Links 2/10/19

Chimpanzees escape from Belfast Zoo enclosure using tree branch ladder Independent

3 philosophers set up a booth on a street corner – here’s what people asked The Conversation

How to save a dragon in Indonesia Asia Times

Unravelling a Havana mystery AFP. Missed this last month and it piqued my interest today, perhaps because I’m reading a Leonardo Padura mystery – Havana Fever.

Prince Philip, 97, has voluntarily given up driving licence after crash

Widespread Wells Fargo issues blamed on data center outage, cause disputed Data Center Dynamics

Waste Watch

Researchers Developed a Technique to Turn Nearly a Quarter of Our Plastic Waste into Fuel  Motherboard Not sure addressing the plastics crisis by exacerbating climate change is all that hot an idea.

‘Wiped out before our eyes’: Hawaii offers bold plan to stop shark killings Guardian

Climate change: ‘Future proofing’ forests to protect orangutans BBC

Australian court rejects coal mine on climate groundsChannel News Asia

Health Care

An Open Letter to Rep. Pramila Jayapal Regarding Medicare for All PNHP (Otis B Driftwood)

Class Warfare

“Don’t Let Door Hit You on the Way Out”: People Power Credited as Amazon Reportedly Reconsiders New York HQ2 Common Dreams.  Ratface Andy must not be happy.

Wealth concentration returning to ‘levels last seen during the Roaring Twenties,’ according to new research WaPo

Alexndria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign to make the super rich pay higher taxes should inspire us all, even if it’s doomed to fail SCMP. Read this, despite the headline; AOC attracting notice in HK.

Democrats in Disarray

For Democrats Aiming Taxes at the Superrich, ‘the Moment Belongs to the Bold’ NYT

Trump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism The Hill

Green New Deal

‘It’s crazy. It’s loony’: Republicans giddy as Democrats champion Green New Deal Politico

Green New Deal Targets Link Between Trade Policy and Climate Change Capital & Main. David Sirota.

A Green New Deal for Housing Jacobin


Warren refocuses populist message in official kickoff Greenwich Time

Is America Ready for a Single President? Politico

One Cheer for Tulsi National Review. Much to ponder here – although I don’t agree with all of this. Readers?

Imperial Collapse Watch

YEARS OF WARNINGS, THEN DEATH AND DISASTER ProPublica. Part two of a series; I linked to part one on Thursday.

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Facebook’s data harvesting curbed by German regulator Handelsblatt

Bezos’s Wild Days: Lurid Selfies, Blackmail, Amazon Drama in NYC Bloomberg

Germany Opens Massive Intelligence Complex (Maybe the World’s Largest) in Berlin NYT (KC)

Guillotine Watch

The $238 Million Penthouse Provokes a Fierce Response: Tax It NYT


Taoiseach and May discuss Brexit ‘overall state of play’ in Dublin Irish Times

Brexit: this insanely unnecessary shambles

Sack Grayling over the Brexit ferry fiasco, demand MPs Guardian

‘The Alps just got taller’: Italy’s populist leaders push Franco-Italian relations to the brink France 24

Gilets Jaunes

More violence in Paris as gilet jaunes protests enter 13th weekend Guardian

PARIS PROTESTS: Protester has hand BLOWN OFF after grenade EXPLODES at Yellow Vest rally Sunday Express


US asks Europe, others, to repatriate ISIL fighters held in Syria Al Jazeera


IS resists ‘final push’ by US-backed force in eastern Syria BBC


India’s auto industry needs a sustainable scrappage policy Economic Times

Get over it: Asia rules Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.


China’s treatment of Uighurs an ’embarrassment for humanity’: Turkey AFP

Potential of China’s ‘anti-smog tower’ doubtful Asia Times

Bolsonaro’s Brazil London Review of Books


We’ve seen the west’s approach to Venezuela before – in Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, need I go on? Independent. Robert Fisk.

Exclusive: Venezuela shifts oil ventures’ accounts to Russian bank – document, sources Reuters

Trump Administration in Direct Contact With Venezuelan Military, Urging Defections The Wire

Trump Transition

‘My whole town practically lived there’: From Costa Rica to New Jersey, a pipeline of illegal workers for Trump goes back years WaPo (chuck l)

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. Carolinian

        Next they’ll be talking as in the revived Planet of the Apes franchise.

        I’ve been reading a book called Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? and it says this use of tools by zoo primates to bust out has happened before.

        1. Judith

          If Ii remember correctly, in that book, Frans de Waal makes the argument that of course other animals think, feel, and remember. It is part of evolutionary development, just like lungs and hands and immune systems, and..

          (Too bad homo sapiens seeks to dominate and exploit instead of appreciate the rest of the natural world.)

          Anyway, you may enjoy (if you have not read) “Beyond Words, What Other Animals Think and Feel” by Carl Safina and ” the Mind of the Raven” by Bernd Heinrich.

          It is time for me to turn off the computer and go birding. Enjoy your day.

          1. Marco

            Yuval Noah Harari’s also makes a few good arguments on this in his second book, Homo Deus, another one to add to that list :)

      1. BoyDownTheLane

        Crabs have been scrambling out of buckets on boat decks for some time now. Humans ought to read “Deep Survival” by Laurance Gonzalez. It saved my life once.

    1. Gary

      Jeez, a storm knocked a branch down over the fence and they climbed up it. You’d think they macrame’d a ladder or something. Sorry for being cynical. Reply to pretzelattack.

      1. pretzelattack

        “We think what has happened is that the trees in their enclosure have been weakened by the storms and so they’ve been able to break them and use them as a ladder to get out.

        “We like things to be natural in their enclosure, to have trees in it, but we will review it.”

        note the “they’ve been able to break them and use them as a ladder to get out>

  1. efschumacher

    A Single President? Well Grover Cleveland did it as recently as 1888. The very much larger question is begged, whether Booker is the one we should put there. There’s a raft of competent candidates already, and for me Tulsi and Elizabeth Warren both have compelling advantages. So I am contributing to both.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I agree completely re Booker. I think America is ready for a single president. I just don’t think it should be Booker. I oppose his candidacy for many reasons, none of which has anything to do with his marital status.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        My eyes hurt from the rolling when I think about Singlehood becoming yet another Identity to distract us from the numerous Commonalities we could otherwise be basing our politics on.
        Future tense: “First seven toed candidate!”–“First “Mentally Challenged” congressperson!!!”—“First albino First Lady!!”
        I used to say that Right Wingers don’t get irony….now, perhaps Team Blue just doesn’t understand absurdity(as in reducto ad…)

        1. Darius

          Benjamin Studebaker says Warren is running for the next Democrat secretary of treasury, which will be her reward for taking enough votes away from Bernie to get a centrist Democrat nominated. I don’t know about Tulsi. Of course, at some point, Bernie actually has to get in the race.

          Matt Stoller says the Democrats get one more shot. Another centrist con job like Obama and the president after that will be a Bolsonaro or Duterte, and then it’s all over.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I wasn’t sure about what she was doing, but yesterday, her speech was about the need for broad structural changes. It was fairly good and she addressed tinkering on the edges not being good enough.

            One problem with so many candidates is the noise distracts us from issues. Another issue candidate is needed for the slog or it will all be articles about cookie recipes. Besides her fan club was upperclassmen professional women. Warren earned a fair amount of disfavor because her endorsement might have made a difference in Massachusetts where upper class white women love her and really liked HRC and shifted the primary season in general.

            I think she might be there to prevent Harris from trying to position herself as the “progressive woman” without having even to address her rhetoric. If Warren can say these things, Harris should be able to as well, and Harris won’t because she’s a cop.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              As an aside, the Democratic primary voters from a subset of people who might favor Harris over Sanders but love Liz Warren would be more comfortable with Warren especially after her 23 and me debacle than Harris, Booker, or even O’Rourke (with his first name). You know the ones who have so many white flight republican friends…I mean moderate suburban republican friends. (Wink wink, nudge nudge)

          2. notabanker

            I completely agree with Studebaker and Stoller.

            Super Delegates comprise circa 15% of the delegate vote at the convention. The ‘deal’ Sanders struck in 2016 was not to eliminate the super d’s but to not allow them to vote on the first ballot. Super d’s will be utilized after the first ballot if there is not a majority vote.

            Sanders can take 50% of the primary delegates, be 30% ahead of any other candidate and lose. The DNC strategy is clear. Dilute the primary vote and have the super d’s decide the nomination.

            Imnsho, Warren is a white female Obama, most definitely a red herring. Gabbard could be a problem too if she does not appeal outside of progressives and takes votes that would almost certainly go to Sanders. If she has appeal that takes votes away from centrist Dem’s then maybe not so much, but I’m not seeing that yet.

            Idpol is absolutely key to DNC’s strategy. I’m also seeing twitter debate on yet to be introduced alternative GND proposals that water down everything via incrementalism, so it doesn’t surprise me that Booker and Harris are all for it. My guess is Beto comes out with a ‘not for the entire proposal but parts merit thorough investigation and debate’ upper middle class white male appeal kind of stance.

            My guess is Biden stepping in at some point to “unite” the party against their common bogeyman, Trump.

            There is only one road to progressive victory here, and that is a united effort to mobilize unaffiliated and independents to overwhelm the primaries behind ONE candidate. Which btw, can also swing Congresscritter contests. I do believe the math works to actually accomplish this, but executing it would be unprecedented in modern politics. I’m not sure enough people are fed up enough to do it, and unfortunately this is probably the last chance they will have.

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              ^^”…mobilize unaffiliated and independents to overwhelm the primaries …”^^
              and remember that what seems like a lot of states have requirements to re-register or register as a dem that are a long time before the primary.
              so the groundwork/agitating in laundromats has to start all that much earlier.
              Texas, at least, still has open primaries and no formal registration(one picks the ballot one wants on primary day)

            2. John k

              Bernie has advantages now he didn’t have before.
              Everybody knows him, and trusts he won’t change in office.
              Longer donor lists.
              National org ready to go.
              Msm will be against, as before, but less focused because tulsi and AOC… the center is not holding.
              Centrists are split… Biden, booker, Harris all fighting for blacks in south.
              Youth that fervently wanted Bernie in 2016 still do, but now joined by former 13-17 year olds. Older Clintomites similarly reduced.
              Can warren or tulsi last beyond early primaries if Bernie in race? Doubt it.
              Out time has come.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                I have tons of time and respect for Bernie. But he is *dead wrong* on the single biggest overriding issue, the one that if we solve it we will have plenty of money and energy and people available to solve all of the other issues: THE WAR

                In general though I see the Dems doing exactly what they do best: figuring out the simplest and easiest ways to lose.

                AOC is championing “Green” but despite the many plusses I don’t think it has broad enough appeal. It’s much too easy to shoot down with bogus economic arguments, and at the end of the day people think “Meh, I’ll just turn up the air conditioner. Don’t want to try anything risky with the economy”. But STOPTHEWARWARWAR cuts through. Everybody agrees it’s stupid and wasteful and we need to try something else.

                1. Chris Cosmos

                  The war issue is indeed a difficult one. A “serious” candidate simply cannot be against war-the lobby for it is just too powerful and completely controls the mainstream media. Sanders concentrates on social democracy–keeps his eyes on the prize and avoid the whirlwind of hysteria the MSM will happily unleash. Frankly, the war-lobby will stop at nothing to keep the money flowing including machine-gunning people in the streets. The best you can do with them is charm them to just spend money and not kill people and gradually persuade them to downsize through converting war industry into something more positive. Don’t forget that the American people love the military. The military has about 70% approval ratings–the police somewhat less–but only those two institutions have better than a 50% approval rating.

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    I disagree. I would call Tulsi Gabbard a “serious” candidate and she has shown the quality we need in a politician to get this all-pervasive issue properly framed and at the front and center in Americans’ minds: courage.

                    Because Americans “like” the military and “support the troops” is not the issue. The issue is the illegal and unbelievably costly ways that military is being engaged. And overwhelmingly people do recognize that.

                    It’s useless to shy away from the utter corruption of all of our institutions (the press, the Congress, the Permanent State, the MIC) because it is all “too powerful”. WE are too powerful for any of them if WE stand together and it’s time WE understood that. And the way to get US standing together is to align on a single overriding issue that cuts across Blue and Red, old and young, male and female, straight and gay, Christian, Jew, and Muslim.

                    Stop THE WAR and you can solve everything else.

                    1. Carey

                      Is Gabbard a serious candidate, or an “interesting” one? So far, I see her as the latter. I like what she’s saying.

            3. Big River Bandido

              Sanders can take 50% of the primary delegates, be 30% ahead of any other candidate and lose.

              No idea where you picked up that idea, but it’s incorrect. A candidate who wins a majority of delegates on the first ballot is the winner. For the purposes of the first ballot, “majority” means half the number of all delegates (including superdelegates). So the number of votes needed for nomination on first ballot is slightly more than an actual majority of the delegates eligible to vote on the first ballot, but not by much. And the superdelegates themselves cannot vote in the first ballot.

              I’m sure the DNC would love to have a brokered convention, but they’ve been running on fantasy for years (as in “Hillary Clinton is a great candidate”) and this is no different.

              1. Lambert Strether

                > the DNC would love to have a brokered convention, but they’ve been running on fantasy for years

                They are very good at manipulating the party machinery, though. Probably the one thing they are good at; the inside game, as insider-y as it gets.

          3. JohnnyGL

            I’m really skeptical of ‘lefties must clear the field’ advocacy. Especially at this point. Warren is lead-blocking for Sanders, she’s not siphoning votes. Gabbard is doing a kind of flanking maneuver on foreign policy, and Warren’s been pushing more anti-interventionism, too. Voting doesn’t start for around another year. Right now is the time for airing out ideas and getting into the heads of the public and building consensus. This is all groundwork.

