Links 10/21/18

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Texas family paints a huge BETO sign on the front lawn, sparking a feud with the HOA Forth Worth Star-Telegram

How much weed was sold on Canada’s legalization day, province-by-province Global News Canada

The secrets of the Tower of London’s royal ravenmaster WaPo. Do make time for the 25- second video embedded herein.

In pictures: ‘Eye of Istanbul’ photographer Ara Guler dies at 90 BBC

With 23 Asiatic lions dead in Gir, here’s what the authorities can do to preserve India’s pride Scroll India.The Gir National Forest and environs are the sole place where the world’s surviving Asiatic lions live. This report is worrying, as concentration of this population in one place only makes these lions  vulnerable to being wiped out by an outbreak of disease.

Australia

Independent Kerryn Phelps claims victory over Liberal candidate Dave Sharma for Malcolm Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth News.com.au

Net Neutrality

Entire broadband industry sues Vermont to stop state net neutrality law Ars Technica

Waste Watch

SodaStream launches device to clean plastics from ocean TreeHugger

Class Warfare

“We Were Terrorizing Some of the Most Exploited People on Earth” Jacobin

Britain’s first UWO has landed. What comes next? FCPA Blob

Could an Ex-Convict Become an Attorney? I Intended to Find Out NYT

Scholz wants minimum corporate tax rate in OECD Handelsblatt. Floated as alternative to special tax on Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Airbnb.

SIMPLE GIFTS | SARAH SMARSH ADDRESSES THE ‘TABOO SUBJECT’ OF CLASS Daily Yonder

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Smile! The Secretive Business of Facial-Recognition Software in Retail Stores New York magazine

2018

For U.S. Senate: Beto O’Rourke Houston Chronicle. Still a long-shot; Chronicle endorsed Cruz in 2012.

O’Rourke’s rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot The Hill

2020

Tulsi Gabbard weighing 2020 presidential bid Politico

Sanders: Trump setting ‘terrible example’ for our children The Hill

Sanders hints at reckoning with Warren over 2020 ambitions Politico

Election Update: Democrats’ Unprecedented Fundraising Edge Is Scary For Republicans … And Our Model FiveThirtyEight

How to “Follow the Money” When It Comes to Political Campaigns ProPublica

Syraqistan

Donald Trump’s actions in the Middle East will damage his position far more than the Russia probe ever could Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

The Boundless Bad Faith of Iran Hawks American Conservative

Saudis Shocked by Official Flip-Flop on Khashoggi Bloomberg

Jamal Khashoggi case: All the latest updates Al Jazeera

Saudis Admit Khashoggi Murder – Offer Weak Cover-Up Moon of Alabama

Saudi insiders would love to depose Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose role in the Khashoggi scandal has made him toxic, but they can’t see a way to do it Business Insider

US ready to move on from Khashoggi case but will Turkey play along? Guardian

NYTimes report shows how Twitter, McKinsey were complicit in helping Saudi Arabia silence critics Vox

India

India: why collecting water turns millions of women into second-class citizens The Conversation

Almost Rs 4,000 Crore Spent, but the Ganga Is More Polluted Under Modi’s Watch The Wire

Gandhi for the Post-Truth Age The New Yorker. Pankaj Mishra.

In Photos: The Aftermath of the Deadly Amritsar Train Accident The Wire

Brexit

Brexit spurs refugees’ descendants to seek German passports FT

Almost 700,000 march to demand ‘people’s vote’ on Brexit deal Guardian

Brexit: make democracy work EUReferendum.com

Brexit could kill off entire industries, says Jaguar Land Rover chief Guardian

Tariff Tantrum

US-CHINA TRADE WAR: TRUMP GETS HIS (USMCA) CLAUSE OUT IN ASIA SCMP

Trump Transition

Trump’s Record of Failure in the Middle East American Conservative

What sanctions on Russia and China really mean Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

TRUMP STRIKES A BLOW IN US-CHINA STRUGGLE WITH BUILD ACT TO CONTAIN XI’S BELT AND ROAD SCMP

Trump orders fewer ‘regulatory burdens’ for diverting water to CA farms San Francisco Chronicle

H-1B visa tweak may hurt Indian IT firms Economic Times

Trump Administration Again Asks Supreme Court to Stop Kids Climate Case Climate Liability News

Trump to pull US out of nuclear treaty with Russia FT

Antidote du Jour:

And a bonus antidote (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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148 comments

  1. emorej a hong kong

    Egregious contender for gold medal in category “headline least-justified by any contents of article” is:

    Sanders hints at reckoning with Warren over 2020 ambitions Politico

    The only sensible comment in the overlong article is that, like in every other Presidential primary in history (other than the 2016 Republican candidates who each had their own billionaire sugar daddies and who were complacent about Trump’s supposed “unelectability”) the number of candidates with overlapping bases will be quickly winnowed down by:

    benchmarks — fundraising, polling, or early primary performance

    Since Bernie is likely to maintain a massive lead over Warren by all of these measures, and Harris is not going to cede the “time for a woman” primary vote to Warren, it is difficult to see how a Warren candidacy makes it past the New Hampshire primary. Hopefully this result (or, even better, internal polling of this result) is more than enough “reckoning” for Warren to realize that she has little to gain by being a stalking horse for the anybody-but-Bernie forces.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      Bernie is not as strong as he was in 2016. Much of his support was there because he was the anti-Clinton. He will not be the nominee.

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Are you serious?

        Besides his slip up on Russia inter alia, which we knew in the beginning that his foreign policy was lacking, Bernies been nailing Saudi Arabia.

        Saudi Arabia is in the Holy Trinity Of Terror Alliance with Israel and the United States. This Alliance must be stopped.
        NeoCons + Weapons + Wahhabism + Netanyahu =/ Saving the Planet

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether

        I think he certainly has a shot. He will certainly be stronger out of the gate; that’s what his Town Halls are doing for him. On the other hand, the Democratic apparatchiks will be trying to screw him every way they can from day one, worse even than 2016. Look at happened with EIlison and the Rules of Bylaws Committee.

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      This fake-news so-called “article” is really a psychological manipulation operation by Politico to create and ramp up competitive rivalry and bitterness between Sanders, Warren and any other potential progressive Democratic entrant into the primaries . . . and create and ramp up hatred between all their supporters in the field. One hopes all the principals and supporters in the progressive community recognize this intrusive political-behavior manipulation by Politico for what it really is.

      Let all the putative progressive nomination-pursuers pursue delegates throughout the primaries. If there is a fear of “dividing the progressive vote” that can be lifted by strategically far-sighted agreements ahead of time that all the “progressively targeted” delegates will switch their support to the progressive nomination-seeker who has the most delegates going into the Convention. That way, the delegates aggregated vote-numbers won’t be divided. THAT! might well be a strategy worth discussing among all the nomination seekers and among all the progressive primary voters to discuss among themselves ahead of time so they can be prepared to be a powerful indigestible immovable bloc at the Convention.

      Reply
    3. Bugs Bunny

      I don’t think Warren will ever be able to shake off the impression that she used her “family legend of Native American blood” to get her HLS gig. She’s never going to hear the end of it and she just keeps making it worse.

      Harris might be an OK VP choice imho.

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Idgaf about Heritage.

        Policy. Policy. Policy.

        The more her ideas of financial regulation the better for workers.

        Shes an elite, but at this point ill take it. With a grain of salt.

        Would she immediately fill her Cabinet with Bankers?

        This is an important question.

        Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Hmmmm, that reminds me of something. I need to get back to that Russian lessons podcast. I’m more than two thirds of the way through it. Time to finish this thing!

      Reply
        1. Eduardo

          I agree with Caitlan, to a point. But, I think the Russia-gate grift will continue.

          Many of the Democrats that voted for Clinton in the primary will never admit their own failures (we coulda had President Bernie) or the failures of the DNC, or Democratic party, or of Hillary Clinton. They can never acknowledge that they are a reason we have President Trump. They were robbed; the election was stolen and nothing else is possible.

