2:00PM Water Cooler 4/7/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


” Trade observers have their eyes trained on Mar-a-Lago today, where President Donald Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the final day of their two-day summit… The Nelson Report, a newsletter focused on Asia, reported it heard from official sources that there would be no joint statement after the meeting, though Spicer told reporters on Air Force One there would be a readout about what the leaders discussed. Spicer also indicated there might not be a press conference, but cautioned not to rule anything out.”



Various Theories of Trump, all interesting if true, or maybe interesting anyhow. Are the strikes kinetic, or designed to communicate, and if so, what?

In Southeast Asia, there’s the saying: “Kill a chicken to scare the monkey.” So the chicken would be Assad. Who’s the monkey? Could there be more than one?

“Facta non Verba: How to Own Your Enemies” [Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Medium]. “anjar became in 1118 the sultan of the Seljuk Turkish Empire of Asia minor (that is, modern day Turkey), Iran, and parts of Afghanistan. Soon after his accession, he woke up one day with a dagger next to his bed, firmly planted in the ground. In one version of the legend, a letter informed him that the dagger thrusted in hard ground was preferable to the alternative, being plunged in his soft breast. It was a characteristic message of the Hashishins, a.k.a. Assassins, making him aware of the need to leave them alone, say send them birthday gifts, or hire their actors for his next movie. Sultan Sanjar had previously snubbed their peace negotiators; so they moved to phase two of a demonstrably well planned out process. They convinced him that his life was in their hands and that, crucially, he didn’t have to worry if he did the right thing –they had proven to him that they were both in control and reliable. Indeed Sanjar and the Assassins had a happy life ever-after.” Another narrative supported by the heads-up.

* * *

Not that impressed:

Not that impressed: “Sen. Warren: Syrian regime must be held accountable, but…” [WWLP].

“Waiting for the bodybags” [Carl Beijer]. That won’t happen on the field. Depending on how you define field.

From the heart of The Blob at Foreign Policy:

No pleasing some people:

Our Famously Free Press

Deja vu all over again:

And every liberal who wrote an “I was wrong on Iraq” is cheering this war on.

Trump Transition

“If you could be a fly on the wall eaves­drop­ping on a meet­ing these days, only one would be more in­ter­est­ing than the brain­storm­ing ses­sions that Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell and House Speak­er Paul Ry­an are hav­ing with their re­spect­ive lead­er­ship teams. It would be the meet­ing at which White House Chief of Staff Re­ince Priebus and his le­gis­lat­ive-af­fairs team ex­plain to Pres­id­ent Trump the mech­an­ics and con­sequences of a loom­ing April 29 gov­ern­ment shut­down, which would co­in­cid­ent­ally fall on Trump’s 100th day in of­fice. The timeline is tight: Con­gress leaves this Fri­day for the East­er-Pas­sov­er re­cess, the Sen­ate re­turns on April 24, the House re­turns on April 25, and the cur­rent con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion ex­pires at mid­night on April 28” [Cook Political Report]. “A shut­down would af­fect vir­tu­ally the en­tire fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Last year, only one of the 12 ap­pro­pri­ations bills, for vet­er­ans and mil­it­ary con­struc­tion, was fun­ded bey­ond April 28. In re­cent years, Con­gress has be­come heav­ily de­pend­ent on passing om­ni­bus ap­pro­pri­ations bills, with vir­tu­ally everything tossed in­to the mix.”

Infrastructure at last: “California’s $54 billion plan to fix roads and fund highway improvements cleared a major hurdle late Thursday, passing in the state legislature and setting the stage for what could become a massive spending spree” [CNBC]. “The legislation, part of a transportation funding package, provides money for local and state projects to fix roads, highways and bridges as well as to fund other transportation programs. The plan would generate about $5.2 billion in new taxes annually over the next decade by increasing gasoline taxes by 12 cents per gallon to 30 cents per gallon in the Golden State.”


Preet Bharara: “‘I don’t have any plans to enter politics, just like I have no plans to join the circus … and I mean no offense to the circus,’ he said in his address at Cooper Union in New York on Thursday” [CNBC].

2016 Post Mortem

“The October Non-Surprise” [EmptyWheel]. Marcy straightens out the timeline: “Both The Wikileaks Podesta Release and Access Hollywood Tape Drowned Out the Intelligence Community Report On Russia.”

“The Deification of Hillary Clinton” [The New Republic]. Review of Susan Bordo’s The Destruction of Hillary Clinton. Fun stuff: “Bordo’s objection seems to be that anyone opposed Clinton at all, even from the left. What she does not grasp—and is seemingly not interested in grasping—is that Clinton’s critics from the left were not opposing a caricature of her as some kind of right-wing political operator. We opposed Clinton-the-hawk and Clinton-the-means-tester. Our objection was about politics, not personality. Similarly, we do not reject the feminism of Bordo and Clinton because of its ideological rigidity, as Bordo suggests. We reject it because it is insufficient. America was not ‘already great.’ Our lives are proof.”

“Fantastic Lies: Of Bernie Bros & Bolshevik Bot Networks” [Nina Illingworth]. Awesome takedown. I mean, if retweeting Russia Today clips took Clinton down, she certainly didn’t get much value-for-money out of the billion dollars she tossed to the Democrat strategists and consultants and media buyers and bag-men and spear-carriers…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“However, Trump’s troubles don’t necessarily lead to success for Democrats. In fact, too many people – including those in the media – are desperate to find a Trump “buyer’s remorse” story that just isn’t there. One reason, it is simply too early. For most normal people, 75 days into the toughest job in the world isn’t enough to time to make a judgement on his future success. More important, this storyline misses an important psychological element: nobody likes to be told that they made a mistake – or that they exhibited bad judgement. You want to be understood for why you made that decision, not mocked for doing it” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. (Walter looks at the same Greenberg report I looked at here.) “Telling voters that Trump doesn’t ‘give a shit’ about them – as DNC Chair Tom Perez has said, does nothing to alleviate – or acknowledge – the real-life concerns that brought voters to Trump in the first place. … [A] message that is focused solely on ‘fighting Trump’ and none about ‘fighting for’ regular folks will fall flat in those swing districts Democrats are trying to hold/gain in 2018.” Well, I don’t care what Democrats are “fighting for.” They’re always doing that, and it’s not the same as winning, is it?

“A Consequential Presidency” [Washington Monthly]. A review of Michael Tomaskey’s Bill Clinton. “[Tomasky] pointed out that to regain power again, Democrats will once more have to attract the votes of those who left their party, in this case for Trump. Once called ‘Reagan Democrats,’ these generally white, modestly educated, working-class voters were wooed back to the fold by Bill Clinton’s Third Way liberalism. In 2008, after the disastrous Bush presidency, some flocked to Obama’s uplifting themes, but over the next eight years they slid steadily back into the GOP column. ‘I know lots of these people,” wrote Tomasky, who grew up in West Virginia… ‘My dear mom was one, and virtually all her friends from church. Loads of old high-school classmates…Millions are in fact liberals, to some degree or another, and many millions more may not be liberals but sure aren’t conservatives…They are, in fact or in potential, part of our team, and we need to treat them that way. The Democratic Party needs to identify leaders who can connect with these folks.” Bill Clinton was one such leader, and the Democrats are going to need to find more like him.” Hmm [strokes chin]…. Nobody comes to mimd!

“What’s Become of the American Dream?” [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal]. Nooners channelling Daniel Patrick Moynihan (and J.D. Vance) on families. Not good, in terms of the Zeitgeist Watch. On the bright side, Nooners doesn’t use “folks”!

