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Links 4/25/16

Australian politician sets river on fire to protest fracking AFP (h/t Chuck L.)

David Deamer proposes that life evolved from a collection of interacting molecules Business Insider

VA Secretary Robert McDonald to donate his brain to science Stat News

Oil Crash

A new drill for Pa: Fewer gas rigs operate, and local economies suffer Philadelphia Inquirer

Iran Might Still Outwit the Saudis on Oil Bloomberg Gadfly (h/t Resilc)

Early analysis of Seattle’s $15 wage law: Effect on prices minimal one year after implementation UW Today

All of the problems Universal Basic Income can solve that have nothing to do with unemployment Quartz

Department Stores Need to Close Hundred of Sites, Research Firm Says Wall Street Journal

Fantasy Math Is Helping Companies Spin Losses Into Profits Gretchen Morgenson, NY Times

New York Times plans to cut hundreds of jobs later this year New York Post

Syraqistan

U.S. to Send 250 Additional Military Personnel to Syria Wall Street Journal

Fighting erupts in Iraq, and the Islamic State isn’t part of it Washington Post

US finally acknowledging al-Qaeda factor in breakdown of Ceasefire Juan Cole, Informed Comment

Obama may be preaching ‘tough love’ to Saudi – but arms sales tell another story The Guardian

What Obama’s Refusal to Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide Tells Us About the U.S. — and the Rest of the World The Intercept

Journalist held for Erdogan ‘insult’ BBC

Ruined Chernobyl nuclear plant to remain a threat for 3,000 years Tribune News Service (h/t Chuck L)

US/Azerbaijan: Lobbyists Continue to Flout Travel Rules Corruptistan

Rebecca Gordon, Exhibit One in Any Future American War Crimes Trial TomDispatch

Euro Crisis

With Impeccable Timing, ‘Economic Miracle’ in Spain Unravels Don Quinones, Wolf Street

Far-right Freedom party wins first round of Austria’s presidential poll Financial Times

EU finmins to consider focusing on spending cap to cut morass of budget rules Reuters

Ex-Milosevic Ally Vucic Wins New Majority in Serb Snap Election Bloomberg

Obama’s parting shot angers Brexiteers Financial Times

Trade Agenda

Obama Joins Angela Merkel in Pushing Trade Deal to a Wary Germany NY Times. 80% opposition to TTIP in Germany.

Obama: U.S.-EU trade pact possible in 2016, but not congressional approval Politico

Washington Post Opens the Door for Name-Calling to Push the TPP Dean Baker

2016-o-rama

Bernie’s greatest legacy: Suddenly, it’s OK to question capitalism! Salon

Sanders discusses possibly supporting Clinton Washington Post. Under certain conditions.

Where Bernie Sanders’ Health Care Crusade Might Go From Here Huffington Post

Charles Koch Says He Could Possibly Support Hillary Clinton NY Times

The Anti-Moneyball Election The New Yorker

Riots, Guns, Bribes: Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 Contested Convention The Atlantic

Ted Cruz and John Kasich to Coordinate Against Donald Trump NY Times. This is pretty incredible.

Fed-up GOP mega-donors sitting on their checkbooks The Hill

McConnell tries to rally GOP without mentioning Republicans Lexington Herald-Leader

Finding Love Again, This Time With a Man Harris Wofford, NY Times

Japan’s most salacious crime news — and the American who publishes it Washington Post (h/t furzy mouse)

The Desolation of Smug driftglass

Marijuana is kosher for Passover, leading rabbi rules The Independent

Antidote du jour

tuleelk.bull_.modcrop.2725

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to Salon.com. He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.

149 comments

  1. Lambert Strether

    I like the last sentence in the New Yorker “moneyball” article:

    This is also, in a sense, the central effort of Clinton’s campaign right now: calibrating a leftward move on trade, measuring out a more frustrated rhetoric, trying to find a logic to the emotions of economic anxiety that Trump and Sanders discerned by gut.

    Rather, that the Republican and Democrat strategists, pundits, and operatives, cloistered in the Beltway Bubble, are well-paid not to “discern.”

    “Trying to find a logic to the emotions of economic anxiety” is good, too. I mean, how could there is “logic” to this? [guffaw].

    1. Cry Shop

      Er, Clinton going “leftward” or “rightward” is a liner descriptive, but real life isn’t binary. Both grass roots radical right and radical left oppose TTP, rather it’s the oligarchy that wants it. This is class based, and even within the 0.01% class that’s setting the TTP/TAP agendas there is hardly unanimity. It’s the chaotic nature of the issues which can’t be addressed by a binary political system that cause it to more or less evolve into non-democratic shell game.

    2. Anne

      Calibrating, calculating, measuring, testing, and for what? To find some magical and elusive sweet spot where millions of voters suddenly realize that they are ready for Hillary. They can do it: they can fil in the bubble, touch the screen, pull the lever next to her name on the ballot. Victory!

      But whose victory is it? Silly question: it’s Hillary’s victory, and the role of the voter is to make sure she gets it. The race is about her, not about us; we’re just a means to her end.

      These are the things that are so much easier to see with Sanders in the race, and likely one of the many reasons why people don’t trust her or find her honest. Hillary has to keep saying things like, “as I have always said,” to make people think she has been consistent and constant is her beliefs and positions.

      Bernie Sanders doesn’t talk about himself, he talks about us. He talks about his country, and the vision he has for fairness to overtake greed, for simple human decency to prevail over small minds.

      Without Sanders in the race, with only the GOP for contrast, Clinton doesn’t look so bad. Which is why, I believe, her campaign is so anxious for him to get out and go away. I think she’d like to ignore him, to pretend he hasn’t been the force for change he has been, and the longer he stays in, the less chance she has to do that.

      The Sanders campaign has been and is so much more than just a way to push Clinton to the left; it may have pushed some of her rhetoric to the left, but we all know that that’s not where she is comfortable. She’s like a road map that can’t wait to be re-folded back to where the lines and creases were when it came out of the factory (showing my age here, sorry!).

      The only thing it seems Clinton knows is that she wants to win, and sometimes I get the feeling we are the unwitting participants in a marital power struggle for supremacy and score-settling.

