Links 9/14/17

Coyote Survives A Short, Strange Ride In Toyota’s Grille Jalopnik (YY)

Ticked Off: Japanese Officials Accidentally Release Lethal Tick At Press Conference Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

‘Vaporize!’ Cassini Gets Operatic Saturn Send-Off from ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ Actor Space.com (Kevin W)

Can emissions shrink while the economy grows? George Straight (Sid S)

Ford disguised a man as a car seat to research self-driving TechCrunch (Chuck L)

A New Surprise Airline Fee Wall Street Journal. Ugh.

Toward A Predictive Theory Of Depression Slate Star Codex (UserFriendly)

China?

Trump Blocks China-Backed Fund From Buying U.S. Chip Maker Lattice Wall Street Journal

North Korea

The Russia-China plan for North Korea: stability, connectivity Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

China calls US bluff on North Korea – again The Duran (micael). IMHO, there was absolutely no way China was going to tolerate the US running a naval cordon in the South China Sea.

Potlotek First Nation advised its water unfit for drinking or washing CBC (Sid S)

Jean-Claude Juncker has made clear the EU’s anti-democratic bent. Thank goodness we’re leaving Nigel Farage, Telegraph. Consider the source…

What Juncker said, what he meant Politco

Trudeau’s promise of a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples seems to be all talk CBC (Sid S)

Germany needs a frank debate, not this tepid election campaign – Op-ed in Deutsche Welle Yanis Varoufakis

Amazon in £1.5bn tax fraud row The Times

Brexit

How Not to Do Trade Deals London Review of Books (micael)

New Cold War

U.S. moves to ban use of Kaspersky software in federal agencies amid concerns of Russian espionage Washington Post (Kevin W)

NATO: Turkey didn’t inform alliance about S-400 purchase from Russia Turkish Minute (micael)

The Latest Push to Arm Ukraine The Nation (resilc)

Syraqiatan

The Pentagon’s $2.2 Billion Soviet Arms Pipeline Flooding Syria Balkan Insight (Kevin W). Important.

Heads, Saudi loses. Tails, Iran wins Middle Eastern Eye (micael)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Chelsea Manning: The Dystopia We Signed Up For New York Times

Facebook Sells Your Privacy To Advertisers For Next To Nothing YouTube (Altandmain). At least as interesting is how Facebook lets companies that are fake buy ads and wildly misrepresent themselves.

Apple is facing questions from the U.S. Senate on the privacy protections in iPhone X and Face ID Recode(UserFriendly)

Trump Transition

Flynn Promoted Mideast Nuclear-Plant Project While in White House Wall Street Journal

The Memo: Comey allies accuse Trump White House of smear The Hill

Trump ethics watchdog moves to allow anonymous gifts to legal defense funds Politico

Ivanka Trump: ‘I will not be distracted by the noise’ Financial Times. John Helmer: “FT’s Courtney Weaver demonstrates how to crawl on all fours, while scribbling with two.” The comments are just as brutal. For instance: “It’s inspiring to see how well she’s looking out for herself. Pity about the country.”

Trump to host Schumer and Pelosi for dinner to discuss DACA, health care after flurry of meetings ABC. UserFriendlyL “lol”

Pelosi and Schumer Say They Have Deal With Trump to Replace DACA New York Times

GOP shudders as Trump courts Democrats on taxes Politico

Ryan rules out DACA replacement without border security measures Axios

Health Care

I watched my patients die of poverty for 40 years. It’s time for single-payer. Washington Post

HILLARY CLINTON JUST LOST HER CENTRAL ARGUMENT WITH BERNIE SANDERS Vanity Fair. Altandmain: “When you’ve lost Vanity Fair …. an Establishment magazine…”

Sanders unveils single-payer health plan The Hill

Senate Backpedals on Bipartisan Approach to Health Law Wall Street Journal

What Happened: Sanders Fostered Movement As Clinton Dwelled On Grievances Shadowproof

Quick Takes: The Battle of the Oligarchs Washington Monthly (resilc)

Senate Rejects Paul’s AUMF Amendment American Conservative (resilc)

Hurricane Alley

Eight Dead at Florida Nursing Home Left Without Power Wall Street Journal

US judge cites tribal sovereignty in dismissing coal lawsuit Associated Press (Glenn F)

Oil Prices Rise On Huge Draw In Gasoline Stocks OilPrice

Our Famously Free Press

Is Monopolization of the News Coming? Rantt (Glenn F). Where has this writer been? The media has been dominated by a handful of companies for some time.

Fake News

Under scrutiny over Russia-linked ads, Facebook cracks down Axios

An 18 month delay of the fiduciary rule will cost retirement savers $10.9 billion Economic Policy Institute

Cultish long-termism can hobble investors Financial Times

Analysts Keep Saying Buy, and Equifax Keeps Plunging Bloomberg. Lordie. Analysts are saying Equifax’s insurance might be adequate when Bloomberg reported it has only $150 million in coverage, max?

Guillotine Watch

Nashville woman shot homeless man who asked her to move her Porsche — then left him to die: police Raw Story (UserFriendly)

Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin asked for a government jet for his honeymoon Guardian (Dr. Kevin). Guys like him are used to flying private class at someone else’s expense.

‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli jailed over Hillary hair post BBC. Forgive me for being dense, but I don’t see how what Shkreli did amounts to a threat. Here is the framing in Bloomberg, which is presumably what the court used: Shkreli Sent to Jail by Judge Over Clinton Hair Bounty

Class Warfare

Review of “Rest”, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang Ian Welsh (martha r)

No Joke: 97 Million Full-Time Workers Are Now Living Paycheck to Paycheck MSN. Awfully judgmental. Divorce, illness, business failures, and less than steady work (being fired or cobbling together jobs to get to something like full time work) makes it hard to save. Also conveniently ignores student debt and the fact that a lot of jobs pay less than or only a living wage. Altandmain adds:

Somehow, I get the felling that this “advice” cannot possibly take into account the real declines in income – health insurance for example has risen dramatically. The internet is not a luxury anymore. Owning a car in many areas with poor mass transit is not an option. Of course, the areas with decent mass transit have often unaffordable rent, which boxes people in.

Hiring and Firing for the Sake of Rankings Daily Nous (micael)

The Profit Hoarders Doug Henwood, Jacobin (altandman). We first wrote about this in 2005 at the Conference Board Review and again in 2010 in a New York Times op ed.

Unions Aren’t Obsolete, They’re Being Crushed by Right-Wing Politics Vice (Sid S)

Trump’s Education Department delays student loan forgiveness CBS (Altandmain)

Latest official estimates underreport extent of inequality in the U.S. Equitable Growth (micael)

The Terrible Facts about Real Earnings of Men Wolf Street (EM). Important.

Antidote du jour. Dave D: “Unusual swarm of jellyfish in Monterey bay . This was taken today but they’ve been here for a week or two.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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135 comments

  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: Sanders’s movement and Clinton’s Grievances–

    Nice rundown of the players in the Democratic Party’s struggles. What Pelosi, Schumer, et al. didn’t realize when they gave Bernie what they thought was the meaningless “outreach” role is that Bernie wasn’t going to undertake their outreach to us voters. Instead, Bernie is attempting to be our outreach to them. As tough a job as that is, it seems he’s having some success, at least with those Democratic politicians who are young enough to think they have a future.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      What its proven is that Sanders is a much, much smarter politician than anyone else in the Dem establishment. He has run rings around them. Behind that folksy exterior is a very ruthless and strategically smart political operator.

