Links 6/18/16

California Condor Population Reaches New Heights in 2015 Yale (furzy)

Shattered records show climate change is an emergency today, scientists warn Guardian (resilc)

Digital currency Ethereum nose-dives after $50 million hack MarketWatch


Chinese regulators ban iPhone 6 models CNBC (furzy)

China bans news coverage of Hong Kong bookseller abduction Guardian

China ‘democracy’ village chief arrested for graft, riot police deployed Reuters

Neither terrorism nor football can stop the resistance in France failed evolution


Why Is the Killer of British MP Jo Cox Not Being Called a “Terrorist”? Glenn Greenwald, Intercept

Exclusive poll: EU support falls after Jo Cox murder USA Today (furzy). This is an online survey and they are notoriously unreliable (as in you have no idea about the demographics of the people responding, since they can and do lie, so you can’t be sure your reweightings to make it representative are valid). But the drop is significant and it is relative to an earlier poll they did, which increases the odds that it is directionally correct.

Why Brexit Is Such a Threat to the New World Order Pam Martens and Russ Martens. Not wild about the headline, in that it sounds a bit Alex Jones-y and ignores the fact that a Brexit is a lot like unscrambling eggs. There will be transition costs, they may be large, and Germany and France are determined to be as punitive as possible. That still does not mean one should necessarily reject a Brexit, since the right to self-determination is worth a lot. Economist Dani Rodrik made a key point nine years ago:

I have an “impossibility theorem” for the global economy that is like that. It says that democracy, national sovereignty and global economic integration are mutually incompatible: we can combine any two of the three, but never have all three simultaneously and in full.

IMF warns of Brexit risk to British GDP BBC


NATO orders four additional battalions to Russian border Defend Democracy. Ugh.

Germany accuses Nato of ‘warmongering’


Pakistan uses 1.5 million Afghan refugees as pawns in dispute with U.S. – Washington Post (furzy)

U.S. Officials Fear Saudi Collapse If New Prince Fails NBC. We wrote about this when the old king dies, that the prince was not well liked at all and the regime was at risk.

Fury erupts in Iran over vast salaries paid to government officials Guardian

Imperial Collapse Watch

A Nuclear Weapon That America Doesn’t Need New York Times (David L)


Sanders: Thousands heeding call for grassroots activism The Hill (martha r)

Sanders surrogate Tulsi Gabbard: ‘I’m not prepared’ to back Clinton The Hill (martha r)

Facebook Now Blocking Re-post from Philly Protest Movement Sites as “Abusive” Caucus99Percent (martha r)

Hillary Clinton invokes unlikely allies on the stump — the Bushes Yahoo (martha r). Lambert: “As predicted. Clinton wants Republican votes and will throw Sanders under the bus to get them.”

Clinton allies try to entice Sanders with prime-time convention slot Politco. Martha r:”If he’s so not a threat, why are they trying so hard to stop him? Not a new question, I know.”

Clinton camp shrugs off Sanders The Hill (martha r)

Odds Hillary Won Without Widespread Fraud: 1 in 77 Billion Says Berkeley, Stanford Studies Higgins News Network

Guccifer 2.0 Leak Reveals How DNC Rigged Primaries for Clinton Observer (martha r)

Money laundering memo #Guccifer3 @azzcap. Screenshots.

‘Allegedly’ Disappears as Russians Blamed for DNC Hack FAIR (martha r)

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Would Be Equally Good for Finance Industry, Says Top CEO Intercept

A Morning Consult Poll Asks Why Voters Hate Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Atlantic (resilc)

Which Republicans Support Donald Trump? A Cheat Sheet Atlantic (furzy)

Trump’s meme brigade took over Reddit. Now Reddit is trying to stop them Washington Post. Reddit censors on the left too, as some readers know well.

Regarding all of the discussion about the RNC Rules committee – see attached @seanspicer. Do click though. Consistent with what a friend with high-level R contacts said in response to #NeverTrump gets liftoff: Delegates speak up Washington Post: “He is the nominee. R senior management accepts that. There’s an Atlantic piece noting that R officeholders accept him–it’s the R opinion columnists who don’t. Which makes sense because the latter fantasists don’t answer to voters.”

Selling Donald Trump Gillian Tett, Financial Times. I wonder how much of The Donald’s self-destructive moves of the last few weeks were him bucking his handlers just to tell them he was in charge. He overrode them in doubling down on the Mexican judge.

OBAMATRADE COST GOP CONGRESSMAN HIS JOB WND. You need to read past the writing style and, um, partisanship. Plus one robin does not make a spring. Nevertheless…

Obama Plan Eyes Debt Relief for Defrauded Students PBS

Nine Lost Souls the FBI Charged as Terrorists While Letting the Orlando Shooter Go Intercept

Noor Zahi Salman: Everything You’re Hearing About Me Is a Lie DownWithTyranny. Disturbing.

Prosecutor: Pacific Gas ignored regulations to cut costs Los Angeles Times. Can someone from California explain to me how PG&E gets away with being a recidivist rogue institution?

Kansas City asks, How little money is too little for schools? Christian Science Monitor (furzy)

Is the nation’s third-largest school district in danger of collapse? Washington Post (furzy)


The NRA has blocked gun violence research for 20 years. It’s time to end its stranglehold Los Angeles Times (furzy)

GOP rebuffs doctors on gun research The Hill

Civilians have no reason for owning assault weapons New York Daily News (furzy)

Orlando massacre is unlikely to lead to new gun control measures McClatchy

A Brief History Of Lender’s Frozen Bagels (And Their NYC Branding Lie) Gothamist

Majority stake in MERSCORP Holdings acquired by NYSE parent company ICE HousingWire (martha r)

Why are so many bankers committing suicide? New York Post

Angelo Mozilo Will Not Face U.S. Charges for Mortgage Fraud New York Times (resilc)

The US economy about to hit a brick wall Business Insider

There’s something eerily familiar about the economy, and we might repeat a sad moment in US history Yahoo

Hawkish Bullard turns ultra-dove on rates Financial Times

Class Warfare

‘There Was a Stranger in My Own House’: Is the Sharing Economy Safe for Women? Vice (resilc)

Age Discrimination on LinkedIn Hitting ever Younger Ages? Wolf Richter (David L)

Amazon (AMZN) is just beginning to use robots in its warehouses and they’re already making a huge difference Quartz (Dr. Kevin)

Antidote du jour. Paul D: “Spider ball, photo taken on our porch, Nova Scotia by Esther Methe”:

spider links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. aab

    It has taken me a while to get past my revulsion at Clinton aligning herself with the Bushes enough to think of this question: How is this supposed to help her? Did Jeb get decent vote totals in some swing state I’m not thinking of? My recollection is that he was brutally rejected by actual Republican voters. Who are these Republican voters who are right wing war hawks enough to reject their party ID to go for Clinton and made more persuadable by the endorsement of the Bushes? Is there any actual evidence they exist outside the donor base?

    By contrast, when I worked the polls in California, I was placed in a VERY wealthy Republican stronghold. They would seem to be the kind of Republicans she is seeking. And they were absolutely dying to vote for Trump. He already had the nomination. There was no need to vote at all. Yet they were jumping through all sorts of hoops to get their votes in, and they were very clear that this was important to them. “I want to vote for my guy,” said numerous people in various permutations. One drove home to get their discarded Vote By Mail ballot so they wouldn’t have to use a provisional and run the risk of the ballot not being counted. For the confirmed party nominee.

    This just seems unnecessary. I realize she actively wants to antagonize the left, but didn’t this primary prove that the Bushes are still radioactive with the right — outside of New York and DC?

      1. neo-realist

        She perceives that latching on to her pantsuit is her best shot to leverage economic and financial regulatory policy in a Clinton administration.

      2. The Heretic

        As long as Warren does to Hillary just as most politicians do to the causes of their consitiuents (which is to pledge support but then betray their interests), i am fine with Warren showing some outward support for Hillary.

        Remember, Obama had her build a consummer finance watchdog group (i can’t recall the exact acronym), but would not appoint her to lead it. She fought for her position, but instead traded her position inorder to have a strong say in appointing the leader to the group and getting a seat on the senate, where she has been able to continue to be an effective truth teller and thorn in the side of the financial industry.

        1. hunkerdown

          Because grandstanding is just as good as policy, to the evangelical right-wing liberal.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          No, we wrote on Obama’s calculus in putting up Warren for the Senate seat at LENGTH. It was another effort to cashier her. His offer to have her start up the CFPB was meant to do her in. There was absolutely nothing in her background that would suggest she would be able to pull it off. So the notion was she’d founder and be able to be pigeonholed as an academic with great-sounding ideas and should stay in academia

          So when that backfired and wound up giving her more profile, the Senate seat idea was another “let’s curb her” scheme. If he lost, she’d again go back to academia with her luster somewhat reduced. If she won, she’d still be only one of 100 Senators, and would still have to play nice with the party most of the time. The fact that she’d punch as much above her weight as she has on her pet issues was not a scenario they contemplated, trust me.

      3. Skip Intro

        I imagine Warren is getting ‘carrot or stick’ from the Clinton camp, who want something wave around to win back Sanders voters.

    1. Christopher Fay

      “Right wing hawks.” More accurate description is Neocons who had their product launch during the Bill Clinton reign. They have an agenda, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Russia. None of that has to do with security for Americans. Hillary is a Neocon.

      As you said wealthy Californians were rushing to support their party and Trump. It’s the Neocons around Wash DC that support Hillary.

      1. Harry

        I think you must have missed 3 of Wesley Clarks 7. I know Libya is one. I’m not sure Russia was one of the 7.

        1. craazyboy

          Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran

          Ukraine, Crimea and Russia is in the “new and improved” version

        2. Antifa

          The original list of 7 countries to take out in 5 years came from Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, and was classified at the time (late September, 2001). It really is a list of 8 countries, since we were already bombing Afghanistan when this list was handed out at the Pentagon.

          Russia was the entire point of the original 7. With all 7 (plus Afghanistan) in the American orbit, we would be free to infiltrate and buy our way into power in the corrupt little nations in the Caspian Basin, which is traditionally Russia’s backyard. We could build pipelines to carry Middle Eastern oil and gas to Europe, and cut Russia right out of the market.

          More tactically, it would put us in a position to blockade Russia until they got in line, instead of them forever trying to create a basket of international currencies that can compete with the petro-dollar.

          Russia’s support of Iran and Syria’s Assad are countermoves to this American attempt to encircle Russia and end Europe’s dependence on Moscow for heating every home in Western Europe during the winter.

          1. craazyboy

            The Caspian Basin has a lot of oil too. Cheney’s mandibles would publically drool over that as well. Then I remember some journalists marveling at the observation that Cheney was apparently one of the first in the US to be able to correctly spell Kazakhstan.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Thats an interesting question. One thing thats become quite apparent about the Clinton campaign is that they aren’t particularly competent or as data driven as they would like to appear. I suspect there is a lot of groupthink going on – they have settled for a long time on the ‘shake Bernie off, then move right to grab moderate Republicans’ that its become a reflex move. While there are no doubt ‘establishment’ types who would happily move between the Clintons and the Bushes as they agree on so many ‘important’ things, the evidence from both primaries would strongly suggest that this will not play well at all with the public at large. I suspect Trump will absolutely love ripping into any overt Clinton/Bush love fest.

