Links 11/18/15

U.S. Targets RBS, J.P. Morgan Executives in Criminal Probes WSJ. Eight years on, and they’re taking a look…

Federal prosecutors are actively pursuing criminal cases against executives from Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. for allegedly selling flawed mortgage securities, people familiar with the probes said, as the clock ticks down for bringing cases from the 2008 financial crisis.

Where have all the workers gone? Brookings. Eight years on, and they’re taking a look…

Are Successful CEOs Just Lucky? HBR. What’s a nice CEO like you doing in a place like this?

We need incentives to save the climate Henry Paulson, FT. Nice little planet you have here. Shame if something happened to it…

Do Not Ask Western Leadership to Fix Anything Ian Welsh. Alternatively, everything is fixed.

The Cannibalized Company Reuters. The cult of stock buybacks.

Corporate contribution to savings glut Martin Wolf, FT

Wall Street Is Running the World’s Central Banks Bloomberg

5 Things to Watch in the Fed’s October Meeting Minutes WSJ

Pennsylvania judges propose record $50M fine against Uber AP (RS). Uber’s business model is to open markets by breaking the law, and that’s what their valuation depends on. $50 million is quite low.

Takahashi Korekiyo was before Keynes and saved Japan from the Great Depression Bill Mitchell


Radio War Nerd Special Episode: Paris Terror Attacks War Nerd

First Read: Fear and Political Freak Out, From Ebola to Paris NBC

And it’s a question worth asking: If a Paris-like attack happened here, what would the reaction be? Would it contain the unity and resolve we saw immediately after Sept. 11, 2001? Or would it look more like it does now?

Let’s hope not. The “unity and resolve” after 9/11 brought us security theatre, compliance culture, two lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the end of Constitutional government with Bush and Obama’s destruction of the Fourth Amendment.

All Paris Attackers Identified So Far Are European Nationals, According To Top EU Official Think Progress. So I’m not sure how we’re going to vet them. “But officer, I saw them putting mayonnaise on their Freedom Fries!”

Exploiting Emotions About Paris to Blame Snowden, Distract from Actual Culprits Who Empowered ISIS The Intercept

The Vine Heard Round the World New York Magazine

Paris Attacks Give Rise to Fakes and Misinformation NYT

A reporting error linked the PlayStation 4 to Paris attacks The Verge

Verification Junkie Josh Stearns. “A growing directory of apps, tools, sites and strategies for verifying, fact checking and assessing the validity of social media and user generated content.”


Putin transformed from outcast to problem solver at G20 FT. NC readers will not be surprised.

Strikes on Raqqa in Syria Lead to More Questions Than Results NYT

War against ISIS moves A-10 jet from cutting board to front lines McClatchy. The F-35 looked great on the PowerPoint slides…

Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents Independent

After Paris, Syria’s peace process limps on The Economist


Decoding Daesh: Why is the new name for ISIS so hard to understand? Free Word. Classic post.

Paris: The War ISIS Wants NYRB

ISIS has studied the past successes of terrorism all too well Aeon

What I Discovered From Interviewing Imprisoned ISIS Fighters The Nation

Attack at French stadium shows Islamic State weaknesses McClathcy

Former ISIS hostage, French reporter tortured for 10 months: They *want* us to retaliate Boing Boing

ISIS wants to destroy the ‘grey zone’. Here’s how we defend it Open Democracy

We created Islamic extremism: Those blaming Islam for ISIS would have supported Osama bin Laden in the ’80s Salon


Would Jesus take in Syrian refugees? WaPo

Elizabeth Warren Delivers Stinging Critique Of Efforts To Reject Syrian Refugees HuffPo

After Paris Attacks, Vilifying Refugees NYT

Turning Away Refugees Won’t Fight Terrorism, and Might Make It Worse Wired

What Americans thought of Jewish refugees on the eve of World War II WaPo


The GOP Race for Delegates: An Interactive Tool Real Clear Politics. Cool!

Ben Carson Is Struggling to Grasp Foreign Policy, Advisers Say NYT. One of Carson’s advisors, Duane R. Clarridge, throws him under the bus, on the record. Clarridge was a recipient of a Christmas Eve pardon from George H. W. Bush for his role in Iran-Contra. So Carson can sure pick ’em, though to be fair Clarridge is probably no worse than John Brennan.

Jeb Bush calls for restoration of NSA surveillance program The Hill. Never let a crisis go to waste.

Democrats: ‘We lack a clear message’ McClatchy. So untrue. The clear message is: “We’re Republicans-Lite™.” You’re welcome.

At Rally, Sanders Goes Off Script and Into Foreign Policy National Journal

SEIU’s Clinton Nod Signals Campaign’s Momentum Growing WSJ

Clinton foundation takes in $178 million in a year as donors pile on to show support for Hillary – and Chelsea ally got $532,000 to run it Daily Mail. Ka-ching.

Death Cab for Cadre: Chinese Official’s Taxi Fury Stirs Debate Online WSJ

As Changes Come to Myanmar, Train Upgrade Is Just the Ticket WSJ. The A-hed!

This is the story of one block in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn New York Magazine

It stamps its pretty feet LRB. Goya exhibit in London’s National Gallery.

Retrotopia: A Visit to the Capitol The Archdruid Report

Antidote du jour:


At last!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Banana republic, Guest Post, Links on by .

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. scott

    The problem with the A-10 is that the Air Force is flying it. The AF prides itself on the air superiority role, along with Space Command, Strategic, etc.

    Bring back the old Army Air Corps (what the AF was before it was made a separate branch) and let the AAC fly the A-10.

    1. Ed

      This is an interesting question that I don’t have a good answer too.

      The World War 2 Luftwaffe was a separate service from the Heers (German air force and German army respectively), and also privileged, to the extent that the head of the Luftwaffe was the #2 in the Nazi hierarchy. But their doctrine emphasized operational ground support of the heers, to the extent that airmen were embedded as liaisons with army units. The United States Army Air Force was technically a branch of the United States Army, but emphasized strategic bombing and it was difficult to get them to provide ground support.

      These are mostly deep cultural issues, that are difficult to change, even with major organizational changes. Starting in World War 2, the US has preferred to conduct military operations by using as much firepower as possible, with the air force playing the role that the navy played in the British empire.

      But you are right that it may be possible to do a swap where the army gets fixed wing aircraft, and can do its own ground support, and in exchange the air force gets a monopoly on space and cyberwarfare, both of which actually match up well with their strategic focus.

      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        In the 20s there was a big debate over the proper use of aircraft as weapons; go for enemy industry and infrastructure or support front line action. The US and UK chose the former while Russia and Germany focused on the latter. After WW2 was over the US military undertook a study, the Strategic Bombing Survey, that’s been controversial ever since. Basically, the conclusions of that report are why anytime the American elite run into any opposition to its dominance, it sends in fleets of bombers.

      2. nowhere

        Here is a pretty interesting report regarding the changing air support doctrines pre/during WWII.

        “With a change in the military mission to fit Western Hemisphere defense priorities by 1939, and with the development of faster and bigger aircraft, the War Department modified the concepts for employment of tactical aviation. Close air support, in particular, was devalued in doctrinal statements.”

    2. JTMcPhee

      The problem with all weapons fetishism is that it always begs the questions that Sun Tzu says the Ruler is supposed to ask and answer before committing the State to War. No amount of “right weapons for the tactics/strategy” will do a damn thing to fix the fundamental “problem,” which is that “we” are on a ever steepening treadmill, and no amount of “turning the (proper effective correct-chain-of-command) dogs of war loose” will cure the dead-endedness of militarization and weaponization of everything.

      From what I read and what I saw a bit of in Vietnam, not to pick an idiot fight, by the way, the old A1D Skyraider was at least as effective at ground support as the A-10. That, of course, is all completely beside the point as to whether, in the argot of WW II homefront Patriotic War Posters, “Is This Trip Necessary?”

