Links 9/17/18

For Whom the Climate Bell Tolls Brad DeLong, Project Syndicate

Seed diversity is disappearing — and 3 chemical companies own more than half Salon

How a Ragtag Group of Oregon Locals Took On the Biggest Chemical Companies in World — and Won The Intercept (OregonCharles). Important.

Yes, Government Creates Wealth Democracy

Why Growth Can’t Be Green Foreign Policy

Fire contained at Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada Reuters


Deal or no deal? May’s moment of truth on Brexit FT

How Brexit deal will be struck Politico. “EU officials said that hashing out a withdrawal agreement will require reassuring language on the Northern Ireland border that will ensure Dublin feels its interested are protected, but at the same time leaves some crucial details to be sorted out during the 21-month post-Brexit transition period.”

How Tory MPs are plotting to stop Boris Johnson’s leadership ambitions The New Statesman

The Conservatives are ready for war – with each other The Spectator

The Antisemitism Controversy Jacobin

A painful summer has cast British Jews in an uncomfortable role FT. Thread:

Germany doesn’t need Trump’s gas Handelsblatt

How to Humanely Solve Europe’s Migration Crisis Der Spiegel


The China Hype Defense One

Companies scramble to hire as production shifts from China to cheaper Asian centres amid deepening trade war South China Morning Post

India’s first Dalit cricketer Palwankar Baloo fought against caste barriers on the field and off it Hindustan Times

New Cold War

The ‘Witch Hunters’ NYRB

Russia is mocking us. First the Salisbury attack, then information warfare. Time to wake up Guardian

Novichok suspects’ drug-fuelled night of ‘cannabis and prostitutes’ at £75-a-night East London hotel just hours before Salisbury attack Daily Mail. That’s one thing I’ve always admired about Russian intelligence operatives: Their discipline.

Lisa Page bombshell: FBI couldn’t prove Trump-Russia collusion before Mueller appointment The Hill

With “Fear” and Trump, Bob Woodward Has a Bookend to the Nixon Story George Packer, The New Yorker. Having rehabilitated George W. Bush, liberal Democrats are now moving to rehabilitate Richard Nixon. That makes sense, but what bugs me about Packer’s piece: Putting Woodward’s Fear on the same shelf with Robert Graves’ I, Claudius. Really?

Trump Transition

California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault WaPo

Flake opposes quick vote on Kavanaugh, putting confirmation in doubt Politico

Kavanaugh faces his #MeToo test to reach Supreme Court Politico

Brett Kavanaugh’s Role in Schemes to Politicize the Judiciary Should Disqualify Him The Nation

* * *

1 big thing: The president of debt Axios


Marijuana Should Be Added to Nafta, Mexico’s Fox Says NAFTA

As Trump’s Trade War Mounts, China’s Wall Street Allies Lose Clout NYT

U.S. and China Ramp Up Trade Threats WSJ

Democrats in Disarray

American Democracy Is in Crisis Hillary Clinton, The Atlantic

Two Thirds of “Progressive” Democratic Congressional Candidates Completely Silent on Foreign Policy Black Agenda Report

The Hacking of America Jill Lepore, NYT (DJG).

Kansas woman told birth certificate wasn’t enough to prove citizenship for passport KCTV

Health Care

Evidence-based medicine group in turmoil after expulsion of co-founder Science

NEJM doubles down on refusal to retract article Dartmouth says is plagiarized Stat

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Dallas police face ire over portrayal of man shot by officer AP

Our Famously Free Press

Co-founder of Salesforce buys Time magazine for $190 million Associated Press

The Crash Ten Years After

The Great Recession Knocked Them Down. Only Some Got Up Again and I Came of Age During the 2008 Financial Crisis. I’m Still Angry About It. NYT

How US banks took over the financial world FT

Did the Government Profit From AIG? That’s the Wrong Question Francine McKenna, The American Banker

Ten Years After The Financial Crisis, The Contagion Has Spread To Democracy Itself HuffPo

A Troubling Trend for Cities: Slowing Revenue But Rising Spending Growth Governing

Class Warfare

Homeless greet Oakland’s new Tuff Sheds with hesitation, hope East Bay Times (DK). DK: “Shantytown as a service.

Authority Interfluidity

Antidote du jour (via):

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. Janie

    Re: Cancellation of Salem Oregon Meet Up

    Following a fall and fractured collarbone, my other half has had a dramatic health decline (he has Parkinson’s), resulting in indefinite hospital stay with numerous inconclusive tests and discussions about future place of residence – SNF, home, memory care. The upshot: Regrettably, I must postpone something I truly want to do. Apologies to all.

    1. Edward E

      Sending healing prayers and comforting wishes. I am so sorry for what happened.
      My father is having a dramatic mental health decline due to progression of dementia. We’ve made a lot of trips to the VA and still awaiting the return of the director of the medical foster care homes to move forward. He was very impressed and comfortable with the visitations, wishing the same for you.

      1. Janie

        I appreciate the concern and sharing from all. I plan to try again, after the rainy season (which often ends as early as the Fourth of July).

    2. Andrew Watts

      I’m sorry to hear about all that and apologies aren’t necessary. I like to think that Oregoncharles would’ve been showered with attention and admiration if he had attended the meetup here.

    3. mle detroit

      Janie, we’re all so sorry to hear this. It sounds like the trajectory my late sister was on, with all the same decisions to make.

      If you don’t know it, there’s a Facebook Group called “Lewy Body Dementia Carers” – great info (under Files in top left menu), and wonderful support for what you and your “other half” are going through.

      Take care of yourself (and him)!

    4. Arizona Slim

      You gotta do what you gotta do, Janie. All the best to you and your other half.

      As for the memory loss thing, been there, done that. My father died of Alzheimers two years ago. Two other relatives did as well.

      One of the things we family members develop is a truly evil sense of humor. I’m talking off the charts evil. And it’s perfectly all right. It’s how we cope.

      One of these days, let’s get together at an NC meetup so we can practice our evil senses of humor skills in person.

      1. Janie

        Thanks again to all. I’ll check links. Can’t have too many resources. Slim, a big west coast whoop-de-do would be fun. Andrew, we need to do pizza or some such…later. Mie Detroit, my sympathies if you are dealing with Lewy Bodies. He does seem better today.

  2. Bandit

    Two Thirds of “Progressive” Democratic Congressional Candidates Completely Silent on Foreign Policy

    Why are so-called “progressive” democrats allergic to peace? That is the elephant in the room no one seems to want to acknowledge. A peace oriented foreign policy is the most fundamental issue facing the US and the world at large. We have never been closer to Armageddon and people want to bicker about personal pronouns. That is insane.

    1. Vicky Else

      I think the military has successfully presented itself as a subsidy to many, many U.S. communities. It’s the largest socialist institution in the world–and representatives and senators are well aware of how popular it is among many sectors of their communities.

      1. Procopius

        Minor quibble: I’m retired from the Army, and I would not describe it as a “socialist institution.” I must admit, though, that once in an Army dispensary, a doctor passing me in the hall said, “See, this is what Socialized Medicine is like.” I thought it was damned good. Anyway, I would describe the military more as a feudal organization, ruled more by custom than law, and with obligations both upward and downward. The obligations downward are sometimes ignored, but are usually fulfilled.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I’ve noticed that there are no politicians even promising peace these days. Even in the hottest days of the Cold War, many if not most politicians at least talked about peace and occasionally even promised to “keep” it or bring it. These days, the word has vanished from the politicians’ vocabulary.

    3. Carolinian

      Because they are afraid of the Israeli lobby. American engagement in places like the Middle East is seen as necessary for Israel’s security and isolationist sentiment as a menace to same. While younger Democrats and Jewish voters may be falling away from this position there’s little doubt that the Dem party leadership has long been and will continue to be interventionist when it comes to the ME.

      1. Paul Jurczak

        That and the budget of War Department provides continuous economic stimulus. Additionally, “creative destruction” in a form of bombing infrastructure to smithereens, provides room for economic growth.

        1. Wukchumni

          And think of the ancillary benefits to our economy, why a drone jockey can put the hurt on suspected bad guys in the ‘stan box from afar, and still make the 10 pm Cirque du Soleil show on the strip without spilling a drop of his 2 drink minimum.

      2. Malcolm MacLeod, MD

        Carolinian: At this point in time, any further war would only hasten the ultimate decline
        of American social and existential problems. We can only lose the next war, as there will
        be no winners, and bully Israel is an important factor in this quandary. We need to chili.

      3. ckimball

        I just have to say that I think legislators whose interests are conflicted by carrying duel citizenship US/Israel should be dismissed from congress and judged ineligible for a government position.

      4. Procopius

        I wonder if they are going to notice how tight Netanyahu is with Putin. The Israelis just attacked a Syrian installation which they claimed is producing missiles for Hizbullah, and the Syrians shot down a Russian plane. The Russians are furious, because the Israelis only gave them a one minute warning that they were going to conduct an attack in that area. They agree that it was the Syrians who shot their plane down, but blame the Israelis for creating the situation. How many of the Centrists and Republicans know that their beloved Bibi and Putin are such close allies? The Israelis and the Russians have had a deconfliction agreement for three years and Netanyahu goes to Moscow pretty regularly.

    4. Lord Koos

      I think dunning progressive candidates for primarily talking about domestic issues rather than foreign policy is counterproductive at this point. To get elected, candidates must speak to issues that most concern working people in the US, and what most people have on their minds at the moment is how increasingly difficult it is to make ends meet, not what is happening in Yemen — that’s just the way it is. Foreign policy is a very complex subject and it doesn’t lend itself well to soundbites.

      1. Lord Koos

        Having said that, the comment about Israel’s disproportionate influence on US foreign policy is spot on. The US treats Israel better than Puerto Rico.

          1. Janie

            Great comments, all. Yes, whatever happened to the quest for peace? Never was in earnest, I suppose, because a nearby base is just what the community needs – you know, so we can grow the economy. And the kowtowing to Israel defied belief. Rev Kev, turning over Haifa to the chinese is mind-blowing.

      2. witters

        “what most people have on their minds at the moment is how increasingly difficult it is to make ends meet, not what is happening in Yemen — that’s just the way it is. Foreign policy is a very complex subject and it doesn’t lend itself well to soundbites.”

        Now peace is a “soundbite.” And attacking and slaughtering people “a very complex subject.”

        I think you have a career in politics, my Lord.

  3. timbers

    A Troubling Trend for Cities: Slowing Revenue But Rising Spending Growth Governing

    It’s hard to see why local city our going to the revenue they need except thru ever rising property taxes. With the brick and mortar retail meltdown in full swing, there are fewer business to pay property taxes thus shifting more to residential property taxes. Here in Massachusetts we still have the State subsidizing cities with revenue.

    Here in Brockton, Ma, the State of Massachusetts recently required Brockton to get a secondary backup source of drinking water. Brockton now has a contract costing tens of millions with a private company that promises to be able to supply X amount of water it purifies from “brackish” sources, when/if needed. I didn’t like that description of the agreement and wondered if it was just a grifter style rip off of my property taxes. Last year when we had a dry summer and water alerts, I noticed headlines of accusations the company was not able to supply the quantity of water per contract.

