Links 3/9/19

Labradors rescued after two days stuck in Auckland swampland: ‘We’ve been completely beside ourselves New Zealand Herald

This butterfly’s wings are transparently toxic Popular Photography (David L)

Barking drones used on farms instead of sheep dogs Radio New Zealand (resilc) :-(

Scientists Might Finally Know Why Some Icebergs Are Bright Green Gizmodo (Kevin W). They’re Irish?

India stops waste plastic imports as China’s ‘recycled commodities’ ban triggers trash crisis in US RT (Kevin W)

Amid the opioid crisis, a different drug comes roaring back Economist (resilc)

Boy spent 47 agonizing days in ICU with tetanus. Parents still refuse vaccines Ars Technica (Chuck L). He’s lucky to be alive.

The CDC is Studying the Rise in Electric Scooter Injuries For the First Time as Startups Expand To More Cities CNBC

China?

U.S.-China Trade Talks Hit a Bump Wall Street Journal

Finance Minister Liu warns about ‘hidden debt’ Asia Times

North Korea

North Korea Amassed Cryptocurrency Through Hacking, Says UN Panel Nikkei

India

22 of world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, Greenpeace says Guardian

Brexit

‘A slap in the face’: Barnier sets May on course for Brexit defeat Guardian

EU’s Tajani says Brexit date can be delayed few weeks at most: report Reuters

EU offers new Brexit backstop plan Financial Times. So clearly a non-startert that it’s barely being reported.

Venezuela

In pictures: Lights go out on Venezuela’s capital Caracas (resilc) and Venezuela blackout continues as protests loom BBC. Lead story for US readers as of 11:00 PM EST when Twitter says the tweet below is 5 hours old:

Failure at Hanoi Has Taught the Administration Nothing American Conservative

How bad is Venezuela’s economy? Even the criminals are struggling to get by Washington Post (Bill B)

Starving Venezuelans may lack strength to continue anti-Maduro fight, lawmakers warned CNN (Bill B)

Max Blumenthal: Report From the Real Venezuela YouTube. See this for contrast with stories above

Syraqistan

Israeli troops kill Palestinian during Gaza protests: health ministry Reuters

The Big Con, In Israel And In America Lobe Log (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Chelsea Manning Jailed For Refusing To Testify On WikiLeaks Associated Press

China knows artificial intelligence is rewriting the geopolitical rules, but the rest of the world looks unprepared South China Morning Post (David L)

Hard Disks Can Be Turned Into Listening Devices, Researchers Find The Register. Depressing.

US Tech Firms Fear China Could Be Spying On Them Using Power Cords, Report Says CNBC

Trump Transition

ICE is detaining 50,000 people, an all-time high Daily Beast (resilc)

Trump budget to propose slashing domestic spending, boosting defense Washington Post (Kevin W)

Steven Mnuchin’s financial disclosures haven’t been certified. What’s the hold-up? Center for Public Integrity (furzy)

John Kelly Unloads: Working for Trump Was Awful, and His Wall Is Stupid Vanity Fair (resilc)

Trump: ‘It’s a collusion witch hoax’ Washington Post (Dr. Kevin)

Trump Said to Seek Huge Premium From Allies Hosting U.S. Troops Bloomberg (resilc)

Group Sues fo Docs on Katharine Gorka’s Department of Homeland Security Job Intercept

‘Justice is bought’: Paul Manafort sentencing draws accusations of privilege Guardian

Democrats in Disarray

The Democrats’ Dilemma Politico (resilc)

Democrats are now officially split on Israel, and we can thank Ilhan Omar and BDS Mondoweiss

2020

Biden is front-runner, but many Dems doubt he can win The Hill

“He’s Never Really Been Hit from the Left Before”: As O’Rourke Prepares to Run, 2020 Democrats Are Sharpening Their Knives—And Looking for an Achilles’ Heel Vanity Fair (resilc)

Elizabeth Warren pulled a ninja move to turn tech angst into a crackdown with real teeth, and tech is going to suffer even if she’s not president Business Insider (David L)

US hiring comes near to a halt in February Financial Times

Fed Chief Says No Need to Change Interest Rates at Present Wall Street Journal

IRS Looks for Ways to Squelch New York, Connecticut SALT Workarounds Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Meet the billionaire Sackler family behind the national opioid crisis Boing Boing. Resilc: “If convicted they’d get 47 months at best.”

How Does Losing Medicaid Help You Get a Job? The Nation

FAA Warns Southwest, Mechanics That Contract Standoff Could Be Safety Risk Wall Street Journal

PM Scott Morrison’s women comments heard around the world News.com (Kevin W). As a reminder, see this remarkable speech by former PM Julia Gillard.

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus video:

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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185 comments

  1. notabanker

    That look the momcat gives the kitten after it bites her ear is universal. I’ve gotten that look many times. :)

    1. Steve

      Note the other kitten playing with mom’s tail while the bath is underway. Just like our house to include both pets and children.

    1. nick

      That map is bunk and thus so is the methodology that produced it. Just look at the many, huge differences between neighboring counties in different states (e.g. SC and NC) as well as the homogeneity within many states (e.g. FL). These patterns indicate low-quality data inputs. And even if the map was reliable, “polarization” isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      1. Lee

        If someone besides me with the time and inclination (I have both but I’m feeling lazy today) would like to cross reference the Atlantic article’s map with the list of the 206 counties that pivoted from Obama to Trump, do have at it. I checked two on the pivot list, Racine county WI and Jackson county FL. Both are shown on the map in the article to be heavily prejudiced against Republicans. Only 204 left to go.

        https://ballotpedia.org/Pivot_Counties:_The_counties_that_voted_Obama-Obama-Trump_from_2008-2016#List_of_Pivot_Counties

        https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/03/us-counties-vary-their-degree-partisan-prejudice/583072/

          1. dk

            Added a tab to the spreadsheet (Ranges) showing that the Dem and GOP “prejudice” data points are significantly different in range and scale, not expressed by the Atlantic’s map visualizations:

                     Low           High

            Overall: 0.455112635   0.673190384
            Dem:     0.36674699    0.604108088
            GOP:     0.531321079   0.740269202


                     overall_score  score_dem      score_rep

            hi-lo    0.218077749    0.237361098    0.208948123
            median   0.527894139    0.451016271    0.657408498
            std.dev  0.033222021    0.036782497    0.034919356
            gamma    1.922345015    2.344732889    1.578983849

      2. Philonius

        The article says they surveyed 2000 adults to build the map. Could that be right? There are 3007 counties in the US as I found out from a quick search. So that would mean they surveyed 0.66 people per county to build the map. Or am I missing something?

    2. Whoamolly

      Map appears to reflect my county and neighboring counties accurately.

      My county is solid Dem with threads of solid Repub.

      I am not comfortable talking politics in public when my opinion differs from the official CNN/MSNBC approved narrative.

      I would feel unsafe wearing a MAGA hat, but very comfortable wearing a pink knit cap in local community.

      All ‘feelings’ and I might be completely wrong.

  2. timbers

    Trump Said to Seek Huge Premium From Allies Hosting U.S. Troops Bloomberg (resilc)

    Probably no need to mention this here, but MoonOfAlabama has a picture on this same subject worth checking out. Always nice to see when 1 pic says it all.

