Links 6/19/18

Dear patient readers,

Your humble blogger is fighting a bug. So forgive the thin original posts. I need a bit of R&R.

Inebriated hedgehogs spend night in captivity after overdoing it on advocaat Metro (J-LS)

Puan, the world’s oldest Sumatran orangutan, dies aged 62 South China Morning Post (J-LS)

A Renewed View of Some of the World’s Oldest Trees New York Times (David L)

Three people in a polyamorous relationship recognized as legal parents of a child in Canada RT

Flooding from sea level rise threatens over 300,000 US coastal homes – study Guardian (Christine N)

North Korea

US, South Korea suspend upcoming military exercises DW

The Force Behind Europe’s Populist Tide: Frustrated Young Adults Wall Street Journal (John C)

Opinion: Donald Trump’s Germany Twitter rant actually helps Angela Merkel DW

Migration hijacks French-German summit Politico

Angela Merkel promises to support Italy on migration after Giuseppe Conte meeting in Berlin DW. Merkel and the coalition were already on the same page.


The impact of non-tariff barriers on EU goods trade after Brexit VoxEU

As the Brexit shambles shows, May needs to learn how to do diplomacy Guardian (Plutonium Kun)

Theresa May faces showdown with pro-European Tory MPs after Lords hands Government Brexit defeat Telegraph. This Government v. Parliament power struggle is also developing a Groundhog day feel.

KPMG’s audit work unacceptable, says watchdog BBC (Kevin W, vlade)

Grenfell Tower had wrong pipes for firefighters to use ExpressDigest (David J)


Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration Counterpunch

t’s Time To Start Getting Enraged At What Western Imperialists Have Done To Syria Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

A Top Trump Aide Worked In Libya With Key Backers Of An Alleged “Sex Cult” Buzzfeed. UserFriendly: “​How is this not the Onion?​”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Priscilla Chan Leaves Mark Zuckerberg For Onion Social CEO The Onion

A Call to Bring Julian Assange Home Consortium News (Darius)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Counterdrug Programs Come With Increased Drug Production – Where Does The Money Go? Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

Tariff Tantrum

Trump threatens additional $200bn in tariffs on China BBC

Donald Trump Threatens New Tariffs on $200 Billion in China Imports Wall Street Journal

S&P Futures, Asia Stocks Slump as China Vows Response to Trump Tariffs: Live Bloomberg

Trump’s trade war escalation has sent Chinese stocks tumbling to multi-year lows Business Insider

Shanghai Plunges 3.2%, below 3,000 for 1st Time in 2 Years, After Trump Threatens to Massively Escalate Trade War and China Threatens to Massively Retaliate Wolf Richter (EM)

US Senate votes to reimpose ban on China’s ZTE, shares plunge PhysOrg

Trump Transition

Lies, China And Putin: Solving The Mystery Of Wilbur Ross’ Missing Fortune Forbes (Chuck L)

Trump administration scrambles as outrage grows over border separations Guardian

DHS Secretary Nielsen denies separation amounts to ‘child abuse’ CNN (JTM)

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s defense of separation of families at the border: it’s not a “policy” Vox

Migrants Separated From Their Children at U.S. Border Mostly Come From Central America Wall Street Journal

Trump aides plan fresh immigration crackdowns before midterms Politco. UserFriendly: “egal immigrants. Say good bye to all those colleges that depend on foreign students​.”

Poll: Trump approval rating ties highest point of his presidency The Hill

A neocon Senate coup against Trump’s foreign policy? Asia Times (Kevin W)

The IG Report Says the FBI Is Deeply Flawed. I Know. John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News (bwilli123)

Fetishizing “Identity Politics” Could Cost Democrats in 2020 The Intercept (UserFriendly)

The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation New Yorker (vlade)

Distressed debt funds tap into fears over credit cycle Financial Times

Tesla’s reality begins to collide with Elon Musk’s vision Australian Financial Review (Kevin W)

Elon Musk emails employees about ‘extensive and damaging sabotage’ by employee CNBC. Help me.

Class Warfare

a great demo Frederick deBoer. Way better than the title.

How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country New York Times (J-LS)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Leafy Sea Dragon at the Aquarium of the Pacific.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation New Yorker (vlade)

    Great article, I was always wondering about the inside story of the Bell Pottinger collapse. This paragraph gave me a wry smile:

    Henderson also could have sought the counsel of South African executives at Bell Pottinger. When Daniel Thöle, a partner from Johannesburg who mostly did P.R. work for mining companies, heard that the firm had signed the Guptas, he was appalled. Concluding that Bell Pottinger had become “morally and commercially untenable,” he soon left the firm. Thöle recently told me, “People want to work for an ethical business, and be advised on their reputation by an ethical business.”

    When a PR guy for South African Mining companies has ethical qualms about what you are doing, you really must have hit rock bottom.

    1. David

      Even more for the Guptas, who basically owned most of South Africa until Zuma’s recent defenestration. To do PR for them, you have to pass through rock bottom and keep going.

    1. Sid Finster

      I recall that Reagan (and Clinton, and for that matter, Dubya) were universally considered one-term presidents.

      Then Team D ran the most anodyne choice imaginable in the form of Walter Mondale. Team R returned the favor in 1996 with Bob Dole. And Team D played tit-for-tat in 2004 by nominating Dubya’s MiniMe (“I’d do pretty much everything the same but I’d do it better somehow”) John Kerry.

      Although I recall that each of Reagan, Clinton and Dubya got hammered in the midterm congressional elections.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Priscilla Chan Leaves Mark Zuckerberg For Onion Social CEO”

    Sounds like the Onion is still continuing their war against Facebook after Facebook screwed them over on traffic to the Onion.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    A neocon Senate coup against Trump’s foreign policy? Asia Times (Kevin W)

    The context is a revolt against Trump by Republicans on ZTE. The neocons want to destroy ZTE as an example to China, Trump of course did a deal.

    Interesting to see the following paragraph from an international media source, hard to see these words being used in a US mainstream newspaper:

    The complaint among the foreign policy elite that Trump is crude and unsophisticated has a perverse element of truth: It takes enormous intellectual sophistication to convince one’s self that American democracy is a universal panacea for the world’s political problems and the inevitable goal of human progress. The foreign policy establishment is not stupid, but only psychotic.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I suspect that this is more than using ZTE as an example. I think that the real target is Huawei Technologies. I have noticed more and more attacks on this company recently. They are banned from taking part in the 5G mobile network in Australia and just his week they lost a contract to sink an undersea high-speed internet link between Australian and the Solomon Islands due to intense diplomatic pressure.
      Of course China will fight this as they will never tolerate a situation where the west is able to cripple and destroy Chinese companies at will like McCain, Rubio and Graham want. Gawd, did two of those characters really make a serious run at being President? I can guess that the Chinese will hit back and hit back hard. They could not live with a situation where the design and control of their economy is left to the whims and political expediencies of another country.
      What will they do? I have no idea. But if the US pushes too hard the Chinese may simply say that any company in the world is welcome to do business in China – except American ones.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Normally, in the last few years, it has been China taking the initiative – building artificial islands in the South China Sea, oil futures trading in Shanghai, using the Yuan to settle trades, buying companies here and there. China has not been shy about being aggressive.

        With Trump though, Beijing seems to be reactive – we impose tariffs, and they respond back.

        Is it more due to their ‘thinking of the global economy,’ or a sign of their weak hand that the People’s Republic is not its usual aggressive self?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Thats an interesting question. My personal theory is that the Chinese government are gambling that Trump is only interested in easy ‘victory’ headlines – like his declaration after visiting Saudi Arabia that he’d sold X billion dollars worth of weapons, when in reality those deals had already been done.