          So the Russia-gate narrative will continue past its sell-by date and be a money maker for those willing to exploit it.

          On the other hand…in a parallel universe…

          In response to this predictable escalation the path for which has been lubricated by McResistance pundits and their neoconservative allies, those very same pundits are now reacting with horror that Putin’s puppet is now dangerously escalating tensions with Putin….You know you’ve hit peak conspiracy theory when the evidence disproving the conspiracy theory is interpreted as proof of the conspiracy theory.

          https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/10/21/putins-puppet-advances-nuclear-missile-escalations-against-putin/

          Reply
          1. pjay

            Two Caitlin Johnstone comments:

            1. I laughed out loud when I saw the title Consortium News assigned to her “Kiss My Ass” essay: “Report Says Russia-gaters should go quietly in the Night”. I guess they needed to clean it up a bit.

            https://consortiumnews.com/2018/10/20/report-says-russia-gaters-should-go-quietly-in-the-night/

            2. On a more serious note, I strongly recommend the article linked by Eduardo. Preaching to the choir I know, but this is why I have a hard time overlooking anti-Russia BS by anyone.

            Reply
        2. Webstir

          Caitlin is being a more than a bit too tribal on this one. The reality is, nobody knows. I called her out on this on twitter and she threatened to block me.

          Are the russiagaters unhinged? Yes. Are those slinging ink opposing the russiagate narrative, too? Yes, I think so. It’s all just speculation, from which I try to remain objective.

          Reply
          1. pjay

            I’d be happy to consider any evidence of significant Russian interference objectively, if you have any. I’ve kept up with this discussion pretty carefully and I haven’t seen any (I’m not talking about the usual intelligence activities superpowers, the advocacy of “pro-Russian” journalistic outlets like RT or Sputnik, or the ambiguous click bait activity of a relative handful of Russian trollers). On the other hand, there does seem to be considerable evidence — both historical and forensic — that the ‘Russiagate’ narrative is part of a larger coordinated propaganda offensive by the U.S., Britain, and their NATO allies. We can debate this evidence objectively if you want, though I’m not sure this is the venue. However, I do have to admit to being a little “unhinged” these days (I’d prefer the term “frustrated”). I guess that’s the reason Johnstone’s commentary appeals to me.

            Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      ^^that. the tv advert makers/political consultants are the real winners. again. and again.

      Money needs to be spent on get-out-the vote efforts and rank-file organizers….not wall-to-wall TV adverts that are straight from a 1990 Saturday Night Live parody.

      Political TV ads have become white noise. So what if the Democrats can buy every single free spot during the 11 o’clock news. Media consumption has changed the lot over the past 20 yeras.

      Maybe I’m armchair quarterbacking. We’ll see in two weeks.

      Reply
  2. Wukchumni

    I’ll take things that’ll never happen for $1,000, Alex.

    >Trump orders fewer ‘regulatory burdens’ for diverting water to CA farms San Francisco Chronicle

    Loved this embolden’d line in particular:

    Trump signed the memo less than three weeks before midterm elections in which several California Republicans are locked in competitive races, including Denham of Turlock (Stanislaus County), Valadao of Hanford (Kings County) and Nunes of Tulare. After signing the memo, Trump handed his pen to Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee chairman and one of the president’s most loyal defenders in Congress.

    This being the very same Devin Nunes whose family’s Central Valley milking operation hightailed it to Iowa, ala the Baltimore Colts splitting for Indy, but worry not, the constituency here in California’s red state bastion does as it’s told, and doesn’t cry over split milk.

    Virtually all of the water in big metropoli in the state is imported from sources far away, very different from Ag, which depends on well water on site about 50% in an average year-as much as 100% in the awful drought years, and as it, the industry is causing land subsidence, by planting ever more watery mouths to feed, for as of late it’s all about almonds & pistachio trees, and is it nuts to use 300 gallons of ancient fossil water to grow a pound of them, to be exported on giant cargo ships to Asia for $3, F.O.B?

    Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt called the directive the most significant action a president has taken on water in his lifetime.

    And the flattery of an underling that with some refinement could be used as an energy source, who seemingly never heard of Hoover Dam, or the TVA, or the Grand Coulee…

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      > . . . and is it nuts to use 300 gallons of ancient fossil water to grow a pound of them, to be exported on giant cargo ships to Asia for $3, F.O.B?

      Yes, it is nuts.

      Globalization is a disaster, no matter where one cares to look.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Watching the drought from my catbird seat was an odd doomeratti treat, and it didn’t effect anybody here in town really all that much, as we’re first in line for the largess, and not only that, we’re on a fractured rock aquifer, which is completely different from the one that oh so many straws are sucking hard on down in the fruited plain.

        It was the oddest race to the bottom you ever saw, stories like this:

        Tulare County declares emergency as jail wells fail in drought

        June 2015

        https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article23622670.html

        Tulare County supervisors approved on Tuesday paying an additional $260,660 to extend the depth of a newly-drilled well at the Bob Wiley Detention Facility north of Visalia.

        It’s part of a $1.5 million project to drill three new wells at county facilities — two at the jail and one at Mooney Grove Park on Visalia’s south end.

        October 2015

        https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/local/2015/10/27/supervisors-approve-deepen-new-jail/74718492/

        This is where the real ballgame was, not in East Porterville, Ca. where a bunch of shallow 50-75 foot wells in a poor part of town failed, well duh.

        It became this race to the bottom between farmers sinking ever deeper wells, and the wait to get one done was almost draconian @ one point.

        Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        p.s.

        Or then there was Terra Bella (Beautiful Earth) but it had a little problem underneath the upholstery…
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Unlike other districts around here, Terra Bella has virtually no ground water but depends on surface water delivered since the 1950s from the Friant Kern Canal.

        It is the home to about 400 citrus farmers who at least until two years ago — had about 10,000 acres of citrus trees.

        “We figure we have lost 50 to 60 percent of those groves due to lack of water in the past two years” he said.” “It’s pretty depressing.”

        No doubt the Terra Bella district south of Porterville has been hardest hit with at least 5,000 fewer acres due to the drought. In the Central Valley, Citrus Mutual president Joel Nelsen says they estimate over the past two year we have lost about 25,000 citrus acres, mostly Valencia and some early navels he says.

        Sept 2015

        https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/local/2015/09/06/terra-bella-irrigation-district-half-citrus-trees-gone/71829904
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        This is what they did in June 2014, to try and save the citrus, and the lengths of what they gave up to do a deal on getting right now water, astounded me.

        As it turned out, the worst epoch of the drought was 2014-15-16, so it didn’t work in the end, and most orchards got turned into standing newlydead orange wood.

        A drought-inspired water swap will likely save hundreds of citrus orchards in the rolling hills of Tulare County, but it won’t come cheap for desperate farmers.

        Terra Bella growers were facing the summer without San Joaquin River water in a region with almost no well water. Terra Bella Irrigation District leaders feared thousands of acres of trees would be lost, amounting to a $59 million hit.

        Now the farmers are getting 5,400 acre-feet of water, which will be added to other smaller water trades that will give them about half of what they usually use, according to the irrigation district.

        In this complex water deal, they’ll be paying $1,200 per acre-foot that will cover costs of returning the water to a Kern County water district. The bill is about six times higher than the usual acre-foot price, but it beats losing all those trees.

        For the first time in their histories, Arvin-Edison and the Exchange Contractors — 170 miles apart — arranged a deal to move water down the Friant-Kern Canal to Terra Bella.

        Water will be returned to Arvin-Edison over the next several years as long as precipitation is near average. Terra Bella has agreed to return five acre-feet of water for each acre-foot of water it receives now — in other words, 25,000 acre-feet will be returned.

