Links 12/19/16

Australian woman finds snake curled up in Christmas tree BBC. Neglected to mention the jilted boyfriend…

Hundreds of thousands of fish wash up on Cornish beach Guardian (UserFriendly) :-(

This Melting Glacier in Antarctica Could Raise Sea Levels By 11 Feet | Motherboard (resilc). To quote Jay Leonhart circa the mid-1980s (in the Salamander Pie album, back in the day when there were still albums…)

And as the ice melts it is not surprising
The oceans are ever so steadily rising
Steadily rising though high tide and low
And Florida will be first to go

I say goodbye Miami, goodbye Lauderdale
Pass me a bucket, fetch me a pail
The old folks in the condos are up to there knees
With the wind and the salt and the sea

There’ll be no need to worry about air pollution
When your up to your neck in a saline solution
Oh the tide she comes in and she lingers about
But the tide she don’t want to go out.

So I say, goodbye Miami, goodbye Sarasota
The Gulf Coast now reaches Pierre, North Dakota
The tops of the toll booths are all that you see
As we sail down the causeway for free

Is Mental Health Declining in the U.S.? Scientific American (Chuck L). As of 10 years or so ago (pre crisis), 26 million people in the US were taking anti-depressants, and we’re asking this question only now?

The Latest Zika News Is More Bad News FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

Atmospheric rivers fueled by climate change could decimate wild oysters in San Francisco Bay Los Angeles Times (David L)


Heralding social, financial change, China aims blow at iron rice bowl Reuters

Chinese Rush to Open US Dollar Forex Accounts: More Capital Controls Coming Michael Shedlock (furzy)

Nick Turse, Washington’s America-First Commandos in Africa Tom Dispatch

Brazilian President Temer Signs Constitutional Amendment Imposing 20 Years of Austerity Real News Network

Russian influence looms over Germany’s election Poliitco


Scotland’s plan to protect its place in European single market Financial Times

Liam Fox wary of transitional Brexit deal Politico

Protesters block Polish parliament Politico

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

DANIEL ELLSBERG, EDWARD SNOWDEN, AND THE MODERN WHISTLE-BLOWER Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker. Readers will have a field day with his discussion of Snowden.

Twitter blocks government ‘spy centers’ from accessing user data Guardian


What Algeria’s ‘Black War’ Can Teach Us About the Syrian Crisis Alternet (Sid)

Trump’s Pick for Ambassador to Israel Could Kill the Two-State Solution Nation. Resilc: “Great photo.”

Sabotage Of East-Aleppo Evacuation Is Part Of A Plan Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

A century of surveillance: an interactive timeline of FBI investigations Muckrock (Chuck L)

Evacuations resume from east Aleppo BBC

The Sixth Anniversary of the Start of the Arab Uprisings Jadaliyya

Trump Transition

Trump taps Mulvaney for budget director The Hill (resilc). One of my contacts was very bothered by this. Mulvaney is a very hawkish on debt. But the OMB is not powerful.

Sanders and Dems Demand Betsy DeVos Pay $5.3 Million Fine for Campaign Finance Violations Common Dreams (Judy B)

EPA chief says Trump has limited room to scrap climate rules Financial Times

Whistleblower John Kiriakou Critiques the CIA’s Behavior Following the 2016 U.S. Election TruthDig (RR)

The Hacking Evidence Against Russia Is Extremely Weak George Washington

Craig Murray: DNC, Podesta emails leaked by Americans, not hacked by Russia Libertarian Institute (furzy). From last week, still geramne

All This Talk of Voter Fraud? Across U.S., Officials Found Next to None New York Times. Lead story.

The Striking Audacity of the Coup-in-Process Paul Craig Roberts

2016 Post Mortem

Trump is the next logical step as America becomes a plutocracy Fabius Maximus (resilc)

Everything Cost Clinton the Election Ian Welsh

The real reason the GOP is gung-ho on repealing Obamacare: It would give the rich a huge tax cut Los Angeles Times

How Doctors Could Thwart Health-Care Reform New Yorker. I don’t buy this. Doctors are vastly less powerful as an interest group than they once were, as the rise of corporatized medicine, forcing more of them to work as employees (for MBAs, gah!) rather than independent professionals, demonstrates.

Russia, NATO, Trump: The Shadow World New York Review of Books (resilc)

Larry Kudlow Isn’t an Economist, but He Plays One on TV Nation

Keith Ellison for Democratic National Committee Chair Democratic Socialists of America. Martha r: ”
Surely they know about his endorsement of Bittel?” Background: Findings by Florida Democrats Support Election of Millionaire Donor Bittel to Chair Progressive Army. Bittel is part of the establishment Dems in Florida….the most important of which is Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The GOP coup in North Carolina previews what we’re going to see everywhere Washington Post (resilc)

New McCarthyism

Monopolization Is the Problem BEHIND “Fake News” Washington’s Blog. Important. A tweetstorm by Matt Stoller.

What Happens to Media Matters in a Post-Hillary World? New Republic (resilc). As Lambert says, “Kill it with fire.”

The Rise of the Alt-Center: What the hell is wrong with America’s establishment liberals? Slate (UserFriendly). Lambert had this yesterday but wanted to make sure you saw it…

Fake news is old news to black Americans Salon (Judy B)

Investigation Into ‘PropOrNot Blacklist Case’ Finds Shoddy Methods and an Ominous Potential TruthDig (Judy B)

US central bank decision to raise interest rates doesn’t make much sense Bill Mitchell (furzy)

OxyContin goes global — “We’re only just getting started” Los Angeles Times. I used to think Monsanto was the most evil company, but it has some serious competition.

Class Warfare

The failure of the elites gave us Brexit and Trump — interview with Harvard professor Michael Sandel (podcast) CBC (Sid S)

Politics got weird because neoliberalism failed to deliver BoingBoing (martha r). Commentary on Ian Welsh piece

Sounding the Alarm about Uber’s Impacts on Transit, and on Cities Human Transit (Steve C)

The ‘alternative workforce’ is growing. Here’s why World Economic Forum. UserFriendly: “Not just uber and Grandma is more likely to be one than a millennial.

Wave of UK strikes could bring chaos to railways, airports and post offices Guardian (UserFriendly)

Why grammar schools are no quick fix for England’s social mobility problems London School of Economics. From last week, still germane.

Mass incarceration and children’s outcomes: Criminal justice policy is education policy Economic Policy Institute

The Ghost Ship Granola Shotgun (Steve C). Important. Remember Hiro’s housing in Snow Crash? This was the beta version.

To Hell with Neoliberal Environmentalism Permanent Settlement (Bjornasson). A must read.

Antidote du jour. I wonder what is going on in the readership’s collective psyche. Not that I am complaining, but normally we get quite a mix in terms of type of critter in our Antidote candidates. In recent weeks, we’ve a had a huge run of birds. Suddenly we’ve gotten a lot of great images a grazers like this one from a new reader, Karrin:

Here is a picture of my two pet goats, Catalina and Ferdinand, eating some fresh fruit treats to supplement their hay, which just gets so boring when it’s all there is to eat in the wintertime. And yes, they are wearing Christmas collars. But no, they are not this fluffy in the summer. They just have healthy undercoats of cashmere for winter warmth! I fairly blatantly, illegally keep them in my largish yard in urban Kansas City, Kansas, where they control brushy weeds and go for walks on leashes through the neighborhood.

Karrin's pet goats links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. ex-PFC Chuck

    Loved the lyrics about the rising seas. It’s unfortunate, however, that Leonhart’s knowledge base of Midwestern geography is not in the same league as it is of Florida. Pierre is in South Dakota. In fact the capital city thereof.

  2. timotheus

    Zika Bad News: so let’s see, 1/4 of pregnant women in Brownsville get no antenatal care (Planned Parenthood=evil!), Zika is rampant there, ergo anticipate that Zika pregnancies abound while no one is alerted or prepared, forget about abortion in the early weeks unless you’re ready for a Texas-style fetal funeral and can jump through all the hoops, then we cut back all WIC-like safety net assistance, leaving a slew of poor women unable to care for babies that don’t grow up. What’s not to like?

    1. Chief Bromden

      The Zika “crisis” is getting old.

      Zika has been around since about 1947. It’s an absurd candidate for causing microcephaly and brain damage.
      The correlation between a) the presence of Zika and b) babies with the microcephaly birth defect is so weak and sparse, it constitutes counter-evidence for Zika as the cause. Mosquitoes aren’t suddenly causing birth defects. Conversely, the known neurotoxins in poison-based agriculture (the “outbreak” occurred in a largely poverty-stricken agricultural area of Brazil that uses large amounts of banned pesticides.), vaccine ingredients, and mosquito sprays are demonstrated to cause damage to the nervous system.

      Here is a note from “Naled’s breakdown product DICHLORVOS (another organophosphate insecticide) interferes with prenatal brain development. In laboratory animals, exposure for just 3 days during pregnancy when the brain is growing quickly reduced brain size 15 percent.”

      In other words, to kill mosquitoes carrying a virus that causes nothing…but is claimed to cause fetal brain damage…they spray a compound that CAN cause fetal brain damage.

      Your health agencies at work. The CDC is no longer a credible institution. They are a marketing arm of the pharmaceutical industry. Zika has suddenly been transformed into a cause célèbre—the source of tremendous fear and angst for the public. So, naturally, Zika has now become an industry, and it will later become a market. The key product in this nascent industry will be vaccines.

      But first come the players—the companies that will develop, produce, market and sell the vaccines. Then, come the financiers—that, in addition to pharmaceutical companies themselves, include governments, private investors and international organizations that will front the money for the development work in the hope of either earning spectacular profits or a miraculous solution to a perceived a health crisis…. Billions of dollars in Govt. subsidies to the pharmaceutical and poison industries.

        1. Chief Bromden

          “If researchers claimed that teenagers eating spinach caused the flu, and cited populations in France, England, Iceland, and New Zealand, where, respectively, 15%, 20%, 2%, and 10% of teens with flu had eaten spinach—and asserted that the “widespread” occurrence of flu-with-spinach was “proof” of a causal connection, you would see the fallacy and the fraud immediately….

          ….The birth defect called microcephaly is nothing new. Neither is the presence of the Zika virus, which was discovered in 1947 and has never been known to create more than mild transient discomfort.

          Here’s a recent “oops” Zika revelation:

          “New doubts on Zika as cause of microcephaly.” ScienceDaily, 24 June 2016.

          Source: New England Complex Systems Institute

          “Brazil’s microcephaly epidemic continues to pose a mystery — if Zika is the culprit, why are there no similar epidemics in other countries also hit hard by the virus? In Brazil, the microcephaly rate soared with more than 1,500 confirmed cases. But in Colombia, a recent study of nearly 12,000 pregnant women infected with Zika found zero microcephaly cases. If Zika is to blame for microcephaly, where are the missing cases?”


          There are studies showing the connection between microcephaly and Roundup and atrazine, two toxic pesticides in heavy use around the world. You need to find huge amounts of Zika (or any other virus) to begin to say it’s causing a disease.

          1. dcrane

            Hmm…I was hoping that you would point to flaws in the new study (your link is six months old), since they found such a strong correlation. I can look for myself of course, but if you’re strongly motivated to doubt the conclusion you should attack the latest science head-on.

          2. dcrane

            Had a look at your blog now. You don’t offer anything more there than you have quoted here. Meanwhile, the new study references the debate as of earlier this year and cites recent reviews of the evidence that look to be worth reading. Although the phenomenon is by no means sorted out yet, and there could be important interactions of factors involved, there is reason to remain concerned that Zika is causing birth defects.

            1. Chief Bromden

              Let’s recall a devastating statement the NEJM’s former editor, Marcia Angell, issued in 2009, after she had headed up that non-science machine for 20 years:

              “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

              As criticisms of fake science go, this one, from an elite insider, ranks near the top of the list. It is a direct accusation of widespread fraud. Otherwise known as lying, cheating, massaging data, hiding data, and so on.

              In other words, the NEJM has been publishing studies and reports that, regardless of their convincing language, are “cooked” to appear true when they most definitely weren’t.

              Then there is the issue, rarely if ever touched on in studies these days, of “how much Zika was found.” Why is that important? Because, in order to begin asserting that a virus causes a condition, you need to discover a very high volume of it in a person. A small amount causes nothing. The new NEJM study doesn’t explore this vital factor. So the study is a dud.

              In Brazil, a virus that has never been proved to cause microcephaly can function as a cover story. Zika protects, and diverts attention away from, pesticide manufacturers and agri-corporate giants who spray, spray, spray.

              And what about medical drugs ingested by pregnant mothers? Again, no recent studies on microcephaly investigate this “protected area.” Given that these medicines kill 106,000 people in the US every year, and maim at least hundreds of thousands more, any rational researcher would be highly motivated to look for a causal connection to microcephaly.

              Want another correlation? Try severe malnutrition in the pregnant mother. It’s the number-one cause of immune-system collapse on the planet. Immune-system failure opens the door to many raging infections in the mother and fetus. But no, malnutrition isn’t “medical.” How can you develop a vaccine or a drug to treat it? No money in it.

