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Links 10/29/18

Record Low Water Levels Are Causing Chaos in Germany Weather.com

The great Himalayan thaw Nepali Times

Changing climate forces desperate Guatemalans to migrate National Geographic

Science can succeed on climate change where politics fails FT. I think we should put this dude in charge of the Irish Border problem. He seems qualified.

IBM Buying Open Source Specialist Red Hat for $34 Billion Wired

From today, it’s OK in the US to thwart DRM to repair your stuff – if you keep the tools a secret Register. Caveats to the recent DRM ruling.

Paul Volcker sets a challenge for the next generation FT

Syraqistan

Khashoggi BOMBSHELL: Britain ‘KNEW of kidnap plot and BEGGED Saudi Arabia to abort plans’ Express (Furzy Mouse).

Despite PR duress, Saudi $6bn to Pakistan comes with strings Asia Times (KW).

The U.S.-Saudi Alliance Was in Trouble Long Before Jamal Khashoggi’s Death War on the Rocks

China?

Chinese Firms Snap Up U.S. Sites to Process Scrap WSJ

What a new bridge says about Hong Kong’s relations with mainland China The Economist

Brexit

UK has ‘rolled over’ only 14 out of 236 EU international treaties FT

This budget may not survive the coming Brexit hurricane Guardian

On the Poland-Ukraine frontier, ‘frictionless border’ is a joke Irish Times

Merkel’s CDU makes huge losses in Hesse election Handelblatt

The Message of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s New President-Elect The Intercept

Privilege Versus Democracy in Brazil Verso

Fear and Loathing in the Global Middle Class Lawfare

This Is How We Radicalized The World Buzzfeed

Trump from Reality TV to Twitter, or the Selfie-Determination of Nations Arizona Quarterly. It would not be unheard of for a class of symbol manipulators to believe that manipulating symbols drives everything.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Dispatch from Squirrel Hill: Dread Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

These Exploitations Of The Pittsburgh Attack Deride Its Victims Moon of Alabama

NRCC, DCCC leaders urge unity after synagogue shooting Politico

Enough is enough: Fed-up Americans crave unity amid violence AP

* * *
Donald Trump didn’t start the fire: Here are things the midterms can’t fix Salon. “If a slender and defensive congressional majority is seen as an end in itself — or if this election becomes a referendum on the ancien régime, circa 2014 — then I’m sure of the outcome: Everybody loses.” Salon, mind you.

Republicans and Democrats Don’t Just Disagree About Politics. They Have Different Sexual Fantasies. Politico. I suppose independents and the left have fantasies that are… non-binary.

We Were Made for Civil War The American Conservative

Only 6 Percent Of U.S. Terrorists Act Alone, But They Are Prolific FiveThirtyEight

Trump Transition

Mattis: Talks with Europe on U.S. withdrawal from arms pact yield no alternatives WaPo

The powerful weapon House Republicans handed Democrats Politico

Killer Politicians Jeffrey Sachs, Project Syndicate

Democrats in Disarray

‘I’d Like To Be President,’ Says Chappaqua’s Hillary Clinton, Adding She’ll ‘Think About’ Run Chappaqua Daily Voice (full interview at Recode).

How a Democratic majority could undermine Mueller probe Politico

Georgia: The Epicenter of America’s Corrupted Electronic Elections Medium. From June, still germane.

Larry Krasner’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration The New Yorker

Health Care

300+ FAQs Help Consumers Understand the ACA Marketplaces as Open Enrollment Begins KFF

Our Famously Free Press

Download Our Guides For Verifying Photos And Videos First Draft

Younger generations are actually better at telling news from opinion than those over age 50 Nieman Labs. There’s a quiz. I scored 100%, as I bet most members of the NC commentariat. So I am still moving quite briskly about.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Now Apps Can Track You Even After You Uninstall Them Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Many Americans Say They Haven’t Benefited From Trump’s Economy. Bloomberg. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Economists reverse claims that $15 Seattle minimum wage hurt workers, admit it was largely beneficial Boing Boing (KW). Hilarity ensues.

Richard Blum, a $100 Million UC Investment, Feinstein Campaign Donations: Business As Usual at UC? Capital and Main (UserFriendly).

Changing clocks twice a year is bad for health and energy use New Scientist. From 2017, still germane.

Coast Guard saves lovable Navy SEAL tangled in net Duffel Blog

World Series: Red Sox, Unhittable and Unstoppable, Win It All, Beating Dodgers NYT

Antidote du jour (via):


Bonus antidote:

 

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/10/links-10-27-18.html“>here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

175 comments

  1. toshiro_mifune

    As someone who spends their working days using RHEL the IBM acquisition was unexpected.
    I am not sure if this is a pure desperation move on the part of IBM , a signal of the weakening power of RHEL in the enterprise space (you see a lot of Ubuntu in the past few years), or something else entirely.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      This is a desperate Ginny R buying a secondary player for way too much. RHEL will be drained of any useful IP and the Bluewashing® will destroy any goodwill it retains in the market. Why the funds still hold IBM is beyond me. There’s not even a skeleton left. I feel sorry for the ‘hatters training their replacements via Sametime in an IBM “Center of Excellence”.

      1. L

        I am not sure I see it as a sign of desperation, merely survival. Don’t get me wrong they are facing issues and Rometti should have been dropped long ago. But ultimately I see it as a sign of survival. RedHat has been spanking them where it counts, in enterprise contracts, others have taken the cloud away, and their own offerings have fallen apart. Now people are using RHEL to run IBM services. Ultimately it makes sense for them to use their cash reserves to buy their way back into a market that they stupidly ceeded.

        1. ChrisPacific

          I agree. IBM still have a very strong sales network. They just lack anything decent for it to sell.

          I could see it working quite well if they are able to keep their hands off Red Hat and let it continue to operate as it has done. I’m not sure what odds I would put on that actually happening though.

    2. flora

      RH moving away from the home user base to Enterprise base undercut one of its best public open source channels of development, imo. This sale isn’t too surprising. Ubuntu, imo, doesn’t have the same robustness of RH but is widely available to the home user.

      1. Fraibert

        Red Hat didn’t really move away from the home user base–they just adopted a confusing approach.

        Fedora is the user oriented Red Hat relative that is used as an upstream testing platform for RHEL.

        At the same time, CentOS is essentially RHEL with the Red Hat labels removed.

        Both projects are supported by Red Hat too.

        When, as a profit seeking company, you’ve boxed yourself in with two good free (in cost) variants on your own offering, it does seem a bit hard to make money, though…

    3. LarryB

      I see this playing out this way:

      1) Not much work getting done in Red Hat offices this morning as everybody is busy working on their resume. Nobody wants to work for the downsizing/outsourcing king anymore. Most of the really good people will be gone in 6 months.

      2) Any good people remaining who make more than third-world salaries will be downsized within a couple of years, especially considering the out sized price that IBM paid.

      3) as a result Red Hat’s currently stellar customer service will drop to IBM’s level (dismal).

      4) but there is no reason to buy Red Hat except for their service.

      5) RHEL will become the AIX of the Linux world, a legacy OS with no new stuff being built on it

      6) some other distro (Ubuntu?) will become the standard in data centers, along with another company (Canonical?) to provide technical support.

      I just hope this takes long enough to play out that I can retire. Why can’t mis-managed dinosaurs like IBM just go quietly into the night? Why do they insist on dragging good companies down with them?

      1. Inode_buddha

        As a former RH user (all the way back to ver. 5.o, IIRC) I say thank goodness, if this is what it takes to get rid of systemd and its ilk. I switched to BSD a few years ago just because of the direction that RH was taking everyone else.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      “Even so, Merkel’s term as chancellor runs until 2021 and Merkel has said she intends to serve it out.”

      Outish may be closer to the reality.

    2. jan

      The next candidate for the position of chairman of the CDU party seems to be Friedrich Merz, who has one of the chief positions of the so called Atlantik-Brtücke (atlantic bridge) and is one the board of Blackrock. So Germany will be run by safe transatlantic hands.

