Links 9/26/16

Blindfolded Clinton Invites Debate Coaches To Attack Her With Talking Points From All Sides Onion (David L)

Britain’s best embalmer: ‘I can rattle through eight people a day’ Guardian (J-LS)

From Bicycles To Washing Machines: Sweden To Give Tax Breaks For Repairs Slashdot (furzy)

The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism SpringerLink (Chuck L)

How climate science deniers can accept so many ‘impossible things’ all at once Guardian (Chuck L). A layperson-friendly recap of the preceding article.

Deep-sea volcano a hotspot for mysterious life Associated Press (Jon M)

Incentive malus : Poor scientific methods may be hereditary Economist (Dan K). We linked to a Slashdot recap yesterday.

Some cities are taking another look at LED lighting after AMA warning Washington Post (J-LS). Notice how they are worried only about humans? I hear birds start tuning up in Manhattan hours before sunrise, usually 3:30 AM. They are clearly getting messed up by the lights.

There’s too much drug blood on America’s hands to lecture Duterte South China Morning Post (J-LS)


Anyone Believe This? : Three-Quarters of UK’s CEOs Consider Moving Due to Brexit Michael Shedlock (EM)

5 takeaways from Britain’s Labour election Politico. Notice the one on a second referendum.

Brussels must fight and beat McDonald’s in the battle for tax justice Guardian

Barroso était déjà en contact étroit avec Goldman Sachs durant son mandat L’express

The French (primary) revolution Politico


US and Europe ramp up pressure on Russia over Syrian conflict Financial Times. Resilc: “Our jihadis must be getting their asses kicked.” Notice later headline: Russia accused of supporting ‘barbarism’ over Syrian conflict.

How the Pentagon sank the US-Russia deal in Syria – and the ceasefire Middle East Eye (resilc). Important.


Leaked Isis documents reveal what Muslims have been saying all along about Isis Independent (Jon M)

Britain accuses Russia of “war crimes” in Syria at bitter UN Meeting Telegraph. Selva: “What, no mention of America supplying the Saudis with white phosphorous bombs to drop on Yemeni civilians?”


81% 0f Americans oppose the $38 billion military gift to Israel Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

“HOW THE BORG SPENDS 36 HOURS IN TEXAS” by Michael Brenner Ph. D. Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

Syria as Metaphor Foreign Policy in Focus. Resilc flags this quote:

Ordinarily, all this roiling discontent could be contained by a well-functioning economy or by a set of foreign enemies to focus American enmity. But the election of a much-disliked president next year – take your pick – may well prove to be a tipping point. It doesn’t take much to turn a well-armed population into a mob.

And that, of course, is the ultimate nightmare for Turkey and Iran and Saudi Arabia and the United States – when Syria ceases to be a gloomy metaphor for what is happening outside its borders and becomes instead a grim reality.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How Hacked Cameras Are Helping Launch The Biggest Attacks The Internet Has Ever Seen Forbes (Lulu)

Why the Silencing of KrebsOnSecurity Opens a Troubling Chapter For the Internet Slashdot (furzy)

Malware Evades Detection with Novel Technique Threatpost (furzy)


Presidential Debates Will Be a Major Influence for a Third of Voters, Poll Says Wall Street Journal

Clinton camp dubs Trump a serial liar ahead of first debate Financial Times. Not a Presidential look.

A Turning Point in the US Presidential Campaign. What Happened? Strategic Culture Foundation (Chuck L)

Why Donald Trump Should Not Be President New York Times. Editorial. Wowsers. Not only did they endorse Clinton, but they had to make sure no one missed their memo.

When does early voting start in every state? Politico

Debate Commissioner Declares: ‘Mark Cuban Will Not Be Sitting In The Front Row Daily Bail (Judy B). As discussed in comments yesterday, the Trump campaign withdrew the invite to Flowers.

No Fortune 100 CEOs Back Republican Donald Trump Wall Street Journal. J-LS: “WSJ headline doubles as a serviceable DT campaign slogan.”

Scare stories will not stop populist insurrections Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times (Alan T). The big object lesson is the Brexit vote. Notice this conclusion:

This leads us to a third lesson: do not insult or provoke the voters. After the Brexit referendum, the losing side kept on pointing out that pro-Brexit supporters were older and on average less educated. Hillary Clinton’s infamous depiction of half of Mr Trump’s supporters as deplorable fits the same category. The more you insult the other side, the more you end up driving undecideds into their camp.

BARACK OBAMA AND DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: THE ULTIMATE EXIT INTERVIEW Vanity Fair. J-LS: “Vintage Obama: monumental self-regard, coupled with an almost clueless lack of self-awareness. He clearly believes his presidency has been a stunning success.”

What Will Michelle Obama Do After the White House? Vanity Fair. J-LS: “VF doubles down on the legacy craziness– not only do we have to endure the long wet kiss of the DKG “interview” w/ Barack, but have to suffer this tripe as well, served up by “Senior Hollywood writer” Julie Miller.”

Amid scrutiny, California to track all police use of force Seattle Times (Chuck L)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black-white wage gaps expand with rising wage inequality Economic Policy Institute

Black man in Baltimore calls police, ends up dying in hospital Slate (resilc)

In America, gun rights are for whites only Washington Post (resilc)

2nd Amendment/Open Carry vs Police “I feared for my life” Angry Bear (resilc). See final para.

Why Oil Prices Will Rise More And Sooner Than Most Believe OilPrice

What If The Oil Rebound Never Happens? OilPrice

Treasury Market’s Biggest Buyers Are Selling as Never Before Bloomberg

How many Wells Fargo employees were fired for NOT committing fraud? BoingBoing (resilc). Let’s hope this question comes up at the House Financial Services Committee hearings this week.

Guillotine Watch

10 obscene displays of wealth that shock average Americans MarketWatch (J-LS)

Class Warfare

How the Financing of Colleges May Lead to Disaster! New York Review of Books (Michael M. Thomas, Dr Brian)

Millions in U.S. Are Climbing Out of Poverty, New Data Show New York Times

Self-driving trucks threaten one of America’s top blue-collar jobs Los Angeles Times (resilc)

Antidote du jour (yahoo7):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. EndOfTheWorld

    Re: 81% of Americans oppose the $38 million military gift to Israel. Right on–I myself am definitely in the vast majority on this issue. IMHO the amount of this gift should be $0. Rather than establishing the state of Israel, IMHO in the aftermath of WW2, about 20% of Germany should have been whacked off and given to the the Jews as their homeland.

    As far as that goes, we could have given them 20% of North Dakota or South Carolina. They could have paid for it on lay-away. But we had no right to run the Palestinians off their land.

    1. Plenue

      I don’t know if that would have worked out better either. The fundamental problem with Israel isn’t that it exists, it’s that they decided to put it on land that was already inhabited by millions. If they had built it on some desolate no man’s land, no one would care. Building it on part of Germany would surely entail either relocating millions, or making the existing inhabitants citizens of Israel, which is clearly a no go for those who want an expressly Jewish state.

      1. Vatch

        Building it on part of Germany would surely entail either relocating millions

        So what? I can see why that would be a big problem in 2016, since most Germans responsible for the war and genocide are no longer alive. But why would it have been a problem in the late 1940s?

        1. hunkerdown

          Vatch, that’s a good point. Other than that people have some attachment to place, and the British Empire probably needed a self-esteem trophy, the Neubauten could have gone up anywhere.

        2. Procopius

          Excellent question. I’m not sure it would have been a problem, hatred of the Germans at that time was that great. And if you saw the photographs of the extermination camps Life Magazine published you might very well endorse the plan. On the other hand, the Great Right Wing was stoking up its criticism of Stalin for having relocated millions of people under conditions so harsh lots of them died. They might have felt a need to be somewhat consistent — although they never have been in other cases. Also our military wanted to be able to employ high ranking Nazis, especially in the “intelligence” sector but also in civil administration, and were largely anti-semitic too.

    2. evodevo

      You are correct about there not being any justice co-opting land the Palestinians had been on for 2000 years….however, there is no way Jews would have settled for anyplace but Israel. That was the whole point. “Next year in Jerusalem” doesn’t quite jibe with Fargo or Mannheim LOL …

    3. Jon Cloke

      Watch the Al Jazeera documentary ‘Nakba’ if you want to see the full horror of the displacement and witness (once again) the gutless treachery of we Brits..

  2. ProNewerDeal

    0bama’s legacy? Even worse than Bush43, or not as bad?

