Links 8/20/16

Dear patient readers,

Links are again a bit thin. Thanks for your kind notes about my mother. The short version is the drama was way worse than the event.

She only sprained her foot but the emergency room staff told her to stay completely off her foot for three days, which they insisted meant having 24 hour help. They could tell she was not going to comply and called me. It took a huge amount of effort to corner her into agreeing to sort of cooperate (including catching her lying to the woman who acts as an informal health care aide), and she still slipped the leash by cutting back the coverage I’d arranged to a mere 12 hours/day. Mind you, this took hours to sort out, between calls to the woman who helps her for a half day a week, the home health care service, the emergency room staffers, and my siblings.

Monkeys steal human hair to floss their teeth (video) TreeHugger (resilc)

Zebra finch ‘heat song’ changes hatchling development BBC (Dan K)

NASA Study Nails Fracking as Source of Massive Methane ‘Hot Spot’ Common Dreams (Dan K)

How the War on Drugs Makes People Eat Other People’s Faces After Stabbing Them to Death Alternet (Dan K). A contender for Top Clickbait Headline.

Hong Kong’s Sex Workers Are Ditching Their Pimps for iPhones Motherboard (resilc)


It’s time to defend Brexit Spectator (JLS)

The implications of Brexit for the City VoxEU

How Leave won Twitter: an analysis of 7.5m Brexit-related tweets British Politics and Policy, LSE

We won’t trigger Article 50 until after 2017 – and that means Brexit may never happen at all Independent. My sense is the media, which on the whole has been noisily pro-Brexit, will start making ugly noises if Article 50 is not triggered by the end of the first quarter 2017 (and I don’t expect it to be by then).

The retreat of neoliberalism Defend Democracy


Pentagon Warns Syria to Avoid Action Near U.S. and Allied Forces Wall Street Journal

How Parasitic Finance Capital Has Turned Iran’s Economy Into a Case of Casino Capitalism Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Oracle Is Funding a New Anti-Google Group Fortune (Dan K)

DJI opens its first drone arena in Seoul, South Korea Quartz (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Contemporary Crisis of the American Ideology Defend Democracy

Think the world is on fire? Obama’s national security adviser says things are better than ever. Vox (resilc)

Should the U.S. Still Be Sending Military Aid to Honduras? New Yorker (resilc)

How Bill Clinton Made America More Ambitious—and Dangerous National Interest

Casuistry Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Uncovering the brutal truth about the British empire Guardian (Chuck L)

Clinton E-mail Tar Baby

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Colin Powell did it’ defense of her email practices is just plain wrong Washington Post. Li: “Even Cilizza turned on her.”


How a Wonky Trade Pact You’d Never Heard of Became a Huge Campaign Issue Mother Jones (JLS)

Will Bernie Sanders’ ‘Our Revolution’ Finance DNC, Clinton’s Campaign? Inquisitur. Dan K: “WTF is with Weaver? I was already creeped out by the way he let Mook push him around before the primary. Oh well, more ‘clarification’ if nothing else. Fool me once…” Moi: It is possible that the Sanders team is taking a page from the Japanese: Never get into an open conflict (particularly given how pushy and fabulously vengeful the Clintons are). Make a show of agreeing and then do the least important 40% of what they want you to do very very slowly.

Hillary’s Neoconservatives American Conservative

Now the Clintons Tell Us Wall Street Journal (Li). On the Foundation.

Hillary Clinton’s Ethics Problems Are Worse Than She Understands New York Magazine (resilc)

Hillary Goes With the Flow Andrew Levine, Counterpunch

Hillary Clinton’s Fundraising Pace Accelerates Wall Street Journal (Li)

Trump stays on script to hammer Clinton The Hill (Li)

Yes, Obama and Clinton Created ISIS – Too Bad Trump Can’t Explain How It Happened Glen Ford

Dilbert Explains Donald Trump Wall Street Journal. Our EM put NC readers onto Scott Adams’ take on the race more than a month ago.

A tale of two Louisiana disasters and media bias The Hill (Li)

The Anti-Democratic Urge New Republic (resilc)

Aetna, Obamacare and health insurers’ 10 dirty secrets MarketWatch (resilc)

Judge Refers Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio for Criminal Prosecution New York Times (Scott)

A Blow to Voting Rights in Illinois Alternet

Work stops at Dakota Access Pipeline site North Dakota News (martha r)


Lawmakers Overseeing Wall Street Given Bigger, More Favorable Loans Than Others: Study International Business Times

Class Warfare

The wealthy have nearly healed from recession. The poor haven’t even started. Washington Post. Like Lambert, I loath the application of health imagery to things that are not even remotely organic, like a balance sheet. Dan K provides the link to the underlying CBO study.

Lyft Is Said to Seek a Buyer, Without Success New York Times

It’s Not Just Texas. Maternal Deaths Are High Across The U.S. Huffington Post (Dan K)

America’s cash-strapped teachers are a target for predatory lenders Guardian (resilc)

The Limits of Excellence Jacobin. Martha r flags this part: “But if the valorization of women’s achievements fills a harmful cultural gap, it also risks turning feminism into a project of moral sorting and reward — ultimately obscuring, naturalizing, and enforcing the power systems it purports to challenge.”

Antidote du jour. IsabelPS: “Baby bird saved by its parents after falling from the nest.”

baby bird rescue links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: Hong Kong sex workers ditch pimps—good…Pimps are the most useless parasites possible. BTW, Thom Hartman once said the only “organization” per se that he ever “supported” to the extent of putting up a bumper sticker was Amnesty International, which supports legalized prostitution.
    I once met an Australian guy who said he would like to assassinate Hillary Clinton, as it is widely believed as sec of state she strove mightily to disrupt the old system of “bar fining” in the Philippines, which was a relatively humane system of prostitution. Ironic in the extreme that she could “stand by her (puke) man” through his multiple rape accusations, etc. yet still stick her nose into the Filipinos’ business.
    I love your mother, Yves, if she’s still trying to “slip the leash” at her age. Lotta moxie.

    1. Katharine

      >I love your mother, Yves, if she’s still trying to “slip the leash” at her age. Lotta moxie.

      Yes! It’s the ornery contrary ones, the whose-life-do-you-think-this-is? ones that live long. More power to her!

      1. threeskies

        More power to her!
        And there’s this text, Circles of Care []
        written by a friend who, come to think of it, I could Skype because I don’t know who to trust to inform myself about the “meds” being prescribed for a founding father of the “whose-life-do-you-think-this-is?” genre–who’s producing “unacceptably high” blood pressure numbers, occasionally, and refusing the second med prescribed.

      2. Antifa

        I had occasion years ago to be in a physical therapy clinic for several months. Most of the other residents were stroke victims, amputees, spinal damage cases, paraplegics, shattered limbs, and so on. The therapists literally rousted us out of our comfortable beds twice a day for several hours of individualized exercises to restore whatever use of our limbs they could. It was drummed into us by the hour that we either “use ’em or lose ’em.”

        One old gentleman of 90 summers had just had both hip joints replaced after a fall, and was learning to walk all over again. Learning to stand up all over again. He had long since lost patience with the whole process, with medicine, with the whole human race, but therapy went on twice a day no matter how any of us felt.

