Links 2/25/17

Photo: Pollen-speckled honeybee considers the flower TreeHugger (resilc)

Cat Cafe

Mars Needs Lawyers FiveThirtyEight (J-LS)

Hadas: Statistical tricks are easy and dangerous Reuters (resilc)

When Climate Change Starts Wars Micael: “The future looks so bright I need to wear an AK-47.”

Which Asian Country Will Replace China as the ‘World’s Factory’? The Diplomat (resilc)

Germany’s top trade partners The Atlas. Resilc: “Full steam ahead with silkroad2. Bye bye EU and NATO.

Delusional lawyering won’t save European bonds John Dizard, Financial Times. Important reading regarding a French or Italian Eurozone exit.

Marine Le Pen refuses to be questioned by French police Financial Times

Election présidentielle 2017 : dates, candidats, sondages, résultat linter@ute. Alison:

Here is a website that has the latest polls on the French presidential race – from the top of the page, scroll down a bit to see “SOMMAIRE” (toward right) and then click on the link “sondages de l’élection présidentielle” under that heading.

French prosecutors open official probe into Fillon’s ‘fake jobs’ scandal France24 (Alison)


Germany and Italy back European Commission on Brexit Financial Times. I’m at a loss to see why this outcome was ever in doubt. Merkel has been very firm from the get-go. More evidence of UK wishful thinking amplified by the press. And the UK was always talking to itself about the “parallel track” idea. At most only a non-player or two mentioned it.

May hails ‘astounding’ by-election win BBC

Labour wipeoutWhat would happen if there was a general election tomorrow: Jeremy Corbyn obliterated and a fat majority for the Tories Telegraph

The ‘Superficial, Arrogant Smugness’ Of BBC News – Peter Oborne Delivers Some Home Truths On BBC Radio 4 Today Media Lens (Chuck L)

New Cold War

The Blaster: Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia Chuck Spinney & Pierre Sprey (Chuck L)


EXCLUSIVE: Veterans Say Organizers Concealed Saudi Sponsorship of Their Trip to DC to Lobby for Changes to 9/11 Lawsuit Legislation 28Pages (Chuck L)

Taliban reconciliation may get fresh start Indian Punchline (margarita)

Joint Chiefs Chairman: US Mulling ‘Long-Term Commitment’ to Iraq Antiwar (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

SPIEGEL Exclusive: Documents Indicate Germany Spied on Foreign Journalists Der Spiegel (margarita)

As Security Violations Erupt, the Operator of India’s Biometric Database Stands at a Troubling Crossroad The Wire (J-LS)

India Inc Needs To Fix Its Numerous and Basic Information Security Flaws Quickly The Wire (J-LS)

Trump Transition

Trump Rejects Intelligence Report on Travel Ban Wall Street Journal

Border Patrol Agents Stop Domestic Travelers at New York Airport Rolling Stone (Chuck L)

GOP Senators Embrace Awkward Russia Probe That Could Hurt Trump Bloomberg

Are We Witnessing a Coup Operation Against the Trump White House? The Nation. Lambert: “We aren’t the only ones asking this question.”

The Constitutional Apocalypse Les Leopold, Huffington Post. Martha r:

No mention of foundation professionals getting paid not to do the real work, of how Occupy was wiped out, or of the wars. However, i think his call to organize, especially in the form of 30,000 educators going to the people to teach about neoliberalism, is on the mark, and the need for such a teaching effort, via people, not media, is urgent.

Exclusive: Trump says Republican border tax could boost U.S. jobs Reuters (resilc)

Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas Counterpunch (Scott S). About the migrant ban.

If Trump Cares About Jobs, He’ll Stay in the Paris Climate Agreement Motherboard (resilc)

Planned Back-Channel Talks Between U.S., North Korea Scuttled Wall Street Journal

Trump’s Department of Justice just reopened business for private prisons Vox (resilc)

Rex Tillerson Is Already Underwater Politico (furzy)

Trump’s victory lap runs against administration’s orthodox turn Financial Times

White House hand-picks select media outlets for briefing The Hill

Did David Brooks & the NeoCons pave the Way for Trump? Juan Cole

Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, At the Altar of American Greatness TomDispatch (martha r). Synchronicity! More on David Brooks.

If Trump is Impeached, it Might Be the End of America Medium (UserFriendly)


Woman with dying husband confronts Tom Cotton: “What kind of insurance do you have?” Vox. The clips are dramatic.

Trump to Meet With Insurance Executives on Repeal of Affordable Care Act Wall Street Journal

Exclusive: Leaked GOP Obamacare replacement shrinks subsidies, Medicaid expansion Politico


The Case for Tom Perez Makes No Sense New Republic

Why Was Tom Perez Willing to be the New Democrats’ DNC Stalking Horse? Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives (martha r). From a few days ago, still germane.

Prepare for the Centrist Gambit at the DNC Race: “If You’re Progressive, You’re Supporting Trump” Paste (UserFriendly)

Millennial, Progressive Candidate Sam Ronan’s Inspiring Run for DNC Chair Paste (UserFriendly)

Dems fear divisions will persist after DNC chair election The Hill

Texas is the Future Andrew Cockburn, Harper’s Magazine (resilc)

“Get out of my Country!” White Terrorist Shoots Asian-American Engineers in Wake of Trump Visa Ban Juan Cole (resilc)

Twin Cities Muslims place large ad to support Jews affected by bomb threats StarTribune (Chuck L)

Arizona bill would bring stricter penalties for rioters azcentral (Reader: “Headline should say ‘public protesters’ instead of ‘rioters’. The Arizona legislature once again demonstrates their contemp for the 1st amendment, this time using the massive temper tantrum that followed the election as cover.”

The Republican Blowback Against Sam Brownback in Kansas Atlantic (UserFriendly)

J.C. Penney Is Latest Retailer Forced to Downsize Wall Street Journal

Hensarling’s leverage ratio plan won’t work without stress tests Bank Think

Yes, Mr. President, Banks Are Lending Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times. Points out that not only are banks lending, they could lend even more if they weren’t shrinking their equity by buybacks, dividends, and super lavish executive pay.

Trump May Have Just Ended His Rally Mike Norman (djr). One caveat re an otherwise good piece: Norman doesn’t understand the dividend repatriation issue. The money is overseas only for tax accounting purposes. Apple has its dough sitting in banks in the US, managed as an internal hedge fund out of Nevada. All this issue affects is dividends and executive bonuses, which is why companies harangue about it so much.

Class Warfare

Big Pharma Quietly Enlists Leading Professors to Justify $1,000-Per-Day Drugs ProPublica (resilc)

Poverty rising in affluent communities Boston Globe. Martha r: “The servants can’t afford to live in the same towns as their employers /s. in the banana republic of boston, ground zero of the 10 percent.”

Surgeons Should Not Look Like Surgeons Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Phil U)

Antidote du jour. James sent these Galapagos tortoises:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Moneta

    There is an area in North America that is still trying to buck the trend of neoliberalism… low university fees, affordable daycare and a new push for universal daycare. They just banned user fees for health care. There have been talks of creating a special pensions for those over 75 because that’s when the financial problems really kick in. Huge train project. They protect their own language… I think this is a focal point because it has created a distinct society no matter how much people hate Bill 101.

    The rest of Canada thinks they are nuts and commies while they themselves follow the American path. And there is an elite that is working very hard to get it to follow neoliberal rule but Quebec is still bucking in many ways.

    I don’t know if Quebec is signing its death warrant or showing us how socialism can work. Time will tell I guess.

    Here is a short book denouncing neoliberalism. It’s worth the read:

    If Quebec progressives got more support from around the world, maybe it could be the bastion of change.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Vive le Quebec libre!

      Let’s see how the Neoliberals strangle this one in the crib, a la Colorado…

      Sam Ronan for DNC chair.

    2. JEHR

      I admire Quebec for its belief in itself: belief in feminism; belief in socialism; belief in the efficacy of protesting; belief in its own culture and language.

      1. Dave

        Unacknowledged belief in the bread basket to the west, populated by the descendants of Ukrainians and Germans, that keeps them fed as well.

        1. Moneta

          Yes i know the argument… the West is convinced it’s paying for Quebec’s socialism (i.e. daycare).

          People in Ontario can be just as narrow-minded… in Quebec all elementary schools have before and after school programs at 7$ per day. You drop off your children and have no stress. It’s amazing.

          Since the ratio is 20/1 up to 30/1, they can’t lose money, even at 7$ per day. 20*7=140$. If the educator gets 20$ an hour for total of 4 hours = 80$.

          In Ontario, most of the time, you have to find a daycare out of school in your bus zone… but if you are walking distance you must go on the bus waiting list… and daycare is a nice price of 20-30$ per day.

          Every time I mentioned the Quebec system to other parents, their eyes would glaze over and they would say they did not want Ontario to go broke like Quebec will.

          I could argue that the West keeps on attracting the young, yet hates the transfer payments meant to support the elderly parents left out East.

          So many beliefs, so little time.

    3. a different chris

      Hmmm.. the French may not accept what comes out of the Canadian mouths as “French”* but it pretty much is. Which brings up that so very interesting question – does the language you think in itself affect the very way you think?

      If so, maybe we should all take crash courses in French, regardless of what it would sound like to Parisians* it may give us a different look at the world.

