2:00PM Water Cooler 12/1/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Net Neutrality

“Use This Tool to See If Your Name Was Used to Support Net Neutrality Repeal” [Gizmodo]. “The net neutrality repeal is coming on December 14th. Might as well use this page before your ISP throttles the hell out of it.”

“What you need to know about net neutrality (before it gets taken away)” [Engadget]. “[Under Pai’s proposal there are] built-in transparency requirements about problematic practices. But they don’t prevent ISPs from prioritizing content they like and throttling data they don’t, nor does it penalize them for doing so. ISPs just have to declare what they’re doing and explain why. This means they are free to carry out these activities, which were banned under the Title II order, so long as they disclose it. It would be like letting your partner get away with cheating as long as they explain why they did it.”

“Public Comments to the Federal Communications Commission About Net Neutrality Contain Many Inaccuracies and Duplicates” [Pew Research Center]. “Fully 57% of comments used temporary or duplicate email addresses, and seven popular comments accounted for 38% of all submissions…. the seven most-submitted comments (six of which argued against net neutrality regulations) comprise 38% of all the submissions over the four-month comment period.” So, in response, Pai proposes to ignore all comments, including the ones for net neutrality.

“Reddit revamps homepage to rally for net neutrality” [Axios]. “Protests like this can be effective at raising awareness about the issue, but the 11th hour campaign seems unlikely to change the minds at the FCC, which seems solidly split along party lines. The next battles will be to persuade Congress to take up the issue or fight the change in court.”


“The global oversupply in steel looks unbreakable. A meeting in Berlin among the world’s major steelmaking countries aimed at addressing the glut fell apart without an agreement” [Wall Street Journal].

“The US has already imposed punitive tariffs on a number of Chinese steel imports, but China’s industry is so huge that it dictates prices around the world. European nations are also concerned that their steel producers would be affected by US tariffs” [Handelsblatt].



“Alabama Senate Special Election – Moore vs. Jones” [RealClearPolitics]. “Moore +2.0” (no new polling).

“Minister who sang for Roy Moore lied for son accused of molesting Honduran orphans” [AL.com]. What’s the word I’m looking for, here? “Lurid”? Is “lurid” the word I want?

2016 Post Mortem

“Bernie Sanders’s wife to MSNBC anchor: ‘Don’t ever use me to demean my husband'” [The Hill]. Joy Reid on the job.

“A year ago, Trump promised Carrier workers help. We’re still waiting” [WaPo]. “The workers at Carrier aren’t the only ones who feel victimized by Trump’s false promises. United Technologies, Carrier’s parent company, is laying off another 700 workers right up the road from the Carrier plant in Huntington. And Rexnord, another plant in Indianapolis, just closed its doors, too. Workers at both plants hoped that Trump would come to the rescue, but he never showed up.”

Tax Reform

“Sen. Mitch McConnell: ‘We have the votes’ to pass tax bill” [CNBC]. “As McConnell spoke, the GOP still had not released the final text of the bill it wants to push through later Friday…. Following the Republican meeting, holdout Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, tweeted that the bill would allow up to $10,000 in state and local property tax deductions — a concession she sought. She did not say she would back the legislation. Even without Collins’ vote, the GOP appeared to have the 50 votes needed to approve the bill.”

Sanders v. Rubio:

“Part of the problem for Republicans is that their support for this bill seems driven not by economic necessity but by electoral politics and a philosophical belief that taxes are inherently bad and should be cut at any possible opportunity. Strong economic growth, a record-high stock market, and strong consumer confidence, accompanied by remarkably low unemployment rates, do not suggest that tax cuts are needed now. These House and Senate bills no longer seem to meet the definition of actual tax reform, something that virtually everyone agrees is necessary. They’re simply about cuts” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. “Collectively speaking, congressional Republicans have probably climbed too far out on the tax limb to retreat now.”

New Cold War

“Flynn has promised special counsel ‘full cooperation’ in Russia probe: Source” [ABC]. “Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn has promised “full cooperation” in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and, according to a confidant, is prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.” An idea The Blob hated.

“The sharp-eyed reader will note that Flynn is being charged with lying to the FBI about activity that isn’t criminal” [National Review]. “If that’s all there is, then it’s terribly unjust. t’s so unjust, in fact, that I sincerely doubt that’s ‘all there is.'”

“Judge says Michael Flynn agreed to provide ‘substantial assistance for prosecution of another person'” [Los Angeles Times]. “According to the plea deal, Flynn lied to FBI agents about whether he asked the Russian government in December 2016 to hold off on retaliating against sanctions imposed by then-President Obama for trying to interfere with the campaign. He also lied about how the Russian government had agreed to ‘moderate its response.'”

“Timeline: What Flynn copped to — and what he didn’t” [Philip Bump, WaPo]. “The indictment simply formalizes what we already knew…. Dec. 31: Kislyak calls Flynn and tells him that Russia didn’t escalate at the Trump team’s request. Flynn again informs “senior members” of the transition team about the conversation.”

Trump Transition

“Yet Trump’s presidency operates on a largely separate track than his Twitter feed and his other off-script interjections and pronouncements. His domestic policy is so conventional that it could’ve been cooked up by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell — and, in fact, it was. He’s pursued a largely status quo foreign policy, except more cautious than Barack Obama’s and, especially, George W. Bush’s” [Rich Lowry, National Review]. “Amid the miasma of manufactured controversies, lurid distractions and conspiracy theories, Trump’s presidency is, as Mark Twain is supposed to have said of Wagner’s music, ‘better than it sounds.'”

“White House Work Orders Reveal Mice, Roaches, Redecorating” [NBC]. Watch for “synecdotes” on this one.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Democrats need to find some honor and get rid of Al Franken and John Conyers” [The Week]. “They had the moral high ground against Roy Moore at first, but Franken and Conyers failing to resign make Democrats look like hypocrites, because they are.”