        One day his therapists couldn’t coax him out of his wheelchair, and chided him gently for being cranky instead of cooperative. He yelled to the very heavens in reply, “I’m ninety years old! I get to be cranky!”

      3. mcarson

        Tell your Mom a sprain is a stretching of tendons and support structures in the ankle. You baby your foot so that all the “sprung” parts tighten up and hold your ankle stable. It takes 6 weeks for that to happen. During the 6 weeks after a sprain you are much more likely to sprain it again, it’s like a post without guy wires on a windy day. Once you’ve re-sprained it a couple times your ankle begins to randomly “go out” like what happens to someone with a bad back.
        A good exercise for later on is to stand on 1 foot holding on to a chair as lightly as possible to exercise all the little balancing muscles in your foot and ankle. She could start with her “good” ankle to get a feel for it.
        I have teenagers and young adults who vacation as “teen re-enactors” when they can get away with it. I told my Mom I’d send them over to “help” if following directions was too difficult. She caved after only a couple visits by them.

    2. Lord Koos

      When did Hillary ever talk about prostitution in the Philippines? Thailand has the same system.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Not that she TALKED about it, but it’s believed she “leaned on” the Filipino gov’t to change things.

    3. John k

      ‘Pimps are the worst parasites possible’
      Politicians bought by bankers?
      Ditto insurance companies?

      Pimps do it retail, the FIRE industries wholesale.

      1. nobody

        Thoughts on pimping and capitalism from the great American political sociologist Dave Chappelle:

        You know what it is? It’s the muthafuckin game. I figured it out. This whole shit is run off the game. Nobody knows what the game is, but I figured it out…

        Y’all want to know what the game is, you want me to spell it out for you? You want to know why I went to Africa? Alright the [inaudible] is, I can’t tell you. But I can give you a hint. This here… I’m telling you where to look. Go to the local library. I’m serious, and get a book, it’s written by a great American. This American’s name was Iceberg Slim. He wrote a book called Pimp, about his rise and fall in the game of pimping. Now there’s two ways you can read this shit. If you just skim the top it seems like you’re reading about some freak shit. But if you read a little deeper, it is the capitalist manifesto. He put the blueprint out for all the people to see, but you got to get past pimping, cuz pimping is ugly. But it is the game. Iceberg Slim. Iceberg Slim brought words to the American lexicon, words like ‘mileage on a ho.’ This is come ice cold shit but this is not Dave talking, these are Iceberg’s words. Listen up. Mileage on a ho, listen, this is awful, but the pimp has figured out human nature, which is the basis of the game. Now if you figure out human nature, you find out how corruptible a person is, one of two things will happen. Either (a) you lose your fuckin mind, or (b) you’ll get your money right.

        A good pimp knows about mileage on a ho means you can look at a girl and say ‘she’s good for fifteen hundred tricks. And then I’ll cut her loose.’ It’s awful but that’s how the game goes. And don’t feel bad about the hoes because they’d do it to you. That’s why so many work 9 to 5, cuz 9 to 6 might kill a bitch. All in Iceberg Slim.

        Iceberg Slim brought the idea of pleasure and pain. This is one of the worst stories in this book. Pleasure and pain. Iceberg had a girl that was a little difficult for him, when he was a new pimp. So he asked an older pimp how to I reign her in and get her under control. This is easy. You beat this bitch with a coathanger. And then you give her some pills and run her a bath. And that’s exactly what he did. Went home and beat her up, and then he ran her a bath and gave her some pills, and she was so grateful that he fixed her she wasn’t aware that he broke her in the first motherfuckin place. This is the game. Are you listening? You follow me?

        1. Jason Boxman

          I like to read NK until I come across something that makes me sit back and think for a few minutes, staring off into space.

          Clearly I can stop early today.

          Thanks, I think!

          1. nobody

            You are welcome. Here is the source:


            There’s more than what I’ve shared here. The quality’s not great but it’s worth listening to closely in full. The audience finds phrases like “mileage on a ho” and “bottom bitch” hilarious and betrays no trace of comprehending what he’s actually saying.

            Dave Chappelle, the man who figured out he was being turned into a fifty million dollar prostitute and said no to that, and retreated to his farm in Ohio.

            And of course he was seen as having had a mental breakdown after he quit his show. Of course he was. In the American value system, saying no to being a $50M prostitute is prima facie evidence of mental illness.

          2. nobody

            Cf this assessment of “Eyes Wide Shut” by Stanley Kubrick (an even greater sociologist than Chappelle):

            The real pornography in this film is in its lingering depiction of the shameless, naked wealth of millennial Manhattan, and of its obscene effect on society and the human soul. National reviewers’ myopic focus on sex, and the shallow psychologies of the film’s central couple, the Harfords, at the expense of every other element of the film — the trappings of stupendous wealth, its references to fin-de-siecle Europe and other imperial periods, its Christmastime setting, even the sum Dr. Harford spends on a single night out-says more about the blindness of the elites to their own surroundings than it does about Kubrick’s inadequacies as a pornographer. For those with their eyes open, there are plenty of money shots.

            There is a moment in Eyes Wide Shut, as Bill Harford is lying to his wife over a cellphone from a prostitute’s apartment, when we see a textbook in the foreground titled Introducing Sociology. The book’s title is a dry caption to the action onscreen (like the slogan PEACE IS OUR PROFESSION looming over the battle at Burpelson Air Force Base in Dr. Strangelove), telling us that prostitution is the basic, defining transaction of our society.

  2. kj1313

    LOL your mother sounds like a fierce independent lady.

    I fully expect Hillary to win but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a progressive challenger rise up for the 2020 election. Her signaling to the establishment DNC/neocon/neolib wing of the party are only make real progressives angrier.

    1. Vatch

      Of course there will be a progressive challenger in 2020. There was a progressive challenger in the Democratic primaries in 2016. The real question is, when will a progressive challenger actually win? The billionaires and mega-corporations that own and control the U.S. want the voters to believe that they have a choice, so long as the billionaires and mega-corporations get to pull the strings of the “winner”.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Another item for Imperial Collapse Watch:

    It was Monday afternoon, and an unusual mass crisis was beginning to unfold in Huntington, a city of nearly 50,000 on the western edge of West Virginia — a crisis increasingly familiar to paramedics, firefighters and police officers across the United States.

    When police arrived at a house shortly after 3:30 p.m., they found seven people — four inside, three outside in the yard — who had just overdosed on what appeared to be an especially nasty batch of heroin.

    From 3:21 p.m. to 8:33 p.m., officials responded to calls for 26 overdose victims, almost all of them in Huntington, according to city spokesman Brian Chambers. Their ages ranged from their 20s to their 50s.

    Opioid overdoses surged in recent years to epidemic levels and became the third-leading cause of death in Huntington, killing 58 of the town’s residents in 2015.

    If this story resembles the hollowed-out economy that Russia inherited from the Soviet Union, with male life expectancy falling by years from alcohol poisoning — it should. Here in USA-USA!!, heroin takes out a younger cohort.

