Links 9/1/2016

Your dog really does know what you’re saying, and a brain scan shows how WaPo

World’s oldest fossils found in discovery with ‘staggering’ implications for the search for extra-terrestrial life Independent

How Does the Language of Headlines Work? The Answer May Surprise You. Jstor

Africa’s elephants rapidly declining: study Al Jazeera

State report finds resource disparity in a Marin school district San Francisco Chronicle (Bill C)

#VeteransForKaepernick Trend Shows Freedom Means More than Flag to Many Who Serve The Intercept

Supreme Court Blocks North Carolina From Restoring Strict Voting Law NY Times

When Intervention Works: `The Instructive Case of Sierra Leone War on the Rocks


U.S. Strategy to Fight Isis Has Set Off A New Conflict in Syria The Intercept

Does Anyone in Syria Fear International Law? New Yorker

The improbable story of the man who won history’s ‘biggest murder trial’ at Nuremberg WaPo

Last Remaining U.S. Maker of Cluster Bombs Stops Production Foreign Policy

Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, a Woman of Honor, Confronts Senate of Scoundrels Counterpunch

Dishonest bankers threaten new financial crisis says Bank of England Governor Mark Carney Independent

Why Growth Will Fall NYRB


Ukraine and the Dumbed-Down New York Times Columnist Counterpunch

Eton boys secure private audience at the Kremlin with Vladimir Putin Guardian. Putin gets head start lobbying future generation of UK leaders: the Eton eleven do Moscow.

Taunted for being pretty, woman burns face Times of India

Stereotype threat TLS


David Cameron’s fatal insouciance New Statesman

Boom in residency requests spurs secret trials of online system FT

Britain will end up looking stupid over Brexit, says Ryanair boss Guardian

Post-Brexit Britain to seek ‘unique’ model as great trading state FT

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Apple travesty is a reminder why Britain must leave the lawless EU Daily Telegraph

China Heads West: Beijing’s New Silk Road to Europe Der Spiegel

Maldives court issues arrest warrant for Nasheed The Hindu

Victoria bans fracking, but leaves questions over gas supply The Conversation

Kashmir and Palestine: The story of two occupations Al Jazeera

Burkini Bans, New Atheism and State Worship: Noam Chomsky on Religion in Politics Truthout

Censorship and sensibility in Indian literature FT

Weaving a new framework for handloom live

One man’s DIY conservation effort helps rare butterfly rebound in San Francisco Treehugger

A little neglect helps butterflies thrive in Bengaluru oasis The Hindu

Trade Traitors

Why the TPP and TTIP Trade Deals May Now Be Dead in the Water Truthout  Still too soon to count the chickens I think– far too much money is at stake.

War Drums

The Looming Air Superiority Train Wreck War on the Rocks (resilc)

Police State Watch

Why Is The DHS Preparing To Take Control Of The US Election? Zero Hedge (Chuck L) Important. I cannot believe this is happening.


Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain Counterpunch

The Real Hillary Clinton Scandal Is Her Need for Secrecy Vice

7 Reasons Why Trump Would Hate Being President Politico

After Conservatism The American Conservative
(Chuck L)

Live Polls And Online Polls Tell Different Stories About The Election fivethirtyeight

Paul Wolfowitz in the wilderness Politico

Donald Trump breathes fire in immigration speech BBC

Donald Trump just owned Mexico’s president Vice

How Billionaire Trump is Missing Greener Pastures Truthout

Antidote du Jour:brown_pelican_bird_sea

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Roger Smith

    I am not sure I agree with the “ZOMG” tone of the ZeroHedge article. Yes, the people involved and the reasons for their involvement, not good but, much like governance and taxes, the structures themselves are good ideas, the people behind them are the fools.

    I think federal elections being implemented and managed at state levels is a problem with our system. It creates to many cracks for lower level fraud to fall into. To me it seems a centralized system would have less dark spaces and it would be easier to hold accountable. Would it not be easier to fight voter issues at one place? Also, from my (limited) understanding, state elections are often facilitated and managed by the DNC and GOP. These are non-government entities that should have no interaction with the facilitation of elections.

    Can we hire the UN or something to hold our elections? Any fancy start ups out there offering objective election facilitation services (could be big!)?

    1. dcblogger

      the voting machines are the problem, we need paper ballots, hand counted with witnesses, like they do in Canada. Putting this in the hands of DHS just facilitates theft.

      1. Bev

        Yes dcblogger! Paper Ballots-real evidence-counted publicly in precinct by hand and posted publicly at precinct to prevent tabulating changes via method discovered by Bev Harris to alter votes, is decentralized and proves our Democracy.
        Fraction Magic – Part 6: Execution Capacity
        By Bev Harris June 14, 2016
        6 – Middlemen, Inside Access and Manipulation –

        I am very eagerly waiting for chapters that will soon be finished:
        Part 7: Whodunnit – coming –
        Part 8: Solutions and Mitigations – coming –
        Proof of electronic voting machine tampering in Travis County Texas
        Progressive Grassroots Alliance
        by Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.
        Election Justice USA is declaring an #ElectionAction on 9/27/16 calling for an end to #ElectionFraud
        lulu Fries’dat ‏@luluFriesdat Aug 31
        On right now with @AlisonRoseLevy – just dicussed fractionalized voting – and announced the #ElectionAction on 9//27 to support #HCPB

        1. MojaveWolf

          Just want to thank DC Blogger, Bev, and everyone else advocating a transition back to a system of hand-counted paper ballots. Absolutely indispensible for the future of the country, imnsho.

      2. Oregoncharles

        While this is a good point, there was plenty of cheating when all ballots were paper, too. Remember the big-city “machines”? Based on buying votes, or on cheating when they counted them.

        Oregon has paper ballots, marked by the voter. The actual counting is by machine, at least in my county, but they double check. Even so, an election official in another county (Republican, as it happens) was caught filling in blanks on ballots. Our ballots should really have a “not voting this position” mark – she was taking advantage of undervotes.

        OTOH, she was caught. But paper doesn’t solve all the problems. (Don’t get my wrong: I like our system. I do wonder about it in a less goody-2-shoes state, though.)

    2. Lambert Strether

      I followed the ZH link to the Washington Examiner to look at the Jeh Johnson quote, and as it happens the same story appeared in the NYT on August 3: “U.S. Seeks to Protect Voting System From Cyberattacks”. It’s there:

      In the wake of hacks that infiltrated Democratic campaign computer systems, Mr. Johnson said he was conducting high-level discussions about “election cybersecurity,” a vastly complex effort given that there are 9,000 jurisdictions in the United States that have a hand in carrying out the balloting, many of them with different ways of collecting, tallying and reporting votes.

      “We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process is critical infrastructure, like the financial sector, like the power grid,” Mr. Johnson told reporters in Washington. “There’s a vital national interest in our electoral process.”

      A national commission created as part of a voting overhaul enacted in 2002 in response to the controversy surrounding the 2000 presidential election “raised the bar” on security, Mr. Johnson said. “But there is more to do,” he added. “The nature of cyberthreats has evolved.”

      So I don’t think the ZH post is particularly alarmist (and I also think that “cyber-” is pretty damn close to a bullshit tell. Notice, again, no thought of, like, spending zero dollars on IT, fancy-pants consultants, and a whole new tentacle for DHS, and going with simple, rugged, and proven paper ballots. And it’s disappointing that ZH doesn’t go there.

      1. koala

        Australia uses paper successfully. Scrutineers from respective parties can attend and closely observe process and a ballot can be disputed, set aside and assessed in depth later if necessary. Ballots are kept and there is a court of disputed returns that can deliberate where a contest is so close that disputed ballots are vital tie breakers.

        Advance voting is readily available, postal voting is readily available, ID is not always required but you must be on a roll at the polling booth. Duplicate voting is easily detected and prosecuted.

        Australia has national and state based electoral commissions. Voting is compulsory and enrolling is solidly encouraged.

        Paper is a simple and reliable method and the expense is pitifully small to guarantee a confident, democratic expression. Just do it USA!!

        1. Bev

          Chain of custody issues mean vote-by-mail and early voting have vulnerabilities to fraud that voting and counting in public in precinct on election day addresses to prevent fraud.

    3. Kahuna

      Tyler Durden/ZeroHedge? Seriously. Oh, OK… I see you also linked to Vice and Politico today. That makes it clear. Wow.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “Powerful forces in the EU are trying to use state aid probes to break the global dominance of America’s technology giants, vainly hoping to nurture its own ‘Silicon Valley’ behind a digital wall. Amazon, Facebook, Google, as well as Apple, are all under fire, and Microsoft has fought an epic battle.” — Ambrose E-P

      It’s Le Défi Américain (1967) all over again: same perpetual complaint; same euro-sclerotic results.

      Dirigisme don’t work. But like a cargo cult, the French keep trying to recreate the Trente Glorieuses [thirty glorious boom years of 1945-75] with the heavy hand of the state.

      You could read about it on your Minitel, if the perfidious Americans hadn’t destroyed it with their infernal internet. :-0

      1. Skippy

        Good Grief why would the EU want to start the culture of “Silicon Valley” in its own back yard after the damage it has done.

        Disheveled Marsupial…. most anti trust wreaking monopolists and technoglibertarian culture wing nutters to ever see a government dime and still burnish their pseudo entrepreneurial image…

      2. begob

        “You could read about it on your Minitel, if the perfidious Americans hadn’t destroyed it with their infernal internet. :-0”

        I guess it was the web that did for minitel – funded and released into the public domain by a French funded entity.

      3. Bugs Bunny

        Jim, I read a lot of your comments here and they are pretty astute and I learn from you. That said, I don’t think you can fairly pin this result on the French nostalgia for the 30 glorieuses or knee-jerk anti-Americanism (though they both exist and are insupportable).

        IMO it’s perfectly reasonable for the Competition Commissioner to take enforcement actions in regards to unfair state advantages (in this case, the comfort letter given by the Irish tax authority to Apple) that do not apply equally to other players in the sector. I’m willing to bet that Apple could likely have settled this without a fine by agreeing to comply with EU competition laws going forward and repaying some of the missing tax. I’m also willing to bet that they tried blackmail (“we’ll take our jobs elsewhere”) and this led to the adverse ruling. And there are competitors who were either damaged by, or could not enter the marketplace because of the unfair competition.

        AEP conveniently obfuscates the facts and substance leading to DG Comp’s ruling to concentrate on the international tax issue, which apparently supports his argument for lower corporate taxes across the board. But then he’s still a Tory, so fair enough.

        1. Expat

          The French have much less nostalgia for their Trentes Glorieuses than you suppose. And while the French system has its faults, it also has many advantages.

          The American perception of French knee-jerk anti-Americanism is a great exaggeration. The French refuse to be America’s poodle, something which Americans simply cannot stomach. Americans greatly prefer British subservience or the perceived tight bonds with Germany. If knee-jerk anti-Americanism exists, it is hardly a French thing; around the world people list America as the greatest threat to world peace.

          The French look at American culture and society and are often appalled. They see greed, gluttony, savage “capitalism” and warmongering. Do they also devour Hollywood movies and Big Macs? Yes, but that does not mean a thing. There are plenty of hardline anti-communist Republicans who smoke a few Cohibas every day; does that make them Marxists?

          The EU has rules much like the US has rules. One of those rules governs taxation. According the European law, Ireland broke the law in providing preferential tax treatment to Apple. This was permitted for a while because of the state of Irish finances following the crash (they are not any better today but it’s old news).

          And why shouldn’t Europe break the global dominance of American’s IT corporations? This is nothing that America has not done to foreign corporations and conglomerates!

          Europe and France in particular are no longer interested in hearing “If it weren’t for us, you would be speaking German.” or “If not for US, you would be Soviet slaves.” Whether true or not (and in the latter case it is highly doubtful), it is old and out-dated.

          And as far as the French trying to recreate this “golden period” through the heavy hand of the state, the results are certainly no worse than the results of laissez-faire (Ha!) in the US. Except that the French are, on the whole, happier, healthier and much less despised world-wide.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The character 青 (qīng) describes color: 青天 (qīngtiān) for the sky, 青山 (qīngshān) for the mountains, 青丝(qīngsī) for hair , 青眼 (qīngyǎn) for eyes… One color can be used to describe all of these different entities. What color is 青 anyway? When used with different nouns to form fixed words and phrases, qing could be green, blue, or close to black.

          In most cases, qing refers to green, such as 青草 (qīngcǎo, green grass), 青山 (qīngshān, green mountains), 青菜 (qīngcài, green vegetables), and 青椒 (qīngjiāo, green pepper). The ancient dictionary 释名 The Shiming defines it as: 青,生也,象物生时色也 (qīng, shēng yě, xiàng wù shēng shí sè yě). Qing, is birth, like the color of things born. Thus, 青春 (qīngchūn), literally “green spring”, means youth.

          But qing can also sometimes mean blue. The Confucian philosopher Xunzi once said: “青,取之于蓝,而青于蓝” (qīng, qǔ zhī yú lán, ér qīng yú lán), or “Qing comes from blue, yet excels blue”. Blue, in this context, refers to bluegrass, which was used to dye items the color of qing. The sentence “青出于蓝而胜于蓝” (qīng chū yú lán ér shèng yú lán) has become a fixed expression, used to describe how the student could excel the teacher.


          But the duty is to excel the one whom you learn from.

          Once again, 青出于蓝而胜于蓝

        3. Skippy

          One would think Jim would fancy a ‘Hanging Judge’ for some of the transgressions that has occurred in America by some large Corps over do course.

          The whole socialist progs and the red, white, and blue holding back the ev’bal commie empire is a bit slap stick at this day in age.

          Disheveled Marsupial…. after bailing out Wall St and the largest wealth transfer upward in modernity I think the Ideologues need some new jargon and phraseology.

        4. Plenue

          Look at the ever-growing mountain of corpses, I find knee-jerk anti-Americanism to be entirely reasonable.

      4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If we don’t do, others will do it for us.

        The world would be better off with at least 10 Amazons, and 15 Googles, etc.

        Competition is always good, if I have my Adam Smith or Ayn Rand right.

      5. I Have Strange Dreams

        Keep rattling your cage, Jim. The sad thing is that you are easily intelligent enough to break out of your simplistic world view of “government bad; free market good”, but you just can’t let go of your ideological comfort blanket.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Nixon went to China. Trump went to Mexico.

    Both were unexpected gestures from unlikely players, and therefore dramatic.