    3. Enquiring Mind

      Frau Dr. Merkel can look forward to spending her dotage by giving back. She is uniquely qualified to tutor all of those eager students she graciously invited to partake of Germany’s largesse and cultural patrimony. Imagine the success rates of her youthful charges on their Abitur! /s

    4. Alex morfesis

      As terri Mae dances her little jig…when she walked into the cone of silence at #10 on her first day, she asked about a big blue button she noticed in the w.c.

      Super secret department for when things are not moving the way you need them…

      What does thought mean, she demanded !!

      MI-4u….

      Explain !!!

      It is like a wetvac for when you spill something..

      How so !!!

      It Hoover’s up your problems and makes them go away…

      EU says no deal does it…??!!

      Spain…
      Check

      Italy…
      Check

      Germany
      Check and double check…(oh wait…you’re not cleared for that…)

      And on to that little munchkin sitting by that arc thingee…

    5. Unna

      Means Vlad won’t bring her flowers any more. She won’t get to hold hands with sweet Vlad in Turkey. And no more white wine tête-à-tête with her little Vladchen in the garden on a sunny afternoon talking Russian and German like back in the old days when they were still young.

  2. zagonostra

    >300+ FAQs Help Consumers Understand the ACA Marketplaces as Open Enrollment Begins

    First of all treating healthcare from the perspective of “consumer” or the “marketplace is totally F-uped. Secondly, if there are 300 frequently asked questions, there is something F-uped. Thirdly, ACA is F-uped.

    When will Medicare-for-all finally get enough traction to keep the ever-changing newscape from derailing it?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Answer: when the plebes acknowledge/admit/learn who the ACA is really designed to benefit, what Obama really was, what the Dems did then, who the Dems are really working for, and what the Dems really want to do now (hint: it’s not M4A).

    2. Julia Versau

      No kidding. As a self-employed person, I never risked ACA, what with its “you made too much” penalties and “I’m making too little now to afford this” possibilities. I checked out the site in Links today and tried to get some current answers. I was amazed that I came away even MORE confused, not less. That has happened to me, frankly, every time I tried to negotiate the ACA site. The ACA truly is a Rube Goldberg health care insurance monstrosity that needs to be smashed into a million pieces. Medicare for All Now!

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      They should do exactly what any self-respecting neoliberal would do when presented with such a profit-making opportunity: Sell technology, arms, and ammunition, to both sides in bumper crops until the bloodletting runs its course.

      And then, move in with ‘peacekeeping’ troops…and a benevolent (Canadian-run) corporate structure to establish other businesses, in order to make a mint in the rebuilding phase to boot.

      Somehow though, I think the Canadians are too civilized to take this common-sense approach.

      1. Anon

        The Walrus article is just awful – for example using the discredited SPLC as an unbiased source – and the authors desire to cut ties to the US shows a lack of knowledge of Canada and how our economy operates.

        The more likely situation would be for Toronto and Vancouver and Montreal to join the American left, while the rest of us stay neutral. (we already have this with JT joining the resistance and then wondering why the NAFTA negotiation did not go well) Then when the dust settles, if the American Right prevails Toronto will whinge about revenge, and if the American Left prevails then Toronto will whinge about being ignored by the victors.

        Given the authors biases they are still hurting from Clinton losing, even though they claim to be Canadian.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          I also thought the article reflected a kind of 30,000 foot flyby view of the US that you typically get out of The Guardian and other sections of the Anglosphere but non-US liberal bourgeoisie.

          The idea that it was only the white working class, rather than the workers generally, that are angry; that this was anger based on perception rather than reality; that it was based only on decline relative to African-American and Latinos, rather, than, oh, let’s see, a declining absolute life expectancy — so bad in fact that the entire nation’s life expectancy went down, a phenomenon unseen in developed countries outside the collapse of the USSR (though Britain seems to be catching up) — does the author think there is no opioid crisis among Latinas, or unemployment among African Americans? Please! In short, the author labors under the illusion that the world is as the tonier sections of Toronto and Manhattan wish it to be, rather than as it actually is — usefully, of course, absolving them of any responsibility as the authors of these conditions — mark it as fatally flawed.

          It also reflected a kind of vapid self-congratulation common among a certain kind of Canadian — as though Canada isn’t a colonial country.

          That said, I do think there’s a distinct possibility of some kind of national rupture. Stranger things have happened. Both Massachusetts and Virginia existed before the United States, and I strongly suspect both will exist afterwards.

          Barring, of course, a general nuclear exchange or runaway climate change — both of which I also view as real possibilities.

          Being told, in these conditions, to “Go Vote!” by those who have not only gotten us here, but who have had the same line for every election of my adult life (“This is THE.Most!Important! Election! Of Our Lifetimes!”) and managed to eff it up even when they do get in government, is, shall we say, droll. The Medium article on this says it well.

          Of course, I will actually vote, and vote for the Dems, but with the full awareness that this is akin to applying a band-aid to a sucking chest wound.

          God, I can’t stomach bloody Rah-Rah! party-cheerleader emptyheads.

          1. witters

            “Of course, I will actually vote, and vote for the Dems, but with the full awareness that this is akin to applying a band-aid to a sucking chest wound.”

            This is a pathology I just can’t understand.

            1. Octopii

              So out of two bad choices, one a toxic brew of mendacious hate and the other an impotent brew of centegenarian imbeciles, what do you advise? And don’t say there are more than two choices, because there most certainly are not.

            2. Swamp Yankee

              The Democrats I’m voting for have come out in favor of Massachusetts Question 1, which is about nurse staffing limits. They are marginally better on local environmental issues. Doesn’t mean I like them.

              I understand and respect the counter-argument (not voting, 3rd party), but each of us must make our own moral choices in this time, and that’s not mine.

      2. polecat

        Maybe a continental wide moat of syrup (corn, not maple !) .. in leu of a wall .. might help to keep any future american refugees from breaching the border.
        Like flies to stickypaper ..

        1. Procopius

          Sorry, that was meant in reply to the comment that said Canadians are “too civilized” to do what was under discussion. I think “too polite” is more apt than “too civilized.” Gosh, I wish they could restore the edit function on this thing.

    2. JEHR

      There have been moments in Canadian history when some people (academics and/or politicians) felt that it would be better if we shouldn’t adopt wholesale American culture. There was a movement to keep Canadian values alive by political support for our education system, by support for our nascent writers and any other communicators that could tell purely Canadian stories of our Canadian lives. We did not at first, however, succeed in creating our own movies or our own “fast” food or our own brand of consumerism. These are wholly Americanized.

      We did succeed with our own public broadcasting (CBC) that did a truly fine job of keeping alive Canadian stories and histories of all Canadians country-wide. This coherence is less visible now though CBC radio does a fine job presenting Canada to the world and by presenting the world to Canada. We have developed our own writers and they are a fine lot. We have our own film-makers and we excel in making documentaries. We still have good public education, even though it is under attack. We believe in multi-culturalism. We have been blessed with the province of Quebec which teaches us how to be better Canadians. We are fortunate to have a parliamentary type of government and our leaders have not been billionaires so far. Even the most conservative of leaders did not try to undermine the Canadian project thus far.

      If we can keep our campaign expenses down to reasonable amounts; if we can keep on track with presenting Canada as representative of many peoples; if we keep our education well rounded; if we become less fixated with consuming, then we might just succeed as a sovereign nation.

      I have always personally worried about being invaded by the Americans’ because of their belief in the Monroe Doctrine, and with climate change comes the challenges of global warming so that, in the future, we may have a vast migration from the South to the North.

      1. Wukchumni

        If climate change hits hard and water becomes scarce, will the sojourners from down south invading the great white north, be named ‘Drybacks’?

        English friends that were here for a week just left, and mentioned something i’d never heard of before…

        The Group of Seven, also sometimes known as the Algonquin School, was a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael (1890–1945), Lawren Harris (1885–1970), A. Y. Jackson (1882–1974), Frank Johnston (1888–1949), Arthur Lismer (1885–1969), J. E. H. MacDonald (1873–1932), and Frederick Varley (1881–1969). Later, A. J. Casson (1898–1992) was invited to join in 1926, Edwin Holgate (1892–1977) became a member in 1930, and LeMoine FitzGerald (1890–1956) joined in 1932.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_of_Seven_(artists)

      2. Lord Koos

        Canada also seems to support its musicians against the onslaught of American pop, kudos for that. I think they have a regulation that says a certain percentage of songs on the radio must be from Canadian artists.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Has been like that forever (or my version of forever): Canadian Content. Can’t stop most of the best and brightest from moving to LA, but some vestige of Canadianinity (sorry, couldn’t help it) always remains. The Group of Seven are brilliant, great landscapes inspire great art. For a couple of decades, as someone who essentially only got Canadian TV and radio via the airwaves, I learned a great deal about Canadian culture from the CBC/SRC.