Stats Watch

Employment Situation, March 2017: “Throw ADP out, it was the weather in March! Or at least the Category 3 storm that swept the Northeast may explain a much weaker-than-expected 98,000 increase in March nonfarm payrolls. This compares with Econoday’s consensus for 175,000 and a low estimate of 125,000. It is also the weakest reading since May last year” [Econoday]. “But there is one standout sign of strength in the report and that’s the unemployment rate which fell a very sharp 2 tenths to 4.5 percent as the number of unemployed fell by 326,000 to 7.2 million. This is the lowest unemployment rate since the height of the last expansion in April 2007 and it raises the issue of wage inflation which, however, has yet to build. Average hourly earnings rose only 0.2 percent in the month for a year-on-year rate that, at 2.7 percent, is down 1 tenth in the month and further away from the 3 percent line. … Retail trade fell 30,000 in March following February’s 31,000 decline. Trade & transportation payrolls decreased 27,000 following a 16,000 decline. But both manufacturing and mining show useful gains, at 11,000 each and with construction, despite the weather, still rising 6,000. The government hiring freeze put in place in late January didn’t hurt March payrolls for this reading which rose 9,000.” It was the “big storm”! And: “The headline jobs number was below expectations, and there were combined downward revisions to the previous two months. However the weakness in the headline jobs number can be blamed on the weather (both payback from a warm February, and storms during the reference week in March). Note: The weather impact was no surprise (I took the under in my employment preview) [he did!]” [Calculated Risk]. “Overall this was mostly a solid report.” But: “The headline seasonally adjusted BLS job growth was terrible and significantly below expectations. Last month’s gains were revised down” [Econintersect]. “The rate of growth for employment significantly degraded this month (red line on graph below). This is a year-over-year analysis which has no seasonality issues. The unadjusted jobs increase month-over-month was the worst since the end of the Great Recession.” And: “[A] report that simultaneously may be blamed on weather and may question some of the new pro-growth expansion’s real effectiveness” [247 Wall Street].

Employment Situation, more from the mainstream: “U.S. payroll gains slowed in March while the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped to the lowest in almost a decade, suggesting the labor market is returning to a more sustainable pace of progress” [Bloomberg], And: “[A] drop in the unemployment rate to a near 10-year low of 4.5 percent suggested labor market strength remained intact” [Reuters]. And but: “Hiring in March was expected to drop after the monthly gains of more than 200,000 in the two previous months, but this was the weakest showing for the economy in nearly a year” [New York Times‘]. “The latest report will only add to the debate over whether so-called soft data, like stronger sentiment among businesses, is actually prompting companies to hire more workers. March’s data suggests it is not, as does the 38,000 downward revision in estimated job creation in February and March.” And but: “Overall, this is a mixed — but still solid — report with wages rising as expected, the unemployment rate plunging, but overall job gains disappointing. For the Federal Reserve, this report isn’t likely to change their view of the health of the U.S. labor market” [Yahoo Finance]. “Additionally, some economists had said that worse-than-average winter weather in March had potential to depress the headline payrolls number.” I wish there were a way to get a more definitive answer than guesswork whether it’s the weather or not. Readers?

Wholesale Trade, March 2017: “The stock-to-sales ratio is unchanged at 1.28. Though questions of overhang are building in the retail sector where sales have been soft, inventories at the wholesale level look lean and stable” [Econoday]. And but: “The growth this month was in machinery / durables with automotive / furniture decelerating. Overally, I believe the rolling averages tell the real story – and they declined this month. There is an obvious growth trendline in wholesale – and even our analysis showing decline this month did not break this trendline. Inventories remain at elevated levels. To add to the confusion, year-over-year employment changes and sales growth do not match” [Econintersect].

Debt: “With both bad loans and interest rates on the rise, financial institutions are becoming more selective in doling out credit for new-car purchases, adding to the pressure for automakers already up against the wall with sliding sales, swelling inventories and a used-car glut” [Bloomberg].

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 01 April 2017: March Totals Up 5.5% Year-over-Year” [Econintersect].

The Bezzle: “I was the last drop-off that night, and I asked Kevin if I could stick around to compare what he earned with what we had paid. He agreed, so we sat in his car and waited for the trip summary to appear. Once it did, we noticed something odd: Uber had charged me $11.46, but it told Kevin my fare was $10.26, of which he got $7.30. The difference—$1.20, or 10% of what I paid—was unaccounted for” [Quartz]. Uber is just crooked from top to bottom, isn’t it?

The Bezzle: “Why All Your Gadgets Want You to Talk to Them” [New York Magazine]. “But the sense I get talking to various people in industry is that the true promise for tech companies and voice assistants isn’t in being a walking, talking information directory. Instead, it’s about the industry’s strong belief that the smart home, despite slow adoption rates, is coming — and that the smart home is going to need a voice operating system, one that can understand and respond primarily via voice commands.” In my house, the light switches are near the door, so you can turn them on when you walk in the room and off when you leave. I’ve got an another light at my desk so — follow me closely here — I can turn it on when I sit down to work, and off when I’m done, and I stand up. Do I really need an enormously expensive and insecure computing device to turn on the lights? I guess what I’m really objecting to is Silicon Valley’s hubris: They seem to think no engineering was ever done before programmers existed. That’s not so. See Donald Norman, The Design of Everyday Things. If these idiots really want to sell me on this concept, I need to be able to say “Siri! Clean the refrigerator!” Or “Siri, fire up the charcoal in the grill!” I think we’ll be waiting some time for that.

I don’t know where to file this: “Yahoo and AOL will form new company called … Oath” [CNN Tech]. “Oath.” Really? Shouldn’t that, given my experiences with Yahoo, be “oaths,” plural?

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 39 Fear (previous close: 43, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 47 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 7 at 12:13pm. Mr. Market thinks Trump’s Syrian bombing is sketchy?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“WHY FERGUSON FAILS” [On the Top Step]. Well worth a read, from somebody who ran for office in Ferguson. I’d quarrel with one or two of the received ideas, but it’s deeply felt and very knowledgeable.

“Minority Neighborhoods Pay Higher Car Insurance Premiums Than White Areas With the Same Risk” [Pro Publica].

Class Warfare

“Not only has poverty risen across the country, but the likelihood of living in an extremely poor, economically distressed neighborhood as a low-income individual has also gone up. In 2009, 11.7% of all Americans living below the poverty line resided in neighborhoods where at least 40% of residents were poor. In 2015, that share increased to 14.1%. People of all incomes living in extremely poor neighborhoods face greater obstacles to living healthy, safe, and prosperous lives. But for people earning poverty wages and who often struggle to provide basic necessities, the challenges of living in such neighborhoods are even greater” [247 Wall Street (!)]. #1: Bakersfield, CA.

News of the Wired

“Temple Grandin on the kinds of minds science desperately needs” [Elsevier]. Grandin: “When I look at the methods of an experiment, I see the actual animals, I see the experiment. So when I review journal articles, I tend to really go over the methods: the sampling procedures, what kind of animals they use. Other people are tearing apart the statistics, and I’ll (notice) they didn’t even tell me what breed of pig they used in the experiment. And that can affect the results in a really bad way.” If only economists experimented with Grandin’s attitude…

“Over The Air: Exploiting Broadcom’s Wi-Fi Stack (Part 1)” [Project Zero]. Lucidly written, almost like a detective novel.

“The secret world of microwave networks” [Ars Technica]. This is neat, too. Microwave networks have speed and construction advantages over cable (plus we don’t know know where they are or who owns them). “Making profits from better-informed knowledge of business or government (where obtaining that might seem an activity of public value) is a criminal offence: making profits from marginally faster dissemination of that knowledge (where achieving that appears to have no public value at all) is a legitimate market practice” [Financial Times].

“AN OFF-GRID SOCIAL NETWORK” [André Staltz]. This looks super-neat. “[Scuttlebutt’s] architecture is built so that network connections accurately represent the social graph and word of mouth. Typically with social networks like Facebook or Twitter, the network connections are centralized with their servers. The network architecture looks completely different to social architecture. Most users don’t care about this because the network architecture is invisible to them. However, it becomes a real problem once an authoritarian government or even the host company itself takes control over the network architecture in ways that disrupt the social architecture. It is not uncommon for a government to shut down a social network in a country for days/weeks, affecting how people communicate with each other. This has happened in Egypt, Cameroon, and Brazil. With Scuttlebutt, the social graph is the network architecture, with peer-to-peer infrastructure accurately matching peer-to-peer interactions. It makes communication and the spread of information highly resilient, bringing improvements to freedom of speech with modern information technologies.” Any readers with experience?

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:

Encouraging for the onset of spring and the soil. Let no organic matter leave the property!

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. lyman alpha blob

    Robert Parry’s take on the latest clusterf**k in Syria here.