    The Grand Ripoff, TPP, dictator-killing US citizens in non-US territory without jucidial process, no prosecution of the 2008 GFC bank$ter criminals, NSA spying, increased income inequality, mediocre never-recovered 25-54 employment-to-population ratio (afaict the best employment index, better than the crapified U3 unemployment rate), likely the worst Type 1 Overqualified & Type 2 PT-yet-want-FT Underemployment since at least WW2
    Iraq & Afghanistan War, Sep 11 attack & failure to investigate the faction of Saudis that were lilkely involved, causing the 2008 GFC via not regulating house mortgage derivatives, meekly tried to privatize SS for a moment (not the massive passion of 0bama for the Grand Ripoff of SS), 2 extreme right-wing Scalia clone SCOTUS justices.

    How does 0bama compare to Reagan & Clinton? How do Reagan & his clones since then (1981-now) compare, who is the Lesser Evil or Sux The Least? How are the new model Reagan clones, HClinton & Trump, likely to act if elected?

    I am surprised when I read about the LB Johnson36 Admin. The Vietnam War & its draft was a horrible policy. OTOH, Johnson36 Medicare for 65+, Civil Rights Act, & Clean Air Act in 1 term. AFAICT both Clintons & 0bama sux ballz in a contrast with Johnson36. Yet I am seem in a minority derisively labeled by Hillary Hack types like Krugman as “unreasonable”, “unicorn-seeking”, or “far-left” for criticizing the Reagan clones Clintons & 0bama, while AFAICT it was a common opinion to bash Johnson36 for not being sufficiently left. I guess the Overton window has been shifted extremely to the right since 1968.

    1. Kokuanani

      The Vietnam War & its draft was a horrible policy.

      The Vietnam War, yes, horrible policy. The draft, not so much. It forced “the smartest guys in the room,” and their kids, to experience the effects of their “policy choices.” And it appeared on tv, reminding voters.

      Not too much of any of that going on now.

      I think the military was glad to get rid of the draft because it had made it harder to conduct wars. [Anyone recall “fragging”?] Now, at least theoretically, everyone who’s in the military wants to be there & fight — except, of course, for all those who sign up because there are no jobs.

      1. Bas

        I, for one, do not accept labor market slack as an excuse for joining the military.

        If war is an extension of politics, and the political environment is thoroughly corrupted, being trained for war is inherently objectionable.

        1. Bubba_Gump

          My boot camp in 1991 was full of kids taking advantage of the military as a way out of poverty, and there were older guys who’d failed at life and joined for some stability and income. People in those circumstances aren’t thinking of war, they’re thinking of economic survival, support for their families, and bettering themselves.

          1. nycTerrierist

            Imagine if we could have a WPA for people in those circumstances.

            Tragic that warz are the only option.

            We are ‘exceptional’ all right: an exceptionally sick and stupid society.

        2. Praedor

          How very posh and entitled of you.

          For many the military is the only way to get a job, get an education, obtain funding for college (GI Bill). Don’t you dare insult the integrity or morality of those who join, whether because they cannot see any other means to get even started on getting ahead OR those who join because, in spite of the political system being corrupt to the core, they believe in something bigger and see honor in serving (that was me…plus I got GI Bill out of it and that put me into grad school when I got RIF’d in the ’92).

          I WANT the draft back. I want it back with no exceptions, no deferrals. I want it to be automatic EVERY time the US enters into ANY military conflict (whether declared a war or “anti-terror campaign” or “police action”) that lasts more than 4 months in any 12 month period. I also want there to be be AUTOMATIC tax increases across the board to pay for ANY such military actions. No more rah-rah from the Easyboy in front of the TV or at the bar as dirtbags at home cheer the videogame war on the TV and then go back to their pizzas and beer. FUCK them.

      2. Fred

        “The Vietnam War, yes, horrible policy…”

        Really, the South Vietnamese deserved to be conquered by the communists in the North with backing of the USSR and China? How did they get treated by the enlightened communists after they lost their war?

        1. pretzelattack

          the ussr and china were often at odds, you might recall the war between north vietnam and china at the time. we didn’t go in there to protect the vietnamese, which is indicated by the fact we killed so very many of them. it wasn’t even 2 separate countries till after ww2 iirc, so it was more of a civil war than an outside invasion.

        2. Cry Shop

          Yes, they really needed Diem and the other even more corrupt dictators who wanted to keep a feudal land system intact.

          1. Optimader

            Shouldn’t that have been for the vietnamese to sort out? How did our “police aaction” improve life in Vietnam? Countless retention ponds?

            1. john

              Ho Chi Min and Mao were both Western educated.

              Like the North Korean Kim Jong line of leaders, since the first great leader at least… The last one was a film major.

              Oxford, I believe.

              Anyways, I find the US version of WWII quite sad. Firstly, we were killing Japanese aviators in 1936. The CIA ran a volunteer group of misfit aviators called the Tigers. They’re the ones who flew P-51 Mustangs with the mouth and eyes on the engine.

              Everyone knows them, but they don’t know what it means.

              China was divided between the five foreign imperial powers starting sometime in the 1800’s, after the Emperor fell under the sway of the Jesuits, being disaffected by his own courts machinations.

              US, UK, Germany, Russia, and … I forget. However, during the build-up to WWII China had a German military advisor called Von Faulken, who looked after their interests there.

              Oh, and Pearl Harbor? Right.

        3. John Zelnicker

          @Fred – Ho Chi Minh’s alliance with the USSR and China was one of convenience. He needed a “superpower” on his side to help overcome the colonialism of the French, first, and then the US. He was, more than anything else, a nationalist who mainly wanted Viet Nam to be unified and left alone by the imperialists.

          1. JoeK

            In the Vietnam war, Germany (via USSR/PRC) and England (via USA) supplied the competing ideologies, the USA and USSR (via PRC mostly) supplied the weapons, and the Vietnamese supplied the real estate and the vast majority of the flesh and blood, along with the Laos and Khmers.

            I highly recommend The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh.

        4. Yves Smith Post author

          Go watch the McNamara documentary, Fog of War. The notion that the North Vietnamese were stooges of the Chinese was US made-up in a paranoid vacuum. When McNamara organizes a very awkward dinner with his North Vietnamese enemies decades after the fact, someone finally asks him, “Why did you attack us?” McNamara basically said, “To check the expansion of Chinese communism.” The North Vietnamese almost leap across the table to strangle him in their outrage: “You understood nothing about our country and went to war? We spent 1000 years expelling the Chinese.”

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        The draft, not so much. It forced “the smartest guys in the room,” and their kids, to experience the effects of their “policy choices.”

        Um, “not so much.” george w. bush, as an example. What “the smartest guys in the room” got were deferments, and future government positions sending someone else’s kids to their deaths:

        Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, received five student draft deferments during the Vietnam War, the same number of deferments received by Vice President Dick Cheney, and later was disqualified from service because of asthma as a teenager.

        As for “wanting” to be “there” to “fight,” I think all the national guardsmen who signed up to play soldier once a month and possibly distribute supplies after hurricanes but wound up with four or five tours in Iraq might beg to differ.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Blame the mopes. Always an effective gambit. Divide and conquer.

          As to fragging, small example: the flight and line officers in my aviation unit traded the troops’ Class A rations to their buddies in the Air Force at the big base at Phu Bai (just down the road from My Lai). Traded such good food as we troops got off the great Cargo Planes, for cases of steaks and chickens out of the Special Supplies that arrived on refrigerated C-130s for the Few to enjoy, so they could have nightly barbecues (cooked and served and cleaned up after by the Troops, of course) in their separate but unequal compound.

          This went on for a couple of weeks, in concert with crackdowns on hair, boots and uniforms and other chickensh!t. One evening as the officers were boozing and wolfing down all that protein, someone lobbed 3 or 4 CS (riot gas) and a couple of brightly colored smoke grenades over the tents and into the middle of the festivities.

          ASround the same time, the company First Sergeant grabbed a bunch of the plywood we used for tent floors and made the Troops build him a very special personal “hooch,” insulated and with AIR CONDITIONING powered by the genset he also requisitioned which had powered the Troops’ tent area. Just the latest of many acts of stealing from the Troops for his and the NCOs’ benefit. Somehow, a riot gas grenade got included in the structure, with a bit of safety in place of the pin and a piece of fishing line out to a convenient point at the eaves. One hot night, somebody dropped a 3/8′” NAS aircraft bolt in the door hasp, turned off the generator and tugged that fishing line. Sorry, Sarge…

          A lot of harrumphing followed, and some spurious investigation, but they got the message and we Troops reverted to eating something other than Class B and C Rations, and other military BS strictures also loosened. This was in an aviation unit that worked pretty much 24/7 to keep the war machine in the air… “Thank you for your service…”

          1. Ivy

            My old neighbor Sgt. X said that the only reason that his second lieutenant was still alive and not fragged was that X couldn’t complete a trade for a grenade. Apparently those were in short supply, or somewhat restricted access, at his FOB.