          They may believe that if they give him a quick symbolic victory he will lose interest in the topic and go to something else, allowing them quietly to reverse the concession later. Since they control the domestic messaging they are not worried about looking weak to a domestic audience.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            To me, Trump wants real, substantial change. And events now seem to have momentum of their own.

            It is in fact, I believe, to China’s advantage to concede short term, to bend but not break. Whether Beijing should or can successfully sell that intention, that goal is their task. China’s Sputnik Moment came in the 19th century, so, it has been all along a long game. Xi would do better for China, at the end, by being like water (see Dao De Jing). This is straight out of the Art of War.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think there are more foreign students in America than in any other country. Perhaps, one day, China will be the number one destination.

      The same, probably, with being the top choice of foreign languages to learn, though more and more are learning Chinese.

      When people no longer do the above, it will be also the day when American democracy is no longer convincing to many as a universal panacea of anything.

      And western men and women, at that future point, are replaced by Chinese men and women going around the world, to various exotic locations, funded by simply be able to say ‘want to learn Chinese from a native speaker?’

      1. DonCoyote

        If you enjoy SF, you might like China Mountain Zhang, set in a future where China has eclipsed the US as the world power.

        China Mountain Zhang is about a possible world that probably won’t happen, but could. It is an act of Sci-Fi world building that I’ve rarely seen matched. But for me, Mchugh’s real achievement is the people she created. They are beautiful. The whale scientists and engineers and hustlers and Martian colonists, the wounded the harmed the foolish the suicidal the nasty the kind the living, and the dead”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I imagine in that world, very few Chinese in China have English names, and many Americans in the US have Han Chinese first names like Wudang, Mulan,, Zedong or Xiaoping, etc.

          1. J Sterling

            Indeed, Zhang himself is an American-born man of Chinese descent, saddled by his parents with a Chinese name the Chinese find ridiculous. He’s able to find employment opportunities, in Chinese-dominated America and in China, that are barred to his non-Chinese-descended American compatriots.

  4. bronco

    The mainstream media is like a car with no steering wheel and no brake pedal , and no headlights , lust a gas pedal nailed to the floor.

    I think if you are a progressive 8 years of Trump is your only hope , sometimes its better to push the old house over and build a new one. The stars are not aligned for a progressive win in 2020 things need to get worse.

    1. Louis Fyne

      ‘I think if you are a progressive 8 years of Trump is your only hope , sometimes its better to push the old house over and build a new one. ‘

      i genuinely thought that the Republican Party would be extinct for 30 years in 2009, given the bust, Iraq War, health care, stagnant pay, etc. we all know how that turned out.

      Barack Obama as Wade Boggs*: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Feature or bug? you decide.


        1. Louis Fyne

          lol you’re right. good thing i’m not a red sox fan. wade boggs was the guy who habitually ate chicken before every game he played

      1. armchair

        Meanwhile, the rest of the world can figure out how to relegate the US to a status equivalent to 1980 USSR

    2. cocomaan

      I am 95% sure that Hillary Clinton will be on the DNC primary ballot in spring of 2019. Not necessarily win, but she will be on there.If she puts out another book soon, maybe next year, it will all but be confirmed. “Why We Care” or something equally disgusting.

      Her behavior is consistent with someone preparing to run. It’s her main goal in life. She couldn’t help it if she tried.

      1. Sid Finster

        At risk of repeating myself over and over: Lady Macbeth gonna Lady Macbeth.

        She can’t be anyone other than what she is, she can’t do otherwise, just as Lady Macbeth can’t abdicate for the good of the people of Scotland and retire to a nice quiet castle near a scenic loch somewhere and spend her time puttering around the garden and spoiling her grandbairns.

      2. freedomny

        I can’t say I disagree. And I am beginning to think she has severe personality flaws….like seriously- what is her problem? Why does she crave power so much? Because it has nothing to do with altruism. Why doesn’t she just get a hobby/start a garden/learn how to bake bread for fuckings sake….

        1. roxy

          “I am beginning to think she has severe personality flaws”
          Beginning? LOL You’re too funny.

        2. Sid Finster

          Personality flaws?

          I mean, besides the glaringly obvious sociopathy and the anticharisma so powerful she couldn’t lead a puppy to steak, couldn’t sell free dope in a crackhouse, couldn’t rent feminine companionship to the inmates of an all-male maximum security correction institution, what makes you think so?

      3. jonhoops

        Of course she will run. That was evident when she and her daughter co-opted the “She Persisted” meme. Chelsea put out a children’s book under that banner. It will be #Hillary 2020!! She Persisted!!

        1. bronco

          She needs to run , if you are a progressive you should want Hillary to run in 2020. They got away with rigging the primary in 2016 , they would have to rig it so much harder this time that there would be no way to hide it. She needs to be crushed out of a primary , stubbed out like a cigarette to end the Clinton machine.

          The backlash has to be extreme enough to flush all the impacted turds out of the democratic party’s polluted colon. 2020 needs to become the night of the long knives for team blue , no one will be left standing and Trump will win. Queue up any good candidates for 2024 after the furor dies down

  5. tegnost

    re: kochs and transit,

    “At the heart of their effort is a network of activists who use a sophisticated data service built by the Kochs, called i360, that helps them identify and rally voters who are inclined to their worldview. It is a particularly powerful version of the technologies used by major political parties.”

    How much of this data comes from facebook? unsubscribe

    1. audrey fisher

      Koch Bros may still be behind in the technology wars for voters. Team Blue has all their tools on a phone, no need for tablet. The i360 may not be all that it is cracked up to be – see if it works where people have learned that the “no tax” agenda is fraught with potholes.

  6. larry

    Rafael Behr’s scathing assessment of May’s inability to understand how to interact with others outside of a scripted environment could I suppose be interpreted as indicating a degree of autism; but is this giving her more credit than she deserves?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its entirely possible I think that she is on the spectrum – her life long habit of never committing herself to one faction another within the party, along with her single minded pursuit of what she percieves as ‘her job’ in her previous roles would be consistent with that. She certainly lacks the human touch, as witnessed by her awful response to Grenfell. Which just goes to show that you don’t have to be glib and a smoothie to get ahead as a politician. She seems to have had the talent of allowing everyone to think she is on their side, leading to her smooth elevation from mediocricity to ultimate power (Apparently she was nicknamed ‘the submarine’ because nobody knew what she was really up to). A sort of Tory Zelig.

      It did remind me a little of accounts of Margaret Thatcher in Europe – she was famously inept when it came to developing personal relations with other European leaders, not least because of her lack of any other languages. Garret Fitzgerald (Irish Prime Minister in the 1980’s) once unwittingly infuriated her by chatting to Mitterand in French during a summit dinner. Thatcher was apparently convinced they were plotting against her, when they were actually just discussing a mutual interest in pre-war French catholic literature.

      But I think whats significant in that article is the revelation that she is exactly the same in public as in private. A long time ago I read something by a former senior politician (I can’t remember which one), which gave quite a similar account of how European politics work as in that article. In other words, politicians in private acknowledge each others domestic political needs to say one thing or another, but when real decisions have to be made, its done on a very personal basis. Successful European politicians are always at pains to develop personal friendships with ideologically aligned EU leaders so they can have these ‘lets be frank and lay everything out on the table’ type conversations. Blair, unusually for UK politicians, was quite good at this. Cameron wasn’t. May seems even worse.