    Of particular interest:

    Though Bannon and Kushner are often presented as rivals, the source said, they shared the belief that Trump should tell the truth about Syria, revealing the Obama administration’s CIA analysis that a fatal sarin gas attack in 2013 was a “false-flag” operation intended to sucker President Obama into fully joining the Syrian war on the side of the rebels — and the intelligence analysts’ similar beliefs about Tuesday’s incident.


    [Former CIA officer Philip] Giraldi told Scott Horton’s Webcast: “I’m hearing from sources on the ground in the Middle East, people who are intimately familiar with the intelligence that is available who are saying that the essential narrative that we’re all hearing about the Syrian government or the Russians using chemical weapons on innocent civilians is a sham.”

    Giraldi said his sources were more in line with an analysis postulating an accidental release of the poison gas after an Al Qaeda arms depot was hit by a Russian airstrike.

    “The intelligence confirms pretty much the account that the Russians have been giving … which is that they hit a warehouse where the rebels – now these are rebels that are, of course, connected with Al Qaeda – where the rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties. Apparently the intelligence on this is very clear.”

    Be nice to know which spooks are the trustworthy ones in all this….

    1. oho

      I’d bet Ivanka and Kushner are closet neocons.

      Not that either of them affected Trump’s decision—-but they certainly were not were unofficial/official voices of restraint.

      but if the NYT starts running hit pieces on Kushner, then I’m mistaken.

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        Well, uncloseted Zionists probably is true, and that bet would pay off for you. But then, maybe this is just another way of saying that they are NeoCons, judging from experience concerning their seamless overlap.

        And, additionally, you will not be mistaken; you can expect that the NYT will go to great lengths to tell us how very glad we all should be that those who think outside of the rigid box of Zionism/NeoConservatism have been defenestrated from Trump’s inner counsels, and have been replaced with their boy Kushner. Cooing noises ad nauseam are undoubtedly sure to follow.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If what Parry said above is true, I would have a hard time believing he is a closet neocon.

        And if Sanders had read that or known about what has been uncovered by Hersh about the 2013 event, and said nothing, he’d be more likely a closet neocon candidate.

      3. Allegorio

        Closet neo-cons? The Kushner family sponsor Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Neo-con, you think?

    2. Darius

      The neocons, NYT, Hillary, Democrat Russiaphobes, the MIC, Bibi want to align us with the Saudi Sunnis against Russia and Iran. Trump wants to be manly. A total cluster. If this alignment carries through to its conclusion. I wonder what it will mean for ISIS and Al Qaeda.

    3. Christopher Fay

      I don’t accept the branding of “rebels”. Most of these jihadis are foreigners backed by the CIA, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Monarchies from non-Syria countries. They should be named correctly “mercs” or “foreign invaders.” So it should read “false-flag operation intended to sucker President [random name] into fully going the Syrian war on the side of the [foreign invaders].”

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        “And the blind and lusty lovers
        Of the Great Eternal Lie
        Go on believing nothing
        ‘Cause something had to die”

        – Jethro Tull 1973

      2. different clue

        Well .. . I have sometimes suggested calling them the CLEJ. That’s an acronym. It stands for
        Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadis.

  2. Pajarito

    Trump is elected and we get Goldman Sachs and Koch cabinet, bombing Syria, and soon hot war with Russia. Didn’t he run against Hillary’s platform?

    Organic matter, at my place it is all run through some goats, less prone to be blown off property when compacted into neat little spheres.

    1. RenoDino

      At least goats obey the laws of nature. Trump, on the other hand, broke the law when he launched these strikes. Bloomberg Law discussion on legality of strikes makes it clear that Trump disregarded both the spirit and letter of both domestic and international law.

      https://player.fm/series/bloomberg-law (See Trump Strikes…)

      When these kind of discussions become a footnote to the attack, we are in serious trouble.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘it never once occurring to him that his words sounded like the voice-over to a parade of brownshirts’

      Made Men of the Media™ are not paid to have scruples.

      When Operation Mockingbird issues a DEFCON1 script, their job is to read it in mellifluous tones, maintaining convincing eye contact.

    2. Enquiring Mind

      Brian Williams represents the form over substance problem in media. He and Maddow probably drove away many potential viewers, although there still appears to be a market for that sort of thing.

      Robert Parry, Philip Giraldi and other more serious contributors often showcased on NC represent more of a threat to broadcast journalism.

    3. fresno dan

      April 7, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      “Brian Williams was on MSNBC composing a paean to the beauty of a cruise missile,…”
      Or maybe the technology that lets us see its launch and aftermath…

      New wars trigger the worst in people: their jingoism, their tribal loyalties, their instinct to submit to authority and leaders. The incentive scheme here is as obvious as it is frightening: great rewards await political leaders who start new wars. In Federalist 4, John Jay warned of all the personal benefits a leader obtains from starting a new war – which is the reason it was supposed to be difficult for U.S. Presidents to do it:

      It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it; nay, absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice or the voice and interests of his people.

      Trump is going to see – and feel – the establishment and media respect he craves, the sensations of strength he most lacks, by dropping bombs. Every person, let alone Trump, would be tempted to keep pursuing war as a result of this warped incentive framework. Indeed, Trump himself has long been aware of this motivation as he accused Obama in 2012 of preparing to start a new war in response to falling poll numbers:

      Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
      Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.
      2:39 PM – 9 Oct 2012
      21,559 21,559 Retweets 12,570 12,570 likes

      Those who instantly fall in line behind Trump as he bombs people are ensuring that he will keep doing it. As the instantly popular post-9/11 George W. Bush showed, those praising Trump for bombing Syria are also building him up in general so that he becomes stronger with everything else he wants to do.

      It seems to me something really changed with the 1st Gulf war…..the nintendo, video game war. The “smart” bombs, the 24 news cable climate of ever “breaking news alerts”, and of course video loops of things blowing up.
      Its hard for me to think anything other than it is better for the rating to show cruise missile launches than people walking down the street holding signs saying “No war in Syria”

      1. sleepy

        I believe that the first Gulf war also featured the now standard embedded correspondent gimmick.

        Among a zillion other problems, one is that we have far too many pundit-journalists rather than reporters.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Rand Corp made sure after Vietnam that they never lose control of the narrative again. And now the better part of a generation of Americans think that war is just a video game and equate the grainy videos of grandmothers being incinerated by American missiles with the time they beat their friends at World of Warcraft. The digitization of war means it can be completely decoupled from any remaining moral component. Cui bono? Why, all of the usual suspects: arms merchants, banks, and politicians. Cui plagalis? Why, all the rest of humanity.

          Five white people die on a bridge in London and the Western world explodes in grief and outrage, 300 women and children die in an Iraqi village in the 14th year of hideous war and nobody blinks an eye. Maybe we can just ask Oxford-Merriam to expunge the word “moral” from the dictionary as it no longer seems to apply to human affairs. While they’re at it they should also remove “compassion”, “empathy”, and “pity” as they are outmoded concepts as well.

          1. Christopher Fay

            Glorious Patriotic Iraq Bombing Spending Campaign began in 1990. We are in Third Decade of Liberating Iraq for our Freedoms.

        2. different clue

          Unembedded journalists would probably be assassinated one way or another.

          The DOD reporter-herders feel that the Vietnam Defeat was due to traitor journalists reporting things not in support of the military policy makers/ carry-outers. They determined to prevent and forbid any reporters going to war zones in a self-propelled uncontrolled way ever again. They determined that journalists would either be embedded or excluded.

          I gather it is still possible for journalists to go to war zones without being embedded, but much harder. I don’t know that, of course.

    4. Carolinian

      Not only does Brian Williams think cruise missiles are beautiful, he has personally fired them from the deck of Navy ships.

      Oh wait…

      Says it all about NBC News that they didn’t fully shitcan the guy.

    5. fresno dan

      April 7, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      I might as well add what Greenwald said about Brian Williams:

      For all the recent hysteria over RT being a propaganda outlet for the state, U.S. media coverage is barely distinguishable in times of war (which is, for the U.S., the permanent state of affairs). More systematic analysis will surely be forthcoming of last night’s coverage, but for now, here is Brian Williams – in all of his military-revering majesty – showing how state TV functions in the United States:

      1. Edward E

        The favorite music of so many in our media is the drumbeat for war. That goes all the way back to prehistoric warfare when they painted scenes of it on cave walls. Empire has really evolved haven’t they/we? It’s as disturbing now as it probably was back then. Just hope we don’t have to paint cave walls again anytime soon.