        Reply
      3. JTMcPhee

        Interesting numbers, of course. People scope through Amazon and Walmart online in their consumer trances, looking for more stuff to add to the stuff that they had delivered that did not satisfy that craving or scratch that itch to “have,” not necessarily “own” since the transaction was a charge to their credit-debit-PayPal thingie.

        I remember my mother, dearest of women, taking us kids to Carson Pirie Scott and Marshall Fields at the early-version destination Malls in north Suburban Chicago. Her face, usually very expressive, would go all blank except for a kind of raptor focus to the eyes, evaluating all the garments on the racks and the gewgaws and perfumes and “accessories” on and over and under the glass of the many counters in those “department stores.” Only in later years did I start calling that the “consumer trance.”

        Back then stuff was generally a little better made, so it tended to last, and “brands” sort of meant something, in the Geist of the then culture. But that blank, appraising, acquisitive perusal can be seen, I am sure, in any ‘fashion” place,

        And I bet the software behind all the cameras in all the devices that send all that data to all those servers, looking at the faces of all those “consumers” who just have to have whatever the latest is, “recognizes” that nearly universal “how will this go with my wardrobe and desires” visage, and re-tunes the trillions of consumptive messages to fit the algo’s AI profiling of the dope human doing the looking and being looked at.

        And some work-slave in some far off place is redirected to churn out a bunch of other crap that gets “put into TRADE,” because without “TRADE” OMG IT WILL ALL COLLAPSE!!!!!

        Will the Russians “sanction” the mopes of New England this winter, by withholding those tanker ships loaded with combustible gas?

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          It might have been my imagination, wishful thinking, taste buds or a combination of all of the above, but the summer fruit of 2015 was the most flavorful I can remember, and every last drop to nourish them came from a thousand, maybe a few thousand feet below, water that took about forever to get there, and I ate it in no time flat.

          EROEI works on food too, eventually you can’t go any deeper, and in oil they merely cap the well, but an orchard is easier, it’s a DIY die-off.

          {bumper sticker}

          “We’re eating our grandchildrens missed meal!”

          Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Rule #1: It’s all about the water
          Rule #2: See Rule #1

          New California groundwater legislation was passed in 2014, the plans to be unveiled in 2020.

          The gist of which:

          The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, adopted in 2014, was a Herculean achievement for California. … The new law requires critically overdrafted groundwater basins to adopt plans by 2020 to sustainably manage their aquifers.

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          What this set off, was a frenzy of new fruit & nut trees all over the Central Valley, this, as 129 million pine trees are dying in the Sierra. Many millions if not 10 million new hires.

          The thinking among the Ag set, that the new sheriff in town will be lenient on those grandfathered in 2020 hindsight.

          You’d see 10,000 tree orchards pop up out of nowhere, such as around the periphery of the Visalia dump, poof, there it is!

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Groundwater_Management_Act

          Reply
      4. Louis Fyne

        Asia sends us cars and electronics. They get paid in cash.

        Then they use the cash to buy beef, almonds, F-35s and a line-item in the US Treasury’s bond ledger.

        What’s the problem? Only the environment and American manufacturing loses. (sarcasm)

        Reply
    2. bronco

      So idiot farmers grow stupid crops and this is Trump’s fault? He is a jerk to try to get them more water on the other hand if he tried to block their access to water he would be an idiot.

      Democrats have been in the drivers seat on that entire coast for decades shouldn’t it be a paradise already?

      Reply
      1. Edward E

        Could build a pipe to the Mississippi River and if those Democrats can suck in one tenth as much as they blow out they’ll have it right?

        Maybe he’ll send the Golden Hurricane from Lotawatah, Okla, his favorite

        Reply
        1. r helder

          do the math: the energy required to pump fresh water from the mississippi up a 5500 foot gradient across 1000 miles, then over the rockies for another 1000 miles, would make that the most expensive water on earth! (and that’s not figuring costs of construction).

          and don’t even think of stealing lake michigan. we’ve got international treaties to protect us from the greed of desert states)!

          Reply
  3. Eduardo

    His expulsion came after a viral tweet showing him — clad in uniform, fist raised — displaying a hat reading, “COMMUNISM WILL WIN.”

    “We Were Terrorizing Some of the Most Exploited People on Earth” Jacobin

    What if it said instead “GOD WILL WIN” or “CHRISTIANITY WILL WIN” or “CAPITALISM WILL WIN” or “TRUMP WILL WIN”?

    You posted it with a hashtag, #VeteransforKaepernick. … The next morning, one of the field-grade officers said to me, “So, I hear you’re a fan of Colin Kaepernick,” and I thought, “Oh boy, here we go.” Then my chain of command pulled me aside and told me I was under investigation. They read me my rights and told me I had the right to an attorney. Then they essentially confined me to a range tower, which is a tall structure where you can oversee all the different operations happening on the rifle range….Although it’s not illegal to be a communist in the military, there are other ways to formulate their arguments to repress you.

    I guess #VeteransforTrump would have been OK?

    Reply
    1. perpetualWAR

      “….that one good person can’t effect change when the system is inherently wrong.”

      That resonates with me especially because of my activism in the courts and legislature. My hats off to this kid!

      Reply
    2. Olga

      From another soldier:
      https://www.truthdig.com/articles/what-keeps-washington-indefinitely-in-bed-with-riyadh/
      “So what is it that keeps Washington so closely—and inextricably—tied to Riyadh? It’s increasing clear that the profits of the military-industrial complex might provide the best explanation. The United States no longer produces much of value. Deindustrialization crippled our Rust Belt, reoriented America to a service economy and increased the growing gap between rich and poor. These days, guns and bombs—the U.S. is by far the largest international arms dealer—are the one thing Uncle Sam still produces.”

      Reply
        1. cnchal

          > Not very good ones, either.

          Consider that a blessing. Were the F35 the best jet fighter in the world, it would be sent to fight everywhere instead of being like a NASCAR truck stuck in the pits.

          Peace through procurement malpractice.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            There is no rumor to the rumor that in what can only be determined a propaganda victory in the category of heavier than air, the F-35 is now to be called:

            “Semper Fly”

            Reply
    3. JCC

      Coincidentally I just listened to Rapone’s podcast a couple of days ago, Eye’s Left, based on a link from Jimmy Dore. He does not consider himself a communist, but is a solid left supporter.

      The podcast dealt with the award given to George and Laura Bush by Biden for his ‘support of Veterans” and very effectively debunks that BS. He also covers a recent letter to Bush from Tomas Young just before he died due to severe wounds from wounds received in Iraq.

      https://soundcloud.com/eyesleft/bushs-real-legacy-serving-veterans

      Reply
    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      If a sneaky satirist worked his/her way into West Point, he/she could do that very thing. He/she could pose with Trump Will Win or even better, because exactly symmetrical, Capitalism Will Win written on the inside of his/her hat.

      And then we could behold the reaction . . . or not . . . of West Point and the Army.

      It is regrettable that this young man could not have had some other cadet doing that very thing at that very time. The comparison of differential Army behavior towards the two different political declarations at the very same time might have been too tempting for the media to ignore.

      Reply
    5. JBird4049

      “We Were Terrorizing Some of the Most Exploited People on Earth”

      Interesting that his advocacy for a different economic system and his opposition to what could be called an illegal war for private gain got him into trouble. Please, nobody better give me that responsibility evading Iraq Authorization or the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists otherwise known as the Excuse to Invade the World.

      Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Official Flip-Flop on Khashoggi Shocks Saudis”

    The story keeps changing what happened to Khashoggi and each time it gets closer to the truth. One question that keeps coming up is where Khashoggi’s body actually is. I look forward to the day when the Saudis are forced to come clean and make the announcement that:
    “In answer to the question of just where Khashoggi’s body is, we are pleased to announce that it is spread over the following map co-ordinates…”

    Reply
    1. Class of Classes

      Radio Ward Nerd had a really interesting angle on the murder: class. Khashoggi was the son of one of the biggest arms dealers in the 70-80 and a billionaire. So he has moved around in the elite circles in the US as well as in the Clinton circles. Two things: 1) the elite and the crying about this very journalist is because its own class was hit, not because of any particular concern about journalistic freedom in Saudi Arabia 2) it is used by clintonites as a domestic weapon against Trump.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        Yep. Liberal Democrat opportunists (press, intelligence community, political operatives) leveraging the outcome of internal Saudi factional infighting.