      1. jrs

        I don’t think most Republican voters will ever vote for Hillary. They are deluded in thinking some beltway types represent Republican voters. It’s not rational, it never will be, look Republican voters don’t like Democrats and see them as disastrous (though unlike lefties because they see them as too far left and sometimes just out of visceral hate for Clintons as such). All the pleading in the world that Hillary is really a Republican, really truly, will disgust Bernie voters with Clinton as much as always, but is never going to convince actual Republicans. Giving up Bernie voters and going for Republican voters is giving up a group she could partly win (on pure LOTE) to one she will never win. Many Republicans may not like Trump, but if they dislike him enough they will just stay home.

        Trump might eventually bring up something useful, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Not just Bernie voters. The people who didn’t vote in the primary are the major issue. Sanders supporters seem like bright, intelligent people because they are. They took the time to learn about a candidate challenging the Queen who had no msm coverage. On the surface, Sanders sounds similar to the promises made by national Democrats and especially volunteers in years past. The pro Obama ACA supporters told whoppers on this platform imagine what they told people in person who don’t have resources or experience with the relevant issues. Lower information Democratic voters hate the Bushes and the GOP as much as anyone. Bill won African Americans who voted by stunning margins, but every election since Bill has seen greater by wide margins African American turnout. Hillary won 75% of 12% of African Americans. Those aren’t impressive inroads for the “pro Obama candidate.”

          The question is at what point do people quit the Democratic party. I think it’s already happened or Hillary would have made real efforts with her attempt at a unity now campaign after the Southern states voted.

          Sanders has a few problems in a primary:
          -antisemitism, yes, it’s real.
          -his age
          -media coverage
          -the Obama conundrum. Sanders has too many supporters who like to believe Obama isn’t an awful President who just made key mistakes. This has always been a problem in his presentation. Would the non voters flock to a more openly anti Obama, anti centrist candidate given the accusations of racism that were thrown at Obama critics from the left? Hillary didn’t start the white privilege scream.

          These issues worked to depress turnout.

            1. Massinissa

              Technically, I think for fairness it should be pointed out that both parties apparently favor depressing turnout.

              1. Archie

                Yes, but for accuracy, the DEMS actively worked to depress the vote turnout in THIS primary.

                1. aab

                  And to be even more specific, the Democratic Party worked to depress specific groups of its own membership, and allied Independents that they have depended on in the past and INTEND TO DEPEND ON IN THE FUTURE to select an electorate favorable to the DNC’s desired candidate.

                  Those Brooklyn voters blocked so they couldn’t vote for Bernie? They have been restored in time for the state candidate primaries and general election. There are superPACs calling themselves progressive, working to get money from progressives promising to help drive turnout to elect progressive candidates, that are really corporatist insiders working to get the worse kind of conservative, corporatist, recently Republican Democratic candidate elected.

                  IIRC, the Republicans focus their suppression on people they don’t want voting against them in the general election. Still horrible. But what the Democrats just did seems worse to me — a more intimate kind of betrayal.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is the campaign they want to run.

        The real issue goes back to Arkansas where Bill and everyone else runs constantly. Huckleberry won statewide there. They will elect doofuses who tell them how great they are. They like the dopey, folksy play to the crowd politics. In 1992, stronger Democrats chose not to run eyeing 1996 with 41’s high approval. Jerry Brown ran on Rick Perry ideas such as a flat tax and abolishing the department of education, and Paul Tsongas was loathsome enough to win the coveted support for Mittens when Tsongas ran statewide. Then of course, he had to face 41 who faced the economy, his explicit broken promise about taxes, and a Perot campaign that won the support of many conservative activists. In 1996, Bill enjoyed the luxury of incumbency and the clown show of the shut down and Gingrich who was the recruiter of many of the new Republicans who didn’t have a profile to run for President which forced a search for the oldest person in the room.

        2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, and 2014 were dominated by the Clinton brain trust. The Clinton people simply aren’t that smart instead following the advice of Bill who is stuck in Arkansas state politics. Bill has been fortunate in his enemies.

        1. christianSocialist

          Mentioned this to someone yesterday when talking about fixed California primary June 7:

          “People forget, Clinton won in ’92 with 43% of the vote. Bush got 38%. A strange Texan named Perot got 19% and 0 electoral votes. No Perot, no Clinton administration, no 25-year stranglehold by Clintonites on what it means to be a democrat (i.e. third way neoliberal sellout scum).”

          1. jrs

            considering neoliberalism is a global movement (and of course started before then and continued after), nah that’s giving them way too much credit, they just aren’t all that powerful, they go where the wind blows and it made them rich.

        2. neo-realist

          Republican super strategist Lee Atwater, who ran Poppy Bush’s 88 campaign and from who Karl Rove arguably learned the art of the smear, died in 1991. Losing those brass knuckles probably factored into 41’s loss as well.

    3. FluffytheObeseCat

      Groupthink does seem to be the dominant operative process among Clinton supporters. Over the past 2 weeks I’ve been mildly stunned by the uniform sense of entitlement that emanates from her people – in interviews, when quoted by the press, and when writing op-eds on the concession issue. They expect the most public obeisance from Sanders, but offer him nothing in return for it. Their calls to duty (in the cause against Trump, of course!) ring hollow.

      They keep demanding a swift concession from Sanders, but their terms & tone suggest a public grovel is what they are really looking for. And they clearly believe she is entitled to one. If Sanders’ instinct is to project a gruff, ruffled sort of fuck you in the face of their hubris, who am I to argue? His political instincts have served him quite adequately for 30 years, and haughty claims to the contrary from Beltway doyens seem….. poorly thought out. None of them have his track record of electoral success.

    4. Dave

      “A nuclear weapon we don’t need.” Begats one they don’t need: Eventually they will be used. Vaporization is painless. It’s all the tens of millions further away that will suffer.

      “Russia has announced it’s ready to start field trials on its RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, intended to replace the existing R-36M2 Voevoda (NATO designation SS-18 “Satan”).

      According to this report,
      quoting Russian news agency Zvezda, the two-stage, liquid-fuelled RS-28 tips the scales at 100 tonnes, and is capable of delivering up to 12 warheads via its multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) payload at a range of 10,000km.

      The RS-28 boasts “an array of advanced antimissile countermeasures” plus “higher speed performance”, designed to thwart any anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system.

      The allegedly unstoppable missile is “capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France”, Zvezda cheerfully explains.”

      Translation: Hillary Clinton is a warmonger we don’t need. If I can’t vote for Bernie, Trump is looking better and better, compared to her.

      1. Alex morfesis

        and luckily for the russians(and us too), no one will have to back up those “magical claims” on any stage or theater…both sides know the claims they make for their rocketry is…well…rather creative…neither side wants to ever deal with multiple launches as more damage would be done by “friendly misfire” than anything else…the beauty of armaments is they don’t ever need to actually work….

    5. Benedict@Large

      Because that’s who they are.

      The Clintons are (have stolen their way to) the 0.01%. The Bushes are (have stolen their way to) the 0.01%.

      Who did you expect them to align themselves with? You?

    6. bdy

      There’s money under the Bush rock. Given the overwhelming odds against the primary outcomes, she can’t be too concerned about her campaign’s ability to weather any but the most crippling setbacks in the general. She’s free to go on using the election in the same way she used her position as SOS – to lever and launder as much cash as possible from whichever plutocrats want to call her friend.

  2. EndOfTheWorld

    “Odds Hillary won without widespread fraud: 1 in 77 billion.” Odds this study will be discussed tomorrow on “Face the Nation”: about the same.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There were 2 candidates (more or less).

      Either Clinton won or Sanders won (more or less).

      Does it mean the odds of Sanders winning without widespread fraud were (1 – (1/77 billion))?

      That seems a little too close to 100%.

      1. bdy

        The odds are 1/77 billion that the reported results agree with the actual vote, not that Hillary would have won.

        The point isn’t that Sanders won. The points are:

        1) Voting machines misrepresented their tallies in HRC’s favor.

        2) There’s no way to do a recount.

      2. Vatch

        The headline is misleading. Here’s a quote from the article which is more accurate:

        In fact, one of the statistical models applied by Stanford University researcher Rodolfo Cortes Barragan to a subset of the data found that the probability of the “huge discrepancies” of which “nearly all are in favor of Hillary Clinton by a huge margin” was “statistically impossible” and that “the probability of this this happening was is 1 in 77 billion”.

        Furthermore, the researchers found that the election fraud only occurred in places where the voting machines were hackable and that did not keep an paper trail of the ballots.

        In other words, either Sanders won, or Clinton won by much smaller margins than the official margins.

      3. Vatch

        I tried posting a message that was eaten by Skynet. Don’t read the article’s headline. Read the article, which, as is common, is more accurate than the headline.

  3. Quentin

    Clinton vs. The Clintons. The Democratic Party’s candidates are The Clintons. The Republicans have The Donald but according to the aristocratic order of things they should have The Bush. The Clintons demand dynastic succesion and therefore find it only natural to align with their Republican dynastic counterparts: The Bushes. The natural order must be maintained. Aristocracy does not mix with upstarts like The Donald, nor with underlings like Bernie Sanders and above all his supporters. Got it. It would be only correct not to refer to one of the Clinton duo but to both of them: The Clintons, not a woman named Clinton is running for president. May The Clintons lose. But then you get The Donald.

      1. Benedict@Large

        Don’t worry. It’s not a real election.

        We haven’t had one of those in decades.

      2. Stephen Gardner

        Not really. The quicker our “elites” crash this prison bus into a tree the faster we inmates can escape. The current illegitimate and rapacious gang of “elites” running the US is bad for Americans and bad for the world. The current regime can’t end soon enough for me. And the beauty is that the greedy schmucks running it are destroying it themselves. No need for intervention, just pass the popcorn and watch.

  4. Tom Stone

    A a Californian I’m quite familiar with PG&E.
    The answer to Yves question is simple, a one party state and overt regulatory capture.
    A further comment on the Election Fraud, the fact that E Voting machines can be easily and undetectably hacked is a feature, not a bug.
    The USA is experiencing the effects of systemic corruption and TPTB will need to increase repression to keep things on track, banning those on the “Terrorist Watch List” from buying guns without a shred of due process sets a very useful precedent.

    1. heresy101

      Actually, the only reason PG&E is around is our former Governor Gray Davis. When PG&E pulled their b.s. bankruptcy after the Enron fiasco, Davis bought long term energy contracts (not the market prices that Enron and Wall Street were pushing). Given the current state of electricity prices (~$40/MWh), these contracts are above the market rather than below the market of the Enron days but the contract will end in a few years. California citizens didn’t understand all the corruption but they recalled Davis and we got the renewable friendly Schwarzenegger. Had Davis made PG&E a municipal utility, we would have a lot lower rates and he would of continued as Governor.

      If you hold PG&E stock, you may want to sell it in the next couple of years before PG&E files bankruptcy for real. The Community Choice Aggregation law allows counties and cities to buy energy for their citizens.
      CCA has been implemented by the Counties of Marin, Sonoma, San Francisco, and Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Mateo are in the process of forming CCA’s. I’d like to go to work for my former boss who is head of San Mateo but the commute would be a real bear.

      If you add up all of the energy of the CCA’s, there is going to be about 10 GW of PG&E’s 15 GW of capacity that will no longer served by PG&E. As the San Bruno explosion shows, PG&E isn’t interested in poles and wires (and pipelines on the gas side) but in earnings per share. Outages are rampant and most of the distribution system has long ago been depreciated (other than the smart meters) and can not earn a return.

      PG&E has taken a share in Solar City and that may be their best bet because with California going to 50% renewable by 2030 and then on to 100% renewable. The CCA’s and municipal utilities will be able to meet those requirements (our utility is 100% GHG neutral already) while PG&E will be in deep doo after it has to close Diablo Canyon. A real bankruptcy is not far down the road.

      It would be nice to know when to buy those PG&E puts, I could actually retire.

