Links 12/14/2016

Finding North America’s lost medieval city Ars Technica

The bank lent me $2m so I spent it on strippers and cars BBC

U.S. Regulators Sanction Wells Fargo, Declaring ‘Living Will’ Deficiencies WSJ

The Long, Cruel Career of Rudy Giuliani Jacobin

From Zuccotti Park to Trump Tower Jacobin

Restless temperament TLS. On the rise of the ADHD-industrial complex.


Europe’s states of disorder New Statesman

Urgent Brexit deal needed to avert banking job losses, peers to warn Guardian

US wants rules new cars must ‘talk’ to each other within 5 years FT

Google says driverless cars are ready to make money, but we won’t know if they do Marketwatch

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google faces EU curbs on how it tracks users to drive adverts FT

Why are Indians being arrested for sitting during the national anthem? BBC

The damming problem of reconnecting Europe’s rivers The Conversation


War In Ukraine News Update: Merkel And Hollande Push For New Russia Sanctions International Business Times

Asia is in the grip of a transnational crime crisis – but governments look away The Conversation

Federal Official Urges Probe of ‘Abuse’ on Private Prisoner Transport Marshall Project

Reversing Course, E.P.A. Says Fracking Can Contaminate Drinking Water NYT. Oops.

Fracking Can Contaminate Drinking Water, Has Made Some Water Supplies “Unusable,” Long-Awaited EPA Study Concludes DeSmogBlog


Native Waters, Native Warriors: From Standing Rock to Honduras Truth out

2016 Post Mortem

David Brock blasts Brooklyn, ‘animals’ in press Politico

Chamber of Commerce Helped Senate Tip Republican by Restricting Contributions to GOP Truthout

Hypocrisy Behind the Frenzy Over Russia’s Role in the U.S. Election Truthdig

Harry Reid says Russian hacking is ‘as big a deal as Watergate or 9/11’ Business Insider

Donald Trump is doing more to undermine himself than any Democrat The Spectator. Disconcerting, to say the least, to have The Spectator accept this framing of the Russian interference allegations and call for Trump to “[take]  seriously the threat of foreign incursion.”

America: the failed state Prospect. Francis Fukuyama’s weighs in.  Some insights, but I post this so that the commentariat can have some fun shredding much of the nonsense herein.

Diary LRB. Pearl-clutching: Jonathan Lethem needs to get out a bit more, to see what lurks beyond Brooklyn.

The dangers of mystifying Trump CJR. Lee Siegel also goes off the deep end; assertion substitutes for analysis.

Trump Transition

Trump Trumpets His Real Plans Counterpunch

Ryan, Trump turn corner in relationship The Hill

Trump compares Paul Ryan to a ‘fine wine,’ stops Wisconsin crowd from booing him Business Insider

Global Deals That Made Exxon’s CEO Now Pose Big Test WSJ

Trump Lines Up Establishment Republicans to Vouch for Rex Tillerson NYT

Tillerson’s record at Exxon shows a tough pragmatist Politico

Uncertainty in Asia over Trump’s top diplomat pick SCMP

Rex Tillerson’s appointment shows Trump will put America first Spectator

Trump Homeland Security Adviser Helped Contractors Profit Off Harsh Deportation Policies Intercept

Rick Perry, a Very Different Kind of Energy Secretary MIT Technology Review

Rick Perry, Climate Denier and Dakota Access Pipeline Owner Board Member, Named Energy Secretary DeSmogBlog

Trump taps Montana congressman for Interior secretary The Hill. Another example of Trump rewarding loyalty.

Trump’s Nominees Stand to Reap Tens of Millions of Dollars in Potential Tax Deferrals WSJ


There is more than one truth to tell in the awful story of Aleppo Independent

Fall of Aleppo: “Call the world and tell them to stop the massacre” New Statesman

‘All anyone ever wanted was to be treated no better than animals’: Syrians lose hope as Aleppo falls Business Insider

Despair and Debauchery in Assad’s Capital Der Spiegel

Indian Currency Train Wreck

India’s Cashless Economy Gets a Discount MIT Technology Review. Will Dr. Pangloss please pick up the white courtesy phone.

Going cashless in rural Bengal: Watch how this village is forced to barter food

‘Modi Has Intense Desire to Do Something, But Lacks Imagination,’ Says Ashis Nandy The Wire

Antidote du jour (J-LS photo, Yogjakarta– Java, Indonesia–May 2016):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. skippy

    With absurdity at epic levels just have to share this gem….

    Bitnation Introduces Smart Love, a Blockchain Marriage Application

    The borderless voluntary nation has been working on Pangea, a Decentralized Blockchain Jurisdiction, since 2015. Bitnation chose Secure Scuttlebutt, a decentralized, peer-to-peer, communications protocol with end-to-end encryption that communicates with the Ethereum blockchain to both create and execute smart contracts.

    Smart Love will be be the first end-use application for Pangea, and an essential part of Bitnation’s polylegal dispute resolution platform. This is, according to Bitnation, the ideal EtherCamp hackathon project.

    Every useful marriage agreement needs to establish moderate entry barriers, and tough – perhaps very tough – exit barriers. Smart Love is no different, as it will incorporate legal code, arbitrators and enforcement mechanisms as per the user’s choice.

    Smart Love, by design, links to a broad ecosystem of agreements such as child care, inheritances, and asset sharing. These agreements have historically been linked to marriage.

    Bitnation founder Susanne Tarkowski Templehof said in the release:

    Smart Love is the sandbox in which we can experiment with our technology to create a useful application from which we can build the entire Pangea ecosystem: an Emoji-enabled, decentralized and encrypted chat application on which Bitnation Citizens can create and enter into robust legal contracts and resolve disputes with anyone else in the world, without any 3rd party intervention.

    Disheveled….. L – M – M – A – O….

      1. skippy

        Upload yourself now… no outside agency bliss… binary human reality…

        disheveled… Barter taken too its extremes in an artificially created universe….

    1. hunkerdown

      Imagine how much time and effort the same-sex marriage people could have saved if they’d only coded up an app.

  2. integer

    Reversing Course, E.P.A. Says Fracking Can Contaminate Drinking Water NYT. Oops.

    Lucky they erred on the side of caution huh? /sarc

    Seriously though, this should have been obvious to anyone who understands that gravity exists and that matter (i.e. physical substances) does not magically disappear as soon as you stop looking at it. Sigh.

    1. fresno dan

      December 14, 2016 at 7:32 am

      At the rate we’re going, pretty soon the public health authorities will tell us that fracking contaminated water is good for you, like vitamins or somethin’
      When we entirely run out of water, expect bathing to be a once a year treat….fortunately, the surfeit of petrochemicals will allow us to mask our natural fragrances with artificial colognes ….I intend to use a combo of watermelon, pork chop, and whiskey.

      1. DanB

        As someone who once resided in a school of public health, I feel confident noting that as long as they can intone, “further research is necessary” there will be no outcry from public health. With few exceptions, healthcare and public health’s response to corruption, class politics, environmental degradation, and decline thus far has been loyalty to the 1%.

    2. craazyboy

      I’m hoping they find out fracking fluid is hallucinogenic rather than carcinogenic. Then we won’t need to legalize pot.

      1. ambrit

        In a similar way, most corporate friendly processes warp reality in a “friendly” manner. It’s something like the properties of sub atomic particles, like ‘spin’ a term appropriated by politics, ‘strangeness’ a term adapted to socio-politics, and ‘charm’ a term now used in breakfast cereals. As the latter example makes clear, it’s all “magically delicious!”

    3. Waking Up

      If the 1% truly believe fracking water is safe…perhaps we should provide the water to their sinks, showers, etc. with that fracked water. Not just short term, but, long term. They can act as a “field” experiment.

  3. fresno dan

    There is nothing like the deification of the CIA by supposedly “liberals” and dems to show that our politics is less sophisticated than most…actually, all call in sports shows. My team rah rah! The CIA is good because it shows that Trump won because of those evil, evil Reds….
    The CIA! It is beyond bizarre.

    1. integer

      The liberals know what’s going on. After all, they’ve seen heaps of tv shows and movies where the CIA are the good guys, not to mention how cool and funny and sexy everyone who works for the CIA is. I mean, if you can’t trust cable tv and Hollywood, who can you trust? /sarc

      1. fresno dan

        December 14, 2016 at 7:44 am

        EXACTLY – and to add insult to injury, Hollywood is sooooooooooooooooo liberal.
        Take Iran where CIA involvement over throwing the government in the 1950’s is not disputed. What does Hollywood give us? Those intrepid, imaginative hero’s of Argo. Hollywood sooo liberal…

        1. ambrit

          As someone mentioned the other day: “Madame Secretary.”
          (A certain disease raddled politica only wishes she looked as good as Tea Leoni.)

      2. Lee

        The image of the bug-eyed, ever overwrought Claire Danes comes to mind. Hardly reassuring. Tried watching Homeland for a bit and quit for a variety of reasons, not least of which was that watching Danes was like sitting in a room with an unstable explosive substance. An apt and unsettling metaphor for U.S. global intelligence operators.

    2. RUKidding

      No kidding. GACK.

      Let’s ask Gary Webb about the wonders of the fabulous CIA.

      Oh wait…

      I’ve been beyond disgusted by certain bloggers, whom I normally respect (albeit may not always agree with them), on their absolute diefication of the CIA. I’ve been adjured that the CIA would never ever ever ever come up with this supposed Intel, unless they had it thorougly researched and absolutely Knew. It. Was. True.

      I’ve also been scolded that there is simply NO WAY to prove any of this Trump-Putin/Russia connection beyond a shadow of a doubt, and that I’m simply being stupid – or something – to even consider asking for proof.

      I’m not exaggerating. It’s actually rather frightening, and some of these same bloggers were “upset” by Edward Snowden’s reveals about the NSA. But now somehow the CIA are these knights in shining armour riding in on their snow white chargers to “save” us from the evil dastardly Trump, who is totally in bed with Putin doing “things” and engaging in pillow talk as I type this.


      The recent WI recount completely demonstrates that Trump won. I dislike him and his cabinet of horribles intensely, but I totally disagree with this coup d’etat by the CIA. The CIA has pulled shit like this so many times before in other countries. Why citizens somehow believe that the CIA is operating on their “best intentions” here is waaaay beyond my comprehension.


