Links 10/12/16

Bald Eagle Gets Trapped In Car, Becomes Perfect Symbol For America in 2016 Gizmodo

Little bridge that stood: Arkansas controlled explosion ends in ‘epic fail’ Guardian (YY)

Big Pharma’s Manufactured Epidemic: The Misdiagnosis of ADHD Scientific American (Robert M). Today’s must read.

The Black Death Aeon (guurst)

Your phone may be smart, but your doctor still knows more than an app Los Angeles Times. Not surprising given the caliber of workouts I see people imitating from their phones. Many are orthopedic surgery futures.


Is China birthing a new dictator? MacroBusiness

Rebel Hong Kong politicians defy China at chaotic swearing-in ceremony Guardian

Greeks in China ‘long before Marco Polo’ BBC


May Backs Down to Allow Parliament Vote on Her Brexit Terms Bloomberg

May pledges parliament debate before triggering Brexit Financial Times

UK ‘may still have to pay into EU even after Brexit‘ BBC. Not news to NC readers.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

‘Big data’ could mean big problems for people’s healthcare privacy Los Angeles Times (JTM). Um, you think you have health care privacy? That HIPAA form isn’t a privacy form, it’s a disclosure form.

Producing Monsters: The Road to Hell Defend Democracy

English man spends 11 hours trying to make cup of tea with Wi-Fi kettle Guardian

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Provided Data Access for a Surveillance Product Marketed to Target Activists of Color” ACLU. Bill B: “The genius of social media is that people opt-in to surveillance.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Benghazi Middleman Tied To Unaoil Bribery Scandal, Source Told FBI Huffington Post (furzy)

Russia Says It’s Joining China to Counter U.S. Missile Defense Bloomberg

THE BATTLE OF ALEPPO, THE BATTLE OF DRESDEN, THE BATTLE OF MASADA AND THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTH FIELD — WHO LIES, LIES LONGEST John Helmer. His second paragraph states a very strong thesis. Stuck pigs do squeal, and the US has done that in spades….but haven’t cross checked his interpretations. Lambert’s reaction based on a quick survey of good sources: “So I dunno if the Fall of Saigon is the right historical analogy, if only because Aleppo has not fallen. But trying to hold territory and defeat a regular army with mercs looks like fail, which is, of course, why Clinton and The Blob want to double down on a no-fly zone…” Readers?

US Allows Qatar to Buy F-15s — and Seals a $19B Sale of Jetliners Defense One. Resilc: “War is our best export.”


The Misadventures of Russia and the United States in Syria: Complete Strategy Implosion Edition WarontheRocks (resilc)

Syria War Became Conflict Between USA and Russia and Iran Der Spiegel (resilc)


Donald Trump reverts to bare-knuckled campaigning Financial Times

Hillary Clinton Leads Donald Trump by 9 Points, WSJ/NBC Poll Finds Wall Street Journal. Same polling group found Trump was down 11 points right after the sex tape leak, so this suggests he only got 2 back in the debate. If this is indeed representative in terms of what he clawed back on Sunday, he looks too far down to have any chance.

Trump Destroyed Trump, Not the Media: “This Election is Over” Michael Shedlock (furzy)

Trump Declares Himself Freed From GOP Party ‘Shackles‘ Wall Street Journal

Trump’s Attacks on GOP Leaders Ignite Civil War Inside Party Bloomberg

Did The Trump Campaign Just Get Hit With The Monica Langley Curse? Huffington Post

Donald Trump’s New Attack Strategy: Curb Clinton Vote Wall Street Journal. Don’t see how this works.

Clinton campaign dubs WikiLeaks ‘Russian propaganda’ after latest hack Guardian. Furzy: “Please, how are her campaign emails “Russian propaganda”?”

In the Democratic Echo Chamber, Inconvenient Truths Are Recast as Putin Plots Glenn Greenwald, Intercept

Wikileaks mystery: How did town hall question get to Clinton campaign? CNN (furzy)

Then-CNN contributor Donna Brazile to Clinton camp: Sometimes ‘I get the questions in advance’ Washington Post (furzy)

The Clintonites Should Stop Freaking Out About WikiLeaks Politico (Dan K). Lambert: “Everyone should only check the Clinton website and all will be well.”

Behind Closed Doors, Hillary Clinton Sympathized With Goldman Sachs Over Financial Reform David Dayen, Intercept

The Podesta Emails: The outrageous US obsession to adjust the Middle East chaos according to the US interests failed evolution

What to make of Wikileaks’ latest information trove on Hillary Clinton Quartz (furzy). Points out that Trump campaign is not using this material at all.

Hillary and the Gulfies Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

In Leaked Speech, Clinton Promises Bankers to Stand Against Pot Legalization ‘In All Senses of the Word’ Waking Times Media (Judy B)

The Real Deplorables American Conservative (resilc). Includes a sighting in Lewiston, Maine.

White House Vows ‘Proportional’ Response for Russian DNC Hack Wall Street Journal

Election Buzz: With Pot On The Ballot, States Weigh How To Police Stoned Drivers KHN. It will depend heavily on how much the city wants to collect fines.

Richard Bistrong: Is what I’m about to do really worth it? FCPA Blog. J-LS: “Anecdotal evidence of how much white collar types fear doing time. Muscular agencies enforcing the law could have a deterrent effect far beyond the narrow number of cases prosecutors decide to take on. But NC readers already get this. Pity the folks in charge of making enforcement decisions do not.”

Facebook challenges IRS over information demand Financial Times

Arizona ‘jihadist’ agrees to plead guilty to terrorism, conspiracy Reuters (EM)

Takata tumbles after report company weighs U.S. bankruptcy filing Reuters (EM)

IEA Pours Cold Water On Oil Price Rally OilPrice

With soaring demand come weaker assurances for U.S. municipal investors Reuters (EM)

Qatari Investors Eyeing Controlling Stake in Deutsche Bank Der Spiegel (resilc)

Capitalism Behaving Badly MIT Technology Review (David L). Imporant.

Class Warfare

6-Year-Old Data Entry Prodigy Already Entertaining Offers From Major Temp Agencies Onion (Bob K)

Antidote du jour (Kittie Wilson via Lawrence R):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. BDBlue

    Matt Stoller had a couple of interesting finds in the Podesta emails – here and here. The first was the more interesting to me and I suspect readers here, but that just may be because I’m grasping for almost anything positive (or at least not negative) at this point, no matter how small, just for my own mental health.

        1. kj1313

          As a fan of Transformers I laughed also.
          About the email itself I am surprised that I wonder it this coincided with some reports being critical of ISDS. Either way I was surprised that Clinton herself ordered the opposition on TPP due to ISDS.

    1. Bev

      Something positive BDBlue:
      Oct. 12, 2016: Online debates, focus groups and strange pre-election polls
      Richard Charnin

      In a CNN focus group, a participant reported: “After the debate, they asked all of us in the focus group if we were decided on a candidate. Out of 28 panel members, 5 said they were decided on Clinton, 2 said they were decided on Trump, and 12 said they were going to vote 3rd party. But once they saw the response, they reshot the segment and replaced “3rd party” with “still undecided”.
      Green Party Jill Stein and her policies are doing better than media reports. See in the Bronx today:

      Join Jill Stein & Ajamu Baraka at a Rally with DJ Bembona, Immortal Technique, Kor Element, Robin Laverne Wilson and many more special guests!

      ***UPDATE: All students with valid ID get in for FREE!***
      Come to our Greening the Revolution Rally to hear from Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka themselves and learn more about the progressive Green Party platform. The mainstream media has tried to suppress us and we were excluded from the Presidential Debates, so we’re bringing our campaign straight to the people! 

      We have an amazing lineup of speakers, including Dr. Jill Stein (Green Party candidate for President), Ajamu Baraka (Green Party candidate for Vice President), Edwin Figueroa (South Bronx Community Congress), Robin Laverne Wilson (Candidate for US Senator of NY), Carlos Jesus Calzadilla (Co-founder of Progressive Alliance and student at LIU).
      We’ll also see exciting performances by Immortal Technique, DJ Bembona, and Kor Element!

      Doors Open at 7:00 PM (EST), rally begins at 7:30pm.
      Tickets are just $10 (students with valid student ID get in for FREE) and can be purchased at the Hostos Box Office in advance, in person, over the phone at 718-518-4455 or online via the following link:
      WHAT: Greening the Revolution Rally for Jill and Ajamu
      WHEN: Wednesday, October 12th. Doors open at 7pm, event begins at 7:30pm
      WHERE: Hostos Community College Arts Center, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451
      WHO: Dr. Jill Stein, Ajamu Baraka, Robin Laverne Wilson, Immortal Technique, DJ BEMBONA, Kor Element and more!
      TICKETS ($10 / Students with student ID get in for FREE): Get your ticket today before they sell out – and please share this event with your friends.

  2. Hacker

    HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. One P, two A’s. One can’t get a security job if one doesn’t spell it right.

    The privacy part is supposed to make it easier to share your data electronically between your caretakers and make it clear who has access to that data. Of course that was 20 years ago, before big data. We’ve also become so inured to all the HIPAA paperwork at every healthcare provider, that we just sign away everything every time without looking at the fine print. Accountability is covered because they gave you a piece of paper and you signed it.

    Of course all this is just a symptom of the main problem: no single payer.

    1. Jim Haygood

      They never tell you that you can refuse to sign the HIPAA form. It flummoxes health care aides, who after all are not lawyers, legislators or policy wonks. But you can.

      It’s a good way to discredit the sorry legacy of the two senators whose names were on the HIPAA bill in 1996 — Ted Kennedy and Nancy Kassebaum — without getting arrested or anything. Though they might have to start detaining people, if there’s too much noncompliance.