    1. Alain de Benoist

      This is a win-win proposition from Trump. If Japan and Germany are stupid enough to pay then Trump looks like a winner. If they refuse (which they should of course) then Trump has an excuse to withdraw the troops from these countries. It forces the “opposition” to defend a pro-imperialist foreign policy. There is of course no reason on earth the US should have troops in these nations. Best of all Trump once again gets away with a peacenik move (withdrawing troops from abroad) all the while being called an arrogant hawk or even literally Hitler by the opposition.

      1. timbers

        IMO, if the poodles do refuse more funding and U.S. troops move out, the poodles may over time become more independent of the U.S. and that would adversely impact our Imperial Agenda. But I don’t think the establishment in the U.S. would allow Trump or anyone President to remove U.S. troops from poodle-ville. Maybe the only way our Imperial occupation ends, is when the poodles demand our troops leave. Even then, would we?

      2. Chris Cosmos

        I don’t think the National Security State will allow Trump to actually follow through on that–but who knows maybe its power is waning. The situation in Washington is chaotic, confused, and unpredictable.

        1. Carolinian

          Right. Trump will forget he even said it in a couple of weeks. In a couple of months they may even forget all about Venezuela.

          Short Attention Span Government.

      3. Robert McGregor

        There was an article a couple weeks back about Trump being “A Tragic Hero.” This is another example. He does outrageous things, but moves some things in the right direction. The Troops should not be there! But look who he has to piss off to get them out of there:
        1) European countries establishment
        2) US military establishment
        3) US contractors
        4) US swamp
        5) Neocons and Neolibs {This reminds me of a father describing his daughter, “She’s schizophrenic, bipolar, ADD and ADHD!” . . . The political confrontation right now is the Progressives versus both the Neocons and the Neolibs.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Remarkable speech by former PM Julia Gillard.”

    A word about the guy that Julia Gillard was taking to the woodshed – Tony Abbott – who was Prime Minister afterwards. What may have caused this speech was stories coming out about this time in a book mentioning Tony Abbott’s uni days. In 1975 he lost to Barbara Ramjan for student member of the University Senate and he went up to her after the vote. Ramjan thought that it was to congratulate her but he instead put his face in her face, and punched the wall on either side of her head. He was a student boxer at this time and this was not an isolated incident. He is still active in Parliament as a hard right-winger and I would not be surprised that he was behind the recent toppling of the last Prime Minister.

    1. JEHR

      I always enjoy this speech and remember Lambert’s dissection of it re figures of speech and rhetorical devices.

      1. Wukchumni

        I enjoyed the performance, it was as if she had hooked a large mouth bass and could have brought it in easily, but made it suffer no fools.

        1. Harvey

          Sorry, but this speech by Gillard was a cynical political ploy to deflect attention from her attack on single mothers in the other house(Senate) that very afternoon.

          Gillard’s government’s bill before the Senate that day was to strip single parents (mostly mothers) of the Parenting Payment once their youngest child turned 8, moving them to the poverty level Newstart Allowance. Even her mentor, Bill Shorten, conceded at the time that this was a mistake, but Gillard persevered.

          Gillard, not being a mother herself, seemed to think that bringing up children on one’s own was so easy that mothers without a paid job were lazy deadbeats. I know women who through no fault of their own have become single parents. It is no picnic, and to kick these mothers when they are down seemed to me to be an act of utter b***tdardry.

          The speech was a con job, and having Gillard swanning around the world as the saviour of women is such hypocrisy. And I voted for her too, silly me.

    2. norm de plume

      Abbott is fighting for his political life in his seat of Warringah, what with his close association with convicted pedophile archbishop Pell, and with polls showing the small l liberal former Olympic skier Zali Steggall ahead by virtue of her more sensible positions on climate change, among other things (Abbott is a coal man, naturally)

      Abbott is so worried he has performed a perfect volte-face on his stance that Australia should withdraw from the Paris agreement.

      A man of principle then… principally the principle that power is the first priority, convictions come second, at best. Indications are though that most voters remain unmoved and indeed the move, so obviously desperate, will backfire.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Totally agree here. He is sort of the Hillary Clinton of the Australian political scene and can’t go away soon enough.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Can you imagine an American politician, when asked if they believed in God, state: “No, I don’t … I’m not a religious person … I’m a great respecter of religious beliefs but they’re not my beliefs.” Wasn’t even married but lived with her partner Tim Mathieson since 2006 and had no interest in marrying him or having children. Helluva woman that. That misogyny speech even has its own Wikipedia entry now that has an embedded transcription link-

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny_Speech

  4. bassmule

    From Politico’s Democrats Dilemma:

    “Phillips and his swing-district confederates preach cooperation and a post-ideological pragmatism, fearful that the president’s surest path to reelection is to portray their party as even more dogmatic than his own.”

    There’s that word again.

    1. a different chris

      One takeaway I got was that Philips won his district by like 10 points.

      And I thought, well that means he got the D votes and the shoulder shrug R votes. But Gingrich proved the way to real power is to target 51%, and only 51, not 60. Then you can serve your base, and ideally grow it. And if you can’t grow it, well you’re in the wrong profession.

      Philips trajectory will only be down.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      Fascinating. So now “pragmatism” is the equivalent for business as usual. It’s pragmatic for me, as a public official, to keep taking bribes from various industries thus allowing my friends and relatives to enjoy cushy jobs in Big Pharma or the MIC or even “journalism.”

      As I wrote yesterday this has nothing to do with pragmatism and everything to do with gangsterism that will lead to a very anti-pragmatic mass suicide.

      1. richard

        Ron Placone had a great quote on pragmatism:
        iirc “there is nothing pragmatic about an incremental solution to a catastrophic problem”
        “pragmatic” is like “innovative”
        a liberal corporatist dogwhistle word (yes, they have them too)
        that going to work about 1/5th as well as they hope in 2020
        oh, and “bipartisan”
        which will work about 1/20th as well.

        (all estimates courtesy of my dumb brain)

    3. John k

      Definition of paralysis:
      Must not in any way do or say something that might either endanger re-election or annoy donors.
      Granted districts are different, the tell us not checking whether m4a, or free Ed, is popular in his district.

  5. richard

    That cnn piece with the starving venezuelans is certainly seems, hmm, loose with numbers in a wwi propaganda sort of way. The average venezuelan has lost 24 lbs. in the last year, and 90% live in poverty I am told. Nun raping is also a major issue.
    I spoke to a good friend the other day about venez. and mentioned I was worried about coup and invasion, and he said but yes, there are no good answers, we have to do something, the people over there are starving. This was his mental path over 2 sentences. I’m still not sure how he got from no good answers to have to do something.
    I mention this not to critique my friend’s logic, but because I am worried about his data. Usians are the most lied to creatures on earth, especially about empire. If this cnn story is a good representation of the kind of “work” they’re doing on venezuela, I have to assume david’s been buried in literal s*&t.

    1. Cal2

      “Nun raping is also a major issue.”

      I heard they are dumping babies out of incubators and throwing them up in the air and spearing them on their pointed Kaiser helmets too.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Meet the billionaire Sackler family behind the national opioid crisis”

    I wonder what it would look like if 200,000 people went to the Mall in Washington DC and laid down to represent the American dead caused by the opioid epidemic? Would that be enough to embarrass them into doing something about it?

