Links 2/3/17

Chair made out of gold-plated AK-47s Boing Boing (resilc)

Paris compost urinals open near Gare de Lyon station BBC (resilc). This would NEVER fly in America.

History of global temperature 1880-2016 EarthSky (Chuck L)

Record high fatal radiation levels, hole in reactor detected at crippled Fukushima nuclear facility RT (Chuck L)

Ransomware completely shuts down Ohio town government TechCrunch (guurst)

Here’s why some people get upset when they hear chewing Science News

Dow Chemical wants farmers to keep using a pesticide linked to autism and ADHD Intercept (Adrien)

The phenomenon of right-wing populism: an interview with Bill Fletcher Jr. Democratic Network (Sid S)

One Nation runs riot in WA election MacroBusiness

France’s search for a ‘providential’ leader Financial Times

Trump, Brexit reinforce Germany’s appetite to dominate Europe failed evolution


Some (frighteningly) light Brexit reading… Financial Times

On how not to frustrate Brexit Eurointelligence. Second story at this URL.


Ukraine Sabotages Trump’s Russia Detente Consortiumnews


The Coming Clash With Iran American Conservative. Resilc:

I have told friends forever that kkkristians are the danger, not muslims in USA USA. Bannon +Sessions+Pence want a 9/11 event or Iranian war asap. They want this so they can lock down domestic dissent of all kinds by force and/or propaganda. …

If you get rid of Trump, you still have Pense, so there is no change for the Bannon junta. These boys make Cheney look good.

The botched Yemen raid has liberals suddenly outraged about our counterterrorism efforts. Slate (resilc)

Israeli settlement construction ‘may not be helpful’ to reaching peace, White House says Haaretz (furzy)

The Trump Administration’s Lies About Iran American Conservative (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Perpetual decline or persistent dominance? Uncovering Anglo-America’s true structural power in global finance Review of International Studies

Trump Transition

Donald Trump ‘taking steps to abolish Environmental Protection Agency’ Guardian (Glenn F)

Trump Plans to Undo Dodd-Frank Law, Fiduciary Rule Wall Street Journal. Two quick comments. Trump can’t “undo” existing law with an executive order. And the SEC’s budget is approved by Congress. We’ll see if this executive order is a handwave for his base or whether his team found a way to do some damage. Separately, the idea that Dodd Frank is stymieing business lending is a Big Lie. Big companies access the capital markets and to the extent they’ve been borrowing, it has overwhelmingly been to fund buybacks. Small business can’t get loans save for secured loans (against real estate, against equipment purchases) because banks pretty much exited small business lending in the early 1990s, since small business lending requires individual assessment. They’d quit training credit officers and turned retail branches into “stores” that only dispensed loans of the sort you could do based on FICO scores. Plus since the crisis, there isn’t much evidence that small businesses have found lack of lending to hinder their growth. Surveys show owners regularly citing lack of confidence in demand.

Plans to defy Trump among federal workers Washington Post (resilc)

Bernie Sanders: Will Trump have the guts to stand up to drug companies? Washington Post

President on Tense Calls With World Leaders: ‘Don’t Worry About It’ Wall Street Journal

A Syrian Doctor with a Visa Is Suing the Trump Administration New Yorker (furzy)

Thousands of Comcast employees protest Trump’s immigration policies Philly (Sid S)

Steve Bannon: ‘We’re going to war in the South China Sea … no doubt’ Guardian (furzy)

Elizabeth Warren Torches Trump’s SCOTUS Pick on the Senate Floor Alternet

EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch founded and led club called ‘Fascism Forever’ against liberal faculty at his elite all-boys DC prep school Daily Mail (Scott)

Trump Administration Urges End to Boston Travel Ban Injunction Bloomberg

Budweiser’s Totally-Not-Political Super Bowl Ad Atlantic

Furor Time James Howard Kunstler. Li flagged this sentence: “The most dishonest and damaging trope of recent years is the widely-accepted idea on the Left that illegal immigrants are merely ‘undocumented’ — as if they were the hapless victims of some clerical error made by the government and therefore deserving of a pass.”

America’s Leading Authoritarian Intellectual Works for Trump New York Magazine

The CIA’s New Deputy Director Ran a Black Site for Torture Intercept (resilc)

Exploring The Nationalistic And Christian Right Influences On Trump NPR (resilc) NPR

Trump vows to end prohibition on church political activity Reuters. Resilc: “This should create lots of jobs.”

Michael Savage cautions Trump about inner circle WND (resilc). This is one of those sites but it is qualified to comment on this topic.

Trump Administration Divides and Divided LobeLog

Fear, American Style Jacobin. Robert K: “That excellent subhead from Corey Robin is just as true as it is sobering: ‘Trump doesn’t need to subvert American institutions to achieve his goals, because they are already powerful tools of oppression.'”

3 Ways to Get Rid of President Trump Before 2020 Foreign Policy. Lambert flagged this, but wanted to make sure readers didn’t miss this. It openly discusses a military coup.

‘Failing’ New York Times gets digital Trump boost Financial Times (JH)

Why Nancy Pelosi’s Comments About Capitalism Disappointed Progressives Huffington Post. Pelosi needs to go.

A Third Of The U.S. Says Being Christian Is A Key Part Of Being American FiveThirtyEight

America Will Never Be Great Until We Liberate the World From American Chains Medium (UserFriendly)


ObamaCare: CBO report shows full repeal is better than partial repeal The Hill

Dozens Arrested at Standing Rock as Veterans Vow to Block Completion of Dakota Access Pipeline Real News Network

Guillotine Watch

Bunker building for the end of civilisation: a survivalist diary Financial Times (David L)

New McCarthyism

The Latest “Fake” News Tizzy: Garbage In, Garbage Out Marcy Wheeler

Local government pension scheme pays £9bn in fees Financial Times (DO). Subhead: “‘Absence of accountability’ led to poor asset performance and excessive costs.”

First Quarter GDP Forecast 3.4 Percent: How Many Believe That? Michael Shedlock (furzy)

Class Warfare

Uber CEO Is Leaving Trump’s Business Advisory Council Bloomberg

Uber Opens Big Data Treasure Chest And Shares Data Of Its 2 Billions Rides LinkedIn (David L)

Antidote du jour (@planetpics):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. Alex

        Yes, it’s new, and I agree, a curiously controversial individual. I believe Obama had Lincoln on the same wall, but on the other side of the bookcase.

        1. barefoot charley

          Jackson was a true-blue authoritarian populist, and an inspired choice for Trump’s office. His reputation today rests disproportionately on his clearing of the Five Civilized Tribes from what then became the Deep South, to enable unrestricted gold mining and cotton growing, eventuating in the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. This was a very nasty business that the (Federalist) Supreme Court said was illegal, not that it mattered.

          But he should also be remembered as the most dogged and effective enemy of the Money Power we ever had in the White House. He snuffed the Bank of the United States, a beta Federal Reserve, for 75 years. Progressives must recognize that there has never been a successful popular movement without unsavory popular elements. What divides Trumpeteers from Sandernistas is straight-up authoritarian appreciation on one side, and narrow righteousness (leading to authoritarian behaviors) on the other. This isn’t an unbridgeable divide if we know our history, and our neighbors.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Excellent summary on Jackson, he fought the entire Establishment on behalf of the citizenry and was one tough SOB, you can pull entire scenes and quotes from his time and they apply perfectly to today. “American Lion” is an excellent bio, uncanny how it mirrors our times.

          2. cm

            Today I think Jackson’s reputation is mostly based on the $20 bill (which is unfortunate). Why his face is there is perhaps the most interesting reason why the Fed needs to be reined in.

            I’m very glad to see Trump has the Jackson portrait in his office. It reinforces my beliefs about the man.

            If there are any Trump staffers who read this, I strongly suggest you push this story. It needs to be told.

          3. Adam Eran

            Omitted from the significant events in Jackson’s tenure: He entirely paid off U.S. national “debt” in 1836… Which means only bank notes were available for currency and debt repayment. Consistent with other such major “debt” reductions, you know, like the Clinton surplus, this “fiscal responsibility[tm]” was followed by a Great Depression-sized hole in the economy–the Panic of 1837, the worst of those economic downturns.

            See this previous NC post for details.

            Personally, I’d say his populism resembles Trumps, but he was a complete disaster as a president.

    1. JTMcPhee

      I hope people note that every red “This is not normal” is a link to another bit of the badness that we decent, kindly, loving people so deplore. And seem powerless to “do anything” about, other than point stuff out to each other and gnash our teeth and shake our heads and wag our fingers.

      Seeing all this stuff, “What is to be done?” if anything? What tools and talents do we decent, kindly, loving people have left to “address” and “confront” this stuff? Given that we now have a president and his merry band schooled by the likes of Roy “Joe McCarthy’s and the Mob’s Lawyer” Cohn, about whom there is a lot to learn since Trump learned so much from him: “What Donald Trump Learned From Joseph McCarthy’s Right-Hand Man,”

  1. Tom Stone

    Rosie O’Donnell openly called for a Military Coup a few weeks ago.
    She seems a little unclear on the concept and the usual outcomes…and so does everyone else I have heard call for one.
    There are lots of hysterical Libs in my town calling for Trump’s impeachment as well, when I ask why they think Pence would be better they look blank.
    The situation is FUBAR.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Hysterical libs? I am seeing quite a few of those. And let’s just say that it is having a cleansing effect on my social circle.

        1. Carolinian

          Right. One should point out that lefty paranoia about religion is itself not terribly rational. The old progressive movement had strong roots in Christian ethical beliefs as did Abolition.

          1. Sam Adams

            Lefty paranoia about religion can be traced to that Loonytoons BJ University in Greenville and the crazy it spread via its loathsome ordained ministers.

            1. Carolinian

              Funny this may be only the second time I’ve ever seen Bob Jones University mentioned on this blog. Are you sure lefty paranoia traces to them? We here in SC–who don’t think much of Bob Jones either–always thought they were rather obscure. Locally their influence in Greenville (not where I live) seems to be on the wane.

              Blanket statements about Christianity could be just as bigoted as blanket statements about Islam or Judaism.

              1. Sam Adams

                BJ-U is somewhat obscure, but the graduated indoctrinated pastors spread their special brand of crazy worldwide.

                1. Carolinian

                  Well there are plenty of crazies in every religion. Some of them live in Brooklyn instead of Greenville, others in Syria claiming to be lovers of democracy.

                  What I have a problem with are those who say “my irrational belief is better than your irrational belief.” Logically you only get to criticize religion as a concept unless you have no irrational beliefs yourself, and that would apply to very few of us.

          2. Dave

            John Brown–Peacemaker. Helped start the Civil War.

            Wonder what John Brown Democrat will help start World War Three?

          3. JustAnObserver

            Weren’t the Christian roots of the late 19th & early 20th century progressivism primarily associated with Methodism i.e. the teachings of John Wesley ? Salvation in that tradition being available to all from acts of faith.

            Whereas the roots of what we call US fundamentalism hail more from the Baptists, esp. Southern Baptists, following Calvinist doctrines of salvation being preordained. Rejection of the `other’ starts here.

            1. Oregoncharles

              There is a great irony: in the US, with its firm separation of Church and State, religion remains very strong; it’s only just beginning to fade. In Europe, where many countries have established religions, (eg, Britain), religion has lost its grip and piety is not at all the norm – one of their problems with the Islamic immigrants, though I suspect they, too, mostly fall away after a generation or two (those who become MORE religious being far more visible.)

              It’s almost as if established religion is a good way to kill off religion – and indeed, many progressive Christians support secularism as a protection of religion. The fanatics, OTOH, including the upper Catholic clergy, sincerely believe they should be in charge, since they know exactly what God wants – for everyone.

              I’m conflicted about it.

          4. PhilM

            What you term “paranoia about religion” is, in the case of the warrior monotheisms of the Middle East, completely justified.

            Those Christian “progressives” gave us Christian imperialism (God of battles, be with us yet), and Prohibition and its sequel, reefer madness. The warrior monotheisms really are out to get us: politicized Christianity has been a humanitarian debacle from day one.

            1. Carolinian

              You do realize that some of the leading figures of the anti Vietnam War movement were priests and clericals? It’s certainly true that religion has been used an excuse for much violence and exploitation throughout history but to say that happened because of religion is really kind of silly. Those colonizers and exploiters were just doing what they were going to do anyway. Humans have an infinite capacity for rationalization–whatever’s handy.

              And this is true of the middle east as well where terrorism has far more to do with political conditions than religious indoctrination. You have to have a pretty hopeless life to strap on a suicide bomb.

              I’m not religious myself and indeed view the struggle between rationality and irrationality to be the real field of conflict rather than “good” versus “evil” which are religious concepts. But it’s tiresome to hear “liberals” use religion as just another way to stereotype people. Perhaps all labels are to some degree odious or at least intellectually lazy.

              1. wilroncanada

                Religious doctrines have been on all sides of everything from minor conflicts to wars and genocides, and have also been working for peace and justice (inseparable) in probably all of those same conflicts. As too have been individuals who claim adherence to these faiths, and also those who claim to have no faith.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              Yes, I went to the neighborhood Unitarian church the Sunday after 9/11, basically to be with a group (a lot of that occurred post 9/11, people going to bars, coffee shops, and the park much more than normal) and curiosity as to what the pastor would say. Mind you, I wasn’t brought up Christian in any normal sense but we did go to the Unitarian mother ship in Boston for a couple of years because my father had known the pastor socially years before in Charleston when they both had lived there. The church in Boston is a bit more church-y that what I have heard about other Unitarian congregations (as in dark wood, hymns, etc).

              I was shocked to hear the pastor give a bellicose sermon.

