Links 8/14/16

NYC weather is inspiring giant cockroaches to take to the skies Treehugger (resilc).

Have we detected an alien megastructure in space? Keep an open mind The Guardian (furzy).

Hope Solo Aims at Sweden After U.S. Women Are Ousted NYT.  Keepin’ it classy! I’m compiling these links while visiting NZ, where Olympics tv coverage focuses on the sports and is refreshingly free from Riefenstahlinism.

“Bread and circuses” in Brazil for the disorientation of the public The Unbalanced Evolution of Homo Sapiens

‘Scotland has become a money-laundering factory for Soviet criminal gun-runners’ The Sunday Herald

Whatever happened to Labour winning back Scotland? New Statesman

Election fraud report calls for stringent ID checks The Guardian

High-Tech Manufacturing Isn’t Worth Much Bloomberg View (resilc).

Amid Flagging Sales, Macy’s to Shutter 100 Stores NBC News (EM).

Aid and Attention Dwindling, Migrant Crisis Intensifies in Greece NYT

‘Sexual assaults on children’ at Greek refugee camps The Guardian

The Drone Presidency NYRB

The nuclear mission must stay manned Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

EPA’s Own Advisory Board Demands Revision of Deeply Flawed Fracking Report Common Dreams

Once Skeptical of Excecutive Power, Obama has Come to Embrace It NYT. Don’t know how much more of this legacy journalism I can stand.

Decoding Obama’s playlist: Inside his summer jams, a hint of what we’ll miss most about him Salon. Puh-leezh!

Democrats Trying to Assess Scope of Leak of Personal Information WSJ. Pelosi stays on message asserting a Russian connection– sans providing any evidence.

Shah Rukh Khan’s airport detention proves racial profiling is alive and well in America Independent

Why scientists of Indian origin are leaving a better life and returning to India Times of India


Farmers’ EU subsidies to be paid by Westminster FT

Why the Bank of England’s stimulus bazooka won’t be enough to save the economy New Statesman

Scientists welcome Brexit funding commitment FT

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facing Down the Panopticon Counterpunch (Bill B).

Developed in Iraq, Deployed at the DNC?: Cell-Jamming Technology is Being Turned on Journalists Mint Press News (Chuck L).

Guillotine Watch

Rich people are bragging about their luxe panic rooms New York Post

What sorcery is this? A £140 ticket for new Harry Potter play now costs £8,327 The Guardian

Imperial Collapse Watch

Bridging America’s Foreign Policy Elite-Main Street Divide War on the Rocks


Angry Karl Rove blisters ‘impulsive’ Trump in epic rant: ‘Does he want to win?’ Raw Story

Christian Lorentzen – Diary: The Democratic Convention LRB

Inside the Head of Trump Voters The American Conservative (resilc).

How the War on Terror Fuels Trump Jacobin

Trump goes full Bernie (again) with pro-borrowing comments Hot Air.  Nice comparisons of Trump hammering Bernie infrastructure message (although the author never seems to have heard of Keynes, let alone MMT).

Q&A: Fixing the Transportation Mess We’re In The American Prospect (resilc).

Hillary Clinton’s Magical Economy Real News Network. Doug Henwood and Robert Pollin takedown of Clinton speech on economic plans.

With Trump certain to lose, you can forget about a progressive Clinton The Guardian

Bill Clinton’s $300 Million Birthday Gift! Medium

Did Companies & Countries Buy State Dept. Access by Donating to Clinton Foundation? Democracy Now

Bill Clinton’s pay at for-profit education company topped $17.5 million  Politico (resilc).  Nice gig if you can get it.

96% of Clintons’ donations went to their foundations Sic Semper Tyrannis


 Putin reshapes his inner circle FT

The provocation in Crimea and the threat of world war  World Socialist Web Site


Acceptable Losses Harper’s

Is Iran back in the game? Prospect

Monsters to Destroy: Top 7 Reasons the US could not have Forestalled Syrian Civil War Juan Cole

Syria’s war: Government and Russia blamed for deaths Al Jazeera

Antidote du jour (Kittie Wilson vis Lawrence R):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Carla

    Thanks for the generous portion of excellent links, and welcome to NC, Jerri-Lynn! Re: Fixing the Transportation Mess — not a word, not a SINGLE word about mass transit? $$$ for public transit have been slashed everywhere… The state of Ohio now spends 63 cents per capita per year on public transit, half what West Virginia spends!

    1. Arizona Slim

      Carla, this is America!

      Transportation means cars. Preferably with a single driver and no passengers.

    2. cwaltz

      I will say this…..some of it is a vicious circle. Public transit can’t get money to expand offerings because it doesn’t have the riders and it can’t get the riders because it doesn’t have broad enough offerings in terms of availability to riders.

      My town offers a service called- go anywhere. It will take you anywhere within the town limits for 50 cents which is a great service, however it only operates between 7am-5pm Monday through Friday with advanced reservations being encouraged. It was looking at being cut(or having to increase its costs) if a grant from the government hadn’t come through to fund it. It doesn’t make enough to sustain itself.

      As it stands now, some of the reason our town even has public transit is Virginia Tech includes the cost of public transit passes in its tuition and that money is heavily used to fund Christiansburg and Blacksburg transit.

        1. John

          What, you don’t want slow and unpredictable elderly drivers on the freeways and beltways of America? Because Freedom Fries and moar for GM and Ford.!
          I live in the outer outer exurbs of the imperial capital and it amuses me no end to think of all the elderly boomers who are really going to be screwing up the traffic in the Nova suburbs. I have friends whose 90something parents are still making driving forays into the crazy traffic of DC metro area…making it a bit more crazier.
          BTW, I’m 70 and would love to be relieved of driving duties, but don’t see it coming.
          Meanwhile, in the rest of the developed world…

          1. JTMcPhee

            Yeah, go look at the rest of the “developed world…”

            Guessing that people living in the Beltway Bubble, except for the “undeserving poor,” might be able to afford to “get around…”

      1. Adam Eran

        You don’t mention one of the most effective transit killers: sprawl. This is a development pattern that separates single uses (commerce, residences, offices, etc) by auto-only streets. Every single driving age adult must own an auto (essentially the most regressive tax ever), and because enough riders do not live within a comfortable walk of transit stops (because walking is discouraged by street design, and low density development means not enough riders are within range)…transit often rolls around a bunch of empty buses.

        Of sprawl planning, Jane Jacobs (The Life and Death of the Great American City) says: “Modern land use planning is positively neurotic in its willingness to embrace what doesn’t work and ignore what does….It’s a form of advanced superstition, like medicine in the 19th century, when bleeding patients was the universal cure…” (very close to a quote, maybe a paraphrase).

        The point is that we’ve been ignoring the impact land use planning has on viable transit for at least a couple of generations now. Mixed-use (e.g. residences above commerce), pedestrian-friendly development is not only the most valuable, says Mr. Market, it cuts vehicle miles traveled roughly in half, and makes transit viable.

        So yes…sprawl public officials make a good case for *not* funding transit. But that’s baked into the land use patterns, not because transit is, per se, bad, or not viable.

        Of course building that pedestrian-friendly mixed use also disfavors auto dealers and asphalt manufacturers, so there’s that…

    3. Ray Phenicie

      Thank you for pointing out what is one of the most important topics for turning this country around. Yet it does not get the coverage it really needs; even Bernie Sanders slighted it by not talking about it once-that is as far as I could find in searching through his web site. Yet having a viable mass transit system in place in all of the country’s urban areas is important if we plan to move realistically to lower carbon emissions. Also a car based infrastructure messes with the environment-each car requires three or four parking spaces or else it is not useable.

      People in S.E. Michigan here don’t have much to fall back on if they can’t keep a car on the road. With the cost being so high; AAA estimates about $9,000/yr. to operate and maintain an automobile, and that is a high estimate, but it shows a way to lowering the cost of living for low income and poor people-with the cost so high, most people really can’t afford an automobile let alone two. Yet, 93% of all households report they own at least one car. This tells me that households are sacrificing a whole lot to keep their cars running. Then there is the insidious car insurance scheme-but that’s another whole topic. But life without a car here is almost impossible-I struggled for 15 years without one and would never go back except out of sheer desperation.

      While we’re on the issue of household budgets-obviously the Federal Poverty levels do not allow for budgeting a car: $11,880/yr for a single person, $24,300 for a family of four? Here’s some realistic numbers for poverty : $18,000, single person: $46,800 for a family of four. Multiply that by 1.6 to get a living wage here in SE Mich and bring car affordability into the picture. About 55% of U. S. households are below a realistic living wage. More later.