    Huntington loses more than one per thousand of its residents, per year, to overdoses. They’d better start scouting for a new cemetery before the old fills up. Maybe there’s federal grants for that. :-(

    1. Pavel

      Watch the excellent, gripping “American Gangster” (Denzel Washington & Russell Crowe (TWGLA)*, dir Ridley Scott) and its detailing of the drug shipments from Vietnam on military planes.

      Then stop and think why the US is still in Afghanistan after all these years and the heroine shipments have exploded.

      *The World’s Greatest Living Actor, IMHO, when he’s given the right role.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Our dedicated spooks gotta make a living somehow, when the skinflints in Congress won’t give them the resources to do their job. /sarc

        1. Skip Intro

          I can’t believe Obama is biting the pharma hand that holds his leash, and letting a foreign cash crop compete with their oxycontin trade.

          And someone should tell those monkeys that flossing isn’t effective!

      2. abynormal

        superb movie on multiple fronts! i thought of Afghanistan when the generals halted the opening of deceased soldiers coffins. the first wave of Afghan heroin was aged inventory. and the jails still aren’t big enuff…

        Richie: I want to know everyone you’ve met for the last twenty years. Everyone you sold to. Every cop you ever paid off. Every one who ever stole from you. Every one you remember.
        Frank: Oh, I remember them all. That’s not the problem.
        Richie: What is?
        Frank: The jail’s aren’t big enough.

        1. abynormal

          uh self Correction: we have enuff jails but not the heads of the snakes imprisoned.
          why don’t we take a jail in each state…remove the bars and create addiction REHABS ?

          1. Arizona Slim

            As long as those rehab places are based on scientific evidence, rather than 12-step snake oil, I would be fine with them.

          1. fresno dan

            August 20, 2016 at 10:18 am

            That is a great movie. If you like something where you have no idea where its going, I recommend a Spanish movie, “Intacto”

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        Can also highly recommend the book Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones for details on the american opioid addiction epidemic and Mexican heroin connections.

      4. Paper Mac

        Not much Afghan heroin makes it to North America. Most is trans-shipped via Balochistan and Iran to Europe. A little does get here via SEA, but it’s uncommon.

      5. DarkMatters

        No reference here to Gary Webb’s Dark Alliance? You’d think that committing suicide by shooting yourself in the head, twice, with a revolver no less, would ensure some degree of author notoriety. How fickle the public…

        1. Jess

          Yeah, I was just gonna say, KILL THE MESSENGER is a pretty good movie about the same stuff. In fact, even more so, because the CIA was the instigator, rather than just a conduit.

  4. abynormal

    “I’m not senile,” I snapped. “If I burn the house down it will be on purpose.”
    Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

    my mother is in the process of blackmailing me to take her to a family reunion that isn’t taking place…she’s perfectly right minded but swears i plot against her. i do plot…plot to hang on another day. Good Luck Yves!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      When my grandmother was dying (102, so no one was that sad) she turned on my aunt she lived with for losing the pictures of my grandmother’s kids believing she was hiding them to keep my grandmother from losing them. My aunt lost the pictures, it was probably her twin which would make more sense.

  5. nothing but the truth

    The wealthy have nearly healed from recession. The poor haven’t even started

    The PTB saw the problem as asset collapse and solution as asset price support.

    its all about the “property”

    Michael Hudson said yesterday “economy is not finance”

    Its worse, they confuse assets with the economy. Let them eat stocks.

    1. ArkansasAngie

      It’s all about maintaining the status quo.

      They are not concerned about wiping “us” out financially. It’s all about “their” insolvency.

      Moral Hazard … where art thou

    1. DJG

      Agreed, a remarkable photo of extremely intelligent animals: IsabelPS? Source? I know that you are in Portugal, so I am curious about the species. Local weaverbirds?

      1. jrd2

        This is the source. It is claimed they are baya weavers.

        ‘I was trying to photograph two birds chasing each other but it was difficult because they are so small and fast.

        ‘Suddenly, I noticed a bird fly into a nest, and then two more came and within an instant they were all hanging from the nest.

        ‘I instinctively shifted my camera to focus on the nest and managed to get some shots off. The entire incident lasted about three seconds.

        ‘I think the two females were competing for the nest the male had built and perhaps he was trying to break up the argument.’

  6. mad as hell.

    A tale of two Louisiana disasters and media bias The Hil

    When you stop and really think about Obama’s overlooking of the situation in Louisiana it’s so ironic and numbing. I did hear that Mr. President was going to head down there on Tuesday for his heartfelt performance. However I am beginging to believe that the golf course might be closed on Tuesday for caddie day and maintenance.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      This morning, on rabid dnc dog joy-ann reid’s show on msnbs, some guy named bruce bartlett was deriding Trump’s visit to Louisiana in the context of the campaign.

      Something to the effect of, “When was the last time a republican candidate had to campaign in Louisiana?”

      bartlett didn’t even think to mention that a tremendous natural disaster had just occurred there. He also didn’t mention the fact that the actual president was whooping it up at bill clinton’s birthday party last night on Martha’s Vineyard, an affair that is getting zero coverage this morning. It’s so sad when reality intrudes on elite social calendars.

      joy-ann is attempting to hang Trump for pulling this despicable stunt. If joan walsh’s bobbling head is any indication, she is in complete agreement with the “unpresidentiality” of Trump’s reprehensible behavior.

      The implication here, I guess, is that if Trump had any idea of how presidents behave, he’d have found an important party to attend and ignored all that devastation.

      The guy is just unacceptable on any and every level.

    2. fresno dan

      mad as hell.
      August 20, 2016 at 9:01 am

      Now, I think we have to be scrupulously fair and understand the distinctions between the two events and analyse it in a dispassionate, objective manner:
      1. water
      2. rain
      3. weather
      4 wetness
      5. Hurricane

      Louisiana now:
      1. water
      2. rain
      3. weather
      4. wetness
      5. no hurricane

      Obviously, repubs southern strategy is to unleash hurricanes upon the south, while it is simply absurd to think dems can somehow control how much it rains. Sooooo…perfectly logical to make a big deal out of Bush not going while ignoring Obama not going…..

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      I take it you missed the fairly well reported fact that John Bel Edwards, on receiving a call from the president asking if said president should come down for a look, asked him to wait until things were more under control because a presidential visit would drain off law enforcement assets desperately needed elsewhere?

      Look, I’m not happy with the man, either, but the fact is he did do exactly the right thing in the circumstances. And I will also note that I then had second thoughts about all the outrage at Shrub for not visiting New Orleans at the height of that crisis, because it likely was for exactly the same reason. I’ll bet, though, the Obama response has and will continue to be worlds better than what NO got. Nor will I get all bent out of shape that he didn’t stay home glued to the TV, because, hey!, no real media coverage.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Here is an alternate point of view, from a former Democratic senator:

        Former Sen. Mary Landrieu was asked, “Does a visit by Donald Trump, is that helpful to raising awareness and money?”

        She responded, “I think it is. And I want to thank Mr. Trump for coming to Louisiana. I think the governor’s admonition about not using it as a press op is a good one, but he brought attention to our state, and we need that now, because, this disaster, Brianna, is far larger than people can appreciate on television.

