Links 9/24/16

Meet the Winners of This Year’s Ig Nobel Prizes Gizmodo (Kevin C)

NASA to reveal ‘surprising’ activity on Jupiter’s moon Europa PhysOrg (Chuck L)

How the FDA Manipulates the Media Scientific American (Randy K). Wowsers.

Twitter Is Said to Be Discussing a Possible Takeover New York Times. Bye bye Twitter.

UN fears third leg of the global financial crisis – with prospect of epic debt defaults Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. Today’s must read.


China Starts Default-Swap Trading as Buffer Against Failures Bloomberg. This is silly. See wrong way risk.

Asia’s Mythical Middle Class Society EconIntersect

Corbyn’s election – a historic triumph Defend Democracy


What Makes A Liar Lie? (Clapper Lying About The Russians) Tim Durusau

Washington’s Hawks Push New Cold War Defend Democracy

The west looks on as corruption and bigotry rule in the ‘new Ukraine’ Guardian (resilc)

Russia is now top wheat exporter, proving sanctions won’t work MarketWatch (resilc)


Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch. Bill B: “Lies and damned lies from both sides.”

US-Russia plans on Syria ‘must be saved‘ BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Exclusive: Probe of leaked U.S. NSA hacking tools examines operative’s ‘mistake’ Reuters. EM: “How dare Reuters try to absolve Vladimir Putin here? Traitors. Make sure to read to the end, to appreciate the tortured logic used by ‘Jim Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ in order to get right back to ‘the Rooskies did it!'”

With U.S. drone rules set, firms race for flight data Reuters (EM)


Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis: Hillary Clinton YouTube (Skippy). Insiders were not making it up when they said she can be funny. But Zach got the upper hand and she was Not Happy. Interesting reactions in comments.

Clinton/Trump Neoliberalism: a Media Critique Counterpunch (Judy B)

How Reddit Ruined The Hillary Clinton Campaign Daily Caller (Chuck L). Yes, the Daily Caller, but interesting tracking of how Reddit stories got picked up by the Twitterverse.

Most Dangerous Person On the Planet Today: Hillary Clinton Michael Shedlock (EM)

The Abnormalization of Hillary Clinton New York Magazine Do not read if you’ve eaten recently. Resilc flags this pearl of wisdom: “It is a finding that boggles the mind. Americans deem Clinton less honest and trustworthy.”

Trump-Care Would Leave Millions Uninsured While Somehow Costing More Atlantic (Kevin C). Conflates cost of insurance with cost of care.

Oculus’s 24-Year-Old Founder Is Using His Millions to Fund a Pro-Trump Meme Group Vanity Fair (resilc)

Ted Cruz Will Back Donald Trump For President NPR

Trump is headed for a win, says professor who has predicted 30 years of presidential outcomes correctly Washington Post. Note we featured this theory last week, via American Conservative.

Ted Cruz on Why He Decided to Support Trump (Joe H). God told him.

Your Vote For Jill Stein Is Not A Wasted Vote Mint Press (Judy B). IMHO, 1. voting is important, if nothing else for down-ticket races. 2. Making sure neither major party candidate gets more than 45% of the popular vote, as in cannot possibly claim to have a mandate, is also important, given that we have unacceptable choices. So third party or write-in votes are valuable.

Ex-Cuomo advisers, others charged in New York corruption cases Reuters (EM)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Moments Before Keith Lamont Scott’s Fatal Shooting Seen in New Video ABC (furzy)

‘Don’t shoot!’ wife tells Charlotte police in video BBC

St. Louis cop accused of planting gun on black man he shot to death Boing Boing (resilc)

Court rules Kentucky pension systems can be sued for bad investments Wow. Kentucky has the most underfunded and arguably the most corrupt state pension fund in the US. Even so, this is a surprising and positive development.

Wells Fargo

Not Wells Fargo’s First Rodeo… Adam Levitin, Credit Slips. From a few days ago, still germane.

It’s strike three for Warren Buffett as Wells Fargo faces investigation – MarketWatch (resilc)

Wells Fargo Whistleblower: “They Are All Riding the Stagecoach to Hell” Truthout (J-LS). Important. Wells had quotas for subprime that also produced fraudulent conduct.

Stumpf Is Lucky’: Comments of the Week American Banker. Hoisting in full:

Stumpf is lucky. A community bank CEO having presided over a fraud proportionally this large would already have his assets frozen, be awaiting prosecution, and have been personally fined a substantial amount of money, not to mention that he would be under an order barring him from ever working at a bank for the rest of his life. Stumpf gets to keep his hundreds of millions and worst case, resign and enjoy his several homes.

Your Mutual Fund Has Your Proxy, Like It or Not Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times. A basic fact of investing that many forget. And it worsens already deficient governance, since big mutual fund managers do not want to piss off Corporate America, since they want to get 401 (k) business. But Morgenson actually proves this out.

Carlyle’s Sequa Cut by S&P as Maturity Looms for All Its Debt Bloomberg. Private equity expert Eileen Appelbaum points out by e-mail: “Is this a harbinger of things to come? Companies like this were able to restructure their debt after financial crisis at low interest rates. Debt coming due now may not have that option.”


Sullivan & Cromwell Hires Top NY Fed Lawyer American Lawyer (Adrien)

Class Warfare

New Class War American Conservative (Joe H). The “New Class” is not well enough defined, but his argument that it is not the same as the old managerial class of industrial America makes intuitive sense.

Nationwide Prison Strike Against ‘Slavery in America’ Rolls on—Despite Media Blackout Alternet

We need a united front of all the forces that are fighting against financialized, oligarchic capitalism failed evolution

Antidote du jour. William B: “Moose sighting. Took this pic yesterday near my home on 9-Mile Creek
west of Missoula, Mt. Been here 8 years and this is a first for me.”


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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        1. uncle tungsten

          Those two videos make bellingcat’s studied analysis look a little awkward. The absence of any aircraft noise is a fatal flaw in the “Russians did it” blame line. Jet fighters and helicopters a noisy monsters. Is there a translation for that raw video? as it seems to me the voice is actually celebrating the explosion as I hear the alloa akhbah (phonetic) cheer when I see tanks destroyed by rockets from the “freedom fighters”.

          All too convenient in my book, the delay, the lack of security, then the hours long hold up and no team in place for coordinated unloading etc.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I find this kind of stuff more uncomfortable than funny, although the email comment was pretty good. I found myself thinking that hillary should stop slouching and sit up straight.

      I guess it’s not too hard to figure out how old I am.

      1. Pavel

        I found HRC to seem very uncomfortable and awkward and unfunny… though as I remarked earlier perhaps I am the wrong generation (by two or three!) and this is how she was supposed to appear?

        On a very separate note, Zach G looks so much better these days… kudos to him for changing his lifestyle or whatever.

        1. Roger Smith

          I am 27 and, even as commentors keep repeating ad naseum, “it’s supposed to be awkward!” I got the impression that she didn’t fully understand what she as doing or whether or not it as a joke. I am not sure how awkward dead pan makes her look more “human” either. What was so different about this? She played her usual role as far as I saw, and seemed somewhat irked at her lack of understanding. Sarcasm like that is only funny when you already know the person isn’t usually a wart.

          1. Pavel

            hi Roger, thanks for the explanation… before this video I confess I had never heard of the show.

            Since HRC apparently doesn’t know how to use a computer or what her email password is, I think she is even more clueless than I am about the Ferns show. Another failed attempt by her team to “reach the Millennials” I suspect. She is so awkward and almost aloof at the best of times, I’m not sure how well she would handle an ironic comedy sketch.

            But I’ll leave it to your generation to pass judgment. :)

            1. Roger Smith

              Yes! It’s likely someone told her “kids love this” and “Obama did it too”, if it wasn’t himself that suggested it. So off she went to “look cool” or whatever.

              Another problem is that this sort of self-poking humor doesn’t really work when (not only do you look bothered by it) the issues (email) are highly contentious and serious ones. I can only see this appealing to her already supporters. I thought the email line was funny, but only because it was true and it didn’t look “all in good fun”. It was like putting Kim Jong Il up there and trying to be funny.

      2. Ivy

        And Hillary probably didn’t eat her vegetables, which was the second step on her road to perdition.

        Not sure how her appearance was going to work out in her favor as she just doesn’t seem the type to benefit from that format. At least there was some entertainment value.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Best line is when he asks about her clothes and says she looks like a librarian from outer space

        1. Pepe Aguglia

          The British comedian Billy Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s not too long ago. He found out he has Parkinson’s because a doctor approached him in a hotel lobby and advised him to get tested for Parkinson’s because of the way he was walking. Parkinson’s sufferers apparently have a telltale gait. I’m guessing that if Hillary has Parkinson’s, it would be fairly obvious to the trained eye, unless she’s at a very early stage or the outward manifestations can be controlled medicinally.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I bothered looking up a video on the Parkinson’s gait. I’m not persuaded that it’s “obvious”. A gait like that might indeed be justification to be evaluated for Parkinsons, but you can’t say someone has that gait necessarily has Parkinsons (save there was someone in the video showing different examples where the guy’s shuffle became almost spastic, that looked to have a neurological origin, but again, I wonder if stroke-related brain damage could also produce the same response).

            The reason I say this is my mother now has a shuffle walk and she does not have Parkinsons. She has constrictive pulmonary disease, plus very bad balance even when she was young (very unstable ankles plus no depth perception). So starting at least 10 years ago, the fastest she could walk without becoming winded was about 2MPH. And she had to look down a lot because if she caught her feet on anything, she was way more likely to fall than most people.

            As a result of several falls and bone breaks (her wrist, later her elbow, and she recently sprained her foot badly), her muscles got even weaker as she was recovering, and she shuffles forward at am even more painfully slow rate when she walks, and looks down pretty much all the time out of fear of falling. Her walk looks a lot like a Parkinsons walk but comes from a completely different set of disabilities.

            Shorter: No more armchair diagnoses, please.

            1. Pepe Aguglia

              Shorter: No more armchair diagnoses, please.

              I concur. The point I was trying to make, albeit obliquely, was that if Hillary had Parkinson’s, there would most likely be a lot of doctors publicly raising concerns about the outward manifestations and since that’s not the case, it’s unlikely she has Parkinson’s. IOW, I was playing the role of the armchair diagnostic skeptic. Sorry to hear about your mom’s debility.

    2. Benedict@Large

      This is the first time I can remember laughing at something Hillary was in. She should do more of it. Hell, she almost appeared human!

    3. Otis B Driftwood

      As a fan of BTF, I thought the segment with Mrs. Clinton softened her up (professional editing can do that). And after a couple days of that 50 point video making the rounds (that’s Clinton unplugged and uncut), she is in desperate need of some Hollywood-style humanizing.

      1. polecat

        Well Hey ! … Doesn’t she already have Hollywood at her beck & call ??

        … I mean …….they’re with HER Grift …aren’t they ?

    4. Susan C

      I loved the Hillary interview – thought it was smart and funny. Had to laugh out loud several times – Zach’s questions were great. I am more Hillary’s age and went to the same high school as she did so I know how people are in the Chicago suburbs – in fact I swear she is a clone of one of my cousins. I have been very critical of HRC throughout all this – and I mean very critical – but yes I think this video absolutely humanizes her.

      1. optimader

        eek! Did ParkRidge tear the house down yet and put in a park?
        DesPlaines had the decency to do that with JGacey’s house and he killed a lot fewer people.

        1. Susan C

          LOL – LOL – LOL !!!

          I guess I should have mentioned I was a huge Sanders supporter. Still find myself in complete knots over anything to do with Trump or Clinton but have to admit that interview was funny.

  1. Strategist

    Yaaay! Massive win for Jeremy Corbyn for leader of the British Labour party – bigger margins than last year

    How members voted
    Corbyn: 168,216 (59%)
    Smith: 116,960 (41%)

    How registered supporters voted
    Corbyn: 84,918 (70%)
    Smith: 36,599 (30%)

    How affiliated supporters voted
    Corbyn: 60,075 (60%)
    Smith: 39,670 (40%)

    And remember folks, that is after a massive fix to exclude 100,000+ members who have joined the party since January and many very dodgy exclusions of valid voters

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

      No room for quibbling with these numbers– especially impressive after all the exclusionary shenanigans.

      1. Steve C

        Corbyn called for unity. While unity is important, I hope that doesn’t mean he’s going to appease the professionals unnecessarily and squander his mandate. That’s what Obama did appeasing Republicans who were lying flat on their backs and had little power to stop him. Putting a bunch of professionals in the Labour shadow cabinet gives them power they didn’t earn. The voters sent the message to throw them all out on their asses.

        1. paul

          Quite right, beyond briefing against Corbyn, the plotters have been completely invisible since their drama queen antics after the referendum.
          Noone has missed them up to now, he should just tell them to get with the programme or do one.
          Especially, his sweaty,obese deputy.