      1. Ray Phenicie

        To fine tune the discussion related to what we have here in SE Michigan I’ll just run through the options. The easiest way to get around without a car here is to rely on cabs-fares are an issue here with the average running between $20 and $50 round trip for anywhere from 4 to 12 miles. Taking the cost above for a car and dividing by say $35 per trip gives a person about four or five rides per week. However, I’m not certain the $9100 AAA gives is not really very high. Myself, I would put the cost at about $6,500 (forgetting the carbon footprint cost for a minute) and that leaves about three or four rides a week. Liveable but . . . .
        Cabs around here are unreliable. They are only available by placing a phone call and then waiting-the wait can be anywhere from 20 to 70 minutes. Horribly tedious and burdensome if one is at the grocery store with several bags of items that includes dairy and frozen items. Too many cabs are very shabby to ride in and too many drivers smoke in between fares leaving horrible cigarette residues everywhere. One has to call for a return ride and be involved in another 20-70 minute wait.

        Next, the bus system: almost non existent, as in right now, on a Sunday morning, I can’t realistically walk to a bus stop as it is almost two miles away. Once there I would be severely limited in my movement along the line. Almost vanishing service-close enough to nonexistent. Saturday service moves up a notch and is available by walking about 1/4 mile; the buses run generally between 7 am. and 9 pm but only on major arteries. In practice extremely limited use is available here. Weekdays are a bit better as the bus stops about 200 feet from my front door and connects me to many major points in the Metro Detroit area. However, there are still many major venues that are not accessible and lie off the map even though they might only be 15 miles away from my door. The time frames are very limiting too and a Detroit Symphony Concert or Fox Theater event (Yo Gotti, Meek Mill, Desiigner and Blac Youngsta) are out of the realm of possibility. One could arrive via bus, and then return by bus to a halfway point and call a cab for the final leg. Possible but very burdensome.

        But the kicker with the bus system are the stops-the local transit authority places a sign with their logo on a pole and calls it a stop. When I was in a wheelchair a while back this was unworkable. Fully 70% of the stops around the Metro Detroit area are not accessible for disabled, elderly. One needs a concrete platform to launch a wheelchair. IN short,The system we have is very primitive and cludgy.

        1. msmolly

          Is there an active Uber service in the Detroit area? They’re usually quicker and cheaper. My son in Indianapolis use Uber to get back and forth to the airport when he travels (frequently) on business.

          1. pretzelattack

            they don’t check their driver’s backgrounds, and afaik they still have the surge pricing which can jack up the price of a ride several times.

    4. Starveling

      As an Ohioan, I can tell you exactly what most of my neighbors would say about public transit… not happening. Maybe if they had West Virginia’s demographics they’d be for more of it, but…

      1. Carla

        @cwaltz, Ray and Starveling — I know, I know. And every time the price of gas falls, so does transit ridership. It’s maddening.

        @cwaltz — just read that Geo. Washington U. includes “Uber everywhere” in its tuition scheme — 4 yr. education there costs well upward of $250,000. Vomit!

    5. tongorad

      Transforming the sprawl that characterizes most if not all of US cities into walkable, livable environments via mass transportation should be the Manhattan project of our time. Of course, such grand central planning is strictly limited to military expansion and financial extraction.

    6. Dave

      Not mentioned in the discussion is the potential for physical assaults on transit. Youtube is replete with videos of this. Search “bus-beat down, ass kicking, stomping” etc.

      In San Francisco, some bus lines are simply too dangerous to ride. For example, the 19 Polk begins and ends near the housing projects on Portrero Hill. When some high schools get out in the afternoon, the buses become mugging and harassment zones and groping stations for women.

      Free unlimited bus rides for “students” mean free places to hang out, ride back and forth with no cost if kicked off.

      Sure the police come when called, but they are not called until something serious happens and by them most of the people have fled the bus. “Juveniles” that are actually arrested and prosecuted get catch and release treatment. No sane person will ride certain buses late at night, and so they are empty. At least cabs are frequent and reliable, although expensive.

      Putting a cop on every bus is the solution, but the cost is prohibitive. Bystanders willing to get involved to protect riders is rare. Perhaps permanent injunctions to board transit for repeat offenders is one solution.

    7. Roger Smith

      At this time I don’t think public transit, like real, well running and useful public transit can exist. With the last standing industry of yore being the auto industry public transit is super easy to paint as a scapegoat. Without some shift of housing costs and other areas or spending, of some form of guaranteed income to help job displacement, this positive, much needed service is dead in the water.

      You can’t fight corporate monopolies and profits–Submit!

    8. Katiebird

      The Greater Kansas City Area (2 states, Many counties) has a new program for anyone over 65 years old or Disabled (and/or?) … I only know about it because I got an email announcement about 6 months ago. But the links in that message are all dead…. So I spent about a half hour searching (Google Sucks) for the program. No luck. Finally thought to examine the dead URL. And that got me this: THE most poorly publicized helpful program ever … Next step, go to my parent’s house and get them each signed up.

      My car is not big enough to hold both of them and walkers and wheel chairs so For them this is perfect. If necessary, I can meet them at their destination.. … But I’m sure many others who would benefit (And who couldn’t use a $5.00 cab now and then?) will never no a thing about it.

      There is no good summary of the program but here is a bit from their FAQ:

      Where can I go and how much does it cost?

      It’s up to you. Each one-way trip costs $5.00 and is good for up to 10 miles. Riders are responsible for fares beyond 10 miles. You are allowed 10 one-way trips each month.

      How and when can I schedule a ride?

      7 days a week, including holidays. Simply call 10/10 Taxi at 816-777-1104 to schedule a trip. Please allow 45 minutes advance notice.

    9. abynormal

      Motorists in major metro areas have the highest costs associated with time spent idling in traffic. In metro D.C./Virginia/Maryland, drivers fork out an average of $1,834 per year in commute costs. The metro NYC/Newark, New Jersey/Connecticut area costs commuters $1,739 a year, while motorists in L.A./Long Beach/Anaheim, California, spend $1,711.
      Alarming Info Graphs:

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Its great to see Yves and Lambert have more help, I never cease to be amazed that they can run such a consistently cutting edge operation by themselves.

    1. Dave

      I am amazed at how many people already know about Naked Capitalism when I proselytize it. Talking plumbers, bus drivers, building managers, retail clerks etc.

      I always ask, “You really have read it? What’s it about, are you sure you are not confusing it with a porno site?”

      “It’s confusing” is the standard reply, but then the person I am talking to manages to summarize an economic issue with baby steps and sometimes a through explanation of something akin to grad business school level.

      What a great site and service to the public.

      1. abynormal

        it’s important to get this site out there! in front of a crowd my kid mentioned NC and me, ONCE. later she asked what the death stare was about…had to remind her my namesake’s brain was transferred into a monster that was chased with fire by the villagers :/ ….Keep NC the Focus Please

      2. jonboinAR

        NC Links is basically the front page of my morning newspaper. From there I go link to link, read the comments, follow more links…

        Welcome, Ms. Schofield. I very happy to see the two magnificent stalwarts have gotten good help.

        1. Baby Gerald

          NC has become my primary hub for news and information, as well. Some of the economic stories are a little out of my depth or interest, but there is always enough here for me to learn something new just about every day.

          The internet is a much better place thanks to Yves, Lambert, and now Jerri-Lynn. Thanks again!

    2. crittermom

      Welcome, Jerri-Lynn!
      Thank you, Yves and Lambert, for all your hard work.
      I consider NC my ‘continuing education’ program.

  3. Dirk77

    “Democrats Trying to Assess Scope of Leak of Personal Information” – Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. They are hand wringing over that piddly info? Cell phone and email – that’s it? Has everyone forgotten about the hack at the OPM, where everyone of five millions or so Americans who applied for a security clearance got all their personal info stolen (by the Chinese hopefully)? More info about them than they know themselves? I guess TPTB are like Eric Schmidt – loss of privacy is a good thing until it happens to themselves.

  4. fresno dan

    Angry Karl Rove blisters ‘impulsive’ Trump in epic rant: ‘Does he want to win?’ Raw Story

    After saying Trump has a precious “88 days left” to correct the downward spiral of wasting time on petty grievances the nominee can’t seem to ignore, host Charles Payne said that he understood “as a New Yorker” Trump’s need to “punch back.”

    The former George W. Bush chief-of-staff grew visibly aggravated and launched into an increasingly angry tirade questioning whether Trump “wants to win.”

    “Yeah, well, you know what?” Rove began. “If he does that between now and the election, what do you think is going to happen? The Clinton campaign is going to provoke him everyday to stay off of message. And he is going to fall for all of these things and waste valuable time. Does he want to win or does he want to respond? If he wants to be the New Yorker and punch back at everybody who comes his way — fine! That’s an open invitation for everybody to come his way with things like this.”

    Ahh….enough schadenfreude to last me ….a year? nah. decade? nah. century? nah, I got enough now for a millennium…..