        “And if you could see it from a drone’s prospective, and look down all of south Louisiana, this is not just a Baton Rouge area event. Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, to the south central part of our state, and southwest, all the way over to Calcasieu [Parish].

        “This was a horrible rain event, and as you know, Louisiana drains about 40% of the entire United States. So, even when the rain doesn’t sit over us like this did, even when it rains in Minnesota or Arkansas, we get the water. That’s one thing I want people to understand, it’s both a blessing and a burden to have too much water, and we have too much of it now, and it is really a serious disaster, and I hope Secretary Clinton will make her way down, I hope President Obama will make a visit. And we need all the attention and help we can get.”

      2. ggm

        Edwards asked Obama not to come for a couple of weeks, but he’s going in 3 days anyhow. On optics, Trump definitely won this battle. He donated supplies, took a quick photo op while handing them out, met with community leaders and looked sympathetic. Away from the circus atmosphere of his rallies, he does exude some executive qualities. It also helped him that the best Hillary could do was tweet for the victims, seemingly from her bed.

  7. Jim Haygood

    From a Bloomberg article about Uber’s driverless car launch:

    In Pittsburgh, customers will request cars the normal way, via Uber’s app, and will be paired with a driverless car at random. Trips will be free for the time being, rather than the standard local rate of $1.05 per mile. In the long run, Travis Kalanick says, prices will fall so low that the per-mile cost of travel, even for long trips in rural areas, will be cheaper in a driverless Uber than in a private car.

    Ha ha, yeah — just like that “too cheap to meter” nuclear power that we all use to heat and light our homes for pennies a month.

    One of the driverless rationales is that privately-owned vehicles achieve only a miserable 3% utilization rate, since they sit idle most of the time. Whereas a driverless fleet could at least double the utilization rate. If this is so, it follows that auto makers need produce only half as many vehicles. Oops! Regrettably and unforeseeably, friends, prices must go up.

    Given thirty years — about the time it took for aviation to advance from the Wright Brothers’ 12-second flight at Kitty Hawk, through the corrugated-tin deathtrap Ford Tri-Motor, to the relatively safe and modern DC-3 — driverless cars (a term that will become as antiquated as “horseless carriages”) can be made safer than human-piloted cars. Unlike human drivers, robots aren’t subject to distraction, road rage, intoxication, falling asleep, or suicidal impulses.

    But in contrast to general aviation, tolerated because it’s economically out of reach for most, human-piloted motoring will be denounced as a hazard to the automated surface transport system, and an attempt made to ban it. That will be the last ditch for any semblance of freedom in the panopticon database state, where every move you make and every breath you take will be monitored by ubiquitous scanners.

    1. Skippy

      Driver less investing app coming to a router near you soon….

      Disheveled Marsupial…. humans are to irrational to invest rationally….

      1. Jim Haygood

        Robo advisors have been around for eight years — Wealthfront; Betterment; Schwab; a hundred more.

        Sallie Krawcheck’s Ellevate is a robo advisor targeted toward women (they’d better start drafting their trans-gender policy, eh).

    2. Arizona Slim

      Okay, let’s see that driver-less car make it up Negley Hill without stalling or backsliding.

      Or, for that matter, North Pacific Ave. That one ends in a hill that is a lot steeper than Negley.

    3. Bugs Bunny

      Somehow the old Mark Twain adage about buying land seems appropriate here. Not for investment but shelter from the Eye.

    4. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      August 20, 2016 at 9:03 am

      despite the fervent hopes of winos and drunkards everywhere, I’m still certain they will figure out a way to get you for passengering while drunk….

    5. clarky90

      Put one foot wrong, and the Uber you call, will lock you in, and take you straight to jail. You will not pass Go.

  8. Tom

    Clinton’s baffling claim/excuse that, “Powell told me to use private email, so I did” is so irritatingly stupid that I am beginning to wonder if she is just having fun trolling us all, knowing that she’s above the law and will never be held accountable.
    It’s in the same vein as an earlier excuse about why she insisted on using a Blackberry: “Hillary doesn’t even know how to use email on a computer!” That one still bothers me. Obviously, anyone who can learn to use a Blackberry could also learn to access email on a computer in about five minutes. How stupid does Clinton think we are?
    Same in this latest Powell thing. “Some strong man with lots of shiny medals on his uniform told me to use private email, so I did! After all, I’m just some ditzy old woman, not someone who has been First Lady, a Senator and Secretary of State!”
    I really have a hard time understanding how Clinton thinks statements like these come across or how they do her any good. And she’s supposed to have good judgement?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      They always have these somewhat plausible but oafish excuses, don’t they?

      – it was to separate personal and professional mail (on the same server?)
      – it was because she didn’t want 2 blackberrys (you can’t have 2 accounts on 1?)
      – all the previous secretaries of state did it (the technology hasn’t changed a heck of alot since?)
      – there were no confidential mails on the personal server (but you were using it for all your State Dept mail? how can that be?)
      – the FBI cleared me of wrongdoing! (since when does the FBI make prosecutorial decisions?)

      1. Tom

        Bugs (may I call you that?): I guess when you’ve got ironclad immunity, you can keep trotting out any number of excuses and explanations until you either: a) come up with one that people accept as semi-believable, or b) simply exhaust everyone to the point where you no longer need to even pretend to care what they think.

        1. DarkMatters

          Exhaustion is working very well. Confusion, too: I have to write down revelations on a daily basis just to keep track.

          1. Tom

            Right. If Clinton hasn’t been convicted yet, after decades of accusations and aspersions, she must be innocent!
            Or, does the Clinton clan commit so many crimes, in so many places, involving so many co-conspiriters, under the guise of so many intertwined and interrelated government entities, corporations and foundations, that they are now protected by the legal equivalant of an octopus’ ink cloud — a hazy, impenetrable nimbus of statements, explanations, clarifications, retractions and denials that stymies anyone who tries to pierce it?

        2. Optimader

          It works temporarily with a Captured DoJ
          Even then, it works until it doesnt, then at the inflection point the blood is in the water.
          Ultimately it is up to The People to reject the BS, push the tiller and take another tack. That threshold overcome, it is easier to reject plan B if it is more BS.
          Its up to the voter to not accept status quo which includes gamed elections.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Clinton’s continued defense of her e-mail practices is actually quite amazing. The press had already conceded the point, and had agreed to squash coverage of further inquiry into the matter, so why does Clinton keep bringing it up, reintroducing it into public discussion?

      That’s one hell of a guilty conscience there, isn’t it? Why, it’s almost Nixonian.

      1. Tom

        Good point. Hillary should probaby avoid reading The Tell-Tale Heart by Poe — she might relate too well.

  9. Don Midwest USA

    Central banks have money tap wide open – more important than the election

    This article was posted on

    Many of the people on that site used to be on but like myself have left as that site became an arm of the DNC and no criticism of the Queen to be president is allowed. And any talk of third parties is out of bounds. In other words, dailykos is a full on supporter of the establishment.

    One of the important volunteer writers there has just published an excellent article. It is fairly long with lots of diagrams and links.

    Scares the crap out of anyone who has watched the games of the bankers

    Central banking have the money taps wide open and why this is more important than any election

    prediction that by the end of the year the entire global market will be in negative interest rates

    and much more..

