Links 1/27/17

For our Francophone readers, if any, Canada Papers (which includes our Richard Smith’s international TV debut at 2:40).

This Dutch video on Trump has gone viral because, well, just watch it Mashable (Sherry). In case you missed it….

How Life (and Death) Spring From Disorder Quanta (David L)

“Reform” Isn’t the Answer for Everything Satyajit Das, Bloomberg. Lead piece in Bloomberg’s daily newsletter.

Prices of essential medicines cut by 30-50% The Economic Times, India (martha r)

Refugee Crisis

France prosecuting citizens for ‘crimes of solidarity’ Al Jazeera (Userfriendly)

Refugee brides: what should Germany do about its child marriage problem? Euronews (furzy)

Italy’s Five-Star Movement Suffers Electoral Blow Roubini Global Economics

How to handle political unrest caused by IMF policies!: CIA Files unbalanced evolution

UK court: Nigeria citizens cannot sue Shell for oil spill Jurist (J-LS) :-(


UK government publishes Brexit bill Politico

Labour in chaos: Tulip Siddiq resigns as Corbyn imposes whip barring MPs from blocking Article 50 Telegraph

Farms and factories ‘will compete for migrants’ after Brexit Financial Times

Greece refuses to extradite Turkish soldiers Politico


West sidelined to the bar in Russia-led Syria talks Financial Times

Johnson: Britain may accept Assad staying in power The Times. Funny how this is not being reported in the US….

The Syrian People Desperately Want Peace Tulsi Gabbard, AntiWar (YY)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: ‘Syrians tell me there are no moderate rebels’ YouTube (YY). How dare anyone official let that cat out of the bag?

Gabbard meeting with Assad draws disgust from fellow lawmakers The Hill (furzy)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

British Companies Are Using a Tracking Device That Monitors Their Workers’ Voices, Steps and Stress Levels Alternet

Trump Transition

EXPOSED: Docs Show Trump Quietly Killing Ethics Rule That Blocks Aides From Enriching Fmr Clients David Sirota, International Business Times

Donald Trump and Republicans Strain to Set Agenda Wall Street Journal

U.S. government scientists go ‘rogue’ in defiance of Trump Reuters (furzy)

Government Scientists at U.S. Climate Conference Terrified to Speak with the Press Intercept (martha r)

Trump’s Obsession with Faux Election Fraud Sets the Stage for Federal Voter Suppression Intercept (martha r). Story oddly omits overvote in 37 Detroit precincts…although that would not be fraud by voters, but by people manning those precincts.

Thousands flood Senate phone lines seeking to halt confirmation of DeVos Politico

Elon Musk: I’m Trump’s voice of reason BBC. Help me (martha r)

Trump: Military more important than balanced budget The Hill (Userfriendly). That’s actually how it works now although no one admits to it. There’s never been problem finding $1 billion for the next bombing run in the Middle East. But obviously not good news at all re Trump’s priorities.

Here’s how President Trump has it wrong on welfare CNBC (furzy)

White House Adviser Steve Bannon Says Media Should ‘Keep Its Mouth Shut’ Vice (resilc). The whole quote is a smidge less awful:

“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile,” Bannon said. “I want you to quote this: The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

Steve Bannon wants to turn the press into the new Hillary. New Republic (resilc)

Exclusive: Expecting Trump action, U.S. suspends refugee resettlement interviews Reuters (furzy)

These towns pushed for tough laws targeting undocumented immigrants. They all failed. Washington Post

Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: The Story of Jared Kushner’s Family, and Mine Nation (furzy)

Trump pressured Park Service to find proof for his claims about inauguration crowd Washington Post (furzy)

Mexico Grudge Match

U.S.-Mexico Rift Deepens Over Trade Threat, Canceled Meeting Wall Street Journal

White House Sows Confusion About Plan for a 20% Import Tax New York Times

President Trump Says Mexico Will Pay for the Wall. But His Tax Plan Means Americans Will Fortune

US Consumers to Pay for Wall: Trump Plans 20% Border Tax on Mexican Goods Michael Shedlock. EM: “Note the appreciable push-back in the comments with respect to the simplistic ‘this is bad for US consumers’ thesis.”

U.S.-Mexico crisis deepens as Trump aide floats border tax idea Reuters (furzy)

Is NAFTA Over? Atlantic (resilc)

AP source: Border Patrol chief says he’s been forced out Associated Press (furzy)

State’s federal lands may face new pressures from Washington VTDigger (martha r)


Senators’ ObamaCare replacement bills highlight GOP divide The Hill (Userfriendly)

Signs Democrats Are Rejecting The Gutter Politics Of David Brock & Peter Daou Liberal Values (Sherry)

Resistance To Donald Trump Won’t Come From Democrat Leaders, Glenn Greenwald Warns Inquisitur (martha r)

Bernie Sanders’ digital team offers a way for people to call the White House Mashable (Sherry)

Nuclear ‘Doomsday Clock’ ticks closest to midnight in 64 years Reuters (furzy)

Obama Legacy

Compromise doesn’t work with our political opponents. When will we learn? Chelsea Manning Guardian (martha r). Too charitable, but not hard to understand why.


The Trump DAPL-Keystone XL Pipeline Story No One Is Talking About Liberty Investor (furzy)

New McCarthyism

Post-truth politics will be debunked by online facts Simon Jenkins (J-LS).

CalPERS Siege Mentality – The Moat Is Full, the Drawbridge is Up LA CityWatch

Class Warfare

Stanford historian uncovers a grim correlation between violence and inequality over the millennia Stanford (David R)

Antidote du jour (Dr. Kevin):

cheerleading squirrel links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. joecostello

    Reform isn’t anything in Satyajit Das’ limited spectrum. The problems we face are the failure of the old order and as Das shows, the complete lack of imagination for anything new.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Das eventually wanders into the right conclusion (“Structural reforms are designed to improve the supply side of the economy…. but… supply isn’t the problem: Weak demand is.“) but only after treating the reader to a buffet of dumb orthodox economist assumptions.

      Dumb orthodox economist assumption #1
      : “nothing — neither massive fiscal stimulus, nor record-low rates, nor generous injections of liquidity by central banks — seems to be helping“.

      Actually the only country that tried massive fiscal stimulus is China– twice in fact, and both times it has spared them the fate of the US and Europe who opted for austerity instead.

      Dumb orthodox economist assumption #2: A wave of impressive reforms in the 1980s did rejuvenate the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand.

      Also known as the financialisation of these economies that has led to successive bubbles, each more destructive than the last. How can anyone after the Brexit/Trump elections still cling to the idea that deindustrialising these economies was a swell idea? Only on Planet Economist.

      Dumb orthodox economist assumption #3
      : “Any attempt to shrink social safety nets or reduce consumer and environmental protections elicits howls of protest”. Deregulation is a good in and of itself, so protesting against it is just a sign of being a uneducated irredemable deplorable. But as dear Douglas Adams would say, “It’s a bypass, and bypasses have to be built.”

      Dumb orthodox economist assumption #4: “Efforts to promote free trade and labor mobility clash with concerns about nationalism and border security.” Of course it’s easier to blame people for being closed minded with the epithet “nationalist” than it is to admit that your “free trade” policies decimated entire populations leading to an AIDS-level decline in life expectancy in the communities you de-indusrialised. But by all means, Das, cling to your guns and religion in the face of clear evidence to the contrary.

      1. Shh

        “Deregulation is a good in and of itself” I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic. Remember, most, if not all, regulation is in response to egregious misconduct. It would be better for all if sociopaths weren’t the most likely to “achieve success” in the simplistic sens of making the most money and sitting on the greatest number of Boards.

        If you want less regulation, then CEO’s and their cronies everywhere need to stop externalizing relevant social impacts of corporate actions.

        1. RabidGandhi

          Das assumes deregulation is a good in and of itself. The clear results of the deregulation he promotes– financial crises, worker precarisation, decline in median net worth– speak for themselves.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Some regulation is or becomes just an extension of business plans. The federal Toxic Substances Control Act is supposed to keep nasty stuff out of commerce. The most widely applied part of the act when I worked at EPA was the “protections” of submissions of technical information on the products the great public benefactors like Dow and duPont and of course Monsanto wanted the fig leaf of EPA sign-off to allow them to market their “blockbuster” new products behind the protection of federal pre-emotion. And equally important to the business interests, the information they submitted was exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and any release of the tech info submitted under claim of confidentiality by an EPA employee would subject to severe penalties, and the agency itself too. There’s a whole complex so-bureaucracy within EPA to control access to the corp submissions and track every piece of paper/data bit, to “reassure the submitter that no unauthorized use will be made of the submission.”

          All this is to make it harder for “competitions” to take advantage of the corp work product that si SUPPOSED to be generated to test the badness of any chemical before it gets put into commerce. And to shield the corps from prying eyes of citizen do-good era…

          To great fanfare, full of “bipartisanship, and all that,” TSCA was recently revised. Here’s one report on how that statute and the regulations adopted through the also-game-able administrative process operates:

          Toxic Substances Will Now Be Somewhat Regulated —
          How the first ever update to the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 finally came to pass—and what it lacks

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Das is wrong to assume that.

          Though, in some cases, deregulation is good in and of itself.

          Like, deregulate standardized testing and let teachers teach what they deem appropriate. Too much regulation here. Too much government.

          Also, we should deregulate the media so they don’t just report one single narrative. Here, the government regulates subtly, but one notices that every paper, every magazine and every channel always seems to say the same…through the black hand, no, the dark hand, OK, make that the invisible hand of consensus narrative regulation.

          1. JTMcPhee

            That “too much government” meme kind of papers over the real point, especially in the “education” area, which is the USE of “government power” by private interests to demolish what one might with trepidation call a public good. Keeping the Rhees and Voses of the world from “de-regulating” by privatizing, which is the plan they publicly own behind BS about “save the children and STEM and all that,” would seem to be a good thing.

            But of course it’s all complex — there are are these “liberal” educators with their credentials and meaningless but jargon-laden and compendious fresh theses in hand, who have to make their mark (not just administer and conduct governance) on the school system. Which itself is a vast complex of interests and thievery and fraud, with lots of sharp elbow being thrown to ensure that the incoming waves of fresh young minds get steeped in the enervating mythology and shibboleths, and of course appropriate subservience to the ruling elite.

            My first grade teacher, Mrs. Heaton, who had taught in Northbrook’s public schools for 40 years, was two years from retirement, in 1953. Some newly minted “educators” got into the school hierarchy and decreed that phonics was dead, that see-and-say was the new approach to reading, so “kat” was as correct a spelling as “cat.” She declined to adopt the New Curriculum, and taught my class of i think 26 kids as she had always done. I recall her giving extra attention and help to those of us who weren’t doing as well and of course I vaguely recall (maybe false memories) helping each other to sound out words and stuff. There was order in her classroom, but not regimentation. For her uppity-ness in refusing to adopt an ill-formed novelty, she was fired just a year ahead of being able to retire with pension. And there was no legal protection for her at all, at all…

            And there was a college of education, which I recall was much later subsumed into the edu-blob called Northwestern University, where some grads heard of this setup for comparison of pedagogy and started a linear study of Mrs. Heaton’s class of that year. Turns out we did a lot better scholastically in later years and on the various tests the “educators” cooked up. That “curriculum revision” might be seen as over-regulation, government intrusion, but “government” as in the School Board had once decreed that phonics and the “traditional” pedagogy Mrs. Heaton had worked out over decades was “the law.” But School Boards are one of the many pressure points that the Dark Side has been pressing on and dominating (over the gentle remonstrations of ‘liberals’, or with their active connivance) over generations.

            On the other hand, who cares any more? There does not seem to be the collective intelligence or desire to force a fix of any of the stuff that’s killing the species and a lot of the planet. So by all means, let us wave the flag of “deregulation” and “too much government,” because that’s an easy meme to sell and apply…

            1. MyLessThanPrmeBeef

              As you say rightly, it’s all complex. We should not take the one case of too much government and think it’s all like that….all complex.

          2. Binky

            The Fairness Doctrine was the regulation-it’s been gone a long time. Ownership of the press is the law now, and that’s why there is one position with a thousand apologists.

      2. I Have Strange Dreams

        Let’s not forget that Americans consistently voted for neoliberal policies while supporting a military that rampaged around the globe bringing death, mayhem and misery to millions. Now, the time has come to reap the whirlwind.

        1. UserFriendly

          Americans were consistently duped by the 24/7 propaganda of TPTB to vote for neoliberals.
          Fixed that for you.

          1. nowhere

            So they have no moral obligation to investigate the neocons for themselves? It was pretty easy to do as far back as 2003.

            1. AnnieB

              Indeed. There is no excuse for denial and looking the other way, believing our government’s constant harping on the “terrorist threat” as a justification for empire war mongering. A small amount of effort, reading the alternative and foreign press would instill a healthy amount of skepticism.

              1. UserFriendly

                Seeing as how I’m currently reading Upton Sinclair’s The Brass Check, I am slightly more charitable to the average citizen who is being exposed to mass media treachery. There are surely some that are very culpable and they don’t deserve pity, but many think they are doing the right thing while having their head filled will a non stop barrage of lies.