    3. cwaltz

      I’m appalled that the whole entire conversation appears binary.

      People are unable to consider that the CIA can and has engaged in questionable behavior AND has also been responsible for giving us vital information. Apparently everything needs to be lumped in the entirely good or entirely bad column.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Deification of the CIA – is it the infallible One and Only deity, or the very human Greek gods?

        I think fresnodan’s talking about the ‘supposedly’ liberals worshiping the CIA, that these ‘liberals’ are taking up one side of the the binary. Are those ‘liberals’ making it look like binary with their deification?

        To want those people to stop their deification is to oppose the binary characterization.

      2. hunkerdown

        You believe welfare “nets out”? And that, by extension, we should give Savile or Jacko a pass because of all the good they’ve done?

        Good and bad are descriptors for liberals to woolgather. As for me I could give a f about moral essence. Someone lies to me, they get cut out of my life. What kind of morality would allow for lying, except good old, self-superior liberalism.

        1. cwaltz

          I believe it’s foolish to think if I close my eyes and plug my ears that the world will go away. Tuning information out doesn’t make it go away.

          Who is “someone” by the way? The CIA isn’t a single individual. It’s a conglomeration of information gatherers and people acting at the behest of the government. So I guess that means we punish the ones who actually told us that we were going to war with Iraq based on erroneous intel right along with those who wrote the stuff that allowed us to go to war right? The all good or all bad dynamic at it’s finest.

          1. integer

            I close my eyes and plug my ears

            (Apologies. Are you doing this on purpose to tempt me? If so, well played!)

            In all seriousness though, why are you all of a sudden so intent on defending the CIA?

          2. hunkerdown

            When Sabrina de Souza and Robert Lady are given the Gadhafi treatment in public, maybe we can start talking about justice. Until then, you seem to be talking just around your book and far too invested in liberal supremacy, believing that the fruits of evil are rightly earned when one does just enough good to others to tip the balance.

  4. Merf56

    Re ADHD article. I agree kids are getting these drugs too young and kids are overdiagnosed. No question. But I loathe articles like this that throw the baby out with the bath water.
    My son had always struggled in school to sit still,not talk and pay attention. Finally we did some testing and he had NVLD( I hate labels but sometimes it serves to clarify) – nonverbal learning disability which is kind of the far end of the autism spectrum but has no real similarities to autism. BTW nonverbal means that is the deficit area not that he doesn’t speak! He is very verbal !!
    He did ok but was struggling mightily and was very anxious all the time and getting angry – mostly at him self. It was painful for him and worse for us to watch our formerly happy and cheerful son be so distraught. . Four hours on homework that took others 30 minutes etc. We moved him at great expense to a wonderful private school catering to NVLD and dyslexia that has very small individualized classes and was very college oriented where he excelled graduating with a B+ average.
    He then began at Scottsdale community college to ease in the college. He was exhausted studying constantly and getting C’s and D’s even though he has a WELL above average IQ. He finally said he would like to try meds as nothing else was working. We went to a respected neurologist who prescribed a stimulant med given to adults with ADHD.
    Well his grades zoomed almost immediately to A’s with a few B’s thrown in. His confidence improved as did his overall attitude towards himself and his future. Our sunny happy son was again back. He recently graduated from Penn State University with a 3.7 gpa and a degree in Ancient and Mediteranean Studies and a minor in Latin( something his public school counselor actually told him repeatedly would never be possible.
    Meds shouldn’t be a first choice but they can be life altering if employed judiciously and monitored. He still takes them occasionally when he must do extremely concentrated work.
    Meds saved his future. To demonized all who take or prescribe these drugs is damaging.

    1. Tertium_Squid

      He still takes them occasionally when he must do extremely concentrated work.

      They told young me that my brain was broken but those little yellow miracles would fix me. But it wasn’t me that was broken. They were trying to impose a “normal” that doesn’t actually exist.

        1. Waldenpond

          There are so many that are ‘different’. I think the issue is they aren’t compliant within a very narrow range of behavior. Instead of being creating and instituting ideas like having a school that goes for a longer day and has more breaks for vigorous activity, they get a pill. Maybe some will need very quiet environments, small groups etc. All easy adaptations that our society refuses to supply.

      1. Merf56

        So you just don’t give a shit about my son’s emotional health, happiness and well being as well as his future success because it conflicts with you and the other commenters’ extensive ‘expert’ experience both with people with various learning issues that can sometimes benefit from a well regulated pharmaceutical intervention and ‘expert’ experience in understanding how these pharmaceuticals actually work in the body (I assume you are either a doctor or a biologist then) … got it ….. you are a no-nothing ideologue smug in your own bigotry and lack of real knowledge on the subject…

    2. Beans

      Merf56 – yes, what you say is so true!
      If we all lived at the time of Tolstoy and Rousseau, perhaps we could let our kids with ADHD run a bit more wild and not worry so much about the consequences. But we live in a time where non-conformity and failure to achieve academically often ends very badly – incarceration, unemployment, depression, etc.
      ADHD medicine is not only helping my son to do well in school, but is helping him to “fit in” with the other kids who didn’t know what to make of his wildness prior to starting it. Do I like the fact that pre-teen kids need to “fit in” – well, no but I’m very glad that he is facing fewer struggles now than before.

    3. kgc

      I am very glad that medications have been so beneficial for your son. Where appropriate, as in his case, they can turn lives around. Now your son can realize his abilities and his potential.

      Just wish my grandson, a bright, alert, happy little boy, weren’t being pushed to medication by people who don’t want to deal with his personality.

      The problem is people – mostly the pharmaceutical companies. Sometimes you really do need antibiotics; sometimes you don’t. It’s not one-size-fits-all, but there’s a medical establishment that acts as if it were.

  5. fresno dan

    Hypocrisy Behind the Frenzy Over Russia’s Role in the U.S. Election Truthdig

    So, how does giving the American people truthful and relevant information undermine American democracy, which is the claim that is reverberating throughout the mainstream media and across Official Washington?

    Presumably, the thinking is that it would have been better for the American people to have been kept in the dark about these secret maneuverings by the DNC and the Clinton campaign and, by keeping the public ignorant, that would have ensured Clinton’s election, the preferred outcome of the major U.S. news media.

    There’s another double standard here. For instance, when a hack of — or a leak from — a Panamanian law firm exposed the personal finances of thousands of clients, including political figures in Iceland, Ukraine, Russia and other nations, there was widespread applause across the Western media for this example of journalism at its best.

    The applause was deafening despite the fact that at least one of the principal “news agencies” involved was partly funded by the U.S. government. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a USAID-backed non-governmental organization, also was earlier involved in efforts to destabilize and delegitimize the elected Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

    “Corruption” allegations against Yanukovych – pushed by OCCRP – were integral to the U.S.-supported effort to organize a violent putsch that drove Yanukovych from office on Feb. 22, 2014, touching off the Ukrainian civil war and – on a global scale – the New Cold War with Russia.
    So, why are some leaks “good” and others “bad”? Why do we hail the “Panama Papers” or OCCRP’s “corruption evidence” that damaged Yanukovych – and ask no questions about where the material came from and how it was selectively used – yet we condemn the Democratic email leaks and undertake investigations into the source of the information?

    In both the “Panama Papers” case and the “Democratic Party leaks,” the material appeared to be real. There was no evidence of disinformation or “black propaganda.” But, apparently, it’s okay to disrupt the politics of Iceland, Ukraine, Russia and other countries, but it is called a potential “act of war” – by neocon Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona – to reveal evidence of wrongdoing or excessive secrecy on the part of the Democratic Party in the United States.

    I have since a very young age been an avid “news” consumer. And I used to wonder what it was like being in the Soviet Union and having to read all that propaganda…..well, now I know. It is now irrefutable in my view that the US news media has a coordinated, lockstep, ideology through which all facts are filtered to make them acceptable to this prevailing neoliberal ethos.
    I think it is beyond credulity to believe all this one sided reporting on the Russian “interference” – so mindless, so devoid of facts, so partisan – is simply random.
    To Quote Hillary, “There is a vast right wing conspiracy ….” Well, she is correct that there is a vast conspiracy – just wrong with regard to being after her, indeed, she is one of the main conspirators – and its out to feed us propaganda every day in every way imaginable….

    1. Leigh

      Funnily enough, I told my wife just last night – I now know how Russians feel having no news outside of Government propaganda. We have Media Right and Media Left, neither of which is interested in the truth –
      and no one covering the middle ground – where the truth typically is.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Sadly, I think a more apt analogy would be Spain, circa early 1930’s.

        For example – I *really* want to believe this is satire:

        But if it is not, I guess I have to make some lemonade out of the pile of lemons being delivered to my news feeds…presumably I will now have some excellent deranged ‘leftist’ conspiracy theory websites to watch alongside my usual ‘rightist’ chemtrails-RFIDchipping-colloidal-silver sites.

        Thankfully, my Maine Coon kitty is much more astute then I at filtering out the BS. She has only to look at the screen to make an instant determination of its ‘BSed-ness’, yawns, grooms, fixes me with a scowl at the dreck I am forcing her to watch.,..and quickly convinces me to go out and split some more firewood so that she can remain in her toasty warm state stretched across the shelf above the comp monitor… ;)

        1. Romancing The Loan

          I’m afraid to watch that clip. …Oh god old liberals are getting their own Fox News. Soon I’ll be in the same boat as my poor friend whose (otherwise delightful) 60 yr old dad is a birther.

        2. fresno dan

          December 14, 2016 at 9:01 am

          You are fortunate that your kitty doesn’t lay across your keyboard.
          My cat typically writes: tgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtgtg

          which is more erudite than anything I come up with…..

      2. no one

        Actually, the US has a number of reliable news sources — in the alternative press. It has always been possible — if difficult — to get a huge amount of information regarding government policies because the US has historically been very open to the exercise of free speech and communication. Information about private enterprise is another story, but can be seen via government policies, court cases and reporting requirements.

        To understand how the system works, consult Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model, which argues that due to the for-profit nature of giant media corporations, the news in mainstream media is a filtered ideological product that reflects the views of business, financial and government elites.

        Add to this basic formula the fact that under media corporations’ business model, news consumers are the product media companies sell to advertisers, and you’ve explained US mainstream media.

        With some effort, a person can become a sophisticated news consumer by judiciously following alternative news sources. Naked Capitalism fits squarely in this niche by compiling stories from a vast array of mainstream, specialized and alternative sources.

