Links 8/15/17

Exploring the Mysterious Life of One of Earth’s First Giant Organisms Scientific American

I invested early in Google and Facebook. Now they terrify me. USA Today. Must-read.

You Are the Product LRB. Also must-read, but grab a cup of coffee.

When altcoin life imitates art Izabella Kaminska, FT Alphaville. “The cryptocurrency market as a whole, meanwhile, is no more and no less than the ultimate expression of a luxury cult market.”

Benchmark says the firm warned Travis Kalanick over a month ago that it would sue him Recode

Twenty Years of Media Consolidation Has Not Been Good For Our Democracy Moyers and Company

Why Dicamba-Tolerant Soybean Technology Is in Trouble Successful Farming

Farm-to-School Movement Fights for a Foothold in Corn Belt Cafeterias In These Times

Public stockholding programmes: What implications for food security? International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development


Intel CEO exits President Trump’s manufacturing council Axios. “‘I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing,’ Krzanich said in a blog post. ‘Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.'” What we need, obviously, is a “government of national unity” (and maybe some generals playing a prominent role “above politics”). Seems strangely familiar… . Others: Intel, Merck, UnderArmour.

Tiki torch company: We have nothing to do with white nationalism CNN

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Protesters pull down Confederate statue at old Durham County courthouse WNCN. Detail on the statue. Video:

The Statues of Unliberty The Atlantic

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Californian Who Helped Lead Charlottesville Protests Used Berkeley as a Test Run KQED

Here are the hate groups that took part in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia Mic

On Charlottesville: Why the Center Is Okay with Nazis but Hates the Left Ian Welsh (Furzy Mouse)

What the Next Round of Alt-Right Rallies Will Reveal The Atlantic. These are protests against Google firing James Damore, “slated for Atlanta, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Seattle, New York, Washington, Austin, Boston, and Mountain View, California.” Not the same as the Charlottesville event organizers, apparently.

Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War? The New Yorker. This paragraph:

America’s stability is increasingly an undercurrent in political discourse. Earlier this year, I began a conversation with Keith Mines about America’s turmoil. Mines has spent his career—in the U.S. Army Special Forces, the United Nations, and now the State Department—navigating civil wars in other countries, including Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan. He returned to Washington after sixteen years to find conditions that he had seen nurture conflict abroad now visible at home. It haunts him. In March, Mines was one of several national-security experts whom Foreign Policy asked to evaluate the risks of a second civil war—with percentages. Mines concluded that the United States faces a sixty-per-cent chance of civil war over the next ten to fifteen years. Other experts’ predictions ranged from five per cent to ninety-five per cent. The sobering consensus was thirty-five per cent. And that was five months before Charlottesville.

“We keep saying, ‘It can’t happen here,’ but then, holy smokes, it can,” Mines told me after we talked, on Sunday, about Charlottesville.

I don’t think this paragraph means what the New Yorker author thinks it means. Certainly in Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, and Iraq — not to mention Libya and Syria — the United States fomented and engineered these so-called Civil Wars. They didn’t just “happen.” The Daily Beast’s Justin Miller has a good thread in reaction to the article:

“Experts estimate….” See above. The tweetstorm, however, is well worth a read. Nevertheless, if I ask myself what victory looks like to liberal Democrat 10%-ers, it’s not only a return to power, but secession, separation, a definitive walling off or ritual enclosure of some sort, perhaps the logical culmination of the Big Sort. That doesn’t mean I think such a victory is in any way achievable.

5 Things That Will Happen When California Secedes from the U.S. The American Conservative

Backed by Police Unions, Legislators Stand By Laws to Protect Drivers Who Kill Protesters The Intercept (BC).

North Korea

China extends ban on imports from North Korea in line with United Nations resolution South China Morning Post

North Korea factories humming with ‘Made in China’ clothes, traders say Reuters (Re Silc).

Without Oil, North Korea Sanctions Won’t Stop Kim Bloomberg

DPRK leader Kim Jong Un briefed on Guam missile strike plans People’s Daily

The North Koreans show us a picture, as if we were extremely slow on the uptake, which is probably wise:

North Korea Backs Off Guam Missile-Attack Threat WSJ

James Mattis: North Korea missile attack on Guam could ‘quickly escalate into war’ Guardian

We Can Stop North Korea From Attacking Us. All We Have to Do Is Not Attack Them. The Intercept

Hyping North Korea To Relaunch Reagan’s Star Wars? Moon of Alabama. Ka-ching.


EXCLUSIVE: Saudi crown prince wants out of Yemen war, leaked emails reveal Middle East Eye (MT).

Saudi-Qatar dispute: The new normal Lowy Interpreter


The British government plans for hard border with the Republic of Ireland New Europe (MT).

UK looks to retain Brussels customs deal FT

How did the UK austerity mistake happen Mainly Macro (MT).

Macron Is Now Less Popular Than PM Philippe, YouGov Poll Says Bloomberg

Corbyn, Macron and D66: the elections that shocked the political class and why it’s not over yet FT


As India turns 70, a sombre reminder of stolen freedom The Scroll (J-LS).

Switzerland’s Biggest Political Party Threatens to Derail India’s Plan to Get Black Money Data The Wire (J-LS).


How Class in China Became Politically Incorrect Los Angeles Review of Books

Bitcoin secessionists’ fate hinges on Chinese ‘miners’ Nikkei Asian Review

Imperial Collapse Watch

When a Superpower leads with its chin Macrobusiness. Very good.

Army Command & General Staff College grads celebrate perfect record of losing wars Duffel Blog

New Cold War

A Guide to Russia’s High Tech Tool Box for Subverting US Democracy WIRED vs. Dissecting Trump’s Most Rabid Online Following FiveThirtyEight. Guess which was more important?

Trump Isn’t a Threat to Our Democracy. Hysteria Is. NYT

Trump campaign emails show aide’s repeated efforts to set up Russia meetings WaPo

Trump Transition

Trump Will Get His Tax Cuts, Vast Majority of Economists Say Bloomberg

Republicans desperately want to be united. Trump just won’t let them. McClatchy

Is Changing the Constitution the Only Way to Fix Washington? Pew Charitable Trusts (Re Silc). Good outline of the players and amendments. On the possibility of a Constitutional Convention, see NC here.

Loud Voices From Below Empirical SCOTUS. Data on how the Supreme Court accepts cases for review.

Health Care

Richard Master: A businessman makes the case for a single-payer health care system Morning Call

Doctors Coming Around To Single-Payer Healthcare Forbes

Why Are Drug Prices So High? These Politicians Might Have The Answer David Sirota, International Business Times

Class Warfare

Rich CEOs are the big winners of Trump’s race war Matthew Yglesias, Vox

From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016 (PDF) Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman World Wealth and Income Database

This American Town Was Left to Die, and Suddenly Economists Care Bloomberg

Polk Schools accused of ‘cafeteria classism’ after fundraising letter WFTS. “Letter: Kids can skip lunch line for $100.”

Umbrellas Don’t Make it Rain: Why Studying and Working Hard Isn’t Enough for Black Americans (PDF) Darrick Hamilton William Darity, Jr., Anne E. Price, Vishnu Sridharan, and Rebecca Tippett Insight Center for Community Development

The Good News on Wage Growth Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

The many-headed hydra (PDF) Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker

New York City Guarantees a Lawyer to Every Resident Facing Eviction City Lab

What the summer book choices of the elites reveal about politics FT. On the (so-called) Thucydides trap, mass death, and behavioural economics.

The Daily 202: Evidence of climate change abounds amid extreme weather in the Pacific Northwest WaPo

The hidden environmental impacts of ‘platform capitalism’ The Ecologist (MT).

Scientists Discover 91 Volcanoes Hidden Beneath Antarctic Ice Sheet Forbes

Antidote du jour:

Bonus video:

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. SpainIsHot

    More and more, I find myself just skipping the links and going straight to the Antidote section… lovely stuff.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      They are always the first things I look at – I need smiles the first thing in the morning…..kind of like grabbing the comics first when newspapers used to be delivered to homes…..

  2. Jack Lifton

    The Intel CEO “gets it!” China sees economic dominance as a zero-sum game, and it’s government has better players than those in Washington. The rise of the elitist green movement careless of its effect on the lives of the lesser classes has damaged America’s ability to sustain its standard of living through the false premise that sustainable energy is not only necessary to “save the planet” but sufficient to maintain and grow the global standard of !iving. In fact the pernicious blindness of the political class to the greed of the green charlatans has already brought wage and standard of living growth in America to zero.

    1. makedoanmend

      When reading the hypothesis that an “elitist green movement” has damaged the USA’s standard of living, two notions flowed almost simultaneously across my consciousness …. sure, this isn’t April 1st …. and …. and what?

      Adverse effects of trade agreements, off-shoring of jobs, attacks on workers rights, etc. aren’t mentioned. But unspecified green meanies are the cause of wage stagnation and lower standards of living?

      [And who are these “lesser classes”? – because if you mean working class people…well pal, I ain’t lesser than nobody.]

    2. Lee

      I’m buying breathable air futures and fitting my home (1/4 mile from SF bay and 12 feet above sea level) with pontoons. All will be well!

      1. polecat

        Got Gills ?? Just watch out for ‘black smokers’ … specially the one wearing the eye-patch, carrying a bad attitude !

    3. justanotherprogressive

      Odd…..I didn’t read a word about any “elitist green movement” in Krzanich’s remarks… there some “special filter” you need to put on your glasses to “get” what you got out of that article?

    4. cojo

      How do you explain Germany and other western European nations? Much greener than anything in this country and they’ve been able to take care of their population quite well.

      1. Expat

        That’s a question I often ask right-wing Americans. The response usually involves rants about communism, slavery, and 99% taxes. I have had many discussions with educated (college, masters, doctorates) about European standards of living and healthcare. They insist that people are dying because it takes months to get an appointment just for a check-up. Some of these people have traveled through Europe so I suppose they believe the tourist spots are all Potemkin villages.

        Europeans, and I am one of them, simply can’t understand why it is good and right to let people starve and die in the name of freedom and capitalism. My suspicion is that the right wing masses are ignorant, uneducated and disaffected. They seek to blame something for their miserable (“deplorable”) state and so choose liberals and anything vaguely socialist. The right wing leadership simply sees this as a way to make more money or impose the selective bits of their interpretation of the Bible to which they ascribe.

        We know that Americans are woefully ignorant and uneducated. The US places about 21st or 22nd in math and literary skills out of 22 major industrialized countries. Unfortunately, the irony of this is that this ignorance and stupidity makes them think this is a good thing.

        My own theory? Many people are just assholes. America simply has more of them than many other places.

        1. Plenue


          “My suspicion is that the right wing masses are ignorant, uneducated and disaffected.”

          Because the right-wing is fundamentally concerned about big business and the wealth and privileges of the rich, this is deliberate. By definition the right doesn’t represent the vast majority of the population, so they need deceit and obfuscation to get people outside the narrow range of interests they represent to vote for them.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I didn’t get past ‘China sees economic dominance as a zero-sum game.’

      Maybe I should read books and articles from the back.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Nothing good comes off any dominance…not when the Homo Sapiens species is involved.

      2. flora

        ” [China’s government has better players…”

        And no pesky democratic accountability to put up with.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        Well, that’s a result of conscious policy choices by US elites going back to the start of the neoliberal era and deindustrialization, and very much including Reagan’s choices (taking the solar panels off the White House roof) as well as Obama’s* (big bet on fracking, which Trump is letting ride).

        * True story: The solar panels ended up at Unity College in Maine. Some starry-eyed college students drove down to DC to give them to Obama, so he could re-install them on the White House roof. They couldn’t even get a meeting, although they were given a brochure. Obama wanted nothing to do with them. One more of those little straws in the wind that told those who were paying attention exactly what Obama was.

      4. kareninca

        China is going to have a huge issue disposing of its aging solar panels:

        “Lu Fang, secretary general of the photovoltaics decision in the China Renewable Energy Society, wrote in an article circulating on mainland social media this month that the country’s cumulative capacity of retired panels would reach up to 70 gigawatts (GW) by 2034.
        That is three times the scale of the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower project, by power production.
        By 2050 these waste panels would add up to 20 million tonnes, or 2,000 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower, according to Lu.”
        “A solar panel contains metals such as lead and copper and also has an aluminium frame. The solar cells are made up of pure, crystallised silicon wrapped under a thick layer of plastic membrane for protection.
        In Europe, some companies are reported to have developed sophisticated technology to reclaim more than 90 per cent of the materials.
        But the western technology might face a hard sell in China, according to Tian.”
        “China’s solar power plants are mostly located in poor, remote regions such as the Gobi in Inner Mongolia, while the majority of recycling industries are in developed areas along the Pacific coast.
        Transporting these bulky panels over long distances could be very costly, Tian said.
        Another cost comes from separating and purifying the waste materials, an industrial process that not only requires plenty of labour and electricity input, but also chemicals such as acids that could cause harm to the environment.”

        Here’s hoping the recycling technology improves.

        As far as I can tell, the South China Morning Post” is a legitimate newspaper. Per Wikipedia, it is Hong Kong’s newspaper of record (

    6. Mo's Bike Shop

      The ‘green charlatan’ just found you a bunch of secret volcanoes! So much for gratitude.

      So what if they’re dormant? Now all you have to do is prove that we don’t burn 90% of the oil we pump.

      I hope you’re snatching up beachfront property.

    7. Vatch

      “elitist green movement”

      You’re joking, right?