      So far, Kongress stuck Americans with twenty (20) years of useless paperwork that consumes countless hours of nonproductive time and storage cost. Just like the idiotic water quality reports which must be snail mailed to every water customer every year, thanks to a Kongressional dictate, although the data is posted online for the few who care.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        I sign the paperwork but strike out the part that states I agree to be responsible for any charges related to out-of-network providers providing care. Never had a functionary bat an eye.

      2. Faye Carr

        If you decline to sign you won’t be seen. I’ve asked each time.
        At my GP, every pharmacy, my physical therapy facility, an urgent care, at an ER. Except the one time I arrived by ambulance. My healthcare designate signed it.

        1. Jake

          The only thing signing it does is prove you’ve seen or been offered the opportunity to see it. Since every one contains precisely the same language – by statute – there’s no reason not to sign and no reason to read it if you’ve seen it before. I carefully read it a long time ago, never bothered since and I have some sympathy for the beleaguered admin trying to move patients along and keep up with the paperwork, I just sign the stupid thing and admit that I’ve seen it.

      3. JohnL

        Water quality reports are more about transparency and holding the purveyor accountable. As a board member of a small water system I can attest there’s a difference between posting something on line and mailing it to all your neighbors.

    2. oh

      I’ve always refused to sign it. Kaiser is the one that kept shoving the form under my nose each time (about 8-10 years ago. It’s for their convenience and cover not for you!

    1. cnchal

      It’s a productivity enhancer. Now that he’s figured out the ‘Idiot of Things’ water boiler, the second cup of tea should be a no brainer.

        1. ambrit

          That is a truly profound question. Is an ‘iTea’ ceremony a spiritual exercise?
          And what exactly would ‘iZen’ look like?

            1. ambrit

              Ah ha! So, then, kensh-i would be the feminine to kensh-o’s masculine?
              I fear that this entire line of i-nquiry is going to byte us on our dharma bums.

            1. MyLessThanPrimbeBeef

              “What is Zen?”

              “Have a cup of iTea,” as Joshu would say.

              ~~~Carrying water, chopping wood….

              ~~~Transmission outside scriptures…

              Or just this: kwatz!!!!

    2. Pavel

      It’s not the “IoT” — it’s the “IoC” — Internet of Crapification

      And of course the complete loss of privacy. One tech guy on a podcast said how he places little Amazon widgets all over his house, so when he runs out of e.g. toilet paper a new delivery arrives the next day automatically. What a brave new world that has such crap in it!

      1. Katharine

        Just an updated version of an old system. I remember a story of a US academic and his wife visiting Moscow in the sixties. Checking out the hotel room, she told him, “There’s no soap.” Five minutes later someone from room service arrived with a bar of soap.

        1. Waldenpond

          Isn’t it all ‘old is new again’? I keep seeing articles on Twitter… it should be nationalized, it’s necessary communication, etc. I always thought it was nothing but an old-fashioned party line. You can join in whenever, participate in any conversation and exit whenever. So 1950s(?) tech is critical social infrastructure?

          The majority of activity is merely switching who profits, not anything new.

      2. Tom

        If we could only develop technology that automatically replaces the empty cardboard tube with a new roll of toilet paper. Now that would do wonders for my marriage!

        1. JTMcPhee

          …and always puts the toilet seat in the female-preferred position. (Why is the default the Down position again? Oh yeah, something about “rights…”)

          1. different clue

            Sometimes ( rarely), I encounter a toilet where the seat hinges are so tight that the seat will stay wherever I put it. So I leave the seat at a 45 degree angle . . . exactly halfway up or halfway down depending on how you look at it.

            I consider it an exactly fair difference-splitting compromise.

  3. Donald

    That Kofman piece on the strategic implosion in Syria is a member of a genre that needs a name– one where the writer accepts the basic premises of American exceptionalism and good intentions and the utter immorality of our enemies, but doesn’t want us to be too stupid in our policy responses. Maybe this is how you have to think if you want your arguments to be heard by the Serious People. In this case you have the noble Americans wanting democracy vs the amoral Russians who kill off the ” moderate” rebels. His point is that the Russians didn’ t deliberately plan all that has happened, but he leaves the basicpropaganda framework of good vs evil in place, just wanting us to be more sophisticated about it.

    Not that I want the opposite sort of propaganda where the Assad is some sort of hero. It’s just that 90 percent of what I read about Syria seems so childish– people need their good guy vs bad guy narratives.

      1. Donald

        American Epic. I could go for that. It definitely needs a name–I see this kind of thing quite a bit. It’s the furthest you are allowed to go in criticizing US policy without being exiled from the realm of the Serious.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      He does massively understate the deviousness and the contradictions inherent in US policy, but I found his perspective on the Russian situation interesting. Its pretty obvious that Russia isn’t entirely comfortable in Syria – it has sent repeated mixed messages to Assad and others, and it seems caught in a ‘half in, half out’ position. I think you can get a pretty good grasp of the situation by looking at this perspective while balancing it with some of the more pro-Russian writers, who are inclined to see a coherent strategy behind everything Putin does.

      Russia I think has deliberately targeted the so called ‘moderates’ on the basis that they assumed that the US would never support A-Q or Isis. I also think they are determined not to let Assad think that he can use them as proxies to win on the ground. I think its pretty clear that the Syrian Army is severely degraded, and probably can’t be relied upon to control all of Syria.

      What Russia wanted from Syria is to be seen as a major player in the Middle East, and to show that it will not allow its allies and proxies to be wiped out without a fight. It also wanted to demonstrate its new weaponry and to deliver a blow to US prestige. It has succeeded in all these. What it hasn’t yet done is work out an endgame. I think the very confusion in US policy has caused Russia to make a number of mis-steps. I’m not sure anyone has any idea how the civil war will be resolved. At the moment, they are hoping that a victory in Aleppo will provide clarity. I suspect they also want things resolved before a certain HC gets into power, they know she will want to throw her weight around.

      1. Plenue

        Russia and Syria recently agreed to allow Russian personnel to be stationed in Syria indefinitely. That seems to me to mean that Russia does have a plan for the endgame: they’ll stay as long as they need to to get the job done. Once Aleppo falls the ‘moderate rebels’ will essentially be done. The bulk of their fighting power will have been eliminated, they’ll have taken a massive blow to morale, and the Syrian army and its allies will have a huge amount of men and materiel freed up that can be deployed elsewhere. As it is now the militants are being stalled and rolled back in other theaters even with the bulk of SAA fighting power tied up around Aleppo.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’m not sure I’d agree that they are committed to an indefinite stay. They are still active on the ground, but they also have pulled back a lot of their air support. I don’t think they would do that if they were committed to a full Assad victory. I suspect the article is correct that Putin has been advised that the Syrian Army is simply too degraded to hold the entire country, so they have accepted a lesser victory in securing the core Damascus/Homs/Aleppo and maybe Dera’a corridor, and using that as the basis of a peace deal which will de facto give some independence to the remainder of the country. I think they maybe withdrew a little earlier, thinking the seizure of Aleppo was a done deal – when the initial assault failed, I think they’ve been dragged reluctantly back in.

          That said, there can be no doubt that they want a permanent presence in Syria, it is very strategically important for them to have a base in the Middle East, especially one with a Mediterranean coast.

  4. -jswift

    Since the PSOE ( Spain’s socialist party) was taken over by the banker/austerity-friendly old-guard last week;

    there’s a petition being mounted to force a party congress giving all members a vote on policy.

    The organizers have received death threats, but they had 65,000 signatures as of a few days ago, and still need 25,000 more.
    (hard to find English coverage)

    The old-guard is planning to allow the right wing PP under Rajoy to form a new govt, while the base is opposed. If no govt is formed in 3 weeks new elections will be held.

    The former PSOE leader was overthrown when he suggested forming a coalition of left leaning forces with Podemos and possibly including Catalan independentists.

    For a site with more info try

  5. Tom

    RE: Hillary Clinton Leads Donald Trump by 9 Points, Poll Finds
    Zero Hedge yesterday posted an analysis of the polling company that produced the results that the WSJ and NBC are touting in the last few days: First Post-Debate Poll Gives Hillary A Significant Lead… And A Familiar Problem Emerges
    First, the analysis claims that the sample of voters polled was skewed:

    In yet another poll the distribution of the of those questioned leans substantially to the left, as follows:
    Democrat and Democrat leaners 44%
    Republican and Republican leaners 37%
    Independents 12%

    Next, the analysis looks at the pedigree of the polling company, Hart Associates, Public Opinion Strategies, and its president, Geoff Garin.

    “Geoff Garin, the President of Hart Research and Associates”, is currently working as “a strategic adviser for Priorities USA in support of Hillary Clinton’s election“.

    Priorities USA Action is a Clinton Super PAC.

    The article then goes on to examine two recent payments from Priorities USA Action to Hart Research Associates in September, 2016 that totaled $220,500.

    The article then summarizes:

    ◦ $220,500.00 in the month of September alone paid by Hillary Clinton’s Priorities USA Super-PAC to Hart Research Associates.
    ◦ The President of Hart Research Associates, Geoff Garin, is working for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
    ◦ NBC (S Burke) and The WSJ (Murdoch) contact Geoff Garin (Hart Research Associates) for both the pre and post-debate poll data they will use on the day following the debate.
    ◦ Hart Research Associates provides a small national poll sample (900) result, with significantly skewed party internals, showing Hillary Clinton, once again, leading by a material +10 points in a head to head matchup.

    This sure seems provocative, but I’m wondering if anyone with more insight into polling methodology has any thoughts on how big a deal it is. After all, it seems that just about every media outfit is citing these polls since the last debate. Are the results legit?

