Links 5/27/17

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Carter adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski dies at 89 Politico

I Recently Lost My Guinea Pig Archie And Here’s My Tribute To Him Bored Panda

Angry gentleman plows into Moonlite Bunny Ranch with 18-wheeler while women sleeping Boing Boing (resilc)

We finally have the Juno spacecraft’s first results on Jupiter Popular Science (UserFriendly)

The big star that couldn’t become a supernova: One star’s ‘massive fail’ could help solve a mystery ScienceDaily (Chuck L)

Waves Rippled Through Greenland’s Ice. That’s Ominous Climate Central (MoiAussie)

Ancient DNA evidence shows hunter-gatherers and farmers were intimately linked ScienceDaily (Chuck L)

New Airport Scanners Could End Bans on Laptops and Liquids Bloomberg

“Thousands’ of known bugs found in pacemaker code BBC (Chuck L)


Hong Kong and Macau regulators intensify efforts against money laundering, financial crime and terrorist funding South China Morning Post (J-LS)


Farm Output May Have Increased in Three Years But Farmers’ Welfare Has Not The Wire (J-LS)

Centre Imposes Nationwide Restriction on Slaughter of Buffalos, Camels and Cows The Wire (J-LS)

Trump in G7 clashes over trade and climate Financial Times

Chairman of Meatpacker at Center of Brazil Corruption Probe Resigns Wall Street Journal


Egypt hits ‘jihadist camps’ after attack BBC

Operation “Grand Dawn” Post 1 Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Saudi Arabia and Russia stuck in unlikely oil alliance Financial Times

Why the Palestinian Authority Should Be Shuttered New York Times (David L)

U.S. Air Strikes in Syria Kill More than 100 Reuters (Bill B)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Chipotle Says Payment System Was Hacked Fortune (Chuck L)

Kushner and Russia

Exclusive: Trump son-in-law had undisclosed contacts with Russian envoy – sources Reuters (furzy). Way way WAY down in the story:

There may not have been anything improper about the contacts, the current law enforcement official stressed.

Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin Washington Post

Jared Kushner’s Russia Problems New Yorker (furzy)

Dem: Kushner ‘should be prosecuted for lying’ on security form The Hill

Lambert helpfully sent this:

Ryan Lizza seems to be the source. The form is SF-86. May 26:

He concludes:

We still don’t have a crime in this case, but there is an awful lot of coverup.

The illegality claim Lizza cites comes from “several Democrats” in a letter on April 13:

Gorelick’s case for the defense, April 6 [i.e., Kushner’s attorney at Wilmer Hale]:

While officials can lose access to intelligence, or worse, for failing to disclose foreign contacts, the forms are often amended to address lapses. Jamie Gorelick, Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, said that the questionnaire was submitted prematurely on Jan. 18, and that the next day, Mr. Kushner’s office told the F.B.I. that he would provide supplemental information.

This is not just bureaucratic paperwork. The form warns that “withholding, misrepresenting, or falsifying information” could result in loss of access to classified information, denial of eligibility for a sensitive job and even prosecution; knowingly falsifying or concealing material facts is a federal felony that may result in fines or up to five years imprisonment.

Clearance holders are often allowed to amend disclosure forms and avoid punishment if omissions are deemed oversights rather than deliberate falsifications, and prosecutions are rare.

So it looks to me like Gorelick got the toothpaste back in the tube on April 6, as she would try to do, the Democrats tried to stamp on the tube April 13, as they would try to do, and The New Yorker is stamping on the tube to get the toothpaste out again, as they would try to do. I did a brief search for SF-86 prosecutions, but all I can find is this podcast, which I don’t have time to listen to:

Presumably, if there were a history of SF-86 prosecutions with any big fish, we would already have seen timelines in sidebars. So I think it’s safe to assume they don’t exist. I mean, Sandy Berger wasn’t prosecuted for stealing classified documents from the National Archives by stuffing them into his pants and walking out with them.

Trump Pushing Big White House Changes as Russia Crisis Grows Wall Street Journal (J-LS)

White House considering vetting Trump’s tweets: report The Hill (UserFriendly)

Yes, Trump Is Making Xenophobia More Acceptable Bloomberg (Dr. Kevin)

Warren Demands Trump Aide Gary Cohn Recusal From White House Proposal That Could Benefit Goldman Sachs David Sirota, International Business Times


The challenges in setting up a California single-payer system are daunting — but not insurmountable Los Angeles Times

Dear NYS Senators: Pass the New York Health Act NYSHealth (martha r)

GOP leaders launch internal review into leak The Hill

Hillary Clinton invokes IMPEACHMENT in speech to grads Daily Mail (martha r)

A Shadowy Corporate Lobby Is Quietly Trying To Ban Protesting Across The U.S. Activist Post (martha r)

Election Excitement Builds as Democrats Flip Two Red Districts Common Dreams (martha r)

Will Bernie Sanders Run In 2020? How Trump Is Inspiring the Progressive Base to Lead the Democratic Party Newsweek

A New Way to Challenge the Failed “War on Drugs” Ralph Nader, Common Dreams (martha r)

It All Began with Bernie.” Candidate khalid kamau Reflects on a Newly Progressive South. Progressive (martha r)

Democrats – Lemmings in Search of a Cliff: Why You Shouldn’t Bet the Ranch on 2018 Common Dreams (jess m, martha r)

FEC faults Cruz on Goldman Sachs loans in rare unanimous vote The Hill (UserFriendly)


Five takeaways from the Montana special election The Hill

Russia Is on TV, but Health Care Was the Central Issue in Montana’s Election Intercept (martha r)

Kill Me Now

Hillary Clinton Is Furious. And Resigned. And Funny. And Worried. New York Magazine. Reslic: “2020 Clintoon/Booker. Run 4 the hills.”

Clinton makes digs at Trump BBC. Yes, you do need to keep tabs…

Winners And Losers Of The Recent Nuclear Holocaust McSweeneys (Dan K)

Barack Obama on food and climate change: ‘We can still act and it won’t be too late’ Guardian (J-LS). Dear Lord, an awfully transparent effort to whitewash his inaction.

Federal prosecutor found dead in water on Hollywood beach Miami Herald. Martha r: “A young prosecutor “very motivated by public service”. serious head wound. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s district. The story may grow if FBI & U.S. Attorney’s office get involved.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

74 Seconds podcast: ‘The whole world is watching Minnesota’ Minnesota Public Radio News. UserFriendly: “Really well done.”

Police State Watch

Sheriff Clarke didn’t like plane passenger, had him harassed, then taunted him on Facebook Boing Boing (Chuck L)

Texas teachers give ‘most likely to become a terrorist’ award to 13-year-old Washington Post


Firm behind Dakota Access pipeline faces intense scrutiny for series of leaks Guardian

DAPL Photographer Cleared of Charges After Drone Footage Proves His Case Common Dreams (martha r)

Power for Capital’s Sake: The 1984 Kissinger Commission shows that American intervention is a bipartisan project Jacobin (martha r)

Soft US economic data dampens hopes of a rebound Financial Times

Private Equity Examines Its Distressed Navel Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Air rage: why does flying make us so angry? Science says it’s about class Guardian. Important, and much wider-ranging than the headline suggests.

Commencement Address, American University in Beirut, 2016 Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Medium (Chuck L). Taleb manages to make himself seem likable for the first time evah. Plus a good speech.

Antidote du jour (Kittie Wilson via Lawrence R):

And a bonus antidote by Stephen Biddlecombe, who was short-listed in the first Annual Comedy Wildlife Photography awards, via Richard Smith:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Baby Gerald

    Re: Angry gentleman plows into Moonlite Bunny Ranch with 18-wheeler while women sleeping

    Methinks the writer doesn’t quite understand the meaning of the word ‘gentleman’.