      There’s little that’s elitist about environmentalism. The people who are most likely to suffer from pollution live in poor countries or in poor regions of the wealthier countries. Environmentalists are dedicated to protecting those people from the birth defects, cancer, emphysema, asthma, and neurological disorders that are caused by pollution.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’d say Jack Lifton is maybe part right. A lot of the professional enviros and activists I knew were just part of the credentialed crowd. All about saving their particular part of the planet, their locale, and not so much about the kind of along-class-lines everyone-in-the-same-boat thinking and action at scales that might have a chance of doing more of what’s needed to keep the species from extinguishing itself thanks to our own idiotic pleasure-seeking and greed. Save The Whales and 350 and Sierra Club even Greenpeace might in some sense be necessary, but in no way sufficient. Lots of virtue signaling, in the local argot. The Dem environmental group in our area is typical — a set of self-congratulating navel gazers, very elitist, and everything straight out of the usual Dem playbook for around here — no outreach, no fire. And in-grouping, and wet blankets to toss on anyone who offers to try to punch things up. A few people who are actually “active,” but in a tiny range of activities like little fights over cell towers, and ‘protecting” (usually “protecting” only a tiny fraction of the resource after a “negotiated agreement”) small bits of open space threatened by the much larger issues of “developer” dominance of our once strongly Democratic (old-school, Lawton Chiles type) state government, which is now solidly, imperturbably “conservative” behind looters like Sick Rott (Rick Scott, a new face on the DC stage it appears.)

        Seems to me that the most common emotion for most of “us” is resignation, then frustration, followed (see the oxycodone-way-out) by desperation and then despair. And that actually may be an informed crowd opinion, with the validity that our stock-picking friends ascribe to crowd wisdom…

        At least, until the alien ships are all in place over all the cities and choke points of our internet communities, and that optimum moment to choke us all off arrives with the sudden shutoff of the residual bits of “dissent,” we can talk among ourselves, judiciously study the motions of the Empire Blob Whatever, as it grinds toward some planet-eating endpoint — all so the very few can live lives of glorious excess…

      2. witters

        The use of “elites” is a great tell when it is used not to pickout the super-rich, wealthy and powerful, but anyone who might have some value somewhere that stands in the way or against the “values” of the super-rich, wealthy and powerful. It is the usage of the internal comprador classes.

  3. Roger Smith

    I am really glad that there was another foolish, blind, barbaric group of idiots in Durham to fill in for the opposing side while they were on break; the one they hate and despise so much that they are willing to act the same or worse in response to. If these people would stay home instead of not thinking and flying off the handle that girl from Charlottesville might still be alive.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Great idea! We should let armed Nazis march about all our cities without objection! That way, there would be no violence, right? Right????

      1. Roger Smith

        What laws were they breaking? From what I have read, as absurd as it is, the tactical gear was all within the realms of open carry (as we’ve seen before in other places). They had a permit for their protest as well (from what I understand the actual event never got started). Instead of having a clear and objective (in regards to law) way to measure any actual injustice these people may have perpetrated, that may have allowed for clear and decisive future considerations when reviewing laws/policy for the state or country, we got a chaotic mess of antagonistic and violent outbursts from everyone, simply due to the presence of “other”. Were they beating up people before the counter-protesters showed up or was it after the chaos ensued?

        1. a different chris

          What laws were the counter-protesters breaking? What gives anybody to right to beat up anybody*, before or after “chaos”???

          *try cold-cocking a mugger sometimes and expecting the police to congratulate you…

        2. Eureka Springs

          Just an observation in general, not pointed at you. Suddenly this week many seem to embrace the idea of permits for freedom of assembly. I for one do not. Didn’t the observers of and participants in OWS among other events in recent memory teach us anything about the precariousness of an ability to assemble at all?

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Agreed. In the Backed by Police Unions, Legislators Stand by Laws to Protect Drivers Who Kill Protesters link, some TX state congressman tweeted:

            Does the Far Left know the difference between lawfully protesting in a street and illegally blocking a hwy!?…

            (note:if he had done away with the ellipsis and extra punctuation he could have spelled out highway, but I digress)

            Now I don’t know about the TX constitution but I do remember this little passage from Uncle Sugar’s:

            Amendment I

            Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

            Now I checked that over a few times and I’m pretty sure that nowhere does it say “unless they’re in a highway”.

        3. feox

          “Were they beating up people before the counter-protesters showed up or was it after the chaos ensued?”

          What the guy beating up his wife before he got married or only after, and chaos ensued?

        4. Vatch

          How many of the right wingers were beaten up in Charlottesville? How violent were the counter protesters? I really want to know — maybe some things happened that I’m not aware of. I already know about the murder of Heather Heyer and the attempted murder of Deandre Harris by right wingers.

      2. Carolinian

        Think you mean Nazi re-enactors.

        And if people want to re-fight the Civil War some of us here in the south would prefer they go do it somewhere else. I wonder how many people in Charlottesville actually objected to the statue and wanted it taken down. These artifacts litter the landscape and are mostly ignored.

        1. Roger Smith

          This is interesting and something I was just mulling around, the the emotion and characterization (if that is the right word to use here, I feel like there is a better term I am forgetting), the spirit these… vandals really, imbue this lifeless hunk of stone and metal with is strange. I had assumed like you confirmed that most people probably don’t even think about them.

          I would really like demographic information on the Charlottesville event. How many protesters were there vs. counter-protesters? How many of either side were actually from the area?

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > the spirit these… vandals really, imbue this lifeless hunk of stone and metal with is strange

            Well, that would be why the “Lost Cause” crowd put them up, right? To make a point? Especially in front of a courthouse?

          2. JerryDenim

            “most people probably don’t even think about them”

            Most people who were born on the happy side of white privilege, separate but equal, etc. etc. don’t think about them. Those monuments weren’t really put there for them, so why would they. But if you grew up as a black southerner under Jim Crow/segregation or grew up hearing the stories from your parents/grandparents I suspect you think about those stone and metal symbols a great deal more. The luxury of not thinking about Confederate monuments is classic white privilege.

            1. Mo's Bike Shop

              We’ve got one of the soldier’s memorials right on downtown. Facing North. I saw it when I first walked the downtown, and assessed it in a snarky pre-college way (Raised in 70s Maine SSR). I’d forgotten about it. It’s never come up in going on 40 years, until next week.

              Our older buildings downtown are regularly cleared en masse for new building. Steel structure, foam stucco. Why don’t we build like we did in the twenties?

              Why have I not seen the word ‘iconoclasm’ yet?

        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          Per last night’s discussion on Democracy Now there were public discussions for months over whether to take the statue down, with the initial consensus being against, and as more of the community got involved the consensus shifting to taking it down.

          Adding, some people may be less likely to ignore these statues than others.

          1. Harold

            I can see leaving a statue of General Lee — but statutes of the founder of the Ku Klux Klan put up in 1977?? No way!

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                We might want to contextualize the statues to make their historical aspects a little clear:

                1) Revise the plaques to indicate whether the statue is of a slaveowner

                2) Add some statues of slaves, nearby, also made of bronze or marble or whatever.

                1. Aumua

                  Statues of slaves? That sounds like it would go over real well… maybe we could have the slave owner holding a whip, cracking it at the slaves.

                2. Mo's Bike Shop

                  Perhaps, how has iconoclasm been handled in the past?

                  /smile just brainstorming #notanassignment

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I would leave them all there.

              Unless, it is a constant or continual rally point.

              For these reasons:

              1. You find more dangerous ideas elsewhere
              2. Unless it is a rally point. It seemed to have been ignored for decades.
              3. I don’t believe in energizing people who disagree with me, unnecessarily
              4. While indebted serfdom is a growing reality, slavery reintroduction is not.
              5. Billionaire statues or names on buildings and college scholarships are more in your face, daily, celebrating the triumph of neoliberalism.
              6. Let sleeping dogs lie
              7. A statue does not speak, except when you speak for it. It can either be a hero, or a warning (yes, a warning…son, here is the guy who extracts rent from us every month…his name is on the apartment building, and even a bronze statue, by the front entrance, by a famous artist whose works populate the Louvre, Hermitage, etc.)

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                “Thank goodness his/her bronze Midas likeness is by the front door. I give it a non-physically harming middle finger every time I walk by.”

                “Please don’t remove the billionaire’s statue. Besides, my dog likes it, for its own reasons.”

              2. Antifa

                There’s a Confederate statue in my sleepy Southern town, but I think the batteries are dead. It just stands there collecting pigeon poop right around the year; it’s about a inch thick on his epaulets by July the 4th.

                The silly thing doesn’t do anything for anyone. Or are these things steam powered or sumthin?

          2. Carolinian

            It’s like the discussion the other day about “mighty white of you”–an expression so old nobody really knows what it means. I would expect the black citizens of the south would be a lot more concerned about how they are treated now rather than by remnants of a Jim Crow time that we all know existed.

            And if the taxpayng citizens of Charlottesville think the statue should come down then of course it should come down. It’s really not anyone else’s business. I think Confederate monuments should all come down but it’s not really my business either. The only one I know of in my town sits on VFW property.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > an expression so old nobody really knows what it means

              No. I linked to Language Log to cover that.

              > I would expect the black citizens of the south would be a lot more concerned about how they are treated now rather than by remnants of a Jim Crow time that we all know existed.

              Sure, but if they don’t live up to your expectations? (The crowd that pulled down the statue in Durham was quite visibly integrated, BTW. Which I consider a good thing.)

          1. Aumua

            It’s a common put down to call them LARPers, meaning live action role playing. But also that term is regularly applied to the counter protesters. Strange times we are living in, as the line between virtual reality and real reality becomes further blurred.

      3. Lee

        How about dignified silent or singing vigils? Win hearts and minds. Make the cops do the dirty work of controlling rightwing thugs or have them seen by the public at large not doing their jobs. I’m all for self defence, armed if necessary. But given these particular circumstances, winning the war in the mass media is the prize of the moment.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > winning the war in the mass media is the prize of the moment.

          I agree, but the win seems to be happening with current tacticsa. It will be interesting to see whether this weekend’s “Nazi re-enactors” go for the full regalia again, or something more… normal.

      4. justanotherprogressive

        There will always be Nazis – there will always be other groups that don’t think like everyone else. This group was small, 100 or so people? They couldn’t have gotten their 15 minutes of fame if it wasn’t for people attacking them. Do you think they would have gotten ANY press at all if this march had been peaceful?

        Sorry, they WANT people to attack them because that makes them more important than they really are. And it shows the hypocrisy of people who claim to believe in a government of laws but really don’t……

        Sorry, but emotional groupthink of “The Constitution is for me, not for thee”, just doesn’t cut it with me…..they still have the right to free speech and we still have the right to ignore them…..

        1. WeakenedSquire

          This thing had been hyped for weeks. It would have received a lot of press coverage regardless. Anyhow, how is it that the right wing is entitled to its free, public expression of opinions, emotion, and intimidation but liberals, leftists, or whoever opposes them must “ignore them” and suppress the expression of their opinions and emotions? It may not bother you much to see these racist goons marching around a college town with torches and guns, but it very much bothers some people, and I for one am not prepared to say their reactions are somehow illegitimate. Assuredly, most of these counterprotesters are not rich beltway consultants or recipients of foundation money, merely engaging in hypocritical virtue signalling. The expression of genuine popular sentiment is not a one-way street.

          An op-ed by a self-proclaimed “progressive” college professor is very much on point:

          1. RUKidding

            Thanks. I agree with you.

            This rally was getting a lot of attention, and even if it had been totally peaceful, there still would’ve been a lot of attention on it.

            Yes, probably the organizers relished the attacks, as it brought them more attention, and then it gives them and their followers the lead to start whiiiiining about how unfaaaair it is that they were attacked during their very legitmate (yes, it was legitimate) rally.

            This reminds me of nothing else than all those Tea Bagger rallies – some of which included open carry and a LOT of racist slogans and nasty bigoted signs about Obama, where, ironically Obama was often compared to Hitler – that got lots of media attention and almost not push-back from anyone. Most of the counter-protesters were cordoned off somewhere else and got little media attention.

            But when Occupy rallies started?? Boy was there push-back from all quarters. And then their was a coordinated attack against them by mostly Democratic mayors.

            So yeah: let’s let the rightwingers, as usual, get all their rallies done with no push-back, and those on the left, as usual, should just STFU and stand back and do nothing because, after all, the rightwingers had a legitimate rally.

            Hoo boy. I say: time to change that narrative now that we have a White Supremacist in the White House.

            I want MY country back.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > organizers relished the attacks

              They did indeed, but:

              1) The press coverage managed to drive a wedge between Trump and some of his plutocrats. That’s no great thing but it’s certainly better than other things I can imagine

              2) The revulsion at the overtly Nazi regalia seems to have backfired — the torches, the shields, and all that. I know to a hard core that stuff must seem very attractive, but thank heavens it’s still loaded with terrible negative connotations for most Americans.

              3) The video in the parking garage of five or six people getting one black guy on the ground and beating him can’t have gone over real well either. How do you explain that one to the kids?

          2. justanotherprogressive

            In the scheme of things, how important was what this small group of people were doing? And did they not have the rights guaranteed by the Constitution to do it? Or are you willing to throw out the law of the land because it doesn’t suit you in this particular occasion?

            Are you a parent? Did you always respond in kind to every tantrum your 2-year-old threw?

            Don’t give me that poor downtrodden leftist liberal crap – it smacks of false persecution. No one is stopping liberals and leftists from speaking up, but if they go after every little slight, no matter how unimportant, they begin sounding more like Trump and his tweets than people who should be respected for their views…..

            And this wasn’t about leftists and liberals protesting – it was about the violence THEY caused…..or are leftists and liberals not smart enough not to be goaded into violence, violence that the other side wanted? Seems to me all of those protesters who engaged in violence helped the alt-right more than they did their own cause……and all of this cheap emotional groupthink around Charlottesville isn’t helping liberals or leftists either…..

            Having been a “leftist” all my life, I am embarrassed at what these so called “leftists” did at Charlottesville…..being “leftist” isn’t about being violent…..

            1. polecat

              I wanna know just who the astro-turfers were, who helped to bring out this boiling pot of political puss to overflowing !??

              1. Anonymous

                It certainly is convenient for those who profit on strident divisions.

                Why can’t I say I’m against illegal immigration now without fear of being called a racist?

                The left has been conflating all conservatives with Nazi-ism for years now.These fools who march around with Nazi flags couldn’t be better for them.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  If these people didn’t exist, they would have been bio-engineered.