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Indeed, just like German citizens in 1943 who ignored the awful smell coming from that new camp in the woods outside town, we are rightly and universally scornful of them because we know that feigned or lazy ignorance equals complicity. If you’re happy that your billions in tax dollars were used to blow the arms off an impoverished five-year old in the Yemeni desert then I’m sure you were quite happy with Obama, who more than tripled US drone strikes. Maybe you’d take a quick moment to ask: what kind of a person am I? And what kind of a nation are we?

          2. Waldenpond

            Why are some immune to being propagandized into slaughtering others for billionaire war profits? It isn’t propaganda that kept liberals and progressives silent on Os drones leaving people missing limbs.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Although I felt he understated the roles of both public and private sector debt growth, I appreciated Das’ brief review of the history and likely failure of “structural reform” policies, particularly his concluding paragraph in which he alluded to the likely implications if that path is pursued. Economist Stephanie Kelton recently observed that U.S. government deficits have barely been sufficient to keep the private sector in surplus. Seems to me that increased federal deficit spending would help increase demand for products and services, and that further austerity, such as that being touted by some members of Congress, would be very counterproductive.

      1. Procopius

        Ah, but they don’t see it that way. Therefore, while the Republicans hold all the power they very likely will blow up the deficit, drowning out the screams of their deficit scolds, and as soon as they can they will blame the Democrat President for the huge national debt (which actually represents bonds held as investments by really, really rich dudes and dudesses).

  2. LT

    re: Child brides…German refugees…

    What do I think? Would anybody be asking if child protection laws should be changed if some refugees came from countries that had legalized little boys being sold off to grown men in the name marriage or anything else?

      1. UserFriendly

        Not to be on the side of pediophila, but that says more about homophobia than anything else.

        1. LT

          Not really. A little boy being sold off to a man, wothout choice in the matter, has nothing to do with homosexuality.
          He would be having a sexuality forced upon him. For all we know many of the young girls being sold off to men would rather be with women but they’ll never get to make that choice

        2. LT

          Nothing reaks of homophobia like a forced hetero marriage. What if some of the young girls turn forced into these marriages would rather be in a same sex relationship?
          Wanting to have sex with an adult and wanting to have sex with a child are two different things.

          It also has to do with the more ingrained belief that men should control their own destiny.

          1. UserFriendly

            Are you kidding? So someone seeing nothing wrong with the hetero exploitation of children but having it become immediately apparent when it’s homo exploitation does not ring of homophobia?

    1. cocomaan

      As usual, this is why I love Zizek despite some of his problems. He wrote about Europe having to confront a radically different culture and doubted whether it was ready to do so:

      “I never liked this humanitarian approach that if you really talk with them you discover we are all the same people,” he explains. “No, we are not—we have fundamental differences, and true solidarity is in spite of all these differences.” Understanding, and accepting, that there cultural divides between Europeans and those who are seeking refuge in Europe, the philosopher says, is fundamental for true acceptance.

      This is why he refers to refugees as “neighbors.” “In Christianity,” he explains, “the neighbor is not a fellow man, one who is like us—the neighbor is precisely someone who you think is close to you, and then does something unexpected and then you tell yourself ‘my God I didn’t know this person at all.’”

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The book “The French Intifada” covers the very long history of Europe confronting and interacting with Muslims and Jews, in 1830 the French decided they wanted to own Algeria so they sent the French Navy to bombard Algiers…and they also sent luxury cruise boats so elites could watch the bombardment as a kind of diner avec spectacle. The Congreve rockets were like a kind of fireworks show, with the dandies and the ladies applauding any particularly effective obliterations of the citizenry below. And a sure way to get elected as a minister in Paris was to demonstrate your bona fides as a true hardcore racist or anti-Semite.

        1. Procopius

          I never really grasped the depth of it until I read the chapter(s?) describing the Dreyfus Affair in Barbara Tuchman’s wonderful “The Proud Tower.”

    2. OIFVet

      Germany and the EU couldn’t care less about child brides being bought and sold like cattle. I know, because that’s a pervasive problem among the Gypsy populations of Bulgaria and Romania, but the EU with Germany at the helm has done nothing to confront the problem. Instead, they let these two countries join 10 years ago. Needed the cheap labor and the new markets, you see…

    3. cm

      I love the German respect for law:

      City authorities took a 14-year-old Syrian girl into care, splitting her up from her 21-year-old cousin and husband.

      The husband, also Syrian, appealed and initially lost the case. But the court in Bamberg said the case should be judged according to the country of origin, Syria, making the union legitimate. The case has been appealed to the federal court.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …and in other news, the NRA announced that states that ban concealed-carry would have to allow citizens of other states who hold CC licenses or certificates to bring their guns anywhere they like. The NRA is drawing a bead on making open carry legal, everywhere, and silencers (seen widely on suspense TV as tools of assassins) are now more freely available (without the $300 fee that used to be sought, haw haw) as “hearing protectors.”

        Not sure how they protect one’s hearing if one happens to have one’s ear in the crosshairs or sight picture of some fellow American with a nice silenced .308 or at closer range, a cute little .380 or 9mm..

        1. Felix_47

          Here in Germany the state maintains a monopoly on lethal violence. No one can have a weapon or ammunition except under very strict exceptions. The recent and continuing immigration of several million (over the last four years) “Syrians” from the entire Arab world has triggered a massive increase in the purchase, by women, of “Schreckwaffen” which look like pistols but are air guns that can shoot a small amount of tear gas. With a license on can buy these but nothing more lethal. My wife, born in Germany but who spent many years in the US as well, will no longer use public transport. She will no longer go downtown or go to the church she was baptized in (downtown). She does not take the train anymore. It is ride in the SUV to the mall and I drive her to the airport. One of our relatives works in the immigration office as an armed guard. He warns her and the rest of the family to follow those rules. I saw an interview with a young Arab “Syrian” and he was explaining his view of the Cologne assaults and his viewpoint was interesting. He felt that the failure of Western men to defend their women and exact revenge showed that they were undeserving of their women. In his country, he pointed out, the fathers and brothers had a responsibility to kill the perpetrators. I only know Iraq and Afghanistan and there they don’t worry about concealed carry. Everyone has an AK47. If I rape or assault some Pashtun farmer’s daughter I better get out of town or prepare to die. My wife thinks that maybe if a few German women packed a 1911 in their handbags and made a few of the young fighting age sexually repressed Muslim men examples, the rape and assault incidence would decrease. She is a pacifist and she wants one!!!! She doubts they would be acting like this in Texas. So maybe the idea of a concealed carry license being valid worldwide might someday make sense. Given current population growth and cultural development the day may be coming sooner than we think. And I find the gun culture in the US outrageous but maybe there is something to it.

          1. Procopius

            Ownership of weapons and ammunition by civilians was much less regulated under the Nazis. Hitler rescinded many of the restrictions imposed under the Weimar government. Funny, that.

          2. Eclair

            Wow! This advice sounds exactly like the warnings I received from my neighbors in Long Beach, CA, when I moved there in 1985. They were appalled that I was working in downtown Los Angeles, a city that most of them had never visited (20 miles away!)

            LA, according to them, was filled with Black people and brown immigrants and , as a white women, I should lock my car doors and never ever wander about on the streets. Naive and trusting soul that I was, I happily took the bus, wandered through LA’s ethnic enclaves in search of cool restaurants, rode the new Long Beach to LA light rail when it opened (and wondered why I was the only white women), and for two memorable years, biked to work, 20 miles each way, through ‘no go’ sections of north Long Beach and the fringes of Compton.

            Of course, I wielded a mean bicycle pump and have been known to hurl my water bottle at pesky dogs, but I never had a problem with humans, except for the cop who gave me a ticket because I didn’t put my foot down at a stop sign while bicycling.

  3. LT

    Elon Musk is Trump’s voice of reason?
    The guy who just had a really bad traffic day and decided to send his minions off to investigate plans for digging a tunnel under LA so that he can avoid traffic?

    I live in LA. Try building elevated rail to ease traffic, like car pool lanes converted to ra lanes.

    1. Steve C

      More roads. Just what LA or any other city needs to reduce traffic. It will work this time, even though every other time it just stimulated more traffic. Musk just wants to sell more cars or grift off the construction money.

      Maybe the tunnel will be for use only by oligarchs.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        You’re right actually — IIRC the tunnel is only supposed to be for Tesla employees to reach their parking lot.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Maybe the tunnel will be for use only by oligarchs.

        Like those settler-only roads that Israel has built in the West Bank — no dogs or Arabs allowed.

        And we helped! :-) /sarc

      3. JTMcPhee

        One might un-Christianly hope that Musk and his minions might be running through the tunnel when “the earth shakes under his feet” and crushes him to bloody pulp… but I guess he knows the odds, and maybe he has a sensor network that will tell him when it is ‘safe’ to zip through…

  4. Leigh

    Today’s Headlines; Tower of Babel Edition…

    Per CNN:
    “Trump administration asks top State Department officials to leave.”

    Per Wapo:
    “The State Department’s entire senior administrative team just resigned”

    1. Steve C

      According to Michael Tracey it was just the politicals. If this is a scandal they’ve all been guilty of it.

    2. Optimader

      They all recieved VIP essential professional tickets for evacuation on the first spaceship to the new planet

    3. Hana M.

      This is helpful on the State Dept. changes:

      Not all appointees are really “political” in the sense of having a policy slant in their official lives. Many are career Civil Servants or Foreign Service Officers who have served under both the Bush and Obama Administrations.

      As soon as a President is elected, a transition team for each agency is in place making decisions about hiring and succession for available appointee positions and working with an “outgoing” transition team from the soon-to-be previous administration. President Trump is no different. There has been a transition team in place vetting candidates for at least three months. And of the appointees who were asked to stay, Ambassador Tom Shannon, the Undersecretary for Political Affairs and now the acting Secretary of State (and full disclosure, my former boss for a brief time) is one of the best career officers in the history of the building.

      Now we get to the variables still in the air, even from those on the inside:

      When an appointee — Foreign Service, Civil Service or another hiring authority — comes in, as mentioned earlier, he/she serves at the pleasure of the President. Once an administration changes hands, that appointee should be expected to leave. Not drag out his/her stay. Some have become expert in “burrowing in” — getting jobs flipped to Civil Service, for example. Some, when they submit their resignations, are asked to stay on to facilitate transition. Sometimes this has been for months, or longer, if a replacement has not been confirmed. Some are career officers (Civil or Foreign Service) who are assigned to other jobs. For too long though, this resignation letter was seen as a “courtesy” or “pro forma” given the circumstances above. However, in the real world, particularly in sensitive or upper-level positions, the person resigning is out the door sometimes even within minutes or hours of submitting a resignation. It seems that at least a good chunk of outrage from yesterday is coming from the fact that submitted resignations were immediately accepted, rather than being a formality.

      Not every departure is unwelcome. Some of these leaders have perpetrated a questionable culture at State, where whistleblowers on issues like financial mismanagement or sexual harassment are silenced or intimidated, staff are abused with no repercussions for the bullies in question (in fact, many got promoted) and policy decision-making was reactionary rather than strategic. Management in particular was a weak link, driven in part by the lack of interest by Obama Administration Secretaries of State in morale and the nuts-and-bolts of federal bureaucracy, which consolidated power among a few individuals. It is no accident that one of the best-loved Secretaries of State — Secretary Powell — was adored because as a military man, he understood both the importance of morale and had considerable bottom-up experience dealing with the Byzantine maze that is State process and procedure. It is not inconceivable that at least one or two of those leaving this week were, ahem, strongly encouraged to do so.

  5. Steve C

    Jesse Jackson and Bill Richardson used to do this kind of thing and mostly got good press. Twitter was full of Clintonite hate for Gabbard yesterday.

    1. John k

      Maybe we’ll get to a point that clintonite hate will be a plus.
      Certainly clintonites are four square behind regime change, along with many most reps…
      But will raise her in progressive anti war eyes.

    1. Clive

      Yeah, like Assad to “permit” the Queen to remain the Head of State. Where exactly was Boris born again? Fraggle Rock?

    2. Antifa

      It’s not about Assad. There are dozens of persons in the Syrian government who could assume his office, should it become necessary.

      What Boris is hinting at is the plain fact that there will be no regime change in Syria at the behest of Western powers, or Israeli wishes, or the House of Saud’s desires. Russia will not permit Syria to dissolve into destructive chaos, ripe for takeover or the redrawing of borders. That’s a red line for Moscow, and will remain so.

      Who really thinks Russia will give up a warm water port on the Mediterranean, let NATO and America park “defensive” missiles in Syria, and surrender Russian control of oil and gas pipelines running through Syria into Europe?

      That’s as likely as the USA giving the Louisiana Purchase back to France.