    1. Skip Intro

      That article really complements Hudson’s important ‘Finance is not the Economy’ piece. The conversion to Ponzi economy is nearly complete.

  10. Arizona Slim

    Within a year, Our Revolution will be exposed as a DNC funding operation. And it will vanish like OFA.

    Brand New Congress? Well, let’s just say that it was founded by a guy who ditched the Sanders campaign before the primary season ended.

    Methinks that BNC will be able to stay outside of the DNC Borg.

    1. Lambert Strether

      OFA was “vanished” by Obama. A good indication of Our Revolution’s direction will be the staff picks, once announced. I also think you give way too much credit to mighty powers of the DNC. We’re looking at real ancien regime stuff, here. At some point, it all crumbles at a touch, and rapidly (not merely as in 1789, but as in the collapse of the Soviet Union). Oh, and on “revolution,” I thought I had quoted Crane Brinton to this effect, but I was wrong; paraphrasing, he says that one indicator of a coming revolution is that people start speaking about it; their minds are opened to the concept, as shown in their conversation. Like it or not, that’s down to Sanders. It’s hard for me to believe the DNC supported that…

  11. Steve H.

    – Casuistry Counterpunch

    Knock, knock! Who’s there, in the other devil’s
    name? Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could
    swear in both the scales against either scale;
    who committed treason enough for God’s sake,
    yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come
    in, equivocator.

    – Porter, ‘MacBeth’

  12. DJG

    “They could tell she was not going to comply and called me.”

    Yves: This is good news, even if it may frustrate you. I recall my mother’s godmother, who was born near Sulmona in the Abbruzzi and immigrated to the U S of A more or less on her own to marry a man who she barely knew, ever (but that’s another story). Sulmona is Ovid the poet’s home town, although they were not born in the same year. Around the age of 91, she developed leukemia. She was in hospice, but the hospice had a time limit of three months. So she “timed out.” They sent her home. She died a few weeks later.

    So my goal in life is to be a flinty Italian-American who can “time out” of hopice. Which means “not going to comply,” indeed.

  13. Steve H.

    – Our EM put NC readers onto Scott Adams’ take on the race more than a month ago.

    Foy posted last January. NC et al, early to the story again.

    1. Foy

      Thanks Steve, you’ve got a good memory there! One of the few times I might have managed to get ahead of the curve!

      I must say over the last 10 months or so I’ve found Scott Adams daily posts on the persuasion techniques used by the candidates, his Master Persuasion hypothesis and linguistic kill shots etc fascinating, I’ve learnt a lot from his posts (eg why appeals to rationality fail much of the time, especially in dealing with groups).

      Now I can’t help but try to work out the ‘3D’ (3rd dimension as Adams likes to call it) view of any comments by the protagonists as they happen.Then I have some fun saying ‘Aha, I see what you a tried to do there!’. And now I see and hear other ‘master persuaders’ using the same tricks in different fields – eg for Aussies, go back over Shane Warne’s history and I reckon you might find he’s another one…nothing sticks, he’s teflon.

      But it’s also depressing as the more one understands this stuff the more difficult it appears for the truth to get to the surface for any topic, especially anything that involves any degree of complexity. Rational arguments tend to lose out to high persuasion techniques – at least now I understand why.

      I think we are well and truly buried up to our necks in what Harry Frankfurt wrote of in his great essay named ‘On Bullshit’. And Master Persuasion tricks are the highest level examples of it…

  14. Tom

    Clinton’s “Powell did it” defence: How thick is Clinton, really? This lame excuse is in the same vein as another, earlier, explanation of why Clinton insisted on using her Blackberry: “Hillary doesn’t even know how to use email on a computer!” That one still bothers me because of how absurd it is. Obviously, if one can learn to use a Blackberry, then learning to access email on a computer should what, all of five minutes? I mean, come on.
    Maybe Hillary is just trolling us again with the Powell thing.

      1. Tom

        Right. I mean, Powell’s testimony about all that WMD stuff in the run-up to the war seemed pretty much right on to Hillary, so why not go with him on the email advice too?

        1. Tom

          Of course she’s lying. And as is frequently the case, it’s a half-hearted, nonsensical (Hillary, if someone told you to jump off a bridge, would you?) easily debunked lie.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Powell is BLACK, and Hill needs about 99% of the BLACK vote. She loves to be seen in photos with BLACK people, which was one result of making this excuse. The truth is irrelevant: her campaign is not about words; it’s the images stupid.

  15. Stormcrow

    Don’t know if this piece has been noticed here. Roger Stone is definitely sleazy, but I think his article is worth pondering.

    Can the 2016 election be rigged? You bet
    By Roger Stone
    The Hill
    August 16, 2016

    Donald Trump has said publicly that he fears the next election will be rigged. Based both on technical capability and recent history, Trump’s concerns are not unfounded.
    A recent study by Stanford University proved that Hillary Clinton’s campaign rigged the system to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders.
    What was done to Bernie Sanders in Wisconsin is stunning.
    Why would the Clintons not cheat again? …

  16. dcblogger

    This is not the case, according to Sanders’ current team working on Our Revolution fundraising. Though Sanders has endorsed Clinton, and Weaver has promised to help get Hillary and down-ballot Democrats elected, Our Revolution will be funding only progressive Democrats who support the mission of Our Revolution and Independents who stand for progressive ideals.

    “No money will be diverted to the DNC or Secretary Clinton’s campaign,” a representative from Sanders’ team stated about Our Revolution. “It is extremely important that we keep our movement together, that we hold public officials accountable and that we elect progressive candidates to office at the federal, state, and local level who will stand with us.”


    We will know more after this Wednesday’s house parties and livecast, but I think that Our Revolution might be better termed Bernie 2020 campaign for President. He intends to challenge her after electing her. So no, Weaver will not be sending funds to the Clinton campaign.

    1. Tommy Seiler

      Is that really the limit of your agency? You wait for another presidential campaign. My god. Get on the streets, please , please understand the crisis of everything of our lives, and organize outside the damn ballot box. Sure vote…but….oh my.

      1. dcblogger

        I am talking about what I think the purpose of Our Revolution is. I don’t feel like I need to explain my approach to political revolution to fellow commenters.

        1. beth

          Don’t bother to explain to us. We don’t listen to those who don’t give us reasons and facts to back it up. No thanks. Now move on to another blog.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Actually, on the issue with which the thread began, reasons and facts were exactly what DCBlogger gave. Do consider refinining your listening skills.

            In regard to kicking people off the blog: a) It’s discourteous and b) not your job (that’s why we have moderators). If you don’t want to comment here, trying to do the moderator’s job is a sure way to achieve that goal.

          2. beth

            If I am confused, I apologize.

            I did not understand DCBlogger’s comments to relate to Arizona Slim’s entry. I read it only as suggesting that we need to trust ActBlue’s using the Bernie Revolution monies for the Bernie candidates.

            I personally had two of my Bernie contributions moved out of Bernie’s acct. I contacted ActBlue each time. The first time they moved my contribution from DNC Services to Bernie’s acct. The second time they refunded my money rather than putting it into Bernie’s acct from the DNC general fund. I had not requested a refund, but decided not to ask for another transaction into Bernie’s acct since I had lost confidence in their actions.