    1. fresno dan

      Baby Gerald
      May 27, 2017 at 7:27 am

      I’m wondering about the word “plows”

    2. ambrit

      Twenty years is a long time to hold a grudge. Give him credit, he stole the truck. No mention of “Grand Theft Auto” in the article. Could the game makers have “gotten to” the journos? Also, he was wearing a bullet proof vest? To a brothel? Wouldn’t a bullet proof French tickler have been more appropriate?
      As for the definition of “gentleman,” well, considering the “quality” of the males attending the “festivities” at such establishments, this begrudged specimen of manhood is well within the “curve” defining the “class” of club goers.

    3. craazyboy

      At the Chicken Ranch they have a saying, ” You can’t have an omelet without breaking a few eggs!”

    1. RabidGandhi

      Thanks for the fix.

      “The neoliberal model always closes with repression” — Axel Kicillof.

      1. ambrit

        Shouldn’t that be; “The neoliberal model always begins collapse with repression?”

        1. RabidGandhi

          Perhaps, and it may also be the fault of my translation. Maybe “the neoliberal cycle always closes with repression”?

          In our case, the cycle collapsed in the late 1990s, the hard-core repression came in 2001, and it has now initiated again, with austerity, laws against protests, and beefing up of the security forces.

          Didn’t we just leave this party?

          1. ambrit

            Ah, “cycle” shifts the discussion into more realistic realms. This might be a “chicken or egg” question.

            1. craazyboy

              Truck ‘bot searches RAM and remembers last time he was here he got his valve stem inflated, oil changed, and muffler tongued.

              Oh, that’s bad. This is a toy truck blog too!

              1. ambrit

                Hey, this is an economics blog, so, Replacement of Muffler Bearings should be included in the syllabus. (With a tip of the hat to the Chicago Boys and the Austrian School Department of Hedonics.)

          2. Procopius

            I think we’ve seen this movie before. There’s a blog called Whatever It Is I’m Against It, which just a small taste of what was being published in the newspapers 100 years ago today. Did you know it was made illegal for any service member in uniform to be served an alcohol beverage, and the law was written so that anyone who “offered to treat” a service member was subject to arrest and jail? Edward Creel, the czar for propaganda, was also not a nice man. And the use of the word czar is intentional. That period made McCarthy look like a pussycat.

  2. funemployed

    I don’t understand why so many people think a republican house will impeach trump. Why would they?Am I missing something? Is this a post-2018 prediction, because it doesn’t seem to be being framed that way.

    1. a different chris

      I guess because Pence is seen as one of them? A Bush type empty vessel, well maybe not empty but full only of the kind of vaporous beliefs that can be easily manipulated. They can’t reliably get Trump to do what they want, and certainty is necessary for The Project.

      Not a great answer but nobody else has responded so…. well you get what you pay for! :)

    2. Arizona Slim

      And I think they will be disappointed when they realize that Mike Pence won’t be another Gerald Ford.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Why did so many people believe Hillary was a formidable candidate? The answer is the same.

    4. Ignim Brites

      The is no reason to think the republican house will impeach Trump. How many people actually think this? Doubtless few beyond those influenced by the haute bourgeois media who are pressing the putinhack in order to deflect attention for their misleading reporting that presumed a Clinton victory. They are trapped though and this is merely an exercise in chewing off their own leg. It is gruesome yet weirdly amusing to watch.

      1. Procopius

        I think only the people most deeply affected by Putin Derangement Syndrome can delude themselves into thinking Trump will be impeached. Mostly people who are still using the word “treason.” Hysterical.

    5. Lambert Strether

      > I don’t understand why so many people think a republican house will impeach trump.

      Presumably some forthcoming revelation.

      What I struggle to understand, given reasonable working assumptions about how surveillance in the Beltway works (legally, or not), is what information could be available today that was not available in November 2016 or even earlier.

      OK, assume the intelligence community has been carefully building an air-tight case (though there also seems to be constant confusion between criminal investigation and intelligence analysis, so “case” in both senses). We’re [counts on fingers] about seven months on from election day. Couldn’t “they” — that is, the current and former “officials”– have speeded up the tempo a little bit, given the stakes?

      1. craazyboy

        The thing that boggles my mind is why doesn’t Trump take the offensive, realizing they will try and take him down, maybe with real jail time. [matching GPS bracelets with Melania keyed to Mara Lago]

        In the beginning I could see it may make sense for Trump to visit his new intel agencies, make friends, then install new management. Let things blow over and not get bogged down and then onward towards making America [Trump] Great Again.

        But he didn’t, and now it’s nothing but an ever growing Black Hole.

        1. Vatch

          I wonder how much of the confrontationalism of the Trump administration has been provoked by loose cannon Steve Bannon?

          1. craazyboy

            Yeah, all they had to do was let the spooks dangle in dark, then separate the good from the bad, then a silent civil service purge out to pasture. Sneaky, effective, quiet, and legal, for a change. But, not in the playbook.

          2. craazyboy

            Ah, our questions answered – by the MSM!

            Those lucky folks will come out smelling like a rose now. They now can objectively report on the “news”, after almost single handedly creating it by flinging every little smelly turd uttered by “sources” around the echo chamber.

            “War Room”! Sounds aggressive. Led by Bannon and other “take no prisoner” predator types.


            If they made up some downside for this over the top behavior, it wouldn’t even exist. If criminal penalties of fines are too terrifying for the “players”, then at a minimum they should loose their jobs. Then should be banned from any “public service”, and lobbying, giving speeches, talking to reporters, friends and neighbors or their Amazon NSA box. [dunno about Cortina yet, the dumb bitch.] It should certainly include sharing your favorite tofu recipes and Hillary should not be allowed to publish her 3 Top Yoga Positions on DVD with the shuffle option, accentuating her dynamism and flexion posturing. This would be easy to do.

            Then we could get back to the squillion real problems facing the world.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        IMHO the security state knows it doesn’t have anything that it can make stick on Trump. So the strategy is to gin up a bunch of annoying investigations and get the way too easily provoked Trump to engage in obstruction of justice.

        1. funemployed

          That seems plausible. He is the sort of person who sees bait and reaches for it while everyone around him is yelling “Its a TRAP!”

  3. allan

    New Airport Scanners Could End Bans on Laptops and Liquids

    Shouldn’t we be celebrating this as a confirmation of MMT? The government can pour apparently unlimited dollars into a series of different technologies – RapiScan/THz/puffer/CT – as well as the warehouses needed to store the scanners when they’re pulled from service, without any inflationary impact.

    1. LT

      “Terrorist threats”…the gift that keeps on giving govt contracts for surveillance.

  4. Edward E

    Here’s some close up pictures and videos of the damage at the Bunny Ranch. From what I heard, the owner Dennis Hof put a sign out front, ‘Beat it, we’re closed for two weeks.’ But the ladies protested, ‘We’re never closed​, just a little more open than normal.’ ?

    Thankfully this idiot did not hurt anyone, all we need right now is more reason for self driving truck robotics.

    1. ambrit

      The perp backed the truck into the building?! This wasn’t a serious attempt then. Showboating for a probably drunk guy. The body armour now; is truck driving becoming that dangerous? Even if he stole the truck, he had to know how to drive it, so, someone who was familiar with big rigs?
      The “post” looks like an advert for the place. The “girls” look overdressed for their “profession.” One of the comments was interseting. The local sheriffs office was praised for heaving a “rapid response” mindset. Does that mean that the local cops …..

      1. Oregoncharles

        He backed in because it’s safer for him that way. The body armor was in case of falling debris?

        Judging by how far he got into the building, he wasn’t serious. Looks like mostly just the porch and the front doors.

      1. craazyboy

        But beware truck ‘bots. The Moons are harsh mistresses!

        The fix is on the way. Already they have airport geo-fencing code in drone firmware. Just need to update the GPS coordinates for hoe houses.

        The House of the Rising Son would never get caught with it’s pants down like that!

