Links 2/18/18

Cow escapes on way to slaughterhouse, smashes through metal fence, breaks arm of man trying to catch her then swims to safety on island in lake Independent. That cow is an inspiration to us all.

Household chemicals rival vehicles as smog source Nature

Two cheers for the return of volatility John Authers, FT. “It is far from clear that the investment industry any longer has the skills needed to help the markets in the process of price discovery. Bottom-up stockpicking based on crunching the fundamentals of a company balance sheet is a dying art. It has not been such a useful skill for some time.” Hmm.

How a French Fraudster Climbed the World of International Arms Dealing OCCRP (Richard Smith).

The playboy who got away with $242m – using ‘black magic’ BBC (Richard Smith).

Waymo Gets the O.K. for a Commercial Driverless Ride-Hailing Service Bloomberg

Sale of $5bn lithium stake to test electric car hype FT

Liberals write off $200M in student loans feds will never collect CBC. Canadian Liberals.

Arkansas banned a weedkiller. Now, Monsanto is suing Grist. Dicamba.


Turkey denies use of chemicals in Syria’s Afrin, says accusations baseless Reuters (Re Silc). Re Silc: “What would McMaster say? He never lies.” And Public reports ‘clearly show’ Assad’s use of chemical weapons: McMaster Reuters (Re Silc). Re Silc: “Must be the Niger yellow cake scam again. Where is Judith Miller?” Readers, serious question: Is there anybody who does not understand those short-hand references?

‘An Endless War’: Why 4 U.S. Soldiers Died in a Remote African Desert NYT (Re Silc). Re Silc: “It’s a jobs program.”


May gives credible but uncompelling view on post-Brexit defence FT

There can be no Brexit deal without Tory unity Spectator. Um…

Could Brexit leave us in a French Revolution scenario of having no bread to feed ourselves? Irish Independent

Germany edges toward Chinese-style rating of citizens Handelsblatt


What Could the United States Have Done – If Anything – To Prevent China’s Rise? Foreign Policy

Sacred Tibetan monastery in Lhasa hit by fire BBC

Chinese New Year, but where’s the money? Le Monde Diplomatique

New Cold War

Sorry to be a bit heavy on this topic, but it’s drowning out everything else. I’ve thrown the topics into three buckets: Warmongering, sometimes hysterical; technical/analytical; and critical:

Trump’s Conspicuous Silence Leaves a Struggle Against Russia Without a Leader NYT

Why Americans need to close ranks against Putin’s attack on our democracy WaPo

How Russia turned the internet against America Politico

Putin’s chef, a troll farm and Russia’s plot to hijack US democracy Guardian

Foreign Disinformation is a Threat to Military Readiness, Too Defense One. Ka-ching.

* * *

Russian Influence Campaign: What’s in the Latest Mueller Indictment Lawfare

Trump Official Calls Russian Meddling Charges Indisputable Bloomberg

Updated Mueller Docket Census: We Still Don’t Know What 6 Prosecutors Are Doing emptywheel. Six undropped shoes?

1 big thing: We know nothing; Mueller knows all Axios

This Is What $1.25 Million Dollars a Month Bought the Russians Foreign Policy. More than Clinton’s $1.4 billion, it seems. If Democrats really want to win, why don’t they just hire these guys?

How Much Did Russian Interference Affect The 2016 Election? Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight. The last paragraph is key.

* * *

Mueller Indictment – The “Russian Influence” Is A Commercial Marketing Scheme Moon of Alabama

Anti-Trumpists Use Mueller Indictments to Escalate Tensions With Nuclear-Armed Russia Consortium News

Russiagate or Deep State? What Some Progressives Get Wrong on Russia. Foreign Policy in Focus

Russia Isn’t the Only One Meddling in Elections. We Do It, Too. NYT (Re Silc).

Woke Russian:

Trump Transition

Why the president’s 2019 budget request was more of a ‘policy document’ than anything else Federal News Radio

The Business World Is Livid Over Trump’s Immigration “Train Wreck” Vanity Fair

How the New Tax Law Could Slow Disaster Recovery in Small Towns Governing. Things are more like they are now than they ever have been before.

Our Famously Free Press

Chronicle of a white supremacist PR crisis and the making of a hoax Media Matters. Normally, I don’t link to Media Matters, but this is the best round-up I could find.

Cruise ship company sorry about ‘disruptive’ brawl 9 News. Seems like more than a “brawl’!

Guillotine Watch

Renting Giant Cruise Ships Is the New Wave in Private Yachting Bloomberg

Chinese government creates gate-guarded private village for hedge-funds near Hangzhou Boing Boing

Class Warfare

Behind the Explosion in Socialism Among American Teens In These Times YSDSA.

The Fate of the Revolution Jacobin. Tunisia.

A Ruling Over Embedded Tweets Could Change Online Publishing Wired

‘Make things pono’: Kamehameha Schools settles sex abuse case Hawaii News Now

I am a knife LRB. “As Judith Butler has argued, the performative is always melancholic, since the performer knows the role they are enacting is no more than skin deep (‘melancholic’ also because of all the other buried and unconsciously grieved sexual lives one might have led).” Or political lives, one might add.

Antidote du jour:

Bonus antidote. Continuing to level up my cat game:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links 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. Emorej a Hong Kong

    Like “Russiagate” itself, the purported rebuttal of rebuttals in “Russiagate or Deep State? What Some Progressives Get Wrong on Russia”, at Foreign Policy in Focus, while rushing to its forest-eye view, is non-substantive to the extent of self-parody in how it purports to rebut skeptics like Glenn Greenwald and Stephen F. Cohen.

    Author Feffer seems to consider the debate advanced by zingers like the following:

    >”lost sight of the fact that the two principal groups of actors in this saga — the Trump team and the Putin people — are ruthless operators who have imported their mafia style into democratic politics.”


    >”this is more usually an argument from the right wing.”

    His argument that Greenwald has been cherry-picking is made unpersuasive by his own egregious cherry-picking at many levels of his analysis.

    Putin has undoubtedly done great evils, notably to Chechnya and probably to many other groups and individuals, but I’m still waiting to see a persuasive analysis for why we shouldn’t be more worried about the alliances pushing Russiagate than about Putin’s threat to American Democracy.

    1. sleepy

      And then there is this from the article:

      A corollary to the “Russia didn’t really do anything” argument is that other countries had greater impact on the elections. The two countries usually cited are Israel and Mexico.

      Certainly Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown a fondness for Donald Trump, and hardline pro-Israel donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson poured millions into the Trump campaign. But there were also plenty of friends of Israel pushing in the opposite direction because of an authentic fondness for Hillary Clinton, or because of authentic fears of the anti-Semitic forces supporting Trump.

      Does Feffer really think that AIPAC was pushing in the “opposite direction” with Clinton from the position it was pushing with Trump?

      If Feffer’s level of thinking and insight into politics is to assume a significant difference between the policies of either party towards Israel, and then use that assumption as a basis to make the argument that Israel does not significantly interfere in our politics, he is disqualified from writing about foreign influence in US elections in my opinion.

      1. Emorej a Hong Kong


        Quite right. And this is a further illustration of the illogic of Feffer’s purported rebuttals, because if allegations of excessive Israel-related influence could be rebutted by an argument that different individuals supporting different candidates were pushing in the “opposite direction”, then why wouldn’t the same analysis rebut much of the Russiagate allegations?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think Feffer is saying, if, say, China spends some on the Republicans and some on the Democrats – sometimes equally, and sometimes more on the one team that is more willing to be friendly but making sure there is some pull, or push, in the opposite direction as well, so as to satisfy that opposite direction requirement – it would be OK.

      2. John Wright

        Feffer seems to be arguing that Israel’s influence was self canceling as it was for BOTH candidates, so it can be ignored.

        “Certainly Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown a fondness for Donald Trump, and hardline pro-Israel donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson poured millions into the Trump campaign. But there were also plenty of friends of Israel pushing in the opposite direction because of an authentic fondness for Hillary Clinton, or because of authentic fears of the anti-Semitic forces supporting Trump.”

        Great, pointing out that Israel has influence but it can be discounted..

        I’m surprised that there is little embarrassment that the USA spends on CIA+FBI+NSA (around 70 billion/year) which is about the Russian defense budget, and did not detect (and counter) Russian meddling until after the favored candidate lost.

        HRC and her supporters should be angry at the CIA+FBI+NSA for not determining the Russian influence in real time.

        But now we have HRC supporters speaking warmly of the CIA+FBI+NSA despite the agencies’ past records attempting to influence our Democracy and other governments world wide.

        Perhaps the release of HRC’s emails damaged the candidate but maybe the candidate was already flawed in the eyes of many voters.

        Are the HRC supporters arguing that there were a lot of large influences that self cancelled and a potentially very small external influence from Russia upset the balance?

        They should have run a better candidate.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          As to the embarrassment aspect, the constant yelling needs to drown out what a dying empire looks like. So many “adults” applauded the previous 16 years, they became attached to the failures. Look at the failure of our intelligence agencies. When Obama was President elect, he saved Joe Lieberman from losing his oversight role. Instead of demanding competence, “very serious people” assured critics of the move that Obama was 853 dimensions brilliant and had a plan. Name the disaster. Iraq is in Iran’s orbit. Our poodle is leaving the EU in a disastrous manner. Libya led to slave markets, a refugee crisis, and operations such as BRIICS and the new Silk Road becoming serious matters. Every self inflicted crisis involved a serious round of hippie punching. The entire directory result is Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the country, not anyone backed by big money or a drooling Kennedy. The Bush family henchmen are trying to attach themselves to the Clintons.

          Then of course, many of the people yelling OMG Putin are fairly stupid. Thinking through how the 17 intelligence agencies might have missed a Manchurian candidate with a fairly well known name isn’t a skill in their wheel house.

          Not to go all Tom Friedman, I have a neighbor who fancies himself something of a Democrat. He had a sign, and he thought I was in his realm. When he found out, I use to be a straw hat Democrat, he became email really insufferable. So after destroying the premise of the HRC candidacy, he agreed with my points then moves on to his regret Biden didn’t run. I thought he was going to cry when I pointed out Biden is Hillary without any reason to vote for him. He mumbled something about JFK. I said what did you like about him. Was it the agent orange decision? He became worried that he was as ignorant about JFK as he was about Joe and Hill, so he mumbled something about how important he was to Catholics. In the end, he tried to hide behind nostalgia, an assassinated President, and claims of religion. The collective failings of the “very serious people” are desperate for a deflection to explain their behavior.

