Links 12/7/15, Pearl Harbor Day

Jimmy Carter: Cancer is gone, former president announces AJC. Wow. I know he prays and all that, but I think this is also an indicator of the power of having a sense of purpose. There is plenty Carter still wants to do, and he knows he can have a positive impact.

I gave my students iPads — then wished I could take them back Washington Post (Chuck L)


Emperor Weather, Turning Up the Heat on History Tom Engelhardt

New paper shows degree of impact of corporate messaging on public perception of global warming PhysOrg (Chuck L)

What a signed banknote tells us about Myanmar’s next leadership BBC

Staying sustainable Bangkok Post (furzy mouse)

French Elections

National Front tops polls in regional elections The Local

France elections: National Front leads in regional polls BBC

French National Front set to make history Financial Times

Refugee Crisis

12 Million Homeless, Displaced Syrians Facing Disaster as Winter Approaches Ma’an News Agency

Poland considering asking for access to nuclear weapons under Nato program Guardian

Venezuela Elections

Chicken for diapers: Bartering abounds in scarcity-stricken Venezuela McClatchy (furzy mouse)

Venezuelans vote as polls predict return of the right after 16 years out of office Euronews

Opposition Gains a Rare Victory in Venezuelan Election New York Times


Mountain Ambush Harpers (guurst)

Russia has stepped up bombing since Turkey downed its aircraft McClatchy (furzy mouse)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Hillary Clinton Urges Silicon Valley To ‘Disrupt’ ISIS Slashdot (bob). Under normal circumstances, I would deem this to be “Peak Stupid” but with toads hopping out of Trump’s mouth at least twice a week, we are in a new (bad) normal as far as “stupid” is concerned, which means that calling a top is far more fraught than it would normally be.

Trump Says Political Correctness Helped Enable California Attack Bloomberg. As indicated re “peak stupid.”

Pakistani security seeks to tamp down reporting on California shooter Reuters. Lambert: “So Malik is fom Pakistan. Therefore, we will bomb Syria.”

Terrorist Threat Has ‘Evolved’ Into a New Phase, Obama Says Wall Street Journal. Calling Jim Haygood: “The war situation has developed not necessarily to our advantage” redux?

Horror Beyond Description: Noam Chomsky on the Latest Phase of the War on Terror Truthout (furzy mouse)

Just How Dangerous Is Terrorism, Really? George Washington. GW runs a post of this ilk every month or so because it’s a badly needed reminder. I love the factoid that toddlers are a bigger threat to one’s survival than terrorists…and I am pretty sure that the stats are stale enough that that was before toddlers were as heavily armed as they are now.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google Spying on 40 Million K-12 Students, Privacy Advocates Call for Federal Sanctions Alternet

Does Your Hello Barbie Have An STD? (IIoT) Patrick Durusau

I Set Out To Expose A Hate Movement In Gaming—So They Set Out To Destroy My Life Ravishly (Chuck L)


Trademarked: Trump makes money off the name ‘Central Park’ Yahoo (furzy mouse)

Just let the Republicans win: Maybe things need to get really bad before America wakes up Salon. Jeff W: “The headline is wrong—it’s more like ‘Progressives have to be seen to be bringing the ‘regressive center’ down.’ It’s an exceedingly obvious point but one one doesn’t see often in print.”

America is sitting on a powder keg Daily Kos

Perspectives on Politics – Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens Cambridge Journals Online (Chuck L)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Justice Department to investigate Chicago police Politico (furzy mouse)

AL Police Officers Whistleblow on Supremacists in Dept who Planted Evidence on Black Men Daily Kos (furzy mouse)

Police State Watch

Witness Video Captures Fatal Miami Police Shooting Revolution News (Deontos)


And That’s A Wrap Tim Duy

Central bankers do not have as many tools as they think Larry Summers, Financial Times

US rate hikes could hurt emerging markets, says BIS Dow Jones

OPEC’s Middle Finger To The Oil Markets OilPrice

Banks Said to Face SEC Probe Into Possible Credit Swap Collusion Bloomberg. Lambert: “They just can’t help themselves.”

Five Scandals That Show Why We Need Structural Reform in the Banking Industry Truthout (furzy mouse)

Calstrs under pressure to reveal private equity fees Financial Times

We are shrinking! The neglected drop in Gross Planet Product VoxEU

Class Warfare

Podcast: Edward Stringham’s book “Private Governance” The Seasteading Institute (furzy mouse). OMG this is SO specious….citing rules at sea as a positive example of governance? And after the New York Times ran a whole series of what goes on as a result, including murders, what amounts to slavery, and unpunishable polluters? This guy needs to be ridiculed at every turn.

The next Piketty Ryan Avent

Corporate Psychopaths Housing Senior Citizens: A Personal Editorial OpEd News (Glenn F)

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse). Yalta, Crimea in the Guardian’s Eyewitness series:

baby tigers links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. James Levy

    Trump seems to believe that despite the first ten amendments, the 14th Amendment, and the proscription on religious tests for any office that the whole apparatus of state should be able to target, harass, and spy on all Moslem-Americans who are guilty until proven innocent (and like the old Sheridan line, I think he thinks the only innocent Moslem is a dead one). I think those who try to tell us here that “Trump has some good ideas” or “Trump isn’t as bad as Hillary” should read his repeated statements and ponder those facts before telling us how Trump ain’t that bad–it smacks too much to me of “Mussolini made the trains run on time.”

    1. Steven D.

      The current situation with the Democrats and Trump is more analogous to the heroic efforts of the German Socialists to do anything and everything they could to fumble the ball off to Hitler. Like the Democrats, the Socialists spared no efforts in discerning the dumbest mistakes and stupidest decisions and then carrying them out faithfully.

      1. James Levy

        I would argue that that was more true of the Communists in 32-33 than the Socialists. When the Enabling Act was put up for a vote the leader of the SPD gave an heroic speech in an Opera House (temporary home of the Reichstag) surrounded and cowed by SA Stormtroopers and under siege after the Reichstag Fire. I would not expect the same from Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer.

        1. Steven D.

          Good points. My recollection is that there was good leadership among the Socialists in the interwar period but they either died untimely deaths or emerged after it was too late and the cowards and sell outs reigned.

          1. Sufferin' Succotash

            If we’re going to fiddle with Weimar analogies, how about the Center Party? It moved steadily to the Right in the late 20s to compete for right-wing votes–a hopeless task given Hitler’s appeal–only to surrender and vote for the Enabling Act in return for an empty promise that the new regime would respect Catholic interests. Talk about spinelessness. The Communist and Socialist Parties had to be repressed by force. The Center actually saved the Nazis the trouble by dissolving itself. I could easily see the DLC types caving in to a potential dictator, only it’ll be called “triangulation”.

            1. Lexington

              Yeah, it’s like those damn Centrists not only had never read The Diary of Anne Frank, they also never saw Shoah. Or even an Indiana Jones movie.

              Completely unforgivable.

          2. Sufferin' Succotash

            While we’re fiddling with Weimar analogies, how about the Center Party? The Center spent the late 1920s moving steadily to the right to try to capture right-wing votes, a hopeless task given Hitler’s mass appeal. Then, when the Enabling Act came up for a vote in the Reichstag, the Center caved in and voted for it unanimously after getting an empty promise from Hitler that the new regime would respect Catholic interests. The Nazis had to use force to suppress the Communists and Socialists; the Center Party meekly dissolved itself. I suppose we could argue that the party was “keeping its powder dry”.

      2. Gaianne

        The German left in the 1920s and into the 1930s was clueless and incompetent. They never understood who their opponents were, and never bothered with a strategy to defend against them, let alone defeat them.

        When you read about these people, you suddenly go “hey! I know these people! They are just like . . .” They are just like my friends in the American “left” today.

        We all know pretty much what is going to happen. It is a movie we have seen before. Too bad it is a horror film.


    2. Carolinian

      You seem to ignore that religious targeting is already taking place, not just by the NSA but also those good liberals up in NYC whose police department has been infiltrating and spying on muslims for years. While I’m no fan of Trump’s latest turn in his “say what it takes to get elected” campaign, the notion that he is the new Hitler is “progressive” hysteria at its worst. Seems that Godwin’s law doesn’t apply when we do it–very convenient.

      If there’s a real threat of fascism in this country then I’d say it comes from where it has always come from post WW2: our aggressive and militaristic foreign policy. And this is why some of us see good “progressive” (according to her) Mrs. Clinton as as bigger threat than Trump. Trump throws out a lot of silly ideas such as that wall that will never happen. HRC has a visible record of doing things–confronting Russia–that may get us all killed. Tellingly the Hamlet like musings of Shane Ryan in today’s Salon link barely mention foreign policy as a reason to adamantly oppose Clinton.

      The fact that many on the left see the country’s ordinary citizens as the big threat rather than the elites who are so obviously running it into the ground says it all about current liberalism’s isolation, provincialism and, frankly, fear of democracy. It may be time to break out of that bubble.

      1. James Levy

        Strawman baloney. I hate Hillary Clinton and would not vote for her. As for NYC, the idea of a city run by and for billionaires like Bloomberg being liberal is a joke. It is the kind of bullshit that might pass on the Rush radio show but bears no relationship to reality. And the idea that the US population, as presently brainwashed and afflicted, is some inerrant font of wisdom only polluted by those nasty 1% (who presumably aren’t Americans but come from Neptune) is naïve on the best day of the year.

        If you don’t see trump as a dangerous bully who would give you all the militarism you could ever want combined with bigotry and misogyny at home then you are as blind as the people who think that Clinton is a progressive.

        1. Steven D.

          So what do you suggest? Medium-motion suicide with Hillary or jumping off the cliff with the Donald?

          1. Synoia

            In practice, what’s the difference between a Trump Government and a Clinton Government?

            Same donors, same money, different results? Please explain how.

            1. James Levy

              How many fucking times do I have to tell you assholes that I am not a supporter of Hillary Clinton and I would not vote for her. Despite that, if you think that Alito and Roberts are the same as Ginsberg and Sotomayor you are imbeciles.

                1. cwaltz


                  I suspect that some of us will need to be medicated after 2016, not because we’re crazy now, but because the political process(and the aftermath that we’re forced to live with) drove us there.

                  Not that I’m one to talk mind you. I think I’m putting my palm to my face on a daily basis.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Each of us has his/her, or our, coping techniques.

                    Mine is taking a deep breath.

                    And oftentimes to remind myself, I go check how many bugs I have killed with my windshield (I am sure the Dalai Lama does the same with someone else’s limousine he’s been on).

                    1. optimader

                      (I am sure the Dalai Lama does the same with someone else’s limousine he’s been on).

                      I have heard whispers that when he’s in the limo, he goes by Mr. Lhamo Dondrub, and his focus is on the meniscus of the Jamesons in the rock glass, neat, not what’s on the windshield.

                  2. optimader

                    Speaking of your palm, I hope your hand is improving…

                    I have a squeezy plastic thing that I periodically attack in a frenzy when I read stuff, I’m tired of lookin at my palm :o/

                    1. cwaltz

                      Thanks for mentioning that. It’s actually rather silly that I didn’t think of picking up a stress ball to see if maybe working the hand improves(or worsens it.) Right now I just notice that it worsens in extreme temperatures. :)

                  3. Gaianne

                    It is the US that is going crazy.

                    The insanity of the US is no longer stoppable. It is going to happen.

                    Your job is to remain sane. This is no joke. It is serious. And it will not be easy.


              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                James, sometimes, it seems like no one agrees with us (or me).

                You often only see those who disagree respond.

                But trust me, or so I believe, people listen to (and when it is so, agree with) what you say.

            1. cwaltz

              Neither, consequences are for little people, not the actual people who screw crap up on a large scale.

        2. Carolinian

          The truth is you have no idea what Trump would do if elected. Me either. So it’s hardly a straw man to point out that all the recent “fascist” talk is over the top. It’s also not a straw man to point out that much of this talk represents, not fear of Trump, but fear of the electorate. While it’s true that the public may be brainwashed on subjects far from their actual experience, the relevant question should be who is doing the brainwashing? Could it be that mythical one percent? Read this blog much? They do exist. Where do they come from? You might start with Harvard, Yale, Princeton. Back in my Vietnam generation these were known as “the best and the brightest.”