      *Crossed paths with an engaging young French guy who had lived in Quebec for 3 years — he had picked up what was no doubt the slightest of Canadian accents and he reported with a grin that his parents were now always telling him to “speak French”. And they weren’t joking. — also, did I spell “Parisians” correctly? Not getting an spell-checker underline but it looks funny.

      1. Moneta

        My mom is an anglo and father francophone. I always wanted to believe that I was who I was whether I was thinking in French or English. My father is adamant that language shapes your thought process. The older I get, the more I see myself agreeing with him. Humans need something that binds. I believe Quebeckers feel more secure about their identity than those in the rest if Canada. I find that those in the rest of Canada have the compulsion to describe how they are not American (beer ads “I am Canadian”. Quebeckers do not see the US in the same way at all. I believe language has had a huge impact since it has given Quebec its own unique culture: music, tv, arts, etc.

        1. Harry

          I think some Geezer called Wittgenstein had a lot to say about this. But since he was a native German speaker I think its best to ignore him.

      2. Moneta

        One day while cleaning the living room with the tv on in the background, I thought I heard a play in Quebec French.

        Wondering where it was recorded, I stopped to watch for second and quickly realized it was in old French!

        From what I have witnessed, Quebec French sounds a lot like old French… So who is more French now?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Those who move away tend to preserve what they leave behind.

          The American English is said to like Elizabethan English.

          The Fujian dialect is closer to the spoken Chinese at the time of the Western Jin dynasty when many migrated to areas south of the Yangtze, as the Central Plain around Honan was being overrun by nomadic tribes. Ancient poems rhyme only when recited in that dialect.

          Genetically, those who stay behind also tend to have more diverse genes. Hawaiians originally came from Taiwan and the aborigines (whose reparation probably means returning back to them the more expensive sections of Taipei and other cities) there are more diverse genetically.

  2. Jim Haygood link:

    Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford says that the Pentagon is considering a “long-term commitment” to operations in Iraq, intending to keep troops in the country after the ISIS war, with an eye toward keeping Iraq’s military propped up.

    So 14 years isn’t long term?

    Two words, Joe: imperial decline.

    Or as the grunts’ acronym goes, CWS [Can’t Win Sh*t].

      1. Vatch

        Or the Romans in Hispania, Egypt and other places, or the Chinese in Tibet and East Turkestan.

        It’s already cost us a lot, both in dollars, in lives, and in credibility, and it’s gonna cost us at lot more.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Could be Alexander’s Greeks in Bactria.

          They married Roxanne’s sisters and have stayed till today. Many early Buddhist missionaries to China, as early as the Han dynasty 2,000 years ago, were from there, and one can still see Greek artistic influence in Buddha art, including sculpture, even down to the Tang dynasty…the light, wavy robe, the ‘archaic smile’ or the Mona Lisa smile on those stone Buddha’s faces…

          Marlon Brando had a different experience in film, Sayonara – the US Army discouraged our soldiers frm marrying Japanese girls, much less marrying Japanese men.

      1. ambrit

        Lemming 306: “Hey 301, do you see what I see?”
        Lemming 301: “Yeah 306, that does look like a cliff.”
        Lemming 306: “And that shiney stuff?”
        Lemming 301: “Uh oh! Water! Lots of it!”

        1. funemployed

          Lemmings don’t actually do that. No animal is that stupid. That myth comes from a film where Disney faked the behavior by pushing them off a cliff because it was dramatic and apparently had some sort of moral lesson.

          1. Portia

            this is actually true–I saw a painful-to-watch nature program about this

            Q. What strategy do penguins use to avoid being attacked and devoured by a killer whale?–Shamu

            A. They “play a waiting game akin to killer-whale roulette,” says Mark Buchanan in The Social Atom. By a form of social cooperation or learning, groups of penguins keep a careful watch on each other, taking note when another penguin ventures into the infested water to see how it fares. At first, only the hungriest penguin ventures in, until the coast is proven clear or to be avoided at all costs.

            Yet at times no penguin gets that desperate, and so all hang back, waiting. In such cases, it has been known for some penguins to toss a sacrificial one into the drink “with a not-so-gentle nudge.” The general social category here is “imitation”– or doing what others in the group have done safely or not doing what hasn’t worked. This of course is a far-reaching favorite of humans as well.

            1. funemployed

              wow. awesome if sad fact. I guess the moral is don’t be the unpopular penguin when everyone’s hungry

    1. Andrew Watts

      Any American occupation on Iraqi soil will enable the successor organization to Islamic State regenerate quicker through the validation of it’s old propaganda. It’ll also make them convenient targets for everybody from Sunni insurgent/terrorist organizations, Shia militias controlled by Iran, or independent actors with a grudge against the United State. Did everybody forget the American experience in Lebanon?

      But I gotta cut the Pentagon and Dunford some slack. Any scenario less than a perfect outcome must be incredibly frustrating if not outright humiliating. While not everybody has acknowledged that America lost in Iraq those that have blame Iran and are slightly nuts. It’s one of the reasons why I didn’t care that Flynn was removed as Trump’s National Security Adviser.

  3. allan

    DNC: After the election, there has been a brief window for reflection and action.
    If the party can’t free itself from the dead weight of the Clintons and Obama, it’s finished.
    An Ellison victory would be just the start of a long an difficult battle to remain relevant
    to electoral politics. A defeat will mean a one part state.

    1. Patricia

      Yep. I appreciated Shane Ryan’s post at Paste link:

      “Because this is the Democrats we’re talking about, and the decision is in the hands of 447 DNC members who represent the party establishment, Perez will almost surely win….If there is no commitment from the centrists even here, and if there can be no party-wide concession to progressivism even after November’s disaster—if, in fact, they have to manufacture a candidate out of thin air to keep a progressive from winning—then the left can safely conclude that is clearly not our party.”

      1. Eureka Springs

        Progressives are liberals, they are democrats, certainly not left. Where one might detect some leftishness you will quickly find extreme cases of of ineptitude. (Public option / ACA support to this day being a prime example as well as thier determination to support the Clinton types at all).

        Look at their “issues” and leading members aka super liberal delegates. All these peeps howling for Ellison from Sanders on down give little reason with merit for supporting him other than he’s not the other guy. Give yourself five mulligans and tell me 65 out of those 70 progs listed shouldn’t be primaried/banished as much as any third wayer.

        The process within the D party, perhaps the most egregious top-down anti-democratic one can find, is not in question.

        1. Patricia

          Yeah, Dems are not our friends—required mantra for all and sundry.

          We can work with some Dems on specific policies, and can join the party if/when necessary to further our own goals, but the latter will only work if we remember we will be inside an enemy camp.

          Ellison is better than Perez; we can want him because of that. It is not required that we then be “on his side”. Not that it matters–fairly certain it’ll be Perez. Waiting for results right now…

        2. Katharine

          A blanket statement like “Progressives are liberals” makes no sense. The mere fact that corporate Dems are trying to appropriate a label that polls better than the “liberal” they previously devalued does not mean that progressives overall conform to the corporate mold. If you don’t know the history of the term, or the range of people it encompasses today, please don’t generalize about it!

          1. Eureka Springs

            It’s not blanket.. it is specific. It makes all the sense in the world when you are willing to see, their alliances, failures, even their own issues and framing (link above)… including all those who encompass it (not my blanket statement) and the history… certainly the last 50 plus years.

            Dems trying to run from a liberal label… I think you hit squarely upon the purpose of “progressive” for decades on end without hearing yourself.

          2. witters

            And the history of the term progressives tells you what? I take it ‘progressive being’ is John Stuat Mill’s coingage. And good old JS was Examiner for that corporation for all things humane, the East India Company. Right. Makes sense.

      2. UserFriendly

        Yup, I’m glad I stumbled across it.! In other DNC news Nomiki Konst’s twitter is very informative.

        DNC members continue to share how Valerie Jarrett called them on behalf of @TomPerez: “I’ll let the President know you’re w/ Tom.”

        .@TomPerez receives endorsement from Kathleen Sebelius, who has major ties to biotech and Monsanto.

        And her debate with Dershowitz is wonderful..

        I hope at the very least this crushes Obama’s credibility with Millennials. I am begining to hate this country more and more every day.

        1. Patricia

          I much appreciate all the good links you send to NC, UF.

          Nomiki Konst did a beautiful job with Dershowitz. He’s an old guy on the wane, but it’s still hard on such a very seriously important personage to be laughed at, heh.

          1. UserFriendly

            When someone says the exact same point 7-8 times in a row it’s either laugh or scream, I would have screamed.

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          Just hold your breath until Booker 2020 and then you can believe in false hope and no change all over again!

    2. roadrider

      Just the fact that Perez is a former Montgomery County MD (a hot bed of Clintonite/Obama-bot latte liberalism; I live there, I know) councilman should disqualify him.

      I liked the way Ryan turned the establishment Dem’s arguments about party unity against them but he should also remind the Clintonites about the PUMAs in 2008. His second argument (They.Fucking.Lost) is something the establishment Dems really have no answer for which is why they’re pushing their ridiculous Russian hacking argument and complaining about the Electoral College when they did exactly nothing about it after 2000.

      But as a MD resident maybe I should hope for a Perez win, After all, the article mentioned that the Dems want him to run for governor here. Maybe I’m better off if he’s running the DNC.