    2. tinheart

      Sarah Silverman has also called for a military coup. First for Bernie, then for Hillary, then for coup. That’s a lot of ground to cover in a year.

      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        And I’m certain that the advice of Rosie and Sarah is taken very seriously on the golf courses and racquetball courts near Langley

    3. pretzelattack

      can something be simultaneously mind boggling and clarifying? if you want to push us into a new cold war with russia, a military coup, and president pence, that means you’re a liberal democrat. conservative republicans only want the last.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Team sports is closer to the real issue. The Democrats are a storied premiere league team that has just been relegated to a lower division, and the Team Blue types don’t know how to proceed grasping at whatever makes them feel good.

        All their plans for signing “Republican moderates” as free agents, and they traded all their draft picks (activists) for Meg Whitman and David Frum to wind up relegated. The Team Blue types, since they are irrational fans, are having a hard time dealing with the long term effects of the celebrity worship of Obama and Hillary and their own complicity. If the Democrats want to get back into office, they need to dump their Republican friends, stop going to parties hosted by Wall Street, fund no name candidates early on who might not even win, and recognize elections are about turnout, turnout, turnout, not an ad with the right phrases. Team Blue types might even have to stand up to Democratic celebrities who were really nice in person or even recognize those Democratic celebrities (the Clintonistas) were the problem all along. Team Blue types have to recognize they need to work, have an agenda, defend the agenda, recruit candidates, provide opportunities so people can risk running for office, and on and on. It’s easier to blame Russians or hold on to bizarre questions about legitimacy than recognize what went wrong and how to fix it because it’s such a steep hill. After Obama and Hillary 2016 and the behavior of the Democratic establishment, a Dean style call for reform and unity won’t produce wins.

        Basically, they are the Brooklyn Nets.

    4. oho

      people don’t think through these things…Nancy Pelosi ain’t William Wallace.

      would all the ‘liberals’ willing to fight for/kill for/die for Chuck Schumer and John McCain please raise their trigger fingers?

      Oh wait, they expect other people to do the real work.

      Good luck when 2/3 of the Army deserts or defects and fights along side the deplorables in the ocean of Trump-land between Manhattan, Georgetown and Hollywood.

      Can’t believe people can even contemplate such things. Trump Derangement Syndrome is the new zombie apocalypse.

      1. RUKidding

        No kidding. I ceased being a “Democrat” some time ago. I consider myself truly far left (if one can use such terminology), but there simply is no party these days (of which I’m aware) that represents my views. The Democratic party, for me, is just as rightwing as the Republicans, except they purport to offer better “benefits” for women, LGBTs, minorities, etc. Not that they really even do that, mind you. At one time, the D party did more or less stand up for workers’ rights and sort of look out for the poor and dispossed, but that was a long time ago in a completely different era.

        These idiots calling for a military coup have lost any semblence of being sane or rational. I have no time for their f*cking nonsense. They whine and rage but where are they in terms of really getting their hands dirty to pick up the pieces of this messed up party and try to build something better? Beuhler? Beuhler?

        What a bunch of overpaid f*ckwits. Trump’ll put up with this nonsense for some period of time, but after a while, they’d better come to their senses or things could get really really ugly. I mean: really ugly.

        STFU already.

        PS And here’s another clue: the GOP ain’t never ever gonna impeach Trump. No way. Not guh happen. Get over it. Grow up. Grow a pair. Do something useful for a change.

        1. Baby Gerald

          My sentiments exactly.

          Military coup?? Can these fools like Silverman or that woman from Foreign Policy, so quick to shout ‘fascism’ at anything they don’t like, hear themselves when they utter these things?

          Instead of being an active and vocal constituent and pressuring their politicians to take a more populist stand, let’s have a bunch of generals overthrow or defy their commander-in-chief. I’m sure that will end well.

          1. zapster

            Recall that millions of votes weren’t counted, Trump lost the popular vote, and the evidence that the swing states were rigged is quite strong. Millions of people are asking each other “did you vote for him?” and hearing no. His polls are still tanking. When elections fail, other methods are found.

        2. gepay

          I became leery of the Democrats as l looked into the Vietnam War – The Cold War liberals. At the same time into the70s – the Democrats did good things domestically. The Clean Air Act – The Clean Water Act – Consumer Protection – but nothing to stop the growing bigger each year national security – military – industrial complex. The October surprise stopped Carter from getting a second term – he might have done better as he certainly has been excellent ex-Predident – It has been all downhill from there. Reagan-Thatcher-Bush – Clinton then got what the Republican dreamed of passed – NAFTA – welfare reform – private prisons – Glass Steagull repealed. It’s hard to know what left means as hardcore leftists used to be trey socialisitic – I mean communism’s economic man was just not reality- anymore than the invisible hand of the market. Big Government -Little Government – what people want is government that works – communism with a human face or capitalism with a human face – people in positions of power that have the general welfare of the people as prime. International Corporations – the NSMIcomplex – the banksters – need to be regulated on a tight leash – the rest of us not so much. Governing is hard boring work.

    5. Brad

      Same liberal morality that holds you the individual responsible for the profits of private health insurance corporations.

      To whit: Absolutely no moral compass at all.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Thank you. The compass has been spinning wildly with their blind adulation of the community organizer who drone bombed kids in hospitals and threw 10 million people out of their homes. Spun wildly when they cheered the lady who force-fed the Europeans Monsanto and then led the charge to WW III. Instead of ongoing demos of their utter hypocrisy, derangement, and complete disrespect for our institutions might I suggest some quiet introspection, followed by a positive program of concrete objectives and specific actions. Hell they might even get a few of their fired-up friends to vote next time.

  2. Laruse

    Access to BoingBoing is blocked at work, but my first thought on reading the AK47 Chair headline was “It’s a 21st Century Iron Throne. Cersei Lannister would feel right at home in that seat.”

    1. Bunk McNulty

      It would be an appropriate piece for the new “Aleppo Suite” at the Trump International Hotel in DC, doncha think?

  3. voteforno6

    Re: 3 Ways to Get Rid of President Trump Before 2020

    The people calling for this just don’t seem to have any experience dealing with the military in this country. Or, if they do, they only interact with senior officers. There might be a few generals out there who would go for something like this, but someone would have to follow them. They can’t rely on their command authority to order their subordinates to engage in a coup, if these generals have already demonstrated an unwillingness to follow their superiors. Such a move would tear apart unit cohesion, and make it extremely difficult for the hypothetical pro-coup forces to take control of key infrastructure. Either the entire military would have to be on board, or it just wouldn’t work. Looking at the composition of the enlisted and junior officer ranks, I just don’t see the willingness on the part of a significant number of them to engage in such an action.

    1. Roger Smith

      For how many coups our country has been responsbile for, you would think they understood what that leads to: Right Wing Authoritarian rule… “But Trump!”

      Also, the idea that Military advisers and the IC are moral warriors of justice and peace is just laughable. These people need to listen to Dan Carlin’s Latest Hardcore History episode for a small sampling of what Military advisers would have done if they were in control during the dawn of the nuclear age.

      1. cocomaan

        +1 for Dan Carlin’s series on the nuclear age.

        I had the privilege of living under Mubarak’s Egypt as a student when studying Arabic. Martial law there frightened me every day. The soldiers in white were laid back and you could smoke cigarettes with them. The soldiers in black would only stare if you greeted them. Knowing it’s only gotten worse depresses me.

        Most people have no idea what they are asking for with a military coup. I’m also not convinced the military isn’t on Trump’s side: did anyone but the top brass and a bunch of filthy neocons want war with Russia? Or continued operations in MENA? I doubt it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It was ‘he’s not my president.’

          Then, recounting votes.

          Then, the electors and Russian agent in the White House.

          Now, we talk about impeachment and coup attempts.

          It will be depressing the next 4 years for some. Being realistic helps to overcome that.

      2. Propertius

        For how many coups our country has been responsbile for, you would think they understood what that leads to: Right Wing Authoritarian rule… “But Trump!”

        Something tells me that neither Silverman nor Rosie are avid students of history.

        I am, however, always fascinated to observe how eager the self-disarmed are to recruit someone else to do their dying for them.

    2. Eureka Springs

      Hope you are correct, but I have many doubts.

      Just a few:

      Seems like American military thrives in fomenting bloody chaos. It’s a military which has waged wars based on lies for longer than most of us have been living. The torturers are still in place. The police state is massive and has long been more than willing to imprison more of their brethren than anyone else in the world.

      All of these people need a paycheck….

      And even the so called left has more than tolerated, elected an extremely violent totalitarian Demo party and executives for a very long time.

      1. mudduck

        will piggyback on a duplicate, hoping it will be deleted.

        You live five miles outside Eureka Springs. In the 1960s, I lived and worked five miles south of Eureka Springs, on Grindstone Mountain. Wish we could compare notes privately.

    3. Eureka Springs

      Hope you are correct, but I have many doubts.

      Just a few:

      Seems like American military thrives in fomenting bloody chaos. It’s a military which has waged wars based on lies for longer than most of us have been living. The torturers are still in place. The police state is massive and has long been more than willing to both manufacture crime and imprison more of their brethren than anyone else in the world.

      All of these people need a paycheck….

      And even the so called left has more than tolerated, elected an extremely violent totalitarian Demo party and executives for a very long time.

      1. Sam Adams

        Most of these people who need a paycheck are from the flyover states where a military career is the only escape. They not only support Trump, but given a choice would BBQ the leaders of a military coup d’état and pull out a few just to celebrate the festivities.

    4. Tigerlily

      Looking at the composition of the enlisted and junior officer ranks, I just don’t see the willingness on the part of a significant number of them to engage in such an action.

      I have little faith that people who have been thoroughly indoctrinated to unquestioningly follow orders will frustrate the will of senior officers, but on the other hand probably a sizeable majority of them did vote for Trump.

      Of course it won’t be called a coup, it will be called a temporary emergency action to restore the constitution.

      1. SoCal Rhino

        Just anecdotal…I live next door to a marine base and have had occasion to mingle with a few, including a classmate and his circle. Those I’ve met have struck me as better informed, more thoughtful, and far less “indoctrinated” than the average civilian acquaintance.

        1. Tigerlily

          Point taken, but have they ever refused to obey an order? Because that’s what is at stake here.

          I don’t mean to imply anything as schematic as the military turns people into unthinking automatons, far from it. However military effectiveness is based on indoctrination, as distasteful as it may be for many civilians (particularly those of a liberal persuasion) to hear that. There’s a reason everyone dresses the same, acts the same, and to the extent that these things can be inculcated, thinks the same, at least on matters relevant to the military enterprise. This isn’t a bad thing, indeed it is absolutely necessary in order for the armed forces to do the things that we ask them to do.

          For that very reason however I don’t share the faith of many civilians that when confronted with, say, “illegal orders” (with reference to philnc’s comment below), we can reasonably expect servicepeople to “do the right thing”, as civilians conceive of it. What civilians believe to be “the right thing” in these circumstances is, to a soldier, exactly the “wrong thing”.

          Let me illustrate my point with an analogy: you make a tool that’s designed to fire a high velocity projectile when the user works an action. You point this tool at another human being and squeeze the trigger. Then you blame the tool for being a cold hearted killer. To me that’s the contradiction at the heart of many civilians’ attitude toward the armed forces.

          1. reslez

            As a veteran I view this sort of judgment, based on ignorance, to be extremely distasteful and inaccurate. I find that civilians are the ones who have zero understanding of the true costs of war. Maybe you’re transferring the way your fellow civilians unquestioningly follow orders from their corporate masters. It wasn’t the Marines who illegally foreclosed on 11 million Americans.

            Trump belongs to the deplorables — who do you think the military is?

            1. Tigerlily

              As you don’t know me at all I don’t think you’re in any position to accuse me of ignorance. I was an army reservist for almost seven years, so I have some experience with military discipline.

              I’ll ask again: in the course of your military career how many times did you disobey an order?

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            You seem unaware of the fact that fragging was not at all uncommon in Vietnam. There’s a proud tradition of offing leaders perceived to be dangerous to the men.

            1. Tigerlily

              Not at all.

              Richard Gabriel, an army colonel who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, claims 50% of the (commissioned) officers killed in that conflict were “fragged”. Don’t know if that is strictly accurate or not, but it’s suggestive.

              The army in 2017 is a completely different creature than it was in 1968 however. America abolished conscription in 1975. The current military is far more professional and dedicated.

              As for being “perceived to be dangerous to the men”, we would have expected to see fragging peak in World War II, when America was fighting opponents (Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan) that inflicted far higher casualties than the VC / NVA. For that matter military service is inherently “dangerous to the men”.

              The idea that military professionals (not conscripts) are going to be intimidated by popular opinion remains to me highly suspect. If they can make you face people with the means and will to kill you they can certainly make you face people who merely demand that you obey “illegal orders”.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Instead of films like ‘the Olympus Has Fallen’ (we have to save our commander in chief!), will we see movies from Hollywood about patriotic generals trying to restore the Constitution with a coup?

    5. philnc

      Pray you’re correct on this. For a long time I too believed that the mass of our military would refuse “illegal orders”, but the revelations in Wikileaks about atrocities commited by our troops and airmen in Iraq up to the conduct of immigration and border agents over the last few weeks has seriously degraded my confidence that many in uniform have the moral compass it would take to resist or even walk away. It’s not that they’re evil, it’s just that they don’t have the capacity (or the will) for independently determining right from wrong: they rely on their leaders (political and cultural) to do that for them. Pretty much like most civilians in the US. Awash in sheep with far too few goats.

      1. HBE

        Those examples illustrate atrocities and or ills perpetrated on those who have been, for over a decade been otherized by our institutions. Who have worked hard to make those who they have chosen to otherize, appear inhuman.