        2. JohnnyGL

          The draft didn’t hit the real elites of society, but it did have an impact on the upper classes (10%ers, 20%ers, or whatever your preferred term). Those upper classes do have political influence. If they join up with working classes, then elites can’t govern and have to move their position.

        3. cwaltz

          Other examples include….Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump……

          It’s absurd for anyone to suggest that the “smartest guys in the room or their kids” suffered for policy decisions when you have so many deferrals in our group of policy makers( I didn’t include Clinton who didn’t serve or Reagan who had a deferral to serve overseas due to his eyesight and instead served in public relations in the US )

          Let’s be real here….all a draft will mean is more middle class families desperately scrambling for the money to buy their kids deferrals through college or any other means.

          1. jrs

            It’s obvious the elite don’t even get charged with crimes they already commit and yet we are supposed to believe that even though they are above the law, that laws like the draft will apply to them. Not likely.

            They could officially eliminate deferrals like college and probably would if the draft was ever reinstated, but the elite will find a way out regardless, or else at least find a way to get plush low risk positions in the military, while everyone else is cannon fodder.

            The reality is that policy positions are determined on the basis of what the elite want, and yet the elite are immune to many of the consequences. Meanwhile the propaganda line, the lie we are told, is that policy is made based on what the masses want, and that everyone suffers the consequences. Seldom true.

          2. neo-realist

            Let’s be real here….all a draft will mean is more middle class families desperately scrambling for the money to buy their kids deferrals through college or any other means.

            I suspect the college deferrals will be taken away (too much of a rich vs. poor conscript dichotomy) and many will hi tail it to the Canadian border in their SUV’s, Woodies and Bentley’s and deposit their kids in Canada.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Or do like a lot of the rich sh!ts I went to college with after “serving my country,” and get some Doctor to write out a diagnosis of knee injuries or whiplash or “piles” (I recall that was Limbaugh’s 4-F excuse) or “essential hypertension,” the latter being confirmed at the attempted induction physical by treating the patient to a mild overdose of caffeine and table salt.

              At least it was not like during the War if Northern Aggression, where the elite could just pay some schlub to take their dear boy’s spot, or just fork over money to the applicable brigade commander.

              Corruption and corrosion always prevail. Nothing is ever what it seems, or what we are told, or what we are led by the nose to believe.

        4. Praedor

          Joining the Guard or Reserves today isn’t protection any longer. They go full-hog into the war with everyone else. Also, we can fix the failures of the past draft and make it so there are NO DEFERRALS. Period. None. You name/number gets pulled, you go. Period. I don’t care if your name is Trump, Bush, Biden, or Schmo. You go when your name is called as a GRUNT.

      4. Plenue

        I keep seeing this argument, and it seems like nonsense. The rich have always weaseled their children out of military service, or at least gotten them cushy reserve and national guard gigs. And the US had no problem engaging in any number of Imperialist ventures with a drafted army well before Vietnam.

        And I’ll reiterate what I’ve said before: you require me to be prepared to murder for my country, that’s the day I leave my country. I won’t be anyone’s grunt.

    2. Cry Shop

      the real Obama view on Civil Rights…

      “American Samoans are the only people born on US soil who are denied birthright citizenship. Five people from the island territory are suing the federal government, arguing that this deprivation violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship to “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Last year, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the American Samoans. The plaintiffs are now appealing to the Supreme Court.

      On the opposite side is the Obama administration, which urged the Supreme Court not to take the case in a brief earlier this month. In doing so, the government offered a full-throated endorsement of a set of Supreme Court rulings known as the Insular Cases, which are notorious today for espousing antiquated ideas about colonialism and white supremacy.”

      Not just citizenship, but also to deny Samoan (US) military vets VA care, and coverage under PPACA (Obamacare). The man was raised in Hawaii, but on the side of the railroad tracks that mixed class and semi-permeable race bigotry, he most definitely is not comfortable with his own skin.

    3. Pavel

      To your otherwise excellent list of Obama’s failings, I’d add a few more:

      * Failure to prosecute the Bush era war crimes and investigate torture. This in itself is against International Law.
      * Failure to close Gitmo as he promised endlessly during the campaign. Would that he had spent as much time on that as he did pushing the TPP
      * The complete ACA/ObamaCare clusterf*ck
      * Spinelessness with regard to the military — approving the “upgrade” of the nukes at a cost of $1 trillion +
      * Cave-ins to Israel and the Saudis

      He really does seem oblivious to his failings… there is a touch of the narcissist in Obama as well, and perhaps a lack of intelligence. He sure was good at those speeches in 2008, however.

    4. Buttinsky

      Why isn’t the presidency most parallel to Obama’s that of James Buchanan?

      With economic catastrophe continuing to brew — increasing inequality even as the financial elite get richer and more powerful (and less concerned with the rabble they rule over), an outrageously expensive health care system that provides precious little of actual care, and climate change looming over all — Obama’s support of the bankster class, his Rube-Goldberg healthcare plan designed to keep insurers solvent, and his faux-environmentalism look like nothing so much as Buchanan’s desperate attempts to mollify slaveholders as the country barrelled towards a war everybody knew was coming.

    5. Adam Eran

      According to William K. Black, in response to financial / political corruption, over the administrations’ protests during Reagan & Bush 41, the S&L regulators filed 30,000+ referrals for criminal prosecution, and actually prosecuted 1200+ cases with a 90% conviction rate. They got some big fish, too (e.g. Mike Milken, Charles Keating).

      Fast forward to the 70-times-larger sub-prime/derivatives meltdown–arguably one of the biggest crimes in human history–and how many referrals for criminal prosecution from the Obama administration’s regulators (admittedly decimated by the tender ministrations of Bush 43)?…

      Zero. Obama’s Justice Dept. has prosecuted a few more than a dozen malefactors, all small fish.

      …And the rest of what you mention…all that makes Obama the Harrison II of presidents…corrupt and ineffective.

      About LBJ: worth looking into is Robert Caro’s biography. The Means of Ascent volume describes LBJ’s move from congress to the Senate. It’s the pattern for all Karl Rove does now, just as Edmund Muskie showed the way for austerians. It’s why Chomsky says Nixon was the last liberal president, despite subsequent D’s.

      I’ll agree Civil Rights & Medicare were very good things LBJ did, despite the evil way he got to the top.

      Muslims describe “Nafs” (“False ego”) as the way such opportunist scum rise to the top. Tell them their government is bad, and Muslims will say “What do you expect? Nafs!” …

      I’d say we’ve got a similar phenomenon. NC calls it “crappification”…

      1. Plenue

        Nixon was our last president period. He was actually held accountable for crimes. Once Ford pardoned him the position became that of an elected Emperor, completely above the law.

  3. timbers

    How the Pentagon sank the US-Russia deal in Syria – and the ceasefire Middle East Eye (resilc). Important. “Obama had overridden Carter’s objections at the time, but a New York Times story filed the night of 13 September reported that Pentagon officials were still refusing to agree that the US should proceed with the creation of the Joint Implementation Centre if the ceasefire held for seven days.” Disobeying the Commander and Chief. Must be nice. What most struck me when this happened is Russia asking in public at the U.N. “Who’s in charge – the White House or the Pentagon?” As they say in Harry Potter “If you have to ask you’ll never know. If you know you need only ask.”

    1. Pat

      Oh, I think we know the answer to Russia’s question. First that the Pentagon had the audacity to call the Times, but then to actually scuttle things in an embarrassing and reckless manner…

      Mostly because the logical response to both those things was to order the biggest dick in all this to the White House and make him wait to see the President. Meanwhile dispatch people to his office, kick out his aides and secretary, confiscate all files and computers and pack up anything personal. Once the office is secure, call in said dick and note that he was being ordered by his Commander in Chief to take responsibility for the insubordination of the officers who spoke to the press AND the incompetence of the troops who endangered this agreement by breeching it either by resigning his commission or by accepting an immediate transfer to the smallest most inconsequential posting in the American military. Effective immediately.

      But that is just me.

      1. JTMcPhee

        But… But… that would impair the dick’s CAREER, and give a few other General Officers and sub-mutinous Colonels a few shivers and Sads…

        Commander in Chief, my arse. Once again, the behavior is egregious, the analysis and prescription to push reality closer to the myths of our “democracy,” but what was the last stage instruction in “Waiting For Godot”? Oh yeah: “They do not move.”