        Apparently babies!!!!!! doesn’t, er, cut it any more so the new horror is dismemberment. (Not that it may not have happened, just that it’s being leveraged, exactly as in a horror movie. (“I wants to make your flesh creep!”)

        Reply
    2. Mirdif

      I think we already know the real story: tortured, killed and dismembered. There are a number of factors at play in the murder of Dodi Fayed’s cousin.

      1. Khashoggi was close to Prince Walid and even moreso Prince Ahmad the younger brother of King Salman.

      2. The normal succession rules would mean Prince Ahmad is the crown prince but MbS has bypassed all of this.

      3.MbS has made a lot of enemies inside Saudi due to his “secularisation” policy and his extortion of prominent persons, and in the US administration due to his foreign adventures; notably Yemen where US special forces were deployed earlier this year to help Saudi.

      4. In video that did the social media rounds in September: a demonstration in London where the demonstrators were protesting about the war in Yemen and condemning the Saudi family, Prince Ahmad approached the protestors and defended the Saudi family and said not all of the Saudi family is responsible for the war, only some people are responsible and he hoped the war ended today and not tomorrow. When the protestors pushed him who is responsible he flatly said the king and crown prince. MbS is paranoid at the best of times so he likely took this as his uncle about to make a move against him.

      5. Khashoggi was likely tortured to find out what he knew about this developing internal struggle.

      6. It happened in Turkey because of the poor Turkish-US relationship as well as the Turkish economic turmoil so the Saudis on the one hand can threaten to remove investments and on the other hand offer to make investments to make everything go away.

      7. Guaranteed US intelligence knew what situation Khashoggi was walking in to. This is the real reason you build a massive surveillance operation.

      8. The reason this story has so much traction is that in the US some politicians are thinking of “punishing” Saudi by “freezing” assets. “Freezing” because they really mean confiscating and who doesn’t like free money?

      9. Turkey has so far taken a much more subdued tone instead of expelling the Saudi ambassador as you would normally expect. Erdogan understand the peril he is in if he takes too much of a robust line.

      10. US policy to Saudi is exactly the same as the policy towards, Iraq, Libya and Syria: Balkanization. The struggle in the Saudi family may become “hot” especially as the security forces were divided some years ago; a policy Prince Ahmad opposed. This may mean different factions ruling different areas of Saudi in exactly the same way as has happened in Libya and thus US foreign policy continues as it has done since Brent Scowcroft came up with this under George Bush the first of his name.

      11. At the least this current case will be used to shackle MbS at least and depose him at best. All too predictable, he was known as a psychopath before he took his current position.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        2. About point 2, succession rules apply when the monarch is under the auspices of a parliament type structure. Outside of that, it’s always a baronial struggle. It might be peaceful, but laws don’t apply here, especially in a brother to brother succession process.

        I give credit to MBS to recognizing a late Soviet style succession situation and seizing power.

        10. Balkanization? Are you kidding? The only worthwhile part is inhabited by Shiites, and the U.S. has no interest in Shiites unchecked, who can be democratic, being on top of the oil. The whole policy towards the Saud plantation is to keep people who don’t live on the oil in charge of it to control them. Protecting Saudi Arabia might be the number one goal of U.S. policy.

        Reply
        1. Mirdif

          The rule of succession is a defacto one. It doesn’t invalidate my point.

          I noticed you totally ignored the evidence of Iraq, Libya and Syria. All now Balkanized. As for Shiites unchecked, do you think this Balkanization policy does not apply to Iran? How very strange that I need to spell out every little thing. Yes Iran has significant internal fissures and these are hoped to become ever more magnified with the economic pressures that have been introduced.

          Reply
            1. Mirdif

              It doesn’t need to.

              I’m addressing a new point about Shiites in Saudi Arabia, who I might add have a separatist group in their midst financed by Iran just as Saudi finances Mujahidin-e-Khalq in Iran as well as some Kurdish and Baloch separatist groups and we’re back to my point about Balkanization being financed by a US ally. That doesn’t mean that imperial command in DC and Langley have exempted the ally from that policy and indeed the comeback from Iran as well as other homebrewed conflicts will subject Saudi to this same policy.

              Perhaps I’m wrong to expect people to have a base level of knowledge about a topic before pontificating and nitpicking.

              I was going to leave the point about US foreign policy out because far too many Americans are unable to tolerate anything but nice words about their country while at the same time their governments have had policies for decades where they subject large parts of the world to something a lot worse than nasty words.

              Reply
              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                I’m not prepared to accept this was mostly an internal Game of Thrones gambit, Kashoggi was too connected to the General Intelligence Directorate. The U.S. knew what was going to happen to him but they let it play out anyway, that’s the tell. That means the U.S. also wanted him gone. More likely in my view he had some really good dirt (9/11 perhaps, the 28 redacted pages etc) and could no longer be reliably controlled. Washington is piling on now because that’s what we do: feign moral superiority and outrage. Chaos favors our national policy aims (endless war profiteering) so why not add another land populated by ragheads to the mix? Because that would be stupid? Didn’t stop our resident geniuses in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, blah blah blah

                Reply
        2. Unna

          Succession Rules are always a slippery thing for those vying for the title of Sovereign. The Saudis are a just a bit more honest about it. The Sultans were explicit in that upon his accession to power, the new sultan had all his brothers strangled with a silken cord as befitted their honoured status.

          Under the logic of monarchy, Richard III was perfectly correct in murdering his two nephews, as they would have been correct to have murdered Richard if they were old enough and powerful enough to have seen the danger he represented to them.

          There is a narrative that Edward VIII was forced into addication, using the excuse of his marriage to an American undesirable, because for some reason he was thought to be unstable and dangerous. The truth of this is unimportant. For in any case, our now ex-monarch would have been perfectly “correct” to conspire with the Germans in order to regain “his” throne. Deposed monarchs have commonly conspired with foreign powers throughout history. They owe no loyalty to mere countries and peoples, since countries and their populations are objects to be traded among sovereigns while making treaties.

          Therefore, Monarchies where the so called “monarch” does not constantly live in existential apprehension of his siblings and others is not a true monarchy, but something else.

          Moral outrage about this Saudi killing is either fake, or betrays a serious misunderstanding of the nature of the regime Western Republics are doing business with. My guess is, moral outrage in this case is fake and has some other purpose.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Therefore, Monarchies where the so called “monarch” does not constantly live in existential apprehension of his siblings and others is not a true monarchy, but something else.

            Really? That is a dysfunctional crime family not a governmental system. Even in a system with a powerful inherited ruling position they usually tried to have a functioning system for peaceful orderly transitions of power. States that did do this usually did well. If not, then not.

            True it often it didn’t work as shown by the Ottoman Empire constant scheming, backstabbings, betrayals, assassinations, and civil wars. Sometimes the survivors didn’t have any particular desire to rule but did have a very strong desire to live. The paranoid, often traumatized, and often murderously dysfunctional rulers that resulted helped to destroy the empire. The Byzantine and Persian Empires also had the same problem.

            Reply
      2. dcblogger

        8. The reason this story has so much traction is that in the US some politicians are thinking of “punishing” Saudi by “freezing” assets. “Freezing” because they really mean confiscating and who doesn’t like free money?

        I had not considered that, but puff goes your reputation for being a safe place to park your money.