        Those same efforts have not been turned in on people who look like and come from the same cultural background as much of the military core. Making it unlikely orders to commit atrocity abroad would be as effective as orders for same at home.

        1. carycat

          Have you noticed how many people of color is around these days since European settlers did a bit of ethenic cleansing in the early days of the US?
          Our over militarized police, many of which came out of the armed forces, are not exactly civil to any but the 1%.

        2. nowhere

          After reading the article about the Navy SEALs on the Intercept a few weeks ago, it seemed they were ready for atrocities from the jump.

    6. Praedor

      Any “coup” that might come is not the typical US-backed coup (like Ukraine). It might instead be of the type where generals refuse to do something outright ridiculous regardless of orders, like invade Iran.

      Sure, they will go along with useless and counterproductive attacks on Iran facilities but an invasion or actual war? No way. The people, even Trumpf supporters, wouldn’t go for yet another war.

      Of course, the liberals would be OK with it if it were Hillary doing it. If Trump does it they will “protest”: banners, chanting slogans, marches…all pointless and totally ignorable, totally ineffective. Liberals are great at ineffectual.

      1. uncle tungsten

        Initially the armed forces will be tasked to invade Yemen and slaughter the houthi “terrorists”. Houthis are shia and that is exactly what Israel and Saudi Arabia want to happen. Stifle and annihilate the shia. Iran will not be happy.

        Note the houthi attack on the Saudi warship a couple of days ago is already being distorted by the pentagon as being:- “the Houthis intended it to be a US warship”. The houthis had been tracking this belligerent vessel for days as it marauded up and down the Yemeni coast shelling towns and cities.

    7. Jim Haygood

      What is open discussion of a coup doing in Foreign Policy, a magazine supposed read by Very Serious People?

      Foreign Policy is published by The FP Group, a division of Graham Holdings Company (formerly The Washington Post Company), says Wikipedia. It was founded in 1970 by Sam Huntington, who inveighed against Islamic extremism.

      Looks like Foreign Policy has skidded off the road and crashed into a ditch.

      *drives on by without dialing 911*

      1. Katharine

        Your perspective is useful because it is so unlike mine. It hadn’t occurred to me to look that up, but it is instructive.

      2. flora

        Graham Holdings? Formerly the Washington Post Company? ooooh,…. fakes news does get around. Was the “coup story” a propernot vetted and approved article? (and here I’d like to add a snark tag, but the WaPo has jumped the snark.)

      3. nowhere

        While I most certainly wouldn’t support a military coup (the military seizing State power), I would support them not following stupid orders like nuking Tehran or Beijing. Especially in light of the American Conservative article:

        A prediction: The Chinese will not be departing from their islands, and the Iranians will defy the U.S. threat against testing their missiles.

        Wednesday’s White House statement makes a collision with Iran almost unavoidable, and a war with Iran quite possible.

        Yes, a war with Iran and/or China is so much better than a war with Russia.

        Considering the continuous (and still continuing) harping about Clinton’s terrible foreign policy and aggressive posture, it’s amazing that the same degree of incredulity and skepticism isn’t being applied to the current harrowing actions taken by the Trump administration.

      4. neo-realist

        Maybe an article of such in a magazine read by serious people is a signal from some elements of TPTB that there needs to be a change in the figurehead in the oval office or at least an enormous shift from its policies.

        1. PhilM

          Maybe we could get back to a time when war actually had to be declared by Congress, as is written in the Constitution.


          Because all of these problems stem from one thing: executive power is now inadequately constrained by representation. 435 people cannot adequately represent 250 million adults. That’s almost 1:600,000. It is not a ratio compatible with representative government. It’s derisory even compared to what the Athenians 2400 years ago rightly considered a tyranny, when the Thirty Tyrants ruled, replacing a democratic regime that had boasted 6,000 active political participants. That’s 1:200. And that was considered oligarchy, and did not last long.

          Once the institutions are so corrupted, it imports not a whit who occupies the offices: the public good cannot be served.

      5. Yves Smith Post author

        It is a voice for The Blob. The fact that article mentioned that idea means at least some Very Serious People are already discussing it.

  4. Hana M.

    From the Jesuit magazine, America:

    He wrote that he founded and led the “Fascism Forever Club,” though those with knowledge of the school back in the 1980s say there was no such club. The mention of it in the yearbook was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to poke fun at liberal peers who teased him about his fierce conservatism.

    It was “a total joke,” said Steve Ochs, a history teacher at Georgetown Prep who was the student government advisor during Mr. Gorsuch’s junior and senior years at the Bethesda, Md., school.

    “There was no club at a Jesuit school about young fascists,” he told America. “The students would create fictitious clubs; they would have fictitious activities. They were all inside jokes on their senior pages.”

    I’m inclined to believe this version of the story.

    1. Sam Adams

      Having done the Prep Skool route, joke or not it shows his earliest unguarded predilections. People don’t change. They get better at obfuscation.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I don’t know, Hana M. The list of Gorsuch’s high school social deviancy in the Daily Mail article is long and, frankly, horrifying.

      As a high school student, he took a picture sticking his tongue out at the camera (can you imagine!). He allowed himself to be photographed reading a Buckley book, standing on the steps of a building wearing a blue and black tie, and participating in a human pyramid with other students. You’ve got to admit, this is pretty fascist stuff.

      No mention of the fact that, when he was approved for his current judgeship in 2006, he was unanimously confirmed by the senate 95 – 0, including “aye” votes by then senators obama, clinton, biden and kerry. Also too, schumer the blubberer.

      I’d be far more concerned about latent religious zealotry polluting one of the three branches of government of a country that ostensibly separates church and state, but that’s just me.

      1. Ancient1

        TO: KE

        I’d be far more concerned about latent religious zealotry polluting one of the three branches of government of a country that ostensibly separates church and state, but that’s just me.”

        No, not just your concern. During his acception speech Mr. Gorsuch emphasised how important his faith was to him. My question is: what is his faith and will his faith influence his interpretation of the law? We know that the present Court is top heavy with Roman Catholics. I have no issues with Roman Catholics except when the Church demands obediance to Catholic theology on political office holders when those theological policies do not reflect that of all citizens and violates separatopn of church and state. But now there may not be that separation on the future.

      2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

        FWIW, I knew Neil slightly at HLS– we were in the same class and IIRC, he was in my section (meaning we took all the first year classes together). Although we hold wildly different political views, he was a thoroughly decent chap, even going so far as to seek me out once after a seminar session we both took in our third year to express his support when I’d called out the professor on an issue (I cannot remember the details but recall I was being a bit provocative and accused the prof– tongue in cheek– of exercising ideological bias. But in the excessively earnest atmosphere of HLS, my “complaint” was taken seriously and I had to play my hand. Received and accepted a sidebar apology from the prof– rather rare at HLS– and support from Neil. The prof was Charles Fried– solicitor general under Reagan, btw. In addition to the seminar, I took a fed courts class w/ Fried.)

        1. Knot Galt

          For our High School graduation, classmates hired a plane to tow a sign saying “Congratulations FROM Sam Rogers”. Sam Rogers was our principal, it was his first graduation and he impressed upon us all how important it was for us all to behave and pull off an excellent graduation ceremony. And yes, he had no idea that the plane or message was coming.

          High School seniors are almost always subversive in some way or another. Gorsuch is just not creative; that’s all. He’s smart and he knew it; just like most of us thought when we were in the 12th grade.

          I’m looking forward to the hearings now. Pass the popcorn!

        2. ambrit

          Does a “Young Republicans Group” count? Our high school had that; suits, ties and barbered coifs. Knee length skirts for the ladies.

    3. beth

      The Jesuit magazine may refute it out of embarrassment. Who knows? One of my sons went to a Jesuit high school for one year and I revised my ideas of Jesuits. Many things that were embarrassing or should have been embarrassing were in evidence that year. I was happy he decided to go back to public school.

  5. Anne

    When someone like this:

    As Miller put it, she was “directly involved in its controversial interrogation program” and had an “extensive role” in torturing detainees. Even more troubling, she “had run a secret prison in Thailand” – part of the CIA’s network of “black sites” – “where two detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh techniques.” The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture also detailed the central role she played in the particularly gruesome torture of detainee Abu Zubaydah.

    Beyond all that, she played a vital role in the destruction of interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations. The concealment of those interrogation tapes, which violated both multiple court orders as well the demands of the 9/11 Commission and the advice of White House lawyers, was condemned as “obstruction” by Commission Chairs Lee Hamilton and Thomas Keane. A special prosecutor and Grand Jury investigated those actions but ultimately chose not to prosecute.

    is named to be Deputy Director of the CIA, what do you think the chances are that those to whom Trump says he will defer on the matter of torture are either persuaded to see things Trump’s way, or they are among the first to decide they need to be spending more time with their families?

    In either event, it seems to me that if there had ever been significant consequences – or in most cases, any consequences at all – for the crimes committed in the Bush/Cheney years, we don’t end up, years later, with torture proponents and those who engaged in these activities taking high-level positions.

    How does anyone not believe that these people are just itching to get back into the torture business? Or that Trump will find some way to make it happen?

    And I seriously have no idea why any Democrat would vote to confirm Mike Pompeo. I don’t have any idea why they would vote to confirm ANY of the nominees.

  6. TiPs

    I’m a very calm, and mostly optimistic person, but the Iran rhetoric has me very worried. As I noted a couple of days ago in a comment, this administration seems hell bent on conflict with Iran, and I fully expect a false flag that gives them the green light. What a topsy turvy world, when I agree with Pat Buchanan….

    1. Sandy

      Iran could easily become a Vietnam type proxy war with China. As an Iranian-American, even though I despise the regime there, the US government is pretty much on par with them these days, and the Iranian people do not deserve it at all. If Trump activated the Draft for a war with Iran or China, the US will collapse. The Draft will not succeed, and the Administration will be forced out, and more importantly the US would have to retreat from war and will no longer be considered a superpower.

      1. Praedor

        An attack, or war, by the US will turn all of Iran’s populace against the US. They take pride in their nuclear prowess (and they have the RIGHT to nuclear power AND the right to refine their own fuel…period, the end, as per the NPT).

        I suspect if the US actually attacks, the Iranian government will exit the NPT, with the support of its people, and then shit gets real.

        1. JTMcPhee

          …and the Is-REAL-ites, speaking of reality, have a crazy running the show, and the show includes between 200-600, who knows how many, nuclear weapons, on balllistic missiles, sub-launched cruise missiles, under the protective wings of F-16s… and a stated intent-to-use, and no inhibitions that I can detect. And the Israelites spy so very effectively on us, have so many plants in the Imperial military and “diplomatic” and state-security apparatus, that they know all the US war department’s grandiose OPLAN/SIOP details of our great equivalent of the French Plan 7 and Schliefen Plan from before the first great industrial war where the Krupps and lots of others got fined or got a pass for selling weapons to all sides…

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        There will be no draft. No need and no desire. The last thing the war-mongers want is draftees.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          No kidding. Especially if they start drafting women too, which I don’t see how they could avoid.

          1. polecat

            Can you imagine the front lines … pulsating with draftees wearing pink p#ssy hats, and v#lva gowns, screaming across the battle field, with clenched fists, at the Ayatollahs, blaring …”We’re leftists … We double dare ya!”

            Yeah … that’ll get those horrible Iranians shaking in their boots … /s

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBee

              The ancient Amazonian female warriors lived probably near the Altai Mountains, not far from Persia. They were said to be related to Scythians (an Iranian people).

              Not sure if Iranians of today will necessarily be quaking at the sight of our own female warriors.

              1. Dean

                Actually, I don’t believe the Persians ever expanded past the Ferghana valley, south of Scythia, which itself is separated to the north from the Altay mtns by the Irtysh river basin. The Iranian peoples share cultural and linguistic characteristics, but that link was establised before modern Iran was even penetrated by the Iranic peoples which draw a connection here. From_Corded_Ware_to_Sintashta

                This is revealing if you understand the history of the mongol khanates; they ruled over many vastly distinct peoples, peoples with different cultures and appearances. In fact, the Mongolians are believed to have rode from Altay to Qian mountains, basically on the northeastern border of Tibet.

                The Mongolian empire was unprecedented in its scale of land, but this association, loose as it was by modern standards, was far more formalized than any association stretching the land in that image, if one even existed, which is highly unlikely.

                I realize the comment was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but the history of this part of Asia is quite fascinating to me :P

                1. pretzelattack

                  there are all these vaguely identified people. like the “sea peoples”, or the hyrksos. it’s been a long long time since i took that world history course, but the oldest civilizations just fascinated me.

        2. curlydan

          the last thing war mongers want is their sons and daughters fighting in the wars. Agree, no draft.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBee

            They could set up our version of the French Foreign Legion.

            Call it American Undocumented Legion.

            Fight for your would-be country and you get a chance to become legal.

  7. Sandy

    Where is the outrage from the commentariat here over Trump and his people threatening military aggression against Iran and China? I thought the general consensus was to support Trump just to kill off Clinton who adored the MIC. Could you imagine the outrage if President Hillary was directly threatening to invade Iran? And the criticism Obama received for drawing the “red line” against Assad and not following through? As the link above explains, we’re two weeks in and the new Administration has directed ultimatums to Iran and China. As we know these will be ignored, which means the only outcome is to either go to war, or to disregard the violation of the ultimatum. Hypocrites abound here.

    1. pretzelattack

      it is an outrage. many only supported trump in order to kill off clinton, now we must fight trump tooth and nail. the only plus on foreign policy is trump doesn’t seem to be pushing for a cold or hot war with russia (and that’s a big plus). and he seems to have killed the tpp. i also don’t think russia would be too happy about a us war with iran or china, so that may be a mitigating influence, not because putin controls trump (ha!) but because trump doesn’t seem to be a batshit crazy neocon.