  6. Steve H.

    Syria, Pharma, Green Capitalism… Never short the generation of false positives.

    It’s been a quarter-century since Marilyn vos Savant brought the consequences of Bayes Theorem into popular consciousness. She did that in a series of columns around 1990..1992. Yet bubbleheadeness has not been stamped out, it’s been bezzelized.

    As an

    “Seven Bridges has gotten some criticism in the genome graph community, because it’s selling software rather than just building open-source tools. Kural said the investment the company has attracted ($45 million came in this February) will let it reach the goal of large-scale genome graphs first. “To reach that scale, you need the longevity that grant funding ultimately will not be able to provide,” said Kural.

    Paten, however, has serious concerns about Seven Bridges. “Their effort is entirely proprietary, and they’re attempting to patent everything, which to me is hugely troubling,” he said.”

    But there’s a big problem when the shorter, quicker bits are monetized. Then the assumptions that aren’t right are pushed into production quicker. The privatizing pushes the side-effects onto consumers, and when they get messed up it’s countered with ‘nobody could have known…’ The wisdom failure is that the A:B test is comparing Return On Investment, not Health. The perverse part is that anything which increases Health at low ROI must be *suppressed* vs losing the need for the high-ROI product.

  7. Jim Haygood

    Unlike our useless MSM, one Danish journo actually managed to interview Syria’s president Assad to find out what he thinks. Excerpt:

    President Assad: The question is would you as a Danish citizen accept me as a foreigner to support opposition in your country with money and to tell them “go and kill, and that’s how you achieve your political goals?” If there is opposition, what is the definition of opposition? Could you accept an opposition in your country that belongs to other countries? Or should it be a Danish opposition that belongs to Danish people?

    Question 26: Do you see Denmark as an enemy of Syria?

    President Assad: No, they are not. They are not an enemy. There is a big difference between the Danish people — like most of the European people, they were friends to Syria — but it’s about the policy of the government. It’s about all of Europe now being absent from the political map at least since 2003 after the invasion of Iraq, just because they had to follow the Americans, and they don’t dare to take their independent, let’s say, path in politics. We differentiate precisely between the government and the people of Denmark, and the same for other countries.

    Europe will never be sovereign as long as it’s NATO’s poodle, which translates as America’s b*tch.

    1. windsock

      Which is how I shocked friends earlier this week by arguing if we’re going for Brexit (I’m in London), we should also quit NATO. (Don’t get me wrong, I voted Remain and think the UK has gone a wee bit bonkers.)

      But, logically, if we do follow hard Brexit, we should leave NATO. It would be more sensible then to ally ourselves with Russia and Turkey so Europe has three outsiders at three of its four corners. Then let’s see how Article 50 negotiations go.

      Of course, it’s just a mind experiment and it will never fly. But, oh the fun we could have with a new Project Fear.

      1. Carolinian

        We Americans have long wished for Europe to break the MIC by revolting–to do what the American left is now too feeble to do. Unfortunately your leaders and ours all seem to be members of the same club.

        1. windsock

          The trouble is, most Brits see themselves as more American than European, which is so utterly delusional that it’s up there with Brexit. Honestly, I think there’d be a vote to join USA upon Brexit, if the choice were offered.

          Meanwhile, we have our Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson calling for public demonstrations outside the Russian Embassy in London to protest against Russian actions in Syria, while Labour are supporting the idea of demonstrations outside the US embassy on the same grounds.

          Not that it seems to enter the heads of the leaders of either party to go through diplomatic channels and speak to leaders in both countries to ask them to tone it the fuck down.

  8. Steve H.

    Syria, Pharma, Green Capitalism… Never short the generation of false positives.

    It’s been a quarter-century since Marilyn vos Savant brought the consequences of Bayes Theorem into popular consciousness. She did that in a series of columns around 1990..1992. Yet bubbleheadeness has not been stamped out, it’s been bezzelized.

    As an example:

    “Seven Bridges has gotten some criticism in the genome graph community, because it’s selling software rather than just building open-source tools. Kural said the investment the company has attracted ($45 million came in this February) will let it reach the goal of large-scale genome graphs first. “To reach that scale, you need the longevity that grant funding ultimately will not be able to provide,” said Kural.

    Paten, however, has serious concerns about Seven Bridges. “Their effort is entirely proprietary, and they’re attempting to patent everything, which to me is hugely troubling,” he said.”

    But there’s a big problem when the shorter, quicker bits are monetized. Then the assumptions that aren’t right are pushed into production quicker. The privatizing pushes the side-effects onto consumers, and when they get messed up it’s countered with ‘nobody could have known…’ The wisdom failure is that the A:B test is comparing Return On Investment, not Health. The perverse part is that anything which increases Health at low ROI must be *suppressed* vs losing the need for the high-ROI product.

    1. Pavel

      This may explain why she does so many “interviews” by call-in.

      Her whole campaign is being exposed as a corrupt sham.

    2. Light a Candle

      Wow, that is a bombshell. A pre-scripted “interview”. How can anyone can vote for her? And what the hell has happened to the very concept of journalism?

      It’s interesting though that *all* my family and friends, male or female, young or old, were genuinely horrified by Trump’s pussy comments. And it solidified their views that he is evil and beyond redemption.

      I wasn’t, just thought it was a guy being an ass**** and talking big to impress a reporter. Hillary’s record and war hawkishness are still 100x worse.

      1. Tom

        Regarding Trump’s “grab ’em by the p*ssy” remark, I think he said it in the exact same sense as he said, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” earlier in the campaign. I could be wrong, but I don’t think he is accused of actually doing either the grabbing or the shooting. As crude as both comments are, I think they are part and parcel of the braggadocio that Trump loves to use when describing himself as a larger-than-life figure.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have noticed that men and women, in more than just a few comments, reacting to this very differently.

          Is it more about us?

          Have women freed themselves with the Pill, but men are still enslaved to their DNA, always feeling the need to give gifts to fertile-looking women, and generally acting like cavemen (which was natural for cavemen, for millions of years – let’s not be too judgmental on them, but only on ourselves)?

          1. Katharine

            Or men are more prone to making excuses like “enslaved to their DNA” instead of taking responsibility for controlling their impulses?

            Not that I am serious in my generalization, which would insult a lot of men I respect, but I do dislike the abdication of responsibility implicit in your suggestion.

            1. hunkerdown

              You seem awfully invested in making this about something other than class.

              If this were not a family blog I would tell exactly what I think about Protestant cultural sensibilities and their bizarre hangups about sex, but for now I’ll just say that I consider them corrupt at best.

          2. Anne

            While the pill may have given more autonomy to women with respect to their sex lives, it certainly didn’t free women from being treated like second-class citizens, from being treated like pieces of meat, from being demeaned and discriminated against across a broad spectrum that includes the workplace, health care, reproductive rights, education.

            In fact, the Pill may have fueled some men’s underlying problems with women, because it took some of the control they had had for so long away from them – in my opinion, that is where the rage against Planned Parenthood comes from.

            It says something about how much of a problem this is that women are still having to explain these things to men. I mean, when you have dunderheads like Jeff Sessions puzzling over how a woman’s genitalia can be “grabbed,” or men fracturing the science of conception, or parsing the meaning of rape, and people like Billy Bush still giggling about getting over on women, it’s enough to make most women weep.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Men are still driven by their DNA and biology…wanting that firs-time experience with a woman.

              “Have you ever seen a hadron collider before? Is this your first time?”

              “I bet you have never been in the White House situation room before? Let me show you.”

              How is that different from a rich guy paying for a young girl’s first time?

              Men are still enslaved.

              1. Portia

                that “enslavement by DNA and biology” enablement crap needs to die a final death before anything will happen on the misogyny front, MLTPB. pul-eeze

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  If I am enabling, I apologize.

                  I will do my best to come up with specific suggestions men can do to improve.

          3. Portia

            men are not enslaved to their DNA. rather, they have set themselves up as kings who react very badly to the word “no” whether it is “no, don’t take that 5th hit of coke” or “no, I will not have sex with you,” or “no, you can’t give me less pay just because I am a female,” etc, etc. guys tend to stick together in this. but there comes a point where civility and ethical behavior can not be enabled away.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Men act badly all the time, as do women.

              Still, in many manifestations, men are enslaved by their DNA and biology.

              1. Portia

                enslavement, no. unconsciousness and privilege, yes. when I was a girl in the 50s, we were told ALL KINDS of things, like sit on a phonebook if we had to sit in a male’s lap, etc. etc., ad nauseum. in the ME, women have to wear hot uncomfortable garments that absorb heat because it is THEIR FAULT if a man is attracted to them. I call FINAL AND ETERNAL BULLSHIT. Take responsibility for your feelings and urges, you bunch of savages!

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I agree men can and should improve and become better.

                  And it’s important to recognize the biology behind a lot (not all) of what men do.

                  “Be responsible, know your savage acts, MEN!!!”

              2. Anne

                DNA is not driving men to wear “She’s a C*nt, Vote for Trump” t-shirts; that is behavior being mirrored by what people are seeing and hearing from Donald Trump – and others – and which is being normalized.

                I’m completely over the DNA excuse, as if men are helpless and unable to exert any self-control over what their lizard brains are compelling them to do.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  There is the part men act badly, like all humans.

                  Then, there is male biology as well.

                  Being enslaved needs not imply giving up the struggle to be free of it.

                  I would suggest this (among other suggestion)

                  Stop trying to impress women or brag out how you – as a man – can do a lot of impressing.

                  Impressing leads to competition of the worst kind.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    I’d focus on the part where a man tries to impress with how rich, powerful or smart he is.

                    Even how spiritual…

                    That leads to all kinds of bad outcomes.

                2. hunkerdown

                  In the British sense of the term (which is not particularly gendered), yes, yes she is.