            Each time I noticed the problem when I asked for a summary of past contributions. One could question whether I myself made the mistake and I asked myself that question. But each contribution was made to a Bernie solicitation directly from an email from the Bernie campaign.

      2. Lambert Strether

        Nothing in DCBlogger’s comment suggests that; you’re strawmanning. And you seem to think that “on the streets” suggests something concrete. It sounds more like a meaningless incantation, to me.

        “On the streets.” And then what? Go for ice cream? Break a window?

    1. optimader

      While police were at the house, one of the couple’s children arrived and told officers the brownies belonged to his siblings. He told them he was “pretty sure it was just marijuana in the brownies,” according to a police report.Paramedics called to the scene who checked the man found his vital signs to be normal. But they noted that he was displaying odd behavior — crawling around on the floor, randomly using profanities and calling the family cat a “bitch.”

      Which part of that is odd behavior? Calling the Police I suppose.

      I imagine the neighbors have some stories about that family..

    2. hunkerdown

      I’m sure the cat understood the score just fine. DARE to say No to catnip!

      It’s been said that durable social change occurs not when people stop punishing people for some vice, but when people stop punishing people for not punishing people for some vice (i.e. no longer upholding the consensus as even a social truth). At this rate, I predict the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs won’t be listing marijuana in 20 years and marijuana won’t be regulated under the Controlled Substances Act et seq. within 10.

  17. fresno dan

    Paramedics called to the scene who checked the man found his vital signs to be normal. But they noted that he was displaying odd behavior — crawling around on the floor, randomly using profanities and calling the family cat a “bitch.”

    UH, so what do you call a female cat, especially after she bites and scratches you? (I think she believes my petting her is an invitation to rambunctious cat sex…)

  18. DWD

    I doubt too many will bother reading this and even fewer will ever consider what I am saying but here goes.

    I am tired of the Feminism Construct that is currently in vogue. Even the article from the ever-excellent Jacobin Magazine (linked above) misses the damned point.

    The point? Women are people and exhibit the entire spectrum of human behavior from the idyllic to the abhorrent and to not recognize this as the premise for consideration will only lead to a bunch of bullshit couched as gospel.

    Certainly the accomplished woman is someone to emulate but more so than the teacher working in obscurity trying to mold her children into the realm of consideration and empathy? Or the woman working two jobs trying to get by?

    We have substituted the truth for assumptions that accomplishment somehow equals virtue. In my experience nothing could be more damaging to consideration for most of us are never going to be stars or politicians of note: the truth is that most of us are just trying to get through the damned day.

    One of the worst considerations of late is the idea that if you oppose Hillary you oppose women and are OBVIOUSLY a misogynist. If Hillary represents all women, we are in deep shit. That’s for damned sure.

    The idea that one should vote for her because it is HER turn or because women deserve the reins of power is offensive. Perhaps it is more than just that a woman be elected to lead this country but can’t we do a little bit better than a warmongering, elitist, oligarch-subservient woman with convenient beliefs?

    I certainly hope so.

    And the antithesis is also true for me: I don’t want any man who has the same general beliefs in perpetual war, elitist and beholden to the richest among us who has no beliefs other than what they want to reflect to their current audience.

    It’s not really that hard.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      I read every word, and agree. Back during the ’70s rebirth of the feminist movement (as I count the suffragist movement as round 1) I became increasingly frustrated that the narrative was all about getting women into the C-suite and into professions and arguing over how we needed to change the language to eliminate the patriarchal overtones (remember “herstory”?). There was nothing said about the plight of single mothers living in poverty, and how they were exploited by their very circumstances, and when the Clinton welfare “reform” went through the silence was deafening.

      The fact is that the feminist movement in this country isn’t about women but about privileged upper-class white women and has always been so. And they will defend to the death their right to force you to stop pointing that out.

      1. Jacqueline Read

        As a member of the ‘second wave’ of feminism back in the early ’70s it’s simply not true that poor women and people of color were not part of the dialoge and the struggle. That may have been true of what we then considered conservative parts of the movement like N.O.W., but seminal thinkers like Robin Morgan, Shulasmith Firestone, Bella Abzug, Aileene Hernandez, bell hooks, and Adrienne Rich, among many others, certainly dissected patriarchy along the lines of class and economic theory. Standard planks among both conservative and ‘radical feminists’ included childcare, universal health care, family leave, equal wages, socialist economics, worker owned cooperatives, the eradication of racism, and a plethora of issues that would, in a phrase popular at the time ” …root out injustice by lifting the most oppressed member of (our) society up, the poor black girl.” That does not suggest that feminism, a label so broad as to be almost useless, did not concern itself with the struggle of single mothers living in poverty, many of whom were designing tactics at the meetings I attended.

        In hindsight I can see that the 1970s – 80s feminist Left, much like the anti-war movement and the civil rights movment, fractured into a multiplicty of groups focusing on narrower questions pertinent to their societal plight and, that while it is equally untrue that there was no push-back against Bill Clinton’s welfare ‘reform’, there was not a critical mass of bonded groups that could defeat it.

        I suggest the Left as a whole remains in this stasis – one need only attend a climate justice demonstration to see a unverse of causes so numerous as to be baffling included in the marches.
        But that the Left in western civilizations is fractured and thus mostly ineffectual need not remain true. I see great hope in America’s young generation who understand that capitalism, a system based on infinite economic growth is unsustainable, and who are working on the ju jitsu necessary to draw a circle of compassion around feminist, racial, econmic, and animal welfare work.

        In the 1970s I said I thought that only environmental degradation was powerful enough to unite widely disparate social causes because it ignored national boundaries. I maintain that hope and continue to work for one more ‘grand idea’.

        PS – I did not consider the early 70’s work on patriarchal language to be non-essential. For many of us ‘fireman’ to describe women fighting fires stuck in the craw. Society appears to have moved toward gender neutral language like firefighter, and for these small victories I’m thankful.

    2. Elizabeth

      Great comment! (@ DWD) There are millions of women who will never be famous or have accomplished anything our screwed up society will take note of. As you say, accomplishment does not equal virtue. Hillary gives women a bad name, yet somehow we are supposed to believe she would be a great leader. The woman is a pathological liar and psychopath. I once bought into the idea that men have screwed up the world, so let’s give a woman a chance to straighten it out. I guess being around for 60 years will change that idea.

      Yves, your mom sounds like a very independent woman. I’m glad she ended up with only a sprained ankle and no broken bones or head injuries. My mom lived to 100 because of her stubbornness and refusal to give up her independence.

      1. dbk

        Just to concur with the previous comments (@DWD, Elizabeth Burton, Jacqueline Reed, and Elizabeth). I also belonged to the ‘second wave’ of feminism, and can only say that my lifelong values (which have been strengthened by age) are not represented by the Democratic presidential candidate, and the fact that that candidate is female is for me irrelevant.

        Have we not reflected on the politics of women leaders (Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, and the rather-frightening Theresa May)? Are these women’s political stances those which have contributed/will contribute to peace, prosperity, sustainability, and equitability in future?

