Links 8/30/14

Thousands of dolphins dive through sparkling clear waters as they migrate along the coast of South Africa Daily Mail

Plants Can ‘Talk’ To Each Other by Clicking Their Roots Inhabitat (original)

Autonomous mini helicopters hunt down invasive weeds from the air Gizmodo. Now that’s a use case for drones I can get behind.

The criminalisation of American business The Economist (LS). Pre-whinge. Seen any banksters in orange jumpsuits doing the perp walk? No? So what is this criminalization of which you speak?

Philippe Selendy: the man who took on Wall Street FT. Seems like the flip side of Tett‘s “Haven’t the banks suffered enough?” piece yesterday, and the other Pearson piece above. $20 billion is still chump change, though, compared to the damage.

The Cyber-Terror Bank Bailout: They’re Already Talking About It, and You May Be on the Hook Bloomberg. Let’s just hope we haven’t incentivized the CEOs to secretly hand over the passwords to “cyber-terrorists” for a share of the take, because that would be accounting control fraud.

Chinese developers caught in accelerating bust Macrobusiness

Exclusive: U.S. options exchanges craft rules to fend off turmoil Reuters

Allston Accused by HFT Rival of Manipulative Trading Bloomberg

Detroit bankruptcy judge tosses hold-out creditor’s charges Reuters (EM)

Divisions Grow as a Downturn Rocks Europe New York Times. What, again?

Stocks at records yet recovery is elusive FT. Film at 11!

Ayn Rand’s Capitalist Paradise Is Now a Greedy Land-Grabbing Sh*tstorm Gawker (hunkerdown). Nobody could have predicted….

Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy The Register

The fight against Big Ag and GMOs in Ghana Crossed Crocodiles. Important trade deal aspect.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Hillary Clinton talks NSA and privacy, data security, tech jobs in San Francisco ZDnet. Clinton on surveillance: “There’s no doubt we may have gone too far in a number of areas, and those [practices] have to be rethought and rebalanced.” The weasel words start with “may.”

I was taking pictures of my daughters. A stranger thought I was exploiting them. WaPo. A stranger from the Stasi.

LA Sheriff’s Deputy Who Killed Former Napster Exec Won’t Be Charged Valleywag

“I’m not your brother!”: Video reveals police’s stunning double-standard for black Americans Salon

Organizing 101: Don’t Do Another Ferguson March or Rally Without Getting The Digits Bruce Dixon

Gov. Cuomo’s reelection campaign continues to spend big in advance of Democratic primary New York Daily News

The Price of Corruption SSRN. Ian Welsh’s classic formulation: “[Politicians sell out cheap] because it’s not their money. It’s like selling your neighbor’s car for twenty bucks.”


Markets bounce as Obama and Putin take heat out of Ukraine tensions for now Telegraph

Don’t mess with nuclear Russia, Putin says Reuters

Militia takes control of east Ukraine’s Novoazovsk, several neighboring districts ITAR/TASS

Ukraine Lost A Battle – West Escalates With More Russia Sanctions Moon of Alabama

Jane’s Defense Caught With Pants Down: Ukraine Admits Rebel Counteroffensive, Including March to the Sea Global Economic Analysis

August 29th 15:35 UTC/ZULU Ukrainian SITREP Vineyard of the Saker


‘Anything US touches turns into Libya or Iraq’: Top Putin quotes at youth forum RT. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

Hagel going to Turkey as US tries to build ‘coalition of the willing’ against the Islamic State Stars and Stripes

Mystery of the missing tanker: Ship carrying $100million in Kurdish oil vanishes from radar screens 60 miles off the coast of Texas Daily Mail (Lance). “The Argentinians must be pissed they didn’t think of this.”


Gaza war? Merely a blip on the Mideast radar Haaretz

George Galloway ‘beaten over Israel comments’ Al Jazeera

Obama Downplays Threat of World Turmoil at Fundraiser Bloomberg

Choose enemies carefully but be less picky about allies Phillip Bobbitt, FT. Will Bashar al-Assad please pick up the pink courtesy phone?

Chelsea Clinton quits as NBC News reporter WSJ (Li). A nation mourns.

Patient Zero Believed to Be Sole Source of Ebola Outbreak Scientific American

3,300 ft. Fissure in the Mexican Desert: No Locusts, But You Should Still ‘Freak Out’ Skytruth. Water wars? Invade Canada. Problem solved!

What are all these violent images doing to us? Dart-Throwing Chimp

Evidence Grows That Online Social Networks Have Insidious Negative Effects MIT Technology Review. Note role of moderation at end.

Does It Help to Know History? Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

Acting French The Atlantic. Interesting to compare Coates to Sedaris in Me Talk Pretty One Day. Tellingly Coates never considers using “Easy French”!

Antidote du jour, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. dannyc

    Clinton on surveillance: “There’s no doubt we may have gone too far in a number of areas, and those [practices] have to be rethought and rebalanced.” The weasel words start with “may.”

    Well, the first weasel word is “we.” Obama weaseled worded the same when he said, “We tortured some folks.”
    These are crimes “we’re” talking about here. So who is the “we?”

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      “They” get our credit card to go shopping and mis-adventuring.

      “We” get to deal with the resulting debt and damage.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          They can pay for it with deficits (deferred taxes), or taxes, or with magically-created new dollars (a no-no, unless you’re a Bank-Citizen).

    2. Banger

      Clinton’s candidacy should be an interesting journey for all of us. Will the “left” fall for a “woman” candidate the way the fell for a “black” candidate? Sadly, the answer may be yes. What is the alternative? The White Peoples Party (Republicans) does not appear to have a potential candidate that can appeal to a larger audience than those who watch Fox other than, maybe, Rand Paul who seems to be flipping and flopping so much that whenever I read about him or see him I want to duck–so it’s hard to see how he will get anywhere. So we are stuck with Clinton then?

      I once preferred her to Obama in 2008 because I saw in her a real politician–a potential President who would actually have some power–I never though Obama would be able to wield much personal power–he seemed then as he seems now to be an employee–a decent manager balancing the needs of the owners as best he could. Clinton, I believe, has wheeled and dealed behind the scenes and wants to make her rule personal–she has her own agenda (and I can assure you of this–we have no clue what it is) and will say and do whatever needs to be said and done–she is a player for sure and wants to be one of the owners. This may be the first time in a long time we might see a President who is a real player–sort of like Lyndon Johnson or George Bush the Elder.

      1. dannyc

        If you wanna see what a Hillary Clinton Presidency would be like just look at how Kerry carries on at the State Department; which is to say weak, indecisive, with no initiative. This is – to use the NC sign of the times – a feature, not a bug of a new Presidency. You mention (admiringly) Johnson and Bush Sr., as strong executives; but there’s been a power shift away from the President to the National Security State, which is best represented – if only as a figure head – by whoever is CIA chief. George HW Bush should never have been allowed to run for office after his time at CIA. All CIA’s should be given a nice pension after their years of service so they can go home and take up gardening or something. They shouldn’t be allowed to do anything else, even teach. In 1932 when unemployment was near 25%, Roosevelt named a woman as Secretary of Labor. Three years later Frances Perkins initiated the Social Security Act of 1935. Twelve years after that came the National Security Act, and CIA was born; good government and the rule of law doesn’t stand a chance against all that money and secrecy.

        1. Banger

          Good points. The CIA was the senior “decider” in the gov’t for some time. I’m not sure that is the case now but let’s just call it the “intelligence community.” Anyway, Lyndon Johnson, I believe, made his own deal with the killers of the previous President and was able to garner some power for himself. As for GB the Elder, he was CIA, by many accounts, all along. But here’s the thing–Washington is a nest of vipers and the intel people hold a lot of power but not all the power–I believe power is more diffuse than others and maintained through various councils much as portrayed in the Godfather movies.

          1. dannyc

            The power you speak of is derived from secrecy and deceit, it doesn’t rest in any institution, office in Washington, or any vague power center; yet the misuse of that power is why we have the problems we have today. If government were open – truly transparent – and accountable, we wouldn’t have any of the problems that we have. All ‘our” problems have been created for “us,” they were either completely avoidable and/or there are solutions available for them. The front page of the New York Times could look entirely different every day. So the first black President uses weasel words like, “We tortured some folks,” (to get intelligence to stop terrorism) while Michael Brown’s body lay for four hours in the midday heat, with how many bullets? We still don’t know. I don’t think Hillary’s gonna improve on that.

              1. dannyc

                True, but no one is held accountable for mis- and disinformation. I don’t mean to offer a theory of everything, but if I had to pick one thing that would have a positive effect, it would be real transparency and accountability.

                However it is possible to seize power in this way. Many of the decisions of the next 5 or 6 Presidencies (both domestic and in foreign policy) have already been made for them due to George Bush’s deceitful and hidden war plans.