          I believe the left in this country does live in a largely middle class bubble and that could be the reason they are getting so little traction. The fact that the dreadful HRC could even be considered for President by many “progressives” says quite a lot IMO. It’s not irrelevant.

          Yesterday I wrote that calling people stupid was no way to get them to vote for you. But more generally I think intellectual vanity is the worst kind of snobbery. There’s a large segment of the lefty blogosphere that has contempt for the general public; you see this every day. They need to get over it. Depending on the ultimate common sense of our fellow citizens may be a slender reed, but it may in the end be all we have.

          1. wbgonne

            Depending on the ultimate common sense of our fellow citizens may be a slender reed, but it may in the end be all we have.

            Despite decades of propaganda from the Corporate Media and notwithstanding the neoliberal assault on the education system, most Americans still have their good common sense intact. The problem is not with the people, it is with the political system that has been hijacked by the corporatists, and is driving the people into despair. It is the same all around the Western world because we have “exported” it at the point of a gun and the threat of penury. We have become the Evil Empire and a lot of Americans don’t like it, but don’t know what to do about it.

            1. jrs

              Yes whether or not they are propagandized, THERE ARE NO GOOD CHOICES, there is no way to get what they want in this political system, it is rigged.

              I think in California (although it’s a blue coastal state and so thus maybe is capable of better choices than Texas :)) referenda very clearly show the citizenry makes better choices than the politicians (and this is including prop 13 and 3 strikes etc. – notwithstanding how bad those laws were). But what has that to do with our rigged political system?

          2. optimader

            The truth is you have no idea what Trump would do if elected.
            Ultimately, that’s the general case –not just Trump.

            1. jrs

              so all we can do (and it’s pathetic – we really need to get a real democracy someday) is make decisions on what we do know, and what we do know about Trump is mostly, even if not 100%, simply awful. So enough of a reason to oppose Trump, regardless of whether it’s a reason to endorse anyone else.

          3. makedoanmend

            Or do people who claim the Left(?) lives in a middle class bubble also habituate said bubble? Is the bubble apparent? Is the middle class a bubble?

            Just axing.

            I know many leftists, and indeed quite a few rightists, who cannot afford the bubble and look to no one, nor seek anyone, to change the world. Too expensive timewise.

            Bitter experience.

            Is bitter experience its own bubble?

        3. tegnost

          I think as well that they’re both batty militarists and we’re pretty well screwed with either one. As you point out, and I have long believed, there’s not hairs breadth between the upper range of either party. This is a case where a parlamentary system might work better, it would be less efficient, which I would consider a feature, and more representative, but unfortunately that’s not what we’ve got. I also will not vote for either, this time I’m simply voting for who I want to, even if I must write it in, and expect to be living under a president mickey mouse, as I think thats who most people can agree on

      2. jrs

        Trump sucks, really enough said. I wish him nothing but ill.

        “The fact that many on the left see the country’s ordinary citizens as the big threat rather than the elites who are so obviously running it into the ground says it all about current liberalism’s isolation, provincialism and, frankly, fear of democracy. It may be time to break out of that bubble.”

        which ordinary citizens, those that will commit hate crimes against Muslims etc.? See I actually don’t think most citizens would do any such thing of course, but that’s the kind of people a lovely man like Trump encourages. And the idea that Trump, rather than say referendums which actually give direct democratic voice to citizens, is about ordinary citizens is a joke. Yes, very funny, send in the next squillionaire who really truly represents the 99%.

    3. Fred

      As to Trump’s candidacy, the problem is that it is being considered and examined in the same manner as any other candidacy. It’s not.

      I am repeatedly amazed by all of the articles by so-called political experts who criticize Trump and make suggestions as to how to beat him.

      IMO, the attraction of his candidacy is that he holds all the other candidates (and all politicians in general), the political machines (and the self-appointed king makers) that support/anoint the candidates, and the MSM in total contempt. He demonstrates his contempt by repeatedly making rude, insulting, inflammatory statements (which is, in effect, a violation of kayfabe), which is immediately pounced on by his opponents, enemies, and the supporters of the traditional manner of running for office to call him names and attack his candidacy.

      Of course, this makes him stronger. The pros either don’t get that or can’t figure our a way to respond without breaking kayfabe themselves.

      Although I believe that none of the readership here would support Trump, everyone here knows what kayfabe is, and “holds [nearly] all candidates (and [nearly] all politicians in general), the political machines (and the self-appointed king makers) that support/anoint the candidates, and the MSM in total contempt”.

      Imagine Trump v. HRC with Trump rudely saying the things Sanders is either unwilling to say or willing to say only in a traditional politically acceptable manner.

      Although I am happy Trump has broken kayfabe (and disappointed that Sanders has not), I have no idea how all of this is going to turn out.

      1. Jerry Denim

        Sanders is an active member of the Senate and in all likelihood has not broken kayfabe because he intends to return to being a career politician in the US Senate after his presidential run is over. I would love it if he really took off the gloves but I think Sanders is walking a much finer line than Trump regrading the Overton window and what the media is willing to broadcast as acceptable rhetoric. Trump is viewed as a crazy, say-anything, carnival attraction and has been granted a bit of a free-pass. Sanders is considered a socialist firebrand and would probably be relegated to the dark corners of the internet if he really called-out Hillary for the lying, plutocrat-serving crook that she is. If Bernie went full ‘Bullworth’ I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the Democratic debates were cancelled and Bernie suddenly developed a ballot access problem in various states where he was polling the strongest. He’s a “Socialist” who caucuses with Democrats remember?

        1. Fred

          I apologize. I intended to distinguish two types of kayfabe.

          As to Trump, it’s the process of electing people. He holds this process in total contempt and breaks kayfabe by intentionally breaking all of the rules that everyone plays by and by explicitly describing the process as corrupt.

          As to Sanders, it’s the process of how the USG funds its operations. Although he has advanced policies such as one payer, he has failed to explain how it can be paid for. Most of the readership here knows the answer. But the vast majority of the public does not.

      2. Paul Tioxon

        Here is how Trump is turning out.


        And in the city of Brotherly and Sisterly Love, in North Philadelphia, the oldest industrial slum in America currently housing the poorest of the poor as a service to the regions middle class who have decamped for the suburbs, the severed head of pig has been thrown in front of a Mosque.

        ” Philadelphia police, the FBI and the city’s human relations commission launched investigations Monday after a worker at North Philadelphia mosque found a severed pig’s head outside its door.

        Surveillance video outside the Al Aqsa Islamic Society mosque, on Germantown Avenue near Jefferson Street, showed a red pickup truck that drove twice past the building just before 11 p.m. Sunday.

        The first time it crept along slowly near the curb. On its second pass, the video shows, someone extended an arm from the passenger window and tossed something that rolled to a stop near the mosque’s front door.

        An employee found the bloodied animal head there around 6 a.m. Monday. Pigs are considered insulting to Muslims who observe halal dietary laws.”

        Thank You Donal Trump, you are an ambulant pus on the body politic, and among the latest disgusting face shown to the world in a long standing collection of UGLY AMERICANS, you are the Dorian Gray of scumbag racist Amerika. When will your website sell axe handles for beatings and rope for lynch mobs? You are the living proof of Say’s Law for Hatred: If you hate Muslims publicly, someone will start attacking them.

    4. Jerry Denim

      American’s hopeless ignorance of history combined with their brainwashing and polarization at the hands of our propaganda media gives me little hope for a citizenry capable of making rational choices. About a year ago I had a conversation with a college-educated union representative from my company that was very angry about income inequality in America, the cost of higher education, housing, health insurance, the financialization of the economy, how the political process has stacked the law against collective bargaining and other bread and butter progressive issues. Ok, good I thought. It seems like this union leader is mostly on the right side of the idealogical divide, but I sensed a troubling whiff of white male victimhood which is usually a reliable tell for right wing political proclivities. Even more troubling this individual believed the pernicious “government-as-a-household economic analogy” and was worried about the national debt. A definite right-wing tell. Later in our conversation Chile came up and I was shocked when this same union leader told me that Pinochet was a great guy that did good things for the nation of Chile and that he was misunderstood. I was aghast. I responded that “you known Pinochet was very strictly anti-union, he had union leaders and organizers imprisoned and even murdered in some instances.” His retort, “Well I don’t know about all of that, you’re getting pretty deep on me now. People say all sorts of things but they’re not necessarily true.” End of conversation. He picked up his conversational and intellectual marbles and went home.

      I bet he plans on voting for Trump.

    5. different clue

      Which candidate-wannabe supports the terrorist jihadi liver-eating cannibal rebellion in Syria: Trump? Or Clinton?

      Does Trump think Assad should “stay” or “go”?
      Does Clinton think Assad should “stay” or “go”?
      Which one is with the terrorists . . . Trump? Or Clinton?
      And remember, if you are not with Assad, you are with the terrorists.

      1. jrs

        Even if Trump is better on Syrian policy that only matters if there’s any chance of implementing it. But is there really truly any chance of implementing it even if he was better on Syrian policy or is it really a deep and MIC state matter? (and if there was a chance I’d rather by far people go for a somewhat sensible non-interventionist like Rand Paul but that doesn’t seem the preference of the Republican primary crazy voters). But even if Trump was better on these policies, Trump can still be damaging by preaching hate. Policy isn’t everything, Trump’s is definitely a bully pulpit. And the hate is real, and the policy prescriptions as of yet theoretical.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We are all communists in some way, like we are already socialists, looking at the socialist programs around us.

          We are communists because we share oxygen, for example.

          We don’t have to pay for oxygen…yet.

          Water, many have to pay, so Chief Joseph was not quite correct.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Geez all the blather about communism, Bernie’s “socialism”, blah blah, don’t people realize we already have communism, bigtime, just not the kind for you and me. When Exxon gets billions in subsidies, that’s communism. When Pfizer gets to skate away to Ireland so they don’t pay tax on their earnings, that’s communism. When Wall St gets trillions in free money, that’s communism: the flow of money from the state directly to the beneficiary. But heaven forbid we would get the kind that puts money in actual people’s hands, like the original TARP: subsidize underwater homeowners. The amount showered into the dark canyons and offshore havens of Wall St would have equaled something like a check for $45,000 for every household in the country, imagine the economic boom we would have right now. Instead we get $3 trillion parked at the Fed, savers being destroyed, and >50% of the population who would have to borrow to raise $400. But OMG when Bernie says the word “socialism” he is run out of town.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I don’t see it as sarcasm when we live and, literally, breath communism.

            It’s realism.

  2. James Levy

    The “just let the Republicans win” article makes the assumption that once in office a Republican controlled House, Senate, Executive, and Judiciary won’t game the system entirely so as to make it virtually impossible for anyone else to win an election down the road. The idea that the people who brought us the 2000 coup would never do such a thing is laughable. If all the big money swung their way as the TPP goodies were doled out and they could control voter rolls, districting, and their friends in the voting machine business would never fear investigation because their buddies ran every branch of government things could turn one-party-state in a hurry. The current duopoly no longer guarantees, as it did in the age of Nixon, that someone might be minding the shop and keeping an eye out for maleficence by “the other side” that went too far. But it creates some space for such action. Give the Republicans everything and that space closes down in a hurry. And the article is also predicated on the notion that a nice dose of fascism will repel, rather than entice, the American people. Again, I think that’s not proven, and I don’t want to test it.

    1. jrs

      Yes, but it also seems like the Democrats are trying to lose. Sure there is money in them winning, and yet they did not contest 2000, they hardly contest voter fraud period, etc. They hardly even seem to be looking out for their own so called interest even in a very narrow sense.

      I agree that things getting really bad is more often followed by adaptation than a push to make the bad things better, maybe especially in American culture. There is no bottom to hit anymore than there is for a dead heroin addict, who never “hit bottom”, only hit their own annihilation. Time for something else, even Jill Stein …

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Speaker Pelosi gets a nice office and is Invited to all the cool parties. On the other hand, Speaker Pelosi is expected to produce legislation, organize Congress, and is criticized.

        Minority Leader Pelosi gets a nice office and is invited to all the cool parties. On the other hand, minority leader Pelosi often “loses” votes against policies which favor her financially.