    This year we had plenty of rain fall (our primary source of water is Silver Lake) so I guess this explains why it fell off my radar. I need to investigate it more. Who knows, maybe I’ll run for Brockton City Council on a platform of high living the State mandate and keeping the tens of millions for a “better Brockton.”

    1. bronco

      I don’t think there has been plenty of rain. I’m used to kayaking in the rivers around here in the summer , this year they have grass growing in them. The Assawompsett pond outlets to the Nemasket river in Lakeville/Middleboro area . It is supposed to store water for New Bedford , you can walk up that river this summer. There are no planks in the outlet dam. If you go over to memorial park in west bridgewater all the channels have grass taller than a person where normally there is rushing water. Same with the Oliver mill in middleboro .

      I would have to go check out Silver Lake and get back to you I haven’t been over that way this summer.

    2. Adam Eran

      Pity the poor suburbs…maintenance is roughly double more compact development….

      …so we’re building more compact development, right…? Nope.

    3. Eclair

      Timbers, the Lithuanian community in Lawrence, where I grew up, considered Brockton a ‘sister city,’ even Lithuanianizing its name to ‘Brocktonis.’ We did textiles, you guys did shoes. Both industries went south.

  4. Chris

    I guess I’ll stay off the internet for the next month while Mrs. Clinton’s article makes the rounds and she does her return to the schtick of “Citizens, I’m just fund raising fro good causes, I’m still not running for President.”

    I could barely get through her first point about Trump not following the rule of law. We have had no rule of law in this country for years. Instead, we live in a regime defined by the Law of Rules. Things that are permissible and people who are allowed to do them without penalty. Mrs. Clinton’s husband did a lot to develop that system and she has most recently benefited from it. And that’s before you reconcile her past excesses with the fact that she’s not in jail and could actually get another job with a security clearance in the current environment.

    But when you get to her fifth point, about Donald Trump separating us instead of uniting us, I almost threw my tablet across the room. Ms. “Basket of Deplorables” herself said that? Ms. “I can’t fake liking the Midwest enough to campaign there” said that? The Senator from the Hamptons by way of 1600 Pennsylvania Acenue, said that? Mrs. Clinton has been one of the more divisive figures in US politics for the last 20 years. She nearly tore the Democrat party in half with her presidential urges. Yet she has the temerity to acuse Trump of not being a unifying force in our country????

      1. polecat

        “Madame WhiteWalker to the brioche courtesy counter”.. and watch out for the dragon glass while you’re # it …

        Shouldn’t that link be under the guillotine watch heading ?

      1. Off The Street

        Killary is trying to get ahead of the next salvo in the news cycle. There is so much that will bury her and tarnish the Clinton name forever, regardless of her attempts to remain relevant. The FISA application declassification process should be coming to a head, perhaps this week. That is one of several topics that will remind whatever viewers can stomach the sight of her of just how toxic she is.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Highly unlikely that HRC is worried in the slightest about her lawbreaking past. Obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence under subpoena, campaign finance lawbreaking, the “Foundation”.
          In a country with a functioning justice system, perhaps.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Nah. Grifters gotta grift. Some ghostwriter wrote her a book and now she’s gotta sell it somehow.

    1. Skateman

      A significant segment of the Republican party is deplorable. And just because Hillary is unlikeable and a terrible politician doesn’t mean she’s wrong that Trump’s entire M.O. is trolling Democrats and sowing division.

      1. whine country

        Wow! A significant segment sounds like way more than a basket. Your comment could very well lead to a more significant segment of Democrats moving over to the R side! A self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will. You would do well to ponder the fact that the Republican Party was not known to contain any deplorables prior to the mass movement of disaffected Democrats to the dark side.

        1. GF

          Good to get rid of those Democrat deplorables. The Republican party is a great place for them. As long as the more significant segment of defectors consists of the “liberals” and “neoliberals”, then a truly progressive party can take shape.

          1. whine country

            I don’t know what planet you reside on GF but those Democrat “deplorables” are my parents and their peers who some say made up the Greatest Generation…and their prodigy. There was no such thing as liberals and neoliberals when they realized that the party had no room for them and did the only thing that made sense. Think about becoming the poster child for why the Dem party is what it now is….lost in space.

      2. DJG

        Skateman: What characterizes the Republicans is pure will to power. Even the Republican’s “climate change skepticism” is pure will to power and service to their big-money base. What characterizes the Democrats is worship of their donors, an accommodation with the worst capitalist impulses, a “muscular” foreign policy of remote-control bombs, and strategic self-defeat raised to the level of organizational virtue.

        Yet there is Frum’s Law:

        The Republicans fear their base. The Democrats hate their base.

        It matters little if Hillary is unlikeable. So is Ted Cruz. Yet we haven’t seen the last of Ted Cruz, and we may not, given that Beto is running a Hillary-style campaign. What could possibly go wrong when you don’t stand for anything except “process”?

        1. Roger Smith

          What could possibly go wrong when you don’t stand for anything except “process”?

          The bureaucracy must be completed. Terminate the non-believers.

          The entire political and corporate class is well aware that politics exists as a function to co-opt civics into making them money, while permitting them to break or ignore laws.

      3. Chris

        I think you’re assuming too much and getting your “both/and” mixed up.

        A significant segment of either party is a minority in this country. The true winner of the popular vote in 2016 was “None of the above.” I reject the notion that we should call any of the citizens in the Republican party deplorable and stop trying to craft legislation that helps them in addition to other citizens. Politicians are supposed to gain approval from the polity. The people aren’t supposed to change their opinions to suit the politicians.

        Trump’s MO is trolling the MSM and the establishment. Believe it or not he’s been a clarifying and unifying element in the Republican party. Most recent Gallup poll data shows that 85% of Republicans sampled and 8% of Democrats approve of what the president is doing. And that’s polling done post-McCain funeral excesses.

        I’m tired of people saying things like “sowing division” too. You know what has been a terribly polarizing force in this country? Income inequality. You know who are the champions of policies that keep income inequality sky high? Democrats like Clinton.

        Mrs. Clinton has proven to be wrong or to take grossly equivocal positions on everything. She is a creature of pure ego and seeks nothing but power and money. She has done nothing to help this country or the Democrat party post-election. Is anyone in contested or tight elections asking for her to campaign for them? Did she stand with Cynthia Nixon or Zephyr Teachout or are they exiled to that special place in hell? Hillary should keep her opinions to herself and off the front page of any publication intended to be read by anyone.

      4. perpetualWAR

        There is also a significant segment of the Democrat party that is “deplorable.” This was exposed by Hillary, herself. Democrats purporting to be “liberal” who are NOT open to new ideas or thoughts. It’s all so disgusting, that I am better off not voting.

        Esp after meeting with my new state Representative. I discussed all the ways they have screwed the homeowners of this state. His reaction: “Oh, that is too bad.” What I took from that, “It is too bad you ended up in my district. Cuz I ain’t gonna do nothin’.”

        1. KB

          Sounds exactly like my Democratic city council person. I discussed all the ways the city is pushing out us long time homeowners on Social Security who haven’t gotten a raise in 10 years….like Property Taxes sky high, school levies, utility fees, etc. etc.

          He said: “Take it up with the Feds”..I took it as him saying to me “Ain’t my problem”…

        2. judytwoshoes

          I am in Spokane. Would you please tell me who your new state rep is? Mine may very well be Lisa Brown, who promises to “Ensure our national security and support active service members, their families, and veterans.”* What does this mean? To me, it means not putting someone else’s child in harm’s way for profit. There is nary a word on her web site about the foreclosure scandal, prosecuting the banks for their crimes, etc. That’s as important to me as it seems to be to you. I am facing foreclosure again, after 10 years of trying to stave it off, and I am stating the obvious when I say that the crooks have taken over.

          *As an aside, have you ever seen a more lame campaign sign as the one for Lisa that says, “Repeal Kathy [McMorris-Rogers], not our healthcare”? This should be filed under “kill me now.”

          1. judytwoshoes

            I realized after I sent my prior comment that perpetualWAR is talking about a state-level representative, not federal. Gah!

      5. Katniss Everdeen

        “Deplorable” was mrs. clinton’s word, if I recall, intended to signify a portion of the population that she considered “irredeemably” unworthy of participation in this sacred democracy.

        Some might consider that an undermining of “the national unity that makes democracy possible” which, apparently, causes her so much despair. I would be one.

        And in view of her willingness to cut that portion of the population who did not buy her bullshit hook, line and sinker loose, I found her patronizing, repetitive use of the words “we” and “us” just more of the same old nauseating clinton crap.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Had to read this piece but in doing so I came to the realization that every one of the charges that she lodges against Trump could be equally, if not more so, be lodged against her. I mean the assault on the rule of law, putting the the legitimacy of elections in doubt, waging a war on truth and reason, breathtaking corruption as well as undermining the national unity that makes democracy possible – all of these could equally apply to Hillary and her husband. In fact, you could totally rewrite that article but with Hillary as the target using examples from her past.
      Be prepared to see lots more of her between now and 2020.

      1. johnnygl

        Democrats, the pundits, elites of all types…their collective refusal to admit this continues to be a serious problem. It already cost them the presidency in 2016…

      2. Baby Gerald

        Thanks for saving me from having to open that article and read it, Chris and Kev. My prurient interest was tempting me, but I knew in advance what the heir apparent’s hypocritical claims would be and you both pretty much summarized it to a T. It is reassuring to know that my BS sensors are still working. When will this woman go away??

            1. Wukchumni

              Nunes should be my Congressman, but I got redistricted into Kevin McCarthy, a sect change.

              A good errand boy, he’s found a calling in the service of his lordship.

              Nunes mentions “Russia Kool-Aid” 4 times, if you can’t beat em’ with evidence, bait em’ with repetition.

              What flavor would said beverage be?

              1. newcatty

                “Russia Kool Aid”

                Those cleaver Russians! The flavor is borscht, but through better chemistry is disguised as Hawaiian Punch. That classic All American flavor is not only retro, but irresistible…still. Made with GMO beet (Yes, just like Russian borscht, but their beets are most likely not GMO) sugar. Once we, and especially our kids, get borscht in our guts we will be craving, danger Will Robinson!, Russian food and drink. Sour cream sales will rocket and the hip beet salad with feta will spoil arugala’s and kale’s big moment. With Christmas around the corner…Russian nesting dolls will be the next Cabbage Patch craze. American parents, who really love their kids, will pay big bucks for a nest doll…or else deal and steal to get one.

          1. polecat

            The Corruption/Dead keep moving on, in earnest, to make you none of them !
            What does lambert opine when gobsmacked .. “burn it with fire” ??

      3. clarky90

        That is their Mode of Operation; Deflect examination of self, by accusing others of committing “the crime”.

        “He did it, he did it! Punish himmmmmm!. I am the “nice” child!”

        It is Dark Magik, Widdershins; Hillary (not Trump, imo) is guilty of collusion with Foreign Powers (including the Russians).

        Even the names of the organizations;

        E.g., “The Open Society Foundation” could, in fact, be “The Twenty-First Century Gulag Project”

        1. newcatty

          This is their mode of operation

          Yes, projection of “self” is a classic deflection of high and low crimes against others, who stand in your way or reflect your own darkness. Think many people are waking up to it. Well…I am an optimist (though admit it’s situational).