“Sex and Power in Washington” [Elizabeth Drew, The New Republic]. “Washington has all the ingredients for inappropriate sexual adventuring. For one thing, it’s full of lonely people—in particular men disconnected from their families…. Washington is the land of opportunity for sexual conquest, with members of Congress working late nights (yes, they often do) or traveling with aides on supposedly essential business. And, finally, it’s a city stuffed with people who have power over others…. It seems to me that a major factor in the issue of who should be punished is: Does or did the harasser have power over his victim(s)? ”

“Black lawmakers wonder why Conyers has to go — but not Franken” [Politico].

“Sexual harassment standard different for Congress, SC’s Clyburn suggests” [The State].

Stats Watch

Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Index, November 2017: “Very strong results” [Econoday]. “Pulling the composite down is improvement in delivery times which had backed up significantly during this year’s heavy hurricane season. Not all anecdotal reports like this one have been reporting improvement in times though this result should ease concerns that supply chain issues could constrain holiday activity…. ISM’s sample has been on fire all year, correctly predicting a rise for government data that has gradually emerged. The factory sector looks ready to end the year on a strong note and offer an important contribution to fourth-quarter GDP.” But: “Based on these surveys [ISM and PMI] and the district Federal Reserve Surveys, one would expect the Fed’s Industrial Production index growth rate to modestly decline. Overall, surveys do not have a high correlation to the movement of industrial production (manufacturing) since the Great Recession” [Econintersect].

Purchasing Managers Manufacturing Index, November 2017: “a slightly slower rate of growth in November” [Econoday]. “Despite the slowing and despite the moderate level, details are positive led by a solid showing for new orders, where foreign demand is keeping up with domestic demand, and including a fourth straight build in backlogs. Production slowed but employment was strong in the month and capacity pressures, as in other diffusion reports, are apparent with delivery delays a problem and input costs on a steep rise.”

Personal Income and Outlays (yesterday): “Income a bit higher than expected due to higher interest income, but as per the charts income growth has slowed and seems the only thing keeping spending growing even at these very modest levels is consumers dipping into savings” [Mosler Economics].

Construction Spending, October 2017: “It’s not housing that drove construction spending up a very sharp 1.4 percent in October but non-residential activity which had been lagging in this report” [Econoday]. “Spending on private non-residential construction jumped 0.9 percent in the month with strength centered in office construction and transportation construction. Despite the improvement, year-on-year spending on the non-residential side is still negative, at minus 1.3 percent. Public building also had a strong month with educational building up 10.9 percent for a standout year-on-year rate of 14.6 percent. Spending on highways & streets was also strong in October, up 1.1 percent though still down on the year, at minus 8.5 percent.” But: “There continues to be significant backward revision to the date – this month was slightly upward and did not change the trends. The rolling averages declined. Also note that inflation is grabbing hold – and the inflation adjusted numbers are showing contraction in this sector” [Econintersect].

Shipping: “From Southern California seaports to central Ohio warehouses, freight shipping activity in the U.S. is on a roll. Operators are reporting some of the strongest demand in years for land, water and air transport this fall… , with a resurgent industrial sector and a big seasonal boost in e-commerce shipments fueling a shipping rush” [Wall Street Journal]. “Even seaports that usually see volumes taper off as the holidays near say their business remains strong, suggesting more goods are flowing into domestic distribution channels late in the season.”

The Bezzle: “The U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Friday morning approved proposals by CME Group Inc. to list bitcoin futures and provide a regulated trading platform for the cryptocurrency futures market. The Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE) and the Cantor Exchange also self-certified new contracts for bitcoin futures and bitcoin binary options, respectively” [247 Wall Street].

The Bezzle: “Google Does Evil” [Moon of Alabama]. From November, still germane: “Up to about 2006 or 2007 Google provided an excellent search engine. It then started to prioritize and present more general results even where one searched for very specific information. It became cumbersome to search for and find details. The situation has since further deteriorated. The Google News search is now completely useless. It delivers the main stream media trash without showing divergent views or opinions. What is the use of a search result page that links to twenty sites with the same slightly rewritten Associated Press story? Google’s algorithms now amount to censorship.” I can’t even use Google to find stuff I know exists (becaue I wrote it).

Gentlemen Prefer Bonds: “How to spot the next crisis” [Economist]. “Where might trouble first emerge? The most likely venue is the corporate bond market. This has changed a lot over the past ten years. As late as 2008, more than 80% of non-financial corporate bond issuance was rated A or above, according to Torsten Slok of Deutsche Bank; in the past five years, the proportion has been consistently under 60%. That means the average corporate bond is riskier than before. At the same time, the reforms that followed the crash of 2008 mean that banks have to hold more capital (quite rightly). But this also means they are less willing to devote capital to market-making; as a result, the bond market is less liquid than before. So investors in corporate bonds are holding a riskier, less liquid asset.”

Mr. Market: “U.S. stocks turn lower following reports Flynn will testify about Trump” [MarketWatch].

Five Horsemen: “Big Tech wobbles as punters plunge back into five-figure Bitcoin” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Dec 1

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 73, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Dec 1 at 11:45am. Big swing!

Our Famously Free Press

From the Department of Don’t Worry, Everything Will Be on Facebook:

“BuzzFeed is laying off 100 employees after missing its revenue goals” [Recode]. “The cuts come as digital publishers worry that most of the money online advertisers are spending is going to two companies: Google and Facebook.”

“LA Weekly’s staff was gutted Wednesday as Voice Media Group completed its sale of the alternative newsweekly to a newly created company, Semanal Media” [Los Angeles Times]. “Semanal investor and Chief Executive David Welch, a Los Angeles attorney known for representing members of the cannabis industry, declined to comment.”

