Links 8/27/18

Evolution might favor ‘survival of the laziest’ Science Daily. There’s good news tonight!

The Big Melt NYRB

‘Rain dancing 2.0’: should humans be using tech to control the weather? Guardian

Public Bravado, Private Doubts: Inside the Unraveling of Elon Musk’s Tesla Buyout WSJ

Musk’s U-turn on Tesla deal could intensify his legal, regulatory woes Reuters

These Crypto Tycoons Are About to Learn How Rich They Really Are Bloomberg

Signs of a Strong Economy: Hedges Are Overgrown and Lawns Need Mowing WSJ. Readers, is this true where you are?

Illicit drug use could be higher than previously thought; soars during special events American Chemical Society

Kansans drank contaminated water for years. The state didn’t tell them. Wichita-Eagle

3 dead, including suspect, in mass shooting at Jacksonville Landing Florida Times-Union. At a video game tournament.

How Experts Can, and Can’t, Change Policy: Economics, Antitrust, and the Linked Evolution of the Academic and Policy Fields SocArXiv. From 2017, still germane.


Have people inspected at Irish border after Brexit, says Rees-Mogg Guardian

Brexit Is Happening. You May as Well Laugh About It. NYT

EU aims to abolish planned obsolescence Retail Detail

Testimony (PDF) His Excellency Carlo Maria Viganò, Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana Apostolic Nuncio. Worth a read, if you can stomach it. The moral Viganò draws is that “[t]he homosexual networks present in the Church must be eradicated,” and that further the Pope should resign. IIRC, 20% of the Pennsylvania abuse victims were girls; I personally can vouch for one victim. Presumably, these girls were not assaulted by homosexuals. The moral I draw from reading Viganò on office politics at the Vatican is that Everything Is Like CalPERS.

Pope will not say ‘a single word’ on cover-up claims RTE


Toward A Smaller, Smarter Force Posture in the Middle East Defense One. “If Defense Secretary Mattis wants to fulfill the [National Defense Strategy’s] mandate to focus on China and Russia, the U.S. military’s posture in the Middle East must get smaller and smarter.” There’s that word, “smart.”

A deal to give Iran breathing space — and the US its victory FT

The Madness of Military Intervention in Venezuela The American Conservative


Wealthy Chinese find currency controls crimping overseas investment options South China Morning Post

China Invents a Different Way to Run an Economy Bloomberg

China Is Cheating at a Rigged Game Foreign Policy

The Chinese model is failing Africa FT

India: the north-south disparity The Interpreter

Cancer eating the heart of Australian democracy Kevin Rudd, Sidney Morning Herlad

New Cold War

Attorney for Michael Cohen backs away from confidence that Cohen has information about Trump’s knowledge on Russian efforts WaPo. Oopsie.

Commentary: How Cohen, Manafort cases reshuffle global politics Reuters

McCain, the Man Who Should Have Been President Daily Beast

A ‘Maverick,’ Revisited Rolling Stone. More McCain, from 2008.

The Man Who Never Was Vanity Fair. McCain, from 2010.

Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II (PDF) Quarterly Journal of Economics

Trump Transition

The Prosecutors Who Have Declared War on the President Bloomberg

The CEO of one of America’s largest crafting stores is mounting a furious campaign against Trump’s tariffs Business Insider

No, a Teen Did Not Hack a State Election Pro Publica

Should Companies Be Allowed to Revenge Hack? New York Magazine. What could go wrong?

Tech Industry Pursues a Federal Privacy Law, on Its Own Terms NYT

Click Here to Kill Everybody by Bruce Schneier FT

Developers rebel against Apple/Google tax Axios

Class Warfare

The trust deficit tearing apart our societies Jonathan Cook Blog

5 Weird Peasants Who Have Really Accepted This Whole ‘Work 12 Grueling Hours Every Day Until You Die’ Thing Clickhole

When Things Fall Apart: The Trump Era and the Missing Left Black Agenda Report

…of what use was the rule? Harper’s. Review of The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason.

As prison strikes heat up, former inmates talk about horrible state of labor and incarceration USA Today

Twilight in the Box Aeon. Solitary confinement.

The Humanities Are in Crisis The Atlantic

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


      1. ambrit

        They’re both “With Her!”
        Although the first example is, it is rumoured, a gross distortion of fact.
        Secondly, the Deplorables showed in 2016 that they aren’t to be counted among the second.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Reminds me of the guy who was due to be shot at dawn – but slept in accidentally so went to live on another forty years.

    1. Webstir

      I’ve said for a long time, and honestly feel it’s true — No action is the solution to most of life’s problems.

      1. Summer

        No “activity” may be the best resistance.

        Everything seems to be about keeping one from getting too comfortable or because that doesn’t generate the stress that keeps ’em buying.
        The highh cost of housing is part of that social engeneering of stress to force economic activity.
        And forcing people to move or constanst displacement dampers community organizing and political power has a lot to do with residency.

      2. Procopius

        Don’t know who said it, but I agree:

        “Nothing is often the best thing to do and always a witty thing to say.”

      1. Wukchumni

        Talking about the price of admission to concerts…

        We paid $80 per seat to watch what was essentially a ‘ghost band’, as the only one of 8 musicians on the stage in that incarnation of the Beach Boys was an original band member, Mike Love.

        I searched in vain for somebody that appeared to be under 30, to give you an idea of the makeup of the audience…

        1. JonboinAR

          In a case of Internet serendipity, following threads around, “once upon a midnight weary” I read a bunch of Beach Boys lore. Mike Love doesn’t come off too well. He seems to be something of a bully and a thug. If all the unvetted history is to be believed, through force of personality and occasionally, violence, he turned them from a band on the verge of breaking out creatively into the “world’s greatest Beach Boys cover band”, repeating their ancient hits to nostalgic audiences endlessly, but lucratively.

            1. foghorn longhorn

              Probably should add that he suddenly became ill with cancer and passed on to the other side a couple of years ago.
              RIP Dave.

    2. Cynthia

      Yes, but thinking as a contrarian, as I often do, being “lazy” also means having others do your work for you, thus freeing you up to be lazy. The more work you can hand over to others, the lazier you can be. This wouldn’t be quite so problematic if the class of lazies weren’t taking more than their fair share of the profits for themselves. There’s not much you can do to reduce the laziness among the ownership class, particularly if they are privately owned. However, for owners whose ownership is shared among private investors, or for owners who are exclusively owned by the State, or owners whose profits are largely derived from the State, the entire hospital industry comes to mind here, a lot can be done to reduce this laziness problem in the workplace, private or public.

      A good starting point, particularly when it comes to, say, the hospital industry, with a huge focus on nonprofit hospitals, would be for the owners of these hospitals to monitor and measure the productivity of their managerial staff from their most lofty senior leadership types on down to their very bottom rung of frontline managers. Presently, only the productivity of those doing labor-type work, i.e. doing actual meaningful and useful work, meaning examining, treating, and caring for patients, is monitored and measured. This has resulted in managerial bloat, or as Dr. Randall E. Marcus of The Cleveland Clinic aptly refers to it as “administrative bloat.”

      Needless to say, managerial/administrative bloat has resulted in less labor and man-hours, i.e. less actual work being done for patients, resulting worse patient outcomes in terms of their health and safety. Common sense would tell you that the more managerial/administrative staff you hire and the more money you give them in terms of wages and benefits, the less staff and less money there is for actual patient care, thus leading to worse patient outcomes. Apparently, though, common sense is nonexistent in the hospital industry.

      Furthermore, I find it very strange that managerial/administrative bloat continues to grow out of control, despite the fact that hospitals can’t bill Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers for their managerial/administrative services. They can only bill them for services done by their labor force, namely their direct-care doctors and nurses. If anything, hospitals should view their managers and administrators as a cost center, and their staff of direct- care doctors and nurses as a profit center. How they have gotten this backwards is beyond me!

      Therefore, one way to remedy this problem of managerial/administrative bloat in hospitals is for the owners/ shareholders of hospitals to distance themselves from their entire managerial/administrative staff and to see them for what they truly are: a huge cost center and big burden in their bottom line in terms of profits. Presently, they only see their staff of laborers this way. They see doctors and nurses who directly care of patients as their biggest cost center, overlooking the obvious fact that their really biggest cost center is among their overly bloated staff of managers and administrators!

      The bottom line is that laziness has become a vehicle for survival of the fittest in the workplace. But this self-imposed cost burden in the workplace can’t be eliminated until managerial/administrative bloat is eliminated from the workplace. I also must tip my hat to John Commins of HealthLeaders for his eye-opening, gutsy piece entitled “Nonprofit Hospitals Must Address Administrative Bloat, Physician-Researcher Says.” No doubt that “administrative bloat” is one of the biggest, yet least discussed problems in the hospital industry. And because nonprofit hospitals have grown to outstrip for-profit hospitals in terms of generating profits, most of which adds fuel to the administrative cost burden facing healthcare in general, it’s only logical for Dr. Marcus to focus most of his cost-of-care research on nonprofit hospitals.

      1. HotFlash

        Toyota has been doing this for years, by asking about every position, “Would the customer pay more for this work?” Hospitals, universities and colleges, and many, many businesses could just ask this question.

        You will note that it is ‘customer’, not ‘shareholder’ value that is the metric.

    3. rjs

      since survival = future generations = reproduction, evolution always favors ‘survival of the horniest’

  1. emorej a hong kong

    Comprehensive dot connecting and debunking by Briahna Gray here:

    the left’s critique of identity politics is not really a critique of identity politics at all, but of the cynical weaponization of identity for political ends. By conflating the two, Harris managed to delegitimize the left’s critique, and strengthen the Democratic Party’s ability to continue to weaponize identity with impunity
    …the growing popularity of this framing will make it that much easier for politicians to exploit the left’s good faith concern about identity-based disparities in order to disperse enthusiasm for policies that seek to transform the economic status quo.

    1. a different chris

      Thanks, it’s unfortunate (but necessary to the piece) that I had to grind my jaws to pieces yet again over Ms Clinton’s idiotic – and yeah, there is no other word for it at this point – statement. Just so everybody else is as miserable as I am, here it is:

      “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow,” she famously asked, “would that end racism? Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the LGBT community? Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?”

      Is it possible, Ms Clinton, that people didn’t vote for you because you seemed incapable of envisioning doing two unrelated things at the same time? You know, addressing both issues – and a zillion more – would have been your job. Just think, two 47 page overview papers!! Or maybe six if you broke everything down!


      1. ape

        And if HC says such idiotic things … and gets outsmarted in the same way in multiple elections by both smart and dumb politicians… yet continues to be supported by the elite…

        what does that mean? Are the elite stupid? Or are their means of promotion so rigid and random that they can’t possibly recognize when one of their players is an idiot?

    2. Enquiring Mind

      in order to disperse enthusiasm for policies that seek to transform the economic status quo.

      Alternate version in today’s political environment

      in order to disburse enthusiasm for policies that seek to transform the economic status quo.

  2. Livius Drusus

    Re: McCain, the Man Who Should Have Been President, I nearly spit out my coffee reading this. Speculating on a possible McCain presidential victory in 2000, author, John Avlon writes:

    After 9/11, he [McCain] would have been a pitch-perfect national father figure because of his personal sacrifice and military service. Given his understanding of the follies that led us into Vietnam, it’s possible that he would not have been persuaded by the ideologues encouraging the unwise invasion of Iraq

    I doubt it. McCain was a huge supporter of the Iraq War and was generally a massive hawk. McCain finally admitted the Iraq War was a mistake in his 2018 memoir. A bit late I think. This article discusses McCain’s support for the Iraq War and incessant support for war with Iran.

    I am sorry that McCain passed but I am glad that he was never president. As disappointed as I am with Obama I do not regret voting for him against McCain in 2008. If McCain ever became president I think we would have ended up going to war with Iran since McCain seemed obsessed with that goal.

    The fact that so many people seem to be falling over each other to praise McCain for basically not being Trump is reminiscent of the praise recently heaped on George W. Bush. I think we may have reached peak respectability politics where supporting stupid wars that kill thousands is not as bad as being a boorish lout like Trump.