              Who knows how long the Zika virus has been on the planet? 5000 years? 100,000 years? It’s had ample opportunity to spread across the world and around the world many times. The notion that, now, suddenly, it’s traveling, is absurd. It’s already there. And here. And everywhere. It has been here and there and everywhere for a long time.

      1. john

        Didn’t some ‘philanthropists’ release genetically engineered (to be sterile) mosquitos in that area shortly before the press lost it’s mind?

        Also, what happened to ebola? Just went away after the population pushed back against ‘aid workers’?

        Until Haiti has it’s colonial independence debt waived, I have no hope for any of these agencies.

  3. PlutoniumKun


    Heralding social, financial change, China aims blow at iron rice bowl Reuters

    I’m sure the Chinese are well aware this is playing with fire. Seeing protests by pensioners cheated out of their pension rights as businesses are slowly privatised is a common sight in China.

    In all the talk about China’s economy and reform I think the one biggest failure, and the one most likely to be destructive to China’s long term future, is the failure of the CCP to transfer welfare support from State companies to the central State. Its not just highly inefficient (huge replication of effort), it is one reason why Chinese healthcare is so appalling. It makes the US system seem like Sweden in comparison. Just this week a friend in Beijing told me how she has spent her entire life savings in paying for her dying fathers cancer treatment, and she has no means of knowing if he is getting good treatment, or if the hospital is just ripping the family off. This is quite normal in China.

    Even more overtly capitalist Taiwan and Singapore have far more sensible systems, mostly based on national insurance programs. Taiwan simply copied Medicare, but made it more or less universal, resulting in a cheap and fair system single payer system. There seems a real cultural block in Asia about State provision – possibly because of the belief that it undermines strong families and the power of employers, but Singapore and Taiwan and Japan have gone around this by calling them ‘insurance’ with varying degrees of success. China seems to have ignored the lessons learned, maybe because in a fast growing economy you can get away with this for a time. China is also handicapped by a narrow and small tax base. Land speculation is a huge source of income for local governments and that simply is not sustainable.

    As growth inevitably stalls and the population ages rapidly thanks to the one child system, China is going to find itself with a massive timebomb on its hands. Endlessly propping up old dying State industries is not economically or environmentally sustainable, but once you dismantle that system, you have to find some way of looking after people without generating enormous (and justified) discontent. I have seen no evidence the Chinese government has even begun to grapple with it. Its sort of ironic that it is US Medicare and Social Security that provides one possible model. The US really isn’t the worst when it comes to social provision.

    1. Cry Shop

      Mostly agree, but China does now have a comprehensive medical insurance system, but they learned from the worst, the USA. So the insurance scheme is run by each province or by the Direct Rule Cities (Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin, etc – Cities large enough that their governments report directly to Beijing on equivalency with Provincial Governments). This of course plays havoc with the internal migrant labour, particularly when they decide to return home, just like most of my USA friends and family are locked into local or state based medical schemes. The failure to manage quality in the medical system is hardly surprising, as like the USA its is prime source of corruption.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’m no expert on the topic, but I understood the County based system was not comprehensive? I thought it was a sort of patchwork of insurance along with direct support for the rural poor. My limited understanding of it is that a lot of regular middle income people, especially those who are self employed, find it hard to make use of it.

        I’ve thankfully never had to use Chinese hospitals, but I’ve heard enough stories to convince me its so riddled with corruption and incompetence that its not worth using unless you are well connected. Although I assume there are hospitals that are exceptions.

        1. Cry Shop

          Yes, most “hospitals”, particularly outside the big cities, are horrid. Not as bad as India, but still awful. The bigger problem is the lack of transparency, just like the USA, terrible surgouns with awful records can remain in pracitice. The disparity in success rates for surgery in the USA is far more well guarded than the DNC’s emails. The main difference is the court systems, which will occasionally get a result in the USA, but the settlements usually leave the doctor’s license in place and an even greater desperation to make money. None of this is defending China, which is god awful (and god(s) are truly awful), but rather to shame the USA.

          FYI, The county system is a left over which is only used in some extremely rural areas. Note, the insurance is suppose to cover everything, but corruption makes it not so. Cash is still king.

      2. sleepy

        When moving from one Canadian province to another, there apparently is a waiting period of up to three months before your new application is approved.

        Health insurance in Canada is handled by individual provinces and territories. New residents to a particular province must apply for health coverage. Upon being granted health coverage, a health card is issued which provides coverage in that particular province or territory.

        For new residents, there are typically waiting periods before health coverage will be granted. This can vary, but cannot exceed three months as part of the Canada Health Act.

        I have no idea if this is onerous in practice.

  4. Roger Smith

    On the eve of Trump’s official win, Bezos decides to reaffirm his commitment to objectivity.

    In Poland, a window on what happens when populists come to power

    It is the 1950s all over again. Capitalism vs. Socialism Populism. Which side are you on? Because solidarity and beneficial material gains are bad! (for the elite). Do these hacks seriously believe that people will forget the sleights committed against them by devout capitalists? All those years of turning people against one another and grifting off the top is finally catching up, so let’s blame any of the potential solutions.

    1. Carolinian

      Some lefty sites are bringing back this article which is actually from 2013. One wonders if Norman Solomon would write this in the midst of the current media/elite insanity.

      As Amazon’s majority owner and the Post’s only owner, Bezos stands to gain a lot more if his newspaper does less ruffling and more soothing of CIA feathers.

      Amazon has a bad history of currying favor with the U.S. government’s “national security” establishment. The media watch group FAIR pointed out what happened after WikiLeaks published State Department cables: “WikiLeaks was booted from Amazon’s webhosting service AWS. So at the height of public interest in what WikiLeaks was publishing, readers were unable to access the WikiLeaks website.”[…]

      “The Post is unquestionably the political paper of record in the United States, and how it covers governance sets the agenda for the balance of the news media,” journalism scholar Robert W. McChesney points out. “Citizens need to know about this conflict of interest in the columns of the Post itself.”

      While I don’t necessarily buy the notion that the Post is doing Amazon’s bidding–the Posties were fully vested members of what Obama called “the blob” long before the purchase–their coverage with it’s heavy emphasis on Trump’s conflicts of interest should certainly ,mention their own. The “some animals are more equal than others” approach to ethics does not inspire confidence.

    2. RabidGandhi

      Always fun to watch the Daily Bezos hammer other political systems into their own warped ideological framework. After decades of decrying “Leftist Populism”, the latest wave of “Populists” throws a spanner into their intellectual works, so they spit out this great definition:

      In Poland, Law and Justice put cash in pockets in other ways, but always while merging social conservatism and nationalism with populist economics. The new government doled out money to families with children. They also slashed Poland’s retirement age — to as young as 60 for women and 65 for men.
      Opponents call such actions the “buying” of support, moves that will only drive up Polish debt and masquerade a long-term power grab that could entrench Law and Justice for years.

      That bears repeating: “Government doled out money to families with children [the horror!]… may drive up Polish debt [did you say ‘debt’ WaPo? Punish the widows and orphans forthwith!]”. This is the utlimate horror of what WaPo calls populism (witness the HRC critique of Sanders): politicians who offer people what they want. The idea of “doling” out people their own public resources is a grave assault on neoliberal goodthink. Nay, we must rather have smart, cool-mannered credentialists to prevent the mob from implementing policies they actually want. This is why the Sandernistas were so unserious for the Washington Goodthinkers.

      Furthermore, WaPo is aghast that Law and Justice (for all its defects) is “putting cash in pockets”, which is bad in and of itself because it’s anti-austerity. When it boils down to it, this is the common denominator of all neo-liberal regimes: limit government expenditures and thereby kill consumption to squelch aggregate demand. It is from this cardinal sin against austerian orthodoxy that all other alleged sins follow.

      1. djrichard

        When it boils down to it, this is the common denominator of all neo-liberal regimes: limit government expenditures and thereby kill consumption to squelch aggregate demand. It is from this cardinal sin against austerian orthodoxy that all other alleged sins follow.

        Bingo. And to add insult to injury, the wealthy could care less if we starve. It’s not like they need our spending/cash flows. So what if earnings suck for their corporations. The value of their corporations goes up anyways through stock buy backs and a strong dollar (from currency flight from other countries which are debasing their currencies through QE; that currency flight competes for the same assets that the wealthy in the US already hold). Sure stock buy backs means more corporate debt. But when debt is so cheap because of the revulsion to debt by the hoi polloi, then the wealthy can knock themselves out. If anything, the last thing the wealthy want is for the prols to find their footing again; that would mean increased demand at the debt pump which would drive up rates which would kill their whole asset inflation model. They would have to depend on spending by the prols again – a lamentable fate.

  5. john

    Just wondering, how has web traffic here been since the Propornot allegations, if you can call them that? Any significant findings?

    Also, John McCain held a really interesting interview regarding current affairs with Anderson Cooper. I expect the electoral college’s meet-up today ;) will quiet alot of the whining from the establishment left.

    No more losers!

    1. Pat

      Considering we are still hearing whining about Nader almost twenty years later I think you are giving them too much credit. My own prediction is that with each new Trump atrocity we will get a full blast about our failure to dump the election results and annoint Hillary regularly. There will of course be no recognition that most of the atrocities would be happening with HER as well.

      1. Carla

        “There will of course be no recognition that most of the atrocities would be happening with HER as well.”

        Of course not, because Hillary, like just about every other Democrat these days, operates under a veneer of respectability and social acceptability that for some reason, half the voters in this country find reassuring — rather than being enraged by the hypocrisy with which neoliberal crimes are regularly perpetrated on our populace and the whole world.

        Trump doesn’t just take a can of paint stripper to the fake Chippendale armoire of our political system; he’s ripping off the veneer itself to reveal the ugly shell for what it is. Apparently, most people are like: Paste that veneer back up there! Leave us our illusions, tattered though they may be!

        1. John Wright

          Probably Hillary is headed for acclaimed secular sainthood from the left as they project goodness and decency on HRC..

          She can feed it by saying, “I would have done things much differently.” as Trump makes mistakes.

          But I don’t believe she will be able to monetize the “new Hillary” nearly as well as the old one.

          Her new boosters won’t from the monied class and she won’t have any current or future favors to dispense.

          Maybe the new saintly, benevolent Hillary will emerge.
          Maybe she can get a column at the New York Times?.

          1. polecat

            I say we anoint Hillary ‘the goddess of self-immolation’ ……

            Disciples could then buy cheap ‘made in China’ wicker statues … and burn them on a bead of hot coals …

              1. polecat

                Actually, now that I think about it …. maybe a ‘bead’ of coals is fitting …. considering Hillary has the world’s smallest violin ….. in fact, it’s soooo small, a fly’s tarsi could spin it ! … ‘;]

      1. fresno dan

        December 19, 2016 at 10:44 am

        Interesting – thanks for that.
        No publicity is bad publicity???
        It does make me wonder – in the long run is an increase in the demo of a small number of critically thinking people good, or is the increase of people unfamiliar with the propornot issue who think this is a commie website ultimately a very bad thing?

  6. Don Midwest USA

    The New Climate Regime

    Bruno Latour and his French effort in the AIME Project (An Inquiry Into Modes Of Existence = AIME) has important insights into what is needed to deal on a whole new level with climate change.

    Here are some tweets this morning ( twitter AIMEproject)

    AIME ‏@AIMEproject 6h6 hours ago
    Trump’s innovation in politics is to define a whole movement on denial of ecological mutations, the indifference to facts is a consequence.

    AIME ‏@AIMEproject 6h6 hours ago
    It’s not Trump’ indifference to facts that makes his troops ignore climate, it’s because his job is to make US ignore climate 4 more years.

    AIME ‏@AIMEproject 6h6 hours ago
    Since the Exxon scandal in the 90s it’s clear that political affiliation is largely organised around climate denial, it trumps left/right.

    AIME ‏@AIMEproject 6h6 hours ago
    It’s not that people vote against their interests, it’s that people are now more interested in believing that you can escape climate 4 years

    AIME ‏@AIMEproject 6h6 hours ago
    The government of the 1% for the 1% by the 1% insures that they will be protected against the impact of ecological mutations, denial is key.

    Latour’s metaphysics considers both human and non human actors. For example, water is an actor in North Dakota protests by water protectors. In fact the major political actor now is The New Climate Regime

    1. Steve H.

      Thanks for the link, I’m glad to see Latour engaging in the world. My friend Chris Brinkley introduced me to his writings in the ’70’s, but at the time I couldn’t much distinguish him from other postmodern deconstructors. In my mind, they are linked to ‘creative destruction’ which destroyed the creative and has become a substrate for austerity.

      Please consider posting in the “Is Technological Progress Behind Growing Income Inequality?” thread, it seems relevant to the theme.

      1. Don midwest

        Latour is NOT a post modern deconstructor. In fact he is on the opposite side.

        I heard him a couple of months ago at Notre Dame and he was introduced by an English professor who said that Latour saved her life. Here is one of his papers.

        Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From
        Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern

        The critical spirit might have turned empty as long as there is no alternative to the first empiricism -that of matter of fact: doubting of matters of fact can only mean getting away from the possibility of providing a proof. Things are different if a second empiricism is argued for, one that deals not with matters of fact but with matters of concern. Then, it might be possible to provide public proofs even though facts are no longer indisputable.

        It has taken me a few years to get into his work. For years it was Actor Network Theory applied to many domains including science, technology, law, anthropology, etc. He at times uses semiotics and other times uses speech act theory. And at times he uses dramatic staging to bring forth ontology which is different than the epistemological dominant philosophy approach.

        The young philosopher Graham Harman claims that he is the most important philosopher alive today. His work goes beyond the Enlightenment. He works with people from many disciplines including the arts and design and on and on.

        He does sociology differently because he gives primacy to the actors, human and non human, rather than the theory.

        His project these days is Reset Modernity. The book began with an exhibit and has people from many disciplines with a lot of people from graphic arts, design, physics, philosophy, anthropology, ethics, etc. etc.

        Reset Modernity!
        Edited by Bruno Latour

        From MIT press. Many of earlier books are from Harvard.

        Modernity has had so many meanings and tries to combine so many contradictory sets of attitudes and values that it has become impossible to use it to define the future. It has ended up crashing like an overloaded computer. Hence the idea is that modernity might need a sort of reset. Not a clean break, not a “tabula rasa,” not another iconoclastic gesture, but rather a restart of the complicated programs that have been accumulated, over the course of history, in what is often called the “modernist project.” This operation has become all the more urgent now that the ecological mutation is forcing us to reorient ourselves toward an experience of the material world for which we don’t seem to have good recording devices.

        Reset Modernity! is organized around six procedures that might induce the readers to reset some of those instruments. Once this reset has been completed, readers might be better prepared for a series of new encounters with other cultures.


        1. Outis Philalithopoulos

          If you include the full promotional text of the book (instead of just a link to it), it tends to make the computer flag your comment as an advertisement.

          1. Don Midwest USA

            Sorry about the length

            There are so many dimensions to the work that I am trying to figure out how to get people into it. One could come from art, or religion, or politics or science or the law, etc. I am trying one path for geologist friends, another for artist friends, etc.

            The MIT book announcement has the names of the various contributors and maybe someone will notice them. That book is a good place to start.

            The IPCC climate committee held a one day workshop on using Latour’s ideas for global governance. He won the Holberg prize which is considered by many as the Nobel prize for social science and the humanities.

            So, I am doing an advertisement by putting so much in to my statement, but I think that he is a unique voice needed to get beyond the framework that is holding earthbounds from addressing the possible end of humanity.

        2. Steve H.

          Don midwest, thank you for going more in-depth. Edit:

          at the time I couldn’t much distinguish him from other postmodern deconstructors.

  7. Cry Shop

    US Adults metal health, probably isn’t worse, just easier to get drugs for it, ala the story above by George Saunders.

    A Stats Reference Book I find always crashes my post hear has one of it’s examples of how hard it is to properly carry out a statistical analysis of mental health epidemiology — in the end they showed mental health rates difference between late mid 1800’s USA and 1960’s USA was statistically insignificant.

    Saunders’s story is a great thought experiment about the wet chemical computers we are.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      I think the problem with posting links to your stats reference book may be fixed now. Try it again sometime and if your post vanishes, let me know.

      1. UserFriendly

        It might have to do with youtube. If you just copy the url from the browser I bet it would work, if you click ‘share just under the video and copy that url some spam filters catch it. Wikipedia will only let you reference youtube the first way.

  8. hoopa

    Well, the critique on the commandos is a bit misleading. Special forces and covert ops aren’t necessarily related The former is what is new focus since large troops are predicted to be of less use. The rise of covert ops, on the other hand, is indeed troubling, especially since special forces gained more value and influence.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Whistleblower John Kiriakou Critiques the CIA’s Behavior Following the 2016 U.S. Election TruthDig

    Kiriakou also talks about his new book in which he discusses 20 rules he learned in the cia, and which he applied during his time in prison:

    ” Admit nothing, deny everything, make counter accusations.”

    Apparently hillary and her die-hard bots have read the book. The cia already knew the drill.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe the CIA learned that counter accusation rule from a Judo expert.

      “I will use your accusation against you with this counter accusation. What do you know about election interference? Have you done it many times (and expertly) before?”

    2. Bill

      ” Admit nothing, deny everything, make counter accusations.”

      Good lord, that’s the rule politicians learn in nursery school, nothing unique to so-called “intelligence” services.

  10. Anne

    Seems like the real problem is that the Dems got caught in a web of their own making – the cover got ripped off, the curtain pulled back, and a lot of things we suspected about what the Clinton campaign was doing were confirmed. They did these things – no one in the party is saying the e-mails were fake, or that they didn’t do the things that happened. They got caught.

    For the most part, this is what doesn’t seem to come up in all the hysteria over Russian hacking, that while the Russians may be responsible for illegally obtaining and then strategically leaking the information, they didn’t create it. The Russians didn’t manipulate the process to favor one particular candidate – the Democratic party insiders did that. So, now we’re supposed to be outraged with the Russians, as opposed to being outraged at the party?

    Did putting it out there affect the outcome of the election? For some people, I’m sure it was a factor – especially Sanders supporters who may have initially been willing to move their support over to Clinton, but changed their minds when they realized the kinds of things the Clinton campaign did to damage Sanders’ chances.

    Would it have been enough to bring Clinton down if Clinton had run a better campaign? If she hadn’t ignored working-class voters, if she hadn’t turned her back on Sanders supporters, if she hadn’t worked harder to gain Republican support than she did to shore up and consolidate Democratic support?

    Finally, it’s embarrassing that the U. S. government, that has interfered in numerous elections around the world, is able to be so outraged when the tables are turned. Did they really think the US system was somehow off-limits? I didn’t know there was that much hubris still available for general use.

    1. Paid Minion

      The Russians have seen the Saudis, etc, , “contributing” to various US politicians the Foundations, non-profits, etc., and “influencing policy”.

      One could say that influencing elections (especially with facts), is also “influencing policy”

      Since it is impossible to blackmail US politicians anymore (by outing them, or spilling the beans on their affairs), why not try using facts?

      Its getting hard to tell which country has more oligarchs and kleptocrats.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think the ‘Bilbo in the Lonely Mountain’ rule is being invoked here by our wise lords.

        You don’t wake up the dragon, even if you have facts to tell him.

        “Do it quietly with money…campaign contributions. What they have done is impolite, no respect.”

    2. drb48

      I’ve made the exact same points – repeatedly – on multiple sites, but they seem to have fallen on deaf ears – ignored in the hysteria to blame Putin or really, anyone other than Clinton – for Clinton’s loss and the horrors to follow. My problem – and yours no doubt – is that reflexively “liberal” sites and their readers are too married to the Democratic Party and its apparatchiks to stop their “the sky is falling” chanting long enough to examine whether their narrative makes any sense.

      1. Lee

        Unfortunately, an effect of all this reflexive butt hurt whinging, see Daily Kos for example, is that voices for progressive takeover of the Democratic party are being dismissed and shouted down. Perhaps I have been foolish to think that such a takeover is at all possible.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          I think the loud hysterics, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments is largely designed to drown out progressive voices. The leadership of the Democratic Party recognizes it is internally vulnerable. They are spinning hard to at least retain control of their own apparatus…… even though their control of it guarantees its irrelevance in government.

          North Carolina writ large is coming to the heartland near you. In 4 years, only the western U.S. will still look like all of America does today – in terms of how it’s governed.

        2. Carla

          “Perhaps I have been foolish to think that such a takeover is at all possible.”

          I’m afraid there’s too much money involved. WAY too much money.

          If a sitting Secretary of State peddling influence to Qatar in exchange for a $1 mil investment in her family foundation doesn’t tell us this, nothing will.

      2. Anne

        I have tried just saying: “The Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign DID DO the things revealed in the e-mails. They did them. That it likely was the Russians who were responsible for gaining access and Wikileaks for disseminating the contents of the e-mails, DOESN’T CHANGE the reality that Democratic Party/DNC officials and Clinton campaign staff did the things revealed in those communications.”

        Might as well be speaking or writing Sanskrit for all the comprehension that ensues. It’s all, “but we were attacked! Information was weaponized against us!” I’m not even sure the W-a-a-a-a-a-mbulance attendants could convince them that this is what happens when you combine a pitiful level of and interest in cybersecurity with people who are so convinced of their own brilliance and invincibility that they become a perfect example of what it means to be “hoist on your own petard.”

        The Russians didn’t cobble together a primary debate schedule designed to minimize Sanders’ ability to gain support and traction in his campaign. The Russians didn’t formulate strategy to undercut and undermine Sanders. The Russians didn’t engineer the incestuous and obscenely rewarding relationships between the Clintons and the Foundation. The Russians weren’t responsible for Clinton’s private e-mail server.

        No matter: the Dems have found their scapegoat and are going to ride it until it collapses under the sheer weight of disbelief and hypocrisy.

        Sometimes, I really am just blown away by the inability of Dems to learn anything; I don’t think there’s any hope for them.

        1. TK421

          That it likely was the Russians who were responsible for gaining access

          No, it wasn’t. There’s no evidence that it was. Zero.

          1. Anne

            You’re kind of missing the point. I could say that there’s no evidence that YOU are aware of, but that isn’t the same thing as no evidence.

            I could also say that even if it were little green people with two heads, it doesn’t change the underlying truth: that the DNC and the Clinton campaign staff wrote the e-mails, did what the e-mails says they did. Dems are responsible for their words and their actions and who- or whatever is responsible for accessing them and publishing them is the wrong thing to be focused on – it’s about as bright and shiny an object as it is possible for it to be.

            Meanwhile, while people are getting themselves all is a dither about “the Russians,” I’d like to bring people back to things like “interfering” with elections by purging the voting rolls and passing draconian voting laws that serve only one purpose: suppressing the vote.

            What’s being done about that, pray tell?

            1. witters

              “That it likely was the Russians who were responsible for gaining access ”

              I’m sorry, on reflection TK241 is clearly right. Own it.

        2. Pat

          Just a thought, maybe those of us saying these things might need to add the obvious thought to that:

          “They did those things, if THEY hadn’t misused their positions and abused the public trust on these issues the Russians or whoever actually hacked those accounts wouldn’t have had anything to reveal. This is like only punishing your three year old for tattling that your five year old has been raiding the cookie jar nightly and entirely ignoring that the five year old both broke your rules and lied about it.”

          Simplistic I know, but as far as I can tell liberals these days can’t do nuance.

    3. Jess

      “I didn’t know there was that much hubris still available for general use.”

      Excellent line. I’m borrowing that.

  11. fresno dan

    To Hell with Neoliberal Environmentalism Permanent Settlement (Bjornasson). A must read.

    “The terrible rush towards profit – that most sacred of all neoliberal idols – has depleted fisheries allover the world, encouraged a fracking ‘boom’, degraded large swathes of topsoil in cultivable ares, polluted rivers and oceans with non-degradable refuse and oil, and displaced millions of indigenous people from their native lands for the establishment of Special Economic Zones. Widespread cash crop cultivation and the rise of GMO corporations has caused food shortages and droughts, whilst planned obsolescence has piled layer after layer on towering landfills.”

    “But since neoliberals can’t countenance the idea that their favored mode of production – market capitalism – is the driving force behind all this environmental degradation, they proceed ever more forcefully in denying the nakedness of their Emperor.”
    From a couple of days ago:
    December 17, 2016 at 1:04 pm
    Must read.

    Heal the Planet for Profit by Ilargi

    Very much made the same point as todays article

    1. fosforos

      When this writer said: “One of the central tenets of neoliberal thinking is that traditional moral sentiments – altruism, honor, solidarity – are unreliable and duplicitous; they should be replaced by ‘incentives’ to ensure optimal outcomes for all involved” I knew right away where I heard that before: from the mouths of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, reassuring us that “altruism, honor, and solidarity”–aka “moral incentives”–were the exclusive means to develop a socialist Cuba. None of that “neoliberal” nonsense about socialism having something to do with steady increases in the workers’ and farmers’ command over goods and services, their ability to secure whatever they need on the market paid for by the proceeds of their own productive efforts. No. Instead, state-owned industry and state-owned farms controlled by unaccountable military officers and “Communist” bureaucrats. Instead of producing for domestic use instead of profits, the insane mobilization of an entire country for “morally incentivized” unpaid backbreaking labor to bring in that mythical “ten-million-ton zafra” for profitable sale on world markets to the benefit of that great friend Brezhnev. Followed, of course, by a decade of “years of lead.” And he goes on,, of course, to his prescription of how to fight global warming–more “moral incentives,” more “active” state intervention. And of course no markets! Like a good Guevarist he remains totally blind to the fact that we know how easy it is to make markets work effectively to combat global warming–by the “passive” intervention of a swingeing and annually increasing tax on the carbon-content of aggregate energy production that would quickly make every form of carbon pollution unprofitable compared to profitable (what a dirty word!) investment in clean production at every economic level from the most local and basic to the most global and elaborate!

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      The Bjornasson link repeats some of the points made in “Prof. Philip Mirowski keynote for ‘Life and Debt’ conference University of Technology Sydney” []. Mirowski describes how Neoliberal economics prescribes three classes of response to global warming covering short term, medium term and long term solutions — refer to the slide “Neoliberal Biopolitics” at 34:49 in the video. The slide “Neoliberal contempt for prudential concerns” at 53:50 enumerates some of the problems with geoengineering — the long term response to global warming. The bullets on this slide weirdly correspond to some of the features of the rights corporations seek in the many “trade” agreements.

    3. susan the other

      healing the planet for and by profit is only possible if we redefine profit to be non-monetary. if the profit is to be a clean planet there’s no money in it. Achilles heel. But for sure someday soon they are going to throw a big neoliberal free-market party and nobody is going to go. Because it is useless at best.

  12. Bugs Bunny

    Gladwell on Snowden.

    There is a harsh moral vacuum at the heart of the East Coast Establishment and this piece manages to express it perfectly.

    – Snowden didn’t go to one of their schools – check
    – Snowden didn’t cotoyer the preferred elites on his way to a job in government
    – Snowden wasn’t an establishment insider – check
    – Snowden doesn’t even know or respect their pop culture references – check

    Anyway, the conclusion is that Snowden is a traitor because he’s not worthy of an Ellsberg — who is a committed supporter of Edward Snowden.

    What trash.

    1. Tom_Doak

      Yes, and Ellsberg was a Marine who got his Ph.D. from Harvard, so he could only have acted in the best interests of the country. Whereas Snowden was labeled by Gladwell “a community-college dropout.”

      After a few years on NC, it only took a couple of minutes reading that piece to see where it was headed. And it was all passed off as a book review!

      The one fascinating passage for me was an excerpt from Ellsberg’s long-ago autobiography, where he described having had the task of briefing the incoming Secretary of State for the next administration — Henry Kissinger. This was just before Kissinger received his security clearances, and Ellsberg told him that once he had them, he would be blown away by all the knowledge therein … but it would be hard for him to learn from anyone without security clearance ever again, because he would always think the other party would have a different view if they knew everything in the classified section.

      IOW, our government elites all feel that their security clearance makes them extra-elite, and therefore no one outside the Beltway can contribute much. Best explanation I’ve seen for that phenomenon, and yet another reason why the needless classification of docs and the manipulation of the truth by our security agencies are such worthy objects of debate.

      1. RabidGandhi

        IOW, our government elites all feel that their security clearance makes them extra-elite, and therefore no one outside the Beltway can contribute much.

        Great point and this goes a long way to explain why “if you knew what I/my sources knew, you wouldn’t think that” is the go-to justification whenever government figures get caught violating the law. See for example, Kurt Eichenwald whenever he gets trapped in his obvious lies.

        The scary thing is how quickly many in the public immediately concede to such false credential thumping.

        1. paul

          That’s pretty much what our ex prime minister said in leading the call for the invasion/destruction of Iraq.
          Turned out he was lying.

      2. Phil

        But Ellsberg was right, no? To read a newspaper article on a subject one truly has mastered leaves the clear impression of journalistic incompetence or tendentiousness. Now that you can access the Internet, do you feel that anyone who reads only the MSM has anything to teach you? Do specialist oncologists feel that their patients have anything to tell them about managing their disease? Or defense attorneys, that the defendant is fit to address the strategy for the defense? Cliche, sure, but true: knowledge is, after all, power.

        So, with access to the higher truth from the briefings, these people have been pushed up into a different quantum shell from what you and I occupy. They are better informed than we are, as bruising to the ego as that is.

        The terrible, inconvenient truth is that empires, to survive, must be run by emperors and their staffs. Republics (which is what the US was designed as) must never give their governments enough tax money or power to let them develop a “security agency”–that is why our constitution is a meaningless vestige at this point, because the real limitations that it enshrined were shredded during the Civil and First World Wars.

        The US government long ago picked its pile of hay. At this point the populace needs either to acknowledge its imperial status, and change its Constitution accordingly to make empire effective; or force the reversion to a republic, or more likely, several independent but federated republics, and in so doing, destroy the enormous structures of wealth and power that accumulated in the ascent to empire. That surely can be done, but it entails devastation that I personally do not wish to see in my lifetime. Does that make me a neoliberal? Possibly, although personally, I’m a Sanders guy, because I believe that the best place to live in as the richest person happens to that place that is best to live in as the poorest.

        1. Portia

          what I boiled down from your word salad is that the people in power have knowledge and information that is used to perpetuate them in pursuit of power, so they are never going to share. so what forcing of reversion are you talking about that will cause everything to collapse and devastate you? Do you think you can use labels to understand what is happening?
          and yeah, you’re a Sanders guy (that is a huge tell, your slipping that in) so you want everybody to be happy? WTF is your comment all about, anywho?

        2. Foppe

          Ah, yes, an “Inconvenient Truth”. “The world is / people are just so gray“. Deep. Or, actually, reactionary tripe built on the Hobbesian/Zimbardian/Pinkerite “insight” that people are inherently amoral/evil / man is a wolf to man / life is nasty, brutish, and short; and it is only thanks to the liberal state that we are alive at all — a “fact” for which we should of course be eternally grateful, which is why it’s simply wrong — or rather, harmful naivete — to expect things from politicians, or anyone in power.
          I can’t imagine how depressed you must be, having to constantly tell yourself to look away, and to stop judging the actions of others when you are bothered by them. The despair must be overwhelming.

      3. voteforno6

        Indeed. I still remember that section of Ellsberg’s book, and I read it many years ago. I think he also made the point that most of that classified information is really worthless – a person can rely solely on open sources, and still have most of all the information that he or she would need.

        1. LifelongLib

          “…a person can rely solely on open sources…”

          I sure hope that’s true, or sites like NC are a waste of time. If people as well informed as some here can’t make sound political decisions based on public information, democracy is impossible.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          Open sources are generally far better and more reliable than classified sources, but understanding that is unhelpful to advancement within a government bureaucracy where access to even vastly less informed classified sources is a prestige/status symbol. The only truth that really matters is always the truth of one’s place and prospects as regards organizational-institutional power, which often has little or nothing in common with reality-based truth.

    2. flora

      Good whistleblowers: PhD from Harvard. e.g. Ellsberg.
      Bad whistleblowers: no PhD, or any degree from Harvard. e.g. Binney, Kiriakou, Snowden.

      Gladwell even uses the word “pedigree”.

      1. barefoot charley

        Gladwell is the dictionary definition of “Educated Idiot.”

        His argument is that Snowden lacks the credentials to be a leaker. He’s just a plebian hacker, a digital flooder, and his vulgar sourcing of information means . . . he doesn’t have a right to his morality, or to influence government. He doesn’t even have a Ph.D!

        Gladwell asserts that if Ellsberg came along again today, the Times would put him in the paper, not in a safe house for internment. It takes decades of intensive education to be that dumb.

        1. paul

          I think he could only have topped that piece by telling us,with authority,that Ellsberg’s hair smelt much nicer than Snowden’s.
          No doubt he’s working on a ‘habits of successful and trustworthy whistleblowers’ best seller.
          Public intellectual, my hairy toe!

    3. Don Midwest USA

      Gladwell the fraud

      A confidential Philip Morris document from the mid-1990s named Malcolm Gladwell as one of the tobacco industry’s top covert media assets. This roster of “Third Party Advocates” was a who’s who list of known corporate shills, including Bush press secretary/Fox News anchor Tony Snow, Grover Norquist, Milton Friedman and Ed Feulner, head of the Heritage Foundation. In journalism terms, a “Third Party Advocate” means “fraud.”

      A couple of years ago I found him on a site calling our right wing shills. I just did a search and got

      Malcolm Gladwell

      from the shameproject site

      Lots of text and links and this

      Undisclosed Income
      Gladwell is ranked as one of the highest-paid speakers in America today, who pulls in up to $80,000 per speaking gig—or about $1 million a year, according to Fast Company. For comparison: Mitt Romney only made $500,000 in speaking fees in 2010.

      Gladwell has yet to disclose a list of his corporate clients and how much they pay him. Here is a partial list compiled from various publicly available sources:

      Philip Morris
      Lehman Brothers
      AHIP (health insurance lobby)
      Bank of America
      SHRM (union-busting lobby group)
      Retail Real Estate Industry

      1. Pat

        Scarily enough he is someone who will sell out or come to close to selling out talks and interviews in liberal Manhattan. Even Petraeus can’t do that anymore, but Gladwell can.

    4. Fool

      I’m not a fan of Gladwell, but, come on, the crux of his criticism wasn’t that Snowden was a community college dropout — tacky though the emphasis may have been — but that Snowden is a crypto-libertarian weirdo.

      I mean, is there any real substantive difference between the politics of Ed Snowden and those of Peter Thiel?

      1. Foppe

        That’s not the issue at hand, though. Do you really think Gladwell is/would be bothered by the politics of Peter Thiel? If not, and if he is — and I doubt he would even dare reflect on Thiel’s worldview critically, what with the latter’s success — why is he bothered by them when Snowden espouses them?

        1. Fool

          Yup good point. Ideology seems like a moot point when it comes to Gladwell. His whole framework for the merits of someone’s politics/worldview would just reflect his view of their “success“.

          Boy do we have some dumb elites.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      Pretty sure Gladwell was taught everything he knows by Thomas Friedman. Overthink every issue, write a bunch of incoherent bafflegab, throw in a few polysyllabic words to make it sound more erudite and then claim you’re thinking outside the box and have insights that prove the wisdom of Solomon incorrect.

  13. fresno dan

    The Rise of the Alt-Center: What the hell is wrong with America’s establishment liberals? Slate (UserFriendly). Lambert had this yesterday but wanted to make sure you saw it…

    “From here it deteriorates badly. Garland goes on to give his own personal account of the past few decades of U.S. and world history, in which absolutely everything is the product of a long, slow Russian master plan to bring America to its knees by encouraging the population not to trust the noble, hardworking CIA. ”
    When it comes to providing a “game theory” answer to why Obama and Clinton don’t seem to be doing anything, he just shrugs. “JESUS, WHAT CAN YOU DO?” It took him 127 tweets to get to his answer, and there’s nothing there. He ends, by way of an excuse, with a corny dollop of patriotic waffle, an inspiring speech clearly half-cribbed from some star-splattered disaster movie. “This system is not rotten, not beyond repair, not exiled from the future. We have been infiltrated by agents who would drive us mad.”

    “We have been infiltrated by agents who would drive us mad.”
    I don’t want to humble brag…its wasn’t JUST me, a yugo, and a dunkin donuts credit card. – – I did get my orders from Putin….riding a horse barechested – and Putin wasn’t wearing a shirt either…

    AND, there is nothing you can do – historical materialism.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I gave up reading Slate quite a while ago, but I always found it odd that while (with the exception of Dahlia Lithwick), their main writers are wretched, they occasionally commissioned really good things from freelancers. I was never quite sure whether they were just occasionally trying to provide some balance, or there is a bit of an internal power struggle which means that sometimes good things get through.

  14. Lee

    Nitpick: I seem to recall from a range management course I took during my misspent youth that goats are browsers not grazers. That is, they prefer leafy plants while grazers such as bovines prefer grasses.

    1. Cry Shop

      Yes, they love Kudsu, which was brought in to feed cattle, but the cattle tried to avoid it. One would think the farm extension in charge of that mistake would have checked first.

      1. Lee

        Similarly, eucalyptus were introduced from Australia to California to provide a fast growing timber tree. Unfortunately, Jack London and others supporting the introduction, didn’t know that a eucalyptus must be several hundred years old to be suitable for timber. Their principal current function is decorative or as windbreaks. But they are also a fire hazard and their detritus prevents other plants from growing beneath them. There is a lot of support for their removal, particularly from public lands (

        There was a hard freeze in the SF Bay Area in 1972 that killed vast numbers of eucalyptus. I made a lot of money with my chainsaw that year. It looks like this very unusual event may occur again this year. Alas, my chainsaw wielding days are well behind me.

          1. bob

            Just did a drive by on that earlier today, didn’t mean to contradict what Lee had said. I’d trust a guy with a chainsaw a lot more than anyone else on tree care. It’s very local.

            Around here, the biggest problem is Norway Maples. They grow very fast, but very fragile. They were all the rage 40 years ago. Then the ice storm of 1998, and a few other storms started to show their huge downsides. Giant trees falling, or sometimes even worse, just a large limb falling.

            I believe Canada has called them “invasive” for a while now and NY and other NE states have made them “illegal” to sell.

            Long tails….

        1. Anon

          Their principal current function is decorative or as windbreaks.

          Add to that monarch butterfly habitat. However this plea to retain euch’s for habitat is misguided. The essential ingredient for Monarch survival is the milkweed plant (herb). (Native oak trees provided resting habitat before the Euch’s arrived.)

          Just as an aside, the Euch’s were brought to California before Jack London. A so-called “professor” of horticulture near Santa Babara (Ellwood) was a major booster and imported and planted acres and acres of this non-native, invasive tree. (As today’s arborists know, the most Euch’s are sinewy, chain-saw devouring, ill-burning, messy, dicots.)

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chinese rush to open US dollar forex accounts

    I have noticed in a few recent local (as in California) Chinese antiques auctions that some items went for 100 times what I would have paid for. Instead of being around my estimate of $600, it went for $60,000, for one example. Perhaps I was cheap or couldn’t recognize a truly genuine Imperial piece. Or maybe that is one way to get money out.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      You’re not the only one to notice this. I attend live and online auctions for paintings, posters, objets d’art, etc. and the Chinese antiques sell for many, many times more than the estimated sale price. For me, this has been going on since about 2011. I’m in Europe FWIW.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        That’s interesting, I heard the same thing mentioned by someone who collects antiques before, but I assumed it was the result of Chinese buyers being a little naïve when trying to buy back their heritage. But how would it work as a way around currency restrictions? Perhaps Western based Chinese person 1 buys some cheap Chinese antique, then sells it to their China based relative for an inflated price to justify a transfer of money out of China?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          One dealer told me, 2 or 3 years ago, that he sold his Yuan dynasty wucai (almost art historians think wucai or rather, doucai, started in the Chenhua reign of the following Ming dynasty – so, that piece would be an important one) for something like $6 million US dollars.

          I was happy for him. Then, about 10 months or so later, he told the buyer had not paid and the auction house would try to sell it again.

          I think it could be that someone had a similar piece and did it to establish a ‘market price’ to

          a. give a value to the piece as a gift to some important person
          b. to sell that piece in another auction
          c. to borrow, using it as a collateral

          Sometimes, I suppose, that ‘price’ can be established with a not-physically-existing piece (sort of the fiat currency equivalent), with the ‘right’ auction house and a good computer graphic designer.

          So, you bid $1,000,000 successfully for your own piece on display in another country. Normally, the buyer pays around 20% commission and the seller around 30% to the house. For this kind of transactions, you have to negotiate down to a reasonable percentage. Then, you sell yourself a piece, either genuine or non-existing (it doesn’t matter), and wire the money to an appropriate and safe (from your point of view) bank account.

          This is, of course, pure conjecture. Any resemblance to the real world is completely coincidental.

          1. Cry Shop

            Happens a lot in real estate too. Developers will often buy their own flats to create a market image.

  16. Jim Haygood

    iMFers are in une panique this morning, as the handsome Chris Lagarde cops a criminal conviction:

    Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was found guilty on Monday of criminal charges linked to the misuse of public funds during her time as France’s finance minister, a verdict that could force her out of her post.

    Ms. Lagarde, who began her second five-year term at the I.M.F. in February, will not face any jail time, the judge said. The scandal has overshadowed her work at the fund, to which she was appointed in 2011, after Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as managing director when he was accused of having sexually assaulted a maid in a New York City hotel.

    The move is likely to destabilize the I.M.F. as it faces a host of thorny issues, including questions over its participation in a multibillion-dollar bailout for Greece and uncertainty about the United States’ role once Donald J. Trump becomes president in January.

    Now, added to the US presidential interregnum is a leadership vacuum at the IMF, whose headquarters are in Washington DC just a few blocks west of the Treasury on Pennsylvania Ave.

    Markets have a funny way of rioting when they perceive that no one’s in charge.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Markets have a funny way of rioting when they perceive that no one’s in charge.

      Its kinda funny that markets don’t believe in the invisible hand.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Greece’s plight — saddled with mountains of force-fed debt to save the banks of France and Germany — is an example of a very visible hand supporting an edifice that can’t stand on its own.

        Remove the hand, and … the music stops. :-0

      2. polecat

        no … but markets DO have invisibility cloaks ….

        ….I believe they’re referred to as ‘ secret corporate trade tribunals’ …..

    2. David

      She wasn’t found guilty of a criminal act as such but of “negligence” – effectively incompetence, but with some dark suspicions around the edges. The judges (who significantly included a number of active political figures) said she was negligent in waving through a settlement which cost the French taxpayer more than €400M without challenging it. In this, she was advised by her chief of staff Stéphane Richard, now PDG of Orange, who is himself facing criminal charges. This one is not over yet.

    3. Ranger Rick

      Two directors arrested in a row at the IMF? Once was a coincidence, twice is a pattern. Sounds like the organization is completely out of control.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Sounds like RICO, Ranger Rick. From June 2015:

        Lagarde has taken a tough line on debt talks with Athens over the past four months, since the radical leftist Syriza government took control.

        At the talks in Luxembourg she reportedly introduced herself to Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis as “the criminal in chief”, in reference to Tsipras’s claim earlier this week that the IMF bore “criminal responsibility” for the situation in Greece.

        Ha ha, that’s a good one! Reportedly Yanis V. and John Perkins are lurking on the corner of 19th and Pennsylvania to make a citizens arrest. ;-)

      2. Jim Haygood

        Hey, I was just joking about casing the building. But now it emerges that Lagarde really did flee France before the verdict, and will be showing up at her DC office any minute now:

        International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has left France for Washington and will not be present for the verdict in her negligence trial, her lawyer told Reuters.

        As a French exile in Foggy Bottom, she can fight extradition while pulling down a generous tax-free salary.

      3. fosforos

        One ancient scandal (she was Sarkozy’s catspaw) and one easy frame-up of a notorious sleazepot. Stirrings at the top of an organization totally under control (by Washington DC).

    4. Ed

      “Ms. Lagarde, who began her second five-year term at the I.M.F. in February, will not face any jail time, the judge said. The scandal has overshadowed her work at the fund, to which she was appointed in 2011, after Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as managing director when he was accused of having sexually assaulted a maid in a New York City hotel.”

      Lagarde was put in because Strauss-Khan couldn’t be head of the IMF due to a scandal and they needed someone clean.

      The charge, from the brief description, sounds like the sort of bs “crime” you use to get someone out of a key position due to some secret reason. I am referring to the charges against Lagarde, though I guess you could argue that the DSK scandal was a frame-up.

  17. Chief Bromden

    My Zika comment was apparently scrapped in moderation. Is there a way for NC to email it back to me? Unfortunately I failed to create a copy prior to posting and wish to share it elsewhere. The contact page is showing as not found. Thank you.

    1. Vatch

      Try sending an email message with your request to:

      outis dot philalithopoulos at gmail dot com

      Replace the “dot”s and the “at” with the appropriate punctuation marks. Include the approximate time that you posted your comment.

  18. timbers

    Melting Glacier in Antarctica….

    All the articles I’ve seen about ice damns holding back Antarctic glaciers that could produce an 11 foot rise in sea level (in this case Totten ice bridge) could give way sometime in the next century or two.

    I think that’s too optimistic. Bet it happens before this century ends.

    1. Tvc15

      Scientists ringing the alarm bells for “abrupt climate change” would certainly agree with you. And some say we’ve already passed the point of no return, hopefully they are wrong.

      From a 2015 Counter Punch article.

      “…abrupt climate change has a history of happening very, very quickly, within decades, not over hundreds of years.”

      1. rd

        Sudden rises in sea level during the deglaciation periods were generally due to ice dams breaking that were holding back previously melted water held in massive lakes that covered thousands of square miles. These breaks could cause the sea to rise several feet in just a matter of months. At this time, the ice is largely still ice and has not gone through the phase change to turn into water – that requires a lot of heat energy.

        So the primary threat now is that the glaciers will speed up their advance to the sea, not that they will suddenly melt into a giant wall of water. That process may be underway, and so we could see several feet of sea level rise over the next century. It took about 10,000 years or so for the massive continental glaciers to melt and discharge to the sea from about 20,000 to 10,000 or so year ago. This caused a sea level rise of 400 feet over that time frame. This averages out to about 0.04 ft/year or 12 mm//yr, so in some respects, what we are seeing is the completion of the deglaciation with the additional melting coming due to the heat energy trapped by greenhouse gases.

        The world has seen huge sea level swings in fairly short time frames in the past 100,000 years. Our biggest issue is that we have put fixed infrastructure on the edge of a very dynamic system assuming it was stable. Sea level rise will destroy large established real estate assets and displace millions of people, so it is really an economic problem, not an environmental one. Similarly, changing precipitation and temperature patterns will change locations of arable farmland, also causing migration. The winners and loser s of changing precipitation are harder to predict right now because we understand that system much less than the simplicity of mapping oceanfront properties to illustrate which areas get inundated under certain levels of sea level rise.

        Issues such as warm sea water, ocean acidification, or methane hydrates vaporizing are very different problems that create fundamental life-threatening chemistry imbalances that are much more threatening to our existence than sea level or precipitation changes. Their potential occurrence or non-occurrence is even less understood at this time than sea level rise and precipitation..

    2. ekstase

      “Scientists have concluded that ice shelves and glaciers in eastern Antarctica have been experiencing basal melt, where the bottom layer of a body of ice starts to melt away…”

      Holy hell!

  19. fresno dan

    These and other policy measures that redistribute income upward are occurring all the time and almost completely escape public attention. But the Wall Street bailout, that was impossible to miss. The basic story was that the greed and incompetence of the major Wall Street banks, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and others, put them on the brink of bankruptcy. If we let the market work its magic, all of these banks would be condemned to the dustbin of history.

    But rather than leave things to the market, maybe with a dash of retraining assistance for unemployed bankers, Congress and the Fed came racing to the rescue with the TARP and the Fed’s bailout. The banks were brought back from the brink of death with access to trillions of dollars of below market interest rate loans, coupled with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s promise that there would be no more Lehmans. In other words, the banks would not be allowed to fail no matter how bad their finances and how incompetent their leaders.

    How do you justify this massive intervention to save the hides of many of the country’s richest people? Naturally, you say that it was done for the general good. No one really wanted to lend trillions of dollars to save Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, but it was necessary to keep the rest of us from enduring a second Great Depression: a decade or more of double-digit unemployment. The elites circled the wagons and agreed that this would be the story and anyone who didn’t agree would be called names.

    Our “Profit and Loss” system…..when your rich, its all Profit, or when your poor, its all Loss….

  20. Jim Haygood

    From The Nation article:

    Trump’s pick to represent Washington in Israel [David Friedman] is president of American Friends of Beit El, a group that collects tax-deductible contributions to support West Bank settlement.

    Friedman was seen arguing for the Israeli annexation of the West Bank in a video published by Israel’s Channel 2 in September.

    Contrast Trump’s rewarding of Beit El with the long prison terms for US residents running Islamic charities, such as the now-defunct Holy Land Foundation.

    Beit El openly defies US policy against Israeli settlement expansion, and long-standing UN resolutions as well. For this bad behavior it gets … a tax deduction. And an ambassadorship.

    Why is Beit El’s open subversion of US policy not stopped? Because the Treasury’s awkwardly-named Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence is an Israeli amen corner, headed successively by Stuart Levey, David Cohen, and (presently) Adam Szubin.

    Drain the swamp.

  21. Michael

    Is this the real NYT or a fake?

    “But the small-state bias was almost entirely irrelevant to Mr. Trump’s advantage. Mrs. Clinton won plenty of small states — she won seven of the 12 smallest. Mr. Trump, meanwhile, won plenty of big states — in fact, he won seven of the 10 largest.”

    “Mrs. Clinton would have fared just as badly in the Electoral College even if states were worth exactly their share of the population. “

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Plus, how do we know she won’t have her own ‘faithless Elector’ problem, even if she had won the Electoral College.

      The real lesson of this election is this – finish in the two 2, and then, save money for persuading the Electors to not vote for the other guy.

  22. GK

    The Striking Audacity of the Coup in Process

    Efforts to get the Electoral College to elect someone besides Trump are unlikely to succeed, and the wisdom those appeals as a tactic is certainly debatable. But calling those appeals a “coup” is Orwellian. Appeals to the Electors are protected by the First Amendment both as free speech and a petition of the government for redress of grievances. It should not need to be said that this is true whether or not I or anyone else agrees the stated grievances are valid. Nor is there anything improper about asking an elector to vote for someone other than the candidate who got the most votes in the elector’s state – part of the original purpose of the Electoral College was to create a body that would be free to do just that.

    1. Phil

      True enough. Also, the Electoral College that the Founders envisioned would be made up of prominent citizens of the republic, public-spirited men with a stake in society.

      Not a bunch of people with their hands out for “donations” on the web.

      1. polecat

        Somehow, I don’t think having grifter Congress folk chosen as electors was also what the Founding Fathers had in mind !!

      2. hunkerdown

        Ah, but Society or Public Spirit never had anything to do with the concerns and interests of the non-landed citizen except insofar as keeping the Real, i.e. Landed People off pikes and the working-class in chains.

        I do wish we’d drop the beatification of the Founders, as if their interests as gatekeepers were not, then as now, diametrically opposed to ours. Even if they were or are, in fact, not diametrically opposed, everything they created was, in fact, against us, and in no way against themselves (that good old conservative Burkean license being part of the contemporary thought of the time). If Madison really wanted Congress to not exempt itself from its own laws, he would have insisted they be shot, rather than obeyed. But it’s all about the perfection of power…

        They’re just another ruling class to take up space in the tumbrels. Not Special.

    2. UserFriendly

      Ok here is the rant I have gone on every time someone asks me to sign that dumb petition. I also posted it to medium and tweeted it to Lessig after he posted his latest BS about the EC vote, and he retweeted it…

      Overthrowing the results will cause for some to seek 2nd amendment remedies. It will be the POC that this is supposedly in the name of, bearing all of the burden of the liberal elite’s decision that people don’t know what is good for them. Sounds a lot like that technocrat double speak the Democrats used to sell out their voters to Wall Street since the 90’s.

      Russia is not the reason Clinton lost. Wikileaks has broken with its usual policy of refusing to help speculate about the sources of leaks and has said that the DNC emails were not from any state actor and implied strongly that it was someone at the DNC who was disgusted with the way the party treated Sanders. The Podesta emails came from fishing, something any script kiddy could pull off and not the way a sophisticated state actor would do it because it leaves tracks. The only leaks that could plausibly be Russian sponsored are Guccifer 2.0 and Colin Powell’s emails; but it serves the deep state’s desire for perpetual war and general McCarthyism to conflate them all.

      You would think after the NY Times sold Iraq to the public people would be more skeptical of the media beating the war Drums. We have been at war for more than half my life and it just is never enough. Trump’s one glimmer of hope was his refusal to support military adventurism. Clinton and her pathetic excuse for a campaign are spinning disinformation because as long as it was someone else’s fault she lost then they can keep donor money flowing and their careers on track. The war machine is happy to offer up Russia because as far as they are concerned NATO expanding to Russia’s boarder is in the name of peace and freedom and anything Russia does in response is Putin’s mad ambitions to reassemble the USSR.

      Why Clinton lost (besides her being an AWFUL candidate):

      1. They repeated her Husband’s ‘the left has nowhere else to go’ strategy chasing suburban Republicans rather than embracing the anti-wall street Sanders coalition. This meant no focus on policy from the conventions on and only focusing on disqualifying Trump. It’s the logic behind 2 & 3.

      2. Orders from Brooklyn for Democrats not to try and tie all Republicans to Trump insisting good republicans could vote for her because none of them have ever met a Republican that supported him. They assumed that most of the GOP is made up of the chamber of commerce, or at least that is who their target audience was.

      3. Choosing not to push policy messages and opting on messaging that highlighted things about Trump’s character and temperament that are irrelevant to the daily lives of most people.

      4. The near constant assertion that anyone who could even consider voting Trump was motivated at least in part by sexism, racism, or xenophobia.

      5. Her campaign spent more money on Omaha’s 1 EV than on WI and MI’s 26.

      6. Her campaign explicitly told volunteers not to bother with persuasion because
      Brooklyn just needed them to get data. Which lines right up with her and her cluster of sycophants really believing that basket of deplorable’s crap.

      You can’t be everything to everyone; working class America saw her coalition and assumed they would be the first to be thrown under the bus because that is what every politician from every party since Carter has done. The 1% is doing better than they were in the Gilded Age and it has come at the expense of the rest of us. The American Dream, long dead, is a fantasy rich people tell themselves to justify the misery they inflict on the poor.

      At least Trump pretends to care about average people, he has earned the right to try and prove it. Would you rather have Mitt Romney signing bills to privatize Social Security and Medicare, cheerleading TPP, and Jumping at the chance to test Russia’s current policy of saying they will use tactical nukes if provoked into a conflict with NATO because they have a military disadvantage? At least he wouldn’t say anything about grabbing women or any other political faux pas. You need to stop listening to this garbage that Trump is some existential threat because…… identity politics? Clearly it isn’t sufficient to motivate democrats. Oppose him any time he emboldens racism or pursues bad policy. Stop throwing a temper tantrum because the democrats refused to listen to their base and insisted on running someone horrible with an inept campaign.

      1. Chief Bromden

        “We have been at war for more than half my life…”

        Are you over 200 years old? What is your secret?

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Lots to like in this post, “American Dream is a fantasy rich people tell themselves…”
        I would mention that in the interview with John Pilger, Assange mentions they have released more than 800,000 documents on Russia, most of them negative, some currently being used in the courts for redress.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        The simple reason is Bill was elected in 1992. Hillary rad ads detailing pre-1992 efforts. The Clintons simply have no business being part of the American political life anymore after 25 years since they hit the national stage. This is simply too long a time for a celebrity couple that doesn’t produce wins or policy, and a party banking on millennials to carry the day put up an old person who demanded that she be acknowledged as their Spanish grandmother. She’s had 25 years to demonstrate fitness. She never did and then told people they had to vote for her. 25 years, I cannot stress this enough, is a long time. The Clinton have been the source of speculation and scandal for longer than the time between Washington Inauguration and the Era of Good Feelings or the time between Washington death and the Declaration of Independence.

        Let’s not forget, the empty suit in the White House already beat her. Clinton Inc’s time was up.

    3. tgs

      But calling those appeals a “coup” is Orwellian

      The appeals are not a coup. But what caused the appeals? In many cases, unsubstantiated leaks from the intelligence agencies particularly the CIA. Those leaks, IMOP, were intended to aggravate the negative reaction to the outcome – Trump is not only a racist, homophobic, sexist enemy of all that’s good; he is also a Kremlin stooge who won because the arch Demon Putin rigged our precious democracy.

      I made it through Obama’s last presser, and he sold the idea that the Russian’s hacked and Putin knew without providing a shred of evidence. He said:

      Who are you going to believe, seventeen US intelligence agencies or the Russians.


      Not much goes on in Russia without the knowledge of Putin.

      Intelligence agencies trying to subvert an election, flawed as it was, is certainly at least coup-ish

    4. shargash

      The reason people are referring to it as a coup is that it is the CIA that is attempting to manipulate public opinion to try to get the electors to change their votes and install the CIA’s favored candidate. This is basically the CIA’s “color revolution” playbook. In fact, I would say we are witnessing, not a coup, but a color revolution (purple?).

    5. fosforos

      What stinks of coup is not advocacy but the effort to give secret “intelligence briefings” to electors to “persuade” them not to vote for Putin’s Puppet.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Nice one. After his recent wobbles I hope Taibbi gets back on the right track, this is a good start.

  23. Steve H.

    CNN-Obama throw Hillary under bus:

    Obama says Democrats lost by not showing up

    : Obama campaigned exhaustively for Clinton in states like North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, travel that officials said was dictated by Clinton headquarters and not the White House. In the final stretch, Obama argued for making a stop in Iowa, a state where he campaigned actively during his own bids for office. But Clinton’s team nixed the idea, dispatching him instead to battlegrounds they felt were more in play.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The messengers not the message are the problem. The CGI was always a constant reminder of graft. Hillary could have quoted Lenin and still would be parodied as Scrooge McDuck.

  24. Katharine

    Regarding the mental health article, I notice two points of interest in the graph. First, there was a sharp rise in the number receiving disability payments for mental disorders in the early to mid nineties. Then, there was a sharp drop in this decade. Can those be related to specific external causes? With respect to the first, I note that the first ad for a prescription drug aired in 1983, Prozac was approved in the late eighties, and ADHD was becoming a popular diagnosis in the same period; economic interests may have fostered an increase in diagnosis, though why it would have come so sharply precisely when it did is not clear. With respect to the second, I suspect a lot of people had worse insurance and lower income after the crash and decided going to the doctor for a drug was not going to be possible. I could of course be wrong on both counts, and there may never be data that would allow a test of these hypotheses, but the pattern is suggestive. More investigation particularly considering the frequency of ads for different types of medications might turn up something on the former, and there may be public health studies related to the latter.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Read up on what’s happening to kids under “education reform.” Which, it should be noted, officially launched in the mid-80s, which would put it right in time to trigger that sharp rise a decade later.

      In my engagement with the anti-reform movement, I’ve read story after story posted by heartbroken parents who saw their eager kindergartener turned into an anxiety-ridden child who hates school and reading and anything to do with education. Most recently, there was one from a woman whose special-needs son found the atmosphere he needed in a private school only to have his academic performance plummet because the test-broken public school he’d attended never taught him how to learn.

      Education reform, which has now had one of its top generals appointed to be Secretary of Education, is undermining the ability of the US public to think, which is one of the reasons, I suggest, they are so susceptible to the sound-bite propaganda perpetrated by the corporate media.

  25. Eva, bitte, one last kiss before the Red Army gets here

    Boyarski’s very competent inquiry unfortunately got thrown off the scent by Propornot’s cunning diversion: their Russophobic loyalty oath. What are they really trying to do? What’s the common thread linking the subversives cited by Propornot’s anonymous chickenshit?

    Swanson of ‘War is a Crime’ fame. Ritter, who denounced illegal US war propaganda supporting US aggression in Iraq. A supporter of Assange, who published probative evidence of US war crimes in Afghanistan.

    CIA impunity is under threat. Not domestically – the homeland is safely under CIA’s iron heel – but from concerted international pressure. CIA got the bit in their teeth with COG and wound up implicated in the crime against humanity of systematic and widespread torture, and in the crime of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and now Syria. The CIA regime is hostis humani generis. Without a world war their twilight years are grim. No grand tour for them. They’re going to be sporting immaculate white vinyl tennis shoes at the Klaus Barbie Active Senior Community on No Man’s Island.

    This election has been CIA’s Flucht nach vorne. Hillary was going to give them their war and knock over the game board, because the endgame is final codification of the Nuremberg Principles as international criminal law, and restitution through state responsibility doctrine.

    CIA’s Achilles’ heel is its criminal raison d’etre. Trump has to keep them on the defensive or else they will tie him in knots, Carter him or JFK him. For Trump as well as CIA, the best defense is a good offense. So go on the attack: an address to the UNGA endorsing the Rome Statute and a state responsibility convention. Trump’s success, and maybe his life, depends on doing what JFK hoped to do: splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      There are a lot of other ideas in this comment besides the reference at the end – readers are asked not to take it as a springboard for turning the thread into a debate about the JFK assassination.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In the early 90’s, the popular conspiracy theory was that Bill Clinton was a CIA asset.

      I haven’t seen one about Trump being one, yet.

      1. Jim

        In light of recent “revelations” of at least a few CIA agents regarding why Hillary lost the elections it might be worthwhile to check out a book by Roger Morris “Partners in Power: The Clintons and their America (1996).

        On pages 102-105 are some fascinating statements by unnamed CIA agents about the origins of the possible relationship/collusion of Bill Clinton with the CIA back in the late 1960s when Clinton was a Rhodes scholar at Cambridge. These statements are only vaguely sourced in the book.

        pg. 102 “Bill Clinton’s ties to the intelligence community go back all the way to Oxford and come from there,” say a former government official who claims to have seen files long since destroyed.”

        pg. 103 “One former agency official would claim that the future president was a full-fledged asset,” that he was regularly “debriefed: and thus that he informed on his American friends in the peace movement in Britain.”

        pg. 104 “Still another CIA source contended that part of Clinton’s arrangement as an informer had been further insurance against the draft. “He knew he was safe, you see, even if he got a lottery number not high enough and even if the ROTC thing fell through for some reason, “the source said, “because the Company could get a deferment if it had to, and it was done all the time.”

        Also pg. 104 “Several CIA sources would agree nearly a quarter century after the events that there had indeed been several informants among the Americans gathered at British Universities as the end of the 1960s, young men who went on to prominence, if not the Oval Office. “Let’s just say that some high today in the USG(US government) began their official careers as snitches against the antiwar movement,” said one former official who doubted Clinton’s own involvement. “Close to Bill Clinton were informants with a more formal relationship than occasional sources,” said another ex-case officer, “I can’t and won’t ever tell you names but you’d sure recognize them if I did.”

  26. polecat

    Was checking out the Z site just now …. apparently, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey was shot dead today at an opening of an art exhibit in Ankara …… Oh Boy!

    The tin foil in me want’s to point to the Conniving Instigators Agency as the culprit … but who knows ?

    1. David

      Mainstream sites are reporting that the killer was a police officer (on or off duty is not clear) who shouted Islamist slogans during the shooting. Obama and Hollande (so far) have condemned the shooting, as they had to politically, but it provides an awkward dilemma for western anti-Russian lobby, which will now have to align itself overtly with Islamist groups if it is not to implode under its on contradictions.

    2. fosforos

      That the assassin was gunned down after the fact instead of being held for questioning is the red alert. Reminiscent of how Stalin dealt with Kirov and FDR with Long. Aspects of history not unknown to the current tsar.

      1. Massinissa

        Ive read a biography of Long before, but I didn’t realize until you pointed it out that Long’s assassin was shot dead. In fact at first I thought you were wrong but then I looked it up and you were right. Thanks mate! For some reason I thought the shooter was arrested.

  27. Ernie

    My friend David Bright casts a Maine electoral vote for Bernie Sanders!

    Statement by Democratic Maine Elector David Bright, Dec. 19, 2016:

    “If my vote today could have helped Secretary Clinton win the presidency, I would have voted for her. But as the Electoral College meets all across this nation on this day, I see no likelihood of 38 Republican electors defecting from their party and casting their ballots for Secretary Clinton.

    “So Hillary Clinton will not become President, and there is nothing I can do about that. Knowing this, I was left to find a positive statement I could make with my vote.

    “I am not a Clinton elector, I am a Democratic elector. I do not represent Democrats all over the country, I represent the Democrats in Maine.

    “I cast my vote for Bernie Sanders not out of spite, or malice, or anger, or as an act of civil disobedience. I mean no disrespect to our nominee. I cast my vote to represent thousands of Democratic Maine voters – many less than a third my age – who came into Maine politics for the first time this year because of Bernie Sanders. They organized, telephoned and sent in their 27 dollars. Many stood in line for hours in order to navigate our byzantine system of caucuses and convention this Spring so they could be among the two thirds of Maine Democrats who cast a vote for Sanders.

    “Most importantly, they did this to vote FOR someone they believed in, not to vote against someone they feared.

    “Sadly, when the primary season was over, and their candidate was not successful, many of them lost hope, as well as interest. Many felt the Democratic Party had not listened to them, did not care about them, and did not respect them. Their sense of loss in July became our Party’s loss in November.

    “Democracy is hard, and messy, and complicated, and those of us who have been at this game for a long time have learned to take the defeats when they come. But those lessons don’t come easily for new voters.

    “So I cast my Electoral College vote for Bernie Sanders today to let those new voters who were inspired by him know that some of us did hear them, did listen to them, do respect them and understand their disappointment. I want them to know that not only can they come back to the process, but that they will be welcomed back; that there is room in the Democratic Party for their values.

    “To go forward, the Democratic Party needs these young voters.

    “More importantly, America needs these young voters.

    “I can’t do anything to change the results of the election this year. But perhaps by encouraging these idealistic voters to stick around, I can change the results of elections to come.”

    1. Pat


      Not that it is likely I really do hope that they hadn’t secretly turned those electors and his vote costs Hillary the throne again.

      Seriously I do hope some of the people he is talking to get his message.

  28. Carolinian

    Excellent Stoller/Washinton’s Blog. The problem we have is not too much news, fake or otherwise, but rather not nearly enough. The last thing any person who claims to be a liberal should do is advocate censorship or restrictions on what can be thought or said,. The ACLU once made this point by defending the right of the KKK to have a parade in Skokie, Illinois. You wonder whether they would do that now.

    So enough with the media monopolists who can barely be bothered to do their jobs in any case. There once was a time–Vietnam, Central America–when reporters in the field would push back against the imperial fantasies held by editors back at headquarters. Now even major media companies seem to have little foreign staff and depend on dubious Youtube and other sources which are then treated as factual. News has become propaganda and this, as Stoller says, is made easier by having less of it delivered by fewer people. TINA didn’t work for Hillary, and it shouldn’t work for Big Media either.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The whole “fake news” episode reminds me of the Soviet Union, trying to prevent VCR episodes of Dallas being smuggled into the country. Trying to stop the tide with a broom….facts have a funny way of slipping through no matter how you try to control them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Agreed, though, we should note that Dallas was not news, but a TV show (and we can thus talk about whether to watch or not) and, to be frank, I regret any time (not much, as school was too demanding at the time) I spent watching the show

      2. witters

        Unfortunately, as my Russian friend tells me, all of what they took to be facts (slipping through) turned out to be BS. But perhaps that is what you meant to imply by connecting Dallas and facts.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It was almost a year ago that a Russian jet was shot down (also in the month of December), close to Turkey.

  29. rd

    Re: Oxycontin taking over the world

    Oxycontin exporting narcotics around the world may do more to keep jobs at home than any trade deal. As it delivers the same misery in other countries it achieved in the US, many foreign workers won’t be quite as attractive to US companies looking to offshore jobs.

    Once they hook the Chinese on it, then the Taliban will have obtained a massive new market for their heroin that should be able to fund their operations in Afghanistan for decades.

    1. carycat

      It worked for the British East India Company. I wonder if we will need to send in the marines to collect for the pharmas because ISDS.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Blame it on that barbaric metal, silver, for when they ran short, after spending way too much on Chinese porcelain/tea/silk imports, they were ‘forced’ to earn some back by growing and selling to China opium.

  30. BenX

    Because I can’t find it in non-Twitter boxes, here’s Eric Garland’s Twitter Tirade:

    I’m now hearing this meme that says Obama, Clinton, et al. are doing nothing, just gave up.

    Guys. It’s time for some game theory.

    The Russians enter the Game with a broad objective, flexible tactics, and several acceptable outcomes.

    This subversion can take many forms: driving wedges between US-Commonwealth-Euro intel cooperation, break up NATO, create chaos.

    This game has been developing for many years, is asymmetrical, and much cheaper than building a decent aircraft carrier.

    Plus, the Russians f**king rule at covert shit. Always have. Ask a cold warrior. Mucho respect for our adversaries. They do clever work!

    Post-communism, they’re reduced to Drunk Uncle status in the global balance of power. Mouthy, smart, degraded, much reduced in stature.

    Russians as *people* are civilized, artistic, enamored of brilliance and tragedy, and generally proud. And should be. They do not like this.

    From this position launches an initiative from an old hand at the KGB, now solidified in influence: Subvert for the throat. Go big. Go hard.

    While the West is frivolous and lazy and “Post-History,” the clever take advantage. And here begins our present story.

    Let’s skip ahead to “Wikileaks.” BRILLIANT. Ingratiate the Left into this anti-establishment distrust of Western intel.

    George W Bush and Dick Cheney being slovenly, reckless idiots, the moral authority of Iraq and US intel is nil. In step “journalists.”

    Stealing hard drives from US intel and dumping them to foreign agents? That’s *snicker* “journalism!” FREE SPEECH! ROFLMAO.

    Oh, and such grand characters, so well run: Manning, Greenwald. So righteous, yet fragile! And feisty! Try a Twitter war with Glenn!

    OH YOU PHILISTINE, YOU JUST HATE JOURNALISM! *sigh* *swigs something strong* And Moscow must have been doubling over.

    THEN, OMG, that worked so well that the pièce de résistance was next: SNOWDEN!!! BOOYAH! THE BIG GAME! NSA! PRISM! SPASM!

    (incidentally, the NSA was about the only agency the Russians took seriously) But then this EARNEST young man. He tells THE TROOTH!


    And still hungover from the rotten venality of the Iraq War and Bush’s perversion of the IC as reliable, Wikileaks journalisms the NSA!

    DON’T YOU CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE. HARD DRIVES FROM THE NSA IZ JOURNALISM! Even when you take the files to Brazil! Honest! Ask Glenn!

    And then, automagically, our man Ed ends up…what’s this now? In Russia? Well, they are such welcoming folks! How…nice!

    Langley and Fort Meade run out of bourbon in about three hours, and every intel guy in Russia is drunk, dancing on the desks, and LAFFING.

    AND THE LEFT! HOLY F**KING ADORABLE BATMAN! Honi soit qui mal y pense! How dare you suggest untoward Russian involvement! Journamalisms!!!!

    US intel snorts all of the Robotussin in the DC/MD/VA area. Putin calls Snowden “A weird guy.” LOLZ.

    Moving on to the current chapter.

    MEANWHILE, AT THE FOX NATION FORUMS: The other part of this impressive op is percolating – the buttress of the Alt-Right.

    ONCE UPON A TIME, Dan Rather chased Nixon around a room asking him questions VERY HARSHLY and the notion of the Evil Media Elite was born.

    See, because Nixon got impeached, that meant the media was in on it! WaPo! NYT! Traitors! We look bad! And the media hate begins.

    Never mind that to know something in Topeka, somebody’s gotta send you a newspaper or a radio signal or whatevs: The Media Is Lying.

    Now, it’s true, high level journalists and editors don’t always see the world like Johnny Lunchpail in Missouri. True facts. But. Trouble.

    Republicans decide to create a whole new layer of think tanks and media outlets in the 1980s dedicated to The Other Side.

    The think tanks have a POV, but some are quite good, Cato in particular. Heritage came up with what’s now Obamacare. AEI…ehhh. 2 outta 3.

    But then the media play comes in. The cranky insane tent pastors on AM radio get…a makeover. They become Legitimate. Embraced.

    Magnates start investing in outlets. Brand new pundits get huge audiences yelling about The Way Things Ought to Be (for White People).

    And it’s more successful than free chicken and beer. The money flows, the ratings swell. An Australian starts a TV network in the US.

    What develops is an attractive, well-produced alternate universe. You no longer need an alternate take. You have alternate facts.

    Al Gore mutters and bores his way out of a presidency in a race against a guy who spoke English like he learned it from Rosetta Stone.

    And now, the stage is set for a metastasis of batshit nuttery, jingoism, and irrational autocratic fervor. A party becomes a cult.

    September 11, 2001 occurs. A buncha guys are in DC who couldn’t wait to go to Iraq. And the right wing media is shiny and tuned-up.

    We go kick a bunch of barbarian ass in Afghanistan, as well we should have. They were beating women and destroying Buddhas. F**k ’em.

    But then, The Axis of Evil Speech. And all the analysts in DC I know collectively go, “Oh, fuuuuu…they’re not serious, are they?”

    Bill Clinton spent most of his years pounding the living snot out of Hussein. Dude built anything funny lookin’, in came the rockets.

    There was one concerning nation-state for most, and – hint – it’s in Asia. The other threat was non-state actors. *ahem* Which played out.

    And now – *headdesk* – they’re going to Iraq. With bullshit intel.

    Goddamn it. GODDAMN IT. This is going to suck, said smart people.

    And there’s the entire right-wing think tank and media machine blaring, careening, gloating. From the gov’t itself, and from every outlet.


    And goddamn, did those media outlets sell a lot of ads for trucks, pain killers, pharmaceuticals and financial services. $$$$$$

    Many earnest patriots also pointed out, hey, um, there apparently are no weapons that could have blown up Cleveland, so…

    But now, this whole thing has morphed into tribalism. YES THEY DID TOO FIND WEAPONS OF MASS DEPRESSION AND YOU SUCK BUSH ROCKS PUSSY

    Ann Coulter comes on TV to talk over B-roll of rusty munitions WE SOLD HUSSEIN and said, well look, there they are. Total. Propaganda.

    America looks like shit. Our intel services take a helluva beating. Iraq’s invasion – which was basically unplanned – results in chaos.

    Katrina. Bush. Looking out the window. Confused.

    Hey, but in intel news, the National Geospatial-Intel Agency helps critically.

    2008. The housing Ponzi we used to get out of the DotComBust-9/11-era recession has now gone pear-shaped. Utterly nuclear.

    America’s banks, the one thing other than movies and video games we do reliably, all shit the bed simultaneously.

    We then elect a cappuccino-colored president whose middle name is Hussein.

    The Right goes completely over the f**king cliff into insane.


    This political movement happens when the only thing Obama has really said with conviction is “Fired up! Ready to go!” In late November 2008.

    But ON GEORGE WASHINGTON’S GRAVE THIS HAS GONE TOO FAR!!! And the entire right-wing media gets its next several years of revenue LOCKED.

    Now, we’ve got a really, reaaaally fertile field in which former KGB agents can make a long play.

    And Moscow gets to work.

    America’s at this weird nihilistic place, which is one thing for France and Russia, but NOT for earnest midwesterners who are agape.

    Now the American Left has got some juice back again. But the Right is just apoplectic from pure suffering.

    Both are ripe for subversion.

    The Left is out of love with American business and military-industrial, the Right foams at the mouth against legitimate government.

    And the guys who have been twisting minds from Vladivostok to Havana and back get to work building an “alt” media structure.

    We’ve already covered the genius of that who Wikileaks op on the Left. SCORE!

    Now for the perversion of the formerly nationalist Right.


    It’s not hard to convince Southerners this is insane.

    But put a little elbow grease in on some internet forums, and pretty soon you can have Northern John Adams-type conservatives, too.

    A whole generation of disaffect Rush Limbaugh fans (WE LISTENED AND DITTOED SO HARD WHY IS THERE A BLACK DUDE THERE?) is ripe for picking.

    In addition to alt-finance sites and “Russia Today” a new TV network, they start infiltrating “social media.”

    Disclosure: Because I’m mouthy all the time like this, RT had me on as a guest. They prop up US “subversives.” And they don’t edit you!

    Fun fact: Al Jazeera and RT just let me talk. US media almost always wants some hand in your final product before booking you. Ironic, no?

    But from about 2009 to the 2016 election, a madness is being brewed and slowly poured down the throats of increasingly hysterical Americans.

    When you imbibe from this potion, everything is awful and everyone official is lying to you.

    Only other members of the cult are with you!

    US media, which is complicit in many of our problems, is portrayed for the extremists as conspiratorial liars. All the time.

    Formerly sane members of US society start sounding like my schizophrenic grandfather, who said Government was keeping him from His Mission.

    Only the Gubmint knew the Archangel Gabriel was sending him to find the next Jesus.

    So, cut it out, CIA! Stop it, Giant Conspiracy!

    And then people you knew from Functional Daily Life started talking that way. People with car dealerships. Dentists. Regular folk.

    They started with CONSPIRACY, especially after 2012, because DAMMIT NO THERE SHOULDN’T BE A BLACK DUDE TWO TERMS NOOOO! NO NO NO NO NO NO


    A CABAL CALLED The Pentaveret: The Queen. The Pope. The Gettys. The Rothschilds. AND COLONEL SANDERS, BEFORE HE WENT TITS UP!

    If you haven’t unfollowed by now, 1. You’re nuts and 2. Thank you for indulging my So I Married an Axe Murderer reference.

    MOVING ON. The conspiratorial fever at about 108, we begin the 2016 election – AGAINST EVERYTHING HOLY – in 2015.

    The Republicans debate over 712 times, discussing topics such as who hated Obamacare more, and who had a large penis.

    Jesus, that happened.

    The Democrats all debate who’s going to get out of Hillary’s way first, except for VERMONT’S OWN BERNIE SANDERS, who…gets popular?

    I’m from Vermont and have known Bernie forever, so I’m very surprised, but everyone kinda likes it.

    Hillary wins anyhow.

    And now, the target for electoral mischief is enormous. Hillary is the most known quantity in America, with huge backstory.

    Creating a conspiracy narrative around the Clintons is like creating a “southern” narrative around NASCAR and grits.

    Now – with Trump as the non-conformist, not-like-all-the-other-rotten-conspiratorial-assholes paragon, the Russians go into overdrive.

    The Russians didn’t create Trump – only New York City and American gullibility could have done that.

    But they’ve got a SWEETHEART outcome.

    Trump – a moron – is probably unlikely to take the whole enchilada, but that’s perfect. If he gets close enough, he can cry UNFAIR! forever.

    Amazing scenario for Russia – instead of RT, they get an institutional nihilist chowderhead with American credentials. They butter him up.

    Hell, to hear many tell of it, the have kompromat on him. But anyhow, they invest in his stuff. He was there in 2013. They have a lever.

    IF on the off chance, Trump actually (and who could guess this) wins, then…wow, they’ve got quite an opening.

    Either way, on the run-up to Nov 2016, Russian involvement was as subtle as a fart in a spacesuit.

    Scroll down my TL for details.

    The U.S. IC [intel community] had its hair on fire. This situation was incredibly dangerous. A paranoid U.S. faction backing a rogue with ties to Russia.

    OK, Jesus, at LONG LAST, back to my initial premise. Why didn’t Obama and Clinton “do something?”


    You come out and have the CIA enter the goddamn race for Clinton? True or not, we look like some weird cryptofascist state.

    Or, you let the Russkis laugh and taunt and infiltrate Facebook with majillions of propaganda tales for idiots? Just let them run around?

    Do you come out the day after this totally weird-smelling abomination of an election with all its technical difficulties?

    Do you tell America the day after the election that Russia spearfished all of our think tanks in brazen fashion?

    Hillary, for her part, gives a brief and all-too-calm speech and goes hiking.

    Probably the best move on the board.

    Obama WELCOMES! Mr. Trump in an intense, welcoming welcome. To the White House. Mr. Big Winner Guy! Welcome! Fellow American!

    Trump looks like he swallowed a goldfish and stares at the floor a bit too long.

    As if maybe a joke has gone too far.

    In the next month, a small band of propagandists run in a circle and try to look like they’re forming a government.

    It’s ungainly.

    And now, it’s December 11th. Trump says he don’t need no stinkin’ intel agencies.

    Russia (BWA HAHAHAHAAAA) blames Ukraine! LOLOLOLOLZZZ

    A lot of Republicans stare into the middle distance, except for McCain and Graham who are NOT HAVING THIS SHIT. (I salute you, gentlemen.)

    And here we are. Americans. Hopefully soon united. This isn’t a partisan issue. Obama isn’t late to the party. People are doing their jobs.

    If you think any of this is easy, you’re ignorant and delusional.

    Tonight, though, I write to you with great hope.

    This may be America’s finest hour, as we act together with unshakable resolve to deal with enemies foreign and domestic.

    We have done so in the past and come out a stronger, more just, more pluralistic nation.

    We will do so now.

    And for me? Or die trying.

    America is the steward of a genius system entrusted to flawed stewards whose descendants seem to act on the right side of history.

    This system is not rotten, not beyond repair, not exiled from the future.

    We have been infiltrated by agents who would drive us mad.

    This is a nation built on civilization, humanity, and reason, rejecting the febrile superstitions of the past.

    It must stand. And will.

    We are at present in a place of danger where some of our fellow citizens have forgotten our most cherished values.

    We’ve been here before.

    America, reluctantly but dutifully, recognizes its internal contradictions and failings.

    Slavery. Racism. Internment. Classism.

    The genius documents that gave rise to noble American sentiments were themselves authored by those who failed them. (h/t @ Mr. Jefferson)

    We spilled the blood of our brothers to resolve the contradictions of slavery and then abandoned the project while killing Indians.

    Americans proclaimed the equality of all men while treating women as chattel and all non-whites as lesser. We are indeed hypocrites.

    But to be American is to accept that unflinchingly and to soldier forth for future generations, and DO BETTER, GODDAMN IT.

    There are those who would mire us in worldly cynicism, to anchor us in a world where our institutions betray forever, where values perish.

    And to be American is to face that intellectual, moral, and spiritual assault with the unshakeable devotion to something more lofty.

    And when that loftiness fails, as it so often does, to be American is to seize it again and again, knowing that our Creator desire Progress.

    The Progress demanded by our Creator can be achieved by immigrants and natives, skeptics and believers, the elite and the humble alike.

    That is America. That is the promise that Americans oft ignore and which more cynical nations would defile for their own gain.

    That America will last long after I have died, long after new people have picked the torch.

    Long after we betray it again, as we will.

    But America will go on, even if by another name, unless all who have heard her name are extinguished.

    This is just the locus of promise.

    America came from the olive groves of Italy and the shipyard of Plymouth and the islands of the Philippines. Indivisible.

    America came from the Torah and Voltaire’s Candide and Adam Smith and zen koans and Greek mathematics and Rumi’s poetry.

    America is all these things, and should yet another absolutist demagogue, foreign or domestic seize her, it will be far from the end.

    Now is a time for patriots.

    It’s also Sunday afternoon. I’m gonna get a beer and watch football.

    God Bless America, and all nations.

  31. flora

    re; The Rise of the Alt-Center: What the hell is wrong with America’s establishment liberals?

    ‘Garland is not a political expert. He describes himself instead as a “futurist, strategist, author, bassist.” His personal site carries the tag line “Track the trends. Explore the scenarios. Make the strategy. Rule the world” ‘

    That’s a perfect description, imo, of everything wrong with the current (30 years) elite lib estab. futurist… track trends and rule No connection to the here and now, to the analog world real people live in in real time. No; create a futuristic vision for yourself and your fellows (note the word ‘futuristic’ and not ‘better’) that depends on artificial game theory and perception management instead of producing concrete material benefits for most of your voters. Tens of thousands of jobs lost on the way to that futuristic future? Millions of people worse off on the way to that futuristic future? Not a problem. Of course the Dem estab is in love with the futuristic promises of silicon valley and true AI (which is just around the corner). Of course the Dem candidate depended on a computer model in the campaign, instead of listening to real campaign people in places like Wisconsin and Michigan. In their futuristic model regular people don’t seem to count for much.

    1. hunkerdown

      A futurist enterprise, then, appears to entail 1) the ex nihilo creation of a system in which agents interact and 2) the attempted marketing of the particular basket of beliefs and interests that must prevail in order for that system to work (unsaid: to the benefit of those who created it).

      In other contexts, this procedure is called “play-pretend”; in still others, it’s called “progress”, or alternately, “innovation of the relations of production”. As I understand it, the USA itself was an example of the same sort of dynamic. So, maybe the last thirty years is the perfection, not the perversion, of 240+ years of “Enlightenment”, proving the ideology no better behaved in hegemony than the committees of insecure aspirational betas who assembled the whole thing.

      “We are all Reticulans now” -Fake John Podesta

  32. George Phillies

    On failing to sort the goats from the sheep in your photo (with a tip of the hat to several friends at (SF blog), as these were not mine:
    Season’s Bleatings!
    Maaaarry Christmas
    Fleece Navidad

  33. gepay

    Atmospheric rivers fueled by climate change could decimate wild oysters in San Francisco Bay
    Talk about headlines with an ulterior motive. How many people notice the word “could”? In the article, “By November 2013, the oysters at China Camp appeared to have rebounded to their pre-deluge numbers.” The pre-deluge was in 2011. This was a natural phenomenon. The headline could easily have been – Oysters decimated by atmospheric rivers have rebounded. The article does note a real case of man induced decimation of the environment – over fishing and environment degradation. – These are real things that we can and should be doing something about – Not worrying about what computer simulations by biased operators say might happen in the future “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Yogi Berra.

  34. Oregoncharles

    A charming antidote. Personally, I’m afraid to keep goats because they eat fruit trees (as well as almost everything else), but they’re charming animals.

    I recently observed that they can be trained in exactly the manner of dogs. We were tabling at the Saturday Market, and the table next to us had a teenage girl training their goat in front of the table – very effective at attracting attention. As I approached, my first thought was “that’s an odd looking dog;” then “Oh, that dog has horns!.”

    Anyway, the technique used was exactly the same as dogs, but with different treats. Goats are smarter than they look.

    1. carycat

      Goats can also be a low carbon emissions alternative to gas powered lawn mowers. My cat’s birth family has a pet goat tethered to a stake in their lawn which gets moved to a different spot frequently before it gets over grazed. One of the perks of being rich enough to own sufficient (in a very high rent district) property to be zoned as a farm.

  35. GrueBleen

    Yes, Jay Leonhart was great, especially Salamander Pie, but how about these lyrics from the 1960s:

    If you visit American city,
    You will find it very pretty.
    Just two things of which you must beware:
    Don’t drink the water and don’t breathe the air!

    Pollution, pollution!
    They got smog and sewage and mud.
    Turn on your tap
    And get hot and cold running crud!

    See the halibuts and the sturgeons
    Being wiped out by detergeons.
    Fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly,
    But they don’t last long if they try.

    Pollution, pollution!
    You can use the latest toothpaste,
    And then rinse your mouth
    With industrial waste.

    Just go out for a breath of air
    And you’ll be ready for Medicare.
    The city streets are really quite a thrill –
    If the hoods don’t get you, the monoxide will.

    Pollution, pollution!
    Wear a gas mask and a veil.
    Then you can breathe,
    Long as you don’t inhale!

    Lots of things there that you can drink,
    But stay away from the kitchen sink!
    The breakfast garbage that you throw into the Bay
    They drink at lunch in San Jose.*

    So go to the city,
    See the crazy people there.
    Like lambs to the slaughter,
    They’re drinking the water
    And breathing [cough] the air!

      1. GrueBleen

        Actually a little before that, he wrote (but didn’t perform) it for the American version of the tv series ‘That Was The Week That Was’ of 1964-65 (which incidentally featured David Frost as had the British original version).

        But apparently the network changed (censored) some of his lyrics and his songs were performed by a ‘cover artist’, hence he recorded the album ‘That Was The Year That Was’ so he could perform his original lyrics uncensored.

  36. ekstase

    From the Ghost Ship article:
    “And finally, it may be time for many people to reluctantly find a new city in another state to colonize. The Bay Area is toast. It really has become your money or your life.”

    I get it, but it’s not that easy. For one thing, you need a nexus of interesting, varied ideas and influences. There’s a reason art centers are often port cities. There’s an unending stream of varied cultural influences and different ideas. And today’s artists have vivid, living recollections of watching bastions like The Village be destroyed. They know what will happen if they build up a creative community and it works: it will be stolen from them. Maybe they’re not going to play this game any more.

  37. uncle tungsten

    On East Aleppo I see the Syrian FM has outed the embedded ISIS trainers and is not about to let them walk away. Here is a list of their names just offered to the UN:
    The full list of those who were mentioned by Al-Ja’afari is as follows:

    Murtaz Oglacan Oglu, a Turkish national;
    David Scott Winner, an American national;
    David Schlomo Aram, an Israeli national;
    Muhammad Sheikh Al-Islam Al-Tamimi, a Qatari national;
    Muhammad Ahmad Al-Sabyan, Abd Al-Monaem Fahd Al-Hrej, Ahmad bin Nawfal Al-Drej, Muhammad Hassan Al-Subay’i, Qassem Saad Al-Shummari, Ayman Qassem Al-Tha’libi – all Saudi nationals;
    Amajd Qassem At-Tyrawi, a Jordanian national;
    Muhammad Al-Sharifi Al-Idrissi, a Moroccan national.

    for story.

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