“Who’s Behind The ‘Project Veritas’ Sting Operation Against The Washington Post?” [International Business Times]. “An International Business Times review of publicly available 990 tax records and data compiled by Conservative Transparency found that Project Veritas gets much of its funding from two connected nonprofits that act as “pass-through” vehicles for conservative millionaires and billionaires who wish to dissociate their names from the organizations they fund. Donors Trust, and to a lesser extent Donors Capital Fund, have provided Project Veritas with millions of dollars since its founding in 2010. Both groups are financed by foundations run by wealthy conservative mega-donors such as Charles and David Koch and the Bradley and Searle families.”

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“For the last three years I had been investigating the grassroots crypto tech accessories at the heart of today’s powerful privacy movement: internet anonymizers, encrypted chat apps, untraceable drop boxes for whistleblowers, and super-secure operating systems that even the NSA supposedly couldn’t crack. These tools were promoted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, hackers, whistleblowers, and the biggest and most credible names in the privacy trade—from Edward Snowden to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union. Apps like Tor and Signal promised to protect users from America’s all-seeing surveillance apparatus. And the cryptographers and programmers who built these people’s crypto weapons? Well, many of them claimed to live on the edge: subversive crypto-anarchists fighting The Man, pursued and assailed by shadowy U.S. government forces. Citing harassment, some of them had fled the United States altogether, forced to live in self-imposed exile in Berlin” [Yasha Levine, The Baffler]. “At least that’s how they saw themselves. My reporting revealed a different reality. As I found out by digging through financial records and FOIA requests, many of these self-styled online radicals were actually military contractors, drawing salaries with benefits from the very same U.S. national security state they claimed to be fighting. Their spunky crypto-tech also turned out, on closer inspection, to be a jury-rigged and porous Potemkin Village version of secure digital communications. What’s more, the relevant software here was itself financed by the U.S. government: millions of dollars a year flowing to crypto radicals from the Pentagon, the State Department, and organizations spun off from the CIA.” Ka-ching.



“Can a River Sue a Farmer?” [AgWeb]. “Does a river have rights? Indeed, according to a lawsuit filed in Colorado…. Filed by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) on Sept. 26, the lawsuit claims the state of Colorado and Gov. John Hickenlooper are violating the rights of the Colorado River. CELDF asks the federal court to recognize the rights of the river, acknowledge personhood of the river, and place the river under the protection of a guardian.”

“Old well bubbles up, oil spills onto Colorado 60 near Berthoud” [Reporter-Herald]. “An old well that was capped in 1984 began spilling oil on Colorado 60 east of U.S. 287 on Sunday, and emergency crews used special equipment and dirt piles to keep it from flowing down the highway…. Whoever owns the well will be responsible for determining what is causing the seepage and stopping it from flowing, according to [Justin Rupert of the Berthoud Fire Protection District]. If the well is abandoned, the state will step in, he said.”

“Sustainability should not be legally impossible” [Boulder Weekly]. “I write today on behalf of the Boulder Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). This is our statement of solidarity with frontline communities worldwide, and in particular with East Boulder County United, the Boulder County Protectors, and the Erie Protectors…. Over the past few years, Colorado courts have struck down fracking bans enacted by the citizens of Lafayette, Longmont, Broomfield and Fort Collins. These court decisions are symptomatic of the fact that our current system of law was designed to protect corporate profits over the rights of workers, communities and nature itself. On May 1 of this year, the Boulder County Commissioners ended the Boulder County drilling moratorium that had been in place since 2012 and began paving the way for the County to be fracked. In order to preserve the possibility of a habitable climate, we reject this system and refuse to lend legitimacy to the laws that make sustainability legally impossible.”

“Alaska’s Coast Is Vanishing, 1 Storm at a Time” [Scientific American]. “[R]un-of-the-mill storms are eating away Alaska’s shores—which account for over 50 percent of the entire U.S. coastline—as the state’s protective shield of sea ice disappears. Storms that meteorologists and locals would have barely noted 30 years ago now crumble off land in a death-by-a-thousand-cuts fashion.”

“Corporations Make Big Climate Promises Only To Retreat After A Few Years, Study Finds” [HuffPo]. “But a study published this month in the peer-reviewed Academy of Management Journal found that several big companies that had announced ambitious sustainability goals retreated when profits decreased or top executives changed…. ‘There’s so much hype about corporate good deeds, corporations will save us,” Christopher Wright, a co-author of the study and professor at the University of Sydney Business School, told HuffPost by phone on Sunday. “It’s so at odds with the reality that it’s pretty frightening.'”

“WHO urges drastic cuts in use of antibiotics in agriculture and aquaculture” [Fern’s AG Insider]. “[T]he goal of the new recommendations is not only to reduce antibiotic use in livestock, but also to reduce the flow of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from farm animals to humans. A paper published today in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, to coincide with the WHO announcement, surveyed 179 scientific studies on antibiotics in livestock and found that reducing antibiotic use also reduces the occurrence of resistant bacteria in animals and in people.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Ku Klux Klambakes” [New York Review of Books]. “The Klan of the 1920s strongly echoes the world of Donald Trump. This Klan was a movement, but also a profit-making business. On economic issues, it took a few mildly populist stands. It was heavily supported by evangelicals. It was deeply hostile to science and trafficked in false assertions. And it was masterfully guided by a team of public relations advisers as skillful as any political consultants today…. [Founder Joseph] Simmons signed a contract giving [two skilled public relations professionals, Elizabeth Tyler and Edward Young Clarke] an amazing 80 percent of dues and other revenue gleaned from new recruits. They are believed to have reaped $850,000—worth more than $11 million today—in their first fifteen months on the job. The whole enterprise was organized on a commission basis: everyone from the recruiters, or Kleagles, up through higher officers (King Kleagles, Grand Goblins, and more) kept a percentage of the initiation fee ($10, the equivalent of $122 today) and monthly dues. The movement was a highly lucrative brand.” Ka-ching.