    The problem, dear Karl, lies not in the candidate, but your party.
    The repubs go on, and on, and on about Hillary. But substantively, how did the repubs actually differ from Hillary/Obama? ***
    The repubs have been for years now just screaming “Liberal! Liberal! Liberal!” at the dems, with absolutely no regard to reality – Earth to repubs – – the dems aren’t liberals! So repubs are completely unaware that the dems have out repubed the repubs. “We’re the party of the 1%!!!!”
    As they used to say about dems, ((why vote for a conservative dem when you can vote for the real thing – a repub) why vote for repub lite (current repubs) when you can vote for the real thing (current dems, which are more repub than repubs).

    And the current dems at least seem to be NOT batsh*t insane…
    (sure, everything they say is a lie, but lying can be rational at least)


    1. no one

      It all depends on your definition of insane. It hardly seems sane to vote for — and legitimize — the Democrat tools of the ruling class.

    2. EndOfTheWorld

      I still predict The Donald will emerge victorious. Mark my words; you heard it here first. The reason? Trump will be a formidable opponent in the debates. He comes across as a human being, in contrast to Hill’s robotic mode, and he has SO MANY things he can slam her on. And slam he will. Also Wikileaks might continue to dribble out the e mails. What Karl Rove says is irrelevant.

      BTW, will Judicial Watch get to depose Hill?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Will there be an election? Have ‘they’ secured her victory by now?

        Post conventions, all we have seen is propaganda by repetition.


        1. a few snap shot, late-July, early-August polling numbers,

        2. questionable interpretations of his questionable statements (well, maybe Wall Street people will do something about that if they don’t get what they want, just like the Second Amendment people will as well – what? Bankers will resort to physical violence? Is that the meaning of her statement?),

        3. evidence-free foreign connection accusations (I’m sorry, did you say something about some emails? What was that? Sorry, have to move on), etc.

        Make a big deal, interview experts who claim to be shocked…then it’s easy to find a few Trump supporters to go on air to say he would get back on track (thus validating it’s a big deal, and we should be shocked).

      2. Steve H.

        I bought 250 shares of ‘Republicans win Presidential’ on Aug 4, on a prediction market. (Couldn’t get ‘Trump Wins’ for some reason.) It’ll pay off big, best investment ever (29 cents to a buck, minus 15% fees, three month turnaround).

        I’d hedge if I could find ‘Clinton dodges debates,’ though.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think we are still in the ‘beginning of the beginning,’ not quite ‘the end of the beginning’ of the election…a few more weeks until Labor Day.

            1. clarky90

              Yesterday, two young, long distance runners stopped for a drink at the spring (middle of nowhere) that I was collecting water from. They knew I was USA from my accent. As they jogged off, they asked me who I was supporting for POTUS.

              I said, “Trump”, and they both laughed uproariously and with abandon. People here know Trump from TV.

              My older, serious friends (my contemporaries) are less generous.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        RE: “political operatives”–the world would be better if they all ceased to exist. Of course all the GOP political hacks are perturbed with The Donald because he doesn’t do what they say. If he DID do what they say, he would not be the candidate right now. And this infuriates them even further.

        Trump’s campaign is a little bit mom-and-pop, and the electorate smiles on this. He will win.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It seems like some people are trying to decide the election for all of us now.

          Perhaps a few phone calls from the central office…

    3. hunkerdown

      The Democrats ARE liberals. The liberals are not the left. Why do people have to treat “liberal” as a secular synonym for “holy”?

      1. Patricia

        And the right believes liberal is a synonym for all the country’s evil. My conservative step-father and I came to a compromise when I agreed with his evaluation of the term, and he allowed that ‘corporatist’ was an acceptable substitute. That was all we could manage, but it was something, and he quit poking at me after that, having no mindless ready diatribes against being ‘on the left’. Heh

  5. Uahsenaa

    re: Scotland and Labour

    It continues to amaze me how the British press makes this more complicated than it is. Labour lost Scotland for two reasons:

    1) The No campaign promised the moon and the stars in terms of devolved powers and then failed to deliver on any of it. There were no Tory MPs really to punish for this, so the voters took it out on Labour instead.

    2) As much as Labour party officials like to balk at the notion, the SNP was well to the left of Miliband’s Labour, which means it is still well to the left of the current PLP. Sturgeon is a very smart politician, and when she took over from Salmond, she correctly assessed almost immediately that the left flank was Labour’s weakness, which is why she recruited committed Socialists like Mhairi Black to run, not younger Gordon Brown types.

    For most of my life, the SNP was a joke; no one took their independence campaigns seriously. Yet, hardly anyone in the British press have bothered to wonder why that changed all of a sudden. They never stopped to examine how abandoned people in Scotland feel by a Westminster government that not only does not have their interests at heart but actively lies to them as well. As Black explains in the link above, Scotland didn’t leave Labour, Labour left Scotland.

    There are, of course, numerous problems with the SNP (their post referendum economic plan was a bit of a head-scratcher), but Labour could do worse than try to create a coalition with them.

    1. paul

      Corbyn should note that the rise of the SNP was in the face of an extremely antagonistic media and establishment (as if they could be separated).

      Giving the voters something to positively vote for is surprisingly attractive.

      The Labour party in Scotland is dead because it’s absolutely useless.
      Its one Westminster MP jumped ship to join the anti corbyn plotters .
      The holyrood ‘leader’ has gone AWOL during the turmoil.
      It has never come to terms with losing power here, it’s still scratching its hollow head.

      Corbyn’s conflict with the red tories in his own party is a fairly good analogue of the SNP one. It wasn’t too long ago they were unelectable.

      Ignoring the blairite sabotage, it looks to me that the conservatives are running on fumes, they have no policies beyond looting. A Corbyn win might well be possible and a minority government might do worse than seeking support (coalition is out of the question) from the SNP.

    2. makedoanmend

      Can’t disagree with anything you’ve written, but there is another dimension.

      Scottish Labour often joined with the Taliban Tories (ain’t nothing 300 years Enlightenment could build that a Toriban can’t destory in a few years) on quite a few Scottish council chambers, claiming they were doing so for the sake of the union.

      For example in Stirling they switched from a Labour-SNP coalition to a Labour-Toriban coalition.
      Then the Labour lead coalition performed “Austerity” with verve and gusto. Often out-talibaning the Tories plans. People saw first hand the destruction of all support systems initiated and carried out by the so-called Labour party, even down to the destruction of perfecting serviced public buildings in the guise of efficient governance. The scars are evident for everyone to see. The suffering of the underclass, including the reducing middle classes, is known by anyone with a gram of sense.

      The Labour Party had 3 politicians sharing a constituency office, and after they went into “alliance” with the tories, they even dropped the red rose logo from the front of the office. Today the office is for Let (rent). Empty.

      Also, the entire article is a “red” herring. The damage was done (and it is lasting damage) by Blairites to a man and woman. The article, by its timing, suggests that the present leader, a one Jeremy Corbyn, should have turned this scenario around by now. Pish.

      I believe a Corbyn Labour Party could have stemmed the rot, and maybe over time repaired the damage. The Blairite English delegation currently running the coup counter-revolution has probably put paid to any triage that Corbyn’s policies might have mitigated for the future.

      One would almost assume that the Blairites were in league with the Tories for the last 20+ years.

      1. Uahsenaa

        Indeed indeed indeed. And to add to your point about Labour/Tory collusion, it’s worth noting that the Tories in Scotland never would have been able to set themselves up as the pro-Union alternative and now the opposition at Holyrood without Labour/Tory collaboration on virtually every single issue that’s ever put England and Scotland at odds with one another.

      2. paul

        What you describe at the council level is depressingly accurate.
        The complexity of STV voting in council elections will probably allow more of the red and blue tories to hang on and keep fucking things up for a while longer.
        If we still had FPTP at the ward level (which is small enough to make sense), I think they’d get smoked.

    1. optimader

      Here is the missing URL for the “Trump certain to lose” item from the Guardian

      From the Guardian Pre-news Dept.
      I await the Guardian’s posting tomorrow of next weeks winning lottery numbers and horse race finials

      1. Ralph Reed

        As Corbyn appeared ready to win the Labor leadership a year ago an instant paradigm was encouraged by the Guardian in which tons of column inches were devoted to an argument relying on the “fact” that Corbyn was a guaranteed loser in elections to the 2020 UK parliament, a mere five years away in a polity that require elections to be shortened to a season.

        1. paul

          Why be content with predicting the future, make it happen!

          Repeat after me:
          Corbyn is unelectable, Trotsky’s writings have inflamed our youth, the other guy with the specs is electable.