        As Chomsky points out, there is no need to be uninformed or (conversely) overly skeptical in the US, since “the truth is out there.”

        We ignore it at our peril.

      3. Carla

        I would argue that we have Media Right and Media Center Leaning Right.

        There is almost no real Media Left left.

        1. subgenius

          I would note there appear to be few that understand what ‘left’ or ‘socialism’ mean.

          Best to not mention anarchy, people really don’t seem to understand that at all.

      4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am beginning to think Russia has also hacked our media.

        It’s easy since most news articles are written by robots or computers.

    2. craazyboy

      Yup. The of leaking [acknowledged] true news by very questionable allegations of the Russian government being the hacker and then jumping to the conclusion this is what made Hillary lose the election and then calling the entire episode “fake news” is…whew…something way beyond cognitive dissonance.

      Plus, Hillary can have a private email server – internet security is a bunch of crap….

    3. Anne

      I feel like we’ve been reading and hearing propaganda for years now. Years. Has it always been this way? Or is it a case of, there’s always been some carrying of water/stenography, but there used to be more actual journalists/investigative reporters who were able to resist the lure of cocktail weenies and the inner circle and do a better job of providing facts and information?

      Either way, ever since – for me, anyway – the hard-sell of the Iraq war, the hairs on the back of my neck tend to come to attention whenever I start to feel like there’s an overall agreement in message being put out there by government officials and the media – and this Russia thing is giving me that same feeling.

      At the same time, I think that in addition to there being a lot of moving parts, there are a lot of missing parts, and just tons of questions I don’t have any answers to. And the answers we’re getting? I’m just not sure how much I can believe, or what parts I can rely on.

      Is what appears to be a push to make some kind of strategic move against Russia something that started with Clinton when she was SoS, and has just continued even after her departure, with the idea that she was going to be the president come January, 2017? Has that been the subject of CIA/IC focus? Are we once again trying to make the intel fit the endgame?

      And, if, indeed, the Russians are responsible for the hacks, was that the Russians’ own strategic move after Russian intel exposed plans being formed in a Democratic administration?

      I know this will sound completely nuts, but is there any chance Tillerson’s efforts to get the Obama administration to not impose sanctions (WH visitor logs show some 20 visits by Tillerson when sanctions were being imposed) could have been a case of mutual benefit between Tillerson’s corporate interests and Russian interests, and that when Tillerson failed to win the day, morphed into a cooperative effort to kill any chances Democrats would continue to hold the WH?

      Is being nominated to be Secretary of State a reward for helping to engineer the end of Democratic rule?

      I don’t know the answers to these questions, nor do I even know if they are anywhere near the right questions to be asking.

      I just know that there’s something going on, and I don’t know where it’s going. I do believe Trump’s public dismissal of CIA intel is a calculated strategy to undermine the effort to make Russia and Putin bad actors that have to be retaliated against – the only question I have is whether there’s an endgame for Trump that will benefit him and his cronies. A deal-maker who is surrounding himself with other deal-makers must have some kind of deal in mind, right?

      Is where Trump is with Putin where the US was with Saddam back when Saddam was our ally?

      Okay, so I already had a headache, and this isn’t helping. On the other hand, there’s a holiday lunch scheduled for noon, for which I made a Chocolate Caramel pie for dessert. This is something that is unbelievably delicious – kind of a candy bar masquerading as a pie: chocolate shortbread crust, caramel layer on top of that, topped with chocolate ganache and a few sprinkles of fleur de sel (fancy salt).

      Infinitely more satisfying than trying to follow the many threads in this tangled web that perhaps more than one group is weaving.

    4. jgordon

      Speaking of state propaganda I find it outrageous that the New York Times, an organization that purports to be interested in reporting truth, just hired Glenn Thrush–a self-avowed hack and one of the lead “journalists” involved in the massively orchestrated pro-Hillary propaganda push this past election cycle. It’s called a Fig Leaf NYT! You need a Fig Leaf for Plausible Deniability. It’s really contemptible how the propagandists aren’t even bothering to put a false front about what they’re doing anymore. And to add frosting to the cake, then they come out and try to smear people who dared question the propaganda even a bit. Uhg.

    5. olga

      Since you ask, I can tell you… Having lived in more than one socialist country. Most people there were aware that a lot of what was printed in the govt.-owned media was not exactly true and discounted the news (although after spending many years in the west, I can say that they did not lie as much as we thought they did back then – now, having more historical facts). People (many) learned to be fairly sophisticated consumers of news and learned to read between the lines. But it is also wrong to assume that folks had no access to western news. In fact – in an incredibly subtle way, we were inundated by western news, films, and even books. We did not believe our govt., but we thought what came from the west was akin to god’s word. We believed it implicitly and explicitly – never once realizing that we were subjected to propaganda from that side, too. But the anti-western propaganda from the govt. was never as vicious, personal, and destructive as what we’re seeing now. The hysteria from msm we’re witnessing now is beyond anything one could imagine…

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I saved your comment in a text file for later reference. Propaganda is one thing. It’s been a part of the news in the West for a very long time. But the kind of “news” reported now is worse than anything I could have imagined as possible. The claims made in the news are neither logical nor factual nor even reasonably believable with a healthy stretch of imagination. What passes for argument little resembles rational argument.

        1. integer

          The corporate news that is currently being hysterically screamed at almost everyone in the Western world is designed to create an emotional response. Emotional responses often share very little in common with rational responses, and the warmongers are trying to leverage this vulnerabilty in human cognition to whip the public into a warmongering frenzy.

          Hopefully it is obvious that I’m not claiming emotions have no place in life, as all I’m saying is that if one is not careful, one’s emotions can become a vulnerability which can be leveraged by those who understand the dynamics of these things.

      2. fresno dan

        December 14, 2016 at 12:15 pm

        Thanks for that. I actually met a young woman from Russia (back in the late 70’s) and I was amazed at how even keeled she was about living in the Soviet Union (I was fervently anti commie – ironic, huh?). She basically made the point that the vast majority of people were unmolested by the government, went to work, and got by as well as they could. I have to say, at that time she had a much more nuanced and mature view of the righteousness of governments than I did….

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am not certain if Feynman was 100% certain of that statement.

      I like to think he was a little uncertain about it, though I don’t know for sure.

  6. fresno dan

    Harry Reid says Russian hacking is ‘as big a deal as Watergate or 9/11’ Business Insider

    “Basically what I said is that it appears to me with all the information that is public which substantiates SOME of the information that I’ve received indicates that Comey should take a look at this and that was ignored,” Reid said.

    Reid can’t possibly be that stupid – just the neurons to ambulate means he has enough mental power to see how contradictory it is to be screaming how Hillary, SECRETARY OF STATE lack of email security should be ignored – nothing to see here – and than be screaming INVESTIGATE Russian hacking!!!

    This is American leadership. Can a truly thoughtful person assert that Trump is worse than Reid? (is the president truly more powerful than a senate majority leader? And even senate minority leader has real sway)
    Is this just post election sour grapes? Reid, in the governmentalese yammering of Washington, can get us into all sorts of predicaments and it is reported with nary a raised eyebrow. There is the dem BRAND, and there is what they are really doing – it certainly makes me reassess Reid.
    Could Reid be worse than Cheney, or Wolfowitz? After all, if Reid is suppose to be the opposition to neocons, and it turns out that Reid is willing to fan a new cold war, or even risk hot war with Russia, than hasn’t Reid been a Wolf(owitz) in Dem “liberal” clothing for …. how long a time??? As bad as Iraq was, Russia is unimaginably worse…

    OH, and again – doesn’t hacking by Russia show criminal negligence with regard to computer security by the DNC and secretary of state??? Who has been investigated for OUR lack of security?

    1. craazyboy

      “criminal negligence” is hard to prove. What if someone nice had hacked Hillary, the DNC, or Weiner’s notebook and sent the emails to WikiLeaks? Then the Russian government didn’t install our POTUS (Puppet of the United States) and no harm done. See?

    2. alex morfesis

      Harry Reid now makes me feel much better…considering how so much of the swamp was drained after the events of watergate and 911 were “fully” investigated by the upstanding citizens brigade from the honorable state of acela…

      Back to coal mines….

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m still baffled as to why Reid isn’t asked about dry powder he has been storing all these years to use against the Republicans every time he opens his mouth. I know he’s a former boxer, but maybe he shouldn’t have responsibility in that case.

  7. integer

    Haven’t looked at Jimmy Dore’s YouTube channel for a while so decided to have a look at a couple of segments. Here’s one I watched:

    Jimmy Dore: Blatant CIA Lies Undermines Credibility Of Russian Hack

    Most here are probably already familiar with most of the info in this vid, especially those who have read Greenwald’s latest piece on the CIA’s history of lying, but in my judgement it’s worth the 6 minutes it takes to watch. Also, Dore’s segment on Carlson’s interview with Schiff (in which Schiff accuses Carlson of working for the Kremlin) is pretty funny and worth a watch too, imo.

    1. Phemfrog

      thanks for this. i have never watched Dore before. he is funny. “They are making Tucker Carlson look like f&^king Walter Cronkite!” LOL.

  8. Pat

    Was just thinking about my favorite 70’s slightly paranoid movies about government, spying and black operations. For instance even without tying to a missing young american, can anyone imagine a modern version of “Missing”? But the thing that has had me depressed is thinking about the final moments of “Three Days of the Condor”. Outside the NY Times building a CIA director Higgins (Cliff Robertson) says to the former CIA analyst/reader who outmaneuvered him: “How do you know they are going to print it?” regarding the story he has just given the Times which includes the murders of at least 8 people working for the agency just in case. Turner (Redford) is adamant they will but still walks away to what he knows will be a life alone.

    Back when that movie came out most Americans considered it yes paranoid fiction. But even if they considered the events possible, most would still have been sure our most vaunted press would ‘print it’. I’m not sure they aren’t still the majority, but I would bet a good portion of Americans are split in some manner between doubt and certainty that Turner is a dead man because they never will print it. Instead they would help lead the pack trying to hunt Turner down as the guy who killed his co-workers (shades of The Parallax View).

    And even after helping to defraud the public into an endless war, one of our checks and balances now wants to have another go at it. I guess reporting is just too hard and too expensive. Not to mention damaging to the ownership.