      1. optimader

        Russia will not permit Syria to dissolve into destructive chaos

        Well, that particular cow is out of the barn. FIle with: Syrian refugee’s in Germany

      2. alex morfesis

        Assad doesn’t make it to christmas…when everyone who wanted you out suddenly insist you can stay…historically not a good sign…

        assad needs to either start packing or double up on his food tasters…

        the deal has been made…russia, iran and turkey have carved up syria economically…

        “Facade” gets to stay “fearless leader” & see his posters everywhere but sooner rather than later, he will find himself the “sad” victim of some tragic accident…

        He has lasted since his minions are a minority in the country they were appointed to…his sell by date is long gone…he gave up much to stay “in power”…his sally fields act has run its course…

        1. witters

          The ellipsis thing. It doesn’t help me. What is it for? What is missing? If it is important, then why isn’t it there? And if it is not important, why mark its absence?

  6. megamie

    Stanford historian uncovers a grim correlation between violence and inequality over the millennia
    May I recommend this book:
    Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Countless historians have grappled with these questions, but few have come up with answers as original and insightful as those of maverick German historian Götz Aly. Tracing the prehistory of the Holocaust from the 1800s to the Nazis’ assumption of power in 1933, Aly shows that German anti-Semitism was―to a previously overlooked extent―driven in large part by material concerns, not racist ideology or religious animosity. As Germany made its way through the upheaval of the Industrial Revolution, the difficulties of the lethargic, economically backward German majority stood in marked contrast to the social and economic success of the agile Jewish minority. This success aroused envy and fear among the Gentile population, creating fertile ground for murderous Nazi politics.

    Surprisingly, and controversially, Aly shows that the roots of the Holocaust are deeply intertwined with German efforts to create greater social equality. Redistributing wealth from the well-off to the less fortunate was in many respects a laudable goal, particularly at a time when many lived in poverty. But as the notion of material equality took over the public imagination, the skilled, well-educated Jewish population came to be seen as having more than its fair share. Aly’s account of this fatal social dynamic opens up a new vantage point on the greatest crime in history and is sure to prompt heated debate for years to come.

    1. hidflect

      I don’t think the truth of that period can, or will, ever be told. Stories of German soldiers returning from WWI to find themselves swindled out of their homes will be dismissed as the unpalatable ramblings of the web page StormFront or similar.

      1. Antifa

        So true.

        The German people rebuilt the Western half of their country (with help) after WWII, and there followed decades of quite purposefully not examining or speaking of the war years. You can hear and read so much more about what went on nowadays, as compared to right afterwards, and during the entire Cold War.

        Meanwhile, the Russian people have never ignored the full horrors of the Great Patriotic War; they celebrate it and grieve over it to this day. Its lingering influence shows in their determination to never again let an enemy draw near, nor to let them strike first.

        Western leaders who insist on provoking the Russians by encircling them, enforcing economic sanctions, and threatening to park ballistic missiles two minutes from Moscow should not be surprised if Russia shoots first.

    2. David

      Don’t know the book, but it’s important to realize that hard-core anti-semitism was pretty restricted in Germany, and embraced largely by the extreme right-wing fringe (including the Nazis – 2.8% of the vote in 1928). Even under the Nazis, anti-semitism was not a popular cause. Anti-semitism was not even particularly German, the lurid myths about Zionist World Conspiracies were found in many countries, and seem, if I remember correctly, to have been popularized by an Englishman, HS Chamberlain. And even the Nazis didn’t know what they wanted to do with the small Jewish population of the country. They wound up mostly forcing them into exile (about 70% had gone by 1939).The actual hotbeds of anti-semitism at the time were Poland, the Baltic states and parts of the Balkans and Russia, which is why they contributed so enthusiastically to the Waffen SS and murdered their own Jewish populations with such gusto. The “greatest crime in history” was actually overwhelmingly perpetrated against non-German Jews, and the majority of the actual perpetrators were probably not German either. Incidentally, Daniel Goldhagen, a sociologist, made the same basic argument twenty-odd years ago, and was shut up very effectively by professional historians.

      1. Outis Philalithopoulos

        Goldhagen says the opposite of what you claim. From “Hitler’s Willing Executioners”:

        [We must] abandon the assumption that, by and large, Germans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were not anti-Semitic.
        […] It is […] incontestable that the fundamentals of Nazi anti-Semitism […] had deep roots in Germany, was part of the cultural cognitive model of German society, and was integral to German political culture. It is incontestable that racial anti-Semitism was the salient form of anti-Semitism in Germany and that it was broadly part of the public conversation of German society. It is incontestable that it had enormously wide and solid institutional and political support in Germany at various times.

        The part of your statement that is true is that despite becoming a bestseller and receiving a warm review in the NYT Review of Books, Goldhagen’s book was and is poorly regarded among professional historians.

        1. PhilM

          And the reasons for that are all right there in the selected quotation, which in addition to being meaningless from the get-go, actually offers its very own warning label three times. “It is incontestable….” tops the list (handed out in History 101) of clues for “you should ignore what is about to be said as vapid propaganda”; just above “It is written,” “It is well known,” and “there is broad consensus.”

          1. robnume

            One of my personal favorites: “…so, based on this ‘set of facts’ one can conclude that…”

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think alot of Jew-Hate DNA can be traced back to the forbidding of usury by Christians, leaving the Jews as the money-lenders. One commenter traced the beginning of England’s rise as a financial powerhouse to Henry VIII’s divorce, when they freed themselves from Rome’s prohibition on the charging of interest.
          Nobody likes the guy they owe money to, pretty simple.

        3. Optimader

          The contemporary popular narrative removes the Zionist from the culpability list of those that are directly responsible for the deaths of German, and later European Jews.
          The material i linked is historical documentation of that fact, wether or not it is postable here ( seems like it isnt)
          It is a neccesary element for understanding German history.
          It is what it is

          1. Outis Philalithopoulos

            You didn’t send a version with links, you sent a version with really, really long verbatim quotes. That sort of thing is unlikely to get posted.

            1. Optimader

              As I pointed out the source link has not posted in the past.
              Certainly the word count of the post was not extraordinary, by this blogs standards, and the link is easily found with a word string search in a web browser.

              – I do continue to find the history and behavior of the founding Zionists to be a facinating aspect of the 1930-1940 political history and the consequential effects and dynamics remains acutely relevant and little understood/acknowledged today.

              -In anycase, c’est la vie, this is not my blog, and posting comments in the peanut gallery is purely recreational for me.
              Therefore, if this sort of historical information is an editorial cut out, that is entirely The Manegments prerogative, but it seems inconsistent to frame it as an overly long verbatim post!

              1. Outis Philalithopoulos


                We do exercise editorial discretion but it’s still true that a post without long verbatim quotes is, everything else being equal, more likely to be published than one with. What I would recommend in a case like this is trying to post the comment containing links and then email me ( if Skynet eats it.

                Fwiw, the link you sent me did not get eaten by Skynet, so it doesn’t always happen. Also, if you email me, I can give you some further thoughts on the general issues at stake.

      2. Ruben

        I think it was in Ian Kershaw’s Hubris that I read that in a moment of lucidity and sincerity Hitler told an audience of people in a party that every revolution needs an internal enemy, and the Jews fitted the job description perfectly. So it was planned as a feature of the drive of the Nazis to take power in Germany.

      3. Dave

        You forgot the Ukrainians where served as camp guards with gusto.
        I wonder why the people from this region were so particularly pro Nazi and anti Communist?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Eastern Europe ethnicity is complicated. My dad’s mother would call herself “Polish” despite living no where near Poland on any map because the family used Slavic language but Catholic. I think an element is a reaction to the modern world and copying the arrangements of the nation states of France and the UK. What was the home village like? Jews, Orthodox, Catholics, slavs, and Germans lived all over the region, and they were not unified but parts of empires in Vienna, St Petersburg, and even Helsinki

          It sounds trite, but I believe people wanted to fit into a seemingly rapidly changing world. Bismark’s new Germany had reshaped the bickering German states into a power that had smashed Napoleon III, the emperor’s nephew, and led to a military alliance between the Czar and Paris. A good portion wanted to be with the “Kool kids” and not much more. It’s fairly similar to Eastern Europe today. The Ukranians tried to replicate Bismarck’s Prussian resolve as presented by the media of the day.

          Then you add the parts of human nature as noted by the Stanford Prison experiment, and you get the Ukrainians. Germany was still new. France and the UK were old. Italy was way too Catholic. The U.S. was too distant.

      4. ilpalazzo

        The actual hotbeds of anti-semitism at the time were Poland, the Baltic states and parts of the Balkans and Russia, which is why they contributed so enthusiastically to the Waffen SS and murdered their own Jewish populations with such gusto. The “greatest crime in history” was actually overwhelmingly perpetrated against non-German Jews, and the majority of the actual perpetrators were probably not German either.

        This is so wrong I don’t even know where to start.

        While this is true that some of Baltic states’ people welcomed Nazis as protectors against Commies and collaborated with them, it absolutely can’t be said about Poles. True Poland was quasi authoritarian military state in the thirties, population had anti semitic sentiments, there were pogroms, pew-ghettos at the universities where jewish students were forced to sit at the back of lecture halls and all that but to claim that the Holocaust was done not by Germans is complete bonkers.

        It is worth noting that before WW2 Poland hosted the biggest Jewish population in the world – 3.5 mln people that is 10% of the poluplation.

        (This is why up to the nineties majority of Kneset members were fluent polish speakers. There was a joke told by Israel ambassador to Poland Shevah Weiss: in Poland, people say they are being ruled by Jews. In Israel, people say they are being ruled by Poles. This is not the case anymore)

        There were no substantial cases of Polish people massively collaborating with Nazis nor were they allowed to (like for example forming polish Waffen SS units – never happened). Over six million Poles were killed during WW2 including 3.5 million during planned exterminaition.

        To claim that scientifically planned extermination operation that was Holocaust was not carried out by Nazis just doesn’t fit in my polish head. Please refrain from this kind of speculation because it is sensitive subject for some readers and just plain out alternative fact.

        1. David

          It is sensitive, and of course you are right that there were no Polish SS units. There was a Galician SS Division, but as far as I know there were few if any Poles in it.
          My point is precisely that we should stop trying to indict whole nations for these activities, when in all European countries exterminatory anti-semitism (as opposed to racial prejudice) was largely confined to extremist minorities. Popular anti-semitic prejudice was a stronger force in some countries than others. In Poland it was quite strong.
          Nobody would suggest that the Nazis were not responsible for the Holocaust and I don’t think any serious historian would entertain such an idea for a minute. But the extermination camps in Poland, built as part of Aktion Reinhardi n 1942 were built and operated in great secrecy, and very few people were involved or even knew about them. Estimates are that there were perhaps 100-150 Germans at each camp, with a much greater number of local recruited militia, prisoners of war and others. Countries, Germany or any other, are not collectively guilty of things.

          1. ilpalazzo

            Estimates are that there were perhaps 100-150 Germans at each camp, with a much greater number of local recruited militia, prisoners of war and others. Countries, Germany or any other, are not collectively guilty of things.

            Still not true, especially the last sentence is a revisionist non truth. Extermination of Jews was a Nazi State policy period. I can’t believe I have to argue this. Your claims are outrageous to be honest.

            On second thought, I kinda understand what’s your point but as long as we assume that a State is an identity representing people there’s no way to claim Germany is not to blame. Germany is of German people. It is true that the lowest ranks of concentration camps functionaries were drafted from among the prisoners but this changes nothing. They were understood to be dead meat.

    3. Lord Koos

      A similar thing happens in parts of Asia, where better-educated Chinese immigrants often do better economically than the native population… this is often accompanied by much resentment and racist scapegoating, sometimes resulting in violent attempts to purge them from the community. Nothing on the scale of Nazi Germany, but not all that different. Indonesia in 1965 and 1998 are good examples but similar conditions exist in Thailand, Malaysia and elsewhere.

      1. Larry Y

        Vast oversimplification and plays into the “model minority” nonsense, especially since the Chinese immigration came hand-in-hand with Western colonialism. The education is a byproduct of wealth, which the ethnic Chinese did have advantages in due to guanxi and other trade connections.

        And this narrative leaves out the coolie labor (as opposed to the merchant and trades).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          (Many) Chinese immigrants came hand-in-hand with Western colonialism.

          I say ‘many,’ (instead of the implied ‘all’) because when admiral Zheng He visited various ports in Asia, there were already Chinese living there.

          He (as in, not she, rather than He of admiral He), of course, discovered America before Columbus. So, it predates Western colonialism in that part of Asia.

    4. inhibi

      Gotta read the book.

      Find money to be somewhat like matter: the larger the amount the more attractive the force. So once inequality of certain scales is established, it simply grows and grows until war, disease, and other tumultuous events upturns society.

      Sickening how society allows individuals to make 10,000x the amount of the average family. I’m very much against socialism, but I feel as though limits will have to be put into place on individuals. Afterall, we live in a limited world with an ever growing population.

    5. Felix_47

      Hannah Arendt discusses this as well. She quotes a saying “Deutscher Hengst……Judische Stute” (German Stallion….Jewish Mare). Many German aristocrats who needed money to take care of their holdings married Jewish women in part because of the finances of the father in law

  7. funemployed

    Hmmm. Tulsi Gabbard 2020 on a third party ticket, or grassroots Bernie style within the Dems? Curious if anyone here has thoughts.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Is she tough enough? They will search for any available dirt on her, slander, libel, say words she never heard in the bible, etc.