        These days, I mostly feel sad – sad that my generation of women will be remembered as that of HRC, sad that I remained a bystander rather than a participant (as an expatriate in a country where I had no possible political role), sad that my daughter’s generation should think that HRC represents “women political leaders”.

        I am pondering November 8. My home state is deep-blue, so all the arguments about spoiling the result a la Nader are moot. While I don’t especially respond to the leader of the Greens, I support a minimally aggressive stance (read: stand-down) in the Eastern Med (and elsewhere), universal healthcare, and a massive infrastructure upgrade to address both unemployment and climate change, among others. My thinking is that while the Greens will not win anything in 2016, a gradual but significant increase in the percentage of their support over the next few election cycles might be meaningful.

        In the meantime, I believe in local, on-the-ground work for progressive issues – the school board, the city council, the state legislature, and then moving upward from there. Think global, act local – the progressive agenda begins, literally, at home.

    3. Rosario

      Amen. Reminds me of a talk I had with my mom a while back about bourgeois feminism. She raised me herself in pretty dire poverty for years. Fortunately now she has been teaching for 15 years and is in the modern “middle class”. During her talk I remember her telling me, at the time when she was raising me, she would rather have had $500 extra in her pocket every month then erase male supremacy if she could wave a wand and do either. I’m sure many working class women in a similar situation would do the same.

      I think the Jacobin article was on point stating the problem with women being conditioned to build their ambitions by the rules of a game built by men and for men. There is no virtue in modelling oneself after masculine excesses.

  19. Tom

    Ex-Daily Kos reader here — it is astounding how dismissive and savage the attacks are on anyone who fails to toe the line on Hillary’s ascension. Funny thing is, when you go to the site and look at the recent diaries, almost every single one is all about slamming Trump. There’s a curious absence of any pro-Hillary posts. So few, in fact, that you might think that there’s nothing much good coming out of her campaign. I guess when your candidate is a lying neoliberal warmonger, the best defense is offense.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Right, I was a Bernie fan for a while. I have a Bernie sticker right on top of my HILLARY FOR PRISON sticker. But I tuned Bernie out completely when I saw an interaction with an interviewer that went as follows (approximately)—- press person: “You are slamming Donald Trump, but on some issues he’s about the same as you.” Bernie (curtly, almost angrily): “So what?”
      That’s when I saw that he’s basically 100% out for old #1 just like all politicians…he just had a different schtick.

      1. AnEducatedFool

        He was on Morning Joe during that exchanged. I do not understand how you came to that conclusion unless you only saw that 15 second clip. He was being cornered by the panel into admitting that he supports Trump and was purposefully hurting Clinton to allow Trump to gain on her in the general. His response was about the importance of issues. He has some agreements with Trump but that does not make them a Trump issue or Sanders issue but a human issue. It was one of his best moments on TV.

        He basically said that Trump supporters have legitimate grievances but in the end he will not tolerate Trumps bigotry. His family was destroyed in the holocaust. Never forget that fact about his life.

        Sanders ran an economic and social justice oriented campaign and he WON THE GODDAMN PRIMARY. Why do people seem to overlook the fact that Clinton had to COMMIT MASSIVE ELECTION FRAUD to win the nomination. The entire media had to bury Sanders and ignore not only his rallies but the people in his rallies.

        I railed against his lack of attack on Clinton’s foreign policy credentials especially Libya and Honduras. He still won focusing on social and economic justice while generally ignoring identity politics.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          I would vote for Bernie this year if he was on the ballot. I don’t understand, and never will understand, why he HAD TO endorse HRC. In fact, he didn’t HAVE TO. I have no use for him.

          BTW, you say he won the primary. I’m not privy to just how much everything was fixed. But if so, he should have gone down in a blaze of glory and sued them with all the money he collected.

          1. aab

            He spent that money trying to win by a big enough majority that she couldn’t steal and rig it. What Padilla had to do (with the help of the AP) to get her California was extraordinary. No lawsuit Bernie could have filed would have addressed the primary in time for this election. There ARE lawsuits ongoing over the fraud all over the country.

            I don’t like how he’s handling his capitulation, but it sure looked there were threats in addition to structural obstacles. He’s not a “blaze of glory” kind of guy. He’s always looking for ways to help people and make progress. I would bet money he’s trying to make the best of a horrible situation by getting a guarantee that he’ll chair HELP so he can stop horrible Clintonian legislation and keep raising the profile of good ideas. Is this the best possible thing to do? I have no idea, but I do respect that he’s a better politician and change maker than I am, and has more information than I do about just how corrupt and fixed the election is.

  20. Pat

    I’m not a Scot Adams fan. He has said some stuff that has outright annoyed me (mild description) over the years. But I am beyond amused that the usual subjects in thrall to the idea that Clinton will and must win are trying to make what he is saying a joke by making him the joke. Why am I am amused, because most of these usual subjects were just as wrong about Trump and his chances as the regular pundits. Some got that this was not the usual election earlier than pundits but pretty much none of them got it before Adams did. Nor are they noticing that he was giving the win to Clinton IF Trump didn’t find a way to change the conversation, he thinks Trump has started to do that. He hasn’t addressed the fact that Clinton can’t seem to stop shooting herself in the foot anymore than Trump can, I admit to being curious about his take on the latest email gaffe. But meanwhile the penned blogosphere are laughing because Adams still sees a path to victory for Trump.

    Meanwhile I’m reminded about how there was NO way Trump could win, until suddenly even the most neoliberal of poll watchers had to say there was, long shot or not, there was. (All the while I was sitting back there and noting that Clinton’s negatives were through the roof, there is an electoral college, AND some of the states with the areas most hit by trade’s destruction of American manufacturing and good jobs were the electoral college toss ups and wondering how people could be so sure.) These are the same people who think that today’s polls can’t go down as fast as they went up.

    While my hope is that Clinton is destroyed in the election (yeah I want her to lose and lose big otherwise the cancer that is the Clintons and their group will be back so fast your head will spin), I’m well aware that if the election were held tomorrow she would likely win, I’m also pretty sure if it was held about a month ago, Trump might have. And there are a whole lot of weeks and months for events and gaffe opportunities for both candidates. No one in America knows who is going to win. No one. There is no certainty here. And anyone who says there is, is kidding themselves about the candidates, the press, the state of America and the mood of the electorate.

  21. timbers

    Imperial Collapse Watch:

    Compare and contrast to the official Washington view that Russia is isolated (self projection?). Also not quoted below is text on how Russia is perceived as honest reliable and trustworthy in stark contrast to Washington, even among those on opposite sides with Russia.

    Russia’s air raids in Syria, launched from Iranian territory this week, were received by Washington with a mixture of consternation and disappointment. Understandably, too. It marks a breakthrough in Russia’s standing in the Middle East.

    Russia is working closely in a quartet that includes Iran, Iraq and Syria. We can add Lebanon because of the cooperation on the ground in Syria with Hezbollah, which is one of the governing coalition partners in Beirut.

    Even Middle East countries, thought of as Washington’s partners, are showing a newfound appreciation of Russia and the leadership provided by President Vladimir Putin. The notably conciliatory relations between Turkey and Russia – in the wake of a failed coup that Ankara implicates a cleric who lives in the US in – speaks of a tectonic shift in regional geopolitics.