    1. MDBill

      Actually not one of Taibbi’s worst efforts. He spends a lot of ink discussing the Democrat’s abandonment of the bottom 90%, largely by virtue of their advancement of trade deal. He ends,

      But to deny that something needs to be done, and to ask American voters to keep having faith in this “we’ll all see gains in the end” fairytale that so far has very conspicuously only delivered gains to a tiny group of very wealthy people in this country, will do nothing but drive more workers into the Trump tent.

      And maybe the next strongman those voters pick to lead them out of the wilderness won’t be quite as huge an idiot, or as suicidal a campaigner, as Trump. Sooner or later, failing to deal with these questions is going to come back and bite all of us.

      That the Republicans will truly become a party of the working class seems far-fetched, but, in spite of its title, I’m not sure that’s the article’s main thrust.

      1. Patricia

        Yes. I didn’t mean Taibbi was predictable, but that a labor party is an obvious next step and might emerge first from the right because the Dems are unable to hear any but their own 10% voices—even more unable than the right, apparently.

        Or maybe it’s that Dems currently have a tighter control over its constituency/structure than does the right. Or, since the left is the only group that rejects neolib doctrine, it must be fought/sidelined by everyone else, whatever the cost.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          You would think that somewhere in the lizard brain of the Republican establishment they would be asking themselves how they can ever cobble together a winning majority.
          They’re probably coming to the same conclusion as Bernie-ites: just try and make a policy impact down ticket.
          So that leaves the Republican (former Democrat) core, with sniping from far-right crazies on flag burning and abortion and from “far-lefties” who want the really wacko stuff like world peace and affordable health care.

        2. Jim

          The Democratic party today merges quite comfortably with the managerial/bureaucratic power of high tech and finance. Its upper middle class professionals increasingly articulate a political/economic message that is anti-growth/anti-working class/and a pro-ethnic/race/identity message, which when combined, create a largely left reactionary politics.

          The Clinton coalition today (High-Tech/Wall Street/Mass Media/military/foreign policy elites) supports aggressive foreign wars abroad, and increasingly aggressive domestic surveillance (see my comment below). This coalition also uses civil right organizations, what is left of the union movement, and feminists
          as window dressing for the attempted creation of a new logic of extraction based on a highly centralized structure of power which is in the process of seizing complete control of the State.

          Former Bernie supporters need to first rethink their theory of the State.

          A State theoretical framework that embraces genuine decentralization(a real federalism) is in line with U.S. historical traditions and could offer a Republican working class constituency real power on a local, state and regional level.

          For those interested in stopping the neo-totalitarian political formation now attempting to seize power through the Democratic Party– a strategy of radical reform of the Republican party led in part by former Bernie supporters, should at least be debated.

          1. Patricia

            “…a strategy of radical reform of the Republican party led in part by former Bernie supporters, should at least be debated.”

            Yep. We badly need large active workers’ movements on both left and right sides willing to act together on fundamental issues, such as getting money out of campaigns, limiting lobbyist power, reform of local/national voting, alteration of the parties, re-establishment of privacy, etc, etc.

            There is much that could be done together, if we could/would lay down arms. The jobs ahead require masses amassed.

            1. clarky90

              Patricia, I agree with you. “The jobs ahead require masses amassed”.

              The 99% have so much in common! Our differences are the usual differences of generations (young-old), natures (cautious-wreckless), cultures, health …. The stuff of life.

              Norman Kirk was the fourth Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand (1972-1974). He said’ “People don’t want much, just someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for.”

    2. VietnamVet

      Dowd, Taibbi, Frank and Noonan, all in one week, have written about the white working class selection of Donald Trump. It was a straight-out rejection of Globalism and the free movement of people, capital and goods; the ideology of the ruling elite. Propaganda and lies by corporate moguls doesn’t change the facts on the ground. Add in the world at war, creeping chaos, corruption and austerity; there is nothing that will halt the collapse of the global empire. Will the descent end with human Mad Max survivors in Australia and flying cockroaches in New York City or will the West reboot and restore government by and for the people?

  6. Katharine

    Re: Bridging America’s Foreign Policy Elite-Main Street Divide

    Professor Steve Kull at the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation analyzed the value of educating groups of ordinary citizens to help them better measure what elite policymakers are truly forsaking among the middle class when they propose international policies.

    I couldn’t find the analysis from the link provided in this paragraph, which just goes to the home page of the site, so I don’t know Kull’s perspective for sure, but I find it remarkable that, by this report, he apparently is only concerned with what policymakers are forsaking among the middle class. What about everybody else?

    There also seems to be a tacit assumption in this article that when the people oppose the elites they just need to be educated. Or is that, led by the nose?

  7. Carolinian

    Lotsa good links.

    Someone yesterday mentioned Maureen Dowd’s takedown of Hillary in her Sunday column and here’s a link. Why it’s almost as if Dowd had been reading NC.

    Whatever happens with the election it seems the Dems are revealing their true face as the suave Obama–smooth with words while droning people–is replaced by the politically unskilled Hillary. This will be the part of the book when Dorian Gray turns into his picture.

    1. afisher

      Wowzer, using Maureen Dowd to complain about HR? The same Maureen Dowd that sold GWB story about WMD almost daily. Some here appear to be digging forever deeper into the rabbit hole to rationalize this “information”.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        And “some here” appear to think that killing the messenger is an effective refutation of the message.

      2. Carolinian

        So Maureen Dowd is dead to you….is that what you are trying to say? What are you trying to say?

        Linking a Dowd column doesn’t mean I endorse everything she writes–particularly when it was over a decade ago. At any rate the above column worth a look, particularly since it comes from the heart of the MSM beast.

        1. DJG

          I doubt that the column will cause much change among the Hillary people. Yet Peter Daou (as evinced by my Facebook feed) has already told the faithful that Dowd is an idiot and beyond the pale.

          The problem is that Dowd has marshaled facts that are inconvenient indeed. Untrustworthy testimony about torture. Negroponte, the viceroy of Central America, engaged in every dirty deed. The idea that Kissinger is worthy of respect as an elder statesman and how contemptible an idea that is. And if you look at the article about how the War on Terror Fuels Trump in the Jacobin link, you will see torture mentioned over and over. Torture has corrupted everything, including both HRC and Trump. And that leaves us with Hillary Clinton scooping up the foreign-policy establishment and its “legacy” of endless war, mistreatment, bribery, privatization, and suffering.

          1. Pat

            Not only Daou. And don’t forget the old standby that Dowd is a Clinton hater, because they don’t want to admit that sometimes other people have figured out what you don’t want to notice, in this case that the Clintons are deeply corrupt and untrustworthy.

      3. OIFVet

        Hold on bubba, MoDo has many sins but selling the WMD lie ain’t one of them. She was anti-Iraq war then, same as now. Are you sure you ain’t mistaking her for one Judith Miller?

      4. Quentin

        Read the column afisher, you will learn a thing or two. Really, read it with an open mind. I see that Peter Daou has decided that Mareen Downd is unhinged. What more need be said? She is many things but in this column she is not unhinged. It’s hard to deny that she does’t have a way with words but has often used her skill to be cruel and supercilious.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Haha! I found his little screed and it was so enlightening. Did you know that referring to Obama as ‘Barry’ is not only disrespectful (I’ll agree there which is precisely why I enjoy people using it) but it’s also a racist dog-whistle?

          And then Daou “won’t grace her loathsome Hillary hatred with a link” so he can conveniently cherry pick the parts he doesn’t like such as her comparison of Clinton to Dick Cheney. That sounds almost truthy enough to be a justified criticism of Dowd when you don’t get to read the list of Clinton’s warmongering Republican endorsements that elicited the comparison from Dowd.


          And Peter, in case you are the type to run searches to see what people are saying about you – Barry Barry Barry Barry!

          1. tongorad

            Peter Daou is a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and a veteran of two presidential campaigns. He is the CEO of BNR.

            Quite a resume. Thus spake CEO-thustra!

        2. dcblogger

          Bob Somerby exposed Maureen Dowd as the designer version of Ann Coulter back in 1998. It is possible to oppose HRC and still see Dowd as unworthy of attention under any circumstances.

    2. Marco

      I saw Atrois comment on this and had to puke. Slowly realizing that I am so far gone off the reservation that I’ll have to remove even him from my rss reader. The whole world IS truly f*cked up and bullsh*t!!!

  8. Uahsenaa

    re: The Drone Presidency

    It’s a sad state of affairs, when we never lack for academics to give intellectual cover for state murder.

    First, Obama has not claimed the power to kill “terrorists,” but only those fighting on the other side in an armed conflict authorized by Congress against al-Qaeda and organizations allied with it.

    Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki would beg to differ, not to mention how the administration regularly identifies those killed in drone strikes as “militants” simply for being male and of a certain age, without ever knowing who they are.

