Links 4/16/17

Weather and climate: in the eye of the storm FT

Calpers Is Sick Of Paying Too Much for Private Equity WSJ

Fall in US consumer prices casts doubt on ‘Trumpflation’ hopes FT

Uber, Lifting Financial Veil, Says Sales Growth Outpaces Losses Bloomberg

Caution Ahead: Uber’s Financials Reveal Staggering Growth But Raise Many Questions Forbes

Hacked: How $171 mn stolen from Union Bank was recovered The Hindu (J-LS).

Pharmaceutical giant ‘plotted to destroy cancer drugs to drive prices up 4,000%’ Independent (J-LS). Aspen Pharmacare. “The price increases were made possible by a loophole that allows drug companies to change the price of medicines if they are no longer branded with the same name.”

Hacker documents show NSA tools for breaching global money transfer system Reuters

Saudi Aramco chief warns of looming oil shortage FT


Turkey referendum: Historic vote on presidential powers under way BBC

What changes under Turkey’s new constitution plan AFP

How Erdogan’s Referendum Gamble Might Backfire Der Spiegel

Voting on Dictatorship Jacobin

Turkey Investigating 17, Some Americans, Accused in Failed Coup NYT

* * *

Video Evidence of False Claims Made in the White House Intelligence Report of April 11, 2017 by Ted Postol Publius Tacitus, Sic Semper Tyrannis (Re Silc).

Syria: Cui Bono? Counterpunch

As Trump Strikes Syria, We Should Revisit the History Lessons of US Intervention in Central America Remezcla

I voted for Trump. After the Syria strikes, I’m second-guessing my choice. Vox

Public Slave Auctions are Regular Occurrence in Libya, West African Survivors Say Atlanta Black Star (MR).

Lunching with Mélenchon Harpers

North Korea

N. Korea didn’t test a nuclear weapon, but it did try to launch another missile WaPo

North Korea’s 2017 Military Parade Was a Big Deal. Here Are the Major Takeaways The Diplomat

U.S.-Korean war hype rings hollow as verbal jousting continues Japan Times

A picture and its story: North Korea on parade Reuters

Clinton on Korea policy in Goldman speech:

Is the Internet Causing Political Polarization? Evidence from Demographics NBER (MR).

2016 Post Mortem

Kirsten Powers: Hillary Clinton Blames Everybody But Herself For Loss RealClearPolitics

Elizabeth Warren Describes Why She Didn’t Run for White House in New Book WSJ

Democrats planning first cattle call for 2020 contenders Politico. A power play by CAP, Neera Tanden, and their associated funders in DC’s St. Regis Hotel. Optics like this really deserve a picture. Here’s the St. Regis lobby:

What execreble taste.

Trump Transition

Thousands at rallies demand Trump release tax returns Reuters. “Never, ever” #MedicareForAll….

Our Revolution endorses Perriello in Va Democratic primary for governor WaPo

Meet The New York City Democrat Flacking For Ivanka Trump Buzzfeed

Trump’s Latin American Model Boston Review (Re Silc).

The World Is Getting a Taste of the Trump Doctrine Rolling Stone

New Trump, Old Bottles LobeLog

The Five Most Powerful Populist Uprisings in U.S. History The American Conservative

Health Care

Trump Shifts Back to Health Care WSJ

I had a health crisis in France. I’m here to tell you that ‘socialized medicine’ is terrific Los Angeles Times. From 2016, still relevant.

Our Famously Free Press

Doctors have decades of experience fighting “fake news.” Here’s how they win. Vox

Black Injustice Tipping Point

#BlackLivesMatter Introduces a New Visa Debit Card, and Revives the Toxic Old Myths of Black Capitalism Black Agenda Report

United Removal Fiasco

The Elements of Bureaucratic Style LongReads (MR).

Imperial Collapse Watch


How Weapons of Mass Destruction Became ‘Red Lines’ for America The Atlantic (Re Silc).

It’s time America explored how to end the multiple wars it has helped cause since 2001, rather than dropping more bombs Patrick Coburn, Independent (J-LS).

Class Warfare

From ‘Zombie Malls’ to Bonobos: America’s Retail Transformation NYT and Is American Retail at a Historic Tipping Point? NYT. So up in Bangor, the malls blighted the downtowns, and now Amazon is blighting the malls. Which is fine, I suppose, if I have Amazon Prime with free shipping, and can order washers for the sink to be delivered by UPS (or, in a few years, drones). Of course, all those retail jobs will be gone, and the UPS union, along with the tax base….

Katy Perry shows us America. We should listen to her. Fabius Maximus

The University of Chicago worries about a lack of competition The Economist

More Americans now work full-time from home than walk and bike to office jobs Quartz (CL).

You Draw It: Just How Bad Is the Drug Overdose Epidemic? NYT

Nevada Becomes First State to Install Syringe Vending Machines Daily Beast

Children as young as 13 attending ‘smartphone rehab’ as concerns grow over screen time Independent (CL).

Turn off notifications and break free of your online chains Guardian.’ I have “Do Not Disturb” set from 12:00AM to 11:59PM…

Texas warns about biggest mumps outbreak in 22 years CNN

The tiny changes that can cause AI to fail BBC (CL).

John Donne nourishes the soul at Eastertime FT

The 100-year-old challenge to Darwin that is still making waves in research Nature

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. ambrit

    That picture of the St. Regis lobby immediately identifies the users of the room as members of Americas’ “Ancien Regime.” Versailles on the Hudson.
    In the Sixties we had the ultra bedroom from “2001” and now we return to this. Who says that history has a fixed direction? Backwards is just as good of a direction as any other.

        1. Luxor

          Isn’t there a Taste Police for the nouveau riche? You know, to keep the Populists at bay?

          Were the TP on vacation when this was decorated?

          Then again, maybe the St Regis is supposed to make Populists jealous — don’t you wish you were here?

          1. Plenue

            Strether says “What execreble taste”, but honestly I think it looks pretty. The problem is that it wasn’t chosen for looks; it was chosen for expense as an ostentatious display of wealth and status.

    1. Carla

      That lobby resembles photos of the Donald’s NYC apartment that were published in the NYT magazine sometime within the last year or so. Members of the ruling class must be very comfortable in such hideous surroundings. Makes me nostalgic for the Chippendale and Hepplewhite that used to characterize the taste of our “leaders.”

      1. Uahsenaa

        I had an interview once in a hotel like that; made me uncomfortable the entire time. I think places like that are specifically designed to reminds the plebs that they are not where they belong.

      2. craazyman

        very brave of you. to admit you feel a nostalgia for Chippendales

        how many times did you go? and what did you like best about it?

        haha. sorry

        There must be something wrong with me, because I kind of like the St. Regis decor — for a fun splashy gaudy hotel. I like the kalahs! They go good together. Not sure it’s the best location, optically speaking, for Demo-hacks to gather to plot ways to “get out the vote”. hahahaha. Are these people nuts or what? “Yes” is the answer. Not “what”.

        1. craazyboy

          I knew one of the owners of Chippendales long ago.

          He advised the best time to go there was around midnight. By that time, all the women in the place were whipped up into a mad, frothing, jockstrap destroying, crotch groping, mass of insane, estrogen fuming, hormone driven meatbrains.

          All you needed to do at that point was to take something like a handkerchief, or even a nice, silk pocket square, and catch it up in your pants zipper. Then enter the premises and before you know it, a stampede of frenzied Ellos Toros come at you like you’re El Matador waiving a red cape.

          I never went. I was too scared after hearing that story.

            1. craazyboy

              I was too scared to ask. After hearing the story, I gulped down my tropical umbrella drink, then went home and hid under the bed, shaking for a bit, until finally drifting off to sleep. I had some weird dreams, but my shrink advised me I shouldn’t talk about those to anyone.

              But, yeah. I guess some of them might have been from there.

          1. Oregoncharles

            You’d be Dionysos – torn to pieces by his maddened (female) followers.

            Did the ancient Greeks really foresee everything? Or have we just not changed very much?

          2. Jess

            Former friend of mine managed the original Chippendales. It always opened the door to guy after the second show, which ended sometime around ten-ish. Of course, knowing him I got to skip waiting in line. Women broke down into four groups: a) those that identified the dancer they were going to screw and jumped him the minute he came out of the dressing room; b) those who would love to stay and explore possibilities but had a babysitter to go relieve; c) those that wouldn’t touch one of those dancers wearing a hazmat suit; normal ladies interested in who they might meet just like in any other club.

            1. craazyboy

              Yeah, I remember my buddy saying most of the dancing dudes were gay guys. He said the hot and bothered wimens would try and then strike out a few? times before they realized they were barking up the wrong crotches and they needed to direct a gang rape on the male straight customers. But then there were macho lezzies that had the girls in their sites too and ran interference.

              I think that’s why he said come at midnight – give the wacko women some time to work out strategy and tactics.

              It almost started sounding interesting, but then I chickened out and got scared again.

          3. craazyman

            No kidding. That sounds like a Scooby-Doo episode. I’d run.