    1. Quentin

      Sarah Palin has almost certainly had a lot to say! Imagine, she could have been US president today if John McCain had played his hand to more advantage. Pity, I say.

      1. jrs

        Unlikely. McCain didn’t die in the term he would have served of course, and we would probably have a Dem in office now, because the office tends to alternate parties. So we probably would have never got Palin, but we did get Trump, which doesn’t really seem any better.

    2. David Carl Grimes

      McCain would have been President if he didn’t choose Sarah Palin as his running mate. That was his fatal mistake. All of a sudden, people were questioning his judgment despite years of experience as a legislator over Obama. Obama looked like the wise one. Not good in a crashing economy.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        He never had a chance. The Democrats had every Kerry state plus Iowa and Ohio locked. The polls showing McCain making it a race ignored the efforts to expand the electorate and mirrored 2004 turnouts. The on the ground numbers in the states that mattered looked great. “No Drama, Obama,” made sense here.

        McCain’s wildest fantasies of a running mate of Lieberman or Mrs. McCain (SC) wouldn’t have made a difference or represent why McCain could never have won. He can make Versailles swoon through personal interactions, but he is so removed from the American political system to win a race on a grander scale.

        Even his big primary win in NH in 2008 was largely dependent on him being there uninterrupted for 10 years and the GOP not having much else besides cookie cutter Republicans. The GOP was offering up Huckleberry and Mittens. We know the problems Mittens had against Santorum in 2012.

        1. voteforno6

          Coming off the Bush II years, I don’t think any Republican had a chance in 2008. Except Obama, but he was able to get around that by running as a Democrat.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Bingo. Once John Edwards was fortuitously eliminated by tabloid, the real “election” was for which “first”–a black man or white woman–would become president.

            I’ll go to my grave maintaining that this was a calculated strategy to entrench neoliberalism at the highest level with a built-in, historic-identity-enabled defense of its repugnant policies.

            1. The Rev Kev

              And now you have Kamala Harris who is both a woman and black – so a twofer. But the second half of your comment tells us all we need to know about her and her likely intentions.

          2. Darius

            Still saying McCain would have been more Keynesian than Obama and therefore a more successful president. McCain would have been anxious not to be another Hoover. Obama, on the other hand, was obsessed with reassuring Wall Street that he wasn’t another Roosevelt.

          3. WheresOurTeddy

            Obama – most successful republican president (based on actual goals rather than stated ones) since Saint Ronald himself

      2. pretzelattack

        they’d been questioning his judgement for 20 years or so by that time. he had experience getting bribed by keating.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Bottom line here appears to be that mccain could have been president if he’d been dead when he ran.

      3. hunkerdown

        “The fundamentals of our economy are strong” -John McCain (emphasis mine)

        That’s fine for them, but the other 99% disagreed.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          look at his mistress-turned-wife. Anheiser Busch distributorship heir. $100M+. His economy’s fundamentals were strong, because the American people like terrible beer in good times or bad

    3. Louis Fyne

      We are at peak stupid. The Democratic/’Progressive’ media fawning of McCain says it all.

      McCain is classic DC—sending other people’s kids to fight, get maimed and die for your personal political goals. and of course, leaving 3rd world countries in ruins is of no consequence

      The country would’ve been better off if McCain retired and spend the rest of his life golfing and delivering beer after 2000.

      1. Mel

        Every American has to be a Great American. If that ever breaks down, America will stop being Great. The hagiography of Great America, if you will.

      2. nyctransplant to sc

        My father, a combat vet from Africa thru D Day, first wave, to the Czech/German border once told me the only Heroes he saw were the Combat Medics. Those guys, especially on June 6th wore their steel pots with the Red Cross insignia, and were target for Germans.They moved from one wounded GI to another giving whatever aid they could coming under increasing fire. The guys on Omaha could do little until they beached the sand walls and got into the German fortifications. He said once they moved off the beaches and inland many discarded their “marked” pots and put on ones without RC insignia.

        1. Wyoming

          My mother’s 1st husband (not my father) may have known your father. 1st Infantry Div from North Africa, to Sicily, to Omaha Beach, the Hurtgen Forest, the Ardennes, the Siegfried Line, to the end of the war. He was left a wreck.

          I sometimes wonder if we will be better off when there is no one left alive who can tell these stories or whether we will be much worse off.

        2. The Rev Kev

          If you don’t mind me asking, was your father with the “Big Red One” then? I have only read of those campaigns through the book of the same name by Samuel Fuller, another 1st Division vet.

      3. Wyoming

        Well I certainly agree that having McCain as president would have been a bad idea.

        But you are wrong entirely about McCain being one of those members of the Borg who will not send their own into harms way. McCain was old school.

        Both of his younger sons are in the military today – one a Navy pilot and Naval Academy grad and the other a Marine.
        His oldest son is also a veteran – Navy pilot
        so 3 of 4 sons

        Not to mention that both McCain’s father and grandfather were 4 star admirals and academy grads.

        While our current president has not had anyone in his family in the military for 100 years.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I believe it was Atrios who has noted “its always 1999” for Versailles or something like that. For a stupid set of elites, the idea people would demand constant fawning over a former Presidential candidate who gave the world Palin might make sense as the narrative of McCain is permanently stuck in 1999.

        This could easily back fire when they go home because if they don’t care in Arizona they don’t care in the other states where John McCain keeps a lair while so many Americans have to deal with the rising cost of rents.

        At least for younger members of the nominal left, I imagine the people who BELIEVE John McCain was deep down a good man are probably the same people who don’t know how awful Joe Biden is. I’ve thought about it for a long time, and I’ve come to the conclusion that people like McCain and Biden are so cartoonish in their evil its almost impossible they aren’t in prison and anyone that evil should have a volcano base. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he existed as everyone looks for a red guy with horns instead of the ones they are praising for not taking a dump in public at least when people were around. I wouldn’t put it past Biden.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I asked a friend from Delaware about getting rid of Biden once, and she said sarcastically “you mean uncle joe?” The state is small enough people believe they know Biden and that he is a trusted friend. Biden can reach out to enough potential trouble makers to assuage their fears, and then there is the cost of running for office.

          Crowley lost because he wasn’t tending to the district or getting out to enough events. AOC was the right challenger, but Crowley should have been an able to stamp out a threat easily enough. An uprising in a place like Montana or even a large state is possible for Washington critters, where the politicians simply can’t hold territory. Arizona like DC and Delware for Biden is small enough McCain’s schtick will work if its a constant presence.

          The population of Arizona is 6.8 million with 4.2 million living in the Phoenix metro area. Its a manageable electorate.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I understand some people moved there because they couldn’t afford LA.

                That’s looking at it a little bit further back.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Maybe i’m a little harsh on our very own version of hades waiting room, with food courts.

                  The one redeeming value to the place is the Musical Instrument Museum, 2 huge thumbs up!


            1. WheresOurTeddy

              Phoenix exists so that people from Las Vegas can rationalize *their* city being built in a slightly less uninhabitable place

              There’s a reason nobody lived in the southwest until A/C.

              1. ArcadiaMommy

                There were quite a few Native Americans living in the Southwest prior to AC.

                Phoenix used to have two rivers – the Salt River and the Gila River. Of course all that water has been siphoned off for agriculture primarily.

                We recently spent a week in LA and PHX is not really like LA at all (or at least not the west side).

            2. Harold

              I had a distant cousin who lived in Arizona, a retired air force intelligence agent who was little better than a Nazi, anti-semitism included. Even his own children hated him. My SO has a cousin in-law likewise. Not only Arpaio but also Renquist, who stood at the polling place to keep POC out. That’s how they like them down there.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Why did he run for another 6-year term six months ago when he was clearly dying?

          What love of and respect for american democratic traditions suggested that the country deserved a senator who could not and would not ever again do the job?

          It sounds more like arrogant and entitled disdain to me. Or maybe he just relished the opportunity to take one last spiteful swipe at Donald Trump by not sending him an invitation to his funeral.

          1. Wyoming

            You have your ‘facts’ wrong.

            McCain ran for reelection in 2015/16 and was reelected in Nov 2016. That was approx 22 months ago not 6.

            His cancer was found during surgery for a blood clot approximately 13 months ago. Or some 9 months AFTER his reelection.

            Care to retract your undeserved insults?

      2. Wyoming

        I note in my neighborhood here in AZ a curious event.

        Normally all the flags immediately go at half mast when some veteran of note passes. They don’t even wait for any announcement, they just do it.

        But not this time. Many flags are still at the top. I also note that the political signs sitting in the yards of those houses are exclusively promoting the Kelli Ward and Paul Gosar wacko’s. McCain was way too liberal for a big hunk of AZ folks.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Wyoming, I’m not seeing a single half-staff flag in my Tucson neighborhood. Matter of fact, I don’t see any flags. At all.

          As for political signs, the AZ legislative primary candidates have planted the most signs around here.

          1. Wyoming

            Wow, different neighborhoods. I’ve heard you folks in Tuscon are a hot bed of radical liberals :)

            In mine I would estimate about 20% of the houses have flag poles. We are a very heavy veteran community. About 50% of the cars have some sort of indication from lic plates to stickers indicating some form of military service.

            And unfortunately a fair number of folks put political signs in their yards. I consider this a very unneighborly act as it promotes not having good relations with the people you live around. I’m a strong proponent of having good relations with neighbors regardless of political/religious beliefs (except for the crazy lady down the street who keeps letting her dog try and bite me).

            1. JP

              Agreed, I live in a rural area and don’t wear my politics on my sleeve or in my yard. I am happy to discuss politics relative to reality with anyone but effective acting locally means getting along not alienating.

    4. JTMcPhee

      McCain was proud of his denomination as a Strong Friend of Israel, and said his good friend was Joe Lieberman: “Traveling so frequently with one of his best friends, Joe Lieberman, across the country and worldwide, McCain once joked that he was so familiar with kosher food he may as well convert to Judaism.” He also got together with ‘friendly terrorists,” and faked a “nice safe stroll in Baghdad” in 2007 (wearing body armor and guarded by several hundred GIs, armored vehicles and air cover) to make seeming good on a boast that thanks to the US/Coalition battering of Iraq, is was “now possible to walk safely in parts of Baghdad.” “The American Tragedy of John McCain,”

      And this from AIPAC:

    5. perpetualWAR

      If McCain had become President in 2008, he would have been the same as Obama, falling all over himself with glee of distributing all homes to the banks. He might have even got more gains post-presidency than Obama has received. Branson would have donated his private island to McCain.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Branson is paying for Obama’s cool factor. McCain would have had different backers. My guess is the kind who hunt elephants would have paid for McCain to be their wing man (no sense of irony) as they traveled around to shoot animals.

    6. PKMKII

      The “what if” hypotheticals about what a failed candidate’s presidency would have looked like are always a fool’s errand, more a reflection of the writer’s vision of what they think the candidate is/was than any accurate indication of what they would or would not have done. Same as those infuriating arguments by liberals that a Gore presidency would have been an ideal progressive presidency, when in reality there no doubt would have been some warmongering.

        1. Procopius

          Newt Gingrich wrote a couple of novels about what would have happened if the South had won at Gettysburg. Apparently he thinks slavery was an excellent thing. What I think would have really happened is the country would have split into fifty (or so) tiny countries that would have gone to war with each other and been easy pickings for various European powers to colonize. The counterfactual is not knowable.

          1. LifelongLib

            Yes, the (I think accurate) belief at the time was that if the South got away with secession, every state that had a beef with the Federal government would follow suit. There would soon be no USA.

          1. Navile

            … oops I messed up the link :)

            Napoleon at Chattanooga

            From the introduction in the rulebook:

            “Napoleon at Chattanooga is a painstakingly-researched, meticulously accurate simulation of Napoleon’s campaign in the Tennessee Valley. It is also a two-player game of exploration and conquest in the Solar System, which is also painstaking but not necessarily accurate. This game is the first in the ACW (Advanced Chart Wars) series and is also considered part of the ongoing GBoTGCN (Great Battles of This Guy Called Napoleon) series by most of the people working in the stockroom.”