          1. Baby Gerald

            Thank you, NTG, for the best two paragraph summary of the last 16 months of insanity we’ve witnessed, followed by a beautiful anecdote depicting all the goal post moving that is done when anyone counters the official narrative they have adopted in their atrophied minds to make themselves comfortable with their wrongness.

            Critical thinking skills have been replaced by the ability to parrot clichés fed by media outlets, so-called intelligence experts, and analysts who have been consistently wrong since the advent of the 24- hour news cycle.

            Unfortunately, this new round of indictments only gives the ‘but Hillary would have been better’ camp more grist for their mill and allows the distraction from serious issues to continue apace.

          2. Elizabeth Burton

            I had a person who worked for many years with his state Democratic Party apparatus inform me he couldn’t engage with my facts about the current state of the party because I kept using the term “Democrat Party.” I told him I wasn’t talking to him, albeit in a less confrontational manner.

            Then I had two gentlemen young enough to be my offspring discussing me as if I weren’t there and telling me about myself to me for noting that even the deputy FBI director quoted by the BBC said none of the 13 indictments showed any actual effect on the outcome of the election. Which, as usual, was buried at the bottom of the inverted pyramid where maybe 5% of those reading it would reach.

            Meanwhile, the entire federal election process is in the hands of the Department of Homeland Security, both parties are doing their best to keep as many eligible voters from voting as possible, and politicians are paying lip service to replacing those iffy voting machines with at least something that leaves a paper trail. But hey—those Russians were on social media under fake names!!!

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              “Democrat Party.”

              This is the minds of the Kossacks is an insult because 41 use to do this, but I believe that was the result of his attempts to be folksy as he could be and possibly his accent. For whatever reason (possibly Team Blue types have such weak identities), partisan Dems get crazy when they hear this. One Republican did this once to annoy Democrats, so now its a personal insult or something.

              Atrios probably wrote about it at times to explain the situation (I doubt it upset him), but the more supercilious Dems like it because it allows them to be in the good fight without doing much. Besides Republicans have all kinds of dumb nick names and phrases they think are clever, so its probably accurate. I imagine the people the most upset by the “Democrat Party” didn’t find any humor in the title of Hillary’s post election book. Besides listening for a perceived insult is easier than addressing points of an argument.

              If memory serves Lambert uses it to distinguish between neo-liberals and the Democratic Party. Also, he knows it annoys Team Blue types.

              1. Montanamaven

                I remember it being Frank Luntz who came up with “Democrat Party”. So it rhymed with “rat” and when you heard it you thought “rat”. Drives the party faithful crazy. He also came up with “the death tax”.

          3. Donald

            “Democrat Party” is a trigger phrase for many liberals because apparently Rush Limbaugh or someone like that used that phrase to be dismissive and insulting. I saw people in the comment section of another blog become outraged because a commenter from another country used the phrase and it took several back and forths for him to understand the horrible dreadful thing he had done. In fact as someone who sympathized with his general POV I intervened and told him that he was right that it shouldn’t be a big deal, it was just silly semantics, but it was best to avoid using that phrase and told him the potted history I just wrote above.

            So much of politics is tribal in really dumb and demoralizing ways. I suppose it serves the interests of the people running things that it be like that.

            1. marym

              Through the Bush and early Obama years I watched a lot of cable news.

              Republicans and right-wingers all used “Democrat.” Once Barney Frank was on. He responded to the Republican talking head by using “Republic.” That was the only time I ever heard Democrat politicians or pundits or “strategists” ever push back.

              If the public faces of the party won’t muster enough spine to defend the name of their own party, why should anyone else?

              1. Donald

                That’s fine, but again, I saw people being outraged when it was not a case of some rightwinger deliberately trying to goad them.

                There is a sort of Gresham’s law of political argument. Less important or even nonsensical issues drive out the more important ones. I am sure this is why the Republicans employed this tactic. Frank’s response was the best one— just misuse their party’s name and everyone sees how ridiculous it is.

                1. ChrisPacific

                  I live outside the US and I would have had no idea. Democrats have really been convinced that ‘Democrat Party’ is derogatory, even when used in good faith?

                  Somebody obviously made (and won) a bet that Democrats were no smarter than Pavlov’s dog. That or, as NotTimothyGeithner said above, discussing politics for Democrats requires them to be offended about something, and so they look for any excuse.

                2. McKillop

                  It seems to me that insignificant and/or simple discussion and arguments garner the more comment and response; arguments and ideas that require thought or knowledge are net with silence – probably because people don’t understand or won’t be bothered responding intelligently to anything requiring nuance or learning. Consider, for example, this issue of sticks and stones compared to any policy discussion, policy being as boring to learn as, say, history or economics or literature.
                  Even I get to say my say!
                  Consider also how political and social argumentation of consists of saying words with a sneer of mispronunciation in one’s voice – socialist, liberal, feminist, business, government, etc.

          4. Doug Hillman

            Don’t be too hard on your neighbor. Americans are the most propagandized population on earth, and while ultimately healthy, disillusionment can be a very painful process.

            Faith in God, country, and political tribe are foundational to identity. Discovering that Jehovah and USA are unworthy of worship can be devastating.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I wasn’t being hard on him. He asked about Hillary, so I told him. Sorry, Biden is such a miserable POS I can’t let that stand. This neighbor is an old white man, and I hope to one day be an old white man. I suspect he picked Biden either as a test or just someone I might find more appealing because of the “white male” aspect of my existence.

              Part of the reason, we still have Biden for President talk is no one ever explains what a monster he really is. My neighbor is an adult, not a small child.

              1. Merf56

                Biden is a good man. Not a piece of shit as you call him. You can disagree with many or all of his political positions over the years but calling him a piece of shit says more about you than him. Bad form. Very bad form.

                  1. NotTimothyGeithner


                    Here is a bit about your “good man.”

                    Yes, it was a different time. Yes, sexual harassment laws and workplace regulations existed, but it was probably just a random chance. Don’t worry, Holy Joe apologized if people were offended in 2017. He even wants to apologize to Anita Hill. I suppose apologizing to the country would be a bit much to ask. It only took him 25 years, conveniently when a path to the White House might have been opened.

                    In fact, I firmly believe the best thing Obama did in his Washington career is get Joe Biden out of the U.S. Senate and put him in a worthless position.

                    1. Jean

                      And Biden is responsible for a large proportion of the crushing student debt that Americans suffer as he authored and promoted a bill for his financial masters that exempts student loans from bankruptcy reorganization. He’s a slippery POS with a charming smile and a nice tale of woe re his family.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner





                  Maybe you are confused, but the man in these articles is the Joe Biden I am referring to. He used to be a Senator from Delaware and the previous Vice President. I know he often seems folksy on late night shows or the View, but he’s a politician. This might strike one as odd, but often times, politicians are often very charming in person. Look at all the #resistance types who really liked Trump when he was more focused on tirades against the Central Park Five.

                  Yes, Joe Biden like many other people has faced his own personal tragedies, but that doesn’t make him a good man. Then of course, there is the grabiness factor and the casual racism often on display.

                  “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” -Joe Biden

                2. foghorn longhorn

                  Do a search for creepy joe biden and tell us what a good man he is.
                  When the little girls run from you something is up.

        2. Ignacio

          This thing about balancing interferences would be funny except that all this idiocy about Russiagate is currently the worst and most pathetic and dangerous manipulative POS that can be identified in the news. If any country in the world “interfers” with democracies or not democracies in the rest of the world, that is the US. When I read phrases like, for instance “the plot against America” in the Guardian I simultaneously laugh and cry. Laugh about the idiocy and cry about the low bar of standard news in the… let’s say “western media”.

    2. Watt4Bob

      I’m still waiting to see a persuasive analysis for why we shouldn’t be more worried about the alliances pushing Russiagate than about Putin’s threat to American Democracy

      That’s it in a nutshell.

      2016 was an embarrassing brawl between two equally deplorable candidates, their strictly-from-commercial, and insanely expensive campaign staffs, and their often deluded and/or clueless followers.

      Within that context, Putin comes off more like an obnoxious kibitzer, than an actual threat to the democratic process.

      Any honest reading of our history makes clear that it is the candidates and their respective parties that have damaged our democracy, and left it in shambles.

      The scale of Putin and the Russians impact on the kayfabe circus that is our election cycle should be understood as similar to that of SNL’s Amy Schumer and Alec Baldwin.

      1. Strategist

        The Moon of Alabama piece argues that the St Petersburg troll farm was a commercial enterprise, not a Kremlin/Putin operation. The piece appears plausible – should we believe it?

        1. sleepy

          I thought that was an interesting article as well that sounded plausible.

          The most informative part imho was the take by the author that since 1) he was a foreign citizen 2) that he had posted anti-Hillary material during the election 3) that he had solicited donations from US commenters and 4) that he was not registered with the FEC, he too could be criminally liable under the legal theories announced in the indictment. Those theories would seem to also apply to those US citizens making donations.

        2. Buttinsky

          The frustrating thing is that all of this was known and almost cheerfully being written about during the campaign, and now isn’t even being mentioned by the mainstream media. But one example:

          Pro-Trump postings got more monetizable clicks than pro-Hillary postings.

          Count One of the indictment, to “defraud” the United States (through attempts to “sow discord” in the country? — someone who hasn’t been paying attention could’ve saved their money), is simply amorphous, willfully and dangerously so. The indictment’s only actual criminal allegations of any substance — Count Two for money transfer fraud and Count Three for ID theft are clearly related to the kind of activity described by Moon of Alabama and in the article linked above. Interesting that the “investigation” has been so politicized that nobody is paying any attention to all the dollars on the table.

          1. Aumua

            It’s a good find, that link. I’d like to see this phenomenon and type of money making business further fleshed out and documented.

        3. Aumua

          Hard to say. I don’t necessarily buy that idea hook line and sinker, however it sure seem like the whole thing is rather a mickey mouse operation, compared to what I imagine real government backed spies are doing on all sides, both within and without their respective countries. I mean the real spies are of course, the CIA and the like. Right?

          “Internet Research Agency”? Is that someone’s idea of a joke?