            Also, Warren gets Treas Sec under Sanders, but she’s going to get frozen out by any other administration because that’s what the Wall Street donor class would tell Harris, Biden, or Booker to do. That’s a deal-breaker for them.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Remember how the applause at the SOTU shook out. Both Republicans and liberal Democrats will operate in tandem to crush the left (of which Warren is not a part). At any level but the Presidential, I’m happy to “let 100 flowers bloom, let 100 schools of thought contend.” I’d be happy with that at the Presidential too, if the threat weren’t existential. Which it is.

          4. John k

            If true, she’s an idiot. The last thing a centrist (who by definition takes money from banks) would do is to appoint warren sec treasury.
            She either thinks she could win the primary, wants to be Bernie’s veep, or withdraws in favor of Bernie expecting he would give her treasury… which he would. Or maybe all three.

          5. dcblogger

            I don’t think that Warren takes votes from Bernie, I think the two of them have the effect of building the progressive base. People who are not quite ready for Bernie, or who are invested in hating him, frequently like Warren.

            What surprises is Biden’s popularity. Clearly I have underestimated him.

            1. jhallc

              My progressive “Liberal” friends who supported Hillary would have preferred Warren last go round. They would not, try as I might, vote for Bernie in the primaries.

            2. JCC

              I get the same thing from people who likeed Sanders during the last go-round, but now like to say, “he’s too old.”

              I remind them at that point that Biden is only 10 months younger than Sanders. Makes ’em stop and think, for a second anyway.

            3. Procopius

              What surprises is Biden’s popularity. Clearly I have underestimated him.

              It surprises me, too. I’ve been trying to figure out who would vote for him. People who hate Trump — maybe. He’s done so much bad shit in his career he’s gonna get hammered with negative ads and we haven’t even gotten to the ratfcking yet.

          6. Oregoncharles

            “Matt Stoller says the Democrats get one more shot. Another centrist con job like Obama and the president after that will be a Bolsonaro or Duterte, and then it’s all over.”

            Grim. Let’s hope he’s wrong.

            And a reminder: the “major” parties trade the Presidency back and forth, two full terms at a time. It isn’t the Dems’ turn, yet.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > the Democrats get one more shot

              I agree. If the Republicans manage to groom and run Trump 2.0 — competent, and coding his racism successfully, as did Reagan — that’s gonna be a big problem. OTOH, from 2018, the Republican bench isn’t as strong we think. Romney? Rubio??

        2. whine country

          Did I read that right? First “Menally Challenged” congressperson…in the FUTURE? I thought that milestone had been passed long ago.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            that that thought occurred to me as i wrote it…and every person who read it…says something,no?
            there’s a whole movement out their about being “differently conscioused”, or something to that effect.
            began with autism spectrum, which i thought was good and just…but I’ve seen it here and there with more worrisome implications.
            that’s what i was obliquely referring to.

            1. ambrit

              You had me at “differently conscioused.” The mind goes off in too many directions thinking about that one.

              1. Amfortas the Hippie


                i think it’s an interesting development…prolly with a broader potential than the movement for trans rights.
                after all, we once put the schizophrenics in the shaman’s tent as a matter of course.
                however, for me, this is somewhat lower on my priorities list.
                just treating all such folks with respect and compassion is enough for me, at the moment.
                wife works with quite a few “differently wired” individuals as an ESL teacher….and its a tiny school, so everyone helps to a degree with those on the short bus.

                1. ambrit

                  I come from the English tradition of tolerance of ‘eccentricity.’ So, I understand and agree. However, I have been encountering a hardness of heart lately on all sides. Something is turning the ‘underclass’ away from compassion. Perhaps they are making the perfectly rational judgement that, since the elites now behave with rapacity and cruelty, so should the rest of us. Rational, yes, moral, no.
                  Also, with the science now beginning to show that the rush to medicate young school children for any and all divergences from the “norm” will give us a very large population of adults with maladaptive brains, I fear for our future. Well, I hopefully won’t be around for much longer, so, someone else’s future.

                  1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                    Tell them thats a natural process of the American Political Awakening Process.

                    When formally unaware peeps finally understand the last 40 years, they get pissed and cynical.

          2. Tom Doak

            The phrase made me think for a moment of Thomas Eagleton, the v.p. candidate McGovern had to kick to the curb because it came out he had once visited a psychiatrist … which clearly disqualified him for higher office, in the minds of 1968 voters.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              No, what came out is that Eagleton had received a series of electro-shock treatments while in the hospital for major depression. And he had lied to McGovern about not having “any problems” in the hasty rushed effort to find a VP candidate for McGovern. So his discovered lying made him unkeepable on the ticket.

              It may be that the electroshock hospitalization itself would have been used by millions of citizens to consider Eagleton unelectable on the basis of if they had been told in advance. But the experiment was never run, so we will never know.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          The puff pieces about reporters finding out “first lady” isn’t even a real position could at least be entertaining.

          It’s a nick name for Dolly Madison because it was widely believed speaking to her had the same effect as speaking to the President.

        4. Alfred

          Buchanan was the last US President to be able to finish out his term without signalling an explicit commitment to supporting hetero-normative ‘family values’. By Cleveland’s time, the public demonstration of that commitment had become a qualification of office, and marriage (or, a la limite, widowhood) accepted as the expedient means to accomplish it. Thereafter it would be a qualification of election. By the 1890s bachelorhood was already worth nothing as proof of virility. Down through George Jean Nathan’s skewering of The Bachelor Life in 1941 it would grow steadily less creditable; by the 1960s not even Hugh Hefner could redeem it. Meanwhile, however, the prestige of marriage per se continued to climb — despite mounting evidence of Presidential disrespect for the principle of lifelong marital fidelity. Booker is now testing whether a hetero-normative social performance that falls short of marriage can now be accepted as having the same political value that marriage possessed for over a century. The urgency of making that test arose from the recent institutionalization of same-sex marriage. This new form of wedlock by no means negated the power of ‘traditional’ marriage to guarantee the ability that heterosexuality alone confers to uphold the ‘holiness’ of the American family — regardless of whether any particular family be itself ‘traditionally’ structured. But it did compromise that power. Booker is not properly seen as the prototypical ‘single President’ but rather as the prototypical ‘dating President’. Heretofore, I believe, the type of the ‘dating President’ has only been explored in fiction. The real question now is no longer whether the US Presidency requires either playing a piano or at least being able to do so, or clearing the much lower bar of merely having a piano. It is, instead, whether running for President requires no more than being ostensibly in the market for a piano.

          1. Darthbobber

            What’s missed here is that with Booker, like Graham, it’s really their “hetero normative” status that’s being questioned in the background.

            I’m not ready for Cory Booker for a fairly long list of reasons. This isn’t one of them.

          2. ambrit

            I’d mention the melt down of the candidacy of Gary Hart as a recent example of the ‘Tyranny of Marriage’ in American national politics.
            I’m not certain as to whether this Tyranny has to do with sexual norms so much as ‘reliability.’

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              Gary Hart – didn’t the guy who staged the Monkey Business “affair” admit that it was a setup the whole time?

              1. ambrit

                The cause of the “scandal” is secondary to the result.
                Same old playbook. “Have you now, or have you ever, been a member of a non status quo approved group?”

              2. Darthbobber

                Not quite. Ray Strother said years later that the dying Lee Atwater had told him this. But Atwater himself was long since dead. Even as a setup, it could have involved nothing more than dangling the bait in front of Hart and then documenting when he grabbed it.

            2. Lynne

              Hart’s problem was stupidity, not a lack of sexual norms. Who dares people to catch him and then flaunts it?

              1. ambrit

                Good point. At least Hart’s contemporary, Bill Clinton had the sense to hide it under the desk.
                Then, one could equally argue that, from these examples, the lesson was that Hypocrisy was the essence of political “sense.”
                That is no doubt the origin of the pairing “Honest Politician” being defined as an oxymoron.

          3. Darius

            Cleveland’s wife was young enough to be his daughter. In fact, he was her legal guardian. For a variety of reasons, Cleveland was known as the Beast of Buffalo.

        5. Richard

          As much as I detest the “working families” framework, and resent the mental environment that doesn’t fully acknowledge people outside this rhetorical pinnacle of virtue, I agree the that last thing we need is another identity category to disappear up our a$$ about.
          Cory being single is like the very last thing I would ever care about, and only then if he were to first pass any of the several tests of political character he’s already been given. He hasn’t. Charter schools, big pharma, med4all, bain capital. fail, fail, fail, fail

      2. newcatty

        Agree on Booker. I oppose his candidacy and not due to his marital status, just as I opposed Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy not due to her gender.

    2. Charlie

      Well, didn’t Grover Cleveland wind up marrying his underage cousin while in office?

      Yes, I know. Different time, different norms. And a President’s marital status really has nothing to do with how they’ll function, so this whole affair seems silly.

      1. newcatty

        Agree Charlie. But, a note of caution here: Not always a fan of the slippery slope warning. Usually, bogus, and an excuse to not do something. But, the rationale for behavior of powerful people that is was ” the norms and a different time” reminds me of the excuses for lots of awful and unjustified acts of people and governments in the past. Can name some, but there is just so many, right here in America, America! How about a recent one in the noose? Governors and lower office holders in the Great Commonweath of Virginia basically using that excuse for their disgusting behavior… not so long ago. Also, regarding men and their “private life and business”…the ridiculous excuses of mid-life crises and a new twist on “boys will be boys ” is stale and old.

        1. Charlie

          I wrote that on the premise that someone would use the norms fairy as a counterpoint. And I agree with what you stated. We definitely have a better commetariat than I thought. Child marriage was often a way for the rich to exploit others.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Come to think of it, there was a 1995 film once about an unmarried President dating while in office. It was called the American President-

        I don’t think that Americans will tolerate an unmarried President because of what I call the Tom Hank’s Hair Factor. In the 2006 “Da Vinci Code” he had kinda longish hair but nothing what was considered long by 1970s standards. By the time the film “Angels & Demons” came out his hair was much shorter because of audience reactions.
        Yeah, people had become even less tolerant of stuff like longish hair as part of a trend of less tolerance overall. I would date 2016 as the year tolerance dropped off a cliff as seen by even political debates since. So no, I do not think that most people will tolerate an unmarried President.

  2. David

    A few notes on the gilets jaunes yesterday, for those who may be interested. Others may wish to add more.
    I have no idea where the Grauniad gets its numbers from, but the official figure for participation yesterday was 51,400 including 4000 in Paris. The protests were notably more violent than last week, and the dynamic seems to be changing, as protesters tell the media that they are becoming increasingly frustrated, and that violence now seems the only solution. There are splits about this within the GJs, but not formally, since there is no organisation to split. In several cities yesterday the GJs broke up into several groups, some of whom continued with peaceful demonstrations, others of whom went off to try to break things or force their way into buildings.
    In Paris, this produced attacks on the fence surrounding the Eiffel Tower, and an attempt to force entry into the National Assembly building. It was during this incident that a protester was injured after trying to pick up a flash grenade, though whether to throw it back at the police or not remains unclear. (By any standards it was a stupid sub-Darwin Award thing to do.) In addition, a car belonging to the Army was attacked and set on fire. It was transporting personnel for the anti-terrorist patrols which are still continuing in the main tourist areas, though no-one was inside. This attack was probably not deliberately targeted, since the Army has a good reputation among the French people, but may have been carried out in error.
    In other major cities there was the same mix of initially-peaceful demonstrations, spawning a violent component later in the day. In Metz a large crowd tried and failed to break into a locked shopping centre, and then tried to storm the Prefecture, but they were repulsed by gendarmes with injuries on both sides. There were similar scenes in many other large French cities including Lyon and Bordeaux.
    It’s not clear where things go from here, especially since, after last weekend’s generally subdued protests, yesterday was notably more violent. The central demand of the GJs – that Macron should resign – is not going to be met unless things get radically worse, and maybe not even then. For his part, Macron seems if anything to be trying to provoke the very parts of French society from which the GJs get their support. There’s also a limit to how many more small concessions he can make without starting to seem dangerously weak. So there’s a bit of the irresistible force and the unmovable mass here, and the likely result is that the more militant GJs will come to dominate the weekend protests, as the less militant decide to settle for roundabout duty or something similar. There’s no obvious answer to this for the government. The increasingly exhausted police and gendarmes are continuing to take casualties, and are also being leant on by the media and the political system to use minimum force. But there are no crowd control weapons that are not at least potentially dangerous, and with something like a million people now having demonstrated, the law of large numbers means that there will be injuries, and perhaps even deaths. On the other hand, the police can’t simply stand by and watch public buildings burn. Answers on a postcard, please.

    1. Ignacio

      Frustration will not help. Although not organised, somehow GJ should get rid of violents. As I said before, I believe that violence may be spontaneous but also promoted by professionals used for that purpose. It is very easy. You don’t even need to have them in the demonstrations. Just spreading the venom during the week to make it explode during the weekend. You can use Facebook for instance.

      1. ambrit

        The beauty of that method is it’s anonymity. Anyone can ‘foment discord,’ with the purpose of stimulating a backlash. If the ‘government’ is doing the fomenting, the backlash probably is desired to legitimize an imposition of formal authoritarianism.
        If I remember correctly, it took several years for the 1789 French Revolution to get ‘up to speed.’ Using that as a template, we are in the early days yet with the Gilets Jaunes.

      2. John

        Remember Lambert’s dictum about the 60’s, to paraphrase: the undercover cop was usually the first one to suggest violence. I’m sure the Macron police are working overtime in undercover among the GJ’s.

