Links 2/20/19

Mountain lion in California tree ‘rescued’ by firefighters BBC

‘He’s a survivor’: dog reunited with family months after they fled wildfires Guardian (TYJ)

German hunter shot by dog refused gun license DW

Summer 2019: Climate Change Will Bring Strong Storms and Smog Bloomberg

Plastic Bags are Recyclable, So Why Can’t We Throw Them In Recycling Bins? PBS Explains Core77

As the Colorado River runs dry: A five-part climate change story Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

FDA Warns Against Using Young Blood As Medical Treatment CNN

China?

Bet on Trump to fold in China trade talks Asia Times (resilc)

China Has Abandoned a Cybersecurity Truce With the US, Report Says Bloomberg

Will the Trade War Lead to Real War with China? Consortium News. Chuck L was very taken with this article but I am not. Ignores the fact that China has had much lower tariffs on its exports to the US than the US has on sales to China since WTO entry, and that one of the reasons the US still has influence in the region is China is managing the difficult task of being a worse hegemon via bullying its neighbors, and in particular its sweeping claims regarding the South China Sea. The ida that the US can “persuade” China, particularly with respect to Taiwan, is ludicrous.

The “Surprise” of Authoritarian Resilience in China American Affairs. Jeff W: “The article is, implicitly, more of a critique of Western observers’ expectations and ideological blinders than anything about China.”

Danske Bank pulls out of Russia, Baltics after money-laundering backlash Reuters (Kevin W)

Brexit

Nearly a third of French people think Britain has already left the EU, poll finds Independent

From Politico’s daily European newsletter:

THERESA MAY IS BACK IN TOWN AGAIN … and EU officials have given up pretending the British PM is here for anything other than to demonstrate to her parliament and her party that she’s working on the non-domestic elements of Brexit. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who’ll be taking this week’s May-hand-holding shift, said from Stuttgart: “I expect a friendly conversation but I don’t expect a breakthrough.”

New meaningful vote could be held next week in a bid to see off the threat of more ministerial resignations Telegraph

Government will use tariffs to protect farming in no deal Brexit Reuters

UK farmers could be unable to export food to EU in event of no-deal Brexit, warns Michael Gove Telegraph

Extremists taking over, claims Sir John Major in attack on the ERG The Times. Ahem, he worked out the Parliamentary math only now?

Tom Watson no longer being invited to key Labour Brexit meetings PoliticsHome

Venezuela

Syraqistan

Despite sanctions, Iran’s oil exports rise in early 2019: sources Reuters

Why Iran Needs To Talk With The Taliban Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Google says the built-in microphone it never told Nest users about was ‘never supposed to be a secret’ Business Insider

Imperial Collapse Watch

Death Of Sailor In Iconic VJ-Day Photo Reminds Americans Of Halcyon Days When Wars Still Ended The Onion (Randy K)

Why the Air Force Is Buying a Bunch of F-15s Even Though the F-35 Is Coming Popular Mechanics

Trump Transition

Trump’s Alarming Abuse of Executive Power American Conservative (resilc)

Trump officials accused of promoting nuclear power sales to Saudis Financial Times

Top Ethics Watchdog Rejects Ross’s Financial Disclosure Form Bloomberg

Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him New York Times (furzy)

Dems think they’re beating Trump in emergency declaration battle The Hill

Can an impeached President run for a second term? Politics Beta (resilc)

How Do You Impeach a President? Like This Rolling Stone (resilc)

House Opens Inquiry into Proposed U.S. Nuclear Venture in Saudi Arabia New York Times

Sen. Lindsey Graham Kisses Trump’s Ass, at the Expense of School Kids Rolling Stone

2020

Bernie Sanders’s 2020 policy agenda: Medicare for All; action on climate change; $15-an-hour minimum wage Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Bernie Sanders takes a stance on artificial intelligence in 2020 campaign announcement Axios (David L)

Bernie Sanders launches second presidential campaign CNN. UserFriendly:

There is a noticeable shift in tone compared to last time. I think the MSM isn’t as uniformly against him as they were last time. Also check out the 2nd clip of ‘Trump on Bernie 2020’ I wonder how many people will notice the contrast of Bernie calling Trump a racist sexist liar ect and Trump calling him a ‘good guy’ and more.

Sen. Kamala Harris: ‘I Am Not a Democratic Socialist’ Daily Beast. Resilc: “I’m a cop?
I’m MS. everything? I’m nothing?”

Why Is CNN Paying John Kasich to Seemingly Trial-Balloon a 2020 Run? Daily Beast (resilc)

Barack Obama Is Counseling Democrats on How to Beat Trump New York Magazine. UserFriendly: “Shoot me.”

Alabama Newspaper Editorial Calls on the KKK to Hang Democrats Daily Beast (resilc)

Federal Government to Cancel Funds for California High-Speed Rail Wall Street Journal

Trump Administration Wants California to Pay Back $2.5 Billion for High-Speed Rail – New York Times (Kevin W)

Fake News

The world’s window into the European election conversation Twitter

Emoji are showing up in court cases exponentially, and courts aren’t prepared The Verge (Dr. Kevin)

McKinsey agrees to $15m settlement over bankruptcy disclosures Financial Times (NT). This is a “cost of doing business” fine. Am behind on my intent to Say Something on this topic.

We Don’t Need Private Health Insurance The Nation. Wowsers. This piece totally confuses “health care” with health insurance. Even a strong form single payer system won’t rule out private payments for plastic surgery, anti-aging treatments, and alternative treatments like reflexology.

Class Warfare

Amazon’s new Virginia data center is getting a bunch of tax breaks, and it gives insight into how the company reduces its tax liability Business Insider (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour. Jeff B: “The disc serves as scale, the predation was an eye-opener… also, I nearly stepped on the little big feller… me being color blind and it being so marvelously camouflaged .”

And a bonus from Richard Smith:

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

231 comments

  1. diptherio

    Come now, who among us has not placed a microphone in someone’s house and forgotten to mention it to them? I swear, sometimes it feels like people just look for absolutely anything to complain about when it comes to Google.

    Reply
    1. Charles Leseau

      To be fair, my neighbor did complain about my microphone, but once I explained that it was his fault for not dusting enough and that the mic would have been more obvious underneath his heating grate if he were a little tidier, all was forgiven, we laughed it off and then had a beer.

      I, for one, am ready to share a beer with the most wonderful corporate person ever, Google.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Good grief! How can you leave that little tidbit off the tech specs? It’s a basic capability. Answer? You can’t. So in other words Google hid that little feature on purpose. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh but people that voluntarily have these devices in their homes deserve everything that comes from them – more so if they keep one in their bedrooms. Just how high a price are people willing to pay for “convenience”? Apparently all resemblance of privacy.

      Reply
        1. Off The Street

          An older generation may have called it a pretense of candor, which seems quaint now.

          Tangentially, here is a law article about a related judicial impartiality concept.

          Reply
  2. Kurtismayfield

    RE: Batack Obama coaching Dems how to win.

    Should President Obama coach Dem’s how to lose the House, Senate, State houses, and Governorships?

    1030 seats lost during Obama’s tenure

    But one number almost always goes unheard: more than 1,030 seats.

    That’s the number of spots in state legislatures, governor’s mansions and Congress lost by Democrats during Obama’s presidency.

    The statistic reveals an unexpected twist of the Obama years: the leadership of the former community organizer was rough on the grassroots of his own party.

    Keep listening Dems, and take notes on how to lose.

    Reply
      1. whine country

        With respect, I think you are both missing the point. The Dems are playing their part in a system that is all about process, and the result is irrelevant. There are only two parties and one of them has to win – which means one has to lose. Right now it is all about participating in the race and dividing up the spoils. And don’t forget the very lucrative business of challenging the results after the loss. The thing that is fascinating to me is why anyone thinks the Dems really are trying to accomplish anything other than keeping the game going and getting rich in the process. You see this every day when you pay the least bit of attention to who the players are: Losers who keep on making lots of money and keep on losing. Let’s just keep on doing the same thing over and over and — well — you know the rest. We do have another name for it though — it’s called triangulation, and it’s just another manifestation of turning everything over to Mr. Market with no adult supervision.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The thing that is fascinating to me is why anyone thinks the Dems really are trying to accomplish anything other than keeping the game going and getting rich in the process.

          Emotional attachment, and if you think Congressmen are cheap whores, let me tell you about local committee people. Kings and Queens of molehills. Unfortunately they seem innocuous, so they create the illusion the elected are good in exchange for the occasional pat on the head. People who aren’t able to fully commit but want to do their part or something see these local committee types and feel relieved.

          In seemingly “safe” districts, there is a sense all the neighbors are Republicans or everyone is putting up a candidate for fear of too liberal a candidate costing an election pick up in a Southern state (what I think McCaskill was trying to articulate about AOC, but Claire is too stupid.). Once, you have an old hand who waxes on about the time they saw JFK on tv they can move into explaining “politics.” Since they seem nice and probably aren’t profiting, it just makes sense. Its like how HMOs hide behind doctors and nurses (not by their choice) and so insurers come under scrutiny but not the HMOs (they are both bad, but we let the HMOs off because they have a friendly face to protect them) or the good priests outnumber the bad ones…please keep putting money in the collection.

          The nastiness of the last cycle was likely a wake up call. When I was a straw hat Democrat type, I had heard all the complaints about Team Blue, but they were clearly wrong. Yes, there were bad apples, but Howard Dean was going to shake things up at the DNC. Obama might have his problems, but the Democratic majority is salivating at the prospect of making changes…in a sense my instincts were right about Obama (Northam too), but they were wrong about other people or were obscured by what defended them. Those Obama field organizers were charming, and Obama would never disappoint them…right?

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            …Unfortunately they seem innocuous…

            Well they are, aren’t they? Right up until you need something only a functional government can do and then it’s too late; it’s just the national government in miniature and far too many people have this idea that you can do away with the local, or state, or federal government and nothing bad will happen.

            That has never been true. Even two centuries ago, there were functions done separately, or in tandem, with the other levels. Take out a level and bad things will happen with corruption being an excellent way to make government at any level merely a facade.

            Reply
        2. Kurtismayfield

          With respect, I think you are both missing the point. The Dems are playing their part in a system that is all about process, and the result is irrelevant.

          Personally I have zero attachment to the Dem’s, and try to convince others on a daily basis “What have the Dem’s done for you lately?”. Sometimes they have an answer, and I smile and agree with their point. Sometimes they look pensive and realize not much, but they are playing the team game. Its hard to argue with football fans who have transferred their colors to politics.

          Reply
        3. bmeisen

          To color in some of your numbers: political accountability is determined by electoral performance under the Constitution of 1789. The politician, the ultimate policy maker, is accountable up to the ballot box. If re-elected, everything’s fine. If defeated, you have been held accountable, traditionally even for crimes committed. You will even receive ample opportunities to continue to feed at the public trough, which suggests that the accountability measured out by the ballot box has fantastic elasticity.

          Unfortunately even a win for Bernie wouldn’t be enough. What is needed is a re-writing of the Constitution to establish parties as the formal organs through which public opinion is transformed democratically into policy. The magic word is proportional representation with a 5 % threshhold for congressional representation and a framework for political accountability that extends beyond the ballot box.