      Reply
      1. voteforno6

        He’s had to be a smart politician, just through the process of natural selection. There’s no way someone like him is able to get to the Senate without having some political skills.

        Reply
      2. Mike

        I have a gut feeling Sanders is smart in the way an “in-out” politician has to be smart. His first attempt at breaking the hold of corporate shills went very short, and the fact that 88% of his “followers” (Dem and Independent) voted for HC did not allow for any “exit” from the party on his part. There are many who, cynically, say his run was to attract more voters to the Dems to shore up HC’s total lack of a 50-state blanket. Many, more cynically, say she got the message Robert Redford got in ‘the Candidate” – lose. If so, the $1Billion went somewhere, not necessarily to the party, who say they are looking through their fingers for cash to run campaigns, and I would guess the accounting of expense does not add up. Has anyone done this research?

        Meanwhile, Bernie does not seem troubled by his being shunned by the established Dems (the co-sponsors on his health bill are betting it will fail, so virtue-posing). It is hard to see a distinct pattern to his maneuvers, unless he is being careful not to alienate the elite Dems before his strength within the party is of full measure. Is it possible to make a hostile takeover? And, how hostile is this takeover when his foreign policy falls in line with established procedure (terrorists, nuclear nations, etc.)? I do not agree whatsoever with those who tout his “socialist” credentials here, as he has run as a Roosevelt Dem and not much else, and FDR had a war to bring us out of depression (now the standard ploy for both parties). No guarantee Bernie will do differently.

        Reply
        1. Jeff W

          It is hard to see a distinct pattern to [Sanders’] maneuvers…

          The way I see the pattern is this: Sen. Sanders is trying to create the environment in which the policies he supports will eventually succeed—and, in a completely corrupt environment dominated by élites, you do it, you have to do it, one small step at a time:

          You reframe the health care situation from something that is a bewildering, intractable, “complicated” problem into something that “every”—not just “a few” or “some” but “every”— “other industrialized country” has solved. It sort of makes following their lead absurd not to do.

          You hammer away at it, even on a so-called “Unity Tour,” so that it “on the agenda.”

          You create “common knowledge”—people are not only “for single payer,” they know that lots of other people are for it, too—the polling and the visible support for Sanders show that—so that people actually act. You’re, in essence, resolving the “assurance game”: people may want something, but won’t act unless they are assured that enough other people will act to make the success of their actions at least probable. (The conservative/neoliberal narrative—“the country is center-right”/these ideas are “far left”—has the opposite—false—message: no one wants these things but you—there’s no point in even trying.)

          In addition, you also don’t take corporate money so people are assured that you are acting in their interest—and that, importantly, causes people to assess other politicians’ actions on that basis.

          Each piece creates an environment where Bernie’s policy agenda becomes more likely—and, not incidentally, where the prevailing neoliberal view and the politicians that espouse it get discredited. Those politicians are ignoring common sense policy, what other industrialized countries have done, what people in this country actually want—and they happen to be taking money from big donors. “You, US voter” Bernie implicitly says, “draw your own conclusions.”

          I doubt it matters to Bernie Sanders at all that corporate Dems are virtue-posing with his single payer bill. It doesn’t matter to Sanders if they are using single payer cynically to advance their own political careers—to Sanders, all that matters is that the environment gets changed so that eventually single payer passes. And he’s doing it.

          Reply
          1. aletheia33

            also timing, as the ACA shows itself more clearly inequitable every year, and is so obviously enabling the depradations of big pharma and big insurance to continue and worsen.
            masses of people now know that drugs are priced, with impunity, beyond the reach of those in need of them, and those prices continue to rise unchecked; and people do find that morally appalling.

            “fool me once”…

            Reply
            1. Jeff W

              Thank you, Avalon Sparks and TooEarly! I appreciate your kind words.

              Also, I inadvertently omitted the word “is” in the comment, which should read: “so that it is ‘on the agenda.’” I regret the error.

              Reply
        2. Lord Koos

          I think your assessment is a bit unfair. Bernie is the only politician keeping their feet to the fire on these issues, I for one don’t care if he’s a “real” socialist or “real” Democrat, he’s doing good work.

          Reply
  2. Jane

    re: Polotek First Nation advised its water unfit for drinking or washing

    the latest test results show that concentrations of manganese and iron in the drinking water exceed the “esthetic objectives” set out in Canada’s guidelines for drinking water quality.

    Silly me, and here I thought Health Canada was concerned with ‘health objectives’.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      A little further down, quote from a resident: “”There are children suffering skin abrasions, like different problems with their skin, stomach problems,” she said. “There is something definitely wrong.” ”

      And a link says a new water system is on the way.

      My first thought: our well water also has a lot of iron and magnesium and smells of sulfur. It isn’t nearly as dark as the water shown in a basin in the article, though. And we finally bought a water softener that takes out most of the iron, which stains and clogs fixtures and appliances. My wife claimed it turned her hair orange and brittle.

      So the story isn’t quite as alarming as the headline suggested, but still a real problem. that water tower looks like it needs replacing, too.

      Reply
  3. Octopii

    Good morning. I was dismayed to see this morning that Bernie’s Medicare for All bill (with 15 high-profile co-sponsors) does not even rate the front page of the Washington Post (online). Yesterday it was below the fold and today it’s nonexistent. While in the Guardian, it was big news above the fold yesterday, and today there are several mentions in both yesterdays article and now an op-ed.

    Comments in the Guardian are mostly negative, despite the article being positive, and in the Post the comments are 90% negative. Very discouraging.

    Reply
    1. jsn

      I suspect what you are seeing is the sea washing out ahead of a tsunami of propaganda.

      The good news is press illegitimacy is more or less what got Trump elected. Increasingly, propagandistic intents backfire.

      One can hope.

      Reply
      1. financial matters

        It’s amazing how much pushback Medicare for All gets probably due mainly to the power of the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies.

        Main street media has been relentlessly bashing Trump but Trump is also coming out against Medicare for All. They are trying to use the bogey word ‘socialism’ to give it a bad taste and saying this is not what the people really want. And playing the we can’t afford it card. (Doesn’t play well with the billions in arms being deployed in Syria.)

        Trump has shown that he understands MMT and does say everything is still on the table.

        I would say that people definitely don’t want high insurance premiums, high deductibles and poor access to medical care. If they wanted to, I think the Trump Team could successfully promote Medicare for All. A win win (Trump and the deplorables) and a lose lose (insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies).

        Reply
        1. jsn

          Medicare pays for no advertising.

          Everyone knows what they pay in premiums, co-pays and deductibles to be denied coverage when they need it.

          If Trump wants adulation and a second term, he’ll soften the blow for the insurance industry guaranteeing some kind of employment for non-executive personnel, take on Pharma as an anti-trust issue to get them out of this fight and team up with Sanders to make Medicare for All happen.