      1. Clive

        Maybe if she just quit doing that incredibly annoying pointing-smiling-waving thing she does when she starts to address a crowd, like we’re supposed to think it’s because Hillary has just noticed some old friend and is saying “hi”. The only way Hillary would point, smile or wave at anyone was if they were brandishing a suitcase full of cash. And then the point, smile and wave would be individually itemised and billed separately.

        Please someone who lives in the U.S., make her stop.

        1. Bill

          I thought maybe I was the only one who thought that is incredibly annoying, and false ! Thanks for the articulation.

          Also, that awful “hearty” laugh…..ugh……

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            “We came, we saw, he died”.
            That line may well outlive her as one of the vilest things a national leader could say about the illegal unprovoked murder of another national leader.
            That *anyone* thinks this sociopathic war criminal should be elected dog catcher, let alone president of the most heavily-armed nation in history, is beyond belief.

        2. Steve in Flyover

          Yeah, especially that look of surprise, as if she is stunned to see one of her buddies mingling with the wretched refuse.

      2. Christopher Fay

        This blog thing doesn’t have “likes” or emojis to show approval of someone else’s writing, but Anne says it

      3. hreik

        ^^^ this 1000x this ^^^

        esp. this
        sometimes I get the feeling we are the unwitting participants in a marital power struggle

    3. Pat

      After reading your comment I had to read the article. Did the writer had an assignment and a deadline? What a steaming pile of manure. Now wonks decide everything except sometimes they don’t get all the factors? The candidates who are not data driven are now winning huge swaths of the vote, especially among voters who have been absent from the ‘establishment’. Wonks now trying to figure out what data they missed so the friggin’ idiots they work for still don’t have to leave their bubble and actually meet real people and see the results of their political actions and thus miss ’emotions of economic anxiety’ in whatever newest form it takes.

      Here’s a suggestion. Fire the wonks, be required to campaign on a budget that doesn’t run to multimillion dollar ad buys and actually go out and meet voters – without handlers. So you finally find out that no matter how well your billionaire friends did, the rest of the country got screwed by the globalization agreements you passed. That no, they really do get that corporations should not have a pass for moving the jobs and the money out of America, and that if they have to abide by the rules bankers should too – including prison for theft. And while the government shouldn’t be able to know everything in your life without a warrant, the Police have no privacy rights while on the job – they should be able to be filmed and stop doing what they are doing that makes that problem.

      But hey, what do I know. I don’t live in a bubble. Goldman Sachs is not going to book me for six figure speech, and in a choice between me and Trump, Koch would run screaming to vote for Trump.

  2. Pavel

    What does it say when the DNC wants to nominate someone who might be supported by Bernie Sanders on the one side and by Charles Koch on the other?

    It sounds to me that one side is going to be disappointed. Given HRC’s track record of caving in to her corporate overlords, I have a suspicion which one it will be.

    I keep reading how Team Clinton insists “Nobody, including Sanders, can point to a single Hillary vote influenced by all the speech money” from Goldman et al. They are asking people to miss the point — deflecting as usual. It is also what HRC did not do in return for all the money and donations — e.g. not campaigning vocally against TPP and for a new Glass-Steagal act.

    1. sleepy

      Excellent point about the tie in between Hillary’s non-support of issues and her financial backers.

      The same thought also occured to me about the anomaly of both the Koch Bro and Sanders both supporting the same candidate.

      1. Pavel

        Thanks sleepy.

        As Sherlock Holmes noted, at times it’s about the dog that did not bark.

        And in Hillary’s case, it is more than just her Senate voting record — what about her actions as SoS approving arms sales to despotic regimes who just happened to give multi-million dollar donations to her “Foundation”?

        It’s amazing how little real MSM scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation there’s been — a few articles here and there but not much considering the various parties (and amounts of money) concerned. It will be interesting to see what the Republicans are keeping in store for the general election.

        1. Kokuanani

          It will be interesting to see what the Republicans are keeping in store for the general election.

          Talk about “keeping their powder dry.” The Republicans must be running out of places in which to keep it.

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            A lot of people “in the know” continue to say Trump won’t be the nominee. The big money (eg the Kochs) are against him. Now that Hill has basically sewed up the dem nomination and Bernie is saying he will support her (at least slightly), the Trump situation is more interesting. Will The Donald take it lying down if he’s deprived of the nomination? No. The question is will he try he try a third party nomination? Why not?—A lot more publicity for him. He likes publicity.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Eliminate the party nomination primaries/caucuses.

                Anyone can vote for any party. Why do we need party nomination?

                We can save a lot of money that way.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            I’ve started to believe the Benghazi hearing was meant to give Hillary a sheen of invincibility to ensure her nomination. The GOP has no shot against anyone other than Hillary, and Hillary ensures the GOP keeps the Senate.

            The Clinton Global Foundation is only impressive because Hillary’s name is on the slush fund. That takes some real gall.

            What will they hit Sanders on? Being Jewish? Being a “socialist?”

            1. meeps

              NotTimothyGeithner @ 9:14 am

              What will they hit Sanders on? Being Jewish? Being a “socialist?”

              My guess is they’ll say that Sanders will smother every last blue-blooded, jahb creatin’ ever-lovin’ Murrkan with his own bare hands. The President of the GOP wurshippin’ company my husband works for told my man that, if Bernie is elected, every rich person is going to flee the country. If I’d have been there, I’d have said, “Good. All 62 of you can board your private jet and just fly straight to your virtual offshore tax haven. We poor saps’ll just have to muddle along without you.” Good riddance.

              1. neo-realism

                The GOP and the corporate sector will also say that businesses and with them, jobs will flee America en masse if Sanders is allowed to soak taxpayers and the “job creators’ with massive (and they will emphasize massive) tax increases to pay for his “socialist” economic program.

                They will also emphasize that lazy good for nothing people (druggies and dark skinned) will get “free stuff” off the backs of hard working, e.g., white, americans and the “job creators”.

                All to be repeated ad nauseam on right wing corporate talk radio, which comprises the majority of talk radio in America.