          I still can’t work out how Owen Smith got so many votes.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          LOL as if Obama ever intended to do anything but implement the entire Republican program.
          Actions speaking much, much louder than words. Exhibit B: Hilary Clinton.

        3. Spring Texan

          Agree with you that Corbyn should not be over-accommodating, but Obama was partly accommodating because he was a Republican at heart, and Jeremy is NONE of that he’s really true in his beliefs.

          Astonishing he can still win after all the dirty tricks and the media lies about him, but it makes me very happy. Love it when the good guys win!!

      2. Clive

        Alas the mainstream media here (BBC, Sky, the usual suspects) attempting to create a narrative along the lines of, “well, yes, it was a majority but it wasn’t a really really huge majority (with an inference that anything less than in the 90% range, which was never going to happen, the Blairite infestation will take a decade or more to completely clear out, if ever) so that is a bit of a disappointment for Corbyn isn’t it?”.

        The Grand Bargainers still attempting to keep their Wurlitzer wurling along for a while yet…

        1. paul

          I’m sure the reason for Owen’s defeat will be laid at Jeremy’s door.

          No doubt he will be held to account for the loss of potentially the shortest leader the party ever had.

          After all, he only won by cynically exploiting his popularity in a ruthless, underhanded, left wing way.

        2. Uahsenaa

          I’m heartened, though, by the obvious fact that the coup plotters were so politically inept. While all their attention has been focused on whining about Corbyn and throwing temper-tantrums in various leftish media outlets, his supporters have been quietly taking over the party apparatus. Most constituency parties are overwhelmingly supportive of Corbyn now, as are councilors, and he even recently acquired a majority on the NEC, in addition to his already substantial support among the unions. While they bang on about how unelectable he [may be], his people are creating the conditions in which, even if he is eventually toppled, it won’t matter. Then someone like Clive Lewis will be slotted in, and the fight will continue.

          I’ve also been disappointed in Owen Jones of late. He doesn’t seem to get that Corbyn’s calls for unity have to go hand in hand with not so veiled threats of deselection from below. If there’s no stick, then the plotters have no reason not to hold out for a better carrot. This way, Corbyn (or more likely McDonnell) can go to the 172 and say, “look, we’re all that stands between you and the pitchforks.”

          1. Steve C

            According to the Establishment, the left is always supposed to kowtow to the right. No one ever says the Conservatives are supposed to reach out to Labour and consult them. But I’m sure they would say that about a Corbyn-led Labour. Just like Corbyn supposedly is now required to make unearned concessions to Smith and the Blairites.

            Similarly, the Republicans insist on bipartisanship when they’re out of power but call it whining by losers when they’re in power. In or out of power, the Democrats act like losers and make unearned concessions to the Republicans. I now realize it’s international since both parties serve the one percent. Corbyn’s crime is that he serves the people. That’s unforgivable.

    2. paul

      This result will not discourage the red tories, after all it’s just a vote by a bunch of idiot dreamers.
      They’ve got the government they want in Mrs May.
      My money’s on a breakaway party in 2019 if Jeremy starts polling reasonably.

      1. Clive

        I agree — the Labour in Name Only-ites next step would now, logically, be to try an SDP Mk. II which, if they go for it, will curtail non-Tory opposition (outside Scotland anyway) for a nice long time.

        1. paul

          The only problem is that,compared to the original spoilers, they’re all featherweights with no acheivements,popular support or recognition.
          The House of Lords is getting crowded, no EU sinecures anymore, so giving up a career as a right wing malcontent in the opposition backbenches might start to look a little unattractive.

    3. begob

      ‘Twill be interesting to see what happens with David Miliband if Clinton fails – no job for the boy in the states, and a bleedin’ socialist squatting in his home nest. Off to silicon valleyland.

    4. Harry

      Did you notice the right wing of the labour party running lots of stories about this not being a time for recriminations and payback but for healing. As Homer would say, let’s not start playing the blame game.

      Me personally I say deselection is too good for that crew of spoiled whiny Blairite shits. But since decapitation is not an option, deselection it is!

      1. uncle tungsten

        For me nothing will beggar belief for those Blairite sh!ts. They haven’t finished yet, next they will attempt to steal the whole dam machinery of the party and declare themselves the rightful heirs. They have nothing to lose here folks and they believe in their divine right as the “chosen ones”.

        Time will tell. but Fabulous Victory for Corbyn. Viva momentum!

  2. Julia Versau

    Hillary between the ferns is no better than the plain old Hillary. I don’t think her adventure into “cool kids” land will do her any good. This was supposed to influence Millennials? Good luck with that. Maybe it’s just me. Gaddafi — who used oil resources to build up his country and dared to buck the U.S. — not only was murdered, but was sodomized with a knife by U.S. supported rebels. About which Hillary chortled, “We came, we saw, he died.” I guess no matter how cool she tries to be, I still see the face of evil.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Ali G fit the John Cleese view of humor which is the target should be the inflexible. Once people understood the joke, Ali G had to stop. Colbert’s “Better know a district” worked until his guests realized they were being made fun of, and the congressmen still needed a letter from Pelosi explaining the joke.

        Nixon’s Laugh In Appearance worked because the joke was on us (i’m too young) expecting Nixon to be too uptight. It works once.

        Trump is impervious to mockery because he is flexible. He had a woman pull on his wig.

    1. Anon

      My biggest concern is not this attempt to make her seem relatable to the common person (as if she can pull it off), but how people are willing to vote for her despite all of the controversy surrounding her, as if it was all just one elaborate smear from the other side or misogyny or whatever excuse seems convenient to use.

      Anyone who even a tiny bit believes in the rule of law should not vote for her.

    2. Pavel

      Hear, hear.

      She has the blood of so many innocents on her hands. To be fair, so do both Bushes, Obama, and most US presidents over the last, oh, century or so. But that’s no excuse, and she seems to take particular and peculiar joy in the violent outcomes.

    3. jgordon

      It’s all out in the open and well-known that HRC is a criminally insane maniac with the blood of millions on her hands who by all rights ought to be serving hard time. And yet there are certain unnamed people here who have done bizarre mental gymnastics and come to the conclusion, for whatever reason, that keeping thid psychotic lunatic away from the presidency is not a priority.

      Being well informed, none of you will seriously argue with adjectives I’ve used to describe her. But somehow the idea that she could obtain the presidency is not terrifying, or at least not terrifying enough to force people to support her only viable opponent. Well OK.

      1. ProNewerDeal

        There is a group of USian voters, including many Bernie Sanders primary voters, that strongly disapprove of both HClinton & Trump. These voters conclude differently on who to vote for in the election, for voters that happen to reside in a swing state:

        1. swing state Lesser Evil Voting (LEV) for HClinton
        2. swing state LEV for Trump
        3. vote for Jill Stein, of whom they actually approve of her policies & ethics, as opposed to a LEV vote

        IMHO there are smart people & at least decent reasons for any of the 3 choices. For instance: Prof Noam Chomsky is in subgroup 1, Ralph Nader in subgroup 3: these are wise, experienced, intelligent observers of US politics – not morons. This is not a simplistic, “clear”, “closed” issue, like the existence of biological evolution or a spherical non-flat Earth.

        However, some people in 1 of the subgroup relentlessly bash others in the other 2 subgroups. This is most apparent in the HClinton LEV factions, and example is Majority Report podcaster Sam Seder. However, you jgordon are expressing similar disdain as a Trump LEV voter.

        Instead of bashing the other 2 subgroups, consider:
        1 acknowledging that this is a nonclear issue, with smart people on all 3 sides
        2 advocating policy reasons why you feel your chosen candidate, if elected, will result in the best / least-crappy outcome.

        1. J Bookly

          Yes, I would like it very much if everybody who writes an anguished “both candidates are awful” article would go ahead and say how he/she plans to vote. Of course there is no obligation to do so. Of course the writer may be opening himself to a scolding, or even worse. But it might help the zillions of people who are still trying to decide what to do.

          After much see-sawing, I’m now firmly committed to voting for Jill Stein. When a friend or relative tells me that’s the same as a vote for Trump, I say: 1) Bigotry is bad, but radioactivity is worse. I don’t think Trump is a neocon but I know HRC is. 2) Even if my evil-meter is not aligned correctly, I am absolutely certain that lesser-evil voting has only produced more evil, more firmly entrenched. Therefore “none of the above” is an important ethical statement to make in 2016. 3) The more people vote FOR what they want, the more weight those views will have; it will take time but it’s something the country really, really needs.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I’m a single issue voter and this approach helps alot.
            My issue is war.
            The Democratic candidate believes we should be at war with the entire world at the same time. Her opponent believes The Cold War should end (and with it NATO) and suggested dialogue is the best option for Russia (versus the Dem who called Russia’s leader ” the new Hitler” for reasons that are entirely obscure, a statement as dangerous and irrational as anything her opponent has uttered). This Dem has also been heartily endorsed by each of the Republican architects of the regime change disaster wars that are the worst foreign policy decisions in our nation’s long history. In other words, if you enjoyed Bush Terms 3 and 4 you better strap in because Term 5 will be doozy.
            If you want even a marginally-reduced chance of world war I believe the choice is clear. And that’s even if you keave aside the fact that the Dem has sold the actions of our government to the highest bidders for personal gain through her Foundation.

            1. fresno dan

              September 24, 2016 at 6:11 pm

              VERY good points.
              The very best Trump ad would say: The Bushes are with her
              OR, if you want to goad the Bushes more: The Bushes think she’s swell…

          2. hunkerdown

            What kind of sucker commits to people against whom they have no meaningful recourse?

            Pledges of allegiance are for schoolchildren and weaklings. Right-To-Work for politicians before I’ll ratify their game again.

        2. aab

          I think this swing state gaming strategy is bullshit. (Can I curse here? I guess I’ll find out.) That plays right into Hillary’s hands, puts more pressure on swing state voters they should not have to bear, and it pretends to a kind of righteous cleverness that is completely phony. I don’t know what happened to Chomsky. He’s old. I can’t come up with a better explanation.

          If you vote for Hillary in a swing state, you are voting for Hillary. Your vote has more instrumentality than does the vote of someone in a non-swing state. So you are using this power to elect Hillary Clinton. You might as well declare that you back Clinton, and stop pretending otherwise. The only people who functionally have the freedom to play with their votes are the people in the NON-swing states. I, for example, am in a deep blue state. My vote is very unlikely to matter, even if it is actually counted. So I am planning to vote for a third party candidate. However, as I have assessed the election situation and come to the conclusion that Hillary is by far the greater evil, and stopping her is the long term greater good, if ANYONE starts closing on her in my state — Trump OR Stein, doesn’t matter (Johnson, too, although he’s pro-TPP, which makes him the worst choice in my book) — I will cast my vote for that candidate. That decision strategy is 100% transferable to any other state, swing or otherwise.

          Pretending you’re somehow pure of heart because you cast your vote reluctantly for Hillary, or you personally get to cast a different vote because of the circumstances of your state and feel that gives you the right to harangue other voters to act differently than you are planning to do is debased reasoning and morally cowardly. If you are arguing that one should lesser evil vote when it matters, then you advocating for that candidate. Chomsky is backing Hillary Clinton. He should own it.

          I am not “bashing.” I am arguing. I’m allowed to find Chomsky’s argument unpersuasive, and think less of him for making it. He’s a public intellectual. He’s famous because he previously made other arguments that people like me found more persuasive. And I’m not going to swallow an appeal to authority just because it comes from someone I previously found to have made persuasive cases, whether it’s Noam Chomsky or Bernie Sanders.

          1. hunkerdown

            aab, not to speak for the proprietors, but I get the general sense that bullshit gets a special dispensation, being a term of art. (Slate)

            And all this. Especially the part about pretending not to support Hillary but being pressured into it because of the wheedling pleas for “unity” (on their terms, natch) of mouths one should be knocking teeth out of rather than listening to.

          2. oh

            Well said! I’ve always felt that Chomsky (although he’s someone to be admired for other things) is full of it when he advocates LOTE. BS! It’s more important not to vote for Hillary in a swing state especially if your principles align with the Green Party’s. And in a non swing state it’s even more important to vote third party unless they’ve been excluded from the ballot, in which case, don’t waste your time voting just to vote for the Presidential candidate.

    4. optimader

      Gaddafi was a POS who got what he richly deserved.

      That said the US (Clinton) had NO justification being enablers, even indirectly in killing a sovereign leader without a declaration of War despicable as he was. . Gaddafi was the Libyans people’s affair, and should have been left to the Libyans to deal with. Now the Country is in a state of chaos by our design, not a new development i’m afraid nor is the utter lack of media critique.

      1. human

        Obama is a POS who doesn’t deserve what he get$, but, I’m not about to imply that he should be murdered, as despicable as he is.

        And while I’m at it, Ghaddafi’s Libya was far more democratic than our Republic. Another regime change for the Finance and Oil sectors is what we paid for.

        1. optimader

          Congratulations, that’s at least four red herrings and two unsubstantiated claims in two brief sentences! That might be a record?