      2. timbers

        And sadly it appears many (more) civilians will die because of this military insubordination: Reports are that Syria, Iran, and Russia are preparing for what (IMO) they should have done months ago – retaking Aleppo, which won’t happen w/o many deaths (unless the U.S. backed terrorists cut and run). But they’re already damaged the water supply to hundreds of thousands of civilians out of spite, per reports.

        Never. Trust. The Americans. Can’t be said often enough.

        1. Plenue

          Who damaged the water supply? The SAA/Russia? And supplied to where? Because the rebels only hold part of eastern Aleppo, where at most about 30,000 people remain. There’s no way Syria would allow the destruction of water to its own territory, and there simply aren’t hundreds of thousands of people left in the rebel held area.

    2. Emma

      Who would have thought?! It’s the noble enchilada! The right angle of the Pentagon have formed their own little Durruti Column! No cat-stroking with an evil glint in their eye. No getting stuck in a puddle of puppy drool. And no hammering of smart phones with an olive branch. With much wisdom, they simply dress up like Sir Gawain, grab their shields with shining gules, and guard against evil with good deeds and rules. As Winston Churchill once said “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

  4. Bas

    Wrt climate change science – I don’t think there are many people left who deny that ‘climate change is happening because of greenhouse gas emissions’. As a matter of fact climate change often happens due to emissions of CO2, methane et al. The earth’s atmosphere was formed from those emissions, and geology attests many instances of emission-induced thermal changes. So that’s a straw man.

    There has always been climate change on this planet. Much of it caused by emissions, whether it is from microbial activity or human development.

    There is no objective reason to distinguish between those causes, even if it renders rational man a level of perceived control over his actions.

    Emphasize ‘perceived’.

    1. pretzelattack

      the objective reason is because it shows that we are causing the climate the change this time, as i understand it.

      1. Praedor

        Worse than that. WE are the primary cause this time and it is occurring at a rate that is higher than at any time in the past when the cause was entirely NOT manmade. Plus it’s not just heating that is the problem. Ocean acidification is a parallel and just as disastrous side effect of human emissions. We aren’t content enough with making the dry surface unlivable for anything like us, we are hell-bent on making the ocean unlivable for anything except bacteria too.

        Even if there were no warming, killing the oceans is guaranteed to kill us so we’re getting it from both ends. Killing the land and killing the oceans we REQUIRE to live.

        This is all on us. As is our forthcoming extinction.

        Good riddance.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Regarding climate change, I’m going to get personal here for a minute, because I think it’s illustrative.

      I know two people, both with Masters degrees (one in business, one in engineering) that both don’t believe that humans are causing climate change. So this isn’t a matter of refuting science, both think the government is lying to them.

      My takeaway….

      1) Propaganda works. It’s not just working on the uneducated. It’s especially effective when the goal is to muddy the water on an issue (especially a complex one).

      2) Trust is a big issue. The government does so much lying on other subjects, it’s hard to establish credibility on this one. We on the left agree about the lying, but disagree on which things are being lied about.

      2b) This is somewhat tangential, but I think that today’s levels of inequality are impossible to establish without first destroying the trust in a society. Inequality is unsustainable and unjustifiable unless it’s built on lies or force. USA needs a combination of lies and force (especially to keep lies from being exposed) to keep it in place and extend it further.

      1. vidimi

        viewed another way, the idea that humans can change 99.9% of the earth’s surface; cut down 90% of the planet’s trees, extract and burn hundreds of millions of years of fossil fuels in a century and much, much more, without having an impact on the earth’s climate is completely, irredeemably loony.

        1. JohnnyGL

          That’s a valid point that I don’t think people always comprehend. Lots of talk of fossil fuels, and rightly so. However, land use changes are pretty heavily underrated as a source of climate change. So little discussion in the media of re-foresting areas of land that have been heavily abused.

        2. paul

          I’m a bit leery over climate change because it seems to have crowded out all other environmental issues, to have become a sort of coralled,free speech zone.

          The other aspect is, whatever side you are on, nothing of significance is actually being done.

          1. vidimi

            that’s why i hate both terms, climate change and global warming. they make it sound so passive when, in reality, they are caused by our actions. chief among them, i would say, is deforestation. plants do, after all, photosynthesize carbon (during the day) and put it into the ground, among a myriad of other of useful things that they do.

            1. subgenius

              Call it what it is:

              Environmental terrorism

              Thus a valid response would be to mobilize and face this threat with responses similar to those used against other acts/agents of terrorism.

            2. vidimi

              musing over the article about LEDs disrupting birds’ circadian rhythms, could they possibly be used to trick plants into photosynthesizing at night? it could be tried in urban green areas if so.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I agree with your points 1 and 2 but remain unsure about 2b.

        I was appalled by the article “‘Alice in Wonderland’ Mechanics”. I it is not representative for what passes as insight in the scientific community. Why is it necessary to coin a new term “coherence” for a concept as old as Sophocles? Why not stick with good old fashioned “consistent/inconsistent”? It works fine for mathematics and philosophy. The term coherence suggests a process of arriving at a consensus to arrive at truth — the 97% of scientists agree meme. What is important is the consistency of the evidence and its interpretation. Consensus requires a trust of others which has been consistently undermined by the community we are expected to trust. As I recall the argument “weather forecasters cannot predict next week’s weather, so how can they possibly predict climate over the next century” was made by made by weather forecasters. NOAA is onboard with climate change now but I have heard one of their meteorologists raising this objection only a handful of years ago.

        Further this notion of consensus carried with the baggage of a term like coherence fits all too well to the “with higher values within the range of consensual IPCC estimates” statement. The IPCC acts as a political filter to construct an official consensus. The climate feedback mechanisms which alarm Hansen aren’t modeled in the official models. [Reading about the denialist argument 1.3.2 I noted the statement: “more than 90 % of the warming observed during the glacial-interglacial followed the increase in CO2”. If our present warming can be attributed to human contributions to CO2 — this evidence of a lag in CO2 increasing following temperature change should set off a few alarm bells. To me this is at least a strong suggestion that the feedbacks Hansen and others argue for further increasing CO2 as our climate warms are represented in this evidence from the past.]

        As the author reviews various arguments climate deniers make — revealing their logical inconsistencies in the process — how did the author fail to miss the obvious observation that logic had nothing to do with the denials. Many people seem unable to make or logical arguments or to follow a process of argumentation to discover truth or even their own feelings and motivations. I’ve found few people I can argue with without triggering their yelling and after the argument grudges. The concept of argumentation seems generally lost from our public consciousness. The quality of discourse in our politics and the entertainments the media call news do little to improve matters.

        The denial 1.3.5 just happens to coincide with some of the predictions scientists were making a decade or so before they discovered global warming. The Archdruid has pointed this out in several of his writings. Most of the rest of the denial arguments the paper reviews have become denialist hot chestnuts repeatedly and widely showing up on blog pages discussing Global Warming. Half the time it’s hard to tell whether they originate from true-believer denialists or Internet trolls.

        Finally the author struggles toward insight into denialism in sections 1.4 and 1.5 — but unfortunately continues with his notions of “coherence” and “healthy debate” or “scientific diversity”. Truth in science is a matter of the evidence — not coherence — not healthy debate and lack of agreement is no part of some evolution of thought suggested by a term like “scientific diversity”. Consistency of conclusions based on carefully interpreted evidence drives the scientific method — NOT coherence. There was coherence and agreement in the scientific community of the time regarding Aristotle’s science. Finally in section 1.5 the author discovers the deliberate agnotology “supported by the injection of considerable funds by vested and political interests”.

        I am especially underwhelmed by the shallowness of the conclusion reached by this paper: “There is considerable evidence that the rejection of (climate) science involves a component of conspiracist discourse.” There is a curious conspiracist component to the authors ideas of a “rational activity” motivated by political reasons and with considerable political coherence. That sure sounds like a conspiracy to me.

        This paper didn’t discover much to explain why so many people cling to denialist arguments. It doesn’t explain the relationship between this need in people and the agnotology machinery cranking out arguments for people to clasp at. It doesn’t do much to explore why people should so mistrust science that denialists can wrap their heads around the idea that climatologists are in a giant conspiracy to gather up research funds. It doesn’t explore the problems of horrible writing combined with unnecessary jargon and obfuscation characteristic of too much of the scientific literature which turns Global Warming into a matter for faith in the wise men of science instead of faith in our own abilities to reason and interpret the evidence.

