Links 7/21/2017

Earth’s Tectonic Activity May Be Crucial for Life–and Rare in Our Galaxy Scientific American

Quantum teleportation is even weirder than you think Nature

Alphabay and Hansa Takedowns Ensnare Thousands of Dark Web Users Wired

Balanced budget ‘like shooting the economy in the head’ — experts Medium. The expert being Bill Black.

Should America’s Tech Giants Be Broken Up? Bloomberg

Google and Facebook lay foundations for modern-day company towns FT

Google Maps adds the International Space Station BBC


Saudi Arabia – Bin Salman’s Coup Is A Model For His Own Ouster Moon of Alabama. We don’t hear much about the Qatar crisis these days…

Saudi accepted by Michigan college among 14 facing execution ABC

A Syrian Cordon Sanitaire: Is Israel huffing & puffing, or is it serious? Sic Semper Tyrannis


May promises business leaders no Brexit ‘cliff edge’ for companies FT

British Exporters Aren’t Making Plans for Brexit Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank chief executive tells employees to prepare for a hard Brexit Independent

Brexit: more than 100,000 from North, Britain seek Irish passport Irish Times

Five more years of EU migration: Cabinet Remainers’ victory after agreeing ‘soft-landing’ transition period that will delay UK getting its borders back Daily Mail

BREXIT BACKTRACK Government delays starting work on the UK’s post-Brexit border system until AT LEAST October The Sun

Why German Turks are Numerous, Divided and Bitter Handelsblatt

Countering ‘hybrid’ security threats a priority, says EU EU Business (MT).


Exclusive: U.S. toughens stance on foreign deals in blow to China’s buying spree Reuters

Former vice chairman of China’s securities regulator found guilty of taking bribes FT

Health Care

GOP leaders plan Tuesday health vote, it’s an uphill climb AP

Key Trumpcare Holdout Says He’s A Yes If Guaranteed A Vote On His Amendment TPM

Senate Republicans complain of chaos in healthcare effort Reuters. “‘It really is starting to feel like a bazaar, $50 billion here, $100 billion there, and I feel like it’s losing coherency,’ Senator Bob Corker said.”

Mitch McConnell ‘master tactician’ label damaged after Senate health care fight CNN

Collins vows public will play major role in creation of new Senate health care plan Bangor Daily News. That’s not going to happen by next week.

Ron Johnson Accuses McConnell of ‘Significant Breach of Trust’ Weekly Standard (Furzy Mouse). A bit stale, but evidence that group dynamics in the Republican caucus have gone a little pear-shaped.

The Case Against the Public Option Jacobin

Trumpcare Is Dead. “Single Payer Is the Only Real Answer,” Says Medicare Architect The Intercept

Is Medicaid The New ‘Third Rail?’ History Suggests It Has Been For Some Time Health Affairs

New Cold War

China’s navy expands reach: Ships in Baltic for drills with Russia CNN

U.S. general says allies worry Russian war game may be ‘Trojan horse’ Reuters

The Northern Sea Route, Russia’s Coronary Artery World Policy (Re Silc).

Presidents v. Generals Andrew Bacevich, LRB

* * *

Trump team seeks to control, block Mueller’s Russia investigation WaPo. Reading the body of the article, “Russia investigation” seems a bit of a misnomer.

Trump Aides, Seeking Leverage, Investigate Mueller’s Investigators NYT. Reading the body of the article, big shake-up on Trump’s legal team.

Something to look forward to:

Trump’s Self-Pardon? Seriously? The American Conservative

Deutsche Bank ‘expects to face Trump-Russia probe’ Deutsche Welle

Trump Turns on Jeff Sessions The National Interest

Trump expected to make Scaramucci communications director Axios

Louise Mensch’s Destructive Fantasies Charles Cook, The National Review

Trump Transition

Trump’s Modest Proposal for a Nafta Revamp Bloomberg. “Surprisingly tame.”

A New Deal for Wall Street: Trump’s Plans for Mass Privatization Are a Colossal Giveaway to the 1% In These Times

Republicans lament an agenda in ‘quicksand’ Politico

Twitter says President Trump has to play by the same abuse rules as everyone Recode

Are Donald Trump’s Tweets Self-Authenticating? Above the Law

How Donald Trump is monetising his presidency The Economist

One in eight people who voted for Trump having second thoughts – Reuters/Ipsos poll Reuters

How Trump Is Transforming Rural America The New Yorker. Much more interesting than the headline. Last sentence: “The more they hate him, the more I want him to succeed. Because what they hate about him is what they hate about me.” And this tweet, in response:

Democrats in Disarray

Democratic Group Angers Progressives — Bets On Conservative Wing, Wall Street Money, To Win Back House International Business Times. Don’t get mad. Get even.

Hillary Clinton is more unpopular than Donald Trump. Let that sink in Guardian

White Liberal Guilt, Black Opportunism and the Green Party Black Agenda Report. Must-read, not merely for the GP but for the issues of party-building.

2016 Post Mortem

Hacking the Vote: Who Helped Whom? NYRB. This seems to be the Democrat theory of the case.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Exclusive: Bannon & Kushner Want to Outsource Afghanistan to Mercenaries The American Conservative. What could go wrong?

Is the Military Losing Its Ability to Fight Capable Foes? The American Conservative

Part I: F-35 in the Crossfire (podcast) Aviation Week. Part II.

Class Warfare

Another blow for heartland workers: Slashed pensions CBS (Re Silc)

Corporate Biopower as an Instrument of US Oligarchy emptywheel

The millennial left’s war against liberalism WaPo. More on Chapo Trap House.

Du Bois and the “Wages of Whiteness” Adolph Reed, (DB). Anything by Reed is worth reading.

Eugene Debs and the Kingdom of Evil TruthDig (GF).

A New Class Politics Counterpunch (Re Silc). The woes of the European left.

Electronic monitoring isn’t kid-friendly Sacramento Bee

A few more thoughts on the Opportunity Corridor and Cleveland Clinic. Eat Righteous (CR). A response to this Politico story.

Aging in place contributes to historically low housing inventory Baltimore Sun. Translation: Why won’t those old black folks go die in nursing homes so we can gentrify their neighborhoods?

Antidote du jour:

Bonus anti-antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. -jswift

    Finally there’s something available in English on the Spanish secret political police scandal, a new documentary with English subtitles:
    LAS CLOACAS DE INTERIOR (Spain – The State’s Secret Cesspit),

    The MediaPro production (free on Youtube) exposes a complicated web of conspiracy and corruption, with a lot of testimony from high ranking police figures, and details about resulting cover-ups organised by top members of the Spanish government. It’s literally a bombshell of a documentary. This has been coming out in the Publico site over the last year, but very little has been made available in other languages till now.

