Links 5/2/17

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When meditation isn’t enough Open Democracy

Monks with guns aeon (Micael)

Is this stone proof an asteroid wiped out a civilisation just like ours 13,000 years ago … and does it vindicate the maverick scholar who says a giant meteorite will destroy us in 2030? Daily Mail

Cryptocurrency exchanges about to take off in Japan Nikkei (furzy)

Why your ‘organic’ milk may not be organic Washington Post

Indians have a staggering amount of trust in online shopping and payments Scroll

French Election

How Le Pen could win Politico

Mayday, mayday, France’s anti-Le Pen front is splintering France24

Is There a Case for Le Pen? Ross Douthat, New York Times

Emmanuel Macron is a ‘radical EU extremist,’ says Marine Le Pen Politico


Das desaströse Brexit-Dinner FAZ. A longer follow-up to the already-controversial account. See this tweetstorm by Jeremy Cliffe if you want the short version.

Revealed: How EU has been secretly plotting to block Theresa May over EU migrants for weeks Telegraph

How Vestager took a bite out of Apple Politico

Pledging more austerity, Greece cuts deal with lenders Reuters


The Flawed Chemical Analysis in the French Intelligence Report of April 26, 2017 Alleging a Syrian Government Sarin Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Sheikhoun of April 4, 2017 Washington’s Blog. Postol needs an editor.

U.S. watchdog finds major internal flaws hampering Afghanistan war effort Washington Post (Bill B)

New Cold War

How the Russia Spin Got So Much Torque Norman Solomon, Common Dreams

Insiders expose how the ‘Russian hacking’ bogus story was staged by Hillary Clinton team failed evolution

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Oscars: Julian Assange Doc Becomes Clear Frontrunner Hollywood Reporter (furzy). Heads will explode!

Trump Transition

How Does Trump’s Tax Plan Help the Middle Class? ‘Honestly, We Don’t Know’ Bloomberg

David Stockman: Trump’s tax plan is ‘dead on arrival’ and Wall St. is ‘delusional’ for believing it CNBC. In other words, the deficit hawks will kill it.

GOP Weighs Longer Term for Red Ink Tied to Tax Cuts Wall Street Journal

Trump Extends Hand to Rogue Leaders, Facing Risk of a Reply New York Times. But Saudi Arabia is fine because they are our BFF.

Trump is considering new Glass-Steagall-style bank rules BBC

Senator Asks FBI Director To Clarify “Inconsistencies” On Trump Dossier Buzzfeed (furzy)

Trump Wonders Why the Civil War Happened, Walks Out of Interview Vanity Fair (resilc)

Donald Trump’s Andrew Jackson-Civil War Answer Is All Steve Bannon Daily Beast (furzy)

Appeal filed challenging Trump University settlement Politico

Government Eases School Meal Rules, Rolling Back Some Of Michelle Obama’s Initiatives Talking Points Memo (Glenn F)


GOP congressman: People with pre-existing conditions lead “bad” lives AMERICAblog (furzy). Yikes.

GOP struggles to find ObamaCare repeal votes The Hill

GOP suffers surprise defection on Obamacare repeal Politico

House Conservatives May Revolt Against Spending Deal New York Magazine (resilc)

Winners and losers of the government shutdown fight The Hill. Important

The DNC Just Confirmed Sanders Supporters’ Worst Fears Resistance Report (furzy)

Rob Quist Turned Down A Visit From DNC Chair Tom Perez Huffington Post

Police State Watch

Taser Will Use Police Body Camera Videos “to Anticipate Criminal Activity” Intercept

Markdowns in Manhattan, While Costs Grow in Brooklyn Bloomberg

The Heineken Ad Is Worse Than The Pepsi Ad, You’re Just Too Stupid To Know It DiDi Delgado (Glenn F). I had no idea this was a controversy.

Wall Street’s grousing about American Airlines’ worker raises shows what’s wrong with Wall Street Mike Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times. From last week, but with a nice shout-out to NC!

Big-Name Food Brands Lose Battle of the Grocery Aisle Wall Street Journal

the three hot trends in Silicon Valley horseshit Medium (Shelly)

Home Capital Reports Initial Draw Down on $2 Billion Credit Line Home Capital Group (Brian C). This is a facility arranged a mere few days ago, which as the press release states, is to contend with a deposit run. HCG is the Canadian analogue to a subprime lender. You can see the air of panic if you read the headlines of recent press releases. Our companion post give a lot more color on how bad things are (plenty bad).

Home Capital Drop Has Former Investor Mulling Contagion Odds Bloomberg

Trump Preparing To Replace Top Banking Regulator – Sources Wall Street Journal

US inflation back to undershooting 2 per cent ahead of FOMC meeting FT Alphaville

Wall Street’s fear gauge hits lowest level since before crisis Financial Times

Guillotine Watch

Fyre Festival Faces $100 Million ‘Hunger Games’ Lawsuit Bloomberg (furzy)

Class Warfare

A Modest Proposal To Fix The World Ian Welsh (bob k, martha r)

Sent to Prison by a Software Program’s Secret Algorithms New York Times (David L)

Student who worked in Chinese iPhone factory explains why manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back to the U.S. CNBC (furzy). Contrast that with this analysis, which argues that Apple could pay a living US wage, at a cost of only 7% of profit. Arguments like the CNBC one have little to do with what companies can “afford” and are all about attempting to preserve a profit share of GDP that is nearly 2X over what Warren Buffet described as the maximum sustainable level in the early 2000s.

A digital archive of slave voyages details the largest forced migration in history The Conversation (Kevin C)

On May Day, Protesters Take to the Streets Nationwide New York Times (furzy)

Economic Reality: Bottom 50% of Americans No Longer Matter Michael Shedlock. EM: “Mish: 9 posts applauding the macroeconomic trends which disenfranchised such large swaths of the population and preaching the inevitability of the Robot Revolution, 1 post blaming the Fed for bubble-blowing sans any explanation of why ending the latter problem would remedy the former, rather than actually make things worse for the Deplorables.”

Antidote du jour. From crittermom last week:

Today I observed ‘my’ local cottontail rabbit gather nesting material & carry it under the trough for well over an hour, nonstop. Baby bunnies should be arriving soon!

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. skippy

    I could say soooo much wrt to the links and maybe considered clever, but, I only have one thing to say…. after all the machinations to drive any remnant of altruism for – anything – from my person…. in my experiences… I still have it and embrace it…

    disheveled…. en fin.

    1. ambrit

      “Longsuffering” is a word I picked up early in my life. I don’t call myself a “materialist” in the strict meaning of the word. Consciousness has to have some value. So, we ride this ride out to the end.

      1. clinical wasteman

        skippy, I really hope that’s ‘enfin’ or ‘en fin de compte’, not just plain ‘Fin‘. Any final curtain you were to drop would leave the theater of comments a drearier and dumber place.
        In trans-Tasman and trans-hemispheric co-dishevelment…

  2. tony

    “At the CFDT we also criticise [Macron’s] neo-liberal policies, in a constructive way,” said the 74-year-old. “The point is, with Macron we can talk, whereas with Le Pen we won’t ever again.”

    It’s “Trump is Hitler and will gas the minorities” all over again. These statements are just delusional.

    1. clinical wasteman

      Yes, that’s stupid statement, especially because of the barely repressed enthusiasm for Macron, but it’s largely to be expected from a “deconfessionalized” Christian Democrat-type union along the lines of the Italian CISL. (Not that the deconfessionalized ‘Communist’ CGT has been any different for a long time or the laboratory-hatched ‘moderate’ FO every was.) I only even mention that because historically the CFDT existed (in a country without a German/Italian-type Christian Democratic Party) to lobby for more or less exactly the sort of deal the focus-regrouped Le Pen now claims to want, i.e. ironcladding for certain sections of the non-lumpen, non-foreign, non-intellectual* working class along with their neighbours the petits rentiers (I wish I had time to go into why that’s not an oxymoron in French) as the price for standing aside and letting capital do what it will to the others. (Which in practice would mean the same sort of deal ‘minorities’ got under Clinton, Blair and Obama: economic evisceration and ruthless policing plus some kind = patronising words on TV and at public ceremonies. But that’s not the deal Le Pen or Trump — or, for opposite reasons, Clinton and Obama — want their target voters to think minorities got.)
      Meanwhile the Front National, from which Marine LP ‘suspended’ herself only within the last week or so, actually does have upper-case ‘F*ist’ historical baggage, but it’s less to do with the sort of direct Nazi apologism that other parties and respectable media suggest than with vehement apologism for the military-force-French-exceptionalism tendency within the national mainstream, which goes back at least as far as the massacre of the Communards, disgraced itself countless times in colonial administration and (doomed) colonial wars, and is of course inextricable from its Vichy/collaborator elements, who worked happily alongside Resistance veterans when mere Algerians (or in the terminology of the day, ‘Muslims’, including ‘Christian Muslims’ and ‘Jewish Muslims’) were the enemy. Because the mainstream parties/media can’t really talk about that, and because their own Identity Politics of Republican Values are not really that different from this Le Pen’s, they stick to the proven losing strategy of screaming that the FN are ‘fringe’ neo-nazis. If only that were true: if those politics were ‘extreme’ or ‘marginal’ they wouldn’t be part of ‘national’ debate (promoted by Manuel Valls as much as his Sarkozite predecessors, and as toxically present in the UK — for the last 15 years or so, as the risible ‘Cool Britannia’ morphed into a rancid, compulsory and anglo-centric ‘Britishness’ — as in France.) People who care about cultural continuity are not necessarily racists, but those who want their idea of national culture protected at others’ expense and with full police powers endorse racist policy whether they mean to or not. And for those who just tuned in, that’s ‘racism’ not as in ‘nasty psychological quirk of bad people’, but as in ‘racialized management of class injustice, in which the same ‘racial’ segments of the global working class as always are still collectively crushed first and last and hardest, and all segments are encouraged to fight each other, to the delight of overseers everywhere’. ‘Identity Politics’ wasn’t invented on college campuses. Or then again perhaps it was, if you count Harvard in Henry Adams’s day.**