        1. pretzelattack

          the evidence is overwhelming. that’s why so many people doing the science agree with the conclusions. it’s not a beauty contest or a popularity contest, though deniers often like to portray it as such.

          if by “community we are expected to trust” you refer to scientists.what have they gotten wrong? they have been too conservative, but that is because the feedback mechanisms have been improperly understood, not because the basic science behind the greenhouse effect is wrong.

          the ipcc is not acting as a political filter–the scientists that disagree with the consensus just aren’t producing alternative explanations in papers. if they ever do, there is no evidence that those papers will be suppressed..

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            You are correct — “the evidence is overwhelming.” That’s why I don’t like substituting a term like “coherence” for consistency. That’s why I object to referring to scientific controversy — usually arguments about how to interpret evidence — as “healthy debate” or “scientific diversity”.

            Your second point ignores the place of climate scientists as party of the larger community of scientists. “With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3…” [Water Cooler 9/22/2016 from “The Intellectual Yet Idiot” [Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Medium].

            I fully agree with you that the science behind the greenhouse effect is NOT wrong and the scientists “have been too conservative.” However I don’t think the feedback mechanisms have been improperly understood. I believe they are not well understood yet and many of the details of when and how much feedback to expect remain undetermined. But large amounts of methane release are already in evidence.

            I’m not entirely clear what you intend with your assertion the IPCC is not a political filter. Recall the most recent Hansen paper was presented to the public before it went through full peer review. The peer review process normally takes around four years (I think I heard this at [] in the April 11, 2016 podcast Paul Street & Kevin Hester – Episode 37 — Kevin Hester in the second hour of the podcast.) Hansen’s group believed the evidence in their paper could not wait for four years in review. They had strong indications the rate of increase in global temperature was accelerating at a polynomial or many in the group feared an exponential rate. The paper went through an extremely rapid peer review of 9 months and published. The polynomial or exponential rate in the initial paper was change to read as a much alarming “nonlinear”. I am making the guess many of those peers are the same peers that tone down the statements of the IPCC and for whatever reason decided to leave the feedbacks out of the models for worst case change predictions. I said nothing about suppressing papers. The IPCC makes sure of the “careful wording” of the findings it reports.

            As for my stance on Global Warming — I am alarmed by the changes in the climate I can already see happening around me.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              Error just caught near tail — “change to read as a much alarming “nonlinear”.

              This should be “changed to read as a much LESS alarming ‘nonlinear'”.

            2. pretzelattack

              um there have been problems in science, but not in climatology–the so called climategate was a fraud, for example. i haven’t seen the term “coherence” used, but i have seen “consilience”–wide ranging support from different branches of science. there is a like amount of agreement on the theory of evolution.

              the debate within science is not about whether co2 lags, i believe that particular denier talking point was laid to rest long ago. the debate is between politically or financially motivated forces and scientists.

              people weren’t leaving feedbacks out of models for political reasons; they just aren’t well understood yet.

              1. Jeremy Grimm

                I said nothing about climategate. I did suggest the Science Community has helped undermine its credibility with the public. The Pharma scandals taint the credibility of all scientists not just scientists working on drug research.

                I suggested the CO2 lags were probably good evidence from the past for the feedbacks apparently kicking in now and evident in the methane releases in the Arctic. Yes forces in politics and finance drive climate denial. BUT how and why has such nonsense be able to gain so much traction with the American public? The author of this paper didn’t get too far into those questions which seem of far more of concern than walking the dog through all the climate denial fallacies.

                All right– the feedbacks aren’t well understood. I think what I wrote above makes that point. Like you I can only speculate on the reasons they might not show up in the IPCC models.

      3. Jeotsu

        My experience is that many “smart” deniers of climate change are engineers. I think it’s because their training has taught them that all “real” problems in the world can be solved with a (small) set of known equations. And solved to a high and predictable precision.

        “Messy” systems like climate change (or anything biological/medical/ecological) are not real science in their eyes because they cannot be 100% simulated & calculated. And because climate science is therefore not ‘real’ (and because the implications of climate change if real is distressing in that it would force them to stop driving their cars) it can be denied/ignored.

        I’ve pretty much literally been told by such engineering-deniers that until we can model the climate with 100% accuracy into the arbitrarily distant past and future, they won’t believe in climate change. I have also have noticed that when making this argument they mainly reference climate models form the 70s and 80s, and studiously ignore that fact that with better measurements, models and increasing computational grunt we’re getting *much* better modeling results now.

        1. Plenue

          I’m reminded of the Salem Hypothesis:

          “In any Evolution vs. Creation debate, a person who claims scientific credentials and sides with Creation will most likely have an Engineering degree.”

          Engineers aren’t scientists. Scientists discover things, engineers use that knowledge that make something useful. It’s possible to be both an engineer and a scientist, but there aren’t as many of those types.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Engineers make useful stuff like nuclear weapons, F-35s, autonomous vehicles including battlefield killers and crowd control, the IoT, Roundup and the GMO crops that go with it, etc. Oh, I’m sure that engineers do what ordinary folks would consider “good,” too…

      4. jrs

        1) I think I recall studies of formally educated people being even more at risk of succumbing to propaganda, so maybe “not just working on the uneducated” doesn’t make much sense.
        2) yea but it’s not just the government, it’s scientists, who admittedly don’t have a perfect record either but not as bad as the government’s.

  5. Steve H.

    RIP Bill Mollison.

    I was in High School, hunting & gathering in the university bookstore, and I ran across a couple of brilliant, odd books called Permaculture I and Permaculture II. I still remember the feeling of looking at the picture of a compost pile with cardboard, holes cut for sproutlings, and the shock when I read it could eat bluejeans in a week. A genius and a guardian. Changed my life.

    1. clarky90

      Rest in Peace, Permaculture Man

      I am building hugelkultur beds in my front and back yards right now.

      I grew up near Moundsville in Southern Ohio. There is something primordial about a mound. A mound that sprouts cabbages and horseradish (and much more); an absolute miracle!

    2. meeps

      His genius changed my life, too, Steve H. For the better. News of his death wrecked me for awhile this weekend, but I’m planting some trees and shrubs in his honor. Peace.

      1. Patricia

        Friendly people in yesterday’s combox offer explanations, if you actually need them. Cordiality points you there. Unwillingness to accept their generosity would be patronizing of you. Spiritually yours….

  6. Steve C

    Guns are white identity tokens. That said, guns wouldn’t have such a hold on white people if the Democrats hadn’t abandoned the working class.

    1. temporal

      Where I grew up, guns were things used to put wild meat on the table and hopefully scare off a very rarely seen predator. The identity thing seems to have arisen from guys who think a poorly-armed militia can stop a well-armed army, or for that matter even a burglar. Not very likely, contrary to all the popular entertainment that shows otherwise.

      1. jgordon

        Please explain to the Taliban that it’s impossible for them to resist with their small arms, and so they should just lay them down and submit to the empire. Let’s ignore the tiny quibble that the Taliban has already defeated the US.

        As for guns not being protection from burglars, that’s a rather foolish thing to say. I only have to find one counter example to disprove that statement, and at least in the non-state run alternative media that I enjoy such examples are abundant.

        What your “analysis” ignores is that the empire itself is sclerotic, schizophrenic, and incompetent. Widespread possession of small arms is simply a necessary condition for resisting tyrannical, non legitimate regimes–which is why this right was enshrined the document that chartered the US. Yes, I can find quotes from the folks who wrote this document that that was the reasoning behind the 2nd Amendment.

        1. jrs

          The U.S. military etc. probably only has moderate interest in eliminating the Taliban. That’s not the official line, but the real goals seldom are.

          If it was something they really needed to suppress like a revolution to overthrow the U.S. government, they would, although things could get pretty chaotic in the meantime.

          1. Praedor

            No. If it ever got that bad here, it’s game over (for them).

            First, you suppose that all those soldiers will willingly and happily go about shooting and bombing their own brothers, sisters, cousins, neighbors, friends, etc. Their PEOPLE…not some brown “other” as in all other wars of modern time.

            Second, if things were that bad here, the economy would go to shit. Full clogged toilet shit. Plus the land area of the US is MUCH greater than Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, where the US has had no ability whatsoever to win. Hell’s bells, the military hasn’t managed to win any wars since…Panama or Grenada and those don’t even count. Those were done to try and put a win in the US military column to counteract the mega loss of Vietnam.