    Whereas Hillary’s response — “getting countries working together was MY job every day as your secretary of state” — sounds like a high school girl miffed at being passed over for head cheerleader.

    That said, Nixon didn’t come directly home and start ranting about building a wall, as Trump did last night in Phoenix.

    Echoing France’s sharp-tongued De Gaulle, who after a visit by Japanese PM Ikeda inquired, “Who WAS that transistor salesman?”, President Peña Nieto probably wondered, “Who WAS that real estate salesman?”

    By the end of Trump’s reign, we’ll be playing Pink Floyd again as a protest song:

    Donnie what else did you leave for me?
    Donnie what’d’ja leave behind for me?!?
    All in all it was just a brick in the wall
    All in all it was all just bricks in the wall

    You! Yes, you! Stand still laddy!

    1. cwaltz

      What? You mean Donald couldn’t convince the Mexican President to pay for our wall?

      I’m shocked! Shocked!

      Donald would be much easier to vote for if he started his policies with the presumption that the US and the US alone will have to pay for things that he proposes(unless he plans on making Mexico pay at the end of a riffle.)

      1. ewmayer

        The Donald has already embraced MMT-style thinking with respect to the federal debt, so it seems no great leap would be rquired for him to similarly do so for big-infrastructure projects like Die Mexi-Mauer. We just need to get some folks like Prof. Kelton into his inner circle of economic advisers.

        As I’ve stated previously, I’m a moat man myself … walls and fences are just so unsightly. and the moat could be stocked with several suitable endangered species in addition to the ‘working species’ of crocodiles and piranhas, permitting for a simultaneous securing and greening of the border. Roughly half the moat is already there in form of the Rio Grande; digging a Big Ditch the rest of the way – especially through the mountainous parts of the border – could serve as a highly-GDP-stimulative government jobs program, FDR/great-depression style. Since level-trenching through the mountains is infeasible, one could always do stair-stepped moat-sections up and down the mountains, maybe with attractive waterfalls or Panama-canal-style locks and solar-powered pumping systems to circulate water among them, and fish ladders to allow the crocs and piranhas freedom of movement.

        If securing enough fresh water to keep the newly-dug moat filled proves infeasible, just use salt water. Import some saltwater crocs from Oz, maybe add some sharks or suitably flesh-voracious species like barracudas or moray eels, voila! – a thriving thousand-mile-plus saltwater marsh ecosystem. We spent somewhere approaching $20 Trillion to bail out the crooked bank cartels and a couple trillions more blowing up Iraq for no good reason besides “Bush family honor”, surely a few tens of billions for a border moat and the hundreds of thousands of well-paying engineering and construction jobs it would create is easily within our reach. When the Mexicans see the economic benefits of such a project they might end up begging to make it a joint initiative after all.

        1. cwaltz

          The Donald wants it all ways. On policy,he’s all over the board. He comes off as a clown because one week he says something and the next week he’s on to something else. He also comes off as a bully when he encourages his lynch mob to blame Mexicans for job losses(instead of business) or acts like the Muslim community is solely responsible for bloodshed going on in the world(as if they should lay down and let us vaporize their home and families.)

          I guess I’d feel better about voting for him if I trusted him, but I don’t. Much of what he says to me comes off as narcissistic and sly, two traits I’m NOT looking for in a president.

    2. Praedor

      Hillary’s “job” at State was NOT getting countries working together. Her entire tenure was about seeing how many countries could get droned or invaded/bombed in any unit time period. Her SOLE response to any international difficulty is, “What’s the military option? LET’S DO IT!!”

      1. cwaltz

        People mocked Dennis Kuchinich for proposing a Department of Peace saying that it was redundant with the State Department. Poor Dennis, he recognized early on that our State Department has pretty much become an arm of the military sadly enough.

        1. Chauncey Gardiner

          Thank you for remembering that proposal by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, cwaltz. Among many others by him that remain timely and I would like to see gain political traction.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When the State Dept has become an arm of the military, it should be merged with the Pentagon.

          Then, the new Department of Peace can be renamed the State Department.

          1. Katharine

            Sometimes State actually is more bellicose than Defense. The pros at least have some idea of what they might be getting into.

  3. Higgs Boson

    “Why Is The DHS Preparing To Take Control Of The US Election?” Because there is a very real possibility that Trump could win the election in November. Can’t take that chance. NFW.

    If hacking were really a concern, there is a simple, effective way to fix that: Paper ballots, counted in public.

    1. efschumacher

      It is actually thrilling to take part in an election count with counters down one side of the table, variously partisan electoral observers down the other side, counting paper ballots into the night until the final result emerges.

      When the result is announced at 2am, usually outside the Primary School or wherever the count took place, there is a real sense of bonding that ‘we were all a part of this’.

      Even though the actual result sometimes stinks.

      1. Steve H.

        I’d love it if that were the case. Given that it isn’t, and you cannot imagine the cognitive dissonance as I write this, and given the proven hackability of the voting machines, having another set of eyes on the vote may not be a bad thing. (If it can be hacked, it will be hacked.) Even if DHS is a mess, is doomed to fail against open-source warfare, and has some of the most reviled front-line workers at airports…

        It’s a bit like the presidential. On one side is wtf, but you know the other side is proven corrupt. What have we got to lose by trying something new?

    2. Don Midwest USA

      We are Number 1! We are the worst!

      Two articles from WA Post last March ..

      The U.S. has ‘worst elections of any long-established democracy,’ report finds

      U.S. elections ranked worst among Western democracies. Here’s why.
      Americans are often proud of the democratic process here. Maybe they shouldn’t be.

      Now that the Russians are going to take control of our elections, need to send out the domestic military control force to manage “critical infrastructure.” Only a war is enough to get us moving, like the War On Drugs that Nixon said in kicking it off that drugs was the number one threat to our country. And after $1 trillion spent and millions of lives ruined, and governments destabilized around the world (including here in the good old USA), time to enact another military intervention to “fix” the problem of elections.

      It is great to be an American.

      An recent Rolling Stone article by Greg Palast is getting some traction on a problem that has been going on for years and years. Al Gore failed to stand up against the stolen election in FL and we got W Bush. John Kerry failed to stand up against the stolen election in Ohio in 2004 and we got the second term of W Bush. Politicians don’t want to question the system because they need the cover of legitimacy from “elections”

      Greg’s article

      Rolling Stone exposé:
      The GOP’s secret scheme begins purge
      of a million minority voters from voter rolls

      Now that even “liberals” have experienced a stolen election by the democrats in the presidential primary, maybe this issue will be worked. But with the whole world under the control of the oligarchs and the environmental collapsing, it is hard to find the energy to do elections right. The old fashioned way. Paper ballots publicly counted.

      The first author of the book reviewed below was in El Salvador in the 1980’s in the midst of the brutal civil war, and the only thing the two sides could agree on was election integrity. When will the US (a) admit that there is a problem (b) admit that critical to democracy is election integrity and (c) do something about it?

      Book Review: Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft

      Note the word in the title is SELECTION, not ELECTION.

      Only fitting that a queen is selected….

        1. Don Midwest USA

          Agree. But the system is so set on not dealing with the problem that Bernie had to choose what issues to push on. Don’t you know that bringing up election integrity is “conspiracy theory”? There are many places that put down attempts to face the issue.

          The fact that Bernie’s organization did even reach out to Bob Fitrakis during the campaign is a major step. The parties have never touched the issue.

          One of the attorneys dealing with election integrity said that it was right for Bernie to focus on winning the primary, not the election process itself. That was a choice he made.

          Heck, even the AP story saying that Hillary won CA the day before the election was a public hack of the election but ….

          Now that Bernie is focusing on Our Revolution, he is taking on the oligarchs of the world, and not publicly taking on the issue of election integrity.

          It is one of those issues that at base is easy, counting, but with 8,000 election boards in the country and state laws, and here in OH right wing religious group owns the voting machines, etc., and who wants to admit that our democracy has been compromised?

          The first author of the book, Bob Fitrakis, has written 6 books on the elections. He is also the head of the Green Party in OH and run for various offices over the years, is an atty and a poly sci prof at a local community college. His suit against the company who did exit poling is running on a few thousands of dollars and the law firm supporting the company had a billing level last year of $600 B.

          1. Don Midwest USA

            Correction: law firm billing $600 M not $600 B

            I wrote a longer correction that was not posted immediately – maybe comment moderation, so I wrote another on to correct the major error. Sorry.

          2. neo-realist

            Good points re Sanders focus on winning the election rather than getting bogged down in the stickier structural problems of election rigging. Hopefully in the longer term, the Sanders Revolution Now movement along with other progressive politicians and groups like Black Box Voting will continue to press the fight for clean elections.

          3. Louis

            If there weren’t so many sore-loser candidates or supporters from each party blaming voter fraud or rigged elections for their loss, I might take questions over the integrity of the election process more seriously and not automatically assume they are conspiracy theories.

            Make no mistake, the United States election process and system is far from perfect. However, you can only cry wolf–or in this case rigged elections–so many times before you can’t be taken seriously.

            1. cwaltz

              Uh the process starts by not even acknowledging the 40+ percent of the population that wants nothing to do with being aligned with Team Bad or Team Worse. That’s not sour grapes, that’s a real problem if you truly believe that elections should be fair and you believe in one person-one vote. The duopolies process is paid for by tax dollars and yet they are locked out of the process unless the choose Team Bad or Team Worse. Heck, the process even allows the “private parties” to do whatever the heck they want if they don’t like the process results and locks people out of complaining because “private parties”(who have their super clique decision making party paid for with TAX dollars.)

              It then goes on the give the two major parties Team Bad and Team Worse advantages like automatic ballot access, automatic debate access and locks out competitors to ensure the process continues to be jacked up. Most of the time the debates are run by these two parties as well which gives them the means to control and manage the message. Also a problem.

              If you acknowledge the election process is far from perfect then it really shouldn’t be that “people are crying wolf” when they blame the process for election loss.

              If Our Revolution were interested in being taken seriously(and I don’t believe they should be at this point) they’d focus a little less on candidates and a little more on process so that each candidate(that they endorse) gets a fair playing field. They won’t though because their leader hasn’t even acknowledged that much of his loss had to do with the corrupt party politics that occurred behind closed doors and because he refuses to address even the very reason that he and people like Ron Paul had to come crawling to the DNC or GOP to begin. He’s afraid people like will accuse him of “sour grapes.” The system shuts out anyone who won’t kiss the duopoly ring and agree to the terms they lay out for them as “conditions” to run. It’s not a democracy, it’s an oligarchy and it’ll continue until electorate starts addressing it really instead of playing games and pretending things like the rigged primaries are a fair system that can yield fair results.

        2. Yves Smith

          “Failed to stand up against”? Pray tell me what he could have done. There are tons of credible anecdotes of cheating, as well as policies in some states (the CA sec of state requirement that no party preference voters ask for a Democratic party ballot in a particular way) that were clearly intended to suppress Sanders votes. But the plural of anecdote is not data.

          Any effort to contest any of the elections would have been depicted as sore-loserdom. More important, it would have failed. So he would have damaged his reputation and that of his followers for no upside.

          He could NOW call for the restoration of hand counted paper ballots.

          1. cwaltz

            Well, he could have started by acknowledging that the process wasn’t fair. His organization could have started with reforming a process that forces people to declare fealty to private parties that can then ignore the will of the voters all while using tax dollars.

            Yes, some probably would have accused him of “sour grapes” but at least we could have started to address some of the problems with the process.

            It isn’t going to matter what candidates he “endorses” if they have to run an unfair gauntlet that may force them to use time and resources that other candidates don’t have to.

          2. Oregoncharles

            “the CA sec of state requirement that no party preference voters ask for a Democratic party ballot in a particular way)” – sounds like a pretty good basis for a lawsuit, as did some of the other anecdotes.

            the big problem, as in any campaign setting, is the short timeline. Issues become moot very quickly. So I’m not criticizing the way he handled it, just saying that there were avenues available.

      1. fresno dan

        Don Midwest USA
        September 1, 2016 at 8:29 am

        “Now that the Russians are going to take control of our elections, …”

        Considering the presidents we have had the last 40 years, I’m all for giving the Russians the chance to choose our presidents….(sarc…..but maybe not)

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          He can try to control our elections by hacking.

          For other foreigners, they buy our elections, with money.

      2. Optimader

        Election stolen from the “liberals”? Everyone of them that i know that I’ve talked to are in the bag for HRC.
        Her lapses of judgement were at worst well intended and are overblown.m in a unconscionable manner by her enemies.

        All of the unrelenting and basesless long term effort to persecute the Clintons, Hillary in particular, by mysoginists and bigots, are a result of her advancing the economic and social progress made during Bill’s and BHO’s administrations despite the craven efforts of the corupt opposition Party.
        Mistakes happen when one has a long career of Selfless Public Service. In fact, It’s impressive what a thick skin she has, to proudly remain steadfast amid the unrelenting and baseless abuses hurled at her.

        HRC would have to have made much much worse mistakes, in fact i cannot even imagine what they would have to be to ever consider voting for the crazy racist she is running against!

        1. Anon

          That’s the problem with the “voting” system; ultimately having to make choices between people who are truly ignorant and another who is truly unprincipled and vile.

        2. hunkerdown

          Liberals arrogating the commons as a product of their own competitive nature? Ever thus the problem.

          1. optimader

            RE: self identifying liberals..
            In most circumstances I just listen in stunned silence, particularly when the thin gruel justifications come from people I thought otherwise pretty bright and pragmatic.
            One of note is a “financial adviser” (formerly called a stockbroker– 2nd or third generation, ivy league educated but very bright guy I’ve know for 40 years. His metric was , “well Mr Market has spoken on Clinton vs Trump!”–at best an inverse endorsement of HRC. Well indeed –while his wife was on the crazy-bigot-dangerous(will start a war??) flow of consciousness.

            The more HRC Zombie interactions fairly blow me away. I certainly get the well reasoned no enthusiasm for Trump perspective. What I don’t get is the vitriolic reasoning and the relatively HUGE blindspot for the potential damage HRC is anxious to deploy.

    3. Science Officer Smirnoff

      (encore) They do it differently in Germany (2005):

      *Paul Lehto, a U.S. election attorney and Constitutional rights expert, summarized the German court’s unambiguous, landmark finding:

      “No ‘specialized technical knowledge’ can be required of citizens to vote or to monitor vote counts.”