    It seems the Spanish TV networks outside the Catalan and Basque regions are not willing to air it.

    1. Sue

      Thanks for the link. I have been following this for long time. You are right on! Spanish TV networks, especially the publicly funded TVE1 & TVE2 (the national government networks), are reminiscent of former dictator’s General Franco control, quashing any true debates and hiding as much as possible the current Spanish ruler’s essence which is corruption.

  2. cocomaan

    From the “Trump pardoning himself” article:

    Here’s the thing that worries me: that if President Trump decided to pardon his own family members, and even himself (what law would stop him?), a substantial minority of Americans would support him. If so, what that would reveal about how respect for the rule of law and basic republican order in the United States had decayed would be staggering.

    How do you figure? Ask a black male how they feel about the criminal justice system and its rule of law at this point. Ask someone who lost their house in the Crisis but watched bankers get bailed out afterward. Ask anyone who has had any run in with our various intelligence services over terrorism scares.

    I’m not staggered by much these days. Trump pardoning himself wouldn’t be that shocking. The financial sector pardoned itself in 2008/9.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “The financial sector pardoned itself in 2008/9” … with calls to Congressional offices reportedly running 100-to-1 against, before the first vote on TARP.

      Under a secret government run by the military-intel complex, there IS “no rule of law,” and hasn’t been since martial law [USA-Patriot Act] was imposed in October 2001.

      Trump pardoning himself would be a great way to proclaim our banana republic status. Let’s do it!

      1. RenoDino

        Second that. Right after he fires Mueller and rehires Flynn. Pardons all around too for friends and family. Bonus: Show trial for Comey.

        1. Jim Haygood

          With his multimillion dollar book advance, James “I Am Not A Weasel” Comey will be able — like OJ Simpson — to hire a legal Dream Team.

          So yes: high entertainment, as cities burn on the horizon! :-)

      2. JoeK

        Then there was MOTU and fine upstanding patriotic American Hank Paulson extorting 700B from congress with the threat of martial law, another waypoint on our road to perdition.

      3. Procopius

        I think it goes back a long way. Much further than the PATRIOT Act. Certainly the rich have been treated differently than the poor since at least Andrew Jackson’s reign, probably since the first colonies were founded, certainly since the first proprietary colonies. It’s why Clarence Darrow was such a popular hero in his day. It’s why J. Edgar Hoover was seen as a hero — he know how to run a PR campaign to make people think the FBI under his leadership was not corrupt. People in New York and Chicago knew that if a cop pulled them over while they were driving they were expected to have a folded five or ten dollar bill under their driver’s license when they handed it over. They were fully aware that the cops were being paid off by bookies and prostitutes. There may actually be less of it now, but now it’s the courts that are corrupt in the sense that they do not apply the law equally to all. The abuse of bail is particularly atrocious.

    2. JEHR

      Trump pardoning himself and his family would be the final nail in the coffin of democracy and the first definite step in confirming the autocracy he is running. What could stop him if he can pardon whatever action he decides to undertake? Everything is possible now.

    3. J.Fever

      That article about the retirees benefits being cut in half and even more is really depressing.
      This country is truly Beyond hope.
      We need Taylor and Beneath The Planet of the Apes final scene.

  3. Roger Smith

    I see Tanden making these kinds of threatening comments on Twitter a lot. Has she ever actually followed through and gone into “the streets” herself, or is she another teenager on the internet puffing her chest out?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      the @liberalism.txt account frequently tweets screenshots of Tanden’s tweets verbatim as they need no further commentary to be ridiculous self-parody.

    2. ambrit

      I’d love to see her pitted against Mr. Ford from BAR on the subject in a Town Hall debate. Say, how about at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem? Crowd reaction should get intense. Maybe the closest thing we’ll see to a soccer riot here in America.

  4. petal

    Sen. Hassan Criticized for Co-Sponsoring Israel Anti-Boycott Act (D-NH)

    “A spokeswoman for Hassan said the senator believes boycotts hamper the United States’ efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and denied that the bill could limit free speech as protected under the First Amendment.

    “Senator Hassan strongly opposes the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel and believes that it harms efforts to secure enduring peace through bilateral negotiations toward a two-state solution,” Ricki Eshman, Sen. Hassan’s press secretary, said in a statement.”

    1. ambrit

      Sen. Hassan should spend a day in Gaza, if he has not already, before he makes that vote.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry, I didn’t catch her gender originally. We here in the American Deep South can be ‘dense’ with exasperating regularity.

            1. ambrit

              Hey cuz! Me, I’m a “come hyar” to the locals. Shadowy foreigner who uses strange locutions. (The ‘density’ is an infectious cultural trait. It might be a survival adaptation in highly stratified and paternalistic environments.)
              Be sweet!

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      With all the articles about Trump’s mental fitness, one has to wonder about the pathology of people who think making a boycott a felony doesn’t interfere with free expression. Is Senator Hassan sane? Is Representative Engel sane? We’move far beyond whether they are in the thrall of AIPAC but to their basic sanity.

      1. Procopius

        Good point. I was horrified to see my Senator, Gary Peters, is one of the Democratic co-sponsors. I need to email his office and see if they will tell me what justification he’s using. Ordinarily he’s excellent. This hornswoggles me.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It reads like thread-the-needle logic, though I still suspect it’s pretzel-logic.

    4. Jen

      Maybe I missed the signs, but I don’t think Maggie Hassan displayed evidence of being this much of an idiot when she was governor. Then again, all of her campaign flyers were about “keeping New Hampshire safe” and “fighting ISIS.” Every time I got one I was more inclined to vote for her opponent.

  5. Bill Smith

    “Saudi Arabia – Bin Salman’s Coup Is A Model For His Own Ouster” Moon of Alabama.

    From that article:

    “Israeli is further encroaching on the al-Haram a-Sharif and the Al-Aqsa mosque on the (likely falsely) claimed Jewish temple mount.”

    The claim that the Jewish temple was once located there is likely false? Where was it?

      1. ambrit

        Er, do you mean that Mr. Mount appears like a mirage in the desert? It sounds like numerous miracle stories about places of worship that are built overnight by Djinns or Afreets at the behest of some Prophet or other.

    1. Ed

      The borders of Jerusalem shifted around during its history, and we know much less about pre printing press eras than is confidently presented in history books. In particular, the Saul – David -Solomon Kingdom of Israel occurred at time where any information you get about it will be from the Old Testament, or archeology, and the latter doesn’t say much. The Old Testament is not that precise as to where things were.

      For example, its really uncertain where both the site of the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus were, despite the event occurring much later and being slightly better documented. The claim of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to be the site of both is just a guess, though a reasonable one given what evidence we have.