    Second, Obama has not asserted the power to use lethal force “anywhere…in the world,” but only in war zones

    I don’t recall the US ever declaring war on Yemen or Pakistan. I must have been busy that day.

    outside war zones, only where an enemy fighter poses an imminent threat that cannot otherwise be addressed, usually because the host country is incapable of capturing the fighter.

    Again, c.f. Al-Awlaki. Of course, when pressed, the administration will always trot out an “anonymous official” to tout the line that someone else was the target, and the press dutifully report the officials’ lies and obfuscations.

    Third, multiple sources, including Greenwald’s own website The Intercept, have reported that Obama hardly chooses targets on his own, but has set up an elaborate process that involves the review and input of many high-level military and government officials before any targeted killing is approved. Obama has insisted on taking ultimate responsibility, as he should, but it is hardly “he, and he alone,” who makes the decision.

    Only a lawyer could have written such a weaselly statement. “Targeted killing is approved” is an especially egregious use of the passive to obscure agency, because, as the recent release of the so-called Playbook makes clear, the decision is always the president’s. Moviefone may provide me with all the information I need to choose which movie to go to, but that doesn’t make the website in any way a part of my decision. Military and intelligence personnel may try to influence the president’s decision, but they don’t get a vote in the matter. Greenwald’s reading simply provides clarity to this rather obvious fact.

    Professor Cole (genuflect), in making sophistic points about civilian deaths in drone strikes compared to more conventional means of warfare, seems to have missed the forest for the trees, that murdering people in this manner, for that’s what we’re talking about here, is not only inherently immoral but also self-defeating with regard to the problem of terrorism. It actually makes things worse. Not to mention I imagine the dear professor would not be willing to speak so casually of people’s deaths if the Hellfire missiles were raining down over Virginia rather than Waziristan.

    Maybe if I one day find myself in the tenure track, I will find that my views on this matter have “evolved” (to match my new class interests), but for now it sickens me to think than an educator could be so brazenly in the service of imperialism.

    1. afisher

      How quickly some seem to forget that Congress washed their hands of this entire process, they refused time and time again to end the authorization that was demanded and approved during the GWB first administration.

      While I dislike the use of drones, there was a way to stop their use – and GOP did nothing, zip, zero and their newest candidate promises more of this type of war-fare. Fighting without soldiers. Hmmm, what could that possibly mean.

      1. timbers

        My Democratic friends react as you do when I tell them Obama has been at war longer than any Prez in history, that he’s bombed more nations than anyone in all human history even more than Adolph Hitler, that America will likely be fighting more wars and military conflicts that at any time in it’s entire history when Obama leaves office.

        My Democratic friends insist on blaming everything they don’t like that Obama does on GWB as if GWB is still President. Did GWB force Obama to renew war authorizations and start new wars? Obama has repeatedly called for renewal and expansion of GWB’s war authorization, and Obama is funding arming training and supporting the ISIL & related terrorists and other terrorists as a means of regime change in Syria and elsewhere. And Clinton at State did also.

        Obama is IMO the most militaristic Prez in history and is also increasing nukes and refuses to talk to Putin about reducing nukes. Yet he was given a Nobel “Peace” prize for promoting non violate means in conflicts and avoiding military use, and promoting nuclear non-ploifearion. What a joke.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Pull up to 40,000 feet at Mach 5, and it is really clear that there is only ONE war — different locales, but one (albeit complicated) supply chain. And the Imperial Military and its suppliers have formed it up into a unitary activity, under the rubric of various combinations of terms, adding up to “Global Network-Centric Interoperable Battlespace,” a juggernaut of irresistible and growing momentum. An early bit of the planning stuff from the War Department: “Combatting Terrorism With The Preparation of the Battlespace,” And the Imperial military has arrogated the joining and subdivision of the planet into “Areas of Operation” and “Areas of Responsibility” (latter term apparently less favored since ambiguous, “responsible” potentially connoting what us mopes think of, “prudent” and all that). All about “dominance:”–JSF_Brief_09.pdf

          And one wonders if “progressives” read pronouncements like this one from the White House, about the US strategy of “dominance” and “seizing all opportunities” and stuff: Speaking about 0bomba as a “militaristic” Chief Rubberstamper…

          I’d note that the wardepartment’s own “Dictionary of Military Terms and Abbreviations” does not bother to include, among the tens of thousands of other terms and abbreviations that DoD spends hundreds of millions of dollars to update and maintain, a definition of “war.” Nor, for that matter, “victory,” or “success.”

          CS Lewis in “The Screwtape Letters” posited that Hell was a complex bureaucracy. Welcome to Hell, folks… Does not seem to be much “we” can do about it.

          Oh, and as far as the whole “sanitary drone warfare” bullshit, the “new normal” “we” have accommodated to (with its little glitches), and attacking people in what used to be thought of as foreign sov3reign nations and all, there is a simple way to stop the need for circumlocutions and fakery: “Just Stop It!”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sanders is for prudent use of drones.

        That requires authorization to use.

        The White House to use them prudently.

        Or we can disagree and advocate a complete ban.

        1. Stormcrow

          I consider Obama’s drone policy to be perhaps the very worst aspect of his presidency (though there are many contenders). I personally would advocate working (against all odds) for a compete ban (as also with landmines and other unconscionable means of warfare). Drones are Obama’s alternative to torture, which gives us a good idea of his broken moral compass. It is not easy to find schoarly articles supporting a ban on weaponized drones, though progressive elements at the UN and in Europe take such a stand. Here are a few articles of interest.

          Death Squads and Death Lists: Targeted Killing and the Character of the State
          Jeremy Waldron, NYU School of Law

          Review Essay: Drones, Drone Strikes, and US Policy: The Politics of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
          Ulrike Esther Franke, doctoral student in International Relations at Oxford University

          Protests against Weaponized Drones

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            The article does make the inconvenient point that other nations now have a green light to use drones as they see fit under the huge cover of precedent provided by the US that bombing another nation no longer represents an act of war.
            So when the Chinese decide the mayor of Seattle or a New York real estate developer must go…let the games begin!
            There was a time when principled stands by the US against things like torture and unilateral invasions meant something, that time is now long past.

    2. Ted

      I think the key point is the “armed conflict with Al Qaeda and allied organizations” bit. This makes it a war against corporate organizations — organizations, like say Accenture or any other large transnational corporation, that have “affiliated members” aka employees all over the world. By declaring war against an organization and its allies, nation states are placed in some murky place, and their soveignty is largely erased. Obviously, this is not something traditional notions of war were designed to handle. Indeed, the whole description of the process of drone killing evinces and bureaucratic logic that sounds quite a bit like the way corporations make decisions such that no single individual can be held accountable morally, or pragmatically.

      I think it is absolutely correct to find this move morally and personally dangerous, but if we are talking about the distinction between war and murder, the drone policy is in some murky middle ground that our institutions and habits of reason have yet to figure out. It is a further consequence of American globalism, and to my way of thinking, another reason to be skeptical of the five minutes of hate we are supposed to direct at neo-nationalists (there may be some value in the nation state after all).

      1. Uahsenaa

        I would insist on calling it murder for a few reasons.

        1) The administration is entirely disingenuous when it comes to rationalizing what they do. The ethos very much seems to be act first and only later come up with a legal rationale once you’ve been caught out. This was all too apparent when Holder testified before the Senate judiciary committee regarding the drone program, when he tried to argue that the Constitution calls for “due process” not “legal process” and that the disposition matrix met that standard. When pressed with the full phrase from the 5th Amendment, “due process of law,” Holder dissimulated. The legal framework for warfare, such as it is, seems to be an afterthought here, and where the legal logic doesn’t work, they bring out the anonymous sources to spout whatever lie they need to cover their asses.

        2) Willful disregard for civilian casualties is a war crime and has been prosecuted as such since at least Nuremberg. Of especial relevance is how the US tried Japanese officials for civilian death and damages stemming from the assault on Pearl Harbor. Of course, the US is not a party to the ICC, so no suit could meaningfully be brought against the Obama administration, but that doesn’t change the fact that if the perpetrator were, say, Russia instead of the US, the current administration would be howling bloody murder.

        3) The use of lethal violence instead of apprehension and extradition seems to be more a matter of expedience than necessity and indicative of an American foreign policy that generally eschews diplomacy and cooperation in favor of military adventures. It feeds that animal brain desire to get vengeance all the while failing to deal with the actual problem, which most nations are more than willing to collaborate on, since terrorist violence is just as much a problem for Pakistan et al. as it is for the “West.” I’ve read enough Thucydides to know that arguments from expedience rarely yield good results.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Fifty years down the road — as the full blowback consequences of 0bama’s executive drone murder program become clear — his historical reputation probably will be on par with, say, that of Yugoslavia’s General Ratko Mladić today.

      That is, 0bama will be seen as the minor genocidal punk that he is.