    The past eight years have been revealing and depressing, and have had one hell of a climax of that. I’m not sure when “What fresh hell do we have in store for today?!?” will no longer apply. Certainly not any time soon.

    1. Carolinian

      An excellent movie indeed. And I’d say even in the 70s major doubts about the media were emerging. See Network for example. The press were heroes for awhile but people knew it couldn’t last.

      1. alex morfesis

        Forgive me if it comes across krankee(recovering from a bad cold) but lest we not confuse mister white and jimmy olsen tv with hollywood…there has always been the snarky muckracker type reporter fighting the editor or publisher…what happened is hoover and his corporate buddies were able to destroy major competition by allowing mobsters to step into nyc printing unions and then led a “moral” lockout that was presented as a strike, which led to the end of the multi paper and multi-voiced media…the “big 6” led by “bert”

        Sadly, no one in the dinosaur media has had the nerve to foia bert and his fbi, etc files…might notice a whole lotta black markers over and on the handed over data…

        There were stories about to be written about the coup going on inside the kgb and cia by former jack booters who might have sailed down the oder neisse…within two years kruschev and jfk were gone…

        When some of these now old enough to not be worried former muckrackers start to foia the old bund and the german h.i.n.d of “steiner” among other things…we might start getting a hint as to what ike was really trying to tell us about looking around and paying attention…

        There is no “truth”…everyone self edits…but having multiple voices usually allows sone smidgen of reality to filter thru…

        there is this old thingee…something about freedom of “the press”…

        which did not suggest a special class only designated by the capacity to obtain a press pass from some govt agency…

        it literally means the right to say stupid stuff and distribute it…if people believe the stupid stuff then maybe the stuff is not so stupid…

        Grandpa used to wash ikes car when he was at Columbia(or so I have been told)…since das bootz crowd knows…so should you…

    2. Susan C

      Whenever I think of the CIA I would think of Three Days of the Condor. Yes you were left wondering if the NYTimes would print the story. In one sense you believed they would as they were the press – did they not already come out with the Daniel Ellsberg papers? But my father, a WWII guy and quite brilliant, said when it came to that movie there was a lot of truth to that – that the CIA would do something like that.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Each morning I get up I feel more and more as if I were living in a bad spy conspiracy movie or a dystopian sci fi movie about the near and nearer future. Time to party like its 476 A.D.

  9. HBE

    new Statesman piece

    It seems odd that throughout the whole crisis the MSM could not get first hand information on conditions out from East Allepo, but now that the “rebels” are nearly defeated it’s no problem.

    This is propaganda perfectly designed for the npr tote bag R2P liberal at its best.

    1. ambrit

      I’m wondering, having long since adjusted my internal filters to winnow out the chaff that purports to be “news,” just what is the longer term goal of all this denial of reality by the Western MSM? What “agenda” does this advance? The other shoe still has to drop.

    2. timbers

      Most if not all of the Syria and Russia links have their problems. The Russia link mentioned a NATO person calling for a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia. Except, there is no armed conflict between those nations. And Germany and France saying Minsk must be honored and if not more sanctions on Russia. Except Russia is not a party to Minskl and it is Ukraine that is violating Minsk so what do Russian sanctions have to do with anything? One of the Syria articles mentioned the 82 civilians killed by the Syrian Army. MOA did a job deconstructing that Fake News that went viral in US MSM.

      RT is reporting celebrations amongst the locals in Aleppo. RT has it’s own agenda so I’m don’t take it as fact. But the other side like NPR is saying things that don’t even make sense like Aleppo residents now being trapped because the Syrian Army drove out the “rebels” (US backed terrorists).

      1. olga

        If you do not trust RT, just watch the Eva Bartlett UN press conference. Link above – but there is also a 52min version of the entire conference. RT seems much more credible in this instance.

  10. craazyboy

    “US wants rules new cars must ‘talk’ to each other within 5 years FT”

    Dunno about this. VW cars will probably spread fake news.

    1. rusti

      US government officials say mandating that cars should be able to “talk” to each other could prevent or mitigate the effects of as many as 80 per cent of crashes that do not involve a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol.

      I’ve been working “V2V” quite a bit in the past few years and I’m curious what sort of assumptions went into this number and what “mitigate” actually means. There’s a lot of issues to be ironed out before a widescale commercial deployment, even if they’ve been running pilots in Michigan and here in Europe for years.

      Cars don’t have the sort of positioning accuracy/precision required to do active collision avoidance based purely on co-operative exchange of coordinates and speed/heading, so am I going to allow my car to automatically take some evasive action when I don’t know if the VW appearing to drift into my lane is really doing so or just has an uncalibrated sensor? How much should I trust the position information I’m getting from other vehicles?

      Another problem is that the frequency they’ve allocated has a short wavelength (around 5 cm) so it’s not particularly effective at seeing around large blocking objects compared to if they’d allocated a frequency about an order-of-magnitude lower like the Japanese did. This automatically dampens the usefulness of the system, because even if I can “see” two miles on an open stretch of highway it doesn’t mean I can “see” right around the edge of a windy mountain road.

      As it stands now, it’s a pretty effective tool for communication with infrastructure, like getting real-time timing information from traffic lights or construction zone warnings, so it could be useful for improving traffic flow or slightly extending the perception horizon of the driver for special circumstances, but there’s a long way to go before it is useful for anything resembling collision avoidance. Even moreso considering how long it will take to achieve widespread market penetration since old cars will be on the road for a very long time as Yves likes to point out.

      There’s a pretty comprehensive system worked out for asymmetric security certificates that can provide a degree of anonymity and robustness against malicious actors, but there are always weaknesses somewhere in the chain, the devil’s in the details.

      1. craazyboy

        I really don’t see how they will get cars to have “full situational awareness” in the real world – under all possible circumstances of traffic and weather conditions – and making it dependent on valid com links with other car’s (hopefully tuned and working) sensors makes matters even worse. The code and algos would be a nightmare – and the hardware failure modes catastrophic. In this case a “broken” car is now a stealth car and appears as open space for collision avoidance decisions made by the cars in good repair. Plus, what about all the old cars?

        That said, along with my Electronic Stabilization Control* I’ve had for years, I’d like a pleasant sounding little beeper that warns me when someone is in my “blindspot” so I will be sure to check my mirrors when doing a lane change.

        Besides, who is asking for all this crap? No one I know.

        * Newspeak for anti-lock braking.

        1. rusti

          There will probably be more and more situations where extra supplementary “ADAS” will be cost-effective. Blind spot radar is becoming more ubiquitous, the test vehicles that I’ve been in with it have a little LED near the wing mirrors that goes on/off.

          But I think you’re on-point about the barriers to SAE level 5 (they should have called it level 11) automation, and the only actual end customer demand I’ve seen is from mining operations where they’ll pay twice the sticker price for a heavy-duty truck that can be fully autonomous underground. Beats me why the passenger car manufacturers are foaming at the mouth about it, I guess executives got bored with talking about electrification at conferences after fuel prices sank in 2014.

      2. Carla

        “US government officials say mandating that cars should be able to “talk” to each other could prevent or mitigate the effects of as many as 80 per cent of crashes that do not involve a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol.”

        So if one or more of the drivers are texting, the cars will talk to each other to prevent or mitigate a crash, but if one or more of the drivers is impaired by drugs or alcohol, the cars will be silent and just let the crash happen?

        What the f**k?

      3. subgenius

        …and what happens if self driving (and other lesser ‘safety’ tech) cars are denied their network connection..?

        1. rusti

          V2V, which this article and the mandate concern, is “ad hoc” communication which means that they don’t communicate through any centralized server. Messages are broadcast (at 10 Hz in the pilot projects) and if there’s no one else around they just disappear into the ether.

          1. subgenius

            It’s not that I don’t think you know about this, but dude? 10hz?

            That isn’t going to have much bandwidth..

            1. subgenius

              Lol…and need a fkn yuuuge antenna!

              On second thoughts…that’s a programme I can get with. Cars need banning, not upgrading…

            2. craazyboy

              Up above he says 5cm wavelength was allocated, which works out to 5.8Ghz. Then a half wave antenna could be only 2.5cm long. He also points out high frequency is very directional and blocked easily by anything in it’s way. But 5.8Ghz has enough bandwidth to carry video. It’s just that sending location data between cars takes no bandwidth. If that’s what they have in mind.
              Speed of Light(m/s) / Frequency(cycles/s) = Wavelength(m)

              1. subgenius

                Yeah, I know – I was having fun… but I also know there is some contention over ownership of that particular frequency range…

              2. rusti

                Right you are! 10 Hz is just the nominal message transmission rate, not the carrier bandwidth (5.825-5.95 GHz) or channel bandwidth (10 MHz). It’s just a different amendment of the Wi-Fi standard (802.11p).

                The supported data rates are 3-27 Mbps, with 6 Mbps being the one chosen for most applications as a range/speed tradeoff.

                Subgenius is right that there is contention about Wi-Fi device manufacturers wanting to extend the 5 GHz band up into that range. I think it’s dumb to try to get consumer Wi-Fi and road safety Wi-Fi to coexist on the same channels but I won’t lose any sleep over it.

  11. Noonan

    “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

    Barack Obama, 2012

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I will so miss the hip, clever way he had of putting things in “perspective.” Not. Good riddance of hip, clever rubbish imnsho.

        1. integer

          I haven’t watched it yet

          I’ve watched it (Why Barack Obama Was The Seinfeld President) now. Worth a watch imo if you’ve got 20 mins, or even just listening to it as the only visual content on this one is Dore sitting at the mic and talking.

          Adding: Almost all of my comments are ending up in moderation. Has something changed? This wasn’t happening yesterday.

          1. Outis Philalithopoulos

            I’ve noticed that a lot of your comments are ending up in moderation, but nothing has changed in the settings that would cause it. Possibly it was just a run of luck, but if over time you continue to perceive a regular trend, let me know.

          2. fresno dan

            December 14, 2016 at 10:33 am

            All my comments get moderated as well – but this all started when I admitted that I was a deep cover dirty rotten commie spy in deep cellar cover in my jammies and fuzzy bunny rabbit ear antennae slippers that, single handedly, by driving threw PA, OH, and WI in my Yugo, threw the election to Trump from direct orders from Putin, atop a horse bare chested, and Putin was bare chested too….