          1. blennylips

            “Internet Research Agency”? Is that someone’s idea of a joke?

            No. That is strategic ungoogleablility!

            Urban Dictionary: ungoogleable

            (1) “To be ungoogleable is to have never existed” or (2) to have a very, very common name, like my baby sister: searching on her name yields “Results 1 – 10 of about 5,180.” even if she was there, it’d take me half of forever to find her. –

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Russia interfered. The effect was so miniscule as to be </= zero.

            So yelling about it is just a gargantuan case of misdirection from the fact that our intelligence agencies were used to try and influence the outcome of a presidential election. The misdirection is working a treat.

            "Sir, you ran that red light"

            "Officer, look at that pony over there!"

        4. Plenue

          I think he’s correct. Because what else could it realistically be? If it was a serious attempt by the Kremlin to ‘sow discord’, it’s so small scale as to be utterly pointless. It would only make any sense if it were one small part of a much larger set of ‘interference’ operations, but there is literally zero evidence of anything else. If there were, this pathetic, flaccid thing wouldn’t be being dangled out in front of the media as some sort of “gothca!”.

        5. lyman alpha blob

          To me it seems obvious. It’s just clickbait designed to scrape some money off the big internet platforms that don’t care to vet anything. Last I checked it wasn’t illegal since there’s clickbait on pretty much every website on the web except this one (thanks again for that!).

          Unlike David’s Brock’s troll farms which were financed through a PAC and were designed specifically to influence the election, and were not a commercial enterprise at all. Those were pretty much illegal, but Brock claimed some technicality and the establishment looked the other way.

      2. Kokuanani

        Rather than Amy Schumer [who’s not a regular on SNL], I think you mean Kate McKinnon, who usually plays Hillary.

    3. Donald

      There are a few legitimate points in the Feffer piece, but as you and others say, most of it is weak. Here for instance—

      “ Now, when the very rule of law is threatened, the institutions of American democracy are arguably doing their job.”

      The problem here is that the rule of law was flushed down the toilet when there was no criminal investigation of the torture policy, for instance. Brennan, a hero of the Resistance, spied on the Democrats who did the investigation and lied about it.

      I don’t deny that Trump is a threat to the rule of law, but when people use this phrase they should acknowledge that some of the loudest screeches in the intelligence community about Russiagate come from people who should be in prison. There is no rule of law for high ranking American war criminals.

      1. Donald

        One other point. Feffer acknowledges that the social media effects are quite likely tiny and that the real damage came from the DNC emails. Well, tell that to the Russiagate hysterics. And the DNC emails had impact because they revealed embarrassing acts about Clinton and the DNC.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          And the DNC emails had impact because they revealed embarrassing acts about Clinton and the DNC.

          THAT really should have been the “tell” about what was to come. It wasn’t that our sacred “democracy” was blatantly and relentlessly manipulated, it was that someone told the american people about it. The “criminal” was not the manipulator. The “crime” was that the manipulation was exposed at all.

          I can’t help thinking about the “tells” that are in plain sight right now. “Russian” facebook profiteering characterized as an existentially deadly “cyberattack” or “invasion” justifying nuclear retaliation. Preemptive delegitimizing of the electoral process through bogus “indictments” that can never be adjudicated or resolved. A failing economic system that can no longer be disguised with increasingly unbelievable public relations propaganda, and threatens to become unmanageable with anything less than brute force. Just to name a few.

          A quote from Huey Long would seem to fit here–“Sure, we’ll have fascism in this country, and we’ll call it anti-fascism…”

      2. Olga

        If memory serves me right, the rule of law went out of the window long time ago. Blaming it on Trump is kinda laughable. Plus, how can it be that no one remembers the stolen election of 2000 (and 2004, according to the facts uncovered pursuant to a Democrats’ lawsuit in Ohio). So Supreme Court can meddle in our elections with impunity…?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Blaming it on Trump is kinda laughable.

          True, but also irrelevant for those who so desperately need to believe that they were not and are not wrong.

          The aggravating thing is that a few conciliatory words from hillary or obama could go a long way toward calming the waters. It’s no surprise that when they periodically emerge from their hidey holes, it’s only to pour more fuel on an already raging fire. Such “patriots,” these.

          Another “tell,” as far as I’m concerned.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            In the case of Obama, I’ve felt there has been a distinct lack of hagiography given his historic nature. With all this madness, where are the “this is how Obama did it” takes? He was President for eight years, and even had more votes than HRC. :)

            “I’m accused of a lot of things, but I don’t think I’m stupid enough to go around saying, this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity a week before the website opens if I thought that it wasn’t going to work. So clearly, we and I did not have enough awareness about the problems in the website. Even a week into it, the thinking was that these were some glitches that would be fixed with patches, as opposed to some broader systemic problems that took much longer to fix and we’re still working on them.” -November 14, 2013.

            Obama might not be stupid enough to outright lie, but he is stupid enough to not be aware of the roll out of his biggest accomplishment. I doubt Obama wants to wade into waters too much, but the realization he wasn’t playing 853rd dimensional chess with the first officer aboard a fictional space ship is hard to take. Trump can’t be the result of poor leadership by one’s heroes. No, it had to be Klingons and internet trolls, I mean Russians or a villain “I can’t do anything about” so it can’t be my fault. With better citizenship from people who know better, Obama might not have been so awful and succeeded by Trump. Shrub set the bar so low. Until Hillary’s early campaing got rolling, I had no doubt there would be 4 successive terms of Democratic Presidents.

        2. Ed Miller

          According to Bill Black the rule of law silently slipped away the minute Bill Clinton moved into the WH. “Pay no attention to financial fraud”, told to the government agency responsible for prosecuting financial fraud. No wonder Bill Black left government for UMKC.

          It’s been downhill in government ethics ever since.

    4. Eureka Springs

      I’m still waiting to see a persuasive analysis for why we shouldn’t be more worried about the alliances pushing Russiagate than about Putin’s threat to American Democracy

      Putin, CIA trolls, nor anyone else can threaten something which does not exist.

        1. polecat

          Whose jobz ??
          Now, if your talkin the 17letteragencies + the red/blue congrii critters + zionist neocons × wallow$treet algorithm-methods.. then yeh, I would agree.
          For the rest of us, it’s only the dream of Elysium .. the bots will saddle up what jobs remain, and we will have to take our squalor .. and like it !

      1. Doug Hillman

        True, but beating a dead horse is often useful in political theater.

        The Mueller Russia-gate indictments are, IMO, a transparent total eclipse of Inte-gate — FISA court, FBI, DOJ, DNC, and Clinton Foundation crimes. The Donald, undoubtedly otherwise compromised by NSA-CIA dirt, is here exonerated by Mueller, as was Hillary by Comey before him. So the bipartisan rug can be lifted while the presstitutes sweep relevant unpleasantness down the memory hole, and we can return to our regularly scheduled programming: hating the enemy du jour.

        These parts of Feffer’s diversion really [resignated] with me:

        “Forget the Deep State. [the devil doesn’t exist] The intelligence agencies are just doing their day job —…
        “This is an open investigation, by people who call themselves Democrats and Republicans and independents, into the potential violations of the U.S. law by a presidential candidate and now a current president.

        “Now, when the very rule of law is threatened, the institutions of American democracy (sic) are arguably doing their job.”

        Well Hallelujah! The hallowed rule of law is preserved by the sacred institutions of American democracy.

        Nevermind Hillary’s email felonies designed to cover up Clinton Foundation crimes/Obama Regime crimes (Uranium 1 bribery/extortion scandal)

        Nevermind the DNC rigging the primary

        Nevermind the DNC-funded Steele memo.

        Nevermind the FBI defrauding the FISA court with said fabrication.

        The multimillion-dollar Russia-gate investigation is now destined to go on and on and on until the repetitive lying sticks and Intel-gate is entirely forgotten. Then Mueller can retire as a very rich man

        1. Waking Up

          If the Internet Research Agency turned out to be 13 Australian people doing exactly what the 13 Russian people at Internet Research Agency were doing, would we still see the same level of hysteria?

    5. Buttinsky

      The creepy patronizing tone of the Feffer piece is really something:

      The bizarre denialism of some on the left and right about Russiagate doesn’t bode well for the future of American politics.”

      If we could all just put reason aside and unite in this cockamamie anti-Russia hysteria, America could start to heal itself.

      Forget the Deep State. The intelligence agencies are just doing their day job…

      I’m pretty sure “the intelligence agencies are just doing their day job” is why JFK wanted to smash the CIA to pieces.

    6. Donald

      Here is a study I found the other day via a Caitlin Johnstone piece linked here. I have seen her come under heavy criticism from lefties but whatever the truth there her articles contain useful info. Anyway, here is the link

      The study is about how ISIS was armed and this group ( which works for the EU) found that some of their weapons were US weapons supplied to “ moderate rebels” which found their way to ISIS within weeks. The US in turn bought the weapons from sources, including in the EU, after signing a paper saying that we were the final users and so the weapons wouldn’t be passed on.

      In a country which actually took the rule of law seriously, this would be a huge scandal and would lead to major investigations into how it happened, possibly leading to indictments. I have heard this claim before, but it doesn’t go anywhere. In the meantime the NYT talks as though internet trolling constitutes a virtual war against the United States.

    7. Procopius

      … I’m still waiting to see a persuasive analysis for why we shouldn’t be more worried about the alliances pushing Russiagate than about Putin’s threat to American Democracy.

      Me, too.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Gawd, this whole Russiagate thing is just so stupid. Lambert is right when the talks about what is essentially a signal-to-noise ratio problem. Personally I have found a better use of my time in watching the Winter Olympics and watching extraordinary people do extraordinary feats. Look, in a way I can understand the context here where neoliberal western elites are frustrated by Russia because it refuses to buckle down and do what it is told like it was back in the 90s. I really can. I don’t say that I agree with it but I can understand it. What troubles me personally though is that the people running this whole operation are showing all the same competence of the British Government’s handling of Brexit. I mean real amateur hour stuff with lots of whinging and toy breaking. You read things at WaPo and the NYT and frankly it is just embarrassing. Sigh!
    What troubles me more is that I think that China may be next for the same treatment. When you read the Foreign Policy’s story “What Could the United States Have Done – If Anything – To Prevent China’s Rise?” I think how can this be the work of professionals? Some of the talking points in it have holes big enough to drive Trump’s ego through it. Obama pushing his “pivot to Asia” policy as well as the failed everybody-but-China trade block (TPP) gave China plenty of notice of how they were next on the hit-list. Driving both China and Russia together as one block like our elites have managed to succeed in doing will prove to be a bigger mistake than the Iraq invasion which is already acknowledged as the biggest blunder in American foreign policy history. It was very depressing until I saw something today.
    Getting back to the Winter Olympics, I relearned a very important lesson today which was taught to me by a 22 year-old Czechoslovakian girl named Ester Ledecka and the lesson was this – it’s not over until it’s over!