        2. Anon

          Yes, two of my favorite Canadian musicians: Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. (Yeah, I was at Woodstock). I hear Drake is a current bigtime name (but I don’t have a measure for current pop sounds).

  3. rjs

    in which i ask…

    what happens to US natural gas supplies if this winter is as cold as 2014 was?

    hint: we started that winter with 3,834 billion cubic feet of gas in storage on November 8th, 2013, and bottomed out with 824 billion cubic feet in storage on March 28th of 2014….

    as of October 19th this year, we have 3,095 billion cubic feet of natural gas in storage…we might be able to add another 100 billion cubic feet to that if the next few weeks stay warm…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Last winter the US brought in two ship-loads of Russian gas to plug any gaps in supply. I don’t think that may be an option this winter as I am not sure it would be legal for the US to pay Russia for any gas. That is, unless they use an intermediate seller. That may have been the case last winter when I think about it.

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s a certain symmetry of potential domestic desperation for Russian fuel that seems really similar to the USSR desperately needing our wheat in the 1970’s.

        1. Procopius

          I would find the irony amusing if the Russians bought the gas from Iran, and paid for it with rubles. This, incidentally, is a real possibility as a result of Trump’s Tantrums. Does everybody remember what a petard is? Anyone? Bueller?

    2. johnnygl

      An obvious step 1 would be to ban exports. Oil/gas lobby won’t like it, but i could see trump doing it.

      Seems like an opportunity for another, “thanks, obama!!!”

      1. rjs

        remember, most of our LNG exports are under long term contracts, typically 20 years…those customers will get served first; US utililies who have not contracted for their needs will wait in line and pay the piper..

    3. Lord Koos

      Much of the US will be having a milder-than-normal winter, so I think it’s a non-issue this year.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve pretty much given up on long range winter forecasts, as throwing a dart @ a calendar is just as accurate.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “‘I’d Like To Be President,’ Says Chappaqua’s Hillary Clinton, Adding She’ll ‘Think About’ Run”

    And she’ll run, even if it means trashing any possibility of a democrat winning in 2020 because her campaign would suck all the money and publicity out of any other democrat running. And that is how Trump will get an additional four more years.
    Clinton, meanwhile, will go for another stroll in the woods and come back with a best-seller called either “Oh no! Not again” or “Why does this always happen to me?”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Wasn’t it speculated in 2016 that Trump ran to make sure Hillary was elected?

      So, now, it’s Hillary will run to make sure Trump is re-elected?

      1. Procopius

        I think it was Hillary and her campaign manager (why can’t I ever remember his name?) who decided to do everything they could to promote Trump because it was obvious it would produce a landslide for Hillary not seen since Nixon against Humphrey. Anyway, the effect is the same.

    2. Roger Smith

      Clinton, meanwhile, will go for another stroll in the woods and come back with a best-seller called…

      Fool Me Twice… A tale of how the American people failed her again.

    3. zer0

      I’d like to think her next book title would be “Could Have Been the 1st Woman POTUS: A Story on how Russia Killed the US Democracy – Again”.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        As much as I hope that Ivanka Trump does not become America’s First Woman President; if that is what ends up happening, I hope that Hillary is alive to see it and understand exactly what she is seeing.

    4. Kurt Sperry

      I’m kinda digging the prospect of HRC at the wheel of a Democrat clown car stuffed with neocon/neolib Dem insider hopefuls reprising the 2016 Trump vs. the R clown car vote splitting debacle. There’s always room for more in the clown car!

  5. Carla

    Re: the Moon of Alabama post —
    I liked Zelnicker’s comment:

    “Trump did not create the zeitgeist at all, he has just been masterful (sadly) at exploiting it for his personal benefit, above all else.”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      What possible “personal benefit” can Trump be construed as deriving from “exploitation” of the “zeitgeist”?

      He is now, arguably, the most reviled human on earth, “credibly” accused by the biggest mouths on the planet of being responsible for any and every bad thing that has happened, is happening or will happen in the future, regardless of how long-simmering and unresolved the roots of the problems are and continue to be.

      If he is guilty of anything, it’s of holding a mirror up to the world and refusing to take it away despite how unflattering, twisted and disgusting the reflection of what our sacred institutions have become appears.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It would tough to get any hotel projects in China, now for Trump Organization or for himself in the future.

        And many other places probably.

      2. neighbor7

        Blurb from Amazon on David Shields’s new book. The Pogo Thesis. Sounds interesting:

        NOBODY HATES TRUMP MORE THAN TRUMP: AN INTERVENTION is perhaps the only genuinely original thing you have read yet about Donald Trump. It can be read in a variety of ways: as a psychological investigation of Trump, as a philosophical meditation on the relationship between language and power, as a satirical compilation of the “collected wit and wisdom of Donald Trump,” and above all as a dagger into the rhetoric of American political discourse—a dissection of the politesse that gave rise to and sustains Trump. The book’s central thesis is that we have met the enemy and he is us. Who else but David Shields would make such an argument, let alone pull it off with such intelligence, brio, and wit, not to mention leaked off-air transcripts from Fox News?

        1. ewmayer

          DC is chock-full of attention whores – which makes me wonder to what extent a lot of the ‘Trump responsible for all that ails us’ establishment-execration is due to annoyance of having him steal a lot of the credentialed-talking-head class’s usual PR oxygen.

          Katniss has it exactly right, IMO.

      3. Swamp Yankee

        If we changed it to “political benefit”, would that be more accurate in your view, Katniss?

        I’ve actually been scrupulously taking a John Adams line in defending Trump, whom I really dislike, to my #McResistance friends when they want to string up on specious Treason charges.

        But I do think he is in the wrong here. The fact is that people are interpreting his rhetoric as calling for violence, and then committing violent acts. Certainly the guy from Florida did; I don’t know enough about the shooter from Pittsburgh, but my understanding is he uses the (bizarre, truly) right-nationalist frog symbol in social media, and the Jewish community in Squirrel Hill seems to feel he (Trump) bears some responsibility, and I do tend to defer to them in this sort of a situation.

        Of course, the same #McResistance liberal bourgeois friends of mine, who loved ur-nationalist Alexander Hamilton, have now discovered that there might be some downsides to the political philosophy of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s favorite fictional creation.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          The blind belief that “there is no precedent for what Trump is doing to our country and her people,” as on individual pronounced just today on Twitter, will not be shaken by any presentation of facts. That statement was made in response to my pointing out that much, if not most, of what Trump is and has done was simply continuing or expanding the actions of his predecessors. When I noted that had this person spent the last three years catching up on history, they would know better, their response was “It’s not a matter of belief. It’s a matter of fact.”

          So, apparently, their facts are more factual than my facts, which is precisely what one encounters with The Comfortable. Trump is rude and crude and says whatever pops into his head instead of smiling and smiling while he stabs you in the back. That makes him the most evil human on the planet. Nothing else is relevant.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Khashoggi BOMBSHELL: Britain ‘KNEW of kidnap plot and BEGGED Saudi Arabia to abort plans'”

    I think that I can recognize a disinformation piece when I see it and this is one now. Sounds like the GCHQ wrote it and passed it on to the Express for publication. The bit about the Saudis using chemical weapons in Yemen – ultimately unprovable – is merely the tidbit to distract reader’s attention.

    1. johnnygl

      The ‘Regime Change Express’ was supposed to be well on its way to Iran by now. It seems to have taken a strange detour to Saudi Arabia.