      [*curious how working class intellectualism is despised similarly by the higher liberal professionals, who deny its existence, and by the equally high-placed Le Pen-type hallucinators of class as (national) culture, who assume all literate proles to be middle-class degenerates.]
      [**Disclaimer: I like H. Adams as a writer almost as much as Gore Vidal and Louis Zukofsky did. Adams is only mentioned here as an exemplar of the ‘racial archetypes’ thinking that was endemic at elite level at at the time (and never really went away) because he comes with an obvious College attached, which is what the sub-point I was trying to make required. I don’t know where, say, Cesare Lombroso went to school, and couldn’t even be bothered to look up Teddy Roosevelt or Rudyard Kipling.

    1. Christopher Fay

      That would help explain the housing bubble in the Bush the Younger Phase 1 reign. Phase II, the clean-up phase is Bush the Younger Obama edition.

      1. clinical wasteman

        “Economic inequality increases risk taking”: not exactly a “man bites dog” shock story, but not quite “dog bites man” either: more like “dog bites creature of undisclosed species (with two legs, hair mostly on the head, and capable of speech)”. Or: “bad thing causes meaningless term” until the type of risk, the person or group taking it, and (especially) at whose expense the risk is taken are all defined. Just looking around you and reading the occasional newspaper is enough to give the impression that economic inequality at least correlates with risky businesses like chronic overwork, peer-to-peer street violence, carelessness in ‘recreational’ drug use, opportunistic warfare and the creation of more economic inequality. But I don’t see all that much correlation right now with more desirable types of social, intellectual, artistic or political risk-taking: not even many non-boilerplate op-eds, let alone much sign of formidable non-identity-based social movements. Or if it’s ‘risk-taking’ in the sense of supposedly heroic ‘adventure sports’, no idea and couldn’t care less. And as for that Friedmanite (both senses) habit of calling your boss a “risk-taker”, the “risk” involved is largely gambling at other people’s collective and/or personal expense, so it’s just “bad thing causes bad thing” (man bites man?) all over again. Anyway it’s a long stretch to call that “risk-taking” at all, given how much “start-up entrepreneurship” floats on an invisible cushion of direct and indirect subsidy.

        1. jrs

          it does not seem to be linked to entrepreneurship, which is the first kind of risk taking I’d think of being driven by economic desperation. Only it really doesn’t seem to be at all and there is often more of it in fairly equal countries.

          I don’t think most people trying to start a business are subsidized, however many of them do fail.

          1. clinical wasteman

            Point taken about the bigger and less hyped picture, i.e. ‘most people starting a business’. They have nothing to do with the target of the little gout of bile above, which was meant for the Silicon Abyss (California, London, Berlin, Barcelona, Stockholm…) type of ‘entrepreneurial’ vainglory that’s routinely praised for its ‘risk-taking’ verve by Boosterism interns at the FT & elsewhere, but which — once you factor in private sector as well as state ‘support’, and the indirect (eg. Richard Florida-style ‘urban regeneration) along with the direct — is the only real example I’ve seen of a “dependency culture”.

  3. bmeisen

    Not a cow but a young bull prancing … should he have been happy in a stall designed for milking cows?

  4. Jim Haygood

    Constitutional convention, comrades! No, not in the pokey ol’ USA. In progressive Venezuela:

    Venezuelan opposition leaders on Monday decried President Nicolas Maduro’s announcement that he is pushing for changes in the Constitution.

    Maduro signed an executive order that will form a “Constituent National Assembly” — a body that could make those changes. It also would allow for the reshaping of the current legislative body, as well as redefine the President’s executive powers.

    While Maduro provided few details, he said that the new body would contain “some 500 constituents,” who will be elected during a “direct and secret” vote.

    “We must modify this state, especially the rotten National Assembly that’s currently there,” Maduro said. The body is controlled by the opposition.

    When the National Assembly falls into the wrong hands, just push the Reset button. :-)

    1. Jim Haygood

      And the Bolivarian beat goes on:

      CARACAS—General Motors Co. will take a $100 million charge as it writes off its operations in troubled Venezuela, where authorities last month unexpectedly seized its production plant on a court order, the company said Tuesday.

      GM has ceased all operations since the April 18 takeover of its facilities but said in a statement that it is open to discussing with Venezuela’s government the possibility of restarting production “with a new, viable business model.”

      Unable to pay for imports, GM’s Venezuela unit hasn’t assembled a vehicle since December 2015, data from the Venezuelan car makers’ association shows.

      First the Maduro regime starved GM (and other auto makers) of foreign exchange, shutting down imports of parts.

      Then it seized GM’s plant for failing to produce. This is what our British comrades call “bloody-mindedness.”

      Venezuela has become the Zimbabwe of the Western Hemisphere.

    1. bmeisen

      A nicely staged video I bet. Aiderbichl is animal rights for the airport shopping class.

      1. bob

        What about the rest of the cows?

        Seems like they took him away from his harem. One bull among lots of cows? Couldn’t have been too bad.

        1. Anonymous

          Difficult to see how he could have benefited from that male/female ratio in his position. Even more difficult to determine the actual ratio of male/female from the front. Last, what about the rest of them?

          1. bob

            First, you appear to know nothing about dairy farming.

            Second, they were in feeding stalls. For feeding. Short stay, a few times a day.

            Third- In order to keep milking cows lactating, they keep them pregnant. That’s where the bull comes in. That many bulls in one place would lead to not fun. See Barcelona, spain, bulls runs, etc.The fact that the bull didn’t try to head butt the others, but rather, pranced for them indicates either they were cows, or the bull was gay. A gay bull isn’t of much use on a dairy farm.

            Fourth, my first, why were the rest of them not freed? If it was sooo bad…

            1. bob

              Just adding this-

              Is there any concern at all for the most likely very low paid farm laborer who now has to clean up that slightly larger stall, after the cow was rescued?

              “it’s a non-profit”

              So they pay less? Or not at all?

            2. Anonymous

              I grew up in Wisconsin, my grandfather owned a small dairy farm. In summer his cows were in stanchions morning and evening for milking, the rest of the day and night they were pastured. In winter they were kept in the barn 24/7.

              Back then the bull was not ever confined like that. Bulls were treated with extreme caution. They didn’t bother putting bulls in stanchions, they were kept outside or in stalls and handled only when necessary.

              That looks like a young bull. When they get older they get ornery and are dangerous and untrustworthy. My great-grandfather was killed by a bull. Now only beef farmers and breeders keep bulls, dairy is artificially inseminated.

              Yes I know the relationship between pregnancy and milk production.

      2. Geoff

        A buddy of mine converted to Hinduism a few years back and his group rescues cows (and bulls) through raising funds to buy them.

        They’re expensive so their small efforts only can save some cows but seeing how amazingly happy, playful, and social the cows become when living in a safe and loving habitat is truly beautiful. They’re remarkably friendly animals – like giant dogs in many ways.

        I can’t speak for the organization in the video, but there are real groups doing what they can to save cows from the factories. It’s expensive to buy and care for them though.

  5. Mary

    Lambert posted the link to the economists’ forum at CUNY yesterday but it really deserves its own post:

    Ann Harrison: “The first mistake we made was that we thought it would be really easy for people to retool and find new jobs. It turns out that is not so easy. We have a record number of people who have left the labor force.”

    As Napoleon wrote to Josephine when he suspected her of being unfaithful: “Just how do you spend your time, madame?”

    Do economists read newspapers? Books? Look out the window of business class as they fly over the rust belt? This problem has been obvious for decades. How is it they’re just catching on?

    The Romans had a holiday where the masters became slaves for a day. Economics would benefit from such a custom.

    1. CD

      I agree. You won’t solve the unemployment caused by globalization and/or automation by re-skilling workers or by giving them a college education.

      So what do we do with the workers who got “China-ed”? How can we help them

      Maybe this should be a Sanders question? Certainly the Rep Party won’t touch it.