        1. ambrit

          That’s the House of the Rising Sun buster. Don’t confuse one of N’awlins most famous “Houses” with the equally infamous Pastors Ranch and Home for Unwed Teens, one of which used to be located up in Washington Parish. Some of the “Primitive” christian groups used to, and probably still do, practice “free love.” It’s probably an imperfect understanding of the greek word, “agape.”
          On another subject, geofencing is now in the firmware!?!?! I foresee a growth industry in consumer electronics “jailbreaking” specialists; cash only, of course.

          1. craazyboy

            geofencing is now in the firmware!?!?!

            Yup! DJI, market leader, has it. FAA requires it now by law. Your DJI drone will not power up if you tamper or fail to update required firmware releases. I hear it works good too.

            Ya, ho houses. They all look the same to me. Red satin drapes, gold paint everywhere, and Madonna concert posters. Jeebus. And now a truck stop at the bar.

            1. ambrit

              I foresee a market share for Heathkit style DIY drone control hardware.
              Ben Hecht had a semi autobiographical book about the newspaper business in turn of the old century Chicago, named “Gaily, Gaily.” (This was before the homophilic version of the term “gay.”) It was filmed in 1969, with a young Beau Bridges as the protagonist, who lives in a brothel run by Melina Mercouri.
              Given the level of cynicism here and elsewhere, I would venture to describe the place where Representatives meet as a “House.” Now for the Senators…what would we call the chambers where they desport themselves?
              In parliamentary systems they speak of “Upper” and “Lower” houses, with all of the attending hilarity of entenders assumed.

              1. crazzyboy

                That is how drone flight controllers got their start. The first open source group I hooked up with was writing the firmware only, but eventually ya gotta upload it inta sumthin. So one of the guys was hardware design proficient. [in addition to being pro level at controller firmware design]

                These are dyed in the buff EE geeks, so on Saturday nights over a nice 3-4 fingers glass of scotch, he would mask boards he autocad designed and had made by a small board job shop and had ordered the uP, sensors and such from a distributor. They mod their toaster ovens to flow solder all these tiny little parts they place on the pads with magnifying glass and tiny tweezers.

                He’d would ship parts sets to the rest of the electron heads in the group. I passed, explaining I was a fumble fingered ME. We do mechanical pencils and maybe soldering of 100mil board spacing connectors, on a good day.

                For us, he downed some more scotch and built them for $100.

                1. ambrit

                  Yep, I’m basically a toes on kind of guy. That toaster oven soldering rig sounds elegant.
                  On the autocad front, my Dad trained as a draftsman as an apprentice to a Dutch company office in London. This was when drawings were done by hand in pencil. To the end of his days my Dad would sharpen his pencils on a piece of 200 grit sandpaper.
                  Part of his training was things such as, a few weeks in an iron foundry to learn first hand how beams and girders were made, weeks with a concrete pouring and finishing crew to learn the vagaries of concrete, two weeks at a pencil factory, where he learned the right way to get that needle point on the graphite stalk, and much more. The proof of it all was when the AID accepted his apprentice papers from the Dutch firm as proof of competence to work in a technical capacity on government run projects.
                  So, I can appreciate the “hidden genius” of your electron head friends.
                  Now, let’s build one of those EMP guns like in the Gibson book or that cable morality tale about the meth cook.

                  1. craazyboy

                    “two weeks at a pencil factory”

                    That sounds neurotic. A you sure he didn’t just sneak away on vacation?

                    EMP gun? Yikes, that’s like shooting yerself in da home electronics. I’m still trying to live safely with mine. Altho MSFT is making things tough with Cortina. I’m trying to figure out how to poison the dumb bitch, ’cause I can’t make her disappear any other way!

                    1. ambrit

                      Cortana? You must be stuck in 10.0 World, a techno reality associated with Bizzaroworld. If the virtual “baitch” won’t go away, imagine who the trull is selling your secrets to. You might have to go back to Windows 7.
                      And you think that “things” have degenerated today? Dad told me about doing a job at Woolitch Arsenal, and checking out some of the original architectural drawings from the mid-Victorian days. The frontspiece had the rendering of the facade of the building in question. All done to scale with watercolour highlites. There were recognizably individual people in the drawing, with shadows, all at the proper relationships for the time and date shown in a subscription at the bottom.
                      “If you do something son,” he would tell me, “do it right.”

  5. fresno dan

    Democrats – Lemmings in Search of a Cliff: Why You Shouldn’t Bet the Ranch on 2018 Common Dreams (jess m, martha r)

    The fact is, the majority of Americans hold progressive views on an issue-by-issue basis.
    That means many of these sidelined voters could be easily wooed back to voting IF Democrats would only run TRUE progressives. In fact, one of the reasons the Democrats have been losing ground at all levels of government since the 70’s is because they’ve abandoned the New Deal policies favoring people, and adopted raw deal policies favoring plutocrats.

    So you would think the Democratic Party would be embracing the progressive wing of the party and backing progressive positions and candidates.

    But you’d be wrong.
    (this portion from earlier in the article) The political mainstream of both parties is either ignoring the extent to which they’ve alienated the people, or they don’t care. Here’s just one finding from a landmark study called the Smith Project that summarizes people’s dim view of both political parties: “Americans overwhelmingly agree (78%–15%) that BOTH political parties are too beholden to special interests to create any meaningful change.”
    “BOTH” – just because advertising says we have two political parties…

    “… one of the reasons the Democrats have been losing ground at all levels of government since the 70’s..”
    I’m kinda cynical, but if you don’t run progressives in near 50 years, it just kinda makes me think that dems just aren’t into progressives…

    1. John Wright

      Perhaps the Democrats have simply slowly evolved to their finance/corporate friendly state as they have followed the special influence money.

      The view at the top of the Democratic party may be similar to what a Sears Holdings executive sees, a failing business model, falling revenue, few happy customers, but the executive’s paycheck is large and doesn’t bounce (yet)

      The more progressive people did not rise in the Democratic part as they could not attract the necessary well funded interest groups.

      The most popular “Democrat” (Sanders) had to come from outside the party and was resisted like a foreign body by the Democratic party immune system.

      Hillary Clinton’s greatest indirect public service may well be the thorough destruction of the Democratic party as the Dems continue to promote her and other corporate Dems like her.

      1. Ignim Brites

        Progressives continue to pay a huge price for the lack of powerfully critical analyses of the failure of Marxism-Leninism.

        “The passionately ignorant minority responded to his limbic hymnal of hate, greed, fear, blame, jingoism and xenophobia and showed up; the progressive majority—offered pre-packaged, pseudo-progressive pablum—did not.”

        There can be no rationality outside the party.

        1. RenoDino

          That quote you cited did it for me. Lots of democrats, some progressive, showed up and voted for Trump. All deporables it looks like. Good progressive stayed home, and for good reason. They didn’t have a candidate and still don’t. They don’t have a movement. They sure as hell don’t have a “majority” and they don’t know how to win anything. Nothing I’ve seen indicates that will change anytime soon.

          They really don’t even know what country they are living in if they think they have any chance at all of getting on the board. For fun, in Montana, they backed a banjo playing nudist for Congress who still managed to lose to a press punching jerk backed by an unpopular President.

          It tells me that Progressives can’t or won’t self organize outside a party that wants to strangle them in the crib. Their endless losing inside the party framework and their constant whining about life being unfair plays right into what the general public thinks about when they hear the word Progressive. Their branding is really starting to stink.

    2. WeakenedSquire

      Yeah, that’s why we’re all celebrating Quist’s win.

      I’m not surprised that people are telling pollsters they like puppies and ice cream. Doesn’t mean they trust “progressive” government to take care of their pooches or run the dairy.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Star struck:

    The star N6946-BH1, which was 25 times as massive as our sun, should have exploded in a very bright supernova. Instead, it fizzled out — and then left behind a black hole.

