2:00PM Water Cooler 11/15/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this is a travel day for me. So, although I think I have finally wrestled my email issues into submission — the Yandex app on iOS has worked for 24 hours, although it lacks the fit and finish of Apple’s native app — Water Cooler is even lighter than before. –lambert

Normally, when I propose that you all talk amongst yourselves, I suggest some innocuous topics. However, I feel that I’ve lost my footing in the extremely fast-moving news flow due to all my technical issues, and so I’m going to change it up a little, hoping that you’ll help me (to mix metaphors) get my head back in the game:

1) What do you think is the biggest news story that’s not being sufficiently covered? (Not a topic, like (say) climate, but a narrative.)

2) Of the news stories that are being covered, which do you think are being covered most badly? (It’s a crowded field, I know.)

2) Of the news stories that are being covered, which do you think are being covered well? (A far less crowded field.)

And if you want some innocuous topics:

4) Local elections. (My candidate won! And my contribution for yard signs helped!)

4) Kids these days!

See you tomorrow!

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please put it in the subject line. Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Carla):

A November rose…

Readers, I’m doing OK on fall foliage now, but I’m so fascinated to learn that this map is off, I’m going to leave the request up just to see what there is to see…

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the NC fundraiser. So do feel free to use the dropdown and click the hat to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor that trickle in when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click the hat!


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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. Jim Haygood

    A couple of weeks ago, we learnt that FANG+ futures on ten hot tech stocks (including a couple of Chinese ones) had launched. This week, it’s bitcoin fu-chaahhhs:

    Luke Ellis, the CEO of Man Group, a UK-based investor with $95 billion in funds under management, said the firm would include bitcoin in its “investment universe” if bitcoin futures successfully launch, according to a tweet by Reuters.

    CME announced at the end of October that it would launch a bitcoin futures product by year-end. On Monday, CME chairman and CEO Terry Duffy said such a product would likely be ready by the second week of December.


    Progressing from FANG+ to Bitcoin futures is like graduating from a wine cooler in the evening to straight shots of vodka for breakfast.

    Bitcoin regularly moves by double-digit percentages per day. Trade it on ten-to-one leverage, and you could blow out your stash during a bathroom break (or double it).

    Bubble III: it’s stumbled, but it ain’t never fell.

    Give it away, give it away, give it away now
    I can’t tell if I’m a kingpin or a pauper

    — Red Hot Chili Peppers, Give It Away

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps the safe way is to open an account in your robot’s name.

      He, or it, can go to debtors’ prison should the best laid plan go awry.

      1. DonCoyote

        I’m reminded of a Steve Martin bit about his cat embezzling from him. “So now I’m stuck with $3000 worth of cat toys.” And we recently had the parrot ordering gift boxes using Alexa. So if I had an account in the robot’s name, I’d probably be scanning my CC bill for “bit massages”, “artisan machine oil”, and “101100111000 Porn” charges.

        “I’m not bad–I’m just drawn that way” becomes “I’m a good robot with bad software”?

  2. todde

    Saudi Arabia and the arrest of several powerful people in the Kingdom and the ‘capture’ of Lebanon’s Prime Minister doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it should be afforded, IMHO.

    1. cocomaan

      I think that’s due to the complete fog of war surrounding the events. I guess a monarchy can really keep its activities under wraps.

      1. Enrique Bermudez

        Well that but probably more that they are the most important regional ally of the US. And the bootlicking establishment media wants precisely none of kicking this anthill.

    2. Wyoming

      It appears that Kushner made an unannounced visit to SA, along with a couple of lesser State functionaries, a few days before the PM was ‘detained’ and forced(?) to read his resignation letter. This is a huge ‘coincidence’ and what was discussed? It is hard not to wonder if the go ahead was given in some fashion as this activity seems clearly directed against Iranian interests and pro-Israeli interests. Would SA have the yarbles to do this on their own initiative?

      This set of events is potentially huge and the unintended consequences of the various possible follow on events carry huge downside potentials.

      If we had any real mainstream journalists left they would be all over this.

        1. wilroncanada

          The new axis of evil:
          The United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia

          Oh, sorry new but longstanding axis of evil.

      1. John k

        Yeah, but…
        The new guy has had the balls, or the stupidity, to do quite a few things the old house of Saud wouldn’t have done, so murky.
        Story still in process…
        I’m guessing pushback from the Saudi bits currently on the outs.

    3. visitor

      Notice that exactly the same thing happened to the official president of Yemen, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi who is under house arrest in Saudi Arabia (as well as two of his sons and some of his ministers) on the grounds that “his life is in danger”.

      I do not see this information being compared to what occurred to Saad Hariri — which is mostly treated as a one of a kind, out of the blue event. The fact that MbS is systematically clamping down in exactly the same manner on what might be unreliable vassals should be worth a more encompassing analysis.

  3. tommy strange

    What is becoming genocide by Saudi Arabia and USA. Airport just bombed, and blockade from last week continues. Yemen.

    1. SpringTexan

      Yes, Yemen. Hurray for Chris Murphy for trying to draw attention to it.
      “It is U.S. refueling planes flying in the sky around Yemen that restock the Saudi fighter jets with fuel, allowing them to drop more ordnance,” said Murphy. “It is U.S.-made ordnance that is carried on these planes and dropped on civilian and infrastructure targets inside Yemen. The United States is part of this coalition. The bombing campaign that has caused the cholera outbreak could not happen without us.”

    2. The Rev Kev

      You got that right. I think that when the history books are written, that the deliberate mass starvation of Yemen will go down as one of the greatest war crimes of the 21st century. I don’t think that the west is going to come out of this looking any better as they either sold the Saudis the weapons to destroy Yemen or actively helped in the blockade.

        1. jo6pac

          Sure book will be written but by the winners if they can be called that.

          Sadly the people of Yemen suffer but Go to the good guys and women trying to stop this.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Based on Samantha Powers’ recent statements on Yeme, I suspect Obamalings have come to similar conclusions. Of course, she who called Hillary “a monster” once upon a time short of building more homes in Yemen than Jimmy Carter could dream of will always be associated with our policies towards the House of Saud and Yemen.

  4. cocomaan

    The war on terror has to be one of the mostly badly covered stories in the history of journalism, even though it has incredibly far reaching implications on economics, political science, and military history.

    What are we doing in Afghanistan? What are we doing in Iraq/Syria? What’s happening in the Sahel? What do our troops do on a daily basis in MENA and SE Asia? What do their missions look like? Where’s all the opium coming from if we’re occupying Afghanistan? What is the Taliban other than a Pashtun ethno-nationalist movement? Who exactly is in al-Qaeda in the Sahel, in the Levant, and in Indonesia, and why are they there? How long do we plan on staying in these places? Is ISIS the same thing as al-Qaeda? Was ISIS part of the Sunni Awakening that went sour?

    With AFRICOM heating up lately, signifying a new theater in the War on Terror, you really get to see the paucity of reporting on Afghanistan and those theaters. I realize that journalists probably don’t want to go there to see what’s going on, but this is really absurd. Rather than reporting on Afghanistan, our press reports on Trump tweeting about three shoplifting basketball players in China.

      1. Ned

        And not even one winner!
        Sheesh, at least under Reagan we kicked Granada’s ass in one campaign.

        New bumper sticker to replace
        “Let me tell you about my grandchildren!”–

        “Let me tell you about my defense stocks!”

        Sid, the destruction of the roots starts at their tips, not in their trunk. It has to start locally with economic spending patterns.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If two, or ten, or twenty million people support this theory of where change has to start coming from; how would they engineer their spending patterns to begin evolving that change into shape and form?

          1. Wisdom Seeker

            I agree, you have to kick them in their wallets.

            So make your boycott list. Then do it.

            Share it. Grow it. Live it.

            Mine includes all the obvious monopolies. No Facebook, no Google. No money to Microsoft either. I avoid Amazon as much as possible. None of the Big 5 banks get any new money, and that includes no corporate bond funds or “prime” money market funds either – which are all basically loans to the banks. I am unwinding what little is left in prior dealings with those leeches.

            I add more to the Corporate Hall of Shame each week as the news comes in. Netflix hadn’t been on my radar at all, but their complete lack of concern as they funded Kevin Spacey’s cult of sexual harassment is definitely beyond the pale, so Netflix is now out.

            It’s damn tough to have a 401K or an IRA without funding the Swamp somehow, because of the limited menu of options. So there it’s more a question of choosing the least of the available evils.

            For everything else, default option is to choose the smaller company, vendor or service provider over the corporate behemoths.

            Fortunately the public library is still free, and the internet except for the monthly bill still has oases of sane content that hasn’t been blatantly commercialized or set up to harvest all our personal data for the enrichment of a few advertising moguls and their corporate-crony clients…

    1. Jim Haygood

      What can’t be spoken about these events is that they are largely beyond the purview of Congress and the president.

