Links 9/19/18

Study shows synchronous human energy consumption over the past 10,000 years PhyOrg (Lance)

‘Sesame Street’ shuts down speculation over Bert and Ernie’s sexual orientation Washington Post (Dr. Kevin)

Study: people tend to cluster into four distinct personality “types” ars technica. No neurotic introverts? What are they thinking?


No, the UN Did Not Report China Has ‘Massive Internment Camps’ for Uighur Muslims Gray Zone Project (Kevin W)

China’s Trade-War Tack Is Steeped in History Bloomberg (furzy)

China prepares to dig in its heels in face of US tariff pressure Financial Times (Kevin W)

China real estate developers: a grey rhino in the jungle of financial risks Bruegel

Leave no dark corner – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization The Hill. UserFriendly:n “But how will Trump take the credit?”

Danske Bank chief quits over money laundering scandal Financial Times. This is huge. $250 billion of money laundering. Total failure of supervision and ethics. And this is still, as our Richard Smith points out, only <5% of Scottish limited partnerships.

Ireland collects more than €14bn in taxes and interest from Apple Guardian


From Politico’s daily newsletter:

HERESA MAY’S GERMAN APPEAL: Theresa May, meanwhile, has an op-ed in Germany’s Die Welt this morning ahead of the Salzburg summit. She says the EU and Britain are close to “achieving the orderly withdrawal,” but insists she won’t budge on the Irish border. “Neither side can demand the unacceptable of the other,” she writes. This would include erecting “an external customs border between different parts of the United Kingdom — which no other country would accept if they were in the same situation.”

White smoke from Brussels? The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, declared a new willingness Tuesday to rethink the “backstop” provision that Brussels and Dublin insist is needed to prevent the recreation of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. But while the comments were clearly intended to reassure London and ease tensions, they do not necessarily indicate a fundamental shift in the EU position, report David Herszenhorn and Jacopo Barigazzi.

Parliament has a ‘golden moment’ to halt Brexit before it’s too late Guardian (Kevin W). Help me.

Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Collapse of Outsourcing Giant Carillion May Have Silver Lining Wolf Richter (EM)

New Cold War



Assad Has Won and America Must Go National Interest

In Saudi Arabia, black gold is still king Asia Times (Kevin W)

Made in America: Shrapnel in Yemen ties US bombs to civilian deaths CNN (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Mark Zuckerberg Profile Reveals Origins of Facebook (FB) Problems Bloomberg (furzy)

Trump Transition

Trump Administration Plans U.N. Meeting to Ramp Up the International Drug War Intercept (Kevin W)

Trump’s latest abuse of power is likely to blow up in his face Washington Post (furzy)

Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation The Hill (UserFriendly)

Poland Offers `Fort Trump’ as Name If U.S. Builds Military Base Bloomberg (UserFriendly)

Records: Chao government flights cost $94K Politico (UserFriendly)

Monsters All the Way Down James Howard Kunstler (Chuck L)


If There Was Doppler Radar For Hypocrisy, Washington Would Be Under A Mandatory Evacuation Order Jonathan Turley

Grassley: No reason to delay Kavanaugh hearing The Hill

Attorney Sent Letter to Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein Claiming Federal Court Employees Willing to Speak About Brett Kavanaugh Intercept (furzy)

Donald Trump Jr. Posts Fake Letter to Instagram Mocking Woman Allegedly Assaulted by Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Gizmodo (Chuck L)

How an Unlikely Alliance Saved the Democrats 100 Years Ago Politico (UserFriendly)

Shield of the Republic: A New Democratic Foreign Policy Atlantic (UserFriendly)

Here Are 5 of the Most Laughable and Pathetic Moments in Ted Cruz’s Senate Campaign — So Far Alternet (furzy)

A no-nonsense conversation between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kerry Washington Interview (UserFriendly)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Politics of a $3,000 Suit New York Times (Bill Blunden). You have to get WAY into the article to read this:

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez shot back at her critics, pointing out the obvious — that she did not buy the clothes she wore for the shoot. They were lent to the magazine for the purpose of taking pictures.

SEC Decision Begins Process of Reforming Corporate Governance RealClearPolicy

What would DOJ have to prove in Elon Musk case Yahoo Finance (EM)

The Fed Isn’t Heeding the Bond Market’s Message Bloomberg (furzy)

Bipartisan Bill Would Boost Infrastructure, Trim Debt RealClearPolitics. UserFriendl3y: “Sell off everything!”

Just How Wildly Exuberant is the Junk-Credit Market? Wolf Richter (EM)

Class Warfare

Bernie Sanders’ Anti-Amazon Bill Is an Indictment of the Media, Too Rolling Stone (furzy)

Wall Street Salaries Are 7 Times Higher Than Households Fortune (UserFriendly)

Wharton’s top professor says America should shorten the work day by 2 hours CNBC

Antidote du jour, from Samuel C:

Life got in the way of gardening this Summer and weeds took over my tiny milkweed patch (“Purple Milkweed”; a coveted variety in my parts. Am trying to grow them for a sibling who wants eventually to sell them in a “pop-up” farmer’s market). When I recently got around to clearing out the chaos, I was greeted by a swarm of Monarch Caterpillars. There were six of them on the more damaged plant, including 3 on one leaf. The two pictured here seemed to be sparring.

And a bonus from Dan K:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Wandering Mind

    No, the UN Did Not Report China Has ‘Massive Internment Camps’ for Uighur Muslims

    Carl Zha is a podcaster who has been a guest on War Nerd Radio. As a Chinese speaker with continuing contacts in China and an interest in Chinese history, he spent time investigating the Uighur story.

    This podcast is very long and they tend to wander around in the story of the Uighurs, but if you stick with it, you will get a nuanced take on what is happening with the Uighurs in China, now and in the past.

    1. vidimi

      i am so glad this article was shared here. when i first saw these claims appear on several sites i was skeptical and wondered where they were possibly sourced. the figure of 1 million detained uighurs stretched credulity but i left it at that. so i am happy to see that this claim is finally debunked and disappointed to see the intercept repeating them without any verification on their part.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        I gotta admit I fell for it. That 1,000,000 seemed awful convenient in retrospect.

        I pictured this dystopian Big Brother society in the NW of China bordering Afghanistan.

        Mayb we are funding people to sneak through?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, just because the article is grossly exaggerated, it doesn’t mean there hasn’t been quite extreme repression in the region. A friend of mine lived in Urumqi for a couple of years and he said the fear among non-Han minorities was quite palpable, and this was before the more recent crackdowns. I’ve travelled by bike in western China and Tibet and I’ve seen plenty of evidence of how non-Han minorities (apart from those who are so small in population they are not seen as a threat – they are patronised) are mistreated on a daily basis – and its undoubtedly got a lot worse since 2008, when there was a huge crack down in Tibet and the western provinces.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Could this be another one of those Lost in Translation? From Decimal Separator, Wikipedia:

        The groups created by the delimiters tend to follow the use of the local language, which varies. In European languages, large numbers are read in groups of thousands and the delimiter (which occurs every three digits when it is used) may be called a “thousands separator”. In East Asian cultures, particularly China, Japan, and Korea, large numbers are read in groups of myriads (10,000s) but the delimiter commonly separates every three digits.[citation needed] The Indian numbering system is somewhat more complex: it groups the rightmost three digits together (till the hundreds place) and thereafter groups by sets of two digits. One trillion would thus be written as 10,00,00,00,00,000 or 10 kharab[27].

        1. barrisj

          Beijing for years has been subsidizing major developments in Western China, specifically Xiajiang province, and concomitantly “encouraging” millions of Han Chinese to relocate for jawb opportunities. Tensions between Han and Uighurs have only increased in this period, and the central government has been quick to identify and conflate “separatists” with “terrorists”, much in the manner of “nationalizing” Tibet many years ago. Whether it’s “one million Uighurs in re-education camps” or a few thousand, pressure is on the native peoples to relinquish their cultural identity and “modernize”.

          1. Duck1

            And this is a different moral category than the industrial development of California and Arizona under Anglo domination? Plenty of blame to go around with these issues, while the empire assiduously stirs other countries mix of different groups, and China deals with the strategic need to control borders.

            1. Darthbobber

              Well, things happening in the present are often seen as more alterable via human agency than things that happened in the past.

            2. The Rev Kev

              Of course to flesh out what you pointed out quite correctly, there is not currently thousands of American Hispanics in Idlib picking up military training and combat experience while being protected by attack from the US and the West, for eventual deployment in places like California and Arizona.
              There are, however, thousands of Uighurs in Idlib picking up military training and combat experience while being protected by attack from Russia and China, for eventual deployment in places like China and the Uighur homelands.