    “Massive fails” like this one in a nearby galaxy could explain why astronomers rarely see supernovae from the most massive stars.

    I hereby name this failed star “Obamamandias” … as its discoverers subtly hinted with the suffix BH1 [Barack Hussein 1].

    Cat’s outta the bag!

  7. Jim Haygood

    Clicked on eagerly to the Commondreams article, only to read this:

    Two districts in New York and New Hampshire that voted for President Donald Trump on Tuesday elected Democrats to state seats.

    Whoa! Apocalyptic, no? Next they’ll be telling us that a Democrat was elected dog catcher in West Virginia, and another one made county commissioner in Oklahoma.

    Halcyon days, comrades. It was Hillary’s speech at Wellesley yesterday that gave these grassroots Democratic heroes the courage to believe in themselves. :-)

    1. cybrestrike

      I’m pretty sure the likes of Sally Albright and Peter Daou will try to claim HRC’s speech had something to do with those two elections on Twitter…eventually.

      They’ve treated the return of Her to the public like some weird version of Christ’s resurrection.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I’m still trying to figure out when Her actually left the public sphere to begin with as we’ve been hearing about Her and Her odious spawn constantly. How can we miss Her if she won’t ever leave?

    2. Carolinian

      You are only allowed to read Commondreams these days if you have joined The Resistance.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Indeed. Several years ago that was my go to website. I stopped reading as much after their last format change made the site more difficult to decipher, and now I find it Neera impossible to stomach thanks to its adherence to the resistance bul@#it.

        Side note: thanks to Yves for keeping the format of this site more of less the same for many years now. I’ve never understood the reasoning behind redesigning websites every year or two whether they need it or not. My best guess is it has to do with the obsession with big data and the belief that moar is better – got to find something to do with all the millennial code monkeys that were just hired.

        1. Annotherone

          Common Dreams was my “safe place” years ago too. I found the site changed, a lot, after their comments system transferred to Disqus. Later on the whole website changed format, as you’ve mentioned. Regular commenters, some really good writers among them, scattered, never to be seen again. It’s a different Dream there now, not one I care to share anymore.

    3. jrs

      how many Democrats elected to state seats does it take to get single payer? I don’t know, if California got it at the state level it might start to seem believable. If not the fault will hardly be “not enough Democrats in state seats”.

      1. John k

        It is the dem elites, and their lobbyists, that stiffed the majority of progressives a few days ago. Dem elites are very well paid to vote never, ever for all progressive initiates.
        We dont need more dems, they’re the enemy! We need a progressive party.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Kissinger next please. And if these things really do come in threes, perhaps one of the Kagans.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        madeline albright. So proud to have the opportunity to avenge old world vendettas on behalf of those tired, poor, huddled masses of naturalized “citizens” yearning to breathe “free.”

        What’s the use of having the most powerful military in the world if you don’t use it to settle old scores?

      2. JTMcPhee

        Or HRC itself? After the Noah’s Flood of tears, what will fill that void? The horror, the horror…

        I was too sick to attend a recent Dem event here in St. Pete. The Mayor and Charlie Crist,, were the figureheads, the local dope Dem establishment were to have assembled too. I wanted to remark to both of them that “I don’t give a rat’s patoot about your ‘values.’ What are your policies, the ones that are going to make the deplorables want to vote for you, make this place one that won;t be living on the bleeding of others?”

        This in a city that is toying with handing over a billion dollars (from bond sales and taxes) to the owners of the local Major League Baseball (TM) franchise for a new “world class” stadium to augment the owners’ bottom line. That would be a couple of thousand bucks for each man, woman, trans, non and child to shoulder on into the 30-year-bond future. All so the 1% of the 10% of the area population that has any interest in baseball could, in the words of a Tampa Bay Rays mouthpiece, “go to the stadium to be seen [along with their rich friends.] The poor people can stay home and watch the games on TV.” These owners are carpetbaggers with houses in the Hamptons, who sold out their company to I forget which TBTF Collapsar just before the debt bomb went off, and who have cash money to buy their own goddam stadium and pay for the necessary infrastructure if they were following the mythical capitalist path of investment and all that.

        Probably a good thing I stayed home — would not want to find myself sharing viruses with the other inmates in our local sheriff’s lockup…

        1. Octopii

          Hope that new world class stadium is built on a high spot… I can see it now — Tampa St. Pete’s very own Superdome…

          1. Alex Morfesis

            What is $helarry-us is that in spite of the st pete rayz best efforts, the community around this purported needs to be rebuilt stadium has turned into a bit like wrigleyville…

            these klownz who work triple time to ensure the team is a duplicate of the movie “major league”…are a walking talking disaster…a rerun of the “whitney” payson family years of the mets…

            California had its fifth baseball team with less population than florida currently has…yet these bafoons claim they cant “can’t” make a go of it…the stadium is right next to a federal highway with basically its own exit ramp, yet you would never know you were approaching the stadium as they dont spend any money on billboards or much of any advertising…they bark how the purported “low” roof is a problem where maybe a few times a year anyone hits the ball hard and high enough to make the roof or catwalks an issue…

            It really is sad what nonsense the great town of st pete lets happen to it…the future tax bill for the rays cash grab is probably the only reason I have not moved to wondrous saint pete…that and glavlit on the bay…poynter organization…

            1. JTMcPhee

              As you know, “poynter” is just a brand, any more. Like the “Politifactoids” thing, where by judicious selection of categories and criteria, and the wondrous application of the mini-Wurlitzer, anything neo can be made new again…

        2. lyman alpha blob

          You mean Charlie H Republican loving Crist? Figures the best the Democrat party can do is trot out more ‘converted’ republicans.

          Tampa’s stadium is probably the ugliest most disfunctional stadium in all of sports. Hit a pop up and there’s no guarantee it’s coming down. That being said, the damn thing is barely 25 years old and it already needs a replacement?!?!?!? Rather than hitting up the taxpayers, they ought to make the architects who designed the last one pay for the replacement.

          1. JTMcPhee

            No, “they” need to pony up for their own dam stadium if they want one so bad. Not “sue the architects,” who after all were hired by our Great City Goverfnment 25 years ago to put up an “if you build it, they will come if you give them enough publicly-funded inducements” very functional stadium. Enclosed, air-conditioned, to address the semi-tropical climate around here. Not send the local fixers, and go themselves, to those private-box meetings with local and state politicians (like Governator Sick Rott, early after his election) who work in darkness, diverting public funds to private gain, and thus doing what most local governments do, because they have over generations perfected the art of opaque deals that only the most persistent of concerned citizens have the time, energy and courage to try to spotlight, “serving,” as those local governments mostly do, the interests and wants of “the development community (sic)” and the Chamber of Commerce, responsive to the bribes “inputs” of the moneyed class…

            “They” blame the people of St. Pete, who gave “the ripoff artists” who sold “them” the franchise a free functional stadium in the first place which was paid for by public money and is largely operationally funded by public money (cops, utilities etc.), for “not adequately supporting the team” by paying lots for parking, lots for tickets, lots for watered beer and crappy hot dogs and turning out in numbers sufficient to fill the seats.

            And thank you for your opinion on the Trop as “the ugliest” and “most disfunctional.” Carries zero weight, in my opinion. And I used to be a die-hard Cubbie fan, who spent many afternoons in the ’60s-70s “Wrigley Field” Bleachers, abusing opposing players. I should have a tattoo that reads “Wait ’til next year!” on a bicep.