          2. Navile

            … oops I messed up the link :)

            Napoleon at Chattanooga

            From the introduction in the rulebook:

            “Napoleon at Chattanooga is a painstakingly-researched, meticulously accurate simulation of Napoleon’s campaign in the Tennessee Valley. It is also a two-player game of exploration and conquest in the Solar System, which is also painstaking but not necessarily accurate. This game is the first in the ACW (Advanced Chart Wars) series and is also considered part of the ongoing GBoTGCN (Great Battles of This Guy Called Napoleon) series by most of the people working in the stockroom.”

    7. Edward E

      Been looking for something positive to say about the man, environmentalists have expressed positive thoughts, wonder if they ever figured out why he turned his back on them?
      John McCain Obituary: A Patriot, a Paradox
      by Tim Dickinson

      The senator who had briefly stood up for the environment — calling global warming “a serious and urgent economic, environmental and national security challenge” — would campaign for the presidency in 2008 on a platform of “Drill, Baby, Drill!” The man who’d once urged military caution in Lebanon would embrace the ideals of neoconservatism, and joke on the stump about “that old Beach Boys song,” singing: “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb; Bomb, Bomb Iran” to the tune of “Barbara Ann.” He once said he’d be “fine” if American troops remained in Iraq for “a hundred years.”

  3. emorej a hong kong

    Re: The trust deficit tearing apart our societies Jonathan Cook Blog

    It couldn’t be said any better than this:

    The corporate elite weaponised anti-semitism not because they care about the safety of Jews, or because they really believe that Corbyn is an anti-semite…

    …the ruling elite are exploiting British Jews and fuelling their fears as part of a much larger power game in which all of us – the 99 per cent – are expendable. They will keep stoking this campaign to stigmatise Corbyn, even if a political backlash actually does lead to an increase in real, rather than phoney, anti-semitism.

    The entire post is a very worthwhile read for its reader-friendly framing of the the global big picture.

  4. bronco

    Is this Pope like the Donald Trump of the Catholic Church? Why make him the fall guy for abuse that’s been going on for decades ? Is there a Cardinal Clinton waiting in the wings?

    1. boz

      Reading in between the lines, the rather dark implication I drew from it was that the Francis papacy has been captured by the ‘gay lobby’/‘lavender mafia’. That is, Bergoglio only got the job because of machinations in the background (which is often the case), but particularly by those who wanted to change the Church’s teaching on homosexuality – look for the comment “5 years to change the Church”.

      The Jesuits (Society of Jesus or S.J.) don’t come out of this very well either.

      What is explosive is that Francis now appears captured by, or worse, complicit in, the coverup.

      Benedict did the right things but apparently felt unable to take on the powerful vested interests (“my authority ends at that door”).

      Rod Dreher’s reportage on this matter at The American Conservative has been stellar.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Homosexuality is the default “explanation” for this demented criminality and has been for decades.

        The “church” refuses to acknowledge that pedophilia and rape are crimes of power perpetrated by mentally defective humans regardless of sexual preference, and the omnipotence that is the centerpiece of this “religion” creates the perfect breeding ground for this vulgar deviance.

        That alone suggests that this “faith” has no place in a civilized society and, since its legitimacy and privilege are, at their core, conferred by government, it is the government’s responsibility to shut it down regardless of what this or any other pope does.

        As an aside that I find darkly typical, the pope made a statement on the issue over the weekend in Ireland, a devout country which has been ravaged by this catholic depravity despite having spilled much blood to protect the “religion.” He spoke in Spanish.

        1. Plenue

          I’m going to be a bit of the snarky atheist here and note the complete silence in these matters of Jesus. His Church is undergoing a massive, I don’t even know what to call it, credibility? crisis. Publicly it’s declining, in some places like Ireland it’s basically in free fall. Internally it’s devolved into some sort of ludicrously asinine multi-faction civil war.

          And yet the bossman is nowhere to be seen or heard. The theologians and mystics can trot out the usual trite non-answers (God works in mysterious ways, He’s testing our faith, etc), but I suspect those aren’t going to satisfy many people. I also suspect it’s only going to be a matter of time (if it hasn’t happened already) until someone in the internal fighting inside the Church invokes the claim that ‘God made His will known to me’.

          Because isn’t that how it always works? The omnipotent creator of the universe can never be bothered to just tell people en masse with a giant magical voice from the sky what He wants. It always has to be subtle, indirect means in which we ultimately have to accept the claims of individuals. Because mumble mumble something something faith and free will.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            “God is dead.”

            I don’t believe claiming to have heard God would work for this reason. We now know to know there are reasons. Much like the Deists of the 1770 era American colonial period, the faithful wouldn’t accept that at least on a scale to give a person power.

            Pope Michael I has claimed the church has been in crisis for some time now.


            I don’t think he has much of a following.

            Also, I would suggest the RCC lacks the charismatic preacher vibe it would need to attract the people who might buy this.

      2. DJG

        Spare me. Viganò’s testimony is worthy of Joe McCarthy. Suddenly, everyone is a dangerous homo trying to undermine the authority of the holy church, just as under Saint J P everyone was a dangerous commie trying to undermine the authority of the holy church. To quote from this supposedly damning and detailed testimony:

        As far as the Roman Curia is concerned, for the moment I will stop here, even if the names of other prelates in the Vatican are well known, even some very close to Pope Francis, such as Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who belong to the homosexual current in favor of subverting Catholic doctrine on homosexuality, a current already denounced in 1986 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons. Cardinals Edwin Frederick O’Brien and Renato Raffaele Martino also belong to the same current, albeit with a different ideology. Others belonging to this current even reside at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

        The fact is that you have enormous abuses of power, along the lines of the cardinals in Rome who regularly turn up in tremendously expensive apartments mysteriously financed.

        But the idea that a lavender gang is destroying the church is not proven. On the other hand, it is well known that Saint J P made a mess of the Latin American church by demanding the end of liberation theology and worker priests. So when the church shows no interest in the material needs of the flock, then the princes of the church seem to have had plenty of time to come up with a rationale that rape is a-okay. Rape is a crime of power not sexual orientation.

        And Cupich? Wow, where do those accusations come from?

        1. DJG

          Why does Viganò and his supposed testimony, little of which is eyewitness testimony, bring to mind Q and Q’s missives for me?

        2. Tomonthebeach

          Dead on. One of the things that bothers me is that the vast majority of sexual abuse targets were not prepubescent – i.e., not classic pedophilia. This suggests that forced chastity during seminary years leads to immature sexuality development. Coupled with being cloistered in a homosocial environment means that seminarians who entered young spend a very long formative period isolated from females and thus lack skills for attracting and engaging woman – they are mostly stuck at the I’ll-show-you-mine-if stage. It is hard for me to come to any other hypothesis other than that celibacy vows are a significant causal factor for this sort of thing; not homosexuality.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Here’s some of the BS (in my estimation) reasons for priestly celibacy, per one apologist for Catholic dogma:


            And let’s all keep in mind that celibacy (no marriage) does not equal chastity. “Make me chaste, O Lord, but not yet.” Here’s a piece that conflates the two a bit but is an interesting read on the “complicated history:”

            1. savedbyirony

              And let us not forget that the Roman Catholic Church does not actually have a celibate priesthood. Happen to be a married Anglican priest, for example, who is not pleased with the changes to that church? Well as long as you are all for the “no marrying” decree of the RCC for the clergy and preach it loud and clear; and are willing to toe the most confining doctrinal line , welcome aboard. I have often wondered what the wives have agreed to, or not, in these career moves by their husbands.

          2. Plenue

            I agree. My impression after reading and hearing Church responses over the years is that they don’t fully understand the amount of damage they’ve inflicted, or why the abuses are a big deal. The church is sexually retarded; sex is a big mystery to them.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            From Wikipedia, Celibacy:

            Celibacy has existed in one form or another throughout history, in virtually all the major religions of the world, and views on it have varied. Similarly, the Romans viewed it as an aberration and legislated fiscal penalties against it, with the sole exception granted to the Vestal Virgins. Protestantism saw a reversal of this trend in the West and the Eastern Orthodox Church never adopted it. The Islamic attitudes toward celibacy have been complex as well; Some Hadiths claimed that Muhammad denounced, but some Sufi orders embrace it.

            Classical Hindu culture encouraged asceticism and celibacy in the later stages of life, after one has met his societal obligations. Jainism, on the other hand, preached complete celibacy even for young monks and considered celibacy to be an essential behavior to attain moksha. Buddhism has been influenced by Jainism in this respect. There were, however, significant cultural differences in the various areas where Buddhism spread, which affected the local attitudes toward celibacy. It was not well received in China, for example, where other religions movements such as Daoism were opposed to it.[citation needed] A somewhat similar situation existed in Japan, where the Shinto tradition also opposed celibacy. In most native African and American Indian religious traditions, celibacy has been viewed negatively as well, although there were exceptions like periodic celibacy practiced by some Mesoamerican warriors.[6]

            The discussion can be broader.

      3. Darius

        This isn’t a gay problem. This is a an abuse of power problem. The only thing the public needs to be concerned about is that a powerful institution routinely covered up vicious crimes committed by its personnel. That’s obstruction of justice. If the Catholic Church wants to go on a great homophobic, make women have babies they don’t want crusade, that’s their business.

        I always said Benedict was turning the American church into the Tea Party at Prayer. That these efforts often were led in many cases by gays in the closet just accentuates the hypocrisy.

        1. Darius

          If the church stamps out gay priests, are the legions of sexual active straight priests in the clear?

          1. savedbyrirony

            Regarding the legions of sexually active straight priests being in the clear, the answer is “yes”. As long as those sexual activities are not of a criminal behavior, such as rape or sex with a minor, heterosexual priests are basically free to pursue sexual relations and remain priests as long as they DO NOT MARRY! Child out of wedlock, relationship(s) known in the parish, frequenting prostitutes -these will not cause a priest to be defrocked (maybe relocated, though). And they happen all the time, in some countries more openly than others.

            One point at least in the USA catholic community regarding the sexual abuse of minors (of both sexes) which i think is too often overlooked is that in the seventies the church lost 1/3 of its priests, primarily due to the disappointed expectations many had of the ban against a married clergy not being lifted. That, along with the early age recruitment of men for the priesthood and the sexually repressing environment of the seminary system left the church with a work force filled by priests who were more likely to be less mature and capable of “adult” relationships -especially as regards the sexes and the treatment/views towards females. The RCC has not recovered from the loss of clergy: not in numbers and not in leadership. And i don not think people can properly understand the abuse crisis without a good understanding of seminary formation and what is taught to men regarding women, sex and clerical power/brotherhood in these often highly insular institutions.

            Also, i do not think people can properly understand the abuse coverups without a thorough understanding of the RCC clergy mindset and to a certain extent Canon law. In a nutshell, the mindset is, “we are brothers, we are ontologically superior and we look out for our own because we are at war with the ‘evil’ that is the world all around us, tempting us all the time”, plus the institution MUST be protected above ALL. And Canon law actually forbid Bishops and others from informing secular authorities about sexual abuse by their clergy. This point of Canon Law has not been completely changed even now. Pope JP enabled and empowered a number of now known abuses, especially some with deep pockets and he held and promoted a heroic, superior view of the priesthood; Benedict in his positions in the Vatican always worked to keep it all in house and was criminally slow, if not outright completely against, defrocking abusive priests and made no moves to remove the Bishops who covered up for them; no, he protected them. Early on in his Papacy, Francis established a blue-ribbon panel to supposedly be empowered to make sweeping recommendations and changes – and then actively worked to prevent it from accomplishing anything it. Many of its members quit over the sham.

