Links 2/21/19

Scientists say every animal needs sleep. These fruit flies didn’t get the memo Science

World Bank’s ‘pandemic bonds’ under scrutiny after failing to pay out on Ebola FT

Global Trade Pain Stings Export Economies From Japan to Germany Bloomberg

New bill is “clear attempt by MidAmerican to monopolize the sun in Iowa” Bleeding Heartland

Volkswagen’s unequal justice: a Dieselgate employee and a manager Handelsblatt Today

Italy must face up to its fascist past – no amount of revisionism will erase its legacy of suffering Independent

Who Killed My Father by Édouard Louis — a warning to France’s elite FT

Brexit

With 37 days until Brexit, why are UK politicians defecting? Al Jazeera. Nice to see some headline writer focus on the timeline.

Britain’s impossible futures Paul Mason, Le Monde Diplomatique

Jeremy Corbyn heads to Brussels to give EU his vision of a Brexit deal Sky News

May and Juncker dive into Brexit fine print Politico

Revealed: How dark money is winning ‘the Brexit influencing game’ Open Democracy

Scotland’s Marriage of Inconvenience Foreign Policy

Chris Leslie interview: Labour have “massively underestimated” a new centrist party New Statesman

A divided Labour could hand the Tories another 12 years of power The Spectator

Antisemitism: no justification for singling out Labour Jewish Voice for Labour

Venezuela

Venezuelan Military Reject Trump’s Incitement to Rebel: ‘Over Our Dead Bodies’ Venezuelanalysis. Wait ’til you get to the part about Richard Branson.

Trump Likes ‘Beautiful’ Border Walls – Venezuela Should Build Him One Moon of Alabama

How a bridge between Colombia and Venezuela became part of a propaganda fight CBC

North Korea

How to End a Forever War Ask a Korean!

Himalayan emergency: It’s not too late to prevent melting glaciers Asian Correspondent

China?

Can readers translate to confirm? Thread:

Odd account, good followers.

Transnational Carceral Capitalism in Xinjiang and Beyond Made in China

“Fronting a head,” William Gibson calls it:

Singapore defense minister: Cost of conflict in South China Sea ‘too high’ Deutsche Welle

Courting change in Malaysia The Interpreter

India

The Daily Fix: The time has come, Mr Modi, to make a strong statement against attacks on Kashmiris The Scroll (J-LS).

Understanding the Origins of the Pulwama Attack Inside Pakistan The Diplomat

Cow Vigilantes in India Killed at Least 44 People, Report Finds Bloomberg

Syraqistan

Political Bombshell as Gantz, Lapid Join Forces to Replace Netanyahu Haaretz

The Cult-Like Group Fighting Iran Der Spiegel. MEK, in Albania, with funding at best opaque.

New Cold War

What if the Mueller report changes nothing? Chris Cilizza, CNN (Oregoncharles)

* * *

From Stalin’s camps to Putin’s laws How ‘the Russian mafia’ came to be Meduza

State of Play: Russia and the Fraying West Carnegie Moscow Center

Trump Transition

The Classicist Who Sees Donald Trump as a Tragic Hero The New Yorker

The Trump campaign loved NDAs. An ex-staffer wants to nullify them with a class action. WaPo

Interior officials accused of violating ethics pledge The Hill

White House readies panel to question security risks of climate Reuters. Good luck with that.

Democrats in Disarray

Why Bernie Sanders Matters More Than People Think Benjamin Studebaker. “Sanders and his opponents represent two very different ideologies. Each of these ideologies wants control of the Democratic Party so that this party’s resources can be used to advance a different conception of what a good society looks like. This is not a matter of taste and these are not flavors of popcorn.”

For Sanders, 2020 will present challenges that didn’t exist in 2016 WaPo. FluffytheObeseCat: “Damned with faint praise by those who inhabit the most august quarters. Perhaps Bernie should ‘do the right thing’, and quit before he starts.”

A Centuries-Old Idea Could Revolutionize Climate Policy The Atlantic. AOC as… Alexander Hamilton.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

APNewsBreak: Feds share watchlist with 1,400 private groups AP

Health Care

Nearly a quarter of rural hospitals are on the brink of closure Modern Healthcare

Guillotine Watch

FDA: Stealing Young People’s Blood Won’t Make You Immortal Cracked

Class Warfare

Fool’s Gold: Socialism is Just Capitalism Inverted Ghion Journal

Base Culture n+1

Antidote du jour (Rick):

Rick writes: “Cats are fine, but…just sayin’. Here are my two Tervuren and their Cardigan sibling. Photo is copyright 2016 Rick Adams, but you are welcome to use it. To me, this is Heaven.”

Bonus antidote:

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

About Lambert Strether

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

235 comments

    1. Isotope_C14

      I wish he’d give some credit though to Peter Joseph, and the Zeitgeist movement, as a concept of implementation of communalism, obviously spawned from the Venus project, etc.

      Reply
    2. bassmule

      “Communism, socialism, Marxism; all of them are based on the state being the caretaker of the people and the people being subservient to the government.”

      That is exactly backwards. A government that provides concrete, material benefits to ordinary people is one that is subservient to the needs of the citizens.

      Reply
      1. David

        Indeed. It’s an article claiming to be about socialism which immediately plunges into communism, and then swerves backwards to claim that “Within socialist countries, the state is the central authority that dictates to corporations the rules of the game.” News to me.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          There’s a whiff of libertarian cant to that article but when he says it’s all about power and that power, regardless of whether it’s coming from the left or right, corrupts then I’d say he gets it. Centralized power is the problem with most socialist experiments so far and whether, say, EU socialists are dictating to corporations or corporations are dictating to them it’s still about power.

          Of course we live in very complex societies now and can’t all go off and live in communes although the long ago hippies certainly tried. So while the article gets to the nut of the problem it’s a hard nut to crack.

          Reply
          1. pretzelattack

            in our society it’s coming from the right, and i’d rather government dictates to corporations than the reverse, where corporations in effect become our government.

            Reply
              1. pretzelattack

                imo we have to worry about the present danger, corporatism, much more than left wing totalitarianism. it’s a less extreme version of worrying about an impending ice age (which will eventually happen, admittedly) rather than global warming.

                Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That concentation of power in any form* is similar to the situation with hegemons.

              It’s tempting when one hegemon comes along and offers to drive away the current hegemon (in our world, the domination is coming from it).

              Reply
              1. pretzelattack

                i don’t think the new deal democrats are hegemons, though. i don’t think getting rid of the parasites (health insurance companies, for instance) is going to result in just being victimized by a new class of parasites, either. such progress as there has been in the u.s. has often come from getting rid of, or restricting the power of, current hegemons.
                it seems to be part of the process; the miners’ strikes, the bonus army, riots nudge the system toward reform. the system may have become too ossified to do that; i hope it hasn’t.

                Reply
                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I hope so too, though, by nature, I tend to be skeptical. And I can only speak for myself, knowing others feel differently.

                  Reply
          2. Morgan Everett

            I don’t think he’s going libertarian, he used the term “communalism” to describe his desired option, and it’s hard to think of an ism that would bother libertarians more than “communal.” I think his impulse is actually closer to syndicalism.

            I am glad though, that he’s addressing the dangers of consolidated power in governments, since leftish politics is generally more concerned with corporate power.

            Reply
          3. Oregoncharles

            The solution to the conundrum of socialist authoritarianism is syndicalism (credit to JM Greer for fostering this term). That is, worker ownership and control of individual enterprises. Personally, I think that qualifies as socialism; Greer disagrees. In any case, it’s much more specific; socialism has been misused to the point of meaninglessness.

            E.G.: the Bolshevik Communists called themselves Socialists, but if we define socialism as worker control of the means of production, that was a lie – a lie that is equally convenient for Capitalists. Government bureaucracy is not the workers. And the concentration of power leads inevitably to tyranny.

            Syndicalism disperses power, spreading it to as many people as possible, but it does need market mechanisms to coordinate production and distribution. It also democratizes markets by spreading power and income widely.

            To my knowledge, it has not been tried on a national scale, though there are working examples like the Mondragon companies and a couple of chain stores in my area (BiMart and Winco.) I would argue that this is potentially the Next Big Thing in political economy. Happily for me, the US Green Party has recently adopted this model.

            Reply
            1. Morgan Everett

              I’m fairly positive that the term predates Greer (though I do recall the article where he was discussing it). The first time I ever saw it used was by Chomsky, who self-identifies as an anarcho-syndicalist. I think that you’re correct about the “misused to the point of meaninglessness” though

              Reply
          4. Oregoncharles

            The hippies aren’t all that “long ago” (raises hand). They’re still around, and so are some of the communes. Of course, there was a very high shrinkage rate; Americans aren’t raised fo rthat sort of thing. Not that I live in one.

            Reply
            1. Carolinian

              No offense intended. It seems like a long time to me. I’ve said here before that the onetime counterculture’s rejection of brainwashed consumerism may be the way out of many dilemmas. Adam Curtis has made a documentary on how the “establishment” (a hippie term) strangled such subversion in its cradle. Good to know some have kept the faith.

              Reply
        2. taunger

          Exactly. Nothing cogent except the effect of opposition. Not a strong piece, but a good reminder that all opposition to concrete material benefits does not come from corporatists, billionaires and war mongers.

          Reply
        3. Procopius

          When I was in high school during the McCarthy Years, we were taught that America was not a purely capitalist country, because that wouldn’t work. Instead, we were told, what we had was a “mixed economy,” with regulated markets and regulations to prevent manufacturers and merchants from cheating. Profit was the lifeblood of the economy but workers had to be paid in proportion to their contribution to the enterprise. Withoug workers there would be no profits, and without profits no workers could be employed. After 1973 this understanding was abandoned.

          Reply
    3. Kurt Sperry

      The author makes an easily falsifiable prediction that goes to the very heart of his argument:

      “Bernie is about to learn that lesson once Kamala Harris and the DNC donkeys give him a second shellacking. I’ll say it again and again, there is no changing the system from within”

      I get a strong hit of learned helplessness off this piece. We’ll see.

      Reply
      1. Jeff W

        I get a strong hit of learned helplessness off this piece.

        I do, too.

        Quoting the article:

        I’ll say it again and again, there is no changing the system from within.

        Did this guy somehow miss Deng Xiaoping or Mikhail Gorbachev?

        Reply
    4. Jeremy Grimm

      ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely’ is a great way to end all hope for government of, by, and for the people. Direct democracy doesn’t scale well to 300+ millions and not for technical reasons impairing its implementation. Localism may be fine for power utilities, zoning and traffic ordinances. How does it manage defense, externalities — like smog — crossing from outside the local realm, and those large problems that require large initiatives? How would the railroads, or highway system have been built through local initiative? Anyone who has been part of local government may seriously question the notion that power must be ‘absolute’ to corrupt absolutely.

      Reply
        1. JEHR

          I agree that making democracy work in very populous countries is probably difficult. I still think that Democratic Socialism is a system that works well as long as the democracy is strong and not infused with big money in its politics.