      1. David

        Yes, I thought the article was basically correct about May’s robot-like character, although her problems actually go far beyond the lack of a talent for diplomacy. That can be done, to some extent, as a technical exercise by trained people. In her case, it’s a total lack of awareness about how to engage with people and even, heaven knows, manipulate them to get things done. I have long argued that politicians have to develop a certain type of political autism to survive – ie they need to disengage themselves from the reality of what they are doing and the consequences for others. May is an extreme case: not only is she living in dreamland, she doesn’t realise that she is.

        1. larry

          I would not refer to this as autism. It is a different kind of disengagement that does not place someone on the autism spectrum. I don’t know how I would designate it.

          1. el_tel

            I’m not sure either. With a mildly aspergers type relative I see lots of parallels….but it’s equally possible she’s just one of those people who don’t make friends easily and finds certain policy/strategic issues more interesting.

            I remember reading newspaper accounts of her that claimed that one of the weaknesses lots of Tories perceived in her is that she really has no true friends in the parliamentary party. Unlike Thatcher, she hasn’t cultivated any (even if they might be “strategic” in order to bolster credentials among a particular group – like the monetarists in Thatcher’s time). Of course these days major figures in the parties don’t really have any “over-arching economic theory” – Corbyn may well be “untainted” by neoliberalism but he’s also made some mistakes in cultivating a solid base (witness the three-way split in the key vote the other day): I really thought that his interview in the Independent in the election campaign in which he effectively brought out his “young army” on the back of a (disingenuous?) statement regarding a 2nd referendum (then retracted when pointed out it wasn’t Labour’s Manifesto pledge) might be some strategic plan a way to solidify support but he seems to have coasted along a lot since then and I’ve not seen strong evidence of PLP increases in support.

            May’s actions as elucidated by PlutoniumKun have been noted and have helped her achieve power….but she really doesn’t have the key groundswell of support to stick by her once things really go pear-shaped. IMO she’s seen as a useful tool by all sides to be kept until one faction sees an advantage and makes a move. Then she’s toast. Her judgment is also brought into question by various things: remember the news gossip that after the election she was ready to sack Hunt from Health but was stymied when other moves in Cabinet in the reshuffle didn’t go to her plan? Yet now he’s the darling and she is tying herself to a supposedly rejuvenated refunded NHS. That kind of thing doesn’t go down well with the MPs who have a constant message (whether sensible or totally bonkers). She seems reactive not proactive, never with a plan B with key figures ready to back her.

            1. Christopher Dale Rogers


              I really must take issue with you with regards your assertion, implicit in your language, that somehow Peak Corbyn has been achieved and its now all down hill – which seems to be the take home from your comment on either the level of support for Corbyn within the PLP, or, level of support in general for the PLP across the country?

              So, lets consider a few pertinent facts, first of which is the majority of PLP MP’s are not supportive of Corbyn, with at least 40-50 of these actually seeming at every juncture to undermine JC, or, conspiring to form a new ‘Centrist’ Party, that will be both pro-neoliberalism and pro-war shall we say – which is hardly what the Electorate of the UK actually desire.

              Its for this very reason that members of the actual Left, of which I’m very much a part, positively salivate at a formal split within the PLP, and indeed the Party at large itself, in order that the neoliberal/neoconservative totalitarian centrists break cover and leave our ranks in their entirety – they’ll soon wither on the vine, despite some £50 million at their disposal.

              Trust me, the horror stories I come across related to the Progress Brigade and Labour First Brigade are most unappealing, their antidemocratic factionalism causing huge issues across the real Party, namely at a CLP level – not withstanding how soul destroying it is for the average member, and average Labour voter, to witness certain faces week in and week out denigrate JC and many of the policies that proved appealing in the 2017 Party Manifesto.

              So, whilst JC may not be overly popular within the PLP itself, this situation can be reversed if actual power is devolved back to the CLPs, most of which would dump their existing Centrist MPs in an instant, or, at a minimum, JC and the Left gain and consolidate more actual control within the Party machinery, much of which remains operated by Rightists.

              So, I don’t think we’ve witnessed peak Corbyn across the country, but conceed, it will be tough to get more than a 2% increase in the percentage of the vote achieved in June last year, which means, under FPTP, much depends on the fortunes of the Liberal Democrat’s, which ain’t good at a national level, despite some modest gains at the local level. Oh, and this is the Pro-European Centre Party, so God knows where a new centrist, Pro-EU, Pro-neoliberal and Pro-war Party would fit – keep The Guardian writers busy, but that’s about it if we take these discussions to a door-step level.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          There can be a plus side to every type of political personality – even ruthless corrupt ones (yesterday I was idly museing that notoriously corrupt and narcissistic Irish PM Charles Haughey would have actually been a very good man to be in charge during the Celtic Tiger collapse).

          But I think May is possibly the very worst type of politician to be in charge during something like Brexit. She has no strategic vision and none of the skills needed to finesse some sort of face saving deal for the UK, and her relentless day by day tactical attrition on her fellow government members has sapped away the strength of the broader governmental system to deal with it independently of her abilities.

      2. larry

        What you say of successful European leaders if I remember rightly applies to Reagan and Gorbachev. Gorby apparently was not offended by Reagan referring to the Soviet Union as the evil empire. And Reagan said that Gorbachev was ‘someone you could do business with’. Apparently, they got on well personally.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Speaking of RR and Gorby getting along well, there’s this from the memory hole:

          All the president’s (little green) men: How Ronald Reagan asked Soviet rival Mikhail Gorbachev for help fighting alien invasion

          …[Reagan] confessed his favourite story was ‘the invasion from outer space that prompts earthlings to put aside nationalistic quarrels and band together to fight the alien invader’.

          Reagan even arranged a private screening of Stephen Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind at the Whitehouse in 1982 for top judges, astronauts and other VIPs.

          In 1985 he went a step further and directly addressed Gorbachev at a summit to ask for his support in the event aliens were to invade.

          ‘He surprised Gorby by saying he was sure the two superpowers would co-operate if Earth was threatened by alien invasion,’ Dr Clarke said.

          ‘Taken aback, the Soviet leader politely changed the subject.’

          Reagan apparently then told his inner circle he felt he had ‘scored a point’ over his counterpart.

          Deputy national security adviser Colin Powell was said to be horrified by the mention of aliens at the meeting. He then found Reagan repeated the story to a group of Maryland high school students after his return to the US in 1985.

          Powell’s solution was to go through the President’s public speeches deleting ‘interplanetary references’ right until Reagan’s final months in office.

          And who said the US is not “agreement capable?” And that our leaders are The Best In The World ™? And that the public face of the Empire is not well managed by people like Colin Powell et al.?

          1. bronco

            I like Reagan in your story more than Powell. Maybe Reagan was just clowning , Powell just sounds like a douche

            1. pretzelattack

              reagan the astrology buff? probably not clowning. he got confused about the whole dividing line between movies and reality. iirc he claimed to have helped liberate a concentration camp in ww2?

              1. ambrit

                I thought that it was Nancy who was the astrology buff. Reagan appears to have entered full dementia by his second term. Nancys tenure was sort of like Wilsons’ wife running the country after his stroke in 1919.

                1. pretzelattack

                  it was hard to tell with reagan when the dementia kicked in. he always said a lot of demented things, with considerable conviction, but it’s certainly probably that the alzheimer’s made this tendency worse. the whole administration, like powell, were probably on the alert to scrub out the worst examples.

                2. Yves Smith Post author

                  Yes, it was Nancy. But a journo buddy told me that you’d be amazed how many people use astrologers: “Wall Street runs on sex and psychics.”