            This is not a gay clergy problem. This is not a “priests can not marry” problem”. This an institutional problem were by emotional sexual maturity is intentionally often blunted and manipulated (not unusual for cults to do – and the RCC priesthood in its entirety may not be a cult, but it certainly has some existing within it) and teaches many of its members to regard sexual behaviors as something to think less of and hide, if they can not outright forgo them. This is an imbalance of power problem were by abusers are authority figures and if exposed are often hidden and protected and made excuses for. Plus, the church’s clergy all too often sees sexual assaults as temptations there brothers have fallen to, not crimes they have committed. (And, yes, the victims have at times been characterized as tempters.) This is an opportunity and access problem (and THAT, along with the maturity stunting environment of many seminaries, is why more boys and young men have been abused, though it is also not surprising that the abuse of girls/women by members of the RCC clergy would be marginalized by the church as well).

            Why the US Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy has not been pursued by Ricco charges boggles the mind (and disappoints).

        2. noonespecial

          Re: “public needs to be concerned about is that a powerful institution routinely covered up vicious crimes”.

          Indeed. According to a NYPost article, Paul J. Dunn, “…has accused a Queens [New York] priest of sexually molesting him as a boy has rejected a $200,000 offer from the Catholic Church because the money ‘doesn’t even come close” to delivering justice.’ ”

          Even though the accused priest, “…dodged jail after agreeing to help the NYPD net other predators as an informant…he worked at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Conn., from 1988 to 1995.”

          For the NY church authorities, the money for this settlement may have originated from a loan from JP Morgan Chase:

          1. JTMcPhee

            And the collateral for that loan was…?

            And of course some mopes and their tithes from various parishes will be paying off the “loan.”

            Wonder what the term sheet said.

            1. noonespecial

              Question about collateral – From the Guardian article:
              “a one-year mortgage from JPMorgan Chase on land it owns behind St Patrick’s cathedral; the Lotte New York Palace hotel is located on the site.”

              I agree that a % of the collection plate will be used to repay. I also wonder about the hotel’s part.

      4. Unna

        As I said yesterday, this is just a power struggle between some guys named Bergoglio, Vigano, and Ratzinger as ring leaders and their respective curial followers in the Vatican. It’s being played out, in part, through the use of theological positions as rhetorical weapons. Look at the cynical the use of the word homosexual! Yes, I’m shocked. And hey, what about the little girls? And when are they going to let women be priests, anyway? Wasn’t Bergoglio supposed to be a progressive or something? And people are worried about sheep dogs and sheep dog issues in the Democratic Party? On the brighter side, if Bergoglio does resign and we get another pope, historians, always trying to sound cute, can call 2018 “the year of the three popes.”

        Now this should prove to be a very entertaining power struggle to follow for anyone who’s interested, and I know I am. All of these guys, and as they say they’re all guys, are all in their seventies and eighties and have spent the better part of their professional careers perfecting the methods of intrigue and manoeuvre that gain you power and position in an institution like the Vatican. They’re all profoundly intelligent and culturally learned. They observe human behaviour and motivation at levels of abstraction far beyond what many abnormal people would call unhealthy. When they kick back and relax, they don’t listen to Madonna they listen to Pergolesi. They don’t read Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal or the latest offering from the Harvard school of something or other, they read Machiavelli or Plutarch and are familiar with the particular personalities these authors discuss. They’re practiced in the arts of political intrigue in ways that make make Schumer and friends look like small town Indiana seven year olds.

        Furthermore, these Vatican guys understand style and know how to dress. None of those sleazy New York style low cut lapel two button suits with solid pastel ties. Or the Mueller dark suit with discrete small doted blue tie affected Puritan righteousness look. No. These guys do late Renaissance full on red robes with gold glitter. After all, they gave us the high Baroque.

        So people ought to quit complaining and enjoy the show. If they want to bring the perpetrators of abuse to justice that’s a matter of the employment of the powers of governments founded on the principles of the Enlightenment. And we can do that.

        1. Plenue

          I’m sure the invocation of ‘homosexuals’ as a bogeyman is going to do wonders for the Church’s already tattered standing among young people.

      5. HotFlash

        I can only go on anecdotal evidence, but it is people I have known in my life. I will confine myself to four examples here:

        1.) RS., a young man a year ahead of me in high school. Stayed late after school most days, washing lab glassware for the science nuns. I would now call him latent homosexual. I do not know, but can only guess, that he decided that his lack of interest, in fact discomfort, around girls his age, meant that he had a religious vocation. Looking back, I suspect that there was some problem at home as well, perhaps abusive or alcoholic parent(s).

        2.) JH, brother of my high school bestie, a seminarian who left after a few years, never took orders, went to a costume party shortly after leaving the sem dressed as a bride. He hung out in the guys’ bathroom pulling up his nylons for the shock value. Never heard any other details about that, but he did spent the rest of his life looking after his mother, a dear, dear lady. Obit a couple of years ago said he died of cancer, a few years after his mom.

        3.) FM, a lovely, kind lad, a ‘sweet boy’ who would blush easily. His mother was like him, tall, awkward, kind, shy, and I never heard of a father, now that I think of it. I went thru grade and high school with him. A few years after graduating I found him, literally at the side of the road, obviously in distress, wearing only a lavender jumpsuit in December. In Michigan. I stopped and insisted he get in my car, he told me a story of how his lover, our (Catholic) high school’s cook, had cast him off. I dropped him off where he asked and begged him to keep in touch. Next thing I heard about him was his suicide obit. I believe he was recruited in the confessional.

        4.) JK, another seminarian who washed out. Married a local girl, had a huge stock of homo/lesbian jokes, he and the girl separated soon after. She took up with ladies after that, never heard what happened to him.

        Conclusion: I believe there is a scouting, grooming and selection process that is biased to find young persons confused about their sexual urges and preferences, in an environment where sex is considered sin, and the confessional is the ideal place for priests who wish to prey on young persons.

        This will have happened over many, many generations, so the predatory priests were likely themselves once prey. I simply do not think it wise for sexual animals to require young persons declare to be celibate for life at an age when hormones are ragind, they do not have a clue, and the Church won’t furnish one.

        The abuses we see are predictable.

      6. boz

        I don’t really disagree with any of the comments above.

        Abuse of power: yes – a symptom of clericalism (concentration of key appointments and structural levers amongst the clergy) as well as a hangover from poor/nonexistent safeguarding culture. You also have the toxic degradation that comes with being a privileged part of the establishment.

        Poor sexual education / preparation on how to deal with a modern culture full of sexual temptation: yes, and a lax screening process for the seminary contributed as well.

        Deceit upon deceit, coverup: yes, what we are seeing are generational fruits from the “sexual revolution”. Frustrated men, gay men seeking sanctuary from a hostile world, naive men unprepared and poorly prepared for dealing with temptation. Add to that a morbid fear of “scandal” and it becomes no surprise that a response “playbook” appears to be observable.

        As to those who wonder why I and others still turn up on Sunday: it’s a good question. The answer is, that despite all the horror and pain that has been caused by some within the Church, there really is something transcendental and liberating to be found. Once you find it, everything else falls away and becomes meaningless.

        In light of the above, I wouldn’t reduce this down to a liberal/conservative struggle over sexual teaching, however. Set within the context of the last 50 years though, that proposition makes a lot of sense.

        This is a massive topic, and I can’t do justice to all the valid criticisms and questions aired by other NC posters.

        I’d finish though by saying that Catholics owe a great deal to the victims and to independent media for exposing these horrors. (Includes Yves/Lambert for permitting the conversation to take place here)

        1. savedbyirony

          A couple of points to add on:

          1.) Catholics do owe a great deal to the independent media for its coverage, but The national Catholic Reporter, a laity led catholic publication formed from the spirit and oh so neglected and betrayed possibilities of Vatican II, actually helped lead the exposing of the abuse coverups back in 1985 with a series of articles it co-financed and printed on some early exposed cases of abuse. It has relentless covered the situation since; and taken great heat from some of the hierarchy’s members over the years.

          2.) yes, rather than the struggle between conservative/liberal sexual teachings, i think the root causes dogmatically lie more with The RCC hierarchy’s approach and especially uses of their interpretations of “Natural Law” which is indeed a massive, complicated topic.

          3.) Why people stay, that is a question. Aside from those who believe that the situation is much exaggerated and an organized attack on the church (and i know some people who do), i think it is about community. People see their parishes as their church – not the hierarchy’s dogma ridden institution and milk cow and not the priesthood’s little fiefdoms. These friends, neighbors, relatives and strangers who call themselves catholics and share in the rituals, experiences and culture are a community (a community of people who often are there for each other in times both good and very bad) and this is their mess and their responsibility. They stay in part because they are not willing to concede defeat of their community to this is evil.

    2. kimyo

      no one is blaming him for the abuse. it is his failure to address the abuse which is being criticized.

      he reminds me of kenneth feinberg, who they haul out every time there’s a giant pool of victims (bp oil spill, ground zero recovery workers) who ‘must’ be denied justice. the same fake smile and empty platitudes. buying time so that the church can hide/liquidate assets/information in order to prevent victims from being compensated.

      he has no moral authority left. if he had any honor, he would resign.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Resign, and be replaced by someone even more controlled by or enmeshed in the power structure that has made a safe home for sexual predators for centuries?

        Tradition says that (at least for a couple of centuries) Popes leave office on a bier, with a puff of smoke from a signal chimney. But trillions of dollars and lots of groping and penetration opportunities are at stake…

        1. Shane Mage

          The homophobic sexual hysteria seems to have mounted to the point of infecting even some NC commentators.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Query whether speaking out against a regime that unarguably fosters and conceals sexual/power abuse of young people among Jesus’ flock is to be considered homophobia? “Suffer the little children…”? Maybe there are gay pedophiles, but there’s lots more straight ones of course.

            And no question that there are gay people in orders. It is chargeable homophobia to point out that the pedophiles in the priestly hierarchy have made a comfy place for their set? Being gay clearly does not equal being a parasitic pedophile.

            What’s the gravamen of your comment?

            1. Shane Mage

              The gravamen is the constant repetition of the phrase “sexual abuse” to describe the nearly two-thousand year history of consensual relations between priests and young sexually-mature men, including the unspoken acceptance of “age of consent” laws none of which have any objective basis and all to which deny agency to young people of all sexes. The hysteria is shown by the number of references to “child abuse” compared to references to “Magdalen Laundries,” a ratio approaching infinity–exactly the inverse of the ratio between the damage done by clerical “child abuse” and that done by the remainder of the activities of the RC priesthood.

              1. JTMcPhee

                So not quite NAMBLA-equivalent, then, due to some possible statistics on the ages of some of the, ah, “consenting participants?” Re NAMBLA:

                The North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) is a pedophile and pederasty advocacy organization in the United States. It works to abolish age-of-consent laws criminalizing adult sexual involvement with minors[2][3] and campaigns for the release of men who have been jailed for sexual contacts with minors that did not involve coercion.

                And why are swo many of these consenting, sexually mature (at what age is that?), present and former young males displaying, shall we dare say it, “clinical signs of having been abused?” And why the massive coverup, the “thin black line,” the payoffs and nondisclosure agreements and “priestly relocations?” If this is all historically A-OK, 2,000 years of A-OK, why does it seem that there is such massive fear of discovery and “transparency?” One has to wonder why the responses look so much like a whole lot of people have ‘consciousness of guilt,” and shame, and clear awareness that what they have been doing with “consenting young sexually mature males” partakes of sin, requiring huge dollops of coverup and recourse to the dogma of “grace and forgiveness?”

                Always interesting to see what lengths humans and their limbic systems will go to, to protect and justify the sources of their pleasures… Not all priests are gay, see the comments here about chastity (not enforced by “the Church”) versus celibacy (no marriage, no non-bastard children, with of course some exceptions, and Orthodox Church priests who marry, have sex and have children are “not really Catholics”), and of course one doesn’t have to be a priest to have “consensual sex with young sexually mature males,” but it sure seems to improve the chances of encounters.

                Fog and smoke — maybe too much incense put in the censer?

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Are we looking at another Avignon papacy, if not literally another pope in Avignon?

          From Wikipedia, Pope Celestine V:

          He was elected pope in the Catholic Church’s last non-conclave papal election, ending a two-year impasse. Among the only edicts of his to remain in force was the confirmation of the right of the pope to abdicate; nearly all of his other official acts were annulled by his successor, Boniface VIII.[1] On 13 December 1294, a week after issuing the decree, Celestine resigned, stating his desire to return to his humble, pre-papal life.