      There is a “constitutional requirement of a publicly observed count.”

      “[T]he government substitution of its own check or what we’d probably call an ‘audit’ is no substitute at all for public observation.”

      “A paper trail simply does not suffice to meet the above standards.

      “As a result of these principles,…’all independent observers’ conclude that ‘electronic voting machines are totally banned in Germany’ because no conceivable computerized voting system can cast and count votes that meet the twin requirements of…being both ‘observable’ and also not requiring specialized technical knowledge.

    4. philnc

      Paper ballots. Hand marked. Counted by hand at each polling place in public on election night. Final tallies also calculated in the open by county officials in front of an audience. No one denied entry. Nothing obscured by panels or walls or locked doors. Live video feeds of every location that stay on until the count is done. Same treatment for the offices where absentee ballots are counted. State-sponsored exit polls that will automoatically trigger a swift investigation if there is more than a two percent deviation between the poll and ballot tally at any location. On line confirmation for every voter that their ballot was counted, especially absentees. No certification of results until every ballot is counted, no matter how long it takes. Election day and the day after (to catch up on sleep lost by the counting marathon) to be state holidays.

      We are a democratic republic. It is time for elections to be treated with the respect and attention they deserve, rather than an annoying speedbump for the ruling class.

      1. Another Gordon

        “Paper ballots.” YES.
        “Hand marked.” YES.
        “Counted by hand at each polling place in public on election night.” NO.

        If there are a reasonable number of polling stations (as there should be) then each involves only a very few officials and observers, probably NO observers in many cases creating opportunities for nefarious interventions not to mention the difficulty of verifying the tallies from many locations.

        In the UK sealed boxes are taken from polling stations to a central location for counting, one per constituency (typically with a population of about 80,000) so there are lots of people milling about, counters, observers and so on making fraud virtually impossible. For municipal elections multiple counts are done at a single centre per municipality.

        1. Jess

          You are evidently not familiar with the phenomenon in Illinois, particularly Cook County, where entire boxes of ballots somehow fall out of the police cars transporting them to election HQ. Then these boxes disappear forever, or it they are found, the ballot inside can’t be counted because — even if the security tape is intact — the chain of custody can’t be established.

          I’m sure this has happened in other jurisdictions as well. In fact, a check of der google reveals headlines about stories where entire ballot boxes have gone missing or been stolen in the UK, Oregon, KY, and other states.

          1. MLS

            hey don’t knock Illinois!

            their motto is “vote early, vote often” and they have the bluest cemeteries in the country!

        2. bdy

          Plenty of ways to skin a cat. When standards are clear, the details can always be measured against them.

          Paper ballot.
          Public count.
          Automatic recount.

      2. bwilli123

        Make high school students the election scrutineers. Make them Polling Officials responsible for overseeing the event. Call it “Civic Affairs”. Get them both proud and excited about being involved in the process, so that they will be knowledgeable, and informed supporters (or critics) when it’s their turn.
        Actually, start even earlier.
        In Australia elections take place on a Saturday, and for Parents are usually slotted into the mid-day shopping/schools sports run. Thus, younger children come along for the ride. And what do they see? First, immediately outside the polling location (amidst the phalanx of thrusting pamphleteers) there will normally be a BBQ; fund raising for worthy charities (usually volunteer organisations like beach lifesavers, or rural fire-fighters) The child cannot but notice that there is an engaged and festive community spirit.
        The air is redolent with the smell of sizzling snags (sausages) to which might be added fried onions, optionally doused with mustard or tomato sauce/ketchup, and finally wrapped in bread. The perfect one-handed snack, able to be consumed in the few minutes before entering the unknown.
        And then. Orderly queues into the quiet efficiency of the Holy Sanctum. No favours nor favourites. No 1st class express lanes. The richest of the rich and the poor, together in the same room. Trakky-daks and Designer Brands, and never the twain shall otherwise meet. Names then ruled off in a large Bible of the Ordained. No ID required. “My word is my bond.”
        In and out in less than 30 minutes, every 3 years or so.
        The divining of the common will. There should always be an air of majesty about the event.

    5. Bullwinkle

      Exactly. However, how can DHS take control of the elections? Mandatory electronic voting? Secret vote counting? Trashing Trump ballots? I can’t find any reference as to what they could do. Also, keep in mind Jeh Johnson is an Obama political appointee.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Consider the source; it’s the typical ZH ChickenLittleism. The only evidence the article gives is a quote from Jeh Johnson saying “We should carefully consider…”, which ZH turns into “DHS is taking over!!!”

        We should have a rule about not making shit up. Oh wait…

          1. Higgs Boson

            I agree ZH sensationalizes the impending collapse of civilization. That said, the head of DHS says we should consider the election system as “critical infrastructure” (a reasonable opinion) and then says he plans to “communicate best practices” with all the local election officials.

            What does that mean? That DHS is going to publish an e-pamphlet full helpful suggestions? Or are voting machines going to be connected to some opaque “secure” network run by a contractor with ties to the deep state that you don’t need to ask questions about? Is Jeh Johnson just blowing bubbles to give youins a warm fuzzy feeling?

            What, exactly?

            If “best practices” means hand-marked paper ballots counted in public, that’s fantastic, I can get behind that. Anything else should be cause for suspicion.

            1. cwaltz

              I personally don’t see why I should consider it “critical infrastructure”

              As it stands the two people we are choosing from come from PRIVATE PARTIES. I don’t want any more tax dollars wasted on a private system that allows a few people to control the results behind closed doors.

              If THEY(the oligarchs) want a DHS monitoring system, I want open primaries, ballot access opened to other parties besides the duopoly and debates opened to anyone who makes it onto the ballot.

          2. JSM

            It is serious, ZH ChickenLittleism or not. If the ChickenLittleism weren’t spooking the power structure for good reason, you wouldn’t have HC calling out the Alt-Right. (This puts liberals on notice not to step out of line and read Breitbart.)

            To the point in question. This whole thing began with and continues with a barrage of anti-Russian hysteria from the ‘liberal’ press. Here’s the original story on DHS, or one of them:


            You’ll first notice that the headline isn’t ‘Foreign Donors Have Penetrated US Elections.’ Instead, we now we have the spectacle of the Democrats, who just got done rigging IA, NV, NY, WY, IL, OH, AZ, CA, MO, KY and probably some that I forgot asking DHS to potentially federalize elections. Can anyone say classified machines, classified results, national security issue? (This is not to say that the DHS does national security.) I certainly can. The 2-party system keeps the $700b defense budgets coming, not the Greens & Libertarians, and not any coming shift in the electorate. I know I don’t feel comfortable when the military industrial complex/war department announces it’d like to get its hands directly on state elections or the electoral process.

            To TPTB, Trump and separately Assange represent major threats to the non-political oligarchy of this country and by extension the corrupt global order they depend upon. I take this as just another sign of that.

      2. Yves Smith

        I freaked out initially upon seeing the ZH story (which is what ZH is masterful at doing) but then realized it’s too late. Team Dem would have needed at least a six month longer runway, and more likely at least a year, to use Evil Rooskies as an excuse for Federal meddling in the election apparatus, which is under state control.

        And that’s before you get to the fact that the US has more R than D governors and a decent percentage of them would probably fight this tooth and nail if DHS were to try to move a plan forward.

        But even the mooting of the idea is pretty terrible.

  4. Don Midwest USA

    Wikileaks responds to NY Times article

    Russia, Hack of DNC, Hillary emails, and more! Leads for a big story! For sure, indicates the need for more military spending …

    Article published today in NY Times with one of the writers is Eric Schmidtt who I have always liked.

    How Russia Often
    Benefits When
    Julian Assange Reveals
    the West’s Secrets:
    American officials say Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably
    have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services. But the
    agendas of WikiLeaks and the Kremlin have often dovetailed.

    Could the US be in any way connected to the “legal imbroglio”? Yep. Get Sweden to deport him to Sweden and then send him off to the USA to be prosecuted … From NY Times

    From the cramped confines of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he was granted asylum four years ago amid a legal imbroglio, Mr. Assange proffered a vision of America as superbully: a nation that has achieved imperial power by proclaiming allegiance to principles of human rights while deploying its military-intelligence apparatus in “pincer” formation to “push” countries into doing its bidding, and punishing people like him who dare to speak the truth.

    And, NY Times wants to make sure that Assange and wikileaks are playing favorites. Like Edward Snowden, they are not critical of Russia … which means that wikileaks is even more sinister..

    Notably absent from Mr. Assange’s analysis, however, was criticism of another world power, Russia, or its president, Vladimir V. Putin, who has hardly lived up to WikiLeaks’ ideal of transparency. Mr. Putin’s government has cracked down hard on dissent — spying on, jailing, and, critics charge, sometimes assassinating opponents while consolidating control over the news media and internet. If Mr. Assange appreciated the irony of the moment — denouncing censorship in an interview on Russia Today, the Kremlin-controlled English-language propaganda channel — it was not readily apparent.

    And the article goes on about DNC hack, and more about this scary guy and scary organization…

    In response wikileaks says

    The New York Times Editorial Board has endorsed Hillary Clinton, however this is not disclosed in the article. The lead author, Jo Becker last retweeted Hillary Clinton (a smiling and dancing animated Hillary Clinton), on March 3.

    The only hard news in the article is that “American officials say Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services.”

    WikiLeaks has published more than 650,000 documents about Russian & president Putin, most of which is critical. See

    It is false that Russia issued a visa for Julian Assange.

    It is false that the book ‘The WikiLeaks Files’ (which is about US diplomacy), contains no criticism of Russia. It contain numerous critical references to Russia including a whole chapter on US diplomatic relations with Russia with numerous references to Russian corruption.

    And the response goes on to say that many other false claims are in the NY Times article. Will the NY Times respond to a “criminal” organization like wikileaks?

    Response to New York Times article on WikiLeaks

  5. Anne

    Life Got Better for Pretty Much Everyone under Obama, so sayeth a new Gallup poll, anyway…

    How Americans feel about the state of their lives have improved markedly in the eight years since Barack Obama was elected president, according to Gallup data released Tuesday.

    In 2008, fewer than half of Americans said their life was good enough to be considered “thriving,” according to Gallup. But that’s changed: “The 55.4% who are thriving so far in 2016 is on pace to be the highest recorded in the nine years Gallup and Healthways have tracked it,” according to the report.

    Not only that, members of each ethnic or racial group in Gallup’s study feel better about their lives.

    “The percentages of U.S. whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians who are thriving have all increased during the Obama era,” Gallup notes. The percentage of blacks thriving has risen by about 6 points, as has the percentage of whites and Hispanics. Asian thriving has risen by about 10 points since 2008.


    The Gallup numbers, showing improving self-assessments of blacks’ quality of life, reflect this. They also show that, contrary to some perceptions that white Americans have been losing out, Obama-era gains aren’t limited to just one racial or ethnic group. Gallup notes that Obama’s second term “shows an improvement in whites’ life evaluations — particularly those of white Republicans.” In a previous 2013-2015 Gallup survey, about 55 percent of white Republicans were thriving, up from 51 percent in the 2011-2012 survey.


    The Gallup numbers suggest that for many Americans, fewer things today need fixing than they did eight years ago.

    In case you’re wondering, I currently have one eyebrow raised. My eyes are also rolling, but that is as much about the article/poll as it is about the person who keeps posting this kind of crap in my FB news feed. It dovetails nicely with the gushing “Share if you would like Obama to have a third term” posts this person regularly puts up.

    This is the same person who thinks we need to teach our kids to question everything…apparently, she is a member of the “do as I say, not as I do” group.

    I give up.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Obama’s 8-year presidency happened to begin with the economy in its deepest financial crisis since the Depression. Of course things got better as the economy climbed out of the abyss.

      Things would have improved just as much, if not more, with a random cocker spaniel posing in the leather chair behind the president’s desk. Bark once to veto, twice to sign.

      Whereas Nixon — to take an opposite example — came on board just as the long secular post World War II boom hit a wall. A nasty recession began in 1969, followed by an even deeper one in 1973-74. This was largely baked in the cake, with stress on the dollar having accumulated during the entire Bretton Woods dollar-centric regime.

      Actually the Fed has more control over business cycles than the president, via their manipulation of interest rates. Many econometric models explicitly incorporate Fed policy. None, to my knowledge, have a variable signifying which party is in the White House. Partisan control correlates with nothing.

      Attributing partisan agency to economic events is just a stupid Depublicrat game that the MSM plays. I’d prefer chariot races for entertainment, as a glorious sunset illuminates our tattered empire.

      1. fresno dan

        Jim Haygood
        September 1, 2016 at 8:42 am

        “Things would have improved just as much, if not more, with a random cocker spaniel posing in the leather chair behind the president’s desk”

        I’m thinking the cocker spaniel would most assuredly do better than any president….but than I think about the power that controls the milk-bones….or does he prefer snausages (I don’t know – what is the most popular doggie treat for cocker spaniels???)

        1. Steve C

          Obama saw his job as making sure life didn’t get too much better for most people but a lot better for the right people.

        2. Optimader

          Well i remember a Tom Tommarow series of cartoons Promoting “Cute Small Dog for President” ( pictured behind the oval office desk.) durin GWB’s second campaign.

          Obviously the point of “better than” is lost whrn you dont compare it to a reasonable reference point.
          Figures lie and liars figure. Surely we can easily make the same comparison at the depth of thr most recent financial/real estate cliff dive to thr depths of the depression and ajudicate the GWB tenure as an unprecedented economic success

        3. Praedor

          No cocker spaniels would drone strike anyone. They wouldn’t invade anyone (like Obama is secretly invading Syria and re-invading Afghanistan and Iraq).

          I’ll take the cocker spaniel, thank you.

      2. bdy

        Agreed, except that “crawling out of tbe abyss” might be corrected to “getting used to the stench.”

    2. tgs

      Ok, so 54% or so feel they are thriving. I have been following the polls at real clear politics where those who believe the country is going in the wrong direction are at +39 and Obama’s approval rating hovers around 50%.

      These numbers do not seem consistent with the good news from Gallup.

  6. cookie dough

    “The Real Hillary Clinton Scandal Is Her Need for Secrecy”

    You’re not kidding. She’s nearly invisible lately. For example, this past weekend Hillary was scheduled to attend a fundraiser in Rhode Island hosted by Michelle Kwan. There wasn’t a peep about the event in the local press, either before or after it occurred. This is unusual. In the past, candidate visits were guaranteed to generate press. Maybe a small crowd would show up as close as they could get to the event hoping to catch a glimpse of the candidate and invited guests. This would be covered by local TV camera crews and shown as a short blurb on the evening news. But not this past weekend. It was so private, you would never guess a candidate for president was in town.