      1. Katharine

        They want to run him for governor?! They must want to lose again.

        It is hard to understand their thinking (if any). At every level we see them trying to shoot themselves in the foot. Here and there, more often locally, we see someone good elected despite the party organization, but the overall push to destroy the party is relentless.

        1. John k

          It’s all easy to understand. Corps see progressives as existential threat. They direct all the elite dems on the payroll to push them down at every opportunity. Corps don’t at all care that this dooms the dem party, reps are just fine.

          Perez election will simply show sanders et al once again the party cannot be reformed and must be replaced. What is doable is for pros to take over the greens and move on from there. How about ‘Progressive Greens’?
          Go for the progressive left plus indies… If nothing else it kills off the corrupt dems.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Mike Norman (linked above):

    President Trump may have just burst his own euphoric market bubble. The president’s own budget director, Mick Mulvaney, is about as fiscally hawkish as anyone can get, perhaps because he is woefully ignorant when it comes to understanding sovereign money.

    I’ve been telling you about this. The markets don’t seem to want to pay attention.

    When the market “don’t pay attention,” it means you’re wrong. Ms Market don’t care about logic, and it don’t have to make sense. Plus logic based on “sovereign money” is like doing astronomy while believing in a geocentric universe: a proctoscope would serve just as well as a telescope.

    Obviously, there’s a conflict between tax cuts and big spending plans on infrastructure and military toys. Something has to give. We know from the Reagan and W Bush administrations what it is: the deficit.

    As long as Usgov can borrow at 2 percent, it feels like it’s almost free. So they will let the deficit rip. $25 trillion in debt by 2020 is achievable with an intervening recession. If Trump serves two terms, look for $30 trillion by the time he bids adieu.

    Bush’s idiotic war in Iraq proved for all time that R party’s alleged fiscal conservatism is nothing but empty huffery and puffery. Rally the red mob around a “350 ship navy,” “US colony on Mars,” or whatever lunacy, and they’ll ante up big time … with other peoples’ money. :-)

    1. Benedict@Large

      “Concern” for the deficit is only allowed to impact social spending, not military spending. If fact, the “necessity” for additional military spending is then used as a further excuse to cut back on the social state.

      “We’ll keep you safe from the Darkies, but you’ll be broke by the time we do.” “No, you don’t have a choice.”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And Trump said last year, a country couldn’t go bankrupt borrowing its own currency…or something like that.

      What is my theory for this paradox?

      First, let say what is not my theory – we are distinct from each other, already formed and non-changeable.

      My theory – human reality or just reality is interweaving in nature, like Indra’s Net, and we can influence those around us, and Trump’s like Schroedinger’s Cat. Once you meet him, you find out what state he is in, and you can also influence him, like Mulveney (unfortunately) has done.

      In that sense, we have not done every thing we could have (we have not given our 110%) if we don’t try to go into the den of power, and get ourselves heard (dangerous, yes, but for country and apple pie)…how do we face ourselves if we just try to go on a book tour or ask the Senate to investigate Russia.

    3. John k

      Reagan showed reps will spend on wars and toys, which Obama has been doing. And remember how he lusted for a grand bargain, fully attainable now. But…
      Infra? Believe it when you see it funded in size, not before. And is it funded with cuts to entitlements? It’s the deficit, stupid.
      And you wanted it when? ACA sucking the O2 right now, months to get that done, if at all.
      I doubt infra funded this year, if at all, and another half year or so before income turns into spending. Maybe in time for recession.

    4. djrichard

      Yep, increased deficits, no doubt.

      But the question is what does he do on the spending side. Recently his language seems to be focused on spending cuts/reductions (in a bid to reduce the national debt don’t you know). That’s a big disconnect from his campaign message. And if that’s how it plays out, the market will catch up to this.

      But to your point, presumably that’s all talk, just providing him cover to make cuts on one hand and increase spending on defense on the other hand. In which case, only those who lose out will get energized.

      Still, the risk is congress gets inspired with all the deficit reduction talk from Trump and starts going after 3rd-rail programs. In which case, who will Trump disappoint? Congress? Or the people who voted him in?

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      You are misrepresenting what Norman is saying.

      Not only is Trump’s budget director hawkish, but there are plenty of Republican deficit hawks in Congress. Trump will not be able to pass a budget with big deficits. A colleague who is a top tax expert (and her job is to call what is going on in DC) says the vaunted tax cuts will be largely optical, the Republicans will insist that tax cuts be met with spending cuts, and they aren’t there to be had. Corporate taxes probably will be restructured but it won’t amount to much if any net reduction.

      As for infrastructure, you apparently haven’t been paying attention. The infrastructure plan is not going to be funded by the Feds. It relies on tax equity credits. We’ve already post on how that market is small and the deals are very much bespoke. There isn’t going to be much infrastructure spending as a result.

  5. Andrew Watts

    RE: When Climate Change Starts Wars

    Part of the reason why I took an interest in the Syrian Civil War early on was the role climate change played in propelling the war. While neoliberalism enriches the elite at the expense of everybody else it undermines the legitimacy of the state. Thus the country is destabilized and any factor such as climate change and related factors or a sudden economic spiral will leave it vulnerable. The interference of outsiders enabled the war to be sustained and expanded but was not an originating factor in the initial outbreak imo.

    I think a similar situation unfolding in Mexico is possible or even likely. Any prolonged drought which drives up food prices with the additional factor of the internal dislocation of the former rural farmer class destroyed by NAFTA combined with the proto-Warlordism of the drug cartels makes Mexico unbelievably unstable as a country. The destabilization of our southern neighbor is probably America’s number one national security threat that nobody is paying any real attention to.

    1. John Wright

      Note, the problems that Mexico City is already having with water supply and that reliable access to water depends on income level.

      Historically Mexico/Central America had a massive internal reorganization when the Mayan civilization collapsed.


      “During the 9th century AD, the central Maya region suffered major political collapse, marked by the abandonment of cities, the ending of dynasties, and a northward shift in activity. No universally accepted theory explains this collapse, but it likely had a combination of causes, including endemic internecine warfare, overpopulation resulting in severe environmental degradation, and drought”

    2. John k

      That’s what the wall is for.
      But imagine hundreds of inflatables carrying refugees north along the four coasts…

  6. ex-PFC Chuck

    Andrew Bacevich eviscerates David Brooks for shrugging off the “humiliations of Iraq.”

    A great phrase, that. Yet much like, say, the “tragedy of Vietnam” or the “crisis of Watergate,” it conceals more than it reveals. Here, in short, is a succinct historical reference that cries out for further explanation. It bursts at the seams with implications demanding to be unpacked, weighed, and scrutinized. Brooks shrugs off Iraq as a minor embarrassment, the equivalent of having shown up at a dinner party wearing the wrong clothes.

    Under the circumstances, it’s easy to forget that, back in 2003, he and other members of the Church of America the Redeemer devoutly supported the invasion of Iraq. They welcomed war. They urged it. They did so not because Saddam Hussein was uniquely evil — although he was evil enough — but because they saw in such a war the means for the United States to accomplish its salvific mission. Toppling Saddam and transforming Iraq would provide the mechanism for affirming and renewing America’s “national greatness.”

    Anyone daring to disagree with that proposition they denounced as craven or cowardly. Writing at the time, Brooks disparaged those opposing the war as mere “marchers.” They were effete, pretentious, ineffective, and absurd. “These people are always in the streets with their banners and puppets. They march against the IMF and World Bank one day, and against whatever war happens to be going on the next… They just march against.”

    For a man who lost his son in that clusterf**k it’s as deeply personal as it can get.

    1. Quentin

      To David Brooks, NYT employee: David Bacevich lost his son in the war you and your employer took so much trouble and effort to push and realise. What did you lose? Do have anything to say in your defence? If not, stuff it.

    2. a different chris

      >For a man who lost his son in that clusterf**k it’s as deeply personal as it can get.

      My god. I can’t even imagine.

      >they were effete, pretentious, ineffective, and absurd.

      well he was right about the “ineffective” part

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      ” Church of America the Redeemer”….”salvific mission”

      Now that’s how “journalism” is done.

    4. fresno dan

      ex-PFC Chuck
      February 25, 2017 at 9:16 am

      “In refusing to reckon with the results of the war he once so ardently endorsed, Brooks is hardly alone. Members of the Church of America the Redeemer, Democrats and Republicans alike, are demonstrably incapable of rendering an honest accounting of what their missionary efforts have yielded.
      Back in April 2003, confident that the fall of Baghdad had ended the Iraq War, Brooks predicted that “no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, ‘We were wrong. Bush was right.’” Rather than admitting error, he continued, the war’s opponents “will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future.”

      Yet it is the war’s proponents who, in the intervening years, have choked on admitting that they were wrong. Or when making such an admission, as did both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton while running for president, they write it off as an aberration, a momentary lapse in judgment of no particular significance, like having guessed wrong on a TV quiz show.
      That Donald Trump inhabits a universe of his own devising, constructed of carefully arranged alt-facts, is no doubt the case. Yet, in truth, much [[ “much”? I would say “all”]] the same can be said of David Brooks and others sharing his view of a country providentially charged to serve as the “successor to Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome.” In fact, this conception of America’s purpose expresses not the intent of providence, which is inherently ambiguous, but their own arrogance and conceit. Out of that conceit comes much mischief. And in the wake of mischief come charlatans like Donald Trump.
      It is always a wonder to me that the biggest advocates of a omniscient & omnipotent “providence” always assert that providence is running the place wrong and that AMERICAN humans know better….