    1. voteforno6

      Yeah, I’m reassured by the media that the people running this probe are the ultimate professionals. I don’t think they actually expect any of this to actually hit a courtroom. If I were Putin I would put a few of those people who were indicted on a plane to the U.S., just to show how ridiculous this whole thing is.

    2. Emorej a Hong Kong


      >”biggest blunder in American foreign policy history”

      You and George Kennan are both correct on this point. Objective geopolitical circumstances should have inclined any Russian leader to prefer allying with at least Western Europe, and ultimately the USA, to balance against China for the coming decades.

      This might have been a stable balance. But the USA made that choice impossible for Putin.

      A stable balance, in which Russia is allied with China, although theoretically imaginable, seems to be unimaginable to the US foreign policy elite, in view of its continuing series of ‘double or nothing’ gambles.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Was it ‘Only Nixon could go to China?’

        Will it be ‘Only Hillary can go to Russia?’

        Is a ‘Road to Damascus Moment’ coming?

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Don’t forget Tehran which effectively just assisted in the defense of a diverse population against Sunni religious nuts backed by Saudi Arabia. They celebrated Christmas in Damascus and Aleppo again.

        An effective alliance of a moderately Orthodox/atheist post Soviet space, a Shiite country that still recently cast of U.S. puppets, and an officially Communist Party run state is fairly fascinating. If they can make it work, there is no reason for South East Asia, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, and the other Stan countries to fully embrace the situation. Then of course, Africa and South America. Why should the world listen to the dictates of the over lord of a bunch of former colonial oppressors? With Libya, the U.S. announced deals with the U.S. we’re meaningless. We simply can’t buy puppets except the dumbest of people. Iraq was bad, but everyone gave us a mulligan after 9/11 and the stolen election in 2000. Seeing the aftermath and then the “adults” and the “smart wars” lead to slave markets in Libya has changed the world.

        Culturally, the Russian Federation should have been aligned with the West and could have served as a distant but relevant counter to Germany in the EU which would have made it stronger and less Berlin centric in my opinion. That was probably the goal of German and U.S. elites though.

        1. Montanamaven

          After the fall of the USSR, The Russian Federation wanted to be part of NATO i.e. part of Europe. But the US rejected that idea. It didn’t and still doesn’t want an alliance with Russia. It wants to steal Russia’s stuff, not trade with Russia. That’s kind of what the US always does. It want to steal stuff rather than pay for it. Iraq War was about stealing its oil (“IT WILL PAY FOR ITSELF”) and establishing a power base on Russia’s southern flank.
          Rejecting Russia as an ally, which it has been before, is going to be viewed as the hugest mistake the US has made. Now the nature enemies of China and Russia are allies. Why were they enemies? China wants Siberia, for one thing. It’s got everything including a lot of water. Looks like they warily will ally and then annex Europe and make one real Asian continent. After all, Europe is kind of a made up contintent, isn’t it?

      3. Procopius

        Most people seem to have forgotten that by 1952 China and Russia were at odds with one another, Russia had recalled all its “advisers” from China and cut off all financial aid. Heck, most Americans believed the Dulles Brothers and Fred C. Koch that there was a “monolithic international Communist conspiracy.” They were even having armed skirmishes on their border. Now that both countries are less ideologically driven, and mostly freed from the need to idolize Stalin and Mao, it doesn’t seem so outlandish that they might develop a stable alliance.

    3. katiebird

      The first we really noticed the Russia, Russia, Russia thing was during the overage of the Sochi Winter Olympics. I was shocked at the level of nasty language directed at not just Putin but all Russians. Their lovely Opening Ceremony was sneered at. Viral photos of hotel rooms and bathrooms that were clearly underconstruction presented as if this was the best Russia could do. Constant nastiness. I was not at all surprised that Bob Coststa’s eye erupted.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        One of the promises made by free trade fanatics was the U.S. tech and defense sector would solve all dislocation problems. Russia is a threat to replace the U.S. without such a potential heavy hand given Russia’s population size.

        With the S-400 as an option, what does the average country need an F-35 for? Rebels can be dealt with retrofitted Cessnas. Obama sold twice as many guns as Shrub, and despite that, the force readiness of our allies really does beg for analysis of how useful the weapons are. Although they are old Soviet tanks, the Ukrainian experience demonstrated how practical tanks are without a full fledged support structure.

        Tech, defense, space, energy, and even food are all areas Russia can chip away.

      2. Ignim Brites

        US elites slowly are coming to the realization that the US withdrawal from Iraq in 2009 was equivalent to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. The whole Russiaphobia thing is really just an attempt for an attempt to drum up support from an indifferent population for the indispensabilty of the US. But while the elites think in terms of the indispensabity of the US to the world, for the people the question is whether the the US is indispensable for them.

        “We used to play for silver
        Now we play for life
        One’s for sport and one’s for blood
        At the point of a knife
        Now the die is shaken
        Now the die must fall”
        Jack Straw, Grateful Dead, Robert Hunter lyrics.

        The victory, by the way, by Ester Ledecka in the SuperGS, and paricularly her own stunned reaction, has got to be one of the great moments in all of Olympic history. Right up there with the 1980 “miracle on ice”.

        1. Ed Miller

          Agree. Her stunned look said it all. +100

          She said later, quoting the local paper, all she wanted to do was try both Super G and snowboarding competition. What an accomplishment. WOW

    4. Amfortas the Hippie

      on the ridiculous “how’d china happen?” article: maybe moving all our physical plant there circa 1970- on had a little to do with it.
      Like a nation-level version of being flown to Bangladesh to train your replacement.

    5. John Wright

      I suspect China will not be pressured too much by the USA as so much USA corporate manufacturing is done in China.

      It the USA elite wants to continue to placate the proles via entertainment equipment and inexpensive consumer goods, seriously harming China is not in the cards.

      Walk through any USA hardware store, department store or discount big-box and pick up any consumer item.

      Odds are that it will say “Made in China”.

      Finding USA consumer goods “Made in Russia” is unlikely, so badmouthing/economically harming Russia is less destabilizing to the USA consumer sector.

      Given that China buys US treasuries, its labor pool helps USA corporations report higher profits and Chinese consumer goods are popular with USA population, both Democrats and Republicans will do little to harm the relationship with China.

      It will be good political theater to watch as politicians are verbally tough on China.

  3. Barmitt O'Bamney

    Wonder how the Russian meddle spend stacks up compared to our meddle spend? Ass. Sec. of State Vicki Nuland put our cost for interfering in Ukraine’s political system at $5 billion, and that couldn’t have all been just for cookies. I’m sure that’s not a full accounting either. Of course a full accounting will have to wait for the conclusion of the Ukrainian civil war which resulted from the US backed coup. If we spent that kind of cookie dough to destabilize Ukraine, what have we been spending to sugar the right people in Russia? If it’s true that splashing money around other people’s political systems is a crime then it is just one more crime that Madame Secretary Clinton should be rotting in jail for. Won’t someone at FBI please look into this? A terrible crime has been committed. With taxpayer money no less.

  4. Emorej a Hong Kong

    The exhaustive examples of ways to undermine effectiveness of US military personnel, in:

    >”Foreign Disinformation is a Threat to Military Readiness, Too”

    … reads more like an argument that:

    1. Expensive programming of military personnel is easily disrupted by cheap external malware; and

    2. The ‘Homo Social Mediapiens’ is so unsuitable for modern military needs as to require a quick transition to full replacement by robotic hardware and software.

    Of course the same logic might extend to the unsuitability of ‘Homo Social Mediapiens’ to participate in the election/selection of governmental leaders.

  5. Toske

    From the German social scoring article:

    “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” -Eric Schmidt

    Blarrrgggh. All those slaves who were secretly plotting escape… maybe they shouldn’t have been doing that. Those sympathetic Nazis who were secretly plotting to assassinate Hitler… maybe they shouldn’t have been doing that.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In a democracy, citizens social-score government officials.

      “This one spends all his socializing with rich billionaires.”

      “That one socializes exclusively with Noble Peace committee members.”

      1. nycTerrierist

        Yelp for politicians!

        HRC’s campaign, q.e.d. not to rely on algorithms…

        From the piece, great bit:

        “It would be tragic if somebody’s life was destroyed just because others put blind faith in a commercial algorithm,” Mr. Gigerenzer says.

        So what can be done about this process, and particularly given that it is already well underway?

        It would have been an important topic for the recent coalition talks to form the next German government, Mr. Gigerenzer explains. In the constant talk about digital technology, the social and psychological dimensions are being left out, he continues. “A huge blind spot has developed.”

  6. Matt

    The responses to Leonid Bershidsky darkly hinting that maybe he should have been indicted are shocking. It really goes to show just how much the whole Russiagate hysteria is nothing more than xenophobia; no one who knows anything about Bershidsky could think he was pro-Putin.

    I’m afraid my only experience with Russia hysteria has been on Twitter; have others encountered people this unhinged about Russia “in real life?” Aren’t these people supposed to be tolerant liberals appalled by Trump’s racism?

    1. Donald

      I have a friend in real life who is a little bit irrational about it imo. But he watches Maddow every night. I think it has had some effect.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        That’s my mom right there. Msnbc all day long, and i can’t talk politics with her any more..unless I tread carefully like I do with the Teabillies…avoiding terrorwords(like “neoliberalism”, in the dem case), using Socratic questioning, and such.
        It’s tiresome and very worrisome.

    2. bronco

      why are you on twitter? Does twitter add real value to life? I see links here from time to time that go to twitter threads. I click them sometimes and see a bunch of nobodies arguing with each other.

      The problem with twitter is it gives people the mistaken impression that they have thoughts that would interest anyone. Then it encourages them to do so.