            But if it was only two or three of them — reasonably hot and not too flabby, good humored, sane and not all that neurotic — it would be OK. hahahahah.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      Versailles on the Potomac, actually, but yeah. Give me interiors by Robert Adam any day – less garish, though to today’s eyes they look just as grand, and certainly signify wealth just as well.

      My real complaint is those karate chop pillows. I thought that was a look long gone.

        1. RabidGandhi

          I’m, a huge fan of Georgian architecture. The fretwork on Kvatakhevi Church is the most intense on the planet, and the interior of Mama Daviti is entrancing in its intricacy.

          Trump could MAGA by giving US architecture a more caucasian feel.

      1. Benedict@Large

        Reminds me a lot of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, with a lot of quality antique work mixed in with a few rooms done over in more modern styling. Yes, the lobby is quite ornate, sort of a showcase to impress people as they enter, but looking around among the other photos, the rest of the place, while very nice, is a bit more restrained. Probably not a bad venue for events like the Dems are holding there.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think an even better venue would be, say, a very large Holiday Inn in St. Louis, or Cleveland, or some such.

          It would be refreshing for Neera to get out of the Beltway, surely?

    3. fresno dan

      April 16, 2017 at 7:29 am

      “Who says that history has a fixed direction?”
      Uh, the 1%? I’m thinking the people actually hoovering up all the “growth” of the last 40 years have a vested interest in acting like a separate email system (Facebook) makes the ever declining standard of living, increased insurance costs for decreased service, and tomatoes as hard as baseballs something we should just accept as its “progress.”

      Oh, and HAPPY EASTER everyone!

      1. ambrit

        Happy Easter to you too fresno dan, and to one and all.
        Whatever direction history is moving in, we’re all along for the ride. Fasten your seatbelts.

    4. HotFlash

      the St. Regis lobby: What execrable taste.

      What, you don’t appreciate a fine New Orleans Bordello 1870?

      1. HopeLB

        The St.Regis should consider adding a large, free standing, neon lit, McDonald’s “M” to the decor. Place it right in the forefront so you look through it upon entering the space.
        It would give the flash some ironic humor, and summon images of the most expensive versions of ketchup and mustard; that illusive thing we Americans are all striving/bumbling toward. (Those oddly empty, gilded, raised dish pillars (candle holders?) could have packets of these elites-only versions (1878 Chateau Lifite flavored ketchup and saffron threaded mustard).
        Bet they would also work well as egg dyes in a pinch!

        1. craazyboy

          Methinks a large M would ruin the atmosphere of the place. Then when you leave, it becomes a W – and that would just completely ruin the mood. Like you left something important behind.

          I think sitting in that lobby is one place I wouldn’t feel pretentious at all dining on dainty bites of flower pollen, collected by brown slave-peasants on the other side of the planet and hand rubbing into a jar, then used by the hotel kitchen staff, supervised by a French cable TV chef, to create something wonderful, and the tasty morsel then presented to me for my enjoyment by humble and subservient hotel lobby wait staff.

          mmm. America is still great. Hope there’s enough to go around.

          1. HopeLB

            Happy Post Ianna Egg Fest and Very, Very Belated Vernal Equinox Greetings Craazyboy!
            I actually agree with you (not about the neon M, as I’m not quite getting why when exiting you would view it as a W unless you have some strange form of dyslexia and/or are constantly in the position of having to flee lobbies in an upside down position (not that I haven’t myself been in that exact same circumstance, but certainly not habitually.)) but more because I am comfortable anywhere and if I were at the St.Regis, I would extend my pinky while picking up your imagined flower pollen laden offerrings and be happy. It’s always the people you are with or the people you can meet and share a nice connecting moment with that matters anyway. Decor is nothing and I’m with you on being both immune to it and enjoying whatever it is. A walk/sit in the forest beats all of it anyway. (Hey! You should get some flower pollen inclined chef (A bee wannabe?) to provision you for a hike to the top of Old Rag. Bet those treats would taste even better there, especially with some laughs on the way up.)
            Wishing You Exquisite Eggs Always, Thanks for All of The Laughs,

            (The Inanna reference)


            1. craazyboy

              Old Rag? That’s where rednecks go on Easter Egg hunts. Takes all week too, but they don’t have jobs, so it’s ok.

              I’ve always found this whole Easter Bunny laying chocolate egg props or surrealist painted chicken eggs and Jesus a weirdly disturbing juxtaposition of conceptual ideas.

              Connecting the dots leads nowhere good, and I wonder what this does to the subconscious mind of our young chillens. Not that it affected me in anyway I’m aware off.

              If it’s Pagan that begins to explain it.

              The M is made from Plexiglas tile laid in the floor and backlite from below. It might blink too, if you want a vertigo effect.

              It don’t think I want to develop my taste for anything with Saffron in it. Way too expensive. Hard boiled eggs work better with my budget. Did have cheesecake for Easter. Leftovers should cover me the next few days. Chocolate swirl, Turtle swirl, lemon swirl and strawberry swirl sampler pack. mmm tasty stuff. Better than Saffron.

      2. paleobotanist

        I don’t know, my cats would adore sinking their claws into all that velvet and hiking up those swagged curtains…..They would appreciate this decor ;^)

    5. Bill

      re: St Regis Lobby photo: “What execreble taste.”

      I’d bet the Chumps don’t think so………

    6. Carey

      I’m thinking that Mr Wittgenstein would be having a field day with the AI users’ and boosters’ use of, and shaping of language, in these times. The unexamined assumptions in that BBC AI article… oh, dear. [as i repeatedly correct this sm**tphone’s “corrections”]

    7. Annotherone

      What the heck kind of style is that supposed to be? Mid-20th century Nouveau Riche? Lambert’s choice of adjective is apt. From merrian
      “He or she who is cursed faces execrable conditions. Keep this in mind to remember that execrable is a descendant of the Latin verb exsecrari, meaning “to put under a curse “.

  2. JohnL

    “We don’t want a unified Korean peninsula…”

    She’s describing China’s traditional policy towards North Korea:

    “… their traditional policy…”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Imperial China was known to keep tribes beyond the Great Wall divided.

        It’s a very old strategy, used by many states and nations.

        And so, it comes as no surprise that the PRC is not for a unified Korea.

        Moreover, they perhaps, then, will understand that others don’t like to see a unified China either, across the Taiwan Strait.

        “Do unto others…”

        And that brings us to Lysistrata.

        Women can withhold sex to tame/control men. Can men withhold sex to tame/control women? Is that a strategy more or less equally likely to be employed, and more or less equally likely to succeed, by both (“Do unto other as they would do…”)

        And Lysistrata’s Chinese (involuntary, in all likelyhood) opposite: Xishi.

        From Wikipedia, Xi Shi:

        King Goujian of Yue was once imprisoned by King Fuchai of Wu after a defeat in war, and Yue later became a tributary state to Wu. Secretly planning his revenge, Goujian’s minister Wen Zhong suggested training beautiful women and offering them to Fuchai as a tribute (knowing Fuchai could not resist beautiful women). His other minister, Fan Li, found Xi Shi and Zheng Dan, and gave them to Fuchai in 490 BC.
        Bewitched by the beauty and kindness of Xi Shi and Zheng Dan, Fuchai forgot all about his state affairs and at their instigation, killed his best advisor, the great general Wu Zixu. Fuchai even built Guanwa Palace (Palace of Beautiful Women) in an imperial park on the slope of Lingyan Hill, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) west of Suzhou. The strength of Wu dwindled, and in 473 BC Goujian launched his strike and completely routed the Wu army. King Fuchai lamented that he should have listened to Wu Zixu, and then committed suicide.

        It was the Dao De Jing ‘water conquers all’ strategy or the meek, or soft (soft refers to soft power or soft soup, and implying any personal characteristics) shall inherit strategy. In this case, used by bad, bad men, taking advantage of a beautiful woman.

        1. georgieboy2

          Rich urbane Chinese like the fact that N. Korea is such a hinterland and hope it stays that way. They seek out seafood from N. Korean waters because it is much less polluted than most anything else they can buy.

          The N. Koreans run fabulous restaurants in major Chinese cities, under tight security. Think Busby Berkeley shows with better-than-Nomo seafood. Provides a nice little source of foreign exchange for the Kims. Waitresses who try to defect are eventually caught and turned in by local Chinese police for cash rewards. They go home on the next flight with heavy medieval-looking iron rings locked around their neck, and are summarily executed.

          1. different clue

            Do the Kims publicize these executions within North Korea? Or do they keep these executions secret from North Korean society in general?

            My purely intuitive guess would be that they keep these “defecting waitress” executions secret. That way, the waitresses are always being unknowingly “loyalty tested”. The non-defectors are allowed to come back home and reproduce. The defectors are weeded out and perhaps the Kims think that the “defection gene” will be deleted with enough adverse selection.