    1. Ivy

      Hillary gives new meaning to Stealth Candidacy. Her co-conspirators, Journolisters, Cabalisters and other fellow travelers in the Lügenpresse won’t call her out about the lack of press conferences, or other quaint notions about transparency. She will hunker down until forced to debate or otherwise appear, and hope that Assange is prevented somehow from following through on the much-awaited October Surprise. That concern is part of the impetus behind the DHS musings about election control.

      1. bdy

        Smart to lay low. Every time she shows her face in public or utters a word her favorables plummet. This election is nuts. Mel Gibson v. Nurse Ratched.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is she ‘hunkering down’ in a bunker somewhere?

          She will be our Leader.

          Clinton’s The Third Way.

          And it will be a Thousand Year Reign.

          I am still trying to recover from her Will and Triumph at her last mass rally.

  7. efschumacher

    If the TPP is so important to US hegemony in the Pacific, why was it negotiated as a Corporate Wet-Dream power grab? Resistance to it has been steadily ramping up this past 5 or more years. If President Obama has a compelling strategic need to have a “Trade” agreement in place with -everyone-but-China, why did he have to do it in a way that almost guaranteed pushback from The People?

    Can we not even imagine real free and fair trade deals?

    1. ttip

      ttip given that only a couple of second bananas in the countries with the most vocal protesters, germany and france have said that the deals are dead it seems like if that it is only a way to calm down the protest activities in order to push the deal through without being bothered by the electorate.

    2. Kulantan

      I was listening to a radio interview here in Australia with a high ranking US military officer who flat out stated that we need to pick sides between China and the US. We have followed the US into every damn stupid war, but because we aren’t willing to alienate China to quite the degree the US wants we’re being told that we’ll no longer be a US ally. The people who want the US to be the global hegemon view China as an existential threat.

      The reason that the deal was done in secret was because the US military-industrial complex needed to fork out enough bribes (in the form of erosion of consumer and worker protection) to the finance-globalizer complex to bring their lobbing power (see also: bribes) to the task of trying to isolate China.

      That is why it is such an overwhelming priority for Obama, not to get rich, but to be a “Great President” and “Historical Giant” as seen through the neo-liberal lens of American Empire.

  8. Skippy

    Ref – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Apple travesty is a reminder why Britain must leave the lawless EU Daily Telegraph

    So one has to read through the whole hand wringing article about how governments set Apple up, only find what AEP and the Torygraph want to sell everyone…

    “Others question ever more loudly exactly why the US should continue to guarantee the EU’s eastern border against Vladimir Putin’s Russia if Brussels is behaving in such an unfriendly fashion – and without the American security blanket a disarmed Europe is almost completely defenceless. The EU needs to watch its step.”

    Dishevled Marsupial…. firstly barf~~~ secondly some one should check the use by date on that ammo or the moisture meter…. its inert…

    1. Kulantan

      It’s disappointing to see someone who put forward a great case for the Brexit on the basis of sovereignty suggest that the EU should give up it’s sovereignty because they need the US to protect against the scary Russians. Particularly when this EU decision so clearly demonstrates the shows just how the EU can impinge on national sovereignty.

  9. allan

    Tim Cook: EU ruling on Apple’s Irish tax is ‘total political crap’ [Reuters]

    Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook described an EU ruling that it must pay a huge tax bill to Ireland as “total political crap”, but France joined Germany on Thursday in backing Brussels as transatlantic tensions grow.

    European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager dismissed Cook’s broadside, saying the demand for a 13 billion euro ($14.5 billion) back tax payment was based on the facts.

    Washington has lined up with the tech giant, accusing the European Union of trying to grab tax revenue that should go to the U.S. government.

    But in Ireland itself, public opinion and the government are divided over whether to take the windfall – which would fund the country’s health system for a year – or reject it in the hope of maintaining a low tax regime that has attracted many multinationals and the jobs they create. …

    Opinion is divided on the streets of Dublin. Some argued Ireland had to keep drawing foreign investors with low tax rates to provide jobs.

    But others said the government should drop the idea of appealing the decision and take the money.

    “They are doing the wrong thing. They don’t care about the normal people,” said Louise O’Reilly, 57, a full-time carer for her diabetic and partially blind mother. “The money should be spent on the old-age pensioners who worked all their lives and are struggling to survive.” …

    1. cwaltz

      Awwww it’s so sad when tax inversions don’t work out the way you planned!

      Poor Timmy.

      I hope the Irish fleece him like a little sheep to provide an example to all the corporations that think they can play the “I’ll move my company somewhere else to avoid paying my share of what living in a society means” game indefinitely.

      1. Science Officer Smirnoff

        Pleeze. In libertarian Tech (like Margaret T.’s visionary materialism) there’s no such thing as society.

        There’s white collar crime, but remember to plead, “Meritocracy Saves”.

  10. Ignim Brites

    “U.S. Strategy to Fight Isis Has Set Off A New Conflict in Syria”

    Seems mildly plausible that the war on ISIS is a ruse for a US strategy to strengthen the Kurds to be used as a hammer against a hostile Iran/Iraq and an increasingly hostile Turkey.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Except that the US has been a fickle ally to the Kurds at best– in both this war and in Gulf War I. The YPG has been arguably the most effective force fighting ISIS, but the US just provided air support to the Turkish invasion that cut off YPG from extending its control across the Turkish border.

      Patrick Cockburn reported that the Kurds do not expect the US’s (lukewarm at best) support to continue for long.

      1. Andrew Watts

        The US also let the Iraqi Kurds get slaughtered after Bush I called for an uprising against Saddam during the Gulf War. Barzani’s father was also used and abused by the US in a similar fashion. These lessons are not lost on their Syrian brethren. It probably doesn’t help that there aren’t many western volunteer citizen-soldiers serving in the YPG/SDF who would attest to the trustworthiness of the US government. It’s the Middle East. It’s all power politics anyway.

        As far as the clashes between Turkish-backed Jihadi-Islamist rebels and Syrian Democratic Forces there’s American special forces standing between them. That’s gotta count for something.

    2. Andrew Watts

      Oh, please. The Obama administration didn’t actually want to be dragged into more war in Iraq. Do you recall when Obama wrote off Islamic State as nothing more than Al Qaeda’s junior varsity team? You know, right before IS seized a third of Iraq’s territory?

      As long as Washington wants Turkey as an ally so that’ll never happen. Nor does it appear they’ve given up on extending their influence over Iraq. The government in Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan cut a deal over oil sales from the disputed territory of Kirkuk which has American diplomatic fingerprints all over it. Finally, the Iranians seem to have a handle on PJAK so it’s hard for me to conceive as the Iranian Kurds as a real threat to Tehran.

  11. ProNewerDeal

    Trump says he will deport “criminals & visa overstayers”. WaPo says the total of this cohort is ~6M, with the vast majority being visa overstayers.

    So is incoherent Trump actually favoring physical border crossing migrants over visa overstayers? Is Trump implying “hey I will build an awesome wall, but if you somehow scale it or tunnel over it, you deserve to be here!”. Trump is a Clown even compared to the likes of Murican politrickians like Bush43.

    Perhaps it is time wasteful to listen & decipher what Trump says. He is likely to flip-flop multiple more times before & after (should he be elected) the election on the immigration & other issues.

    Sadly it seems candidates that are pro immigration reduction are mentioning a policy Thom Hartmann (although sadly he now seems to become a D/HClinton cheerleading apologist) once mentioned: combine e-verify with serious PENALTIES FOR ILLEGAL EMPLOYERS, like $100K company fine per undocumented worker employed. The corporate owners of the R candidates like Trump & Cruz like the status quo labor cost reduction available when many undocumented workers or indentured servants er H1-B workers, are available. The other parties that are for maintaining or increasing immigration won’t mention this policy, either due to being pro-undocumented worker rights (Stein), or being fellow Trump/Cruz tools of their corporate owners (HClinton & GJohnson).

      1. Vatch

        Billionaires John Paulson, Harold Hamm, Andrew Beal, Donald Trump, and Stephen Feinberg are some of Trump’s corporate owners. Trump, as a billionaire, is one of the people who owns himself, so it’s rather complicated. But he’s not the only owner.

        Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is not a billionaire, and aside from her foundation, isn’t even a hecto-millionaire. So she’s not one of her corporate owners.

        1. ProNewerDeal

          to add to Vatch’s insightful comment, IIRC Sheldon Adelson is another Trump owner. Trump offered himself to be owned by the Koch Brothers, but the Kochs declined, perceiving Trump to not be a uncontrollable as other poli-tool-icians on the “market” like Cruz & HClinton.

          Vatch, it is possible that Trump is not actually a Billionaire, & is resorting to Enron-esque bogus accounting. Trump’s refusable to submit his tax returns, & his engagement in relatively “small change” obvious scams like Trump “University” would imply this possibility. Monopolist billionaires like Bill Gates or Carlos Slim do not resort to such obvious scams.

            1. ProNewerDeal

              I recall listening to news (SecularTalk iirc) where Trump had a meeting or requested a meeting with Kochs asking for significant funding, & Kochs refused to back Trump, claiming “wildcard” Trump was not as controllable as other “options” like Cruz or HClinton. If indeed it was other Trump donors requesting the Kochs to fund Trump without Trump’s request to do so, then I apologize for being misinformed.

              I acknowledge in the original comment & in my reply to Vatch, that HClinton is an owned poli-trick-ian. Agree with you on 100% on that issue! Cheers

              1. Yves Smith

                Provide a link. If this was really Trump himself there would be evidence, particularly given how much the MSM is after him. I’ve done panels and talk radio and guests and host regularly exaggerate. Your recollection of a radio show is not evidence.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            According to an article in the jerusalem post dated 8/23/2016, adelson has not “contributed” anything to Donald Trump’s campaign.

            This fact has been used against Trump’s candidacy, supposedly indicating how “objectionable” he is to “establishment” republicans, who have become, apparently, a sacrosanct fixture of american democracy who must not be countermanded.

            I guess you haven’t noticed, but, during this election cycle, “corporate ownership” and big money backing have become marks of virtue and “qualification,” as opposed to their previous designation as evidence of obvious corruption.

            It’s what happens when political whores no longer feel the need to maintain the pretense that they are not whores, because people like you are comfortable residing in an information-free zone.

          2. Vatch

            Sure, it’s possible that Trump isn’t a billionaire. He claims to have $10 billion, which is very doubtful. Forbes magazine estimates that he has about $4.5 billion. Unless someone can provide solid evidence to the contrary, I tentatively accept the Forbes hypothesis.

        2. Optimader

          Corporate owners would imply in this case financial leverage.
          Let’s pick a number for Trumps net worth, save $500M to make the mathe easy.

          How much money as a % of net worth did Trump accept from said individuals?

          Not a trick question, dont know the answer myself, but to make that claim, it would be reasonable to offer that estimate, no?

          1. Vatch

            I think it’s more complex than estimating the equivalence between the donations to his campaign and a percentage of his net worth. There’s also the question of how liquid his assets are. If he were to have trouble raising cash quickly, then he would be more dependent on donations.

            1. Optimader

              My point is it does not appear to me Trump is in it for financial gain, consequently the notion of being “owned” IMO is overstated.
              Btw i dont doubt the guy could be good for ~$500M but thats not really the point, he seems quite financially autonomous

              1. Vatch

                A politician may have goals other than financial gain, but if he or she needs large amounts of money to achieve those goals, that politician can be owned by rich donors.

                If you’re saying that Clinton is more owned by her donors than Trump is, then of course I agree.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The scary(or the awesome) part is Hillary is just entering her prime earning years.

          Whatever she did as the Secretary of State, she could do much more as the Strong Man and Strong Woman (for her Foundation).

    1. RabidGandhi

      6 million would be 2% of the US population. If we are guided by the axiom “behind every great fortune there is a great crime” we could just cull off the top 2%. Uncle Joe would have “eliminated them as a class and replaced their production with the production of kolkhozes and sovkhozes”. Of course it would be more humane to let them keep up to $100,000 of their ill gotten gains before they they are escorted to the other side of the Great Wall of Trump.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Will be unfortunate for people who are here illegally to be separated from their families (those in the US).

      Many, even more fortunate, are already separated from their families (who stay behind in their native countries).

      And we are no exceptions.

      We think we are exceptional. But we are not. Many American serfs have had to leave their families – perhaps aging parents or young wives – in one city or one state, to find work in another city or another state (maybe even in another country – here, visualize a young soldier leaving his newly wed).

    1. MtnLife

      “That’s not correct, sir. I am not occasionally insubordinate,” Ferencz told his future law partner. “I am usually insubordinate. I don’t take orders that I know are stupid or illegal.”

      We need more people like this.

  12. Unorthodoxmarxist

    I help manage Matt Funiciello’s campaign ( and I was at the event listed in the article. I was very disappointed to see his opponent Mike Derrick, a former Republican and Army Colonel who has taken max-out donations from the Bain Capital co-chair Josh Bekenstein (and his wife) be allowed to speak while Matt was not. Two other Greens running were allowed to speak at the last minute (they are noticeably running in races without Dem challengers), but not Matt Funiciello, who received 11% of the vote as a Green in 2014 and 20-25% of the vote in several counties, beating the Dem. Glad we showed up to fight this, but the excuses given by the Bernie group for why the most progressive candidate was not allowed to speak are farcical: the main one is that he is mean in his criticism of Dems online, but the underlying rationale is likely that the leadership is unwilling to offend a centrist Dem candidate. Sad.

    1. bob

      He’s quite good. I hope he keeps going. I watched the last debates. The candidate the Koch’s sponsored (not to be named) is a complete tool. She’s got the seat now.

      I’m not even sure why the D’s ran Wolfe, who agreed early, not to run. No interviews, no campaigning, no nothing except to rely on his film maker resume.

      Matt was the only one in the race running. It made for great debate. The Koch candidate just waited for her anointment. My favorite picture from the campaign, such as it was, was of the Koch woman clashing with the local plaid wearing a pink camelhair coat.

      It’s getting to be just like south america. She came “home”, after her Koch sponsored education and fellowships, to claim her power prize, and then returned to DC. I believe she’s also the youngest woman ever elected to the house, although I may be wrong on that.