          …And while I’m at it, Ghaddafi’s Libya was far more democratic than our Republic…

          And that’s why you emigrated there, to enjoy the Sharia democracy installed after a military coup?

          A quick historical thumbnail from Wikipedia for you to buy a clue with:

          ..On 1 September 1969, a small group of military officers led by 27-year-old army officer Muammar Gaddafi staged a coup d’état against King Idris, launching the Libyan Revolution.[32] Gaddafi was referred to as the “Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution” in government statements and the official Libyan press.[33]

          On the birthday of Muhammad in 1973, Gaddafi delivered a “Five-Point Address”. He announced the suspension of all existing laws and the implementation of Sharia. He said that the country would be purged of the “politically sick”. A “people’s militia” would “protect the revolution”. There would be an administrative revolution, and a cultural revolution. Gaddafi set up an extensive surveillance system. 10 to 20 percent of Libyans worked in surveillance for the Revolutionary committees, which monitored place in government, in factories, and in the education sector.[34] Gaddafi executed dissidents publicly and the executions were often rebroadcast on state television channels.[34][35] Gaddafi employed his network of diplomats and recruits to assassinate dozens of critical refugees around the world. Amnesty International listed at least 25 assassinations between 1980 and 1987.[34][36]

          Flag of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (lasting from 1977 to 2011), the national anthem of which was “الله أكبر” (English: Allahu Akbar=god (is) great)
          In 1977, Libya officially became the “Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”. Gaddafi officially passed power to the General People’s Committees and henceforth claimed to be no more than a symbolic figurehead,[37] but domestic and international critics claimed the reforms gave him virtually unlimited power. Dissidents against the new system were not tolerated, with punitive actions including capital punishment authorized by Gaddafi himself.[38] The new “jamahiriya” governance structure he established was officially referred to as a form of direct democracy,[39] though the government refused to publish election results.[40

          “Another regime change for the Finance and Oil sectors ”
          btw, just because Clinton is a neocon idiot, and BHO is a manipulated idiot, doesn’t mean destabilized Libya is a derived benefit for Finance and Oil . If so, offer a link.

  3. Bugs Bunny

    The private investment vs. profits graph in the AEP column is simply stunning. Shareholder primacy out of control.

    1. Emma

      This piece provides additional info and is too, a damning indictment of “mainstream neoclassical policies of the last thirty to forty years” which “have been radically wrong and that they are bringing the world to the brink of economic collapse. Another debt crisis is unavoidable, unless we quickly and radically change course.”

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Yes, thanks for the link, Emma.

        From the referenced article:

        …”We are left with a world in a state of leaderless policy inertia, unable to escape slow suffocation. Trade is stagnant. Deflation is still knocking at the door a full seven-and-a-half years into the economic cycle, even with the monetary pedal pushed to the floor. The next downturn will test this regime to destruction… “shareholder primacy” and the entire edifice of liberal market finance are among the key culprits, all made worse by stringent fiscal austerity that has starved the global economy of sufficient demand.”

        Should events unfold as the authors envision, could be an ironic shock for the perpetrators of neoliberal “Shock Doctrine”, debt-fueled and manipulated “free markets”, austerity, and “privatization” of public property.

        But hubris?… Probably not in any meaningful sense. Sadly, it is primarily the innocent who I expect will suffer as this wends its way toward conclusion.

  4. mad as hell.

    How the FDA Manipulates the Media

    You would think that these media geniuses would see the connection between their current practices and lower viewership or readership except for Trump news which is something that none of us has seen before in this country. However there must be some financial boost involved for them to start abandoning another principle of good journalism. I don’t care to figure it out nor do I care when another newspaper closes it’s doors. I suppose I should care because this just feeds into a mainstream media monopoly on the news. Still I rather get my news off the internet, it seems so much more genuine.

  5. apber

    Re the Nobel prizes:

    I suggest a new category: The Ignobel War Prize

    My first two nominations are Victoria Nuland and Samantha Power

    It’s long past time when such deserving women got recognition for their acts and deeds. /sarc

    and…btw, Obama’s prize should now be re-labeled (see above)

    1. paul

      Don’t know why they have an economics category.
      The chocolate nobel from the sveriges bank has been a running joke for years.

        1. Zephyrum

          Thank you. That is how I will refer to it in the future. E.g. “Of course I take Paul Krugman seriously; he got a Nobel Prize in banking after all.”

      1. Pavel

        well they gave it to “Nobel Prize winner” Paul Krugman, didn’t they?

        I think every time he gets that citation there should be an asterisk*.

        *Not a genuine Nobel Prize

        Though of course after the Peace Prizes for Kissinger, Obama, and numerous others, the whole thing is a bitter joke.

        1. paul

          I think he should correct any interviewer who mentions it in their introductions.

          The audiences can’t be expected to know the difference between a real and a fake nobel and, with his mad educational skillz, he’s just the man for the job.

    2. fresno dan

      September 24, 2016 at 9:16 am

      I would suggest the as*hole prizes, but so many would have to be made that bringing them all to one place to be awarded would throw off the orbit of the earth…

      1. hunkerdown

        It would be much more manageable to add a trophy on their Playstation Network accounts.

        Achievement Unlocked
        [bunghole icon image] Everyone Has One

  6. fresno dan

    Your Vote For Jill Stein Is Not A Wasted Vote Mint Press (Judy B). IMHO, 1. voting is important, if nothing else for down-ticket races. 2. Making sure neither major party candidate gets more than 45% of the popular vote, as in cannot possibly claim to have a mandate, is also important, given that we have unacceptable choices. So third party or write-in votes are valuable.

    When people say they won’t vote for a third party because it “wastes” their vote, I ask how in the hell is a vote for Trump or Hillary not a wasted vote? Indeed, if it was merely wasted it wouldn’t be so bad….
    And the fact of the matter is, if the repubs had nominated Jeb! we would have even less of a choice than we have now, with pretty much a xy version of Hillary, but with smaller balls. The current duopoly does very well (only for themselves) under the status quo – the current situation shows that the current situation has to change.

    1. temporal

      Current political discussion often looks like cheerleaders betting on a football game. My team will win and I’ll get the spread right.

      A wasted vote is going with a team’s choice rather than the best available. Too bad national politics really never was a horse race rather than a team sport.

      1. fresno dan

        September 24, 2016 at 9:56 am

        You know, your analogy of the horse race is very interesting.
        Imagine primaries were non partisan, just popular vote, and the 3 or 4 candidates that amassed the most votes ran. (why do we farm out our government to parties? Why don’t I get a say in nominees just because I have contempt for demo-asses and republi-thugs?? What logic is it that the most indoctrinated and unimaginative get to choose the only choices of candidates? REALLY, everybody raise their hand who think Trump and Clinton is the best the system can provide. If not, than why do we have them???)

        1. hunkerdown

          How about dispensing with a superior class entirely, as if authority were legitimized by some sky god, and treat them as the first-class fourth-rate law clerks (and our b–ches, just like the richies’ wealth managers) they deserve to be?

          Oh, because some people need to be better than others but won’t pay for the service of not being thrown off the ice.

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      I agree. But I’m sure I’m not alone in making this argument to family and friends only to be countered with the LOTE argument, particularly about how Trump “will destroy the United States” if we all don’t vote for Clinton.

      Also, that article makes a strong case for supporting the Green Party between elections. We can’t just call ourselves Green, vote for Stein, and then wait until this whole thing replays four years from now.

      Gosztola also points out the failure of Bernie Sanders to press for progressive issues, quoting Ralph Nader as follows:

      It is the time for Senator Sanders to mobilize, as he can, all his supporters around the country with mass rallies to put the heat on both candidates. Is anything wrong with that? He should have a mass rally in the [National] Mall and then spread it all over the country, so you have civic pressure, citizen pressure, coming in on all the candidates to further the just pathways of our society. Why doesn’t he do that?

      That Sanders and his movement have been absorbed and effectively silenced by the Democratic party establishment shows just how difficult this struggle actually is.

      1. Bob

        Sanders is 74 years old. I think he was relieved when the primaries ended as he was tired. Look what has happened to Hillary (pneumonia). I’m 65 and I really think Sanders showed a great deal of stamina with the effort he put forth through June. I’m sure that even the adrenaline rush of huge crowds of people at rallies doesn’t last forever.

        Someone younger needs to pick up where Sanders left off. At this time nobody is willing to do so. And that’s your answer to Nader’s question “why doesn’t he do that?” He’s old and tired. He will support anyone who is willing carry it from here.

        1. Steve C

          Senators don’t age like the rest of us. Chuck Grassley is well into his eighties and still has a bounce in his step because he gets to screw people, but good. McCain is 79 and running for reelection.

        2. The Cleaner

          After Serena Williams lost to Pliskova in the US Open Tennis semi-finals, the reporters kept pestering her about whether the fact that she played on consecutive days was a factor. I liked her reply (paraphrased): “Look I’m a professional player and if I cannot play on consecutive days, then it is time for me to find another job.”

          Sanders has been in the game long enough to know what’s involved. If he is unable to go the distance, he should be in another business.


          1. Ian

            Did Serena Williams have the referees conspire and make up fake calls against her and take their marching orders from Pliskova. This is not a sport, this is power politics and the mandate has always for the establishment Dems, is better to lose with Hillary then win with Sanders. What he has done though is still a pretty damn impressive shake up that maybe can influence things for the better.

            1. The Cleaner

              Well that was not the argument was it now? The argument was the “You can’t blame Bernie for giving up, because he is old.”

              And if the referees had conspired against her, I have a feeling that Williams would not have been quiet about it and asked her fans to cheer for the cheating winner.

              1. Ian

                No, but the entire analogy is flawed and the dismissiveness is insulting. where as he has built a large amount of bottom up political capital that can influence things in a positive manner. Opposing Hillary right now would be sacrificing that capital. I do believe it is far to little, too late, but he has been a positive regardless.

      2. crittermom

        “…between elections”

        While I understand the message being sent by voting Green, I also realize that Green won’t win the election and my greatest fear is that there will be no more elections after either Trump or Hellary.

        Okay. Maybe with Trump. But four more years of utter destruction of our planet will certainly shorten the life of it considerably, with his denial of climate change and his intentions (or Hellary’s fracking, as well).

        And I will admit, I have a real issue with his view of our natl parks as RE. If turned over to individual states to manage, it’s obvious the states could not afford to do so, which would result in them being sold to Trump’s like. I don’t care to see $3,000 a night hotel rooms on the rim of the Grand Canyon, or surrounding the lake that mirrors the Maroon Bells.
        Nor do I care to see fracking taking place, or pipelines running through them as energy companies buy them up.

        We would lose them forever. Our treasures, for the pleasure of all to enjoy. Gone.
        There would be no ‘clawing back’ of them, resulting in an immediate destruction of our planet on a smaller scale, to begin with.
        Trump could do a lot of destruction in just 4 years, without opposition in the political arena, because it would be generating money for the 1%.

        With Hellary, there may be no more elections as she believes she has bigger balls than Putin and seems intent on trying to prove it.
        At the least, she’ll push through the TPP if Obama fails to do so, after ‘changing some of the wording’.

        I like that Bernie wants to continue with a ‘political revolution’ but fear there’s not enough time left for either our country or the planet, by fighting to get those elected who could maybe change things for the better–in how many elections?
        I’m turning 65 and have seen our choices only worsen with each election.
        Bernie has been fighting for change, for how many elections now, through the political process?

        I like the idea of huge gatherings to demand change, as your quote from Nader says.

        Math was never my strong suit, but even I know that 99% is a much greater number than 1%.
        Perhaps it is time for all the citizens of this nation who feel the same, to ‘take it to the streets’ with mass rallys as suggested by Nader?

        I’m starting to see that as the only way to make any immediate ‘political’ changes fearing the time has run out with this election (meaning these 2 candidates chosen for us), to try to change things through the ‘normal’ channels of (crooked) elections. I, too, am tired of voting for LOTE.

        Even MSM reports that these are the two least liked candidates in history.
        Uh, duh? Like we don’t know that?
        Yet that hasn’t seemed to matter. WE haven’t mattered.

        Yes, we need someone to ‘pick up the ball’, but whom?
        (I just know that I’d like to see William Black as part of the ‘new govt’, overseeing the banks)
        Since it’s football season, I’ll use the analogy that Bernie carried it to the one-yard line.
        Now it’s up to us to get it into the end zone.
        Yet that still requires a ‘leader’ of his charisma to unite us.

        I agree with you when you said: “Sanders and his movement have been absorbed and effectively silenced by the Democratic party establishment shows just how difficult this struggle actually is.”
        That’s why I’ve come to believe change will only take place by sheer numbers in opposition to the current ‘system’.

        All that being said, yes, I will still vote, but have come to believe the time has run out to effect change through the ‘normal’ political process. The greatest fear of those in power is of the people uniting. There’s many more of ‘us’ than ‘them’.