      1. Sandy

        We avoid war with Russia and gain war with Iran and China… that is a success of some sort? Oh yeah, he threatened to invade Mexico too. Let me repeat that. The President of the United States threatened to invade Mexico.

        1. cocomaan

          Let’s look at sources:

          the Mexico bit is a rumor from an anonymous white house insider: according to an excerpt of a transcript of the conversation obtained by the Associated Press. Sounds authoritative!

          Trump tweeted Iran is “PUT ON NOTICE” because of a ballistic missile test. Does that mean war? Seems like normal nonsense with iran to me.

          In March 2016, Bannon talked about rising tensions in S China Sea, saying that war was inevitable there and in the middle east. Many have taken this to be meglomaniacal. I’m not so sure. It’s taken out of context. The conversation it comes from was on a radio show. It was part of a conversation with Lee Edwards about Chinese strategy and his book on the Cold War, which was immediately followed by Lee Edwards complimenting Obama’s strategy with China for being level-headed and Reaganite.

          Color me unconcerned until something actually happens.

          1. Baby Gerald

            Thanks for doing the extra legwork to flesh out the context in these cases. It’s really a second job sorting through all the hysterical clickbait headlines.

        2. Pat

          Actually we would have had war with Russia AND Iran with Clinton (she wasn’t really down with the agreement). And since the TPP was all about positioning for future conflicts with China I’m not sure we would have missed out there.

          As I said all along we were given a hideous choice between horrific and horrific. Trump was to my mind the lesser evil because 1.) He was not going to enshrine corporate control of America with an irreversible treaty. 2.0 he wasn’t openly seeking war with a nuclear power and 3.) not being an insider was more likely to encounter opposition.

          There is a success here, people are NOW paying attention even if they are being stupid about it.

            1. Praedor

              A tiny one. But a little goes a long way. US/Trump belligerence is likely going to push them to start building up their nuke forces.

              With nuke weapons, just a pinch will do ya.

              1. cyclist

                While making threats to any nuclear power should not be taken lightly, wouldn’t China have a much stronger economic weapon? Just shut off exports of anything electronic or essential to the US economy (even shoes). Where would all that stuff suddenly come from?

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  We can stop shipping pork to China.

                  No more Xiaolongbao in Shanghai…an army marches on its stomach.

                  1. Knot Galt

                    Wyoming would miss out on all the coal they are shipping overseas, mostly to China. How do you think Wyoming afforded all their new schools they have built?

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Don’t know about our coal reserves, but we’re low on our national bacon reserves.

                      That’s one possible silver lining.

              2. nowhere

                Tiny in comparison to the US or Russia, but I don’t think having over 100 Megatons of devices that can be put onto ICBMs with a 14000 km range is anything to underestimate.

                I see your comment about “a pinch will do ya”, but what they have is not a pinch, it’s a Dragon Chan flying kick.

            2. Pat

              My bad, of course it is. And truth be told it is just as frightening. I just don’t think we are as near to that as to with Russia where we have been ineptly and openly attempting to cut off much of their economy, isolate them in a manner that will weaken them militarily and flat out move troops on their borders despite treaties and agreements that should prevent that, much of that on Clinton’s watch and at her urging.

              And when it comes to an arsenal, well China is still catching up. Probably quickly if they are smart.

              Frankly we cannot afford war with either one of them.

              1. Praedor

                Our attempts to isolate them have pushed them closer to China. You cannot attack China without attacking Russia, in some respects.

                1. Gaianne

                  “You cannot attack China without attacking Russia . . ”

                  This is the key point.

                  Whatever they may feel about it, Russia and China are of strategic necessity tight allies.

                  They do joint economic and military planning. They are not about to let the US pick them off one at a time. On the contrary, they are pretty sure that war is coming–that it is unavoidable. They are co-ordinating how, when, and where to fight it. They are also trying to postpone it, though that may not work.

                  The foremost consideration is that the war not go nuclear. Easier said than done, but they have thoughts about that, too.

                  Americans do not understand that whatever happens, the US will be defeated. If the war goes nuclear, the US will cease to exist as a nation and as a civilization. (The rest of the world will not fare well either.) If the war does not go nuclear, the US will be defeated in theater–a theater that does not threaten US existence, but only breaks its long-range projected power. But Russia and China are not seeking to destroy the US, nor to occupy it. Their key goal is very limited–to block US hegemony.

                  They do not need a war to achieve this goal, nor do they want one. It is the US that wants the global war.

                  Trump ran on a program of deglobalization, and he most certainly does not need war in order to deglobalize–war is actually counterproductive.

                  It is the globalists who need war. Visibly, they are trying to trick Trump into following their agenda rather than his. I have no idea if the ruse can work.


                  1. Isolato

                    Sorry, this comment was supposed to go much higher up in the discussion!

                    But on the subject of nuclear weapons…one is probably sufficient. Imagine an entire US city as radioactive rubble..

              2. Knot Galt

                You forgot to mention that we no longer have Victoria Nuland stoking the winds of war.

                And I certainly feel much better about taking on Bannon and Trump than I would have taking on any of the Clinton-istas. The cloak of feminism and very real misogyny is an almost impenetrable defense! Nasty woman are not to be taken lightly.

          1. Anonymous

            Quite a few yrs ago, HRC laughed maniacally about bombing Iran:


            Believe she also hinted she would tear up O’s agreement w/Iran if displeased with events.

            Michael Morell, ex CIA Director and HRC fan, told Charlie Rose the US should “kill Iranians and Russians in Syria”

            We voted for Trump to block HRC. So far: no TPP, possibly/hopefully no TTIP (as he apparently wants bilateral, not multi), no war w/ Russia, Tulsi Gabbard invited to WH, end of Russia sanctions, and hopefully US soon out of Syria

            Granted, Trump’s terrible actions need to be protested/blocked

        3. Eureka Springs

          Clinton and the worst Bushco neocons were threatening ALL of these conflicts. Did you not notice?

          Did your outrage then and now lead you away from the two war party lose/lose scenario? Have you noticed the system is completely fubar? What good can come of your outrage if you haven’t? You will just be played by both sides of the war party forevermore as long as you give either any legitimacy.

          1. Sandy

            I was outraged and that’s why I was anti-Clinton. And now apparently everything Trump does is my fault according to my peers. I think the USA is doomed either way due to fundamental cultural, societal and institutional problems; Trump is a symptom of all of those problems (so was Clinton). I’m not one for hysterics but I do think the US is closer to collapse than ever before. Collapse means a failure of the government to function, and illegitimacy of power. Look at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. What separates the US from Bangladesh, or Somalia? It’s government. Maybe we’ll quickly replace the government, devolve from superpower status, etc without a Mad Max situation but that’s still a collapse and there will be problems. I also think Americans (immigrants aside) are the worst prepared culturally for poverty … there’s a such thing as “knowing how to be poor” … I saw it in Mexico, and it’s a communal spirit and simple living… Americans operate opposite to all of those values.

            1. Praedor

              Even a non-Mad Max collapse means many many thousands of deaths due to disease, starvation, lack of healthcare…and collapse of “law and order”. It also means a total collapse of the (semi)functional economy. City people will be especially hard hit.

            2. Leigh

              Or take a gander at Flint. Two years on and Greatest Country on Earth can’t get our fellow citizens clean water…

              Where there is a will, there is way, where there is no will, there is stagnation and eventual collapse.

                1. Praedor

                  While at the same time gutting clean water rules so they can fill those new pipes with poisoned water.

                  Cuz profits!

                2. beth

                  You need to talk to the people in Flint who are working on the problem rather than reading the NYT article. I heard two of them speak last week and they are still using bottled water for everything.

                  Nayyirah Shariff with Flint Democracy Defense League and
                  Melissa Mays with Water You Waiting For
                  For more information contact:     
                  (810) 423-3435                     
                  Todd Keefe 

            3. Left in Wisconsin

              the US is closer to collapse than ever before.

              What does this even mean? I think if you ask anyone in Flint or Detroit or rural flyover, there would be a strong sense that things have already collapsed. Our employment system has been totally transformed to screw working people over the last 40 years, with the active and passive assistance of government – does that count as collapse?

              OTOH, life has never been better for many – yes, they are only the top 10% but that is a big number in this country – and their world is nowhere close to collapse. Nor will it if we go toe-to-toe with Iran. As long as Amazon Prime still works.

              1. Carl

                The future is here, it’s just unevenly distributed. You make a good point about collapse already occurring in some areas.

              2. andyb

                The problem with the corporate oligarchy is that, even without TPP, they will allow the 1% to incrementally destroy what’s left of the middle class. But in so doing, who will be left to buy all the goods and services produced?

            4. polecat

              We aren’t ‘closer’ to collapse … because we’ve already crossed That stream years ago, and have been in a ‘slow-burn’ collapse since then …. soooo get as resilient as time and resources allow, as it will continue to get bumpy on those stair-steps of decline.

        4. pretzelattack

          yes, russia has a lot more nukes. that is a big success. it is not to be sneezed at. it’s beyond absurd and tragic that we got served a choice of voting for a war with russia/syria/whichever other countries the neocons wanted to invade and a war with china/iran/. it’s good we got rid of clinton, and now we can hopefully unify to fight trump, while torpedoing efforts of the neoliberals to retain control of the democratic party, because that’s who gave us the choice in the first place.

        5. IdahoSpud

          Thus far there has been nothing but bluster and words…
          Obama and Hillary, on the other hand, took us from Bush’s measly two wars to seven.
          I find it difficult to get outraged when no one has been invaded, “freed from tyrants” or regime-changed yet.

          I’ll save my outrage for when I see some serious carnage like the Obama/Hillary outcomes. Thanks for sharing your outrage over some words though.

          1. nowhere

            Okay. It only takes one wrong action one time to start something in which there are no winners. That world existed for decades and by some fortune the world never descended into what was possible, it’s worth fighting that shadow from growing again. Thanks for sharing your nonchalance and ignoring the meaning and power of words.

            1. IdahoSpud

              Happy to share my nonchalance… don’t worry too much about it though. It’s probably just a symptom from being exposed to overwrought Trump hysteria 24-7.

      2. Tigerlily

        I think a great many Americans have completely misread Trump’s foreign policy. To the extent he favours rapprochement with Russia it isn’t because he’s a peacenik, it’s because he’s a profoundly insecure man locked in a deep, unrequited bromance for Vladimir Putin. Putin is the man Trump wishes he was, and he’s desperate to win Putin’s validation and approval.

        And if you think the personal insecurities of the head of state is a terrible basis for any country to base its foreign policy you’d be right.

        But in any case the idea that Trump’s attitude toward Russia is indicative of a broader aversion to using force to advance American interests is probably completely misguided, not to say incompatible with Trump’s own public pronouncements.

        Besides, in Trump’s mind kicking around a few miscreants is the ideal way to gain street cred with a hardass like Putin.

        1. pretzelattack

          i haven’t seen trump threatening to go to war with england either. perhaps that is rooted in his deep insecurities, perhaps theresa may is the head of state he would like to be. or perhaps he doesn’t regard england as a threat. and the lack of threats toward canada is a clear indication that he just wishes he could have had pierre trudeau as a father. as long as we’re doing armchair psychoanalysis. on a surface level, maybe the reason he doesn’t threaten russia is because he doesn’t want to end up as a stain on the last remaining white house wall.

          i don’t think trump is at all averse to using force,
          but i am happy he is averse to using force against russia and its proxy states.

          1. Tigerlily

            Or perhaps the US and UK have a long history of amicable relations based on linguistic, historical and cultural affinity, plus shared interests, even amounting to a “special relationship”, as some would have it.

            Just throwin’ it out there…

              1. todde

                and we also had soldiers fighting for White Russia between the wars

                15,000 or so Americans fighting the Red Menance

                1. Isolato

                  Yeah, And remember when Russia sent 15,000 soldiers to support the “Bonus Army”? Just kidding, of course. I’ve never understood our hostility to Russia. How have they threatened our Empire? What Americans have been run over by Russian tanks? We just sent an armored brigade to Poland. If there could be a train to hold all the tanks and armored vehicles it would be 37 miles long. Imagine if such a train pulled up in Canada…w/red stars…

                  1. Grebo

                    I’ve never understood our hostility to Russia. How have they threatened our Empire?

                    When building a global empire anyone merely refusing to join it is a ‘threat’ to the plan. Having the temerity to maintain a rival empire of their own is a declaration of war, eventually.

                    1. pretzelattack

                      Later, on August 24, 1963, Khrushchev remarked in his speech in Yugoslavia, “I once said, ‘We will bury you,’ and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you,”[8] a reference to the Marxist saying, “The proletariat is the undertaker of capitalism”, based on the concluding statement in Chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto: “What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.”

                      wiki, we will bury you quote

            1. pretzelattack

              yes, i much prefer that type of analysis to armchair psychoanalysis. the decisions not to seek war with england, or russia, are both eminently rational. we should applaud trump here, because it’s a step in the right direction, and breathe a sigh of relief that it isn’t clinton in the white house busily engineering confrontation with russia.

              we got rid of clinton, and can now concentrate on opposing trump. if trump starts following putin on twitter and liking him on facebook, we can start questioning the basis for his policy, but i’m quite willing to believe the orange one doesn’t want to be a glowing, radioactive cinder.

          2. wilroncanada

            I thought one of its proxy states was Iran. And now other members of his administration are making noises again about the Ukraine, in very muted tones so far.