    1. ambrit

      They have no shame. Shame is for the “little people,” and I don’t mean Leprechauns.
      Hewing somewhat to the PCverse rules, I’d say that the only way to get the billionaire class’s attention, much less change their ways, would be to send some of them to jail, and I mean a real jail, not a Club Fed facility.

      1. super extra

        I’ve lost at least 3 family members to some form of opiate. All of them started with oxy and slid down from there. That is just the ‘inner’ extended family (out to cousins on one branch), I am positive there are more that I don’t know about.

        The only time I’ve enthusiastically supported a left-field Trump idea was when he claimed he wanted to classify drug trafficking as a capital offense. I agree the Chinese fentanyl mills are bad but lets start closer to home with the Sackler family and the executives of Purdue Pharma.

        1. ambrit

          I really am sorry for your loss. I’ve known several people who ‘entered the void’ with the help of opiates. Someone has to be seen to suffer punishment for this. Otherwise, the public spirit will fade away even more.

        1. ambrit

          That should be “Golden ‘chutes” and “Corporate Ladders.” Although, now that I think about it, the original game name is fine: “Snakes and Ladders.”

              1. ambrit

                I looked at the piece and recognize it as Ultra Identitarianism. (For the ecclesiastically conspirationally minded, it includes ‘arianism’.)
                Bolsonaro, as far as I can ascertain, is an elitist. The samba schools of Brazil, also as far as I can tell are egalitarian. So, a classic cultural divide. ‘Pure upright’ elites versus ‘grubby decadent’ plebeians. Establish a motive for a future severe crack down on dissent. “It’s for the good of the country. Shoot them all.”

    1. notabanker

      If I oversaw a scheme to use video games to brainwash children into purchasing digital nothingness, then used my monopoly to force their parents to pay for it while referring to it internally as friendly fraud, I might be a little worried about my personal safety as well.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Sounds very Bond villain-esque. Here’s hoping some monkey-wrencher has set it up to lead into a pit of hungry crocodiles.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Anytime Zuckerberg goes out in public, there are concerns he could be mobbed,

      This sounds like his security people are running the same scam as the Clinton pollsters he paid to tell him no one wanted Zuck to be President.

      High-profile execs make prime targets, as Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates infamously discovered when he had a pie thrown in his face in Brussels in 1998.

      The horror. A man who dresses in a costume (The look is a costume) so he will be recognized had a pie thrown in his face during the midst of the largest anti-trust action in history. The HORROR billionaires face. What if it was NOT Lemon Mergngue, the funniest of the pies? It could have been just shaving cream in a tin? How embarrassing?!

      1. Cal2

        Are you saying that the tendency is for the true elite to be escorted by armed guards whenever they or their children appear leave their fortified homes from now on?

        Imagine the lawsuit: “Man shot by private guard when raising pie over his head to throw at Sackler’s wife.”

        “Bill Gates grandchildren refused day care because of security concerns.”

        New sign at Tiffanys: “No armed guards allowed in store.”
        There go the shopping trips.

        1. Craig H.

          When the assassin nanobots arrive the oligarchs will have to live underground. They will never see a sunset or a hummingbird ever. They can rule in hell like the guy in Paradise Lost.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    I’ve been trying to get a weather report for Hell because there are things happening in American politics that I haven’t seen for quite a while:

    1) Omar speaks up, Pelosi responds predictably, but in the end, wide and noisy support for Omar prevents a direct rebuke;

    2) the letter pledge to end the “Forever War”;

    3) the legislation co-sponsored by Rand Paul and Tom Udall to end America’s involvement in Afghanistan and effectively repeal the AUMF;

    4) the House’s passage of legislation to end American involvement in Yemen;

    5) the letter signed by Khana, AOC, Omar and 13 other House Dems condemning U. S. actions in Venezuela.

    WTF? A crack in the Wars ‘R’ Us consensus? There are now politicians at the national level ready to talk about peace?

    Again, I’m checking that weather forecast.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      While I’m not necessarily in alignment with Joe Rogan he does manage great interviews he may well be the best thing on youtube as far as going deeply into things. Recently there was one with Alex Jones that very interesting.

      1. skk

        yes indeed – that he gave 3 hours to a “just 3 guys talking” – with slides – to the Catastrophism versus the uniformitarianism theory of Earth’s geology and then its impact on “how old is the Sphinx”, the Younger Dryas Climatic Change, asteroid / comet impact hypothesis and evidence is amazing, given the state of modern media.
        He gives time – 8 or 9 discussions lasting a minimum of 90 mins to as much as 3 1/2 hours to what I label the Gang of Four for the above heterodox ideas – Randall Carlson, Graham Hancock, Robert Schoch and West is impressive.

        I have insomnia and these talks are great to fall asleep to.

        1. ambrit

          Joe reminds me of the old tee shirt: ‘Question Authority.’
          I too am “enthusiastic” about the above mentioned ‘heterodox’ ideas.
          I’m afraid that we might find out the validity of “Catastrophism” during an upcoming civilization destroying bolide event. To paraphrase Bohr: “Evolution advances one extinction at a time.”

          1. Chris Cosmos

            ??? Way above my poor little brain but I’m sure your attitude really does contribute to the evolution of man and society. After all we’re all here to discourage each other right?

            1. ambrit

              Oh my. As Justice Stewart so famously opined, “I know snark when I see it.”
              What is so scary about this is how well you are connected. It says something about the “ruling ethos” permeating ‘Inside the Beltway.’

  8. Olga

    Some folks here had a bit of trouble lately imagining what “dual allegiance” looks like. Well, here we have Ms. Pelosi making the point very, very clear (from Democrats are now officially split on Israel, and we can thank Ilhan Omar and BDS Mondoweiss):
    “Can you even imagine Pelosi saying what she said to a rightwing Israel lobby group last year: “If this Capitol crumbled to the ground, the one thing that would remain would be our commitment to [Israel].”
    …could hardly put it any better.

    1. Alain de Benoist

      I really question the use of the term “dual allegiance” for people like Ms. Pelosi and her ilk. I think it is far too kind. Look at the imagery she evoked. The Capitol crumbled to the ground? Seems to me the only way we would experience such a scenario is in the aftermath of a devastating nuclear war. And here is Ms. Pelosi promising The Lobby that the money would still flow their way. In other words, the priority of the US government would be to send tax collectors out among the American survivors of the nuclear disaster, among those probably suffering from radiation sickness, to extract resources to be able to pay the committed annual tribute to The Lobby.

      I’m really having trouble understanding exactly to whom the second part of Pelosi’s “dual” allegiance would apply to here.

      1. Olga

        Good point. I suppose one allegiance is assumed a priori, since she is an American (and in an official legislative branch position). The second allegiance was just made clear… but ok, we can say she only worries about one entity, regardless of the fate of the other.

          1. wilroncanada

            Did they sing it in Latin as well for the Roman Catholic half? Where is triple allegiance?

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I really question the use of the term “dual allegiance” for people like Ms. Pelosi and her ilk. I think it is far too kind.