          If Bernie won there would be 4 maybe 8 years (if he survived – not being apocalyptic here – he would be an octogenarian president) of hope and some optimistic chatter, maybe even some positive changes like more direct public funding for university tuition, more momentum for public health care, more progressive taxation. But the American constitution of 1789 will surely go down in history as being perniciously resistant to reform.

          Reply
          1. Hepativore

            If there is a Sanders presidency, I expect the neoliberals and the neocons to redouble their efforts rolling back and undoing any reforms or changes Sanders tried to put in place.

            As to constitutional reform, wealthy corporate elites like the Koch brothers might try and seize the effort and rewrite the constitution to benefit themselves because of how much influence they have.

            Reply
    1. Synoia

      the leadership of the former community organizer was rough on the grassroots of his own party.

      Was that the plan? One year of that direction would be an omission. 8 years would be a policy.

      Reply
  3. el_tel

    Now three Tories have said they will sit alongside the Independent group. I suspected Soubry would go. She took a metaphorical baseball bat to May the night of the last election and only retained her seat by her fingertips. Indeed it’s only the “local factor” that saved the seat from going Labour (which given swings here it “should” have done). So she has little left to lose really.

    Interesting that two of the now 11 MPs to resign the main party whips are from round here in Nottingham. Not very surprising in some ways – quite a few marginals and even when a seat (like Leslie’s Nottm East) isn’t, you can bet it’s marginal on Europe. Referendum results by ward show that poor=leave and rich=remain. Both of these two seats encompass both very poor and pretty affluent wards and other seats in Nottm are similar.

    Soubry probably will lose next election but unlike Leslie, her former party probably won’t keep it – assuming she stands again, she’ll split the anti-Labour vote. Lots of people in this city love their “characters” and even regional swings don’t necessarily predict seats here accurately. Ken Clarke of course still reigns supreme down in Rushcliffe…! So the “Independent Group”, whatever its effects nationally, will probably already deliver a net gain to Labour of one seat in the Nottingham area.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I find it curious the language they are using – ‘sitting with…’ the Independent Group, not joining them. I really wonder what this means – I would have expected them to be busy immediately forming a new party if they are serious about staying in politics. They longer they stay apart, the more bored with them the media will become. I wonder if the strategy is to flush out as many MP’s as they can before actually publishing a manifesto and forming a new party. I don’t think it makes much sense to do this as it could mean losing momentum, and momentum is everything if you want to set up a new political movement.

      With my tin foil hat on, it occurs to me that its not beyond the billionaires behind Brexit to have been making all sorts of promises for funding for a new party behind the scenes to flush out Labour and a few Tory defectors in order to damage Labour – and will then ditch them at the alter as soon as the damage is done. If I was an evil Tory billionaire, thats what I’d have been doing.

      Reply
      1. el_tel

        Yeah your first paragraph is particularly true regarding Soubry. She had no future in the existing Tory party and she is not stupid – she knows full well that despite respect for her bolshy persona round here, her chances of keeping the seat as whatever-they-now-call-themselves are nil at the next election unless the Tories’ new candidate is (even by current standards) indescribably awful. Labour will take Broxtowe, barring a big mess-up somewhere. Soubry has (IMO) already planned for a likely exit from politics.

        But, as you say, there could be tactical stuff going on behind the scenes and predictions of the next election are conditional on so many factors that could be upended before then….!

        Reply
      2. Darthbobber

        But what would a party manifesto that this group could agree on look like? And would it be so amazingly different from the lib-dems that it justified the existence of such a party?

        The timing, the relatively inconsequential level of defections, and the lack of a clear “next step” all smack of desperation and “must do something”.

        Also, after months and months of breathless anticipation of this move, it calls to mind “The mountain labored, and gave birth to a mouse.”

        Possibly also: “The threat is stronger than its execution.”

        Reply
        1. el_tel

          Central tenet of this manifesto? Soubry is sounding nastier… Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie said on Monday in his resignation speech, “enough is enough”. I agree with him; in the last few years I have come to the firm view that I have more in common with his values and principles than many people in the Conservative party . Plus Soubry says she stands by the Tory austerity policy after 2010 and that it was the right thing to do for the country. Which all says a lot more about the New Labour/Third Way MPs than it does about the Tories (and none of which would be news to NC regulars).

          But hey, the 8th ex-Labour member says: “Still, now there’s 11 of us we’re more powerful than the DUP. And they run Britain.” (Daily Mash, folks).

          Reply
          1. Synoia

            New Labour/Third Way = same old, same old.

            It’s just PR.

            I had to be employed by British Management to change my views. After tphe precipitating events, the change was very fast. Two meetings, one week and a few beers, and a visit to the ZA, Canadian and Aussie embassies around Trafalgar Square.

            Reply
      3. ChrisPacific

        If you were an evil billionaire you could finish by inviting them all to a celebratory dinner at your underground bunker, where they would be thrown into a tank full of piranhas (which will incidentally become much easier to source once the UK doesn’t have to comply with EU biosecurity requirements).

        Reply
    2. Clive

      For the former Labour MPs, two of them at least (Ryan and Berger) had either already had indicative deselection votes against them or were just about to until the Labour leadership stepped in to prevent the local Branches “bullying” them by organising a vote.

      Only a third of the branches need to vote for a deselection ballot to be held so that’s a low threshold. Hard to see how Ryan and Berger would have survived that, given how much they are loathed in the local party organisations. Can’t imagine the other Labour MPs had much better chances. So they really all had nothing to lose.

      Seeing how this is now playing out today, it looks more and more like an attempt to bounce their respective former parties (both Labour for the ex-Labour MPs and Conservative for the now ex-Conservative MPs) into being less Leave and more Remain than any serious attempt at changing the face of British politics (again…) after which, assuming they were successful, the newly “independent” MPs would be happy to “happily rejoin their former parties now they’ve returned to their ‘moderate’ traditions”. Or some such rubbish.

      And with the added spicy sauce for the ex-Labour lot of trying to engineer Corbyn’s demise, to boot. Plus, for the ex-Conservatives, maybe they entertain a fantasy about ridding the party of the ERG element.

      Well. It would all be good clean fun. The snag is, in order to execute this kind of 11-dimensional chess, you need a degree of cleverness. And political intuition. Sadly for them, the Judean People’s Front, or the People’s Front of Judea, or whatever they are, have neither.

      Reply
      1. el_tel

        Automatic plus one for the Life of Brian reference! Regarding the (former) Labour ones, Leslie was parachuted in by Blairites, after losing his previous seat, and even “centre/right-wing” Labour members in Nottm East had voted no-confidence motions against him. His majority is so large that even were he to stand again against Labour and potentially cause a split in the “left” vote, Labour would trounce him.

        I think we plus PK are all on the same page that this is more likely some other plan, rather than some serious attempt at forging a new political force….but as you imply, regarding their competence to do whatever they have in mind?!

        Reply
        1. flora

          adding: the prospect of no-deal is a very serious situation, imo. I don’t understand why the bolters appear to think Corbyn is somehow a greater threat than a no-deal crash out.

          Reply
        1. flora

          Thanks for the link. This line made me pause:
          .Sarkar later tweeted: “So err, Angela Smith went a bit of a ‘funny tinge’ herself when I started asking about her record on water privatisation.”/i>

          …water privatisation.

          Would a no-deal crash out make privatisation of govt services and utilites even easier than it is now?

          Reply
  4. PlutoniumKun

    Bernie Sanders launches second presidential campaign CNN. UserFriendly:

    There is a noticeable shift in tone compared to last time. I think the MSM isn’t as uniformly against him as they were last time. Also check out the 2nd clip of ‘Trump on Bernie 2020’ I wonder how many people will notice the contrast of Bernie calling Trump a racist sexist liar ect and Trump calling him a ‘good guy’ and more.

    First thoughts on this:

    There does seem a distinct change in tone. The media obviously can’t ignore Sanders like they did before. I noticed in the Guardian article on his announcement the BTL comments were immediately overwhelmed with both right wing trolls and Dem concern trolls – it was so fast and the messages were so uniform it is hard not to think that both Trump supporters and corporate Dems see him as the biggest threat and will throw every bit of dirt at him they possibly can. This will get nasty.

    As to his message, Sanders is clearly aiming for a much wider message than before. This I think is a smart move, but it does mean he has to move away from his previous extreme discipline and focus.

    The attacks on Trump are curious – they seem a little out of place with his natural instincts, which are almost always to focus on his own, positive message. If I was to guess I think this is a deliberate strategy to avoid giving oxygen to the sort of message someone like Harris will pursue, the ‘we can’t go for extremes of left and right, we need to unite against Trump….’. Sanders is trying to get ahead of the anti-Trump message to neutralise it so he can refocus on his strong points (policy). I don’t know if it will work, but its pretty clear that a lot of thinking has been going on behind the scenes on how Sanders can deflect all the missiles thrown at him.

    This does indicate to me that Sanders is absolutely serious about this – he is not just trying to promote his policies – he really wants to be president and will put all his energies into succeeding.

    I think his best strategy is to do everything he can to deliver knock-out blows early to the main Dem opponents. He needs the left to unite around him and make himself the frontrunner and leader – it will make the Dem party look desperate if they then try to stop him (which they will do).

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      As long as he doesn’t fall into Adam Schiff territory, attacking Trump directly probably has to be done for the same reasons the Democratic primary will be a race to attack Obama without saying his name. Too much emotional investment is in personalities.

      Like discussing policy, pointing out the reasons Trump is actually bad instead of coming up with excuses for Clinton courtiers will be such a radical departure from the usual drivel in the msm.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        But the areas where Trump is actually bad (i.e. Venezuela, tax cuts) are often the areas where the press likes him. They will continue to spin their own narratives regardless of what Sanders says.

        Clearly we will find out whether the Bernie phenomenon has legs or was the product of the unique circumstances during 2016.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Trump was an attack on the DC establishment, the same one which once upon a time despised the Clintons, but they weren’t uniform except for being established. Part of the appeal of the “OMG Russia” narrative is its hard to fact check for the average person. With classified as an excuse, anything goes. Jumping into other categories will cause division.

          Like anything, the msm hasn’t hosted policy discussions and is so out of touch they don’t really grasp how to handle it. The msm tried to push Paul Ryan as a policy wonk.

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            They are out of touch but also in charge narrative-wise. They are even trying to suppress alternative outlets to make that even more the case.

            Reply
        2. Anonymoose

          How exactly are the tax cuts bad? The middle class actually sees an improvement, and the crew here calls it bad? I mean I get that this place tends towards champagne socialism, but dang…

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith Post author

            You’ve been conned or are trying to snooker readers. The tax cuts overwhelmingly benefited the rich, and the meager relief for the middle class is more than offset by increases in a few years.

            Reply
          2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Champagne Socialism?

            surely, youre referring to Miller High Life, the Champagne of Beers.

            A most modest Marxist pilsner

            Reply
    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      He had been calling Trump a “liar” publicly for some time. At first he would describe Trump as something “different” in a disturbed way, but after a while he just came out with it.

      Obviously he knows that Obama, Clinton, Harris, even Warren apparently, are liars too, but the thing about Trump is he is a compulsive liar, lies even when he doesn’t need to and loses track of the truth. The others do what is called instrumental lying: it is a means to an end.