    4. makerowner

      outside war zones, only where an enemy fighter poses an imminent threat that cannot otherwise be addressed, usually because the host country is incapable of capturing the fighter.

      Greenwald points out that although the policy statements say that drones are used “only where an enemy fighter poses an imminent threat”, in practice the administration has determined that being a member of al-Qaeda means that you are ipso facto an immanent threat to the US, no matter what you do or don’t do.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Let’s recall what happens in practice. Three guys doing jumping jacks in the desert? Terrorists. Men who meet the “terrorist” profile (young males riding in a Toyota pickup) even if we have no idea who they are? Terrorists. Some tribal guy trying to settle a local score by fingering his rival? Terrorist. Key survival skill for the 21st century: trying to stay on the right side of the Drone-Opticon.

        1. oh

          Talking a foreign language in an airplane, one the flight attendants think is related to Islam: terrorist. Darker skin with a beard: terrorist.

          However, if you fund raise or donate or better still be a democrat shill, you’re OK!

    5. fresno dan

      August 14, 2016 at 9:32 am

      Thanks for that detailed dissection and excellent analysis.
      But it shows very well what the problem is – a moderately involved viewer of the MSM would see people like this on the media all the time spouting what looks like a rather cogent and knowledgeable statement of objective fact. The refutation takes a lot of time, (which despite 24 hour news channels, there is NEVER enough time for) and every single refutation is than subject to an even more tendentious debate. And that side has what seems a limitless number of proponents, while the opposition is always short changed in the discussion.
      Two war parties – years upon years of failure – and the only solution offered in the upcoming national election is double down! Incredible…

    6. gordon

      They had to veil Picasso’s “Guernica” at the UN for very shame when Colin Powell went there to advocate war and death in 2003. Now we have a Guernica event every day, often several times a day, and we need a new artist to bring us up to date with the horrors we casually create.

  9. optimader

    Visitors Experiencing all the excitement the Big Apple has to offer.
    Think of a hot misty rainforest; now swap the scent of soil and trees with that of steaming rotten garbage and festering body fluids. That’s New York City right now. Tomorrow we will be welcoming a heat and humidity mash-up to ring in a heat index of 110F. It’s as if someone put a wool blanket over a steam bath perfumed with stench, the air is so thick you can grab it by the handfuls. Summer in the city can be brutal, but … .

    1. Steve H.

      My last day living in NYC, I was 10, we’re almost moved out and this Large roach appears. I get a hard plastic cup and capture it, but then there’s a ratcheting sound and a crack and it busted out a chunk and I did not try to catch it again.

      Them bright lights have never been able to lure me back…

      1. optimader

        They have rendered to what genetic material is required to survive.

        Good thing you didn’t put it in your pocket?
        One of the great things about my mother is that as a little shaver she latently encouraged me to come home as dirty as possible after a hard day playing outside -pockets filled with dirt and “pets” to studyunder a magnifying glass ( still have it).
        Now kids have Play Station Whatever!.

          1. optimader

            great woman, she got it. Very loose leash on us, but definitive limits.
            She left H.S. to care full time for her mom who was blind and had rheumatoid arthritis, taking her down to Tucson before my grandfather could put the pieces together to follow. A lifelong persistent learner , did her GED in her early 30s as a matter of principle.

            None the less, more horse sense than Alan Greenspan, she put the pieces together on the RE mortgage meltdown, sold their modest AZ rental properties right before it all blew up. She would have shredded Greenspan/Bernanke/Geithner when she was on her game.

            Unfortunately now late stages of Alzheimer’s, my sister is the land-lady, my dad is a friend, I’m her brother… and its probably about 1945. A merciless disease process unfortunately.

        1. Lord Koos

          Whether she knew it or not, your mom was also building up your immune system. Science is finding that the ecosystems on our skin is as important as that of our gut.

    2. Jagger

      Sounds nice but then, there is nowhere in America that doesn’t spend a substantial part of the year with absolutely miserable weather-either too hot, too cold, too muggy, too much ice, too much snow, too many tornados, too many hurricanes, etc., etc. The only place with almost year round perfect weather is within about 5 miles of the coast of California from around Santa Cruz and south. Of course, perfect weather year around gets monotonous pretty quickly. I guess without the sour, you can’t really enjoy the sweet.

      1. crittermom

        ” I guess without the sour, you can’t really enjoy the sweet.”

        So true.
        I’ve lived in southern CA twice in my life. The weather was always ‘perfect’. 76 degrees and sunny.

        As a kid, it was great but when I moved there once again in my twenties I found it boring after many months. I remember the first time we got a good rain I was thrilled and went out and danced in it (being careful not to step on the many snails who had suddenly occupied the sidewalks).
        I guess I prefer distinct seasons (but not high humidity!).

      2. charles leseau

        It really depends on what one considers perfect. I dislike high heat and love mild and rainy weather, so a place like Aberdeen, WA (@40 to 60 F average annual spread and rainy as can be) is about perfect for me – not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter*. But I’ve heard plenty of people in WA say it has the worst weather in the state because of all the rain.

        *It does get occasional spikes of severe heat and cold in summer and winter.

        I lived in Santa Rosa, CA for almost 3 years and that was quite nice, but a tad too hot for my tastes in summer.

  10. abynormal

    Yep, Hardy Links Jerri-Lynn. re: WarOntheRocks/Bridging America
    the authors list 6 ways and the 1st is EDUCATION…dropped head
    they’re example initiates higher education when the privatization of k-12 is the heart of American classifications. the realities of the list actually fall under the 3rd way: The Private and Non-Profit Sectors. Americans are struggling to meet the Profits for the few…this leaves us one foot in one foot out and spreading to meet obligations against our own interest.

    i remember a journalist approaching a woman at the beginning of the Arab Spring…she stepped out of her family tent to greet him with an offer of tea. the journalist entered and showed surprise in the detail at which she hosted him. he asked her how she felt about Americans and her reply screamed: “I find the American people very kind but uninformed”.

    Privatizing infest and strangles every part of our daily lives. i can only imagine how many Americans viewed that Arab Woman as stepping out of teepee in WY?

    Privatization came on slowly. When something very big happens, like privatization, historians and economists like to think you must have had very big causes. That is not how it happened. Kenneth Baker

    1. Ralph Reed

      Privitization’s big causes include decolonialization and assimilating women’s rights into some imperialists class reproduction. For example most elite private schools in the US went co-ed in the 70s by enabling the male cohort’s adolescent development to be tribalized through illegal somatics while the ruling class built up a prison economy to sandbox their sons and daughters black marketeering.

    1. jrs

      too certain history has already been entirely written, and with such a bleak cast as well. Who is he really working for? The only progress the working class has ever made was born of optimism that things could change eventually. That hardly means that at present things are good, or that the defeat of Sanders wasn’t a real defeat as was the crushing of Occupy. Occupy I’m sure made a sincere try to continue after it’s defeat (we shall see about Sanders organizations) but the successor movements to a dead movement don’t always work (who wants to revise the IWW?). But new movements do get born, ALL THE TIME. Every force available has always worked to defeat the left in the U.S. And time may well be out environmentally, but time is not out *because* Trump is a populist bigot.

      Sure leftists might be smeared as Trump (as bigoted and xenophobic), but that is neither the fault of leftists NOR Trump and in fact they would be smeared even if Trump never ran for President (with a different smear perhaps of being idealists with no concept of reality, as isolationists if they were anti-war much less against trade, etc.). They are smeared not because Trump but because that’s what a heavily consolidated propaganda media for the 1% DOES, it does yellow journalism for it’s class interests. Period. He must still imagine there is some way the body politic could be virtuous enough not to be slammed by the media. No there isn’t, not if their interest differs from the 1%.

      1. nycTerrierist

        Thank you. I liked Frank’s set up and then the fatalist conclusion struck me as off. Seems odd to give in to anticipated smears and let Trump and his baggage ‘own’ populism moving forward.
        The question is how can real progressive populism — the new new deal that was the best of Bernie’s message — best proceed now? The Dem party and the corporate media shut that down, so how to work around those obstacles and reach everyone who wants that?

    2. Jim Haygood

      Great moments in history of the former “newspaper” industry:

      Chicago Daily Tribune: DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN
      New York Times: TRUMP CERTAIN TO LOSE

  11. kgw

    U.S. couldn’t stop the Syrian War?! The U.S. generated the Syrian War!!

    Juan Cole: how the mighty have fallen…

    1. jo6pac

      Yes but that what happens when you seat at the round table for the cia.

      The story from Al J. looks to be written by Amerikas very own state department.

    2. Vatch

      The U.S. generated the Syrian War!!

