Links 1/25/19

Earth’s 39 Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters of 2018: 4th-Most on Record Weather Underground

Big U.S. banks are letting stress tests make decisions for them The American Banker

Shale Pioneer Hamm: Output Growth Could Fall By 50% “This newfound mantra of capital discipline has been imposed on the shale industry after a decade or so of a debt-fueled drilling frenzy.”

PG&E Is Cleared in Deadly Tubbs Fire of 2017 NYT. “The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Thursday that private electrical equipment at a home was responsible for starting the Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County in October 2017. The exact cause could not be determined, however, because much of the equipment was destroyed in the fire.”


The Three Days That Now Matter in U.K. Parliament’s Brexit Chaos Bloomberg

Wealthy Brexiteers like James Dyson are jumping ship. Why might that be? Guardian. And–

Say goodbye to Airbus:

Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn faces revolt from Labour MPs backing second referendum Independent. How many days left? 63 apparently (and there are fewer legislative days).

Labour’s alternative to the Prime Minister’s plan appears to have little substance Institute for Government

The risks of a second Brexit referendum must now be run Martin Wolf, FT

Central Bank warns of stark impact of no-deal Brexit RTE


Commentary: China’s economic transition deserves world’s confidence Xinhua

Beijing tells cadres to prepare for the worst amid uncertainties of its high-stakes trade war with the US South China Morning Post

Surveys and data are key weapons in the great Indian political battle of 2019 Quartz


Venezuela’s Military Backs Maduro, as Russia Warns U.S. Not to Intervene NYT

Press review: Putin, Erdogan hash over Syria and US meddles in Venezuelan presidency TASS

El Presidente Guaido, today:

Sounds great. Who does the customs inspection?

House Democrats, January 11, 2019:

Interestingly, Clintonite Wasserman Schultz, Clintonite Shalala, and Mucarsel-Powell are all from Florida.

Trump Incites Turmoil in Venezuela Amid a Bipartisan Clamor for Regime Change Ghion Journal

Where Are Democratic 2020 Hopefuls on the Trump-Backed Coup Attempt in Venezuela? In These Times

DSA Statement on Venezuela DSA

The Coup in Venezuela Must Be Resisted Craig Murray. Read all the way to the end.

Class/race polarisation in Venezuela and the electoral success of Hugo Chávez: a break with the past or the song remains the same? (PDF). Barry Cannon, Centre for International Studies School of Law and Government Dublin City University. From 2008, still germane. Local expertise welcome!

New Cold War

The End of Russia’s ‘Democratic Illusions’ About America The Nation

Insidiocracy: Russiagate, Corporate Media & Losing My Religion – Part One Nina Illingworth

Putin’s May Decrees and the 12 “national projects” take shape, but lacunae remain Intellinews

Trump Transition

Collapse of Two Plans to End Shutdown Propels Urgent Negotiations NYT

30 Democrats suggest Pelosi give Trump a vote on wall funding if he reopens government McClatchy

Time Is Quickly Running Out for the First Quarter’s IPO Hopefuls Bloomberg

It’s Not a Shutdown, It’s a Lockout and a Shakedown of Federal Workers The Nation. Nice to see Big Labor taking point on protecting Federal workers. Oh, wait….

Aviation workers issue dire shutdown warning Politico

‘We Didn’t Get Ph.D.s Just to Sit Around’: Civil Servants’ Good Will Erodes NYT. Everything’s going according to plan.

Roger Stone Arrested Following Mueller Indictment Daily Beast

‘We are going backward’: How the justice system ignores science in the pursuit of convictions NBC

Democrats in Disarray

Bernie Sanders vs Kamala the Jailer and Her Corporate Backers Black Agenda Report (JB).

2016 Post Mortem

Majority of Americans were not exposed to ‘fake news’ in 2016 U.S. election, Twitter study suggests Science

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Amazon Can’t Fix Facial Recognition Cathy O’Neil, Bloomberg. “[T]he whole ecosystem of artificial intelligence is optimized for a lack of accountability.” That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

New technology uses lasers to transmit audible messages to specific people What could go wrong?

Health Care

Indiana superintendent charged after using her insurance to help sick student KARE

Millions of Americans Flood Into Mexico for Health Care — the Human Caravan You Haven’t Heard About Truthdig. No moral panic about Americans who can’t afford dental, or any moral panic that they just can’t stay south of the border. Apparently, the identitarian case for open borders assumes that they are, and should be, permeable only one way…


Panic is on the agenda at Davos – but it’s too little too late Guardian. “A simulation of a refugee’s experience, where attendees crawl on their hands and knees and pretend to flee from advancing armies.” What’s the safe word? “Money”? And–

Class Warfare

Alienated Labor Popula

Until the Next Crash n+1

How Big Firms Keep Wages Low Teresa Ghilarducci, Forbes. Monopsony.

They write books:

Book Review: The Finance Curse: How Global Finance is Making Us All Poorer by Nicholas Shaxson LSE Review of Books

Shoshana Zuboff: Facebook, Google and a dark age of surveillance capitalism FT

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote (eMammal):

eMammal “works with citizen scientists and camera traps to conduct large scale mammal surveys coordinated by NC Museum of Natural Sciences and the Smithsonian.” Obvious candidate for a Jobs Guarantee.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


      1. PlutoniumKun

        They are something of a pest in Ireland – they were introduced in the 19th Century by landowners after they largely wiped out the native Irish Red Dear (Elk) and decided nice cute little Sikas were a good alternative. They are lovely, but they do quite a bit of damage to gardens and forests – they have no natural predators here.

        1. Wukchumni

          Imagine a 11 foot wide rack of antlers on your head?

          Rare ice age elk antlers discovered in an Irish bog have sold at auction in Auckland today for $28,000.

          The giant ancient fossilised antlers and skull, which belonged to an Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus) and became extinct about 11,000 years ago, sparked a bidding war at Cordy’s auction house this morning.

          Four phone bidders clambered to buy the antlers, which have hung in a historic New Zealand hunting lodge for the past century and had an estimated worth of $8000-$15,000.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            There are lots of those antlers in museums in Ireland, they turn up all the time in bogs. My reference to elk though is to the modern red deer (the elk in American, but smaller here). There is just one small herd of native ones left in Ireland.

            The Giant Irish elk must have been quite a sight. There is one image of them in existence, a single cave painting in France I believe. Stephen Jay Gould wrote a very moving essay about this gift from the Paleolithic. It seems they looked in reality more like bison than deer – very muscular and shaggy coated, with big shoulders and a giant stripe down their haunches.

          1. Lee

            Compensation for livestock losses would have to be part of the deal. I’m guessing it would be an affordable project.

            Yellowstone wolf reintroduction advocate, Rick McIntyre, whenever someone complained about the cost to tax payers for the Yellowstone reintroduction, would hand them a nickel. “There,” he said, “you have been fully reimbursed for what the project cost per citizen.”

        2. Mmm

          Dear is really tasty. Make yourself a gastronomical predator.
          Cook in oven. Serve with a juniper sauce. Mmmm!

        1. Wukchumni

          A doe with a deer rifle had me in her sights, but not having an opposable thumb and forefinger, she couldn’t do me in. I think her name was Bambi.

          1. Janie

            Bambi: HIS name. My mother read it to me, a chapter a night. I remember crying when his mother was shot.

            1. newcatty

              First movie that I saw as a kid at, what was once upon a time, what a real theater was like downtown. I went with cousins, we were 5-6 years old. The experience of going to a regal place was part of the magic. Then seeing the vivid images on a big screen, with the evocative music sound, was impressive on our young minds. I cried for a week after seeing it. That was the start of being seen as “too sensitive” as a kid. This was in the mid fifties in Disneyfied America.

              1. Lee

                Old Yeller was the principal childhood tearjerker for me. Sixty years later and I still weep for my dogs and even my cats when they die, as I am sure most of us do.

                1. tegnost

                  I recall it was “the yearling”for us 60’s youngsters in fla , not necessarily an uplifting tale…tragic, difficult, lifelike…kind of like the 60’s

            2. polecat

              Oh Come On ! .. We all know of Bambi’s fate .. In fact, when I was a wee lad, I saw with my own two eyes .. on the Telly !
              Just ask Godzilla ..

      2. Eclair

        They are definitely a pest in Chautauqua County, NY. Driving at night, early morning or at dusk, involves creeping along with one eye on the road and the other on either side of the road (quite a feat!) to watch for groups of deer breaking out of the foliage. They eat everything! If your veggie garden is not surrounded by a six foot high barrier, it will be nibbled down to little stubs. The deer’s only predator are humans …. and not enough of us are out there hunting.