      There is also something to the observation that even if you don’t actually act (or at least not all the time) on your stated values/ideas, it matters to have them and what they are. Having an official policy of genocide set the Third Reich apart. We may dismiss Trump’s racism and xenophobia as opportunistic playing to his base. Sanders (being after all Jewish) may see this a danger of a different order.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        So means to an end lies are better than “compulsive” lies? Maybe Trump lies as a means to his end just as Obama and Hillary did. I find Bernie’s moralizing to be one of his less appealing characteristics. Our problems are systemic, not just “billionaires” or Trump.

        Reply
        1. Wyoming

          Our problems are systemic, not just “billionaires” or Trump.

          Well yes they are systemic. But to imply that the billionaires and the rest of the 1%, and Trump and all of his horrific issues are not a major “part” of those systemic problems…is problematic is it not.

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            Please re-read. I said “not just.” Yes the greed and cupidity of elite grifters matters but they are taking advantage of a system, including–perhaps especially–the Dem party and that system enables their misbehavior. You can claim that all that billionaire money is what corrupted the Dems and the system but it’s also possible that the Dems were all too willing to be corrupted. Perhaps people like Pelosi are more concerned with their incumbency than the nation’s problems and Sanders should be attacking them.

            The bottom line is that lying is bad whoever does it and those “means to an end” lies are often made because the end itself is quite dubious and needs to be concealed. In the foreign policy realm Bernie himself has embraced some of those existing ends so he’s not exactly simon-pure.

            Reply
            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              And whoever said “just”? Certainly not me and not Bernie. You are missing the point of my comment, which was intended to disparage rather than dismiss the lies of corporate Dems. The point is that it is a different order of pathology altogether to be so out of touch with reality that you don’t even know whether you are lying or not.

              And to PK’s musings on whether it is a good strategy or not to hit Trump hard, Bernie has been visibly troubled by Trump in television appearances for quite some time; dunno if it’s a strategy.

              Reply
              1. Carolinian

                Apologies if I misconstrued your comment (although the one above is to Wyoming).

                As for Trump and his “pathology,” it mostly seems to consist of never cracking a book and getting all his info from Fox News. The same could probably be said of those Resistance members glued to MSNBC and Maddow who by all accounts is just as wackadoo as DT despite her Oxford education.

                Chris Hedges has more on America as reflection of what it sees on TV.

                http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51129.htm

                Reply
    3. voteforno6

      Bernie does seem to have committed, core base. I don’t think any other candidate has that – the Clinton dead-enders can be counted on to oppose Sanders, but I don’t think they’ve coalesced around any one candidate. That being said, it’s entirely possible that he’s attacking Trump because he thinks that he’s been that bad of a President (and that certainly won’t hurt, either, in a Democratic primary).

      I have a lot of respect for Sanders’ political skills. It’s not like someone like him was able to parachute into a seat in the U.S. Senate – he had to earn it.

      Reply
      1. Robert McGregor

        I think it’s pretty clear the “Clinton dead-enders” have coalesced around Kamala Harris. She’s the closest to “Hilary redux,” and they’re already trying to rig the primaries for Harris. The MSM also is featuring Harris like no other Democrat.

        Reply
          1. Ignacio

            Looking for Harris Polls I confronted this from Político

            A wide-ranging disinformation campaign aimed at Democratic 2020 candidates is already underway on social media, with signs that foreign state actors are driving at least some of the activity.

            It would have made me laugh if I didn’t realise how serious is the Russia!Russia!Russia! non sense. And there is a whole new business on fake news:

            “It looks like the 2020 presidential primary is going to be the next battleground to divide and confuse Americans,” said Brett Horvath, one of the founders of Guardians.ai, a tech company that works with a consortium of data scientists, academics and technologists to disrupt cyberattacks and protect pro-democracy groups from information warfare.

            These guys are of course interested on the narrative of foreign powers meddling.

            Oh boy! All over again! How does Lambert says: forget everything, learn nothing?

            Reply
          2. John k

            Biden leads the polls, IMO will enter this month. He’s Bernie’s strongest oppo, but reduces the age factor. Harris likely to fizzle when he does… former veep after all, she’s just a new senator without Obama oratory.
            AOC likely campaigns with Bernie, tulsi joins after her campaign goes nowhere, both help him… female and young… AOC makes him look not so left, tulsi not too peacenik and not too anti Israel as he begins to include foreign policy. He is also helped by growing dissatisfaction with Saudi, can safely attack an Israel ally and Iran foe.

            Reply
        1. Big River Bandido

          I think it’s pretty clear the “Clinton dead-enders” have coalesced around Kamala Harris.

          That was last month. This month they’re all about Amy Klobuchar. Fair enough, I suppose; she as much chance at winning as Harris, Biden, Schultz, Booker, Gillebrand, Bloomberg or Ferris Beuller.

          The DNC Democrats will continue to rotate the clowns every month or so, until they find the one who catches fire.

          Reply
        2. Carey

          I’m interested in seeing if, as in 2016, there will again be *no exit polling* in the California Dem primary. If not, the fix is likely in for Harris, I’d say.

          Reply
    4. Another Scott

      Walking home yesterday, I passed someone’s car who had either news or talk radio on. They were talking about Sanders, not about his policies, but about his wife Jane and Burlington College. I think the MSM will go very negative on him if they perceive him as having a real shot. Nothing is out of bounds; you can already see a double-standard emerging where attacks on Harris are dismissed as sexist or racist, but anti-Bernie spots are ok.

      Reply
      1. Mark Alexander

        I think the MSM will go very negative on him if they perceive him as having a real shot.

        This already seems to have happened. Yesterday my wife was listening to NPR in the car, and right after they reported that Sanders had announced his candidacy, they mentioned the sexual harassment issue with his previous campaign, then switched to a response by Harris. No mention of Sanders’ many apologies and talks with the women who raised the issue, nor of the Harris aide’s $400K harassment settlement. NPR still hates Sanders, as they so clearly demonstrated in 2016. As Lambert says, this is all continuing to be wonderfully clarifying.

        Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        The Guardian has already started its oh so predictable assault.

        In the 2016 primary, Democratic voters were presented with a choice: Sanders, who represented the potential of redistributive policy, and Clinton, who represented the possibility of shattering, as she put it, the last, highest glass ceiling. She dismissed his ideas as impractical; his supporters attacked her with a virulent misogyny that belied their nominal commitments to equality. For leftist women, to express enthusiasm for Sanders’ policy proposals was seen as condoning the sexist attacks on Clinton.

        Reply
        1. WJ

          The full sentence from the Guardian reads:

          “his supporters attacked her with a virulent misogyny before voting en masse for Jill Stein under the control of Putin.”

          Reply
      3. Liberal Mole

        Well, I heard MSNBC gave Sanders all of 6 minutes of coverage last night over 6 hours of so called news. All I can say is I hope fewer and fewer people are listening to the MSM, because they’ve already gone negative. Though CNN is giving him a town hall, which is probably because they know the viewership will be high. $$$

        Yesterday the Sanders Campaign raised 6 million dollars from 225,000 contributors. Last I heard (may have risen by this morning) they would be receiving $500,000 a month from people who signed up for recurring contributions.

        https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/1098236584502218754

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Money is not speech, but more money is sometimes (or often) good, in and of itself (for the purpose of spending it), and not just as a measure of support.

          Reply
    5. Arizona Slim

      Caveat: If you’re on Bernie’s website and wish to donate, please be aware that the donations are being handled by ActBlue.

      Reply
      1. Isotope_C14

        Easy to navigate this too.

        Give actblue a mail you don’t use much, and give your primary to Bernie. Working great thus far.

        One thing we know, is that his email list is not for sale.

        Reply
        1. richard

          Tulsi has an electronic alternative to act blue. I very much appreciated that she did. My problems with signing up with act blue are:
          1) I’m not blue or a dem,
          2) My loyalties aren’t transferrable between candidates, based on any label, and actblue’s whole schtick is pretending they are
          3) I’m not giving any personal information to a blue or dem organization ever, candidates maybe, the machine never
          4) I don’t like their hard sell. I don’t like donating to a candidate, then having the electronic process kidnapped by act blue, so that I either have to join them, or leave before getting a confirmation. There’s no way to easily click on “I just want to donate to this candidate, this one time.” I don’t like their middleman, rentier style (just insert your unneccessary self in between the candidate and supporter!). I don’t like them.
          If tulsi offers an alternative to act blue, then bernie could too. Disclosure: I had to mail the gabbard campaign and specifically ask about alternatives to act blue. They sent me a link; the alternative isn’t on her website last time I checked.

          Reply
      2. Kurt Sperry

        Is there any actual rational, empirical reason to be concerned about ActBlue? I ask because I’ve never heard even the slightest factual cause for concern here beyond inchoate, general suspicion. I’d like to think we are above acting on mere rumor or suspicions with no real basis offered.

        Reply
        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          They flood your inbox with all kinds of solicitations. I wanted to contribute to Bernie, not give them a “tip”.

          I have found that it works to never let them save my payment info and to then unsubscribe from their next email.

          I still get Bernie’s. Rinse and repeat next time I want to donate.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            What a nuisance. I sometimes use MoveOn the same way, when they have a petition I want to sign. Always annoys me, though.

            Reply
  5. PlutoniumKun

    Why the Air Force Is Buying a Bunch of F-15s Even Though the F-35 Is Coming Popular Mechanics

    There is a certain amount of evil genius involved in getting hundreds of billions of dollars to build a turkey of an aircraft that is so bad that having trapped the Pentagon into paying for it, they can then go back and ask for dozens of the older, supposedly superceeded aircraft, because the new one is so crap.

    Its like a car dealer doing a trade in with a new car thats so terrible, the buyer has to buy back his old car as well so he can get to work.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I am beginning to think that the problem with the F-35 is that it is a one-trick pony. Seriously, it is all about stealth but what happens if through technology, stealth becomes irrelevant? Then what does the F-35 have without stealth? It has a limited range, is overly complicated, a maintenance hog, is under-armed – but you get the idea. With this in mind, it looks like the US military has decide to hedge their bets with upgraded proven platforms like the F-15 and F-18. Planes that have seen combat, have proven themselves over the decades and have had the kinks worked out of them long ago. Only thing is that the A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog ground attack is still under attack by the F-35 mafia as the F-35 is supposed to replace it but can’t. That is one plane that the troops on the ground need and it would be a travesty if this plane was let go to be replaced by – nothing.

      Reply
    2. Arizona Slim

      One of my friends is a USAF veteran and F-15 pilot. According to him, it’s a great plane. He loved every flight he ever had with it.

      Reply
    3. Hameloose Cannon

      The F-35 is a misunderstood aircraft designed to engage competitor adversaries rather than peripheral ones. It is a “Joint-Strike Fighter” meaning it will not be shooting at stuff. All munitions deployed will be stand-off cruise weapons from other aircraft beyond contested airspace. At its core, the F-35 is a flying radar beam designed to burn through electronic countermeasure jamming [the “Strike” part] and network targeting solutions to the bus-drivers hauling missiles and drones [the “Joint” part]. When the F-35 radiates you, you will feel the warmth. The F-35 is not an air superiority aircraft because, frankly, the US is not in the business of selling airspace to client nations. The US does offer alliances that will allow a squadron of allied F-22 aircraft to bivouac. Whether the F-35 mission is a sound one, those cards are held close to the vest. But the A-10 was designed to cut through Soviet tanks in the Fulda Gap, and nobody seems to amass tanks and BMP’s anymore.