                  Re dementia, a book on Reagan called Dutch was widely excoriated because it was supposed to be a bio but it was largely fiction, as in openly so. One reviewer vehemently disagreed with the prevailing take on it and deemed it to be brilliant because Reagan was so far gone by partway through his first term that there was no there there to cover in a bio focused on his Presidency, and Dutch did a great job of conveying that feel.

            2. The Rev Kev

              Powell was. In ‘Nam he was one of those who tried to cover up the My Lai massacre and whitewashing it afterwards. You might remember his dog-and-pony show at the UN in ’03 holding a model vial of anthrax to make the case for the invasion of Iraq.

            3. JTMcPhee

              If you read the article and the several others that report the incident and the numerous other occasions he resorted to the notion, Reagan actually believed in aliens as a presence in this reality and a threat.

              Interesting how Our Government manages to trundle along even with a demented Head of State… “I?’m in charge here” sort of says how it works…

              And Powell is just one of the Evil Cabal that stage-manages the Democracy Theatre…

              1. JamesG

                I also recall that when Bill Clinton was elected president he had two questions he wanted answered: had aliens actually visited earth and who really assassinated JFK.

                1. JamesG

                  You can take the boy out of the Arkansas backwoods but you can’t take the Arkansas backwoods out of the boy.

              2. JBird

                Interesting how Our Government manages to trundle along even with a demented Head of State… “I?’m in charge here” sort of says how it works…

                Until it doesn’t.

                To use an historical comparison, the ending of the First British Empire caused by American Revolution was successful partly because the British government was busily not functioning just like the United States with all the current American wars. Almost nobody had planned to have a war, not even the colonists, except maybe a tiny handful; the British society and government was driven by the acquisition of money, influence, and status. The British Board of Trade was the most professional and it had the responsibility for running the colonies. Money first and last. Plenty of people from all levels, on both sides of the Atlantic, screamed warnings for a least a decade before the war, but society was focused on more important things like money and gossip.

                One of the big reasons our country is so ***** is that many, maybe most, are not doing their jobs; the whole thing is already designed to be difficult to be run with the federal, fifty state, and local governments with power being deliberately divided, especially at the federal level, by executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

                Between the financial bomb throwers like the Kochs, lobbyists, the money hungry obsessive legislators and presidents/governors, the judges and law enforcement working for their team and not the law, almost nobody is actually doing their job. Seeing the few from any party actually trying to do so is like a breath of oxygen on Mount Everest.

                To avoid a fifty page write up, I will start to end by saying that the American Revolution was a big F.U. to the British government which had so alienated so many that even Loyalists like Benjamin Franklin became rebels. Each of the individual rights in the Bill of Rights was in response to actions done by the British on trying to control Colonies. Please not that the various American governments are busily undoing the Bill of Rights for reasons like money and political power without thinking of the reasons we have them.

                Much like the British government was often more concerned with money rather than running the empire. Each step that they took to extract more money while ignoring except to suppress the Americans was often done in real ignorance and lack of thought. Kind of like the American police at all levels now at places Ferguson, Baltimore, or Baghdad. Freedom of speech, the right to bear arms (not just guns), the right to a warrant for any searches and seizures (including the implicit right of privacy) and so forth were all due to specific actions taken before the revolution and that were the various causes of the big bleep you that was the revolution.

      3. blennylips

        > I think that she is on the spectrum

        Paraphrasing Robert Sapolsky, we are all on the spectrum.

        Looking for google spoor I stumbled across this Northern Ireland company:

        Specialisterne NI is a specialist recruitment consultancy that recruits and provides in-job support to people with Autism or social communication difference. As the local expression of the Specialist People Foundation, we contribute to a global ambition to secure one million jobs for people on the Autistic Spectrum.

        They have an informative news item from last November:

        They offer a test you can take to see where you are. The test requires a flash player, and as I banished that years ago, I saw this:

        (sharing = caring)

        The Autism Spectrum Quotient or AQ-test doesn’t replace any diagnose by a psychologist. Take the results with a grain of salt.

        If are you literarily going to do that, skip the visit to the psychologist; I’ll give you your diagnose: Autism.


        1. blennylips

          dang, couldn’t edit to end the disclaimer (in complete here):

          (sharing = caring)

          The Autism Spectrum Quotient or AQ-test doesn’t replace any diagnose by a psychologist. Take the results with a grain of salt.

          If are you literarily going to do that, skip the visit to the psychologist; I’ll give you your diagnose: Autism.

 is powered by the theft of the SWF from Newsweek. Sorry.

          If you don’t see anything, the test uses Flash Player. Also sorry.

          Pretty firmly places them on the spectrum!

    2. ChrisPacific

      As a parent of a child on the spectrum, I am not a fan of armchair diagnosis of public figures. Autism is a blanket label for a number of related characteristics and behaviors. Not everyone on the spectrum displays the same qualities, and what’s weak in some can be strong in others. (My child, for example, is highly verbal and loves word and language games). The result is that no two people on the spectrum are alike.

      Describe the characteristics and behaviors you see, and their impact. Let the psychologists worry about what labels to attach to them.

  7. Kurtismayfield

    RE: New Immigration crackdown before midterms

    Among the fresh ideas being circulated: tightening rules on student visas and exchange programs;

    This is a win-win for his base, attacking “liberal” colleges and “immigration” at the same time. I doubt there will be tears shed for the universities that will eventually run out of students, because the US pipeline of college students is shrinking from its millennial high.

    1. Loneprotester

      “Running out of students” is a bit of an overstatement. There are marginal schools that will fail, and there are many more colleges that will retool (getting rid of old humanities departments in favor of multidisciplinary professional training units). Demographics are destiny, and the post-millennial bust will have consequences all around.

      Visa programs from China are running into a non-Trumpian buzzsaw of fraud (covered up for many years and allowed to grow worse) and national security concerns. Much of the rest of the world has a shortage of college aged kids with large pots of money, so are fairly useless in terms of bloated US universities keeping the lights on. This is a Titanic that was bound to run aground sooner or later.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For China to claim it is as great as America, or greater, it has to be able to attract more foreign students (including American students) than anyone else, and not be still sending their best over here (imply theirs are not as good as ours).

      2. cocomaan

        That said, there’s a bump in college-aged students in about 6-7 years from now. So it will go somewhat back to normal.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          Normal is not the bumps. Normal is what the carrying capacity of college students should be. The millennial bump was not normal, and the next little wave will not be enough to get to those numbers.

  8. larry

    PK, George Lakoff has a tweet from 2 January 2018 that is an assessment of Trump’s tweeting ‘strategy’. It consists of four elements.

    1. Preemptive framing 2. Diversion 3. Deflection 4. Trial Balloon

    This classification contains one more item than his subsequent tweet (see below), the trial balloon. Trial balloons may possibly, in testing the water, consist of attempts at extortion of Congress, as might be taking place with Trump’s removing children from their ‘illegal alien’ parents, and that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist, Rob Rogers, viciously lampooned, which, it has been suggested, may have been the trigger for the right-wing newspaper to fire him. (I wish I could display the relevant cartoon, based on a Caution street sign.)

    Lakoff subsequently tweeted on 18 June 2018, introducing the concept of the Truth Sandwich, which consists of the following items.

    1. Start with the truth (if you lead with the lie, you privilege it)
    2. Note attempt to divert truth (note, rather than amplify, the lie)
    3. Return to the truth the lie is designed to hide (don’t allow the distraction/diversion to work)

    Note that the Trial Balloon is not part of Lakoff’s truth sandwich, presumably because it has nothing to do with truth. It is worth noting that, from Lakoff’s perspective, Trump’s tweeting ‘strategy’ has no truth component at all or is so distorted that it is unrecognizable. The same seems to also be the case for what has become the neoliberal freak show.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Article says the image shown was never published. And still, they fired him. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

        I’m detecting patterns. It seems like about this low point in the ‘election’ cycle when these things happen – comedians, a few pundits or cartoonists get fired. We did move a bit more quickly through those in despair practicing psychoanalysis on the Pres. this time around. That old canard lasted forever during Bush years and way too long during Obama.