        Listen to me! I’m beginning to sound like a walking advertisement for deer genocide. Guess we need to return to little walled communities with guard dogs and small children set out to scare off the bambis.

        1. Wukchumni

          Like many other Apple investors, I took quite a hit on my stock, as the deer did in a number of trees, and unlike summer fruit, apples are typically most vibrant and green, & laden with fruit in the fall, when they are at their most ravenous, grrrrrrr.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Since the modern suburbs and exurbs are becoming huge deer gardens by accident kind of like the huge deer gardens the Indian Nations maintained on purpose, perhaps the suburbs and exurbs should do what the Indian Nations did: hold annual deer roundups and killathons and butcher-out and distribute the meat among suburban and exurban citizens.

          Treat the deer as a renewable resource rather than a pest.

        3. Elizabeth Burton

          If it helps, deer when crossing a highway are usually either going to or coming from a source of water. So, if you know where the creeks and ponds and whatnot are on your route, those are the places to keep eyes open.

      3. Oregoncharles

        Native mule deer are a major pest in our neighborhood, which is semi-rural. Consequently about an acre of our property is fenced, and there are circles of fencing around young trees, roses, and the like. Not a great addition to photos. Where there isn’t fencing, there’s a visible browse line.

        One suggestion is to treat them as part of the crop, but there is no safe direction to shoot and we aren’t hunters. So i chase them when I see them near the garden. Deer are supposed to be afraid.

        All that’s because the only natural predators here are people and dogs, but I don’t exactly want cougars on my doorstep. A dilemma. Keeping a dog would help, but, having had one we dearly loved, we’re reluctant to tak eon the responsibility.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Don’t be my brother
          Our doggies are getting up in age and we are not looking forward to the end of our relationship, but it is part of the cycle. Will get a pup or two up in here to learn the routine shortly, so the elders can show them the process.
          Looking for a kitten also.
          Got a chicken sitting a nest so little chickies are on the way.

      1. lordkoos

        I won’t drive WA state highway 10 around here at night because of the deer crossing in the winter, and even in daylight it’s a problem. I personally know two people who had their cars totaled on the highway from colliding with elk and deer in the last couple of years. They will stand in right in the road and aren’t that smart. At one time there wasn’t a problem with them, not sure what changed but now they are all over the place. We do have cougars around here but they don’t seem to be affecting the deer population much.

        1. newcatty

          We spent some time in Estes Park when we lived in Northern CO. We would stop on way to Rocky National Park. Never forget our first trip in the Fall. Elk were everywhere in the town. Almost every spot of green grass or anywhere there were shrubs, elk. We stepped into a local brewery and told our congenial host how amazing it was! He gently smiled at us newbies from the desert and said : Yeah, there a real pest.

        2. Etherpuppet

          Deer are Rats on Stilts.

          – my mom, who lives in a rural, wooded area with a high pre-and-post-collision deer population.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Deer are Meat on Stilts. All we have to do is think of them that way, and manage them as a renewable Meat-on-Stilts resource.

        3. gepay

          i found if you honk your horn when you see the deer then they will bolt right away rather than dithering and then jump in front of your car.

      2. Susan the Other

        This is the most salient antidote ever. It’s like the deer and the coy wolves produced it. I do believe in telepathy… You?

  1. EricT

    Does anyone realize that we are living in a de facto military state without mass arrests? The shutdown only affects civilian “non-essential” agencies and who deems what is non-essential. Trump should be impeached immediately. If the Senate refuses the trial, it will be circulated through the media and will make the holdouts politically vulnerable.

    1. Roger Smith

      On what grounds? I’d much rather see the halls of Congress burn down. Trump, like it or not, is the last shred of citizen sovereignty in the federal government. These elites who play their Game of Thrones cosplay as careers have wanted the interloper out from day one. It sucks that Trump is a moron who surrounds himself with the worst people imaginable, but taking him out would only prove that we truly live under fascism. Trump’s win, again largely imperfect, was proof that people still had some shred of power over these globalist, technocrat, squillionaire, etc… etc… career tyrants.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Apparently, one reason would be he is usurping the right of the House to determine how federal funds are spent by positing his signing of a spending bill on his being given money for a wall that’s not in the House-approved budget. There were three other possibilities in the short piece I read, which was allegedly written by a Constitutional scholar. And I now wish I had saved the link, because the author was quite specific.

          1. Procopius

            That sounds like good grounds for charging and trying several thousand bureaucrats in the Pentagon who are charged with maintaining the accounting system. They routinely violate the law and the constitution by moving funds out of accounts which expire at the end of the fiscal year into other accounts that don’t, making fictional entries to force the books to balance even when they don’t know what happened to some amount of money (usually it seems it was spent on something other than it was authorized for, but no one really knows). They definitely need to start taking action to force the Armed Forces to become accountable for the money they receive. If the U.S. ever has to face another nation state we’re going to lose quickly, because for the last seventy years the Pentagon has been fostering the idea that more complex weapons and systems are superior. They’re also a lot more difficult to maintain and much, much more expensive. There’s a reason why the AK-47 is preferred as the weapon of poor people, despite the fact that you can carry a LOT more ammunition for the M-4 (AR-15, M-16).

      1. credulous

        The popular victor who didn’t win the popular vote and was installed by party cronies aka “electors.” What a victory over the elite!

            1. tegnost

              Thanks, that really puts it in perspective, and in a few of those little red squares I talked to deplorable trumpians who thought bernie is ok., speaking of merging dems and republicans

            2. paintedjaguar

              If you looked at the Bernie vs Hillary primary results at the county level you saw a similar pattern – Hillary’s support was concentrated in urban areas, outside of those Bernie dominated.

        1. Roger Smith

          Our voting system was no secret ahead of the election. But for as much as people like to bring this up, the Electoral College votes are based on the popular vote (unless some fool doesn’t follow his state, then there is an issue), as well as population size of a state. All the EC does is add a regional scaling to the votes so a given washed out, economically deprived area like say… the Mid-west, still has a chance at adequate representation when they’d otherwise be ignored in favor the the bastions of high population density (currently the coasts, urban metropolitan areas, etc…). Also, this is only relating to the Presidency, one federal office. All the people angry about Trump (and those not) should understand that they are (supposed to have) local representatives that also work for them (in theory) and they should be angry at them. Vote these people in or out and get what you need. All I saw in 2018 was a bunch of fools voting to maintain the Democrat (and Republican, duopoly) status quo in my state, “because Trump/Republicans”, effectively getting everybody nowhere. Congress is infested and the public perspective is distorted. I am so far not really a fan of AOC, but I do like that she feels like some random ‘anybody’ elected to Congress.

          1. Anon

            Well, the electors to the Electoral College are based on a states popular vote, but the allocation of electors to the EC is proportional in SOME states but winner-take-all in others. That is how Trump won the EC vote but not the National popular vote.

            There is no getting around it. The EC was designed to favor small states over large ones, e.g: Wyoming, population <1million has 3 electoral votes while California with 39 million people has 55 electoral votes. (I'm sure you can do the math.) That has nothing to do with regional scaling; it's all about political power. The EC allows presidential candidates to ignore California and focus their time and money on "Swing States" (especially those with winner-take-all electors). We're fortunate the EC is ONLY used pres./vice pres. elections. It stinks, and subverts a representational democracy.

            The only reason the EC continues is that it requires a 75% state approval for a Constitutional amendment, and small states are NOT going to give up their advantage.

            Making ALL states use proportional electoral selection would ameliorate the problem, but as shown in the above example, inequity is built into the system.

            I do, however, share your disdain for the current politcal party duopoly. The goal of most politicians is to get elected, then relected, then maybe personal power, but never trying to solve political issues or leading in some manner.

            I give AOC large amounts of credit as a freshman Congresswoman. She is well educated (summa cum laude), well-read, willing to advance important issues, and does not suffer fools. She is willing to talk frankly about both race and economics (her university major) clearly. She's willing to 'Hang Ten' to win the surf contest.

            1. Joe Well

              Has anyone seriously considered moving a few hundred K people from blue state inner cities to Wyoming, Alaska, and the Dakotas? That’s the strategy that China is taking with the Uighur and Tibetans, but in our case it could be anti-racist, instead of, you know…

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I don’t even want to tell you about 2000. Certainly, the Clinton campaign in 2016 couldn’t learn anything from their first hand experience with that disaster.