          2. Elizabeth Burton

            And that is what the media should be reporting, not running clickbait. The author of the article linked to never said there was nothing going on with the Uighurs. That wasn’t his point or purpose. We do need to know what’s going on, but that’s not what’s happening.

            The fact is there is ongoing suppression of minorities all over the globe, but the only time it gets any attention is when it supports the establishment agenda. And then it’s full of misinformation and disinformation.

      3. pjay

        The article cited by L is a bit too credulous, but PlutoniumKun’s observations are certainly relevant. As with Assad in Syria, it is not necessary to mirror the black-or-white narrative of the MSM as long as we understand the bigger picture (and the role of propaganda on both sides). But even many of the more “objective” accounts often leave out the role of Western powers in “stimulating” Uighur extremism. Here are a couple of useful posts from Moon of Alabama, who does not discount repression completely but puts it in context:

      1. The Rev Kev

        I saw once how Woodrow Wilson also put his mark on Europe. I was hitching around western France when I came across a small cemetery in the middle of beautiful countryside. There must have been an old WW1 hospital located near there once as there were quite a few graves for American soldiers there giving names, dates, etc. Afterwards, I wondered if the families of these Americans knew where they ended up but yes, Woodrow Wilson (or the first neocon President as I call him) certainly left his mark in Europe.

          1. Wukchumni

            A Georgian cotton grower chased away to California by the boll weevil, discovered that he could grow the highest quality cotton here and was in the right place at the right time, when the fledgling US Army Air Corps needed it for the covering of all its planes as we entered the war to end all wars, well not all, or even most, but some.

            An Ag empire was born…

            Read all about it:

            The King Of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of A Secret American Empire

        1. LifelongLib

          A great uncle of mine (grandmother’s half brother) was killed while serving with the AEF and is buried in the Meuse Argonne cemetery in France. The family was notified. Eventually my great grandmother got a free trip to Europe (along with other Gold Star mothers) to visit the gravesite.

      2. Unna

        If I remember correctly, Poland sometime in early 1939 built the now famous Fort Neville Chamberlain which allowed Poland to refuse Germany’s demand for the return of Danzig and refuse the Soviet offer of a Soviet, British, French, Polish alliance against Hitler both at the same time. Now Poland wants to build Fort Trump and defy Russia with this fort along with NATO missile bases on Polish soil and defy Germany, now doing business as the EU, by opposing Nord Stream as well as Germany’s cheap labour policy masquerading as Mutti Merkel’s humanitarian refugee program all at the same time. History is sometimes described as the study change vs continuity, with continuity often maintaining the underhanded upper hand.

        1. Olga

          Hear, hear. Poles are the masters of the cut-your-nose-off-to-spite-your-face art of diplomacy. They’ve done it over and over again across history. That a base would make them a prime target never enters their exalted minds.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Can’t tell Polish jokes any more. Not PC. Those of us of Scottish ancestry, of course, can tell Scottish jokes till the sheep come home…”Scotland, where men are men, and sheep are nervous…”

            1. newcatty

              Now you are making me feel sheepish about admitting we are enjoying our infatuation with watching “Outlander” series. Our local, excellent public library has the latest completed season to check out. We only had to be on waiting list for a couple of months. And this is in a paradigm of conservative town in AZ.

            2. wilroncanada

              I have normally heard that joke about New Zealand.
              And speaking of sheepish, 30 years ago a partner and I had a little business producing buttons, cards, etc. using a sheep character created by a Salt Spring Island (Canada) cartoonist, which he called Lambo. It started as a sheep with a bandolier and holding a machine gun.
              We added captions to that and other sheep cartoons such as: Outstanding in His Field (up to his waist in grass), Three Sheeps to the Wind (three sheep clinging to a sailboat mast), Dances with Wool (person dancing with Lambo).
              We had about 50 different buttons. I can’t remember most of them now, fortunately for readers.
              Bad Polish joke warning. Who was Alexander Graham Kowalski? The world’s first telephone Pole.

          2. Unna

            Marx said some things in History happen the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce. The Poles better hope that Fort Trump ends only in farce.

          3. Robert Dudek

            If there is one thing that nearly all Poles have in common is virulent Russophobia. It “trumps” everything else as a consideration.

      1. JTMcPhee

        It’s probably being done by *contractors* now, but as a peon GI I got to “experience” the golf course at one “fort” (what they were called before make-nice attempts to paper over the interminable and continuing inter-service resource wars by calling them “Joint Bases.”)

        I was, along with many other mope GIs, in “casual status,” waiting orders, after training, to go where the Army needed me. That means you are in a limbo where every petty rotten duty fell to me and my fellow “casuals.” So one day I was Jeeped off to the golf course, where I was given one of those ball-picker-upper gadgets with a snout and a basket attached, and sent out onto the driving range to pick up the officers’ balls. Said officers thereupon, as was their wont, engaged in a friendly competition to see if they could hit me with their drives and shanks and slices. Nine hours of that, with a break for lunch, in 90 degree sunshine.

        And people wondered why GIs engaged in “fragging” their Congressional-apotheosized “superiors…” (“An officer in the US Army by Act of Congress…”)

        1. Wukchumni

          Grown men whacking off repeatedly while chasing the object of their desire is a little risqué, but whatever gets them off the streets is ok by me.

  2. Todde

    So Ireland sets up a tax avoidance scheme to lure multinationals in and then when they get an adverse ruling they get even more tax revenue…

    Doesn’t seem like much of a deterrent

      1. pretzelattack

        i’m more and more convinced you are right, even while i am pessimistic about the success of such efforts.

        1. johnnygl

          I really don’t like seeing that anymore than either of you, but i don’t think we should over-react.

          She should be publicly, loudly criticized for doing this, but i wouldn’t just abandon ship and give up on challenging the democratic establishment.

          I think cuomo’s recent win, — and let’s be honest, it was a solid showing from him, is a chance to take stock of the remaining strength of the establishment.

          We’re all familiar with the abject failure of the democrats on a national level, but we shouldn’t overlook how strong they are in their blue state citadels like NY, MA, and CA. This is going to be a long, tough battle.

          1. nimmpau

            Just look at the way these ‘strong’ Dems in CA shut down single-payer. ‘Long, tough battle’? Even when the Dems win at every level, ‘we’ still don’t. Winning majorities for your party by standing for nothing isn’t my battle.

        2. Roger Smith

          I happened to catch this this morning as well. It doesn’t surprise me and it is unfortunate. I agree with both of you. Both methods are uphill battles, but I think an honest uphill battle is the stronger of the two.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Frame the argument. Tell your Hilbot friends that America doesn’t need a third party, it needs a second party. Make their heads explode

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Great comment at the Jimmy Dore Youtube:

              Remember when Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Paine, Washington, etc. all tried to reform the Crown from the inside? Me either.

      2. jsn

        I’m not sure if I’m interpreting johnnygl right when he replied to my comment on this yesterday with:

        “Cuomo got a couple of WFP funders to yank their funding. And openly cheered them for doing so.
        Getting some voters purged from the rolls might have been an attempt to send a message that dissenters will be purged. His margin was too big to have been swung by purges, alone.
        Cuomo really is a kind of ‘game of thrones’ type of character, and he’s still firmly in control of New York State. He seems strengthened, if anything.”

        But it sounds to me like Cuomo has called off the dogs at WFP to disable an end run around AOC to recover his “inheritance” in the House by Crowley. AOC would legitimately be indebted, however heinous Rat Face really is.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Forgive me for mis-reading the Byzantine complexities of NY politics. Perhaps I’m behind?

          WFP seems to have flipped roles several times….from Dem Party sock puppet and organizing vehicle a few years ago… an abused spouse that finally got the courage to leave and dared to oppose Cuomo….and now back into Dem party stalking horse to cut the legs out from under internal dissenters like AOC????

          Yikes…I’m struggling to keep up…forgive me :)

          1. Pat

            Actually, that would be have to be Cuomo calling off Crowley and somehow forcing him to allow WFP to take him off or move him to some other line.

            It came out at the time Lieberman was urging Crowley to run third party. They would love to take Crowley off their line and get AOC on it, unfortunately they are hamstrung by the rules and cannot do that without Crowley ‘dropping out’ so to speak.

  3. Bill Smith

    Bernie Sanders’ Anti-Amazon Bill Is an Indictment of the Media

    How does Sanders idea work if someone has a part time job with Amazon and is food stamps?