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If smaller country A decides to become bussiness-friendly and repeals all pollution laws, and invites all the new bussinesses to locate right on the border with smaller country B which is directly downwind from country A; what exactly is country B supposed to do about that?

          Reply
    5. djrichard

      From the Ghion article:

      Both systems depend on central authorities lording over all of us. … In both instances, the people become indentured servants either to politburos or the plutocracy.

      I would agree with this, even more so if the word “indentured” is dropped … “the people become servants either to politburos or the plutocracy”. They don’t even need to be indentured. They’ll do it willingly. Not all that different than being a part of a religion. All that’s required is your willing obedience. And if not willing, well indentured service through debt is sufficient, lol.

      It resonates with what St. Paul was getting at, that all earthly authority is God’s authority. I think St. Paul was on to something more than is really appreciated. [I’m guessing his desire was an end-game where all authority bends the knee and delivers on the promise of … salvation? Who knows. Ultimately everybody was supposed to cool their jets and not change the status quo in the mean time.] But that conflation of earthly authority and Godly authority is important because it recognizes that people are obedient to authority. To the point that we might as well be honest with ourselves and recognize that any earthly authority doesn’t act any different than a church or organized religion does. If people are willing to be obedient to an authority and labor on behalf of it, then they’re true believers – they’ve discovered their church. The non-believers can be dealt with.

      It’s to the point now where watching the blue team vs red team makes me think that this is no different than religious warfare: it’s the catholics vs the protestants. I root for my religion because I want my religion to vanquish those non-believers (evil doers) on the other side. Then we can all peacefully pray at the same altar.

      Anyways, it resonates with what James Frazer was getting at in “The Golden Bough”. Basically the new boss (priest king) must kill the old boss (priest king). But as far as the rest of us are concerned, when under the regime of the old boss, either be part of the solution (be a true believer) or don’t get in the way. And when under the regime of the new boss, ditto. Unless you’re willing to become the new priest king and kill the existing boss. But before doing so, make sure you have won the hearts and minds of a dominant part of the population.

      By the way, it also resonates with what C.J. Hopkins is getting at when he says “at present, an alternative is unimaginable … literally unimaginable, in the sense that we are not yet capable of conceiving a credible alternative system, or a way to get there.”

      Is communalism that alternative? Or syndicalism? hmm. I’m still of the opinion that the only ones that really figured out how to cope with this are the oceanic people that centered their relationships around the potlatch: I give so that you may give. The idea wasn’t to generate “winners” who lorded it over everybody else. The result was more like a massive participatory sport. Even their relationships with their Gods worked the same way. Unfortunately, I think recreating that is beyond our ken.

      Reply
    1. Roger Smith

      Community Pets… this is a really interesting idea. Plus it fosters trust in strangers for these animals, who will then be less likely to attack some random person.

      Reply
    2. crittermom

      Antidote: video
      I enjoyed the video as well. I’d had no idea any country did this for their strays! A heartwarming story.

      Sadly, in this country, there are heartbreaking ads begging for financial help for abused and abandoned animals, with so many euthanized. Quite the contrast.

      I also couldn’t help but see that those dogs and cats in Istanbul have better health care and access to food than many, many people here in the US–and it’s free for them.

      I’m bettin’ many readers here will think the same after watching it.

      Antidote: dog photo
      Great capture, Rick! Quite the models.
      I wasn’t familiar with that beautiful Tervuren breed so had to look them up. They sound like great dogs.
      Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
      1. tomP

        Al the Belgian Shepherds (Malinois, Turvuren, Groenendael) are wonderful dogs, but are demanding as they don’t tolerate boredom well. (If you don’t keep them occupied, they will find something “interesting” to do.)

        We had a Schipperke, the pint sized version, and he was the smartest dog I ever met. Had to put a padlock on his crate since he would let himself out by manipulating the slide latch with his teeth and tongue. He would also unclip the leash we hooked up to a tie out stake and free himself to conduct neighborhood patrols. So long as he was barking it was OK, but if he got quiet, we knew he was working on escaping.

        Sigh, miss you Bud!

        Reply
      2. John

        Give medical treatment to the individual so the herd stays healthy. Basic vet medicine. What a concept. M4A. Seems the socialists get this.

        Reply
        1. fajensen

          Well, that is what those evil socialists and the social democrats (before the latter got infested with neoliberalism) in Europe does to people too. A rational selfish person probably don’t want to be exposed to measles, tuberculosis or hepatitis A, B, and C because their neighbours couldn’t afford to be treated. Unfortunately, we live in a time of unreason and with that unreasoning selfishness.

          I didn’t know the Turks could also be like this. My prejudice against Turks just went down a notch or two.

          Reply
      3. Tom Doak

        I was at a country club in Kolkata last year and was surprised to learn that they feel obliged to take care of dozens of stray dogs and cats on their property. I got the impression it is a function of their belief in reincarnation: one has a different attitude toward animals if they might be your ancestors (or your great-great grandchildren).

        I’ve seen all over India, Nepal and Sri Lanka that the dogs seem to have a totally different sort of life – a social life, spending their days with other dogs and doing things together. They are not “hunting in packs” any more than humans do when they get together; they just look like they’re going out for lunch. I’m not sure if there is an official effort to take care of strays in those countries, but there must be a collective effort of some kind.

        Reply
      4. Annieb

        Over the past few years a Golden Retriever Rescue group has made a determined effort to rescue Golden’s from Turkey. Hard to believe but these gorgeous dogs are abandoned, and they become vulnerable street dogs. I say vulnerable because most Goldens have a mild personality. Apparently the dogs bounce back from street life and are doing well as lucky Colorado dogs.
        http://www.goldenrescue.com/operation-turkey-dog-colorado

        Reply
    3. Skk

      there’s a great movie called Kedi, about the stray cats of Istanbul. Do check it out. Separately, my niece in India, is an animal lover, takes after me I reckon, and does a lot of advocacy for the street dogs. She was recently featured on TV there, warning of the dognapping that seems to be happening in her neighborhood. Indeed community pets is her angle on the street dogs. I don’t agree but, hey, she lives there so it’s her community’s choice.

      Reply
  1. notabanker

    “Corbyn heads to EU to give vision of Brexit deal”

    In related news, this afternoon I will make an appearance in my closet to deliver to my wardrobe my vision of how it will now be self-laundered. It’s a brilliant plan. I expect it will be well received.

    Reply
    1. Mirdif

      Corbyn would probably accept permanent customs union and regulatory alignment in the withdrawal agreement in lieu of a backstop. If the EU offers this, that means Labour would whip to vote for such a deal. In such a scenario, this would be the stick that May used to bring most of the ERG in to line to vote for her deal. She’ll threaten the ERG that it’s her deal with a backstop or her deal with permanent customs union + regulatory alignment – vassal status as Somerset Lloyd-James Jr would say.

      Also, can anybody comment on the threat by Fitch to downgrade UK’s debt rating and how this impacts on corporate risk under Basel. Is a downgrade from AA likely to impact UK domiciled corporates, especially in financial services, at all?

      Reply
      1. vlade

        CU doesn’t solve NI problem. Did you ever see a picture of Turkey-EU border?

        Regulatory alignement doesn’t solve the NI problem either, nor does it solve single market access. It’s necessary, but not sufficient precondition.

        The EU was very clear from the start – single market = 4 freedoms including freedom of movement (which, incidentally, even Swiss with their special version of treatisied relationship, which the EU said is not on offer anymore, have in a way).

        The EU set up a number of options before. Corbyn’s stated option is cherry picking. Unavailable.

        The EU, unfortunately, wasn’t as clear on the NI border, where there are only three real options. Two that cover whole UK – single-market like access (with freedoms) = current situation, or hard border, and one that covers NI only – sea border between NI and the island of Great Britain.

        The backstop, TBH, is a special case which tried to avoid “sea border” issue, but effectively limits the UK sovreignty over NI in exchange.

        Reply
        1. Mirdif

          I guess I’m wrong but I was thinking about May’s whole weird scheme of single market for goods which even if the EU go for it is bone-crushingly bad for the UK as the economy is a predominantly services economy.

          Nevertheless, Corbyn and Labour are not considered reliable partners by the Tories as there is a massive amount of legislation to pass after the deal passes.

          The border will go down the Irish Sea once the Tories get a majority; I don’t expect the British establishment to let Corbyn anywhere near government even though IMO he’s going to hardly change anything.

          Reply
      2. antonyb

        I *believe*, with Fitch confirming the UK Country Ceiling at AAA, that there is no impact on UK domiciled corporates’ ratings.

        Reply
    2. David

      It would be fascinating to know what informal contacts there may have been between the EU and its major members and the Labour Party. I don’t think Corbyn would have gone to Brussels unless there had been. There will always be some contacts, because major embassies in London are expected to keep up to date with Opposition thinking. But given the present chaos, some at least of the 27, as well as the EC, may now feel that they have to put delicate feelers out to Labour, if not to some of the other actors as well. Interesting times.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think a key problem for Labour – similar to the Tories – is that they have been semi-detached from their political allies in Europe, although with Labour it dates from Corbyns election, seeing as there was nervousness from other centre left parties about being too associated with him (Blair of course, was a big star as far as European centre left parties were concerned back in the 1990’s). I know the Irish Labour Party, or whatever is left of it, has kept a slightly embarrassed distance between themselves and Corbyn as they know well he is far more sympathetic to the more far left parties in Ireland, north and south.

        From what I know of how it works, informal and formal contacts within the European parliament is the main way that non-Government parties keep in contact with whats going on in Brussels, and vice versa.

        Reply
        1. Andrew Thomas

          Listening to BBC 3+ hours ago. Interview with someone about the lack of impact of all this on Mr. Market. Interviewee states that there are 4 expectations in its collective brain: 1. May’s Deal gets done at the last minute. 2. There is a 2d referendum. Regarded as a long shot but timing not mentioned as an issue; only lack of consensus on how to put the question. 3. There is a general election. Presumably, before Mar. 29. No discussion as to why it would slow anything down. Again, presumption implicit that delay would be asked for and gladly given by EU. Dismissed as very unlikely, but only because neither Tories nor Labour wants one. 4. Crash out Brexit on Mar. 29. Dismissed as very unlikely because it is, well, unthinkable. I was driving while listening, so I can’t be 100% sure. If this is a correct reading, Mr. Market thinks the hard Brexit Tories will be abandoned by enough of their colleagues that, when joined by Labour, the May deal will go through. Sounds like unicorns to me. I am going to check with Las Vegas and find out if there’s any action there.

          Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “China’s Xinhua News Agency unveiling the world’s first female #AI news anchor, “Xin Xiaomeng,’.”

    Hey, why not? They pay people like Rachel Maddow $30,000 a day to lie their faces off and say stupid things like the Russians are going to freeze Americans to death. They could pay some programmer $30,000 a year to do the same sort of stuff and save a bundle.

    Reply
    1. zagonostra

      It would be easy to loop it’s Russia Meddling, Funding, ______, and so on. From a programmer’s standpoint you could create subroutines and dynamic variables that would make it much more fluid and believable than Maddow.