        Indeed. I still remember an interview with Richard Perle, a founding member of the Project for a New American Century and neocon architect of the Iraq invasion, held during the idiot Bush administration, where the interviewer noted that Perle’s critics would question whether his loyalty was with Israel of the US. Paraphrasing here, but Perle responded with his customary evil smirk that of course his loyalties were with the US, but it just so happened that Israeli policy was US policy so really there was no difference.

        Ninth circle of hell is far too nice a place for betrayers such as these.

      3. John Wright

        If one believes that any action the USA does to benefit a foreign country ALSO benefits the USA then one could make a case that an action, to help a foreign country, does not make a case for evidence of some allegiance to another country.

        This claim of complete synchronicity of dual national interest seems to me, at least, to be a very difficult claim for any USA politician to continuously assert in good faith.

        But that seems to be tantamount to what US politicians claim about one particular foreign country’s interests.

    2. Carolinian

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “dual allegiance” and the charge carries the implication that nationalist allegiance (as in Pledge of) is of paramount importance. After all this country of immigrants has always had Germans who supported Germany, Irish who sent arms to the Irish Republican Army etc.

      What’s wrong is the lying about it and pretending it doesn’t exist. The voters of this country should be able to decide for themselves whether giving billions of dollars per year to Israel is something they want to do without being accused of “hate” should it be something that they don’t. The attack on free speech is far more pernicious for Americans than those billions since it’s about our very freedom itself.

      In the Lobelog link above about Netanyahu there is this

      When the state is not a limited instrumental entity, but is instead deified, as the State of Israel has now become, it is only a matter of time before democracy is forfeited.

      It’s hard to argue with that, even if the dimwitted Pelosi might try. As with everything in our current situation it’s the lying that is the worst thing.

      1. Ernie

        > I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “dual allegiance”…

        ‘Dual allegiance’ is nebulous enough that most objections can probably be finessed away. More serious is ‘dual citizenship’.

        Back when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor of California, I saw an article which mentioned in passing that he was still a citizen of Austria. I thought it odd but it got me to wondering about politicians on the federal level. How can you have dual citizenship, dual loyalty (dual allegience, if you will) when the national interest of Country A can hardly be expected to always and in every particular coincide 100% with the interests of Country B?

        It also seemed to me that if there were federal elected officials, paid by the taxpayer, who had such dual citizenship — if it were even allowed — then that status should surely be a matter of public record. I searched high and low on that internet and found nothing. Finally, I wrote to my congressperson, expressing my concern and my curiosity. Said member asked the Congressional Research Bureau to look into it and in due course a report came back that there were in fact no members of Congress who were dual citizens. The question as to whether such a status would be lawful or not was not addressed.

        That was in 2006 and things may well have changed since.

        1. Alain de Benoist

          My understanding is that there is no reporting requirement and no law against members of Congress being dual citizens. That means that no one knows which members of Congress, if any, hold dual citizenship.

          In Israel, on the other hand, there is a law against members of the Knesset holding dual citizenship. Not sure how they got woke to the idea that dual loyalties may lead to problems, but in any case there was a few years ago a dual Israeli – American citizen elected and she had to give up her American citizenship in order to be seated in the Knesset. I think this would be a very good law to import into the US.

          1. Carolinian

            Stanley Fischer was a member of the Fed–arguably more important than a Congressman.

            Fischer was appointed Governor of the Bank of Israel in January 2005 by the Israeli cabinet, after being recommended by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He took the position on May 1, 2005, replacing David Klein, who ended his term on January 16, 2005. Fischer became an Israeli citizen but did not renounce U.S. citizenship.

            In 2014 he was appointed to the Fed Board of Governors.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Fischer

        2. integer

          From 2015:

          Dual Citizens in Congress? CounterPunch

          This week I received the information I sought, in the form of a telephone call from a legal officer of the Library of Congress. After reminding me that Congress (and the [Congressional Research Service] by its connection with Congress) is exempt from FOIA requests, he verbally confirmed my suspicion that CRS does not currently collect dual citizenship data.

          Pretty sure nothing has changed since then.

    3. timbers

      “If this Capitol crumbled to the ground, the one thing that would remain would be our commitment to Israel.” – Nancy Pelosi ?

      Did she really say this?

      I can think of some very Karl Rovian TV commercial bait targeting that Pelosi quote, except it wouldn’t happen because The Lobby would withhold funding. Something like a GOP challenger running against her with a commercial along these lines:

      “If traitor Nancy Pelosi puts Israel before god loving Americans, why doesn’t she renounce her U.S. citizenship and move to Israel? Maybe her daughter could join the Israeli army and fire off her U.S. made machine guns and get her knees dirty for the first time in her silver spoon like?”

      I suppose you could add “Christian” before “god” but that would work in San Fran but maybe in a flyover district.

      The possibilities are endless.

        1. notabanker

          The outright contempt for the American constituency they represent just gets more and more bizarre every day.

    4. integer

      The narrative of there being “no daylight” between the interests of the US and Israel has been pretty effective in suppressing the dual loyalty issue. If the interests of the US and Israel are perfectly aligned, then loyalty to Israel is the same as loyalty to the US, and vice versa. This is obviously disingenuous – the US’ and Israel’s interests diverge in many areas – and thanks to Omar pushing the Israel lobby into the spotlight, the “no daylight” narrative has broken down. Omar has also clearly demonstrated that conflating Israel with Judaism is a prerequisite for using accusations of antisemitism to silence criticism of Israel. She’s on a roll.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’m beginning to see a pattern with Omar. She will say something that is absolutely outrageous. Outrageous because it is the absolute truth. The establishment has a meltdown and become almost frantic in their attacks on her. At this point Omar apologizes and then retreats but it is too late by then as the reverberations still convulse the public arena. I’m waiting for to say something like ‘Isn’t it time to have a real inquiry on the USS Liberty while those survivors are still here to testify?’

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think Omar is quite measured. I would love if she brought this up, but the reaction is clearly about a black, Muslim woman speaking out of turn and not playing the part assigned to her. The “white privilege” and “Bernie Bro” myths have been used to silence the left or create so much noise good messages can’t get out. When AOC and Omar don’t simply go away or can’t be ignored (largely due to the internet and Team Blue having been so awful in recent years), they are running out of narratives to silence critics.

          For all of HRC’s advantages, it was comical how many states she lost to Sanders. He’s not a traditional charismatic orator. He’s not from a major media center.

          As for the GOP, the seemingly progressive Obama beat the snot out of Saint McCain. Obama proceded to defend the GOP at every opportunity and lost 1,000 seats. Trump became President after trashing Saint McCain.

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          she’s definitely playing the long game and is better at it than them. who knew it’d take a somali-american to show spineless european types how to stand up to a bully

    5. skk

      I see the effort to call anti-zionist talk as immediately anti-Jew as just more Israeli propaganda. When I talked about Zionism in the ’70s – we debated the various strands – religious-zionists and secular-zionists and socialist-zionists. Some conversation was even about whether or not it was a national liberation struggle ( surely a good thing, natch ).. Other aspects were that it was part of the separationist versus integrationist strands of thought that all people-groups that are discriminated against work through.

      In the intervening years, successive waves of oppression by Israel of Palestinians had changed the perception of Israel from “plucky people fighting to ensure never again” to a ruthless do what it takes bunch – the Irgun strand of Zionists. And opposing this version of Zionism and an Israel based on that is quite ok in my book.