          3. Brindle

            The Clinton Foundation is too close to the real operating principle inside-the-beltway for the GOP to attack it, or the MSM for that matter. Occasionally Limbaugh or Hannity take a half-hearted stab at it—but it’s no Benghazi and the CF will unlikely get much scrutiny from either the GOP or TV/Cable media.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              We shouldn’t conflate the rank and file with the Romney class. Plenty of GOP underlings will gladly go after the CGI. Gingrich brought in a new model of Congressman since the 1980’s. They may not be as crass as Trump or as crazy as Cruz, but the GOP can’t work with Obama on a number of their pet projects for a simple reason their voters and rank and file members matter. They will pursue Hillary, and taking out a few bipartisan donors, only makes those Congressmen look like heroes and increases their chances of running statewide.

              The Tea Party was an attempt to astroturf what was already there in preparation for a certain former governor of Massachusetts.

              The demands to investigate the Clinton Slush Fund will be unwavering, and given, the GOP elites actions during the primary and even during 2012 pushing Mittens through, they will comply or risk Tea Party style challenges. The Tea Party beat every Republican who voted for TARP that the challenged, including Cantor. Republican voters dumped the guy who would likely be Speaker right now if he was still in Congress.

              The GOP wanted to bomb Syria, go to war over Crimea, and destroy Social security until they saw their voters weren’t so high on the idea. The Clinton Slush Fund subcommittee will start the second Hillary is officially on the ballot.

            2. JohnnyGL

              Luckily, we’ve got Trump to tell it like it is when the GOP won’t!!!

              Wait a second, did I just write that??? Oh dear….

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Whereas some are masters of 11 dimensional chess, it seems to me no one, but no one, can surpass Trump in 1, as in one, dimensional version of that game.

                He’s probably among the all time greats.

        2. sleepy

          As much as I think the MSM is just plain bought off and corrupt in that old time sense of the meaning of corruption, I also believe that sheer pundit laziness and self-satisfaction plays a role. Among many other things, these are men and women who have bought into the ideal that the amount of gender and ethnic diversity is the defining measure of social and economic justice, to the exclusion of much else. Underlying substantive policy becomes secondary because it’s just easier to count heads in identity politics and it doesn’t really upset the apple cart since diversity doesn’t cost the elite a nickel–hence, Charles Koch.

          As someone alluded to recently, Hillary will have the most diverse neoliberal economic team and the most diverse neocon foreign policy team in history.

        3. Roger Smith

          It is okay, Bill already said nothing bad happened. He just did not realize the possible conflict of interest at the time. No “big deal”.

          1. flora

            Paraphrasing , “I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have improper financial relations with that despot, Mr. Tbflihwrk.”

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              ‘If we can’t stop graft, we might as well legalize.’

              ‘What?’

              ‘it eases the pain of a greedy heart.’

              ‘Just what are you smoking? Pot?’

    2. ScottW

      Hillary supporters don’t care they support the conservative Citizens United majority in requiring quid pro quo corruption. They parrot the claim because that is what the Hillary pundits are repeating–“show me one instance in which her vote was changed by special interest money.” Money being a corrupting influence on politics, or the gradation of corruption explained by the liberal losing side in Citizens United, is lost on Hillary supporters because they merely parrot, failing or refusing to understand the issue in a non-identity context.

      The most you can say to a Hillary supporter is that special interests sure seem thrilled with her past decisions in public office and believe her policies and appointments will be to their liking. Maybe she never has to change a vote, or position, to satisfy special interests because she believes in exactly what they want.

      How comforting and one of the reasons Koch is expressing support for her campaign. Now what are Hillary supporters going to say about Koch being on board? I am sure her pundits are busy at work preparing a few lines for the parrots to mimic.

      1. Vatch

        They parrot the claim because that is what the Hillary pundits are repeating–“show me one instance in which her vote was changed by special interest money.”

        Aside from your excellent point that she didn’t need to change her votes, because she already agreed with what the oligarchs want, there was the 2001 bankruptcy bill. Elizabeth Warren has commented on this:

        http://billmoyers.com/story/elizabeth-warren-recalls-a-time-when-big-donors-may-have-changed-hillarys-vote/

        Here’s a link to the record of the vote in 2001:

        http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?&congress=107&session=1&vote=00236

        The 2001 bill did not become law, but it was similar to the 2005 bill (S. 256) which did become law. Hillary Clinton was not present for the 2005 vote, because her husband was having surgery for a partially collapsed lung.

        1. Brindle

          Excellent description of Hillary Feminism here:

          —Clinton embodies a certain kind of neoliberal feminism that is focused on cracking the glass ceiling, leaning in. That means removing barriers that would prevent rather privileged, highly educated women who already have a high amount of cultural and other forms of capital to rise in the hierarchies of government and business. This is a feminism whose main beneficiaries are rather privileged women, whose ability to rise in a sense relies on this huge pool of very low-paid precarious, often racialized precarious service work, which is also very feminized that provide all the care work.—

          http://ctxt.es/es/20160420/Politica/5538/fraser-feminism-Hillary-Clinton-neoliberal-feminism-redistribution-recognition-representation-Estados-Unidos-Entrevistas.htm

    3. Vatch

      I hope that readers who know Democratic voters in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware, will let those voters know about Charles Koch’s semi-endorsement of Hillary Clinton. The primary election is tomorrow!

    4. John Wright

      The attempt to find a “quid pro quo” incident in HRC’s past may fail because HRC may simply be naturally inclined to do what the elite want.

      It should be cheaper to identify/promote and reward someone who agrees with one’s point of view than to bribe someone else to behave counter to their instincts/belief system.

      This suggests HIllary does not have to be crassly paid in advance for her behavior, she will chose the “correct” option.

      This implies the money funneled to Clinton is simply “retainer” money to ensure she stays installed in the game “doing the right thing”.

      Clinton may truthfully argue not a single vote of hers has been influenced by money.

      She would have voted this way anyway.

      1. whine country

        “She would have voted this way anyway”…which is precisely the problem. She is the problem and cannot be the solution. I believe the saying is “Those that can won’t and those who will can’t.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s what she is arguing – that she does something because she believes in it.

          While she is the problem, she believes she is also the solution, not unlikely those who have automated (human) jobs away, causing un-employment to go up, believe more automation is the way (somehow, there will be more jobs for humans later)…because efficiency.

          Or those who believe global warming due to consumption will go down with more consumption (but more efficient).

      2. TK421

        No doubt that is her inclination. Her entire life has been an exercise in supporting the powerful.