    1. Carolinian

      The Taibbi article suggests the Sanders bill is more about publicizing Amazon’s exploitation than meant as real legislation.

      It is true that there are other ways to address this problem, like raising the minimum wage, enhancing protections for workers trying to unionize, and making better use of anti-trust laws, so that monopolist firms don’t have such an easy time dictating low wages. Sanders is in favor of all of those things, too.[…]

      But this bill has symbolism that goes beyond all that.

      Of course none of those other ways to address the problem seem likely to be enacted–at least nationally–in the current climate so we will have to settle for “symbolism.”

      Arguably an across the board minimum wage increase would be the fairest solution should the left ever stage a comeback. It’s popular to target giants like Amazon and Walmart while ignoring the favorite restaurant or bistro that is also paying it’s staff peanuts. Which is the problem with symbolism. Scoring political points is not the same as practical and enduring solutions.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Is “settling for symbolism” analogous to “settling for hopeandchange ™”?

        I recall an interview on NPR with one of the obamanauts in the First Coming of the Chosen One, where the interviewer slipped the leash and noted that the Obama platform and white papers did not actually offer any real policy or programs for the real benefit of the mopery. “Well,” said the obamanaut, “they will just have to be satisfied with ‘hopeandchange ™’ then.”

        1. Lobsterman

          No, it’s not. Sanders is in the minority right now, and he is laying down markers for what he’d do if given power.

          1. dunning kroger

            More war , more money to Israel , more phony RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA stories?

            Markers for that?

            Sanders was a phony , I voted for him in the primary , his disgraceful behavior after what went down makes me feel glad he didn’t win though .

            Trump is much better than a phony old fart progressive . Sanders would not follow through on anything , and he wouldn’t be flailing around doing the damage Trump is doing.

            Trump wins again , sanders won’t even run against him. Clinton could run and the same people that pulled the handle for her before will do it again and still act surprised when she loses. She was right about there being deplorables , but its the Clinton voters still babbling about 2016 that fit that label

            1. Darthbobber

              Being “wised up” beyond a certain point can produce the same practical results as hopeless naivete.

            2. jrs

              but seriously Trump is better, ok talking about discrediting any further argument coming after that point. However watered down Sander’s policies were they could not be worse than Trump’s. But Trump is doing so much “damage” to the oligarchy right, by transferring even more money to them than they already have. Yea, that will damage them for sure! Take that rich people!

      2. nihil obstet

        The symbolism is educational and is necessary to get to the practical and enduring solutions. The problem with proposing to do something when the left ever stages a comeback is that it never will stage the comeback until it engages ordinary people emotionally in the concepts of a good society. Bloodless legislative proposals that don’t score political points is the liberal strategy that has brought us where we are now.

    2. L

      That isn’t hard to handle. If you calculate the total amount someone needs to make for a living wage or to be out of poverty and then divide by 40 you have an hourly rate. If a person is working at Amazon and getting less than that per hour and is still on stamps then Amazon pays the costs.

    3. JohnnySacks

      The part time job is part of the design, no need to provide any of those pesky benefits if you’re a part time worker, so the more part timers, the better. Saw this at Sears and Roebucks back in the early 80’s as we part timers on crap pay rates with absolutely zero benefits displaced the full timers on commission.

      1. dunning kroger

        shoppers didn’t mind though. Those commission idiots held on way to long. Pull ing at your pant leg dragging behind you as you fight your way out of the store.

        Sears , you can’t have my name and address , I’m literally here to buy 1 pair of socks get the hell away from me.

        All those guys are working at mattress stores now if they are still alive.

        1. JBird

          shoppers didn’t mind though. Those commission idiots held on way to long. Pull ing at your pant leg dragging behind you as you fight your way out of the store.

          Really? I wonder.

          If you get rid of all the full timers, or at least the most experienced, employees because they were paid the most how does that affect everyone?

          Where I worked at, some of the employees had worked at the company for over thirty years, but where gradual replaced because profit. Then the number of employees were cut until one couldn’t properly run the store, but before that training, then benefits, then commissions, then pay raises all were gotten rid of. Including somehow the pensions for those decades long employees.

          Commissioned, not commissioned, whatever, just dump them. Just a very small staff of untrained, unexperienced part-timers. Forget loyalty, training, experience, dedication, hard work, even customer service, just God D@@@@@ profit!! And profit for the very short term.

          Which destroyed the whole store that was then shut down.

          1. dunning kroger

            My dad actually worked the sales floor at sears selling vacuums until the mid 70’s. They crapified the commission sales force a long time before they cut those people loose.

            I mean by all means sell for commission what do I care . But if management has you flogging the hell out of extended warranties and all that high pressure garbage and giving you quotas to fill then your customers will hate you no matter how you personally get paid.

            1. Wukchumni

              If you buy consumer goods @ Wal*Mart, they’ll hit you up for an extended warranty @ the cash register.

  4. Wukchumni

    We’re not too far off the Chinese from a surveillance standpoint.

    The one wrinkle is cash, which stubbornly retains its anonymousness, and we’ve been well trained with credit cards monitoring our every move when we pull excalibur from it’s leather sheath.

    Most everybody has succumbed to telling all on their black rectangles, and Federal monitoring going on in Eavesdrop, Utah, probably could easily fill in the rest of the social gaps of everyone with a pulse, with some smarty pants AI computer categorizing us into tiny boxes of entitlement or not.

    1. Alex morfesis

      Pantyhose…when an AI algo can explain why I don’t have to worry about creating runs while helping my date to remover her pantyhose anymore…then I will worry…

      AI, much as rocket science, is a great place to hand off guvmint money to your friends…a simple static rocket needs hundreds of geniuses to launch a satellite to escape velocity… But a couple of kids in a silo with a key were going to be able to just type in a few launch codes and magically that rocket would not just explode or fly off course…

      Reality…what a precept…

      1. Wukchumni

        I lost many a rocket back in the day of suburban launches, in particular with a D engine which while it might not have reached escape velocity, tracking it after the parachute opened, was perilous between parapets and parents in despair over overflights between and betwixt lairs. It had a key apparatus to set them off, but we preferred a firecracker fuse pushed up the nozzle and lit it, backing away quickly as a vocal whooooosh ascended.

        As far as pantyhose goes, they seem toten hosen these days, a lot less wearers than there used to be.

        1. The Rev Kev

          There were some kids who kept it up. Ever seen “October Sky”? Based on a true story, the main character, Homer Hickam, actually went to to work for NASA and was in the news here recently when he admonished a new recruit to NASA as being too full of herself. Trailer for this film at-

  5. Wukchumni

    A friend who was adopted 60 years ago, did one of those spitting image DNA gigs, more so to get a health profile of her parents than anything else (not that she needs it, she’s supremely fit) and found out she is a 34% Ashkenazi Jew, and then the kicker…

    She has 2 siblings all from the same father, different mothers.

    They had a digital rendezvous, followed by the real thing.

    All had been given up for adoption, and i’d never do one of those DNA check things (my sisters have, and the results would be the same more or less) but it opens up an interesting can of worms for those on the outside looking in, as far as heritage goes.

    1. dunning kroger

      My cousin had a step sister who went to the same school as he did and he knew her his whole life but only found out they were siblings when he was 30.

      The dad died and they were going through his things and found papers and it turned out he actually had 2 secret families in addition to his own branch.

      1. Oregoncharles

        HALF sister, you mean? This could get awkward.

        There’s an Irish song about this. A girl comes to her mother and complains that every time she gets interested in a boy, her father tells her the boy is her half-brother.

        You can guess Mom’s reply: “Marry whom you please; they may be his, but you aren’t.”

  6. fresno dan

    Monsters All the Way Down James Howard Kunstler (Chuck L)

    I like the theory that it suits Mr. Mueller’s purpose to land the porpoise in his net of legal entrapment. After all, Tony Podesta of the swamp influence-peddling company called the Podesta Group is brother of John Podesta, once President Bill Clinton’s Chief-of-Staff and more recently chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. So Mr. Mueller can now brag that he is an “equal opportunity” fisherman for both Republican and Democratic species. The only problem is that the 2014 Ukraine monkey business is basically a sordid tale of the USA meddling in another country’s election affairs, one which had quite a more severe effect on Ukraine and Russia than a handful of Russian Facebook trolls managed against the USA’s 2016 election. Does anybody think that Manafort and Podesta were over in Ukraine without the knowledge of the US government? If so, we surely have the most incompetent intel community on earth
    To me, this is what happens with the duopoly, and its pretend “diversity.” The two parties are in lock step on maintaining TWO parties, and the two parties are in lockstep on America being an exceptional country that must lead the world. The media is as in lockstep as the parties – is there any dissent in the MSM that Bernie is a “socialist?” The candidates from whom we get to “choose” are screened, filtered, and filed down and buffed before we ever hear of them….
    American hegemony benefits the 0.1% and that can never be acknowledged publicly.