      Archeological evidence indicates that the site of the al-Asqa Mosque was the site of Herod’s Temple (and the retaining wall the last remaining part of Herod’s temple), and the mosque was likely built deliberately on that site. Herod probably tried to locate his temple on the site of Solomon’s temple, but he may have been mistaken, or that temple may have not existed.

      I don’t think the people making a fuss about this really care all that much about what I just wrote.

      1. Mike

        Ed, you are right about them not caring – for the most part. The Jesus Project, trying to find evidence of his existence and definite proof of anything written in the new testament, found that the best non-evidence was with archeologists who could not find, or verify, any of the biblical statements regarding Jesus or the sites of import. Ditto for Moses, the “exodus”, and various other cornerstones of Jewish faith, as Jewish archeologists are the major providers of disproof for many “old testament” writings.

        While this does not shake the true believer, many shaky believers have resorted to “parable” or “myth with good intentions” as reason for the writings. Propaganda, in other words – a major support for governments AND religious institutions, as opposed to religion, which has always relied upon faith, not proof, but does not fight the outside world the same way institutions do if the faith is true. I would suspect the “outside world” is about the same percentage of the population as it was during the upheaval during the Roman rule of Palestine. Not much has changed regarding “true” followers – opportunism is still the rule, as it was in the supposed building of the “Tower of Babel”.

    2. Expat

      I’m an atheist (actually an anti-theist) so this notion of holy or sacred sites is a tad weird for me. If God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, then why would one place be more godly than another? Every holy site in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam is just a conveniently borrowed center of pagan worship. If God felt these places were so damn important, why wouldn’t he just add them to Google map or something?

      yeah, yeah, he is testing our faith…it’s all mysterious…who are we to question His wisdom…blah blah blah.

      Frankly, a bunch of delusional believers killing each other over some “holy” site is not really a bad thing after all.

      1. Steve H.

        I have to question any belief structure which allows people killing each other to be not really a bad thing after all.

        1. Expat

          It’s not a belief structure per se unless you wish to posit that any viewpoint, opinion, or thought is a “belief Structure”. I merely wish to point out that in my opinion, the fewer lunatics running around professing to know the will of some fantastical god and killing people in his name would be a good thing for humanity. I don’t believe humanity is special in any way so having someone kill off a bunch I don’t like or know doesn’t particularly bother me. Of course, that is as long as I don’t have see it on CNN or read about in my paper; I am not a complete monster!

          And before you call me a hypocrite, I don’t want to be killed off either. So go ahead and castigate me, suggest I am inhuman, blah, blah, blah.

          1. kareninca

            “I don’t believe humanity is special in any way so having someone kill off a bunch I don’t like or know doesn’t particularly bother me.”

            Your view really speaks for itself. I hope you don’t have any social or political power. I wonder if you understand that you’re making all forms of religion look fabulous.

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          Good people tend to do good things.
          Bad people tend to do bad things.
          In order for good people to do bad things, religion is required.

      2. juliania

        “…why would one place be more godly than another?”

        Jesus would agree with you.

        “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” [John 4: 21-24]

        1. wilroncanada

          Thus have all three Abramic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, become temple cults.

  6. Corbin Dallas

    re “Should America’s Tech Giants Be Broken Up? Bloomberg”

    I know your maxim Lambert/Yves is that headlines with questions are usually no (the implication being to assign guilt where there isn’t) but in this case…. Yes!

    1. Louis Fyne

      Tech companies need to lease a Bloomberg terminal for each programmer.

      When’s the last time Bloomberg asked should JP Morgan, Bank of America, Wells and Citi be broken up?

    2. Ranger Rick

      Multinationals should be broken up and the practice forbidden. Legal arbitrage should not be a concept.

  7. Alfred

    Thanks especially for this morning’s link to the piece on Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor, where Highway Planning intersects with Tax Exemption to form a lucrative new Nonprofit Boulevard. I can’t remember a more clearly laid out (or maybe I mean jaw-dropping?) example of neoliberal urban design today.

  8. MoiAussie

    U.S. general says allies worry Russian war game may be ‘Trojan horse’

    More blatant double standards. US and NATO allies whine that Russia might leave behind military equipment after war games in Belarus. Meanwhile, earlier this year, the US stockpiled tanks, artillery, missile launchers, etc in Poland and Baltic states right on the Russian border. The US troop numbers are low, but the hardware is now there to enable a massive expansion of troops at short notice. The Independent described the move as “the biggest transfer of American armour to the region since the fall of the Soviet Union.”

    From January, Massive military build up in Poland picks up speed as NATO signals “war-like” offensive action towards Russia:

    Thousands of NATO troops, tanks, and equipment have been sent to Poland and NATO countries bordering Russia by Washington as a “defense against Russian aggression.”

    What this massive US/NATO military build up looks like is not defensive, but more of an offensive preparation directed toward Russia.

    So, as usual, whatever the US/NATO does is fine, whatever that Russia and friends do is suspect.

      1. MoiAussie

        Interesting thought. Your conclusion is obviously true. I suppose the only question is whether the projection is quite deliberate or unconscious. I suspect the former.

        1. Trixie from Dixie

          Manipulation is the name of the game. They have an arsenal of tools that they use… triangulation, gas lighting, future faking, whatever it takes to get what they want, projection is their go to behavior as they are so intimately familiar with their accusations.

        2. Carolinian

          No, they believe their own bs. That’s why they are psychopaths–at least when it comes to Russia.

    1. EricT

      You forgot Sweden. There was an article 7 or 8 months ago, talking about NATO stationing tanks in Sweden, by storing them in caves.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Saudi Arabia – Bin Salman’s Coup Is A Model For His Own Ouster Moon of Alabama. We don’t hear much about the Qatar crisis these days…

    Looks like Qatar has won against SA and the UAE. It may even cost bin Salman his head.

    MbS’ attempt to push Qatar around has, as predicted, failed. The four countries that had joined against Qatar could not agree to increase the pressure. The demands made to Qatar have now been retracted. This is a huge loss of face for MbS and his Emirati mentor Mohammad bin Zayed. The Saudi war against Yemen kills many civilians and costs billions of dollars but is militarily lost. The announced big economic reforms have made no progress. The Gulf Cooperation Council is defunct and may fall further apart.

    Everything MbS has touched failed. His actions violate traditions and religious commandments. His coup has set an example that can now be used against himself. It would not be astonishing to see a revolt against Mohammed Bin Salman even before he is able to make himself king. The way he shifted MbN to the side broke all traditional rules. The example he set with the ouster of the former crown prince can now be used against himself.

    UPDATE: Bin Salman is now consolidating all internal security organizations and functions under himself. The Interior Ministry, traditionally headed by the Nayef family branch, will be stripped of all significant powers. MbS is afraid. He knows that many forces, including the CIA, are now working against him. This attempt to coup-proof his rule is probably coming too late.