      Her family is HUGE in the plywood (resin) market. Just another part of the Koch Keiretsu.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      This link is the first strong indication the “our” in Our Revolution doesn’t include progressives. It won’t take much more to convince me of where Our Revolution stands.

      I am glad Sanders didn’t agree to share his contact lists with the DNC. I can’t buy the Sanders sheep-dog meme but I also can’t escape a feeling that Sanders is pressured by some kind of strong coercion.

  13. european


    Now, it’s pretty clear that Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump is wider in live-telephone surveys than it is in nonlive surveys.

    The live-interview polls are much kinder to Johnson, too. His projected share of the vote jumps from 6.4 percent in the nonlive forecast to 9.1 percent in the live-interview-only forecast.

    Counting one and one together it seems that about 2,7% of the people phoned by pollsters say Johnson, but will vote Trump.

      1. Skippy

        Corporatists are having an increasing hard time finding front house face mules to pin their freedom and liberty brand on…

        Disheveled Marsupial…. liars…. ummm… reflection of the masters…

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How are all the used cars sold?

        By used car salesman…and saleswoman.

        To conclude, in this race, one of the two will out-sell the other.

        Hopefully, all the used cars will be off the lot.

        “Hey, we got subprime loans for you to buy cars!!!!”

  14. RabidGandhi

    Re: Why Is The DHS Preparing To Take Control Of The US Election? [Zero Hedge]

    Not surprised to see ZH extrapolating armageddon from a throw-away phrase by Jeh Johnson. That said, in theory at least, nationalising its elections would be a welcome step toward democracy for the US. (In theory that is; in practise DHS would clearly turn it into the usual übermilitarised outsourcing frenzy). But publicly controlled national elections would nevertheless be ideal– you know like the ones they hold in actually functioning democracies. With mandatory voting on a Sunday/holiday, publicly counted paper ballots, national IDs issued for all residents, open, universal, simultaneous primaries. Perhaps the world’s democracies could send advisors to help the US set this up.

    The nebulous complexity of the US election system only serves the élites: just ask one Bernard Sanders.

  15. Jim Haygood

    The Drug Warrior fedgov is still at it:

    A federal ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.

    The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals applies to the nine Western states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction, including California, Washington and Oregon.

    It came in a lawsuit filed by S. Rowan Wilson, a Nevada woman who said she tried to buy a firearm for self-defense in 2011 after obtaining a medical marijuana card. The gun store refused, citing the federal rule banning the sale of firearms to illegal drug users.

    Wilson said she was not a marijuana user, but obtained the card in part as an expression of support for marijuana legalization.

    She challenged guidance issued by the federal BATF in 2011 that said gun sellers should assume people with medical marijuana cards use the drug and not sell them firearms.

    The 9th Circuit in its 3-0 decision said it was reasonable for federal regulators to assume a medical marijuana card holder was more likely to use the drug.

    The people of several western states have clearly spoken, by popular referendum, in regard to both medical and legal cannabis. But the Leviathan in DC won’t listen.

    Once it overturned the constitution in 1913 with “elastic currency,” a federal income tax, and a directly-elected Senate, it proceeded to annihilate the states.

    Now the states are little more than voting precincts which get to design their own license plates, much as prisoners get to choose the pictures posted on their cell walls. Keeps ’em passivated.

  16. diptherio

    Taunted for being pretty, woman burns face Times of India

    “God help you if you are an ugly girl,
    of course, too pretty is also your doom.
    For everyone harbors a secret hatred
    against the prettiest girl in the room.”
    ~Ani Difranco

    This world we live in sure can be a sad, sad place….

  17. Don Midwest USA

    Juan Cole has article today about the great outcome of FL elections for solar power

    Juan is a Mid East Historian who also writes a lot about the environment and energy.

    The Florida voters have overwhelmingly passed Amendment 4, which exempts solar panels and solar equipment from extra taxes. Before this, if someone put up solar panels on their house in Florida, as we did in Michigan, and it caused the value of the house to increase (it usually does), then homeowners had to pay taxes on the increase value. Likewise companies that leased solar panels had to pay taxes on them as capital equipment, making leasing rates higher than they otherwise should have been. Also, since the state’s constitution gave utilities a monoply on energy generation, leasing the panels was problematic.

    Florida is number 3 in the country for solar potential, but number 18 in installations, largely because of nefarious dirty tricks by the Carbon Moguls.

    That ugly past may not be over, but it is receding. The polling suggested that 73 percent supported the constitutional amendment, whereas it only needed 60 percent to pass.

    What is amazing is that both houses of the Florida legislature voted by unanimous vote. In the past, the Florida legislature had been hostile to renewable energy, apparently taking money from the Koch Brothers’ ALEC lobby and from Florida utilities to hinder it.

    Florida: Politicians in Big Oil’s Pocket Beware, The People want their Solar

    1. Ignacio

      Wow, good example on how far the elites have departed from the general public and how the public can reverse their decissions!

    2. Jomo

      Praise for Florida voters??? Yesterday the comments were about how dumb they were and that a wall should be built. Seriously, a second ballot initiative on solar energy will be on Novembers ballot and we all must vote NO to that.

  18. Ignacio

    From “Why growth will fall”

    he views it as likely that the growth rate of living standards will decline from its very rapid pace in the special century [1870-1970]

    The article has a nice introduction on how usual growth measurements understated growth in living standards during what he calls ths special century. I think an important bit was ommited in the study. Such growth did not come without reaching burdens that now menace future improvements. Such burdens like contamination, green-house emissions, scarcity of over-exploited resources, act as monetary debt burdens after a financial meltdown lowering future expectations. Water, fertilizer or fossil fuel supply simply cannot grow at the same pace. I conclude that in many aspects, the “special century” was, a century of overgrowth that has to be compensated now with “sustainable growth” and even with reversal of growth in some items. Again, as occured during the “special century”, gains in sustainability will almost certainly underestimate real growth in life standards unless we add to the calculations the costs of the burdens generated during that period. (or use these costs to reduce the estimates Gordon makes for the “special century”). The problem is that we cannot measure these costs until the burdens are overcome but I suspect are huge, concluding that Gordon is overestimating growth during the special century.

    1. fresno dan

      September 1, 2016 at 9:10 am

      I agree. When the fish are gone, when the elephants are gone, when the fresh water is gone, when the eco system collapses, it won’t matter how much money you print.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Still, it was a magical century. And I reckon its first four decades were the best ones. Technological progress was on overdrive; you could travel the globe without a passport; and when you retired, high-quality bonds provided an income whose purchasing power would not diminish, no matter how long you lived.

      Then the banksters and warmongers (sorry for redundancy) wrecked it all.

  19. Dirk77

    You read about what happened to Rouseff in Brazil, and you looked on while Bush laid waste to Iraq and Afghanistan, and Obama and Hillary to Libya and Syria, and you realize who are the real terrorists in this world. Things won’t be right until all public officials are forbidden to take monies in any form from anyone. Yes, it’s necessary but not sufficient. But still.

    1. RabidGandhi

      I’m curious as to how you think this ‘no monies’ rule would have prevented what happened to Rousseff in Brasil, seeing how she clearly seems to have never taken any bribes from anyone.

      Also, while it’s a nice concept, you’d have to wonder if someone might come up with the innovative idea of peddling public resources for other non-monetary perks such as fame or position, or of diverting the donations elsewhere (say to an influence peddling money laundering operation they could call the Blinton Boundation).

      1. hunkerdown

        RabidGandhi, it would have taken the upside out of the coup, no? Ruling classes need that money to change hands in some way or other, whether through the fine art market, tony soirées, or being paid by the government to run a front.

        1. RabidGandhi

          Meh. We have already seen the results of the coup: decreased social spending, cuts to healthcare and education, privatisations– the usual neoliberal package. These “reforms” always work to the benefit of a small sector of society (in the form of lower taxes, de-regulation, looser capital controls, privatisations…) at the expense of the vast majority of society (less education, health, literacy, financial security…).

          The largest benefits to the oligarchs come from gutting the federal budget. Any quid pro quo corruption is just icing on the cake for them.

      2. Dirk77

        Actually, bribes/monies in whatever form they take are an essential part of the Disaster Capitalism playbook. What else could be the motivator of Rouseff’s opponents, since it certainly isn’t philosophical, nor would they have gotten very far if it were merely a desire for power.

        1. RabidGandhi

          In Latin America there is something called the “grieta” which is a crack or a division, an ideological divide. If you watch the video of when the Brazilian lower house voted to send the Rousseff to trial in the senate, you can see exactly what motivates not just the corrupt politicians who overthrew Rousseff, but also what appeals to their base: i.e., the ideolgical divide. They all took turns saying why they were voting for impeachment, by saying it was time to get rid of the godless, marxist, LGBT-loving, welfare queen “disease” that had overtaken Brazil since the Workers Party came to power.

          Yes these are extremely corrupt politicians, who thrive off of bribes from big businesses that want the government to act in a certain way, but more importantly they have an electoral base (less than 20% of the population) that has an ideological agenda against social programmes, defecits and an active, democratic state.

          Throughout Latin American history, whenever leaders rose to power and threatened this ideology, they have always been accused of corruption. But, as this latest overthrow in Brazil clearly proved– with a den of corrupt thieves impeaching Brazil’s least corrupt politician– the traditional ruling classes rightly understand that corruption is not important because it is microeconomics, whereas what makes a difference is macroeconomics.

          I agree with you that bribes are always present in disaster capitalism, but they are not its goal or essence; rather they are an inevitable fruit of a diminished state. And this is the “grieta”. On one side there is the general public that envisions a mutually beneficial state that works to support the weakest in society. And the other group wants to smash the state. This latter group has now taken power in Brazil.

          1. Dirk77

            Interesting comments. Given how it seems almost everyone in power is on the make these days, it’s almost quaint to read about some philosophically wacked group muscling everyone else around. I wish Brazil well.

  20. fresno dan

    #VeteransForKaepernick Trend Shows Freedom Means More than Flag to Many Who Serve The Intercept

    My colleague Jon Schwarz startled many Americans by pointing out that our national anthem “literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans” in a rarely sung or talked about third verse about slaughtering escaped slaves who chose to fight for their freedom, and against the United States, in the War of 1812.**

    “I serve for his right to protest.. I don’t serve for Police Brutality.”
    ** I was totally unaware of that 3rd verse. Funny what they don’t teach you in high school – I’m sure it was just a minor oversight….

    Reading the comments in the article, maybe there is some hope for the country.
    Many military members said it best “I serve to protect your freedoms, not a song or piece of fabric.” Amen!

    Of course, probably the vast majority of those that squeal the most about the flag have the least knowledge and respect for the constitution and lack the brains to understand that what is important is is actual freedom to act. Yammering incessantly about “freedom”, they support the “Patriot Act” and never understand the extent of the manipulation and how their freedoms were curtailed.
    They are also the people to dim to appreciate that there are clever propagandists who spend considerable time and money to make love of the military synonymous with love of American military adventurism, “pseudo capitalism” and a host of other ANTI freedom measures…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is protesting the anthem.

      And there is protesting police brutality.

      And one can protest both.

      It just seems to me his police brutality protest is being hijacked. And now, we are talking about other stuff (not that they don’t deserve protesting).

      “Should we get a new anthem? Should we have an anthem at all? Do we need state flowers? State animals?”

      “Should Washington change its current name, the Redskins?”

      “Why the Indians for the Cleveland baseball team?”

  21. Trent

    Why Is The DHS Preparing To Take Control Of The US Election? Zero Hedge (Chuck L) “Important. I cannot believe this is happening.”

    I find Yves and lambert to not be nearly cynical enough during this “trying” times. Everything that has occurred since at least 2001, and heck you can go back further and look at many of the laws passed since Nixon abolished the link to gold have pointed towards this. Funny how Nixon cuts the link to gold in 71 and then in 72 visits china. Who then becomes an economic power house on former american jobs. Americans lose any relation to gold with regards to money, lose their jobs, and get credit in return. Credit runs its course until the end of the 90’s early 2000’s, we have a recession in 2001 which was termed a “jobless recovery” and then terror attacks which stimulate “war spending” another massive bubble which is even more so of a jobless recovery and then bailouts which only serve the empire and those who benefit from it. The grip of control they’ve held for many many years is now at its weakest……. and now the Russians are going to tamper with our elections……. where do you people continue to find any reason to have any belief that the government and the companies that own it aren’t outright evil? All of these things are just strings of coincidence?

    1. trent

      “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.”

    2. Praedor

      Ugh. A gold bug. We don’t do gold worship at this site. This is an MMT (the TRUTH) site, not a fantasy gold-backed crap currency site.

      Best if you re-edit the above missive and eliminate the comments on eliminating the dead and useless gold standard as if it mattered to (vs unchained) the economy.

      MMT. Learn it, live it, accept it.

      1. trent

        haha i didn’t advocate gold my friend, i just said that happened, then china was “opened” and the rest is history. Though i think you’ll be disappointed with regards to your MMT. Thankfully both of us will be alive in the next 10 or so years to see how this shakes out ;)

        1. trent

          we can agree that closing the gold window to countries that wanted to trade dollars for gold was a default right?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I will not complain if China deems their gold worthless and dumps it all in my backyard.

            Gold: Good when the 99% have it.

            Gold: Bad when the 1% have it.

    3. hunkerdown

      The scarcity of a heavy yellow metal has sod all to do with any other natural constraint. Arbeit NICHT macht Geld, no matter how many drunken Calvinists’ social positions depend on otherwise. Don’t even think of selling that here.

      1. ewmayer

        Precious-metal fetishism aside, are you denying that all real (as opposed to on-paper or ex-nihilo fiat-money) wealth creation requires work?

        In that sense PMs do serve as a useful proxy – as do all industrial commodities – because they have a minimal extraction cost, i.e. cannot be created for free.

  22. RabidGandhi

    Re: Ukraine and the Dumbed-Down New York Times Columnist (Counterpunch)

    Lindorff does well to call out Timothy Eagan’s rancid NYT élite panic article, but there is no need for him to bend history to do so. As illegal as the coup regime in Ukraine is, Russia annexing Crimea was not legal under international law, and it should be denounced as an invasion. Certainly, the Russians have a far better claim to Crimea than say the US has to Guantánamo, or the Turks have to Cyprus, but the fact that there are worse transgressors out there and that Russia is clearly under siege by Nato should not be an excuse for not adhering to international norms.