                1. dannyc

                  lordkoos, (just read your comment on youth and Libertarians)
                  You’re right here, I can’t really defend the word derived, couldn’t think of another word to take it’s place. The thing is, I believe in institutions. Always have. I grew up trusting government. I was taught the role of government was to protect the weak and defend the innocent, seriously. I thought, growing up, that Fannie Mae, Social Security, among other institutions were the reason the US had a middle class. (and safe streets) I thought a Supreme Court with the lights of William Brennan and Thurgood Marshal could correct the long standing wrongs committed on Black Americans. (I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to undo that; or that they could accomplish it without breaking the law.) Could go on and on. To me, back in the 90’s when a bunch of executives from the major tobacco companies, under oath, repeatedly lied to Congress as to whether cigarettes caused cancer, were addictive, or that the companies were marketing this stuff to children, and nothing happened to them. No charges were brought, no finding of contempt, nothing; that to me, showed to be one turning point when lies could trump institutional power, and that the law could be changed the by breaking it. Institutions lose, or cede their power when they stand true to what they are. I’m gonna try and think of better ways of explaining how this plays out. Maybe a re-read of Manufacturing Consent ‘ll help. Yves is right, Obama is not weak, he is a powerful weasel.

          2. neo-realist

            Could the intelligence apparatus to a much larger extent be the arm of multinational corporate/1% interests and prerogatives? United Fruit pushed the government to get rid of Arbenz in Guatemala after he took their land away and the “community” got it done. BP oil wanted that Iranian oil in the ground that was their after Mossadeq nationalized it and the coup against Mossadeq got done. JFK strong armed Big Steel into reducing their prices and took the oil depletion allowance from Big Oil. After Kennedy got wacked, who presides over the Warren Commision but David Rockefeller’s bud, Allen Dulles.

            The community can’t be a mere unilateral actor, it is an arm of powerful elite interests.

        2. Crazy Horse

          If you want to see what kind of president Hellary would be, watch the video of her chortling as Gaddafi is gutted and beaten to death. “We came, We saw, he died” was her comment to the press.

      2. dannyc

        “Clinton’s candidacy should be an interesting journey for all of us.” — You used the word “us.” That’s a weasel word. Who’s us? Is that the democratic “us” (as in democracy) or is it a conspiratorial “us” as in more war, bank bailouts, and medical bankruptcy for everybody else who isn’t a part of Hillary’s journey?

          1. Crazy Horse

            Except when “we” were arming and training them in “our” botched attempt to create regime change in Syria—— in the expectation that gas pipelines could be built through a newly “liberated” Syria and thus break the Russian hold on European gas supplies.

            Ain’t blowback a bitch? Now a force that makes the Taliban look like bookish schoolboys is finally settling the power vacuum in Iraq. They don’t hesitate to use a different kind of Shock and Awe. Same idea— different methods.

      3. wbgonne

        First woman won’t work like first black did for several reasons. To begin, we just did the “first” thing and not many “folks” are happy. Second, the historical moment is far different than 07. Third, the black vote, unlike the female vote, is largely monolithic. Fourth, Obama was a cipher while Hillary Clinton has some, ahem, baggage.

        I think Rand Paul would beat Hillary Clinton. I don’t know if Paul can get the nomination, however.

          1. GuyFawkesLives

            BOTH Hillary and Rand are not weasels. Weasels are nice and friendly pets compared to those two.

          2. wbgonne

            “She would make him look like a smug, ignorant, right wing punk, which is what he is.”

            Or perhaps, after Paul gets through attacking Clinton on: 1) the War on Drugs; 2) NSA surveillance; 3) warmongering; and 4) Wall Street, it will be him making her “look like a smug, ignorant, right wing punk, which is what [s]he is.” What Paul will look like — if it goes according to his plan — is a Libertarian. And that isn’t too bad politically right now because Obama and the Clinton Wing of the Democratic Party have so utterly undermined Progressivism that Libertarianism has emerged as a viable alternative to Conservatism, especially for young people.

            “Hilllary Clinton would crush Rand Paul.”

            “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
            ― Yogi Berra

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              We periodically get these boomlets about the right appealing to The Youth; there was a long thumbsucker in the Times magazine (sorry for the triple redundancy) about this in the last few weeks. The boomlets never come to anything, but maybe this time it will be different.

              1. wbgonne

                If Clinton is the Democratic nominee there will be a lot of people desperate for an alternative. TINA and LOTE are not the exclusive domains of the Democratic Party. But I doubt Paul can get the GOP nomination. If he does, Paul’s biggest hurdle getting The Youth will be social issues.

                1. lordkoos

                  There are a lot of kids that are influenced by libertarianism… many of them college educated. They look at “liberals” and “conservatives” as some kind of outdated paradigm. And they are probably right about that.

              2. Banger

                I agree with you despite my fondness for the movement (at least it moves!). The reason why the culturally left libertarians cannot be a major force at this time is because the alternative media has not ripened yet. The cultural narrative is still dominated by pro-authority, pro-law enforcement and pro-war narratives in the “news”, movies and TV shows with a few very excellent exceptions. The swirling of Rand Paul as he tries to fit his ideas within the RP narrative is fascinating to watch because the RP is as hostile to libertarian philosophy as the DP.

              3. vidimi

                i agree, but who here is on the right?

                as wbgonne pointed out, hillary is to the right of paul on many key issues

        1. frosty zoom

          rand paul will never be allowed the nomination.

          i think the republican’ts will resurrect Obadiah Bush and choose Cthulhu as his running mate.

          on the demoncats’ side, look for Hillary Clinton who will choose herself as running mate.

          hold your nose.

            1. Doug Terpstra

              Indeed, AIPAC is the true final arbiter of US elections. No candidate gets anywhere near a national ballot without a kosher stamp on their soul. Imagine the money we’d save without all the pretense. That way too, Netanyahu wouldn’t have to scold the uppity puppet for second-guessing him.

            2. frosty zoom

              ooh, then they could put the sunset strip on a “diet” and “cleanse” it every two years!

      4. Jackrabbit

        The ‘inverted totalitarian’ model is ‘team WH’ with a politically weak, telegenic president who can sell policy to the people. A President with some cojones might upset the applecart. Why take the risk?

        But Hillary is in a ‘kingmaker’ position. She could hurt the Democrats by running as an independent or help them by fully supporting a consensus candidate.

        A third party candidate can and should make the case that the failure of Obama represents a failure of the Democratic Party itself, having elected Obama (a neolib manchurian candidate), and that extreme inequality and a foreign policy that ‘comes home’ as a police state show that the bought-and-paid-for two party system doesn’t work.

        Pass the popcorn.

        H O P

          1. optimader

            She’s less a loyalist and more a parasite recognizing no other viable host according to narrative.
            And, IMO she is an educated ignorant person. Maybe she reads the briefs, but her analysis is ignorant.
            With the infinite resources she has had available since Bill was POTUS, if she wasn’t ignorant she would by sheer force of odds have said something that is sensible.
            I cant put my finger on ever thinking, Yeah, that make a lot of sense..

      5. Yves Smith

        Obama is not weak. Obama has done what he wanted to do. Any weakness was feigned, to justify governing center right when he campaigned as Mr. Hopey Changie presumed leftie by blaming his actions on those big bad meanie Republicans.

        1. Banger

          Obama was “called” to power by operatives who groomed him early on. He himself did not, like Richard Nixon, have to scramble for power he was led into power by others. Why did this rather unremarkable guy get the 2004 keynote address at the Dem Convention? Not because he personally insisted or wheeled and dealed for that prize–it’s because DP operatives believed an articulate black man who sounded white would defang and charm the naive left (in other words the left) into believing the hopey-change thing. Power in the imperial capital is earned through various deals and alliances and it takes years to turn that into personal power. Obama was along for the ride and I’m sure he knows the network he must please as is true for most pols–mainly politicians are power brokers who, over time can, like Frank Underwood, manage to cobble together their personal power-base. I think Madame Clinton has done that–her agents today are currently in strategic positions. Of course, she has serious enemies but she has the advantage of knowing who is who and that counts for a lot in Washington..

          1. James Levy

            Agreed. She knows what most people don’t know and many don’t want to know–the topography of power in these United States. As for Yves comment on Obama, it is hard to tell if he has any power personally, or if he just represents the powerful Goldman/Citibank and Hollywood axes of power and influence as a front-man. I have no idea and no one is going to tell us.

          2. Crazy Horse

            Obama’s handlers had their hands full erasing the puppet strings from all the public TV and camera views of Candidate Obama. Fortunately they didn’t need to bother once he was elected. Much more cost effective to nominate a pack of refugees from mental institutions and present them as candidates for the SWPP. (Stupid White People’s Party) so they could continue to amortize their investment in Hopey for four more years.

        2. optimader

          Obama thought with his election he was admitted to an exclusive club in which he would operate in collegial harmony. He was shocked and disoriented when that proved not to be the case and was never able to recover and negotiate… anything… because in reality he’s no deeper than his empty rhetoric. Beyond the superficial BS, his feet of clay doomed him from really accomplishing anything. Obamacare? we all know what that is really.

          BHO has played out as an unremarkable venial dude riding out the gig to a soft landing in palm springs.
          He happened to be at least half black and able to do a practiced rap that people chose to interpret according to their own hopes and desires at just the right time in history.
          If he wasn’t “ethnic” and if the preceding POTUS trainwreck had not occurred he would be an an also ran attorney in Chicago w/ Michelle haranguing him to get the lawn cut.

          1. Yves Smith

            This really is stereotyping of the worst kind, basically that a smooth, polished black man is a house Negro, unable to operate independently.

            You need to read this piece. Obama may be lazy (he’s even admitted to that) but weak, no.