    MOA suggests that leaks from inside the House of Saud are CIA inspired – they may be abandoning him, hoping for a friendlier alternative, such as the last Crown Prince. I wonder though if bin Salman falls, whether there will be forces unleashed that can’t be controlled. Maybe the religious will try to take direct control over the HoS, or another tribe will seek their opportunity. SA falling into chaos could be a huge wild card for the world economy.

    1. John k

      Buy little oils!Never waste a good crisis…
      Sub 50 oil is a big problem for all exporters , not least SA… biggest exporter might have biggest problem.
      Wouldn’t happen to a more evil place…

  10. The Rev Kev

    Re: “Aging in place contributes to historically low housing inventory.” Has this come about because of the bow wave of baby boomers going into old age all at once who managed to get homes while it was still financially possible? Why can’t they all go into nursing homes like suggested? I saw this really nice one on “60 Minutes” once.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe an old person with 10 (expected) years left is worth 1/5 a person with 50 (expected) years left (if my math is right).

      Now, if one’s mathematically challenged (that so-gifted, that is), one might confuse oneself into thinking they’re both equally precious.

      “The young people are excited’ sounds a lot more exciting that ‘The senile voters are excited.”

      And a college professor can boast: “How many divisions of impressionable young peer-pressured voters does he have suggestible control over?”

  11. Louis Fyne

    —China’s navy expands reach: Ships in Baltic for drills with Russia

    China sends a couple of ships to the Baltics, China is “expands reach,” literally true, but sounds sinister.

    Never mind that the US literally has a fleet command dedicated to each ocean on the planet. The only country to do so. Don’t worry if China ever tries to establish a laser on the moon, there’s a US military command to deal with that too.

    1. MoiAussie

      I’m not sure the US has ever accepted the right of other countries* to do what it does. This is the essence of exceptionalism.

      * With the glaring exception of “Zionist Occupied Palestine”, as I recently saw it described.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Still, the money of the hegemon on the side of the fence is not always greener.

      For even a Chinese naval ship to do much in the Baltic, it will mean dominance and security along the route of supply depots all the way from China to Northern Europe…Southeast and South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

  12. ebr

    “Exclusive: Bannon & Kushner Want to Outsource Afghanistan to Mercenaries” — it pains me to say this, but turning the Afghan War over the mercenaries may be the only way to end American participation in the war. Neither party will altogether end the war as no one wants to get stuck with the blame for what comes after, even if neither party has any idea how to win the damn thing either. Turn the war over to contractors, wait a suitable period, cut the funding after a suitable scandal, declare the Afghans were never worth saving anyway (find some suitably abhorrent cultural practice as evidence) and then pull the funding. By that point of the ‘a “contractor’s war” the military personnel would be mostly third world soldiers from suitable nation from say, South East Asia, so it would not be as though America itself was defeated.

    If Trump has any single motivation it is to avoid getting blamed for anything. The man has an excuse for everything (see him complaining about his AG Sessions) So, lets give him a suitable excuse.

    Although this idea may be too cynical for even this blog

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Guessing that the effort would cost somewhere north of 50B/year (I pulled that number right out of my nether region, yes, I did, and it is probably low by 100B/year) and that our Senate can be demonstrably purchased for 51M/year (1M/year each for a majority of senators, probably high by an order of magnitude…), it seems quite likely that such an enterprise could continue for 100 years (McCain’s declaration, I believe). Gots to love a 1000-to-1 ROI.

    2. Carolinian

      If Trump has any single motivation it is to avoid getting blamed for anything.

      Think you are right. That’s why all the talk about war with Iran or N. Korea is likely just talk.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The rotten belief in the invincibility of the American military has to be a concern. Iraq happened first and foremost because it was perceived as easy, Libya too. Guys like Dempsey put on the brakes because of fear of retaliation in Syria, even if it was just the Syrians. Until Dempsey explained to Kerry in the official story (Obama unofficially) that Syria could retaliate, I’m sure Obama was envisioning his official portrait holding a bomb with a diploma in one hand and the heads of Gaddafi and Assad in the other.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          If Bremer hadn’t disbanded the Iraqi military, funneling money to pay them instead of taking their jobs away, Iraq just may have worked out like the loons (Cheney, Wolfie, Rummy) thought it would.

          Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.

          Those HBS guys just can’t seem to grasp demand-side economics.

              1. WheresOurTeddy

                Showed Milosevic what for in the 90s too!

                We’re more “overthrowers” now than “invaders” anyway. We only send in the military when the trojan horse of NGOs and the assassins can’t buy the country or clip el Presidente and make Generalissimo the new (pro-west) el Presidente, respectively. Those are options A and B.

                (See the works of “Perkins, John”)

        2. Mike

          It is a guess, but I believe that a sizable portion of our military does not believe the hype, either. Their existence and growth may be our best hope for opposition to the neo-con ideologues of both parties. Somewhat like the Portuguese revolution against the Salazarist “Estado Novo”, ours will probably be led by disaffected military layers, supported by the “support our troops” population. Just a wild guess…

          1. LifelongLib

            A military overthrow of the civilian government would be a cure worse than the disease.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Re Notagainistan: What happened to “You broke it, you fix it?” Oh wait…

      But of course War, the Milo Minderbinder Racket (TM), is a complexity of many parts, all of which spill out not just body parts and pink mist and rubble, but lot$ and lot$ of MONEY, the taking and accumulation of which, after all, is the actual object of the Game…

    1. allan

      Here’s the Deal: Better Shills, Better Unpaid Internships, Better Give Up on Wages [1,2].

      [1] Unless you’re paid to come up with DNC slogans like this.

      [2] Or can get a job at your family foundation.

      1. Mike

        Oh, how about “TINA- it’s not just an empowered woman’s name”. Gotta keep that elite connection.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is a Timmy Kaine slogan. Besides his obvious vile nature, I’m shocked anyone would go to the DNC boss in 2010 for advice on politics.

    3. sleepy

      Substitute “tuition-free college” for better skills, “stronger unions” for better jobs, and “$15/hr minimum pay” for better wages, and I’m in.

      1. perpetualWAR

        Please tell me who can survive on $15? I’d really like to know.

        A $15/hr worker may not even be able to rent a room in Seattle. A. Room.

        Our housing cost is insane. But, I just read Freddie & Fannie raised debt to income to whopping FIFTY PERCENT! But, no bubble in RE again.

        1. Milton

          The issue I have with the Fight for 15 group is that they should have indexed it to the CPI. By my calculation the fight, this year, would be for $16.55. This would have accomplished two things: 1) It would have shown how quickly wages can be eroded with even minimal inflation and 2) Continually upping the wage in the fight leverages bargaining power – suddenly, $15 doesn’t seem so much to the corporate folks.