        1. Jeff

          The ‘undercover cop being the first to suggest violence’ appears already in Upton Sinclair’s novel ‘Petrol!’ (iirc released in 1927).

        2. Oregoncharles

          That could easily backfire, since violence of the right type also applies a lot of pressure. Macron is unpopular; if he tries to crack down – actually, I think he is, just being a little subtle about it – he will induce a dangerous backlash of his own. France’s presidential system was installed to provide stability (before that, they were a running joke, like Italy), but therre’s a downside to that: no give in the system.

          If they really want to force him out, the GJs will have to storm a major government building – the Assembly, or the presidential palace. That’s the Bastille, so it would come down to which way the Army jumps. What layer of society are they recruited from? All of that, in the very heart of the EU. Come to think, if things get nasty, there would be international pressure on Macron to resign. Interesting times. Makes me wonder why things are so tame here.

          I do remember the 60s; it was the threat to social order that forced us out of Viet Nam – and produced the long backlash that led to W and Trump – and Obama, for that matter. Maybe if you start you have to finish. Not very optimistic today.

    2. Clive

      It has been illuminating watching analysis of The Big Debate on France24. One tries not to be jaundiced and cynical, but seeing so much of the conclusions — there seems to be an awful lot of “fighting” for things which, as Lambert is always keen to point out, isn’t the same thing as winning — it’s hard to take Macron’s attempts at face value. And discussing in-flight initiatives such as the Wealth Tax, ah-hem, reforms, are off the table.

      Yet I’m minded as to how much of the driving force behind Brexit was as a result of a 30 year political establishment moratorium on discussing EU membership (“you could have any relationship with Europe you wanted, so long as it was Remain”) which may well have ended very differently if such a national dialogue, conducted in genuine good faith with everything in play, no predetermining of outcomes and an atmosphere of reasoned debate with no screechiness allowed had been held. Maybe the National Debate will move the conversation forward, as the beltway think-tankers would say, were they here.

      But then that’s what the referendum was supposed to have been. A more lamely risible public discussion would be difficult to imagine. Anyhow, I hope France manages to make a better fist of things than we have.

      1. Jeff

        I fear that France must see first a lot of burning before anyone starts talking of building. There is indeed a lot of ‘fighting’ but not for ‘concrete material benefits’. There is a lot of discussion about the ‘wealth tax’. But whether it comes back or not, has no impact and no material benefit for the ‘average’ citizen (and no negative impacts for those subject to such a tax). So the fight should be elsewhere.
        But nobody can agree on what the fight should be about, and what measure(s) constitute a win.
        (And ‘Macron démission’ [terminate this president] does rhyme, but is a/ not achievable, and b/ again does not bring any benefit).
        After all, we do have a government (“by the people, for the people”) that repeatedly says that we shouldn’t complain. We don’t have 2€/h jobs like the Germans, we don’t have 0-hours job contracts like the British, we don’t have 500€/month pensions like the Greek, and we still have almost free healthcare (if you can get it).

      2. Tomonthebeach

        Robert Kiyosaki reminds readers in “Rich Dad Poor Dad” that historically, income taxes were originally levied only on the rich, but like all Reaganomics, the tax trickled down to the middle classes as Congress began its forever spending spree. Over time, the rich discovered ways to dodge paying their fair share, and the middle class has since carried the burden of the cost of government services.

        I have always felt that it was obscene that the rich do not pay relatively more (not less) because they benefit far more from government expenditures that the average citizen. Does Joe Sixpack need a Navy to protect his exports? Does he need a freight rail system and Interstates to move his products to domestic buyers? The SEC has no effect on Joe’s nonexistent stock portfolio. Et cetera.

        My point is that requiring the rich to carry their weight in taxes is something borrowed (from the Brits), and it does make people blue. It is something old; NOT something new.

        1. ambrit

          Taking MMT into account, the claim that taxes ‘pay for’ national governmental expenses is a distraction from the real purpose of tax policy: Social Engineering.
          The call for “the rich” to pay “their fair share” is politically useful insofar as it keeps the “lower orders” from revolting at the fact of severe social inequality. This supports the “Enlightened Social Contract.” The counter movement to lower the tax burden of the wealthy is plainly and obviously a call for a return to the old “Aristocratic Social Contract.”
          The conflict between these two modes of organizing society has been going on, as you point out, since humans began living in groups.

    3. makedoanmend

      If debate about membership of the EU was under moratorium in the UK how did the referendum occur?

      It’s been a major subject of debate within the Tory party since Thatcher’s era. I suppose one could say no proper national debate has taken place in the UK since the last referendum on EEC membership in 1975 but the subject has been approached tangentally for decades in the UK. The EU has been used by various factions of the UK MSM and political establishment as a vast canvass onto which project all types of issues; a practice which has intensified in the last year and will probably continue long after the UK leaves the EU.

      (And it need not be pointed out that the Gilets Jaunes movement isn’t about EU membership in any way but about the ills of the neoliberal economic project which holds sway across all the West and many points elsewhere)

      As a counterpoint to the MSM’s take on the Gilets Jaunes, this is a news article cited previously on this site which gives a very different account of the violence that is occurring. It is written by a journalist (Vanessa Beeley) who was willing to enter into a march. She points out police tactics such as kettling and that Gilet Jaunes members were willing to confront trouble makers dressed all in black. (BE aware that there is graphic pictures of wounded people in the article).

      “Macron Tactics Against Yellow Vests Have Nothing to Do with Public Safety, Everything to Do with Global Politics”

      1. Clive

        That was to me I think!

        Yes, it was precisely that —- until the Conservative government of 2015, no party had ever offered any choice in the matter since the last referendum on EU membership thirty years or more previously. That’s a long time to lock down a potentially contentious political issue. And arguably the Conservative party policy of an in-out referendum was only offered in response to the rise of the pretty dreadful in every other way UKIP.

        And then, there was no precursor debate prior to the referendum, certainly nothing like France’s current national Big Debate.

        But since it no longer being Labour Party policy in 1983, show me the manifesto from any of the major political parties where Leave was ever on the ballot. Internalised party naval gazing isn’t a policy response which voters can explicitly chose in an election. So the political landscape is left open to the likes of UKIP, who are a fairly extreme reaction. But if that’s all that’s on the table, where else are incipient eurosceptic voters supposed to go?

        1. flora

          I have the impression that Cameron called the referendum vote for purely Tory political reasons; to stop Tory ultra conservatives from splintering off to UKIP, and keep hold enough Torys in the party to win the 2015 general election. If that’s right, then the most thought given to Brexit might have been how the referendum could be used for local political gain, and very little thought about how to implement a Brexit if the referendum passed. imo.

          1. Clive

            I suppose it depends on how you do the framing. Stopping the Ultras from splintering off is one important aspect, but then there’s the consideration of where they’d splinter off to. Up until, maybe, 2012 or so, the Conservative party mainstream could use a then still valid argument that they had nowhere else to go. But that argument waned with the improving electoral performance of UKIP, which meant they did now have somewhere else to go — that somewhere else being increasingly less a loony fringe and more mainstream-looking by the day. A classic case of a political environment changing, but traditionalists not wanting to see it had changed or hanging on to comfortable but incorrect notions that it was a temporary phenomena, it had reached the limits of what it could do to upend the “natural” political order, it would be reversed Any Day Now etc.

            But yes, there was no plan at all — they were much to divided and arrogant to either come up with an agreed plan or ever think they even needed one in the first place.

    4. crittermom

      David, thank you for continuing to update us. Much appreciated.

      This statement by you said much: “So there’s a bit of the irresistible force and the unmovable mass here…”

    5. integer

      It was during this incident that a protester was injured after trying to pick up a flash grenade, though whether to throw it back at the police or not remains unclear. (By any standards it was a stupid sub-Darwin Award thing to do.)

      Here is what an eyewitness had to say about the incident:

      Eyewitness Cyprien Royer told RT France that he and the injured man were near the National Assembly, where a group of people dressed in black were trying to smash their way in.

      “That guy was just observing. The police arrived and started throwing grenades,” Royer explained. “One grenade flew right under the guy’s feet, and he tried to instinctively push it away with his hand, he hit it, and the grenade went off.”

      “He clutched onto us. We led him to the wall where there were no people. He was screaming, screaming, he was in an [awful] state,” the witness added. “We called the ‘street medics,’ many came, they didn’t even understand at first he had his hand blown off.”

      It is unbelievable that you would characterize this as “a stupid sub-Darwin Award thing to do”. Smh.

      1. David

        If you think about it for a moment, then if you find something under your feet which you know is dangerous, your instinct would be to move away, or kick it somewhere. In either case, or even if the individual concerned had done nothing, he probably wouldn’t have been hurt. You don’t, in the middle of an excited crowd, bend down and touch something which has a few grams of explosive in, and is about to explode. On the other hand, there are plenty of videos of GJ demonstrators picking up smoke grenades and throwing them back at the police – and it’s a tactic which has been used in demonstrations as long as I can remember. There are various accounts of this episode, and none, I think, that suggest that the individual was anything more than unlucky, but in an environment like that, if you do something silly you can easily get hurt.

        1. makedoanmend

          So, there is some inherent justification for a so-called democratic government sanctioning a policy of using devices which can maim their citizens because citizens are peacefully protesting government economic policy.

          If a left wing government was doing the same, the outrage in the MSM would be deafening.

          1. David

            I hold no brief for the French government, and least of all for Macron. But take a step back here. This was not a peaceful demonstration, it was a group of protesters trying to force their way into the National Assembly, the French Parliament. They were pushed back by the police using various methods, one of which led to the wounding of this individual. Whatever you think about the justice of the cause of the GJs (I personally sympathise a great deal with their objectives) no state is going to stand by and let demonstrators force their way into its parliament building. The problem is that there is no kind and gentle way of dispersing such crowds. “Non-lethal” weapons are non-lethal in intent, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t injure, or even kill, under certain circumstances. So if you are going to stop determined demonstrators getting into public buildings, and you don’t want to use any method which is potentially dangerous, the only thing you can do is have the police join hands and physically try to block their way. That doesn’t work very well, and it’s likely to lead to the one thing that’s so far been avoided – hand to hand combat. In such circumstances, the police line will eventually be broken, and in other incidents the demonstrators have thrown rocks and paving stones at police, which the plastic armour they wear doesn’t really provide protection against. So the orders the police have are to use various methods, starting with water cannon, to try to keep the protesters at a safe distance.
            This is a horrible mess, and according to the media there’s a big argument about it taking place within what the French call the “forces of order”. According to the official figures, relatively few of these nasty things have been fired by the riot police (the CRS) or the Gendarmerie. The vast majority have been fired by Intervention Companies, The ICs are specialist units normally used in dangerous urban situations where violence is expected, but not trained to cope with this kind of situation. They would not have been used, except that the CRS and the gendarmerie are overwhelmed, and need reinforcements. But there’s a bit of agonising reappraisal going on now, apparently. In general, the rules of engagement for the use of these weapons is clear, and is legally binding. In theory, they should only be used in self-defence, or to prevent a clearly criminal act like assault or vandalism. They should not be used just to keep crowds away. But there are accusations that the CIs, who are used for tasks like arresting dangerous criminals without recourse to firearms, have been far too keen to launch these weapons. So we’ll see what the various inquiries under way bring.

            1. makedoanmend

              Everyone should take a step back. Most specifically the authorities.

              I have seen the UK police force within the last decade kettle protesters without the use of tear gas, and certainly without blowing the protesters fingers off or eyes out. It is possible. And the simple fact is that most of the wounded have not been involved in forcing anything or anyone. Many of the wounded had studiously been avoiding any sign of trouble, or even thought they were out of harms way only to find themselves in A&E due to the devices used by the forces of law and order.

              A common meme is that the French police force and the authorities have been proportional and restrained in their responses despite the mounting evidence to the contrary due to the number of injuries inflicted upon the Gilet Jaunes which tells another story entirely. Of course there are many discipled police, and probably many of them are sympathetic of the issues the Gilets Jaunes raise.

              But, given the number of injuries inflicted upon the Gilets Jaunes, one could be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that people in higher authority would rather that the Gilets Jaunes would go away and behave themselves, and that maybe a few protesters with severe wounds might just be a factor to make others go away and stay away.

              Sometimes seeing the horrendous injuries that have been inflicted and reading first hand accounts of people who only want to demonstrate to their government about the increasing inequity of that government’s policies but being harmed for their peaceful protests makes one cynical.

            2. integer

              This was not a peaceful demonstration, it was a group of protesters trying to force their way into the National Assembly, the French Parliament.

              The eyewitness said that it was “a group of people dressed in black” who were trying to smash their way into the National Assembly. Had they been wearing yellow vests, I expect the eyewitness wouldn’t have felt the need to specifically mention that they were dressed in black. So, it appears you are conflating provocateurs with protesters. As an aside, have you ever considered providing some links to back up your many assertions? Even if the content is in French, it’s really not that difficult for those of us who don’t speak the language to use an online translator. I, for one, would like to know the sources from which you are basing your claims.

        2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          According to my Parisienne Gilet Jaune friend, tensions are increasing. He also states that there is a distinction among the demonstrators between the regular Police who are trained to deal with the situation & the BAC ( Brigade Anti-Criminalite ) who are not. I myself noticed them a few weeks back & wondered who they were, as they wear jeans & what look like crash helmets & struck me as being very aggressive.

          He also states that there is some evidence that it is they who have fired most of the flashballs, & in any case, it is the belief of many of those demonstrating.