            1. Subgenius

              Oh come on now. We ALL knew you were a Commie deep cover agent…who the hell else would live in Fresno? All real liberals live closer to the coast…

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Putin had not yet saved Obama from blundering into a hot war into a hot war yet and doubled down on his sins against Obama by being gracious and including the U.S. in the disarmament process. Obama had to play nice after promising a war and imagining himself with a statue holding the heads of Bin Laden, Gaddafi, and Assad. The library will be full of open space. Putin ruined his library, not Obama.

  12. tgs

    So, I am standing in line in my college cafeteria to get coffee. MTV is playing on a widescreen TV – dance music. The music is then lowered and a happy sounding young lady, an MTV dj, makes an announcement:

    Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are having a bromance. So here are some things you should know. Putin is said to murder those who disagree with him, and experts say his goal is to destroy western style democracies

    There was more, but those items stuck with me. MTV!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      MTV falls under Viacom. “Fake news” is a distraction from corporate propaganda and Democratic incompetence and malfeasance.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        News is more believable delivered by beautiful or fashionable people.

        And if your beautiful or fashionable friends say so, in person or on social media, you don’t want to be on the outside.

    2. craazyboy

      Caution: This may be fake news. Or it may be impressive investigative journalism. If you care, look it up in Wiki yourself. Otherwise, it will either cause first impression bias, or could cause confirmation bias in elderly people. So say the Surgeon General PsyOps people.

      1) USA defense budget – $550B. Russia defense budget – $55B
      2) USA GDP ~ $18T. Russia GDP ~ $1.5T
      3) USA population ~ 320 million. Russia population ~ 150 million.

      I’m feeling too lazy to look up the numbers for Europe(east and west), Japan, and wherever else there may be “Western Style Democracies”. Someone else can get off their lazy butts and do it, if they want.

      1. HopeLB

        23 million Russians died in WW2. 418,500 US soldiers died. Hitler would have won if not for the Russians.
        Today, Hollande and Merkel are calling for more Russian sanctions. Merkel must be worried about them stealing her upcoming election too.

        1. alex morfesis

          Nice try tovarish…the lufftwaffe lost 25% of its operational capacity in the first two weeks of trying to take “puny little poland”…das dummkompf was on the phone screaming at nijon to stop wrestling with stalin in the east as they had agreed to…once the great fearless leader was satisfied he did not have to deliver troops to hold his asian time zones…he…and mother russia beat poland…not leni “write and stall” toy soldier make believe “war machine”

          Every dead greek and every dead european has russia to blame for helping the big fake army “conquer” europe…every single last one of them…so…I personally have no stomach for the poor russians who woke up after being double crossed and then decided that ignoring the enslavement of europe had not been a good idea after all…tovarish…

        2. rd

          Don’t forget that Stalin signed a Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler that resulted in Germany and Soviet Union agreeing on how Eastern Europe would be divvied up between them which allowed Germany to start WW II by invading Poland. Hitler then made his monumental blunder two years later by breaking that pact and invading Russia.

          So yes, Hitler was largely defeated because the Russian army and General Winter chewed up Germans on the Eastern Front. But that wasn’t because of an active decision on Russia’s part – they were perfectly willing to take over lands in agreement with Hitler up until the moment they were invaded.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I have always wondered, and read it discussed in a book as well, why Churchill didn’t declare war on the USSR for also invading Poland (their eastern half).

            Was it not an invasion?

            1. Grebo

              Chamberlain was PM at the time of the invasion of Poland and he immediately declared war on Germany. The Soviets invaded 16 days later. It was nine months later that Churchill took over.
              The agreement between Britain and Poland had a secret clause saying it only applied to Germany. Britain knew it could not really help Poland against Germany, still less against both.
              The British probably had some idea that Germany would eventually attack the USSR and calculated accordingly.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


                You’re right. Churchill came in after Chamberlain’s peace in our time was shattered, which occurred with the invasion of Poland.

                If it only singled out Germany, and not for defending Poland in general from any and all aggressors (as would be expected in a generic mutual defense pact), it would seem they were looking for a fight with Germany.

                Does this explain why the clause was kept secret?

          2. hunkerdown

            Russia honors their agreements, for better or worse. The US makes and breaks them in consecutive breaths.

          3. Darthbobber

            While I don’t forget that, I also recall that that followed several years of the Russians trying to get the British and French on board with an anti-German pact, to no avail.

            Execrable as it was, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact can’t be seen in isolation from the earlier Franco-British refusal to ally with the Soviets, or the Sudetenland fiasco which convinced Stalin that they would be useless as allies. This flipped Russian policy from trying to get an anti-Nazi crusade going to accomodating the Germans and seeking to get some buffer territory.

            The blame cannons for WWII can be pointed in all directions. And they’ll always hit a real target.

            1. OIFVet

              The Brits were hoping that Hitler and Stalin would bleed each dry, with Hitler the winner but sufficiently weakened so that Britain would dictate terms. Stalin saw through it and made a deal with Hitler, thus buying himself almost two more years to prepare.

              And while the West loves to cry about the partition of Poland, I don’t ever hear it cry about the Polish role in the partition of Czechoslovakia. Yes, Poland was only too happy to join Hitler in gobbling up a part of Czechoslovakia, a deal which Chamberlain wholeheartedly endorsed. But mentioning this part would sully the image of the plucky victim upon which the anti-Russian propaganda has been built. Can’t have that.

    3. fresno dan

      December 14, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Just WOW! Long, long time since I watched MTV. So I might as well borrow Noonan’s post
      “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” Obama. Well, everything old is new again….

      The 80’s
      ET, Alf, Paula Abdul, Thriller, Madonna, PacMan, Cabbage Patch Kids, Pee-Wee Herman, Blue Lagoon
      The B52’s……NO, no, not the group – I mean THE PLANES! Reagan’s arms build up….

          1. craazyboy

            Oh yeah. The short little guy pointing at the sky and standing next to Ricardo Montalban.

            Sometimes it takes a little while for the memories to come back completely.

      1. polecat

        “The Bombing begins in 15 minutes …. yuk, yuk .. ha ha !”

        Quoted by one R. Reagan … who thought he was off mic …..

      1. tgs

        So, I wasn’t hallucinating. Thanks. I like this subtitle:

        Julianne Ross breaks down what we need to know about Vladimir Putin and his relationship with Trump.

        1. integer

          Adding: I’m going to be moving house over the next few days, so will use that time to do some thinking on this. I’ll still be checking in everyday, but probably won’t be commenting much until next week. Nothing to do with my comments going into moderation btw.

          Bet they’re regretting digging up the fibre optic cables in front of the place I’m about to move out of, especially as I never even used them, let alone for communicating with the Russians. Hahaha.

          Adding: I’m very surprised this comment went into moderation. Is there any possibility that the back end of the wordpress comments application is taking the liberty of moderating inconvenient (to tptb) commenters?

      1. fresno dan

        Lambert Strether
        December 14, 2016 at 2:05 pm

        Uh….bring back music videos and start showing them on NC?
        The B-52s! NO, NO, no – NOT the planes, I mean the group this time.

      1. alex morfesis

        Tovarish…we invented bears…including counter reverse osmosis hollywood dypp kover fozzie bear and huggy bear….

        1. Subgenius

          I am pushing for a comprehensive investigation of all sesame st and muppet characters. These soft and child friendly named hacker groups are cut from similar cloth.

          And those kids that grew up under their inflience now make up large numbers within our heroic intelligence services.

          I urge our great leaders to summarily dismiss all in the relevant age groups immediately, pending investigation.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Full on hysteria” is right!

      The “shocking” development being endlessly repeated on msnbs this morning (and, if history is any indication, will continue to be repeated, discussed and lamented for the rest of the day) goes something like this:

      Mothers and fathers are going to “priests” and asking if it would be alright for them to kill their children so they won’t be captured, tortured and killed by Assad’s and Russian soldiers.

      When barrel bombs, poison gas and endless rubble fail to move the needle, something like this would seem to be the logical next step.

      From M of A: “We all honestly erred,” is the usual and well accepted apology. We should try, wherever we can, to hold those news people to higher standards.

      It doesn’t appear that “higher standards” are anywhere in our future.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Oops. Correction.

        The parents wanted forgiveness for killing their children so that isis didn’t get them. No mention of the saudi involvement with isis or america’s involvement with the saudis and so on and so on…….

      2. craazyboy

        Someone figured out homemade barrel bombs are like great big Molotov Cocktails – ergo, it’s Russian weaponry.

        What did the Muslim priests say?

        1. Cry Shop

          Original Molotov Cocktails# were used against the Russians, so you may have a point in noting the similarity between them and the barrel bombs. However you’re off the track on being Russian.

          #The name “Molotov cocktail” was coined by the Finns during the Winter War.

      3. Anonymous

        imho, this explains the current baseless CIA claims that Russia interfered in the election.

        NeoCons are panicked. Only HRC was willing to start WW3. They’re desperate to get Trump out, by any means available.

        (GOP House approved NFZ a couple of weeks ago)

  13. linda amick

    This whole demonize Russia full court press must be the old tactic of trying to unite the plebs against a common enemy.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s not about unity as much as holding 80% of the Dems. State parties and donors were made promises in exchange for supporting Hillary. A statewide Democrat could have real problems if they wind up in a fight with a state party chairman.

      They just need enough to not be held accountable for pushing the wife of President 43%.

      1. integer

        There is more to it than that. The neocons seemingly thought that with Clinton as president they were finally going to get their much dreamed about war with Russia, and they are not the type of people to act honorably in defeat.

        They certainly are losers though.

        1. polecat

          Wait a minute ! ..the neoCons have no honor what – so – ever !! …. they hide behind their shitty policy of total dominion, often on behalf of Israel … while feigning as US patriots … they ALL should be jailed and brought under charges of high treason !

          1. integer

            the neoCons have no honor what – so – ever !!

            (Slaps forehead) You are 100% correct of course. Not honorable in victory, not honorable in defeat. The neocons are simply disgusting people on a 24/7/365 basis; the worst of the worst.
            Having almost all of my comments go into moderation really messed with my neocon bashing rhythm, and forgetting to point out the full-time hatefulness and loathsomeness of the neocons is material evidence of that fact.

            Thanks for your vigilance, polecat!

    2. clarky90

      I thought that the Russian People rejected Communism in 1991? ie, they are on our side.

      However, I do not think that our pals, China, ever did change their minds? (ie, they are still Communists)- but USA should never insult them by talking (on the phone) to Taiwan.