Class Warfare

“Q&A with the author of Masterless Men” (interview with historian Keri Leigh Merritt) [Political Orphans]. “Surely, at certain times and in certain places, racial superiority is all that matters to some people. But life is generally a lot more complicated than simple racial hatred. All people resent their own oppression, even when they are much ‘less oppressed’ than other groups. Even if you finish last in the ‘Pain and Oppression Olympics,’ you’re still in pain and oppressed. Most (certainly not all, but most) historians today completely ignore class as a unit of analysis, as another possibly-complicating factor. But American history has always been driven by class strife, class aspirations, and class divisions – and this spans across every time period and every racial/ethnic group. By simply including class as a factor in our narratives, we are able to provide a much more nuanced, accurate reality.”

“Commerce Without Law” [Credit Slips]. “Barak carefully documents how the diamond the industry has evolved and thrived without state enforcement. Firmly grounded in institutional economics, his account also draws insight from sociology, religion, economics, management, history, anthropology, and law. The core narrative is that the combination of strong religious institutions and thick ethnic ties (such as those found in the Orthodox Jewish community in New York or the Palanpuri Jains in Gujrat) can operate to create a system of law that enables commerce across borders in a way that state-centered legal systems find hard to duplicate. Yet the picture is not entirely rosy, as he also explains how thick ethnic ties and strong religious institutions can be vulnerable to capture by insiders, lack transparency, and exhibit hostility to outsiders and unwillingness to innovate.” Fascinating.

“A Closer Look: Why Are Many Megachurches Located in the Sun Belt?” [247 Wall Street]. “[Dr. David Eagle, a research associate at the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research at Duke University] added that zoning laws also play a part in the growth of these big churches. ‘It’s no accident that Houston and Dallas, which have very lax zoning laws, have lots of megachurches,’ he said. ‘It is comparatively easier to set up shop as a megachurch in these locations.’ Oil wealth in Texas and Oklahoma has also played a role in the megachurch expansion, according to Eagle.'”Megachurches require significant financial backing,’ he said. ‘The presence of wealthy conservative Protestants in a particular locale plays a role in the location of megachurches. The oil wealth in Oklahoma and Texas must have something to do with the presence of lots of megachurches.'”

“Brooklyn Hospital Bills Sex Assault Survivors for Rape Kits: Attorney General” [NBC New York]. Show any weakness, and you’re immediately set on by predators and parasites…

News of the Wired

Brighten the corner where you are:

* * *

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 (timotheus):

Timotheus writes: “Fall in Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, NY.”

* * *

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!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Wukchumni

    A few years ago on a road trip, we saw fracking wells* we thought way too close to the Colorado River in the western part of Colorado. I’m talking 100-200 yards away or thereabouts.

    *FD: I know nothing about said wells and safe proximity away to fresh water

  2. Wukchumni

    Here in the CVBB in Visalia we have lots of mini-megachurches, nothing anything close to Osteen size, but a fair number of 1,000+ congregations, and there’s lots of land to put em’ although the congregation isn’t as populous or well off compared to Houston or Dallas.

    Damn near ever farmer here of size tilts to the right of right, and that’s where the funding must come from.

    One of them had a banner on the side proclaiming:

    “Why Are Christians So Prosecuted?”

    1. Arizona Slim

      During the 1990s, I attended an Episcopal church that was trying to rebrand itself as a megachurch. Long story short, the plan didn’t work. Too many people passed through, but never felt deeply connected to the place. I was one of them.

      My take: Too much mega and not enough church.

  3. fresno dan

    “The sharp-eyed reader will note that Flynn is being charged with lying to the FBI about activity that isn’t criminal” [National Review]. “If that’s all there is, then it’s terribly unjust. t’s so unjust, in fact, that I sincerely doubt that’s ‘all there is.’”

    ABC also reports that Flynn is willing to testify against Trump and members of the Trump family. Now, before everyone starts yelling “collusion,” the report said nothing about why Trump allegedly directed him to reach out to Russia. If it was contact for election collusion, that’s dire. I also think that’s highly unlikely. If it was contact to set the stage for post-election relations and cooperation, that’s far less problematic — unless members of the Trump administration (or Trump family) have been lying to the FBI about those contacts. So, we could be looking at less of a criminal conspiracy and more of a festival of lies surrounding a non-conspiracy. That’s at least consistent with the guilty pleas (Flynn and Papadopoulos) so far. Stay tuned.
    As I said in Today’s “Links” – I think Trump can get out of “collusion.”
    What I don’t think Trump can get out of is using US foreign policy to make a buck. Pay to end sanctions?

    Now, I will concede it is possible that Trump got it in his head that he could make a deal with Putin and bring peace to the middle east and the whole world, and Trump would do this cause he’s just an altruistic guy.

    But when I look at the deals he has tried to make in Russia, and Trump’s lifetime of self promotion, I really don’t see a lot….well, ANY altruism.

    1. Sam Adams

      When this shakes out, look at NYC RE financing. It’s an old fashioned slash and grab operation.

      1. uncle tungsten

        Thanks DJG but going to the Guardian for real news is like breathlessly waiting for MSNBC to be honest about $hillary.
        Try the off-guardian dot com for a much better source plus ano opportunity to engage with informed comments like here at NC.

      2. fresno dan

        December 1, 2017 at 4:18 pm

        thanks for that.
        I am at the point that I believe Kim Il Un is actually a CIA operative…..