          1. David

            Yes, it does seem to be the BAC who are the problem – I have a longer comment still somewhere in cyberspace about that.

            1. Ignacio

              There is a funny video circulating via whatsapp in which while some french policeman dressed in black riot control uniform are moving through the crowd likely on their way to a demonstration. One guy takes his trumpet and plays the Imperial March or Darth’s Vader theme while they are passing. Very funny!

            2. Noland

              Looking forward to seeing it.

              Hope it has line breaks between paragraphs for ease of reading.

              Thank you.

        3. John k

          If pushing with hand gets hand blown off, kicking might get foot blown off.
          Should police be tossing things that do that? Are they in that kind of war?
          Seems water cannons a better choice,

      2. coboarts

        I read the above RT account yesterday, they showed a clip of the wounded guy go over to the side while the medics came. His hand looked awful – “One grenade flew right under the guy’s feet, and he tried to instinctively push it away with his hand, he hit it, and the grenade went off.”. I’m going to second the Darwin Award comment. And in the bigger picture, street fighting is dangerous. If you’re in, you’re all in.

        1. liam

          So if you’re all in, and the police are using devices that contain TNT, should you be doing likewise? Is that what you wish to imply?

    6. Bob

      “The increasingly exhausted police and gendarmes are continuing to take casualties, and are also being leant on by the media and the political system to use minimum force.

      Are they?

      1. David

        Yes. The newspapers and internet sites are full of learned discussions of the effects of flashballs and other equipment used by the police, and there have been demands from politicians for better controls and less use. There are a number of official enquiries under way into different incidents where GJ have been hurt and where there are accusations of excessive or premature use of force. A week ago, France’s largest trades union, the CGT, and the Human Rights League secured an emergency hearing by the Conseil d’État, which can over-rule the government, to get some types of weapons withdrawn. The Conseil, which is the highest law-making body, ruled against the plaintiffs, but there was a huge amount of publicity and a lot of criticism of the verdict.

        1. liam

          Do you think the police would use these weapons if they weren’t sanctioned / ordered by the relevant minister / president?

          From, (previous links):

          “Dufresnes has recorded 157 injuries to the head including 18 who have lost an eye, fractures of the jaw and comas in the most severe cases. 11 hand injuries, in 4 cases resulting in the loss of a hand. 8 back injuries, 28 injuries to the upper body, 40 lower limb injuries, 3 injuries to the genital area, 48 unspecified injuries and 55 cases of intimidation, insults, repression of press freedom infractions. One eighty-year-old was murdered on the 1st December 2018 in Marseilles – Zineb Redouane was killed when a tear gas grenade was thrown in her face by the security forces. According to Dufresnes this is the list of the more serious injuries, an estimated 2000 – 3000 more GJs have been “lightly” injured during the protests since November 2018.”

          “learned discussions” eh!? And do you not think the official enquiries are just theatre?

          1. David

            The police are under very tight central control and have their orders from the political leadership. As I mentioned in reply to another comment, (the reply has yet to appear) the question is whether they have properly obeyed the rules of engagement they were given. And no, the inquiries will obviously be controversial, but the IGPN, the “police of the police” is rightly respected and feared. There are also a number of legal cases pending. That’s not to say that the verdicts will be accepted by everyone, but it’s more than just theatre.

            1. liam

              the IGPN, the “police of the police” is rightly respected and feared.

              They’re obviously not feared enough!

              1. RWood

                And the WSWS contrary:
                Having recovered from their initial panic in the face of protests that emerged outside of their control, the political and trade union representatives of French imperialism are now working to influence the movement. But the unions are actively negotiating austerity attacks—and Mélenchon the introduction of compulsory military service—with Macron. Their aim can only be to impose a reactionary program on the “yellow vests.” The decisive question is to mobilize ever-broader layers of workers, in France and internationally, independently of the unions and political forces like UF.


                1. David

                  Gosh, the Trotskyist/Orthodox Marxist catfight of my youth isn’t dead yet then? Some things never change. “Reactionary” of course means something rather different in this context. Oh, and military service was aways a progressive Leftist idea, opposed by the Right, who always wanted, and finally got, it overturned under Chirac in favour of a professional military for the first time since Napoleon III.

            1. Richard

              I don’t understand what receiving a head injury while protesting neoliberalism has to do with natural selection. Neither would Darwin.
              Maybe you were shaking your head at people who would believe such a thing?

              1. liam

                I understood it as a sarcastic response to those who believe that if you get in the way of a rubber bullet, police truncheon, or indeed have your hand blown off by a police grenade, you really have no-one to blame but yourself.

                1. newcatty

                  +Agree, Liam. Think it is the classic “Blame the victim” rationale for excusing thuggish and authoritarian response. What really is the reason for using rubber bullets, police truncheon, police grenades against protectors, who on the most part, as reported, are not acting violently? This is the response of the French PTB government to their own people. What next?

                2. JCC

                  I get the feeling some people are straw-maning David.

                  His opinion that attempting to either pick up or push away with your hand a flash-bang grenade was not a very smart thing to do is a pretty sound opinion. He did not state getting a head injury is an injured person’s fault.

                  As someone who has been around a little training for flash-bangs and smoke grenades, I would have little problem picking up a smoke grenade (wearing gloves, those things are hot) and returning it to those that threw it, but I wouldn’t go near a live flash-bang with a ten-foot pole.

                  I feel very bad for the guy who lost his hand and thoroughly sympathize with the protesters. It’s unfortunate, to say the very least, that this person was obviously not familiar with flash-bangs. They are dangerous… keep away.

                  1. newcatty

                    Wow, JCC, perhaps the only people who participate in protests should be those who have a ” little training for flash- bangs and smoke grenades”. Really? How about the police not using them in the first place?

                    1. JCC

                      I never said they should use them, nor do I agree with their use in crowds.

                      However, common sense says keep away from things that explode. I would no more put my hands near a flash-bang than I would a cherry bomb type firecracker. It doesn’t take any training to understand that, even children get it..

                      I’m often amazed at how some people like to assume things were said that most definitely were not said.

            2. The Rev Kev

              Those people killed in the Boston massacre of 1770 might have their own thoughts about recklessly attempting to stop British bullets with their own bodies.

              1. newcatty

                And, ask the Native peoples’ warriors who used their bodies against bullets when in a battle with opponents, such as the US calvary. They have their own thoughts, too.

            3. Carey

              Yeah, who exactly do the French citizenry think they are, protesting austerity, anyway? Don’t they know whos’s boss?

              The fellow who claims Micron wasn’t installed by the Few
              makes me laugh, though bitterly.
              “just lucky I guess; over, and over, and over..”

    7. makedoanmend

      I would imagine that if the a vocal and substantial part of the UK Labour Party had wanted to urgently leave the EU it would have become an issue and a policy platform. However, apart from a few leftists like Corbyn, it wasn’t an issue for the Labour Party, and even for the few like Corbyn the most pressing issues had to do with trying to reverse Tory neoliberal-austerity economic policy – not the UK’s membership in the EU. It became an issue when many working class constituencies drank the cool-aid that the UK’s problems were a result of the EU, or when the disenfranchised of traditional Labour constituencies decided to give Cameron’s Tory party a bloody nose.

      It’s telling that UKIP’s agenda was driven as much, if not more, by immigration and a wish to return to some golden previous era in which the UK was a world powerhouse. The party most threatened by UKIP was the Tory party who thought a referendum would silence both their anti-EU faction and UKIP. Various factions of the Tory party have adopted the UKIP’s ideological clothes since the referendum and nearly wiped the UKIP off the political landscape.

      What’s more telling is that a coherent national debate about the UK’s place in the world and its relation to its European neighbors still hasn’t taken place to any great degree. In a way that is understandable, as Brexit has quite rightly overwhelmed the UK body politic. Also, it would take a prolonged debate and, as circumstances change, the parameters of the debate will change. In fact, that debate never stops for any independent nation.

      1. Clive

        In the absence of a Macron-style Big Debate, all we can do is offer conjecture about what the working class, or the middle class, come to that, thought about the problems of society and what any potentially implementable social reforms — including responses to EU membership — were between, say, 2005 and 2015. Certainly neither Blair nor Brown were going to be letting it become an agenda item for Labour evah. Nor was the ConDemNation coalition.

        Which is my point really — characterising a political issue as, for example, something espoused only by either a few leftists or, maybe, a few right wing ideologues and thus giving an excuse to declare it a non-subject is almost gaurenteed to, eventually, turn it into a cause célèbre. It’s not a big leap from that to becoming mainstream.

        Hence my attempt to overcome my initial, perhaps well-founded, shoulder shrugging about France’s Big Debate. Done correctly and honestly, it could save an awful lot of grief. The lack of it in the U.K. is something I for one bitterly lament. And returning to France, I’ve never been overly enamoured with Getting The People Out Onto The Street. Having got them there, as the Yellow Vests are finding, where exactly do you go and what precisely do you do from there? The Big Debate approach offers everyone a way out.

        Much too late now for the U.K. to try to do it after-the-fact. Far too many, myself included, would be tempted to say “Yeah, but, it’s just Remain tarted up (again…) as something else in’it? It’s not going to fool anyone”.

        1. makedoanmend

          At this point in the proceedings, I just feel like digressing…

          …it’s never too late – god made time and she made plenty of it…referenda come and go

          In about ~48 days, one way or the other, the UK is leaving the EU. I wish them well – or more precisely I wish ordinary working people, the working poor and the economically disenfranchised well…they may very well need it in the coming days and years….inside the EU and in the UK

          And I fervently hope that the EU’s main benefit of making fractious European countries less fractious by tying their economic well being together continues for a very long time…

        2. David

          I think it depends just how marginal the issue really is. If you try to stifle an issue which is genuinely of interest to lots of people then it will eventually find its way out. But my impression over the years was the the EU was something people liked to grumble about, something the elites were ecstatic over, but something that most of the population didn’t spend much time thinking about. By turning it into an effective referendum on neoliberalism (even if that was far from the intention) the Tories allowed it stand in for a whole set of other issues which people wanted to debate, but couldn’t – the decline of public services for example. And there’s nothing worse than reminding people of a divisive argument that they have forgotten: imagine the damage that would result if a future government offered a referendum on capital punishment, for example? There’s a lot to be said for letting difficult issues stay forgotten.

          1. Clive

            I think the mainstream parties genuinely did try for absolutely as long as possible to let the EU sleeping dog lie.

            But in the face of pretty effective electorate blowback like this (which, by all accounts results in real loathing in the Parliament who are simply not accustomed to having to hold their noses in response to the exposure to such a rabble of unwashables as those in the majority of the U.K. seats there, I suspect they had to bulk-order fainting couches), eventually the clamour to Do Something becomes irresistible. No matter how much it perhaps should have been resisted.

          2. bob

            “There’s a lot to be said for letting difficult issues stay forgotten.”

            The queen thanks you for your service.

            1. Clive

              That’s unfair on so many levels I scarcely know where to start. David was making a very valid point — in the political arena there’s a tonne of agitation from groups who leap on a bandwagon without the slightest intention of amelioration of an ill. It’s just a handy tool. That kind of duplicitous cynical politicking helps no-one.

              And I don’t know where these notions that the root of the UK’s problems is a constitutional monarchy come from. Japan has exactly the same as do many European nations. None are as dysfunctional as the UK is.

              1. Legitmacy-Wonk

                I see the current situation in the UK (and US) as the end-game of party politics – where branding reaches its functional breaking-point.

                The upshot of it all is that the “C” in Conservative now stands for “Chaos” along with the usual crude pejorative (in the plural).

                nb Readers with limited knowledge of the “Westminster system” should be made aware that at election time in Britain it is essentially a presidential race. The advantage over the US is that functional nut-jobs can be induced to “spend more time with their family” when their functional legitimacy is lost. Under normal circumstances the Crown seemingly skims blithely above it all, separately, enjoying another form of legitimacy entirely. Would most people agree that it is functional legitimacy that really counts in their lives?


                Please note that I have unilaterally changed my handle from: “AbateMagicThinking But Not Money”.

    8. Plenue

      “The increasingly exhausted police and gendarmes are continuing to take casualties”


      The video of the former professional boxer laying into one black-clad goose stepper is wonderfully cathartic. Cops are not your friends.

    9. Lambert Strether

      > The increasingly exhausted police and gendarmes are continuing to take casualties

      Interesting to imagine what might happen if they are stretched beyond the breaking point.

      Thanks for these reports, they are very useful.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “IS resists ‘final push’ by US-backed force in eastern Syria”

    ISIS is almost gone in eastern Syria? Great! Wonderful news! A year and a half later than it should have been but better late than never. I guess that someone over there was waiting for some other person to say ‘Simon sez’.

    1. timbers

      Trump should get out of Syria (and Iraq and Afghanistan) and ask the Russians to finish the job of crushing the alphabet soup of American/Saudi/UK/Israel funded terrorists.

      She did an awesome job since the day she started despite best efforts of West to protect the terrorists from Russia at all costs.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Fortunately NOT “at all costs,” the obvious one being direct conflict leading to nuclear war. Not even Trump is willing to risk that – it would be very bad for business. In this respect, the Dems are much more reckless. Hopefully that’s because they were out of power.

    2. Plenue

      They’re going over the Euphrates again to strike at SAA positions in Al Bukamal. But it looks like this time it’s in a desperate attempt to escape. So it seems like it really is finally over. But, given the comically poor record of these southern Kurdish forces, it could drag on for days or weeks more, even with ISIS controlling less than 5km of territory.