      Overpopulation, drought, the Arab Spring revolts, and the rising price of oil and diesel for farmers’ irrigation pumps all contributed to the Syrian war. Did U.S. meddling in the Middle East contribute to the war? Sure, but it’s an exaggeration to say that the U.S. generated the Syrian War.

      1. Carolinian

        If they only helped isn’t that just as bad given the result?

        But there are some reports that the US directly had a hand in turning the initial peaceful protests into violent ones.

    3. Eureka Springs

      Last time I watched Democracy Now protests/provacatuers? in Syria were begining to turn violent (snipers on rooftops shooting police).

      Cole was Amy’s go-to liberal lefty guy and he was all for U.S. Mic removing Assad. I vowed then to never view DN again.

      Juan is always for war before he sometimes, much much later is against it.

    4. witters

      Juan is a ‘humanitarian interventionist’ of the standard neo-con type, with the usual refusal to own up to god awful disasters (Cheered on the Libyan obscenity and still refuses to disown cheering it on), and the vacuous identity politics (‘the young people of Libya’ will usher in a secular, feminist, LGBT utopia of powered by the irresistable force of social media). In short, the guy is a tosser.

  12. DrBob

    Re: Acceptable Losses

    Senators consider vote to block US arms deal to Saudi Arabia – report

    — Rand Paul calls country ‘unreliable ally’ after Democrat Chris Murphy criticises US support for Saudi intervention in Yemen’s chaotic civil

    “Days after the Obama administration approved a major arms sale agreement to Saudi Arabia, Republican senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is considering blocking the move, citing objections to the country’s human rights record and a possible regional arms race.

    “’I will work with a bipartisan coalition to explore forcing a vote on blocking this sale,’ said Paul, according to a statement provided to Foreign Policy magazine. ‘Saudi Arabia is an unreliable ally with a poor human rights record. We should not rush to sell them advanced arms and promote an arms race in the Middle East.’

    “Paul, and his colleague on the Senate foreign relations committee, Democratic senator Chris Murphy, have been critics of US policy in Yemen and of providing Saudi Arabia with the logistical and military support it has asked for.

    “’If you talk to Yemeni Americans, they will tell you in Yemen this isn’t a Saudi bombing campaign, it’s a US bombing campaign,’ Murphy said, speaking on Capitol Hill in June, according to a report by Defense News. ‘Every single civilian death inside Yemen is attributable to the United States. We accept that as a consequence of our participation,’ he said.”

    1. makerowner

      The Harper’s article is the first I’ve seen that calls into question the oft-repeated, but seldom supported, claim that the Houthis in Yemen are backed by Iran. Does anyone hear know of any evidence for this Iranian support, besides that one fishing boat allegedly carrying weapons for the Houthis?

    2. marym

      Congressman Ted Lieu (D-California-33)

      “I have tried numerous times to work with the Administration to stop the United States from assisting Saudi Arabia in their indiscriminate killing of civilians in Yemen. But when Saudi Arabia continues to kill civilians, and in this case children, enough is enough. Having served on active duty, one of my responsibilities was to teach the Law of War. I am also a graduate of Air War College. The indiscriminate civilian killings by Saudi Arabia look like war crimes to me. In this case, children as young as 8 were killed by Saudi Arabian air strikes. By assisting Saudi Arabia, the United States is aiding and abetting what appears to be war crimes in Yemen. The Administration must stop enabling this madness now.”

    3. allan

      Compare and contrast Cockburn’s piece in Harper’s with this puffery from Reuters:

      Hadi’s troops and forces from the Saudi-led Arab coalition drove out AQAP – widely considered the most dangerous branch of the global militant group – from the Hadramout provincial capital of Mukalla in April. …

      Coalition bombing had mostly focused on the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but began turning their attention to AQAP earlier this year when forces funded and trained by the United Arab Emirates launched a surprise attack to win Mukalla.

      Cockburn says that AQAP was allowed to retreat from Mukalla, where they had been left untouched for more than a year, with all their weapons.

  13. clinical wasteman

    Haere mai, Jerri-Lynn. Another brilliant polymath, it would seem… Always a privilege to read and converse with so many of these (editors & readers alike) here.
    Hope you’re enjoying your time in Aotearoa, but sad to say, all the TV and all other news there (apart from the great Scoop/Werewolf sites) is always all about the sports. The ‘newspaper of record’ in Auckland is like a digest of USA Today clipped to a compendium of the sports pages of the UK Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald, etc etc.

      1. OIFVet

        I did rough it a bit, had some pretty intense hiking in the mountains. But most of the time we enjoyed the good life. We found an incredible little restaurant on the seashore, 50 meters from the Turkish border, fresh caught seafood, home-grown fruits and veggies, al fresco dining under fig trees. Great chef. Simply spectacular food and ambiance. But my wife gave me the evil eye when I gave the middle finger salute to the giant Turkish flag on the other side of the river that delineates the border. It was only 3-4 days after the coup and she found it too provocative. Coming from an American, I had to pause and think about that…

  14. tongorad

    From mountain forests to city parks, trees are stressed and dying – Seattle Times

    Record drought last year and long term bad climate mojo:

    As Washington’s climate changes, no one should be surprised to see effects on trees. On average, spring is earlier, fall is later and winter is getting squeezed on both ends, with a growing season about five days longer than it used to be, notes Nick Bond, Washington state climatologist and a senior research scientist with the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) of the University of Washington.

    Average yearly temperatures in the Puget Sound lowlands have warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1890s, Bond said, while in summer, warming is greater, at 1.7 degrees. Even the nights don’t cool down like they used to. Winters also bow out far earlier.

  15. crittermom

    “Bill Clinton’s $300 million birthday gift”
    “96% of Clintons’ donations went to their foundations”

    GREAT articles on the Clinton’s and their ‘foundations’.

    This statement leaves me wondering who the DOJ works for, exactly?
    “A bank informed the bureau of a Clinton Foundation donor’s “suspicious activity.” The FBI and three Justice Department field offices thought that the lead warranted an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. But the DOJ’s public integrity unit declined to open up a formal probe.”

    The ‘public integrity’ unit, eh?
    I should think they could make a career out of investigating the Clinton foundation, alone.

    Ah, nevermind about wondering who the DOJ works for. It’s becoming too obvious, I suppose, that they aren’t working for the ‘public’.

    “Justice” is becoming as much of a misnomer as ‘independent’ was in the IFR, apparently.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Why does the DOJ even need a “public integrity unit”? Is it not their job to prosecute breaches of the law no matter who commits them?
      (LOL, sorry, I was thinking of the former glory days of American jurisprudence when no one was held to be above the law…)

  16. fresno dan

    In the video below from 2015, Thomas Frank looks back over the past 15 years to when he wrote this insightful book, and ends with this observation.
    “I want to end with the idea that the market is capable of resolving all of our social conflict, fairly and justly. That is the great idea of the 1990’s. And we all know now what a crock that is. I think what we need in order to restore some kind of sense of fairness is not the final triumph of markets over the body and soul of humanity, but something that confronts markets, and that refuses to think of itself as a brand.”
    The book was not received well at the time in the waning days of the Clinton revolution and the birth of the era of the neo-cons in foreign policy and neo-liberals in economics.

    This religion of the markets had yet to suffer the serial failures and decimation of the real economy which it would see over the next sixteen years.

    This is an ideology, a mindset, and as Frank calls it a religion, of taking market capitalism to such an extreme that it dispenses with the notion of restraints by human or policy consideration. It comes to consider the market as a god, with its orthodoxy crafted in think tanks, its temples in the exchanges and the banks, and its oracles on their media and the academy.

    This extreme form of market capitalism, also called neo-liberalism in economics and neo-conservatism in foreign policy, has worked its way into the mindset of the ruling elites of many of the developed nations, and has taken a place in the public consciousness through steady repetition. I has become the modern orthodoxy of the fortunate few, who have been initiated into its rites, and served and been blessed by their god.

    So true.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      How I wish we did have “market capitalism”, by contrast what we have is socialist crony protectionism for the great swath of industry and “market capitalism” for the actual people.

  17. Jim

    There are many other reasons,than those cited by Taibi, to seriously consider the possibility/potentiality of a Republican Workers Party as a realistic alternative in the future.

    The Left in the United States and in Europe may be on its way to extinction–especially if/as the right begins to take on issues and concerns that were once the domain of the left.

    The evolution of the high tech industry towards a new type of extractive accumulation coincides nicely with the extractive indifference of Wall Street Finance.

    As Zuboff has noted in her recent articles on Surveillance Capitalism, the users of anything digital are neither buyers or seller but increasingly the raw material for a new type of manufacturing process which extracts profits from surveillance (the behavioral data of its customers). This new manufacturing process then converts this behavioral data into prediction products and sells it to any actor with an interest in monetizing probablistic information about our behavior.