      1. hunkerdown

        clarky90, state capitalism is the correct term for the Chinese economic system. Just like in the US.

  14. Pat

    I do try to ignore him as much as possible, but right now there are two political ads in NY that remind me how much I despise Cuomo. One is beating diBlasio up about not pulling more space from actual public schools so charter schools can have spaces rent free (it isn’t phrased that way, but that is what is about). But the other is all about how wonderful UBER is and how you should tell your legislator that all you want for Christmas is UBER in NY, Santa hat photoshopped on Cuomo and all. Of course the greedy corrupt jerk is on the wrong side of UBER (and charter schools).

  15. Hana M

    Mindblowing 2016 post mortem from Michigan:

    “Michigan operatives relay stories like one about an older woman in Flint who showed up at a Clinton campaign office, asking for a lawn sign and offering to canvass, being told these were not “scientifically” significant ways of increasing the vote, and leaving, never to return. A crew of building trade workers showed up at another office looking to canvass, but, confused after being told there was no literature to hand out like in most campaigns, also left and never looked back….

    Operatives watched packets of real-time voter information piled up in bins at the coordinated campaign headquarters. The sheets were updated only when they got ripped, or soaked with coffee. Existing packets with notes from the volunteers, including highlighting how much Trump inclination there was among some of the white male union members the Clinton campaign was sure would be with her, were tossed in the garbage.

    The Brooklyn command believed that television and limited direct mail and digital efforts were the only way to win over voters, people familiar with the thinking at headquarters said. Guided by polls that showed the Midwestern states safer, the campaign spent, according to one internal estimate, about 3 percent as much in Michigan and Wisconsin as it spent in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina. Most voters in Michigan didn’t see a television ad until the final week.”

      1. Buttinsky

        Yes, it does sound like the Clinton campaign got all of its ideas delivered in a big wooden crate from the Acme Company.

        It’s definitely been worth it. Love watching Hillary running on thin air now that she’s beyond the edge of the cliff.

        1. TheBellTolls

          Yea… funny…. until you start thinking about the people who are still hurting and are going to get hurt even more….

          1. hunkerdown

            Don’t suck up to power and you won’t get hurt when power changes. Don’t conspire against the public interest and people won’t feel justified and entitled to take your grift back.

            It really is simple. Don’t be a liberal and people won’t consider you a traitor.

            1. TheBellTolls

              I’m not talking about the professional class that will survive and probably continue to thrive under a Trump administration. I am talking about those lacking in power who are being scapegoated and will be abandoned by the liberal class.

              1. hunkerdown

                Neither am I — and it’s anything but clear they’ll continue to thrive under Trump, especially if the 2018 election doesn’t swing in their favor.

                The assertion still stands: loyalty to some people is treason against all.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      She ran like that, she would have governed like that too.

      Carrier plant, what Carrier plant? Is it in Florida?

      1. JamesG

        “She ran like that, she would have governed like that too.”


        Trump’s most attractive feature: he was not Hillary.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      ” Most voters in Michigan didn’t see a television ad until the final week.”

      As a Florida resident, a state which was carpet bombed with TV ads for months, I can tell them that it wouldn’t have mattered. It just would have pissed the voters off more.

      1. Roger Smith

        As someone from Michigan who traveled to Florida I was stunned by how many ads were being aired there compared to the virtually none I saw at home. I have heard some comments and it also did not help that many of the ads were Trump focused, showing what were supposed to be his de-legitimizing gaffes, but came across as humor, or heavy handed pandering with the “do you really want your children…” style hooks.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      A few things:

      -signs don’t vote and neighbors don’t really care about your political views if all you do is put up a sign.
      -TV ads don’t vote and don’t matter in the case of the President. It’s on all the time anyway.
      -the volunteer issue is a problem, but if Hillary wasn’t such an obvious right wing crook, they wouldn’t have had a volunteer issue. A campaign dedicated to winning suburban republican voters is not going to create enthusiasm. Everything is noise. This is still the basic problem. Clinton Inc is largely dedicated to doing what it takes to squeak by and get good seats at the golf club. The pictures of Clinton campaign headquarters were all you needed to know about the race. They looked like college republicans.

  16. Steve C

    Not much interest in Fukuyama but the headline, America: the failed state, pretty much captures where we are.

    1. Pat

      Funny how the comments there are largely “right on”, the electors must refuse to seat him, etc. That is particularly the case of the reader picks (the editors threw in a few more sensible ones). While Brock may not have paid trolls anymore (not so sure about that), the general readership really does not want to admit to themselves that they bought a pig in a poke, a candidate who failed at her job – AGAIN, and that no it was not the result of some conspiracy but more about being arrogant asses who were out strategized.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hillary Clinton might be the worst positioned nominee for President ever outside of sacrificial lambs. Despite access to information unimaginable in previous cycles, Democrats selected the very worst possible candidate. The operative phrase is “willful ignorance.”

        1. Pat

          They selected a terrible candidate AND then ran a terrible campaign. Mind you I think of the campaign as representative of Clinton’s general incompetence. Still I’m utterly gobsmacked that supposedly experienced campaign leaders accepted strategies which essentially came down to we don’t need to work to get minorities, women, and labor voters and with the vast numbers of moderate Republicans who are going to vote for us, we don’t need to pay any attention to areas who are struggling. And let’s not forget her one sales pitch being ‘I’m qualified, rested and not Trump! Now give me what’s mine!”

          Now if the CIA can prove that most of Clinton’s senior staff, particularly Podesta and Mook, are actually Russian moles whose whole reason for being there was to make sure that Clinton ran a stupid campaign I might begin to believe the Russian’s gave the election to Trump garbage.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            “Moderate republicans” don’t exist. They are true unicorns.

            I would note Clinton Inc political results to date aren’t exactly great endorsements. If the Clintonistas were reasonably competent, Gore or Hillary would already be President. C’mon, Obama had less votes than Hillary, and she came off as a spoiled child during her 2008 tantrum.

      2. hunkerdown

        I imagine they are less worried about Her than what She would have enabled for them. Now that she’s no longer connected to what would have been enabled for them, they’re making it up as they go along. How to get inside their already fast-paced decision loop and sabotage them…

  17. Rahul Menon

    Indians arrested for not standing during National Anthem. The foolishness and stupidity of American exceptionalism has successfully permeated Indians.

  18. fresno dan

    In fact, Facebook is responsible for Trump’s election, but not because of fake news, at least not directly. Rather, as I explained in the spring, the devolution of traditional media driven by Facebook’s commodification of content was not an isolated event: the power of America’s political parties directly stemmed from the fact that media (and its paid advertising model) was the gatekeeper of information.

    Telling users what they want to hear is, of course, the REAL reason fake news gains traction: Facebook has monetized confirmation bias with its singular focus on engagement, and while I count that as a lesser evil than active political censorship, the broader point is that everyone and everything — mainstream media, Macedonian teens, even political parties — are competing on a playing field where by default no one has a louder megaphone than anyone else.

    One of those little secrets about fake news – NO ONE has there mind changed by fake news – its just a big confirmation bias churn. The real danger, which can NEVER be spoken of, is the SERIOUS news that is FAKE (i.e., wrong) and, more disconcertingly, not subject to critique. (e.g., the Russian are evil!)
    And by the way, the link on the “dollar shave club” in the this referenced article is very interesting.

  19. Ranger Rick

    What I don’t understand is why people are getting this breathless over Russia. It is only the media narrative, and it is wholly unsourced and wild speculation. If they think tainting the election with a Red Scare is going to put Hillary Clinton in office they’d better think twice. This is worse than Obama’s birth certificate “controversy” for starting a legitimacy crisis before the president even takes office.

  20. KurtisMayfield

    How can he, as an economist, write that article while never mentioning ACA rate hikes that people received right before the election? It’s like he isn’t really an economist if he didn’t take into account a direct economic reason why people would be dissatisfied with the Democrats.

    1. Pat

      I hate to say it but similar to his work throughout this election and post election, he wasn’t writing as an economist, but as a partisan hack using his bonafides as an economist. Otherwise he wouldn’t have made the 180s he took to attack Sanders.

      But he has also been full on Obamabot for most of the last few years, and even admitting the fact that ACA is not successful, good for many or even working is just not on his agenda. He refuses to acknowledge that it has not remotely bent the cost curve and that the people taking the brunt of the abuse of it are those just above the subsidy level up to those who can negotiate golden parachutes and other perks. Most people are spending more and more on INSURANCE between premiums, co-insurance, co-pays, deductibles etc all while getting less and less healthcare – regardless of how they get their insurance. It doesn’t matter if they have to brave the market or have employer based insurance. Or that those with insurance are still getting less care than before because they cannot afford the premiums and/or the deductibles.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Economists are priests of the 21st century. They serve themselves and their position in their church. What if wealth inequality matters to election results or record poverty and record low stock ownership? People who are secure today but worried about Trump might question Krugthullu’s worth as a prognosticator.

      There are three kinds of priests. The charismatic preachers, the bureacrats at the high temple, and the village priests who are composed of saints (almost saints) and people too embarrassing for the first two groups. Without an audience, Krugman will get shipped to village priest duty and obscurity.

  21. Eureka Springs

    If the election were held today and I could find a paper ballot with a write-in space I would write in Putin just for fun.

    All this fake news, seemingly more than ever. It seems the the fake news articles were a coordinated effort among MSM, intel agencies, sink tanks, NGO’s and thier ilk to unleash all falsehoods on all matters, all the time.

    It’s almost a relief…. this should teach millions more in short order to rarely if ever trust MSM or government. Can’t happen soon enough.

  22. allan

    Post-post mortem: Ellison no lock for DNC chair [Politico]

    Lingering tensions from the presidential primary are driving the race for Democratic National Committee chairman, impeding early favorite Keith Ellison’s bid to consolidate support behind his candidacy and raising fears that the party will once again be split into Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton camps.

    Despite his support from a wide array of Democratic power players, a POLITICO email survey of the 447 voting DNC members and follow-up interviews with more than two dozen national and state Democratic officials reveal that the Minnesota congressman faces serious hurdles in his bid to become the next party chairman.