                  It’s like this: men don’t like mom culture and many will not accept it. Do you want harmony or do you want to virtue-signal? The latter is frankly working against those who do it.

      2. Anne

        I’m sorry, but I just don’t get why this is considered a “bombshell.” She was to call in to Chris Hayes’s show, she knew what was going to be discussed – why shouldn’t she have been prepared for that? So what if she had a script – is there a better way to make your points? Are we supposed to be horrified because she didn’t adlib the whole thing?

        And just because we haven’t been privy to all the behind-the-scenes communications between and among Clinton campaign staffers doesn’t mean that everything that’s being leaked is somehow suspect.

        The sad reality is that some of what’s being revealed now is a day late and a dollar short, more of a dud than a bombshell, really. Maybe some of these Clinton e-mail revelations would have been bombshells had they been leaked/released during the primary, when they had the potential to change the calculus between Clinton and Sanders, but coming now, less than a month before the election, I just think it’s not going to change anyone’s mind, not in any substantive, game-changing way.

        Not that “but everybody does it” gives anyone a free pass to commit crimes or play fast-and-loose with “the rules,” but honestly, most of this campaign stuff just seems like a combination of inside baseball and sausage-making: boring and messy. Maybe there’s some nugget in among the thousands of communications, but I’m betting that at this point, it doesn’t matter. But I think the lack of noise from other campaigns should tell you that none of them has any room to talk – they’re all doing this kind of thing in order to gain advantage and ultimately win.

        As for Trump’s comments, I’ll just tell you what bothered me about them – really what bothered me about the whole exchange – and you can take it for what it’s worth. It wasn’t the vulgarity, it was about the objectification. It was about treating women like what was important about them was their looks. It was about asserting the power of celebrity to take advantage of women. It was about him absolving himself of responsibility for his actions with women – he just couldn’t help himself with such beautiful women. Which is another way of saying it’s their fault – their beauty makes him do these things. He once told a lawyer involved in a deposition he was part of that she was disgusting for needing to breastfeed her newborn.. He was fine with Howard Stern calling his daughter a piece of ass – the same daughter he said he might be dating if she wasn’t his daughter.

        He doesn’t treat women like people, and yeah, I have a problem with that. It says something about his character. Something bad.

        I have a long list of things that bother me about Clinton’s character, a long list of reasons why I never wanted her in this race to begin with – so please don’t make the mistake of thinking that negative comments about Trump mean positive ones about Clinton on the other side. They are both bad, perhaps in different ways, but both bad. As a woman, I do not trust Trump/Pence to protect my rights or level the playing field. Would he be better on trade? Well, he says he’s against all these trade deals, but how do you trust someone like him? Would he be better on foreign policy? I see him as a bull in a china shop, and all of us on the edges of our seats for four years wondering if he’s about to plunge us all into a war because he can’t control his mouth or his emotions. But Clinton will have me on the edge of my seat as well – I’m actually already there – because I hear the same kinds of noises being made about Russia that Bush/Cheney made about Iraq.

        I’m either going to vote Green or not cast a vote for president. Neither Trump nor Clinton are qualified or fit to serve, and so that’s that.

        Sorry this went of for so long…sometimes I get carried away!

        1. WJ

          In my view, while the video doesn’t show me anything I didn’t already suspect was going on, it is important for how powerfully it displays this reality. I.E. “live” interviews between major politicians and national media are not interviews at all, but prescripted dance routines practiced in advance.

          Of course, we all suspected as much; but then again, the media and the politicians themselves continue to insist that we believe and use their language for framing these interviews. The elites require that we continue to accept the fraud they perpetrate, and videos like this are important because they make it harder for them to do so.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It reinforces ‘so and so is a liar.’

            And it adds to public and private positions.

            We are left with ‘is there anything to believe from that camp?’

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          It’s almost like whoever is releasing these emails didn’t want Sanders to win….. just wanted Clinton to enter office crippled.

          1. Anne

            For those of us paying obsessive attention to the details, having our suspicions confirmed that her public movement to the left when she was battling Sanders was nothing more than a strategy she would happily abandon if elected carries with it some small consolation that our judgment was correct, but has a feeling of closing the barn door after the horses have bolted. Or maybe it’s more like, “oh, look – I do have a condom after all!”

            I guess I would like someone to tell me what changes now that we know what’s “really” going on behind the scenes – other than that we are all more bitter and angry at being treated as if we were too stupid to matter. I have to tell you, I don’t like feeling bitter and angry, but if we let go of that and check out of the whole process, that seems to me to be giving them what they want.

            1. hunkerdown

              The Soviet Union toppled because people were tired of playing that game for what they got out of it. No system is entitled to cooperation. We can check out of their process and leave it to them. When they come to attack us, they’re invaders and interlopers and can be dispatched accordingly.

              That’s how you make institutions not matter.

              1. Skippy

                Huh – ????? – I thought the Soviet Union went down because they were told they were broke, seems Marxist Monetary Theory allowed the neoclassical boffins to spruik a dubious meme…..

                Disheveled Marsupial…. Gorbie just made the op all the more successful….

                1. hunkerdown

                  I’m going by Dmitry Orlov’s reports. Admittedly, he might have his hobby horses, but he also had a second-row seat and an excellent understanding of the mindset of the locals. His conclusions are also not incompatible with the money fading away; perhaps we’re looking from different angles.

                  1. OIFVet

                    His conclusions are also not incompatible with the money fading away

                    I agree. The Soviets were a very peculiar empire, in that money mostly flowed from the center to the periphery rather than the other way round.

                2. Skippy

                  I would caution the reader wrt sites or authors like Dmitry Orlov as I would ZH, whilst there is information one can use it must be washed of all the ideological and self promotion.

                  Disheveled Marsupial…. sorta like Von Mises or the Lippmann press…

        3. armchair

          Maybe we should start a creep spectrum.

          Abusive Priest – Bill Cosby – Roman Polanski – Roger Ailes – Woody Allen – Bill Clinton – Donald Trump.

          At least Donald Trump can be on the edge of the spectrum.

          1. Katharine

            Not if there turns out to be any truth in the claim he raped a thirteen-year-old. Granted the question is open, I do find it hard to imagine parents subjecting a girl to the trauma of a lawsuit if she had not already been through worse.

            1. pretzelattack

              she would be what 33 now? it was from 2 decades ago, i read. still she’s subjecting herself to the trauma, so maybe it’s genuine.

              1. Katharine

                Sorry, I thought the original lawsuit was when she was still a minor. Should have checked further.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Where do we put creeps who have f*cked entire nations?
            That spectrum would look a little different, probably Mao at one end, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot…with a paltry 1 million killed (UN estimate) you’d probably have Bush/Obama/Hilary somewhere in the middle

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Siding with Stalin against Hitler, is that less-evilism?

              Or were we for Stalin and his regime and on that reason alone, we sided with the USSR?

              And if that was less-evilism, was that a mistake?

            2. armchair

              Trump’s plans for America could easily have put him somewhere on the megalomaniac spectrum. Maybe he was joking about the giant wall on the border, removal by force of 15 million people, religious tests for entry to the US, demands for people to turn informer, law and order, stop and frisk and so on.

        4. JTFaraday

          “I’m sorry, but I just don’t get why this is considered a “bombshell.” She was to call in to Chris Hayes’s show, she knew what was going to be discussed – why shouldn’t she have been prepared for that?”

          I agree. This endless campaign schedule is grueling. I’d be dead by now and I’m much younger than HRC.

        1. Anne

          So, it’s all about him. The lack of respect he shows, not just to women in general, but to women in his own life, is to be excused or justified or trivialized because that’s just what he has to do in order to keep the spotlight on himself? Because that’s what’s important.

          It doesn’t matter to me why he does it, what matters to me is that he does it. And the fact that he chooses to get attention in this particular way absolutely speaks volumes about how he regards women – and he can say that no one respects women more than he does until the cows come home, but the reality is that his comments and actions say just the opposite. Because when you respect someone, you don’t use them the way Trump does.

          And as we know, it isn’t just women he does this kind of thing with, and at some point, it becomes obvious that he hides behind a cloak of attention-getting and political-incorrectness in order to vocalize how he really feels. All that’s missing is the “just kidding!” that people append to comments we all know were made in total seriousness.

          When people start wearing T-shirts that say “She’s a C*nt – Vote for Trump,” that’s all the clue you need that regardless of the excuses people make for him, his attitude and comments have given permission to millions of people to show just how little progress we have made.

          1. Portia

            where did I say it was OK??? I asserted that he is an empty windbag not to be taken seriously or even listened to. it is what sells, apparently, in the media. and there are a lot of “Trumps” out there. I have met more than my share. it’s a fact of life. I give them a wide berth and none of the energy of my attention.

          2. For Fawkes Sakes

            “We came. We saw. He died.” after hearing Gaddafi was sodomized with a bayonet, before being shot to death.

          3. Jess

            Yesterday I saw a FB post of a picture from eight years ago where Obama supporters were wearing t-shirts that said, “Sarah Palin Is A Cunt”. Guess that didn’t bother too many Obama supporters. Amazing how that works.

            1. Anne

              Wrong is wrong, period. It helps no one and changes nothing for there to be this constant rejoinder of “well, so-and-so said this and no one cared,” and “what about when Hillary said this.”

              Maybe it’s the insidiousness of “both side”-erism, which seems to compel people to engage in moral table tennis, never dealing with an issue, never being able to admit that some comment or behavior or action or policy is wrong, instead just finding some equivalent something-or-other to bat back across the table.

              Problem is that it doesn’t accomplish anything, in fact, it just allows the underlying objectionable behavior/rhetoric to continue.