      I wonder if this is also a replacement for Russia-gate, which seems to have run out of gas, in any case. You can only keep conspiracies alive for so long when there’s so little truth behind them.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Sometimes the stunning just whizzes past. “RussiaGate out of gas”. You mean the burning “issue” that transfixed an entire party, sucked out every last drop of their energy, absolutely dominated the airwaves, and brought shrieking calls of “treason” and “impeachment”, now just fades to black? Talk about coitus interruptus.

        Meantime Dear Leader one N. Pelosi said her #1 priority after the midterms was Donald Trump’s tax returns. And the other lovely leader of the RussiaGate Party, one D. Feinstein, passed her 85th birthday quietly reminiscing about the ways she blocked people-friendly policy so that her grifter husband and her pharma billionaire pals could weasel out a few more bucks.

        We need regime change all right.

      1. ewmayer

        Hmm, let’s see, what could Sir Elton do by way of a remix? I got it! Start with the weepy sentiment that is “Candle in the Wind”, add a whiff of the Arabian desert, and enjoy your next #1 smah among the arthritis generation, “Camel in the Wind”. Ooh, goodbye Jamal K… (stands up, whips lighter out, and starts rocking back and forth reverentially.)

  7. Carolinian

    Thanks as always for the Duffel Blog link.

    “It is a major concern of mine that when I phoned SEAL World, they simply told me that they are not prepared for helping such a creature,” Piper said. “Apparently, it wasn’t good at sliding on it’s belly or clapping. It just kept pointing its FN FAL rifle at the ship and asking for permission to fire.”

    A morning laugh is a useful antidote to the America’s Next Civil War piece which suggests that Canadians may have to retreat to the frozen north for fear of MAGA hats and the inevitable return of the blue and the gray. The author clutches at pearls wondering what to do

    Would a coup even work? The American military hasn’t been particularly good at pacifying other countries’ civil wars. Why would it be any good at pacifying its own?

    Meanwhile here in the center of the maelstrom we are getting ready for Halloween with giant blow up displays in front lawns and groceries full of candy buyers. Things seem calm. All the cable TV and MSM gaslighting doesn’t seem to have most Americans too worried, but clearly it’s turning some Canadians into a nervous wreck.

    1. Jack Parsons

      I’ve speculated for awhile that the US will try to annex Canada due to Global Baking. And China will try the same with Eastern Siberia.

  8. Dr. Roberts

    Just had a horrible dream about mass street violence in Brazil. Bolsonaro has got me spooked.

  9. Alex

    I’m disappointed by the Brazil coverage here. The Verso story and others don’t speak about mass voter suppression/fraud so I have to suppose it hasn’t been crucial. So the question is why a majority of Brazilian voters voted for such a figure is unanswered.The closest this particular piece comes to explaining this is here

    Mass support for the incompetent fascist was supported by four platforms: the fight against corruption (the traditional way in which the Right gains mass traction in Brazil, for example, in 1954, 1960, 1989, and 2013); conservative moralism (pushed by the evangelical churches); the claim that “security” can be achieved through state-sponsored violence (which resonates strongly in a country with over sixty thousand murders per year, in addition to tens of thousands of other violent crimes); and a neoliberal economic discourse centered on slashing a (presumably corrupt) state, that is parasitical upon the “honest” citizens.

    With the PT ruling Brazil for over 10 years they cannot be completely innocent of the (real and perceived) violence and corruption. It’s like explaining Trump’s victory without examining what had been wrong during Obama’s time in the office

        1. Alex

          Thank you madarka for an excellent article. One thing I thought is that a democracy in Russia, if it had managed to take hold, would have looked very similar, given the resourse-based economy, endemic kickbacks and inequality. Really hope that Brazil will maintain its rather imperfect democracy

          What this article doesn’t discuss is the crime/violence, probably because it was less of an issue back then, but I understand that in these elections it was one of the key issues. Looking at the graph in this article https://theconversation.com/death-toll-mounts-in-rio-de-janeiro-as-police-lose-control-of-the-city-and-of-themselves-80862 the kindest thing that can be said about the period when PT was in power is that the crime level stayed the same.

          1. JohnnyGL

            My own personal 2-cents is that Bolsonaro moves Brazil closer to authoritarianism and military governance, closer than most other countries, especially in the west, but it’s not going to be a revolutionary brake with the status quo.

            Bolsonaro doesn’t have a real agenda to implement, other than getting himself elected. He’ll have a honeymoon period of theft and graft and scandalously bad privatization attempts, but disillusionment will set in fairly soon.

            I hope the PT and the broader left is able to re-organize itself into a coherent, effective force again. Opportunity will arise soon. It always does since the other side has NO answers to the problems that people are facing.

      1. Alex

        Sorry didn’t mean it as a criticism, more to solicit links from other commenters (as I’m definitely not knowledgeable enough here).

        Thanks to everyone who replied, will check out all of links!

    1. The Beeman

      ND – right on!!

      first thought that came to mind when I read about this last week was “Haven’t these people heard of a thermos?”

      And the other solution they came up was 3d printing replacement handles….words fail me…..

      1. The Beeman

        oh – and a thermos has cold insulation properties as well as heat insulation.

        Isn’t that novel? A tool that serves two purposes. Two birds, one stone kind of thinking

        Gold plated military isn’t what we need or want or should put up with.

        1. nippersdad

          Speaking of a gold plated military reminded me of this golden oldie: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/15/nsa-mind-keith-alexander-star-trek

          “The nifty work space seemed to make an impression on the members of Congress and other important visitors who dropped by to check it out. ‘Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,’ a retired officer in charge of VIP visits told Foreign Policy.”

          It is all just one big man-cave for a group of people who live in an alternate reality.

        2. Angie Neer

          Do you know the old joke? Guy 1: This thermos is great–it keeps hot thing hot and cold things cold. Guy 2: How does it know?

      2. zer0

        Read that too, “…detailing a new effort to 3-D print such otherwise costly or irreplaceable parts”.

        Math doesnt seem to be the military’s strong suit:
        1 New 3D Printer (for commercial use) = $150,000 – $250,000
        1 Maintenance Plan = $5000/yr.
        1 Qualified Prototyping Engineer = $80,000/yr.
        1 Software Suite = $30,000 + $5000/yr maintenance fee

        So $350k & $10,000/yr for 3D printing of handles for a fucking mug. No wonder America is drowning in debt. Everyone’s solution for everything, even articles I read on NC about Global Warming, is to throw more money at it – and the it is usually some politician somewhere or some dubious startup hemorrhaging cash left and right. Like that CO2-sink firm that threw iron dust into the ocean without any permit, and caused huge algae blooms of the coast of San Fran.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “On the Poland-Ukraine frontier, ‘frictionless border’ is a joke”

    This article may have been far better interviewing people that ran the old Northern Ireland border during the ‘troubles’, especially British soldiers, as the Poland-Ukraine frontier is a rather special case. People know of the battles with the Ukraine and Novorussian republics but what is not generally heard of is Ukraine’s troubles with those people of Hungarian and Polish descent in the other side of the country. The current Ukraine regime is a believer in – ahem – purity which all those other people are not. In fact, Hungary has been mass-issuing Hungarian passports to Hungarian-Ukrainians because of the dangers to those people. That hard border is there to stop mostly Ukrainian ultra-nationalist as a guess as there has already been a lot of friction between Kiev and Warsaw since 2014. As the Poles have seen the bloody conflict in the east they may be taking precautions by hardening that border in case things heat up in the west. Come to think of it, that may be one reason why Poland is so keen to have a big US military base in Poland – to discourage the Ukrainians from doing something stupid.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Not sure how that big Imperial Garrison “Base” in Poland would help reduce the chances of Ukraine thugs coming over the border to do their “thang,” since the Imperial Warfighters and Sneaky=Petes are all about “conflict” and “destabilization,” and there’s a long history of Imperial Forces fostering by arming and training, or actually participating in, both sides (many sides, in some cases) of “conflicts.” My fave is the activities of the CIA and other imperial actors in Angola. http://military.wikia.com/wiki/Jonas_Savimbi, whose father, interestingly, was a preacher in the Evangelical Xtian scheme fostered by “US missionaries.” That operation saw “US corporate interests” in extractive mining being protected by CUBAN troops, for Cliff’s sake, against CIA-fostered attacks by “UNITA,” Savimbi’s insurgents,

      And a different approach, in the nature of “the management of savagery,” https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/09/the-us-has-bombed-multiple-sides-in-syrias-civil-war/380660/

      Speaking of “the management of savagery,” for those who have missed it, here is the textbook ISIS (that interesting Empire-fostered construct that seems so darn persistent, like toenail fungus) has developed: https://archive.org/details/TheManagementOfBarbarismAbuBakrNaji/page/n1 Worth a long read for those interested in how the Caliphate is playing out, long term, and for insights into th nature of human violence, power accumulation and destruction.