          Like I said, one can hope, its cheaper than lottery tickets!

          Reply
          1. sleepy

            Like I said, one can hope, its cheaper than lottery tickets!

            Let’s not forget that the state of Oregon actually had a lottery a few years back to determine who would win the right to be included in the state’s healthcare system.

            Reply
          2. yamahog

            I might be cynical but I don’t think we need to soften the blow for workers at insurance companies or pharma companies – it’s unlikely that the 2020 Dem would be any more friendly to their interests than Trump (or Pence). What national politician would advocate for going back to the status-quo of a failed, expensive health care system?

            Reply
            1. oh

              The next thing you know, these people will want to soften the blow for the MIC if any talk of winding down perpetual wars starts. Yeah, my eyes are filled with tears NOT.

              Reply
              1. jrs

                well politicians do run on these things, even run on feeling sorry for coal workers even though that industry is first in line in destroying life on earth. Actually they are sympathetic, but their industry is not, and should end yesterday.

                Reply
                1. Procopius

                  There are so few coal miners left (underground type, not the ones who run the bulldozers and huge draglines of mountaintop removal — well, there aren’t very many of them, either) that it would make economic sense for the government to set up a program to hire them all at higher wages than they’re making now to plant trees and generally try to repair some of the damage from the open pit mining. Of course the coal companies would have a cow, but do they really contribute that much to campaigns any more?

                  Reply
        2. Jeff W

          The “socialism” card has been played for well over half a century and has lost its emotive power. The “we-can’t-afford-it”/“how-are-we-going-to-pay-for-it?” card is simply a falsehood, given that single-payer health care systems, and universal not-for-profit (or very low profit) systems, are cheaper than what the US has. These guys have got nothing—and the US public, judging from the polls, by and large, finally realizes it.

          Sen. Sanders’ framing—“We should have what every other industrialized country in the world has”—at once, brilliant and obvious, does exactly what it should: it illuminates the issue and raises the questions of what exactly we don’t have (and why) in the US, precisely the types of questions that cries of “Socialism!” and “We can’t afford it!” are intended to stop dead in their tracks. The slow-moving train wreck of various “health care” “reform” measures, both passed (the ACA) and failed (the Republican efforts), only serve to reinforce the questions raised by Sanders; other countries are not endlessly trying—and failing—to “reform” to make their health care systems available to everyone, why are we?

          None of that is a comment about the likelihood of the ultimate success of single payer. It’s just to say that these arguments against it are playing out against a very landscape today than previously.

          Reply
          1. financial matters

            Good points, I think that’s true also.

            We probably have a majority of the public that is for it. Now if we could just translate that into a majority of our elected officials who unfortunately are benefiting from the status quo.

            Reply
    2. Paolo Agostino

      I have noticed the same thing. Arguably the most significant move toward alleviating the condition of millions of people was trumped by a huge picture of Angeline Jolie in yesterday’s NYT, with Bernie’s announcement getting a small side-bar.

      The Corporate media will do everything in their powers to kill this movement for Medicare-for-all with neglect…

      Reply
      1. Detroit Dan

        I watched the NBC national news last night — no mention of the Medicare for All bill.

        I listened to NPR news — Medicare Care for All got pure Clinton spin (note to self — ignore public radio pledge campaign this year). They talked about how much it would cost, failing to mention that we pay twice as much per capital for health care as other countries. That’s a rather major oversight. They should have noted that it will save trillions of dollars annually, although who pays and how will change.

        The NY Times at least published Bernie’s op-ed.

        Anyway, it’s been a great week for us supporters of fundamental overhaul of health insurance in U.S.

        Reply
        1. Lil'D

          Looks like the “how do we pay for it?” Criticism is dominant
          Framing as “free stuff” lets my tea party friends gleefully attack it

          How can the “pay for it” attack get neutralized??

          Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        The bill doesn’t matter until the Dems control, at least, Congress.

        Then, of course, it will suddenly prove impossible to pass it – just like the Republicans’ many repeals of Obamacare. The reason is the same in both cases: the insurance companies would cut off the money spigot.

        Sometimes it’s just that simple.

        In the meantime, kayfabe. (I don’t actually mean Bernie – he has a long record on this, though he doubtless knows the score; I mean the Democrats.)

        Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        “Pioneers kill the indigens, suffer a little push-back, call in the Cavalry and missionaries, import “government,” and hand off to the settlers who loot the land…”

        Reply
    3. FluffytheObeseCat

      The Comments section in the New York Times yesterday was heavily in favor of the Sanders plan. And huge; they published close to 4000 individual comments on his op-ed.

      Comments in some major English-language dailies became “interesting” to read during the 2016 U.S. Presidential primaries. In the New York Times the tone of comments on political pieces changed in the spring of 2016. They were suddenly over-flowing with comparatively formulaic, 3-paragraph entries that all, somehow, found a way to disparage Sanders. The change was so sudden, and so convenient for a certain candidate, that it appeared to be due to organized write in campaigns.

      The WaPo has had a disgusting comments section for years now. I don’t really know why, but it’s full of creepy, Trump-style trash talkers, and has been for years. The Guardian’s used to be fairly decent, and collegial. If the Guardian’s comments are overly large, and if the pack of regular commenters, particularly the British ones, are entirely missing, or drowned out by recent sign ups…… it’s possible that an organized spin effort might be in progress.

      Reply
      1. cyclist

        The comments for the WaPo article about Kaspersky software were equally crazed too: neo-Cold War, frothing with nary a dissenter.

        Reply
      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        The Sanders op-ed only has 2160 comments. While comments are still open, the newest entry therein is now 12 hours old, so they may have reassigned moderators to more current comments threads.

        Also, regarding Medicare for All, there probably aren’t many people who could wrangle with Sanders head-to-head. The off chance that he might respond may have affected that comments thread.

        Reply
    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One generates one’s own publicity.

      That’s how PR workers make a living, when one hires one of them to work.

      One idea might be, just thinking out loud here, for the 15 or so sponsors to chain themselves to the White House front gate, demanding a dinner with Trump, just like the free dinner Pelosi and Schumer got (free dinner tonight and free jet ride tomorrow).

      “We want to eat too!.”

      With luck, Trump might be in a ‘Let’s make a deal’ mood, with Ivanka stopping by to say hi and reminding the president to make American (and our health care) as GREAT as Canada (and their health care).

      So, there is work to be done, even following the initial thrust. We have to keep pushing more divisions across the front line.

      Reply
      1. Outis Philalithopoulos

        I understand that you’re just thinking out loud here, but it’s hard to imagine the scenario playing out as indicated. If Bernie and the 15 others were to chain themselves to the White House fence, it would be seen by Trump as an attempt to coerce him into a particular course of action, and Trump has never responded to this with “Okay, sure, let’s make a deal!”

        Setting Trump’s reactions aside, I’m not even sure that it would play well in the media.

        Reply
    5. Lee

      [Family Blog] the New York Times.