            This is the shape of the system Obama has designed. It is intentional, it is the modern American order, and it has a certain equilibrium, the kind we identify in Middle Eastern resource extraction based economies. We are even seeing, as I showed in an earlier post, a transition of the American economic order toward a petro-state. By some accounts, America will be the largest producer of hydrocarbons in the world, bigger than Saudi Arabia. This is just not an America that any of us should want to live in. It is a country whose economic basis is oligarchy, whose political system is authoritarianism, and whose political culture is murderous toward the rest of the world and suicidal in our aggressive lack of attention to climate change.

            Many will claim that Obama was stymied by a Republican Congress. But the primary policy framework Obama put in place – the bailouts, took place during the transition and the immediate months after the election, when Obama had enormous leverage over the Bush administration and then a dominant Democratic Party in Congress. In fact, during the transition itself, Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson offered a deal to Barney Frank, to force banks to write down mortgages and stem foreclosures if Barney would speed up the release of TARP money. Paulson demanded, as a condition of the deal, that Obama sign off on it. Barney said fine, but to his surprise, the incoming president vetoed the deal. Yup, you heard that right — the Bush administration was willing to write down mortgages in response to Democratic pressure, but it was Obama who said no, we want a foreclosure crisis. And with Neil Barofsky’s book ”Bailout,” we see why. Tim Geithner said, in private meetings, that the foreclosure mitigation programs were not meant to mitigate foreclosures, but to spread out pain for the banks, the famous “foam the runway” comment. This central lie is key to the entire Obama economic strategy. It is not that Obama was stymied by Congress, or was up against a system, or faced a massive crisis, which led to the shape of the economy we see today. Rather, Obama had a handshake deal to help the middle class offered to him by Paulson, and Obama said no. He was not constrained by anything but his own policy instincts. And the reflation of corporate profits and financial assets and death of the middle class were the predictable results.


    3. Leeskyblue


      Actually, any statement is a weasel statement if it includes “no doubt” with “maybe”,
      or includes “torture” with “folks”.

      Is this the only website that listens to what these luminaries actually say?
      I confess I stopped listening to Obama long ago,
      but he is a very good education in manipulative technique.

      I gave Hillary credit for being the slightly less cold blooded of the two.
      Now who can we vote for to narrowly lose Florida in 2016?
      Really, would Cristie be so bad? — “Only Nixon could have gone to China.”
      No Republican could get away with as much as our President has.

        1. dannyc

          Maybe we should work for Cristie to be President; he could easily be convicted of a crime and put in prison and thereby restore the rule of law to Washington and on Wall Street.

        2. Leeskyblue

          Why? Because he is a Republican?
          Such is a widely accepted platitude but a misguided and foolish assumption.

          For the near future, there will be nothing worse than Obama —
          he is exactly what his promoters wanted,
          and what they will seek for his replacement.

          Cristie may actually have a little of the wiggle room which no Democrat would have,
          and possibly he has the spine to wiggle.

          1. dannyc

            No, no not because he is Republican – because his crimes are so ham fisted even Rupert Murdoch would have to report on them, fair and balanced. I agree, Obama sets the standard for worst (even though he is only doing what Bush decided for him.)

            1. optimader

              Hard to say he’s worse than Bush. Bush, in his mentally retarded extemporaneous manner brought us the precedent of preemtive perpetual war and the scourge of the consolidated HLS apparatus..
              Had Bush not so vacuously taken us down this road to perdition, BHO would not have been able to pave it.

          2. cnchal

            Why? Because he is a Republican?

            Because he is a narcissist. He can wiggle his spine alright. Didn’t he buffoon himself with Jimmy Falon?

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Don’t forget, the Republicans will forgive one of their own for damned-near anything (from hypocritical immorality to uncontested criminality), AND reelect them once they have been dipped in the bleach* of pseudo-Christian selective forgiveness).

        *Does not remove melanin.

  2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    “Does It Help to Know History?”

    Only if you want to understand why your hands get burned every time you touch the stove.

    The real problem is when you know of someone else who touched the stove and got burned, but you think your exceptionality will prevent you from suffering the same result (because the last guy — and everyone else who ever touched it and got burned — obviously touched it incorrectly).

    It always helps to know how your grandparents got their scars (and to have and heed grandparents concerned enough to warn you away from the dangers, and who place barriers between the stove and the young’uns , as ours did).

    1. Lona

      One thing the article didn’t address was the war profiteers. It’s starting to look like ending up in a war is a feature, not a bug, that benefits too many. Too many war mongers in positions of influence – so knowledge of history, or lack of it, has a minor role.

      1. abynormal

        indeed. “When people don’t understand the government doesn’t have their interest in mind, they’re more susceptible to go to war.” H. Zinn

        1. trish

          “As the Libyan intervention demonstrates, the best will in the world—and, seemingly, the best candidates for our support—can’t cure broken polities quickly.”

          the more I learn of the history of our wars and proxie war waged by those in power, the more I wonder if “best will” ever pertains. Or perhaps more accurately best will for whom?

          the most important historical similarity I see in current wars is as a precedent of government disinformation and deceit and who does it enrich.
          so “historical blindness” is one of convenience. the ones waging the wars can count on the myth of their historical blindness, perpetuated by MSM expounders lamenting, alas, why don’t they learn! Our “ruthless political operators,” all of them right up to our current, seem to know all they need to know to achieve they’re age-old objectives of abetting the profiteers.
          and convenience in public’s real historical blindness- not knowing the dirty facts. carefully cultivated, Zinn not included.

    2. gordon

      I was delighted to read Mr Gopnik’s reference to the Mahdi – a historical parallel I have been boring my family with for a while now. And I certainly agree with him that it helps to know some history. Working out the best course of action (or inaction) to pursue in a particular situation can be helped by a historical sense. I must say I’m not sure I agree with him about his preference for British inaction in WWI, however.

      An experience on another blog two or three years ago points up the value of knowing some history. There, I was confronted with a post arguing that revolutionary action is always and under all circumstances ineffective and mostly detrimental to the interests of the would-be revolutionaries. This was from a full professor – though not a professor of history! Confronted with examples of how many of the rights and freedoms we enjoy arose from revolutionary action, he responded by assuring me that these things would have occurred in the fullness of time anyway! I gave him an argument and got banned from the blog for my pains, but I hope I left an impression on other readers that history is indeed important.

  3. ambrit

    Is this a “Where’s Waldo” like antidote?
    I finally figured out that it was a frog floating in a reflection of the trees above, all on a pool of water. My first idea was of Rocky the Flying Squirrel transiting the forest airspace slightly blurred out. I wondered what MUFON would have made of that.
    Off topic, but interesting nonetheless, is my sporadic but regular encounters with a “News Source” called The Intercept when I enter Yahoo. Digging a little, it turns out to be a 4Chan type “crowd sourced” news feed. To call these “news items” high value Trolling would be to impugn the good nature of reputable propaganda. What’s so disturbing is that these exercises in disinformation are presented to the casual viewer as real news. Not just your usual, for today, MSM copywork, but truly inflammatory hit pieces, with, if you ponder for a while, obvious ideological allegiances. It would be interesting to find out just who calls the shots at Yahoo.

    1. Jim Haygood

      King Abdullah invokes the new ‘terrorist domino theory’:

      King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has warned that the West will be the next target of the jihadists sweeping through Syria and Iraq, unless there is “rapid” action. “If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month,” he said.

      “You see how they (jihadists) carry out beheadings and make children show the severed heads in the street,” he said, condemning the “cruelty” of such acts.


      Let’s pause for a fact check from veteran middle east reporter Eric Margolis:

      ‘On the same day Foley was allegedly being decapitated, 19 people in Saudi Arabia, a close US ally, were publicly beheaded for various crimes. One of the men was executed for witchcraft. There was no outcry at all over this medieval horror. Saudi Arabia is suspected of charging political opponents of the monarchy with drug offenses, which carry the penalty of beheading by a sword-wielding executioner.’

      1. Banger

        Interesting that the Saudi kingdom is almost as immune to criticism in the official state-run media as Israel.

  4. Ned Ludd

    “Excuse me, sir, but you just embarrassed me in front of my children and strangers. And what you said was racist.”

    The man didn’t seem at all fazed. He replied: “I work for the Department of Homeland Security.”

    I would feel more secure if we did not have a Department of Homeland Security.

    1. Brindle

      The father’s ending words:

      —Homeland Security instructs Americans: “If you see something, say something.” But at what point do our instincts compel us to act? And when does our fear of getting involved stop us? What causes someone to perceive one thing when an entirely different thing is happening?

      I’ve been thinking about this for weeks and have no clear answers. And that’s what disturbs me the most.—

      The most “clear answer” would be, if he was in touch with his “instincts”,—“Do we really need any of this DHS sh*t?—It’s all a con”

      1. abynormal

        i backed into a quote im still pondering:
        “the more you care what others think
        the more a slave you become”
        mho, we’re humans and we’ve always slaved for ourselves, others and things. then there’s the commitment to issues. poverty is a violence that wears us down…commitment(s) outside ourselves easily become violent struggles on our soul.
        more and more…’it’s all too much and not enough’. at the least and most, we’re humans’)

        1. Ned Ludd

          As kids, in Sunday school, we were taught to act morally and to expect our actions to be unpopular. Having principles leads to tension when you act on those principles.

          My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.”… The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.