                  The bankers and billionaires, with their modern-day Hessian soldiers, should do fine and remain untouched.

            2. marym

              In the 1960’s when the Black Panther Party exercised their legitimate and Constitutional rights to take up arms in defense of their communities, in California authorities passed gun control legislation and in Chicago they murdered Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.

              Today it’s unlikely African-Americans, Muslim-Americans, or Mexican-Americans would get a permit for a legitimate, Constitutional armed protest even if their objective for the protest and the entire history of the convening organizations was ending world hunger.

              These little self-proclaimed nazis are protesting for white supremacy, the right to deny legitimacy to anyone not like them. Whether the left ignores them or not, they have events scheduled across the country. They have representation in the WH.

              I don’t currently think armed Antifa is a productive response, nor do I know who initiated what degree of violence in Charlottesville; but maybe peaceful witness, civil disobedience, and some public shaming will send these whiny wanna-be fascists back home (and that once there they can refrain from abusing their mothers).

              1. Propertius

                I don’t currently think armed Antifa is a productive response, nor do I know who initiated what degree of violence in Charlottesville; but maybe peaceful witness, civil disobedience, and some public shaming will send these whiny wanna-be fascists back home

                I recommend mockery and ridicule.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  First they ignore you.

                  Then they laugh at you.


                  It seems that the bad guys’ technique can be used here by the good guys as well.

                  First you ignore them.

                  First you laugh at them.

                  But don’t fight them…because, then, they win.

          3. djrichard

            This thing had been hyped for weeks. It was? Wasn’t on my radar, not that I was paying attention for such things. But I don’t think I saw anything about this in advance on Zerohedge, and one would think it would have shown up there.

            As far as I’m concerned, this is nothing more than a twitter war. And it would have remained that way except for the “terrorist” incident. Now it’s become a morality play that feeds other agendas and therefore is sucking the rest of us into it. Well thank you bloody much. This is just what the US needed: a twitter war that’s become a cause celebre. Mission fricken accomplished.

        2. Expat

          I disagree. This was not a small group. It was several hundred neo-nazis and other inbred racists. They have the right to march and the right to express their views. And counter-protesters have the right to express their views.

          Ignoring these people is not an option unless you are white, male and christian. Scratch the polite veneer down South (and up North for that matter) and you get plenty of racism, or at least prejudice. Trump’s victory following Obama was a signal to racists in America that the “nigger in chief” was gone and decent white folk could take back the country. They have gone mainstream.

          How many voices criticized these marchers before one of them committed a terrorist attack? Not many on the right. I did not see Republicans or Trump calling them out prior to the murder. Nope. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

          Perhaps you are white and christian. Perhaps not. I am white and atheist and so perhaps even more hated than Jews or Blacks. My children are Asian and I will not bring them to live in Trump’s America, which is unfortunately just America 24/7.

          That is why we counter-march. Why we criticize. Because letting evil like this simply stroll about in the sun is tastamount to marching alongside them.

      5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If a bunch of Neanderthals march about, and there are no others are there, does it make a sound?

        And if another bunch of neoliberal victims also march about, and no camera is around to cover that, does the world hear their grievances?

        1. Aumua

          I think it’s clear that this is different from previous neo-nazi marches and movements. A lot of the difference has to with the Internet. This movement is largely a child of the Internet, and is closely tied to the online universe, where ideas and ideologies can move very freely, and quickly. They’re meme Nazis, but that doesn’t mean they can’t march into your town. Maybe the original Nazis were meme nazis also…

          1. Roger Smith

            “Meme Nazis” — now there is an interesting qualifier-prefix, one that could be affixed to other things to describe a sort of detached membership to that lacks a complete contextual understanding of the subject.

      6. jrs

        it might be better to ignore them, they might not actually represent very much of the population even in the south (of course they likely don’t nationwide), so it may be a fighting a tempest in a teapot.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Agree that the Left does itself no favors through engaging in violence. (Those kids darting forward and furiously kicking the statue once it’s on the ground appear berserk–not to mention ludicrous: kick a statue ouch!)

      I think it was Paul Street a while back who made the point that descending into chaos gives TPTB all the cover they need to advance the police state.

      But another lapse in clear thinking in the rush to discourse is also concerning: if the driver of that car was mentally ill (had assaulted his mother, had been prescribed medication to control his anger), then the killing of Heather Heyer has less to do with repugnant ideology than with the sad state of mental health care in this country.

      1. Roger Smith

        The more these tensions ramp up the more people on the margins who are more likely to act on these impulses will act. The GOP congress shooter, this driver… (and I swear there was something before it that is escaping me at this moment). Adding to the antagonism on either side is not going to benefit anyone.

        Yikes! I didn’t notice the statue kicking at the end.

        1. doug

          I loved the kicking, especially….That thing needed to never be there, much less be gone decades ago. Full stop.

      2. Livius Drusus

        Re: the mental illness issue, it seems like mental illness is always brought up when it comes to some white guy killing people but not so much when the perpetrator of violence is non-white. Then it is all about ideology (like Islamism) or “ghetto culture.”

        I agree that mental illness might be an issue here just as mental illness might explain why some angry men join ISIS. But we cannot discount ideology in either case because it does have an impact on how people think and act.

        1. RUKidding

          Yes, thanks for that.

          It usually does end up the white males who kill violently (in these types of more public situations) do have mental illness issues.

          Yet when minorities, especially Muslims, kill in similar fashion, all we hear is “Radical Islamic Terrorism!!!11!!”

          When those public service workers were gunned down in San Bernardino a while ago, it was all “Radical Islamic Terrorisim!!!111!!” but very few questioned the fact that it was incredibly easy for the couple to buy guns and other weapons legitimately – heaven forfend that we actually just discuss gun regulations! And then, no one thought to question that couple’s mental health. Sounds like they may have had mental health issues, too, but hey: Muslim = total terrorist, so STFU.

          Double standards leading to no clear resolution of the problems confronting us in today’s United States.

          We REALLY need to change our narratives.

      3. JohnnyGL

        Roger and ChiGal,

        I won’t dispute that the video with kids kicking a statue isn’t nice to look at. However, let’s keep in mind the distinction between violence against an inanimate object which really needed to be removed as compared to violence against people which did NOT happen at the event (as far as I know).

        If people get frustrated and fired up, that’s fine. Anger is okay and I’m not going to be mad at them for blowing off some steam. I’m hoping that they don’t break any bones, though :)

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          It’s not so much the toppling as the berserker kicking that concerns me. It’s just not a good look from the outside. It can be used to fuel the fire that will be used to justify the Police State. That is my concern.

          1. JohnnyGL

            I hear you about ‘excuses’ for the police state, but if kicking a statue is all it takes to provoke it….

          2. FluffytheObeseCat

            It’s not a good look. It made the people who pulled down that statue appear undignified. The entire point of removing these edifices from their places of honor in front of courthouses, at the centers of public parks, etc. is that they are a gross affront to the dignity of the citizenry. Particularly the African-Americans and others not of the Confederate persuasion who have to pass by them everyday, and conduct the business of their lives.

            The people of Durham had no other choice but to bring it down extra-legally, since their city commission was barred from acting by state legislation. However, when I see some guy acting like this, I always wonder: is he an agent provocateur, doing his best to make the protest look as stupid as possible?

        2. Vatch

          Thanks for pointing out the difference between kicking an inanimate object and a person. For those who care, here are some videos of police officers kicking people:

          There are plenty more videos — just do a web search for something like this:

          video police officer kicking suspect

          1. JohnnyGL

            Thanks for the reminder that this kind of thing happens….a LOT…usually with little repercussions for these actions.

      4. neo-realist

        I think it was Paul Street a while back who made the point that descending into chaos gives TPTB all the cover they need to advance the police state

        I’m beginning to suspect that an armed antifa is part of the authorities “game plan” to advance the police state.

        1. JB

          It would be interesting to research the backgrounds of the people speaking on behalf of Antifa (e.g., via CNN) and their sources of funding.

      5. doug

        Since local officials can not take down the statue, the left did us all a favor by pulling it down .
        FYI for those of you not living in NC. The ‘less govt’ (so they say) right wing R’s passed a law in NC taking control of such great historical statues away from local governments who put them there.

        in North Carolina, local officials don’t have the power to make decisions about Confederate monuments. A 2015 law passed by the General Assembly and signed by then-Governor Pat McCrory makes it illegal to remove “an event, person or military service that is part of North Carolina’s history” without an act of the legislature.

    3. Otis B Driftwood

      I dunno. Preposterous false equivalency aside, pulling down that statue is about 100 years overdue. It’s about time. Maybe when they’re all gone from every public square in America, and the shame of slavery and white supremacy is memorialized in a museum whose sole purpose is for us to remember and learn from that period of our shared history, then we will have made progress in properly acknowledging our past.

      1. Jon Rudd

        Given the period during which most of those memorials were built (in the early 1920s in the case of the Durham statue) the intention was not to honor the Civil War’s Confederate generals or butternut boys in grey, but to celebrate the re-establishment of white supremacy after Reconstruction. Using Civil War symbolism was a relatively tasteful way of doing so. After all, a statue of an African American hanging by his neck from a lamppost doesn’t look very gallant or chivalrous (and if you don’t believe that’s exactly how white supremacy was imposed you were asleep in US History class).

      2. Objective Function

        Why stop there? Seize the University of Virginia for affordable housing. Topple that serial rapist Jefferson while you’re at it. Check your polymath!

        Hey hey ho ho, Washington Monument got to go.

        1. a different chris

          >Seize the University of Virginia for affordable housing

          Well setting “preposterous false equivalency aside” seems not that easy for some.

        2. Otis B Driftwood

          Why? Because it makes sense to focus appropriately. Your argument is a flacid reducto ad absurdum.

          1. Beniamino

            Maybe the virtuous people (you ethical giants know who you are) could save everyone some time and generate a comprehensive list of all the monuments that need to be re-named / destroyed; it might be an improvement over this constant inane water-torture of griping about purely symbolic issue X on Monday, purely symbolic issue Y on Tuesday, purely symbolic issue Z on Wednesday, etc. Once we’ve gotten that B.S. out of the way, we would be free to “focus appropriately” on things like health care, police militarization, mass surveillance, military interventionism, you know, all the little things that are actually happening right now and negatively affecting people’s well-being in empirically demonstrable ways.

            1. Otis B Driftwood

              Sure, I’ll make it simple for you. Any monument which in any way celebrates or memorializes slavery or those who participated in resisting its repudiation, including most particularly on those who fought for the Confederacy. B.S. for you, maybe, but not for others.

              And yeah, agree that there are certainly more important things to focus on. But then again, we can all walk and chew gum, can’t we?

              1. Mo's Bike Shop

                So, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR statues then?

                Maybe we could pull down J. Edgar’s statue. Oh wait, that’s not partisan, people might agree on it.

                Quite a lot of JD Rockefeller statues out there too.

                1. Objective Function

                  Don’t forget dues paying Klansman Harry Truman. That presidential library should burn quite nicely. Truman has nothing to teach us.

                  In fact books are all lies. History is a social construct built by privileged oppressors on mountains of skulls.

                  This is the Year Zero; nothing has gone before.

              2. Ancient 1

                Just wanted to let you know that my ancestors fought for the Confederacy and were not owners of human beings. They fought what they felt were the invaders of their homes and families. They paid dearly for that act. Now, I would like your opinion of we descendants of the ordinary soldiers who fought for the Confederacy and have fought in all our national wars since. Are we less patriotic Americans than you? Are we second class citizens? Please be careful of your words.

                1. False Solace

                  What about the Black Southerners descended from people alive during the Civil War (and there are a lot of them!)? What about their feelings? Are they less patriotic than you? Less American than you? Who are the second class citizens here, really?

                2. JTFaraday

                  “Are we second class citizens? Please be careful of your words.”

                  You are if you’re intent on tearing the country apart all over again because you have no capacity to live empathetically alongside your nation’s victims.

                  The real problem here is that all too many of you childishly covet a so-called “status” that doesn’t belong to you.

                3. Fiery Hunt

                  Nice to hear you, Ancient 1.
                  I for one understand your perspective . And support it.

                  If honorable belief is villified, what principles do we believe in?

                4. mpalomar

                  “Now, I would like your opinion of we descendants of the ordinary soldiers who fought for the Confederacy and have fought in all our national wars since. Are we less patriotic Americans than you? Are we second class citizens? ”

                  -How do conscientious objectors fit into your equations regarding patriotism and citizenship? The US for too long has raised soldiers above all other citizens (except in their care for them when they return broken humans) when perhaps we should start to think of the choice to resort to violence as a failure both at the individual level on up to nation state.

                  Young kids who don’t know their history or what war is but filled with the notion of patriotism are sent to do the bidding of those who do know better.

            2. FluffytheObeseCat

              That statue in Durham IMO should have been dragged down specifically to put a thumb in the eye of the state lege, which had banned municipalities from removing their own statues…… on account they know damned well that most of their older city centers are now majority-black areas, full of people who either ignore, or quietly despise the things.

              People should have control over the visual symbols and edifices in their own cities. If college towns and majority-black inner cities want to tear down monuments to their enemies….. tough luck. Go talk to your HOA about putting one up at the gate or near the tennis courts in your community.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Do those inner cities embrace, because they desperately need money, embrace more statues in the form of billionaire/multinational corporation names on tall buildings there?

                We are not tearing them down, however they assault our eyes, but seeing more of them.

                It’s an ever-expanding in-your-face ‘We are rich and you’re poor.”

        3. craazyman

          They could move it to Mt. Vernon. That’s just across the river.

          People who couldn’t care less about American history can still enjoy it as a tourist destination, just for the view from the top.

          I went up to the top as a kid and remember being amazed. I also walked all the way down by stairs — that was a “fun thing” people did back then. Now that I hate elevators — a little claustrophobic — I’d be a bit scared to go up to the top unless the elevator had an attendant and wasn’t crowded.