        Reply
      3. s.n.

        in re: your point nr. 8: “Erdogan understand the peril he is in if he takes too much of a robust line”,

        I have just this AM read Martin Chulov’s latest Guardian piece https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/21/death-of-dissident-jamal-khashoggi-mohammed-bin-salman
        and find his brief hint as to Erdogan’s game compelling:
        As the Turkish drip-feed continued, an element of revenge appeared to be driving it. This was the House of Saud’s death by a thousand cuts. Beyond a primal response though, has been a strategic objective. Erdoğan was not going to fold easily. Saudi Arabia’s belief that a cash strapped Turkish economy may drive Ankara’s calculations has proven ill-considered. A bounty to make the crisis go away is something that Riyadh could easily deal with, but Erdoğan has sought something far bigger – a chance to diminish a rival with a claim to speak for Sunni Islam and relaunch Turkey as an Islamic power base.”

        time, of course, will tell. And soon. Either the Turks deliver the audio tapes and they are what they claimed, or their bluff as called. But if this marks a new phase of Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman strategy, then very well-played indeed. I’m cheering anyone that will take down the House of Saud.

        Reply
      4. Procopius

        Re: your point 6. That really needs more clarification. Remember that back when MbS imposed the blockade on Qatar and there was concern about what could be done to prevent an actual invasion, because the U.S.’s most important air base in the middle east is in Qatar. Well, the Turks seemed to be the most important factor there, because as soon as they moved troops into the army base they had been awarded by the Qatari, everybody recognized there was no longer any possibility of an invasion. Naturally, there has been no effort in the American media to analyze the meaning of this play. There are strange things going on behind the curtains over there. Erdogan appears to have decided not to concede dominance in the Middle East to the Saudis. Nobody seems to know his motives in revealing very valuable intelligence sources in order to nail down the Khashoggi case.

        Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      ” Flash!”

      ” Salvador Allende shoots self in head fourty seven times, pausing only twice to reload.”

      Reply
  5. noonespecial

    Big Brother in Retail Stores –

    I take the NY Mag article as an update to what has been in development for some time. Adding facial recognition to the basket is just another way to increase those sales.

    An NYTimes article from a few years ago reveals some strategies employed to vacuum data:

    “When a shopper has volunteered some personal information, either by downloading a retailer’s app or providing an e-mail address when using in-store Wi-Fi, Nomi pulls up a profile of that customer — the number of recent visits, what products that customer was looking at on the Web site last night, purchase history. The store then has access to that profile…’I walk into Macy’s, Macy’s knows that I just entered the store, and they’re able to give me a personalized recommendation through my phone the moment I enter the store,’ said Corey Capasso, Nomi’s president. ‘It’s literally bringing the Amazon experience into the store.'”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/business/attention-shopper-stores-are-tracking-your-cell.html

    Reply
    1. FreeMarketApologist

      I was at the Lamar St. Whole Foods in Austin yesterday (the mother ship of the empire), and was noticing the shelf-mounted price tags in the wine section. They’re electronic — little LED screens — and every once in a while, one would flicker a bit, and redisplay the price and label info. In about 3 minutes of looking, probably half a dozen labels did this. I couldn’t tell if the prices were changing (up or down), or if it was just a refresh of the display. I didn’t have my phone turned on, so it couldn’t have been snooping my preferences from there, but maybe my frowns at some of the prices were causing new prices to appear?

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        add that to the facial recognition and fleece the customer to the utmost. Nowadays you need to play the part of the obsessive bargain hunter to the cams or your prices will go up.

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether

        > I didn’t have my phone turned on,

        That’s what you think.

        Cool technology, though. If they can place you and your phone in front of a product, they can rejigger the price based on your personal preferences how much they can screw out of you, and maintain that price all the way to checkout. Why is this even legal?

        Reply
      3. Clive

        Your “contactless” (NFC-chip enabled) credit- or debit- cards aren’t “on” or “off” either. But there they all are in your purse, wallet or pocket, merrily chirruping away their — and your — uniquely identifiable presence. Similarly if your phone is NFC-enabled. Granted, range is short (10 cm). But Whole Foods has an entire store to play with in terms of the placement of the NFC readers.

        Here’s the technical low down. You can build an app for that. https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/articles/javame/nfc-140183.html

        Don’t think for a single second Whole Foods don’t know who you are or where you are in their store. Carrying cash only is fairly foolproof.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          No one knew at the time what a problem oil would become.

          And so it seemed that Oil Profit were better shared with Everyman than reserved to Every Oil Baron.

          Reply
  6. Cynthia

    I lifted this rather shocking, but not too surprising piece from the “Wall Street Journal” today: “Death rates at hospitals inspected by Joint Commission no better than at other facilities” (see link below)

    That’s because Joint Commission focuses on the small stuff and overlooks the big stuff, IMO. They would rather “ding” a hospital for finding a coffee mug or a water bottle at the nurses station or finding a stretcher or blood pressure machine left out in the hallway than “ding” them for admitting or transferring critically-ill patients to a regular floor instead of to an ICU, or for just keeping them on a regular floor, knowing full well that they need to be in an ICU.

    Needless to say, a coffee mug or a water bottle at the nurses station or finding a stretcher or blood pressure machine left out in the hallway isn’t what’s killing patients in the hospital. What’s killing them is the far too common practice of admitting or transferring critically ill patients to a regular floor or just plain keeping them there instead of transferring them to an ICU. And this is done more frequently on the weekends, which is why patient safety and patient mortality is worse on the weekends, hence the “weekend effect.”

    BTW, the “weekend effect” is something that any competent hospital administrator knows about, but does nothing about because it would require them to fix the problem of being chronically understaffed on weekends and the problem of not having “special procedure” teams more readily available on weekends. And as long as Joint Commission doesn’t ding hospitals for these and other potentially deadly problems, the “weekend effect” will continue unabated.

    Which leads me to mention yet another thing that’s killing patients in hospitals, which is also more likely to happen during “after hours” or on weekends, hence the “weekend effect” strikes again, rearing its ugly head. It involves “special procedure” teams having to be “called in” from home to fix, say, a G.I. bleed, heart attack or stroke. Because of this, they oftentimes try to put it off until morning, which can sometimes mean a death sentence to a patient. Or, if they do come in to treat the bleed, heart attack or stroke, so much time has past that the patient’s survivability is greatly diminished. The same sort of problem often occurs with patients that need emergency dialysis. Oftentimes the “emergency” on-call dialysis team tries to put off until the morning, preferably Monday morning, to dialyze patients, who can be maxed out on oxygen and still struggling to breath due to having too much fluid on board. Which means that the code blue team has to be called to the bedside so that the patent can be intubated and then immediately transferred to an ICU in order to have emergency dialysis done there. Once again, this kind of “delay in care” is what’s causing mortality rates to go up in hospitals.

    But, once again, as long as Joint Commission would rather dink hospitals for the small stuff instead of the big stuff, patient mortality in hospitals will continue to get worse.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/study-challenges-hospitals-use-of-accrediting-watchdogs-1539835260

    Reply
  7. a different chris

    Is the “Build Act” a piece of Pythonesqe comedy?

    Sixty billion spent by people who know bleep-all about anything but threatening the rest of the world vs 1 trillion by people that, whilst far from the type of people we wish they were, are pretty darn good at producing and exporting stuff, as well as building local infrastructure, that meets significant needs.

    (bangs head)

    Reply
  8. dcblogger

    Sanders hints at reckoning with Warren over 2020 ambitions Politico

    expect lots and lots of lets you and him fight stories between now and Nov 2020.

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      Apparently, it seems Trump really brought home the MMT truth for Sanders….

      Now, Sanders said, “You’re seeing candidates coming up with ideas to try to address those issues.”

      “In a sense,” he said, President Donald Trump “has helped us, because he has said that deficits don’t matter, that you can give a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the top 1 percent. And that opens the door, I think, for progressives to start saying we’re going to use the federal government to protect the interests of working families, not just the people on top.”