    3. Uahsenaa

      I would say that liberals’ frothing at the mouth at the mere suggestion of voting for Stein or writing someone in is the clearest sign that, in fact, voting third party is the exact opposite of a waste. Otherwise, they wouldn’t even give you the time of day, even if the attention that is given is wholly negative in character.

      The only thing establishment parties truly fear is someone taking their power away. Voting third party elicits that fear quite nicely and has the added benefit of allowing me to vote for someone whose politics I actually agree with rather than having to eat a s**t sandwich every four years.

      1. fresno dan

        September 24, 2016 at 10:31 am

        I think your exactly correct.
        In some ways, the teaparty was a third party. And they had an outside influence because when faced with the argument that their splitting the party would throw the election to dems, their response was “FINE”

    4. jgordon

      I would have loved to be able to vote for Harambe or Deez Nuts this time around, but by nominating a known criminal and psychopath Democrats have forced me to become a Trump supporter. I didn’t want this. I do not enjoy lending legitimacy to this farce by participating in it. However I enjoy the prospect of having all life on earth irradiated to death in a nuclear Holocaust even less.

      Our best hope at this point is
      to get Trump elected and then for the American empire to dwindle away in a drawn out peaceable decline. Because if Hillary gets in there we won’t even have that option.

      1. JCC

        My problem is that I don’t think either Trump or Clinton will result in a “drawn out peaceable decline”.

        They are both Bad News, each in their own foul way, and I really think that if all those that don’t like or trust either of them vote 3rd party, it would throw the fear of god/populace into TPTB. We probably would not get a drawn out peaceable decline then, either, but at least it’s a way to go out fighting what seems to be never ending and absolute bullshit.

        This will be my 11th National Election and both party’s candidates have been getting progressively worse every 4 years. I’ve been voting for either a third party or against the incumbent party for every one, 3rd party only since Bill Clinton’s first go-round. I wish the whole country would follow suit.

        1. Ché Pasa

          TPTB are not likely to be frightened of anything the Rabble does with regard to elections for the simple fact they can change — or ignore — whatever outcome displeases them. They’ve had plenty of experience removing elected officials, co-opting officials, and ignoring public will whenever and wherever it suits them to do so both here and abroad.

          The only things that seems to cause them a little bit of anxiety are public refusal to do their bidding, non-cooperation, boycott, open rebellion and that kind of thing. Their tools for dealing with those consequences are limited — overt and violent suppression and infliction of economic hardship being the main ones.

          But so far nothing the Rabble does has really curbed their rapaciousness, violent nature, and contempt for even their own kind.

          1. hunkerdown

            The Rabble has, unfortunately, been treating them as betters even in protest and revolt, rather than observing that empty suits filled by roles and rules aren’t really human. The Rabble, therefore, has been pulling its punches, having been selectively bred over the course of 2500 years of political eugenics to need masters.

            So, really, the Rabble needs confidence. Elections whose ballot counts are deliberately far removed from material outcomes (or even reported results) are excellent tools to dash a population’s confidence in their ability to self-organize and be self-organized.

            1. JCC

              I agree. I think if the “rabble” were to vote 3rd party en masse it would scare the hell out of those that think they have perfected the art of manipulation. Some of those perfectionistas within the “Deep State” would immediately over-react and the Emperor would be left naked, so to to speak.

              Short of violence instigated by the more radical of the “rabble”, I believe nation-wide 3rd party voting is our last best hope before the shtf, whether it happens after this election or more probably within the next 3 or 4 at most.

              Unfortunately we seem to live in a binary world when it comes to US National Politics. We see it everywhere, whether it’s general Corporate MSM or even many of the commenters here on this wonderful outlet, i.e., It has to be either “us” or “them”, the Dems or the Repubs, a chess game of trying to guess the best choice, of two, in order to get a future best outcome candidate that very few in this country would have rationally chosen to be the finalists in the first place.

              It is not a binary choice… and it’s a simple choice.

              Do. Not. Vote. For. Either. One. Of. Them.

              It’s not tough, and it doesn’t matter who you write in or what third party you vote for. The key is to Vote and not vote for Clinton or Trump!

              But not enough people are willing to believe that and instead fall for the trap (guessing game) of the LOTE (lesser of two evils) or LEOTE (lesser effective of two evils) that were given to us by TPTB.

              It’s a chump’s game and a race to the bottom!

              Lets face it, without imagination, and organization, the outcome of this election, as well as all the rest of the possible future elections, has already been foretold, we will get the PTB binary choice Bastard President.

      2. nippersdad

        I think that people obsess overly much about Trump; were he to be elected it would be more a case of another Bush the lesser Administration. Trump would have his Cheney in Pence, so if you want to see what he might do look at Pence’s record.

        I don’t believe Trump was ever serious about running, he just wanted to throw a wrench in the works of people that he perceived to despise him and it all snowballed on him. In both campaigns it is probably more instructive to look at who the nominees surround themselves with to get a feel for what they would do were they to be elected. Using that metric, there really isn’t all that much difference….the only notable one being that Clinton wouldn’t be the obvious puppet of those who surround her.

        The Washington Consensus has already determined what it wants to get away with, I doubt that either candidate will interfere with the game plan. I think that the odds of being irradiated are pretty equally held by both candidates at this point.

        1. jgordon

          Name one war, just one, that Hillary was against. Oops–that never happened. Hillary has never seen a potential war that she wasn’t in enthusiastic support of. So don’t confuse things here. Though we might rightly suspect that he’d be awful, Trump is still an unknown; there is no equivalence.

          If you fail to do everything possible now to fight off this Hillary menace, would you be able to face those people that Hillary will be, 100%, blowing up in the near future? Or is it OK because you won’t be seeing it and won’t need to think about it? How about a new cold war, or even hot–very hot–war with Russia? If you don’t look at Hillary’s statements regarding Russia, Syria, and the Ukraine and you’re not getting the living sht scared out of you, you’re not paying attention.

          It’s better to roll the dice on Trump, no matter how slim the odds are that it’ll turn out fine, than to let Hillary win and face certain disaster.

          1. nippersdad

            In response I would ask which war Pence was against? My point was that Trump is a know nothing blowhard and will be the puppet of those standing in his shadow. Those advising him are largely the same types who started all of the wars we now find ourselves bogged down in; our entire foreign policy entourage is now firmly neoconservative. There should be nothing in the least confusing about that, and, BTW, how good are you at looking those in the face who have been harmed by Obama’s expansion of GW’s GWOT?

            I was against our entering Afghanistan (much less all the rest of them) and said so in local op-eds here in the deeply Republican South, so your vehemence wrtm is misplaced. I will be voting Stein, thank you very much, and when/if Trump continues the Washington Consensus I will expect you to be honest about your fervent advocacy for him.

            1. jgordon

              Aren’t you misreading me here? Almost everyone here will admit that Hillary is certain to be a heinously bad president. I’m just pointing out that even so you all are severely underestimating just how bad she’ll be. I’m telling you straight that she is an existential threat to all life earth.

              No two ways about Trump will be an awful president. But the odds of him wiping out all life on earth are comparatively low. As for haranguing Trump for his misdeeds after he’s president, if I feel like it I will, for my amusement only, but there is really not much point to it.

              Aside from Hillary who has the strong possibility of wiping us all out in one go instantly, no matter who is president in 2017, Stein included, America is set for economic, environmental and social collapse, followed by intermittent bouts of dissolution into smaller political units.

              You should check out the History of Rome podcast. You’ll be gobsmacked by just how uncannily identical the situation in America today was to that of the Roman Empire in its last days. With a perspective like that it’d be hard to get upset over the particular failings of our titular leader. But sure, OK. I’ll be certain to bring up Trump’s bad points for you after we are lucky enough to survive to experience them.

              1. nippersdad

                That is more like it.

                I don’t disagree with any of the points you have made re Hillary. Our only real disagreement lies in what Trump will actually do if elected. Given their advisors, his interests and his personality, I see little to no difference in outcomes.

                I have read all about the fall of the Roman Empire, I see your point. Empires die, and ours has been dying since the end of the Viet Nam war. Obama is expanding the nuclear arsenal for a reason, he is encircling Eurasia in a 21st century Great Game for a reason, and it is not because the Democratic Party rank and file asked him to. The same can be said of the push for TTP, TSIP and TTIP. This is what dying empires do; if they cannot cajole they try and make their points by main force, and fail in the process. We are five percent of the world population and use twenty five percent of its’ resources; that is unsustainable…so we go after Gaddafi after he tries to create a pan African currency, or the BRICS for having the nerve to create an alternative reserve currency, or start wars in Iraq for oil and Syria/Afghanistan for pipelines outside of the Russian Bear’s reach….

                It is what it is, man. Unless you succeed in breaking the duopoly you will not change it, and electing Trump is not going to get you there. I, personally, think you would be better served by trying to split the Parties…but that is just my opinion, and you know what they say about those.

                1. oh

                  Take one step at a time. Trumph has effectively thrown the Repugs into disarray. Hopefully, if he wins the election the same would happen to the Dimocrats. Trumph will not be able accomplish much as President with the Repug and Dim establishment against him and that’s good news. He may last 4 years at best but Killery would continue the destruction for more than 4 years. We could build a decent third party in the interim.

                  1. nippersdad

                    From your mouth to God’s ears, but, alternatively:

                    How are they in disarray? Republicans hold both houses of Congress and Trump is within the margin of error to win the Presidency. Eight years of triangulation by the Democratic Party has only served to rehabilitate the Republican Party. If my theory on Trump-as-puppet is correct and should he win, with the sixty vote filibuster rule in place they will get everything they ever dreamed of.

                    Republicans have coalesced around their candidate, as they always do. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee; they could run Satan and have the born-again vote in the bag. You will also note that the Democratic establishment and MSM were so effective at discrediting the Bush Administration that we have spent the past eight years watching the Obama Administration legalize, legitimize and expand upon everything that they did.

                    SUDDENLY (with the odd TPP vote exception) corporatist policies of war and economics will be taboo, again, in an effort to regain their majorities. We are already seeing it, four years too late, with Warren wondering why no bankers have been jailed. I mean, really, WTH? I don’t think Nancy Pelosi can successfully revisit that well, especially insofar as they will have Trump whipping them for their heresies night and day, week after week……so they will lose yet more of their corporatist Democratic members in yet another purge and not replace them because actual liberals/Progressives/leftists are such “drug addled”, “retarded” “sanctimonious purists” that they won’t be able to bring themselves to run any. In which case the possibility of regaining Democratic Majorities in either house will look a lot like the Republican Party’s plight between FDR and WJC. Any new Party formation, therefore, will be on hold until after the confirmation of a 2018 midterm disaster; not near enough time to address the 2020 elections.

                    Seems to me that the only real option we ever had was to discredit the Democratic establishment, and now with only 45 days to go that is supremely unlikely to happen. For all of his faults, I really do miss Bernie…One hates to think of it, but would a harrowing Clinton seizure during the debates be such a terrible thing? Not death, mind you, just lots of froth, twitching and rolling eyes followed by the Secret service hauling her carcass into an unmarked black vehicle bound for her daughters’ clinic in the sky….Sanders would look pretty good after that.

                    No matter how you slice it, I greatly fear that this election is a shit sandwich without a pickle in sight. This is an out of body experience for me. There was never at any time any possibliity of my supporting either Clinton or Trump, that just ain’t my scene, so it really is all academic as far as I am concerned.

            2. Carolinian

              Just curious what gives you this great certainty and insight that Trump would be Pence’s puppet. Isn’t that simply a HuffPo style talking point more than a piece of actual information? The truth is we know nothing about what Trump would really do, but if you listen to what he says then he is likely to be to Hillary’s left on foreign policy and a conventional Republican on domestic.

              Do you think Hillary is going to be Kaine’s puppet or are they so much two peas in a pod it wouldn’t matter? Really, the Pence thing is silly unless you have more evidence than mere speculation.

              1. nippersdad

                Just my gut feeling; mere speculation as you term it.

                I ask you, though, what are the odds that he is going to put his life’s work and entire fortune on a back burner, leave it to someone else in a blind trust, just to satisfy an itch to poke Obama in the nose for having made fun of him at a correspondents dinner? Given everything you know about him, what are the odds that a man who doesn’t know shit about world politics, and knows it, is going to endanger his own interests just to give some teabaggers a little thrill?

                I just find his act a little hard to believe.

        2. tony

          I don’t really agree. Obama managed to hold on to the dogs of war to an extent. The US did not bomb Syria to rubble, managed to avoid a shooting war with Russia, didn’t invade any more countries. I’m not too happy about his presidency, but he did keep things together.

          Obama fired Gen. Breedlove because he was plotting to escalate the Ukraine conflict. So I think it matters who is in the White house. Not that either one is exactly a good choice.

          1. pretzelattack

            obama wanted to escalate in syria, stopped by the international opposition. also wanted to remain in iraq. he’s less warlike than clinton, i guess.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Pence is not Cheney. The job of a VP (unless the Prez dies) is to go to funerals. Remember Dan Quayle? The fact that he was chosen for the job says it’s not much of a job.