  5. Pavel

    Justin Raimondo has a scathing piece at (reprinted on Zero Hedge) about Trump’s comments post Orlando and how Obama, Clinton caused the rise of ISIS via their interventions in Syria. If readers aren’t familiar with this history I urge them to read the whole piece. Raimondo isn’t a Trump fan except when he calls for a non- (or less-) interventionist foreign policy. It is shocking that the MSM hasn’t explained what really happened (well, shocking but not surprising I guess):

    The Beltway crowd went ballistic. Lindsey Graham had a hissy fit, and other Republican lawmakers started edging away from the presumptive GOP nominee. The Washington Post ran a story with the headline: “Donald Trump Suggests President Obama Was Involved With Orlando Shooting.” Realizing that this level of bias was a bit too brazen, the editors changed it an hour or so later to: “Donald Trump Seems to Connect President Obama to Orlando Shooting.” Not much better, but then again we’re talking about a newspaper that has a team of thirty or so reporters bent on digging up dirt on Trump.

    In any case, Trump responded as he usually does: by doubling down. And he did it, as he usually does, on Twitter, tweeting the following:

    “Media fell all over themselves criticizing what Donald Trump ‘may have insinuated about @POTUS.’ But he’s right:”

    The tweet included a link to this story that appeared on Breitbart: an account of a 2012 intelligence report from the Defense Intelligence Agency predicting the rise of the Islamic State in Syria – and showing how US policy deliberately ignored and even succored it. Secured by Judicial Watch thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, the document says it’s very likely we’ll see the creation of “an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.” And this won’t just be a grassroots effort, but the result of a centrally coordinated plan: it will happen because “Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these efforts” by Syrian “opposition forces” then engaged in a campaign to “control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor) adjacent to Western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar).”

    This is precisely what happened, and, as we see, the Iraqi Army is now in the field – with US support – trying to retake Mosul and Anbar, with limited success. Yet it’s not like we didn’t know this was coming – and didn’t have a hand in creating the problem we are now spending billions of dollars and even some American lives trying to “solve.” Things are turning out exactly as the DIA report said they would:

    “[T]here is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”


    That Trump gets this is little short of amazing, and yet truth often comes to us in unexpected ways. He may be an imperfect vessel – and that is surely an understatement – but he is absolutely correct in this instance: this administration and this President either “doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands. It’s one or the other.”

    The media and the Never Trumpers leaped on this statement and translated it into the old Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim trope, but that’s not what he was talking about. He was talking about the largely unknown history of our intervention in Syria, where Hillary Clinton was the jihadists’ best friend and benefactor. It was she who led the charge to “liberate” Syria, to arm the “moderate” head-choppers and do to that war-torn wreck of a country what she had done to Libya. Obama knows it: and so does the media. But their lips are sealed.

    [My bolding] ‘Something is Going On’ – And It’s Worse Than You Thought

    A shame that Sanders never had the guts to bring up these facts during the primary campaign. But Hillary won’t be so lucky with Trump.

    1. fresno dan

      from the same article:

      “The Washington Post, in its mission to debunk every word that comes out of Trump’s mouth, ran an article by Glenn Kessler minimizing the DIA document, claiming that it was really nothing important and that we should all just move along because there’s nothing to see there. He cited all the usual Washington insiders to back up his thesis, but there was one glaring omission: Gen. Michael Flynn, who headed up the DIA when the document was produced and who was forced out by the interventionists in the administration. Here is what Flynn told Al-Jazeera in an extensive interview:

      Al-Jazeera: “You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?
      Flynn: I think the administration.
      Al-Jazeera: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?
      Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.
      Al-Jazeera: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?
      Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.”

      Of course, Glenn Kessler and the Washington Post don’t want to talk about that. Neither do the Republicans in Congress, who supported aid to the Syrian rebels and wanted to give them much more than they got. They’re all complicit in this monstrous policy – and they all bear moral responsibility for its murderous consequences.

      Gen. Flynn, by the way, is an official advisor to Trump, and is often mentioned as a possible pick for Vice President.

      The idea that we could use Islamists to fight jihadists was always crazy, and yet that is what the foreign policy Establishment and the congressional warhawks in both parties have been pushing. The “Sunni turn,” initiated by the Bush administration, supported (and funded) by the Saudis, the Turks, and the Gulf states, and escalated by the Obama administration, has empowered our worst enemies and endangered the American people. And here is the ultimate irony: it was done in the name of “fighting terrorism.” This gives new meaning to the concept of “blowback,” CIA parlance for an action (often covert) that has the unintended consequence of blowing back in our faces.”

      I am not going to pretend I can keep up with all the misinformation, disinformation, and misdirection that can come out of our own government – and I don’t discount that critics and whistle blowers can have their own agendas and way of looking at things.

      But it seems to me that despite our “experienced” and “expert” foreign policy establishment, and the people who direct them, is incapable of accomplishing anything other than making things worse in the mideast (which I do not rule out as a possible goal for them). All I am saying, is give running away a chance…

      1. johnnygl

        I remember seeing mehdi hassan do that interview with flynn. I wasn’t familar with hassan previously but he gave a really hard hitting interview. The guy really put on a clinic of how to do an interview. He clearly did his research and made flynn uncomfortable. I wish he would moderate some presidential debates.

        I’m going to have to look into trump’s remarks a bit more. This would explain why he revoked the wapo’s press credentials. If so, they may well have earned it.

    2. Carolinian

      Raimondo is a bit too quick to accept that the shooting was about ISIS inspiration or the shooter’s Afghan background, but it will be interesting indeed if Trump starts to spill all the beans that our main stream rags like the NYTimes find unfit to print. When it comes to FP Americans are very much kept in the dark. Maybe Trump can get them interested.

  6. allan

    India central bank chief Rajan to step down in September

    Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, who has faced criticism from members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party for not lowering interest rates enough, said on Saturday he would step down when his term ends on Sept. 4.

    In an unexpected move Rajan, a former chief economist at the IMF who has been popular with foreign investors for his efforts to tackle inflation and clean up massive bad loans at state-run banks, said he planned to return to academia. …

    Rajan, who is on leave from the University of Chicago, joined the RBI in September 2013, when the country was facing its worst currency crisis since the 1990s.

    Since then he has been credited with helping to stabilize the currency, restore foreign investors’ faith in Indian policymaking and lowering inflation and the current account deficit sharply.

    While he has won widespread accolades from investors, he has been facing stiff opposition back home from sections of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

    Hard money is hard to sell to people hardly getting by.

    1. craazyboy

      Looks like the Rupi has dropped 50% vs the dollar since 2011. Sounds pretty soft to me.

      Recently I heard from a guy that spends quite a bit of time in India say that Indian programmers make between $2000 and $4000 A YEAR. So, weaken the Rupi some more so Indian programmers are more competitive in western markets???? Imports, like food, become more expensive???

      He also said corruption is endemic in the government bureaucracy. They are all on the take, and all have foreign bank accounts, most certainly denominated in Dollars or Swiss francs.

      Besides, our dollar has been plenty soft. People that live here have no idea what living with “really soft” means.

  7. Cry Shop

    Wu Kang, China ‘democracy’ village, (snort)

    Ask anyone in Hong Kong where the nastiest, most vicious triads come from, and it’s Shanwei County in Guangdong. Ask any native of Shanwei where their nastiest triads come from, and it’s Lu Feng District. Ask anyone from Lu Feng (preferably from behind bullet proof glass) where their nastiest triads come from and it’s Wu Kang Village. There has never been democracy there, nor communism, just a pure form of right wing blood thirsty anarchy that Ayn Rand would love for the first 30 minutes, before they shot her in the head for the fun of it.

    1. TheCatSaid

      There was a multi-part documentary on Al Jazeera about this. It first aired in June 2013. It was a local citizens’ effort to get democracy, but they encountered constant obstruction by the cadre of local/regional state officials in their attempts to get back lands that had been sold illegally to well-connected people who were friends of state officials.

      The lack of progress (and/or efforts made by others?) created divisions among the citizen-elected group, and demoralized and disempowered them. The voters were angry because the citizen-elected council hadn’t succeeded in getting their land back. The council was portrayed as not being able to succeed against the obstructions by the corrupt officials. From the documentary, the citizen-elected council didn’t seem corrupt, but the local citizenry (many illiterate and not understanding or patient regarding bureaucracy and documents) had unreasonable expectations that their new democratically elected council would be able to solve things overnight.

      In the documentary, Lin Zuluan comes across as a modest and wise human being who is doing his best. In the last episode he finally quits because voters were dissatisfied and he was not making any progress getting the land back. From how he handled a number of challenging situations he doesn’t seem like a person likely to be corrupt. The last segment of the documentary was from a few years ago, so who knows what has happened since then.

      The corruption charge against Lin could be the result of a setup by the powerful corrupt elites of the area.

      1. TheCatSaid

        IOW, Lin was one of a democratically-elected council that were trying to fight the corrupt officials/elites/gangs. The experiment in democracy (granted by the government officials after massive local protests) only lasted a couple years, it seems, because the elected officials weren’t strong enough to succeed against the corrupt interests.

        Was one of the anti-corruption protesters actually himself corrupt? I guess this is what the government is now claiming. (See Brazil! stranger things have happened! But I’m not persuaded this is the situation in relation to Lin.)

      2. Cry Shop

        The documentary was made with Xi’s approval, what’s happened with the media is long manipulation of the story for internal party strugle purposes. Wu Kang still practices foot binding, selling of child brides(did so through the cultural revolution), and is one of the largest districts for producing Ice and similar synthetics. Was that in any of the Al-Jazeera Report?

        Wu Kang/Lu Feng is where Mao picked up the dig tunnels, dig deep strategy, having heard how they beat down even the Japanese, who decided it was cheaper to pay them/off ignore them because extermination attempts failed misserably.

        1. TheCatSaid

          I agree that all these documentaries have their propaganda purposes or are part of someone’s hidden agendas. In this specific case I’m not sure what–could be something like, democracy isn’t all that great and you’re no match for TPTB. The series I saw did portray the locals as backward and uneducated; there wasn’t much specifically about culture or traditions–the focus was the local disputes and the political events.

          Another documentary series on China was about MarcoPolo. There were many good aspects about it (and it was definitely pro-China, as per inherent cultural superiority compared to Europeans)–AND I couldn’t help but observe that this series was timed to come out about 1 month before the Alibaba IPO. I felt the real purpose of the series was to support foreign investment in Alibaba. Al Jazeera can be good in the way it covers other parts of the world–but as with all media there are various biases and agendas at play.

  8. Bunk McNulty

    Re: “Neither terrorism nor football…” Nota Bene: I did NOT talk to any taxi-drivers.

    I’m just back from two weeks of train strike, garbage strike, airline pilot strike, refinery blockades, and what was that other thing? Oh yeah, floods. Most of the people I spoke with said the train strike had to do with the 16% of SCNF employees who actually run the trains. They said it was a war of privilege against privilege. Train engineers have a rich employment package, the envy of all. To call them struggling workers is ridiculous. Now, it is also true, I’m told, that younger workers see the package their senior colleagues have, and they want it too. Who could blame them? Based on these conversations (with people in Alsace, Brittany, and in Paris) it seems to me that to suggest that this is a battle of the downtrodden against the privileged class is fantasy.

    1. BillC

      So the have-nots would rather see the unionized wage-earner class get knocked down a peg or two to their level of precariousness, rather than preserve the legal protections that allowed European widely-unionized workers to have several decades of growing prosperity and security … along with all of western Europe? And the argument is to “reform” EU competiveness in the race to the bottom with with low-wage, low-regulation economies? Globalization is a fraud on the 99.99%, but has been successfully sold to the top 51+%, at least so far. The French strikes and the Sanders and Brexit campaigns may be our last real chances to reverse this amazing propaganda victory over the western body politic’s self interest.