        2. jrs

          $15 an hour (so about 31k a year) is considered low income by government agencies like HUD some places yes and actually 50k is some places in the U.S. as well. But the point I think is they want the Dems to at least commit to something concrete, and what an increased minimum wage didn’t solve unionization might (as far as employment issues goes).

          1. polecat

            If the choakhold of financialization were broken : monopolies shreaded, K-Sreet lobbying outlawed, and the Federal Reserve not allowed to goose the ‘Market’ for the benefit of the Oligarchs & Ferengi Politicians, to name but a few examples, then wages, as such, wouldn’t need to move into the stratosphere just for basic sustenance …
            That goes for renting, purchasing a home, basic medical care (forget insurance), transportation, food, the whole shebang ! … but our ‘betters’ seem not to care one wit, and thus are playing with fire.

            To quote Gerald Celente : When people lose everything … THEY LOSE IT !

        3. WobblyTelomeres

          $15/hour goes a very (VERY) long way in Black Zion, Mississippi (outside of Tupelo on Hwy 6, ty, tyvm).

        4. Vatch

          Here’s a web site that enables one to compare the cost of living in different metropolitan areas. I don’t know how accurate it is, but I think it shows that in some places $15/hr is quite good, and in other places, $15/hr is a terribly low wage. For example, housing in San Francisco is 265% more than in Montgomery, Alabama. Food, transportation, and health care are 27%, 37%, and 47% higher, respectively.

        5. Carla

          @perpetualWAR — “A $15/hr worker may not even be able to rent a room in Seattle. A. Room.”

          You know, here in the rust belt, we’ve kinda gotten used to being called “stupid” for staying here. But maybe we’re not the stupid ones.

          1. Mike

            Unfortunately, the Cascadia Fault will cheapen real estate throughout the West, while boosting prices elsewhere. And, we’re all stupid in our own unique ways.

    4. Marym

      Better than the New Deal? Better than you would have had if Bernie would have won? Better than you have now? Better than the other guy’s deal? Better for whom?

      Still not sorry I voted for the Green New Deal in 2012 and 2016. At least it had substance.

    5. Richard

      Deal with it: better listen, better follow instructions, better shut up.

      My cockles have atrophied.

    6. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Green Party needs to be more opportunistic or at least OurRevolution does:

      “Better politicians, better ideas, better slogans.”

    7. Jen

      Better, but not good. In other words, still “We Suck Less.”

      Just own it, Team Blue. It’s who you are.

  13. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you for the link about Louise Mensch. It appears that the UK, particularly the good people of Corby, dodged a bullet when she decided to follow her heart(throb).

    Mensch, then known as Bagshawe and a chick lit novelist, was imposed by Cameron in his attempt to modernise and detoxify the Tories. This included candidates of immigrant background being imposed in largely white, often rural, seats.

    Mensch’s departure from the Commons so soon after her election caused a lot of consternation, especially from the rival candidates for the Tory nomination. Her spin about the custody of her children did not endear either.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Mensch has confessed to suffering paranoia due to heavy drug use in the past which was a revelation a month prior to her resignation. She was publicly for prohibition.

      1. MoiAussie

        She clearly suffers from more than mere paranoia. I dived down the rabbit hole that is patribotics some months ago. It’s worth a visit in a creepy, masochistic kind of way – The Horror! The Horror!

          1. polecat

            Jerry Fletcher : ” What is that .. ” (obviously in a state of agitation, strapped into a wheelchair)
            Dr. Jonas : (smiling as he fills a syringe) “Gravy for the brain, Jerry”
            Jerry : “Oh please, no gravy, I’ll tell you anything you want to know, just PLEASE ! … just Don’t Give Me Gravy !!!”
            Dr. Jonas : (injects Jerry with serum) “Ok now Jerry, once again … to whom have you been talking to ?!!”

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The fact that she is (possibly literally) demented seems obvious and has been for some time. What is truly disturbing is the number of supposedly intelligent people who pay attention to what she says. There does seem to be a syndrome whereby a certain type of English grifter can go to the US and be considered a seer and genius despite an obvious lack of anything to contribute. I guess its an accent or class thing.

      1. s.n.

        There does seem to be a syndrome whereby a certain type of English grifter can go to the US and be considered a seer and genius despite an obvious lack of anything to contribute.

        unfortunately there seems to be a global market for airheads. I just yesterday learnt of the existence of one Gwyneth Paltrow and her jade eggs on the front page of a scandinavian broadsheet

  14. Ottawan

    That was an awkward F-35 discussion. Here’s the summary:

    Berke: Hi! I’m a professional Pilot who likes this plane and we are using it!

    Sprey: Hi! [audible huff from someone] Judging by the testing process, it looks real bad. [audible huff from someone] I’m skeptical of the contractor and buyer because inherent interests [audible huff from someone]. Testing process is less tainted by biases.

    Berke: You insult me. I’m a professional Pilot. And every Pilot loves the plane and thinks you critics are ridiculous. Professionals are professionals because they are professional.

    Sprey: But looks bad from testing process [audible huff from someone]. Testing process. Not looking good. Tests are good for a lot of things, even though problems with testing. skepticism is good [audible huff from someone]

    Berke: Professional Pilots!!!

    1. Quanka

      Couldnt agree more – poorly moderated discussion might be the best criticism. Honestly, to the extent she stepped in it was to say “I went to Edwards, it was great” even though she later admits she saw an hour’s worth of problems trying to get it airborne. But hey “they were being transparent” – haha whatever.

      The pilot said that the plane is great and all pilots agree. It was classic “serving our country” BS. But this doesnt really mesh with the testing that Sprey was referring to. They were talking past one another when Sprey was talking about the limited testing that has been done and the pilot saying they’ve tested in “highly complex” environments. One of those two was basically lying and the moderator let the comments pass.

      Also – adversaries are not building the same type of plane. Their planes might “look” like the F-22 or F-35 but they are (engineering standpoint) nothing like the F-35 if you look at the Chinese or Russia counterparts. Those planes – by the pilots own words – are specifically designed to be more like “4th generation” planes than 5th gen planes. They have some new tech and bells and whistles … but they are not trying to rebuild the F-35 … pure B.S.

    2. Quanka

      Also one more thing — Sprey kinda made this point at the end of part II. “We need to be modest about what we know about costs” — there was a related UK article on the same exact point.
      A) You have costs to acquire the plane
      B) You have costs to run, manage and upgrade the plane

      (B) costs are where the real costs are being buried. The headline says the “price of plane goes down” and they mean cost of (A) excluding (B). But they are back-loading fixes into the program — and as Sprey alludes to, they might actually being making total costs go up in an effort to make (A) costs go down so that the program doesn’t appear as expensive to the public.