      You coders out their might have some extra work coming your way…

      Reply
      1. Skip Intro

        Why would they want to make Maddow more believable? No one with functional critical facilities believes her anyway. As a loyalty test, the less believable the lie, the better the loyalty bonus for swallowing and regurgitating it.

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How do we know that there is not a woman, or a man, behind that automaton?

      (That question has been around for centuries).

      Reply
  3. Polar Donkey

    Shanker Singham is burning Britain to the ground. It is bizarre how people like him (John Bolton, Frank Gaffney, Wayne Lapierre, Elliot Abrams, Juan Guiado, Macron) emerge from relative obscurity to wreak havoc or at least try their best too. How are these a-holes never held accountable.

    Reply
  4. Carla

    Re: Why Bernie matters more than people think — Studebaker links the rightward turn of the Democrat party to Carter’s election in 1976. What also occurred that year, but Studebaker fails to mention, was the Supreme Court decision in Buckley v. Valeo, decreeing that according to the Constitution, money equals speech. I think this was much more significant than the election of Carter. Buckley was a mere 90 years after Santa Clara County v. the Southern Pacific Railroad in which a side-note first asserted constitutional personhood rights for corporations.

    Next week, Pramila Jayapal will re-introduce the We the People Amendment in the 116th Congress, hopefully with its original number, HJR-48. Call your Congress Critter to request his or her participation as an original co-sponsor.

    You can read the text of HJR-48 here:
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/48/text

    Reply
      1. Carla

        The problem with just reversing Buckley is that it leaves the 1886 Santa Clara decision (and fatal side-note) in place. As long as corporate entities can claim the constitutional rights of human persons, they will run roughshod over the rights of human individuals. That’s why the We the People Amendment addresses both.

        Reply
          1. Carla

            The Lake Erie Bill of Rights goes before Toledo, Ohio voters next Tuesday, Feb. 26. It has been covered in The Guardian, the NY Times and many big ag publications in the Great Lakes region.

            Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “What if the Mueller report changes nothing?”

    Oh, I think we know what is going to be in that report. Mueller will state that Trump is in fact controlled by Putin and it was the Russians which let him win the 2016 US Presidential elections. When critics point out that there is not one single fact in the entire report to back up his conclusions, Mueller will simply say that he could not include them as that would compromise intelligence sources and methods to the Russians and that they are in an Annex to the report that has been classified as top secret to the public.

    Reply
  6. Wukchumni

    Have you noticed people giving up on recycling?

    I know of 2 that were how shall we say, a little anal retentive in making sure every possibility to recycle was taken, and now they’re much less interested, and one of them didn’t even know it was all going to China heretofore, until I told her as much.

    You couldn’t say it was their raison d’être, but both took great pride in ‘saving’ the planet, or so they thought.

    The conscientious citizens of Philadelphia continue to put their pizza boxes, plastic bottles, yoghurt containers and other items into recycling bins.

    But in the past three months, half of these recyclables have been loaded on to trucks, taken to a hulking incineration facility and burned, according to the city’s government.

    It is “virtually impossible to meet the stringent contamination standards established in China”, said a spokeswoman for the city of Philadelphia, who added that the cost of recycling has become a “major impact on the city’s budget”, at around $78 a ton. Half of the city’s recycling is now going to the Covanta plant, the spokeswoman said.

    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/feb/21/philadelphia-covanta-incinerator-recyclables-china-ban-imports

    Reply
    1. katiebird

      Aren’t the pizza boxes a big reason for our recycling being rejected? How do you get all the cheese and grease out of a pizza box?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The Chinese being desirous of only perfectly clean recyclables is their way of telling us very nicely to stick them where the Sun doesn’t shine.

        Reply
        1. Rod

          I want to add a recent anecdote about the recycling clueless:
          I just finished working 9 days behind the scenes of the NBA AllStar Game in Charlotte NC.
          Aside from equipment, most everything to be installed came in packaging(much much foam roll)–thrown away. The Caterer feeding a hundred(s) had unwaxed paper plates AND corn starch utensils that got comingled with compost recycle trash in discard sorter bins. Our group loaded out the stage risers(built of at least 1k ft of 1″x1″ steel tube) straight into 2 40 yd ConstDemo dumpsters.
          I asked my Supervisors if the NBA partnered with CharMeck Waste management on disposal plan–no body knew(but there were no visible collectors). I asked if the NBA had an Event Waste Manager(no one could identify anyone with that title). I asked the Subcontractor I worked with if they had a recycling plan for their install(dumpsters). Talked to the caterer about segregating waste stream-and learned that utensils were corn starch then- but even though they bused the tables the workers comingled everything rendering everything ‘trash’.
          What was missing?
          Besides the correct attitude missing, a person whose task was to enable or groom the desired behavior( a social greaser for lack of a better connotation) was also missing.
          And a good PR person.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            You can see the path this is going, recycling was the one feel=good program where you felt as if you were making a difference, and now as per your account, it’s an orphan accountable to nobody, that needs to be tossed out.

            Kinda sucky timing the Green New Deal, coming up against the Trashy New Novel Way

            Reply
        2. JB

          What is stopping the U.S. from recycling its own recyclable materials? Why the need to ship them across an ocean for recycling on the other side of the planet?

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Communities across the land pretty much opted for the sorting of recyclables and not much more (that’s why we throw everything in 1 bin here in the USA) and many find that w/o any return on their investment now, are just throwing most of it in the trash.

            To really recycle it would be well beyond the financial capability of cities.

            Reply
          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Because all the industry that could use that recyclable material was shipped across an ocean to the other side of the planet first.

            Reply
          3. Oh

            For a long time China was being used as the dump for “recyclables”. Now it’s onward to the African countries. Although I recycle to the maximum extent, I’m not sure if the materials are really being recycled.

            Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        You’re right: Pizza boxes don’t belong in recycling.

        I use them for mulch under my grape vines and newly planted trees. They don’t have tape that has to be peeled off.

        Reply
        1. RMO

          They go in the “green bin” in my area along with yard and food waste. At least those that people don’t compost themselves. Since my wife and I took over delivering the local newspaper from the family that moved away we’ve gotten to know a lot of people around our house. A lot of them use waste and paper in their yards and gardens. The city also seems to inspect the recycling, garbage and “green” bins periodically and I’ve seen warnings on bins of people who have put the wrong things out – e.g. aerosol cans, batteries, plastic that isn’t compatible, food waste in the recycling hazardous waste in the garbage etc.

          Reply
        2. fajensen

          I wouldn’t do that. The cardboard can, and often is, be treated with silicone oils to make the boxes moisture and grease resistant and silicones are really nasty stuff for people (endocrine disruptor) and the environment (endocrine disruptor, sticks around forever).

          It is, IMO, better to restrict the Pizza intake and throw the boxed in the “burnable” section.

          Or buy a lava-stone for baking home-made pizza in the oven. Pizza is a good way to clean up the fridge.

          Reply
    2. serrav

      A while back my municipality did a clever and successful bit of green-washed austerity: they changed weekly garbage collection to every two weeks. Yard waste and recycling still occurs weekly. Prices were kept the same from the haulers.

      I was livid at the transparent ripoff, but all my neighbors and friends swallowed it without a peep. If it came in a Saving The Planet wrapper, it must be good.

      Now, since China changed their tune, I know for a fact that everything (including recyclables) goes to the dump. So guess where my overflow garbage sometimes ends up? The garbage I used to have plenty of space for in my garbage bin until they halved my collection? Yes, that’s right, recycling.

      Reply
      1. False Solace

        My baby boomer parents “recycle” all manner of things that aren’t actually recyclable. Even if it explicitly says on the bin that it can’t be recycled. They just chuck it in the bin and stare blankly when I try to educate them, then do it again. I’ve pretty much given up.

        Reply
        1. Spoofs desu

          That’s funny…..I always thought recycling was not much more than a ritualistic form of expiation. It never really made much sense outside of this framework since, in general, it actually takes more energy to recycle (as opposed to reuse).

          But, as Americans, we seem to have this not only unique ability but almost a god given right to conflate the intentions of our actions with thier consequences.

          But I guess it shouldn’t be surprising from a culture whose motto is to “live the American dream”

          Reply
  7. zagonostra

    >WaPo Bernie

    As he joins the field for 2020, the path ahead will be more complicated and the environment potentially less forgiving.

    As if 2016 was “forgiving” to Sander’s campaign?

    He has some supporters who are as loyal to him as President Trump’s backers are to the president.

    “Some”, he as millions of supporters, how about “many”…and comparing with Trump? Both Trump and Sander’s appeal to a vast majority of the same pool of people, those the ruling class abhor.

    Judging from events in New Hampshire the past few days — and those in Iowa and South Carolina and elsewhere this year — Democratic voters are eager to see and hear all the candidates. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) drew nearly 250 people to a house party Monday morning in Nashua. Harris was greeted with an overflow crowd in Portsmouth. Warren had long lines in California.

    Yeah and I suppose anyone running can fill a football stadium to capacity.

    It will be instructive to chart the evolution of WaPo’s articles on Bernie as time goes by and momentum builds, I predict the articles will become more and more strident, skewed, and biased.

    The 16 articles in as many days in 2016 smearing Sanders is still very fresh in my memory.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, Bernie Sanders attracted 13,000 people to a rally in Reid Park. Matter of fact, people climbed trees so they could see him. And those trees are a long way from the stage.

      That was back in October 2015, and I was there. I’ve never seen such a big crowd in Reid Park. Ever.

      This time around, I think Bernie is going to need Arizona Stadium, which is where the University of Arizona hosts football games. That stadium seats 55,000.

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        We went to hear Bernie speak at one of his early Los Angeles appearances at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Parking and traffic were gridlocked nightmares. We paid some local residents ten dollars to park behind their vehicles in the driveway of their house, then walked approx five blocks to the Coliseum. We had arrived plenty early but could only get as close as the outer gates….

        Reply
        1. jrs

          I met him walking down Hollywood Blvd. and tried to get a cheer going for him, but almost noone noticed him. Well that is Hollywood for you. It seemed so typical of why I hate this town sometimes, could people get any more apathetic, people this is a major Presidential candidate here just walking down the street ….

          Oh well maybe I should just blame the dumb tourists. Could the tourists in this town get any more apathetic …

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            When I lived in L.A. and friends would come from afar and wanted to ‘see’ Hollywood, the truth was for an average Angeleno with no connections, there wasn’t much there, there.

            Reply
    2. Lemmy Caution

      FWIW, Sanders won a 2/20/19 DailyKos straw poll with 44% of the votes. Harris finished a distant second with 15% and Warren third at 10%. All others were in single-digit territory.

      An impressive result, to be sure, although many of the anti-Sanders commenters were quick to write off the results as tainted by freepers and Russian bots (!). The comments are very interesting though. For one, the old arguments for and against Sanders that were hurled around in 2016 are back, distilled over time into almost shorthand charges and counter charges that give a preview of what we can expect again this round.