        Hope you feel better soon, Yves.

      2. Craig H.

        The cartoon is excellent. A lot of people will not get it. The only place I have ever seen a caution: immigrants in the highway sign is on I-5 San Diego – > Los Angeles and if I had not seen it I might not believe such a thing exists. The point of having an interstate highway is you hit the gas pedal and you don’t worry about things like pedestrians and possums.

        Do most people really know what that is? Is it the middle of the most famous episode ever of Seinfeld or something and I am oblivious?

        The sign.

  9. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you to User Friendly for the link about Syria.

    Yesterday evening’s francophone Swiss (RTS) news featured (central) Damascus returning to some normality, a Christian woman’s interview in support of Assad and shots of a nearby suburb of Damascus reduced to rubble.

    The newscaster, the Iranian immigrant Darius Rochebin (not his real surname), professed surprised at the level of support for Assad, especially from Christians, and how the seemingly well to do, well spoken and elegantly woman (forename: Maria) could be so calm when so near the site of Assad’s atrocities.

    The newscaster seemed desperate to cast the rebels in a better light. He knows where his bread is buttered. His coverage of the rise of populists around Europe was is always interpreted from the neo-liberal angle. It was the same for his predecessor, daughter of Syrian and Spanish immigrants, when Ferguson erupted.

    One does notice the immigrant or children of immigrant hacks having to outdo the native varieties when sucking up to the rich and powerful and merchandising the neo-liberal and neo-con narratives.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I think the ‘narrative’ on Syria will be getting more and more confused as normality arrives to the country (assuming the neocons don’t have something new and nasty up their sleeves). You don’t really have to be much of an expert on the country to know that Syrian Christians (and the tiny Damascus Jewish population) among other non-Sunni minorities had every good reason to support the Assads.

      The one good thing about news reporting on Syria (and Russiagate) is that its allowed clarity on which journalists have integrity, and which ones don’t.

    2. Carolinian

      The Caitlin Johnstone piece is all about Syria and the lack of outrage at what the media and Western governments have been doing. We live in an age where “the power of narrative” is all and mere facts and information–the thing reporters are supposed to be giving us–are shoved aside. Seymour Hersh, a figure from a different time, called his book Reporter, not Storyteller.

      But these days we do at least have the web and sites like this one. Indeed the MSM have to some degree used the diversity of the web as an excuse for their turn from reporting to narrative. But when websites then call out their dishonesty they whinge loudly and call for censorship.

      Hersh shows the path back to the way it should be. Perhaps some will follow it.

      1. Olga

        Yes, and this is excerpted from a recent article (

        “Even before the most recent attempt at US-led regime change in Syria, the US has pursued campaigns of violent subversion aimed at Syria and its allies.
        In 2007, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh would write in his article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?,” ( ) that (emphasis added):
        To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
        Hersh’s words would become prophetic when, in 2011, the US would begin arming and backing militants – many with overt affiliations to Al Qaeda – in a bid to destabilize Syria and overthrow the government in Damascus.
        The article would also lay out preparations that – even in 2007 – were clearly aimed at organizing for and executing a wider conflict.
        Yet, published CIA documents drawn from the US National Archives illustrate how this singular agenda seeking to overthrow the government of Syria stretches back even earlier – by decades.”

        When one’s journalistic work remains relevant 11 years later, that is certainly a good sign!

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Caitlin calls for us to express rage … but what where and how? I could open my window and shout “I’m not going to take it anymore!” but what would be the point of that.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Sounds like that even Ron Paul is calling out his own country for what is happening-

      At the moment, the US State Department is threatening the Syrians if they attack the Al-Qaeda and ISIS pockets in south-west Syria. On the other hand, Ireland is getting ready a unit to serve with the United nations on that border as soon as the Jihadists have been cleared out. Until then, it is not safe as the Jihadists try to kidnap members of the UN forces.

    1. JTMcPhee

      There’s a whole sheaf of explications on why there’s all this violence these days. Some likely bits of truth in all of them. I think a lot of it might be explained by reference to a cultural phenomenon first observed in places like Malaysia but spreading, spreading —

      Contemporary syndrome

      “Running amok” is used to refer to the behavior of someone who, in the grip of strong emotion, obtains a weapon and begins attacking people indiscriminately, often with multiple fatalities.[10] An episode of amok may be triggered by a period of depression or highly aggressive behavior. The slang terms going postal or going ballistic are similar in scope. Police describe such an event as a killing spree. If the individual is seeking death an alternate method is often “suicide by cop”.

      Amok is often described as a culture-bound (or culture-specific) syndrome,[14][15] which is a psychological condition whose manifestation is strongly shaped by cultural factors. Other reported culture-bound syndromes are latah and koro. Amok is also sometimes considered one of the subcategories of dissociative disorders (cross-cultural variant).

      Officially classified as a psychiatric condition Edit

      In 1849, amok was officially classified as a psychiatric condition based on numerous reports and case studies that showed the majority of individuals who committed amok were, in some sense, mentally ill.[9] The modern DSM-IV method of classification of mental disorders contains two official types of amok disorder; beramok and amok. Beramok is considered to be the more common of the two and is associated with the depression and sadness resulting from a loss and the subsequent brooding process. Loss includes, but is not limited to, the death of a spouse or loved one, divorce, loss of a job, money, power, etc. Beramok is associated with mental issues of severe depression or other mood disorders. Amok, the rarer form, is believed to stem from rage, insult, or a vendetta against a person, society, or object for a wide variety of reasons. Amok has been more closely associated with psychosis, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, and delusions.[9]

      1. Kevin

        Ok, at first I thought it was a joke.
        Wow, never heard of this as a true disorder. Thanks for the
        insight JTMcPhee!

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Then, the relevant usage can be something like this: Today, 18 months later, many Hillary supporters are still running beramok, with a few running nonviolent amok.

  10. Chauncey Gardiner

    The article about the death at the Perth zoo of the oldest Sumatran orangutan in captivity points to the calamitous loss of wildlife and their habitat worldwide. Perhaps the only places these intelligent mammals will survive will be in zoos.

    An accompanying article in SCMP notes that the Bornean orangutan and whale shark are both sliding towards extinction under increasing human pressure.

    Link below to a brief video from of an orangutan unsuccessfully trying to save its tree from loggers as rainforests are cleared for palm oil, rubber or paper plantations; and tropical hardwoods:

    1. Lee

      Visited wildlife preservers in Borneo years ago. Saw orangutans, gibbons, many beautiful birds and a good number of what our guide described as “moderately venomous” snakes lurking in trees above our heads. But hours of travel time was spent driving long roads with vast oil palm plantations that spread to the horizon in all directions. Had a close encounter with a female orangutan along a plank walkway in the forest. We were instructed to move to the side of the path forming a line, remain quiet, still and don’t smile. This brief encounter is a moment I’ll not forget.

    2. crittermom

      Heartbreaking video.

      I photograph animals & have begun writing children’s books using my photographs. So many folks–especially kids–have never seen an elk or bighorn sheep or pronghorn in the wild, & I fear some day the only place they’ll be able to see those will be in zoos, as well.

      My intention with my books is not only to teach (each contains a lesson of some sort) but also to help the coming generations to enjoy & appreciate wildlife so they’ll be more inclined to better take care of this planet than past generations.