        Team Blue is looking out for their own interests.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      This is a tough call. I have been of the opinion that HRC winning in 2016 and presiding over the next economic calamity would open the door for exactly this scenario in 2020, a redistricting year. But that presumes only limited disaster from an R presidency in 2016, which I admit is quite a risk, and Sanders successfully priming the pump for a much more aggressive DS/SD candidate in 2020.

    3. Jeff W

      The “just let the Republicans win” article makes the assumption that once in office a Republican controlled House, Senate, Executive, and Judiciary won’t game the system entirely so as to make it virtually impossible for anyone else to win an election down the road.…And the article is also predicated on the notion that a nice dose of fascism will repel, rather than entice, the American people.

      I’m not so sure the article is making any statement about fascism, Republican-style. It says

      If Hillary lost because progressives abstained from voting, it’s possible that Republican incompetence would be laid bare, and that they’d run the country into the ground over the next four years.

      [emphasis added]

      Although I would not put it past a Republican-dominated government to “game the system entirely so as to make it virtually impossible for anyone else to win an election,” I’d have to see a little more detail as to how that might happen to view it as more than a mere possibility. Sure, Republicans have taken the lead in ensuring that people will be disenfranchised and so on but that’s a pretty far cry from making it virtually impossible for anyone else to win.

      The article is pointing out that disastrous Republican rule, very often given as the reason to vote Democratic, no matter how one feels about the Democratic candidate, would have some benefits for Democrats but that’s not why one should not vote for Clinton—I don’t see the piece as presenting primarily a “heighten the contradictions” kind of argument. Rather the article is about what it will take to have the Democratic party pay attention to its base, rather than to its donors.

      I think the big questionable assumption in the article is this: it says if Clinton lost as a result of Democrats or progressives not voting for her, that would make “a profound statement“ which ”would likely force the Democratic party to move left on economic issues and…throw its weight behind a far more progressive candidate in 2020.” “Likely”? Given the inverted, denial-based political discourse in this country, I think one can legitimately question whether that’s what would “likely” happen.

      When voters, including progressive voters, stayed home in record numbers during the 2010 and 2014 midterms, it wasn’t viewed as non-endorsement of the policies of the party, as it would in any normal, functioning democracy—it was framed in a blaming way on an apathetic or, worse, petulant electorate who failed to support the party. Ask not what the party can do for you; ask what you can do for the party. I think Democratic or progressive voters not voting for Hillary would have to make it really clear that they were taking strategic action to influence the party but I think that it’s difficult to make something like that clear without some sort of “movement”-style messaging going on.

      1. Barmitt O'Bamney

        The one way progressive voters could get the Democrats’ attention would be to make Hillary lose by voting for Bernie Sanders (Socialist-Independent) in the general election. Revolt in that form could not be overlooked. Nor could it be dismissed by Democrats as a generalized electoral apathy which just happened to break bad for them. But Bernie isn’t going to be running in the general, as he’s already committed to supporting Hillary, so there’s no chance.

        I could take Bernie Sanders seriously, and vote for him, if only he would take himself seriously.

      2. MojaveWolf

        I think Democratic or progressive voters not voting for Hillary would have to make it really clear that they were taking strategic action to influence the party but I think that it’s difficult to make something like that clear without some sort of “movement”-style messaging going on.

        Not difficult at all. The Green Party hitting double digits, or a Green/Peace&Freedom combo doing the same, would convey a very clear, unmistakable message. But before we get to that point, do recall…

        Bernie is still running. Bernie can still win. If all the people who prefer his policies vote for him, he WILL win.

        Name recognition, education, and not letting the party regulars scare away all the pissed off working class voters and independents and afraid-to-get-their-hopes-up far lefties is the key.

        But I’m very happy this article is out there. The current Democratic Party leadership must be destroyed.

  3. timbers

    The below IMO indicates a pattern: MORE surrvaillance and censorship and laws of we the people and more destructions of our ever fewer rights:

    Imperial Collapse Watch

    Hillary Clinton Urges Silicon Valley To ‘Disrupt’ ISIS Slashdot (bob). Under normal circumstances, I would deem this to be “Peak Stupid” but with toads hopping out of Trump’s mouth at least twice a week, we are in a new (bad) normal as far as “stupid” is concerned, which means that calling a top is far more fraught than it would normally be.

    Trump Says Political Correctness Helped Enable California Attack Bloomberg. As indicated re “peak stupid.”

    Pakistani security seeks to tamp down reporting on California shooter Reuters. Lambert: “So Malik is fom Pakistan. Therefore, we will bomb Syria.”

    Terrorist Threat Has ‘Evolved’ Into a New Phase, Obama Says Wall Street Journal. Calling Jim Haygood: “The war situation has developed not necessarily to our advantage” redux?

    1. craazyman

      speaking of the looney bin, this joke is too good to be buried on Sunday’s late day thread.

      I made this up myself . . . .

      Q: Why couldn’t Freud cure the hot young woman who thought she was married to a space alien in another dimension?
      A: Because he wasn’t Jung enough.

      hahahahhahahahahahahah. sorry. time to work now, while I still have a jawb.

    2. afisher

      I agree. That statement was made in September and it has never by challenged by those who keep telling everyone that Trump is oh so different. NOT!

  4. allan

    ` Just let the Republicans win: Maybe things need to get really bad before America wakes up ‘

    As much as I agree with the general thrust of this, he problem with heightening the contradictions is that at some point there is a phase transition and the `contradictions’ become the new normal.

    Not to mention that corporate Democrats will never accept responsibility for anything – any defeat is the fault of some imagined hard-left wing (as if) of the party.

    1. Socal rhino

      In terms of a strategic vote, is it more effective to stay home, or to vote for a third candidate such as Jill Stein? I’ve read arguments for each.

      1. Steve H.

        Vote. Voter suppression is practised by both parties, so what’s called ‘apathy’ is, in part, a deliberate attempt to keep voters rare.

        There was a serious spark locally when a third party candidate had more votes than the incumbent’s margin-of-victory. The issue the third party ran on (no toxic-waste incinerator) quietly disappeared, as local barons calculated the loss of land values. This also goes to the point that your local vote counts for more than your national vote.

        Your question goes to the argument that Nader undercut Gore. The question is, how many voters did Nader inspire to turn out to the polls?

        1. Vatch

          I agree. Please vote, even if the Democratic and Republican nominees for President are bad. There might be a few worthwhile candidates for local offices who deserve support.

          I also recommend voting in the primary, although you probably aren’t a Democrat or a Republican. Since there’s a possibility of nominating a good candidate from one of the major parties, we should try to make that happen.

          1. jrs

            Preaching voting as practical is ok-ay. But the more I read pieces like that Salon one the more sympathetic I am to the case against voting. Preaching voting as a moral necessity (rather than occasionally practical) is complete BS, let’s just call it that. It leads to people who agonize about the moral necessity of voting for Hillary Clinton or not. And what a horror show that is! Whereas those for whom it’s easier to say “F it all” because they don’t believe they have some moral obligation to vote, can vote Stein or stay home or whatever, which are actually better choices IMO.

            1. Vatch

              Before deciding whether or no to vote in November, 2016, a person needs to consider some things that we don’t yet know. First, we don’t know who the candidates for President will be. That in itself is an argument in favor of voting in a primary election.

              Second, we don’t know who will be the candidates for other offices. In some jurisdictions there might be one or two really good candidates for other offices who deserve support. And there might be a few candidates who are so much worse than their competition that they must be opposed. If a person is dissatisfied with the Presidential candidates, she or he can leave that part of the ballot blank, and vote in a few other races.

        2. tegnost

          yes, vote. Voting is easy even if it’s less easy than in the past all mail in in seattle and I’m not a fan, easy to challenge and takes effort to get your vote counted, but if they’re trying to make it harder it’s because it can mess up their plans so monkey wrench meet gear.

      2. Jeff W

        You always vote. If you vote for a third party candidate (like Jill Stein), it’s an unambiguous signal about what your preference is. If you stay home and don’t vote, it’s ambiguous—no one knows how to interpret it and it will be interpreted in ways that do not reflect the reality (e.g., you’re “apathetic” because you are sick and tired of, as the conventional wisdom would have it, the “gridlock” in Washington and want more “bipartisanship”).

        Heh, Lambert and I are on the same page here. (Wrote my comment before I saw his.)

    2. vidimi

      maybe it’s like a bush fire? you can postpone it a while longer but you’ll just end up having more debris to burn and it will get out of control. better to burn everything down in a controlled way so that we can rebuild on safe, scorched ground?

    3. pete

      What is needed is a way to combine electoral actions with a voice and message. Right now, it is too easy for the party leaderships to force a narrative onto outcomes. For instance, the narrative forced onto the 2010 elections where Democrats did poorly is that (i) progressives were so concerned with purity that they were happy to harm everyone by not voting, and (ii) the Democrat base did not show up because the base is lazy and will only show up in years of Presidential elections. However, my sense is that a narrative closer to the truth is that the American public gave the Democratic Party total control over the law-making apparatus of government in 2008 on the promise of “hope and change”. Yet, what the public received in return was more status quo, and so Americans did not show up to vote because they felt betrayed.

      I sometimes wonder if what is needed is some PAC that specifically chooses candidates and then lobbies against them and makes it well-known that the PAC is lobbying against the candidate because of policy reasons. However, what would distinguish this PAC is that they would lobby against a candidate after the primary. So for instance a liberal PAC that lobbies against Democratic candidates, who have bad policies, during the general election. This would inflict electoral consequences on politicians, in a manageable way because less funds would be required. And there are certainly incumbent politicians on the wrong side of issues that win elections by slim majorities.

      The whole idea of primarying a politician is that it places the public in direct opposition to the status quo apparatus. Witness what happened when Joe Lieberman lost his primary: The entire Democratic Party apparatus went into action to support Lieberman in his 3rd party bid. As a more recent example, witness the primary between HRC and Sanders. HRC is bringing to bear the entire apparatus, with endorsements (with timing much earlier in the nomination process than is typical) from politicians, community leaders, and unions regardless of the quality of her positions; the timing, scheduling, and number of debates; etc. The nomination process has been rigged by the party apparatus to help HRC as much as possible.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Regardless of the outcome, the DP apparatus will ALWAYS push a narrative of moderation/compromise/reasonableness. And the MSM will always support that narrative. There simply needs to be as much pushback as possible. Always easier if there is a good candidate pushing an alternative narrative. Which there is this time.

    4. jgordon

      I’m personally of the opinion that whoever “wins” the presidential election next year is going to wish he or she hadn’t soon enough. America is slated for some rather awful and ugly economic/social/political events in the next few years coupled with a steep decline in living standards for everyone, and unjustly or not our new president will get a lot of the blame for that.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s an strength of our democracy we can look forward to blame it on the next leader.

        In human history, take Pol Pot for example, misery among the many in his nation just made him stronger (for a while anyway).

      2. Massinissa

        All the more reason to let Trump win.

        On the other hand though, he might react to the decline by increasing the nations fascistic and totalitarian tendencies, but its not as if we are at all guaranteed Clinton would not do that herself.

        Predicting the future is hard.

        1. afisher

          The destruction of the social safety net will be assured if the GOP win the next election. Theocrats may attempt to end all abortions, but the wealthy may then complain, because the hate against PP only affects the middle and lower income groups. The UPS will be privatized, if only to add the 70 years worth of retirement to the foreign war adventure machine. More gerrymandering, more voter denial and more conservative SCOTUS.

          NOPE- saying that voters should just hand the election to GOP have not considered anyone but themselves, who believe they can afford to survive sans any Fed assistance. Do you really want to trust medical facilities, agriculture screening, new drugs, etc without FED oversight?

          1. Strangely Enough

            Dianne Feinstein’s husband makes good money selling those old post offices. Oh, wait…

          2. Massinissa

            Um, hate to burst your bubble, but Clinton would probably do those things too.

            Or have you not noticed the gutting of the safety net didn’t stop when Bill Clinton or Barry were in power?

  5. James Levy

    Hope our hosts won’t mind me posting this, but it’s Forbes on where the wealthy live and how their wealth has expanded hugely from 2014 to 2015:

    The rate of increase in the number of people with over a million in investable assets and the growth of that wealth is stunning, considering the economy is sputtering along with anemic growth (if any real growth; I know some here argue it is not growing at all) and wages are stagnant. Even the Stock Market has largely been pin-balling within about a 600 point boundary for most of the last year, so no huge run-up of wealth there. The growth in the number of wealthy Huston inhabitants is baffling, as the oil industry has been hammered piteously over the last 16 months. We need to investigate exactly how the rich are getting richer, because the automatic cultural assumption here in the USA is that they must be working harder or working smarter or taking risks and making a killing, and I think all those hoary assumptions inadequate at best. If we could should show the vast majority exactly how the small minority is raking it in, it might help us politically.