      Secondly though, even within the DailyKos bubble, it seems harder to ignore the fact that Sanders is the instant front runner. His record-breaking first-day fundraising haul positions him to pick up where he left off in 2016 and this time he has the wind at his back — that is, with more and more of his once Quixotic policy ideas now adopted by other candidates (or at least given lip service to).

      Given Bernie’s popularity among the general public and even in places like DailyKos, it will be interesting to see how corporate Democrats try to discredit him (again) in such a way that still gives them a shot at convincing his supporters to switch their allegience to the preferred candidate.

      Reply
      1. Grant

        “Given Bernie’s popularity among the general public and even in places like DailyKos, it will be interesting to see how corporate Democrats try to discredit him (again) in such a way that still gives them a shot at convincing his supporters to switch their allegience to the preferred candidate”

        The problem, of course, is that people are done with the fluff and are the fake BS. Harris puts hot sauce on her greens, wow. And here is Hillary’s playlist. Harris hired Clinton’s old band of losers, including her communications director. Sanders at this point is the clear front runner, but there will be a ton of horrible things coming by the establishment and the Democratic Party. All the major players that were behind Clinton in California, all of the big hitters on the political scene, are behind Harris, and there was already a ton of horrible stuff that happened in 2016 regarding the vote in the California primary. Lots of votes, as far as I know, were never even counted. The Democrats at the state level in California have superdelegates too. Shortly after the 2016 election, the rank and file wanted someone to chair the party and voted for her, the elites installed someone over the will of the rank and file. They installed a former pharma lobbyist that had previously lobbied against the state using its economies of scale to bargain down the price of drugs, and his buddy Rendon is the person that pulled the single payer bill. The person they installed, Bauman, had to eventually resign in disgrace. Those are the people behind Harris. Dolores Huerta, the person that outright lied about Sanders supporters in Vegas and chair throwing (remember that?), she is back and is supporting Harris. The Correct the Record types will be back, Tanden, the CAP and their hack friends in the media will be doing their thing too. 2016 all over again? We will see.

        In short, they won’t appeal to enough people to win a fair race and they know it, no matter how much they focus on the identity of Harris. The existing power structure has picked Harris (they have backups too), which is pretty telling. If there is structural racism and sexism, does it matter that those benefiting from the system as is are backing her like they are? If so, seems that her identity is being used cynically (obvious) and that her identity will have no impact on whether or not poor black kids have lead in their water, or whether their school gets privatized, or whether they or their parents can see a doctor and get care whenever they need it, or whether we can put in place the radical changes needed to deal with the environmental crisis, or racial justice. Policies will determine these things, and they offer nothing at all on policy. Go to Harris’s site, try to find specifics on policy, try to pin her down on what SHE will fight for in regards to issues, not what she will be willing to accept. Kind of depressing how much we are led by mediocre thinkers and corrupt people. The authoritarian nature of our political system is pretty extreme.

        Reply
          1. Grant

            They have no real new tricks, I think they just need enough fools. They will do what they always do. On policy, be incredibly vague, but specific enough that it might be interpreted to actually stand for something. As a lawyer, Harris will be great about that. Obama, when he ran, talked about re-negotiating NAFTA, then his handlers leaked that he didn’t really mean it. Harris said that she was all in on single payer, when she was on national TV, but her handlers freaked. What the hell are you doing, they probably thought, supporting an actual solution to a societal problem?! Her handlers then let it be known that while she said to be done with private insurance, she was in fact open to that very thing.

            And when her record is bad, which it is, and she has done nothing of note at all in office, when she hasn’t led on anything, and doesn’t have any vision or clear policy proposals, when she is critiqued for getting support from the same old donors and the same old advisers, you will be called a sexist and a racist. If you are a woman of color, you are an ideological purist, whatever. Personal attacks.

            They offer no solutions to any problems, no alternatives, no vision, no path from here to where we need to go. What else are they going to do to win an election? What should terrify anyone on the left is the idea of locking ourselves in to the next eight years to Bill Clinton 3.0, or Obama 2.0 on policy. Cause that is what most everyone but Sanders, to an extent Warren, and Gabbard offer. Maybe, if they got their way, only 25,000 Americans will die every year from this healthcare system. That is what they will call progress.

            Reply
        1. Lemmy Caution

          They may have got the old band back together, but time will tell if anyone wants to hear those tired tunes again.

          Never, ever come to pass
          By Hillary Clinton

          I don’t think people are looking for change
          By Nancy Pelosi

          For every one we lose, we’ll pick up two
          By Chuck Schumer

          Reply
        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          They will double down on all their 2016 tricks. I.e. Correct the Record’s ‘Russian’-troll tactics will be deployed across social media. They will spam the MSM with pearl-clutching fury over “outrages!!” Sanders committed to paper in ~1975. Nothing new IMO, but a very vigorous push against him across the media spectrum. If he weren’t Jewish they would be insinuating anti-Semitism as well. As PK noted yesterday, Sanders’ announcement of his candidacy contained a vigorous attack on Trump, likely in part to thwart this establishment Democrat ratfu*king.

          If smears fail, they will use procedural tactics to deny Sanders the Democratic nomination. Harris will be their nominee, and they will brand anyone who is even inenthused about her a racist. Then Trump will win a 2nd term, and he may or may not actually remain in power through 2024. Establishment Democrats and their upper 5% constituency win either way. People who eat at soup kitchens at the end of each month lose, either way.

          Reply
          1. Lemmy Caution

            Hillary is doing her part to keep Russiagate alive and well so it can be deployed at will in the 2020 race. This tweet of hers references a Politico article about social media meddlers hellbent on disrupting the election and warns:

            “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.”

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Maybe they will upgrade their old tricks. So instead of constantly hearing Russia!Russia!Russia! you will hear instead China!China!China!

              Reply
  8. disc_writes

    About the article about Italian revisionism: the fascists were not the only murderers, and are not the only one who should “face up” to their past.

    In reality, the post-war deal was that no one would ever have to face up to their past: Italians were “good people”, except for the fascists. The French did not collaborate and were occupied. The British fought for freedom. The Germans did horrible things, but were atoning. The Americans were the good guys. The Japanese could quietly forget the whole story.

    But the post-war consensus was so insufferably hypocritical that a reaction had to come. It is not just the Italians: the Germans feel less and less obliged to apologize, the British still think of old Britannia, the Dutch and the Swedish are having second thoughts on multiculturalism. The Serbians started a war because they stopped believing in internationalism. The Japanese honor their shrines.

    What does the author hope to do by singling out the Italians? Does he not realize that what is happening in Italian politics, is happening everywhere else, too? Insisting on a tired lie will not make the newer lies go away.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I think one of the factors is there is quite a bit of fascist Italy still on display all over the country, when you’re in the railway station in Milano, it’s practically a Mussolini artfest. You never see much in the way of reminders of the 3rd Reich in Germany, in comparison.

      Reply
      1. Kurt Sperry

        I’ve been to Stazione Milano Centrale numerous times and never noticed its “fascist architecture”. There are plenty of concrete constructions of the period all over Italy, ranging from kitschy brutal neoclassical to quite modern/minimalist feeling (also usually brutal). Many of these buildings are still in use as government offices or postal facilities or other public buildings today. I find them ugly, but others won’t and as long as they are in use I can see no reason to tear them down or abandon them based purely on either aesthetic or ideological reasons.

        Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            The fasces were a Roman symbol (of government, IIRC), so ineradicable from Italian history. The swastika, OTOH, as far as I know, has a unique significance in Germany – though extremely similar symbols occur among both kinds of Indians.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              Fasces grace the house of representatives behind the podium and on the reverse of a Mercury Dime, so it isn’t as if we haven’t borrowed from the ancient Romans as well, while Mussolini was carving out a so-called sequel.

              Reply
      2. Olivier

        Duh. There are more fascist-era buildings in Italy than in Germany because, one, the country’s cities weren’t bombed to a fine dust by the likes of Churchill and, second, the fascist era lasted much longer in Italy. You can even find some fascist-era slogans on a building wall (such as “Mussolini ha sempre ragione”) here and were. So what?

        Reply
      3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Studying abroad in Due Santi, Rome, I bought a Mussolini Apron for my mom.

        F i was slow on the uptake back in 2003…

        Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      What does the author hope to do by singling out the Italians?

      One, the author isn’t singling out Italians. Recent statements and actions by Italian government officials provoked the article, and nothing in this article is an attempt to handwave sins of other actors away.

      The author of the article is named “Angelo Baccato,” so my suspicion (I’m not a detective) is that the author might be…I may be going out on a limb…Italian.

      Reply
      1. disc_writes

        Sure he is Italian (although interestingly, he is a well-educated second-generation migrant. This is something new, since 40 years ago there were next to no immigrants in Italy. Times change, I am getting old).

        I am not quibbling about nationality. All I am saying is that the author is reducing a general trend (revolt against a hypocritical consensus) to a national specificity (Italians lie about their past).

        It makes no sense! The previous consensus was also a lie! A conscious lie: it was the Communists in Italy who accepted to “forget” fascist crimes in exchange for social peace. A lie that served us well, and bought us decades of peace. But a lie nonetheless!

        Everybody got a clean start after WWII. Why does he want to rescind that privilege for Italians alone (fascists!), but not for everybody else? And is he aware of what would happen if everyone suddenly started “facing up to his own past”?

        There are things that are better kept in a closet, if you want to go about your daily life.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Right, but not every article can solve all the world’s problems. That would be absurd. We call it out when an article suggests a Republican’s sin means we need to support a Democrat who just did the same thing.

          This is an informative article. Is every book about everything? Beyond not mentioning every country in World War II, what is the problem with the article? Is it based on lies? Is not sourced?

          You should write an article describing larger connections, but this article neither has the space for it or suggests the problems are limited to Italians. What is the problem?

          The author isn’t Hans Himmler blaming Italians for World War II.

          Reply
      2. Alain de Benoist

        The author is of African descent and the subtext of his article is that Italy has sinned in the past and the best way to atone for these historic sins is to take in more African migrants. Sure he isn’t quite that blunt about it but at the end of the day it is a plea to allow more of his co-ethnics into the country. I suppose in America it would be called an appeal to white guilt.

        You see a similar historic guilt campaign under way in Poland, where their lack of a colonial past is no protection from the historic guilt racket; recently globalist campaigners and their allies have tried to guilt out Poland over the holocaust.

        Reply
        1. disc_writes

          >I suppose in America it would be called an appeal to white guilt.

          I reluctantly have to agree.

          I guess what disappoints me most in the article, is that the author ignores a quote by Marc Bloch it itself links to (in the part about Montanelli):

          “Are we so sure of ourselves and of our times, that we could tell the justs from the damned in among our fathers?”

          He apparently thinks so, and he is on the right side of history. It must be because he is still too young.

          Reply
        2. Lee

          I doubt that there is anyone alive today who is not descended from someone who did something horrible to someone else. Yet another reason to eschew the services of companies such as 23 and Me. I know enough about some of my misbegotten forbears to know I have no wish to know more.

          At what point and by what means may an intergenerational debt said to be owed by the descendants of one group to the descendants of another be deemed settled?