              It’s how Trump has been fending off criticism of his Access Hollywood comments: “yeah, okay, I said it, but Bill Clinton actually abused women, and Hillary attacked them.” So, how old is he – 7? This is how children try to escape being held accountable: remind Mom or Dad that brother or sister has done far worse. I don’t know how other parents handled that, but in my house, things like that were met by a response of “we’re not talking about what your sister did, we’re talking about what you did, and we’re going to deal with that.”

              I wasn’t an Obama supporter in 2008, and I sure wasn’t a McCain/Palin supporter, but I don’t think that’s the only reason I recognized the sexism and misogyny being played out on both sides of that contest. Obama’s “You’re likable enough,” his calling the reporter “sweetie” – and the Obama supporters who mocked Palin’s choice of footwear, and thought calling her the c-word made them loyal and cool.

              People used to know the difference between right and wrong; guess that’s one more thing that has died on the altar of “but I want my candidate to win!”

              The whole thing just disgusts me.

              1. Jess

                You are, of course, accurate in your observations about the true nature of the conduct. However, one of the over-riding problems with politics is the hypocrisy of, “They did it, bad! We did it, no problem.”

                The problem the Dems have created is that Hellary is so vulnerable with respect to Bill’s history, while Bernie would have been impossible to attack on any similar front. The DNC made the bed and now all of us may have to lay in it.

                1. different clue

                  If Sanders had won the nomination, the Establishment Clintonite Sh*tocrats would have conspired against him the way their predecessors conspired against McGovern. The Clintonite Sh*tocrat leaders would have all supported Trump, and their Clintonite Sh*tocrat sheeple in the field would have voted for Trump as instructed in order to get Sanders McGovernized.

                  So no. A Nominee Sanders would not have won the election. The Klinton Kult Konspiracy would have made very sure of that.

          4. JTMcPhee

            Yah, Hillary Clinton represents progress, all right.. and so did Lucretia Borgia…

            Let us in best Liberal form pursue the small-group interests, deluding ourselves the we will get “something” pot of the rubble, even if it kills the large group and maybe the species.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Here’s the nonfunctioning student loan version of HIPAA:

    Millions of [student loan] borrowers signed up for government plans allowing them to repay based on their earnings rather than what they owe.

    Borrowers have to share their most recent earnings information with loan companies—such as Navient—working under contract for the U.S. Department of Education.

    But getting enrolled is tough, thanks to slow application processing by loan companies, random rejections, and frequently lost paperwork.

    Last year revealed that some 57 percent of borrowers, or 696,000 people, whose income information came due at re-certification missed their deadline.

    President 0bama calls for an electronic system that would allow borrowers to give the IRS permission to automatically share their tax returns with the Education Department’s loan contractors. If such a system existed, there would be no need for annual paperwork nightmares that afflict hundreds of thousands of Americans.

    The IRS says it doesn’t have enough money to create such a system.

    Why does the IRS not have enough money to implement this simple, HIPAA-style info exchange? Among other things, because it’s bogged down processing a mountain of Forms 1095A/B/C and 8965 to implement the train wreck of 0bamacare.

    Thank you, Max Baucus, Nancy Pelosi and Mr President! You did a lot to us.

    1. John Wright

      Is not the IRS limited in budgetary funds due to restrictions in their budget’s size for political reasons?

      One would expect a revenue seeking business/government operation to be encouraged to find more revenue (do more tax revenue seeking audits in the IRS’ case) until the incremental cost of finding the revenue was higher than the revenue achieved.

      But the IRS is purposely handicapped from going after more revenue (taxes) due to budget restrictions by “get rid of the IRS” politicians.

      Your thank you list should be a lot longer than only Baucus, Pelosi and Obama.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Definitely, its budget is politically limited. But implementing a universal health coverage reporting system is an order of magnitude more complex than an income reporting system for a million student loan borrowers.

        1. John Zelnicker

          @Jim Haygood – You may have limited knowledge about how bad it really is at the IRS. I’m a tax accountant and I deal with them on a daily basis. Congress has cut the IRS budget every year for the past several years. During the tax season over 50% of calls to the agency go unanswered, as in the call is never connected, it’s either a busy signal or the call just drops out. The audit examiners are so far behind they often have to get consent to extend the statute of limitations. Of course, this also limits the number of 1%-ers that can be audited. In addition, fraud and identity theft has increased substantially requiring more scarce resources to be devoted to resolving those issues. Many of the people I talk to at the agency feel like they are under siege. They barely have enough time to do the work they’re assigned, much less take on a new project, even if it appears to be an easy one.

          1. Katharine

            Thanks very much for the perspective! I’ve had occasional problems with phone calls, including the bizarre declaration that they won’t answer some questions by phone, but my own experience was too narrow.

          2. Jim Haygood


            Yes, I know how the IRS is being squeezed. One of the consequences of shoving 0bamacare through the House and Senate on party-line, one-person-margin votes is that its implementation is affected by political gridlock.

            Not only was a badly-needed ACA technical corrections bill impossible to pass, but also the IRS budget was frozen while it had to implement the 0bamacare mandate. This meant other functions such as audit and answering phone calls had to be reduced.

            By the way, what leverage does IRS have to obtain consent to extend the statute of limitations for audit? Is that ever in the client’s interest?

            1. JTMcPhee

              If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ll go along, right?

              But aren’t you one of those folks who hate and resent taxes, who would happily see the IRS and other regulatory agencies drowned in Grover Norquist’s bathtub?

              1. Jim Haygood

                No. A tax professional must assess this balance:

                “Extending the statute will allow you additional time to provide further documentation to support your position, request an appeal if you do not agree with the audit results, or to claim a tax refund or credit. It also allows the IRS time to complete the audit and provides time to process the audit results.

                “You do not have to agree to extend the statute of limitations date. However, if you do not agree, the auditor will be forced to make a determination based upon the information provided.”


                1. JTMcPhee

                  I actually knew that tidbit when I wrote that too obscurely ironic first sentence.

                  Anything to add about drowning the shrunken government?

                2. John Zelnicker

                  @Jim Haygood – On the few relevant occasions, I have recommended that my clients agree to the extension of the SoL. It allows me to provide additional documentation for my position, if necessary, and to make sure that the IRS isn’t pressured to finish the audit based on incomplete info.

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    But getting enrolled is tough, thanks to slow application processing by loan companies, random rejections, and frequently lost paperwork.

    Sounds more like trying to get a mortgage modification to me. hillary’s probably got a “plan” to have a “national conversation” about it.

    1. Jim Haygood

      And having one standard form for every borrower to sign.

      That’s how HillaryCare was going to transform the health system in 1993.

      It’s all so simple, from a top-down perspective. Assuming the worker ants do their jobs.

  11. pretzelattack

    a proportional response from the white house on the so called “russian dnc hack” would be to investigate the possibility that the clinton campaign is lying.

    1. ambrit

      A proportional response would be to release e-mails between the Kremlin and Russian Oligarchs. If the Spymasters do not have those e-mails, then they should be fired for incompetence.

      1. Tom

        But if the U.S. does release hacked Russian emails, then that means admitting that we are hacking foreign governments. And in the World According to Hillary, that means Russia would be within their rights to attack us militarily. After all, Hillary said on the campaign trial in Cincinnati, Ohio on 31 August:

        “As President, I will make it clear that the United States will treat cyberattacks just like any other attack. We will be ready with serious political, economic, and military responses.”

        I don’t know, but WW G-Mail doesn’t quite have the same ring as names for previous global conflicts.

        1. Jess

          “WW G-Mail doesn’t quite have the same ring as names for previous global conflicts.”

          You win the internets for the day. Bravo.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Re: The battle of Aleppo… etc.

    It can be a bit futile trying to interpret what is happening in northern Syria when dependent on outside media and blogs, but I think John Helmers interpretation has at least an element of truth even if he overstates his case. I don’t think there is any other explanation for the sudden worldwide concern for the innocents of Aleppo compared to all the other previous horror sieges and attacks in the Syrian war (and lets not ignore Kobane, flatted by the US in order to save it). Its hard to interpret the reaction of the usual suspects except as seeing it as a major strategic defeat for the floating alliance of Gulf States and the US to topple Assad and to trap Russia into a Syrian quagmire. I think describing the Aleppo ‘defenders’ as mercs is over the top – they seem the usual mixed bag of vaguely sunni insurgents with Gulf State (and maybe Turkish) weaponry, all looked on with favour by the West, and it may well be that many civilians see them as defenders. But it is also pretty clear that the majority of Aleppo province are natural regime supporters.

    Usually in these situations, Occams Razor applies – the simplest straightforward explanation is best. Even a casual knowledge of Syrian geography reveals that if and when Aleppo falls into Syrian/Russian control, Assad will have reasonably strong control over the most important spine of Syria, running from from the Turkish border around Aleppo down through Homs and Damascus, and including all sea ports. Assad is a corrupt thug, but, like Saddam and Gaddafi before him, at least presided over relative peace and stability and allowed minorities to prosper. The US and its allies, however, have shown by their determination to stop him succeeding in Aleppo that they prefer Syria to turn into another Libya than have Assad in control. For now, it seems that the likely capture of Aleppo is a defeat for everyone opposed to Assad and the Russians.

    1. Steve H.

      “our allies don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us.”

      If anybody has a version which is not from Dick Cheney, please post. I hate quoting that guy.

      1. human

        It appears to be a Republican talking point. I have Congressmen Kinzinger and McCarthy and Jeb Bush repeating this almost verbatim during 2014 and Marco Rubio in late ’15 after Cheney spoke it during a speech at a dinner in late ’12.