    “I’m hoping that there’s another candidate that’s going to emerge. I’m not really happy with the candidates that are out there,” said Illinois committeeman Daniel Hynes, echoing sentiments relayed over and over in interviews over the past week. “I don’t know who that person is, I just think it’s someone who’s detached from Washington, somebody who’s full-time, somebody who’s from the moderate side of the party, and somebody who’s going to steer the party back towards our ability to appeal to middle-class working Americans.” …

    Forget about it Jake; it’s DNChinatown.

  23. fresno dan

    A Bakersfield police officer who fatally shot a 73-year-old-man whose family said he had early signs of dementia has been placed on administrative leave, authorities said Tuesday.

    Police responded early Monday to a report of a man with a revolver acting strangely, said Bakersfield Assistant Police Chief Lyle Martin.
    Francisco Serna was shot after police said he failed to respond to orders to stop approaching and remove his hands from his jacket.
    Francisco Serna was fatally shot by police in Bakersfield, California, early Monday.
    One of the seven officers who responded to the call, Reagan Selman, fired seven shots at Serna, who died at the scene.
    Serna was not armed at the time of the shooting and police did not find a gun, Martin said. A police statement said a dark-colored simulated wood crucifix was found on Serna.

    Well, whadda know – there is a war on Christians. Or maybe its on old white guys….

      1. John Parks

        And combining this with the Indian law ” “failure to obey an order issued by a public servant, thereby causing obstruction or annoyance to others” you can get some hints on where “civilization” is headed.
        The Chinese have a law against “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” which is so very general that it is even more insidious. It provides a real damper on any complaints not only against the government, but even businesses and other citizens.
        I can see how our governmental agencies, corporations, and even some individuals would really relish having such laws being codified. We would certainly not be discussing the recent election results or the attempted herding of public sentiment.

    1. RUKidding

      My expectation is that this type of axiomatic murder of US citizens by our heavily militarized PDs (often staffed with Vets who likely suffer with untreated PTSD) will continue apace and not be limited to “just” AAs. And our heavily propagandized populace with endure it without much of a push back. After all, the PD is our friend and protector.

      Actually there’s loads of incidents out of PDs shooting and killing unarmed citizens of all ethnicities, genders and ages. Probably AA males get the brunt of it, but they’re not the only ones. Sadly I expect things to escalate, rather than the reverse.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Roughly half of police killings are of whites. That’s disproportionate, and apparently even worse if you’re comparing obviously unjustified killings, but it means your white privilege won’t save you.

        Living in a town with a properly-managed police department might help, though.

    2. Romancing The Loan

      If cops are going to be this trigger happy they should use taser robots or drop nets on suspects from drones or something (COPS would also get a lot more fun). But they’re expected to take some risks on behalf of the public they’re serving, which includes the people they’re arresting.

      1. Subgenius

        Being a member of a police force is considerably LESS dangerous than being a citizen residing in Oakland (and that is before the events at ghost ship)

  24. KM

    There are so many ironies in today’s headlines:

    Irony 1: Many of the liberals hyperventilating about Trump and the Russians seem unable to connect the dots and are still demanding that Obama pardon Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

    Irony 2: There is much of value inside the (granted, propagandistic) MSM news reports, but it is often buried deep in the text and made to appear mundane and uninteresting. Take the piece on the hacking of the DNC in today’s NYTimes. In it we learn that the FBI alerted the DNC to Russian hacking in 2015, but that the message APPARENTLY got stuck in the basement and didn’t get passed up the ranks (forgive my incredulity). Blame seems to lie with the FBI, which called when it should’ve sent a hologram warning by drone (which definitely would’ve piqued someone’s curiosity) and/or the poor help desk schlub who “sat” on the messages. The DNC is also (staggeringly) allowed to plead poverty (we’re just a simple non-profit with tight budgets!!). It couldn’t be, could it, that the DNC simply had too many irons in too many schemes to keep track of all the email trails it was generating, or that the Dems’ well-known love of secrecy and doing end runs around clunky security was used against them??

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Even if Hillary won and the Dems took a small edge in the Senate, 2018 would have been a loss. There are too many crooks on the ballot for the Democrats to hold their seats and make pickups. McCaskill, Kaine, and Machin are the standard bearers. There won’t be a 2006 like environment for these pigs.

      The Democrats are going to self destruct because they were warned, not by naysayers but by sane and rationale people. They ran to the extreme right and squeezed tokenism as much as they could to lose to Donald Trump, a former casino operator.

      Elite Democrats neither have the moral or intellectual capacity for even recognizing they are the problem, so they will lash out. The great hopes of the Democratic Party are Bernie Sanders, not a Democrat, and Liz Warren, a Republican.

    2. rd

      Re: Irony 1: I get some of the arguments about pardoning Snowden and Manning. However, instead of fairly selected dumps of the archives like the Pentagon papers, these were massive indiscriminate dumps. Some periodic surgical whistle-blowing is useful, but certainly Snowden went too far.

      Re: Irony 2: It doesn’t surprise me at all about the lack of attention to cyber-security. This is the same general group of people who didn’t blink at Clinton using her personal cellphone hooked up to a personal server while Secretary of State. It is likely that most of these people understand little more than how to press the On button.

      1. a different chris

        >but certainly Snowden went too far

        WTF? First, I was going to argue with “certainly”, because who gets to draw that line? I didn’t grant those rights to you, I’m pretty sure.

        But Snowden went to the NYT, or the WaPo, or maybe both I don’t remember. Whatever, the thing is he didn’t just rent a server and upload everything. So what exactly are you trying to blame him for?

        1. Waldenpond

          More and more people are upset at having facts about their government’s activities made public. People have lived under a police state for so long, they’ve internalized the belief that everything the government does must be secret for the plutocrat’s own good (illegal activities for profiteering on behalf of oligarchs is a trade secret doncha know) and everything the peasant class experiences must be public so they can be marketed to (consumerism is the only patriotism.. go to the mall!) and have their every activity, interaction and language policed.

          It’s dystopian. It used to be stupid v evil (with a snark for both). It’s now parody v cia v liberal v trumper? (just add a snark for indistinguishable).

      2. hunkerdown

        Too far for whom? Those of you who fancy yourselves liberal and therefore entitled to judge others? Imaginary friends don’t have an actionable right to privacy.

  25. Jim Haygood

    From the NYT’s epic blast titled “The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.”

    Every major publication, including The Times, published multiple stories citing the D.N.C. and Podesta emails posted by WikiLeaks, becoming a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence.

    This sweeping article — claiming that the Russians hijacked the election — checks in at an astounding 8,420 words.

    Operation Mockingbird has gone nuclear. Soft coup attempt, right on the front page of the paper.

    The MSM is our domestic enemy.

    1. Buttinsky

      I had to remind myself exactly what Operation Mockingbird was — a CIA program to influence the media. At least someone has made an attempt to update the history of this propaganda operation on Wikipedia:

      Evidence of its continuity may possibly include the false mainstream media assertion of the existance of WMDs in Iraq that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and ongoing efforts to label Wiki leaks documents as “fake news” by the same media outlets that were implicated by name by the Church Committee congressional hearings.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Looks like Trump is headed for a showdown with the intelligence community – MSM axis. This is FAR more aggressive than the pre-election “inevitable Hillary” fabrications.

        Soft coup plotters aren’t going to succeed in hijacking the electoral college. But this article shows they are prepared to escalate to Cold War levels. Thus the brewing showdown, which Trump has already teed up by repeatedly attacking the MSM’s credibility.

        1. fresno dan

          Jim Haygood
          December 14, 2016 at 1:20 pm

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Trump bringing the CIA down to size, as well as the media.
          The question is: Which way will FOX tilt? FOX is really schizo now (well, Trump also constantly says things flat out contradictory too) – pro Trump but also plenty of “news” on how bad the Russians are – but on the other hand reporting Bolton’s false flag and other Trump partisans tamping down the anti Russian hysteria (Who would EVER have THUNK FOX would be the EQUANIMOUS NETWORK TO RUSSIA???) . Will FOX continue to be a contrary network and be, if not pro Russian, at least objective with regard to Russia?
          I think most “repubs” don’t give a good rat’s posterior about Russia – this is all “deep state” stuff, and if Trump morphs to an ANTI Russia line, it will seem to me that we have passed the event horizon – we are merely in a simulacrum of representative government…

      1. Jim Haygood

        Indeed. The Intercept points out the awe-inspiring political escalation that’s occurring based on circumstantial evidence. Savor this toxic, tendentious McCarthyism from the NYT:

        Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, made it clear her administration would redouble efforts to punish and isolate Moscow for war crimes in Syria’s civil war and its aggression toward Ukraine

        In Mr. Trump, the Russians had reason to see a malleable political novice, one who had surrounded himself with Kremlin lackeys.

        Mr. Trump should be leading the call for a thorough investigation, since it would be the only way to remove this darkening cloud from his presidency. Failing to resolve the questions about Russia would feed suspicion among millions of Americans that a dominant theme of his candidacy turned out to be true: The election was indeed rigged.

        Apparently Trump is such a dire existential threat to the IC-MSM axis that they’re willing to bring the system down to destroy him, if that’s what it takes. One could see Sec Def nominee Mattis taking the other side of that conflict, with troops and heavy artillery.

        Strange days, comrades. This is really pretty disturbing.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That was Barack’s first mistake – he did not lead the call for a thorough investigation into his birth certificate coverup, according to the logic of that kind, sage advice.

    2. optimader

      I wont read the article, but in 8,000 words do they connect the dots between the publication of leaked email and how that (apparently factual) information “hijacked ” the election?

      Asked another way, why shouldnt publishing Podestas etal emails have improved HRC’s margin on a “slam dunk win”? Werent they the good guys? Who is to say without the email publication HRC wouldn’t have lost by a bigger margin?

      It’s not like I’ve read any claim that the email publiscation undermined any campaign strategy considerations. , so how did it adversely affect the prospects of the HRC campaign winning?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Never what Bill did or said, it’s the ‘vast right wing conspiracy.’

        Still Judo after all those years.

      2. fresno dan

        December 14, 2016 at 1:40 pm

        You and logic….

        Seriously, the only thing I wonder is if the NYT “reporters” truly can’t see the holes in their own arguments and do merely what their editors tell them to do, or if every day they’re given a pitcher of KOOL AID to drink….(actually, I am sure not one NYT employee – except janitors – voted for Trump)

        It really just seems throw anything and EVERYTHING at the wall and see if any molecules at all stick….and if everything slides down to the floor, well, that means a little bit is still touching the wall…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The articles on India are very enlightening. When Modi first made the announcement about withdrawing the notes I assumed it was part of a reasonably well thought out plan and was waiting to see what would happen. Whatever you say about Modi, up to now he’s proven quite competent.