        4. polecat

          Anyone know of any billy buba statues having been .. uh .. ‘erected’ ??
          I mean, if we’re going to get all statutorally destructive an sh!t, why limit the rage to just confederate marble ?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Bankers don’t do statues, I think.

            The billionaires just put their names on buildings and stadiums.

            “To celebrate neoliberalism, I name this economics department building after me. What a find public university you have!!!!”

            1. JTFaraday

              I actually seriously dislike that practice. If people want to go around pulling those obnoxious plaques and plates off everything, I’d be okay with that.

      3. Ranger Rick

        You can shout false equivalency all you want to defend the opposition, but it didn’t work during the election and it won’t work here. A little self-reflection would reveal that people keep making the same logical error because they see no difference in the methods (violence) used by both sides.

        Righteousness is a thin veneer over hatred.

      4. Plenue


        I’ve seen comments the last couple days to the effect of “it’s hypocritical virtue signaling to attack the Confederacy and its monuments while ignoring all the other horrible things in our history.”


        But that doesn’t change the fact that the CSA were literally traitors who broke away because they desired to keep human beings as pets. They should be vilified, endlessly, because they were literally villains. Their monuments and flags are worth exactly piss.

        I would rather live in a world where at least some disreputable legacies are shunned than in one where we all just shrug and go “eh, everyone was an asshole at some point or other” and pretend it’s a wash. It isn’t a wash. The Confederates were scum. Their cause was monstrous. It does this country no good to allow the distortion of history to enable the “Lost Cause” revisionist bullshit that the Confederacy was about anything other than slavery, or that its leaders were somehow noble.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          And that certainty of self-asserted judgment is how we ended up with Trump.

          Principles too often become flexible so as to fit our base desires. And we lose our moral compass. All Confederates were not seeking to keep blacks in slavery.

          1. Plenue


            All the grunts may not have been fighting for slavery, but the leadership most certainly was. The Confederacy existed to maintain the institution of slavery, full stop. Do I need to start quoting the relevant secessionist documents?

    4. The Rev Kev

      Well that’s torn it. This was not a statue of some forgotten Confederate general but one dedicated to the ordinary soldier. The text on the monument says it all – “In memory of the boys who wore the gray”. The spitting on the statue and the out-of-control kicking of the statue itself was a display of hateful contempt which I think was the whole point of it all and there is already outrage that the police could not or would not contend with what looked like a very small group here.
      I can only imagine the outrage by ordinary conservatives and guaranteed that there will be blow-back. I do not think that it will come down to topping a statue of an ordinary Union soldier as I think that conservatives regard themselves as patriots so I would imagine that they will seek to attack a statue of someone that the left considers sacrosanct so that brings to mind the many statues of the peacemaker Martin Luther King.
      Having said all this, this strikes me as a deliberate calculated act. I may be dumb but I am not stupid and even I can readily recognize a pre-conceived act for political purposes. This is agitprop in a very nasty form with a carefully selected target. Whoever is organizing this is trying to unleash forces of conflict for their own purposes – identity politics at its worst – and does not care how many people get hurt or killed. If not checked, America could be in for a very hot summer.

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        Not that simple. The monument and the text carved below it were a response to Reconstruction and the assertion of white supremacy. But it is necessarily abbreviated. A Jim Crow era tweet, if you will. What is said and continues to say is that, “Here stands a symbol to the men, either willing or unwilling, who were enlisted in the cause of perpetuating a system of human slavery on which our agrarian economy depended. And yet, while we can no longer exercise de facto contro over the people emancipated as a direct result of the Civil War, we’ve erected this as a reminder to whites that we still believe in this as a noble cause, and as a reminder to blacks that our way of thinking has not changed and we do not acknowledge or accept our shameful past. We’d rather celebrate it.”

        Maybe then, that disgraceful monument would still be standing.

        1. Pictboy3

          This is like arguing to take down Trajan’s column in Rome because it celebrates slavery, genocide, and wars of aggression. Who cares why the statue was put up? Monuments are viewed through the prism of current times. Hell, most people who grew up during the 70s probably associate the confederate flag with Lynard Skynard and the Dukes of Hazard before they ascribe racist motivations to it. Most people who live in these areas probably don’t know who put the statue up or why, they only know what’s written on it, which is a fairly uncontroversial statement of reverence for local war dead.

          What you’re doing is advocating for historical revisionism that has been weirdly popular for the last few years, trying to paint the Civil War as some great Northern crusade to end slavery and set right all the injustices against black people. This conveniently leaves out all the blacks lynched during the New York draft riots, Lincoln’s (and even several abolitionists’) derogatory views towards blacks, and the several Union regiments that were close to mutiny over the Emancipation Proclamation.

          Slavery was an economic issue in the North, workers there didn’t want to compete with slave-produced goods in a steadily industrializing society. By and large, they didn’t care about black people’s welfare, that’s an anachronism that we project onto them now as a form of politics. And the majority of Confederate society did not own slaves and had no stake in slavery. Why do you think desperately poor people in the south still signed up for the army given this fact? Wars are rarely fought for the reasons written down by the leaders, people fight in civil wars for personal reasons, and always will.

          My experience with southerners is that support for Jim Crow style racism is almost nil, but the idea that their ancestors who fought in the civil war were all evil slaveholders who should be purged from history is equally unpopular. Tearing down statues of Confederate war dead is going to alienate people who wouldn’t have cared otherwise and the chances of blowback are high. It also sucks the oxygen out of actual issues, like bringing accountability to police departments, and funding failing public schools in poor neighborhoods. This is a silly peace of theater that will do far more harm than good.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think the lesson, the education to receive, or the propaganda to digest, is this:

            “There are people, never mind they are long dead, whom you should be more angry at than the billionaires.”

            And this:

            “If you don’t vote the right party, slavery will be here again tomorrow.”

          2. Elizabeth Burton

            Tearing down statues of Confederate war dead is going to alienate people who wouldn’t have cared otherwise and the chances of blowback are high.

            Which is why some of us have to wonder who instigated that action. And increasingly view this whole fascist/antifa thing as setting the stage for the expansion of the police state perhaps to the point of the plutocrat toadies in DC declaring martial law in the name of “security.”

            The timing of the Durham incident was extremely coincidental, coming as it did just as people were settling down to post-Charlottesville sanity and as the Ohio man’s history of mental illness and abusive behavior started filtering through and drowning out all the “he was a Nazi as a teenager” rhetoric.

            Why did the officials of Charlottesville agree to provide the alt-right groups a permit? Here in Texas, A&M University just rescinded one they’d issued on the grounds they fear violence. I’m waiting to see if the one planned for Austin gets pulled as well, given we already had one that tied up police resources, and that almost any evidence of misbehavior on the part of the “loyal opposition” was suppressed.

            The simple fact is there are deep pockets running the country now, and they have every interest in both keeping the serfs at each others’ throats and coming up with a way to eliminate what rights we have that haven’t already been diluted by the PATRIOT Act.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              What do we do with the Yasukuni Shrine?

              Unlike mostly ignored statues, it’s visited by powerful or want-to-be-powerful people every year.

              A second invasion?

          3. JerryDenim

            As a southerner descended from poor, non-slave holding Confederate farmer stock I basically agree with your two middle paragraphs. But regarding ‘alienating people who wouldn’t have cared otherwise’ part; Why do you or ‘they’ care so much about old statues erected during the era of Jim Crow/The Klan to commemorate white power and intimidate minorities? Your ancestors like mine are dead and they fought on the losing side of an unfortunate civil war. Despite the less than pure economic and political motivations of North, only one side was fighting to uphold the right of Americans to own humans as slaves/property. The Civil War is over. What’s the big deal with Confederate monuments that are highly offensive and racially charged to people who aren’t descended from white Confederate stock being removed? To you or others perhaps the monuments represent a some kind of noble lost cause but to everyone else those statues are symbols of oppression, fear, and Jim Crow. I had friend that died a few years ago that grew up under Jim Crow in the south. He once told me a horrible story about his father working very hard, saving and buying a nice watch. He was a young boy walking down the street with his father in small town Mississippi in the early 1930’s not too long after a lot of these statues were erected, his father proudly wearing his new watch when a white man stopped his father on the side walk, grabbed him by the arm, and snatched the new watch off of my friend’s father’s arm and said: “that’s too nice of a watch for a nigger to have.” Despite my friend’s father being a strapping strong man who could have easily defended himself and his property he was forced to endure this horrible injustice and humiliation in front of his young son or else he could have been the victim of a lynching, a show trial, or even worse violence directed against his family. This is what those statues stand for for black southerners. They may have not experienced the ugliness of Jim Crow directly, but they have heard the stories from their parents and grandparents. Racism did not suddenly disappear in 1965 either. You and other white southerners have your “pride” and your “heritage”, but seriously do you really think being on the losing side of a war that you or no living person in your family can remember compares with the enduring legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and racism and all of the trauma and harm that comes with it?

            Outside of battlefields and other such historical sites, all Confederate statues should be removed from public places and white southerners who really care about justice and civil society need to quit being such whiny little snowflakes and get over it. It’s a very small, inconsequential gesture and a hell of a lot cheaper than reparations.

            1. Pictboy3

              Because it’s a massive double standard. Northerners take a pass on their own racism by pointing at us and saying that we’re all stupid racists because we have these statues. Meanwhile statues to Sherman and Lincoln, who had no greater love for black people than Lee and Stonewall Jackson, remain up with nary a discussion.

              It paints a picture that justifies any bigotry towards southerners by northerners. Who cares if rural people in the south have had their towns economically devastated by trade deals and their lives ravaged by opioid addiction? They’re all racists, so they get what they deserve.

              If we were being mature about this, we’d recognize that there are no heroes in history, and that most people in this period were racist, and that fact doesn’t mean they deserve to be erased from popular remembrance. Instead, we get a bunch of people who don’t understand the nuance of the period screaming for blood, convinced the other side is evil because they don’t agree with them vigorously enough.

            2. fritter

              What about the impact of our monuments on Native Americans? You’d (rightly) have to take down the entire country to find something not (rightly) offensive to nearly any group. I’d personally be ok with that, so long as they all came down. I’m only 1/4 N.A. and all the talk of American Exceptionalism gets to me, I can’t imagine what someone growing up on a reservation would go through. Through off the yolk of British tyrants to start an enlightened republic committing genocide all the while.
              The hypocrisy of you “enlightened” types never ceases to amaze. Poor Southerners of all shades who struggled just to survive have never had more than family and heritage. It means different things to different people. There is a African American in my town that flies a rebel flag. When people ask him why he says it’s his heritage too.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Better think this attitude through. Know the memorial to the Vietnam soldiers in Washington? The long black wall with their names inscribed? What if some group on their own decided that Vietnam was an imperial war and therefore the soldiers who fought it were ‘imperial running dogs’ who were guilty of supporting to war by being there at all. There was actually a thought line like this running back when the war was actually going remember.
          Therefore, what would you say if one early morning this group went to town on the wall with a bunch of sledge hammers because they believed in their cause? Are you going to give them a free pass and say that they were doing what they believed in so, we’re cool, right? It could easily happen so be careful what you think is right.

          1. flora

            an aside: after the Vietnam memorial was dedicated, some felt important context was missing. Later a statue to 3 soldiers was added.

            Still later a statue to women who served, in the form of nurses tending the wounded, was added.

            How interesting it would be to add contextual statues to the existing confederate service statues, instead of tearing everything down. Context vs. obliteration. My 2¢.

            adding : Kara Walker’s art is 2 dimensional, but shows the possibilites, imo.

            Meanwhile, the new majestic statue of MLK stands next to the National Mall.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The other question is, should there be a section of the wall for Vietnamese victims due US actions during that time period?

            1. Lord Koos

              That part of the wall would have to be larger than the entire current memorial. 4,000,000 vs 60,000….

            2. VietnamVet

              The Vietnamese have their Victory Day parades on April 30th. When the last generation of American Draftees has been gone for a generation the sad corner of Mall will be discarded and a shiny new headquarters of the Multi-National Chamber of Commerce will be built if money is found to build sea walls around it.

              The uproar about Confederate Memorials is scripted. It demeans American soldiers who fought against each other on both sides. I have no doubt that it is metastasizing of the color revolutions that is bringing the chaos back home.

      2. Anonymous

        Agreed. Capitalism is broken and only war can save it. We are being worked like pro-wrestling fans.

        1. Gaianne

          “Agreed. Capitalism is broken and only war can save it. We are being worked like pro-wrestling fans.”

          This is, of course, the essential point.


    5. Lord Koos

      You’re saying that pulling down a statue is equivalent to deliberately ramming a crowd of people with a speeding car?

      1. False Solace

        Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who….

        The State always views violence committed against property as far more serious than violence perpetrated against peasants.

      2. Damson

        I saw a livelink video which didn’t show the car ‘ramming into a crowd of people’.

        It was driving slowly, but then a group of black-clad thugs appeared, running behind it and they were just at the rear bumper, pounding the car with bludgeons, when the driver accelerated into reverse.

        That’s when Heyer, who was at the side of the road got hit, but he car was going so fast it didn’t stop.

        Presumably because the driver risked being bludgeoned by the group who had been chasing the car.

        Another weird thing – social media showed a picture of Fields with his recently purchased car.

        It was black.

        The car in the video was glossy grey.

        I have questions about the ‘reporting’ of this incident, even if you don’t.

    6. Micky9finger

      I feel a little uneasy about this statue. I understand it is a common soldier. The furthest you can get from the establishment: polititions, slave owners, economic elite. Probably a draftee.
      Okay a little different from R.E Lee or Bedford Stuart (or whomever).

      Also the picture is reminiscent of pulling Saddam`s statue down in the early days of Iraq war. Not Saddam though.

      Just thinking.

  4. Barmitt O'Bamney

    Of course there will be no civil war here in the United States. We have no American embassy!

  5. Corbin Dallas

    Re: Standing with Police Unions, Republican Cancer stand by plowing down protesters…

    More needs to be written (like this propublica article about how much the police are in bed with these violent thugs. Just as the police inflict untold harm on communities both inside cities (I reject “inner city” as a 80s racist trope) and outside, they now manipulate these movements to get the outcomes they need.