      1. John Wright

        Kerry, well known as a Vietnam war protester, was particularly cynical in his vote on approving the Iraq War.

        It was a calculated decision, not a mere aberration.

        CA Senator Barbara Boxer, who admirably voted against the Iraq war, advised Kerry to vote against it.

        Kerry responded with “I have to vote for it, I want to run for President”

        Kerry might regret his vote now for a variety of reasons, one could be that if he had voted against the war that might have propelled him to victory over George Bush in 2004.

        Kerry’s Iraq War supportive vote may have cost him the US presidency.

        1. fresno dan

          John Wright
          February 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm

          I haven’t read much about Kerry cause I don’t think he’s worth much time, but I always got the impression he went to Vietnam as a “calculation”. And I always thought he was against the war when he got back as a “calculation”.
          Those big leather chairs senators sit in must really stimulate one’s gonads, cause how many times in one’s senate career does an individual senators’ vote really mean a flying f*ck??? And yet, when it counted, calculating a successful gambit in politics was the most important thing…

      2. Harry

        I suspect the war did approximately what its proponents thought it would do. Made the middle east a safer place for Israel, at no direct cost to Israel. Sadly the benefits to Israel of the approach have not been as great as hoped. However I dont know whether the costs to the US of the policy were ever a relevant parameter.

        Who was it that said you should never give a sucker an even break?

      3. ex-PFC Chuck

        In the run-up to the 2003 Senate vote on authorizing the invasion of Iraq Senator Hilary Clinton of New York had a constituent who arguably knew at least as much about the WMD situation in Iraq than anyone else in the world: Scott Ritter, the former USMC officer who had been the leader of many of the UNSCOM inspection missions in Iraq. He relentlessly tried to get her to listen to what he knew but was blown off numerous times by the Senator and her various minions.

  7. Andrew Watts

    RE: SPIEGEL Exclusive: Documents Indicate Germany Spied on Foreign Journalists

    Oh c’mon! A Belgian journalist with rebel contacts in Congo? If you know anything about Congo’s history as a Belgian colony you’d know that any journalist which met that criteria is a legitimate foreign intelligence target. Before anybody accuses me of being a shill for German intelligence, I’d like to point out that the BND was founded by a bunch of ex-Nazis with the help of the CIA and that spooks often masquerade as journalists.

    My favorite moment of the Syrian Civil War was when an [American female journalist for CNN], who previously was snooping around Remelan [Note: Anglicized] air strip, asked a squad of Kurdish YPG who they learned to call in airstrikes from. The answer, of course, was from Americans and Germans which seemed to surprise the [CNN journalist]. Second favorite moment was when an [RT journalist] cornered an [American volunteer] about what he was doing in Syria/Rojava. Here’s his response. It’s a parody of a scene from the sci-fi book/movie Starship Troopers.

    I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the response they were looking for.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some people spied on the German chancellor.

      The Germans aim low? Only spying on journalists?

    2. Bill Smith

      re: BND – you didn’t mention all the KGB and Stasi/HVA illegals who were there from the founding….

  8. Patricia

    Donna Brazile gives a 6:45min rant on how righteous and great she is. And gets standing ovation.

    Reality no longer affects these ‘folks’. Well, they’ve one last connection—holding onto power and ego, down to the smallest detail. When that’s all you have left, things start going really weird.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      “Reality no longer affects these folks”

      I read that statement and got very frightened indeed.

      Reality that we lost in Vietnam. Reality that we lost in Iraq. Reality that the Dems lost everywhere. Reality that the Fed makes billionaires rich at the expense of everybody else. Reality that in the current US system basic healthcare will bankrupt you. Reality that something really stinks about 9/11.

      It made me think that the protected ruling class can continue to live in a Hall of Mirrors video game of life, the rest of us need to live out-of-game with all of the real consequences.

  9. justanotherprogressive

    TASS watch:
    When the Trump Administration banned NYT and CNN from the “gaggle”, the other news outlets could have refused to attend, but did they? Nope! Only AP and TIME declined. Sooooo…..when MSNBC, ABC, etc are banned, I am sure they will whine mightily……
    Martin Niemoller’s words come to mind….

    1. a different chris

      And seems that’s pretty ironic, I could be wrong (don’t pay much attention to the MSM anymore), but aren’t the AP and Time shaded well to the right?

    2. UserFriendly

      I don’t remember where I read it but WSJ wasn’t aware that others were barred and said they would not be participating in any others with limited access. Bloomberg taped the whole thing and shared it.

  10. Carolinian

    The Medium article is the link of the day imo. Perhaps this is the key graf

    In Trump’s case, you have a paradigmatically anti-establishment candidate versus a powerful and brazenly biased media known to be as corrupt as the politicians it covers. The New York Times has admitted that it ignored Trump supporters during the election, and has essentially acknowledged its own bias. The people funneling money into politics are often the same ones who own the media companies that are doing the reporting, i.e. George Soros. It’s not a stretch to believe that MSM was so threatened by Trump that it spent tens of millions of dollars trying to find a way, any way, to take him down. By being outwardly hostile to the MSM, Trump, the ultimate outsider, baited them into this battle. If the MSM takes down Trump, it’s hard to see it as anything besides Goliath defeating David. And, no matter what the facts are, it will be Goliath defeating David in the mind of the Trump voter.

    The author is saying that within the elite bubble taking out Trump seems quite doable and normal whereas outside that bubble (i.e. where I live) it seems horrifying and insane. One can’t help but conclude that for many of our fellow citizens it would be perfectly acceptable to kill our democracy in order to save it…sort of the same strategy they deployed in Libya and Syria.

    If Trump is a boob–and that seems more than likely–we are just going to have to live with it and rediscover the checks and balances that are supposed to be written into the Constitution. Progressives allowed us to get into this situation with their apathy and they are going to have to be wiser than they are at the moment to get us out of it. And above all else when Trump notions about doing something good–like seeking peace with other countries–stop complaining.

    1. oho

      Well if elites are insane enough to impeach Trump, all the Beltway folks better stock up on canned goods. Not joking.

      All you need is a European-style highway slowdown/stoppage on I-80/76 and no one is entering shipping food east for the day.

    2. Portia

      LOL. The use of the term “Progressive” these days is so interesting.

      Progressives allowed us to get into this situation with their apathy and they are going to have to be wiser than they are at the moment to get us out of it. And above all else when Trump notions about doing something good–like seeking peace with other countries–stop complaining.

      If Trump stops “maniacally” kissing TPTB ass, he’ll get taken out. And yeah, Trump is so peace-seeking. Link of the day, check.

      1. Carolinian

        Strike a pose much? Can’t find any actual ideas in your comment to reply to. Might be helpful to read and dispute the original article if that’s what you are trying to do.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Wowsers. Are you seriously telling us that you don’t know that Trump is seeking to de-escalate with Russia (although The Blob may have won by ousting Flynn) and that is the big reason TPTB are after him and alleging he’s a Russian tool?

            1. Portia

              not those PTB. I mean deregulation and feeding the corp/financial thirst for unchecked development, and his hate speech stirring up the racists.

      2. craazyman

        Rather than argue about it, why dont you guys just use the Arrow Debreu theorem to determine whether there’s a unique socially optimal equilibrium that satistfies the utility maximization functions of DC political bubble hackowackos and deplorable Trump supporters. When you’ve done all math, if you’re still conscious, then ageeing should be easy since youll be too tired to even wanna argue any more. More people in fact should use the Arrow Debreu theorem, since that would end argument entirely and they’d have to lay around recovering while normal people went aboout their business in the ways normal people do when they’re not fkkked with. That’s the Chair-o-deBrew theorem. You sit at the bar wth a beer and figure out how to solve the world’s problems. It works better than mathematical economics!

        1. Jim Haygood

          Speaking of utility maximization functions, now we are being treated to learned, math-savvy analyses of “red state cars” vs “blue state cars.” Really, I’m not making this up:

          The cars that are most unusually popular in red states are all trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUVs), and nine of the ten are American made (the exception, the Kia Sorento, is made by a Korean company, but manufactured in the United States).

          In contrast, none of the most most unusually popular cars in Democratic areas are American made or Trucks/SUVs. The list of unusually popular cars in Democratic areas is entirely made up of foreign made compact, sedans and minis.

          Broken down to the state level, this map confirms that Subaru tops the list of unusually popular cars in good green Vermont, Colorado and Washington state. Whereas there are but five red-meat truck states: Texas (of course), Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Arizona. Though Arizona looks a little pinko, preferring Toyota Tacoma to the American brands that rule ArkLaTexHoma.

          1. craazyman

            I wonder if that’s cause red state guys have manly jobs (like carpentry or plumbing or electrical work or being a cowboy — where you need a truck to survive) and blue state guys have girly jobs (like being a hedge fund or private equity guy — where you don’t need a car at all, since you have a limo and a leased jet, but you get one so your wife can drive to yoga class while you’re getting a lap dance). Hahahahah

            I don’t know about Arizona. That’s where CB lives and he’s kind off left-leaning when he’s not drinking beer or flying his drone over backyard swimming pools to check out the local women by remote control. I guess the Maximum Likelihood Estimate for CBs car would be a Toyota Tacoma; that would be hilarious if it really is.