      It also suggests a fix, Quit beating up on Palestinians and Israel’s reputation begins to improve.

  9. Dogstar

    Biden is the front-runner? I think Uncle Joe gave it up when he hung a medal around GWB’s neck as an award for his work with veterans.

    https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/i-watched-joe-biden-give-an-award-to-george-w-bush-so-you-dont-have-to-f780aeb725f9

    FFS. Almost as if some anti-Biden group came up with a plan to sucker him in to a campaign-killing photo-op.
    I bet they’re still trying to get the hooks out of poor Biden’s mouth.

    Either that or Bush & Biden are both simply working the deep state’s two-party, candy-sharing, war-forgiving, rehabilitation program

    1. RopeADope

      Biden does have a way to neutralize some of his history.

      Many soldiers that went to Iraq both times suffered from brain cancer as residue from munitions is extremely toxic. All Biden needs to do is tell the Gen X and Millenial voters that he regrets killing his own son for the MIC and he also regrets that student loan bankruptcy bill that was forcing people into the military for college aid.

      Biden’s campaign can be “I won’t try to kill you any more”. America does love to forgive if contrition is shown.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s way too late for that. Biden’s support is largely linked on people who think he’s Leslie Knope’s celebrity crush. His record is directly opposed to the notions around him. Then there is #metoo, franking, the surveillance state…he was an evil Senator for a very long time.

        It’s anecdotal, but my experience with “Biden supporters” is they have no idea he was Senator for more than one term and just want to distract from their own ignorance by naming a politician who might not be as awful as HRC. They know so little the name a worse person.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          We would have to make sure they know all about Biden’s role in that so that they could make a fully informed decision about whether to vote for Biden or not.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      The appeal of Biden is to Democrats who want a smiling Daddy to replace the bad frowning one. People who favor Biden don’t want to think or take responsibility for anything they just want comfort.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Yes, the ones I’ve met seem to think he’s a character on Parks and Rec or this is the second one, they recognize the flaws with HRC and maybe Bill but haven’t quite grasped its a Democratic establishment problem or want to know because that recognition demands they do more than nod along to MSDNC and gripe about hillbillies. They don’t want to think too hard or learn. Biden is a name they know that says steady hand. The Biden supporters I’ve met have always been taken aback by how Joe was in the Senate for 30 years.

      2. Lunker Walleye

        No, but the latest Iowa Poll from the DM Register says that Joe is ahead of Bernie by 2 percent.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Your last sentence nails it. Despite the goofy ol’ Uncle Joe routine, Biden has been a DC fixer for quite some time and knows where a lot of bodies are buried. I’ve been a little obsessed with what Biden is really up to for about a decade ever since his name was dropped by a corrupt lobbyist who was duped by some pranksters and the resulting interview was posted in the London Times. Here’s a link to a mention of this interview in Harper’s (the original link I had to the Times is either gone or behind a paywall) – https://harpers.org/archive/2008/09/many-people-have-done-worse/

      That link may also hit a paywall so here’s the transcript –

      From a video recording of a July meeting in London between Stephen Payne and Yerzhan Dosmukhamedov. Payne is president of the lobbying firm Worldwide Strategic Partners. Dosmukhamedov, a.k.a. Eric Dos, is a former politician who is currently in exile from Kazakhstan. In an undercover operation arranged by the Sunday Times of London, Dosmukhamedov posed as a representative of Askar Akayev, a former president of Kyrgyzstan who was ousted from power three years ago. After the video was released, Payne resigned as a member of the advisory council to the Department of Homeland Security.

      Eric Dos: So, what would it involve to arrange that visit?

      Stephen Payne: That’s all he wants, to arrange the visit? Who does he want to meet in Washington?

      Dos: Well, of course, the president, Vice President Cheney. So he can explain the situation in Central Asia, to give his side of the story.

      Payne: Sure, that can be worked out. I can’t promise that we can get to the president, but the situation in Kyrgyzstan is worse now than it was before. That’s a given. I think some things could be done. The family, children, whatever, should probably look at making a contribution to the Bush Library. How big, I don’t know yet. Not a huge amount but enough to show they’re serious. Maybe a couple hundred thousand dollars. That would get the attention of the people raising the money. The main thing is that he comes and he’s well received, he meets with high-level people in the administration, and, most important, the administration makes positive statements, like, This guy wasn’t so bad; many people have done worse. Those kinds of statements from people in the administration, maybe Senator Biden on the Democratic side. Is he interested in going back and running for president? Anything like that?

      Dos: Yes.

      Payne: Okay. See, I understand what he wants. He basically wants vindication from the United States. He wants the United States simply to say, He wasn’t a bad president, and the people were misled. I’ll come up with the exact budget, but it will be somewhere between $600,000 and $750,000, with about a third of it going directly to the Bush Library. That’s going to be a show of, We’re interested, we’re still your friends.

      Why does this lobbyist drop Biden’s name as someone who can help this dictator? I did a fair bit of digging on this about a decade ago and found that Stephen Payne worked with a guy named Randy Scheunemann who was the foreign policy advisor on McCain’s 2008 campaign and had a firm called Orion Strategies. This firm was being paid by the government of Georgia when things went pear shaped there back in 2008. At about the same time Biden started badmouthing Russia and calling for $1 billion in aid to Georgia.

      Biden proposed $1 billion in emergency aid for Georgia, “When Congress reconvenes, I intend to work with the Administration to seek Congressional approval for $1 billion in emergency assistance for Georgia, with a substantial down payment on that aid to be included in the Congress’ next supplemental spending bill. This money will help the people of Georgia recover from the damage that has been inflicted on their economy and send a clear message that the United States will not abandon this young democracy. I hope this $1 billion commitment will be matched by others in the international community.

      This kind of thing is not a coincidence and it’s because of relationships like this that the Blob would like to see Biden’s hat in the ring because who would ever suspect gaffe-prone Uncle Joe, who loves his family and just likes to ride the train, of being shoulder deep into murderous political intrigue? And Biden’s been in DC so long smelling his own farts, he may even believe the bogus avuncular narrative himself at this point. But while the Beltway Blob may want you to believe that Uncle Joe is your pal, George Carlin’s truth remains – it’s a big club and you ain’t in it.

      If anyone’s interested, I found a lot of other connections related to Biden and what he and his associates are really up to and would be happy to share. It’s really quite the cesspool.

      1. Stanley Dundee

        Thank you, lyman alpha blob. I for one would be grateful if you would share your other connections related to Biden and what he and his associates are really up to. I vaguely recall ugly stuff over the years but don’t have the juicy links I’d like to be able to deploy if that creepy old servant of the plutocracy turns out to be a serious threat as candidate.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            I actually wrote a post at the time but it wasn’t a very polished product. I’m a little reluctant to link to it here but I’ll send it to you and if it looks interesting, maybe something further can be done with it.

            Thanks to all who expressed an interest!

      2. Hopelb

        You should write it up and send it out to alternative media. Maybe Yves and Lambert will post it.

    4. Alex morfesis

      Joe biden ? The man who can’t keep his hands off of any female of
      any age ? That Joe is being told he can be President ? When is Raul finally scheduled to be dieded so I can move to juan tanamera land…??