    Make no mistake: police care about 2 things: 1: themselves & their pensions and 2. property. They care about nothing else, which is why the toppling of the statue, a piece of “property” that represents when Black people were that very property, is the most beautiful thing you can do.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Do you know any police officers? I know many, including some in my own family. Police officers are just like you and me and everyone else in this country, and their personal opinions range all over the place, just as all American’s opinions do.

      Yes, the police failed in Charlottesville, but not because they are “in bed” with the alt-right. They failed because they were unprepared for what happened and weren’t able to think on their feet. Remember, that they had a lot on their plates that day: The riots, the helicopter crash, and the terrorist…

      I suggest you read about how Seattle handled a similar situation. It wasn’t because the Seattle Police were smarter, it’s just that they had their own failure where they were unprepared too and learned from it…….

      1. Corbin Dallas

        I have had the distinct displeasure of knowing many police officers. I’ve never met one I liked – just ones that were slightly less aggressive or less confrontational than the worse. No matter, since they all double down in their unions to defend the absolute scum that rises through the ranks – and through their unions, back running over protesters, backed tramppy and back drug wars, prisons, you name it.

        I also live in NYC, with what might be the most grotesque PD in the country, though I’ve also known officers from minneapolis and Oakland. Bullies and followers (not thinkers) to a man and woman, no matter black or white or whether the departments (as in here in NYC) are majority-minority. Policing is about property rights and authority, and we see this playing out daily across the US.

        I suggest you read more widely than your personal anecdotes about policing in the US, starting with Naked Capitalism’s excelllent history often under the theme “black injustice tipping point.”

        1. Propertius

          I have had the distinct displeasure of knowing many police officers. I’ve never met one I liked

          I suggest you read more widely than your personal anecdotes

          Excellent advice. Ἰατρέ, θεράπευσον σεαυτόν and all that.

          I do hate to make assumptions, but if appearances count for anything, it would be rather difficult to mistake the Charlottesville police chief for a “white nationalist”:

          But perhaps you’re right and he became a cop because he secretly sympathizes with a bunch of out of town yahoos who would as soon lynch him as give him the time of day. People are strange that way.

      2. False Solace

        Yes, I know several police. The majority are unpleasant people. I feel sorry for their children. I’m happy my father decided to become a firefighter instead. It was a decision he made after witnessing levels of corruption that he couldn’t stomach, even when he was working for a small town department. At one point his life was in danger.

    2. georgieboy2

      Make no mistake: police care about 2 things: 1: themselves & their pensions and 2. property. They care about nothing else, …

      Why, that is so knuckleheaded one can only marvel ! Never been to a cop funeral, wedding, baptism, or graduation, eh ?

  6. PlutoniumKun

    When a Superpower leads with its chin Macrobusiness. Very good.

    I’m not always a fan of Microbusiness when he or she gets on the topic of foreign issues, but I think this is an important paradox, which would constrain a peacenik president as much as a Jacksonion:

    In a world now thoroughly shaped by Wilsonian liberalism, the new Jacksonian order is a paradox. It will increase conflict as it seeks less. It will reduce war as it postures for more. It will shrink prosperity as it seeks to raise it. It will suck the US towards any region it seeks to abandon.

    Much as I would love to see the Western Imperium unravel in a peaceful manner, the reality is that Empires have their uses – they generally keep local autocratic dreamers in their box. Any retreat from Empire, whether it is voluntary or involuntary, or whether it is orchestrated by a cynical opportunist like Trump or a well meaning progressive, is likely to be very messy and, ironically, more violent than the Empire itself. When you take your foot off a rock, then all sorts of things are likely to crawl out. I’d love to have an answer to this paradox, but I’m not sure there is an easy one.

    1. Quentin

      As the way the US took its foot off Saddam Hussein and let everything crawl out from under the rock of Iraq. Or was the pestilence actually the US itself hiding under the rock?

    2. Jef

      Pluto – Yours is the most common and incorrect rational by the general public for why we ned not worry or god forbid, protest US atrocities/murder of innocents around the world.

      It goes like this; “If it wasn’t us doing it someone else would be doing it and they would be worse”.

      But hey…what ever it takes for you to sleep at night and keep up the conspicuous consumption.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its a not a rationale, its a simple statement of historic and geopolitical fact – rolling back empires creates a vacuum which is frequently filled by people as bad if not worse than the original imperialists. Ask any African or Arab. It is not enough intellectually to argue for anti-imperialism, you also have to explain how to ensure that the vacuum is not filled with sociopaths and thugs (or just another Imperial power), as it surely will with a Jacksonian style US policy. Much of the problems in Africa and the Middle East are directly associated with the cynical and haphazard way the European powers relinquished their direct power. It didn’t have to be that way.

        And as the citizen of a country that was victim of, not perpetrator of imperialism, and as a dedicated anti-consumptionist, I sleep very well at night thank you very much.

        1. mpalomar

          “There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe just not for us.” or something along those lines.
          -Therefore the pax Americana must continue. There is an observable result of the foot on rock, not just at the ottoman imperial level but at the satrapy Saddam Hussein/Qaddafi level, i.e failed state, splintering and violence. It’s Hobbesian surrender to the sovereign, any sovereign, no matter how brutal as long as civility is guaranteed because otherwise it’s all against all.

          It’s a reasonable and long standing question but maybe regional arbitration and respect for national sovereignty would be worth a try, not just mouthing the words. If TPTB had perhaps tried nurturing instead of undermining the proffered international governing platform (UN)? Since founding it the US and the other major powers have weakened rather than strengthened recourse to the dispute resolution available though democratic process at the UN.

          As the once bipolar now unipolar post WWII world begins to transform beyond recognition and equilibrium, the viability of such a forum has been discredited by the solutions imposed by large arms dealing hegemons, i.e. the US, UK, France and others but particularly the US. With parts of the world aflame with war and threatened by nuclear annihilation we might want to reconsider the foot on the rock technique.

        2. anonymouse

          >rolling back empires creates a vacuum which is frequently filled by people as bad if not worse than the original imperialists.

          Ironically, this statement comes on the 70th anniversary of the independence of India and the partition of Pakistan. A violent birth. But India in particular is doing very well today and I doubt you’ll find many Indians who would prefer a return to British imperialism.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I would never suggest there are many Indians or Pakistanis or Bangladeshis who would prefer British imperialism. But the split of the country into three was entirely unnecessary and largely due to the cynicism of Mountbattan and the British establishment as they tried to engineer a face-saving exit. Most ‘Indians’ (pre-1950) considered the sub-continent to be one nation and wanted it kept that way. Millons of people died in the bloodshed that followed.

    1. s.n.

      had a chance to skim your guide to bin diving and greatly enjoyed it. I am celebrating my tenth year as hard-core fanatical “freegan” – i get out and about at least 5 times a week and haven’t spent so much as a penny on food, clothing, toothpaste, toilet paper or anything else in the past decade. I’m living in a small city in northwestern continental Europe and the pickings here are stupendous. Some memorable finds: 67 litres of redwine, 150 kg almonds, 60 kg chocolate bars, a digital camera in original packing, unused, two brand new laptops, gafrbage bags full of brand new shoes, expensive shampoos by the case, vast amounts of luxury cheeses and of course large amounts of exotic tropical fruits flown in from every corner of the planet (then promptly binned). passion fruit and pommegranate and mangos….had to chuckle at your warning to avoid meat and dairy as I’ve salvaged large amounts of both over the years (the meat for various friends and acquaintances, yoghurts and cheeses for yours truly) and never had complaints (on the contrary…everybody begs for more)

      The bounty is simply so overwhelming that the obvious next step was forming a “free shop” giveaway (mostly clothes but also non-perishable edibles salvaged from the bins) every two weeks, which is now in its seventh year here and which has over 1000 members on its facebook group. We’re still working on getting a regularly scheduled communal kitchen serving meals made of salvaged food running but admit this is hard to keep afloat …. as to obeying orders, well you have to do what you have to do, but when the shopfolks here tell us to leave and never come back we simply try it again later…..

    2. newcatty

      Your comment about dumpster diving not doing much for food waste brought to mind the fact that there is an incredible amount of food waste in this country and others. A lot of it has to do with the Market of all food production here and throughout the world. We want our “fresh” produce 24/7 in all seasons, daily! How its grown, whether its not toxic from Big Ag is another subject.

      Hey farmer, farmer,
      Put away that DDT now
      Give me spots on my apples
      But leave me the birds and the bees

      Joni Mitchell Ladies of the Canyon(1970)

      Prescient and nothing has changed. Just switch DDT to Monsanto’s poisons.

    3. kareninca

      John Hoffman “wrote the book” on dumpster diving back in 1992:

      The book is still worth reading; he is a fantastic writer. It was published by Loompanic press, of course, and illustrated by Ace Backwards.

      The problem with dumpster diving these days is surveillance cameras, tied to automated facial identification. If you are easily embarrassed, you’ll probably want to skip it. You can always buy stuff from dumpster divers at flea markets instead.

  7. timbers

    North Korea

    China extends ban on imports from North Korea in line with United Nations resolution South China Morning Post

    I don’t understand how United Nations trade sanctions against North Korea got past a veto from China and/or Russia. I’m concerned these nations have not learned their lesson that there is no negotiating with the U.S. It’s either obey or be regime changed.

    Can think of some far fetched Stategery – like maybe Russia thinking it would take the West’s attention off it’s confrontation agenda with Russia in Europe, but that seems a bit too complicated and NATO military build up around Russia is proceeding at a quick pace if headlines are any indication. And China – did she calculate approving sanctions would pacify Trump into dialogue?

    1. bronco

      Because sanctions purpose is to continue a crisis not solve it. The UN doesn’t solve problems , thats not its purpose.

    2. Synapsid


      Both China and Russia have borders with North Korea. Do you think they want NK to have nukes and ICBMs?

  8. jsn

    Justin Miller makes really good points regarding conditions for Civil War. The infrastructure isn’t in place.

    On the other hand there are a lot of the ear marks of a systemic collapse. There are any number of un-sustainable trends from industry concentration to immiseration, from declining job quality to declining economic demand, from declining health care access to declining access to income, from surveillance to social manipulation, from political blindness to distributional consequences to exponential growth in complexity supported by antique infrastructure, all of which are approaching hard limits.

    As Miller points out, we don’t appear to have the infrastructural capacity for large scale organized violence on a bi polar basis, our institutional structures of violence are all fairly well aligned politically, and I suspect that large majorities outside those structures have neither the energy nor resources to mobilize, but equally we no longer have authorities trusted by simple majorities except in smaller and isolated cases. When next the economy grinds to a halt we will have a catabloic restructuring of the political economy according to the dictates of whatever systems are left standing and whatever local/mass organizing is in place to repair what has broken.

    As best as I can tell, there is no concern for these realities at all at the level of central government which suggests after the event, that will no longer be “the government”. Not Civil War, but something else.

    1. Antifa

      The status quo that most of us assume can muddle along for the coming century, will not muddle. Under the strain of multiple forces pulling in opposite directions, It will come unglued, and collapse.

      The chief cause will be the needless impoverishment and immiseration of the populace, who will as a result no longer care about national or political issues as much as bread, and a dry place to sleep.

      It can happen here.

    2. Tom Stone

      Yves comment about US Government/Corporate involvement in fomenting civil wars overseas caught my eye.
      Would our corporate elite percieve any benefit in provoking a failed insurrection given the current state of the USA?
      I’ll have to Google that question…

      1. jsn

        There are clearly splits inside the secrete government, the question is are any of them material enough structurally that they could lead different sections of the security state into armed conflict with one another.

        The the business elite require business for themselves to remain elite. War abroad may be good for business but war at home is not and one of the ironies of the 50 state strategy the Pentagon developed to ensure permanent funding is that it leaves the Pentagon committed to all 50 states.

        That leaves local governments against the DC as the possible fissure, but the forces DC would have to command come mostly from the places that would be the local opposition. Collapse and restructuring seems much more likely than Civil War, not that the Jay Gould strategy of paying half of the working class to kill the other half can’t be deployed in a collapse.

      2. Darius

        A case could be made the US elite is fomenting civil war by insisting on having it all. That after all is the fundamental reason for all the overseas meddling. Greed.

        1. Propertius

          Well, a civil war would fulfill Jay Gould’s objective of having half the working class kill the other half. “Feature, not bug,” as Lambert is fond of saying.

      3. False Solace

        The voters will keep trying “Change” candidates until they stumble on one who means it. If that person is a Leftist the corporate and military elite will provoke insurrection / coup to maintain control. Just look how much they hate Trump, and he’s a billionaire gladhander with no intention of following through on his campaign promises. The 2nd Amendment brigade is cool with fascists, remember there was nary a peep from them over the Patriot Act and all the other NSA shenanigans under GWB and Obama. There’s no way in hell they would ever defend a democratically elected Lefitst. That’s what Lambert meant by those civil war forecasts yesterday — Civil War within 30 years, because we’re going to get a Leftist leader within that time and the entrenched elites won’t have it, but we’re not going to get a Civil War like great-great-grandpa had. Just the last gasp of democracy.

        Climate change is already doing a number on human politics, but we have this weird blind spot. We see increased violence, mass migrations, short-termism among the rich and it’s such a mystery. The volatility will increase, equally mysteriously. The environment’s already on the downhill slide.

  9. lyman alpha blob

    I was extremely surprised to see the following argument in print at all, and even more so to see it on yahoo.

    As a big sports fan but not so much a fan of the jingoism I’ve been wondering this for years – Never mind Colin Kaepernick, why is the national anthem played at sporting events in the first place?

    And much to my chagrin as a New Englander, turns out it’s largely the fault of the Red Sox who were creaming the Cubbies in Chicago in the 1918 World Series, reducing the locals to boredom and despair.

    With Boston’s Babe Ruth in the process of pitching a Game 1 shutout, the Cubs crowd was listless, until, according to The New York Times account from that day, a military band played “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the seventh-inning stretch. The fans suddenly sprung to life.