      Consider this, the V-2/A-4 rocket has the inglorious distinction of being history’s only weapon system to kill more people making it than people at which it was aimed. But as the world’s first ballistic missile, it forever changed the world’s strategic balance.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        I believe you are on the edge of the strategy.

        The V2 was a prototype, and do not have a steerable exhaust. It used graphite vanes to steer the rocket. The Steerable Rocket engine, the engine mounted on Gimbals, came after a huge amount of R & D which created the Engineering Discipline of Control Systems,” and multi order feedback.

        The F15s software is an R & D project which will be paying dividends to Aircraft, Military and Commercial, well after the F15 hardware is high grade scrap.

        It is a Aircraft Operating system. A subsidy from the MIC to the US Aviation Industry, similar to the B52 program’s R & D was a great benefit to Boeing’s 707.

        Reply
        1. Synoia

          The F15 is specified by a committee, and must fulfill every role specified. The problem with the F15 is that it is a Swiss army knife. Does nothing well.

          As a prior example I’d refer you to the UK Military Land Rover competitor, the Austin Champ.

          It is also a research project, as are most weapon design and build contracts, and research is always subject to unknowns. This that are unknown are also impossible to budget.

          The old joke: A Camel is a Horse designed by a committee applies.

          The problem lies with the Customer, the US military. Unfortunately, in this case, telling the customer the truth, does not make a military contract’s business thrive.

          Reply
      2. Ptb

        A flying radar platform designed to fly in undetected, turn on a high performance radar for directing ground attack, then leave when the job is done? Without air superiority functions, that sounds like a job for a [stealthy] drone. Cheaper, by virtue of being expendable.

        Seems instead that the F35 is marketed as an all purpose aircraft. Like the F/A-18, but even more versatile, with the stealth and jump jet option. In this sense – striking to be an all purpose tool, to standardize, simplify, streamline operations, save $ – it’s a fail already.

        The radar and networking functions, while impressive, were introduced on the F22 and anyway could be transplanted into another aircraft.

        Tax dollars badly spent.

        Reply
      3. Plenue

        Ahahahaha. Sure. And when it turns out stealth doesn’t work? Regardless, they don’t even make the F-22 anymore. Did you forget that little factoid? And 10% of them were damaged by Hurricane Michael.

        I remember how the F-35 was once supposed to be the cheap F-16 replacement. And now you could buy four or five F-16s for the price of single F-35.

        The F-35 is a corporate MIC welfare program, nothing more. I expect it’ll eventually have its endless teething problems sorted out to the point that it’s fairly reliable, but it will never remotely justify the trillion plus and an entire generation invested in it. And that’s not even considering the simple fact that a giant kite with bomb mounts would do the jobs the US military usually does just as effectively. You don’t need any 5th generation gee-whiz gimmicks to bomb jihadi technicals.

        Reply
      4. Procopius

        … the A-10 was designed to cut through Soviet tanks in the Fulda Gap, and nobody seems to amass tanks and BMP’s anymore.

        This is true, but the A-10 is also the best ground support aircraft currently available. In Vietnam the Marine Corps had a prop driven plane, whose designation I forget, that was better for the purpose than any of the jets because it was slow enough for the pilot to see the target for longer than a fraction of a second. The Army troops who needed air support much preferred getting it from the Marines if they could. The Marine pilots also were more attentive to the needs of the ground troops because of their training. The A-10 has an armored cockpit because it’s vulnerable to ground fire because of the slower speed, and is much, much better suited for ground support.

        Reply
  6. PlutoniumKun

    Will the Trade War Lead to Real War with China? Consortium News. Chuck L was very taken with this article but I am not. Ignores the fact that China has had much lower tariffs on its exports to the US than the US has on sales to China since WTO entry, and that one of the reasons the US still has influence in the region is China is managing the difficult task of being a worse hegemon via bullying its neighbors, and in particular its sweeping claims regarding the South China Sea. The ida that the US can “persuade” China, particularly with respect to Taiwan, is ludicrous.

    The “Surprise” of Authoritarian Resilience in China American Affairs. Jeff W: “The article is, implicitly, more of a critique of Western observers’ expectations and ideological blinders than anything about China.”

    Both interesting articles, and I agree with Yves comments on the Consortium News one. Its one thing to take a balanced look at China, its quite another to completely overlook the malign policy objectives of China to its near neighbours. Countries like Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Mongolia would not be so naive. The article particularly goes off the rails with Taiwan:

    But the greatest danger of a Sino-American war is Taiwan. Taiwan is a former Chinese province that was recovered from its Japanese occupiers by Nationalist China at the end of World War II. In 1949, having been defeated everywhere else in China, Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist forces retreated to it.

    This is so inaccurate its practically Chinese propaganda. Taiwan was never a ‘province’ of China – It was annexed in the 17th Century by the Qing Dynasty and made part of Fujian province (many Fujianese had settled over the previous centuries). This annexation included driving out the indigenous Taiwanese from traditional areas to the mountains, where they were in effect independent until the late 19th Century. Over subsequent centuries the Chinese, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese all had their turns fighting over the island, with the Japanese coming out on top in the late 19th Century with the fading of Chinese power. The Japanese occupation is actually looked upon with quite fond memories by the Taiwanese, who certainly preferred them to the Nationalist Chinese who followed. China, quite simply, has no more claim on Taiwan than any of the other former colonial powers. It is a multi-ethnic country who’s population has repeatedly made clear it sees itself as independent and wants to be so.

    As for the second article, this does chime to a large degree with my outsider experience of China. There is little or no real desire or demand among Chinese for ‘democracy’. The CCP is generally pretty popular as its seen as having delivered rising living standards and stability. People generally deeply resent the lack of real judicial independence and the rule of law. The CCP will maintain power so long as they are seen as providing growth and stability and that corruption and unfairness are kept to ‘acceptable’ levels. They are probably smart enough to know this.

    I would though, caution the articles dependence on opinion surveys. Back during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, opinion surveys always tended to make the population look far more ‘moderate’ than was then reflected in elections. Talk to any NI people and they’d say the reason is that even back in the 1970’s or 80’s, it was generally assumed that anybody with a clipboard asking questions was more than likely a government agent of some sort, so it was always better to give innocuous answers. I’ve little doubt the same effect is even stronger in China. It would be a very unwise Chinese person to openly criticise the Party, even in a supposedly anonymous poll.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      Well, you could at least mention in passing that the multi-ethnic island has a population that is 85% Han. I believe the Han dominance begins about a quarter century before the Wing annexation, when a Ming loyalist arrived with substantial forces and tossed out the Dutch, who had tossed out the Spanish.
      He and his heirs used Taiwan as a base for piracy and raids on the mainland until their fleet was defeated by the Qing.

      This happened more than a couple of weeks ago, at a time when the indigenous inhabitants still controlled the bulk of North America, nearly a hundred years before Cook’s initial arrival at Botany Bay, well before the eastern March of the Russians got underway, etc. etc. So the Chinese claim to Taiwan is of considerably greater antiquity than, say, that of the United States to Indiana, of Europeans to any part of Australia, or of Russia to Siberia. And much else.

      And the United States is not arbiter of such claims.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Han by ‘race’, but not by language – in any event most Taiwanese will deny that any but the more recent arrivals are the same ethnicity as mainland Han. Hoklo speakers tend to consider themselves quite different from Han speakers and they descent primarily from Fujianese from long before Fujian was part of China. Anyone who visits the island can see there is a significantly greater range of visible ethnicities than in China and its de rigour for most Taiwanese to claim they are of mixed blood (i.e. aboriginal), whether or not this is true. Mandarin speakers are almost all descendants of the post revolution groups who arrived without asking permission, and then took over the island, slaughtering many locals in the process and driving the aboriginal people to the margins.

        I never said the United States is the arbiter of such claims. That right should be reserved for the Taiwan people and they have repeatedly made it clear, in election after election and poll after poll, what they think.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Hoklo speakers tend to consider themselves quite different from Han speakers and they descent primarily from Fujianese from long before Fujian was part of China.

          According to Hoklo, Wikpedia,

          In Taiwan, there are three common ways to write Hoklo in Chinese characters (Hokkien pronunciations are given in Pe̍h-ōe-jī), although none have been established as etymologically correct:[6]

          福佬; Hok-ló; “Fujian folk” – emphasizes their connection to Fujian province. It is not an accurate transliteration in terms from Hokkien itself although it may correspond to an actual usage in Hakka.
          河洛; Hô-lo̍k; “Yellow River and Luo River” – emphasizes their purported long history originating from the area south of the Yellow River. This term does not exist in Hokkien. The transliteration is a phonologically inaccurate folk etymology, though the Mandarin pronunciation Héluò has gained currency through the propagation of the inaccurate transliteration.[6]
          鶴佬; Ho̍h-ló; “crane folk” – emphasizes the modern pronunciation of the characters (without regard to the meaning of the Chinese characters); phonologically accurate.

          Contrast that with this from Fujian, Wikipedia:

          The first wave of immigration of the noble class arrived in the province in the early 4th century when the Western Jin dynasty collapsed and the north was torn apart by invasions by nomadic peoples from the north, as well as civil war. These immigrants were primarily from eight families in central China: Lin (林), Huang (黄), Chen (陈), Zheng (郑), Zhan (詹), Qiu (邱), He (何), and Hu (胡). The first four remain as the major surnames of modern Fujian.

          This refers to the first wave of Han migration. Jin dynasty was around the 3rd century AD (approximately).

          So, they descent, according to this, from Han Chinese (and not Fujianese – meaning here not precise, as far as I can understand), who brought China to Fujian, because in the next two dynasties, many Imperial Examinations winners were from there, who went on to serve the central government (not mentioned in Wikipeida, but I recall reading elsewhere).

          Reply
        2. LuRenJia

          If you don’t mind, could you kindly provide what your comments about Taiwan are based upon, especially the slaughtering of many locals? As I understand, Hoklo speakers in general consider themselves Chinese too, as you can see the origin of their families is stated on the tomb stone.

          Is the post revolution you referred to when CCP took over mainland China and the KMT regime moved to Taiwan in 1949? Taiwan is indeed a province of China- Republic of China, not People’s Republic of China. Although PRC does not govern Taiwan, the relationship between PRC and ROC(Taiwan) is a Chinese civil war. As for US, it always does its best to maximize US own interest across the straight. Democracy and human rights are just excuses, if not myths. If one would argue so-called democracy and human rights, it will be nice if that one can start from where (s)he lives using the same standard. If that has been nicely implemented at home, then (s)he may look further.