      1. Gary Gray

        Frankly, I think Trump makes Biden more viable sadly enough. Biden has a tendency to pop off, give kernels of truth and it has hurt him in past presidential runs. Now, much like Chef at the end of Apocalypse Now, his worldview had changed. The whole thing has changed in terms of the primaries. I could even see Biden be cool with a progressive like Merkley as VP, considering he is only in it for himself, much like Trump and doesn’t give a shit about the neo-liberal agenda after he is gone. While Trump dines with East Asia supporters, Biden dines with Eurasia supporters. Unlike Trump, Biden is smart enough knowing collusion is a waste of time and won’t commit treason.

        Sanders makes Biden’s age less a factor as well. Really, I would like to see a nice Gen X progressive rise and take the baton. Somebody that can energize the flock and I am not talking about O’Rourke.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Really, I would like to see a nice Gen X progressive

          There isn’t one. The Clintons ran the Democratic Party into the ground for so long that the people who would follow this path are neoliberal trash. You can fantasize until the cows come home, but there isn’t a worthwhile Democrat between the ages of 40 and 60.

          1. bob

            The next time the economy goes down the tubes that whole cohort is going to realize how tenuous their existence is.

          2. Lambert Strether

            > > Really, I would like to see a nice Gen X progressive

            > There isn’t one.

            Nope (at least not one with a national presence). See Benjamin Studebaker, “Why We Cannot Nominate a Young Person in 2020.” It’s very good:

            We face an entire generation of Democratic Party politicians who are untrustworthy and need to be purged. They are all intent on fooling you, on convincing you that they have all turned over a new leaf after coming face to face with Bernie Sanders. They want you to believe that they are the magical young Berniecrats you’ve been waiting for. They are liars. The young Berniecrats can’t run yet. In the meantime, if we want a left-wing politician, we need to go all the way back to the people who got their start in politics before the Clintons showed up. We need someone who was left-wing even before the Clintons watered that down and changed what it meant for most people. Forget the 90s, we need someone who was too left-wing for the Democratic Party in the 70s. There is only one such person left alive. First name Bernie, last name Sanders.

            > The Clintons ran the Democratic Party into the ground for so long that the people who would follow this path are neoliberal trash.

            Obama helped!

        2. John k

          AOC. But not until 2024 at the earliest.
          You don’t go to war with the army you want, you go with the one you got.
          What we got right here right now is Bernie.

          1. JBird4049

            AOC for President at 35? She certainly has the intelligence for the job, but I am not certain that she would have the experience. I would want to have her run no earlier than 2028.

    5. Gary Gray

      Neo-liberals make up most of the Democratic caucus. As much as this board doesn’t want to listen, the bulk of problems the Clinton campaign had was getting Obama supporters to vote for her, who are much more tribal, rather than Sanders like progressives. This is why the “both” Comey letters were so devastating to her campaign because it softened those Obama backing neo-liberals and caused a 2-3% loss of popular vote. In Ohio, it cost 400000 votes I estimate alone. The story of the 2016 election was both parties neoliberal brands were split among themselves. The Republicans between Bush/Rubio/Kascish, the Democrats between Clinton/Obama(who was not running).

      The best hope for the Sanders wing is if the Clinton/Obama wings can’t come to a agreement on a candidate. Frankly, if they do, turnout unlike 2016 will surge in the primaries. If Biden can unite the factions, he is almost unbeatable. He will get 60%+ of the raw vote. If he can’t, then they need somebody else. If they can’t do that, then there is a opening unlike 2016 when Clinton had about 55% of the raw vote. Sanders can make a move.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > Neo-liberals make up most of the Democratic caucus

        That is probably true. However, the issue is disjunction between the caucus and voters. Most unfortunately, the dominant faction of the Democrat caucus lives in the sort of bubble that their base in the professional classes lives in, and so has literally no concept of the lives that working class voters lead. Hence, when Democrats win, it has been because they’re seen as “the lesser evil” by the larger population, not that they have anything positive to offer. That was, apparently, the source of their wins in 2018 (which actually moved the party in a conservative direction, individual voices like Omar and AOC aside).

        Hence, “if Biden can unite the factions, he is almost unbeatable” is no more or less insightful than saying “if Sanders can unite the factions, he is almost unbeatable.” But the cases are different. Sanders is unlikely to “unite the factions”; the liberal Democrats, especially bitter (and often unemployable) Clintonites will backstab him, not unite with him. What Sanders must do is unite (enough of) the voters. That’s why Sanders’ independent fundraising, media, and canvassing operations are so important. They bypass the backstabbers, and connect to voters. Biden, on the other hand, is also unlikely to “unite the factions,” but for different reasons. It seems to me unlikely that Sanders voters, having “united” once for Clinton, and then having been kicked in the teeth by the dominant liberal Democrat faction before Clinton’s nomination and continuously after Clinton’s loss as racists and sexists, will fall for the unity schtick a second time. At best, turnout by them will be weak. And Biden, rather than running a platform-based campaign, will be trying to revive “the Obama coalition” via identity politics, a very risky move, considering that it failed in 2016.

        Of course, 603 days is a long time in politics.

  10. jfleni

    RE: Trump Said to Seek Huge Premium From Allies Hosting U.S. Troops.

    GREAT! NATO will collapse like the smelly old dung-drop it really is, and the yankee taxpayer will be MUCH better off!

    1. Oh

      It’s another head fake like his statement to withdraw troops from Syria. Another distraction, that’s all.

    2. skippy

      Coincides with a new Rand study saying that U.S. overseas bases are indefensible, not to mention Naval assets need to have at least a 1000 mile stand off from China.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Got a link to that study?

        I’m trying to come up with some sort of Stein’s Law of imperial collapse, along the lines of “If something cannot be defended, it will be lost.”

        Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Seeks Huge Premium From Allies Hosting U.S. Troops”

    Trump may be thinking like a business man here – if not a shakedown artist – but I think that he will find it not so easy to do. Those costs of hosting US troops can quickly add up and may change some nation’s calculations. Poland, for example, wants to give the US a few billion to set up Fort Trump in Poland itself. They can afford this as they know that after about two years they will be making big money from that base. But if they have to pay full fare and more then forget it.
    Under the “Cost Plus 50” formula countries could be paying several billion dollars more. Then on top of that, they would be expected to pay billions more to buy US weaponry and the associated contracts. To afford this, those hosting countries would have to make savage cuts in their social programs which would be a “courageous decision”. In politics, “Controversial” only means “this will lose you votes”. “Courageous” means “this will lose you the election”! And in the present atmosphere that can mean right wingers will gain more such as has been seen in Germany for example. Stephen Bannon would be very pleased at this development, especially as he is setting up a populist training ground in a disused Italian medieval monastery in preparation for a right turning Europe.
    But wait – there’s more. The US will also determine a discount that those countries would get if their policies align closely with the US. How could that play out? Last month, Mike Pence tried to get Angela Merkel to send German Navy ships through the Kerch Straits next to Crimea to provoke Russia. Merkel refused as did the French when approached. Under that discount scheme, if Germany had done what Pence had demanded, then they would have gotten a big discount off their bill. If countries had sent their troops to replace US soldiers in places like Syria, that could be also cause for a discount. But such negotiations would be for each and every year and would be an ongoing thing which would prove a tremendous headache as far as what Trump might next demand. In any case, with Trump you would want the discount agreed upon in writing so that he would find it more harder to renege later – and renege he might still.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Well, that’s just not going to work in Germany or Italy. But this may, indeed, be Trump’s thinking. But the National Security types are very allergic to change of any kind so I don’t think they’ll sign off on this.

