Links 3/18/17

“In a Green Night” by Derek Walcott (1930-2017) New Statesman

A River in New Zealand Now Has the Same Rights as a Living Human Being Vice. Reslic: “But how will it vote>”

A Single Bitcoin Transaction Takes Thousands of Times More Energy Than a Credit Card Swipe Motherboard

A US ally shot down a $200 drone with a $3 million Patriot missile Verge (Chuck L). Reported previously but worth not missing.

Hey, Soldier, You Might Want to Cut That Caffeine Bloomberg

Here are the ages you peak at everything throughout life ScienceAlert (Chuck L). Simpleminded absolute pronouncements like these, particularly based on junk evidence, are a pet peeve: “Some are also surveys, not controlled trials, so there is a possibility the self-reports don’t capture the most accurate picture.” And that’s before you get to sample bias! So forgive my rant. My personal experience regarding bone density and peak strength differs markedly from their proclamations, and I suspect that would be true for other people who weight train hard and regularly.”Finding a partner” is weird too, since people used to marry much younger on average (being single at 25 was way past your sell-by date in the 1950s). So are we to believe all these past marriages were less successful by virtue of bad social conventions forcing people to get married younger than the ideal time range? No, because if you read the underlying piece, it assumes options remain open past age 26 when they didn’t back then. As my mother depicts her college years, dating was a bigger priority then than now for both sexes. Similarly, “life satisfaction peaks at 23” is based on a German survey. Germany has way better social safety nets that the US. The “normal” pattern likely has to do with getting independent as an adult and having a sense of possibilities before you. That isn’t the case with young Americans these days outside the elites. I bet you’d find a very different result if you surveyed a decent sample of Americans.

The US just declassified dozens of nuclear weapons explosions and put them on YouTube ScienceAlert (Chuck L)

North Korea

Tillerson to face Chinese ire over blame for North Korea tensions Reuters (furzy)

US ‘strategic patience’ with N Korea has run out, says Tillerson Financial Times


Asian collision course Le Monde diplomatique – English edition (resilc)

How Demonetisation Wrecked Those It Was Supposed to Serve The Wire (J-LS)

‘London Bridge is down’: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death Guardian. Popular culture watcher Li told me before this story ran that the Queen is on her last legs, reported as having a “heavy cold” which is almost certainly pneumonia. J-LS: “Now if only they’d allocated 10% of the attention given to Operation London Bridge to Brexit, things wouldn’t look so dire on that front.”

Nicola Sturgeon announces plans to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall, and England is going to pay for it News Thump (J-LS)

“What are we supposed to say to comrades in town?”: why Italy’s centre left is breaking apart New Statesman (J-LS)

The euro-clowns in total denial: they pretend that Rutte’s victory is an approval of current Europe failed evolution

Exclusive: Canadian border authorities detaining record number of Mexicans Reuters (furzy)

Trump v. Merkel

Trump to Merkel: We were both wiretapped under Obama BBC

Merkel Meets Trump, the Defender Versus the Disrupter New York Times

German reporters press Trump on wiretap claims, ‘fake news’ The Hill (furzy)


Exclusive: Russia appears to deploy forces in Egypt, eyes on Libya role – sources Reuters (furzy)

US confirms air raid but denies targeting mosque Al Jazeera (resilc)

Perpetual War For Perpetual Peace In Afghanistan Shadowproof

Why the UN branded Israel an Apartheid state Juan Cole (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

WikiLeaks Won’t Tell Tech Companies How to Patch CIA Zero-Days Until Its Demands Are Met Motherboard (Howard Beale IV)

Trump Transition

Why Trump’s budget may be ‘devastating’ to his supporters Christian Science Monitor

Here’s How Donald Trump’s Budget Screws Over the People Who Elected Him Mother Jones (resilc)

White House cites satire column to tout budget The Hill (furzy)

Trump the Outsider Outsources His Budget to Insider Think Tank Intercept

White House Says Cutting Meals on Wheels Is ‘Compassionate’ New York Magazine (resilc)

Trump’s budget blueprint is a war on the future of the American economy Vox (resilc)

Exclusive: Immigration judges headed to 12 U.S. cities to speed deportations Reuters (furzy). On the one hand, this could be a total logistical mess and wind up decreasing the speed of processing system-wide. On the other hand, judges being stationed away from friends and families would almost certainly be eager to get through their docket as rapidly as reasonably possible. We’ve seen rocket dockets in foreclosure land and efforts to contest them weren’t very successful. Will the results be any different here?

Trump administration files notice it will appeal ruling against second version of travel ban Washington Post (furzy)

Justice Dossier Unlikely to Sway Lawmakers on Trump Wiretap Bloomberg

British Complain After Trump Spokesman Cites Wiretapping Report Bloomberg. I pinged Jerri-Lynn, who not only studied at Oxford but acquired a husband there:

Having majored in close readings of text, this is pretty off. GCHQ used the language an angry husband would use when accused by a wife of cheating. I don’t see a straightforward, “No, this didn’t happen.” Instead, we get “absurd” and “ridiculous”. Huh? Maybe I am mistranslating Oxbridge speak.

Her reply:

Reads to me as what during Watergate was known as a “non-denial denial.” It may be absurd and ridiculous but is it true?

Remember that the UK has the Official Secrets Act– so perhaps their poohbahs have less experience having to repudiate things explicitly (and are thus opting to play language games, hoping no one notices).

And with the OSA in place, it would be hard going to get someone in the know to confirm this had happened.

Is the Trump Circus Destroying Its Own Ringmaster? Vanity Fair

How Being Unpresidential on Twitter Helps Trump Vice (resilc)

Britain Livid on Spying Claim, but Trump Isn’t Apologizing New York Times

N.J. Legislature Passes Bill to Require Presidential Candidates to Disclose Taxes Wall Street Journal

Fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Said to Have Been Investigating HHS Secretary Tom Price ProPublica

Missing from Trump’s grand Navy plan: skilled workers to build the fleet Reuters (resilc). Calling Bath Iron Works!

The Reclusive Hedge-fund Tycoon Behind The Trump Presidency New Yorker (Dan K)

The Blow-It-All-Up Billionaires Huffington Post Kokuanani: “While this was featured in the Huff Post, it’s an interesting and scary story.”(

Clinton: ‘I’m ready to come out of the woods’ The Hill (furzy). Some word salad. But she does look good in green.


House Colloquy on Affordable Care Act Replacement C-SPAN (Kevin C)

If Trump were a clever populist, he’d demand universal healthcare for America Guardian. The problem is the Repubs decisively control Congress and the whackjob right is committed to gutting any and all social spending, particularly health care. But if the whole “get rid of Obamacare” effort implodes, Trump then can talk up whatever he wants.

Affordable Health Care World Policy Institute (resilc). A high level explanation of why US health care costs so much.

Say It Again, Loudly— It’s Time to Audit the Pentagon WarIsBoring (resilc)

Texas sues feds — including Rick Perry — over nuclear waste disposal Texas Tribune (resilc)

Oroville Dam: DWR says repair cost estimated at $4.7 million per day Mercury News. Bob points out no opportunity at class messaging is every lost:

“Some contractors’ employees are Local 3 Operating Engineers union members, the majority of whom have been working 12-hour shifts seven days a week, said Ron Roman, district representative for the union. Roman estimated there are about 150-170 operating engineers working at the dam.

“For that tiny slice of the pie, consider union operating engineers’ wages. On the low end of the spectrum, working 12-hour shifts every day would amount to $6,051 a week. On the high end, weekly wages could be $7,336 per week.”

Or, in the terms you splash all over the story- 178k a day. Of 4.7 Million a day.

Let’s to the math…less than 4% of the cost. Assuming the high end of everything quoted. Damn unions.

No charges for New York mayor in fundraising probes: prosecutors Reuters (EM)

Alabama City Agrees to Pay Dozens Jailed in ‘Debtors Prison’ NBC (Dan K)

Police State Watch

Police Could Use Georgia ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Bill To Target Protesters Shadowproof (furzy)

Fake News

The 1.6 Billion Dollar Hoax BuzzFeed (Dan K). A must read.

Buffett Opposes Proposal to Disclose Political Donations Bloomberg. Saint Warren is not looking so saintly.

‘We are all doing it’: Employees at Canada’s 5 big banks speak out about pressure to dupe customers CBC (Marcello). My nice small bank was bought by TD some years ago…:-(

More Hedge Funds Shut Last Year Than Any Time Since the 2008 Crisis Bloomberg

Why I Dissented Neal Kashkari, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (UserFriendly). Really makes the rate increase look politically motivated, as in raises tons of legitimate doubts re the economic case. The section on the forecast errors is damning.

Class Warfare

The Irish potato famine was caused by wealthy landlords who prized profit over people — and thousands starved Raw Story (furzy)

Democrats Need to Understand Why the Rust Belt’s White Workers Still Support Trump Nation (resilc). How about, “Democrat mouthpieces say on almost a daily basis that they loath them”? Separately, this reinforces the narrative that loser white hicks are to blame for Hillary’s loss. Repeat after me: the same number of whites voted for Trump as Romney. Fewer blacks and Hispanics voted for Hillary than Obama. Or read Lambert’s deep dive. His big takeaway:

The matrix I present identifies six pathways to misfortune for the Clinton campaign, two of which are primary or critical. They are:

A. The Democrat Establishment
B. Clinton’s “Deplorables” Gaffe
C. Clinton Repels the Left
D. “It’s The Economy, Stupid!”
E. Voter Registration and Turnout Failure

F. The Undecideds Break for Trump

Killing the Elderly: Social Security Starves Us Slowly as the GOP Tries to Kill Us by Gutting Health Care Counterpunchn (resilc)

Judge approves $27 million driver settlement in Lyft lawsuit Reuters (EM)

How Bankers Became the Top Exploiters of the Economy Counterpunch (Carolinian, UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Robert H, via fascinating pics):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    British Complain After Trump Spokesman Cites Wiretapping Report Bloomberg. I pinged Jerri-Lynn, who not only studied at Oxford but acquired a husband there:

    When I see something like the above, I always wonder if the US government was asked did the US interfere in Russian elections, or in the Ukraine? – would the US acknowledge that it had? Does anyone know the official US answer to such questions (or are they just not asked by the serious journalists who have access to official spokesmen)?

    So the idea that asking “secret” organizations for the truth of who they have surveilled strikes me as rather non-indicative of the truth of the matter.

    1. Linda

      Absolutely, dan. Same thought I have when watching Congressional committees question CIA personnel. Their job is to lie, for national security of course. I don’t know why
      Congress goes through the exercise since when liars are caught, it’s okay.

    2. Andrew Watts

      Never believe anything until it is officially denied applies. Unless you really believe the head of GCHQ resigned because he wanted to spend more time with his family. British intelligence would never ever spy on American officials. Except Adolf Berle and Vice President Wallace but that’s it!