      1. marym

        So what do we do with the workers who got “China-ed”?

        Infrastructure (bridges and roads, broadband, local and long-distance public transportation); alternative energy; health/child/elder care; social and rehabilitative services; housing the homeless, expanding and improving public amenities (parks, bike paths, campgrounds); restoration of public educational, recreational, and cultural programs and facilities devastated by austerity and privatization, a post office bank and restored postal services would be nice.

        As a country we figured this out once before.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Specifically with regard to the problem of being China-ed, the solution has to be more fundamental.

          We are looking at workers being pitted against workers of other countries.

          That is related to productivity – how can an economy be competitive, because better weapons depend on productivity.

          Until we overcome global hegemony and have peace in the Middle East and everywhere, we will always be prioritizing productivity, because more powerful weapons, and with some countries being China-ed by some other countries..

          And this is not a Sanders question. That is a Everyone question.

          1. HotFlash

            Workers in China will not look after my aged granny, repair my broken zipper, insulate my house, install my solar panels, fix my bike, waterproof my basement, tickle my fancy, cast my broken leg or get rid of my termites. Many workers here are not competing with workers in other countries at all.

        2. jsn

          Thank you!

          There are no shortage of things needing doing and people desperate to do something.

          But for demands of the priests of the market god, they could all be done and doing!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Economists are like court painters of Imperial China.

      They painted without observing the subjects in their paintings. They reviewed and admired each other’s masterpieces.

      Economic theories can be like that…sounding fantastic in the echo-chamber ivory tower of peer review.

      The Chan (Chinese word from which the Japanese kanji word Zen derives) painters rebelled against that, and also those would go out and observe meticulously their subject. The Chan painters wanted to paint what they saw in their minds, what they felt in the hearts…sort of the proto-abstract artists.

      1. HotFlash

        Oh my! I was ‘splain’ the McCarthy purges to a Japanese friend, he was confused when I said that that they ‘purged the Communists’. “They purged the economists?” Well, no, buT what a great idea.

  6. mad as hell

    Trump Wonders Why the Civil War Happened, Walks Out of Interview

    While seeing the clip of President Donnie Three Wives ending the interview with CBS and storming over to his desk I kinda cringed with embarrassment for Trump. However I quickly regained my senses and wished that his pants would fall to the floor!

  7. allan

    Trump Adviser Jared Kushner Didn’t Disclose Startup Stake [WSJ]

    Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, didn’t identify on his government financial disclosure form that he is currently a part-owner of a real-estate finance startup and has a number of loans from banks on properties he co-owns, according to securities filings.

    Mr. Kushner’s stake in Cadre—a tech startup that pairs investors with big real-estate projects—means the senior White House official is currently a business partner of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and billionaires including George Soros and Peter Thiel, according to people close to the company. …

    The back row kids will understand. Who better to drain the swamp than a swamp creature?

    1. polecat

      Kushner … A creature from the Black Lagoon for sure !
      He has the gills to get things done, one webbed swipe at a time ..

    2. Ranger Rick

      Congressional insider trading is legal and they want to go after a Trump adviser for having his own business?

  8. DJG

    Re: Marisa Handler on meditation, the long essay on violence in Buddhism, and John Aravosis on the congresswretch and “preexisiting conditions as bad lives.”

    I’d chalk much of the misbehavior to the narrowing idea of religion. The comment about preexisting conditions as bad lives is pure Calvinism and part of the continuing crisis of monotheism. (See: Turkey shutting off Wikipedia for another exploit. See: Israeli land claims and God as Real Estate Agent.) The article about violence in Buddhism mentions the rise of Pure Land Buddhism in the Mahayana world. Pure Land Buddhism is salvation by faith alone. As Calvinism and the Pure Land detach faith from how one leads one’s life, imposing misery on others loses any stigma.

    Handler is a more peculiar case in that her many privileges seem to have led to anxiety, which is natural. Maybe she should have dealt directly with the anxiety. Yet she posits some kind of clash between meditation and Western ideas. (There is a strange idea in both articles that Buddhist ideas arrived in the West, meaning New York City, I guess, in about 1958, with Dharma Bums. Hmmm. Try Gandhara and Greco-Buddhism for starters. Try the Silk Road and its many influences.)

    Handler’s problem struck me more as what happens when Western bourgeois psychobabble meets meditation. For a better understanding of the meaning of Varanasi and of Indian ideas on Western thinking, she might have looked up Alain Danielou and his work. But then she wouldn’t have had so much self-pity to mine.

    As to preexisting conditons, well, belief in predestination strikes me as one that is fatal to mental health.

    1. curlydan

      For me, meditation and therapy are kind of similar. None of the first 3-4 therapists I saw over many years really helped. Then finally I happened upon one where I said, OK, this person’s outlook and practice finally work for me.

      There are many forms of meditation and Buddhism that are influenced by the teacher and group that a person might meditate with, in addition to one’s daily meditation. I started meditation with a small group that was laid back but without much direct teaching. Later, I joined a group with stronger teachers but more rules. Ultimately though, those new rules and teachings and stricter group settings made me nervous, and I stopped meditating. It was worth it to meditate for many years, but if I returned, I’d have to go back to the laid back setting. It’s definitely a journey with no easy answers.

    2. CD

      Some people with serious psych problems get relief when they mediate. But it’s too much to expect that meditation alone will solve deep psych problems.

      I’m not sure that serious practitioners of meditation would claim that meditation can cure all problems It an aid and an anodyne, but not a phych cure-all. That’s why more involved therapies exist for serious psych problems.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Buddhist ideas arrived in the West.

      And Christian ideas arrived in the East, it seems to me. The origins of Mahayana Buddhism are still not completely understood, per Wikipedia. However, the idea of the Bodhisattva seeking complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings echo the Christian thought of universal salvation for mankind…both around the beginning of the common era.

      Which one came first? Has anyone looked into the connection and unraveled the mystery?

      Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara was originally male. We know by Song dynasty (about 1,000 years ago), he had transformed into female Guanyin, sometimes called goddess (erroneously) of compassion (no translation mistake here). Was it to offer an alternative to Mary, Mother of Mercy? Here, the case of a Christian idea landing in the East seems firmer.

    4. Gaianne

      The author of the meditation article is seriously self-absorbed. This is in no way the same as self-aware as the article itself inadvertently makes clear.

      Her consumer mindset might also be mentioned. She’s buying a stairway to xxHeavenxx Nirvana.

  9. Yah Dingus

    re: Heinie ad controversy, might i suggest a ‘post-structuralist indignation’ section?
    The inability of a growing swath of the left to consider even the possibility of dialogue with the right (see also: Berkley riots) is deeply concerning to me.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      There has always been this assumption that it is the Left that has the responsibility to give ground and “understand” the Right…..I’m thinking that the Right has to stop believing this, it just isn’t true any more……perhaps the Right should be the ones to start “understanding” the Left instead of just attempting to “define” them?

      As for that Heineken commercial – typical corporate thinking. Doesn’t matter matter to them if you are racist, misogynist, etc – as long as you buy their product. And isn’t it amazing how buying their product will solve all those problems? Sadly these corporatists ARE our government these days……

      1. Yah Dingus

        > it just isn’t true any more
        Why is this, and when did it change? (please don’t say Trump, gives him far too much credit) Call me a fence-sitter but I’m a fan of compromise, or at least agreeing to disagree. There have always been hardliners on both sides, but I’ll say again that I’m alarmed by the growing authoritarianism on the left. (like most here I consider myself a progressive btw)

        1. justanotherprogressive

          Have you not been paying attention? It has always been the Left’s job to compromise for all the good it has done them. The Right doesn’t compromise or at least hasn’t since the Goldwater loss…..

          So you are concerned about authoritarianism on the Left but the authoritarianism on the Right has never bothered you? Why? I think that is proof enough of my statement…..

          Yes, we are becoming more polarized. I don’t disagree with that….but it has never helped the Left to give up ground – for better or worse, I think the Left is starting to realize that.

          Is there an end to this? I don’t see one happening soon… seems we are in a vicious cycle….

          1. Geoff

            Thank you!

            It is amazing to me how little people seem to know about our recent history. Merely a few generations ago the left was socialist. The Suffragate, Worker’s Rights and Civil Rights movements were active in socialist (and even communist) movements. It was the smearing of left wing organizations over the past generations that have led to the milqtoast version of liberal politics we have today we’re if you think sick poor children should be able to eat and get healthcare you’re considered a commie even in the Democratic Party.

            People that claim the left is extreme today need to read a history book – or better yet – read books by activists from the 1920’s through the 1950’s. You know, that greatest generation we hear so much about.

            1. jsn

              That authoritarians took over all the leftist successes of the early 20th Century in Eastern Europe created a category confusion between leftists and authoritarians that our Bernays style private media has sustained and augmented whenever possible.

              This has cowed leftists since Malcom X, King and the Kennedys were all shot, from any kind of intemperate behavior, leaving such intemperate behavior untouched on the right.