    2. John k

      Course deep will push back, and trump will give up, just like Syria. But trumps doing us the favor of starting the conversation… if a pres sanders pushes the same, it will suddenly be bipartisan, and harder to stop.

      1. The Rev Kev

        For ages now, the US has been following the “Ledeen Doctrine” which goes “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business” and here the name of countries like Granada and Panama come to mind.
        But now countries have been upping their game with missile technology, Russia is back and China is on the rise. To make it worse, through corruption and greed, the US is being armed with weaponry that will not stand the test of combat such as the F-35 fighter, Ford-class aircraft carriers, Littoral ships, etc. The 21st century is going to be tough for the US military.

        1. skippy

          Had mates in Rangers that went to both, had there been any substantial op forces things would have not gone so well. Sorta like the Iran rescue were everyone wanted to burnish their image with some PR.

          Aside remind me what season it is around here again … 37C for the next two days ….

  12. Wukchumni

    The meth scourge is something to behold, and the ersatz chemist cooker typically is as bad of tweaker as his clientele, and it’s not an easy job, do you use battery acid from AA AAA C D or a 9V when making a batch, or hell, just use some from all of them?

    Had a friend living in L.A. who was meth-odd actor and thought if he moved here it’d disappear, and one day I pull up to the gas pumps, and there’s a guy wearing clothes that are 2 times too big that’s waving his arms 20 feet in front of my stopped car, and i’m wondering if a WW2 Japanese POW camp dispersed it’s inmates through some kind of weird time warp, for I have no idea it’s my buddy as he’s unrecognizable in his current guise, and he approaches the car and i’m wondering in my head, what’s up, and he calls my name and it dawns on me who he is.

    In his year here, everything he did ricocheted like so many errant high velocity bullets bound to hit something, leaving many wounded in his wake.

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

  13. integer

    I had a look at Andrew Yang’s site about 6 hours ago, and since then he has received donations from 1.5k new donors. He’s currently a little over 8k donors short of reaching the 65k required to make it into the debates. At this rate he’ll have them in a couple of days. Also:

    Little known fact about me – I was on the US National Debate Team in 1992 that went to the World Championships in London. If you get me on that debate stage I will deliver. 👍

    Anyone know how close Tulsi is to reaching 65k donors? Hoping she will make it into the debates too.

    1. Carey

      Thanks for that link. Just sent Yang a few bucks. I’m not really a UBI fan, but the guy’s
      lucid and seems sincere.

    2. notabanker

      His interview with Rogan is must see, imnsho. He is weak in a lot of areas, and even he will admit UBI is a catalyst at best, but he has really done his homework on automation and it’s a message that needs to get in the mainstream.

      I admire his guts to run. I would really like to see him in the debates.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Here is another outrage, at least according to the doc who heads the practice I have joined. This implicates Trump’s fast-track FDA. She is a psychiatrist and sent this email to the rest of us as a heads up re a brand new medication for depression after reading the report accompanying its release:

        As long as we have a miracle drug, I am working on a response to all of our people who will ask about it. For now I have the short version (which is all most people want anyway):

        Is nasal spray esketamine a good choice for treating depression?
        The short answer is “No”.

        Its approval is a reflection on the current state of the FDA. Looking at the data used for the approval, it is clear that esketamine is not a miracle. It is a dangerous drug with serious side-effects that did not demonstrate an improved rate of remission or ability to maintain remission. Beyond the serious risks created by severe sedation, extremely high rates of dissociation, and dangerous increases in blood pressure, there are the established risks of drug induced hepatitis reported in the population treated with IV ketamine and the potential neurotoxicity with increased rates of dementia seen in people who abuse ketamine.

        The potential neurotoxicity is not debated. The only question is whether the doses used in the studies are sufficient to cause dementia. That is not a question we can answer as it is not a question Jansen was required to address in their study population. If that is not sufficient, there is the experience of the people in the studies. According to the data submitted to FDA, six people died while in the studies. Three of the six died by suicide. One died from a heart attack, one died suddenly but the cause is not reported. The sixth died in a motorcycle accident (note the drug is so sedating it has a prohibition against driving on treatment days). Another person was sent to the ER unconscious and still another had a stroke. ALL of those serious events occurred in the active esketamine plus antidepressant treatment group. No similar events happened in the placebo plus antidepressant group.

        1. Cal2

          “a brand new medication…” i.e. as soon as the patents were filed.

          Sounds horrible. But profits to be made.

          Brings to mind the 1960s advertising slogan: “Stops Post Nasal Drip”
          >>>>>>>>

          “Post Nasal R.I.P.”

        2. notabanker

          Is there any public information obtainable as to who is prescribing this med, in what quantities, or even distribution concentrations of this? I understand HIPAA is going to prevent specific patient data, but is the distribution traceable to the public? FOIA?

    3. Louis

      Before seeing the Joe Rogan interview I had never heard of Andrew Yang before, let alone knew he was running for president, but came away quite impressed

      Considering what a struggle is has been to get universal healthcare in this country, I don’t expect to see UBI anytime soon.

      Nonetheless, the discussion of how to handle the disruption from automation and AI is a necessary one. If we don’t manage the consequences properly, it will tear the country apart–maybe not in the sense of a literal civil war but certainly in terms of economics and politics.

      If Yang can bring that discussion into the forefront, I’ll consider that a good start..

    4. AC

      He is wrong that the Soviet system (socialism) lost and Adam Smith capitalism won. We had neither socialism or Smith’s form of capitalism. He gets the invisible hand wrong as most capitalists. I would like to get more substance and less debating points. Is he a corporatist?

  14. Wukchumni

    As per yesterday’s Presidential ‘signing bonus’ in Alabama…

    Anybody notice how few Gideon bibles there are in motel/hotel rooms these days on the west coast?

    1. Craig H.

      It is 2019. You can access the bible in 30 different English translations and 100 other languages from your phone. At this point the Gideons are a nostalgia act in the first world. They are like Frank Sinatra on vinyl.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its also an all male operation while women in the laical structure have increased. I’m surprised they are still around.

  15. tegnost

    re scooters…see this quote is from the bird spokesman

    “”I’ve had a few conversations with the CDC researchers and I’m very encouraged,” said Bird’s safety policy director Paul Steely White. “People will always make mistakes on the road, but it’s not about perfecting human behavior. It’s about designing streets so when people make mistakes those mistakes aren’t fatal.””
    paraphrased, it’s not us it’s you, and who’s going to fix these streets for us?

    oh and he apparently doesn’t care if you get hurt, but if you die that looks bad and is clearly austins fault for not spending more money preparing infra for bird, which, not without irony, would not stop the crashes and injuries.
    Priceless

  16. Off The Street

    About those hard drives, will users now have to wrap their PCs up in Faraday cages? ;p

    On a related and more serious note, have computer speakers (or screens, or peripherals, or …) been reverse-engineered to act as microphones? Surely with all the voice-activation work at Apple and other manufacturers, said features must be in the works if not already stealthily rolled out! Or is that more of a Google specialty?