      The unnerved response from the GCHQ and the spokesman for May is a good indication that the British thought the resignation would be enough to satisfy the Trump administration. This latest accusation took place while Merkel was visiting so it must’ve been quite a surprise and timed to compound the embarrassment.

      I wonder what Rogers told Trump in his private meeting at Trump Tower. These domestic spying accusations began shortly afterward. For those of you who don’t know, or remember, NSA Director Rogers secretly met with Trump without informing anybody in the Obama Administration. Immediately following that curious meeting DNI Clapper called for Rogers to be fired for vague and unspecific reasons.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      “Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” the panel’s chairman, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and vice chairman, Mark Warner of Virginia, said in a joint statement Thursday.

      In view of the accusations of GCHQ involvement and that agency’s non-denial denial, the above statement looks “irredeemably” parsed and weasly.

      And in view of the current tendency to take every word, tweeted or spoken, absolutely literally, use of the words “Trump Tower” seems particularly suspect. I haven’t heard anyone accuse Trump Tower of any wrongdoing or collusion with the Russkis. At the very least they should have put the words in quotes.

      1. Uahsenaa

        Especially since surveillance almost certainly would have involved cellphones, which are not specific to a location.

        But again, I see this as one of those situations where I want both parties to lose, even though I know that’s an impossibility. Valorizing Clapper is dangerous because he’s a lying liar who’s already been exposed by Snowden and yet somehow managed to keep his job, but valorizing Trump also runs the risk of adding unnecessary credence to the genuinely loopy things he says/does.

        1. optimader

          Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance

          Always need to read these crafted preambles a few times and then disassemble. As well, it could have been every SIGINT was being scooped up in a 1sq mi that happened to include TT

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I can’t believe this entire episode is not serving to underline for everyone that:

              1. The NSA spies on everything, everywhere (including Trump Tower). This is not disputed.
              2. There is a legal fig leaf process (FISA) that agencies (and presidents) must follow to view the information
              3. That process is easily circumvented by simply asking an overseas partner for the raw data

          1. craazyboy

            Plus, Trump leases parts of Trump Tower to others, so any high power microwave relay stations in these parts are NOT parts of Trump’s Tower. Commas being important here, too.

            Also, in NYC they have complex laws governing airspace , owners rights, and 3rd party easements of airspace directly adjacent and above skyscrapers. “Skyscraper” is just marketing hype. You have to really know your shit to live in NYC.

            1. dontknowitall

              Trump keeps getting asked hypocritically to provide evidence they know he cannot possibly do without exposing backroom deals between the UK and the US agencies. How can Trump provide the press with highly classified evidence the tapping occurred if the secret methods involved are likely to be part of the sweetheart deal whereby the UK spies on us (or Trump) and launders the info back to the US agencies as foreign intercepts. He cannot because they are not his secrets, they are the UKs and it is up to them to clean their house – the recent resignation of the GCHQ director is not sufficient, more heads will roll.

              The only thing Trump can do is keep accusing them and hope they go from virginal outrage to grudging admission. One thing I know is he is not backing down.

    4. dk

      … did the US interfere in Russian elections, or in the Ukraine?

      Here’s a little blast from the past (7 February 2014), starring our own Vickie “F the EU” Nuland:

      Jonathan Marcus [doing analysis for BBC]: The US says that it is working with all sides in the crisis to reach a peaceful solution, noting that “ultimately it is up to the Ukrainian people to decide their future”. However this transcript suggests that the US has very clear ideas about what the outcome should be and is striving to achieve these goals. Russian spokesmen have insisted that the US is meddling in Ukraine’s affairs – no more than Moscow, the cynic might say – but Washington clearly has its own game-plan. The clear purpose in leaking this conversation is to embarrass Washington and for audiences susceptible to Moscow’s message to portray the US as interfering in Ukraine’s domestic affairs.

      Nuland: Good. I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

      Here’s a summary from, somewhat over the top (“The U.S. President controls the IMF,” that’s oversimplified beyond usefulness) but collects a lot of material in one place:

      When Hillary Clinton retired in 2013, Obama made Nuland the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Nuland’s first assignment (she was already at work on it by no later than 1 March 2013, which was before the U.S. Senate had even confirmed her appointment) was to overthrow the democratically elected government of Ukraine because Ukraine is next door to Russia and the U.S. aristocracy has, since communism ended in the Soviet Union in 1990, been trying to surround Russia by NATO missiles, most especially in Ukraine. President Obama hid from the public his hostility toward Russia until he became re-elected in 2012 (he even mocked his opponent, Mitt Romney, for saying, at 0:40 on this video, that Russia is “our number one geopolitical foe”), but then, once he was safely re-elected, immediately set to work to take over Ukraine and to add it to NATO. Then, in his National Security Strategy 2015, he identified Russia as being by far the world’s most “aggressive” nation. Hillary Clinton is determined to carry this anti-Russian hostility through as President, even though she lies as Obama does and so, similarly, won’t say it during the Democratic primaries. But the takeover of Ukraine was an Obama operation in which she played an important role, to set it up.

      Here is the recording of Nuland on 4 February 2014, telling the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, whom to place at the top of the Ukrainian government when the coup will be completed, which occurred 22 days later. It was to be the culmination of her efforts, which had started even prior to 1 March 2013.

      Here is the broader video of that coup.

      Here is the head of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor saying it was “the most blatant coup in history.”

      Here is the electoral map showing the voting percentages in each region of Ukraine for the election that had chosen the President, “Janukovych,” whom Obama overthrew in that coup. The region in purple on that map had voted 90% for “Janukovych.” It’s called Donbass and consists of Donetsk and Luhansk. It refused to accept the coup-imposed leaders. Obama wanted the residents there bombed into submission. Here’s a video of that bombing-campaign. Here’s another — specifically of firebombings (which are illegal). The money for that bombing-campaign came from taxpayers in U.S. and EU, and also from the IMF, in the form of loans that saddled Ukraine with so much debt it went bankrupt on 4 October 2015, as determined by a unanimous vote of the 15 international banks that collectively make this decision. The infamously high corruption in Ukraine went even higher after the U.S.-EU takeover of Ukraine. After Ukraine’s bankrupttcy, the IMF changed its rules so that it could continue to lend money there, until the people in Donbass are either exterminated or expelled. The U.S. President controls the IMF. For the international aristocracy, the U.S. President is the most important servant there is. Hillary Clinton wants to become that servant. It’s why her top twenty financial backers represent the U.S. aristocracy.

      1. fresno dan

        March 18, 2017 at 11:33 am

        Thanks for that dk. Kinda of a rhetorical question, but there was some (well…a lot of) stuff I hadn’t seen.

    5. Bill Smith

      Snowden Interview:

      In many countries, as in America too the agencies like the NSA are not allowed to spy within their own borders on their own people. So the Brits for example they can spy on everybody but the Brits but the NSA can conduct surveillance in England so in the very end they could exchange their data and they would be strictly following the law.

      If you ask the governments about this directly they would deny it and point to policy agreements between the members of the Five Eyes saying that they won’t spy on each other’s citizens but there are a couple of key points there. One is that the way they define spying is not the collection of data. The GCHQ is collecting an incredible amount of data on British Citizens just as the National Security Agency is gathering enormous amounts of data on US citizens. What they are saying is that they will not then target people within that data. They won’t look for UK citizens or British citizens. In addition the policy agreements between them that say British won’t target US citizens, US won’t target British citizens are not legally binding. The actual memorandums of agreement state specifically on that that they are not intended to put legal restriction on any government. They are policy agreements that can be deviated from or broken at any time. So if they want to on a British citizen they can spy on a British citizen and then they can even share that data with the British government that is itself forbidden from spying on UK citizens. So there is a sort of a trading dynamic there but it’s not, it’s not open, it’s more of a nudge and wink and beyond that the key is to remember the surveillance and the abuse doesn’t occur when people look at the data it occurs when people gather the data in the first place.

  2. timotheus

    “We’re all doing it.”

    I also found a lovely little three-branch bank plunked down in midtown Manhattan and have had personalized service ever since. They even have an old-fashioned loan officer who knows the small businesses they lend to (i.e. not an algorithm). It feels great. Almost went with Ponce de Leon Bank just for the name, but then I learned that they had a rep for loaning to, um, dubious figures in the Bronx. So unlike for health insurance, shopping for a bank made sense.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And then there is this little bank in OK whose online division is the Redneck Bank. I am tempted to open an account.

      1. wilroncanada

        Don’t forget to get the cinder blocks to put the car on that you borrow from redneck bank to buy.

    2. middlebrow

      Credit unions are almost always a better option for retail banking. Mine offers everything I need, including real estate mortgages (held- not resold!), business loans, credit and debit cards, and a variety of courtesy services. And I, or we, own it all. It’s just a tiny taste of socialism strongly working here in the U S of A.

      Sadly, they in turn must deal with the banking system.

      1. Carla

        It seems to me that credit unions not only must deal with the banking system, but have been more and more co-opted by it. I tried the credit union route NE Ohio and have been sorely disappointed, so I’m wondering if this varies greatly by state. The first one I tried had 2 part-time employees and was run like many tiny non-profits — badly. Service was non-existent and interest rates were not competitive at all. The second was a much larger and glossier operation; it very aggressively sells loans and other banking products; service again, though, was really questionable and rates were just barely comparable with those offered by community banks in the area. I wound up using community banks, all formerly thrifts, and given the criminal nature of the finance sector overall, have been reasonably happy.

        I was really motivated to do the credit union thing, but here in NE Ohio at least, it has kinda turned sour, at least in my experience.

    3. John Parks

      I tried to join the state owned bank in North Dakota but was rejected because I did not live in the state. I liked the idea of having my fees going to their state budget rather than into the coffers of commercial banks.

      I was being hit with ever growing fees from my WF bank for a business account that, to me, had relative little activity (maybe less than 30 checks/mo) and my banking fees were 90+ dollars/mo just in what they called maintenance fees.

      I switched to a local credit union and they now pay me an avg of 35.00/mo to have my account there. That is a $1500.00/year net gain for me! YMMV

    4. Carl

      I found an extremely local bank here in San Antonio a few years back and am extremely satisfied with it. I get a call or email when a check doesn’t clear asking if I want it redeposited, for example.

  3. Linda

    Good morning, everybody. Just a thought crossing my mind this morning:

    About the missing handshake between Merkel and Trump. It was the press asking for it so they could get pictures. Trump, with his disdain for the press, may have ignored it because they were asking, and because he remembers what they did with his handshake with Japanese Prime Minister Abe. He could have thought “Why should I respond to their request so they can make fun of me,” (these dirty, rotten, enemies of the people).