            But I would agree with not going off the deep end about things which have not begun to happen yet. His administration has continued the drone war on Yemen, though, so he isn’t quite a peacenik yet.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          No, it is because his policy is significantly about trade. China is a trade competitor. Russia isn’t. He’s also been exceptionally rude to Merkel, when Germany is generally considered to be one of America’s best allies, but now its biggest trade competitor.

    2. integer

      Where is the outrage from the commentariat here over Trump…
      Hypocrites abound here.

      This seems to be a common theme around here lately. Personally, my view is that there is no point trying to manufacture outrage towards Trump, especially in the NC comments section. If Trump really earns it, you will see it soon enough, however the fact remains that the mendacious D-party establishment is not only not offering anything better, they are actively preventing anything better from being offered.

      Why bother agitating for change if the D-party are, at best*, just as bad?

      * TPP, anyone?

      1. Pat

        ACA anyone?

        We need to keep the overpriced, high deductible small network no guarantees mandatory insurance program!!! And we’ll campaign on it with “KEEP OUR HEALTHCARE” although there are already studies showing that Americans are getting less health care than they did before ACA because after the premiums they can’t afford to go to the doctor.

        And how many of Trump’s nominees have passed?

      2. nowhere

        Since when has the official line been a false choice between Rs and Ds? It’s been speaking truth to power and showing a future path that isn’t mired in either corrupt party.

        I wish there was more discussion of the advanced tactics and strategies that will elicit the desired change, since people protesting Trump are doing wrong. Never mind all of the other marches and protests that were gobbled up in here when they occurred during the last President’s time.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          See above, under “Moral Compass”, if you don’t have one of those then you have no idea what you’re for and what you’re against, or why.

          OK, got one? Good! You’ve completed Step 1. A moral compass is a really great thing to have! It helps you to know instantly which people and which policies you should support.

          Now it’s time to add some fine tuning to your PMC (Personal Moral Compass). Should America seek out foreign monsters to destroy (regime change)? Should basic rights like access to health care be conditioned on the financial needs of billionaire insurance executives? Should banking executives who commit multi-billion $ fraud get a free pass to stay out of jail? Should America bomb children in hospital beds on the other side of the world? 10 points if you opposed the people and parties pushing those policies.

          You’re on your way! Your PMC will make it very simple to determine the “advanced tactics and strategies” you asked about.

          1. nowhere

            I fail to see how that helps affect change. There have been quite a few comments denigrating the recent protests (when the general support for OWS, the NATO protests, BLM, Keystone, etc. was generally positive). People are acting like there weren’t protests and marches during Obama’s presidency, and only now the “libruls” show up once Trump is in office. This is patently untrue. So, again, what are these tactics that should usher in a new era of change?

            Does protesting matter? Not if it’s after Trump’s election, apparently.
            Does standing outside your reps houses or calling their offices matter? No.
            Does voting seem to count? No.
            Does posting on websites seem to do anything? No.
            Does withholding my money from companies I despise do anything? No.
            Facebook or Twitter? Hahaha

            So I am seriously asking, what can I operationally do? Besides collapse now and beat the rush.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Sorry you are demoralized (there’s that word again).

              I’m an aging hippie and I know what works: we stopped a war, threw a crook president out of office, and completely changed the society.

              Protesting? Yep, works great. Especially if the protest is focused on a specific issue, in our case it was the Vietnam War. I’d suggest that all-compassing disaffection on gender issues (Pussy March) or general Anti-Trump is fun but counterproductive.

              Reps/calls: Yes, they do closely monitor what the plebs are passionate enough about to get off the couch.

              Voting: Yes, it matters. Especially if you do it. What better example is there than Trump.

              Posting. Yes. The hippies insisted that “raising consciousness” was the first step. It’s working.

              Witholding monies: Yes, that works too.

              FB/Twit?: Why not.

              OWS, NATO, BLM, and Keystone were important but (mostly) tiny. I also think the world has turned to where the elite are more afraid of the 99% than previously, the 10M who pre-protested the Iraq War would get more traction today. Think about it: there are a few hundred thousand of them and multi-billions of US. Most important though: do not fall for identity “divide-and-conquer”. The elite WANT us to fracture and fight amongst ourselves on race and gender and culture…they know that if a single black LGBT female in Oakland and an unemployed white redneck in Chattanooga unite on the abundant economic and class issues that they share then they are truly screwed.

            2. Grebo

              The only thing that can possibly be effective is to replace the bad politicians with good ones. Only politicians can replace the bad laws and policies.
              Understand how your local democracy works, get together with like-minded neighbours and TAKE BACK YOUR GOVERNMENT!

              More up-to-date guides may be available. If you are in a Republican area, take over the Republican Party. Use your imagination.

        2. financial matters

          Best voice I’m hearing out there….

          Tulsi Gabbard ‏@TulsiGabbard 11h11 hours ago

          I am more determined than ever to fight for the American people and to fight for peace. RT if you’re with me.

          188 replies 1,994 retweets 2,211 likes

    3. Brad

      Obama got heat from the rightwing war mongers, not the liberals. The same silence would pertain to Hillary if she were making war-like noises against Iran.

      Sorry, but you will have to do better that that if you want to flip the argument for Liberal Democrat silence and complicity with war mongering in general and Obama’s grotesque drone bombing in particular.

    4. Waking Up

      In 2008, Hillary Clinton stated the following:

      “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran (if it attacks Israel),” Clinton said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

      “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them,” she said.

      So, your comment, “Could you imagine the outrage if President Hillary was directly threatening to invade Iran?” She already has.

  8. Pat

    Apparently Bannon, and Trump, is going to be behind a lot of wars, from the Guardian link above, this opinion piece
    coupled with the Jacobin article about Iran…Well it looks like a whole bunch of people have noticed that the major export of America is war and now believe this is how Trump intends to make America great again.

    Sadly as much as I think people have lost it regarding Trump, I am not so sure the unease regarding Iran and China is baseless.

    1. pretzelattack

      it’s not at all baseless. especially iran, i do hope trump’s advisors realize russia would be very upset about that.

      1. Pat

        It took me about two years to know Obama’s tells and read his moves. I’m still finding my way with Trump. I think people underestimate him at their own risk. And even if it will all be bad, and it will, I am never sure how much is bluster starting point and how much is end game. But already there is something about this one that makes me think it is the latter not the former, even if I am still unsure. And that would not be baseless concern.

        Frankly the Iran agreement was one of the few things where I thought Obama did the right thing and he didn’t follow his path of least resistance unless it would empower his future. Thanks, Kerry. I hope Trump realizes that war number 8 is not in our best interests in the Middle East and a big one with China isn’t either.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think people freaking out about Trump’s words know nothing about negotiating tactics. You always start with your toughest possible position. You also want as much information as you can get going into the negotiation. Trump does this by purposely flushing out people and their positions with outrageous provocations, this gives him an indication of the boundaries of the deal, how far he can go across multiple dimensions and where the pushback (if any) will come. Did Deal Opponent #1 fold his tent immediately, or did he push back? You want that information as early as possible in the negotiating process. Trump also knows alot about power and how to wield it. He has an extremely strong hand going into the game and a huge pile of chips.
          I’m not saying I agree with all of his objectives. In many cases I do agree that he should advance what is good for America, and he seems to think that means domestic American jobs, industry, and infrastructure. The pushback with Ford and Lockheed and Sony have already yielded early results. He’s definitely not some kind of globalist pussy, and his opponents at every negotiating table will know that and react accordingly.

        2. reslez

          Obama went in on the Iran deal because the French and Russians were about to lift the sanctions without us which would have made us look ridiculous. This was just another episode of Obama preserving appearances, I’m afraid. Trump can bluster about the deal if he wants… never quite sure if it’s bluster for its own sake or simple ignorance with him. His base certainly likes to hear it, though.

    2. Andrew

      Yes, a war with Iran. Because the Iraq war went so well and was such a great success. A couple of trillion $$s down the hole for nada. So, let’s build on that. Iran is next. And what exactly do they plan on doing if they manage to knock the current regime in Iran over? Consider the many mistakes made in the post war phase (the biggest being the dissolution of the Iraqi army, whose ex members went on to give us Isis). Does the Trump administration have the chops to nation build Iran? If you believe that, there’s a bridge i’d like to sell you. What a joke the whole thing is.

  9. todde

    War with Iran and I hear sanctions on Russia will continue.

    Within 10 years we will be in a war with China? Put Bannon on the front line.

    That should led to a violent revolution in America, if we get a draft enacted.

    1. Praedor

      Look on the bright side (VERY bright, as in blindingly bright nudet): a war with China WILL end US overseas adventures forever. Just as we cannot actually go to war with Russia without ending the world, a war with China is nearly equally bad. Sure, they don’t have the sheer number of nukes that Russia has but they certainly have enough to end us. Forever.

      Their exports to the US are so major that killing them off would collapse the US economy too so we can look to take it two ways: economic collapse and nuke fire, in that order.

      I also don’t see Russia sitting idle and accepting US attacks on Iran. An attack on Iran is an attack on Russia’s position in the ME.

      1. John Wright

        War with China might expose the soft underbelly of the USA’s and European policy of moving much manufacturing to China and East Asia.

        It appears to me that the USA involves itself in recent military actions only in countries with little USA corporate investment that might be damaged (Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, numerous African efforts and Bosnia earlier).

        I suspect Iran has little USA corporate investment, making it easier for the USA to do something stupid.

        This puts China in a favorable position, it has considerable USA and European investments, and is functioning well as a manufacturing site for many multinationals with clout in the US government.

        If our financial industry actually provided a public service and “did the math” on the Net Present Value of USA military actions, I believe the USA would be a lot less bellicose.

        But, when many East/West coast people depend on the MIC for their salaries and the print media such as the New York Times and Washington Post provide media cover for more US military actions, it is difficult to see the countervailing force to the “More War” crowd.

        Then there is Coach John McCain on the sidelines, hoping to win one, just one, before he dies.

        1. Brad

          Yes the USA has discovered that every time it flexes the only advantage it has over all others in the world today – military power, upon which depends the world status of the USD, and therefore the US economy – China benefits.

          Kind of what the Spanish Hapsburgs discovered about the Dutch in the late 16th century.

          That’s why the Trump people have to go after China at the same time as they go after Iran. Or else admit the complete impotence of conventional military power in today’s world.

        2. wilroncanada

          I thought the slush from the sh*tstorms of US military spending were spread pretty evenly throughout the country. Or have the republican senators and congress critters been failing at their jobs to get the drifting grift?

          1. John Wright

            I did a search and came across this:

            As far as highest defense spending as a % of state GDP

            1 Virginia 11.8%
            2 Hawaii 9.9%
            3 Alabama 5.9%
            4 District of Columbia 5.8%
            5 Alaska 5.7%
            6 Maryland 5.7%
            7 Mississippi 5.1%
            8 Kentucky 4.9%
            9 Maine 4.4%
            10 Arizona 4.0%

            As far as absolute dollar amounts (billions), top 10 states

            1 Virginia $54.7
            2 California $52.5 (CA agriculture less, at $47 billion in 2015)
            3 Texas $39.6
            4 Maryland $19.6
            5 Florida $17.9
            6 Pennsylvania $14.2
            7 Washington $12.7
            8 Georgia $12.2
            9 Massachusetts $12.1
            10 Alabama $11.5

            Note how large a percentage of the Virginia economy defense spending is and also that the dollar amount is large.

            The linked to document has a lot of information, the defense money is spread around the US, but not uniformly. little Massachusetts does well in dollar volume (Raytheon is based there as I recall) and probably a lot of military research is done by Mass Universities.

            Oregon is one state that gets little defense money.

            Some large Midwestern states(Illinois and Michigan for example) don’t get much relative to their economies.

            Here are the list of states with lowest defense spending as a % of state GDP, from lowest (Oregon).

            1 Oregon 0.5%
            2 West Virginia 0.7%
            3 New York 0.7%
            4 Illinois 0.8%
            5 Tennessee 0.8%
            6 Iowa 0.8%
            7 Michigan 0.8%
            8 Wyoming 0.9%
            9 Vermont 1.0%
            10 Idaho 1.0%

            There is a lot of information in the linked to document…

            1. Oregoncharles

              Aside from Coast Guard stations, there is only one military installation in the whole state, the ammunition storage out by Umatilla.

              Ursula LeGuin’s Portland book (she lives there), the Lathe of Heaven, claims that that is because Wayne Morse, our Senator for many years, made a point of antagonizing the rest of the Senate as much as possible; consequently, no bases during the Cold War glory days. And still none, I’m not sure why – neither of our present Senators is all that cranky. I think the idea isn’t popular here.

  10. Jim Haygood

    The Labor Department’s fiduciary rule applies to retirement accounts. It obliges brokers and insurance agents to do what’s in the best interest of their clients, which ought to be the law for ALL financial relationships.

    Instead, Wall Street uses a sleazy “suitability” standard, so they can sell overpriced products with excessive commissions, and get away with it. Unhappy about getting screwed? Try getting justice under Wall Street’s in-house arbitration system.

    Behold the white horse of the false populist.

    Tin soldiers and Trump a-coming
    We’re finally on our own

    — Neil Young, Ohio

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Thanks for this.

      Australia seems to take their immigration laws pretty seriously. Under those circumstances, it’s handy to have a BFF like the u. s. who doesn’t. And wants to impeach a president who suggests it might be a reasonable idea if they did.

      1. integer

        Fwiw as an Australian I was very surprised when 0bama pledged to take Australian refugees. It is a very complex problem, as accepting refugees creates an incentive for economic migrants to travel to Australia via Indonesia under the pretense of being refugees, while refusing legitimate refugees is simply inhumane. We live in a cruel world and short of not ruining countries with warfare, economic or otherwise, I don’t have any answers.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I’d be curious to know how aware the Australian public was of this arrangement, since americans were completely in the dark until Trump’s phone call made it an issue.