      1. cocomaan

        Just to be clear, your concerns appear to be about alleged cult connections that look an awful lot like pizzagate to me, along with an article from the Daily Beast that says she doesn’t tow the Democrat line on things like gun control.

        1. UserFriendly

          To be clear, my concerns are that these issues are out there without an explanation. These would be exploited to no end in a presidential run, not that I really care much about the religion.

      2. funemployed

        Thanks for the links. Helpful info. I give her a pass on the family stuff. Some parents support their kid regardless of ideology. The terrorism paranoia and connections to the wealthy do give me considerable pause though.

        Does sort of seem like her “questionable” positions, whatever I might personally think, probably make her more, rather than less appealing to the segment of the American electorate the democrats have been gleefully throwing under the bus for decades. If she is a cynical opportunist, she seems like a more forward looking one than most of the rest of the Dems at least.

    2. The Trumpening

      Steve Bannon has big plans for Tulsi within the Trump Administration. What, when, and how have not been decided yet although no doubt it will involve foreign policy But it is critical to Bannon to push the idea of the end of the left/right divide and Gabbard is the perfect vehicle for this.

      Tulsi Gabbard has absolutely no future with the Democrats and she knows it. She openly calls out NeoCons and that is 100% unacceptable to the dominate media. The Democrats still maintain the super-delegate system so between that and the media they will bury Tulsi if she runs for President in 2020.

      Third party runs are typically dead ends. But I suppose if enough progressives peal off in reaction to the Dems picking another NeoCon-lite as a candidate in 2020 it could leave a slight opening for Tulsi if it doesn’t work out for her with Trump

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Some commenters here have derided Gabbard as an “opportunist.”

      I’m not sure what else you’d call someone who seizes an opportunity when it is presented to him/her.

      I, personally, don’t consider it a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it should be obvious that plenty of americans are begging someone to do it. And that it badly needs to be done.

      Still say she’s one to watch.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        She’s a very interesting individual. She reminds me of people I’ve known who have come to left wing economic views via a circuitious route – often from very religious or socially conservative backgrounds. Because their opinions don’t fit into a neat box they can be hard to pin down and can end up being accused by purists of being a faux this or that. Of course, for a politician it can be advantageous to have a certain ambiguity in their views and background. Her support for Sanders showed genuine political courage so I’d give her lots of marks for that.

        The whole cult thing is an obvious attempt to spread dirt about her. There is no evidence that I know of that the guru she is associated with is in any way sinister, just one of many minor religions, no stranger than numerous off-shoots of catholicm or protestantism or whatever. I know a few practising Christians and Jews who follow Buddhist and Hindu gurus of one form or another out of spiritual interest.

        That said, she is a politician to her fingernails, coming from a political family. She could betray everyone, but you can pretty much say that about anybody. As always, watch what she does, not what she says.

        1. Uahsenaa

          People nowadays tend to forget that there is a strong progressive and in some cases socialist tendency among those who might otherwise be labeled religious conservatives, especially among Catholics. I met a nun once who was both stridently anti-abortion but at the same times also stridently pro-welfare, universal healthcare, and social services in general. Her point was that if you’re going to insist on someone being born, then you also have to make sure they’re taken care of. It was just ideologically consistent.

          What passes as “conservative Christian” these days, at least in the political sphere, is a massive contradiction: insisting on all the most draconian forms of social control while completely omitting that part about the rich man getting into Heaven.

          1. RabidGandhi

            +1 on that. I will never forget that in the 80s it was the protestant churches that led the way in the Latin American solidarity movement to counter US terrorism in Central America. The Republican poaching of the working classes who were ejected by the neoliberal Democrats formed a Republican/Church alliance that history will prove to be very short-lived.

            1. pretzelattack

              maryknoll nuns were front and center, and some gave their lives. michael harrington worked for a long time at a catholic charity iirc.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            Yes, its one thing that annoys me about the Identity Warrior brand of liberalism, and some strands of the left, that they insist you are have to tick all the boxes of certain beliefs to be considered a non-bigot. Coming from a catholic background I’ve known quite a few people like the nun you mention who were very progressive in politics but have some strongly conservative social beliefs (and also, it should be said, I’ve met socially very liberal people with very reactionary politics in other respects). But the one thing most of the people like that I’ve met have in common is that they are quite thoughtful and articulate about what others consider contradictions in their views – mostly because they’ve been forced to defend them – they can’t just fall back on tribal identity or groupthink.

            As an outsider to the US, I would say that progressives in the US have often been very poor at making allies with people who share some, but not all, their views. Successful politics is all about building coalitions, some differences always have to be acknowledged, then put to one side. This, I think, is one of the key reasons for Sanders surprising success last year. His narrow focus on specific economic issues allowed people who would not normally consider themselves as ‘left’ or ‘progressive’ to support him. Even if the movement moves on without Sanders, its a lesson that needs to be remembered.

            1. RabidGandhi

              Well the soi-disant progressives have done a smashing job building bridges with neo-cons like William Kristol, Evan McMullin, Robert Kagan and even the Rot That Is Henry Kissinger. But good luck trying to get them to share a stage with an anti-abortion pacifist nun crusading for medicare for all.

              1. pretzelattack

                i’m slightly curious what the kissingers and clintons talked about on their shared vacation(s).

        2. Darthbobber

          I think the “cult” thing relies on a general lack of understanding among Americans about the Vedantic religious stream generally. I think almost every organized trend within hinduism is a “minority” trend. Much as each specific stream within Zen is a “minority” trend. (without therefore being “heretical”.
          Minor doctrinal differences, or in some cases nothing more than differences in didactic METHOD by past teachers lead to a multiplicity of schools.
          And its also a very different thing for those actually of Indian background than for the American religious shoppers we came to identify with Hare Krishna back in the day.

        1. Portia

          you need to stop this accusatory Gabbard/Soros stuff without any credible documentation. hiding under a bridge somewhere?

        2. John k

          But she supported Bernie and he supported Clinton.
          I strongly favor a dishonest politician, one that takes big money to run but doesn’t pay back in office.
          Most pols far too honest.

          1. Waldenpond

            Republican coal plant owning oil interest billionaires bad. Shot of tequila!!
            Democrat coal plant owning oil interest billionaires good. Shot of rum!!!
            Tillerson One West bad. Shot of whiskey!!!
            Soros One West good. Shot of vodka!!!

  8. Ruben

    Class warfare. The violence and inequality correlation.
    “State collapse has also been crucial in the history of inequality. “The rich are beneficiaries of the state,” Scheidel said, adding that “if states fall apart, everybody is worse off; but the rich have more to lose. Their wealth is wiped out by the destruction of the state, such as in the fall of the Mayan civilization or Chinese dynasties.”
    Thar is why I have predicted that the next evolution of the State would involve the creation of many beautiful, fantastic walls inside cities -these walls will be so beaufitul- that will separate the affluent State people from a large majority of anarchists. Anarcho-capitalism will flourish outside the walls while a very efficient and technologically advanced form of State capitalism will carry the torch of science and progress inside the walls. All will be so great, really great, until of course the big rock from space lurking beyond Mars completes its deterministic trajectory by hitting Earth thus resetting evolution, humans are removed, complete losers by the way, and thus starts the beautiful march and rise of the squirrels.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Please build a wall around Manhattan and the Hamptons, it will keep the people who build the wall in while the sea levels rise 8 meters and cuts them off.

    1. Steve C

      Then the Bitterites blame Corbyn for not having control of his caucus. “I wouldna robbed those people if they hadna been standing there with that money in their pockets.”

      1. fosforos

        More bitter fruit from Corbyn’s feckless decision not to boycott the “advisory” Tory Referendum. And now “whipping” Labour into line behind May and Johnson. Can you imagine Nye Bevan doing that?

        1. JTMcPhee

          One asks, what the BEST outcome ought to be, for the political economy that is Britain. Maybe there’s an algo that can provide an answer, that integrates all the various inputs and potential outputs and measures them against what might produce survival of the species and some subsidiary reduction in pain and horror for the vast bulk of the peasantry and other lower orders.

          If that is any kind of outcome one might want from the political economy, that can produce so many different kinds of outcomes, along so many different vectors and axes, depending on what looks to a novitiate as a kind of vast rugby scrum…

        2. Christopher Rogers


          I think you’ll find that Jeremy Corbyn did boycott the Tory-sham Referendum by not joining any platform that contained Tories on it. Indeed, the Remain and Leave campaigns were led by Conservatives and both had New Labour input, whilst Corbyn went his own way and campaigned alone in an honest fashion – he also from day one of the Campaign stated he’d accept the vote whichever way it went. Of course, perhaps you are being a Revisionist, but the fact remains the Tories were elected in 2015 with a promise to hold a EU Referendum, one which should have been held in reality at the time of the Lisbon Treaty signing, which of course promises more ‘Union’, which means a greater push to a Federal Europe, which the UK did not elect to join in the Last EEC Referendum, we joined a Customs Union. As for Nye Bevan, well coming from his neck of the woods I can assure you Bevan would not be supportive of a neoliberal European Superstate, a contention backed-up by the fact that most of his fellow travellers on the Left of the Labour Party were opposed to the UK joining the EEC, among these being Tony Benn, Peter Shore and Barbara Castle – remember the 81 split was partially due to Labour’s outright opposition to the EEC under Michael Foot and an unwillingness to accept US tactical nuclear weapons on UK soil – Labour’s love-in with the EEC only really began from 1985 onwards and grew with Delors as Commission President – he was pushing a social Europe at the time, whilst Thatcher was deregulating everything, including workers rights. Further, the majority of Labour held Constituencies elected to Leave the EU, as did more than 2/3rds of all UK Constituencies – So Corbyn’s in a bit of a bind whatever he does, amplified by the MSM’s and Labour Bitterites desire to remove him as leader. For what its worth, we don’t see much discussion on Tory splits, despite the fact most Tory MPs were in the Remain camp!

  9. a different chris

    >This past November, physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists came together with evolutionary and molecular biologists to talk

    my emphasis, I quit reading at that point… should I have continued?

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Yes. The data sets in genomics and proteomics are too large to do without computer science. This was true 15 years ago when I was in the business, and it is probably even more true today.

    2. Praedor

      As a general rule, any vocation that includes “science” in its name is NOT actually a science. It’s a science wannabe. Political “science”, for instance.

      1. ewmayer

        So, e.g. the physical sciences and natural sciences are as fraudulent as computer science, which gave us the means to engage in this discussion? Good to know! /sarc

        1. craazyboy

          I think where people are getting confused here is Dogma is religion, not science. Science is the pursuit of these things. hahaha.

  10. cocomaan

    I wanted to link to a Rachael Maddow segment (sorry ahead of time), where she talks about the Russian FSB’s arrest of various spies in their cyberintel units:

    In my day, this would have been called conspiracy theory. I did some searching on the source articles about the FSB arrests and stumbled on a very similar narrative in a Radio Free Europe article, a government sponsored propaganda outfit.

    It’s been talked about here before, but the fact that what stands for the Left is engaged wholly with making sure that there is an intelligence coup of a democratically elected president is frightening. They do not understand what they are wishing for. I lived, briefly, and as a student studying Arabic, in a military dictatorship under martial law. It was not pretty. That is what we will get if we keep going down this path.

    1. hidflect

      Jimmy Dore, who is a committed progressive, has often called out Rachel Maddow and her $30K per show payout on Youtube. Neither her or her insufferable smirking is part of any left i identify with.

      1. UserFriendly

        Her rush to join the neocons this cycle is rather surprising to me, about a year ago she wrote a book called Drift. I haven’t read it but it is supposedly criticizing how congress let the power to declare war drift to the executive.

      1. AnnieB

        Needs to be repeated. Neoliberals of today are not the liberals of old and neither were or are the “Left.”

        1. cocomaan

          This discussion feels pedantic, or ventures into true scotsmen territory. Latching onto a term isn’t going to get us anywhere.

          Whether we like it or not, Maddow is what passes for the Left. We can call it neoliberalism or whatever we want, but the awful fact remains that she speaks for many, many people who consider themselves Leftist, and who others consider intolerably Leftist.

          1. OIFVet

            As long as we cede the use of the term to these neoliberals, true left policies will stink by this misplaced association and will not stand a chance with a population that gave the establishment “left” its extended middle finger last November. It is not about a ‘no true Scotsman’, it is about taking back what is ours, and what they seem to have taken for the express purpose of discrediting it. That’s my thinking on the matter.

          2. witters

            “Maddow is what passes for the Left.”
            Where? For whom? And why do these people – whoever they are, and wherever they are – determine what is ‘left’?

          3. makedoanmend

            “Whether we like it or not, Maddow is what passes for the Left. We can call it neoliberalism or whatever we want, but the awful fact remains that she speaks for many, many people who consider themselves Leftist, and who others consider intolerably Leftist.”

            Neoliberalism, such as the term conveys meaning, is the child of the Reagn/Thatcher era. Hardly icons of the Left. It is an economic program that is an anathema to the Left.

            It has been nurtured by such things a the UK “New Labour” under Blair and his credentilated career money seeking cadres.