              The right won’t give it up. I think the left does not benefit from violence and suffers still from its association with authoritarians past, but facing violence, and dealing with it, must become part of the program because that is what taking power will mean.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Empress Sisi was taken out.

                So was Archduke Ferdinand.

                Reagan was shot.

                Was anyone cowed? Did a bigger mess follow?

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Compromised or taken away.

            If you look at both the left and the right, they all want…change, sometimes, something they didn’t have before (legal smoking), and sometimes, something they had previously (functioning government).

            The elites also want change. They have more than they ever had before, and they still want more.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              “Left” got bought, so what “Left” Dear Leaders say they are “for” is either complicated stuff designed to obfuscate (Obamacare) or else irrelevant stuff (LGBT bathrooms).

              The real “Left” needs to get behind simple messages and then stick with them. “Peace, Bread, and Land” would work.

      2. jrs

        It depends, the organized right, including a bunch of paid propagandists (exactly what Berkeley stuff represented), of F no, cede no territory. Some ordinary nobody who votes Republican? Oh they might be amenable to discussion depending (I would not count on this, but I said depending as surely it is true in a few cases).

        1. Yah Dingus

          ‘Paid propagandists’ sounds just like what the alt right say about Antifa. (or more precisely, that they are professional agitators bused around the country on Soros’ dime)
          IMO both are wrong – they are mostly legitimate grassroots extremists whose conflict mostly benefits the neoliberal power structure both despise.

          Good blogpost tangential to the subject from a blogger Yves taps sometimes:

          1. jrs

            Oh I am saying the likes of speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter are paid propagandists, which is almost at the level of tautology, it is obviously so.

            So the right has a heavily funded army of paid propagandists which nothing truly left does to any degree, and the right then makes a big deal of metaphorically demanding the left fight conventional warfare (any old right wing idiot must be allowed to speak at our campuses etc. – I mean noone can even argue Milo is even worthy of being invited to a university on intellectual merits at all) against a right with all the tanks.

            1. Yah Dingus

              I dont agree with Milo much, but he’s a pretty good debater. Regardless, I’m inclined to leave judgements on the intellectual merit of a public speaker’s arguments to the audience. Refusing to let dissenting voices speak is another big red flag IMO.
              It’s true that the far left doesn’t have many prominent voices (NC probably qualifies) but the ‘left’ absolutely has paid propagandists, Rachel Maddow springs to mind – and both Coulter and Milo are small fry compared to MSNBC.

      3. jrs

        ok but the article:

        “Can I pause here for a second and be honest? I don’t give a shit about climate change. I’m too busy trying to find affordable housing and childcare. ”

        F you then, and why did you reproduce anyway, when it will be your kids problem even if you are more concerned with child care now, unfortunately your kid will eventually grow up, and it will be into a world where the living will envy the dead. Some inheritance.

        With “progressives” like this no wonder no wonder Trump is president. She IS the Democratic party, saying climate change is real but not actually caring. But such Dems are no better in reality than deniers.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          “saying climate change is real but not actually caring. But such Dems are no better in reality than deniers.”

          Worse, in the sense that the deniers don’t exhibit the same degree of malice.

      4. CD

        The right or conservatives usually respond or react to social questions, rather than propose positive change. Their raison d’etre is opposing. So often the right and conservatives understand positions on the left, and the left itself, better than the left does.

        When you oppose you must know both sides well. And the right does.

        The right has carefully studied the left and examined the left’s contradictions. So the right can be a lot more effective in “conflict” than the right. Not surprisingly, the right often wins its argument because it knows the left well.

        So it’s interesting to see the right fumble when it comes to re-designing a program — Obamacare — that they instinctively find repugnant.

        1. hunkerdown

          Liberals are not the left. Conservatives know liberalism’s faults because conservatism is merely a branch of liberalism. Also, Obamacare is the product of a Republican think-tank.

          Please don’t make the same mistake as Fabius Maximus and pretend (or pray, in his case) that the aristocracy defines the political spectrum outside of the houses of power.

        2. reslez

          > it’s interesting to see the right fumble when it comes to re-designing a program — Obamacare — that they instinctively find repugnant.

          Not sure where you came up with this since Obamacare has its roots in Romneycare, originally designed by the Heritage Foundation. Is it any surprise the right has trouble making productive changes to a program they intentionally designed to lack them?

  10. Romancing The Loan

    Re: the Daily Fail article on the asteroid, here is the link to the original paper, which is a lot less alarmist. Suffice to say the evidence for a meteor strike 10k years ago that devastated an advanced civilization is pretty good, but the evidence for a future calamity is quite thin so don’t cash out your 401ks just yet.

    1. ambrit

      I’ve leaned towards this “catastrophist” view of history for some time. At the very end of the Daily Mail piece it is mentioned that the civilization envisioned is speculated to have been at a Classical Roman level of sophistication. The Ancient Romans were much more advanced than popularly imagined. Today, we measure “progress” through physical manifestations of “knowledge.” Often forgot is the “mental” toolkit that undergirds a civilization. Were it not for the cultural disdain for manual production, and the persons who facilitated it, Rome might have achieved more than is in evidence, which is impressive enough.
      The evidence for a North American asteroid strike zone is very strong. Multiple avenues of inquiry support this idea. The theory that the Taurid meteor stream hides a Nibiru like object is long standing. Speculation aside, the Earth is hit by large meteors or asteroids with, on the geological time scale, some regularity. Earthlings can now technically, respond to such threats, which approach certainty over time, with counter measures. Several sci-fi movies are based on the premise. So, what part of “if you don’t do something everything is going to go boom” do Earthlings not understand?
      I cashed in a 401k ten years ago because I had to. That penalty tax was brutal, but I did it, rationalizing that leaving it in the tender mercies of a for profit “financial management” entity was feeding the beast, rather than our family.

      1. cocomaan

        For those who want to keep track of near earth asteroids, check out Scroll down and you can see, every day, their updated encounters with distance (measured in lunar distances), speed, and size.

        The problem remains, though, that we don’t have many good ways of finding these objects. Sometimes you’re lucky and sight them early (like this guy but just as often, maybe more often, we sight them just as they are coming in, like this guy ( just discovered recently, but is an earth-killer.

        Not that you needed more things to worry about.

        1. ambrit

          Yep, we’re f—ed pardners!
          What’s fun is to realize how much of “received wisdom,” in which category I include most “science,” is nothing more than vanity and self-delusion.
          I would say that Maya is a b–ch, but that assumes that Maya even deigns to notice the anthill that is the human race.
          I’m bookmarking the spaceweather site. Thanks!

      2. Katharine

        If you’re keen on catastrophes, don’t just limit yourself to asteroids (many of the smaller of which pass between earth and moon before being noticed by scientists). Keep tabs on the Yellowstone caldera too, with a magma reservoir described as being the size of Mexico.

        (Note the link to heavy breathing of the caldera.)

        1. ambrit

          Yes indeed! There’s also Toba, in Indonesia, and Naples, in, you know, and Long Valley, California, and on. A terminal cynic would conclude that Nature has it in for us meddlesome bipeds. Some future terrestrial sophonts may marvel at the Wyoming traps.

        2. justanotherprogressive

          We will all worry about asteroids and volcanoes and what not and ignore the devastation that Climate Change will cause…….odd that Climate Change is the only one of those catastrophes that we can actually do something about!

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I find alot of climate change advocacy posits that Man is somehow outside of Nature, in my view we are just doing our job as a species, exploiting our ecological niche to the fullest. We’ll suck up all of the oxygen and befoul all of the water, just like any other self-respecting species would do in our situation given the chance. Then we’ll die back and someday disappear altogether, and some cockroach archaeologist will view us as a very interesting layer and try and explain what happened.

            I’m not against slowing down the process of our extinction but people who think we have a long-term shot have probably not studied enough Paleontology. Then of course the sun explodes, carbonizes the planet, and then flickers out like a match. Don’t worry, be happy.

            1. reslez

              It seems that evolution doesn’t really optimize for intelligence, or at least for civilization. Our species has only been around in modern form for about 100k years, but in billions of recorded years of fossil history we haven’t seen much evidence of tool use, much less another technological civilization. In my personal view I don’t think there’s much chance of cockroach archaeologists or any other species pondering our remains. Of course, it’s interesting to think about. Maybe we should spend more time building pyramids.

        3. Oregoncharles

          When I first heard about it, geologists said an eruption was due; now they say it’s more like 100,000 years out (based on the average frequency).

          At this point, we actually have the technical capacity to deflect an asteroid, if we detected it in time, but not a supervolcano.

          That said, there’s enough geothermal energy under Yellowstone to power most of the country, conceivably slowing the next eruption at the same time (not a geologist, so don’t take my word for it). It’s a long time between eruptions, so the buildup must be fairly slow.

          Of course, any project like that would industrialize Yellowstone, a very large cost.