      Love the marine’s response: that was too much math. Honestly, that’s the best summary of the discussion: “This plane is great and it doesnt matter what it costs”

      1. witters

        “This plane is great and it doesn’t matter what it costs”

        It is beyond money value! It has inherent worth! Intrinsic value! It is literally priceless! It is Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos! Oh, hang on, it is a plane…

    3. River

      If only Sprey had continued “I was also a consultant for the A-10 and F-16. You know some of the best aircraft ever developed.”

    4. Ottawan

      The content is good as a demonstration of how to handle charged rhetoric – somebody is intent on pouncing on words and you gotta stay on track and resist frustration. Sprey stays on track.

      Equally valuable is Berke’s poor performance. Sprey seems at home in the politically charged world, and Berke seems impatient and impetuous, making it hard to resist the conclusion that it was Berke who was huffing and tapping his foot. Not a good look when you’re whole pitch is “trust me, i’m a professional”.

      The contrast is…kind of funny.

  15. allan

    An anti-antidote: Australia Seeks to Extend Commercial Fishing in Protected Waters [NYT]

    Australia plans to allow fishing across 80 percent of its protected maritime sanctuaries, the government said on Friday in a proposal that would vastly extend commercial activity in the world’s largest marine-reserves network.

    If the plan, backed by the government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, is approved by Parliament, it would be the first time a nation has scaled back its regulations in protected maritime areas. The move could potentially set a precedent for other countries, including the United States, which are considering similar reversals. …

    Under the government’s proposal, “the boundaries of Australian Marine Parks will not change,” Josh Frydenberg, the environment minister, said in a statement. Instead, he said, the country would increase “the total area of the reserves open to fishing from 64 percent to 80 percent.”

    Much of the increased fishing would take place in the Coral Sea Reserve, one of the country’s most stringently protected areas, where large-scale operations would be allowed for first time in at least five years. Most fishing is now prohibited in the park, off the continent’s northeast coast, by a so-called no-take zone. …

    In June, the Trump administration began soliciting comments as part of a similar plan to reduce the size of protected areas near Hawaii, California and American Samoa, potentially opening them to offshore drilling. …

    Seems like the powers that be are definitely in a IBG, YBG frame of mind.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Consistency: Which one of the Reaganauts averred that it was their duty to be sure the world was used completely up by the time Jesus got back, or He was going to be Royally Pissed Off! Because it says right in the Holy Bible that G_D created Man (and an afterthought, Wo-man) in His Image, to have dominion and rule over the whole damn place…

  16. edmondo

    “Joyce Brayboy, a Goldman Sachs lobbyist and a member of the Democratic National Committee who helped elect establishment-aligned Tom Perez as DNC chair ….

    “The Goldman Sachs PAC has already donated $15,000 to the DCCC this year, and during the 2016 election cycle it gave $30,000.”

    “In the DCCC’s meeting with General Electric lobbyists and the head of the company’s PAC, which gave the group $30,000 in 2016, the corporate giant made suggestions for strategies to help elect for Southern and pro-business Democrats. GE’s PAC has given $15,000 to the DCCC this year.”

    It doesn’t cost much to own a political party does it?

    1. Pat

      Not when they lose as much as the Democrats do. Seriously, how many of those pro-business Democrats actually got elected? However when you are making sure both sides are bought it is nice to have the losers be a bargain.

      1. Richard

        Even when they win, the price doesn’t go up that much. I honestly think the donations are more symbolic, when you think of the trillions that are at stake. A way of establishing (or maintaining) a business relationship. I still believe that it is the elected officials who hold the real power in this relationship; they can’t be “bought” for tens of thousands of dollars. But they’ll give favors away, to the right people when it furthers their interests. The donations are almost beside the point.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Saudi accepted by Michigan college among 14 facing execution ABC

    All humans are equally precious, I believe.

    I refuse to believe the fates of the other 13 are not as tragic as that of the one was looking to an American life, making friends here, etc.

    1. Optimader

      There are of course certain exceptions. I will invoke Hitler, so by conventional internet etiquette you may not respond.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You have a good point.

        For certain religions (or spiritual awareness), though, all living beings are equally preciously, regardless of how many sheep or rabbits they have terminated, when the day comes for their hearts to be weighed on a scale. They would oppose the death penalty, even for death penalty advocates.

        1. Expat

          Most religions do NOT believe all living beings are equally precious. The major religions don’t even advocate that all human lives are equally precious.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Maybe just the US Constitution then.

            “All men are equal…procreated or otherwise.”

          2. juliania

            I sing because I’m happy
            I sing because I’m free
            For His eye is on the sparrow
            And I know He watches me.

            And there I have you, Expat, even if when I think “The fool saith in his heart ‘there is no God’ I will say it about others, not you.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Now we’re getting the sort of headlines commonly seen in the late stages of an economic expansion. From the WSJ:

    Short Sellers Give Up as Stocks Run to New Records

    Reminds me of a comment heard on a non-profit board in Summer 2007, from a member evidently quoting his broker: “We just need to go all in and get with the program.” ;-)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Every time a new high is set, I feel like getting slapped in the face and being told, ‘It’s the triumph of the banality of greed.”

      “Let’s celebrate and enjoy the status quo. All’s well…the best of all possible worlds.”

    2. Tim

      Tops are always marked by big shorts going bankrupt. I don’t think we are quite there yet.

  19. flora

    re: Exclusive: U.S. toughens stance on foreign deals in blow to China’s buying spree – Reuters

    US-based multi-national corporations are pushing for TiSA, which includes China. No doubt the US multi-nationals think TiSA passage will make the US corporations the controlling force in their dreamed-of ‘new world order’. China, seeing an opening, starts buying important US companies, buying their way to the top, perhaps? Suddenly US corporations and politicians start having second thoughts about open trade and unfettered capitalism being always and everywhere good. OK, Tom Friedman probably hasn’t had second thoughts.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe they want to be buy elite universities, which are the monopolists of all monopolists.

      People come begging to pay whatever you charge. It’s a ‘what’ not to like’ business model.

      And we don’t make top universities every day.

      Plus, some students, being no more exceptional than other humans, will sell their souls to get that shining credential…nice perks for those in control.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Another blow for heartland workers: Slashed pensions CBS (Re Silc)

    Are their counterparts in the private sector 1) too sick and too tired, too beaten up to offer solidarity (maybe they could, 30 or 40 years ago), or 2) too busy with video games, or 3) they will unite to defend a Single Pension Plan?

  21. Optimader

    Quantum teleportation is even weirder than you think Nature
    more weird than waking up on an empty train at the last stop with drool on your shirt?
    I think not.