            This murkied the waters but it hardly makes Corporatist market theology (neoliberalism) into Leftist viewpoints.

            Most humbly, I would suggest that what you hear is someone who might vaguely sound liberal and, for those who vehemently oppose liberalism, superimpose a voice onto the Left via this medium.

            If you want to hear what someone from the Left is actually saying, maybe it might be best to go to the sources of Leftist thought. One may not like what they say (and the Left is not monolithic in its utterances – the exact opposite), but you get to read the actual thoughts instead of superimposing thoughts and ideas onto others via some intermediary who is not of the Left.

            1. jawbone

              Sometimes I think the term “neoliberal” was chosen to cause confusion in those on the left who are not deeply into investigating each and every term or name for a political group.

              I would encourage lefty pols to explain in some way the differences. Growing up, “liberal” was almost always considered a good thing and included those who worked for more economic equality, more social liberty, etc.

              Now? It takes some deep digging to know what a liberal or neoliberal actually stands for.

              This is clearly beneficial to the Neocons, Neolibs, liberals who prefer to support the Powers That Be and Big Bidness. During election seasons, the Neolibs and Libs often talk of ideas from liberals of the mid-mid 20th century in order to fool the voters, but have no intention of every enacting any of those type of programs.

              Any suggestions on how to help people disentangle these terms? Get the media to be more honest about using these terms?

    2. A

      If Russia interfered in our elections, then he is not a democratically elected president.
      Trump’s presidency is much more dangerous, as should already be clear, than whatever fallout happens from the Russia story coming fully to the surface.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Oooh, oooh, you can’t talk about, much less criticize, the Israelites! They are our staunchest democratically governed allies EVah! And many of them, after all, hold dual US-Israeli citizenship, so the First Amendment clearly lets them do whatever they want to take part in the hurly-burly of US Democracy!

      1. cocomaan

        The intelligence community could have evidence of a number of countries interfering in our elections all the way back to FDR. That would be secret. So is the proof of Russian interference.

        I could also say that the government has evidence that Martians influenced the election and we’d have more or less the same amount of proof that it happened.

      2. KurtisMayfield

        Please describe how exactly the Russians “interfered” with the election so that the US did not have a democratic election. And releasing information that is true is not interference.

        1. Praedor

          Well, assuming they hacked the DNC (absolutely NO proof whatsoever but go with me on this), they “rigged” our election by allowing the voter to see the TRUTH. To read what DNC/Democrap apparatchiks ACTUALLY WROTE. By giving us the TRUTH, they rigged the election.


      3. Darthbobber

        So if this were resolved by tanks rolling through the streets of Washington, and a consortium of “responsible” brass took over “in defense of democracy”, you’d pretty much be down with that?

      4. witters

        ‘Interfered in’ – what on earth does that mean? Is it like when my power drill makes the television picture go weird?

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      That was Maddow at her raving best/worst. If she turns out to be right, more power to her. But if this turns out to be another head fake, I wonder if she will apologize with the same fervor she worked up last night. Actually, I don’t.

  11. Carolinian

    Bannon: media = the opposition party. That’s hyperbole of course but hard to deny that the WaPo and Times are in full oppo mode and they often set the agenda for the others. And it’s hardly new as Clinton got the same treatment in the early days (Travelgate etc) and the press was quite hostile to Carter. Bush and McCain on the other hand befriended reporters and received often fawning treatment.

    Hard to see where this is going but it’s likely the public will become increasingly disgusted at a food fight between a news media owned by billionaires and a federal government also run by billionaires.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Opposition courtiers is more like it. Their queen in waiting didn’t get the top spot, and media personalities and execs didn’t get the promised promotions or exclusives.

      The media is amused by Trump not having positions filled but has no problems with the views of his appointments.

    2. Anne

      One of the differences is that Trump is, to be blunt, nuts. How else to describe someone who continues to insist on things that are demonstrably, and verifiably false?

      The other thing at work here is that Trump is trying to gaslight the media to completely discredit them – how many times has he blamed them for reporting facts that he wants to insist are lies? That we can see with our own eyes are not true? Massive voter fraud? No, that didn’t happen. But he can’t stand that he lost the popular vote; you can tell that it enrages him. Problem is that the so-called investigation is going to be the tool for more voter suppression.

      Bottom line is that his is the only voice he wants people to listen to – even Steve Bannon, who makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck, is now out there telling the media to STFU.

      This does not sound like democracy to me.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “Continues to insist on things that are demonstrably false,” like yellocake and aluminum tubes and WMD and “we are not arming terrorists and had nothing to do with the formation of ISIS” and “Israel and Saudi Arabia are our friends” and “pouring money into the MIC and FIRE buys us security and a healthy political economy” and “America is a Democracy…” Stuff like that, and so much more?

        1. Anne

          I am talking about things that people like you and I can see with our own eyes, or hear with our own ears.

          I am well aware that the media failed us with respect to the things you list in your comment, and because we, the people, had no ability to access the underlying materials which the government claimed supported their assertions, the media had a greater duty to question what we were being told. I may never get over Colin Powell’s speech to the UN, in which his audiovisual materials were supposed to convince us they had the goods on the bad guys.

          I believe we are seeing the rise of a madman obsessed with what the media is saying about him, picking ridiculous fights over things that only matter to him, making sure the media never, ever portrays him in a bad light.

          He’s just stripped privacy rights from non-US citizens, ordered a halt to advertising for the health exchanges, is getting us back into the Gitmo/black site prison business, is on the verge of getting us back into the torture business, banning immigration from certain countries – but not, apparently, ones in the region where Trump hotels are located – launching an investigation into non-existent voter fraud that will be used as an excuse for more draconian voter suppression laws – even if his “investigation” finds no fraud.

          He’s nuts. Even his fellow Republicans are questioning his mental state. How long before the coup that hands Mike Pence the presidency?

          1. Carolinian

            Perhaps with your own eyes you should read the story which, as Yves points out, does not reflect the headline. Bannon tells the media to”shut up and listen.” People see what they want to see which is why that which is “obvious” often isn’t.

            The Trump impeachment scenario is a fantasy imo, but carry on…

            1. Anne

              What is it that the media is supposed to be listening to? Donald Trump’s daily indulgence in narcissism? An indulgence that began with him pressuring the Park Service on the crowd size, continued with him sending out his minions to perpetuate the lies, then bringing his own cheering section to a CIA speech that was itself full of “alternative facts” and in which he once again repeated the lies about the crowd sizes and attempted to brag that no one had ever given a speech like that with such ovations. Then there’s The Wall, there’s the executive orders on Guantanamo and black site prisons, ordering various agencies to cease any and all communications. You know, you can’t even call the White House anymore?

              And it’s only been a week.

              So tell me, what exactly is it that the media is supposed to be listening to? What is Trump saying that Steve Bannon wants the media to hear?

              Taken as a whole, it’s clear to me that Trump just wants his reality to be our reality, and anyone who threatens that illusion will be punished.

              And for what it’s worth, I think it likelier that the 25th Amendment will be invoked than that Trump will be impeached and convicted.

              Neither scenario would be welcomed, which makes it all the worse, because I truly believe we have a madman and a religious zealot in the two highest offices in the land.

              1. Carolinian

                And George W. Bush thought that Jesus had picked him to invade Iraq, both Lyndon Johnson and Jack Kennedy complained about and tried to itimidate the press, innumerable lies were told during Johnson’s time and during Reagan’s, Reagan was so far gone from Alzheimers that his chief of staff Regan had to tell him what to say in appearances, and finally and most importantly things you read in the Washington Post and Huffpo–which vehemently opposed Trump during the campaign–are not necessarily true which is why the website you are reading had to take legal action against one of them.

                But by all means crank up the American Maiden on the Mall. The now unemployed Vicky Nuland can hand out cookies and be caught on the phone telling George Soros “Pence is our guy.” Riots will break out and the Post will solemnly intone that in the name of order Trump must go. Your fantasy scenario sounds like a nightmare to me. The reason the media are so dangerous is that they really do think they are running America…a real Ministry of Truth as Orwell would have it.

                Trump is an egomaniac without a doubt but whatever else he is will become known soon enough. Hysteria serves no one.

          2. witters

            “He’s nuts.” Then no rational strategy can beat him, for we have no idea of what he might do!
            He is outside the cognitive field! This is the basis for organised political action??

        2. andyb

          Anne: There is so much evidence out there of massive voter irregularities. Let we give you the examples discovered on Ohio and PA in the 2012 election. 7 precincts in Ohio and 12 in and around Philadelphia, containing together over 2 million voters, had NOT ONE VOTE FOR ROMNEY. The true odds of this happening are a gazillion to one.

          1. Grebo

            You are confusing election fraud and voter fraud. The former, which you refer to, is endemic and swings elections. Trump is complaining about the latter, which is extremely rare and virtually inconsequential.
            The purpose in complaining about it is to justify more voter suppression, which is election fraud.

            1. jawbone

              Looks like lack of understanding that some precincts are so heavily one party or the other that the out party indeed gets no votes.

          2. Darthbobber

            Actually, there are a good many divisions (what you call a precinct) here in Philly where I’d find it QUITE credible that not a single Republican showed up. There are, by the way, more than 1600 such divisions. Mine has a little more than 550 registered voters. Three of whom are registered Republicans. And unless a “precinct” in Ohio is just incredibly huge, 2 million voters from 19 precincts is just a frigging absurd number on the face of it.

            There are actually entire wards here, (with a ward containing anywhere from 10 to 50 divisions) which contain virtually no Republicans.

      2. alex morfesis

        Trump did and continues to do a great jar jar binks…hopefully Lindsey graham is not the hidden sith…or hopefully el donaldo is not the hidden sith…

    3. Jim Haygood

      Journos are skewed Democratic:

      Among Washington correspondents, the ones who dominate national political coverage, it’s even more skewed, said Tim Groseclose, author of Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind. More than 90 percent of D.C. journalists vote Democratic, with an even higher number giving to Democrats or liberal-leaning political action committees, the author said.

      “There’s something in the DNA of liberals that makes them want to go into jobs like the arts, journalism and academia more so than conservatives,” Mr. Groseclose said. “Even if you’re just trying to maximize profits by offering an alternative point of view, it’s hard to find conservative reporters. So it’s natural the media is more liberal.”

      What Groseclose said about the DC press corps probably applies even more strongly in one-party New York City. Journos don’t think like America. Nor do they feel any obligation to disclose their biases.

      1. Larry Y

        Of course Washington Times would complain – we can ask the same questions about them and Fox News, too.

        1. MyLessThanPrmeBeef

          We can ask the same and that author perhaps did already.

          It’s just that I don’t know where he got the number 90% – do Fox News + Washington TImes = 90%?

    4. Larry Y

      Improved the quote: “The media here is A NEOLIBERAL opposition party.”

      Also unsaid that Bannon is projecting (Fox News and Breitbart are opposition parties too.).

    5. Buttinsky

      It is “clarifying” to see Steve Bannon’s declaration “The media here is the opposition party” causing a stir.

      Isn’t the role of any free press vis-à-vis politicians and government necessarily adversarial? Only in an age where the press is supposed to be sychophants and stenographers to power could the corrosive idea that the press needs to “work with” elected officials — shared by both the mainstream press and the people they’re supposed to report on — be exalted to anything other than the poison it is.

      1. Carolinian

        The guy has only been in office for a week. It’s not the same as opposing, say, the Iraq war (which they didn’t do in any case). This is a power struggle. If you “speak truth [?..maybe] to power” and you are also the power it becomes quite confusing. Newspapers claim their role is not only to report the news but also to curate the news–to decide what the public needs to know and give it emphasis. When they spend all their time talking about trivial foibles they are taking on an advocacy role. Which is alright too–in the past we have always had partisan political newspapers–as long as you don’t pretend to the public you are some sort of fact checking public service. If our current media were genuinely ‘objective’ they would be reporting quite differently about the new administration. In fact back during the campaign Rutenberg of the Times even admitted that they were throwing out the rule book to cover Trump. Perhaps then they should not complain so much when he throws out the rulebook, the “norms,” when responding to them.

        If I were running Trump’s operation I’d just ignore the press and get on with it. He doesn’t , but that still doesn’t mean that the press are acting appropriately.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Read closely, Bannon’s statement is lousy PR – telling the media to STFU, even in context, was just dumb – but true. They are the opposition; they’re supposed to be, plus they probably are predominantly neoliberal Dems – that’s something we complain about, too. And telling them to “listen for a change” is doubtless very popular with the base, as well as good advice.

        Granted, he really wants them to go back to stenography. But that isn’t what he said.

  12. Leigh

    “…in marked contrast to the social and economic success of the agile Jewish minority.”

    I read once (I wish I could remember where…) the reason the Jewish communities established an affinity for money and it’s inner workings is that back then, money was considered “dirty” (imagine that) – the dealings and management of money was left to the under classes…

      1. Oregoncharles

        In those days, the Catholic Church forbade lending at interest (anyone know just when they gave up on that?), so Jews served, usefully, as financiers. But their outsider status made them terribly vulnerable. Monarchs or local lords could cancel their debts by cancelling their banker.