      And as “our” Empire has dipped into armchair-planned “restructuring” of the complexities of the Mideast (and elsewhere), you find these kinds of things: “The US has bombed multiple sides in Syria’s civil war,” https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/09/the-us-has-bombed-multiple-sides-in-syrias-civil-war/380660/ , “because we can. We have the technology. We can rebuild it in our preferred image…’ See also “Iraq” and “Notagainistan.”

    2. vlade

      There are two separate threads to this. Poland and Ukraine (and Russia) are not quite enemies, but not far. Large chunk of Western Ukraine was post WW2 appropriated by Soviet Union – basically kept the result of Molotov-Ribbentrop. Wasn’t the first time Poland was partitioned (and often by Russia), even though this time it was given German territory in return. But it doesn’t mean Poles who lived there and their descendants were treate par with ethnic Russians and now with Ukrainians.

      As per Hungary – if your sources are Hungarian, I’d strongly distrust them on this. Hungary has, for about 10 years, a very aggresive minority policy, where it happily issues passports to anyone speaking resemblance of Hungarian and with some claim to Hungarian descent _outside_ of Hungary. This was purposefuly intended to take Hungarian speaking minorities in surrounding countries (Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia) and by making them citizens, generating a claim for “wellbeing of Hungarian citizens”. You’ll note I excluded Austria and Slovenia from the Hungarian neighbors – because of various reasons (economic, political and historical) that would not work there.

      Given that at the time of this policy, only Slovakia was in the EU, it worked a treat. The various countries too counter-measures, often limiting or prohibiting outright dual citizenship.

      I’m not saying that Ukraine is nice to minorities (it’s provably not – none of the post Soviet countries really are), but be VERY careful what you take on Hungarian minority outside Hungary from Hungarian souces.

  11. Loneprotester

    I cannot decide if Freddie Kruger, erm, Hillary Clinton, is the problem or the solution for the Democratic Party. Maybe she is just a team player, volunteering to do to the Republicans what David Price did to the Dodgers last night. Or maybe she is a psychopath who simply won’t get off the stage and stands there with a keg of dynamite threatening to blow it all up if she can’t run again. Not sure.

    But I do know that the commentariat (including the fascinatingly impossible to read piece from the Arizona Quarterly) will claim no responsibility for dragging the country into the slime pit we now occupy. Great choices in reading materials today. I was especially taken with that Brian T. Edwards piece, and found it the “high” culture equivalent of the Buzzfeed article. Edwards writes as though he cannot detect any dividing line between a Hollywood script, a NATO treaty, a menu from a Chinese diner in Hoboken, and the Magna Charta. All is Trump. Remove Trump and rainbows and sunshine. That this guy somehow chaired the Middle East Studies Department at a major US university is a stunning indictment of American academia. Comparatively, the Buzzfeed piece is lower key TDS. At least this dude can tell that there are systemic issues driving populism around the world. But we still get the sense that if you removed Trump, the system would go back to normal.

    There is, to date, no one who can project themselves or a coherent message through the internet generated cacophony nearly so well as Trump. Hillary looks at the landscape inhabited by pygmies and the Leviathan Trump, and says, I can be Rodan to his Godzilla. Not sure she’s wrong. But, of course, Godzilla always wins.

        1. ambrit

          Oh, as far as monstership goes, Hillary is in a class of her own.
          Relevant to phonemes; Hillary has gained mastery of the ‘Faux Meme.’

  12. Carolinian

    The Politico Repub/Dem sex fantasies article could be more insightful than the clickbait headline suggests.

    This same instinct may also help to explain, in part, the appeal of BDSM to Democrats. Within the Democratic Party, much of what drives the political agenda is the view that inequality is the source of a wide range of social problems. This is regularly seen in the party platform, which recently made multiple mentions of the need to “level the playing field.” It’s not a stretch, then, to suggest that playing with power differentials—especially in BDSM settings, where women and men might not appear to be on equal footing and where the lines of sexual consent might not always be explicit—is taboo in many Democratic circles.

    The appeal of the taboo stems from a long-standing principle of psychology known as reactance—which stipulates that when our freedom is threatened and we’re told we can’t do something, we want to do it even more. Many a parent has discovered this principle and used it to their benefit in shaping their children’s behavior through reverse psychology: Frame the desired act as something your child isn’t allowed to do and you just might get what you want.

    They even made a musical about it (The Fantasticks). But if the article’s premise–that Repubs have sex fantasies about being Dems and vice versa–is correct then it could be grist for the mill of us in the “more alike than different” camp. Or as Bill Clinton said “if you want to live like a Republican then vote Democrat.” Unfortunately he then proceeded to hollow out welfare and toy with privatizing entitlements–proving there really is no, or little, difference.

    1. Lord Koos

      One of the funnier things I’ve read was interviews with prostitutes during the 2004 Republican convention in NYC, I think it might have been in New York magazine. I saved the text to my hard drive. An excerpt (hope it isn’t too un-family for this blog):

      Mistress Natasha, 29, a striking black-haired dominatrix in a midtown dungeon, had just finished flogging one of her clients when they began chatting, as they often do at the end of a session. “I mentioned that I had seen Fahrenheit 9/11 the other night. He asked me what I thought of it, and then he said he was voting for Bush again. It always surprises me how many of my clients are not just Republicans but Bush supporters. I think, You wanted me to force you down to your knees when you’re in a pink tutu, but you support Bush? Maybe that should be part of my punishment: ‘You’re going to vote for Bush? Now you’re really going to get it!’ ”

      Like many sex workers in Manhattan, Mistress Natasha is anticipating a dramatic upswing in business late this month as 5,000 delegates—and an entourage of 45,000 others—arrive for four days of work and play. “August is usually slow, but I think I’ll be rather busy,” she says, planning to increase her hours. “I’ve already gotten several e-mails from men who say they’re coming.

      As the sex workers tell it, the consensus is that Republicans demand more outrageous acts. Mistress Natasha estimates that her clients are half Democrat, half Republican, but says, “Republicans are way freakier, probably because they’re way more repressed. They can’t be kinky with their wives.” She thinks it’s the submissive tendencies that create the conservative political identity, not the other way around: “In their everyday professional life, they are so scared that anybody would ever think they were submissive that they overcompensate and come across as this demanding, hard person. I believe that well before they knew whether they were going to be a Democrat or a Republican, they knew they wanted to be tied up and beaten.”

      1. Lord Koos

        Apologies for the double post. First one didn’t show up… second one links to the full article.

  13. L

    The link on this story “Changing climate forces desperate Guatemalans to migrate National Geographic” appears to be broken.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Love to get that link fixed.

      It was mentioned here last week that we could expect more caravans due to climate change in the future, than due to dictators we installed, perhaps, not just more, but way more from climate forces alone.

      So that it is not just the Deep State/Blob, but even people who fly to vacation, among other not-so-conspicuous perpetrators, are responsible.

  14. Filiform Radical

    Regarding the Pew quiz, I’m curious what other readers thought about this prompt:

    ISIS lost a significant portion of its territory in Iraq and Syria in 2017.

    The survey classifies this as a factual statement, but I’m tempted to say it’s an opinion – depending on the exact circumstances, it could reasonably be open for debate whether the amount of territory an organization has lost constitutes “a significant portion” or not. Thoughts?

    1. ambrit

      I find it interesting that the hidden assumption in that statement is that ISIS is a ‘State.’ It possesses land, and thus is a secular power. Very close to the Papal States of pre Garibaldi Italy. Look at how ISIS has “run” the territories under it’s control and you will understand why the American Constitution mandates the separation of Church and State.
      What was the question appended to the statement you quoted?