          Reply
        3. The Rev Kev

          Israel just tried to guilt Poland over its past a few days ago but as Poland suffered six million dead in WW2, there were in no mood to put up with their bs. Got worse when it was implied by Israel’s acting foreign minister that Poles suckled anti-semitism with their mother’s milk. Poland told them to shove it and pulled out of a scheduled conference in Jerusalem which led to the whole conference being cancelled.

          https://www.timesofisrael.com/siding-with-poland-us-slams-israeli-fms-offensive-anti-semitism-remark/

          Reply
          1. vidimi

            that is bollocks. there is no denying that many individual poles collaborated with their nazi occupiers in the purging of their jewish neighbours but there was no such thing as poland at the time for poland to be guilty. unlike say france, which was administered by a puppet french government in vichy, poland was conquered territory and administered entirely by germany.
            the current government in poland therefore has reasonable ground to reject such statements.

            Reply
      3. DJG

        NotTimothyGeithner: Agreed. The actions are some extremely aggressive and untoward comments from Salvini and others that reek of irredentism, which got Italy into trouble in the past.

        Italian Istria? Those days are over. But not for those who are politically expedient and stoking resentments to get political power.

        I suppose that next week Salvini will be in Chambery proclaiming Italian Savoia.

        You can see why these particular developments are particulary contemptible.

        By the way, Salvini will be showing up in DC for the Convervative Political Action Conference (mentioned in an article in La Stampa). A man who is all ambition meets up with pure-hearted U.S. conservatives and reactionaries: What possibly could go wrong?

        Reply
        1. fajensen

          The US needs another “spoiler of the broth” in the EU now that the UK has kicked that chair out from under itself.

          Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      In an article like this mention could be made of the Vichy problem in France or Francoists in Spain but there was not. I find it strange that there is no connection being made with the Italians here or the Yellow Vests in France or Brexit in UK. The fact is that for the past quarter of a century there has been a concerted effort to erase national identities in Europe and to have the people there just call themselves Europeans. The trouble arises when national governments in the EU are being sidelined & neutered and power going to a small, unelected group of neoliberal bureaucrats in Brussels that is accountable to no-one. Those groups that I mentioned plus other countries such as Hungary pushing back is a fight to bring back power home. As the main political parties in Europe seem to have been co-opted with the EU, this leaves people with little choice but to choose nationalists to represent them like you see here in Italy.

      Reply
      1. disc_writes

        Sure, the now-common analysis applies here: the middle classes have been bearing the brunt of globalization, while the upper classes have enthusiastically supported the global/multicultural consensus. As a result, the middle classes are rebelling against everything the established system stands for, including anti-fascism.

        If intellectuals stopped scolding the lower-middle classes because of “fascism”, and started pushing instead for a reduction in inequality, the problem would not exist.

        Too many people, now without prospects, remember a more fulfilling existence not so long ago. So long their problems are not addressed or even discussed, they will vote for whoever says the most outrageous things.

        Maybe we can change the title of the article into “Liberals must face up to their classist past – no amount of revisionism will erase its legacy of suffering”.

        Reply
      2. Anonymous2

        Rev Kevin

        Your comments oversimplify the governance arrangements of the EU, which is governed by the Council of Ministers (elected Heads of Government and Ministers of the Member States ), the European Parliament (directly elected by the people of the EU), as well as the European Commission ( the head of which is now chosen by the Parliament ). Talking only of unelected bureaucrats gives a false picture of a complex structure.

        Reply
        1. Swamp Yankee

          Yes, but my understanding is that the Parliament cannot originate legislation — is that correct? It seems to more closely resemble indirect-indirect democracy, like when US Senators were elected by state legislatures (themselves elected representatives).

          In other words, the equivalent of the House of Commons/House of Representatives, the branch closest to the People, has very little power beyond casting a stamp of approval onto what the executive branch has already done.

          I’m no expert on EU governance, so this could well be off-base, and I’m certainly glad to be corrected if I’m wrong.

          Reply
          1. a.matthey

            > Yes, but my understanding is that the Parliament cannot originate legislation — is that correct?

            The same is true of the UK parliament. The executive control the legislative agenda put to the MPs. Is the UK not a democracy? If so, then yes, the EU isn’t as well.

            Reply
            1. Darthbobber

              Except that in the UK the executive is composed of members of parliament. Not of the leaders of a different level altogether

              Reply
      3. a.matthey

        > small, unelected group of neoliberal bureaucrats in Brussels that is accountable to no-one

        Let go of the talking points, they mean nothing. We need to start to actually think about those issues instead of parroting nationalist propaganda.

        Reply
      4. Summer

        Re”The trouble arises when national governments in the EU are being sidelined & neutered and power going to a small, unelected group of neoliberal bureaucrats in Brussels that is accountable to no-one. Those groups that I mentioned plus other countries such as Hungary pushing back is a fight to bring back power home. As the main political parties in Europe seem to have been co-opted with the EU, this leaves people with little choice but to choose nationalists to represent them like you see here in Italy.”

        That used to be what was thought of as a colony of an empire.
        What has been visited upon the rest of world has come back around with a vengeance.

        Reply
    4. Skip Intro

      I imagine Italy, by not siding sufficiently with Macron against the Giles Jaunes, is making itself a target for identitarian attacks from the usual corners. Interesting to see the ‘ritual smear’ applied to an entire nation.

      Reply
      1. disc_writes

        Sure it is part of a game to weaken the populists, but it is not a very convincing strategy. Just calling “fascist” everything and everyone you do not agree with is going to make you more enemies than friends.

        If the “f- word” is all the mainstream thinkers can offer the masses, then I am really afraid that nothing is going to stop Salvini.

        Reply
        1. Rhondda

          If the “f- word” is all the mainstream thinkers can offer the masses

          No worries, there’s still “racist” and “anti-semite.”

          Reply
    5. Olivier

      Articles like this in a UK rag are absolutely intolerable. How about the UK faces up to its own immense war crimes? They still build monuments to Bomber Harris, for Chrissake! How about Churchill finally gets branded as the war criminal and butcher he was?

      And, speaking of monuments, the article contains an inset rhetorically asking (you know how they want the reader to answer) whether some modernist fascist ruins should be saved. In other words for good measure italians should raze their history.

      I hope Salvini tells that journo and his ilk where to stick it.

      Reply
  9. flora

    re Brexit: Revealed: How dark money is winning ‘the Brexit influencing game’ Open Democracy

    Institute of Economic Affairs? Well, well. Here’s some more information on IEA from SourceWatch. It’s connected with ‘the usual suspects’

    https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Institute_of_Economic_Affairs

    I see IEA is a member of The State Policy Network, which operates in both US and UK, and shares the same goals.

    https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/State_Policy_Network

    I thought there was something very familiar about the way the whole Brexit thing has progressed, where the acceptable goals seem to shift away from what was originally voted for. This process looks very like what’s been happening in the US for some time, down to each detail almost.

    Thanks for this link.

    Reply
    1. flora

      adding: I’m not saying the MP bolters, either Tory or Labour, understand they are playing into the hands of IEA or State Policy Network; politicians aren’t particularly smart, many of them (I don’t know about this bunch).

      In the US I’d say the same about pols calling for a constitutional convention, or saying t’s election is some sort of constitutional crisis. Classic play for the State Policy Network members to push closer to one of their biggest goals: eliminate effective democracy by rewriting the constitutional rules to favor themselves and entrench their interests in a ‘new constitution’.

      Reply
    2. Clive

      It is indeed remarkable. It’s disconcerting but also slightly amusing to see all the various messaging grand designs getting worked through the grid on this-or-that issue. The approach and trajectories are as you say identifiable right down to nitty-gritty details.

      The initiation is alway the same — a show horse gets led round the paddock of obliging media outlets to see if it attracts any fanciers. Some are such lame old nags that it’s obvious they haven’t got “legs” to go any distance so they get retired and make was for another contender which might get some interest. Often it seems to take several attempts (for Brexit there was an attempt at “Russian meddling” at the tail end of last year but this came to naught and was dropped as quickly as it was started, for example) but then there’s no real time constraints as different trial balloons can be floated with very little effort and eventually something will capture the public’s imagination. That (reds under the bed) was on the Remain side, but Leave tried this kind of thing with another old-as-the-hills trope of that meany bugaboo George Soros under the bed “influencing” politics.

      It’s been remarkable to watch this scheming of trying to shift opinion being worked through with Venezuela. It was just a straight re-run of Syria. Which was itself merely a variant of Libya. The only thing that makes me optimist is that by the time it was all tried again with Venezuela, it really was wearing a bit thin and started to sputter out after only, what, 48 hours of the new cycle or so. So we’ve now got some new ideas being rolled out. But really, it’s getting harder to achieve novelty value isn’t it? We’re all so jaded. As Lambert said above, Richard Branson, for cryin’ out loud. Antisemitism though seems to be a gift that keeps on giving. Although I sense a little fatigue setting in even with that one, through overuse.

      I only wish the squillionaires and quasi-state actors who are doing all this would cooperate a little more and agree what, precisely, is to be the message. That way, we wouldn’t have quite so much to move our eyeballs across. I for one find it hard to keep up with whatever nudging perception management stories I’m supposed to be reading today and what position on which issue I’m being expected to take.

      Reply
      1. flora

        Thanks. This bit from the LeMonde article is both correct and wrong, imo:

        If a hostile power had scripted Brexit, this is how they would have written its final act. Unfortunately, the British people have scripted it for themselves (1).

        How did we get to this pinnacle of unreality? Because the UK’s political class has fragmented over issues that are too fundamental to be contained by the party system, ….

        A ‘hostile power’ did script Brexit, imo. They saw the issue (leaving the EU for a variety of reasons, mostly I think because of economic austery) was important to the UK majority and hijacked it for their owns ends, while lying about wants ends they want. They then skillfully managed to make their ends – no deal crash out – (not the ends offered at the vote) the ‘only’ ends they accept now.

        The second part of LeMonde quote about party system failure, which is another way of saying ‘democracy failure’, imo, is not only wrong but plays into the hands of the worst elements. Parties, imo, are based in some sense among members they can trust each other to play on-side, or at least not lie to each other about their real goals. Lying on fundamental issues during negotiations will break down any system. Nothing to do with party system.

        Reply
        1. flora

          adding: the LeMonde article is quite good, imo. It was a little unfair to pick on one small part, but I wanted to point out the perhaps unwitting neoliberal talking point.

          One other line that stands out from the article:
          Out of nowhere, and almost without scrutiny, the Conservatives introduced the….

          This is exactly how stealth US legislation, introduced by conservative state politicians in consultation with ALEC or Heritage, is described. “The [US state] legislation came out of nowhere, and no one’s name was attached to its introduction. No one will say where it came from.”

          Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The only thing that makes me optimist is that by the time it was all tried again with Venezuela, it really was wearing a bit thin and started to sputter out after only, what, 48 hours of the new cycle or so.