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Since this is not a friendly meeting (Trump claims Germany owes the US “vast sums”, etc.,) it is more likely that Trump was trying to show how tough he was being with Germany by being impolite……I know, it boggles the mind, but most of what Trump does boggles the mind, including his famous “I’m more powerful than you” handshake where he suddenly pulls the other person into his personal space….

        1. Irredeemable Deplorable

          THe entire “no handshake” story is total fakenews, as he did shake hands with her. A photographer took a picture of that moment when Merkel looked a bit awkward (probably distracted after the verbal tongue-lashing she just received from Pres. Trump), and lying MSM all around the world dutifully ran with it, a lot of them on the front page today. I heard it reported as “fact” on the radio news here in the Toronto area, part of a story about “the tensions between Merkel and Trump” – a shocked undertone of “They didn’t even shake hands!”.

          Just another day for the fakenews propaganda organs.

          1. Linda

            Hmm. They shook hands at the presser. The non-shaking incident was when the press asked him to shake when he and Merkel were sitting down inside the White House. I watched it and they did not shake hands.

          2. ahimsa

            Watch the video:

            After a number of noisy calls from the press for a handshake, Merkel (quietly) asks Trump does he want to do a handshake.

            Trump seems to ignore her (if he heard her).

            1. Irredeemable Deplorable

              How many times do you shake hands at a meeting? Five? Ten? Half-hourly? Hourly? After every time you get up out of your chair and/or enter or re-enter a room? Someone call Miss Manners.

              They shook hands when they met, so what does it matter if they shook hands again, or not, a few hours later?

              The photo I saw yesterday, on the front page of a MSM outlet, under a headline similar to “They didn’t even shake hands!” (subtext: Gasp! Horrors!) was the two leaders standing in what looked like a doorway or hallway, not at podiums at a press conference.

              The point is that the entire issue is just another made up fakenews propaganda meme that had nothing to do with reality – or as it they call it in the MSM, Saturday, to be followed by fakenews Sunday, then fakenews Monday…….

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Especially if the NYT or Washington Post people were asking for it.

      I assume he has lifted the travel ban on these guys to go to his press conferences.

  4. Larry

    Excellent highlighting of the MPLS Fed’s dissent article. I’m surprised that Kashkari appears to be quasi-anti-establishment, having come out of Goldman Sach’s and government service to reside in the Ivy tower world of central banking. His attitude makes me think that he has broader political goals than running a branch of the Fed, but it’s hard to discern if his articles and press activity give him any wider notice to the public at large. However, it is still nice to see the rest of the Fed called out for playing political games.

    1. Marco

      Meh. Like a good little Fed boy he still yammers on about that murderous 2% maginot line for inflation targeting. Why not 3% or 4% or 10%? And what’s the threshold for a proper MMT’er?

  5. UserFriendly

    these days outside the elites. I bet you’d find a very different result if you surveyed a decent sample of Americans

    To the extent I ever had a peak, it would probably be about 18, before I ruined my life by going to college.

    1. Linda

      Sorry to have laughed at that, UserFriendly. It would make a good question for a game, or a get-to-know-you kind of exercise. “When was the moment, or what was the decision when you ruined your life?” Mine was when I moved from State A to State B. ha.

      1. UserFriendly

        Yeah, i did frame that awkwardly…. more sad than anything else though considering I was still living with my alcoholic mom in HS. sigh. I really should have just quit then.

        1. Linda

          I am sorry, UF. I did think your comment was mostly snarky. You know how we all go on sometimes. I do look back at a major move as a turning point, so you are not alone in possibly making a wrong choice. Difficult to look back and know for sure.
          Take care.

          1. UserFriendly

            It’s fine, but short of winning the lottery I don’t ee much room for improvement.

            1. clinical wasteman

              I know it can’t cancel out any other stuff at all, but you’re making a yuuuge (sp.?) contribution to a meaningful collective project by writing regularly here. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has learned a lot from you and is glad to have made your indirect acquaintance.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      College is very useful for getting ahead of one’s fellow humans. On the other hand, without a college education, one becomes vulnerable.

  6. UserFriendly

    How Bankers Became the Top Exploiters of the Economy Counterpunch (Carolinian, UserFriendly)

    Is a great Michael Hudson interview. I already shared it with 2 people not really into econ and they loved it, very long, but good to share.

      1. skippy

        Guess you never experience a pump and dump even in less than 3 ft water…..

        disheveled…. can you see the dogs ass going over its head – ??????

        1. Edward E

          I’m not experienced with the waves. The Hot Springs mafia never took me to the ocean, I avoided the Bubba shoes. So far…

        2. tegnost

          In the dialect of socal it’s called “going ostrich”, with much glee among the spectators

        3. optimader

          some of the most fun swimming I’ve done was the SE coast of Lake Michigan when the wind conditions create bodacious undertows between the submerged sandbars. The opposite of pump and dump. Like an inexorable force tugging down on your ankles, then popup like a cork
          No salt sting and no worries about something eating you. Just have to be patient when you want to get out –need to swim parallel to coast to find an “exit strategy”.

        4. a different chris

          I dunno, dogs are way better swimmers than we are and that breed is maybe the best of them…

    1. ambrit

      True. A— over crown and a nose full of water. Scary. (Happened to me many times as a child. Got caught in a rip current several times as well. Panicked the first time.)
      Is that a ball in puppy’s mouth? If so, no way to shut out water there either. How well do dogs swim, anyway?

      1. Lee

        The dog paddle is often the first stroke taught to kids as the best way to keep one’s head above water. So, yes, dogs are good swimmers.

      2. craazyboy

        Retrievers swim great and love it too. I doubt the doggie minds a wet tumble in the sand either. Most dogs think doing an air dive into a pile of poop is a good time.

        I noticed the clarity of the water too. Looks like what you get on the beaches stretching along the Tampa to Sarasota coastline. But could be anywhere Caribbean too, probably.

          1. craazyboy

            I guess Clearwater Beach is a little north of Tampa.

            I remember nice blue water around Biloxi, but they had all these no swimming signs posted. I thought that odd.

            I’ve only been to Lake Havasu once a long time ago. Hot is what I remember most. 115F is a typical summer afternoon. I think the water was pretty clear too, but I don’t think they get much wave action. Maybe little 1 ft. things.

        1. HopeLB

          Our black labs (sister and brother) loved swimming out into the dead fish strewn, post-storm waters of Erie to retrieve the newly fallen trunk of a tree. They would spend all day working together, swimming out past the sand bar riding the waves to bring in their “Giant Stick King” and then lay exhausted and triumphant by the bonfire as we sat on their tree gift, our throne bench. (They weren’t very good moss agate hunters or skipped rock retrievers though. Not that they wouldn’t continuously try.)

          1. craazyboy

            In S.Cal we had a whale that beached itself on a sandbar out maybe 50-100 yards from shore. I missed the event personally, but a friend was there and witnessed it first hand. A big energetic Golden Retriever noticed the whale and instantly went crazy – charging at full gallop making a beeline straight for the whale. He did a seamless transition from gallop to dog paddle and closed in on the big, fat, bird and he fully intended to bring the prize home to Master.

            Fortunately, some sense returned and he had second thoughts about his retrieval plans as he got closer and realized how unusually big this bird was. Good thing, because one good slap of the tail or fin would have been The End for the dog. Meanwhile, Master had run out into the water yelling for the dog to come back in. The dog decided to comply and that part of the story ended safely. My friend had to leave after a while, so I never did hear how they finally got the whale loose and free again.

  7. David

    For those who may already have heard rumors, yes there was a fatal shooting today at Orly, the second airport of Paris. Flights are being diverted to Charles de Gaulle (about 200 flights are affected). The assailant was shot dead. Nobody else was hurt.
    The assailant was a 40-year old French citizen, apparently of Maghrebian origin, known as a petty criminal but suspected of radical sympathies. It seems as though he attempted to seize the automatic weapon of a female member of a military anti-terrorist patrol at Orly, and to wrestle it away from her. other members of the patrol opened fire and killed him. Apparently, the same individual was involved in a shooting incident north of the city earlier in the day, in which one policeman was slightly wounded.
    Le Monde has a rolling update here. and the BBC has good coverage here.
    By coincidence the formal announcement was made today of candidates who meet the criteria to contest the Presidential election. (There are 11). The Interior Minister has said that the State of Emergency will continue and it’s hard to see it being lifted any time soon.
    There isn’t much more they can do to reinforce the security of airports, certainly not against this kind of attack, but the next couple of months are going to be extremely tense (as if the situation wasn’t bad enough already).

  8. Ursine Qua Non

    NC has the highest standards on accuracy on content IMHO. However, Juan Cole is factually wrong on the apartheid claim. If one bothers to read the law as it stands, one can see that a portion (around 12%) of land there is not for sale to non-Jews; even then, long-term leases are available.

    Again, why this obsession with the same old same old? Try buying land as any kind of foreigner in Thailand, for example. Totally illegal. Only a condominium is allowed, up to 49% of the total units, or a 30-year land lease – which can somewhat dubiously be extended twice at most. If you marry a Thai, you have no right to work there, yet must meet income requirements to stay. Is that apartheid?

    Likewise, have you seen the institutionalised bias towards bumiputra native Malay in Malaysia?

    Now this isn’t to say there isn’t racism or discrimination in Israeli society. There very blatantly is. Worse, should the Occupation ever become permanent, as some would like to see, then, yes, apartheid would be very evident. Let’s all hope that doesn’t come to pass…even The Donald sent a moderate messenger in Greenblatt this week just passed, suggesting he doesn’t want that scenario either.

    However, for now the worst-case still can’t be said to be the actual case, egregious as the Occupation is, except in the minds of a certain section of the global polity. And, as usual, other nationalist and/or nativist political policies, discriminations, and biases remain glaringly obvious across the rest of the world…to the total silence of the UN, most media, and that self-same same political demographic.

    1. HotFlash

      Again, why this obsession with the same old same old? Try buying land as any kind of foreigner in Thailand, for example.

      well, maybe because Palestinians aren’t ‘foreigners’ in Israel?

      1. optimader

        no kidding, don’t have to rewind the tape too far to when an empire gave someone else’s land away to a third party..

    2. Carolinian

      So if I decide to take a moral stand and refuse to buy goods made in Thailand am I going to be attacked as anti-Thai? Please admit that the Israelis are very privileged “victims” starting with the billions of US tax dollars per year. That special treatment thing goes both ways.

    3. sleepy

      There is a difference between the discrimination you cite in, e.g., Thailand, and the discrimination by Israel against non-Jews. The vast majority of the non-Jews within Israel proper are Israeli citizens with a long history of generations residing within the state boundaries. Yet a Jew making aliyah from Toronto has more rights than a native born Israeli non-Jew in terms of purchasing property. Beyond that, does a Jewish non-citizen of Israel who resides in another country have the right to purchase property superior to that of a non-Jewish Israeli citizen?