      And bottom line, of course, is that THERE IS NO FIXING ANY OF THIS. It is too effing broken. There’s a reason “FUBAR” was coined…

        1. JTMcPhee

          That applies, too, but no, pretty completely FUBAR, F—ED UP BEYOND ALL RECOGNITION/REPAIR, pick your own “R.”

          The machinery on all sides will just keep grinding away at all the stuff that supports human habitation on the planet. More weapons, more financialization (same thing), more consumption, more babies, more more more of everything except decency and real intelligence related to sustaining and surviving. And just because a few troglodytes and hunter-gatherers might outlast the most of us, that is no index of anything of value. At least to me.

          Still half-hoping for proof that “we” can do something better, and yes, defining better as I would define it…

    3. Praedor

      The Marines know how to use such tools too. It could complement the Cobra II attack helo.

      The army doesn’t really need an Army Air Corp again, as they still fly helicopters. Just expand their close air support role to include the A-10. It would go well with the Apache.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Yeah, because our Imperial military is always and everywhere so successful in doing — just exactly what, again? Close support of Troops invading other nations, getting into combat for what reasons, again? So “we” can argue not about decent ends, but about which Hammers, preferably very expensive ones that oh, leave depleted uranium toxins lying around like Agent Orange, like the hundreds of square kilometers of France barred to human use today by kilotons of unexploded gas shells from WW 1?

        Too bad all the Oorah! Big Hammers always have their “Everything is a Nail!” lenses in…

        I’m sure my little stint in the Army aviation area including Vietnam hardly weighs anything against the Wisdom of the Imperial Warlords who have demonstrated time and again the inability to Achieve Victory! over “Our Enemies.” Except in the now somewhat reduced (it’s all “Joint Bases” and “Interoperability” now, right?) Area of Operations of the more polite but still deadly vicious ” Inter-Service Combat” over what has happily, for the moment, turned into a Cornucopia of “resources.” There’s plenty of videos documenting the creation of ever more pink-misted warheads-on-foreheads Wogs, with idiotic frat boy voice overs from the trigger pullers and toggl punchers. But competence at frapping the handles of buggy whips is not going to carry the Empire, much less the species, too far into the future. Any more than concocting fifth-order derivatives for some Vulture Capitalist entity.

        It’s on the cheerleaders and war wimps to demonstrate that big picture or small, all the huge drain on the world that Oorah! militarization with its geometrically growing lethality, complexity and divorce from reality is worth what it costs the rest of us to be so ever-more vulnerable to the desires of this or that group of acolytes to “prove” their “superiority” of weaponry, doctrine, strategy and tactics. How do you know when you’ve WON? Or, more likely, is that not even the object of the game?

        Hey, are we winning in the ME, yet? Demolishing cities and political economies, to what end? To demonstrate the “superiority” of the A-10, JDAM, TOW, etc. in combat? Are any of these trips necessary? Is it childish to ask if humans can’t do any better than this?

    4. Plenue

      The USAF is filled with decision makers who still dream of WW2-style dog fights. And they’ve been like that for nearly 70 years. I imagine this is the kind of thing they dream about: Noble aerial knights jousting in the sky. They don’t want to admit that the sole purpose of fighters is to secure the skies for ground-attack aircraft. The Russians have a much better grasp of what an air force is actually for and what it should spend most of its time doing, as they’re currently demonstrating in Syria.

  2. griffen

    Re US targets RBS, JP Morgan executives….so glad to see the cops are on the beat.

    Seriously, that headline must be a bad joke.

    1. allan

      Amen. This one should be filed under Don’t Hold Your Breath.

      Just by coincidence, it’s almost exactly five years ago that Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller made his famous statement that, “We will put people in jail.” Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for the statute of limitations.

    2. Vatch

      If they do actually prosecute anyone, the defendants will be low level schmoes. When it comes time for the defendants to potentially testify against higher ups, the statute of limitations really will have expired. Success! Barack Obama will be eligible for extravagant retirement speaking and consulting fees!

      1. abynormal

        ah ha…tag ur it today ‘ ))

        TEACHER: To get to the other side.

        PLATO: For the greater good.

        ARISTOTLE: It is in the nature of chickens to cross roads.

        SOCRATES: Why do you think the chicken crossed the road?

        HIPPOCRATES: Because of an excess of phlegm in its pancreas.

        KARL MARX: It was an historical inevitability.

        ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die. In the rain.

        MILES DAVIS: That chicken was a motherfucker.

        ZOLTAN KODALY: Sol fa, so good.

        EINSTEIN: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road moved beneath the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

        BUDDHA: Asking this question denies your own chicken nature.

        RALPH WALDO EMERSON: The chicken did not cross the road .. it
        transcended it.

        CHARLES DICKENS: It is a far, far better road that he crossed than he had ever crossed before…

        WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: But soft, what bird on yonder asphalt trots?

        DARWIN: Chickens, over great periods of time, have been naturally selected in such a way that they are now genetically disposed to cross roads.

        DARWIN’S NEPHEW: Which came first, the chicken or the road?

        BILL GATES: I have just released the new Chicken Office 2000, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook.

        OLIVER STONE: The question is not, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Rather, it is, “Who was crossing the road at the same time, whom we overlooked in our haste to observe the chicken crossing?”

        JOHN GRISHAM: To escape the Klansmen.

        FREUD: The fact that you are at all concerned that the chicken crossed the road reveals your underlying sexual insecurity. You see, to you the road represents the barrier between what is and what might be. What is…is you in front of the computer screen, practicing celibacy, peering into your mother’s womb, wishing to be suckled at her breast (in this case, at the teats of internet knowledge and passive acceptance), hating the reflection in the screen that reminds you of your father, thinking how you life can never measure up… What might be, only the chicken knows, now that he has crossed…

        LOUIS FARRAKHAN: No. The road represents the black man; the chicken is the white man. The chicken crossed the black man in order to trample him and keep him down. The chicken is free to move, free to do as he pleases.

        LEMMING: Which road? …I’m there!

        TIMOTHY LEARY: Because that’s the only trip the establishment would let it take.

        MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives called into question.

        RICHARD M. NIXON: The chicken did not cross the road. I repeat, the chicken DID NOT cross the road.

        RONALD REAGAN: I forget.

        HERITAGE SOCIETY: The fact that the chicken crossed the road without government assistance is but one more proof of the folly of continued spending on social welfare programs.

        WILLIAM BUCKLEY: Before the chicken made the crossing, there was a pretty poultry number of birds on the far side of the road..

        BILL CLINTON: I feel that chicken’s pain as he stuggles to make the decision whether or not to cross the road…

        [MONICA LEWINSKY: The chicken’s pain isn’t the only thing he felt.]

        BILL CLINTON’S REPLY: That depends on how you define “chicken.”

        CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK: To boldly go where no chicken has gone before.

        DARTH VADER: I am the chicken’s father.

        ENERGIZER BUNNY: [Commenting through his lawyer, he said that he was suing the chicken for shtick infringement.]

        DAVID COPPERFIELD: I made the chicken disappear and reappear on the other side.

        SAMMY HAGAR: Only time will tell if the chicken’s crossing will stand the test of time.

        COLONEL SANDERS: I missed one?

        AGENT MULDER: Now Scully, try to follow me with this one. It may sound outrageous to you, but I think if you look at all the evidence, they will support my theory: The chicken is really an extraterrestrial being that has disguised itself in order to conduct secret experiments using humans for genetic hybridization. It had to get to its hidden laboratory which is located on the other side.

        AGENT SCULLY: Why does everything have to involve aliens with you?! Can’t you see the simple, logical, scientific explanation that the chicken was merely travelling along in a straight line that coincidentally cuts across the road?