    1. RabidGandhi

      If “traditional” means the original policy of the CCP, then it is not traditional at all. Both China and North Korea originally held that Kim Il sung’s regime represented all Koreans, having liberated all but the south, which remained under a brutal US-backed dictatorship. For decades the assumption was that the far more industrially advanced north would eventually overtake the backwards south (kept backwards under US mercantilist economic policy, which hampered industrialisation). In the 1970s, US planners grudgingly but wisely saw the direction this was heading and allowed both South Korea and Japan to industrialise their economies, as a bulwark against the growing economic might of China and PRNK.

      Even after the (torpedoed) Sunshine Policy, the question for the US and China is not whether to allow/foster/impede reunification, but rather which of them will hold sway in a Korea that will eventually be unified, if it is not blown to smithereens first.

      1. Bill Smith

        “For decades the assumption was that the far more industrially advanced north would eventually overtake the backwards south (kept backwards under US mercantilist economic policy, which hampered industrialisation).”

        How many decades was at assumption good for? 1950 something to 1970? So for less than two decades it was assumed that the north was more industrially advanced than the south?

        1. RabidGandhi

          Even before the Korean War, the north had perennially been far more industrialised than the south, which was both more agricultural-based and more affected by Japanese and then US imperialism. Proof of this can be seen in the fact that the north was utterly decimated by the US bombing campaign– which was really without parallel, even exceeding the destruction of Japan in WWII– but within a few years of the armistice, the north was already outpacing the south in industrial output.

          1. Bill Smith

            I agree that the North was decimated by the US bombing campaign. How good where the statistics that came out of the North on industrial production after the war?

      2. Mark P.

        RabidGandhi wrote: ‘Both China and North Korea originally held that Kim Il sung’s regime represented all Koreans, having liberated all but the south, which remained under a brutal US-backed dictatorship.‘

        Yeah. Except the thing is, China and Mao’s regime had nothing to do with the DPRK’s creation in 1945, because, firstly, it wasn’t till 1949 that the People’s Republic of China came into existence and, secondly, Kim Il-sung — Kim I — was a creation of Stalin’s U.S.S.R.

        In 1945, the Korean Peninsula was divided arbitrarily along the 38th parallel, with the northern half occupied by the Soviets and the southern half by the U.S. Soviet general Terentii Shtykov, established the Soviet Civil Authority in North Korea October 1945, and installed Kim Il-sung as chairman of the Provisional People’s Committee for North Korea in February 1946.

        One way to understand Pyongyang is as, arguably, the last Stalinist regime on the planet.

        RG wrote: ‘For decades the assumption was that the far more industrially advanced north would eventually overtake the backwards south.’


        RG: ‘In the 1970s, US planners grudgingly but wisely saw the direction this was heading and allowed both South Korea and Japan to industrialise their economies.’

        False, in the case of Japan. By 1968 Japan had already become the second largest economy in the world after the U.S., experiencing average growth of up to 9 percent per year between 1955 and 1973.

        That’s because the U.S. consciously planned in the immediate wake of WWII — alongside the establishment of the Bretton Woods regime and the Marshall Plan — to build up the economies and currencies of Japan and Germany as a counterweight to the dollar, in case the dollar ever ran into trouble. So from the 1950s on, the U.S. licensed transistor and chip patents to Japanese companies like Sharp and Matsushita pretty much as fast as those patents came down the pipeline.

    2. JTMcPhee

      No, that Hillaryism could not have been a lapsus lingua, “Never, not ever,” could not be. Let us stretch to Correct the Record, to preserve the Narrative, to at least obscure the bald spots on Hillary Clinton’s “private pate.” Because it sure seems that “the US” is invested in exactly that division, in keeping the pot just on a high simmer with occasional bumps in the temperature of the mix to keep us all concerned and fearful and in doubt… and content to let our Great War Leaders keep on driving us toward that profitable (to them, in so many different ways) Great Confrontation, High Noon for the planet and they of course are Gary Cooper, not the Miller gang…

      Does it make any difference to “policy” that in the latest missile launch, now stated not to be the “feared ICBM” in any event, somebody forgot to light all the fuses? At least, this was not the “feared ICBM capable of reaching the US” which apparently at the moment is still smoke-and-mirrors-ware,

      1. mpalomar

        Not sure what you’re saying. The twitter link suggests this is HC’s position, “We don’t want a unified Korean Peninsula” – Hillary to Goldman Sachs.
        It seems clear what she is describing is what she believes is China’s policy.

        As to whether the US and Clinton are enablers and promoters of this polarity, you’ll get no argument. It’s just good imperial MIC business sense. Still it is useful to accurately portray the imperial playbook.

        One does wonder whether the fizzled missile test was NK planned-fail, to temporarily detour and deflate the US military juggernaut.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It seems logical enough to be China’s, Japan’s and America’s policy.

          Additionally, China has one more card.

          From History of Korea, Wikipedia:

          The founding legend of Gojoseon, which is recorded in the Samguk Yusa (1281) and other medieval Korean books,[26] states that the country was established in 2333 BC by Dangun, said to be descended from heaven.[27] While no evidence has been found that supports whatever facts may lie beneath this,[28] the account has played an important role in developing Korean national identity. In the 12th century BC Gija, a prince from the Shang dynasty of China, purportedly founded Gija Joseon. However, due to contradicting historical and archaeological evidence, its existence was challenged in the 20th century, and today no longer forms the mainstream understanding of this period.

          China has been said to be with hesitation to assert sovereignty over South China Sea, based on historical facts of several nations around it being her tributary states.

          Is it what China is basing on? If so, her claim to Korea is even stronger (if debatable, especially since the 20th century, see above), or perhaps more ancient, Luckily, for the world, she is not.

      2. Alex Morfesis

        Having been reminded of the $hillary speech to goldman, I am even more thankful don trumpioni is the one fumbling along in the oval office…

        he is dumb enough to know how stupid he is, $he is too stupid to know how dumb she is…

        probably too many nights glazing out from tupelo point as she imagined herself as a chosen one goldwater girl during her first weeks along lake waban…

        But, what if 1dumbsun is faking everyone out…what if he has no intention nor interest in bombing japan or souh korea or the usa…what if his intention is to recreate a greater korea ??

        What if he is actually looking to emp china ??

        Yes, based on our klownkar media depiction of the godless communists, we all imagined there were no Christian churches nor mosques in the old ussr…that turned out to be a farse…same goes for Buddhism in north korea…

        And the notion north korea has evuh been controlled by china or the soviets…lets us look back at the “august faction incident” which led to “juche” & the expulsion of the chinese military in 1958…

        1dumbsun made a big deal that his now deceased brother was from a japanese mother, whereby gramps prefered 1dumbsun…he also has brought back describing the august faction (aka, the second arduous march) as a regular drumbeat on nk tv…

        Gramps kim il sung made a big deal about digging thru the june 25th war rubble to find the grave of the founder of Korea…


        who was the leader of the northern of the 3 korean kingdoms…

        goguryeo…aka goryeo…from where we actually get korea…

        Gorguyeo on some maps includes parts of Manchuria up to and including Vladivostok…

        the area south of incheon is not “historically” korea…based on the 3 kingdoms argument…

        If 1dumbsun starts spending more time at chong rung/chongrungsa temple, it might not be america he is thinking to blast into the stone age…

        When you survive and thrive from a cult of personality, you have to have a viable story/myth/legend to feed those who would do your bidding…

    3. John Wright

      Yes, Clinton is describing China’s policy toward Korea.

      The thrust of her comments appears to be that it is in China’s interest to control Korea.

      I downloaded the three speeches and here is some more of the text.

      “So they want to keep North Korea within their orbit. They want to keep it predictable in
      their view. They have made some rather significant statements recently that they would very much like
      to see the North Koreans pull back from their nuclear program. Because I and everybody else —
      and I know you had Leon Panetta here this morning. You know, we all have told the Chinese if they
      continue to develop this missile program and they get an ICBM that has the capacity to carry a small
      nuclear weapon on it, which is what they’re aiming to do, we cannot abide that. Because they could
      not only do damage to our treaty allies, namely Japan and South Korea, but they could actually
      reach Hawaii and the west coast theoretically, and we’re going to ring China with missile defense.
      We’re going to put more of our fleet in the area. So China, come on. You either control
      them or we’re going to have to defend against them.”

      If Clinton can share this information, apparently acquired while on the US government payroll, with Goldman Sachs, why did she not share it with the American population when North Korean fear is being amped up in the media?

      This information can’t (?) be covered by national security laws, unless everyone hearing the speech had clearance.

      It appears she views China as a worthy counterweight to Korea, which seems reasonable.

      None her “theoretical” concern about North Korea launching an ICBM to the US west coast. One should ask why NK would provoke the USA that way, given that the USA much firepower to respond. Now I know people will say but the leaders of NK are mad, so they might consider launching a nuclear strike against the USA, but I suspect many in the NK leadership would fear for their safety in a US counterattack and prevent the launch.

      But she seems to view South Korea and Japan as more likely targets.

      Hawk Hillary can seem reasonable when she is well paid to give a speech to the elite.