      I fear what you imply about fading public support for the CGT and their allies may be correct. However, those fussing about hard-to-find motor fuel and trains not running (as did I on our just-concluded two-week cycle tour, when I wasn’t looking for detours around flooded cycle routes) should remember that if the “kings” of the working class are deposed, their lessers will slide backwards economically, too.

      1. Ulysses

        Excellent comment!!

        Labor needs to constantly push to raise both the ceiling and the floor.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Every society chooses how to allocate productivity gains between Capital and Labor, anyone who doesn’t think we have the needle pegged all the way on the Capital side just can’t read a chart. So I view ANY and ALL collective action by workers as justified.
          Watch the Al Jazeera documentaries “The Slum” and “The Orphans of the Sahara” sometime and then tell me a society with $34 *trillion* in offshore tax-free havens needs to squeeze the working class some more.

  9. Carolinian

    Now we know why HRC likes Netanyahu so much. Great minds think alike.

    The climax was achieved when a Jewish financier accused in France of colossal fraud disclosed to the court that had had privately donated to Netanyahu a million Euros and paid Bibi’s extremely expensive hotel bills in many cities, including the French riviera. The exact sums are in doubt, but it is not denied that Netanyahu received from the man, who was already under suspicion of corruption at the time, large sums of money.

    The generous Israeli taxpayers (including me) paid for the five days of Bibi’s stay in New York last fall, to the tune of some 600,000 dollars. This sum – more than 100 thousand dollars per day – included the payment for his private hairdresser (1600 dollars) and his make-up woman (1750 dollars). The purpose of the trip was to address the UN General Assembly. I wonder how much each word cost.

    No word on Bibi’s green room demands or whether a paid transcriber was required.

    1. Pavel

      Minor correction: Great GRIFTERS think alike.

      I had seen the reports. Apparently Bibi required hard copy versions of Israeli newspapers at some crazy price while they were available online for free.

      On a more serious, and generally unknown, note, there are suspicions that Netanyahu was involved with nuclear technology smuggling from the US to Israel:

      On June 27, 2012, the FBI partially declassified and released seven additional pages [.pdf] from a 1985–2002 investigation into how a network of front companies connected to the Israeli Ministry of Defense illegally smuggled nuclear triggers out of the U.S.* The newly released FBI files detail how Richard Kelly Smyth — who was convicted of running a U.S. front company — met with Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel during the smuggling operation. At that time, Netanyahu worked at the Israeli node of the smuggling network, Heli Trading Company. Netanyahu, who currently serves as Israel’s prime minister, recently issued a gag order that the smuggling network’s unindicted ringleader refrain from discussing “Project Pinto.”

      As revealed in previously released FBI files and the tell-all book Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan, the Hollywood producer was recruited into Israel’s economic espionage division (LAKAM) in his 20s and learned how to establish front companies and secret bank accounts for smuggling operations. Arnon Milchan encouraged Smyth, a California engineer, to incorporate MILCO in 1972 and serve as a front for the Israel-based Heli Trading’s (also known as Milchan Limited) acquisitions of sensitive military technologies on behalf of the Ministry of Defense. Smyth fled the U.S. after being indicted for violating the Arms Export Control Act in the mid-1980s. In July 2001, Smyth was arrested in Spain by Interpol and returned to the U.S., and in November, he was convicted of exporting 800 nuclear triggers (called krytrons).

      FBI agents interviewed Smyth on April 16-17, 2002, at the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles. The secret interview report details how during a trip to Israel Smyth was “spotted” by Milchan, who claimed he worked as an exclusive purchasing agent for the Ministry of Defense. Smyth was introduced around to high military officials including then-general Ariel Sharon. Smyth was also put in contact with Benjamin Netanyahu, who worked at Heli Trading Company. According to the FBI report, “Smyth and [Netanyahu] would meet in restaurants in Tel Aviv and in [Netanyahu’s] home and/or business. It was not uncommon for [Netanyahu] to ask Smyth for unclassified material.”

      You can read more about this here: (2012): Netanyahu Worked Inside Nuclear Smuggling Ring

      No surprise that the MSM haven’t covered these matters more closely. But hey, it’s ISRAEL, so whatever they do is OK.

    1. Pavel

      Unbloodybelievable how long this is taking. In the UK with 60 million people or thereabouts they can have a national election using paper ballots and count them in public and have the results by the next morning if not earlier.

      The entire US election process is a complete scandal and a scam and a shame — too long, too expensive, not transparent, incompetent and corrupt voting machines and processes, press coverage focussing on the trivia…

      Not to mention the candidates it offers up!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It will be getting really hot here in California in the next few days.

        I think they will probably send the counting workers home until it’s safe to resume work again.

        1. craazyboy

          Isn’t there a mid year holiday in China too, about now? There has got to be a holiday somewhere in the world, between now and the 4th of July.

    2. Buttinsky

      Again, the treatment of the “provisionals” continues to be especially peculiar. Back on June 9 the uncounted provisionals stood at 705,489. Nine days later they have only been reduced by 41,390 to 664,099. Given the stories about how poll workers were providing provisional ballots instead of Democratic ballots to some independent voters, the bulk of those provisionals might greatly benefit Sanders. But it’s not even clear these are actually being counted. My understanding is that “provisional” means exactly that, and that there is some question about how local election officials will actually deal with them. Maybe the 41,390 removed from the “unprocessed” list so far were simply ruled invalid for whatever reason (flawed voter ID or voter registration, or errors on the ballot?).

      1. marym

        I read that one of the things they check for is that the voter didn’t also submit a mail-in ballot, so the provisionals would need to be counted last. Looks like it’s gonna take forever.

          1. marym

            From state elections website

            Who Casts a Provisional Ballot?

            Provisional ballots are ballots cast by voters who:
            •Believe they are registered to vote even though their names are not on the official voter registration list at the polling place.
            •Vote by mail but did not receive their ballot or do not have their ballot with them, and instead want to vote at a polling place.

            What Happens After You Cast a Provisional Ballot?

            Your provisional ballot will be counted after elections officials have confirmed that you are registered to vote in that county and you did not already vote in that election.

            The ballot exchange was an NPP ballot for a Dem party ballot.

        1. Alex morfesis

          Nah…probably just 75 years. It’s the new normal…

          and the grandkids 2…

          statute of limitations on remainder charitable trust clawbacks…

          very long gone…

      2. TheCatSaid

        A pattern with prior cases of election tampering (e.g. Ohio 2004 is a particularly notorious large-scale example–see Richard Hayes Phillips for data and documents) is that counties with delayed or unusually late results are red flags. The delay apparently allows time for analysis and necessary “adjustments”. There are many examples that are blatant.

        That’s in addition to garden variety incompetence.

    3. TheCatSaid (aka "TheCatSquid")

      I just watched Hacking Democracy on youtube. It brought back a lot of memories. It’s scary to think that the actual situation is far worse than the events shown in that film. Richard Hayes Phillips’ talk (e.g., in Arizona) about 2004 fills out more details that weren’t yet known when that film was made.

      1. TheCatSaid

        And the new Fraction Magic report shows it’s many times worse than what either of them imagined back in 2004. The latest segment proves the ability to manipulate results in a way the results won’t throw up red flags.

  10. JTMcPhee

    What’s the difference between Netanyahoo and Arafat?

    The beard…

    “In a ruined country: How Yasser Arafat Destroyed Palestin,” working closely with a little bunch of Israelites and other friends:

    With some attention, one can see how the magicians pull off their tricks — but who has the presence to go up on stage and show how it was done and stop the show?

    1. Harry

      The only language the party understands. Where do I sign up to kick DWS out? Next stop chuck sc(h)umer please. The h is silent, like the SEC

      1. inode_buddha

        Oh, you too regarding Schumer? Its easy to get rid of him, just throw a TV camera in the river. He’ll follow it. Just like a dog playing “fetch”.

        I’m among those whio signed up for the grass-roots effort. Going through my head is an old song: “This Land is Your Land”. Haven’t heard that one in a while, since Pete Seeger sang it.

      2. Benedict@Large

        Did anyone stop and think that if we let Debbie keep her job, she’d be a lot easier to find when her indictment came out? No, I have to do all the heavy lifting around here, don’t I?

        1. hunkerdown

          If she goes back to her home country and stays there, ostracism has been accomplished.

        2. Praedor

          I don’t think she’s going far. Hillary pulls her from the DNC to probably add her to her staff. Watch her reappear as Hillary’s Chief of Staff or some other position where she can do maximal damage and achieve maximal graft.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe even a pre-convention convention of Sanders delegates only.

      “We are the real, fraud-free delegates.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And write our own platform at that pre-convention convention.

        It will feel like a separate party.

          1. Ulysses

            Kudos for the apt French Revolution reference!!

            The problem we face today is that there are too many Bastilles to storm all at once.

            “Arrête que tous les membres de cette assemblée prêteront, à l’instant, serment solennel de ne jamais se séparer, et de se rassembler partout où les circonstances l’exigeront…”

  11. Bill Smith

    From “NATO orders four additional battalions to Russian border”

    “The NATO buildup in Eastern Europe is producing levels of militarist frenzy not seen in Europe since the 1930s.”

    LOL, did World War II occur in the 1940s? True, it started in late 1939… What about the buildup in the late 1960s? Thru about 1990?

    1. Paper Mac

      There are less than 40k NATO troops in Poland. Some excercises during the cold war involved in excess of 100k and actually did come close to starting wars in particular instances. Comparing the present moment to those instances seems a bit of a stretch, but after the election who knows.

      1. Lexington

        Wait, it gets better:

        Beginning with the February 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev, the US-dominated imperialist alliance has relentlessly stoked confrontation with Moscow and laid the foundations for a continental-scale war aimed at breaking up and conquering the Russian Federation.

        It’s like the editors from the golden age of Pravda have suddenly found a new home…

          1. Lexington

            Are you saying the statement is false?

            Truth and falsehood can depend a great deal on one’s perspective, but at the very least I would suggest the following assertions are self evidently absurd:

            1. NATO is a “US dominated imperialist alliance”

            2. NATO has “relentlessly stoked confrontation with Moscow”

            3. NATO has “laid the foundations for continental-scale war”

            and finally

            4. NATO aims at “breaking up and conquering the Russian Federation”

            I offer no opinion on the accuracy of the remainder of the statement.

            1. Plenue

              1. The United States has always been the dominate force in NATO, and was the key player in its creation. Furthermore, NATO was expressly created to counter an entity that literally hasn’t even existed for a quarter of a century. It has no reason to still exist, much less expand, other than being a tool of US foreign policy quite separate from any actual need for defense. I mention this every time I post about NATO: read up on the Delian League. It’s literally the first result you get if you search for ‘Athenian Empire’.

              2. The coup in Kiev was a direct provocation of Moscow. Plans were proceeding for Ukraine to join NATO until Yanukovych killed it in 2008. Since his removal both NATO and EU membership are on the table. Not to mention the assault on the Syrian government is partly to remove a Russian ally and open up a southern front.

              3. I can’t speak definitively about how far the nutjobs in DC are willing to push this madness, but so far it’s been very clear the United States cares little about the fate of its European ‘allies’.

              4. You seriously don’t see that the ultimate objective is ‘regime change’ in Russia? The US wants more than anything a return to the 90s, when a drunken puppet was in charge and Russia was open to Western looting.