          1. DJG

            Ahhhh, Boniface, a mess of a pope, who tussled with the extraordinary mystical poet, Jacopone da Todi:

            From Wikipedia:
            During the struggle that followed, Jacopone publicized the Spirituals’ cause by writing verses highly critical of their opponents, the Pope included. When two brother-cardinals, the Colonnas, sided with the Spirituals and with the king of France against Pope Boniface, and Fra Jacopone gave his support to the Colonnas, politics and even war entered upon the scene.[3] The Pope excommunicated them. A battle between the two rival parties ensued, ending with the siege of Palestrina and the imprisonment and excommunication of Jacopone in 1298. He was freed in 1303 upon the death of Boniface, having been specifically excluded from the Jubilee Year of 1300 by papal bull.

            [end snip]

            Maybe we will get some gorgeous mystical poetry out of the crisis.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Perhaps mystic poets can do more than popes.

              “Hold infinity in the palm of your hand…”

    3. Spring Texan

      Here’s a good rundown of what is going on on the Vigano/pope thing — as some of you note, a conservative anti-homosexual, anti-Pope-Francis campaign is at work:

      we know how much Vigano cares about the victims of clergy sex abuse. In Minnesota, Vigano encouraged Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche to destroy documents relating to the investigation of Archbishop John Nienstedt.
      Vigano is a disgruntled former employee. Such people are always a bit angry. They are also often a bit unreliable. He was always a crackpot. But, make no mistake: This is a coordinated attack on Pope Francis. A putsch is afoot and if the U.S. bishops do not, as a body, stand up to defend the Holy Father in the next 24 hours, we shall be slipping towards schism long before the bishops meeting in November. The enemies of Francis have declared war.

      1. CanCyn

        How lovely /sarc of them to take advantage of yet another child abuse expose to play politics! What horrible human beings.

        I will never understand how anyone can go through the doors of a Catholic church to worship. Even if you can turn a blind eye to inequality for women and their completely wrong stance on birth control, among many other bad things ….how can anyone ignore the ongoing child abuse?

        The entire church organization, every priest, every bishop – all of them are responsible for the abuse, whether they committed it or ignored it or covered it up. Pope Francis too and all of the popes before him.

        They. are. all. RESPONSIBLE.

      2. boz

        I read that article and I saw a lot of ad hominem but not a lot of actual debunking.

        I don’t think there will be a schism though – conservatives tend to value the apostolic succession back to Peter and so are unlikely to abandon it, and the liberals have their eye on the prize, which is to change Catholic doctrine. You need to be inside the Catholic Church for that to happen.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      He’s very depressing. I can only read him in small chunks. As in one sermon a month. He reminds me of the hermit in Fowles “The Magus” who lives on a barren peninsula, emerging from his hut periodically to scream and curse at God.

    2. Plenue

      Hedges is of variable worth. At his best we have the war correspondent who can actually speak Arabic, or the reporter who travels to the post-industrial wastelands of the US. At his worst he’s whining about pornography (Empire of Illusion is a quite terrible book) or joining up with Cornel West to preach about the need for a ‘spiritual revival’ in America, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.

      Not only is that a non-explanation for anything, it’s not something you can organize around either. Hedges is the seminary graduate always preaching that things are shit and only going to get worse. Which may very well be true, but then he comes out and poo-poos people like Sanders, who may not want to overthrow the system, but who are pushing for material programs that would demonstrably make many peoples lives better.

      Hedges can be useful for diagnosis, but he’s useless for actually fixing anything. In fact he’s actively hostile to anyone who might improve things.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        If things were fixed, what would he have to write about?

        I combined his piece with the piece from Jacobin about organizing workers that was in Links over the weekend for my Facebook group. For the unenlightened, they make a rather useful collage.

  5. Wukchumni

    The Big Melt NYRB
    It’s interesting that unseen & unheard of natural forces were behind the French Revolution in the guise of a far away Icelandic volcano blowing it’s top in 1783-84, which resulted in growing seasons being altered, with crop failures being the rule-not the exception over the rest of the decade. The price of bread reached 50% more than the daily wage in the late 1780’s, thus the Marie Antoinette quote that she may or may not have uttered, and the social carnage to come, were largely on the back of climate change, but nobody knew the cause…

    We, on the other hand, know everything in great detail as to the deliverer of our future fate, and aside from scientists and researchers et al assiduously detailing the wholesale changes occurring in the Big Melt, we’re as quiet as church mice, or a late 18th century Frenchman.

    1. madarka

      Same as in 1848. Potato blight in 1846, rye and wheat crops failed in 1847 and suddenly 1848 is the year of revolutions across Europe. There was also a very nice paper connecting the Arab Spring with drought, crop failure and urban migrations across the Middle East…

      1. Wukchumni

        Our response is to build seawalls, not look for potential new harbor sites elsewhere or inland based on various rates of rise in sea level.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        People have also looked at climate change and the collapse of the Roman empire (likely other civilizations/empires as well).

            1. Wukchumni

              I’ve been to Herculaneum & Pompeii, many times.

              Amazing time capsules, and after you’ve been to both, go to the archaeolgical museum in Naples to see the amazing artifacts formerly sealed in time therein, on display.

              Parts of oh so tony Montecito being covered deep in mud that no effort will be made to unearth the wreckage, are the new Pompeii of the future, say around 3,467, on a Wednesday, when somebody turns a shovel 4 feet down and comes across an iPhone version 7.

                1. Wukchumni

                  There’s a fair schwag of Mussolini era buildings in Naples and in other parts of Italy, such as the Milano train station, which is practically perking with fascism.

                  When we were driving in Sicily, it was always a bit of a shock/sight to see a WW2 pillbox here and there, now requisitioned into a place to store hay by a nearby farmer, swords into plowshares, indeed.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    They build them (including pillboxes) to last (thousand of years).

                    Tourists in the distant future will visit Roman aqueducts and Italian pillboxes.

      3. WheresOurTeddy

        I seem to recall a noteworthy tome of political nature was released in 1848 by a certain Marx and Engels as well

    2. ChristopherJ

      yes, Wuk, hunger is a good motivator for the masses to head down the dangerous path of revolution.

      There are some scientists predicting that ‘abrupt’ temperature/climate change will lead to our inability to grow crops at scale – one guy is saying a couple of years max. I think you are seeing via the trees in your region what happens when plants can no longer adapt to their environment.

      Hunger, that will be the catalyst

  6. Lorenzo

    John Pilger tweeted this out

    Australia is not a multicultural society – it is a settler-colonial country.

    And it will use every system and structure it has created, and every tool in its tool kit, to fight any perceived challenge to its illegitimate sovereignty and ill-gotten goods.

    The simultaneous positioning as saviour of Indigenous peoples and non-white immigrants and as the saviour of white people and values from Indigenous peoples and non-white immigrants is not merely hypocritical, it is essential to the narrative of any settler-colonial society.

    It goes well beyond a cheap ploy in an election cycle, or something to talk about in a slow news week. It is the very essence of ‘Australian values’.

    as an Argentinean (from Buenos Aires), a similar story could be said about my national identity, and in fact a similar debate/discussion/narrative/dichotomy existed within independent Argentina in the high places of power since the mid-nineteenth century. I wonder if Pilger emigrated to Britian as a way of saying to the indigenous communities ‘right guys, I can’t reconcile with what my forebears were part of unless I just leave you alone’. There are differences of course, matter of fact my ancestors emigrated to an independent Republic, but I think the overall structure is the same. Independence here,as in the US, just meant that one bunch of whites decided to self-rule on a conquered land, with the indigenous communities having as much said as they had had earlier -zip, zero, none.

    1. Eclair

      Yes, Lorenzo. Even the most progressive gloss over this fact. I was watched last week a talk given by Thomas Frank, in Australia. He starts by saying how much alike our two countries are: we both consider democracy as a way of life, etc. I was waiting for him to mention the land thefts, the brutality and the attempted extinction of the Indigenous populations by the white European settlers (invaders?), but, no, he didn’t go there.

      North and South America, as well as Australia and New Zealand have to confront their history in all its raw ugliness, accept it, and make reparations. It’s part of growing up.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’d say that NZ has a lot less to confront in terms of their history, as the Māori fought the English to a standstill 150 years ago, and the latter accepted them as equals in the land of the long white cloud.

        At the peak of hostilities in the 1860s, 18,000 British troops, supported by artillery, cavalry and local militia, battled about 4,000 Māori warriors in what became a gross imbalance of manpower and weaponry. Although outnumbered, the Māori were able to withstand their enemy with techniques that included anti-artillery bunkers and the use of carefully placed pā, or fortified villages, that allowed them to block their enemy’s advance and often inflict heavy losses, yet quickly abandon their positions without significant loss. Guerilla-style tactics were used by both sides in later campaigns, often fought in dense bush. Over the course of the Taranaki and Waikato campaigns, the lives of about 1,800 Māori and 800 Europeans were lost, and total Māori losses over the course of all the wars may have exceeded 2,100.

        And owing to their fierceness as warriors, the Māori Battalion was formed in WW2, and they were legendary and involved in the thick of things in the Mediterranean.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          for some reason more than 10% of Guamanians are in the US Military too. That’s more of a ‘there are no other jobs’ thing, but it’s still difficult to imagine fighting on the side of your past conqueror.

          1. Anonymized

            Well, there’s the famous Buffalo Soldiers and later the black paratroopers in the Vietnam War. Also, Japanese American internees who fought in WW2 were in the most highly decorated units. Subaltern groups tend to fight hard in hopes of gaining the respect of their masters. Pretty depressing when you think about it.

      2. Wyoming

        …have to confront their history in all its raw ugliness, accept it, and make reparations. It’s part of growing up.

        In all seriousness.

        Do you really believe this must happen and that it needs to happen for society to move forward?


        Do you not realize that there is not more than a snowball’s chance in hell that such a thing will ever happen.

        Society and civilization can move forward without having fulfilled your conditions….fortunately. Civilization is incapable of paying reparations nor atoning for its injustices. Most of history is a story of some kind of injustice to someone. There is no place to start which would be justifiable unless one started at the beginning – otherwise someone would be left out and treated unfairly. Wrongs lie on top of each other going back to the beginning of time. There is simply no way to find a path through this maze to make everyone whole again.

        To even move forward equitably from this specific point in time we find ourselves in today requires more from our collective whole than we have ever shown the ability to draw from our meager resources before. How about we just work on that and see if we can make progress – I’m not all that optimistic about our chances, but the odds are far more in our favor than trying to fix the past. And if you say “You cannot make the future better without fixing the past.” then I say there is no hope of improvement at all.

        1. Eclair

          Ah, Montana! We have different personalities. I wake up every morning convinced of the perfectibility of humans, of the infinite possibilities of our society to change and become better place for all. And, of the certainty that if we don’t change, we are in for decades, if not centuries, of hurt.

          And, note, that I did not write that acceptance of our brutal history was necessary to, as you put it, ‘move forward.’ We move forward, or in a circle, whichever path we take.

          Again, I did not say, “You cannot move forward without fixing the past.” Those are your words and your interpretation of my writing.

          I do say that we settler colonialist societies must learn, acknowledge and accept our past history. We must rewrite the national mythology that tells of our heroic forefathers conquering this ’empty’ land, cleansing it of its unworthy, hostile, uncivilized elements, such as wolves and Indians.

          ‘Reparations’ are not necessarily monetary (although that would be nice). There is a lot of discussion among NC commenters today about the damage the priestly pedophiles have done to children and young people over decades and how the Church hierarchy has deliberately covered it up, falsified history. These victims in a unequal power relationship would, I am sure, like some cash. But more, they would like acknowledgment that they were abused, disbelieved, lied to and blamed for their own destruction. They want confirmation that their abusers were wrong, sick, evil, misguided and that the whole power structure of the Church was engaged in a huge lie.

