTW, this is something to bear in mind with the jockeying over the South China Seas, two nuclear powers whom are quite at home with the idea of first strike with nuclear weapons.

  1. YankeeFrank

    The Apple iphone FBI fight is an obvious trojan horse for government domination of tech industry encryption. What’s ridiculous is that the govt already has access to all complete text messages, emails and phone call “metadata” sent to and from the phone so they know everyone who he communicated with using that phone, and in many cases what was said. So what do they possibly hope to get from breaking the phone’s encryption except legalized destruction of encryption.

    1. Pavel

      The FBI, CIA, NSA and the other TLAs better watch what they wish for. If their total surveillance ever becomes too obvious people may just ditch their various iSpy devices and go back to (gasp!) landlines, if they continue to exist.

      I am slowly de-wiring myself (simple Nokia dumbphone, leaving devices at home when I am about on the street) and it is not so strangely exhilarating. I managed to live 40 or so years without being contacted 24/7/365 and I guess I can carry on for another 10 or 20.

      Of course as others have noted, this is a big problem for US Tech Inc… if they cave in to the FBI etc then other non-USA companies may offer more secure devices. Presumably these would then be banned in the Home of the Free so I guess it’s all OK.

      1. fresno dan

        Right on!

        http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/is-law-enforcement-crying-wolf-about-the-dangers-of-locked-phones/470055/
        “The final point to bear in mind is how little Americans will benefit if the FBI gets its way here. If iPhones are easy for the FBI to breach, the next San Bernardino shooter won’t just leave theirs on a table, blowing their whole network after an attack. They’ll abandon the iPhone, so that only non-terrorists are vulnerable to having their security breached; they’ll use less mainstream tools to encrypt their data; or they’ll “go dark” the old-fashioned way, by dropping their phone off a boat or tossing it off a bridge or pouring gasoline over the device and lighting a match.

        All but the dumbest murderers and terrorists will adapt. And Americans will be left with dramatically less secure devices in exchange for infinitesimally more security. If these are the FBI’s best examples, bad guys “going dark” is a less-costly phenomenon than I had imagined.”
        ======================================

        There is far, far, far more information available to authorities than ever before….yet despite the trillions spent, they still fail.
        Ask your self this: Considering the background of the bride, and travel history of the groom, where exactly is the investigation on whether the FBI and CIA failed to detect an obvious threat? Or on the other hand, it is simply an impossible task to pre-determine terrorists? And spending resources after an attack is highly unlikely to reveal any information useful in preventing future attacks?
        If we continue to believe security theater is a good use of resources, and MAKE IT APPEAR terrorism is a much bigger problem that it is, we allow ourselves to be terrorized.

        Just like the French underground in WWII, most clandestine organizations know how to communicate so as not to reveal the location or identities of members. And again, most of the communication, even if uncoded, will still be written in a cryptic manner that will be meaningless to anyone not part of the organization.

        ======================================
        Apple: Terrorist’s Apple ID Password Changed In Government Custody, Blocking Access Buzzfeed
        “The Apple ID password linked to the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists was changed less than 24 hours after the government took possession of the device, senior Apple executives said Friday. If that hadn’t happened, Apple said, a backup of the information the government was seeking may have been accessible.”
        ======================================

        What the above reminds me of is all the instances of electronic devices that capture evidence of police misconduct suddenly “malfunctioning” or becoming “lost”
        So how did that happen that the password got changed? Who changed it? Why did they change it? Are there terrorists in the FBI???? One thing you can bet your bottom dollar on – when there are important questions regarding the scruples of the FBI, they don’t get followed up on.

      2. Lexington

        The FBI, CIA, NSA and the other TLAs better watch what they wish for. If their total surveillance ever becomes too obvious people may just ditch their various iSpy devices and go back to (gasp!) landlines, if they continue to exist.

        But they won’t.

        There probably isn’t a good business case for maintaining the legacy landline infrastructure since it is complex and expensive and has an ever diminishing number of paying users. But even if there was the infrastructure is subject to heavy public regulation and the TPTB will regulate it out of existence, because the universal surveillance enabled by smartphone technology is far too valuable to permit individuals to “opt out”. In the future the reality of universal surveillance will create the context for all political participation. People will routinely engage in self censorship in order to avoid coming to the attention of the authorities. The political utility of such self policing is far too great to allow it to be subverted by giving individuals the option to adopt obsolete technologies. Indeed the willingness of people to accept the inconvenience of old technology in order to evade surveillance is itself proof of their culpability and justification for eliminating such alternatives. Because if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to to fear.

        I am also dubious about the future viability of dumbphones. Although producing dumbphones has low barriers to entry it is a simple matter for service providers, acting as gatekeepers to the cell networks, to declare them technically incompatible with their networks and deny service.

        1. Gio Bruno

          So called “dumb phones” provide the same meta data to the NSA as smart phones. (They’re both part of the cell network.) They just get better location data with the GPS receiver in the smart phone. If you leave out the gigabytes of storage on the micro-card and get rid of some of the apps, the smart phone gets dumb fast.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Not at all true, at least if you have a phone as dumb as mine (vintage 2003, and I have an identical second version of the same that is unused, but this has run a decade like a champ, just needed one battery replacement).

            First, if you are in an urban area, the cell phone tower triangulation is reliable enough to be used in court ONLY when you are on the phone. That may be true in less dense areas too; the one case I saw where dumb phone tracking (on calls only) was insufficient to nail where an alleged perp was in a city.

            Second, dumb phones don’t rat you out when turned off, while smart phones do. I can confirm that via how unimaginably long it takes my phone to find the signal again once it has lost it (as in I will be back in a zone which I know has signal, but my dumb phone will take at least a minute before it is connected again to the grid).

            Third and most important, dumb phones don’t have other interesting information on them. Snowden has revealed how much the surveillance state can suck out of your smart phone, and even that it can turn it on and listen when you think you’ve turned it off (GHC can do this, which means the NSA can do it)(. They can get your contacts, your recent surfing, your recent searches (which might let them know what/where you will go next).

            I don’t SMS on my dumb phone. I don’t keep any phone numbers in it. All they can get are what it keeps by default, which is the last 10 numbers dialed, received, and missed. Not a lot you can do with that.

        2. Pavel

          Sadly I fear you are all too correct.

          And of course the move towards the “cashless” society is part of this intrusiveness and loss of anonymity. Already in London one cannot buy a ticket on the bus with cash — one must purchase at a minimum a pre-paid “Oyster” card. For the time being this can be done anonymously with cash, but they urge passengers to register it. Many if not most people use credit cards, and on the tube all trips are logged. Similarly, of course, one’s location is tracked by cellphone towers.

          One can leave them at home, until TPTB start insisting on an implantable chip.

        3. Cry Shop

          Nokia, land lines, your TV set, practically every item with a smart chip in it of some type has been compromised.

          To Protect and Infect

          The NSA has back-doors on practically every chip set of import, done without the OEM’s knowledge, just takes on programmer on the take, or careless with their security, for the NSA to slip it into the source code. The clip above by Jacob Applebaum makes it clear how wide spread it is. Snowden would have never made it if he had started today.

          The issue that’s been constraining the NSA is computing power and storage; there is simply too much information that they can’t process. The French Paris attack was done on completely un-encrypted phones, done in Europe where the NSA is suppose to be working (rather than in the USA, where it is not – remember the agreement with the Brits, where their NSA equivalent spied on Americans in return for the USA helping them?). I’m sure the NSA is happy to have the FBI playing the bad guy to make their life a tab bit easier, but the NSA probably already had back-doors; which they don’t want to disclose. Even if the FBI wins, it won’t help the NSA with their basic problem of sieving the data they already got. They probably hope the FBI fail because then the NSA can ask for even more funding.

            1. Cry Shop

              The copper wire goes directly into a utility owned switchgear which has an analog to digital converter, there are no direct analog to analog public utility phone transmissions anywhere in the USA, nearly all signals, even cellphone signals, at some point also go over optical fibre. Copper is reserved for the nominal “last mile” in areas where it’s “expensive” to make direct fibre connections and the phone company has a barrier to making a profit for providing the service. If you have anything faster than ISDN to your house/apartment from your phone company, then odds are good the optical fibre connection is very close indeed, if not directly to your wall socket.

              Separatly, It’s even possible to use most modern touch-tone phones as listening devices, even while on the cradle. Only old Ma-Bell rotary pulse and transistor based (non-integrated circuit) touch tone phones are safe from this point, that is if they have not be altered** by hard wiring.

              **Try to call those old movies where the spy would stick a pencil to hold the rotary dial phone onto a number, the idea being grounding the phone to send out one long pulse would render the microphone on the receiver useless for spying to non-phone conversations. In theory with current advanced signal processing, even this trick is useless.

            2. Cry Shop

              FYI, the history of the non-ic and then ic chip set development for touch-tone phones.

              Something smaller, more powerful and probably with a lot more built in, undisclosed functionality is what you’ll have in your phone if it was built in the last 25 years.

              Same thing with your icebox, tv, etc. Even if you don’t have wifi, your neighbors do, so it’s very likely anything modern could be on the net. This point is raised later in Applebaum’s presentation (linked in first comment).

  2. Christopher Fay

    Not to excuse Apple, but the central government has been after that company for a while. They see that big pile of overseas cash, and Apple hasn’t been sharing. They haven’t been playing the game of hiring ex-congressional pols as lobbyists and haven’t been donatin’. Plus, forget the little people, anything that stands up must be struck down.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      *Sigh*

      The government may be upset about Apple for a lot of things, but the tax gaming isn’t one of them. Big Pharma and all the big tech cos do it. Do you see the USG hell bent for leather after GE, which pays even less in taxes as a % of profit than Apple?

      And that is not cash sitting overseas. It’s book profit. The cash is sitting in US banks, and Apple manages it as an internal hedge fund out of Nevada.

  3. DakotabornKansan

    TANSTAAFL

    Democratic Georgia Congressman John Lewis, “I think it’s very misleading to say to the American people, we’re going to give you something free. Education is not free. Health care is not free. Food is not free. Water is not free,” does Goldman Sachs. http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/talks-at-gs/john-lewis.html

    Democratic South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, “I do not believe there are any free lunches,” explaining why he endorsed Hillary Clinton.

    That’s dinkum thinkum!

    “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” – slogan of a revolt by lunar colonists against their earthly overlords, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein

    Au contraire!

    There are free lunches in Kansas.

    “On a nearly daily basis during the session, lawmakers have access to lunches paid for by trade associations or lobbyists. The lunch sponsor is routinely announced on the House floor just before the break. There are also frequent lobbying receptions held in the evenings, where legislators eat and drink for free.” http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article44382441.html

    And there are the increases in free school lunches for children in Kansas, which likes to call itself the nation’s breadbasket, that are related to increasing poverty rates.

    Some kids’ families can’t afford to feed them enough at home, so they get a free lunch at school. Kansas’ 6.5% state tax (the highest in the nation) and additional county and city taxes (bringing the total tax to as high as 10.5% in some areas) on groceries puts an unfair burden on low income families. Kansas is one of only fourteen states that includes groceries in the state sales tax base and one of only seven that taxes them at the full retail sales tax rate.

    Superintendents from six of the state’s largest school districts, appearing before a joint meeting of the Kansas House and Senate education committees, cited poverty as a major concern for their schools. The Kansas Food Bank has almost 7,000 students on its weekend backpack (donated food to ensure the children will have something to eat until they return to class on Monday) list.

    Many, of course, argue that taxpayers shouldn’t subsidize free school lunches (TANSTAAFL).

    1. Benedict@Large

      It’s important for the proles to believe that there are no free lunches; that they simply have to work harder for their overlords for their extra crumbs. But of course, as MMT shows us, there are many free lunches, and all the proles need is for Congress to vote for them.

      BUT, while the number of free lunches is limited, we don’t know exactly what that limit is (until we at least start to get close), and so the free lunches must be saved up (and kept from the proles) for things like Wall Street bailouts, insurance company bailouts (i.e., ObamaCare), the military industrial complex, and Hillary’s latest eye shine, Israel.