        2. Plenue

          It’s a well known fact that the Afghani Mujahideen became vastly more effective once the US started supplying them with Stinger missiles to take out Soviet helicopters. We saw the exact same thing recently in the battle around the Artillery Academy complex in southern Aleppo City, where the fight was significantly prolonged because the jihadis were equipped with MANPADs that made it too dangerous for Russian and Syrian helicopters to operate in the area.

          In the absence of a foreign government supplying your little insurgency with more than rifles and shotguns, your revolt will be short and bloody.

          1. hunkerdown

            Plenue, also, domestic governments have been known to unwillingly supply insurgents with arms, allowing insurgents to lever up.

            But without compulsory military service, most Americans wouldn’t know which end is the business end.

        3. hunkerdown

          resisting tyrannical, non legitimate regimes

          No, jgordon, just resisting uppity slaves and serfs lest they frag massa.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I remember during the Rodney King riots here many years ago, Korean Americans armed themselves in Korea Town to protect their stores.

        May have something to do with being in a conscript army back home.

        These days, the danger can come from many angles – stabbing, beating up the victim, shooting and bombing.

        1. jgordon

          Yeah, these rubes thinking that guns are the problem so they want to ban guns or “put common sense restrictions” on guns. They just have no idea. I am so, so thankful that “guns” is the worst thing these idiots committing mass violence can come up with. If they were to have get just the tiniest bit creative their effectiveness would multiply ten-fold at least.

      3. subgenius

        This shitshow can be dropped in short order, no small arms necessary. All it takes is insight and a little imagination.

        1. hunkerdown

          subgenius, as the Dude once said, “that, and a pair of testicles.” An underground boxing club would really, really help, as there are a lot of switches to be thrown at once.

  7. fresno dan

    81% 0f Americans oppose the $38 billion military gift to Israel Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

    I see where Netanyahu meets with Clinton and Trump.
    Although the right incessantly yammers about political correctness, is there anything more politically correct than US presidential candidates having to genuflect to Israel? Is there a US state that has more influence in the US election than Israel???
    And of course, another example of our vaunted “democracy” somehow AGAIN managing to do something that the overwhelming majority opposes….

    FROM NBC news:
    Clinton supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She has worked with Israeli leaders during her time as a first lady, senator and secretary of state. In a November 2015 op-ed in the American-Jewish newspaper The Forward, she pledged to invite Netanyahu to the White House within her first month in office if she became president.

    Trump said in a February town hall that he would be a “neutral guy” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to broker a deal. However, he backed away from that stance in March and told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that the Palestinians “must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.”

    Ah yes, fearless Trump starts out neutral and than decides to toe the line…

    In a November 2015 op-ed in the American-Jewish newspaper The Forward, she pledged to invite Netanyahu to the White House within her first month in office if she became president – – AND appoint Jonathan Pollard US ambassador to Israeli and pledged that she would maintain a direct AOL account with Pollard….(OK, the part about Pollard is sarc….OR is it???)

    1. Pavel

      As far as I can tell, during recent presidencies these are the top priorities:

      * Appeasing Israel & selling/giving them arms
      * Appeasing the Saudis & selling them arms
      * Actual US interests…?

    2. John Wright

      I remember Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s fundraiser in Israel.

      If any Presidential candidate held a fundraiser in almost any other country that would have been damaging to their campaign.

      Maybe Monaco, San Marino or Canada would have been ok, but Vatican City, France, England, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Mexico or Italy would have been bad optics..

    3. Ancient1

      This arms agreement was Obama’s gift to Iseral to compensate for his treaty with Iran, Quite a pound of flesh to pay. Obama is not doing the American people any favors during these last months of his administration. Add his trade deals,, his lack of control over the Pentagon and his illegal actons in the Middle East all add up to. “I will do what I want to do and the Hxxl with the rest of you. Nothing will stand in my way for a great place in history.” What a great failure and dissappointment this man is to me.

  8. Unorthodoxmarxist

    Corbyn should lead the charge to de-select his opponents now, rather than later, because they will never accept his leadership or that of the left in Labour. If he brought down the ax now and encouraged Momentum and his supporters to do so, he would either force the split that will eventually come or he will de-select enough MPs that Labour will be controlled by its left-wing in Parliament as well as in the membership base.

    As Machiavelli writes in The Prince:

    “The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don’t just go away, they are only postponed to someone else’s advantage. Therefore, they made war with Philip and Antiochus in Greece, in order not to have to fight them in Italy… They never went by that saying which you constantly hear from the wiseacres of our day, that time heals all things. They trusted rather their own character and prudence — knowing perfectly well that time contains the seeds of all things, good as well as bad.”

  9. Otis B Driftwood

    In re: Millions in U.S. Are Climbing Out of Poverty, New Data Show

    The 1.2% decline in poverty lines up with last week’s reported improvement in household income, no?

    It’s hard not feel good about stories like these.

    I have a few cousins who are union carpenters and I’m happy for the young man from So. Central who worked his butt off to get that union job. And yes, my cousin has told me that non-union workers are the bane of the trades. But who do you blame for that, the people fleeing poverty to find work or the developers and GCs who cynically exploit them with impunity?

    And who, do you think, better connects to union carpenters and sheet metal workers and electricians right now?

    Nevertheless, I found plenty of comments astride this article arguing that democrats are responsible for any improvement in the lives of working people. “It could have been better had Obama not been blocked at every turn by republicans!” is a common refrain.

    In fact, while it is certainly true that the democrats are much better than the only alternative in our duopoly, that’s the only thing you can say. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a full-throated defense of unions coming out of the mouths of our current crop of democrats. And with 43 million Americans (including 14 million children) still living below the poverty line, can it really be said that this is a top priority for anyone in government?

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Oh, and I sadly noted that the current definition of poverty in America for a family of 4 is $24,250.

      … sigh

    2. fresno dan

      Otis B Driftwood
      September 26, 2016 at 9:04 am

      As you note, the Census figures on the biggest increase in income EVAH, that was demolished in the comments just recently.
      Too much Swonk and American Enterprise Institute for me to believe the article is all that balanced. As a friend always says “Figures lie and liars figure” – way too much Chamber of Commerce booster-ism and “We’re number 1!”
      even though we are not close to being number 1 in so MANY things.

      Really, what is it in the American psyche that insists on saying that we are number 1 when it is demonstrably untrue?

    3. justanotherprogressive

      Do you actually believe those number? I’ve noticed that most of our government agencies have this habit of giving you one set of numbers first, then quietly downgrading them later.
      For instance, last week’s numbers about “improvement in household income” are being challenged over and over by economists like this one:
      As for poverty levels? Currently the poverty level for a family of 2 adults and 2 children is $23,283. One parent working at $8.00/hr full time and the other working at $8.00/hr part time will put the family over the “poverty level”, but they still won’t have enough money for food or housing…..
      I don’t think that fantastic 1.2% decrease in the “poverty level” has any actual meaning at all….

      1. temporal

        When the neolibs at Brookings disagree with the conveniently timed election influencing narrative of how the economy, after eight years is finally showing positive results, we might guess there could be issues.

        Lots of economically oriented people have pointed out that the methodology changed last year. Notice how much the apple and kumquat have in common. If you can’t fix it change how it’s defined. Worked for unemployment.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “I am not happy.”

          “Not after I just changed the definition of happiness.”

          Now, everyone is happy.

  10. temporal

    Silencing KrebsOnSecurity proves what a lot of people that understand technology have been say all along. The IoT, with it’s lack of concern for security was a monumentally stupid idea. Being able to check the status of your fridge from the office might be useful if it lost power to it but then those IoT gizmos wouldn’t be talking much.

    So now, because greed always defeats planning, the DoS clubs have real power.

    In the comments a there are recommendations that people secure the systems they have at home but most IoT owners would have no idea how to do that. Nor will they ever know whether their innocent looking light bulb is a part of the inner tubes mafia.

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      Great comment.

      Hardly anyone patches firmware on things like home routers and cameras, except perhaps the hardest core geeks. Handing out internet-enabled devices like candy is a recipe for chaos.

      Of course, there is always the “it’s a feature not a bug” angle. Anything that makes the governments’ job (spying on us or taking out pesky sites like NC that question things like the TPP) easier is a “win” to the Soros or Gates crowd.

  11. Uahsenaa

    On the positive side, I think this interview might be the first time Doris Kearns Goodwin produced something that wasn’t largely cribbed from someone else’s work. So, good for her!

  12. RabidGandhi

    Re: Leaked Isis documents reveal what Muslims have been saying all along about Isis [Independent]

    A good case of editorial malfeasance at the Independent, in this case a master class on why editors should actually read the article before deciding on layout.