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      We should be willing to call it what it is. Which is Fake News. And every perpetrator who runs enough of these Fake News stories should be branded Fake Media. If Politico wants to become the Fake Media, it should be branded that way.

      Fake News Politico.

      Reply
  9. Carolinian

    Good Patrick Cockburn but there’s this

    Above all, the anti-Trump portion of the US media and the Democrats smell political blood and sense that the Khashoggi affair is doing the sort of serious damage to the Trump presidency that never really happened with the Russian probe.

    The prob there is that the anti-Trump media has been just as much in bed with the Sauds as Trump. Indeed I believe there’s a pic of Jeff “Democracy Dies in Darkness” Bezos schmoozing with the crown prince. Of course the media do have the advantage of being able to use their barrels of ink to talk about Trump’s Saudi enabling, not their own.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The msm is less owned than fellow travelers with the ilk of the House of Saud. The best con men are true believers, and the msm has seen one of its own attacked and is responding. An alt left reporter or blogger wouldn’t merit a mention. The anti-Trump hysteria hasn’t caused an uproar over the J-20 political prisoners which includes a journalist.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I only find this persuasive if you remember that Khashoggi is one of the Owner class, so the six guys who control the corporations that own the media are affected. The “reporters/stenographers” and “editors/news selectors” don’t really give a shit. Full disclosure: I don’t actually know anybody who works in the media so this is my opinion based on very sour perceptions of the failings of the media. One thing I believe, as the Supreme Court decided in one of the tobacco monopolist pricing cases, there doesn’t have to be an actual conspiracy where the members meet such as at Judge Gary’s “Little Dinners.” They know what their class interests are and they all work toward common ends.

        Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “Independent Kerryn Phelps claims victory over Liberal candidate Dave Sharma for Malcolm Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth ”

    Classic case of blowback this and I bet that a lot of it was a result of the dumping of this seat’s Malcolm Turnbull a coupla months ago. A bit of arcane detail. This unnecessary leadership spill was probably organized by the ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott who wants back in as Prime Mister. This guy is seriously right-wing and a fierce opponent of anything to do with climate change. Lately he has been pushing the use of coal for all that he is worth and wanting uneconomical coal plants to be kept going with tax-payer money. An American analogue for him might be Mark Rubio of Florida.
    Well wouldn’t you know about it. The seat next to Wentworth is one called Warringah and its rep is one Tony Abbott. Now people are beginning to wonder if the same factor that lead to the loss of Wentworth may lead to him losing his seat in Parliament. Considering that Weentworth has been held by the Coalition in one form or another since Federation over a century ago and it fell to an independent, all seats may be up for grabs. More about Tony Abbott’s troubles at-

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/the-person-with-the-most-to-fear-from-the-liberal-party-s-wentworth-debacle-is-tony-abbott-20181021-p50b05.html

    Where is Nelson when you need him?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX7wtNOkuHo

    Reply
  11. Anonymous2

    The UK Sunday papers are, a number of them, running stories of an attempt next week to depose May.

    This could be crunch time.

    Reply
  12. Webstir

    Re: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/magazine/felon-attorney-crime-yale-law

    This story tracks mine incredibly closely. However, as I was only 21 when I was charged with my felony and no priors, white priviledge stepped in. I was given a deferred sentence and put on probation, the conditions of which I satisfied, and the felony didn’t follow me.

    As many readers here will know; however, the alcoholism (and various misdemeanors) did for another 15 years. Once sober I began to clean up the legal, financial, and emotional wreckage of my past. Today, I’m licensed in Idaho and pursuing my license in MT.

    This story brought tears to my eyes. I applaud you Mr. Betts! People like YOU make waking in the morning tolerable.

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      The link doesn’t work anymore. Would have liked to read it cuz somehow I missed knowing anything about your journey…

      Reply
  13. Richard

    This will be my typical post where I praise NC and you guys, because nowhere else in the world would I even try to ask this kind of question.
    Was watching a K. Kulinski video of a politicon panel on socialism, Sam Seder asked panelists to put themselves on a right-left spectrum w/ regard to public ownership/control of things.
    It struck me again how much I dislike the classic left-right formulation. What is that itself but a way to divide and conquer before we even start a conversation. Think of how that positioning works, at least in terms of US politics:
    1) To take a “left” position, or to position oneself “to the left” on any issue and in any way, is to take a principled position. At least in one’s own mind. Which is why we tend to f*&%ing hate people to the left of us. Seriously. Or at least many of us do and tend to act on that feeling, while others of us simply struggle with that feeling. When you perceive someone to the “left” of you, in some way, you often feel your own principles being challenged, maybe not as universal and “rights of (hu)man” as you thought they were.
    Which is the emotional kick so many get from punching left. This is quite apart from the institutional and career motives involved. Maybe.
    2) To take a “right” position, or to position oneself “to the right” on any issue and in any way, is to take a “practical position” or a traditional one. The so-called practical position almost always has to do with lining someone’s pocket to appease the market. Because that’s all that works iwth sociopaths. Because they need to be in charge, for some reason.
    A traditional right position usually has to do with appeasing other power structures besides the boss oligarchs. Males as “heads of family”, religions, racist ideology.
    This is the part I’m having trouble with. Is a “right wing” position always grounded in (lies about our) selfishness or tradition? If a position to the left of us is something we hate (or perhaps resent is a better word), because it challenges our golden principles, is a position to the right of us simply “wrong”, “archaic”, “unjust”? Or is there something about taking a “right” position that I’m missing?
    At any rate, it gets me thinking of the whole idea of a left-right construct as being just a kind of left-punching machine? A bit of a silly caricature, I freely admit. But I wonder how possible it is to ditch the entire framework?
    This is the great part, where I get to ask my jagoff, lunatic question in the AM, and leave a wiser man in the PM.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      OK, I’ll bite, though this is at a bit of an angle:

      One reason “right” and “left” are such treacherous terms is that neither is a thing. Although Lambert proffers a useful working definition of “left,” in practice both are grab bags of principles and policies, not necessarily consistent or driven by underlying logic. More like a common attitude on each side.

      For instance, environmentalists are generally identified with and supported by the left, even though it’s an inherently conservative policy. Conservationists are the only real conservatives, the only ones trying to conserve something. Arguably, it’s based on acknowledging the public interest, something “conservatives” tend to deny, but that’s a bit of a stretch.

      Accordingly, many, if not most, people wind up with a foot in both camps, depending on which parts of the grab bag they choose. I notice this, for example, when Libertarians ask for Green Party co-nominations. Turns out we often have enough in common to justify the support. There is such a thing as left-libertarians. Or consider why Libertarians are part of the right, but anarchists, logically a step beyond, are part of the left.

      The real, underlying difference is in attitudes and values – essentially personal characteristics. Those are actually fairly consistent on either side, although maybe a majority don’t fit into either mold. So no, I don’t think the construct is ” just a kind of left-punching machine.” I do think it’s awkward and outdated – in fact the Green Party sets out to be an alternative to both, which makes it ironic that we’re pretty much what’s left of the left in this country. To make sense, you have to get into actual attitudes and policies.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether

      I think it makes sense to think of politics as a multi-dimensional terrain instead of a two-dimensional spectrum. Rex Stout, Over My Dead Body:

      “My son,” he said in a tone of civilised exasperation, “is a little bit green. It is unavoidable that youth should arrange people in categories, it’s the only way of handling the mass of material at first to avoid hopeless confusion, but the sorting out should not be too long delayed. My son seems to be pretty slow at it. He overrates some people and underrates others. Perhaps I’ve tried to rush it by opening too many doors for him. A father’s conceit can be a very disastrous thing”.

      The Beltway seems to be domesticated into a permanent case of adolesence….

      Reply
      1. Richard

        Thanks for your responses everyone, and I leave improved, as usual. I am in the process of thinking more multi-dimensionally, but like the saying goes, every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in.

