Links 11/5/17

Why Clocks Run Clockwise (And Some Watches And Clocks That Don’t) Hodinkee

Hunt for Ming dynasty admiral Zheng He’s lost treasure ship heats up in Indian Ocean SCMP

How the panda became China’s diplomatic weapon of choice FT

The decimation of local news in New York City Columbia Journalism Review

Monsanto accused of ignoring relevant scientific data on glyphosate Politico


New Cold War

Mueller braces for challenges to his authority Politico

FBI turns over new Clinton investigation documents to Congress The Hill


The Trump Administration’s Looming Political Crisis New Yorker

US government climate report: Climate change is real and our fault Ars Technica

A Broke, and Broken, Flood Insurance Program NYT

Carbon cloud hangs heavy over India, Southeast Asia Asia Times

Poor countries spending climate cash on rich world consultants Climate Home News

COP23: Testing times for Paris climate pact after Trump withdrawal Al Jazeera

Coalition Talks Stalling on Climate Targets Der Spiegel

Anthony Bourdain’s new film explores problem of food waste Treehugger

North Korea

Securing North Korean nuclear sites would require a ground invasion, Pentagon says WaPo. Lambert: “I’ll take that as a no.”

Trump, Putin to meet and discuss North Korea CNN

German military study: EU collapse conceivable worst case Politico


UK firms want a Brexit transition deal by March Guardian. And I want a magic sparklepony for Christmas.

Brexit: living in fantasy land

The joke’s over – how Boris Johnson is damaging Britain’s global stature New Statesman

Gordon Brown says Pentagon misled UK over case for Iraq invasion Guardian

Who’s Afraid of Corporate COINTELPRO? UserFriendly

Google escalates blacklisting of left-wing web sites and journalists World Socialist Web Site

Australia same-sex marriage plebiscite comes to a head FT


Ousted Catalan leader calls for united front for independence Reuters

Colm Tóibín: ‘Why shouldn’t Catalonia be an independent state within Europe?’ Guardian

Democrats in Disarray

Donna Brazile: I considered replacing Clinton with Biden as 2016 Democratic nominee WaPo

Tax “Reform”

Big Pharma a Big Winner in Trump’s Proposed Tax Plan Public Citizen

Despite Trump Campaign Promise, Billionaires’ Tax Loophole Survives Again Pro Publica

France dials back on digital tax plans after US meetings  Politico

House GOP quietly revises tax bill to tax income at higher rates over time CBS News

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

YouTube’s new profiles for children have privacy experts very concerned MarketWatch

Trump Transition

Trump urges Saudi Arabia to list state oil company on N.Y. stock exchange Politico


Trump begins 12-day visit to Asia to build war coalition against North Korea World Socialist Web Site

Mattis, Tillerson Want Blank Check to Wage Illegal War TruthOut

Can Jared Kushner Save Criminal Justice Reform? Marshall Project

Trump Called for FBI to Investigate Clinton. Impeachable? Maybe. LawNewz


Bringing Accountability to the Wells Fargo Boardroom NYT. Gretchen Morgenson.

Class Warfare

A Billionaire Destroyed His Newsrooms Out of Spite NYT

New York mayor calls Cubs owner ‘a coward’ over closing news site DNAinfo, but Emanuel won’t go there Chicago Tribune

Have You Been Asked This Discriminatory Question in a Job Interview? It Might Be Illegal Now in Your City AlterNet

Monopolies are privatizing the World Wide Web. Here’s how to stop it. The Week


Ghost Centres, Profit-Making Aims Mar Rajasthan’s Privatisation of Primary Healthcare The Wire

Narendra Modi hints at crackdown on benami properties  LiveMint

Why Indian mobile users must take the initiative to protest against linking their phones to Aadhaar

While India tries out price caps on cardiac stents, more evidence emerges on their overuse globally


Saudi princes among dozens detained in anti-corruption purge BBC

Saudi Arabia Arrests 11 Princes, Billionaire As Crown Prince Cracks Down Corruption International Business Times

Citigroup, 21st Century Fox, Twitter: Prince’s Arrest Touches Many NYT

Lebanon – Hariri’s Resignation – The Opening Shot Of The Saudi War On Hizbullah Moon  of Alabama

There Are Now 895,000 Cases of Cholera in Yemen American Conservative

Donald Trump’s best new policy in the Middle East would be no new policy Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Turkey’s currency bubble pops Asia Times

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    Hunt for Ming dynasty admiral Zheng He’s lost treasure ship heats up in Indian Ocean SCMP

    Interesting story, and as I pointed out the other day, salvaging warships is really all about how much time has passed since they sunk.

    There wasn’t a word about ‘disturbing a war grave’ in the article, it was more about the excitement of the chase.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Archaeology isn’t all Indiana Jones fortunately. As an example, not that long ago they found the actual shipyards that helped build and supply Admiral Zheng He’s ships ( and they made some fantastic finds.
      In any case, organic remains quickly degrade over time in the sea. As an example, they have found pairs of shoes near the site of the Titanic as the bodies disappeared over time but the leather of the shoes did not. Doesn’t mean that there are no organic remains in sealed compartments of that ship which explains why people were riled when a company was using the Titanic as its own personal treasure trove. Same with those WW2 wrecks. Same with the USS Arizona which Trump just visited. A balance has to be struck here.

      1. Wukchumni

        Lets say my uncle was on the USS Arizona and was one of the unfortunate victims…

        I would be born about 20 years after his untimely passing, and never knew him aside from a few black & white photos. There’d be a connection no doubt-but not much more, and to take the lineage further, let’s say I had a kid when I was 25, and my kid had a kid when he was 25, and my grandson would be 6 now, and his great great uncle died 75 years ago.

        It takes a while to forget the past, usually a century does the trick.

        Try and name a popular book, movie or personality from 1917?

        1. Massinissa

          Does a series of books count? There was at least one Rover Boys young adult novel per year during that period. But I guess it doesn’t count since I wouldn’t know the title of the one specifically from 1917.

          As for films and personalities? I have no idea without checking, point proven.

          The 20s or 30s would be easier, though. I think most people even in 20 years could name a few movies or personalities from the 30s, or at least I damn hope so. Would be disappointed if that’s not the case.

        2. dearieme

          In 1917 the first jazz recording was made by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, with Nick La Rocca on cornet.

          Surly every patriotic American knows that?

        3. The Rev Kev

          Actually, there are still survivors from the USS Arizona alive. For them it matters where they lie as whenever a survivor from the USS Arizona dies, they have the right to be buried with their shipmates aboard that wreck. I suppose that it all comes down to matters of the treatment of the dead. Traditionally this meant – in most cultures – a grave and a marker to say who you were. In Germany I was there on a day when the people of a village went to, as a group, visit their families in the local cemetery. They lit candles for them and even those graves that no longer had living members had candles lit for them so as not to be forgotten. It was quite poignant.
          I recently read of a modern proposal for the treatment of the dead. They would get a bio-disposable body bag and be buried in a paddock that would have sheep grazing on it (I tell you no pork pies here!) and if the family wanted to visit them, they would receive a latitude and longitude to do so. Yeah, that should do the trick. Maybe there would be an app for them.
          As for a popular book, movie or personality from 1917 I am more into events for that year such as the US entry into WW1, the Russian Revolution and the death of my grand uncle in the Battle of Broodseinde on the Western Front. I suppose that I am old fashioned but I prefer the sentiments to be found in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Requiem”-

          UNDER the wide and starry sky
          Dig the grave and let me lie:
          Glad did I live and gladly die,
          And I laid me down with a will.

          This be the verse you ‘grave for me:
          Here he lies where he long’d to be;
          Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
          And the hunter home from the hill.

    2. Plenue

      Sanctifying war remains is simply part of the process of glorifying war in general. Go ahead, dig up all the graves; the knowledge gained might mean they actually eventually served a useful purpose. I see the same kind of lamenting about Imperial Japanese Navy wrecks disappearing because of salvagers. The IJN was a disgusting organization (though not as disgusting as the IJA), that facilitated death and misery on a massive scale. Let the wrecks rust, lost and forgotten as they deserve, or cut them up and turn them into something useful.

      1. JBird

        This is common and done not just in the oceans. One of the most frustrating things when studying history, archeology, or even anthropology is the desecration and sometimes complete destruction of the past often for a little money. Whole cemeteries, towns and other, often religious, structures are ripped apart sometimes with real bulldozers just to find something profitable to sell. I do not think dishonoring the dead (some of whose immediate family and friends are still alive) and denying everyone knowledge of our collective past for mere profit as unimportant.