    3. DJG

      Note this tagline by the editors at the bottom of the HRC “essay.”

      This essay was adapted from the afterword of the paperback edition of What Happened, which will be published on September 18.

      So this is just part of the publicity tour for the paperback.

      Who knows who even did the adapting. It struck me on reading that the article is more the Clintons on auto-pilot than a new contribution to the Marketplace of Ideas.

      1. Pat

        Outside of Russia!Russia!Russia!, I can’t think of a new Clinton contribution to the marketplace of ideas in a long time, including the entire last Presidential election.

        1. Brian

          If indeed there are more independent or non affiliated voters, D and R will become irrelevant. Now we must get human beings (as opposed to the reptilian) as candidates to destroy what the D and R’s have wreaked upon our nation. We need people that address the insanity of “progress” and “growth” as plagues.
          We have destroyed the soil of our farmlands. The water is now mostly contaminated in this nation and unfit to drink because the municipalities can barely afford to filter out waste products before sending the water back to be consumed by the public. The air is contaminated by particulate poisons that have a cumulative effect. We have cleaned up the air by making it look better, not by actually preventing industrial waste to be mixed. Cancer is becoming prevalant as more of us are dosed with poison daily.
          If we continue believing anyone that works for the country is willing or able to help us, we will die much faster. Now that we have no real future with our empire, desperation is apparent as we attempt to enlarge it by risking nuclear war with the owners of the land we are attempting to steal or co-opt.
          There is plenty of work to do, but involves fixing everything that these shit for brains legislators have brought upon us. We might consider keeping what is ours and cease the delivery of all our natural resources to those that have used all theirs up so that a few can make and keep the profits that are our heritage. Renewable may someday become the mantra of the entire planet, if it is not too late.

          1. newcatty

            Well said…calling human beings. Let’s remember who we are and let our hearts and minds lead the way.

          2. Elizabeth Burton

            It won’t happen until people in states with closed primaries and heavy participation fees for elections change that so more people can run. How many times this year alone have established parties attacked progressive candidates of their own on the basis they failed to have the required number of legitimate signatures? How is anyone wanting to run as an independent going to get on the ballot when it costs a fortune and the established are prepared to cheat to block them?

        1. Edward E

          ‘Ka-ching is the very sound of Clinton, all the way back to the days of John & Don Tyson, James Blair, the Stephens brothers and Sam & Helen

    4. a different chris

      When I saw the title “American Democracy In Crisis” I thought that maybe Hillary had finally discovered the Electoral College. Guess not.

    5. Charlie

      I made it to “It is my personal opinion that the electoral college should be eliminated.”

      Of course a loser would be for eliminating the very mechanism through which they lost.

    6. Procopius

      I agree with most of what you say, but after 30 years of repeated investigations, often duplicated and always repeated, no criminal charge with evidence sufficient to prosecute has been developed. She must have had incredibly competent legal advice, much better than Trump’s.

  5. paul

    RE: Brexit

    The diplomatic note, said to have been drafted following a meeting of EU ambassadors last Wednesday with Barnier’s deputy, Sabine Weyand, reports that the UK has not been “helpful” over the issue.

    The note says: “The biggest unsolved problem is Northern Ireland. There is a political mobilisation in the UK in this regard. Therefore, we are trying to clarify the EU position. The controls or checks only have to be organised in a way that would not endanger the EU single market.

    “For the main part, these controls would not have to happen at a border. It is to be expected that the reach of the backstop would decrease anyway in case of an agreement about the future relationship … The solution is specifically phrased for Northern Ireland so that it is not applicable for Scotland. A UK concern.”

    Westminster is clearly fearful of a more practical single market group containing the two areas that voted remain and a vastly simpler border to manage.

    More discussion here

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think Scottish Nationalists made a terrible mistake in not pushing the issue of Scotlands ‘Yes’ vote in the immediate aftermath of the vote. They seemed to have thought it was better to wait for circumstances to come around to their benefit. The consistent message should have been ‘Scotland voted to Remain. It will therefore Remain.’ Instead, the Tories have been allowed to pretend Scotland doesn’t exist.

      If (and I think this is unlikely), a formulation is developed to allow a deal on Northern Ireland (which, if the various leaks are accurate, is that NI will remain within the EU’s umbrella, but with all sorts of semantic assurances that this does not breach the UK’s sovereignty), then it leaves Scotland tied to a sinking ship with no real hope of cutting any links.

      1. makedoanmend

        But to be fair PK, and as you’ve pointed out before, Corbyn’s Labour party position has been most unhelpful to Scotland as well. If Corbyn had had the foresight to make agreements on a constituency basis in Scotland with the SNP during the last election, Labour could now be the ruling government. Instead, Labour’s intransigence has left Scotland open to an onslaught of Tory legislation to take powers back from the Scottish assembly and to ramp up British nationalism which has exacerbated sectarianism. Neither the Tories nor Labour has any vision for Scotland beyond maintaining or reverting back to a status quo of dominance combined with neglect.

      2. paul

        I do find the SNP frustratingly cautious, but then again they do keep getting elected, they are now the 2nd largest party by membership in the UK and they are managing well with the powers they have.

        All this in the teeth of a media that cannot find a single good thing about them and an unholy alliance of dependents (tories,libdems and labour,sometimes greens) who do not have a shred of purpose or policy beyond attacking them.

        So perhaps they are just playing their hand as they see it.

        The supreme court verdict over their brexit continuity bill will be interesting, if only to remind us that power devolved, as enoch powell said, is power retained.

    2. makedoanmend

      Scotland got oil – maybe past its peak production – but it’s still there.

      The North of Ireland is just: problems x more problems = heaps of problems.

  6. allan

    “Kansas woman told birth certificate wasn’t enough to prove citizenship for passport”

    There have been other stories like this lately, especially from near the southern border.
    I’m old enough to remember when issuing birth certificates was up to states and localities.
    Weirdly, the 10th Amendment fanatics have been silent on this.

    And: spotted in the wild this morning, a new(?) Third Way retread, Common Ground Solutions.
    With a name like that, you know it’s going to be bad. Their “About” page has almost no information
    about who they are or who’s funding them, but the “Get Involved” page says all that you need to know:


    Some of the smartest people in public life today live in the center. To get past the partisan rhetoric,
    read what they have to say:

    Bipartisan Policy Center
    Third Way
    No Labels

    1. el_tel

      Don’t have time to muck around with my VPN settings so I can read the original (banned in EU countries I’m told)….but my only surprise is that it took this long for the issue to become this big. The issues in, for instance, getting British CITIZENSHIP (as opposed to being merely a SUBJECT) have been serious since the 1980s. My mother, despite, as the Home Office stated, being obviously eligible (on common sense grounds) for citizenship, had to jump through an absurd number of hoops that only started with birth certificates, when upgrading from Subject to Citizen. To be fair, a lot of this was to do with the UK’s need to change its regulations to fall in line with the (then) EC in the early 80s and reduce Commonwealth privilege….but it led to the “Hong Kong debacle” way back in the mid 90s (when huge numbers of skilled British subjects ended up going to Canada because the UK wouldn’t take them).

      Whilst I can envisage a US state using a birth certificate to deny citizenship on some “technical” ground since the US is much more historically based on “geography confers citizenship”, when a country like the UK had no such rule (or at least, a much more mealy mouthed version conferring only “subject” status), there’s no surprise when the rules are used in such a manner….unfortunately.

    2. flora

      Kris Kobach – yes, that Kris Kobach* – is Kansas’ current AG and is running for gov… and is determined to stamp out what he calls voter fraud. I know people born and raised in KS who, when applying for the ‘real id’ drivers license in KS, have had their KS birth certs rejected for that at the DMV, even though birth certs are one of the federally approved forms of id for real id verification.


    3. Hana M

      This is happening everywhere. In Massachusetts I applied for a renewal of my drivers license asking for the ‘Real ID’ for that will soon be required for boarding airplanes or entering government buildings. There was a one letter error on my birth certificate (issued 60+ years ago). My request was denied despite multiple other supporting docs including a baptismal certificate, Social Security and Medicare cards, utility bills, pay stubs, etc, etc. I now have to go to probate court in another state to correct the original birth certificate. Apparently I can do this online but it’s a major, major hassle. Fortunately the guy at RMV was actually very nice about it (he’d had the same problem) and explained it all.

      And speaking of RMV in Massachusetts….when announcing this program they sent mailers out and posted a new web site showing the regular drivers license and the new, ‘improved’ Real ID. Small PR problem. They had a black guy in the photo on the regular drivers license and a white guy on the Real ID. Ooopsie.

      Just in case you are wondering, the 2007 Real ID Act was a bipartisan effort and it’s implementation took place under Janet Napolitano at DHS. Thanks, Obama.

      1. katiebird

        My name was mispelled on my Birth Certificate and not discovered till I applied for first driver’s license. It was kind of a pain for a while. But as part of my divorce, I asked that my first name be changed as well as my last. I had to insist, no one but me thought it was necessary to change just that one letter, but I insisted.

        And I am so glad I did! I keep that decree with my birth certificate and haven’t had any arguments since.

        1. JohnnySacks

          Never change your name in marriage, ever. If your spouse can’t handle it, get a new spouse, but by all means, avoid the unnecessary hassle of updating your lifetime documentation and travel papers. America Uber Alles!

    4. dcblogger

      The Kansas situation is a very bad omen. The gov’t could just refuse to acknowledge any document as legitimate and you would be stuck. It is a real Calvin ball situation.

    5. a different chris

      I literally have, in pristine condition, my original birth certificate packaged in the safe deposit box with one other document. I missed renewing my passport so I toddled off with it and my old passport in hand and said other document…

      It wasn’t good enough this time. It was missing my parent’s names, that was what the other “birth registration” or whatever it was document was. Besides the fact that it was a stamped official document issued due to my, you know, birth, I’m over 50 years old and who cares who my parents were?, maybe, but not anybody in Europe who just wanted my vacation money. And there was that other document, also notarized, that told you that anyway.

      Yet they wanted me to request a new document – hey, no forgery possibility there! – to “prove” that I was born many, many decades ago, Lordy.

      Finally they suddenly realized that I was in some grace period (3 months? 1yr?) and they didn’t need all that so I never bothered. But geez.

    6. Jean

      Well then, I guess she’s not qualified to vote, serve on a jury or pay income taxes.
      “No taxation without representation.”

    7. rd

      Once again, the federal government is treading on county/state rights. The Secretaries of State of the various states (many Republicans) pushed back on the Feds when Trump et al claimed that they weren’t doing their job and had rampant voter fraud.

      This is another opportunity for the counties and states to push back on the Federal government as the Federal government has nothing to do with issuing birth certificates. If the county or state are willing to stand behind the veracity of the document, then that should be sufficient for the Feds unless the Feds can prove outright fraud.

      I did like the reference to the Family bible. Now there is an inviolable, un-counterfeit-able reference as I assume God will smite anybody tampering with it.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    The letter stated, because her birth certificate was not issued at a institution or hospital, it was not considered proof enough of her citizenship.

    So according to what seems to be a new policy of our federal government, you might not really exist if you were born at home rather than a money-sucking hospital.