        Reply
  14. DJG

    Orhan Pamuk on photographs, a bit on painting (he started off trying to be a painter), and, naturally, getting his photo taken by Ara Güler. Pamuk’s family is definitely upper-middle class, something that isn’t always evident in his fiction, although it seems to have infected Museum of Innocence.

    https://lithub.com/orhan-pamuk-taking-photographs-in-istanbul/

    A well-written tribute worth a read. With some interesting photos of Pamuk’s own.

    Reply
  15. FarFarFarFarLeft

    Youth climate change case update: It’s all over now. On Friday, the USSC ruled in favor of the Fed. The shelf-life of hope gets shorter every day. #Revolt

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If my cable company had not dropped CBC news years ago, I might not have dropped my cable company.

      I think I would be delighted to behold all this coverage of cannabis on the CBC news.

      Reply
      1. JEHR

        Good to know. I believe a lot of Americans who live near the border listen to CBC radio and perhaps even TV. I listen to all-night CBC radio and it covers PRI (Public Radio International from Boston with Marco Werman) and ABC (Australia) and BBC (covering information from almost every country the Brits conquered), and DW (Deutsche Welle in Germany) and RT (Ireland) and so on. I learn a lot about the world from a very different perspective than the MSM.

        Reply
  16. Pat

    Heads up the right wing press is apparently abuzz with someone going to Ronan Farrow with a story of harassment by Cory Booker. Supposedly he followed a young man into a bathroom and was not taking no for an answer.

    There are many reasons I would like to see Booker disappear down the rabbit hole and I’m not entirely beyond enjoying a little shadenfreud but just like the Kavanaugh debacle I would prefer not to see what little movement being made about sexual harassment used as a political cudgel with little or no evidence. I’ll see where this goes, but my bet is that anything that comes of it will swing the pendulum back even more.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether

      There is the theory that nobody makes it into real power without the rest of the power-holders having something on them (and the Beltway is a very easy place for stuff like that to happen). The elites all have the power to blackmail each other, and that’s how they keep each other in line: Mutual Assured Destruction. If that’s true, any stigmatization effort is selective by definition (q.v. the case of Al Franken vs. the case Bill Clinton). Ergo, the stigmatization of Booker is selective.

      And I’m with you. I’d rather see Booker taken down because he’s an oleaginous shill for private equity, not because he adopts a “wide stance” or whatever.

      Now that I think of it, the very first sex scandal I can remember blogging about was Republican Jack Ryan, in 2004; some nasty details in the custody papers for his divorce. Ryan’s opponent? The then unknown Barack Obama.

      So this tactic is old. What’s new, I think, is the volume. #MeToo is not just for the “victims,” but for the new class of people doing the calling out.

      Reply
  17. John k

    So tulsi’s thinking pres…
    Younger better looking than warren, and anti war progressive. Super popular. Maybe a good foil to siphon support from warren, later support Bernie who anyway will bring out the biggest crowds and votes. The kindly grandfather that Ronnie wasn’t.
    I’ve been predicting Bernie tulsi will bring in the biggest party, the indies, and win in landslide. With coattails.

    Reply
    1. johnnygl

      Tulsi’s off to a good start with her career and she’s very popular in HI, as far as i can tell. I don’t think she’s ready for primetime, yet. I would like to see her get a good cabinet job in a sanders administration. I’d also like to see warren as treas. sec.

      What we need sanders to do, besides win the presidency and fix the country is to help groom the next wave of progressives/lefties and build a bench.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If Gabbard were to run, and if she showed well, and if Bernie won the PrezNom, and then went on to win the election itself; Bernie and Gabbard could have quiet discussions as to whether Gabbard might accept a serious cabinet post. Perhaps State or Defense.

        Reply
      2. JerryDenim

        “I’d also like to see warren as treas. sec.”

        No way. As long as you’re dreaming, dream big- Stephanie Kelton. MMT or bust. Death to deficit hawks and monetarists.

        Reply
    2. Eduardo

      Bernie / Tulsi might be a great ticket but I can’t see them winning the Democratic nomination. Too many Hillary supporters still hate Bernie for [telling some truths| making her look bad|costing her the momentum|making her move left|costing her the election|not being a Democrat|…] (pick one or more) for him to get the nomination. And Tulsi seems a little too peace loving for today’s Democratic party. And neither seem to have the necessary anti-Russia bona fides.

      Reply
      1. John k

        Many of hill supporters dislike Bernie, not least because he’s progressive. But they also dislike trump, and some realize Biden Kamala can’t beat trump.
        Plus msm can’t completely ignore him now, too many independent sources of info… remember that even with the blackout he drew huge crowds. If anything they’re bigger now. In 2016 he was onknown at the start. Now he begins as most pop pol in America.
        He’ll crush oppo in any primary indies can vote in, and win many others.
        Granted, his health has to hold.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The Clintonites and all their Jonestown Clinties in the field hate Sanders with a hatred which is rare and true. If Sanders were to be nominated, they would do anything to get Sanders defeated. Would they vote for Trump to get revenge on Sanders? Some of them would.

          If Gabbard got nominated? They would vote against Gabbard because she had supported Sanders early in the last primary season. They will extend their hatred for Sanders to cover Gabbard as well.

          The Clintonites and their millions and millions of Jonestown Clinties in the field will never be anything but a threat and a menace and a destructive obstacle. They will keep obstructing and revenging for decades until they have all finally died.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether

            > If Sanders were to be nominated, they would do anything to get Sanders defeated.

            They would, as they did with McGovern and are doing with Ben Jealous now. (Unity only works one way, donchya know.) They would also try to cripple him after he was elected, as they did with Carter (!!).

            I say let them do their worst. More clarity.*

            * And if there’s anything to that Jane Sanders thing, and I don’t think there is, but that doesn’t mean something can’t be made from nothing, the time to deal with it is soon.

            Reply
      2. Daryl

        I could see Bernie winning easily if the Democrats put forth a clown car of cookie cutter idiots like the Republicans did when Trump ran.

        Reply
    3. Oregoncharles

      If Bernie (or a number of the others) is nominated for Pres, the VP choice becomes crucial, as there’s a fair chance of dying in office.

      OTOH: from Tulsi’s point of view, maybe not such a good deal, as VP is generally a dead-end post. She’s young enough to be willing to wait. A run in 2020 would basically be positioning for the future, if it isn’t a try for the VP.

      Reply
    4. Lambert Strether

      The Politico article on Gabbard ends:

      “There’s a very clear contrast and clear difference when it comes to our two Democratic candidates,” Gabbard said at the time, “and who will exercise good judgment” in matters of war.

      Looks like Sanders’ recent focus on Yemen wasn’t monocausal….

      Reply
  18. Summer

    Re: Brexit: Make Democracy Work

    “With that, there’s not a lot of thinking going on. Doubtless, the European Union would require new conditions if we sought to re-join – such as a commitment to join the euro…”

    Wouldn’t the “keep-it-chaotic-Brexit” manuevers currently being witnessed lead down the same road?

    Rock meet hard place.

    Reply
  19. Jean

    Tulsi Gabbard versus Kamala Harris in a debate–that would be juicy.
    An articulate veteran, young surfer and well traveled elected representative who is for Single Payer and withdrawal from the Middle East —
    versus a failed district attorney, corrupt attorney general and pawn of the banking system and the MIC who votes for more war.
    The Democrats voter base would choose Tulsi. The DNC will rig it for Kamla of course.

    Just like Bernie, they would rather lose to Trump with a ‘centrist’ than win with a true progressive who would threaten their financial interests. When 90% of America re-registers as Independent, then maybe the Democrats would field some candidates worthy of support.

    Reply
    1. Big Tap

      The identity politics Democrats would have a problem kneecapping her vs. a Bernie or Biden. Four things she has the other two don’t. Tulsi Gabbard is a woman, a military vet, a Hindu, and 1/4 Asian. That checks off a lot of boxes in the party. If they got rid of her by cheating the Republicans would never let the Democrats hypocrisy be out of the news cycle.