          As an aside, I’d just like to say that the idea that there are human encampments around the world, warehousing people, who are then traded back and forth like poker chips in an attempt to fulfill political promises, exploit loopholes in immigration laws, reinforce military “alliances” and keep the cost of endless conflict out of the public consciousness is pretty disturbing.

          1. marym

            On Twitter over the past few years I’ve come across acitivist organiztions (@OZRefugeeCounc) and people, and hashtags (#NARU, #BringthemHere, #MARUS). A tweet today from the Refugee Council references “organization representing millions.” Not something I’ve followed in any way, so it would be interesting to hear more from integer, RUKidding or others about the scope of public knowledge and opinions.

            Trump’s tweet on the subject said Obama agreed to take in thousands of “illegal immigrants.” – another example of the degree to which his decisions are based on utter ignorance. It’s one thing to have differing opinions about policy toward illegal immigrants or refugees, but unconscionable not to know the difference. I continue to believe this is only about fostering hate, white supremacy, and bigotry. Trump appears to have gotten his opinions from Fox, and surrounded himself with people whose agenda is served by manipulating those opinions.

          2. Roger Smith

            Was this information ever released or floated here prior to this?

            Yes, apparently human trafficking is a huge problem, even governments are doing it. Gives one that warm, fuzzy feeling… One of the worst parts is that there is no reason for any of this destruction. This stuff is absolutely sickening and it makes me even more upset that media hype and sensationalism is what drags people out in the streets to protest their general discomfort of someone’s presence, not murder and illegal war. And that these people are so blind to how their attention is being had…

          3. integer

            I’d be curious to know how aware the Australian public was of this arrangement, since americans were completely in the dark until Trump’s phone call made it an issue.

            IIRC it got some MSM coverage down here, though it was somewhat buried in the news cycle as the deal was struck a few days after Trump won the election. This issue has been exploited for political gain by the LNP (Turnbull’s party) since John Howard was Prime Minister, and remains highly controversial among the Australian public. It really is a shameful state of affairs; children are self-harming, and security personnel have raped a woman, and beaten at least one man to death.

          4. Chris

            This deal was well publicised here at the time it was made, Katniss. Our Prime Minister considered it to be a remarkable achievement on his part, and will look a little silly if it doesn’t go ahead.

    2. RUKidding

      I’m not part of the screeching left, but I am leftwing. I used to live in Australia and go back as often as I can, so I was aware of the terrible camps on Manus and Nauru, which are a real blight for Aus. And I was aware that Obama had promised to take 1200 (?) of the refugees. I had very mixed emotions about that because of the precedent it set, but apparently some Central American refugees were alleged to be sent to Aus for resettlement in exchange.

      Really the USA and “cousins” need to stop waging war endlessly all over the place, and hey here’s a thought: maybe we wouldn’t have so many refugees to resettle somewhere.

    3. wilroncanada

      You have to be outside the country, in, say, Canada, or read NC, to learn these things, whether you are screeching left/liberal or hell-and-damnation right conservative. There, does that cover both sides?

  11. EndOfTheWorld

    A lot of the sore losers are breaking the law and should be prosecuted. Madonna calling for blowing up the White House, Pelosi calling for a military coup, “protestors” in Berzerkeley hitting innocent bystander with a baseball bat. Pelosi should be interviewed by the FBI. Apparently Trump is allowing some time for the venting of steam, but if this stuff keeps up he has various options at his disposal to punish lawbreakers.

    1. Roger Smith

      The problem there is as soon as he does it inflates the “nazi-fascist-dictator” trope. If he doesn’t act, it continues as does the “he is incompetent and this is nuts!” line. It would be interesting if he could find a third way (Medicare for all?)

    2. Jim Haygood

      Australia is notoriously hard-line against boat people refugees — perhaps even more so than Trump — and also notoriously indifferent to the miserable conditions of their detention on offshore islands.

      Trump and Turnbull are two scorpions in a bottle.

      *gives it a brisk shake*

      1. RUKidding

        Not all Australians are indifferent. Used to live there; have many friends there. They’ve been protesting the horrific conditions on Manus and Nauru for quite some time.

        The rightwing govt, otoh, is indifferent to these appalling conditions.

        Turnbull is more socially liberal than Trump. Just saying… there are some differences between the two countries and the leaders thereof.

      2. Chris

        Nah, Jim, a scorpion and a (small) pissant. Trump barely notices Trumbull (as Sean Spicer likes to call him).

    3. Vatch

      Could you please point me to a source for your claim that Pelosi called for a military coup? I have trouble believing that such an establishment toady as Pelosi would ever say something like that, but I’ve been wrong before, and I will certainly be wrong in the future.

      1. RUKidding

        I read about that somewhere, but I’m pressed for time and can’t research it. Try googling it. Not sure what she said. It’s hard to believe, but I know she expressed some sort of resistance (which is futile) to Trump. Like: thanks, Nancy. Let’s remember: impeachment is off the table. That just set the standard for the continuation of War crimes by Obama and now Trump.

        Useless worthless greedy grifting Pelosi. ptoui! Part of the problem; certainly not the solution.

        1. Vatch

          I ran a news search before I asked my question, and I did a general web search just now. No success. Various oddballs have advocated a military coup, and a former minor Obama administration official named Rosa Brooks discussed the possibility of a coup without actually advocating it. I don’t think Pelosi said this.

          As I hinted in my previous comment, I disapprove of Pelosi, whether she said anything about a coup or not.

        2. Gareth

          “I read about that somewhere, but I’m pressed for time and can’t research it. Try googling it.”

          I just did. Fox news accused Christine Pelosi, Nancy’s daughter, of attempting a coup when the she was promoting the faithless elector plan. So, Nancy Pelosi did not call for a military coup. It’s just another internet rumor.

      2. DH

        I believe the context is that she believes that the US military would not obey illegal orders from the President. That is not at all the same as calling for a coup – it is virtually the opposite.

        1. polecat

          Nancy ‘we’ve taken impeachment off the table’ Pelosi …… ???

          THAT Nancy ?

          Talk about scorpions ….. !!

          … well there ARE ones’ that are of the female sex too …

    4. Brad

      So you want to make Pelosi a heroine martyr? Just when she is self-destructing in front of the left?

      We’ve seen how liberals salvage and enable the Right. Now we shall see how the Right salvages and enables liberals.

      If you favor capitalism, Pelosi’s your politician.

  12. Vatch

    Donald Trump ‘taking steps to abolish Environmental Protection Agency’ Guardian (Glenn F)

    From the article:

    [Myron] Ebell also signalled that a review of fuel efficiency standards for cars, rushed through by the departing Obama administration, is likely to be reopened despite its contribution to the US’s pledged emissions cuts in the Paris agreement.

    Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions are not the only situations affected by this. If cars remain inefficient, people will use more gasoline, and that will send more money to the countries that sponsor terrorism, such as petroleum rich Saudi Arabia. The real effect of this is that Myron Ebell is an active fundraiser for terrorists.

    1. Jim Haygood

      … making the frackers who created the US production boom heros of the fight against terrorism.

      This is a bit of hyperbole, showing that it’s risky to oversimplify.

      1. Vatch

        One type of terrorist action is the poisoning of a location’s water supply. Fracking poisons ground water, so frackers are actual terrorists rather than heroes of the fight against terrorism.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Fracking poisons ground water

          That depends on the purity of the water injected, as well as the fracking chemicals used.

          Regulation is needed, but a blanket statement that fracking poisons ground water is not categorically correct.

          1. Vatch

            I stand corrected. Can you provide an example of a fracking operation where no poisons are used?

            There’s still the problem that fracking increases the frequency of earthquakes, so perhaps my claim that frackers are terrorists is valid no matter what chemicals are used.

          2. carycat

            Those fracking chemicals are so safe you don’t need to know what they are (because tradesecrets, hee hee).
            I’d love to see all the management and their family in the fracking companies participate in a 5 year long toxicology study where half are randomized to exclusively use only water from wells next to a fracking site and half from the municipality where they live. Then I’ll be less skeptical of their claims if both group show similar health out comes.
            Normally, I’d go for a double blind study but that is kind of hard to do when one of the compounds have such wonderful bouquet and may occasionally catch fire.

    2. DH

      Hybrid and electric cars and SUVs would be the single most powerful weapon against terrorists, rogue Middle East states, and Russia. It would also reduce the tensions over the South China Sea which are largely about access to potential offshore oil and gas.

      This is the main arguments I try to use with lawmakers about improving fuel standards and encouraging renewable energy.

      1. Roger Smith

        This is the main arguments I try to use with lawmakers…

        Whom are funded by the very industries that would hamper… oy. Here in Michigan beginning this year if I am not mistaken, residents with hybrid and electric cars will be charged a fee at registration.

        1. heresy101

          That move will probably be copied by most states and it is NOT an anti hybrid EV program. EVs do not pay any gas taxes that are used to build and maintain the roads, thus charging an equivalent amount per mile is actually the correct thing to do. Oregon is looking at an annual odometer check to replace the gas tax.

          Ford Motor has projected in ten-fifteen years as many EVs will be sold as gas vehicles.
          Even with Trump, EVs are happening – GM has introduced the 236 mile Bolt, Ford will have 6 EVs/hybrids in 2020 (including the Mustang and F150!), and Mercedes has 10 models planned. This doesn’t address the Koreans and Japanese.

          Even if Trump changes EPA laws and drops the mileage standard, California will continue to require an increasing percent of cars to meet gas mileage standards, air pollution, and GHG limits to be able to sell cars in CA. The car companies will provide increasing numbers of EVs/hybrids to continue to be able to sell cars/trucks in the largest car market in the country/world.

    3. Praedor

      Unless you include it in climate change, there’s also ocean acidification, which on its own is just as deadly as Earth (over)heating. Dead oceans = dead humanity.

      1. Gaianne

        The oceans will not die. They will shift to a new ecology filled with organism less favorable to humans.

        Believe me, the red tide bacteria appreciate all the good work we do for them. Jellyfish are taking things in stride as well.


  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Undocumented/illegal immigrants.

    7 Muslim majority countries…have to get religion in there.

    How often do we hear in the news that we are a Christian majority country repeated several times in a news article, and in every article on one particular coverage for weeks?

    “God bless this Christian majority country.”

    “Make this Christian majority country great again.”

    “This Christian majority country is already great.”

    Editor: “We have to edit all those.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s a good point.

        Question: In what country is Greedians a majority?

        “In the news today, president Obama has decided to send US soldiers to yet another Muslim-majority country, which is geographically north of the only Jewish majority country in the world. Next week, he’ll visit the world’s only Shinto-majority country across the Pacific Ocean.”

    1. Ranger Rick

      The one that really flips people’s lids is that English is not the official language of the US, and that people can conduct business with each other and the state in any language they please.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s sort of a free market of languages.

        “I will take English. It’s cheaper. Latin costs a lot – many years of expensive private tutoring or arduous learning.”

        1. wilroncanada

          Latin is easy when you learn it young enough.
          Sic transit gloria–Gloria has motion sickness.
          See? Easy!

  14. DH

    The Reformed Broker Editorial Board issued an editorial supporting the repeal of Dodd-Frank due to the dangerous period of financial stability that it has created. This is antithetical to key American freedoms.

    I understand the complaints about the complexity of the Dodd-Frank law which is 848 pages long but they can always go back to the much simpler Glass-Steagal Banking Act of 1933 that was 53 pages in length. That act was able to prevent a major financial crisis for over 60 years.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Great editorial by Josh Brown! It’s dripping with sarcasm from start to finish, of course.

      Fee-based advisers such as his firm have nothing but contempt for the obsolete, sleazy commission-based model that old-line “bulge bracket” firms still use.

      I know some people of integrity working in those old bulge-bracket firms, who would not cheat their clients. But it is still an unhealthy legal basis for a financial relationship, offering way too much impunity for the bad apples who abuse their customers.

      1. DH

        Unfortunately I have a relative that rolled over a couple of 401ks into non-fiduciary insurance firm IRAs. Massive fees – she lost an entire year of 401k contributions on the front-end loads and the “selected” funds were in different fund families, so every time she would have rebalanced her account, she would have gotten whacked with more 3.5% – 5.75% loads on top of 1% or more annual expense ratios. A couple of the fund selections looked odd (probably additional commissions for pushing them) but it was clearly cleverly crafted to be “suitable” as they all added up to be a 60/40 equity-bond mix. The only big surprise I had when I looked at the funds were they were not all 5.75% loads – I assume they do that to make it appear they are not totally money-grubbing as they can prove they actually left money on the table. At no time did the “advisors” give her any actual advice on things like future withdrawal strategies, Social Security claiming strategies, figuring out when she could retire etc. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

        I helped her get into a diversified Vanguard IRA with a total annual ER of less than 0.2%. That was painful as there were multiple forms with certified signatures etc. required to get the accounts out of the other firms. Oddly, the original rollover was nowhere near as difficult.

        1. Jim Haygood

          You did good. I’ve also helped people escape from fee-extraction funds which ensured that they could never hope to equal the return of a low expense ratio fund.

          As John Bogle has been preaching for decades, signing up for high fees and commissions GUARANTEES underperformance. Such self-imposed losses compound into big numbers over time.

          Apparently, raping the peeps this way is perfectly okay with the phony populist and his R [for “ripoff”] party. Boils my blood, it does.

      1. DH

        It is good that we are still able to distinguish satire.