      Incidentally , I fully include myself in that. I must have 20,000 random thoughts in any day, there is no reason to share any of them with the world though. One or two a day is probably enough. A twitter feed though appears to lower the bar for a persons self editing the thoughts they broadcast .

      As my grandad used to say to me, “when in doubt stfu”

      1. Yves Smith

        *Sigh*. There are a lot of valuable people on Twitter. You need to select who to follow.

        In addition, many publications and journalists announce when they break their stories there, so it is influential among journalists.

        1. Expat

          You two are curators. Most people use Twitter to follow the Kardashians…or their less intelligent cousin Donald Trump.

          1. integer

            I read Trump’s tweets every day. As inconvenient as it is for some, he is not the fool he is made out to be, which is not to say he is well-informed on all issues.

    3. petal

      I had a bad experience with someone-she was spouting off about Russia this and Putin that, and I started countering/poking holes in a friendly manner(thanks, NC!), and she got flustered and angry and very seriously called/accused me of being a Nazi and then stormed off. Before that happened, I had thought this person was a thinking, rational human being. My mistake. I have since stopped commenting on anything Russia related with several friends, because it is easy to tell things would head in that same direction. They have become completely unhinged-and yes, these are the supposed tolerant liberals.

      1. a different chris

        Well that is comical. I sort of recall hearing about a big war where the Nazis and Russians were on opposite sides….

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        I’ve dealt with similar irrational behavior in the wake of Clinton’s loss. All coming from ‘liberal’ Democrats, who had long presented themselves as the vanguard of the “reality-based” community. My experience with their snappish fury came in early 2017 before the Russiagate hysteria had legs. I learned to avoid engaging with them before Russia/Putin!!! became their rallying call.

        Back then, my heresy was in speaking well of Sanders. They hated him for ‘costing’ Hillary the Presidency, and loathed that he was still politically active in Washington while Her Worthiness was in deep seclusion in Chappaqua.

        1. petal

          I tried to discuss Sanders with her during this conversation and she saw red, blamed him for HC losing, all of it. Totally went off the deep end.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            Cheer up!!! No one of importance in this world gives a damn about the frenzied carping of post-menopausal old white bitches. I know this, because I am one. Such knowledge calms my nerves whenever I need to deal with them rest of them.

        2. oh

          This is the DimRat party’s MO to marginalize Sanders and his voters, like they did with Ralph Nader. Many people of DimRat ilk believe that.

          The two parties want to control electoral politics in our country and they do whatever it takes to keep the playing field to themselves,

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            “This is the DimRat party’s MO”

            Which distinguishes them from……… who, exactly? Did you intend to expose your contempt for your audience in this post, or were you just letting your inherent contempt for us bleed out of your words accidentally? Such a foolish error darling! One really should not fall so low.

            1. integer

              “This is the DimRat party’s MO to marginalize Sanders and his voters…”

              “Which distinguishes them from……… who, exactly?”

              Er, I’m gonna take a wild guess and go with: “Sanders and his voters”. To paraphrase George Carlin: “It’s a big club, and Sanders* and his voters ain’t in it.”

              “Such a foolish error darling!”

              Spare us the liberal-flavored condescention.

              * Though by the looks of it, he may be looking to join.

      3. Jen

        Once again I find myself forever grateful to the high school English teacher who turned a reading of Elie Wiesel’s “Night” into a mini holocaust studies session, which included talking to several local holocaust survivors. I can still see the tattooed numbers on their arms. She did this because she feared the time when all of those who actually experienced the holocaust would be gone, and that period of history would be denied, trivialized or both.

        How well she knew.

    4. CalypsoFacto

      I voluntarily attempted to learn Russian language from 2007-2011. I had a series of classes and then private tutors; I was fairly serious about it, I had managed to talk my then-partner into joining in with me as we both have an interest in languages and world literature so it clicked for a few years. I was inspired by Mark Ames and the Exile crew actually! The people who seem to learn Russian ‘for fun’ fall into a few broad categories then – they married someone from the Russosphere, they worked for the State department or other government branch, or they were into literature or language acquisition. It is not at all like French or Spanish, where if you say ‘I’m learning French!’ everyone immediately goes oh, cool, you doing that for travel or fun? and that’s that.

      Literally since I started learning Russian the only people who didn’t act confused, weirded out, or suspicious when I told them, are people who fall into one of the above broad categories or who assume I’m of Russian descent. ‘Why would you travel there?!?!? and a general look of distaste being the most common reaction. I stopped telling people when it was mentioned, and I stopped recommending cool Russian reading if they were interested. (Master and Margarita is really good, everyone should read it!)

      The worst though was around Trump’s inauguration when I got into an endless series of actual-yelling with coworkers and friends, all of which came down to them dismissing me entirely because I spoke Russian, like I was infected with fascism somehow, that it had made me a Trump enabler and apologist or traitor or automatically alt-right or, most commonly, a ‘Putin lover’. (What irony considering my original inspiration..) None of the people I had those conversations with have spoken to me since outside of a professional setting –
      thank god, that’s been maintained. I no longer discuss current events with anyone but a handful of very close friends who I know can handle opposing viewpoints without taking it as a direct attack on their own beliefs.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I had not considered it much before but when your identity rests with something outside of you (instead of who you actually are on the inside) such as a politician or political party or a brand, then you are setting yourself up for all sorts of irrational behaviour. I am wondering if all the anecdotes that commentators are talking about is explained by this.

        1. CalypsoFacto

          I actually pretty firmly believe this is the root of the current social insanity especially in USA.

  7. Emorej a Hong Kong

    This from the linked Axios article:

    >”The indictment … underscores that the problem wasn’t just ‘bots’ — i.e., automated social-media accounts — but human conspirators who fine-tuned propaganda and built online relationships with American activists.”

    This point has some ‘teachable’ potential. Better late than never for everybody to be aware that discussing politics online attracts undercover governmental participants. The cost of inserting governmental agents into these discussions (for monitoring, disrupting, steering and/or entrapping) is very low — a tiny fraction of what the FBI spent to infiltrate Left-wing movements in the pre-Internet days. The Internet also greatly lowers the expense, for the CIA and NSA, of evading restrictions on domestic activities, by formally or informally contracting them to foreign intelligence agencies,

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are always risks to commenting online.

      Saying things like “The military is always spending money with MMT,’ or ‘Gold will be around longer than most sovereign currencies. What would you do with sacks of USSR paper money in your backyard?”

      Your sovereign will not like that much.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Typically, or traditionally, a sovereign likes to hear ‘May you live ten thousand years.’

        Hopefully, that means the sovereign paper money is good for 10,000 years. (The world’s first paper sovereignty, Yuan dynasty China, their paper money was good for less than 100 years).

        And the smartest thing Confucians ever did was to get their sovereigns to buy into the idea of ‘the Mandate of Heaven,’ so they could openly talk about the lifespan of a dynasty, or the end of it.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Could be any of the following?

            n. One that exercises supreme, permanent authority, especially in a nation or other governmental unit, as:
            n. A king, queen, or other noble person who serves as chief of state; a ruler or monarch.
            n. A national governing council or committee.

            Or maybe something else.

            Which do you have in mind?

                  1. Procopius

                    Yes, coins have always had a (much?) higher value in the market place than the cost of the metal in them.

  8. integer

    A Crisis in Intelligence: Unthinkable Consequences of Outsourcing U.S. Intel (Part 3) Consortium News

    Privatized intelligence operations have become a favored practice of the U.S. and other Western governments, but the tactics of so-called spies for hire are often unethical and possibly illegal, explains George Eliason.

    Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy Consortium News

    New U.S. policy on nuclear retaliatory strikes for cyber-attacks is raising concerns, with Russia claiming that it’s already been blamed for a false-flag cyber-attack – namely the election hacking allegations of 2016, explain Ray McGovern and William Binney.

    1. integer

      With regard to the Eliason article, I thought this part was interesting:

      Joel Harding wrote the information policy for Ukraine. Myrotvorets is what it led to right away. This is the first product of the information policy, Ukraine’s infamous kill site. Ukraine maintains the right to kill anyone on listed on it, anywhere in the world, any time they choose to. And the Ukrainians use this to find and murder people who talk, post article links in social media, or write articles they don’t like.

      Andrew Weisburd started his website at the same time Myrotvorets came online. He taught the Ukrainians how to catch entire networks so they could be put on the list.

      Eliot Higgins and Aric Toler of Bellingcat taught the Ukrainians to find the people in the networks that are on the kill list at Myrotvorets.

      Ronnie Miller was 17 years old when he was put on this list. He’s never been to Ukraine before. Three out of four of these unlawful combatants are Americans working for a foreign country that is attacking Americans in United States!

      Just for consistency, I think it would be a good idea for Trump to initiate a thorough investigation of Ukrainian influence in the 2016 election. A good starting point would be the connections of Alexandra Chalupa and Crowdstrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch to the DNC.

      Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire Politico

      Report: $412,000 DNC insider, Ukraine officials spread dirt on Trump Washington Examiner

  9. Msmolly

    Is there anybody who does not understand those short-hand references?

    Is there anyone brave enough to admit that some references on this site are baffling? Or maybe it’s just me…

    1. msmolly

      To be clearer, I myself, don’t understand some, but I assume they’re “insider” comments and try to ignore them, along with “Help me” and “Kill me now” comments that add little but sarcasm.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        A few are names who brought attention to the links.

        “Help me” and “Kill me now” are usually indicative not of an illuminating article for its content but the state of the punditry or an obviously bad idea being repackaged. In some cases, the author and platform are usually more newsworthy than any particular detail found in the 853rd edition of “hacking is bad” article this week. Or how the Democrats hope to win over “moderate suburban Republicans” as the key to the 2018 mid terms. Laments about “where all the “good” Republicans such as William F. Buckley went?”

        The article in question is often not as relevant as much as its being written again as if its news worthy for some other purpose.

        I try not to watch MSNBC, but I caught a few minutes of Chris Hayes* a few weeks ago around 8:30 pm. His segment wasn’t on anything that happened. It was a hypothetical case of how “the Russians might have been able to hack the election.” I didn’t stick around. Perhaps, it was on vulnerabilities of voting machines, but then again, wouldn’t say “Florida 2000” be a more relevant framing device or older people who routinely have trouble with voting machines? Instead of demanding paper ballots, it turns into a subtle call for the NSA to receive more money. They already have a Star Trek inspired office space. Now its time for a $60 million Star Wars play ground.