      The military/intel complex has its own agenda and its own untouchable budgets, including about $60 billion that’s flat-out secret. We can infer that the national security state is, in a literal sense, out of control. But the MSM dare not speak of it.

      In our stately Shoppers Paradise, maintaining the illusion of normality is paramount.

      1. Sid Finster

        I will keep repeating this over and over again until I am blue in the face:

        Unless and until the Deep State is eradicated root and branch, it matters not who the president is.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          But unless we elect an overwhelming majority of officeholders who accept the “Deep State Theory” of decision-making power, who or what is going to eradicate the Deep State, root and branch?

          1. Wukchumni

            Our fate will be much the same as our Bizarro World counterpart-the USSR. Nobody expected them to go tilt when they did.

    2. Bill

      Thank you! There are a lot of journalists who don’t get wide coverage. Also I think the using government as a vehicle for corporate interests exploding, and using “war” to get this done for many years.
      Pepe Escobar has been on this comprehensively for a long time and makes clear the strategies and goals of the West, BRICS, etc.

    3. Altandmain

      Apart from NC, these days alternate media like Glenn Greenwald or a comedian like Jimmy Dore do a far better job of covering the news and providing analysis of news.

      The corporate media is basically the plutocracy Pravda machine.

      1. Geoph Rian

        While I enjoy Jimmy Dore I wouldn’t say he does better reporting than the corporate news. He merely highlights the interesting news that the corporate media doesn’t push – but often his sources are corporate newspapers since they’re of the few outlets that have the resources to investigate those types of stories.

        Greenwald I totally agree with you about.

          1. richard

            That’s how I see him, too. He’s not the sort of journalist who uncovers and reveals, no sources to speak of (not that source related journalism is neccessarily desirable). He points to, debunks and mocks what is horrible in US politics and corporate media. Especially the latter.
            Arguably, he’s exactly the type of journalist we need right now. This is less a time of nuance and parsing words, and more a time of waking the …. up. This feels like the time to point out obvious, wicked things, and mercilessly attack them in unschooled ways. I don’t always admire Dore; his personality grates wih me sometimes. But I’m so glad we have him!

        1. Plenue

          You’re actually more describing TYT. Most of their content consists of them reading mainstream stories and providing their own uninformed commentary.

          Whereas Dore only seems to cover MSM stuff when it comes to his attention via alternative sources, eg, when Maddow or Hayes say something ridiculous, or when WaPo has a story (usually about the evil rooskies) that contradicts its own headline in the second to last paragraph.

    4. visitor

      When was the last time we had a thorough reporting and serious analysis of the situation in Somalia — rather than the episodic “a terrorist attack killed XXX persons in Mogadishu”?

    5. wilroncanada

      Douglas Valentine in his latest book “The CIA As Organized Crime” puts all this at the feet of the CIA.

  5. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Being covered badly if at all – the near total defeat of ISIS in Syria/Iraq, which begs the question, why is the US military still there? Most of the heavy lifting was done by the Syrian Army and those “eeeevil Ruskies.” Those of us who read Moon of Alabama and other alternative media have some good theories, but really this is a question our Kongress Klowns should be demanding answers for.

    The BBC story on the Pentagon giving cover to ISIS to flee to other parts of the ME was a good start, but a lot more digging and hard questioning has to happen by the press, if we’re to have any hope of ending the illegal wars.

    1. ChrisPacific

      I have been following it on Sic Semper Tyrannis, which has provided ongoing updates. Most of the story is about the Syrian army backed by Russia. The US/SDF seem to be largely focused on weakening Syria in any way possible and don’t seem overly concerned about ISIS. So for example, they were invisible during the campaign against ISIS but emerged to participate in the land and asset grab once ISIS collapsed, with particular emphasis on denying Syria any assets like oil fields of strategic or economic value to them. The latter was reported as a triumphant victory over ISIS in the US media. What else they might be doing there is a good question.

    2. Crazy Horse

      The US military is still in Syria and Iraq to provide future false flag fuses for triggering the long desired Russian War. CIA-sponsored false flag gas attacks proved to not have enough durability in the news cycle. US financing and support of al Nustra front terrorists never looked like a path to “victory” * once Russia drew a line in the sand and backed it up with force. Yet another defeat of the US military empire.

      One can only imagine the frustration of the senile War Party Senators and Generals. If only they could have the opportunity to use a few hundred of the nukes at their command before they pass on—.

      ps: “The United States has been at war for 222 out of its 239 years—more than any other country on Earth” http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-great-american-antiwar-novel.html#more

      * victory as defined by Israel and the USA = Chaos based on the Lybian model.

    3. Andrew Watts

      I’d say the entire Syrian Civil War was covered poorly. That was to be expected given there was too many agendas, geopolitical interests, and there was a lot of bull—- involved. The BBC story easily falls under the latter category. Secrecy wasn’t maintained surrounding the meetings and I even commented about the negotiations taking place on Oct. 12th links.

      The various tribes in Raqqa were always going to play an oversized role in determining how this battle ended. The alternative solution involved killing a few thousand civilians and while some of them might’ve been IS families / supporters this would’ve been very divisive. It would’ve collectively alienated the tribes and encouraged even more reprisal killings in a vicious cycle of honor killing. The al-Shaitat tribe whose people were slaughtered by IS want vengeance and they haven’t forgotten or forgiven.

      Due to this reason and others the post-IS phase in Iraq and Syria might be even bloodier than the war itself.


      The Syrian Army was focused on Aleppo and other densely populated areas in the West. If SDF hadn’t broken the back of Islamic State in Eastern Syria and Russia hadn’t been able to negotiate numerous diplomatic deals and cease fires SAA & friends wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. As it was they lost almost all of Hasakah both the city and province. It was a YPG counter offensive which saved the city in 2015. Over the course of the last three years the SAA lost Palmyra twice and other territory on numerous occasions. If the SDF was merely interested in grabbing resources they wouldn’t have gone for Raqqa first. They had options and actions speak louder than words.

      Finally, Sic Semper Tyrannis relies heavily on al-Masdar News. I never had a problem with Leith when he was running the show all by himself but I wouldn’t ever accuse him of being free from bias either. Ditto with sources like Moon of Alabama. Naturally, SST reflects this bias in it’s views which affected it’s coverage heavily on top of their other issues. How many times was it repeatedly stated that the Kurds wouldn’t fight for Arab land / bleed for Raqqa / etc on SST?

      @Crazy Horse

      If the token amount of troops the US has in Syria immediately departs two things are probably going to happen. Turkey will attack the SDF and the war will spread spawning even more refugees and/or the SAA will attack which will give the neoconservatives and dip—- imperialists another opportunity to regime change Damascus.

      That isn’t peace in our time.

      1. ChrisPacific

        Thanks for the additional detail. I have never thought that SST is free of bias (the romantic digressions on martial philosophy are a reminder of that) but it is at least biased differently from the typical US media, which makes it useful.

        Is there anywhere you can suggest that has better coverage?

        1. Andrew Watts

          Patrick Cockburn is always a reliable source. but if you want an actual news organization I’d say Al Monitor is the best. It’s not that their journalists are free from bias it’s that they provide a huge spectrum of views ranging from across the many countries and cultures of the Middle East which is invaluable.

          To be perfectly honest, SST isn’t that bad when you know what lenses you’re looking through.
          It’s not like I’m free of any bias either being heavily bias towards the YPG/SDF. Whether that bias governs what and how I wrote about them is in the eye of the beholder.

    4. The Rev Kev

      I think that something that has gone under the radar is western support for ISIS. A few data points. Remember when a US General said that it would take decades to defeat a force of what – 80,000 – sitting in towns in the middle of the desert? And then the Russians said “Here, hold my vodka!” and proceeded to go Godzilla all over ISIS? How about the horizon-to-horizon line of oil trucks stealing oil from Syria to be sold to Turkey & Israel and financing ISIS which somehow the west with all its recon could just never see till the Russkies rubbed their noses in it at the UN – and then obliterated those same oil convoys?
      The time the west attacked the Syrian Army at Deir ez-Zor with a coordinated ISIS attack that cut the air bridge (almost) that nearly led to that city of 80,000 falling under the control of ISIS that would have ended in a massacre. The refusal – twice – of the coalition to bomb ISIS convoys that were fleeing Abu Kamal just this week. I can think of literally of dozens of other data points but you get the gist. With the wind-down of the Syrian war, expect to see these same thugs being used elsewhere as the Philippines has found to its great cost. ISIS. Now coming to a terrorist incident near you.

      1. Andrew Watts

        This is exactly what I am talking about.

        Remember when a US General said that it would take decades to defeat a force of what – 80,000 – sitting in towns in the middle of the desert?

        Hah, I also remember when those 80,000 were only 30,000 and shortly before that 10,000. That just goes to show you the woeful state of the US military and intelligence apparatus. Already answered about the role Russia played in the defeat of Islamic State.