      In fact, TANSTAAFL is the biggest piece of class warfare that Washington has invented. Invented to keep the proles at bay; slaving, while the pigs squeal, and try to fit their hind trotters into the trough too.

      1. jgordon

        This idea of free lunches from MMT. Someone has to connect this to the environment at some point. Sure for a while you can squeeze “free” lunches out of the system by gluttonously consuming non-renewable resources and dumping pollution into the environment willynilly (thus reducing the financial costs of running an industrial economy below the threshold where it would collapse), but that system only lasts as long as mother nature’s cookie jar isn’t completely raided yet.

        This desperate and frenetic credit expansion to enable economic growth will only end in destruction as the environment is completely looted to feed it.

        1. Foy

          Yep, that is the problem part of governments being resource constrained not financially constrained per MMT. I agree with MMT theory and how money and deficits work but it doesn’t solve the limits to growth problem which is the bigger issue as for example our fisheries and oceans are finding out.

          If MMT is used to continue exponential economic growth, the resource limit wall is still going to be hit.

          1. jgordon

            That’s why I’m looking more and more favorably on a gold standard, or even bitcoins for that matter; not because they enable unlimited economic growth, but because they restrict. And that is exactly what we need for long term survival.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Little People get some free lunches.

        But no Free Money.

        They must simply work harder for their overlords for extra money.

        But their overlords get free money or its equivalent.

        With one exception.

        If you’re poor, you get some free money.

        So, for the Little People, no free money, unless you’re poor (by their legal definition, so many are in fact poor, but don’t qualify).

        It’s only right, and would be cruel if otherwise, that those who are legally poor should receive free money, but it should not be that a citizen, a taxpayer, doesn’t get free money unless he/she is legally poor or disabled.

      3. samhill

        The poor must be paid little, kept hungry and managed sternly so they’ll be driven, otherwise they will slack off and society will fall apart, white color executives must be highly rewarded, kept comfortable, and feel appreciated otherwise they won’t put in their best effort and society will fall apart. Oh cruel fate.

        1. LifelongLib

          You can tell where you stand on the socioeconomic scale by whether people think you’re encouraged to work harder by being paid more or being paid less.

    2. Pavel

      @DakotaBornKansan

      kudos for ‘TANSTAAFL’ and the Heinlein reference. I read his earlier (quasi-cold war) sci-fi in my teens, e.g. “Have Spacesuit Will Travel” and then the later works (Stranger in a Strange Land and TMIAHM).

      I note with interest that the Wiki article on Heinlein cites the middle period work as libertarian:

      From about 1961 (Stranger in a Strange Land) to 1973 (Time Enough for Love), Heinlein explored some of his most important themes, such as individualism, libertarianism, and free expression of physical and emotional love. Three novels from this period, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and Time Enough for Love, won the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, designed to honor classic libertarian fiction.[51] Jeff Riggenbach described The Moon is a Harsh Mistress as “unquestionably one of the three or four most influential libertarian novels of the last century”.[52]

      Heinlein did not publish Stranger in a Strange Land until some time after it was written, and the themes of free love and radical individualism are prominently featured in his long-unpublished first novel, For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs.

      The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress tells of a war of independence waged by the Lunar penal colonies, with significant comments from a major character, Professor La Paz, regarding the threat posed by government to individual freedom.

      Whatever one thinks of libertarians, some great writing there, and TMIAHM is a masterpiece of sci-fi.

      Thanks again for the memories :)

    3. Lexington

      The whole “free lunch” thing is a red herring.

      The lunches aren’t free, they are paid for through taxation.

      The attack on “free lunches” is in reality an attack on redistributive taxation.

      Clarifying the terms of the debate would go a long way to enhancing the quality of political discourse, but of course that’s the opposite of what opponents of “free lunches” are trying to achieve. The majority of the electorate will support taxing the wealthy to fund social programs, since the majority are not themselves wealthy and will stand to benefit. Far better to exploit peoples’ inherent sense of fairmindedness but framing the debate as undeserving individuals getting a benefit on the backs of others – say, ordinary, hardworking Americans.

      And if you can somehow work in the implication that those undeserving individuals have the wrong skin colour…

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Repeat after me: Taxes do not fund spending, at least at the Federal level.

        Taxes serve to:

        1. Control inflation

        2. Provide incentives

        3. Correct for externalities (use taxes to more closely achieve the true social cost of producing/selling a good or service)

        4. As you indicate, redistribute income

        1. Vatch

          This is only true if one includes the clarification that when money is provided to the monetarily sovereign government, that money is destroyed. And every time the money is spent by that government, the money is created. With that clarification, yes, I agree that taxes do not fund federal government spending.

          Some of us find that sort of reasoning to be somewhat akin to some of the more arcane metaphysical doctrines, such as occasionalism. I, and some other like minded people, agree that when the government increases the money supply by spending the money into existence, it is funding itself without taxation. But we also believe that since the government usually spends tax money immediately, it is overly complex (and probably incorrect) to claim that the money is destroyed and immediately spent back into existence. Taxes fund a significant portion of the U.S. federal government. The yearly deficit is the amount of federal government operations that is not funded by taxation, but rather is funded by the creation of money.

          1. LifelongLib

            I’d say your formulation reinforces a false connection between taxes and spending though. A monetarily sovereign government can spend any amount without taxing or borrowing. Taxing and borrowing are used for other purposes (controlling inflation, providing a “safe” way to earn interest). It’s actually more accurate (and simpler) to view spending, taxing, and borrowing as separate operations that for various reasons have to be somewhat coordinated.

            1. Vatch

              So long as MMT adherents make the clarification that government income = monetary destruction, and government monetary outflow = monetary creation, I don’t have a problem, even though I think those equations are unnecessarily complex. But that clarification must be present in any statement saying that taxes don’t fund government; if it’s not, I’ll argue.

              And even if taxes don’t fund government, guess what would happen to government operations if everyone in the U.S. stopped paying their taxes? Government operations would be reduced significantly, and there would be runaway inflation. Of course, this is number 1 on Yves’s list, but there’s more to controlling inflation that just controlling inflation. Controlling inflation also makes it possible for government to operate.

        2. different clue

          This continues to strike me as Magical Monetary Thinking. And I continue to reject it. And arguments from authority or credentialed position will simply harden my rejection.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            All you have done with that statement is prove that you are intellectually lazy. Modern Monetary Theory is not “argument from authority”. It describes OPERATIONALLY how money and taxation work in a fiat currency.

    4. makedoanmend

      Ah, Senators – time to do government 101. Democracy. Work. Reasonable jobs. Reasonable pay. Reasonable Tax. We work, we pay. We get generic services that work for everyone and the economy.

      Senators dole out favours. In Europe “rural” land owners get cash-in-hand subsidies for being, get this, land owners. Corporations get “tax breaks” and subsidies in an increasing number of “sensitive” industries. Banks get bailed out. Bond holders get bailed out.

      Corruption costs in most economies have become incalculable.

      Yes, Dorothy, there are free lunches. For the rich and the bent. Ever bendier and indistinguishable.

      Hey, look over there, there’s a yellow tuna dancing with Farrah Fawcett’s red corvette.

      Distortion become scientific.

      Peek aboo, I see you.

    5. Vatch

      “Retired” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia got free stuff from the hunting lodge where he died! Hillary Clinton got lots and lots of free money from big banks such as Goldman Sachs. There’s plenty of free stuff out there for corrupt public officials.

    6. David

      Tanstaafl? TITSTAAFL YATOGI. There is too such thing as a free lunch but you ain’t the one getting it.

  4. Tony S

    I wonder if we’ve seen Trump’s peak.

    As long as he was a novelty, his shoot-from-the-hip style and willingness to challenge Republican sacred cows was a nice, refreshing shock to politics-as-usual, and his poll numbers reflected the GOP electorate’s receptiveness to establishment-bashing. But now he just seems to be lashing out randomly, picking fights where his chances of winning the rhetorical war are slim and risk alienating more voters than he attracts. It looks childish and unbecoming of a putative world leader, and doesn’t bode well for expanding his base beyond what he has now. His whining about Ted Cruz’ attack ads made him look like a spoiled brat.

    There are also other issues — does Trump know anything about actually running a campaign? Putting together a ground game, handling day-to-day logistics, stuff like that? He’s been riding on free media up to this point, and while that has been an enormous help to his candidacy, it’s not going to be sufficient to put him in the White House.

    I think that once the non-Trump vote coalesces behind one candidate, Trump will start losing, and losing big. And that worries me, because Trump actually scares me less than any of the “traditional” candidates the GOP is foisting out there. As much as I hate to admit it, Trumps’ candidacy has been a net positive for America, shedding light on issues the DC establishment would really rather not talk about. But I think his hubris will be his ultimate undoing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The impression, or one of the impressions, Big People want to last is that anyone taking on Bush ,and our going into Iraq, is unhinged, at best.

      1. knowbuddhau

        That’s right: the Kissingerian take would be that the legitimacy of our wars must never be questioned.

        Why Not Being Friends with Henry Kissinger Matters

        In 2009, Clinton and Kissinger were interviewed together by Jon Meacham for Newsweek. Aside from the moments in which she appeared to flatter Kissinger, what is more troublesome is how she approved of Kissinger’s view of war.

        “I would say the special experience of American wartime policy in the last 40 years, from Vietnam on, is that the war itself became controversial in the country and that the most important thing we need in the current situation is, whatever disagreements there may be on tactics, that the legitimacy of the war itself does not become a subject of controversy. We have to start with the assumption, obviously, that whatever administration is conducting a war wants to end it,” Kissinger argued.

        Clinton said, “Right.”

        Nobody has more at stake than the administration in office,” Kissinger continued. “But if you look at the debates we had on Vietnam, Iraq, and so forth, ending the war became defined as the withdrawal of forces and as the primary if not the exclusive exit strategy. But in fact the best exit strategy is victory. Another is diplomacy. Another is the war just dying out.”

        “But if you identify exit with withdrawal of American forces, you neglect the political objective,” Kissinger maintained. “In such circumstances, you trap yourself in a position in which the administration in office gets assaulted for insufficient dedication to ending the war, [and] it has to do things that can be against its better judgment. We often found ourselves there.

        Later, Kissinger stated, “The debate ought to be in that framework and not, do we want to end the war? How quickly can we end the war? I take it for granted that the administration wants to end it as quickly as is at all possible. Why would they not?”

        Right, those poor administration officials have so much more at stake than say, the people in whose land the war is waged, or those who mistakenly wage it. Death, dismemberment, PTSD, the rape of the land are nothing compared to losing office. /s

        Such banality of evil. So hubris.

        So brave of HRC to ask the obvious: but what if we just make up the causus belli? After all, we all know there was no Gulf of Tonkin “incident,” no WMDs in Iraq, no imminent massacre in Libya, etc. What if, in fact, it is illegit and the people are right to question us, the warmongers? Heresy! Crimethink! Unserious!

        1. Gio Bruno

          Yes. The warmongering can never stop. It’s needed to maintain the powerful military and to keep the war criminals from ever being jailed for war crimes.

    2. jgordon

      Don’t worry; every time someone calls a peak on Trump his popularity goes up again. So most likely by saying that Trump has hit his peak, you’ve dramatically decreased the likelihood that your fear will come true.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If he goes after Supreme Court’s corporate personhood, he will for sure get even more popular, well with some who care about that sort of things.

        1. jgordon

          I just saw a story that said that Trump spoke favorably of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood. If true I can only imagine the horror from those who are mistaken about the mood in the United States as Trump’s popularity soars again. There is a previously untapped thirst for violence and destruction in American politics that Trump is gleefully catering too. And being familiar with those feelings myself, I can’t say it’s unlikely that Trump will become president in 2017–especially if the Dems are foolish enough to give the nomination to Hillary.

          1. Lexington

            I just saw a story that said that Trump spoke favorably of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood

            Not sure that even makes sense.

            Muslim dietary laws prohibit the consumption of pork or blood, but I doubt there is anything about being shot with a bullet containing pig’s blood.