      But I think the overwhelming evidence now is that it was a completely half-assed policy decided on the hoof, by people with little knowledge of how the Indian economy works. It seems to be causing terrible damage for absolutely no good reason. So far, it seems the Indian people are giving Modi the benefit of the doubt. The longer this goes on, and the deeper India plunges into recession, the quicker this will dissipate. I suspect this is the end of Modi and (hopefully) the BJP.

      1. polecat

        I think the Modi Admin. is using this demonetization scheme to kill off the poor !!

        …a ‘test’ case for the rest of the world.

        “We baled on some folks …. lots of them !”

      2. fresno dan

        December 14, 2016 at 2:03 pm

        I don’t even understand what this was suppose to “solve” to begin with?
        AND, it seems pretty obvious to me, but don’t the OVERWHELMING majority of Indians NOT have credit or debit cards? How was commerce SUPPOSE to happen???

      3. Cry Shop

        When the economy implodes, the BJP will be replaced by something even nastier. Love and peace will not take hold in that sort of environment. Instead it will be a race to the bottom to look for scapegoats, and when identified, to burn them alive.

  26. rich

    December 14th, 2016

    Our sports robber barons are at it again. On the loose.

    What phonies and what liars.

    Now they want another $70 million with an unknown borrowing cost to be paid to fancy up the Quicken Arena for billionaire Dan Gilbert. That doesn’t include 18 years of bond payments, likely to double the cost.

    Both Mayor Frank Jackson and County Executive Armond Budish appeared at the Q to sell the deal, or sellout their constituents. The thing these two do.

    The County is more than $1 billion in debt and has, as the city, many unmet needs. Not basketballs, baseballs or footballs.

    They are going to tap the bed tax, having extended it for 40 years. Forty years! Can you imagine extending a tax for 40 years for a sports billionaire? The vote by the County Council was 10-1 with only Sunny Simon showing some common sense.

    If it comes in at about $15 million a year, as it has, it will be $600 million! That’s $600 million. $600 million that could be used for real needs in this city & county.

    Don’t forget that you voters already passed a sin tax that will add some $260 million to your taxes but apparently not enough to satisfy Gilbert, Jackson and Budish, not to mention the City Council and County Council. Of course, the sin tax raised already $375-million.

    They will go along, already bought and paid for. How could you think otherwise?

    What doesn’t get said is that the Quicken Arena ALREADY is into the bed tax every year, as it with the city’s admission tax, another pot for this latest scheme to update the arena.

    How much have bonds been costing? Since 2000, $154.8 million. From the county’s general fund alone? $88.7 million. Where possibly could this money have been used? To cut infant deaths?

    In less than a month Cuyahoga County will pay again on the arena bonds. Again money will be taken from the county general fund, from the bed tax and from the admission tax. And paid bondholders, possibly $8-million or more.

    It’s really a crime in progress—year after year. Until 2023.

    And now we’ll add another bond payment, exceeding 2023.

    The NBA is a $54 billion outfit and what will they contribute—a week of special events, they say. It hurts too much to laugh.

    The Cavs are valued at $1.1 billion but can’t pay their bills. I mentioned last week that the Cavs have an operating income of $24.8 million, total revenue of $191 million. I also reported from Forbes magazine figures that it had gate receipts of $52 million and each attendee spent $69, or $1.39 million a game at the 20,000 attendance and $56.5 million for the 41 home games. For food, drink and trinkets.

    That’s $56 million. But they can’t pay their own bills.

    The revenue from the admission tax (city only) and bed tax (county-wide) could go for a hundred or a thousand needs throughout Cuyahoga County.

    Except for these greedy, greedy people.

    Jackson and Budish are bought-off politicians. Captives of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. Wasn’t that Joe Roman sitting in the front row?

    The gang was all there.

    And the fans keep going. Dumb as nails.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In addition to not staying at Trump Hotels, their star can also refuse to play at any arena financed like that.

      Maybe also refuse to play for an owner involved like that.

      Alas, Brutus, the fault lies with us fans too – we tolerate those athlete-demigods to thump their chests and gloat after a dunk or a touch down, in various exaggerated ways, but we can’t tolerate a politician who gloats, who exaggerates after saving jobs at a Carrier plant.

      Speaking of gloating and exaggeration, music stars do that as well with their mike dropping.

      I mean, if you’ve ever watched MTV or consumed any of those sport shows brought to you by media billionaires, you learn, in this culture, the hero is supposed to gloat, and not get riled about it.

      Outrage, what outrage?

    2. fresno dan

      December 14, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      Thanks for that.
      It reminds me of a Simpsons episode where the wicked witch catches the children, and Bart self bastes….
      It really just drives me insane….you wonder if people would donate their children if the mascot was a live lion and needed live meat….anything for the team!

  27. John k

    1. Was the current anti Russian prop a pushback against trump, or the evolution of something already in the works to justify pres hillary’s next war?
    2. EC will confirm trump.
    3. Danger is not EC but what was rumored to have happened with JFK… which I don’t believe, but maybe CIA sees an existential threat here… can pres fire director? Definitely stables need to be shoveled out at Langley…
    4. Seems to be friction between FBI and CIA… is the latter treading on the former’s turf?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Trump has nominated Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to run the CIA.

      But yeah — your points 3 and 4 weigh heavily. One senses a disturbance in the Deep State.

      Hope they don’t “go Duterte” on their political adversaries. But I wouldn’t put it past them.

  28. Anon

    RE: Lost Medieval City (Cahokia)

    Thanks JLS for this link. The story around the St. Louis Mounds is absolutely astounding. I’ve mentioned it’s importance in recent comments. While the article focus is on the ongoing archeological dig, an important corrollary is the abject contempt european settlers had for Native American culture. Sure, the St. Louis Mounds civilization was gone by 1500, but the artifacts of that civilization have been resoundingly ignored for hundreds of years.

    Bigger than Paris (and London)! The idea that North America was “empty” is typical American propaganda. The North Dakota Sioux tribes have put the lie to that. The MSM “bias” is petty cash compared to the standard national educational “storyline”.

    1. pricklyone

      Who decided to rename the Cahokia Mounds to St. Louis Mounds?
      For all my nearly 60 years, it is Cahokia. Named for Cahokia (Kahok) tribe.
      St. Louis has nothing to do with it.
      Some booster organization from Mo. trying to make it about them, again?

    2. Oregoncharles

      Having studied anthropology and archaeology in college, I was fascinated by the article. The diagram of the former city was particularly striking: the resemblance to Mexican native cities of the period is inescapable. Some of the shells they found indicate trade at least up and down the river, and the article mentions possible Toltec influence.

      It reminded me of a paper I read back in the 60s. An archaeologist studying the collapse of the Maya – which remains a major mystery – had run an experiment, hiring local people in the Yucatan to work through the essential tasks of building a Mayan city. He concluded that the PRESENT, post-collapse and post-conquest, population could have built those cities in their spare time. That questions whether a collapse occurred at all; it may well be that the Mayans just got tired of serving their priest-kings and went on strike. Apparently he was influential, because that’s essentially the scenario offered for the collapse of Cahokia.

      I was struck by the scale and nature of the human sacrifices they found (assuming, obviously, that that’s what they were.) 52 young women? Out of a population of maybe 30,000? That’s extreme; imagine the impact on their families. They’re literally sacrificing their reproductive potential. And the young men reduced their ability to defend themselves. That isn’t sustainable, and it wasn’t sustained. Interestingly, the Maya had a similar habit, throwing young women into the cenotes – which incidentally polluted their water supply. The Aztecs sacrificed captives, not their own people; that’s more sustainable domestically, but motivates the neighbors to do you in, as happened when the Spanish showed up.

      Maybe there are lessons here. At the very least, civilizations that don’t serve the needs of their people don’t last long.

  29. Plenue


    Looks like the battle for Aleppo isn’t over. Something (not clear what) went wrong with the evacuation; fighting has resumed inside the 2% of East Aleppo the militants still control.

    1. Waldenpond

      Syraqistan: DemNow video. If this is a repeat I apologize, but here is Amy Goodman and Kenneth Roth being recognized for parroting the NYT and dropping the words jihadist and terrorist from their narratives (AG uses ‘forces, rebels, white helmets’ etc.) by Stephen F Cohen. Can I just say I find Roth’s condescending air quotes around “fog of war” to be just preciously elite. Roth’s affect and his proclaimed certainty deligitimize HRW.

      If there was a reward for most embarrassing journalistic collapse, Goodman would easily be a finalist.

  30. Oregoncharles

    “Europe’s states of disorder New Statesman”
    Is this article confused and confusing, or is it just me? He appeared to be coming from an ideological base of his own that I couldn’t figure out.

  31. Oregoncharles

    “Why are Indians being arrested for sitting during the national anthem? BBC”
    Making an educated guess, from a distance: India is not a natural ethnic entity. It’s actually an empire, cobbled together by the British from a variety of different ethnic groups and former states. There are wars of resistance going on in various parts more or less continuously. So nationalism is very much an issue, artificial and either exaggerated or resisted.

    Not coincidentally: this pattern is one that can lead to very aggressive behavior, as the central authority tries to paper over internal divisions with outside “threats” – some of which are quite real, in India’s case. This sort of thing is a bad sign, which I assume is the reason the article was linked.

    1. polecat

      gee .. kinda sounds like what’s goin on here in the States …

      If the Reids, Pelosis, Feinsteins, McCains, & Grahams, et alia, had their way, they’ed be legislating similar nefarious shit on the lumpin folk !!

  32. Obi-wan

    @J-LN – Another one – “On Demonetisation, Prime Minister Modi May Have Already Lost the Plot”

    On a point made in this article – “The government abandoned its morality pitch when it realised that almost the entire cash component of the black economy was being successfully pushed into the banking system. The government tried to officially withhold data for a week but later decided it was best to tell the truth. That is when revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia admitted that the entire money was likely to come back into the banking system”
    If this does happen, this will basically increase the money supply (not necessarily in circulation) – Old currency notes+new currency notes . Could then lead to inflation(assuming there is a strong correlation between increased money supply and inflation)

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