    2. sleepy

      He colluded with the Israelis to lobby the Russians. Then lied. That about sums it up.

      In any sane world this collusion with Israel would be front and center but . . . . . . . . . .

    3. Code Name D

      It’s like poring gasoline on a fire.

      For starters, I noticed (kind of hard not to) that Google has programed my phone to pump in the latest Russia/conspiracy news, right to the activity bar of my phone. So its kind of hard to miss how “serious” the “legal jeopardy” against the current administration is. It might even “gasp” involve Trump him-self.

      I can see through the spin though. It’s one charge of “lying to the FBI”. But instead of “that’s all you got”, it becomes “he is flipping states evidence and will squeal all manner of conspiracy.” The preverbal mole hill into a mountain. I also noticed what never got mentioned – the election. The story is no longer about Russia hacking Clinton and Padesta’s servers to throw the election. Instead, they are just trying to build connections – any kind of connections, in order to argue “collusion.” Collusion to do what, exactly? Well the reader is to fill in the blanks of course.

      This makes the ongoing argument with the rest of my family nearly impossible. My dad is now saying that denying a Rusha scam is like denying global warming. It’s kind of hard not to notice that he is reliving the glory days of the Cold War, back when it was just us and them, and we were automatically the good guys. In their eyes, impeachment is just around the corner, and it couldn’t come fast enough.

      PS: I appreciate how NC tries to ignore this issue. I don’t want to see Yves or Lambert wasting their time on this when there are so many other truly news worthy things to talk about. But it is taking a tole on my sanity. And I can’t help but wonder if NC isn’t ignoring the rampaging elephant in the room.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      Looks like ABC got the story wrong (which was also single sourced):

      ABC News corrects a critical detail in its report on Michael Flynn’s plea deal Business Insider

      Conservatives skewer ABC News over faulty Trump-Flynn report Politico

      NTDT, but is President-elect Trump not wanting to escalate with Russia so as to work against ISIS so very bad? Unless your a Clintonite blobster who wants war with Russia?

    1. JB

      It has been a while, but I believe Gerry Spence tackles this topic in the book From Freedom to Slavery, a quick and worthwhile read. He discusses the idea of representing trees in lawsuits.

    2. Daryl

      Surprised not to see William O Douglas’s dissent mentioned in the article.

      > So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life. The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or nourishes—fish, aquatic insects, water ouzels, otter, fisher, deer, elk, bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it.

  4. douglass truth

    Paul Fussell wrote a wonderful book about class titled CLASS. surely out of date but entertaining. (his book on WWII – Wartime – is one of the best ever, btw)

    1. Wukchumni

      I always deduct 17 potential IQ points for anybody wearing a baseball cap backwards thanks to Fussell’s tips, ha!

      Great book, if a little dated.

  5. DJG

    Baffler, Yasha Levine article: Enlightening. And makes one wonder about one’s “allies,” who seem to be in it for profit. Some central paragraphs that only add to the murk:

    –Durov admitted that cryptography has its limits. Still, as he recounted how Snowden had talked down Telegram, Durov was frustrated and bewildered. He says he and his brother were very cautious about choosing cryptography techniques promoted by American experts—particularly since the NSA docs leaked by Snowden revealed the NSA secretly paid RSA, an influential computer security firm, to use a flawed technique that the NSA knew how to crack. The Durov brothers wondered if the same thing could now be happening with other popular encryption algorithms. They became even more concerned when Telegram began to draw public attacks on social media from American cryptography experts. “They based their criticism of our approach not on any actual weakness, but solely on the fact that we didn’t use the algorithms they were promoting,” he said. “Since they failed to engage in any meaningful conversation on cryptography, we started to realize there was some other agenda they were pushing rather than finding truth or maximizing security.”

    But the attacks continued. Not only were Snowden and his crypto allies telling people to trust Facebook, a company that runs on surveillance and partners with the NSA; they were also promoting an app that was actively funded by the foreign policy wing of the U.S. national security state. It just didn’t make any sense.

    Durov was dumbfounded. As we sat talking, he told me he could not understand how people could trust a supposedly anti-government weapon that was being funded by the very same U.S. government it was supposed to protect its users from.

    We’ve entered a paranoid game theory nightmare world.

    [A must read. A reminder that the U S of A is run like a congeries of clubs. The Nation of Joiners meets Thomas Pynchon novels meets entropy meets apps.]

    1. grayslady

      Agree. Excellent article. Frightening. Shows that smaller publications can do first-class investigative reporting.

    2. Mark P.

      DJG wrote: We’ve entered a paranoid game theory nightmare world.

      We were always in a paranoid game theory world. Regarding the Masha Levine Baffler article, good piece but no surprises there.

      From MIT I used to know a guy who fronted — and wrote a lot of journalism — as a privacy advocate, but did the computer forensics on the hard drives and laptops they pulled from the bin Laden compound. They stationed this guy at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey to do that. These days he lives in Arlington, Virginia, ostensibly working for NIST and nowadays the US Census Bureau; it’s a 45 mile commute from Arlington, Virginia, to Fort Meade, Maryland, where he’s also employed.

      This sort of thing isn’t uncommon if you’re any good. Bruce Schneier also formerly worked for “the world’s largest employer of mathematicans,” then moved the other way than my acquaintance at MIT. Latanya Sweeney, now at Harvard, did work for Poindexter’s TIA project. If you’re doing data privacy/surveillance/cryptography, you’re either out in the world working for a living — which means you need an employer — or you’re an academic, which means you need grants for research — and who has the deepest pockets for funding?