  4. Darius

    Like the American elite in general, Politico sees American politics entirely as identity politics. It’s the waters they swim in and, like a fish, they don’t even know they’re wet because they don’t know anything else. So when they see the Green New Deal, They have to hammer it into the idpol round hole, whether it fits or not. Real Americans of course hate socialism. The most important thing about Cory Booker is that he is single.

    1. Carey

      Anything, anything!, to avoid the 800 pound gorilla: Class class class

      The Few v The Many

      We’re strong and we’re pissed

  5. Tyrannocaster

    In Bernie news, Salon/Alternet are reporting that Sanders is “waning”, but that’s a *good thing*, all based on…a DailyKos poll. A lot of those people would vote for Individual 1 before Bernie.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Doesn’t Markos have better things to do like buying (or suckering subscribers to his site to buy, rather) $85K worth of roses for Pelosi? Maybe he should make them white this time. A lot of “those people” love mindless tribal virtue signaling, which is why they still visit DailyKos, and why their vote would go that way.

      1. voteforno6

        I don’t know…Daily Kos is still entertaining, as it offers a peak inside the bubble (and those people for the most part are deep inside it). That being said, do you really think all that money raised for flowers actually went towards purchasing flowers?

        1. JohnnySacks

          Nah, quit it last week for good. Tired of getting spanked for pointing out the obvious shortcomings of their hero de hour, sometimes less tastefully than others. It truly becomes more of an echo chamber every year, kind of a one dimensional MSNBC, grab the noise of the day and flog it mercilessly. All the good history and economics writers have fled years ago although NBBooks has returned with a weekly diary like the daily links and water cooler here.
          Can’t figure out how to explicitly remove myself so rather than invite an explicit ban, forwarding to spam box.

          1. lordkoos

            I left dailykos after seeing the 2016 Bernie Sanders hate fest, and I’m sure that a whole lot of other people did the same. Not much left there now but sad Hillary-bots. I occasionally visit to see what people are talking about (mostly Trump! Trump! Trump! and Russia! Russia! Russia!) and I admit to trolling them once and awhile. But mostly I just stay away.

        2. ambrit

          Markos needs money to buy those nifty suits so that he can look the part of “elder statesman.” Since he is doing a “public service” for the ‘execrable deplorables,’ then it is only fitting that the expenses of said ‘public service’ be underwritten by the public.
          I don’t know if the ‘typo’ “…a peak inside the bubble…” was intentional or not, but it is telling, and true.

    2. Morgan Everett

      That’s a really terrible article. They quote a few polls, and constructed an entire hit piece out of it.

      1. Summer

        “They quote a few polls, and constructed an entire hit piece out of it.”

        Just another day in media polling land.

    3. Earl Erland

      In addition I imagine more than a few Sanders supporters have emigrated from Kosville and thus not around to vote in the straw poll. I have been a member since 2002; by 2016 the place was unrecognizable to me. Every couple of weeks I wander back over, spurred on by the same curiosity that compels me to pick a copy of the National Enquirer while in line at the grocery store.

      1. Tyrannocaster

        I left ten years ago. When Kos started booting members because they criticized Israel in even minor ways I saw where the wind was blowing.

  6. ChrisAtRU


    “Much to ponder here – although I don’t agree with all of this. Readers?” – JL

    There is much to ponder, and for the most part, I think the article gets it right about how her appeal to the liberal/Dem side of the political spectrum ebbs as you move further left. On #Twitter, quite a few of my most left follows (people I follow) have disavowed her because of discontent around her embrace of Modi, her hawkish views and her lukewarm acceptance of LGBTQ issues.

    I had cause to revisit the Jacobin on her: Tulsi Gabbard Is Not Your Friend. I prefer that write up. It doesn’t contain flat out “US imperialism is better” nosh like this:

    “But if the coordinated efforts of many governments can help Venezuelans throw out a socialist kleptocracy that long ago forfeited its democratic legitimacy, I’m all for it.”

    Yes, Michael. Of course you are. Even as capitalist kleptocracy is literally turning the US into a fourth world nation.

    I think Tulsi keeps the foreign intervention failure conversation front and center – which is a good thing – #becauseVenezuela. She also lines up well with support for progressive things like #M4A. I almost feel like the Dem Primary is still gonna reduce to #TeamBernie v #TeamHillary:

    Bernie, Warren, Tulsi – – – – – Harris, Booker, Gillibrand

    Long days yet, but we’ll see where this all goes soon enough.

      1. Down2Long

        Brings to mind that old Winston Churchill chestnut when an opponent’s “modest” character was being touted as one of his greatest attributes: Churchill “Yes, he is a modest man, with much to be modest about.”

        To be clear, I am very glad Tulsi is in the race and bringing up important issues. That Propublica piece on the 7th fleet, while extremely damning, never once brings up that building all those new ships gurantees many Navy brass fat cat jobs in the MIC once they get their 20 years in and retire from the military.

        I like to refer to the “LITTORAL” ships as “Literal Garbage “

        1. Procopius

          Officers only retire after 20 if they haven’t been promoted past Lieutenant Commander (Army equivalent is Major). Admirals usually stay for 40 so they collect 100% of base pay. The top ranks of all services are so corrupt it explains why we haven’t won a war since 1865 and, to paraphrase Wellington against Napoleon, that was a close run thing until Lincoln discovered Grant. There’s an interesting cult that preaches what they call 4th Generation War. One of their claims is that since 1945 all the top ranking officers and civilian officials in the military establishment have advocated for more complex, more expensive weapons and command systems. The F-35 costs $85,000,000 each. They can only fly a few hours a week and require constant maintenance. Spare parts are in short supply and funds for other weapons, training, and buildings are scarce because the money is all going to purchasing more F-35s. The $13,000,000,000 USS Gerald Ford still hasn’t passed sea trials three years after it was delivered and several systems, such as the electromagnet powered catapults and the ammo elevators still don’t work reliably and have to be shut down frequently for maintenance and/or repair. Its sister ship, which was supposed to have been delivered five years ago, still has not been. Both ships are being built under cost plus contracts. Both were approved for procurement before their design was completed and then many changes were ordered as flag officers thought of new ponies they wanted. If we ever have to fight a nation state we’re toast.

    1. Carolinian

      Hopefully Gabbard will survive the somewhat condescending approval of the National Review whose writer objects to messy US military interventions but not to regime change as such–particularly when hated socialists are the target. Of course Gabbard’s stated view is just the opposite. She’s accepts military action if justified while it’s the regime change idea that she opposes. That quaint concept known as international law seems to agree with her.

      1. Richard

        Yeah, the writer outs himself as an ignorant or lying imperialist when it came to Venezuela. Recasting his words with a magic “truth serum”: “This tiny percentage of the Venezuelan population have been trying for decades to erase the bolivarian revolution begun by chavez. They’re even less popular than maduro. Isn’t about time we fixed it so they won?
        I think tulsi is about 10 kinds of awesome, at minimum. I think she is well prepared for the deluge of lies and smears she’s recieved, and has responded wisely I’ve thought. I enjoyed how she turned the tendential, bs morning joe question back on the questioner: (paraphrase) “Are you afraid of supporting Assad’s interests?” Tulsi: “What are Assad’s interests?”
        The flustered, exasperated answer: “Slaughtering his own people!”
        Of course they are, you walking, talking comic book, of course they are.

    2. Baby Gerald

      Jacobin is the latest hit piece in a line of them, revealing an agenda that is not the advance of radical left ideas and policies that one might assume from their title.

      Just compare the way they covered the teacher’s strike in LA LA Teachers Show the Way Forward (for just one example) versus the way it was handled in the World Socialist Website: Los Angeles teachers livid over union’s betrayal of strike. Still not convinced? Here are two more to enjoy: Jacobin’s most recent “There Are So Many Things That We Can Learn From This Strike” co-written by the very union management who were party to the teachers’ betrayal, and this scathing evaluation from WSWS: The International Socialist Organization, Jacobin hail betrayal of Los Angeles teachers’ strike.

      If one didn’t know better, one might think these two journals are covering two completely different teachers strikes.

      Now back to Tulsi, and my personal take. I am not looking for a ‘friend’ in the presidency. I’m looking for someone with integrity, confidence in their convictions, an ear open to the constituency that he or she represents, and courage to stand by their policy decisions in the face of immense corporate and media pressure. That quote you dropped from the Jacobin article is all one needs to read, actually, and your take on it seems spot-on. Calling Maduro’s government a ‘socialist kleptocracy’ without ever acknowledging the crimes of the capitalist kleptocrats that led to Chavez and Maduro is to be either willfully ignorant or blantantly misleading, neither of which is an endearing trait for a journalist, even by today’s standards.

      Believe me, nobody is sorrier about Jacobin’s tactics than I, since they just suckered me into a subscription in order to read Adam Tooze’s latest article there which is paywalled on their website. To think that I’m helping finance the sort of articles written by Branco Marcetic turns my stomach.

        1. skk

          I’m no fan of the Jacobin, but I do read it often, to pay tribute to my own youth in “Left Wing Communism, an infantile disorder”. So I was intrigued to read your comment.

          I searched that nytimes link for the word Jacob, jacobin. I didn’t get any hits. Can you check too ?

          Anyway – so I googled and found this link. Its got a direct twitter comment from Micah Uetricht, associate editor of the Jacobin in Jan-2018

          1. Hamford

            Thanks for the link. In the grey lady’s article, near the bottom where it lists all the bot buying offenders, click “show more” under “media” and Jacobin is listed.

      1. Carolinian

        Kleptocracy quote is from National Review up in Links. Chris is saying he prefers Jacobin’s earlier take.

        And yes the WSWS doesn’t care for Jacobin or the DSA in general. The want revolution, not reform. Some of us would hold that neither has really gotten the job done in the past. Perhaps newer ideas are needed.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Thanks for clarifying on my behalf. In retrospect, I should have made it clear the quote came from #NR.

      2. Harold

        I think it is interesting that Jacobin allows no comments on its site and its search function is rather awkward: you are restricted to a number of topics chosen by the editors, suggesting certain authoritarian tendencies. Also, I am a bit suspicious of a self-described “leading voice on the American left”, launched with great fanfare in the pages of the NY Times, and IIRC some other mainstream media outlets not usually cognizant of “leading” leftists.

        That said, they do occasionally have good articles.

        1. Procopius

          I have Jacobin bookmarked, but rarely look at it. The pieces I started to read either said all they needed to in the first couple of paragraphs or were so boring I just couldn’t go on. On the other hand, I’ve found I agree so much with The American Conservative it’s among the bookmarks I check regularly, although I’m grateful for the links you post here. I was surprised to find that one of the founders was Pat Buchanan whose ideas I consider rather farther right than “conservative.” I guess he is not involved with the current editorial team.

      3. Darthbobber

        All the wsws pieces on the strike “betrayal” really tells me is that the International Committee for the 4th International does not approve of the contract or the ratification method. They also ignore real gains, and frame at least one issue pretty questionably.

        They had their own roadmap and prefab organizing strategy for the one and only “right” way the teachers should go about this. Nothing was going to be seen as an adequate contract by them.

        I’m not sure, BTW, what the legalities were around that ratification. I’ve seen even more rapid processes, including ones where the vote is on the spot at a large meeting called for the purpose. Under some conditions, people return to work pending a vote, but if you’re on the bricks and not getting paid until after the vote, that forces a bit of urgency into the process.

        1. Lambert Strether

          L.A. Teachers Win Big and Beat Back Privatizers Labor Notes. Basically, I trust Kim Moody’s home to get the right perspective.

          I read both WSWS and Jacobin “for the articles,” as they say. I think when WSWS goes wrong it’s when they lose touch with ground truth by being doctrinaire, and when Jacobin goes wrong, they lose touch with ground truth by falling prey to “infantile disorders.” And the ground truth today is extremely dynamic.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      Thanks for linking the Jacobin piece. At the risk of sounding like a toady (they set up the equipment on stage for rock bands on tour, right?), there are some things about her world view that are disquieting.

      1. pjay

        How many times does that damn Jacobin hit piece have to be recycled (and debunked) here?? These issues about Gabbard’s supposed crypto-fascism have been addressed many times. The coordinated smear campaign of the “left” media is so obvious it hurts. There is ONE candidate challenging the bipartisan mainstream narrative on foreign policy. She must be silenced! Aarrghh!!!

        1. ChrisAtRU

          I don’t think it’s unfair to call her on some of her right wing ties/beliefs. Also, it’s not just Jacobin. Forgive me if I haven’t seen any of the posts debunking her crypto-fascism here; a cursory use of Google restricted to this website shows some good back and forth as well as links to articles from other sources. For my own part, I don’t think Tulsi is a poor candidate, and I’d take her over any one of those from the Clinton-Obama wing of the Democratic party any day. However, I do respect the concerns of those who belong to groups that her positions have offended or endangered. In posting the Jacobin link, my assertion is not that she should be silenced, but that as the sub-lede on the article says: “her views on Islam and support for far-right leaders suggest otherwise (i.e. contrary to what one deems as progressive)” … that she should be made to account for those is not tantamount to smearing.

          1. John k

            I support Bernie in spite of his lack of anti war rhetoric.
            I support tulsi in spite of the her various failings mentioned here… some of which are from years ago.
            It’s not as if, say, dem centrists are crappy on domestic issues but anti war, so I have no conflict with Bernie.
            Meanwhile, maybe anti war is the most important single issue in the endless wars we have now, so any conflict I might otherwise have with tulsi is ignored.
            Priorities. Nobody has the complete package.

            1. lordkoos


              Tulsi at least has been a soldier, unlike most of our current gang of congress critters. I would be fine with supporting her over any centrist Democrat.