        ANDERSEN CONSULTING: Deregulation of the chicken’s side of the road was threatening its dominant market position. The chicken was faced with significant challenges to create and develop the competencies required for the newly competitive market. Andersen Consulting, in a partnering relationship with the client, helped the chicken by rethinking its physical distribution strategy and implementation processes. Using the Poultry Integration Model (PIM), Andersen helped the chicken use its skills, methodologies, knowledge, capital and experiences to align the chicken’s people, processes and technology in support of its overall strategy within a Program Management framework. Andersen Consulting convened a diverse cross-spectrum of road analysts and best chickens along with Anderson consultants with deep skills in the transportation industry to engage in a two-day itinerary of meetings in order to leverage their personal knowledge capital, both tacit and explicit, and to enable them to synergize with each other in order to achieve the implicit goals of delivering and successfully architecting and implementing an enterprise-wide value framework across the continuum of poultry cross-median processes. The meeting was held in a park-like setting, enabling and creating an impactful environment which was strategically based, industry-focused, and built upon a consistent, clear, and unified market message and aligned with the chicken’s mission, vision, and core values. This was conducive towards the creation of a total business integration solution. Andersen Consulting helped the chicken change to become more successful.

        MARIO ANDRETTI: (Splat!) Oh, sorry. That was a chicken?

            1. optimader

              Yeah, that captures Miles Davis in five words!

              ….There was a bit more to it than that. He didn’t fall asleep at the wheel. He tried to make a right angle turn at 60 mph from the left lane of the West side Highway to the 125 ST exit across three lanes of traffic. He didn’t make it. He hit the WPA Stone exit ramp and the Lime Green Miura came apart like Brazilian plywood in the rain. I pulled over and ran back to his car. He was wearing leather pants and the bones of both of his legs were sticking through the pants. He was bleeding badly.

              He looked at me and said, ‘Is my car f#cked up?’ I told him the car was gone. He said, ‘I got to take a look.’ I told him both legs were broken and he wasn’t going anywhere. I ripped up a shirt I found on the floor and told him to hold the cloth over the bleeding with pressure as it was getting bad but not arterial. There were two large plastic bags filled with white powder on the floor and one had broken open. The interior was dusted. I grabbed the bags and ran to the sewer and chucked them. He screamed, ‘What The F#ck You Doing!!??’ I used rain water to wipe down the car as best as I could. The cops arrived. One of them asked me who I was. I told them just one of the guys he cut off. He looked at Miles and at me and told me to split.

              Years later I was directing ‘Shakedown’ with Peter Weller. Weller liked Miles’s music and I told him that story. One night he went to hear Miles. He went back stage where Miles recognized him. ‘Hey Robo’ Peter told him the story and asked if it was true. Miles got real quiet and said, ‘I always wondered who that White Mother F#cker was. You thank him for me, and tell him to come by anytime.’

        1. Vatch

          I’m afraid the Bill Gates quote will need to be patched to fix the bugs. A real chicken would be able to eat the bugs.

          1. craazyboy

            But Bill still owns the chicken – we just license it for our use on a single computing device. Also, Cloud Chicken. If you can believe that…..

        2. Jagger


          MOHATMA GHANDI: The chicken crossed the road because Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.”

            1. abynormal

              : ) & : )

              DONALD TRUMP: Today, White Chickens succeed in American b/c I and I alone deported all brown ones.

              JAMIE DIAMOND: Chickens succeed due to my SNAP contracts.

              YVES & LAMBERT: The Chickens are still crossing roads b/c we strenuously exercise our highest tolerance of Aby.

    1. Whine Country

      …to get from the left to the right. He stepped out of rank, got hit by a tank, and now ain’t no chicken no more. – Bill Murray in Stripes

  3. David

    Hollande has just announced that he’s going to see Putin next week. No mention of getting rid of Assad. Sound of cards being reshuffled. (Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia!)

  4. Ignacio

    I like this from Welsh’s piece:

    The leadership classes are chosen for their ability and desire to become leaders. If that overlaps with an ability and desire to make their society good for the majority of the population, that’s great, but in most countries right now, that’s not how or why they are selected.

    1. Carla

      Re: Do Not Ask Western Leadership to Fix Anything — This is my favorite Ian Welsh piece so far. Every word rings true. Thanks, Lambert, for posting the link.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Do Not Ask Western Leadership to Fix Anything

        Sanders quote below from article in links above.

        “Now is the time, as President Obama is trying to do, to unite the world in an organized campaign against ISIS by bringing together all of the countries who have common interest in defeating international terrorism—even countries that we have disagreements with,” he said. “… What we need is an international coalition including Iran and Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait and Turkey. Putting together this coalition is not going to be easy … but that is what President Obama and Secretary [of State John] Kerry are trying to do, and I support their efforts.”

        Sanders lost my potential primary vote once and for all right here. So much stupidity, hubris and deception in one quote. Why it’s downright Bushwellien. Just another mad man in socialist prog dem disguise.

        1. nippersdad

          “So much stupidity, hubris aqnd deception in one quote.”

          I liked the Bushwellian term, very clever, but if you could explain how he in any way could have said something different in this political climate and not be marginalized I would appreciate it. If advocating for a Department of Peace made Kucinich look like he was not ready for prime time eight years ago, how would doing so now work any differently?

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            As soon as you leave Sanders the candidate out of the equation and focus on policy, life becomes much easier, because concrete material benefits are delivered by policies not candidates. (Granted, I love the “horse race,
            which is full of human interest and one must, after all, know one’s enemies.) Oddly, the Greens can’t do this. Sanders is trying to win Democratic votes. He is, after all, a politician. As a byproduct of that, good things happen; the example of single payer Medicare for All is a good one.

            1. nippersdad

              Just before I came here this morning I saw that same quote on the Friends of Bernie Facebook page, it had received over twelve hundred likes. Whether we like it or not, the political environment does not, will not, allow for much in the way of rationality on foreign policy right now. The electorate is way too propagandized to allow it. I’d bet a dollar that most of those 1200 likes could not locate Turkey on a map and have never heard of Wahabism; now would be a little late to educate them.

              I really don’t know what else he could have said and still remained politically viable. If you are non-viable because the weenie caucus says so, obviously, none of the other policies will ever get their chance in the sun.

            2. different clue

              The other problem is that policies are delivered by officeholders, not by policy papers. No pro-your-policy officeholders . . . no pro-you policy. Hopefully certain officeseekers really support certain policies. One can’t elect policies directly. One can only indirectly “elect” policies by electing the officeseekers who support those policies.

              Purity jerks gonna jerk. Purity assholes gonna asshole.

        2. James Levy

          Honestly, what do you want him to say that won’t destroy his candidacy or haunt him for the rest of the election cycle? When you have people here at NC screaming to keep the Syrians out, even though every terrorist suspect so far identified is a resident of Europe, what is Sanders to say to a brainwashed American electorate that won’t sink him? That’s its all our fault? That without the Iraq invasion there would be no ISIS? That ISIS is a product of our allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey, just as Hezbollah is a product of Israeli divide and rule tactics from the 1970s, just as al Qaeda grew out of our CIA front organizations set up to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan?

          I want Sanders to know and understand those things–but saying it now would simply guarantee that the one man who might be elected (no great chance, but might) with that knowledge in his head will NEVER get elected. Every alternative is worse, every one, and all you have to do is tune into any of the debates to see that.

          1. Stephen Rhodes

            Meanwhile the NYT in its fair and balanced unbalanced way posts this article today.