    5. ahimsa

      + 100

      Exactly. It’s very easy to simply point to things that one didn’t do; important to point to specific things which should have been done, but weren’t.

    6. John k

      And will not do.

      The money is not for new laws, it’s payment in advance to not enforce existing ones. Its for protection from jail time, which is worth every penny of the shareholders money.
      Obama, who got more from banks in 2008 than any previous candidate, explained it perfectly: “I stand between you and the pitchforks.”

      Hillary says she is just emulating Obama, and is of course correct.

  3. Robert Dudek

    Regarding Seattle’s minimum wage law… If it only really comes into practical effect in 2018, why would there be any noticeable effects now?

    1. Vatch

      The changes started on Jan. 1, 2016, so some effects could be noticed now.

      http://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/minimum-wage

      http://www.seattletimes.com/business/economy/seattles-minimum-wage-goes-up-in-january/

      As of Jan. 1, Seattle’s minimum will be $13 an hour for large employers (more than 500 employees) that don’t provide medical benefits.

      Large employers that pay toward medical benefits must pay at least $12.50 an hour.

      Small employers (with 500 or fewer employees) also have two options:

      They may pay a flat $12 an hour. Or they can pay $10.50 an hour if they also pay $1.50 an hour toward medical benefits or their employees earn at least $1.50 an hour in tips.

      1. inhibi

        Another copout if there ever was one.

        So $15 min wage really means: you will get $15 in 2023. All while education and food becomes increasingly expensive (+6% every year), healthcare (+10%), and taxes increase across the board (but not for the 1%).

        So once again, we end up with a populace that somehow thinks this is a great ‘win’. This isn’t even a win. Its merely the least amount anybody could do after years and years of pressure to raise the minimum wage to a livable wage.

        The American populace is so fucking stupid sometimes I feel like they deserve what they get. Do they even remember that mortgages were created by banks for returning WWII veterans who couldn’t afford a home? That taxes were not even implemented until the early 1900’s, and at that time it really was only for the wealthy? That the federal reserve was supposed to be the 3rd bank of the US, not some extra-judicial, para-gov, bank-spawned circle jerk that creates boom and bust cycles so the wealthy can buy everything under the sun and then force you to “rent” or “buy” with debt. Its insanity. No mere little increase to the minimum wage will do anything, other than force small businesses to hire less/independent contractors and allow larger companies to use it as an excuse for moving everything to China or Mexico.

  4. Robert Dudek

    Regarding Spain… A rise in deficit spending leads to GDP growth. Who would have ever thought that Keynesian deficit spending in a demand crisis actually works!?

    Why exactly would reversing this, i.e. a return to austerity for Spain, be “progress”?

  5. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    Regarding Cruz/Kasich v. Trump, it’ll be interesting if the voters follow the deal. That is, will Kasich deciding not to compete in Indiana really persuade his voters to vote for Cruz? Will Cruz opting not to compete in New Mexico give his supporters to Kasich?

    1. Roger Smith

      I love that, so far, the response seems to be that this is acceptable, logical almost. I can only see this mega-backfiring and proving that the party establishment is corrupt and against the will of its voters.

      Cruz: Where’s the gas? I missed a spot!

      Kasich/Kassick/Kasitch: I’ve got it over here, Ted.

  6. Carolinian

    Battle over the platform–Debbie strikes again.

    In January, the party chairwoman, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, appointed dozens of Clinton supporters and advisers to the three standing committees of the Democratic Party convention. Of 45 potential members submitted by Mr. Sanders, she appointed just three, according to Mr. Sanders’s campaign.[…]

    Barney Frank, a former Massachusetts congressman and fierce critic of Mr. Sanders and his Wall Street proposals, will be a co-chairman of the rules committee, which governs procedure on the convention floor. Mark Longabaugh, a senior adviser to Mr. Sanders, said he believed the campaign would ultimately be well represented on all the committees as more members are named. But he questioned how Ms. Wasserman Schultz had chosen her discretionary appointments.

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/04/25/us/politics/bernie-sanders-campaign.html

    1. Lambert Strether

      I’m wondering what position DWS will get in the Clinton administration. Chief of Staff seems a little crass and it’s probably marked out for somebody more in the inner circle.

      Maybe HHS secretary?

      1. Pat

        With luck and her unerringly bad sense of the public implications of her actions, she’ll need a new job. Even if she survives the primary, I do not see her surviving the general.

      2. Anne

        I’m thinking she could do a lot of damage at the CFPB, no? I mean, she knows so much about things like payday lending, right?

        And then, Clinton can get the band (the Cat Food Commission, I mean, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform) back together and get to fixing the social safety net.

        I can hardly wait.

  7. flora

    re: “Fantasy Math Is Helping Companies Spin Losses Into Profits” – Gretchen Morgenson, NY Times

    That’s a must read. Thanks for the link.

  8. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    I am so sick of the claims that $ doesn’t influence Clinton, etc. Beyond Bernie’s common sense–the funders aren’t stupid, they wouldn’t spend the money for nothing–the ways money influences go far beyond a vote. There’s the whole in group/out group phenomenon, and see the SEC’s reluctance to go after the white collar banksters in part b/c empathy, the issue of framing (why isn’t Clinton pushing a real transaction tax, or challenging concentrated economic power (breaking up banks as anti-trust not just financial reform, etc.) and many other possible distortions. Consider the American Psychological Association’s effort to proactive effort to protect itself from pharma funding, and try to say with a straight face that industry money has no consequences:

    http://www.apa.org/pubs/info/reports/external-funding.aspx

    here’s a paragraph from the Executive Summary:

    “Many readers may find it difficult to understand how the distortions that arose within the field of medicine could happen to such a well-established and powerful profession. That is because they do not fully comprehend the sheer size and scope of the pharmaceutical industry, or the significant role that it has come to play in the cost of medical care, or how it has benefited from a very favorable social and political climate in this country. The result is an enormously powerful industry with virtually unprecedented financial resources to pursue its own agenda. The fact of the matter is that the industry is so profitable and influential that it is not likely that APA or any similar organization, is going to change it or succeed in preventing its influence on the health care system or on psychology as interactions with drug manufacturers increase.3 What we can do is inform ourselves of the nature of the business and make certain that we have adopted appropriate policies and procedures to help avoid the more egregious mistakes of others. It is for that reason that the Task Force strongly encourages the Board of Directors to authorize the development of educational and training modules addressing the range of issues that are associated with external funding identified in this report, in addition to developing policies to protect the integrity of the association.”