          Fun fact: Tim Kaine was a co-chair of the Joe Lieberman campaign in 2004! Isn’t it crazy how losers always run together.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The senate is another one infested with party cronies.

          How else can we explain that a vote by one senator from say Florida’s Rubio (with more voters and votes for that senator) is counted the same way (and not weighted) as a vote by a senator from say, Vermont’s Sanders (with fewer votes and votes for this senator)?

          1. JBird4040

            Just like the Electoral College, the Senate was designed in part to prevent regions like New England and states like New York from completely dominating regions like the Plains and states like Montana.

            It is not a perfect system especially with the depopulation of the Plains States, and the increasing and perhaps over population of states like California, for which the Founders didn’t plan for. If the economy in general and its continued development in particular much of the country hadn’t been crushed, it would be less of a problem as the population would be less unequally spread.

            1. jrs

              Urbanization is actually a GLOBAL trend. Now where those urban areas end up being located in a country may depend on various factors, but actually urban areas almost everywhere in the country are blue not red.

              1. JBird4049

                That urbanization is generally a global trend is true. So what? And just what the pseudo ideologies of the American political parties have to do with anything? Stop listening to the neoliberal and political propaganda.

                The extensive depopulation of the interior of America is at least partly due to the destruction of all the factories, businesses, and family farms due to the factories and jobs being shipped overseas, Walmart driving out most small businesses, with other national chains replacing the rest; the loss of many, perhaps most local jobs, and the declining wages in the rest has destroyed the economy and the tax base needed for a functioning government especially at the municipal level.

                What remains of investment goes into an ever shrinking part of the country and to an ever fewer number of the nation. Increasing parts of my “Blue” state of California is undergoing this.

                San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and the Water Barons are not representative of the whole thirty-five million plus Californians. The increasing corruption and political dysfunction of the state capital Sacramento, or the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and (I believe) San Diego are creating a miniature America. A very unequal society of a small very wealthy elite, a 10% composed of a comfortable servant class and then everyone else. A blue coastal strip surrounded by the large inner and northern red strip.

                We can’t deal with the housing shortage, or the homeless, or the cost of education, or pass state wide single payer healthcare, or deal with the water crisis. But by golly LGBT rights and gun control is covered. Of course, those things don’t cost money. Getting people off the street, health care, or rebalancing the economy would. The Gunz is an excellent distraction, and vote and donation getting issue, but far more lives are destroyed by the lack of housing, education, and healthcare in California.

                Blue and Red. Democrats and Republicans. Just labels to distract, divide, and destroy.

        4. drumlin woodchuckles

          It was a victory over the DemCrony elites that selected Hillary to be coronated Queen.

          Queen-wannabe Hillary knew the rules of the Electoral College just as well as Trump knew them. If she decided she was too good to have to offer something useful to Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania in order to earn votes in those states, her loss was her own and was well earned and richly deserved.

            1. ambrit

              When the Democrat Party stops ‘offering’ the masses pathological predators for election.
              Oh, and tell the other “operatives” back at your ‘Hasbara Factory’ to up their game when trolling here. You are not dealing with run of the mill 4channers.

      2. neo-realist

        The citizen sovereign who gives huge tax breaks to the .01% and dramatically increases military spending. That’ll show those “globalist, technocrat, squillionaire” tyrants.

        The citizen sovereign who takes food, rent, and mortgage money away working class federal workers to get billions for a freakin wall. Yeah, giving the people a shred of power!

        1. RUKidding

          No kidding.

          Yeah baby, that’s some citizen sovereign sitting there in the White House, helping out all of those economically anxious white people.

      3. Cal2

        Roger Smith 8:37

        “These elites who play their Game of Thrones cosplay as careers have wanted the interloper out from day one.”

        This comes from Today’s Craig Murray article on Venezuela. One of those sentences that should be engraved in stone.

        “Every revolution will always displace an existing elite who are by definition the best educated and most articulate section of the population..”

        1. Eclair

          “Every revolution will always displace an existing elite who are by definition the best educated and most articulate section of the population..”

          Gosh, yes. And that displaced elite will have friends in high places in surrounding countries, who are averse to a similar fate.

          What’s a revolutionary to do?

        2. davidgmillsatty

          Who did the American revolutionaries replace that were so well educated and articulate? I seem to recall the founding fathers as being pretty darn smart and educated.

          1. Dianne Shatin

            America is the exception. Our revolution was for freedom and liberty fromBritish monarchical rule; taxation without represention and to enshrine in our founding documents the principles of the Enlighteent!!
            L eave it to the property holders and the self annointed aristocrats at the vagaries of ignorance and moral failing; genetic mutations that bted out conscience, empathy, and inserted greed, selfishness, and arrogance in their stead, and you have already destroyed permanently the vestiges of leadership let alone the government we inherited. Today, IBM, artificial intelligence creators and operators and the handful ot high tech heartless social darwinists are the Oz behind the curtain. The rootz of our national democracy arr dead; its well poisoned because of the failure to pull the plug on Rush Limbough and his cadre.

            1. flora

              Not ‘destroyed permanently’ nor ‘dead’, but at a temporary political low tide.

              There is a back-and-forth in US history that begins with the founding of the country. See: the Whiskey Rebellion, Shays’ rebellion, the Civil War (of course), the late 19th c – early 20th c progressive movement, and the New Deal, for examples.

    2. Summer

      Just wondering why Trump should be impeached for a shutdown when the House and Senate can pass a bill.
      He doesn’t write the laws.
      If the Senate and House both had the numbers, the bill would pass.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Let’s not let the actual process affect knee jerk reactionism.
        He has a horrible haircut, although they never chucked him face first into a van.
        So yeah!!!

  2. Dale

    Venezuela. I’m presently in Colombia, where many thousands have fled from the north. Four of the hotel staff here where I am lodged are Venezuelan refugees. In my conversations with them they all blame the political/economic crisis on the corruption and ignorance of the Chavez/Maduro administration. I have spoken with Venezuelans in Bogotá, Medellin, Pereira, and Cali and they say the same: government ministers and their allies are corrupt and incompetent, only interested in lining their pockets and too stupid to manage a government.

    A similar thing is happening in Nicaragua, where El Comandante, Daniel Ortega, and his wife, V.P. Rosario Murillo, (La Chamuca,The Witch), resorted to murder in response to a small (less than one hundred students) protest over an increase in taxes coupled with a cut in benefits to Social Security. The story there again is corruption (stolen funds for private investment) and stupidity (responding to a peaceful protest with brutal violence.)

    For the many thousands who have had to abandon their families and look for employment abroad, any intervention that may return them home and save their country is welcome.

    1. Roger Smith

      We can ask them in a few decades how having someone else turn their homeland into a militarized, U.S. vassal, globalist resource colony as opposed to solving their own problems worked out. This notion that any country with internal conflict needs “outside intervention” in order to correct the problems has to be a U.S. I.C. construction. The devil is never making a selfless deal.

      1. Philip

        By some cruel circumstance of life I just received a copy of The Second Indochina War by Wilfred Burchett in the post on Monday this week, and have been reading it as situation unfolded in Venezuela.
        Stark parallels between what occurred then in Indochina and what we are witnessing today. Chilling in fact. I pray we do not see another Pinochet, or Pol Pot emerge from the current situation.

        I found Bernie’s tweet extremely distressing! How is it possible that so many “front row kids”, including our “leaders”, remain so blissfully/willfully ignorant? Or are they?

        But then we have another bunch of “thought leaders” / “front row kids” – notably, one a Rhodes Scholar – insisting that Putin is behind the Gov. shutdown. If these sorry assholes weren’t so preoccupied with finding Putin hiding in their navel lint, they might realize that there is now solid legal ground for Impeachment of both Trump and Pence regarding their words/actions on Venezuela. That would leave their beloved Saint Nancy as interim President, no? (did I just say that?)

        The always excellent John Pilger :
        From 2007 but very relevant today.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          Distressing yes, but it’s about the best the US has right now. At least he’s against regime change.

        2. Grant

          I would recommend this book by Doug Stokes on Colombia:

          To think that we helped to create that horror show, and continue to support it militarily, financially, and diplomatically, puts to rest any notions that we care about democracy and human rights. I realize that we can point to many other examples, but Colombia happens to be Venezuela’s neighbor, and Colombian paramilitaries have not only been doing lots of horrible things in the country, the right there also seems to be all in on attacking Venezuela too. Are many of these horrible people remnants of Operation Condor, or is this the children of that generation?