  11. Huey Long

    RE: Asteroid

    One thing I love about studying ancient history is how little we know, and how random archeological finds such as the temple described in the article can oftentimes be enough to turn all our assumptions about the past on their head.

    It also makes me wonder how those who come after us will interpret the ruins we leave behind. Imagine excavating a landfill in the US 2,000 years from now and finding all the discarded peices of glass and plastic emblazoned with an apple logo. Future civilizations may think we worshipped fruit…

    1. JEHR

      Ha! Ha! Ha!–my laugh of the day. Two thousand years from now all our land will be landfill.

    2. Katharine

      It isn’t really a random find. The site has been known for over twenty years (and had been mistakenly rejected as insignificant decades earlier).

      What was novel here was the way the researchers approached the information available to them. I pushed this article a week ago partly because always links to the original publication.

      I remain a little skeptical, as they made quite a few assumptions, but it’s a very ingenious effort and makes a good story.

    3. Susan the other

      It was a surprise to see that article linked here. Never before have we been offered fare like that. I enjoyed it because I’ve always thought it was implausible for us humans to go so un-evolved from the paleolithic until we were miraculously enlightened by Christianity, more or less. And so many archeological sites date way, way back and are studiously ignored. Must have helped Graham Hancock’s theory that the archeologists just found evidence of humans in the Americas as far back as 130,000 years.

      1. ambrit

        A version of the so called “Hancock Hypothesis,” really an independent effort, is Dr. Oppenheimers “Eden in the East.” Not “sensationalist” at all, the book deals with the aftermath of the Younger Dryas dislocations. In this case, literal population dislocations tied to rapid sea level rise following from the comet impacts.
        A group of academics calling themselves “The Holocene Cosmic Impact Group” has been working away at the puzzle for some time.
        The “Original” impetus to begin the “Work” is the mystery of the Carolina Bays. For that, see:

        1. Susan the other

          I wish there was info on the Mound People that seriously tries to trace them and study them. Not just the usual “we found this mound and this stuff inside it.” One tidbit from the History Channel mentioned finding evidence of a north American language linked to the Mayans. Possibly. I think that is pretty exciting.

          1. ambrit

            Our knowledge of the so called Pre Columbian history of the Americas is thin. The mystery of the collapse of the Anasazi in the Southwest is one such. The identities of the “Culture Teacher” characters, such as Viracocha and Quetzalcoatl still bedevil antiquarians. As shown previously, the real “First Americans” is a contentious issue.
            One thing to keep in mind when evaluating these issues is that “sciences” like archaeology, ethnography, anthropology et. al. are one part real science, and another part politics.
            Relics of the “Mound Peoples” of North America stretch all up and down the Mississippi Valley and environs. There are mounds near us in Western Alabama. There are famous Mounds up in Ohio and Illinois, and lots of mounds in Louisiana. If, as evidence suggests, the Mound peoples could trade shells from the Gulf up to Ohio, then connections to the Aztec, Mixtec, and earlier cultures of Mexico are plausible. Humans are an adventurous lot. We travel far and wide today. It was just a bit more difficult back then.

      2. Huey Long

        I enjoyed it because I’ve always thought it was implausible for us humans to go so un-evolved from the paleolithic until we were miraculously enlightened by Christianity, more or less. And so many archeological sites date way, way back and are studiously ignored.

        The longer I study history, especially the stuff that gets glossed over in school like the US imperial interventions by the USMC between WW1 and WW2, the more I realize the propaganda function that studying history serves in K-12 education.

        Gotta cultivate that “America eff yeah!!!” vibe amongst the proles, right?

    4. justanotherprogressive

      Who knows if Hancock’s theory is plausible? Could there have been ancient civilizations that died out that we don’t know about yet? Sure! We do know that evolution and civilization wasn’t apportioned evenly around the globe. Some groups developed faster and at a faster rate than other groups. But it seems to me that if the earth was hit by a comet 13,000 years ago that wiped out any remnants of ancient civilizations, that there would be more proof in the geologic record, and there just isn’t, this authors comments about “boulders” and “diamonds” notwithstanding…..
      As for ice ages, yes there have been many of them, but they CAN be explained by variations in the earth’s rotation and vulcanism…..there is no need to bring a devastating comet into the story….especially when there is no other proof……Occam’s Razor applies……

      1. ambrit

        See my comments above. There is a lot of evidence for the cometary impact theory of the origin of the Younger Dryas.
        See “The Holocene Cosmic Impact Group.” All involved are credentialled in their fields and evidence based in their arguments.
        The biggest environmental effect of the impact, if, giving the benefit of the doubt to doubters, it was impact caused, was the sudden and catastrophic rise in the sea level at the time. Most “advanced” cultures group along shorelines and rivers, for various reasons. “Advanced,” in this context covers anything “higher” than a hunter gatherer level of subsistence. So, most “artifacts” of said drowned cultures would have been organic in nature and degraded to nothing over time. More robust artifacts would, using the shoreline dwellers concept, now be under several hundreds of feet of ocean waters. Who has proposed searching there in the “official” science nomenklatura? Also, who has dug up the evidence of said pre-diluvian civilizations and mis-dated them, or mis-attributed them simply because the idea of such “heresy” would have been career suicide?
        This is a case of the “crazies” turning out to having been right all along. It happens all of the time. My favourite example being the doctor who theorized that stomach ulcers were the result of bacterial infections. He was ridiculed for years until he went ahead and took some of the H. Pylori strain himself and gave himself stomach ulcers. That such a drastic course of action was necessary to get his point across says it all.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          From Wikipedia,

          “When the group made the hypothesis public in 2006, they acknowledged it was likely to be controversial: “I wouldn’t expect 99.9 per cent of (the scientific community) to agree with us”[3] The hypothesis is contradicted by much of what is currently understood about impacts and tsunamis.”

          Your group has a lot of work to do to convince other scientists that their theory is credible. But who knows? They may be right! Maybe other evidence will show up…..
          For me for now – Occam’s Razor……

        2. lyman alpha blob

          This is the first of heard of this theory and although I am not a geologist, if there were a huge comet impact you’d expect to find some evidence in the geological strata.

          The eruption of Thera (modern Santorini island) comes to mind. It isn’t historically documented either but the most recent one occurred around 1500 BC give or take a century or two. The reason it can be dated with such certainty is because there is a layer of ash from the eruption that you can find all over the area. I’ve seen it with my own eyes on Crete.

          The comet strike supposedly happened 9500 years earlier which is a blink of an eye on a geological scale. You’d think there would be a similar layer deposited from this disaster. A comet strike able to wipe out civilization would have to be at least as strong as the eruption of Thera.

          Any geologists out there have any ideas? The thought that someone recorded a comet strike 13K years ago is fascinating and I’d really like to believe it but remain skeptical without more evidence.

          1. ambrit

            See Randall Carlson’s various you-tube entries about the comet impact theory for better supporting evidence than I can supply off the top of my head. The best idea floating out there is that the comet struck on top of the North American Ice Sheet during the last glaciation. The Carolina Bays evidence supports such a location for the impact, or group of impacts. Such a gigantic amount of kinetic energy, being converted to heat energy upon the impact would have melted vast amounts of glacial ice into incredible volumes of water. The evidence of the Northwest scablands and the geology of the Columbia River region provides strong support for such a flood having occurred at that time. We are talking about a volume of water sufficient to raise the worlds sea level almost a hundred feet in weeks. The definition of catastrophe, that.
            Archaeologists in America record a “Black Mat” indicative of giant fires encountered in digs all across the continent, dated to the same period as the theorized cometary impact. There is a discontinuity in the human deposits of about a thousand years in layers just above the Black Mat deposits. The mass extinctions in megafauna in North America date to just after the theorized cometary impact. The “official” theory that human predation wiped out the megafauna would require a significantly higher human population than the evidence shows. Indeed, human remains are scarce to non existent in the post comet period.
            Finally, any civilization “wiped out” would probably have succumbed to sea level rise rather than cometary malevolence. Using the idea of civilizations growing in the littorals and river valleys as a baseline, a major sea level rise would have quickly wiped out the culture centres and dispersed the inhabitants. Subsequent food issues arising out of adverse climate effects, aka “nuclear winter,’ which is really the result of particulate matter pumped into the upper atmosphere cutting off much of the sun’s light and heat reaching the ground, would have done the rest.
            Thera brings to mind other catastrophe minded subjects. The excavations on Santorini show that there was a high order sea going culture there, until nature wiped them out. I know that you are trained to be sceptical, but, don’t laugh, I have always considered the theory that the “Escape From Egypt” in the bible was possibly a result of the Thera eruption. It did put paid to the Minoans, did it not?
            We need to treat everything to unbiased analysis, especially the “official version” of history.

            1. ambrit

              That hundred feet should be roughly forty feet, sorry. It’s still quite a change.

            2. lyman alpha blob

              I did read your link above about the Carolina Bays – really interesting stuff.

              We moderns do have a tendency to believe that we are much more intelligent than our forebears. And regular bears (and other animals for that matter). Then every so often we uncover something like the Antikythera mechanism that sends everyone back to the drawing board.