    This new process of extraction is becoming a reality and nicely merges the theoretical ideas of Zuboff and Hudson.

    The merger of high tech and finance in terms of a similar logic of accumulation creates an increasingly hegemonic organizational structure of power which jointly preys on a dependent population as well as more completely controls the direction of the Democratic party.

    In the future it seems quite likely that the Democratic party will represent most completely those interests in the country which support the radical idea of the structural independence of the firm from its population–with the population (stretching beyond the working class) only seen as a foundation for extraction.

    The Democrats will be increasingly calling for the complete overthrow of our individual sovereignty and self-determination.

  18. ekstase

    “NYC weather is inspiring giant cockroaches to take to the skies.”
    “Have we detected an alien megastructure in space? Keep an open mind.”

    Am I the only one who sees a possible connection here? An alien civilization, calling to its Earth-bound brethren to get up and finally use its ability to fly? And what other skills will we find that animals have, now that global warming is freeing them from human-friendly climate constraints? It’s an exciting new time, and not just for cockroaches.

    Also, how long before those alien, “phalanxes of orbiting solar panels,” appear in the new Ikea catalogue, because who doesn’t want those?! Let’s try to stay positive!

  19. Pat

    Had CBS on this morning and didn’t do my usual reflexive channel change for Face the Nation and McLaughlin. It was interesting.

    Face the Nation had some poll analysis (with some whitewashing of Clinton’s negatives although they admit it), an interview with Susan Collins that included a half hearted plug for the Libertarian ticket (or a write in), and a long, several section long, discussion of what skills a President needs with some usual type subjects. Mostly it was about ways that Trump was not suited or prepared to be President. Still some interesting things came out of it. One was a way that Rosa Brooks back handed Obama’s isolation in a manner that might was a not so obvious recommendation for Clinton, IMO. But the very end of the show had about five minutes about how vulnerable Clinton really is, and the various things that could trip her up. It was the last impression the show would leave, and all I could think was it was 1.) their method to show how even handed they were AND 2.) they aren’t so sure the polls and common wisdom are right, and this hedges their bets.

    Then McLaughlin, it is really scary to be on the same side as Buchanan. They got on trade. He doesn’t make the case against it as well as he should although I do give him credit for noting the size of the trade deficit. It became too much about the costs of t-shirts and how much people can buy (and Pat didn’t manage the obvious response that it didn’t matter how cheap a t-shirt was if you didn’t have a job and a paycheck you could use to buy it.) Still, as he said to Eleanor Clift, if politicians pass any version of TPP and don’t recognize that the majority of Americans no longer approve globalization or accept these deals anymore the reaction will destroy the political landscape of America in way she is not going to like. He came off as the cranky old crazy uncle, even if he is right.

    I do sort of hope that someone got Eleanor Clift’s lecturing him that none of his predictions regarding Clinton’s problems had come true and that she was going to be President of the United States and Pat better get used to it, just in case she is wrong so people can play it about her over and over again.

  20. Nik

    Article on electoral fraud in the UK suggests the need for stringent ID requirements and has a lot of scare quotes about “undermining democracy,” but fails to give a single example of proven fraud that an ID requirement would fix. Typical.

  21. abynormal

    can’t make this up news: Last week Turkey’s foreign minister called Austria the “capital of radical racism” after Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern suggested ending EU accession talks with Turkey, which have made minimal progress since they began in 2005.

    TODAY: Turkey summoned Austria’s charge d’affaires in Ankara over what it said was “indecent report” about Turkey on a news ticker at Vienna airport, a foreign ministry official said on Sunday.

    Turkey allows sex with children under the age of 15,” read a headline on an electronic news ticker at the airport, images circulated on social media showed.

    “Our disturbance and reaction over this display which tarnishes Turkey’s image and deliberately misinforms the public have been strongly conveyed to the charge d’affaires,” the Turkish ministry official said, adding that the headline was removed following the ministry’s intervention.

    The 7-6 ruling by the panel of judges, which is to take effect in January 2017, stirred outrage on Turkish social media and among women’s rights activists, who voiced concern that it would lead to cases of child abuses going unpunished.

    An Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed Turkey had summoned its charge d’affaires on Saturday evening. “We take notice of the reaction of the Turkish authorities, and this is for us a matter of freedom of the press,” Thomas Schnoell said.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In the US, the age varies in different states, but some allow girls as young as 16, like Vermont, or 15, in George, with parental consent, to marry.

      See Age of Marriage, Wiki.

    2. Alex morfesis

      Turkey joins austria & germany in allowing sex with 14 year olds…should that not have been the headline…”Turkey has taken steps in its route to the eu by adjusting its statutory rape laws to conform to european standards.”

  22. Joe Hunter

    From our Friends at the LA Times. A little article that they dug up from a few years ago. They say that shows that the blue collar class does not like poor people, and these blue collar folks are the ones supporting Trump. So. what is the LA Times saying to poor people about voting? (Sorry, Appears Link Is not in message. )

  23. abynormal

    Ann Menebroker (b. 30 March 1936) is an American poet. She is recognized as one of the leading women writers of the no apologies offered and none needed male dominated “Meat Poets”.[1] Menebroker has been a poet since the late 1950s.[2] She is the author of over twenty poetry collections (in addition to broadsides) and her work has appeared in dozens of anthologies, including The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. (also Bukowski girlfriend’)

    Non fui, fui, non sum…
    Annie, Annie you’re ashes now, who
    once was blushing flesh. Is it a journey
    or empty air? An old man mourning
    an old, old friend really wants to know.

    Sooner, I’m sure, than I’ll like, I’ll be
    joining you. Will we babble like budgies
    in a paradise of gossip, or stare, as secretive
    as headstones? Where did our laughter live

    until we met, that lifetime ago? Or before
    we were even born, those million, trillion
    years we weren’t? There’ll be billions,

    trillions more when we aren’t. But
    Annie, for a little while, just talking
    on this lost silly earth, we were.

    1. jrs

      Well Republican operatives who argue the Republican party is imploding mostly mean the Dems might gain a few seats due to Trump and say as much (maybe they will, who knows, but Dems aren’t capitalizing on it). That is their definition of “imploding”. Oh the horror, the horror, a few Rs might lose. But why should we care what they think or accept this “imploding” as doing anything more than making the parties have slightly more equal representation (that not being particularly significant of course as the Rs will probably still control at least half of congress).

      1. aab

        It also doesn’t matter if a corporate Republican loses to a corporate Democrat. Even if the Democrats manage to retake the Senate, we know from Obama’s first term that the Democrats will construct a system where they can only pass Republican legislation anyway.

        Hillary’s optimal scenario is a corporate Republican Congress with her as President. They aren’t going to impeach her after endorsing her, and that way it’s easier to cut Social Security while allowing Congressional Ds to pretend they don’t want to do it. If the remaining progressives get in and the Freedom caucus types expand their ranks, that pincer effect might — just might — give us the comparatively more desirable gridlock.

    1. Anne

      He’s a white male Washington insider and a former CIA officer – doesn’t seem odd to me at all.

  24. HBE

    Wow, i hate lawnmowers! Sitting outside it’s one after the other. I get maybe 10 minutes of silence and then the next one freaking starts up. Why are you even mowing your lawns, the grass hasn’t even grown at all since the last time the whole neighborhood decided to mow their lawns all on the same weekend!

    I know that extra inch of grass made your lawn look disgusting, it looks freaking amazing now that it is gone, good job! /S

    1. abynormal

      i’ve never been right with lawnmowers since that movie The Straight Story. sat on the edge of my seat the ENTIRE movie…figured some horrible accident would start a plot. actually the movie had one of my favorite american lines …
      Dorthy: What’s that number for 911?

  25. ChrisAtRU


    Those of us from the Caribbean are more used to the airborne variety. The most adept have Miyagi-like skills at swatting them in-flight with “gazette paper” (newspaper) or kitchen towels. Fear not, hardy New Yorkers, you too shall adapt! #UseTheForce

    Also –

  26. petal

    Kaine visits Manchester, NH. Dunno, hmm, which is the “me first” and which is the “putting country first”?

    “He said voters have a choice between a “you’re fired” president in Trump and a “you’re hired” president in Clinton; between a “me first” president and a president who puts the country first.

    He also pointed to certain details in Clinton’s economic plan, which include introducing “the most comprehensive plan to increase jobs since WWII,” within the first 100 days. He said the plan includes major investments in research, infrastructure and helping to train people in advanced manufacturing.”

  27. Roland

    I’ll give Juan Cole quite a bit of credit because of that article.

    1. At last he admits that he made mistake in supporting the Libyan War.

    2. He’s arguing against an escalation of the Syria War.

    3. He states outright: “We can’t trust US intervention because Washington power elites are amoral.” That line should be tweeted to the entire US population, daily.d

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