Links 9/21/15

The Hormone That Bonds Humans to Dogs WSVJ

Size matters when crocs are on the move University of Queensland

Janet Yellen: central banker to the world FT. That’s odd. I mean, “United States Federal Reserve System” is right there on the Fed’s seal. Did I not get the memo?

Oil Speculators Most Bullish in Two Months as OPEC Calls for $80 Bloomberg

At Bank of America, a Vote to Give Shareholders Due Respect Gretchen Morgenson, NYT

WTF, Volkswagen? Mother Jones

McRevolt: The Frustrating Life of the McDonald’s Franchisee Bloomberg

Interim Status Report on OPM’s Responses to the Flash Audit Alert – U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Infrastructure Improvement Project (Report No. 4A-CI-00-15-055) (PDF) Office of the Inspector General, Office of Personnel Management. I like the sole-source, no-bid contract part best.


Greek leftist Tsipras returns in unexpectedly decisive vote win Reuters

Greece: the election is over, the economic crisis is not Guardian

Tsipras: Syriza To Form Gov With ANEL; Hard Recovery Task Ahead Market News


Can Joe Biden run with a broken heart? Yahoo News. “But Biden, more than most politicians, has a touch of the poet about him.”

Jill Biden would be “on board” if Joe Biden decided to run CBS

Hillary Clinton comes alive at New Hampshire convention MSNBC

Two days later, Sanders draws five times as many people as Clinton to event at same university in N.H. WaPo

Fiorina Surges to 2nd Place in Poll; Trump, Carson See Support Drop Bloomberg

Lawrence Lessig Imagines the Worst Possible Outcome of a Trump Presidency Vanity Fair

Jeb Bush’s rush through the revolving door Politico. Pretty muckrakish for Tiger Beat.

Ben Carson Says No to a Muslim U.S. President The Atlantic. U.S. Constitution, Article VI: “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Lawmakers Face Various Thorny Issues This Autumn WSJ


FTW! Just to give you some idea. Not entirely safe for work. (RS)…

Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership might shake more than Britain Martin Wolf, FT

‘We won’t stand for it’: Army top brass warn there will be a MUTINY if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister Daily Mail. From the Times to the Daily Mail in one news cycle. Impressive.

Guardian’s terrible dilemma over Corbyn Jonathan Cook

John McDonnell: ‘It was a difficult appointment … we knew we were going to be hit by a tsunami’ Guardian

People’s QE: no big deal Stumbling and Mumbling

David Cameron put ‘private part’ in dead pig’s mouth, shock biography claims Express. “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.” (And what seems to be a make good from The Mail.)

Far-Right-Wing National Front Party Gains Popularity, As Marine Le Pen Takes The Lead Amid Refugee Crisis International Business Times

Ukraine & Europe: What Should Be Done? George Soros, NYRB


U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Afghan Allies’ Abuse of Boys NYT

Saudi offer to build 200 mosques in Germany for Syrian migrants is slammed as ‘cynical’ because the Kingdom has not offered to take any refugees themselves Daily Mail

Lebanon ‘You Stink’ protesters stage anti-MPs demo France24

With U.S. Unwilling To Fight The Islamic State Russia Deploys Troops To Syria Moon of Alabama

After Al Qaeda Declares War on ISIS, US Unsure Which Terrorists To Back Duffel Blog

Japan Just Authorized Its Most Assertive Military Stance in Decades Defense One

Hong Kong’s failure to ‘implement de-colonialisation’ has caused serious problems, says former Beijing handover official South China Morning Post

China’s Bonds Decline Amid Signs Economy Not as Weak as Thought Bloomberg

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

If You’re From One of These Five States, You’ll Likely Need a Passport for a Domestic Flight Travel and Leisure. A “progressive tightening” (frogs in boiling water) of RealID requirements, it seems; hitherto, there have been workarounds.

When Is Assassination Not Assassination? When the Government Says So The Intercept

Class Warfare

The stunning — and expanding — gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor WaPo. They call it “class warfare” for a reason.

Depressed man killed himself as a direct result of DWP’s ‘fit to work’ ruling, coroner finds Independent

A Huge Overnight Increase in a Drug’s Price Raises Protests New York. Former hedgie founds pharma firm, acquires drug. You won’t believe what happened next!

Getting Jobbed Harper’s. The real face of welfare reform.

Novel Malware XcodeGhost Modifies Xcode, Infects Apple iOS Apps and Hits App Store Palo Alto Networks

Attacker steals man’s concealed handgun in Walmart bathroom, police say Mail-Tribune

Interconnectivity Drives Capitalism’s 21st Century Embrace of Social Issues WSJ

Memes are a cultural issue not to be ducked FT

Google’s Demis Hassabis – misuse of artificial intelligence ‘could do harm’ BBC

Antidote du jour (via):


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. Ditto

    Re the Guardian and Corbyn

    When someone shows you who they are, believe what their actions are telling you. The Guardian is not left of center or liberal, it’s neo-liberal.

    1. Andrew Watts

      Was there any doubt about this? The neoliberal solution to everything is tax cuts for the rich, profiteering at the expense of the commons, and markets. The common response to climate change as promoted by these media outlets is a regressive carbon tax and the commodifying of carbon so permits can be issued for market trading/profiteering. There’s no difference.

      The Guardian caters to the same affluent demographic that NPR does in the US. What French leftists like to sneeringly call bobos who are only interested in the preservation of their social privileges.

  2. Timmy

    Gretchen notes that the primary opposition to the shareholder vote comes from large mutual fund companies who both trade with BofA’s investment bank and distribute their funds through Merrill Lynch (at BofA’s discretion). Is there any doubt that a vote against management by one of these crony’s would impact their business prospects at BofA? I don’t think so…

  3. financial matters

    I think the shadow chancellor has his priorities straight.

    John McDonnell: ‘It was a difficult appointment … we knew we were going to be hit by a tsunami’ Guardian

    “I’ve got families living in beds in sheds. Shanty places. So I think Osborne is cut off from the real world. I’m going to challenge him to come down to see them. What angers me is that they don’t have any understanding of the consequences of what they’re doing.”

  4. say_what?

    re Corbynsteria:

    Socialism for the rich leads to the need for socialism for everyone else. Whocouldanode?

  5. abynormal

    too much reality in today’s ‘Class Warfare’ links. they have always known exactly what they create…including the outcomes!