    Hank Williams foresaw this problem decades ago:

    A distant uncle passed away
    And left me quite a batch.
    I was livin’ high until the fatal day
    A lawyer proved I wasn’t borned,
    I was only hatched.

    I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive

    1. old flame

      I recently found out that the birth certificate that was issued by the hospital is considered a “souvenir”document(was the term they used) the one with the footprints-to get an official and legal document requires writing to the state of birth to get the “real”one. My state charges $20 but Indiana BMV doesn’t charge to upgrade the driver’s license for REAL ID.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    How Brexit deal will be struck Politico. “EU officials said that hashing out a withdrawal agreement will require reassuring language on the Northern Ireland border that will ensure Dublin feels its interested are protected, but at the same time leaves some crucial details to be sorted out during the 21-month post-Brexit transition period.”

    The article works hard to get across the idea that this is founded on interviews all across Europe, but it seems contradictory to other reports. I strongly suspect the ‘diplomats’ it talked to are overwhelmingly from London, and desparate to get across the message that May and Rab are in control and a deal will be done.

    That said, there certainly has been a lot of background work done, and the EU, as reported by RTE, has been working on wording issues to make the Irish Sea border backstop more politically palatable for May. However, she continues to harp on this issue in a way which is very damaging, which I suspect means that they either think they can force the EU to drop it, or they just don’t understand the process.

    There does seem to be an ongoing process where both sides think they can raise the heat up to the November date, when a choreographed series of concessions can push everything over the line. But I think the odds are that even if they can do that, May will not be able to get anything palatable to the EU past Parliament, or vice versa.

    My guess is that they’ll get close to a deal, but May will find it an easier option to stomp out at the last minute, declaring that the EU is trying to break up the UK and that she won’t sacrifice sovereignty, etc., etc.

  9. Livius Drusus

    Re: #MeToo movement and Brett Kavanaugh.

    I have to be honest, I am worried about the implications of these accusations. I fear that the political class will now weaponize #MeToo as a way to destroy opponents. Nobody really knows what happened decades ago between two people and it is hard to know the truth in those circumstances. It really does come down to “he said, she said” in those cases. While I think accusers must have their stories heard, the accused also deserve to be allowed to defend themselves. I am not a fan of Kavanaugh but he deserves to have an opportunity to defend himself against accusations.

    Also, do folks really think that if Bernie Sanders or some other strong progressive was ever close to the presidency there wouldn’t be a dirty tricks campaign to try to find or even fabricate an accusation of sexual misconduct? This is something I have thought about since the Al Franken debacle. If politicians can lie us into war they can develop lies about sexual misconduct.

    Perhaps the worst thing about this development is that it will make people more skeptical about accusations of sexual misconduct generally and it will hurt a lot of people who have legitimate claims of abuse. Once something becomes politicized it becomes hard to repair the damage and make it respected again. I can see that happening to the #MeToo movement.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I agree entirely. Its become entirely weaponised, used independently of the rights and wrongs of the specific case. This is why I think it is a terrible idea for the Dems to use this against Kavanaugh. Republicans will simply dig in, and will eventually find a way to use it against Dems, who will in turn use it against Progressives. And the real issues of abuse and sexism will be forgotten.

    2. Hana M

      I agree completely, Livius. Besides the fact that this alleged assault took place when Kavanaugh and the woman in question were in High School in the 1960s, the sleazy way Diane Feinstein handled it left such a bad taste in my mouth.

      This did happen to Bernie Sanders. Remember that soft port article he wrote decades ago that got dug up–no doubt by a Clinton/DNC operative? Who in their right mind would run for public office or accept a high government post in such an environment? Unless they’d lawyer’d up decades in advance!

      1. Harrold

        Kavanaugh graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School in 1983.

        And yes, Kavanaugh has hired an attorney, Beth Wilkinson ( of Oklahoma City bombing case fame).

    3. prx

      I am not a fan of Kavanaugh but he deserves to have an opportunity to defend himself against accusations.

      this is a pretty lame assessment of the facts.. K has unequivocally denied the allegations, which now have a name and corroborating documents and a lie detector test (for whatever that’s worth) behind them. He had his chance to defend himself and opted to go full-denial. His credibility is now challenged to the point where a lifetime appointment makes zero sense. Doesn’t seem reasonable to start making “slippery slope” arguments in that context.

          1. Wukchumni

            I wouldn’t count him in just yet, as i’m sure the donkey show has other dirt on him including that he’s an extraterrestrial, originally from 3 solar systems over.

            According to a source in Lantana, Florida.

            1. neo-realist

              If he gets a vote, Kanvanaugh will be confirmed by a straight line party vote, possibly w/ the addition of Heitkamp from ND. The dems, as constitutionally incapable as they possibly are, can only hope to deny a vote until after the mid-terms and count on the numbers to change.

      1. Bridget

        How do you figure that a denial should deprive someone of the opportunity to defend themselves? That makes no sense.

        My guess is that if Feinstein had determined that the accusations and/or the accuser would hold up under scrutiny, this matter would have been brought forth in the hearings in order to derail the nomination. That is was held until the eleventh hour, and released directly to the press as opposed to going through normal investigative channels tells me that there is no there there.

        Quaere: If the accused truly wanted this matter held in confidence and had no intention of going public until she was “outed” by Feinstein, why set up a preemptive “lie detector test”?

        This is all about putting pressure on wobbly Republican senators. I’ll be surprised if the accuser testified under oath.

    4. DJG

      Livius Drusus: We have reached a point where our two political parties, which are inseparable with regard to their misguided policies, can only remove various inconvenient people through sexual scandals. It shows what happens when you have two creaky parties in a fight to the death over the same narrow band on the political spectrum but with loads and loads of money involved.

      I’m not sure that we can invoke MeToo here, although within MeToo we are already seeing problems of power and power relations causing some difficulties. The leaks about Asia Argento and the young man came through Rose McGowan’s girlfriend. The whole Nimrod Reitman and Avital Ronell scandal at Columbia is mystifying although also educational.

      As always, and even with regard to these political scandals, I recommend reading the works of Colette. She remains indispensable, certainly in understanding these two recent MeToo dustups, even if she isn’t quite fashionable.

    5. fresno dan

      Livius Drusus
      September 17, 2018 at 8:03 am

      I agree.
      It really does come down to “he said, she said”
      To quibble, it comes down to a duo said, she said. Now to be sure, a pair or even larger group can be involved in sexual harassment (or in this case, attempted rape). What is the character of the second man? What do the others present say? There seems as of now to be some lack of details as to actual time, date, place, participants, etcetera that make independent collaboration difficult, if not impossible. Apparently there will be senate testimony by the accuser. I suspect every dem will believe and every repub will not.

      Perhaps the worst thing about this development is that it will make people more skeptical about accusations of sexual misconduct generally and it will hurt a lot of people who have legitimate claims of abuse.
      Another outcome may be an attitude of deny, deny, deny and never confess to anything. Also, invariably, a small percentage of women making charges will be caught in lies. It is the HUMAN condition that humans lie, regardless of sex. Even were men to lie more than women, that doesn’t mean that women never lie. Just as it is wrong to say that women always lie about sexual wrongs perpetuated on them.
      To digress, I think the public attitude that police don’t lie is a disaster for justice.

      I think we have to judge these things on the evidence. The evidence for denying confirmation doesn’t have to be as stringent as for conviction, but the evidence presented HAS to be examined, and SUBJECT TO DEBUNKING. That means there has to be more than just an accusation and the assertion that women don’t lie (at least about serious matters). Kanvanaugh should not be confirmed – there is enough there to know that his beliefs and policies are terrible. But unless the charge can have more substance, I don’t think it can or should be the standard for non confirmation.

      1. fresno dan

        Well, more information appears available. Supposedly, Kavanaugh denies even being at the party.
        NOW, I CAN’T remember what parties I was at 35 years ago, but maybe the man has a great memory….
        BUT, wasn’t there another boy accused of being involved in this??? And didn’t he say he AND Kavanaugh didn’t do anything??? Contradiction…..
        Maybe Kavanaugh didn’t do anything and feels he has to unequivocally deny. But I was sympathetic to Kavanaugh based on the tenuousness of proving decades long accusations. But now I am thinking the accuser has a point, and there may be enough evidence to show Kavanaugh, if not guilty of the attack, is less than honest in speaking about it.

    6. Odysseus

      Nobody really knows what happened decades ago between two people and it is hard to know the truth in those circumstances. It really does come down to “he said, she said” in those cases.

      Smerconish made the point this morning that with the ubiquity of cell phone video now, there may be an entire generation who will not be able to pass the process for government appointments. Because it’s no longer “he said, she said”, we’ve got video.

      1. a different chris

        One generation, and then video fakery will have be perfected to the level where the following generation is back to, or even farther back than, square one. Ah well.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Actually it is going to get a lot worse. I have read of the pickup scene in American colleges and a rampant bro culture. I could give examples but putting that aside. Can you imagine what allegations will go rippling down about twenty, thirty years from now as they all get themselves in established careers? Especially with a social media that never forgets anything that you or your friends ever posted?

    7. allan

      ‘Jail juvenile offenders until middle age’, Trump health secretary argued in 1991 memo [Guardian]

      From a week ago, but still even more germane.

      Donald Trump’s health secretary, who defended the administration’s child separation policy as “charity”, once argued in a private paper that repeat juvenile offenders cannot be rehabilitated and ought to be jailed until they reach middle age, according to a memo obtained by the Guardian. …

      Azar is closely linked personally and ideologically to Brett Kavanaugh, the Trump administration’s nominee to the supreme court. The two men were among the first young prosecutors hired by Kenneth Starr when he became independent counsel and investigated the Clinton administration. …

      The 1991 memo on criminal justice policy, which explores the legal rationale for mass incarceration, was written when Azar was a fresh graduate of Yale Law School, working as a summer associate for Richard Willard, a Reagan administration lawyer and attorney at Steptoe & Johnson.

      Willard is listed as a contributor to the rightwing Federalist Society, which helped choose Kavanaugh as a nominee, and is a leading conservative voice on legal matters. According to one person who has followed Azar’s career, the young graduate’s work for Willard was seen as a way to develop his conservative credentials. …

      Unmentioned in the story is that Azar started as a clerk for now #MeToo-disgraced Judge Alex Kozinski,
      left after just a few weeks under murky circumstances, and was then replaced by
      an indistinguishable Federalist Society clone Kavanaugh.

    8. Jeremy Grimm

      I too am worried about the implications of the #MeToo allegations and their apparent role in the Kavanaugh vetting process. Presented with a truly appalling appointee for one of the highest offices in the land how is it that alleged sexual misconduct seems to trump all other warts and poxes this appointee promises to bring to the Supreme Court … for his lifetime?

    9. Katniss Everdeen

      god, what a shit show.

      Apostle of a misogynistic and pederastic religious cult protected by the statute of limitations, and member of the political party of the fertilized egg uber alles, laid low by the repressed memory of an alcohol and hormone fueled “clumsy” encounter at a pool party 36 years ago with a female member of the California credentialed class.

      And the fate of the “supreme” branch of government of the greatest country ever invented in the history of the galaxy hangs in the balance.