          And, to believe that this will never happen because, as you say, ‘Civilization is incapable of paying reparations nor atoning for its injustices,’ is to give up believing in the persistence of morality, ethics and fair play. It is to succumb to Despair, one of the seven deadly sins. It is to become a Thatcher, ‘TINA,’ or a Clinton, ‘we can’t afford Universal Health Care.’

    2. Alex

      This can be said of any place on Earth. Or do you propose a statute of limitations under which Argentineans or Australians are guilty but British-the product of Anglo-Saxon and Norman invasions which completely displaced the preceding language and culture-are not?

      1. Eclair

        And, don’t forget the Romans, who built Hadrian’s Wall to keep out the barbarous Picts. Or the European Jews displacing (such a mild term) the Palestinians.

        Read my reply to Wyoming. There is a difference between lying about the history of how one’s country came into being and telling the truth about it. Guilt, innocence. It is all in the past. But learning and acknowledging the truth is crucial.

  7. Carolinian

    Re The Atlantic story on the decline of humanities majors–the author at first dismisses student debt and college cost as a factor but then contradicts himself with this

    Suppose college tuition was free and every first-year had a guaranteed job lined up for after graduation. This parallel universe does exist at military-service academies—and at West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs, humanities majors are at about the same level as they were in 2008.

    Since the article also says that the “crisis” is most severe at the very high cost Ivy League institutions it doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that this is indeed about money and that a more insecure middle class is less willing to mortgage their homes so their children can
    spend four years “crafting a philosophy of life.”

    In other words, as with the health care mess, worried higher educators might consider that the crisis is “not with the stars” but with themselves. If you make college all about money then it’s hardly surprising that young people will start to view it that way.

    1. CanCyn

      “worried higher educators” should read “worried higher education administrators” Most of the actual educators have seen the writing on the walls for a long time and have tried, but unfortunately, massively failed to change the business mindset of their administrators. This is so even at public institutions such as the one in which I work in Ontaro.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Cancer eating the heart of Australian democracy” By Kevin Rudd

    Now this is rich. A little recap about this character. He became Prime Minister in 2007 but was such a toxic personality and a control freak to boot that he was replaced as leader in 2010. He then spent the next three years constantly backstabbing and undercutting his own government until he got himself made Prime Minister again 2013 just in time to led his government into political oblivion three months later. People here may have been thinking of that political phrase ‘If you can’t govern yourself, how are you going to govern the country?’ in that election.
    And now? When Rudd lost as Prime Minister in 2013, he was succeeded by Tony Abbott and his party. Abbott was and is a hard-line right winger and would fit nicely with the US Republican Party. He too was such a toxic personality and a control freak with his own party that they dumped him in 2015 and replaced him with Malcolm Turnbull. Following in the tradition of Kevin Rudd, he has spent the past three years backstabbing and undercutting his own government to get himself made Prime Minister again and I would suggest that this is the source of the fiasco of the past few days. And in several months the present party will too go into political oblivion.
    Toxic personalities putting themselves over their own party and their own country – now there is the cancer at the hear of our democracy.

    1. Wukchumni

      All this bickering as a monumental housing bubble is about to come undone, and the populace has no prior experience of such a saga, as China is laying down the law that no more funds will be allowed to be exported in order to help fuel such foolishness.

      When financial bubbles unravel they are akin to mountain climbing in that after reaching the peak, most accidents happen on the descent.

    2. integer

      I disagree with your views on Kevin Rudd, and consider him to be the last Australian PM who governed in the interests of the Australian people. Admittedly I wasn’t paying as much attention back then as I am now, however I could still see the hatchet job (“control freak”, “toxic personality”) the corporate media was doing on him. I also think that on the Labor side of things, Gillard has a lot more to answer for than Rudd. In any case, I welcome Rudd’s suggestion for the (probably) incoming Labor government to initiate a royal commission into the future of Australian media ownership, along with Murdoch’s role in the NBN fiasco. I’ll be very surprised if it happens though.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Toxic personalities putting themselves over their own party and their own country – now there is the cancer at the hear of our democracy.


      Toxic personalities = bugs

      Features, in this case, would be the way our institutions are set up, designed.

      What can we say about ‘it’s not a bug; it’s a feature,’ here?

      1. taunger

        The feature is the institutions are designed to catch the bugs, but not to exterminate them, rather to comfort and cultivate them.

    4. Carolinian

      You seem to be discounting the article’s contention that Rupert Murdoch is at the bottom of Australia’s political troubles.

      Meanwhile the Foxification of the British and American press continues.

      Shorter Fleet Street: you furnish the youtube videos, we’ll furnish the war. Of course in Hearst’s day Spain lacked hypersonic nuclear tipped missiles.

      Rudd may be the defective character you claim he is but here’s suggesting Rupert and his yellow press spawn are far more dangerous.

      1. ChristopherJ

        Yes Carolinian, he flew in unexpectedly a few weeks ago.

        The message, get rid of Malcolm Turnbull – Peter Dutton was the hatchet man they had in mind…

    5. witters

      Well, maybe. More likely, in my view, was his refusal to accept the factional system that does much to make the ALP the toxic heap it is.

  9. Wukchumni

    The Madness of Military Intervention in Venezuela The American Conservative

    Why intervene militarily when you can intervene monetarily instead?

    Ecuador willingly abandoned their national currency-Sucres, in 2000, in lieu of the almighty buck, which allowed us to Dollar denominate a decent sized petro state.

    Really bad hyperinflation was the leading factor in the Ecuadorian currency diaspora, but nothing compared to Venezuela.

    Here’s what went down 20 years ago:

    The Sucre maintained a fairly stable exchange rate against the U.S. dollar until 1983 when it was devalued to 42 USD and a crawling peg was adopted. Depreciation increased rapidly and the Sucre’s free market rate was over 800 per USD by 1990 and nearly 3000 by 1995. The sucre lost 67% of its foreign exchange value during 1999; its value nosedived an additional 17% over the course of one week, ending at 25,000 sucre per USD on January 7, 2000.

    On January 9, President Jamil Mahuad announced that the US dollar was to be adopted as Ecuador’s official currency, although the US dollar had already had wide informal use in Ecuador before this decision was made. The US dollar became legal tender in Ecuador on March 13, 2000, as sucre notes ceased to be legal tender on September 11, 2000. Sucre notes were exchangeable at a rate of 25,000 sucre per dollar at Banco Central until March 30, 2001.

    1. Wukchumni


      One of the side benefits in supplying the coin of the realm is seignorage, i.e. the difference between the cost of making money and the face value.

      Remember how the new Sacagawea Dollar coins* came out in 2000 all of the sudden, despite almost all vending machines not being capable of accepting them, and overall, a great reluctance by the public in using them. If you’re like me, you’ve spent a few of them, if that.

      They weren’t made to be used in the USA though, almost all of them went to Ecuador, where they are quite commonplace in commerce, probably the bulwark of all circulating monies.

      A Sacagawea/President Dollar coin cost about 15 cents to make, and somebody is booking an 85 cent profit per coin on ‘exports’ to Ecuador, wonder who?

      * The best use of these Dollar coins proved to be quite popular in that the U.S. Mint would sell a box of 2,500 of them for face value, and they accepted credit cards for payment, and people either used it as a cash advance, or a way of accruing points/miles on their credit card, and many that did so, simply took the unopened boxes of 2,500 coins and ‘deposited’ them @ their bank.

    2. HotFlash

      Ecuador willingly abandoned their national currency-Sucres, in 2000

      I would bet that ‘willingly’ is not quite accurate. John Perkins, self-styled Economic Hitman, has a word or two to say about this.

      1. Wukchumni

        I read Perkins book maybe a dozen years ago, unable to ascertain fantasy from wistful thinking.

        When I realized it was a novel, much more enjoyable.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Should Companies Be Allowed to Revenge Hack?”

    If companies are given that right, what if they hack people whom they suspect of, say, pirating software but aren’t sure? They tried to take some poor sucker to court on copyright violation once until he proved that his internet address was for the entire block of flats he lived in. The same thing can happen to companies too. What if innocent parties get caught in the cross-fire and become digital collateral damage? What are their rights? Who gets to decide? What if the company refuses to tell people what they have done behind the vague idea of commercial privileged information and that they cannot reveal ‘trade secrets’?
    What if a company tries to attack a mob like 4chan or Anonymous? HBGary tried that in 2011 and they went Godzilla all over HBGary’s site releasing all sorts of embarrassing information (,_Bank_of_America,_Hunton_&_Williams,_and_Anonymous) until an exec begged them to stop. Are companies really sure they want this as a legal power?

  11. Brooklin Bridge

    The Madness of Military Intervention in Venezuela

    An interesting read; the article makes an obvious point about the insanity of military intervention, but at the cost of indulging in all the other standard neoliberal memes about Venezuela – the one most blatantly obvious to common sense being how in the world can a country survive overwhelming US Sanctions (not mentioned at all)? If the writer wants to blame demon Socialism for all Venezuela ills, why not at least mention the US sanctions for a shred of credibility and then go down hill with all sorts of inaccurate to wildly false claims as if they were established facts. Beyond the sensible approach to the military card, the article goes from bad to worse and then worse still. It reads like Jonathan Turley on all foreign policy, but particularly his bête noire , Venezuela.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Actually, somewhat incorrect that sanctions were not mentioned at all. They were alluded to under the nasty insinuating argument that if there is anything to socialism, it should be able to stand on its own against external forces. How clever.

      1. pretzelattack

        but that might be interpreted to mean america should be able to stand on it’s own against 100k spent on a russian troll farm. it’s a slippery slope.

      2. Shane Mage

        Whenever I see whining to the effect that the total collapse of the “Chavista” version of extractivist petro-state capitalism is the work of a brilliant US sanctions regime, I start by asking for (but never seeing) a list of the sanctions regulations that supposedly make it impossible for a “socialist” regime to function in any tolerable way.

        1. pretzelattack

          how about destabilizing the country by financing the opposition–see ukraine and a host of other examples post world war 2. see cuba, and nicaragua, and honduras, etc.

          1. Shane Mage

            Financing The Opposition. Isn’t that exactly what the Clintonites are accusing the Tsar of doing on behalf of Trump, and what the Hooverites have been accusing the left (financed with Red Gold) off ever since the days of Lenin and Trotsky?

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          Whenever I see whining by anti-Bolivarians who complain they can’t find what is readily available by use of any search engine, I start by asking whether they really want to know or are just trying to deflect the discussion with US propaganda.

          But that’s just me.

          1. Shane Mage

            Such tender faith in GOOGLE. If a list of those sanctions is “readily available” a posting of that list, not a waving of arms, is what is called for.

            1. Elizabeth Burton

              Actually, I used Duck Duck Go, and the actual list of said sanctions, per the federal government, was at the top of the results. And I stopped agreeing to do trolls’ work for them a long time ago.

  12. Wukchumni

    I haven’t played a video game since a quarter was required, although i’ve eavesdropped on others so engaged, and my world was more attuned to Asteroids or Missile Command, in that you blew up shit, but there wasn’t any implied personal violence.

    But that was then and this is now, where realistic violence is a given, and what makes yesterday’s murder spree even odder, is the idea that the participants/victims were playing football, one of the calmer pursuits.

    1. Wukchumni

      Before Sonny Bono and one of the Kennedy clan cashed it in on the slopes in rapid succession late last century, you almost never saw anybody wearing a helmet when skiing or snowboarding, I mean we’re talking maybe a dozen people in the entire resort.

      Now, the number is closer to 85%.

      I wonder what effect this gun spree will have on primarily video tourneys, but also the home player?

      Does everybody have a gat @ the ready next to their joystick?

        1. Wukchumni

          I keep a Sharps Buffalo Rifle @ the ready when pecking away, one never knows where they’ll roam.

      1. petal

        Back when I was ski racing as a kid(late 80s-90s), they were easing in a helmet requirement. The little kids wore them all the time, and the older kids were wearing them for everything except SL(again, a requirement but it went over fine). We got used to it. It became another piece of gear you put on before you go out. Kids would put stickers on theirs, or paint them, and it kind of became cool. When the helmets were grown out of, they’d be sold, and so kids in the community who maybe couldn’t afford a new helmet were then able to get a helmet. Back then, the story going around was if you were going over 30mph, it wouldn’t really matter, but maybe things have gotten better. Also, a lot of fatalities are from internal injuries(say from running into a tree with your body) as opposed to head injuries.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Much like motorcycle and even bike helmets, then. There are limits, after all, but they do help.