    1. tegnost

      Wow, detroit beats seattle, that’s interesting. The top three arent too surprising. I’d guess simplistically that asset price support is the main driver, but there are probably more factors than that alone. As is commonly pointed out on PBS nightly biz report, their money is going to work for them, who knew how smart and risky a 10 yr treasury is!, although even I know that has been a flatliner throughout the recovery tm…junk bonds? as you point out the stock market is in a range which is prolly good for the algos but I say we’re going back soon to “interesting times”

    2. reslez

      How much more investigation is needed? We know the stock market and asset prices have been relentlessly pumped by the Fed while wages have declined in real terms. The cost of necessities like health care and education have skyrocketed since 2000 while full time employment have been gutted and pensions essentially no longer exist. Taxes on capital are strikingly low compared to taxes and fees on wage income, in part thanks to the Bush II tax cuts. Financial gambling and overt monopoly-seeking in the tech sector are rewarded at the expense of labor. What is the mystery here.

      1. James Levy

        But the wealth of these people has rising something like 8.6% from 20014-15: the Stock market has not increased by anything like that. Neither have commodity prices, which have actually stagnated or tumbled. And the article says 1 million in investable wealth. So although the things you say are true, I don’t think they explain the recent rise very well at all.

    3. Vatch

      I agree that it is remarkable that the number of rich people in Houston grew at such a rate. The population of Houston only grew by 1.6% from 2013 to 2014, according to the estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite this, Houston still is only number 7 on the list of cities with the most rich people, even though Houston is the fourth most populous city in the U.S.

      U.S. cities with most growth and biggest U.S. cities:

      The number of rich people in most of the cities in the Fortune article grew at a greater rate than the population growth of those cities.

  6. wbgonne

    If Hillary lost because progressives abstained from voting, it’s possible that Republican incompetence would be laid bare, and that they’d run the country into the ground over the next four years. If that’s what it takes to show the people that a leftist political revolution is the only viable way forward, it will have been worth watching Hillary bite the political dust. Come 2020, we could be looking at a landscape where progressive politics can finally gather enough momentum to sweep the country, and usher in a new era of FDR-esque reforms.

    I agree with the author’s conclusion, even if he hasn’t yet. One note: the above is not hypothetical because it already happened in 2008. This is precisely what occurred with the Bush to Obama transition. Under Bush, Conservatism was laid bare and became toxic. The Democratic Establishment recognized this and that’s why Obama ran as the Hope-and-Change antidote to Conservatism, which most people assumed meant a New Era of Progressivism. The country was not only ready for it; the country was clamoring for it. But in one of the most deceitful enterprises in American political history, the Obama Democrats pulled the ultimate bait-and-switch and replaced the Progressivism they had promised with the Neoliberalism everyone despises. This simple observation explains the divergent courses of the two political parties since 2008. So, I think the author is quite correct that a GOP presidential victory would lead to more policy disasters and another rapid political repudiation of Conservatism, which will open the door once again to the Progressive alternative.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      They have to pretend 2006 and 2008 didn’t happen and that GOP turnout in 2014 wasn’t low compared to other cycles or the people who justify voting for Hillary because they believe she can beat the all powerful Republicans might recognize Team Blue is only interested in the trappings of power. It’s best for Democratic hanger ons to pretend the GOP is a steam roller when it’s clearly a Southern/Western rump party which should be out of power or split in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Indiana, and maybe even Georgia and extinct in the stereotypical blue states.

      One of the prominent narratives in 2009 and 2010 is Democratic betrayal and cowardice. The Obots tossed around accusations of racism and defended Obama and Team Blue with arguments about preparing for elections and all kinds of nonsense. Democratic elites do the want to repeat this. They want to be praised by their voters, and if they hold power again or remind people they should be in power, Democratic voters might question why Reid, Pelosi, Israel, DWS, etc. are still around during despite repeated “failures.”

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Not so sure. Progressives seem to have been divided into three camps; 1) Stop the merry-go-round ( let it crash and burn if that’s the only way) 2) Bernie IS shifting things left, let it work – make it work 3) Obama has been a good president, the Democrats are trying but Republican’s have obstructed them at every turn.

      All three camps are fairly significant either in number or ability to generate noise or both and this was not the case when Obama rode his Trojan Horse to the rescue (of corporations, banks and the like). Purist hadn’t yet come to mean, “argument over.”

      The outcome is something along the lines of Greece or France. The political scene is not good for a Bush like crash, not good for taking the best of Bernie, and possibly scattered enough to be primed for some sort of (military?) double down after a fascist failure if Trump somehow crashes through the stage set and wins.

      1. wbgonne

        On the three Progressive camps:

        1) Stop the merry-go-round ( let it crash and burn if that’s the only way)

        Yes, I am in the that camp.

        2) Bernie IS shifting things left, let it work – make it work

        Some people actually believe this but the evidence is scant, IMNSHO. The leadership of the party is not shifting Left in the slightest and bear in mind we are still in the primary. The second Clinton secures the nomination she will let her Inner Goldwater Girl free. I think this is more about the Democratic Establishment trying to placate the Left and keep even more people from bolting and joining the crash-and-burn camp, at least until they have a named GOP Boogeyman to scare everyone but good.

        3) Obama has been a good president, the Democrats are trying but Republican’s have obstructed them at every turn.

        These people are beyond reason and I don’t waste any time with them.

        The outcome is something along the lines of Greece or France. The political scene is not good for a Bush like crash, not good for taking the best of Bernie, and possibly scattered enough to be primed for some sort of (military?) double down after a fascist failure if Trump somehow crashes through the stage set and wins.

        I’m not entirely sure I understand your points here. My view is that Conservatism is an abject failure both politically and policy-wise and, should should the GOP get the White House, this will again become clear very quickly. Normally, this would open the door to the Progressive alternative but there’s the rub: the Democrats already soiled themselves when they inherited the country post-Bush so their credibility is shot. They will need a genuine Progressive candidate and a credible Progressive turn to reap the benefits once the GOP effs things up again.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          I’m not entirely sure I understand your points here.

          I’m not very good at making them.

          They [Democrats] will need a genuine Progressive candidate and a credible Progressive turn

          Besides the impossibility of the D Party allowing that to happen, what I’m trying to say is the public who would welcome progressive change is even more divided than they were at the end of the Bush fiasco as to what and who would best further such goals (never mind which goals). My comparison to Greece is simply similar confusion as suggested by the fact that Tsipras hasn’t been charged with treason, quite ironically I might add, since his absolutely breath taking treachery to his own promises greatly contributed to the confusion.

          In other words, we can’t simply have a repeat of a post Bush sanity moment when the next Republican wave brings the country to it’s knees (assuming the Democrats don’t get us there first).

          1. wbgonne

            Ah, yes, I see and I agree. That’s why Obama is The Great Confounder (no surprise that faux-progressive politicians around the world invoke Obama’s hope-changey sloganeering). In 2008 the Democrats with Obama could readily pick up the Progressive mantle after Clinton was jettisoned because people thought Obama would deliver Progressivism. People believed the Democrats were more-or-less on the level. But now that Obama and the Democrats under him have so betrayed Progressivism the Party’s credibility is ruined and people will not automatically assume the Democrats are the proper political vehicle for such change. That’s why I said that, in the aftermath of the near-certain failure of a GOP Administration, the Democrats must prove their bona fides. That, of course, will be even harder, far harder, after they get done trying to ram Hillary Clinton down the country’s throat.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I’m sticking to my call that Obama is the Worst_President_Ever (and yes I’m counting Andrew Johnson and Millard Fillmore) because he institutionalized everything we detested about Bush/Cheney as the default Democratic positions: Permanent War, Corporo-Fascism, Unlimited Domestic Spying, Free Pass for Wall St crime, the list goes on and on. Victoria Nuland for chrissakes, Cheney’s henchwoman, right front and center. The worst part is that it is all cloaked in the most venal hypocrisy: hey look I’m black, I’m young, look at my cute kids, look at my jump shot, listen to my mellifluous tones describing what’s good for the people while my actions across the board would delight anyone who hoped for a Bush/Cheney third and fourth term.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          BTW, I find your comments very clear and well argued. I’m just not sure there will be any do-overs; Obama has set us back 10 years for a lot more than just health care. If we do take a fascist, or extreme neoliberal route such as Trump, the mess we end up in will probably set up an altogether different vacuum with an even less healthy public response even being possible than that of 8 years ago.

          I agree there is a lull in Sanders momentum and agree that his statements regarding Hillary (and Joe Biden) – “my friends”, not to mention his lack of statements on other related areas such as email servers and Libya and the need for accountability, makes for a message that many reasonably interpret as an unwillingness, if not complicity, in taking on the establishment.

          People I talk with in my neck of the woods tend to lump this into the expression, Bernie is a gentleman with great ideas but can’t win the nomination. I believe that hides something. It’s not really his ability to win the nomination that prevents them from voting for him, or not voting for Hillary, it’s more that he is not fighting more – particularly in the debates, and his deference to Hillary has underlined that. If Hillary is part of the problem with endless war and rebuilding wall street when people are loosing their houses and if her position insulates her but not every-man from justice, then defending her as a friend is not seen as part of the solution.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Once you internalize the fact that America will not elect an angry old Jewish man you have to ask what he’s doing there, I think he’s just there to keep anyone to the left of CTF (Comprehensive Total Fascism) engaged, for the time being. Then of course the Goldwater Girl will deliver the goods for her backers: kindly grandpa carpetbagger Warren Buffet, that bastion of civic responsibility Lloyd Blankfein, and of course the lovely Rupert Murdoch.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Can’t be more improbable, for a ‘productive’ candidate, than electing Obama in 2008.

              It’s a new America.

    3. J Bookly

      Yes! Exactly! The betrayal of 2008 was unbelievable. We could have had progressive governance, we voted for it, and we didn’t get it. I will write in Mickey Mouse before I vote for another fake Democrat.

      1. Massinissa

        b-b–b-b-b-b-but what about the REPUBLICAN BOGEYMEN!!! They must be stopped at all Costz!!1!

        Think about the Supreme Courtz!!!!!1!

        Im so tired of this old trite political rhetoric that the Dems have been using for decades now to scare people into voting for them…

    4. Barmitt O'Bamney

      One difference between 2008 and 2020, assuming Republican crazies take over between then and now: I won’t be listening to Democrats -any Democrats- who promise to restore the country with good old fashioned Democratic Party progressivism. I’m never voting Democrat again – even if I live to be 150. For me and a growing throng of progressives, the Democrat brand is dead and gone. Anyone who doesn’t like it can thank Barry and the Clintons.

  7. craazyboy

    “Central bankers do not have as many tools as they think Larry Summers, Financial Times”

    Give it to us straight, Larry. The Fed has less tools than tacos have ingredients. But the Fed can make really, really big tacos.

    1. Christopher Fay

      He knows that we know, though we are stupid, that something is wrong. I do know that when he condescends to serve things go horribly wrong in the immediate or near term.

  8. Bill Smith

    Mountain Ambush – has at least one big error in the article.

    But before that… in October there were a number of articles published that said that the Turkeys were tired of the Russians flying into their territory and the next time it happened they would shoot down the Russian aircraft.

    For example: “Oct 5, 2015 – Turkey Threatens to Shoot Down Russian Planes that Stray from Syria”
    Then a week or so later the Turks shot down a Russian aircraft – a drone that entered their airspace, which they claim to have first warned three times.

    After that there were stories like this: “Oct 20, 2015 – Turkey threatens to SHOOT DOWN Putin’s planes [that enter Turkish airspace]”

    But back to Mountain Ambush, in order to have an ambush one must have surprise? The article says this:
    “They were loitering quite low, at about seven thousand five hundred to eight thousand feet, which, first of all, is below the coverage of the Syrian and Russian radars that were down around Latakia, and which is a very fuel-inefficient altitude to loiter.”