      The video made me cry…

      1. Lee

        Books about or featuring wild animal characters were a staple of my childhood. The first novel I recall reading was Call of the Wild. It was some four decades before I set eyes on wolves in the wild, fulfilling a desire engendered in a city kid by words and pictures on paper.

      2. Chauncey Gardiner

        Thank you for your comment, cm. It affected me similarly. I have been thinking about the Kübler-Ross grief cycle, how it plays into the profound sense of loss of the sacred, and how to contribute to preservation in a world controlled by those who are driven by other motivations. Your book idea is very good. As with Thornton Burgess, I hope you have a gazillion readers.

        Had a friend who was a wildlife photographer. He took a few months and followed spring northward from the Southwest with his camera one year.

  11. DJG

    “Republicans tried to steer Michael E. Horowitz, the inspector general, from his conclusion that bias did not influence the Hillary Clinton case. Democrats insisted the bureau cost her the presidency.”

    That’s the kicker from today’s NY Times e-blast. Note that the Republicans are, as always, pure will to power. The Democrats are still whining about their lost friendses, the intelligence “community.”

    And yet, comrades:

    Did you read any of the report? It is bureaucratic knuckleheads on parade, from the star-crossed lovers Page and Strzok, to Comey, attempting to remain so-ultra-important, to lightweight Loretta Lynch asking for hugs instead of pursuing justice. A melodrama of decline.

    1. Jim Haygood

      … a melodrama of decline, acted out by idiots, full of snark and fury,.signifying nothing abject failure.

      *walks out before the curtain call*

    2. JTMcPhee

      Decline? Old news department: My stint in the federal government (US EPA, as an enforcement attorney and Assistant Regional Counsel) ran from 1978 to 1990. The stupidity and venality and corruption were manifest and well established, way back then, and anyone studying US history can point to loads of examples of “decline” that seems actually to be just the nature of the Beast, whether one calls it an Imperium or just “humans doing what they do, when there’s a lot of money and power and opportunities for personal gain at the expense of the general welfare just lying around.”

      Anyone wanting a moderately good read on that period can pull up this ebook (free PDF): Documents the looting, in part guided by another large volume from the Heritage Foundation, “Mandate for Leadership,” available as a PDF at

  12. Jim Haygood

    Well, there he goes again: Herbert Hoover Trump, threatening to administer another dose of the Republican home remedy, castor oil tariffs, to China.

    Stocks are getting smacked down good, which is only natural when charlatans, flakes and know-nothings are wrecking the economy before our very eyes

    The R party is going to get tagged with the stock crash and recession of 2020. Our job is rub their faces in it till they gag.

    1. Louis Fyne

      due to widening inequality, the irony is that fewer people are invested in stocks/401k. So Main Street cares less about Wall Street now?

      What falling stocks will do is stop the rise of interest rates and oil prices.

      Will be interesting to see how it plays out and which hurts/helps Main Street the most on reality TV’s most fascinating show: “Is Trump a lucky idiot or savvy genius (or both)? “

      1. Jim Haygood

        Peter Rabbit digs a deeper hole:

        President Donald Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro said Tuesday that tariffs against China will be “ultimately bullish” for American businesses. — Marketwatch

        Navarro is a PhD Econ (from Hahhhhhhvid, natch) who’s never run a business in his life. His “ultimately bullish” is Irving Fisher’s “permanently high plateau.”

        By 1932 2020 Navarro will be totally discredited, as newly homeless Americans burn $0.01 remaindered copies of Death by China in barrels to warm their frigid hands.

        1. Wukchumni

          Wouldn’t ‘remaindered’ be a more apt name for the hordes of homeless, already on our streets?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            One thing is certain: If you’re homeless, the higher the stock market goes, the wider the wealth inequality chasm between you and those who have shares.

            And with falling stocks, the gap narrows, for them.

            Ultimately, for those homeless who can survive in the wild, when there are markets no more, they will be the top 1%…kind of like a pole reversal.

        2. Synoia

          Navarro is a PhD Econ

          Ergo his expertise and skill (as an Economist) is telling the Boss what the Boss wants to hear.

          Based on the contention that Economic Theorems cannot be tested with the Scientific Method, and is thus are simple set of dogma, with each dogma to be used or not depending on the circumstance.

          Successful Economist: Expert in telling people who matter what they want hear?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To be sure, there are issues between the US and China that need to be resolved.

      We can try to do that in a short time, or over a long period.

      Before this administration, though, there were no signs anything would be reversed…just the issues becoming deeper and bigger.

      And instead of focusing solely on short term pain, both (that vs long term chronic disability) need to be looked at and considered.

      Snake oil marketers will say they can cure without you putting in any hard work…. For example, LSD instead of years of arduous zazen, and you too can see the world as one, become a master and be enlightened.

      An easy analogy to understand is the boom and bust cycle and we are going through what is inevitable, that life is a pendulum, going from one end to the other.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “A Renewed View of Some of the World’s Oldest Trees”

    Man, I love how they rehabilitated that forest. Those trees look like something out of Lord of the Rings and you wonder what it must have been like for the first explorers into that region. When I see some American movie that feature the outdoors, I wonder what that area looked like originally before it was all developed. If you have ever seen that 1993 movie “last of the Mohicans” and the wild landscape show, you wonder what would be there now in the 21st century. Hard to believe that this is the same State that allowed a billionaire to rip up part of a national forest for a fantasy wedding (

    1. Wukchumni

      I love how they rehabilitated that forest. Those trees look like something out of Lord of the Rings and you wonder what it must have been like for the first explorers into that region.


      That would’ve been renowned mountain man Joseph Walker’s group that were the 1st Americans to see Giant Sequoia trees, in 1833.

      An amazing account of somebody that was with him on the journey, is Zenas Leonard’s “Adventures Of A Mountain Man”, published in 1839.

      Truth be said, most of the Sequoias I visit in the forest for the trees are so well off the beaten path, that sometimes I wonder if another human has ever seen them, as most people aren’t cool with walking off-trail and gaining thousands of feet in altitude, in order to make it so.

      1. Anon

        The first Americans to see the giant sequoias were likely Native Americans; not Old World explorers.

        The article makes some general statements about these specific trees that are actually true of most tree specie: feeder root growth that sustains a tree (and Sequoias) is always shallow, because that is where the soil oxygen and soil moisture is located–the elements that allow the tree to sustain itself. Trampling the soil around any tree will limit its vigor. (The extent of root growth out from the trunk is often 2 to 4 times the height of the tree.)

        The Sequoia’s bark is a primary defense not just because of the tanins (insect repelling chemical) but also because it so thick that ground fires do not cause severe damage to the thin cambium layer beneath that is the life-supporting transport vessel of the tree.

        This new design for the Big Trees grove is the culmination of a long developing concept of resource management: “occupy the edge” not the resource itself.

    2. justsayknow

      My mind jumped to Last of the Mohicans before I came to it in your post. My grandson is at camp there, near Brevard, now. That’s where it was mostly filmed. An incredible area. But becoming very gentrified.
      I should add the native Hemlock trees are all dying off due to invasive infestation. Sort of like what happened to the Mohicans.

      1. Wukchumni

        From what i’ve seen of many thousands of Giant Sequoias in the aftermath of a 5 year drought that led to the demise of 129 million lesser variety trees-some newlydeads cheek by jowl near the giants in the mid climes, is they are first and foremost survivors of the highest rank, as they seem to me to be hardly effected in comparison.

        When you look at a crosscut section of a large fallen Sequoia that’s a few thousand years old, the 2 droughts of record in California circa 900-1400 AD+- are laid out plain to see in the record of the rings. The one that lasted over 2 centuries is about a 1 3/4 inch blur, while the lesser one of a bit over a century is almost an inch. The tree rings below and above both epochs are easy to make out individually, in contrast.