      1. ambrit

        Ok, now I get where the Pew Quiz came from. (The Nieman Labs story.) I do not read every link. Does anyone except the site admins? The quote you put up was the quiz question.
        A better formulation would be; “ISIS lost [control of] a significant portion of [the] territory [it controlled] in Irak and Syria in 2017.”
        {Ten lashes with a wet noodle for ambrit.}

          1. ambrit

            Sorry back at you cause I get tactless from time to time. (As in I should have just highlighted the link and otherwise kept my trap shut.)

    2. Expat2uruguay

      I thought about that too, but the word significant can be defined reasonably well, so identified it as a fact. In case people are having trouble finding the link to the actual quiz, I think this is it.
      http://www.pewresearch.org/quiz/news-statements-quiz/
      I got a perfect score, but it was hard at first to separate the fact fullness from my agreement with the content. But I got the hang of it. More people need to learn the difference, it’s important. As to the terms used in news reporting, I was quite unfamiliar with several terms.

      1. willf

        I had similar difficulty on the statement: “Spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid make up the largest portion of the U.S. federal budget.” since Social Security is being confused/conflated with medical spending. Also, Social Security is funded by fica taxes, and not government budgeted spending. I had this down as opinion.

        Apparently this was considered by those who made up the quiz to be a factual statement, not opinion. Which brings up an interesting point, what if your “fact” is not in fact a fact? Who gets to determine whether something is a fact or not?

        (If I am mistaken on Social Security funding, it would be appreciated if commenters could help me understand. There was a politifart article on why SocSec did indeed add to the deficit, but it seemed to need some rhetorical sleight-of-hand to make its point.)

        1. Odysseus

          If I am mistaken on Social Security funding, it would be appreciated if commenters could help me understand.

          Some of this depends on exactly how literal you want to be or how academic you want to be.

          Yes, the law literally says that payroll taxes fund Social Security, and the Trust Fund makes up any shortfall in benefit payments. If we were on the Gold Standard, that might even be an accurate academic description. However, we are not on the Gold Standard, and we do not need to collect Pretty Yellow Rocks before we can give them to other people.

          Modern Monetary Theory describes how fiat currencies work. Federal spending creates money, taxes destroy money. Currency issuers do not need to tax in order to spend. The literal words of the law do not describe the fiscal operations at play. Congress appropriated money for Social Security payments (even if it only did so by refusing to renegotiate a past appropriation) and the payments come from newly created money. Taxes destroy money, so when the dollars are returned to the currency issuer they are simply destroyed.

      2. mrsyk

        Ten for ten here (pops the top off an ice cold celebratory pilsner)! Seriously though, the granular analysis at the end is fascinating.

    3. Earl Erland

      I “missed” this one. The use of the word “significant” makes it, IMO, sketchy to label the statement a “fact”. “Significant” is a word of judgment, hence more in the realm of opinion. Compare: ISIS lost x percent of its territory in Iraq and Syria in 2017.

      1. RMO

        I can see how people could score poorly on the test – it’s easy to conflate “factual statement” with “true statement” and if they believe the statement is incorrect to classify it as opinion.

        10 out of 10 in my case though that first one was a bit iffy due to the word “significant” I admit.

    4. dcrane

      Agreed. I figured I was getting that one “wrong” as I clicked “opinion”, and indeed I was “correct” in that guess.

  15. Light a Candle

    The Buzzfeed article “How We Radicalized the World” is advocating censorship (the new neoliberal theme). And the usual Russia, Russia, Russia hysteria.

    The article completely ignores how neoliberal economic terrorism by the 1% has left the 99% desperately looking for solutions. Glenn Greenwald describes this with his usual insight and nuances.

    The internet has also let progressive movements build solidarity. Bernie Sanders success was built on a free internet. Cannabis legalization was because ordinary people shared information on the effectiveness of medical cannabis.

    This is what the 1% fear, an organized and active 99%.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Re legalized marijuana and gay marriage, it does not hurt that there are so many “conservatives” who like their ganja and it’s not like there are not a lot of gays among the ‘conservative” ranks. Dick Les Cheney “forgave” his daughter, as I recall, for being “other-interested,” and Roy Cohn, arch-Evilman, was viciously gay. And there’s been p;retry good obscurantism practiced over the predilections and polarity of one of the architects of the corrupt “state security apparatus,” J. Edgar “I LOVE your dress” Hoover.

      And as a person who has an FBI dossier with my name on it, may I say that those who think the FBI can “do good work” on stuff like MAGAman and Kavanaugh and “terrorists” they sucker or coerce into sting operations just don’t read the history. The available history, of course… https://theantimedia.com/fbi-corruption-history-10-most-crooked-things/

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’m sure this will put me on some sort of list but here goes.

        When I was *13* I had an art teacher who was a rabid socialist and he convinced me to sign up for the SWP. At the time I was also very interested in gunpowder and creating very large explosions. We’d buy a pipe and blow it up in the woods. We’d order ingredients and fuse by mail order.

        I noticed my mail was being opened, very carefully slit at the ends and then resealed with clear tape and delivered as normal. This was Nixon-era.

        So I wrote a letter to my mail-opener. Mainly I said he/she should be ashamed of him/herself, that the country was supposed to be free, didn’t he/she feel guilty.

        The mail opening stopped immediately but I’ve always assumed I also have a file in a dusty FBI drawer somewhere. I used to think that was a badge of honor but these days I’m sure they have one on everybody

  16. JTMcPhee

    I get an error for the NatGeo article on climate change refugees from Guatemala. This one works for me: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/10/drought-climate-change-force-guatemalans-migrate-to-us/

    And as I recall, drought conditions have had something to do with what’s happened in Syria among other places over the last decade and a half or so…

    Of course the Empire and its Imperial Forces are all over how to “manage the chaos for fun and profit.”

  17. georgieboy

    The money quote from the Moon over Alabama piece on Squirrel Hill massacre:

    “Social network posts by Robert Bowers show that the immediate reason for attacking the synagogue was last week’s National Refugee Shabbat ceremony by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS):

    Hours before Saturday morning’s shooting, the account posted again, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
    HIAS is 137 years old organization founded by and for Jews who were fleeing pogroms in Russia. It nowadays supports all refugees.

    The killers hate for HIAS points to the ideological closeness of white supremacists and Zionists:

    On the Jewish far right, the Zionist Organization of America has attacked HIAS and other Jewish organizations for lobbying to admit Syrian refugees to the U.S. and has accused HIAS of doing so for profit.”


    Reform Jews are surrounded on all sides, it seems.

  18. In the Land of Farmers

    Re: Younger generations are actually better at telling news from opinion than those over age 50

    Oh my god, the quiz. I cannot believe the statistics of the results and how they trended toward political belief. That is so fascinating to me, how people see truth based solely on their belief. Neither democrats or republican were immune. Anyone who does not get 100% needs to rethink how they view the world.

    The lowest correct scores however were linked to Republican responses to statements about immigration. For the Democrats it was for a minimum wage question and a social security spending question.

    And yes, I got 100% right.

    1. GF

      I’m proud to be in the 100% correct category along with the esteemed Lambert and In the Land of Farmers.

  19. Wukchumni

    World Series: Red Sox, Unhittable and Unstoppable, Win It All, Beating Dodgers NYT
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Same damn thing happened last time the 2 teams met in 1916, only they were the Brooklyn Robins, losing the series 4-1.

    So, i’ve been to maybe 10 MLB games since the ultimate season in 1988 for those that bleed Dodger blue…

    That year I was working for an arbitrage firm, and the owner had 4 season seats about 60 rows behind home plate, with a parking pass as well.

    About 40 times that season, over the p/a @ about 5 pm, the word would come from on high: “Dodger tickets available if anybody wants them”, and my co-worker B.J. and I being the only bachelors, were quick on the uptake and must’ve gone to 30 games, and we’d either invite friends along or scalp the other 2 ducats with the proviso being that said fans would be sitting next to us, ha!

    Went to a few NL division games, and missed the 1st WS game and Gibson’s heroics, but had Euker seats way down the 1st base line in upper nosebleed for the 2nd contest.