            In Rise of ISIS, No Single Missed Key but Many Strands of Blame
            By IAN FISHER NOV. 18, 2015

            If one strings together key elements plus follows the links, a significant part of the big picture emerges. Elsewhere things are more straightforward:

            The hidden hand behind the Islamic State militants? Saddam Hussein’s.
            By Liz Sly W Post Apr 4, 2015

            . . . And see Patrick Cockburn in Nov 5th 2015 LRB

            1. Praedor

              All the “strands” converge to one and only one thing: the overthrow of Saddam and the illegal invasion/war in Iraq. Reverse that and there’s no ISIS/Daesh. Keep it simple. It is entirely the creation of the US and Britain for that ONE act.

              1. JTMcPhee

                Language lets us reduce the whole “Iraq” thing to “one act,” but of course “War” and empire and military industrialism and resource extraction and Sneaky-Pete-ery and financialization and all the rest are a whole lot of other related, inter-related, feedback-inducing “acts” that only by an act of linguistics can be reduced to that kind of simplicity. And even the whole framing and scenery-setting and casting and stage managing and curtain-raising and mark-taking and all that are a whole lot of more than one acts. The play’s the thing, and I wonder which “act” we are in now, of the human drama?

          2. Eureka Springs

            Where to begin?

            How about saying:

            We behave just like war criminals prosecuted in the ICC. If not worse, since we are so powerful and manufacture these terrorist groups, and start wars on a frequency and scale larger than any other.

            First as a nation we must stop. Simultaneously we should stop calling Saudi, Turks, Israelis our friends. We should stop distributing weaponry. We should join other nations in International Criminal Court membership. Prosecute war criminals, especially our own! We need to stop spending a trillion bucks a year on this madness over and over again. Let us America, try anything else.

            As for the rest, no we don’t need to take in refugees, we should stop manufacturing them. We should help in any way we can with food, medical supplies, reconstruction efforts and so on… over there, if they want us to do so.

            Sanders is running for the wrong 25 percent of the electorate (on a good turnout) of repeatedly failed voting and sitting Democrats. He’s propping up the most egregious offenders in the halls of power today, saying they are right and he would do the same.

            There are plenty of ways to run on the good old Golden Rule and plenty of people who would respond to someone who did so.

            Win or lose it’s how the game should be played.

              1. Oregoncharles

                If their state has closed primaries, like Oregon, they may not have the option of voting in the primary, at least without changing their registration – which in Oregon would sabotage my own party.

                That’s the reason I’m only marginally interested in the whole debate, at least until the unlikely event that Bernie is the candidate.

            1. nippersdad

              “Win or lose it’s how the game should be played.”

              There are a lot of people who have lost who would agree with that statement. Losing, however, gets old. Sometimes you just have to play the game.

            2. Rhondda

              My vote –or perhaps I should say sentiment, because I doubt I will vote — is with Eureka Springs. I repudiate these go-along-get-along justifications and exaggerations for “things that cannot be said.” Done with it. Reality-based or bust. And yeah, that may be bust. Better than b*tt-lick, as my grandpa was wont to say.

          3. LS

            He did blame the invasion of Iraq. From the debate:
            “Let me have one area of disagreement with the secretary,” asked Sanders. “I think she said something like the bulk of the responsibility [for ISIS] is not ours. Well, in fact, I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of al Qaeda and to ISIS.”

            1. JTFaraday

              Well, I’m glad he said that because I don’t think you can separate domestic policy and foreign affairs the way some up thread have suggested. Simultaneous calls for “full employment”– we know there will never be a universal draft– and that mess over there have always made me very uncomfortable.

              One of the reasons I’m glad I don’t have kids.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            James, is there any place for a candidate who would tell that honesly to the American people?

            What would happen to him/her, who says all that, and confronts the MIC to take their toys and money away, and use it for those in need (meaning all of us, for none is likely to a rugged individual in his/her, if lucky enough, 80s or 90s (or 100s and beyond – I don’t want to jinx anyone)?

            1. Rhondda

              Do you hear what you’re really proposing? If no one can say these things, nothing will change and all is truly lost…am I missing something?

    2. cnchal

      The next paragraph.

      These people are selected by oligarchs, for oligarchs, and their skillset is pleasing oligarchs. This is done through a system that selects candidates before they get to voters, even primary voters or the equivalent. In most cases, you do not get a choice of a leader who will put ordinary people’s interests first.

      Being a politician is an attractive occupation for narcissists, like flies to shit. No ethical person wants the job, because of the ass kissing and lying required to get elected. Honesty in politics is for losers, most of the time.

      When one looks at it from the point of view of the narcissist, they lack a conscience that enables them to operate in this mindset, so pleasing oligarchs is as natural as having a crap.

      I never trust the person that wants to lead.

      Bernie Sanders: The business of Wall Street is fraud and greed. Can’t say it enough.

      1. vidimi

        I never trust the person that wants to lead.

        therein lies the main problem with our representative version of democracy.

        in any contest, the person running for ego and power will beat the one running on a desire to change the world simply because he will want it more and will stop at nothing to get it.

        we have a system that selects the most rotten and depraved among us to rise to the top.

        1. Massinissa

          I really am at the point where I think some country should try out choosing leaders by lottery. Didnt some of the founding fathers advocate that?

          1. cnchal

            Agreed. The question is how do you get narcissists to give up being the center of attention?

            A little off topic. This election cycle must give many children the ambition to be brain surgeons, for if the half wit Ben Carson can do it, anybody can.

            Bernie Sanders: The business of Wall Street is fraud and greed. Can’t say it enough

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      It actually seems that being a Sociopath is a prerequisite to being allowed into the TPTB leadership wing. All others are targeted for smear campaigns; Smears often of little substance but lots of press and propaganda on the radio and teevee circuits.

      1. ChuckO

        Yes, and one sign that Bernie Sanders wouldn’t threaten Wall Street and the oligarchs is the fact that he hasn’t been the subject of a serious smear campaign on the part of the MSM.

    4. tegnost

      This is the part that stood out to me
      “If you want to fix any problem in the West, or have the West be helpful for fixing any global problem, you need to fix the Western leadership class. That means fixing Western media, education, corporations, etc, etc. The list is long, because they have deliberately broken virtually everything to turn it into an opportunity for a very few people to become richer.”
      The idea that everything needs to be broken and disrupted bugs the crap out of me

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If we are all educated, or more are certified today than ever, and this is what we have today, we have to ask what kind of education we have been getting.

        Are we ‘educating’ ourselves to be non-resistant to neoliberalism or all the other aggressive acts? Are we too ‘educated’ to defend ourselves?

      2. Carla

        @tegnost, who said “The idea that everything needs to be broken and disrupted bugs the crap out of me”

        I think Ian Welsh was saying that the Leadership class already HAS broken and disrupted everything; that’s why we can’t look to them to fix it. Solutions have to come from the bottom-up; it’s the only way.

    1. andyb

      And serious reporters don’t ask why the caravan of yellow Toyota trucks (which received intensive media coverage, photos, and videos) was not bombed and strafed by US air power over the 3 days taken to cross the desert. Same could be said of the documented evidence that US air drops of supplies and munitions went directly (purposely) to ISIS and that Israeli medical teams were treating ISIS casualties.

      The agenda of Israeli hegemony over the ME is an important one for the neocons and their Zionist globalist masters; an agenda that infinite propaganda and misinformation has concealed.

      1. Steven D.

        Steady there with the “Zionist globalist masters.” More accurate to say the current Israeli administration’s interests align with the neoliberal hegemony that depends on Saudi oil.

    2. sid_finster

      They need access to US government officials and telling the truth about US government clients is not likely to keep the access flowing.

      They need advertisers, and Prince Alaweed is a major shareholder in citigroup. Pissing off citi may result in lost ad revenue to the nyt, and the Grey Lady is not exactly in great financial shape right now.

  5. Llewelyn Moss

    re: Where have all the workers gone?