    A close analogy is the Golan Heights. I once had a hasbara defender argue to me that Israel needed to occupy the Golan heights because the population there wanted them to do so, and because it was a highly strategic location and Israel was under siege from its enemies. I.e., the same arguments now made by the Russians. Practically the same could be said for the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Yet all of these invasions are illegal.

    Russia has an excellent claim to Crimea, but by sending their armed forces into another country uninvited (aka, an invasion) to enforce that claim, they are solidifying a terrible precedent that can only come back to haunt them later. Left critics like Lindorff would do well to acknowledge this.

    1. OIFVet

      Russia has an excellent claim to Crimea, but by sending their armed forces into another country uninvited (aka, an invasion) to enforce that claim

      Russia already had troops stationed in Crimea as they had been leasing Sevastopol from Ukraine. And truly, the precedent that haunts is the US and Kosovo. Living in a glass house never stopped US from frothing hissy fits and throwing stones though.

    2. Pat

      I have to reject your premise. Please note what started this. There was a coup in Ukraine. None of your examples start with a coup, meaning an illegal takeover of the power of governance. Regardless of which foreign powers recognize the new government, it is still an illegal takeover. Crimea voted overwhelmingly not to recognize the government installed by the coup. Russia backed that. That is a very important point to forget.

      But beyond that Russia did not send armed forces into another country uninvited (even if you did not recognize Crimea’s right to secede). They were already there. Now you could get into the weeds about Russia strong arming the extension of base leases past the 2017 point when the elected Ukrainian government were going to end them but at the point of the Crimea vote to secede those leases were in place until 2042. Please note that both dates were well after Crimea said fuck you to the illegal government that took over Ukraine. Either way Russia had extensive forces in Crimea because they have bases including their major naval base on the Black Sea. They, 1.) didn’t send forces there because they already had forces there, and 2.) if they did it still wouldn’t be illegal anymore than our sending forces to our various LEGAL bases around the world would be.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Actually, the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus was preceded by a coup d’état, as democratically elected President Makarios was overthrown by the military which installed a dictator. This was used as the pretext for the invasion. The same is true of Syria, which was subject to a Ba’athist coup in 1963. The coups do not justify the subsequent annexations by foreign powers.

        Secondly, it’s a good point about the Russians already being there, but haven’t they now exceeded the borders of their bases and spread throughout Crimea? How is that legal under the terms of their base agreements?

        Lastly just to reiterate, the Russians do have a far more solid claim on Crimea than the US does on Guantánamo. Still, they should follow international law, given the fact that this precedent will make it so much easier for Nato to continue encroaching on Russian sovereign territory.

        1. Carolinian

          If the Russians had not annexed Crimea–at the request of the Crimeans–the US would just as likely have found some other excuse to sanction the Russians as that is the goal. It has nothing to do with Crimea.

          And I’m not sure “international law” means much when the countries that complain the loudest are the ones who most regularly violate it. Putin did what he had to do and his domestic approval rating shows that his public agrees.

          In any case if the discussion is about the NYT then clearly their word “invade” does not apply or certainly doesn’t fall into the category of undisputed fact.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Obviously, the NYT has no ground to speak about invasions, and the Eagan article is ripe for derision. My point, however, is that the US can make a mockery of international law because it is overwhelmingly powerful. But the law exists (ostensibly) to protect the weak, not the strong who can survive by their might.

            I agree the US is going to continue to attack the Russians, no matter what they do. The threat of sanctions was not the reason not to invade Crimea, rather the reason not to invade is to follow international law, because as she defends herself against the US assault Russia will need the international community, as it were. The Crimean invasion weakens the Russian case for international solidarity.

            William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
            Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
            William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
            Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!</blockquote

            1. OIFVet

              The Crimean invasion annexation weakens the Russian case for international solidarity.

              And strengthened Russia’s security against the very NATO encroachment that you bemoan. Whoever controls Crimea controls the Black Sea, international “solidarity” doesn’t. That’s the strategic reality of it.

              1. RabidGandhi

                …which was the exact same argument my hasbara interlocutor gave for Israel “needing” to annex the Golan Heights.

                1. OIFVet

                  Your argument would hold if Syria and the US (under the guise of NATO) were near peers in terms of offensive military capabilities. They are not. And do tell, why in the world would Bubba break the promises made to Gorby by Bush Sr. about NATO expansion, particularly when Russia was down and out in the 1990’s? Brzezinski laid out the plan in the “Grand Chessboard”, and the US set out to follow it. The plan, in case you are unaware, was to break up the Russian Federation. Your international “solidarity” is as good as tits on a bull when it comes to stopping a belligerent hegemon hellbent on imposing its worldwide domination. So pardon the Russians for proactively defending themselves by annexing a land that was rightfully theirs to begin with. Realism ain’t dead.

                2. OIFVet

                  Adding, I am originally from Bulgaria and will be returning to live there next year. I don’t care to live with the threat of great powers duking it out in my neighborhood. But the fact is, the US has been belligerent as hell and way out of line. Beside Ukraine, let us not forget that the US did incite Georgia into launching an ill-advisrd war against Ossetia and drawing Russia into responding. Then there is the matter of the US continuing stretching of the rules of the Montreux Convention, which increases the likelihood of conflict in the Black Sea. Add the positioning of the ABM shield in Romania, and its potential to also be used in offensive capacity, and it all adds up to a very dangerous reality. As far as I am concerned, US expansion and aggression in my region has gone unchecked for far too long, and Russian patience has been remarkably strong, all things considered.

                  1. RabidGandhi

                    Just to clarify, we are in agreement that the US is way out of line, dangerously belligerent, and an imminent threat to Russian security.

                    Where we disagree is as to the strategy of how the Russians can best defend themselves. You have argued that realism dictates that they need to break international law to protect themselves against what is an extraordinary, imminent threat. I argue that their best chance is to adhere to international law in hopes of enlisting the international community to stand up en masse against the bully, and to give less pretext for the same illegality later being used against them.

                    1. OIFVet

                      Hope And Change redux… Hope that the international community would draft diplomatic notes which would force the neo-nazi Ukie flunkies to honor the terms of the base lease after they have expelled the Moscals and given Sevastopol to the US, thus giving the US the total domination of the region and turning it into an Airstrip One to launch the final assault against Russia. What are the chances of that plan succeeding? Personally I give it 0%. In the meantime, the overwhelmingly ethnic Russian population would be methodically cleansed by the glorious Banderites, while Mother Russia wrings her hands and appeals to the Samoan ambassador in the UN to please do something about it. Sounds like a plan to me…

        2. Pat

          My bad, thank you for the correction.

          Here’s the thing, despite your recognition of Russia’s more solid claim on Crimea, you apparently also want to deny that Crimea’s parliament and its populace have any rights to determine their future in the face of an illegal take over of the government that they were, well frankly not so happy to be aligned with in the first place. The parliament put forth a declaration to secede, and then the populace voted overwhelming to do so.

          I’m sure if I was a big one on military history and takeovers, I could find lots of examples where annexation was considered liberation. History is written by the side that for short I will use “wins”. It isn’t as if American doesn’t pick and choose in all this, see Syria where they are supporting fundamentalist terrorists trying to take over the country. Hell the only election involved in that one overwhelmingly supported the guy America is working so hard to help oust.

          There was no need to have a coup in Ukraine in the first place as the current leader was already out the door and elections were scheduled within months. We are both picking sides in essentially a bloodless civil war. Probably because those Russian troops were already there, but still relatively bloodless. I’m picking the side that held the election.

          As for the troops throughout Crimea, well as of an election in March of 2014 they were invited to go whether they wanted to by the populace.

          1. Yves Smith

            Agreed. There was no military invasion, hence the term “annexation” is a misnomer.

            The Russians already had a base there and they did not take any aggressive action. We followed this story VERY closely at the time. The Counterpunch piece is inaccurate in implying that Russian troops left the base or crossed borders prior to the referendum results (and here I am less clear, but am reasonably sure they did not take any moves until the officials had also petitioned to join…although Russia may have increased troops at the border to warn Ukraine not to do anything stupid after the referendum).

            Also the story is sort of wrong in saying no Russian troops were in Ukraine. I have not seen a single credible account that Russia sent any member of any regular military unit across the border. Russia was supplying arms, but it is hard to tell how many, since Ukraine had previously had all its arms supplied by Russia, and so any arms taken from Ukrainian sources would also be Russian made.

            Russia was almost certainly providing advisors just as the US routinely does in contested area of interest. There were also many claims of individual Russian combat soldiers in the East. But Ukrainians in the East have lots of family in Russia. So this appears to have been a huge wink and nod by the Russian military: “Want to go into Ukraine? Fine by us”. From everything I can tell, Russia was very careful to avoid formal intervention, but given what was at stake, you’d have to think they’d do everything short of that.

          2. RabidGandhi

            I don’t see how you square that with the concept of internationally recognised borders. By that reasoning, couldn’t the US take over Okinawa by rigging an election there (something the US excels at, domestically and abroad)?

            Also, just to clarify, I’m not picking the side of the neo-nazi regime in Kiev. I’m picking the side of international law, which neither side in the conflict has followed.

                  1. RabidGandhi

                    No, I am saying that a change in international borders takes more than just a hastily organised referendum and having a military base on site, precisely for the reason that if those were the accepted standards, then hundreds of countries would be in immediate danger of losing soveriegn territory to the US and its vassal states.

                    1. OIFVet

                      Like Kosovo was wrenched from Serbia? Was that before or after Crimea? And just when did Kosovo have a referendum to begin with? The precedent was set by the US long ago, hence my reference to living in glass houses.

                    2. fresno dan

                      September 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm

                      September 1, 2016 at 12:18 pm

                      I have to say, I have learned more in the debate between you and OIFVet than all the other stories I have read. I am probably more sympathetic to the OIFVet view as I have become so cynical about any position the US takes now – which is almost always “do as I say, not as I do”

                      It is also refreshing when both parties are willing to concede the other’s facts and points when doing their rebuttals, address the actual points raised, and refrain from straw men, straw women, and straw dogs….

                    3. timbers

                      I am saying that a change in international borders takes more than just a hastily organised referendum

                      Ok, you said that. Now explain why a quick (or hasty) election in response to neo-Nazis wanting to completely change your way of life and kill some folks, precludes a legal change of international borders?

                    4. hunkerdown

                      RabidGandhi, so exactly what is the value of imaginary friends’ previous decisions, that people should not feel more free to dissolve the bonds that chain them to rulers?

                    5. RabidGandhi


                      A “quick (or hasty) election in response to neo-Nazis” does not preclude a legal change of international borders. But it does not replace a legal change either. Russia needs to organise an internationally monitored plebiscite (which they will surely win) in coordination with the UN General Assembly.

                    6. timbers

                      @RabidGhandi. “Russia needs to organise an internationally monitored plebiscite (which they will surely win) in coordination with the UN.” Why does Russia need to do this when their actions are legal and the unnecessary course you suggest would be ignored or not allowed? What your suggested actions would result in is death & economic misery for Crimea. Remember what Crimea & Russia are not only legal but desirable.

        3. cwaltz

          The coup itself was illegal under international law so I don’t see how anyone can blame Russia for protecting their own interests.

          It’s not like various people in Ukraine weren’t installed by the US and there isn’t a recorded conversation that shows that we had our little hands all over the new improved Ukraine government.

    3. timbers

      Russia annexing Crimea was not legal under international law, and it should be denounced as an invasion.

      Totally false IMO.

      The U.S. overthrew the govt in Kiev. During that time their was no govt in Crimea. They were free under international law to choose as they did, as I understand.

      And to say Russia invaded Crimea is empirically total nonsense. If Russia invaded Crimea (as you incorrectly state) then the U.S. should study it as an example and apply that to the many many invasions it has performed.

      1. RabidGandhi

        1. As stated above, the precedents of Cyprus and the Golan Heights show that a coup is not sufficient cause for annexation.

        2. The US is the #1 violator of international law and has no standing whatsoever to define what is or is not an invasion.

        3. Russia’s troops are in Crimea, outside of their base concessions, without the consent of the internationally recognised Ukrainian government. Until the Crimeans hold a UN monitored plebescite (which the Russians will certainly win), Russia’s troops have invaded Ukrainian territory.

        Repeating: the Russians should be the ones most concerned about following legal formalities, since legal formalities may be their only feasible defence as Nato continues to encroach.

        1. timbers

          You cherry pick your reasoning by claiming the illegal overthrow by US of Kiev is legal claim to Crimea because it’s “internationally recognized” and you also refuse to allow that the legal joining of Crimea to Russia can itself be precedent while only allowing precedent that supports your cherry picked views. The fact is Ukraine had no govt during which time Crimea legally acted to create its own govt. hence no legal need for UN action that you and I both know it not an option and would NEVER happen.

          1. timbers

            “Repeating: the Russians should be the ones most concerned about following legal formalities, since legal formalities may be their only feasible defence as Nato continues to encroach.”
            No, Russian military superiority over a warmongering and LAWLESS NATO is what Russia should and is most concerned about and your saying Russia needs to obey law which we do not and which NATO shamelessly ignores and shatters – is I am sorry but you totally ignoring reality and what’s been going on towards Russia.

            1. RabidGandhi

              Of all your posts here, this is the one I most agree with. Here you rightly point out that Nato will not follow the law, and argue that the best strategy for Russia to follow is to likewise operate outside of the law, in self defence. This is coherent, and it’s a matter of strategy, not a matter of legality; i.e., which tactic is best. The same as OIFVet above, and totally valid IMO.

              Yet recall the original article which argued that anyone who claims Russia’s annexation of Crimea was not legal is a stooge. That’s a whole different ball of wax from strategy; it’s a question of legality.

              Below you called into question my intentions on the basis that just because I called Russian actions illegal I must therefore be opposed to Russian sovereignty– i.e., no dissent shall be brokered. One need not even read all of my posts here, and on this website in general, to realise that this argument is completely spurious in and of itself.

              1. timbers

                (you) argue that the best strategy for Russia to follow is to likewise operate outside of the law, in self defence.

                Nope. I said what will protect Russia from NATO and US aggression is her military superiority, not the law. You are the one who (incorrectly) keeps saying Russia broke the law, which I do not agree with. The law is used by the West to harm Russia like when the IMF changed the rules to exclusively harm Russia..