    2. ambrit

      What’s chilling is the semi correspondence between Syria today, and Afghanistan in the 1980s. America sent Stinger anti air rockets to the Jihadis fighting the Soviets in that benighted collection of warring factions. The Soviets eventually gave up and left, and many of the Jihadis became the Taliban. We all know how that worked out, don’t we.
      Here’s hoping Syria ends up a coherent set of associated statelets.
      As the SST said a few days ago, Syria and the Russians have had enough of Western duplicity and have opted for a military victory, which is doable.
      What is almost laughable about the present state of affairs is that, while the Sublime Porte waged endless war against the underbelly of Europe for centuries and failed to establish Islam as arbiter in Europe, the Neos are accomplishing this through a massive refugee flow from the Middle East up into Europe as a result of their ‘exceptionalist’ strategies.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      ……. if and when Aleppo falls into Syrian/Russian control……..

      A bit confused here. Before the u. s. and saudi arabia decided that “Assad must go,” Aleppo was a city in the country of Syria. It was, presumably, governed by the Syrian government as was the rest of the country, and Assad was the president.

      How does a city “fall” when the government of the country in which it is located reasserts legitimate control?

      As an aside, I have read that Syrians were considered the most highly educated people in the Middle East. Emphasis on the word “were.”

      1. PlutoniumKun

        A useful reminder – the Damascus government is still the legal and legitimate government of Syria. And the only outsiders they have invited in are Russia and Hizbollah.

        I don’t know the statistics for education, but a dozen or so years ago I spent a few interesting weeks cycling around Lebanon and Syria. Judging from the jokes made, the Lebanese tended to see the Syrians as poor and a little backward, the Syrians tended to see the Lebanese as nouveaux riche philistines. But I certainly met many cosmopolitan and very educated Syrians in all sorts of unexpected places. Because of the bad Syrian economy even back then a lot of Syrians would move to the Lebanon and work in jobs well below their education level. In most parts of Syria I found many people speaking impeccable English, always very friendly and helpful.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, I meant ‘Syrian Army’ of course. But a useful reminder, nevertheless.

        A dozen years or so ago I cycled around Syria and Lebanon. The Lebanese joked about poorly dressed Syrians and Syrians joked about Lebanese being nouveaux riche philistines. I’ve no idea what the official figures are for education, but I was struck by the number of Syrians I met (in Lebanon as well as Syria) who had impeccable English, were cosmopolitan and obviously well educated, and were incredibly open and welcoming.

        1. Wj

          Hence my position: The U.S. should only accept Syrian refugees on the condition that one of them is forced to serve as President.

      3. Plenue

        It’s not even the whole city, the militants only took the eastern half of it, which is what the fighting is over. The majority of the population lives in the government controlled western part of the city.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think if the West loses Syria (its largely already happened; recognizing it is an issue) there will be significantly less future would be rebels who are the second coming of Jefferson world wide. The other big issue is who might be rounded up in Aleppo and what promises were made to get people to fight. Bodies of people who weren’t supposed to be there can be very upsetting.

      1. RabidGandhi

        “if the West loses Syria”

        A gentle reminder: one can only lose one’s own possessions. See Katniss ut supra.

        1. ChrisFromGeorgia

          It is amazing, isn’t it, how language can reveal biases and susceptibility to neo-con rhetoric.

          The idea that the middle east is Exceptionalistans’ little playground, to be divvied up like some imaginary country on a playing board, has crept into the consciousness rather insidiously.

          Assad for all his faults presides over a pluralistic society where several different religious groups (Christians, Muslims, Jews) lived in relative harmony free from the Jihadis. US neo-cons could care less for womens’ rights, etc.

          1. vidimi

            this current generation of politicians, who grew up during the cold war with an ideological enemy and raised on american exceptionalism are the most dangerous ever. if we survive them, we may yet have a bright future as a species. if.

    5. Plenue

      On the subject of Aleppo:

      Only some minor groups so far, but it looks like the rats are now having serious thoughts about fleeing the sinking ship. If the SAA does what they’ve been doing with great success in the Damascus suburbs they’ll let the fighters depart as long as they leave their heavy weapons behind. They’ll be given transport to somewhere else, probably Idlib province. Sure, they get to live to fight another day, but they’ll willing abandon their urban strongholds and wind up in a much more open place where airstrikes can really take them apart.

  13. cocomaan

    Hillary being against pot legalization is unsurprising, but still maddening.

    What exactly does Xerox have against or for legalization? Is it that they don’t want hemp-based ink? What the hell?

    1. ambrit

      Well, after all, Bill didn’t inhale, and he didn’t have intercourse with that woman. So, who is Chelsea’s real daddy, Webb Hubbell?

    2. divadab

      So our choice is between a disgusting woman-objectifying casino magnate and a bribe-taking prohibitionist warmonger? Unfuckingbelievable.

  14. Dead Squashed Kissinger

    Aleppo shows in detail how Russian strategy aims to enforce rule of law. Helmer is right about the legal implications of attacks on Syria. Sending of armed bands, irregulars or mercenaries to Syria in manifest breach of the UN Charter is aggression, the highest crime. Russian diplomacy is an integral part of their armed resistance to aggression, so Russia’s draft UNSC resolution calls out the covert aggression: “That draft resolution would have demanded that all parties prevent material and financial support from reaching groups associated with Al-Qaida, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) or Jabhat al-Nusrah.”

    The resulting UNSC deliberations are more straightforward than you ever hear at home.

  15. DJG

    The Goldfinch. Great antidote. Although they supposedly aren’t urban birds, they turn up regularly in my neighborhood in Chicago. But then I live near the train embankment used by animals as a thoroughfare and two large graveyards.

    Recommended accompaniment: From Vivaldi’s Estro Armonico, “Il cardellino.”

    1. OIFVet

      Big thumbs up on the Vivaldi recommend. We get goldfinches regularly down here, thanks to the proximity with Wooded Island.

  16. DJG

    The BBC article about Greeks in China for some 1,500 years is a non-story. Just dip into the history of Gandhara and Greco-Buddhism. It is also well recognized that portrayal of the Buddha has much to do with Gandhara (Greek) esthetics and, possibly, some links to the portrayal of Apollo, who represented enlightment, too.

    Also, how do the authors of the BBC article think that the Silk Road functioned? It has been a trading route for 2,000 or more years.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      In the late 1990’s I found myself camping out next to a remote lake on the Chinese-Mongolian border (on a scientific survey looking at water balances). There were strange shaped geological features all around the lake, which a bit of investigation showed to be huge deposits of charcoal, presumably deposited by centuries of Silk Road traders camping by the lake. I remember one of the team digging out from a lump a tiny bronze figure with (even to my untrained eyes) unmistakeable Greek and Buddhist/Hindu stylistic influences. I thought it looked like a weird combination of a Greek Goddess and Shiva. And there are of course parts of Xinjiang province where you will meet red haired blue eyed locals, allegedly descended from stragglers from Alexander the Great’s armies. For centuries many of the inhabitants of what is now northern China Greece would have seemed as close (culturally and economically) as Shanghai.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The history of that region is fascinating – The open deserts and high plains of central Asia has been an area of cultural cross-pollination for millennia. You need only look at the incredible speed that South American crops such as pepper and tomato spread from landfall in Spain to western China to see how ‘close’ they were together for long periods of history.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Agreed – I’m guessing it wasn’t just a couple sculptors who made their way to China. it’s been known for a long time now that there were pockets of Indo-European speakers in China during the first millennium.

  17. John Wright


    Why doesn’t the White House use the alleged hack to showcase the vaunted American Exceptionalism in technology?

    With all the money going into government surveillance of the internet (NSA budget) should not the government have an excellent idea of how systems are hacked and how to prevent it?

    The combined NSA, CIA and military intelligence budget is estimated at $75.6 Billion per

    The information the Russians supposedly retrieved was provided by DNC computers, and was allegedly downloaded by the Russians from computers one would expect the DNC to make very secure.

    The government could be analyzing how this happened and why the DNC system administrators effectively, through negligence, allowed the information to be downloaded.

    Furthermore, what business does the USA government have in potentially inflaming a foreign government because Russia MAY have hacked a non-governmental entity, the DNC?

    Where is American Exceptionalism in hardened-secure IT systems when it is needed?

    And why is Obama not thoroughly embarrassed to make these statements?

    1. Antifa

      After America was caught red-handed listening to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s every cell phone conversation, with what face do we even dare accuse another nation of government-backed hacking?

      Is big joke, yes?

  18. cnchal

    And why is Obama not thoroughly embarrassed to make these statements?

    Impossible to embarrass a narcissist.

  19. RabidGandhi

    Quick summary of the MacroBusiness article on China for those of you who were intelligent enough not to bother with it:

    1. China has a history of tyranny, so look out Xi’s gonna crown himself emperor.

    2. Long quote from FT that “there is speculation” that someone might have overheard their sister’s uncle’s ex-roomate’s pet groomer say that Xi might consider trying to break an unwritten rule that he should retire. Ergo, imminent autocracy!

    3. CCP has historically restricted freedoms, therefore China is gestating a new dictator. (The reader is left to wonder why restricted freedoms would necessitate a dictator.)

    4. China is not standing by idly as the US ‘pivots’ to restrict it. Bad dictatorial China!

    5. How should Australia react:

    a) stop buying Chinese products
    b) restrict Chinese immigration
    c) “re-engage with the US”

    And with point [c], the mask comes off and we see what this article is really about. Better imperial trolls, please.

  20. Larry Headlund

    THE BATTLE OF ALEPPO, THE BATTLE OF DRESDEN, THE BATTLE OF MASADA AND THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTH FIELD — WHO LIES, LIES LONGEST John Helmer. His second paragraph states a very strong thesis. Stuck pigs do squeal, and the US has done that in spades….but haven’t cross checked his interpretations. Lambert’s reaction based on a quick survey of good sources: “So I dunno if the Fall of Saigon is the right historical analogy, if only because Aleppo has not fallen. But trying to hold territory and defeat a regular army with mercs looks like fail, which is, of course, why Clinton and The Blob want to double down on a no-fly zone…” Readers?