              1. Lexington

                1. NATO may still be US dominated but not to the same extent as the Cold War, when it maintained much larger conventional forces, the prestige of its armed forces hadn’t been sapped by a string of failures since 9/11 (Vietnam was a low point, but the US responded by abolishing conscription and cultivated a much more proficient all professional army) and Western Europe lived in fear of the Red Army and its Warsaw Pact allies launching a Blitzkrieg for the Rhine.

                My main objection to this characterization however is the “imperialist alliance” part. What exactly IS an “imperialist alliance” and how does NATO qualify as one? The US clearly does not dominate NATO in the same way as the USSR dominated the Warsaw Pact, which perhaps much more closely approximates a “[Russian] imperialist alliance”.

                2. I can’t believe I missed this one, it should have been point #0 in my previous post.

                So there was NO COUP IN THE UKRAINE. This is an entirely a fabrication of Russian nationalist bloggers and their fellow travelers in the West.

                Viktor Yanukovych was elected in 2010 on a platform which promised closer ties to the EU. In 2012 an association agreement was provisionally negotiated. However shortly before ratification Yanukovych abruptly and without consultation announced that the agreement with the EU would be aborted in favour of closer ties with Russia. Now since the Ukraine had only recently emerged from under centuries of Russian imperial domination it surprised no one – except credulous Westerners who can’t remember what happened last week and get what passes for their history education from Saker – that this volte face prompted MASSIVE demonstrations, which ultimately resulted in Yanukovich and an number of his cronies fleeing to (where else?) Russia. Yanukovych was only impeached AFTER he had already abandoned his post and sought the protection of his Russian patrons. In what universe does this count as a “coup”?

                Oh right, in one in which people hate the EU so much that they find it intellectually unacceptable to believe that anyone would actually want to be associated with it, which leads easily to the belief that any such expressed desire must either be the product of insincerity or moral depravity. Clearly the Ukrainian people cannot be trusted to choose their own destiny; they need the strong hand of Uncle Putin to save them from themselves.

                Can you believe that many of the people who espouse such beliefs claim in all apparent sincerity to be some species of “liberal”?

                As for being a “provocation”, yeah, to the extent that the Ukraine is an independent country free to choose its own course it is a provocation to Russian nationalists, who regard Ukrainian independence (and that of the other former Soviet republics) as temporary and galling historic aberrations that will soon be made right, with everyone getting just exactly what they deserve. Russian retribution exists well within living memory in the former empire and the memories still burn.

                And then people are SHOCKED that these countries are banging like lunatics on the NATO gatehouse begging to be let in.

                3. Saying the US believes it can win a nuclear war with Russia is an extraordinary claim that demands extraordinary evidence, not some vague appeal to neocon insanity.

                4. The US wants more than anything a return to the 90s, when a drunken puppet was in charge and Russia was open to Western looting.

                There was a lot of looting going on in Russia and still is, but it mainly benefits the Russian elite.

                From a strategic standpoint I agree with you however: the US misses the bad old days when the drunk pushover Yelstin was in charge, and has badly managed its relationship with Russia since the advent of Putin.

                That having been said the US is no position to fight a war with Russia (not in Eurasia anyway, which is the only place such a war could be decisive) and I see no reason to believe the American elite thinks they can. This is completely nonsensical at a thousand different levels.

                Fortunately there are plenty of rungs in the escalation ladder between allowing Putin to do whatever he wants to the former Soviet republics and satellites -a policy that in the end is much more likely to produce exactly the conflict you claim to want to avoid – and invading Russia.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  Wow, do you like giving selective information.

                  Let me throw in a few bits. I’ll let readers pile on.

                  Comparing NATO to the USSR is a complete straw man. The US PAYS for NATO. No member state, none, comes anywhere close to meeting its 2% of GDP required contribution. The UK comes closest, and only by virtue of Osborne faking the numbers, by attributing expenditures the UK was making already to NATO.

                  Re Urkraine: the overthrow of a government outside established democratic processes is a coup. Sorry if you don’t like calling a spade a spade. Elections were due to be held in Ukraine a mere 6 weeks after the coup took place. And the new government shredded the old constitution, a fact you omit. You ALSO omit the big role that Soros’ Open Society and other Western groups played in this. I saw Soros (this is firsthand) say with pride that everyone (everyone!) in the new government in Ukraine was a beneficiary of Open Society grants, either personally or an immediate family member.

                  1. Lexington

                    Comparing NATO to the USSR is a complete straw man

                    Not hardly.

                    The USSR held all the senior commands in the Warsaw Pact, with other nations’ armed forces being subordinated to Soviet commanders. In NATO the senior commands were split between the US, the UK, and (after 1966) Germany. France withdrew from NATO’s joint command in 1966. Imre Nagy and Alexander Dubček tried to leave the Warsaw Pact – and were rewarded with a Red Army invasion.

                    Do you see the difference?

                    The US PAYS for NATO. No member state, none, comes anywhere close to meeting its 2% of GDP required contribution.

                    First of all, the 2% is a target (and a recent one), not a “required contribution”.

                    The US doesn’t pay for NATO. It spends more on defence, and has since World War II, but also engages in a lot more military adventurism. Do you think the US should be able to claim the whole Iraq mess (estimated price tag: $1 trillion) as a “contribution” to NATO? What about drone strikes in Somalia or Yemen, or the cost of maintaining American forces in Japan and South Korea?

                    Re Urkraine: the overthrow of a government outside established democratic processes is a coup

                    What exactly are the “established democratic processes” when the president betrays a core campaign promise, is driven from office by popular protest, and seeks refuge in a foreign country? By your definition the American Revolution was a coup too. How do you propose to rectify that?

                    And the new government shredded the old constitution, a fact you omit.

                    Has a duly constituted court found that to be the case? немає. You’re relying on your own authority as a Ukrainian constitutional scholar, and with all due respect I don’t think you’re qualified.

                    You ALSO omit the big role that Soros’ Open Society and other Western groups played in this.

                    Umm, how exactly do you quantify the role Soros played, and concluded that it was “big”?

                    I think this is what you yourself would call Soros “talking his own book”.

                    Soros can say whatever he wants, I don’t think tens of thousands of Ukrainians turned out against Yanukovych because a Hungarian-American financier whom the vast majority had never heard of and could care less about thought they should.

                    Let me throw in a few bits. I’ll let readers pile on.

                    Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

                    But I do enjoy a vigorous discussion, so by all means, bring it.

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      You really do make stuff up.

                      First, the US wields control over NATO via the pursestrings. That is more than sufficient. It does not need operational control to have its policies and views implemented.

                      Second, one does not need to be a constitutional scholar to interpret what happened in Urkaine. The new government repudiated the then-current Constitution and imposed another one.

                      Third, with an election coming in a mere six weeks, at which Yanukovich was CERTAIN to be voted out of office (his poll rating were terrible), driving him out of office sooner was patently a violation of democratic processes. Yanukovich had not threatened to suspend elections.

                      You’d never even attempt this argument if something like this happened in Canada. This is pure sophistry.

                    2. Pat

                      Ummm, what democratic process did the Americans have to change the government? None. As Yves and others have pointed out to you, there was a clear democratic process to change the leadership in the Ukraine AND a scheduled election. The only reason to circumvent that process was that it might or even clearly would not have resulted in the leadership currently in power in the Ukraine. This leadership is one friendlier to NATO and the EU even after reading the onerous and disastrous terms of “joining” for the country they supposedly represent. And why was the Ukraine so important to NATO and the EU? Their limited resources? Or their location?
                      And if you say it was because it was what the Ukrainians wanted, explain the reaction of the Ukrainian people after this went down? Civil war does not happen because this was the will of the people.

                2. Plenue

                  A lot of crap in here.

                  It objectively was a coup, but even if we pretend it wasn’t there was a proper Parliamentary procedure to follow. They never got the required votes; the new government was illegitimate.

                  As for the nukes I suggest you go read up on the Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as what’s been declassified about both US and Soviet nuclear doctrine. While you’re at it read Blowback and learn something about US imperalism vis a vis NATO.

                  I don’t read Saker; he’s almost as uninformed as you are.

                  And don’t call me a f**king ‘liberal’.

                  1. tegnost

                    Lexington is using a lot words to not say much, for example
                    “First of all, the 2% is a target (and a recent one), not a “required contribution”.

                    “The US doesn’t pay for NATO. It spends more on defence, and has since World War II, but also engages in a lot more military adventurism.” ”
                    This statement clarifies nothing. Why does it not being a required contribution matter? Does the US spend more money on nato, or not. Qualifications are unnecessary, just the numbers, please.
                    “also engages in a lot more military adventurism” but russia has nothing to fear from nato putting missiles on their border? Because we’re so restrained? We have no imperial global goals? Really?
                    From Wiki “On 22 February, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove him from his post, on the grounds that he was unable to fulfill his duties.[13] Although the legislative removal by an impeachment procedure would have lacked the number of votes required by Ukraine’s then-current constitution,[14] the resolution did not follow the impeachment procedure but instead established that Yanukovych “withdrew from his duties in an unconstitutional manner” and citing “circumstances of extreme urgency” ”
                    Love him or hate him, it appears true from this that they did not have the votes to impeach, i.e. yanukovitch had support from someone, and in great enough numbers to prevent impeachment.
                    Then of course there’s this:

                    1. Plenue

                      The phone call always amazes me, particularly the way the media covered it. The focus was entirely on her insulting the EU and using a ‘dirty word’, and not the substance of their conversation. They were blatantly talking about who would be in the new government.

          1. polecat

            “And i want a new car! …….. one that gets shitty gas mileage!”

            ‘Buy the new SUX 2000 …….’

  12. Dave

    “Money laundering memo #Guccifer3 screenshots”

    IMPOSSIBLE TO READ. Text is too small.

    1. Alex morfesis

      Click on the image itself…should expand or bring up your internal image program…basically goes over playing word games to go around the leguslative intent of separation of pac and state…I meant pac and nobility..

      or was that no ability…

      “How to supersize the order” & make it so you can do a mozilo…do the nasty and keep your tan too

    1. Buttinsky

      One amusing discovery at this point. If you check the properties on the Word docs, you will sometimes find the last user to have modified the doc, in the last couple of days, is “Ernesto Che.” Heir to the Guevara Revolution fortune.

      1. hunkerdown

        Probable sign of evidence tampering, maybe even a limited hangout. Be careful not to step into a Rathergate.

    2. TheCatSaid

      Those documents are amazing. The couple I’ve read so far give a window into the WH circle I’ve never seen. (E.g., HRC organizing reporting structures before the campaign was announced; letter of recommendation for a potential replacement for JCOS)

      It’s like a window into a parallel universe.

  13. Antifa

    NATO Orders Four Additional Battalions to Russian Border

    NATO is meeting next month to consider Georgia for membership (a foregone conclusion). This is the equivalent of Russia promising to defend Mexico from American intrusions, and stationing missiles, armor, and troops right where Trump wants to build a wall. How many Americans do you think will feel okay about that? Americans will not start a war over it, but they sure as hell will get ready for war. It’s obviously on the menu. Russia is responding in the same way — getting ready for what’s clearly coming at them.

    When Georgia is accepted, it will receive the same empty promise of ‘eternal’ defense of their territory by the US and NATO, a totally empty promise because we cannot even begin to defend tiny states on the Russian border by conventional means. Russia, on the other hand, can walk all over the three Baltic states with conventional arms before we even get troops ready to roll in that direction. That means the only real threat from NATO is all out nuclear war. It is fortunate that Russia has no interest in owning those states, nor Georgia, any more than you are interested in having a hole in your head.