        The reason so many moved into the Pale (in Russia) was that they could own land there and farm, which they weren’t allowed to do in western Europe.

        1. witters

          This might have something to do with it.
          “On loans to a foreigner you may charge interest, but on loans to another Israelite, you may not charge interest” (Deuteronomy 23,20).

  13. Nick

    Gabbard: there are no moderate rebels. Maybe. But is Assad a moderate himself? And he is the one who is in power and who should be the last person in the world talking about lack of moderates. Gabbard is a sad travesty of a maverick.

      1. ChrisPeters

        You are asking the right question.

        The obvious explanation is that some kind of “moderate” rebels are being desperately sought to provide cover for the installation of a neo-con puppet regime hostile to Iran and friendly with Israel and the Gulf states.

        Congresswoman Gabbard is correct, such animals are rare, and tend to die quickly when facing ISIS or other hard line opponents that we also supported indirectly through weapons transfers and CIA operations.

        My question is why such intensity of hatred towards Gabbard from the media. There has been so much invested into the “Assad must go” narrative that they have been blinded.

        1. Gareth

          Being hated on by the media will gain Gabbard instant credibility from a significant share of the population who have never heard of her before.

          1. John k

            Plus anti war is super popular outside the beltway, the more the press speaks of this vet being off the war reservation the more boost she gets for 2020. Assuming Bernie doesn’t run, why wouldn’t he support her?

      2. Hana M.

        +10 It’s not a part of the world where moderates last long. But to the extent that Assad’s strongman approach to governance allowed a multi-ethinic, secular culture to thrive one might even regard him as some sort of moderate.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I worked for several years, 1969-70, in a bike shop, with an immigrant from Iraq. He had been a “world-class” bicycle racer on the national team whose father had apparently gotten cheeky with the then ruling group, and who himself thought his position as famous racer let him also criticize authority in some areas. Sami was very clear in his politics: by his lights, the Strongman form of rule was the only type that would work in Iraq. He revered Kasim, the general who led the overthrow of the monarchy as a nationalist and who dared to institute redistribution of land and other property held by a very few “elite” types. Got himself overthrown in turn, leading eventually to Saddam Hussein and then our US imperial protectorate…

    1. cocomaan

      She never said Assad is a moderate, nor even made insinuations to that effect. She talks in her article about what the opposition that isn’t being fueled by western interests wants:

      Although opposed to the Assad government, the political opposition spoke strongly about their adamant rejection of the use of violence to bring about reforms. They argue that if the Wahhabi jihadists, fueled by foreign governments, are successful in overthrowing the Syrian state, it would destroy Syria and its long history of a secular, pluralist society where people of all religions have lived peacefully side by side. Although this political opposition continues to seek reforms, they are adamant that as long as foreign governments wage a proxy regime change war against Syria using jihadist terrorist groups, they will stand with the Syrian state as they work peacefully toward a stronger Syria for all Syrians.

      Gabbard did something that Obama never did, even though Syria was his playground. The idea that our State Department diplomats refused to engage with foreign nations where we were waging war is a testament to their complete failure. Why did it take her going there to open the dialogue? What was everyone doing for years and years in the Obama admin?

      PEACE is the goal in Syria. There is no peace without engaging Assad.

      1. Antifa

        There is an entire coalition of nations, including America, Israel, the Saudis, Turkey, Qatr, and some of the members of NATO who have entirely other plans for Syria than PEACE.

        1. JTMcPhee

          …and almost bigger than nations (or the little groups of spooks and takers that get to drive the policy bus and act as if they are “the nation”) are the many corporate interests that make up what Joseph Heller so percipiently described in “Catch-22” as the “syndicate,” the supra-post-national business entity Milo called “”M&M Enterprises,” that would contract with the Nazis to use US planes and bombs and ammo to bomb and strafe American troops for “cost plus 10%.” Because it was “good for the Syndicate,” which Milo justified on the argument that on paper, “everyone has a share…”

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, agrees with you.

      A bit about the Syrian Emergency Task Force from Wiki:

      The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) is a United States-based organization that advocates for the armed overthrow of the government of Syria. It first gained widespread public attention in the wake of the Elizabeth O’Bagy resume padding scandal; O’Bagy had served as a paid lobbyist for the group. The group’s primary activity is advocating for U.S. military involvement in the Syrian Civil War through congressional office visits, media awareness campaigns, and organizing junkets for key U.S. foreign policy decisionmakers.[1] According to SETF, it is also committed to supporting the overthrow of the government of Cuba;[2] a statement co-signed by it and the Florida-based Cuban exile organization “Assembly of the Resistance” declared it would work for “the overthrow of the dictatorial regimes of Assad and Castro.”[3]

      SETF is indirectly funded by the U.S. State Department through contracting firms including Chemonics and Creative Associates International.[4]


      SETF’s executive-director, Mouaz Moustafa, is a former field organizer for the U.S. Democratic National Committee and previously served as executive-director of the Libyan Council of North America.[5]

      Other staff members include Toby Cadman,[6] a British-based lawyer who previously served as defense attorney[7] to members of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, a Bangladesh militant group whose leaders were recently convicted of war crimes, including genocide and rape, by the International Crimes Tribunal (Bangladesh).

      You can google the elizabeth o’bagy “resume padding scandal” for yourself if you’re interested, but suffice to say, after her firing, she wound up on john mccain’s staff as a legislative assistant.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Thanks for this… just when you think the entrails of the DNC couldn’t be more despicable….

        I’m so very sorry I ever considered myself a Demo. What a dangerous fool I was.

    3. funemployed

      Nick: Can you name a single “moderate rebel” leader? Can you name a single person who would replace Assad? Is that person committed to religious pluralism and human rights? The fact that there is no “face” of the resistance means that there isn’t even someone the propaganda arm of the US military can pretend represents the future of Syria.

      You don’t need to argue that Assad is a nice guy to recognize that setting up a stable, democratic, US-friendly regime in Syria is a unicorn hunt that is destroying what was for many centuries a really not-so-bad place (with, recently, an admittedly douchey regime that I’d encourage you to look into the history of). It would be lovely. I’m all for it. Just waiting for a credible plan…

    4. kgw

      What business is it of the united states? Other than their hegemonic fantasies…RTP is simply NewSpeak for the new facists.

    5. Praedor

      He’s the legitimate leader of Syria, elected. He is SECULAR. He was solid and Syria was stable. ONLY after the CIA and NATO got their filthy fingers into Syria was it that the protests got pushed to full-blown civil war. Just like Ukraine. The civil war and ALL it entails is ENTIRELY the fault of the US/NATO/CIA. A false creation.

    6. Plenue

      Don’t worry, I’m sure Proyect will be along soon with an article about how Gabbard is a Baathist propagandist on Assad’s payroll.

    1. funemployed

      Any geographic region of considerable size wherein hipsters make up less than 1.3% of the general population.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Squirrels, not raccoons, are the preferred dish of hardcore (as in poor) rednecks. Squirrel is delish but it is somehow considered shameful to admit you eat them.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      I prefer a literal definition: flyover is any place where the only people who visit you are people intending to visit you. Because you are do not live in a place that people go to visit, or live close enough to a place people go to visit, otherwise. So a coastal area can be flyover, but not if it’s a resort-y part of the coast. People who live in flyover know it.

    3. alex morfesis

      Flyover country is what paul robeson sang about in his ww2 patriotic song “ballad for americans”

    4. craazyboy

      It’s a growth country, rust being it’s original core component, but present day it has expanded to just west of the Washington Monument rest stop marker, to just a few tads east of LA, SF and Seattle airports.

  14. Julia Versau

    The Tulsi Gabbard story from The Hill really scorched my neurons this morning. Don’t those corrupt gasbags realize Tulsi works for us, not them? They can take their “authorization” and shove it where the sun don’t shine. Now here was a woman’s march that makes sense — and I am completely in support of her actions.

    Truth be told, we are swamped with both Democrats and Republicans who love wars for profit and pipelines for their oil company donors. A pox on their houses — and a laurel wreath for Tulsi!

    1. Bugs Bunny

      She’s brave and I like her style.

      That said, I keep seeing trolls in comments on stories about her citing a “cult” called “Science of Identity Foundation” that she is supposedly connected to. Is there a debunking of this somewhere? Is there anything to it?

      I’m honestly curious — it’s not my intention to violate the commenting policy or spread rumors.

      1. Antifa

        In India, a teacher of spiritual practices and concepts is traditionally able to wander from village to village, and receive a meal or two each day from people, or at the local temple. For these simple gifts of rice and curry, he or she teaches and blesses.

        In America, no such lifestyle is possible, so its no surprise that such teachers take advantage of the American church system, which is at heart a non-profit corporation supported by donations of members and admirers. From this organization the teacher may obtain anything from a meal or two a day to a Lear jet, all of it legal and fine with the IRS because it is a non-profit providing benefit to the community. The point is, to attempt a life’s work of spiritual teaching in America without founding a non-profit of some sort is not really possible.

        Whether a Foundation, Church, or Society so incorporated is a cult or a religion is in the eye of the beholder. You have to take a look and decide for yourself.

        Chris Butler’s teachings are quite in line with the original Hare Krishna movement, which is that the highest expression of spirituality is devotion to Krishna, and the repetition of his name and songs of praise. The end goal is to experience oneness with all the universe. There is no political agenda beyond that, unless you consider getting the whole world to chant Hare Krishna night and day is a political goal.

        As to Chris Butler’s character, you need only watch what he does. If he amasses great wealth through his Foundation, and retires with it to a private island, that’s one thing. If he amasses great wealth and uses it only to grow the Hare Krishna movement, that’s another thing. The simple creed of the Foundation does not provide much room for mind control, or for controlling the actions of anyone beyond enriching their personal relationship with Krishna.

        Why Chris Butler, after a lifetime of devotion to his spiritual path, has not legally changed his name to his new, ordained name seems odd to me. It makes it seem like his Foundation and discipleship is just his day job. In India, when a young disciple is given a new name by his guru, that’s his only name thereafter. It’s a new life from that point forward.

        1. Portia

          monks and nuns take a vow of “poverty”, that is they can not have possessions. so it is part of the culture that they will be taken care of. I wonder how many in the American church system would agree not to have any possessions

    2. Bob

      I sent an email to her congressional office this morning to thank her for her service to all Americans. My congressperson hasn’t a fraction of her courage and thoughtfulness. I said I would be willing to support her on future endeavors for higher office. Good lord, I’ve never said that to any politician!

  15. fresno dan

    Trump’s supporters are indeed correct to point out that previous administrations also told many lies, albeit of a different sort. Imagine, for instance, that mistruths come in different forms: higher-status mistruths and lower-status mistruths.

    The ambassador is reluctant to tell a refutable, flat-out lie of the sort that could cause embarrassment, but if all you ever heard were the proclamations of the ambassador, you wouldn’t have a good grasp of the realities of the situation.
    ARGUABLY those diplomatic proclamations are not lies, but they do bear quite an indirect relationship to the blunt, bare truth. These higher-status lies are not Trump’s style, and thus many of his supporters, with some justification, see him as a man willing to voice important truths. If Trump’s opponents don’t understand that reality, and the sociological differences between various kinds of misdirection, they are going to underestimate his appeal and self-righteously underestimate how much they are themselves mistrusted by the public.
    So Rep. Tulsi Gabbard states ‘Syrians tell me there are no moderate rebels’
    (I could have told you that years ago…..)
    So, when Washington people (of both parties) assert. OR DO NOT REFUTE, the idea of ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria, is that a lie???
    Is it, or is it not, a more important “lie” than Trumps’ lie about inaugural crowds???

    speaking of lies
    why specifically did we go into Iraq?
    have we met our goals?
    was it stated at the outset that a US ‘peacekeeping’ force would be necessary for decades???

  16. Vatch

    UK court: Nigeria citizens cannot sue Shell for oil spill Jurist (J-LS) :-(

    So if they can’t sue in the country in which the company is incorporated, where can they sue? From the first sentence of the Wikipedia article about Royal Dutch Shell:

    Royal Dutch Shell plc (LSE: RDSA, RDSB), commonly known as Shell, is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in the Netherlands and incorporated in the United Kingdom.

    Sometimes I wonder whether there’s any reason to bother having laws. They rarely seem to constrain the ultra rich and powerful.

    1. alex morfesis

      Re: uk court/nigeria/shell…not so sure it is so simple…the plaintiffs were aware the entity operating in country, although managed by shell, had a grounding in nigeria…they chose not to bother to try in nigeria…imnsho…huge mistake…they should have filed first in nigeria
      and expected, as is common, for motions to dismiss on jurisdiction…Then use that to hop over to uk…

      Long enough ruling, which would suggest the court is being helpful in describing what corrective measures would need to be taken by the parties in the future to allow the court to deal with shell in the future…

      It is amazing how certain lawyers in their laziness, instead of thanking the court for giving them a detailed map of how to do it right the next time, the lawyers start squawking in public to cover their own fumbling…

      If a court wanted to squash a plaintiff, a simple 3-5 page ruling would be handed out…40+ pages is not a rebuke…it is a tutorial on getting it right the next time…

      1. makedoanmend

        You make a valid point. Thanks. Complexity ain’t easy.