    1. Carey

      Yes, I think it was Gore Vidal who said that the best way to keep a one-party system
      going was to have two “parties”.

      1. O4amuse

        I, a CA native who lived in SF in the days when Di FI of the pussy bow was mayor and Pelosi was a supervisor, have always called her the Republican senator from CA.

    1. RUKidding

      Well she’s certainly not an old school traditional Democrat, nor is she anywhere close to being a true leftie.

      One may see her, though, as a fine representative of today’s so-called “Democratic” Party, aka Republican-lite. Or something.

      DiFi got HERS; eff you lowly proles, including teh wimminz.

    2. John Wright

      She votes for every war, voted for Medicare Part D (saying it is flawed, but would fix it later) and is a friend of the security state, the MIC and the financial industry.

      And her husband is Richard Blum of Blum Capital.


      “Blum’s wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein, has received scrutiny due to her husband’s government contracts and extensive business dealings with China and her past votes on trade issues with the country. Blum has denied any wrongdoing. Critics have argued that business contracts with the US government awarded to a company (Perini) controlled by Blum may raise a potential conflict-of-interest issue with the voting and policy activities of his wife. URS Corp, which Blum had a substantial stake in, bought EG&G, a leading provider of technical services and management to the U.S. military, from The Carlyle Group in 2002; EG&G subsequently won a $600m defense contract.”

      “In 2009 Blum’s wife, Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein, introduced legislation to provide $25 billion in taxpayer money to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, a government agency that had recently awarded her husband’s real estate firm, CB Richard Ellis, what the Washington Times called “a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.”

      “The United States Postal Service has entered into an exclusive contract with CB Richard Ellis to sell buildings that currently house post offices”

      But, somehow, Feinstein is viewed as a “moderate” here in CA.

      Dianne Feinstein may be the re-incarnation of “Teflon” Ron Reagan in that nothing sticks.

      “Republican” seems a more than fair description.

    1. RUKidding

      That’s the 1%’s story, and by gum, they’re sticking to it like SuperGlue. And boyohboy, do I ever still hear the mopes repeating it on an endless loop.

      That propaganda worked like a charm.

  7. La Peruse

    There seems to be a liberal meme about that somehow Zuckerberg’s web company has become so big that he doesn’t know how to manage it. Joe Nocera’s article is just piling on for another go. Who would have known that a web site that allows users to put up anything they like and share it with friends, associates or the whole world was not going end up covering the complete spectrum of human oddness (and bad behaviour). The complaint that ‘Instead, Zuckerberg chose growth at any cost as the company’s top priority’ misses the point that the drive to growth is why he has all those other problems. if he had wanted to be a philosopher/king he’d probably still be in his bedroom making his case on web blogs

    I’m a member of some ‘off the grid’ Facebook pages because I live off the grid. Let me tell you, there are some very odd (and offensive) people who live off the grid. Makes life interesting…

    1. Webstir

      How, may I ask, are you off the grid if you are on facebook?
      Seems a contradiction in terms, no? Like, you’re hanging out with the grid, and letting it eat all your food at night while it’s sleeping on your couch all day.

      Let me tell you, there are some very odd (and offensive) people who live on the facebook. Makes life interesting…

      1. La Peruse

        Off the grid basically means living on land that is not connected to power, water, sewage and telecoms. For myself, as for many others that do it, it means stand-alone solar and satellite web access. All the normal services are miles from my place, and would be prohibitively expensive to connect. I also think ‘off the grid’ Facebook pages are a bit of an oxymoron. Part of the reason I like them. Also full of practical information on isolated living.

    1. Wukchumni

      Ballast intrigue notwithstanding, she’s positioned herself as a yap stone around the neck of the donkey show.

    2. Roger Smith

      I am still so happy and grateful that this fool lost. Exactly how much is Clinton’s speculation worth? Did Aida clue her in?

      1. Carolinian

        Ditto that. Was she ever qualified for any public role? From her husband’s health care “reform” to voting for Iraq war to Sec State her’s is a record of incompetence.

        1. Wukchumni

          The thing is, she realizes nobody stepped into the void left in her wake up call a couple Novembers ago, as in the bench is empty.

          A double indamnity

        2. Charlie

          I think the only way she qualifies as a public figure at this point is the fact she hobnobs with squillionaires. Most other Presidential losers have quietly kept in the background.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          Sure, she was at least 35 years of age, maintained required residency requirements, and was a natural born citizen making her the most qualified candidate for President ever along with the other nominees except John McCain (Panama?).

          The Clintons are small town grifters who go kicked upstairs in a quirky election. Bill had the lowest percentage of the popular vote of a winning President since 1860 when it was a four way contest. The decline of the generation of Democrats who came to power around 1960 (Camelot was a great description because a whole host of World War II vets who weren’t from traditional blocs or the right families came to office in more established areas, replacing or reaching the same level as the WASPs) left a vacuum with the 80’s. There were retirements everywhere, not just at the Federal level. Former political operations will descend into good old boy networks because no one runs against them. When those people retired or were kicked out, there was no new generation like there was around 1960 due to World War II which at least in my mind made many non-whites white or as responsible for the country as people with claims to Revolutionary War vets in their family tree. The subsequent lack of investment in party building has a left a situation where the Clintons the husks of politicians once recognized as people hold power. Even in the short period of party building precipitated by Dean’s DNC Chairmanship, HRC was defeated a black guy with an at the time unfortunate name. Gore and Kerry who both surrounded themselves with Clinton people also lost, and with the Congressional losses incurred under Bill and again by his toady Rahm, its important to see the Clintons and recognize they haven’t won an election outside of state politics without a very odd field. They never could claim to be legitimate rulers, but there was a vacuum which let them get away with their own brand which works in better times when there are less people looking for real answers.

          The 90’s were crazy, so I sense many people are emotionally addled and are attached to the Clintons especially HRC for those reasons. In the end, the Clintons are snake oil salespeople who just can’t stop. The GOP craziness has always allowed the Clintons to go, “oh, those dastardly Republicans! If it wasn’t for them…”, but outside of that, they never grew the party. Voter apathy rose while Bill the great politician was in office. Its nice Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh thought he was really charming in person, but it didn’t do much in the long term. Even his election in 92 came after 12 years of a GOP White House where 41 was never very popular with the voters needed to win. I see the Clintons as a product of timing and not much more. The Presidency, while the Democratic Party becomes so aligned with a Democratic President, holds so much power of goodies and promotions the eight years of Clinton reshaped the Democratic Party into something it should not have been. Obama’s own disinterest in being President led to the Clintons continuing to be the only game in town despite not really representing enough of the country. Their pursuit of “moderate suburban Republicans” was basically the pursuit of unicorns who had served in Starfleet. That’s who they want to represent which isn’t a way to win what is still a popularity contest, even if its skewed towards people who pretend John Wayne movies are good.

          1. Mike Mc

            Superb analysis NTG! Do another that mentions Ross Perot and Dick Morris too.

            So old I switched from Independent to Democrat in 1984 to try and combat Reaganism here in bright red Nebraska. When Bill Clinton won the 1992 election – after being a rising star in the Democratic Party much like Obama was later – many baby boomer Democrats bought into Bill and Hillary’s line of hokum, and all these years later are still drinking the Kool-Aid.

            The abdication of the GOP Congress in the face of the Trump crime family’s hostile takeover makes me long for a parliamentary system… until I read the latest news from the EU and UK!

            Maybe Florence just demonstrated what awaits us all, left, right and all points in between, and we’re all too wrapped up in the here and now to notice. More’s the pity!

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Perot had room to grow because 41 was always unpopular with his base. Perot had a charisma all his own, so his personality and aspects of his career were necessary. Against a more popular President with his base, there would be no room.

              Dick Morris is just one figure in the DLC mindlessness and lack of talent. Sure, he had the toe incident, but he’s not anymore special than the myriad of other Clinton loyalists who seem to largely just be attached to Team Clinton. Mark Penn, Donna Brazille, James Carville, Robbie Mook and so forth. Brock’s conversion is interesting as he’s the “moderate Republican” probably because the GOP isn’t too friendly to their former attack dog and he needed to market himself in the long term.