          2. pjay

            What *are* her views on Islam? Look at the sources cited and you’ll see that she is not anti-Islam. She is scathing toward fanatical Islamic *terrorism* (and those who support it). She has also noted the role of U.S. interventionism in its rapid rise and expansion. She has explained (and apologized for) her opposition to gay marriage in her early 20s (a position she reversed some time ago). Even then she was not some raging homophobe, but had a rather traditional conservative position on the subject. Etc.

            I also respect the concerns of these groups. But the “concerns” expressed in such articles are not addressing her actual positions. Rather, they compile positions she once held but later rejected, comments out of context (e.g. on Islamic terrorism), etc. in the time-honored tactics of the smear. Some of these authors are sincere but ignorant, simply repeating the stories told by their peers. Others know exactly what they are doing. Gabbard is not without flaws. But the problems with these charges have been pointed out time and again. It doesn’t matter. They will just keep coming back stronger, over and over, just like Russiagate, Syrian gas attacks, and every other element of the mainstream media narrative.

            “Aarrgghh” is not very articulate. But it best expresses my hopeless frustration.

          3. FluffytheObeseCat

            Except the way these “made to account” demands are piling up in the media is a smearing effort. A very obvious one. Gabbard is not sufficiently obedient to the social demands of the loosely organized but nonetheless coherent “left”. It’s her lack of obedience – her unwillingness to formally throw in with them – that drives the continual “questions about her…..[religion etc]”.

            I’m confident that Gabbard’s current detractors will be writing pieces in the summer of 2020, telling us how we simply must vote for Harris in order to stave off the Republican brutes. How we would be obvious race bigot for doing otherwise. These articles will include a perfunctory sentence deploring the fact that old Sanders had to yield to Harris at the convention, and will contain assertions that his retirement from the fight is, after all, probably good. Because he could not have won the US people as a whole. They will make no mention of the former candidate Gabbard in these pieces.

            Comfortable IdPol insiders are insiders…. first, foremost and always. “Left” politics is a high school mean girls clique that yields them a living and some prestige. And possibly, if they ever win big, a shot at entering the Beltway elite. Markos-level opinion makers see themselves heading federal “task forces” in the Harris administration in c. 2022, or syndicated throughout the MSM. They may hate Trump loudly now, but when in power they will follow in his footsteps – they will bribe our military-intelligence apparatus with funding, access, praise and prestige in order to secure themselves in power. Gabbard might put a damper on this tit for tat if she retains significant media attention in the 20s.

            I don’t particularly like the woman. She is slick, and very coolly self-confident. However, the semi-organized insider smear campaign against her is blatant, and obvious punishment for her having stepped out of line. Also, no political insiders want Americans hearing Gabbard’s views on our imperial state. While she can still grab eyeballs she is a (modest) threat to our reigning duopoly. If they can silo her out as a cranky nut with ideas who can’t really win big races – a modern, not old white guy version of Ron Paul, Ross Perot, or Pat Buchanan – they benefit.

        2. Darthbobber

          By no means does everything published in Jacobin reflect a line imposed by its editorial people. It’s considerably more multitendency than that. Sometimes you get duelling polemics.

      2. flora

        an aside about the word ‘toady’:

        I can’t find it’s origin as a noun meaning obsequious. Wonder if that meaning came from slang used by Westerners in the 18th and 19thc observing the Chinese subjects kowtowing* in the presence of the Chinese Emperor. Some dictionaries list ‘kowtow’ and ‘toady’ as synonyms.

        and from ‘The Last Emperor’ (approx 4 minutes)

    4. integer

      I thought the following excerpts from Dougherty’s article were revealing:

      Right-wing anti-interventionists view the behavior of foreign regimes as the product of a set of geographic, historical, cultural, and political circumstances that U.S. military power cannot alter

      Gabbard has denounced the State Department’s recognition of a new interim government in Venezuela. I share her aversion to anything that could lead to another military conflict. But if the coordinated efforts of many governments can help Venezuelans throw out a socialist kleptocracy that long ago forfeited its democratic legitimacy, I’m all for it. [emphasis added]

      So, Dougherty appears to be saying that right-wing anti-interventionists are only opposed to military interventions, and only because they think they will be unsuccessful. Hence, what he is implicitly saying is that right-wing anti-interventionists are not actually against interventionism in principle, and therefore do not object to the use of other means, such as economic warfare and/or covert CIA operations and/or the “coordinated efforts of many governments”, in pursuit of the goal of installing governments whose policies are aligned with the interests of the U.S.-led liberal international order. With regard to the left, Dougherty’s characterization of the ideological underpinnings of Gabbard and the left’s anti-interventionist stance is disingenuous; his article was essentially a very poor attempt at framing the right as pragmatic and the left as driven by emotion.

    5. skk

      btw Tulsi is a plant in India. Its got religious meaning but I won’t talk about that and leave that to somebody religious. Its reputed to have medicinal properties. The wiki says there are 3 varieties.. the ones I used to just grab a few leaves of alongside country paths and chew as a kid – yeah apparently don’t do this at home – may have been the wild variety – “vana tulsi”. Will the adult, grown up, Gabbard also turn out to be truly non-establishment ?

      o and Kamala is a flower in India. It is a lotus.

      So who are you gonna pick ? For my money, its Tulsi all the way.

        1. lordkoos

          Although they may be in the same family, tulsi is not holy basil. My wife grows both, we use the tulsi for tea and basil for cooking Thai dishes.

          1. Procopius

            I thought the basil in Thailand was “Sweet Basil.” Is “Holy Basil” really the same? I may have been misled by the name of a bar my bus used to pass which turned out to be a hangout for boys who liked boys.

        2. skk

          arghhhh – the basil word. Sorry, this reminds me of British cookbooks in the 60s – Elizabeth David(?) suggesting that one uses parsley ( not even Italian but the crinkly kind I reckon ) as a substitute for cilantro ( fresh coriander in the UK ).

          Its nothing like basil, the purple kind, the Thai kind or the Trader Joe potted plant kind. IMO. so I wdn’t use that word in this context.

          But to each their own.

    6. Summer

      “I think Tulsi keeps the foreign intervention failure conversation front and center…”

      But she couldn’t do that as member of Congress?

      It shows where the major problem is : A Congress that is corrupt and that represent foreign lobbies with as much or more gusto than their constituents.

      The President as CIC is also a waste. They are also powerless before the greed of the MIC.

      1. John k

        A president is his appointees. Trump is trying to take control by appointing generals and former deep actors. But that’s trump…
        Bernie would appoint different people.

  7. Amfortas the Hippie

    re: the politico art. on how “loony” GND is:
    this: “…Republicans have mostly steered clear of climate change, but in the Green New Deal they see a chance to pivot the argument back towards economics as growing majorities accept the underlying science. ”

    i had to put the coffee down,lol.
    Repubs are going to be the Voice of Reason(tm) on Economics?
    will we ever get to actually look at the RESULTS of their grand experiments in social/economic engineering and likely subliminal references to “golden showers”(trickle down,lol)?

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Bezos’s Wild Days: Lurid Selfies, Blackmail, Amazon Drama in NYC”

    Well, Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel helped finance Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit which put the “Gawker” out of business so maybe Jeff Bezos could finance his latest ‘squeeze’ to sue the “National Enquirer” out of business. After reading about their history at all I can say is that perhaps the ‘journalists’ there could then find some honest work to do – like learning to code.

    1. Carolinian

      Some say the Enquirer has even more lawyers than Bezos and are therefore not in jeopardy from him at least. Plus does he really want months of talk about his below the belt selfie? Arguably that Medium column was a really dumb move.

      1. Wukchumni

        Weekly World News is where you’d get aliens, Bat Boy, et al.

        I seldom got past a few pages in when waiting in the line @ the supermarket, and the onus often was on somebody dead, being seen alive somewhere (Elvis spotted in Fresno laundromat!)

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Luved the headline “Bezos’s Wild Days”… evoked the lyrics to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s song “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from the musical Evita. Clearly this is one helluva of a midlife crisis… Oh, the humanity. But perhaps his experience might also serve to illustrate and potentially temper the excesses of surveillance capitalism… although I suppose that aspect could go either way.

      1. flora

        Mighty expensive midlife crisis. Imagine Bezos’ net worth after the divorce settlement. Washington state is community property.

        1. Chauncey Gardiner

          Will be interesting to see if he retains working control through retention of voting rights on the stock, limits on liquidation, etc.

    3. Craig H.

      Am I the only person who reads the no Amazon HQII.b in New York as completely unsubstantiated rumor?

      The unnamed source isn’t even described as an Amazon employee or NY government employee. Maybe the reporter got it off their ouija board.

  9. crittermom

    >Widespread Wells Fargo Issues…

    Today’s antidote is beautiful & made me smile.

    The end of this statement in the WF article made me laugh (my emphasis):
    “As a result of the process to restore systems yesterday, some transactions and balances were not visible in online banking or ATMs. The transactions were processed normally, and customers can use their accounts with confidence.”

    Confidence? TBTJ bank? Ha, ha, ha!

  10. crittermom

    >3 philosophers set up a booth…

    I enjoyed this article. Especially the exchange with the 6 yr old.

    1. freedomny

      Me too. Leave it to a 6 year old to ask the toughest question of the day- “How do I know I’m real”…..

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Researchers Developed a Technique to Turn Nearly a Quarter of Our Plastic Waste into Fuel”

    Is Soylent Green a burnable fuel? Hey, whatever it takes to keep driving season going, right?

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      FWIW, a pyrolytic oven is simpler than their process, producing capturable methane from (all) plastic feedstock. Just not protected by patents, I suppose.

  12. crittermom

    >Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Campaign…

    Great article. I enjoyed his writing.

    I read some of the comments following it, however, & many are vicious! I hadn’t expected that. Wow.

    1. notabanker

      It’s going to get a lot uglier. She’s trying to move everyone’s cheese and they aren’t going to like it.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      AOC is a threat. She’s closer to what people pretended Obama was. For the GOP, she’s a threat because “socialist Obama” had a commanding victory in 2008, and for Team Blue, she’s not the vapid Obama they praised. For the “centrists” (really libertarians as long as you are rich), AOC is the threat the perceived 2008 Obama was, and for Obama worshippers, she undermines the myth of the great orator who held the GOP barbarians off single handed.

      AOC is both woman and Hispanic, the keys to the electoral future of the identitarian conservatives, err centrists. She’s more famous than the CIA congress critter in Virginia and the random Obama alum of the week who won’t be running for President.

    3. Big River Bandido

      A lot of those comments read like “armchair keyboard kommando” language. I have come to doubt the veracity of comments written in this style, considering how much of social media is faked. This type of rhetoric is easy to mass-produce. If there are actual human beings behind some those comments, my guess is they aren’t the activist types, and therefore not much of a threat.

      The real threat to AOC and good public policy is from the neoliberal power structure. They want us to focus on the armchairs, but that’s a distraction game.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And, thank you, California, for sending your storm remnants our way. Arizona’s people and plant life are forever grateful

    2. curlydan

      I thought off the grid meant no electric as well. Although for my kids, it probably means no wifi :)

      1. Wukchumni

        They’ve been living there for close to 20 years, have a bank of solar panels and batteries, with a diesel generator that cranks in occasionally when needed. They’ve got wi-fi & cable just like any other house.

        The abode is about $300k away from power lines, which is why they went solar in the first place, and it’s quite an issue selling the place, as nobody will loan on a home that’s completely off the grid, necessitating a cash buyer.

        1. John k

          Or seller financing. 25% down provides down for next house.
          My neighbor has been trying to sell for six years because our development has difficulty getting bank loans, coulda sold long ago if he carried 70% paper… and this is his second house.

    3. polecat

      We’re lookijng a 8-12+ moarrrr snow on the northern side of the Olympics this Mon-Tues. ….. uhg ! PA and Sequim .. hell, the whole of Clallam County is pretty much shutdown as it is. Gonna be scary interesting !

      1. lordkoos

        It’s very unusual for western WA to get more snow that we have here on the east side. So glad I’m not in Seattle anymore…

  13. dearieme

    As a Consulting Philosopher I commend our enterprising simian cousins.

    About Tulsi: the Dems will dump her. If Trump has any sense he’ll scoop her up as his running mate. That would let him follow his anti-war instincts safe in the knowledge that the Deep State would hardly bump him off just to see him replaced by his anti-war vice-president.

    1. polecat

      IMNSHO, many ‘deplorables’ would give her a nodding affirmative if that choice was offered to the voters …

  14. The Rev Kev

    “China’s treatment of Uighurs an ’embarrassment for humanity’: Turkey”

    Really? Turkey said this? So umpteen thousand Uighurs left China to go to Syria on Jihad and receive not only military training but also battle experience as well as probably training in terrorism and sabotage. Somebody remind me again which country the Uighurs were staging through and were being equipped by? The Turkish connection with the Uighurs go way back for at least a century and a half. I doubt that Turkey would be impressed though if China started to give the Kurds advanced military training in China and then started to send them back to Turkey but if Turkey presses it, it could happen. More on the Turkish-Uighur connection at-

    1. Alex morfesis

      The amazing part is how quiet the Hellene political pyrate krewes are as there was so much noise on bigmac-adonya and the country which shall not be named looking to convert Alexander the gr8 as their own hero, but not a sound as Prince erdogen has his political party and flag as a “return to destiny” of “his” regimes ties and Turkish ties to the exploits of Alexander…stretching all the way across the old alexandrian/iskandarian trade routes commonly referred to in modern times as the old silk road…Tizwattitiz….

      1. The Rev Kev

        Funny thing about Alexander the Great. There was a British doco series a coupla years ago where this guy followed the path of Alexander in his advance to the east. In our history books he is called the Great but it became clear to this British guy that the more east he traveled the more Alexander was regarded as a terrorist and an evil demon. A matter of perspective I suppose.