        Just an observation (no criticism implied or intented): as with ordinary credit card “agreements” of the modern era the legal profession is employed to create complexity and obfustication so that a few may benefit by feasting on the many.

        In a healthy democratic societies, shouldn’t we insist that the legal profession clarify rather than obfusticate? The shell game it crippling our society. (ok, i’m leaving)

  17. Jim Haygood

    Well, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPnow forecast of 2.9% growth in the 4th quarter missed huge. The actual number: 1.9%.

    Calendar year 2016 GDP grew only 1.6%, the slowest calendar year since the 2008 crisis ended.

    This ought to give pause to J-Yel and Stanley’s “rate hikes for all” campaign, though they’ll likely wait till next Friday’s employment report before wheeling out their PhD jaw-flappers.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Even more impact if the government fiscally spends only on more expensive US steel, instead of dumped foreign steel…more money injected into the economy.

        “It costs more, and we love it!!!”

        1. JTMcPhee

          Does it actually even cost more, if the stuff actually performs to specs and doesn’t require do-overs and instant repairs?

          But it would take an economist honest wide-looking accountant to go through all the externalities, and then all that would be fed to an AI Algo that would spit out the “How much do you want it to be”” total…

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You’re right – that’s 2 more reasons to buy American, in addition to having to spend more money (as you say, more money does not necessarily more more expensive), i.e. more money into the economy.

      2. craazyboy

        Only if they buy stock with the cheap money. Some of us have been hording our dollars in ZIRP bank accounts since 2008 and the government needs to step in and stimulate some demand in our stock market.

  18. fresno dan

    “Metallic hydrogen is one of the holy grails of modern science. It would essentially be a magic material, creating everything from impossibly fast computers to hovering cars (themselves powered by hydrogen) to batteries that never need charging. It was also supposed to be impossible, as it would require pressures you can’t even find at the center of the Earth. But, now, amazingly, two Harvard scientists have reportedly pulled it off.

    It literally took dropping liquid hydrogen to almost absolute zero and crushing it between two diamonds at thousands of times the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere, but… here we are. They’ve created metallic hydrogen. The next step is to ease the pressure and see if the theory that once made metal, hydrogen stays that way at “room temperature” holds.

    If it does, then, not to oversell it or anything, but basically the entire course of human history has been irrevocably shifted. Metallic hydrogen is, in theory, a room-temperature superconductor.”

        1. Praedor

          Sure enough! Just expend the energy to get to Jupiter, go down the gravity well (and don’t get crushed!), THEN haul a load right back up and back to Earth.

          Easy peasy.

          1. Keenan

            Well, one might consider going to Titan first to load up the propellant tanks with liquid methane to power the heavy lifting at Jupiter. Gotta dream big !

        2. craazyboy

          Ringworld is all done already. We just need to find it. Assuming the Puppeteers haven’t already sabotaged it or towed it away to another galaxy somewhere.

      1. Vatch

        From the article:

        “One prediction that’s very important is metallic hydrogen is predicted to be meta-stable,” Silvera said. “That means if you take the pressure off, it will stay metallic, similar to the way diamonds form from graphite under intense heat and pressure, but remains a diamond when that pressure and heat is removed.”

        I’m completely in over my head, and I have no expertise in this field. So naturally, I’ll comment. :-)

        Graphite is a solid at room temperature, and so is diamond. it is impressive that diamond maintains its crystal structure after the pressure is released, but it is not so impressive that it remains a solid. Ordinary hydrogen is not a solid at room temperature. So once the pressure that creates the metallic state of hydrogen is released, I’m skeptical that the hydrogen will remain a solid. But as I said, I have no expertise in this field.

        1. Synapsid


          If it has a crystal structure it is a sold.

          The quote above from seems confused.I”…if you take the pressure off it will stay metallic…” is compared to a diamond, having formed under great pressure, retaining its crystal structure after the pressure is relaxed. That says to me that the metallic state and the solid state are the same thing, but they aren’t. The metallic state is that of electrons free to move between atoms; the solid state, as I mentioned, is that of having a crystal structure.

          Look at the graph in Optimader’s comment and you’ll see that liquid (not solid) hydrogen can be metallic.

          Always best to go to the source publication, though that can mean quite a bit of work.

          1. Vatch

            Yes, metals can be liquids (crystals can also be liquids). But in Optimader’s chart, the liquid hydrogen is under a pressure of hundreds of giga pascals (standard air pressure is 100 kilo pascals). What will happen when that pressure is released? Unless the temperature is very close to absolute zero, won’t the hydrogen revert to the gaseous state?

    1. craazyboy

      The next step is to ease the pressure and see if the theory that once made metal, hydrogen stays that way at “room temperature” holds.

      ??? Seems they coulda done that by now and yahoo coulda included the answer in the article. Publishing deadline the problem?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They did ease the pressure, and the universe was destroyed.

        We now live in another universe.

        1. fresno dan

          January 27, 2017 at 12:01 pm

          “They did ease the pressure, and the universe was destroyed.”
          This was actually done on Tuesday, November 8, 2016….

          From the movie Gladiator – which IMHO wasn’t very good:
          Fratres! Three weeks from now I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line. Stay with me. If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled; for you are in Elysium, and you’re already dead!

          Let me edit:
          NC Commentators! Three weeks from now I will be viewing porn on the internet (big surprise). Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line. Stay with me. If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, and Donald Trump president of the United States, do not be troubled; for you got some really bad LSD, and you’re already dead!

      2. UserFriendly

        I think it is because they want to make sure they get lots of measurements done on it while they have it stable before they risk destroying it. There is always the chance that there was some anomaly when they made the sample and are unable to reproduce it. The full paper doesn’t say though.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Germany, child marriage, refugee brides…

    What are we assuming between the host culture and the new culture, in general, not just regarding child marriage, and not limited to Germany and the refugees there alone?

    1. Is it the host culture is superior or stronger…more exceptional… and the new culture will be subsumed?

    “It’s illegal here.” (Again, not just child marriage here). “Can’t have horse meat sushi or basushi.”

    “Here in this country, getting into an elite college and making lots of money is paramount. You’ll be a new god and worshiped. This is OUR way….oh, and consume, consume and consume more.”

    2. The new culture will be absorbed, simply a matter of numbers….More natives? Cultures vary. Is that ratio of natives to newcomers unique to each case. Maybe just 200,000 or 500 Christians in the Roman Empire was enough to convert the whole, instead of being absorbed by the native culture.

    3. Perhaps idealistically, two cultures melt as equals, into one, and a new hybrid is born.

    1. Eclair

      Well, to call it a ‘child marriage’ problem is a misnomer; it is a ‘female child legally contracted for life to an older male, trading sex and baby production for protection and suppport.’ Unless you can cite routine examples of male children given to older females, trading sex and insemination faculties for protection and support.

      The giving of young girls to older men does make sense in a society in which women’s roles are circumscribed to the kitchen and bedroom. Works for them.

      Industrialized societies offer many more opportunities for women to become and remain economically independent; jobs, as well as the social safety nets provided for them and their children by governments. In such societies, giving a female child away to be bound by a legal contract for the rest of her life (unless she can muster the resolution and resources to break that contract) is unfair because it takes away from her the opportunity to make her own decisions, about how she wants to arrange her economic and domestic affairs.

      In most industrialized societies, a person cannot enter into a legal contract, which a marriage is, before a certain age, e.g., eighteen. Makes sense to have the marriageable age conform to the age in which one can form a legally binding contract.

      So, for a female child who has been, under the laws of her former society, legally bound to an older male, and then immigrates to an industrialized society, what to do? Mindlessly splitting up a couple/family is unnecessarily cruel. Perhaps making it clear to these girls that, if at some point, they wish to dissolve their contract, the State will offer support, is the best we can do.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        While by itself, ‘child marraige’ problme is a misnomer, ‘child marriage, refugee brides,’ would seem say it’s a female-child marriage problem.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        ….what to do?

        Gotta admit, it’s proving almost impossible for me to articulate the rage and revulsion I feel about this situation. Only slightly less nauseating is the idea that there is a “need” for serious consideration of “what to do” about it in a so-called 21st century civilized society. Pretty much upends the ever-popular “for the children” meme.

        How do you say Emancipation Proclamation in German?

        Invalidate every one of these “contracts” immediately, provide appropriate opportunities for the much-heralded assimilation into the society in which these girls now live, and fast track the reestablishment of these relationships once the girls reach the age of consent should they choose to do so.

        You asked for it, you got it, Europe. You don’t get to hide behind some lame-ass idea of cultural “sensitivity” now.

        1. alex morfesis

          Any “male” who would want or feel a “need” of a child bride is not worthy of “manhood” & has no business calling himself a man…

          this “refugee” crisis in modern times is exacerbated by modern transportation…these purported “social” norms jump the shark…steamships and jet planes have confused political refugee issues with economic opportunism.

          There are more than a few countries between syria/afghanistan/etc and germany…the “refugees” know full well they are moving to a different society where clan enforced interfamilial marriages are not only not the norm, that those societies have rejected marriage of first cousins(unless you’re a blueblood) for “scientific” reasons…

          Do western women get to dress as they please in saudi arabia or Afghanistan ??

          Then why this silly noise from these “refugees” ….

          1. Optimader

            I wasnt going to even bother commenting because the answer is prima facie . A temporary guest in a country does not get to pick and choose laws to observe in a host country! Or at least shouldnt be able to.
            They do have the right to not enter the host country if the laws are percieved as too onerous w/regard to their own standards, sensibilities and traditions.

            Can a refugee daughter be stoned to death for breaking religious code?

            It is an absurd to even think there is a debate!

    2. Waldenpond

      Child marriage…. is not an accurate description of trading a child for economic or status gains.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Some adults marry for economic or status gains as well…in countries all over the world, even here, among the rich and educated.

        So, you have a valid point, and the problem is pervasive, even among adults…more problematic with the ‘child’ part, but also, though less, with the term ‘marriage.’

    3. Praedor

      It’s an easy issue to deal with. Pedophilia, REGARDLESS of culture, is unacceptable in the West and ALWAYS must be. Period. The end.

      NO child marriage. None. If it exists when you get to the new civilized country where girls aren’t property, tough shit, the marriage is dissolved and the girl free. If she wants to re-marry (HER choice) when she hits maturity, then it is HER choice.

      Hell, I’d go further and make certain that ALL refugees know that if they want a divorce when they get in, that is their right and they CANNOT be punished in any way by anyone for getting a divorce. No one can gag you, restrain you, or in any way impede you from getting a divorce if you wish. For children, it is automatic (the divorce). They get to be children again and CHOOSE their lives henceforth.

      1. witters

        While I agree with the moral condemnation- “Pedophilia, REGARDLESS of culture, is unacceptable in the West and ALWAYS must be. Period. The end” – I find the factual claim mistaken. I humbly suggest you take a look at Ancient Greece

  20. Jim Haygood

    Spot the contradiction:

    Theresa May told US Republicans the UK and US could not return to “failed” military interventions “to remake the world in our own image”.

    Mrs May will be keen to ensure that Mr Trump remains fully committed to the Nato military alliance.

    “Failed military interventions” are what Nato DOES. Its Afghan quagmire is 15 years old.

    Don’t you hate it when politicians can’t even lie coherently? :-(

    1. hamstak

      Maybe what she is implying is that NATO will no longer do those things*, as the perpetual threat of a re-emergent Russia (USSR II) obviates the need for actual tussles. Also, they will focus on more fashionable uniforms and IoT weaponry.

      * I don’t believe this is what she is implying, and believe that they will probably continue to do those things.

      1. Jim Haygood

        From the Nato’s Warsaw summit communique:

        “Our security is deeply affected by the security situation in the Middle East and North Africa.

        “NATO must retain its ability to respond to crises beyond its borders, and remain actively engaged in projecting stability and enhancing international security.”

        Projecting stability” … who says these guys don’t have a sense of humor?

    2. neo-realist

      Wasn’t Afghanistan really our baby? NATO arguably had more of an assistance role. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan—failed military interventions seem to be more our niche.

  21. Expat

    I don’t know who did the voice-over for the Dutch video, but it’s great! It’s true. Greatest voiceover in the world, okay?
    and Madurodam (the miniature city) is really awesome, by the way.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …they likely don’t want you there, or me either, for some reason… I can’t even emigrate to Vietnam, which I did my bit to help “project stability” into back in the ’60s…

  22. Steve H.

    : How Life (and Death) Spring From Disorder

    It’s a nice collection of thoughts but goes off on a maximum-entropy side-rail. “The trick is that the system is guided by a constraint: It acts in a way that maximizes the amount of entropy (in this case, defined in terms of the different possible paths the particles could take) it generates within a given timespan. Crudely speaking, this tends to be the path that keeps open the largest number of options for how the particles might move subsequently.”

    Lots of options doesn’t mean maximum number of options. Vitamin D has something like 2,000 epigenetic outcomes, but disappearing in a vapor cloud is an option which makes way more entropy, yet that is not selected for. Odum details the argument with the Maximum Power Principle, but for clarity this Mythbusters video makes it easy. The straight line is the most efficient, the lower curve generates the most entropy and moves the fastest, but the middle way gets there firstest.