    Brookings Hogwash. The author does not even mention H1B or the other guest worker programs that are decimating tech jobs (you know, the “good jobs”). Makes no mention of US Corps job offshoring programs that are gutting US jobs. But hey, it’s Brookings, the Neoliberal Propaganda Machine. Next…

      1. craazyboy

        Next time a journalist mentions “robot”, ask to see a picture of the “robot”, and what country the “robot” resides in.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I suspect the article was written by a robot.

        They tend to protect their own.

        And they never will integrate with humans…not in a thousand years. Well, some progressive men will marry female robots, but that’s about it.

        1. craazyboy

          “They tend to protect their own.”

          Not so. Gen 3 spot welding robots are putting Gen 1 and Gen 2 spot welding robots out of work!

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Buy my main point stands (or rather, my main paranoid concern stands) – we have been infiltrated by robots everywhere.

          1. JTMcPhee

            What? Is there no Job Training Partnership Act, beloved of Dan Quayle, for the displaced Gen I and Gen II ‘bots?

            Aaahh, I see, it was replaced during Clinton I by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998,, and supplemented further by the Trade Adjustment Assistance program under our rulers’ new “trade agreements,” I also see where only a minuscule fraction of the funding of all those actually went to workers, with lots of renting and skimming by the usual scumbags, So maybe Gen I and Gen II bots and Gen Xers and Millenials need to work, together, on improved sentience for themselves and their fellow displacees, and go all Wobblie and Ludd,

            The tapeworms and tumors and predators are organized, have been, and they have a prime directive — MORE! Too bad the ordinary people can’t seem to collect around any simple countervailing standard and attractor, though wasn’t “MORE!” the fundamental demand of Labor, back in the day?

            Interesting that ISIS leaders have a plan and a direction too, judging from events and this manual/manifesto referenced here recently, Worth a read, for those seeking the weaknesses of The Enemy… And of course they got those nifty black flags and masked-bandit outfits, and infinite repetitions of “Allahu Akhbar!” as the verbal punctuation to every large and small event and pretty much every utterance on any other subject,

            To see “moderate Jihadis” putting Great US and French Weaponry to work blowing up tanks Made in Russia (TM), there’s this:

            Contrast that with the most common ejaculation amongst Our Troops: (Warning: ‘helmet-cam” records deaths of US troops in firefight with “insurgents…”) Say again, Sir? What is the mission, Sir? Why are we here, sir, triggering ambushes and IEDs, again? This didn’t happen to me when I was on patrol in “Call of Duty,” Sir…

            And for fun,

            Of course all this is foreground and sub rosa, against a background of planetary environmental disjunction, about which only a minute fraction of us humans have either awareness or concern — being as all of us are pretty much on board, more’s the pity, with the whole “MORE! for me/us!” thing…

          2. fresno dan

            Well, there is the classic Quentin Robatino movie “Junkyard automated dogs” where Gen 1 robots tie up up a Gen 3 robot, and while twirling some pliers and firing up an acetylene torch threaten to go “all Medieval” all its shiny medal ass….

    1. tegnost

      also ends with this golly gee quote
      “Their biggest problem is not low wages or a lack of jobs per se; it is their short hours and lack of employment for reasons that remain somewhat obscure.” I’ll admit as I was reading I was sure I’d get some version of “they must be working and hiding all the money from us those selfish selfish poors”

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Yes, exactly. She implies Most unemployed are sitting on their butts scheming how to game the Disability System — rather than rushing out to apply for that burger flipper job. How she keeps her own job writing brain dead crud like this is mind boggling.

        1. polecat

          I’ve been sitting around quite a lot since ’08 constantly seeing how everyone, except our greater betters& lairds making bank , are left in the dust! I wanted to start a small business (ceramics) but decided not to pursue graft & deceit at local, county , and state,talking lip service to small business but almost always defering to big business & corps. So i tend to my chickens,bees, fruit trees, and vegetables, while watching this ship sink! It’s a big fixed club and I’ll never be allowed in it.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am repeating myself here, but we should praise idleness and inefficiency more (well, actually any praise would be a good start).

            In my world, laziness is a virtue.

            But when I compliment people about their laziness, they take it as an insult to such a degree, I put my life at risk.

            So, now, I just make a mental note to myself:

            Those Germans, they are lazy.
            And the Japanese, there are some virtuous, lazy Japanese too.
            The Greeks are known to be virtuously lazy.
            Some Americans should be ashamed of themselves. Not lazy enough.
            The Italians – they have that lazy virtue down to an art.
            Well, no one should slight the Swedes. They are capable of being lazy too.

            To me, anyone can be great at laziness…if you work hard enough, practice long enough, we can all be masters at it.

            Back to your point, polecat. A good life is, at the end, you have outlived all those people with more fiat money than you, and you did it in a healthy manner, minimizing unavoidable suffering along the way.

            So, let them have their efficiency and productivity.

            “Hey, you’re lazy. I admire and envy that.”

  6. Pavel

    I read the coverage of the Clinton Foundation’s tax returns. $500K+ per year for running a “charity”? Nice work if you can get it. Of course it helps to be a Friend of Bill & Hill, it seems, or of their daughter.

    Apparently they failed properly to report the income from the Clintons’ speeches. But hey, what’s the big deal? Hillary only broke her financial disclosure agreement as SoS!

    The foundation also filed its 2014 return Monday, disclosing that money the charity took in from speeches by the Clintons surged in 2014 to $3.6 million.

    In a statement, the foundation appears to acknowledge that for at least three years, its tax returns reported speech income in a manner inconsistent with financial disclosure forms Hillary Clinton filed as secretary of state.

    When POLITICO raised questions earlier this year about the omission from those disclosures of some paid speeches by former President Bill Clinton, officials said the fees for those speeches went to the foundation and were treated as payment for a service rendered on behalf of the foundation. Clinton aides said that as a result the payments did not need to be disclosed even though the forms require listing payments directed to charities in lieu of honoraria.

    However, in a statement Monday, the foundation acknowledged that from 2010 to 2012, such payments were recorded in the organization’s tax filings as donations to the charity. “President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton have supported the Foundation by giving speeches on its behalf. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, this funding was listed under the statement of revenue as part of other charitable contributions,” the statement said.


    1. Pat

      I’m sure there is some legal loophole we are unaware of for this – at least for the Clinton financial disclosure bit. If anything is outright illegal it will be on the part of the Foundation and never admitted to having been done in order to make sure that the Secretary kept her hands clean.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘fees for those speeches went to the foundation and were treated as payment for a service rendered on behalf of the foundation’

      Tax-freeeeee, baby. Book your personal revenue into a tax-exempt foundation, allocate yourself a salary in future years, and you have successfully deferred taxation on your income.

      Off the file the papers for the Jim Haygood Foundation!

  7. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Don’t be so quick to celebrate if the Paris attacks are determined to be carried out by European “nationals.” When immigrants with radical tendencies lie dormant for years, seemingly integrating into society, then suddenly lash out, this suggests that there is a big problem with assimilation and these folks are not exactly buying into the “universal values” of multi-culturalism that Obama and Merkel want them to.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Were the European-national attackers actually directed and supplied from abroad, or were they merely influenced by radical ideology from the region?

      After the fact, intelligence agencies probably are unearthing their phone calls and texts to find out. Unfortunately, the public and parliaments don’t get to see this raw intel. So the claim that the Paris attacks mean we ‘need to fight Isis’ will prevail, just as did G. W. Bush’s claim that the NY attacks meant we needed to invade Afghanistan.

      Opponents of M.L. King used to claim he was a communist. The FBI sought evidence that he was being directed from Moscow. But his movement was very much home-grown, however much Moscow may have tried to get in front of that parade. J. Edgar Hoover never thought to claim that African-Americans “aren’t assimilating.”

      1. Oregoncharles

        How easy is it to make suicide vests (with a dead-man switch, by one account), or obtain automatic weapons in France?

        IOW, sure looks like they had outside help of some kind. Or was it from the French equivalent of the FBI, as in so many terrorist plots here?