        Just in general, there are many left of center internet terms that were coined usually by Atrios such as Friedman Units. Those have been around since the Iraq War.

        *He’s the good one over there.

    2. Jef

      Ms – Just my opinion but the general climate of alternative media sources is that it tries to encourage people to do diligence, seek out more info on your own, come to a greater understanding based on your efforts not just what is handed to you.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      I definitely did not understand a lot of the inside jokes here for a while (and assumed everyone else did) but after persevering, they eventually became clear. Now I’ve grown to love ‘the bezzle’, etc.

      Lambert please keep them up because once one does understand the references, they are really quite funny. And commenters, don’t be afraid to ask – somebody will usually fill you in.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        The snide comments aren’t just funny (and they are funny!) but they also help with perspective…i.e “help me” identifies the link as “another obvious attempt to cover true intentions with a false narrative or blatant misdirection”.

        All just tools for understanding. ..

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        I still haven’t figured out what “the bezzle” is, save loosely, connotatively.
        and when I first arrived here, I hunted the web for what “Disheveled Marsupial” meant. The Google was of no help on that one.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I am often baffled not only by some references on this site but also by undefined, obscure, or specialized acronyms and new web/tweet/facebook/texting words and wordlets. [I fear I may make my own contributions to unclarity with obtuse allusions and references.]

        1. marym

          Reference to a right-wing media fake scandal when Obama wore a tan suit. Met on twitter with photos of (IIRC*) all presidents back to Reagan also wearing tan suits.

          * If I recall correctly

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Did Shrub? Except for when he was dressing up something other than President, I always thought he kept his Presidentin’ costum to dark blue or black. Rove kept a pretty tight ship including how W was dressed. Perhaps, my memory is clouded by the 2004 campaign when they made an effort to make him look taller than he was next to Kerry, an ogre. I remember the other Presidents in a more diverse ward robe in their role as President, but I have many memories of W. I just can’t place him.

            At least in my memory, Shrub seemed to be fairly stoic when he wasn’t playing dress up as different character (cowboy, firefighting guy, army man, air plane driver, baseball player, Lance Armstrong), embarrassing himself, or just learned a new phrase after class with Condi. Does anyone remember the Crawford presser conference when he clearly just had the EU explained to him? He kept saying the “EU Three, that’s Great Britain, France, and Germany” and glancing back at Rice as if he did a good job. You could always tell when he learned a new word. He loved to share in his role as “educator and chief.”

          1. Barbara Kurth

            The things that I miss! And this is after spending gobs of time with Yves, Lambert, et al. Fortunately, I am retired. Yay

        2. blennylips

          Sorry Barbara, guess I’ve picked up some bad habits too!

          I left an overly cryptic answer back when you asked it:

          100 years of Nixon: Tan, rested and ready

          I think, like others, I am suspicious of links leading to moderation, so, searching that line would lead you to a 2013 msnbc article.

          “Tan, rested, and ready” was a (joke?) campaign slogan when Nixon ran for president. Maybe to explain what he’d been up to since losing to Kennedy. Wikis everywhere call this his wilderness years…

          1. o4amuse

            “Tan” then, in this case, would to be a reference to Nixon’s criticized pasty appearance when he disdained makeup for a TV debate with Kennedy and was regarded as appearing less fit and healthy than his opponent who was more savvy about TV lighting.

            N’est-ce pas?

    5. McKillop

      I am often baffled by references and terms myself; one thing that helps me is opening a tab that I use to search for spellings, definitions and other mysterious matters.
      Even so I am often still baffled.

    6. Fiery Hunt

      So was having a discussion at work about the wretchedness of the NYT and I mistakenly mentioned Judith Miller…

      Blank looks. And confessions that they (both of them) had no idea who she was/is.

      It takes constant effort to understand the truth and most people don’t have the time or inclination to to keep up with the lies and manipulations.

      Facebook is so much more fun! /s

      Not intended as a slam…just true observation.

    7. Massinissa

      If you see parantheses, that is the name or username of the person who submitted the article to Yves/Lambert.

      Re Silc is a person, but people often mistake his/her username for an acronym. Honestly, I think Re Silc should just get a new name that doesn’t look like some kind of shorthand.

      1. audrey jr

        Mmm. I always thought that Resilc stood for: Reader endorsed selection inside links comments. My bad.

    8. Lambert Strether Post author

      I meant in particular the references to yellowcake and Judy Miller. Old codgers like me lived through all that in the run-up to the Iraq War, and it’s why I apply a hermeneutic of suspicion to the press and the intelligence community. I was vaguely thinking of a post listing some of the enormous scandals of the last twenty years, for those who might not have heard of them, or been paying attention. Bush v Gore would be another example. We forget them in the current hysteria A third would be the Church Commission. Enron.

      1. Enrico Malatesta

        Please don’t stop at the Church Commission… Smedley Butler’s Congressional Testimony of a mid-30’s coup plot, covered up and never Muellered… Mueller & Anthrax… Operation Mockingbird & COINTELPRO…. Unit 731 and the Korean War…. Arbusto Oil, Insider Trading, and how the Harvard Endowment were the Patsies who gave Dubya his grubstake entry to the Texas Rangers…. Hughes Tool Company, while there was a big Media Frenzy over fake wills, James Baker, that James Baker, although having no relationship to Hughes, was appointed conservator of the Tool Company in Texas Court, and extracted a lot of the Company’s assets to a lot of people, who later became a lot of the people (Bush) of the Carlyle Group… sigh

      1. Wukchumni

        ‘The bezzle’, or in old timey language: ‘The bamboozle’

        “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” ~ Carl Sagan

      2. todde

        The bezzle is the period of time when money has been stolen but the victim is unaware of the theft.

        It’s also a street term for meth.

        1. Expat

          Hmm, that makes me wish I were still trading. I would substitute “ripping a client’s face off” with “bezzling a client”. Then again, “bezzling” sounds too much like embezzling. In any case, in banking, we live for the bezzle…the suckers never know what hit them even after it hits them.

      3. Aumua

        So like, you’re better off not knowing, or what you don’t know can’t hurt you, or you really don’t want to know, ignorance is bliss, something like that?

      4. jsn

        IIRC, it was JK Galbraith who, in asking what the product of embezzling was, that negative unit of money stollen for real wealth only ever actually extant in the imaginations of suckers, proposed “bezzle” as a name.

        As I understand it in NC usage it proposes the subject business is fraud and/or subject AI/IT is vapor-ware (an AI or IT phenomenon that has no or only marginal existence other than its constant hype).

    9. Oregoncharles

      Taking that as a question: ” “Must be the Niger yellow cake scam again. Where is Judith Miller?” Readers, serious question: Is there anybody who does not understand those short-hand references?”

      The Niger yellow cake (uranium ore) was a forgery used to justify the Iraq War. Judith Miller is a NYTimes journalist who served as a channel for the “WMD” (Weapons of Mass Destruction) lies that were also used to justify the war. So both are figures of speech for war-mongering propaganda.

      Personally, I’ve lost track of who McMaster is; it doesn’t seem to matter a whole lot.

      And answering Lambert’s question: yes, evidently there are some. Shorthand, like acronyms, is useful for concision but frequently cryptic. There’s a danger of making NC into a lockbox that newcomers don’t have a key to. As LAB said, it’s just fine to ask. We’ve all done that one time or another.

  10. Craig H.

    Chronicle of a white supremacist PR crisis and the making of a hoax

    This story is kind of interesting. It might not be nearly as important as what happened with the New York Times and Quinn Norton, who they hired for their editorial staff this week and then fired around six hours later because she used the N-word once on twitter, used the F-word a half dozen times on twitter, and was friends with the internet world’s most famous neo-nazi Weev. Then when the NYT announced her hiring twitter cooked up a rage in hours.

    Meet the Writer the New York Times Hired and Fired in Just Six Hours
    Osita Nwanevu
    14 Feb Slate

    The first time I saw her name I didn’t recognize it but she it turns out she has written several well-received and much discussed pieces over the last couple years.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    What Could the United States Have Done – If Anything – To Prevent China’s Rise? Foreign Policy

    Not sure about preventing.

    Also not sure where China will be, tomorrow or in 10 years, rising or falling.

    But we could have done a lot to prevent our own job losses, making our maternity wards less full of visiting mothers pregnant with future dragon babies, generate less plastic and paper (and other kinds of) waste, and to keep our laminated flooring safe.

    That is, because living fast is not healthy, we could have helped them – and us – slow down.

    1. Andrew Watts

      I’m not sure that trying to prevent China’s rise is even a good idea at all. Homer Lea believed that a strong China friendly or allied with the United States would check aggressive Japanese and Russian expansionism. He was correct in his time and I am not entirely sure that he isn’t right about the future. Although I think it’s very likely that Russia will have trouble holding onto what they own presently. The other relevant insight that Lea had was that the West wouldn’t enjoy much success in attempting to change China.

      The belief that the Western powers would somehow change or influence China has always been an odd obsession since the days of the Open Door policy. But China isn’t merely a country but a fully developed civilization. It is the Sun which the rest of Asia has revolved around for a millennium.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Being a friend of Dr. Sun, Homer Lea was an interesting person in the recent history of China.

        And the obsession to change or influence has been around since the first Jesuits to arrive in the Middle Kingdom. A late Ming emperor even converted.

        From Wikipedia:

        The Yongli Emperor (Chinese: 永曆; 1623–1662; reigned 18 November 1646 – 1 June 1662), personal name Zhu Youlang, was the fourth and last emperor of the Southern Ming dynasty of China. His era name means “Perpetual calendar”.

        Zhu Youlang was the son of Zhu Changying (朱常瀛), the seventh son of the Wanli Emperor. He inherited the title Prince of Gui (桂王) from his brother and lived an obscure life as a minor member of the extremely large imperial family until the fall of Beijing and the suicide of Chongzhen, the last Ming emperor, in 1644. The true beneficiaries of the collapse of the Ming were the Manchus, a northeastern people that rapidly conquered northern China, the Lower Yangtze valley, and Central China. Descendants of the Ming continued to hang on in the south, and Youlang ascended the throne as the fourth Southern Ming emperor, with the reign-title Yongli in November 1646. Then he converted to Christianity thanks to the efforts of Polish Jesuit Michał Boym. By 1661, pressed back into Yunnan province, he fled to Burma. A Manchu army followed and captured him there, and he was executed in June 1662.