    As we walked towards the turnstiles, i’ve never seen so many grown men so desperate to buy my ticket, as they all wanted to catch lightning in a bottle, as per the previous contest, but that only happens once in a blue moon, and I think the Dodgers won 6-1, in a ho hum game only made satisfying by being on the winning side.

  20. Adrienne

    Re: Donald Trump didn’t start the fire: Here are things the midterms can’t fix

    Salon has 404’d the article. Here it is on Alternet:

    https://www.alternet.org/donald-trump-didnt-start-fire-here-are-things-midterms-cant-fix

    “It’s tempting to say that I’m talking about “mainstream” liberals and “establishment” Democrats, but that’s not entirely accurate, and in the current climate it feels lazy to use those terms as pejorative epithets. What has gone wrong in America is not Hillary Clinton’s fault; like Donald Trump, she is a messenger, or a symbol. Let’s say instead that for many powerful and well-insulated Americans near the top of the cultural pyramid, from the center-left to the center-right — including at least some penitent conservatives in the Max Boot and Tom Nichols mold — a potential Democratic congressional majority in 2019 carries a special significance.

    “It represents a symbolic Restoration of the old order, something like installing Charles II on the throne in 1660 after the disastrous experiment of Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan regime. It’s one last chance to reassert sanity and normalcy — which in this case signifies a government operated by spooks and wizards with Ivy League degrees — before we plunge off the cliff into the bottomless troll-hole of dumbass fascism. It’s time, in this worldview, for ideological enemies to set aside our differences and join in a “Coalition of Normals,” to quote Salon contributor Bob Cesca, devoted to restoring our republic and enforcing “presidential” conduct on the presidency.

    “To this particular fantasy I say, with respect and affection and some lingering nostalgia: LOL whatever. This “normal” that you speak of: When was that, and where is it to be found? The Benghazi hearings? The drone war and the secret “kill list” that included American citizens? The birther controversy and the “death panels”? Potential vice president Sarah Palin? The Iraq war and the “unknown unknowns”? The Lewinsky scandal and the “meaning of is”?

    “This version of making America great again is every bit as vague and ahistorical as Donald Trump’s, albeit with better optics and improved literacy. The proposition that stuff in America was way super-normal, swimming along at high levels of rational efficiency, until the day that Donald Trump descended that golden escalator and started talking about Mexican rapists, is just so dumb. Please don’t try to look me in the eye, or anybody else either, and claim to believe that.”

    1. Lee

      Thanks for sharing this. Am I correct in assuming it to be an alternet rescue from a Salon editor’s attempted consignment to oblivion? If so I guess the woke folk at Salon saw for a moment the cold, hard truth staring them in the face and blinked.

    2. Eureka Springs

      Entering or mired in the bargaining stage? All this time and all those words and still all they can come up with on behalf of their D neo-liberal alternative is NOT Trump. At least they are beginning to see the “status quo” light for the hideous florescent it is.

    3. VietnamVet

      There was a restoration. The Reagan revolution restored the corporate aristocracy as the ruling class. World trade was organized with supranational institutions and legal treaties that are superior to democratic nations. America’s and England’s middle class started dying earlier from escalating despair. Repeating the disaster in Russia after the fall of the USSR. The plebes in retaliation elected a new Caligula as their Emperor and exit from the EU. When oligarchs are fighting for power, a civil war isn’t far away.

  21. NRC

    If there was actually a decent chance that HRC was going to run again, we wouldn’t be seeing anything like the number of Democrats signalling that they’re going to enter the primary. If the party is behind her those prospectives would be a hell of a lot more skittish. And if the party is NOT behind her (which given the polls and unfavorability ratings, how on earth could they be?), and she’s thinking about running anyways, then she’s gone even more off the deep end than I would’ve thought possible.

    1. Tom Doak

      She is probably thinking there are more Hillbots than Bernie Bros, so she could win the primary even without a stranglehold on the party’s finances, as she had last time.

      But most of the other potential candidates know that’s crazy talk.

  22. Wukchumni

    Walked the Cold Springs Nature Trail in Mineral King 3 times in the past week, and the fall colors were just sublime, but as the week went on quaking aspens became more skeletal, as the leaves left.

    I barely touched a branch on a black cottonwood tree, whose leaves were canary in color, and about 73 fell off like so much confetti.

  23. HMD

    RE:Younger generations are actually better at telling news from opinion than those over age 50 Nieman Labs.

    Take the test and then check out the “more details” column at the bottom of the test summary page. It includes some party affiliation information about test takers. What’s interesting is certain questions have exactly the opposite distribution of R v. D’s than expected (or at least what I expected). The one that caught my eye was it shows that more republicans than democrats (that took this quiz) think raising the minimum wage is good for the economy.

    Would be interesting to see if this held true on a larger scale.

    1. Expat2uruguay

      I think you’re misreading the results. More Republicans than Democrats correctly identified the statement as opinion. More Democrats took it as fact. So when any group identify a statement as opinion, they Maybe in fact revealing a bias against the statement.

  24. Wukchumni

    A National Park Service plan to set fire to an ancient sequoia grove in western Sierra Nevada has been canceled for the second time this year, further delaying a delicate forestry operation aimed at triggering new growth near the world’s largest tree.

    The controlled burn in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks was expected to blacken 483 acres in the Giant Forest, a cathedral-like grove of sequoias straddling Generals Highway. The carefully tended fire was expected to last seven days, but was canceled Friday after a test fire failed to consume vegetation fast enough for the plan to work, according to Mike Theune, a fire information officer with the National Park Service.

    California’s famed General Sherman Tree and other giant sequoias have evolved in a manner that allows them to not only survive periodic wildfires, but also thrive in their aftermath. The towering are wrapped in a thick, fire-resistant bark, and their pine cones release seeds when exposed to heat. Fire also helps to clear the forest floor and expose nutrients that allow the fallen seeds to germinate.

    Friday’s attempt was called off after crews burned three acres outside the grove and found that “10-hour fuels—items slightly denser than grass, like sticks and twigs, that take up to 10 hours to completely consume—were not helping the fire spread. The winds were too light to help, Theune said. Park officials spent the weekend monitoring the fire and let it burn itself out.

    https://phys.org/news/2018-10-national-cancels-earth-largest-tree.html
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Prescribed burns are really tricky, you have so many factors to figure in before going ahead with fuego.

    In 2015 there was a prescribed fire in Mineral King about this time of year in the very heart of the drought, and they had a similar issue to the failed burn this week, in that ignition was really difficult, and one of the ways they start fires is to drop ping pong balls from helicopters that have potassium permanganate in them.

    http://www.auburn.edu/academic/forestry_wildlife/fire/aerial_ignition.htm

  25. Wukchumni

    A triggering incident becomes a spark—yet the spark itself does not ignite. Rather, it is the readiness for combat in this emerging “community of violence” that makes a fight the natural way forward. In 1774, the Sons of Liberty were spoiling for a fight. In the 1850s, Jayhawkers and Border Ruffians were equally primed to hit back. That pushed the nation to civil war.

    (American Conservative)

    I’ve been re-reading “The Days Of The French Revolution” by Christopher Hibbert, and everything was more or less honky dory with some small measure of violence and severed heads carried on pikes, until Lafayette ordered French soldiers to fire upon protesters, killing 50 or so. And then the real revolution got going.

    I could see the very same thing happening here…

  26. crittermom

    RE: Georgia/voting machines

    I almost didn’t read this article because it appeared so long.
    Very glad now that I did. It’s excellent (& horrifying, in truth).
    Corruption at its finest.

    IMHO, a ‘must read’ as we enter yet another election.

    What happened to me is minor by comparison, but I sent info & proof to a news station here last night, in addition to forwarding it to the woman running for Congress in my district, whom I met two weeks ago when she visited this (dying) city.

    I received my application for an absentee ballot in the mail, filled it out, & returned it in the prepaid, pre-addressed envelope included, to the county clerk’s ofc.

    It was returned six days later, “undeliverable as addressed”.
    What?!

    Upon calling the clerk’s ofc I was told the envelope was addressed to their old address (they’d moved well over a year ago). What?!
    Of course, they can’t be forwarded.