  9. Cry Shop

    Oz river on fire…

    Reminds me of Chapter 1 from Vine Deloria Jr’s We Talk, You Listen: New Tribes, New Turf

    Every now and then I am impressed with the thinking of the non-Indian. I was in Cleveland last year and got to talking with a non-Indian about American history. He said that he was really sorry about what had happened to Indians, but that there was good reasons for it. The continent had to be developed and he felt that Indians had stood in the way and thus had had to be removed. “After all,” he remarked, “what did you do with the land when you had it?” I didn’t understand him until later when I discovered that the Cuyahoga River running through Cleveland is inflammable. So many combustible pollutants are dumped into the river that the inhabitants have to take special precautions during the summer to avoid accidentally setting it on fire. After reviewing the argument of my non-Indian friend I decided that he was probably correct. Whites had made better use of the land. How many Indians could have thought of creating an inflammable river?

    Capitalism for the win.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Randy Newman wrote a good song about the Cuyahoga River, called Burn On. “The Lord can make you tumble/ The Lord can make you turn/ The Lord can make you overflow/ But the Lord can’t make you burn.” Quite humorous.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        I like Jeff Tweedy’s line from his Uncle Tupelo days:
        “Rivers burn, then run backwards,
        For her, that’s enough.”

        I think he’s using license to combine Cuyahoga and Chicago Rivers, unless the Cuyahoga runs backward too.

    2. diptherio

      Vine Deloria, Jr. is an essential writer that every white person needs to read. God is Red, Custer Died For Your Sins, and The World We Used To Live In are all highly recommended. Reading Vine will make you see the world and our society differently, guaranteed.

  10. Roger Smith

    The Desolation of Smug…

    Aside from its horrid presentation, I actually really enjoyed the Rensin article. Even for someone who does not subscribe to the Democratic Liberal campaign, it was sobering and a good check to one’s self. I’d like to see it republished in a non-one to two sentences a paragraph form and without all the fancy block quoting.

    I always had a problem with the Daily Show. I would watch part of it and say, “YEA! This is a problem! What can we do?!?” Stewart of course never had an answer, as that was not the point. I grew tired long ago of hearing comedians pass off their social activist commentary as “comedy” and “just for fun”. Screw that. You have an audience. We all have will. Take it where it needs to go. One of my stronger cognitive influences was George Carlin and even he fell victim to this “it’s just comedy” shtick. Carlin however actually had something to offer outside of that, providing interesting thought exercises and flexing potential perspectives.

    I am glad Stewart is gone and that we have John Oliver filling the gap. Oliver’s team actually delivers some fleshed out reporting and occasionally actually takes action.

    1. portia

      John Oliver does occasionally go too far. He is still getting massacred in comments for his episode on refugees from Sept 2015.

      1. Roger Smith

        I don’t recall (or know if I saw) that one. What is the story there?

        For clarification, I by no means think Oliver’s show is free from the type of behavior established in the Rensin article. I just appreciate that it is a little more informative.

    2. Torsten

      re: Liberal Smug, or, You Are What You Eat
      I agree. The Rensin article is the more interesting, although in the Comments to driftglass, Lit3Boltdid supply a useful critique, more withering than driftglass’, comparing Rensin to Hitchens:

      . . . Poor Emmett. He’s another disillusioned Christopher Hitchens, and found out being a member of the Leftier-than-Left simply didn’t get you respect these days. But wait! What if he advocated an “edgy” opinion that reinforced the political status quo? Then he’d get tons of respect from David Brooks and Ross Douthat! What a great idea! Suddenly he’s the talk of the town, and people can’t help but talk about him and his extremely controversial opinion that liberals are smug, out of touch elitists who live in ivory towers and huff lattes in alleyways and are so mean and scornful of earnest, hard working salt of the earth workers such as Kim Davis. . . .

      But the problem that develops when playwrights like Rensin write prose, is that one is never certain which character is speaking, so I can’t pass judgement on Rensin. But one of the voices in Rensin’s Vox piece says this:

      It is evidently intolerable to a huge swath of liberalism to confess the obvious: … That the oligarchs are making fun of stupid poor people too. That they’re better at it, and always will be.

      Rensin goes on to argue that Dubya wasn’t really so dumb when he said his critics “misunderestimated him”. I recall how Papa Bush ate pork rinds. This was a skill learned swallowing live goldfish at Skull and Bones, and Sonny Bush learned it, too. And so did pasty-faced Slick Willy, who was a regular at Doe’s Eat Place in Little Rock, where he’d indulge in greasy jalapeño cheeseburgers with generous amounts of mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles, and onions.

      Liberals (and too many who style themselves “progressives”) may be for the people, but unlike the oligarchs, they do not present themselves as being of the people. Like Groucho Marx said, “the most important thing is sincerity; if you can fake that you’ve got it made”.

    3. ekstase

      Just saw a rerun of George Carlin on Johnny Carson. Carlin seemed edgy, honest and like he cared about what he was putting out in the world. Carson, who appeared to be dressed entirely in Banlon, lit a cigarette in the middle of it and seemed as if Carlin made him incredibly nervous. There’s a lot of power in really good comedy.

    4. meeps

      Roger Smith @ 8:04 am

      Political comedy is good for a laugh but I’ve grown tired of the corporatized forms of it. Frequently, it devolves into approbation of one political party over the other (one) by propagating the talking point du jour within a narrow framework. Stewart grew weary, too, saying when he quit, “Watching these channels all day is incredibly depressing. I live in a constant state of depression. I think of us as turd miners. I put on my helmet, I go and mine turds, hopefully I don’t get turd lung disease.”

      The art of comedy loses its power when it’s sanitized to be suitable for mass consumption.

      Frylock explains Standards and Practices to Meatwad in Gee Whiz:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqnNURx3Y6Q

  11. allan

    NYT cuts:

    “Simply put, we keep turning things on — greater visual journalism, live news blogs, faster enterprise, podcasting, racing against an ever-growing list of new competitors on an expanding list of stories — without ever turning things off,” Baquet’s memo said.