  22. Indrid Cold

    Re: Tectonics

    It’s weird to me how much the “I f–ing love science” arch materialists fear the idea of life on other planets.
    Remember not so long ago the Dawkins Brigade was telling us that planets had to be in a sweet spot with a specific type of star and how this probably only happened on earth? Then we find out they’re all over the Galaxy. Some quite close. Now they are making a b-s presumption that plate tectonics is exceedingly rare. Next I guess we’ll find lots of evidence of volcanism on distant earth size planets…with lots of water. So what’s the big terror?

      1. justanotherprogressive

        I think I agree with Carl Sagan – we can reserve judgement until the evidence is in…..and I agree, there are astronomers and physicists (Stephen Hawking to name one) who have fears that if there other civilizations out there, they may be more advanced than we are…..and given human history, when an advanced civilization meets a less advanced civilization, bad things happen to the less advanced civilization….

        1. Indrid Cold

          I guess what’s really bugging me about it is how science *reporting* is conducted to reinforce a ‘nothing to see here. life is meaningless. Go to work, consume and mate.’ mind set that ultra materialists adhere to. Recently there have been instances of signals detected that have the hallmarks of some sort of code or communication. Actual real credentialed sciencey people have shown interest and sort of said it’s on the shelf and curious and let’s look at this. But when NASA mentions it, it’s written up as ‘the sound of electrons whizzing through the galaxy.’ So anyone who looks to NASA or PBS for an explanation won’t get actual scientists saying ‘hey this could be a wow, or it could be a nothing. we dunno’. They get ‘nothing to see here. move along. Isn’t the random, empty and meaningless universe awe inspiring?’
          They’re reinforcing a cultural-ideological epistemology. Not reporting the actual facts of the matter. But why would we expect journalists working the science beat to be any less involved in pushing ideology than WaPo types?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Some scientists and non-scientists fear ET life rationally, for fear we kill/exploit them, or they do that to us.

        It’s not like we don’t have enough problems here, or we have taken really good care of what we have on this blue dot.

        1. Indrid Cold

          I get that. It’s something to be concerned about. On the other hand, it seems like some alien civilization that could contact us wouldn’t need whatever we have to steal. If there’s life on other planets, they can get a good meal all over the place. And iron and rare earth elements and whatever. It’s probably a lot more realistic to worry about coming into contact with non-sentient life. Which is what ‘Alien’ and movies like that are all about.

      3. Indrid Cold

        It’s part of being human to get all politically attached to ideas of one sort or another. And also reacting against prior generations’ tenaciously defended beliefs. This is why science advances one funeral at a time. And we have books about the evolution of scientific paradigms over time.

    1. John k

      Earth has more metals than most, moon less than most… when the two proto planets hit, earth ended up with most of the metals, including uranium ant thorium.
      Internal heat is at best only partial from the merger, note moon is cold, imo most internal heat is ongoing fission within the mostly iron core.

      Anti nukes don’t like the idea we live on a nuclear powered spaceship…

      Anyway, wouldnt no tectonics mean all land would by now have eroded into the oceans? In which case we would be dolphins, no telescopes etc.

      1. a different chris

        >we would be dolphins, no telescopes etc.

        ???? Aqua-men would, I expect, have poked telescopes out of the water eventually. Heck we have satellites now and we ain’t birds.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          If by “we” you mean the dominant intelligent species on the planet, I would suggest that “we” would be cephalopods, as it is doubtful that, without tectonics, mammals would have ever existed. Hence, no dolphins.

  23. todde

    Off topic – The Illinois Comptroller office finally says that all local Illinois governments must report their financials on the accrual basis.

    New interpretation of an old rule.

    Thought Haywood would like to know.

    1. Jim Haygood

      No worries, todde:

      Illinois avoided becoming the first junk-rated U.S. state after Moody’s Investors Service opted to leave its grade unchanged, pushing the price of the state’s bonds to the highest since September.

      Moody’s on Thursday confirmed the state’s Baa3 rating, the lowest investment grade, after lawmakers overrode Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto this month to enact the first budget in two years. While that eased the immediate threat of a downgrade, the outlook is still negative, signaling that another cut is possible to its $32 billion of debt.

      Moody’s is the last of the major credit rating companies to wrap up its review of Illinois since the budget was enacted. S&P Global Ratings affirmed Illinois’s BBB- rating on July 12 and Fitch kept the state at BBB on July 17.

      It’s like getting a new credit card in the mail … let’s reward ourselves! :-)

    2. Vatch

      From “Cross Eyed Mary”, by Jethro Tull:

      “She dines in Hampstead village on expense accounted gruel”

      For a very long time, I thought the words were:

      “She dines in Hampstead village on expense account accrual

  24. juliania

    I think the article I am going to highly recommend to Links would come under ‘Class Warfare’ though from the title also under ‘Trump’. It is at this morning, by Frank Scott, titled “America’s Trump not Trump’s America”. An excerpt that may raise hackles here, but the truth sometimes hits home:

    “…We do not comfortably house tens of millions of our pets while hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens live in the street because we are nasty individuals but because the private profits available in sustaining those animals is greater than that of housing those humans…”

    I guess events in Venezuela are hitting home more to me right now, but this article still got through. Class warfare writ and writ deep.

    1. John k

      More about unequal income… builders would love to profit from more homes for humans, but humans aren’t buying.

      Venezuela is making very similar mistakes to Zimbabwe, though not Weimar, very different situations.

    2. a different chris

      >that may raise hackles here

      Eyebrows, maybe, as the abject stupidity of that statement makes me think the guy never had a pet (or could find one that didn’t desert him).

      Our pets share our house? They sleep on the floor, they do not have their own rooms (and don’t even use the bathroom). They go to the vet about once a year, at about $50 bucks per. I don’t see how this is displacing some homeless guy?

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Exclusive: Bannon & Kushner Want to Outsource Afghanistan to Mercenaries The American Conservative. What could go wrong?

    For Isander of Macedon, the solution was for the Greeks to marry the locals.

    For Han Chinese emperors, they sent farmer-soldiers to man the distance garrisons along the Old Silk Road.

    As a compromise, why not Marijuana-farmer-soldiers with local spouses, and a bilateral free-trade treaty?

  26. s.n.