            Any more, baseball sucks, certainly by way of comparison with all the circuses competing for fading stocks of discretionary entertainment dollars, and it shows in the attendance figures and market data. As to that stuff about the “pop” and the catwalks, even the St. Pete “Rah Rah For Another Billion Dollar Freebie For The Carpetbagger Sports Franchise Owners” Times has, as I recall, done some numbers that indicate that issue is pretty negligible. And of course the Rules of Baseball account for all that, too…

            That a bit of Bezzle benefits a grift that you maybe feel some affinity for, does not qualify said Bezzle as a “worthy” excuse and cover for siphoning off a billion dollars of public assets/incurring a billion dollars of public debt/transferring another effing billion dollars to a bunch of out-of-towers who already have collected billions via the Great Financial Scam of 2007 et seq…

            We do agree on that other suntanned grifter, Charlie “The Feckless Opportunist” Crist.

      3. HopeLB

        I think Thiel suuplies Kissinger with young blood fruit smoothies. Brzezski stopped drinking them when he realized it was only downhill from here for his reputation for geostategic thinking/planning.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Don;t forget another noted Russia Hater, Edward “The Bushy Eyebrowed Hungarian” Teller, one of the deplorable “Fathers of the Hydrogen Bomb,” purported to be one of the models for “Dr. Strangelove,” whose implacable drive to destroy the state that he blamed for the loss of his family brought us to the world of MAD Duck and Cover negative-sum-game idiocy…

        Interesting, how so very few people (like Woodrow and Charlie Wilson, and Blankfein and Wolfowitz and Netanyahoo and a few others) can bring the rest of us to the very edge of complete destruction of the habitability of the planet and the continuation of our species…

  8. allan

    As some predicted long ago, BHO44 doubling down on GWB43’s national security state would eventually allow Republicans to run to the left of Dems on civil liberty issues. So far, only a few have – Rand Paul
    (some of the time) and Justin Amash come to mind.
    But with the Russia investigation and its revelations reminders about surveillance practices,
    there will be more.
    From a right-wing former COP congressman writing in The Hill:

    The Obama administration’s refusal to define any strategy makes their policy decisions related to intelligence even more baffling—because we have now learned that, not only did they intentionally refuse to counteract the Russian threat, the Obama administration repeatedly used intelligence-gathering tools against Americans. …

    The documents revealed something very disturbing about the so-called Section 702 collection, which is one of the ways the NSA collects internet transactions. I was a big supporter of Section 702 collection while in Congress, but as with all legislation it’s only as good as the implementation. I was shocked to learn about the Obama administration’s failure to follow Section 702’s targeting and minimization procedures. Not surprisingly, the FISA court reprimanded the government about its “lack of candor” and the “serious Fourth Amendment issue[s]” presented by these Obama administration violations.

    Beginning in 2011, the Obama administration cast a wider net than allowed by law. Instead of limiting searches to foreign agents who were targets of investigations, the administration searched for communications about those people—meaning Americans who only mentioned a foreign agent would have their communications accessed and analyzed without any warrant or probable cause. This is an obvious violation of the Fourth Amendment. …

    Something I would have never imagined would occur in America resulted from this illegal use of intelligence: surveillance tools were likely used on our fellow citizens who were not suspected of a crime. While using methods designed to keep us safe, the Obama administration was trampling on the law and our constitutional rights. …

    Leaving the Dems to either defend Obama or defend the Constitution. Decisions, decisions.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Yeah, I saw this a couple days ago and while it’s outrageous I was not exactly surprised. After all, O dismissed Snowden as a “hacker” when he started leaking NSA stuff and sent his peeps to lie to Congress about it until they couldn’t.

      “Something I would have never imagined would occur in America”…methinks the Republican cop turned politician doth protest too much

  9. Tom Stone

    I find nothing funny at all about HRC. The fact that she is still taken seriously and respected by so many is bizarre, we are talking about a delusional megalomaniac who is demonstrably incompetent, viciously corrupt and irresponsible.
    Trump is an odious and incompetent asshole, but claiming HRC would be an improvement is nuts.
    Those were the choices our system coughed up, clear evidence that our system of Government is broken.

    1. XXYY

      If Clinton were a man she would have been (rightfully) forgotten long ago like Gary Hart or Al Gore or John Kerry or other Democratic election losers, and the nation would hopefully have had someone more palatable to cast a vote for vis-a-vis the odious Trump, someone who presumably would have easily won the election.

      Instead, as a woman, HRC can apparently don some weird mantle of victimhood and not only escape any personal blame or repercussions for her shocking incompetence and greed, but actually emerge more noble and more deserving as a result of her two rejections by the electorate! All the women (and men) who have struggled against horrific sexism and oppression for centuries did not do it so elite female grifters could be held to a much lower standard than their male counterparts.

      HRC and her many vociferous supporters gave us Trump; what will they do next?

      1. Jim Haygood

        They could bomb Iran to bring the blessings of gender equality to that benighted land. :-)

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Doesn’t Joe Biden disprove your theory? He’s a man, and he’s still allowed in public. Sure, hes a bit better at retail politics than Hillary, but yeesh, he’s just terrible.

        I believe Carl Sagan’s view about bad science only dying out is applicable to the political situation. Once people become attached to Dear Leader they have to hit rock bottom or die to wake up.

        1. Massinissa

          I think the difference is Biden hasn’t lost two elections. Biden is still considered a ‘winner’, unlike Al Gore or John Kerry.

            1. Montanamaven

              Yes! He has not ever been able to win a primary cuz he’s a corporate shill. The media paints him as a man of the working class. But his defense of bankruptcy laws says otherwise.

        2. TheCatSaid

          And Biden’s 2 sons are powerful players in the energy industry in eastern Europe (Ukraine & former Yugoslavia).

      3. TK421

        So true.

        I would add that it is far easier for a woman in America to marry her way to power and prestige than for a man. We expect men to at least make a pretense to getting somewhere under their own steam.

      4. different clue

        They’ll probably give us Trump again. I know that if Clinton is nominated again that I will vote for Trump again, for example.

  10. Carolinian

    Rant worth reading.

    Ask journalists when they were last in a truck stop on an Interstate, last in Boone, North Carolina or Barstow, California or any of thousands of such towns across the country. Ask whether they were in the military, whether they have ever talked to a cop or an ambulance crewman or a fireman. Ask whether they have a Mexican friend, when they last ate in a restaurant where a majority of the customers were black. Whether they know an enlisted man, or anyone in the armed services. Whether they have hitchhiked overnight, baited a hook, hunted, or fired a rifle. Whether they have ever worked washing dishes, harvesting crops, driving a delivery truck. Whether they have a blue-collar friend. Know what the Texas Two-Step is, have been in a biker bar.[…]

    Journalists are not stupid, running to well above average in intelligence. You could form a large chapter of Mensa by raiding newsrooms in Washington. However, with a fair few exceptions, they are not intellectuals, not contemplative, not studious. They are high-pressure fact-accountants, competitive, comfortable under tight deadlines, aggressive, combative, quick but shallow. This can be a serviceable substituent for stupid.


    1. Romancing The Loan

      He’s creepily focused on cops and black people though, returning to it over and over disproportionately. Cops never get uninterrupted time on tv? Not in my town. …and where does he live that sees armed mobs of black youth constantly looting stores? After he makes a heavy implication that race makes a difference in whether young people in a ghetto with no opportunities will end up committing crimes (they will!), he then complains that viewers suspect a racial angle when a white cop shoots an unarmed black person.

      As much as I agree with the other stuff in his article, it really makes me worry about barely-hidden white supremacist strains of thought in law enforcement that are going to be a huge problem for left and right populists trying to work together.

      1. Arizona Slim

        A friend’s son did an internship at our local police department. According to Mom, the white supremacy was off the charts and she was glad that her son didn’t get a permanent job there.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        So is it true world-historically that populists on the right but not those on the left usually contain an element of racism? I read this somewhere recently, not sure where or I’d link.

        It struck me that if true this might be particularly exacerbated in America, a heterogenous society built on slavery.

        1. Carolinian

          So is it true world-historically that populists on the right but not those on the left usually contain an element of racism

          Isn’t your comment against racial stereotyping itself a stereotype? I think what Fred Reed is saying is that we all–and particularly the media–need to open our minds a bit.