            1. Katharine

              If they must analyze anything as silly as cars, I should think they might get more useful insights from an analysis of the age distribution of cars in red vs. blue states (or counties). (That’s still on a relative scale–not sure how useful those insights would really be.)

          2. Nakatomi Plaza

            I don’t understand the methodology in that article, but I can promise you that Audi A3s are not the most popular car in California. Not even close. A quick bit of research indicates that Priuses and Civics are generally the best selling cars in CA, which is exactly what I would have guessed. And do you know how much a new Ford F250 or one of the full-size pick-ups cost? You can easily spend $50K on a pick-up truck.

            These sorts of superficial contrasts (Californians all drive fancy Audis!) really bother me because they just drive us apart and feed into misconceptions.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            This is silly.

            Suburus are popular in Maine because they handle extremely well in the snow and are generally good off road for a relatively small form-factor vehicle (not a truck, in other words). It also snows a lot in Vermont and Colorado.

            1. Patricia

              Also good in hills and mountains, which is why used a lot in WA state.

              I could get down a hill in an ice-storm when I lived in Bellingham, years back. Loved it.

            2. Jim

              The Subaru Outback and Legacy are assembled in Indiana. Many Toyotas are assembled in Kentucky, Hondas in Ohio. Hard to make such a sweeping generalization about “red state/blue state” preference for certain auto manufacturers.

    3. tgs

      Yes, that article does show the total disconnect between the liberal centrists whose voice is the MSM and those living outside the DC bubble. He points out (and this surprised me) that according to Rasmussen:

      Forty-six percent (46%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending February 16.

      That’s up a point from the previous week. This is the fourth week in a row that this finding has been in the mid-40s after running in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016. The latest finding is higher that any week during the Obama presidency.

      Another important point as McCain and other scramble to create various investigatory committees on the Trumps connections to the Kremlin:

      most Trump voters do not care if he collaborated with Russia to take down Clinton. If that was what was necessary to destroy Washington, then it was worth it.

      Read in conjunction with Patrick Lawrence’s piece on the possibility of a coup, things could really ugly really fast.

      1. Portia

        this article is fear-mongering drivel. you would be much better off reading the comments for intelligent content.

        Chris Ekema
        Feb 19
        If Trump is Impeached, it Might Be the End of America
        Isaac Simpson
        Next time, try using the correct map in your blog. Trump did not win Orange County, California and Hillary did not win Van Buren and Calhoun Counties in Michigan. The map you used is from 2012.

        1. Carolinian

          Well there’s always nitpicking. Still waiting for some rebuttal to the thrust of the article–i.e. impeaching Trump will also mean impeaching the 60 million people who voted for him. But then they are probably not “intelligent” so no prob.

          1. Portia

            well, I am going to nitpick and mention the 65,844,954 who voted for Clinton. I am not at all convinced Trump voters are as organized as the article thinks they are. It is the financial/corp system that is organized, for sure. they are the ones who will take Trump out if he stops helping them fill their rice bowls to overflowing.

            1. tegnost

              out of 318.9 million americans, 65.844 million voted for the your preferred candidate but she had a poor distribution, out of 218.95 million eligible voters., only give or take 125 million people voted, that leaves 100 million eligibles. It is remotely possible that your 65 mill are organized enough, but they have been in possession of the reins of power for quite some time and the only thing they can hold up as an accomplishment is their not trumpness. Sad. IMNSHO if the election were held over, hillary might get the same 65, but trump would get a lot more as the dems have no interest in turning out voters, they’ve got the ones they want, a 65 million person minority of self satisfied, obtuse, arrogant, sore losers. What will you do if the goppers expand medicaid? I picture a collective “socialism is for rich people” head explosion.The reason those of us who oppose the right wing dems are being cajoled to be less divisive is because right wing dems deservedly lose without us., and good riddance I say.
              306 trump 232 clinton, the only vote that matters
              look at this map and cling to your religion of superiority and blast us all with your blame cannon, it won’t change a thing.

                1. TheCatSaid

                  Thank you for those links. We have not had honest election results in decades, or maybe not ever, as election rigging was well documented in at least some locations such as Chicago.

                  The tragedy IMO is that the average person still does not realize this. Depending on party loyalty people point fingers at the “other” side. All sides have been engaging in election rigging, just using various tactics in combination depending on the local area and network in place. It has little to do with rigging individual voting machines and has nothing to do with Russia, but it has everything to do with powerful interests using a wide range of strategies and tactics. Some use technology, some use other kinds of dirty tricks (e.g. how machines are distributed to suppress the vote in target precincts). Usually various tactics are combined.

                  I’ve read that the reason Trump won in this case (to his own surprise) was that enough people within various intelligence agencies & military were disgusted with HRC that they prevented some of the HRC-favoring election rigging from proceeding as planned in the last moment. Thus the unexpected Trump win.

                  I don’t know if this specific explanation is correct, but I DO know a lot of specifics about prior election rigging of many kinds. It’s horribly widespread, but poorly reported because most people do not have time to get into the nitty gritty details to see the big picture.

                  People want to believe we have a democracy, even though the evidence indicates otherwise.

                2. Yves Smith Post author

                  I don’t see any reason for ascribing exit polls with the accuracy he does.

                  I have a colleague who is an expert on money in politics and has huge databases (as in tens of millions of voters per election) on every Presidential election since 1980. I suspect he’ll say this is hogwash.

                  1. TheCatSaid

                    Having a massive database on the official outcomes of presidential elections is not an indicator of the accuracy or inaccuracy of election results or election polls–in general or in a specific case.

                    Election tampering is well documented, going back decades and further. A database consisting of unaudited election election results is unreliable. Some locations are famously known to be unreliable (e.g., Chicago). Other places are not as famous but still obviously tampered with (e.g., Ohio 2004 completed documented with evidence on DVD). USA election systems are so poorly designed and executed that there is no way any of them should be assumed to be accurate, given the lack of procedures and evidence to support their accuracy.

                    Think of your work in finance, Yves. Would you accept database on companies’ financial health, when they were all based on CEO’s say-so without any documents or other evidence to support their accuracy?

                    Our election systems have numerous barriers that make prosecution impossible, even in the presence of hard evidence. Barriers to prosecution include issues with standing; judge/AG responsible for adjudicating having conflicts of interest; local or state laws making it impossible to physically examine original documents; deliberate destruction of evidence; lack of an effective remedy meaning the case is never heard; running out the clock so plaintiffs eventually run out of money and give up; lack of lawyers experienced and knowledgeable about the tangled web of local/state/national election law and able to take on lengthy low-cost or pro bono work, and lack of a citizenry sufficiently aware. That’s just a few off the top of my head, before mentioning the many known issues with voting machines of all kinds, and voter suppression activities, both of which can be precisely targeted with skillful local “old boy network” political knowledge.

                    Your assessment of the usefulness of your colleague’s database in relation to understanding or evaluating Charmin’s work reveals large gaps in your understanding about election systems and the way they “work” (open for rigging), are “regulated” (not at all, due to baked-in loopholes) and “evaluated” (no one wants to know because “trust”, “democracy” and because turkeys don’t vote for Thanksgiving).

                    If you want to apply your outstanding critical thinking to election systems, polls and related matters, I recommend reading the articles currently on the front page of as a primer, and several books by authors with various kinds of relevant expertise (including academics but not only academics).

                    Without having the necessary background knowledge, you are making a mistake you’ve criticized others for making: an expert in one field making ungrounded pronouncements and assessments of a field in which they lack expertise.

            2. Carolinian

              Sure you read the article? He says that any removal of Trump–regardless of who is behind it and the name George Soros does come up–will be blamed on the media and those who so visibly support the idea (i.e. the current HuffPo left). He doesn’t say the Trump voters are organized at all but rather that they will retreat into a sullen withdrawal that may explode when the economy’s sh*t finally does hit the fan (as it inevitably must).

              The point is quite simple really: our elections and political system–however ineffective and for show–are the only thing holding this wildly at odds country together. The NeverTrumpers are as foolishly indifferent to this reality as the neocons were to to the consequences of invading Iraq. The left needs to stop pretending that all our problems are about Trump and the people who voted for him and start engaging with the country as a whole. The longer they instead cling to a corrupt alternative (the Dems) the worse it is going to get.

              1. scott2

                The article didn’t mention the support Trump has from the enlisted in the military, the ones who might actually be asked to fire upon their neighbors.

                A coup without support of the military; Not a smart thing to try.

                1. oho

                  that article badly needed needed a copy editor—it was a few morsels of good points amid a firehose of ramblings.

        2. tgs

          Speaking of drivel, none of the comments on this thread have said anything about Trump being a peacenik or whether or not he is ‘kissing the ass’ of TPTB. In fact, the article itself is not about Trump or his policies. And centrist liberals, the ‘with her’ people, generally describe themselves as ‘progressives’.

          And no, I do not think that farmers will go on strike if Trump is impeached or otherwise removed (which I believe is quite likely).

          1. Portia

            yes, that is what I find interesting–that anybody–you name “centrist liberals” here– can don the mantle “progressive” and piss on it, thereby demonizing anybody they think is in their way. This whole subject is like punching a cloud.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              I’ve read your comments several times and still don’t get your issue.