    “We have got into the habit of admiring colossal bandits, whose opulence is revered by the entire world, yet whose existence, once we stop to examine it, proves to be one long crime repeated ad infinitum, but those same bandits are heaped with glory, honors, and power, their crimes are hallowed by the law of the land, whereas, as far back in history as the eye can see—and history, as you know is my business—everything conspires to show that a venial theft, especially of inglorious foodstuffs, such as bread crusts, ham, or cheese, unfailingly subjects its perpetrator to irreparable opprobrium, the categoric condemnation of the community, major punishment, automatic dishonor, and inexpiable shame, and this for two reasons, first because the perpetrator of such an offense is usually poor, which in itself connotes basic unworthiness, and secondly because his act implies, as it were, a tacit reproach to the community. A poor man’s theft is seen as a malicious attempt at individual redress . . . Where would we be? Note accordingly that in all countries the penalties for petty theft are extremely severe, not only as a means of defending society, but also as a stern admonition to the unfortunate to know their place, stick to their caste, and behave themselves, joyfully resigned to go on dying of hunger and misery down through the centuries forever and ever …”
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night

    i don’t feel so good…

      1. norm de plume

        Yes, it’s an eye opener, no wonder it caused shock and outrage when it came out.

        My favourite quote is when the (virtually autobiographical) protagonist observes on a slave plantation in Cameroon a hundred years ago ‘The natives by and large had to be driven to work with clubs – they preserved that much dignity – whereas the whites, perfected by public education, worked of their own free will’

  6. Vince in MN

    I think the strategy of the string-pullers in both corporate parties, but especially the GOP due to the exceptionally large number of candidates, is to let the odd balls have their day in the sun early, with mucho media exposure, ensuring that the public will get bored with them just in time for the “serious” candidate(s) to jump into the limelight as the primaries really start to heat up. The also-rans who have had their moments of fame to date include Rubio, Cruz and Walker (how the mighty have fallen), while it now looks like the huge Trump is starting to fall off in the wake of “challenges” from Carson and Fiorina. These two will undoubtedly prove to be of only momentary distraction as well. Timing is everything in politics and it looks like Bush (the lesser of many evils?) is hanging back, waiting to make that heroic rush at the last leg of the race to the finish line. Of course he could stumble and fall to at the critical moment (which would not be a surprise), so no one should be counted out just yet. Oscar Wilde said it is better to be talked about than not be talked about, but in the modern era it just may be better to not be talked about than be talked about too much. On the Dem side the situation is quite different, with Sanders the only “outsider” at the moment, and with Hillary being Hillary, BS is gathering in all the media attention. I’m still betting on the Dem establishment coming up with some way to torpedo Sanders’ campaign in time though.

    1. mad as hell.

      I agree. When the clown car finally parks at the presidential pier for the Election 16 cruise Bush is the last harlequin left in the auto. Hillary is already on board standing at the rail urging Jeb to run faster the boat is getting ready to leave. The tickets were bought by the established parties of both candidates.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        But you’ve gotta admit it was fun while it lasted. It almost makes you believe that there’s something to this democracy/voting/consent of the governed thing.

    2. Pat

      I don’t know what “media” you’ve been watching, but until very recently the mainstream news media have been pretty much “oh, and socialist Bernie Sanders is running. Ha Ha.” The one thing I have seen as a ‘Sanders’ effect on the campaign and the media is now Hillary Clinton is doing exclusive interviews pretty much everywhere.
      The major part of this is because Trump, along with the Gop and their own battle to derail Trump, has been taking all their attention. Some of it is because they live in a bubble and truly are astounded that Sanders message is getting any traction. You know the country has recovered and everything is rosy right? And some of it is that Clinton hate (not that I don’t understand that one).
      You are right that the Dems will work to derail Sanders. The thing is you will also know when that time has come as the media does its job making sure that some bull shit story about Sanders is everywhere and will not die no matter how much it is debunked. And that is when Sanders will be ‘gathering in all the media attention’. Until then he will still be page 12 level news for them.

      1. craazyboy

        I think by next summer the Corbyn-Sanders Gay Love Scandal story will break, simultaneously in Britain and the US. Followed up with whisper rumors they are both Muslim too.

    3. Ed

      “I think the strategy of the string-pullers in both corporate parties, but especially the GOP due to the exceptionally large number of candidates, is to let the odd balls have their day in the sun early, with mucho media exposure, ensuring that the public will get bored with them just in time for the “serious” candidate(s) to jump into the limelight as the primaries really start to heat up. ”

      I’ve been following US politics since 1980, and what you just described is the dynamic I’ve seen in every presidential primary contest for the non-presidential party, especially in years where the incumbent is term limited. There are always somewhat fringy candidates who lead in the polls for awhile or even win a few primaries, and somehow they always wind up fading. My money is still on Trump dropping out before even a vote is cast, by the way. If not, I see no reason why the playbook used against Dean in 2004 wouldn’t work, and if really necessary he can be stopped at the convention, with the help of some last minute rules changes in how the delegates are selected.

      With Sanders I expect to see a replacement “establishment” candidate, but since this isn’t the Democrats’ year anyway, if worst comes to worst they can let him win the nomination, make sure he doesn’t win the general election, and they you get decades of hippy punching on the lines that the left can never win elections even if we nominate their candidates.

      1. Brindle

        The corporate / beltway media will wait till after the October Dem Party debate before a possible Biden shift happens. If Sanders cleans Hillary’s clock—a real,possibility, look for Biden then to overnite become the “favorite”. In the next few weeks don’t be surprised if Clinton starts to poke at Biden’s empty-suitness and credit-card company closeness when asked about him.
        I put Sanders chances of actually getting the nomination at about 10%.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Biden is a three time Presidential loser with as many problems as Hillary and no rah rah women stuff to hide behind. The guy is a nothing. Most of his supporters are tepid at best and know nothing about him beyond funny Internet pictures. All those goofy kids with students to debt can’t overlook that they can’t declare bankruptcy because of Joe Biden.

          1. James Levy

            You want a nothing–George Pataki. He was a nobody legislator from the Hudson Valley. They put him up against a flawed man, but by comparison a Titan: Mario Cuomo. Pataki beat Cuomo by running a one-issue race, the death penalty, and because blacks and Jews had grown bored with Cuomo and didn’t turn out in large numbers.

            Joe Biden may stink, but he’s a lot more impressive than George Pataki ever was, and no Republican running has the stature that Mario Cuomo once had. So could Biden win? Yes, he could, even if we see that as an unmitigated disaster.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Biden can win the general, but as for winning the nomination, he has no shot. Even when there was no Sanders candidacy, there was no support for Biden. Primary voters are more informed than the general electorate. Anita Hill, his foreign policy, the disappearance of ACA from Team Blue messaging, the 2005 bankruptcy act, and his nickname as Joe “credit card” Biden might win him votes with Chamber of Commerce Democrats who want GOP types to like them by not voting for Hillary, but other likely primary voters will never vote for the man. Biden isnt just a backbencher or a new face. He was a major player who has never bothered to stop making racist comments. Bill Clinton had a state record, and opponents of the death penalty and cruelty could rationalize Bill’s actions as just the job requirements of a governor bound to the state he happened to be born in. Outside of canoodling stories, what negatives besides the pretty hideous execution Bill flew back for did Bill or even Obama have when they ran? The gentrification claims in Chicago didn’t affect anyone outside Chicago where Obama was being hailed as the second coming. Campaign-wise, no one out hustled Bill. Biden looked like he was ready for the next life eight years ago.