          1. nippersdad

            There have been many stories now about the virtual impossibilty of running the Trump empire without him, I seem to recall reading one of them here.

            IIRC, Trump said that he was specifically looking for a VP that could navigate the political system; to make up for his own deficiencies in that regard. Now Pence is saying that his role model will be Cheney:

            I’m just connecting the dots; I think Pence has his marching orders in the event of a Trump Presidency, and he is flat out telling us how he will prosecute them. It doesn’t look to me like he is going to be spending a lot of time at funerals or misspelling the plural of potato.

            1. aab

              This is silly. Pence is a dolt. He has to say this. His job is to reassure the donors and more recalcitrant members of the Republican base, particularly since Hillary signaled early she’d be courting Republican voters instead of her own base.

              I think it’s important — especially these days — to weigh any statement from a politician against their actions, incentives, and institutional forces weighing on them. Of the two of them, Trump seems smarter and more aggressive than Pence. Pence is a Company Man, and he’s very likely to go with the flow in how the company is changing, as Company Men do. It’s much more likely that Trump’s presidency ends up as a pretty bog standard conservative Presidency, except without free trade, not because of Pence pulling the strings, but because it’s a vast, complex system that is unfriendly to insurgents and outsiders, whether they’re Trump or Jimmy Carter. When I argue that Trump is the lesser evil, I factor in that reasonably likely outcome. Stopping TPP is vital, and gambling that Trump MIGHT either be more effectively left or disruptive by design or accident is preferable to keeping the corporate Democratic Party going with its three card monte routine.

              Biggest bonus to a Trump presidency beyond no TPP and maybe dialing back the warmongering a bit: prosecutions and investigations with teeth. We need the Democratic Party cleaned out, and it’s possible if this gets going on a partisan basis, other elite players could get swept up, too. A couple of bankers would be nice. I don’t think Trump likes bankers.

              But Pence is very unlikely to be a driver of much of anything.

              1. nippersdad

                “I think it is important — especially these days — to weigh any statement from a politician against their actions, incentives and institutional forces weighing on them.”

                I agree 100%. Trump has a violent, nativist base and it looks like he would be an absentee President, so what are the incentives and institutional forces weighing on his Cheney? Pence is, as you say, a company man, so what are his influences going to be? I, personally, don’t believe that TPP will be off the table for them either. Remember, it is always OK when a Republican does it, and those Dems who voted for TPA are going to look pretty ridiculous voting against TPP now that they have ensured an up or down vote.

                1. nippersdad

                  Prepare for disappointment:


                  “As part of his general election planning Trump is moving aggressively to identify potential running mates and says he now has “a very good list of five or six people” all with deep political experience.”

                  “…and said he was eager for a running mate who would be effective in helping him pass legislation as President. By joining forces with a political veteran, Trump would also signal a willingness to work with the Republican establishment that he’s throughly bashed during his campaign.”

                  Sorry, but that sounds a lot like Bush running as a “compassionate conservative” again. The nativist base has been pissed off before, they will undoubtedly be pissed off again; it is just part of the political reality in which we live. Until they manage to elect an activist President (not one who spends his time on vacation or running a real estate empire) they will be a captive pressure group within the Party, and, as such, will suffer the same effects as any other minority within a Washington Consensus Party.

                  Gilens and Page, Piketty and any number of other people have proven that, and I don’t think it is going to change any time soon.

          2. hunkerdown

            Yves, I believe it’s a bit more intersectional than that. The VP’s job as a government official is to go to funerals; the VP’s role as a Party member (at least lately) is to deal dirty on behalf of the Party to keep the President’s hands clean. A Pence vice-administration would, if past administrations are any guide, see right-wing megachurches receiving plenty of money to insinuate themselves into daily life and launder for the MIC or whoever (he’s an Arlington baby and he’s got a Marine among his brood). On the other hand, I believe that Trump, as a showman and no stranger to violence, is more likely to keep close to his audience (as ballistic plexiglas would allow) enough to hear such participatory, plain talk as “Donald, you need to get that little s–t under control and get our money back” from the audience rather than to journalistically have them erased.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Trump “no stranger to violence”? Huh? Might I remind you it was anti-Trump types that fomented the most violent exchange, at his rally in San Diego?

              The closest Trump has gotten to violence is that he has bodyguards. Occasional thuggish generalized dog whistling isn’t even in the same county as orders and strategies, which Clinton has regularly participated in

          1. witters

            I wonder if ‘they are better judges of their interests’. When you are driven by the brutalising twinned desires for wealth and power at the expense of those others whose dispossession heightens you sense of achievement, then I think you have lost all sight of your interests.

            1. hunkerdown

              How so? Who are you to judge anyone’s interests, Philosopher-King? They themselves are better judges of their interests as they perceive them. When we see old money offing new money, their perceptions may be in line with ours. There is simply no objective truth to be found in divergent questions, only lies, facts and contingencies.

          2. jgordon

            Well I don’t know about that. The unrestrained looting opetation might be a good thing for Dems at first, but eventually shell drag them down into the abyss with her. At least under Trump they’ll have the chance to consolidate their roots and perhaps excise the dead wood.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      For God’s sake can we just call a spade a spade for once.
      The US created the Syrian war because they wanted regime change. They insisted Syria’s secular, democratically-elected leader had no right to oppose rebel groups trying to overthrow him. They provided covert arms and support to those rebel groups when otherwise they would have faded away like the rest of Arab Spring did.
      Having sh*t the bed I get why you wouldn’t enjoy rolling in it. But stop trying to pretend the brown matter came from somewhere else.

  7. tgs

    Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria

    Cockburn argues that American and Russian responses to recent events in Syria offer us plenty of material to study the use of propaganda on both sides. In this case, his ‘plague on both houses’ conclusion is itself propaganda of a kind. After the strike on the convoy, the Russians quickly described their preliminary conclusions about the strike. Cockburn argues that they doth ‘protest too much’, a sign of propaganda. He fails to mention that the Russians then called for an investigation.

    Compare the Russian approach to that of Washington which claimed immediately that the Russians and Syrians were responsible without presenting a shred of evidence. They know they can do this since a) the western media will not press for evidence and b) they know that the media will blast out the message.

    Dunford and Ash Carter on the convoy:

    The US position was reflected in the testimony of both Dunford and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter before the Senate panel Thursday. The general admitted to the committee, “I don’t have the facts,” as to what planes carried out the attack, but quickly added, “There is no doubt in my mind that the Russians are responsible.” Similarly, Carter declared, “The Russians are responsible for this strike whether they conducted it or not.

    Finally, in equating American and Russian actions in Syria, Cockburn fails to acknowledge that there is no grounding in international law for the American presence in Syria. Indeed the only domestic justification is the AUMF of 2001 allowing us to attack those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The Russians are in Syria on the request of the Syrian government, ie., legally.

    1. fresno dan

      September 24, 2016 at 9:48 am

      legal – smegal
      facts – shacts

      Karl Rove “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

       “The Bush years also brought Washington’s most blatant repudiation of the rule of law. Once the newly established International Criminal Court (ICC) convened at The Hague in 2002, the Bush White House “un-signed” or “de-signed” the U.N. agreement creating the court and then mounted a sustained diplomatic effort to immunize U.S. military operations from its writ. This was an extraordinary abdication for the nation that had breathed the concept of an international tribunal into being.”

      Laws for he and thee, but none for me….

    2. RabidGandhi

      So essentially, because the US violates laws and morals so flagrantly, that gives other countries the excuse to violate them less flagrantly?

      Cockburn is right to call out the Russians’ media manipulation, regardless of the fact that the US is there illegally.

      1. tgs

        The Russian news agency Tass quoted a senior Russian official as saying that “analysis of video records from drones of yesterday’s movement of the humanitarian convoy across Aleppo territories controlled by militants has revealed new details. It is clearly seen in the video that a terrorists’ pickup truck with a towed large-calibre mortar is moving along with the convoy.

        From which Cockburn infers: The Russians were, ‘suggesting that there was an understandable reason to imagine they were attacking a legitimate target’. But that does not necessarily follow. The only legitimate inference from that fragment is that the Russians believe there were terrorists in the vicinity of the convoy. I don’t know Russian, so obviously I have no idea what was reported in the Russian language press. But I do pay attention to the Russian sites in English. And what I have read is:

        1. The Russians deny that Syrian or Russian aircraft were involved.

        2. Moreover, the Russians made the point that it was not even clear that there was an airstrike. A point that the UN accepted.

        3. Many, not just Russians, have speculated about alternative scenarios.

        4. But unlike Washington, Russia does not claim to know what happened and called for an investigation.

        If (1) is false, then Russian media manipulation has and is occurring. But if (1) is true, and I believe, given what I know now, it is probable, then (3) is not media manipulation.

    3. Andrew Watts

      “In war, truth is the first casualty.”Aeschylus (525 BC – 456 BC)

      Too much information regarding the Syrian Civil War is bias or propaganda masquerading as truth. One of the great things about Patrick Cockburn is that even when he’s mistaken or I disagree with his commentary he’s being honestly wrong as opposed to deliberately so.

      Finally, in equating American and Russian actions in Syria, Cockburn fails to acknowledge that there is no grounding in international law for the American presence in Syria. Indeed the only domestic justification is the AUMF of 2001 allowing us to attack those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The Russians are in Syria on the request of the Syrian government, ie., legally.

      That simply isn’t true. Especially considering the language of the UN Security Council Resolution which was adopted unanimously,

      “The Security Council determined today that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS) constituted an “unprecedented” threat to international peace and security, calling upon Member States with the requisite capacity to take “all necessary measures” to prevent and suppress its terrorist acts on territory under its control in Syria and Iraq.” –

      There is also the identification of the terrorist attacks in France and Turkey as acts of war which no country has disputed. The actions taken against IS doesn’t excuse US-led coalitions attacks on SAA or it’s allied militias in Deir Ezzor. Whether they were a mistake or not. All I’m really saying is that any action taken against Islamic State has the force of mutual defense treaties and international law behind it.


      IMO the 2001 AUMF which the Obama administration used to justify the war doesn’t cover Islamic State but a previous UN resolution which expanded sanctions identified ISIS/ISIL as affiliated with Al Qaeda regardless of the blood spilled between the two organizations.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Aeschylus has some other b—-in’ quotes that I’d like to share.

        “He who learns must suffer, and, even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.“

        My personal favorite. Although the quote about war is a close second. Wisdom is merely agony in another form which motivates the wise to reach for enlightenment/transcendence. Or maybe it’s just God’s way of punishing or humbling smart people.

        Who knows. I like my other take on it better.

        “It is a profitable thing, if one is wise, to seem foolish.”

        F— yeah! Nobody will ever take you seriously. It may seem self-defeating but when people start taking you seriously you inevitably get yourself into trouble.

        “It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.“

        Pretty self-explanatory.

        1. tgs

          Here is some language from the resolution that you did not mention:

          Calls upon Member States that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter

          There is an excellent analysis of the language of the resolution here: The Constructive Ambiguity of the Security Council’s ISIS Resolution.

          The authors point out that the wording implies:

          Russia for its part (and presumably Iran) would rely on consent from the Syrian government with regard to their action in Syria, and like Syria regard actions taken by Western states in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government to be unlawful.

          The question then is: Are military strikes by forces not operating with the consent of the Syrian government ‘consistent with international law and the UN charter?

          1. Andrew Watts

            Given these military strikes are taken in defense of a military ally (Iraq, France, and/or Turkey) which the Syrian government is unable to prevent I’d have to say it is consistent with international law. Other migrating factors under consideration would have to include the use of Syrian territory to invade and occupy Iraqi sovereign territory by groups unaffiliated with the government in Damascus,

            That author you linked to also included the admission of what I quoted involves the political support of said attacks without the direct endorsement of those attacks. Which I think you’re confusing. Furthermore he ends with…

            However, here there is a call for a use of force but there is still a reference to international human rights law (IHRL). Although this may not have been the intention of the drafters, the fact the resolution covers and was intended to cover the use of force extraterritorially, but still included a call for compliance with IHRL, could be used as evidence that the even the Security Council has endorsed the view that IHRL does indeed apply to extraterritorial uses of force by states.

            It’s an interesting legal discussion to have because there is more than one legal theory at work. Unfortunately international law isn’t my area of expertise so that’s all the light I can shed on the topic.

              1. Andrew Watts

                You can deliberately misconstrue what I wrote all you want but it’s a cheap trick and a lousy basis for any discussion.

                1. Andrew Watts

                  Oops, you’re right. I messed up with what I was trying to say. I meant to say that the Syrian government is unable to prevent terrorists from using Syrian territory to launch attacks on Iraq.

                  Given these military strikes are taken in defense of a military ally (Iraq, France, and/or Turkey) which the Syrian government is unable to prevent from being launched I’d have to say it is consistent with international law.