              I wouldn’t say the GOP Congress abdicated anything. Trump is simply the GOP without the patrician or evangelical mask. There were Republicans who were simply piqued because they could see themselves filling the Trump role if they only acted like they do in private in public more often. The courtier class of Republicans certainly suffered a defeat with the ascension of Trump. Like the Obama-dynamic, Trump not being able to replace the GOP establishment has left GOP operators who expected promotions or opportunities to sell access both separated from the White House but still in places of power. They just aren’t as marketable as they were as Trump demonstrated they have no sway over their electorate. Given the state of the pre-Trump GOP among young and minority voters, those courtiers don’t have much to point to about their value. Trump is simply too small time to throw them out. For a donor who wants to influence policy, will Trump listen to a CNN panelist such as Alex Castellanos (a Jeb Bush ’94 alum; Jeb and Ollie North were the only Republicans who seemed to lose that year) or a random tweet aimed at the daughter Trump’s into? All you have to do is make sure its not the other daughter and get a twitter account. The class that claims to speak on behalf of the American electorate or shape them was exposed as largely worthless. Incumbency is still powerful on its own, but without that protection, they can be removed. Their replacements aren’t there yet.

              1. Edward E

                HR Perot made an honest fortune, the other gangsters not so much. TBH he was a little fearful of them, that is what cost us a great future.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Thanks for the link. Streeck is outstanding as always:

      One effect is a potentially lasting political realignment alongside a division between a vocal middle-class Left and a silent working-class Left, the two having become increasingly uneasy allies in the last three decades. The new line of conflict is between a “left” and a “right” interpretation of immigration regimes, which is orthogonal to the classical left-right conflict between labor and capital… the urban, “cosmopolitan” population of the “knowledge economy” eager to fall in step with the anti-nation-statism of liberal globalizers. As a result the old working class is forced into a coalition with the protectionist wing of the capitalist class and the remnants of the anti-liberal, nationalist Right. The impact of this on democratic governability is unclear.

  8. Edward E

    If there was a tax on hypocrisy in Washington DC we could wipe out the National Debt. Even more quickly place a tax on campaign promises err lies.
    The Pretend Zillionaire has a great routine. He gets aboard the airplanes and tells the pilot, “Go anywhere; we got troubles all over”
    Today is the big day. The administrator of the medical foster care homes is coming to see Dad. Wish us luck on getting him better help with his dementia. They can do medication things we can’t do at home. We have to work also, costly. Poor fella spends all day running his mouth the same thing, Praying to God to keep him alive, worrying about everything, I’m dying, won’t be long now, what can I do, picking times on the clock when it’ll all be over, etc, etc, etc worrying himself sick off and on for a year. Now it’s nearly an every day frenzy.

    1. Wukchumni

      The only difference between millionaires, billionaires and coming soon, trillionaires…

      Is an extra zero

  9. The Rev Kev

    “We Know Everything Worth Knowing About Mark Zuckerberg”

    Maybe what Mark needs is an assistant. A real human assistant. One that has a liberal arts degree with a major in history and not to do with technology. One that also has a steel ruler. That way, when Mark is out of his depth – which seems to be fairly often – she can steer him into a better choice based on her knowledge and experience. If Mark still insisted on doing something outstandingly stupid and signing some agreement or procedural change, the assistant could whack him over the knuckles with the steel ruler to stop him. Might be worth a shot.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m thinking liberal arts needs to include some level of basic computer literacy. The problem too many people have when it comes to the ilk of Zuckerburg and Jobs is they have such a limited understanding of computers, much of what they do is simply magic.

      Thomas Edison had a rigorous interview process/test/questionnaire which when I read about it was criticized as overly reliant on “trivia,” but some of those questions weren’t trivia as much as looking for ways to determine answers or fairly recent discoveries which in a world of less access to trivia would definitely stand out more. Clearly, one had to be bright to do well, but besides engineering questions, there were other more traditionally liberal arts questions.

      When FB first exploded for the 2007 and 2008 campaign, too many liberal arts types were astounded by computers for the first time, ignorant those crazy emails everyone’s right wing uncle sent around in the 90’s were the GOP doing the same kind of organizing. The FB interface makes it easy for a formerly casual user of a computer to do things that required more effort once upon at time, but FB isn’t the result of genius coding but luck and being in the right place at the right time.

      I think Zuck’s hypothetical minder would need a passing familiarity with coding, but they should know what it is he’s really doing versus what he wants/says he’s doing. Of course, Zuck did go to Harvard and bring up the inspirational stories of Beyonce and JK Rowling during his commencement, so a well read person would probably have no substantive way to communicate with him.

      1. Carolinian

        I’m thinking liberal arts needs to include some level of basic computer literacy.

        Young people–who are reportedly moving away from FB–probably have this. It’s the older and very computer illiterate who are sticking. One often gets the impression that the only thing some of our journalistic dinosaurs know about the internet boils down to Twitter. If they spent more wide ranging time there they might learn something.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I believe FB is simply a fashion company masquerading as a tech company. Kids moving away isn’t that surprising. I’ve at least encountered computer people who had a passing familiarity with computers that amounted to website design and adding widgets (is that the word) to the screen which is nice.

          I don’t mean this in some STEM classes are necessary for the future neo-liberal tripe. I’m firmly convinced basic computer illiteracy by people who use them (I might appear to be a luddite on the surface) for a faster mail service and games does remove power from the individual. Its like a type writer. Its easy to see how that work, but the crazy stuff, other wise seemingly sane people will say about the Cloud suggests computers are simply magic. At a young age, what we associate with computers since 1991 and how we arrived there need to be widely disseminated. I think we have given too much power and expertise in too many areas to a few people who became wealthy over night beyond their wealth because most of us don’t have the patience to be code monkeys.

          1. Carey

            To me Facebook looks more like a “private” offshoot of the Surveillance
            State than a fashion company, with Zucky as its nominal head.

    2. barrisj

      I’ve always maintained that Marky Mark is an unformed and callow post-adolescent whose expected development and maturation into a functioning adult was short-circuited at the time FB went into warp-growth, and he is now constituitively incapable of taking on board traits and characteristics of a mature human being. Multi-gazillionaire with the intellect and morality of a sand flea.

    3. JCC

      If Mark still insisted on doing something outstandingly stupid … the assistant could whack him over the knuckles with the steel ruler to stop him.

      Just like my 2nd Grade teacher, Sister Martin De Porres. I’ll never forget her :)

  10. Martin Oline


    Thank you for introducing me to James Howard Kunstlers work. I enjoyed his piece and will be looking for his many books.

    1. liam

      I’d recommend, The Case of the Midwife Toad. It’s an interesting case study of the degree to which people will go to defend an idea.

  11. allan

    Fox’s Hume: Democratic strategy on Kavanaugh points in one direction: ‘Delay, delay, delay’ [The Hill]

    Weirdly, or not, the article makes no mention of the fact that it was Brit Hume’s daughter, Virginia, who organized
    the letter from 65 women saying what a great guy Kavanaugh was back in the day.
    Full disclosure for thee but not for me.

    And, oddly or not, there is no record of Brit Hume ever having described the GOP strategy on Merrick Garland
    as ‘Delay, delay, delay’.

    Hypocrisy is not just a tactic, it’s a core philosophical belief.

    1. allan

      But wait, there’s more! Here’s The Hill `interviewing’ Ken Starr so he can give Kavanaugh two thumbs up, without noting that Starr lost his job as the president of Baylor for helping cover up the sexual abuse scandal known as the Baylor Athletic Department.

      It’s almost as if there’s a pattern here …

      The Hill. Where journalism goes to die.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The reports of journalism living in general, anywhere, in the past, have been greatly exaggerated.

  12. L

    Grassley: No reason to delay Kavanaugh hearing The Hill

    I must say I have to hand it to their media handlers. They managed to quickly shift the narrative from “R’s don’t want to hear it” to “We extended a hand in good faith.” all by quickly setting a date then conveniently ignoring a letter about setting up a time. Whether you believe Dr. Ford’s story or not their railroading of this process could not be more clear.

  13. Roger Smith

    Midterms: Here in Metro-Detroit we are now being bombarded with ads for a congressional candidate whom I never heard of during the primaries (or at least do not recall–maybe I am getting another districts spots?). Her name is Elissa Slotkin. Her positive ads hinge on her former CIA experience (ALARM!), her working as an advisor under both GWB and Obama (ALARM!), and the fact that she had a sick mother, therefore we need to fix health care by continuing to empower health insurance companies (same backwards message as Whitmer). The negative ad shows that she is bad because Captain Dementia, John McCain didn’t like her.

    A nice anecdote displaying everything wrong with our system of governance and its corrupt politics.