              Team Blue would be searching for a Pataki style candidate except anyone they trust (O’Malley was critical of the vague support for social issues campaign strategy in 2014) is wedded to for-profit prisons/education. Aren’t they the same thing? The only reason they are kicking Biden’s tires is the perception that Sanders supporters are ill behaved children who don’t recognize the brilliance of the DLC.

          2. RabidGandhi

            Doesn’t sound that much different than Kerry or Gore, yet the Einsteins in the DNC thought they would make brilliant candidates.

            Also, I’d be both surprised and thrilled if Biden’s student loan issue were to be brought up. No one on Team Blue wants to shatter the façade of Democrats as populists.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Gore at least as Senator did pass positive infrastructure improvements and had a legacy as the son of the Senator who broke the Southern Democrats solidarity. The perception was the economy was better and things were going in generally the right direction.

              Kerry’s Senate record wasn’t terrible, and he never championed anything as repulsive as the bankruptcy act of 2005. When he wasn’t a Senator, Kerry enlisted and served in a war where the children of the elite managed to skip (my grandfather’s childhood best friend grew up to be a congressman and that was sufficient to eat my dad commissioned in the national guard despite his father usually just being a “handyman” and drunk) that “great patriotic endeavor.” As a prosecutor, Kerry creatively went after the mob and helped break the old and very corrupt Democratic machine in Massachusetts.

              Until they started to listen to DLC strategists and Tipper (Gore was a founding member of the DLC), I think Kerry and Gore had way better resumes to lead the Democratic Party than Biden.

              Biden’s best characteristic is he seems tolerable.

          3. sid_finster

            As someone who wants to see Bernie get the Democratic nomination and mostly see Rodham lose, I welcome Biden into the race.

            Biden may be a dolt but he’ll split the Team D mainstream, drawing votes and energy away from Rodham while still being his doltish and gaffe-prone self. All of which would be a godsend to Bernie.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I think he will hurt Hillary in the long run more than anything, but even when I was a yellow dog Democrat, Biden made my skin crawl. He really stands out as an embarrassment in a crowd of clowns.

        2. Jim Haygood

          Today a Federal Reserve governor inadvertently coined a flawless sound bite for Joe Biden, as well as procrastinators, fence-sitters and vacillators everywhere:

          “I am confident the much-used phrase ‘later this year’ is still operative,” said Dennis Lockhart, a voting Federal Open Market Committee member.

          As am I, Dennis … if there IS a ‘later this year.’

      2. Titus Pullo

        Except civilization probably only has decades left considering the abruptness of the current effects of climate change.

        1. andyb

          The deadly radiation from Fukushima will kill millions more in the next decade than any possible effects of “climate change”.

      3. Ulysses

        Think the establishment Dems are planning to “McGovern” Sanders? It might not be quite so easy this time…

        1. James Levy

          I wrote about that a week or two back. It’s tough to say whether or not the media is more or less influential than it was in 1972. And in ’72 although newspaper endorsements went 2-1 in favor of Nixon, the quality dailies (NYT, WaPo, LATimes and a few others) all endorsed McGovern. Today, given the rightward turn in the media and the influence of Murdoch, Sanders couldn’t dream of getting such a trifecta of elite endorsements. He’d be lucky if MSNBC didn’t encourage Democrats to stay home; forget about having a cheerleading network at his back.

          Obama got lucky in that he was one of the few presidential candidates in the last 50 years who could talk about change and not get instantly pilloried by the status quo establishment (forget about the fact that it was all a lie, even saying you were for change usually spooks the elite; hell, they were initially scared of Reagan and did their best to hem him in). Dubya had so disgusted so many voters that the message of change (if not the reality) had to come out or the volatile political contents might have exploded. Sanders is facing an elite just as spooked as in 2008 but more wary and contemptuous than ever. The only changes they want are a return to the pre-New Deal political economy. They’re gambling that as things inevitably deteriorate the only cry coming from the masses will be “every man for himself!”. They’re betting on our greed and atomization. They may be picking a winner.

          1. Brindle

            Excellent comment. I remember when Obama was elected—that we now had a president who could speak in complete sentences, I felt a sense of relief. GWB set the bar so low that any basic hack would be seen as an improvement.

  7. griffen

    Bloomberg article on the McD franchisee is well written. From the outside looking in, and anytime after 10:30 or 11:00am it’s just difficult to know what might be good to eat.

    At least for breakfast you’ve got a decent chance with something not overwhelmed by bread and “stuff”; plus the portions are mostly right.

  8. DJG

    Soros article about Ukraine: George, please send me a pound of whatever it is that you’re smoking. (I couldn’t continue reading after the first five hallucinatory paragraphs.)

    1. Carolinian


      The political reforms center on establishing an honest, independent, and competent judiciary and media, combating corruption, and making the civil service serve the people instead of exploiting them. These reforms would also appeal to many people in Russia, who would demand similar reforms. That is what Putin is afraid of. That is why he has tried so hard to destabilize the new Ukraine.

      Hilarious. Shorter Soros: Russia hates Ukraine for their freedoms (which might exist some day if they listen to me). I believe Soros is a big financial angel of the NYRB which may explain the odd neocon turn of this formerly distinguished mag. If the shade of Gore Vidal is lurking around somewhere he must be quite bitter at what has happened to his onetime venue.

      1. ambrit

        Vidal’s shade would not be too surprised at the NYRB’s ‘realignment of priorities.’ We do remember how the ‘Paris Revue’ began, don’t we.

    2. susan the other

      Anybody who pumped their own personal multiple billions into destabilizing Ukraine doesn’t get to ever write an opinion piece. I couldn’t read it either.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …what I love is the crap that comes out of the FOXed mouths of co-workers and acquaintances about how Soros is an Evil LIBERAL eminence grise bete noire who funds ACOORN and loves him some SEIU and justifies Adelson and Kochs etc. doing ALEC and stuff…

        These people, very cynically, are killing the rest of us. When does it get to like be OK to self-defend?

        1. Massinissa

          Your coworkers sound like the coworkers my dad has had in every company hes ever worked for. Hes an Architect in Georgia. The coworkers are all southern right wing professionals.