    Aircraft at 7,500 are not below the Russian radar coverage in that area. Anyone who is familiar with GIS can quickly determine that. A number of people did just that, here is one of the radar maps, this one showing radar coverage at 5,000 feet:

    The Turkish F-16’s where supposedly flying in circles to help a Spanish SAM (Patriots) site in the area that had just moved to re-celibate its radar when they were vectored where they shot down the Russian aircraft.

    1. James Levy

      They were on a calibration mission armed with air to air missiles in a threat environment where the two ostensible threats (ISIS and the Kurds) have no air force. Really. That’s believable. Or where they expecting those evil, insane Russians to send everything they had into Turkish airspace to precipitate World War III and were thusly prepared?

      1. Optimader

        Why would they not be configured w/ A-A missles??? I have no doubt the russian aircraft were cutting over that bit of turkey. As well though, the su-27 were equipped w/ primitive radio and navigation suite so that aircrew may well have not known they were on the turkish side of the border. The correct and appropriare choice would have been to intercept them and deflect their flightpath or done nothing but issue another warning. It was not a clean engagement scenerio ithink most peoplewould agree.

        1. OIFVet

          And what info is your lack of doubt concerning the alleged incursion based on? Also too, given the sophisticated flight navigation systems of turkish F-16s, why do they violate Greek airspace thousands of times per year?

          1. optimader

            I see I typed SU-27, it was an SU-24M of course..

            And what info is your lack of doubt concerning the alleged incursion based on?
            Given the physical location the Russians were lining up to drop iron bombs into, the flight path makes eminent sense if the assumption was one could continue over-flights with impunity.
            How would you approach that location if you were operating a relatively small number of ’70s cold war fighter bombers, carrying a heavy ordinance load, that you wanted to maximize in an airworthy status?
            OTOH, giving the benefit of the doubt to the Russians, they did concede that it’s SU-30 October 3 incursion into Turkish airspace was a “navigation error”.

            ,….why do they violate Greek airspace thousands of times per year?
            Start here:
            I have no doubt that both the Turks and the Greeks know exactly where their aircraft are when they’re annoying each other w/ their mutual territorial waters pissing match.

            1. optimader


              You may search on this to see an associated SU-24 cockpit pic:
              “Apparently, at least a portion of Russia’s fleet of Su-24 Fencers are running on handheld Garmin-like GPS systems in addition to their aging inertial navigation systems, as seen in this photo tweet showing a Fencer refueling from an Il-76 Midas tanker”

              It is what it is, I did have an OIF vet acquaintance who was an A-10 pilot who used a far more primitive commercial grade portable GPS device at the time (we used it second-hand in Honduras as a navigational aidbut that’s a thread for another time).
              IIRC they were also briefly safety-wiring AGM-65 Maverick missiles on A-10s w/ jerry-rigged displays in the cockpit to utilize it’s IR guidance system as a rudimentary night vision device.

            2. OIFVet

              I suppose that “the flight path makes eminent sense” when one has demonstrated a knee-jerk reflex to presume that Ruskies are always in the wrong. Old habits die hard, eh? Never mind that the very actions of the turks point to a planned ambush come what may, we will blame us some Ruskies just because it “makes eminent sense” to.

              As to the “pissing match”, what part of the Greek airspace around their internationally recognized possessions is so confusing to you or to the turks as to make the Greeks a party in said “pissing match?” Do you recognize it as some sensible turkish variant of the good old German lebensraum? I suppose Cyprus wasn’t enough of a living space so the ottomans had to go looking for an Aegean vilayet… Given the long history of ottoman aggression, the only thing that’s under dispute is WTF did my Balkan predecessors backstab one another in the First Balkan War before they finished driving the ottomans out of Europe altogether.

              1. optimader

                groan… the Russians already admitted to “navigational errors”, buuuut I honestly don’t really care if it was yet another navigational error, or they were flying a pretty obvious straight line bomb run over that tip of Turkey in a coldwar vintage bomber they presumably were trying not beat up.. whatever..
                As I stated, IMO it wasn’t a good idea for the Turks to turn the bomber into confetti, otoh from what I’ve read the Russians were bombing (ethnic Turks)Turkmen not ISIS soooo considering the Turks explicitly stated rules of engagement, I’m not at all surprised what transpired w/ the ethnic/clan nonsense in this neck of the woods, .

                Anyhoo….So it goes, just go figure with the fantastic historical success achieved winning hearts and minds with bombing campaigns, I am shocked, just shocked that adverse circumstances come to pass. And no, I doubt there are many Geneva convention scholars in the ranks of the Turkmen (or Kurds for that matter).

                Regarding the unrelated subject of the Turk and Greek Aegean pissing match:

                The essence is that Greece makes a territorial overreach claim of a 10 mile airspace. Traditionally, airspace claims are consistent with territorial waters (6 miles in the case of the Aegean Islands)

                Excessive Maritime Claims: Third Edition, by J. Ashley Roach, Robert W. Smith:
                Greece claims a 10-mile airspace around the Aegean islands. Most countries, including the U.S., do not recognize the 10-mile airspace. The general rule, which most countries, including the U.S. recognize, is that airspace should be equal to the territorial sea. Greece claims a six-mile territorial sea around its Aegean Islands

                So in this context many of the claimed “thousands of violations” I have read are in the disputed 4 mile territory.

                Given the long history of ottoman aggression, the only thing that’s under dispute is WTF did my Balkan predecessors backstab one another in the First Balkan War before they finished driving the ottomans out of Europe altogether.

                beats me? But I’ll take a guess, ethnic/clan disputes?

                1. OIFVet

                  the Russians already admitted to “navigational errors Not on this flight, but nice try. The detailed radar tracks and timeline released by them bear it out.

                  otoh from what I’ve read the Russians were bombing (ethnic Turks)Turkmen not ISIS soooo considering the Turks explicitly stated rules of engagement, I’m not at all surprised what transpired w/ the ethnic/clan nonsense in this neck of the woods, . These “turkmen” were mostly chechens and other central asians, and affiliated to Al Qaeda and led by a Saudi. Nice to see that you have accepted them as our “allies”, per 0 administration swearing upon their moderateness.
                  So it goes, just go figure with the fantastic historical success achieved winning hearts and minds with bombing campaigns, I am shocked, just shocked that adverse circumstances come to pass Drop teddy bears instead?!
                  unrelated subject of the Turk and Greek Aegean Right, because exceptionalism is transferable under the correct circumstances…
                  Traditionally, airspace claims are consistent with territorial waters (6 miles in the case of the Aegean Islands) Surely it would be different if said islands were US territory…
                  So in this context many of the claimed “thousands of violations” I have read are in the disputed 4 mile territory. You have no doubt gone over every single instance to in order to determine that ‘many’ do not meet the objective Optimader standard, the same standard that determined that the downed bomber’s flight path ‘makes eminent sense’, and one based on firm belief that anything the sultanate claims must be the utter truth. Ok then.

                    1. OIFVet

                      Disappointing though it might be, I believe that we have crossed swords often enough to paint a fair picture about one another’s convictions. Especially given your attempt to parrot the establishment’s line about who the Russians are bombing, with the attending implication about Russia and ISIS being somehow in cahoots, while poor turkey is simply doing it’s best to fight ISIS by buying its oil and to get rid of “bad Assad” (the sultan’s not-long-ago family friend) by bombing the Kurds. I can get that just by reading the courtier press, thank you very much. To be perfectly blunt, I like your take on many issues, but you do have a huge russophobia-induced blind spot. Rather common in the Anglo-Saxon world…

                  1. optimader

                    btw, you should put some verifiable flesh not propaganda on the claim:
                    These “turkmen” were mostly chechens and other central asians, and affiliated to Al Qaeda and led by a Saudi.

                    1. OIFVet

                      The non-MSM sources outlining this are plenty, as is the evidence from even MSM sources that these “moderate turkmen” are connected to our old enemy/new friend Al Qaeda. And if you still haven’t figured out the neo-ottoman games of the ankara sultan then too bad for you, I for one refuse to parrot the propaganda you have obviously ingested.

              2. optimader

                btw, check this out
                European frontiers, History of Europe 1000-2003
                in theater view, (to the left of full screen), I’ve watched this i’ll bet at least 10 times. A lot of moving parts
                As far as russkies go, I generally get along with the ones I’ve met, I think they are sht on by their leaders, but that’s not an exclusive circumstance by any means.

  9. Steve H.

    : Perspectives on Politics – Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

    Two takeaways:
    1. With Average Citizen and Economic Elite correlated at 0.78, and Economic Elites dominating policy outcomes, there are a lot of false-positive wins to be seen by the Average Citizen.
    2. Business Interests are negatively correlated with all other interests but win a lot.

    Money quote:
    The advantage of business-oriented groups in shaping policy outcomes reflects their numerical advantage within the interest-group universe in Washington, and also the infrequency with which business groups are found simultaneously on both sides of a proposed policy change.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Regarding bits of how this “pollitics” actually works, large and smaller scale:

      Part I —

      What Paris Talks Have Accomplished So Far
      By Michael R. Bloomberg

      The two-week United Nations conference on climate change is halfway over, and no matter what else happens, it has already been a clear-cut success in two critical areas.

      As important as a global accord is, the most influential actors on climate change have been cities and businesses, and leaders in both groups made it clear that they will not wait for an agreement that, if it comes together, won’t even take full effect until 2020.

      Climate Change

      Mayors and officials representing more than 500 cities organized and attended their own summit in Paris (which Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and I co-hosted). It was the first time local leaders had ever gathered in such numbers during a UN climate-change conference. They came not only to ensure that their voices were heard by heads of state, but also to express their determination to act on their own, and to learn from one another and share best practices.

      Cities account for about 70 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions, and while some heads of state have been arguing over which countries should do more, cities recognize that reducing their emissions is in their own best interest. After all, when cities cut their emissions, they help their residents live longer, healthier lives. When they improve the energy efficiency of their buildings, they save their taxpayers money. When they invest in modern low-carbon infrastructure, they raise their residents’ standard of living. Taken together, these actions make cities more attractive to businesses and investors. Even if climate change were not a concern, reducing emissions would be smart policy.

      City leaders rarely need to be convinced of the benefits of climate-related actions, and in Paris, they committed to doing more. By Saturday, more than 400 cities had signed the Compact of Mayors, which requires them to set bold climate goals, adopt a common measurement system for emissions, and publicly report their progress. If so many cities can agree to these three actions, why not nations?

      The Compact of Mayors is the best insurance we have against backsliding by central governments, and it’s the best hope we have — along with technological innovation — for accelerating the pace of change in every region of the world over the next five years.

      The private sector will drive technological innovation, but the pace of change is being artificially slowed by a market failure: the inability of investors to accurately value companies that carry climate-related risks. That will soon start to change.

      And can’t resist, because Part II is so equally idiotic and/or disingenuous:

      On Friday in Paris, Mark Carney, chairman of the Group of 20’s Financial Stability Board, announced the creation of the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (which I agreed to serve on as chairman). Carney is creating this industry-led task force, which will build on the work of other organizations in this field, to bring transparency to the opaque risks that climate change presents to markets around the world.

      Sea-level rise, storms, droughts — they all have harmful effects on business: delaying shipping, disrupting supply lines and damaging facilities. Yet, investors are often flying blind when it comes to these and other climate-related risks.

      The market cannot accurately value companies, and investors cannot efficiently allocate capital, without reliable data on the risks they face. Furthermore, as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy, structural shifts in carbon-heavy industries will occur that will affect their growth and employment. Investors ought to have reliable information about which, and to what extent, companies are exposed to those shifts. That requires common measuring and reporting systems, which the new task force will work to create.

      To be clear: Disclosure will be voluntary, and the task force will not seek to change laws about what must be disclosed by companies. Our aim will be to make disclosure easier, more complete and more useful to companies and investors. We expect strong participation from the financial sector, because the true beneficiaries of this information will be financial firms and investors. The better data they have, the better chance we have of mitigating market volatility and instability that arises from climate change and the policy responses to it.

      The work that cities and businesses are doing will play a central role in the fight against climate change. In fact, even though any global agreement may not hold the planet’s temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, the events of the first week have the potential to narrow the gap between what nations are willing to do and what scientists tell us is necessary to avert to the most harmful effects of climate change.