    2. rusti

      Good point. While we’re on the subject, Timothy McVeigh confirmed my suspicions that these so called “Irish-American” folks are incapable of integrating into civilized society.

      1. craazyboy

        The Great Melting Pot is set on simmer. It can take a few centuries ’till things stew properly. Be patient. Ireland has been slow to come around too.

        1. ChrisFromGeorgia

          Early returns on the experiment in Europe aren’t looking so great. There is no guarantee let alone likelihood that what worked in the US will work over there. I suspect that eventually the ones who will be “assimilated” in Europe are the natives with their low birth rates.

          1. James Levy

            I see fear and loathing for the darkies is still prevalent in Georgia. Yes, those Syrians will be coming for your white women next!

            1. Carla

              Re: What worked in the US …

              Gee, all kinds of things worked, but only for certain people, and only until they didn’t. For example, slavery built the country — slave owners thought it was pretty great; the slaves, not so much. Reconstruction was wonderful for newly freed black people in the South, but only very briefly. The North and the federal government quickly turned their backs on the people they had so magnanimously liberated, and industrial corporations uncovered the key that plantation owners had failed to discern: people are not investments–they are utterly disposable. Slave owners had been duped into feeding and housing their “property” to protect what really mattered: their investment. Those Northern corporations knew that workers were not property, but an endlessly replaceable “resource.” And any good American knows, you don’t invest in resources, you just use them up.

              That’s only one example of how things worked in the US, until they didn’t. Here in a land of almost endless space and natural resources, with relatively few people per square mile mucking it up, it has taken only a couple of hundred years for us to approach a European level of debased cynicism in our politics. Not to even mention our souls…

        2. JTMcPhee

          It appears the Great Melting Pot might be actually more of a closed, heated pressure vessel. Which in the form of pressure cookers, in the non-allegorical world, have multiple pressure relief valves, which when they vent can cause some occasionally severe local injuries, bad enough to attract the attention of specialized tort lawyers, but not broader damage. And which in the real world are also convenient items to make antipersonnel explosives out of…

      2. Jim Haygood

        “Irish-American” folks are incapable of integrating into civilized society.

        This claim was taken seriously in the 19th century.

        Our national mythology holds that our civic culture — the constitution and all that — supersedes the narrow ethnic definition of most other countries.

        With the constitution suspended by the War on Terror, arguably we have no unifying culture anymore, and are reverting to religious and color-based tropes.

        From my K-12 school days, I recall some Turkish and Lebanese kids in our class. Their religion (probably Islam, at least for the Turks) was a non-issue, even in the race-conscious South. What changed? Trace the connection from Israel’s 1967 occupation to the ‘medievalist’ propaganda that Netanyahu was spewing here in the U.S. just last week.

        Netanyahu is Israel’s counterpart to David Duke.

          1. Optimader

            Isreal is by definition a racist construct by defi ition, is it not? Whats to argue on that point?
            Be ejusy happens to be it’s elected leader, does he notrepresent israel?
            What am i missing here?

            1. S M Tenneshaw

              No, “racist” and “refuge” are not the same, even though they’re fairly close in the dictionary. So I’d say you’re missing just about everything.

                  1. optimader

                    My hide is not very easily chapped, let alone by a blog commenters historical ignorance.

                    The “State of Israel” is a construct that is a result of the Zionist Movement. You conflate Zionism with Judaism.

                    The one thing the Zionist “State of Israel” has consistently sought has been recognition by it’s neighbors as a legitimate State with the right to discriminate against the aboriginal people of Palestine and grant advantageous legal rights to those it deems as citizens.
                    In the end what the Zionists have created is a failed State that rather than a “refuge for Jews”, is in reality a dangerous place to live. Far more dangerous than say NYC.

                    You may like to call it a “refuge” but what is really is probably the most starkly racist place on the planet.

                    1. S M Tenneshaw

                      “most starkly racist place on the planet”?

                      Absolute garbage. You clearly have no capacity for shame.

                    2. different clue

                      More racist that Myanmar?

                      More racist than Sri Lanka?

                      More racist than China versus Tibet , Sinjiang, etc.?

                      Rhetorical flourish taken to excess can break the strongest argument beneath the weight of that rhetorical flourish.

  8. financial matters

    Some interesting perspective by Jonah Birch, a graduate student in sociology, in Jacobin.

    He promotes an international solidarity where we can see things in a broader perspective where all lives matter and we can address the roots of the problems without automatically resorting to more violence.

    “This past Friday I was with friends at another bar in Belleville when we first learned of the attacks that were devastating the city. As news began to filter in — of bombings at the Stade de France, mass shootings on the rue de Charonne, hostages at the Bataclan Theater — it dawned on us that most of the killing was happening just down the street.

    By inviting greater levels of racism and a crackdown by the state, the attacks will likely deepen the split between France’s Muslim immigrant residents and the institutions of French social life. The intended result is a vicious cycle of repression, social polarization, and political radicalization — a division that, in the long run, can help create more fertile ground for a group like ISIS.

    Seen from that perspective, both ISIS and the National Front benefit from the devastation that Friday’s attacks have left behind. The irony is that by responding with heightened repression and militarism, the French state is feeding the growth of the very currents it wants to combat.”

  9. Ed

    The Washington Post article on “Would Jeseus Take in Syrian Refugees” is mainly how religious American Christians are approaching the problem, mixed in with the open borders propaganda that you would expect from these publications. The interest is that people are discovering the plight of Christians in the Middle East, for whom US policy in recent decades have done no favors.

    Taking in the Christians and not the Muslims is perfectly rational on the grounds of greater hardship for the Christian refugees and less difficulty in assimilation. Most Arab immigration to the US historically have been Christian Arabs.

    The article ignores the fact that most of the “Syrian refugees” entering Europe this year have never been in Syria.

    (For those who want to click on it I will post here:

  10. lylo

    Exploiting Emotions About Paris to Blame Snowden, Distract from Actual Culprits Who Empowered ISIS The Intercept
    Geez. They just can’t get over themselves at TI. So far, I’ve found two (2!) concrete instances of officials blaming Snowden, and one isn’t even a current government official. (Seriously, this is the first time I’ve read Perino’s name in years.) Everything else (mind, a couple quotes here and there) sort of imply that he made their lives harder, not “blaming” him. (Which could easily be dismissed by pointing out that they are suspected to have used the Sony PS network, which isn’t encrypted anyways, so nothing to do with Snowden. No need to get one’s panties in a wad over “teh MSM” on this one.)
    But just ask Glenn; they’re all shaking in their boots over the folks over at TI with all that there Snowden info they (still) haven’t released. Or something.