      I’d say you couldn’t make this stuff up, but I’m loathe to invoke the obvious.

      The good Dr. Ford has apparently overcome her aversion to publicity and agreed to “testify,” and the president has apparently declared that she should be heard. I assume they are spreading eggshells on the dais and stocking extra toilet paper in the executive rest rooms as we speak.

    1. Off The Street

      Seed Vault Amusement Park, apply for tickets soon, then enjoy the exhibits and exit through the gift shop. Detox extra.

      Marketing plans are underway to distinguish from potential competition including pictures of guns to ward off those scary polar bears at that Svalbard, ugh, site, and of the bulky, unflattering parkas and mukluks needed for northern climes.

      1. Eureka Springs

        In changing climates how helpful is it to merely have seeds locked in a vault? A quite large and diverse network of growers maintaining species through changes seems to be an obvious missing link. Think of the job opportunities! And sign me up for something like that.

      2. Bugs Bunny

        They’ll do gene editing to make them all Roundup Ready® and burn the originals.

        Maybe I’m cynical but cynicism is an experienced point of view. And based on despair.

  10. JohnA

    Apropos the JK Rowling anti-semitism thread, JKR has a very ardent zionist as her literary agent which explains a great deal. she has been a loud voice against BDS when it comes to artists refusing to perform in Israel.

  11. PlutoniumKun

    1 big thing: The president of debt Axios

    Just goes to show that not all Trumps ideas are terrible.

    The Cohn plan proposed leveraging $200 billion of federal investment into a $1.5 trillion overall infrastructure package — with state and local governments and the private sector making up the difference.

    Trump was skeptical. Instead, he just wanted the federal government to borrow tons of money for infrastructure projects. He was especially obsessed with overhauling his hometown airport LaGuardia, which he calls “Third World.”
    •The President horrified some Republicans in an October 2017 meeting with members of Congress at the White House when he told the Democrats that he liked their plan of massive public investment in infrastructure, according to a source in the room.
    •”We’ve just gotta spend money on this,” Trump said, according to the source.
    •”He wants to govern like Robert Moses, but Republicans won’t let him,” the source added, referring to the titanic public official known as the “master builder” of mid-20th century New York City.

    In a separate conversation, Cohn tried to win Trump over with a real estate analogy, according to two sources familiar with their conversation. “Think about when you’re putting up a building, you put down $50 million of your own money to leverage several hundred million,” Cohn told Trump.

    The president scoffed. He told Cohn that when he was building, he’d never be so stupid as to put down his own money. He’d borrow the first installment from one bank and borrow the rest from another bank.

    As if we didn’t know, this shows clearly that the likes of Goldman Sachs are behind so many terrible ‘public private partnership’ infrastructure deals. Trump is right. Borrow the money (or better still, MMT it). PPP’s and their variants are just vehicles for enriching Wall Street. Trump gets it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What is the lesson here?

      That the president needs some guy credible on Wall Street to handle money?

      Can Trump be his own Treasury secretary?

      Would be as easy as, say, Stephanie Kelton’s Treasury just asking Congress to authorize borrowing trillions? Just some questions about details.

  12. Isotope_C14

    For Whom the Climate Bell Tolls – J.Bradford Delong. Priceless.

    “It would not be easy for them to pick up and relocate, let alone earn their livelihood doing something else.”

    Peak ignorant economist. I guarantee that a tweed jacket wearing *academic* will last about 4 days during the coming abrupt climate change scenario, while the guy who actually knows agriculture and how to grow/find food and is willing to eat insects and scavenge for food will have a far better livelihood.

    Does he know where his food comes from? It’s not the store. It’s from those dumb near-subsistence farmers.

    Sheesh. With guys like this running the show, what could go wrong?

    1. Wukchumni

      The most important thing, is that mentally he was able to conjure up a baseline as to climate change in his mind, in that yes, the emperor needs less clothes.

      1. Isotope_C14

        Our species really messed up.

        Exactly zero people like him should have any control over anyone besides themselves, and he may not actually to be qualified for that. Certainly he wouldn’t be alive if some dumb farmer who needs to prove his “worth” hadn’t been spoon feeding him rice and livestock his whole life. Bet he’s never even grown food for himself once.

        I was really impressed at one point that Joe Rogan had stated something about why don’t we have a “council of the wise” to run things. Of course with the economists in charge they would likely vomit ignorant folks like this up for “wisdom”.

        On another note, Rogan has had quite a few really excellent interviews lately. Tulsi Gabbard was excellent, and she was on Jimmy Dore as well. Hope she runs for president. She’s awesome.

        1. Wukchumni

          Imagine the nervous rex, those that fashion themselves economists in this passing age of rules that used to serve as boundary markers, must feel?

          If you haven’t paying attention to things, that would be most people living in big cities, economists included.

          We’re still keeping to our calendars which haven’t changed a whit, although everything else is very much in flux, so evident to those in touch with the natural world around them.

          Mother nature at this very moment is flushing out human made holding ponds full of stuff you don’t want to know about, in a repeat performance of Houston.

          The Romans salted Carthage in anger, we’re assaulting our land, via greed & growth at all costs, consequences now being served.

          1. Isotope_C14

            Indeed Wukchumni.

            At least there are a few people that know what is going on.

            Have you seen “The Collapse Chronicles” (G – rated) or the other show by the same guy “Humptydumptytribe” (R / Totally not PC) on the Ytub?

            He disagrees with Guy McPherson on the super-rapid extinction of our species, and holds a more conservative, from what I can figure, a date closer to 2050-2060.

            It’s almost like a show that is Howard Stern meets climate change *the not G rated one*, and he has a real funny one where he is driving behind a bus, well, I just can’t ruin how funny in that way it is.

            Our brilliant “Delong” class has no idea that you can’t eat money, and it has no value when there are no people left.

            Be well, and all of you, during our self imposed sixth mass extinction event.

            If any of you with a lot of $ want to start a commune in western Ontario let me know. I can produce food and medicine, if we can acquire a bit of the infrastructure in advance.

          2. newcatty

            Mother Nature is always in charge of the planet. No matter what humans, such as those kind who relish greed and service to their selves think and do in their worship of power and material wealth. Hog and chicken farms ‘ “lagoons”, coal ash “ponds”, runoff chemical fertilizers and pesticides being cleansed away…though to where? Into streams, rivers and the sea. The future is here and it is us. Also, the phrase Revenge of the Pigs and Chickens comes to mind.

    2. Mel

      There’s some English scifi from around 1929 — Dawn and Deluge by S. Fowler Wright. It involves Britain sinking beneath the waves, and a few people left behind to rebuild civilization on a few scraps of land. Not bad stories, but they make the explicit assumption that the better people: lawyers, gentlewomen and such, will be the natural leaders.
      Similar to James H. Kunstler’s World Made by Hand, and the character of the lawyer who made himself king.
      All of these stories are good enough, IMO, that you can examine the assumption from inside the story, and decide how credible it is for yourself.

      1. Isotope_C14

        I know too many lawyers from college (I was micro-bio) and know that they aren’t worth anything in a societal collapse situation.

        I’d argue that the vast majority of jobs out there leave one completely unprepared to deal with nature.

        I was lucky to spend time on farms, and am pretty good at catching fish, but realistically if I didn’t have fishing line and a fishing pole, I probably wouldn’t be that good at catching fish. It’s that glorious technological dilemma.

        How do we function starting from zero? I don’t know how to make fishing line…

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          That: “How do we function starting from zero? I don’t know how to make fishing line…” — is a much better question to dwell on than dirt farmers. It is a question that troubles me greatly. We have amassed a great wealth of knowledge much of which now resides in books that will yellow and decay in decades or centuries at best for some of the publications on better paper — and worse yet reside in computer files saved in a variety of formats all dependent on technology that seldom lasts more than a decade and cannot run at all without electric power. In the After Times we will certainly neither soon … nor perhaps ever regain the capability to build most of the technologies we so thoroughly rely upon today. If we don’t do something NOW to preserve our knowledge our children and children’s children may have little to hope for beyond mere survival and a “good-life” of subsistence farming, hunting, and gathering in a time of Mercurial merciless weather, and dying plants and animals … assuming they were so fortunate as to survive into the After Times.

          Learning some of the skills of the dumb near-subsistence farmers will indeed be a portion of the skills and know-how those who hope to survive into the After Times will need to master.

          1. Wukchumni

            It’s hard to fathom that for about 59,850 of the 60,000 years human beans have been hanging out on this planet, oil played a very scant role in their lives.

            Can we go back to the future?

          2. Isotope_C14


            So who is going to shut down the nuclear power plants when the sea levels rise when the electricity is gone. You know, all 450 of them, not counting research reactors.

            When there is no fuel to cool the reactor, do you think “after times” are even going to happen? 450 Fukushimas should poison the planet pretty well.

            This is a mass extinction event.

            We were the catalyst.

            Children’s children, don’t bet on it.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              “So who is going to shut down the nuclear power plants when the sea levels rise when the electricity is gone?”
              That is a question that worries me a great deal. I like to think my children might enjoy having a couple of children although our present numbers make that problematic without bringing in other concerns. I am growing to the opinion some of the old among — like me — might be wise to find out how to shut down a nuclear power plant. I would rather do that than die peacefully in my bed knowing these disasters in waiting tick away.

              Imagine the oceans rising so fast that they submerge all the nuclear power plants and keep them cool — if that were possible. What a horrible surprise for whoever or whatever survives in the After Times, when once again the oceans recede.

            2. Wukchumni

              I’ve got nephews & nieces and assorted friends with kids, but when you’re the end of the line as we are, it’s more fascinating than terrifying to be witness to wholesale changes in the way we live, coming as we’re departing.

          3. The Rev Kev

            I would suggest that the best skill to learn would be to learn how to brew beer. Societies may collapse, warrior bands may come and go but nobody wants to be the one to hurt the one guy who knows how to brew beer. :)

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      You latched on an odd little nit from this article to pick and chew on. That aside, rethink your assertion:
      “Does he know where his food comes from? It’s not the store. It’s from those dumb near-subsistence farmers.”
      Do you really believe the food on the author’s table comes from a dumb near-subsistence farmer or even a “family” farmer? I believe probably all or all but a vanishing fraction of the food on any of our plates comes from the efforts of our Agricultural Industrial Complex and their helots. Your “dumb near-subsistence farmer” may have the right skills to survive … as long as that dumb near-subsistence farmer has a small holding of fertile or semi-fertile land and a bag of seeds. That’s a big ‘if’ even in the best of times let alone times of forced mass migrations as the seas climb the shore.

      Without some other skills than some of the right skills to survive after the collapse of society — what needed skills will a poor dirt farmer without land or seeds bring to India from Bangladesh? Besides that what makes you think we have “guys like this running the show”?

      1. Isotope_C14

        Does it matter if the “near subsistence farmer” is a mexican tomato picker in California forced to accept wage-slavery, or a guy growing rice on sharecropped land in Vietnam?

        Do you know that there are sharecroppers in Iowa growing beans on land they don’t own? Did you know that the tariffs are going to essentially bankrupt them this season?

        Who picks those Bananas? Or Avacados? Not every crop can be machine harvested.