        3. Olga

          Well, and don’t forget Chile 1970-1973. Did not end so well… Those Venezuelans in Colombian hotels may want to rethink their positions. No amount of toilet paper is worth a military dictatorship.

    2. johnnygl

      Let me know what you hear when you talk to some of the Colombian refugees that have been internally displaced by land-grabbing paramilitary death squads. For decades, Colombia topped the list of countries that produced refugees until Syria knocked them out of the top spot a few years back.

      I won’t defend Maduro, but let’s be fair about the problems in ALL the countries in the region and not act like venezuela’s some kind of exceptional situation.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I have no doubt the legions of the Venezuelan diaspora who are as numerous as the Syrians, the Ukrainians, and the Libyans are entirely above board and have access to so many Western friends because they are starving.

        Would the West sit by and let people starve if their were pictures? (Yemen). Of course not. This is about freedom and “elected Presidents” who weren’t even elected demanding to be President (The CIA isn’t even trying anymore).

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you.

          With regard to Syrians, the go to source in the UK is a former jihadist, exiled since the rebellion of the early 1980s, operating above a shop in Coventry. It’s called the Syrian Observatory.

          1. integer

            The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, to be precise. Amusingly, someone has created a website called “Syrian Observatory for Human Wrongs“. The motto of the site is:

            If the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights can dispense expert Middle East analysis from his mum’s bedroom in England, so can I. But I don’t, because I’m not an expert. And I don’t know his mum.

    3. hunkerdown

      Unsurprising that those who had the wherewithal and the lack of attachment to flee Venezuela, would be more inclined toward bourgeois interests. In other words, I don’t believe that a crisis based on right-wing interests is comparable to a crisis based on the people’s interests.

      For what it’s worth, there are far too many “Venezuelans” on Twitter reusing pictures and video from the pro-government protests of 2016, apparently posting comfortably from such refuges as Paris (on whose payroll?), to believe that the Western resource piracy coalition isn’t trying to force a meme. Worth repeating what Roger said: “This notion that any country with internal conflict needs ‘outside intervention’ in order to correct the problems has to be a U.S. I.C. construction.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Everyone knows no one takes pictures anymore. ..duh. Also, identifying landmarks and newspapers aren’t used as photographic evidence because….reasons.

        1. Oregoncharles

          The mass media in Venezuela are mostly controlled by the plutocratic opposition.

          However, there is also a parallel with Brazil: the Maduro government was so careless as to lose the parliamentary election, indicating they weren’t doing a great job of serving the people’s interests.

    4. Ignacio

      Venezuela. I’m presently in Colombia, where many thousands have fled from the north. Four of the hotel staff here where I am lodged are Venezuelan refugees. In my conversations with them they all blame the political/economic crisis on the corruption and ignorance of the Chavez/Maduro administration. I have spoken with Venezuelans in Bogotá, Medellin, Pereira, and Cali and they say the same: government ministers and their allies are corrupt and incompetent, only interested in lining their pockets and too stupid to manage a government.

      Nothing new here. It was the same when I lived in Venezuela in 1988-1989 under C.A. Pérez

    5. Darius

      Is Venezuela an open air shooting gallery like our client states in El Salvador and Honduras? This is what Venezuela has to look forward to when its vassalage is fully implemented.

      1. Joe Well

        Venezuela or at least Caracas and Barquisimeto have unbelievable levels of homicides, quite close to levels in EL Salvador and Honduras. The violence has gotten progressively worse since the 1970s and neither chavismo nor the opposition has made it a priority.

    6. Who Are You Kidding?

      by the fact that they left Venezulea means they are much more likely to have an anti-government bias. Hardly a decent way to poll all Venezuleans, but a great way to show that those who can afford to live in hotels that (wealthy?) expat would live in all hate the government that has helped the poor the most.

        1. Anon

          Well, both housekeepers and front desk could be considered staff. Which do you think they are?

          Venezuela is a complex situation. While Maduro is continuing the policy of using oil wealth to assist the poor, the US has been using sanctions and monetary control to make life difficult there. Venezuela has a wealth stratification far worse than the US, and even the poor are affected by shortages in food and medicine. Dissatisfaction abounds; but the solution is not a US backed coup.

          Unless, of course, Trump wants even more “illegal immigrants” entering the US.

    7. John k

      Thanks for local reports.
      Venezuela has many mineral assets and fertile regions, no reason it’s not prosperous. But mismanagement and corruption are unlimited. Zimbabwe was is the same… corruption and looting combined with price controls on farmers (below the cost of production) to create shortages and resultant hyper inflation.
      Us can destroy countries, but they can do it on their own, too.

    8. Grant

      “I’m presently in Colombia”

      Since you are in Colombia, what do Colombians say about how their government treats journalists, union organizers (deadliest place in the world for some time for union organizers), priests (over 80 killed since the mid 80’s), the indigenous groups being erased because of land grabs, and politicians and activists on the left (thousands killed in the last few decades)? How about paramilitaries (which the US had a huge role in creating) and their corrupt two-party system? Or the obvious needs in regards to land reform? Their former president (Uribe) was named by the DEA as one of the biggest offenders in the Colombian government in regards to connections to drug cartels. There is evidence that they planned hits on his ranch. Colombia is already overwhelmed with problems, instead of giving them over $10 billion in aid since 2000 as we have done, what if we did to them what we did to Venezuela? Think they would be in any better shape?

      People are fleeing Colombia too:

      I fully understand that people stuck in that situation are scared, angry and are struggling to make sense of things. There is no doubt that Maduro has made mistakes and has acted in ways that should be challenged, but what is the damn record of the opposition (polls show that they are just as unpopular as Maduro) in regards to human rights, democracy and corruption? Do people support their policies? Look what the CIA, the NED, USAID and the like have done there. The support for the coup, the oil industry lockout, economic sabotage, or supporting outright fascist elements. The fact that many of the products now being cut back are produced by interests opposed to the Bolivarian Revolution? The stealing of state-subsidized food, which is then sold at a markup in places like Colombia? Or private organizations like the Atlas Network? Look at the impact of the sanctions, the freezing of assets, barring creditors from re-negotiating Venezuela’s foreign debt, making it hard for financial institutions to work with the government, gold confiscated, or the impact that our actions have had on oil production since 2017? It is under attack, and for what? Give me a logic that justifies this while also justifying our support for Colombia, Venezuela’s neighbor. Or give me the logic of intervening in Venezuela cause we care so much about human rights and democracy, but then doing nothing about the damage we have caused in Central America and supporting the coup in Honduras in 2009.

      It’s clear that, if this is to be resolved peacefully, that parties have to sit down and elections have to be held (with no outside interference of any kind). Some in the opposition are calling for this, but the radical, fascist reactionary types in Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and here want war, and they want oil.

      1. JBird4049

        Right. A lot of people are responsible for the current Venezuela debacle. The conservative wealthier Venezuelans who, along with international (oil) companies and the American government have done what they can to disrupt the Venezuelan economy and political process as well as the massive corruption of the current Venezuelan regime.

        1. Grant


          Only thing I would modify is that corruption in government now is not the monopoly of Maduro. And corruption in the past is where a good portion of the wealth of the elite in Venezuela came from in the first place. We also know that the opposition has stolen tons of food and other subsidized items and sells them at a markup in places like Colombia. But Maduro isn’t free of blame on that, or other things. While I think Venezuela would still be struggling from what has been done to it, as well as the problems that far pre-date 1998 and problems it shares with other developing countries and countries with large oil reserves, I also think that Chavez would be dealing with this situation a hell of a lot better than Maduro has. I also think it is clear as can be that the opposition doesn’t offer a damn thing as far as solutions. They will loot the country, along with international capital, they will shut down democracy, which they have a history of, and as long as our government doesn’t confront the right wing elements we are supporting in nearby countries and the rightwing elements in charge of the foreign policy establishment, they will not be held responsible for the hell that unleashes. We have utterly destroyed the Mideast, and many of those responsible are back in government, are on TV, and they still are called upon to write columns for important newspapers calling for more state violence. They haven’t been held responsible. We are morally responsible for what this state does, and we are responsible for what we do or don’t do to challenge it. Right now, we don’t seem to be doing much. But, then again, there is so much to have to challenge these days.