        How about the horizon-to-horizon line of oil trucks stealing oil from Syria to be sold to Turkey & Israel and financing ISIS which somehow the west with all its recon could just never see till the Russkies rubbed their noses in it at the UN – and then obliterated those same oil convoys?

        Other rebel factions and even Damascus-controlled areas bought oil and natural gas from IS too you know. Even during a civil war commerce is maintained between various factions. How do you think isolated rebel positions survive the sieges that have been going on for years?

        The time the west attacked the Syrian Army at Deir ez-Zor with a coordinated ISIS attack that cut the air bridge (almost) that nearly led to that city of 80,000 falling under the control of ISIS that would have ended in a massacre.

        Pure conjecture. The Coalition has accidentally attacked their “proxies” in SDF on numerous occasions. It happens. Plus the US-led coalition has actually provided air support by attacking IS when they rolled into Palmyra for the second time. Indirectly supporting the SAA efforts on the ground but it counts.

        Where do you think that air supply was coming from anyway? Most of it was from a government-held enclave in SDF territory. There’s a very direct method of handling that you know.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Mmmmm, not just conjecture. The facts say otherwise. The Syrian Army had been in those positions for two years and the coalition flew recon missions over them constantly including several that week. Suddenly the Coalition decides that they must be ISIS positions? The coalition told the Russians that they would be bombing 9 kilometers south of where they actually bombed so the Russians did not object. The actual attack was on two key points for the defense of the airport which supplied the city.
          After attacking the Syrian Army positions, when the Russians tried to call them to call off the attack, the coalition officer in charge just happened to be “away from his desk” for over half an hour – and then the US blamed the Russians for not trying harder to reach them. The follow on attack by ISIS was only 7 minutes after the coalition attack finally stopped. You don’t put together an attack group that quickly. No, it was a deliberate attack to help ISIS take that city and it nearly worked. The Coalition attacked in the one place out of the entire city defenses that would help ISIS take that city. The worse part for me is that my own country helped in this attack.

          1. Andrew Watts

            @The Rev Kev & @JerseyJeffersonian

            I don’t think there is a motive for a deliberate attack. The siege of the city was a brutal war of attrition which forced the re-positioning of thousands of troops from both Islamic State and Syrian forces to Deir Ezzor. This prevented IS from consolidating their internal lines of communication and deploying additional troops to other fronts that would cause problems for Coalition-allied forces. Furthermore, it tied down SAA manpower which could’ve been used to liquidate rebel pockets in Western Syria who received support from the Gulf/West.

            Maybe I’m being too Machiavellian about the situation but the common thread in both your comments unravels when it is pointed out that the geographic location of the strikes were never a fixed battle or static location. I don’t think IS ever gained the upper hand on the ridge until the Coalition attack but whenever IS gained ground the SAA always launched a counter-attack to re-take the area given it’s strategic value.

            The lack of communication with regards to the deconfliction hotline is indefensible.

            The coalition told the Russians that they would be bombing 9 kilometers south of where they actually bombed so the Russians did not object. The actual attack was on two key points for the defense of the airport which supplied the city.

            That isn’t proof. Open up Google Earth and look around the area. You’ll see several villages with similar names. So, if the Coalition told the Russians that they we’re striking within range of X village without an addendum name attached it’s likely some analyst f—ed up. I don’t think they were ever giving GPS coordinates for the precise location of the strikes,

            Perhaps I am wrong. But I’m still skeptical over the matter given how quickly the USAF was blamed initially when their planes were not involved.

        2. JerseyJeffersonian

          No, the attack on Deir ez-Zor didn’t “just happen”. There was an established hot line between the Russians and the U.S. militaries. When the word came through about the initial air assaults on – long-established – SAA positions in the heights overlooking Deir ez-Zour, the Russians attempted to use the hot line to tell the U.S. and their Australian (and Danish?) poodles who were carrying out the attacks that they were in fact bombing Syrian Arab Army positions, nobody seemed to be available to answer the call. So the attack continued, killing large numbers of Syrian soldiers, and softening up their positions for an assault by ISIS forces. So even if there was no “formal” coordination between the air assaults and the attack by ISIS, the situation got ugly really quickly, imperiling the Syrian defense of the besieged city. That nobody could be arsed to respond to an emergency call on the hot line tells me all I needed to know about the intentions. Fog of war, my ass. Parenthetically one might wonder (rhetorically) if such incidents may have led the Russians to their now often-voiced opinion that the U.S. is not “agreement capable”.

          As I recall, the Australians were so embarrassed by how they had been used, they withdrew participation. As a good Aussie might say about this, “good on ya”, albeit a little late. Considerations of why they would want to be seen as having a role in setting up a major war crime should Deir ez-Zour fall to ISIS apparently brought them to their senses. I have a recollection that the Danish also had a role in this attack, and that after this, they pulled up stakes and dusted their hands of it.

          Given what was already widely known about the conduct of ISIS in regard to captured soldiers and even civilians, this whole episode deserved opprobrium, but instead the western governments and media pooh poohed the whole thing, trying to pass it off as an error. Et tu, Brute?

          As to your swipe at Col. Lang (and one of his principal cohorts, posting as The Twisted Genius) over at his blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis, as having thinly-sourced information, well this is laughable. Col. Lang was the head for the DIA for this region of the world during his career, and used to gathering and assessing information from many varied sources. He drops quotes from some news organizations in at the head of his interpretive posts, and includes links to the source materials at the end of these posts, but that this is the limit of his (and TTG’s) collection of sources gathered and considered in the formulation of his reflections is unlikely in the extreme.

          So, what are your credentials and experiences relevant to these matters that would qualify you to disparage the efforts of these two widely experienced soldiers and intelligence analysts in such a cavalier fashion, if I may be so bold as to ask?

    1. Jim Haygood


      This little mini-oligarchy of media overlords kept the news closely in sync with the official pronouncements of the U.S. government.

      The appearance of dissent was permitted in op-ed pages, where Democrats and Republicans “debated” things. But what readers encountered in these places was a highly ritualized, artificially narrow form of argument kept strictly within a range of acceptable opinions.

      Even though a child could see that the government’s stated reason for going into Iraq was both insane and a fiction, virtually everyone in the business jumped into the story with both feet.

      The policing mechanisms are far more powerful now. Herman and Chomsky wrote about flak in the era before social media. Today blowback against dissenting thought is instantaneous and massive.

      The MSM is the enemy.

    2. Buttinsky

      “Herman was a skeptic about the current Russia news, but that isn’t why his work is relevant today. You can believe he’s dead wrong on Russia and Trump, and Manufacturing Consent would still be far more relevant now than it was when he and Chomsky first wrote it.”

      A most peculiar paragraph. Isn’t Herman’s brand of skepticism about such “news” as the current Russia hysteria that dominates the mainstream media exactly what makes Manufacturing Consent “relevant now”? I mean, the skepticism about the establishment’s hottest propaganda campaign today doesn’t come from some idiosyncratic personal disposition of Herman’s, but from a deep analysis of the way the mainstream “news” gets shaped by the interests of powerful government and corporate forces. A story like the Russian hacking of the American election that takes over the national media out of all proportion to the evidence presented is exactly what the insights of Manufacturing Consent are intended to address.

      Taibbi writes as though such an exercise in critical thinking has nothing to do with how one approaches the Russia “news.” Indeed, what he writes (hyperbolically, I would suggest) of the Iraq war propaganda campaign — “Even though a child could see that the government’s stated reason for going into Iraq was both insane and a fiction, virtually everyone in the business jumped into the story with both feet” — could be written more truthfully of the Russia fearmongering. And yet there seems to be some fundamental distinction between these two types of skepticism that Taibbi leaves unexplained.

      1. Carolinian

        Peculiar indeed. Perhaps Taibbi has insight into the suborned media because he is part of it. Reportedly his Rolling Stone publisher was a big Hillary supporter.

        Your are quite right that the media situation today is much worse than in the early 2000s. At least then fresh memories of 9/11 gave the media bigs some feeble excuse for keeping their heads down. Now they are driving the propaganda, not just repeating it. What has changed is that they now see their cozy journalistic tribe as far more under threat. Trump is the enemy not so much because of his many shortcomings as because he is saying mean things about them.

        1. Buttinsky

          “Now they are driving the propaganda, not just repeating it.”

          Yes, it’s the zeal with which so-called journalists are taking to propaganda these days that’s so surprising. And scary. Maybe I’m misremembering propaganda campaigns gone by, but the hatred and fear of Trump does seem to have stirred something a lot more toxic and dangerous than simply a lack of rational skepticism. (Well, is there anything more dangerous than a lack of rational skepticism?)

          Related to this whole subject, I would just mention an observation that I don’t believe I’ve ever been able to make about the U.S. before the past year or two: We are all agreed that the country has lost its mind; we just can’t agree on what the symptoms of the madness are, much less a diagnosis.