      1. RabidGandhi

        It is ironic that after being intrinsicaly involved in orchestrating and subsequently gloating over Ghaddafi’s sexual brutalisation and murder, HRC does not openly admit that wherever the former Libyan dictator is now, he is certainly ruing the day he gave up his nuclear weapons, as they are are empirically useful not for nuking Honolulu, but rather as a clear life insurance policy.

        Then again, I wonder if HRC and the other neocons are not emminently aware of this fact. For example, what they are obviously most trying to prevent in Iran is the Islamic Republic from having the safety of MAD in the face of the countless Israeli ICBMs pointed at Teheran.

        1. John

          HRC neocon neoliberal plan for post Gadaffi Libya is finally being realized in the open Libyan refugee slave markets. It’s just a little side bidness, but we can’t miss any opportunity for some freedumb fries. Monetize the human meat.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I just always assumed it was election posturing to provide an excuse for her Iraq War vote. Bob Shrum revealed the thought process behind Edwards’ Iraq War vote, and despite clearly knowing better, Edwards voted for the war because of expectations it would hurt his political career. Except for Hillary knowing better, I can’t imagine the political calculus was much different given Clinton style politics.

            Hillary is only not the former President because she voted for the Iraq War. Turn a weakness into a strength. Shell bomb the stuffing out of everything without “boots on the ground” to prove her Iraq War vote wasn’t her failure but a failure of Shrub’s inability to fight wars properly.

            1. John Wright

              As I remember the reporting in the San Francisco Chronicle at the time of the Iraq War Authorization to use Military Force, CA Senator Barbara Boxer advised Senator John Kerry to vote “NO” on the AUMF.

              He responded to the effect “I have to vote for it, I want to run for President”.

              Kerry, despite his personal Vietnam experience, must have assumed the Iraq war would work out fine, so voting yes was the prudent “patriotic” vote.

              As it turned out, he might have ridden a NO vote to the presidency, rather than have the muddled “I was for it, I was against it” message that worked against him vs Bush II.

      2. a different chris

        >Now I know people will say but the leaders of NK are mad

        I’m not sure any leader of any country has been “mad” since purple-peeing King George. And note what he was leader of: the arguably most powerful state in the world. A place like Libya or North Korea will not tolerate a “mad” leader long, there are too many opportunists with minimal moral limits within reach of the office.

        Those who have the brass ring know they walk on eggshells every day.

    4. lambert strether

      Read the last line: ” China, come on. You either control them or we’re going to have to defend against them.”

      That’s not China. That’s us.

    5. different clue

      And Japan’s policy, too.

      And possibly South Korea’s policy too, in secret. How many South Koreans really want their country torn and burned and looted all the way down to a North Korean level?

      1. Mark P.

        And possibly South Korea’s policy too, in secret.

        Not even in secret.

        The GDP of North Korea totaled $25 billion in 2015, or $1,000 per capita.

        The GDP of South Korea totaled $1.929 trillion, or $37,948 per capita.

        Reunification would be an impossibly costly drag on South Korea — even under the best-case scenario — and people there say that openly.

  3. MoiAussie

    As some may know, a suicide car bomb attack on Shiite civilians being evacuated from villages near Aleppo has tragically killed more than 110, including many children.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, with Shias targeted predominantly by Isis and, to a lesser extent, al-Qaeda in the past.

    Reports by Syrian state media that the car bomb had infiltrated the area after being loaded with food supplies for children could not be confirmed.

    Now, worryingly, a report at Fort Russ suggests that a new fake flag CW attack is being planned by “opposition rebels” to provoke another US or possibly Israeli strike.

    Reports are circulating on social media, saying terrorists, belonging to the so-called “Syrian opposition”, are allegedly trying to stage another chemical attack in the Damascene suburban area of Al Ghouta and put the blame on Hezbollah.

    The latter would be accused of gassing the civilians in a retaliation for the killing of about 100 people […] who lost their lives in a terrorist attack that occurred in Rashedeen, west of Aleppo on Saturday, amid the evacuation process. The rumours started to spread, following reports, that the terrorists, stationed in Al Ghouta, began distributing gas masks to the residents.

    I hope there’s nothing to it, but if another supposed gas attack is reported soon, there will be even more reason to suspect that it’s not what it seems.

    1. Bill Smith

      How do we know that the Syrian side is not laying the ground work with these “reports” so that when they drop a chemical weapon they can better blame it on the “so-called” “Syrian opposition”?

      Really, who knows what is really going on?

      1. HBE

        Come on.

        Why would they (Syrian gov.)use gas when they could more easily use conventional munitions (bombs), and not face the same hypocritical shitstorm from the west, while achieving the same results.

        We already know thanks to Hersh, the rebels previously perpetrated a false flag gas attack in 2013 to goad the US into full intervention, wouldn’t it be more logical they are trying to do the same thing with a new administration. Not that Assad is playing some devious long game just so he can use gas, when conventional weapons are readily available.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Big Lie relies on the subjects psyching themselves out.

          We think, why do they do something conflicting, contrary to their goals, that is, it doesn’t make sense, thus, non likely.

          The old reverse psychology, double reverse, triple reverse, etc.

          The key, which is very hard to get, is to keep track of its odd or even-ness. Is that an even number of reverses or an odd number?

          Or we look at ‘who benefits?’

          1. pretzelattack

            it is true that it has been accused. saddam was accused of having wmds a lot, during the buildup to the iraq war.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          We already know thanks to Hersh, the rebels previously perpetrated a false flag gas attack in 2013 to goad the US into full intervention…….

          We “know” this because we do not get all our information from the msm, which is actually currently stating Assad / Russian responsibility for the 2013 incident as fact.

          There was an article here (I think), within the last week or so, that stated that, after having drawn his chemical weapons red line in 2013 and seeing it violated, obama was informed by u.s. intelligence that Syrian culpability for the 2013 attack was not a slam dunk. obama declined to retaliate miitarily at the time, and accepted Putin’s assurance that all Assad’s chemical weapons would be destroyed instead. But, obama continued to take the public position that Assad had been responsible, even though he had reason to believe that was not true.

          And that is the context in which this current attack is being framed. The msm is suggesting that Putin is either incompetent, and was duped into thinking Assad had destroyed all his chemical weapons when he hadn’t, or Putin / Assad nefariously misled the u.s. into thinking they had kept their end of the bargain when they hadn’t.

          Either way, the msm is not explaining the current incident in terms of a previous false flag, but rather in terms of a prior bad act by known bad actors. This is seriously skewing perception of what has just happened and who is responsible.

          1. craazyboy

            false flag gas attack in 2013 to goad the US into full intervention

            Hello! It worked!!!!

            News just out we are building 5 military basis in North Syria – BTW allied with Kurds, and unofficially our ornery, but loyal and lovable, Arab friends from Iraq. Dr. Lechter advised long ago, “Those guys are good! Get those guys!”

            No permission from Assad’s folks – that’s the Syria “Down there”.

            I’m figuratively groping for what we tell our NATO ally, Turkey, about providing safe sanctuary for Kurdish Freedom Friers and air support too.

              1. craazyboy

                Whew. Buzy Dude. He’s Armenian so he’s on the Good Guys side. How that relates to everyone else, I can’t figure out from his bio. But they call him a philanthropist, so that’s worth a few points.

                Kurdish Freedom Fryers will make fine oil workers.

      2. sid_finster

        Right, the Syrian government is going to do something likely provoke another attack (the neocons in both parties will blame Syria, regardless of any evidence or the lack thereof) just to prove a point.

        I am so glad that you are not in charge of Syrian government strategy.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          1. There is Rashomon.

          Even if you guys are there, you can’t all agree on one version.

          2. Then there is Second Order Rashomon.

          That’s those of us who rely on those who were there. And we delude ourselves in these ‘first hand’, but Rashomon, reports.

          Now, delusions take lots of energy to maintain. But we humans are really addicted to that…we are born energy guzzlers.

            1. ambrit

              Hey, a really good film, which “Rashomon” certainly is, will unfold some of the hidden dimensions of what is purported to be the “real world.” After all, Dick Cheney and henchmen played the “imaginary world” game to everyones’ cost.
              To be a bit ironic, the MSM news is often portrayed as “film at eleven!” The comparison with “Rashomon” is obvious.

      3. John Wright

        It seems to me a decision to use chemical weapons, from Assad’s side, would be a most difficult decision to justify to his military leaders/fellow politicians.

        He is certainly aware that he supposedly got rid of all chemical weapons from the Putin/Kerry deal, so why show he did not actually abide by the terms by using chemical weapons?

        From a military standpoint, the used of chemical weapons might be justified because the user is willing to kill humans in the targeted area while preserving infrastructure/equipment that would be damaged in a conventional attack.

        Assad should know by now that a chemical weapons attack is not appreciated by Russia/USA or the various talking heads in the USA media (Nick Kristof, for example) that influence the launching of USA military attacks.

        My question is then, what is so significant about the chemically targeted area that Assad would find it more important to kill humans chemically, to preserve infrastructure, with the extreme downside that the USA might unleash its military against Assad destroying even MORE infrastructure?

        Assad must know that the USA knows how to bomb/destroy a country, as he only has to look at bordering Iraq or not far away Libya.