      You are more closely on point with your example of Malaysian state discrimination against native Malays. Is that your justification for Israeli discrimination against natives, that Israel–“the only democracy in the middle east”–is no worse than Malaysia? Not sure that’s even true, but I will take your word for it that they are equals.

      I am not even addressing the situation in the Occupied Territories.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Thailand. Malaysia. “…..other nationalist and/or nativist…” countries.

      But isreal has no right to claim the legitimacy of other countries. It was established, relatively recently, on an expressly racial basis, and has demanded and received fealty and support on that same basis since its inception.

      It’s not that isreal is not guilty of apartheid, it’s that it was founded to facilitate apartheid, and to admit the obvious is to admit the willful and knowing complicity.

      1. Ursine Qua Non

        What twaddle. Thailand was just an example to show how noxious and Trumpian countries not on the Western radar are re immigration. But, yes, Malaysia openly discriminates against its own citizens that have lived there for hundreds of years based on their ethnicity and religion. Not a peep about it here, or anywhere else. Ever. No BDS. No lectures ever from egalitarian Western liberals. Nada.

        Israel is occupying territory it ought not to. If it ever annexes them fully, that is apartheid. Until then, it is quote unquote just occupation, as labelled. Awful, but, not apartheid.

        Within the nineteen sixty seven lines, Israel is a democracy with a strong set of ethnonationliat biases. It has the Law of Return because the majority want it. The same for restrictive land ownership policies, given a majority of the minority don’t fully accept the idea of it as a national entity at all. That’s a pretty unique set of circumstances – name me one other country that still has people saying “It shouldn’t exist”. Imagine what that does for the national psyche for a moment.

        That backdrop makes it a (somewhat) illiberal democracy with clearly unequal budgetary allocations for minorities, but given it has also got voting rights for all, and an Arab judge on the High Court that sent both a Jewish former president and prime minister to jail, and thirteen very vocal MKs from the Arab sector, it’s in no way apartheid. It’s arguably far more inclusive than Turkey was for Kurds until recently. But when do we hear about BDS for Turkey, who is also occupying Northern Cyprus, in case anyone remembers?

        Does Israel get a lot of US aid. Yes. Too much? Perhaps, though that is going to be redirected to being spent in the US going forward.

        Frankly, without pointing any fingers at anyone here, for many on the Left, if Israel didn’t exist they would have to invent it. It’s just so convenient to have an awful bogeyman as the receptacle of all Western moral evils, while everyone else sails on with their sh@t not stinking.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          Winding up a set of weak arguments with a diversionary attack on a catch-all whipping boy (the Left!) is not a way to impress readers here.

          Israel maintains double standards in many matters that negatively affect long time Arab citizens. There is no legitimate way to excuse it. There is no “Look, look! Over there! Institutional bigotry in a notoriously corrupt Muslim-majority nation!” get out of it free card.

          1. fosforos

            Malaysia, just as much as Israel, is a heritage of British colonialism. The Boer War Type concentration camps used to establish it and partition the country (by excluding Singapore) were their very own nakba. It, like other British-created monstrosities (Nigeria, Pakistan, etc.), definitely belongs in the category of “countries that have no right to exist.”

            1. Jessica

              It was the Malaysians themselves who expelled Singapore from Malaysia in order to have a more secure Malay-majority state.
              Finding itself alone as a little city-state sandwiched between an anti-Chinese Malaysia and an Indonesia that killed half a million to two million ethnic Chinese around the time of Singapore’s independence is what gave Singapore many of its distinctive features both good and bad.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Interesting that they wanted a Malay-majority nation.

                Many elites don’t mind being few in number. They know how to lord over millions as a small group. They are very confident of themselves.

                The Malays seemed a little timid there.

                “Grab that territory, that tiny island. Having more taxpaying subjects means a more valuable currency.”

                1. dk

                  They were looking for stability and to reduce efforts required for sustainable social harmony. If excessive conquest or expansion was going to produce an unstable outcome, what’s the point of even doing it? More taxpaying subjects? Sounds like more overhead, and diminishing returns past a certain sustainable dimension.

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              True, Malaysia was created out of pieces (Not-Thailand, Not-Indonesia, etc.) But I don’t recall the Malaysians funning around in places like Shatilah. Nor do Malaysians receive billions in annual tribute from the US, or have dozens of dual-citizenry nationals in the highest posts in the USG. Lots of countries oppress but when you’re massively funnelling cash and influence from the US I think there’s a higher standard.

            3. different clue

              Whoops! uh oh . . . someone might extend that argument to the USA, Canada, and Australia as British-created monstrosities which definitely belong in the category of “countries that have no right to exist”. If someone does, what do we do then? Laugh it off as long as we have great power, I suppose. But if our power wanes, what then . . . ?

        2. Harry

          name me one other country that still has people saying “It shouldn’t exist”. Imagine what that does for the national psyche for a moment.


          The Chagos Islands?


        3. lyman alpha blob

          If by discriminating against its own citizens you mean enslaving them, there were any number of peeps about that here while discussing the TPP.

        4. Christ on a bike

          I don’t know about the legal criteria of apartheid like Cole does, but cordoning indigenous population centers behind razorwire and connecting them in a Habitrail-like system (1970s hamster owners, anyone?) where movement, employment, access to resources, and lopsided legal standards can be tightly controlled… looks very much like the homelands of South Africa. Our taxes finance this travesty, so yes, BDS.

    5. Jim Haygood

      Congratulations on a more sophisticated level of hasbara. From your link:

      “The [81% of Israel’s] land that is owned by the Development Authority and by the State can be leased to any citizen of Israel, whether he is Jewish or not.”

      As you are doubtless aware, although state-owned land “can be” leased to Israeli Arabs, in practice it is not. Arabs are often excluded by indirect methods, such as a refusal to issue building permits, while settlers get permits to build on Arab land that’s not even within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Then there’s this from your link:

      “Development Authority-owned land includes land that was confiscated in accordance with the Absentee Land Law and the Land Purchase Law.”

      This anodyne sounding statement conceals a long-standing grievance mentioned by Juan Cole:

      “The Law of Return is another discriminatory practice. Any Jew anywhere in the world can emigrate to Israel. But no Palestinian family expelled in 1948 can return to their ancestral homeland.”

      Some of the 4.6 million Palestinians under occupation are former residents or landowners who were run out of Israel during the violence of 1948, and are now barred from returning. It irks them mightily to see immigrants from Brooklyn and Russia and France show up and build on their property, simply because the newcomers are affiliated with the ruling religion and the expelled Arabs aren’t.

      Needless to say, the chauvinistic religious discrimination which is woven into the very fabric of Israeli law and culture is a total repudiation of American values, contrary to the claims of Aipac. How do you say Jim Crow in Hebrew?

        1. clinical wasteman

          If the source is Google Translate, the result for Jim Crow is probably ‘Jim’ as in Haygood (great riposte above Jim, thanks) plus ‘raven’ or ‘bird’ or something. And if the suggestion for ‘Apartheid’ is anything other than a transliteration it’s similarly silly, given that almost every other language just uses the Afrikaans word. If the bot has tried to concoct a ‘translation’ from the parts, it’s as likely to read ‘heid’ as Glaswegian for ‘head’ as it is to recognize a suffix equivalent to ‘-ness’ (as in the German ‘-heit’). On behalf of the other translators here, allow me to repeat: Google Translate is not going to take our jobs away, but nor is it ever going to give you a viable translation of anything other than Googlese.

      1. Alex

        The point is that all that is not unique to Israel. Let’s consider Turkey, in last 100 years or so they massacred their Armenians (and those who were lucky to escape and their descendants obviously can’t return to Turkey or get their property back), tried to destroy Kurdish language and culture, occupied a large part of a neighbouring country (and again, Greek Cypriots have no chance of getting back their land back).
        Note that I’m not saying that Turkey is uniquely evil, it’s just an example. So whenever Israel is singled out as the worst human rights offender by someone in the West it’s hard not to suspect ulterior motives.

        1. ambrit

          Alas, it is Humans as a species who are, to steal from Hannah Arendt, banal in their evil.
          Ultimately, all motives are ulterior.

        2. Alex Morfesis

          I am sure turkey would give back to all the armenians whatever land they had plus interest and reparations if the Armenian commonly known as mister five percent would kindly arrange for the return of the ottoman oilfields…no interest nor reparations required…

          But the sad reality is one should have the right to get on with their lives…

          Know a Palestinian who married the daughter of someone I dated for a while…he left his childhood home(not sure if he was in occupied territories, jordan or Lebanon) and ended up in greece at first…two seasons of gathering olives that was beneath the average greek motorcycle riding toyboy metrosexual on fokionos in kipseli earned him about 75 grand in pocket money which eventually led him to the grand “us of a”…he eventually buys a failing pizzeria in a drive thru town in middle jersey in a sub basement that is basically a thumbnail space, advertises like crazy, sells mostly via deliveries, three years after opening and continuing to operate his “dive shop” he buys a top of a mountain peak near wayne new jersey and builds his dream house for his wife and kids…

          The right to get on with your life…

          The Greek samurai…Koizumi Yakumo…well he married into a samurai family…writer actually…

          Was born in Lafkada…the island just north of Ithaki, to a greek mother (Kassimatis) of a noble Kytheran family and a father who was the surgeon major on the island at the time…during the british occupation of the ionian seven island republic…he was the second child, but the first during the actual marriage…he was a throw away child, having been bounced around by parents who had other thoughts…

          He ends up in Cincinnati with five bucks in 1869, goes thru the usual american struggles & eventually becomes a journalist and writer…married a black woman when it was illegal in ohio and flips the bird at his publication and takes his readership to the cross town rival…although the marriage didn’t last…

          Lafcadio Hearn would make his way to japan in 1890, where he ends up marrying Koizumi Setsu and settled into Matsue, where his old home and a museum are local tourist attractions…he lived until the age of 54, dying from a heart problem and his remains are in Toshima in tokyo…

          The Palestinians did not lose a rumble in the parking lot of a supermarket in a rival town, they lost the war…usually when people lose a war, what they left behind is gone…even in an economic war, political war, religious war, etc…

          There is an old cuban joke…old enough anyway, about a mythical beach in cuba…tuvo beach…I have previously misstated the punch line was a book written by achy obejas…the book was actually written by ana menendez…

          As the story goes, a tallish american bleach blonde with her quaffed standard white american poodle are strolling up collins avenue one sunday afternoon when the poddle notices another dog sniffing up from behind her…as she turns to see what alpha dog is wanting to talk to her she screeches as she sees a broken down poor older looking mutt behind her…”how daaaaare you…look at you…why would you even imagine it could…possibly…heaven forfend…”

          And the cuban dog responded…”seniora…please…don’t look at how I look now, with my bent tail, blind eye, hobbling third leg and kaleidoscope patchwork of colors…