  13. ambrit

    The ‘Digital Enclosure Movement’ builds apace.
    This morning, my Yahoo feed has a popup saying, in part:
    “AOL and Yahoo have joined to form Oath, part of Verizon.”
    That name, Oath, conjures visions of stalwart Patriots banding together to fend off the louche machinations of Deplorables everywhere. To give an oath is not only a pledging of one’s life and treasure towards some mutual goal, but also a declaration of ‘belonging.’ Us versus them in it’s purest form. This congress of perverse actors is a subsidiary of Verizon, an ‘entity’ which has repeatedly displayed an Orwellian ability to define the word and very identity of an Oath as meaning the opposite of it’s generally accepted definition.
    Later on, the popup states that: “Changes (to the terms) include the addition of a mutual arbitration clause and a class action waiver.” This deck is stacked worse than the deck of the Titanic was on that fateful night in 1912.

    1. Wukchumni

      Just received “Important Information” from Southern California Edison in regards to the potential of the utility turning off electricity in the event of a wildfire threatening, and it’s a bit of doublespeak, the Safety portion being the covering of their asses, er assets.
      I mean what could possibly go wrong if all of the sudden you were thrust back into the 19th century in the midst of a wildfire breathing down on you?

      The key bit:

      “What is a Public Safety Power Shutoff?

      When extreme fire conditions-such as high winds-present a clear danger to the public, we may shut off power in high risk areas. De-energizing customers is not something we take lightly. Being without power can be disruptive to you and your family and it is our intention to use this protocol sparingly to manage only the most extreme conditions. We view these Public Safety Power Shutoff Protocol as a last resort, only after a number of other operational practices have been exhausted.”

      1. ambrit

        Besides being a stellar example of Pre Disaster CYO, this sets up the normalization of electricity rationing. Watch the list of Public Safety events requiring an electricity shut off grow over time.
        I’m fully expecting Southern California to begin suffering rolling brownouts during the hottest parts of the year. Water supply throttling cannot be far behind.

            1. Wukchumni

              We were in NZ on a guided walk onto the Fox Glacier (no longer available as a hike alone due to the glacier receding so much the only approach is via helos now)
              and you had to walk a mile or so from where the bus was parked, and we’re about half-way there and our young Kiwi guide announces that “We’re going to take a safety-break” and my wife and I think oh goodie goodie, but it’s merely a talk on what to do and what not to do on the glacier.

              A few hundred feet after walking again, I mentioned what it was slang for in the USA, and he had no idea and how we howled in laughter together.

              A neat thing to do in NZ:


  14. DorothyT

    Re: The Man Who Never Was (Todd Purdum, Vanity Fair, 2010)

    After surviving his brush with shame during the Keating Five influence-peddling scandal in 1989, McCain embraced the cause of campaign-finance reform, which endeared him to good-government types and the press but to almost no one else in either party. Like other senators, McCain had taken campaign contributions and favors from savings-and-loan entrepreneur Charles Keating, and had then intervened with government regulators on Keating’s behalf. McCain’s zeal for campaign reform was an act of public atonement—ballsy, yes, but driven as much by Realpolitik as by principle.

    Read Bill Black re: the Keating Five. He headed the Saving and Loan prosecutions. John McCain and the rest of the Keating Five were recognized as responsible for delaying action against the “white collar” criminals until such time as the S & L losses accrued to the taxpayers.

    Keating became the face of the crisis and the Lincoln S & L bondholders its victims. I helped organize hundreds of them in Los Angeles prior to a criminal trial. These were 90% seniors whose entire savings were in Lincoln CDs. Keatings’ branches put their employees at tables inside the banks themselves to convince them to transfer their CDs into his American Continental Corp. bonds. When they’d asked the Lincoln employee if they were insured, a plaque was pushed up to them that ‘showed’ they were. Keating lost the criminal trial, did some prison time, then had the verdict overturned because his direct fingerprints weren’t proven to be responsible for the scheme. I will never forget the faces, the circumstances of these seniors. A federal civil trial later on resulted in some restitution but not until many of them were dead.

    Years later I ran into one of the criminal prosecutors who told me that two of Keating’s main Lincoln executives died in mysterious consequences not long after the civil trial. He alerted the State of Arizona who weren’t interested in pursuing this.

  15. marym


    Student Loan Watchdog Quits, Blames Trump Administration

    The federal official in charge of protecting student borrowers from predatory lending practices has stepped down.

    In a scathing resignation letter, Seth Frotman, who until now was the Student Loan Ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, says current leadership “has turned its back on young people and their financial futures.”

    Tweet thread

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      One of the way that professional federal officials register their displeasure with the TrumAdmin’s anti-regulatory re-focus of the government is to resign with sometimes angry or scathing letters. The TrumpAdmin doesn’t mind that at all. It creates more holes to fill with anti-regulation industry supporters.

      The most effective protest the pre-Trump government workers could wage is to stay at their jobs and accept the demoralization in hopes the Democrats can be forced to nominate someone who many people can bring themselves to vote for.

      If such a nominee ran on restoring government staffing with real professionals in their fields, and restoring government regulation, and could get elected on that basis (among others), such a President could restore government regulatory size, staffing and function.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        After the 2000 election, there were articles about Democrats having difficulty finding work in the K Street arena expecting connections to the Gore White House to help them or provide promotions which went to Republicans. There were similar articles about Republicans after 2006 and 2008. The money spent on the Tea Party was in some ways meant to keep the GOP courtier class from leaving DC.

        Call it cynicism, but I would bet many intended to get super cool jobs to take advantages of connections to the Clinton White House 2.0. Maybe they found a job or think they can get in on the #resistance grift.

        Given the state of politics, who is a good ornament to access the halls of power? The New Democrats were adults in the 80’s. They are the old Democrats and have been for some time. As a party, they lost to Trump. Hillary’s myriad of endorsements couldn’t defeat Susan Sarandon’s hold on the electorate. In the short term, Republicans have access to power. Democrats don’t. What if a blue wave doesn’t materialize? Then given the state of Democratic leadership and its age, how much of an investment should be put into Pelosi loyalists if she becomes Speaker again?

        Based on how Sanders could challenge HRC who had dealt with many of her 2008 campaign missteps, the ability for the ilk of Joe Crowley to simply replace a Pelosi won’t be as easy with a growing sector of the population using the internet for news versus the msm.

        1. ambrit

          The solution is simple, and being rolled out this product cycle. The MSM and fellow travelers are grabbing control of the Internet. Censoring ‘Fake News’ on the primary social media platforms is Mind Control, pure and simple.
          An addition to those time honoured Contrarian Mottos like ‘The cheque is in the mail,’ ‘Innocent people have nothing to hide,’ ‘I’m from the Corporation and I’m here to help,’ etc.
          “We filter content to keep you safe.”

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The advantage of the internet isn’t censoring as much as the ability to go, “wait, wasn’t John McCain the guy who divorced his wife when she was in the hospital to marry his mistress?” and then find an answer with no work whereas most msm outlets move on.

            Censoring a Caitlin Johnson but censoring the memory and context she clearly has a natural access to is impossible.

            I’m more concerned about a pivot to video infecting the internet than anything.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Why does everyone, all around the world, keep calling PROPAGANDA “fake news?”Just because it’s a cool new IN-word? With a secret meaning that only the illuminated can decode?

            It’s PROPAGANDA, folks, in my simple mind.

    2. tegnost

      The student loan program from it’s inception has been bad for “…young people and their financial futures.” Now in it’s maturity as a scam to create class division and a more malleable eductorarate (think mba vs humanities enlistments) it is now just brazenly about reducing competition to wealthy families kids, a short tee for the special people as it were, and reminds me of a news item re: seattle
      guess who’s kids/grandkids have a leg up.
      The current situation is truly too far gone for an incremental dems aren’t quite as bad in their public face as repugs so let’s just take one tiny little step back and get back on track because the private faces of the elite are identically self serving and I would say short sighted except these programs (pogroms) are long term class wars and they are winning for now. Like the posturing re immigrants, my southern cal hillirite family has hired illegal immigrants my entire adult life to this day. Any moral position they take on this topic is pure hypocrisy, as is any notion that student loans are anything other than a barrier to entry at worst to indentured servitude at best.

      1. tegnost

        adding many of my mortgage owning friends and family were able to bundle their student loan debt into cashout refis to 15 year mortgages over the zirp years. free money for the right people dontchaknow. Thanks Obama! You made the rich richer, and the precarious more precarious, kinda makes one hope for a purgatory…

      2. JerryDenim

        Interesting story regarding mortgages and all cash buyers. Anecdotally I have been noticing the trend for a while but I have not seen much in the way of hard numbers. That said, I am not the least bit surprised, nor do I believe there is any sort of paradox contained in the “rising prices” “falling mortgages” story. The birfurcated housing market is more statistical evidence of our increasingly bifurcated society. The story notes a trend but stops well short of explaining causation. I believe the neo-liberal tax reforms since Bush Jr. are driving the recent surge in cash buyers and prices which are now in excess of the 2007credit-bubble peak. I believe the radical changes to the inheritance tax are the most responsible. The inheritance tax has been completely eliminated for all effective purposes now and I believe it is having a very big effect on housing prices. I am forty two with a thirty-six year old cusp millennial as a wife. We have spent our adult working years spread between NY and LA. Among our friends that own their own homes there are two groups- those who work in medicine or finance and those who inherited large sums of cash or property. A regular job will not provide the “American dream” in a coastal metro anymore and the $22 plus million inheritance tax give-away is skewing the field more heavily towards the wealthy and their children while providing support for the unaffordable housing bubble 3.0

        Most Americans, including those who stand to benefit from the recent tax law changes have no idea how radically our tax laws have changed in a single generation. Republicans I speak with regarding inheritance taxes still blindly parrot old lines about little old grannies being thrown off the family farm as a result of inheritance taxes are frequently shocked when I tell them the first $22.5 million passes to heirs completely untouched by Uncle Sam now. Times are more different than most people realize and the full effects of changes we’ve made to our tax regime are yet to be seen.

        The hour is getting late and the US is increasingly looking more and more like a failed Central American banana republic than it is a developed country. It would seem the worst is yet to come as the fallout from our current hard-right domination of government is yet to be felt and things could get a lot worse with a Pence Presidency, a 5-4 hard-right wing Supreme Court and god forbid, a Koch Brothers Constitutional Convention.

    3. DorothyT

      Re: Student Loan Watchdog Quite, Blames Trump Administration

      Why wouldn’t a campaign meme be at the top of the list to ask how Trump can use our bankruptcy laws — and brag about being smart enough to do so — when students are barred from them regarding student loans? And to be even handed politically re the banking lobby, shouldn’t Joe Biden be asked the same thing?

        1. polecat

          He won’t have to .. they’ll be ring-fenced out of harm’s way, like any other protesters who dare to confront our spineless pols !

  16. Wukchumni

    I’ve posited before the notion that the US/SU were carnival mirror images of one another, both destined to fall apart very similarly yet different, and you can see how Amazon is becoming our G.U.M., and the reign of error is busy upsetting 70 years of American Doctrine, just as Gorbachev was undoing 70 years of Soviet Doctrine some 30 years ago, and we seem to be @ the Sinatra Doctrine juncture now, as we’re essentially telling our version of the Warsaw Pact to do their own thing, by the actions of our President.

    The phrase was coined on 25 October 1989 by Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadi Gerasimov. He was speaking to reporters in Helsinki about a speech made two days earlier by Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. The latter had said that the Soviets recognized the freedom of choice of all countries, specifically including the other Warsaw Pact states. Gerasimov told the interviewer that, “We now have the Frank Sinatra doctrine. He has a song, I Did It My Way. So every country decides on its own which road to take.” When asked whether this would include Moscow accepting the rejection of communist parties in the Soviet bloc. He replied: “That’s for sure… political structures must be decided by the people who live there.”