    1. Portia

      they don’t talk about transformation? how about the butterfly from caterpillar. Caterpillar spins cocoon, turns into “soup”, molecules rearrange, butterfly emerges. has the caterpillar “died” because “entropy”? Does anything die, or does awareness end and molecules rearrange?

  23. timbers

    US Consumers to Pay for Wall: Trump Plans 20% Border Tax on Mexican Goods Michael Shedlock. EM: “Note the appreciable push-back in the comments with respect to the simplistic ‘this is bad for US consumers’ thesis.”

    I have a Haitian tenant who has his friend form Haiti living in the basement I rent to him that came here to get a job in the U.S. This plan wasn’t really explained to me and I will only say I somehow missed that he’d be a long term guest (3-4 months) and was not happy upon learning of that, though it is possible he told me this and it went over my head due to me not paying attention and thinking he was referring to staying here only for the holidays.

    The guest has gotten a job at the same concierge service that my original tenant works at in a downtown Boston building. I know my tenant is paid $15/hour for same/similar work because I confirmed my tenant’s employment, and that he works about 30/hrs a week (so employer can avoid paying benefits?). My tenant also works other part time jobs.

    So I have seen a white collar job that was filled by foreigner with not so good english. Might this job had gone to a retired or semi-retired or even younger American at a higher wage if foreign workers like this were not so readily available?

    1. Eclair

      Yeah, timbers. Makes you think that the whole vicious cycle of us economically and politically destabilizing small countries as well as invading them and bombing them, so that whole populations of refugees are so grateful to be allowed into the US that they will accept any job, keep their heads down and not complain, thereby making them preferable hires over natural-born citizens who are liable to be uppity and demand decent working conditions, has been carefully planned. And, instead of blaming the overlords, we are carefully directed to blame the refugees. (Well, not the Irish guys who are working in the bars, or the Canadians or Australians …. ). Sigh.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      ……the simplistic ‘this is bad for US consumers’ thesis.

      msnbs is on fire about that this morning, and is quaking in it’s boots over the “damage” being done to the valuable relationship with our ally, Mexico.

      Fleetingly mentioned is the president of Mexico’s delicate political position. He has a 12% approval rating, and is contending with significant civil unrest due to, among other things, dramatically rising gasoline prices. In interviews with apparent notables in Mexico City, his standing up to Trump is being interpreted as a “Make Mexico Great Again” strongman position that is reversing, to some extent, his precipitous political slide. Whatever works.

      The ” ‘US Consumers to Pay for the Wall’ through increasing consumer prices” issue is also being addressed. Interestingly, far lower manufacturing wages in Mexico are being credited for the lower consumer prices, and the “concern” is that factories will just relocate to different low wage countries if the 20% tax is levied.

      I refer to this approach as interesting because the idea that it’s not foreign low-wage workers but robots that are stealing american manufacturing jobs seems to have gone poof! now that it’s no longer convenient.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Good catch.

        Whatever happened to those robots?

        The upside is better made products now have a chance to compete with cheaper, but shorter useful-lifespan products.

        “Yes, that was a great deal for shoes. So great in fact, I had to buy another pair 3 months later.”

        (Maybe it was something other than shoes).

        1. JTMcPhee

          Wasn’t so long ago that as I recall a Reagan cabinetter like maybe Secy of Commerce observed that “consumer protection is bogus — people must have the right to choose cheaper inferior and potentially dangerous products if they want,” all in the vein of ‘deregulation’ and consumer rights (when as we observe, THERE ARE NO ‘RIGHTS’ as us mope liberals understand the term, in the world the way it is. If you can’t compel a behavior there’s no rights that go along with it — as my contracts professor said, “There is no right, in the absence of an effective remedy.”

      2. Portia

        so they aren’t thinking that manufacturing will come back to the U.S. if tariffs are levied. hmmm

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Jobs will come back, definitely.

          Maybe we can argue how soon.

          Here, in our country, corporations will have to decide on their own accord what to do.

          In other countries, perhaps Asian countries, their governments have been more active in coordinating and promoting their domestic manufacturing, and could happen faster.

          In any case, jobs will come back with tariffs levied.

      3. Mike Mc

        A trade war with Mexico that results in Mexico boycotting or otherwise ceasing the purchase of American farm products – corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle, hogs – would hammer the ‘flyover’ states in the Corn Belt in short order. If Trump’s advisors could make him read, he might learn that illegal immigration from Mexico has stabilized:

        Maybe if they make a network TV version of the above, he’ll watch it and learn something.

      4. Praedor

        Couldn’t care less about him and his government. I want to see Obrador get in. The Mexican Bernie Sanders.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Moreover, hundreds of arrestees were released on their own recognizance — not even having to post bail on a felony charge.

      This absurdity is indicative of the standard hyperbolic charge inflation from the US “Justice” department’s conviction mill.

      Get arrested for a “real” felony, and you’re not likely to get bailed for less than five figures.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In this case only, or only in this case, it’s again, too much government (specifically, too much policing and prosecuting).

        1. JTMcPhee

          No, not “too much government,” just abuse of power. Not the same thing. Even Libertarians know the difference. Even libertarians know that “government” is needed to keep them on their best behavior . And make their otherwise “free market” possible.

    2. jawbone

      Obama went after whistleblowers, big time, as Cheney might say, and also made life miserable for a few (actual number?) journalists.

      Now, The Donald goes after journalists, especially it appears those who are not with the established Mainstream Corporate Media (MCM). Democracy’s Now Amy Goodman has had her share of illegal arrests during the BushBoy and Obama administration’s tenures, by locals…but was there a wink and a nod from the Feds?

      Gonna be “interesting times” to live through.

  24. Waldenpond

    The Netherlands video was funny. I wish I had saved it for a laugh at the end of the day. (Part of me kept thinking I shouldn’t be laughing, screw it).

  25. Waldenpond

    Gabbard…. something odd is going on there. That was a Soros funded trip. Soros has a big Putin hate on. HRW is Soros funded, they have a big Putin hate on. Gabbard has affection for individuals like Modi. Gabbard doesn’t think US language towards muslims is radical enough. Someone scoffed that she would meet with white helmets, I mocked it… as it would out Gabbard. Then it was reported there were wh in her video clips. Gabbard is not satisfied with how Syria is being done, but does not say what should be done. Her ‘there are no moderate rebels’ seems to reflect a ‘there are no moderate muslims’ vibe I get from her.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      According to Gabbard, the trip was “led and sponsored” by a group called the Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services of Ohio (AACCESS). (From the Hill link.)

      You have claimed several times that the trip was “Soros funded.” I have been unable to demonstrate the connection.

      Can you please help?

        1. Foppe

          The annual report for 2016 lists a donation in the 100-500k range from the OSF (the 3rd size interval, after $1M+, 500-1M). Doubt that that would give Soros that much pull.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          So you’ve said. I was hoping for more “evidence” of the facts and figures variety.

          I’m not a member of the faith-based community. We’re not talking Russian hacking here.

          1. Waldenpond

            Info readily available. I don’t know why people refuse do it. I repeatedly provide links and they are never read.

            Soros funding hrw:
            Soros funding Access debate:
            Soros funding facebook fake fact checking:
            Soros finding general:
            Looks like coal mine owning, oil interests Soros even funds 350 McKibben:

            The money connections go on and on. If someone is opposed to DAPL, they might have to give up their Time Warner/HBO.

            1. kareninca

              Are ACCESS and AACCESS the same thing? It seems not (

              “You may have seen that an organization that shares a similar name, AACCESS Ohio, has been in the news today. Please note that ACCESS (the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services) is a completely separate and independent organization that is based in and only operates from Michigan. We are proud of our 46-year commitment to Southeast Michigan and look forward to continuing our work with the diverse communities that make up this great region.” (from the ACCESS site)

              “AACCESS-OHIO, the Arab American Community Center for Economic & Social Services in Ohio, was established in December 1991” (from the AACCESS site)(

              So, Soros- funded ACCESS (if it is so-funded) is not the same as the Gabbard-trip-funding group (AACCESS).

              1. Katniss Everdeen

                Wow. Thanks.

                I tried to check out that “actual flatticus” thing and, not being a twitter person, had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to be looking at.

              2. Waldenpond

                Well, that was no help.

                The smithee doc lists Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Justice.

                Looks to me that Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Justice is just another branch the way Planned Parenthood of California is separate from Planned Parenthood of NY.

                Got a link to AACCESS funding? I’ll look up the staff and their past positions/funding but it’s much simpler to just check AACCESS funding, but so far nothing.

              3. Waldenpond

                Oops, think I deleted my comments.

                That didn’t actually help. The links provided the forms showing ACCESS is Soros funded. Could be ACCESS may not be any different from AACCESS in that Planned Parenthood CA is from Planned Parenthood NY.

                This wayback is odd:

                I can find nothing on the listed Mualems.

                Have this:

                Global Cleveland has an executive board/bod/funders but the AACCESS link doesn’t do anything but what looks to be a dead link:

                haha! I can’t find the organization Gabbard confirmed to Politico….

    2. Portia

      maybe you should read the whole piece to understand what “no moderate rebels” refers to:

      Gabbard returned from her trip — a seven-day venture to parts of Syria and Lebanon — bearing a stark, two-pronged warning to Congress and the White House. One: The U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war is not helping “moderate” freedom fighters take on the Assad regime, but is actually propping up terrorists associated with al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. And two: The U.S. should end its “regime change” war against Assad and focus its military might on al Qaeda and ISIS instead.

      1. Waldenpond

        I have read her statements multiple times. I fully understand her position.

        [The U.S. should end its “regime change” war against Assad and focus its military might on al Qaeda and ISIS instead.]

        War profiteering through Forever War advertised as anti-war.

          1. Waldenpond

            Yes. There are multiple agendas, none of them positive. I don’t understand how referring to Soros funding of multiple organizations with anti-Putin sentiment arguing for military action and Gabbard’s language of war is counter to other examples.

    3. alex morfesis

      Soros loves raz-putin…one needs a foil to manipulate currency futures and turn a profit on out of the money options and derivative positions…how else to cash in on magical tail risk…

      Humans are really not into killing each other just to kill…they have to be degraded by strife, bernays sauce or hunger and fear…or fear of hunger…or desensitized by zonbie apocalypse movies and tv shows…

  26. Portia

    LOL. they were doing deals with Saddam Hussein when he looked useful. and I am sure they meet loathsome people every day in the course of their jobs–each other.

    legislators have every right to examine the foreign policy they influence, even if it puts them face-to-face with loathsome people.

  27. Waldenpond

    Resistance to Trump won’t come from Ds because they do not hold enough elected offices to vote to stop Trump.

    Resistance to Trump won’t come from the people either. A march will not change a corrupt politicians vote. Politicians are seeking greater grifts not greater approval.

    The people have to electoral power. They do have purchasing power … but will never use it. A general strike is needed. A general strike is not coming.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A general strike is not as directly related to purchasing power as a boycott.

      Boycott online purchasing from monopoly or monopoly-like entities.

      Boycott social media.

      Stop watching TV.


      1. Waldenpond

        Yes, purchasing power is incorrect. Economic power would be a better description of power…. a couple of weeks of a general strike?

      1. Waldenpond

        [so bend over America, this is what you voted for.]

        Clinton v Trump. (profanity isn’t allowed here but would be something along the lines of ‘eff this manure’)

        I have no idea what people are talking about with ‘resistance’. Don’t blame people for doing the best they can with a $h!tty governing system and political parties that exist for nothing but $electing the next $et of thieves. In the absence of someone to vote for, some people resort to voting against…. no one deserves to be $h!t on by their community/society.

        1. Aumua

          Re: Resistance. I was riffing off your post, wp. What did you mean by ‘resistance won’t come’?

          There was an alternative on most states’ ballots, besides Awful vs. Deplorable. But no matter how bad what you voted against was, if you voted for Trump, you voted for what’s coming, and it has barely even begun.

  28. oho

    looks like yet another politician seduced by the dark side and the world of favors that being a Senator gets you.

    It’s quickly becoming the winter of her discontent for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. No matter which direction she looks, she faces political headaches.

    From the right, a fresh barrage of stories broke this week about the mysterious $1.3 million line of credit on her Cambridge home, a development first reported by the Boston Herald in 2015. For two years in a row, Warren failed to list it on the financial disclosure form all senators complete each year……

  29. dcrane

    Re: “How Life and Death Spring From Disorder”: The article on the meeting of information-theoreticians, physicists, and biologists apparently didn’t address one of the best evolutionary theories for ageing, antagonistic pleiotropy (or the writer missed it). Individual genes will tend to have multiple separate phenotypic effects. Natural selection for new genes that improve reproduction early in life (where natural selection is strongest) will invariably introduce some that also happen to cause harm later in life. These tradeoffs will tend to accumulate, especially later on when an organism is likely to have died from external sources of mortality anyway (and therefore when natural selection is much weaker).

    Perhaps there is a way for them to tie this process into their ideas of information gain and loss, I don’t know. They didn’t appear to try.

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