  2. bronco

    Brazille thought about replacing Clinton with Joe Biden? Bearing in mind she knew the DNC screwed Bernie so when Hillary comes down with the vapors and has to be shuffled aside for health reasons .

    The move in that case is to swoop in and replace her with a guy that didn’t get a single vote in the primary?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I suspect this is more of a passing comment that she made, but the newspapers are hyping it up to cover for the really big story in her book – the fixing of the election. By any standards this should be headline news around the world, that the US presidential election was a fix (yes I know its not the ‘main’ election, but the US system is such that the initial round is completely controlled by the two main parties). There seems to be a determined effort underway to bury the story.

      1. jrs

        +1 it’s about that

        it’s really not about whether Brazille is a good person or not, she may be as good a person as a person can be and play the completely corrupt game that is insider mainstream politics. But it still is what it is. But it’s useful information she has admitted, so Presidential primaries at least on the Dem side have been made a complete Potemkin village. Okay …

      2. Doug Hillman

        Similarly, the evidence-free presumption of Russian hacking/meddling in the election also goes blissfully unchallenged. And conspicuously unmentioned in that is the glaring, supreme irony of Russia’s alleged meddling in the DNC’s fixing of the election. How dare they meddle in our rigging of democracy? (or our humanitarian regime-changes or the sanctity of the Clinton Foundation)? It’s an outrage!

        Infighting among the swamp creatures: an entertaining distraction from the true depths of depravity.

    2. Marco

      I am as dismayed by a gleeful left jumping to defend Brazille as I am by the Clintonists rushing to tear her down. Her monumental failure during the 2000 election should automatically disqualify any turd-polishing.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        But it’s Hill-arious to watch those who were calling for unity when it suited them now tearing each other apart!

        This cracks me up:

        Former Clinton campaign officials strongly disputed some details in Brazile’s account as well as her overall characterization of the campaign, and they disparaged her memoir as an effort to sell books and manufacture drama.

        Because Clinton’s book is presumably being given away and is an unimpeachably objective historical account written for the edification or orphans or some such.

      2. Deadl E Cheese

        As part of said gleeful left, don’t take people like me sticking up for Brazile for anything other than ‘any stick to beat a dog’, okay? I have no intention helping her do anything but drive a stake through the heart of the Democratic Party. If in the course of things she ends up being absolved, a tenure with CATO, and hooked up with a ten-million dollar book deal, so be it. Anything to kill off that useless party.

        1. redleg

          Having been loudly criticized by Clinton Cultists since her campaigns started, and especially since 2015, Brazile’s account affirms nearly everything progressives have persecuted (yes, persecuted) for. The “Autopsy” article published before Brazile’s work covers the rest.
          Vindication feels good, but it doesn’t mean anything unless/until the Party’s “call for unity” is bottom up (it’s not) and mea culpa changes in leadership occur (not going to happen).
          Now the Podesta/Tanden/Huma cult leaders are calling Brazile a Putin Puppet(tm). They need to become the next Whigs. Burn it down.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          One of the most damning aspects of Team Blue is keeping Brazile around all these years despite her continual record of failures. Wow, Donna is going to replace DWS! Was Mark Penn unavailable?

          1. Marco

            Tin-foil hat time. Maybe this is an exquisitely engineered move by the DNC puppet-masters to earn some faux street cred with the left while still keeping a toxic hack near the top of the org.

      3. Octopii

        I don’t see anyone defending her. They almost all seem to be pissed about the timing, and about making the Dems look weak.

        1. Carla

          It is impossible for anyone to make the Dems look weaker than they have amply demonstrated themselves to be.

    3. Enrique Bermudez

      I just kind of take this Brazile and Warren’s recent actions/statements as evidence that the chances for “Hillary 2020” have gone from slightly better than nonzero to more or less absolute zero.

      Pretty terrible that this is about my only interest in politics anymore – just hoping that abominable ghoul never achieves her lifelong ambition. Such is the almost minimal regard I have for any remotely conceivable candidate out there. Exception of Tulsi Gabbard maybe, but she’d get hacked to pieces from all directions if she ran. The “cozying up to Assad” MIC/deep state/establishment line would get run out against her ad infinitum until it had every normie solidly against her.

      1. Camembert

        Plus she’s, you know, super homophobic in a way that would destroy fundraising.

        I like Gabbard, and she contributes in a deep way, but I think she’s best where she is.

        1. ChrisPacific

          I don’t know that that’s true. Certainly her father was, and she used to be, but she seems to have moved away from that based on more recent statements.

          You might regard it as a test of her ability to engage with her own inherited beliefs and challenge them when necessary. I think she has proved that she can do that, even if people might have differing opinions on how well she has succeeded.

          I do think that her foreign policy and MIC views would make her as much a target as Trump – probably more so as I think she would be less susceptible to manipulation (and being ex-military she wouldn’t be as prone to romantic notions of warfare). The Republicans would be implacably against her so all the MIC would need to do would be convince a few Democrats that she was compromised, and they see Russians under every bed these days, so that’s not likely to be a difficult task.

      2. Mel

        I’m keeping an eye on Jamie Dimon. He’s been going around all year making noises like a president. It can’t be just Zuckerberg who looks at Trump and says “What? Who? Him? I can do that!”

        1. Wukchumni

          “if a debtor refuses to repay the money that he has borrowed, declaring that the signatures are false.”

          “All vices but one the young imitate of their own free will; avarice alone is enjoined on them against the grain. For that vice has a deceptive appearance and semblance of virtue, being gloomy of mien, severe in face and garb. The miser is openly commended for his thrift, being deemed a saving man, who will be a surer guardian of his own wealth than if it were watched by the dragons of the Hesperides or of Colchis. Moreover, such a one is thought to be skilled in the art of money-getting.”

          “No human passion has mingled more poison-bowls, none has more often wielded the murderous dagger, than the fierce craving for unbounded wealth. For the man who wants wealth must have it at once; what respect for laws, what fear, what sense of shame is to be found in a miser hurrying to be rich?”


          1. RUKidding

            It would be nice to see Dimon in orange, but given Trump in the Whitehouse? I don’t rule out Dimon at least trying; afer all, Obama gave Dimon those POTUS cufflinks.

            Would he better or worse than Trump? Ugh. What a Q, for which I hope I never have to answer.

      3. Kurt Sperry

        Warren has existed on or near a cleavage plane within the Democratic Party for years. Her reaction to Brazile’s published excerpts put her definitively on the opposite side as Hillary for the first time of which I am aware. If that’s right, I think it’s maybe a big deal.

        1. Wukchumni

          Lizzy Warren took attacks
          From the usual right wing* hacks
          When she saw what they had done
          A senate seat she went out & won

          * funny aside, my to the right of right of right B-I-L practically yelled “If Warren is ever president, i’ll kill myself!” at dinner, a month ago. I’ll be anxious to remind him, should it come to pass.

    4. dcblogger

      I hope that Tom Perez is really glad he put her on the Rules Committee of the DNC. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      It wasn’t just a biden for clinton swap she was thinking about, kaine was going to get the heave ho as well. For cory booker!

      Yeah, I’m sure that woulda worked. What with all those newly minted obama-hating racists out there and all.

      I can imagine her thinking it, I just can’t believe she said it out loud.

    6. diptherio

      “Brazille thought about replacing Clinton with Joe Biden?” Because, donchaknow, that’s how the Democratic presidential candidate are decided: whoever the DNC chair selects.

      1. Vatch

        Well, not exactly, but close. She needs the Executive Committee to approve a special meeting to choose a new candidate.

        Article 2, Section 7 of the Bylaws (not the Charter):

        ( c ) Special meetings of the National Committee may be held upon the call of the Chairperson with the approval of the Executive Committee with reasonable notice to the members, and no action may be taken at such a special meeting unless such proposed action was included in the notice of the special meeting. The foregoing notwithstanding, a special meeting to fill a vacancy on the National ticket shall be held on the call of the Chairperson, who shall set the date for such meeting in accordance with the procedural rules provided for in Article Two, Section 8(d) of these Bylaws.

        Section 8(d):

        (d) Except as otherwise provided in the Charter or in these Bylaws, all questions before the Democratic National Committee shall be determined by majority vote of those members present and voting in person or by proxy.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Would that vacancy still be a vacancy if she was not well for a prolonged period, instead of a quick collapse?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s a private organization, and they have set their own rules (hopefully clearly legal, sometimes life is full of uncertainties).

        That’s why The Rules Committee is important.