      1. sierra7

        Had a delightful visit from one of my grandchildren just starting college in the East….He borders on “genius” and has a decent practical mind. A humorous story emerged: According to his step-dad, my son, he was offered a job at NSA if he would sign up for x number of years employment. NSA would pay his college tuition, board, etc……My son was astounded that he refused: “I don’t want ot spend my life hacking other people”! (Of course my son was looking at the $$$$ side of the equation.) I’m immensely proud of this particular grandson!

        1. Mark P.

          You should be proud.

          It should be allowed, too, that NSA in the Cold War-era 20th century may have been a little more respectable and patriotic. William Binney, who worked there for thirty years and ran a division, and Thomas Drake didn’t suddenly wake up one morning and decide that they were going to be honorable. It was the Agency and the the US elite that changed around them.

          In the meantime, I am reminded of this clip from Good Will Hunting —

  6. Donald

    Trump was in part colluding with Israel— the Israelis asked Trump for help in an upcoming U.N. vote condemning sanctions. The Obama Administration at the very end was fed up with Netanyahu and allowed the measure to pass. Flynn asked the Russians to side with Israel. They declined.

    Ali Abunimah and others have been pointing this out and here is a link to Haaretz


    I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the mainstream press or for Democrats to point out that Flynn was actually colluding with the Israelis in asking the Russians to support them.

  7. allan

    Claire McCaskill‏@clairecmc:

    This is so bad. We have just gotten list of amendments to be included in bill NOT from our R colleagues, but from lobbyists downtown. None of us have seen this list, but lobbyists have it. Need I say more? Disgusting. And we probably will not even be given time to read them.

    [photo of part of one page of the list at the link]

    Christmas comes early at The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body™ – if you’re a lobbyist.

    If only the other party had nominated an electable candidate who could veto this …

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Whinging about process is for losers, which Democrats are. They’re betas. “Beta Democrats.” Now they’re whinging about handwritten amendments.

      Sanders at least is in there punching, with his amendment putting it on the record that the Republicans are coming after Medicare and Social Security next (with the deficit as the excuse (which is why MMT is important (and why Sanders not supporting it is a first-order, strategic FAIL)).

      See Stoller and Yves in Links today. The 30,000-foot view is very clear: A massive upward transfer of wealth, worse than Obama’s in the bailouts. Liberal Democrats can’t talk about that, of course, so we get whinging on process.

  8. Rosario

    RE: “Can a River Sue a Farmer?”

    Interesting concept, if it is done well, with thought and work to show how river health affects human and inter-species health, but “evolve, flourish, be restored, and regenerate” is about as flimsy as it gets for making a claim that will stand up in court. It is a shame because CELDF hits all my +1 buttons for political activity based on reading their website. Despite their claims on the website, CELDF is arguing an aesthetic environmentalist’s position whether they know it or not (i.e. pretty flowing rivers with lots of fish are great and that is what should be there). I agree completely in principle, but there is little complexity in that argument. How is that good for humans? How is that good for other species? Maybe file a lawsuit on behalf of the numerous endangered species in the Colorado (http://www.coloradoriverrecovery.org/)? Better yet, make a case for humans as it relates to river health since our entire legal system, by form and function, is completely anthropocentric.

    As far as the legal demand, even the most polluted rivers “evolve, flourish, are restored, and regenerate”, just not in ways compatible for the complex life that we associate with river health. Nature does not adhere to “our” aesthetics of what “nature” is and this type of legal activism seems counterproductive to the overall goal of sustainable ecosystems and ecosystem “health” as it relates to humans and other species. We really need to be specific in order to broadly protect nature. This lawsuit, seems to carry with it some of the same problems that identity politics does, too symbolic, too abstract.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Quote of the day:

    Maine independent Angus King posed a rhetorical question early Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” concerning how many hearings had been convened on the Republican effort to enact a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code. Then he went on to answer it: “Zero, nothing, nada, zilch.”

    He went on to decry that fact as outrageous, given the magnitude of the measure on the table: ‘The Bangor City Council wouldn’t change the leash law using this process.


    Senator King seems unaware that the civics textbook legislative process he learned about in his youth no longer exists.

    To paraphrase Justice Anthony Kennedy’s astoundingly flippant comment on another issue, “Legislating today is for the most part a system of 3 a.m. conference committee deals, not a system of hearings.”

    The rule of law and $2.75 will buy you a bus ride in New York City.

    1. cm

      I was thinking it would be fun to ask R Senators if they actually *read* the tax bill before they voted for it. (Since I am in Washington State, w/ two useless D idiots, it doesn’t matter what *they* did…)

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      All correct, but as I comment above, whinging about process is for losers, like a football team blaming their loss on bad calls instead of sucking it up.

      Focus on the real power relations and the upward transfer of wealth!

  10. jo6pac

    Workers at both plants hoped that Trump would come to the rescue, but he never showed up


    Reminds me of this.

    I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes and walk the picket line with you

    New boss same as the old boss.

  11. DonCoyote

    > “Minister who sang for Roy Moore lied for son accused of molesting Honduran orphans” [AL.com]. > What’s the word I’m looking for, here? “Lurid”? Is “lurid” the word I want?

    I was going to suggest “miasma” (an influence or atmosphere that tends to deplete or corrupt), but ten or twelve items down it seems Rich Lowry beat me to it by putting lurid *and* miasma in the same sentence. So I’m gonna have to go all “original sources”:

    But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. – II Peter 2:22

    A bit more lengthy, but twitter is 280 characters now. #trueproverb

    1. Darius

      We just can’t stop torturing Honduras in ways large and small. Although certainly not small to the abused child in question.

    2. HotFlash

      I’ll go with ‘sordid’. ‘Lurid’ sounds at least entertaining, while ‘sordid’ is just depressing.