        Had he succeeded in driving out the Mancus, we could have been looking at a Catholic China for a few hundred years.

        1. Andrew Watts

          That makes for a fun thought exercise but I doubt a restored Christian Ming Emperor would succeed in reforming the country or bureaucracy based around Confucianism concepts. I also doubt how genuine a conversion that occurs under dire circumstances or on a deathbed.

          It’s too bad not many people know who Lea these days even though his fan club included everybody from Lenin and MacArthur to the last German Kaiser. I personally think it’s hilarious Teddy allowed Lea to train foreign troops on American soil while Roosevelt’s Justice Department complained Lea was committing a flagrant violation of the Neutrality Act.


  12. Edward E

    Wonder what was going on in the mind of that brave cow? Possibly she had been looking at that island for a long time wanting to swim to it and getting hauled off in a truck was definitely not part of her plans.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I am more and more of the opinion that animals may be dumb to most human tongue but many of them are not stupid.

      1. visitor

        From time to time, I read a magazine from an animal-advocacy/vegan group. In one issue last year, there was a report about an animal refuge that an association set up to provide a kind of “retirement home” for mistreated animals.

        The report presented the story of a cow that was saved from the butcher after it had spent years being artificially inseminated, bearing calves, and then having its milk being pumped in an industrial dairy farm. When the cow arrived to the refuge, it was already heavy with a calf. The cow was given a comfortable stall, with an exit to nice, natural outdoor surroundings.

        For weeks after the calf was born, people in charge witnessed a curious situation: whenever they entered the stall, the cow would be crouching at the entrance of its box, with the calf buried under a stack of hay in the back. The cow was remembering its experience in the dairy farm, and was camouflaging the calf so that those horrible, horrible two-legged creatures would not take it away. It took some time before the poor animal realized they were both safe.

        Obviously, cows have a long-term memory and can elaborate their experience into some logical cause-consequence reasoning (if I have a calf, human beings will take it from me). They can figure out a solution with the means at hand (let me hide the calf under the hay, so human beings will not find it when they come to haul it away).

        The tactic baffled me. From the little I know about free-ranging bovines, their defence consists of organizing a protecting circle around calves and facing an approaching danger with horns. I had no clue cows could resort to camouflaging techniques.

        Further, the approach “If I hide something beneath objects, others cannot see what I hid, and therefore they will not know it is there” corresponds pretty exactly to the reasoning of toddlers at a certain phase of their intellectual development.

        Enough intelligence to make one uneasy when considering how we treat those animals.

        1. bronco

          “Enough intelligence to make one uneasy when considering how we treat those animals.”

          People have been slaughtering other people forever. We should know exactly what it would feel like being the same species an all , but its not slowing down any.

  13. crittermom

    Thank you, NC for the article about that escaping cow.

    As a former member of the middle class (now reduced to just ‘poor folk’), I think I know just how it felt–trapped & wanting to take a stand. (Definitely a ‘ballsy’ cow).
    As Lambert stated, “That cow is an inspiration to us all.” Yep. Love it!

  14. Wukchumni

    The Business World Is Livid Over Trump’s Immigration “Train Wreck” Vanity Fair

    The reign of error seems peeved @ California, and the sanctuary status it’s been upholding, and is doing his best to terrify immigrant farm workers in the Central Valley to the point where they are afraid to come to work.

    The upshot being that the very same to the right of right farm owners in the CVBB that elected him, are quite upset by the ongoing proceedings, as it isn’t good for business, and it’s not as if non-Hispanics are rushing in to fill the gap vacated by hard working Mexicans.

    It’ll be a rerun of the early 1930’s, when farmers burned crops rather than sell them for a pittance, the difference being no need to incinerate food, it’ll just rot on the trees.

  15. lyman alpha blob

    Wow the Guardian gives quite the heroic description of Mueller for discovering that the internet contains sockpuppets.

    Quite the contrast from that publication’s description of Mueller’s FBI not all that long ago – Fake terror plots, paid informants: the tactics of FBI ‘entrapment’ questioned

    Critics say the FBI is running a sting operation across America, targeting – to a large extent – the Muslim community by luring people into fake terror plots. FBI bureaux send informants to trawl through Muslim communities, hang out in mosques and community centres, and talk of radical Islam in order to identify possible targets sympathetic to such ideals. Or they will respond to the most bizarre of tip-offs, including, in one case, a man who claimed to have seen terror chief Ayman al-Zawahiri living in northern California in the late 1990s.

    That tipster was quickly hired as a well-paid informant. If suitable suspects are identified, FBI agents then run a sting, often creating a fake terror plot in which it helps supply weapons and targets. Then, dramatic arrests are made, press conferences held and lengthy convictions secured.

    But what is not clear is if many real, actual terrorists are involved.


    But in its commonly understood usage, FBI entrapment is a widespread tactic. Within days of the 9/11 terror attacks, FBI director Robert Mueller issued a memo on a new policy of “forward leaning – preventative – prosecutions”.

    Central to that is a growing informant network. The FBI is not choosy about the people it uses. Some have criminal records, including attempted murder or drug dealing or fraud. They are often paid six-figure sums, which critics say creates a motivation to entrap targets. Some are motivated by the promise of debts forgiven or immigration violations wiped clean. There has also been a relaxing of rules on what criteria the FBI needs to launch an investigation.

    Often they just seem to be “fishing expeditions”.

    Once a fraud, always a fraud.

    1. Wukchumni

      Might we run into an issue such as Dan Rather unearthing fake documents in regards to ‘ssshrubery, that backfired on him?

      That would only give the reign of error more power, and it isn’t as if he needs more encouragement.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Once a fraud, always a fraud.

      Despite the accolades heaped on mueller for his “impeccable ethics” and “pristine law enforcement credentials,” his willingness to be a prostitute for the establishment may more accurately explain the nearly universal approval expressed by the usual suspects for his speedy appointment.

      Considering his involvement with creating the public hysteria around the anthrax attacks after 9/11 which overwhelmed opposition to the Iraq war, the gift that keeps on giving to this day, I’ve no doubt the prospect of an encore performance was irresistible.

      In light of his poor handling of the anthrax case, one has to wonder: why is the media now celebrating Mueller’s appointment as special counsel for the Russia-Trump investigation? One doesn’t need to look far to find multiple parallels between the false WMD claims made by the Bush administration – which had their origins in the anthrax scare – and the media’s current obsession with finding evidence of Russian meddling in last year’s election. In both cases, the media fixated on questionable evidence and the creation of an artificial “bogeyman” to advance a deeper, more sinister agenda.

      Both the false WMD claims that led the U.S. into the Iraq War and the ongoing Russia scaremongering campaign have relied on a vague three-way connection between unrelated parties in order to shoehorn in a larger national security and foreign policy scheme. Under Bush, this was done by artificially connecting 9/11 to the anthrax attacks, and then to Saddam Hussein, creating a climate of fear. That same climate is being recreated now – only this time, the specter is Russia.

      Democrats and their allies are using a similar psychological warfare campaign to create a fictitious three-way connection between Trump, Russia and WikiLeaks in the public consciousness during a time of emotional trauma for Democratic voters. The larger theory posits that all three parties were colluding with each other to take down Hillary Clinton — even if no proof has been offered that Russia was WikiLeaks’ source.

      And the beat goes on.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        You nailed it with the first paragraph – if you are a politician in need of a bogeymen, Mueller will create one for you.

        We may think he handled the anthrax investigation poorly but for the establishment he did a bang up job – promote hysteria, never actually find the guilty party (one of Mueller’s superiors [cough *Cheney* cough] seems just as likely as any ‘terrorist’), and leave people in fear that it can happen again anytime.

  16. JamesG

    The New York Times has an article, which I read online, implying admiration for people who risk prison by turning off valves of pipelines delivering oil from Canada into the USA.

    I wrote the following comment which, oddly, they decided not to post.

    “Try not to think of what is involved in printing newspapers. Begin by killing trees. Transport the timber to a paper mill. Transport newsprint to the printer. Transport via gas-guzzling trucks printed newspapers to hundreds of individual retailers.”

  17. David

    Arkansas banned a weedkiller. Now, Monsanto is suing Grist. Dicamba.

    Arkansas judge dismisses Monsanto lawsuit on dicamba ban

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ ban on the use of a weed killer blamed by farmers in several states for crop damage will remain in place after a state judge dismissed a legal challenge by a maker of the herbicide.

    …(Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris) Piazza cited a state Supreme Court ruling last month that said the state Legislature can’t waive Arkansas’ immunity from lawsuits. That ruling has prompted lawyers and judges around to the state to say it amounts to a blanket protection for the state from a wide range of legal challenges.

    “It’s obvious that Arkansas is going to have to come up with a constitutional amendment to change this to make it where we can operate again as a court should,” Piazza said. “I really think the (state Supreme Court case) prevents us from hearing this case at this moment.”

    …During the hearing, Monsanto’s attorneys said the state couldn’t claim immunity since the company wasn’t seeking monetary damages. They argued the state’s Claims Commission, which handles economic claims against the state, wasn’t the right avenue for the challenge against Arkansas’ ban.

    Attorneys for the Plant Board argued the company hadn’t proven the state acted illegally or unconstitutionally, so the state was immune from the lawsuit.

    “They just don’t like the decision the Plant Board made,” Assistant Attorney General Gary Sullivan said during the hearing.

  18. dcblogger

    Marcy Wheeler reads the indictment so the rest of us don’t have to:
    What Did Mueller Achieve with the Internet Research Agency Indictment?

    Illegal compensated acvitities

    Richard Pinedo: Selling Russian trolls (and others) bank account numbers they can use to conduct identity fraud
    Unknown persons: Providing social security numbers and fake US drivers licenses of Americans
    Unknown persons: Selling stolen credit card information

  19. John Merryman

    The Russia hysteria, in all its short-sighted myopia, seems to be overlooking the eventual blowback.
    Not only does it makes the “deep state” look stupid and shallow, but it encourages and exposes the deep fractures in our country. Parasites need a healthy host.
    It’s bit like a scab. The harder and brittler it gets, the more it separates from the underlaying flesh.
    As such, I say, let them go. Unless they do start WW3, it’s all self inflicted wounds.