        You determine which currency is the global reserve money, where transactions should be cleared, which language is the global popular language (the mastering of which requires the student to be immersed in all its ideals, dogmas, myths, doctrines, etc), which meat to eat (cow meat OK, rat meat not OK, dog meat No No, snake meat…maybe), how often or where you can wear your birthday suit (or how much of it), what body odors are tolerable, etc.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Yes, they do have rules—which their lawyers in the lawsuit brought by people disgusted that the money they’d donated would be fairly distributed stated clearly they aren’t obligated to follow.

    7. timbers

      The headline that Brazille “feared for her life” after Seth Rich’s death is juicy IMO but maybe non factual. I did read the article at zero hedge quickly, and could not find any supporting text from Brazille herself to support his dramatic headline.

      We’re in tabloid phase with Donna Brazille.

      But…the lack of EQUAL action and EQUAL investigation of “links” of Democratic “Russian meddling in the election” like we have with Trump, and D’s money laundering speaks volumes. The D’s were serving the blob’s War Agenda of escalating tensions with Russia while Trump was calling for better relations, and thus trillions more in U.S. weapons sales over time were at stake and Trump’s views had to be destroyed at all costs by The Blob. It is therefore my opinion that the D’s potential scandals will be treated much differently from Trump’s.

    8. johnnygl

      I had to do a double-take on that headline….just to make sure it wasn’t the onion or some other parody site.

    9. Harold

      During the campaign it appeared to be a real possibility at times, such as when she collapsed and no one knew where she was, that Clinton might become disabled and unable to continue campaigning, much less governing if elected. It was natural and responsible for party leaders to consider what to do in that contingency. Biden was popular and many would have voted for him. I personally don’t care for him too much, but that is neither here nor there, if Clinton would have been preferable to Trump, et al., so might Biden, who is more likable, have been.

      1. a different chris

        ???? …no, it would be (ugh) Tim Kaine? How do you possibly say “if something happens to our candidate as president then this is the replacement… but if something happens during the campaign itself we will pick this other dude for (mumble mumble) reasons”

        Seriously, I don’t know where everybody is getting Biden of all people from.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          “everybody is getting Biden of all people from.”

          Once, he became the running mate of Obama he simply became a name people knew. And since VP doesn’t do anything, people tend to ignore potential warts. Exhibit A: Dan Quayle.

          As long as he shows up and sits behind the President at the SOTU, they are ignored. Exhibit B: The impeach Trump right this second crowd. They are ignoring Pence is a Christian creep on top of his usual litany of Republican sins.

          Kaine reinforces my point. Except for his eyebrow heavy response to the SOTU in 2006, I imagine the average voter outside of Virginia has any clue about Tim Kaine beyond that he seems inoffensive.

        2. Procopius

          There was frequent talk during the campaign about drafting Biden. I could never understand it, since so many of they things he has done are the very worst of neoliberal affronts to human welfare. The worst thing I can think of is that he has been accused of being the author of the provision in the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 that made student loans non-dischargable in bankruptcy and allowing garnishment of Social Security old age pensions to pay for them. IIRC he also had a lot of input in drafting the Violent Crimes Act of 1994, and Welfare Reform. I think if he had run all that and lots more (like his son’s employment by a Ukrainian oligarch) would have been brought out. Loudly.

    10. Oregoncharles

      Like Humphrey in 968. We know how that movie ends.

      That said, there is a logic to it: they represent similar policies and the same branch of the party, unlike Bernie.

      This was not true of Humphrey, whose positions contrasted with Bobby Kennedy’s. 1968 was the first year I could vote, so it’s a vivid memory.

      1. ambrit

        That typo, 968 versus 1968 is really apropos. The ‘sixties are now like ‘ancient history.’ Most of the younger cohort I interact with now have zero sense of history. Was it always thus?
        I was young, but I do remember Humphrey, and “Clean Gene” McCarthy. I remember the shock, even for a callow youth, when Bobby Kennedy was murdered. Something died in the collective psyche that day. It’s been “Backwards Ho!” ever since.

  3. Wukchumni

    The Turkish lira plunged to an all-time low of 3.882 to the US dollar from yesterday’s close of 3.797 after US prosecutors revealed that a Turkish trader accused of laundering money for Iran had sought help from the Turkish president.

    Turkey’s currency bubble pops Asia Times

    So, I arrive in Ankara and take a cab to my hotel from the airport around the turn of the century, and the taxi fee?

    I think it was 35 million lira…

    The article is atypical of currency reporting especially when a country has gone through a bout of hyperinflation and comes up with a new currency, in that it’s completely wrong, as here was the exchange rate in 2001, as per Wiki:

    2001 – 1 U.S. dollar = 1,650,000 Turkish lira

    I used to feel rich blowing 50,000 lire on lunch in Italy back in the day, but Turkey was out of this world in terms of the numbers game.

    Imagine giving the bellboy 5 million lira for taking your bags to the room?

  4. Dan

    Re: The decimation of local news in New York City

    Really need to consider something as drastic as taxing digital advertising to swing the balance back,
    or at least slow down, the decimation of local news via these global digital advertising platforms. The
    breath the FANGS have sucked out of local media is just costing so much more in so many different

  5. allan

    From last week: Kushner took unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia [Politico]

    President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner returned home Saturday from an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia — his third trip to the country this year. …

    The White House official would not say who Kushner met with in Saudi Arabia. But he has cultivated a relationship with the crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, who, like Kushner, is in his 30s. …

    And to think that some were skeptical of Kushner’s qualifications as Middle East envoy.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, I have been wondering if the arrests, even though they were mainly about MbS consolidating power, might have some important secondary objectives…like whether the “money laundering” was just hot air, or whether there is hope or actual knowledge of who it might expose on the receiving end.

        1. jsn

          This puts Mueller in something of an ethical bind.

          Only in the spotlight have ethics ever been a real concern of his.

          He’s in the spotlight now.

    2. dearieme

      “And to think that some were skeptical of Kushner’s qualifications as Middle East envoy.” Were these the same people who were sceptical of Hillary’s qualifications to be Secretary of State?

    3. PlutoniumKun

      MoA suggests the same thing – that Trump (via Kushner) must have given the nod to the ongoing purge of some very important people in Saudi Arabia, and by extension Hariri running away from Lebanon. No doubt there will be a quid quo pro somewhere along the line, maybe connected to the Aramco IPO if that ever goes ahead (which I doubt).

  6. ArkansasAngie

    Thought experiment — what if … it doesn’t matter which … either Trump or Hillary do in fact become embroiled in a criminal trail?

    Is this an exogenous economic event?

    Would it be allowed to go forward … as a threat to National Security … for the good of the people … etc.

  7. cocomaan

    Saudi Arabia is smelling a little funky. Between Prince Mohammad bin Salman purging political opponents and various people, including Trump, prostrating themselves to get the Saudi Aramco IPO listed on their exchanges, I have a feeling that we’re headed towards major changes, possibly instability in the House of Saud.

    The Aramco IPO is apparently to raise money for various Saudi initiatives related to diversifying the economy, but if Salman has to get his way by arresting political opponents, I’m a little skeptical they are going to be able to pull this off. All of this, of course, is destabilizing for everything in the region. Monarchical transitions are always a mess and the current king is 81.

    Keeping an eye on this one.

  8. dearieme

    “before becoming a mariner and explorer”: but Zheng Hi was not an explorer. Everywhere he visited was already well known to the literate civilisations of the Orient. He took pilots; for all I know he took charts. Contrast this with, for instance, the Portuguese exploration of the Atlantic and the African west coast.

    I have no idea why mighty China should produce not one maritime explorer that we know of, but there it is. I’ve never heard of a Japanese one either. All very rum.

    1. cm

      I have no idea why mighty China should produce not one maritime explorer that we know of, but there it is.

      Daniel Boorstin’s excellent book _The Discoverers: A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself_ has a fantastic account of the one Chinese expedition showing fundamental cultural differences. The Chinese had no interesting in exploring and actually destroyed the ship(s?) after one trip. They believed they were humiliating the “natives” they encountered by offering them gifts.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Cough silk road cough, and the necessity is the mother of invention. When the Byzantine trade routes were destroyed, it was shocking, but Western Europe began to invest in ocean going ships versus the Mediterranean and littoral style ones.

        Columbus wasn’t looking for the “new world.” He was looking for a place Europeans had already been. People weren’t stupid. They had an idea of how large the world was, so Europeans finding the Americas so to speak was important for circumnavigation because it was just one big ocean…no one would do that.