    9. Elizabeth Burton

      The fact that so many people are reporting what they’ve heard from people who left the country is, I think, part of the reason a coup is so easy to excuse. Anecdotes are fine, but when they’re presented outside the theater of action by those who chose to leave instead of stay to make significant change, I can’t trust them.

      Yes, the Venezuelan economy is a hot mess, and the sanctions imposed have only made a bad situation worse. Has there been massive corruption? As Mr. Murray notes, most definitely. Was Maduro a worth successor to Chavez? Apparently not. However, the Venezuelan people seem to be adamantly opposed to having the US demand they accept an anointed leader, and there’s no question the CIA has been there stirring the pot since 2002.

      The bottom line is that unless the people of Venezuela who actually live and work there request aid from the US or anyone else to effect a regime change, anything that’s happened so far violates international law and is an imperialist invasion of a sovereign country.

      1. Scoaliera

        Maybe you’re seeing something different, but the response from Bernie looks to me like, Oh hell no. Only with some acknowledgement that the status quo ante wasn’t ideal, either.

        Gabbard is punchier, and has the virtue of taking direct aim at the Russia! Russia!! RUSSIA!!! hypocrisy; but I don’t see a problem with Sanders’ effort to add some context to his call to stay out. Twitter’s awful for nuance, but I can’t fault a politician for at least making some minimal attempt at it.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I read at first on my phone, and at a glance, was easy to miss the last two sentences. I’d have preferred he’d just wrote those two and nothing more:

          “However, we must learn the lessons of the past and not be in the business of regime change or supporting coups – as we have in Chile, Guatemala, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. The United States has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries; we must not go down that road again.”

          1. witters

            What I want to know is what his “must” means here? Does it mean something real – “I call on all Americans to join me in utterly rejecting this illegal and grotesque intervention in Venezuela!” – I doubt it – notice Venezuela not even in your two sentences! So I reckon it is a “must” as in “You really mustn’t buy me anything for my birthday!”

            From outside the US I have to say here Bernie looks entirely – and so “exceptionally” – USain.

    1. Ignim Brites

      Gabbard is going to be the only real peace candidate. The effort to drive her out of the race will be massive and intense.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Gabbard is Presidential as in Commander in Chief/F.P. worthy. Bernie would be better as V.P. in charge of domestic policy. Only if they both ran to actually win.

        But Democrats would rather run with banksters, MIC madness, insurance, pharma, and neocons… or chew their hand off than allow that to happen.

    2. Oh

      I’m encouraged by Gabbard’s initiative on this. Let’s hope she turns out to be candidate for the people.

        1. integer

          Hey Debbie Wasserman Schultz, how about you fix elections in Broward County, Florida before trying to “help” other countries?

          Never tell DWS to “fix elections”, she’ll interpret it the wrong way.

  3. Wukchumni

    Big U.S. banks are letting stress tests make decisions for them The American Banker

    [on Dave’s return to the ship, after HAL has killed the rest of the crew]

    HAL: Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress test, and think things over.

  4. Alex morfesis

    Brace for impact or y2k revisited ? Not my thingee but are any markets at all actually worried of a “massive” disruption ? Close enough to disembarkment day the peanut gallery can dive into tail risk bingo and buy up short term out of the money derivative positions… Any up ticks ?? Just hold fast may not be a plan, but since politics in general and certainly on the east side of the pond, is more personal ego games with the ease one can effectively start a new political party and simply cleave off a portion of a collapsing legacy party…dj Terri maymay is in a solid box…the box might sink…but she can’t be forced out and has shown she has no decency and will never resign…

    Her other (soon to be ex) european counterparts are all hanging by a thread…the top two german banks have zero capital base and have been kmarted by the investment world…zombie banks held up due to the magic of long term market domination…

    To keep the kyffhauser/Wolfie schaeuble-schacht legacy wing of german politicians appeased under the boogie man notion of not wanting to “unleash” the “darker” forces is well beyond its sell by date…

    That German industry is showing perpetual weakness by its concern of a strong currency not being able to be manipulated down by screaming about southern european “dead beat” economies, suggests new leadership and economic liberation is needed…

    There has always been unease for “rabble”… at most, life has been “predictable” for the average mark…ummm sorry…human…

    And there will always be something that will show up just at the right time…

    Who could have predicted the rise of the National Grange in the USA ? And despite its current legacy sedate nature, has left a sequence of events which still resonate…

    Hate by the the universal language, but humans are an extremely resilient and powerful lot…one hundred years ago the Spanish influenza was destroyed by humanity syncing it’s response individually and killing it off as a species…

    All is well in the garden…

  5. Charles Leseau

    Hmm.. Messaging sitzkrieg from democrats on Venezuela. Will they act like they grudgingly support the coup or just go full jingo and support it outright? Or, if it fails, will they simply bail on it?

    1. a different chris

      Full jingo. They have no clue how sick people outside their echo-chambers are of meddling in other country’s affairs, messed up or not, and how much they want them to pay some attention to our issues.

      I mean Venezuela and the immigrants will be all the Dems talk about. In neither case are American citizens involved, but they are still surprised when we then don’t vote for them or vote at all. Must be nice to live in a world where all the local problems are solved, at least in your head.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        I sincerely hope Pompeo’s refusal to withdraw US diplomatic personnel from Venezuela as Maduro ordered, on the grounds they don’t recognize his authority, isn’t setting those people up for a Reichstag Fire.

    1. Lance

      “A little less than two years ago [written in 2016], in July-August 2014, Monthly Review published a special summer issue under the title Surveillance Capitalism, edited by John Mage. The contributors included such important analysts as Rishab Bailey, Beatrice Edwards, John Bellamy Foster, Robert W. McChesney, Alfred W. McCoy, Jean-Claude Paye, David H. Price, Prabir Purkayastha, Lauren Regan, and Michael E. Tigar. The lead article by Foster and McChesney was itself entitled “Surveillance Capitalism: Monopoly-Finance Capital, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Digital Age.” In Foster and McChesney’s analysis, the problem of surplus absorption under monopoly capital was seen as having led to the development over the last seven decades of a massive surveillance network, extending across the sales effort, finance, and the military, and integral to the entire information economy.

      We were therefore pleased to discover that the concept of “surveillance capitalism” has now entered the mainstream and is drawing considerable attention, through the work of Shoshana Zuboff, emeritus professor at the Harvard Business School. Zuboff first took up the issue in a 2015 article in the Journal of Information Technology, entitled “Big Other: Surveillance Capitalism and the Prospects of an Information Civilization,” where she pointed to “the new logic of accumulation of what I call surveillance capitalism.” She failed, however, to mention the prior treatment of “surveillance capitalism” in Monthly Review, despite the fact that her analysis was written in November 2014—judging by her accessing of numerous articles on the Internet on that date—four months after the MR issue was published and posted online. In a March 27, 2016, article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine, entitled “The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism,” Zuboff again writes of “what I call ‘surveillance capitalism,’” while still neglecting to give even bare mention to MR‘s previous, more developed treatment of this same concept nearly two years before.”

      Surveillance Capitalism: Monopoly-Finance Capital, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Digital Age

      (July 2014)

      This author didn’t come up with this concept and doesn’t credit others who did!

      1. How is it legal

        Thanks much for that link. I very much appreciate the authors’ emphasis on the US Government’s decades long, and enormous role, in bringing about surveillance capitalism, something I found way lacking in the reviews of Shoshana Zuboff’s book. I’m particularly glad that Bill Clinton and Al Gores’ Telecommunications Act of 1996, was referenced, a most nasty ‘gift that keeps on giving.’

        As to her possible lack of attribution for the term Surveillance Capitalism, a full month prior to your linked July 1st, 2014 publication, Surveillance Capitalism – Monopoly-Finance Capital, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Digital Age – on April 30th, 2014 – in a piece titled Dark Google, Shoshana Zuboff noted:

        The whole topography of cyberspace then began to morph as Google and Facebook shifted away from the ethos of the public web, while carefully retaining its rhetoric. They began to develop a new logic of operations in what had until then been a blank area. The new zone didn’t resemble the bricks and mortar world of commerce, but neither did it follow the norms of the open web. This confused and distracted users. In fact, the firms were developing a wholly new business logic that incorporated elements of the conventional logic of corporate capitalism –especially its adversarialism toward end consumers – along with elements from the new Internet world – especially its intimacy. The outcome was the elaboration of a new commercial logic based on hidden surveillance. Most people did not understand that they and their friends were being tracked, parsed, and mined without their knowledge or consent.