    When I asked who was responsible for this incompetence (& if there was now a job opening since they would surely be fired /sarc) I was told it was done by a ‘third party’.
    (Look over there! Did ya see that buck pass?)

    That third party, according to the envelope I received the paperwork in, is The Center for Voter Information in our state’s capital.

    When I inquired if EVERYONE received the wrong envelope to return our requests for ballots in, the response was, “Well, we’re getting some in” (to the clerk’s ofc, successfully), so apparently not.

    I had the envelope with the “undeliverable” sticker attached scanned, & sent it along with my story to both a news station & the candidate for this district, hoping someone will investigate.

    Thanks to NC, I’m becoming proactive.
    ~~~
    Oops! I’d stepped out for a few minutes before commenting & just noted my answering machine blinking. The news had called me back & wants to find out more. I’ll do that now & keep you updated…

    1. crittermom

      I made the call. It was the reporter who had interviewed me a month ago on a totally unrelated matter. (My first news interview ever).

      It turns out he is assigned to cover the election & voting so is VERY interested in my story & wants to talk more after further investigation.

      Yes! (my) story will be heard.
      Score one for the ‘little guy’!

    2. zer0

      Another link to add to my collection of links on voter fraud, counting fraud, ballot fraud, machine fraud, exit-poll divergences, etc.

      And people ask me why I dont vote, like its a bad thing.

      1. crittermom

        Oh, I still intend to exercise my right to vote, despite all the corruption exposed here & elsewhere.

        If we don’t, I think we’re just willingly giving up our rights, without so much as a whimper.

        I much prefer to ‘go down’ screaming the truth, which is why I exposed the story.

        1. witters

          Nice activism – but on ” intend[ing] to exercise my right to vote, despite all the corruption exposed here & elsewhere.”

          Isn’t this a bit like exercising one’s right to sleep in the gutter, or one’s right to starve?

    3. Skip Intro

      You rock, keep us posted!

      p.s. you may want to ping Greg Palast, who is a long-term connoisseur of election shenanigans.

      1. crittermom

        I’m familiar with Palast’s reporting on voter fraud but the contact link on his site isn’t working. I tried.

  27. crittermom

    RE: Georgia/voting machines

    I almost didn’t read this article because it appeared so long.
    Very glad now that I did. It’s excellent (& horrifying, in truth).
    Corruption at its finest.

    IMHO, a ‘must read’ as we enter yet another election.

    What happened to me is minor by comparison, but I sent info & proof to a news station here last night, in addition to forwarding it to the woman running for Congress in my district, whom I met two weeks ago when she visited this (dying) city.

    I received my application for an absentee ballot in the mail, filled it out, & returned it in the prepaid, pre-addressed envelope included, to the county clerk’s ofc.

    It was returned six days later, “undeliverable as addressed”.
    What?!

    Upon calling the clerk’s ofc I was told the envelope was addressed to their old address (they’d moved well over a year ago). What?!
    Of course, they can’t be forwarded.

    When I asked who was responsible for this incompetence (& if there was now a job opening since they would surely be fired /sarc) I was told it was done by a ‘third party’.
    (Look over there! Did ya see that buck pass?)

    That third party, according to the envelope I received the paperwork in, is The Center for Voter Information in our state’s capital.

    When I inquired if EVERYONE received the wrong envelope to return our requests for ballots in, the response was, “Well, we’re getting some in” (to the clerk’s ofc, successfully), so apparently not.

    I had the envelope with the “undeliverable” sticker attached scanned, & sent it along with my story to both a news station & the candidate for this district, hoping someone will investigate.

    Thanks to NC, I’m becoming proactive.
    ~~~
    Oops! I’d stepped out for a few minutes before commenting & just noted my answering machine blinking. The news had called me back & wants to find out more. I’ll do that now & keep you updated…
    ~~~
    Forgive me if this posts twice. I once again got an ‘error’ msg.

    I just spoke with the news man. He remembered me from a story in which he interviewed me a month ago, totally unrelated.
    It turns out that he is the one assigned to cover the election & voting, so is VERY interested in this story & will be calling me back again.

    Yes. It appears my voice will be heard.
    Score one for the ‘little guy’!

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      We call that an elevator shaft, as in, “I suddenly found myself moving quite briskly”. The sensation is short-lived.

  28. ewmayer

    Re. “Many Americans Say They Haven’t Benefited From Trump’s Economy” — This and many others in the recent spate of similar articles seem to be pushing an agenda – let’s look more closely at the wording in the Bloomberg piece, keeping in mind that the fellow after whom said site is named is mulling a 2020 presidential run:

    A majority of Americans reports that their financial situation has not improved since the 2016 presidential election, despite low unemployment and a booming stock market.

    More than six in 10 Americans said that they’re no better-off financially than they were two years ago, according to a Bankrate.com report released Wednesday. Low earners, women and those of retirement age were most likely to report that they are no wealthier than before.

    The Bankrate.com poll was conducted on Sept. 25-30 by research firm SSRS, using a national sample of 1,001 people. The study echoes the findings of a recent survey by investment advising company Stash, which found that 44 percent of Americans reported their financial situation had not improved, and an additional 20 percent said their financial prospects had worsened.

    Note the careful presentation of the stats in the above. Hmm, what’s missing? The percent of people who *do* report improvements in their financial situation. That number is nowhere to be found in the article. So let’s go to the actual Bankrate.com poll-article mentioned (but not linked to) in the B’berg piece, Just 38% of Americans say their finances have improved since the 2016 election

    So one could easily spin this as a positive, e.g. “twice as many Americans say their finances have improved under Trump as say theirs worsened”. Given the transparently hollow (as in the rich got richer due to Fed-sponsored asset-price Bubble 3.0, and geographically speaking the usual-suspect coastal-elite areas got most of the spoils) nature of the “recovery” from the GFC, and the unceasing onslaught of rent extraction in areas like health insurnace/care and education, perhaps a mere 20 percent saying their financial prospects had worsened is actually a pretty good number. Without a broader context, it’s impossible to tell, which is why a comparison to the numbers of the same poll during the Obama years would have been really useful. But no mention of that, either. So another “lies, damned lies, and statistics” propaganda piece, IMO.

    None of which is to say that Trump has done – to use the kinds of bombast he trades in – ‘wonderful, really tremendous’ things for the economy, just that articles like the above don’t give us any useful information to make a judgment on the matter, likely because they weren’t intended to do so.

  29. How is it legal

    Re: Richard Blum, a $100 Million UC Investment, Feinstein Campaign Donations: Business As Usual at UC?

    Welp, okay no one has commented yet on it, likely because Feinstein/Blum have been perpetrating this abuse of power and money for years, and getting away with it. None of Sirota’s piece is shocking, or new to many of us in California, including those CalPERS Investment Management fees (there’s older writing on this somewhere but it doesn’t come up in a search), and the Investing in Distressed Homes which aren’t mentioned in the piece.

    Hope I find out before I die, how Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband, Richard Blum, got away with such a vicious, scandalous, and ugly abuse of power and money.

    The only thing I can thank Senator Feinstein for, as a California resident, is for being one of the predominant reasons (along with her fellow Federal, State, and Local: Demorats; and Bipartisan Republican, Bircher, and Libertarian supporters, whom I’ve never voted for), why I came to my senses and stopped voting for anything but Propositions (when no third parties can even hope to make the ballot); such as voting Yes on Proposition 10 Rent Control in an obscenely wealthy and powerful STATE, with an obscene amount of unsheltered and homeless human beings.

  30. knowbuddhau

    “Trump from Reality TV to Twitter, or the Selfie-Determination of Nations [Arizona Quarterly]. It would not be unheard of for a class of symbol manipulators to believe that manipulating symbols drives everything.”

    It goes a long way back. In India, the way I heard it, first there were as an oral tradition and rituals, by which the brahman caste interfaced with the gods; the Vedas arose from an oral tradition going all the way back.

    After a while, the brahmans decided that, since they control the Vedas and the rituals, they control the gods. Apparently, hubris is universal.

    That may not be how it is now, though. Never been to India myself.

  31. Huey

    That MoA article on Pittsburgh was a really great takedown of mainstream medias’ ‘blame it all on Trump’ spiel.

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