          My dads an establishment style liberal (Hillary supporter), so hes always been the odd one out politically in his offices, but I guess his coworkers just assume that’s the byproduct of his being Puerto Rican. With the exception of whatever token black people work in the office, basically everyone he works with thinks like your coworkers and acquaintances.

          Its kind of sad, really. People just parrot what they hear on tv. Im afraid for humanity.

  9. say_what?

    “Let’s start from a fact – that if it has any effect at all, PQE is inflationary. Whether this is a good thing or not depends upon the conditions in which it is introduced. ” from People’s QE: no big deal Stumbling and Mumbling

    Here’s a fact: Sufficient new credit creation restrictions would be deflationary* hence “People’s Quantitative Easing” could be done without increasing the total money supply IF combined with new credit restrictions. Steve Keen suggests this in his “A Modern Jubilee.”

    So let’s not consider inflation a foregone conclusion with people’s QE.

    *As existing credit-debt is repaid with insufficient new credit-debt to replace it.

    1. susan the other

      It was interesting that this article criticized MMT for being too convoluted and intellectual – that in fact PQE is common sense. I agree it is common sense. But the reason it has been obscured for so long is because the oligarchs will lose control. Now, with nothing left to save them, they are seriously looking at both PQE and MMT. They’re such commies.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The generals love MMT.

        And I say that even though someone broke into my house last winter, my office a month and half ago, and hacked our phone system and made a lot of calls to Africa last Saturday.

        I assume the economy is just really bad and people are desperate.

      2. say_what?

        Informing the population that yes they can have a free lunch* IF the banks are reined in temporarily to compensate is such a powerful idea politically that I wonder why it isn’t being broadcast widely?

        *Actually the return of a stolen lunch does not constitute a “free lunch.”

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Ben Carson Says No to a Muslim U.S. President The Atlantic. U.S. Constitution, Article VI: “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    The U.S. “Constitution.” You’re hilarious, Lambert.

    Thanks for the levity. Some of these other links are kinda grim.

    1. cwaltz

      I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again, I am more and more convinced we’ve had problems long before no child left behind. It’s pretty darn sad when you’ve got presidential candidates running around spouting that “Dred Scott is the law of the law” as if the 14th amendment doesn’t exist or Ben Carson doesn’t seem to know that constitutionally you should not be eliminating candidates based on faith. If the leadership of the Republican party can’t get it’s fact straight is it any surprise it’s base is such a confused lot that doesn’t seem to understand what socialism is or how a court system works? *Sigh*

      1. James Levy

        My conclusion is this: education doesn’t matter. People with power are used to saying any dumb shit that comes into their heads and everyone around them nodding yes. The Republicans firmly believe that if you say something loud enough, long enough, it’s a fact. These are the people who dubbed Reagan “the great communicator” when the man didn’t have a coherent thought in his head. It’s all assertions; it’s all justification by faith.

        If you are old and sick and you make idiotic statements, they put you away. If you are poor, they laugh at you. If you are rich, they take it down and print it in the WSJ or Wired magazine as gospel truth.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And people are free to say what they want.

          Whether they will be heard…ah, that’s the question.

          “Let’s make this world a very loud world…screaming TV hosts, song and dance, dog and pony shows, bread and circuses, deafening Rock music…because people are free to speak.”

  11. NotTimothyGeithner

    3000 students at a Bernie event at UNH this time of year is incredible. They had close to one out of every five students there.

    1. Paul Renault

      To paraphrase Bernie, “Vote for me and the Federal Government will pay all those student loans”. And here I thought the days of tax and spend were gone.

        1. MLS

          I think you’re missing the point – Sanders is just promising free “stuff” to young adults as they prepare to leave college and enter the real world. Whether you agree with the idea or not, it certainly helps explain why there’s so much interest from college students at one of Bernie’s events.

          1. binky J. Bear

            Sanders’ policies were standard practice in the Eisenhower days; my dad got degrees at Berkeley and Stanford when they were almost totally subsidized by the state. Now you can’t afford to even look unless you are independently wealthy or otherwise desirable meat for their mills.
            In a way I see Sanders’ campaign as echoing conservative campaigns of the past; but instead of glorifying Jim Crow and white supremacy and Protestant male domination as Gingrich did, Sanders is creating nostalgia for an age when America had Woolworth socialism. Hope is very short in many demographics, and the idea that we can avoid disasters and progress towards a better future is right out of Camelot.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Germany has free college tuition; I don’t see why we can’t.

            I’m a little stunned by your characterization of education and massive life-long debt as “stuff.”

            Finally, “tax and spend” assumes that Federal taxes pay for Federal spending. My comment was directly on point.

            1. MLS

              Again, my point isn’t whether it’s a good idea to offer free college education or whether we should, just that we currently do not, and if you start telling college kids that are racking up debt that you’ll pay it off for them, well then of course you’re going to get a lot of college students attending your rallies. Bernie is a politician doing what politicians do, promising free “stuff”. That’s not a phrase meant to cheapen the value of such things as education or health care, just that every politician, from both sides of the aisle, does it. It doesn’t matter what it is (and again, I’m not making any commentary on whether we should or not), when a politician says “the gov’t will pay for X for you”, that is a promise of something to a subset of voters “for free”.

              1. cwaltz

                First, I don’t recall Bernie suggesting he was going to pay people’s racked up debt. I recall him saying that attending college shouldn’t require you to rack up lots of debt. It’s not a new idea either. Heck, it’s not even a DEMOCRATIC idea since states like TN have already taken off.

                Obama has suggested a 60 billion dollar “free community college program.” It should be interesting where Biden would fall on this since the person the President tapped to head up his push for it is none other than Jill Biden.

                60 billion dollars by the way is a drop in the bucket when you consider the F35 program is a 392 billion dollar program that’s 7 years behind and expect to cost taxpayers a trillion.

              2. hunkerdown

                Then just what is government *for*, MLS, and why shouldn’t the 80% of the people it’s designed to exploit simply break the other 20%’s necks in that case?

              3. lambert strether

                Same points in more words; refer to my response above.

                I doubt very much that people who got health care through single payer would call that “free stuff,” as if life-saving policy was in the same caregory as a National Review tote bag.

          3. Massinissa

            I have to agree with Lambert and Bear. Education is a human right. People shouldn’t have to be debt slaves in order to get jobs.

            If you want to ‘cut’ things to ‘pay for’ the free tuition (which as lambert says isn’t necessary), how about we take away the free goodies the Military Industrial Complex gets? That’s MUCH more expensive and probably more useless. Think F-35 and its ilk.

            Which by the way, Bernie isn’t for. Hes as committed to the MIC as any of the other candidates, im afraid.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I think of free education as basic income to students.

              Studying is work (one can look at it that way), so is caring for young or old family members…or individual learning through playing. Expand basic income to help more people.