        I believe that paragraph encompasses the term “Surveillance Capitalism” and find it believable that she could have thought of the term, and even used it casually prior to any white papers, without knowing someone else had used it. It actually stands to reason that thousands (even millions) thought of the term before it ended up in a formal write up on the subject. Further, it’s quite possible that she did a search to verify as to whether anyone had used the term, and nothing came up (after all, one of the accused surveillors, Google, owns the browser of browsers; and hell, out of the box Microsoft Office Professional 2010 software didn’t even acknowledge the existence of the word surveillance (along with the word precarity), let alone its potential use as an adjective,).

        On the other hand, if she had not thought of the term herself, she definitely should have acknowledged that, in addition to referencing your linked piece in her bibliography, at a minimum; particularly given the huge and unfair advantage her Harvard Business School Capitalist ‘creds’ unfortunately allow her in being heard, in the media and elsewhere.

        I’m thinking one should read John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesneys,’ Surveillance Capitalism – Monopoly-Finance Capital, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Digital Age, and Yasha Levine’s book, Surveillance Valley, before, or after, her new book; just so the US Government’s role in Surveillance Capitalism>, and the depravity of capitalism in any form, gets the attention it deserves.

          1. How is it legal

            See my comment above, under Lance’s, regarding who coined the term. (Likely thousands thought of it and used it informally – because it makes so much sense – prior to any of the authors referred to using it, but that doesn’t automatically mean any of those authors deliberately ‘stole’ the term from someone else, refusing attribution.)

  6. allan

    Re: ‘We are going backward’: How the justice system ignores science in the pursuit of convictions

    You really need to read all the way to the end in this one. Near the top it says,

    The divide between science and justice has widened in the nearly two years since the Justice Department under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions ended an Obama-era partnership with independent scientists to improve forensics. In 2017, Sessions disbanded the National Commission on Forensic Science, which included researchers, scientists, lawyers, evidence examiners and law enforcement officials, and replaced it with a Forensic Science Working Group, which is housed within the Justice Department and is led by a career prosecutor. …

    but way, way down near the end the author tucks in

    … Obama then asked his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to investigate. The result was a 2016 report that drew public attention back to the issue, repeating many of the concerns raised by the National Academy of Sciences seven years earlier.

    But the recommendations faced resistance from the Department of Justice under Obama. The FBI accused researchers of making “broad, unsupported assertions” and of making unscientific judgments itself. Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch said her agency would reject the council’s conclusions. …

    More about this piece of Lynch’s legacy in Takepart and Counterpunch, both from 2016.

    1. pjay

      Thank you for pointing this out Allan. All efforts to reveal the *bipartisan* nature of our corrupt system are greatly appreciated.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Insidiocracy: Russiagate, Corporate Media & Losing My Religion – Part One”

    I think that I can explain how this is all happening. Back before the Iraq invasion there was a lot of talk about how to run that country for fun and profit after they were occupied. The question came up as what to do about the Iraqi media. There was a serious suggestion that all the journalist be rounded up and taken to another country. I think that Cyprus was mentioned. Anyway, they would be told what the new situation would be and those “that got it” would be allowed back to practice journalism once again. Those that didn’t would be barred from all jobs in the media. I would suggest that all the journalist in the west “get it”.

    1. notabanker

      Following the media layoff announcements yesterday, twitter was rife with media conglomerate journalists appealing to the public to whip out their credit cards and subscribe because the “internet” has broken their advertising business models and it now “threatens accountable democracy”. I wanted to puke.

      Simultaneously, AOC is roasting the WaPo fact checker for his ridiculous Pinocchio ratings. Turns out he referenced a paper written by an ex-Obama admin turned lobbyist who went to work for a Walmart funded think tank in DC. Title of the paper: Walmart: A Progressive Success story.

      The truly sad part is, I don’t think these people aren’t even acting, they believe they are performing some altruistic role in society.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “President @jguaido has now formally requested US assistance in working with our partners to provide the people of #Venezuela immediate humanitarian relief.”

    Before I comment on this, I would suggest opening up another tab to play the following song to set the theme of what is going on with the west in this region-

    Done? OK. I am going to make a bet that all this immediate humanitarian relief will not cost the US a dime. They will simply make use of all the Venezuelan funds that have been frozen by the west i.e. stolen. And they will have Guaido’s – I beg his pardon, President Guaido’s – full authority to do so. I mentioned yesterday that there is $550 million worth of Venezuelan gold in London bank vaults that can be used too that will be charged to Venezuela. In practice that gold will stay right where it is and only the owners will change.
    The desire may be to invade the country but it will be like Iraq. Easy to topple but a costly mess to try too occupy. You think that the other South American countries will put their hands up for that job? No, I don’t think so either. I do wonder if those other South American countries realize that they could be next. Are Americans willing to see their troops fighting in the jungles of Venezuela? Because that is what it will come to if there is a military invasion. Then the democrats had better cough up the dough for that barrier as there will be a flood of refugees coming out if this conflict heading their way.

    1. Roger Smith

      Heck, many South American countries are already “has been”s. The late William Blum compiled this list, which is too astonishing not to paste here. Avast! We shall finally win a war in the jungle that stats with a ‘V’!

      China 1949 to early 1960s
      Albania 1949-53
      East Germany 1950s
      Iran 1953 *
      Guatemala 1954 *
      Costa Rica mid-1950s
      Syria 1956-7
      Egypt 1957
      Indonesia 1957-8
      British Guiana 1953-64 *
      Iraq 1963 *
      North Vietnam 1945-73
      Cambodia 1955-70 *
      Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *
      Ecuador 1960-63 *
      Congo 1960 *
      France 1965
      Brazil 1962-64 *
      Dominican Republic 1963 *
      Cuba 1959 to present
      Bolivia 1964 *
      Indonesia 1965 *
      Ghana 1966 *
      Chile 1964-73 *
      Greece 1967 *
      Costa Rica 1970-71
      Bolivia 1971 *
      Australia 1973-75 *
      Angola 1975, 1980s
      Zaire 1975
      Portugal 1974-76 *
      Jamaica 1976-80 *
      Seychelles 1979-81
      Chad 1981-82 *
      Grenada 1983 *
      South Yemen 1982-84
      Suriname 1982-84
      Fiji 1987 *
      Libya 1980s
      Nicaragua 1981-90 *
      Panama 1989 *
      Bulgaria 1990 *
      Albania 1991 *
      Iraq 1991
      Afghanistan 1980s *
      Somalia 1993
      Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *
      Ecuador 2000 *
      Afghanistan 2001 *
      Venezuela 2002 *
      Iraq 2003 *
      Haiti 2004 *
      Somalia 2007 to present
      Libya 2011*
      Syria 2012

      1. Wukchumni

        Looking through all the places in South America we sent the USMC in to roust the locals in the past, there’s a Venezuelan gap.

        Semper Fi(nance)

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        You left off the joke at the end:
        “Q: Why will there never be a coup d’état in Washington?”

        “A: Because there’s no American embassy there.”

    2. Wukchumni

      When it took the USA 5 years to give Germany back 300 of it’s 1,500 tons of gold we hold for them here, it was pretty odd, as they can build & export a few hundred cars to us weighing 300 tons, in a jiffy.

      Methinks the vault shelves under Manhattan are not exactly creaking from too much weight upon them.

      1. skippy

        Never understood the whole Gold thingy … its just a physical marker [not unlike tally sticks] which are hard to fiddle with in quantifying a means of exchange with multivariate properties [counter party expectations of value e.g. pigs, chickens, land, value added product et al.

        Yet as Hudson points out …. mixing the old gold with the new fiat is problematic when some hoard the stuff as a nation e.g. its the people and not the stuff which proceed events i.e. past history can have legacy which transcends new opportunities.

        1. Wukchumni

          With a few exceptions (the locals didn’t seem to care too much about it in what is now the USA, Canada, New Zealand & Australia) the entire world realized it was the most common rare item, and thus desirable.

          Every country of note has extensive amounts of it gathering dust, but few if any have a similar amount in silver, myrrh or frankincense.

            1. Wukchumni

              You do realize that gold was used as easily divisible money for around 2509
              out of the last 2600 years* in the western world since the Lydians minted the first coins?

              What if I don’t want to trade you my chickens for your pigs because I just don’t dig on swine, that’s where it comes in handy.