    6. alex morfesis

      stewart copeland, court jester (? son of the blob ?), said it best…

      Bombs Away

      The general scratches his belly and thinks
      His pay is good but his officers stink
      Guerilla girl, hard and sweet
      A military man would love to meet

      The President looks in the mirror and speaks
      His shirts are clean but his country reeks
      Unpaid bills, in Afghanistan hills

      Bombs away
      But we’re O.K.
      Bombs away
      In old Bombay

      The general only wants to teach France to dance
      His army life doesn’t give him any romance
      Guerilla girl, hard and sweet
      A military man would love to meet

      The general scratches his belly and thinks
      His pay is good but his company stinks
      Guerilla girl, hard and sweet
      A military man would love to meet

      Bombs away
      But we’re O.K.
      Bombs away
      In old Bombay
      Bombs away
      But we’re O.K.
      Bombs away
      In old Bombay
      Bombs away
      But we’re O.K.
      Bombs away
      In old Bombay
      Bombs away
      But we’re O.K.
      Bombs away
      In old Bombay

    7. Marina Bart

      I was pleasantly surprised by Bernie’s response. He’s already Enemy No. 1 of the ruling class. He is more vulnerable, with fewer resources than Trump to protect himself. Isn’t his position here well to the left of the Democratic Party leadership?

      It’s not awesome the way Tulsi’s statement was awesome, but it aligns with her and not with Clinton, Schumer, etc.

      He looks like he has aged ten years since I stood 100 feet away from him on a blazing hot California evening when he was on his fourth rally of the day. The pressure he must be under right now must be almost unimaginably intense.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It sounds like the weasel worded responses to Shrub’s shock and awe. Sanders should be embarrassed.

      2. Uahsenaa

        I agree that Sanders is playing the political game. Nevertheless, if what he suggested as an alternative actually happened–i.e. Trump asked Congress to vote on it–then you’d have the same result. That’s probably why people like Adam Johnson called him out on it.

        Gabbard, on the other hand, has the courage of her convictions. She took a lot of heat for going to Syria and making up her own mind about what’s going on there. The only endgame of this is more misery and death.

        1. Marina Bart

          I’m not sure what game Sanders is playing. It could simply be the “stay off a balcony in Memphis” game. I’d be more upset about his position if Tulsi’s wasn’t out there.

          I think it’s good for all of us, including Bernie, if there are voices staking strong positions to his left. So I’m fine with Johnson criticizing his position, I’m fine with you criticizing his position. I don’t think that stance is adequate or optimal. I just think treating his situation now as one where he’s free and safe to say whatever he thinks is clearly erroneous, and I was happy to see the messaging that Lambert posted here, because it is, at least, to the left of Democratic leadership. He hasn’t been fully absorbed, which is good.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Can anyone of us be more protected when we are already well protected by the surveillance in place?

    8. cocomaan

      If you think MSNBC is bad, don’t turn on NPR. They are living up to the National Pentagon Radio moniker. Christ, you’d think they woke up with a hard on, I haven’t heard them this gleeful in years.

      Why am I agreeing with Scott Adams again, what is happening?

      Is this reality?

      Someone send help?

      1. Uahsenaa

        I stopped listening to National Public Relations after the election. Not surprised to see they’ve gotten their full jingo on.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Into each life, a little NPR rain must fall.

        Avoid excess cleanliness; get some exposure, in order to develop immunity.

      3. Will S.

        Ugh, tell me about it. I guess I must have a masochistic anger fetish, because I listened to most of Morning Edition earlier and Innskeep had on some WSJ hack in Moscow. He asked him if Russian media “had acknowledged” Assad was behind the attack. No mention whatsoever of the absent evidence, not “The Russians tell another story,” but outright declaring This Is What Happened, the obvious sidenote being that if you dare to question the MSM line, you’re probably some kind of bolshevik stooge.

        1. Knot Galt

          Back in the day, I could remember when it was hard to pick up the NPR signal. In some places, listening to NPR was an impossibility.

          This week, I rented a car as I drove up the California Coast and the loudest signal my car radio picked up was . . . . NPR. Sadly too, it is no longer my father’s NPR. The propaganda filled the rental car up with so much stink it overshadowed the covered-up tobacco smell.

          1. Christopher Fay

            I’d be worried about filling the rental with the smell of skunk while driving along the kushy coast.

      4. Octopii

        It’s awful. It’s *been* awful. The hosts, especially Robert Siegel, smarmily spread their own biases while being combative with skeptical guests. That is, when skeptical guests are even brought on, which is rarely. Honestly what gave me some hope was Joshua Johnson in his first month or two. He had a much more interesting cast of guests than Diane Rehm’s crew of neoliberal economists and academics. But somebody must have given Johnson the message because it’s going to shit.

        Today all of the radio stations were pissing me off and I found myself becoming a hazard to traffic. It’s SO frustrating.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yes this episode seems to have engulfed the entire Panopticon sphere from end to end in lies. Gone are the days when you needed some kind of factual provocation or cassus belli, no matter how small for the bombs to start flying. Grainy photos of missiles being moved into Cuba, for example. Today make the wrong Facebook post and the Great Global Imperial Arbiter Of Life, Death, and Truth can rain down pain and suffering on you from space, Dog save us all.

  3. Watt4Bob

    re 2016 Post Mortem

    Just read Hillary’s latest explanation over at MSN dot com.

    Never saw comments so brutal.

    Read for four pages before finding anything but negative reactions.

    A very few …”but she got millions more…” quickly put down with… “That’s not how our elections work”

    Hillary, incorrigible, insufferable, and deplorable.

    Stick a fork in her.

      1. Watt4Bob

        I was thinking Typhoid Mary.

        She couldn’t help herself, kept spreading the disease until she was captured and quarantined on an island.

        1. Marina Bart

          That’s unfair to Mary, who was treated very badly by our public health system. I’m not excusing her, but it’s not like she could live in a mansion enjoying endless luxury and privilege surrounded by sycophants and servants, but chose to kill anyway.

          That would be Hillary.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          He was magnetic with court ladies as well.

          How did he do it – with his poetry maybe?

    1. Portia

      easier to steal the primaries than the election, I guess. And poetic justice with the electoral college.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Let’s hope it’s poetic justice from now on.

        Seems to be trending that way.*

        *I was expecting a lot more Hilbot push-back in the comments, but remarkably low Hilbot turnout, and incredibly negative reaction over all.

        1. Knot Galt

          I strongly suspect that is because the siphon has been shut off and even the pond scum has dried up.

  4. shinola

    Looks like my fears about Trump are coming turning out to be justified. In spite of his non-interventionist rhetoric during the campaign, I thought he might be too easily goaded into war because of his need to appear a macho, tough guy. Seems like someone figured out just what buttons to push.

    (Although it’s not like HRC would need to be goaded)

    1. Watt4Bob

      Seems like someone figured out just what buttons to push.

      Barely audible comment in cabinet meeting;

      “What do you expect ……..tiny hands.”

    2. Allegorio

      Not to mention all the dirt that the “establishment” has on Trumpenstien. All that surveillance was not for nought. With Trumpenstien’s long and colorful career, who knows what? Was it the mafia connections? Was it a visit to Jeff Epstein’s Lolita Island? Was it a video of The Donald in full Waffen SS Regalia romancing Melania? Will we ever know? Just do know, that Trumpenstien’s sudden transformation and obedience to the “Foreign Policy Establishment”, certainly demonstrates the effectiveness of 24/7 surveillance! With the stakes so high, do you doubt that this is not only possible, but certainly probable, as our Intelligence Agency say to a high degree of certainty.

  5. Timmy

    Employment situation…

    Over the last two weeks I’ve seen an employment flyer in a NJ Trader Joe’s (they’re putting on a career fair at a local hotel), received a direct mail post card (‘we’re hiring!”) from Wegmans and also heard an employment pitch broadcast over the PA system at a ShopRite (“pick up an application at our service desk”). I don’t recall seeing this level of difficulty finding staff in the past, at least at grocery stores.

    1. jo6pac

      Yes, the local safeway in Tracy, Calif. had fliers on the entrance and exit doors for a job fair. I saw a lot of new faces working there.