    2. Alex

      While I think you are right (mostly) it does not detract in any way from the article. Of course there are plenty Islamist Uighurs and probably a few potential terrorists. And of course Turkey is hardly in a position to lecture anyone on human rights. But would you argue that only terrorists are held in these camps?

      There is an interesting parallel with the Chechen conflict. Also plenty of Islamist militants with international Jihad experience and a conflict in a restive ethnic minority regions. But Russia was not in a position to solve it the way Chinese are doing it now.

  15. allan

    If It’s Not Boeing, I’m Not Going (To Goose Cash Flow):

    For Boeing, juggling cash flow often means “another ‘Houdini moment’”
    [Seattle Times]

    Boeing has gushed cash quarter after quarter for more than four years, sending its share price soaring yet leaving some analysts suspicious about how Boeing manages always to surpass Wall Street’s cash flow expectations.

    Inside the company, too, some are uncomfortable with the financial engineering that Boeing uses to consistently beat cash flow projections, often by $1 billion and sometimes $2 billion.

    Boeing struggled all last summer to complete the 737s pouring out of its Renton factory as catch-up assembly work and shortages of engines kept it from delivering the planes and collecting its cash. Yet analysts were astounded when it unveiled its financial results in October. …

    While many companies can massage their cash-flow results, few have as much leeway to do so as Boeing. That’s because aircraft purchases involve such large sums, on payment schedules that are negotiable and adjustable.

    And the process is entirely opaque from the outside because the precise financial terms of jet sales are never disclosed. …

    But how can it be sustainable to keep pulling money from future quarters? Doesn’t that inevitably mean less cash flow later?

    “We all ask, when is it going to stop?” the Boeing insider said. “But somehow, every quarter, the well gets refilled.”

    Strauss, of Barclays, said that, “Yes, at some point in the future, the game is up.” …

    No, no no … you people don’t understand that Boeing’s C-suite has repealed the business cycle:

    … Boeing Chairman Dennis Muilenburg insists that airplane manufacturing’s worldwide customer base is now so diverse that the business is no longer cyclical. If he’s right, Boeing may be able to keep accelerating cash indefinitely. …

    Rumor has it that Boeing’s next plane will be named the Dunning-Kruger Liner.

  16. XXYY

    An Open Letter to Rep. Pramila Jayapal Regarding Medicare for All PNHP

    Good discussion is starting.

    To achieve a fully nonprofit health system, Medicare for all legislation should include plans for the government to “buy out” investors in for-profit institutions. Researchers estimate the fair market value of investor-owned facilities covered by a buyout to be $150 billion at most. Using Treasury Bill financing over 15 years at the current interest rate of 3 percent would cost the government about $12.75 billion annually, equivalent to about 1 percent of annual hospital costs. Even in the short term, these costs would be offset by eliminating what we currently waste on investor profits. For example, total profits of just three investor-owned firms (HCA, DaVita and Fresenius) totaled more than $6 billion in 2017. For the sake of both patient health and cost savings, we cannot afford to let investor-owned facilities participate in a Medicare for all system.

    Interesting that it will be cheaper to buy out for-profit institutions than have taxpayers continue to provide them profits.

    What does it technically mean to convert an institution into a nonprofit? They are supposed to be run in a way that does not throw off money over and above their operating expenses? Are there changes in governance or other things?

    This whole area really gets into the nitty gritty. Technically, SP is “public insurance, private provision.” What does “private” really mean here? The archetype is individual doctors running their own medical practice and getting reimbursed for care by the government. Such a practice would and should generate a “profit” that allowed the doctor to have an income after paying staff and rent and so on. Are we saying such practices would have to be organized as nonprofits, owned by the doctor, and also paying him a salary? Obviously this picture gets (even) more complicated in the more typical case where a large employer hires a bunch of medical staff and so on.

    This seems like a conversation worth having; I don’t personally claim to have a lot of insight about it. A related (tactical) question is whether this is something that needs to be included in the initial legislation, potentially garnering a lot of additional opposition, or whether it can be addressed “later”.

    Between 2002 and 2009, immigrants contributed $115 billion more to the Medicare Trust Fund than they used in health care. Because of their lower utilization costs, immigrants also heavily subsidize private insurance for U.S.-born residents. A single-payer bill must explicitly include both documented and undocumented immigrants, and not leave eligibility up to administrative whims.

    One of the big motivations for M4A is to eliminate the thicket of eligibility and billing rules that has created a situation where US hospitals have roughly one administrative employee for each bed. If you can just treat anyone who walks in, and not have to obsessively keep track of every aspirin tablet and $2 IV bag so they can be billed accurately, you free up a lot (30%?) of money for actual medical care.

    So one question is whether there is going to be some kind of gatekeeping in an M4A system, e.g., if you don’t posess an eligibility card, you will be turned away. This creates the possibility of all kinds of both practical and mean-spirited interference in health care delivery. E.g., car crash victim comes in unconscious and no one can find her card in her purse. Latino family come into ER with mother in labor, and father explains he lost his wallet that day. Red-state legislators pass a law that says you have to have 17 forms of ID and live at the same address for 3 years plus pay a $1000 “processing fee” to get a health care card. Etc.

    Something one instinctively worries about is “freeloaders” entering the country as tourists or by sneaking across the border so they can get a “free” heart transplant or whatever. I don’t know if this is a real worry in the scheme of things or not. Obviously we gave $16 trillion to freeloading banks to bail them out and no one was too worried about it, so we seem to have a pretty high freeloading threshold in practice.

    These are the kinds of good and useful questions we can both ask and answer with an M4A system.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      I like that it’s being talked about, too.
      this part:”…The archetype is individual doctors running their own medical practice …”
      I worry about the definitional confusion that often accompanies these discussions in high places(standard usage in congress is that raytheon and subway are “small businesses”)
      my doctor is part of a 3 doctor clinic, and he’s worried about being lumped in with the corporate hive of 100+ doctors down the street. totally different “for profit” animals, there. (and totally different working environment, user experience, etc)

    2. marym

      “What does it technically mean to convert an institution into a nonprofit?”

      HR 676 – 115th Congress version

      (a) Requirement To Be Public Or Non-Profit.—

      (1) IN GENERAL.—No institution may be a participating provider unless it is a public or not-for-profit institution. Private physicians, private clinics, and private health care providers shall continue to operate as private entities, but are prohibited from being investor owned.


      Most civilized countries, including the semi-civilized US, have laws requiring that emergency accident victims and women in labor be treated.

      HR 676:

      (a) In General.—All individuals residing in the United States (including any territory of the United States) are covered under the Medicare For All Program entitling them to a universal, best quality standard of care. Each such individual shall receive a card with a unique number in the mail. An individual’s Social Security number shall not be used for purposes of registration under this section.

      (b) Registration.—Individuals and families shall receive a Medicare For All Program Card in the mail, after filling out a Medicare For All Program application form at a health care provider. Such application form shall be no more than 2 pages long.

      (c) Presumption.—Individuals who present themselves for covered services from a participating provider shall be presumed to be eligible for benefits under this Act, but shall complete an application for benefits in order to receive a Medicare For All Program Card and have payment made for such benefits.

      (d) Residency Criteria.—The Secretary shall promulgate a rule that provides criteria for determining residency for eligibility purposes under the Medicare For All Program.

      (e) Coverage For Visitors.—The Secretary shall promulgate a rule regarding visitors from other countries who seek premeditated non-emergency surgical procedures. Such a rule should facilitate the establishment of country-to-country reimbursement arrangements or self pay arrangements between the visitor and the provider of care.

      1. marym


        The provision for obtaining a Medicare account number has been part of HR 676 for a long time. Medicare originally used SSN. However in 2018 the program converted to a unique number. They mailed out new cards. Beneficiaries didn’t have to do anything, and providers have until 2020 to switch to reporting using only the new number. Maybe there will be a revision to the proposal so that the 44M people already on Medicare would just use their already-assigned number.

        1. GF

          Regarding the open letter to Jayapal by PNHP concerning Medicare for All –

          It appears that these 2 items, presented in the article, are not in the revamped proposed bill:

          “1. As part of a transition to a Medicare-for-all system, for-profit health facilities should be converted to nonprofit governance and their owners compensated for past investments.

          2. A future Medicare for all program must include everyone living in the U.S., regardless of immigration or citizenship status.”

          These are very important and must be included. How did PNHP find out that the 2 items were not in it?

          Do we know yet what other items are actually in the bill or being left out?

          1. marym

            Here’s a post about Jayapal’s process from people representing advocacy groups supposedly consulted on the re-write, including fwiw an attempt to justify the secrecy.

            ‘Everybody In, Nobody Out’: What We Know So Far About the Medicare for All Act of 2019

            Jayapal’s organizing approach impelled her to engage in extensive deliberations with single-payer advocates and to bring to the table voices that are often marginalized in the healthcare policy world, including advocates from the racial justice and disability rights communities.

            In part because of rumors circulating about the bill and the extended drafting period, there has also been a call for Rep. Jayapal to immediately release the full text of the bill draft to advocates, and to conduct an open revision process. We are not aware of any major piece of legislation—including previous iterations of the bill—that has been drafted in public. There are obvious reasons not to do so: the bill has to undergo legal review before committing to any provisions; you may want to give potential cosponsors the chance to weigh in before they read about it in the press; and you may not want to give your opponents and industry lobbyists the chance to dig in before the full bill is even released.

            The post also includes an excuse for why the HR 676 bill number was ditched! Take with several grains of salt, imo.

            1. Richard

              Thnaks for that link. l don’t think I buy that rationale for secrecy either. It’s not like it’s the bill’s opponents that Jayapal is manuevering to conceal things from. They have their pat, ineffective, losing responses all ready to go, and are as dug in as it’s possible to be already. Sunlight beats those creatures, if it beats anybody. And co-sponsors get to weigh in, but not the public? Like I know about the legalities, that third point. But overall, color me suspicious.

            2. Lambert Strether

              I hate to seem curmudgeonly over Jayapal’s bill, but from the article:

              The two of us lead Healthcare-NOW and the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare, the national organizations representing community members and organized workers fighting to win healthcare as a right. Neither one of us has seen the final bill nor are we authorized to speak on behalf of Congresswoman Jayapal. However, we have been involved in extensive briefings and consultations with Jayapal’s staff and we want to explain what is happening with the bill, and express our confidence that it is shaping up to be a much stronger and more detailed piece of single-payer healthcare legislation than the bills submitted in the last Congress.

              So they’re not in the room (just as single payer advocates weren’t in the room when Max Baucus was running the show); and they don’t know anything more than what they’ve been told (“extensive briefings and consultations”). If we hadn’t seen Lucy and the Football happen so very many times, I’d be more sanguine.

    3. KPC

      Thank you, sir. You do, in fact, understand this rather simple mess and its actually rather simple solution.

      I would think you would not object if would dare to breath the English word “crime”? And done?

      But then I am told I am rather “different” in my views and style and “project” a bit.

  17. Jerry B

    When you are having your beverage of choice today please raise your glass to one of the greatest athletes of a generation if not all time: Lindsey Vonn.

    I am not one to shower admiration on the grossly overpaid, overexposed, narcissistic athletes of the major sports leagues. But on her sheer toughness and determination alone not to mention her great skill and talent Lindsey Vonn has my undying respect and admiration.

    Her sport of choice, downhill skiing, is not “played” in front of arenas of 60,000 to 100,000 people or gets fawning media coverage on ESPN like the major sports leagues. Therefore Lindsey Vonn does not get the media attention or notoriety of great athletes in other sports but her greatness needs to be celebrated!!

    For those of us old enough to remember the old Timex watch commercials:

    Lindsey Vonn….takes a licking and keeps on ticking!

    Thank you Lindsey Vonn for your accomplishments and your greatness.

    Bravo Lindsey! Bravo! God Speed on your new journeys!

    1. Off The Street

      Her spectacular wins over very steep and often icy terrain came at a cost of those crashes that were like a loop of that old Wide World of Sports agony of defeat scene, only at much higher speed. Physics works for and against, indifferent to mere humans.

    2. Ignim Brites

      Yes, celebrate the achievement of Lindsey Vonn and take the opportunity to get on track to follow the career of Mikaela Shiffrin. She might eclipse Ms. Vonn and perhaps pass Edwin Moses as the most accomplished American athelete since the 60s, Secretariat excepted, of course

    3. Wyoming

      I too appreciate Lindsey Vonn and have followed her career through its entirety. Wildly accomplished and a testament to toughness and tenacity.


      one of the greatest athletes of a generation if not all time

      is wild exaggeration. And she ‘does’ compete in a sport which is played in front of very large numbers and gets intense global publicity and thus peoples perceptions are skewed. But she does not and did not compete with men and it is not likely that she could have beaten the top men in her sport.

      But there ‘are’ women competing (or who have competed) in sports which actually do not get publicity who have occasionally beaten not just the women but also the best men. By definition one would have to consider them greater athlete’s then Vonn – without in any way disrespecting Vonn.

      A few examples:

      Lynn Hill – rock climbing – in 1993 she became the first person to free climb the Nose route on El Capitan – it was 10 YEARS before a man repeated the feat.

      Courtney Dauwalter – ultra distance runner – in 2017 she won the Moab 240 mile mountain race in just under 58 hours – the 2nd place guy was almost 10 hours behind her. She has won many of these types of races outright.