        Trump, in Miami, Attacks Maduro, and Some See Bid for Florida Votes NYT

        Since it would be irresponsible not to speculate, it’s possible that Trump has Bolton and the intelligence community pegged, correctly, not only as whack jobs but as clueless f*ckups, and all he’s really after is votes in Florida for 2020 from Venezuelan exiles, along with the Batista types. Hence the sputtering out, and hence the sudden quiet (it seems Maduro isn’t going to allow a U.S. “humanitarian aid” ship, obviously stuffed to the gunwales with weaponry, to dock. So that’s where we are…)

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Dempsey with Kerry in the Rose Garden springs to mind. The calculus of an attack changes if the enemy might fight back. What would happen to the Gulf if the Venezuelans started blowing up their own oil rigs, to keep them out of the hands of colonizers?

          Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    Scientists call it California’s “other big one,” and they say it could cause three times as much damage as a major earthquake ripping along the San Andreas Fault.

    Although it might sound absurd to those who still recall five years of withering drought and mandatory water restrictions, researchers and engineers warn that California may be due for rain of biblical proportions — or what experts call an ARkStorm.

    https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-ln-mega-storm-dam-failure-20190218-story.html

    As usual, only the 1861-62 massive flooding in the state is mentioned, as it’s really the only instance of it happening when California was part of the USA, but there have been many instances of it occurring, and the 1825 flood in Orange County was a doozie of epic proportions, creating Newport Harbor. The 1605 flood is reckoned to have been much bigger than the previously mentioned 1861-62 deluge.

    Newport Harbor was created naturally. In 1825, heavy flooding changed the course of the Santa Ana River. It began emptying into the sea in the area now known as West Newport. Sand carried downcoast by the prevailing currents and by the river during the rainy season, began to build up into the peninsula which now forms the outer perimeter of Newport Harbor.

    http://www.ocparks.com/beaches/newport/history

    Reply
  11. jfleni

    RE: Volkswagen’s unequal justice: a Diesel gate employee and a manager.

    What else is new: BLAME the PEASANTS, always!

    Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Singapore defense minister: Cost of conflict in South China Sea ‘too high'”

    Looking at the map in this article, you can see what the Chinese are doing. Instead of having the constant provocations of western naval ships sailing off the coast of China itself as well as using the straights between Taiwan and China as a naval parade ground, they have forced those very same ships to go off into the South China Seas. I believe that this is called a defense in depth. Those artificial islands have enough firepower so they cannot be overawed by naval warships so the best that can be done is to rattle their cages occasionally. The trouble is that those cages are in the South China Seas and far from the Chinese mainland. Not to worry. Those islands will probably be all gone before the end of the century as sea levels rise.

    Great article that “Base Culture” by the way.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Instead of the constant provocations of western naval ships, then, the artificial islands are provoking Beijing’s surrounding non-western neighbors in that region, 24/7.

      Interestingly, Russia has naval resupply facilities at Cam Ranh base in Vietnam, according to WIkipedia.

      Reply
  13. Summer

    Re: Venuzuelan Military Rejects Trump’s Incitement To Rebel

    This was where the attempted coup (early 2000s) against Chavez went off course.
    Documented in “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Chazez Inside the Coup.” Then masses upoon masses marched on the coup govt and the military expellled those attempting the coup.

    However, as much as this situation may have some resemblance to the earlier coup,
    I am now thinking of Egypt. Something about this article made me think of Sisi.

    Reply
    1. Thye Rev Kev

      Nice to see a billionaire like Richard Branson get involved with encouraging democracy as mentioned in this article. I have not seen his name in the news since Obama left the Presidency and went to stay with Branson for awhile. I’m sure that they had a lot to talk about how to bring liberty and democracy to the world. (snark mode disengaged)

      Reply
      1. Summer

        Probably more to be revelaed about his connection to Venezuela.

        But in light of the last failed coup, I have to wonder if there is more to the deal with the military than meets the eye and Guido is not only temporary but not the main “play.”
        Again, example Egypt.

        Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            He’s referring to Western support for the Arab Spring followed by silence in the face of another coup. Mubarak’s reign was coming to an end due to his age and internal demands. Don’t let a crisis go to waste, so the West jumps on the Arab Spring bandwagon then proceeds to assist the military restore order installing Sisi, a younger long term puppet for the country. Many of the long term problems could be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood. I suspect Sisi is more of a steady hand of the old Mubarak regime type than a direct puppet.

            Is Guido a temporary installation to rally around before a more steady hand can be put in charge? My guess is no. I think Guido is closer to the neocons learning from “their mistakes” in Iraq which was not having a government ready to go. Giving it their usual effort, its half assed and bumbling, but its a step up from hunting down every elite and dissolving all government institutions. For all of the #resistance neocons and retreads hired by Trump, we haven’t heard from Paul Bremer. I suspect he’s blamed in private for the failure of Iraq by the neocons.

            Reply
            1. Summer

              If they don’t win the military in Venezuela, pupper regime ain’t happening.
              They tried the exact same thing on Chavez but he came out of the military.
              For them to turn now, what will be the play?
              Why give it up to Guido if they could have the power?
              Just a thought….

              Reply
              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Neocons really buy Americans will be welcomed with parades or stories about wunder weapons. After Libya and Iraq, the idea of waiting around for promotions doesn’t have the same appeal. Like I suspect they blame Bremer for Iraq, they blame failures in Libya and Syria on the black guy. They may not say it, but like conservatism can’t fail, it can only be failed, not recognizing the failure of the enterprise itself is a bridge too far.

                My suspicion is there is a good deal of 2020 at play. Trump like Obama wanted to find a foreign policy crisis. What is available for the U.S. to show its huuuge strength? Its possible its not thought out as much as a place

                Africa is too on the nose to make a public venture. It needs to be secret. Everything in Eurasia has been hit or is very likely under the auspices of Moscow and Beijing. Venezuela being so close to the U.S. may not provoke a reaction from the Chinese, and Russia is a regional power.

                With how openly gross they are being, my guess is they expected this to be over already.

                Reply
    1. David

      This started in Berlin in the early 90s after the vote to move the capital from Bonn. By the middle of the decade the old working-class areas of Berlin were being colonised by the influx of civil servants and businessmen, buildings modernised and the original inhabitants moved out. I was struck last time I was there by just how completely the old atmosphere has disappeared.

      Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that that phrase mostly refers to the Star Trek The New Generation episode called “Darmok”. In this episode, the crew came across a powerful race who spoke in narrative imagery. An example used would be if someone said “Juliet. On her balcony” to bring up an image of romance. To someone who did not know the play the narrative imagery would mean nothing. This was the difficulty that the Enterprise crew had with this people. More on this idea including film clips from the actual episode at-

      https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/06/star-trek-tng-and-the-limits-of-language-shaka-when-the-walls-fell/372107/

      Reply
  14. David

    If you aren’t gilet-jauned out after yesterday’s discussion, you may like to know of a study that’s just appeared analysing where support for the movement comes from. It’s a serious academic study, but more importantly a number of the authors work at Sciences Po, the finishing school of the French political and business elites. Four of the last five Presidents are graduates (Sarkozy failed the entrance examinations). Moreover, the study was summarised in an op-ed piece in today’s Le Monde, and presented at a high-priced forum they and other big names sponsored.
    The results are interesting but should not be surprising to readers of this blog. The third of the population that strongly supports the gilets jaunes voted in general either for Le Pen or Mélenchon in 2017, or just abstained. Few voted for the established parties. Strong support was correlated with economic precarity and lower earnings. It was also geographic, concentrated in the North-East and South-West (the two poorest areas). However, it was also heavily correlated with both a general sense or absence of well-being, and the presence or absence of others in whom people felt they could have confidence. What the study calls “the France of the roundabouts” is thus an attempt by people unhappy with their lives and feeling abandoned to discover a unity and trust with others.The study notes that typical members of the GJ – lorry drivers or care assistants – work on their own all the time. It’s obvious that this method could have applications in other countries. In any event, a detailed sociological study of this kind makes it much harder for the government to continue to claim that the GJ are just a bunch of Nazi stormtroopers. Finally, the study shows that those who voted for Mélenchon have more confidence in other people than those who voted Le Pen, reflecting the fact, I suspect, that Mélenchon picked up a lot of votes from leftists who still had organised networks which made them feel more connected to others. Now there’s an opportunity for the Left which they are certain to ignore.

    Reply
    1. Brizie

      I’m struggling to imagine a similar process as you described occurring in the USA.
      Imagine scholars from…say, Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Stanford, etc. collaborating on a timely study examining a big current problem threatening the US oligarchy. Then imagine it getting treatment by the New York Times comparable to what you report Le Monde gave it. Then I try imagining it getting a fair hearing in some forum comparable to the one you described. Uh huh.
      Yes, as a regular NC reader, I’m not surprised by the content you report. It’s the process that I envy and marvel.

      Reply
    2. Savita

      David I do a ‘ctrl F’ search for your name every day on this home page to find your comments about France and the UK. Thanks for your contributions. As an aside, interesting about Sciences Po. The lead character in the highly acclaimed (and excellent) drama The Bureau set in Frances department of External Security DSCG, went to Sciences Po

      Reply
      1. Savita

        That’s me commenting on

        1. the most exceptional and beloved deep penetration agent of the DSCG, highly charismatic also highly duplicituous – is commented on a couple of times as having graduated Sciences Po
        2. french television drama The Bureau is excellent drama! Lots of attention to detail, focus on characterisation, restrained, intelligent, realistic.

        Reply
        1. David

          Thank you. Yes, I agree very much about the Bureau des Légendes, which is not only very well done (especially the first two seasons) but about as realistic as you can expect any TV series to be. The DGSE (SDECE as was) had a rather unsavory reputation for a long time. It was dominated by the military and dabbled a lot in questionable operations and dirty tricks (remember the Rainbow Warrior,). But there’s been a deliberate attempt more recently to civilianise the organisation, and I was told by someone who should know that about five years ago they actually recruited more civilians than the Foreign Ministry. So it’s not surprising that Malotru is a Sciences Po graduate.

          Reply
    3. integer

      From the summary at Le Monde, it looks to me like the academics who authored the paper studiously avoided carrying out any kind of analysis of how the actions and policies of the ruling class have precipitated the GJ movement. I thought the following passage (translated via Yandex) was particularly rich:

      This new opposition, synthesized by the axis Macron-Le Pen, testifies to the passage from a class society to a mass society with individuals that oppose each other in terms of well-being and social integration.

      So France no longer has a class-based society. Hmmm.

      Reply
      1. David

        Yes, I noticed that, but I didn’t want to make the post more complicated than it already was. What the authors are partly getting at is that the distinction between the old working class (which largely voted Left) and the lower middle class (which largely voted Right) no longer really holds true in an age when insecurity is widespread. These classes have in fact found a certain solidarity with each other. The fact that some groups vote Left and others vote Right doesn’t have the significance it once did because they are both voting against the system. Of course classes haven’t gone away but they are not so relevant here.