          As Glen Ford says about Obama, identity appeals can just empower “the more effective evil.”

            1. barefoot charley

              Racism was a tool of the left as well as the right in the 19th century. Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt both had to deny their sympathy for (eminent) blacks, and fake-Progressive Wilson institutionalized segregation in the civil service. William Jennings Bryan was a strict segregationist. Socialists, anarchists and wobblies did a lot better, so of course were treated like the people they sympathized and organized with. An element of anger and blame has always been part of Populism. It shouldn’t blind us to the progress that was nonetheless brought about by, say, Jackson who murdered and adopted Indians, and Franklin Roosevelt who hid his understandings behind his courageous wife but didn’t denounce her anti-racism.

              1. UserFriendly

                Early 1900’s socialists and progressives were very anti gay. They all were bending over backwards to prove how pious they are or else risk being called a bunch of deviants.

                1. ambrit

                  Later, the term “deviant: was expanded to include such social “misfits” as egalitarians and rationalists. Basically, the word meant anyone that thought independently.

              2. PlutoniumKun

                There was a lot of overt racism against Asians in particular in the 19th Century labour movement – this was mostly because of the use of Chinese and Japanese workers as scab labour. But it did extend wider – I’ve seen 19th Century posters in the mining museum in Butte, Montana calling for the boycott of Japanese owned businesses in the town.

                I wouldn’t read too much into the statements of progressive politicians trying to distance themselves from gay people, African-Americans, etc. They may have been bigoted or, more likely, they were just trying to stay within ‘respectable’ opinion. One issue at a time, so to speak.

                But in general terms of course racism is one of the key defining differences between right and left populism. Excluding the weak and marginalised from ‘the movement’ is a key element of all major right wing populist ideologies.

                But as we’ve seen historically of course, ideology sometimes isn’t a linear feature, sometimes I think it loops around, hence the ease with which some far leftists needed only a slight nudge to become neo cons and neo libs, and the manner in which right wing populists are so quick to pick up on what they see as good ideas from the left (see Le Pen, Marine).

              3. ChiGal in Carolina

                Thanks! The original thesis I was questioning claimed a strain of racism/ethnic purity present in right wing but not left-wing populists is what prevents them from making common cause.

                In other words, is it something deeper than present-day divide and conquer, maybe going back to slavery or the four Anglo strains as per Albion’s Seed

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          How about, on ‘teh left’, it’s okay to judge imaginary groupings of people that one has obviously never met on ‘merit’? It fits so easily into the zeitgeist that it’s like water to fish. Whereas race, the right family values, and such sound not only 19th century, but a lot like my parents.

      3. Lynne

        As you say. I realize an author is not responsible for reader comments, but the blatant racism in a number of the comments is disturbing, to put it mildly.

      4. Carolinian

        Yes cops do have a problem with black people but this could have as much to do with the authoritarian nature of the job as with white supremacy. Recall the offenders in the Baltimore incident were black cops.

        I provide this link because I think his comments about journalism profession are spot on. While reporters once worked their way up the ranks and may not have even had a college degree it’s now a field dominated by the credentialed with less real world experience. In fact this could apply to many fields.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          His comments on what passes for journalism these days are good, but he does have a huge blind spot regarding the cops.

          Yes they have a dangerous job and yes things can get pretty dicey in the inner cities. But how is it that other countries manage to maintain law and order without the cops blowing people away for looking at them crosseyed? What is it that makes cops in the US so trigger happy? US cops gun down orders of magnitude more people than similarly developed countries.

          I have a relative who has bounced from police force to police force over the last couple decades. I only recently found it it was because he didn’t adhere to the thin blue line, tried to point out wrongdoing by his fellow officers when he saw it and was ostracized for it.

          1. Alex Morfesis

            Police in america do not have a dangerous job…it is made dangerous by prosecutors and bean counting city managers insisting all police interactions with the public must lead to a prosecutable set of facts…the nonsense of the pressures from above create aggressive interactions which leads to the incidences we end up reading about or seeing with some talking head filling in time between the commercials…

            The continuous implication to law enforcement to regularly expand on the facts to allow a prosecutor to force a broke individual into acceptance of a plea bargain is what feeds this evil we call our american justice system….

            yes there are quite too many folks with badges and guns who take it as a license to bring out their greater david duke, but 90% of the problem begins with prosecutors…

            1. Oregoncharles

              Prosecutors in most places are elected. In Oregon, they can also be recalled, a thoroughly unpleasant process even when they win.

              It’s a much overlooked political opportunity. Sheriffs, too. Arpaio was finally diselected.

            2. Lynne

              What? That has not been my experience at all. Rather the reverse, in fact. I know of instances where cops have pushed ex-cop lawyers to run against incumbent prosecutors because they were angry the prosecutors were not “aggressive enough” in stacking charges and in not pushing the charges to higher levels.

              I know an ex-prosecutor defense attorney who talked about how the cops would complain to him pretty much constantly, in the apparent belief that they were somehow buddies. Of course, he milked it shamelessly and the cops never realized how many cases they torpedoed all on their own in their rants.

              1. Alex Morfesis

                My experiences have been nyc and chicago…have had dirty cops put guns to my head in trying to convince me to stop asking so many questions or for sticking my nose in places some who consider themselves my betters didn’t want me to…and have twice had dirty cops call in a fake armed and dangerous hoping a slight wrong move by me might result in a few unsuspecting officers doing the dirty for them…

                so in respects to how bad bad can be…got my PhD on the process of being processed and “oopzed”…

                But have also spent way too much time along the way in after hours “badge only” bars to see the other side…

    2. Octopii

      I find the blatant racial nastiness at Unz really offensive. The linked article is right on the edge (read between the lines). And though I think the premise of Mr. Reed’s piece is reasonable, the blow-hardishness reminds me of something I’d hear on AM talk radio (if I could stand to listen to that cesspool of ignorance without retching).

  11. justanotherprogressive

    Argh! One of the things on my bucket list is to see Betelguese supernova (I may have to live to be very old….). I am going to be so disappointed if it collapses with a wimper……

    But that’s the great thing about science – every time you think you have it pretty much understood, Mother Nature throws you a boner……

    1. ambrit

      Following on with your “meme” I am tempted to say that Betelgeuese will either prove or unprove “rigid” orthodoxy.

    2. Jim Haygood

      that’s the great thing about science – every time you think you have it pretty much understood, Mother Nature throws you a boner…

      Careful … this statement strays perilously close to the heresy of climate denialism, which enjoys the same unassailable consensus as geocentrism once did.

      The Deity will punish nonbelievers!

      1. ambrit

        If the Diety don’t do the punishing, one or more of the many “Godreps” lying around the Bunny Ranch pool will do “Gawdz” work.

          1. ambrit

            I hope you weren’t referring to “climate of fear” denialism.
            Depending on “handedness,” the Laugher Curve can bend left or right.
            My,my. Hugh Hefner tried to apply the scientific method to that field of endeavour (Hedonics,), and look at where we are now.
            Indeed, now that I look deeper into the subject, the Austrian School has taken Hefs philosophy to heart. Presumably this is done on the tried and true theory that; “When you have them by the balls, their hearts, minds and pocketbooks will follow.”
            See, to believe:

                    1. HopeLB

                      Zero was a great character in Sachar’s Holes. It would be a damn shame if this Barack character became more famous
                      than Zero whose character is much more admirable. (Unless, you mean “o” the letter, as in Oh, no hope or change. “Eh” would be better. Tails of the “Eh” of “O”?