            Though I admit that might just be a bit too subtle a distinction for Trump. I can’t stand to watch or listen to the guy but I get the distinct impression he doesn’t do subtle.

            1. jgordon

              You’re right. But subtlety also escapes the overwhelming majority of American voters. If you ask most real people about Trump they’ll speak favorably of the fact that he’s honest and doesn’t try to speak over their heads–even if they hate him. Just go outside and talk to a few people. You’ll hear it.

            2. different clue

              It would also be too subtle a distinction for Muslims, who are smart enough to know what Trump means to imply; and who are not impressed by the prolix verbosity of intellectual subtle-ization and nuancification.

          2. Sam Adams

            Didn’t the British try the pigs blood on gun cartridges in India? That didn’t end very well. So the USA is set to repeat it? Makes sense.

            1. James Levy

              It was, the rumor ran, pigs fat (or, in Hindu regiments, cow fat) that supposedly greased Minie rifle bullets and was one precipitating factor in the Sepoy Rebellion (which the politically correct no longer call it, but that’s what it initially and primarily was, a mutiny of local troops who became convinced they were being desecrated by handling the new weapons they had been issued and were top of the line at that time).

            1. HotFlash

              Well thanks for the link (I think…) and dog my cats. I already live in Canada, but if Trump gets elected I may have to move to Russia.

          1. jgordon

            And quite contrary to most sensible folk’s expectations, I’m honestly confident that this will help him.

  5. Christopher Fay

    Okay, so let’s start coalescing around Bernie, come on people now, not that he’s a savior but at least he’s honest.

    1. Tony S

      Bernie’s much like Trump, in the sense that he’s anti-establishment, brings up issues the beltway insiders would much rather sweep under the rug, and has mounted a campaign that’s been far more successful (so far) than expected. Of course, Bernie’s proposed solutions to our problems tap into Americans’ best instincts, rather than their worst (as Trump does). I don’t know how “mature” a society we are that Bernie’s approach would work electorally, but we can’t afford not to try. The alternatives in both parties are just going to drive our country over the cliff.

      My fear is that while Bernie’s been steadily trending upward, the last 10% of a polling deficit is much, much harder to overcome than the first 50%. The closer you get to the top of the hill, the steeper the hill gets. I’m not sure Bernie has enough time to get over the hump, especially after what will probably be a bad narrative after South Carolina/Super Tuesday. Then again, this election cycle has been far from predictable…

      1. Antifa

        The FBI is taking her email security clearance breaches seriously enough that they’ve assigned over 100 agents to her case full time. The retired head of the Defense Intelligence Agency has publicly expressed his opinion that, having seen the evidence against her, NOW is the time for her to drop out of the race for the nomination and Oval Office.

        Hillary may get a bit ahead of Bernie after Super Tuesday, but that’s also when the dooky starts hitting the fan on her criminal case. She is either going to be “out of town” for a few years, or sitting in the Oval Office with no security clearance whatsoever. Her Cabinet will be allowed to discuss the weather with her. Not much else.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          If she becomes President, the Republican controlled Congress will restore the Sergeant at Arms to its old glory to avoid dealing with the DoJ. They can hire their own police to arrest anyone who doesn’t comply with their subpoenas if they wish. Can you imagine the first gentleman being grilled about plane rides with an admitted child rapist? “Mr. Clinton, the flight record lists an unnamed woman passenger. How often, do do you think she was?”

        2. Tony S

          You may be right, but I perceive Bernie’s ascent as being more due to the appeal of his economic message (which hasn’t been articulated by either major party in decades), rather than Hillary’s email issues. Hillary’s base voters and Dem beltway insiders seem to have a remarkable ability to gloss over this scandal (while blithely insisting that Bernie’s not “electable”).

          One wonders if they really are trying to throw this election, because I don’t see a scandal-riddled Hillary, acting as an agent to continue the policies of an iconic but ineffective and not-very-popular President, as a candidate who can win the general, even against a monster like Ted Cruz.

          The Dems are banking on identiy politics to save the day, Worked great in 2014. (The fact that after the 2014 debacle they made no changes in the DNC apparatus speaks volumes.)

          1. neo-realist

            If Hillary survives the primary with the help of super-delegates and faces off against Cruz, I think she can beat a Cruz—pitchfork conservatives generally don’t win national elections—Goldwater, Wallace, California Governor Reagan of the 60’s and 70’s as opposed to America’s good natured well meaning Grandpa from the 80’s—they scare the moderates.

            But I don’t believe she can beat the more nuanced, more moderate appearing republicans like Jeb, Rubio, or possibly Kasich, who, when you get down to the nitty gritty of their policies, aren’t all that different from Cruz, but are much more smooth in their rhetoric when selling their conservatism.

            1. jgordon

              You are going to be blind-sided by Trump because you do not understand the American people. You’ve allowed wishful thinking and hope to overwhelm your powers of discernment.

              The American people Do. Not. Want. nuanced. They want blood and guts. Look at how well the nuanced candidates did tonight in South Carolina for an example of how the rest of the election season will be unfolding.

              1. neo-realist

                I mistakenly omitted Trump as one who could also beat Hillary—-populist stuff in that paper napkin off the cuff platform in addition to the “keep those brown skinned people out of the country” line that appeals to the mob. I don’t doubt Trump’s chances assuming the GOP let their voters decide rather than the moneyed elites.

                1. jgordon

                  Oh ok. I’ve seen some venues deliberately pretending that Trump doesn’t exist in their election coverage. This kind of childish behavior is really annoying. Glad It wasn’t the case here.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            If it wasn’t Hillary, what Democrat could run in her place as a corporate mascot? Mark Warner? One of the other Iraq War supporters? One of the TPP supporters? If the Democrats had done better in 2014, plenty of Democrats would have dipped their foot in the water, but the electorate is not friendly.

            Part of Hillary’s strength is nostalgia and her supporters can blame Obama for her bad actions as Secretary of State. Fault for Libya, Syria, and so forth ultimately rests with Obama who had no foreign policy experience unlike Hillary.

            Could you imagine a non celebrity version of Hillary who had to face voters and couldn’t engineer the questions of journalists? She was terrible at the town hall two nights ago especially when confronted with questions from the crowd.

            Hillary having to wear a pantsuit in a man’s world protects her from criticism of her foreign policy views which reveal she is nuts, but her supporters cry sexism because of her celebrity. A random elected woman would not receive the same defense.

            Random New Hampshire resident: “Senator Warner, why did you vote with Republicans to kill cap and trade in 2009?”
            Senator Warner: “cell phones”

            The Democrats have no accomplishments since ACA which is unfolding disaster for a number of reasons. What are their causes? They have none. Team Blue needs Hillary, or they would be forced into a progressive platform or laughed at.

            1. different clue

              Joe Biden would run in her place. The DemP establishment is watching to see if Hillary can eliminate Sanders fairly soon. If she can’t, they will panic and find someone else who they think can. The form their panic will take will be to unload a mudslide of email stuffage on Hillary and the Hillary campaign.

              Colonel Lang has written a number of posts about the deep criminality of various Hillary e-mail actions. He has also noted that the leaks contain the sort of detail that would come from disgruntled law-enforcement people well below the political echelons. He theorizes that the law enforcement people think Obama and the establishment want to make “emailgate” go away, and they have tried to leak enough poisonous detail to prevent Obama and the establishment from suppressing and short-circuiting the legal process.

              Given that, if Hillary can’t eliminate Sanders fast, the Dparty establishment will want to do a head transplant. Biden has the most logical head to bolt onto the FrannkenCandidate’s body.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                They already floated the Biden trial balloon. The guy has been known the wrong side of too many votes and isn’t a celebrity candidate in the realm of Hillary. Iraq, the bankruptcy act, the patriot act, repealing glass-steagall, free trade agreements, and carrying water for the credit card industry. Also, the casual racism is a problem, and this leaves no Democrat who can carry the corporate banner.

                It’s why he only drew support from Hillary and not Sanders.

    2. vidimi

      i’ve never been as excited about a political candidacy as i am about sanders, and i’m not even american. he’s far from ideologically perfect, but i’m starting to think that he’s the perfect candidate for the system in place. he knows how to pick his battles and would get far more done than somebody like, say, jeremy corbin, who is to his left.

      1. Benedict@Large

        +1

        I’ve not always agreed with Bernie’s choice of battles, nor how he’s chosen to fight them, but yes, he is selective, and once he choses, he’s all in.

      2. Banana Breakfast

        In Corbyn’s defense, he’s out of government until at least 2020, barring some truly seismic upheavals in UK politics, so “getting things done” isn’t really on the table. But he’s doing a great job of moving the Overton window, and he has time and, it seems, a plan for at least some structural overhaul of the Labour Party’s organization. Those are very valuable services, and if he and his allies are successful in them another, more forceful and politically astute successor may be able to take the PM spot at the end of the decade.

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      Exactly. He’s honest and he’s on the side of the workingman/workingwoman. Funny how simple the choice gets when we’re drowning in corruption.

      Now I hear people say, “Riiiiiiight. Just like Obama was supposed to be on our side and he turned out to be a neoliberal scumbag just like all the rest.” Yes, Campaigner Obama was a liar. And I was skeptical of him — he sounded like a bible banging preacher to me.

      But Bernie’s campaign speeches are exactly what he has been railing against for 30 years. It’s no act. Go Bernie!!

      1. diptherio

        I don’t pay any attention to campaign rhetoric. Why would we, after all the broken promises? Nope, I just look at the money. Obama’s top donors in ’08 were all Wall Street firms – that’s how I knew he would be awful (and I was right). Bernie’s top contributors are all unions and most of his dough is coming from small donors. That’s why Bernie is not Obama. Follow the money – always.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          I saw a story yesterday that Wasserman-Schultz just reopened the DNC to receive Super-Pac Money. Speaks volumes about the Dem Party and how far they have fallen into the pit.

          1. RUKidding

            Agree, but the DLC fell into that pit a long long time ago. Really just NeoCon/NeoLibs on the corporate payola – just LIKE the R-Team – except a tad more erudite and not so shouty… and once in a blue moon *may* do something incremental that benefits the proles in a more liberalish way. IOW, buncha parasitic scum.

        2. Carolinian

          I’ve about decided that Bernie’s greatest virtue is that he’s not nuts. Yesterday’s discussion about crackpot realism (crackpotism?) could apply to our entire political circus. Trump occasionally breaks through with common sense pronouncements but who knows what he really believes. Sanders greatest asset may be truth in packaging.

        3. GlobalMisanthrope

          Exactly!

          I held my nose and voted for Obama in ’08, but, despite his telling some whoppers on the trail, I have always found the Obama-let-us-down trope more than a tad disingenuous. As Adolph Reed points out, Obama’s actual record—however minimal it was—did not support the widely held notion that he was a progressive.

          Plus the money.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            A good marketing person doesn’t say everything.

            He/She lets the buyer fill in the void with the desired imagination.

            And a good liar is one who has not been caught. In that sense, Hillary is not even a top liar.

      2. vidimi

        more importantly, follow the money. bernie isn’t breaking record wall street contributions and appointing the people who caused the crisis to key positions.

      3. Jeff W

        “Riiiiiiight. Just like Obama was supposed to be on our side and he turned out to be a neoliberal scumbag just like all the rest.”

        Political scientist Adolph Reed, Jr. pegged Obama as a “vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal” in 1996. In 2006, Obama was the only U.S. Senator to attend the first meeting of former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin’s meeting of the Hamilton Project, a neoliberal think tank at the Brookings Institute. (Both these have been mentioned on NC.) Any cursory examination of Obama’s campaign rhetoric and his positions from 2007–2008 would have revealed the same—it was not a mystery at the time. (I myself refused, in 2008, to put an Obama bumper sticker on my car, telling the friend who gave it to me, whose spouse was active in the campaign, “The guy’s a freakin’ conservative!”) If people think Obama “was supposed to be on our side,” just like the countless people who say they are “disappointed” in him, it’s not clear what they’re basing that on, other than their own fantastical projections.