          The regimes in Taiwan since early 1990 has been systematically and methodically change its curriculum in grade schools, especially in history and social studies. So young generations will think themselves as “Taiwanese”, not Chinese. After almost 30 years, the results start to show up in elections and polls. This is deliberately manufactured. A Chinese saying goes “If one would like to destroy a country, one has to destroy its history.” That is exactly what happened in Taiwan in the past 20-30 years by those Taiwanese who are also Japanese imperial servants and US lap dogs. However, being a Taiwanese is not mutual exclusive to being a Chinese. Those arguing it is mutual exclusive have their own agendas.

          It is my opinion that there is no one would like a (re)united China, especially US and Japan.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I read, at any given time these days, there are millions of Taiwanese (arriving before or after 1949, themselves, or their ancestors) working, studying, visiting, etc, in China.

            And Pinying, first in use by Beijing, has been adopted by the government in Taiwan, or actually was, between 2002-2008 (president was from the KMT party?).

            Reply
      2. José

        tossed out the Dutch, who had tossed out the Spanish.

        The Portuguese (who named the island “Formosa” or “Beautiful Island” in 1544), not the Spanish who never reached the island.

        Reply
    2. L

      I have to disagree with you on you claim that the CCP is generally popular. My own experience in China is that they are tolerated because the current generation does not see a practical alternative. In my anecdotal experience attitudes of the CCP can be broken down generationally and economically. Generationally the strongest adherents of the CCP are the older generation who either remember the Japanese or who grew up with stories about them. They remember a time when things are much worse and like it as not they credit the CCP’s stability (not necessarily the CCP itself) for improvements. The official refrain for them may as well be “Things are better now.” But this group also remembers the Cultural revolution so their preference for the CCP is muted.

      The middle generation (those now entering middle age) have a very different attitude towards the CCP. They are not as fond of it and are far more likely to also have learned something about the outside world. Like most middle-agers they may be comfortable enough to tolerate it but few love it, even those I have met who are members. It is just the system. “We are getting richer.”

      Younger people seem to split depending upon how effective the government has been at keeping them isolated from and fearing the outside world. If you watch current Chinese TV or movies the government is spending a *lot* of money to reinforce the notion that the rest of the world wants nothing more than to carve China up and but for Xi, it would. In my experience some of this generation has taken that to heart and most have not. Crucially even the nationalists I have met love China but don’t particularly love the CCP. And those that are not particularly nationalist are more focusing on themselves.

      This is not to say that the CCP will fall. Like Confucius recommended they have learned to make themselves seem indispensable. But indispensable is not the same as loved.

      As a side note, see this article: Xi: China Must Never Adopt Constitutionalism, Separation of Powers, or Judicial Independence

      Reply
      1. Olga

        Not that I disagree with you in principle – but I think the entire notion of a country/people “loving” a party – any party – is just kinda goofy (or, a red herring). Can anyone point to a country where the main party is “loved?” Do republicans love the Republican party? Do the democrats love the Democratic party? The idea seems laughable – so why would we expect it to be different in China?

        Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Nationalists remember Vladivostok was part of Qing China, no longer, due to an unequal treaty from the 19th century.

        From Wikpedia:

        The aboriginals of the territory on which modern Vladivostok is located are the Udege minority, and a sub-minority called the Taz which emerged through members of the indigenous Udege mixing with the nearby Chinese and Hezhe. The region had been part of many states, such as the Mohe, Balhae Kingdom, Liao Dynasty, Jīn Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty and various other Chinese dynasties, before Russia acquired the entire Maritime Province and the island of Sakhalin by the Treaty of Beijing (1860). Qing China, which had just lost the Opium War with Britain, was unable to defend the region.

        After WWII, those imperialists, the Americans, British, French, etc., abolished most of those unequal treaties, save Macao and Hong Kong. But the USSR kept that part of Siberia.

        Even today, the Chinese government has to recognize the Chinese origain of Vladisotok. From Wikipedia:’

        In modern-day China, Vladivostok is officially known by the transliteration 符拉迪沃斯托克 (Fúlādíwòsītuōkè), although the historical Chinese name 海參崴 (Hǎishēnwǎi) is still often used in common parlance and outside mainland China to refer to the city.[15][16] According to the provisions of the Chinese government, all maps published in China have to bracket the city’s Chinese name.[17]

        They can’t afford to erase the Chinese name.

        Reply
      3. Jeff W

        The middle generation (those now entering middle age)…are not as fond of [the Party] and are far more likely to also have learned something about the outside world. Like most middle-agers they may be comfortable enough to tolerate it but few love it, even those I have met who are members. It is just the system. “We are getting richer.”

        That’s my impression, too. My Mainland friends, now in their 30s and early 40s, not just their parents, all recognize that life is better for them now than when they were kids—the infrastructure might be better, for example (“concrete material benefits”)—but none of them “love the Party,” as the Party propaganda apparatus exhorts. (The two friends I have who are Party members are cynical about it; a few who are not despise it; the rest are kind of indifferent.)

        None of these friends is really talking about democracy—a few have said they would like it—what seems to concern them more is corruption and inequality. (That gets into the lack of rule of law, also.) A few of my friends have mentioned giving (or, at least being expected to give) “gifts” to those in power to get their kids into their preferred middle school, to be considered for a promotion, or to have their local Party bigwig help them with something. A fleet of Audi A6s parked outside the local villa means the Party officials are inside, drinking it up and acting in no one’s best interest but their own—my friends don’t view that favorably.

        These friends also find the Party censorship a hassle and propaganda heavy-handed. Almost all have VPNs so they can easily circumvent the Great Firewall but they find it annoying that they have to do so—it’s not like they’re trying to foment “counter-revolution,” they just want to watch cat videos and K-Pop on YouTube like everyone else. And they basically ignore the Party propaganda, if they’re not jeering at it—they don’t have anything against selfless socialist icon Lei Feng, for example, but their attitude is more like “Well, when the Party leaders start acting a bit more like Lei Feng, then maybe I’ll start thinking about whether I should, too.“

        These friends have better lives than their parents but they still feel constrained by and cynical about the system. They basically know the score—the Party has provided material benefits over the past 40 years but it still acts in ways that serve and protect its own interests first and foremost, while portraying itself as acting selflessly, only in the people’s interests.

        Reply
    3. Olga

      “Its one thing to take a balanced look at China, its quite another to completely overlook the malign policy objectives of China to its near neighbours.”
      What exactly is this malign policy you mention?
      I think if Vietnam or Laos remember anything – they’d remember the war US waged against them (same for Cambodia).
      One cannot just throw out phrases like this, and not explain.
      I thought China is trying to get neighbouring allies through trade and infrastructure development. A lot better than war – and/or endless exploitation that US offers (or stirring up chaos).
      Calling Chinese policy malign seems to me a lot like US propaganda – a part of the demonisation of the country (and if that fails, kidnap Chinese company officials and claim its companies represent threat).
      Isn’t it all relative? If one’s choice is between China’s building or US chaos – what would one chose?

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        China, unprovoked, invaded Vietnam in 1979 and slaughtered thousands of civilians in doing so, causing immense devastation. Ask any northern Vietnamese person which country they fear most and the answer will surprise you (clue, its not the US and its not France).

        Reply
        1. Synoia

          That’s why the Vietnam has not build a highway from Hanoi to the Chinese Border. They are adverse to building and invasion route for the Chinese.

          The Vietnamese have ejected Chinese Invasion and Occupations three times in the last 1,000 years. A reading of their History would have enlightened the US in the 1950’s.Coupled with knowledge of their people and customs would have revealed the aphorism “To each according to the their Needs, from each according to their ability,” would never succeed in Vietnam.

          The US would have has more success sending in Coca-cola, instead of the US Intelligence and Military. /s

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Vietnam may have ejected Chinese imperial soldiers three times, but Chinese refugee armies (see, for example, Zhao Tuo, Qin dynasty general, Wikipedia) had found home there many more times, and Chinese immigrants even more oftne have settled there, without fully intergrated. In fact, they kept the Han culture with them.

            Many of them became boat people after the fall of Saigon.

            Reply
        2. Olga

          Yes, there was that – 40 years ago. Not defending it, but countries change policies and do develop (except the US expansionist drive). If that is your proof of malign policy, it is quite weak. Plus China was not “unprovoked” – Viet. invaded Cambodia (although probably for the right reasons), which China supported. Again, not condoning, but it is more complex than you let on.
          The Chinese did not stay long. And yes, there is a long-term Ch-Viet conflict (at least 1000yrs) – but maybe they can try to work together regardless. At some point, we have to hope that old conflicts can be resolved or at least, set aside, lest we remain doomed.
          “Ask any northern Vietnamese person which country they fear most…” – it is very difficult to take such statements seriously – unless, of course, you’ve spoken with every N. Vietnamese.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Countries change policies.

            That’s a good reminder, as Esobar and others talk about China, Turkey, Russia, etc. getting together.

            Just the other day, Turkey spoke up for the Uyghurs in China.

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              ‘Turkey spoke up for the Uyghurs in China’

              I came across a source that said that Turkey has been doing this for the better part of two centuries and quoting history on it now so is nothing new here for Turkey.

              Reply
          2. PlutoniumKun

            The 1979 Invasion was a massive war, that killed at least 10,000 Vietnamese civilians, it was not a minor affair. It was followed by 12 years of clashes that killed thousands – here is a list. It has de-escalated since the, but there have been border exchanges of fire up to 4 years ago. Since then the clashes have moved off-shore, in particular in waters internationally recognised as Vietnamese, but claimed by China – this has included China forcibly evicting Vietnamese exploration and fishing vessels and quite probably attacking and sinking Vietnamese fishing vessels – this was just 3 years ago.

            The biggest area of Vietnamese concern has been the long time refusal of China to engage over damming the Mekong River, both in China and (paid for the Chinese) in Laos. This is a matter of huge concern for the Vietnamese who see it as a direct attempt by China to threaten their economy. China has, as always, refused to engage with Vietnams concerns.

            As for the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, this was a direct retaliation for repeated attacks by Cambodia that claimed thousands of Vietnamese lives. There was nothing complicated about the situation – Cambodia, led by a madman, attacked and slaughtered thousands of Vietnamese civilians, and Vietnam did what it had to do. China’s attack on Vietnam was entirely opportunistic and China has never apologised or offered any compensation for the appalling damage caused. The entire subject has always been erased from Chinese public discussions, except to imply that it was all the fault of the Vietnamese.

            Reply
          3. Yves Smith Post author

            Ahem, go watch the movie The Fog of War.

            McNamara recounts a dinner he arranged with the leaders of North Vietnam many years after the war. This needless to say was a very tense affair.

            At one point, the (obviously now Vietnamese) leaders said to him, “Why did the US go to war with us?”

            McNamara said something that amounted to: “Because of domino effect from China.”

            The Vietnamese nearly leaped across the table at him: “You would go to war with us understanding so little about our country? We were occupied by the Chinese and spent hundreds of years opposing them. We are hostile to China.”

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              he Vietnamese nearly leaped across the table at him: “You would go to war with us understanding so little about our country? We were occupied by the Chinese and spent hundreds of years opposing them. We are hostile to China.”

              Just how the best and the brightest could not have known about the Vietnamese antipathy towards China is something I still do not understand. Somehow it was easier to fight a massive war in which everybody lost instead of getting some researchers to put together some papers, and also sending some diplomats, even some news reporters, over to ask questions.

              Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        Vietnam was briefly invaded by China, AFTER the US moved. And the first Vietnam War – about a century long – was with Chinese invaders. Now China asserts ownership of ALL of the S. China Sea, even though a glance at the map gives others, including Vietnam and the Philippines a better claim to much of it.

        China still has military faceoffs with India. Then there are the Tibetans and Uighurs. It’s an empire and behaves accordingly – like the US, but so far more localized.

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        If China succeeds at removing all the fish and undersea gas/oil/etc. from the Disputed-Claims portions of the various China Seas . . . the resulting desperate resource shortages afflicting all the other China Sea countries will come to seem like a kind of chaos.

        How much water can China steal from all the rivers that start in China but flow into other countries before water-deprivation chaos will begin?

        Reply
    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Taiwan was never a ‘province’ of China – It was annexed in the 17th Century by the Qing Dynasty and made part of Fujian province (many Fujianese had settled over the previous centuries).

      Taiwan was a province of China*.

      And a part of Fujian province (before being elevated to a province), it was a part of C, hina.

      *see Lin Mingchuan, wikipedia and this from it:

      Liu Mingchuan (1836–1896), courtesy name Xingsan, was a Chinese official who lived in the mid-Qing dynasty. He was born in Hefei, Anhui. Liu became involved in the suppression of the Taiping Rebellion at an early age, and worked closely with Zeng Guofan and Li Hongzhang as he emerged as an important Huai Army officer. In the aftermath of the Sino-French War, succeeding Ding Richang he was appointed the first governor of the newly established Taiwan Province.[b] Today he is remembered for his efforts in modernizing Taiwan during his tenure as governor, and several institutions have been given his name, including Ming Chuan University in Taipei.

      Reply
  7. zagonostra

    >WaPo on Bernie Sanders

    Not one word on the circumstance of how he lost in 2016.

    The senator from Vermont, who announced his bid for the Democratic presidential primary in an email to supporters on Tuesday, lost to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary

    Not one word on opposition fueled by the Healthcare lobbyist that makes proposal like M4A “wildly unrealistic”

    Sanders’s bill, which previously garnered zero Senate co-sponsors and was criticized by Clinton’s campaign in 2016 as wildly unrealistic.

    Not one world on how those long lines are mostly anecdotal or on what basis it “could impede quality of care.” Didn’t Rand Paul just schedule some medical procedure in Canada?

    Conservatives have also warned that a single-payer system could impede quality of care for those who have it, pointing to long wait times in the Canadian system.

    At least they mention that on the “on the net” it would “help,” though they could have said it will save billions by reducing administrative cost.

    Some of his plans, such as Medicare-for-all, would also require higher taxes on the middle class, although supporters say they would on net help everyday Americans by eliminating their private health-care costs

    Given WaPo documented smear of Sanders in 2016, the article is surprisingly measured in reporting his announcement to run. I venture to predict this measured tone will change drastically as he gathers momentum.

    Reply
    1. notabanker

      My sense is just the opposite. I think Sanders base has increased dramatically, AOC will throw her endorsement and mobilize voters that didn’t show up in the 2016 primaries. Sanders will take some “surprising” wins early and MSM will go nuts doing everything they can to discredit him once he becomes an actual threat.

      Voter turnout for the 16 primaries was pretty low, and there are monstrous numbers of ‘independent’ or ‘unaffiliated’ voters. Sanders grassroots org has an axe to grind and the experience to mobilize. The Clintonistas can whine all they want on twitter. In my state, 30% showed up for the primaries, 1/3 of them voted democrat and 60% of them voted Clinton. They may be a boisterous lot, but they do not have the numbers. When the reality of not being able to stop a Sanders nomination becomes clear, the real battle will begin.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Those Clinton voters aren’t uniform and are four years older. The path forward for a non-Sanders candidate is to limit his wins in the first four states, and to pick up wins in places such as Virginia, address California (Harris probably needs to win outright and big; Beta would need a strong showing with a small Harris win, probably even second) and then hope the general election voters become Clinton backed candidate primary voters despite not voting for HRC in two previous primaries with doubt about Sanders viability setting in.

        I think Sanders winning the first four out right means its done. Holding Sanders to under 50 in Iowa is an outside chance. Could they lobby and throw support to a single candidate caucus? I don’t know. It will require coordination they aren’t capable of. Perceptions of NH are interesting. Sanders isn’t going to come in under 50% without huge crossover vote, but snowbird Republicans probably won’t care enough to get back. I would not be surprised if the serious candidates didn’t offer more than token support in NH with the hope the Bernie Bro myth (created by the Clintonistas they hired) is true leading to a win or close finish in SC or Nevada.

        Reply
        1. notabanker

          I’ve been looking at it from the convention super delegate perspective. Candidates that do not get 15% are finished at the state level. A two candidate race (each over 15%) spells doom for whoever is runner up, as the delegates get reapportioned between the two. DNC will need a 3 candidate race with at least one of them close to Sanders to force a second ballot and utilize the super delegates.

          If Sanders gets beat outright in the primaries, he’s done. If he has a decent lead over one other candidate, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for them to manipulate the delegate votes, depending on how he fared in specific states. If he has a modest lead over two or more, they will likely be able to oust him.

          CA moved to Super Tuesday and Washington State has a bill through Senate now in the House to move to Super Tuesday (which also disenfranchises unaffiliated voters). This looks like the DNC’s big bet to me. To your point, if Sanders takes momentum into that and wins, the DNC will go apoplectic.

          Also, there is talk, but no actual legislation, of Vermont moving to the same day as NH. That’s kind of interesting.

          Reply
        2. John k

          I went to a 2016 Bernie rally in San Diego, line at least half mile long. I was the oldest one I saw there… average maybe late twenties or so. Those Bernie enthusiasts unlikely to feel different now.
          14-yr olds then can vote now. Some Clinton lovers no longer with us… and Biden will split former Clinton voters. imo he will win ca.

          Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “(T)he real battle will begin.”

        It helps to remember not the fight the last war.

        There will be many surprise moves (after preparing for four years).

        Reply
        1. Kurt Sperry

          My inchoate feeling is that people who are accustomed to ruling by brute-force measures will be constrained by their atrophied creative faculties and incapable of inventing ‘surprise moves’ that are novel and unexpected. Why would perpetual winners add new pages to their playbook?

          Also, are there really any ‘surprise moves’ that weren’t explicated by Machiavelli centuries ago? Bernie’s already seen and been attacked by all that in triplicate.

          Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “German hunter shot by dog refused gun license ”

    Nice to see a common sense story appear from time to time. That German Court was right. Carrying a loaded gun inside his car? I bet that the test that he took for his firearm license said that that was a big no-no! That is how you get to win a Darwin Award that. That Deutsche Jagdschutz-Verband is a serious outfit from what I saw in Germany years ago and would not tolerate such behaviour. He’s just lucky that he took the shot in his arm and not his head.

    Reply
    1. Pajarito

      Contrast German common sense with what is happening in my state. The state legislature is working on several gun bills with some sensible provisions: background checks for in-state sales, confiscation for domestic violence (dangerous person), and requiring owners to lock up guns if children reside in the home. Several counties have already declared they are ‘second amendment sanctuaries’ and won’t enforce the laws if they are enacted. Seems NRA propaganda reigns.

      Reply
        1. EastWAprogressive

          Spokane County is solidly blue. Dem Senator, 2 Democrat Representatives. Stop the east-west propaganda please.

          Reply
          1. Charger01

            No dice. Spokane Falls is blue, the county and surrounding areas are not.

            Evidence? Please see below. The majority of reps and senators that have a slice of the county are not dems.

            The propaganda is simple. If you’re not the three most populous (and prosperous) counties in the state, you simply don’t matter.

            https://app.leg.wa.gov/Rosters/MembersByDistrictAndCounties/House

            03 Riccelli, Marcus (D) 1 Spokane (P)
            03 Ormsby, Timm (D) 2 Spokane (P)
            04 Shea, Matt (R) 1 Spokane (P)
            04 McCaslin, Bob (R) 2 Spokane (P)
            06 Volz, Mike (R) 1 Spokane (P)
            06 Graham, Jenny (R) 2 Spokane (P)
            07 Maycumber, Jacquelin (R) 1 Ferry, Okanogan (P), Pend Oreille, Spokane (P), Stevens
            07 Kretz, Joel (R) 2 Ferry, Okanogan (P), Pend Oreille, Spokane (P), Stevens
            09 Dye, Mary (R) 1 Adams, Asotin, Franklin (P), Garfield, Spokane (P), Whitman
            09 Schmick, Joe (R)2 Adams, Asotin, Franklin (P), Garfield, Spokane (P), Whitman

            https://app.leg.wa.gov/Rosters/MembersByDistrictAndCounties/Senate

            03 Billig, Andy (D) Spokane (P)
            04 Padden, Mike (R) Spokane (P)
            06 Holy, Jeff (R) Spokane (P)
            07 Short, Shelly (R) Ferry, Okanogan (P), Pend Oreille, Spokane (P), Stevens
            09 Schoesler, Mark (R)Adams, Asotin, Franklin (P), Garfield, Spokane (P), Whitman

            Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      Isn’t there a dog-given right to bear arms in some of the more conservative states, but no CCW as they lack places to hide weaponry?

      Reply
    3. dearieme

      I don’t understand. Of course the dog would be refused a gun licence. So I suppose it got hold of a gun illegally. But why did it choose to shot the hunter? It was the beast of times it was the wurst of times.

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        That’s the way I read the headline, as well. :) I figured maybe the dog was upset at being denied a license and in a fit of jealously decided “if this dog can’t hunt, neither will its owner.” But that would have been an arf-ul thing for Man’s Best Friend to do.

        Hey, didja hear about the dog that shot its owner and then ran away? Yep, it was later arrested and brought up on aggravated charges for fleaing the scene of a crime.

        Reply
  9. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re “Will the Trade War Lead to Real War with China?”
    I’ll be the first to admit I’m not very deeply informed on trade issues in general let alone those with China in particular. Thus I humbly defer to her in that regard.
    What struck me about former Ambassador Chas Freeman’s article was the way he put the current events of the early 21st century events into an historically sweeping geopolitical perspective. From the outset of the piece he argues, I believe correctly, that half a millennium of Western dominance in world affairs is coming to an end. The leadership of that domination has rotated through a number of nations, the most recent being the United States. Freeman devotes a lot of ink to spelling out the multitude of ways, in terms of both foreign and domestic policy, we in the USA are not handling the change well, and that unless we take steps to adjust to the realities of the emerging multi-polar world we will be left behind.
    In my brief note to Yves accompanying the suggested link I considered mentioning that I thought the article’s title was too narrow.
    Chuck L, coming out in my alternate NC identity.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Lots of truth in that article – unfortunately. Those Senkaku Islands deserve more of a mention. They have been Chinese since the 16th century but Japan seized them during the 1894–1895 during the first Sino-Japanese War. After WW2, Japan was required to hand back all such islands to their original owners but in 1971 the US handed over those islands unilaterally to Japan again. That is why the bone of contention between the US, China and Japan here.
      There was always a chance to let China rise and make room for it on the international stage but far too much water has passed under the bridge for that to happen peacefully now. It did not have to be that we but here we are. You know what this reminds me of? During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, the commander of the Japanese Fleet – Admiral Yamamoto – was being apprised of the results. But he had lived in the US and knew the character of the people and how they would react to the news of the attack. That is why he wrote in his diary “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve” and I wonder if this is what we are doing with China now.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        If only the Japanese had bombed the oil storage tanks which were quite huge sitting ducks not all that far from the ships & aircraft they destroyed, we would’ve had a monumental setback, compounded.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          The Japanese launched two aerial waves on Pearl Harbour. There was supposed to have been a third wave “to destroy as much of Pearl Harbor’s fuel and torpedo storage, maintenance, and dry dock facilities as possible” but the Japanese commander, Admiral Nagumo, lost his nerve, canceled the third wave and ordering the Fleet back to Japan. Probably he was worried about being caught by the missing American carriers-

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor#Possible_third_wave

          Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Senkaku islands are not far from Okinawa.