        While it’s nice to think that the majority of food is the Portlandia delusion of some hippie biodynamic organic woo-farm, most of the food still comes from farmer-slaves. Whether you like to claim that it is all agribusiness, the corn, beans, and wheat are that way, but many other products are essentially still picked or cultivated by near-slave-labor.

        Next time you open a bottle of high-end wine, remember it was likely sorted by a pile of stupid, worthless, dumb, mexican migrants who work extensively in the west coast wine industry, so the label can say “we aren’t two-buck-chuck” and were “hand sorted”. The guy who tells you that he sorted the grapes himself and “made” the wine is a liar. Same with crushing the grapes with their feet. Doesn’t happen. Look up “custom crush”.

        “Besides that what makes you think we have “guys like this running the show”?”

        Are ignorant economists not running the show? I’d like some evidence of that, after all, they run the currency and are very afraid of inflation. MMT says they can print whatever money they want to solve all kinds of problems, and they don’t.

        The paralytic response to climate change and the utter contempt for the biosphere proves that they are utterly useless, unless their goal is to make this planet uninhabitable for the human species.

        Still think They Live might have been a future-documentary, and was a great movie.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          There are sharecroppers in my area raising corn and soybeans on local land — though not quite the kind of sharecroppers I think you have in mind. There are many of the migrant workers you refer to working the fields around me and picking the tomatoes, melons, and a few vegetables. I did make reference to “helots” in describing Agribusiness — so yes I am aware that America has places for more wage slaves to fill the most menial jobs at low pay — which is all too often cheated from them because they aren’t citizens [an interesting observation in light of the problems many people are having proving their citizenship thanks to DHS]. I believe the food base for America is very much a product of the Agriculture Industrial Complex — corn, wheat, potatoes, rice, pork, cattle, poultry and I believe soybeans and other beans can also be included.

          A farmer needs land and seeds — skills and knowledge alone are insufficient. Does India lack for poor farmers or helots to serve as wage slaves filling the most menial jobs? Where will Bangladeshi’s go? How many more Agribusiness helots can America absorb? Suppose masses of migrant helots come to America with STEM degrees — who will welcome them other than their new masters? When the seas rise and the deserts parch we — including the Corporate we — will have to share and also reduce consumption — which means accepting a lower standard of living — or there will be conflicts.

          “Are ignorant economists not running the show?” That’s a clear ‘~yes’ and ‘~no’. Economists are not exactly “running the show” although they are very good at justifying whatever those who do rule America do and want to do. The author of this article is definitely not among those same apologetic economists. You damn this poor author by label. I think this author is on the “side-of-the-angels” although the conclusion to the article is more than a little optimistic: “Our planet provides more than enough for all of us; the problem is that its resources are not equally distributed.” … Share “… what we already have more fairly, rather than plundering the Earth for more.” Which he suggests might lead to “better public services” — “basic income” — “shorter working week” — “scale down production” — “full employment” — “… not only surviving the 21st century but also flourishing in it.” This is hardly the vision of a Neoliberal economist who believes in the Market. To the Neoliberal economist there is no climate change — just a place where there needs to be a more “efficient” Market.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Evidence-based medicine group in turmoil after expulsion of co-founder Science

    In a phone interview with Science, Gøtzsche speculated that some foundations funding the collaboration had pressured it to get rid of him because of his highly critical views about pharma. He says he had become increasingly unhappy with what he describes as a “more commercial and more industry-friendly direction” in the organization. Gøtzsche had also launched a broadside against a favorable Cochrane analysis of vaccines against human papilloma virus (HPV), charging it may have overlooked side effects—a position embraced by anti-vaccine groups.

    Its disturbing – but not altogether surprising I think that BigPharm has been slowly extending its embrace even to sceptical independent organisations like Cochrane. One of their weapons of choice seems to be to try to tie sceptical voices to discredited fringes, such as anti-vaxxers. Once you are labeled a crank, its very hard to win back your credibility.

    1. el_tel

      I may be naive but never understood why the inverse funnel test is not more used to show dodgy practices. For those unfamiliar with it: imagine the y-axis showing number of subjects in a trial. X-axis shows trial average treatment effect. For ANY treatment, if you plot the average treatment effect (x-coordinate) against trial size (y–coordinate) you will see an “inverse funnel”: all the small trials will be spread across the x direction (since smaller trials are unbiased but inaccurate in showing the true treatment effect). As you move up the y-axis you see larger trials – they “should” become less spread out….ultimately the “really big” trial should show the true treatment effect…..hence the inverse funnel.

      Egger and others (with whom I worked at Bristol in the nouties) plotted the graphs for lots of drugs….curiously the “left hand side” of the funnel was missing…..all the smaller trials we’d EXPECT to see a negative/zero treatment effect (purely due to chance and small numbers) were NOT THERE. They’d never been published. It immediately showed, very easily and graphically, publication bias. If the left half is missing, then a bunch of small trials with no effect have not been published, and a meta-analysis will show a biased (upwards) average treatment effect. Do it for any drug….no “left hand side” and you know the drug is dodgy.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its not my area (to put it mildly), but I’d always assumed that one of the first tasks in a meta analysis would be to run all the trials through this type of statistical test to identify anomolies and false patterns – publication bias is of course a well known form of bias, among others. I do think that one consistent problem in meta data is that often there are built-in assumptions about the baselines which are ignored by modellers – there is an assumption that if you look at enough studies, the median or average will be true, but this is not the case if many studies are consistently biased in one direction.

        1. el_tel

          I’d always assumed that one of the first tasks in a meta analysis would be to run all the trials through this type of statistical test to identify anomolies

          Unfortunately no. Egger, Ebrahim et al are brilliant but not “friends of the establishment”. Unfortunately since they don’t have analogous tools for the “real world polypharmic patient” then meta-analyses can be done in all sorts of ways. There are all sorts of ways to discredit people/patient groups by association so that the “right” groups of patients are evaluated, analysed and published. For instance, evidence based medicine (an approach I would generally applaud) is frankly a waste of time in mental health. You can prove what you want. And companies do.

          And the “levels of confidence” in meta-analyses of mental health studies? The modern day equivalent of a purely subjective statement becoming statistical “fact” like “it’s OK if p is less than 0.05”.

  14. Carolyn Clark

    J K Rowling says she opposes prejudice toward Jews but she has a history of associating herself publicly with virulently racist organizations which support illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and promote hatred of Muslims. She cannot legitimately decry one variety of bigotry while embracing another. Either racism is always abhorrent or it is not.
    It is not that she has publicly criticized the BDS movement. That in and of itself doesn’t make her Islamaphobic. It is the persons and organizations she has aligned herself with in doing so. You can read about her association with extremist Islamaphobes at this link:

    1. paul

      The tiresome scribbler is not at her mediocre best in politics.

      Before the last referendum in scotland she produced this gem (along with a million quid to the already well funded unionists):

      “I’ve heard it said that ‘we’ve got to leave, because they’ll punish us if we don’t’, but my guess is that if we vote to stay, we will be in the heady position of the spouse who looked like walking out, but decided to give things one last go. All the major political parties are currently wooing us with offers of extra powers, keen to keep Scotland happy so that it does not hold an independence referendum every ten years and cause uncertainty and turmoil all over again. I doubt whether we will ever have been more popular, or in a better position to dictate terms, than if we vote to stay

      It shows perfectly her poor understanding of both abusive relationships and colonialism.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Lest the rest of us forget the genesis of the Israel-ites as described in the Pentateuch and the rest of the Old Testament, we have this from Netanyahoo:


      And of course all those actions of the IDF are pre-emptive, just “mowing the lawn” and all that to keep the weeds and mud people called Palestinians under control,, and posing the biggest espionage threat to the US, as noted by many of our state security types,… Pre-empting criticism of the actions of the Israel-ites of today, based in that reality-based basis that the cretins attacking Corbyn as an antisemite are lolling in…

  15. MayM

    Re: Kansas woman denied passport

    While this policy is maddening, it pre-dates Trump. We had a home birth in 2011 in Massachusetts and were warned by our midwives that it might make it more difficult to for our child to get a passport. They encouraged us to keep other kinds of records as additional proof.

    The policy stems from concerns that midwives in the 1990s were falsifying Texas birth certificates for babies born in Mexico. I’m not sure whether there was actual proof that midwives were doing this, but people in the home birth community have been reporting difficulties accessing passports for some time.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Multiple Citizenship, Wikipedia:

      Canada and the United States allow dual citizenship and are worldwide the only two developed economies to grant unconditional birthright citizenship.

      Not, say, Denmark, Japan, or other countries. Proving one was born here is a bigger issue than there.

      1. Wukchumni

        My mom is a lapsed Canadian who converted to consumerism in the late 50’s, in the midst of a 5 year period where those renouncing citizenship weren’t allowed to have their progeny become dual citizens in the future, and here I am looking forlorn up over @ the muskeg curtain with many dozens of relatives residing there, but no dice on anything but a visit.

        1. barrisj

          Have you checked on recent acts by the Canadian govt. on the ability of Canadian-born or children of Canadian-born persons to “recover” Canadian citizenship? I, as Canadian-born, naturalized US citizen, and our daughter, born in US, have both begun the process of obtaining Canadian citizenship. Fill out several sheets of paper, obtain an official copy of birth certificate from relevant provincial authority, pay several hundred dollars for “application processing”, and wait. Seems to be a straightforward procedure, with a minimum of legal documentation required.

              1. Wukchumni

                Wow, they’ve changed the rules and i’m now eligible…

                I’ll start the ‘prow-cess’ and see if a Californian Yankee in King Arthur’s Court can’t have it both ways~


  16. JTMcPhee

    A little additional example of where “locals” in Hawaii, like the people in Oregon, were able to stop at least one tentacle of the chemical demon, by organizing and marshalling facts and reminding us all that there’s a reason for the precautionary principle;

    Governor Ige signs SB3095 into law, banning all use of chlorpyrifos.

  17. pjay

    Re ‘Witch Hunters’:

    First James Risen, now Tim Weiner. Both are Pulitzer Prize-winning NYT reporters who specialized in writing about the intelligence community. Both have written excellent works in the past that exposed nefarious and/or unknown elements of said community. So what to make of their recent contributions to the blob narrative? Good educated liberals (of which I was one) are conditioned in their upbringing to believe people like Weiner and publications like the NYRB. But Weiner’s ‘Witch Hunters’ (the title is supposed to be ironic) is laughable – or it would be if current conditions were not so scary. The article is typical of the genre today; “facts” skillfully woven with judgments (Flynn’s conversations were not devastating”) and crucial omissions of context and information. Brief summary of Weiner’s history lesson: yes, the intelligence community has done some bad things, but darn, they were only following orders from bad Presidents. Should we now condemn them for trying to get rid of a bad President? Gee whiz guys.

    I ask again – what are we to make of this crap by such distinguished authors? I’d really like to know.

    1. pretzelattack

      i think risen has always been part of project mockingbird, or some iteration of it; maybe there are factions and he belongs to one, but now everybody is on board with smearing russia.

    2. JCC

      I had the same thoughts when reading The ‘Witch Hunters’. Apparently lying under oath when discussing illegal surveillance cannot be held against any head of a 3 letter agency because a President ordered it… or maybe these men should be praised because they were only following orders, because, at heart, they are honorable people.