        1. Lee

          They had an idea of how large the world was…

          Eratosthenes figured that out some 1700 years before Columbus.

          1. The Rev Kev

            It seems that Columbus read of Eratosthenes’s work ( but chose to trust in a map instead which made out that the Earth was one third smaller.
            This guy was pure genius as “He was also the first to calculate the tilt of the Earth’s axis (again with remarkable accuracy). Additionally, he may have accurately calculated the distance from the Earth to the Sun and invented the leap day.He created the first map of the world, incorporating parallels and meridians based on the available geographic knowledge of his era.”

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Zheng He wasn’t looking for a ‘new world,’ either.

          All the places he went, he could have by land – Indochina, Sumatra, India, Sri Lanka (more or less) Persia, Egypt, Ethiopia, etc – at one time or another (for the routes are not always, forever safe).

          Apparently, in many ports, he found overseas Chinese there already.

          The equivalent would be Columbus enjoying Italian food from the locals when he first landed on Santa Domingo.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            And also visisted where Saudi Arabia is today, for admiral Zheng He was a Muslim eunuch, whose last name Zheng was bestowed on him by the emperor.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Ming Chinese also didn’t have religious crusades to drive out the infidels.

        They warred in Central Asia with the Turks, Persians and Arabs, during the Tang dynasty, but nothing like recovering holy places.

        They didn’t have that precedent. They didn’t have that practice run, when Zheng He set out on his journeys.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If Columbus had a map, he probably would have shown the map to potential financiers especially in Genoa instead of trying to convince everyone the planet was about 2/3 smaller than it is, relying on fundamentalists in Spain to finance his expedition.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          From Wikipedia, The Gangnido Map (or Kangnido):

          There are about 35 African place names. The knowledge of the contour of Africa predates the European explorations of Vasco da Gama. In particular, the southern tip of Africa is quite clearly depicted, as well as a river which may correspond to the Orange River in Southern Africa.

          The original was made in 1402, though only later versions have survived:

          The Kangnido is one of the oldest surviving world maps from East Asia, along with the (ca. 1398) Chinese Da Ming Hun Yi Tu.[3] Surviving copies of both the Kangnido and the Da Ming Hun Yi Tu all bear later revisions, and the original, unrevised forms of both maps are uncertain.

          So, we can’t say for sure they knew, in 1398 (if not earlier), about the southern tip of Africa.

          There are other similar open questions.

    2. Reece milner

      The Japanese had severe rules about leaving Japan period. It takes a lot of enthusiasm to go exploring when you know you will be killed on your return. The Chinese were never interested in expanding beyond its near neighbors.

  9. Hana M

    After the incident with the leaked debate questions Donna Brazile doesn’t have much credibility with me but that book sure sounds like more fun than Clinton’s.

    Brazile describes the 10th floor of Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters, where senior staff worked: “Calm and antiseptic, like a hospital. It had that techno-hush, as if someone had died. I felt like I should whisper. Everybody’s fingers were on their keyboards, and no one was looking at anyone else. You half-expected to see someone in a lab coat walk by.”

    During one visit, she writes, she thought of a question former Democratic congressman Tony Coelho used to ask her about campaigns: “Are the kids having sex? Are they having fun? If not, let’s create something to get that going, or otherwise we’re not going to win.”

    “I didn’t sense much fun or [having sex] in Brooklyn,” she deadpans.

    I won’t buy the book (no room, no money) but I’ll probably read it when the library gets a copy. Too juicy to miss!

    1. Arizona Slim

      I borrowed “All Too Human” from my local library. And it’s still the best political tell-all on my list.

  10. Carla

    “Monopolies are privatizing the World Wide Web. Here’s how to stop it.”

    I looked in vain for how to achieve the “how to stop it” part.

    If anyone finds a piece that actually lives up to that headline, please share.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here are my ideas:

      Spend less time on Facebook and more on Naked Capitalism.

      Allow yourself a computer-free weekend.

      Develop interests that don’t involve screen time.

      1. Carla

        Thanks. The computer-free weekend is a good idea and I need to try it.

        I am not a Facebook product, nor a Google user. I refuse to purchase anything from Amazon or from any company that it owns, and in fact willingly pay more to patronize local, independent retailers. I have too much stuff anyway.

        Nevertheless, my lone actions do not seem to be halting the privatization of the World Wide Web.

        I’m looking for things We Can Do Together to stem the privatizing of the Internet ;-)

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        And I read Naked Capitalism (among a whole lot of others across the political spectrum) so I can share it via Facebook. And given my business is digital publishing, it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to limit screen time—authors would be upset.

        Everything has a use, if one ponders long enough. And educating others in hope of countering the establishment narrative has led to my own knowledge base expanding exponentially, both with regard to facts and in making it possible for me to observe the behaviors exhibited online. All useful.

        1. kareninca

          “Everything has a use, if one ponders long enough.”

          Yes, but the question is whether the ethical and personal and aesthetic costs of the use outweigh its benefits. You seem to need to use Facebook to make a living. If a person doesn’t need to, then it is a very different situation. When I first read about Facebook, my reaction was “that is the most vulgar thing imaginable.” So I’ve never signed on. My view hasn’t changed. And, I don’t need to use it to pay my bills. Anyway who is not economically reliant on Facebook, needs a really good excuse to use it; one that outweighs its social harms.

          Facebook’s massive contribution to the surveillance state is perhaps the greatest harm, but its vulgarity is really enough for me. I’m pretty sure my knowledge base is expanding very nicely without it.

      3. Chris

        My version:
        – no Facebook
        – no Twitter
        – DuckDuckGo search instead of Google
        – NewsBlur RSS reader as a source of news (from my favourite sites)
        ..and of course NC is a listed feed…

        1. Carla

          Again, Chris, I do those things. My doing them (and your doing them, too) does not seem to be stemming the monopoly tide.

          How do we act together to prevent the privatization of the WWW going from the current 90 or so percent to 100 percent?

          The closest I’ve seen to an answer is from jsn above: how to build a low-tech internet.

  11. Craig H.

    Do the Saudi princes get to retire to their English estates in exile or are they going to get beheaded with those fat swords?

    1. Rageon

      I posted this comment on moon of alabama but it seems relevant here:

      I guess the question in Saudia Arabia’s elite circles is not whether you are paranoid, but if you are paranoid enough. I once worked for a telecom that had many installations in the country; I was told that every prince maintained their own private wireless network between their abodes since they were paranoid about eavesdropping, resulting in the country being awash in antennas and repeaters.
      Regarding culture, an architect working on a shopping center recounted how he once saw plans that had forgotten to remove the reference to the “slave” entrances for the imported foreign labor. Be interesting to see what happens after selling every last drop of rapidly diminishing oil and the remaining unaudited “reserves”. My guess is that elites will just abandon ship for their London enclaves…

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The top signer of this apologia is Huma Abedin…and she is not writing from the Women’s Correctional Institute of Kentucky, why again?

    1. Jen

      Caitlin Johnstone:

      “No, what is particularly troubling is your McCarthyite insinuation of Kremlin collusion to divert attention away from your misdeeds. Just when I think this moronic Russia hysteria can’t possibly get any more pants-on-head-screaming-at-cars psychotic, the Clinton campaign goes and smears a stalwart establishment loyalist with xenophobic redbaiting for the first time in her life she’s ever stepped even slightly out of line.

      Shame on you. Shame on the lot of you. You actively colluded with the DNC in a way that you knew was inappropriate, and your candidate’s appalling levels of corruption put Trump in the White House. You should be grovelling at America’s feet begging for forgiveness, not boasting about how you managed to lose an election with 3 million more popular votes. And certainly not blaming your failures on Russia.”

    2. Deadl E Cheese

      People ask me why I’m so nihilistic about the state of the Democratic Party, thinking that reform is probably hopeless and the Whig Solution is the only way out of this mess.

      See that link? That is why. I think it’d be possible to reform the Democratic Party if it was just the leadership that was corrupt, but the rot has clearly spread to the Outer Party. I think you’d get better aggregate results just by roasting that doofy donkey on a spit and replacing it with something else.

    3. Baby Gerald

      Just tune into NPR if you want a full dose of the Hillary shill response. I just caught a couple of minutes of this nonsense about an hour ago. ‘I respect Donna Brazile a lot…’ started one of the two women in the conversation. I actually told my listening companion that such a preface immediately discounts everything that the person says.

        1. Baby Gerald

          You summed it up perfectly, NTG. They sounded like two soccer mom types but possibly younger. They couldn’t believe that this opportunist would say such terrible and damning things about the queen apparent.