    Aside from the point of the article, duly revealed in the headline, we get this tidbit

    Unlike Omar Mateen, the Orlando attacker, [Nice attacker Mohamed] Bouhlel did not make a public declaration of allegiance to Isis, much less prove he had direct ties to extremists in the war zone. Still, the group was quick to claim both as foot soldiers.

    But a mere two paragraphs above, the editors have included a handy map of “Recent ISIS-inspired Attacks in Europe… Showing successful and thwarted attacks inspired by ISIS in Europe….”

    So basically, the article’s authors are saying: “look, ISIS isn’t what it’s being marketed as: the leaks show that foreign recruits know squat-all about Islam, and furthermore, most of the attacks in the West have tangential relationships to ISIS at best”. Even so, the Independent’s editors contradict this by labelling a map of attacks as “ISIS-inspired”, so that they can continue to blow ISIS out of proportion. And this is huge because far more people will look at the map than will read the entire article to see the contradiction.

    Either way, the Western media continues to be ISIS’s best friend. ISIS is the pufferfish of the GWOT, eternally exagerating its threat but there’s really little meat there. Their only hope for survival is to find an amplifier in the press to help recruitment. Yet even when the Independent runs an article showing the Emir has no clothes, the paper’s editorial staff has to undermine the truth-telling with a stupid map.

  13. paul

    Re: 5 takeaways for corbyn.
    Any article that suggests media whores like umunna or scolds of the downtrodden such as reeves are heavyweights must either be ignorant of their abilities or partial to their blairite positions.
    The plp seem completely unmoved by the result of their farcical attempt to deselect the members’ choice of leader.
    They will not change because they cannot change.
    They’ll have few days off trying to work out how to frustrate corbyn, hog tying him with an oppositional cabinet, blowing smoke over antisemitism and briefing against him.

    1. Unorthodoxmarxist

      Corbyn should push to de-select the PLP coup plotters now, while he has a fresh mandate. They will not stop trying to sabotage him and it is a perfect point at which to split or push them out, and take the party for the Left, 3 years before the 2020 elections.

      As Machiavelli wrote in The Prince:

      “The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don’t just go away, they are only postponed to someone else’s advantage. Therefore, they made war with Philip and Antiochus in Greece, in order not to have to fight them in Italy… They never went by that saying which you constantly hear from the wiseacres of our day, that time heals all things. They trusted rather their own character and prudence — knowing perfectly well that time contains the seeds of all things, good as well as bad.”

      1. vidimi

        corbyn’s problem is that pretty much every labour mp is a plotter. he doesn’t have enough loyalists to fill a shadow cabinet.

        1. paul

          The plotters’ problem is they don’t have a leader, any ideas or support outside the progress group orbit.
          They have an active aversion to learning anything from the last 6 years.
          I’ve watched their like destroy themselves in Scotland. Here, the enemies of their smug inadequacy were at least another party, but they just could not adapt.
          Despite the media feeding their delusions, they are hanging on at 17% with further to fall.
          Over the border, it’s the unwelcome intrusion of the membership through corbyn which is the object of their petulant, inchoate rage. They will, without conscience, attempt to bring down the party they ‘love’ rather than change.

  14. fresno dan

    A Turning Point in the US Presidential Campaign. What Happened? Strategic Culture Foundation (Chuck L)

    Other serious Democratic blunders included their constant attempts to portray Trump’s goal of normal relations with Russia as a threat to America. It’s difficult to recall any other time in American history when the «subject of Russia» was so harped upon in the election campaign, as if it in some way discredited one of the candidates. The exception perhaps would be the election of 1948, when Henry Wallace, FDR’s former vice president and the leader of the Progressive Party, was labeled the «pro-Soviet» candidate. Wallace, however, won only slightly over a million votes back then, and his leftist convictions have nothing whatsoever in common with Trump’s views.
    Any juxtaposition of the two countries’ strengths would quickly show that there is simply no threat to the United States emanating from Russia. Those who now specialize in demonizing Russia have clearly forgotten Abraham Lincoln’s words: «You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time». Americans for the most part would be happy to divvy up both the responsibilities and expenses with «those awful Russians,» just to wipe out the evil of terrorism that is building itself a cozy nest in the Middle East. And that’s exactly what Trump is suggesting.
    It is incredible that the dems and Clinton think that Americans want to screw around in Syria, and that getting to fight Russia there is some kind of bonus.
    Are the dems in a competition to see if they can match repubs delusions that Iraq was a good idea?

    1. Cry Shop

      Abraham Lincoln would have also remembered we own the Russian’s a big thank you for helping save the Union. Teddy Roosevelt repaid this debit to the Czar by favoring the Japanese while pretending to be an honest arbitrator of the Russian-Japanese War. And naturally everyone forgets not only did the US invade Russia after WWI on both the East and West Coasts, but that our troops participated in massacres, shelling of civilian areas, and other human rights violations.

    2. John Wright

      “Are the dems in a competition to see if they can match repubs delusions that Iraq was a good idea?”

      I believe politicians have internalized that Obama’s “look forward-not backward” policy is good for elections, their personal balance sheet and it keeps a lot of their “people” out of jail.

      Never admit something was a mistake or possibly a war crime and instead point to a promising future.

      Perhaps the Repubs and Dems are not actually deluded about Russia, but are playing a cynical game for the benefit of their real constituents, the FSMIC (financial-security-military industrial complex)?

      I’ll recycle a quote from Hermann Goering:

      “Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, for for that matter in Germany.

      That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

      Hermann Goering, a Nazi official second in command to Hitler, as quoted in Nuremberg Diary by Gustave Gilbert (1947)

    3. DarkMatters

      Western banks still haven’t forgiven the Russian revolutionaries for repudiating the debt that the Tsar incurred during WWI. These people have no respect for the sacred.

  15. ScottW

    I wonder if a winning strategy for Trump in the debates–in the eyes of the 30% who even care–would be to mock Hillary’s insults of him. Not get down in the dirt with Hillary, but rise above the insults, calling her out for making them, while delivering his own in a measured, Presidential like manner. Trump is definitely smoother and more practiced at one liners than Hillary. Her desperation to make him unhinged, or show the entire World he is a liar, racist, misogynist, etc., may backfire if she goes into desperate Hillary attack mode and Donald responds with a gentle, condescending rebuff. Kind of like Reagan’s famous statement, “There you go again,” after Carter listed a litany of policy reasons supporting a national healthcare plan.

    I will not be watching the debate and will check back in tomorrow for some real analysis.

    1. Dave

      Hey, the Middle Ages were great!
      Everyone assumes that they will be a prince or a king, not a serf.
      Maybe we can amnesty more illegals or import refugees to be our serfs?

      1. polecat

        ‘Glances with Hooves’ …..

        Maybe Ted Turner can donate a few ‘tatanka’ to the wayward, formerly middle class ‘flyover’ folk ….. so they can pull those vans and campers while migrating across the plains …..

        sort of a ‘new-age buffalo culture ……

    2. DarkMatters

      Next month’s article: How slavery is a well-established historical social structure, the legal theory for regarding it as constitutional, and how bringing it back will improve the economy.

  16. vidimi

    prediction for the first debate:

    pundits will unanimously declare clinton the winner, praising her poise and experience while denouncing trump’s mendacity, but the polls will all show a 5% bump for trump

      1. Roger Smith

        OH MY GOD, they’ve gotten to Holt! They’ve rigged it all!

        The Russians…. they fired the first shot at Lexington and Concord! They bombed Pearl Harbor! The Russians did Y2K!!

        How long until we hear that the Russians destroyed the Middle East?

      2. Pat

        Either directly or by innuendo, I mean aren’t they behind every hack? (See the years old breach of Yahoo. If you got the email from them you found out it was state sponsored!)

        For many of us, even those who recognize that Clinton should rightfully be considered a threat to Russia, have to wonder why they would bother. It isn’t as if the Russians are the biggest state hackers out there (the US), the most interested in regime change (the US again), or even the most desperate to spy on the American public (the US have them beat there too).

        1. subgenius

          Maybe they should be sourced as contractors?

          The us intelligence black budget is vast, yet these cheapskate vodka-swilling brutes seem able to walk through every system at will…

          Think of the savings!

      1. Jim Haygood

        How it happened — the background story from Linh Dinh:

        The first presidential debate is Monday. Under stress, Hillary’s eyes will dart in separate directions. Coughing nonstop for 90 minutes, her highness will hack up a gazillion unsecured emails. Her head will jerk spasmodically, plop onto the floor and, though decapitated, continue to gush platitudes and lies. “A Very Impressive Performance,” CNBC and CNN will announce.