    Hillary and Obama back the clique of military non-thinkers who imagine that small-yield nuclear bombs, used judiciously, can become part of conventional warfare. Cute little nukes that can take out an enemy battalion here, a division there, open a gap in the enemy lines, disrupt supply lines, that sort of thing. They see their new generation of mini-nukes as really big artillery. Nukes of any size are not artillery, nor conventional bombs; they are nuclear weapons. Russia will respond with ballistic and cruise missiles carrying multiple huge warheads to the continental USA. We’ll get fried from coast to coast.

    Clinton and Obama and the neocons are gambling, with our lives and our planet as the stakes, that Russia will back down when attacked with mini-nukes and conventional weapons, that Russia will accept NATO domination, will accept Western possession of the immense gas and oil reserves of the Caucasus, and will fade away into obscurity. NATO eventually wants to disarm Russia under direct threat of nuclear war, and then invade them anyway to bring them into our empire. This is the 1% doctrine of Dick Cheney — preemptive war on any nation that can ever conceivably, possibly pose even a 1% risk of challenging our complete dominance of the global order.

    The Danish Colonel Larsen quoted at the end of the article is all set to fight the last war. “Total war” nowadays doesn’t mean every citizen pitches in and either fights or works for victory, growing Victory Gardens and collecting aluminum pans — it means every one of your cities vanishes into a giant fireball within ten minutes, and your crops, water, and air are lethally contaminated with radiation for the next century or so. Total war nowadays means the war begins and ends while you’re getting your pants on.

    You don’t plan and prepare for that — you find out who is pushing for total war, and put them into an asylum where they can’t hurt themselves or others.

    1. tgs

      Excellent comment.

      Initiating a game of nuclear ‘chicken’ is another part of the ‘Obama Legacy’ that Clinton will continue. I think any rational, informed person would be scared at this point. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have moved the doomsday clock to two minutes before midnight. Yet this is of no interest to our MSM. Nor is there any national debate. How many Americans actually understand what our government is doing? Our ‘peace prize’ president authorizing the upgrade of our nuclear weapons at the cost of 1 trillion dollars while public schools are underfunded. Russia is not going to fold – they will compromise but they won’t capitulate to the fantasies of Washington and Nato. And now we are about to send in a person who is actually worse, more unhinged than our current president. Seriously, I never thought I would see a situation this bad.

      1. Antifa

        There is one encouraging note.

        If Britain leaves the European Union, it will mark the beginning of the gradual dissolution of the EU, which is nothing more than a banking federation, after all. That will leave NATO even less funded by the European nations, meaning America will either take up the slack in the budget or let NATO fade away. If NATO isn’t willing to actually attack Russia, it’s not worth the money we pour into it.

        NATO is much of the reason people think of the EU as a political entity when it’s no such thing. The EU’s got its own army and air force and navy with NATO, sort of. But it’s an illusion. The choice to open all their borders and have everyone use the same currency is the sum of what the EU is. As that choice clearly results in a generation of lost sovereignty, and grinding austerity, citizens will grow restive, will insist on putting their own nation first, and will want their soldiers back home, not off playing war games trying to scare the Russian bear.

        The bear is watching the EU slowly die from internal corruption, even as NATO grows more desperately belligerent under American funding and prodding. Russia is preparing for war so that there is no war, and hoping NATO’s members see in time that there is no practical way to conquer the world for America’s 1%.

        1. fresno dan

          June 18, 2016 at 5:17 pm
          Thanks for that (both posts)
          Is there any better evidence that the whole game is rigged than the idea that the people of Georgia would want to join NATO (i.e., EU mentality) – a group of elites that took the most prosperous area on earth and with their Rube Goldberg machinations (to make themselves richer) turned it into a disaster?
          And the irony that an entity (i.e., the EU) that acts more and more like the Soviet Union of old is trying to spread the EU ideology against a former undemocratic bureaucratized state is….well, ironic.

          1. Lexington

            Not nearly as ironic as this:

            Is there any better evidence that the whole game is rigged than the idea that the people of Georgia would want to join NATO (i.e., EU mentality)

            Russia invaded Georgia as recently as 2008.

            Let’s put our thinking caps on for just a minute here and try real hard to come up with a PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE reason they might want to join NATO, one that just for a change doesn’t rely on the ubiquitous global neoliberal conspiracy hobby horse….

            1. Plenue

              No, it didn’t. Georgia attempted to annex the disputed South Ossetia region. At which point Russia responded by curb-stomping the Georgian military and kicking them out of the area, before themselves withdrawing. You’re twisting history into literally the exact opposite of the facts.

              You’re either a knowing liar (in which case I hope you’re being paid to spew this crap) or a bullshitter who simply doesn’t care about reality.

              1. Lexington


                South Ossetia was within Georgia’s internationally recognized borders. In exactly what sense was it DISPUTED?

                That aside, it is a matter of historic fact that Russia did invade Georgia proper in 2008 – and not for the first time.

                Sorry if you find the truth distasteful but resorting to cheap ad hominem attacks does nothing to bolster your credibility.

            2. Antifa

              Russia intervened in Georgia in 2008 to stop Georgia from ethnically cleansing two small provinces of all Russians. Those two provinces were rescued, chose to become independent nations, and all Georgians were chased out of each of them instead. In a couple weeks it was all done, and the Russians withdrew. They didn’t and do not now want Georgia. They want Georgia to stop attacking its Russian-speaking neighbors.

              This is a perfect example of Russian restraint, not lust for war. They acted promptly to protect ethnic Russians, and when the threat was dealt with, let them choose their own future, and went home. In recent years, Georgia has again begun threatening these new, tiny nations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, so the Russians have rolled their troops back into their old barracks in both mini-states. The bear does not trust the Georgians, and will not give them even a single free day of ethnic cleansing before coming to the defense of ethnic Russians.

              Georgia joining NATO will be as effective a defense against Russia as joining the Romulan Empire. The Romulans will never arrive. Neither will NATO. All that joining NATO will do is allow NATO to put missiles, tanks, artillery, armor, and European troops right on the border with Russia. It’s purely for provocation.

              My only question is, will Russia put up with it? Would you accept a Russian army parked on the far shore of the Rio Grande?

              1. Lexington

                That ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on a very large scale – Abhazia’s population declined by half as a result- is well documented. I’m not aware of any independent documentation substantiating an ethnic cleansing of ethnic Russians however – and I’m more than half convinced this a purely a fabrication on your part intended to excuse the actions of Russia and its local allies.

                I would of course be more than willing to reconsider my position if you could provide such documentation.

                As for letting them “choose their own future”, we all know how much Putin prizes self determination.

                Just ask the Chechens.

                1. Plenue

                  Seriously? Russia attacked Georgia for shits and giggles, that’s what you’re going with? And after they quickly and completely smashed the Georgian military they withdrew and conquered nothing because…? Such greedy expansionists!

    2. Lexington

      Russian nationalism morphs into outright paranoia so easily doesn’t it?

      NATO is meeting next month to consider Georgia for membership (a foregone conclusion)

      Foregone by whom? The conventional wisdom is that NATO will punt the question of Georgian membership to December because there is no consensus on moving forward. France and Germany have said they are opposed to it.

      This is the equivalent of Russia promising to defend Mexico from American intrusions, and stationing missiles, armor, and troops right where Trump wants to build a wall

      It is fortunate that Russia has no interest in owning those states, nor Georgia, any more than you are interested in having a hole in your head.

      See, the problem here is that these two statements are logically incompatible. If Russia in fact has no interest in “owning” the Baltic states, then what possible objection could it have to NATO extending a security guarantee to them? The security guarantee is only problematic if in fact it is an obstacle to Russian ambitions, which according to you it is not. So there actually isn’t any problem.

      Oh, but you did forget to mention that Russia’s self evidently peaceful intentions notwithstanding, the USSR extinguished the independence of the Baltic republics in World War II and retained its iron grip on them until the final dissolution of the empire in 1991.

      You understand that I mention it only because some might think that historical footnote might furnish some relevant context to the current geo political situation.

      Hillary and Obama back the clique of military non-thinkers who imagine that small-yield nuclear bombs, used judiciously, can become part of conventional warfare


      Could you please provide a link or two to said “military non-thinkers” actually arguing that a war with Russia can be won with tactical nuclear weapons?

      it means every one of your cities vanishes into a giant fireball within ten minutes, and your crops, water, and air are lethally contaminated with radiation for the next century or so. Total war nowadays means the war begins and ends while you’re getting your pants on.

      In other words nice city you have there, be a shame if something should happen to it out of some misguided concern for a “quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing”.

      I used to think the neocons’ obsession with appeasement, Munich, 1938 and all that reflected the baneful influence of an obsessive idée fixe that seemed to distort every aspect of their worldview. The more I listen to people like you casually talk of nuclear holocaust for even daring to entertain even the mildest resistance to Russian ambitions the more it’s starting to vaguely make some kind of sense.

      1. Plenue

        NATO literally only exists to counter Russia. Or rather, the Soviet Union, which hasn’t existed for 25 years. Russia has remained static for decades, whereas an origination whose raison d’etre imploded a generation ago has advanced and encircled a nation that was for years a dessicated husk (thanks in large part to deliberate Western efforts) and even now as a resurgent power still is only able to muster a fraction of the military might that NATO can bring to bear. And what power it has is mostly in the form of formations ill-suited to large-scale mechanized warfare. They only reformed the 1st Guards Tank Army a little over three months ago!

      2. low integer

        The more I listen to people like you casually talk of nuclear holocaust for even daring to entertain even the mildest resistance to Russian ambitions the more it’s starting to vaguely make some kind of sense.

        Specifically, what are the Russian ambitions that you are referring to here?

    1. NeqNeq

      Its a good read if you had a hard time grokking Lambert’s link yesterday about the ar-15 being a “platform”. Given many of the comments, it seems like there is a lot of confusion.

      Anyway, I don’t find this article s statement re ability to ban AR-15’s believable, especially not the 80% receiver portions, but time will tell.

      Good find.

      1. Carolinian

        But isn’t this game being played with the government kind of childish? You have an unregistered AR-15…so what? Doubtless by the time you buy all the components it costs more than a factory gun. It’s the sort of thing only drug dealers–and those denied by background checks–would find useful and it’s probably easier for them to steal a gun than go on the atf radar with mail orders etc. I do find the Harper’s author, like the author of Lambert’s article, to be a bit too gee whiz.

        1. cnchal

          Thanks for the link. I don’t know much about guns, other than having fired a few shotguns and 22’s as a kid, but this explains Lambert’s platform comment well.

          I can see the appeal of someone going through the trouble of getting an 80% receiver and building their own gun without registering it. Stealing a gun exposes one to the risk of getting caught, and then having a registered stolen gun in your possession if you didn’t get caught, and besides, how else can a person not interested in stealing anything from anyone own a gun that is not required to be registered?

          This part was funny.

          Mazurkiewicz and his colleagues design their receivers on a computer, load the resulting code onto a memory stick, walk it across the room to the CNC unit, and plug it in.

          Perhaps Mazurkiewicz is afraid of his mill getting hacked and wrecking a part so he wanted an air gap.

            1. cnchal

              Good idea. Then that money can be used to pay the medical and funeral bills of gunshot victims. Something that has puzzled me is, who pays the bills when there is a weekend of gun carnage in a city like Chicago?

              1. ambrit

                Some states take the money ‘earned’ by convict labour and put it in a fund that underwrites victims medical bills.
                I don’t see how this pays everything, but, one must start somewhere.

          1. NeqNeq

            Perhaps Mazurkiewicz is afraid of his mill getting hacked and wrecking a part so he wanted an air gap.