        The USA has well established it is acceptable to kill people in defense of (????), providing it isn’t done chemically.

        It makes sense Assad with stay with this program of conventional weapons.

        1. DJPS

          It’s especially confusing when you consider that the US Military was allegedly informed of the decision to target the weapons dump in that area 24hrs earlier. What if, instead of simply avoiding the area, they bussed in a bunch of corpses and white hats?

      4. Anon

        Well, evidently, there are current and former US intelligence folks (unwilling to perpetuate the lies of the Trump administration) who have real knowledge that the recent “Sarin” gas attack was a false flag. They’ve been writing (blogging) about it, and their accounts are far more evidence-based than the stenographic musings of the MSM.

      5. different clue

        Well, lets view this as a geo-political science experiment. This latest gassing led to a spot-focused bombing of Assad government assets . . . an air base. So whoever did the attack knows it brought an attack. So whoever did the attack knows if they do another one, that we will launch another attack on Assad assets. Maybe a bigger attack than 58 tomahawk missiles. Would Assad like that?
        No. Would the rebels like that? Yes.

        So if there is another gas attack, we can be Highly Confident that the rebels diddit to draw down another attack on Assad assets.

      6. different clue

        If there is another gas attack, the US will bomb the Assad side again, maybe harder. Given that, what would Assad gain from trying to blame a gas attack on the rebels compared with what he knows he would lose from another US attack? Also, he is smart enough to know that the MSM Fake News Industrial Complex would say Assad diddit no matter how hard Assad said the rebels diddit. So Assad’s attempt to blame the rebels would fail.

        His efforts to blame the rebels NOW are failing, even though it is the rebels who diddit. So why would he do it himself, knowing he would fail just as much in getting the rebels blamed?

        If it happens again, thats just more proof that the rebels diddit. And if the US bombs the Assad side again, that just rewards the rebels again for doing it again. They will take the lesson of the reward and keep gas-attacking people again and again and again.

        The only cure for this is to exterminate every rebel within the borders of Syria. A decent and humane and reality-based US policy would have America deFECT from LEADing the Global Axis of Jihad, and switch to joining the R + 6 in oPPOSing the Global Axis of Jihad.

  4. Eureka Springs

    Panicked screams were followed by a stampede of travelers at Penn Station Friday during the peak of the rush hour commute, when Amtrak police attempted to detain two men for disobeying orders.

    “They were trying to calm down that man,” an eyewitness said.

    The NYPD received over two dozen 911 calls about an active shooter that didn’t really exist, with the mayhem extending more than a block away to stores along 34th Street including Macy’s which was briefly evacuated.


    I take umbrage with – shooting someone as trying to calm them down. For “disobeying orders” no less. All the implication in the article that police shooting their tasers is not dangerous or an active shooting. In the long run I can’t help but wonder if this type of reaction from people to tasers could be a good thing… If at some point we the peeps make it clear police are making us less safe by thinking/acting this way.

    doG tase America. Help us calm down!

      1. Eureka Springs

        I’m sure he’s busy, no doubt his PR firm has him busy applying for a Black Lives Matter credit card. Film at 11.

        1. ambrit

          Kudos! You beat me to it!
          Also, there is something intrinsically wrong with the concept of “branding” #BlackLivesMatter.

          1. different clue


            I wonder if only people above a certain age would think there is something intrinsically wrong with the concept of “branding” #BlackLivesMatter. I wonder if people below that certain age would consider it quite all right. And the younger they are, the all righter they would find it.

            People have been marinated over the last 20 years in the concept that they are a brand and that they have to learn to manage their Personal Brand selves.

            1. ambrit

              Good point. To get the “subject” of the process to do the work of subversion themselves is the height of propaganda efficiency. You are right in observing that to consider oneself as a “brand” is self-objectification. Also, it gives a lot of ones’ self identity away to the “others” whose approval you seek.

        1. craazyboy

          Whenever I see someone tazed on a TeeBee show, he always safely and gently falls to the ground. Even if it’s hard cement, no broken bones, dislocated joints, fractured hips, or seriously caved in skulls. Then the actor flops around a bit just to let you , the viewer, know it’s not really a fun and painless experience.

          But that got me thinking. If it happened in real life, you should be sure to get a copy of your tazing vid record and whenever your next physical at your Doc is due, bring it along and you can skip the cardiac stress test. Ask for a discount, too.

      1. different clue

        Well, if Axon tries renaming the Taser itself, the masses of millions can leaderlessly defeat that by all calling it the Axon Taser or the Taser. And still speak of being tased as “being tased”.

    1. DH

      The obvious solution will be to have a SWAT team trained to shoot tranquilizer darts to calm people down.

      Tasers have a place, but they seem to be moving to be the first choice instead of the harder task of talking to people. New technologies can’t just become the preferred tool if they are easier, but not necessarily better.

      1. Antifa

        The use of non-lethal weapons to force compliance on humans is currently done under human control. Tasers, sound cannons, tear gas, microwaves to toast your epidermis, even anesthetic gases. There’s stuff in the research pipeline that’s way more high tech than this. But a human still has to give the okay to use these weapons, either against individuals or against crowds. Somebody has to push the button; the rest is automated.

        Here’s the thing. The increasing use of sophisticated non-lethal weapons invites and encourages taking humans completely out of the loop.

        What are the best measures of non-compliance in a human? Well, increased heart rate, adrenaline pheromones, increased sweat, distorted facial features as they yell, use of inappropriate language, tears, throwing things, bleeding, aggressive body language — guess what? — every one of these can or could more easily and accurately be measured by chemical sensors, facial and physical motion recognition algorithms, and coupled with digital formulas that can be preprogrammed to decide to the millisecond when a citizen crosses the line from civilian to terrorist.

        When they become non-compliant. And the button gets pushed to make them compliant.

        All these sensors and physical recognition tools, and appropriate non-lethal weapons, can be loaded into a tracked vehicle that can wade through a crowd of hungry protesters who are shouting for food, and neutralize them. These sensors and weapons can also be miniaturized to be carried on drones, either flying or wheeled.

        Who needs a cop? If Amazon, UPS, and Domino’s Pizza can dispense with delivery people and bring delight to anyone, at any time, anywhere in the nation, then so can a fleet of police drones deliver justice and instant compliance from coast to coast, 24/7. We’re talking the absolute end of convenience store robberies and jaywalking here.

        By giving up community policing, walking the beat, and human interaction in favor of staying in their cars, Humvees, and tanks the boys in blue are working themselves right out of their jobs. By militarizing against the populace, they’ve reduced their skill set to non-lethal and lethal weapons to force instant compliance. Which robots and drones can do far better, for far less.

        There’s going to be a lot of former cops in that crowd shouting for food.

    2. Ulysses

      “In the long run I can’t help but wonder if this type of reaction from people to tasers could be a good thing… If at some point we the peeps make it clear police are making us less safe by thinking/acting this way”

      Yep. I remember a few years back we were having a radical confab, at the old Brecht Forum
      in the Village, and a few armed thugs from the NYPD “Red Squad” were milling about on the sidewalk. An elderly female academic shamed them into leaving– by claiming that all their guns “will probably give me a heart attack!”


  5. BeliTsari

    I’d gotten delayed at work, so only read about it on Gothamist (loads of snarky tweets about “tasing perps”) We’ve apparently graduated from Golan-Globus’ schlock & awe to Showtime/ A&E hand-me-down Mossad agitprop

    1. different clue

      Golan-Globus produced Koyanisqaatsi. And Powaqaatsi too. Both of which I liked. I don’t know about their other movies.

      1. RMO

        Golan and Globus also produced The Apple, Breakin’, Breakin’ 2 Electric Boogaloo and Lifeforce (space vampires!). And many, many other fine motion pictures.

  6. fresno dan

    Clinton on Korea policy in Goldman speech:
    I interpret that as Clinton conveying the Chinese point of view. I would think the USA blob point of view is to unite the Korea’s (as a South Korea) just the same as having a united Germany is our view, but from the point of view of Russia is a bad idea.
    Likewise, it is my understanding that there has been Chinese/Korean rivalry for centuries, so I can certainly understand the Chinese point of view to keep Korea split.

    The thing of it is – how many wars have been caused by countries “defending” their allies when everyone would have been better off letting two small countries duke it out?

    1. MoiAussie

      The USA blob doesn’t want a united Korea to be a nuclear state, which is exactly what would happen if North and South agreed to reunify. If this happened, Japan would have nuclear weapons within 6 months, as they already have plenty of plutonium and the know-how. Thus the US will only support Korean reunification if the North agrees to denuclearise or if the North is completely obliterated first. See the last paragraph of this.

      The Chinese opposition is much more about avoiding US missiles on their border.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The USA Japanese blob doesn’t want a united Korea to be a nuclear state,

        Japan: “America, you have a blob. We have a blob as well.”

        China and Japan went to war over Korea, a tributary state to the Qing empire, before becoming a colony of Imperial Japan, and from Wikipedia:

        As Prussian advisor Major Klemens Meckel put it to the Meiji army, Korea was “a dagger pointed at the heart of Japan”.