        Bernie Sanders has been saying the same thing for over 40 years and, however one wants to characterize it, it is not neoliberalism. There is no comparison between his political positions or his campaign rhetoric and that of Obama.

          1. Jeff W

            Ha, yeah!

            I’ve never found that Obama-let-us-down trope disingenuous so much as people (1) are still clueless as to what the guy’s readily-ascertainable actual positions and beliefs were in 2008 (and still are)—in all likelihood, some of these are the same people who, this election year, will believe that Hillary Clinton is a progressive—or (2) prefer to believe that they were misled rather than admit that they were clueless. The second group is in denial; the first doesn’t know enough to have to be.

            That is not to say that there were not some specific promises that Obama made that he did not fulfill—there obviously were (e.g., his pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp). But this loony idea that Obama misled people into thinking he was FDR, turned out to be Herbert Hoover and gee, what a let-down that turned out to be! is ludicrous on its face.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              People hate being conned more than they hate con men which is why they defend con men to the bitter end, but Obama was always a candidate of the plutocrats and endless war who recognized Hillary was a terrible candidate. The con men were the voters themselves.

            2. Lambert Strether

              So, “hope and change,” except neither. Seems legit.

              For those who paid attention to content and policy, it was clear Obama was slightly to the right of Clinton in 2008 on domestic policy (and foreign policy was going to be a wash, I felt; and so it was).

              To those who paid attention to tone, and especially the tone of his supporters, that wasn’t clear at all. Some sort of change, direction unspecified, and regardless of promises, was coming. And then Obama stood between the banks and the pitchforks….

        1. Pavel

          If you want to watch something truly nauseating, here is Joe Lieberman “blessing” Obama in 2006. I believe JL was Obama’s early mentor in the Senate.

          Lieberman 2006: I Will Help Obama “Reach to the Stars”:

          “As far as I’m concerned [Barack Obama] is a ‘Baruch,’ which means a blessing. He is a blessing to the United States Senate, to America, and to our shared hopes for better, safer tomorrows for all our families. The gifts that God has given to Barack Obama are as enormous as his future is unlimited. As his mentor, as his colleague, as his friend, I look forward to helping him reach to the stars and realize not just the dreams he has for himself, but the dreams we all have for him and our blessed country.”

        2. different clue

          None of this made the CFP MSM. I didn’t know about Naked Capitalism so I wouldn’t have seen it here. I didn’t know about The Confluence so I wouldn’t have seen it there.

          I read lots of Digby, but I never saw it there. Now I realize what a roach motel tarpit-for-liberals she and her site always were and always will be. It was her praising Obama with faint damns and her bringing that piece of shit David Atkins onto her blog, combined with her two-faced decietful stealth-censorship on-the-way-to banning comments altogether which opened my eyes to what that piece of garbage Digby really was all along.

    1. Banana Breakfast

      A bit unfair to Deliverance (at least the film – I haven’t read the book) which on the one hand is the “ur-text of Hillbilly Horror” as a friend once put it, but on the other hand is scathingly critical of its Southern Gentry protagonists, who pull the equivalent of being mugged by a black guy while walking home, then getting revenge by shooting the next black guy they see. The film does a great job of conveying this “all-hillbillies-look-the-same” ambiguity visually, but it wouldn’t be the first time a movie took an oppositional stance to its source material (Starship Troopers, for example).

      1. LifelongLib

        It’s been decades since I read the book, but IIRC there’s a strong critique of the suburban lifestyle, pointing out that most suburbanites couldn’t survive if the system collapsed and they were forced to live off the land like the “hillbillies” do. It’s also ambiguous about whether the main character in fact kills the “right” man. Overall the country people are portrayed more sympathetically in the book than they are in the movie.

  6. vidimi

    i don’t think trump’s tussle with the pope will hurt him any. the catholic church in the US is extremely corrupt – more than anywhere else in the world – and is entirely beholden to big money. they refused to divest from energy companies and don’t like francis. they think he’s a dangerous leftie. most of the right-wing, gop-voting catholics in the country will likely share those views as they permeate on a weekly basis from the bishops to the parishes. not in direct rebellion, mind you, but in ignoring the pope’s issues and continuing the focus on abortion and climate denial.

    trump’s case is interesting as he has a more diverse set of supporters than the other republicans. he has the fascists (the favourite candidate of the unapologetically fascist police unions and their supporters – who will probably stay with the gop should he drop out), the nativists (who probably wouldn’t go for a rubio nor maybe even cruz as his name is too beaner), the working class populists (who will largely jump to sanders if trump is out).

    1. flora

      Juan Cole’s argument: “Trump cannot win the presidency with only the backing of white Protestants, and he has now alienated everyone else. ” is nonsense.
      Cole’s article includes a religious affiliations chart. 21% of the electoral are unaffiliated. Cole ignores this segment in his argument. I don’t think Trump has alienated all or even most of that 21%.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I love the implication from Cole that Catholics blindly follow the pope over blindly following a politician. Catholic Republicans like so many other voters are there for the same reason everyone votes, perceived economic interests. When the Pope called for the end of the death penalty, those moderate Catholics had no problem ignoring him.

        If Trump was clever, he would demand the Pope hand over Bernard Law to face justice for his crimes against children since the Pope claims to care about the kids. Throw in a dig about showing children the pope- mobile. Trump could win Massachusetts in the general if he did this.

      2. jgordon

        Cole is an unashamed stenographer of establishment propaganda. The only possible reason to read Juan Cole is to gain a completely accurate and up to date view of what the establishment is hoping people will believe.

        1. Pavel

          He’s not *quite* so bad as that, and has some useful posts on Gaza/Palestine.

          But he lost me when he went gung-ho on the Libya “intervention”.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is always the chance, or risk (depending where one sits or stands), that post election, we puzzle over how this or that candidate accomplished the impossible (impossible according to experts).

      Some do.

      Some teach/write/analyse.

    3. RUKidding

      Trump’s “battle” with Pope Francis is a net win for Trump. I doubt that almost any conservative RCs who were already in the bag for Trump will jump ship. I believe I read somewhere that both Rubio & JEB – allegedly staunch RCs – dissed the Pope for being “mean” to Trump. Guess those two know where their bread is buttered, and it ain’t with the church this time.

      I duly note that the fabled Conference of US Catholic Bishops – to whom we must all bow and scrape (no matter what our religious preferences are in this nation where church and state aren’t supposed to mingle) esp with issues confronting women and kids – has not said one tiny word in this fray. Neither to take Trump to task, nor to support the Pope.

      Some have posited that Trump will lose some of his base from shouting at the Pope. I said: no way! His conservative WHITE RC supporters will cheer him on, the Pope be d*mned.

  7. Torsten

    This just in from Wasserman-Schultz in re super delegates:

    “What do you tell voters who are new to the process who say this makes them feel like it’s all rigged?” [CNN’s Jake] Tapper asked the DNC chair.

    “Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists,” Wasserman Schultz calmly explained.

    Link to follow

    1. Tony S

      “Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists,” Wasserman Schultz calmly explained.

      What does this even mean?

      I’m less concerned about the superdelegates than most — if Bernie wins the majority of real delegates and the supers tilt it to Hillary, that gifts the White House to the GOP in November. And we better hope it’s not Ted Cruz.

      That said, the Dem establishment would much rather lose with Hillary than win with Sanders, so the above might just be part of the plan.

      1. Steven D.

        The super delegates would rather lose than elect Bernie. They will throw the election to keep their grip on the party. These are the interests, sadly, that Lewis and Clyburn now are serving. A surprise with Lewis. Clyburn not so much.

        1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

          Exactly.

          A clear admission of what I’ve often:

          Corporate Dems would rather lose elections than control of the party and the lucrative corporate payola* that goes with it.

          * That payola being far more than mere campaign contributions. It also includes lucrative speaking fees and jobs as lobbyists, at think tanks, etc. etc.
          ~

        2. jgordon

          Such a move would do permanent and irreparable damage to the Democratic Party–not that I think that would preclude them from doing it anyway. Could lead to the rise of a true third party and the beginning of the end for Democrats. Good riddance of bad rubbish I say!

          1. EmilianoZ

            There will be no 3rd party. Who’s gonna fund a 3rd party? We can barely fund blogs like NC or Ian Welsh.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        “What does this even mean?” My thoughts exactly.

        And here’s anther one from the nyt “editorial” on superdelegates linked above:

        Superdelegates serve multiple functions at the convention, among them maintaining order — for example, by casting their votes to avoid deadlock in a fragmented field. That is why superdelegates shouldn’t have to make ironclad pledges to transfer their fealty to the biggest vote-getter. That could set a precedent Democrats might live to regret.

        ?????

        But what really fries my tail is the inclusion of these superdelegates in the reporting of primary results. In the two contests so far, it has turned a tie into a big clinton win, and a huge Sanders win into a tie.

        This is a deliberate misstatement of the results and makes clinton look more popular than she is. For anyone not paying absolutely close attention, it plays into the narratives of clinton electability/inevitability and Sanders’ “fringe” candidacy being pushed ad nauseum by corporate media.

        As more primaries occur, the delegate count countdown will begin to feature prominently in the election “news.” No doubt the superdelegate contribution to the totals will not. This most certainly could affect the willingness of voters to choose Bernie in the later contests.

        The reported primary results should at least be CLEAN–reflecting the people’s choice only. Putting superdelegate counts in a separate column would be a clear demonstration of the thumb the wasserman-schultz gang is eager to put on the scale.

        Like that’s ever gonna happen.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          DWS’ career beyond back bencher is over without Clinton patronage, and I suspect her star has collapsed in the Clinton inner circle. She has no shot statewide after losing the Senate, hurting legalization efforts, annoying major donors, and placing Christ on the ticket. After losing the Senate and her general mismanagement, she has no shot at leadership.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          A party does not exist with only superdelegates.

          Without party members, there is no party.

          Are people prepared to leave parties that don’t represent them?

          Are we looking at the beginning of a new era?

          1. Tony S

            I see the Democratic Party — not as an entitty, but as a concept — essentially disintergating after Hillary loses in November. (Unless the Dem primary voters pre-empt this outcome, but that’s still a reach, unfortuinately.)

            Hillary will run her Seinfeld campaign (about nothing), and get the same results Martha Coakley and Anthony Brown got. Young voters will be permanently turned off, and the party will shrink into irrelevancy. When your message is “we might suck, but the oher guys suck more”, that’s hardly a rallying inspirational cry.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Perhaps I don’t get the whole picture, but it seems ironic that Sanders is seeking the Democratic nomination, instead of running as an independent in November.

              The advantage is we, or he, could use the Democratic Party machinery.

              You know, the low information voters who are voting Hillary today can be counted on, more or less, to vote for the eventual winner that is Bernie.

              That is, party loyalty.

              The same calculation probably has raced through Trump’s head. He’s not running as an independent. He wants the votes, in November, that go to Rubio, Carson, Cruz, Bush, et al now.

              So, we hate the machine, but need the machine.

              1. Massinissa

                The way I see it, the only way to destroy the machine without violence is to get hold of the machine first.

                I don’t think we are ready for a Paris Commune type takeover yet.

              2. different clue

                Do we hate the machine? Or do we hate the people who own it and run it? A machine is just a machine. A bulldozer goes wherever the operator steers it.

                If we could purge and burn every trace of Clintonite Obamacrats out of the Control Room, would we still hate the machine?

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  It’s still structured poorly. Money is vacuumed to the top and distributed among incumbents at early stages instead of challengers who need money early for campaign staff in the spring.

                2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Machine here means also party loyalty.

                  And party loyalty is either bad or good.

                  If party loyalty and low information is not acceptable, then the machine is not acceptable.

                  If party loyalty and low information is, then the machine is.

                3. hunkerdown

                  Bulldozers don’t heat dinner or edge lawns, and short of a ground-up rebuild, won’t. A microwave oven could be placed in the cab and a line trimmer mounted on the side, sure, but that’s an “unrealistic” level of baggage.