    Pretty good argument for discontinuing the practice in the article, something I would wholeheartedly support.

  10. Clive

    Re: CEO’s Kvetching About, Well, Just How Terrible It All Is

    Hmm… I did notice how they didn’t ‘fess up that they and their actions might, just might, have something to do with it.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I imagine their solution is a new round of tax cuts and tax subsidies, to…increase…er. ..competitiveness.

      1. Darius

        When I see CEOs bandy unity about, I just substitute the word solidarity. Gives it a whole different meaning.

  11. Kate

    There was recently an article here on NC which showed the list of companies that got the most number of H1B visas and their average pay.It had an image of various companies like Accenture,IBM,Intel,Cognizant,TCS,etc in tabulated form alongwith the numbers. I am not able to find it. Can someone here please guide me to it?

  12. Antifa

    Regarding the alt-right, and Charlottesville, and other public protests upcoming — no American citizen is guaranteed the right to speak as they will in public. Our Constitution only guarantees that it will not be the government that restricts or interferes with your speech.

    If the public does not want to hear your ideas and plans for making America great again, they are free to speak against you, over you, and at you. If there are more of them than even your bullhorn can out shout, you will effectively be silenced. This is not a Federal crime, this is physics: many people shouting is louder than a few people shouting.

    If the crowd chases you off the public square, perhaps you will grasp that your exhortations to racial or national supremacy or to Blood and Soil are not acceptable to your fellow American citizens.

    But our government is in no way bound to defend or promote your views, nor to save you from the consequences of your speech. The government is bound to remain neutral in that respect. If the public doesn’t want to hear from you, or see you marching around with Nazi flags, they will let you know.

  13. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to Brexit, I spent last week-end at Newmarket, including mornings on the gallops, and fell into conversation with some of the stable lads / lasses and trainers. I reckon a good third, if not, more (all lads) are of Indian sub-continent origin and are replacing the East European lads who going elsewhere, if not returning home. There are some East European lasses left. Lasses make up nearly half of the stable staff.

    With regard to the Swiss People’s Party, I know them all too well from my time as a bank and asset manager lobbyist, including a few years working in Switzerland and going out with a Swiss woman from Zollikon. This party masquerades as the party of the Swiss (rural) masses, but the strings are pulled the billionaire founder(‘s family) and his / their peers. Any threat to bankster and commodity trader interests is dressed as a threat to the Swiss heimat. A virulent nationalism is encouraged to distract attention from the oligarchy (especially the usual big finance and big pharma, including the latter’s spawn known in the US as Heritage Foundation care / Romneycare / Obamacare) that runs Switzerland. That is not a surprise as the founder’s ancestors had Nazi sympathies. Until a decade ago, the party was seen a Swiss German thing, but it has made big inroads into the French and Italian parts. These Helvetia Latina areas have become euroskeptic.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      I should have added the Swiss People’s Party and its opposition to sharing tax data with India et al.

  14. Sylvia

    I see a link to the Moon of Alabama web site but the site has been unavailable for several days. I miss this site!!! Does anyone know what happened to Bernhard wonderful site?
    Also, the same is true for Col Pat Lang’s website. I also miss this wonderful site!!
    What happened?

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Polk Schools accused of ‘cafeteria classism’ after fundraising letter WFTS. “Letter: Kids can skip lunch line for $100.”

    In California, drivers too can bypass congestion by paying for an express toll lane permit.

    1. Vatch

      That’s not right. The express lanes should be reserved for HOV (high occupancy vehicle) use. In other words, there should be at least two people in the car. But who are we to argue against the power of money?

      1. bronco

        why shouldn’t paying extra get you the high speed lane? We have a car culture here in the US and carpooling is the first idea discarded when gas is cheap. The HOV lanes tend to be underutilized because people all want to take their own wheels.

        They could rename the extra money lane the aristocrat lane , it would have the added advantage of making it easier to select who goes to the guillotine first when that time rolls around.

        1. GeophRian

          Wish I was as optimistic as you but I imagine if the guillotines are brought out the dirty peasants will be using them on each other (as we saw in Charlottesville) because we’ve been conditioned to aim our fury at each other instead of the aristocrats pulling our strings.

          Plus, if by some miracle of clarity, we did turn on the aristocrats you can bet the police force would clamp down fast and hard. Just compare police response to OWS and BLM versus the Alt-Right rallies, armed Tea Party rallies, and even the Bundy standoffs.

      2. Lord Koos

        The Seattle suburb of Bellevue now has four “Lexus lanes” on interstate 405, both north and south — two lanes in each direction are reserved for those who can pay the fee. Since those lanes were carved out of one carpool lane and the fast lane of each side, it makes the already bad traffic much worse for the serfs who can’t afford daily tolls and who must commute in the now extremely crowded regular lanes. A lot of people have to get up a lot earlier to make it to work on time. It’s outrageously, un-democratic, especially for a federal highway system, and I’m guessing it took some big money thrown around to get it to happen.

  16. Vatch

    Why Dicamba-Tolerant Soybean Technology Is in Trouble Successful Farming

    If we had a marginally ethical government, then this headline would be true. But we have an EPA run by industry tool Scott Pruitt, so I suspect that Monsanto’s dicamba isn’t really in any trouble at all.

    The registration for dicamba use in dicamba-tolerant soybeans will expire on November 9, 2018. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documents indicate the registration will automatically expire “…unless the EPA determines before that date that off-site incidents are not occurring at unacceptable frequencies or levels.”

    Translation: The continued availability to use dicamba in dicamba-resistant soybeans highly depends on those who now use it.

    If EPA does not renew the three products for another conditional registration period or give it full Section 3 registration, there could be dicamba-tolerant seed products on the market with no dicamba herbicides to accompany it.

    I strongly suspect that the US EPA will do whatever Monsanto wants them to do, and I sincerely hope that I’m completely wrong.

    1. bronco

      Scott Pruitt is the problem? Silly me I was under the impression that regulatory capture has been the rule for decades .

      Its comforting to know that this is all Trump’s fault , should be relatively simple to fix , cue up a few more Russian hacking stories , have some useful idiots kick some statues and viola

    2. PlutoniumKun

      What is happening with dicamba is horrifying, but I suspect that Monsanto has grossly overreached itself this time. Once you start making farmers angry, you are really in trouble, especially if they are on the same page as consumers. Unless they are smart and roll back on this, it could provoke a major backlash against the industry and GMO’s. Glyphosate is one thing – everyone is familiar with Roundup – but Dicamba is, as chemicals go, ‘friendless’. Even the most pro corporate pols may find it easier to take a populist stance with something like this.

  17. ChiGal in Carolina

    From a commenter on the excellent Ian Welsh piece, explicitly not about the misleadership but rather everyday citizen voters, a perceptive additional thought:

    My experience has been the purest rage towards the left doesn’t necessarily flow from those making money on what the left wants to do away with, but from those who’ve compromised their own version of the values the left is espousing.

    Sometime in the 90s (Clintonian Centrism), that the idea of compromising your values for progress was elevated to be a holy thing, almost a right of passage. The 80s elevated the idea of compromising everyone else to get ahead, so it’s probably only natural that the 90s would elevate compromising yourself. Anyone on the left who wasn’t onboard with the ‘smart center’ then tuned into The West Wing, and were treated to seven seasons of how heroic it is to compromise on what you believe and the welfare of other people, with rarely a discussion of the cost (pro-tip: if you’re outside the US, do not underestimate the power of television to shape US culture. Forget religion, TV is our true holy temple)
    So all these people who found their political beliefs shaped or tuned by the 90s and Aaron Sorkin were taught that compromise was ‘smart’ even as it was selling us all down the river.

    anecdotal example: the conversations I have with dedicated free-market souls who believe letting government control healthcare is evil are far, far more civil than those who support the ACA / Obamacare, even as they say… no not say, scream “I would love to support medicare for all, but it’s not possible!”

    Those are the good days, by the by. The more common explain how continuing to have values is ‘being too pure’ or it must be ‘nice to have privilege’, or its about being ‘unwilling to do the hard work.’ How not getting on the bus is killing the chances for something better…

    These views all come from people who on paper agree with the left, but claim to have ’embraced reality’, and turned away from ‘pie in the sky’ ideas. Suddenly, anyone who’s still fighting the good fight is offensive to them.

    Whatever else they’ve done, they behave as if someone maintaining their beliefs is being intentionally hurtful – it’s not about holding to your beliefs, but rather you’re just trying to hurt them / stop them / etc… Once this switch is flipped, they don’t debate, they don’t discuss, they instead scream that it’s time to ‘get on the bus, or get left behind!’

    My suspicion is they actually hate (not consciously) the people they’re yelling at, because the idea that someone who *didn’t* compromise their views might find a success makes them feel like their ‘sacrifice’ was for nothing – that the person not getting on board doesn’t understand how hard it was for them to compromise.

    1. JohnnyGL

      My understanding of history during the Civil Rights era is that lots of ‘establishment’ types agreed with the cause ‘in principal’ but claimed or counseled that ‘society wasn’t ready’ or ‘it’s not the right time’ or ‘be patient’ or there would be too much violent upheaval to overturn Jim Crow.

      I see parallels with today’s “it’s not politically possible” crowd. I think this is what frustrated King when he complained that maybe the ‘white liberal’ was more of a problem than the flagrant racist.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama and DADT is a good, recent example. The problem wasn’t Trump or Pat Robertson. In the end, it was people like Obama who didn’t act until they were forced to pick a side. Loyal Dems assured everyone Obama had a plan and for everyone to wait. The details of Obama’s secret plan never emerged.

        DADT was of course Bill’s compromise with purveyors of hate, but Bill simply has no interest in fighting villains.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thanks for the excerpt.

      Forget religion, TV is our true holy temple)

      My suspicion is they actually hate (not consciously) the people they’re yelling at,

      1. Interesting observation by Ian Welsh, ironic as well in that TV is always among the first to expose religion as a holy temple.

      2. Hate seems to be pervasive.

  18. JohnnyGL

    Re: Lambert’s remarks about the Justin Miller tweets and Libruls (I use the derogatory term to refer to comfortable 10%-ers who are generally lovers of bi-partisanship, pro-establishment elites who’s brain matter gets spilled on the pages of the NYT(rash) and WaPoo and their secession fantasies).

    I definitely agree with the tweetstorm recommendation. The 1st Amendment has been trampled on by our own national historical authoritarians (often celebrated and beloved, too) a heckuva lot more than it’s getting trampled on right now.

    However, I don’t think Lambert’s fully fleshed out the ‘secession’ thing and where it leads. Lambert’s right that it’s probably unworkable, especially if you tried to draw the lines where the state boundaries are. So, yes, that’s a librul childish fantasy and a dead-end. But I worry there are well established models that libruls I have long suspected that something like S. African style Apartheid with its overt color lines, bantustans, and pass laws is probably too distateful for our librul class. Frankly, they’d be embarrassed, much like they were embarrassed by Jim Crow during the 1960s.

    However, the much more workable model is that of various countries in Latin America. I’ll throw out Paraguay and Brazil as examples (perhaps Honduras and Venezuela are also bit unsubtle for them, but they aren’t above heavy-handed tactics like that). Paraguay and Brazil both had so-called “soft coups” where Presidents who were democratically elected and constitutionally legitimate and were both defenestrated by questionable legal methods. For all the hemming and hawing about Venezuela in the western press lately, there’s been very little objection to the events that have taken place recently in Brazil where a President was thrown out on a technicality, one which was legalized immediately AFTER Rousseff was removed, all while the media executed a long campaign of constantly yelling about ‘corruption’. Now, there’s no political will in congress to throw out the current president who was flagrantly caught on tape organizing bribes. Nary a word of objection from our western press.

    I think Brazilian society with its ‘soft’ apartheid is the end-game. What does ‘soft’ apartheid look like? Well, it looks like all of the awful trends in society that we currently see (failing infrastructure, inadequate public investment, environmental pollution outsourced to the internal colonies or favelas, massive inequality maintained by militarized policing and all the other forms of class stratification), just continued and deepened.

    In Brazil, democracy is nominally there. But when it starts to disrupt oligarchs or otherwise make a difference, then it gets shoved aside.

    Anyway, that’s my thought process on this. I hope someone enjoys reading.

    1. Synoia

      But I worry there are well established models that libruls I have long suspected that something like S. African style Apartheid with its overt color lines, bantustans, and pass laws is probably too distateful for our librul class

      I’m not quite sure how to respond to that, as I lived in SA at that time. You correctly list the legal structures, but the actual implementation was considerably less harsh than the legal structure. Mainly because if the legal structure was severely enforce, the economy would have stopped.

      SA pass law enforcement was considerably less invasive than the current TSA regime at US airports.

      To finish I’ll misquote what you wrote:

      In the US, democracy is nominally there. But when it starts to disrupt oligarchs or otherwise make a difference, then it gets shoved aside.

      1. JohnnyGL

        That’s interesting and not entirely surprising regarding enforcement during Apartheid. Thanks for the anecdote on that. I only know what I’ve read, but the history there is both bizarre and fascinating, if appalling.

        And your misquote is undoubtedly accurate :) However, I don’t think the oligarchs have as much freedom of maneuver in the USA, domestically, as they do in Brazil. Obviously, they have much more freedom to project power abroad than Brazilian oligarchs.

  19. Julia Versau

    RE “I Invested Early in Google and Facebook” … a good piece, but when will the media stop with the “Russia hacked our election” bullshit? [“America’s intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in our election and that Facebook was a key platform for spreading misinformation. For the price of a few fighter aircraft, Russia won an information war against us.”]

    I’m so done with that throw-away line.

    1. bronco

      My opinion is anyone who seems like they have a good point then mentions this is off my reading list. It invalidates their opinions on most other subjects going forward.

        1. bronco

          Did he sell because he was ever so concerned? Or is he only mentioning it now that he exited ? Did he exit the stocks because was alarmed? If he was still invested and way ahead would have had complained ?