    1. Aumua

      …but it encourages and exposes the deep fractures in our country.

      In other words it does exactly what they are accusing the Russians of doing: sowing division and discord in America.

    2. VietnamVet

      It was incredibly stupid not to integrate the Russia Federation into Europe. Then the Democrats restarted the Cold War. It is inexplicable. Perhaps, Western Plutocracy has always considered Russia to be the Others. It was a huge mistake to ally Russia with China. Russia is close to establishing a Shiite Security Zone north of Israel leaving a few thousand Americans isolated in Kurdish Syria. Israel just backed down after losing an F-16. The USA is trying to make up with Turkey. This is highly unstable with Russia appearing to come out on top. Who knows what is next? A world war if the neo-con idiots have their way.

    1. flora

      an aside: it’s one thing to make machines that manipulate physical materials (assembly line production). It’s quite another thing to make machines that make complex decisions about people (China’s social scoring AI, for example.)

  20. JEHR

    I am proud of the fact that the Canadian government is willing to “jubilee” student debt. There was a time in Canada when tuition was paid for students who achieved good marks. Education should be free.

    1. HotFlash

      Wasn’t that long ago, either. It still worked in my own exp into the mid-80’s. MA in 1985 w/$12G debt, PhD was covered due to (ahem) chops. If you had the marks, money could always be found, if only b/c the department needed graduating bodies (some kind of body count?). Now, ‘they’ only seem to want your debt. A dear (young) friend graduated from a prestigious Cdn law school a short few yrs back, great marks and better connections (yes, it does count…). Now he is going from temp/contract to temp/contract — too male? too white? Dunno. They axe ’em *just* before they get full benefits and (tada!) union rights. And this is the govt we are talking about, and they are doing it to *lawyers*. Mere humanities types are doomed, I assume. However, I see billboards and ads, incl here at NC*, for MBA and business schools — my bet is it’s a scam.

      *No criticism of NC intended or implied! And I do click on those ads, just so they have to pay Ms Yves some $$$.

  21. Kim Kaufman

    If after perusing all the links, here’s a fun long read for a Sunday:

    Anatomy of A Scam

    This series is about my independent investigation of a local mail fraud ring, its methods, the history of its practitioners, and the methods I’ve used to investigate it. This happened because the fraud ring tried to scam my firm on an already trying day, thus mildly annoying me. Contemplate that, and conduct yourself accordingly hereabouts.

    Written by a lawyer.

    1. HotFlash

      Excellent, thank you Ms/Mr Kim. I also followed the podcast links “Make No law”, fascinating looks (2 podcasts) into Supreme court history and religious persecution WRT the First Amendment.

  22. XXYY

    Must be the Niger yellow cake scam again. Where is Judith Miller?

    I think the way to evaluate these kinds of charges by the US government is to, first, consider the target. If the person or country is on the US sh*t list (e.g., Syria, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Russia, at the moment), the odds are very high that the charges are baseless. The US has a tremendous history, going back to WWI at least, of cranking out propaganda targeting official enemies through a variety of means: Official USG pronouncements and “investigations”, statements by allied governments, planted stories in domestic and foreign media, dissidents and catspaws in the targeted region, and so on.

    This is not to say such stories can *never* be true, but the presumption should certainly be that they are not until actual evidence to the contrary appears. Usually it won’t.

    (BTW, this history is what makes US outrage about “meddling” by Russia so comical. It’s a horrible case of projection.)

    (Also, BTW, we seem to be on a declining slope when it comes to the charges against the Russians. Initially, their nefarious and omnipotent actions actually caused Clinton to lose and Trump to win, apparently by forcing her to stay out of Michigan and spending August hob-nobbing with rich billionaires instead of campaigning. Then, when this charge proved untenable, the Rooskies “hacked” the election. When no evidence of any switched votes or tampering came forth, they then merely”interfered” in our sacred elections, perhaps by buying a few Facebook ads. Now, the accusations seem to have been reduced to “meddling”, a content-free charge that sounds like something the busybody old lady next door might do. Evidently this charge serves as a placeholder to keep bad feelings alive until something else comes along.)

  23. nyc transplant to south carolina

    Understand the young folk will be marching to protest the school shootings. But as I said to a friend, Congress will yawn and the gun nuts will scream “Second Ammendment” or something.

    But how about a march on Washington for a National Pre-Rememberance Day so that we can pre-remembered all those that will be slaughtered in the coming year.

    I can see the vote, House 434-1; Senate 99-1. Always someone…….must be rooskies.

    1. Expat

      I think we should amend the budget to include a few million “Thoughts and Prayers” every year for shooting victims. This way, we know we won’t be caught short at the next shooting. And it will be less embarrassing for all involved since they can simply issue a statement showing that they voted “yes” on the National Thoughts and Prayers Emergency Stockpile Bill.

  24. Brooklin Bridge

    How Russia turned the internet against America -Politico

    This is one of the more creepy articles. A snippet:

    “So many of us thought for so long that the internet was an unbridled force for good, but man, over the last year, the shine has really come off,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology, a D.C.-based tech advocacy group.

    “I’m sort of at a loss right now,” Hall added. “I value anonymity, but it’s really hard to see how this doesn’t lead to some sort of driver’s license for the internet, which makes me feel horrible. There needs to be some sort of accountability, though I really don’t know what that is. We have a lot of work to do.”

    You’d never have seen that coming… Right?

    Aaron Mate, of the Real News Network does a pretty good job dealing with yet another Russiagate apologist, a soft-shoe one who claims progressives shouldn’t be too quick to judge – with out any more credible evidence than anyone else has offered so far.

    It’s not as good as an earlier take down Arron did on a journalist who tried again and again to argue that lots and lots of totally unsubstantiated claims add up to an irrefutable truth, but I can no longer find that one. Pitty, because he left the interview in a huff.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t think they will or can ban it, seeing that it has become a weapon, like banning guns.

      Perhaps they will try for registration, as the author said (a license is needed).

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Agree. Some sort of biometric “handle” that you must present when opening up a browser or even more likely when you log on period that will be embedded in any network packets regardless of protocol.

        Much easier said than done, especially if they want to exempt themselves, but clearly the PTB are gunning for censorship big time.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Renting giant cruise ships…

    The other option, I guess, is renting giant aircraft carriers (retired from service, of course, as we don’t need more weekend warriors).

      1. Aumua

        According to Bernie himself, it’s a “horrorshow” that Trump is not speaking out against the Russian meddling, so … yeah. Way to hang yourself Sanders.

  26. Wukchumni

    {Lifted this off the internet, enjoy}

    “how about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun,
    like every woman who wants to get an abortion – mandatory 48-hr waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he is about to do, a video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence, an ultrasound wand up the ass (just because). Let’s close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.”

    1. fresno dan

      February 18, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      consistency and logic….things you won’t find in this country. Life in the womb is sacred, outside your on your own and NOTHING can be done…..

  27. Chauncey Gardiner

    Although I was unable to read the article since it’s behind a paywall, Lambert’s brief synopsis of John Authers’ article in FT about the loss of financial markets as tools of price discovery piqued my interest.

    I believe the Fed, Wall Street and the wealthiest segments of our society have understood the effects that Fed monetary policy have on financial markets prices for many decades. What changed during the Greenspan-Bernanke-Yellen-Wall Street regime at the Fed and in the macro policies of the federal government over their tenure has been the intentional replacement of the markets as forums for price discovery that reward innovation, quality of goods and services, and prudent stewardship of resources at the corporate level by a top-down central planning regime that has used trillions of dollars in central bank liquidity infusions, changes in law, and intensive market management to elevate overall market prices and increase debt collateral valuations. That policy in turn has had the side effects of sponsoring mismanagement of corporations as vehicles for improving the common welfare, increasing the wealth of their senior management and Wall Street through massive stock repurchases funded with debt, damaging labor, and fostering financial asset price bubbles that eventually lead to “Minsky Moments” and broad economic and social damage, as we have seen.

    1. fresno dan

      Chauncey Gardiner
      February 18, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      I tend to agree with you. How much of what has happened in this country has been the purposeful replacement of labor (actually doing something) with finance.
      Who has been benefited by economic “efficiency” and who has been harmed?
      It used to be a Profit and LOSS system….who took the losses in the GREAT recession? And who decided to keep the SAME rich people rich who caused the problems?
      Has inequality increased because all those K street lobbyists INADVERTENTLY make their clients wealthier???

  28. Bridget

    I read the indictment and have puzzled mightily over the Catering Company. The article from moonofalabama explains all. Thanks for the link and the laughs.

  29. Wukchumni

    300 folks are going to lose their job to robots locally, and this is how you address it to the human beans: ‘market-differentiated capabilities’

    “The decision is consistent with the August 2017 announcement of Treehouse 2020, the company’s restructuring program. Treehouse 2020 is a multi-year plan to fully integrate the business and reduce its cost structure in order to invest in market-differentiated capabilities that will serve the rapidly evolving needs of its customers who are strategically focused and highly committed to their corporate brands,” the press release stated.

    1. Ed Miller

      I see they make food products that apparently are sold to the public through other companies. Any idea what they actually make in what products on the grocery store shelves? Would be nice to have a boycott list. ;^)

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Caused me to refresh my memory of how “Bullshit Baffles Brains” is used, Wukchumni. Would be interesting to dig a bit into the company’s brands, marketing plans, financial statements, and operating cash flows in their 10K report.

  30. Pat

    Love the ferret in a ferret sized bathtub. I’m sure the ferret thought it was just for them. Might possibly have been true.

    Commuters practicing cat avoidance was nice as well. As contrary as they are I’m not sure a cat in NY would put themselves there. I think the spot between the two ‘rails’ of the escalator is more likely.

  31. Wukchumni

    Gatesgate: Pleads guilty & set to testify against Manafort…

    A former top aide to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days – and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul J. Manafort Jr., the lawyer-lobbyist who once managed the campaign.

    The change of heart by Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, Richard W. Gates III, who had pleaded not guilty after being indicted in October on charges similar to Manafort’s, was described in interviews by people familiar with the case.

    “Rick Gates is going to change his plea to guilty,” said a person with direct knowledge of the new developments, adding that the revised plea will be presented in federal court in Washington “within the next few days.”

Comments are closed.