    That second paragraph:

    What happened at the Battle of Aleppo (lead image, 1) is that Russian and Syrian forces, fighting for the Syrian government in Damascus, defeated the forces of the US and the NATO alliance, fighting with mercenaries they hired to overthrow the government in Damascus. This is the most decisive defeat of US strategy and arms since 1973, when Vietnamese forces won the second Battle of Saigon.

    Since the second Battle of Saigon was in 1975 this doesn’t give me warm fuzzies about historical accuracy. I also wouldn’t put Massada and Bosworth Field in my list of

    the greatest battles ever fought over a single place

    As far as mercenaries versus regular troops, a lot is going to depend on how you define those two terms. For example, in the Battle of Bosworth Field, by the author’s account, it was mercenaries on the winning side. This seems to be fine with the author since he feels he must take sides in that squabble.

  21. Jim Haygood

    Here’s a new thing — predatory credit unions:

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday took action against Navy Federal Credit Union for making false threats about debt collection to its members. Navy Federal agreed to correct its debt-collection practices, pay $23 million to victims and pay a $5.5 million penalty.

    The bureau’s investigation found that Navy Federal deceived consumers to coerce them into paying on delinquent accounts, falsely threatening severe actions when, in reality, it rarely took such actions or didn’t have authority to do so.

    Some military members received letters threatening to notify their commanding officers. The credit union also cut off electronic access to customer accounts and cards when members didn’t pay overdue loans, the bureau said.

    Navy Federal, headquartered in Vienna, Va., is the world’s largest credit union, with $78 billion in assets and 6.4 million members as of midyear. Along with military personnel, members include U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees and contractors.

    Nice guys, huh? Of course, there won’t be any criminal charges for their thuggery, extortion and loan sharking.

    Bet they’ve got a well-connected board, replete with the usual Beltway boodlers.

  22. RabidGandhi

    Re: IEA Pours Cold Water on Oil Price Rally

    “The IEA lowered its oil demand forecast once again, dropping demand growth for 2016 to 1.2 million barrels per day…. [This] development is all the more surprising because low fuel prices were expected to stoke demand…”

    Wait, so let me get this straight: adding more apples to my cart won’t encourage consumers to buy more apples? That is truly “all the more surprising”.

    1. Synapsid


      The thinking may derive from the repeated observation that when gasoline prices drop sales of pickups and SUVs rise.

      The quote is about an oil-demand forecast.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Read Comrade Haygood’s excellent analogy in the link. Even in the case of SUVs, lower prices do not translate into increased aggregate demand, they merely shift demand amongst wealthier consumers. This is why QE has not stimulated demand, and why falling oil prices had the same (not surprising) effect.

        1. Synapsid


          You leave out pickups, and the Ford F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in the country.

          Sales have dropped in all classes of small and mid-sized cars; the SUV jump is not just among wealthier customers.

  23. Ew Germs

    Good catch, uncharacteristically subtle state propaganda in Aeon. This is the new minor key of Wisner’s wurlitzer. The narrative goes on and on with death, corpses, pustules, gobbets of blood, and then at the end deftly slips in the almost subliminal suggestion linking One Belt One Road to all the hordes and plague and death. Good thing it’s subliminal too, because on a moment’s consecutive thought the idea’s idiotic. *Golf clap* This is the same light touch used in the movie Hotel Budapest, which is lots of distracting random crap that sets up a brief scene for your subconscious portraying Russians as mute violent brutes (in amusing contrast to the punctilious Anglophone Nazis.) CIA don’t even bother lying – it’s pure brainwashing now.

    1. Softie

      Actually it’s a warning that the plague virus stored at the CDC will be released on the new Silk Road.

      1. Bunk McNulty

        My thought on reading about the Black Death: If Peter Thiel calls asking if you have any marmosets for sale, hang up on him.

  24. totallynotastonerdude

    re: policing stoned drivers. This is basically impossible unless you catch them actually smoking while driving. There is no viable field test for stoned drivers because the stoned brains don’t function much differently than non-stoned ones. People who smoke daily are usually capable of performing the same tasks while stoned as any sober person who might have not had a great night’s sleep (this is science people, not stoner confirmation bias – my wife used to do NIDA research, and NIDA would LOVE to be able to produce studies that emphatically reject this hypothesis – if even their intense anti-drug bias can’t find the data they want, it just ain’t there). People who don’t smoke regularly can take 3 hits and be an obvious danger to themselves and others, yet still have drastically less THC in their systems. You obviously shouldn’t drive when impaired by intoxicants, but you shouldn’t drive when you have the flu or haven’t slept in 23 hours or have low blood-sugar either, but those things aren’t illegal, because where do you draw the line? I don’t like the idea of sharing the road with baked teenagers any more than anyone else, but absent the magical appearance of what appears to be an impossible testing technology, I don’t see how it’s possible to enforce a prohibition on driving while stoned in any way that is even remotely constitutional.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      The only logical way would be to have some sort of functional test like eye-hand-foot coordination or reaction time to various stimuli. It may turn out a nicely toasted young person with excellent reflexes and focus could be significantly and empirically more able than a completely sober elderly driver simply with impaired vision-hearing and reaction time normal for their age. Prescription drugs are probably a lot more dangerous than cannabis as far as driving, and there are no presumptive easy tests for them either, there are too many, it’s just not practical. There are, in fact, waaaay too many potential causes of all types of impaired driving to address them all individually.

  25. flora

    re: Big Pharma’s Manufactured Epidemic: The Misdiagnosis of ADHD – Scientific American
    ”…Parents and doctors must be taught that just because a child has a difficult time paying attention or sitting still in school does not, ipso facto, have a potentially lifetime brain disorder.

    An example:
    Young children have always had a hard time learning to sit still in a classroom. Recess has been used to let kids take a morning and afternoon break to run off their pent up energies. Thanks to No Child Left Behind and high stakes testing, *even in kindergarten*, nap time and recess are being curtailed or eliminated in many school districts.

    “The ever increasing pressure to cram more instructional time into the school day in an attempt to boost test scores has put the squeeze on recess and naptime in districts around the country.

    “In Gadsden City, Alabama, schools reportedly scratched naps for kindergartners to find time for test preparation. Wynell Williams, elementary education director for the Gadsden system, placed blame for the loss on accountability measures. “If the state is holding us accountable, this is the way we have to do it. Kindergarten is not like it used to be.”

    “In Kenosha, Wisconsin, parents were shocked when the principal of the Bain School of Arts and Language announced that recess would be eliminated because the school’s test scores threatened to place it on the state’s watch list of schools not meeting NCLB test score standards. “If teachers want to bring their students outside, it will be only for educational purposes and will include studying,” said Bain Principal Margaret Carpenter.”

    Now too many very young kids have to sit still from start of school day until lunchtime and then until the end-of-day bell rings. No morning and afternoon 15-20 minute recess to let them run off energy.

    I point this out as an example of new school environment problems that have nothing to do with ADHD but might lead to a false diagnosis.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I can’t find the link at the moment, but I remember a while back looking at a study which suggested that the Scandinavian experience shows that the best way to eliminate the gender gap in most countries whereby girls do better than boys, would be to start formal schooling at 7 (which is normal in countries like Finland and Denmark and Sweden). Essentially, they find that boys in particular find the disciplines of school harder to adapt to until around 7 years old. Starting school this late apparently does not in any way reduce later educational attainment, but does result in the elimination of many observed differences in gender performance.

      I was reminded of that reading the article, where it strongly implies that ADHD overdiagnosis seems to focus particularly on boys. Boys are, well, boys as we know, they are even more annoying than little girls. But rather than sensibly look at whether the education system is exacerbating this, the solution seems to be to drug them.

  26. Synoia

    My son was diagnosed with ADHD. The doctor stated 40% of boys at that time were diagnosed with ADHA.

    I’d point out that a disorder cannot include 40% of the population. At that number it is a behavior. A disorder affects below 1% of the population, probably less than 0.01%.

    My observation was met with silence.

    The root cause is that Kindergarten teachers seem to want little boys to behave like little girls.

    When is summed up by the doggerel:

    What are little Girls made of? Sugar and Spice and all things nice
    What are little boys made of? Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails.

    Puppy dog tails = hyperactivity?

    1. Portia

      I send you my condolences. Teachers these days can not use “common sense” and practice compassionate, actual “teaching”. It’s all about crowd control

    2. kgw

      Well-done! I risked the minor wrath of my mother, sister, and niece when my niece’s daughter was diagnosed as “pre-epilectic” for daydreaming expressed as not instantly responding to others around her…The doctor(s) were prescribing some very strong chemicals that dulled you, and caused weight-gain.

      All for being eleven years old – mind-blowing.

    3. Katharine

      I put a lot of so-called hyperactivity down to lack of exercise and over-controlled kindergartens. In my youth we did a lot of skipping, hopping, hokey-pokey &c in the classroom, besides having recess. Now it seems they are confined to work stations too much of the time for healthy development.

      I knew a young woman years ago who was teaching high-school English in a small town, and when her class was too restless to concentrate she’d take them out for a quick run behind her around the track and then bring them back to talk about Shakespeare.

    4. LeeH

      As Lord Baden-Powell (founder of scouting): “boys are not sitting animals”
      He understood that lecturing to wee ones was not the best way to get their attention. Give them useful activity and they could enjoy learning.
      I suspect that there are some (if not many) little girls that are not sitting animals either. As Yves as pointed out, the in-group variance is larger than the between group average diff.
      But actually educating our little ones is not the primary goal of education, right?