        From Japanese Invasion of Taiwan (1874), Wikipedia:

        The expedition demonstrated that China was not in effective control of Taiwan, let alone the Ryukyu Islands. Japan was emboldened to more forcefully assert its claim to speak for the Ryukyuan islanders. The settlement in 1874, brokered by the British, included a reference to Chinese recognition that the Japanese expedition was “in protection of civilians”, a reference that Japan later pointed towards as Chinese renunciation of its rights over Ryukyu. In 1879 Japan referred the dispute to British arbitration, and the British confirmed Japanese sovereignty over the Ryukyus, a result which was not recognised by China.[9]

        For centuries, Okinawa, or Ryukyu Kingdom (see which in Wikipdia) answered to China:

        In 1655, tribute relations between Ryukyu and Qing dynasty (the dynasty that followed Ming in 1644) were formally approved by the shogunate. This was seen to be justified, in part, because of the desire to avoid giving Qing any reason for military action against Japan.[16

        ]

        Even today in Taiwan, the Republic of China (ROC) (same article as above), the name in use tells a story that people (even independent minded Taiwanese, presumbly) don’t want to forget:

        Nowadays, the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport still uses the Chinese characters Ryukyu (Okinawa) as its destination, although the English is Okinawa (OKA).

        Reply
    2. Mike Smith

      I agree with you Chuck. I had read the article on Consortium and thought it’s broad sweep was very good. His main point was to discourage the US march to war with China as outlined in it’s Defense Strategy. China in the 21st century is very different from 19th century China, the last time the Western powers insisted on imposing their trade policies on them.

      Reply
    3. Oh

      Great article. This will come as a shock to the USA USA crowd. The fatcats and politicians will jump into the available lifeboats and bail. The rats will leave the sinking ship. The miserables will be left in the lower decks trying to swim out.

      Reply
  10. ChiGal in Carolina

    When I checked before going to bed, the Guardian was reporting that in 12 hours, Bernie raised $4m. Wonder what his take for 24 hrs will end up to be. Our take. Our revolution.

    Felt privileged to be a part of it, and in good company here as I know many other NCers were too.

    Let’s be vigilant and don’t let TPTB crush his momentum!

    Reply
    1. katiebird

      I was happy to donate too. But I have to learn to keep my fat mouth shut. I have an unfortunate habit of ranting and that doesn’t do any good.

      Reply
      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        It’s all of the above. But I just read that Leahy is endorsing him: that may give cover to other standard-issue Dems to do the same. Last round there was only Merkley.

        Reply
      1. Knifecatcher

        The interview was very good, as per the norm for Bernie. I thought he handled the age issue quite deftly for one thing.

        And he eviscerated Howard Schultz so completely I almost felt sorry for him.

        Reply
      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Wearing my grassroots button, an image of him in the background in shirt and tie looking serious but good-humored, rolling up his sleeves.
        In the foreground the words:
        Roll up your Sleeves. Time to Get to Work.

        Reply
      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Found some old Bernie 2016 bumper stickers and X out the 16 and sharpied ’20 above.

        Been putting them up downtown and uptown.

        Reply
    2. Annieb

      Yesterday, when I heard that he had announced, I felt resigned but ready to vote for him again. But after watching his enthusiastic speech, I am all in. Even on MSNBC there was a newscaster who was cautiously objective about his chances. And the CBS interview was dynamite! That’s got to mean they are taking him very seriously! Some msm are wondering if he still has what it takes. $6 million in donations in one day! I’d say, yes he does!

      Reply
    3. Oh

      We have have to hang together to help Bernie get over each hurdle that the MSM, DImRats and RePigs will throw his way. He needs our full fledged support, not just money.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        because even when they pass bans stores get exemptions by giving out “multi-use plastic bags” (even though almost noone uses them more than once, and they probably waste more plastic for a single use than the prior bags did). That’s really what happened here.

        Not that people still don’t use less plastic bags since the ban, so it might still be a step in the right direction (it would require investigation of how many of those “multi-use plastic bags are being handed out), but even a ban is not REALLY a ban when it comes to legislation.

        Reply
        1. Shonde

          Some California stores now have what are described as biodegradable bags. Anybody know if they are actually biodegradable?

          Reply
          1. Cal2

            Biodegradable into what?
            Twenty years ago magazines were wrapped in supposedly biodegradable plastic. We stapled the covers to a plywood panel facing south on the roof and after a few years the plastic was in little shreds on the roof under the panel.

            “Compostable” plastic, slowly turns, inside a compost heap, into a chunk of crap that no sane gardener would put on edible plants. It’s more like “Compost-Stable”.

            What I don’t understand is why perishable products like cottage cheese, dairy, cheese, plastic caps on glass milk botles, why are they made of plastic that lasts for thousands of years?

            What’s the danger of using truly biodegradable plastic containers for these products? The bottle might start leaking or degrade a few months after the expiration date?

            Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “House Opens Inquiry Into Proposed U.S. Nuclear Venture in Saudi Arabia”

    Nuclear technology to Wahhabi Central? Sure, why not. I’m sure that Israel would love that idea and for once I am hoping that they have influence enough to kill off this lunatic idea. Maybe while they are at it they could give Saudi Arabia missile technology as well. You know. For their peaceful space program. Maybe a coupla submarines too from Germany like the Israelis have – the ones that you can shoot ballistic missiles from. You could say that it was needed for the defense of the Kingdom. They are supposed to be buddy-buddy with the Israelis so I am sure that the Israelis would be willing to train their crews on these subs in the techniques for launching missiles at sea. What could go wrong?

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I can’t find anything that gives details of the nuclear technology transfers proposed, but it is strongly implied that it is just light water reactors, probably the AP1000. Fortunately, there is no way the Saudi’s would have the know how to develop weapons from plants like that (although they probably have access to the crude Pakistani bombs). They would need access to plutonium or more highly refined uranium to make weapons.

      The bigger question is why the Saudi’s are so obsessed with nuclear reactors when they have the worlds biggest and best reserves of oil and gas and solar energy. Solar in particular has massive potential to reduce their reliance on gas (much of it from Qatar) for their domestic energy needs. It looks to represent a colossal waste of money, except insofar as it creates yet another big sector of the US economy that is dependant on MbS staying in power.

      Reply
      1. Yikes

        Spent fuel from AP1000 can be more easily enriched to weapons grade than natural uranium, and Israel could be another source of technology, not just Pakistan. Then there is dirty bomb options, etc.

        Reply
    2. Pajarito

      It’s that the effort by the lawless administration is to transfer to their Wahhabi BFFs without congressional approval and safeguards required by law. See here for the alarm. Oh, and all involved have vested interest in making large sums of money for themselves. Nothing to see here, move along….

      Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    Poor New Zealand…

    Couldn’t even make the rotisserie map on the barbie, and all it would’ve taken was a couple of petite filet mignons.

    And laugh last Hawaii, you too are virtual chopped liver.

    Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          I don’t think that it is the spooks at work here. Billionaires like Peter Thiel have already acquired/purchased New Zealand citizenship and set up a lair in that country along with others. When the Collapse happens and the mob goes looking for blood, they may know that they are hiding in New Zealand but won’t be able to find the place on a map to get them.

          Reply
  13. FFA

    I found this story in the DW when I was following the links:
    UK: Germany’s Saudi arms export ban jeopardizes European defense

    To be honest, I wasn’t aware that Germany had actually stopped signing new weapons contracts with Saudi Arabia but there is never a bit of good news that can’t be spoiled by the Jeremy Hunt’s contributions. Sigh.

    Perhaps in the longer term the UK establishment will align it’s defence industry completely with the US MIC? Don’t know where that leaves the UK subsidiaries of the various European consortia.

    Reply
    1. Yikes

      Um, Germany has just signed new treaty with France to allow exports to Saudi Arabia via German / French JV. This is one reason why Merkle was surprised to be back-stabbed by Macron on Nord 2 pipe line. I’d put in links but 9 times out of 10 it won’t post if I’m doing this on my laptop (but no problem on my phone)…

      Reply
  14. Eyelladog

    Bad news about the talk to move public assets to the pensions…which is a way they can sell the land to whatever trust Obama could use for that land.

    Reply
  15. Carolinian

    Good story on the Colorado river crisis. The key piece of info is that 80 percent of the water now goes to agriculture based on the irrational system of “senior rights.” So the big question is whether agriculture will be moving to wetter states (we are drowning here) or the people will. Given that much of the agriculture is almonds or alfalfa for cattle or thirsty cotton the choice seems obvious. However the result may be an AGW test run of whether government ecological intervention can overcome powerful private lobbies in a land where money rules.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Caught in the crossfire is Las Vegas, and the 2.2 million people living in Clark County when things go tilt, and alfalfa to feed cows to produce more milk we don’t need, wins a Pyrrhic victory in Arizona.

      Reply
      1. Eclair

        We need to stop just drinking milk and start bathing in it. Packaged and marketed imaginatively, it would appeal to those who get regular infusions of ‘young blood.’ Each infusion would be followed by a ‘warm milk bath.’ Forget this outmoded packaging in quart and gallon jugs; tanker trucks would make regular rounds and pipe directly into luxury-sized bath tubs.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Where I live milk goes for $1 a gallon. A milk bath wouldn’t cost that much. I believe Hollywood starlets in the Valentino era used to take milk baths–perhaps straight from the nice warm cow.

          Reply
            1. Carolinian

              We have a grocery war between Aldi and Lidl. The other stores may be a little more but not as much as you. Dairy in general has gotten cheaper, perhaps because of that surplus mentioned above.

              BTW Aldi is coming to the west with the first Phoenix store about to open soon.

              Reply
        2. newcatty

          An interesting fact about alfalfa being grown in AZ. Don’t have a link, but IIRC a large amount of farm land was bought up by the Saudis. Nope, not to grow the green for milk cows in their kingdom. It was for feeding their Arabian horses. Of course, by buying the land from farmers with senior water rights, that means the water went with the property. It is also interesting that there are some very prominent Arabian horse “farms” in AZ. I haven’t heard of them being called “ranches”. Gives another twist to their kingdom for horses, uh, along with their kingdom for arms deals…

          Reply
  16. Wukchumni

    I’d like the government to give us back many trillions for their failed high-speed war project, so we could blow it on infrastructure instead, yeah that’s the ticket.