      Cities and businesses can achieve reductions that go well beyond the pledges made by nations, and that will put the future of the planet — and markets — on firmer footing. Ibid.

      You GO, Cities! Make those investments in public goods, so we can keep looting and maybe bragging about it a little bit in our “disclosures!”

  10. Sci guy red


    A lot of people including some of my own family have died of cancer who still had a lot to live for .

    How about we talk about the scientific reason that explain s why he survived versus why they didn’t – new technology

    Immunotherapy did not exist.

    1. James Levy

      There is much scientific evidence that mental states effect physical states. It is not one or the other–it is both. There are a host of reasons why medical outcomes, given identical inputs, do not lead to identical results. One of them is the mental state of the patient.

        1. Daryl

          Pembrolizumab. It’s a bit of a mouthful, easy to see why people go for God/the Pope/etc as cures, no way you’re going to spell pembrolizumab right every time.

      1. Romancing the Loan

        That amounts to blaming people who died from cancer for being too negative…I think it’s an unhelpful consideration, and pretty unfalsifiable to boot.

        1. Optimader

          Not that he shouldnt recieve excellent care, but i doubt that it was a deferred treatment after a used rug negotiation with his insurance provider
          (File under: michael douglas)

      2. Sci guy red

        So the people who didn’t survive cancer before just did not have the right mindset rather than bc better cancer treatments did not exist until now. It was partly their fault.

        Just like the people who survive infectious diseases now bc of antibiotics are doing so bc, unlike people who died before the invention of antibiotics, the current people have the right
        Mind set.

        I find this faith-based, patient shaming (“you are just not keeping the right mind . ‘Science’ says so” here just as dangerous as if you had written cancer patients just did not have enough faith in God to survive.

        Carter survived bc we are developing better cancer treatments. The public needs to understand that and hopefully invest more money into basic research rather happy talk.

        1. James Levy

          Please demonstrate where I said anything like what you are claiming I said. Evidence, not invective, please, because right now you are lying, totally misrepresenting what I said. I’m really getting tired of coming here, using up my limited energy to try and say something intelligent, and then having assholes claim I said something I did not because I stepped on their hobby horse.

          People are not just meat machines. If they were, then all medicines given in equivalent doses based on size, age, and medical condition would have identical results when administered, the way electrons respond identically to a magnetic field. The fact that this is not so says something about the limits of what we know and the multiple factors that go into treating a patient. One of the things that has been demonstrated to help people are reasons to live and caring people administering the treatment. This does not in itself cure anyone, but it is a factor, one factor, but a real factor, in improving treatment outcomes.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Science never claims to be God.

            Many practitioners treat it as God, though.

            Sadly, Science must be practiced by humans. It doesn’t practice by itself.

          2. reslez

            People are not just meat machines. If they were, then all medicines given in equivalent doses based on size, age, and medical condition would have identical results

            There is growing evidence that genetics are responsible for much of the difference in response to medication… it’s not in your head but in your genes.

            Of course you are correct that the placebo effect is a powerful thing and extremely common (but not universal).

              1. Sci guy red

                The things you are mentioning are just complicated dynamic systems, and in the case of epigenetics, a complex dynamic system adding the element of time

                They are still within the arena of science rather than secular religioisiity stuff like positive thinking or life purposes

                1. Alejandro

                  Your implied strain tends towards framing as “Science v. Religion”, where “sophistry v. dialectic” seems more revealing, and neither of the former is exclusive of either of the latter…observation always depends on context, and it has not been possible to make sharp distinctions in the behavior of the observed and its interaction with the means of observation…

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Personal medication, personal dosage, personal treatment.

              One single explanation for many phenomenons, e.g. falling objects and gravity.

              But as many different treatments as there are individual people. No one single strategy will cover.

              And a personal diet. Perhaps that’s the purpose of life, or education – to find that personal diet and lifestyle that will keep you healthy and happy.

        2. Vatch

          Of course modern cancer therapies are an important factor in a patient’s likelihood of survival. However, human physiology is very complex, and there are other factors involved. A person who learns to handle stress well is going to have a greater chance of surviving. Why? Because elevated levels of stress hormones have a harmful effect on a person’s immune function. Lowered immunity reduces a person’s physiological ability to fight cancer.

          A person with a positive attitude will probably have lower levels of stress hormones in his or her bloodstream, and will have a greater ability to destroy cancer cells.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            I bet if it hasn’t already been made, a study on rich people who live and eat moderately but who clearly have no financial stress would show a considerable spike in survival. Of course, as you suggest, there are so many other factors, such as genes, that can influence outcomes that it remains difficult to pin point exactly the effects of positive thinking or good mental attitude, even if some benefit is intuitively obvious.

            1. tegnost

              yes, and they collect the social security that they didn’t pay for well into their 90’s. Ugh, speaking of which I must go to San Diego for the holidaze. Last time I was there we invaded Libya and I was shouted down for calling it the stupidest thing I’d ever seen.

        3. Jake Mudrosti

          So the people who didn’t survive cancer before just did not have the right mindset rather than bc better cancer treatments did not exist until now. It was partly their fault.

          Not sure if you’re aiming to summarize others’ views here for real, or just deliberately trolling with this. Consider health outcomes & stress, quality of sleep, etc.
          Attention: “the people”, “just did not”, “rather than“, and — this is the most heavily loaded one — “fault.”

          1. Sci guy red

            the comment before me that came to the same conclusion about the shaming

            I note that you use Troll in response to disagreement, which tells me a lot and I won’t follow up with you

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              You did straw man him and are doing so AGAIN with your inaccurate use of the word “shaming”.

              This is a violation of our written site policies, which you either did not bother to read or have chosen to ignore. We take them seriously here. Calling you a troll is apt. Straw man again and you will be blacklisted. None of the admins here have much tolerance for bad faith argumentation.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  1. There is no comment before yours that says any such thing.

                  2. The only comment I can see that you might mistakenly think agrees with you is explicitly charging you with trolling

                  3. You are either arguing in bad faith or lack the reading comprehension and rhetorical skills to be commenting on this site at all.

                  4. Arguing with me after I’ve told you you have violated site policies only gets your MORE troll points.

                  You are not welcome here. I’ve read nearly 700,000 comments on my site alone and Lambert has years of blog administration on top of mine. We’ve seen your type regularly over the years. You are negative value added and we don’t tolerate that, particularly after we tell you what you need to do to shape up and you persist in your misconduct rather than demonstrate ANY willingness to change behavior.

          2. jrs

            And the silly assumption that mindset is entirely in one’s control anyway (so as to be “one’s fault”). That too is absurd, quite independent of mindset possibly having an influence on disease which it might.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Zbig’s Metternich fantasies “we’ll just arm and train these little Muslim fanatics to do our dirty work for us in Afghanistan”, oops, Frankenstein’s monster escaped the lab.
        Love Carter and all but gotta call a spade a spade.

        1. Massinissa

          Carter was a shitty president, but he sort of realized that at least to a point and became the best ex-president ever.

          Man did more good AFTER being president than Bill Clinton did in his whole career.

          His actual presidency was a turd though, but give him credit where its due.

    2. cwaltz

      How about we talk about the health care system that HE probably has access to that the majority of the country doesn’t have.

      Does anyone here think that a former President of the US is getting different care than the average 92 year old would have gotten using the Medicare system besides me?

    3. ewmayer

      Re. James Levy’s point, the placebo effect provides overwhelming scientific proof of the capability of mental state to affect physical state.

      Clearly, having effective medicines and surgical interventions is also highly desirable, to no small extent – closing the circle here – because it gives patients ‘something to believe in.’

  11. Sci guy red

    Re letting the regressive center lose

    The problem is the public and the press have been trained for generations not to think of the left as relevant even if we place bat shit right wingers or cebtrtst in charge and calamity follows

    Really this is a western , not just US problem

    The public believes it has something to lose

  12. Swedish Lex

    The French elections is a direct consequence of the EU’s failure not to have launched a massive fiscal stimulus in 2010-12 (and not thereafter either).

    The root causes for the surge of extremism is economic and socio economic.

    The French leaders only have themselves to blame. Sarkozy to begin with who sadistically imposed austerity on other but failed to understand that the economy of France was detriorating was as consequence of his own policies at EU level. Francois Hollande. Who is he?

    Brace yourselves for the elections in 2017.

    1. OIFVet

      Surely the steady erosion of national sovereignty under the EC diktats also plays a role. Euroscepticism is on the rise everywhere in the old continent; why just a month ago it was Poland’s elections that had the eurocritters foaming at the mouth, prior to that there was Hungary and the Visegrad’s Four that were the target. Just this week a DW frau was foaming at the mouth about Eastern Europe as a whole and suggested that it exits the EU and enter its own union. All because the Eastern Europeans had the temerity to question Iron Fraulein Merkel’s actions re the migrant crisis. Your own Sweden seems fed up with the status quo and has seen the rise of its own far right extremists. Just you wait until 80 million turks begin entering the EU next year, visa free. Things will get even peachier. The price to be paid for spineless servitude by the EU elites to the US and the globalist agenda is getting very high, indeed.

  13. Steve H.

    : The next Piketty

    Yeah no. It’s revealing that the word ‘debt’ does not appear in the article. That’s what the emerging economies are left with when the cash flood abates.

    : Nervous emerging economies often save to protect themselves against fickle global markets, amassing large quantities of foreign-exchange reserves.

    Does this mean they are not reinvesting their profits into their own economies? That would seem to be rational if they don’t believe that the development is sustainable, but someone still wants the cash in hand.

    Also, does ‘amassing large quantities of foreign-exchange reserves’ mean they are buying U.S. bonds? (Non-rhetorical.) Would that be considered a win for the Fed?

  14. Vicky

    re: Carter’s wonderful news, I just want to say that “attitude” is not part of a cancer treatment program, despite our desperate mythologies. Carter received a breakthrough immunotherapy treatment (pembrolizumab) that’s effective about 20% of the time; he was lucky or his immune system is simply better-functioning–nobody knows yet. I am writing this not to depress anyone, but rather to urge people with cancer to seek out the best treatments and aggressively pursue funding for them. Many patient advocacy organizations can help you get the help you need.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I agree with your recommendation but ‘(positive) attitude’ is free and has no known bad side effects, so, why not?

      It also enhances the quality of one’s allotted lifespan, whether one’s an infant or a retiree, currently healthy or otherwise.

      And it’s something one has some control over.

    2. Sci guy red

      I agree 100 percent

      When I was dealing with the issue of looking at possible breakthrough treatments for a family member I found that doctors were often proprietary and myopic about what they put on the table as treatment or ignorant about the limitations of treatments. The general public is even worse.

      like you I encourage people to look at what’s happening in the research- both the opportunities and their limitations. I also hope people will support the scientific advancements. There is a long way to go to turn cancer as a class of diseases into a treatable long term illness (think HIV/AIDS treatments where the disease is no longer a death sentence ) if not cure for individual types of cancer

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Scientific and non-scientific advancements.

        Curbing the overuse of antibiotics is more than just scientific.

        The same with reducing consumption and stabilizing population.

    3. polecat

      Tell me, how do i seek out treatment or therapy if i don’t have access to it that doesn’t leave me bankrupt……and living in a box, because the medical-industrial complex absconded with what little assets i own…….riddle me that, Batgirl!

      1. polecat

        Also,….Carter, and all the ex-pres., along w/ all of congress…… health care my tax proceeds can buy.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          One plan for all, instead of gold, silver and bronze plans (or whatever they have), ex-presidents and all.

          In the meantime, stay optimistic, positive. That’s the only defense we have (don’t let defeat us).

        2. shinola

          Nailed it polecat.

          I would also posit that it easier to maintain a Positive Mental Attitude when you know that you can access the latest & best medical care without bankrupting your family.

        3. jrs

          The real solution to this isn’t really within the medical system. It’s a more egalitarian society with vastly greater wealth disparities period, only that will fully reduce the disparities.

    4. participant-observer-observed

      This is not true; there are numerous studies to show that psychological and psycho-spiritual interventions impact the immune system; specifically, the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis that is the core of the immune system.

      Yes, attitude alone is not a sufficient condition of immune system health. But the mind does and can influence this immune system, and vice-versa! This is especially true in children, where psychospiritual trauma can have life-long detrimental immune system dysfunctional effects.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There can never be ‘the’ explanation to anything, scientifically speaking.