      A majority of Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And a growing share now supports a “single payer” approach to health insurance, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

      Currently, 60% say the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, while 39% say this is not the government’s responsibility. These views are unchanged from January, but the share saying health coverage is a government responsibility remains at its highest level in nearly a decade.

      http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/23/public-support-for-single-payer-health-coverage-grows-driven-by-democrats/

      Reply
    6. Lee

      Daily Kos is experiencing ideological whiplash. On the one hand, they feature a top of page banner ad telling us to join Elizabeth Warren in supporting Medicare for all, with no mention of Bernie Sanders. On the other, a posting receiving a great amount of attention informs us of the impracticalities of Medicare for All as opposed to Clinton’s incrementalism. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/09/13/1698127/-MAJOR-UPDATE:-Lets-Try-This-Again:-Heres-some-of-the-challenges-Bernies-NEW-M4A-plan-faces

      Reply
    7. Lord Koos

      I’ve noticed overwhelmingly right-wing posts in the comment sections of almost all major media. Some of it is no doubt legit but I think there may be a lot of bots at work in an attempt to influence public opinion.

      Reply
  4. justsayknow

    re Surprise Airline Fee. – of course we just booked a trip and found the lowest fare we could. I guess now I will be hit with a gate fee that other passengers will not. How is this not a fraud?
    Remember “fly the friendly skies?” Guess there’s a reason you don’t hear that anymore.

    And let me add the sickness in USA is lack of competition. Being able to treat customers like this is only possible because we have just four airlines.

    Reply
    1. Croatoan

      You know, I do not think it is lack of competition. I think where the competition exists has shifted. They are not competing for customers anymore, the are competing to get the highest stock price.

      Reply
    2. marieann

      I actually think airline prices are cheap today.
      We emigrated to Canada in 1967 for two of us our fare was $400 (interest free loan from the government)
      In today’s dollars that would be $8500 (Can)
      My husband went back to Scotland in the summer in First Class the fare was $3500.

      Reply
      1. curlydan

        Not saying flying isn’t relatively cheaper now than in the 60s or 70s, but I get a Canadian CPI of 18.1 in 1967 vs 128.4 in 2016, so my inflation adjusted price for your trip would be $2,838 Can dollars.

        My main beef with the airlines is these fees pop up whenever they need a little more profit. They want to be treated like utilities–oh, profits are a little under pressure, we’ll just institute a new fee. The worst was the 2008 fuel/checked bagged surcharge when oil was nearing $150/barrel. Oil has been waaayy lower, but the fee never went away.

        http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/econ46c-eng.htm

        Reply
        1. marieann

          It should have been 400 pounds sterling, I just automatically did the dollar sign

          I do agree that they add fees on a whim, but I remember when it took us 3-4 years to save up for a trip back home.

          With my husbands ticket all the extra fee items were included in the ticket price.
          The last time he traveled was in 2003 and I was over in 2009 so we are not a fan of air travel and go on a must basis…this time it was 2 deaths, so I insisted on First Class.

          Reply
    3. Arizona Slim

      When the “Fly the Friendly Skies” ad campaign was in full swing, it failed to impress my mother. Whenever she and Dad took a trip, she’d be quick to tell me that they’d just flown the expensive skies.

      Reply
  5. Bill Smith

    The Pentagon’s $2.2 Billion Soviet Arms Pipeline Flooding Syria Balkan Insight

    The article isn’t surprising.

    Among others, since October 2015 the US has been supplying the Kurds and later the SDF (Kurds & some Arabs fighting alongside the Kurds) with non-US weapons and US vehicles. For about the last year convoys have been photographed coming up from Kuwait.

    Looks like they expect the wars there to continue for another few years.

    Reply
    1. bronco

      It makes sense for the Pentagon to funnel Russian arms , if only because they are more useful than the garbage we make. 2.2 billion buys a lot of AK-47’s that reliably shoot bullets when you pull the trigger. Choosing from our offerings you could get 2 and a half F-35’s that can’t fly yet so they would just sit there on the ground looking mean and quietly rusting

      Reply
      1. yamahog

        2.2 billion would buy 25 F-35As (each jet is projected to cost $85 million in 2018).

        However, the cost of operation is $28,000/hr.

        Reply
        1. Altandmain

          It is highly unlikely that the actual price is going to be 85 million. Front loading is very common at the Pentagon. Most likely this will exceed 200 million a copy when factoring in total costs.

          There is also the matter that DOT&E has found many inadequate areas of this aircraft.

          Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        2.2 billion buys an enormous amount of small arms. That stuff will be floating around for years to come causing problems. No doubt some of it will float back to Europe. It is staggeringly irresponsible to allow that much hardware to float around the fringes of a war zone.

        The irony is of course that we know that such small arms aren’t much use in fighting Isis – small arms are only as good as the fighters using it, and Isis have the most ruthless and fearless ones. As the Syrian Army and the Russians have shown, what works is heavy armor, artillery, and selective airstrikes, with soldiers willing to go in and risk their lives – its noticeable that the Syrians succeeded much faster than the Iraqis, even with all the hardware the Iraqi army have been given – presumably the difference is the experience and determination of the soldiers on the ground.

        Reply
        1. Bill Smith

          The Kurds / SDF has been advancing also – without any heavy armor and until recently without much artillery support.

          Reply
        2. Rhondda

          I agree, except I wouldn’t characterize it as ‘allowing’ — this is active. Factions of our govt are doing it purposively. It needs to stop.

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            As with CIA and dark state activities generally, it seems way too often that “they just do what they know how to do,” double down on bad bets (though their accounting does not seem to add them up as such, in the Great Game/Imperial notation) and get off on being able to wreak havoc and then retire quietly to a nice DC suburb, full of themselves and their “accomplishments.” See, e.g., Oliver North…

            Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    Re: the mentions of Hillary Clinton
    This is all getting to be very sad now. With the Neocons, no matter what the political situation, it was always Munich 1938 and action had to be taken accordingly. I am afraid that with Hillary, no matter what happens in the future or how circumstances change, for her it will always be 2016.

    Reply
    1. DorothyT

      Rachel Maddow is interviewing Hillary Clinton live on her MSNBC program tonight. I’ll be watching to see if Maddow asks tough questions and presses for answers. Stranger things have happened … Then I will be finally and absolutely done.

      Reply
      1. Enquiring Mind

        TL;DW, the new phrase to be embraced by many upon mentions of Hillary. I expect that there will be snippets and comedy sketches for summary review.

        Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The danger isn’t hard, probing questions but a situation similar to the Couric-Palin interview, an interviewer perceived to be personally friendly to McCain. Couric destroyed Palin with one question almost asked out of exasperation. I only read it, but the exchange between Ezra Klein and Hillary over corruption and Hamilton was bizarre. Between fawning acolytes, town hall plants, and pre-approved questions, what happens when a candidate is expected to answer a relatively innocuous question if they haven’t thought in years?

        George Allen will always be a great example. If his “misspeak” was simply an isolated event, he would still be Senator, but his “flub” reinforced rumors and gossip that was widespread. This is the danger of soft ball questions now that Hillary isn’t part of a campaign which has weekly reintroductions.

        Reply
      3. Terry Humphrey

        Rachel Maddow has been in the tank for Hillary since early 2016—if not before. How can you stand to watch that show? It takes her 20 minutes to get an idea out.