                  1. Plenue

                    The US is backing (both directly and indirectly) those same terrorists. This war has never been about stopping ISIS or AQ.

                    1. Andrew Watts

                      I don’t deny that significant factions in Washington are on the regime change bandwagon but broad assumptions like this are ridiculous when compared to contemporary evidence events have provided.

                      -Obama’s refusal to impose a no-fly zone in Syria.

                      -CIA-vetted rebels fighting against the Syrian Democratic Forces which the Pentagon supports.

                      -US Special Forces being chased out of villages controlled by CIA/Turkish supported rebels.

                      Heck, even pro-Russian commentators like Saker are wondering if the CIA isn’t at war with itself. Which is something that hadn’t occurred to me.

                  2. Harry

                    Are you sure they are not using Iraq to launch attacks on syria. The US could choose to focus on ISIS in Iraq rather than in Syria if it wishes to help in the effort. That would reduce the chance of hitting the SAA by “accident”

                    1. Andrew Watts

                      Not completely, no. It probably would’ve stayed that way where the US led-coalition only dropped bombs in Iraq but the Battle of Kobani changed all that. The Russian air force wasn’t in a position to provide air cover for YPG at the time. Nor could the Syrian air force even if they were willing to do so.

                      Finally, “accidents” could’ve been avoided if the US and Russia was sharing intelligence. Or if the coalition wasn’t relying solely on aerial recon. I also saw an alleged SAA source on social media that theorized that the coalition was using opposition-link ground sources to provide targeting info which could be another factor.

                      Who really knows.

            1. tgs

              I don’t think I am confused at all. What seems clear to me and what the authors seemed to be saying is that the resolution could be understood in different ways by different actors.

              ‘could be used as evidence’

              What does not seem ambiguous is the requirement accord with the UN Charter and international law. What does that imply? Not clear.

              By the way, I am leaving aside that the al Nusra Front is also targeted in the resolution and aiding and abetting that group would be a clear violation. There is considerable evidence that Washington is doing so.

              1. Andrew Watts

                What seems clear to me and what the authors seemed to be saying is that the resolution could be understood in different ways by different actors.

                I’ve already said there are multiple legal theories at work but I don’t have the competency to debate them.

                What does not seem ambiguous is the requirement accord with the UN Charter and international law. What does that imply? Not clear.

                The author you linked to isn’t suggesting a direct violation of international law though. He’s suggesting that the Security Council was probably being ambiguous so it wouldn’t cause any conflict with international law. Which meant they wouldn’t directly affirm support for the attacks on Islamic State while providing legal cover for those strikes.

                That, in itself, doesn’t make it a violation of international law. It’s a clever bit of legal maneuvering and lawfare.

      2. timbers

        “Too much information regarding the Syrian Civil War…”

        It’s not a civil war it’s an illegal foreign funded regime change.

        “That simply isn’t true.”

        It is exactly true. Only Russia is legally acting in Sryia while the U.S. and it’s allies are funding arming and training the terrorists not fighting them.

        Now, by your reasoning the nation that should be bombed and invaded under that Security Council Resolution is America, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel and maybe others as it they who fund arm and train terrorists in Syria and elsewhere.

        Now you can say something not true again, declare me a propagandist, and leave the discussion – like you did last time what you said was corrected.

        1. Andrew Watts

          Since we don’t even agree on the basic facts of the conflict I see no reason to get into another debate with you.

          But it can be both a civil war and a foreign-supported regime change operation. Consider French support for the Thirteen Colonies during the American War of Independence.

          1. Plenue

            Really, you’re disputing that the majority of ‘rebels’ at this point are foreign funded? We have rebel fighters on record claiming that they’re paid a 100 bucks a month to fight, as well as the testimony of disillusioned US spec ops who are deliberately sabotaging their own training programs because they know all the ‘moderates’ they get sent are just jihadis.

            Cockburn is simply wrong about the aid convoy attack. There’s no evidence of airstrikes (and little of even artillery). Bombs have this strange tendency to leave craters and scattered, twisted hunks of metal wreckage. All that exists at the site of the attack is a bunch of burned but intact trucks. Russia is calling for a full investigation, and claiming that a US drone observed the whole thing, with the implication that the US should provide the footage of the airstrike, if it really did happen.

            My guess is there will be no footage, nor investigation, and the supposed attack will enter the annals as a ‘fact’, even after it is debunked, a la the oft claimed Syrian government chemical attacks.

            1. Andrew Watts

              Really, you’re disputing that the majority of ‘rebels’ at this point are foreign funded?

              No, I said that it can be both a civil war and a foreign-supported regime change operation. Once again consider the role the French played in the American revolution. They not only funded the revolution and extended credit to the rebels but armed them to the extent that almost 90% of all arms/munitions used by the American rebels originated from French arsenals. Other foreign governments allowed their foreign officers to train and fight alongside the rebels.

              1. Plenue

                The French were never attempting to put their own puppet government in place, or to Balkanize the region, so they could put the equivalent of an oil pipeline through.

                Such domestic opposition as exists in Syria has never had popular support, as evidenced by the fact they constantly have to ally with foreign head-choppers they (supposedly) disapprove of to get anything done.

                1. Andrew Watts

                  The French were never attempting to put their own puppet government in place,

                  Ben Franklin probably wouldn’t have agreed with you. Which is why he negotiated directly with the British during negotiations that yielded the Treaty of Paris. Despite this action violating a previous agreement that Congress signed with his royal highness Louis XVI.

                  or to Balkanize the region,

                  Not exactly. The Thirteen Colonies made up a great deal of territory of the British empire at the time. It’s plausible that French support was an attempt to foster the dismemberment of the British empire. At the war’s end Lord North thought that the empire was basically over. He was wrong.

                  Such domestic opposition as exists in Syria has never had popular support, as evidenced by the fact they constantly have to ally with foreign head-choppers they (supposedly) disapprove of to get anything done.

                  Au contraire. I’m aghast that you seem to think Syria was this bastion of serenity before the Arab Spring erupted. Syria has suffered from numerous uprisings and rebellions launched by Islamist rebels. If the Islamists didn’t have significant domestic and foreign support they wouldn’t have been such a problem for Assad’s father. Saddam even supported the rebels fighting the Syrian government back in the day.

                  1. Plenue

                    “It’s plausible that French support was an attempt to foster the dismemberment of the British empire.”

                    What do you mean possible? Of course that was their goal. The French government didn’t give a crap about American rights or ideals. Governments don’t deal in ideals.

                    I never said Syria was a bastion of serenity. But the majority of the moderates, actually being moderate, went home when things turned ugly. Such fighters as remained have been consistently forced to ally with jihadis because otherwise they lack the strength to achieve anything. Wherever the ‘moderates’ go, so go the head-choppers, and the people of Syria don’t like the Islamists and flee in great numbers wherever they capture anything. Unlike the American Revolution, where a substantial percentage of the population was doing the bulk of the fighting, Syria is mostly a conflict between the Syrian government and foreign fighters.

      3. Ancient1

        Only Congress has the authority to declare war. Politicians in the executive branch has usurped that authority. No matter what international treaty that this country’s exective branch has signed on to, Congress still has that ultimate authority. We still have four branches of government and they are guided by the Constitution and the Constitution needs to be followed. This country is at war illegaly. If this opinion is felt to be incorrect, then I welcome your comments.

        1. Andrew Watts

          The 2001 AUMF is consistent with the War Powers Act and that falls under Congress’s authority to declare war. I don’t necessarily accept that Congress can delegate it’s war-making powers and be consistent with the Constitution but the authority to wage and declare war has been banned by the United Nations. Essentially we’re mired in a weird legal limbo that enables Congress to abdicate it’s powers while empowering the imperial presidency to fight in armed conflicts.*

          *Not a lawyer just my uninformed opinion.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Just wow.
            Because a handful of legal alchemists like John Yoo managed to construct a Rube Goldberg AUMF contraption to “legally” circumvent centuries of law surrounding the conduct of nations somehow becomes evidence of the “okay-ness” of said actions.

            So bombing another nation is no longer an act of war.

            This medicine may taste sweet to our war-managers at the moment but will turn very bitter indeed as it gets ingrained into international affairs.

            Step 1. Pakistan decides the current mayor of Nashville has the wrong political ideology
            Step 2. Pakistan sends a drone bomb to his home to kill him
            Step 3. Pakistan says they are 100% within their rights because America enshrined such conduct by nations in law. America has no right to retaliate because there was no act of war

            I have an idea, let’s just have a free-for-all, countries can just bomb other countries at will, and the guy with the biggest bombs wins

      4. a different chris

        >hich expanded sanctions identified ISIS/ISIL as affiliated with Al Qaeda regardless of the blood spilled between the two organizations.

        Awesome. “They all look the same to me” taken to a 21st century high.

        1. Plenue

          They are the same. They’re all Wahhabi extremists. They have a few doctrinal differences that are minor at most, that they clash is mostly because they have different political goals; ie each wants to be the one in charge.

          1. a different chris

            I don’t care if they follow the same doctrine word-for-freaking-word. Nazi Germany was Christian. I guess Martians could see them the same as Churchill’s Britain but I would not agree with said Martians.

            They aren’t the same groups, they have their reasons that they aren’t, and we are simply too stupid to exploit that? What I don’t get is why you don’t want to.

            1. Andrew Watts

              I’m not even going to bring the numerous UN resolutions or US laws that would forbid such an arrangement. Not when the Islamic State formerly known as ISIS/ISIL, Islamic State in Iraq (ISI), and Al Qaeda in Iraq founded the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda under the al-Nusra Front moniker. The bloody split happened when IS wanted to merge franchises under their control. Considering this factor and their ideology it’s a case of “the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy.”.

            2. Plenue

              Why would we want to exploit the differences? AQ and ISIS are useful proxy forces, more so if they can be made to cooperate with each other.

              What I want is for them to be buried six feet under. What the White House, Langley, and the Pentagon want, however, is very different.

    4. hemeantwell

      The SST crew has been sifting through the rubble. They doubt the convoy was hit by planes and are inclined to think rebels attempted a false flag, something that’s quite feasible given the propaganda machinery currently in place. To the extent that’s true, that makes the US responsible since it rewards false flag waving.

  8. flora

    re: American Banker

    Stumpf is lucky. A community bank CEO having presided over a fraud proportionally this large would already have his assets frozen, be awaiting prosecution, and have been personally fined a substantial amount of money, not to mention that he would be under an order barring him from ever working at a bank for the rest of his life. …”

    Yes. If you don’t want to worry about your accounts getting scammed by a TBTF move your money to a local community bank. Note: not a TBTF local branch office.

    1. BecauseTradition

      What if one doesn’t want to deal with the usury cartel at all?

      Ah yes, use the mattress or a home safe and be a target for a home invasion. Some alternative.

  9. fresno dan

    Within those odds, however, deer are more likely to cause deaths than other animals — more than dogs, bears, sharks, and alligators combined, according to the LCB analysis.
    But you shouldn’t worry too much about murderous deer mauling you and your family.

    According to the analysis, “Deer are the deadliest animal in the United States — but deer-related fatalities most often stem from accidents, not vicious attacks.” It added, “Due to rapid urban development, the deer’s natural habitat is shrinking, causing them to share more space with humans, where they often wander into oncoming traffic and cause car crashes.

    “…but deer-related fatalities most often stem from accidents, not vicious attacks.”
    Or so the deer would have you believe….
    Which mammal gives the most to the Clinton Foundation?
    Yup, deer.

    1. sleepy

      Very good, thanks.

      I would just add–aside from causing traffic accidents, deer can at times be aggressive and dangerous. Hard to believe, I know. But, a few years ago in my deer infested Iowa town of 25,000 during deer rutting season or whatever their mating season is, a friend of mine was trapped in her car for awhile in her driveway when two bucks kept charging her when she tried to walk to her front door.

      1. sleepy

        Apropos of today’s antidote, I should add that unless I’m in grizzly bear habitat, the only animal I really am concerned about when I’m hiking is the moose. With most black bears I only see their rear ends as they skedaddle when they sense a human presence. Moose don’t at all. They stare you down until you move, and you don’t want to surprise one.

      2. crittermom

        sleepy, I’d intended this in response to your first referral to deer–
        Yes, deer and elk can be aggressive when in the rut.
        I knew of someone ‘trapped’ inside his cabin for hours one morning by a bull elk during the rut.

        I remember first seeing this video years ago (taken 2007). ‘Bambi’s Revenge’, as the man referred to it as.

        He’s lucky it WASN’T an elk, which is what he was trying to attract using an elk scent.
        I photograph wildlife, but would never consider doing something as dumb as this video. Quite honestly, it still makes me chuckle.

  10. katiebird

    I am trying to figure out how this works…. And how/why he thought of doing this Obama used a pseudonym in emails with Clinton, FBI documents reveal

    In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender.