            I assume that you do not know much about CNCs. Many low-end and older machines do not have the internal memory to store loads of instruction sets. Coding the instructions for each job individually would be a major hassle. So you code on a computer (or let a program do it for you based on CAD) and then load it to the machine via USB

        2. optimader

          I didn’t read the article, but the AR-15 is basically the receiver to which people in that hobby/lifestyle add various bits and pieces to arrive at some weird (to me) state of satisfaction Most certainly done at a premium cost, as is the case of customizing anything.

          I doubt the typical odd character that does this is the drug dealer, they would just buy a crate of AR15s.This is more the domain of the ammosexual who has a fetish

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I was sent an article showing little girls (and I mean little, like under 10!) using AR-15s! Argument was, “This is such a good gun for girls, how can it be dangerous?” That was not the wording, but clearly the takeaway they wanted to impart on the reader.

        3. NeqNeq

          Carolinian- sorry for delayed response. Knowing people who have purchased 80%’ers, I don’t think categorizing them all as drug dealers and people who can’t pass background checks is legitimate. (Normally I ignore phrasing, but it fits into a larger problem wrt modern political debates)

          Unfortunately (imo) many of them appear to fear that a registry of guns is likely to result in the removal of guns at some point in the future. I happen to think that such a belief is unfounded and primarily the result of panic based marketing. So yes I thinks its “childish” in that capacity.
          But I also think that many people on the opposite side of the debate are childish in the same way.

          Panic based arguments are effective at ‘convincing’. Unfortunately, they also tend to undermine the willingness to hear (mush less consider) information, evidence, and argument which conflicts with the fear. Add in some dehumanizing language ( ie crazy people, criminals, ammosexuals, hippies, libtards, etc) and suddenly there is supposedly justification for not hearing anything which conflicts with belief.

          Anyway, what I disagree with is the authors argument that the AR-15 can’t be banned because of 80%s and additive manufacturing. It would be easy to ban all AWOs because they are on nobody’s political radar. Then add verbiage which classifies 80%’s and printed receivers as AWOs when fit with a barrel, bolt, etc. We already ban other weapons on a similar schema.

      2. Plenue

        Calling it a ‘platform’ is pure marketing bs. The AR-15 is an assault rifle. There are a lot of mods and attachments for it, but no matter how much crap you pile on it’s still an assault rifle at its core. And a lot of those attachments are just fancy doo-dads to sell to idiots. Pimping out your gun to the extreme is called ‘tacticool’ and gets you laughed at by the, uh, ‘higher grade’ of firearm expert.

  14. Jay M

    Bezos really took off when he realized he should start a bank to service his robot employees. Soon all the machines were outfitted with $10K purchase limit Visa cards and an algorithm to place orders with Amazon. Since they had no real need to consume, other than electricity, this created a virtual space where money could be accumulated with out really having to do anything. With the miracle of compounding the virtual Amazon soon outstripped the world GDP, with nothing being traded but electrons. Bezos soon had his orbital compound where he could look down on the increasing hazy air of the planet. The code name for the system coordinating the virtual orders from the robots was called “Ponzi”.

    1. craazyboy

      Bezos had to launch the IPO, “Amazon Garage Sale” to make it all work. It’s an HFT computer favorite and it’s market cap is thru the roof!

  15. ChiGal

    so Chicago is ripe for a progressive movement (oh, Harold!). from the article:
    Meanwhile, problems with facilities have been growing since the district, in what it said was a cost-cutting move, privatized cleaning services two years ago by awarding more than $300 million in contracts to two firms, Aramark and SodexoMAGIC (the latter associated with former NBA star Magic Johnson, who, incidentally, donated to Emanuel’s reelection campaign last year).
    plenty of people are sick of this

    1. JTMcPhee

      …and what are those plenty of people going to actually DO about it? Vote? In Chicago?

  16. William C

    Re Rodrik and Brexit it is of course important to remember that the UK is outside EMU and therefore retains control of monetary policy and, in all truly important respects, fiscal policy, so is not here subject to his trilemma. There is not the slightest chance that any UK government in the foreseeable future will relinquish these powers to the EU. So, in those regards, it is not a candidate to participate in global economic integration.

    Other areas such as defence, foreign policy, education, health all in the broad do and will stay with the UK government (subject of course to NATO obligations), so any suggestion that the UK has largely given up its independence – or will do so – would be far-fetched

    With trade, it is of course a different matter, as the whole aim of creating a single market would be vitiated if separate authorities in different parts of the market were able to make different rules. Hence the pooling of national sovereignty in this area to allow the creation of a single market. This is only really a significant problem for UK politics in the large where it provides for free movement of people, which is why immigration has become such a central issue in the debate, plugging into the long-established dislike many English have for those whom they describe in a mutter as ‘bloody foreigners’ (I write as a Scot who speaks with an English accent so have often been party to such conversations which of course are not intended for the ears of the non-English).

    One of the ironies of what is going on in the UK is that those places such as London (where I live), where the recent immigrants from the EU are largely concentrated, are generally pretty relaxed about the influx. Opinion polls suggest that, with some exceptions, it is those parts of the country which have seen the lowest immigration (such as the depressed coastal towns of eastern England) where the concerns about immigration are highest. This suggests to me that the real problem is the deprivation in these places, which is very real, and that foreigners are largely being used as scapegoats to direct the blame away from the broader economic and social problems and policies which are the real cause of the difficulties of the local inhabitants.

    Not, of course, that immigration does not depress the pay of the low-paid to some degree but the problems of the poor in the UK predate the arrival of significant numbers of EU migrants (largely since 2004) by many years.

    1. mcarson

      It’s an old political trick, destroy public services and cut benefits and housing and blame it all on the immigrants. Friends say they’re trying to run medical care into the ground, get people mad at the doctors and then hope to privatize it all once people get fed up.

  17. rich

    Tear Down This Wall!
    Saturday, June 18, 2016
    ___(Your Name Here)___, Tear Down This Wall!
    It’s a “now” moment for each of us. Yes, you. The stars are aligning and we must seize this moment.

    We finally have some considerable focus on the huge protective wall between people with quickly fatal, untreatable diseases and experimental drugs. We need to punch some holes in that wall. Now. Today. We can do it. We must.

    For a little over a year, a grassroots group of people fighting ALS became an informed activist group pressing the FDA, legislators, and drug developers. They are smart. They are full of energy. They are fearless and nimble. Many of them are dying. They experience the pain and understand the flaws of the status quo. They are and they are on the FDA”s radar.

    A few months ago we saw some considerable activity from another small group, . They proposed three pieces of legislation to punch some holes in the big wall between people dying of ALS and investigational drugs. Their rally on Capitol Hill drew national attention on Thursday. We stood in visible solidarity with advocates representing other terminal, unmet-need diseases. Finally.

    And last night, we saw a Vice feature, “Die Trying,” on HBO that said it all, thanks to Angelina Fanous, a talented Vice writer/reporter with ALS. Follow her @notsovanilla on twitter. You will learn a lot. And watch the Vice piece.
    Ep. 416 Debrief (4:53)

    1. TheCatSaid

      Thank you for this link! I knew The Real News is covering it live but I couldn’t find a link for yesterday.

  18. allan

    Many Sanders supporters not ready to unite behind Clinton

    Live updates from the WA state convention [Seattle Times]

    Despite Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley’s call for Democrats to unify behind Hillary Clinton, many supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at the state Democratic convention are not ready to do so.

    Some delegates booed and gave thumbs-down signs when Merkley asked them to get behind Clinton.

    Daniel Brown, from Bellingham, turned his back on Merkley during his unity plea.

    Brown said Clinton will not be the Democratic nominee until the Democratic National Convention next month. “Between now and then we don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s premature.”

    Brown said he can’t vote for Republican Donald Trump, but he’s not sure he can vote for Clinton in November, either. He said he’s tired of being told to back “the lesser of two evils.”

    This is why Sanders’ speech on Thursday night had the right tone.
    Clinton needs Sanders more than he needs her. She knows it, and he knows she knows it.

    1. Archie

      And what could she possibly give him that would make you or others like Daniel Brown support her? Leopards don’t change their spots. Angling for some kind of leverage on the self-appointed Empress in an effort to “change” her is the ultimate waste of time and effort. She doesn’t need Sanders and more importantly, she doesn’t want Sanders and his supporters. Stop deluding yourself. Please.

      1. allan

        “she doesn’t want Sanders and his supporters”

        Then why were her surrogates so unhappy with his address on Thursday?
        The lady and her entourage protesteth too much.

        1. Archie

          They want total fealty, but otherwise dissenters are just f#@king libtards. Come on allan, open your eyes and believe what you see. Or not.

      2. hunkerdown

        Remember her plan to “put the Party back together later”? He, or rather WE, control the schism, not her. Clinton needs Sanders (and us) to keep the Party, the bipartisan consensus, and the government of the USA appearing legitimate. How she might use him to do that or whether she can succeed is a separate matter.

      3. aab

        I don’t think Sanders is angling for leverage. He knows what’s going to happen if he climbs on the back of that scorpion. I think he’s playing for time. State level elected superdelegates have been slowing moving to him in the last couple of weeks — not a lot, but any movement at all is interesting. The Guccifer leaks are clear evidence of criminality. Comey may be an honest man. And if there is absolutely nothing that will prevent the establishment from forcing her into power, he is using this time to pull the left together and train it in national organization and resistance beyond GOTV for him. There were sessions today at the People’s Summit about how to stay safe in physical confrontations with police and the like. People who were siloed by region or movement are connecting and uniting.

        California is now in single digits. They were saying before the voting that if he actually won California by any margin at all, superdelegates would move to him en masse. That must have been a factor in that outrageous “call” by the AP before the primary. There are still over a million ballots left to count, I believe, and < 500,000 votes between them. I believe there are counting observers watching all the big counties now. It will be harder to do to California's provisional ballots what they did in New York. Because of the Vote By Mail set-up, they are SUPPOSED to count those ballots, not just toss them. Even with ALL the suppression, the AP trick, etc., Bernie should win California in the end — just not by the margin he really had.

        She actually does need Sanders' supporters, and I suspect she is starting to realize that. Neera Tanden was tweeting crap today again designed to shame the left into voting for Clinton. Why bother, at this point, if you don't want the votes?

        Maybe Allan is deluded; I can't tell if he is suggesting they can and should negotiate or not. But I don't think Bernie is. I'm not. Nobody I know who is a Bernie supporter online or IRL is. We don't trust Clinton, and we won't vote for her. We know she's a liar, so there's nothing she could say that would change our minds. But there ARE timorous voters who voted for Bernie or maybe voted for Hillary that may not actually vote in November. She needs the union rank-and-file to obey their leaders. She needs to peel off some kids to do GOTV for her. She needs the social shaming strategy she designed to work better than it currently is, and a hardened, active resistance works against that. So, if she had any sense, she would negotiate with Bernie and give him everything she can stomach to get his base to at least quiet down. But she won't. The delusion is running the other way.

        1. Archie

          I totally agree with what you wrote. We are all biding our time and waiting to see what transpires from now until the end of the conventions (stress on the plural). I use the term “delusional” since I sensed some sort of optimism in allan’s first comment that implied (to me at least) that Bernie has forced $hillary into some sort of corner. I wish it were so.

          Look, I was disappointed in his address the other night and I wrote about it here. You, aab, had some interesting comments later on in the night (early morning) which did not go unnoticed by moi. I have not given up on Bernie’s policies and I never will. We are all patiently (to a greater or lesser degree; lesser on my part) anticipating the entire drama to play out and hoping for more than the best. None of us has a playbill, so we’re left with bouncing each other’s ideas around in the blogosphere. The glass maybe is half full? Or is it almost half empty? YMMV.