        Reply
  7. Croatoan

    On the antidote; whenever I see jellyfish it brings me back walking on the Jersey shore with my Uncle in 1974. I spotted a big one washed up on the beach and exclaimed to him; “Look! A Jellyfish!” To which, he replied in his heavy New York accent; “Ah, If only dere waz peanut butter fish!”

    Reply
    1. polecat

      Ever since I read Michael Crichton’s novel ‘Sphere’, I can’t look at jellys in quite the same light …

      “Hello JERRY !”

      Reply
  8. Kevin

    Regarding hurricane season – one of the most vile by-products of these disaster are the “economists” who trot out the ‘Price Gouging is Good” meme. Makes me want to punch economists even more than Nazi’s.

    The story out of Texas regarding HEB stores response to the disaster is a shining example of a business that believe it has a social contract with its customers. HEB will more than likely reap huge benefits from their actions – and deservedly so!
    Have a great day!

    Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    Re: “Forgive me for being dense, but I don’t see how what Shkreli did amounts to a threat.”
    Could it be that by asking for a lock of her hair, he was thinking of cloning Hillary? Perhaps they decided to throw him back in the slammer before he had a chance to succeed. It was the only way to be sure.

    Reply
    1. Todde

      Reminds me of a saying we had in the old neighborhood.

      ‘It’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission… unless you’re on parole’.

      Don’t f$$k around when the legal system has their hooks in you.

      Reply
    2. Ernesto Lyon

      The genetic info in the hair shaft is limited. He might be able to learn something about her health conditions. The problem is that he could a) reveal something true about Hills that she does not want known or b) reveal something false. Either way given that he has the hair and at least some true information from it, she will have a hard time denying.

      Reply
    3. JTMcPhee

      Maybe more likely that Shkreli dared to diss one of the Ruling Class… “equal justice under law,” except some animals are more equal than others. Which Prez appointed that judge, again?

      Maybe the judge decided that Shkreli’s offer might incite some homo economicus to scalp the former First “Lady?”

      Reply
    4. tejanojim

      It’s a pretty straightforward solicitation of assault. I don’t like HRC one bit but as a former first lady she has lifetime SS protection, and I’m perfectly content that her safety is much more closely watched than the average person. Shkreli is not just a public figure but also a convicted criminal. If this teaches him that words and actions have consequences, so much the better.

      Reply
      1. yamahog

        I get how a person can read Martin’s comment and think “oh I’ll go snip some of Clinton’s hair” but there are avenues to collecting that aren’t illegal “oh I’ll hang out at the book signing and pick up a piece of hair that falls out” or Clinton or her hairdresser could collect the hair without assault.

        I don’t know his comment but if there’s a legally permissible avenue his audience could follow, why should he be punished as though he solicited something illegal?

        Reply
    5. Mike

      The possibility exists that he meant “scalp”, but thought that was over the top.

      The man is not known for his subtlety.

      Reply
  10. Jim Haygood

    Inflation, comrades: like the grain harvest, it’s coming in a little stronger. Headline CPI quickened to 1.9% yoy, while the more stable core rate remained stuck at 1.7% yoy for the fourth month running.

    In a note of hope concerning a chronic offender, runaway health care costs, medical care expenses rose just 1.8% in the past 12 months, the smallest increase since 1965.

    Unfortunately for the Yellenites, whose small band has shrunk with the unexpected departure of J-Yel’s sidekick Stanley Mellon Fischer, their preferred PCE inflation measure remains mired at 1.4% yoy for both the headline and core measures, versus a long-touted target of 2.0%.

    By devoting ourselves militantly to the struggle for higher prices, we can prevail. ;-)

    Reply
      1. Jim Haygood

        One thinks more of Jeffrey Skilling of Enron fame. Despite the brickbats hurled by monomaniacal energy bears, crude oil poked its pointy head over fifty dollah today. This October futures chart is bringing tears to the eyes of energy executives:

        http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=clv7&insttype=&freq=&show=

        Perusing the S&P 500 energy sector chart (XLE), one could get a warm feeling that at long last, it’s “morning in the oil patch”:

        http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=xle&insttype=&freq=1&show=&time=8

        Looks like we might have missed the window for purchasing a fine V12 automobile. :-(

        Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      We’ve seen this movie before, and the sequels. gasoline price spike pushed up headline figure, with core still flat.

      Inflation for the past decade-plus has been zero-sum style with medical care and education and oil price spikes squeezing down demand for everything else life has to offer, and eventually, those prices get squeezed down, too.

      Watch retail sales in 3-6 months, they’ll get hit.

      Reply
    2. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      September 14, 2017 at 10:07 am

      I missed you soooo much….uh, in a super heterosexual collegial way of course!

      The Terrible Facts about Real Earnings of Men Wolf Street (EM). Important.

      Time after time, when several years of earnings increases in a row gave hope to men, to where earnings finally rose a tiny bit faster than the official rate of consumer price inflation, a new bout of inflation whacked their real earnings back down where it had been before or even lower.

      But throughout this period, nominal earnings (not adjusted for inflation) for men have increased. This makes the loss of purchasing power an insidious effect that simmers beneath the surface.

      So when economists at the Fed and elsewhere spout off about the benefits of consumer price inflation, and how it isn’t enough, and how there needs to be more of it, a mantra endlessly repeated in the media, ask yourself: Who benefits from inflation?

      There are beneficiaries from inflation: Companies whose sales and earnings rise on paper with price increases without having to sell an extra thing; companies needing cheap labor; or borrowers with fixed-rate debts and incomes that rise with inflation, such as corporations and governments that issue bonds.

      ================================================
      Funny in those 44 years how there is essentially NO action from EITHER party or the FED about the decline in the REAL wages of men…..and people can’t understand how Trump won…..

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The size of Obama’s electoral win over Romney was a long term disaster for the Democrats as it obscured the relatively small margins Obama won the competitive states by. Obama relied on a massive minority turnout, a number which had climbed ever since 1996, estimated to be the lowest minority turnout since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Don’t worry those “suburban soccer moms” supported Bill in his war against the “Super Predators.” The dog whistles used by Democrats aren’t exactly subtle, are they?

        Reply
        1. fresno dan

          NotTimothyGeithner
          September 14, 2017 at 11:52 am
          &
          polecat
          September 14, 2017 at 12:33 pm

          and I missed you guys too!

          Reply
  11. Alex Morfesis

    Nashville no talent spoiled porsche babe might have been born evil but…the “homeless” guy she shot has apparently threatened a bunch of folks around his “street homesteading” forcing local folks to get guns and guard dogs…

    sounds like to burros bumping heads in the night…

    her dad was “in the biz” before deciding life as a lawyer was more lucrative…

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      A few more bits of the story, or stories: http://www.wsmv.com/story/36351317/woman-charged-with-shooting-homeless-man-has-arrest-history

      “She didn’t know she hit him (with that warning shot she fired…)” Lawyerdaddy is covering all the self-defense bases… Intere3sting that the disapproval is not universal, and only one burro had a gun. Don’t bring a forehead to a gunfight? Waiting for display of shootee’s record of law enforcement (sic) contacts, in 3, 2, 1… Cuiltural relativism at its highest and best…

      Reply
      1. Alex Morfesis

        Jt mcph…me thinx the self defense story is total (family blog)…two warning shots fired..two hits on the victim…

        shedevil was looking for a thrillkill…

        she was “nervous” but nailed him two out of two…

        There might be a job for her at
        ft. benning teaching south american morganatic vichistanis how it’s done…once she does her 7 to 10 for attempted murder…

        Reply
    2. jrs

      the most fundamentally problem Is that this high level of homelessness we have now, even though we live with it daily, is in many ways not socially sustainable (yea and she’s a murderer alright). But this is shown in other ways that don’t involve a rich woman committing murder, San Diego is now washing down it’s streets due to a homeless Hep A outbreak. Encounters with mentally ill homeless can be a daily occurrence some places. Some predatory people are now charging homeless people RENT to SLEEP ON THE STREETS! Literally even though they don’t of course even legally own the sidewalk, people are charging rent on it. Etc.