  27. beth

    ‘Big data’ could mean big problems for people’s healthcare privacy Los Angeles Times (JTM). Um, you think you have health care privacy? That HIPAA form isn’t a privacy form, it’s a disclosure form.

    I guess I am realizing this too late. I have a rare genetic disease that takes me to doctors all over the metroplex. Over time I see the information in one doc’s computer cropping up with outdated and/or inaccurate info so that my ten minutes is dominated by what they read from the computer, no matter how relevent.
    recently one doc recommended a new drug to take and a surgery and I turned down both with the thinking that I do not need either. If I am wrong, certainly they did not give me the information I needed to follow her recommendations. The next doc to see her notes asked my why I did not agree to the pill & the surgery. The message was clear: YOU ARE NON-COMPLIANT.

    How can I reverse these permissions? I suspect that if I don’t sign the forms for a new doc I will still be put into the system. Some docs might correct the errors if I told them but most would not.

  28. Portia

    Not exactly crowd-funding, not bond-issuing. A pretty bold appeal from my local Food Co-op to raise 1 million for expansion. I already can not afford to shop there any more, as they have started issuing dividends to members and raised prices much and suddenly.

    Member-Owner Loans
    Key Things to Know

    Our campaign must raise $1 million
    from member-owners by November 1st
    for our expansion project. This program is open only to current
    member-owners of Middlebury Natural
    Foods Co-op who are also residents of
    Vermont or New York.
    Loans to the Co-op are unsecured and
    subordinate to all other financing
    (my personal favorite, lol)
    The minimum loan amount is $2,000
    Member-owners may select one of
    four interest rates: 0%, 1%, 2%, or 3%
    Four- to eight-year payout terms are
    available; loans must be spread roughly
    equally among the term options.
    These are loans, not donations. All loans
    are kept anonymous.

    Anyone out there ever hear of this kind of thing before?

    1. Aleric

      My local co-op has raised money in this way and successfully financed a major expansion. (Eastside Food Co-op in Minneapolis). I invested – I trusted the people running the co-op and liked their business plan, It’s not going to beat the craazyman fund, but it’s better than a 5 year CD.

      1. Portia

        thanks for your input. I am sure they will be successful. I am a little dismayed that it is unsecured, though.

  29. Alex morfesis

    In early march of 2014, a military budget was presented to congress that due to the sequestration deal would have reduced the size of the U.S. army to its level in 1940…

    A few weeks later the russians decided to take the bait…

    War crimes conversation is interesting but much more people die on this planet from peace crimes…be it faulty products or wife beating pimps like Assad…

    How is his “insistance” that he remain fearless leader any different than someone who threatens to kill his wife if she dares to leave him ?

    How is Assad any different than a pimp who kills the junkie who has finally decided to go to rehab or starts taking naloxone to try to redirect their lives ?

    He has bought into the religious abrahamic myth that his “bloodline” tied to ali is special and they are the “chosen ones”…a muslim form of apartheid…

    And anything he does to his “lowers” is a blessing as they should be “thankful” he and his kind have chosen to “personally” persecute them…

    The bio for just about every “fearless leader” these past 2 million sunsets…

    1. Alex morfesis

      Forgot to mention the 124 thousand alawi assadi “chosen ones” who correspond to the 124 thousand planks of noahs ark…

      Because only the special people get to slice and dice you…

      And those who are not of the chosen alawi and do not submit..slowly devolve into animals and then stones and then dust…

      All hail fearless leader…

      (Stupid mysogenist goat shagging camel jockies)

      1. vidimi

        nothing like turning to racism to denounce misogyny.

        i’m sure everything you say about assad and his cronies is true or truth-based, but the choice is not and never has been assad or paradise on earth.

  30. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Getting questions in advance…

    What about helping with polling questions afterwards?

    “You help me in the beginning, and I, or my people, will stay behind later to help you. Scratch, scratch.”

  31. Kim Kaufman

    “In Leaked Speech, Clinton Promises Bankers to Stand Against Pot Legalization ‘In All Senses of the Word’ Waking Times Media (Judy B)”

    I wonder if, in addition to protecting Big Pharma, and why bankers would care, is that so much of what keeps the banks afloat is illegal drug money.

    1. human

      “I was at the Shadow Convention where I interviewed a number of very famous people–Jesse Jackson, John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Arianna Huffington, Scott Harshbarger of Common Cause, a great many very important American people. I talked to them about the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in July of 2000 confirming that there was evidence that CIA was ordering drug dealing by a Contra leader, Reynato Peña. And it was funny, because I got all these political answers.

      “But one guy I talked to was a guy named Rex Nutting, who was the bureau chief of CBS Market Watch–he is the head guy for CBS for the stock market. And we’re sitting back in the room–I’m waiting for Huffington to get free–and I’m talking to this guy about the fact that Richard Grasso, the Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, last July went to Colombia and cold-called on the FARC guerrillas and asked them to invest their drug money in Wall Street. And Rex Nutting says: “Well, of course they always go where the money is. It’s obvious.”

      “The drug money is always going through Wall Street. Wall Street smells money and doesn’t care where the money comes from; they’ll go for the drug money.

      “And we jokingly laughed that the National Security Act that created the CIA in ’47 was written by a guy called Clark Clifford, who was a Wall Street banker and lawyer. He’s the guy that brought us BCCI. The job of writing the outline for CIA, the design for the Agency, was given to Clark Clifford by John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles–both law partners in the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell. In ’69 after Nixon came in, the Chairman of SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] was William Casey–the same guy who was Ronald Reagan’s Director of Central Intelligence. And the current Vice President in charge of enforcement for the New York Stock Exchange, Dave Dougherty, is a retired CIA General Counsel. The CIA is Wall Street, and vice versa. When you understand that, and that money is the primary objective, everything else just falls into place.”

      ~ Michael Ruppert,

  32. BecauseTradition

    re: In Leaked Speech, Clinton Promises Bankers to Stand Against Pot Legalization ‘In All Senses of the Word’ Waking Times Media (Judy B)

    Why should bankers care if potential debt slaves become less materialistic? Oh, never mind …

    One wonders if Dante was too kind re bankers …

  33. JSM

    Re: White House Vows ‘Proportional’ Response for Russian DNC Hack

    Could not help but lol when reading (in the NYT) that ‘“Only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” said a statement from the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr.’

    What a dreadful B movie, or straight out of the war room in Dr. Strangelove. Isn’t this the guy that was busted lying to Congress? Aren’t these the people who couldn’t stop a bunch of amateurs from flying planes into buildings when they knew a bunch of amateurs wanted to fly planes into buildings? Led us into Iraq on bogus intel? Spy on Americans? Require Russia to score major victories in the WoT? You’d think they really be more gracious & grateful. More Americans have an unfavorable view of Trump & Clinton than Putin, but this is apparently the best script they have.

    On the WSJ/Marist poll: It’s highly dubious, oversamples Democrats, may not be polling a representative class of millennials and is probably suppressing 3rd party leanings. It’s probably better to discount it, rather than call the race over based on one poll. The headline number grabbed a lot of headlines tho, just like it was probably supposed to…

    1. hunkerdown

      “Only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” says the least-untruthful guy from the agency which had exploited PdVSA and didn’t even really know it.

  34. Jerry Denim

    Qatar – Boeing:

    Besides the nasty armaments to despots angle I would wager there is another big problem with the Qatar Boeing deal. I’m guessing those 777’s and 787’s are going to be financed at below market rates by the controversial US Ex-Im bank that Hillary Clinton and many other Democrats support. Bernie Sanders is opposed to the Ex-Im bank and he was attacked by Clinton in the debates over his opposition. (she accused him of being a closet Republican) The Gulf airlines are massively subsidized by their governments (billions and billions of cancelled loans- free money) and they are massively distorting the long-haul international air travel market and as such hurting US legacy airlines market share. Many Americans may welcome the competition and the opportunity to fly on a mostly empty jumbo jet for cheap, but US citizens should bare in mind that the US airline sector is a very labor intensive business providing hundreds of thousands of good paying union jobs with benefits. American Airlines has a paltry 19 billion market cap but employs 113,000 people. Compare that to Facebook’s 366 billion market cap but pathetic payroll of 12,000 employees. Airlines are a rarity in this day and age of automation and offshoring . The Ex-Im financed Boeing -Qatar deal may be good for Boeing execs but it’s another kick in the teeth to the US airline industry which is a major pillar of our economy. Our leaders are electing to not protect our own airline industry so they can assist the oil rich gulf states build a horribly distorted and subsidized airline industry from nothing.

    1. craazyboy

      Well, Sanders(Rep), may lose our entire airplane company. Boeing says it may be forced to move operations offshore if In-N-Out Bank is closed. I guess that would be in addition to already spewing the 787 production all over the planet. So… our national near monopoly company can’t compete with the socialist, 35 hour work week, French if Boeing can’t offer low cost (presumably risk-free) financing from the USG?!

      I think it’s way past time for 1st World governments to cooperate on means and agreements to stop multi-nationals constantly blackmailing countries over jobs and playing the wage arb game. Before we all find ourselves living in the Middle Ages again.

  35. robnume

    By all means, let’s declare Syrian airspace a “no fly zone” because…well, the US has the sovereign right over that airspace, dontcha know? I mean, how dare the Syrians attempt to run their own political and economic affairs. I love the smell of hubris and mendacity in the morning. Smells like…okay, it just smells.

  36. robnume

    Big data = Big Brother, big time. Name one, just one technological advance that has not been co-opted by TPTB for one nefarious reason or another. Name just one, g’head, I dare ya!

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