            2. MLS

              You are putting words in my mouth if you’re suggesting I ever said we should ‘cut’ anything to pay for free tuition. I made no such assertion.

    1. GuyFawkesLives

      Silly Rabbit….don’t you know that these are governments of the corporations, by the corporations and FOR the corporations?

  12. craazyboy

    “Janet Yellen: central banker to the world FT. That’s odd. I mean, “United States Federal Reserve System” is right there on the Fed’s seal. Did I not get the memo?”

    Failing Upward?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Exceptionalism has its responsibilities. And “world” sounds so much more, well, EXCEPTIONAL.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Inside the Fed, I imagine a sign: The world is our oyster.

        “We create money for the world to use, even those who never have paid and never will pay any taxes. Heck, even for those who are fighting us.”

        1. abynormal

          a sign with a chime:
          Just by chance you crossed the diamond with the pearl
          You turned it on the world
          That’s when you turned the world around
          Did you feel like Jesus
          SD/Kid Charlemagne

      2. abynormal

        “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as [inherently] exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
        Vladimir Putin “God save us from people who mean well.”

        inhale this PutinS: “Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice.”
        Edward W. Said, Orientalism

          1. abynormal

            Putin’s background/behavior/actions breeds exceptionalism…he’s a yaking contradiction: “Created Equal”?…from an inbred former KGB??

            Said targets the exceptional mentality: “there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice.”

    2. Jim Haygood

      Dr. Hussman to J-Yel: You in trouble, b****

      The Fed seems incapable of recognizing, much less admitting, the speculative risks it has created. The strongest reason to normalize monetary policy was to reduce those risks, but the proper time to have done that was years ago.

      At this point, obscene equity valuations are already baked in the cake. Hundreds of billions of dollars of low-grade covenant-lite debt have already been issued at risk premiums that are next to nothing.

      The bursting of this bubble is no longer avoidable. If history is any guide, policy makers will manage the resulting disruption by the seat of their pants, since they seem incapable of learning from history itself.

      OUCH — harsh! Having got the bit between his teeth, Dr. H concludes his jeremiad on a slightly disturbing personal note:

      ‘Given my roots as a value investor, I’ve had difficulty not looking like an out-of-touch spoilsport by the peak of speculative bubbles, and then being treated as some sort of dark mastermind by the completion of the cycle.’

      ‘Dark mastermind’? Oh my. One is reminded of the late Joe Granville, a market forecaster famous for his ‘Sell everything!’ call in 1981. Gifted with a flair for the dramatic, Joe would emerge from a coffin onstage, play arpeggios on a grand piano as he fulminated against the market, and then with a clap of his hands disappear in a mephistophelean puff of smoke. He was the original ‘dark mastermind.’

      Quite possibly, actually being right for this first time this decade will be the trigger that deprives Dr H of his tenuous grip on sanity.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Asset bubbles are wars on the asset-less.

        We are currently in a 40 year war…but I am not sure people will find it in future history book (history is written by the victor).

        1. MikeNY

          Trickle-down, trickle-down.

          “Let them eat crumbs.” — Greenspan, Bernanke & Yellen, Inc, Purveyors to the Plutocracy

          1. GuyFawkesLives

            Crumbs? CRUMBS??? Where are the crumbs? It’s more like “lick the dirt off of my Gucci loafers. What? You say dirt has no nutrition? You’d better find it then.”

    3. susan the other

      What do we have to do with the world? We don’t want to own it, we just want to control it. We’ve spread neocapitalism far and wide in our attempt to achieve control; we’ve bribed every dictator we could find; we’ve lavished technology on all our friends; we’ve exported our means of production… killing two birds. But it dint work. If we were ever worried about the integrity of the Fed remaining only our Fed we should have stopped this circus in 1945. How ironic, the Fed has lost its mandate.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We bribed every dictator we could find, because we have had lots of money to spend.

        Shortage of money has never been an issue.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          True. What happens when one dictator thinks he can get a better deal or is outraged when he finds out that tin pot Pete is getting 5 times as much as tin pot Joe. Do we pay them at rates which reduce the power of our own elites? This is when it gets tricky. American wealth was invested in Kuwait in 1990. Paying Hussein would only weaken the assets of the American elite.

          It’s similar to the Seahawks. Kam Chancellor signed a contract extension to replace his old contract with a much better deal, but inferior players on his team are commanding better deals. The owners won’t budge on a hard salary cap because they don’t want to lose power to the players union, but at the same time, Chancellor wants to be compensated at market rates. The Seahawks defense just looks off as a couple guys making big bucks are a little older, and they don’t have Chancellor to bail them out while he holds out. A winning team basically prints money.

  13. ProNewerDeal

    anyone know if whatever “new Cuba policy change” 0bama recently made, legalizes USians travelling to Cuba for medical tourism?

    It seems this would be the primary real-world reason most USians could possibly have on US-Cuba relations, but it was not mentioned in a newsstory I heard.

    BTW given the horrors of the US Sickcare Mafia Complex in terms of the high cost, Cuba might be able to increase its GDP at 5%+ or some such high annual rate for a decade off of a US medical tourism boom.

    1. ambrit

      Right now, the new rules are mainly to help businesses, yes, you read that right, businesses, to set up shop in Cuba and, the real secret heart of all this, subvert Cuba from within by showing all those ‘deprived’ Cubans the consumer trash they could be entering debt servitude to possess. Some relaxation of Cuban family movement, and, more business again, cruise ship travel rules. As for anything of any use to ‘ordinary’ Americans, nothing. Once again, Lil Barry has pulled a fast one on ‘de peeps.’

  14. ProNewerDeal

    What happens to the Greek Popular Unity/LAE voters, who failed to reach the 3% to get any seats in Parliament?

    Does LAE support of 1 of the 8 parties in the new parliament as the Lesser of 8 Evils? If so which party, Syriza? Or KKE, the Communist anti-Euro party?

    Does LAE have a “Shadow Cabinet” indicating the policies they would have had they been in Parliament, ala what the US Green Party does on their website?

    Does LAE try to be an active social movement, conducting protests, etc, for a 4 years until the 2019 election? Occupy was a global movement in 2011, but seemed to fade away by 2013 iirc. How can a social movement continue being active & relevant for years?

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Life expectancy gap between the rich and the poor.

    It eventually will not be a class warfare issue, but one of different species – one becomes divine, the other mortal, as Big Science, as science is practiced today, advances along paths funded and therefore dictated by the rich and the government they occupy.

    “You can live 200 years or more, without much ageing, but you would need a few billion dollars to pull the off.”

    This way, the gods are born and ascend to Heaven.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I don’t believe they are divine, but that will not stop them or their believers.