      Reply
    3. Yves Smith Post author

      She had a car. They got in an argument. As I recall the account, she WENT INTO the car to get a weapon to shoot him.

      If she were really concerned about her safety, she could have simply driven away.

      Reply
      1. Alex Morfesis

        Queenbee..as mentioned above…she is “faking” the self defense nonsense and probably thought she could get away with some sick thrillkill…she is guilty as sin…simply that the “victim” may have been a contributing idiot giving her shedevil mindset an opening to take a potshot at someone she imagined was her lesser…she did not call for an ambulance nor did she contact police until it was obvious they were looking for someone…7 to 10 for attempted murder should be her prize…

        Reply
  12. Lee

    Nashville woman shot homeless man who asked her to move her Porsche — then left him to die: police Raw Story (UserFriendly)

    The comments section of this article is heartening to read. One of them mentions that the victim, Doug Melton, is quite a singer. Here’s a video:

    https://youtu.be/p090r2wBWl8

    Reply
  13. Lynne

    The outline on funding the Sanders bill is at https://www.sanders.senate.gov/download/options-to-finance-medicare-for-all?inline=file

    The one thing that makes me really queasy is citing Warren Buffett for saying we should get rid of capital gains rates. My concern is admittedly personal. I know many people like my parents, who worked 24/7 almost every day of their lives running a farm. They certainly didn’t have much cash, no retirement fund, and little social security because farming is not lucrative. The only way they could afford to retire was by selling the farm, which meant they had a huge income in one year, especially given that most of their farmland was purchased in the 50’s. it seems cruel to treat people like that in the same category as someone like Mnuchin..,or Buffett.

    Years ago, Gordon Brown had proposed a reduced capital gains rate that phased in gradually based on how many years the asset had been held, rather than the simple one year holding period in the us. I suspect Brown is not highly regarded here, but what about something like that proposal?

    Reply
    1. Scott

      I had a similar thought when my grandmother was forced to move from her house first to an assisted living facility then to a retirement home. She lives in an expensive part of the country, so the value of her house increased ~$600,000 over the 45 years that she lived there. That is well above the $250K limit. At the time, I thought it was unfair that she had to pay when the average increase was under $15K, while people’s whose home increase $250K over five years that they owned it paid nothing. In addition if multiple people owned and sold it over that time, there would likely be no taxes paid.

      Reply
      1. todde

        “In addition if multiple people owned and sold it over that time, there would likely be no taxes paid.”

        that is a feature, not a bug as they say on NC.

        They want home sales to churn

        Reply
        1. Arizona Slim

          Tell me about it. My father died a year ago, and since then, Mom and I have been deluged with investor letters. They start by expressing condolences and then they get right to the point: Sell us your house.

          Well, sorry, investors. Mom and Dad built that house in the mid-1960s, and they raised me there. Mom’s determined to stay there until they carry her out, and I think that’s a fine idea. I’m doing everything I can to keep her there.

          BTW, a lot of the neighbors feel the same way. There’s very little churn in that area.

          Reply
          1. todde

            There are other reasons to sell than tax factors.

            Family’s grow and shrink, requiring different sized homes for one.

            People move for work or retirement, etc.

            Reply
          2. JTMcPhee

            And younger generations will propagate the consumer suburban vehicle-dependent idiocy on into an indeterminate future? The claims have been that young people are going to “do it better” because technology and all that — maybe so, but churn is only beneficial to the parasites of the Realtyor! Class and such folks as mortgage servicers and brokers and the rest. I could “afford” a 30 year mortgage on a very modest house, will be long dead before it’s paid off, so in the big picture, why should I care? But it might be nice if future generations look to still more future generations and leave a landscape that is not concrete, garage door fronts, tiny monoculture “lawn” lots “kept up” by pesticides and fertilizers and lots of gasoline-burning lawn maintenance implements made in China — like 200 mph “yard blowers” that deposit, “redistribute”, your yard waste on the neighbor’s lawns and “plantings” and into the public streets and sewers… I guess us oldsters need to hurry up and die, to make room and way for the wonderful new generations, is that the point? Or get shifted into some “care facility” where our deaths are hastened anyway by the kind of “care” you get in such “institions” if you are not wealthy way beyond the ordinary measure… But then maybe your comment was missing a /sarc tag?

            Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This section could use some refinement as well:

      Taxing capital gains and dividends the same as income from work.
      Warren Buffett, the second-wealthiest American in the country, has said that he pays a
      lower effective tax rate than his secretary. This is because he receives most of his income
      from capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at a much lower rate than income from
      work. This option would end the special tax break for capital gains and dividends on
      household income above $250,000, treating this income the same as income earned from
      working.

      Personally, I think capital gains and dividends should be taxed at higher rates than income earned from working.

      One hardly ‘works’ to get dividends.

      And I believe work should be honored more than hardly-work.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Hey, c’mon! Buffett works HARD to collect his rents, as do the rest… or maybe he has and they have people that work HARD for him/them, to collect those rents… Simon Legrees are a dime a dozen, too — such mopes the rest of us mopes are…

        Reply
      2. Lynne

        I’m still wondering why Buffett can’t give his secretary some stock options if he’s so offended. Unless he believes those aren’t allowed for employees who do the physical work.

        Reply
    3. Lee

      Sound like they need professional advice beyond my bits and bobs of knowledge in this area. That limitation will not however stop me from speculating. If some portion of the property constitutes primary residence, the value of that portion of the property might benefit from the $250K exclusion from taxation. Have they considered leasing the property, which could provide a steady source of retirement income, or selling the residential portion and leasing the arable portion. That would give them a chunk of cash plus income. They might be eligible for income averaging, which I believe is still available to farmers but no longer for other taxpayers.

      Reply
      1. todde

        Income averaging doesn’t really work for capital gains.

        The capital gains rate isn’t ‘progressive’ when it comes to selling the farm. The best it could save you is 5%, and that would be a narrow window

        The leasing option would have been the way to go. Lease until you die, and then get a step up in basis at death

        Reply
      2. Lynne

        Hard to find good renters, plus the rent doesn’t come close to paying the cost of elder care these days. Most of them have to liquidate.

        Reply
        1. todde

          I would have had them mortgage the land and rent the property.

          Mortgage interest would be deductible against the rental income, the loan proceeds would be invested(minus what is required for elder care), and the elder care would (more than likely) be deductible on Schedule A, eliminating the tax on income from investments.