          1. Wukchumni

            I would say we are more in the throes of a national nervous breakdown, not so much Mad Max-but more like Max Mad.

        2. Wisdom Seeker

          Perhaps Taibbi has insight into the suborned media because he is part of it.

          You haven’t looked into Taibbi’s history yet, or previous writings, have you? He’s the one that described Goldman Sachs as the Vampire Squid, relentlessly sticking its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

          He’s expert on the media but he isn’t in the suborned part. Unless they gathered dirt on his 1990s adventures in Russia and got a handle on him?

  6. David, by the lake

    Poor coverage: continued deterioration of infrastructure, declining labor participation rate, decay of life quality in rust-belt/fly-over country generally, and the slow-motion collapse of our empire (or any meaningful discussion of how to prepare for the world coming at us).

    1. Fiery Hunt

      +100 for the declining labor participation rate!

      Saw somewhere (certainly linked from NC) that the comparable rate today using the old standards would be something like 8+% unemployment.

      Would certainly impact “current state of the economy” stories, wouldn’t it?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If there were a drug that could cure both that and high blood pressure at the same time, there’d be 50% unemployment, and millions more with high blood pressure.

    2. cocomaan

      +1 on the decaying empire. The country is backsliding in almost every way. We should be hitting the roof, flipping out, going nuts. But it’s the old frog in hot water problem

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    When I saw that little Tommy Rush of New Hampshire was coming through my town, I have to admit being a little surprised that he was still alive, much less touring.

    Wondering into which one of Lambert’s questions does this fit? Check it out:


  8. Hana M

    3) Of the news stories that are being covered, which do you think are being covered well? (A far less crowded field.) Between Matt Stoller, David Serota and David Dayen the inter-twined stories about monopoly power and money in politics is being covered well–and seems to be resonating with readers across the political spectrum (something of an acid test IMO).

    2) Of the news stories that are being covered, which do you think are being covered most badly? (It’s a crowded field, I know.) [family blog]! That’s a tough choice. And the winner is…Russia, Russia, Russia!
    Runner-up: Anything at all having to do with He-Who-Should-Be-Named a great deal less often. Or as the posters at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes put it, “Why worry about You-Know-Who, when you should be worrying about You-No-Poo. The Constipation Sensation that’s Gripping the Nation.”

    1) What do you think is the biggest news story that’s not being sufficiently covered? (Not a topic, like (say) climate, but a narrative.) Like many of us who love NK I have been increasingly infuriated, frustrated, worried, shocked, etc. by the crapification and commodification of all things on the internet, most particularly the degradation of search engines and other information-gathering tools. I don’t think I would fully understand how dangerous this has become were not for Naked Capitalism. I especially want to re-up this great link from Lambert’s mornings post:on algorithms and the decline of journalistic standards.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      I think the “crapification” and tech nexus is THE topic from which so many narratives aren’t being covered…

      The chips in my bank issued debit cards are literally hit-and-miss as to whether they work with various PoS machines.

      My student loan servicer’s automated voice mail system can’t find me in the system.

      The messenger app on my 4g “smart” phone freezes, crashes, refuses to notify me when I get a message. Constantly.

      And these are just my interactions with billion dollar industries and their “upgrades”.
      Imagine what incredible snafus there are in large interconnected corporations/ institutions…. Like Yves’ look at Calpers. The U.C. system here in CA. The bank systems Clive talks about. MIC “projects”. Electric vehicles, etc, etc,

      NC is amazing in these areas but almost no one else is talking about just how dysfunctional so much of the “tech” is at basic stuff.

      1. Hana M

        Yes! Totally, Fiery Hunt. And I’m both sad and glad to hear this from someone not of my generation. The nonsense varies from trivial (Why did my PBS episode of Poldark keep freezing up?) to the deadly serious (Who has my Equifax info?). Fidelity has under-invested in software for at least a decade while milking the 401(k) cow for everything she’s got. Vanguard *yes, I know, one of the ‘good guys’,” routinely screws up transactions and fund transfers in the six figures.

        So many younger workers are being pushed into Target Date Funds in their retirement account by default. Many of these funds are both expensive and far too aggressive, even for younger investors. Now younger investors are targeted as perfect fits for Robo Advisors. Please, please don’t go there kids!

        1. Fiery Hunt

          I’m guessing we ARE the same generation, Hana. lol
          I’m just one of many still paying student loans into their late 40’s or early 50’s…

          Sad but true.

        2. Mike Mc

          x1000 for both Fiery Hunt and Hana M. “Crapification” is the single best term I’ve learned from NC, because it describes SO MUCH of modern life in ONE WORD. Trust me – I’ve introduced many many people to the concept and virtually all shouted “Yes! YES!” upon hearing it.

          I’m a Boomer who guessed right about the Macintosh and in one way or another have been relying on Mac skills for a living for thirty years. I repair them for a living while trying to understand what exactly the Keebler elves inside are doing (a hardware tech, not a programmer).

          Mostly they seem to be transferring money from me and mine to large corporations, while distracting us from real life – where food is grown, tools are used, broken things get fixed, etc. etc.

          Not a prepper or JH Kunstler type, generally, but maintaining various basic human skills (see Robert Heinlein’s Lazarus Long list of what people should be capable of) despite Our Machines of Loving Grace seems well-advised in these times of extreme… extremes. If more of us “de-crapify” ourselves and our daily lives as much as possible, there may be hope for us yet!

        3. Octopii

          I’ve been overhearing a guy near me at work arguing on the phone with Vanguard for several days about an issue that sounds quite serious. Just a data point.

        4. Wisdom Seeker

          Vanguard ain’t one of the good guys. At least not anymore. They are deep within the Heart of Darkness of corporate cronyism today.

          The tell is that they totally abdicate their responsibility to represent their investors’ interests, despite holding enormous fractions of the shares of most major corporations on your behalf. Do you think that there would be so much cronyism and C-suite self-dealing at the expense of shareholders, if the index funds did their due diligence on board and CEO selection?

    2. montanamaven

      Russia! Russia! Russia! is indeed badly covered to the extent that it is now becoming very dangerous to our freedom. So I agree with the people over at “Crosstalk” on RT that the attack on our civil liberties and our freedom to watch and read what we want is the #1 story that is most frightening to me.
      RT being forced to file as a Russian Agent
      People are afraid to call in to RT for fear they will be dubbed a traitor. Reporters who go on RT are threatened and called traitors. Commentators who disagreed with the narrative that the U.S. is the one indispensable nation and can do what it likes around the world are traitors? This is very scary.

  9. readerOfTeaLeaves

    1) What do you think is the biggest news story that’s not being sufficiently covered?
    How archaic, and economically outdated, are the legislators (and agency heads) tasked with tax policy and tax legislation?

    I’m reminded of the late Sen Ted Stevens (Alaska), who once described the Internet as ‘a series of tubes’, and I have a horrible sense that some (particularly GOP) Senators are about as inept, ignorant, and delusional on economics as Ted Stevens was on telecomm policy.

  10. timotheus

    No coverage: the nomination of torture-enthusiast Stephen Bradbury to a Trump Administration post. One area where Americans do NOT care if women are raped.

    Poor coverage: constant use of 17-intelligence [sic]-agencies-concurred-that-Russians-hacked-election meme

    Good coverage: Still thinking . . .

    Kids today: use of “no problem” instead of “you’re welcome”

    1. Matt Alfalfafield

      As a not-quite-a-kid-anymore/early-thirties millennial, I’ve gotta stand up for “no problem”. There’s a recognition in the phrase that (a) some service was rendered, and (b) I didn’t mind doing it. “No problem” feels to me more befitting of a friendly exchange among equals, where “you’re welcome” seems more unbalanced, a truncation of “you are welcome to my labour”.

      1. Filiform Radical

        Agreed. I also think that “you’re welcome” often feels less sincere; its status as the default polite response to being thanked makes it seem pro forma and devoid of real meaning. I imagine future generations will feel the same way about “no problem” after it takes over.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          ‘No problem’ in contrast with ‘You’re welcome’ seems to imply ‘I am superman. Nothing is ever a problem, much less this.’

          “Thanks for helping with mining a new bitcoin.”

          “No problem.”

          For me personally, that would have been a big problem that I would have been proud to have solved.

          “Big problem. But I am glad I was able to help. So, you’re welcome. And thank you for giving me a chance to meet and defeat a challenge…a worthy challenge. So, thank you.”

          1. Filiform Radical

            Hmm… I personally see it more as “my doing the thing you are thanking me for was not a problem, because I am happy to do you a favor even if it ends up being this difficult”. To me, “you’re welcome” connotes “I am superman” more, because it takes away the acknowledgment that there could have been a problem and simply says “you are welcome to my abilities (which are of course completely sufficient to accomplish whatever it was, and whatever else you might need in the future, without issue)”. I suppose your mileage may vary by listener.