          1. optimader

            “As kids, in Sunday school, we were taught to act morally and to expect our actions to be unpopular. ”

            I was taught the former at home all week, but never the latter. Though I was taught to always first evaluate whether to conform to group behavior. One of the best childhood lessons for me.

            RE the article:
            A fundamental efficacy question is, why is he paid to be there? Under any scenario what answer would the homeland insecurity apparatchik expect?

            The end of the article ultimately illustrates the tendency for compliance of the average person conditioned to conform. Object lesson to me how remote the possibility of our society rejecting the current paradigm of “State Security”. Don’t hold your breath.

            Passive Aggressive Sidebar: In that circumstance what I CERTAINLY would have done was queue up behind him, ideally when taking the last step to exit down the deck stairs,step on the back of his shoe to peel the heel down. It’s a fantastic plausibly deniable FKU. You lookin at me? Whaaa?
            FWIW, IMO an interesting personal observation at least in my geography, the people I observe least likely to conform to State Security kabuki theatre are immigrants from Cold War Eastern Europe vintage. They are the ones conditioned to chafe and work the angles…. go figure. Pitifully, the most compliant are Americans of my generation and their kids. You’ve see them while traveling, the middle age fat guy wearing the NYPD hat/shirt, or equal, at the airport who grovels w/ the TSA flunky.

    2. Brindle

      What can the father do do reduce the cognitive dissonance he is experiencing due to his encounter with the man from DHS ?…..

      —– 1. Change behavior/cognition
      (Ex: Stop eating the doughnut)

      2. Justify behavior/cognition by changing the conflicting cognition
      (Ex: “I’m allowed to cheat every once in a while”)

      3. Justify behavior/cognition by adding new cognitions
      (Ex: “I’ll spend 30 extra minutes at the gym to work it off”)

      4. Ignore/Deny any information that conflicts with existing beliefs
      (Ex: “I did not eat that donut. I always eat healthy.”)—-

    3. Ed

      Its not clear from the headline what actually happened. It would be bad enough if a random busybody tried to stop a man from taking pictures of his daughter. But this was a government employee, acting in his official capacity!

      Incidentally, the excuse that they thought the man was taking pictures of models for a sex magazine doesn’t hold water. Its designed to prey on emotions and discourage thinking. Its not illegal or even particularly unethical to take pictures of models for a sex magazine, if the models are willing and are compensated for their services.

      1. optimader

        “But this was a government employee, acting in his official capacity!”

        “..doesn’t hold water..”
        Exactly correct. All about conditioning.

    4. frosty zoom

      if it didn’t exist, it would soon be replaced by the “homepartment of securityland” or “landhomesecure partment”.

    5. Crazy Horse

      Ned, you should proofread your comment more carefully.

      Then you wouldn’t fall into the trap of calling the Department of Homeland Insecurity by it’s incorrect name.

    6. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Tools available:

      1. The ballot. (The vote being the true, but marketed-away, currency of the realm. Requires a specific platform and candidates that will stick to it, or be recalled).

      2. Civil disobedience. (Proactive and organized. Requires showing up actually putting your ass on the line for your country. Face full of mace or a cracked skull, anyone?).

      3. Resistance against illegitimate authority. (Reactive/spontaneous/anticipatory — e.g., demanding enforcement of the law, on a case-by-case basis, for crimes committed against normal citizens under the color of law, as they happen).

      I don’t think we have what it takes, anymore. Maybe we never did.

    1. ambrit

      I’m surprised that California hasn’t followed the lead of the Great Lakes states and mandated steel shot for duck hunting. etc. The lead shot poisoning that lead to severe declines in migratory waterfowl populations in the mid Twentieth Century caused the steel shot laws to be passed. A similar route of transmission occurred with the ducks. The ducks would dredge up lead shot lying on the bottom of ponds for gizzard contents and other uses. The ducks eggs would thin out and chicks become deformed and otherwise affected by lead poisoning from the shot. The introduction of steel shot allowed the old lead shot to become encapsulated under annual layers of silt while safer steel shot replaced them at the surface layers of the pond depths.
      Besides, we no longer have a lead refinery in the U.S. Locally made steel is Pro-American! (Go markets!)

      1. Carolinian

        “Federal law banned the use of lead shot for waterfowl hunting in the early 1990s after studies showed that ducks and other waterfowl were being poisoned by lead from the pellets that fell back into the water supply after a missed shot. ”

        However a more recent story says that Calif has banned lead shot

  5. steviefinn

    The why of the same old mistakes carried out by the same sort of people through the centuries as the present Neo-Cons who believe that they can control the chaos that they sow. Lord Grey at least tried to find a solution but unfortunately got it wrong. He was a man who hated war which contrasts with many now in control who actually love it ( from a safe distance of course ). The kind of people who have Phd’s & are true believers in their own infallibility, which in my book for all their honours makes them incredibly stupid & blinkered – Violence breeds violence full stop. but if you are not handicapped by empathy, it’s just toy soldiers & civilians.

  6. trish

    re The criminalisation of American business

    “The formula is simple: find a large company that may (or may not) [I want a list of the nots] have done something wrong; threaten its managers with commercial ruin [please], preferably with criminal charges [just a shared joke to lighten up the meetings]; force them to use their shareholders’ money to pay an enormous fine [don’t worry, the MSM won’t put it in context and profits were how many billions?] to drop the charges in a secret settlement (so nobody can check the details) [works for us]. Then repeat with another large company.”

    the formula is simple. channel the profits to the top where they’re unsullied by those relative-drop-in-the-bucket tax-write-off fines… just cost of doing scams er business. Follow up with repeated hand-wringing about such enormous fines and unfair rich-bashing in public. provide lucrative consulting etc revolving door positions for regulators to continue on business as usual, etc

    1. Gabriel

      Suppose the state that held the offending corporation’s charter, revoked it, for corporate crimes.

      Also, top, managers of this firm would be prohibited by law from being officers of another corporation for a certain number of year — say from 5 years to forever, depending on the crimes’ severity. [I can think of other lesser penalties along these lines.]

      Would these work? To reduce corporate criminalization?

    2. gordon

      RE: criminalisation: “… there are now so many laws, and they are so complex … that enforcing them is becoming discretionary”.

      Sort of like the Test Act. The ghost of James II is smiling.

  7. Carolinian

    The NYT version of the Chelsea story gives the impression that her high salaried gig was all for the sake of charity.

    While Chelsea Clinton’s NBC segments did not attract particularly large audiences, news executives and her subjects said her celebrity brought outsize attention to the communities and nonprofits she profiled. “It’s hard to get stories like this told on a platform as big as ‘NBC Nightly News,’ “ said Josh Wachs, chief strategy officer at Share Our Strength, a nonprofit that fights childhood hunger.

    Gives new meaning to the concept of volunteerism.

    1. abynormal

      i found her 600k p/t ‘journalism’ stint a knife in the back of journalist & photojournalist. one too many unable to further carry civilizations dirt on their boots…taking their own life. at least im not yet too numb to feel Shame.

      1. Gabriel

        Hmm … I wonder how many journalists lost their jobs to pay her salary?

        How many journalists equal one Clinton? A question for Thomas Aquinas.

        1. ambrit

          I believe that the good Doctor would have inverted that question. How many Clintons would equal a journalist?

  8. Ned Ludd

    In response to Jane’s Defense vs. Colonel Cassad: Someone Seriously Wrong, a close friend wrote: “Jane’s has been in business giving good advice for a century and could only do so by giving good advice. ”

    I am reminded of the advice that, “Resting on one’s laurels makes for an uncomfortable bed, and only crushes the laurels.” Someone reading, which Mish links to for an updated map, gets reports of what is actually happening in Ukraine, albeit with more focus on events that are positive for NAF. Pro-NATO web sites, in contrast, appear to just make things up, to stay aligned with US/NATO wishful thinking.

  9. Doug Terpstra

    Cyber-terror: Putin did it, no evidence needed; no satellite photos, radar data, air traffic recordings, flight data, or forensics. Innuendo alone will suffice; case closed; no muss, no fuss false-flag. Make it big enough, drain millions of accounts, shut down ATMs, and Americans will demand Putin’s head.

    “And bank security officials believe the hackers may have been aided by the Russian government, possibly as retribution for U.S. sanctions over the Ukraine war.”

    Couldn’t possibly have been AIG or Jamie fishing for another bailout, no questions asked, no evidence possible or required. Why would you even think such unthinkable thoughts? Pay no attention to JPM’s interminable rap sheet.

    The Terror Risk Insurance Act is the perfect looting vehicle, even better than Obamacare, all profit, no risk, at least until people finally ask the blindingly obvious question: why not disintermediate the looters, turn banking and insurance into public utilities?

    1. steviefinn

      Heroin addicts are seen as living a totally unsustainable lifestyle which usually only ends one way, but some are fortunate to be given a methadone substitute & in some cases are weaned off the addiction. In the meantime they will rob their Grandmothers & anyone else to fuel their habit & in an environment where there are many of these users, it will have huge knock on effect within the larger population, simply because they frankly must have their fix & do not give a damn about the consequences.
      Of course these lowlifes cannot be compared to the sharp suited elites who of course would never be stupid enough to bring the whole house down in order to to get their fixes, even when their destructive QE methadone no longer sates their bottomless appetites.

  10. Banger

    Great links today.