    2. m

      The kids that had those crap jobs are graduating & quit under belief they will find something better. fools

    3. cocomaan

      I’m seeing a lot of hiring at small businesses and in the back of my ad supported local newspaper. What used to be a single block in the classifieds section is now half a page or more.

    4. Art Eclectic

      Last year I was visiting a location in Marin County CA and this little town had every retail business with Help Wanted signs in the windows. Nobody who lives in the area can live on retail wages…

      And the local teenagers wouldn’t be caught dead in any of those jobs.

  6. jo6pac

    Not that impressed: “Sen. Warren: Syrian regime must be held accountable, but

    She must be thinking on running for potus.

    1. Altandmain

      Apart from her criticism of Wall Street and on Finance, Warren is pretty much a mainstream Establishment Democrat.

      1. Massinissa

        She pretty much proved that when she didn’t even endorse Sanders. Endorsing Sanders is like the bare minimum to be considered anti-establishment.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Did the coward in the White House take the phones off the hook? He cant handle the heat.

  7. Jim Haygood

    From Marketwatch:

    Americans are fleeing areas with higher property taxes, making housing markets and local finances more stagnant in those areas.

    A report out this week from Attom Data illustrates the stark difference between the highest tax burdens and the lowest. Effective tax rates range from 0.32% in Hawaii to 2.31% in New Jersey.

    In dollar amounts, that meant an average property tax bill of $776 in Alabama in 2016 to nearly that much every month for the average New Jersey homeowner. The annual tax bill there is $8,477.


    New Jersey’s average $8,477 property tax equals more than six months of the average Social Security benefit of $1,341.

    Blue state values, comrades: virtue-signal how much you “care” about seniors … then sodomize them silly with A$$tronomical property taxes.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      A very large proportion of those taxes go to pay for two things:

      Retirement benefits
      Medical expenses

      Which some of those seniors use. If only the politicians actually paid for those benefits prior to promising them out.

      1. Jim Haygood

        About two-thirds of NJ property taxes go to public schools. Some of it goes to [generous and underfunded] health and pension plans. But it also pays for high salaries, federal mandates, a vast administrative superstructure, and on and on.

        Voters can turn down school budgets. But the law contains no teeth as to what happens next. The board can reduce the budget by a dollar and pass it again, with no follow-up public vote. Sham democracy, in other words.

        In 1991 it appeared that NJ might become one of the few eastern states to adopt Initiative and Referendum. But the NJEA teachers union rallied their lobbyists to defeat I&R. They knew full well that an outraged middle class would vote in Cali-style property tax curbs.

        So much for direct democracy: “We’ve got ours, Jack.

      2. different clue

        Did New Jersey ever have a state income tax? If it did, what was it? And what were property taxes at the time?

        If New Jersey had a state income tax and then repealed it, what happened with property taxes after that?

    2. Auntienene

      I’m in NJ. Live in a little 1956 ranch house. Taxes are more than $11k. My sister’s house in CA is for sale for $2.5m; her taxes are a quarter of that.

    3. carl

      Yoohoo! Down here in Texas we don’t believe in income taxes, so our sales taxes and property taxes are real high. Like 3% for property taxes. That’s quite a lot, even for a low property value state like us. Haven’t noticed any diminishing numbers of folks moving here…

  8. From Cold Mountain

    220 Cities Losing All Passenger Train Service per Trump Elimination of all Federal Funding for Amtrak’s National Network Trains

    “And, at a minimum, the proposed White House elimination of long distance routes would result in the following 220 towns and cities losing all Amtrak service:”

    Click the link for the long list of cities. I rode Amtrak cross country 11 times. It is widely used by the poor and the Amish population. To the people who say it is “cheaper to fly”, these are usually people who fly from NY to LA. But very often I found it cheaper than flying.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      The logical conclusion to the “rail coming to town will make this a city” phenomenon that started in the 1800s.

      If I were a neoliberal I would say ” It’s just flyover country with a bunch of racist deplorables anyway. Hope they die soon…”

    2. grayslady

      Birmingham, Alabama? Minneapolis, Minnesota? These are not rural villages that will lose all Amtrak service!

    3. a different chris

      Exactly. It turns out those trains do seem to labor from, say Chicago to say Houston, but they take a really, really long time to get there (rather than just a pretty long time) because they stop at Podunk A and Nowheresville B and on and on and on… or more like stop and stop and stop…

      So everybody looks at the Chi/Houston schedule and says “who would want to take a train!!???!!?” but it really doesn’t work like that.

    4. different clue

      The Trump budget is only a proposal at this point. The Houseters and the Senatizers are the people who vote about that budget. Might enough citizen pressure force the Two Chambers to reduce the Trump-suggested increase in DOD spending and restore that spending back to the various Domestic Items spendings that are suggested to be reduced to pay for the higher DOD spending?

      Is the experiment at least worth performing?

  9. tgs

    Robert Parry (24th minute), Phil Giraldi and a writer at SST claim their sources say that Trump was told by the IC that Assad was most likely not responsible for the chemical attack. Against the advice of Bannon and Kushner, he decided to blame Assad anyway to ‘change the conversation.’

    If true, he should be removed from office and prosecuted immediately.

    1. sleepy

      IMO he just ensured that he won’t be removed from office and prosecuted for anything

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Virtue signaling to the bloodthirsty McCain/Graham/Clinton crowd.

        He’s officially part of the Club now. No hard feelings, right Donnie?

    2. mad as hell

      Those are good cut to the chase articles.They give a clear understanding of what really happened and why. Unfortunately most of this country is no longer interested in facts and with the cheerleaders of war praising the beauty of the rockets red glare, Trump once again has got the MSM to fall into line and declare that he is most presidential. Oh! Van Jones and Brian Williams if you only knew how foolish you sound.

    3. bob

      Everything points to Turkey.


      As long as you don’t put the US at the center of the world, which is hard.

      1. robnume

        Before I noticed that the “White Helmets” were not wearing gloves while attending to “attack victims,” my first thought was that Turkey was the party responsible for the Sarin gas attack.

        1. different clue

          Everyone who knows how to work computers and store images and videos should be loading all those images and videos with courtroom-quality timestamps and other proofs of reality onto stand-alone storage media . . . discs, sticks, hard drives, whatever.

          The OverClass will direct its government-sheltered cyber warriors to find and delete every such video from off and out of every last corner of the internet. Anything not preserved on airgapped stand-alone storage devices will be erased from existence and never be referrable-to again. That would make it impossible to explain arguments like this one about the ungloved hands of the White Helmeteers. So I hope everyone stores every bit of these videos and photos and etc. on web-immune stand-alone devices while everyone can. ( Well . . . everyone with the skills and the machines).

  10. RabidGandhi

    Rambunctious injuns on the Twitters!

    Evo Morales Ayma ‏Verified account @evoespueblo

    I believe and feel, and I hope I’m not wrong, that chemical weapons in #Syria are an excuse for military intervention.

    and with pics:

    Bolivia, who [sic] called today’s Syria meeting at the UN, holds up Colin Powell’s 2003 picture, saying to remember that ISIS was the result.

    Turns out what gets tossed down the memory hole ends up in La Paz. Whodda thunk it?

    1. different clue

      Memory wormholes. ah ha ha ha.

      Everyone with the computer machines and the stand-alone data storage devices and the knowledge can turn their computer machine systems into little memory wormholes.

      Those storage devices should all be placed inside Faraday Cages once filled up with data, of course.

  11. Clive

    Re: Microwave Networks

    I wish I had time to give readers the “benefit” of my (not bragging here) vast knowledge of this subject. Unfortunately it’s a bit late in the day here to start that now. It was my first real techie job — back when microwave network infrastructure was A Thing. They had numerous advantages (as per the article) over cable circuits but the demands for bandwidth killed a lot of the paths. But the technology has advanced, here as everywhere, in recent years.

    One of the big pluses for sigint is their inherent enabling of snoopability. See here for a worked example. I suspected the reintroduction of microwave back hauling might make a “surprise” reappearance — cutting over to a microwave node in a few key routes would expose a lot of internet traffic to interception, far simpler than hacking into fibre.