              Anyhoo, lots of new interesting reading to do now to find out more about this – thx again for the info.

    5. Oregoncharles

      There’s a fundamental objection to the notion of an 11,000 BC civilization: no remains whatsoever. Consider how much the Romans left; much of that will still be detectable in 10,000 years. And our civilization will show up as a layer of concrete, asphalt, and human bones around the world, probably feet thick. Even Gobekli Tepe is 2 thousand years later, and appears to be an isolated site..

      A major civilization that built only in wood, but whose inheritors built in stone? Seems unlikely.

      The Lesser Dryas is evidence that SOMETHING big happened then, but all the rest is speculation. It IS the Daily Mail.

      1. Oregoncharles

        just saw Ambrit’s discussion of sea level rise. That would work – if the civilization was quite localized at low altitudes. It would also explain their inheritors building in high areas like SE Turkey.

        But it seems unlikely such a high civilization would be so localized. All the ones we know of spread like mad, and there’s plenty of river valley still above water.

      2. ambrit

        And you live next to the Scablands and are still sceptical? (Snark.)
        As I wrote above, any “advanced” culture would cluster along the shoreline and river valleys. The sea level rise associated with the theorized cometary impact is roughly forty feet. A cometary impact on an ice sheet would have released enough water to accomplish such a sea level rise in weeks. How would we, technological wizards that we are, cope with such a disaster?

        1. ambrit

          Just checking through and saw Oregoncharles’ second comment. It was not on my screen when I posted the 4:12 comment. Sorry Oregoncharles. I do come off as a twit sometimes. [Hangs head in shame.]

  12. JTMcPhee

    Re Trump extending hands to rogue leaders: Why no mention of Netanyahoooo and the rest of the Likudniks? Always a pass for one of the worst of the lot.

    Yaas, I understand the why of it… all that careful building of “influence,” in service of some Greater Opportunity for a few… Interesting how the Israeli project and the march of the Blanke power elites in South Africa track, and interact…

    I once thought it might be prudent for people of good will to create a Final Payday Fund for such “rogue leaders” who are of course “rogue” only if athwart the Progress of Globalization — a few trillion dollars, concierge service, private jets and islands — a buy-out for the all-too-humans who AC=scene to power over others by corruption and violence on a culture-killing scale. But it looks like while there have been a few, maybe Batista and some others, who might have accepted a “severance package” of personal-pleasure goodies to step off the “stage” in the places they rule, as more or less compendious autocrats with the power of life and death over so many, most corruptnik villains (as we Nacerima see them, and often many “at home there” too, the momentum to carry on, the seductions of imperator status and the power to dispose, seem to “trump” any possibility that these creatures could be bought out of their jobs…

    “And the beat goes on,
    And the beat goes o-on,
    Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the bra-ain…”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Saddam Hussein offered to step down and go into exile one month before the invasion of Iraq, it was claimed last night.

      Fearing defeat, Saddam was prepared to go peacefully in return for £500million ($1billion).
      Days before the invasion began on March 22, 2003, the United Arab Emirates proposed to a summit of Arab leaders that Saddam and his henchmen should go into exile.

      It was the first time the plan had been officially voiced but it was drowned out in the drumbeat of war.

      Saddam Hussein’s mistake was use of the word “peacefully.” “Peace” doesn’t pay the bills on defense contractors’ mansions or put campaign contributions in legislators’ pockets. From the american economic perspective, it’s a loser, plain and simple.

      1. Byron the Light Bulb

        And the Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’ Wit. Hussein had no delusions on how his life would shake out…would’ve preferred a bullet perhaps. He was a man who spent his entire life trying to eliminate all foreign influence from betwixt the Tigris and Euphrates. Hussein was not going anywhere for the King’s Schilling.

      2. Susan the other

        Right, If Saddam had gone away peacefully, what other excuse would we have invented to invade Iraq? This seems to be echoing as we speak in Syria. The whole ‘Assad must go’ story has not made much sense since Assad seemed so willing to go at least a year ago.

        1. Jagger

          Exactly, the removal of Saddam was not the objective. Destruction and dismemberment of the Iraqi state was the objective. Same as Syria.

          1. Huey Long

            The Three Pillars of Middle East Policy

            Uncritical support, protection and subsidy of Israel, including providing aid/defense money to buy Jordanian and Egyptian cooperation in the Israeli suppression of Palestinians.

            Manipulating oil flows and rigging prices, by [a] protecting Saudi Arabia (and the Persian Gulf Arab states) in return for Saudi adjustments (up and down) of oil production to assure a high and stable world oil prices, and by [b] limiting oil exports from–and/or preventing sales of oil drilling/producing/refining/pipeline equipment to–countries that don’t cooperate in US control policies, most notably Iraq and post-Shah Iran. (Note: the failure of the U.S. occupation of Iraq has destroyed our 20 years of successful restriction of Iraqi oil exports and, even worse for U.S. control of oil prices, resulted in leasing of huge Iraqi oil reserves to Russia, China and others.)

            Recycling of petrodollars via weapons sales to oil-exporting countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, etc. (i.e. countries that cooperate in assuring high world oil prices) and via petrodollar flow to U.S. banking/investment houses and into U.S. Treasury paper.

            Additional point: Since the end of WWII, these pillars have been supported and masked by efforts to limit Soviet and Iranian influence in the Middle East and N. Africa.

            Chuck Spinney & Pierre Sprey

            I think these guys nailed it.

    2. Huey Long

      But it looks like while there have been a few, maybe Batista and some others, who might have accepted a “severance package” of personal-pleasure goodies to step off the “stage” in the places they rule

      Well, Mobutu put together his own “severance” package in the form of the billions he looted, with CIA assistance of course.

      Idi Amin got severance courtesy of Ghadaffi and the Kingdom of Saud.

      Jean-Claude Duvalier was ultimately resettled in France, although his divorce ended up reducing his severance substantially.

      I think you’re on to something JT…

      1. JTMcPhee

        One fly in the ointment is that these critters would have to massively commit horrors on mope-dom before they can be cashed out…

        Let us also mention Yasser Arafat, as a potential candidate for a buyout though he made himself very wealthy in part by less than visible interactions with those wonderful Israelites, in business/politics, who have reciprocally pledged to destroy “his people:”

        I see that the Supremes are thinking about maybe hearing some argument on why “intellectual-property-protected” algorithms that are created and used in secret to produce machine aids judgments on the badness of criminals (often who are just you or I, but for events) might be having a problematical effect on the way, in his words, the court “does business.” (surely just a slip of the tongue…)

        If the Nine decide that this kind of “artificial intelligence” (sic) can be used, “Minority Report” style, to “detect future crime,” maybe the mopery who would fund the “severance packages” of “monster” rulers, could identify potential or nascent malefactors, and pay them off on a smaller scale, before they Fokk things up on a bigger scale… “scales of justice,” and all that. Of course that would never be part of the Great Grift, as administered by the people who hold the real power of life and death…

        Who would judge, and who would enforce the non-competes and agreements to stay out of the dictator business?

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Student who worked in Chinese iPhone factory explains why manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back to the U.S. CNBC (furzy). Contrast that with this analysis, which argues that Apple could pay a living US wage, at a cost of only 7% of profit. Arguments like the CNBC one have little to do with what companies can “afford” and are all about attempting to preserve a profit share of GDP that is nearly 2X over what Warren Buffet described as the maximum sustainable level in the early 2000s.

    To fight inflation, to give the currency additional value, you can try to tax more.

    Rich corporations will just move their profits around and shift jobs elsewhere.

    The Deplorables who still have jobs will have to pay more taxes to drain money supply, if the goal is that, because for immobile people, shifting incomes overseas is harder. As the things stand now, it has that built-in inequality feature.

    1. Keeping profits overseas is one motive

    2. Foreign workers overseas, with more cooperating governments, are more subservient.

    3. Foreign workers imported here are also more subservient…a. you’re in a foreign country, don’t make trouble, and b. maybe you want a green card later. Sanders’ ‘pay them closer to what their American equivalent’ doesn’t address all the factors. To bad he couldn’t say we need fewer H1B visa workers here, explicitly.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Haven’t the little gnomes tried that “managing inflation” thing (maybe just for show, eh, Greenspan and Summers and DimonBlankfein?), and demonstrated that FIRE can absorb and “disappear” any amount of “dollars,” at all, at all, at all? With no visible inflation effect (excepting for what it costs mopes to obtain the stuff of life)?

        And all those dollars, particularly the “notional” kind, but all of the ones that get “cleared” through the money tree every day, and the ones that live in Derivativeland somehow, how interesting that mopes who build superyachts and $4 million “chronographs” and 100-room “homes,” and construct Maseratis, and long-legged females, and chefs who imagine up those phantasmagorical perfect food bits, and “security staff” aka private armies, and boot lickers and a$$-kissers and -wipers, all the rest of the solid-gold-toilet-making and -installing crowd, assume that the paychecks or direct deposits into their evanescent “accounts” in bitmoney-space are real dollars, you know. And will be accepted as payment for food and clothing and shelter and medical treatment and the rest, by the next order of humanoids that service the servicers’ and artificers’ various wants and needs…

        Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,
        And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
        And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on;
        While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.