                    2. ambrit

                      I leapt to the image of “Venus in Furs” by Sacher-Masoch when you typed Sacher. It took me a minute to connect with the more recent “Holes” by Sacher, which I haven’t read, but now will put on my “Read Soon” list.
                      I didn’t cop to “O” being Zero until you mentioned it. I agree, it is too funny as a description of Barak Hussein.
                      There is a real underground favourite guilty pleasure of a book called “The Story of “O.”” It is a sort of more literate “Fifty Shades of Grey.” de Sade would have approved of it. Barry would “get” it right away.
                      Oh well, if you must:

  12. Pavel

    Someone on Twitter retrieved this 1998(!) piece by Alex Cockburn (RIP) and Jeffrey St Clair, which was a translation from a French interview with Brzezinski. While you read it think of Edith Piaf singing “Je ne regrette rien“:

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

    Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

    Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [integrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

    Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

    Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

    Brzezinski: Nonsense!…

    [My emphasis]

    –How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen [Interview with Zbignew Brzezinski]

    Of course with the incessant Russiagate nonsense and arms sales to the Saudis, we seem to have come full circle back to the Cold War days. Zbig must be thrilled down in hell.

    1. Plenue

      I think it’s worth including the opening of that interview:

      Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs that the American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahiddin in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. Is this period, you were the national securty advisor to President Carter. You therefore played a key role in this affair. Is this correct?

      Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahiddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention [emphasis added throughout].

      Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into the war and looked for a way to provoke it?

      B: It wasn’t quite like that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

      I’m having trouble squaring this with Tim Weiner’s otherwise excellent Legacy of Ashes (which makes it abundantly clear that the CIA is not only actively, often gleefully, evil, but stunningly inept as well). His book is entirely based on the CIA’s own documentation and interviews, some conducted by the author himself (including at least one with Carter). And its section on Afghanistan toes the standard line that the CIA started operating there only after the Soviet intervention started.

      The most he says about the CIA and Afghanistan before the Soviets went in is that the Agency was totally confident that the Soviets wouldn’t go in, and insisted this was the case even after the Soviets were, you know, deploying thousands of troops in-country (this type of belligerent confidence in the face of overwhelming reality is a recurring theme in the history of the CIA). I suppose this isn’t impossible to reconcile with Brzezinski and Gates version of events, but I find it very odd that Weiner chose to discount the testimony of such highly placed individuals.

    2. fresno dan

      May 27, 2017 at 10:24 am

      May 27, 2047:

      Putin: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Americans into the MidEast trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Americans officially crossed the border into Syria, I wrote to the Supreme Soviet: We now have the opportunity of giving to America its Vietnam/Iraq/Afghanistan war redux. Indeed, for almost 40 years, Washington had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the United States…
      Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only? Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead, but if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!

      1. Pavel

        Fresno dan: the Putin quote — brilliant!

        As for Afghanistan — it is now the USA’s longest war, and it has absolutely zilch to show for it apart from lives lost, trillions pissed away (NB the VA medical bills are already astronomical), and bumper crops of heroin to addict the youth of America (along with BigPharma’s opioids of course).

        Was the Afghan war mentioned even once during the presidential debates last year?

    3. Baby Gerald

      Thanks for sharing this– the rise of the Taliban is one of Brzezinski’s great legacies. There is video out there of Zbig in ’78 or ’79 giving a rally speech to a bunch of mujaheddin warriors, telling them how they are going to reclaim their lands from the Russian infidel and build great mosques, etc.

      That he was never really confronted while alive for this is one thing. That he never said anything about us falling into his Afghanistan trap when we did in 2002 is inexcusable.

  13. lyman alpha blob

    This is not just bureaucratic paperwork. The form warns that “withholding, misrepresenting, or falsifying information” could result in loss of access to classified information, denial of eligibility for a sensitive job and even prosecution; knowingly falsifying or concealing material facts is a federal felony that may result in fines or up to five years imprisonment.

    Oh really? Because that ominous language sounds similar to the warnings we see on customs paperwork regarding what will happen if you don’t declare all the kumquats you’re bring in from abroad. Or the consequences of removing the tag from your mattress.

  14. Christ on a Bike

    Big-name Democrat Jamie Gorelick defending Jared Kushner. Gees, I hope that Lanny Davis and Susan Estrich are doing all right too in these terrible times.

  15. Stephen Tynan

    Federal prosecutor sleeps with the fishes.

    Message from the DNC to judge in #DNCfraudlawsuit:
    “We’re all mobbed up and we play hardball.”

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Hmmm… Shawn Lucas, Seth Rich, Barenton Whisenant…

      Once: Stuff happens. Twice: Coincidence. Three times: A pattern?… Would be useful to know what cases Whisenant was working on at the time of his death.

      Three kids without a dad…

      1. craazyboy

        I think it’s just the normal mortality rate for DNC staffers and “acquaintances”. Just that we notice it more when the ones that can fog a mirror kick it, of natural causes. Like mirror ingestion and associated exit wounds.

        It’s not like Robbie Mook got run over by a self-driving truck in a Nevada whorehouse. And kept his job and Twitter account.

        1. ambrit

          What bothers me is that he got the job flacking for Her Infernal Majesty in the first place.

    2. Code Name D

      I am sorry, but I find this to be tin-foil. All we know for certain is that he did from a head trauma. There are too many accidental possibility to consider before we jump to the political intrigue angle. Until I see evidence that suggests nefarious activity, I am included to dismiss this.

      On the other hand. The police chief that supervised the Seth Rich investigations, former Metropolitan Police Department chief Cathy Lanier, has been seen bending elbows with top rank Clinton campaign officials. And was later promoted to sits on the Washington Police Foundation board alongside Heather Podesta, the D.C. power broker who was married to Clinton campaign chief John Podesta’s lobbyist brother Tony.

      The Seth Rich murder investigation/cover up charge now has some veracity behind it. This also establishes a channel of communication to Clinton campaign officials where the Rich murder and consequences could have been discussed.
      And yes, photographic evidence of association is presented.

      This (at least for now) I find credible, and explosive.

      1. Octopii

        Everybody goes to the same parties — I don’t think the photos indicate anything special. There are not that many social circles in DC. I’ve always thought of Cathy Lanier as one of the least full of sh!t people in the DC government, and none of this speculation has any substance. If Wikileaks came out and disclosed their source then it would have substance, but party pics don’t prove squat.

        And this “theory” about Whisenant has nothing to back it but a bunch of echos on wackjob websites (godlikeproductions for one, for another — immediate DQ). Seems to have started or gotten an early boost on The_Donald reddit.

        I would really like it if my favorite financial/resource news aggregation community does not get taken in by this speculative fluff. Thank you.

        1. Code Name D

          No, not “everybody” goes to these sorts of parties. Only those who raise money for the DNC and Clinton campaigns are aloud in. And to gain top level access means you raised a lot of money. Enplane to me how a police chief, even of a Washington DC district comes up with that sort of scratch?

          The photos do prove Lanier had a conflict of interest that would have influenced her post as police chief. Keep in mind offering a police officer a $20 to look the other way for something as minor as a speeding ticket is a felony. Rather damning given the charge that the murder investigation that was suppressed, And that Lanier was later given a lucrative post suggests a quid-pro-qoue, if it can be shown she improbably handled an investigation under her watch.

          There is more than enough evidence to warrant more invasive investigation into the mater.

          Why is it that some people are so shocked that Democrats are corupt?

          1. Octopii

            I’m sorry, what you’re saying is simply not accurate and has no basis in reality. Obviously Dems are corrupt, as are Repubs. The Washington Police Foundation board is composed of all kinds of slimy characters, Lanny Breuer for the cherry on top, but of course the chief would be a member. And to assert collusion between Lanier and the DNC based on party attendance is ludicrous. Ludicrous.

            1. Code Name D

              Oh please. As if repeating the word “ludicrous” twice makes its so.

              I never asserted that collusion took place – only there was a channel that would make such collusion possible has been factually demonstrated with photographic evidence. That collusion took place is now a distinct possibility worthy of investigation!