        There will, hopefully, a better best-explanation tomorrow.

        It’s positively un-scientific, not in accord with the scientific spirit, to be not open to the mind factor, which, may, that is possibly, figure prominently in tomorrow’s best explanation. We don’t know, but we have to be open to that.

        How open? That’s for humans to haggle over, among themselves or ourselves.

        1. tegnost

          That’s a great way to describe science, as the best better explanation. It’s the quantum dynamics that have yet to be fully explained and may be how your mind has influence that can’t be explained. There’s also a lot of physical mechanics like broken stuff that doesn’t fix outside of miraculous healing of the body like bone remodelling for instance you can take common scientific advice and follow it specifically but mindlessly and get excellent results.

      2. jrs

        And knowing that some is childhood trauma … it makes the whole “all one’s own fault” discussion absurd and quite independent of whether mental states influence physical states.

  15. Vicky

    Re: Venezuelan elections: Important to note that MUD (Democratic Unity) is not a party but a coalition of disparate parties (at least 11) with very different agendas (including “left” and “right,” “ecological” and “nativist”), united only in their desire to break the Chavistas’ monopoly on government institutions. It will be fascinating to see what transpires, and if Chavismo can evolve to reach out and form a broader coalition, or if chaos will ensue.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘united only in their desire to break the Chavistas’ monopoly on government institutions’

      In ‘voting their pocketbooks,’ Venezuelans took a clue from Argentina’s election two weeks ago. Both countries suffer from chronic inflation and dire reserve shortages resulting from their “wrong way Charlie” policy of attempting to maintain an overvalued currency in a competitive depreciation world.

      Industrial powers such as Germany and Japan have the technological edge to adapt to a strong currency. Not so for commodity producers such as Venezuela (oil) and Argentina (grains and meats), who have plenty of competition and no edge at all.

      Maduro’s “strong bolivar” policy is headed for history’s dustbin. No one except corrupt Chavista insiders who got to import luxury goods at the absurdly overvalued official exchange rate will miss it.

      1. Skippy

        Always with the narrow ideological bias Jim…

        If a nation is productive and runs an export surplus, then it can collect foreign currency to pay off said foreign debt. If a nation is not productive (Oil prices going down) then Venezuela will not run a high enuff export surplus to collect enough of the foreign currency to pay off said foreign debt denominated in said foreign currency.

        Trade shocks exacerbated by debt nominated in foreign FX, to much dependence on commodity’s not value added, yet have to reconcile decades of colonialist history coupled by the last few decades of Chicago school maleficence [coups et al], worst of all pegging to the USD to pinch penny’s in front of a steam roller.

        Other factors come into play as well. The Bolivar is a small currency and Venezuela has little economic weight in the international arena. FX traders probably cannot even do a direct exchange, depending on the other currency, Being in Latin America its ‘natural’ cross would be to the US$. It could possibly be crossed to the Brazilian Real and to the Chinese Yuan. But it is easy for traders and speculators to push around a small currency.

        Skippy… but yeah… ev’bal socialists…. sigh….

  16. Skippy

    Ref: COP21

    This ought to screw with your head….


    by Robert S. Pindyck

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Cambridge, MA 02142
    This draft: April 8, 2015

    “Simulation model (CWS) developed under the Belgian CLIMNEG research project. This model will allow us to numerically illustrate the concepts used in coalition theory and theri usefulness for guiding climate governance the chapter is organized as follows. In the following section, the tools to be used will be briefly presented; coalition theory and the CWS applied integrated assessment model. In both cases the basic concepts will be explained with out any mathematical formalization and the emphasis will be on their economic interpretation and usefulness of climate governance Then, two representative applications will be provided. In section 7.3 we first discuss the issue of stability and effectiveness of climate agreements, both in terms of climate and welfare. We do this by comparing the cooperative and non-cooperative theory of coalitions, two compelling streams in the economic theory literature today” – snip


    Groan @ Game Theory… Nash’s an “equilibrium of fear agreement”

    Robert Pindyck argues that IAMs are problematic and “close to useless as tools for policy analysis”. He argues that “IAM-based analyses of climate policy create a perception of knowledge and precision that is illusory, and can fool policy-makers into thinking that the forecasts the models generate have some kind of scientific legitimacy

    Crapola… is everything devolving into neoclassical mathematized – bastardized [hiving off risk] Austrian philosophy… are – WE – all forced to be elucidated – too – by the equivalent of the Bible Code… barf~~~

    The rub is using models to predict – human – outcomes… its akin to Mathification of Bernays [we already have behavioral economics for that].

    Yet due to economic fashion [dominate ideological paradigm] is trying to embed itself into the – royal science – as a back door means of both framing the topic and ensuring its dominance in what ever solutions are tabled. Have you not noticed the massive corporatist involvement in branding et al during COP21.

    Skippy… Which reminds me of an old NC post…

    1. NeqNeq

      I am curious why you call this “crapola”. As far as I can tell, your complaint about the “mathification” of the problem — where the rush to put concrete values on things outpaces our epistemic position — accords with Pindyk’s concerns.

      Climate Change Policy: What Do the Models Tell Us?

      That paper (by Pindyck) does a pretty good job of laying out why policy discussions based upon Integrated Assement Models (IAMs) are problematic. Or, if we choose words more carefully, why policy makers should be more cognizant of the limitations of IAMs. He takes applications of utilitiy curves and loss functions to task as well as reading too much into climate sensitivity modeling (based upon its current state).

      1. Skippy

        Did you read the NC link pertaining to Nash’s an “equilibrium of fear agreement”, then consider the ramifications of using monopole pathological tendency as a foundational tool to inform policy formation or MAD as a myopic socioeconomic optic in formulating AGW values by which to determine reality, as it were.

        Is AGW actually an economic phenomenon in the first order of events and as such the dominate ideological paradigm [neoliberalism] the correct optics by which to firstly – observe it and secondly seek remediation or remedy.

        Furthermore is Pindyck’s reasonableness in stating “IAM are problematic” just milquetoast quibbling in light of the serious critiques of GT models when applied to humans, tho by extension muddy the waters wrt IAM in predicting AGW trends.

        Skippy…. does AGW have buyers remorse after paying for sex – ????

    2. ewmayer

      LOL, that’s right, and ye should nae ha’ been so rude as to call ‘im a “pindyck,” neither, Mr. Skippy. Oh wait, that’s his actual name…

  17. Steven D.

    Anyone catch the remarks last night of that Impressive Young Man in the White House? I can’t stomach watching him anymore. But what little I can glean points to the usual waffling.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      He’s as bland and meandering as ever. Only his usual shtick doesn’t play as well because people are expecting for results and meaning beyond a few rah rah lines that would play well on a CBS or ABC show.

    2. trinity river

      I have a question. Why is it that O doesn’t use a speech writer? The costs of doing that would not come out of his own pocket. Surprisingly, I would rather listen to W.

    3. Optimader

      No, i would rather do laundry than waste however many minutes of my life liistening to BHO s version of reciting yesterdays weather report

      “The american people need to have a conversation”, right?

  18. dcblogger

    Just let the Republicans win: Maybe things need to get really bad before America wakes up Salon. Jeff W: “The headline is wrong—it’s more like ‘Progressives have to be seen to be bringing the ‘regressive center’ down.’ It’s an exceedingly obvious point but one one doesn’t see often in print.”

    how about we elect Bernie Sanders and show that the left can win elections and govern effectively?

    1. cwaltz

      You have to get past the superdelegates. I am pretty doubtful that is going to happen. I suspect the primary is predetermined and it’s been decided that Hillary will get pulled across the finish line whether we want her or not.

      1. Daryl

        I don’t think Sanders losing by crooked means is the worst outcome of the Democratic primaries (the worst outcome would be his campaign petering out). If it makes the left begin to see the Democratic party in its present form as an obstruction that must be removed, it’s not entirely bad.

    2. Romancing the Loan

      I fear a Sanders presidency would just end up showing that anyone who tries to actually govern away from existing policies will be betrayed and undermined into ineffectiveness. I can’t really see Reid and Pelosi just telling their sponsors “welp, sorry guys, guess we have to bow to the popular will!” even if he’s elected in a landslide, and I can’t see him getting much done against the combined might of both parties.

        1. NeqNeq

          I think Lambert hits the nail on its head. Someone asked Sanders (can’t remember if it was in a “debate” or on a talk show) how he would respond to people who say he won’t be effective even if he is elected. His reply was something along the lines of “If I am elected, like minded politicians will also have been elected.” Even Sanders knows he can’t win against the combined weight of current D’s and R’s. So if you want Bernie to win: 1) you had best be demanding that similar candidates are made available at the congressional/State level and 2) those candidates win.

          Otherwise, be prepared for Bernie to fail/ compromise on many promises.

        2. Jason

          They could start selling by T-shirts depicting the Senate and House leadership hanging from gibbets, but I suspect that would get them shut down on lèse-majesté grounds. Sadly, nothing less would suffice to actually make a change. (And perhaps not even that would.)

    3. tegnost

      now there’s an idea, bernie’s an imperfection I can bear and a clear option to the destructive duopoly, maybe he would get an old school liberal style justice on the court. Not overjoyed with O’s choices even if they might be considered better than the bush noms, and wouldn’t expect much from hillary on that front.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A perfect candidate is one who is 100% dove, and who advocates single-payer national insurance for all and taxing the billionaires.

        It’s more tricky to decide imperfect candidates.

        Which is better in the following hypothetical case:

        1. One who is against foreign misadventures, but doesn’t advocate taxing the billionaires and singer payer
        2. One who still allows some foreign misadventures, but advocates singer payer and taxing the billionaires.


        1. participant-observer-observed

          If taxing the billionaires and paying for single payer system would make foreign misadventures less affordable and less likely, then #2 is optimal!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Option 2, if it involves shifting military spending to single payer, if that is the case, it would mean less affordable foreign misadventures. If there is no restraint, the adventurers will get a free ride.

            Option 1, fewer foreign misadventures AUTOMATICALLY means extra money for domestic purposes. All we have to do is to remind everyone that very few are rugged individuals in their 80s and 90s, especially when they have to rely on the 0.2% interest CDs from the bank, avoiding the not-enough-time-to-recover-from-a-crash equity investing or gambling.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Damn, I thought we got Mosul back last spring:

      (Feb 19, 2015) The Pentagon is readying Iraqi troops to launch a springtime assault and wrest the northern city of Mosul back from the Islamic State, a senior U.S. military official said Thursday.

      The initial attack on Mosul will involve five Iraqi army brigades that will be trained beforehand by U.S. forces and other members of the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State.

      As a fighting force, the Islamic State “is in decline,” the Centcom official said. “Our effects are outpacing its ability to regenerate.”

      Winners — in our own minds!

      1. Gaianne


        Your memory is good. It is just that after all that build up, the attack never happened.

        Don’t think the latter point got much media play.


    2. OIFVet

      Sultan erdogan is indeed itching to recreate the Ottoman Empire, and has been successful in wagging the US infidels through NATO while extorting the EU lemmings to the tune of €3bn plus visa free regime for turks. And Vienna no longer has gates…

        1. OIFVet

          I just came back from Europe, and I am quite confident in stating that the man-on-the-street definitely has a clue as to what’s coming. Expect right-wing nationalism to only strengthen in the near term, and more strain within the EU as individual members or groups of members increasingly begin to defy Brussels and the Iron Frau. The ottoman hordes historically have had that effect on people in Europe, particularly those in the southeast and central Europe. The eurocrats underestimate the depth and breadth of historical memories and nationalism, and turkish actions this year have been akin to a booster shot for these. Which is actually a reason to expect that the neo-ottoman project of the sultan of the illegal oil trade will fail, but not before some more unpleasantness in the wider Europe-ME region…

  19. Jim Haygood

    As made plain in the tragic San Bernardino shootings, the intel agencies hadn’t a clue about the couple at the center of the mayhem. Mass surveillance of all Americans’ communications produced a nothing-ball. So when the going gets tough, the tough change the subject. Operation Mockingbird calls the new tune:

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. government’s ability to review and analyze five years’ worth of telephone records for the married couple blamed in the deadly shootings in California lapsed just four days earlier when the National Security Agency’s controversial mass surveillance program was formally shut down.