        Augustus De Morgan, A Budget of Paradoxes

        Are the supposedly canceling “dollars” that get traded or wagered in derivative contracts part of the froth that feeds the bubble machiine…? A lot of people assume that traders in these exotica are vastly wealthy…. “What is/are money, again?” I know I am supposed to know, after reading religiously here and in the resources linked here, over several years… As I bald, I come to resemble Yul Brynner in “The King and I,” whose Kingly character famously observed, about Life In General, “Is a puzzlement!”

        “…While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads…”

      2. John k

        Foreigners wanting to save dollars will pay any price, I.e. Any amount of their exports, to get them. Not dissimilar to our residents doing whatever gov demands to earn dollars to pay taxes.

  14. Vatch

    Trump is considering new Glass-Steagall-style bank rules BBC

    I won’t believe it until I see that a few dozen Republicans have co-sponsored the existing Glass Steagall bills in the House and Senate. Until then, it’s just more hot air from Trump.

    So far, the only Republican co-sponsors are John McCain in the Senate, and Walter Jones of North Carolina in the House.

    1. Katharine

      Yes! Either you have a very fine lens or she has learned to be remarkably trusting. Wonderful picture.

    2. crittermom

      Thanks, Susan and Katharine.
      While I may no longer have my home, at least I’m able to live in a place surrounded by wildlife. My salvation!
      I think I’ve photographed these local critters so much they’ve accepted me. I’ve often gotten some of my best shots over the years by allowing them to come to me, as I just try to ‘blend in’. I often talk softly to them, too.
      My camera is actually around 18 yrs old (Canon Rebel XT, Only 8 mp), with a 75-300 lens, but it still affords me some good shots. Someday I hope to upgrade my equipment, but I’m very grateful I even have what I do so I can pursue my joy and passion–nature and photography.

      1. Marina Bart

        I was telling my husband how startling these expressions you’re capturing are. It’s not just a nice clear image. You’re capturing their inner life, like they’re looking at you as a fellow creature, with their guard down, and not like you’re a predator. It’s really cool.

  15. Altandmain

    From Alternet:

    Trump Could Very Well Get Re-Elected—Unless the Opposition Can Find a Way to Change America

    Elizabeth Warren Rips Obama and the Democrats for Selling Out to Wealthy Elites

    I think that a few of the wiser heads realize that 2020 could look like 2004 right now.

    1. voxhumana

      That Trump could be a 2 term president is surely something to be concerned about but I’m confused by the following: “The upshot is that the right wing has found a way to weaponize doubt in favor of “the noble lie,” peddling outright falsehoods while placing the onus on the rest of us to show why those lies are not true and making it almost impossible to have genuine debates about the gravest issues of life and death.”

      So, does the ridiculous Putin-got-Trump-elected meme currently peddled by desperate Democrats make them right-wing? Well, yes, I guess it does. Hmmmmm….

      And then the author ends with: “Our challenge now is to reconnect with the angelic in us and to stop playing suckers to the likes of Donald Trump — to cease placing them at the center of our public life, much less at the helm. This may be on the order of actuating the punchline from Bertolt Brecht’s satirical “The Solution,” which calls for the government “to dissolve the people and elect another.” Of course we cannot dissolve the American people or create them again from nothing. We need to effect a sea change in them to prevent a renewal of the Trump incubus in 2020.”

      So… it’s the voter’s fault that our thoroughly debased polity coughed up two candidates with sky high disapproval ratings? Seems to me that’s the exact opposite of the point Brecht was making and suggests the author doesn’t understand how satire works.

      As for Warren, better late than never, I suppose… but I do hope you are right about the “wiser heads” finally recognizing there’s a big problem and that it ain’t just Donald Trump.

      1. John k

        … make them right wing?
        They have been right wing since the mid 70’s. Neolib dem elites don’t want progressive votes, certainly not enough to do anything their donor -masters don’t like, meaning they must compete with the other right wing party for right wing votes…
        their problem is there’s not enough right wing votes to go around.

        Hasn’t been as good an opportunity for third party since 1856.

      2. hunkerdown

        That, and everything they’ve done since 1971. To paraphrase another commenter, the Whigs won; it just took them a while.

        “Our challenge now is to reconnect with the angelic in us and to stop playing suckers to the likes of Donald Trump” is the very reason the Democrat Party is dying. They are Calvinists without a deity, as a commenter on the vampire castles polemic put it. I and no doubt many others are frankly tired of Democrats pumping barely-laundered Judeo-Christian doctrine with permanent mud on the knees into the discourse and claiming some sort of doctrinal authority that can only be failed, as if doing so were some sort of “service”. Instead of making us cheeseburgers and keeping us in clothing and shelter, we are directed by the fellowship class to the gospel of Matthew and told to eat faith by someone with way too many diacritics in their name to have any interest in kinship or community.

        The fellowship classes have an Order to sell when, pardon the incivility, we are only interested in their absolute silence and speedy departure from the scene by whatever means they choose to depart.

      3. Oregoncharles

        Yes, it is the voters’ fault, because they choose to stick with the 2-Party TINA. There ARE alternatives, but not enough voters take them. (An overlooked feature of plurality voting is that it might not take anywhere near a majority – with 3 candidates, it could be 4%. Bill C. got pretty close at 38% the first time.)

        Last year was an open invitation to rebellion, because the voters were faced with the 2 worst candidates in recorded history. Yet they voted for one or the other. This continual yielding to fear is the death of democracy.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: GOP congressman: People with pre-existing conditions lead “bad” lives AMERICAblog (furzy). Yikes.

    Somewhat counterintuitive I know, but demonization of people with “pre-existing conditions” may be just what the doctor ordered for the american “healthcare” system. This is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts in america today. Anywhere there is a national healthcare system, which is to say every economically developed country but here, there is no such thing–everywhere else they are called sick people.

    From Dr. John Torres on msnbs this morning:

    –1 in 2 americans have “pre-existing” conditions
    –86% of americans age 55-64 have them
    –Half of people with employer-sponsored health insurance have them

    Roughly half of all americans have some sort of “pre-existing” condition–from cancer to allergies or high blood pressure–and could find themselves in the so-called high risk pool “meaning at high risk to the insurance companies themselves.” Per Dr. Torres, a lot of americans don’t even realize that they are considered “high risk.”

    People need to be made to understand that the system, as currently constructed, is nothing more than payments to insurance companies by those who don’t need “healthcare,” while finding someone else, like the government, to pay for those who do. The sooner everyone realizes that this whole insurance scam is just hostage-taking with ever increasing ransom demands, the better off we’re all going to be.

    So let the demonization of all those americans who seek healthcare from the world’s best healthcare system begin.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Many people lead ‘bad’ lives involuntarily.

      Vegetables are expensive, when available. In a food desert, you can’t get them. Instead, junk food is the only choice for many Americans – these people lead ‘bad’ lives. Many jobs are 8 hours of bad, sedentary lives. It’s so easy to lead ‘bad’ lives in today’s after-centuries-of-progress world.

      1. Susan the other

        And where is the argument behind the fact that life itself is a pre-existing condition. I mean really, there isn’t one of us who is not susceptible to some illness or other. Old age is the biggest headache for the insurance companies – they are going to define aging as a pre-existing condition one of these days.

        1. turkey

          They already have. There is almost no private healthcare insurance market for those above 65. Medicare is another way for private insurance to privatize profits and socialize losses. The best option would be to go to Medicare For All!

          1. jrs

            I think the insurance companies would actually love it if they took the 55-65 year olds off their hands as well and put them on Medicare, but they are afraid that might be a slippery slope …

    2. Louis

      The high-risk pools that were tried, prior to the ACA, had varying rules on eligibility but generally it involved automatic eligibility for certain conditions and conditional eligibility others–there are certain medical conditions that insurance companies will underwrite for in some cases but not in others. If you fell into the latter (conditional eligibility) category you’d be eligible for high-risk pools if you produced a letter showing that you tried to apply to an insurance company but were deemed uninsurable. In other words, not everybody with what an insurance company deems a pre-existing condition is going to be eligible for a high-risk pools.

      The more important it point is what a failure high-risk pools have been–you don’t need to be an expert in economics or insurance to figure out that combining all the people the insurance companies don’t want gets expensive very quickly. In the states that tried them the best-case scenario was people paying a lot of money for crap insurance and in the worst case, shutting down the pools to new applicants because the costs were unsustainable.

      Although the Republicans, that want to bring back high-risk pools, think they can keep costs down by shunting certain people over to high-risk pools, the fact of the matter is that high-risk pools don’t pay for themselves–you need a lot of subsidies if you want to have any chance of keeping them sustainable and affordable. The fact that the tried and failed high-risk pools are the best Republicans can come up with shows that its still amateur hour for any alternative to the Affordable Care Act.