        Come November, though, Trump will be installed because his constituency needs to be temporarily pacified. The deep state knows that white people are pissed.

        This week, Trump dropped by Geno’s in my neighborhood. Though the Donald only got lunch for himself, words soon spread that he had bought a cheesesteak for everyone present. Years ago, I saw a tiny flag strung between two trees, “Obama and Oprah save the World.” Like fools, we expect salvation from the deep state’s cynical puppets.

        Last hurrah of the Depublicrats: onward to the tar pits!

        1. clarky90

          I suspect that Obama will be the last Democratic Party president. I think that the Democratic Party will go the way of the Whigs, gone and mostly forgotten.

          There will be a renaissance of new political parties, and that will be a good thing.

    1. Unorthodoxmarxist

      Sounds accurate. Pundits so caught up in the hysteria of the 10% professional class they won’t be able to acknowledge Trump’s victory. The only thing that would save Clinton is a major-league blunder by Trump tonight.

      1. vidimi

        and commercial breaks during hillary coughing fits and other spasms.

        hillary will need the right combination of drugs in order to not fall apart physically and still stay lucid.

        1. Antifa

          Mmmm. The right mix of pharmaceuticals are more likely to produce either a ‘walking dead’ effect, or a very excited zombie talking wonky policies. It’s hard to mimic good health with chemicals.

          Perhaps if she can hire Dr. Robert . . .

    2. timbers

      September 26, 2016 at 11:03 am

      prediction for the first debate:

      “pundits will unanimously declare clinton the winner, praising her poise and experience while denouncing trump’s mendacity, but the polls will all show a 5% bump for trump”

      Well at least this part for sure:

      pundits will unanimously declare clinton the winner, praising her poise and experience while denouncing trump’s mendacity….

      1. Unorthodoxmarxist

        Vanity Fair has a good article on this:

        “But Trump does have one immense advantage. People are looking for excuses to vote for him. True, I cannot read millions of minds, so dismiss this assertion if you like. But what we hear and read again and again from interviews with undecided voters is that they dislike what Clinton is offering yet they worry that Trump is out of control. We can also see that voters are exceptionally dissatisfied with how things are going in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of them believe the country is on the wrong track, and only about 30 percent believe it’s on the right track. To be sure, the same numbers were also unfavorable in 2004 and 2012, but a slight majority of Americans thought well of George W. Bush and Barack Obama personally, which they largely do not of Clinton. Discontent and populism are heavy in the air on both the left and the right. Put these things together and you have a voting population that’s tempted to take a chance but searching themselves for permission to take it.”

        1. Jen

          And yet the Clinton worshipers of my acquaintance still think Ralph Nader is the reason why Al Gore lost in 2000.

        2. Anne

          I don’t know anyone who’s looking for an excuse to vote for Trump – it’s more about people who are looking for a reason not to vote for Clinton.

          What I am seeing and hearing is that a lot of people have already clearly identified that they don’t want to vote for Clinton. Once they identify who they don’t want, they have to think about who they do want – and seeing the line-up of Trump, Johnson and Stein as their choices is leaving a lot of them cold. No one HAS TO vote for anyone, so I think for a lot of people who can’t being themselves to choose from among the alternatives, not voting may end up being deemed their only option – or at least the only one they can stomach.

          I think the same is true for Republicans who know they don’t like and can’t vote for Trump – they, too, are looking at the other choices and not seeing anyone they can live with voting for, so I think many will just not cast a vote for anyone for president.

          Are the VPs any factor at all? Well, I think this may be one of those elections where, for different reasons, there is a possibility that whoever is elected president may not serve out his or her full term, creating the further possibility of a President Kaine or a President Pence. Could someone who doesn’t like the person at the top of the ticket decide to vote for one or the other because the VP nominee is acceptable to them? Yeah, I think that is a possibility.

          Which makes me wonder if Clinton’s numbers would be comfortably positive if she had put Sanders on as her VP. Not only do I think I might be able to vote for her if I thought he would take her place in the event she got mired in investigations and resigned, but I think just having him as VP, and knowing she wouldn’t want him taking her place, might have kept her on more of a leftward track for a more sustained period of time.

          I don’t know – but I guess my point is that I don’t know anyone who is trying to find a way to justify voting for Trump – other than some here who see it as a path to shaking up the Democratic Party and the stranglehold of the existing duopoly.

          1. Pat

            One of the things that I believe shows that Lambert is not all that off that both this is still “a factional conflict of the elites” are the VP choices. I do believe that the choice between Pence and Kaine has even fewer differences than between Jeb! and Hillary!. Both are religious, anti-abortion, pro Trade and anti-labor, support government surveillance and dismiss climate issues, both believe in balancing the budget (sort of). Kaine does have better rhetoric on Social Security and Medicare. And Pence’s record of support of military interventionism is more clear, but Kaine is all talk on the issue.

            Clinton’s selection of Kaine is one of the examples I use when people bring up the Supreme Court – on everything I care about where he has a clear record – he fails on issues I consider important about the Supreme Court particularly the separation of Church. This is the person who will pick the Justices if she cannot complete her term – it shows what is really important to her.

    1. Pat

      I would say more under publicized. Most of the people writing the stories about this aren’t going to get into the weeds to figure out the costs, and the people who make statements about the rising costs aren’t going to point fingers at the politicians.

      Squeezing the education budget has produced a lot of losers and very few winners.

  17. polecat

    Nice Frog ya got there ……. would be a shame if someone were to kiss it ……

    …now, as for that antidote however …..

  18. Robert Hahl

    From, Why bad science persists, Incentive malus (Economist)

    “The researchers’ conclusion is therefore that when the ability to publish copiously in journals determines a lab’s success, then “top-performing laboratories will always be those who are able to cut corners”—and that is regardless of the supposedly corrective process of replication.”

    At Merck in the early ’80s, the rumor was that a job candidate was rejected at the final stage simply because his “ratio of publications to age was too low.”

    A few years later at Mass General Hospital, the rumor was that a research M.D. was hired in spite of the following conversation at the hiring committee. “He published one paper per week for several years. You are impressed by that. I am appalled.”

    Like they say about sports: At the end of season they don’t ask how, just how many. Furthermore, everybody knows it.

  19. RudyM

    81% 0f Americans oppose the $38 billion military gift to Israel

    How dare anyone question the payment of tribute to the Jews!

  20. Dave

    “No chief executive at the nation’s 100 largest companies had donated to Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign through August, a sharp reversal from 2012, when nearly a third of the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies supported GOP nominee Mitt Romney.”

    Of course! Keep the established ruling class in place by voting for Hillary Clinton.
    Let’s create a cadre of lifetime minimum wage workers for life out of that rabble formerly known as the “Middle Class.” If they get too frisky, we can just bring in more Central Americans and refugees to hammer down their wage demands.

  21. Adam Eran

    One more comment: In this election season can NC and its readers / commenters recommend political campaigns to which it makes sense to contribute?

    Our Revolution?
    Public Citizen?
    Common Cause?

    …worth a new topic, IMHO.

  22. Plenue

    >10 obscene displays of wealth that shock average Americans

    “He called my husband and said, ‘They have a Picasso.’ My husband is like, ‘Wow, very cool.’ The friend says, ‘The Picasso is in their parking garage.’ ”

    Sounds like this scammer.

    Who keeps books in their garage? Someone who really hates books, I imagine.

  23. Ping

    Re: 38 billion military aid to Israel (plus similar aid announcement to Saudi Arabia)

    Can’t the central question in one of the debates be WHY the US floods the world with impliments of destruction to countries who can stand on their own or where we have no business while crying auterity for US citizens dismantling safety nets, public education, health care…..

    It is simple math. The average citizen dosn’t feel the need to provide “aid” to Israel or Saudi Arabia or meddle in Russia’s back yard…..while their resources and safety nets are dismantled.

  24. Shwell Thanksh

    re: 2nd Amendment/Open Carry vs Police “I feared for my life” Angry Bear (resilc). See final para.

    I thought at first you were referring to the final paragraph of the blog post, but reading the comments it’s clear you meant the final comment, which I’ve pasted below the line for readers.
    This makes me sick.


    September 26, 2016 9:25 am
    OK — forget everything I have said above. It doesn’t matter. The police planted the gun. Watch the video the victim’s wife took, shown on CNN here:

    At t=1:48, the gun appears on the ground to the right of the victim. If you step through frame-by-frame, you will actually see the shadow of that gun on the officer’s leg before it is on the ground.

    At t=1:56, the officer in red picks up that gun, and t=1:59, another gun drops!

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