              The money medium here among the Wukchmni was sea shells, If you had Black Oak acorns which were the best tasting ones, you wouldn’t want my Live Oak acorns that weren’t as tasty, but you’d do a deal for some shells.

              * with some very sizable gaps primarily in the dark ages

              1. skippy

                I suggest you might have a gander at the transition from jade to gold in the south American experience and how that transformed the social psychology, all things considered from a historical perspective.

              2. Mo's Bike Shop

                What if I don’t want to trade you my chickens for your pigs because I just don’t dig on swine, that’s where it comes in handy.

                All those pig farmers, smiths, vintners, and artisans in the Bronze Age must have felt real stupid just sitting around on their stock for 3 to 4 thousand years before coinage made their specializations economically viable.

                1. Wukchumni

                  You are correct.

                  The concept of divisible-fungible money was quite the driver, as far as ancient economies were concerned.

                  The Romans with their tri-Metallic monetary system, was one heck of a breathrough.

                  1. Mo's Bike Shop

                    It’s like Haywood lives again.

                    Please catch up on the last 5,000 years. Also give some good links for what you think you are explaining or you’re well into agnatology territory.

                    Specie currency and it’s woes: A penny is a penny. No one cares how it works. The Roman Way was displaced in Western Europe by guys with dirt under their nails. (Why that occurred after only a millennium of aristocratic rule is a puzzler.) The Roman barbarian security forces and their pals then set up social relationships in lieu of money and plodded along very nicely for 600 odd years. I’m pretty sure it was about 1,000 years before we were foolish enough to play with compound interest again.

                    I personally think that direct Roman control of land north of the Alps was a drain on the order of integrating East Germany or worse. Gaul et al. had only just started the Iron Age. The action was all to the east. (Was there Roman angst about not even getting as far as Alexander?)

              3. False Solace

                > What if I don’t want to trade you my chickens for your pigs because I just don’t dig on swine, that’s where it comes in handy.

                That’s what credit is for. Try reading Debt: the first 5000 years.

                Civilization is quite a bit older than 2600 years.

                Money didn’t originate as a way of solving the barter problem. The “problem” of matching up barter transactions is a convenient fairy tale, a figment of modern economists’ imaginations. Gold coinage actually originated as way to pay soldiers in the form of portable loot. It coincides with chattel slavery.

                1. Wukchumni

                  The Roman Legion was paid in Denarii, silver coins that were later debased to the point of having no silver practically.

                  1. skippy

                    Yet what drove the necessity to diminished its % of silver, see monetarist always start their inquire after the human agency makes a case for QTM and ignore anything that does not fit the “model” [tm].

                    I’m sure your well acquainted with the Athenian problem.

                    1. Wukchumni

                      High technology & greed drove the Romans to debase their currency, not all that different than what has transpired in the USA.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I am trying to come up with examples of things rare and not desirable.

              Deadly viruses.

              To many, they are not desirable.

              To some scientiests, they are…to be collected, have reserach value, if not now, maybe in the future.

              Other examples?

              1. Wukchumni

                I heard a rumor that Asians get all hot and bothered over jade, whereas nobody here really cares as it doesn’t exist in North America, or the Maori who went ga ga over Pounamu, but could care less about all the gold laying around.

                1. Synapsid


                  Jade doesn’t exist in North America?

                  Both British Columbia and, especially, Alaska are major sources of nephrite jade, the toolstone (about the toughest rock we know of) that is highly regarded in New Zealand and that is the jade that has been valued in China since the Bronze Age there and before. I pulled a nephrite pebble of BC jade out of the glacial till across the river from Omak, Washington state.

                  MyLessThanPrimeBeef mentions the jade that was treasured by the Olmec and the Maya especially; it’s jadeite (going on memory here), the second of the two jade minerals. It’s common in parts of California where I remember it from the Coast Range, as well as Central America.

              2. skippy

                From my 80s days in Calif…

                A. The check is in the mail.

                B. the Benz is payed for.

                C. I don’t have Herpes.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      An old Benz is not too hard to have it all paid for.

                      Unless that is an old, rare and desirable one.

                    2. skippy

                      Not if you live on the beach and then the santa anitas do mix it up, but, deductive methodology has draw backs when its not responsive to new information.

            1. Wukchumni

              You see the thing is, there is essentially nobody alive that has ever done a transaction utilizing gold coins as money, so yes, a hand shake is worth more currently, depending on the rest of the body coming through on it’s appendage’s confirmation of a deal.

              1. skippy

                My point is the thing is just a object around which deals are negotiated and not related to the actual human endeavor and a poor substitute for trust or ethical risk weighing.

                Curiously my family owns in perpetuity some several hundred thousands of acres of not only gold bearing geo, but, copper and turquoise. The rub is capex for water and infrastructure do to topographical concerns of this Northern AZ region.

                What did that survivalist say again about those approaching the compound and when asked what they had to offer for entrance and their reply was gold … shoot them on sight …

                  1. skippy

                    portability in times of trouble…

                    That has been debunked so many times historically e.g. price goes up in a fear trade seeking harbor [ethical dilemmas again] and then crashes, but if one extenuates the time line enough the line smooths out, massive observer problem extenuated by ideological concerns.

                    Not to mention it was the demise of the Spanish over a natural force majeure event.

                    Never took you as a money crank Wuk …. must be the fear I guess …

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      Fellas, there is an easy solution here. Let those countries that see a use for gold (such as Russia and China) keep accumulating it and those that believe in a government’s promise, aka fiat currency, stick to their beliefs. After a coupla decades of financial crisis and resource depletion, we will have a better idea of who had the better idea. Fair enough?

                    2. skippy

                      Kev …

                      Counter party risk can not be hedged by inanimate objects, history is just chocker bloc with examples. That’s not to say ideology and investor sediments with expectations of returns does not skew the political apparatus for short term results.

                      Wuk …

                      Completely lost on how that has any bearing on the OP – your genealogy = ????? – or is my ancestor that was head of medicine at C of U burnish my thoughts or give gravitas to the histrionics I point out.

                    3. The Rev Kev

                      “If gold is a relic of history, why do central banks and the IMF still hold over $1T of gold? If it’s meaningless, why is everybody still holding it?”
                      – Alan Greenspan, May 2018

        2. tegnost

          That’s where I am on this, the ptb know that the value of that physical isn’t much compared to the all the smorgasbord of other pretty trinkets wall st has on offer. We’re not going back to gold standard. Maybe in the jackpot but that would mean all the rules are broken… That view of money has been left behind, and silver especially is just another industrial commodity, and that’s what establishes it’s value now.

          1. Wukchumni

            But you know what’s funny, one of the things Hillary was probably hot & bothered about in Libya was France’s fiat currency in Africa being usurped by Muammar’s ne plus ultra.

            Two weeks after France began bombing Libya, in March, 2011, Hillary Clinton’s old friend and advisor Sidney Blumenthal passed her an intelligence memo that supposedly revealed France’s true — and quite unflattering— motivations for toppling Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. While France’s then-President Nicolas Sarkozy publicly said he wished to free the Libyan people from tyranny, Blumenthal’s memo argues that he was driven by a cocktail of less lofty incentives, including a desire for Libyan oil, and a fear that Qaddafi secretly planned to use his vast supply of gold to displace France’s primacy in the region.


    3. Summer

      They (Congress) are debating border security, their only dispute is what form it should take.
      Some people think a wall will serve empire best, the others think other methods will serve empire best.
      And always remember that borders are about controlling inflows and outflows.

      1. davidgmillsatty

        Why is Trump not demanding a wall between us and Canada? I am thinking that the answer must be that he doesn’t think illegals should have to climb a wall twice.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Except for maybe foreign language teachers, why would they need teachers on visas?

      I think that’s one area people have mentioned that also needs addressing…the various visa programs, and overstaying by not a few of them.

      1. a different chris

        But we can’t get Americans to do those jobs! (note; applies to all jobs, Americans don’t want to do anything apparently)

        1. allan

          MLTPB’s question “why would they need teachers on visas?” is an excellent one.
          When my kids were in school the only foreign teachers who were apparent were in fact student teachers in foreign languages (the same way that Americans go overseas to help teach English in schools).
          Unless something has changed, I consider those a win for everybody.

          That the Denver BoE would threaten such people in the context of a labor dispute is truly ugly;
          that the BoE looks like an identarian dream team says a lot about the validity of identarianism.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Some probably prefer learning, say, Russian, from a native speaker. And if there are not enough Americans who are native Russian speakes, I can see the need to issue visas for that purpose.