      1. Gary

        Many rural communities that lack the population density to support Big Cable are getting their high speed internet using microwave now. An entrepreneur can set one up relatively inexpensively and charge Big Cable prices because people are used to it. I was using it in the early 80’s for a network between our courthouse and an annex where the mainframe was kept. The modems on each end simulated 4 T1 networks compatible with most multiplexors. I used surplus equipment and it ran for years unattended after I moved on. It was hell on the pigeons though, should one happen to fly through the signal.

        1. bob

          I believe that most “internet infrastructure” is based on those networks. OC192’s (backbone) use the same mux’ing/plexing standards as the AT&T networks….from the 60’s. Can’t find the standards at the moment. But, they were trying to combine wireless and wired tech, which required mulitplexing. Different speeds.

          Nothing is new.

          I bet that equipment worked great. They built the hell out of that stuff back in the day.

        2. MoiAussie

          Over here, most rural communities that lack the population density to support fibre are getting their high speed internet using “fixed wireless”, which is essentially cell phone tech. Where the population is really sparse, it’s satellite.

    1. Alex

      I work at a component supplier in the industry, and can confirm the interest from the finance industry. We’ve had a few tech suppliers approach us wanting build proprietary radios for low latency.

  12. bob

    I said this last night, and I’ll say it again.

    The airstrikes are all about the upcoming referendum in Turkey to make erdogon prez for life. One week from Sunday is the ballot. Prediction- Erdogon will be elevated to Sultan.

    Imagine how much this helps erdogon within Turkey. Turkey may now be completely lost for another few generations, doubling down on support for the Wahhabi gulf princes, and their acerbic ‘human rights records.’ Women and minorities aren’t human, you understand.

    That outcome has a much longer tail than a few billion in overpriced fireworks. As was also pointed out today, just over 1k more bombs to catch up with the damage that Obummer was never credited with in Syria.

      1. bob

        It’s a huge deal. And no one is talking about it. Even ‘well informed’ people are rushing into some sort of box where on one side they have “al qaeda” and the other “assad”.

        There’s one HUGE beneficiary to this shit show, and it’s Erdogan.

        But, we’ve got ‘principled’ people running the show, who all agree with Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia….Those bastions of human rights and democracy

          1. bob

            Just trying to parse the bird brain of this symbologist-

            “@jeremyscahill this is a funny tweet, but, like David Duke and Richard Spencer are against the strikes”

            “Ok, Jeremy. My point is that there are extremely heinous actors on each side of this strike. That’s all.”

            And it’s SOOOO FUNNY that we have bad people on *each* side. It’s even funnier (extremely heinous) when we send them weapons and money. Come watch the show on MSNBC later. It’ll be great. *each* side with have it’s say. We’ll rerun the video of Richard Spencer getting punched, next to billion dollar cruise missiles. You can all go to sleep in superior smugness — Your smugness being secured by the supreme commanders of some of the Most Supreme religious orthodoxies today. Funny, huh?”

            1. cocomaan

              I tell you what, you really opened my eyes to this. I knew I was missing something but had no idea what it was.

              NC posted an article by Juan Cole, who I had respect for until around 2009, when he went full on Obamanot. Now he has idiotic headlines like “Are Progressives Suffering from Trump Fatigue?”

              This needs to be reported on. A NATO ally going full on dictatorship? Aligning with who knows what? Right on the doorstep of the greater middle east?

              WHAT COULD GO WRONG?!!

              1. bob

                Remember, after the coup attempt last year, Erdogan jailed most journalists…Now.. what are the news orgs there saying-


                The sidebars are worth looking at, for context.

                Most popular- Erdogan photographed teaching Quaran to his grandson.

                Upcoming headline you’ll never see-

                Taliban 2.0 seizes control of Turkey, under leadership of Sultan Erdogan, Saudi Arabia and Israel announce their support.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Wouldn’t it be grand to see who organized that coup attempt (*cough America with Gulen in Pennsylvania cough*) and who gave Erdogan enough warning and details to keep from getting rubbed out (*cough Vlad P. cough*)

              2. different clue

                Professor Cole also steadily sells the narrative that Assad diddit whenever the Jihadi terrorists false-flag another chemical attack.

    1. Will S.

      There’s a Turkish historical drama called “Magnificent Century” that aired 2011—2014 but recently made its way to Netflix, and my girlfriend has been watching it. It’s essentially a soap opera about Suleyman the Magnificent, but the pining for the days of the Turks being on top of the world is hard to miss. The first moment I saw it I couldn’t help but think, “My, but Tayyip is priming the citizenry for a sultanate, isn’t he?”

  13. Mel

    Nice story from Taleb, but does it scale well? What if you wake up and the floor around is littered with daggers? If you have to pick your way through daggers to get to the can? What do you do? For whom? In what order?

    1. Ernesto Lyon

      I hope Taleb is right.

      Hopefully Trump is playing to the optics. He had to respond to the attack the way the MSM laid it out.
      If not, he gets labeled “weak.”

      It covers him on standing up to Russia, and it makes a point to Assad.

      But in the worst case the neocons/liberals have gotten to him.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Trump is a thug in need of a win after his Healthcare failure and his other domestic folds. I wonder if he was motivated due to his tough talk on Korea and being told the North Koreans have enough artillery pieces to obliterate Seoul.

        The prepositioning (thanks Obama) of equipment around Syria made it easy.

      2. different clue

        Trump is not that smart. Apparently Trump is illiterate. Apparently his sole information-imput medium is TV. Apparently the dead baby pictures got to him. Since he is illiterate, he would not be able to read all the material about the false-flag nature of the CLEJ gas attacks.

        So he has been Clintified. His foreign policy is all based on channeling Hillary Clinton now. Nothing more than that.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I have seen that photo with the eagle wings behind Trump.

    Nice manipulation to make the reader imagine two horns on his head. When you don’t have anything substantial, this is what you do.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump’s fake response.

    We’ll see; I asked about that in the links section…was it for show?

    Thus, the narrative is still on – he’s taking orders from the Third Rome, from the ever dangerous Rus’ Putin.

  16. Carolinian

    Re heads up theories–why pussyfoot around? Clearly Putin planned the whole thing as a way of getting the press off of his boy Trump’s back. Sounds like it’s succeeding brilliantly so far.

    Later they got together and had a good laugh over untraceable Tracfones.

      1. marym

        I should have checked further before posting that link. The few other stories out there now reference the same source which I’ve heard discredited in the past Thanks for pointing this out.

  17. joe defiant

    When something logically makes no sense it should at the very least be investigated further. There seems to be no plausible motive for Assad to order the use of chemical weapons. The rebels had no path to victory without significant coalition military involvement and the US had recently announced that ousting Assad was no longer a priority.

    “On Monday, Western officials were gathering in Brussels to weigh billions of dollars in reconstruction aid to the Assad government, amid opposition fears that they would drop their demand for a political transition first.

    By Thursday, however, American military officials were discussing a possible military strike on Syria, and Mr. Tillerson was saying there was “no role” for Mr. Assad in Syria’s future. And then Thursday — before dawn on Friday in Syria — Mr. Trump ordered the attack on the Shayrat air base, from which, he said, the chemical attack was launched.”

    US airstrikes in Syria have been greatly increasing lately:

    US ground troops have been arriving in great number more than doubling the soldiers present in Syria in the last month.
    Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/us-troops-are-in-ground-war-in-syria-where-is-congress_us_58c6b876e4b070e55af9f16e


    At the same time the US is building up ground forces and increasing airstrikes in Syria in what could be preparations for war. There is plenty of evidence of the U.S. “creating a threat” in order to justify a war in virtually every military action it has been involved in since WWII. The CIA has conducted covert activities to bring about regime change in over 70 countries in this same time.

    It seems possible that this chemical attack was a covert operation in order to drum up international support for a much larger U.S. war in Syria. Russian support for Assad and the possibility of a U.S. vs. Russia proxy war in Syria cannot be ignored. The timing happening at the same time that a campaign to dehumanize and portray Russia as an evil country interfering in U.S. elections which has been portrayed as an act of war seems too convenient.

    The one plausible theory I have heard pointing toward the Syrian military is that a rogue element of the Syrian military could have carried out the chemical attack. If this is true then an investigation should be able to find that Russia failed in removing all the chemical weapons from the Assad government after the agreement was made.

    UN and the International Criminal Court investigations will be a good start in attempting to find out what really happened.

    1. Todde

      Here is another theory:

      It could of been a Russian response to the St Petersburg attack.