      Reply
      1. JW

        Bernie would have been our first Jewish president. And the Podesta emails revealed team Hillary tried to raise questions about his religion to sway Southern primary voters. Centrist identity politics is very selective.

        Reply
  20. Tangfwa

    And there ya have it: Gandhi’s duty as cosmopolitan citizen, to sacrifice oneself for the world. Last paragraph of the breathless New Yorker fluffer piece. And you thought the working class would save the world! Nay, cosmopolites on our fainting couches, dontcha know.

    Reply
  21. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Doing great things for his country, Spenser Rapone!!

    #VeteransForKaepernick

    HOOOAAAHHHH

    Also, look at all his badges in that Communism Will Win west point photo-

    Combat Infrantryman Badge aka CIB aka youve seen “enemy” bullets
    Airborne aka 5 Jump Chump aka 3 week training at Ft Benning n Bragg
    Air Assault aka climbing ropes aka the lamest of the 3

    I got Airborne before being kicked out of Ranger Selection for telling off a Sergeant Major.

    YOU DISRESPECTING ME, PRIVATE???

    ROGER THAT, SERGEANT MAJOR!

    First and only time a douchebag drill sgt tried to fight me.

    Lots of fertile ground for the proles who are Solds!

    #STILLALILHOOAH

    Reply
  22. Roland

    I wouldn’t bother paying much attention to the details of the Khashoggi murder.

    Only the power-politics matters here. The bottom line is that USA and Western Bloc have decided to put a lot of heat on the Saudis.

    NotTimothyGeithner is wrong when he says that USA wouldn’t want to do anything that could boost Shi’ites in the region. Has he already forgotten that the USA first seemed to do exactly that in Iraq? Of course, any hopeful Shi’ites in Iraq soon learned that empires play the divide-and-rule game. Shi’ites in a broken KSA would get taught the same lesson.

    But so what? The only consistent and intelligible explanation of US and Western policies in the MENA is that they will use any opportunity to weaken or break the strong states in the region. Iraq, Libya, Syria. I would have imagined that Iran would be next, but the West might choose to do the KSA next instead.

    Hatred and contempt of the Saudis runs deep in today’s Western cultures. Whether Left, Right, or Centre, whether Blue, Red or Green, Westerners almost all hate the government and laws in KSA, they blame KSA for 9/11, they hate the KSA’s role in the world energy sector, they despise the princes who rule KSA, and they scorn the Saudi military.

    It’s easy to round up support for some Saudi smashing. Most right-wingers in the West hate Muslims and Arabs generally, and scarcely need an excuse to go kill some more of them. Most of the so-called left-wingers in the West hate the Saudis too, and can easily be persuaded that the war is about liberating women or whatever. Anybody here knows how to write that script, so I don’t need to spell it out.

    Same thing either way: smash the country, overthrow the government, kill lots of people, and make a generations-long mess that in turn will justify indefinite involvement.

    As for why it might be KSA next, rather than Iran, my guess is that Iran might get Russian aid, while if the West deserts KSA, the Saudis are isolated and friendless, therefore apparently quicker and easier to kill.

    Of course, it wouldn’t turn out that way, except for the tragedies. As elsewhere, I would predict that people in KSA might show courage, persistence and ingenuity that will surprise their assailants.

    Since none of the Western countries have paid any sort of significant price for the wars they have waged around the world during the past generation, there still has not developed among Westerners any real aversion to casual warmaking.

    People in the West remain ready for another “war of choice.” For Westerners, doing the KSA would be an easy choice to make.

    Reply
  23. Chauncey Gardiner

    Unable to access the last link today titled “Trump to pull US out of nuclear treaty with Russia”, as the article is behind a pay wall at FT. Despite the Supreme Court’s past decisions not to rule on the subject, which has had the practical effect of enabling such executive action, I don’t think any president has the power under the Constitution to unilaterally terminate a defense treaty without Congressional approval. Too, the political legitimacy of this president to do so is particularly questionable as he received 2.869 million fewer popular votes than his opponent in the last presidential election.

    According to CNN, President Trump said that Russia has been violating the treaty for many years. However, he provided no details. Congress would presumably require information confirming Russian treaty violations before approving such an action by this administration.

    Reply
    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Congressional approval: Very good point.

      The Guardian has a story on Trump’s order (it comes from that insane asylum on two legs, Bolton) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/20/trump-us-nuclear-arms-treaty-russia

      Unfortunately, they do not (I’m pretty sure – only skimmed article) get into the issue you raised, Congressional approval as a requirement to pull out of treaty. The Guardian’s mission, except to prove the rule, is to carry water for the establishment, particularly the one that is ≈ 3500 miles to the West of them.

      Reply
  24. The Rev Kev

    “Trump to pull US out of nuclear treaty with Russia”

    I thought that this was just another case of being ‘non-agreement capable’ again but I am not so sure now. It is almost is if Trump is keeping a bingo card full of most international treaties marked on it and is working his way through it until he can call Bingo! Going by the way that he was criticizing the WTO and saying that there were too many judgements against the US because there weren’t enough American judges there, I would not be surprised if if he pulled out of the WTO next year.
    It is like he is pulling the US out of any treaty that puts any limitation on the US whatsoever. Pulling out of nuclear treaties is one thing but I hope that he is not thinking of pulling out of chemical or biological treaties as well as the Outer Space treaty which forbids placing weapons in space. It seems the only treaties that he will honour are those that put the US in the driver’s seat as a way of putting off the decline of American hegemony this century. That may explain his obsession with China as it is a rising power and I suppose that at the end of the day, he wants to be know as the President that restored America’s greatness.

    Reply
  25. precariat

    re: Vox: NYTimes story KSA, Twitter, Mckinsey

    “It [Saudi Arabia] groomed a Twitter employee in the United States to try to get him to spy on certain accounts. And an American-based consultancy company helped the government identify and target dissidents on Twitter who were later punished and silenced.”

    According to Filkins in the New Yorker, “soon after becoming crown prince, M.B.S. had asked Western and Saudi banks to help assemble a financial picture of the country’s wealthiest men. On November 4th, he sent police across the country to arrest scores of people, including more than a dozen members of the royal family, on allegations of corruption.” They were reportedly kidnapped, detained, extorted and tortured. Western Banks. Was this a legal process or a favor in return for business? Trump is not the only KSA enabler.

    The idea that MBS was a reformer, and thus gonna drain the swamp ( hmmm, same PR firms?) in KSA was a pretext to a purge and power grab. Yet, the cognitive dissonance was irritating when I read the media’s regurgitation of some DC or London PR firm’s spin: MBS detained and under duress reappropriated the wealth of many powerful figures, but he’s a reformer! News flash to the flacks, only the neocons and neoliberal toadying class bought that MBS is a good guy. More and more the media is outright misrepresenting in order to ‘talk their book.’ Media conglomerates wanted Saudi investment . And the Saudi’s always know how to play that game and feel superior to us while doing it.

    Reply
    1. JerryDenim

      The most interesting thing is they’re actually trying to do something about it. It seems like an advanced case of “too little, too late” but I can only imagine the McCarthyist shrieks that would rise up if any of the small measures implemented by Vancouver to curb real estate inflation by hot foreign money were attempted in San Francisco, New York City or Irvine. Good for Vancouver. I wish them luck in their efforts. It seems like they have a tall mountain to climb.

      Reply
  26. Not From Here

    We need that pot in Canada, it’s not all free medicine here. Drugs are not covered for most Canadians, and we actually pay higher prices for Generics than in the USA.
    https://youtu.be/SKiFdfRnJWA
    Costco and other chain store companies take kickbacks, legal and illegal, to 60%, which they use to kill off local small competitors.

    Reply

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