          It’s the same with Russians wanting to learn American English. They would probably like to learn from someone from here.

        3. Massinissa

          Apparently, Americans don’t like to work, which is why there is so much unemployment.


  9. JCC

    On “The Other Caravan:

    A friend of mine gets his dental work done in Costa Rica. When he told me his total cost to get a couple of his teeth capped, including air fare and hotel, I was surprised at how much cheaper it was than the local quotes he got… near $2K less.

    When you can save close to $2000.00 for dental work by flying out of the country, then we obviously have a serious problem (and it’s not just basic dental work). It is a problem both the Dems and Repubs absolutely refuse to address because they both strongly favor Insurance Co.’s, BigPharma, and Corporate Hospital Privatization as opposed to the basic health of the majority of their own citizenry.

    1. crittermom

      My former neighbors spent their winters in Yuma, AZ in a 5th wheel. It seems there are many communities of retired people who do that, so they can have access to affordable dental care, prescriptions & more just across the border.
      From the article:
      “Yuma has 60,000 year-round residents, double or triple that in the wintertime.”

      It’s obviously more than just the warm climate they’re migrating for, however:

      “It is 5 miles to Algodones, Mexico a common destination for retirees that want to save on eyeglasses, prescriptions or dental work.”

      Not long ago I met an employee of a large drugstore chain in our local store.
      She’s relatively young (30’s?) & had worked for the company for years before moving here with her husband.

      When she transferred to this local store her hours were cut to part-time (20 hrs week) so she could no longer afford health care.
      Then she was diagnosed with cancer.

      She now travels to Mexico for her cancer treatments, which is quite a trip from west-central New Mexico.
      (She said she is doing very well with her treatments, however, & looked great).

      Apparently, it’s still cheaper to make those trips than to afford health care in this country.
      How pathetic.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I have many local friends who’ve gone to Mexico for dental care. Laser Dental in Nogales, Sonora, is highly rated, as is Dr. Tostada in Agua Prieta, Sonora.

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    Never Trumper Adam Schiff has found common ground with Trump once again by being proud member of the VLF, the Venezuelan Liquidation Front.

    I expect Schiff to praise the Donald for his Presidentin’ skills anytime now.

    1. Lee

      If you can’t knock off The Donald then taking out some other president will have to serve as a consolation prize.

  11. Wukchumni

    Air controller issues on the radar @ LaGuardia, Newark & Reagan National, with big delays in flights.

    A ‘shit down’ strike.

    This is the beginning of 10 days of this, as those that route planes, will shut down travel to the Superbowl, the most hallowed of all sporting events in the country.

    Those pricey empty seats in Atlanta will be such an embarrassment, I betcha the NFL scours the Peach city for warm bodies to fill them, say after the 1st quarter, if nobody is occupying them.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Earth’s 39 Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters of 2018: 4th-Most on Record Weather Underground

    The numbers in the article are inflation adjusted, so that only leaves one other question – with more population and denser development, the same disaster in the same location would likely cause more damage, if we leave out, or assume one cancels out the other, better construction or crapification of all things (including structures, etc), no?

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Millions of Americans Flood Into Mexico for Health Care — the Human Caravan You Haven’t Heard About Truthdig. No moral panic about Americans who can’t afford dental, or any moral panic that they just can’t stay south of the border. Apparently, the identitarian case for open borders assumes that they are, and should be, permeable only one way…


    Nothing in the article about addtional healthcare demand from those Yanquis causing inflation in the healthy care system in Mexico, making at least one segment of it unaffordable (Mexico has a mix of public health insurance programs, employer provided health care insurance and private out-of-pocket health care).

    Does it? Curious to know.

  14. Tyrannocaster

    I don’t know who came up with this today, but I wish it had been me. Cripes, I could hear the vocal:

    How does it feel?
    How does it feel?
    To be all alone?
    With your cover blown?
    Your collusion shown?
    A complete self-own?
    Like a Roger Stone.

  15. Wukchumni

    The Admiral, by O. Henry:

    Spilled milk draws few tears from an Anchurian administration. Many are its lacteal sources; and the clocks’ hands point forever to milking time. Even the rich cream skimmed from the treasury by the bewitched Miraflores did not cause the newly installed patriots to waste time in unprofitable regrets. The government philosophically set about supplying the deficiency by increasing the import duties and by “suggesting” to wealthy private citizens that contributions according to their means would be considered patriotic and in order. Prosperity was expected to attend the reign of Losada, the new president. The ousted office-holders and military favorites organized a new “Liberal” party, and began to lay their plans for a re-succession. Thus the game of Anchurian politics began, like a Chinese comedy, to unwind slowly its serial length. Here and there Mirth peeps for an instant from the wings and illumines the florid lines

    In the consultation of this small, maritime banana republic was a forgotten section that provided for the maintenance of a navy. This provision–with many other wiser ones–had lain inert since the establishment of the republic. Anchuria had no navy and had no use for one. It was characteristic of Don Sabas-a man at once merry, learned, whimsical and audacious–that he should have disturbed the dust of this musty and sleeping statute to increase the humor of the world by so much as a smile from his indulgent colleagues.

  16. Summer

    What happens when the Brits have a 2nd referendum, they vote to stay, and then conditions continue to worsen for the people who were in favor of Brexit (according to most accounts the industrial areas)?

    I know there are some still pining for that “end of history” moment, but so far from it.

    1. Lee

      And this of course is the dilemma, the Gordian Knot, the conundrum of our time. The rch phkrs have us boxed in, not only by the limited range of ideologically acceptable options but, at least for a time, materially as well because of the chaos and deprivation they can create via financial markets’ effects on production and distribution should the people make governance choices not to their liking. Maybe I’m just becoming more bloody minded these days, but the notion of draconian measures employed against the powers that be, I find ever more appealing.

    2. Yves Smith

      There wont be a second referendum. EU won’t give a long enough extension. Early July is the max. Plus the EU doesn’t want this going on forever.

  17. Summer

    As the march of progress heads straight through dystopia, maybe we should reframe questions around the climate debate.
    Not whether on believes or denies, but whether one is for or against.

    1. Eclair

      Brilliant, Summer!

      By declaring oneself ‘against’ Climate Change, one can, following the precedent of declaring oneself ‘President,’ create one’s own Reality. Credo, ergo sum. Or, clap your hands if you believe in el presidente Guaido! Or WMD’s!

      Is this the End Game? To get us all so totally confused as to what is real and what is fantasy, that we all rush out into the streets screaming in frustration? Or just retreat to the comfort of our Google Glasses (or Beer Goggles, if that is your choice of anodyne.)

  18. Wukchumni

    Waiting on a Friday afternoon
    For what I read between the lines
    Your lies
    Feelin’ like a hand in rusted shutdown shame
    So do you laugh at those who cry?

    Roger got arrested, another one to blame
    Only yesterday you lied,
    Promises of what seemed to be
    Only watched the time go by
    All of these things you said to decree
    Honesty is the hardest thing to do
    With all you’ve said and all that’s dead for you
    You lied
    Good bye

    Leavin’ a similar refrain
    Only yesterday you lied
    Promises of what seemed to be
    Only watched the time go by
    All of these things said by you

  19. notabanker

    Not sure what happened to the MMT post from this morning, but just wanted to say the Bell/Kelton paper linked in it snapped everything in place for me. Fundamental understanding of Treasury Ops and why the Fed mission is target funds rate was the lightbulb I was looking for after the MMT post from a couple of days ago scrambled my brain.


    1. Mel

      Thanks for drawing attention to this paper. Does shed lots of light on lots of things. Sections 3 and 4 totally new to me.

  20. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: Until the Next Crash — This link reviews a book I’m adding to my wish list: Adam Tooze. Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. Viking, 2018. The end of this fairly long review echoes the notion that we need some sort of Green New Deal although the author avoids using that glitzy designation:
    “The most obvious answer is that states must redirect the path of investment towards the building of a new energy system, given climate change. In polite conversation about monetary policy, however, the hope is to return to pre-crisis normalcy as soon as possible. The project is not going well.”
    The closing of this review is ominous:
    “The owners of capital watch their assets appreciate. In times of panic and crisis, the costs can trickle down to the worst off. That was what happened in 2008. Unless something changes, that is what will happen again, in the next crash.”

  21. The Rev Kev

    “The End of Russia’s ‘Democratic Illusions’ About America”

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure that at this point that they do not want to copy the American system of government.

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