            1. dcrane

              Perhaps related: To me, “no problem” does a better job of implying that nothing is owed in return. In other words, this cost me nothing so you need not be concerned about a debt.

              Maybe “you’re welcome” originally meant the same thing?

        2. PsimonSays

          As just slightly older than millennial Midwesterner, I tend to use you’re welcome and no problem or some variety thereof interchangeably.
          As an aside, de nada (literally “it’s nothing”) in Spanish is the polite response to gracias. English and Spanish have a long history of influence on each other, and at some level I wonder if this another example, sort of like how Puerto Rican Spanish generally uses pronouns explicitly while in most other dialects the pronoun is implied.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            In my colloquial English I’m often happy to omit the subject pronoun if it’s implicit anyway, as it generally is. Between the verb conjugation and the context, it is usually clearly implicit. Italians only include it for emphasis, and even in French, it’s hardly necessary informally.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How many will actually say, ‘Yes, it was a problem, but I did it, so you’re welcome?’

        If everyone says ‘no problem,’ all the time, then, it becomes doubtful if it’s not perfunctory.

      3. Dwight

        I’m in my mid-fifties and think “no problem” and “sure” have long been friendly ways to say “you’re welcome.” I would agree with Timotheus if he is referring to kids saying “no problem” to adults – formality to elders is polite and should still be expected. I grew up in the South though and may have higher expectations. It took me a while to get used to my kids’ friends in Seattle addressing me by my first name. Even in Seattle though, I think parents would teach kids to use a formal “you’re welcome” to an adult’s “thank you.”

    2. clinical wasteman

      “Today” goes back around 40 years & counting in the anglophone parts of the Southern Hemisphere, then. Interesting if it’s more recent elsewhere, hadn’t occurred to me if so. Lately began to notice “no worries” used instead in a certain sort of angloEnglish, but not sure if there’s more of that now or it only just caught my attention. Causes slight irrational flinch, I think because it sounds like it implies complete hearty assurance about everything, whereas “no problem” seems more circumspect.
      “You’re welcome” is a lovely expression for its broad, magnanimous connotation (like “Shalom”/”Salaam” in that way, although not the same meaning), but pointless when it’s audibly something drilled as “etiquette” into a kid or other speaker for whom it doesn’t make much sense. The capacity for collective linguistic invention among “kids today” (& those of every day that I remember) is one of those rare recurrent reasons for optimism. Especially inasmuch as it’s the natural enemy of the linguistic disinvention (flattening out of meaning, universalizing of cliche, normative social implications) practised by management consultants and advertisers.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Germans would say ‘bitte’ which is used where we would say ‘You’re welcome.’

        So you can say that the word, bitte, means you’re welcome. But what does the word literally mean in German? Does it mean ‘please?’

        So, instead of ‘you’re welcome,’ and instead of ‘no problem,’ the custom over there is to say, please. Is that it? And in the future, maybe kids here in America will say ‘please,’ in place of ‘no problem.’

          1. Hana M

            I reserve “No problem” for situations in which someone has screwed up inadvertently. Two Millennial clients of mine sent me a check that bounced. They apologized and immediately issued a new check. I emailed them “No problem.” (while charging them for the bank fee).

            To me, the routine use of “No problem” as a substitute for “Thank you” degrades what the giver has done but it’s better than nothing. But, as with everything these days, “it’s complicated!” I loved this essay about the meanings of “Thank you” for Hindi speakers https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/06/thank-you-culture-india-america/395069/

            1. Hana M

              Oops. I meant “Thank you” as a substitute for “You’re welcome”. Our American use of “No problem” seems closest to the French substitution of “de Rien” rather than the more graceful “Je vous en prie” or “Avec plaisir’

              1. Kurt Sperry

                I like the near-equivalent Italian to “no problem”, “non c’è di che”, but it’s the sentiment rather than the words that count. If we are generous and collegial in our interactions with others, these polite set piece phrases all serve admirably.

                1. xenophon61

                  As s non-English-native speaker who really likes the language, I run into an amusing problem:

                  – I, as everybody, must conform, and reply in a socially appropriate manner

                  – “you are welcome” is ambiguous, as one can attest from this thread, not to mention bland and odorless

                  So what did I come up with? Here’s what:

                  My response to a “thank you” is a “thank you“, which, when accented properly, is both socially warm and a nice signal of reciprocation.

                  In Greece, we tend to respond with an emphatic “pleeease!”, you see.

      2. timotheus

        I find “no problem” or “not a problem” to be rude. I would expect that if I stepped on someone’s foot in the subway and apologized to them for an obvious error. Hearing it when I simply have said, “Thank you” implies that I did something wrong and in fact should be begging forgiveness. It is particularly egregious when I hear it after saying thank you for a receipt just handed to me for a purchase. My reading of the phrase is, “It’s okay even though I had to interrupt more important activities (including my thought process) to serve you.”

        I fully recognize that this deposits me in the category of hopeless curmudgeon.

    3. dcrane

      My pet peeve – the replacement of “You’re welcome” with the awkward reply “And thanks for having me” by guests on call-in and interview shows.

  11. DJG

    1. Story not being covered: The Israeli influence in the U.S. election. I seem to recall Hillary Clinton going to AIPAC and pledging eternal fealty. What was that about?

    2. Being covered execrably: Yemen. Oh, it is far away, and they are irrational Shi’i tribesmen and tribesladies. But with starvation and cholera. We just can’t get a correspondent in there.

    3. Being covered well: Television. I don’t watch TV, and I know all about Mad Men, Transparent, and Difficult People. Isn’t that wonderful? It is the golden age of television, you know.

    4. Elections. I’m going to a community meeting here in Chicago tonight on fair elections. But in the gubernatorial race, it is all money: Rauner and “J.B.” And to mention Israel’s useful idiots, Rep. Brad Schneider did a hatchet job on Daniel Biss because Biss dared to ask DSA member Carlos Ramirez-Rosa to join the ticket. The sin of Rosa? Support for BDS. So Schneider dutifully pulled out all of the stops to make sure that Israel got what it wants. Then he and Biss engaged in duelling identity assertions. Not pretty. But in the end the “two-state solution” was something that they could agree upon = continuing apartheid.

    5. Kids these days: The young’uns on my Facebook feed are almost all uniformly turning left. Good times ahead. (And I agree with Timotheus about “no problem”: Where the heck did that expression come from?)

    1. Wisdom Seeker


      Story not being covered: The Israeli influence in the U.S. election. I seem to recall Hillary Clinton going to AIPAC and pledging eternal fealty. What was that about?

      Wasn’t just Hillary, either. Talk about owning both sides of the aisle…

      Toss in the Saudi influence as well. Plenty of documentation of pay-for-play going on in that sphere too.

  12. Tom

    I have a small outdoors business in Asia and have clients from around the world. Many teachers. What they tell me is by far not covered enough: greatest experiment in the history of mankind is what the internet and smartphones are doing with kids brains. It´s money, money, money. Compared to having commercials with junkfood on Kids TV programs smartphones are infinitely worse. That is my conclusion and it is hardly reported. I talked for a long time on a greyhound bus with an Indian student studying pedriatics in Harvard. He told me the statistics are aweful but instead of publishing them they hand out bromides to the public.

    1. Crazy Horse

      + 100– smartphones are the most destructive drug that the human race has ever become addicted to.

    2. jsn

      Agreed! This is a major disaster brewing: cognitive structures are largely set in childhood and iPhu*ked kids are having theirs structured for the needs of an assortment if digital predators.

    3. Wukchumni

      The most interesting aspect of kids and smartphones, is everything tends to be in snippets, there’s nothing of any length. I noticed my 12 year old nephew has no interest in reading books, I wonder if that’s part of the deal?

  13. SpringTexan

    Also not sufficiently covered: Rohinya refugee crisis (and the other, longer-standing refugee crises too).

  14. Filiform Radical

    With regard to kids these days, here’s a sample of the mood on campus: http://tsl.news/opinions/7107/

    I especially like the part about “a government that targets the vulnerable and functions on behalf of the wealthy and powerful”. Imagine!

    1. Big River Bandido

      That account could have been ghost-written by Neera Tanden. “It’s such a shame about Merrick Garland.” “I shall follow the lead of Hillary Clinton and continue onward.” Sheesh. Really?

      The writer’s perspective certainly isn’t “left”, and it doesn’t begin to describe the mood of the “kids these days” on the college campus where I teach.

      1. Filiform Radical

        That’s good to hear. Around these parts it’s distressingly representative. We have some genuine lefties, but a lot of people like Freiman.

  15. Plenue

    “What do you think is the biggest news story that’s not being sufficiently covered?”

    Yemen, without a doubt. We’re talking about the Us directly and indirectly supporting what is a literal genocide. At least a hundred thousand already dead, and millions headed for starvation. Histories biggest cholera epidemic as well.