    But I have to talk about Ukraine, just a bit here. Sometimes I listen to NPR–rarely, these days, but I have a radio in the car and the NPR stations are really near my favorite music station (yes, I still listen to radio-music) and I like to see what they are saying. I happened to turn on a story about Ukraine and it was a really, really, really, corny Stalinist propaganda bit–I mean it was almost like something out of Monty Python or the old SNL when it had teeth. Are NPR producers like auditioning for comedy shows in LA now like they’ve been auditioning for Fox News?

    But I really love to bash NPR far too much because I remember it when it was not what it is today. At any rate–it isn’t just NPR, obviously, it is all the news outlets–there is only one side to the story and that is that Putin is invading Ukraine because the “pro-Russian” forces have been badly losing to the victorious Ukranian forces blah, blah, blah. I pinch myself sometimes when I realize what has happened to my country. As bad as the media has been over the decades in the U.S. it has never been, even when Operation Mockingbird was in effect, as focused on pure propaganda as it is now. Facts are made up out of thin air–suddenly, events “just happen” out of nowhere–ISIS magically appears on the world stage fully formed–no one knew and suddenly sophisticated weapons are captured–if you really want to call them “captured” because actually what happened (I found after a bit of searching) is that “Iraqi” officers ordered their men to retreat leaving those weapons for the ISIS fighters–wow–and what does the U.S. media say about this? Nothing.

    Anyway, I have often been alarmed by the the tone and attitude of Saker in his reports–he is so pro-Novorussia that I wondered if he was being truthful–but after some time of reading his blog and then keeping an eye on the Official Press I realized that his analysis and reporting is accurate and the mainstream reporting is not even close to being accurate about Ukraine–and I was willing to give the U.S. media some benefit of the doubt because of the vital nature of this conflict. Instead, the media has reflected more the internal power struggle within Washington. Sometimes they ease off on Ukraine and sometimes there are hysterical headlines–particularly glaring are the headlines in what was once a left-leaning the HuffPost but has now taken a steady rightward course in foreign affairs while adopting a Comedy Central/MSNBC take on domestic affairs–with a stronger emphasis on ET. BTW, they banned my comments some months ago without telling me and without answering my query—where once they actually enrolled me on one of their TV panels (under my real name)–this was before they were sold by Madame Huffington.

    As I’ve said–there will be no war over Ukraine. The U.S. military has made it plain (reading between the lines) that it will not fight a war against an enemy that can shoot back–they are in the business of making careers within the bureaucracy and making money when they retire–the warrior spirit is gone–what there is of it is in the elite divisions JSOC, SEALS, CIA. Fortunately for Putin, Russia has the best trained body guards in the world–I’ve actually seen videos from their trainings (a martial arts friend went and trained in Russia some years back and gave glowing reviews of their methods and results).

    1. steviefinn

      The Guardian would be my pick for the biggest disappointment in the UK in terms of banging the war drum & as for the other side, I started following the Colonel Cassad site about 6 weeks ago, while being mindful of the propaganda aspect. It brings that war to life & after a few weeks I realised that as to the reality of events, they were far more truthful than the Western MSM. This has really become apparent in the last week or so as it totally disproved the trumpeted headlines that the Ukies were winning that war.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Excellent comment Banger.

      Just a note about ‘warrior spirit’, though. Elites in non-Western countries no-doubt understand the ‘game’ by now: regime change via ethnic and sectarian strife and economic coercion. We are already seeing that the other side will not play the losing hand that we deal them (e.g. BRICS uniting). So expect the unexpected. In this ‘war by other means’ the old adage still applies: the plan goes out the window at the first shot.

    3. optimader

      I have two well educated friends of modest but comfortable means that fancy themselves liberals who are proud to make a point that they contribute to the local affiliate NPR (WBEZ) –which degenerated from being the go to station to really really sucks ass now.
      I occasionally go the polite Socratic method on them as a curiosity to plumb the depths of the thought process (its a 99.99% pure form of cognitive dissonance) just to get a sense of how two otherwise smart people would enthusiastically vote for BHO a third time if it were possible. Fundamentally bizarre to me, in the similar vein as how scattered what I understand the neocon thought process is. Hard to synthesize either but readily observable if you’re polite.

      1. MtnLife

        It’s the Kool-Aid effect. Once they’ve swallowed, they stop critically questioning what’s coming out of the mouth of the group’s leaders (political party, think tank, religion, whatever). Critical questioning gets replaced with “how do I fit what they just said into my belief system/current word view?”. Weirder still are the ones who see through most of it but if you bring up some trigger subject, like “the troops”, they go zero to ‘Merica! in the blink of an eye.
        BTW, I love the WBEZ call letters when I hear them. W Be Easy.

    4. fresno dan

      Perhaps if was ever thus, but it does seem to me there is more of a “consensus” or groupthink that there has ever been – use what term you like, and though the term “consensus” sounds thoughtful and wise, it strikes me as more axiomatic of people who have started to believe their own propaganda, or are united in spreading the group propaganda. The term “mainstream” is just a tactic used to stifle debate.

      I mean, I can remember when there was at least a semblance of a real debate on being more balanced between the Arabs and the Israelis……
      The US seems to have only two possibilities – military action somewhere all the time, and 90% military action 95% of the time….
      Like supplying bicycles to fish, no military action is not even contemplated…..

      1. Banger

        The big change in conformity has come from the intellectual side of the population–it has become astonishingly conformist for a whole host of reasons. There is little debate about substantial issues and lots of tempest in teapots about relatively trivial matters. People actually once read books they disagreed with and engaged in debates using logic!!! Imagine that! And discussions about meaning and philosophy actually were fairly common.

        1. James Levy

          I think a great deal of it comes out of the long apprenticeship process of grad school followed at the university by the craving for tenure and in the law or accounting for the need to make partner. As the lifestyle and security of the full professor or the partner deviates more and more from the reality most people live, the desire to get there, and the power of those who are there to control who follows in their wake and gets the brass ring, warps people. Those below are more inclined to kiss ass and conform in order to get ahead, and those who already enjoy security are more likely to consciously or unconsciously demand conformity and obeisance from those coming up from below. This dynamic has engendered in too many a craven attitude and a lack of any firm convictions.

        2. dannyc

          C.P. Snow, the British scientist and novelist once said, “More evil is done in the name of conformity than in the name of rebellion.”

    5. Doug Terpstra

      Good thought stream there, Banger. I can relate. As appalling as the incessent lies are, the shoddiness of the false-flags, all without foundation and rife with self-evident contradiction, are just bewildering. You don’t know whether to guffaw at the onionesque theater, be offended and insulted by the rank stupidity of nonsense masquerading as serious propaganda, or cry because it’s all they have to do to sucker a sufficient number of sheeple (sorry, Lambert), who are no longer capable of elementary reason or independent thought, even after Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. It’s surreal.

    6. trish

      “At any rate–it isn’t just NPR, obviously, it is all the news outlets.”

      except NPR successfully gets away with the(for the) “public broadcasting” left-ish funded by the left-ish public (never mind all the corporate backing with all their working-hard-for-good non-ads) all things supposedly considered disguise.

    7. Jim S

      Today’s “All Things Considered” segment on Ukraine was a doozy, and yesterday’s segment on “extremist” ISIS described the group almost glowingly. It would almost be worth someone doing a daily NPR writeup to keep track of the follies.

  11. jrs

    On polls that merely break down black/white attitudes toward Ferguson and police brutality etc and often don’t include the perspective of other ethnicities.

    “not to include the testimony by Hispanics, Native Americans and Muslims about their sometimes terrifying encounters with the police is to isolate blacks and cast them as unreasonable malcontents. Paranoid even and whining about “victimization,”and set up for a mismatch.”

    A good point, from a not very good, because way to meandering article:

    Because I don’t think the media have ANY of our welfare in mind when they frame their stories beyond the 1%ers (and even then our 1% are so delusional they not only don’t think they live in a society, they don’t’ even think they live in an ecosystem!). So the media frames as black and white. And it seems to be producing the exact result described in the minds of some whites of: “isolating blacks and casting them as unreasonable malcontents”. No it doesn’t say anything good about those particular whites that they are so easy to jump to that conclusion but the media can also do dog whistling. And in the minds of those who are victims of police brutaility it simultaneously precludes a broad based multicultural movement to address the issue – precludes solidarity in short. But does this media want broad based movements for social change? (even the most basic righting of wrongs here). Why would they? It’s the voice of the 1% right? Meanwhile all of us factually know, while it may not be on the level of the African American experience, that cops have whole programs to target Muslims etc.

    There are times I get cynical and think even the media harping on Furgeson is in order to give no coverage to the fact that in a month or so TWO new wars are being contemplated by the U.S. government (Iraq AGAIN and Syria soon). Actually only the worst of the media do the exclusive focus, Faux to some degree, but CNN is even worse. Slightly better sources can walk and chew gum at the same time! And this conclusion isn’t really fair because police brutality is a very real issue. But it is useful to keep in mind the media isn’t in the reporting on Ferguson business for justice either. And black and white race baiting is always a topic that can emotionally bait people.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Yeah, I had the feeling that Counterpunch article had good stuff in it, but who could wade through all the eddies? Boy did that article need a good editor’s hand.