          Reply
    4. rd

      The key to funding changes in the healthcare payment system is to figure out how to reduce the costs of the system down into the range paid by every other developed country. The debate is constantly being structured around how to pay for it given the current level of costs in the US. The real debate needs to be about how to reduce the costs. Once costs are reduced by a third to get into the top range of the rest of the developed world, then the funding debate becomes really, really simple.

      The US is already spending more per capita in PUBLIC money than Canada is and yet the percentage of the US population that has public coverage is a fraction of Canada’s. The US is off the charts compared to every other country in private money spent on healthcare. So the problem isn’t funding even if that is what all of the arguments are about, it is simply that we are spending far too much in the first place.

      Reply
    5. Oregoncharles

      @ Lynne – making the capital gains rate depend on length of hold has always appealed to me. One year makes no sense – that’s just income. But it would make sense to reward long-term thinking; so, you’d offer one break at 5 years, maybe another at 20 – or a continuous scale, perhaps.

      Someone below says that income averaging still applies to farmers, for obvious reasons, but that it has a minimal effect compared to capital gains rates. Still, 5% could be a lot of money.

      A more speculative possibility: use a “301”(?) exchange to buy other income property, like an apartment building, that they could have managed. That would avoid tax and increase their income, but I don’t know whether it applies to owner-occupied farmland. It should; farms are businesses, with luck.

      Reply
  14. Pat

    Very happy to see the return of comments.

    As I watch the press coverage of Clinton’s book tour, I’m struck with how badly it is going. While most of the usual subjects are treating her better than I would, this is not the sychophantic press that was largely seen throughout the primaries and the general campaign. I almost wish that the most qualified person ever to run for President claim was new and would be treated to the pundits and commentators recent skepticism regarding Clinton’s claims and status.

    Vanity Fair discovering that our most ambitious Democrats have jumped on supporting Sanders regarding single payer health care aside, the real test of Clinton’s failing status will be those high cost book signings in states she forgot to campaign in. I mean those are the states the Democrats need to win in the future. So I’ll be curious how they go, if we get to hear about it. (There are still too many who want to save the Democratic Party of the Third Way.)

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      “States Democrats need to win:” the Democrats being kos’s “more and better Democrats?” The useless Blue/Yellow Dogs being put forward by the Florida Democratic Party, LLC?

      Just underscoring your point, not critique.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        I get that. I’d much rather that our illustrious Democratic hopefuls were interested in places like Michigan and Wisconsin and… because they honestly get that the laws and policies of this country can help the citizens of those states instead of just wealthy campaign donors. But I’m pragmatic enough to understand that gaming the election is more important to most of them, and that is what is driving the moves toward sane policies.

        Reply
    2. Arizona Slim

      I’m thinking of other notable women — like Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Angela Merkel, and, what the heck, Bella Abzug and Barbara Jordan.

      I can’t think of any of them in the role of Self-Pitying Author. I just can’t.

      Take, for example, Barbara Jordan. If anyone ever had an excuse for feeling sorry for herself, it was her. Why? Because she started showing symptoms of MS while she was in Congress. That’s why she didn’t stay in DC or in politics.

      Did she ever say anything about her MS? Not while she was in office, and not for many years after. ISTR reading that it was revealed shortly before she died.

      Reply
  15. rd

    Re: Hurricane Alley

    In a “normal” year, the huge marshmallow and hot dog roast going on in the western US would be front-page news, https://www.outsideonline.com/2239836/why-west-burning

    The two common features of the hurricanes and wildfires are:
    1. People think these can be prevented with flood control systems and putting out small fires.
    2. The lack of a bad event for a few years means that people move into an area that is inevitably going to undergo a “natural process” which will destroy anything in its way.

    It has been a century now since the US started fighting wildfires in a big way. Most of the western ecosystems are designed to burn about once every 30 years. So fuel has been building up for decades without going through the normal process. Ground level fuel can burn the seeds and sterilize the ground, so the normal prairie and forest regeneration process can be disrupted. For example, lodgepole pines drops cones with tightly bound cones covered with resin. The heat from a fire melts the resin, cone pops open, and the seed is released onto the ground to germinate. Within a year or two, little lodgepole seedlings are everywhere to get burned again in 30 years. Ground level fuel causes ground fires in addition to the canopy fires so the cones burn and the seeds are no longer available.

    Building homes in the forest means that the fires have to be put out to save the homes. Eventually more homes get built and more fuel builds up. A bad drought year and the area explodes into flame with large loss of property, and difficult forest regeneration.

    Similarly, I think the two big problems with the flood insurance program are:
    1. Mapping is badly funded, so the flood mapping is largely out of date in growing areas; and
    2. Only the low probablility 100-year flood plain is mapped, not something like a much more frequent 25-year flood plain.

    We should be getting accurate maps updated frequently to identify the 25-year floodplains. Largely precluding development in the 25-year flood plain would eliminate much of the loss of property and life risks. Most structures aren’t really designed to survive 100 years plus, so flooding once or twice per century can be viewed as apart of a renewal process. However, flooding every few years means that high-density expensive non-essential structures should not be sited within the 25-year floodplain.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Right, of course. But rich folks and developers, and the legitimizing political processes and institutions they effectively own, in all three branches, are “partial” to “property rights” — “I bought it, I can build whatever I want and I can get the zoning changes and code exceptions to make it all nice and legal, see?” — and taxability. You no doubt know how it works in the real world of corruption and people with the power to make the rest of us cover the costs and externalities of their excrescences of wealth, so they can enjoy those very special experiences in very special places like river banks, forests and flood plains, and sand-fronted seashores and barrier islands… Already, the rich folks here in the St. Petersburg area are planning “beach renourishment” to dredge hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand that nature has moved to its natural state of temporary repose and out from forming the rich folks’ very special personal special beachfronts, augmented by the clout of the Chamber of Commerce and the supranational resort interests who get us to pay to bring in all those fleeceable tourists…The rich folks will happily self-please, immune to consequence or restraint, and force the mopes who can’t evacuate to live in the most vulnerable spots to be near service “jobs.” Nice to say what ‘”we” should be doing, but there is little of “we” in the current political economy and it is questionable whether there is any way to lay the tracks for the train to run onto a safer and more ‘general welfare”-favoring routs…

      Reply
  16. fresno dan

    https://newrepublic.com/article/144547/redoing-electoral-math-argued-demographics-favored-democrats-wrong

    Taken together, Phillips writes in his book, Brown Is the New White, “progressive people of color” already combine with “progressive whites” to make up 51 percent of voting-age Americans. “And that majority,” he adds, “is getting bigger every single day.”
    ……
    The U.S. census makes a critical assumption that undermines its predictions of a majority-nonwhite country. It projects that the same percentage of people who currently identify themselves as “Latino” or “Asian” will continue to claim those identities in future generations. In reality, that’s highly unlikely. History shows that as ethnic groups assimilate into American culture, they increasingly identify themselves as “white.”