        South Park has given up and is dropping all of the Trump themes for the time being because they claim that they can’t come up with anything better than what is in the news each day.

        A reality TV show director analyzes how the Trump Presidency is effectively operating like a reality TV show:

        1. oho


          my opinion’s that South Park hasn’t been funny or culturally relevant in 10+ years. They get renewed cuz animation is cheaper to produce, and easier to air as repeats, than live action.

  15. DJG

    Cultural notes from all over: Why the composting urinals won’t fly in the U S of A
    1. For all the yapping about manliness of manly U.S. men, they won’t flip the old wee-wee out in the cold and let someone witness them urinating.
    2. The planter part would soon be filled with empty disposables like Starbucks cups and restaurant clamshells. Isn’t that what planters are for in the U S of A?
    3. Red. Manly U.S. men would be put off by the red.
    4. Opportunities for the vandals. In the new Greening U S of A, these would be toppled in the span of a week.
    5. They may work if they are called Freedom Urinals, but not if they are known as French urinals.

    1. Waldenpond

      They are used at public events. Sometimes some sort of shelter, but, yep, open bales with funnels. Concerts, beer festivals, competitions etc. Maybe it’s the beer.

  16. David

    The FT link on France, if you can get around the paywall, points to a story with a different headline, and the “providential” bit is buried in a single paragraph towards the end.
    Yes, there is a French tradition of looking for providential leaders in times of crisis, but that’s not where we are now. Rather, as the article implies, there’s been a huge decline in the quality of French political life in the last generation, and people simply want somebody as President who seems capable, and is not obviously corrupt. Chirac was a non-entity towards the end, Sarkozy was universally regarded as a crook, and Hollande, although an honest man, is really just a bureaucrat who continually seems surprised to be President. The line-up of potential Presidential candidates, though large, is pretty depressing in terms of quality and probity. That’s why the Fillon scandal is so important. Not only was Fillon generally seen to be honest, even by his enemies, he went out of his way to hammer home at every opportunity how honest he was. Thus the disappointment is far greater, and people are simply beginning to despair of the French political class as a whole. The French don’t necessarily want a De Gaulle to lead them out of the political wilderness: they would settle for the De Gaulle who had a meter installed in the Elysée so he could pay the electricity bills for his own accommodation.

    1. fosforos

      So the corporate media (the FT is totally exemplary) line is now Macron, Macron, Macron, and Hamon has no chance, with “only” fifteen percent in “the polls.” Alas, before that article even made it to print it had to have a new poll inserted at its end–showing Hamon, who has barely started to campaign, at eighteen percent and statistically tied with Macron, who has been campaigning for a year already. Fillon is politically dead, and his presumable replacements–Juppé or Bayrou–are long past their sell-by dates and the rest of the respectable Right–like Baroin, Bertrand, Kosciusko-Morizet–are second-class hacks barely known to the public. Meanwhile Hamon is positioning himself as the broad-left Green/Youth candidate and the real populist alternative to Marine. This is shaping to be a very winnable election for the live forces of France.

      1. David

        Well, Macron was a merchant banker after all ……
        Bayrou remains the most interesting unknown quantity, because he’s not part of Fillon’s party, and has a generally good image as an honest, if right-wing, independent. Moreover this is his last chance. If Hamon can get through the first round (big if) and picks up Mélenchon’s vote in the second, then I agree he’s in with a decent chance. My own feeling is that Macron may be a lot less solid on the campaign trail than people believe – he’s never been elected to anything, after all.

  17. ScottW

    I don’t follow Trump’s tweets, but saw this 6:28 a.m. (EST) good morning America Trump tweet by way of Greenwalds’ retweet: “Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how “kind” President Obama was to them. Not me!” Just your ordinary morning coffee conversation.

    That was followed a few hours later by a tweet concerning the Louvre crime this morning: “A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.”

    Combine that with Buchanon’s column in the American Conservative outlining Flynn’s comments and the Press Sec.’s lies and one can only conclude Trump is intent on war with Iran.

    On war strategy, Trump seems to be skipping Bush’s lying propaganda in the run up to Iraq and going straight to the “shock & Awe” portion.

    1. Jagger

      Why does Trump want a war with Iran? Doesn’t make any sense. Of course, I couldn’t understand why we would want a war with Russia, either.

      1. Brad

        One thing that is not to be underestimated is the urgent desire by the Right to recoup and revive the momentum of aggressive US militarism lost in the Iraq War. This is especially important to the traditional Republicans of the well-heeled exurban managerial and market-bureaucratic middle classes, particularly that section tied into military industry and “internal security” (including the muni cops). They were really into the Bush/Cheney “clean sweep” war thing until it started to make them look stupid in 2005. Middle class elitists, liberal or “conservative”, can’t bear to be made to look stupid or foolish. Their loyalty despite Trump’s “excesses” was the solid foundation for Trumps narrow success, this tending to get lost in all the focus on Christian fundies and declasse rural and small town workers.

        These were the people Clinton and Schumer made their stupid bet on and explains the amped militarism of the Clinton campaign. But why is all the focus upon only the liberal middle class elitists, and not on their right wing counterparts?

        There’s more that one way for the USA to Get Its War On. And the military is the only real independent advantage of the USA in the world today. It’s gotta be used.

        All those coquetting with Our Dear Leader in the White House may soon have a lot of ‘splaining to do.

    2. Jess

      Has anyone considered the outcome of war with Iran if the U.S. loses? I seem to recall a naval war game about ten years where the admiral in charge of the Iranian forces devastated the U.S. carrier force, bottled up the Straits of Hormuz with sunken vessels, and pretty much left the U.S. with two options: nuclear attack or admit defeat and retreat. IIRC, his effectiveness cost the admiral any chance of promotion and soon after he beat feet into retirement.

      1. alex morfesis

        Van Riper was already retired when he was brought in to be the marine corp crash test dummie for a navy “parade”…

        MC-02 was to have shown, in the summer of 2002, how the great sillycone mantra of technology was capable of destroying

        “the enemy”…

        Van Riper used ww1 (yes one) techniques and technologies tied to small ball and swarming to overwhelm the tech fools and crushed a “vastly superior” military force…

        Since this was “in theory” to have been a two week military parade…oops…”war games training”, the remaining ten plus days were


        so that the “bad guys” would
        (on paper/ screen) lose…

  18. JTMcPhee

    Trump the Winner: Want to find one small handle on what makes Trump a winner in the current shemozzle? It helps to recall that Trump learned his trickster ways from one Roy Cohn, famous closet scumbag.

    Let us fondly remember that famously “conservative” (read totally self-interested) “Right” gay man, Roy Cohn. Sorry, have to plug in a couple of links to cover the territory:

    “What Donald Trump Learned From Joseph McCarthy’s Right-Hand Man,”

    “The man who showed Donald Trump how to exploit power and instill fear,” This was apparently originally published at this (broken by me for this purpose) address, ps://, but it ain’t to be found there any more. Again, interesting differences between initial URL and title and text. From that article:

    Donald Trump was a brash scion of a real estate empire, a young developer anxious to leave his mark on New York. Roy Cohn was a legendary New York fixer, a ruthless lawyer in the hunt for new clients.

    They came together by chance one night at Le Club, a hangout for Manhattan’s rich and famous. Trump introduced himself to Cohn, who was sitting at a nearby table, and sought advice: How should he and his father respond to Justice Department allegations that their company had systematically discriminated against black people seeking housing?

    “My view is tell them to go to hell,” Cohn said, “and fight the thing in court.”

    It was October 1973 and the start of one of the most influential relationships of Trump’s career. Cohn soon represented Trump in legal battles, counseled him about his marriage and introduced Trump to New York power brokers, money men and socialites.

    Cohn also showed Trump how to exploit power and instill fear through a simple formula: attack, counterattack and never apologize.

    Then there’s this bit of reporting: “Trump’s Mobbed Up, McCarthyite Mentor Roy Cohn — Donald Trump’s brash and bullying style was learned at the heel of Roy Cohn, one of America’s most infamous lawyers.”

    Just because you’re gay (Roy Cohn) that doesn’t mean you’re all good…

    And it’s interesting that for a billion and a half spent on campaigning, the Dems could not even manage to try to make some hay out of what a rudimentary search on Trump and his connections would have turned up. Makes one wonder if the Dems just didn’t really want to win, as us mopes view the game, because in part they are on the same team with the other folks…

    Given the “oppo” sh!t that was smeared on Sanders, where were “Dem” folks when it came to Trump’s “schooling” and provenance? Could have maybe used some of this in the campaign? Oh nooos, cannot say critical stuff about anyone LGBTQ, whatever their “character…”?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Attack, counterattack and never apologize.

      Did Hillary also learn from the same great master?

      Or maybe the Great Cohn had many disciples?

    2. ewmayer

      Thanks for the link, JTM, but you neglected to point out the irony that it is the Dems who have gone full-bore McCarthyite retard on us for years now, from trying to gin up war with the the evil Russkies and the Blofeldian white-persian-stroking-while-weaving-evil-plots The Putin, to the post-election Russian-hack BS.

      And please, Team D and their henchpersons in the corporate were nit exactly shy in their deployment of Trump oppo … given that it backfired, why would more of it have been the answer?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The title of that link appears to be ‘immigration and capital.’

      Immigration is labor.

      That reminds me of labor mobility and capital mobility.

      It’s cheap to move capital around the world, to various countries, after years of opening up markets. For labor, it’s more complicated…it involves the meaning of life, family, friends, etc.

      Insomuch that labor is less mobile than capital (who has no friends nor relatives), always, it’s only fair that the latter be given as only so much mobility as labor, lest it gains an advantage and makes labor obsolete.

      1. Carolinian

        His point is that a rootless, mobile laboring class is exactly what capitalism has always sought because it reduces the skill monopoly that raises the price of wages. If your workers go on strike those mobile laborers can be brought in to take their place. The cost of labor has always been central to the American story which is both why people came here (a lightly populated country at the time and therefore higher wages) and the explanation for things like slavery etc. A lot of Jim Crow racism also boiled down to poor whites keeping down the black competition.

        Of course the modern counter argument is that immigrants are coming to take the jobs citizens don’t want but, as Dean Baker points out, what they are really saying is that often Americans are unwilling to take those jobs at the wages and working conditions the owner class is willing to provide.

  19. pictboy3

    Sometimes Jacobin comes up with some really insightful stuff. Other times it reads almost like what your average libertarian thinks a leftist sounds like. Sadly, this is one of the latter times. Institutions are just a reflection of the people who control them. You’re supposed to be able to vote bad politicians out, but because of apathy and widespread misinformation, we can’t do that, and so the institutions get more corrupt. There’s nothing inherently good or evil about our Constitutional form of government. That article sounds dangerously like it’s foaming the runway for a Praetorian-style scenario.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    This morning, on our local public radio this morning here in Southern California, not sure if it’s NPR segment, but the theme is this president lies, lies and lies.

    Repeated often enough, and it has started early enough, for a many months, it might prove useful later. Here, we do well remember, luck is hard work meets opportunity. You never know, like Tom Hank’s Donovan in Bridges of Lies, who said, ‘Your honor, let this Soviet spy live, because you never know if this Christian majority country might need him.’

  21. Jim Haygood

    Oxymoron of the Day (hat tip NYT):

    Soul-Searching at Clinton Foundation in Trump Era

    The term “soul-searching” should never appear in the same phrase with the word “Clinton.”

    *wags index finger like “Bill” does*

    I don’t know, but I been told
    A big-legged woman ain’t got no soul

    Led Zep, Black Dog

    1. Katharine

      Well, they were trying to win the world, so they probably lost it. Understandable that they should now be trying to find it–must be there somewhere.

  22. Vatch

    This morning, the Senate passed HJ Res 4, sending it to the President for signature. This repeals an SEC rule that was discussed by Jerri-Lynn a week ago:

    Also on [House Majority Leader Kevin] McCarthy’s CRA [Congressional Review Act] list are rules announced by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in June 2016 requiring resource extraction issuers to disclose payments made to governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas or minerals and due to come into effect in 2018. The rules — mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation– are just one policy intended to address the resource curse that blights countries with ample natural resources (the US position requiring disclosure on this issue was lauded in a Wall Street Journal op-ed by then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who called on Europe to do the same). Government officials and the wealthy siphon off and mineral wealth in these countries, at the expense of the majority of a country’s citizens; in general, countries well-endowed with natural resources boast lower rates of economic growth compared to those that lack such advantages. The rationale behind these rules is that by requiring issuers to disclose the payments– i.e., bribes– they’ve had to pay to develop national resources, internal and external campaigners will have necessary information to pressure governments to cease their corrupt practices.

    Every Republican Senator voted to repeal this rule, and no Democrats joined them.

  23. Pat

    This one is right up there with the Russia interfered idiocy of focusing on the wrong things:

    Mind you if the Republicans had been blocking anyone I would have wanted on the Supreme Court I might feel stronger about revenge, but even if I did I would hope I would not forget the rules of law passing enough to forget that passing the law does not end with Congress. Are they still going to filibuster if Trump refuses to hamstring himself. for years four or possibly even eight of his administration? Does Pearlstein really think they will get a veto proof majority? Especially when this deal doesn’t guarantee he gets the judge of his choice just that that choice gets a vote? After he has already called on the Senate to eliminate the filibuster?

    I was terrible at chess, so when I say a strategy is laughably bad you can tell this is not even good checkers material. Heck this wouldn’t even get you a draw in tic tac toe.

    1. oho

      gee, you’d think the smart strategy for Team Dem. would’ve been pounding the pavement for voters in August, not taking anything for granted, instead of walking the beaches and hob-knobing w/donors in the Hamptons.