          1. aab

            Thanks for the notice and the compliment.

            I don’t know what’s going to happen, and neither does Bernie, unless Obama told him things that I don’t think he did, because I don’t think Obama is an honorable man. (Obligatory “I voted for, volunteered for, donated to him in 2008.”) Bernie can’t force anything to happen. He can only maneuver in a deeply corrupted system using David strategies and creating multiple pathways to progress. That’s what I thought was so impressive about the speech.

            I think to some degree Bernie HAS forced her into a corner. But she isn’t and won’t respond by negotiating. She doesn’t recognize it, doesn’t want to recognize it, and won’t recognize it. She only understands bribes and threats, and neither will work on him, I believe. So she’ll keep attacking and trying to use the power differential to her advantage. And it may work in the short term. She is still likely to be handed the nomination, and there is certainly a pathway for her to win, involving media propaganda, collusion with the Republican wing of the Money Party, and election theft.

            We’ll see.

        2. TheCatSaid

          I also wonder if the Sanders team is waiting for other news to break that could hurt the Clinton campaign. The 2 things that come to mind are 1) FBI indictment of some kind or related news or leaks (hey we’re already on Guccifer3, maybe more will follow); or 2) The next phase of revelations about election rigging with details specific to these primary elections.

          Fitrakis & Arnebeck and others claim that Sanders did in fact win except for the election fraud. Arnebeck said in a May 29 talk that they had spoken to the Sanders campaign. They think the subsequent silence is either Sanders being in denial and burying his head in the sand about this issue, or Sanders knowing he has to keep his focus on the issues (this was before the last primaries), which makes sense to me. Sanders would gain nothing by making accusations and it would distract from the tight focus of his campaign (issues plus generating active engagement).

          What does come out in relation to election irregularities will have to come out through independent researchers / academics / election integrity activists with impeccable data. It’s better if others do this than Sanders, as long as there are other people or candidates who have standing for any legal cases. (And candidate Jesse Ventura seems willing to play this role, from what he said at his recent public talk.) It may be that legal cases must be filed in order to get discovery to be able to access the primary documents (ballots, computers, election records).

          It’s not impossible that something major happens before or during the convention. It’s wise that the Sanders folks concentrate on the big picture–next steps that don’t depend on what happens to Clinton or her campaign prospects.

      1. cm

        Does anyone have anecdotal evidence of a pro-Clinton voter who is not part of the 1%? I’m honestly curious what a reason would be for supporting Clinton — is it just that she is female?

        I wish Palin would have run just as a counterpoint – surely all the “vote for Clinton because she is female” would then have split the vote between Clinton & Palin?

        1. sd

          Name recognition. I’ve mentioned before that the Clinton voters that I know are low information, don’t generally read, and ignore details. Not willing to take the time to do their own research.

        2. mcarson

          My 37 yo daughter who is drowning in college debt, unable to get a decent job, barely affords her $1,200.00 per month childcare (18 month old, full time) is completely nuts about HRC. Won’t hear a word against her, every criticism is misogyny & Republican lies.
          I don’t know what’s wrong with her, I tried to raise her right.

        3. kareninca

          I volunteer with a guy who is 52 y.o., long term unemployed, living on nothing, he used to be a tech geek, now he does little tiny tech gigs to scrape by minimally here in Silicon Valley. He despises HRC but plans to vote for her. Won’t vote for Trump because he hates the sort of male that Trump represents; he’s said so. Also he thinks that things will be more likely to stay the same under HRC (he’s said so), and people who are on the bleeding edge fear change (he didn’t say that but it’s true). He never saw Sanders as at all likely.

        4. mk

          My “friends” (used to be, now we’re not speaking) are voting for her because she’s female. I wanted to bang my head on the table the other morning while having breakfast with one of them when she said that she supports Bernie’s platform, but not Bernie.

          I have no desire to be with these “friends” anymore. It’s too exhausting and depressing.

  19. fresno dan

    Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged a hedge fund manager with engaging in a Washington-style insider trading scheme, allegedly reaping a $32 million profit using confidential government information.

    The scheme involved Sanjay Valvani, a 44-year-old New York hedge fund manager, and Gordon Johnston, 64, of Olney, Md., who spent more than a decade working at the Food and Drug Administration, according to allegations filed in a complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney of Manhattan.
    According to court documents, Johnston spent more than a decade at the FDA, including serving as deputy director for generic drugs. After leaving the agency, Johnston took up dual roles. He served as vice president of the Generic Drug Trade Association and as a consultant to Valvani. But Johnston did not tell the association or his former FDA colleagues about his relationship with the hedge fund manager, which allegedly netted him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    “Johnston knew that this deceit was necessary” to keep an open channel of communication with an unnamed FDA official, according to the SEC complaint.

    Through his relationship with the FDA employee, Johnston obtained confidential information about the FDA’s plans to approve the production of enoxaparin, a generic drug that helps prevent the formation of blood clots, according to court documents. Valvani used that information to invest in health-care stocks and reap a big profit.

    What you have to remember is this: only the stupid ones get caught….the ones who know how to parlay their information so as to advance medical science, bring new therapies to market, and innovate, do very, very, very well…

  20. Fa

    Per Antifa/5:17 Even if NATO is not quite stupid enough to go to war with Russia, the US values NATO as a subterfuge to circumvent the authority of the Security Council. The trick involves redefining self-defense and pretending UN Charter Article 53 does not exist. The ‘regional arrangements’ ruse is getting harder and harder to pull off as the UNSC loses patience, and it takes an unusual combination of member states to make it work. With Russia and China as fully-developed enforcers, the trick may never work again. Then NATO’s sheer dead weight. A rational US regime would let it decompose, but as it is they would probably fight denunciations tooth and nail simply to save face.

  21. perpetualWAR

    The question shouldn’t be why are so many bankers committing “suicide”? The real question is why hasn’t the populace rolled a guillotine onto the Wall Street corridor and lined up these assholes?

  22. JTFaraday

    re: Age Discrimination on LinkedIn Hitting ever Younger Ages? Wolf Richter

    “Has this been the case for a long time – that at 35, you’re considered an “older job seeker” who has to delete dates and downplay jobs? What have I been missing?”

    A biological clock?

    Also, come on. Dumbing down your resume is a strategy. Do you want “the perfect job,” or do you want “a job”?

    There’s a cost to doing that, of course. But there’s a cost to everything.

    1. fresno dan

      June 19, 2016 at 1:19 am

      My friend was telling me that if you don’t have a photo on Linkedout no hiring manager will look at your posting….now only a cynic would suggest that it is a perfect mechanism to filter out the old and minorities…because the internet makes everything better.

  23. kareninca

    I would prefer that civilians have assault weapons, rather than that they be carried by members of the Oakland Police Department: Or by the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, the DHS, or the IRS (which has an entire armory of its own).

    One thing I will never understand is why it is thought that banning guns will lessen the ability of criminals to get them. 850,000 people overstayed their visas in the U.S. this year. A person is a lot easier to track than a gun. Nothing that people want has been successfully banned in this country: alcohol, drugs, prostitution – I could step out my door and in an hour have any illegal drug I want. You can build a gun in your basement. You can smuggle thousands of them in a small space, disassembled if you wish. The only people gun laws affect are the law abiding.

    And as to the suicide argument: I have known (well) five people who killed themselves. Only one used a gun. The two women both hanged themselves. One guy (who had a wife and kids) walked in front of a train. One guy (a fellow volunteer) asphyxiated himself with his car. Only my second cousin used a gun. But I am extremely certain that if he did not have a gun, he would have figured something else out; he may have been depressed but he was not a moron.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The plural of anecdote is not data. Suicide by gun is the most common way to kill yourself, so your sample is not representative. And guns lend themselves to impulse killing. By contrast, the Hemlock Society imposes a three month wait on people who contact them about killing themselves painlessly before it gives them the formula.

      But, as a matter of public health, gun suicides are a huge problem in the United States. Suicide is the second-most common cause of death for Americans between 15 and 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Across all ages, it is the 10th-most common cause of death, and caused 1.6 percent of all deaths in 2012.

      Not all of those suicides are by gun, but a majority are. And while some people feeling suicidal impulses will choose another method if a gun is not at hand, public health researchers cite two reasons guns are particularly dangerous: 1) Guns are more lethal than most other methods people try, so someone who attempts suicide another way is more likely to survive; 2) Studies suggest that suicide attempts often occur shortly after people decide to kill themselves, so people with deadly means at hand when the impulse strikes are more likely to use them than those who have to wait or plan.

      That means that strategies that make suicide more inconvenient or difficult can save lives. Guns, when they are in the home, can make self-harm both easy and deadly.

      Moreover, your argument, “we need to be armed like the police” is even more spurious. Please tell me where these gun owners have been as our civll liberties have been eroded. And violence is and will remain the prerogative of the state. They will always be better armed than you. Get used to it. Do you seriously think an armed person can stand up to a helicopter gunship?

      1. cnchal

        When helicopter gunships show up in the neighborhood blasting houses and apartments, suicide by gun could be considered a logical exit strategy.

      2. kareninca

        My “non gun” friends killed themselves in a part of the country where guns are hard to get – California. My relative killed himself where guns are easier to get – Maine. I think that people kill themselves with the means that they have most readily available. Where I live, the train tracks are a common means. In China, pesticide swallowing is common (they have one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and they are not using guns). People ruminate about doing it, come up with a method, and then act impulsively using that method. There is always a method available.

        Most people focus on only certain civil liberties. Most of the women I know who spend a lot of time fighting for abortion rights have not paid much attention to other rights – some of them are amazingly ignorant of other political issues. I don’t blame them for that any more than I blame gun rights advocates for focusing on their interest. It’s rare enough for anyone to care about any civil liberties.

        Yes, violence will remain the prerogative of the state. But I’d prefer my fellow citizens to have the dignity of a defense, however futile. The idea of the Oakland cops having the “right” to own weapons, while my neighbor does not – when the Oakland cops are violent thugs and my neighbor is not and has defense needs that the cops will be there for – seems grotesque. Just because the state has the power to shut down my speech, doesn’t mean that I want to give up what little free speech I have, and the same principle holds with gun ownership rights.

        1. kareninca

          An addendum about suicide methods. My neighbor’s teenage son was extremely depressed, and talked about killing himself (he is fortunately now in remission). She did not left him alone at any time for the last six months – because of the method that he talked about. Which was to drop out of their balcony head first. It would have worked. She slept by the side of his bed every night. There is unfortunately always a method.

      3. inode_buddha

        “Please tell me where these gun owners have been as our civll liberties have been eroded. And violence is and will remain the prerogative of the state. They will always be better armed than you. Get used to it. Do you seriously think an armed person can stand up to a helicopter gunship?”

        They don’t gove a hoot about *your* civil liberties, they give a hoot about *theirs* and it isn’t yet time for the 2nd American revolution. In the meantime it is everyone’s job to stick up for themselves in whatever legal way they see fit.

        Also you sound a LOT like a crown loyalist in 1775; I gather that you have little or no knowledge of how things actually work when it comes to violence. An armed person does not stand up to a helicopter gunship, an armed person simply shoots the pilot. There are plenty of Pentagon “what if” studies saying that a nationwide uprising is their worst nightmare.

  24. Sam Foster

    RE: How PG&E keeps getting away with this nonsense?

    Regulatory capture combined with disingenuous PR with a dollop of voter apathy.

    The California Public Utilities Commission is utterly beholden to PG&E ( The run excellent touchy feely PR. Local media underreports on their crimes, assuming due to oligarchy members standing together. And CA voters are some of the most apathetic, under-informed voters I’ve ever met (hello, re-electing Arnold).

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