          In cuba…I was a german shepherd”…

          Life is messy…but those who don’t want to expand energy will end up looking at the bottom of a bottle for answers…

          Are israelis committing suicide by their intransigence…yes…but it is their choice…imagining g-d will fix it no matter what is what got the Incas in trouble…

          The world is full of two percenters and twenty percenters…the two percenters are desperate to steal what they can because living on two percent requires alot of “conversion”…whereas the twenty percenters can rebuild a life with a few moments of peace, a little capital and some rusty old tools…

          Israel looks good in israeli eyes because it is surrounded by thug governments who wipe their private parts with human rights and freedom…but Israel is your average kleptocracy and will end up with the mamlukes of egypt in the dustbins of history if it doesn’t alter course…but Israel imagines it is more than a barking Chihuahua…sadly for its citizens and its children who will pay the price it is not…

          1. JTMcPhee

            Yaas, all one needs to do is activate their inner Horacio Algieri, pull up on their boot- and jock-straps, and SUCCEED! in this all-pervading neoliberal universe. Just curious — 2 plus 20 equals 22, minus 100 = 78. I guess one way to fix things for better lives for those with the good luck and stick-tuit-ivity is just let the promethean Ubermenschen soar on the globally warmed thermal updrafts, over the bones of those who “just don’t have it…”

            And as to Israel, just a middling little kleptocracy, but one ruled by a bunch of Yahoo!’s who were astute enough to sneak and connive and corrupt their way into possession of something between 200 and 600 good-sized nuclear weapons. A ruling group, infested with corruption and trickery as a way of life (Thou shalt not be a Freir, the eleventh Israeli commandment, who lay their claim to certain lands and the right to dispossess and “mow the grass” of others from the words in the first six or seven books of the Torah, which are full of the guile and murder and looting “with YHWH’s help” of all those Amorites and Jebusites and Kushites and Philistines that were “put to the sword” and their cities burned and laid waste and the ones not killed were enslaved…

            Yaas, those Likudniks certainly got their manifestly corrupt grip on somebody’s boot-and jockstraps…

            1. Alex Morfesis

              Jt mcp, my fellow gulf coaster…have tried to reduce my novelettes and did not go deeper into my 2% vs 20% issue…not that people should jump into biz and roll the dice…americans hand off 350 billion plus per year in “charitable” contributions…yet have a hard time “throwing away” money at a small business start up…one of the twists in the downturn in the local us economies is the bleeding of capital by handing it off to money market and mutual funds since erisa in the mid 70’s…

              Know of one too many people who are hanging on to money that a generation ago would have already been passed on to children and grandchildren to use(or waste), but instead is needed to be two percented since it has to last 20 years past retirement instead of five years…

              Not sure if that changes your thoughts on my burp up, but it is what it is…

              They don’t make grandma’s like they used to…

              As to the likudistani, they are lucky they are dealing with Palestinians who ran off after the first sign of blood and now claim 100 thousand refugees has turned into 4 million people…

              The surrounding thug nations are quite happy that the Palestinian question is still out there…keeps anyone from noticing their own issues…and just scream jerusalem anytime someone wonders why they have to eat another dust sandwich instead of enjoying a piece of the pie…

              Israeli nukes are like everyone elses nukes…useless in battle but a great way to pass along money to friends who sell “components”…

              Those who are befriending israel in hopes of bringing on the rapture will hopefully be thoroughly disappointed

        3. Donald

          Oh please. Israel is singled out in the US as a supposedly democratic state worthy of billions of dollars of support every year. If people want to admit their human rights record stinks like Turkey’s, that would be yuuge. Because nobody goes into hysterical flights of whataboutery if Turkey is criticized. Nobody in the West pretends Turkey is some sort of moral paragon.

          And somehow boycotts are normally thought of as legitimate nonviolent modes of protest. But when it is on behalf of Palestinians, somehow their rights don’t matter– no, it must be antisemitism motivating it. It’s hard not to suspect a type of subconsciously racist contempt for Palestinians underneath the kneejerk accusations of antisemitism.

          1. a different chris

            Thanks, that “Israel is singled out as the worst..” bullcrap always gets me. Nobody said it was the worst. What sucks about it, and why we scream, is that it is, in the world of nations, basically a family member and we are really, really involved.

    6. human

      You, apparently, didn’t even read the article or you would have made exception to the several factual references of Mr Coles’ instead of to Mr Cole himself.

    7. Donald

      It’s apartheid in the West Bank already. There is no independent Palestinian state and Israel imposes two sets of rules on the two groups of people who live there.

      Within Israel proper it is not apartheid, but by your argument Israel could keep stealing land and maintaining the status quo indefinitely, just so long as they aren’t dumb enough to claim to be annexing the entire WB. It’s farcical.

  9. Ursine Qua Non

    Seems a lucky escape in Paris. If that had gone differently, the upcoming election might be looking far more worrying for The Establishment, which as you rightly note in another link, is feeling cock-a-hoop post Rutte.

    1. Expat

      Lucky escape or False Flag. Probably just a disturbed individual which provoked the usual “close the barn door, shut down the entire farm, arrest everyone in the county, after the horse has bolted” reaction.

      It still amazes me that no one ever stops to ask why this guy, or anyone else, does these sorts of things. Do they really believe GW? “They hate us for our freedoms” Or do they hate us for the freedom we have to bomb, torture, and destroy them with relative impunity.

      I don’t want to be the victim of either “terrorists” or military, but I don’t see much difference between the two.

  10. allan

    Wayne Tracker, we hardly knew you:

    Exxon Says Some Emails From ‘Wayne Tracker’ Alias May Be Lost [Bloomberg]

    Exxon Mobil Corp. says a technical glitch may have prevented it from automatically preserving emails in a secondary account used by former Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson to discuss climate change risks and other issues under the alias Wayne Tracker.

    Tillerson, now U.S. Secretary of State, used the pseudonym account for sending the most sensitive messages to company board members, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is investigating whether the company misled investors for years about the possible impact of climate change on its business. …

    Carlos Danger seethes in envy.

    1. KurtisMayfield

      Can the NY AG supoena the Board members email accounts? They should all have a copy of everything Wayne Tracker sent.

      The problem with covering up email is that there are so many places that a copy is kept.

      1. allan

        If Exxon relaunches as Snapchat for climate change deniers, it could have a $3 trillion valuation.

        Seriously, I hope this goes somewhere, but Schneiderman has a long history of disappointing.

        1. a different chris

          omg that is the shortest, and far shorter than I could have believed possible, sentence I have ever seen that pretty much sums up the entire mess this world is in… thanks for the laugh.

  11. cocomaan

    I first read Derek Walcott in a 101 English class back in college, alongside Elizabeth Bishop. I still remember the tropical feeling of the poems with the sense of place and race. Definitely a loss, I’ll have to crack open that old volume.

  12. RenoDino

    Killing the Elderly: Social Security Starves Us Slowly as the GOP Tries to Kill Us by Gutting Health Care

    Trump and the GOP have realized the error of their ways and now support the more direct, cost effective and humane approach. Eliminating Meal On Wheels will quickly starve seniors now slowly starving on Social Security. Seniors can be starved to death for less than pennies a day by cutting off their food, thereby reducing their long-term demand for health services as well. Hungry seniors can’t even learn how to fish because they are too weak so there’s no bothersome retraining costs. The ultimate goal is to kill seniors sooner than later, while they are still relatively healthy and before they start racking up big medical bills.

    Who knew elder care could be so uncomplicated?

  13. Rajesh

    The same number of votes as Sen.Romney…ok..but perhaps very diff sorts of the majority voted for the two. The number does not tell the full story. Also the votes came in spite of damning stuff on d current POTUS…business record tax returns women stuff bad debate performances etc etc.You have not taken all that into consideration when you talk about numbers.
    But also very very true that the Dems did not run a gr8 campaign. And yeah it wasn’t loser white hicks who voted against the dems rather it was a sense of anger with the way things work in Washington perhaps.

    1. sleepy

      Trump got a majority of white college graduates, yet the dem focus seems to be on scapegoating the wwc, imho because their interests are more easily stereotyped and marginalized by the media, you know, dumb white hicks clinging to their guns.

      Beyond that, many college graduates are not exactly rolling in wealth–expensive healthcare, skyhigh housing costs, and crushing student debt. The distinction between the interests of many of those grads and the interests of the working class is overstated by the dems imo.

      1. Rajesh

        Yeah and none of the elites were paying their fair share of taxes. The inequality would impact any society.

          1. Jim

            And what was on Hillary’s campaign website? Was any of it even believable, given her long, well-known history – not to mention the “public position/private position” statement that summed up the Clinton/Obama/Clinton era in a nutshell? You can’t rag on Trump voters for not checking out his campaign website without taking Hillary voters to task for believing she stood for anything other than “more of the same.” That “same” not serving tens of millions of people very well, something understood on a gut level.

  14. Dikaios Logos

    Pitchfork watch:

    On the day it was scheduled to be auctioned, a foreclosed home was destroyed in a massive explosion that was heard for miles. The authorities have claimed it was not a gas explosion, no mention of it’s not being an ammonium nitrate explosion.

    Some pics/video here and here.

  15. Steve H.

    : Here are the ages you peak at everything throughout life

    Contrast to Bill Shakesfactor:

    ” ALL the world ’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His Acts being seven ages. At first the Infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
    Then the whining School-boy, with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the Lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad
    Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a Soldier,
    Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard;
    Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the Justice,
    In fair round belly with good capon lined,
    With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
    Full of wise saws and modern instances,—
    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slippered Pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side;
    His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness, and mere oblivion,—
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

    It is critical to note that the source of this analysis is attributed to Jaques, a self-confessed melancholic, and is thus considerably biased, and acknowledged as such. Jaques has all the productivity of an elite, he doesn’t tend the sheep, nor gather food, he just provides analyses. His status has become his ability to entertain, and he does this by generating outrage: see the technique, as elucidated by David Wong.

    If you’re in town the first week of June, c’mon down and see the show. In this post-Marxist pastoral production, the sheep won’t be taking it anymore! Plus there’s singing and dancing.

  16. Octopii

    So interesting that Mercer’s co-CEO’s wife was head of FDA under Obama for a while. Can’t imagine how the Browns reconcile being party to what Mercer is doing.

    1. jsn

      A couple of hundred million a year pays for a lot of cognitive dissonance.

      Besides, systemic effects are hard to see from the yacht

  17. Pat

    So going to Broadway Plays and walking in forest like areas in upstate NY for a few months along with producing profound sounding but meaningless acceptance speeches for meaningless awards means that Clinton has overcome the failure, danger, and the unknown of being told to go away by almost half the nation rather than a coronation as President of the United States in less than half a year. She is ready to pretend to be fighting for us again.