    And while we’re on the subject: let’s talk Snowden. There really wasn’t much Snowden came out with that was new; sure is sad everyone ignored all the other whistle-blowers from the past decade. (And let’s keep pointing out how much more “responsible” he was than Manning, right Glenn?) Seems silly that a few Powerpoints were enough to confirm what the media refused to acknowledge from officials much higher up the chain who had leaked. And no one seems to question that a high school and military drop out managed to work for the CIA and Booz Allen before age 30. (Speaking of, whatever happened to that CIA gig? Seems odd that they hired such a clearly unreliable young man, then let him walk away after completing fairly sensitive missions only two years later…) I don’t care what kind of wunderkind everyone might imagine him to be that just DOES NOT make sense. My husband has genius IQ, bilingual, actually made it through military training and was decorated in combat, is probably better with engineering if not programming, and is currently working for $12 an hour; that’s the real world for techs–and he’s lucky as some of his friends literally aren’t allowed to touch computers by court order. (At the very least, why did no one even question this behavior by the CIA? Shouldn’t legislators be up in arms that this is how they recruit and care for our secrets?) And seriously is no one bothered by the fawning media portraits? It seems very odd to acknowledge that our media is captured, but then ignore that they are treating this one guy like he’s the cat’s meow, with patriotic pictures to boot. (Exclude literally three right-wing outlets, and you’ll see what I mean about the media.)
    Look, I’m all for whistle-blowing, but for some reason since the beginning I’ve been extremely suspect of Snowden. None of the backstory makes any sense, we already knew what he was leaking for the most part, the info is based on slide shows from basically company meetings, and most of the actual info still hasn’t been released. (Thanks, GG, by the way.)
    But the worst of it; anybody remember the South Park 9-11 episode? Where they got into the conspiracy and it led all the way to the White House, where Bush “dropped” all the proof while stretching in front of them? All just to make a certain segment of the population think they were all-powerful, and not actually idiots clambering for direction. THAT is the impression I get here. “Our government is SO POWERFUL it reads ALL your texts!!! Don’t question! Just silence yourself!” lol
    See what I mean? Even if they got all this info (which we’ve known they collected since Drake blew the whistle in 2005) I don’t actually think any of it is useful, or incarceration would be going up. Simple as that.
    I really think this is a classic psy-op to cajole the (specifically old-school techies group of) citizenry into a few more years of compliance. Like, literally just buying some time. (Possibly also a CIA move against the NSA, trying to eliminate/emasculate rival agencies.)

    Sorry for the rant. Greenwald really disappointed me during this whole event, after many years of reading, so I tend to get animated on this subject. I just wish people would question the Snowden story a bit more. (Honestly, I think he never “resigned” at the CIA; he’s too noisy and the damage from the information too specific for a real whistle-blower, too photogenic and eloquent for an exile, too puffed up by the media to be a real enemy of the state, and it would also explain Russia’s behavior about the whole thing.) It really seems too good to be true, and we know what that means…

    1. JCC

      For what it’s worth, I work with a lot of people in the IT business that are a) under 35, and b) are contractors with a secret (or higher) clearance, and c) have had time in the military, and finally d) make more than $12.00/hr. This is much more common within the DoD and other agency environments than most people think

      I’m not defending or attacking your position. Let’s face it, in a surveillance regime it’s almost impossible to know who to trust and who not to trust. It’s built in to the system of surveillance.

    2. rusti

      And no one seems to question that a high school and military drop out managed to work for the CIA and Booz Allen before age 30.

      It’s natural to have thoughts towards the conspiratorial when you see the absurdity of how the intelligence community operates but I think the reality is even more terrifying. The CIA people making hiring decisions on the ground level all the way up to the directors ostensibly steering the ship are just winging it and taking care of them and theirs as their positions of authority allow.

      When was a dumb 20-year-old kid finishing up undergrad a defense contractor flew me across the country for an interview because (I suspect) the hiring manager liked the basketball team from my alma matter. For my current job the hiring manager wasn’t in a position to understand or evaluate my area of technical expertise, but we had a mutual interest in barefoot running and got along well.

      These are how decisions are made in the world of Serious People. But if you’re really curious about Snowden I think he specifically explains how he got his foot in the door in CitizenFour.

    3. hunkerdown

      If you’d been anywhere near Silicon Valley in the 1990s, you would have seen plenty of skilled, self-taught people with no degrees working for six figures, because they knew their shit and could demonstrate as much. You’re just bitter because you’re still in debt for a useless university education that is not only useful but gratis in sane nations.

      1. different clue

        I would agree. There are some people so very good at what they do and so visibly smart that they don’t need to bother with finishing high school or college. Not many. But a few. It could make the rest of us jealous.

    4. vidimi

      yeah, sorry, your rant just smacks of bitterness about your husband’s situation.

      and to see how right wing and pro-establishment south park is, just watch their latest episode in which they skewer the police protest movements like blm.

      as for greenwald, he is as much a supporter of manning and drake as he is of snowden.

      remember the wikileaks dump of stratfor and palantir emails from a few years ago: one of the slides was about eroding the support of journalists such as greenwald (mentioned specifically). keep this in mind when dealing with attacks coming from various sources from “the left”.

  11. Steve H.

    But officer, I saw them putting mayonnaise on their Freedom Fries!

    Lambert, your call-and-response on the headlines today is in its finest form. You are the steward of a wonderful muse, and I thank you for its tending.

    1. abynormal

      Did you know Ambrose Bierce consulted Lambert for the entirety of the Devil’s Dictionary? (he’s modest too)

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I have a muse, and I think we know what her name is…

      Adding, I prefer to let the headlines and their juxtaposition speak for themselves. That’s the brilliant minimalism of Links. But there were just too many temptations today (which I suppose could be an Index of some sort).

  12. Optimader

    Re:FT article, what differentiates Putin dropping bombs in syria as a “problem solving” strategy from anyone elses dropping bombs in syria?

    1. abynormal

      PUTIN: US and your chickens…takeout the road and you idiots can concentrate on the next no-brainer bhahahahahaaaaaa

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Unless only Putin has a problem of too many bombs such that he needs to reduce his stockpile, to bring supply and demand closer together.

      But I doubt he’s that exceptional.

      1. Optimader

        Im guessin the limiting “resource” will be jet engine bits before ever coming close to clearing out the new old stock bomb and bullet inventory.

    3. Will

      My favorite line in the FT article: “his obsession with the idea that the west is bent on regime change, from the Middle East to Moscow” — gosh, where on earth would he have gotten a crazy idea like that?

  13. C

    The last paragraph of the bloomberg article on bank membership is depressingly hilarious:

    The question for investors is whether the historical relationships still hold. They may not. Draghi is mulling more stimulus for the euro area, Carney this month signaled the U.K. still needs record-low interest rates and Dudley has proven to be one of the most dovish Fed officials.

    This is presented as a counterpoint to all of the evidence laid above that the Wall-St derived bank members always push to combat inflation and focus on tighter policy.

    Clearly Mr. Kennedy has been asleep for the last decade as Draghi obsessed about “expansionary inflation” and continues to demand blood from Greece. Or as England’s desperate attempts at austerity have been biting so deep even the conservatives cried uncle.

    It makes me think of this:

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” — Upton Sinclair

    He was talking about something else but I think it applies to the Financial press perfectly.

  14. David

    But a rather large group may simply be unemployable at an attractive wage and may have figured out how to get by without working very much.

    So Brookings is supporting the premise that benefits are too high for marginal workers/welfare recipients and removing the ‘incentive’ to work?
    The mention of retired workers under 55 as part of ‘missing’ workforce poses the question: Perhaps, they were forced to take retirement when their company closed down and shipped jobs off-shore. That might be a bit of disincentive to continue in a workforce operating under that continuing threat…

    I’m guessing Walmart is ruing the missed opportunity:
    Develop employee housing near their supercenters, paying workers in script, etc. The business model mines used in prior days would be a good fit, don’t you think?

    1. Observer

      Clueless victim-blaming from Brookings. Whodathunk it? The unspoken message being “Why aren’t these scheming lazy bastards working, dammit! Oops, we meant to say gee willakers, where’d everybody go?”

  15. Stephanie

    This MinnPost article is old, but echoes some of the arguments from the NYRB: that joining a terrorist organization may be a means to existential fulfillment, and that recruitment is often best achieved in person, through long hours of relationship building.

    Both these hypotheses, if true, strike me as long-run problematical. Western societies do not seem to be doing a bang-up job at providing meaning – or even participation – these days. That being the case, I can see how choosing adrenaline + comradeship would make sense, especially if isolated consumerism, obtainable in reality only for a few, is the only other option on offer.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Paris/”Refugees”

    I don’t often recommend internet videos, but this one should be viewed and shared.

    It’s a 10 minute interview from RT with French journalist Gearoid O. Colmain in which he discusses “forced engineered migration” (of humans) as a geopolitical tool of western globalist imperialism.