        They can control natural forces. They seem forever young. And they have many believers. They reside in other planets (one day soon, I guess)

        All attributes of divinity, I suppose.

    1. Daryl

      > “You can live 200 years or more, without much ageing”

      I believe the traditional way of dealing with this particular condition is a stake to the heart.

  16. Andrew Watts

    RE: U.S. training helped mold top Islamic State military commander (From yesterday but relevant to today’s links)

    By the time it’s news it’s no longer news. Anybody that has followed the Syrian Civil War has heard of Omar the Chechen. His background in the Georgian military and US special forces training was widely known. The career of this famous IS commander has taken a turn for the worse lately as he failed to lead IS to victory in Kobani. He followed up this tactical failure against the Kurdish YPG/J with a strategic loss in the Battle of Sarrin and subsequent losses in the campaign for Hasakah.

    If rumors are to be believed poor ‘ole Omar has generated significant jealousy inside the Islamic State. I have to wonder how long his superiors will be satisfied with executing his troops for cowardice and desertion before Omar himself receives the axe. Why, oh why, can’t the most famous commander of the Islamic State beat a bunch of godless communists? /sarcasm

    The Russo-Georgian war over South Ossetia and the American training of a future IS commander is yet another example of neoconservatives putting points on the board for the other team. I wish I could say the neocons only serve the interests of Israel but they aren’t even intellectually capable of doing that.

    However, that is a separate issue.

    RE: Saudi offer to build 200 mosques in Germany for Syrian migrants is slammed as ‘cynical’ because the Kingdom has not offered to take any refugees themselves

    The most ominous part of the previous article was the role played by the Saudi-funded mosque in the radicalization of Omar and the other youth in his village. I don’t want to think about how destabilzing the European refugee crisis and a bunch of mosques preaching Wahhabism could be.

    1. Jagger

      Check out the duffel bag. Defense personnel are wrestling with the problems of blowback:

      —–“Usually we expect a gap of twenty, thirty years at least before we have to start killing people we trained,” Defense Logistics Agency analyst Richard Teller said, on condition of anonymity. “This is totally different. We’re not just brushing off intelligence reports that say that they’ll ‘maybe’ want to kill us in a quarter century or so.”

      “What do we do?” Teller continued. “Do we kill them while we’re training them? Bob came up with that idea, but he’s an idiot. I have a feeling they’ll stop coming to work if we do that.”—–

      Read more:

      1. Andrew Watts

        Blowback as a concept doesn’t even begin to cover the mess the US has made in the Middle East. I don’t like that word for another reason. There’s a total lack of accountability and agency. It’s usage pretends that nobody could’ve possibly foreseen the consequences of America’s actions. I prefer the word fallout because it implies both and makes a proper accounting of the cost of what’s been done.

        1. Massinissa

          I agree. ‘Blowback’ makes it seem like an accident. ISIS was created intentionally. Its not blowback.

  17. fresno dan

    The medicine is old and it’s generic. It costs about $80 for three months even though I haven’t met my deductible. But this story isn’t about money. This is about the nightmare of how hard it is for me to get the drug.

    Every three months, I run out of my medication. In order to get more, I need a new prescription. In order to get the prescription, I need to have lab testing to prove to my doctor that I don’t have anemia. This all sounds simple, and it’s the same process every three months. But it’s never the same, and it’s never easy.

    Let’s start with the lab testing. At various times, my insurance plan (which is excellent, by the way) changes which laboratory facilities it will cover fully. Often, these are not labs that are housed in the huge health care system for which I work. I often have to go elsewhere to have my blood drawn. If I change facilities, I have to get a new prescription for the labs, since they can’t share with one another.

    Further, even though my lab orders are good for a year — and I need to have them drawn basically forever — the labs recognize them for only six months. So sometimes I have to get in touch with my doctor and get a new lab order. Often, they send over the old order, because they think it’s good for a year, in which case I have to go back to them and ask for a newly written one, because the lab won’t recognize the really-still-valid old one. Worse, they often just fax the order to the lab itself, thinking they’re helping me, so that I don’t realize they sent over an old one until I’m already there, and it’s too late.

    After I get that sorted out, I have my blood drawn and analyzed. But because the laboratory and my doctor are in completely different health care systems, the lab results won’t show up in my doctor’s electronic database. I have to beg the lab to remember to fax over the results — using paper — which it often fails to do.

    My next step is to check if the pharmacy I use is still under contract with my insurance plan. The medication I use needs to be ordered at a mail-order pharmacy, because my insurance won’t cover it at a local facility. My insurance plan has changed its mail-order pharmacy of choice more than once in the last few years, which necessitates that I inform my physician about the change.
    and on and on…

    For anybody who has ongoing medical surveillance needs, its as if communication in America was stuck in 1840 – no telegraph, not even the pony express – maybe people lighting lanterns every 5 miles, and some passenger pigeons. Why use email, when calling, and waiting, and losing the connection may save the insurance company some money if you just fall over dead. This is the market…that makes “feeing” every possible action the raison de’tre for every action in medical care.

    1. fresno dan

      And the questions:
      This could be so much simpler.
      Why do I have to get a new prescription for the lab testing every six months?

      Why can’t I get this simple blood test more conveniently?

      Why can’t the electronic systems of the labs and the clinical offices talk to each other?

      Why do I need a new prescription for this medication every three months?

      Why can I use only one pharmacy when the medication is generic and so inexpensive?

      1. optimader

        Goes to the philosophical point of who owns/controls your body and by extension what you put in it.

        Ultimately the profit motive underlies the least common denominator policy making approach of “protecting” people from themselves. Should one not be able to self administer or have a technician administer a certified efficacy anemia test ( in this case), interpret one’s own results through your own device or an appointed service provider, and then continue scripts according to your own conclusions for better or worse, if that’s the way you want to go?

        As opposed to healthcare that is so expensive or protracted that it Is ineffective I think yes, why not?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “Goes to the philosophical point of who owns/controls your body and by extension what you put in it. ”

          Actually, that’s not “philosophical” at all. It’s deeply practical and pragmatic.

      2. ambrit

        What you have described is a “Pill Mill.” Pill Mills are when doctors collude with pharmacies to fill ‘questionable’ prescriptions, like oxycontin for a sprained wrist, or multiply the number of billed visits to the doctor to drive up profits.
        My experience with anti hypertensive meds is similar to the one mentioned above, only, now, I don’t have insurance. Now I shop around to try and find a reasonable doctors office, at full price since I don’t qualify for Medicaid even if our state had expanded it when the ADA came along. (Several doctors I’ve raised the issue with all referred to it as the Unaffordable Care Act. Some organized anti ACA propaganda campaign going on in Doctorland?)
        Try to get a doctor to change the brand name “new formulation” of a perfectly reliable older drug. I’ve had to fight, and indeed walked out of one office when the doctor refused to make the substitution. I later discovered that this clinic was a subsidiary of a large local hospital, even though such was not prominently advertised. In other words, policy was set by the hospital administration, not the clinic, nor it’s medical staff.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From the story, it sounds like the patient has put in so much work, I think, he/she should be paid.