    2. Gabriel

      Maybe we expect too much from our press. You want thoughtful reporting of major events having national or international consequences – a little unrealistic it seems to me.

  12. fresno dan

    Yes, there’d been an election. But as Edwar pointed out, “Democracy is not only elections, not just voting. Democracy is about building civil institutions, transparency, accountability, the separation of powers, the peaceful transfer of power. We don’t have any of that. My hometown, Basra, is in ruins. They don’t have clean drinking water. I was shocked. Shocked. And now we see ISIS moving toward Baghdad. So what kind of state is this, that was built and is still supported by America? What were the intentions? What’s behind it? To divide this country into three states, like Biden said in 2007? You lost 5,000 soldiers to bloodshed in Iraq and spent so much money, and to what purpose? To create a theocratic state?”

    I didn’t know what to say.

    “After the revolution of 1958,” she went on, “when we overthrew the monarchy and created the Iraqi Republic, we made tremendous changes in just four years: improvements in literacy, women’s issues, housing, education and health.” That hopeful time had come to an end with the CIA-supported Baathist coup of 1963. But in 2003, “America had an opportunity to change people’s lives for the better, to win the love of the Iraqi people. Instead, they turned themselves into the opposite.”

    As I sat over my vodka on my last night in Iraq, looking back at my service there and considering what I’d seen and what I’d heard, especially from Iraqis themselves, I realized it didn’t matter what we’d intended. What mattered was what we’d done. We’d invaded a sovereign nation on a pretense, fucked up the lives of 30 million people, started a bitter, bloody civil war by pitting one religious sect against another, then left and pretended it had nothing to do with us. We’d helped strengthen fundamentalist religious extremists in the Middle East and put intellectuals, journalists and activists at risk. A few people made a whole bunch of money, and a whole nation was left in shambles. Whether or not breaking Iraq into pieces had been the plan from the beginning, as some evidence suggests, the war had been nothing but a murderous hustle. The politicians who ran the war had shown no higher ideals than robbery and plunder, and I’d been nothing but their thug.

    At some point, I came to realize that the US does not always have the best of intentions. The only question I have, is does it ever have good intentions? Or are we just proud of being idiots….

    1. Jim Haygood

      Such deep questions as yours are often better explored with expert guidance, in the context of formal study:

      ‘Former Prime Minister Tony Blair will teach a class at Yale marking the start of the “Faith and Globalization Initiative,” a three-year collaboration among Yale’s Divinity School, School of Management and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.’


      The Deity, modern management, and a charismatic instructor … soon your doubts will fade, my son.

    2. Banger

      Honestly, the intentions of the U.S. Government are very mixed and always has been. In the post WWII era there was a definite intention to create a new world order based on U.S. power. American power players were very clear on this and most of them believed in Henry Luce’s idea of the “American Century” which meant, in practical terms creating a world order based on law, free trade, a focus on education and material prosperity as the cure of all ills. Some of the power-elite chose to take advantage of this project to make profits and others to use the secrecy of the permanent war economy to garner power and money for themselves and their friends and relatives.

      The whole thing turned in November of 1963. Since then there was a gradual drift towards malevolence in US foreign and security policy. By 2001 nothing was left of “good intentions” and we saw the official death of the old Republic.

      1. Gabriel

        Mr Banger,

        I might quarrel with your calendar but I agree that US foreign policy has taken a dark turn. I might say that things began to darken after WW 2 when the CIA changed from an information-gathering body to became more assertive about pushing American interests around the world.

        Again, you may be right that policy elites turned dark and used DoD and foreign policy for their own ends.

        Whatever, the causal influences, I think you’re right about a darkening hue to our foreign policy. Maybe the Twin Towers were a bloody message along those lines – but like in many things in life, we had the experience but missed the intended meaning.

    3. Gabriel


      Yup, it pays to think twice before you make war.

      Unfortunately, I think we’ve lost even the first thoughts on these matters – that war maims and kills many innocents, creates massive indignities and has attrocities as by- products, creates bad feelings that persist for generations, and inflames resistance from those who object to having their kind invaded.

      A-huh, making war isn’t nice.

  13. vidimi

    re: 3,300 ft. Fissure in the Mexican Desert: No Locusts, But You Should Still ‘Freak Out’ Skytruth. Water wars? Invade Canada. Problem solved!

    why would you invade one of your states? if you have a water shortage in the south, you can just transport water from your northern frontier free of charge!

  14. frosty zoom

    re: invasive species.

    i have a theory about mass extinctions. they happen because fewer and fewer species dominate the planet, gobbling up the stored energy of the species they extirpate, causing the planet to get hotter and hotter until this singular biome can no longer support its own “weight”. the whole thing collapses and then the mushrooms take over.

    humans may be currently accelerating this process by burning up the stored solar energy of previous mass extinctions and by spreading dominating species around the world, hastening the rise of monocultures.

    or maybe not..

  15. Jim Haygood

    Glenn Greenwald takes Elizabeth Warren to the woodshed:

    The Telegraph yesterday published the names of all 504 children who were killed in Gaza over the last 50 days by Israel.

    Echoing Benjamin Nentayahu (and Hillary Clinton), Elizabeth Warren’s clear position is that Israel bears none of the blame for any of this. Or, to use her words, “when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself.”

    Such carnage is the ”last thing Israel wants.” The last thing. That, ladies and gentlemen, is your inspiring left-wing icon of the Democratic Party.

    1. Banger

      Look, that means nothing. Warren, whether she is running for President or just wants to be influential as a Senator must support Israel 100%. There is no possible alternative. Israel is the third rail and if you touch it you are finished in politics–you will never be elected again, you will be savagely attacked from the left, right and you most likely will be threatened and harassed. Why and how Israeli intelligence operatives were able to control the U.S. Congress, have enormous sway in the National Security state, control the media both news and entertainment would make an interesting study which would be instantly labelled as anti-Semitic.

      1. Eureka Springs

        “Look, that means nothing.”

        Of course it means something. In addition to everything you mentioned and more….. it means she is an incredibly dangerous violent human being. And, it means the “left” such as it is… is extremely violent as well.

        1. Ned Ludd

          Exactly. If “Warren, whether she is running for President or just wants to be influential as a Senator must support Israel 100%”, then anyone who attempts to work within the system will be forced, as per Banger, to support the violence of the system.

          1. Banger

            Not true. I happen to know that many people within the National Security State hate Israel (and many love Israel) but can’t say so in public–and that’s been true for decades. The reality we all have to face is that Israeli agents control large sectors of the power-elite.

            1. Ned Ludd

              Whether they hate Israel or love Israel: can they reduce the violence of the system by working within the system?

            2. Kim Kaufman

              Warren could just shut up about Israel if she sincerely thought something different than what she publicly stated.

        2. Banger

          Look guys, within the game she is playing she has to support Israel or go back to teaching—why is that hard to grasp?

          1. Doug Terpstra

            No argument there; I think she should do the honorable thing. Why aren’t you running for office? Right.

          2. Ned Ludd

            If anything, critics of the Israeli government find it hard to land a teaching job at a prestigious school.

            So why support a candidate that knows how to play the game? As President, would her drones & bombs & militarism kill fewer people than Obama’s administration?

            1. Carolinian

              Pretty good point. The latest of those retaliated against is Steve Salaita.


              Warren has said many times that she’s not going to run so there’s no reason not to take her at her word. Perhaps her statements about Israel are just what she sincerely thinks. And there’s reason to believe that if she thought otherwise she wouldn’t have been a Harvard professor. At any rate if she does run it will undoubtedly be as a Democrat–Lucy and the football all over again.

          3. Jim Haygood

            As a lame duck, Obama is not in that box. However, since open criticism of Netanyahu’s dripping condescension [‘Don’t ever second-guess me again!’] would compromise Obama’s ability to follow the Hillary plan for making his first hundred million, veiled foot dragging is about as far as he can go while ‘remaining viable within the system.’

            If he qualified for a third term, Obama could update Woody Wilson’s 1916 campaign slogan: ‘He kept us out of war with Iran.’ Actually it’s no small achievement, since the Lobby has been pounding Congress for 15 years to pick a fight with Iran, and then bomb it to rubble, Gaza-style. Guess we’ll have to wait for a Repugnican to deliver the next Shock ‘n Awe.

          4. ohmyheck

            What was the need for her to make any statement at all? Who was pressuring her? She just lost a whole lot of credibility, and your average American is getting pretty sick of all things “Israel”, even if the Beltway is being held hostage by them.

            She opened a can of worms for herself. She should have kept her mouth shut.

            1. Kim Kaufman

              I think it’s better that all the so-called progressives understand now that Elizabeth Warren for President wouldn’t be much different on foreign affairs than Hillary Clinton for President.

      2. optimader

        “There is no possible alternative”
        Until there is.
        Speaking in bromides worked pretty well for BHO on a whole range of subjects. Since when does a politician have to answer a direct question or extrapolate with details?
        “Do you support Israel’s attacks in gaza?”
        “I think all folks want to raise their families in safe communities wherever they are from, and I support that.
        It is time that folks sit down and have a dialog, a dialog that resolves these issues that create doubt, mistrust and violence . Folks must get beyond the hatred and violence and support each other in mutual respect and trust.
        Next softball please, this will be the last one — Betty? “

      3. trish

        So those like warren are victims. I think that thinking is what allowed obama to get away with so much counter to his campaign promises right from the get-go. all those liberals blaming it on partisan gridlock, bad republicans, he needs to compromise to get anything through, anything done. provided excellent cover.
        If the answer is to make excuses and just write off that it’s just reality, that they all have to play the game, then we’ll never move forward out of this corrupt system (admittedly it’s got to get worse before that happens) and we’re abettors.
        we need to stop making excuses either for spinelessness or lies or whatever it is.