        Reply
  15. Stanley Dundee

    The n+1 base culture piece by Lyle Jeremy Rubin is eloquent and haunting:

    I now conceptualize the society I came from and the war to which I went as part of the same grotesque amusement park ride. If I have discovered anything since my homecoming, it is not that I never came home. It is not that my soul resides in Afghanistan. It is that my home has lost its peaceful veneer, stripped bare, like Twentynine Palms. An American who leaves for war never leaves America. The war that is America, rather, comes to the American. The war is the society and the society is the war, and one who sees that war sees America.

    So easy to lose sight of the war that is America as all the distractions unfold. So useful to have an inside view. For a suitable outside view, compare to Eric Zuesse on The International Rogue Nation: America.

    Reply
    1. chuck roast

      Yes, compelling indeed. A trenchant condemnation of the American zeitgeist.

      A couple of years ago I was hitching down Rt. 17 in Maine from Gardiner to Rockland. A guy picked me up who did veterans outreach. He told me that the woods of Maine were literally full of vets who couldn’t cope with what you could call the American norm.

      Rubin appears to be staring down that wooded path.

      Reply
      1. RWood

        Aye, Stanley Dundee!

        “It is now clear, however, that dominant moral behavioural categories associated with the prevailing paradigm of social organisation are dysfunctional. They are in fact reflective of behavioural patterns which are contributing directly not just to the destabilisation and destruction of civilisation, along with the extinction of multiple species, but potentially to the very annihilation of the human species itself.“
        Nafeez Ahmed
        https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-01-25/how-collective-intelligence-can-change-your-world-right-now/

        Reply
      2. ewmayer

        “the woods of Maine were literally full of vets who couldn’t cope with what you could call the American norm.”

        As I described last month in one of the daily Links comments sections, I spent the summer of ’84 in Alaska covered in fish guts trying to make enough money to pay off my junior-college-year tuition debt so I could enroll for my senior year. A whole lot of the locals we hung out with were Vietnam vets living in trailers off in the woods, who fit your above description. One of them, Ralph Cole, made money by raising and selling wolf-husky-hybrid puppies for sale as pets and sled dogs. His method was quite simple: “when the bitches come into heat I just stake ’em out at the edges of the tract and let the wild ones come in and do their business.’ He also told us a story about driving along the road one day and seeing the vehicle in front of him hit something, stop briefly, and continue on its way, leaving some sort of large-ish run-over animal lying by the roadside. Ralph said he drove up, got out to have a closer look, and saw that the roadkill was in fact a large (30-50 lb) she-porcupine, who was obviously (to someone familiar with the local critters) and heavily pregnant. Since the collision had happened only a minute or so before, Ralph sees the mother is done for but whips out his belt knife, cuts open the poor creature’s belly, frees the still-moving near-term pups and tries to get them to breathe on their own. The several which survived he took back to his trailer, bottle-fed and nursed. One (since dead of old age) survived to adulthood and became a loyal pet – Ralph said he would take it in his truck to bars, where it would sit on a stool next him and drink beer. OK, we were guffawing in tall-tale disbelief at that last bit, so Ralph points to a nearby wall of his trailer covered in newspaper clippings. Sure, enough, there’s a yellowing snip of the Anchorage Daily News with a photo of Ralph drinking next to a huge porcupine rump-sitting on the bar stool next to him, using its raccoon-similar prehensile paws to grasp the neck of a long-neck beer bottle and tip it back to drink from it.

        Reply
  16. 4paul

    “Ask A Korean” is usually a good read, but this is brilliant, thanks for linking. How to End a Forever War

    I had skimmed over the pejoratives about Trump, and two comments flagged it – I agree, the pejoratives are out of place in an otherwise brilliant read.

    Reply
  17. Summer

    Re: “What If The Mueller Report Changes Nothing”
    “I am more and more convinced that the clarity that so many people want from the Mueller report may simply never come.”

    Talk about a day late and a dollar short…

    Reply
    1. Tom Doak

      Oh, no, Cilizza is right on time to declare that even if the Mueller report fails to make the case for collusion, it’s okay to ignore it and still be a True Believer.

      Reply
  18. Huey

    This overblown elite arrogance really seems to have no bounds in either its breadth or its wanton stupidity.

    When will the warmongers learn that their attempts at regime change inevitably end in failure, insofar as their claim to achieve regional stability is concerned? That anyone had the audacity to brazenly ask a country’s military to rebel in favour of their puppet installment was beyond my imagining.

    I am viscerally sickened.

    Has all the chaos and bloodspilling, already incited and ongoing, by these worthier than thou penny pinchers in South America and the Middle East meant nothing?

    At this rate they will keep marching straight along until Global Warming kills us all off, at which point they no doubt hope to have narrowly escaped to Mars with the help of Elon, along with a couple of fresh slaves neatly packaged by Bezos for the literal blood-sucking required for their everlasting life, even though you would think these worldwide death-bringers wouldn’t be so afraid of the thing themselves?

    And just how bizarre is that? We now have real people metamorphasizing from figurative, to literal vampires. It would seem as if life actually imitates art.

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      But what if it wasn’t either arrogance or wanton stupidity?

      Rather it was a way for a few already-fantastically wealthy people to make even more money.

      Imagining it was simply arrogance or stupidity lets them off the hook morally. No, these are moral monsters whose motives are exactly as hideous as they appear.

      A child incinerated in a tent in a desert. A patient in a hospital bed blown up into tiny bits. A bride in a wedding party turned to a red pulp. Har har har look how my bank balance keeps soaring!

      And on the next rung of moral depravity are all those (we) who let them do it.

      Reply
  19. Craig H.

    > The Cult-Like Group Fighting Iran

    People’s Mujahedin, a once-militant Iranian opposition group that was listed by the United States. and Europe as a terrorist group until 2012. These days, however, several members of the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump are supporting the group, commonly known by the abbreviation MEK. Both the administration and the MEK, after all, want to see the end of the current regime in Iran

    That sounds exactly like Afghanistan 1979. Of course maybe this time it’s different. The entire article is fascinating. You have to read the whole thing to get this:

    The last time Masoud Rajavi was seen was in March 2003, shortly before the first American bombs began falling in Baghdad. But Maryam Rajavi continues speaking about her husband as though he were still alive.

    TL/DR: bonkers; buddies w/ Bolton and Giuliani. Good grief.

    Reply
    1. marym

      Support for MEK has been bi-partisan.

      Guardian 2012

      Last year, the Christian Science Monitor thoroughly described “these former high-ranking US officials – who represent the full political spectrum – [who] have been paid tens of thousands of dollars to speak in support of the MEK.” They include Democrats Howard Dean, Ed Rendell, Wesley Clark, Bill Richardson, and Lee Hamilton, and Republicans Rudy Giuliani, Fran Townsend, Tom Ridge, Michael Mukasey, and Andrew Card. Other prominent voices outside government, such as Alan Dershowitz and Elie Wiesel, have been enlisted to the cause and are steadfast MEK advocates.

      Link for CS Monitor 2011 reference

      Reply
      1. Craig H.

        Thanks marym that Greenwald article is very good. The part I liked best is the 2003 thing where Saddam Hussein’s number one offense in harboring terrorists was harboring MEK.

        Reply
  20. JohnnySacks

    I’m not sure I fully understand the Iowa net metering bill regarding the rate paid for solar energy produced by private citizens. Energy costs can be broken down into production and distribution, shouldn’t the rate paid back to the producer (homeowner’s solar installation) be based upon the production cost? The distribution cost being shared by all users? Is the utility unable to differentiate between production and distribution? Or is there a typical fraudulent accounting layer making the distribution cost appear higher so they can rip off the solar producer by underpaying production cost?

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The gas you put in your car costs the same regardless of where it started. So whether, the energy goes onto the grid from a solar panel or a coal mine, its the same.

      The private utility is still sensitive to price increases, and at the end of the day isn’t a company that shouldn’t be out of total government control. Its really easy to sell electricity. When prices go up, legislators get called, and they might act. The legislators at the same time want the utilities donations or even a job when they retire.

      As green energy goes onto the grid, net metering requires the power companies to buy it (in Virginia there are caps; its hideous) at the market rates which is the practical solution (the government should provide direct assistance for installation). Between buying net metered energy and legislators wary of price increases, how does a private electric company make more profit? In this case, they are trying to cut off the requirement to buy net metered electricity and just get the power for free because being cut off from the grid is a pain. Its a scam.

      In some states, the power company can sell “green” energy they have purchased at market rates to customers who sign up for “green energy” at higher rates without a split between the utility and the small producer.

      Reply
    2. Another Scott

      There are three components to most people’s electric bills, production (the plants), distribution (the lines around your house) and transmission (connecting between the two). Prices for electricity when produced are significantly less than what you’re billed. Depending on the jurisdiction, the prices for net metered electricity vary, but in many places, homeowners are given the full retail price (production, transmission and distribution) for electricity they sell. If they net to buy no electricity, then they only pay the minimum charge.

      The views in the article reflect the views of the solar industry, so I’m apprehensive about quoting them.

      Reply
    3. heresy101

      Net metering is an incentive program to get individuals and businesses to install solar. It was a big deal a number of years back but most utilities have reached their limit in Calif. Net metering is based on a full year with an annual true-up. The solar generator is paid the retail rate (nothing to due with production or generation) for all solar that is generated over the year. Thus, if the solar system is sized to generate 100% of the customer’s annual usage, they will only pay the customer charge because the credit from the solar will cancel out the annual bill for nighttime usage. If the system is bigger than the annual load, the customer will get a credit (sells the electricity to the utility) at the cost of the utility providing renewable energy. There will be a small bill if the customer’s solar doesn’t generate enough to cover the annual load. The problem with net metering is that the non-solar customers are covering the solar customer’s share of the generation system and is unfair to them.

      At the end of net metering, I followed the City of Palo Alto in designing a successor net metering rate. The rate charges the solar customer the retail rate when solar is not generating (nighttime) and credits the customer for solar generation above usage (daytime) at the cost of procuring renewable energy (about ½ the retail rate). There is no charge, or credit, for generation covering usage during times of solar generation, just like would occur if the solar system was off grid. The solar customer pays its share of the generation grid at night when it uses the grid for electricity.

      As batteries are becoming more prevalent (1/3 of solar systems are being built with batteries), the solar customer can accomplish a pseudo net metering by storing electricity until evening (most peak times are now in the evening) and avoid paying for electricity and actually selling excess electricity when the utility needs it most.

      For reference, MidAmerican and Pacificorp are the two electric utilities owned by Warren Buffet.

      Reply
      1. JohnnySacks

        I’m not being a scab for the Buffet oligarchy, but I’m also trying to understand why the utility should be expected to pay me the full per KWH rate for the solar I generate. If I’m selling power back to the grid, there’s a per KWH distribution cost paid by all customers to maintain all the wires strung from telephone poles, switching stations, etc. that I’m being paid when the KWH flows back, yet I do nothing with regards to maintaining the grid.
        Also, the upstream comment on gas costing the same is really not true, given equal taxation, gas costs less if I buy it across the street from the refinery’s distribution center rather than when I buy it in western Maine because of distribution cost. And if I was selling gas to the supplier, the price would not include the taxes.