              You do realize that clinton is never going to be president, right?

              It’s not a stretch to imagine that making up reasons why her loss justifies Trump’s impeachment could cause some pretty serious, unanticipated blowback.

              1. Portia

                it is beyond me why people in this thread get the idea I am advocating for Clinton by stating election figures. I am talking about the throwing of Progressives under the bus here by using the name in vain. get it now?

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I seem to recall in the closing weeks of the election that we were told in very strident and unambiguous terms that contesting the outcome of the election was the worst, most anti-democratic, and most anti-American thing someone could even contemplate doing.

              I agree.

              Next time try fielding a candidate with the support of actual people, and not just Monsanto, Goldman, and the Saudis.

    4. funemployed

      Checks and balances are overrated. Political scientists call them veto points. They were designed to keep any one individual or group of individuals from amassing too much power. More often than not, however, they do the opposite by giving one individual with narrow interest (e.g. a committee chairman), the ability to hold legislation hostage until he or his district get a specific concession. They also create power struggles between legislature and executive that, IMO, cause a lot more problems than they solve. Well designed parliamentary democracies are significantly more stable the presidential ones, and somewhat less prone to individual corruption (which is not to say they don’t frequently fail and all contain corruption). Personally, I like Germany’s model for the US minus the censorship stuff (I know, technically it’s a semi-presidential system, but not practically, because the president of Germany’s job is roughly comparable to the queen of England’s).

      1. TheCatSaid

        Those are good points. Most Americans are poorly informed about other systems.

        They are even less informed about the many kinds of voting methods that are possible and more democratic, particularly ranked choice voting methods in which one can rank many options or candidates. This comes far closer to expressing the genuine “will of the people” than either a binary system (two candidates or yes/no) or a first-past-the-post system. Peter J. Emerson has done good research comparing various voting methods.

    5. Lord Koos

      You’re blaming progressives “for their apathy” when they are mostly the ones protesting and attending town hall meetings, etc? What have you done lately? Taking out Trump doesn’t seem horrible or insane to most people where I live – if you are one of the many millions who have come to depend on the ACA, or if you are an ethnic minority, it’s probably sounding like a pretty good idea. Sure a coup against Trump would be anti-democratic, but as far as the US government actually representing the people, that horse left the barn a long time ago

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        It is insane because Pence is to the right of Trump and by being a normal politician and former governor, will get even worse policies implemented faster.

        And if you think the military is a friend of gays, women, and comfortable professionals on the coasts, you really haven’t been paying attention.

        Seriously, what are you people smoking?

    6. Annotherone

      The Medium article is very good, but I do wonder whether there’d be sufficient organisation among rural Trump supporters to produce the kind of results envisaged in retaliation for Trump’s impeachment. There’d need to be some really efficient coordination, with strong central leadership – from whence and from whom, I wonder? Twitter would help, as usual, I guess. Still, I could more easily see riots on the streets happening than blockades of goods – in any meaningful amount.

      “The Parallax View of Donald Trump” by Matthew Stevenson at counterpunch today is another good read, by the way.

    7. John k

      Many of the real progressives simply couldn’t decide which was the lesser evil and stayed home… or went to the polls and voted only down ballot. Or voted third. Or wrote in Bernie, as I did.
      It’s the job of those running for office to justify your vote. If dems put sh!t in the bowl they shouldn’t complain if the dogs refuse to eat.
      IMO it’s those that voted for her that are marching. Not yet clear to me he is worse overall, and so far no WW3. And so far keeping his base happy. We’ll see about infra and jobs… imo not soon.
      Early days.

    8. Jeremy Grimm

      Is a Trump Impeachment a real prospect? There is a lot of smoke but is there any fire making that smoke? Most of the allegations made against Trump have been so thin I might use them to blow my nose on.

    9. mpalomar

      The MSM was so threatened by Trump that it gave him a few billion in free air time. Okay, a good chunk of that was when it was just the crazy hijinks during the Republican primaries. Thereafter it was screams of horror and disbelief from the talking heads leading up to November’s elections and the post apocalypse; that’s all been good for business too as has the Russian schmeer.

      Open season on progressives and liberals? Ah the American instinct for branding. I’d say the apathy was widespread among the populous.

      I have friends in Chicago who call themselves progressives. Organizers and members of the DSA; one who spent years fighting capital punishment, (succeeded in Illinois) and organizing against Hyatt (Pritzker family business). Two others, one was a labor historian and a founder of the Jane Addams Hull House museum organization.
      Phil Ochs had a cynical take on liberals but there is a history dating back to at least Adam Smith, it only got better from there, JSM and others, well at least until the recent neo liberals.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        “The MSM was so threatened by Trump that it gave him a few billion in free air time.”

        They thought they were feeding him the rope with which he was hanging himself.

  11. philnc

    White House press ban: So the steno pool just got a re-org? Maybe this is how at least some of the press finally moves past access journalism, assuming any of them still recall how to be real reporters.

    1. Benedict@Large

      I can’t believe the New York Times et al are now crying out that they need our help. Why sure, Ma’am, just as soon as you start actually reporting the news instead of what your owners tell you.

      But seriously, what is the problem? The New York Times will just have to seek out new, hopefully valid, sources, which is probably a good thing, while the media that still gets invited increasing gets looked upon as compromised by those very invitations. Perhaps Trump can avoid losing here, but there’s simply no way for him to win anything, so long as the Times remembers where they left their big boy pants.

      1. fosforos

        Trump tells the “Media” not to use undisclosed sources. And he is almost totally right. If the NYTimes et. al. were honest journalistic enterprises they would never, ever, not at any time or for any purpose, source any story to an unnamed governmental official or politician or business publicrelationschik (except for bona fide whistleblowers–that’s the “almost”). Unnamed sources may give leads “on background,” but only facts unearthed by following those leads should be reported

  12. Foppe

    Wrt the constitutional apocalypse: it saddens me that ‘ending the new jim crow’ isn’t part of the main issues listed — tells me it’s still not really on people’s radar.

  13. dk

    Are We Witnessing a Coup Operation Against the Trump White House? The Nation. Lambert: “We aren’t the only ones asking this question.”

    The article doesn’t mention the precursor event of the FBI Clinton email server investigation, which rank and file FBI wouldn’t let die. The deep state may have its own factions, and friction between them makes them more visible.

    I think that issue should be merged with this one:
    In Trump’s White House, It’s the Billionaires vs. the Bombardiers

    Article is very superficial, I’d like to see more research and thought on the matter. The Republican and other political players are arguably another faction, certainly a power center (they know more about actually getting stuff done). The shifting allegiances and favors floating through the current WH have taken on some grave significances given the divergent and extreme polarities of the actors.

    And actors in this closest circle around Trump could interact with actors in/for the “deep state” (it doesn’t look right to me without the quotes).

    1. fosforos

      “rank and file” are no part of the Deep State. Bushes and Dulleses and those they coopt, that is who you’re talking about when you say “deep state.” For those types a Trump-l’oeil is just one of the disposable rank and file.

  14. Katharine

    Have Immigration officials received a larger mandate for nastiness than I was aware of, or are they just letting their latent character surface in the belief that it is now acceptable?

    Seventy-year-old Australian woman, author of many successful children’s books, detained and aggressively questioned for two hours? It makes no kind of sense. Who on earth is responsible for what is going on at airports?

    1. fosforos

      The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize. At their master’s orders they are out to terrorize people. Is Trump a terrorist? *res ipse loquitur*

      1. Katharine

        For some reason “their master’s orders” made me think of the old RCA Victor dog and “his master’s voice”. Nothing like getting an extra laugh out of nowhere!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      On one hand, they were nasty. On the other hand, she was white, Australian, we dodged a racism bullet, though perhaps gender or religion issues can still be deployed.

      And as we aspire higher, we can’t help but hope that in the future, it doesn’t take a celebrity OR an author to get the same publicity and government apology.

      “I have never published a book, and yet, I deserve the same respect.”

      From the article:

      “I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with disdain, with so much insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness,” Fox said.

      It would be progress, though we don’t just settle for that, if police limit themselves to only verbal abusing protesters…not more physical violence.

      Personally, I have been to football and baseball games, and I have suffered worse and speaking personally, I didn’t like it. The rudeness problem in our society is pervasive.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I recall a few years ago, walking along the Venice Beach boardwalk, with a friend, I suffered worse.

      2. Katharine

        True, unquestionably. I find it more objectionable in officials because it’s an abuse of power, but it is objectionable any time.

        1. wilroncanada

          Interesting. Muhammed Ali’s son was also detained for a couple of hours returning with his mother from a speaking engagement in Jamaica. She apparently showed her late husband’s picture and was allowed through, but he was detained because his name (like hers) was Middle Eastern sounding, and Muslim.
          He must have been a “fake” son.

      3. Sandler

        >On one hand, they were nasty. On the other hand, she was white, Australian, we dodged a racism bullet, though perhaps gender or religion issues can still be deployed.

        You must have missed the story today about Muhammad Ali’s son…

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        Nobel Prize winner Amaryta Sen was strip searched at Heathrow ~ 6 years ago. He was late to make a presentation at INET as a result. He refused to publicize it, God knows why. He’s Indian, then 70 years old, and weighed all of about 110 pounds.