      1. Pat

        You might think that fighting voter suppression laws and targeted voter roll cleansings both in Congress and on the ground for the last 16 years might have been a better use of their time as well, but what do I know.

  24. Gary

    Reagan/W/Trump: It’s always been about the oil.
    The election between Clinton and Trump was like a battle between the oligarchs: the new money Tech’s or the old money Oil’s. It comes down to which group can “influence” the election the most. Did Hillary lose? Did Kerry or Gore? Look at the extraordinary measures taken to push out Nuclear power supporting Carter. He installed solar panels on the Whitehouse and wanted to in every single post office across the country. Look where solar technology would be today if that had happened. Oil is a resource but technology gets better and cheaper and it never runs out. Look how far we came in just 8 years. There’s a world oil glut. Russia depends on oil exportation. The whole Putin/Trump connection is about oil. They will further destabilize the Middle East to make oil prices rise. Sadam was pushing away from petro-dollars to euro-dollars, so he had to go. They wanted pipelines from the Baltics through Afghanistan to Pakistan to be marketed to Asia. The Talban said no, so they had to go.
    Maybe I am wrong, but I lived through all this. Anyone have a better explanation?

    1. Waking Up

      It appears President Trump is dead set on resurrecting failed financial activities and corruption along with control fraud. I fail to see how this will result in his reelection in 2020 after he spends four years “helping” his wealthy friends instead of the majority of citizens.

    1. craazyman

      Probably by the efforts of a retinue of personal assistants, stylists, make-up artists and photographers.

      fkkkk that’s a ba-aa-aaa-aaad joke. sorry PG.

          1. craazyman

            whoa that’s an epic comment.

            It should go into the Peanut Gallery Hall of Fame in the “Antidote” category.

  25. Portia

    only 32% think it’s very important to be Christian to be “truly American”? No wonder they are panicking.

  26. allan

    Sanders reopens Dem primary wounds [The Hill]

    Bernie Sanders is opening old wounds.

    Sanders’s recent swipe against former Vice President Joe Biden has angered Democratic party officials, who are accusing the onetime Democratic presidential candidate of refighting a bitter primary season that ripped the party in two. …

    The DNC campaign changed this week after Biden endorsed Perez for chairman. Sanders let loose, saying that it’s time to move beyond the “failed status-quo approach” of Biden and Perez.

    The remark has elicited a furious response from Perez’s supporters, who accuse Sanders of relitigating his Democratic primary fight with Hillary Clinton when the party needs to unite behind a new leader. …

    File under Rearranging the Hippie Punching on the Titanic.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s said that when Trump gives a speech, he talks about what people there want to hear.

      And it’s also said that Trump goes with the last person he talks with, before making a decision.

      Shouldn’t Bernie hang around the White House more often?

    2. Vatch

      Bernie Sanders is opening old wounds.

      I’m pretty sure it’s Joe Biden who’s opening old wounds. Joe, you’re retired. Go play some golf, and take a vow of silence (for spiritual reasons, of course).

      1. curlydan

        I shared Bernie’s comments on FB. Two known Hillary (primary and general I believe) cheered Bernie on. Joe: Take Vatch’s advice.

  27. From Cold Mountain

    On Kuntsler, he says that “Borders matter” but he is speaking from an American point of view. Borders mattered to the Mexicans in 1846 until we finally managed to beat them senseless to accept an offer to give us half of the land that was inside their border.

    Might makes right!

    1. DH

      “The most dishonest and damaging trope of recent years is the widely-accepted idea on the Left that illegal immigrants are merely “undocumented” — as if they were the hapless victims of some clerical error made by the government and therefore deserving of a pass.”

      Illegal immigrants will show up for one of two reasons – they are either refugees from a completely intolerable war situation (Syria today) or their economy has imploded and they can get work elsewhere (many of the Hispanic illegal immigrants over the past 40 years). In some cases both can apply (Honduras, El Salvador etc. in 1970s-80s).

      The primary reason they came to the US was because farmers and contractors would hire them, usually in the Southwest US, many of which are now “red” states. Because these “conservative” people and corporations gave them jobs, they stayed, had families with “anchor babies”, “Dreamers” etc. If these employers had refused to hire “undocumented workers”, they would not have stayed and set up homes and families. All you have to do is look at the number of Democratic and Republican nominees for Cabinet posts over the past 25 years who have had undocumented people working in their home to see how widespread the issue is and that is not even representative of the bulk of the employment categories.

      So the “illegal immigrants” became “undocumented workers” as the economy and employment models evolved around their existence. Many of the people voting for the “illegal immigrants” to be deported don’t actually want their “undocumented workers” to be deported because they are vital to their business model. It is a standing joke right now that the contractors for Trump’s wall will need to hire undocumented workers to build it due to the shortage of skilled American construction workers.

      There are a lot of instances in common law where simply allowing something to occur for a long time enshrines it as a right. That is also why just breaking the law won’t necessarily get you convicted and sentenced if it turns out it is selective prosecution where you become the exception instead of the rule. Many undocumented workers have effectively evolved into this position in the US but the US refuses to address it directly, so it festers. The surest way to eliminate the bulk of illegal immigration is to prosecute the people who hire them as workers and turn the employers into felons. The job market would dry up in months and illegal immigrants would flock back home as long as there isn’t a wall in the way.

    2. Praedor

      The desire for open borders is so there will be no Social Security or Medicare or any other safety net because you cannot do that sort of thing if you don’t have a settled and stable population. Also, you DESTROY them if you just let people flood in and suck off the safety net tit.

      If it were so simple to move around and gain benefit, everyone would move to France or Sweden because they have an OUTSTANDING healthcare system. Fortunately for them, they have borders and you can’t just traipse in and take their shit.

      Borders mean people have rights, benefits, etc. that cannot exist with no borders. Kunstler is right. I’ll keep our borders, thank you.

      Also, wanting open borders is wanting a race to bottom for wages. Open the gates to the poor, no limits, and you flood the country with people willing to work for, literally, a crust of bread. Tough shit for residents/citizens. They’ll just have to lose their jobs or accept plunging wages (worse than “free trade” has already done).

      1. From Cold Mounatin

        So corporations have totally open borders but the mere peasant workers do not?

        The wool (shirt that is being made in Indonesia) is being pull over your eyes.

  28. Vatch

    In yesterday’s links there was some discussion about the problems that Utah voters were having when they tried to call their Senators’ offices. Here’s an article about similar problems that Pennsylvania residents are having:

    This implies that people around the country are calling their Senators’ offices in far greater numbers than usual. Over the past few weeks, several people have commented on the futility of expressing opinions to one’s elected officials. In the past, that has often been true, and it might still be true. But I suspect that several members of the Senate are a little worried about this, and they may have to toss a few bones to their constituents. If you haven’t contacted your Senators’ offices yet to express an opinion about Trump’s nominees, you still have time:

    Here’s a list of the nominations that will be voted on in the near future:

    1. Vatch

      Another article; this time it’s about Senators in several states and their phone call volume:

      Opposition to DeVos, driven in part by teachers’ unions, is responsible for much if not most of this week’s surge.

      “Over 3,000 people have contacted me opposing her. I have had 20 people contact me who support her. In fact, the phones are ringing off the hook,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. “The phone system is shut down. There are some senators who aren’t even answering their phone because they don’t want to hear it.”

      “I have heard from thousands, truly thousands, of Alaskans who share their concerns about Betsy DeVos,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in citing her opposition to the nomination. “They have contacted me by phone, by email, in person.”

      The surge of calls has led Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., to install software that provides limitless voicemail capacity. Staff aides use caller ID and know to pick up Nebraska calls first.

      And senators are taking to social media to offer alternatives. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., tweeted a link to an email for comments and promised, “I assure you that our team is working diligently to respond to your calls and messages.”

      It doesn’t hurt for the senators to occasionally pitch in themselves, as Steve Daines, an irrepressibly upbeat first-term Republican from Montana, did on Tuesday.

      “It was Montanans calling in. I remember Missoula, Bozeman, Butte. … It’s always good to pick up the phone and sometimes it surprises the caller – they’re not expecting the senator to pick up,” Daines said. “It’s really important to listen and have a civil, thoughtful conversation.”

      Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., is in the political crosshairs as the only Republican from a state carried by Hillary Clinton last year facing re-election in 2018. His office tries, against the odds, to have an intern or junior staffer answer each call live, which is impossible right now.

      Heller took to Twitter to explain: “We are experiencing heavy call volumes in all our offices. Staff is answering as many as possible. Please continue calling to get through.”

      Please keep calling! If the line is busy, try again a few minutes later. Let them know what your think about DeVos, Pruitt, Sessions, Mnuchin, and the others.

  29. Expat

    Re: Dodd-Frank: While this might be a law and budgeted, this is not something that concerns Trump or his staff. I don’t think Trump understands what “law” and “constitution” mean. He believes he has a mandate to rule by diktat. He says, you do. Simple. At least W realized he had to make up arguments and twist things to countervene existing laws.

  30. Waldenpond

    Come on women…. create a straw bale toilet for women. How much privacy is needed? Will short walls, something u-shaped to step behind work? Just proposing turning the men’s urinal around, lift the hole, add 3 higher sides….

  31. DH

    Re: Budweiser immigration ad response

    1. There was a time when immigration was not controversial?

    2. Steve Bannion on Buudweiser using left-wing actors – I am confused about whether or not those would be the Clydesdale horses, Dalmatian dogs, or the tail-gating guys.

    3. Left-wing actors redux – Maybe Steve Bannion doesn’t realize that Old Milwaukee is brewed by Pabst Brewing and not Anheiser-Busch:

      1. oho


        Plus both beers are owned by large corporations when there’s a good chance that your local grocery/liquor store has a good indie beer at a reasonable price that’s from your region.

    1. wilroncanada

      One a foreign-owned company, inBev, and the maker of Old Milwaukee headquartered in California (gasp).

  32. duck1

    Fly on the wall:
    T: That fascism forever, hahahaha, talk about throwing out the red meat . . .
    B: Don’t know how we can top that one . . .
    T: And the Kissinger quote, we should get some baseball caps . . .
    B: Maybe Calley is still around, we could make him Undersecretary of the Navy . . .
    T: Hahaha, you’re killing me, just like Kerry raked a lot of gooks from those boats . . . an honorable man

  33. Paid Minion

    While Brownback defends trickle down, Kansas Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce try to bribe the kids and the “job creators” with “tax credits” to stay, instead of move to greener pastures.

    But, but…….I thought the “government can’t create jobs”????

    A cynic might ask “If the “no taxes on business” policy is so great, and people are stampeding to Kansas to start businesses, why are you having to “incentivize” employers to hire, and bribe your new college and tech school grads to stay in state?”

    It couldn’t be because all of the 20-30 year olds in Kansas are looking for a way to GTFOOD, thanks to few jobs, poor pay for the jobs that do exist, and the Religious Klepto-Oligarchs who call the shots? Naw, couldn’t be that……..

  34. cripes

    I hope the first two weeks of Trumpism have disabused anyone who nursed the delusion that he would actually deliver on his core campaign “promises.” Bush lied, Obama lied and Hillary, who deserved to go down in flames, lied in their quest for votes. Once elected they promptly screwed workers, students, homeowners, savers and especially brown people overseas, who died in droves. Trump will outperfrom his predecessors all right, but not in a good way. It’s the only thing he didn’t lie about.
    The power struggle between Trump’s factions and the State Dept/CIA/Media cabal doesn’t alter this one whit. The nascent anti-democrat progressives haven’t developed a power base capable of influencing events, despite their numbers.

    The leftish “support” for Trump is based on the slender reed of hope that his offensive nativism and reactionary cultural and regulatory animus would be counterbalanced by a return to nationalist capitalism (America First) and significant reduction of a dangerous military belligerence directed at regime change, Russia, mid-east, etc.

    Frank Zappa told us:
    “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

    The looting just entered an entirely new and unprecedented stage.

    1. polecat

      Thinner and thinner reeds are all we have left at this point ..

      Give me a C
      Give me an O
      Give me an L
      Give me another L
      Give me an A
      Give me a P
      Give me an S
      Give me an E

      What does that spell ???

      BUCKLE-UP !

  35. Waldenpond

    Misophonia… I have family members that are this. Not just the sound of humans eating, they seem to really dislike listening to animals eat and lick themselves.

    Large groups are fine, the conversations drown out the eating. For small groups, it’s always been automatic, just turn on some background music.

  36. Paid Minion

    And for the latest addition to the “……we didn’t think it through…..” file.

    “Trump’s Regulation Review Temporarily slows FAA ADs” (Airworthiness Directives)

    -No ADs have been released since Trump’s inauguration. (Even “Emergency ADs” which require immediate action).

    – A 60 day review with the OMB is in work, deciding how the program will be implemented…….one question being which FAA “Airworthiness Directives/Safety Regs” will be thrown out, in order to issue new ones.

  37. Waldenpond

    Fear, American Style…. for those that work in religion owned corporations (not just chains such as hobby lobby, think hospitals) this is reality. Trump is violating the civility norm of Rs (don’t talk it, just do it).

    States rights… simple to implement policies against poc, women and lgbt. If a corporation doesn’t like it, don’t let the door hit ya’ on the way out. A corporation that is willing to shrug their shoulders and comply, will be right behind them.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Among country hippies, it was the norm for women to wear long skirts and no underwear. Greatly facilitates urination in the field. (Personal observation).

      Or, to answer your question: because they can.

  38. Oregoncharles

    “Paris compost urinals open near Gare de Lyon station BBC (resilc). This would NEVER fly in America.”

    Urine is an excellent fertilizer and compost accelerator, much recommended in permaculture. Without going into TMI, the trick is using it without the neighbors knowing.

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