    Here are some things Mr. Baquet could `turn off’ that would both save a lot of money
    and improve the quality of the paper:

    -The entire Op-Ed squad. It has been a long time since any of them have delivered analysis of substance.
    In some cases, they are downright embarrassing. Either go without (which sounds positively disruptive)
    or hire new talent. I’d be happy to provide a list.

    -The horse race political team. Zero information and takes space and resources away from actual journalism.

    – The real estate p*rn*graphy.

    1. grayslady

      Love your list. The front page real estate listings are one reason I don’t read the Times. Any newspaper that lists “What you can buy for $1.2 million” is not a newspaper that speaks to the vast majority of Americans, including me. It’s no wonder their op-ed writers are so out of touch.

  12. Eureka Springs

    Paul Craig Roberts asks an interesting question. Although it lacks agency in crucial points. I think he and so many others are simply missing the point that Progressive have failed their own stated goals/interests for all but a few years out of their what, a hundred or so in existence? They are liberals at heart and dark or misguided soul. All one need to note for more specific agency, Paul.. Nearly every U.S. Representative/Super Delegate in the Progressive caucus began this cycle and remains in the bag for Clinton. Are they deaf dumb and blind? No, Progressives are Liberals, always making excuses and or at best suggesting minor feckless tweaks to LIberalism here and there with no sincerity at all.

    This is yet another reason why I won’t so much as entertain the notion of voting D or Prog for dog-catcher, much less a human Representative. Every single element of the dem party should be abandoned.

    I mean Barney Frank is going from lobbying for banks one day to protecting Hillary Inc. Dem party platform at the convention!

    And Paul, you can’t be FOR reducing MIC powers or the powers of the Israeli lobby for that matter with any sincerity while supporting Sanders or Trump. It’s the Progs as much as anyone who would rather flog anyone and everyone before they allow these things to happen. There is at least 50 years of consistency here.

    1. Vatch

      you can’t be FOR reducing MIC powers or the powers of the Israeli lobby for that matter with any sincerity while supporting Sanders

      Provide some evidence, please.

      1. Eureka Springs

        The F 35 for one. The feckless speech to AIPAC for another. The party in which he is now a member. The fact he has assured us he will endorse the likes of Clinton. I could go on and on and on….

        1. Vatch

          What AIPAC speech? As I recall, he didn’t speak at their convention. Unlike most members of Congress, he has publicly criticized the policies of the Israeli government.

          He’s been very critical of the F-35. He couldn’t have stopped it, and if he got some employment for people in his state, well, that’s his job.

          His lukewarm potential endorsement of Clinton has been explained here at NC by several people. That’s not evidence of anything about the Military Industrial Complex.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            A case for Basic Income, so he wont’ need those MIC jobs for his voters and vote his conscience.

      2. Waldenpond

        Sanders has said you can’t bomb your way to peace and his supporters cheer….Sanders has also been very clear he is not ending Os drone program and it’s crickets. His plans to pay for his programs is not ending the wars, it’s making the 1% pay their ‘fair share’

        1. Vatch

          I think you’re exaggerating his support for drones.

          http://dronecenter.bard.edu/presidential-candidates-on-drones/

          Sanders supports the limited use of targeted drone strikes, but believes that collateral damage, when it occurs, is detrimental to U.S. interests in the region.

          In an interview with ABC in August, Sanders, who described military intervention as “a last resort,” said, “I think we have to use drones very, very selectively and effectively. That has not always been the case.” He explained, “What you can argue is that there are times and places where drone attacks have been effective.” Sanders continued, “There are times and places where they have been absolutely counter-effective and have caused more problems than they have solved. When you kill innocent people, what the end result is that people in the region become anti-American who otherwise would not have been.”

          In a conversation with the Iowa Press last month, Sanders reiterated his position. “I am concerned. I think we have seen situations where drone attacks have ended up doing us a lot more harm than good…When they can be effective, that’s good, but I think when they are killing, as they have done, innocent people—we’re seeing women and children being killed—that is not a good thing and it turns people against the United States. I think you’ve got to be very selective in that area.”

      3. Waldenpond

        Quick search of Bernie Sanders is pro-war….

        http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/bernie-sanders-troubling-history-supporting-us-military-violence-abroad

        Sanders voted for bombing Yugoslavia in 99. His staffer resigned [Brecher’s note to Sanders closes with a set of rhetorical questions, “Is there a moral limit to the military violence you are willing to participate in or support? Where does that limit lie? And when that limit has been reached, what action will you take? My answers led to my resignation.”]

        While he voted against war, he voted to fund it.
        Voted of $1billion aid vote Ukraine’s coup govt.

        On Palestine/Israel: http://www.mediaite.com/online/excuse-me-shut-up-bernie-sanders-defends-israel-from-town-hall-hecklers/

        [After a woman in the crowd asked Sanders about a Senate resolution that condemned Hamas but “said nothing” about Israel’s “massacre” of Palestinians in Gaza, the senator became defensive, fighting off angry residents with shouts of “Excuse me! Shut up!”

        Sanders began by saying he thinks he believes Israel “overreacted” in its offensive against Hamas and was “terribly, terribly wrong” in its bombing of UN facilities. “On the other hand,” Sanders said, “you have situation where Hamas is sending missiles into Israel,” adding that those rockets are often originating from populated areas.]

        I am painfully aware Sanders is not good on foreign policy but I believe he would kill vastly less people than any of the others running for office. He is not revolutionary. He is a Democratic Liberal and a mediocre one at that. Sanders is safe on many of his positions as 70% of the public supports them….