                Also see above comments by Yves there was no “annexation.” Once again you are cherry picking. What Russia did was legal, not illegal as you keep stating..

          2. RabidGandhi

            So by your logic, whenever a country loses its democratic government, all of its territory is up for grabs? So now that Brazil has no democratic government, it would be a great time for Bolivia to find part of Brazil that would be willing to secede and annex it? Turkey can now keep its slice of occupied Syria, because Assad is undemocratic? India can annex Tibet because China is not a democracy?

            This sounds like a libertarian free for all where might-makes-right replaces the rule of law; perfect for US imperialism which has always preferred sheer power over laws.

            1. cwaltz

              They didn’t “lose” their democratic government. The US government was funding and agitating groups to overthrow the government. They concurrently helped handpick some of the new government.

              I see no reason to blame Russia for protecting it’s own interests.

              1. timbers

                Exactly (thank you). And, Crimea was not “up for grabs.” It was threatened by US backed noe-Nazi freaks.

                There is a very big difference.

            2. timbers

              No, by my reasoning is you are ignoring what makes Crimea’s action totally legal and good: The right to self determination, as you cherry pick small points of order and say that ONLY Russia should follow while you admit it’s enemies do not follow same rules.

              That would mean Russia will end up like Syria it the US gets it’s way.

              And Crimea was not “up for grabs” it was threatened by an ILLEGAL regime that you falsely call legal for no reason that it it is “internationally recognized” as you totally fail to address the fact the illegal neo-Nazis in Kiev you call legal and intend to kill some folks in Crimea and Ukraine if not outright genocide them.

              That’s defending legal points of order to allow killing people.

              It is behind reason to say Russia must follow these small points of order “for it’s own interest” when it’s enemies are not with intention of destroying Russia. The Russians have too much common sense to follow your advice which ignores what is being directed against Russia.

              It is Russian reliance on it’s superior military power against criminals like NATO that do not follow law, and the US,) that it is intact today and not engulfed in Iraq/Lybia/Syria style regime change and millions of Russians have not died.

              If you were so concerned about following points of UN law and order you should be saying the “internationally recognized” Ukrainian govt must be abolished as it is illegal and tell it is in the US interest to make sure the govt in Ukraine is removed from power according to UN protocol. Or whatever.

              But you do not and that is a logical flaw, or the tip you are not sincere and your real goal is to undermine Russian sovereignty.

      2. optimader

        “Totally false IMO”

        It’s good to have an opinion even if it’s wrong, which it is in this case in the context of International Law.

    1. crittermom

      I may disagree with you about that.
      My best friend and companion of 10+ years, my (rescue) Airedale, might be learning to spell, too.
      Mainly the word ‘treat’.
      I’m pretty sure he has ‘Kong’ figured out, as well. (Tho’ admittedly, he is without doubt also using his intonation skills, as well)

      He’s the most analytical dog I’ve every owned. Amazing. Very smart.
      Short attention span, however.

      I’ve read several articles recently about dogs being smarter than scientist realized, as they’re just beginning to really study them, formerly concentrating on the primates, dolphins, whales, birds.

      I suspect we dog owners have known the depth of their intelligence for much longer.

      Cats, however, are quite another individual.
      “Dogs have masters, cats have staff”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think they know or feel what we think, not necessarily what we say.

      We created verbal traps for ourselves when we invented language. There was a time we could think all the time without words.

      Today, we mostly think with words. And the world constructed with words is not the world itself. Therein lies all our troubles, and we puzzle ourselves with questions like, ‘what is the meaning of is.”

      There are still times we think without words. When one plays a sport at a fast pace, one can still think without words…almost back to the days when humans planned and hunted mammoth, or started a fire, without words.

      1. Katharine

        Well, there is the old tale of the Vermont farmer asked by an outlander why the cat lived outside and the dog in the house, who replied, “The dog has to learn English.”

          1. Katharine

            Come again? We had been talking about dogs, and I was under the impression the first line of your comment was still on that subject. Possibly should have quoted to be clear!

  23. fresno dan

    Why Is The DHS Preparing To Take Control Of The US Election? Zero Hedge (Chuck L) Important. I cannot believe this is happening.

    But you can’t just seize control of infrastructure that has been successfully run at the state level for a couple hundred years…that kind of stuff only happens in Venezuela and we’re better than that. No, you need a catalyst for this kind of blatant power grab. “Coincidentally”, a catalyst just like the FBI’s warning a couple of days ago about “foreign hackers [read Putin] penetrating state election systems.” Then, once you’ve defined the super villain, all you need is a couple of political cronies to go on a fear mongering tour to whip the electorate into a frenzy. And wouldn’t you know it…Harry Reid recently did just that by sending a letter to the FBI voicing his “concerns” that the “Russian government” may be looking to tamper with the upcoming presidential election. Per the New York Times, Harry Reid’s letter to the FBI included the following:

    “I have recently become concerned that the threat of the Russian government tampering in our presidential election is more extensive than widely known and may include the intent to falsify official election results.”

    The combination of all these things might be just enough to scare the American electorate into forfeiting another chunk of their individual sovereignty to the elite political class in Washington DC while plunging us one step closer to the inevitable end game of “fundamentally transforming” our constitutional democracy into a police state.

    Well, we can have our elections decided by American plutocrats or Russian Oligarchs… this is a “change” election, I guess its time to give the Russians a turn….(sarc…or maybe not)

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      Actually, the US Supreme Court seized control of the election process in Florida in 2000. Remember that? When they ruled for a decision that was – explicitly, and in pointed contrast to their other rulings – not to be considered a precedent. Something that was and should have remained a State process under our Federal structure was overridden because a majority of the members of the Court wanted to guarantee that G.W. Bush would “win” the election. Serendipitously, all of these justices were Republicans. As I recall, the sainted Sandra Day O’Connor had previously publicly mused that she wanted that outcome, so that a Republican president would be the one to nominate the successor to her spot on the Supreme Court. She wanted to leave her post to tend to her ill husband. But why should she feel entitled to arrogate to herself the right to tamper with the Constitution to accommodate her personal situation and political preference as to her successor? Yet she proved willing to flout her oath to defend the Constitution to get it done, ably assisted by her Republican colleagues in crime.

      So the precedent of Federal usurpation of a fundamental right of a State under the Constitution has already been set (although not to be remembered, of course). Why not run the table, and usurp the right of all of the States to run their own elections for national office?

  24. fresno dan

    After Conservatism The American Conservative
    (Chuck L)

    For all his many faults, Donald Trump displays one great virtue as a presidential candidate: he is a remarkably effective dispeller of illusions. Early in the campaign, Trump dispelled the illusion that his rivals were the strongest field of candidates in the party’s history. As the frontrunner, he dispelled the illusion that “the party decides” on the nomination. As the presumptive nominee, he dispelled the illusion that candidates inevitably try to broaden their appeal beyond their core supporters. Who knows what illusions The Donald will dispel by November.

    Of all the illusions Trump has dispelled, however, none is more significant than the illusion of the conservative movement. Rather than being the dominant force in the Republican Party, conservatives, Trump revealed, are just another pressure group. And not an especially large one. In state after state, voters indicated that they did not care much about conservative orthodoxy on the economy, foreign policy, or what used to be called family values.

    American politics is built on fairy tales. But ever declining wages and ever increasing mortality among poorer whites in the heartland reveals that American politics for SOME time now has been strip mining American prosperity for the benefit of “Davos Man”
    Sanders and Trump really show the current alignments are on the verge of toppling. 2020 will be a very interesting time. I don’t know whether to hope I am alive or dead than….

    1. fresno dan

      The poor record of this orthodoxy as a governing philosophy is one reason for this indifference to conservative dogma. Some apologists blame Obama for provoking the Trump rebellion through a feat of reverse psychology. The truth is probably simpler. Many Americans remember the George W. Bush presidency as a disaster. Reasonably enough, they expect that another self-identified conservative administration would bring more of the same.

      Demographic changes are also part of the explanation. The conservative movement is disproportionately comprised of middle-class white Christians. There are fewer of those than there used to be.

      As the conservative movement approaches retirement age, finally, its rhetoric has become almost unintelligible to outsiders. Rather than making arguments addressed to normal people, conservative leaders invoke limited government almost fetishistically, as if the words themselves possessed the power to convince. Ted Cruz’s reputation as an orator rests on his mastery of this jargon.

      Again, Trump has done a great service to the country by at least diminishing the possibility of so much delusion in one of the parties…
      1.Bush did not keep us safe
      2.Iraq was a disaster
      3. Bailing out the rich should not be the core of the repubs
      4. AND EVEN ON IMMIGRATION – EVEN Trump has to deal with the reality of what he can say and the REALITY of what he CAN DO.

      “Many Americans remember the George W. Bush presidency as a disaster. Reasonably enough, they expect that another self-identified conservative administration would bring more of the same.”

    2. JohnnyGL

      Watch out, regarding 2020, if Clinton wins and the Republican base is successfully ‘taught a lesson about going against the establishment’ via the party’s attempt to give him the full McGovern, then we’re going to end up with a Clinton vs. Ted Cruz race and we’ll see what will look like a re-run of the current scenario.

      If you look narrowly, there’s an argument for voting Clinton to stop Trump, but if you look at a broader context, suddenly, you realize you’ve gotta pick your poison one of these days and be willing to drop the establishment Dems at some point.

      Framed this way, do you want to dump Clinton for Trump or Cruz in 2020? Then, by 2024, when things are even worse due to 8 more years of the planet getting microwaved, war-mongering foreign policy, and upward redistribution of wealth/income, people will get even more desperate and we’ll have another chance to drop establishment Dems for another bat$hit crazy Republican.

      You gotta jump over the cliff at some point!

      No better time than the present.

      1. fresno dan

        September 1, 2016 at 11:14 am

        Maybe. But if Trump hadn’t been in the primaries, and Cruz had prevailed, I think it would have been because Cruz was the one who painted HIMSELF as the most “outsider” compared to all the other candidates. My view is that Cruz is thoroughly repub establishment in the policies he espouses, and actually upsets the applecart by occasionally doing things that are actually consistent with his rhetoric.
        Good grief, Cruz’s wife worked for the vampire squid – I just don’t think with even more twitter (or whatever takes twitters place in 2020) that that dog will hunt.

        And don’t get me wrong – I think Hillary is far more perilous to the world than Trump

        1. JohnnyGL

          Re: Trump and Cruz (and Cruz’s wife working for GS). You reminded me of this amusing discussion between Ted Cruz and a pro-Trump heckler.

          At 1:35, the heckler points out that Cruz’s wife works for GS.

          So, I would posit that this provides real evidence of Lambert’s case AGAINST the ‘voters are stupid’ argument. This guy doesn’t come across as the most informed voter (being polite here), but he knows Cruz’s wife works for GS, and I’d argue that’s all he needs to know to know that Ted Cruz is in the tank for the big finance guys. Case closed.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Stop the Foundation.

        Reform/take over the D party machine (call it the Rump D Party).

        I see them as the short and intermediate term strategy.

  25. Jim Haygood

    NYT pimps Boulder [Allen Ginsburg lived there, so hipsters need to make a pilgrimage]:

    Comment from my bro, who lives nearby and has professional experience in utility regulation:

    I think Boulder’s median house price is already over a million. Boulder is becoming a mini-San Francisco — only the wealthy can afford to live there, except the homeless, who are proliferating because the wealthy liberals take pity on them and treat them like protected wildlife.

    Boulder is over-taxing itself, and as of now (though it’s lost several key preliminary court decisions) continues on its crazed effort to municipalize Excel’s electric utility assets. Boulderites have deemed Excel (actually one of the better-run public utility companies in the U.S.) to have insufficient renewable components in its electric generation mix. That’s a project that’s doomed to failure, or will be so outrageously expensive that even Boulder millionaires will eventually feel the pinch.

    We spend much more time (and our retail dollars) in more blue-collar (but rapidly gentrifying) Longmont than in congested, expensive Boulder. Boulder does have a few amenities we do take advantage of occasionally (we did attend a concert at Chautauqua when ***** was here), but we avoid it more often than not.

    1. a different chris

      >We spend much more time …in .. than in congested, ….

      Why does that comment bring Yogi Berra to mind?.

  26. Katharine

    It is amazing, and to me terribly sad, that Bernie, who was such a good candidate, has succeeded in blowing most of his credibility in about six weeks. What was he thinking?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Slim’s suggestion: He was physically and emotionally drained by the campaign, and that he’s looking to get to retirement as quickly as possible.

      That’s what I think. Take it with a grain of salt and call me in the morning.

    2. Yves Smith

      He never said he’d do anything more than campaign in the primary and if he lost, endorse the winner. His organization and supporters have demanded he do stuff he never said he would do. And his organization was also deeply divided on next moves, and Sanders is a politician, and hasn’t been an activist for decades (and he may have the good sense to know what he doesn’t know but still find himself asked to arbitrate in turf wars).

      1. Katharine

        True. He might have been better off letting OR be somebody else’s project, but that’s admittedly hypothetical and not useful. I just hate to see the actions that are now associated with him.

    3. human

      One reason our second president, John Adams, refused to run for a second term was that he was disgusted with the unceasing pressure from special interest groups. Times have not changed.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If there was ever a time to substantially modify the original design, it would have been then, at or near the start.

        Now, everything has become institutionalized and sacrosanct.

        Do you think he might have given up too easily?

  27. Bubba_Gump

    The comments on the Wolfowitz article are great. Mine begins “This guy should be dangling from a gibbet in the wilderness.”

      1. Dark Lord Cheney

        Who are you? I could have you killed with a telephone call.

        He’s out there because I sent him out there. Paul is a good little lackey.

        You don’t want me to come out there. You’d prefer I come out there?

  28. marco

    Am I the only one more upset Canova lost to DWS than Bernie losing to Hillary? This was a primary the left REALLY needed. I have not seen any decent post-primary commentary either. It’s like it never happened.

    1. Bubba_Gump

      Yes, complete blackout other than “DWS Won!” Bummer. I could be infuriated, but I’m too used to this.

    2. Steve H.

      I’m not more upset because the stakes were higher in the presidential. DWS is a Democratic Machine candidate, and the Democratic Machine winning the presidential is the prior, so the subsequent falls in line with expectations.

      I’d say, don’t compare within the sample of Democrat elections, sample across the parties. Trump successfully hacked the Republican party, in a hostile takeover. That’s the strategic branch to follow if you want subsequent success.