      Although a good ol fashin’ bombing campaign would have done the trick also.

      1. Massinissa

        Russians probably would just bomb the crap out of them with regular bombs instead of using chems though. This doesn’t seem like their MO.

  18. Byron the Light Bulb

    The Kurdish-led offensive on Raqqa has stalled before it even began, the result of a lack of tanks. A condition of Kurdish participation in the offensive was that Turkish troops sit out because Kurdish villages will be undefended for the duration of the operation. However, Turkey has the only heavy armor in the area. The US may or may not have just begun delivering APC’s to Kurdistan in the interim. Either way, Assad has capitalized on the delay to send a personalized message to the Kurdish forces and buy some time. Kurds are particularly sensitive to threats of gas attacks; there’s history there.

    The Raqqa offensive is part of a larger strategy of dividing Syria in east/west halves, pushing Iranian units out of the eastern sector, isolating the rebellion in the western half, and purging Daesh from the banks of the Euphrates. At which point, an optimist might believe a successor to the Assad regime could be negotiated. Either way, Tillerson goes to Moskva this weekend.

    1. akz

      It hasn’t stalled SDF has just started the siege on Al Tabgah. Plenty of heavy fighting going on.

  19. fresno dan

    I saw a clip at zerohedge where Rubio says that ‘we shouldn’t be worried about what Russia thinks, Russia should be worried about us.’
    I also saw a comment that McCain had said ‘we don’t need to worry about war with Russia cause we have a bigger military’ or something similar. Can anyone verify or provide a link to the McCain quote?
    If its true, why haven’t we hauled McCain off to the loony bin?

    1. RWood

      McCain is doing fine where he is.
      (Where’s that animation Lambert gave us, “I feel fine”?)

  20. LT

    Re: Why Your Gadgets Want You To Talk To Them….

    Much of this app tech I’d appreciate if I became disabled in some way.
    Voice activation, for example, is great for people with problems with their sight. A driverless car would be excellent for anyone physically disabled.
    Then you have to wonder the effect over a long time of people not using their physical capabilities and be concerned with a type of atrophy, a “use it or lose it” point of view.

  21. Elizabeth Burton

    Uber had charged me $11.46, but it told Kevin my fare was $10.26, of which he got $7.30. The difference—$1.20, or 10% of what I paid—was unaccounted for

    Apparently, our friends running the gig economy forgot that one can now sign up to have the charges made to one’s card sent via text, and that it happens the minute the charge is filed. I suspect that’s how this happened. May it happen more often.

  22. Bob Haugen

    > Any readers with experience?

    Yes, been using scuttlebutt for a couple of years, off and on. Works great. Not the easiest install, but a helpful crowd. Early adopter-enthusiasts at this stage, but expect more to come as the technology gets easier to use.

    1. LT

      How does it differ from something like the old napster peer-to-peer? Just curious. Sounds interesting.

  23. Jess

    The CNBC story about last night’s passage in CA of the massive $54 bil infrastructure rehab bill is complete bullshit. Only a tiny fraction of this — if anything — will go to infrastructure. (My personal bet is fixing the Oroville Dam, because that’s a high-profile issue.) The vast majority of this money is going to backfill unfunded pension liabilities. This has always been the story. Twice that I can remember the public has approved ballot measures earmarking funds for transportation improvements. Then the money was raided for the general fund and never paid back.

    Two years ago voters approved a “temporary” increase in the sales tax that was specifically earmarked for K-12 education and to keep the UC system from having to raise tuition. Guess what? Not one dime went to the schools and classrooms. Every penny went to backfill pension obligations, and the school districts around the state still had to pony up a collective $6 bil more. And less than two months after the bill passed, the Regents increased UC tuition by 5% a year compounded over 4 years.

    Like I said, complete bullshit.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Most high school students are more like prisoners than child laborers (if they can find work).

      “Another day of school? When is summer break?”

      Life long continuous education – you learn what you desire to learn.

      I think we make school shorter, smaller…and instill a passion for learn through out their adult life, after they find jobs that we work hard now to return from abroad.

      “Too many useless classes.”

      1. SpringTexan

        YES!!! (the opposite of what odious Rahm wants to do)

        Our current system locks kids up and makes them hate learning.

        1. different clue

          Which may well be the point. If you can educate kids to hate learning when they are young, you can keep them from learning about their social class enemies when they are older.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      By the way, is any of that $57 billion for replacing the Chinese steel in the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge?

  24. jerry

    The MSM rationale for why Assad would do this is so hilariously stupid all you can do is sit back in awe. They absolutely refuse to entertain even the POSSIBILITY that Assad did not do this, so they are left with saying that he did it – I sh!t you not check NYT – BECAUSE HE CAN!

    He’s winning the war against rebels, got Washington off his back finally, and he decides to gas his own people now risking international outrage.. simply as a show of force that they should give up and that he can get away with it! These are international, supposedly reputable news organizations trying to pass off the motives of a lifetime politician and dictator inexplicably deciding to use 4th grade logic. Sad!

  25. Pat

    Total speculation, but it occurred to me this morning when reading that Russia had given the US advance notice of the air strike on this suspected dump, long term advance, what an opportunity that would be to set this up. Sure it could be a failure of intelligence, but what if it wasn’t. Can anyone here not imagine some member(s) in good standing of the blob arranging for the chemicals to come in and at.least some of the arms to go out. It isn’t as if we don’t have a record of more moderate positions being sabotaged as well as the false flag operations.

    That said I can tell you Schumer’s​ staffer couldn’t even pretend to be cheerful when I said to tell the Senator that Assad is not our problem and he doesn’t represent Syrian rebels or Israel. He represents NY and I for one am over him spending more time on them and Russia than on any of NY’s problems.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sounds like two 11 dimensional chess moves, in using the air base.

      One move was to set up a tragedy.

      The second to counter the false flag operation (the first move), with a fake response.

  26. Jomo

    Speaking of “Oilboy” Tillerson, I awoke today to find that the cost of a gallon of gas had risen 20* cents overnight and was now the cost of a gallon of diesel. I had an errand in the next county and must have driven past 30 gas stations and found every station had raised their prices for gasoline approximately 10%. Is this due to “turmoil” in the Mideast from rocket attacks? Or is the explanation more innocent, being a markup for Easter travelers? (“Thank you, Jesus!”) I live in rural North Florida. Anybody else notice this today?

    1. human

      Gasoline prices have been increasing all month. Didn’t notice any particular surge today … yet. Let’s see what this weekend brings.

  27. NotTimothyGeithner

    A good idea is a good idea.

    When calling your Congress critters, ask them about the slaughter in Yemen.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “When calling your Congress critters, ask them about the slaughter in Yemen.”

      Half of Kongress Klowns can’t find Yemen on a map.

      The other half think Yemen is a radical feminist group that demonstrates in those pink hats. :-0

  28. Gareth

    “[Tomasky] pointed out that to regain power again, Democrats will once more have to attract the votes of those who left their party, in this case for Trump. Once called ‘Reagan Democrats,’ these generally white, modestly educated, working-class voters were wooed back to the fold by Bill Clinton’s Third Way liberalism.”

    No they weren’t. Clinton won in ’92 with only 43% of the vote. Reagan democrats voted for Perot. Just another element of the delusional Clinton mythology.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bills numbers seemed whiter because of drops in black voting for his Southerness. Rushing back to murder the mentally handicapped man as governor was a real classy move.

    1. m

      The missiles missed a lot, watch RT. But soon after ISIS & our moderates started to invade. Hence the beat back.

  29. alex morfesis

    on a brighter note…buy yourself, your parent or the gramps a ten spot lifetime pass to the national parks system and…it also includes free access for them plus at least 3 adults…price is still ten bux if you visit the site directly or 20 bux by mail…obama increased the pricing to 80 bux for the lifetime pass, but the fast moving don trumpioni has not implemented it yet…sorry world travelers…usa citizens and perm residents only…although if you have a friend who is in america and 62+ yrs old, you could go traveling with them….



    1. Jim Haygood

      Just bought one yesterday, having heard the same price increase warning from my brother, then from the ranger.

    2. Carolinian

      You also get half priced camping at NP campgrounds and other bennies. Even at $80 (which I hadn’t heard about) it’s worth having the pass as single admission to the premium parks like Grand Canyon is now–I believe–$30.