        Prior pollings :
        Allow Government to Negotiate Drug Prices (79%)
        Give Students the Same Low Interest Rates as Big Banks (78%)
        Universal Pre-Kindergarten (77%)
        Fair Trade that Protects Workers, the Environment, and Jobs (75%)
        End Tax Loopholes for Corporations that Ship Jobs Overseas (74%)
        End Gerrymandering (73%)
        Let Homeowners Pay Down Mortgage With 401k (72%)
        Debt-Free College at All Public Universities (Message A) (71%)
        Infrastructure Jobs Program — $400 Billion/Year (71%)
        Require NSA to Get Warrants (71%)
        Disclose Corporate Spending on Politics/Lobbying (71%)
        Medicare Buy-In for All (71%)
        Close Offshore Corporate Tax Loopholes (70%)
        Green New Deal — Millions Of Clean-Energy Jobs (70%)
        Full Employment Act (70%)
        Expand Social Security Benefits (70%)

        1. Vatch

          On Palestine/Israel: http://www.mediaite.com/online/excuse-me-shut-up-bernie-sanders-defends-israel-from-town-hall-hecklers/

          [After a woman in the crowd asked Sanders about a Senate resolution that condemned Hamas but “said nothing” about Israel’s “massacre” of Palestinians in Gaza, the senator became defensive, fighting off angry residents with shouts of “Excuse me! Shut up!”

          The Senate resolution may have said nothing about the killing of Palestinians, but Sanders was quite critical of this. From the same article:

          Sanders began by saying he thinks he believes Israel “overreacted” in its offensive against Hamas and was “terribly, terribly wrong” in its bombing of UN facilities. “On the other hand,” Sanders said, “you have situation where Hamas is sending missiles into Israel,” adding that those rockets are often originating from populated areas.

          1. Vatch

            Oops. I read what you said too quickly. You already quoted the part that I quoted. Sorry about that.

        2. Elliot

          Hey Waldenpond are you paid to troll Sanders’ support here? A few, including you, keep repeating the holier than Bernie on the MIC thing, and it keeps getting refuted.

          Getting tiresome.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Like a lot of things in life (for example, express lanes here in Los Angeles), it’s faster if you pay them.

              “Yes, the 10 freeway is a public transportation artery. But you can go faster if you pay.”

    2. Massinissa

      That damn Sanders and the Judaean Peoples Front, I hate those splitters. Why cant he be part of the Peoples Front of Judaea like me?

  13. timbers

    Reading reports that Nobel “Peace” President Obama is demanding German troops be brought to Russian border.

    Re-militarizing Japan via TPP side deals, stationing German troops on Russia’s border.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    WWIII anyone? Think of the profits.

  14. Jim Haygood

    You, too, can own a piece of Saudi Arabia:

    Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he expects the value of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. to exceed $2 trillion as the kingdom prepares to sell part of the company in what could be the world’s largest initial public offering.

    Aramco’s crude reserves of about 260 billion barrels are almost 10 times those of Exxon Mobil Corp. Its daily production of more than 10 million barrels is more than the domestic output of every U.S. oil company combined.

    The government plans to turn Aramco into a holding company and will sell less than 5 percent of that entity, bin Salman said.

    “If Saudi Aramco is listed then it must announce its statements and it will do that every quarter,” he said. “It will be under the supervision of all Saudi banks, all analysts, all Saudi thinkers.

    http://tinyurl.com/zher5mm

    Needless to say, this is a lousy time to float shares in an oil company. It’s because they need the money.

    Publishing a balance sheet for Aramco means accounting for the company’s reserves, data that the Saudis have always treated as secret.

    How far the mighty have fallen!

    1. Clive

      As a hedge, though, it’s not as dumb or desperate as it might initially appear. Should events come to pass which means that, for one reason or another, they have to leave the stuff in the ground, they’d at least have got their hands on the money. The oil might end up being worthless but the money would remain eminently spendable.

    2. Goyo Marquez

      Yeah… It’s like when the new King came into his kingdom, he went to get the checkbook and discovered there was nothing in the account. Now they’re making like third world cleptocrats liquidating as quickly as possible so they can get cash stashed overseas before they’re found out and the whole thing collapses.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Don’t they have all those Treasuries that they want to unload?

        Five percents of $2 trillion oil company = $100 billion.

        A lot for you and me, but is it enough for the sheiks to live on?

    3. JustAnObserver

      Only one question is important here. Who gets to audit the claimed 260 billion barrels figure ?
      Secondary question would be how much is actually recoverable and at what EROI ?

      Without credible answers to those questions if I were an investor I wouldn’t touch this with a kilometer drilling pipe.

    4. Synapsid

      Jim Haygood,

      Does the Bloomberg article state that the oil reserves will be part of the offering?

      The initial announcements of this “invest in Aramco” topic, some months back, stated that midstream (pipelines) and downstream (refining, petrochemical) assets would be included but not reserves. I’ve yet to see a clear statement that the reserves are in fact to be included.

    5. vidimi

      i think yves pointed out at some point that the actual oil is not an aramco asset but is owned by the state. aramco just owns the right to exploit it

      1. Synapsid

        vidimi,

        Thanks for that.

        The state does indeed own the whole shebang. That’s why I think the Prince can describe all sorts of things to be offered for investment without mentioning the oil itself; as you point out, everything else is secondary, based on use of the oil, and can be offered. That may be clear thinking on the part of the Saudis but I doubt the point is clear in the minds of most of the authors writing the news articles.

  15. Steve in Dallas

    re: “Rebecca Gordon, Exhibit One in Any Future American War Crimes Trial” TomDispatch

    Best article I’ve seen on the issue of ‘torture’… please mark as MUST READ. Gives one hope her book could make a difference??? Thanks much for the link.

  16. nippersdad

    I got a petition today from CREDO that is about a new trade deal that I have never heard of, the China Bilateral Investment Treaty (China BIT). Why wasn’t China just included in the TPP? It seems like this would kind of undermine the idea that we have to push things like TPP so we can make the rules even as we are negotiating treaties with them in which they are helping to make the rules….

    1. Yves Smith

      The whole point of the TPP (aside from all the goodies to multinationals and tech firms) is to isolate China. That is why it was the centerpiece of Obama’s “pivot to Asia.”

      1. Brindle

        The color of the jackets is interesting—kind of a beige-pink. Looks like a color that might have been chosen because non-aggressive compliant qualities.

      2. EmilianoZ

        The expressionless faces dont mean a thing. In traditional East Asian culture you just wanna show as little emotion as possible. It’s considered impolite to impose your moods on other people. For all we know those guys could just be very happy.

      3. craazyboy

        Those aren’t people. They’re robots. Haven’t you been reading our western corporate news??? Robots are taking our (or somebody’s) jobs!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Those workers look human.

          I think either the writer is a robot, or the photographer is.