  17. Bandit

    The owl of Malle Babbe

    Is the photo of the owl a painting or a photograph? If painting, then it is masterful.

    1. a different chris

      It’s part of a larger painting… and I don’t actually agree, but I admittedly know nothing. However, having said that I will go on anyway (you didn’t pay for this). Frankly, the owl looks no better than the results when that Spanish woman made a complete mess of a Jesus fresco. It’s so out of place in the painting – which can be googled – I, again who knows nothing about High Art, seriously wouldn’t be surprised if it was a prank played on Hals by a friend.

      It’s not even sitting on his shoulder correctly. There has got to be a story behind this.

      1. Harold

        The detail of the owl is by Rubens, but could well have been painted by an assistant, since his workshop did that kind of thing. The photo of the owl, which is very striking in its detail, is by professional photographer Jenny Marie Schell, according to Google. The two images are in fascinating juxtaposition because the first has amazing closeup detail (goosed?) that brings out the subtle play of texture and color among feathers, moss, and bark, and the second is a very impressionistic quick sketch with virtually no detail at all.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China Is Cheating at a Rigged Game Foreign Policy

    It’s like individual Democrats cheating at a (party) rigged (primary) game.

    If Hillary did it, you would still want to call her out, though the game was set up years before her.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Wealthy Chinese find currency controls crimping overseas investment options South China Morning Post


    Out of balance.

    Rich American corporations are over-invest overseas.

    And rich Chinese are also over-invest abroad.

    1. cnchal

      I am sitting in my room in quietly, then this.

      . . . Lai, who just turned 56 last month, would be accused of corruption and of breaching the party’s discipline. The ill-gotten wealth allegedly amassed by the former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management Corporation was staggering: Chinese police found 270 million yuan (US$39 million) in cash, weighing three tonnes, gathering mould at several properties linked to him.

      Lai, who worked for more than a decade at the Chinese central bank and served for two years at the bank regulator, was not alone in taking the fall. At least three other senior Huarong executives have been arrested since Lai’s detention, each of them implicated in accepting cash gifts and property in Hong Kong or Canada worth billions of yuan, according to several people familiar with the investigations.

      Not quite anymore as my room fills with laughter.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s a lot – $39 million, in China, America or elsewhere.

        Then you get those Russians who ‘made’ billions when Yeltsin was the leader.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    May his soul rest in peace.

    China, a history obsessed nation, has a tradition of letting the succeeding dynasty (or republic, in the present case) write the history of the proceeding.

    Looking around, today, people are still debating Stalin, Churchill, etc.

    And if we desire people in the future to learn about our mistakes, they will have to look back at the events themselves.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      […]they will have to look back at the events themselves.

      First, posterity everywhere will have to look for the events themselves (heaven knows where they will find them, never mind how they will know they are indeed facts and not vested re-writes).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s always like that.

        Even now, we look for documents, records, etc. Do we engage ourselves at our own journey of examining any particular history?

        1. Wukchumni

          One of the cruel things being taught now is just in time memory, as in simply retrieve it from an electronic primer.

          Our long term ability to remember is in serious peril.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I try to talk to my mom everyday and ask her to remember simple things, helping her to exercise her brain.

            I told this weekend that senator McCain’s mother was around these days at 106 and being 86 was still quite young.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          Fair enough, but we have entered a whole new level, or rather we have been going through many whole new levels – one after the other – over the last century and I think, fake is truth is beyond unraveling in a way new to history.

          Wukchumni’s mention of just in time memory seems like a good example.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            And it will take work, everyday.

            One or two days off on a recently departed can offer new insights, perhaps, or even invigorating.

  21. Edward E

    Trying to pivot away from the economic bullying and provoking
    EU Looking to Sidestep U.S. Sanctions With Payments System Plan

    With Germany, we are determined to work on an independent European or Franco-German financing tool which would allow us to avoid being the collateral victims of U.S. extra-territorial sanctions,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Monday during a meeting with press association AJEF. “I want Europe to be a sovereign continent not a vassal, and that means having totally independent financing instruments that do not today exist.”

    Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan said it is important for China-Japan ties to be grounded in the present, with an outlook toward the future. He said the relationship between the 2 governments is showing extremely favorable momentum toward improvement.

    Wang said peaceful development is important in order to realize Chinese people’s desire for a better life.

    He also said the trade friction with the United States should be acknowledged rationally.

    Wang is a key ally of President Xi Jinping, and is regarded as China’s de facto 2nd in command.

    Following Trump Sanctions and Tariff Storm, Nations Begin Ditching Dollar

    There have already been settlements in national currencies between Russia and the BRICS – the bloc that also includes Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

    Elsewhere across the world, Nigeria has introduced China’s yuan as an alternative trading currency to the US dollar.

  22. fresno dan

    FROM THE ARTICLE: But hovering just outside the frame—and sometimes intruding directly into our lives—is a disturbing reality. There are people who hate that our family exists. Actual racists loathe the idea of white parents raising a black child, and ideological arguments about identity raise questions about whether a white family’s love can actually harm a child of a different race.
    Then, sometime around the summer of 2015, we began to notice a shift. The attacks on our family came less and less from the left, and increasingly from the alt-right—a vicious movement of Trump-supporting white nationalists who loathe multiracial families. They despise international adoption. They call it “race-cucking your family” or “raising the enemy.”
    I read the above and I find it hard not to tie it to another “rage” shooting, this one in Florida. Hate, rage, anger. Bellum omnium contra omnes – it seems every day, in every way, it becomes ever more the American way…

    1. bronco

      The phony racist narrative of the 2016 election rewound to 2015 to excuse the failure of team clinton.

      International adoptions meanwhile are stupid. More 1% and 10% aholes patting themselves on the back. If you are a white actress (Angelina Jolie) and you adopt a white kid then you don’t get enough adulation. The kids have to look different than you to remind people you rescued them from foreign hellhole. Meanwhile there are , what millions? Of kids with no parents or shitty parents in local hellholes right here in the United states of addiction. If you just rescue a same race kid or three then by virtue of looking like you it won’t constantly remind your fans of how amazing you are. They blend in and look like you just gave birth like any old loser that isn’t special.

      How much money does it cost to reach over to another continent and adopt foreign orphans ? I’m sure people of lesser financial means here that want to help kids would find it too expensive. But then again kind hearted helpful types probably just adopt to help kids , not as bait for the paparazzi (angelina again ) , or groom a future spouse(woody allen) .

      On the other hand it just occurred to me that a rich person might just adopt from overseas because they would not be scrutinized as much as here. Maybe Ms. Jolie couldn’t pass the test to be a prospective parent here so she buys them off and the kids are mailed over strapped to a pallet.

  23. anon

    Re: ‘Rain dancing 2.0’: should humans be using tech to control the weather?

    For anyone further interested, Geoengineering Moniter has project fact sheets and other pieces on the subject of Geoengineering projects. As its name implies it’s an anti-geoengineering site:

    Geoengineering Monitor is a joint project of Biofuelwatch and ETC Group, with support from Heinrich Boell Foundation.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “The moral Viganò draws”…
    But there are two parts to his testimony, with little connection. His factual claim is, essentially, that Francis undid measures Benedict had taken to punish a bishop who was involved in the scandal – IOW, that he didn’t seem to care, or didn’t understand the problem. Vigano’s weirdness about homosexuals, though in line with Church doctrine, is beside the point.

    In reality, since only 20% of the victims were girls, homosexuality clearly has quite a lot to do with it, presumably via the celibacy requirement and, of course, the same Church anti-homosexual (as well as anti-sexual) doctrines. Plus, of course, Catholic priest-worship attracts people who will abuse their power. That said, various fundamentalist and evangelical churches have much the same problem.

  25. Pat

    What a revelation that antidote photo is to me. While I have admired the beauty of many owls before I never got how much their plumage was meant to camouflage them in the wild.

    Beautiful, amazing and yes deadly.

  26. Oregoncharles

    From Kevin Rudd on Australian politics:
    “Fourth, the ease at which, under the two major parties’ rules, parliamentary coups can be launched at the drop of a hat – a disease I fixed in the Labor Party”

    That “disease” is precisely the essence of a parliamentary system: it’s fairly sensitive to political changes, and can fix mistakes. Apparently Mr. Rudd doesn’t like that; he’s trying to move it toward a presidential system, like the US or France. More apparently stable, but much less democratic, and I think that’s precisely the point.

    Are the leadership changes not reflecting popular discontent? Then that’s a problem that should probably be fixed, perhaps with the electoral system. Australia uses ranked choice voting only for the Senate. But from here, I suspect Mr. Rudd of whining.

    1. Chris

      Are the leadership changes not reflecting popular discontent?

      No, they are not. The Prime Minister is chosen within the party room, without reference to the voters at large. You could argue that each member’s vote faithfully reflects the preference of the voters in his/her electorate, but it’s more likely to be the result of short term MSM chatter and internecine intra-party horse trading. Hence Rudd’s concern about Murdoch’s political influence.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The truth is that you are never voting for a ‘leader but what you are actually voting for is a political party to get in. It’s a package deal.

        1. Oregoncharles

          thanks to actual Aussies for clarifying – although I think my point about parliamentary government stands.

          And yes, the “disease” Rudd is pointing to is primarily Murdoch.

  27. Glen

    Re: Signs of a Strong Economy: Hedges Are Overgrown and Lawns Need Mowing

    Out here in rural America, people don’t hire landscapers for monthly maintenance. Maybe a tree service if you have to take out a large tree that could hit the house or barn. Maybe hire a bulldozer to get some earth work done that is too large for your neighbor’s tractor.

    What you do see is an older vehicle with a bashed up body, a house that need painting or a new roof, neglected yard work, a run down, low on money kind of feel. Oh, and and brand new max’ed out diesel 4 x 4s – can you say sub-prime auto loan?

    There are those that are doing better, we have several Naval bases with good civil service jobs. Doctors, lawyers, and other professionals are also doing well. but after that good jobs get few and far between. Maybe these folks get monthly maintenance for their yard. I would imagine they could afford to pay more if prices went up.

    I would guess that very few of my neighbors subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, but I imagine many would take a landscaping job assuming it paid well in addition to covering commuting costs. Unfortunately vehicles are required when one lives in the boonies, public transportation is not bad, but the “last mile” could be ten miles. Driving is expensive.

    Occasionally one sees the county convicts out collecting roadside trash. It’s a shame that all these landscaping companies could not hire convicts and pay them five cents a day. But then, people using H-2B visas are slaves, not prisoners. Or is that all the same now?

    Heaven forbid that companies raise pay to get workers. What do people is think this is? A “free market”? Or is it that workers do not have the right “technical skills” i.e. will work cheap?

  28. ChrisPacific

    From the Rees-Mogg article:

    In an interview with BBC Northern Ireland, he said: “I don’t think my visiting the border is really going give me a fundamental insight into the border beyond what one can get by studying it.”

    Unspoken postscript:

    “…and if I’m wrong about that, and it might force me to rethink my position or even change it, then that’s even more reason for me not to visit!”

  29. The Rev Kev

    “A deal to give Iran breathing space — and the US its victory”

    This is not really American foreign policy at work here but America fulfilling Saudi and Israeli foreign policies. The later two want to help attack Iran but if they do, Iranian missiles would reign down in retaliation which is simply not fair! Trumps revision of the nuclear deal is all about Iran giving up its missile program so that it can be attacked more easily. Even an American fleet would be vulnerable to Iranian missiles which is simply not tolerable. Looks like that across the world that missiles have become the great leveler between nations. It’s not like the good old days at all.

  30. Doug Hillman

    What a deflating tragedy Lanny Davis’s calculated oopsie must be for the jubilant clintonistas. Davis’s fundraising scam raised $125,000 in a few days, based yet again on the manifestly fake Russia threat and reliance on a gross violation of attorney-client priviledge by Cohen. Such implausible incompetence is only a thin mask for a shrewd shyster.

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