        1. Olga

          USA does not want a unified Korea because in such a case there’d be reason for the US to have troops in the area. They’d have to get out – very simple.

  7. UserFriendly

    New Trump, Old Bottles

    The nationalists and the libertarians have indeed reacted in horror. Richard Spencer, the darling of the far-right, not only condemned the attack but even suggested that he would support Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) in 2020 (presumably because she’s sat down with both Assad and Trump, a tyrannical twofer).

    LMAO I can see it now every HillBot in the country has their head explode.

    1. HBE

      Ha. It seems now everyone but tribalist dem hacks (tanden and Dean, etc.), loves Gabbard.

      I certainly feel she is more principled than Bernie these days. He appears to have largely been assimilated as a Dem PR tool aimed at millennials.

    2. DJPS

      I’m sure this will be trotted out in the primary as a stick to beat her with. Just like David Duke’s endorsement of Trump was used to insinuate things.

    3. different clue

      The Clintonites have hated Gabbard for some time. Their heads would not explode. They would feel confirmed in their hatred of the hateful Gabbard. They would say: ” Behold! Not only was she a traitor against Her Royal Herness, Queen Hillary of Clinton . . . but she is a Deplorable too!”

      The Clintonites’ heads might spin around in pure orgasms of pleasure-rage, like that girl in the Excorcist, but their heads would not explode.

    1. Ernesto Lyon

      Indeed. Goldacre and the Cochrane Collaboration are genuinely interested in improving medicine.

      But a lot of the ‘debunking’ of alternative treatments or attacks on the so-called ‘anti-vaccine movement’ are nothing but pharma flack jobs.

  8. RabidGandhi

    The Upshot draw-your-own-overdose map was fun, thanks. Leave it to the NYT to turn a mass epidemic it helped produce into a droll parlour game.

    That said, with all the maps I’ve seen, this is the first one where the state that really stood out for all counties having 35%+ overdose rates was… Massachusetts. So I looked at the 2016 MA election results by county thinking, perhaps if the Bay State were to jettison the Boston hub it would flip to Trump, but this is not the case. Most of the heavily affected areas on the NYT map in the Mass hinterlands still went blue in 2016– with the notable exceptions of hard-hit south shore areas around Brockton and a few spots on the north shore near the NH border. Also, it should be taken into account that these county maps do not show population concentrations and they do not indicate turnout, ie deplorables who just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to vote HRC.

    So here’s the question: how yellow does that NYT overdose map have to get before a deep-blue state like Mass ditches the Democrat Party?

    Postscript: note in the NYT map, Norfolk and Suffolk Counties (inside the Boston 128 beltway) both have averages well over 30%: some of the highest in the country. Food for thought.

  9. jfleni

    RE: Saudi Aramco chief warns of looming oil shortage.

    What else would you expect the “Princeling – Grease Monkees” to say; up solar, up wind, up public transit, is the only intelligent reply!

    1. MoiAussie

      It seems to be an effort to talk up the Saudi Aramco IPO, which has become necessary as they’ve burned so much cash on their vile ventures in Yemen, Syria and elsewhere.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      They were leaked in October. Since Hillary has admitted to having public and private positions, it’s worth returning to them to gauge the array of opinions with in the Borg.

      I expect every reporter/newsroom had a copy or could get a copy, but given the inevitable Hillary victory over Trump, who would want to risk being made a pariah when everyone wants an exclusive or premiere war embedding assignment? I would argue at the point they did come it wouldn’t have mattered. TINA was at play, and if you were a person who still liked Hillary after all these years, she could climb into a steeple with a rifle and you would only imagine she was doing something great to achieve achieve her dreams.

      1. Pat

        I’m sure you intentionally had me flashback to the uproar when Trump claimed it wouldn’t matter if he shot someone. Funny how that worked/works. I somewhat agree that most voters had decided early on and it was only a matter of how much nose holding they would do before not voting so the continuing dueling oppositional information releases about either candidate were pretty meaningless.

        In recent days, and because of knowledgable NC commenters, I have been wondering how much of my lamenting our loss of a truly free and oppositional press is really just nostalgia. And how much is just SOP since before I was born. Is our now clearly complicit press just being so lazy and contemptuous they don’t even bother to hide that they are just another arm of PR and propaganda for our MOTU? Were any breaks in this is merely a result of one group or other of them maneuvering for power? At any time did we have a vibrant press dedicated to showing the good, bad, beautiful and ugly in the last century? While it is very clear we don’t have one now except in the guerrilla sense, my illusions may just be being shed regarding the past.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The press was always pretty bad. Even Cronkite nostalgia harkens back to his announcement that the Vietnam War was not going well. The issues and point of the war were never in doubt, just the conduct of generals.

          The last cycle was particularly bad as everyone wanted to do the best trick for a pat on the head. The ratings and circulation for Obama appearances were huge, and he only spoke to entertainers (why did Trump stop picking chalk for March Madness and the Disney Corporation?) and Jonathan Chair after a time for teeball style questions.

          If Hillary wasn’t a shoe in, she would have faced more scrutiny from the msm. It wouldn’t be intelligent, but it would exist. The certainty of her victory was absolute. It was only a matter of how many “moderate suburban Republicans” Dems would win after kicking their base.

          The rise of Democratic aligned blogs in 2002 and 2003 was directly linked to the elite media jumping through hoops so Shrub could call them endearing nicknames such as turdburger. It’s so darn clever because hamburgers are brown. MSM journalists aren’t exactly a brilliant lot.

        2. fresno dan

          April 16, 2017 at 10:51 am

          “Is our now clearly complicit press just being so lazy and contemptuous they don’t even bother to hide that they are just another arm of PR and propaganda for our MOTU?”

          You may have come of age at the same time I did – the late 60’s early 70’s when opposition to the Vietnam war and Watergate made it seem as if the US didn’t care for war and that the press was an independent, courageous bunch. So based on your experience and all the propaganda fed you by the school system, you thought that was the norm, when in fact it was an anomaly.
          But it is funny to read history as an adult, with an adult sensibility and understanding of ‘going along to get along’, and to see things through adult eyes and develop the commensurate cynicism….
          As I often quote Paul Simon and Kodachrome:
          When I think back On all the crap I learned in high school It’s a wonder I can think at all

          I saw the movie “Deadline U.S.A.” a good Humphrey Bogart movie and a paean to the press the other night. The movie commentary, spoken by someone who had worked at a newspaper, was adulatory – although even he admitted how the press had fallen.
          However, over the years my view of the press is more in accord with Kirk Douglas’s “Ace in the Hole”

          1. Alex Morfesis

            Actually, the operation paperclip infusion of the AO is the anomaly…the fake news of the danger of communists fed by the boss of urban van susteren(gretas pops) & roy cohn buddy, mister “no decency” to help describe an internal commie/al kayduh/i$i$ “threat” & move peoples attention from the fact dad was shot by germans and not russians…and all the twisting, distortions, hiding, lies and corruption that brought about…

            War is the oldest profession…from stones to drones…but…

            If you can manipulate the hearts and minds you don’t have to shoot at the hearts and minds…war is about access to capital…human capital, energy capital, financial capital…

            And on that happy note…

            XRISTOS ANESTI

            1. Ian

              I’d recommend Noam Chomsky’s manufacturing consent book or movie. Though book is a bit of a slog. His later work is more palatable.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Up close, ticks look a lot like PE guys and derivative peddlers and Banksters, with their sucking mouth parts and elastic blood storage pockets…

    2. Lee

      Ticks or teats? The belly seems a bit distended indicating the critter may be pregnant or nursing young. True or not, it is a preferable image.

    3. HotFlash

      Pretty sure that’s a mama hare we are looking at and being looked at by. Happy Easter, Ms Bunny!

      1. polecat

        That’s no bunnie !

        Bunnies are plump, and have pink eyes, ……
        lay multi-hued eggs, and are made of chocolate.

        1. Lee

          April 16, 2017 at 11:47 am
          That’s no bunnie !

          True. It’s a hare. Among the many differences between them, hares are precocial and rabbits (bunnies) are altricial. Also, hares are not amenable to domestication. In this regard they are to rabbits what zebras are to horses.

          1. fresno dan

            April 16, 2017 at 12:43 pm

            So, speaking of rabbits and bunnies, let me remind everyone of this cinematic gem:

            Released theatrically on July 26, 1972, it focuses on members of a small Arizona town who battle thousands of mutated, carnivorous killer rabbits.