    1. cnchal

      According to China Labour Watch, base salaries are so low employees are forced to work overtime just to get by, with one employee revealing her salary was 2,020 yuan (£230) a month. An iPhone 6 in China costs 4,488 yuan (£480).

      They are moving up in the world with a massive pay increase to roughly USD $15 per 12 hour working day.

      We really are clueless. Next time they let a journalist in, they will be ordered to smile for the camera.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Full time residents are working class types. The island works because people live there.

  17. allan

    San Francisco, America’s boom town, is flooded with the cash of well-paid technology workers and record numbers of tourists. At the same time, the city has seen a sharp jump in property crime, up more than 60 percent since 2010, though the actual increase may be higher because many of the crimes go unreported.

    Recent data from the F.B.I. show that San Francisco has the highest per-capita property crime rate of the nation’s top 50 cities. About half the cases here are thefts from vehicles, smash-and-grabs that scatter glittering broken glass onto the sidewalks.

    Surely there must be an app to solve this problem. Or a public-private partnership?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What about bread theft?

      Caught stealing a loaf of sourdough, and you will be sent to the Island of If, or in this case, Treasure Island.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Also, please, let it be before Sanders endorses Hillary.

        It won’t look too good if

        1. the conditions are met, and then

        2. , someone you endorse is indicted.

  18. Pat

    Funny that so many are trying to tie this Mayor to Bernie Sanders. Although the fact that the DSCC has given McGinty a whole lot of cash tells me we need her far far away from the Senate.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/john-fetterman-senate-candidate-bernie-sanders-dreams_us_571bcd0ae4b0d0042da977d1
    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/The-man-that-Bernie-Sanders-forgot.html
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/04/john_fetterman_s_senate_campaign_needs_bernie_sanders_help.html
    http://www.phillyvoice.com/why-i-blame-bernie-sanders-john-fettermans-low-senate-race-poll-numbers/

    1. flora

      I particularly liked this bit:
      “[NY]Times CEO Mark Thompson, who has been working to restructure the staff to meet new challenges, saw his total compensation nearly double last year — to $8.7 million.”

      Have to find that extra $4.3 million somewhere.

      1. RP

        One wonders how long until violence is visited upon “management” when it is compensated thusly for a performance which necessitates terminating employment of the untermensch

  19. GlobalMisanthrope

    Circulate widely!

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/25/delaware-tax-loophole-1209-north-orange-trump-clinton

    Lede buried in graph ten:

    Clinton, who has repeatedly promised that as president she will crack down on “outrageous tax havens and loopholes that super-rich people across the world are exploiting in Panama and elsewhere”, collected more than $16m in public speaking fees and book royalties in 2014 through the doors of 1209, according to the Clintons’ tax return.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The 1% are those making $400,000 a year or more (that’s what I found the last time I looked into the cutoff).

      Making $16 million is more like somewhere between the 0.1% and the 0.01%.

      It wouldn’t be so bad if she had only made about the same order of magnitude as Sanders’ salary as a senator, around $200K/yr or so.

      The disparity is really apparent once you get into the 0.1% (or beyond) territory.

  20. Synoia

    Charles Koch Says He Could Possibly Support Hillary Clinton

    Ergo: Koch is deciding when to place his election buying money.

    Which to me, proves everythingI suspected about Hilarity Clipon.

    1. She can be bought
    2. See will “Pivot” to the money.

    Looks like we have an explanation for the strange new behavior of the very heavy particles discovered in the CERN smasher. Its a money field, and interacts with politicians, causing a rightward spin.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Light bends around any massive pile of money.

      You can’t see so well in that case.

  21. Mark

    Re: “A new drill for Pa:”

    North Dakota

    Rig count 2112 April: 209

    2016 April : 26

    from nd.gov current active drilling rig list.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Philadelphia Inquirer: “local economies suffer.”

      The same in N. Dakota.

      It’s like ‘local economies’ suffer when we ban logging in the Amazon.

      And so, people talk about paying the natives so they won’t have to cut down trees.

      Pay fracking workers not to frack.

      That’s…Basic Income.

  22. FluffytheObeseCat

    “Sanders insurgency has exposed, even more clearly than usual, [] that the Democratic Party does not represent the material interests of most of the people who vote for it. […] Those who insist, in tones resonant of “get off my lawn,” that it’s time for Sanders voters to grow up and support Hillary Clinton in the name of party unity are missing the point of the 2016 campaign, perhaps deliberately.”

    A nice, cogent synopsis from O’Hehir, particularly the bit about the Clintonista elite’s deliberate obtuseness. The article in it’s entirety however, is far from cogent. O’Hehir needs to shove his stale BS about socialism/communism/20th century history into the dustbin. The young people who support Sanders tend to recognize it for what it is — pretentious, painfully stupid crap.

  23. RP

    Braying about the shortcomings and failures of “socialism” in 20th century terms when discussing Sanders is the fastest way to identify yourself as someone who is not from THIS century.

  24. BondsOfSteel

    RE: US finally acknowledging al-Qaeda factor in breakdown of Ceasefire

    I’ve been following the Syrian Civil War very closely for the past 5 months. It’s heartbreaking.

    Watching the daily videos and tweets, a couple things become very clear. ‘Moderate rebels’ means different things to different people. Our allies (or maybe even us) are clearly arming religious extremists including al Qaeda. Almost all of the rebel attacking forces are Salafist hoping to install sharia law. The line currently is some only want this for Syria and others want it globally. This is pretty much the same line between the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

    I really wish YouTube wouldn’t have removed this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uxEErU3cN4. It was Jabhat al-Nusra (al Qaeda) going into the battle for Barnah and Zaytan two weeks ago. They were all wearing matching new uniforms, helmets, armor, and boots. Someone is giving them tons of money… and they got all this equipment during the ceasefire. (I’ll try and find another video.)

    Another disturbing recent event is all the photos of Ahrar ash Sham holding MANPADS (e.g. Chinese Stinger missiles.) In the month since these photos started appearing, they shot down 3 Syrian planes. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahrar_ash-Sham). IMHO, it’s only a matter of time before al-Qaeda and ISIS have these :(

    1. Massinissa

      Bonds, this American supplying of the ‘rebel’ jihadis isnt even new. The only difference is the USA is stepping up the game because Assad’s made advances this last year.

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