                  The machine is plumbed and configured to do exactly what it’s doing, and it’ll take a lot of redesign and a nearly complete teardown-and-rebuild to make it do something else. So recycling the machine is absolutely something I’d agree with.

        3. none

          The pledge of fealty at the convention is only for the first ballot. If nobody gets a majority then all the delegates are released from their pledges and can wheel and deal. So superdelegates are just plain rigging the system. If they want to bring their preferences into the process (which they should!), they can go into a voting booth and pull a lever, getting one vote just like everyone else.

      3. Benedict@Large

        … the Dem establishment would much rather lose with Hillary than win with Sanders …

        Yes, and they will probably go so far as to sabotage a Sanders candidacy should that happen. Remember, these parties are both owned by the same people, who in the long run could care less whether a “D” or an “R” follows the President’s name, so long as he/she is in their pocket.

        [Still, they do have to do something about Cruz.]

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          From Wiki:

          The modern Democratic Party was formed in the 1830s from former factions of the Democratic-Republican Party, which had largely collapsed by 1824. It was built by Martin Van Buren who assembled a cadre of politicians in every state behind war hero Andrew Jackson of Tennessee

          Are we in the middle of one of those historical turning points?

          For captain Kirk, Edith Keeler was his focal point. Who is our focal point?

          And do we need to be rejected thrice before the cock crows before we prevail? Joseph Campbell would probably say, that sounds about right.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            “…..the Democratic-Republican Party….”

            “What’s past is prologue”

            The phrase comes from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, where Antonio is trying to convince Sebastian to murder his sleeping father so that Sebastian can be king. His use of the phrase is intended to say to Sebastian that all of their lives up to this point — their past — was merely a prologue — an introduction — to the great story that they will soon embark upon if they go through with this plan. Used this way, it’s meant to imply that everything that came before doesn’t matter because a new and glorious future is stretching out before you.

            Unfortunately, like a lot of phrases coined by Shakespeare, it has since taken on the exact opposite meaning. The way it is commonly used today is to mean that the past is of great importance because it defines the present and therefore sets the stage for the future. It is in this sense used very similarly to “those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them”.

            So, if you’re asking about the phrase in the context of the play, it means one thing. If you’re seeing it used in something more modern, it probably means something else.

            https://www.quora.com/What-does-whats-past-is-prologue-mean

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Edith Keeler must die. Without reform, Team Blue has problems given the youth breaking towards Sanders and having sat out for business as usual. I’m not sure there is much worth reforming out there. Biden can regret votes til the cows come home, but those are the votes which made him unacceptable as a candidate.

        2. different clue

          Yes, just like they doublecrossed McGovern in 1972. But McGovern opened himself up to their doublecross by trying to appease them after his Convention Victory, through such self-sabotaging gestures as nominating that piece of fece Eagleton to be running mate, among others.

          I suspect Sanders knows all about this history. I suspect Sanders and his group would be ready for the Democratic Doublecross. They might not be able to defeat it, but they would fight against it all the way. They are not going to try appeasing Clintonite Obamacrat scum once those filth make their doublecross intentions known.

          And if Sanders were to win the election despite a joint Republican-Mainstream DemParty conspiracy against him, he would be in a position to conduct a stalinist purge against the Clintonite Obamacrat filth currently infesting the Democratic Party.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The economy was much better in 1972. The Democrats were polling 20 points behind Nixon the whole way.

            1. LifelongLib

              Nixon proposed a national health care system and a guaranteed annual income. Policy-wise he was probably closer to Sanders than any other candidate is now.

      4. RUKidding

        What does it mean? Let me sum it up for you: F*CK the proles. The DLC elite serves only one master: the 1%.

        That’s what it means.

        Plus: open season 24/7/365 to punch the hippies.

      5. fresno dan

        Tony S
        February 20, 2016 at 8:24 am

        I’m thinking the repubs are the same
        ‘That said, the repub establishment would much rather lose with any repub than win with Trump, so the above might just be part of the plan.’

        Hilarity ensues when neither 1st place Bernie or 2nd place The Donald can amass enough electoral votes, as the electoral college electors reveal that in point of fact, they don’t have to vote in accord with the majorities in their states, and the election is transferred to the congress and compromise Goldman Sachs candidate JB (chose your own favorite JB -Joe Biden or Jeb Bush – like a reversible coat, its actually the same thing) takes office.
        The media celebrates the great constitutional electoral process of the US, that just like Gore versus Bush, has nothing whatsoever to do with majority rule***…

        *** (there is no doubt what so ever that Gore won the popular vote – Bush may have won the electoral vote)

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I too think the outcome for both parties will be the guy who got the most primary votes is not the guy who gets the party nomination.
          Unfortunately I think the repression and lack of hope/change are so endemic that the people will just change the channel and hunker down for the beatings to continue.
          At some point we’ll need to change the name of the whole affair. Res (a thing of) + publica (the people) just will no longer apply

      6. Lexington

        What does this even mean?

        When I first read this somewhere else I puzzled over it as well, but what I’ve concluded is that Wasserman Schultz is pushing the meme that the party establishment is actually doing the rank and file a favour by creating superdelegates who exist outside of the regular delegate selection process since otherwise party insiders would crowd out ordinary people from the regular delegate spots. So to recap: “Party insiders are going to be delegates to the convention one way or another, the only question is whether they go as regular delegates and take the place of grassroots party members or whether they get a special dispensation to attend and vote without participating in the nomination process”.

        It is of course deeply disingenuous in that it doesn’t address the central criticism of superdelegates – that they are are an unaccountable, undemocratic faction who could potentially exercise a veto over the nomination solely on the basis of their status as party apparatchiks.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      Shorter Little Debbie: “Yeah, we rigged the primary election system with super-delegates just in case the Commoners come up with the wrong answer. So F**k ‘Em All.”

      1. knowbuddhau

        She went on to add, “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go populist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the American voters to be left to decide for themselves. It’s what Kissinger (PBUH) would do.”

    3. mk

      this is why I’m voting republican if Bernie doesn’t get the nomination (making me feel that my vote doesn’t count so F-U!), then after the election I’m re-registering as an independent.

      1. Gio Bruno

        Yes. The warmongering can never stop. It’s needed to maintain the powerful military and to keep the war criminals from ever being jailed for war crimes.

    1. john

      My view is the real watersheds in american ‘justice’ are prohibition and the LA riots/ OJ trial.

      The whole prohibition program was designed to fail, and to therefore justify the creation of the FBI.

      Today, we have confined a record number of people in prison where they are out of all meaningful family life (except as a burden.) exposed to disease without qualified medical treatment, and subject to all but systematic rape.

      America’s WWII Japanese internment camps didn’t have medical doctors either, even as the law justified it as being for their own protection.

      As long as rape is a ‘women’s rights’ issue, and the every-day confinment of people in bondage with their abusers there will be no justice.

      Our first president Bush was elected over the Willie Horton campaign issue.

      One black man free is one white woman raped, being the message of his ad.

      Just a few years back his Carlisle group owns a controlling interest in Dr. Dre, etc.’s… Death Row Records.

      I worked with a black woman once, (hey, I’m a self-appointed hermit from the N.E.) and she had a bleaching skin creme she’d use at least four times a day (to whiten her skin) hidden away in her desk drawer.

      Race issues are sexual issues. Race issues are class issues.

      People need to see past the colors, but any twitter search on people asking about Kanye West’s impending bankruptcy shows the general ignorance of why he can’t “Just ask Kim Kardashian for the money.”

      BTW, the Kardashians found fame as OJ Simpson’s lawyer, a drama re-enacted in the show “The People VS. OJ Simpson.”

      The show’s an interesting look/rehash of the subject, and will leave an interesting record of our progress (and lack of it) on race since then. The prosecutor was a pants-suit wearing white woman, and the protrayal of OJ’s defense lawyer, Johnny Cochran, actually promises to be interesting, one way or another.

      Top quote so far “I’m not black, I’m OJ.”

      I’m currently synching up that series with the Seinfeld episode “The Big Salad”, with a mockery of the slow-motion white bronco chase.

      Police boycott Beyonce, while complaining about how hard it is to shoot a black man in America.

    2. Antifa

      These are numbers that would convince the average black American to wear body armor at all hours, even when sleeping.

      Or is Kevlar an automatic “resisting arrest” charge?

      1. Titus Pullo

        According to this link there are only a few states where owning body armor is a crime on its own. Mostly, it’s a way to add charges and felons are restricted from owning any (minus workplace exceptions).

        I suppose if you got arrested for resisting arrest while wearing body armor, the prosecutors could add a charge for body armor.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It used to be that everyone drinks from the local water utilities.

          And when it’s bad, everyone makes a big fuss and things improve.

          But then the rich got their private sources, then, the matter is not that importance.

          The same with gate communities.

          Now, community safety is not as high a priority as before.

          We see this pattern again when it comes to food and health. We retreat into scavenging for organic foods to combat toxins in our environment – that’s easier than taking on Big Business to stop environmental degradation like polluted air, poison water, leaking methane, etc.

          And so, perhaps it’s consistent, if not addressing the root of the problem, by going with Kevlar protection, instead of demanding a lesser police state.

          1. LifelongLib

            Well, you wouldn’t know it from reading this blog but there are a lot of people (many not rich) who live in fear of crime and want more surveillance and enforcement, not less. I don’t have stats at hand, but I work in the criminal justice field and anecdotally hear fewer complaints about people’s rights being violated than I do about why didn’t somebody stop A before he did B. Part of demanding a lesser police state is creating a more just and equal society that not only limits the police but creates fewer criminals.

            1. HotFlash

              Perhaps I wouldn’t know it from this blog, as you say, but maybe I would have a clue from my life. And so far, I, an old white female in Canada (Canada!1!1) feel more at risk from my police than from my neighbours. This is a source of profound distress to me.

              1. LifelongLib

                I don’t know what the situation in Canada is now, but some American friends who moved there decades ago described it as a “mellow police state” because there was no constitutional bill of rights. However viewed from here in the U.S. I’d say Canada today is closer to a just and equal society than what we have.

                1. HotFlash

                  Wel yes, and a a Greek friend said to me, “Canada is the best country in the world! But it’s not getting better.” Our cops conspired with yur cops, we learned so much about that during the G20 here. For instance, this. It happened about six blocks from my house, some of my neighbours are in this video.

  8. diptherio

    The ‘Terrible Turks’ article has been removed from the Sic Semper Tyrannis site:

    “TerribleTurks – Part 2”

    There is some question as to the authenticity of the senate letter and so I am temporarily withdrawing this post. pl

  9. diptherio

    I know I linked to this yesterday, but it’s really good. Brendan Martin is the founder and director of The Working World, which provides non-extractive financial help to worker co-operatives throughout the western hemisphere. Martin obviously has a deep and nuanced understanding of how our financial system operates (I wouldn’t be surprised to find out the he reads NC) and is actively engaged in creating real, functional alternatives. WW got it’s start funding worker-recovered factories in Brazil and has done some great work in the US, helping workers at Chicago’s New Era Windows buy their factory from it’s corrupt former owner. Martin is also a very good speaker. Do yourself a favor and listen to this 20 minute talk sometime this weekend. You’ll be glad you did.

    http://www.geo.coop/story/breaking-our-chains-and-taking-our-freedom

    This is revolutionary stuff. Real revolution.

    1. diptherio

      Let me guess, you were fooled by Obama.

      See my comment above. Obama, like Hillary, got his campaign money from Wall Street and other vested corporate interests. Sanders is getting his money from small donors and unions. Obama had been in the Senate for a few years, Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years. Obama talked a center-right political playbook, Bernie is pulling from left-of-center…but don’t listen to the talk, just follow the money. In the final analysis, that’s really the only thing that matters (and why it’s obvious that Sanders is not Obama).

      1. sd

        Interesting note on the unions – rank and file tend towards Bernie, leadership has been endorsing Clinton. There’s a disconnect there that should be watched.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      One fought for housing access for the poor and one worked for gentrification. Those are Daley’s cops in the photo. Obama was a close ally of Daley’s son.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        And one’s “career” in “public service” was five minutes long. The other has been at it for 30 years.