        Reply
        1. heresy101

          A correction; one sentence should read: The problem with net metering is that the non-solar customers are covering the solar customer’s share of the DISTRIBUTION system and is unfair to non-solar customers.

          You aren’t being a Buffet shill. Your statement with regard to NEM is correct; the solar customer doesn’t pay towards the distribution system. The other customers are paying the solar owner’s share of grid costs under NEM. NEM was developed as a subsidy to get solar installed when solar was $9-10/watt. Today that subsidy isn’t necessary and rates like I described above are fair to all.

          Reply
  21. JBird4049

    APNewsBreak: Feds share watchlist with 1,400 private groups AP

    In the almost two decades since the various watchlists, and there are more than the two mentioned in the article, were created, the Feds have always fought disclosing any information on them to those listed, the media, the courts; the reason given is that it would help the terrorists somehow. Apparently, it would be dangerous to tell anyone who and why they are listed, reporters any facts, or even the judges, prosecutors, and counsel in trials because bad things, which they can’t tell us what they might be, might somehow happen.

    However, hundreds and hundred of private groups can have access to inaccurate, flawed, and overly broad lists because…?

    The longer I live, the more it seems that I am living in a kleptocratic and kakistocratic circus with the clowns as ringmaster.

    Reply
      1. jrs

        Until living wage jobs are guaranteed to all those people who never went and never will go to college, worrying about college students comes across as elitist and not a good look, or lose the working class again.

        Reply
        1. Shonde

          Hang around the working class for a while. They want more for their children than they have so free college for their children and grandchildren is appealing.

          Reply
        2. False Solace

          I guess this is the place where we sigh for the days when education was valued as a good in itself, which many would consider one of the fundamentals of civilization. I imagine many working class people would actually agree with that. Besides that, “free college” includes trade school which working class people would probably like. Universal concrete material benefits, my friend!

          Reply
          1. VietnamVet

            The connected to extort more money privatized education and healthcare. For someone born in 1943, the loss of jobs that paid for affordable education, healthcare, homes and a better life for the kids are just causes for the incipient middle-class revolt. The Credential Class’s contortions to avoid seeing this in Donald Trump’s election, Brexit or the Yellow Vests is astonishing.

            Reply
    1. Brindle

      I like Klobuchar’s demeanor on tv–relaxed and confident. Policy-wise she basically offers re-hashed Obama/Clinton band-aids. One wonders if she actually is trying out for the VP slot.

      Reply
    1. Carey

      Yes, I do remember; thanks for that link. Seems to me that the list of those who have not
      been compromised is probably shorter, these days, than the one of those who have.

      Reply
  22. JohnnyGL

    https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/429405-harris-fires-back-at-critics-questioning-her-black-heritage-im-proud-of

    Disappointing to see the Hill run interference for Harris by helping to strawman the criticism of Harris coming from the black Americans who indentify themselves as ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery).

    The real argument, in my view a valid one, is that Harris isn’t rooted in the black american experience because she doesn’t have the long family history here that millions have that came from the multi-generation experience of slavery, Jim Crow, the Great Migration, redlining, the Civil Rights movement, etc. They point out that this was a problem with Obama, too.

    They then go on to say that because Obama and Harris aren’t rooted in that experience, they don’t understand the need to provide a policy that addresses the stark inequalities resulting from that history. Instead, the Harris campaign is just making an effort to use black culture, espeically hip-hop culture to hint that she’s black, without offering any policy solutions to their concerns. It’s a superficial appeal, with no substance. Obama did the same thing, and got away with it. This group, organized by Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore, primarily, are determined not to let it happen again. No more giving votes away for nothing.

    They argue that if Harris wants their vote, she should come to black americans as someone who says, “I’m a mixed-race American with immigrant roots who understands that you’ve been underserved by your government and I have a policy agenda to address those needs.”

    Instead, the Harris campaign has responded, along with media proxies, with smearing accusations of being infested with Russian-bot activity and straw-man accusations that the critics are saying, “she’s not black enough”. Both of those are disrespectful responses from the Harris campaign and her media proxies.

    Having watched this strain of the black left over the last few years, it’s been interesting to watch. It seems to be gaining steam to the point where they’ve passed the ‘first they ignore you’ stage and have reached the ‘laugh at you’ stage and perhaps even the ‘fight you’ stage.

    To be clear, these aren’t necessarily Sanders voters. His name is barely mentioned, and only in passing, to criticize his ‘class’ based critique. Warren got some constructive discussion awhile back for having some policy ideas to address the history of red-lining in some neighborhoods.

    I’m curious to see if the black left can pass Ian Welsh’s famous (paraphrased and updated) test of “taking down Harris and be seen to have taken down Harris”. That would be a real sea-change in American politics.

    Reply
    1. Another Scott

      The most important part of Harris’ identity isn’t her race or her gender, it’s her class although she won’t admit it. This is what appears to drive her personal and professional actions. The reason she sounds and acts like HRC is because Clinton shares this background.

      Harris comes from a 10% family and because she has improved upon that, she looks down upon those who haven’t. Her experiences are not the same as a poor black from inner cities or the rural south. By contrast, she looks up to people who have made a lot of money from a similar background, because they are her peers. So she loves Wall Street and Silicon Valley and Hollywood and the myths they create as it allows her to think she is morally superior to those who are in a weaker position.

      Harris (and her media peer/collaborators) then uses race and gender as a shield from the attacks. She may even believe that these identities are more important, but that itself largely appears to be a result of her class status.

      Reply
      1. johnnygl

        Yes, carnell and moore make this point quite emphatically, as well.

        It’s also relevant to point out she’s a careerist who built her resume in the clintonite crafted environment of the 90’s. She really seems to be a clintonite protege.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > She really seems to be a clintonite protege

          Clintonite donors, Clintonite staffers, Clinonite ideology*, Clintonite strategy. So, yes I’d say so.

          * To be fair, Harris doesn’t even pretend to be a wonk.

          Reply
    2. jrs

      funny how native americans can say Warren isn’t the real deal, in part because of no shared culture, but Kamala gets a pass.

      Is she black, in that does she experience discrimination due to being perceived as black? Maybe. It’s not like I’ve lived her life in her skin, so who am I to say. She did go to a black college so there is that.

      But does she carry the legacy of historical deliberate impoverishment of blacks going back centuries? NO.

      Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      Just one critique of Tulsi….

      “You’re putting words in my mouth that I’ve never said,” Gabbard told McCain.

      “An enemy of the United States is someone who threatens our safety and our security. There is no disputing the fact that Bashar al-Assad in Syria is a brutal dictator. There’s no disputing the fact that he has used chemical weapons and other weapons against his people,” she continued.

      She flinched a bit and backed down when McCain had a direct quote and she should have stood her ground. I would have preferred she say, “Assad hasn’t threatened or killed a single American at any point. He’s not an enemy. We don’t have to like the guy, but we have to deal with him because he’s the leader of the country. That’s how diplomacy and foreign policy works. The US can’t just go trying to kill or topple everyone we don’t like or we’ll be at war forever just like we’ve been for the last two decades.”

      Reply
  23. howseth

    Scientists say every animal needs sleep. These fruit flies didn’t get the memo”

    I dunno about this proving much. Most of the flies in the study supposedly slept plenty – and only a very few individual flies were doing ‘all lifers’ – but even those who did slept a few flutters. They live less than 2 months anyhow. (Except in my loft).

    If sleep made no appreciable difference most of the flies would be be also pulling ‘all lifers’ too. (Are they going to separate and breed the ‘all lifer – no sleep flies’ -and see how they fare?)

    Reply
  24. Wukchumni

    World Bank’s ‘pandemic bonds*’ under scrutiny after failing to pay out on Ebola FT

    * payable only on Mars, and must be present to collect.

    Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      My goodness how do these people live with themselves. She sounds like she is incapable of understandimg how many people she has hurt.

      Reply
  25. Anon

    Kamala Harris is even less “black” than Obama. And not only by skin-tone. She has little real experience with African-American culture. Her Indian mother (and Indian culture) was the emphasis of her early years.

    Harris would do better by ignoring her melanin concentration and focus on the things that define her life activity. Oh, wait! That would mean admitting to ousting a truly Progressive San Francisco DA, with a “tough on crime” campaign. And to playing the Insider’s Game with California’s then political king-maker, Willie Brown.

    What Harris is attempting is to play the the black, female, drum-major jumping in front of a protest march and then saying she is leading the pack. Her colleague, Senator Feinstein (who I detest) got it right when she said Harris is “new here”.

    So was Obama new here. Wed don’t need that again!

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      From the Jamaica Global article that broke the story:

      An ironic twist in Ms. Harris’ associating marijuana smoking with her Jamaican heritage that seems to have escaped her as well as media watchers is the fact that it is also very much a part of her Indian heritage that she is so proud of claiming. Is she aware that it was India that bequeathed a marijuana culture to Jamaica? In her authoritative Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage (2003) Oliver Senior writes:

      ‘The practice of cultivating, smoking and otherwise consuming the herb (marijuana) is believed to have been popularized by Indian indentured immigrants who began to arrive from 1845. The local name ‘ganja’ is Indian. The concept of ganja as a holy herb is a Hindu one; it is widely used to enhance the religious experience in parts of India (despite government prohibition).

      This seeming lack of knowledge about the connection between her Indian and Jamaican heritage provides additional ammunition for some Jamaicans who are of the view that Ms. Harris tends to downplay her Jamaican heritage when it suits her, crediting her Tamil Indian mother with the most significant influence on her life and outlook and rarely talks about her father’s influence.

      This is really an excellent article. It repays careful reading. Jamaica is a complicated place.

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        “Jamaica is a complicated place.”

        Rastafarianism is a most interesting recent religion – my dictionary has it “a religious movement of Jamaican origin holding that blacks are the chosen people, that Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia [(1892–1975), emperor of Ethiopia 1930–74; full name Tafari Makonnen.] was the Messiah, and that black people will eventually return to their Africa.”

        (Add the Ethiopian honorific “Ras” to the late emperor’s birth name to get Ras Tafari Makonnen, whence the name of the religion which worships him as its black Jesus, as it were.)

        Reply
      2. Anon

        Don’t have time to read the article, but Kamala Harris’ mother was from the more educated castes of India; likely no itinerant workers in the family. Education is highly valued in the upper castes, and Harris’ mother immigrated to the US for that opportunity and received advances degrees. Kamala and her sister were both steered toward educational attainment (her sister has a JD degree).

        Harris’ father, Donald Harris (Stanford University professor) has responded to the radio interview where Kamala suggests that she is familiar with weed because half her family is from Jamaica. He says that ganja was never a part of his or Kamala’s lifestyle. He goes on to say that he encouraged his children to seek the highest of goals in life.

        Reply
    1. RMO

      The software detected when the cars were running under test conditions and altered the engine management so that emissions were legal when that was happening. All the rest of the time it reverted to its default parameters which gave more power and better economy but also shot emissions, particularly NOx through the roof. Several other companies have been accused of or caught doing similar things.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

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