            Character actors from Westerns the pair had worked on were brought in to star in the Night of the Lepus, including Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, and DeForest Kelley.
            Widely panned by critics for its premise, bad directing, stilted acting and laughable special effects, the film’s biggest failure was considered to be the inability to make the rabbits seem scary.
            “panned by critics for its premise, bad directing, stilted acting…”
            They say that as if it were a bad thing…

          2. polecat

            Every Easter, my family would visit relatives down south outside Madera, just north of where fresno dan currently resides …. My uncle, while discing between the vineyard rows happened upon an abandoned baby jackrabbit, and, thinking of moi …… brought it back to the grandparent’s place down the road where we were staying. So we bring it home where eventually it grew into, how shall we say, a more “wild” version of the formerly cute ‘bunny’. Long story short, some months later the ‘bunny’ was one day released into the backyard, courtesy of a young naive polecat, with my mother trying to ‘capture’ said bigger bunny, ……. and getting the hell scratched out of her arms as that jackrabbit kicked it’s self to FREEDOMMMMM ! Needless to say, MOM … WAS … PISSED !! , hence, no more ‘easter’ bunnies …of any type!

            …then there was the time I put 2-foot carp from the creek behind our house into the backyard pool ….. but that’s a whole nother kettle of a fish story ‘;]

          3. craazyboy

            It’s a jackrabbit!

            We have those here. I don’t think the white fluffy bunnies would like desert jackrabbit life. They would be terrified all the time, and the food sucks. Most food around here has thorns or prickers.

            Then there’s rattlesnakes, scorpions, black widow spiders, coyotes, and javelinas. Any of these critters would kill you if they could. It’s like the psycho ward of an outdoor zoo.

            The only other nice critters we have are geckos and roadrunners. Most of the birds are ok if you’re human size. The hummingbirds are cute.

            But just last week one was at my flying field, eyeing me from a safe distance. It was scrawny, like they usually are. I’m sure the one in the pic here is pregnant. It’s too fat to be normal. The size of the ears are amazing. I took one step towards it and it scampered away. So I doubt domesticating one is easy, or possible at all.

    1. HBE

      Thanks for sharing.

      From my admittedly, relatively uninformed reading of the elections. It appears that Le Pen will make it to the second round and likely face off against Macron, unless Hamon drops out at the last minute and his base surges to Melenchon (the best outcome for the left in my view), with Fillion dead in the water in any scenario.

      Am I (from the US) following things right or just way off base?

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        I am English so probably do not have a much better grasp of the situation than you. The above was sent to me by a French friend, but what you are surmising appears to be the most likely scenario, although Benjamin thinks it might not be all that straightforward.

        He also believes like the author that if not now, there will definitely be change in four years time & personally adds the high possibility of much instability in between.

        1. clinical wasteman

          I somehow managed to reply in the wrong place, so it shows up somewhere below in the scroll, but the gist was: thanks Eustache for the Lordon piece, and here (i.e. there) are a few excerpts in the absence of the time to translate the lot.

      2. Tenar

        Oh, how I wish that Lordon’s Monde Diplo blog was available in English! I fear that google translate can’t do him justice.

        As for the most likely outcome of next Sunday’s election, it seems very much up in the air. Yes, Le Pen and Macron have been consistently polling ahead, but their numbers are dropping. Fillon, unbelievably, is still polling around 18 – 20%. Mélenchon is likely slightly ahead of Fillon. So, it’s a horserace. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is at least one upset.

  10. s.n.

    this story was linked to in yesterday’s comments:

    Leaked NSA Malware Threatens Windows Users Around the World

    maybe someone caught – or maybe it has gone unremarked — the important update at the end of the story:

    “Update: April 15, 2017
    Late Friday night, Microsoft published a blog post stating that after an analysis of the ShadowBrokers leak, it had determined that most of the vulnerabilities were patched in a series of Windows updates released in March — updates that security researchers who analyzed the NSA tools apparently neglected to install. This means the exploits in question were not in fact “zero days” and that anyone running the most recent updates on software still supported by Microsoft is safe from the ShadowBrokers arsenal. But the timing of the patch in question is interesting: If Microsoft truly did not receive any help from the NSA, as it claims, the fact that it fixed a litany of holes vulnerable to secret NSA tools exactly a month before those tools were made public is an amazingly fortunate coincidence (curiously, Microsoft skipped the usual acknowledgements section with the patch, which typically nods to how they were informed of the threats fixed in a given update)….”.

  11. JMM

    Re: Turn off notifications and break free of your online chains.

    I have my phone in “Do not disturb” mode 24/7. Only calls or texts from my wife or landlord come through (meaning: they vibrate. No sound, pleasae). If something’s urgent, please call 911. If it isn’t, then surely you can wait till I am available.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Pharmaceutical giant ‘plotted to destroy cancer drugs to drive prices up 4,000%’ Independent (J-LS). Aspen Pharmacare. “The price increases were made possible by a loophole that allows drug companies to change the price of medicines if they are no longer branded with the same name.

    Don’t they do that with cars as well?

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Calpers Is Sick Of Paying Too Much for Private Equity WSJ

    Join the club.

    Patients are sick of paying too much for health care.

    The dead are sick as well, of paying too much for cemetery plots…etc.

  14. flora

    re: United, militarized police, monopoly, destruction of the middle class (did I leave anything out?)

    Our current predicament started, imo, in the early 70’s with the Nixon Shock.
    A long description from Bloomberg here:

    Unpegging the dollar to gold also lead to repeated rises in imported oil prices that could not be ‘price fixed’ by the US govt, and added costs to businesses that couldn’t be controlled directly.

    The oil spice spikes hit manufacturing and airline and transportation company finances very hard. Inflation became unbelievably high in the 70’s, most pronounced in the second half of the 70’s, during the Carter administration. Labor asked for higher wages to keep up with inflation driven in large part by rising oil prices. The US govt began allowing business deregulation, in part, in hopes that companies could find efficiencies that would offset the rising oil costs, and keep them profitable. Attempts to rein in inflation included undermining unions’ who negotiated for higher wages, suppressing wages in general, and raising interest rates – in an the effort to cut consumer demand. So, businesses were given a much freer hand and the public was given suppresses wages and higher financial costs. This was 40 years ago, a time a far removed from now as 1975 was removed from the Great Depression. Things change.

    Giving businesses, and particularly the financial sector then a free hand to deal with a crisis made sense then. It has since grown into predatory finance, monopoly business power and rent extraction. Wall St and corporate America are flush with cash, while the wage-suppressed and price gouged and abused public is in a financial crisis. It is an extraordinary time now. Banks engaged in criminal behavior (subprime CDOs, fraudulent foreclosures stealing peoples’ homes, Libor rigging) nearly destroyed the financial world in 2007-8 and nothing was done to re-regulate bad business practices. They were showered with tax dollars. Airlines have price-warred and consolidated to the point they can pay horrible wages, treat employees badly and travelers worse – even to the point of beating a man and dragging him off a plane because they wanted his seat back.

    Finance and big business have been given a free hand too long. The original crises that led to deregulations and wage suppression was ended by 1988-2000. The extraordinary nature of this time is caused by not enough govt regulation and enforcement to keep business malefactors from destroying more and more of the real economy.

    My long 2 cents.

    1. Jim

      “Open primaries” are the perfectly despicable means by which the Democrats and Republican parties prevent any other political voice from making it through to the general election. Candidates of political parties should be chosen by the members of those parties, and those selection processes should NOT block the ballot access of other parties. Here in Washington State, following the lead of other States beforehand, we now have a “top two” primary system for all but the US Presidential races. In a typical election, there will be a bunch of Democrats running, and a bunch of Republicans. The election is in August, or some other time when the bulk of the population is paying little attention. So most of the voters turning out are there to choose which Democrat, or which Republican, they want on the November ballot. The chance of a Socialist, a Libertarian, or a something-other-than-the-entrenched-duopoly making it through the primary is lower than that of a snowball in hell. And why, pray tell, is the public-at-large footing the bill for primaries to choose the candidates of private organizations? The Democrats and Republicans should pay for their own internal selection circuses.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The University of Chicago worries about a lack of competition The Economist

    You have to wonder how much competition there has been when the same elite schools have stayed elite for over a hundred years?

    Is it in their genes?

    So, I think competition starts there.

    1. skippy

      I don’t know Beef… seems a bad case of chutzpah.

      Extol the divine truth of the free market place whilst banning Marx or any one else that does not toe the divine dicta, then lament the lack of one of the fundamental tenets, and the results thereof…

      1. Enquiring Mind

        The mandarins at Johnny Rockefeller’s U extol the idea of a free market. The actual practice varies materially in many respects. Consider how much is omitted from the models, discussions, colloquia, seminars and assorted kaffee-klatches, such as externalities, nomenklatura, apparatchik-induced friction and similar topics not in keeping with good thinking.

        On the bright side, that sort of exclusion may be waning as there are now investigations into the deep state and its mutations at various levels of government.

        1. skippy

          I once asked a fundamentalist economic libertarian to provide a historical example of the elusive free market…. I got a link to some hobbyists views on some French agrarian – artisan region back in the middle ages….

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The World Is Getting a Taste of the Trump Doctrine Rolling Stone

    Is there such a thing – the Trump Doctrine? He is full of conflicting ideas.

    1. fresno dan

      April 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      I imagine the luggage is just delayed as they drop, pitch, flay, maul, and manhandle it so that it arrives at its destination with the same treatment and care of its owner…..and arrives at its destination with the requisite battering.