      Of course there was a time when the National Parks were free admission on the theory that it’s our land. Silly notion, that.

      1. different clue

        Budgetary defunding was introduced in order to force the Park Service to start these fees or otherwise go extinct as a service.

  30. robnume

    My husband, who is a scientist, assures me that you would most definitely need to wear some thick gloves to touch the body of anyone who was the victim of a Sarin gas attack. That’s more than enough evidence for me of another White Helmet false flag. It’s what they do, their raison d’etre.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      The bodies would also be blue from asphyxiation. I haven’t seen any of that. But you are correct Sarin permeates through skin as well.

    2. wilroncanada

      Unfortunately I just had to listen to our esteemed irredeemable Prime Minister Justin Poodleau read his short carefully crafted speech in Parliament supporting the “limited response of the US president to the gas attack” carried out against its citizens by the dictator Assad. Nauseating.

      I wonder if he gets another Broadway date with Ivanka as a result, or maybe even a threesome with Melania and Ivanka?

  31. shinola

    Re. auto insurance rate rate discrepancies (I was in the ins. biz 30 yr.+)

    The article barely mentions one significant pricing factor & ignores another:

    >Credit scores can have a major effect on prices (lower scores = higher premiums). Minority dominated zips tend to be poorer & thus have lower scores.

    >Home ownership – most “preferred” ins. co’s offer a homeowners discount regardless of whether or not the same co. also insures the home. Additional discount is applied if auto & home are covered by the same co. More renters/fewer homeowners in poorer zips.

    This is not to say that ins. co’s rate setting practices have not always been opaque and are probably even more so now with proprietary algo’s.
    When credit scores were introduced as a factor, I saw rates for some of my Mr./Ms. Goodrisks (long time clients with no claims) go up by as much as 20%. When asked about the justification for this, the ins. co. rep’s would just tell us agents “The underwriters have determined that people with better scores have fewer claims” (just take our word for it).

    The Uber driver example was completely bogus. No preferred co. I ever wrote for would knowingly provide any coverage for a vehicle used, even part-time, as “public livery”. Even before Uber/Lyft, drivers who were involved in pizza delivery were on the “do not submit” list.

    Good intentions but flawed article.

    1. IDontKnow


      And maybe Hillary let Kushner(sp?) or Trump have a slice of the Clinton foundation point percent on the future pipeline income too?

  32. Mo's Bike Shop

    The picture of il douche reminded me of the ‘flying head of Alexis de Tocqueville’ from an underground comic back in the 80s.

    Google won’t even give up a hint about it.

    Feels like reaching the edge of your Flight Simulator module.

  33. robnume

    Yes, M. Pepe Escobar has been writing for years about the various “Pipelineastans.” Now the pipelineistan at play is a proposed venture between the EU and Israel to build a pipeline for LNG from the countries which Israel plans to soon own via military intervention, to the EU, thereby by-passing Russia, which we all know now supplies most of the LNG from its homeland into Europe.
    Russia and China could not have chosen a better time to decouple from the USD and its bankster “payment systems.”

  34. Jeremy Grimm

    “So how does a Master Persuader respond to a fake war crime?

    He does it with a fake response, if he’s smart.”

    I like this understanding of Trump’s response to what I too believe is a too “on-the-nose,” incident. I sincerely hope Trump is that smart. As one commenter noted some months ago — Trump got ahead dealing in New York and New Jersey Real Estate and that takes some very considerable political-chops++. On the other hand it is all too easy to despair of Trump and these times.

  35. freedeomny

    So Sanders is now going on a road show with Perez. I find this depressing beyond belief. How can someone who wanted a “revolution” now be so supportive of the Dem Party? What am I missing?

    So glad that my friend @BernieSanders will be joining me on this cross country tour. We want to see you there: http://bit.ly/2oa6hwu

    1. IDontKnow

      Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

      I guess they are watching each other pretty closely.

    2. different clue

      Sanders was always a practical politician, never a purity-display purist.

      People who want purity-display purity in their politics should go into politics and practice purity-display purity. if they can make it work, they will get more and more supporters.

      They can pursue their Theory of Action while Sanders pursues his.

  36. VietnamVet

    Well after the election of 2016, we are back to where we started except we are worst off.

    The Deplorables’ attempt to throw a monkey wrench into the system failed. The soft coup against Donald Trump worked. Steve Bannon is sidelined. A new Chief of Staff from Goldman Sachs is likely. The mini-World War III in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and Iraq has ratchetted up another notch and will spread into Turkey, Iran and Russia..

    Fake propaganda works until it doesn’t. The cracks in the Empire are visible and spreading. Perhaps the West will survive to see a new figurehead Emperor inaugurated in 2021 – More likely not. Fighting a war against another nuclear power is insane. Not to mention, imposing austerity on 80% of your people. The splintering apart of America is assured unless a new people’s peace party takes power.

    1. different clue

      It might have to start with economic and ecological survival movements at local and regional levels. If regionalocal grouploads of people can assure and entrench their own standalone survival in the face of national level efforts to destroy those efforts at local survival, then those local Survival Fortresses can become beachheads from which eventual Peace Party Survivalist breakouts become possible.

      People who think it has to start local-first might want to form up into their own TAGs ( Theory Action Groups) to take action based on their theory. They might not want to bother wasting time trying to convince other people from other TAGs to join in. Let those other TAGs pursue their own other actions.

  37. Rhondda

    Woah. That FP Twat image with the wings is bizarre-o.
    Donald Trump, Hermetic Messenger.

  38. Praedor

    I never bought into either Chem attack in Syria being Assad’s government. Neither made any military sense, neither had ANY useful military outcome. In fact, precisely the opposite. Neither killed any number of rebels not endangered their leadership at all. They we genies that merely caused outsize negative propaganda against Assad. Obvious false flags. The old rule still applies: ask “Who benefits?” and the answer is never the target of neocons.

  39. IDontKnow

    “Waiting for the bodybags” [Carl Beijer]. That won’t happen on the field. Depending on how you define field.

    em, in the end, this whole war to replace the regime waited out 50+ years of Syria poking Israel in the eye, etc. Why now? Because it’s time for Qatar and Saudi Arabia to sell natural gas to Europe. Unlike oil, gas does not ship cheap enough, and in big enough energy density for those distances and that market. Russia and others have a very good reason not to want a gas pipe line to Europe, so it’s going to take a large number of boots, and a very large number of deaths to make the oil pipe line happen, and operate without disruption. Enough deaths that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are going to pay out the nose to the Clinton Foundation, to Trumps interest, etc. The millions the Clinton’s got paid so far is just an advance, pocket money to bribe congress-critters, etc. They stand to take a fraction, and so if Hill-Billy swing this, with their olde friend Don, they two will become the new owners/controllers of the largest family fortunes in the United States.

    By god, let those undesirables bleed for her/his fortune… And Obama can go back to fetching coffee.

  40. IDontKnow

    Wont’ post in Watercooler, where the original Beijer link comes from so seeing if it will stick here.

    “Waiting for the bodybags” [Carl Beijer]. That won’t happen on the field. Depending on how you define field.

    em, in the end, this whole war to replace the regime waited out 50+ years of Syria poking Israel in the eye, etc. Why now? Because it’s time for Qatar and Saudi Arabia to sell natural gas to Europe. Unlike oil, gas does not ship cheap enough, and in big enough energy density for those distances and that market.

    Russia and others have a very good reason not to want that gas pipe line to Europe, so it’s going to take a large number of boots, and a very large number of deaths to make the oil pipe line happen. and still more to keep it open. Enough that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are going to pay out the nose to the Clinton Foundation, to Trumps interest, etc. The millions the Clintons got paid so far is just an advance, pocket money to bribe congress-critters, etc. (IMHO) They stand to take a fraction, and so if Hill-Billy swing this, with their olde friend Don, they two could become the new owners/controllers of the largest family fortunes in the United States.

    1. IDontKnow

      The check is in the mail?

      In Saudi Arabia, the official Saudi Press Agency reported that President Trump has spoken by telephone with King Salman about the U.S. missile strike on Syria.

      The news agency reported that during the Friday phone call, the Saudi monarch congratulated Trump for his “courageous decision.”

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