          The best take I’ve seen so far regarding this whole Brazile book reveal is Jimmy Dore’s:

          DNC Chair Admits Primary Was Rigged Against Bernie!

    4. MtnLife

      I like when they give us a list of the people who need to be officially shunned (yes, I mean Amish style). Saves the legwork of doing actual research when they identify themselves.

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      “I’ve felt that Donna Brazile has hated Hillary Clinton since she ran against Obama in 2008, but I’m not sure why. It’s a lot of animosity just to sell a book, and it is really destructive to the Democratic Party.” -one of the comments from the linked page.

      There is a lot to unpack here.

      1. Massinissa

        My dad is basically saying the same thing. He’s all “This is bad for the party!!” and I’m like, “You would basically be gloating if someone revealed this kind of behavior from the Republicans.”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Ask him if Lincoln was right to fire McClellan or should Lincoln have George McClellan more time?

    6. John k

      That’s a big payroll. But dollars declining, huma down to 5k/month, not gonna keep her in $600 jeans for long. And when the money runs out there’s the tell all option…

  12. Livius Drusus

    I am not a fan of Joe Biden but he probably would have done better than Hillary Clinton in the general election. I could actually see Biden beating Trump. The problem seems to be that Clinton was considered the anointed successor to Obama and the Democrats cleared the field for her despite the fact that she had tons of baggage going back to the 1990s.

      1. Vatch

        Yup. 1978 – 1979. Her criminal history goes waaay back.

        Various publications sought to analyze the likelihood of Clinton’s successful results. Clinton made her money by betting on the short side at a time when cattle prices doubled.[12] The editor of the Journal of Futures Markets said in April 1994, “This is like buying ice skates one day and entering the Olympics a day later. She took some extraordinary risks.”[2] Her activities involved exposure to losses that potentially could have been greater than her family’s net worth if the market had turned sharply against her.[13] The former head of the IRS chief counsel’s Commodities Industry Specialization Team expressed skepticism that a novice trader could make such a return.[14] One analysis performed by Auburn University and published in the Journal of Economics and Finance claimed to find that the odds of a return that large during the period in question were about one in 31 trillion.[15][16][17]

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The casual racism, the Clarence Thomas issue, the Iraq War, the Bankruptcy Act (those people sharing their stories about crushing debt aren’t going to vote for Uncle Joe), and so forth. Biden is a clown. He’s like Hillary but without the novelty appeal.

      1. Wukchumni

        Please, lets not forget his plagiarism of UK politician Neil Kinnock, in 1987…

        NEIL KINNOCK at Welsh Labour Party conference May 1987:

        “Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because our predecessors were thick? Does anybody really think that they didn’t get what we had because they didn’t have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment? Of course not. It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand”

        JOE BIDEN IN Sept 1987 during his first presidential campaign:

        “Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go a university? Why is it that my wife… is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? …Is it because they didn’t work hard? My ancestors who worked in the coal mines of northeast Pennsylvania and would come after 12 hours and play football for four hours? It’s because they didn’t have a platform on which to stand.”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The only nice things I can say about Joe Biden is he was too old to be Obama’s successor and Obama was young and thus Joe was unlikely to become President and as Vice President would no longer be a Senator.

      2. Camembert

        Yeah, I don’t know why he’s so well-regarded as a campaigner. He’s a fine middle-of-the-road Dem, and he is very charismatic, but there are important parts of the package missing.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Can we just lament the state of affairs for a moment when the discussion turns to how much better The Village Idiot would have been than the unprosecuted serial law-breaker and Wall St/MIC shill?

        2. Massinissa

          Middle of the road dem? Is that a euphemism for right wing neoliberal dem? Because otherwise its inaccurate.

    2. dcblogger

      Had Biden run Hillary would have crushed him. Biden put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court by blocking many accuses from testifying. Anita Hill was not the only woman he harrassed. So with out first real opportunity to put a woman in the White House Democratic voters would not have chosen the man who put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. Biden is also the author of the Patriot Act and the Bankruptcy Deform Act that made student loans non-dischargable. Biden was also a cheerleader for the Iraq War. In fact, I can’t think of any horrible thing that has happened on Capitol Hill that Biden has not been part of.

    3. Plenue

      They could have run a literal rock with a smiley face drawn on it and it would have beaten Trump (and had more charisma than Hillary as well). The single most breathtaking thing about 2016 is that they sabotaged their own primary to force the nomination of the one candidate who couldn’t beat the human cheeto. And what’s more, they knew that she was that bad; they wanted her to run against Trump because they were convinced he was the one ‘Pied Piper’ candidate she could actually beat (I’ve said this before, but what amazing wunderkinds the Clinton campaign had working for them: they couldn’t even get their fairy tale metaphor correct. Clearly they meant a Goldilocks candidate). And in the end she couldn’t even do that.

  13. Wukchumni

    “Most of Manafort’s activity was previously known, and the charges did not touch upon collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Still, the indictment served notice to Manafort that if he wishes to avoid a long prison sentence he might consider talking with Mueller’s investigators about, for example, what Trump knew about Russia’s efforts to help him get elected.”

    The Trump Administration’s Looming Political Crisis New Yorker

    Excellent article by Steve Coll, his book Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, was first rate and I learned a lot about the ‘stanbox, and more.

  14. JTMcPhee

    So Brazile is all concerned (and repentant?) and abandoning ship now that she and the other rats have gnawed through the bottom of the already teredo-eaten hull of the SS “Clintonocrat.” And she whines about how corrupt and oligocentric the party structure she helped build and manage has been and continues to become.

    Yet she says SHE, alone (?) all by herself, laying claim to a spot in the “ethical egoist” Hall of Fame,, right after saying a lot of what is so very wrong with the DNC is that it’s a closed party and corrupt in its dysleadership’s essence, SHE says SHE, all by her powerful self, was going to “replace Clinton with Biden as the candidate?” Does anyone else get a shiver of ironic mordancy out of this egoclaim? How are candidates supposed to be (s)elected, again? In this best of all possible worlds?

    Of course, all this is just window dressing for the deplorables to gawk at, to help the real powers bolster their raddled claims to “legitimacy” until they can just tell the rest of us that they, like Skeletor, “Have The Power!”

    And on and On, “in the room the women come and go, talking of Michelangelo…”

    1. Anonymous2


      The Sunday Times in a small article buried away on p16 seems to be indicating that the UK is going to cave on the money in the Art 50 negotiations. Has all the fuss about sexual misbehaviour been a smokescreen to cover a retreat? Plus, maybe, a warning to others that have not been named so far that they should not rock the boat or they too will be named?

  15. Wukchumni

    “Mr. Ricketts spent millions of dollars funding ads that portrayed Donald Trump as an untrustworthy, dangerous misogynist. Once Mr. Trump secured the nomination, Mr. Ricketts spent a million dollars to support him.”

    A Billionaire Destroyed His Newsrooms Out of Spite NYT

    I refused to click on the link initially on the hope that it was Citizen Rupert, but nope, some other 2 faced billionaire.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Anthony Bourdain’s new film explores problem of food waste Treehugger

    Following a link in the article turned this up:

    “……..reducing food waste has been ranked as the #3 climate solution in Paul Hawken’s Drawdown. I mean, I knew it was a moral imperative and a common sense priority, but the fact that cutting our food waste could be one of the most important ways to help save our civilization had somewhat passed me by.”

    Also this about making leftovers “sexy” as opposed to boring:

    So, it would seem that, while we’re trying to make some headway on alternative energy with all the pushback that entails, we could start moving the needle by teaching people to make omelets, chile, soup and compost.

    PS. It takes 25 years for a head of lettuce to biodegrade in a landfill in the absence of oxygen. I feel I should have known that long ago.

    1. Louis Fyne

      to be a nitpicker—it’s not “our” problem with food waste. It’s “theirs” that is the xxx% who demand perfect food and are willing to pay for it and chalk of waste as just a cost of doing business.

      My local sushi joint, bakery no problem putting out the day’s leftovers on the 50% clearance rack at 4pm. the local grocery store has no problem slapping a 50% sticker on meat that needs to be sold that day. I never see that at Whole Foods.

      Example, it is my understand that Whole Foods has very strict quality control standards for its produce. Miss a delivery window by an hour due to traffic? That entire shipment of widgets gets rejected and the shipper must dump it onto the local wholesale market—if your area has a wholesale market.

      At a low enough price, almost everything sells. But presumably Whole Foods doesn’t want plebs sorting through the clearance aisle to tarnish its shopping experience.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I saw a video about life in a Zen monastery in Mt Hie years ago.