        1. Pavel

          And, importantly, after 30 years or so in politics Sanders’s net worth is about $400k. That speaks volumes in itself.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That contrasts with, say, Ortega of Nicaragua. There was a 2014 Bloomberg article about his accretion of power and ‘wealth.’ Perhaps that is not accurate.

            I wonder how many politicians more or less forego personal wealth (I doubt any is poor)…

            Did Mao die without much wealth?

            How much did Stalin leave behind?

            Or Hitler or Castro?

            1. different clue

              In communist countries, wealth was not measured in money. It was measured in power. So Mao and Stalin and such had lots of power (communist wealth) till very shortly before their deaths. They didn’t need “munny” to command resources and people.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Money is power, though power is more than money.

                Those guys are smart to go after power, directly, instead of getting money to convert to power later.

      2. Cry Shop

        Indeed. Michelle’s father was a (political) ward steward for Richard Daley. Michelle grew up to be a machine lawyer in charge of finding legal ways of funneling money for votes, which is why she was hired by Valerie Jarrett, who later introduced Obama. All three of them were busy directing money to local ward politicians to buy protection for gentrification projects, land grabs, funneling of management contracts for public housing**, roadworks/bridges, and etc. etc.

        (**Valerie Jarrett was CEO of the largest public housing management firm while working for the Chicago mayors office — Flexians one and all).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is it scalable?

          Is that model practiced all over the country?

          I believe psudeo-progressives are more damaging than genuine conservatives.

          Looking at micro-loans (commented below), how many other virtuous-sounding psudeo-progressive, private and public initiatives are there? The green revolution with DDT? Cleaning cities with unsightly manure-dropping horse drawn carriages with internal combustion engine automobiles?

          Fool me once,
          i don’t know
          Fool me twice
          I want more.

      3. john

        I know Sanders is the best we have. It’s just funny to see the parallels here that do and don’t exist. Bernie doesn’t golf, either.

        I voted Obama, after volunteering for Dennis Kucinich four years before. I didn’t know who Goldman Sachs was at the time, but have a pretty good grip on things.

        After learning of the Fed & Goldman, it took me a few more years to come to grips with the Rockefellers. (Prominently rapped about by Jay-Z, and enshrined in New York as owners of the national christmas tree the Today Show just can’t get enough of…)

        But yes, anyone who thinks they got the Obama they wanted just makes me sad. People have the same delusion about Clinton, when all we got was NAFTA. Tricked is a very good word.

        My friends say, well, congress stopped them from being even *more* awesome, and I essentially just shake my head.

        Life for me seems more and more like the mystery-plays at the end of The Secret Agent or Steppenwolf, and I might be hallucinating the end of Steppenwolf.

        Once upon a time, space cadet was an insult. Now everyone thinks we can all be David Bowie. Barnes and Noble played his stuff on loop for at least two days after he died.

        This whole “Gravitational Waves discovered” trope makes me sad, as someone who was reading about super symmetry and the standard model of particles in Junior High.

        Education is not an answer, because there is no substitute for the spark required to even find this site. Most people are unable to even consciously decide what to watch on TV.

        Even if you told them there is no oil to be found on Mars, they couldn’t understand.

        We may not reach the stars, but it’s a pleasure to speculate about it right here with all of you.

        1. diptherio

          Not that I think the Mars thing will ever come to pass, but I just found out that some people in Great Falls got money to start coming up with prototypes and they tapped a guy I know in Three Forks, MT, who I’ve written about here before, who has designed a zone 8 passive greenhouse in Montana (i.e. He can grow tropical fruit where you shouldn’t be able to and he doesn’t use any energy – apart from the sun – to do it). But even without the petrol problem, there’s still the issue of water. Kind of necessary for life to exist…

          p.s. do a youtube search for “Ott-Kim Conservatory” to see his set-up. It’s pretty sweet.

          1. john

            I was thinking that if we do terraform mars, the Amish might be some of the only people with the knowledge we need to establish real farming in a primitive environment.

            Of course, that still assumes we can adapt to all the radiation out in space.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          My fox news watching bible thumping republican parents will be voting for Bernie if that tells you anything. They might be a little biased coming from VT but still.

          And we might not reach the stars but some people are trying real hard – http://100yss.org/ That’s the link to the 100 Year Starship organization which is a group of scientists and futurists whose goal is to get to the stars within the next 100 years.

          I would really like to go to one of their annual symposia and find out what they’re up to…

          And I am also quite fond of the group of smart people who inhabit this little corner of the interwebs as well. Donb’t think I’ve mentioned it before so thank you to Yves for creating an island of sanity in this nutball world of ours.

          1. Banana Breakfast

            Likewise my socially conservative, ultra-weirdo Baptist in-laws. In the general election, Sanders stands to grab all the Trump votes that are more scared than angry, and more than a few of the angry ones if Trump doesn’t run 3rd party.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              and if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, those bible thumping parents would face eternal perdition in H-E-double hockey sticks before casting a vote for sHillary. I suspect they aren’t the only ones

              1. Banana Breakfast

                Precisely. Sanders has vastly more crossover appeal in the general. A big mass of socially conservative populists will prefer him over establishment Republican Unit #4961, and for many of the more devout fundamentalist Christians an ascetic, self-effacing Jew who is just this side of a Christian Socialist is far more palatable than a foul mouthed, obviously irreligious libertine like Trump.

      4. Gio Bruno

        The (Chicago) Tribune Co. photo archivist has discovered 1963 photos of then young (21) Bernie Sanders being arrested for taking part (with Black folks) in a school segregation protest in Englewood, IL.

        This puts John Lewis’ “didn’t see him” comment to the test.

    3. HopeLB

      Ironically though, Bernie is the real thing! (Look at c-span archives if Hillary hasn’t had the cable companies remove them yet). Long Live Irony! And the the ironically initialed, No B.S. candidate, Bernie Sanders.!
      ( Have to look into his middle initial. O? BOS, the Boss. I? BIS, Not Bisiness as usual.E? BES. Bes Dem running.)

  10. Carolinian

    Here’s a new book excerpt from Thomas Frank that discusses HRC’s posture as virtuecrat. One of her longtime pet projects is microloans.

    Microlending is a perfect expression of Clintonism, since it brings together wealthy financial interests with rhetoric that sounds outrageously idealistic. Microlending permits all manner of networking, posturing, and profit taking among the lenders while doing nothing to change actual power relations—the ultimate win-win.

    Unfortunately for the poor it’s lose-lose.

    Nearly every country where microlending has been an important development strategy for the past few decades, Bateman writes, is now a disaster zone of indebtedness and economic backwardness.

    Much more below. Long but interesting.

    http://harpers.org/blog/2016/02/nor-a-lender-be/

    1. vidimi

      that’s a very good link. micro-lending has been covered here, but it’s always good to have more sources to debunk neo-lib myths.

      1. SumiDreamer

        Here is David Graeber’s tweet on the article: “Tom Frank hits nail on head: Dems dropped working class in ’70s & became party of professionals; disaster ensued”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We can’t but admire their ability to fool voters for more than 40 years, and still going strong, no less. (sarcasm intended here, in case my writing ability is found lacking).

          Their ability to excite young voters has no parallel, I believe.

          Of course, voting is like eating an organic apple a day – you have to do it all the time, not just when you are excited.

    2. Torsten

      I especially like Frank’s characterization of “virtue offsets”. But since carbon is not a virtue, but a sin, I think he should call virtue offsets “indulgences”.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      This is, without a doubt, one of the best pieces I have ever read. While I hate to admit it, I almost started this comment with OMG!!!!!! I can’t wait to get the book. I will never listen to another clinton “speech” or evaluate a clinton “initiative” the same way again.

      I struggled to pick just one passage to highlight–the whole thing is amazing–but I settled on this:


      What was most attractive about micro­lending was what it was not, what it made unnecessary: any sort of collective action by poor people coming together in governments or unions. The international development community now knew that such institutions had no real role in human prosperity. Instead, we were to understand poverty in the familiar terms of entrepreneurship and individual merit, as though the hard work of millions of single, unconnected people—plus cell phones, bank accounts, and a little capital—was what was required to remedy the Third World’s vast problems. Millions of people would sell one another baskets they had made, or coal they had dug out of the trash heap, and suddenly they were entrepreneurs, racing to the top. The key to development was not doing something to limit the grasp of Western banks, in other words; it was extending Western banking methods to encompass every last individual on earth.

      Microlending is a perfect expression of Clintonism, since it brings together wealthy financial interests with rhetoric that sounds outrageously idealistic. Microlending permits all manner of networking, posturing, and profit taking among the lenders while doing nothing to change actual power relations—the ultimate win-win.

      1. SumiDreamer

        United States
        See also: New Democrats and Third Way (think tank)
        Two Third Way proponents: Professor Anthony Giddens and former U.S. President Bill Clinton
        In the United States, “Third Way” adherents embrace fiscal conservatism to a greater extent than traditional social liberals, and advocate some replacement of welfare with workfare, and sometimes have a stronger preference for market solutions to traditional problems (as in pollution markets), while rejecting pure laissez-faire economics and other libertarian positions. The Third Way style of governing was firmly adopted and partly redefined during the administration of President Bill Clinton.[39] The term “Third Way” was introduced by political scientist Stephen Skowronek.[40][41][42] “Third Way” presidents ‘undermine the opposition by borrowing policies from it in an effort to seize the middle and with it to achieve political dominance. Examples of this are: Nixon’s economic policies, which were a continuation of Johnson’s “Great Society”, and later Clinton’s welfare reform.[43]

        Clinton, Blair, Prodi, Gerhard Schröder and other leading Third Way adherents organized conferences to promote the Third Way philosophy in 1997 at Chequers in England.[44][45] The Third Way think tank and the Democratic Leadership Council are adherents of Third Way politics.[46] ~Wikipedia

      2. Mary

        Nevertheless, Microfinance brought access to working capital to ordinary people (repaid over the next year) even if only to ease household finances. Academic proof of permanent improvements in household assets and investments not achieved but 100 million people are estimated to benefit in developing countries. Yes, some greed but not everywhere. It is a start and today the microcredit lenders are trying to offer savings accounts and insurance products.

    4. none

      I remember Bill being involved in some kind of post-presidency scheme to bring mortgage financing to Central America. He pitched it as a way to give people living there access to loans: they had no way to use homes as collateral, so families stayed put in them for centuries. Bill was revolting, making a transparent play to take away the one thing people there had going for them. I had my disagreements with the Clintons in the past but thought they were ok in many ways. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to despise them more and more.

      1. rich

        Sometimes “none” when you educate yourself you’re left with a zero.

        SEE:–>Bill Clinton Pitches KKR-Backed College Chain Amid Controversy

        Inside a building on a narrow Rio de Janeiro street,

        nine telemarketers sit in small cubicles, talking frenetically into headsets as scripts scroll across their computer screens.

        On an October morning, these salespeople are urging high school seniors to attend Centro Universitario IBMR, a for-profit university. Their supervisor, Rafael Morine, paces the room, straining to be heard above the clatter of an air conditioner.

        “Remember, today we are offering 30 percent discounts,” he tells a young woman.

        Before the day ends, he says, his team will make almost 1,300 calls. The call center sits on the top floor of the nine-story building, above classrooms. Some telemarketers are students at IBMR, working during the day and taking classes at night, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its February issue.

        “They know their school well,” says Morine, 28. “And that helps us sell.” Fliers taped to the walls promise bonuses to salespeople who convince at least 250 students to take the entrance exam for IBMR. One poster advertises the university’s owner, which is located almost 5,000 miles away in Baltimore:

        “Be part of Laureate Network, the biggest university network in the world.”

        Internationally, salespeople like these have helped Laureate Education Inc. become a for-profit higher education juggernaut. Laureate, which was spawned from tutoring chain Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. in 2004, now owns 75 schools in 30 countries.
        Largest Company

        It has 800,000 students, up from 243,000 seven years ago, making it America’s largest for-profit college company by enrollment. Since going private in 2007, Laureate’s annual revenue has more than tripled to $4 billion.