    Reply
  17. Craig H.

    > FDA Warns Against Using Young Blood As Medical Treatment

    That link goes to Slashdot not CNN.

    If you ever get the opportunity to talk to a physician in a social setting and ask them about getting kiddie blood anti-aging treatments I recommend taking advantage of it. My impression (I am not a doctor) is that drinking urine is far less dangerous. Blood is approximately as filthy as feces.

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      I always thought the squillionaires must be keeping their “donors” in Honduran isolation cages while feeding them very specific diets.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Maybe we will find out, sooomeday, that the squillionaires are all vamps by heredity, or if one is invited into the families, then one is turned. Maybe this use of “young blood” is just not hiding in plain sight anymore…like a preview.

        Reply
    2. Lee

      A more comprehensive critique and discussion of the historical theoretical basis of this type of treatment, going back to experiments in 1864:

      Parabiosis – The Next Snakeoil
      https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/parabiosis-the-next-snakeoil/

      This is one a number of treatments you should probably be glad you can’t afford. Used to be, individuals who were members of marginalized groups were the favored lab rats for human testing. Now that the rich are offering themselves up, how can this not make the world a better place?

      Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    You really don’t want to be the next in line after the 47th member of good standing in the donkey show declares their intention to run for the Presidency in 2020, as i’m afraid potential people easily swayed might not notice #48, although i’m not sure how to couch my announcement in such a manner that random strangers will send me money in the hope that i’m a contender, not just another on the make politician, which is all of them.

    Reply
  19. nippersdad

    Caitlin Johnstone had an interesting take on the Bernie candidacy that was somewhat reminiscent of Glen Ford’s over at the Black Agenda Report. I certainly hope that she is wrong about Tulsi becoming Sanders’ VP choice. If the idea is to break the Democratic Party, they need to go after the MIC as well. Kill the hosts and the parasites will have nowhere to go.

    https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/six-thoughts-on-bernie-2020-c64d7cfd5d7e?fbclid=IwAR07eyWdJYASaa_dGpzRoh5Fk-DbMxjRuJF6TWzlojmJWlW5kS-vfEvlJ68

    Reply
    1. integer

      Should he win in 2020, I hope Sanders chooses Gabbard as VP, however I think Johnstone is probably correct that Sanders would consider choosing Gabbard as his VP to be a bridge too far for the permanent establishment. Of course, a President Sanders could nominate Gabbard for SecState or SecDef, either of which would be a good fit for her IMO, however whether or not she would make it through the confirmation hearing is an open question. Regardless of any of that, all of which is a long way ahead of where things are currently at, I think Gabbard running in the D party primary is important, as her anti-war platform has the potential to move the Overton window left with regard to foreign policy.

      Reply
      1. John k

        Tulsi Should persuade mic to wish Bernie long life… just as pence should inform dems not to even think of impeaching trump… granted, tds applies here…

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Caitlin Johnstone also wrote about karma at work with the recent linking by the media of Sanders and the same foreignn meddler as Trump’s.

          Perhaps, then, we have to be prepared for a special prosecutor/indepedent counsel after 2020.

          Maybe even invoking the 25th amendment.

          Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        What if the Democrats tell Bernie that we will support you now that you are the Presidential candidate but for the VP job, it can never be Gabbard. Joe Biden, however, has offered to lend you a hand here.

        Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    Mountain lion in California tree ‘rescued’ by firefighters BBC
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Still waiting for my first encounter in the Sierra, although i’ve seen lots of tracks, scat, and occasionally parts of late deer for dinner later in the crook of branches of a tree overhead.

    We had one in the neighborhood a few years ago, and the scream/cry was otherworldly, as in something from a 50’s horror flick, yikes.

    Have a listen:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE7YOJVSoIs

    Reply
    1. Lee

      You may not see them but they certainly see you. The cougar’s preferred method of attack is by surprise and from behind, leaping on its victim’s back and severing the spinal cord at the base of the skull with a single powerful bite. You could employ a methods used with some temporary success in India to prevent tiger attacks. As I generally advise by adventurous, outdoorsman son, “Have fun, be safe.” As to the latter point, sometimes he takes it, sometimes he doesn’t.

      Fishermen and bushmen originally created masks made to look like faces to wear on the back of their heads because tigers always attack from behind. This worked for a short time, but the tigers quickly realized it was a hoax, and the attacks reportedly continued. One local honey gatherer, Surendra Jana, 57, expressed that the tigers seem to have caught on to the mask trick, “Before we could understand the way they attacked. We don’t feel safe any more, knowing our brothers have been attacked in spite of the tricks we use.”[6] Government officials wear stiff pads that rise up the back of the neck, similar to the pads of an American football player. This is to prevent the tigers from biting into the spine, which is their favored attack method.[7]
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_attacks_in_the_Sundarbans

      Reply
          1. Lee

            And not only that, but the odds of being attacked by a cougar plummet when driving on a freeway and the odds of being in a car crash are about nil when hiking a mountain trail.

            Reply
      1. Craig H.

        I was reading a anthropologist’s monograph from Amazonia a couple years ago and I forgot the author and title but one thing that struck me was one of his guides told him to always sleep on your back. The claim was that jaguars considered a face up sleeping human to not be defenseless and a face down sleeping human is dinner.

        Reply
      2. Ignacio

        I met a cougar in Venezuela long ago. I saw her before she detected me. She was marking territory in a tree when I saw her and when she noticed my presence (about 50 meters away from her, alone, and 20 mts away from my motorbike), calmly went down, stared at me for one long minute (migth be much less by my fear made me feel it as longer), and finally disappeared into the forest in slow motion, as saying, I don’t fear you! Wow how much I was impressed by this beautiful creature! Will never forget.

        Reply
  21. Bulfinch

    Damn — that comments section of the American Conservative article on Trump reads with a decidedly gnash-y tone, the pfffts flying like hand grenades. Interesting stuff.

    With respect to a border wall — my feeling has been/remains that Trump is only looking to forge a cornerstone to his legacy as BMOC. I seriously doubt he gives half a good damn about anything happening outside of TRUMP tower or Mara Lego, just as I think that him spending any more time with his base than it takes to dispense with a few perfunctory salutations would fall somewhere on his personal pleasure index between paying taxes and sitting on a fire anthill without any trousers.

    Reply
  22. Wukchumni

    Pirates of the lower Caribbean…

    “Hey, they’ve got treasure over there on that gall(e)on, and it’s in our hemisphere, lets go loot it.”

    Reply
  23. Veri1138

    Saw the articles yesterday concerning Kamala Harris. Interesting thing just happened.

    Alternet ran an article in which Harris was prominently featured concerning media accounts used to attack Democrats. Kamala Harris was named the “frontrunner”.

    However, during a discussion about Kamala and the article? In which factual articles were used? Alternet banned a poster. Back in 2016, Alternet had a habit of banning Sanders supporters.

    Looks like quashing of dissent and legitimate discussion has arrived early; for the favored Establishment Democrat. Thanks to NakedCapitalism allowing the relevant information about candidates, to be hosted.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Alternet has long been very slanted in its coverage – the reason I stopped going there – but at least the comments mostly weren’t censored. This is further deterioration.

      thank goodness for NC – though there is far too much of it.

      Reply
  24. noonespecial

    Descriptions of Donald Trump, stated between 2015 and 2018, by Lindsey Graham:

    https://harpers.org/archive/2018/11/lindsey-graham-describes-donald-trump/

    A race-baiting, xenophobic bigot
    The Islamic State’s “man of the year”
    The death of the GOP’s relationship with Hispanic voters
    A death blow to the GOP’s relationship with women
    The world’s biggest jackass
    A wrecking ball
    A salesman of fear
    A politician whose ideas are gibberish
    A politician who is incapable of representing a mattress company
    A poor representation of a Republican
    A president who is unfit for office
    A president who sometimes crosses the line
    A Twitter user whose tweets are sometimes beneath the office of the presidency
    A man who has a blind spot
    A thoughtful person
    A good person
    A strong person
    A golfer with an accurate drive and an athletic swing
    A president doing a great job
    The best hope in decades for peace
    A potential recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

    ya’ know, because, MAGA

    Reply
  25. Eclair

    RE: FDA Warns Against Using Young Blood as Medical Treatment.

    So much to unpack here. Should not this have been listed under “Class Warfare?”

    Also, fertile grounds for discussion of origins of the vampire myth. (Maybe it’s not a myth?)

    And, basis for a smash hit series, “Young Blood.” Starring a Jeff Bezos-look-alike.

    Reply
  26. Ignacio

    RE: Plastic Bags are Recyclable, So Why Can’t We Throw Them In Recycling Bins? PBS Explains Core77

    I like this but unfortunately things are too complicated. For instance what happens with impermeabilized, plastified paper or with added adhesives? It is not recyclable. Hard plastics and PVC aren’t recyclable to my knowledge. Mixed plastic/paper envelopes also require separation. Things are getting increasingly complex and doing good separation requires increasing efforts. Another instance are coffee capsules (the industry of coffee capsules&machines has been one of the stupidiest late industrial developments IMO) that are, again not recyclable and make organic/plastic/metal separation quite difficult and have to be disposed sepparately with other non-organic non-recyclable materials.

    We need some regulation to rein in this complexity.

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      Ignacio,

      Absolutely. Perhaps local markets, i.e. “California”, could mandate that all plastics have to be marked for recyclability by a certain date. After another date, non-recyclables will have a deposit charged that would make unrecyclable, mixed junk prohibitively expensive.

      Why can’t all new plastics be coded with some kind of chemical identifier, plus color coding that would allow people to eyeball their content and separate them? The mixed plastics could be shredded and the chemical ID in them could allow air separation of the fragments for recycling.

      Boycott styrofoam enclosed products; i.e. Modway furniture. Open packages in stores and leave them at counter if such material is used.

      Bottom line: industrial civilization and consumption are doomed, let’s just extend the party and waste less for the time being.

      Your local thrift store is perhaps one of the more effective tools to limit waste. Donate and use used goods.

      Reply
  27. bushtheidiot

    That picture is about as 100% U.C. Santa Cruz as you can get. Ultimate Frisbee, banana slug, and the even slimier guys that eats the slug, and oh yeah damp forest.

    Reply
  28. William Hunter Duncan

    Why do I find it so disappointing when a guy as astute as Aaron Mate quotes a deep state imperialist McCabe accusing Trump of a Venezuela plan that has been in the neocon and neoliberal works since Clinton at least….

    Reply
  29. Cal2

    How we plan to vote for president:

    #1 Gabbard. If she’s not the nominee then

    #2 Sanders. If he’s not the nominee then

    #3 Trump,

    the only hope to resurrect the Authentic Democratic Party by flushing the corporate Democrats and the Demopublicans.

    Reply
      1. Cal2

        Do you think extending the mandate of the Corporate Democrats by electing
        Hillary/Kamala/Biden/Booker/Warren, thus leading to more wars, bailouts, no medical care and overpopulation is going to solve these national problems?

        The corporate Democrats have to be discredited, thus leading to better Democratic candidates and policy positions that can indeed address these problems.

        Trump II would be the best way to do that, no matter how much you don’t like him.

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *