Links 12/27/16

Alexandrov Ensemble – Last Live Concert in Bolshoi 2016 YouTube. Chuck L: “This is the last concert performed by the Alexandrov Ensemble, many of whose members were killed just before Christmas when their plane crashed shortly after take-off on a planned trip to Syria. h/t Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis.” Moi: I’m visiting my mother, and played the first few minutes for her. She’d seen the ensemble perform 20 years ago. I closed the video to work and a few minutes later she asked me to play it in its entirety. So I do hope you find time to listen.

Australian fur seal weighing 200kg wanders down Tasmanian street, squashes car ABC (Australia; Bob H)

Cheetahs heading towards extinction as population crashes BBC :-(

People Are Posting Pics Of Their Animals Before & After Being Called A Good Boy Bored Panda (furzy). My cats, contra proper members of the Cat Union, have all liked being called Good Boy. But they are Abyssinians, so they are half way to being dogs.

Save the Snowflakes Media Research Center (Li)

Dispatches From the Edge Awards: When Reading the News is a Daily Adventure Counterpunch (Edward)

Christmas service accidentally prints words to Tupac’s ‘Hail Mary’ instead of carol Independent (Chuck L). Lambert had a Twitter report on this event yesterday.

Top 16 Earth images of 2016 EarthSky (furzy)

Why You Should Eat More Sugar Mother Jones. To help your dentist make ends meet?


The Coming War on China John Pilger (margarita)

Money-Laundering Risk Posed by Law Firms’ Accounts Wall Street Journal

Monte dei Paschi shortfall hits €8bn, says ECB Financial Times

The Archbishop of Cyprus criticizes strongly the plans of President Anastasiades Defend Democracy (Joe H)

Corbyn hits back after Obama suggests Labour is ‘disintegrating’ Guardian

5 Ways the Soviet Union Could Have Won the Cold War (Or at Least Survived It) National Interest (resilc)


Israeli envoy accuses White House of orchestrating UN resolution Financial Times

Israel threatens to give Trump ‘evidence’ that Obama orchestrated UN resolution Guardian

Israel’s Netanyahu et al. Throw Trump-like Tantrums after UNSC Condemnation of Israeli Colonization Juan Cole (resilc)

Hell just froze over: the New York Times runs an article saying Zionism is racist Mondoweiss (JMT). Key quote from the underlying article:

As long as liberalism was secure back in America and the rejection of liberalism confined to the Israeli scene, this tension could be mitigated. But as it spills out into the open in the rapidly changing landscape of American politics, the double standard is becoming difficult to defend…

[T]he following years promise to present American Jewry with a decision that they have much preferred to avoid. Hold fast to their liberal tradition, as the only way to secure human, citizen and Jewish rights; or embrace the principles driving Zionism.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Deja vu for U.S. troops celebrating Christmas in Iraq again Reuters (EM). :-(

Trump Transition

Questions hang over Trump plan on infrastructure The Hill (furzy). Notice Trump is lowing his goals.

Trump Nominees’ Riches Complicate Approval Process Wall Street Journal

Five fights for Trump’s first 100 days The Hill (furzy)

Some Trump practices mimic what he rapped Clinton for Boston Globe (resilc)

Could Trump help unleash nuclear catastrophe with a single tweet? Washington Post (furzy)

Trump is Now America’s Arms Deal Negotiator Defense One (resilc)

Julian Assange gives guarded praise of Trump and blasts Clinton in interview Guardian

Democrats Plotting ‘Collision Course’ With Trump’s Tax Plan Bloomberg

The Trumptini Harper’s (resilc)

2016 Post Mortem

Obama says he could have “mobilized” Americans if he had run again CBS (Bill C). Help me. He “mobilized” massive losses for the Dems at all levels of government during his term in office.

Juan Williams: The dangerous erosion of facts The Hill. Gah. Low information citizens now being blamed on “fake news”. Have none of these reporters ever seen how people answer basic history and civics questions, like “Who gave the Gettysburg Address” or “When did World War I end”? Typically, more than half the people give the wrong answer….as happened here.

Mistakes should be admitted to, not used to mobilize and create a fight. Extra Newsfeed. Userfriendly: “A better explanation of what happened in Michigan with that Berners vs Labor thing by one of the Berners.​”

Noam Chomsky’s Bold Request Before President Obama Leaves Office (Video) Truthdig (furzy)

The 2016 Tax Vox Lump of Coal Award for the Year’s Worst Tax Ideas Tax Policy Center (resilc)

The sharp rise in non-Latin American migrants trying to cross into the U.S. from Mexico Los Angeles Times (resilc)

North Dakota pipeline battle far from over as protesters dig in Financial Times

States Will Lead on Climate Change in the Trump Era New York Times (furzy)

New McCarthyism

Under Cover of Christmas, Obama Establishes Controversial Anti-Propaganda Agency Common Dreams (furzy)

Bernie Sanders: Corporate Media is a Threat to Democracy Democracy Now (furzy)

For Fact-Checking Website Snopes, a Bigger Role Brings More Attacks New York Times (furzy). Fails to note that the latest batch of critical coverage was based on court filings. All doubts about the new designated censors are by definition bogus.

Berlin plans ‘center of defense against fake news’ ahead of elections – report RT (furzy)

As Obama Steps Aside, Banks See New Opportunity in Student-Lending Business Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

Map of World Billionaires by Country and Origin Barry Ritholtz (furzy)

Antidote du jour (bob):


And a bonus video (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Chief Bromden

    “Global Engagement Center”…. that’s an innocuous sounding euphemism for a real world Ministry of Truth- Obama’s Christmas gift to the State Department and its propaganda syndicate in the establishment media. Danger lurks for those practicing real journalism.

  2. Pat

    Corbyn was nicer than I would have been about it. I might have brought up that after 8 years of ignoring the grass roots of his party Obama had seen his coalition disappear and his party lose the House, the Senate and most state government legislative positions. That his highly endorsed successor lost to a reality star, and that the only excitement and growth his party had seen since Obama first ran was from the campaign of someone running on a platform of good jobs with good wages and benefits, Medicare for All, and a focus on working people and people who wanted to be working people – policies that by this very statement President Obama seems to reject as not possible. Rather than not possible it is in reality just inconvenient and messy and far less lucrative for people focused on campaign donations from the Financial Industry and the heads of large corporations AND keeping doors open for cushy post elective office careers.

      1. Steve C

        Yeah. But not the right people. At least not by Obama’s lights, or those of the Oxbridge educated U.K. press.

        Note also that Obama is in the camp of those who think Trump won because of deplorables, not the deplorable state of the economy. But then he would think that.

    1. UserFriendly

      I am starting to think Obama might have the same gaggle of sycophants problem Clinton does. I think he honestly believes that people think he handled the recession well. It’s partially because we don’t have adversarial journalism anymore. Every journalist is a dem party hack who never wants to make the big guy look bad. Glenn Greenwald was just talking about this.

      Just thinking about how much Obama has screwed over every last person on this planet by not having the balls to obliterate Wall Street while it was down makes my blood boil. He is directly responsible for Neoliberalism living on at least another 12 years and causing unimaginable death and suffering. Not to mention the irreparable damage to the climate from the continuation of failed ideas and the suffering that will be creating for the foreseeable future.

      But at least he kept his party from melting down unlike that batty Corbyn with his ridiculous caring about people. Oh, Wait….

      1. Procopius

        I don’t think so. For one thing we don’t have any media now that see honesty as a valuable selling point. You either have Fox News, which happily lies openly, or you have the others which lie when it suits them. We don’t have adversarial journalism because every platform is dishonest. If you aren’t praising Obama you have to call him a Kenyan anti-colonialist. If you aren’t gushing about how wonderful it is that we’re going to have a woman president (I didn’t think it was that big a deal) then you have to claim that Hillary had 30,000 classified documents on her server (she didn’t) and that the server was against the law (it wasn’t).

        1. UserFriendly

          Yeah, and since outlets like Fox frequently traffic in over the top unfounded BS it makes it that much easier to ignore them when/if they ever do stumble across something. Having highly partisan news is not the same thing as having adversarial journalism. It doesn’t count as adversarial if your base of supporters will assume it’s BS out right.

          Obama being the very image of responsible centrism, is literally everything the press core thinks a President should be. Which is why they have no apatite for making him look bad, besides that would involve talking to the plebes to see if they felt like Obama was delivering anything for them. There is also bound to be white guilt involved, at least in the back of their minds; after all the press core is nothing if not the worlds biggest fan of identity politics.

        2. reslez

          > then you have to claim that Hillary had 30,000 classified documents on her server (she didn’t) and that the server was against the law (it wasn’t).

          A private individual can put up an email server without breaking the law. But as soon as you start conducting public government business on it you cross the line. And storing classified documents on it — as the FBI admits she did — is absolutely illegal.

          1. Pat

            It is also against the law to lie to investigators and on depositions for instance where Clinton claimed she had no work emails. Not to mention the little fact that Clinton had her lawyers decide what emails she released back to the State Department once the server was discovered. Since there was classified material on the server (despite her denial) that was also illegal. (It doesn’t matter that they largely did it by using search parameters. That material was still available for the paralegals and secretaries tasked with actually doing the work to read.)

            And then you can make the case that the whole reason for the private server was an attempt to illegally skirt the Freedom of Information Act.

            But yeah it was all legal. NOT,

          2. WheresOurTeddy

            destruction of evidence – (remember the “oh shit” Reddit thread?)
            people with no clearance handling classified material
            private server
            unsecure blackberry use in defiance of security protocal

            Lock her up, or continue to reinforce that there’s one set of rules for the little people and another for those that matter.

      2. Brad

        Obama had Clintonism written all over him from Day One. The clear tell was his silence during the TARP panic in the summer of 2008. That was all you needed to know.

      3. LT

        Obama is revealing himself to be a bigger opportunist than ever imagined. I always imagine someone in politics is a bit of one…but damn.
        Also, he’s invested in a particular belief system that he’s built his entire life around (like many). His belief system has zero concern for the majority of people in the world.

  3. Pat

    I have a ginger tabby. And his reaction to being called a good boy depends. If we are in the middle of a petting session, I get a head bump. If he is trying to get me to feed him, he just looks at me like I’m crazy. But the silly thing comes when I ask where my baby boy or my good boy is as well. So I think he just considers the phrase as being equivalent to “Your Majesty”. And for the most part, neither of us would have it any other way (see the food thing above for an exception).

    1. fresno dan

      December 27, 2016 at 7:57 am

      I like the cat – her look suggests she is thinking ‘your toadying and kowtowing only increases my contempt with your pathetic attempts to court favor….’

  4. Chema

    Re: Why you should eat more sugar.

    Marion Nestlé (not related to the company, as she always reminds in her writing) has a wonderful blog to talk about food-related issues. She discussed that topic in depth some days ago.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It is depressing though that the whole area of food science has been so distorted by industry money that its very hard for a non specialist to be able to tell whether the latest science ‘news’ is real or distorted. Its astonishing that an area of science that is of such interest to nearly everyone is in such disarray and has made so many errors. Such is what happens when outside money distorts science.

      1. UserFriendly

        What is depressing is that none of the scientists, there peers who were doing similar research, or the government thought it odd that there was such a surplus of research counterintuitively praising sugar. No one bothered to peer review or dissent. Because there isn’t a single person on this damn planet with an ounce of integrity that isn’t for sale at the right price.

      2. Steve H.

        From ‘The Aetiology of Obesity’ my recollection is that you can have 7 variants of your pure fructose and fake-fat cookies stamped with the American Heart Association seal if you give them 7,500 bucks.

        Also, somewhere around 2003 the American Diabetes Association saying you could substitute sugar for any kind of carbohydrates and you’d be okey-dokey.

        All iirc, but I can’t find a transcript and the series is like eight hours long. Well worth it.

      3. clarky90

        “Fake Science” – “fake light” (LEDs)- “fake food” (junk food), “fake news” (NYT, WaPo), “fake heroes” (Lance Armstrong, Bill Cosby…..), “fake health care” (ObamaCare),

        2017 is shaping up to be a year of (NOT fake, but actual) awakening. What a time to be alive and kicking!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          What is outrageous is now, today, some upstarts have intruded upon their monopoly of fakeness.

    2. fresno dan

      I hope that when you have read this book I shall have convinced you that sugar is really dangerous,” wrote John Yudkin in his foghorn-sounding treatise on nutrition from 1972, Pure, White and Deadly. Sugar’s rapid rise to prominence in the Western diet, starting in the mid-19th century, had coincided with a sudden outbreak of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Yudkin, one of the United Kingdom’s most prominent nutritionists at the time, believed that one had caused the other.

      As someone taught in my biochemistry classes that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, I came to to the conclusion that carbohydrates are bad after a heart attack and a desire to get my cholesterol and triglycerides at optimum levels. After a frustrating effort that did not change my weight or blood chemistries, I decided to don my tinfoil hat and try a semi Atkins diet (as low carb as I could go, but not overdoing the fat aspect). I found the pounds just melted off, I was sated all the time (with much, much smaller portions) and never hungry, and my triglycerides, which are often the real culprit with regard to cholesterol, plummeted.

      I was watching Cook’s Country, a cooking show, and the host made a point about a corn recipe – modern corn would be unrecognizable to someone in the 1830’s when the recipe was written. It is hard to imagine any food today that is not significantly more full of sugar and carbohydrates than 100 years ago.

      1. Foy

        Same here. A while ago I went on an autoimmune protocol diet (no grains, no diary, no legumes, no sugars, no eggs, no nuts, no nightshades or spices – replaced milk with coconut milk so I could still have a decaff coffee). Basically a high fat low carb, fresh food diet and lost 7 kgs in 6 weeks eating like a horse on what I was allowed to eat, didn’t limit at all, ate 3 big meals a day plus healthy snacks in between. The first 2 weeks was tough as my body went from processing carbs to processing fats but after that I had energy to last the whole day, slept better, the change was quite amazing. Once your body gets used to no carbs/no sugar and processing fats for energy it changes your appetite and you no longer feel hungry or crave foods. Even if I miss a meal now, I don’t feel hungry. Highly recommend although eating out is a challenge. And it means a lot of batch cooking to maintain supplies!

    3. Foppe

      Yes, the sugar lobby funds industry-friendly research. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that big meat/dairy/eggs do exactly the same thing (why else do you think there is a “scientific” journal called Meat Science?), and they’re cheering that the attention is being directed in the direction of its major “causal competitor” when it comes to diseases of affluence. Merchants of Doubt abound.

  5. Cry Shop

    Obama bold? Perish the thought,

    and Truthdig, get your facts right, or they will get you wrong. Obama has been the most stingy president with pardons, he has issued a lot of commutations, limited scope relief from criminal penalties, which do not include exemption from deportation for example. No chance he’s going to break his pattern and start handing out pardons, which provide criminal, civil, and immigration law relief. After all, he has to keep his buddies for profit migrant jails and charter jets full of children being deported.

    1. LT

      The boldest thing he is doing is the anti-propaganda program…to be specifically used to prevent any movements from gaining ground while the Democrats scramble for wins.

      1. LT

        And as leaked DNC memos make clear, they thrive on the ignorance of people that continue to vote for them.
        It’s also a cynical attempt to put all blame on Trump for a heavy handed police state

  6. Hen Kai Pan

    According to Spiegel: a couple of thousand Bangladesh textile workers were laid off because they had gone on a strike for increased wages. They now earn the equivalent of US$ 70 per month.
    They produce, amongst others, for Zara, Gap and H&M. I wonder how much the rent is for the H&M store on Times Square or Zara’s on 42nd and 5th. My guess: the rent for these stores each would equal the monthly wages for onehundred workers, at least.
    And wondering who buys the insane mountains of their crap – new throw-away merchandise every two months.

    1. LT

      Gap…you get less and less what you pay for.
      I thought ripped up jeans were just cycling back in fashion, but how fast their jeans fall apart now, people might have been forced to being them back in style.

  7. marco

    Obama probably would have won a 3rd term. I don’t see how that can be controversial. He is popular and the youth vote (much to our chagrin) would have turned out for him. One can ascribe all manner of incompetence (or malice) to his administration with regards to execution of policy whilst in office but at least he could win an election. This UN resolution on settlements has me tickled pink so I’m giving Obama a pass today.

    1. Cry Shop

      UN resolution, all flash and mirrors. Obama already gave Israel the US military aid package ever just a few weeks earlier. Is it because Hellary lost the Jewish vote after Obie-the-wan said it would be a personal insult, so he has to do a final empty gesture, or is it just a bit of gamesmanship, and the donations to the Obama library will still roll like water.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Per netanyahu, master of all pithy americanisms, “Friends don’t take friends to the security council.”

        How long before he gloms on to “reparations” as the only solution to this betrayal, supported, as it is, by “ironclad,” albeit top secret, information.

        Apparently, word of this fake news thing that’s been going around here in the states has failed to reach the promised land.

        1. UserFriendly

          Bad Bibi!!! lol

          Israel’s Netanyahu Faces Criminal Fraud, Bribery Investigation

          Benjamin Netanyahu could have received bribes in form of donations during the 2009 election.
          The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly facing a criminal investigation over alleged bribery and fraud, Israeli media said on Tuesday.

          According to a report aired by a local newscaster, police have recently gained access to a new document in a secret case which was opened some nine months ago and now believe they have cause to open a full investigation.

          1. Optimader

            Beyond politics, from what ive read briefly about his personal life here and there, Bibi gives every indication of being a dbag

      2. Steve C

        Please provide a cite for Hillary losing the Jewish vote to Trump. I haven’t heard that and would find it extraordinary. She did lose the crazy billionaire vote.

        I agree though that Obama sat back and allowed the UNSC resolution only because it was toothless and that’s his signature. It’s always about PR with him.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          She lost the same AIPAC vote that according to the msm speaks for the 90% of Jews who never vote Republican. I haven’t checked, but it’s possible Hillary blundered enough to knock turnout down to say 70-30 which could be a disaster given the totals in relevant states. If Hillary is going to win and the Dims run a Republican for Senate, why should the seniors waste a nice day in Florida voting?

        2. Lambert Strether


          71% of Jews supported the democratic nominee in this year’s election — slightly more than the 69% who voted for Obama in 2012, but significantly less than the 78% who turned out for Obama in 2008, the 74% who voted for Kerry in 2004, or the 79% who voted for Gore in 2000.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Is he? In the states that mattered, he didn’t do that well versus Romney, and we shouldn’t forget minority turnout was unbelievably high in those same states. The Spring and Summer of 2012 were marked by very blatant attacks on voting rights by the Republicans which caused a backlash. Immediately after the election, Obama attacked social security when his numbers tanked. As his place in polling moved to the fourth and fifth question, his numbers rose much like Hillary’s in 2009. Especially in 2012, he began to lie explicitly and pushed how he would be free to be progressive, and one would expect the widespread decline of the Democratic Party Is related to this lie.

      His opponent was Mitt Romney. Again, I can’t stress this enough. I know modern team blue elites love Mittens, but he really is repulsive.

      For the 2016 cycle, who was the Obama candidate? Hillary isn’t. There wasn’t a single Obama candidate. Jeb Bush could run, but there wasn’t one Democrat who thought he could be the heir to Obama. There are plenty of deluded Dems.

      Going back to 2008, did Obama do anything special? His vote total increased over Kerry where the DNC had spent four years organizing and registering voters. Obama didn’t say organize one day in June 2008. Could he have survived TPP, Syria, his destruction of the DNC, and growing skepticism of his rhetoric even against Trump? I don’t think he could have.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I also know Democrats who were under the impression Hillary would fight the Republicans out of personal motivation. The implication is Obama kowtowed to the GOP. Would voters want a President who whines about Putin when they are receiving health insurance premium hikes for insurance they can’t afford to use?

    3. Procopius

      I’ve been annoyed because Obama accepte so much insulting behavior from Bibi. I was furious when Hillary swore allegiance to Netanyahu. I think that was something that hurt her a lot, although I never see anyone talking about it.

      1. Steve C

        It was appalling and a big screw you to people like me. I owed her my vote apparently. That didn’t work out.

    4. Ed

      The Donks only needed less than 100,000 votes in the right places. They picked up seats in the House and the Senate, something that has gone unnoticed, so 2016 was basically a Donk year.

      Sanders might have struggled to get the overwhelmingly positive mainstream media coverage and all the corporate money the Clintons pulled in. But a pol with Obama’s positions and record would have gotten all that, and would not have been suspected of compromising state secrets, or associating with pedophiles, and probably would have avoided collapsing on camera. Hillary Clinton was really the only potential Democratic nominee Trump could have beaten, and vice versa.

      1. Steve H.

        The Donks. I like that. So I looked it up for citation. Top Goo return:

        : “Beat the Donks” is a book about the lowest stakes No-Limit Hold’em games played in Las Vegas. These games are filled with “Donks” that are easy to beat as long as you can recognize and exploit their mistakes.

        Apropostulatingly relevant, eh?

      2. Steve C

        Yes. A great year for Democrats. Hillary got almost 3 million more votes yet still managed to lose. Democrats made modest gains in Congress, yet are shut out of every level of power. It takes Democrats to screw things up this badly. Who do you call when you need something screwed up but good? The Democrats.

        Obama, with his monomania for self-promotion, may have been able to pull it out this year, even though he’s the under-employment president. But, typically for him, he probably would have thrown the whole rest of the party under the bus to do it.

      3. Lambert Strether

        > so 2016 was basically a Donk year

        Well, except for the “losing all three branches of the Federal government” part. Yes, I understand the picking up seats argument (Senate: +2; House: +6). That may be why the Democrat nomenklatura is in “stay the course” mode, since the party exists for the benefit of office holders, not voters. But with the horrid Senate candidates they ran (Murphy in Florida, Bayh in Indiana) I’d say we’re looking at random twitching, not resurgence.

  8. Jim Haygood

    The NYT is shocked — shocked — by the rude reaction of Deplorables when their local paper endorsed Hillary:

    The Enid (Okla.) News & Eagle endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. Enid was stunned, and this slow-paced agricultural town of 52,000 near the Kansas state line has not been the same since.

    The News & Eagle, with a circulation of 10,000, lost 162 subscribers who canceled the paper. Eleven advertisers pulled their ads, including a funeral home that had a sizable account.

    A handful of papers with conservative editorial boards made news by either endorsing Mrs. Clinton or urging readers to back anybody but Mr. Trump. Among them were The Dallas Morning News, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Arizona Republic in Phoenix.

    The News & Eagle’s 730-word editorial showed the raw power of partisanship in small-town America.

    The raw power of partisanship in small-town America” — oh, this is rich! How the rustics are seething in their “slow-paced” little burgs.

    Wanna see the “raw power of partisanship,” try defending Trump, the Second Amendment, or the UN anti-settlements resolution at a social gathering in one-party NYC.

    Better have one of them extendable police batons in your back pocket, to ward off a violent beatdown.

    1. Paid Minion

      There is a significant minority, if not majority, of the people out here in Kansas whose only news source seems to be Fox News or Rush Limbaugh/conservative talk radio.

      They get pizzed when you show them that the Limbaugh narrative may only have a minimal alignment with the facts. Any divergance from the group think makes you a “Socialist”. Socialist now being shorthand for “traitor”. And remember, even “Eisenhower Republicans” are now left of center.

      I’ve been having fun telling them “you guys have always bitched that the government should be run like a business………now we are going to see how that works.”

      I don’t think they are going to like it much.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps the other way around will work – all businesses should be run more like the government.

        Just tax other businesses, the people and, even the government, for revenue.

        1. Massinissa

          MLTPB, if all businesses were run like the government, wouldn’t they all print their own fiat?

          Right now the only businesses that do that are banks. Apparently banks are the only smart businesses.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You make a good point. If all businesses were run like the government, they’d all be able to print money, just like banks can today.

      2. John k

        Eisenhower reps left of center…
        Nixon could have campaigned with Bernie. Got out of Vietnam, went to communist china, wage and price controls, proposed universal health but dems vetoed it as not good enough… even later Reagan prosecuted bankers, black put over 1000 s&l bankers in jail.

        Dems are far to the right of that era’s reps. Big o and herself both support grand bargains to cut entitlements, of course worsening next recession. Today’s corp dems are as bad as any previous lot of reps. They need to be destroyed, root and branch. Won’t be easy, and they have rich corps plus Msm on their side. They see Bernie as far more dangerous threat than trump… watch your back, Bernie.

    2. flora

      I think the key graphs in that story are:
      “The paper’s corporate parent, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., which is based in Alabama and owns newspapers and websites in 23 states, also played a role.

      “It was our decision at the corporate level, which of course was made known to all of our papers, that Donald Trump did not meet our company and journalism values, particularly as they related to the First Amendment,” said Bill Ketter, the senior vice president for news.

      “Asked if the Enid editorial board had the freedom to endorse Mr. Trump, he replied: “Let me put it this way. We would have been disappointed. Did we demand that they do something? No, we didn’t do that. We set out our principles and our standards.”

      So, effective editorial control came from corporate headquarters in Alabama, not from the local paper.

  9. tgs

    re: Under Cover of Christmas, Obama Establishes Controversial Anti-Propaganda Agency

    In addition to creating a ministry of truth, the NDAA authorizes the easing of restrictions on arming the moderate rebels in Syria. Russia noticed this:

    Russia said on Tuesday that a U.S. decision to ease some restrictions on arming Syrian rebels had opened the way for deliveries of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, a move it said would directly threaten Russian forces in Syria.

    Russia calls U.S. move to better arm Syrian rebels a ‘hostile act’

    Obviously these weapons will soon find their way to the not-so-moderate rebels. And obviously these weapons can be used to take down civilian passenger planes.

    Burnishing the legacy indeed!

    1. craazyboy

      The Ministry of Fair and Balanced Fake News invented Moderate Rebel Arabs. They are the same ones as Not So Moderate Arabs.

    2. clarky90

      Damn, even O’Bomber’s Anti-Propaganda Agency is Fake. Just call it the “Neo-Glavlit Agency”. Slavishly copying the USSR is NOT innovation, but blatant plagiarism. (Message to the Autocratic Party)

      “Culture and religion under communism”

      Determined not only to change drastically the political and economic order but also to create a new type of human being, the Bolsheviks attached great importance to every aspect of culture, especially education and religion.

      They suppressed political dissidence by shutting down hostile newspapers and subjecting all publications to preventive censorship. In 1922 they set up a central censorship office, known for short as Glavlit, with final authority over printed materials as well as the performing arts. In literary and artistic matters, however, as long as Lenin was alive, the regime showed a degree of tolerance absent from other spheres of Soviet life. Aware that the overwhelming majority of intellectuals rejected them, and yet wishing to win them over, the Bolsheviks permitted writers and artists creative freedom as long as they did not engage in overt political dissent.”

      1. LT

        It’s the Democratic Party’s attempt to prevent any movements from rising that challenge their corpo ass kissing.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Ive decided Obama is obsessed with Bill. Much like Bill spent his waning days trying to host a peace process meeting (that resulted in an intifada, hooray for Clinton Inc), Obama is going to try to attach himself to pretending the apartheid state isn’t an apartheid state because Bill did it.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Kerry’s gonna have a hard slog tiptoeing around this elephant in the strawberry patch:

      Undeterred by a resounding defeat at the United Nations, Israel’s government said Monday that it would move ahead with thousands of new homes in East Jerusalem and warned nations against further action, declaring that Israel does not “turn the other cheek.”

      Just a few days after the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Israeli settlements, Jerusalem’s municipal government signaled that it would not back down: The city intends to approve 600 housing units in the predominantly Palestinian eastern section of town on Wednesday in what a top official called a first installment on 5,600 new homes.

      With nothing to lose personally, Kerry could condemn Israel’s over-the-top defiance, which practically invites a follow-up Security Council resolution with sanctions.

      But he won’t. Speaking frankly about the monster the U.S. has created would cripple Kerry’s future speech revenues, forcing him into demeaning kept-man status on the Heinz fortune.

      “John, dearie … would you fetch me another cup of chai?”

      1. Isolato

        This isn’t the first time the Israelis have used the interregnum to screw the Palestinians. Between the election of BO in 2008 and his inauguration Bibi used the vacuum to “mow the grass” in Gaza, killing 2000 (500 of them children), bombing schools and hospitals and vital civilian infrastructure. GWB could plausibly say he wasn’t President anymore and BO, well, IIRC, he didn’t say anything.

        The ONLY subject on which our Congress can summon unanimity. Zionism!

      2. Carolinian

        Israel does not “turn the other cheek”

        What’s he going to do–deploy the Samson Option against the U.N.? The guy really is a blowhard.

        Since the American Jewish community is overwhelmingly Democratic one wonders how they will react to the coming Bibi/Donald love fest. Netanyahu seems to think Trump is his ace in the hole, but cozying up to the Dem’s bete noire may prove to be Bibi’s fatal mistake.

  10. Atypical

    ‘Trump Transition’

    I found a new site for Trump news. It’s password protected but I figured it out. It’s not hard.

    You fill in the blanks.
    – – – – y

    If you handle it right you can get in.

    There are many interesting articles. Here are a few I liked.

    I Vanka My Own Office
    His daughter’s plans for her White House.

    Melania on Melancholia, Melatonin, Melasma, Melanoma, and Mezzanines
    A discussion about living with Donald, skin care and escalators.

    Trump’s Dumps
    Important turds from Donny.

    The best one was the inside story of how he’s picking his cabinet and personnel for other positions. Seems he has a large dartboard in his private office. The outer ring is numbered 5, and as the inside rings move to the center their numbers decrease. The center “bullseye” is 1.

    There is a list of names of candidates on the wall. Each name has been submitted by a mental health professional or FBI profiler. Next to each name is a number; 5 is for those who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Those numbered 1 are considered psychopaths. Don’s name has a 1 but it is crossed out and can barely be read.

    Anyway, he goes in by himself daily and throws darts. Where the dart lands decides which group he picks from. His staff always knows when it is dartboard time because he can be heard laughing maniacally. Sometimes they hear a thump because the tears in his eyes blur his vision and he falls down still laughing. It’s common to see him come out with the front of his pants darkened because he pees himself.

    Reportedly, he is good at the game which explains why so many of his choices are exquisitely grotesque.

    If anyone can make America grate on each of us again he can.

  11. tgs

    re: Democrats Plotting ‘Collision Course’ With Trump’s Tax Plan

    So, the Donald believes that giving a huge tax cut to people like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and himself is the first step in ‘making America great again.’

    I hope the Democrats really fight him on this. Trump was very specific that the middle class would be the primary beneficiary of his tax reform. He has really got to be called out on this.

    I wonder how long those who voted for Trump will endure his betrayals.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Probably the same way the betrayals of Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama have been handled.

  12. PlutoniumKun


    The Coming War on China John Pilger (margarita)

    Interesting stuff as usual by Pilger, except as usual he overstates his case by understating the threat of the ‘other’. He’s right of course that US policy is imperialist and dangerous. But while China is not imperialist in the way the West has traditionally been – they’ve never had an interest in colonial possessions, except on its immediate border. The Chinese do have a policy of extending influence all over the world – especially in South American and Africa, but they are also actively purchasing influence in Europe and Australia (and even the US). Of course, partly this is a justified response to the US military encirclement of China, but there is also a very nasty strain of nationalism within China (as in most countries to one extent or another).

    Its useful to highlight just how provocative and dangerous so much US military policy is – but its also a failed and stupid policy. Just witness how quickly the Philippines has flipped towards China without China shooting a single bullet.

    Every country has ‘interests’ beyond its border. The core question is how this is acknowledged and constrained. The blunt refusal of the US to acknowledge the legitimate interests of the Chinese (and Russians etc)., is incredibly dangerous. I did think Trump might, as a pragmatic businessman, be the first to do this, but given his appointments this doesn’t seem likely. It seems we’ve switched from fearing idiot Dems provoking a war with Russia to idiot Trumpites provoking a war with China.

    1. Stephen Gardner

      It dawned on me when I read your post, especially the words “but there is also a very nasty strain of nationalism within China (as in most countries to one extent or another).” that nationalism is analogous to inflammation in the body. It is usually the result of some stress on the system. And, like inflammation nationalism and racism can be paradoxically destructive to national unity much in the same way that an autoimmune disease is inflammation provoking an attack by the body on the body. The way to correct inflammation is NOT to put more stress on the body. And analogously the way to undermine nationalism in China is NOT to put more strain on the Chinese government from abroad.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        More than just avoiding strain or stress from abroad (which requires staying home from work, avoiding travels to South China Sea, or trips through the Taiwan Strait, or if critical, adopting Togukawa’s closed door policy ), the patient needs plenty of rest (no more hyper or just simply no more GDP growth, no more digging for coal, no more ghost city buidling) and lots of sleep (stop dumping, or anti-dump, on the world).

        “Focus first on what one can do oneself.”

    2. Uahsenaa

      I think it’s somewhere in between “buying influence” and colonial occupation. Chinese interests, many of them state backed, are buying up land like gangbusters in Africa and using their property rights to displace farmers and extract tenant rents. They may not have military on the ground there, but they are also doing much more than just greasing the wheels for business interests. It’s very much analogous to the way the US behaves in Latin America (Monroe Doctrine), and that seems pretty straightforwardly imperialist to me.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not so much Trumpites provoking a war with China, but a predicted consequence of neoliberalisselm policies and the Dollar as the global reserve currency.

      The British had to turn to selling opium to China, when she ran out of silver to pay for tea, porcelain and silk.

      Without the free lunch of the global reserve currency, we should have, by all means, not been able to afford to buy imports a long time ago. The Chinese can either buy Treasury bonds, or they can buy up the best houses or pay the most expensive college tuition, so no working class Americans can afford to.

      One of the oldest indigenous ideas to China is the concept of Wu Wei – action without struggle (one of many different interpretations – Chinese themselves over the millennia, and translations – by non-Chinese, for a second layer of uncertainty). With Wu Wei, one first becomes aware of nature, and what is the least resistant course of action. That is, one recognizes that changes evolve over time and the pendulum swings back and forth. A nation does not become superpower or rich in a short time. Here, today, we see a transfer of American jobs out of the United States. That dislocation can’t last long nor o keep your growth or path to rich straight . And when Democrats stay many years in the White House, Republicans will take over, for a while. And for many years, it was identity politics and for many more, it will not be so much so, until it will be again. Over time, we can discern a long term trend – either up or down, just like any stock chart.

      1. LuRenJia

        If I understand it correctly, Wu Wei refers to “無為” (in Chinese). I am not sure if this interpretation for LaoChi’s (老子) Wu Wei (無為) is a proper one. IMHO, it may not necessarily mean “struggle”. A better approach to understand it is to learn Chinese well and well enough to interpret it in Chinese. It may not he harmful to be lost in translation for some things; but for things related to philosophy or deep thoughts like this, it’s better to go to the origin. (Believe me, even for Chinese, not many knows what 無為 really means.) That’s why there were Chinese Buddhist monks who would like to travel to India/Nepal to get the original sutras more than a thousand years ago. Well, these great monks indeed translated the sutras to Chinese after they came back to China with the sutras, but that translation is done very rigidly.

        You seem to have understanding in Chinese philosophies and/or Buddhism since you cite them from time to time. NakedCapitalism is a popular site with high readership. It may be prudent to cite with caution so there is no misunderstanding or misinterpretation on the readers’ part. Just my 2 cents.

        1. Outis Philalithopoulos

          You propose reasonable methodological caution here – but tentatively speaking, what you do you think the proper interpretation of the phrase actually is?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Not sure if there is one proper interpretation, and this could get lengthy.

            I read up on Wikipedia’s Wu wei article before posting that comment and that’d be a good place to start, and based on that,I made a point that there were many interpretations, as with any ancient texts from all cultures. From the article:

            Sinologist Herrlee Creel writes that Wu wei, as found in the Tao Te Ching and Zhuangzhi, seems to denote two different things.

            1. An “attitude of genuine non-action, motivated by a lack of desire to participate in human affairs” and
            2. A “technique by means which the one who practices it may gain enhanced control of human affairs.”

            It’s paradoxical like getting to state of no-thought in zazen. One can

            1. reduce the pace of thinking…slow it down to holding one thought for a while, and by counting breath, perhaps no thought at all..


            2. Overloading with thoughts, that the brain short-circuits and cease to have any coherent thought. (Watching too much TV can do the trick).

            For another example,

            One can be a monk and stop having ‘fun’


            One can have too much fun, being surfeited, soon grows sick of ‘fun.’ (“They are as sick that surfeit with too much”)

            So it is here with Wu wei – it either leads to no desire in human affairs, or to a enhanced control of human affairs.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Let me also add that, from the Wikipedia article, one can click to another one, about Shen Buhai (to read more about how Wu wei relates to governing).

          3. LuRenJia

            Honestly, I can’t give you a proper interpretation of Wu-Wei (無為) since I don’t really dig into this too much before. And there may be some challenge to translate it into English because of possible lack of proper lexical terms or concepts in English. That’s why I noted earlier a good approach is to learn Chinese and try to understand it in Chinese. In fact, just learning Chinese may not be sufficient, one may also need to know more in Taoism (道家) and the background about LaoChi (老子) and ChuangChi (莊子).

          4. Gaianne

            The Tao Te Ching has a verse on wu wei that goes like this:

            Ruling a nation is like cooking a fish:
            You ruin it with to much poking.

            The idea is to put in as little effort as possible to be effective. While keeping your goal in mind, you let events help you as much as possible, putting in only a little action yourself where it is needed. This way you avoid creating opposition.

            This policy applies generally–that is, not only to politics but to diplomacy and strategy.

            While this really only represents an ideal of action, it is in utter contrast to the Modern West, which values effort for its own sake. Americans really cannot exist without an enemy to react to–an absence of opposition is so disturbing that they will create an enemy if they do not have one–although this is very ineffective for creating desired results.


            1. LuRenJia

              Very good points.

              My understanding is that one concept from Taoism (道家) is like following the streams instead of going the opposite so as you noted, it will get less resistance/opposition. In Chinese, it is “順勢而為,非逆勢而行”. If the force is too huge, then just let it go without trying to slow or stop it.

        2. knowbuddhau

          I’m an avid student of Zen who just so happens to have been thinking of this very term lately. “Action without struggle” is how I’m familiar with it. There being no positive way of denoting the fundamental principles of Buddhism, especially wrt characteristics of non-duality (advaita in Sanskrit), the common method is to say what it is not, much in the way a sculptor removes rock to reveal form.

          I was filling a mop bucket the other day, using a short “pig tail” hose. As I did so, I found myself leaning over, as if to push the water out of the hose and into the bucket. Likewise, when amateurs use microphones, you’ll often see them holding the mic right up to their mouths, as if to force their words into it. That’s not wu wei.

          What is? Look at these words. While you’re reading this, without expending any special kinetic effort (apart from moving your eyes etc.), their meaning is self-emptying, from my mind into yours. This is wu wei.

          I also happened upon a similarity between mopping and fly-fishing that may be germane. In fly-fishing, as the backcast is made, you need to move forward in the exact same moment the line becomes taught; too soon and you “crack the whip;” too late, and you’ve lost energy (and might end up with a fly in your ear lobe). You can’t anticipate. You don’t split the event into the target area of water, your arm and body, the rod, the moving line, your idea of it, and yet another idea of a target time. None of that. You need to be in the moment.

          Likewise, when mopping, there’s a moment when the mop reaches the end of a stroke. If I’m really in the moment, it doesn’t tug on my arthritic right elbow, so I have a very good indicator of when I’m right in there tight. At the apex, it’s motionless for that crucial moment (“the still point of the turning world”), and you can reverse direction with the least effort. Kinda feels like it springs back, like fly-casting does, with a somewhat surprising amount of energy. That, ISTM, is wu wei .

          Then there are the connotations of it as “mindless.” The same principles apply: A non-striving mind, that doesn’t hold itself apart from experience and time, but flows and bounces along like a ball in a mountain stream (to use the classic analogy).

          I find that, when I’m focused on staying in the moment, not only in mopping but in all the other tasks of cleaning two restaurants, the passage of time ceases to exist for me. I had the overwhelming sense, when I left work a couple hours ago, that I had only just got there. I can honestly say that it takes me but a moment to do it all. Just so happens that that moment is c.6 hours long. That, to me, is wu wei, in thought and action.

          1. knowbuddhau

            No wait, I’m wrong, wu-nien is “thoughtless,” now that I think about it. Should’ve related instead of equated. Having “no mind” in mind is the way to act “no effort.”

            1. LuRenJia

              IMHO, wu-nien (無念) may not mean “thoughtless”. Thoughts come and go continuously like streams. It takes a lot of efforts to get to the state of “no mind” if I understand you correctly. In fact, “no mind” is not necessarily “no mind”, it may be close to not staying on a thought. One sees the thought come and go but doesn’t stay on it.

              1. Cry Shop

                I’ve taken it to mean natural action, action not freighted with a load of cultural assumptions or other artificial acculturated desires (such as the accumulation of wealth). The state isn’t that far off what is sought with mindfulness meditation and methods of actualization.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Conference Board con-con blows out:

    Consumer confidence surged in December to the highest level since 2001, reflecting an improved U.S. economy and anticipation of the incoming Trump administration.

    The consumer confidence index jumped to 113.7 from a revised 109.4 in November, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

    … confirming multi-year highs in other surveys such as Gallup and U Mich.

    Animal spirits are on a roll. If the Dow don’t hit 20K this week, I’ll … I’ll … well, I don’t know what. Maybe go outside and roll naked in the snow or something.

  14. Stephen Gardner

    Very nice concert. The video is also very interesting from the point of view of the ethnic diversity of the Russian army. The man leading the orchestra is Lieutenant General Valery Khalilov who is an ethnic Uzbek. My interest was peaked when I saw his name because of the form Khalil + Russian plural genitive ending. The president of Uzbekistan had a similarly constructed name (Karim+ov). When you see a name that is an Arabic word in the Russian plural genitive that is characteristic of a Central Asian background.

    Here in the West, we sometimes tend to think that Russia is just for Russians but it was essentially the center of Soviet culture for decades and people from all over the USSR now live in Russia proper. Khalilov rose to some prominence in the Russian Army and yet he is not an ethnic Russian.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It reminds one of that poster of America, viewed from Manhattan, which takes up, I don’t remember exactly, but like 3/4 of the poster.

        Speaking of immigration or just migration, many don’t know of other similar people movements around the world, at the same the West was won. From Wikipedia, on Chuang Guandong:

        modern historians Thomas Gottschang and Diana Lary estimate that, during the period 1891-1942, some 25.4 million migrants arrived to Manchuria from China south of the Great Wall, and 16.7 million went back. This gives the total positive migration balance of 8.7 million people over this half a century period.[10] This makes the scale of the migration comparable to the westward expansion in United States, the advance to Siberia in Russia, or, on a smaller scale, the move to Hokkaido in Japan.

      2. Stephen Gardner

        Isn’t our ruling class precious though. They keep us well nourished with the organic fertilizer known as “American Exceptionalism” so we don’t complain how truly exceptionally bad things have gotten since I was a young pup.

        1. alex morfesis

          not so remarkable…source is the former nixon center…and the un chart shows no such thing…russia had (according to the chart) 11.9 million in 2000 and 15 years later has 11.6 million…chart shows germany at 12 million…

          don’t want to attack the author and sound mysogynist…but mary malinkin at the wilson center needs to put on her reading glasses…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There have always been quite a lot of different ethnic groups in Russia, and success stories.

      Take Tsar Boris Godunov, for example. He was a Tarar, per Wikipedia,

      Boris Godunov was the most noted member of an ancient, now extinct, Russian family of Tatar origin (Chet), which came from the Horde to Kostroma in the early 14th century.[2] This legend is written in the annals dating from early 17th century. He was descended from the Tatar Prince Chet, who went from the Golden Horde to Russia and founded the Ipatiev Monastery in Kostroma.

      (One wonders if he impressed his subjects or gave them a good show, like Obama did in 2009 – the dawning of a new age with hope for change – when he became Tsar).

      Then, there was the great Russia poet, Pushkin:

      Pushkin was born into Russian nobility in Moscow. His matrilineal great-grandfather was Abram Petrovich Gannibal, who was kidnapped from equatorial Africa and raised in the household of Peter the Great.

    1. HopeLB

      In this article about the Archbishop’s political Christmas message, Nuland makes an apeearance in dealings with Cyprus as did Kissinger.
      It seems Archbishops are undergoing some kind od awakening. Check out Farge’s retort to the ArchB of Canterbury’s message.
      It is funny because I forwarded this Canterbury message to the nun in charge of my daughter’s school.

    2. alex morfesis

      Sadly, the parent co/overlord of politifacts needs a watcher…st pete/tampa bay times did a front page cover up of the forced resignation of the head of florida state housing boss, stephen auger, exec dir of the florida housing finance corp since 2005…allowing the nonsense claim that the lender appreciation dinner where 52 grand was spent was “the reason”…claiming the florida auditor general had found it…but nowhere in the article was there any mention of how much has been spent regularly for the events…making it sound way out of hand…but burried in the article was the fact theth state of florida and the governor have been given over

      1.1 billion dollars

      in federal funds to help homeowners make up back payments to not lose their homes(hardest hit fund), but has kept most of it, redirected it and refused almost 75% of the applications, keeping what appears to be over 900 million dollars sitting around or diverted while people get thrown out of their homes…oh…and also buried in the same article was the handing off by the state in a secret contract with pop singer “pitbull” of a million dollars in state funds to “promote” florida by the fact he is based in florida…visit florida ceo will seccombe was allowed to resign but seems like he will get a 350 grand severance package for getting caught using part of his 75 million dollar state budget to have a music video made…nice gig if you can get it…

      Watch the watchers ??

      Laugh at the watchers !!!

      Please sir…can I have some more fake news….

      1. JTMcPhee

        Politifacts simply sucks. Dishonest and sneaky to the core. Straight “narrative” special pleading, subtly done with a thin patina of “intellectual dispassionate honesty” over a thoroughly rotten core.

  15. Brad

    “Corbyn hits back after Obama suggests Labour is disintegrating”. Unfortunately we’ll have to look forward to this sort of Clintonesque sniping intervention from the sidelines by Obama, bolstered by the presumption of a “successful Presidency” (i.e., a complete seat-warming waste of space and time), with the aim of insisting that people “face reality”, that is, ensuring that nobody organizes to actually try to change anything.

    That might be why Obama is reported to be moving to my neck of the woods, California, perhaps a rebellious trouble spot in the America he prepared for Trump.

    Or maybe he’ll follow my advice and just STFU&GL. You and your ilk gave us Donald Trump, Obama.

  16. Katharine

    >Questions hang over Trump plan on infrastructure The Hill (furzy). Notice Trump is lowing his goals.

    I think he is lowering his goals, unless he has taken to mooing instead of tweeting.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have not read more stories about how he negotiated in business in the past. Perhaps those who did business with him have talked about it. Did he always bluff and bluff wildly?

      And did he make frequent changes to his hotel or casino projects? Maybe his contractors or architects have something to say about this.

    1. Ranger Rick

      The footnotes in parentheses are usually the (nick)names of the people who submitted the links as tips.

      1. Katharine

        Furze is a kind of plant. I’ve often wondered if furzy chose that handle for some characteristic of the plant. (Are you there? Would you mind answering the question? Just curious.)

        1. Dave

          Also the source of many hairballs around our house. Combination of “furry” and “fuzzy”.
          Isn’t it glaringly obvious?

  17. Chauncey Gardiner

    Linked article from the cleverly named “Media Research Center” referred by Li reflects a worrisome trend in what I have come to view as an ongoing organized effort to ridicule and discourage young people from pursuing a post-secondary education, and particularly higher education in the humanities. IMO it also represents an anticipatory effort to neuter political criticism by diminishing a segment of the population that can be expected to analyze and comment on social, economic and geopolitical implications of government policies. The use of the words “coddled” and “snowflakes” to describe students developing their skills and faculty teaching critical thinking is telling. In the efforts at spin such as that linked here, I am reminded of the observation by Mahatma Gandhi regarding the employment of ridicule by his political opponents.

    1. andyb

      Although the article is quite obviously sarcastic, it indicates that this country is going downhill fast. What to make of students who cannot tolerate dissent, need safe spaces to recuperate from micro-aggressions? I wonder how these students are going to survive in the real world, where cultural Marxism will not earn you a living.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Read up on “no excuses” educational models, which are being applied in many charter schools and, as the public schools are increasingly compelled to hire administrators with MBAs instead of M.Eds., those as well. Not only are young children being “educated” in what amounts to test-prep boot camp, they literally are having their ability to learn destroyed.

        And the current oligarchs are planning to eliminate what few public schools are left so they can ensure the next generation is composed of obedient serfs.

      2. reslez

        Dissent is already not tolerated in the workplace, so I think they will do just fine there.

        Odd how democracy is the best possible way to run a country (“compared to all the others that have been tried”), but where private enterprise is concerned, dictatorships are the only way to run a company. (Cue diptherio in 3… 2… ;)

    2. Aumua

      Although I admit that I did get a few snerks out of the video, it is disturbing in that it highlights a growing trend of bullying and ridicule directed toward ‘sensitivity’ of any kind. These attitudes are now entering the mainstream, right on schedule I might add, as the national mood shifts to reflect what our new president elect has signaled is now A-OK: suppression of the ‘different’, and of dissent, in as ugly and even violent a way as we feel like.

      Now I know the behavior of some anti-trump people has been far from great, over-the-top, and maybe even deserving of being laughed at. But to pretend that there is nothing more at stake here than “people thinking different than you” as the video suggests, is disingenuous. It deliberately avoids looking at the real shift that this very video itself blatantly demonstrates: picture a boot stomping on the face of the weak and/or different. It’s all coming directly from the far right, and now it’s entering mainstream thought.

      1. tegnost

        plenty of bullying and ridicule has been dispensed by the standard dems who apparently thought that telling all the truck drivers that they were deplorable, low information and soon to be unemployed losers made them “sensitive” and now they’re all “but I’m sensitive” to all of us who are soon to be or have been for a long while unemployed or out of network as it were (whatever so long as it pressures SS into privatisation). It’s long been disturbing to many that ivory tower dems think they’re the only people that matter. Cry me a credentialed river.

        1. Aumua

          I get that it’s not one sided, and we don’t talk much about it round here in part because there’s plenty of hyperventilating coming from other vectors covering it, but none of that changes the fundamental truth of what I’m saying. This is a thing that is really happening, right before our eyes. Intolerance, bigotry and all around ignorance is on the up and up in the USA, and Trump’s election is a sign, if not a cause itself of this rising tide.

  18. Dave

    The ultimate revenge on Working Class Trump voters hoping for a sustainable wage or full time job in the future:

    “[President Obama] should proceed to what is, in fact, an urgent necessity, to grant a general pardon to 11 million people who are living and working [in America], productive citizens… threatened with deportation by the incoming administration,” Chomsky insisted.”

    The adults in the 11 million can then join the legal workforce, drive down wages, help finally bury any attempts at unionization or better working conditions and/or qualify for and compete with Americans for social benefits like welfare, public housing, Medicare, food stamps, SSI, per child tax credits, etc. Think of all the new crop of housekeepers and gardeners for the elite!

    The “new” immigrants from Haiti, the “Haitijuanas”, can then be allowed into the U.S. to await the next amnesty. Nice poison pill for the Trump administration, and best of all, regressive revenge against those who dared to vote for him.

    1. reslez

      The 11 million are already here driving down wages and working as housekeepers and gardeners for the elite and whoever else.

      If they were recognized, they’d have a chance at organizing. Right now they have no chance at unionizing.

      They already pay into SSI and Medicare so if they were allowed to draw from their benefits that’s simply fair IMO. There is no “competition” for these programs, they are entitlements. Finally, federal spending is not funded by taxes. For the record I support restrictions on immigration. There’s too much un- and underemployment of people already here.

      1. Dave

        If they were recognized, that would just encourage even more to come seeking future “recognitions”.


        1. Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA), 1986: A blanket amnesty for some 2.7 million illegal aliens
        2. Section 245(i) Amnesty, 1994: A temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens
        3. Section 245(i) Extension Amnesty, 1997: An extension of the rolling amnesty created in 1994
        4. Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Amnesty, 1997: An amnesty for close to one million illegal aliens from Central America
        5. Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act Amnesty (HRIFA), 1998: An amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti
        6. Late Amnesty, 2000: An amnesty for some illegal aliens who claim they should have been amnestied under the 1986 IRCA amnesty, an estimated 400,000 illegal aliens
        7. LIFE Act Amnesty, 2000: A reinstatement of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty, an estimated 900,000 illegal aliens

        Each one gives new hope for the next batch and promotes them wanting to come here.

        Those who work for cash, the majority of illegals, have not paid into anything but they do send the majority of their earnings back home to the tune of hundreds of billions, this is money that no longer can circulate among our communities through the multiplier effect.

  19. Jerry Denim

    I’ve really enjoyed the tsunami of contradictions and hypocrisy emanating from the latest Bibi-Obama-UN tiff. So not only has Israel spied on the US for decades, but they have used the information they have gained from their hacking and electronic eavesdropping to meddle in our domestic politics AND sabotage our foreign diplomacy. (Sound like any of the hyperventilating directed towards other countries you’ve heard lately?) Now they’re threatening to use “evidence” they obtained from spying on the United States to tattle on President Obama to incoming President Trump, thereby exposing the President of the United States as nothing more than an errand boy for AIPAC. None of this is contested by the Israelis. These are the facts according to them. Despite the constant spying, and meddling in US affairs both domestic and foreign, and despite having the Israeli Prime Minister ridicule a sitting US President in an address before US Congress, we send Israel, a small, rich, apartheid state with it’s own sovereign wealth fund, 38 billion in direct military “aid” so they can continue to be our “ally”. Comparing our good buddy Israel’s behavior and subsequent treatment by the US media to big bad Russia’s “alleged” behavior and treatment by the press and our elected officials is an irony too rich for me to stand.

    Is anyone in America paying attention to this? Is there a neoliberal Democrat-Obama/Hillary voter alive capable of processing this boatload of bullshit?

    1. Dave

      If they really want to demoralize us they’ll tear up their latest check for $38 billion and throw the scraps in our faces.

      1. tgs

        Listening to the commentary about the UN vote in the MSM you would think that the illegality of the settlements was controversial. There is no mention, at least that I heard, that the official US policy for decades is that the settlements were illegal.

    2. Jagger

      So not only has Israel spied on the US for decades, but they have used the information they have gained from their hacking and electronic eavesdropping to meddle in our domestic politics AND sabotage our foreign diplomacy. (Sound like any of the hyperventilating directed towards other countries you’ve heard lately?)

      Why does Israel need to spy on the US for blackmail? We do the work for them now. As of a March 9, 2009 agreement, we hand over raw unfiltered NSA data to Israel. What more could you ask for if you want to blackmail anyone in the US? I know it sounds absolutely insane but here you go:

      The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

      Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.

      The disclosure that the NSA agreed to provide raw intelligence data to a foreign country contrasts with assurances from the Obama administration that there are rigorous safeguards to protect the privacy of US citizens caught in the dragnet. The intelligence community calls this process “minimization”, but the memorandum makes clear that the information shared with the Israelis would be in its pre-minimized state.

  20. Oregoncharles

    “Noam Chomsky’s Bold Request Before President Obama Leaves Office (Video) Truthdig ”

    Addresses an important humanitarian problem, but I suspect is pretty impractical, for two reasons:

    First, wouldn’t he need their names – which he doesn’t have, except for the ones actually in detention?

    Second, with the caveat that I’m not a lawyer: the real problem is not that they’ve committed “offenses” that can be pardoned (you’d want to exempt people that have committed actual crimes, anyway); it’s that they’re in the country without permission. I don’t see how a pardon would fix that. It doesn’t extend to issuing 11 million visas.

    Obama has been known to use Congress as an excuse to avoid actions that are within his powers – rescheduling marijuana, for example. But I suspect he isn’t doing that this time.

    I think mass immigration poses a dilemma for progressives (note: I’m departing from Green Party policy). On the one hand, it’s a humanitarian issue; once here, they should be treated decently, and it’s important that they be subject to labor law protections, because that protects everyone. On the other hand, and as Yves has pointed out, mass immigration is part of a cheap labor policy. More subtly, it serves as a pressure relief valve for bad policies in the countries of origin.

    Maintaining borders and some control over who comes in are traditional functions of any nation, an important element of sovereignty. Witness the Brexit vote. Mass immigrants (as distinguished from the base rate of adventurous people) are essentially refugees, often from US policies in their own countries. Most of them would have stayed home if they could. The real solution is to address the problems driving them from their homes, at least by changing the US policies afflicting them and ideally with a Marshall Plan-type program. Not supporting right-wing coups would be a good start, but NAFTA has to be the next step.

  21. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re: 5 Ways the Soviet Union Could Have Won the Cold War (Or at Least Survived It)

    I’d like to suggest another scenario in which the Soviet Union might have survived, however it’s one that probably wouldn’t occur to or be well received by the hawkish denizens of The National Interest. Writers like James Douglass, James DeEugenio and Peter Janney have brought to light tantalizing evidence that suggests President Kennedy was attempting to steer the ship of state in a new direction foreign policy-wise.

    According to these hypotheses a pivotal event in Kennedy’s career was lengthy trip he took in the fall of 1951 to east and south Asia in order to build his foreign affairs resume. I once had a copy of his itinerary but have lost it, probably when my previous laptop died. In any case I recall Vietnam, Indonesia and India mentioned specifically and considering the trip lasted something like seven weeks I suspect there were many more such as Pakistan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, etc.

    According to these writers, at some point after these visits the notion coalesced in Kennedy’s mind that it was in the USA’s long term national interest to treat these countries with respect. Many of these nations had recently shaken off the colonial rule of European countries, and their heads of government were people who had been leaders of the independence movements. After meeting with the like of Sukarno of Indonesia and Nehru of India Kennedy concluded that they were genuine in their advocacy of democratic government and by and large looked favorably on the United States. Kennedy was also no doubt aware, at least to some degree, that since the turn into the 20th century, when it came to other countries we did not live up to our pretensions of government of, by and for the people of other countries unless they acquiesced to the wants of American business interests or were strong enough to push back hard.

    Douglass discusses at length the private communications between President Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev that began shortly after the Vienna confrontation between them in early 1961, and which intensified after both men were deeply shaken by how close things came to going over the edge during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Crucially he asserts that they were very close to a broad brush agreement that would have established a regime of peaceful coexistence at the time of the assassination, and that this was likely why the American deep state sought to eliminate him from the scene.

    So the question is how different might the last fifty years have been if Kennedy and Khrushchev had been able to steer their respective bureaucracies and deep states to buy into the notion that we didn’t need exhaustive conventional and nuclear arms build-ups in both states, that we didn’t need to fight proxy wars, that it wasn’t necessary for either country to suborn and corrupt its leaders to keep them on “our side” at the expense of the interests of the people they governed. Perhaps in such an environment the USSR would have been free to evolve to a viable social democracy of the type that now seems to be on the wane in those northern and western European areas where it once held sway.

    1. knowbuddhau

      Very interesting. Before Kennedy, that same “what if?” is raised in Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the US. I’ve been thinking especially, what if the Democrats hadn’t replaced Henry Wallace in favor of Truman?

      Wallace almost became the nation’s president. In 1940, he was FDR’s running mate and served as his vice president for four years. But in 1944, against the advice of the Democratic Party’s progressives and liberals – including his wife Eleanor – FDR reluctantly allowed the party’s conservative, pro-business and segregationist wing to replace Wallace with Sen. Harry Truman as the vice presidential candidate, a move that Stone calls the “greatest blunder” of Roosevelt’s career. Had Wallace remained as vice president, he would have become president when FDR died in April 1945.

      Wallace opposed the cold war, the arms race with the Soviet Union and racial segregation. He was a strong advocate of labor unions, national health insurance, public works jobs and women’s equality. He would have been, without question, the most radical president in American history. He would have served out the remaining three years of FDR’s fourth term and certainly would have sought to be elected on his own in 1948.

      What else might we have built by now, if both countries hadn’t poured trillions into MAD and “defense” therefrom? After the USSR collapsed, what if we had a sane ruling class, that stood down the military to an actual self-defense posture, instead of going on their Cthullu-sh*t insane drive for global hegemony in perpetuity?

      But we did, and we don’t. After what, seven decades now of betrayals of mythic proportions, is it any wonder people voted to defeat the status quo, at least as much if not more so than to elect Trump?

    2. nihil obstet

      I was typing this when knowbuddhahau above was saying roughly the same thing, but decided to leave it posted anyway.

      Similarly, if Roosevelt had still been alive at the end of WWII or if Wallace had been VP, we might well have avoided the Cold War altogether. Both thought that WWII was not fought for Europe to maintain its colonies, to Churchill’s great dismay. Wallace in particular called for the 20th c. to be the century of the common man around the world. He was widely admired and respected in the third world. Truman was put forward by Pendergast to be an easily guided executive and was convinced of the need to be harsh with the Soviet Union, especially after business economists told him that the U.S. must remain on a permanent war economy to avoid sliding back into the Great Depression. This was really one of the great tragedies of our history.

      I didn’t finish reading the “5 ways” article, since it was based on such ideas as it was a good thing for the CIA to intervene in European elections, because otherwise those silly people would have elected the wrong leaders. It seemed a tissue of neocon assumptions and historical revisionism

      1. Vatch

        Interesting point about the CIA intervention in the 1948 Italian elections. I suspect if the Communists had won, they would have resembled Yugoslavia more than they would have been like the Soviet satellites. The Italian elections were in April, 1948, and the split between Yugoslavia and the Soviet bloc didn’t become public until June, even though it had been brewing for months. Perhaps if the Italian elections had occurred several months later, the leaders of the CIA would have felt less of a need to intervene. Well, probably not, but it’s interesting to indulge in “what ifs”.

  22. Plenue

    On the subject of the Alexandrov Ensemble, Al Jazeera ran an article practically gloating about how a bunch of “Stalin’s weaponized orchestra” had died. Qatar is really mad about losing in Syria.

    1. Hen Kai Pan

      The Article from Al Jazeera that I read after you mentioned it was anything but ‘gloating’. It gave FACTUAL background of the orchestra. I happen to like the orchestra’s performance of Spanish music (spanish medley) and Italian classics. The Al Jazeera article that I read gives a link to their performance of a Western pop music piece which I found rather awful (I mean the music is awful), but is rather interesting nevertheless:

  23. Vatch

    Cheetahs heading towards extinction as population crashes BBC :-(

    Sad. The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is mentioned in the article, and their web site is:

    They deserve support, even though they may be fighting a losing battle. From the BBC article:

    The young cats can fetch up to $10,000 on the black market. According to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, some 1,200 cheetah cubs are known to have been trafficked out of Africa over the past 10 years but around 85% of them died during the journey.
    . . . .
    However if the species is to survive long term then urgent efforts must be made to tackle the wider question of protected areas and ranges.

    The new study argues for a “paradigm shift in conservation”, moving away from the idea of just declaring an area to be protected and towards incorporating “incentive-based approaches”. This, in essence, means paying local communities to protect a species that many see as a dangerous predator.

    “The take-away from this pinnacle study is that securing protected areas alone is not enough,” said Dr Kim Young-Overton from Panthera, another author on the report.

    “We must think bigger, conserving across the mosaic of protected and unprotected landscapes that these far-reaching cats inhabit, if we are to avert the otherwise certain loss of the cheetah forever.”

    That’s going to take a lot of resources. The CCF is already providing incentives to farmers, such as guard dogs, that reduce the risk that cheetahs pose to herds, so that farmers won’t feel the need to kill cheetahs. But how does one incentivize people to keep cheetahs off the black market? People still want elephant ivory and rhino horns, despite efforts to prevent this. Increasing the size of the protected areas would help, but how does one accomplish that on a continent where the human population is growing by more than 2 per cent per year? People need that land.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Excellent points, Vatch. Spoke recently with a couple who traveled to South Africa and Namibia earlier this year and support wildlife conservation. They said there are only about 7,500 cheetahs left in the wild. They also said there is severe drought in Namibia, a very arid country anyway, and elephants are killed by cattle farmers there in an effort to conserve precious water supplies for cattle.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      Some years back I recall reading that there is an unusually low level of diversity within the cheetah species, and that this makes their situation especially precarious should an infectious disease emerge that strikes a genetic vulnerability.

  24. LT

    Re: Obama’s anti-propaganda fascist move…

    Who’s the fascist?
    Obama just made clear the Democratic Party’s position on “progressives” or “left.”

    While they are out of power, they will make sure the worst of the worst have all the tools they need to keep any movements from growing strong while the Democratic Party is weak.
    Their plan is to not fight for any economic justice and hope they can slide back into power on empty promises and half-measures.
    Phony Obama knows the Trump admin and conservative Congress will not enforce any of that anti-propaganda horseshit on any one but those protesting corporations or police.
    That is why any organizing needs to be against the Democratic Party. Let this crap bite them in the ass.
    Because the DC conservatives would let you have mad fun taking down the Democratic Party…which is the main obstacle to taking down the Republican Party.

  25. Quiet

    The article on the USSR from the National Interest is pretty bad. Counterfactuals are fun, but they have be coherent to work. There’s been plenty of research done on the USSR, using their archives, over the last couple of decades. Rather than consult that research, the author decided to rehash old tropes and dress it up with a chummy tone. I found the endless mentions of the “class of 38” to be especially grating, since the overwhelming success of the Red Army in WW2 is undeniable. The problems the USSR had after the war weren’t so much due to Stalin’s purges, but to their own ideological blinkers. Those blinkers would have existed with or without the purges. I find it amazing that someone who teaches at the Naval War College is completely unaware of things like that.

    1. Vatch

      The Red Army was very successful in WWII, but only after it had first been very unsuccessful. I suspect that the early failures were probably due more to Stalin’s inflexibility than to incompetence among the officers. Stalin wouldn’t allow his troops to retreat strategically, so they suffered catastrophic losses. Later, Hitler blundered by splitting his forces in southern Russia, with one group attacking the Stalingrad region, and another group assigned to the oil fields of the Caucasus. It’s very complex, and I don’t know whether the Germans could have captured the oil fields if they had ignored Stalingrad, but it was certainly possible. I could be wrong, but I suspect that the oil fields had far greater strategic value than the city of Stalingrad.

      Early in the National Interest article the author says this:

      Shortly after leading Bolshevik Sergei Kirov was gunned down (on Stalin’s secret orders) in Leningrad in 1934

      I’m not aware of any evidence that Stalin ordered the assassination of Kirov. Stalin had plenty of underhanded methods of purging people he didn’t like — why would he order a public assassination? That would just give dissidents the idea that it was possible to assassinate senior Soviet leaders, and I doubt that Stalin wanted that idea planted among the people.

  26. Portia


    The Dr. Frankenstein Award to the U.S. Air Force for zapping the brains of drone operators with electricity in order to improve their focus. The electrical stimulation was started after scientists discovered that feeding the pilots Provigil and Ritalin was a bad idea, because both drugs are highly addictive and Provigil can permanently damage sleep patterns.

    ! zapping is better!

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