        Though Laureate isn’t well-known in the U.S., it employs one of the country’s most recognizable figures: former President Bill Clinton.

        In 2010, the company hired Clinton to serve as its honorary chancellor. In this paid position, Clinton has trekked to Laureate’s campuses in countries such as Malaysia, Peru and Spain, making more than a dozen appearances on its behalf.

        Laureate is backed by several of the biggest names in finance, including Henry Kravis, George Soros, Steve Cohen and Paul Allen. When Laureate’s founder and chief executive officer, Doug Becker, convinced these investors’ firms to take his company private in a deal worth $3.8 billion, Kravis’s firm, KKR & Co., took a $487.5 million stake.

        By 2010, according to a KKR memo to investors, its investment had increased in value to $710.8 million.
        Exporting Practices

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-06/clinton-pitches-kkr-backed-college-chain-amid-controversy.html

    5. flora

      Wow. In the 18th and 19th centuries European colonists morally justified colonization as ‘bringing Christianity to the lost, and civilization to the backward.’ What could be more important than saving souls? (Missionaries were badly used by colonizers.) What could be more generous than raising up the poor Asian or African peoples by encompassing them in Western cultural norms? (Pay no attention to the extraction of natural resources.)
      Now the TBTF American and European banks are “doing good” by bringing debt and banking to the ‘backward and benighted poor women’ of the 3rd world. Are the TBTF banks are the new East India Company ? Moral righteousness for subprime sharks?

    1. Steve H.

      Quick calculations are suggesting that increased microcephaly rates may not be factually valid. Media frenzy is being determined by the time-frame of the Brazilian Olympics. Caution is advised in emotional attachment to any hypothesis.

      (More details in a comment that will come out of the moderation queue. Patience is a virtue.)

  11. Steve H.

    – Microcephaly

    Back-of-the envelope calculations suggest Brazilian rates may be close to the U.S. despite greater risk factors. Brazilian authorities suggest under-reporting in the past.

    The noise levels are swamping the data, which will need time to untangle. There are going to be winners and losers here. There seem to be a lot of corporate (and anti-corporate) interests diving into this fray, even the Pope is name-dropping the condition to justify policy decisions.

    I don’t know what the reality of the situation is, but the frenzy is factually co-incident with Brazil’s upcoming Olympics. The degree of media attention is beyond the epidemiological significance, measured against other world problems. Cui bono, who benefits from the frenzy? I have some suspects, which implies I think there are players involved. But increasingly it is looking to me like an uncontrolled reaction which has gone beyond the original intent into unintended consequences.

    I also find a silver lining. The demand for blame is putting resources into determining causal factors. Facts that have been hidden will be brought to light. And my worldview says that is a good thing.

  12. MikeNY

    I know hating on Mitch McConnell is about as hard as hating on Kim Kardashian, but this article on his decision to stymie any vote on Scalia’s replacement gives new meaning to “despicable”.

    McConnell cares only for his own personal power. He’s a traitor to his country, if the word “traitor” has any meaning. And the RNC is surprised by Trump? Sow the wind…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      McConnell has been clear he would never work with the Democrats since 2008 even when Obama and the Democrats just had commanding victories. My hate is reserved for anyone who makes claims about “moderate” Republicans at this point. McConnell is what he is much like Larry Craig or Lindsay Graham, a nasty person.

      The Democrats working for a “consensus” pick the Republicans will accept warrant hatred.

      1. different clue

        Obama worked very closely with McConnell and Boehner and the Republicans in general under the sham of “bipartisanship” to restore the R majority in Congress, to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, to protect the Bushes and the Bankers, etc. etc.
        Why should I believe McConnell didn’t secretly consult with Obama’s owners and handlers beFORE making that declaration of “one term” intent?

      1. Massinissa

        Or alternatively, Im not entirely sure a Trump selection would be worse than an Obama selection. I mean Obama will only select a corporatist anyway. Trump might choose a wildcard on one of his whims. Or he might not and just go with some far right crazy. But Obama or Trump, it will be someone antagonistic to our interests anyway.

        1. jrs

          The Supreme court has pretty much always be antagonistic to our interest. The Warren court was an exception, unlikely to be repeated.

  13. tegnost

    McConnell must know he’s going to get a more “conservative” selection from obama, they’re just playing good cop/bad cop again because it’s worked so well for them the past 7 years. Expect obama to make an egregiously “pragmatic” appointment, especially if bernie wins super tuesday et. al.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Opposing Obama and the Democrats is a brilliant strategy given the state of Team Blue. Take ACA, the Democrats passed a Republican wish list and took the blame for themselves. A Southern rump party controls both houses of Congress as a result.

      This might might be a single battle which McConnell can loose, but he knows elite Democrats will smash their heads on the altar of false bipartisanship and corporate greed at every opportunity in a bid for acceptance which won’t ever come.

      1. MikeNY

        You’re probably right. I thought the scales had fallen from my eyes and I knew what DC politics was all about, but somehow it keeps managing to repulse me more. “House of Cards” seems more realistic every day.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I started watching it, and although it’s unintentional, the Democrats lost Congress after attacking entitlement programs. Underwood and Democrats seem to think that by requiring people to work longer by delaying retirement they will increase the number error of jobs. The understanding of foreign policy is the show is completely baffling.

    2. RUKidding

      The only thing that surprised me (and only slightly) about McConnell’s announcement was how very very very swift out of the gate he made it. The only reason why Fat Tony’s corpse was cold was bc it took ’em a while to realize that creep had died. No apologies for my reference. It’s the truth.

      McConnell didn’t hesitate an instant to fire his shot over the bow. Swiftly followed by others. What I note is that some R Senators (or those who caucus with them), like AK Senator Murkowski, initially said words to the effect of: of course Obama should nominate someone, and the Senate will follow thru. Suddenly all of those Senators got the MEMO, and changed their tunes STAT.

      It’s the usual triangulation and each branch of the UniParty dutifully hiding behind each others’ skirts.

      It’s a travesty and blatant mockery of our constitution, but what else is new?

      Obama will nominate very rightwing, corporate-friendly judges, and all the Obots will blame this on the obstructionist R-team. And the corporate beat-down will go on.

      Does anyone notice any REAL protest from the D-Team? I mean REAL Protest?

      I sure don’t.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        McConnell knows Obama is a reactionary and stubborn. Obama will stick with the nominee of corporate banality while trying to appease the unappealing GOP, undermining potential popular support at the same time.

        McConnell had to act before Obama could get say an Ayotte or a Snowe on board. Over the next two months, Obama will try to explain why an exxon lawyer is a great choice. GOP voters won’t care, and everyone else will be at least uncomfortable.

  14. rich

    Friday, February 19, 2016
    Veritas to Migrate Florida Facilities to India

    The Carlyle Group closed on Veritas three weeks ago. Their press release stated:

    Veritas CEO Bill Coleman said, “I am thrilled with the possibilities for innovation and client service that we now have as a stand-alone company. We will continue to be the go-to source for solving organizations’ increasingly complex information management challenges. The global Veritas team, with Carlyle’s support, is ready to perform for our customers.”

    American Bazaar reported:

    Veritas has about 1,700 employees, with Pune, Maharashtra, being a major center. Coleman said he plans to migrate some of his facilities from Florida to India.

    Carlyle knows how to offshore to maximize profits. Veritas savings are needed to pay interest and Carlyle’s annual management fee. It’s the PEU affiliate way.

    CEO Bill Coleman spoke Down Under:

    He said the company would not be slashing jobs as a result of being owned by private equity, and would be building for long-term growth and a future IPO.

    Rest assured Veritas is no stand alone. It has a greedy sponsor.

    http://peureport.blogspot.com/2016/02/veritas-to-migrate-florida-facilities.html

    a talent for the standard of living arb. ?

    1. hunkerdown

      Yep. Since disk array software is all but a commodity anymore anyway, Increase your standard of living with Linux volume management.

  15. dcblogger

    I know that Naked Capitalism has repeatedly hammered away at the suggestion that the TARP bailout of 2008 was ever repaid, or that the gov’t ever made any money on it, but is there one post in particular that I could link to that debunks that notion?

    1. TedWa

      It was and is more than just TARP that bailed out the banks. It was a whole raft of bank friendly legislation (and most of it not legal before ObamaBush) and the Fed ZIRP that has the banks continually being bailed out to the tune of trillions. The bail-out has transformed into a not bail out but business decisions by our leaders that see socialism for the rich as the only way. Markets. In much the same way counterfeiting was made legal after 1913 with the institution of the Federal Reserve and fiat currency. Wouldn’t you call not jailing banksters as bailing them out? I sure do

      Citibank could never pay back the money that bailed them out. There are plenty of articles showing which banks are still in default. Just do a thorough search. I’d do it for you, sorry, but stepping out right now.

  16. Steve H.

    Quoting quotes from Moon of Alabama:

    “One of the many problems to be overcome is a differing definition of what constitutes a terrorist group. In addition to the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Russia and Syria have labeled the entire opposition as terrorists.

    Jabhat al-Nusra, whose forces are intermingled with moderate rebel groups in the northwest near the Turkish border, is particularly problematic. Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire, at least temporarily, until the groups can be sorted out.”

    If anybody can help me understand how the U.S. can support al-Qaeda, you may help me with the palpable nausea I feel whenever confronted these facts.

    moonofalabama.org/2016/02/us-ignores-own-unsc-resolution-tells-russia-stop-bombing-al-qaeda.html

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think it was Pat Lang* but it might have been “b” at MofA who said U.S. intelligence outfits are basically the old KGB. They are so desperate for allies who they don’t pay directly that they take anyone who says anything akin to “USA AOK” much like the KGB would support any outfit that said, “Mao si si. ”

      America isn’t beloved the way it once was even though that was overplayed, but too many people don’t want to let go and face reality. Obama slaughters Muslim children every day, but plenty of his supporters still live in the world where he spoke to the huge crowd in Egypt.

      *It might have been one of his contributors.

      1. Andrew Watts

        You might be thinking of an old piece translated by Dmitry Orlov. American “allies” in Syria: their shameful performance is perfectly explainable was about the FSA brigade Division 30 handing over it’s weapons to al-Nusra. I don’t know the dividing line between FSA units outside the Syrian Democratic Forces and jihadi forces like al-Nusra front (Al Qaeda in Syria) and Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam). I doubt the CIA knows the difference either.

        The image of a CIA operative who decides whom to choose as an ally in the Middle East has been unduly exaggerated by Hollywood. In an absolute majority of cases the operatives latch onto anyone who shows even the most perfunctory signs of being loyal. But if somebody seems useful but does not show enough of the required signs, then they prefer to purchase his loyalty, even though such “partners” have been considered unreliable at all times. These are, roughly, the principles according to which the anti-Assad coalition was knocked together.

        Add to this that the behavior of CIA operatives is very tightly regulated. Just about every eventuality is accounted for by a written instruction, which they are required to know almost by heart. Disagreement with operational instructions brings official sanction. The freedom of action of an operative is limited, and at times they are simply forced to fulfill the letter of the instructions instead of reacting to the situation. This problem plagues many intelligence services, but the American ones are, in addition, built on ideological and, to a lesser extent, on ethnic stereotypes. Generally speaking, any authentic-looking towelhead who is able to intelligibly pronounce the word “democracy” has a chance to receive financing and weapons. But nobody has any control over where he will then go with these weapons. By the way, Soviet intelligence services of the Brezhnev era had the same problem, latching onto any tribal chieftain who knew how to pronounce words like “Marx” and “Lenin.”

        How many freshly minted stars were put up on Langley’s wall as a result?

        1. Steve H.

          Thank you for this. I now understand!

          The best way to defeat al-Qaeda is to provide them with American military training. This will convince them they are elite troops as they patrol uninhabited wastelands until their morale fails.

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: When Will the GOP Defend Economic Patriotism? American Conservative (resilc)

    “Economic Patriotism,” the concept formerly known as “protectionism.”

    I have always marveled at how “protecting” the american economy became something that was to be reviled and resisted at all costs.