    Dear god, how much money do the damn Clintons need? And how foolish are Americans that the first, last, and overwhelming reaction is not: “Go away and do not come back!”

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Don’t forget her shopping/spa trip to Bergdorf’s with Huma Thursday….still trying to figure out why that was news…..maybe to impress us that she buys “off the rack” clothing just like we do?

        1. Mark P.

          At 40-something, Huma is all in with Clinton, with nowhere else to go unless she gets very creative.

    2. Eureka Springs

      being told to go away by almost half the nation

      Uh, closer to three quarters of the nation. The super plurality (almost half) told them all to go away.

      1. Uahsenaa

        I can get behind the hot chocolates and sandwiches stimulus plan.

        Funny that a five-year-old can have a more clearly articulated plan for helping the working poor than the Tories…

        1. Dead Dog

          yes, speechless.

          ‘You’ve got a pot of money, spend some of it to house and feed people’

          Seems simple, until you get to the entrenched shit of changing things

  18. allan

    Chelsea Clinton named to Expedia board. If reading filings correctly, she gets $45k/year cash,
    plus $250k/year in stock vesting over 3 years @TimJHanrahan

    It’s sad that a former First Child has to scrounge for gigs that pay chump change.
    What is our country coming to?

      1. ambrit

        Hoo boy! Chelsea is slated to deliver the next sound and fury, is she? I see no sanctuary for the poor woman. Let’s agree to call the eventual biography of this family, The Reivers, shall we? (Flags in the Dust sounds too obvious.)

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          (Retching as I imagine a board meeting)
          “Chelsea, what is your view on these proposed changes to our revenue recognition accounting standards?”


          “OK then, next question…whom do you know we that can bribe, grift, manipulate, or freeload off of? Any cool parties planned in Martha’s Vineyard this summer…and can you put in a word with the concierges and bouncers for us?”

    1. sleepy

      Make hay while the sun shines. And didn’t hubby’s hedge fund go broke? No doubt dipping into the Foundation’s till from time to time can bide them over as well.

  19. Andrew Watts

    RE: Trump Offers No Apology for Claim on British Spying

    Cry more.

    “It’s very easy to have a good meeting with Trump,” said Jeremy Shapiro, a former State Department official who is the research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London. “He’s very pleasant in person. He’ll promise you the world. And 48 hours later, he’ll betray you without a thought. He won’t even know he’ll be betraying you.”

    Hide a knife behind a smile. Somebody in the Trump administration is a fan of the Thirty-Six Stratagems. I assume it’s Bannon given his background.

    1. Nakatomi Plaza

      After the meeting with Merkel Trump tweeted out something about Germany owing the US for the money we’ve spent defending them all these years. He even concluded the tweet with an exclamation point, so you know he was serious. Of course, he didn’t mention any of this to Merkel when they were together.

      In my experience, people don’t really like it when you play nice to their face then sling insults and demands at them after they’ve left.

      1. Linda

        Yes, he did mention it. He talked about it at the press conference in brief detail, and also says at the press conference that they discussed it in their meetings.

      2. marym

        Security experts quickly attacked the flaws in Trump’s logic. On Twitter, former U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder wrote that increased defense budgets by Germany aren’t transferred to the United States. He also pointed out that NATO decided to make the 2 percent requirement mandatory just a couple of years ago. The alliance gave all member states until 2024 to reach that goal, and Germany is on track.
        And Trump may be making that harder. As Marcel Dirsus, a German security politics scholar, argued, the president’s public criticism of German defense spending could backfire, making it harder for Merkel to increase the country’s defense budget, particularly just months before a tough reelection campaign.

        1. dontknowitall

          so a member the Council on Foreign Relations is bummed that Trump stuck a knife between his ribs while he wasn’t looking and that after a “good meeting”…heck my heart bleeds

  20. Jim Haygood

    New Jersey lawmakers passed legislation Thursday that would require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to disclose their federal income tax returns to appear on the state’s 2020 and future ballots.” — WSJ

    Article II, Section 5 of the constitution sets out the qualifications of the president, which are real simple: natural born citizen, at least 35 years old.

    NJ is not going to get away with adding new qualifications for presidential candidates. The federal judiciary will swat down NJ’s feckless Dems in a heartbeat.

    As the sign on the Pa side of the Delaware River says, “America starts here.” ;-)

    1. Tom Allen

      Are you arguing that the only requirement for ballot access is eligibility for the office? I can support that, but it most certainly isn’t the case right now, in New Jersey or most other states. Ask any minor party candidate. And as articles such as this lay out, the law (obviously aimed at Trump) might not be swatted down in a heartbeat, or at all. Then again, Trump didn’t win NJ in 2016 and won’t in 2020, so even if the law passes judicial muster, it’s just another symbolic gesture Dems are wasting their time on.

  21. Andrew Watts

    RE: WikiLeaks Won’t Tell Tech Companies How to Patch CIA Zero-Days Until Its Demands Are Met

    As long as tech companies turn over their source code to intelligence agencies fixing a couple exploits won’t change a thing. Likewise compromising programmers either by buying them off, threatening them, or otherwise targeting them will end the same way.

    That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done without pre-conditions though.

    1. lb

      This article’s headline and its content are pretty misleading even so. It seems to be an article giving cover to tech companies for not fixing their software, allowing them to spin the reasons. The only wikileaks demand published is a 90-day turnaround, which IIRC is the same turnaround Google Project Zero requires of companies when it sends them holes. This shouldn’t be terribly controversial, from a technical/release turnaround perspective.

      The article then raises one maybe-legitimate point but never states it clearly: legal departments at companies are afraid of the company being in possession of material which may be classified. There’s a claim that the CIA avoided classification for some pretty murky reasons. If the legal folks wanted to verify this status (or lack thereof) for any newly-received content, I could see that being a snag. I’m betting the legal department conditions are going to be more of a problem that Wikileaks’ demands.

      Lastly, here’s a possible interpretation of a graf from that article:

      The companies, however, are not sure what to do next because the vulnerabilities come from highly-classified documents (which may have been illegally obtained), as well as the suspicion that, perhaps, these documents and hacking tools were leaked to WikiLeaks by the Russian government.

      Maybe the CIA illegally obtained vulnerabilities that came from highly-classified documents (or by acquiring source trees not from companies but from tarballs circulating by hackers in general), not wikileaks, and maybe part of the CIA toolkit is derived from properly classified material of another agency. Wouldn’t that be amusing? Also, why would companies be motivated not to fix their own software because they fear Russians may be behind this disclosure? If someone says Russians want x, no matter how virtuous x is, must it therefore never be done? Fear The Russians all you want, but if building secure software when holes are known is not a priority for these companies, the public should refuse to use their products. Let that be laid bare, if it’s true.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I don’t disagree at all about the article. I imagine the CIA doesn’t classify the zero day exploits it buys commercially as a part of any contract. An individual or company would likely make that stipulation in their contract. It’d make no sense to sell such knowledge exclusively to the CIA. But a more nefarious reason for not classifying them would be the ability to transfer knowledge of these exploits to third parties.

        Whether these parties would be contractors or CIA-affiliated businesses is unknown. Let’s be clear about what we’re talking about. The reason being for such a transfer would almost assuredly for business or corporate espionage. Most foreign intelligence operations conducted in the US are usually of that nature. By turning a blind eye to this activity the governments involved can claim a degree of deniability. I can’t emphasis enough how little I care about all that.

        I just get tired of all the self-aggrandizing bull—- about terrorists and such.

        Also, why would companies be motivated not to fix their own software because they fear Russians may be behind this disclosure?

        Wrong question imo. Is CIA bribing these companies to insert zero days into their software for a limited duration for operational purposes? I don’t imagine NSA would need to do this but looking over some of the Vault 7 release makes me raise this question.

        1. hunkerdown

          The grey-hat developer gets a fair exclusivity premium of 3x-10x the commodity price. The CIA gets exploits nobody else knows about. For a Stuxnet type of job, with limited opportunity for access, one would want to overdetermine the outcome by getting it right the first time and keeping fallbacks. It’s basically the same skill as patching a web page with a user script or defeating digital access controls, except that one has to be more exquisitely aware of the minute details of the OS, processor and application(s) when adding functionality than just commenting it out.

          > Is CIA bribing these companies to insert zero days into their software for a limited duration for operational purposes? I don’t imagine NSA would need to do this
          Indeed, the NSA does just that, according to the Nation’s Noosepaper of Record™ and ProPublica revealed in 2013 (text at DocumentCloud). NSA apparently paid RSA Data Security $10 million to ship the technically inferior and probably backdoored DUAL_EC as the default random number generator in their crypto products. Reuters. More circumstantially, there are occasions where major FOSS developers run into overeager “contributors” who really want obviously bad ideas and broken code to be shipped to the world (more discussion of past episodes at Ts’o’s Google+).

          The SIGINT Enabling Project and other witting and unwitting programmers enrich the environment with ample targets as it is.

          1. Andrew Watts

            That’s an outrageous price. I don’t really know anything current about the market for zero days though. I stopped caring about that kinda thing awhile back. I don’t think the CIA gets exclusivity to any exploits it acquires on the market. Exclusivity would likely be derived from their own internal hackers.

            Indeed, the NSA does just that… (snip)

            It looks to me that NSA weakened the RNG but that technically isn’t a backdoor. It means they break it in fewer processing cycles. By undermining and exploiting the underlying source code they’re avoiding having to break any encryption. Depending on what they want this means skipping a step and directly harvesting metadata. In some rare cases that may mean they see everything that is typed if certain circumstances are met.

            The SIGINT Enabling Project and other witting and unwitting programmers enrich the environment with ample targets as it is.

            Writing -good- code is a form of art.

      2. Harry

        I got an idea. Send the vulnerabilities to the Russians. Then the companies will be real keen to fix them.

  22. Katniss Everdeen

    joy reid, defending obamacare against charges it is imploding, explains aetna’s dropping out of the exchanges:

    “Yeah, aetna dropped out. It’s because the government wouldn’t let them merge with humana.” Panel murmurs in agreement.

    Because monopolies always guarantee the lowest prices and the highest quality.

    1. Pat

      Well she isn’t entirely wrong. That was one of the reasons that Aetna dropped out. Mind you no one is pointing out that one of the FAILURES of ACA was that every insurance company who wanted to sell insurance in any market region was required to be on the exchanges. Not on them, you don’t sell in that region period – not to mention base plans needed to be non-profit. But hey, why acknowledge that they essentially opened the government to all sorts blackmail.

      Sadly, as far as the monopoly thing is concerned, it is quite clear from our government enforcement of anti-trust laws and legislative carve outs of those laws, including for insurance, a significant portion of our leadership class does believe that bull.