    3. Yves Smith

      I gather that DWS is a good “pothole” Congresscritter, as in she is attentive to problems in her district and gets them addressed. That creates a ton of good will and voter inertia.

    4. flora

      No idea how far this law suit will go. I’d like to see the DNC (and DWS) defend their fiduciary behavior in court.

      “Wasserman Schultz has been sued along with the DNC in the Federal District Court of South Florida, where the lead plaintiff, Carol Wilding, resides. The lawsuit is on behalf of Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters and alleges fraud, negligent misrepresentation, deceptive conduct, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence. There are already more than 100 named plaintiffs and the court was told in the amended complaint that an additional 1,000 have signed retainer agreements to serve as class representatives.”

    1. Steve H.

      This looks extraordinary, Jeff. Brz just smacked a hammer on a red-hot rivet and made the credible announcement that there’s what Engdahl calls “a huge internal faction struggle within US leading circles”. That is now a pinned-down position, a repudiation of the administration’s execution of Grand Strategy.

      And he made it on Twitter. We are fully into the 21st.

    2. human

      Brzezinski has been miffed ever since the “grave mistake” of the neo-cons ham-handed strategy in Eurasia and the Middle East. This interview ought to make the factions rift a little more visible.

    3. Jagger

      In a Twitter tweet from his own blog, Brzezinski wrote a precis of a new article he wrote for The American Interest magazine. He writes, “The US backing of the attempted coup against the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a grave mistake that could deliver a major blow to the US reputation.” That’s definitely putting it mildly given what’s unfolding in Turkey since July 15.

      Certainly the Turkish coup had the earmarks of US involvement. And now the story is starting to come out…assuming Brzezniski is a reliable source. And I suspect he is.

    4. Kurt Sperry

      I can find neither the alleged tweet dated August 11 from Zbig referenced in that piece in his twitter stream (although there are images of the alleged tweet posted by others there) nor the article mentioned at Googling the first sentence of the alleged tweet “the us backing of the attempted coup against the turkish president” gives almost no hits and no good source for the quote. This is failing the sniff test for me big time. You’d think Zbig publicly conceding the coup was a CIA plot might garner more than 9 Google results if it were real. Wouldn’t you? Yeah, me too.

      1. Jagger

        Good heads up. I just started checking the links also and the author’s biography. The author is a LaRouche disciple. The Hughes link went to an article removed as a fake. I wonder if the tweet is a fake too. I agree that the smell test is bad. Looks like someone may be playing games.

    5. cwaltz

      It’s odd and it’s horrible but when I first heard about the coup, I wondered if we maybe got pissed and tired of finding out that Turkey was financially helping ISIS and using them to undermine the Kurds and decided to try out regime change.

      Personally every time I think about the wikileaks that spilled the beans on how Syria was hatched to begin with I get pissed. Condi and Hillary should both rot in Hades for what they’ve done to the Syrians.

  29. TarheelDem

    Zero Hedge’s logic about the DHS threat to our elections is based on one statement by Jeh Johnson about what constitutes “critical infrastructure” and whether the election system is such. Progressives began raising those concerns themselves in 2002-2003 timeframe when the computerized voting systems by Diebold and other vendors started creating strange results. Remember the famous story about the ROBGA file that Diebold provided at the last minute in the Georgia elections.

    So now we have apologists for the election theft that has been occurring in local jurisdictions and the voter suppression laws that have been passed by states saying that that tyrant Barack Obama seeks to control the US elections through the DHS in order to elect Hillary Clinton and deprive Donald Trump or Gary Johnson or Jill Stein of their victories at the polls. And under the cover of Russian interference in US elections.

    As if there is not enough fear, uncertainty, and doubt about US institutions, Zero Hedge wants to set up grounds for discrediting an election beforehand as I suppose so does Donald Trump, Jeh Johnson, and a host of bloggers.

    This is as much a crisis in our political culture as it is in our political processes of election. We really need “independent” international inspectors at all of our 192,480 precinct polling places. I believe that would be mutually educational for the precinct workers and the observers.

    It might help to purchase several million clear plastic ballot boxes, some purple thumbprint ink, and secure transport services for paper ballots. And assignments whereby voters show up at another precinct under convening orders as an election jury to count votes and ensure the integrity of the count.

    Common election procedures for national elections is one of the requirements for reducing the possibility of election fraud by officials by not allowing voters to vote or by miscounting the results–the two most common forms of fraud we have witnessed recently.

    It is not clear that local officials are any less suspect than the putative national officials that Zero Hedge warns against. It is less the level of government and more the tolerance of all parties for election fraud as a ‘take no prisoners” form of election dominance that is the issue. Who will bell that cat?

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      My parents hosted a voting place for the national election in their garage when I was a kid. Watching the process left a strong impression on me — though I was so young I have few clear or specific memories. I do remember a feeling of community with our neighbors and with those who came to vote. I also remember the excitment @efschumacher talks about in the comment off the thread @Higgs Boson started above.

      Paper ballots like those used in the voting in my parents garage are subject to different kinds of fraud from the machine based hacking and fraud of today. But fraud on paper is much more difficult to hide and much easier to monitor. Keeping the count in the neighborhood makes it easier for interested parties to assure that the count reflects the how neighborhood voted [I must make exception for the kind of neighborhood precincts organized in Tammany New York or Daley Chicago.]

      I believe our voting is controlled at the state and local levels. This is one issue where local political action could have particular impact. Most polling place worker receive a small payment for their services — perhaps that little payment should be bumped up a little — the DHS could kick in money from their kitty. This would provide a small kick of windfall income into a community. The DHS could also hire a neighbor — not a police officer — to overlook each local polling place and of course any outside observers should be allowed to watch — but not interfere with the process. Of course I’m dreaming.

      There were problems with the election process before the introduction of machines but they were problems which could be easily repaired. The introduction of machines kicked state money into “other” hands and also ushered in new and less transparent opportunities for corrupting the process. Is it any surprise that an organization with a pedigree and dismal past performance like DHS should now seize an opportunity to nationalize the corruption of our election process? Our local governments wittingly or unwittingly helped provide this opportunity.

      Quite aside from concerns over efforts by the Federal Government to nationalize our election system — given their past performance in protecting our ‘critical infrastructure” I feel the election critical infrastructure is much less safe than before DHS extended their umbrella.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          The idea was to spread DHS as thinly as possible — though I understand concern about having the DHS anywhere near. Given a choice I would prefer they were no nearer to me than a remote mountain top on Fiji.

  30. Jim Haygood

    ISM lays an egg: the August Purchasing Managers Index registered 49.4 percent, a decrease of 3.2 percentage points from the July reading of 52.6 percent. Readings below 50 percent indicate contraction in manufacturing.

    We’ll have to see how Friday’s jobs report looks. If it’s lukewarm too, this ought to send the Fedsters scurrying back under their toadstools, after their farcical outburst of rate-hike excogitation.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My personal experience is that the economy has been slow for the last 7 or 8 years. Probably slower in 2016.

    1. Jim Haygood

      One can infer that he’s positioning himself to lobby for Silicon Valley after his abdication of the Throne of Foggy Bottom.

      As Willie Sutton said, that’s where the money is. The median house price in Palo Alto, CA is $2.36 million.

  31. JEHR

    Re: Dishonest bankers threaten new financial crisis says Bank of England Governor Mark Carney

    I am so tired of reading articles that are full of euphemisms: In this article,
    For dishonest, read corrupt;
    For misconduct, read criminal behaviour;
    For miss-selling, read corruption;
    For manipulate, read falsify
    For “ethical drift” read criminal, unlawful, illegal and fraudulent behaviour which should be punished with jail time.

    It is very strange that the TBTF banks of the world pay out billions for the “ethical drift” of their CEOs and CFOs rather than have them lose their jobs for not doing being able to do them properly. Always the fines are way less than the money that the fraudulent and criminal behaviour rewarded them with! The incentive remains to do the corrupt and criminal act again and again and again.

    1. a different chris

      >It is very strange that the TBTF banks of the world pay out billions ….. Always the fines are way less than the money that

      Missing what is strange about *that*. ;>

    2. fresno dan

      September 1, 2016 at 11:16 am

      I always equate it to the middle ages where the powerful equated themselves with God, enabling them to justify ANYTHING.
      We have reached the logical conclusion to to FED/DAVOS man thinking, that equates banking with investing and simply has been indoctrinated not to see that asset trading doesn’t produce anything.
      Galileo, if he were to come back: I see that humans still refuse to see

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Will this make stopping the Dems their #1 priority at BLM?

      Dems: “What are they going to do about it?”

  32. fresno dan

    In other words, governments — by issuing cash and managing inflation — put a floor on how low interest rates can go and how high asset prices can rise. That’s hardly a free market.

    Like any government interference, this causes inefficiencies. By preventing the future prices of goods and services from rising too far above the current prices, it constrains demand for current goods and services. The weak demand, in turn, leads companies to hire less and invest less in the development of new technologies, leaving the work force underutilized and productivity low. Sound familiar?

    Ahhh, so that it. The 40 year WAR on wage inflation, the myriad of ways that people with great wealth that don’t have to spend even 0.01% of their annual income and pay less and less in taxes that prevents even that money from from being pried from their grubby paws and circulating in the economy – that has nothing to do with it and they have only an insignificant affect upon demand.
    Sooooo, putting even more skimming operations in the hands of the vampire squid, those noble God’s workers, is the solution….because the great recession was caused by high interest rates and you and me….

    No, even though I am spending ever more on health care, and I am approaching zero discretionary spending, I should go borrow (never mind that all these LOW, LOW interest rates aren’t available to me, despite never having missed a payment for anything).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Those noble God’s workers will probably say you’re worshiping the wrong god(s), or worse, not worshiping anything at all.

      “You must worship something, not nothing. How else can they control you?”

  33. Jeremy Grimm

    Re: “Looming Air Superiority Train Wreck” — I am not familiar with the source of this news — the site “War on the Rocks” nor the author Peter Layton. If the Air Force really is shifting away from full support for the F-35 to one of the many compromise positions suggested in this link that would rattle a lot of rice bowls. How spending might shift as a result could put a certain leverage on new and returning Congressmen. What group or what persons would control the direction of that spending?

    I’m not an aerospace engineer so for what it’s worth: I recall a lot of fussing when the B-1 was built about how it was greatly over-specified making it difficult to design a single air frame to meet all the specifications. As I recall the resulting air frame met its specifications [or the specifications were relaxed in test (?)] but the air frame didn’t provide optimum performance within any of its specified flight regimes. It seemed as though the Air Force didn’t have a strategy or tactics it was comfortable with and compromised by ordering an aircraft which could perform from the spectrum of options. A do everything aircraft relieves the high command from deciding what to buy and where to position a set of more specialized aircraft. [I’m not sure of the significance of this idea: collecting many requirements into a single aircraft also tends to bundle the expenditures.]

    I also recall the B-2 described as over-specified across too many performance regimes — with the additional requirement of “stealth” further complicating airframe designs and impacting performance. I heard the B-2 was “fly-by-wire” because the control surface was nearly impossible for a human pilot to fly.

    I know very little about the F-22 and F-35 other than what I read. I believe the F-35 has also been criticized as over-specified. The F-35 is advertised as very much a joint air craft serving all the services. I would guess it probably combines various compromises of all the specifications and requirements brought in by all the services.

    The outcome of the F-35 program is starting to echo the results of the Army’s Future Combat Systems Program. It makes me wonder whether the Military Industrial Complex is still working at building defense systems. The breadth of specifications and requirements that I’m guessing drive the F-35 also suggest our Armed Services lack a clear idea of the kind of missions they will support in the future and no clear idea of what strategy or tactics the aircraft will require to support those missions.

  34. Parker Dooley


    I remember, back in the antediluvian days, some senator (Everett Dirksen, perhaps) commented that we would only be able to afford one fighter, and it would only be fit to fly on Tuesdays. 2030 R.I.P American exceptionalism?

  35. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    World’s oldest fossil and staggering implications.

    Oldest? Maybe. From the article:

    She cautioned that structures which look similar to stromatolites can form without any living organisms, saying it had been “notoriously difficult” to establish signs of life in the few rocks that remain from the Earth’s “infancy”.

    Also from the article:

    They also said the evidence suggested there had been an “equable climate” at the time despite the “the faint young Sun” and suggested this was probably because the atmosphere had a lot of carbon dioxide and/or methane.

    Lucky for me that I stay at Motel 6 and I read Naked Capitalism that I deduce this wisdom: lots of carbon dioxide and or methane help to keep (that is, retain or trap) the faint sunlight from our young Sun. I used to hate it when they didn’t say it explicitly. Like I say, I hope I guess correctly.

    Moving on, we get this:

    “If life could find a foothold here, and leave such an imprint that vestiges exist even though only a minuscule sliver of metamorphic rock is all that remains from that time, then life is not a fussy, reluctant and unlikely thing.

    Not fussy? Not reluctant? I am not sure, based on the article. I mean, life could have still been fussy and yet, still showed up at that early stage of our planet’s growth (say, for example, with Life overstaying their visit and failing to return to their home planet of Mars).

    Not Unlikely? Some people might read the same article and because they think it’s unlikely, and conclude it’s miraculous…a miracle because of its unlikelihood. So, the article has not proven it’s not unlikely.

  36. Synapsid


    CO2 and methane don’t trap or retain sunlight, no. The atmosphere is transparent to sunlight–that’s why we can see through it. The sunlight makes it to the Earth’s surface (water, vegetation, land) and is then absorbed; when matter absorbs electromagnetic radiation ( light is one form of it) its temperature goes up and it emits infrared radiation (you can check this yourself: on a bright, sunny Summer afternoon walk out onto an asphalt parking lot and take off your footwear) and it is the infrared that CO2 and methane trap (absorb and re-emit.) We perceive infrared as heat.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thanks, Synapsid for a better and more detailed description.

      The CO2 and methane trap the energy from the sun, indirectly, as you say, in the form of the emitted infrared radiation.

      Of course, the article skipped that completely. I tried, and could have done a better job.


  37. Oregoncharles

    Beautiful shot of the penguin. They don’t always look so graceful. I remember the first time I saw them, on a trip to Florida when I was a kid: when they dive, they look pretty much like a bundle of laundry hitting the water. They do the job, though.

    I also remember when they returned to the Oregon coast, where I lived at the time, as the DDT wore off. Very exciting.

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