    3. Vatch

      When I read the headline, at first I wondered whether this might mean that people with pre-existing conditions have bad lives because their health problems cause them to suffer. But no, Congresscritter Mo Brooks said the reverse. People do bad things which make them sick. Well, yeah, there’s cigarette smoking, but for the most part, people get sick or injured through no fault of their own. Are the citizens of Flint, Michigan, at fault because they were poisoned by their drinking water? What about the citizens of Libby, Montana, who were poisoned by asbestos? If a person develops arthritis, what bad behavior was responsible for that?

      Is Mo Brooks a bad person because he is a conservative Republican with odious opinions, or is he a conservative Republican with odious opinions because he is a bad person?

  17. LT

    Re: Heineken vs Pepsi Ads

    Another way of looking at them is at what they visually portray on the macro level:
    Confrontation with other individuals (Heineken) vs Confrontation with authority/status quo (Pepsi). Both show resolutions of a kind at the end of the narrative, but maybe the varying degree of controversy reveals the discomfort still present with protesting “the system.”

    Then it could also be that the Heineken ad didn’t have a celebrity at the center of the ad to already have the attention of the many more outlets for pop culture news and views.

    1. CD

      Is one drink Democratic and the other Republican? Are these the memes working here?

      1. LT

        No, it’s beyond that.
        It’s a question of addressing issues as systemic problems or personal/identity problems. Repubs or Dems can fall on either side of line, depending on the timing and issue.
        But there is a strong current to conformity in the USA. The reflexive pause at anything that points to the system being at fault makes the comfortable very uncomfortable.
        Now the Pepsi ad was not extremely radical (or enlightening) by any means and everyone jumped on it as a reminiscent of or co-opting “Black Lives Matter.” Most mass protests have a police presence. And the thumbs down came from a wide variety of sub-cultures. Our overarching culture has trained us to individualize our problems, so the Heineken add was easier swallowed.
        (Walking and typing…so kind of hurried)

  18. Will Nadauld

    Awesome mayday March in Lawrence Mass yesterday. I didnt know the event was taking place and was in the city to attend a seminar required to receive unemployment insurance. After the seminar I met a woman with a sign and asked her if she had extra signs. She directed me to free parking and the central rally point in the park. It was a dream. The protesters acted like they had read your playbook on the decentralized occupy movement. I fit the fearmongering demographic of non college white construction worker perfectly. I was for Bernie in the primarys and then couldnt stomach the decision on election day. nakedcapitalism is my exclusive source for news, and applying critical thinking skills. I marched with the guatemalans and young white female college organizers. It was peaceful. I believe most involved can see that lawrence would cease to exist with out the benefit of the cash economy. I was sure to point out to a few about the police drones and the biometric implications for the non papered immigrants and their need for at the least dark sunglasses. They have real courage. My courage is a token by comparison. I hope other states adopt the same sanctuary status as Mass. I know many Utahns who would stand by their brothers against their vote and supposed economic interest. Anyway it was neat to see everyone pull together. Thanks Yves and Lambert. I wish I could support you but struggling just now.

    1. DJG

      –I fit the fearmongering demographic of non college white construction worker perfectly.

      Solidarity. However fearsome.

    2. Marina Bart

      I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I greatly appreciated your comment when I read it this morning. I usually read NC on my phone in the morning, but don’t comment from there. (I hate thumbing.)

      I grew up near Lawrence. I love knowing there was a May Day march there. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Inert_Bert

    Re: Telegraph article on alleged EU-sabotage of a quick settlement on the rights of EU-citizens.

    It’s not so much a case of Juncker blocking anything, but May just not understanding the legal complexities involved and the EU seeking to preserve the legal position of expats as fully as possible (including protections derived from EU law and a mechanism for enforcement).

    This FT blogpost by David Allen Green is informative on previous diplomatic wrangling about expats’ rights, legal details and EU insistence on a comprehensive approach: Brexit and the rights of UK and EU expats.

    One could argue that the EU is being too ambitious here re: acquired rights and should settle for UK-citizen status for all currently residing in UK but it is worth remembering that, as noted by Steve Peers on twitter, Leave campaigners also promised no change in legal position for UK Expats (and in the Telegraph of course!).

    Besides, even in case of a comparatively simple solution based on national law, there’d still be a lot left to be worked out for UK citizens spread out over 27 EU countries. According to the FAZ report/leak and even the Telegraph, May didn’t even mention them…

  20. Louis

    Just as the Republicans have tried to turn poverty into a moral failing, Republicans are trying to turn pre-existing conditions into a moral failing as evidenced by Congressman Mo Brooks’ comments. Turning pre-existing conditions into a moral failing it makes it a lot easier to justify gutting healthcare: i.e. why should your hard earned money subsidize people who won’t take care of themselves?

    I strongly support universal healthcare; however, Democrats are naive if they think the battle is over. They need to hit back against buffoons like Brooks and any other moron who thinks pre-existing conditions are purely the result of bad choices.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      I suppose that you cannot really see the truth of something by looking down your nose at it. The Victorians who I believe invented the term, ( due to the lower orders usually being of smaller stature ), probably considered that their malnourished people lead good lives serving them hand & foot for up to 17 hours a day, within a 6 day week.

  21. Z

    In regards to Wall Street’s pique with American Airlines over giving their employees raises, of course they’re pissed, not only does this leave less money for American Airlines to feed into the market via stock buybacks, but the more money that labor gets the greater the Fed’s inflation stats and the less likely the Fed will be to continue easy money policies that Wall Street accesses for on-demand leverage in the markets they bully around for profit.


  22. Jay

    Love how Mish is always beating on the Unions and advocating for labor arbitrage or privatization, and laying the consequences on the Fed.

    1. Susan the other

      I know. I had to quit reading Mish altogether because he was like a stealth weapon. He sounds like he’s a democratic, egalitarian, populist, progressive sorta guy – but get down a paragraph and it gets so irrational that at first you think you (the reader) are irrational – thinking ‘what did I miss?’.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If anyone is predictable, the person likely an robot.

        That’s the Reverse-Turing test of ‘How can you pass for a robot so that genuine robots can’t tell your’re a human.’

      2. ChrisPacific

        He is good on his beat (I credit him in large part for helping me see the GFC coming and take precautionary steps) but veers towards religion territory when it comes to his pet issues. I have reluctantly concluded that he is part of the problem rather than the solution in many respects.

  23. Susan the other

    Hiltzig on shareholder value. The LA Times isn’t exactly something I’d subscribe to – except for Hiltzig. I used to look for his editorials because they were usually good. This one is excellent. And taken straight from the pen of Yves – and he has the good grace to credit her.

  24. Indrid Cold

    re: Meteors

    I found this idea intriguing way back when I first came across it on a podcast by RedIce with Randall Carlson.

    They’re having to finally admit that humans have been in the Americas a lot longer than the Clovis cultural complex. Global sea level rise is also making people take seriously the idea that a flourishing neolithic civilization was underway in places like Doggerland and Indonesia when the ice melted very quickly and washed it all out to sea.

    1. ambrit

      I enjoy Randall Carlson too. He’s been on Joe Rogan a few times as well. He has been on Rogan along with Hancock, now that I think of it.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      The institutional agnatology in Archaeology about ice age sea level has always made me wonder. It’s not controversial to point out that sea level rose after the ice age. It’s not controversial to say that the humans find any shoreline attractive and productive. But no one points out that the ice age remains we can acccess are basically the flyover cultures of the period. It’s rare to find a simple acknowledgement that we probably can’t access the really cool stuff. At least not until the next stadial.

      1. ambrit

        The next stadial will probably see us worrying about other things than pre-history. Post-history will be staring us in the face.

      2. Rhondda

        …the ice age remains we can access are basically the flyover cultures of the period…

        Very well said!

  25. Oregoncharles

    “How the Russia Spin Got So Much Torque Norman Solomon, Common Dreams”
    Norman Solomon trying to make up for becoming a Democrat and campaigning for the Big O. Also trying to be useful again.

    Does my resentment show?

  26. robnume

    I stopped reading Mish for a couple of years because of the public union bashing he seems to enjoy. I began reading him again for his EU posts during BREXIT. Those of you who do not know this may be interested to know that Mike Shedlock’s own father was a lifelong union member, so Mike benefited directly during his childhood years from his fathers union membership. Go figure.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe he hates or hated his father, or maybe not.

      What one gets in one’s childhood, though, is beyond one’s control, whether one agrees or disagrees with the advantages or disadvantages.

      As for unions, they didn’t get to this state without the bosses’ leadership over the decades.

    2. JustAnObserver

      Mish is just another hard money, goldbug, type. He’s interesting if whatever he’s writing about has no ideological clashes with Hayek, Von Mises, etc. Otherwise can safely be ignored.

  27. Chauncey Gardiner

    Believe Le Pen’s late-stage strategy outlined in the article has merit. After all, it worked here (as the writer points out).

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