      I wanted to see how life was, for them, as it was lived, and not more dogmas, not more koans from books..

      One scene I will always remember is the breakfast was a simple bowl of rice, some pickled vegetables, and miso soup. Then, they filled the bowl with hot tea for drinking it, so as not to waste even one grain of rice. At the same time, the bowl was ‘cleaned.’

      With cars, zero emission.

      With food, zero garbage? Nothing leaves the kitchen or the table?

    3. Adrienne

      Re food waste: we are a “leftover friendly” household, but my pet peeve is that restaurant portions are waaaaaay too big. I hate it that half my plate is going to get tossed out, even if I take home a doggie bag. Hubby and I are light eaters and we often try to split an entree, but I wish that the “senior” menus were more prevalent and available to younger folks (we’re both [barely] under 65).

      Small plate menus are good too: eat a little bit, if you’re still hungry order some more.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Try sharing an order with whoever you’re with. Half the cost, half the food per person. And friendly.

        Might want to stick a little extra on the tip so the waitress doesn’t lose out. They’re usually surprisingly helpful about it – maybe they don’t like throwing away food, either.

  17. Norb

    Re: Anthony Bourdains food waste show. A nagging sensation in the back of my mind has been how to channel the powerful lessons learned from a life of frugality into some form of political action. There is no better place to start than examining how we eat.

    On an individual level, I cannot think of another means of action, once undertaken that would lead to changing behavior or having a positive outcome than feeding someone. That feeding process radiates out into every aspect of life. When you think in terms of frugality, radically different means of social organization become inevitable.

    Instead of dealing endlessly with identity politics, or trying to change the minds of those in power, the left needs to focus on building a new economy from the ground up. A workers party/community party cannot take shape on ideas alone, there has to be physical infrastructure that draws people together.

    Means of food production and distribution seem a logical place to start, for individuals and communities as a whole. Take the concept of the victory garden to a different level. All this creative energy happening at the grass roots level must find a strong political foundation in socialist ideals if it is not to be captured by destructive capitalist tendencies.

    I like Bourdain, but I wonder what, if any political goals he would support in the end. The rough and tumble world of unrestrained personal freedom leads to Austerity, not frugality.

    1. Lee

      There is something of a fluff piece on Bourdain’s views at the link below. I do love this one quote:
      “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” He voted for Obama but was disappointed in his performance, wishing that he would have gotten more angry. I could hardly argue with that.

  18. annenigma

    Pardon my long vent, but this whole Russiagate thing is a sham. What the Powers-That-Be are genuinely panicked over is not the success of a Russian influence campaign, but the failure of their own influence campaign.

    The PTB did everything in their power to help elect their Chosen One, Hillary Clinton, and to hurt Trump. Nearly unanimous national print media endorsements, Hollywood celebrities, the Intelligence Community, Neocons, Neolibs, and Wall St. all chimed in and invested big bucks, yet all that money and power couldn’t pull it off. That’s what really scares them. Not only that, but they never saw it coming. They won’t allow that to happen again, and that’s why they’re engaged in a power grab with Silicon Valley to control social media.

    Let’s remember that the DNC created the superdelegate/lobbyist/insider system for control – to ensure that Democratic voters never again nominated a George McGovern type. This election is resulting in another similar shakeup, not of the electoral college system or campaign laws, but more basic elements they can control or buy, namely media to censor content and to facilitate propaganda.

    The PTB have far too much invested in the political/economic system to allow mere ‘folks’ to undermine it by democratically electing someone who does not provide CERTAINTY for their economic interests, aka national security. Certainty, is, after all, a vital lubricant for the global and domestic economy. While Trump is currently playing ball, there’s no real certainty about him, unlike Clinton and even Obama who was given a list of cabinet appointees by Citigroup (per Podesta email leak).

    What are the PTB to do now? Use Russia to inflame the masses in support of the soft coup to replace Trump and to justify broadening and strengthening ‘Collect It All’ Big Brother into ‘Control It All’ Big Daddy. Social media is being drafted into the propaganda and censorship army for National $ecurity reasons to keep us in line and protect us from dissent, division, and discord before the next Presidential election. It’s no wonder the Donkeys are so on board with this – they don’t believe in legitimate elections either! So now we’ve got a government power grab in progress, with both sides of the aisle trying to wrest control over information from Silicon Valley.

    Since we know that social media has already been free-lancing with censorship, they’ll not resist a public-private partnership in this racket, given the right condition$. (looking at you, Jeff Bezos)

    Last summer there was widespread suspicion that Twitter blacked out tweets about DNC and Podesta emails. Recently that ‘conspiracy theory’ was confirmed when the Twitter CEO testified that he did indeed hide 50% of all the #DNCleaks, and 25% of all the #PodestaEmails, despite the fact that only 2% were of suspicious origin. And that was just one confirmed venue (looking at you, NYT).

    We also know that media players don’t actually need to be told what to censor because they share the same mindset with, and usually the same ownership by, the corporate Powers-That-Be. But a little more coordination with the new Global Engagement Center at the State Dept, aka Ministry of Truth, wouldn’t hurt. After all, that’s why Obama created the GEC, one of his last acts as President.

    If the PTB learned anything this election cycle, it’s that they never again want an electoral surprise which will upset economic certainty. That means nothing, especially not democratic elections, can stand in the way. If we thought the system was rigged before, just wait for the next go-round.

    1. Arizona Slim

      For me, the Russian fearmongering has been inspiring. I am in the process of learning how to speak Russian. I’m making slow progress because it isn’t the easiest language to learn.

      1. annenigma

        I started teaching myself to speak Mandarin about 4 years ago, inspired by the work of Noel Joseph Terence Montgomery Needham (Sir Joseph Needham), biochemist, historian, sinologist and author of the multi-volume Science and Civilization in China.

        Oddly, I don’t find the language difficult to learn. In fact, I’ve found that it delightfully tickles my brain for some reason. Maybe it’s the Taoist in me. Lao Tzu, are you home?

    2. Jason

      The PTB did everything in their power to help elect their Chosen One, Hillary Clinton, and to hurt Trump.

      This one always makes me laugh. The media aided and abetted Trump, and gave Clinton relentless negative coverage. That’s when they weren’t busy just ignoring her policy proposals. (Not that she was any good at conveying them on her own.)

      Negative coverage of Trump always focused on his shock-jock antics and his personal moral failings, because they were good for ratings. Everything possible to hurt Trump would have refused to let his name be mentioned, save in connection with bankruptcy, fraud, failure, and shafting both employees and investors.

      1. Pat

        Under those rules the media was abetting Clinton by using super delegate counts during the primary, repeating false claims by her supporters during the primary and refusing to shred the absurd claim that she was the most qualified candidate ever to run, Oh, wait they did. Not to mention under your rules for the correct treatment of candidates failures and corruption, they would have talked endlessly about her commodities trade fraud. They would also have had front page all the evidence that her actions with the private email server included lying on the forms she signed leaving office AND all the times that lesser actions had resulted in punishments ranging from loss of security clearances to jail time for lesser beings. And then there were the multitude of amazing coincidences of money for the Foundation or speaking fees for Bill that preceded her decisions and official job actions as SoS. See, it works both ways.

        While I do see a clear difference between the media coverage before and after the nomination for Trump, after the nomination it was continually derogatory. That the media and its ownership misread the public’s probable disgust for the things they found most disgusting about Trump (they certainly aren’t upset about his business practices since they share them for the most part, similar to Clinton’s ongoing need to be paid for her actions), does not make that coverage any less a thumb on the scale attempt to promote Clinton.

  19. andyb

    Kunstler’s rant about the lack of investigation into the Clinton scandals, together with Washington’s blog about Mueller’s history of criminality and corruption indicates that power agencies sustaining the Blob are the FBI and the DOJ (as well as the intelligence agencies, CIA notably). This thought is given more credence by the 08/09 fiasco of TBTF bankers, and the lack of persecution of any executive warm body when, just several decades earlier, Bill Black got indictments on 1000s of miscreants, the majority of whom went to prison. Of course the question remains as to who wields the ultimate power and sets the agenda for the denizens of the swamp to follow. If we follow the money for several centuries and the usurpation of national sovereignty and creation of global debt enslavement by the central banking cabal, the answer is self evident.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Thanks for this. All of our woes have their absolute root cause in our systems of money and banking and everything else (political corruption, declining standard of living, receding social safety net) is a subset, the faster a critical mass of people understand that, the better. Andrew Jackson understood the primacy of the central banking issue and made it the headline point of his entire campaign, and he did a nationwide whistlestop tour just to get people up the learning curve. If he could do it with marginally-educated and isolated farmers then surely we can do it too.