    Under a court order, those historical calling records at the NSA are now off-limits to agents running the FBI terrorism investigation even with a warrant.

    Instead, under the new USA Freedom Act, authorities were able to obtain roughly two years’ worth of calling records directly from the phone companies of the married couple blamed in the attack. The period covered the entire time that the wife, Tashfeen Malik, lived in the United States … from July 2014.

    Under the new law, passed in June, investigators still can look for links in phone records, but they must obtain a targeted warrant to get them directly from phone companies.

    They’ve seized on the coincidental lapse of the old surveillance law “just four days earlier,” despite the attack preparations having been underway for months. They whinge about not having five years of phone records, despite the wife having arrived in the U.S. in July 2014. As the article admits, they got all the records since then.

    In other words, the new intel law worked just as it was supposed to. But the MSM’s loyal stenographers are propagating the theory that the new law somehow made us less safe.

    We can do the Innuendo
    We can dance and sing
    When it’s said and done
    We haven’t told you a thing
    We all know that crap is king
    Give us dirty laundry

    — Don Henley

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s a moral dilemma – do you break the law to save (you believe to be so) a life or many lives?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right. I was trying to get inside the mind of the agent in charge.

          “Should I break the law? I know I can save many lives.”

          1. JTMcPhee

            …hey, I see it worked for Jack Bauer through what, five or seven “seasons,” as of 2012 his personal “kill count” was estimated and sort of documented as 267 other humans…

            My own experience within the federal bureaucracy would indicate that niceties of concern about “breaking the law,” that fragile reed on which so many dreamy visions are built, were weak tea way back in the 70s and 80s. Not a generally approved and career-advancing quirk of character…

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I think when you get to be in a powerful position within the bureaucracy, you have come to convince yourself that you can save many lives.

              “More force will save lives.”

    2. marym

      Marcy Wheeler:

      Notice how there’s no mention, in the headline or the lead, of the FBI? They’re the agency that will lead the investigation of the San Bernardino attack. That’s important because FBI has their own databases and the ability to obtain records from phone and Internet companies directly going forward (and already erroneous article is that it suggests the “US government” can’t get any records from NSA, which in turn suggests the only records of interest the NSA might have came from the Section 215 dragnet, which is of course nonsense. Not only does the NSA get far more records than what they got under Section 215 — that dragnet was, according to Richard had, given reports from Facebook, before this article was written). The PCLOB report on the 215 phone dragnet showed that the FBI almost always accessed the information they otherwise might have gotten from the 215 dragnet via their own means….

      But the real problem with this utterly Clarke, just a fraction of what NSA got, and according to NSA’s training, it was significantly redundant with EO 12333 collection on international calls to the US, which the NSA can collect with fewer limits as to format and share more freely with the FBI — but there are plenty of other places where the FBI can get records.

      1. bob

        The only reason the FBI has the ability to “request*” data from the telecoms is Obummers first offical act as prez- pardoning the telecoms for illegally handing over telecom details to the gov post 911.

        Black letter law this was illegal.

        They could always, and can still get search warrants and issue subpoenas. But all that paperwork? We need an app for that. Obummer to the rescue- retroactively saving the telecoms billions in fines and civil suits.

        But, now, we’ve “settled” for letting the telecoms keep the information, just in case, and in the mean time they can trawl it to find out….anything, sans warrant, oversight and any sort of legal hurdle. Those benevolent telecoms, doing gods work. As anyone knows about god, he’s constantly broke, so, in order to make money off the trove of “secret” data, they use it, anonymously of course, to serve up ads for penis pills anti-depressants, and Uber PR.

    3. cwaltz

      I’m not sure how phone records help if she truly pledged support to ISIS on Facebook and they somehow missed it.

  20. optimader

    I remember reading in passing about the Robert Durst’s absentminded and bizarre serial murder confession in a hotel bathroom into a hot mike on his lapel after a final interview w/ a documentary film producer, Andrew Jarecki earlier this year and logged it away as something to look into later.

    Just watched the documentary series this weekend and it is a remarkable piece of work.

    Following Lonnie Athen’s analysis of serial killers, Durst was talking to his phantom community while taking a leak not realizing his mike was still on. Chilling wha tyou can get away with with sufficient family resources to lawyer up. The guy was not even competent and he dodged the bullet for ~30 years.
    The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)

    Robert Durst was arrested in New Orleans by the FBI on the Saturday before docuseries finale. It is suspected that he was going to flee to Cuba. His final words in the docuseries, while still miked, were “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
    Why They Kill: The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist

    Those who would become truly vicious felons must first develop “unmitigated vio lent” self understandings (or “phantom communities” in Athens’ jargon) that provide them with “pronounced and categorical moral sup port for acting violently toward other people.”

    I believe this goes a long way in explain the motivations of many people that gravitate to professions where they can act out violently with relative impunity, or in Durst’s case behind the cloak of a well connected wealthy NYC family.

    1. reslez

      After several recommendations here on NC I picked up a copy of Why They Kill. It merits the praise. Once you’re familiar with Athens’ theories you start to see the same patterns everywhere. For example, going on parent message boards and seeing how many parents encourage and cheer their kids to fight other kids with violence… it’s disturbing and very eye-opening. Sadly explained some things I’d personally encountered but didn’t have a name for.

      Along similar lines I found Graeber’s article “The Bully’s Pulpit” interesting, about how observers implicate both the bully and the bullied in violence. And this expands to the wider society where the oppressed are grouped in with the oppressor as equal offenders. Partly because humans are wired to despise the weak/low in status, partly because we seem to dislike disruption to smooth social relations and blame the oppressed for being victims. In that respect humans seem to have a mechanism to enforce injustice.

      1. optimader

        you start to see the same patterns everywhere
        No kidding.. Most behavior IMO leads back to how one is raised. The toxic generational thread of violentization Athens alludes to seems self evident. The aforementioned Durst character would be another interesting case study for Athens.

        I think much of the seemingly endemic police violence, gang violence as well organized military violence are rooted in the way people are conditioned to respond at an early age.
        Here in Chicago there will be a big federal investigation, reports will be written, monies will be spent, but until the hiring and operational practices of the CPD are reformulated w/ some methodology to identify and filter out new hires and existing employees with violent tendencies along the lines of Athens premises, it will all be for naught.

        A bench-mark for me will be when some reconsideration of the wisdom of the paramilitarization of the Police Dept occurs.

  21. cripes

    @James Levy
    There is evidence of mind body connection in cancer survival.
    There is also evidence that rich people and ex-presidents get better health care than the rest of us.
    My own mother died from an undiagnosed brain anurysm.
    George HW Bush on the other hand, had a complete workup at Walter Reade 20 years ago and had his anurysm repaired and still lives.
    Somehow I doubt it was George’s mind/body connection that made the difference.

    1. cwaltz

      The military medical care system will literally get whatever a doctor feels is essential to a patient’s survival no matter what the cost(and I know this because I got to watch the supply officer for the pharmacy rant about why bother to even have a formulary at all if the doctors were going to ignore it.) Compare that to our oligarchs belief that to the means testing Medicare the oligarchs are insisting that we should be using for the olds that aren’t them.

  22. Jess

    Unable to stand both the sight and the sound of the man, I did not watch Zero’s speech last night. Anybody know the “high” points? Did he say anything noteworthy?

  23. participant-observer-observed

    Nice piece here:

    “In other words, people constantly overestimate how much other people notice or think about their appearance and behavior. There are a number of reasons for that, but the biggest reason is that most people are far more focused on themselves than others. Even when you attract negative attention, it’s usually as a result of the other person focusing more on themselves (wanting to puff themselves up or cover their inadequacies) than anything about you.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      About themselves (or ourselves).

      There is a quote about quotes, that we quote to show, we too, share that quality of the quote’s author (Rochefoucauld?) It’s about ourselves.

      A bit too cynical. Life does it to many.

      In quoting others, we cite ourselves.”
      ― Julio Cortázar

      “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
      ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

      “Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.”
      ― Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary

      I guess I am no exception here.

  24. different clue

    When Roy Gutman writes that Putin has “slurred Islam”, Roy Gutman is a liar. I wonder how many other lies Roy Gutman’s piece contains against Putin and the Coalition Of Lawful Authority ( COLA)? The sooner the war ends, the sooner refugee Syrians can go home. The only way to end the war is to exterminate the rebels so totally and conclusively that no rebels are even left to fight or surrender or anything else. Anyone who opposes Assad does so in order to support the terrorists and prolong the war in hopes that the terrorists will eventually win. Anyone who objects to Putin’s bombing campaign objects because they are afraid of it leading to a successful extermination of the terrorists in its area and bringing Assad’s liberation and disinfection of the country closer.

    God Damn the Axis of Jihad and God Damn everyone who supports it.

    1. Gaianne

      In writing that Putin “slurred Islam” Gutman is being both funny and deceptive. (Gutman assumes that Western readers will not know any better.) Putin is well aware that Russia is a multi-religious state, and that Islam is one of its religions.

      Putin is saying that by throwing in with Wahabism, (a fanatical minority sect analogous to Christian Dominionism) the Turkish government has gone insane, and that this is a sadness for Islam. Putin is (trying) to take the side of all non-Wahabi muslims, and his statement is not an anti-Islamic statement. (Unless you are Wahabi.)


    2. OIFVet

      The jihadis will exist as long as the ruling families in KSA, Qatar, UAE, and turkey exist and continue to fund the radicalization of the Arab Street. And these families will continue to exist as long as the US, defender of freedumb and democracy, continues to prop up these totalitarian head-choppers. The fight against muslim radicals needs to begin in DC, by removing the neocons,the liberal interventionists, and the entire corporatocracy from the seats of power once and for all

  25. different clue

    About those GamerGate people, has anyone thought of reverse-doxing them and using the full panoply of methods on them that they use on others? If not, why not?

    1. Gaianne

      diff clue–

      Good question.

      I do not myself know enough to evaluate tactics and strategy. But doxers certainly deserve to be doxed thoroughly, and without mercy.

      In an anarchic community–that is, community that operates without a government that can coerce–abuse must be suppressed quickly, and without qualms.

      Why the gamer community does not do this is not clear, I suspect a rabid misogynist minority is supported by a larger minority–or possibly even a majority–that is complicit in the abuse.

      Gamers are by reputation unusually immature and dysfunctional.

      It seems that way from the outside.

      If the larger society were more functional, we could make abuse illegal whether it occurs in cyberspace or real space.

      But I don’t have much hope for that.


  26. jrs

    Re: i gave my students ipads. Ok so maybe she’s a great teacher but whatever she’s preaching couldn’t possibly generalize could it.

    ” Kids still have to use their five senses, and, most of all, they have to talk to each other.”

    Doesn’t every single one of us remember how much talking to each other was penalized in school at all times but recess? You need a radically different education system to encourage that (I would suggest one modeled on cooperation not competition and certainly not test taking), not just to banish the ipads.

  27. Oregoncharles

    From “The Next Piketty:” “The movement of capital across borders is a good thing.”

    Herman Daly, the sustainability economist, says it’s a bad thing. The arguments for free trade depend on the concept of “comparative advantage” (IIRC the phrase), from Pareto. But that, in turn, depends on an assumption that labor and capital do NOT move freely between countries. Without that, you’re thrown back on absolute advantage – or the race to the bottom. IOW, under current conditions, the theory simply doesn’t apply, and all the economists who invoke it are lying SOBs. Daly actually recommends absolute capital controls – forbidding the international movement of capital, the exact opposite of current policy.

    Regulating it tightly so it actually performs a positive function, as described in the article, might be more effective. I and Daly are actually more interested in debunking the underlying economic justification for globalization.

  28. moby

    Regarding the corporate psychopaths targeting seniors: My mother lived for 3 years in Merrill Gardens/Brookdale/Emeritus in Sonoma. I paid over 5k/month. It was a horror story for her. The employees were overworked, made minimum wage, and many were fairly abusive. They regularly increased her “level of care”, charging hundreds extra per month when they had to do things like help her brush her teeth once a day. So an employee spends 3 minutes per day * 30 days = 30 dollars/month yields 200 dollars in extra profit for the wall street pigs.

    Even the care givers that were friendly were too overworked to spend even a minute to chat.

    True corporate hell.

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