    1. curlydan

      Here on the Kansas-Missouri border, I’m getting pounded with TV ads (and I hardly watch TV) from right-wing groups bashing the Dem female candidates on (1) not liking or wanting to abolish ICE, (2) supporting “government run health care”, and (3) being an extension of Nancy Pelosi. I don’t mind a little Pelosi bashing, but who needs Cambridge Analytica when you’ve got old fashioned hot button issues like fearing immigrants and supposedly bad health?–like our health care system could be much worse

  14. Chauncey Gardiner

    Appreciated the article from RealClearPolitics about selling off publicly owned assets to “Boost Infrastructure, Trim Debt”. Seems the two legacy political parties’ “bipartisan” playbook is alive and well. Their systematic process:

    Ignore the tenets of Modern Monetary Theory except when quietly applying it to enable federal deficit spending to replace reduced tax revenues stemming from tax cuts for corporations and wealthy political contributors, and to fund sectors involving or favored by those constituencies.

    Defund maintenance, repairs and improvements of public infrastructure and transfer the financial burden onto state and local governments while claiming a lack of available federal funds due to the need to balance the federal budget.

    Claim that the resultant disrepair and deterioration in infrastructure is either the result of lack of funds or government mismanagement.

    Claim a need to balance the budget requires either sale of publicly owned assets that the politicians’ sponsors want for their very own or curtailed spending (austerity) on public education, Social Security, Medicare, damaged military veterans, public healthcare, etc., and that “There is no alternative.”

    Sell the publicly owned assets or transfer the targeted public services into private hands and “Privatize” the profits.

    … Lovely wealth concentration system you’ve got here, would be a shame if …

    1. JTMcPhee

      Don’t forget $11 trillion in “missing” money (and counting, haha) through the War Department or Department of Hegemony Maintenance or whatever it is. Or what was it, $4 trillion in “bailout?”

        1. Kurt Sperry

          The correct number is, indeed, 21 Trillion. This link should probably be on everyone’s favorites/bookmarks list, handy for sharing. This story proves to my complete satisfaction that the US is already run on MMT principles and those in charge simply refuse to admit the obvious so that the focused misery/reward can be meted out for political purposes.

  15. Wukchumni

    Then: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”


    Now: “Real power is, I don’t even want to use the word, fear.”

          1. Wukchumni

            The fear of being found out as a fraud is at the forefront, so fear lashes out and claims everything else is phony, in recompense.

              1. Wukchumni

                Read about some fellow that had a dog lick him, and a bacteria infection via fido caused him to lose all his limbs, but Matt is undaunted in that he fears not losing any more.

            1. newcatty

              This was briefly discussed yesterday in comments…
              Manipulation and control of the populace is diligently created by one of the most obvious, yet ignored or covert plays by the fraudsters: Psychological Projection. If fear is constantly ratcheted up, day after day, it can obfuscate facts or real events. A necessary tool to divide and conquer. Remember Maslov’s hierarchy of needs..if the fraudsters create fear of basic survival than they can project their “reality”. War equals peace and security for USA! Slave wages and working conditions equal jobs! Wealth concentration for the “professional” and powerful elite equals a robust economy! Planned failure to have a degraded and exploitative “health care system” equals the best health care system in the world! Bread and circus gladiators in modern pits and arenas equals best athletes in the world! Crapified processed and increasingly GMO and polluted “food” equals food! Destroying the EPA equals protection of American resources and the commons! Depression among the populace equals a contented citizenry! Hungary children equal failed policies (you know, by the “other side”).
              People are waking up. Hope and change! Time we cooped that…

  16. Kurtismayfield

    RE: Bert and Ernie

    So now any two people that live together have to be outed according to our culture warriors. Even puppets made for five years old TV watchers. Hyper sexualization and culture war have truly ruined a child’s TV experience.

    I wonder if it was Lisa and Mandy would they have gotten the same reaction?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Does that mean that Laverne & Shirley were lesbians all along because they worked and lived together too?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        WRONG!, the only gay character on television was that guy on Three’s Company.

        I can’t find it, but I believe Glen Greenwald retweeted a point about how labeling Bert and Ernie as gay because two men who show emotional concern for each other is also significant of a toxic view of masculinity. I always thought this was the point of Bert and Ernie.

            1. Wukchumni

              Liberace played gay, but sued and won a lawsuit against an English newspaper that termed him ‘fruit-flavoured’ if memory serves.

              He never really came out of the closet, as he wore most everything in it.

    2. jrs

      The golden girls were lesbians as well, lesbians of a certain age. I just know it.

      It is indeed ridiculous. Sex is a hell of a lot less important to many people than companionship but also often simply taking roommates to pay the @#$# rent!

      1. fresno dan

        September 19, 2018 at 11:41 am

        Sex is a hell of a lot less important to many people than companionship but also often simply taking roommates to pay the @#$# rent!
        people get @#$#ing to pay the rent paying the @#$#ing rent confused….

        My heterosexual certification has pretty much expired everywhere (except Utah)
        Use it or lose it:
        Hollywood – 180 seconds – there’s a reason its called Holly….WOOD
        New York City – 30 minutes – if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere
        Philadelphia – 1 year – brotherly love – wait…is that heterosexual sex
        Arkansas – 10 years, with exceptions for state politicians
        Fresno – 4 days – surprised? Ain’t nothing else to do here….

  17. The Rev Kev


    Well that’s embarrassing that. Then again, when you have most of the world’s media under your thumb and can lean on any number of governments to back you up, the truth is whatever you say it is. We saw an example of that from Salisbury recently where it was all “Russiadidit!” I was following the MH17 story closely at the time and recognized a full-blown propaganda campaign. When the Novorussians collected the passenger’s bodies and put them in that refrigerated railway car, they were heavily criticized for that. As, however, no-one in the west was going to do the job themselves the alternative was to let the bodies rot in the hot summer sun and get fly-blown. They forgot to mention that bit.
    Saw another example in a well repeated foto at the time. If you go to you will see it at the top of the page. A bunch of rough militia with one holding a child’s monkey high as if to boast. However, there was a video clip that showed the full thing and what happened next was that militiaman lay it gently back down from where he picked it up and the crossed himself in the Orthodox manner out of respect. That bit was never highlighted. Fortunately Bellingcat was on the case telling us what to think an using social media of all things as proof.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “Poland Offers `Fort Trump’ as Name If U.S. Builds Military Base”


    Beijing: “I see what you did there, Poland.”

    And today, it is known as Trump Expressway, instead of One Belt, One Road.

    1. Carey

      “Modernize”, in a legislative context, another of those (so many!) euphemisms that really means “proles, prepare to get hosed!”

  19. RUKidding

    It’s been clear from the get-go that Republicans meant to ram Kavanaugh down our throats. I recall that almost moments after his nomination was announced, there were full-fledged happy-happy joy-joy “infomercials” on radio and tv and elsewhere extolling Kavanaugh’s so-called “virtues,” like what a “good dad” he was, as IF that matters. And so forth.

    Then the refusal to release many and numerous documents, mainly from Kavanaugh’s days in the WBush Admin, all while positing that D’s were deliberately – and quite unfairly was implied – delaying. And how that delay was just so BAD of the Ds.

    I’ve rarely heard word one spoken about the heinous act that McConnell and the R Team pulled with Merrick Garland – someone who would’ve made a fine Republican SCOTUS judge, but of course, no he couldn’t even have a hearing. Nope. Talk about DELAYING!!

    But let’s not mention that. Sssssh. It’s BigDs who’re the villains in this piece. Kavanaugh’s a great guy; a fine dad; he coaches girl’s basketball; and he wants to ban abortion and probably birth control; but don’t worry you’re pretty little head while he holds you down and tries to have his way with you. What plays at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep.

    Yeah, Big D – unseemly delays. The bastards! Boys will be boys after all.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    She sacrificed herself or her throne, so all of us could be saved?

    From above:

    Clinton tells @maddow that she was an obstacle to Russia’s plan to undermine our democracy & suggests we should be scared of the Kremlin’s grand designs. The lengths these people will go to protect their privilege & deflect from their own failures is staggering, & a real threat.

  21. PlutoniumKun

    Off topic(s), but I had an update on my Apple laptop this morning. I now find my default browser has switched back from Duckduckgo to Google.

    Anyone else experience this?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Safari browser was updated to v.12 and it lost some preferences. Got to Preferences then Search, click the Search engine drop-down menu and choose DuckDuckgo.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        “Do not attempt to adjust your dial. We control the Horizontal. We control the Vertical”.

        Prob 5-8 years ago humans lost control over their devices.