      1. Wukchumni

        These were called ‘hard times tokens’ issued in the 1830’s and about the size of a large cent and they passed for a cent in transactions, and quite satirical towards Jackson often, here’s a sampling:

        “issued the Specie Circular on July 11, 1836. The circular simply stated that as of August 15 1836, banks and others who received public money were required to accept only gold and silver coins in payment for public lands.

        Instead of the intended results, the circular spelled the end of a time of economic prosperity. The circular set into motion a panic, and the public began hoarding specie. Without specie to pay out, banks and merchants began having financial troubles. It wasn’t too long before the effects of Jackson’s decision were felt across the nation as banks and businesses failed, and a depression ensued.

        By this time, Jackson’s vice president, Martin Van Buren, was the elected president in office. The period of economic hardship, the Panic of 1837, during Van Buren’s presidency came to be known as the “Hard Times”.”

        To do the equivalent of what Jackson did then, you’d collapse the whole financial system, in a heartbeat now.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Read a bit further, it was the actions of the First Bank of the United States (the de facto CB) that caused the panic, not Jackson’s policies.

          While you’re at it you might explore the non-existent connection between deflation and recession, this canard underpins the entire current CB philosophy and decision-making process:

          Sound money opponents need not worry about “collapsing the whole financial system”, that will happen in due course anyway (unless of course you think that a scientific experiment with a track record of 100.00% consistent outcomes across history is insufficient to predict a similar outcome this time around). The mechanism is straightforward: debt issuance eventually exceeds the productive capacity growth required to service that debt. Various parlour tricks (CB’s buying up the distressed debt, $1.9 trillion so far in 2017) can be used to delay the inevitable but these too have failed throughout history. Not many people know that a law was passed in the 1950’s that made the buying of debt from the US Treasury by the Federal Reserve an illegal act, back then they understood full well what lay at the bottom of a rabbit hole like that. So it’s for our generation to learn it all over, I guess. Question: the Central Bank of Japan will soon own 100% of the entire stock ETF market, what would you propose they buy up next, Mom and Pop sushi shops? Tamagotchi manufacturers? The ECB will soon run out of junk debt to own, should they be thinking of buying olive groves next? Artisan cheese manufacturers in Brittany? At that point we will truly have a “category error”, as you would no longer be able with a straight face to call the product that is emitted by central banks “money”. Given the present state of affairs already in Germany I’m not sure that definition applies today: I give you 100 for a German bund, in two years you give me back 98. Is that “money”? I think not.

          1. Wukchumni

            I can’t tell you anything about modern economics, it’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma while playing 9 dimensional chess…

            …but I can tell you that there were no federal banknotes in circulation during Jackson’s time, so the real estate boom & bust during his presidency was fueled largely by state issued banknotes, backed by nothing.

          2. Grebo

            Mises? Really? Here?
            Stop wishing for money to be a long term store of value and you will be able to stop peddling such nonsense.

        2. Adam Eran

          The signature deeds of the Jackson presidency include stealing the southeastern U.S. from the natives. The U.S. and Georgia’s Supreme Courts validated their title to their lands…and Jackson ignored the verdicts, deporting the Indians in the “Trail of Tears.”

          And…Jackson also retired U.S. national “debt” (eliminating national currency).

          A history buff friend tells me that Southern planters borrowed huge amounts to buy slaves to farm the newly opened lands. But the surplus cotton (as much as 60% of the crop) meant the price collapsed, so they couldn’t pay their “slave mortgages.”

          Retiring the national “debt” meant any economic surplus (i.e., savings) would not be available to pay the obligations undertaken to buy the slaves, so loan defaults, asset forfeitures and foreclosures ensued. That’s the “Panic of 1837.”

          Note that this is the fallout from such “debt” paydowns cited by MMT economist Randall Wray (here). He says 100% of the time we fall for the myth of “Fiscal Responsibility” and have significant “debt” reductions, we get a Great Depression-sized hole in the economy. The last one of these was the Clinton Surplus. The significant “debt” reduction that occurred before that was in 1929.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s up in the cloud, and named “Altostratus” and we’ll be doing ethereal happy hour from dusk until dawn.

  20. polecat

    That hypothetical ‘marginal’ lettuce head would be fed to our hens ..

    Waste not / Want not !

    We throw absolutely no food stuffs into the g-can … it all either goes into the compost bin, to feed the microbs and worms, or to the chickens, who inturn reciprocate by laying fabulously tasty eggs … or, late in the season, semi-spoiling apples, tomatoes, & pears n such to the greatful local ungulates, when the outdoor browse becomes slim pickings.
    We waste nothing when it comes to food.

    1. polecat

      My above comment was in reply to Katniss E’s …

      I really hate this crapified tablet – skynet considered !! … ‘;(

    2. Charger01

      Sincerely hope you mean donkeys and mules and not deer. You’re not doing them a favor. Browsers gotta go browse and all that.

        1. Oregoncharles

          You could always eat the deer.

          considering the browse line around here, I often consider it.

          Actually, i think my compost feeds the local raccoons and occasional skunks. I met one of the latter, once, at night. The trick to defusing a standoff with a skunk is to very obviously look away. It won’t be there when you look back.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump Called for FBI to Investigate Clinton. Impeachable? Maybe. LawNewz

    That’s not free speech?

    Can’t arrest, but can impeach?

    No presidential equivalent of Congressional Immunity ( A Congress member is exempted from arrest or interrogation for any speech or debate entered into during a legislative session)???

    Can Trump call for the FBI to investigate bankers? Does it depend on a person’s occupation? Bankers, yes, politicians, no?

  22. Carla

    Re: “Ghost Centres, Profit-Making Aims Mar Rajasthan’s Privatisation of Primary Healthcare”

    There is no way to “mar” the privatization of healthcare. Privatization itself is the fatal flaw.

  23. allan

    Since it’s a day ending in “y”, a leading Democrat needs to prove his sensible centrist sensibilities by
    calling for a `light regulatory touch.’ The gentleman from the state of Virginia:

    Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) said Sunday he believes Congress should take “the lightest touch possible” in regulating social media companies as it responds to Russia’s use of their platforms to influence the 2016 presidential election.

    “As a pro-tech guy, as somebody who’s been in the tech business longer than I’ve been in politics, I think we need to take the lightest touch possible,” Warner told CBS’s “Face The Nation.” …

    “I think they are getting it. It’s taken them longer than I’d like.
    These are great, iconic American [1] companies,” …

    In the same way that Standard Oil was a great, iconic American company.

    [1] Except when it comes to paying taxes [2].

    [2] And privacy.

  24. Wukchumni

    “By the end of the year, much of the mixed plastic and paper that goes into recycling bins will be banned from China, which could mean they will end up in a landfill.

    Recycling companies have warned regulators that they may need permission to trash recyclables while they look for new buyers.

    Some, including Far West Recycling in Portland, are slowing down their operations to more carefully remove garbage to meet China’s new standards for contamination.

    Far West outreach manager Vinod Singh said he’s most concerned about where his company is going to send all of its mixed paper – things like junk mail, catalogs, small cardboard boxes and packaging – which will only increase with the holiday season approaching.

    “China is by far the biggest consumer of mixed paper,” he said.

    “They’re the global consumer.”

    I wonder what percentage of ‘recyclables’ are ending up in the trash after a circuit from consumer to recycling center?

    1. Charger01

      This is true for other industrial products such as carbon steel, salvage brass and other recyclables. This will hurt the “good” industries badly as our recycled materials will be stockpiled or landfills pending market improvement.

      1. Wukchumni

        I think the biggest hit will be to the public’s psyche, in that recycling was one of the few things an individual could do where you thought you made a difference, and in the middle of climate change hitting hard, we may well get to the point where people are told just to throw recyclables in the trash instead.

        1. polecat

          In that case, might as well have one’s own personal curb-style 55 gal. ‘burn drum’ to warm those tired bones with …. while knowing utility rates will never, ever, reverse… cuz landfill, or recycler (does not matter which!), along with every other public/private entity charging you their requisite fee, accessment, city bond float, or what have you, the bureaucrats, and the departments they run have to receive their rentier pound of flesh, straight from your own hide … regardless as to whether it make sense or not, let alone affordable !! You WILL pay for the inertia of …. every • fucking • time.
          Practicality, and a charge of tack evidently don’t factor in … but that new, over budgeted municipal Taj mahal (pick a project … ANY project!) Sure do look purdy to the big wigs Du jour!!