    1. allan

      Syrian who worked on nominated film can’t attend Oscars [AP]

      U.S. immigration authorities are barring entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on a harrowing film about his nation’s civil war, “The White Helmets,” that has been nominated for an Academy Award.

      According to internal Trump administration correspondence seen by The Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security has decided at the last minute to block Khaled Khateeb from traveling to Los Angeles for the Oscars. …

      I’m old enough to remember when Trump Hasn’t Done Anything Yet was a meme here.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Guess Khateeb will have to disembark in London and hang out with ol’ Yusuf Islam [Cat Stevens], who’s also prohibited from polluting innocent American minds.

        Both of them are guilty of the status offense of “flying while Muslim,” which is arguably worse than driving while black.

          1. fosforos

            Denial of entry is offensive. Not nearly as offensive as the Oscar nomination was in the first place.

          2. tgs

            The White Helmets are part of the media offensive for the al-nusra, aka al-qaeda in Syria. You consider murdering religious minorities, beheadings and the installation of a medieval system of salafist governance a form of politics. Duly noted.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              How did it get its Oscar nomination?

              Did it involve foreign interference or James-Bond-like operatives?

              1. Massinissa

                Nah, if you didn’t notice, the movie industry has been in the tank for the industrial complex for at least a couple decades now.

      2. Ian

        I dont recall anyone ever saying Trump wasnt going to be anything but a train wreck either. Having said that, look at the handmaiden of corporate interests, neocons and Wall st. the Dems rammed down our throats as the only alternative.

    2. Sandler

      The Italian story has nothing to do with Trump. As an immigration professional I can tell you that anyone even mentioning the word “work” trying to enter as a visitor will be in for a rough time. These agents are bored and looking for any reason to exercise power. If they were halfway decent people they’d realize he’s just a kid visiting his aunt for a few weeks and should be let in not flown all the way back to Italy. Some agents are fine but I’ve witnessed some really unnecessarily rude ones picking on non-citizens for no reason (ex cop, former jock complex).

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        When I was working for McKinsey we were told ALWAYS to write on entry forms that we were visiting whatever country for a vacation. And McKinsey has special arrangements everywhere (in theory) for its people to come and go.

        1. Sandler

          Yes, in fact I was just researching this topic as I’m going overseas and want to prepare my response to US CBP agents on return (I’m a citizen).

          Previously, I used to somewhat cower before these people, but now, I’m more aware of my rights and their propensity to abuse their power.

          US citizens do not need to answer the questions – “what were you doing in X?” “what address are you staying at?” etc. However, if you decline, you’ll be taken in for questioning, made to miss your connecting flight, and forced to unlock/login your laptop and phone or they’ll seize it. And your luggage better be perfect Customs-wise.

          Answering anything actually increases your risk because lying to an officer is an arrestable offense.

          I am debating declining answering the questions in light of the abuse coming from these people lately. They have no business questioning what I was doing overseas without any reasonable suspicion. However, I’d rather not miss my connection, and can’t have my phone and laptop seized.

  15. JEHR

    See the two little yellow flowers in the upper left-hand corner of the photo who are getting together too?

  16. allan

    NSA head Rogers pushes to loosen reins on cyberweapons [The Hill]

    Adm. Michael Rogers — both head of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Cyber Command — is pushing for widespread changes to the U.S.’s treatment of cyber weaponry, including contracting private sector firms to develop arms. …

    “On the offensive side, to date, we have done almost all of our weapons development internally,” Rogers said. “And part of me goes — five to 10 years from now is that a long-term sustainable model? Does that enable you to access fully the capabilities resident in the private sector? I’m still trying to work my way through that, intellectually.” …

    Let a thousand Stuxnets bloom. Intellectually.

  17. TheCatSaid

    The Space Law article on (of all places!) shows remarkable hubris. As with almost/all pieces on this topic in MSM, it contributes to disinformation. They say nothing of the fact richly documented by numerous whistleblowers over decades that other civilizations are already there, and governments on this planet are well aware of this, despite the lack of state-sanctioned disclosures so far. (Though state-sanctioned information has indeed been released by a number of governments, such as the French COMETA report, Brazil’s air force disclosures, Canada’s former Defense Minister Paul Hellyer, and many others.)

    IOW, our Earth-based governments are unlikely to be dictating terms for territorial agreements for Mars and other off-planet locations.

    The recent NASA disclosure about exoplanets in the so-called “Goldilocks” zone is possibly a baby step moving in the direction of a relatively controlled disclosure acknowledging ETI presence. The recent NASA press conference is one of the most tightly managed press releases I’ve seen–down to the clearly well-rehearsed emotional affects expressed by the scientists / officials.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Fascinating. Any links to the disclosures you cite? Maybe they will keep me from thinking depressing thoughts about politics, economics, sociology, and ecology for a while.

      1. TheCatSaid

        There are numerous well-referenced books.
        Here are a few links shorter than books:

        About Brazilian disclosure
        COMETA Report (complete)

        COMETA more background and summaries

        Check out the Robertson Panel which made ridicule & deception official government PR strategy in relation to extra-terrestrial intelligence (short intro here)

        Here’s a brief compilation of a number of reputable officials making public statements on the subject.

        For example, you could read Stanford Professor Peter Sturrock’s book. He’s one of the top experts in solar physics on the planet at the moment. His book is An Analysis of the Condon Report on the Colorado UFO Project. It looks like it can be accessed online here.

        There are many good books, also of course disinformation since this was official CIA policy. If someone is interested, just like with the topic of finance and economics, one can develop sufficient knowledge to refine one’s BS meter. Each person will have to invest time and energy because of the amount of deliberate obfuscation. Hint–like with many other things (e.g., What Caused the 2008 GFC? and Who Rescued Us from the 2008 GFC?), the “official government line” (“swamp gas”! “Venus”! Weather balloons!”) belongs in the BS category.

        I also have extensive personal experience of the matter.

        1. craazyman

          There’s probably more disinformation on this topic than any other in the public realm, going back to the 1940s.

          The truth may be out there, but it’s sure as hell hard to indentify and every time something seems credible it often melts in the face of rational analysis,

          If you have personal experience, that may be more meaningful than references to documents, which are goiing to be nearly all objects of dispute and refutation.

          I actually knew a former tenant in my previous apartment builidng who sincerely believed she’d be abducted by a UFO in New York in the 1980s and saw a noted hypnotherapist to recover the memories. She was completely sincere and bewildered by the experience. I have no idea what happened to her, but she believed it. It’s stranger than physical reality and I’m not even sure it is a completely physical reality. This may be one for imaginative physicists to mine, it could be quite a revolutionary expansion of concepts of spacce, time and energy. But those may be foo foo science links that don’t ever get posted.

          Admittedly this topic is somewhat off-topic for this web site, so I appreciate it if the site edtors, cooks, bottle washers, CEOs, Editors in Chief, senior executive vice presidents of cats, creative directors of antidote selection, coders, web designers, research philologists, thought police patrolmen or women who smack you like a child if you violate the lower bound of stupidity (and eyeme glad of it), they may not be too amused. But at any rate, have you ever been up in one of those saucers, maybe to another planet? I wouldn’t dismiss that entirely as a plausible possibility. but I would want to see some souveniers, and not a rock that looks likethe face on Mars. Hahahaha.

      2. TheCatSaid

        The Missing Times by Terry Hansen is one good book coming from a different angle (documenting official government media policy on the subject). Excerpts here.

        Once one realizes that disinformation, misinformation and ridicule are official government policy in this matter–this official policy is documented in this book and by numerous other authors–it gets easier to understand the confusion, distraction and contradictions in the field as a whole.

        Hansen’s book is meticulous, excellent investigative journalism.

    1. Patricia

      They did not learn, they do not learn, they will not learn. They will do anything to make sure that real change does not occur.

      I hope another 14 million Dems leave over the next month.

      And just to add, making Ellison deputy chair means absolutely nothin’.

      1. Katharine

        Too right!

        The only reason I am not changing my affiliation at this stage is that elections here are usually decided in the primary and I’m not giving up the little influence I have. But when the state party called an hour ago with a “political update” for me, I described the party establishment as the people who keep us from getting what we want when we are voters and told them to get out of my life, which may possibly suggest to them that their unity message is not going to go down too well.

        1. mk

          I responded to the two emails DNC sent to me, first one I told them I will never give them another dime, second one I told them “EFF YOU!” but spelled it out properly for them. I hope it’s not a federal offense, free political speech and all that.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The election was never legitimate – not a popular vote.

      To participate in it was to lend it some legitimacy it didn’t deserve.

      In contrast, the Labor Party (UK) Leadership Election, 2015 (see Wiki):

      Voting was by Labour Party members and registered and affiliated supporters, using the alternative vote system.

      1. Patricia

        This morn, I unsuccessfully tried to find the ratio of super-delegates among today’s DNC voters. Didn’t search long, and anyway, it doesn’t matter all that much–they are all insiders, and have repeatedly made it clear that they are not governed by democratic ethics.

        I have never understood the value of parties for a democracy. Coalitions seem a better idea to me–they shift and thus less easily petrify.

      2. fosforos

        Legitimate? Fraudulent as it was, the DNC election was much more legitimate than the UK “advisory Brexit referendum,” or Corbyn’s helping the Tories implement the (nonexistent) will of the (nonexistent) “British” people.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Which specifically was wrong with voting by British citizens in any referendum or Labor party members? Which is wrong with those 2 acts, in contrast wiith voting by only a selected group of people?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “He’s not my chairman.”