        They surveyed UK company IT departments and *60%* of them reported discovering crypto-currency mining malware on their servers. Quietly manufacturing “money” and sending it to someone, while slowing down the network just a tiny bit.

    2. auskalo

      Go to Preferences/Extensions, and activate all extensions deactivated by Safari 12. Don’t believe that they will slow your navigation.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From the Jonathan Turley article:

    Given the absence of witnesses, it is unlikely that either account will be proven or disproven. That leaves this as a matter of credibility, a judgment that can only be made by the public if they see the actual testimony of these two individuals.

    Proven or disproven.

    A third choice is ‘we will never know.’

    Often, we wrongly assume there will be a solution (say, to Global Warming). Maybe we humans are not that so smart and maybe, once you invented the wheel, there is no solution (assuming the wheel invention is a problem, needing a solution, which many of us think not), or once you invented agriculture (again, just another example), etc.

    Can we live with a ‘we will never know in this case?’

    And how do we proceed if that’s the case?

    It seems that in today’s world, frequently, we are asked to make a decision, one way or the other, but not ‘doing nothing.’ “The Russians are coming? Do you fight back or surrender? Make a decision!!! You cannot do nothing, commander!!!!”

    In one area, though, it’s OK to acknowledge that ‘we will never know.’ If not all 12 jurors agree, the defendant is allowed to go.

    “But it’s possible a bad guy gets away with it.”

    Yes, but it’s also possible that an innocent guy receives injustice.

    The assumption we have adopted is a compassionate one, by ourselves confronting the possibility that ‘we will never know,’ unlike how we act so arrogantly in so many other areas.

    1. fresno dan

      September 19, 2018 at 11:45 am

      I think the problem is that there will be plenty of people who know they know. As Mark Twain supposedly did not say, “Its not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, its what you know that just ain’t so”

      I don’t know.** I think this is simply a political Rorschach test, and there is probably a 99.9 or 99.999 percent correlation that if you want Kavanaugh confirmed, you believe him. If you want Kavanaugh rejected, you believe her.

      ** I was going to say there are only 2 people who know for sure, but after reading blennylips post yesterday, I don’t even know that….

      September 18, 2018 at 1:09 pm
      in POST
      Gaius Publius: Brett Kavanaugh’s #MeToo Moment — Questions Raised As His Accuser Comes Forward

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      A third choice is ‘we will never know.’

      I think that is what Turley is counting on. Short of a very compelling argument or hard evidence (something external to what’s now available such as the FBI) or Kavanaugh outright admitting guilt, the presumption of innocence will and probably should prevail. Either way the public’s opinion would not make a whit of difference. In the case of guilt, rushing the process through would be a vile travesty of justice, but the outcome from those not privy to that knowledge should still be the presumption of innocence.

      I have to wonder what would happen if after being confirmed, say several years, hard proof became available of his guilt in attempted rape. Would we just “look forward and not backward?”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe by that time, humans can time travel forward and backward.

        “But why aren’t they (from the future) here now?”

        Maybe they are here…

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          They are indeed here and they are us and being extinct, we can’t see or hear them (err…, us).

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Apple is looking for a technical solution to the problem they’ve created themselves, which is that iTunes gift cards are being used as a digital currency by ransomware scammers and fraudsters who resell the cards at a discount. They’re only traceable through iTunes and get around taxes, commissions, money laundering laws, etc. With billions in cards floating around out there, Apple has to be seen as getting in front of this. But they’re not.

      Warning from the (Obama era) FTC:

    2. JTMcPhee

      And of course the Chinese Party is going to also “award” you a “trust score,” that’s a lot more than that of course:

      You can bet your sweet bippie that our exceptional democratic state security apparatuses are all aligned to do the same. Not that it’s not pretty much locked down already.

      I ask about what kind of “organizing principle” might get raised up to inform how we humans could better interact with each other and the planet we are looting. Looks like in many places, that organizing principle has been dictated by people with power who have Grand Designs ™ for the Future Of Us All…

  23. Brooklin Bridge

    Jonathan Turley’s post on hypocrisy is high minded and reasonable sounding, as usual, but I suspect his main goal is to deflect attention away from any FBI involvement regardless of how reasonable or not such an inquiry and the resultant delay would be. I’m certainly prejudiced against Kavanaugh, so I’m quite ready to stand corrected, but I still believe that Dr. Ford will be cut to shreds during any public (and certainly a closed door) hearing without some further inquiry into the alleged attempted rape.

    To get an idea of where Turley stands in the larger picture of thangs, check out his articles on Venezuela (Here is one of them, or on protesting at football games regarding respect for the flag or police murdering blacks that get in the way of Thanksgiving tranquility and TV traditions.

      1. Bridget

        Turley specifically says that witnesses can decline to testify, just that they have no right to dictate the conditions under which they will testify.
        A second individual, Patrick J. Smyth, who apparently caught wind that Ford claims he was also at the party somewhere in Maryland some time during the summer of ‘82 has stepped forward to deny her allegations. Smyth has also indicated that he does not want to be involved in the shitshow.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          If one can decline to testify at all, then it goes without saying that one has a reason for such a decision and that is de facto a condition. But it’s a far cry from dictating conditions. For instance, “I won’t attend if you are going to water-board me.” Perfectly good reason and also a condition. So sure, they can hold a hearing without any thorough investigation into the allegations so that it’s just a he says she says shouting match to a highly prejudiced crowd that has already made up their minds. Fine. She’s not dictating what they can and can not do; just her participation in it.

          That is just Turley overloading terms to make Ford look bad.

    1. Unna

      Tell me if I’m wrong but from my reading Ford doesn’t remember when the incident happened, or even where, ie, whose house it happened at, nor who drove her to the house, nor how she got home. And this all either happened or didn’t happen three and a half decades ago. So what does anyone expect the FBI to investigate? There’s nothing to investigate here. Except if the FBI did investigate it would cause a delay, which seems to be the point. If she actually shows up to testify next week I’m sure there’ll be plenty to talk about. My bet is she doesn’t show. The strange case of the complaining witness who fell to pieces days before the first question was asked.

      1. Bridget

        There is nothing to be investigated that the Senate committee can’t accomplish in very short order.

        No crime scene, no forensics, no photographs, no timeline, no alibis, no evidence. Nothing but the names of four people, three of whom are already vehemently on record as saying the thing never happened. And the complainant herself very oddly reluctant to shed any further light.

        What is the FBI to do indeed?

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          To say the FBI wouldn’t turn up anything is your opinion and you seem to feel it strongly enough to consider your opinion as a good substitute for fact. But objectively that doesn’t make it factual. If one of the alleged witness lied, for instance, and if there is evidence to support that which would be uncovered by an inquiry, then obviously if there is no investigation, it won’t be found. It is not so obvious as you claim, however that the reverse (if the FBI does make an inquiry) is true, that nothing further would be uncovered.

          You are correct that a delay could work against the confirmation so for those in favor of Kavanaugh, delay is a bad thing, but that is a weak argument as far as supposedly blind justice is concerned. Some delay is probably not a bad thing objectively one way or the other. Would an FBI investigation fit within that scope? I don’t know and would agree that it could get out of hand and become an unfair drag on the overall process. If, however, some sort of time limit could be imposed to get an indication of whether or not this was a total blind ally, it might be a good thing all around; clearing Kavanaugh of reasonable doubt or visa-versa.

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for the link to Richard Smith’s tweet under the FT article about Danske Bank Group’s money laundering activities. With the level of public and private electronic surveillance capabilities these days, in part used to enforce sanctions, together with revelations such as the Panama Papers, intergovernmental ties and monitoring of interbank funds transfers, seems to me “lax defences against money laundering” is at least partially a matter of government choice.

    I did appreciate the acceptance of ultimate responsibility for his bank’s involvement by Danske’s CEO, who resigned and stated that he has been personally cleared in the matter from a legal point of view.

    Richard Smith noted that Danske’s intermediation comprised only around 5 percent of non resident money flows in the Baltics. Wow!… Related tweets under Richard Smith’s link are of interest.

  25. Henry Moon Pie

    An article on highlights an important issue in the debate about how we can avoid climate disaster:

    In our view, at some point scientists and policy makers must begin discussing the one scenario that world leaders seem to want to avoid at all costs, i.e., managed economic contraction. The irony is that this scenario could reliably cut greenhouse gas emissions and is achievable without appeal to magic (CCS or decoupling). Absent forethought and planning, contraction could spell ruin to economies addicted to growth. But with planning and management, communities could relocalize and human needs could be met more simply. Population levels could decrease in deliberate and humane ways.