    “Once informed that the sender’s name is believed to be pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: ‘How is this not classified?'” the report says. “Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email.”

    The article is pretty poorly written. Maybe I’ll have better luck unravelling it after breakfast.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Although 0bama was only an infrequent Hillary correspondent, it had to be obvious to him that her emails were coming from “” and not the State Dept.

      Now we learn that like Carlos Danger, POTUS hisself was emailing under a pseudonym. But we don’t know what it was. “”? “”? The possibilities are endless.

      This pair should be featured on “America’s Dumbest Criminals.”

      1. temporal

        What does emailing under a pseudonym mean? Most of us have multiple email addresses and all of those names are compromises around uniqueness. Does this mean Obama was using gmail or yahoo? Is that why he cared so little about Hillary’s server because he was doing it as well?

        If Obama was emailing Hillary, whether by pseudonym or otherwise, how is it that he didn’t know that she was using a server inappropriate for federal use. Why is it that anyone within the government communicating with her would just send emails to a server and account that was not verified. Are they all so foolish as to not understand that a typed signature in an email means absolutely nothing? The Three Stooges could hardly be this stupid but at least they’d have delivered it with a joke. This is not simply about Obama and Hillary, this is every single person that knew the rules and ignored them because laws based on national security are for little people.

    2. cwaltz

      I think this gives me two questions;

      1: Did Barack Obama lie when he told everyone that he learned she had a private server when everyone else did? 2. Is that why he’s treated her extremely careless treatment of classified data so leniently?

      He’s lucky there is not much time left to his term to figure this out because if this was the beginning of a term he might be looking at impeachment if the answer to these questions are yes.

      I don’t know that acknowledging that she had a private email means she had a private server though(nor was his correspondence classified from what I can tell) nor do I know if he was aware that she literally had NO public government email to conduct public business on(although you’d wonder why he would never bother to ASK or WONDER about what would be going to public records while she was SoS.)

      How insane is it that our six figure representation from both parties think it’s appropriate to figure out work arounds to get around public law(and that’s from BOTH sides of the aisle since Powell was advising originally and is Clinton’s “excuse”?)

      1. fresno dan

        September 24, 2016 at 1:43 pm

        1. Yes
        2. No….because I would postulate that the yammerings of POTUS and the Secretary of State are just Kabuki – and all those yammering know that the decisions have already been made. I think these people at the top of our government – their pronouncements are as noteworthy as the bellowing’s of the Wizard of Oz – a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
        Could Obama and whoever could possibly follow change the US policy with regard to Israel? or Saudi Arabia? The defense budget? Put forward single payer NOT designed to fail? Or that laws apply equally to rich or poor???
        It doesn’t matter what the REALLY think, because they can only think in terms of what has already been decided….

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I guess I’m just tiring of hair-splitting and he said – she said accusations around servers, leaks, hacks, and emails.
        What we do know is that Hilary sold the business of our government to the highest bidder for personal gain through her Foundation. Emails are a nothing-burger compared to that.

      3. optimader

        By definition 4. (lurnd), like many things for BHO, it was a long,nuanced and tortured process (process that pun) which was not completed ’til the cat was out of the bag, at which time he was fully lurnd, along w/everyone else!

        [lur-nid for 1–3; lurnd for 4]

        4. acquired by experience, study, etc.:
        learned behavior.

  11. Jim Haygood

    We’re only in Inning 1 of the public pension crisis, which is going to detonate nationwide with a earth-shattering bang in the next recession/bear market. But to tee up the coming showdown, the L.A. Times has launched a series detailing how Calpers got into its appalling jam.

    Highlight of the article is this chart, showing how badly Calpers undershot the 8.25% annual target target which was in effect in 1999, at the peak of Bubble I:

    Then the colorful anecdotes start:

    For [CHP officers] who retired after 1999, the average pension was $96,270.

    Jon Hamm, the recently retired chief executive of the California Assn. of Highway Patrolmen, is widely regarded as the father of the “3 at 50” formula, which has been expanded to cover prison guards, police and firefighters across the state.

    Hamm said he now worries that “pension envy” could lead to a backlash against public employees.

    “If I was in the private sector just struggling to get by, had no dream of retiring, would I be upset?” Hamm asked during a recent interview. “Yeah. And we have to understand that’s a reality.

    1. Jim Haygood

      An even better anecdote:

      Joe Nation, a former Democratic assemblyman who teaches public policy at Stanford, sees the same reality bearing down on public employees. He believes their sweetened pensions are not sustainable.

      “There’s no way to close this gap without some sort of hit, or financial pain, for those employees,” he said.

      Nation said he has been vilified by labor leaders for suggesting public employees voluntarily surrender some of their benefits. He comes from a family of public employees and was a union representative in the 1980s when he worked as a flight attendant for Pan Am.

      “It’s hard to believe anyone would consider me anti-union,” Nation said. “I’m just a Democrat who can do math.

      “A Democrat who can do math” — it’s as remarkable as Mister Ed, the talking horse.

      1. craazyman

        Just by observing, it’s clearly seen that at least 12 out of every 10 democrats can’t do math and 5 out of every 4 republicans. There’s less republicans because they don’t even try to do math very often.

        across the American voting population, the numbers are even bigger! :-)

        1. fresno dan

          September 24, 2016 at 12:13 pm

          Well, there are two kinds of repub maths:
          Religious – God can make 3 billion years of geoligical and biological evolution occur in 3 thousand – 0’s mean nothing ….hmmmm….. to God…
          Chamber of Commerce: 2+2 = 5….or 12…or 3 billion (a billion here and and a billion there and it may approach a simulacra of ersatz money) due to SYNERGY and efficiencies and diminution of waste fraud, and ABUSE (those poor, poor dollars – subject to being rolled on and fondled by fat neked people)….etcetera, etcetera…

        2. fresno dan

          September 24, 2016 at 12:13 pm

          OH! I forgot dem maths….uh, I mean, math of democrats
          Take private and public partnerships coordinated by NGO, i.e., foundations.
          After billions, upon billions, upon billions are deducted from taxes….and tens of millions of miles are flown in private jets….and tens of millions of gallons of chardonnay are swilled and shrimp cocktail chewed, some people somewhere will be able to purchase mosquito nets through a government guaranteed loan program at 4.4% interest, which of course generates tradeable tax credits…

          1. craazyman

            it’s the math a politician or corporation uses when they count the things that don’t count and don’t count the things that count.

    2. cnchal

      Of course there is no private sector pension crisis because most of those don’t exist anymore, and the ones where a few bucks are still left are raided by Pirate Equity.

      No money, no problem.

      1. Jim Haygood

        As you say, there’s been a tidal shift from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) plans. But the remaining corporate DB plans are better funded than public DB plans — about 82% funded, according to Milliman’s corporate pension study:

        Public plans would be about 39% funded, if liabilities are discounted with the most conservative approach of using Treasury bond yields.

        On a fairer comparison, using the same high-quality corporate bond yields that corporate plans do, public plans would be about 50% funded, versus 82% funded for corporate plans.

        1. cwaltz

          In her book, Schultz details how corporate pensions went from holding $250 billion in excess funds in the late 1990s to being collectively underfunded today. Hundreds of plans have been frozen (meaning employees may collect benefits based on past work but do not earn future benefits), and retiree health benefits are an endangered species.

          In fiscal year 2015, PBGC paid $5.6 billion in benefits to participants of failed single-employer pension plans. That year, 69 single-employer pension plans failed. PBGC paid $103 million in financial assistance to 57 multiemployer pension plans. The agency’s deficit increased to $76 billion. It has a total of $164 billion in obligations and $88 billion in assets.[2]

          Please remind me again why I should be peeing my pants?

          It isn’t like taxpayers aren’t already picking up the tab for corporate America and their underfunding!

          Is it your point that only corporate pensions deserve this bailout?

        2. Alejandro

          Andrew G. Biggs, the leading anti-SS, ‘objectivist’, pseudo-intellectual, is currently on assignment and has been given the power and venue to “test” the future of SS…

          In the surreal world of “meta-cognition”, the always elusive and illusive “unknown of unknowns” of “how much is not enough?” AND “how much is too much?”, mostly seem to supply the fodder to “rationalize” whatever dogma needs “rationalizing”…some don’t bother and conclude that context matters, and “it’s better to be roughly right than precisely wrong”…more relevant questions would seem—“should anybody be abandoned to ‘go die’ because markets?” e.g., any lonely widow, relegated to enervate on less than whatever nutritional needs she may have…should non-dischargeable-debt burdened grads be outcast[ed] because curbing “inflation” is more important than participation?

    3. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      September 24, 2016 at 10:38 am

      Most, if not all, of the justification for the excessive pensions, has been the rah, rah, non-stop pro police and military propaganda that just pervades our “4th estate” with absolutely no critical debunking of it what so ever.
      I don’t know how many times on NC it has been pointed out that there are many professions much more dangerous than being in law enforcement.
      And if its true that the vast majority of cops don’t shoot innocent people, its also true that cops powers of observation are almost always deficient when it comes to pointing out such conduct in their colleagues…

      1. Harry

        Thank god for the police. I don’t know who would shoot all the black people driving if it wasn’t for them.

      2. Paid Minion

        The public unions are making the same mistakes that the UAW made in the 80s and 90s. Make moderate changes now, or draconian changes 5-10 years from now.

        The reality is that my income after age 60 (I’ve already concluded that I won’t be able to afford retirement) is going to be taxed, to pay the six-figure/year pension check of the state employee who was able to retire in his early 50s.

        I for one, would like to see a study on how public sector pension plan investments has led to screwing of private sector employees, to “maximize shareholder returns”

      3. Felix_47

        And the numbers do not include the massive health care and disability fraud throughout the police and fire ranks in Ca. I see quite a few of them. In addition many of them were in the military for a few years prior and are collecting VA disability for the same commplaints. Looking at their total benefit package would be quite a study. My guess is that they are getting 50% more than the published 95000….and the 95000 is the average so consider what some are getting. And we wonder why companies are moving production to anywhere but the US? Would anyone in their right mind want to pay taxes for this stuff?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’ll just mention an Army staff sergeant I met, they paid him $95,000 per year to sit behind a desk in Guam and move papers from his Inbox to his Outbox. He was planning to retire at 52 and his biggest complaints were sunburn and boredom. He especially appreciated the subsidized prices for everything at the PX and the paid-for annual trips home.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      I haven’t had time to debunk the LAT story. It’s a real hatchet job. The impact of the rule change was de minimus for the overwhelming majority of workers but helped cops, who can and do retire comparatively early, a ton.

  12. fresno dan

    Carlyle’s Sequa Cut by S&P as Maturity Looms for All Its Debt Bloomberg. Private equity expert Eileen Appelbaum points out by e-mail: “Is this a harbinger of things to come? Companies like this were able to restructure their debt after financial crisis at low interest rates. Debt coming due now may not have that option.”

    Won’t all debt….after going to 0%interest…..held by the wealthy at least….eventually become negative interest rate debt (i.e., the more you owe the more the FED, or banks, or someone will pay YOU)???
    Than will be able to keep our illustrious economy going, what with its low unemployment and record rise in income EVAH! (sarc)

  13. Brian

    regarding Europa; (the satellite,moon) I want to thank Arthur Clarke for showing us that science fiction evolves into fact. And thank you Hal.

  14. Pookah Harvey

    Couple of interesting stories by Robert Fisk at the Independent. The Saudis seem to be in trouble in both
    the financial and religious realms.

    Saudi Arabia cannot pay its workers or bills – yet continues to fund a war in Yemen

    For the first time, Saudi Arabia is being attacked by both Sunni and Shia leaders

    Interesting that Putin is involved with cutting the legs out from under the terrorist supporting Saudi Wahhabis religiously while Obama is trying to hide their terrorist involvement with his 9/11 Saudi suit veto.

    1. cwaltz

      I don’t think Obama is trying to provide support for the Saudis.

      I think he’s a little concerned about the illegal regime changes we have been involved in and what happens if someone decides to do the same to the US.

      He mentioned the “soldiers” but the reality is it isn’t the soldiers who decide to create carnage. It’s our leaders.

      I personally hope that the veto he provided gets vetoed. We should be having a conversation about these behind closed doors decisions to fund regime changes in regions we don’t like the leaders and whether or not they fiscally are a good use of our tax dollars.

      1. John Wright

        Isn’t “fund regime changes” and “whether they fiscally are a good use of tax dollara” a rather narrow approach to the conversation?

        A lot of foreign innocents get killed in these regime change operations.

        For example, perhaps some in the world view the funding of the 9-11 by Bin Laden as simply “funding regime change” in the USA.

        From his perspective ,Bin Laden’s 9-11 operation could be viewed as an extreme “fiscal good use of (his dollars)” as the USA inflicted so much damage to itself and others as a consequence.

        Great fiscal ROI for Bin Laden.

        We need more than a fiscal criterion that these destructive in foreign life and property US military operations “are a good use of our tax dollars” if the USA is to have any moral authority in the world.