        As the longer drought was playing out, Fallen Leaf Lake near Lake Tahoe dried out and there are upright rooted trees on the floor of the present lake ranging from 68 to 100 feet tall, that are presently 100 feet under the surface of the lake.

        Giant Sequoias are really the canary in the coal mine, for if they could survive both of those droughts not much worse for wear, and suddenly started dying off, wouldn’t that be telling?

  14. Nostromo

    The noise surrounding the immigrant children reminds me of the noise surrounding the Afghan women prior to invasion. Tools to be manipulated and discarded. Rinse.Wash.Repeat. Still no cure for cancer.

  15. Goyo Marquez

    Re: Criminal Arrest of suspected illegal aliens.
    Here’s the statute 8 U.S. Code § 1325:

    Here’s a quote:
    8 U.S. Code § 1325
    (a) Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection; misrepresentation and concealment of facts
    Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

    A few thoughts if we’re now going to treat illegal entry as a crime:

    – Where’s the “SUSPECTED” language for Illegal aliens. A lot of people seem to be under the impression that anyone arrested by the government for illegal entry is obviously an illegal alien. Unless they admitted to being illegal aliens, which, if I recall correctly, asylum seekers must do, then they are suspected illegal aliens.

    – If we’RE arresting suspected illegal aliens for a crime they are entitled to be informed of their rights under the U.S. Constitution, most especially the right against self incrimination. They are entitled to these rights because they’re only suspected illegal aliens.

    – Suspected illegal aliens charged with the crime of being illegal aliens are entitled to be represented by an attorney and if they cannot afford one, one will be provided for them.

    – Suspected illegal aliens are entitled to a speedy trial.

    – Suspected illegal aliens are not required to testify against themselves in a criminal trial.

    – The burden of proof in a criminal trial is on the prosecutor. He must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect is an illegal alien. Given the absence of a national citizenship database how do they do this?

    – In the normal civil proceeding against illegal aliens the proof is usually statements illicited from the suspected illegal alien.

    – The penalty for a first time offender is a fine OR six months in jail.

    – I wonder how double jeopardy applies to a suspected illegal alien who receives a not guilty verdict in a criminal trial.

    1. bronco

      jump in a plane or boat without any papers and go to any other country and see what happens when the local authorities find you. You go to jail or you get moved out yesterday. Most of them will not let you ever become a citizen if you just show up.

      A lot of them won’t let you do it through proper channels either . Why is it only the US for some reason has to take all the immigrants in when no one else does ?

      If Mexico scoops people up that come into their country illegally and helps them over the US border why can’t the US take the same people and dump them over the Canadian border?

      On the other hand maybe if we stopped fomenting chaos and blowing people up they would just stay where they were?

      On the other other hand , the third hand, if we lose any more citizens to opioids we might need more immigrants to stop a population decline. Every American life lost from the millennial generation is erasing all the descendants they never get to create .

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It would have been a less violent takeover.

        Here, we imagine the Wehrmacht marching into Poland, armed not with Panzers, but German kids, who are then ‘caught and released.’

        The Red Army, coming from the east, could do the same, but being more numerous, would likely get a bigger piece.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        The creation of this current border / immigration chaos has been in the works for awhile now.

        This article is from July, 2014. I looked for a link from nyt or wapo documenting this, but no joy.

        On Monday, at a joint press conference in Playas de Catazaja, Mexico, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina announced The Southern Border Program To Improve Passage which will make it easier for illegal aliens to travel through Mexico and enter the United States illegally.

        There will be border checkpoints along the Mexico-Guatemala border that will offer protection and medical care while illegals make their journey. They will get a Regional Visitor’s Card, legitimizing their illegal presence in Mexico.

        The program will benefit anyone, including illegals from El Salvador and Honduras.

        Minors will get protection and financial assistance.

        And this, regarding one of the “problems” immigrants encountered on their journey to illegal entry into the united states:

        Mexico charges more than US$400 for tourist visas and imposes a set of requirements that the typical foreigner whose intention is to reach the United States is unable meet.

        The special card, valid for 3 days, eliminates this “impediment.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Migrants Separated From Their Children at U.S. Border Mostly Come From Central America Wall Street Journal

          I believe Mexico is in fact a safer country than the US.

          The unemployment rate there is around 3.8%, in 2017, when the ‘real’ US number is much higher.

          Why would Mexico not be a good place to settle, compared to the US (and not say, Germany)? In fact, not a few Americans would love to retire there. Probably less likely to be under surveillance for no reason at all there.

      3. Goyo Márquez

        At least part of the difference is that the U.S. does not require people to possess a national identity card.

        I’m always a bit amazed that people think it’s so easy to identify illegal aliens. “Yeah there’s one!” People who are arrested in the United States on a criminal charge of having entered the U.S. illegally are still innocent until proven guilty. I assume that is why illegal immigration was/is, in the vast majority of cases, handled as a civil matter, so the government could avoid all the protections afforded to crimminal defendants.

        If we now live in a country where people can identify the guilty and innocent on sight we’ve probably got a lot bigger problems than illegal immigration.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When one comes back from a trip to, say, China, one is guilty of being a foreigner, until proven innocent.

          If you don’t have your passport with you, you, a citizen, are deemed a foreigner. The verdict is usually rendered in a few minutes, not by a judge, but by the prosecutor.

          1. Goyo Marquez

            Well anyone presenting themselves to immigration officials for entry at a proper time and place would not be guilty of violating this statute. Is that what you mean?

            People are charged under this statute when they are arrested after already being present in the U.S. or climbing over the fence, and the government has to prove that they entered illegally.

            It does make for an easier argument to just assert that those arrested by ICE are illegal aliens, but only in the same way that it would be easier to assert that everyone arrested by the police was guilty of the crime for which they had been arrested.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Even if you rush through the area, out of the door, ready to board a taxi, they will still pull you back in and ask for a passport.

              And if you jump over the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC., the Chinese will ask you to leave their sovereign territory.

      4. Lambert Strether

        > jump in a plane or boat without any papers and go to any other country and see what happens when the local authorities find you.

        Yes, this is one of the many things that get me. I would love to cross the border into Canada, no visa, and get me some of that “free” health care. Obviously, that’s ridiculous. Or I’d love simply to retire in some unknown destination, with no visa either. Ridiculous also.

        OK, America is exceptional, and different rules apply, apparently. But why and what are they?

    2. JTMcPhee

      On that question of double jeopardy and the related and fundamental question of whether illegal aliens have ANY nominal rights under the US Constitution, here’s a pretty good article that points out that, at least on paper, they do:

      Of course, on paper, US citizens born and legally here have a lot of “rights in name only,” since a right without the remedy to enforce it is basically nothing at all.

  16. Kurt Sperry

    The Twitter-hosted Brexit flow chart is completely illegible for me at any resolution Twitter will support. In fact, almost any graphic hosted by Twitter with non-huge text will be rendered completely illegible by their cheapness.

    1. Craig H.

      I had no problem copying the image and zooming on a rinky dink laptop. It’s a terrific chart.

      If you only have time for part of it look at the red boxes. It’s the conventional green-yellow-red with the blue box I guess is a NOT (green OR yellow OR red) category.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I had to click through to the Twitter link and then again on the image, but after that it was quite readable.