      1. polecat

        Umm … Now, I seem to remember, as a wee lad, a
        commercial on the TV about that kind of behavior, by the ‘competition’ ?? …. they were very ‘simian like in their actions ….

    2. Katharine

      Not surprising. If you’re not there to snatch it off the carousel it disappears to some back room to be buried.

      Further hilarity:

      The United chief, who was awarded “Communicator of the Year” by PRWeek about a month ago, acknowledged Wednesday on ABC News’s “Good Morning America” that his immediate response to the incident “fell short of truly expressing the shame” he felt after seeing the videos.

      Communicator of the Year! Could we have some samples from the competition?

      Dean Baker had a nice, characteristic commentary on what United pays for the management it gets:

    3. Yves Smith

      That’s pretty hard if he had checked bags, since they are now all bar coded. Lost checked bags are a pretty rare event.

      I had wondered about any carry ons. If he and his wife were carrying the allowed 2 pieces each, no way could she have gotten them off herself, at least not in one trip. Plus she was probably too upset about beaten up he was to think about retrieving them.

      And recall that United’s initial position was that Dr. Dao got what he deserved. So this is either more United incompetence or a deliberate “FU” that backfired.

      1. bob

        I was thinking the same, the carousel should never have been involved.

        If they were checked, they should have been removed from the plane before the plane left without him.

        It’s a major mess up if any of his, or his wife’s baggage went anywhere without them.

  17. clinical wasteman

    Thanks Eustache, the Lordon piece is a good one. I dread what what Google Distranslate might do with it but don’t have the time to translate the whole thing now. A few telling details as a sort of stopgap:
    – Yes, Macron really did compare fired workers to sick animals. “I’ve never met a farmer who was happy to have sick animals“, he said in a speech to farmers’ lobby group FNSEA on March 30. “It’s like the idea that an employer is someone who loves firing people“.
    – Lordon’s description of “reform” as “market Stalinism” is more than a rhetorical point: “[…] just as the failure of socialism (likewise ‘real’) was blamed on ‘wreckers’ [éléments saboteurs], of whom there were always more to be eradicated, the failure of neoliberalism is always the fault of residual rigidities, the last vested interests — those of taxi drivers or railroad workers of course, not finance capital […]. ‘Reform’ is the name […] of the attempt by a tiny group to push its advantage over the rest of society ever further. And what a long path it is! In reality it will never end, especially given that further progress always means further failure, ‘justifying’ the need for yet more progress […].”
    – L. also nicely skewers Macron’s spurious argument for tax breaks for stock market investment in the name of “productive” capital formation. This also matters beyond the immediate French context: eg. ‘Abenomics’ as ‘Nudge’-type campaign to encourage gambling of household savings on the stock market, or the efforts to pass off the sale to ‘retail investors’ of stakes in privatized public utilities in Australia, NZ and the UK as ‘shareholder democracy’. Specifically, Macron wants to exempt equity investment from the “wealth tax” (ISF) base in the name of “productive investment”, ergo social “solidarity”. But “unfortunately for him […], there is only the most distant connection between shareholding and productive investment, because the two correspond only when new stock is purchased at the moment of its issue. Whereas the overwhelming majority of stock in portfolios was bought on the secondary market, so that the buyer’s money goes not to the underlying company but to another financial investor who bought the stock from another one again, etc. […]”.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre


      Thank you for the above & you are very welcome. I do not speak French, so struggled with the so called translation, but got I think enough of the gist to think it might be of interest to others.

      I suppose that my alias might cause some confusion but it was chosen in honour of the leading member of the burghers of Calais, who were through self sacrifice became an example to all politicians. There is a replica of Rodin’s statue outside the houses of parliament, whose messaged has long been sadly ignored.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    N. Korea didn’t test a nuclear weapon, but it did try to launch another missile WaPo

    Did we have anything to do with the missile launch not going off as planned.

    Trump is not saying.

    Is he being humble, or is he, as he has said, keep people guessing?

    “Omakase,’ says the Sushi Nazi. Those paying a lot of money has (or had, I think he retired) to ‘trust’ the guy with a sharp knife.

  19. dcblogger

    If you want to know who will be the Democratic candidate of 2020, watch the endorsement primary of 2018. Who gets invited to appear and who actually goes.

    Part of the reason Bernie is dragging Tom Perez around the country is to give him a first hand experience of just how popular Medicare for All and his other issues really are.

  20. fresno dan

    “The number of Daesh fighters killed in the US bomb in Achin district jumped to 94, including four commanders,” Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogiani told CNN, using an alternative name for ISIS.

    The initial toll given by Afghan officials for Thursday’s strike was 36. A statement released Friday through ISIS’ media wing, Amaq News Agency, said none of the terror group’s fighters were killed or injured. CNN cannot independently confirm the number of casualties.
    Funny, its like the number of dead goes up day after day. I imagine in a month or so the ever “revised” numbers will show we have killed all the Daesh fighters (with no collateral damage). And we will achieve another glorious victory like in Vietnam……except this one is taking a longer…

  21. Oregoncharles

    Has anyone reported on the Turkish referendum? It appears to be winning, by a small margin. Turkey is voting itself a dictatorship. Sad.

    Of course, the count might be pretty unreliable – but at least not implausible.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s interesting that it’s possible, in theory and in fact, that for people to vote dictatorship. Seems paradoxical, when we look at it. The philosophical question is this: Is that in itself sad?

      Happened in ancient Rome.

    2. Massinissa

      Erdogan won and the opposition is ALREADY claiming fraud.

      And they could be right.

      Even if the referendum was won fair and square, how can the majority of the nation vote away the rights of the minority? That’s effectively what is happening.

    3. Alex Morfesis

      Erdogan wins…sorta…nowhere near the mandate he knew he needed to have reasonable credibility…and now 30 months of awkwardness begins, since he actually has to win in 2019 to obtain the powers that were voted in…30 months is a million years in politics…does he try to work “currently” presidential powers he does not yet have ?? And considering his health has not been perfect, the real question is who follows him as president…he will not serve two terms as president…he really just wants to be the queso grande at the 100 yr anniversary of the survival of the remnants of the othmans…

      Its all about delivering the goods…

      does he have the capacity to turn the turkish lira into a go to currency from madagascar to Belarus…from libya to afghanistan, to recreate an economic alexandro/byzanttoman empire…

      How does he handle china and india who imagine they are the rightful heirs to the silk road…without even dealing with getting past the sauds, egypt, persians and pakistan…

      he does not have that 16 point star on the official presidential flag just for aesthetics…

  22. Plenue

    >Public Slave Auctions are Regular Occurrence in Libya, West African Survivors Say

    Thanks, Obama!

  23. Ernesto Lyon

    OMG Mumps! How terrifying!!

    This is what the CDC says about mumps:

    Mumps is best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that it causes. This is a result of swollen salivary glands.

    The most common symptoms include:

    Muscle aches
    Loss of appetite
    Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis)
    Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection.

    Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease.

    Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks.

    We are trained to fear ‘mumps’ not because it is a horrible threat to humanity, but because someone has made a vaccine for it that most people wouldn’t bother with unless they were told to be horribly afraid. Be afraid then, very afraid.

    1. MoiAussie

      Mumps is usually a not so serious disease if caught before puberty, but you are wrong to dismiss concern about a resurgence of cases. The frequency of complications requiring urgent medical attention and/or hospitalisation in unvaccinated children are pancreatitis (4%), mengingitis (8%), encephalitis (0.3%), and hearing loss (4%). Mumps is the leading cause of viral meningitis in the UK, and in a 2004-2005 outbreak, 3% of reported mumps cases were hospitalised.

      Full or partial deafness in one or both ears is historically the most common long-term side effect of infection. In Japan, where mumps vaccination rates were low, there were 650 case of deafness due to mumps in 2001, many of which were permanent.

      Teenagers and adults often suffer more severe symptoms, and from other complications as well, including inflammation of the ovaries and testes. While formerly a childhood disease, usually in the 5-9 age group, recent outbreaks in the US and Europe have affected mainly 18-24 year olds. In Australia, 25-34 year olds have been most affected.

      A society with no or low coverage of mumps vaccination will suffer a large number of childhood cases but adult case will be rare. A small percentage of these cases will suffer complications leading to permanent damage and occasional death. In the US between 1953 and 1962 there were on average 39 deaths per year from mumps.

      A society with higher but incomplete coverage will suffer mainly from adult, typically college age, cases, with more severe symptoms and long-term effects such as testicular atrophy due to inflammation.

      A society with full coverage of mumps vaccination will suffer few cases and very low levels of complications and long-term effects.

  24. different clue

    I don’t see how On Growth And Form is a “challenge” to Darwin. It illustrates the physical constraints on how far living systems can possibly change. And evolution by natural selection would simply proceed within the limits of those constraints.

    1. IDontKnow

      “In general no organic forms exist save such as are in conformity with physical and mathematical laws.”

      Or the “laws” modeling physical and mathematical modeling of the limitations existing nature,. such as the geometry of hydrogen/carbon bonds, strength of bonding in calcium and oxides, etc were developed by observant naked apes.

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