  25. Ned

    About “discriminatory questions”,

    What’s to prevent women and minorities from inflating what they made at their last job and demanding more in per hour in an interview?

    Since when does our society, and private individuals, have a burden to artificially inflate the at will actual salaries or hourly that anyone is paid for voluntary work?

  26. Ned

    The NYT buried the Brazile/Clinton DNC corruption story under the guise of a book review without even mentioning the name of Brazile’s book. “A new book exposes old riffs among Democrats…”

    The NYT are such whores for the power structure that I have determined what the appropriate place to deposit my dog’s feces might be in, on or under NYT newsracks.

        1. Jeff W

          At least this comment acknowledges The Guardian’s efforts, albeit with clarifications:

          The Guardian deserves our congratulations for eventually reporting this unwelcome (to them) news fairly and squarely after only a few days delay.

          And one false start, in which the coverage of this egregiously corrupt bargain transacted by the Guardian’s preferred candidate was buried deep within a routine Trump-vilification piece, trivialised as mere “preference” for Clinton by the DNC and misleadingly framed as equivalent to Sanders’ DNC agreement (a similar document to Clinton’s … all except for the part where the candidate gains immediate and comprehensive covert control of the supposedly impartial DNC).

    1. Charger01

      Bad day. Another mass shooting.
      I’m reminded of the ghoulish George Carlin bit about “disgruntled worshipper”.

      1. allan

        A statesman-like voice of calm in the debates about gun control: @GregAbbott_TX

        I’m EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA.
        Let’s pick up the pace Texans. @NRA

        [From 2015. How soon before Abbott deletes this Tweet?]

      2. Wukchumni

        Just about the same amount of people murdered as in Sandy Hook, but all that will happen is the politicians that could make a difference, will probably invoke prayers-and nothing more.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Running amok, and “beramok” as a portmanteau of “berserk” and “amok.”

      Today’s links and comments paint the backdrop for the stage we now strut upon…

      I recall a sci-fi novel from decades ago — rich elites in the future can transport bodies of people about to die by accident or murder, chucking out the essence and personality of the original owner and insert the essence of a dying rich sh!t. Amok incidents a nice source of spare parts to keep the Elite going. The hero was able to fight off the Elite who was planning to assume hero’s heroically healthy body, and take down the ghoulish practice.

      23.15. 58. 26. Amok-beramok. Out of the heart of darkness. Even the credentialed classes, see DSM-IV, know it’s a thing. Get used to it .

  27. Propertius

    Re: Google escalates blacklisting of left-wing web sites and journalists

    At the time of publication, a search for “World Socialist Web Site” on does not return a single article published on the WSWS. A search for the exact title of any of the articles published during that period likewise returns no results.

    How odd. When I search for “Google escalates blacklisting of left-wing web sites and journalists”, the very first search entry that pops up on Google is WSWS. This is also the case when I search for “World Socialist Web Site”.

    I’m all for vigorously applying antitrust law to Google (and FaceBorg, and Twitter, and Amazon), but I’m not sure the good people at WSWS haven’t veered off into the weeds of outright paranoia here.

    1. Massinissa

      Same here. I just typed in “google blacklisting left wing” and its the first result still.

    2. jsn

      I suspect Google tailored their response to you in light of the copious data they have on your reading habits. Readers with other habits are unlikely to have them expanded by Google, rather the opposite

      1. JBird

        Google does tailor the heck out of your search results. If you are a Clinton hater or partisan, the Google will give search results tailored to those personal views. I use privacy settings, make sure all my search history and cookies are deleted, is search engines like duckduckgo or unbubble or even Tor to get around the prepackaged search results of Google.

        I don’t want my views confirmed. I want them challenged especially if they’re wrong, not constantly being confirmed by a cloud of search results created to do just that. It’s already too easy to be an idiot or just ignorant.

    3. Ur-Blintz

      “At the time of publication, a search for “World Socialist Web Site” on does not return a single article published on the WSWS.”

      …, not google

      1. Yves Smith

        Yes, but a lot of people use that as their one-stop shop for news. And WSWS earlier documented that their regular Google search traffic had fallen IIRC by 82%. This is a follow on to their earlier stories.

  28. allan

    Bipartisan sleeze in the Paradise Papers. Even the liberal Penny Pritzker:

    On the other side of the U.S. political divide, Ross’ predecessor as secretary of commerce, Penny Pritzker, pledged to sell investments to avoid conflicts of interest after she assumed her post in Democratic President Barack Obama’s Cabinet. The files show that soon after she received Senate confirmation in June 2013, Pritzker transferred her interests in two Bermuda companies to a firm that used the same mailing address as her private investment firm in Chicago. The company was “owned by trusts that are for the benefit of Penny Pritzker’s children,” according to Appleby’s files. These transfers may have fallen short of federal ethics standards for divestment, according to ethics expert Lawrence Noble.

    Silly Mr. Noble. Federal ethics standards for divestment are for the little people.

    1. wilroncanada

      Thanks scoff
      “The Paradise Papers” is starting to some get some play on CBC television, which, while not in regard to Canadian foreign policy as a US poodle, will follow the government line, at least does some investigative reporting on elite malfeasance.

      They have linked the “Papers” to Trudeau’s fundraising chairman (one of the Bronfmans) as well as to former Prime Minister Cretien.

      There will be much more to come, I’m sure.

      1. Paleobotanist

        It’s looking good – links to two more former prime ministers: Lying Brian Mulroney and Paul Martin.
        Why do we elect these grifters? I know, I know, no choice in the candidates between bad and worse and worst.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That’s hilarious. If Barazile is a white supremacist, I guess that that makes Trump an arch-proponent of Black Lives Matter.

      1. JBird

        The comments seem to along the lines of “if you criticize Dear Leader, you are supporting white racist Trump” or “she is so ugly that she has the nerve to talk like that.”

        The truth is not what’s true but what’s makes the Party look good.

        It’s hyperbolic, but nonsense like this gives us things like The Great Famine which was partially caused by reporting what looked good rather than what was so most of the leadership was floating in a sea of crap. That didn’t stop millions from starvation, but the reports and the meetings were so cheerful and optimistic.

        It’s not the mass suffering of the people that a problem, it’s the Russians! And the Bernie Bros.

      2. Charlie

        1d ago

        Brazile critiquing Clinton’s health like a true Trump fan. How odd that she seems to be on the side of a white supremacist. And Donna is so young, able, and honest herself. Introspection is a difficult thing.”

        Guardian comment. We’ve gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. This person later goes on to insinuate she’s taking a chauvinist view.

        This isn’t really out of the realm of my own debates with Clintonites. Whenever I would bring up the statistic of Trump receiving almost 30% of the Latino vote and ask if they were racist against Latinos, they would answer in the affirmative. As if individual differences on issues had nothing to do with it.

        Just batty.

      3. Charlie

        Hey all,

        I tried to copy and paste a comment as proof, but it didn’t pass moderation. Apologies.

        Just to add, I believe we may be seeing the US political system in its death throes. Going to be a bumpy ride from here on out.

  29. LifelongLib

    Re clocks running clockwise, I’m skeptical of it having to do with sundials. On one of the most common sundial types which was often placed on churches and other public buildings (vertical south facing sundial) the shadow moves anti-clockwise. In fact there are dial types where shadows move in many different ways. So linking clock motion to sundials seems rather arbitrary.

  30. Wukchumni

    Any chance Mueller does a “In like Flynn” move tomorrow, while the reign of error is occupied overseas?

  31. D

    Dear kareninca,, re:

    Yes, but the question is whether the ethical and personal and aesthetic costs of the use outweigh its benefits. You seem to need to use Facebook to make a living. If a person doesn’t need to, then it is a very different situation. When I first read about Facebook, my reaction was “that is the most vulgar thing imaginable.” So I’ve never signed on. My view hasn’t changed. And, I don’t need to use it to pay my bills. Anyway who is not economically reliant on Facebook, needs a really good excuse to use it; one that outweighs its social harms.

    I so hope we meet some day –since we appear to be close to less than a day’s walking distance away from one another, perhaps we have already have honey – I Love you, from one human to another, and feel your expression, so very, very, very, much.

  32. Charlie

    Hey all,

    I tried to copy and paste a comment as proof, but it didn’t pass moderation. Apologies.

    Just to add, I believe we may be seeing the US political system in its death throes. Going to be a bumpy ride from here on out.

Comments are closed.