    2. fresno dan

      Really, is there an issue, other than maybe bailing out the banks (and even there I think there was a modicum of more debate) than on this issue? Thought experiment – what would the ratio of dead Palestinians to Israelis have to be before there could be criticism of the Israeli action by an US politician?
      I start the bidding at 5,000 to one….

      1. fresno dan

        Accckkkkk! I meant to say
        Really, is there an issue, other than maybe bailing out the banks (and even there I think there was a modicum of more debate), where there is less debate, and more group think, than on this issue?

    3. Christopher Dale Rogers

      Jim Sir,

      Just one major error in your analysis of Warren, which is to suggest that many on the “left” see her as an icon of the “left.” Just being a little pedantic, but Elizabeth Warren has never been of the “left”, nor ever will be of the “left”. Rather, she is an old time Republican who just so happens to be a Senator wearing a Democrat hat, which illustrates graphically how far to the right politics has moved in the USA and how rightwing the Democrats now are. As for her remarks on Israel and Gaza. Well, she’s been advised wrong is all I can say and if she had a belief in morality and ethics, would never make such statements.

      Whilst I can understand many on the “left” supporting Warren in the Democrat primaries, the fact remains that come the national election, should Warren be on the ticket, anyone who actually is left-of-centre would be best advised to vote Green.

  16. diptherio

    Re: Plant communication

    Sentience is not only a spectrum but an array. We tend to think of sentience as a scale, extending from purely reactive lower animals, to intelligent animals, to the most intelligent and sentient: us. But that’s an anthropocentric way of viewing things. In fact, plant and animal intelligence/sentience are qualitatively different from our own. Comparing plant sentience and our sentience is not just comparing apples and oranges, it’s comparing apples and rectangles.

    Lots of people whose lifestyles have put them more in touch–literally–with the plant and animal kingdoms (the American Plains Indians, for instance, and the ancient Hindus) have come to this conclusion independently. And they’re not the only ones: Martin Buber describes an encounter with a tree in his book I and Thou in which he ascribes not only sentience, but equal “personhood” to the plant. I always wondered about that part of the book until one day, while doing my daily thanksgiving ritual in the garden, the frickin’ lilac tree essentially said ‘hi’ to me–out of nowhere. It sounds crazy, I know. But I wasn’t on any drugs and I certainly wasn’t expecting such a thing to happen–but when I touched the bush, as I plucked some flowers as offering to the spirits of life and fertility–the plant’s consciousness somehow reached out to mine–kind of like someone waving at you from across a valley…you can’t communicate with them directly, but you know there’s a consciousness over there. Strange but true, I swear.

    For the original inhabitants of the area I live in, the fact that all things have consciousness–rocks, rivers, trees, animals–was obvious. The different gradations and kinds of consciousness and sentience were taken for granted. But we white people showed up, and with our half-understanding based on our still developing science, declared all of that to be a bunch of hogwash–superstition. Well, first we declared it all the work of the devil; later we switched the rationale for dismissal of the native view to science, much like how the rationale for invading Iraq was changed over time. Now science is coming back around to similar understandings of people who were also, in their way, scientists. That is to say, they observed the world around them and based their understandings on those observations. Whereas, in the West, we first exiled other creatures from human life, except for on our own terms as food crops or beasts of burden or as pets, and then proceeded to base our understandings on this strange isolation.

    In the West, we have started from the assumption that humans are unique among living things. To think that any other thing in the world might share essential aspects with us humans, especially if those aspects extend to the non-material parts of our nature, is considered rank anthropomorphism and pre-scientific superstition. But this is absurd. We have begun with a proposition that only could rightly have been made at the end of the process, not the beginning. In fact, everything on this planet has arisen from a common source and so it is entirely unremarkable that we would share essential characteristics, both material and ethereal, with the other entities that we find ourselves among.

    The history of Western science and Western culture has been the reification of a view of the world as a cold, dead place. The scientists have started from this assumption on the basis of their rejection of Christianity, not on any particular positive observations of the world. The scientists tell us that the world is really purely material, that our souls, our minds, our free will, are either figments of our imagination or merely epiphenomena of an essentially unconscious and unfeeling world. Our culture has believed this lie, and has proceeded to remake the world to fit this belief. The world is alive and intelligent, it is only we who seek to kill it, to render it inconscient. It is we who seek to make the world a cold, dead place…but the world resists. May it never stop resisting.

    1. jagger

      The problem is you cannot survive without killing something on a consistant basis or you starve to death. Eat or be eaten. And if the universe was created with a purpose, then clearly eat or be eaten was part of the design. And if the universe just came into being without a purpose, eat or be eaten is still a fundemental aspect of existence.

      Of course, the interesting speculation is if the universe was created with a purpose, then how is eat or be eaten a positive or a necessity?

      1. diptherio

        Purpose is a human construct. I don’t feel the need to posit one for the universe at large, nor do I see any particular evidence for such. Existence, imho, is an end in itself.

        Eat or be eaten is not quite how it works. Eat and be eaten is closer. But the world is full of shades and hues. For some, existence involves eating others (predators); for some, allowing themselves to be eaten (fruit trees); for others cooperating with other species (lichen, birds and ungulates, etc). “Eat or be eaten” is a result of Hobbes, I think, whose society had already long ago detached itself from any sort of reciprocal relationship with other species. But while Hobbes was writing Leviathan, people all over the world were still communicating with other species, as they had been doing since the dawn of time. But, of course, all that was just devil-worship…er…I mean unscientific supersition.

        But then, even the hard-core rationalist among us can’t help but feel the reality of the situation. From the Gawker article on Galt’s Gulch, we have this:

        I had the opportunity to ask a question of the salesman who showed my husband and me “our property.” I claimed it because I fell head over heels for the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen. I felt an instant connection as though the two of us were old souls who had found each other. I could believe it, I could see it… waking up each morning and having coffee under that tree, telling it about my plans for the day.

        The Truth will out, as they say.

        1. Carolinian

          So having a scientific view of the world means you can’t find a tree beautiful? Or does it perhaps mean you have a deeper understanding of why a tree is beautiful? Your broad brush attack on science above doesn’t offer up much in the way of quotes, links or evidentiary support. Or is that perhaps being too scientific?

          1. diptherio

            You misunderstand. My problem with Western science is that it is not scientific enough–that it has imported imperialistic, Eurocentric ways of looking, although often subconsciously. It has mistaken map for territory and claimed that all other maps are childish. That is my complaint.

        2. juliania

          It isn’t ‘eat or be eaten’, it is the simple mystery of transformation, metamorphosis. Don’t plants do this beautifully? Humus, compost – nothing is wasted. If we had better eyes to see with, we could marvel at this in the same way that we marvel at the caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

          Thank you for bringing up Martin Buber and the tree, diptherio. I’ve always loved that meeting point.

      2. Yves Smith

        Eternity would be really boring unless you find a way to mix things up.

        This plane of existence is an extreme experiment in mixing things up.

        But I really wish the adminisphere worked a lot better. It is way too difficult to have good intent translate into good outcomes.

    2. optimader

      Was Terry Shiavo “sentient” after her brainmass above the stem largely turned into fluid?
      Hitchhikers Guide – Ok, we’ll Meet the Meat, thats Cool

      Our ‘heroes’ get blown up on Planet Magrathea and find themselves at ‘Milliways’ – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. They then meet the main course a cow/pig thing that has been bred to want to be eaten and is quite capable of saying so.

      Edited clips from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy BBC TV 1981
      Written by Douglas Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001)

      1. diptherio

        Terry Schiavo’s sentience experienced a phase-transition, to put it in scientific lingo. Sentience is like energy, it cannot be created or destroyed, just rearranged…so to speak.

  17. Banger

    The history of Western science and Western culture has been the reification of a view of the world as a cold, dead place. The scientists have started from this assumption on the basis of their rejection of Christianity, not on any particular positive observations of the world. The scientists tell us that the world is really purely material, that our souls, our minds, our free will, are either figments of our imagination or merely epiphenomena of an essentially unconscious and unfeeling world. Our culture has believed this lie, and has proceeded to remake the world to fit this belief. The world is alive and intelligent, it is only we who seek to kill it, to render it inconscient. It is we who seek to make the world a cold, dead place…but the world resists. May it never stop resisting.

    If we follow the scientific method truly we come to the same conclusions as the ancients. It’s just that those who work the Dark Side of the Force have chosen to manipulate and pervert science for their own ugly and dull ends. Life, they tell us is “nothing but…” and you can fill in the blank. I believe this sort of reductionist science that actually rejects both data and reason has turned off large numbers of people to science which I believe is deeply tragic. I also believed that the mandarins of that type of science want to keep science as an esoteric from of knowledge that they, the priestly class, have to interpret for the rest of us. This explains the deliberately obscure language of scientific studies which often hides serious errors in method an unexamined assumptions.