    Despite deep differences over Syria, Russia has managed to retain cordial relations with other states normally considered American proteges and enemies of Moscow’s ally in Syria. Putin has over the past year warmly received Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while also respectfully hosting Saudi leaders in Moscow. Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov was recently welcomed in the Persian Gulf’s Qatari capital, Doha, for high-level talks on Middle East conflict resolution.

    Contrast this all-round respect for Russia with America’s increasingly dismal reputation. Decades of US-led destructive wars, failed nation-building schemes and regime-change machinations have diminished Washington’s standing in the region, even among its supposed partners. Privately and publicly, the Israelis, Turks and Saudis seem to harbor contempt towards their American patron in spite of official designation as allies.

    When Russian long-range Tu-22M3 bombers took off from western Iran this week to conduct missions in Syria it signaled that Moscow is the emerging dominant player in the region after decades of presumed American hegemony.

    1. Jagger

      The United States scrambled fighter jets to protect Syrian Kurdish forces, the Pentagon said Friday, as Syrian warplanes bombed the northeastern city of Hasakeh for a second day.

      A pair of US F-22 Raptor warplanes were scrambled into the area around the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh to confront Syrian Su-24 fighters and chase them away from the contested city, which is the site of ongoing fighting between Syrian Army and Kurdish YPG forces.

      Pentagon officials warned that Syria is at risk of having their planes shot down if they continue to fly in the area, however, where according to reports on the ground the Kurdish forces are attempting to gain full control over the city, and chase the Syrian military out of what districts it once held.

      First things first, by what legal right do we have to be flying in Syria at all? Syria is a sovereign state, yes? Civil war or not, how can we, in any manner, dictate the military operations of the Syrian military within their own country.

      Second , if we start shooting down Syrian planes in Syria, how is Russia going to react? It is one thing to claim we are fighting ISIS and a totally different thing if we openly conduct military operations against Syrian combat forces within Syria.

  22. Jim Haygood

    Some input from my brother, whose Colorado town was flooded three years ago. For those without flood insurance (and one source estimated only 12% of Baton Rouge homeowners had it), the maximum FEMA buyout — for those who can jump through the paperwork/compliance hurdles — is only $33,000. It’s not NEARLY enough to rebuild.

    His Colorado town lost 10% of its population: people who couldn’t afford to rebuild, and simply walked away.

    Horrible irony is that New Orleans was partially depopulated by Katrina in 2005. Many Nola evacuees went to Baton Rouge and Houston and never returned. Now — absent a far more aggressive govt response — Baton Rouge may shed 10 or 20 percent of its population, who simply can’t afford to stay.

    The Defense Department can’t account for several trillion dollars. But you can bet every penny will be counted, when it comes to aiding flood victims. We’ve got priorities!

    1. Arizona Slim

      I was a post-Katrina reconstruction volunteer in MS. Saw many business and residential properties that had been abandoned.

      1. ambrit

        Thanks for the help, really. We struggled through on the MS coast after Katrina. A lot of those ‘abandoned’ structures were later condemned and torn down by the County involved. If not outright condemned, the new rebuilding standards were raised so high, the rebuilding ‘stake holders’ could not justify the expense involved relative to the ‘worth’ of the resulting structure.
        The basic lesson of the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Katrina was that this disaster was skillfully used to “gentrify” the coast. Baton Rouge will probably go the same way. Now that Houston, the second most ‘popular’ destination for NOLA diasporistas, is in its own high water related turmoil, where next for the Louisiana Lumpenproletariat, Omaha? Mississippi certainly doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle them.

  23. Schnormal

    That Marketwatch article on the health insurers is fantastic.

    Momentum for single payer is growing! I’ve always hoped the ACA would end up hastening the collapse of our immoral system under the weight of its own stupidity.

    Single payer now!

  24. alex morfesis

    how does one short uber & the rest of the autonomous auto crowd ?? don’t even like driving a car with abs brakes because the idiots planning/programming the sequence of events create a greater hazard for those of us who actually know how to avoid an accident…

    and last I checked, my laptop and humantracker/communicator never crash, because the dorksandgeeks coding are brilliant and always come in on time and on budget and are never pressured to push through something to meet some financially engineered deadline to market…and websites where my eyeballs are auctioned off in a googol of a second do not create resourcing problems in my devices since I enjoy leaving multiple screens open for days at a time and their algos can’t exactly figure out what is in between my ears (or better yet…no one wants to pay to sell me anything the algos say I want to buy…)

    nah that is just a fragment of my infatuation…no reality there at all…

    maybe it is time to make long term plans to move to a location which will not require driving and to make vacation and travel plans around amtrak and public transportation…

    actually, having seen the improper program for red lights in jersey this past week cause a tragic bus accident, maybe just rail transportation then…

    the fax machine took over 150 years to find its “affordability life” and within those 25 years, killed off the (A-O nazi) telex number…both are still around since legacy issues for many preclude a need to move on… and a real fax can save the time and energy of having to monitor an email thread to then print the document for many who do not have “paid staff” sitting around looking at a keyboard…

    why exactly does the world need autonomous vehicles ? because dorksandgeeks who program cant drive and do not have the physical coordination capacities to learn ?

    last I checked, a nuclear pulse is still capable of frying technology, so how is it in the national security interest to allow some lunatic like fearless leader onedumbson of north korea to be able to just melt away the economy in one quick burp 25 years from now ?

    this autonomous vehicles unicorn nonsense sounds like another john paulson “lets crash the world so I can buy some monets for my wall” idea…

  25. TedWa

    Don’t know if this has been posted already or not – but here is the story about why the DOJ is shutting down private prisons :

    Seth Freed Wessler first told me he believed people were dying needlessly inside the federal government’s private prisons. It was more than three years ago now. Three years later, we know the ugly facts. We know them because Seth refused to drop it. He filed open records lawsuits and dislodged tens of thousands of pages of medical records and internal reviews. He tracked down families in rural Mexico. He knocked on doors of former prison guards and doctors, coaxed details out of whistleblowers at the Bureau of Prisons. Throughout 2016, The Nation has been publishing the results of that dogged reporting, in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute.

    Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced that, finally, it had heard enough facts, too. One week after an Inspector General’s report affirmed Seth’s own findings, the Justice Department directed the Bureau of Prisons to stop using private contractors to run its prisons. By next spring, the number of inmates in federal private prisons will have been dramatically reduced. Within five years, they will have been zeroed out.

    Privatized state prisons have received important media scrutiny, but Seth’s investigation is the first to deeply examine the recurring complaints of inmates held in the private corner of the federal system. Seth’s reporting uncovered dozens of deaths following substandard care and widespread medical neglect. His open records lawsuit and interviews with whistleblowers established that the government’s own watchdogs had been sounding the alarm for many years. And yet year after year, Washington renewed the contracts—as BOP brass cashed in on public service by becoming executives and board members of the same companies that were allowing inmates to drop dead in their prisons.

  26. Foppe

    Again, just to point this out: kill 2 people with a knife while psychotic and try to eat one of them, while white -> cops don’t kill you.

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