    2. Jim Haygood

      A Silicon Valley company called Theranos has developed proprietary technology to do lab tests with smaller blood draws and lower costs. Excerpts:

      Theranos never charges more than half the rate set by Medicare for blood tests; in some cases, it’s a 10th of the cost. A test for HIV can cost more than $80. Theranos charges $16.56.

      In July, Arizona passed the country’s first bill, co-authored by Theranos, allowing patients to order blood tests without a prescription.

      [Critics] are concerned that the average person can’t accurately interpret test results or even order the right tests. [CEO Elizabeth] Holmes offers a philosophical, if not libertarian, retort: “The idea that I as a human should not be free to access my own health information, especially using my own money–even though I can buy weapons and anything else I want–and rather should be legally prohibited from doing so, summarizes the root of the fundamental flaw we’re working to change in our health care system.”

      Our gov-sponsored health care cartel fears price competition the way vampires fear silver crosses. Nice to see the fat, lazy lab oligopoly smacked upside the head by direct consumer access to cheap testing. Smash the gatekeepers.

      1. griffen

        I’ve read a profile on her previously this year. Need many more like that one walking away from a Stanford or Harvard with MBA in hand. The business of updating, upending, and usurping the natural order is worth while.

        *And Not just more to run to the Fbook, AAple, or Goooooglllll companies of the world. Never mind those bankers either.

    3. Steven D.

      In terms of Islamic extremism, Saudi oil money is the biggest factor. Saudi oil money finances ISIS.

      The Saudis have sponsored Wahabi madrasas throughout the Muslim world that have spread conservative Islam around the world and help transform formerly pluralistic societies into conservative and repressive ones. In the process, they are radicalizing young men. They’ve gotten away with it because Saudi Arabia is the world’s premier oil state with tremendous influence in the US and elsewhere.

      So we go insane and attack Iraq while the real problem is right under our nose. Germany should tell the Saudis they want no part of Saudi Wahabi mosques on their soil.

    4. Carolinian

      One might be more sympathetic with the author of this NYT piece if he admitted that one prime reason for our dysfunctional health care system is people like him: i.e. doctors. We could have had a rational single payer system many years ago if the AMA hadn’t fought tooth and nail to prevent it –leaving the door wide open for financial industry sharks to start milking the cash cow. It’s true that most doctors aren’t even members of the AMA and would likely pooh pooh the notion that wealth is among their motivations. But the reality is that they are very much beneficiaries of the capitalist system and it’s surely not just coincidence that two of the GOP candidates are doctors.

      We will never have a rational health care system until a lot of people start making a lot less money including pharma and hospital corporations and insurance companies but also doctors. Given all those crowding around the money tit it doesn’t seem too likely.

  18. Andrew Watts

    RE: With U.S. Unwilling To Fight The Islamic State Russia Deploys Troops To Syria

    I’ve heard all these points made by Russian/Iranian propaganda sources. If you want to be taken seriously as an independent analyst “b” try not mouthing the exact thing the propagandists are.

    Iraq was in the midst of sectarian civil war when Biden made those statements in ’06. It is a logical stretch to imagine that America would now attempt to dismantle the Iraqi state it has supported and attempted to preserve. The DIA report was an analysis of the “moderate” forces fighting Assad in the Syrian revolution. These “moderate” forces like al-Nusra, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other jihadist groups share the same goal of establishing an islamic state on the ruins of the secular Arab republic. The report itself didn’t reveal a secret plot to establish a Sunni state or empower the Islamic State as DIA doesn’t have any role in formulating policy. It does analytical work.

    It’s humorous that he also blamed the US in a previous article for the Iraqi-Shia failure to advance in Anbar, specifically the blockading of Fallujah, because they didn’t receive US airstrike support. In reality the Shia militia who didn’t participate in the insurgency/civil war have maybe a few days training. They’d all be better off laying around Baghdad drinking tea. Additionally, if the militias flew the flag of Iraq it’d be easier to justify launching airstrikes in support as it’d be difficult for the US to distinguish between the ISF and Shia militia. Regardless, a few airstrikes were launched in support of the joint Iraqi-Shia operation outside of Fallujah or so I’ve heard.

    When the Obama administration has been forced to backtrack from their initial demands while numerous members of Congress are expressing their skepticism about Assad leaving power his prediction that Assad will remain in power isn’t noteworthy.

    1. Andrew Watts

      As for the unwillingness of America to fight the Islamic State, General Austin got himself into trouble over a recent misstatement regarding American special forces collaborating with YPG/J in Northern Syria.

      Draw your own conclusions.

    2. OIFVet

      It is a logical stretch to imagine that America would now attempt to dismantle the Iraqi state it has supported and attempted to preserve.

      So the US foreign policy elites are bumbling fools rather than old-fashioned “evil” conspirators. Glad you can look at the smoldering ruins of their handiwork and find the bright spot.

      1. cwaltz

        It is a logical stretch to imagine that America would now attempt to dismantle the Iraqi state it has supported and attempted to preserve.

        I think that it’s interesting that the poster thinks that our intent was to create a region that was beneficial to Iran considering our position on Iran. It’s giving the administration that essentially had visions of chocolates and roses being thrown at our liberating forces within months a little too much credit.

        1. Andrew Watts


          Can’t it be both? Any fool can do evil regardless of their intentions or policies. How many people ignorantly cheered on the Muslim Brotherhood electoral victory in Egypt during the Arab Spring?

          “Why the people of the Middle East just want some American democracy, free markets, and Jesus! It’ll be safe for Israel and friendly to America and hostile to those evil Iranians…”


          The influence the Iranians wield over Iraq was the inevitable result of the 2003 invasion. Not as a result of any American plan coming to fruition. The War Nerd pointed out who won the Iraq War back in 2007. I’ve consistently pointed out that the Iranians only stand to gain as the very idea of an Iraqi state loses legitimacy. The southern part of the country dominated by Shia is the oil rich patch of the country. Nor do the Sunni pose any real threat to that region.

          But hey, feel free to attack or strawman the poster instead of his arguments. I don’t mind at all.

          1. cwaltz

            That’s kind of my point. Reread what was written. There is no logical stretch at all to believing we’d dismantle Iraq in a NY minute if we thought there was any advantage to us doing so.