    Whiteness is not a genetic category, after all; it’s a social and political construct that relies on perception and prejudice. A century ago, Irish, Italians, and Jews were not seen as whites. “This town has 8,000,000 people,” a young Harry Truman wrote his cousin upon visiting New York City in 1918. “7,500,000 of ’em are of Israelish extraction. (400,000 wops and the rest are white people.)” But by the time Truman became president, all those immigrant groups were considered “white.” There’s no reason to imagine that Latinos and Asians won’t follow much the same pattern.
    ……
    In fact, it’s already happening. In the 2010 Census, 53 percent of Latinos identified as “white,” as did more than half of Asian Americans of mixed parentage. In future generations, those percentages are almost certain to grow.
    ============================================
    I think anytime someone can own up to the fact that they were mistaken and reexamine their own premises and conclusions, one can gain at least some novel insights from the reassessment.
    OBTW, what race does Tiger Woods say he is? And who gets to decide?
    Oh, and I’ve decided to self identity as an orange…NO, NO, not a Trump orange, but a monarch butterfly orange…..

    Reply
    1. rd

      As an immigrant to the US, I have always been somewhat baffled by how people in the US got classified as “black” in the Jim Crow era and subsequently, given how much white slave-holder blood was getting forcibly introduced into the “black” population and then post-Civil War inter-racial relations. During the slavery era, it was pretty simple: if you were born to a slave, then you were a slave (e.g. Sally Hemings – 3/4 white and Jefferson’s wife’s half-sibling).

      When you put many “black” Americans next to an actual African from the equatorial regions, they don’t look much darker than George Hamilton by comparison to the actually black African. In my naivete, It was years before I realized that Derek Jeter was considered to be an African-American. I just thought he had a really good tan. Apparently his DNA indicates he is about 60% European and 40% African, which in the US makes him and African-American (if it were a civil legal case, preponderance of evidence would find him to be white). http://ethnicelebs.com/derek-jeter

      The irrationality of racism in America is mind-boggling. I think it is a major factor holding the country back from achieving its potential.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “Colored” always kind of existed (example Othello was a Moor), and it was important to justify slavery by creating the narrative there was a non-human class. How can slavery exist when “all men are created equal”? The answer is to dehumanize people by appearance. Certainly supporters of racial hierarchy latched onto the language of evolution developing fields of pseudo science such as phrenology.

        Vehement racism more than the usual xenophobia (the people in the next village where white after labor day! The horror!) was necessary to support chattel slavery, a particularly loathsome form of slavery. Given the lack of free immigration from Africa to the Americas, it was easier to identify a slave who was black versus a slave who had the ability to “pass.”

        “White” wasn’t necessary under the auspices of the Anglican Church where everyone had the same skin color and went to the same church once a month minimum. There were laws about the prohibition of teaching slaves. When Catholics and Jews started to appear in greater numbers, a new word was coined. The South or at least the parts of the South that were part of government were basically White Anglo Saxon Protestants from Eastern England (where support for Tories and the Monarchy is strongest) with little immigration after 1700. Of course, English Protestant society unlike say the French or even the Spanish society didn’t belong to a “universal” multi-ethnic/state church, so they could dismiss the Native tribes and peoples and separate themselves from them.

        Racism isn’t rationale either, so looking for a clear line of reasoning will always prove fruitless.

        The history of Quebec and Canada isn’t great. Its not just the U.S. America’s lack of homogeneous population means we deal with it more directly.

        Reply
      2. fresno dan

        rd
        September 14, 2017 at 2:19 pm

        I LOVE the George Hamilton reference!!! I mean, next to him, Mariah Carey is an albino…..

        Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      No more ruling by 51% please. Maybe the Supermajority Party? First on the Agenda is passing things that ~70% agree on, and also 70% think should actually be done. Then disband.

      At least it could be a good survey of how many voters actually think that their fellow fine Americans are deplorable.

      And simply because my father grew up in a sixth generation Pennsylvania Dutch speaking household; I’d like to point out to the Atlantic that german-americans were not white as in WASP either.

      Reply
  17. PlutoniumKun

    Heads, Saudi loses. Tails, Iran wins Middle Eastern Eye (micael)

    To be a Saudi military planner is to endure a series of military and strategic defeats. Saudi and Qatari-backed rebels have lost in Syria and they have been abandoned by Riyadh. The two-year campaign against the Houthis has become a military disaster. The siege of Qatar is another losing bet.

    Supporters of the 32-year-old Saudi crown prince and defence minister have described him as a pragmatist. Another way of describing each U-turn that he makes is the realisation that he should not have pulled the trigger in the first place. An activist foreign policy only works if the action achieves its intended goals. Otherwise it goes by other names.

    Nonetheless, it takes some experience to profit from these mistakes, and Iran has this in abundance. It is not so much profiting from these mistakes of its neighbours as much as running rings around them.

    I wonder how many errors MBS can make before there is a coup in Saudi Arabia. I know he is still personally very popular, but he’s repeatedly led the SA into disaster after disaster. It looks like the Houthi’s have won in Yemen, and the Qatari’s are more or less laughing at the Saudis.

    The Iranians are now pretty much victorious on all fronts – they are the dominant power in Iraq and Syria now, the Qatari’s are beholden to them in a very big way, and the other Gulf States are clearly terrified to take them on. Even if Trump decides to be confrontational with the Iranians, I suspect that he will have fewer Arab allies on the ground than he thinks.

    Reply
  18. Rojo

    From the Politico article:

    “Some software is useful, like the WordPress code that makes this blog possible and the Excel and Illustrator code that made the above graph possible, but some is overpriced and bloaty, like the monstrosities that many universities run on.”

    God, yes. I wish someone would do a thorough take-down of Salesforce, which I think is a job’s scheme for techies.

    Reply
  19. Mike

    RE: The Pentagon’s $2.2 Billion Soviet Arms Pipeline Flooding Syria Balkan Insight (Kevin W). Important.

    This is really ironic- we buy Russian armaments to defeat a Russian-supported government with “moderates” paid for by the “Mad-Dog” Mattis types manning the Pentagon. It has nothing to do with ISIS, who are also supported by our allies, if not us directly – funds go to the possible winners when certain groups prove they are losers. But the front and the buffers between us and the “troops” must be firm and impervious, so we are not blamed for the terrorism.

    My main questions are – do we now join forces with those “election rigging” Russians to defeat a force of dread terrorists who were armed most when our US-trained Iraqi troops ran from their Toyota assault upon them? Are there really 30,000, or just 5, as was stated in Congressional hearings before? Is this whole posture just that and nothing more???

    Reply
  20. nippersmom

    RE: the Kapersky ban
    My department was recently hit with a particularly pernicious virus. We were in quarantine for over a week, prevented from accessing the internet and shared drives and servers lest we infect the rest of the campus. It was a Kapersky product that finally enabled our ITS team to eradicate the insidious infection.

    Naturally, the paranoid fools in Washington want to ban the products. I hope my State government doesn’t decide to follow suit.

    Reply
  21. Procopius

    Well, I don’t agree with the judge’s reasoning, but I certainly feel schadenfreude at Shkreli getting the same kind of unfair treatment as us proles. On the other hand, why doesn’t anybody mention that the directors who tossed him out of the company have not lowered the price of the medication that was the beginning of all this? What’s really been accomplished except to give a blowhard a little comeuppance?

    Reply

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