    1. Massinissa

      Anything that keeps the rich from making money must be resisted at all costs, so sayeth the rich. Fall back in line and stop complaining!

    2. fresno dan

      When Davos Man became the emblem of modern corporatism, any old fashioned idea that what was good for America was good for GM was dispensed with, and replaced with what is good for the very, very, very rich is what is good for the very, very, very rich – which is as it should be.

      What is amazing to me is how they have completely preempted any opposition, when the results are so obviously contrary to the benefit of most of the citizens. But with the meme “Its the economy stupid – No, its the people in the economy, smart guy” maybe people are catching on that the point of societies is not merely to let the richest strip mine all wealth in a country for themselves.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        What is amazing to me is how they have completely preempted any opposition

        So I was a young punk at the UAW in the 1980s when we were getting destroyed (at that time by the Japanese) and calling for a coherent “industrial policy” that would help preserve US mfg jobs and help rebuild US mfg capacity, which had been outed as no longer internationally competitive.

        Who led the charge against “protectionism” and called us all idiots who didn’t understand how the real economy works? I’ll give a hint: he has a NYT column now and is the favorite economist of the D establishment.

        Anyway, I’m not sure the results are “so obviously contrary” to the middle class meritocracy. Unless you actually witnessed the good jobs a mfg plant offered, and then saw them stupidly exported away – two things many upwardly mobile types have never seen – it’s easy to drink the Kool-Aid. I think Ezra Klein said again yesterday that free trade of course benefits millions of Americans. It just sounds true.

        1. fresno dan

          Well, your exactly right.
          The hierarchy of the Catholic church in medieval times and the hierarchy of the punditocracy now acts the same – – just like the church refused to look through the telescope and believe their own eyes, its all about what you choose to see (or more accurately, choose NOT to see)
          the pope, aka Krugtron, has a theory of the universe, and facts be damned…

  18. alex morfesis

    The end of the ted cruz nightmare…lawsuit in chicago…the kanukistani has lived off his parents claims to him about his time in canada…he was obviously too young…we know his mother lied to him about her first husband and her first child as the first husbee is on the record he was already divorced when she got pregnant so that little bit is a lie…but cruz and his campaign are hiding something…in a whopper of a response to an article he rambled on that his mother was not in canada long enough to obtain citizenship…except the law when he was born was the 1946 statutes seeming to only need one year of canadian reresidency after marriage…what problem might be lurking…did his application for american claim to citizenship have some factual gaps…
    Personally my thoughts are certain federal offices should require teddy roosevelts definition of americanism…

    Further…president…vp…secty of state…supreme court…speaker of the house…should be open only to the great grandchildren of naturalized citizens…no cruz nor rubio…who like myself are stuck with cuban citizenship as there is nothing in the current cuban constitution allowing a person to renounce the citizenship acquired thru a cuban parent…no trump either if my calculations are correct…he aint that american…

    The founding nomads were very worried about foreign influence and are probably spinning at warp speed in their graves about this…it seems straight forward…if your family was traveling for pleasure or business or serving your country and you berped out overseas…you are an american…

    if your family LEFT america to make a life and a living in another country…you aint an american…cruz family Chose to live and make a living in canada…not american…

  19. DJG

    Umberto Eco, quoted as giving what I’d say is an excellent description of the sources of public and private melancholy, which are so much a part of Italian life:

    “Il mondo è monotono, gli uomini non imparan nulla e ricascano a ogni generazione negli stessi errori ed orrori, gli avvenimenti non si ripetono, ma si somigliano: finiscono le novità, le sorprese, le rivelazioni”.

    Now, if the United States would learn to deal with that wisdom.

    1. Pavel

      Well my Italian sadly is a bit rusty (to say the least) so I had to google translate the quote. I shall not cheapen the original with the bastardised version I received… but thank you — grazie mille. What a beautiful albeit sad sentiment. RIP Umberto.

      And PS everything sounds better in Italian. :)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I don’t speak Italian, and perhaps this does not reflect accurately the two systems at all, but it seems to me that our politicians are more and more like Italian ones.

        Wasn’t there one who was an Italian movie star?

      1. kj1313

        Problem is Bernie is going to lose SC. I think the delegate count will be close and things will become more cloudy if there is a potential indictment over one of her investigations.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Nate Silver says if he loses by 11 points or less in SC, he’s on track to being even nationally.

          But yes, it will be bad optically going into Super Tuesday.

  20. cripes

    Horrible spectacle unfolding on MSNBC and CNN coverage of Nevada caucuses.

    Tweety Mathews and his gang are in the bag for Hillary and don’t bother to hide it. Every guest is a Clinton bagger.

    Millennial for Clinton (read with Valley Girl accent) “Bernie Sanders hasn’t do-o-o-ne much. Hillary gets things do-o-o-ne.” When asked what Hillary had “done.” she sez: “She’s worked hard in the senate, and Obama made her secretary of state because he knew she could get things done, and she’s been to the middle east, like, working for peace.”

    I kid you not.

    1. cwaltz

      Meh, I already sent my regards to the DNC. I informed them that I hope the superdelegates who know better than grassroots activists were prepared to pull her across the finish line in the general election because if she wins I’ll be voting third party. I did commend them for rewarding her for standing down in 2008 and betraying her grass roots activists that took the time and energy to fight for her. I wanted to make sure they knew that I was aware that I knew that the party elite have their fingers on the scale and that there are consequences for that.

      1. kj1313

        Heh a great essay Ian Welsh in Nov 2012 right after Obama’s election about a potential coming collapse and the young generations reaction to it.

        “the current generation in power will be thrown out on their asses by the young, who will have to fix America. We’ll see if they have what it takes to do it. Expect them to be very cruel to the old, who they will view as having screwed up everything and put the entire bill on them. Among other things, expect an end to so-called intellectual property (a misnomer), expect the financial class to be gutted and expect a radical rewrite of bankruptcy laws.”

        http://www.ianwelsh.net/reality-about-americas-future/

          1. kj1313

            Right now I think it is generational with older voters comfortable with the status quo and the potential that this will breed resentment among the young.

              1. jrs

                Gen X? Yes well it’s pretty obvious noone cares what Gen X thinks. You would think we don’t even exist since all talk is about boomers and millennials. But we have to survive in this horrible job market as much as any millennial does (those who made perfect choices are better off than the millennials those who didn’t are probably *still* somewhat better off, but not that much, they are near the edge as well). We by and large have NO pensions. We are told to save for our own retirement but we have lived under endless ZIRP. And we have to worry about both making it in this job market day to day and what Social Security might be like should the planet survive another few decades, which of course it might not. We have reason to support … Sanders if we support anyone IMO.

          2. jrs

            The cruelty to the old seems unnecessary (Sanders calls for expanding Social Security) and even some middle class “owners” (not really of the means of production*, but maybe they have 401ks and pensions) could probably have less dependency and desperate need for that “owning” of bonds and so on with a decent national pension system. I’m leaving out the 1%, I mean the middle class “owners” might not be now unfortunately, but *should* and maybe with a real safety net even could, be persuaded it’s in everyone’s best interest to dump a bad system.

            * Yes of course one could say having a 401k is ownership, but the vast majority of financial assets aren’t owned by the middle class with their 401ks etc. They are owned by the wealthy (although institutional investments may be their own thing).

  21. perpetualWAR

    Trump being the AntiChrist:

    Just so everyone doesn’t get confused…….I hope the Pope knows that the REAL evangelicals believe that being a Catholic means you aren’t a REAL Christian.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to believe that most REAL evangelicals believe the Pope is the AntiChrist.

    Just sayin’……I’ve known a few too many REAL evangelicals…..

  22. VietnamVet

    Well, Donald Trump jumped the shark. His avocation of torture and dipping bullets in pig’s blood is beyond belief. America twenty-five-year holy war in the Middle East has just escalated into Armageddon. The world is in its worst crisis since World War II but nobody mentions it except to fan the flames of war.

    1. Foy

      I had to go to video clip to make sure the ‘dipping bullets in pigs blood’ was true, and yep it was. Along with another avocation for water boarding. With the crowd cheering. Ominous. The general desire and thirst for violence in these meetings is something to behold.

  23. cripes

    Yeah, from Bush to Clinton to Bush and Obama, they’ve been playing brinkmanship in the middle east, Ukraine and pretty much everywhere possible. Torture, surveillance, economic war, droning, regime change, mass refugees, (not) trade agreements, impoverishment of working people the world over. It’s full spectrum WTF.

    Trump is just saying it out loud.

  24. Jim Haygood

    One dynasty down; one to go:

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — Jeb! Bush dropped out of the presidential race on Saturday, ending a quest for the White House that started with a war chest of $100 million, a famous name and a promise of political civility, but ended with a humbling recognition: in 2016, none of it mattered.

    No single candidacy this year fell so monumentally short of its original expectations.

    “We’ve had enough Bushes” his mother, Barbara Bush, observed prophetically before her son announced his candidacy last summer.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/21/us/politics/jeb-bush.html

    Amen, Barb!

    1. Carolinian

      Barb also once said she was surprised that Dubya was the son who became President. She always thought it would be Jeb. Guess they get their smarts from her and her “beautiful mind.”

      I wonder how many people even turned out for this primary. My polling place–only a couple of blocks away–seemed fairly deserted throughout the day. I of course will be voting next week.

      1. barrisj

        Oi, brutal…my man Jeb! packs it in…there goes a month’s salary on wagers lost…WTF? Didn’t the Boosh camp have a fall-back position? C’ mon, where are the money people to see my man Jeb!’s campaign through at least a coupla more primaries, fa da love of Christ? I am so shattered…he had his bro out there…even the evil Barb showed up…Dear God, where are we going here? So unmoored…the old virtues…Bush Criminal Family, and they failed…I must confess, when the BCF rolled out the unindicted war criminal bro Dubya, well, it’s over, surely…SC for Jeb!, yeah?
        Ummm, no. Oh, now I get it…THIS election cycle, it’s – you know – different…or, is it?

    2. Steve H.

      Barbara. There was one Bush who had a spine.

      I still remember the stinkeye she gave W his first appearance after 9-11. He was positively flying on whatever they gave him, his chest was so puffed up his feet were barely touching the ground, and she was behind him with an eat-your-children look if he screwed it up.

      I wonder why she didn’t crush Cheney for humiliating her kid. Must be something I don’t know.

    3. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      February 20, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      Yippee!!!!
      Anyway, if I had a nickel for every pundit I read that Jeb! would make a comeback because Trump had offended all those veterans who thought Dubbya kept us safe, and because Barb….well, I would have a sh*tload of nickels…

      Really, I was embarrassed for these pundits getting it so wrong so often. But of course, they really don’t understand what is happening and they don’t care to – they are simply advocates for the status quo…

  25. trinity river

    “The iPhone in the San Bernardino was a work phone owned by the local gov. The local gov had a surveillance front door. They didn’t use it. @ csoghoian (guurst)”

    I don’t understand this and was hoping someone would explain it.

    I know I am late and perhaps no one will see my question.

    1. cwaltz

      The Justice Department acknowledged in its court filing that the password of Syed Farook’s iCloud account had been reset. The filing states, “the owner [San Bernardino County Department of Public Health], in an attempt to gain access to some information in the hours after the attack, was able to reset the password remotely, but that had the effect of eliminating the possibility of an auto-backup.”

      Apple could have recovered information from the iPhone had the iCloud password not been reset, the company said. If the phone was taken to a location where it recognized the Wi-Fi network, such as the San Bernardino shooters’ home, it could have been backed up to the cloud, Apple suggested.

      https://gma.yahoo.com/san-bernardino-shooters-apple-id-passcode-changed-while-234003785–abc-news-topstories.html

  26. Jay M

    This might might be a single battle which McConnell can loose, but he knows elite Democrats will smash their heads on the altar of false bipartisanship and corporate greed at every opportunity in a bid for acceptance which won’t ever come.
    N.T.G.
    we stand gap jawed as the pols twiddle our dixie and dive into the greasy lagoon

Comments are closed.