            The statement made was that the Iraq we have is one that we have supported and attempted to preserve, when the reality is that the Iraq that exists today was not one we particularly support or care about preserving.

            If we thought there was a better alternative to having as much Iranian influence in Iraq as there is presently(that didn’t mean handing it over to ISIS) I have little to no doubt that we’d be all for dismantling it. You, of course, are welcome to feel differently. However, don’t pretend that it’s illogical to believe that the US government does exactly what it thinks is in its own interests and that it isn’t most likely at this moment weighing it’s options on how to proceed in the region now that the Iraqis have asked us to help fight ISIS.

            1. Andrew Watts

              I don’t see any point in pressing the issue but this is where we disagree.

              The statement made was that the Iraq we have is one that we have supported and attempted to preserve, when the reality is that the Iraq that exists today was not one we particularly support or care about preserving.

              I am not inclined to agree with this. Particularly when the previous Shia leader was ditched in favor of a more accommodating leader disposed to compromise between sectarian groups. Whether that bit of regime change is true or not who really knows. I think American military and political figures are maintaining a predisposition to blame Maliki in an effort to cover up their own blunders.

          2. OIFVet

            I think that you missed my point and misconstrued my use of “evil”. I was saying that it doesn’t matter whether it is matter of intent or an accident, since you seemed a bit worked up over the question of intent.

    3. Raj

      I understand the message of your post, but I would like some clarity on certain details…

      Can you please identify which U.S. sources aren’t in the business of propaganda?

      What distinguishes al-Nusra as “moderate”?

      Thank you for your time, I appreciate your posts.

      1. Andrew Watts

        In terms of the English speaking media and the Syrian conflict, Vice News has been a pretty good outlet for relatively unbiased news. They’ve managed to make themselves apart of the story by having a few of their journalists arrested. Any journalist that is harassed, arrested, and/or dies under suspicious circumstances must be doing something right. Among the few other journalists covering the conflict Patrick Cockburn of the Independent is my favorite.

        What distinguishes al-Nusra as “moderate”?

        The moderate label in quotation marks is sarcasm meant to mock the American media trying to sell the American people on an intervention that probably would’ve only benefited the Islamic State.

        In a civil war defined by sectarian warfare as much as anything else moderation and military impotence seem to go hand in hand. The fate of Division 30 and a few other FSA groups demonstrates this point. By that definition alone al-Nusra isn’t moderate and there is their previous history of collaboration with ISI/ISIS/ISIL before the declaration of the Caliphate to consider. Of course, there’s the link to Al Qaeda as their official franchise in Syria but that’s obvious. They seem to be motivated by a similar strain of revolutionary Wahhabism as IS which rules out any sense of moderation.

        Revolutionaries throughout history have not been defined by or remembered for their moderation.

    1. night-Train

      You screw just one dead pig….. That is a great old joke. Do they call me Cameron the leader? Or Cameron the consensus builder? Or Cameron the diplomat? No…..

  19. Oregoncharles

    From the Jonathan Cook article on Corbynsteria:
    ” the country’s two major parliamentary parties have been equally committed to upholding neoliberalism. The Blue Neoliberal Party (the Conservatives) and the Red Neoliberal Party (Labour) mark the short horizon of current British politics. You can have either hardcore neoliberalism or slightly more softcore neoliberalism. – See more at:

    Does this sound at all familiar to any of the Americans reading this?

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    This constitutional language is common among the former Axis powers. Article 11 of the Italian Constitution declares that Italy “rejects war as an instrument of aggression.” Article 26 of Germany’s Basic Law forbids “activities tending and undertaken with the intent to disturb peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for aggressive war.”

    They sound so good, all nations should copy them.

    But Article 9 goes even further. The second clause pledges that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained” by Japan, and that “the right of belligerency will not be recognized.” As the name of Japan’s military suggests, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces exist only to protect the Japanese homeland. JSDF forces participate in UN peacekeeping operations and humanitarian missions, but avoided UN-authorized combat missions in Korea or during the Gulf War. (A noncombat unit took part in the U.S. occupation of Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s fall, to considerable controversy.)

    Is my understanding correct that JSDF violates ‘(t)he second clause pledges that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained” by Japan…”? That its formation was the first step on a slippery slope? That today’s linked article is old news?

    1. Andrew Watts

      Any Japanese nationalist would point out these treaties were forced on Japan by the war victors without the consent of the Japanese people. While any self-respecting Japanese citizen would say it’s up them to interpret and decide the political policies of their country. Personally, I think Abe has demonstrated an inclination and willingness to sucker Washington for what he wants and what he desires is Japanese rearmament. Whether that’s a good thing is unknown but my feeling is “HELL NO!“. There is nothing vaguely Liberal or Democratic about Abe’s LDP so rearmament will surely end in disaster.

      1. Alex morfesis

        And just in time for the 75th anniversary of the tripartite axis agreement…let me try to remember now…what did they proclaim when they signed it one month before Oxiday…hmmm…new world cinema…no…old world artworks…no…don’t help me…I can remember…New world Flayvahz…yeah that’s it…and to think…il douche thought invading greece 18 years after he took Rome would be something metaxas would care about…oh…and remember kiddies…on Oct 28 it is also 75 years since the axis powers got their first bloody nose…courtesy of the greekah people’s…and that little moustached dictator born on ithaki island…

  21. Kurt Sperry

    The VW-Audi scandal (just wait) could rock the world. The potential damages are astronomical. One wonders if the cars affected will even be driveable if the EMU software is reset to the spec used to pass the emissions tests and thus legal for the road. If not, the entire fleet of VW-Audi diesel engined North American vehicles may have just been bricked. If this turns out to be the case, how is the entire Volkswagen Group not then completely bankrupted? By being “too big to fail”? They certainly are in Germany.

    1. optimader!OpenDocument

      Pop the corn for this one. They are in an incredible market/regulatory/shareholder shitstorm. The EPA is basically accusing them of fraud, seemingly justifiably so.
      If their emission control technology is actually systemically deficient, there is a possibility of paying out a per vehicle prorated fine, maybe.. there is some precedent
      but this will possibly be a catalyst technology scramble. There are going to be some suppliers potentially in the catbird seat on this.

      1. craazyboy

        Odd how Euro emission authorities missed it all these years in 60% diesel driving Europe, but the EPA catches it here in 5%(?) diesel car, 50% Gas Truckin’ USA. Or maybe not.

        1. optimader

          Well, the EPA didn’t really catch them, it is one of those proverbial grad student stories …”Hey you guys, this thing is acting really weird…”

          As well, not really 60% of the market, not to understate it but what’s in play are the VW vehicles that use TDI diesel engine which is the only subset of the diesel market that does not use Urea injection.

          The European market has lagged the US on emission control

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