    I’m still having trouble to fathom Trump’s move against Sessions [isn’t Bannon supposed to be in the ascendant right now?- so is he or isn’t he the mover & shaker behind Trump’s startling words to the Times (Maggie Haberman no less…)? So what is Bannon’s game plan here?] and the Trump Turns on Sessions article wasn’t all that illuminating [some of the comments appended were however remarkably perceptive, along the lines of sessions being simply too limp for the streetfighting demanded at the moment], except for the final paragraph, which was priceless:

    The great fantasy of Trump’s critics is that once he’s gone, the old dynasties will return to their natural place in power. This has all been a horrible aberration, they believe, a last-gasp racist spasm by dying Red State yokels seduced by Vladimir Putin. Once the opioids have kicked in and put these Wisconsinites and Pennsylvanians and Michiganders to sleep for all time, global integration can resume; history will be back on track. America will once again face a safe choice between Obamacare and Romneycare, while wise men and women reenact the Cold War until the end of time.

    hope someone can clue me in

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      In Trump’s mind, SOMEONE has to fire Mueller. Trump can’t. Sessions won’t. Therefore, Sessions isn’t getting the job done. It’s pretty simple. Simple, as in, there ain’t nothing complex going on in there.

  27. justanotherprogressive

    More chaos in the White House. Sean Spicer has resigned (probably because someone else got the job he wanted)- so no more of those “deer in the headlights” looks at press conferences that we all have grown to know and love……

    Kasowitz is out as Trump’s personal attorney also….must not have had any great ideas on how to sidetrack Mueller…..

  28. Pat

    Did an odd little foray into google search a bit ago. Wondered which of the Clinton poll results articles would show up on a search for her. (Mainstream mentions downplaying the results and/or focus on the excuses for it if you are interested.)

    Results also turned up an Investors Daily rant about why there wasn’t a huge investigation going on about Clinton’s corruption of pay for influence at State and a little gem from 538. Nate Silver throws all pretense out the window and then jumps after it with his fantasy about the first six months of Hillary Clinton’s presidency.

    (I do have to say he is probably right about Trump’s twitter responses.)

  29. dcblogger

    White Liberal Guilt, Black Opportunism and the Green Party

    What’s wrong here? Plenty. To begin with the black candidates who lost didn’t much bother to campaign. The universe of possible voters in the election is pretty small, only 150 people and their contact information is readily available to anybody who wants it. One black candidate made the incredible claim that he “didn’t know” he was supposed to actually call national committee members and ask for their votes. So really, it looks like their loss wasn’t due to voter manipulations or structural white supremacy in the Green party. Arguably they were just incompetent candidates.

    presumably the purpose of the national steering committee is to help the Green Party win elections. And these fools could not be bothered to campaign. Why should voters trust such a party? The biggest barrier to Green Party success is the Green Party’s lack of self respect. Fortunately some local Green Party committees, specifically the one in Richmond California, are a little more on the ball.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ripe for a take-over?

      And it shouldn’t take more than a few million new members to do that.

      1. Alex Morfesis

        It wouldn’t take 25 thousand people…heck…probably 888 active members would be 500 more than what are running the shop now…

        But…obviously a green agenda would need to remain…otherwise it would simply be a caricature of its self…

      2. Mike

        Just a reminder, but their presidential candidate bought into a Democratic Party meme and raised mucho dinero as part of the campaign. Take-over???

  30. John

    Re: Balanced budget ‘like shooting the economy in the head’ — experts Medium. The expert being Bill Black.

    It’s also the ONLY way to shoot Big-MIC and Big-PoliceState and the rest of the corruption in the head.

    The ONLY good thing about a balanced budget is: it’s the ONLY way to force politicians to make choices (you know, just like a household would do).

    No balanced budget, no control on the political class. Sorry, fantasy economic solutions people, the government IS like a household if you include functions OTHER than just goofy economic fantasies.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not a comforting idea that a state is omnipotent, if we say money is power.

      A government always acts through human agents (that is, politicians).

  31. Altandmain

    It looks like Amazon is having an effect on the retailers:

    Erdogan is consolidating power it seems:

    Grieving Mother Will Primary Democrat Over Single Payer Healthcare

    Jeremy Corbyn says he will discuss reducing working day down to just six hours

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Six hour work day.

      Min hourly pay also must go up by 33% so they don’t fall further behind.

    2. Mike

      An old demand from uncle Leon Trotsky – “30 for 40”. Will the pay stay at full-time when the hours are reduced?

  32. flora

    re: Du Bois and the “Wages of Whiteness” – Adolph Reed
    A New Class Politics – Counterpunch

    Reading both, one point in each stood out in reference to the other.

    From Reed:
    “[Du Bois] was discussing an historically specific phenomenon in a particular moment and place….”

    From Counterpunch:
    “Then, there are structural reasons. The transformation from an industrial to a service economy has contributed to the individualization of working-class lives. Workers have become less organized and rarely articulate their collective grievances in ways that aren’t mediated by institutionalized trade unions.”

    Applying Reed’s point to the Counterpunch article, I think the age of mass manufacturing employment and unionization/representation in the West was also “an historically specific phenomenon in a particular moment”. Economics has both the wage/workplace component , and also has the costs/debt component for individuals.

    I think, and it’s just a guess, that the left would do well to focus on the debt aspects most people share as a common experience today. The TBTF bank and mortgage/loan debt is a common experience. Pharma/Insurance price gouging are a common experience. The workplace is, at this moment and place, too atomized for large shared experience. The experience of being ripped off by the same entities and in the same way – by a bank or health insurance company or other rentier – is common and widely shared.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      On the one hand, you have the physical proximity advantage when organizing workers in factories; on the other, you have debtors in their own individual homes or pharmacies, but can network via the internet.

      The key for me is similar to the difference, in how we perceive them, between an empty building decaying slowly, over time, and another wrecking-balled in a few seconds.

      An workplace accident can be gruesome and immediately, viscerally felt. An debt-laden serf, like an old solider, just fades away to his basement dwelling, video game playing days.

  33. BDBlue

    The Dead Pundit Society podcast has a 2 hour interview with Adolph Reed. It is for subscribers at Patreon. Great podcast. And he is saying he’ll have another one coming up.

  34. Kurt Sperry

    Balanced budget ‘like shooting the economy in the head’ — experts Medium: thanks for this one. Even if this short explanatory piece is for the most part preaching to the choir here, it is also a beautifully articulated, clear and succinct enunciation of MMT principles. This is a good one to share or to get direction for persuasively argue the MMT case.

  35. Oregoncharles

    ” Democratic Group Angers Progressives — Bets On Conservative Wing, Wall Street Money, To Win Back House International Business Times. Don’t get mad. Get even.”

    BIG surprise.

    what do you mean, “get even”?

  36. skippy

    Per the El’Trumpo thingy and washout rate….. so is it a case of bringing the jungle compound to D<C or what….

    Disheveled… Only thing I want to know is being amused about it a sign of environmental mental diminishment or sanity….

  37. Jake

    Link recommendations –

    1. Christopher lydon on usa’s opiod crisis – – This podcast really puts the crisis into perspective. Never knew it was so darn bad!

    2. – SLAPP lawsuit threatened against one of India’s best journal’s EPW by Adani group that led to the retraction of articles by EPW about the govt favouring adani group with a tax exemption.

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