    2. mpalomar

      My computer kept crashing loading the few paragraphs of that article in as the aggressive electronic flora and fauna accompanying it flooded my computer’s circuits. An appropriate introduction to the article which is about gathering info on us and selling us to advertisers but also importantly about addiction. People apparently check their phones on average 150 times a day and spend the remaining 50 minutes of their waking day on faceborg and twitter.

      It’s not the technology, it’s capitalism doing its reverse alchemy on the exploitable universe, turning gold into lead. It’s a shame capitalism’s first theorists came along at the same time as democracy evolved in the modern nation state, forever linking the two as though one requires the other when in fact it seems that the one corrupts whatever it touches whether technology or government.
      Or is that just what we humans do?

  20. DonCoyote

    “Scientists Discover 91 Volcanoes Hidden Beneath Antarctic Ice Sheet”.

    Apparently they have not yet seen (or deciphered) the message written on these Volcanoes:
    “If You Can Read This, Your Planet is Too D@mn Hot!”

    Of course, once the ice sheet melts, all 91 erupt at once, and it gets much cooler, much faster. Fire and ice…

    1. Arizona Slim

      The nerve of those volcanoes! They’re supposed to be clustered around the Pacific Rim. Or the Mediterranean Sea.

      But Antarctica? Yeesh! Next thing you know, they’ll be forming beneath flyover country.

    2. mpalomar

      It’s interesting. The volcanoes are sprinkled along the west Antarctic rift system, some near Larsen a and b which detached and floated away in the early 2000s and c which just broke away.
      Skeptics are and will likely be citing this to refute MMG warming while the science of what exactly is going on is still developing.
      From the article, “The most volcanism that is going in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering – after the end of the last ice age. These places include Iceland and Alaska.
      ‘Theory suggests that this is occurring because, without ice sheets on top of them, there is a release of pressure on the regions’ volcanoes and they become more active.’

      And this could happen in west Antarctica, where significant warming in the region caused by climate change has begun to affect its ice sheets. If they are reduced significantly, this could release pressure on the volcanoes that lie below and lead to eruptions ”

      The piece of tectonic plate where I live was covered by a mile of ice during the last glaciation, once relieved of that load it has been springing up like a giant see saw and to the south around the Chesapeake Bay subsidence while sea levels rise.

      1. Vatch

        I find it intriguing that the volcanoes mostly seem to be located from the Ross Ice Shelf to the Antarctic Peninsula, in other words, along the southern boundary of the Pacific ocean. These volcanoes are part of the Ring of Fire that surrounds the Pacific.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author


      During the past 10,000 years, there are about 1500 volcanoes on land that are known to have have been active, while the even larger number of submarine volcanoes is unknown. At present, there are about 600 volcanoes that have had known eruptions during recorded history, while about 50-70 volcanoes are active (erupting) each year. At any given time, there is an average of about 20 volcanoes that are erupting.

      No matter which number you look at, 91 seems like a not insignificant fraction.

    4. WobblyTelomeres

      The Scientologists are salivating. “We told ya! We tooooolllllddd ya! Yes, we did!”.

  21. Altandmain

    Food for thought:

    First jobs matter more than ever, and the ones young people get today aren’t great

    We don’t have a “shortage” of workers. We just have a “shortage” of employers who are willing to pay good wages for people and offer job stability, along with benefits.

    The consequences of this are going to have huge impacts because your early years affect lifetime earnings.

  22. Darius

    Boy. When Yglesias is on, he’s on. Echoing Frederick Douglass that racism is an elite tool to divide the masses. Read it.

  23. Bill

    So, after WWII the U.S. State Dept. quietly and without telling anyone allowed Nazis to settle in northern IL, for one. I grew up in this area in the 60s and felt their presence in my schools growing up, and witnessed their rallies and violent hate speech. So aren’t we shitting on the service and sacrifice of the men and women who fought and suffered loss in WWII to save Europe? Why do I have to put up with this? Why do I have to be criticized at this point for protesting against the values espoused by the white supremacists, neo nazis, etc? At what point did something that provoked a brutal and costly war become “freedom of expression”?

      1. Bill

        On Charlottesville: Why the Center Is Okay with Nazis but Hates the Left
        Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?

        also comments in this Links thread throwing labels right and left.

        1. Vatch

          Okay, thanks. I thought there might be something in one of the articles about the settlement of Nazis in the U.S. by the State Department.

          1. Harold

            It wasn’t the State Department, because it was illegal to bring Nazis in. It was the CIA, which had a special dispensation because “national security” (as a favor to the Pope). This was at the time when Jewish refugees languishing in displaced persons camps were automatically rated security risks until proven otherwise and had to jump through hoops to be allowed entry. It is pretty well documented, though the CIA is not particularly proud of the fact.

            1. Bill


              In his new book, The Nazis Next Door, Lichtblau reports that thousands of Nazis managed to settle in the United States after World War II, often with the direct assistance of American intelligence officials who saw them as potential spies and informants in the Cold War against the Soviet Union.

              Lichtblau says there were whole networks of spy groups around the world made up of Nazis — and they entered the U.S., one by one.

              “They sort of had put in their service,” Lichtblau tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies. “This was their ‘reward’ … for their spy service … coming to the United States and being able to live out their lives basically with anonymity and no scrutiny.”

              Most Americans knew little about the Nazis among them. And then in 1979, media reports and congressional interest finally spurred the creation of a Nazi-hunting unit with the Justice Department.

              …in some cases, the CIA had scrubbed the Nazis’ files, Lichtblau says.

              “They actively cleansed their records,” Lichtblau says. “They realized that guys who had been involved at senior levels of Nazi atrocities would not pass through immigration at the INS — and they basically removed a lot of the Nazi material from their files.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. Their various superiority ideas live today in many areas, if not disturbingly. Take for example, their idea of what a beautiful woman should be. The media, Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and many other places, are full of their skin-color, hair-color conscious disciples.

      2. There are white supremacists, black supremacists and Asian supremacists. And more, I suppose. Is one group particularly more dangerous than others, at one time or always?

      3. There are many forms of freedom of expression. Is a statue more expressive than a book in a library, or an article accessed via the internet?

      4. Speaking of WWIi, are there statues of men (and women) who ordered the internment of Japanese Americas (and others) still in our public places?

      1. Bill

        you did not answer my question. unless your answer is that everybody is inconsistent and opinionated, so everybody can just do as they please.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Take this one questions of yours for example:

          So aren’t we shitting on the service and sacrifice of the men and women who fought and suffered loss in WWII to save Europe?

          I answered in the affirmative, by exposing those who are doing the ‘dishonoring’ – Hollywood, etc. for, it seems to be me, they are less conspicuously and yet, more effective.

          1. Bill

            wow. so the people organizing violence for hate groups get a pass from you?

            Just never mind, OK? go back to sleep

        2. bronco

          Do you think the 99% in the south cared about slavery? The southern 1% owned the slaves . The Civil war was just infighting between the 2 factions of 1% north vs. south , not their morals , not their character just how they earned the money. If cotton only grew up north then that’s where the slaves would have been. Statues of Lee would be fine but Grant would have to go.

          The 1% had a monetary dispute , the 99% gave their lives for it. The government enticed the 99% to fight on both sides by pointing guns at them initially . Once it got rolling then folks joined up for other reasons.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > The southern 1% owned the slaves


            According to the 1860 census, taken just before the Civil War, more than 32 percent of white families in the soon-to-be Confederate states owned slaves. Of course, this is an average, and different states had different levels of slaveholding. In Arkansas, just 20 percent of families owned slaves; in South Carolina, it was 46 percent; in Mississippi, it was 49 percent. By most measures, this isn’t “small” — it’s roughly the same percentage of Americans who, today, hold a college degree. The large majority of slaveholding families were small farmers and not the major planters who dominate our image of “slavery.” Southerners owned slaves, goes the argument, then the war had to be about something else (namely, the sanctity of states’ rights). But, as historian Ira Berlin writes, the slave South was a slave society, not just a society with slaves. Slavery was at the foundation of economic and social relations, and slave-ownership was aspirational — a symbol of wealth and prosperity. [Most –lambert] Whites who couldn’t afford slaves wanted them in the same way that, today, most Americans want to own a home.

            This is not to minimize the role of Northern finance and industry in supporting and profiting from the Slave Power. But let’s not kid ourselves on the nature of that power.

      2. Anon

        4. Speaking of WWIi, are there statues of men (and women) who ordered the internment of Japanese Americas (and others) still in our public places?

        No statues, that I know of, but the National Parks Service has sculptures at Manzanar, and Tule Lake, CA (internment sites) and interpretive displays that describe these sites and their intent.

        I’m sure there are President statues, but, of course, not honoring the internment of the Japanese.

        1. Anon

          Let me re-phrase that last sentence.

          …not honoring the internment of American citizens of Japanese ancestry.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What do we do with the statues of those who ordered, defended or through the banality of evil were involved with the internment?

            1. Elizabeth Burton

              I understand your point, but again, this is a case of false equivalency. You’re equating one single incident with an “institution” that was the basis of an entire culture for centuries. None of those interned during WW II were sold, or forced to bear offspring to be sold or increase someone’s assets. What was done to them was shameful, but if memory serves they received at least some level of reparations. Contrast that with the ongoing debate over doing the same for African Americans, even though most of their ancestors were left after the Civil War with nothing and never got their “40 acres and a mule.”

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                It might have been one incident, or it might also an less formal institution (racial discrimination) that had been based on an entire culture for decades.

            2. Harold

              I just learned that our beloved Mayor Laguardia was one who supported internment of Japanese. I suppose some good and upright people supported witch burning in the 17th c.

    2. Jake Mudrosti

      Why do I have to put up with this?

      I’ll take your question as a serious one, and lay out some pieces of answers.

      In a past NC links section, I noted that a linked article amounted to history denial regarding 1990s Yugoslavia. A NC commenter couldn’t bring himself to accept that I could have first-hand knowledge of the events, and so presumed to educate me on which country I’m from, and how my friends and family died. These were things that he convinced himself I couldn’t know at all, but which he knew all about.
      Okay? That’s vile. But I’m not going to start agitating to have him banned, or punish him for his demonstrable denial of documented history..

      Why not? Because I know too well that people aren’t cartoons.

      My mother’s barrack leader in the Austrian refugee camp was a Serb who reflected often on the war psychosis that had swept him up at the war’s outset. As she recounted later, he often said that he couldn’t recognize the person he had been. In his efforts to atone, he was actually the only decent barrack leader among the lot, and distributed parcels and materials without skimming.

      The scariest thing I see, as I look at the U.S. today, is the giddy “punch a Nazi” mob forming around their inflated sense of virtue. Because the worst actions are committed, and the most polarizing rhetoric spouted, by people who see it all as virtue. That’s what war psychosis has always looked like. It’s also what leads certain NC commenters to presume to educate me on what country I’m from and how my friends and family died.

      1. flora

        “My mother’s barrack leader in the Austrian refugee camp was a Serb who reflected often on the war psychosis that had swept him up at the war’s outset. As she recounted later, he often said that he couldn’t recognize the person he had been.”

        Thank you for that.

      2. Bill

        you are talking about individuals. yes, people get brainwashed.
        war has victims on both sides–which has not one thing to do with encouraging Neo Nazis today with our silence or protection.

        1. todde

          Apparently posting their picture on twitter works better than street brawling them.

          But do what you must.

  24. Swamp Yankee

    Glad to see The Many-Headed Hydra get hoisted from comments. Like I said yesterday, one of the Ur-texts of Anglo-Atlantic working class history is E.P. Thompson’s careful examination of 18th century English bread riots, “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the 18th Century.” Thompson powerfully demonstrates the existence of a traditional moral economy among the popular classes of England (and arguably Britain more broadly), one that had to be conquered by the Manchester liberalism of the nascent factory owners in the period after his essay ends. It is an extraordinarily fine essay, the lineal predecessor of what Linebaugh and Rediker are doing in Hydra . Here is a link:

    And I have to say — is one of my favorite sites!

    1. Swamp Yankee

      I would also be remiss if I did not point to the fine work of historian George Rude’ ( The Crowd in the French Revolution , The Crowd in History on both France and England) which influenced Thompson, as he states in the first sentence of “Moral Economy.”

      Likewise, sociologist Charles Tilly’s essay “Repertoires of Contention” about crowd actions (including the original sabotage, i.e., throwing the sabot, the French peasant/worker’s wooden shoe, into the machinery) is extremely good.

      I got into these about ten years ago when I was starting grad school and was thought eccentric and out-moded by the Credentialists and Careerists, with their cultural turn Foucauldian post-modernism. Well, the time for liberatory history has come once more! I do have to say that’s gratifying not only on a personal level, but on a political one as well.

  25. Antifa

    A pair of points to offer:

    “States rights” is a euphemism for nullification — of laws, customs, standards, culture, whatever — which your state’s leaders find disagreeable or inconvenient. Nullification is a euphemism for secession, which is plain English for the end of these United States.

    States rights is a major cause of the Confederacy losing the Civil War. Jefferson Davis could not tax the Confederacy’s citizens, effectively organize or regulate industry or interstate commerce, or do any damned thing across the board by passing a bill through the Confederate legislature. If he had tried, the individual states would get back to him after a bit to let him know whether they were going to follow the Confederacy, or exercise their states rights to say %#! you, and the horse you rode in on.

    Poor Jeff Davis — he didn’t even enjoy the cornerstone of any government, which is a monopoly on violence to enforce the law. His various Confederate states would have fought him for that right as well. Nullification destroyed the Confederacy long before Grant or Sherman got rolling.

    The root objections of American law and culture to racism is that racism declares inequality to be innate among humans. Racism declares a superior ethnicity and culture, and claims the right to arrange society along its desired settings by whatever means necessary. The end will justify any means needed to arrive at that glorious future. If some people don’t even deserve to live, and some people don’t even deserve to live free, well, welcome to racism 101.