      The only thing Weiner hints at is that there is no “Deep State” but that it’s top-down normalcy. As long as these 3 letter agency guys get what they want from a President (through blackmail), all is well, and when they don’t get what they want from a President, it’s the President’s fault.

    3. Lorenzo

      the class consciousness bug bit them? Trump is everything they don’t like (but have hard time admitting) about the working class plus everything they don’t like about the rich

    4. Andrew Watts

      These people are privileged members of an insular class that treat their values and beliefs as representative of American society. It’s why somebody like Weiner expresses disgust at the fact that a majority of Americans don’t trust the official line for *insert controversial event*. He doesn’t seem to understand that most people won’t believe Comey about his private meeting with Trump in the absence of hard evidence. I will personally believe the disinformation in the Steele dossier when Russia finally releases the peepee tape. ‘Til then I’ll consider it a fabrication of British intelligence that they, and their willing handmaidens in the US intelligence community, deliberately spread to cripple the Trump presidency.

      John K. Galbraith attempted to warn these people in The Culture of Contentment when he made the point that the impoverishment of the American people, the creation of a permanent underclass, a few failed wars, and/or an economic crash would shatter the complacency of the American people and breed the discontent that would overthrow their privileged existence. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the opportunity to attempt to return to the New Deal era of governmental policy that Galbraith envisioned.

      It’s also probably too late to consider fleeing the country.

    5. Olga

      I am more cynical – probably threats. “You do this one more time…. and…!”
      Like what happened to the Guardian…
      It would be really instructive to research how the blob killed (perhaps not physically) all progressives in the 1940s/50s.
      Nothing’s changed

    1. Todde

      Iphones have the largest profit margin in the industry.

      If i recall, they sell 17% of the phone and have over 80% of the industry profit margin.

      They can afford the tariff and/or higher labor costs without a price increase.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Never been an Apple fan. But if they started manufacturing their iGadgets here in the US of A, I’d consider buying them.

        Yeesh, with the prices they charge, I think they can afford to manufacture here. And don’t get me started on all the cash they’re sitting on or parking overseas.

    2. bruce wilder

      If we do not have the manufacturing capacity, we also will not be able to design the next generation of either product or process.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Russia is mocking us. First the Salisbury attack, then information warfare. Time to wake up”

    Maybe the Guardian has a point. Remember when that Israeli team murdered that Hamas guy in Dubai back in 2010? There were at least 26 members in that hit team. And the Russians just sent 2 guys? Seriously? And the Israelis were using false passports from countries like the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Australia. These two Russian bozos used their own identity documents and flew direct from Moscow instead of rendezvousing from different destinations.
    The Israelis were in and out like Flynn while the Russians dawdled about, went to a hotel, smoked some dope and hired a hooker for some kinky rumpy-pumpy. Real subtle that and no possibility of witness statements. Yeah, these operatives were totally mocking the British establishment.
    Meanwhile the British establishment itself is reduced to shouting: “I don’t know how you’s done it but I KNOW YOU’S DONE IT!”

    1. Ignacio

      When I read this piece I just interpreted that The Guardian is worried that few britons worry about the incident and they feel the necessity to wake them up. Come on! RussiaRussiaRussia! WarWarWar! But, you know, sometimes I feel unsafe of what I undestand when I read english.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Join the club – even native speakers often doubt that they understood what they read. In English. Because could that really be what they meant?

    2. Unna

      Link from Col. Lang’s blog

      With this comment from one “Aleksandar” on the two”GRU” agents Also, chek out the comment following this one of Smoothie X12. Funny if you are familiar with the Soviet Spy Drama 17 Moments of Spring:

      aleksandar FB • 3 days ago

      Sorry but no, they are not GRU agents.
      – GRU will never send two agents in the same plane
      – GRU will never send two agents the same day
      – GRU will never use a direct fly Moscou-London
      – GRU will not housed two agent to the same hotel
      – Gru will not allow them to use public transportation system
      – Gru will not take these two asset back in Russia using the same plane.
      And so on, and so on
      This story is a farce:
      When you send agents for such a mission :
      First you send a recco team to prepare it, set up a plan with the most DISCREET and FAST “in” and “out”.
      Then you send someoneto rent a car with a false identity
      When agent are “in” they get back the car with directive inside, without meeting anybody.No contact in a foreing country !
      And it is a ” one shot ” mission, if it failed , stop it and set up a new one with other agents
      Most of people in the west think that russians are stupids, they are not
      An t they know how to play the ” game “.
      ( I hope TTG will agree :) )

      This all is a bit out of my line, but seems like food for thought.

    1. Keith Howard

      I love to visit observatories, and Sunspot is a great one. Like a lot of observatories, it’s not on the way to anywhere. The road in is also memorable. Because the subject of attention is the Sun, the work goes on during the day. In the same general part of the world is a the Ross Andersen Star Axis. That one is still on my list.

  19. a different chris

    This is the problem with the Left in general:

    find a handful of genuine incidents involving a tiny proportion of Labour’s membership and present them as being representative of the entire party

    The text goes on to say how even that isn’t even being used — but I want to make the point that this is still a good technique! Anybody who has watched our Rethuglicans would get it, I don’t know why Labour doesn’t: Accuse your opponents of exactly the same thing in the same way.

    You can probably find a Tory party member who is only interested in sex with underaged animals, so this shouldn’t be so hard. Instead they immediately go on the defensive, which as everybody knows just makes you look guilty. Go on the offensive on something, for the first time in decades for chrissake. “I know you are but what am I” is childish and childishness is exactly what is called for in the current climate, until everybody sobers up again.

  20. Carolinian


    Over the years, Woodward had cultivated a particularly intimate relationship with Dick Cheney, who the reporter, perhaps alone in the world, came to view as something akin to the new von Clausewitz. On several occasions, Woodward went out of his way to use his position at the Washington Post to attack critics of the Bush administration, even when those critics were his own colleagues at the paper.

    More here

    1. JTMcPhee

      But… but… Bernstein and WOODWARD did the whole Watergate Scandal thing! They saved our Democracy! How can we presume to doubt the man and his words?

      1. pretzelattack

        there is a book that argues that nixon’s impeachment was orchestrated by the intel community, don’t remember the title.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I wonder what it would be like if people could meet their younger selves? Kerry, the war-monger, would be confronted with his younger self who spoke out against the war in ‘Nam. And what would the establishment-figure Woodward say to his younger self from his 1972 Watergate days. I am willing to bet that there would be lots of bitter recriminations.

  21. Wukchumni

    What does this new country look like after we’ve given up on the war gambit?

    Tackling allowed only using feet in NFL flag football

    Mandatory seventh-inning stretch singing of Kumbaya

    1. Wukchumni


      When one of your players pulling down 5 million a year for running around a rectangle, decides to quit @ halftime, forfeiting 2/3rds of it…

      That’s a sign that the team is not very good, and long suffering Bills fans wouldn’t have it any other way and so far-so bad.

        1. Wukchumni

          My aching knee would be hard pressed to put in a mile, and I look forward to panem et circuits, as it comes at a time when i’m about done hiking for the summer, and want to relax and not think too hard, and luckily the NFL can turn about 10 minutes of actual play into 3 hours, so there’s lots of time to rest up for the next couple of contests.

      1. Wukchumni

        When watching a few games on the telly yesterday, you couldn’t help but notice how little the cameras panned in on the audience, as there were a lot of empty seats in the contests I watched.

          1. Wukchumni

            You’re talking about a ‘state’ religion in GB, but in the real world, it’s more akin to this:

            The announced attendance of 57,013 was the lowest for a Redskins home opener in the 21-year history of FedEx Field — down more than 21,000 from the 78,658 who attended the Redskins’ 2017 home opener against the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles.


            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              The Team from Washington has fallen on hard times. I find this to be particularly fascinating. DC has a population influx, but one would think there would be enough casual interest to fill the stadium.

              A once every four year AFC opponent should generate some excitement, just for novelty purposes. The locals were always crazy for their team. I think about the house poor, and they certainly exist given what they are paying for places up there.

              For the games I’ve been to I didn’t drive and twice on Monday nights where I parked in a commuter lot at Dulles. I don’t know what the average Sunday crowd was like or the process for getting there. I did go to a Friday or Thursday (it was a weird night) college game between VPISU (they hate that) and USC, and that was a mess near the stadium.

              This is a 20,000 drop off which I find astonishing. The hurricane panic passed in Virginia by Tuesday.

              1. Wukchumni

                Its early in the season, and i’m just not into it and being a Bills fan often means you can give up hope and just ride it through 10 games before losing interest, but the fade could come calling quicker, as they are multi dysfunctional in every dimension of the game.

                I think perhaps NFL teams are asking a lot of money for the experience of being there, it was $600 for 4 ok seats where we had a better view of the cheerleaders than the game, in SD in 2011, the last one i’ve attended.

        1. Edward E

          It wouldn’t surprise me to see them paint or install multi-coloring seating to give the illusion’s of full attendance, much like NASCAR tracks have.
          We were supposed to get three inches of rain from a tropical storm a couple of weeks ago, three drops is more like it. It’s so dry in the Ozarks some of the trees have begun following dogs around. The sun must have gotten to Bubba Clinton too, last visits to his library he’s dating again.

            1. Edward E

              Yeah, hell and back is often a local call or a short hike. But, proudly, no meth labs in Newton… Meth labs by county: and land is so cheap you need to watch the Real Estate agent or they’ll slip an extra forty acres on you to have keep up.

              1. Wukchumni

                There’s a few meth-odd actors around these parts, but we’re pretty clean compared to tweakerdelphia, er Porterville.

                It was not that many years ago that counties across the nation, including Tulare County, were claiming to be the “meth capital of the world.”

                That was when the federal government was willing to pour billions of dollars into the drug war. Today, those claims are not made, but methamphetamine is still widely used and crippling many citizens throughout the nation, including Porterville.


  22. allan

    I love the smell of oppo research in the morning. It smells like … like … 2020.
    The knives come out for Warren:

    Len Burman @lenburman

    Lee Shepherd of Tax Notes sifts through Elizabeth Warren’s tax returns. (1) She is very rich. (2) For someone who thinks the rich should be asked to do much more for the most vulnerable, she gives very little to charity. [links to a paywalled article at Tax Notes] …

    Actually, as a number of commenters on the thread point out, Warren donated on average
    more than the national average for her income.

    How long before there’s a longform expose’ of her granite countertops?

    1. JTMcPhee

      “Politics ain’t beanbag,” and I for one won’t lament if Warren and a lot of other potential Mnuchurian Candidates get knocked off their self-erecting pedestals. Bearing in mind that we idiot humans are busily demolishing the capacity of this planet to even feed and shelter this miserable species, that can’t perceive the need to change its modus vivendi in massive ways (including killing off the predatory and parasitic and pathogenic creatures that have “risen to the top” by figuring out games like “Oppo” and how to make a really stunning Bernays Sauce…

    2. Yves Smith

      Sheppard is one of the top tax experts in the world. She does not like writing about personal tax returns but those articles are very popular with readers and as the top writer at her pub, she has to do them.