    The interview was conducted in the context of the attacks in Paris. It is of such high caliber that it would never be seen on american “news” outlets, which publish things like “Would Jesus take in Syrian refugees? WaPo” without ever thinking to ask if “jesus” would have bombed them in the first place.

    This one really is worth your ten minutes.

    1. Optimader

      Isnt it the case that the man jesus was an Aramaic speaking Syrian?
      In ehich case he would probably be one of the syrians.

  17. Jim Haygood

    Nasdaq 5,000, comrades: it’s back. Indeed, at midday the large-cap Nasdaq 100 index is only 2 percent below its Nov. 3rd record high.

    Why are stocks rising? No one ever knows for sure. But their blast-off right after the Paris attack suggests that war spending means “blank check” fiscal stimulus, without the usual requirement to “pay for it” with reductions elsewhere in the budget.

    Too bad the war rally ain’t helping Dr Copper, who’s puked another 1 percent to $2.08/lb today. Probably the new long range bomber will be constructed of tungsten cowhide and Crapalloy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Tungsten cowhide and Crapalloy.

      Progress, tovarish, progress.

      I was guessing the Nasdaq was going up because more robots and the S&P because more hungry people (keeping wage inflation in check).

      But your theory is much more sound.

  18. allan

    Hillary Clinton Attacks Bernie Sanders’ Progressive Agenda

    In the past, Sanders has proposed financing a single-payer scheme with a payroll tax that would affect everybody, including the middle class. On Monday, that possibility drew a sharp attack from Brian Fallon, Clinton’s chief campaign spokesman.

    “Bernie Sanders has called for a roughly 9-percent tax hike on middle-class families just to cover his health-care plan,” Fallon told Politico, “and simple math dictates he’ll need to tax workers even more to pay for the rest of his at least $18-20 trillion agenda. If you are truly concerned about raising incomes for middle-class families, the last thing you should do is cut their take-home pay right off the bat by raising their taxes.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      “Bernie Sanders has called for a roughly 9-percent tax hike on middle-class families just to cover his health-care plan.”

      As best I can recall, in 1993 Hillary called for a roughly 8 percent payroll tax to pay for HillaryCare.

      Fortunately, that heavy new tax was avoided under Obamacare by obliging victims consumers to cough up $6,000-plus deductibles. Fixed!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        And with the sucking mandibles of the health insurance business firmly fixed into the body politic, $500 billion siphoned off a year with nothing to show for it in terms of health outcomes. Ka-ching.

      2. marym

        Both the national program HR 676 Expanded and Improved Medicare for All and the Sanders state-by-state implementation S. 1782 provide comprehensive medical care including dental, vision, hearing, mental health, with no out-of-pocket costs (this is very explicit in HR 676 – S.1782 to me is a little more obscure in wording); and negotiated prices for prescription drugs and medical devices.
        For H.R.676 PNHP points to studies that show 95% of families and most businesses would pay less in total healthcare costs. If it’s not already documented somewhere, Sanders should do the same. A discussion of out-of-pocket tax costs is only relevant along with a discussion of out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

    2. Vatch

      But if there’s single payer health insurance, my employer and I won’t be paying premiums to a health insurance company. Either way, I pay.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We will still pay, but pay less, if we can, in some way, make hospitals bill less mysteriously.

        1. Vatch

          Yes, currently, the hospitals and physicians’ offices have to interface with dozens or hundreds of different insurance plans. That’s way too much complexity.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is an alternative for Sanders can use to hit back at Hilary – just shift money from the military to single payer .

      1. Jim Haygood

        Factually, you are correct.

        But under the American exceptionalist dogma that unites the Depublicrat party, this is not remotely possible.

        Watch the D and R candidates campaign next year on ‘building up America’s defenses.’

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      Oooh, “simple math.” That one is always a tell, since all you have to do is take apart the assumptions under the math. (It’s especially hilarious and cynical coming from a Clinton operative, since “the math” on the delegate count was an argument the Obama campaign regularly made in 2008 — starting as early as February, IIRC — and the Clinton campaign rejected it, using exactly the same argument I just made.)

    5. Pat

      Funnily enough, I’m betting Sanders is not stupid enough to think that upon eliminating employer insurance that the employers will voluntarily pass along the costs of said insurance to the employees and will make that all premiums costs are required to be passed along to the employees as a permanent increase to their salaries (and that said rate will now be market rate for said salaries).

  19. efschumacher

    From the Bill Mitchell article on Takahashi Korekiyo: Real GDP growth returned quickly and stood out by comparison with the rest of the world which was mired in recession. Between 1932 and 1936, real industrial production grew by a staggering 62 per cent

    So if the 19 parts of Europe currently on a particularly strangulated gold standard were to come off it, at the same time devoting the QE to demonstrably fruitful ends, can we imagine a similar rebirth?

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    As to Takahashi Korekiyo, I don’t think his monetary acumen had anything to do with his assassination (in his sleep by gunshot and sword) by rebel army officers in 1936 during the so-called – February 26 Incident – which was a failed coup d’état.

    He had in fact reduced military funding because he was a moderate and wished to reduce Japan’s martial tendencies. Enemies were thus made and they were the type of enemies that carried weapons and knew how to use them!

    That’s what he got enabling the militarists in the first place. From the same article:

    2. He introduced an enlarged fiscal stimulus. In March 1932, Takahashi suggested a policy where the Bank of Japan would underwrite the government bonds (that is, credit relevant bank accounts to facilitate government spending).

    Remember what Japan was during in China in the 1930s

    1931 – Mudken incident
    1932 – Setting the puppet government Manchuko with the Last Emperor, Puyi
    1932- January 28 Incident, or the Battle for Shanghai
    1933 – budget for Japan to attack the Great Wall region.
    1934 – more money for supporting northern Chinese warlord, under ‘Specialization of North China.’
    1935 – help the newly formed Mongol Military Government with economic aid

    All possible with his underwriting of Japanese government bonds (see above)

    He was playing with fire.

    What was his alternative?

    Printing and giving money directly to Japanese citizens?

    Was he aware of the international suffering of his money printing for the (regional, and soon to be global, they hoped) hegemon? Did he bother him?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      On the other hand, he probably helped to open markets for Japanese goods in occupied areas of China/places friendly to Japan, put more young men to work in the Army and young women into factories to supply the war machine or fill vacancies left by departing young men.

  21. Oregoncharles

    From “Where Have All the Workers Gone: “Third, now that women are almost half the labor force, the pressure for men to work has lessened.”

    A little gleam on the bright side. This is, and was always supposed to be, one of the benefits of equality – for men, but not only. It makes families more secure and, potentially, some people happier. Whether they’re house-husbands or artists (hence not technically “employed”), both these guys and their wives are experiencing an increase in personal freedom.

    I didn’t really expect to see good news buried in this report.

    The down side: other accounts indicate a lot of WOMEN leaving the workforce, partly reversing the gains of the women’s movement.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Both spouses working at the same time also means no one stays behind to defend the home (defend as in, preparing non-toxic meals).

      There is still time postprandial to watch TV, but when one is hungry after work, one can’t switch TV time with slow-cook time.

      One alternative is take out. But one doesn’t know what they put in there, especially if you support mom and pop eateries.

      1. Oregoncharles

        We get our take-out mostly at the local co-op, so we do know. Not cheap, though.

        Reducing the work week, so there’s someone home without making invidious distinctions, is the next great feminist cause.

  22. meeps

    -All atheists are terrorists-

    This is rich, coming from the Saudis. Especially since they beheaded at least 151 people in 2015–one of whom was crucified in addition to beheading. Distort much?

  23. quixote

    Regarding the Antidote du Jour:

    Okay. But why?

    (Apologies if I’m the umpteenth commenter to make the obvious joke. I didn’t read all of them because I was giggling.)

Comments are closed.