    American history and jurisprudence is replete with the struggle against these inextricably bound ideas, and we haven’t come anywhere near the end of that fight, but the whole and entire American idea is that we are all equal, and all free to pursue happiness as we will. No, we aren’t there yet. Some of us take unfair advantage of others, and everyone learns to use their elbows every day, but the struggle to guarantee everyone equality does not cease, except among racists.

    You cannot call yourself an American, or an American patriot, if racism plays any part in your world view, because racism is always some version of innate inequality, with all the attendant rights of ruling over, or exterminating, those you view as lesser human beings.

    1. Harold

      This is true. The Bill of Rights declares certain rights to be “inalienable” and this is a component of human dignity, a value beyond all price, nor can they be superseded by any kind of monetary contract.

      According to Samuel Freeman: “People might involuntarily forfeit certain liberties upon committing a crime that violates others’ rights, but involuntary forfeiture is not the same as voluntary alienation. Different arguments have been made for inalienability. One argument stemming from Kant is that the inalienability restriction is needed to maintain the status of persons as beings with dignity. For Kant, our humanity consists in our capacities for freedom and reason. Having these capacities, persons have dignity, a kind of value “beyond all price.” Having dignity, persons are due respect whatever their status or situation.”

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > You cannot call yourself an American, or an American patriot, if racism plays any part in your world view

      I was with you until that last point; I’m too lazy to find the links, but “studies show” that prejudice based on color starts at a very early age. (I’m an agnostic on deeply intertwingled nature vs nurture issues, so let’s not go there.) “Any part” just isn’t a possibility, except for a vanguard, shall we say, of “the elect,” exceptionally pure individuals (and we know where that leads). And that’s before we get to the troubled analytical intersection of race and class, and the insane logic-chopping of the micro-aggression crowd. Or the “you’re a racist!” from Democrat enforcers.

      I would consider a lower bar, one that can be achieved by most with effort: “Thou shalt not advocate public policy based on racist views.”

      1. skippy

        The day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, a teacher in a small town in Iowa tried a daring classroom experiment. She decided to treat children with blue eyes as superior to children with brown eyes. FRONTLINE explores what those children learned about discrimination and how it still affects them today.

        The courses [experiences] she gave to management staff, videoed, are the most telling. You can – clearly – see people used to a sense of “authority” that has some grounding in ethnicity lose the plot when exposed to the same environment they help to perpetrate.

        As her first class room experiments show the attitude starts at an early stage in human life, not that the meta studies also confirm that the first 5 years in a humans life set the stage for developmental and health related outcomes.

        disheveled…. but here we are… cuz… freedom…

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        Children learn first and foremost from the example they’re set by those with whom they spend most of their time. With very young children, that’s going to be parents, grandparents and other close relatives. If “prejudice based on color starts at a very early age,” then it’s because that’s how those from whom those children were learning how to look at the world around them, directly or indirectly, expressed that prejudice.

        The behavior doesn’t need to be overt, as in talking about people of color as “thugs” or whatever. For the very young, it can be something as simple as Mom drawing the youngster farther to one side when a person of color is approaching, or picking up the speed with which she passes such a person on the sidewalk. Infants are quite capable of detecting a sudden alarmed stiffness in the person holding them, and anyone who thinks they aren’t bright enough to make a connection to that dark-skinned person nearby hasn’t really spent time with infants.

  26. Synoia

    Army Command & General Staff College grads celebrate perfect record of losing wars.

    Two points:

    The definition of “win: is a political definition. What was the definition of win in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria?

    Was it the chaos we now have? Because such chaos could be perceived in the US’ interests.


    The military, and the MIC, have done very well for themselves in not winning these wars. In some sense one could assert they have “won” all the wars mentioned.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      When a war is won, you have parades and people claiming credit. That’s not happening. Therefore, the wars are not won. This should not be hard to understand.

      Yes, I am familiar with the concept that “War is a Racket”, and familiar as well with the idea of self-licking ice cream cones. I don’t think NC readers need to have this explained to them.

      From a polemic standpoints, I don’t understand why it’s not better to frame profiteering, corrupt generals as the losers they are, rather than “really” winners. And yet this talking point crops up again and again.

    2. Plenue

      If, per Clausewitz, the definition of victory is the creation of a new political reality, the US utterly lost all of those wars. In Vietnam the US withdrew and the North reunited the country. In Afghanistan the Taliban not only still exist, they grow ever stronger. In Iraq the new government hates us, kicked us out, and has close ties with Iran. In Libya, well, I guess we did create a new political reality, in the form of a civil war. In Syria, the Assad government still stands, and is rapidly retaking most of the country. I’ll also throw in Korea, where neither side won; the 38th parallel divide remains in place as it was before the war.

      The MIC may very well be fine with never-ending wars, but the Generals in the Pentagon very much do want to win. I don’t think anyone can look at the outcomes of any of these conflicts and objectively deem it a win for US influence.

      1. John k

        The north attacked the south across the 38th parallel. Had the us not interfered, and eventually pushed the north back, the peninsula would be united under the disastrous north, with the occasional famine. I count this as a clear success, albeit a significant ongoing expense.
        I also credit the us with a successful outcome when it pushed Serbia out of the various bits of the former Yugoslavia it was industriously cleansing, an intervention the eu could and should have done themselves.
        I agree all other military adventures have been disasters to all, including us, benefitting only Mic and their pols. I might agree that if the occasional success encouraged the disasters, they were probably not worth it… though the Croatians and South Koreans would probably have a different view.

        1. Plenue

          You do realize of course that South Korea was a military dictatorship with a human rights record as bad as the North, right? As for the famines, the US not bombing all North Korean infrastructure into rubble (as well as murdering 20% of the population) would have put them in a much better position, in this alternate history scenario.

          As for the South Koreans, to this day there’s a widespread belief that NK is more authentically Korean than the commercialised and westernized South. Regardless, there’s the simple fact that it was literally none of our business to being with. What happens on the Korean peninsula should be up to the Koreans, not some nation on the other side of thousands of miles of ocean.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Exploring the Mysterious Life of One of Earth’s First Giant Organisms Scientific American

    They had complex structures: stemlike bodies that sprouted fractal-like branches and were soft like jellyfish, swayed by currents. Although scientists cannot decide how to classify rangeomorphs, most do not think they were plants because they existed at depths beyond sunlight’s reach, where no photosynthesis could occur. “That rules out…a seaweed or anything like that,” says Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill, a paleobiology research fellow at the University of Cambridge and Tokyo Institute of Technology. “A lot of people think they’re probably an early animal.”

    It’s not plantimal – animals that get energy from light.

    Maybe it’s a animplant – plants that get energy mostly not from the light.

  28. Tim

    Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?

    My tangential encouters with anywhere USA rural americans have been saying with strong consensus, they think a civil war is coming.

    It’s part of the reason for the prepper’s crowd. They aren’t prepping for nuclear Armageddon they are prepping for a societal breakdown, anarchy follwing a civil war.

    I say this because, in suburb urban anywhere USA this sounds, preposterous.

    Well it only takes one side to start a war, so guess who would be starting it?

    So we need to be cautious about being dismissive, of these kinds of articles. CIA folks have been saying the same things in the last few years. We have a lot of the preconditions checked off for civil war, the very first being an economy that is has widespread acknowledgement as being a zero sum game, so if you don’t have enough, you have to take it from somebody else.

    Socialistic ideas are thus viewed as offensive acts of aggression of the liberal left from the conservative right’s perspective, a rational justification for them to defend themselves…see the slippery slope here?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What new kind of civil war, with the first precondition being economic?

      Billionaires/private securtiy/robots vs Serfs?

      Conservatives vs. Socialists?

    2. Swamp Yankee


      I agree, Tim. Some kind of civil violence between and among classes and regions, a la’ the Revolution in France, and indeed, in America, is distinctly possible. I’m a native of the colonies, but deal with elements of the metropole on a relatively regular basis and am familiar with the latter group through schooling. Things are a lot more precipitous than many, especially the metropolitans, realize. The country people do see it more clearly, as do people from small cities or proletarian neighborhoods in big cities, which are after all themselves part of the colonies, not the metropole — but in general these elements lack the power in our political-economy to makes changes & reforms that would obviate and avoid a social revolution. It’s very much like the Ancien Regime in France.

      On a related note, I personally think that it’s also harder to ignore climate change in the countryside, when you see the ecology you’ve known all your life dramatically changing in new, strange ways. For all their professed “concern” about carbon apocalypse (the fact that our cities are lit the way they are all night is madness!), it seems it may be easier to ignore in an air-conditioned “built” (read: paved) urban environment than among the woods and waters.

      But perhaps I’m wrong, I imagine things are pretty hot right now in Newark or Atlanta or Oakland.

      Anyway — got to go tend to my garden!

      1. Lord Koos

        Five years ago I moved back to my home town after many years in Seattle. This county reliably votes Republican and went for Trump, while the town itself has a university and is a bit more liberal. After being here for a time, I think I am able to understand what is happening a lot better than my friends in the city do. There are many people here, (especially the young) with little to look forward to, and opioid addiction and heroin busts are now common, which seemed unthinkable 10 years ago. At the same time, the wealthy from the coast are coming here and buying up everything in sight, either cashing out of Seattle (where housing prices are insane) and moving here, or buying summer homes in the mountains. As I’ve lived here for a time, I’ve started to feel that many of my liberal Seattle friends’ concerns are frivolous, they are concerned with the arts, with their work (mostly staring at a computer) and with identity politics, even while the homeless are everywhere. People in my part of the state are doing some of the most important work for the least reward — growing and harvesting food — yet they don’t really count for much to city dwellers who view them as uncultured hicks (and some are).

        I think you’re correct about noticing the warming more when you’re closer to nature — the climate here now is much different than it was in my youth, and it’s pretty easy to see that the local ecology is changing towards a hotter world. Growing up here, seeing smoke from a forest fire was quite a rare event, but in the last several years it is practically an annual occurrence where toxic wood smoke hangs thick in the valley for days on end. We just finished 12 straight days of terrible smoke and 100 degree heat.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          I quite agree, Lord Koos, and hope you manage to stay cool and safe! I definitely identify with what you speak of with regard to pampered metropolites “standing” for this or against that — to such little effect! — while people OD driving down the street here or try to live in the woods through a winter in coastal New England, because, as you say, the local housing stock is being literally enclosed upon by rich urbanites. To be fair, this same problem afflicts old neighborhoods in the city itself — what used to be called “the inner city” — so it’s not just a countryside thing.

          And boy, are you ever right about that changing climate — I’m not that old (mid-30s), and the winters and summers in this part of New England are just dramatically and weirdly different than they were in my youth (e.g., seems like we’re going from a humid continental to some kind of maritime climate; August-level foliage in very early summer; 70F on Christmas Day in Massachusetts!, etc.). I think this, too, is absorbed at a subconscious level and adds to the stress of all, but particularly those of us who see it first-hand outside of the urban core.

          Thanks again for the reply, and stay safe out there during the hot season!

  29. Lord Koos

    Just as with America being behind many “civil wars” in other countries, I don’t think we can make an assumption that the current civil unrest spontaneously “just happened”. I’m sure there are people who stand to profit either politically or financially (or both) from the current divisiveness.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “We, the defenders of slavery party, are the only ones stand between you and those people.”

  30. JerryDenim

    Read the Mic Story profiling the groups participating in the far-right rally in Charlottesville. I found it very interesting, and very unsurprising, since I read Naked Capitalism and Chris Arnade- as it turns out all of the far-right groups in attendance seemed very opposed to the core principles of neoliberal capitalism. Yes, of course they are were opposed to immigration, but some have stated aims to abolish “banks’ while others state outright they are opposed to ‘Capitalism’ broadly and as a whole. The whole bunch seems like a low-information, misguided group ripe for evangelism by a socialist, left wing organization willing to hear out some of their undoubtedly non-racist, legitimate economic concerns. Some of those in attendance no doubt are unredeemable, hate-filled racists who would would gravitate towards white supremacy regardless of their circumstances, but a good number I suspect are ideologically pliable young men with legitimate gripes whose frustrations have been focused on the wrong scapegoats.

    1. Lord Koos

      Absolutely. Recall that Bernie Sanders was received well when he visited West Virginia earlier this year.

        1. todde

          perhaps Lord Koos was responding to this: ” but a good number I suspect are ideologically pliable young men with legitimate gripes whose frustrations have been focused on the wrong scapegoats.”

    2. MichaelSF

      some have stated aims to abolish “banks’

      Might that have more to do with “Jewish bankers”? That seems a common issue with the right wing.

      1. Outis Philalithopoulos

        Because demonic people need to be 100% demonic? They can’t have any views at all that might resonate with ordinary people?

    3. jrs

      why should any left-wing groups bother not just with “trump voters” which is at least a larger segment of the population, but bother chasing after some tiny number of people marching in hate rallies? Why when so many don’t vote as is because of poor candidates or get disenfranchised when trying to vote? At least convincing those people to vote or removing obstacles from them voting makes more sense and isn’t chasing after hate marchers to change their ways.

      1. Plenue

        I mean, if you’re fine with Dems continuing to lose elections, by all means, keep shunning the ‘deplorables’.

    4. flora

      aside: Speaking of anti-neoliberal capitalism and breaking up the big banks….

      ‘I bailed out the banks and all I got was this lousy austerity: 10 year anniversary tour.’

      “Ten years after the crash, there’s barely suppressed civil war in Britain” -The Guardian

      ‘”Let’s get three things straight. First, it was working- and middle-class Britons who paid for the mess, who are still paying for it now and who will keep paying for it decades from now. Second, the crash has prompted almost no fundamental reckoning or reform. And, most importantly, the combination of those first two factors means the crash that began in 2007 cannot be consigned to the past. Today’s politics – from Brexit to Trump and the collapse of centrism – is just one of its products. For politicians and financiers to treat the crash as history brings to mind Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses: “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”’

      Unpunished elite financial fraud creates its own political pathologies. (This doesn’t excuse hate groups violent actions in any way. ) I’d suggest if the the blob and the Acela bubble want more stability it’s time they hold the financial wreckers accountable. And break up the big banks.

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