  16. Musicismath

    2(a). The Guardian led with a story this morning that a university study had identified a few dozen Russian “troll” Twitter accounts that had posted roughly 3500 Tweets about Brexit (albeit, three quarters of which had appeared after the referendum date). Of course, we were assured this was “the tip of the iceberg.” On a well known liberal-left community weblog I’m a member of (which broke heavily for Clinton in the primaries), Americans were asking if May could in good conscience use this evidence to annul Brexit. To which I have to respond: just how naive are these people?

    1. visitor

      When the Catalan crisis reached its apex, there were articles and radio talks about the ubiquitous, nefarious Russians having launched a systematic campaign to stir the separatist mood and destabilize Spain.

    1. mk

      Interesting story regarding Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! and Pacifica:
      …Pacifica caves in to Amy Goodman’s demands

      So the almost prostrate Pacifica submitted to Goodman’s demands. It accepted a contract that was dictated almost entirely by Goodman’s own lawyer, who was also named as the contract’s sole arbiter, in case of any disputes. The contract not only turned over Democracy Now to Amy Goodman – free of charge — along with its priceless 7-year archive of historic programming; but also obligated Pacifica to pay, to Goodman’s corporation, a fee of $500,000 a year for the right to broadcastDemocracy Now on Pacifica stations; it also gave Goodman the right to keep some or all of the approximately $500,000 a year in licensing fees (which used to go to Pacifica) for syndicating the program to other stations; plus it gave Goodman the right to keep the approximately $250,000 a year (which also used to go to Pacifica) for selling to listeners CD copies of past and present programs at $10 each. It also gave Goodman the right to solicit donations for her corporation from Pacifica’s own mailing list, which Pacifica was required to turn over to Goodman for her own use, in periodically updated copies.

      The contract that literally gave away Democracy Now to Goodman’s corporation was signed by only one representative of Pacifica, its board chair. However, before signing the contract, she had not consulted with any of the other 21 members of the board about the terms of the contract, nor did any of the other board members even see a copy of the contract or know what was in it before the chair signed it. (It was later discovered that, during the contract negotiations, the Pacifica chair was actually being supported financially by Goodman’s personal lawyer, and at the time of the signing was given $30,000 that had been collected for her by Goodman’s lawyer from his private mailing list.)

      The Pacifica community is outraged at the giveaway

      Announcement of the giveaway of Democracy Now was greeted with outrage by thousands of Pacifica staff members and listeners throughout the network; it was viewed as an act of betrayal. In the face of mounting protests, board members at first reflexively defended the contract (even though they still had not seen a copy, and did not even know what was in it). But as protests continued, some board members (among them, Carol Spooner) later publicly regretted their support of the contract, but nevertheless did not act to rescind it.

      How much money did Amy Goodman make by taking Democracy Now away from Pacifica?

      In the 13 years since Amy Goodman wrested Democracy Now away from Pacifica, she has billed Pacifica an average of $630,000 per year in direct fees, or approximately $8.19 million since 2001. During those same years she also collected licensing fees of $2,000-$5,000 a year from other stations – which, since Democracy Now claims that it is aired on more than 1,000 radio, television, satellite and cable TV networks, could amount to $5 million per year, or as much as $65 million since 2001. (However, this is only an estimate, since these income figures for Goodman’s corporation are not publicized.)

      Goodman’s corporation also collects fees of $10 per CD from listeners who request copies of Democracy Now broadcasts. Using the figure of approximately $250,000 per year in CD requests, before Goodman took ownership, this could amount to as much as $3.3 million since 2001. (Again, this is an estimate, since these income figures for Goodman’s corporation are not publicized.)

      To summarize the above figures:

      The dollar amount that Democracy Now gained (and Pacifica lost or forwent) after it was given away to Amy Goodman’s corporation in 2001, is approximately $8.9 million in direct fees, plus approximately $68.3 million in licensing fees and CD sales, for a total of approximately $77.2 million. According to the limited public information available, Democracy Now reported its year 2011 income as $6.5 million, its assets as $13 million, and Amy Goodman’s salary, as corporation president, as $148,493. (All figures in this report are my own estimates, for which I will gladly apologize if incorrect, in the event that more accurate information is subsequently issued by Amy Goodman’s corporation.)

  17. TarheelDem

    Most undercovered story: Trump allowing ISIS leadership out of Raqqa through a truck convoy. US determination to continue presence in Syria.

  18. JohnnyGL

    I’m going to do a bit of a….”interesting videos I’ve seen recently” link dump.

    Ray McGovern and Bill Binney interviewed. The remark from Ray at the end about “pre-interview” interviews was interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1BZD6UX3wU

    Regarding Julian Assange attempting to get Trump Jr. to make mischief and leak stuff…this was pretty good….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYJFQ50pKBM
    It seems Assange’s goal is to foster mistrust/paranoia and factional infighting among the elites. Perhaps he’s getting his wish?

    And Lee Camp rightly draws attention to this awkwardness with Donna Brazile being interviewed. Check the 6-9 minute mark. He’s right to ask why Brazile seems so terrified. It seems like it’s not getting nearly enough attention. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQBhF9DunCo

    On somewhat of a side note, I think it’s more correct to talk about how the “DNC was owned” rather than “DNC rigged election”

    In other interesting MMT news….it appears Stephanie Kelton is still hanging out with Bernie….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdNIOAHeNsM
    Also, a decent speech from Bernie, too.

    1. June Goodwin

      You’re right about the Lee Camp interview with Brazile — WHY WAS she paranoid and then clammed up and changed the topic?

      What does she know? Why isn’t the media covering it?

  19. PKMKII

    1) I don’t know if it’s the biggest, but the political situation in Uganda is escalating towards a potential civil war, or at least some violent ugliness, surrounding the succession of the current president, who is age-restricted from running again. Assuming he doesn’t try to get the constitution amended again, which would likely lead to the same results. Nary a peep in the US press.

    2a) Everything related to Russian meddling. Too many anonymous sources, too much extrapolating, too much vague fearmongering, not enough real investigative journalism.

    2b) Civil asset forfeiture is getting better and better coverage across a wide range of media outlets.

    4a) Usual suspects won in my locality (Yay, a Wall Street investment bank alumni as my councilperson), but more noteworthy was two of the NYS ballot measures. Pension can now get stripped from elected officials who commit a felony as related to their office, and the Con Con measure got utterly and soundly rejected. The right and left were given many a reason to dislike the idea, whereas the proponents’ argument consisted of smugly chastising the opponents for not be reasonable enough or something, and offering extremely vague notions of how a Con Con would help.

    4b) With their hula hoops and ice cream cones!

  20. FriarTuck

    With regards to Kids These Days:

    I’m working my way through the recently published book of the same title by Malcolm Harris (subtitle: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials). I know that Yves and co. generally frown on the idea of generations, but I’m interpreting it as a fascinating look at the collective changes in society’s attitudes in respect to child rearing and education.

    As a person born in ’84, I can say that a number of observations certainly echo true for my own experience, even if the generalizations the book is working off of are terrible descriptors for one’s individual experience.

    I think so far the most striking point of the book is how much every aspect of growing up has been financialized. Kids are no longer “kids” but “economic agents” or investments. Even choosing the right kids to play together is seen by parents as having some sort of financial incentive.

    I’m only half-way, and looking forward to completing it. I only wonder how far this can be taken before something serious breaks in our society.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Kids as investments is not really a reliable idea.

      I mean, they might have to get a minimum wage job in China. How do you get your money back?

    2. Lee

      IMHO, the sharing of common or similar historical contexts, particularly as regards material conditions and the possibilities that flow therefrom, allows for some valid generational generalizations.

  21. Pelham

    As for stuff that’s not covered well, I’d nominate sexual harassment. But not harassment of aspiring actresses, comedians, etc., but rather the much more pervasive and often much worse kind endured by women working as waitresses, hotel cleaning personnel and the like — as Barbara Ehrenreich has noted. To judge from the commentary I’ve heard so far, there’s zero sympathy for or concern about these women.

    1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

      I agree sexual harassment is badly covered.

      Missing is context: we get serial scandals like isolated points–this person, this company, (hints at an industry, e.g. Hollywood, but no systematic analysis of it), even this institution (Cal legislature, Congress) but no tapestry, nothing weaving it all together so it makes sense. Missing is discussions about the role of power; about the role of advertising; about norms. How do people learn they have social permission to harass and assault? At what age? From whom?

      Missing is history: women got the right to vote 100 years ago; Mad Men (which made so many nostalgic) was 60ish years ago; 45 years ago my mother was one of single digit women at Columbia Law, and people didn’t understand why she was there because she was attractive enough to get a husband; today we still have versions of religion that teach women must submit to their husbands and many other flavors of teaching that women are second class, and the numbers are non-neglible.

      Sexual harassment and even assault is normal in our society, but we keep talking about it as isolated incidents. We need to zoom out to the big picture too, connect the dots.

      1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

        Here’s a little effort at context:

        One question often levied at the accusers is why they didn’t come forward publicly before now, a month away from the special election for Alabama senator. Moore has been a public and often controversial figure in Alabama politics for decades.

        It’s an issue both Johnson and Thorp wanted to address.

        Thorp said local women have not spoken publicly against Moore before now because he had power in town and in the state, and they didn’t think they would be believed.

        “Everybody knew it wouldn’t matter,” she said, “that he would get elected anyway because his supporters are never going to believe anything bad about him.”

        Johnson said the answer was even more simple.

        “It’s because somebody asked,” she said. “If anybody had asked, we would have told it. No one asked.”

        Also more:

        Maybe the conversation will change

  22. Alfred

    Kids these days? Well, the three tall Bruins in China, for example. Or the Mnuchins — just a couple of big kids, really — playing with money down at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing

  23. Lee

    I am not necessarily listing deficiencies but interests.

    Modern Monetary Theory for dummies reading. Actually I just searched (notice I did not say “googled”) “Modern Monetary Theory for dummies” and got a bunch of hits. Maybe I should start there.

    One quick question: how is it that taxes don’t pay for government spending? I get that the gov can just print the money to pay for spending but at about 1/3 of the economy, I expect it would create some amount of inflation.

    Yemen + Saudi and Israeli perfidy and skulduggery.

    Grass roots and union organizing

    Economic effects of immigration on usa workers

    Possibility of a synthesis of left and right populism on particular issues. For example, there seems to be some agreement on trade and outsourcing.

    1. Grebo

      I expect it would create some amount of inflation.

      Yup, that’s what the taxes are for.
      Government spends, the economy mends, government taxes, the economy relaxes.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The other alternative is this:

        Government lowers taxes, the economy mends; government reduces spending, the economy relaxes.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think at that point, the government is going to whine, sorry, ask, ‘Why can’t I either tax more, or spend more, my whole life?’

          And I can empathize. Who doesn’t want to spend his entire life either taxing other people more, or spending more him/herself?

    2. Summer

      Funny thing about inflation, it only seems to become an issue when gov’t spending does not go to banks or the wealthy…
      And inflation caused by wealth disparity isn’t discussed…

    3. WobblyTelomeres

      Suggest Randall Wray’s primer on MMT, “Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems”.

    4. JBird

      You’re right. On certain things the American left, right, and center agree on what is important, fair, and just. They prioritize differently and the solutions proposed might be different; perhaps if all Americans realized how much they have in common, they could achieve those goals.

      Personally I’m getting tired of seeing me and mine being the tools of the rich, the connected, and the corrupt especially as they don’t seem to mind breaking their tools so long as they get richer.

      1. steelhead

        + 1000%. Especially, if all of your HS & College “Best Friends” had multi million trust funds at the time and when the parents that were wealthy told your “Best Friends” that “You are not allowed to associate at all with this individual…”

    5. Wisdom Seeker

      I expect it would create some amount of inflation.

      There are bubbles in just about every asset class known to mankind. That’s where most of the monetary inflation went.

      Your consumer prices didn’t go up because you’re already being harvested of as much cash as you can spend, and then some (consumer and mortgage debt levels are soaring again). They won’t pay you more and they can’t charge you more.

      When unemployment gets low enough that the workers start to demand their fair slice of the pie again, that’s when the credit will get tightened up, until a couple bubbles pop and unemployment gets above NAIRU again. Can’t allow wage inflation, it’s bad for short-term profits.

  24. mle detroit

    Re stories not covered, have you noticed an absence of DJT Jr and Julian Assange from MSM? I’d love to be a fly on the wall in editorial meetings today.

  25. The Rev Kev

    Just for a smaller topic, how about the US Air Force collecting Russian DNA samples. Anybody here guess what they could be used for? Sorry, but not a conspiracy but a documented fact.
    See the pages at https://off-guardian.org/2017/11/03/why-is-the-us-air-force-collecting-samples-of-russian-dna/ as well as the US Air Force response at http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/11/02/540721/US-Air-Force-Russia-DNA-Putin-Biological-terrorism-Israel
    It is stuff like this as well as the west stationing thousands of special forces on their border as well as missiles that may be nuclear that get the Russians on edge.

  26. Summer

    What’s not covered enough?
    How much of the economy is a war and surveillance economy, with a dose of sickness. War Culture + Surveillance Capitalism X Big Pharma = What Could Go Wrong???

  27. clarky90

    Here is news that the MSM will not talk about; Kiwis have compromised, for the common good.

    “New Zealand First leader Winston Peters announced on 19 October 2017 that his party would form a coalition government with Labour. That same day, Green Party leader James Shaw announced that his party would give confidence and supply to the 55 seat Labour-NZ First government.”


    I am proud to say that the voters of NZ have elected a coalition government of (1) Labour (2) NZ First (conservative/populist) (3) The Greens. This is wonderful! (fingers crossed).

    And it is possible to have a “big tent”, happily viable, political coalition.

    They defeated the Neo-Jurassic Reptilian Party (National).

    This is the neo-emergence of a Mammalian Coalition! Hooray

    Take note! This is a coalition who disagree about some issues and agree on others. They have agreed to disagree on somethings and progress their common ideas for the good of the country.

    I expect them to take a “team” approach to government, ie, pass the rugby ball around and let the little coalition partners (NZ First and The Greens) score tries (points) too. Not just Labour (the dominant party).

    Our PM is Jacinda Ardern. Her father was a policeman and her mother was a school canteen worker. She was raised in a small town as a Mormon.


    Critically, PM Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, have always smiled hugely and laughed often. IMO, the key of their success.

    1. Wukchumni

      She’s got a most interesting story, unlike any other leader in the world…

      Winston Peters reminds me of Jesse Jackson a bit, but he ended up going somewhere~

      To me, the most interesting aspect, will be how the country fares with an overheated housing bubble, she inherited from your previous PM, a Unabanker.

  28. Wukchumni

    I was @ Wal*Mart today and saw something i’ve never seen before…

    …the locked glass case with ammunition in the sporting goods section was fully stocked with every caliber imaginable, and lots of back up stock

    There would be times in the past when it was 80% empty, to give you an idea of how nutty the demand was just a few years ago~

      1. Wukchumni

        What struck me about the days when the cupboard was almost bare, here’s a giant company that has many thousands of individual items for sale, and yet they couldn’t keep 30 kinds of ammo in stock.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Any Made-in-Russia ammo on sale there?

          That would be prima facie evidence…of something.

  29. Wukchumni

    There’s a generation of first born kids, whose parents are 40 or thereabouts. It’s really never happened before en masse, as far as I can tell.

    Obviously there’s issues such as autism and other things associated with having children @ such a late stage in life, but there’s also the idea that the parents had 15-20 more years of learning & living to impart on their offspring, and what difference will there be between them and say children born to parents in their 20’s?

  30. anonn

    Not being covered: how many countries are we at war with? Why? Are we just going to keep losing the war in Afghanistan forever? Obama obviously didn’t want the loss to be on his watch, and Trump is doubling down. Why do we have so many generals if none of them can figure this out and none of them could stop it?

    Kids these days: I’m mildly optimistic. They sure aren’t buying the lies peddled by neoliberalism like we Gen-Xers did. God what a bunch of gullible chumps we were. My 19 y.o. niece and her stoner boyfriend have a better understanding of political economy than any of my friends do now, and most of them went to grad school.

  31. witters

    Perhaps Chris Mooney could self-review “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality.”

    Has there been a brain transplant event?

  32. djrichard

    Yield on 13 week treasury is 25 basis points higher than it was when the Fed Reserve last raised the fed funds rate. Which indicates that the Fed Reserve is overdue in raising the fed funds rate by another 25 basis points in order to stay in reach of the 13 week.

    But even with a 25 basis point increase it won’t flip the yield curve (the 10Y yield has been correspondingly increasing too). So this rate increase will be a nothing burger. BTFD! That’s how this disco works.

  33. VietnamVet

    The biggest uncovered story:
    “On November 14, over 40 members of Congress–both Democrats and Republicans–wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, warning him of their concerns about Iran establishing a permanent presence in Syria, and thus completing a Shia Corridor, running from Iran through Iraq and Syria into the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon.”

    There is no sure way to cut the corridor except by an invasion by the Israeli Army. Saudis and Americans cannot defeat Hezbollah plus the Iranian and Iraqi Shiite militias supported by Russia with the ground forces in theater. The alternative, an intensive 24/7 bombing campaign, sooner or later, will end up with a shoot down by the Shiite militias of a Saudi, Israeli or American jet. Any move to cut the Shiite Crescent will result in a black swan event that will escalate the regional conflict into a World War. A Middle East peace treaty is the only alternative to a World at War.

  34. dk

    Just want to drop a note that Albuquerque, NM elected Tim Keller to the mayor’s office in last nights runoff election, 62.1% / 37.8% (~24%) over Republican Dan Lewis.

    Turnout for the runoff was 96,813, similar to the general (96,971), reflecting strong GOTV efforts.

    The previous 2013 mayoral saw turnout of 70,473, when the Republican incumbent Richard J. Berry won with 68.12% and a winning margin around 36%.

    In the October 3 general election:

    Keller led the seven-way race with 39.35 percent of the vote, followed by Lewis’ 22.93 percent, according to the unofficial returns Tuesday night.

    Keller ran a publicly financed campaign, receiving $342,952 from taxpayers. ABQ Forward Together, a measure finance committee in support of Keller, raised more than $361,000.

    All together, all eight official candidates raised more than $2.627 million [for the general]. Brian Colón, attorney at Robles, Rael & Anaya PC and former New Mexico Democratic Party chair, raised more than $850,000 and came in third with 16.38 percent of the vote.


  35. NotTimothyGeithner

    I am enjoying how the Tom Brady “deflated” balls scandal is exacting a personal toll on Jerry Jones and the Cowboys almost three years after Bill Belichick had to explain the ideal gas law and why you need to check your tire pressure.

  36. Lee

    This headline showed up on my Google News page:

    Decapitated Male Mantis Still Fucks. Gizmodo
    I’m no linguistic prude; I use the term in question several times a day. But this instance struck me as a bit weird.

  37. Jeff W

    For the narrative (not topic) not being covered I would say the revolt against neoliberalism and the élites that is occurring and has been occurring for the better part of a decade, with various degrees of success, all over the globe. It’s been conflated with one manifestation of it—resurgent right-wing nationalism—as a way of both discrediting and denying it so it hasn’t been covered as such but it seems like the political narrative of the age to me.

    1. Wisdom Seeker

      I agree with this one. neopopulism on all colors of the left-right spectrum is the big uncovered story.

  38. D

    Sigh, I’ve always had a hard time reconciling the word news, in a combo with the word story[ies]. Perhaps it’s my age, but in my lifetime, stories were never equated with news. Stories, were considered to be: metaphorical lessons; utterly one-sided accounts; or outright ‘fibs;’ whereas, the news was considered as being an as objective as possible account of actual events which transpired. Given that edit of the questions, here are my kneejerk responses:

    1) What do you think is the biggest news that’s not being sufficiently covered?

    How utterly unprepared for a very large solar storm we are (and it would be utterly catastrophic – on so many levels – when one meditates on the realities, and how BIG TECH is magnifying that Huge Problem by deliberately obsolescing the needed manually operated infrastructure backup in that event.

    2a) Of the news being covered, which [issues] do you think are being covered most badly?

    1) Anything that has to do with the US DOD in Africa, the Middle East, and all small and/or impoverished countries.

    2) The Suicide/Alcohol/Opioid Epidemic of those over fifty, in that it attributes the problemed population as being Uneducated™. First of all what does Uneducated™ mean? If someone is a non college degreed expert on those needs which sustain humanity, how could they possibly be considered as Uneducated™? Further, there has been an utter blackout of news of those (who also have/had morals) who are Educated™ – with Degrees/Professional License!™ – who should be, but never are, noted in terms of that Suicide/Alcohol/Opioid Epidemic of those over fifty.

    2b) Of the news being covered, which do you think are being covered well?

    Opening and closing stock and commodities prices for the Free Markets Class.™

    Kids today

    Not wealthy, Public Elementary School kids today can be cuffed in front of their class mates, for just being kids, and having normal and honest emotions, a horrid sign. I’ve never witnessed similar happening in the Mahoganied Halls of the US Congress when far worse was ‘emoted’ for utterly dishonest personal gain.

  39. Ping

    Funny you should ask about a uncovered big story.

    One will soon be unfolding in Arizona where, emboldened by the Trump administration’s radical environmental policies, the monied exteme subculture of Safari Club International will unleash a huge propaganda campaign to literally define trophy hunting as conservation, (with the kind of skewed science the fossil industry uses to define global warming) to defeat a trophy hunting ban on our iconic big cats and this formula will then proceed “state by state”. Partnered with the NRA they have lobbied to reverse a ban on the most inhumane hunting methods, shooting from helicopters, in dens with cubs, steel jaw leg hold traps……without conscience!

    Safari Club International whose in-house team of lawyers is dedicated to eliminating species protections worldwide to fuel macabre trophy contests involving thousands of animals and hundreds of species including rare and endangered is the world’s biggest lobbyist for trophy hunting and is globally headquartered in Tucson AZ where they control Arizona Game and Fish.

    It’s a huge story as this upcoming SCI propaganda campaign, if successful, will have major consequences for wildlife conservation.

    Lots of supporting documents, research and access to the coalition of major humane and wildlife conservation organization experts. PLEASE give this story about very very big business defining conservation exposure and journalists can contact me thru this site as I have been posting and donating since inception. It will be a big story…..like “Black Fish” and judging by the outrage of the tortured killing of iconic Cecil the Lion lured from protected park by SCI member (business as usual).

    1. JBird


      Can you recommend some good sources?

      Not that I am eager to read yet another example of neoliberalism’s tendency to crapify everything.

      American hunters were early proponents of wildlife conservation both because they wanted animals to hunt and they often just loved nature itself. Of course that was a century ago.

  40. Wukchumni

    Anybody find they are attracted to doing things a computer can’t accomplish?

    I think I rather subconsciously went that route…

  41. Wukchumni

    I keep a $10 Trillion* Zimbabwe banknote in my wallet, as a warning of what can happen when you issue money backed by nothing…

    My sister went there on vacation in the early 80’s and a Zim$ was about equal to a US$ @ the time~

    * get your own on eBay for $1.99

  42. D

    My vote, in the above back and forth, is for you’re welcome, with the qualification of situations such as these two (I know there are more qualifications but generally, when someone utters the words thank you, they tend to mean it, it’s mostly a humble and gracious response among caring humans):

    1) power imbalance: where the utterance of the words, Thank You, reek of undeserved irony or condescension, in which case, the absolute best response, to my mind, is Fuck You! … if one can get away with it without harming themselves.

    2) taking advantage of a peer (and having a history of it), but never being there (even though the person has the ability to ‘be there’) when they need you: where No Problem, along with a tone of exasperation in response to that user’s Thank You, is the first step before Don’t ask again.

  43. relstprof

    Uwe Reinhardt died without supporting single-payer medicare for all.

    I had so many discussions with him and his family in the 90s.

    This kind of shit doesn’t matter. So tired of the acclaim without the benefits.

    DSA is registering joiners.

  44. knowbuddhau

    Not really sure that these aren’t just topics, but thought I’d add my voice.

    I foresee a crisis arising at the nexus of the self and computer security. There really is no self/other divide, not absolutely at least. So where is the there on which to pin a secure identity?

    TS Elliot was on about this in The Four Quartets. The person who boards a train, sits, and reads a paper, is not the same as the one who stands and disembarks. We’re not even the “same” from moment to moment. This is also my understanding of a Zen take on reincarnation. It’s not supernatural. It requires no special theory of survival of some “thing” between lives.

    Quantum physics tells us the same thing. What else do we know from quantum physics? Uncertainty is fundamental to the becoming of so-called “reality.” What do we know from security and encryption? No uncertainty allowed.

    We’re going to be required to commit ourselves to one and only one digitally enhanced narrative of one and only one set of “facts” abstracted from the phantasmagoria that is a human life. It may even bear the imprimatur of “official.”

    By so doing, we create an object of value for others to steal. What then? You, the living, becoming, being, that isn’t the same from moment to moment, is going to have to prove (“touch to stone”) an impossibility: that you are “in fact” that thing so described by your official narrative. If you don’t, you’ll be effectively excommunicated. A non-person.

    We’ll need a method of death and resurrection for our digital selves. Otherwise, won’t be surprised if there’s a mass nervous breakdown over the attempt to collapse our wave-like nature down to discrete particles, and make them stay there for at least a lifetime, maybe forever.

    Also been thinking a lot about losses of faith. Many a social edifice is collapsing in place. Obama’s quip aside, what really happens when people lose faith in politics, the economy, and/or their faith of choice? Are the deaths from despair a symptom?

    It’s really hard to think creatively. All the more so under the influence of the shock doctrine. Absent a new inspiration/revelation, a new prophet, there’s a lot of doubling down. The questions of the hour are, Can we do it? And do we have the time?

    When you read “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice” and then the Nature article about inequality across the millennia, suggesting that inequality such as in the US has only been leveled by war, revolution, famine, state collapse, and the horrific like, and then you multiply those known scourges with all the techno-horrors we’ve loosed on the world, you get the feeling that some truly spic sh!t’s about to go down.

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