      The tweeter ignored the much bigger point in Sheppard’s post: that Warren earned a ton of consulting fees as a Senator, which looks really odd. Serious six figures.

  23. Odysseus

    Why Growth Can’t Be Green Foreign Policy

    But the promise of green growth turns out to have been based more on wishful thinking than on evidence. In the years since the Rio conference, three major empirical studies have arrived at the same rather troubling conclusion: Even under the best conditions, absolute decoupling of GDP from resource use is not possible on a global scale.

    This article is garbage.

    Nobody is suggesting that GDP is independent of resource use. So why answer a question that doesn’t have any basis in reality?

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We can stop making products which destroy the planet. That doesn’t require that GDP fall outright. The changes to GDP as a consequence need an honest discussion.

    Claiming that we can’t solve the entire problem therefore we shouldn’t bother even trying to solve any of it is disingenuous.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Because GDP is such a good measure of the health of the human political economy and its relationship to the rest of planet on which we feed and prey?

      But of course the net effect of humans on the planet is the result of trillions, quadrillions even, of little and larger human “choices” and “decisions” and of course “actions,” and each one of those leads to a vector sum that might be pointed, somehow, maybe by a mass die-off or something, in a direction other than The Unmaking of A Habitable Planet…–-post-development/

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I disagree with your understanding of the content of this article. I believe many people believe we can carry on as we are but we just need to go “Green”, which encapsulated as a slogan-bite spits out as “Green Growth”. That slogan-bite does no imply a decoupling between GDP and resource use, and often leads into further arguments for your “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. I am further confounded by your assertion that the article claims “we can’t solve the entire problem therefore we shouldn’t bother even trying to solve any of it”. Try re-reading the last two paragraphs.

      I believe the article made a very different claim — in essence — going “Green” in whole or in part is not a solution to the problems of Climate Disruption. The article claims that carbon taxes will not work, even if the taxes rates are set at levels currently unimaginable. I’ve several times watched Phillip Mirowski make that claim in his keynote lecture at the Life and Debt conference. In that lecture he presents a nice slide showing just how well carbon taxes worked in Europe.

      The tail of this article seems to argue we need to give up on the idea of GDP growth — whether “Green” or not as a way to keep on keeping on. A key sentence in the conclusion:
      “Our planet provides more than enough for all of us; the problem is that its resources are not equally distributed.” … Share “… what we already have more fairly, rather than plundering the Earth for more.” Which he suggests might lead to “better public services” — “basic income” — “shorter working week” — “scale down production” — “full employment” — “… not only surviving the 21st century but also flourishing in it.”

      I have a different objection to this article and its conclusions. “Green Growth”, “Green Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, and the author’s Utopian suggestions in the conclusion can at best mitigate some of the impacts of Climate Disruption. Whether we race to hell in a Hummer or ride to hell in a horse-drawn haycart we are in for a rough ride. In light of your comment and others here I can understand the author’s reluctance to go much beyond some Utopian notions of sharing. And sharing is not the solution to Climate Disruption the author suggests it could be, but it will be absolutely necessary to avoid some of the worst possible social consequences of Climate Disruption anticipated in many military assessments of the future situation in a near future accelerating into our present.

      1. Lorenzo

        spot on on that last paragraph. I didn’t expect any different, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth when he baited-and-switched one hazy Utopian view for another. A massive humbling is in order before we can move away from the Utopian denialism/Doomer cynicism dichotomy that comprises the larger share of the already very reduced group that is trying to think about this with any depth. I recommend John Michael Greer’s blog ecosophia for a taste of the alternative to the fake dualism I just mentioned.

    1. Wukchumni


      This gets me d/q’d from being a justice…

      We used to employ ‘the dead pizza’ and this is how it worked, you’d call the local pizza joint and order a pie for pickup that nobody would ever order, such as pepperoni, Canadian bacon and mushrooms, wait about an hour and show up and ask if they have any ‘dead pizzas’ they’d sell for 1/2 price, and just by chance the one you ordered was in a cardboard box on top of the oven~

      It never failed…

      1. fresno dan

        September 17, 2018 at 12:25 pm

        What a great idea. I wonder if I could use it at an upscale wine bar, and order a 2006 Moet Chandon Dom Perignon and have them open it cause I am going to be right there, and than come by an hour later and ask if they have any “dead” champagne they would be willing to sell for 1/10 price….

      2. pretzelattack

        one guy was stuck for some reason downtown in a town in south dakota, no way to get back to his college dorm because he didn’t have enough money for a taxi, so he ordered a pizza delivered to his room and caught a ride with the driver. early uber.

  24. Oregoncharles

    More on trade:; title: “Dow Moves Lower as Trade Tensions Escalate”.

    Just a thought: is Trump a short seller? Or maybe someone he listens to?

    I’m all for ending globalization and protecting domestic industry, among other things. Unfortunately, the rough-shod, erratic way it’s being done is counter-productive (again, parallels with Brexit – same underlying issue). Unless you WANT stock prices driven down.

    1. Edward E

      Don’t know how they could possibly want stock prices driven down ahead of the midterm elections, that’s what he hangs his hat on. Kinda puts a target on Apple, telegraphing what to go after. So an armistice could still happen.

  25. In the Land of Farmers

    I cannot tell you how frustrating it is, but predictable, that Dr. Gøtzsche was expelled from Cochrane. He is one reason I have much better health today than 6 years ago.

  26. Oregoncharles

    “How a Ragtag Group of Oregon Locals Took On the Biggest Chemical Companies in World — and Won”. This story is very local to me, as those counties adjoin mine. Furthermore, my county, Benton, attempted an initiative based on similar logic, but banning production of GMO crops. It failed, unfortunately, because it was a direct threat to the business model over at OSU.

    The Intercept article focuses on pesticides and spraying, but there’s a much larger movement involved.
    The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund:, is the driving force behind a lot of it. They’re promoting a campaign for local rights, which often conflicts with state and federal laws. Some of these initiatives are essential civic civil disobedience, setting up a direct conflict between local government and larger ones. That is a sharp departure from traditional liberal approaches, which usually depend on federal intervention, but very much in keeping with Green Party values. And in fact, Linzey, the head of that group, is a Green – I asked him when he spoke here in Benton County.

    In any case, CELDF is worth looking up.

  27. Bomb them humanely

    The Intellectuals yet Idiots strike again.

    Funny that the writers in Der Spiegel don’t mention that the best and only humane way to deal with the migration crisis would be for NATO and US to stop bombing these countries and to stop supporting jihadists with money and weapons.

    Of the articles I have seen about migration crisis etc none of them has actually proposed a solution to the problem.

  28. Tomonthebeach

    Kansas woman told birth certificate wasn’t enough…

    With a “birther” president, you expected something different?

  29. Plenue

    >The ‘Witch Hunters’ NYRB

    Article is trash (but look at that rollcall of political weasels and congressional purjerurs selling their books at the start), but I got a smile out of this line:

    Standing next to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, he was asked if he believed the unanimous conclusion of his intelligence services that Russia tried to sway the 2016 election. Trump sided with the smirking autocrat:

    Autocrat? Putin is elected. He has something like an 80% approval rating. His political opposition consists of the communist party, which consistently gets about 15% of the vote, and western aligned liberals that are so discredited they get about 5%.

    The notion that Putin genuinely has majority popular support is apparently utterly alien to out media.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      That 80% approval rating is dismissed as being the direct result of his autocratic suppression of any real opposition, c.f. those Western-aligned liberals, the same way his steady improvement of the Russian economy is either ignored or framed as only really serving him and his oligarch friends.

      I’ve been entertained by the way any stories in the US media about the protests against Putin’s changes to the pension program very carefully ignore the fact that what he did was raise the age of retirement for men from 60 to 65, probably out of fear that will remind too many people the two-faced Republicrats want to raise it to 70 in the US.

    2. TheScream

      I suppose that all those African leaders elected with 100% or even more of the vote are democratically elected. The Soviet leaders, also typically elected with 100% of the vote were also democratically elected. Have you spoken to many Russians about Putin and the Russian “democratic” system? I have.

      1. Plenue

        That’s nice. Did they mention the millions of premature deaths under Yeltsin and his cronies that completely destroyed public faith in liberalism?

  30. TheScream

    FP article needs some Clozapine. On one hand, we are doomed and there is not enough stuff. On the other hand (apparently the editor is getting payments from Big Oil or something) “there is plenty of resources to go around”. I suppose they mean if we all walk and eat 100 kilocal a day.

  31. ewmayer

    o “How to Humanely Solve Europe’s Migration Crisis | Der Spiegel” — Stop supporting the US imperial global hegemony project which has created so many millions of economic and war refugees? Nah, that can’t be it … the article is in essence the refugee-crisis equivalent of the establishment’s “let them eat retraining” BS here with respect to the victims of the neoliberal jobs-offshoring project. It’s all about making nice noises about symptoms while studiously ignoring the obvious root causes.

    o “Russia is mocking us. First the Salisbury attack, then information warfare. Time to wake up | Guardian” — This savage mockery-of-those-who-thoroughly-deserve-it must not go unpunished! It requires a nuclear response!

    o “With “Fear” and Trump, Bob Woodward Has a Bookend to the Nixon Story George Packer, The New Yorker. [Lambert:] Having rehabilitated George W. Bush, liberal Democrats are now moving to rehabilitate Richard Nixon. That makes sense, but what bugs me about Packer’s piece: Putting Woodward’s Fear on the same shelf with Robert Graves’ I, Claudius. Really?” — Well, let’s just say that putting Fear next to Woodward’s fawning Greenspan bio Maestro might not achieve the hagiographical effect Mr. Packer is going for here.

    o “American Democracy Is in Crisis Hillary Clinton, The Atlantic” — presumes facts (“American Democracy”) not in evidence, and of course $hillary’s pals in government and the MSM have no small part in the current manufactured “legitimacy crisis”. Hillary, playing the role of arsonist who calls in the fire report.

  32. Steven C

    Re: Authority on Interfluidity

    Nice. But the article appears to conflate official production of authority for all production. This neglects one basic advantage of democracy: the devolution of authority manufacture to the most atomic level possible. Just as in market economic theory, this decentralization allows authority to be manufactured according to demand.

    In Our Country, the majority of authority has historically not been manufactured by lawyers and accountants, but by individuals, families, and local associations, formal and informal, all deduced from a few common basic principles.

    The genius of Democracy is in selecting and choosing the most fundamental elements of authority necessary so that we can each confirm our souls in self control, and our liberty in law.

    By neglecting this manufacture in the “horizontal sphere”, and focusing on manufacture in the “vertical sphere” (in the words of the feminist Outis posted about lately), the article subtly but definitively encourages centralization and Authoritarianism (sorry for that word!).

  33. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Just a quote from a very wise man indeed:

    “Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of the smaller ones.

    The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organised political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature.

    The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education).

    It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.”

    Albert Einstein, 1949

  34. Pespi

    The Tuff Sheds present a real conundrum. On one hand, it’s good to get people out of the elements and to give them some sense of permanence. The structure of state and local funding means that cities are permanently cash strapped and the idea of building something as normal in the rest of the world, public housing tower blocks, is now beyond the pale.

    People deserve a safe place to live. If we deny them that, we might as well shoot them on the street.

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