      Thanks to Trump, the D party can now be exposed for what it is.

      “It is not my party!”

  18. susan the other

    The water wars in central Asia. Very interesting how destabilizing climate change is. It creates low-grade on-going conflict, neighbor against neighbor. Reminds me of the American southwest – except we actually have governance of a sort. It has been pointed out a few times here on NC that the underlying crisis in the ME is drought. Because you just can’t drink oil. So oil, for all its value, cannot stabilize the region politically. I also think these revelations now about GW are imperative – so everyone can begin to understand how serious the degradation of the planet is. I just wish we could approach the subject of overpopulation in a more timely manner. I mean, what will happen when drought hits the Himalayas? When drinking water dries up in China. Maybe Siberia’s most valuable resource will be Lake Baikal and iceberg farms/pipelines.

    1. allan

      But their rice bowls are open for business. From WaPo:

      …“Do we stay with a failed status-quo approach or do we go forward with a fundamental restructuring of the Democratic Party?” Sanders said in a statement after Biden’s endorsement. “I say we go forward and create a grassroots party which speaks for working people and is prepared to stand up to the top one percent.”

      Most of the DNC’s membership — just 39 of whom had backed Sanders for president in 2016 — disagreed that the choice was that stark. Sanders supporters, including Ellison, had largely succeeded in moving the party’s platform left. In interviews, some acknowledged that there would be walk-outs by Sanders diehards in their states, but that the daily outrages around Trump might bring them back into the process….

      Less than 10% of the DNC’s members supported a presidential candidate who won 43% of the popular vote in the primaries. These people make their living in the Campaign Industrial Complex and couldn’t care less about winning elections. Now that today’s unpleasantness is over, time for another fundraising email blast.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    No mention of foundation professionals getting paid not to do the real work, of how Occupy was wiped out, or of the wars. However, i think his call to organize, especially in the form of 30,000 educators going to the people to teach about neoliberalism, is on the mark, and the need for such a teaching effort, via people, not media, is urgent.

    Being a life long student, I believe we can all both learn (from any who has wisdom to offer) and, as well, teach.

    It is a great to go forth and spread the unpleasant truth of neoliberal reality. I only hope we don’t mean educators in the credentialism sense. And because I know it’s not a special interest plead, we can set this up like the Peace Corps and enlist volunteers.

    “Ask not what the society can do for you.”

  20. Matt

    In reference the Harper’s Magazine “Texas is the Future.”

    I live in the Houston area and was not shocked at how much Harris county voted for Clinton over Trump. After all, highly populated cities typically vote Democrat, additionally there were a ton of butt hurt Houstonians that really like Ted Cruz a lot, and many Cruz supporters that I knew just could not bring themselves to vote for Trump. Many of them instead voted for Gary Johnson or just did not vote at all.

    One eye opening thing to me about this article was the mentioning of the Democrat District Attorney Kim Ogg and Democrat Sheriff Ed Gonzales. Ogg, the District Attorney enjoyed over $800,000 in funding from George Soros and I remember hearing the exact advertisements paid for by Soros. He literally donated about half of all the money that was spent on her campaign.

    Soros donated almost $11 million to 12 District attorney elections. Many of which were located in areas that have either high illegal immigrant populations or voter ID laws.

    It is quite obvious why most billionaires support “progressive” “socialist” agendas. It is because the more power the government has over business, social, and environmental policies, the easier it is for them to suppress the competition and innovation that usually comes from free market economies with low government interference.

    The last thing Billionaires want is competition. This is why they support “socialist” “progressive” candidates. The wealthiest people and the poorest people on government assistance supported Clinton for the most part. The greater the income inequality, the better chance the Democrats have of getting elected.

    Soros know this, Obama knows this. This is why Media Matters, Organizing for Action, Open Societies Foundations, and all the democrats are doing is trying to stop Trump from implementing his agenda. Whether paying protestors to make congressman miserable or trying to impeach Trump. The democrats know that if trump makes health care less expensive, lowers taxes on everyone and creates good paying jobs for the middle class, the democratic party will not win an election for a long time.

    The environment may pay a price, but people enjoy prosperity.

    1. skippy

      Cloudflare has been spraying their customers’ confidential data into web caches (public and private) for 4-5 months now:

      HTTPS is no protection either, for anyone who’s been using cloudflare as a CDN for HTTPS delivered content. Going off HTTP headers, it looks like macrobusiness uses cloudflare. You guys should invalidate any long running admin auth tokens and change admin passwords ASAP (if your admin login pages are similarly behind cloudflare’s CDN). I can’t actually think of a worse security disaster in the history of the internet…

      Original source:

    2. skippy

      February 26, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      I’ll attempt a (simplified) explanation, apologies for the length…

      Cloudflare (CF) is probably one of the world’s top 3 largest content distribution networks (CDNs). Basically, they have lots of fast webservers located all over the world. So when Macrobusiness signs up with CF, CF will grab copies of Macrobusiness’ webpages, images etc. and distribute copies to all of its servers. This means that if someone in, say, the US browses to this site, it loads much faster because they’re actually getting it from a CF server located in their country (most likely their State). They also offer a bunch of different services that mean they have to ‘process’ the webpages that they mirror (more accurately, page HTML and HTTP request data).

      One of these processing programs had a subtle mistake in it: it didn’t properly check that the ‘bucket’ of memory that it was dumping the HTML and HTTP stuff into was large enough. This meant that, in some cases, some of the data overflowed into the next bucket. This is bad because the data that overflowed might have been me logging in to Macrobusiness (so it contains my username and password in cleartext), and the bucket it overflowed into could have been some random public website. Search engines (like google, baidu and yandex) periodically download a copy of every page on most websites (in order to index it for its search engine). They hold on to this copy (i.e. they cache it), and this cached copy can be accessed by anyone.

      So if someone accesses the cached copy of this random public website, they might find my username and password randomly mixed in with the rest of the content. Worse still, there are a number of long-term internet archiving projects that might keep a copy of a webpage (at some point in time) indefinitely (e.g., the common crawl etc.). And random private parties can (and do) also crawl websites and archive them. Also, some of these caching search engines might have a rather close relationship with their host government (e.g. the three I mentioned before).

      Here’s me logging out of Macrobusiness:

      As you can see, the page is actually being sent to me by a CF server:

      And here’s me logging back in (i.e. I’m sending my username and password to Macrobusiness, this picture shows the response from the server):

      Again, as you can see, I’ve actually sent this information to a cloudflare server (judging by the response headers). They’ve fixed the ‘overflow’ bug now, but when I logged in last week it’s entirely possible my username and password actually ended up in some other website’s “bucket”, which then got published on the web, and was then downloaded and stored by a dozen different search engines and god knows who else.

  21. ewmayer

    o Joint Chiefs Chairman: US Mulling ‘Long-Term Commitment’ to Iraq | Antiwar (resilc) — Because 26 years and counting apparently does not qualify as ‘long-term’ to our imperial regime-changer class.

    o Woman with dying husband confronts Tom Cotton: “What kind of insurance do you have?” Vox. The clips are dramatic. — I’m always wary of ‘powerful emotional moments’ clips because in the hands of our dear MSM propagandists they are almost always designed to shut down the reader/viewer’s critical-thinking faculties. I’m sure whatever Mr. Cotton has is a heck of a lot better than the high-deductible/narrow-network debacle the ACA spawned. “We need something better” != “We need to preserve the ACA.”

    o “Get out of my Country!” White Terrorist Shoots Asian-American Engineers in Wake of Trump Visa Ban Juan Cole (resilc) | Another fine example of ‘powerful emotional moments’ propaganda. Where were all the now-outraged liberals when the Obama administration was bombing and regime-changing those very same 7 nations, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands and displacement of millions? But a visa ban – however ill-designed – is completely beyond the pale, people!

  22. OIFVet

    Petition calls on Obama to run for president in France.

    Antoine, who is in his 30s, says that he and his friends are not activists, and he doesn’t align himself with a particular political party. But he says he has grown tired of voting for the lesser of two evils in every presidential race, rather than a candidate who inspires genuine enthusiasm…“At a time when Amazon and Facebook and Apple are richer than our country, it’s stupid to think that it’s our nationalism that will make us better governed,” he says. “We would do better to pay people who are competent to fill important positions, rather than getting stuck with the same people we’ve had for 20 years.”

    Indeed Antoine, indeed. Obama is change you can believe in! May god help La Republique and her single payer system…

  23. integer

    Benjamin Netanyahu says his visit to Australia was ‘wonderful’

    Can be accessed via the google trick.

    Not reported in the above article:

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Tel Aviv regime will never end its decades-long occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights.

    “I want all of you to come to Israel…. I want you to walk the streets of the Old City in Jerusalem (al-Quds), hike in the Golan Heights. By the way, the Golan will never go back to Syria. It will always be a part of Israel,” Netanyahu said during a meeting with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Thursday.

    Syria says Israel and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri militant groups operating inside the Arab country since 2011. The Israeli regime has even set up field hospitals there to treat wounded Syrian militants.

    The Syrian army has repeatedly seized huge quantities of Israeli-made weapons and advanced military equipment from the foreign-backed militants inside Syria.

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