      Jasmin Paris – ultra distance runner – last month won the 268 mile Montane Spine Race and beat the course record (previously held by a man) by 12 hours

      Sarah Thomas – ultra distance swimmer – world record for longest open water current neutral swim 104.6 MILES – over 30 miles past the best mans swim.

      To be really (actually just a little) provocative. Alex Honnold (of Free Solo fame) is the greatest athlete of all time (the GOAT) period. Climbing El Capitan without a rope (one mistake being certain death) is just ‘one’ of the many extreme climbs he has done this way. No athletic feat I have ever heard of comes close to his accomplishments.

      1. Jerry B

        ==is wild exaggeration====in your not so humble opinion. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. BTW if you notice I said “one” of the greatest of a generation and did not say “the” greatest of a generation. Some of the people you mention above may be higher or lower on someone’s list than Vonn but IMO she is on the list.

        Also if not for the toll all of her injuries have taken on Vonn she would have been the skier with the most World Cup wins. Ingemar Stenmark is the only skier to win more World Cup races than Vonn — 86 to 82. The skier with the second most World Cup wins ever! IMO that is someone who belongs on a greatest of a generation list.

        ====And she ‘does’ compete in a sport which is played in front of very large numbers and gets intense global publicity and thus peoples perceptions are skewed.

        Twisting what I said again. I said above that she does not compete in front of arenas of 60,000 people. And does not get the “same” amount of media coverage on ESPN of say basketball or baseball. Many people know who LeBron James is but I would imagine not nearly the same amount of people know who Vonn is. By the way how does one “skew the perceptions” of the skier with the second most World Cup wins EVER???

        ====But she does not and did not compete with men and it is not likely that she could have beaten the top men in her sport====

        Why do we have to categorize someone to appreciate their greatness? Would it have been better the fragile male egos out there if I said Vonn is one of the greatest “female” athletes of a generation if not all time??? Why does the fact that she has not competed directly against men diminish her greatness? Why can’t her accomplishments just stand alone.

        I try to do something nice by honoring a great athlete and get dragged into positional debates. And this is why I try to minimize commenting on any blogs. I give up.

        1. newcatty

          I have some sympathy Jerry B. Please ignore any response that starts out calling your opinion as ” wild exaggeration “. Because, these ratings of any athletes are just that: opinon. I do not follow sports or athletes. But, we have a granddaughter that truly loves playing soccer. From all indications, she will play at the college level in a few years. So, imo, she is one of the most talented, dedicated female athletes in her age cohort. My NSHO, and I will stick to it.

          1. Wukchumni

            She was great, but it’s more fun being the skier yourself \

            (says he who took one run today and nearly froze solid on the way up the lift there with swirling winds, not a lot of visibility, and then beat a path back to the condo for a gin & tonic to ward off scurvy)

  18. Jerry B

    ===Physics works for and against, indifferent to mere humans.====

    I am sure she knew that early on and and still:

    “He/She laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he/she does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his/her side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he/she eats up the ground; he/she cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds”

    1. John k

      Beto and Harris come from big states.
      Beto can’t beat trump in TX, and any dem can beat trump in CA.

    2. Carey

      At least in my two browsers, there was no direct comparison available, only Sanders
      with 2.1 million (!) direct donors, and O’ Rourke, with “twice as many as the next behind
      him.” Umm, the direct numbers for all, please?

      Typical slippery NYT, then..

  19. Summer

    Re: Is America Ready for A Single President

    While they existed in the past, one is needed now more than ever.
    Maybe a good option will come along one day.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Is America Ready for A Single President

      “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. ”

      Indefinite article. I mean, it’s right there in the text. I hate these false controversies.

  20. Synoia

    Chimpanzees escape from Belfast Zoo enclosure using tree branch ladder

    Ah, supporters of Brexit (Branch Ladder exit).

    I note their plan was simple, direct and effective: To what party to they belong?

    They did not shit on the Chimps below them, So they are not Tories.

    The did not for a committee of Solidarity with colleagues below. So they are not Labor.

    They were fractious in no manner with the quorum below. So they are neither ERG, nor Fascist.

    They did not insist their colleagues below become debt slaves to Banks. Thus they are not member of Ireland’s Government.

    Thus I conclude they are independent . Probably not for long.

    Has Mrs May been appraised of this simple approach to Brexit? Complete with showing your negotiating partners your backside to demonstrated comtemp of their position?

    Or approached one of the Chips to become the UK’s minister of Brexit?

  21. Wukchumni

    Investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reveals.

    It’s not just a recent problem: In all, since 1998, roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct, the newspapers found. That includes those who were convicted, credibly accused and successfully sued, and those who confessed or resigned. More of them worked in Texas than in any other state.

    They left behind more than 700 victims, many of them shunned by their churches, left to themselves to rebuild their lives. Some were urged to forgive their abusers or to get abortions.

    About 220 offenders have been convicted or took plea deals, and dozens of cases are pending. They were pastors. Ministers. Youth pastors. Sunday school teachers. Deacons. Church volunteers.

    1. newcatty

      Tragic and evil. “Religion is the opiate of the world. ” Let’s add that Religion is a haven for scoundrels , perverts, paedophiles, leechers, authoritarians, patriarchs, liars, narrcicists, hypocrites, social climbers, sociopaths and fools. But, wait, have observed some professed atheists and agnostics whom fit the description too.

      As has bee stated before, Spirtuality does not equal Religion. It can be an integral part of the religious person’s life. There are people of great morality and kindness in a religious framework. BUT ,isn’t it amazing of how much of the evilness is in not just in Catholicism, but in all the religious institutions?

      1. Plenue

        The danger is ideology. This can either be a traditional religion, or something like Nazism or Marxism that are basically cults even if they don’t make supernatural claims (they do, however, make essentially metaphysical claims about the nature of reality).

        There are some atheists who have turned a weird, twisted version of ‘skepticism’ (that in fact is not particularly skeptical or rational) into an all encompassing ideology.

        And as far as I can tell, ‘spirituality’ is basically a meaningless crock. It literally doesn’t mean anything that isn’t already covered by the label ’emotion’.

        1. newcatty


          Not sure how “ideology” is the culprit in explaining the abuse of people in religious institutions, “cults”, or irrational “skepticism”.

          Spirituality is just “emotion”. OK, it is possible that your definition is an interesting example of emotional response to it being in a conversation. Maybe, touched a nerve. To say spirituality is just a “meaningless crock” is well, just your opinion, isn’t it?

          1. wilroncanada

            Just a quick peek. Not definitive, but it appears at first glance that almost all of the 220 are white. I would guess that most of the victims are also, as a result of de facto segregation in Southern Baptist churches. In any case, abandonment of victims, demands for “forgiveness” by victims, would be typical. Very cult-like.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct

      Throw in the Catholic church and the BBC, and then we wonder why there’s a crisis of trust in institutions…. All this happened well before #MeToo; I remember totting up Christianist abuse during the Bush administration, c. 2003.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “Wealth concentration returning to ‘levels last seen during the Roaring Twenties,’ ”
    IIRC, this is about 10 years late; I was reading that it had returned to those levels then. It’s only gotten worse since. You have to wonder how far it can go before it all comes down around our ears.

    1. newcatty

      Billion(inflation) dollar question, Oregoncharles. I once, or twice read, that a nuclear war or catastrophic “accident” would have happened long ago, if not for some “intervention ” from some galactic entities. Think, the point was that not only would humans be blowing away Earth, but all of that radiation and other toxic chemicals just not good for the rest of the galaxy, either. Its maybe that I read too much Science Fiction and Fantasy as a young person. Uh, huh.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        I think you may not be far wrong. I happen to believe that there are always “unseen” forces at work how they work and who they are I can only speculate but I’ve had direct personal experience in this area.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      In regards to concentration of real wealth and power, we are probably closer to the level seen at the end of our true Gilded Age – the earliest 20th century. When JP Morgan essential ran the economy. The economy was larger in the 20s but some of the booked imbalance was obviously vapor, and it disappeared in the 30s.

      Reality could be worse. No one seems to be willing to write an op-ed questioning whether our wealth+power imbalance isn’t more extreme today than it ever has been. Ever. The constant comparisons to the past almost seem like a way to calm ourselves about it.

      1. Wukchumni

        Out west, you can see where the money ran out in the 30’s among those of wealth, Hearst Castle was never finished, and the same for Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley.

  23. marcyincny

    You know how you’re not supposed to combine booze and tranquilizers?

    I think the same can be said for reading in succession Daniel Ellsberg’s “The Doomsday Machine, Confessions of A Nuclear War Planner” and the two pieces at ProPublica about The 7th Fleet.

    How have we escaped total annihilation as long as we have?

  24. Tomonthebeach

    Russia now has a toehold on Western Hemisphere oil reserves, and nobody thinks that is worthy of comment?

    I am rather flummoxed by the lack of comment and articles addressing Venezuela getting in bed with Gazprom. Hey Putin! Hey Citgo? (think Cisco Kid trailer). Strategically, if the US screws this up, as we normally do, this will have the 100% opposite effect from what Bolton and the Chickenhawks (sounds like a garage band, doesn’t it) are aiming for. Instead of depriving Russia of significant oil reserves, they are enticing Russia to take them over. Imagine that. US forces in direct military conflict with Russia’s military at the invitation of the host (i.e., invaded) country. This is likely another great fall for Trumpty Dumpty.

    1. Synapsid


      Rosneft not Gazprom. “Neft” means oil, “gaz” means gas.

      Russia owns significant parts of five oil fields in Venezuela already, and has a 49.9 percent lien on Citgo, PDVSA’s refining and distribution network in the US. Venezuela owes Russia over $2 billion dollars, payable in oil, and owes Russia 30 years’ worth of natural gas from Caribbean offshore fields as well.

      Venezuela is very useful to Russia, who may not get her money back but will be in a strong position in the economy when things settle down. China, by the way, has refused to lend any more money to Venezuela.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Washington is now saying that Hezbollah are also in Venezuela. That sounds scary! I wonder how long it will be until ISIS suddenly “appears” in Venezuela like they did in Afghanistan and the Philippines.

  25. Amfortas the Hippie

    i’d almost forgotten that the texas lege is in session.
    easy to miss, if your not paying attention.
    so i went rummaging in the texas link folder, and saw this:

    workforce commission is never in the news….which is why the shady lobbying types went that route.
    so, just like that, all these people who work for Aps are suddenly created second class citizens, and I’d bet money that i can’t find a single person in town who is aware of it.
    remember, Texas is a laboratory for antilabor shenanigans.

    1. flora

      Sounds like a piece of ALEC model legislation. ALEC’s mo is introducing its model legislation into states without leaving its fingerprints. These bills seem to ‘come out of nowhere’, introduced by an ALEC friendly state legislator with changes only in the model legislation’s (legislation template bill) proper names and local entities. Often done anonymously.

      While companies such as Uber, Lyft, and TaskRabbit are changing the job market, they typically generate low-paying jobs with few or no benefits. The tenuous relationship between employers and employees in many of these jobs raises a passel of legal issues. Are these contract employees subject to the same wage and hour laws? Are these contract employees eligible for unemployment benefits, job training, workman’s compensation, and other worker protections?

      In New York, the state has taken steps to regulate the industry after six professional drivers killed themselves, and drivers for-hire and taxi drivers say they are not making enough to pay their bills or support their families. New York’s Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board recently ruled that Uber and Lyft drivers are formal employees of the company, and Seattle recently gave Uber and Lyft drivers the right to organize a union. The model bill being considered at ALEC would attempt to fend off such regulation by lowering the bar for whom corporations can consider a contract employee.

      The NetChoice trade association represents e-commerce employers such as Lyft and Airbnb at ALEC and is likely responsible for this bill. The National Employment Law Project has a handy fact sheet on why this is such an important issue.

  26. Wukchumni

    There’s an atmospheric river coming through next week with maybe as much as 5 inches of rain in the Sierra foothills, which would translate to another 10 feet of snow approaching the crest, thanks to orographic lift.

    If this keeps up, all that would be needed for some serious flooding, is a pineapple express warm storm such as the one that hit in early April last year, which was all rain up to 12k.

  27. VietnamVet

    Neoliberalism is nearing the tipping point. Either you are all in or all out. The multi-polar world is forcing change on the West. The incompetence of the 3rd class western political leaders is coming out. As an Ancient, I am puzzled that Northern NY State is still diffused and isolated. “Blame the Victim” works. But Regimes survive until they don’t. When enough of the haute bourgeoisie lose their income and privileges due to offshoring (plus everyone knows that the news is fake); revolts happen. As a practical point, the Yellow Vests need to secure a couple of Provinces for rest and recuperation and to sharpen their beliefs. Protests don’t work unless the establishment feels threatened. Occupy Wall Street failed because they did not have Schenectady NY to fall back to. Even so, the knowledge of the inequality and arrogance of the top 1% lives on.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Occupy Wall Street failed because they did not have Schenectady NY to fall back to.

      Why it’s so interesting that the gilets jaunes are peripheral. They have Paris surrounded…

  28. The Rev Kev


    There is a lot of basic stuff that was never done to properly run and service the warships of the 7th Fleet. One thing that I did find of note was the system set up by the admiral where “to monitor manpower in the fleet, coding vessels green if they had enough sailors; those with fewer than needed, yellow; and those where the situation was dire, red. For months, much of the 7th Fleet had been red and yellow. Frustrated, he asked to see the same chart for U.S.-based ships. They were all green.”
    Since the ships were way behind in maintenance and crews were under-trained, would it have not made sense to swap ships from the 7th Fleet and the US-based ships? Then, as each ship came up green across the board after a stint in the US, it could be swapped with another ship in the 7th Fleet in need until eventually all that Fleet had had a chance to catch up?

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