        1. Pat

          Sorry to be very unclear. Similar to the obviously needed but eliminated rule requiring all insurance companies to offer base plans on the exchanges in order to do business at all in a region, that base plan should be non-profit as in a 10 percent or even less medical loss ratio with strict standards as to what is medical. But since the ACA was written by insurance lobbyists and not elected representatives interested in representing voters they were both nowhere to be found in the American dog food hash version of the Swiss universal plan.

          But as we well know there was no real concern regarding real affordability or even universal care when that hash was being pushed through. And corporate blackmail is SOP for Washington so no one probably even thought about it being an invitation to do it.

  23. Tracie Hall

    Beautiful shot of the body surfing dog!!! The water is so clear, and the dog appears to be smiling!

  24. Sam

    “The problem is the Repubs decisively control Congress and the whackjob right is committed to gutting any and all social spending, particularly health care. But if the whole “get rid of Obamacare” effort implodes, Trump then can talk up whatever he wants.”

    Indeed. Plus, there’s not one person in Trumps orbit who would agree with that idea. For all his bluster about being tough, he seems wishy washy, probably because his understanding is limited. Not a chance for this angle.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think it’s a good idea to be around a wishy washy person as often as possible….to capture that opportune moment.

  25. Wellstone's Ghost

    Thank you for kicking off Saturdays Links with a poem. What a wonderful way to begin a Saturday.

  26. Anon

    On today’s docket:

    A fomer DNC Chair feels regret?!

    Brazile: Leaking Town Hall Qs a ‘Mistake I Will Always Regret’

    “My job was to make all our Democratic candidates look good, and I worked closely with both campaigns to make that happen,” she wrote. “But sending those emails was a mistake I will forever regret.”

    WikiLeaks posted emails from Brazile to the Clinton campaign that tipped it off that a woman from Flint, Michigan, would ask Clinton about the situation there for a town hall. Brazile also told the campaign that Clinton would be asked about the death penalty at a separate town hall.

    CNN dropped Brazile as a contributor after the revelations. When the email alerting the Clinton campaign about the death penalty question was released, Brazile suggested the documents were “misinformation.”

    Well, one way to make all D candidates look good is to not heavily favor one over the other. If Brazile is any indicator, then the D party as a whole has learned nothing as she deflects blame to those dastardly Russians towards the end.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some students copy others’ work. (She plagiarized Michelle’s speech!!!)

      Some just get exams beforehand. (“Aced the exam again!!!! Good to be smart”)

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      This, after she:
      1. Said it was ridiculous and sad to suggest she would ever do something like that; then

      2. Said her office may have done it accidentally but she wasn’t sure; then

      3. Said yes, it happened, but it doesn’t matter; then

      4. Said the Russians did it after all

      Where precisely are we with ultra-high profile Democrats like her and Pelosi…still firmly grasping the rails of the Titanic Democratic Party?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In the 90s, it was the vast right-wing conspirators.

        You have to wonder if these guys are slacking off, letting the Russian overtake them.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          On an unseasonably warm November Wednesday in 2020, John Podesta placed the blame for Herr Donald’s reelection squarely on extraterrestrials who abduct red necks.

  27. JamesG

    Re Saint Warren Buffett: he personally profits whenever an over-priced Kirby Vacuum is sold by a door-to-door sales person.

    The last time I checked Berkshire Hathaway’s ownership of Kirby was buried in a subsidiary.

  28. fresno dan

    “For weeks now, we’ve seen a steady stream — not just leaks — of information about POSSIBLE contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians. [[one would have thought by now we would have had the actual contacts…]] This is after the F.B.I. and our intelligence community determined that RUSSIA INTERFERED* in the United States election with the aim of electing Donald Trump president. [[ * this link is to a poll ]]

    Then in October, a subsequent release of emails revealed that among the many things I did in my role as a Democratic operative and D.N.C. Vice Chair prior to assuming the interim D.N.C. Chair position was to share potential town hall topics with the Clinton campaign. I had been working behind the scenes to add more town hall events and debates to the primary calendar, and I helped ensure those events included diverse moderators and addressed topics vital to minority communities. My job was to make all our Democratic candidates look good, and I worked closely with both campaigns to make that happen. But sending those emails was a mistake I will forever regret.”

    I am pretty quick with a quip….but I have to say, I’m speechless….

    1. optimader

      But sending those emails was a mistake I will forever regret
      included in that rambling non sequitur bit of word salad rhetoric she should have added why she feels it was a mistake

        1. Pat

          Yeah, that was pretty much my take when reading the headline. And lord knows as feckless as she is, she does get that saying that negates the idea that it is the action itself she regrets.

          I also like how she tries to make it seem that she was working with both camps AND trying to get more events scheduled. As if.

        2. optimader

          Well that’s it of course, She is on vid stating she is proud that she fed questions tohRC and would do it again.

          among the many things I did in my role as a Democratic operative and D.N.C. Vice Chair prior to assuming the interim D.N.C. Chair position was to share potential town hall topics

          She actually has the temerity to imply that it was an activity that was “part of her role”
          and then she dilutes feeding the questions to HRC down to “sharing potential topics”


  29. Oregoncharles

    Just in case it isn’t already posted:

    Lordie, that’s long. Trump’s rubber meets the road on trade. The rest of the G-20 aren’t happy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Doesn’t this make life harder for his international business/global empire?

      1. different clue

        Well . . . that’s one of the Three Reasons I voted for Trump for . . . was to Reject Free Trade. And rejecting a Free Trade statement now gives me hope that he might reJECT Free Trade itself now, later and ongoingly.

        Let the Free Traderites freely traderize with eachother. And let the Protectionists protect themselves as best they can.

        1. dontknowitall

          I know of wonder in the scale of political courage how the rejection of free trade agreements with the huge pressure to conform from the globalists stands compared with attempting Single Payer or Medicare-for-All, same level ? I propose they might be of a similar level and if so we could very well get single payer once Ryan’s wacky plan crashes in flames. Major problem I see is in foreign affairs the president has the strong upper hand not so in domestic.

    1. VietnamVet

      I avoid cable news, especially Fox; but, I watched this video of Tucker Carlson since it was cited in the comments of a blog I read daily:

      Total Shock. I agree totally with the Fox presenter. He goes after DC politicians. Saying the destruction of America’s Middle Class is inciting a revolution; in particular, the election of Donald Trump.

      Bluntly, if the extortion of the little people by the wealthy isn’t stopped, the splintering apart of the United States is guaranteed.

    2. Rageon

      An interesting forum since firefighters are part of the last bastion of unionized (government) workers that are not demonized (along with police). Though I seem to detect a note of fear in the discussion…If the middle class is allowed to disintegrate, all democratic bets are off, and the US heads to banana republic land. Surprising to hear such a frank discussion, though I don’t really know too much about the Carlson other than he’s supposed to be a talking head a la O’Reilly…

      I have to agree that Trucker Carlson is right on with all the hype about self-driving cars; trucking is the endgame and eliminating all those labor costs. What do you do with all that eliminated labor…line items on spreadsheets vote (and when that doesn’t work and the plebs get ideas, you got issues). Better make sure those police pensions are topped up or who’s gonna man the barricades of the gated communities (and make sure they’re paid enough so they live on the right side of the wall).

  30. Ignim Brites

    “US confirms air raid but denies targeting mosque”. Is there any reason why the US is still conducting military operations in Syria? Or Afghanistan for that matter? Is there any reason to have the slightest concern about Russian operations in Libya? If the Dems have any chance of rebuilding the Party it won’t be as a socialist party, it won’t be as a single payer progressive party, it won’t be as a soak the rich party, it will be as a Peace Party. Out Now!

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      We have now officially spent more money rebuilding Afghanistan than we spent rebuilding all of Europe with the Marshall Plan after WW II. (Counting just Afghan “reconstruction” funds, not “security”).

      The Kabul government currently controls approximately 60% of the country, the Taliban controls the rest.

      Time to declare victory and come home, lob a few drones over if the Taliban gets too uppity (very low-cost by comparison). Suggest we need new highways and water systems at the moment in Kalamazoo, not Kandahar.

      1. Marina Bart

        Serious question. Afghanistan is still mostly yurts and poppy fields, right? This isn’t one of those situations where they have all sorts of shiny new bridges and airports, is it?

        Where did that money go?
        I know about the sacks of cash to pedophile war lords. But it really shouldn’t take that much money to buy those guys. I’m cynically assuming that part of the point of the Afghan “war” was getting the opium growing and flowing again, because as far as I can tell, that’s our only real accomplishment in all these years. But if that’s true, shouldn’t that be economically self-sustaining by now? It can’t really be the the American Empire is so incompetent that it can’t even make a profit on opium, can it?

        1. ambrit

          Well, the rumour is that the Americans rejected some good advice from the Brits concerning waging war in the Middle East before the Irak fiasco. We all know how well that decision played out. So, it’s no surprise if the Americans reject advice from the Brits about running an opium business. After all, we did it to China two centuries ago; when we still were a “respectable” Empire.
          Where did the money go? The eternal question. Where did the pallets of cash, 12 billions worth, sent to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Irak go?
          Maybe this is why the “War on Cash” is heating up. Cash money is a fungible commodity. Very useful if one valued privacy.
          Incompetence can be accounted for if one were to apply the Peter Principle to government bureaucracies everywhere.

  31. voxhumana

    re: Buzzfeed’s million dollar hoax –

    The article does a good job of exposing the hoax. That it involved Kimberlin is not so surprising given his history of making shit up…. but before getting to the hoax itself the writer sets up his essay like so:

    “In the slightly more than four months since the presidential election, a burgeoning market for potentially damaging information about President Trump and his associates has emerged. Opportunists have begun dangling such would-be smoking guns — sometimes for a price — in front of journalists, amateur sleuths, and deep-pocketed political activists so eager to damage the Trump presidency that they can be blind to potential red flags.

    “Such forgeries escalate the phenomenon of “fake news,” the Facebook- and Twitter-friendly lies that tell readers what they want to believe and that are packaged to look like authentic journalism. In this case, evidence was deliberately fabricated that could make fictional allegations seem authentic. Such forged documents also feed the hunger of a growing audience on the left that seems willing to believe virtually any claim about Trump’s supposed bad deeds.” (emphasis added)

    A HuffPo article linked yesterday attempted the same, to paint the “left” as a credulous blob, suggesting the “leftwing conversation” has been corrupted by fake news. saturating a “leftwing” mass eager to believe anything anti-Trump. But neither article offers any proof that the stories referenced were ever taken seriously by anybody, much less the “leftwing” (whatever that is)… unless the writer means the NYTimes or WashPo, the only two news sources mentioned (and even they ultimately rejected the story)…

    It’s not a “leftwing” problem. The centrists in both parties are the most desperate here and willing to go to absurd lengths to maintain a status quo so obviously rejected (and in so may ways other than Trump’s victory) by the voters.