    Our illustrious neoliberal elite has spent a century Madmenning us into voracious consumers who lust after “The Dream” and confuse a license to waste with “freedom,” and now it’s a such a daunting task to reform us into conservers that they are just punting on the leadership thing and booking their flight to Mars. What’s required is something akin to the Jubilee, which included not only debt slave manumission and debt cancellation but also a return of real property according to the original, egalitarian distribution. (Most biblical scholars doubt that the Jubilee was ever actually implemented, and a majority date this passage in Leviticus to the post-exilic period rather than the time in the desert.) Can anyone imagine our political system being inclined or able to pull off such a thing? If it’s going to happen, it will have to come from below, and more specifically, from the poor who already know how to live with less.

    1. Carey

      Thanks for this info and link. Looks like our self-appointed Overlords want to remain
      firmly in charge right up to the moment the Titanic goes down. Do they really think
      they can escape to somewhere? Degrowth is coming, no matter what they “think”.

    1. ewmayer

      @Wuk – you must be exceptionally bored today, but really, nearly one-fifth the total comments to Links? Doesn’t that strike you as perhaps a bit too much of a good thing?

      1. Wukchumni

        You know how it goes, throw up a bunch of prayers from behind the 3 point line, hope to get fouled in the act of shooting while sinking nothing but net.

  26. Wukchumni

    You wonder what it’ll take to break the camel’s back in terms of fraud, and a quarter of a trillion dollar one exposed mostly elicits a ho hum, a state pension fund under heavy grilling here, dozens more hoping the glare isn’t shone upon them, a cascade of deceit.

    Dirty deeds not done dirt cheap, but rather dire.

  27. Wukchumni

    Devil’s Ombudsman Dept:

    A backdoor way to get a jubilee is vis a vis wiping out trust in usually one or a few currencies, but what if the whole developed world en masse figured out that it was all an economic chimera ruse, powered largely by lies ?

    You’d need a powerful catalyst, and real estate values plunging (Australia is fascinating to watch in it’s debt throes, used homes being so much kryptonite now) will certainly awaken many from their assorted slumbers, also the idea of retirement funds you were counting on to be there, that aren’t.

    If money isn’t worth anything worldwide, it’s an add hock jubilee.

    An unraveling like John Law’s scheme, but instead of largely 1 country taking it in the shorts, everybody plays along.

  28. anon

    Re: Mark Zuckerberg Profile Reveals Origins of Facebook (FB) Problems, and the articles linked to within that article

    Anyone else always have a visceral reaction repeatedly reading the opinion that Zuckerberg and the rest of his homogeneous ilk initially set out to help the world with technology?. Opined despite years of unrefuted ugly quotes by Zuckerberg, et al which express no such helping the world sentiment; and despite Zuckerberg, et als’ arrogant, deliberately deceptive behaviour, and increasing surveillance violations and censorship. Despite the fact that their companies have created obscene inequality and homelessness surrounding their Domiciles: theirCampuses™ in Silicon Valley and Seattle.

    I’m outraged that the only reason Facebook is really under the microscope at all, is the Trump election. The fact that they surveil, database, commoditize and track people who’ve chosen from day one not to even use Facebook; with the ability to negatively effect their lives, seems to me to be their largest, criminal, offense.

    Lastly, the fact that the many of the Fourth Estate now have Facebook pages for discussion of important local issues — such as housing — as a matter of course, means that many who have life hindering grievances — where lack of anonymity can do them serious harm — will not be posting their experiences on those pages, nor contacting journalists to inform them of the abuse. I’m not leaving my name and phone number on a journalists voicemail for it to be hoovered up by Facebook. The same goes for Journalists with Gmail accounts. It wasn’t really that long ago that those actions would have been considered outrageous, akin to stealing someone’s hardcopy address book from their home. Something — old-fashioned address books —which should never have become so obsolesced. What happens when the power goes out on ones contact list, and why don’t so many people even remember their most frequently called numbers anymore?

  29. Wukchumni

    I sicced a sister on the dilemma of duality, and she sez it’s a pretty straight forward process claiming it by virtue of mom being a card carrying Canadian once upon a time in the west.

    Thanks to whomever clued me into the change of rules!

  30. Wukchumni

    Interesting the juxtaposition of the McDonalds & Kavanaugh sexual harassment protests, the yin & yang from the bottom feeders to the top of the brain chain.

  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump’s latest abuse of power is likely to blow up in his face Washington Post (furzy)

    It’s all around us, this abusing of power or authority…credibility.

    For example, if a paper keeps publishing fake news, it’s abusing something.

  32. Wukchumni

    “Hot Dog”

    Well he just got into town today
    Now that some of the flood has gone away
    He did a waiter photo-op near the General Store
    He served himself he served the town
    When he finally did sit down
    We found ourselves in a bigger pickle than before

    He said we couldn’t do no wrong
    No other hope could be so strong
    He played the part of Garçon man
    Now he took what could be a chicken heart or pigs knees
    In casings, hidden further in styrofoam, please
    And fed the affected assembled by hand

  33. BoyDownTheLane

    “Ms. Ocasio-Cortez shot back at her critics, pointing out the obvious — that she did not buy the clothes she wore for the shoot. They were lent to the magazine for the purpose of taking pictures.”

    Every poliitcal campiagn needs the equivalent of film-maker’s continuity reviewers. Her poliitcal campaign should have seen and interceded with their vendor or p.r. effort to insure consistency of message. She bought it; she owns it. Nixon didn’t use pancake make-up during the first TV debate with Kennedy and got a “five o’clock shadow”.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I have to tell you, it is extremely common for all sorts of high profile women, not just movie stars, to be loaned clothing for shoots. And the only people who would recognize her clothes are people who shop those brands. Her constituents would not look at the clothes in those photos and recognize them as pricey. I wouldn’t have. And being able to wear costly clothes only by virtue of having been loaned them doesn’t strike me as something that will bother her voters. Even middle class people usually rent tuxedos and increasingly, fancy party gowns.

      1. BoyDownTheLane

        I appreciate your response. I’m 70, and my wife are retired working professionals; neither of us have ever rented or borrowed anything (from a shop, provider, or vendor) to wear. (Combined income never approached $200K). I’ve never rented a tux. My wife took the dress she was married in out of her closet. I bought the suit I wore to walk my daughter down the aisle at Gentlemen’s Wearhouse. (It’s since been given back to them as part of their drive to get “slightly used clothing” for prospective employees coming in from the ranks of the veterans and the homeless.) I guess I am not part of the group that qualifies as pretentious. Most athletes making seven figures wear their sponsor’s logos. Most sponsors advertise the fact that they dress their clientele. Where’s the sign that says “these clothes were borrowed”?

      2. wilroncanada

        Yves Smith
        I went in ahead of your interlocutor, or so I thought. Even though he says he appreciates your reply, he seems to be insistent that anyone who is not like him and his family, is somehow guilty of apostasy. This narrow view of what is acceptable behaviour is all to common for people, some on this blog, who want to call themselves progressive. If you don’t completely agree with all my attitudes and statements, then you must be the enemy.

  34. Synoia

    Sesame Street’ shuts down speculation over Bert and Ernie’s sexual orientation

    We’ll I believed them pre-pubertal children

    But if you insist they are adult then I’d say they swing both ways. That way they can the include possible audience.

    I prefer to think of them as pre-pubertal.

    1. newcatty

      My daughter watched Sesame Street about when it first started. At that time it was innovative for children’s television. PBS was actually PBS. Unlike now, for example, “the news hour” with corporate and “foundation” supporters. It was fun, entertaining and a brief break from other more active activities. TV was a novelty for her, not a replacement for playing with friends, pouring over picture books, learning to read, going to pre- school and having time to daydream and get “messy” with finger paints or play dough. Sesame street reinforced some basics, but best was it’s showing lots of different adults and kids in the neighborhood. Lots of kids, then, shared a bedroom with siblings. Burt and Ernie were roommates and cared about each other. And, they were funny. Now, a lot of families, with the financial means, see it as a marker of good parenting and social class that their kids have their own bedroom. Complete, of course, with their own cable tee vee, computer and printer, smart phone and other stuff. But, kids are still in shared bedrooms across America. Now, it’s more likely that it’s because Mom and/or Dad, or Grandma and/or Grandpa, or an Aunt and/or Uncle or the foster care parents or group home can provide economically only shared rooms for the kids in their care. There are many children being housed in these circumstances. There are many kids with more than one roommate. There are family and friends sharing homes. There are adults and kids sharing a room in the home. Well, they are not homeless.

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