    1. diptherio

      On deliberate obscurity: it has recently struck me as quite bizarre that we currently live in a society in which the only people who actually understand the rules by which we are all expected to live (i.e. our legal codes) are experts–lawyers. Isn’t that strange?…that when it comes right down to it, we have to hire an expert to explain to us the rules we’re expected to uphold? And then, of course, even the experts cannot agree amongst themselves as to what the actual import of the laws are, which is why we must have judges and appeals, etc.

      How have we let ourselves come to such a pass? Personally, I feel like if I’m going to be expected to abide by certain rules and regulations, that I should at least be able to understand them without recourse to highly-paid professional help…but maybe that’s just me…

      (thanks for the compliment, by the way. continual essayfiying on NC has improved my writing, methinks.)

      1. juliania

        Indeed, a new PBS show which shall be nameless waxed enthusiastic about a project to convert (‘scientifically’ of course) all that useless corn debris into ethanol. What’s not to love there?

        Alyosha in ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ didn’t tell Ivan ‘Love the biofuel’ – he said “Love the earth.”

        The scientific method has gone to pot in a garbage can.

  18. fresno dan

    “I’m not your brother!”: Video reveals police’s stunning double-standard for black Americans Salon

    I think the below link explains the situation much better, i.e., it is much worse than the Salon link implies:

    “The man explains he was sitting in the skyway waiting to pick up his kids at 10 o’clock from the New Horizon Academy school. He says he had gotten off work at Cossetta at 9 a.m.

    He tells the officer, “First off, that’s a public area. And if there’s no sign that [says], ‘This is a private area, you can’t sit here,’ no one can tell me I can’t sit here.”

    “The problem is…” the officer says, before she’s cut off.

    “The problem is I’m black. That’s the problem,” the man interjects. “It really is because I didn’t do anything wrong.”

    Though that exchange was more conversational than confrontational, things escalate when another officer, Bruce Schmidt, arrives on the scene.

    “What’s up brother?” the man says to him.

    “You’re going to jail. You’re not my brother,” Schmidt replies.

    At that point, the officers force the man to put his hands behind his back. A struggle ensues, during which he’s tased.

    “Can somebody help me?” he screams. “That’s my kids right there, my kids are right there!”

    After he’s restrained, the man, understandably upset, calls the officers “racist motherfuckers” and says, “I didn’t do anything wrong, I didn’t break any laws and you tase me? That’s assault.”

    Probably not the best course of action calling the police names, and pointing out that the police Theoretically do not have unlimited power, though I believe he was justifiably upset. But as I understand it, the skyway is a walkway between buildings, and a person has a right to sit there. The police action was equivalent to arresting Rosa Parks – indeed, worse because even though an ordinance that blacks can’t sit at the front of the bus is wrong, it actually did exist, so the police could claim they were doing they’re job in that instance.
    Here, I’m pretty sure St. Paul has no DE JURE ordinance against black men sitting (YOU NEVER KNOW – probably just against rambunctious sitting regardless of race)…….just DE FACTO…
    Of course, all the DE JURE rules, regulations, etcetera for how police are SUPPOSE to act will be ignored….

    A nation of laws and not men……….
    as long as you understand how the unwritten rules are stringently enforced, and the written rules are ignored when convenient.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      He called them names AFTER he was tazed. I think your cart is in front of your horse.

    2. JTFaraday

      I thought it was unsettling with reference to the kids. I think a lot of relatively secure people think that “X will never be them or their kids” because they’re responsible. They never seem to think about it in terms of being systematically undermined in terms of one’s ability to be responsible.

  19. abynormal
    Dr. Stephen Korsman of the University of Cape Town’s medical virology division tells News 24 that dogs can be infected with the Ebola virus but that “infections appear to be asymptomatic.”

    “This means that dogs won’t get sick, but they still could carry a potential risk through licking or biting,” Korsman explained to News 24.

    Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is scheduled to visit Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea next week. (TAKE’M MATCHES jeeze)

    1. Juneau

      I would like to see Dr. Frieden and his staff doing 1:1 care with infected patients just to see what kind of personal protection equipment they choose to wear, since they are now telling US HCW to wear mask, gloves and maybe a gown (versus fully enclosed space suits). If anyone finds a photo of these well intentioned but optimistic doctors actually having contact with a patient I hope they post here.
      Dogs as carriers, another problem that will likely have an obvious and horrid solution there. Sad :(.
      BTW I agree with avoiding repeated photos of horrid situations, too much secondary PTSD, nightmares and such.

      1. abynormal

        a photo op at this time?…i smell a cover up coming (keep the nightmares at bay or over there).

  20. Carolinian

    This one’s for you, abynormal (and for us former Atlantans): Coca-Cola and Atlanta.

    John Pemberton, a pharmacist from Georgia, was the creator of Coca-Cola formula who died in 1888. And yes, it did contain cocaine initially. He was wounded in the civil war, as part of Confederate Army, and like many others became addicted to morphine while trying to relieve the pain. He created this non-alcoholic drink to help diminish the pain and his addiction. Pemberton gave his son Charles the right to the name “Coca-Cola”.
    When Mandela visited Atlanta in 1990 after his release from prison he spoke at the Georgia Tech University football field close to the headquarters of Coke in Atlanta. The stadium is famous for being an advertising platform for Coke with signs everywhere. Activists in Atlanta were successful in covering all of the huge Coke signs at the stadium when Mandela addressed the immense audience.
    Filipino consumer advocates told me they needed to educate mothers not to give Coke to their babies. They said, for one, that Coke is not good for brain development. I was saddened to hear this, assuming that mothers were giving their babies Coke rather than milk. (As it turns out, and not surprisingly, some U.S. mothers are doing the same.) The assumption is, with so many signs everywhere, some would think the drink had merit.

    1. Kim Kaufman

      The writer, Heather Grey, is a friend of mine and I read it yesterday. This is my favorite quote:

      It’s I find it hard to say anything positive about Coke, but apparently it is good for cleaning toilets. (see “Coke Can Clean Your Toilet in a Pinch”, 2009) But remember, if you clean your toilet with Coke know what it took to create that one can/bottle of Coke from the following scenario in India:

      The Coca-Cola Company proudly boasts that it has a water use ratio of 2.7 to 1. That is, for every 2.7 liters of water (freshwater) it takes from the earth, it produces 1 liter of product. What happens to the remaining 1.7 liters (or 63%) of the water? It is used to clean bottles and machinery, and is discarded as wastewater….Coca-Cola’s water use ratio in India is 4 to 1 – that is, 75% of the freshwater it extracts is turned into wastewater. The company has indiscriminately discharged its wastewater into the surrounding fields, severely polluting the scarce remaining groundwater as well as soil…Thousands of farmers across India are struggling to make a living because of crop failure as a result of the water shortages created by The Coca-Cola Company. (“Coca-Cola and Water – An Unsustainable Relationship”, 2008, Indian Resource Center.)

  21. fresno dan

    I was going to post a link about the inability of genetic information to provide useful information about actual human behavior – but I found this, which is of much greater public health benefit, as well as being tastier….

    In fact, the evidence that abstinence from alcohol is a cause of heart disease and early death is irrefutable—yet this is almost unmentionable in the United States. Even as health bodies like the CDC and Dietary Guidelines for Americans (prepared by Health and Human Services) now recognize the decisive benefits from moderate drinking, each such announcement is met by an onslaught of opposition and criticism, and is always at risk of being reversed.
    Given the multitude of studies of the effects of alcohol on mortality (since heart disease is the leading killer of men and women, drinking reduces overall mortality significantly), meta-analyses combining the results of the best-designed such studies can be generated. In 2006, the Archives of Internal Medicine, an American Medical Association journal, published an analysis based on 34 well-designed prospective studies—that is, research which follows subjects for years, even decades. This meta-analysis, incorporating a million subjects, found that “1 to 2 drinks per day for women and 2 to 4 drinks per day for men are inversely associated with total mortality.”

    The more alcohol a society consumes, the fewer alcohol-related problems and alcohol-related deaths (including cirrhosis) it has.

    So the more you drink—up to two drinks a day for woman, and four for men—the less likely you are to die. You may have heard that before, and you may have heard it doubted. But the consensus of the science is overwhelming: It is true
    But who can know if any of this is true? As I was having a beer while I was posting this, I decided to have another. I have concluded that it did not shorten my life (Woohoo, still alive), but I can’t really say I was going to drop dead so I don’t know if my life has been extended either.
    Out of an abundance of caution, I have decided to drink twice as much. Half of you should drink half as much, and everybody should post when they die and we can get to the bottom of this.

    But I do know this….I really enjoyed that second beer…

    1. optimader

      Bless you, you’re doing the Lords work Fresno Dan. The Oktoberfest biers are in at Costco

  22. cripes

    The Covert Origins of ISIS

    Link found at Agonist

    Funny how all the states subject to US “regime change” are secular, modernist, gender-rights promoting nationalist societies in the Nasser tradition. The pretext of deposing tyrants does not apparently apply to client states like Saudi Arabia, who along with Gulf Emirates have been financing and facilitating ISIS through Libya, Turkey, etc. Seymour Hersh was on this two years ago. Monsters, indeed. This needs to be read.

  23. tongorad

    Excellent analysis of the so-called sharing economy, should be today’s must-read methinks.
    Fuck the disrupters.

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