  32. Oregoncharles

    From “The Euro-clowns in Total Denial,” failed evolution:
    “Yanis Varoufakis supported recently that he made thirteen speeches in thirteen cities of England, Wales and Scotland, against Brexit. He had thousands of people in the audience. In every place he went, people told him that they agree with most of what he pointed. Yet, the central argument by them was ‘how is it possible to vote for the UK to remain in the EU, seeing the way that Brussels and Frankfurt treated Greece?'”

    Confirmation! I’ve been speculating that the EU’s treatment of Greece was a factor in the Brexit vote, because who would want to be subject to a bunch of sadists? Granted, that’s a small, non-random sample, but the vote was close enough that even fairly small factors could have made the difference. So xenophobia was not the only driver – this is empathy at work! (There are also quite a few Brits of Greek extraction – I know several.)

  33. cocomaan

    Anyone read old Krugman lately? The guy is losing his mind, with the latest post particluarly nutty.

    This ties in with an important recent piece by Zack Beauchamp on the striking degree to which left-wing economics fails, in practice, to counter right-wing populism; basically, Sandersism has failed everywhere it has been tried. Why?

    The answer, presumably, is that what we call populism is really in large degree white identity politics, which can’t be addressed by promising universal benefits. Among other things, these “populist” voters now live in a media bubble, getting their news from sources that play to their identity-politics desires, which means that even if you offer them a better deal, they won’t hear about it or believe it if told. For sure many if not most of those who gained health coverage thanks to Obamacare have no idea that’s what happened.

    I think he’s just trolling now, hoping to get some of his comment section riled up.

    1. craazyboy

      That is about the most bizarre thing I’ve read from a Very Serious Person. Considering the context of current events.

      It does follow a weird pattern I’ve been noticing lately. There is the psych phenom thing called “projection” where one projects one’s own inner quirkiness and sees it as the personality of others. It’s almost like the Dems are doing it at institutional level.

      For instance, Identity politics is a thing uncooperative voters are doing to the Dem establishment, and anyone who has experienced ObamaCare obviously is happier with that than Granny on Medicare.

      They live in a completely fact free world.

    2. ChrisAtRU

      The #LastCourtJesterOfTheNeolberalCrown is utterly useless. He probably didn’t bother to watch the Sanders WV Town Hall, and lives within his own bubble where only the failed politics of compromise (nee capitulation) “works” (or not!).

      The effort to cast the resurgent (true) left as a white-[only|mostly] flank continues – extended from the Bernie-Bro trope begun during the Dem primaries. See here for the latest bit of nosh – “white socialism”.

      Again, the desire to drive a wedge into the 90% is to prevent a mass coalition that transcends race from taking shape. Not this time, though. Bernie’s put paid to that.

      1. paintedjaguar

        That Forbes “white socialism” article is actually a pretty astute analysis in some ways, but you should read the slightly longer original version instead —

        Unfortunately, although the article does mention poor whites in passing, the pro-capitalist former Republican author is fixated on race and white privilege as the source of social ills. All of his writing seems to be cast from the same mold.

      2. JTFaraday

        The reason they are able to do this is that the Bernie Bros, as distinct from normal Sanders supporters, did indeed resentfully and incessantly go on and on and on about how their economic interests should take precedence over the concerns of teh wimmins and the N-ers, which they belittled as “identity politics.” Your head is too stuck up your own ass if you can’t see that.

        The so-called left will lose until this gets fixed. And I’m not sorry.

    3. fresno dan

      March 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Wow….just wow. The only way I can fathom any logic of what Kruggie says is that Kruggie is a mole for….the repubs…or Trump…..or Putin.

    4. sd

      Krugman is just embarrassing himself at this point. He’s giving Larry David a run for his money and turned cringe worthy.

    5. Lambert Strether

      Wonderfully clarifying to see liberals openly attacking universal benefits (and thereby leaving Medicare, Social Security, and institutions like public schools and the Post Office defenseless*). I’d also have expected them to rush to the defense of Medicaid, but n-o-o-o-o-o. I guess Medicaid doesn’t save the lives of “our sort of people.”

      NOTE * But never Amtrak! Never Amtrak!

      1. ambrit

        Has my Snark Meter malfunctioned? Amtrak is a public private, for profit enterprise. If one were to restrict the concept of “benefits” to things that are of use to the 10% crowd, well, that could, at a stretch, suffice. Maybe the shift of the other “Benefit Troughs” like Social Security and other deplorables serving services to similar public private wealth extraction models is the plan all along. Ya think?

    6. tongorad

      But wait, there’s more:

      Obamacare helped a large number of people at the expense of a small, affluent minority.

      My premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed. According to Krugmanlogic(TM), I must be a member of a small, affluent minority. Hot damn, I’m going to book a cruise!

      But one way to say this is that Obamacare was and is a truly populist law.

      Obtuse beyond measure.

      Special place for this guy.

    7. dontknowitall

      “Failed anywhere Sanderism has been tried”, like Canada or Sweden or maybe even Denmark ? Krugman is suffering from reputational perforation and he can’t find a Band-Aid big enough to cover the hole so he’s venting smelly eruptions .

  34. Burritonomics

    Re: Newly unclassifed nuke films on You Tube.

    This one’s the best. Nightmare sauce. Hope I do the link right!

  35. Oregoncharles

    “Missing from Trump’s grand Navy plan: skilled workers to build the fleet Reuters (resilc). Calling Bath Iron Works!”

    And not only. I know someone with extensive experience in shipyard computer drafting who might be available for a good offer. (My son.) More to the point: the main shipyard in Portland OR, which dates to WWII, is now virtually mothballed because most of the work went to S. Korea. That’s a lot of experienced workers, and a lot of shipyard, that could be available – again, for a good offer. If you wait too long, they’re gone and the yard gets converted to something else; but I don’t think that’s happened yet.

    Not that I favor dumping a bunch of resources down that rathole; just arguing with the point, as I think Yves is.

    1. Cujo359

      My guess is that many of those establishments’ former employees have moved on by now. The situation probably isn’t as dire as the article states, but getting inactive shipyards going again will take time, probably several years. Re-using old shipyards may not be what Congress wants, either, as those may not lie in the constituencies of currently influential congressmen.

      The article is also right in stating that new capacity won’t happen until contracts are on the books. That alone will take a couple of years, maybe more. Figure six years at least before that new capacity is ready to launch new ships. That’s 2023, or later.

      Trouble with building new naval ships is that you really have to be able to plan ahead. By the time they’re built, it’s likely whatever they were being built for is no longer an urgent priority.

    2. ambrit

      The Electrical Union that handles that trade at the Pascagoula Shipyard, where Navy contracts are common, is now putting on a push to sign up bright young boys and girls for their apprenticeship program. I met one young fellow who was going to take up the challenge. Starting pay, $20.00 an hour. For around here, that is amazingly high for any trade. I know that there are almost always ads in the employment offered web pages and sheets for shipfitters and pipefitters for the shipyards. I saw one such ad last year in my local Craigslist for openings at the yards in Norfolk, Virginia.

  36. Synoia

    US ‘strategic patience’ with N Korea has run out, says Tillerson

    Nice to know. How did the Korean War go the first time? Roaring Success, or dismal failure?

    The US had a good obedient General as well, Douglas McArthur.

    1. cocomaan

      Messing with NK is incredibly stupid. It’s all part of Trump’s seeming plan to shift Western aggression from Russia to China, which is really just trading one enemy for another. I am not impressed.

    2. wilroncanada

      The Korean War is still on. There has never been a peace treaty, just a cease fire.
      I’ve read elsewhere some time ago that a peace treaty is something North Korea had asked for several times, but each time has been rebuffed by the US. The US probably wants reparations from North Korea, just as they demanded from North Vietnam.

  37. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Time to audit the Pentagon.

    Maybe they just can’t see the invisible spy agency to audit…as well.

  38. ewmayer

    Yeah, I’ve been forwarding the fabulous Michael Hudson piece for Counterpunch to econ-interested friends. Just wish the editing had been better, there are 4-5 glaring fubars there, e.g. ‘self-caring’ instead of ‘self-curing’ in the paragraph on Schumpeter’s ‘creative destruction’ hypothesis, ‘ruler’ instead of ‘laborer’ in the bit about the pyramid builders, and corporate ‘raters’ in place of ‘raiders’. Also, in the part where MH talks about the economics of atomic power, I think he means ‘spent’ rather than ‘depleted’ uranium, since the latter is leftover from U-enrichment and not particularly toxic compared to the post-reactor spent stuff. (In fact the military loves DU to make penetrating projectiles out of – when one of those fragments on impact and even burns it does greatly increase the toxicity, but still nowhere near that of spent fuel.)

    o Detailed Road Maps Not For Humans | MishTalk

    Great – more Panopticonnery in the guise of ‘progress’.

    o Al Qaeda operative guilty in deaths of U.S. servicemen, bomb plot | Reuters

    Clearly we need to send more $billions to the House of Saud to aid it in its ongoing fight against such radicalization. /sarc

    1. a different chris

      Point these maps out whenever somebody starts talking about “robots” or “Artificial Intelligence”… if they could mimic even 1/10 the brain of a kitten they wouldn’t need to be doing this sh&t.

    2. Skip Intro

      Depleted uranium ammo is genius. You know there was some contractor tasked with disposing of the stuff who came up with the brilliant idea of forming it into bullets and artillery rounds and selling it back to the government, instead of paying to safely dispose of it. They get paid coming and going and the material is disposed of in the bodies and battlegrounds of distant ‘enemies’.

  39. alex morfesis

    A life worth living…Chuck Berry passed away today after 90 years of living thru jim crow, jim brown, jimi hendrix, jimmy carter and jimmie walker…persistence over resistance…mobsters, politicians, stupidities, losses, collapse and resurrection…he lived in a small town outside
    st. louis…6 miles from ferguson and a million miles from home…

    he passed away in his home, having lived enough to never have found the end in some sterile building looking at a ceiling waiting for an orderly

    1. ChrisAtRU

      “he passed away in his home, having lived enough to never have found the end in some sterile building looking at a ceiling waiting for an orderly”


  40. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

    Re: Is the Trump Circus Destroying Its Own Ringmaster? Vanity Fair

    This article reminds me of that picante item of Australian political ‘terminology’ attributed to Mark Latham:

    a conga-line of suckholes

  41. JTFaraday

    re: Clinton: ‘I’m ready to come out of the woods’ The Hill (furzy). “Some word salad. But she does look good in green.”

    That may be a particularly good picture, but she looks way better than she has in I don’t know how long.

    I never thought Hills should go into electoral politics. I think she should have divorced Bill and gotten her own life. There is no way that the inner contradictions of pursuing your husband’s second career would not demolish the inner self of a liberal feminist type of the baby boom generation. She should have wised up and charted her own course.

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