    1. Vatch

      Well, in today’s links section, the article “Report: Amazon Warehouse Employees Worked to Exhaustion as Robots Threaten Jobs” points out that Amazon workers’ washroom time is strictly rationed:

      Their toilet breaks are timed, and the (reportedly disgusting and ill-maintained) toilets are over a quarter mile away within the vast complex. Inactivity at the station is timed, even for those breaks, so employees are often forced to keep themselves from even going to the bathroom, lest it take too long.

      I guess it’s similar for the delivery people.

      1. Vatch

        There are free plastic bag dispensers in the parks in my town for dog walkers. I guess my local government is better than private enterprise Amazon.com (not that I’m surprised).

  12. allan

    Victor Fleischer‏ @vicfleischer:

    Blackstone, Carlyle, KKR, Apollo just got their own little loophole in the tax bill. Cornyn amendment 1715 (to be included in manager’s amendment). PTP [publicly traded partnership] income, but not other financial services income, gets 23% passthrough deduction.

    As Steve Schwartzman would say, it’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.

    Another campaign promise to the workers of the upper Midwest, fulfilled.

      1. allan

        Moar from The Hill:

        … Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday that Democrats have already had plenty of time to review the bill during the four days of committee hearings, and that they would be sufficiently familiar with most of the final version’s provisions when it went to a vote. …

        Wouldn’t the Dems have needed a time machine to go forward in order to read the provisions
        that were being written last night?

        Irony died, but the estate tax is being repealed so that’s not a taxable event.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The bill is again a Christmas tree, rather like the Christmas tree festooned by Harry Reid to get TARP passed (after Obama whipped the CBC for their votes).

      Again, there are useless beta Democrat talking points. Shorter: “ZOMG!!!!! They’re making sausage!!!!!!!”

      The talking points are delicious, it is true, but they are empty calories. Focus on the upward transfer of wealth.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Can a river sue a farmer?

    Can a bullet sue a soldier?

    A bomb a bomber pilot (or bombardier)?

    An apple its eater?

    1. Vatch

      Rubio is safe, because his mom already gets Social Security and Medicare. Toomey said that he wouldn’t cut benefits for people who are already getting Social Security and Medicare. Future beneficiaries will be cheated, but Marco Rubio’s mom’s benefits are secure, so he doesn’t have to worry about being banned from family get-togethers.

        1. Pat

          Yes it must. But the thing that gets me is the idea that being on the.program makes you safe is getting any traction. Benefits will essentially be frozen or crapified for those currently in the system as well. Sure you got in before you were.70, but the current starving of the system (both SS and Medicare) of real increases.to keep up with inflation and the “help” of privatization to Medicare that is already squeezing current enrollees. Rubio will just send some of his slush money to Mom rather than make sure those “secure” benefits are truly projected.
          I worry about friends who have little or nothing beyond SS. They increasingly struggle. What little they see their benefits increase goes for medicare premium increases. There is nothing for food or rent or fuel. They do without more and more, including medical treatment because they cannot afford it. They work in their seventies to supplement what they can.

          Yes I am terrified the jerks may have finally won and I will see little.of what I paid towards from my first job almost fifty years ago on. But that doesn’t mean I think the current beneficiaries are safe because Marco Rubio’s mother is one.

  14. Jim Haygood

    From the 1st of November through today, Venezuela’s bolivar went from 41,000 per dollar to 103,000 per dollar, according to dolartoday.com.

    Unfortunately the higher numerical value means its takes more bolivars to buy a dollar. Thus the currency lost more than half its value in a month, as it hit six figures today.

    As 2017 began it took only 3,100 bolivars to buy a dollar. Bolivars have shed almost 97% of their value in eleven months.

    Think of the bolivar as an anti-bitcoin — a one-way ticket to oblivion.

  15. tooearly

    “Their spunky crypto-tech also turned out, on closer inspection, to be a jury-rigged and porous Potemkin Village version of secure digital communications”

    That this would be so always seemed so obvious to me…sometimes I guess it pays to be a cynic

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can a bee sue?

      Is it too late for the Dodo bird or the Moa?

      Perhaps we are at the cusp of great awakening.

    2. Oguk

      Ecuador’s constitution recognizes rights of nature. Mary Cristina Woods has a good discussion of such initiatives around the world in her book Nature’s Trust. She’s the lawyer behind the lawsuit brought by Our Children’s Trust to use public trust doctrine to protect the environment. It’s great reading, made me get more involved.

  16. Jim Haygood

    One lone Fed president actually gets it:

    St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard warned on Friday that within a year short-term interest rates, pushed higher by Fed action, may move above long-term interest rates — an “inversion” of the yield curve that is classically taken as a signal of economic weakness.

    “The simplest way to avoid yield curve inversion in the near term is for policymakers to be cautious in raising the policy rate,” Bullard said.

    With the spread between one-year and 10-year Treasury bonds currently around 0.73 percent, and the latest Fed forecasts showing three rate increases next year, the yield curve could invert during 2018.

    “There is a material risk … if the (Federal Open Market Committee) continues on its present course,” Bullard said. Inversion “is a naturally bearish signal …This deserves market and policymaker attention.”


    They do this over and over. The yield curve inverted in early 2000 — down went the economy a year later. Again, the yield curve inverted in 2006 and 2007 after Bozo Ben’s 17 (seventeen) rate hikes — down went the economy a year later.

    I could go on about all the times the yield curve inverted in the 20th century, too, with the same dismal result. But what’s the use? The pack mentality of Fedsters whooping rates higher is no different than the baying hounds chasing Bitcoin to infinity and beyond. Both have an unshakable, one-way idée fixe that’s impervious to historical precedent.

    Right then, off to water my semper augustus.