      It’s pretty good, although it does make some simplifying assumptions, particularly around the will of the people Brexit reversal option. I’m having trouble imagining any procedural mechanism by which this could happen, and they also assume that the EU would agree to it, which is not a given. It seems to use the Ultras as a strawman for all Brexiters, who as we know come in all shapes and colours. The “thank goodness it was all a bad dream” outcome in this case also seems overoptimistic to me. The referendum result was a clear and forceful expression of… something. Maybe not all Brexiters can agree on what it was, but one thing that they do all agree on is that you ignore it at your peril, and that’s what this option would amount to.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      OK, it was my fault. All I had to do was expand the image, then open it in a new tab then expand it to read it.

  17. Jim Haygood

    Something perfectly awful has happened:

    From: Elon Musk
    To: Everybody
    Subject: Some concerning news

    I was dismayed to learn this weekend about a Tesla employee who had conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations. We need to figure out if he was acting alone or with others at Tesla and if he was working with any outside organizations.

    As you know, there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die. These include Wall Street short-sellers, who have already lost billions of dollars and stand to lose a lot more.

    Please be extremely vigilant, particularly over the next few weeks as we ramp up the production rate to 5k/week. This is when outside forces have the strongest motivation to stop us.

    Ha ha ha ha … all your robot are belong to us!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am trying to place this in the Foundation series…seem to recall something similar

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I was thinking more along the line of Musk being Hari Seldon noticing something not quite right.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Most of all, Seldon inspires Musk.

              That will always be on him…sadly:<

              Still, it's not his fault. It's beyond his control.

    2. Wukchumni

      Elon is sounding more akin to Captain Queeg as of late, and by the way, who ate the strawberries?

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
      They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
      They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
      So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

  18. Oregoncharles

    “Theresa May faces showdown with pro-European Tory MPs after Lords hands Government Brexit defeat ”
    Not just perpetual; it appears to violate the basic concept of a parliamentary system, in which Parliament IS the government and the PM is at their service. If Britain had a constitution, wouldn’t this be a constitutional crisis? May is in conflict with her bosses.

    In practice, it just means the government is in danger of falling, which would be awfully inconvenient 140 days before Brexit. IOW, this one’s been such a botch almost anything would be an improvement.

  19. precariat

    Thanks to Yves for the link to “Fetishsizing Identity Politics…” One of the best articles to dispell the BS surounding the political uses of identity politics. Gets right down to the truth:

    “It’s not just that politicians divide us based on what we look like, but that they do it to rewrite the rules to line their pockets. It’s not just that they generate fear based on race, but that they do it to benefit the wealthy few at our expense.”

    The first step is recognition of the problem, the next step is to understand that the Establishment will fight viciously to stop people coming together for their economic interests. I hope we learn from the past, be informed about info-ops tactics, and stay connected. The people can — and maybe even, must — win.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      An egotist sees ego everywhere, because an egotist can not stand to see others display a bigger ego, and thus, is always on the look out for any sign, however slight, of ego manifestation, even when there is none.

      “Better wrong than sorry.”

      It’s like thinking it’s better to bomb a few buildings and kill a few people to make sure they are not working on anything nuclear.

      “Can’t afford to take any chances.”

      Similarly, a racist sees race everywhere. That is, everything is in terms of races…even when there is none.

      And so, we ask, if someone sees racism everywhere, when none is offered to prove in that specific situation (done in each case, and not projected from something else or the past), is she or he a racist too?

      This is different from the saying that an explanation what explains everything explains nothing, though that is applicable as well. That is, if you see racism everywhere, or in everything Trump does, you see nothing.

  20. Oregoncharles

    “A Top Trump Aide Worked In Libya With Key Backers Of An Alleged “Sex Cult” ”
    Maybe it is the Onion; it’s very dubious reporting. The accusations against NXIVM are very recent – the last year. Hagin’s association with Igtet long predates that, and Igtet and his wife’s association with the “cult” gives little reason to think they would have known about the “sex cult” aspect, which was a secret auxiliary.

    It’s guilt by association, with a dubious timeline and too many links in the “association.”

    Hagin’s lobbying activities were crooked? Of course. But the “cult” has little to do with that.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s interesting something ‘alleged’ should make it into a story worth reporting.

      They can’t wait till confirmation?

  21. Jim Haygood

    Same old, same old …

    Hillary Clinton is very concerned about what’s happening on the southern border, and despite not being a candidate for anything (yet), she wants Americans to give her money to do something about it.

    Clinton goes on to ask supporters to donate to her organization, Onward Together, so it can in turn give money to organizations, such as the ACLU, as well as others, like “Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project,” and “La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE).”

    At least 3 cents of every dollar donated to Downward Onward Together will actually reach “boots on the ground” organizations, one presumes [Onward Together has yet to file any financial reports].

    Please don’t visit the link and get your eyes assaulted by the unflattering HRC photo. I went there so you don’t have to. *shudders*

  22. Lambert Strether


    I’m drawing a blank on who formulated “economic anxiety” as an explanation for how “the white working class” voted. How dropping life expectancy gets reduced to “anxiety” baffles me, but what I really want to know is the origin of the phrase. My impression is that it’s been a disingenuous straw man from the beginning, maybe invented at CAP. Does anybody remember?

    1. vegasmike

      I don’t think very many drug addicts actually vote. People who vote who do vote tend to be older and richer than the people who don’t vote. White working class seems to me to be almost a meaningless term, because it includes anyone who didn’t finish college.

  23. Lord Koos

    From the Moon Of Alabama link —

    “From fiscal year (FY) 2002 through FY 2017, the U.S. government spent roughly $8.62 billion on counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan.

    From 2002 to 2017, Afghan opium poppy cultivation soared. In 2002, cultivation estimates ranged from 31,000 to 74,000 hectares, compared to 328,000 hectares in 2017. Opium production also rose to historic levels, from approximately 3,400 metric tons in 2002 to roughly 9,000 metric tons in 2017. No counterdrug program undertaken by the United States, its coalition partners, or the Afghan government resulted in lasting reductions in poppy cultivation or opium production.”

    They spent almost $9 billion while drug production increased? WTF, The scam is blatant — I wonder where all that money went. I’d guess if they had simply paid Afghan opium farmers not to grow opium with that $8,620,000,000 there would have been an effective end to Afghan drug exports. (The country currently supplies something like 85% of the world’s heroin.) The Taliban had eliminated opium production almost completely before the US invaded. The likely reality is that the US military is essentially guarding Afghanistan’s opium crop so the CIA can sell it… it’s not like it hasn’t happened before.

    1. Grebo

      The US government could buy all the opium Afghanistan can produce for about 1.4 billion dollars a year. Sell it officially, regulated, clean, and cheap enough to put the narcos out of business. And make a profit that would pay for the treatment of addicts.
      Madness, obviously.

      1. skippy

        That plan was forwarded by three congressman after visiting the Burma triangle back in the day when it was the major opium producer. Cheap heroin was causing huge dramas in city’s across America at the time. So these intrepid congressmen got off their rumps and visited the war lords that produced it to fund their political aspirations via combat.

        Anywho after meeting and talking to the war lords they suggested a plan to them where the USA might just buy the stuff and do as you point out, thus keeping it off the streets, and the resultant dramas.

        So they got an audience with the president and laid it all out…. the response was classic…

        The Presidents – advisors [tm] – deemed that it would not be a “good idea” in an election year, considering the religious rights views on free will and suffering ones – own – mistakes in life.

  24. witters

    From the ABC (Australia):

    “US pulls out of UN Human Rights Council

    The United States withdraws from the United Nations Human Rights Council accusing it of a “chronic bias against Israel”, a move that activists warn will make advancing human rights globally even more difficult.”

    More difficult…

    Here is Pankaj Mishra – “The Wrong Human Rights.”

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