              What I find ludicrous is your own admission that oh sure the Dems are corrupt, and the Washington Policing board is full of all sorts of “slimy characters”, but that there is nothing to see here and that we should all just move on.

  16. craazyboy


    Great potential for one of those motivational posters at the office cubby hole space.

    “The Peanut Goes Here, Dude!”

  17. Chauncey Gardiner

    Appreciated Taleb’s commencement address, rich in experiential content and thought provoking. Visited Beirut and the campus of the American University there once many years ago, before the serious troubles began. That dynamic and cosmopolitan city, with its rich cultural heritage and engaging citizenry, captivated me; as did the students I met there, my peers then in terms of age. Taleb is a lucky fellow. Thank you for posting his observations.

  18. allan

    2011: Homeland Security Department curtails home-grown terror analysis
    under pressure from conservatives.

    2017: Portland suspect in 2 slayings on train is known for hate speech

    Jeremy Joseph Christian, the man accused of aggravated murder in the brutal knife slayings of two good Samaritans on the MAX, has described himself as a sociopath and threatened to kill or stab people in Facebook postings online.

    “I AM TROUBLE,” he said in an April comment.

    He has shared anti-Muslim memes, espoused Nazi beliefs and called Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh a “true patriot.” …

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Depending on the mood of the state, or who is running it, protesters can be terrorists.

      And patriotic citizens are urged to be on alert for domestic ones.

    2. Vatch

      Sometimes the terrorists are Christians. True believers of any variety are dangerous. Doubt is a virtue.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Farm Output May Have Increased in Three Years But Farmers’ Welfare Has Not The Wire (J-LS

    Isn’t that called ‘improving productivity?’

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Air rage: why does flying make us so angry? Science says it’s about class Guardian. Important, and much wider-ranging than the headline suggests.

    Make ‘us’ so angry?

    Us, as in the airliner executives and employees, or the knocked-unconscious customers?

    Who is angrier? Who is in rage?

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Beware of extremes.

    Take the Golden Mean.

    Yes, Trump Is Making Xenophobia More Acceptable Bloomberg (Dr. Kevin)

    Tolerance can make H1B visa abuses more acceptable.

    Or something more projecting like, er, contraception makes people more promiscuous.

    You take one step to the left, they project you all the way to the left shoulder of the road.

    Why not stay with ‘Is there such a thing as too many foreign workers? Not zero-foreign-workers we are talking about?’

    Thus, they scream, ‘These guys want no foreigners at all!!!”

    “I like caviar, but I have had enough, sir. Can I eat it later? Really, I don. Just not now.”

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    New Airport Scanners Could End Bans on Laptops and Liquids Bloomberg

    And how do we know when these new scanners will become obsolete next? With the next tragedy?

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The challenges in setting up a California single-payer system are daunting — but not insurmountable Los Angeles Times

    Cost (to provide health care) containment is key.

    We need more people entering that field to except less (as in every college admission essay – I want to be that and this to help the world…not at the same as making money, but helping others first).

    It seems like many lied on their essays…did not disclose the real, true motive for volunteering in Peru when in high school.

    1. ambrit

      Don’t fret about it. You’re more interesting than I am, by a long shot.
      With all the shorthand you’re using here, I’m wondering if you’re a graduate of the Langley Institute of [REDACTED].

  24. TheCatSaid

    Regarding the Hong Kong & Macau money laundering (reporting tightening of financial controls), George Webb has reported, based on information received from a contact in a French intelligence agency, that John Podesta is currently acting quickly to get $40 Billion from various criminal enterprises (drugs etc.) channeled into numerous separate individual purchases of foreign artwork, diamonds and gold, to prevent the Trump administration from seizing the assets. The purchases are done in such a way–many different countries involved–to create administrative, legal and foreign relations obstacles if the current administration tries to seize the assets. Webb was told the French intelligence are aware of all the purchases being made.

    The discussion is here, starting at 0:14. It’s only 1 minute–an aside to the main topic.

  25. ewmayer

    o “Yes, Trump Is Making Xenophobia More Acceptable Bloomberg (Dr. Kevin) ” — As opposed to our dear propagandistic MSM including Bloomberg, which would never go out of its way to stoke unreasonable xenophobia vis-a-vis nations they unilaterally declare “rogue states” and “adversaries”, with a 100% correlation to states which refuse to knuckle under to the US global hegemony project and allowing western-corporate looting of their natural resources and exploitation of their workers, right? Glad we cleared that up!

    o “The challenges in setting up a California single-payer system are daunting — but not insurmountable Los Angeles Times” — As long as any proposed solution does not require Nestle to pair fair market rates for water or Big Frack to stop injecting their toxic sludge into CA’s aquifers, the discussion can continue.

    o “Barack Obama on food and climate change: ‘We can still act and it won’t be too late’ Guardian (J-LS). Dear Lord, an awfully transparent effort to whitewash his inaction.” — “And by we, I mean of course, some as-yet-undiscovered people with actual political courage to match their soaring rhetoric™.” I’m sure the O-man would do it if granted multiple additional terms, but absent that he’ll just have to content himself in fixing the world’s problem by growing his charitable foundation (where by ‘charitable’, we mean it is just that to refer to it as a ‘charitable foundation’) bigger than that of the Clinton crime family, burnishing both his legacy and his well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize, successfully marrying his daughters off into the big-money oligarchy, and adding serial installments to his multivolume autohagiograhy. Busy, busy, busy!

    o “Texas teachers give ‘most likely to become a terrorist’ award to 13-year-old Washington Post” — The beltway establishment and their media organs clearly prefer such ‘awards’ be bestowed properly, in the form of a Hellfire missile launched remotely by some state-terror-as-video-game-addicted junkie sitting in a windowless building somewhere deep in flyover country. Our rich uncle DoD, Bringing good-paying jobs to Deplorable country!

    o “Private Equity Examines Its Distressed Navel Bloomberg” — One wonders whether PE found any multiply-securitizable lint or asset-stripping opportunities in there.

    o “Air rage: why does flying make us so angry? Science says it’s about class Guardian. Important, and much wider-ranging than the headline suggests.” — Did ‘science’ bother to examine whether the sheer wretchedness and dehumanization of the modern free-market-bestowed air travel system might be a factor in any way? Or maybe the title means class in the sense of ‘if you’re not of the private-jet-using class…” Anyway, I doubt one needs much ‘science’ to discern the real root causes here.

  26. allan

    Governmental secret law (FISC decisions or presidential Executive Orders)
    spawns private sector secret policies:

    …In April, a JetBlue Airways crew called airport police to meet a man who they said continued to record a selfie video during a security-sensitive time in flight, while the cockpit door was opened. Michael Nissensohn insists that he wasn’t recording the procedure.

    “I told them there is no rule against talking a selfie on a plane,” Nissensohn says. He says he was ordered off the plane and held up at LaGuardia airport in New York for more than an hour before being let go without charges. JetBlue declined to comment. A spokesman says the airline doesn’t publish its photography policy for security reasons.

    Franz Kafka, Joseph Heller and Neil Stephenson to the white courtesy phone booth.

  27. GK

    One correction — Sandy Berger was prosecuted for taking documents — he pled guilty to a misdemeanor, was sentenced to probation and community service, and lost his security clearance. Obviously, there’s no indication that Kushner took documents, or that anyone has been prosecuted for what Kushner does seem to have done, which was the larger point, but the fact Berger did not get jail time doesn’t mean he got off scot free.

  28. Darn

    Re Zbigniew Brzezinski died, or as this podcast calls him “the Hydrox to Kissinger’s Oreo”.

    One of the most hair-raising things I’ve ever heard, the blackest of humour, competition to decide the most evil person to attend/teach at Harvard. (First bit is about Hitler, not a Harvard man, so skip to 18:40, and see if you can stand the next 10-15 mins at least). Also featuring Zuckerberg, Blankfein, Summers, etc

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