  17. Swamp Yankee

    Justice William “Wild Bill” Douglas famously argued that a river or a valley or other natural feature should, in fact, have standing to sue for its own preservation:

    Justice Douglas’s dissent in Sierra Club v. Morton:

    ‘The critical question of “standing” would be simplified and also put neatly in focus if we fashioned a federal rule that allowed environmental issues to be litigated before federal agencies or federal courts in the name of the inanimate object about to be despoiled, defaced, or invaded by roads and bulldozers and where injury is the subject of public outrage. Contemporary public concern for protecting nature’s ecological equilibrium should lead to the conferral of standing upon environmental objects to sue for their own preservation. This suit would therefore be more properly labeled as Mineral King v. Morton.
    Inanimate objects are sometimes parties in litigation. A ship has a legal personality, a fiction found useful for maritime purposes. The corporation sole − a creature of ecclesiastical law – is an acceptable adversary and large fortunes ride on its cases. The ordinary corporation is a “person” for purposes of the adjudicatory processes, whether it represents proprietary, spiritual, aesthetic, or charitable causes.

    So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life. The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or nourishes – fish, aquatic insects, water ouzels, otter, fisher, deer, elk, bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it. Those people who have a meaningful relation to that body of water – whether it be a fisherman, a canoeist, a zoologist, or a logger – must be able to speak for the values which the river represents and which are threatened with destruction…..

    The voice of the inanimate object, therefore, should not be stilled. That does not mean that the judiciary takes over the managerial functions from the federal agency. It merely means that before these priceless bits of Americana (such as a valley, an alpine meadow, a river, or a lake) are forever lost or are so transformed as to be reduced to the eventual rubble of our urban environment, the voice of the existing beneficiaries of these environmental wonders should be heard.

    Perhaps they will not win. Perhaps the bulldozers of “progress” will plow under all the aesthetic wonders of this beautiful land. That is not the present question. The sole question is, who has standing to be heard?

    Those who hike the Appalachian Trail into Sunfish Pond, New Jersey, and camp or sleep there, or run the Allagash in Maine, or climb the Guadalupes in West Texas, or who canoe and portage the Quetico Superior in Minnesota, certainly should have standing to defend those natural wonders before courts or agencies, though they live 3,000 miles away. Those who merely are caught up in environmental news or propaganda and flock to defend these waters or areas may be treated differently. That is why these environmental issues should be tendered by the inanimate object itself. Then there will be assurances that all of the forms of life which it represents will stand before the court – the pileated woodpecker as well as the coyote and bear, the lemmings as well as the trout in the streams. Those inarticulate members of the ecological group cannot speak. But those people who have so frequented the place as to know its values and wonders will be able to speak for the entire ecological community…..

    That, as I see it, is the issue of “standing” in the present case and controversy.’

  18. The Rev Kev

    Re “Sex and Power in Washington”
    Isn’t there a saying that goes “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog!” Very instructive if so.

  19. Carolinian

    Re Levine and The Baffler–Perhaps one should point out that the app that he is criticizing–Signal–is the one that was recommended by the Motherboard guide to internet privacy that was linked the other day. If one chooses to be paranoid then there’s probably a reason to distrust almost any piece of software. However Levine does make one good point which is that using encrypted messaging or for that matter Tor just calls attention to what people are doing and makes them targets. True privacy may require staying off the internet altogether and if not that then blending into the giant “haystack” as much as possible. The below article talks about William Binney and how his effective program of targeted web surveillance–which might have even spotted the 9/11 crew ahead of time–was rejected by Hayden in favor of a mass surveillance approach which doesn’t seem to catch anyone. The likely reason for the rejection–simpler and cheaper techniques don’t lead to large budget increases for government agencies. Our biggest protection may be that the people running the spy agencies seem to be idiots.


    But the other takeaway is that untargeted mass surveillance is not a very good tool for government oppression and Google’s connections to government agencies–something that could be said about just about every computer development coming out of Silicon Valley–are not automatically sinister. We probably should worry a lot more about that Schmidt guy.

    1. ABasLesAristocrates

      Signal has been downloaded and installed 5-10 million times on Android devices alone. If merely using it is sufficient to make one a target, the NSA really has their work cut out for them. At that point it’s just another mass surveillance program, subject to the same problems as the cleartext mass surveillance program, but with the benefit to you of concealing your communications from less-capable actors.

      1. HotFlash

        I don’t have a smart phone, but do use other encryption when I can — not that I have much that needs to be secret, but I think it part of my civic duty to help create a Larger Haystack.

      2. bob

        Encryption not only requires the writer to “sign”, but also the reader, in order to view it.

        I think that’s a very important point that is never talked about.

        It’s very hard to “prove” that someone read a book, even if it were in their bedroom. It’s not hard at all to prove that an encrypted message was “read”.

        Part of the https conundrum, a message brought to you by your nat sec friends at google

    1. HotFlash

      Waugh! What a thing! Well, welcome (back) to sanity, I suppose. Always happy to read your comment, and love your handle.

  20. Edward E

    Hmm, let’s see, we had a Manafort Monday and a Flynn Friday. Wonder if we get anything big out of a Tuesday?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Both of which were cast as earth-shattering events. And sadly, the ABC report was wrong in the crucial detail, since the original single-sourced leak had Trump “colluding” with Russia as a candidate, not as a President-elect.

      Of course the market tanked on the first report (so I certainly hope nobody at ABC was doing any trading on it, not that I’m cynical).

      1. Edward E

        But I’m traveling the country already singing a song about it! …
        It’s beginning to look a lot like Treeeassson, Everywhere you look,
        There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well,
        The sturdy kinds that doesn’t mind pressure from the Mueller…

  21. cm

    I’m rewatching the film 1984 and the following quote struck me as incredibly relevent. I saw the movie when it first hit the theaters 30+ years ago, but it seems so much more relevant today…

    “The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance… The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.” – George Orwell, 1949, from “1984”

Comments are closed.