        I also hope Obamas veto gets overridden, because if a foreign military invaded the USA, and destroyed life and property, the USA would demand damages from the foreign government.

        Why is the other case not equally valid?

    2. clarky90

      Saudi Arabia Plans To Crucify Teen As It Ascends To UN Human Rights Council Chair

      This is Saudi Arabia, USA ally in the fight against “terror”.

      “Saudi Arabia, which was tapped last week to head the Human Rights Council at the UN, is preparing to crucify and behead a protester who was still a minor at the time of his arrest, the BBC reported Wednesday.

      Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, a member of Saudi Arabia’s Shi’ite minority, was convicted on a variety of charges including taking part in anti-government protests, breaking alliance with the king, sedition, rioting and attacking security patrols in 2011. Nimr was 17 years old when Saudi authorities arrested him.”

    3. uncle tungsten

      Those are extraordinary stories by Fisk. I admire the research and capacity of his writing. The account of religious friction within the sunni world does indicate that Putin is seriously connected for the long game and at this rate could be the only non arab leader to craft a solution with Assad and some of the rebel sunni fighters.

      If only Ash Carter was not so stupid in attacking the SAA in Deir Ezzor, the last attempt at cease fire might have had more rewarding results. Now at least the coalition forces appear to have lost their central communications facility. Talk about revenge with a big stick!

  15. allan

    Shockingly, the NYT has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.
    Fortunately, there is a Great Wall of China between the editorial board and the news room. #AsIf

  16. Andrew Watts

    RE: How Reddit Ruined The Hillary Clinton Campaign

    Aaron would’ve loved this so much. I still don’t think the Hillary email thing is a big deal. But everybody is getting a looksie behind the NATIONAL SECURITY!!!1ONE! SUPER TOP SECRET: ALPHA OMEGA PINEAPPLE curtain. Including the people whose job security and personal freedom require taking this seriously.

    Please take note and pay attention to how this actually works.

    “Do you realize that the security of our classified info was in the hands of a techie who was incompetent and getting advice on Reddit etc????”

    Hey, that’s not nearly as bad as former CIA Director / DCI John Deutch using his security clearance to access whatever data somebody in his position could and storing it on computers in his home office which was connected to the internet via a ISDN connection. What does a former DCI have access to? Anything? EVERYTHING?

    …and people say Edward Snowden doesn’t deserve a pardon?

    1. fresno dan

      Andrew Watts
      September 24, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      The only difference between the Wizard of Oz (who was still in the realm of reality and knew he was running a scam) and our government, is that there is a self perpetrating priesthood that through generations has become so deeply enmeshed in it, that they BELIEVE their own bullsh*t.

      1. Andrew Watts

        It sure does seem that way. I feel sorry for counter-intelligence types that have to deal with this bulls— though. If I worked in any kind of CI capacity I’d probably go to work, make sure nobody else was around, and then scream “F—! F—!! F———-!!!”. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

        Regardless of how you or I feel on the matter some of this information does actually matter. *edited/added* It usually involves the lives of other people.

    2. uncle tungsten

      How can the most competent candidate for the presidency delegate the single most critical task, on which her survival and future depends, to her staff and then have it delegated onwards and downwards to her IT network company then on to a dude who gets his tech advice from Reddit. Reddit has good clever people for sure but this indicates that Platte River Networks has a major internal comms constipation. Platte River Networks could have been worth millions and now the barnyard dog wouldn’t p!ss on them.

      Hillary Clinton and her whole team are inept. They have no concept of implementation and progress monitoring of critical task. They can’t even think to audit a key task delegation to manage an email system AND they are connected in a race to get her to be the next president of the USA!!! Hillary Clinton is not fit for purpose and neither are any of her staff. What klutzes.

      I guess Trump will just have to give her a public flogging for people to realize the ignorance of her position. I can see an illness coming on and Kaine making a desperate dash.

  17. temporal

    Oh to be young again and going school.

    I saved my homework on the web but Putin hacked it. Way more believable that the dog food story and like the Ds you can keep using it over and over again.

    Are you telling me that the government can say this but you don’t believe me or them? What kind of pinko are you?

  18. Ignim Brites

    “US-Russia plans on Syria ‘must be saved'”. With the refugee crisis threatening to deliver Germany to AfD and France to FN, not to mention aTrump victory here, it is clear that Obama’s policy could/will collapse the entire post WWII world order. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing although a chaotic collapse will be shall we say sub optimal. Now the administration is gearing up to create a whole other group of refugees from Mosul just to maintain the fiction that it’s Iraq policy hasn’t been a disaster. We are now in a situation where the left, right, and center wings of the US foreign policy estabilishment have failed spectacularly. Neither Clinton nor Trump appear to grasp this. The only thing the US can do is abandon all efforts to influence the middle east altogether, cease the fight against ISIS and Assad, withdraw completely from Afghanistan, recognize the state of Palestine without any commitment to the “peace process”, leave Libya to France, etc.

    1. Andrew Watts

      The collapse of any empire is always a messy process. I don’t blame Obama for the overall situation in any case. These events were set in motion by the 2003 invasion of Iraq launched by the Bush administration. Maybe even before that. In other words, imperial hubris followed by nemesis.

      It doesn’t pay to emulate Flavius Aetius to migrate the nastiest effects and consequences of the collapse in imperial power but everybody should know by now what else is coming even after Islamic State is a distant memory. It’s one of the reasons why the US forging a working relationship with Russia right now is so important. Otherwise there will be more war and refugees fleeing from war-torn countries.

      None of your solutions will work because you underestimate the chaos that’s already been unleashed and inflicted upon the international community. Don’t take that criticism too hard because I wish they would.

      1. Isolato

        Our empire has been in collapsing mode for a long time, possibly since the Vietnam War. It has less to do with individuals and more to do with vast forces of economics and demography. When the Vietnam War essentially “broke the buck” we had to resort to the Petrodollar which creates an artificial demand for the USD beyond our balance of trade. All our interventions in the ME can be seen as a desperate defense of this mechanism.

        Our current revitalization of the Cold War is several things…an attempt to deny Russia the energy markets, a new excuse for more military spending, a distraction from economic decline in the US (we can’t have nice things because…Rooskies!).

        Our Caligulas debate on Monday!

      2. Ignim Brites

        I don’t expect my solutions to “work”. The point is the US has no real national secuity interests in the Middle East, whereas Russia definitely does. Therefore, Russia American cooperation really will mean the US blessing Russian initiatives. To what end? So that a bunch of talking heads can feel important, can feel like the US is a world power, even worse can feel like the US is a world historical power?

  19. Kris Alman

    Sigh! Another example of a zero day exploit gone astray. Any guesses whether Cisco Systems and Fortinet Inc were aware of the “software flaws”?

    Surprised they aren’t blaming the leaked NSA hacking tools on Trump.

  20. Dave

    “They Are All Riding the Stagecoach to Hell”
    I love that wonderful old logo of the stagecoach, but when you see it, think
    “highway robbery.”

    I love going into my local Wells Fargo branch, looking around and grinning, then saying in a rather loud voice,
    “You know, the people running this bank should be in prison, don’t you agree?”
    A few silent nods from the overworked tellers then they break eye contact.

  21. Harry

    Can we crowd fund a “Between the ferns” with Zach and John Stumpf?

    Maybe if we took 5 years off his sentance?

  22. Brian Peters

    Tom Baxter served the federal Reserve with distinction for 36 years, virtually his entire career. How is this possibly corruption? There has been no revolving door to banks. Your labeling this as corruption is slanderous.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Paul Volcker took an only part time a private sector job and one that had nothing to do with banking when he left the Fed. Wolfensohn & Co was a small investment banking boutique that did not have banks as clients (I know Jim Wolfensohn from being a very junior person at Salomon; McKinsey considered using Wolfensohn on a particular assignment in 1985, and it was his lack of banking industry ties that was the appeal). At the FDIC, examiners must wait a full two years after leaving before being employed in the banking industry. General counsel of the New York Fed has far more power and knowledge than a lowly bank examiner. S&C is the most powerful de facto bank lobbyist with regulators thanks to Rodgin Cohen. Staffers at the NY Fed are better paid than officials at the Board of Governors, and Volcker had far more reason to cash out, since it was widely known his first wife was extremely sick for years and he was paying a lot of care costs beyond what insurance would cover on his not-very-generous Fed chair pay.

      As we documented in the AIG trial, Baxter, like Scott Alvarez, lied under oath. It also pretty certain that the NY Fed destroyed evidence. It claimed to be unable to find a critically important and as described by the former CEO of AIG, damning document. I don’t consider that to be honorable service.

      The charges stand.

    1. Plenue

      >Marcel Lazar, better known as the Romanian hacker “Guccifer.”

      Wait, when did this happen? The hacker isn’t Russian, what a surprise. I’m sure the rest of the media will go out of their way to advertise this fact.

    2. optimader

      In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender.

      “Once informed that the sender’s name is believed to be a pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: ‘How is this not classified?'” the report says. “Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email.”

      HRC: Yeah.

      BHO: Yeah.

      HRC: Who’s this?

      BHO This is Vinnie.

      HRC: Vinnie, what happened?
      BHO: Well we-…

      HRC: You get it straightened out?

      BHO: No, we had a problem… and uh, we tried to do everything we could.

      HRC: What d’you mean?

      BHO: Well, you what I mean. He’s gone, and we couldn’t do nothing about it.


      BHO: That’s it.


  23. allan

    Clinton server tech told FBI of colleagues’ worries about system [Reuters]

    A technician hired by Hillary Clinton to run the private email system she used while U.S. secretary of state told investigators he tried to pass on colleagues’ concerns that the system might not comply with records laws, FBI interview summaries show.

    Bryan Pagliano, the technician Clinton hired when she joined the State Department in 2009, told federal investigators he relayed the concerns to Cheryl Mills, then Clinton’s chief of staff.

    Mills, whose lawyer did not respond to requests for comment, has previously testified under oath she could not recall anyone alerting her to potential problems with Clinton’s email arrangement….

    That grant of immunity sure might come in handy.

  24. A4

    11:54 AM “All I’m really saying is that any action taken against Islamic State has the force of mutual defense treaties and international law behind it.”

    False. The proviso about compliance with the UN Charter means member states carrying out UNSC decisions put their forces at the disposal of the UNSC (Article 47.3), which determines actions to be taken (Article 48.1) and plans application of armed force (Article 46).

    The US tries to read any invocation of Chapter VII to mean everybody piles on in a free-for-all. That’s not collective action, that’s armed attack in manifest breach of the UN Charter.

    That’s the subtext of the UNSC’s emergency session. The UNSC can vote to refer US attacks to the ICC as aggression. The US would then have to decide whether to maintain its impunity with a veto. That would augment the pressure for UNSC reform. Or it might torque the UN to the point where a successor organization puts an end to veto impunity. That’s the long game of many UN member nations – and of the UN itself. US impunity has got to go, even if it takes the UN with it.

  25. JSM

    Re: united front of all the forces that are fighting

    Have been kicking around this idea ever since the elites in both parties rigged the Democratic primary in favor of HC, then created a hybrid monster that is supporting the present ‘Democratic’ candidate. (This is why you’re not up 50 points, H, not because you mouth untrustable leftleaning positions, but because every time you do, it leaks that ‘Poppy’ Bush, or some other worthy-to-be-tarred & feathered neocon failure, is planning on voting for you.)

    Saw in polls that 60% of Americans want a single-payer option. Neither ‘major’ party appears to support it. Something is very, very wrong here, not that NC readers don’t know that already.

    But perhaps Sanders was righter than he knew, when he observed that change never comes from the top. Perhaps it is time for a decentralized People’s Party to ‘magically’ (in fact, well organized via Internet) arise first at the level of local & state governments. I think Nader’s ‘Unstoppable’ may due be for a rereading; the coalition is already in place, the voters are already there; where do we start signing up candidates?

  26. fresno dan

    It’s a common sight on Japanese mass transit: Children troop through train cars, singly or in small groups, looking for seats.

    They wear knee socks, polished patent-leather shoes, and plaid jumpers, with wide-brimmed hats fastened under the chin and train passes pinned to their backpacks. The kids are as young as 6 or 7, on their way to and from school, and there is nary a guardian in sight.

    In Maryland, a mother was arrested for allowing a 9 year old to play in a park alone.
    How old does one have to be to ride a subway alone in New York?
    Kind of makes you wonder which is really the land of the free and the home of the brave…

      1. hunkerdown

        I remember reading that some number of chikan-shita charges are simply another form of discretionary power to exclude, to be used against inconvenient people, especially gaijin. Teenagers make bizarre sports out of dominating others, it seems in every culture.

  27. B1whois

    Quote from the Alternet article about the Nationwide prison strike. It’s a very good article by the way.

    are people incarcerated in order to mobilize their labor power inside prison, or to erase them from urban landscapes that are being gentrified into enclaves of race and class privilege?

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