    1. ambrit

      So far as I know, (and that is most definitely a double edged sword,) most ‘entertainment’ electronics now come with microphones and often cameras embedded. The technology is now pretty cheap. (Hand held telephones with working cameras! Who would have imagined?) The control over those already extant ‘assets’ is the point of contention. Outside activation and control of said ‘assets’ is now an ‘open secret.’
      We here at the Old Homestead put tape over any such potential surveillance devices when they are static. Our cell phone is kept inside a side table drawer unless in use.
      I encourage youngsters of all stripes to learn how to “jailbreak” consumer electronics. Just for ‘fun’ of course.

      1. The Rev Kev

        And to think that when I was a kid I really wanted a Dick Tracy watch. Now that we have the technology to make them we have all those secret microphones and cameras embedded in them to watch and listen to your every move. The price got too high to have one.

    2. bob

      Speakers ARE microphones.

      One simple experiment you can run is to plug your headphones into a microphone input, and speak into them.

      Fundamentally, both emitting sound and capturing sound is about dealing with vibrations in the air. The processes are opposite (one takes electrical signals as input, and outputs air vibrations, one takes vibrations in the air and transforms them into eletrical impulses).

      However, consider the following:

      both mics and speakers(/headphones) have a diaphragm, and as mentioned in the Wikipedia article:

      Microphones can be thought of as speakers in reverse

      both incorporate circuitry able to translate vibrations into electricity (or vice versa). In other words, both have an electrical signal on one side, and vibrations on the other. The difference is what is labelled as input.

      if you think about the original phonographs, the same component was used to record and listen to sound.

      So yes, a speaker can pick up vibrations (albeit sub-optimally), and a microphone can emit vibrations (albeit sub-optimally).

  17. Lunker Walleye

    Re: Bernie in Iowa
    Unless I missed it, there doesn’t seem to be any reference to Bernie in Iowa in this morning’s DM Register. There is nothing at all on the Register’s twitter feed, either.

  18. Louis

    With respect to The Nation article on imposing work requirements is a disaster, the work requirement stems from a belief, however wrongheaded it may be, that if we simply make it painful enough to be poor, people won’t be poor.

    Obviously, it doesn’t work out that way in real life. Compounding the problem of work requirements is the fact that if one does succeed in finding work, it does not take all that much to be over the threshold where they make too much to qualify–we’re talking about under $20,000 a year here,even in states that accepted the expansion–but are nonetheless still poor. These people subsequently find themselves either uninsured or able to get a subsidized policy through the exchange but would be financially ruined if they had to use it.

    If the ACA is to be viable over the long-term, either the Medicaid limit needs to be raised significantly–I would say at least $20,000 a year for an individual with no dependents–or major fixes to cost-sharing in the exchange plans. Medicaid, regardless of whatever the income limits are, also needs to do a better job of accounting for the fact that many of it’s recipients who work are in jobs that have variable hours–it’s not practical to have people getting bounced back and forth between the exchange and Medicaid because their hours fluctuate.

  19. XXYY

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/failure-at-hanoi-has-taught-the-administration-nothing/

    Making North Korean disarmament the condition for everything else is never going to fly with Pyongyang. For one thing, it is the very offer that North Korea just shot down at Hanoi, and for another it would require them to have extraordinary confidence in the Trump administration to follow through on its end of the deal. North Korean officials have previously stated that the U.S. and North Korea do not yet have enough trust built up to make such an exchange, and the administration has already shown with reneging on the JCPOA that it can’t be trusted to honor agreements that were already made.

    Larison assumes the Trump administration actually wants progress here and is just slow to understand the situation.

    It’s actually a well understood form of international diplomacy to insist on (exactly) conditions one knows the other party will never accept. This can either be for reasons of wanting to appear reasonable by “negotiating” but actually wanting to buy time or preserve the status quo, or it can just be a matter of playing to a domestic or other audience with the actual issue being irrelevant.

    The British famously “negotiated” with the IRA by insisting the latter unilaterally disarm before any negotiations could take place. The IRA obviously saw no incentive to preemptively give up their only leverage. Meanwhile, British pols could strut around saying they were being tough.

    This is obviously also what’s happening with NK. I assume no one in the USG or Trump administration actually *wants* NK to be disarmed, since a nuclear-armed NK provides a Big Scary Enemy that’s very useful for other purposes (e.g., distracting from the Cohen hearing!).

    Larison needs to up his game.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I don’t think that this is true this time. You are talking bad faith negotiations here and just not the normal give and take of a negotiation process. Trump has reneged on several treaties already and it seems that he will only stay with a treaty if the US is forced to. Otherwise he sees treaties as only limiting US actions. He pulled out of the INF treaty as he thought that through advanced deployment of nuclear-tipped missiles, that he had the drop on Russia and could lock them up in a box. The Russians countered with new classes of weaponry which negated these advantages so we are back in a MAD status again – thankfully. With a history of reneging on treaties and reneging in Hanoi by demanding even more than could possibly be offered, what incentive is there to accept any agreement with Trump? What may have worked in the Big Apple just does not cut it on the world stage and Trump is out of his class.

  20. Horace Meeks

    “She said prosecutors have granted her immunity for her testimony, which eliminates her ability to invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.”

    How does being granted immunity strip you of your Fifth Amendment rights? That doesn’t seem to make any sense.

    1. Adam Eran

      If you self-incriminate, there are no consequences if you have immunity. Hence, no need for taking the 5th.

  21. Summer

    Re: “Starving Venezuelans may lack strength to continue anti-Maduro fight, lawmakers warned”…CNN

    There were lux food places still humming along according to other reports, right?
    But since they do everything to hide that the anti-Maduro people are, in overwhelming numbers, the upper income earners amd wealthy, this type if unmitigated BS on Venezuela continues.

    1. Gary Gray

      I have been to Venezuela, there is no “starvation”. Even a big bunch of the people that have left were Colombians first. The media is lying and lying they should be called out on it. Shortages(enforced foreignly fwiw) yes, famine, no. If the capitalists would stop bothering the people, things would stabilize. This is true internationalism in spigot.

      Matter of fact, Colombia is having shortages themselves right now.

      1. AC

        See Chile 1973. Like Caesar peering into the colonies from distant Rome, Nixon said the choice of government by the Chilians was unacceptable to the president of the United States. The attitude in the White House seemed to be “If in the wake of Vietnam I can no longer send in the Marines, I will send in the CIA.” Frank Church 1976 (Wiki).

        1. Enquiring Mind

          The waning days of the British Empire saw similar examples of government choice by those restive subjects. King Fuad, son King Farouk and others had to see what would play in Whitehall along with their own citizenry. Those must have been frustrating times when Egyptians, Iraqis and others wouldn’t do as they were told. There appeared to be opportunities to try to herd cats along the Nile, Euphrates and Thames, and presently the Potomac, Danube and a few others.

    1. notabanker

      https://youtu.be/b2VkC4SnwY0?t=2272

      Long video, but at 35 min in she talks about their disruptive protest strategy and gives examples where they have used eco friendly washable paints for graffiti , get the press to photograph, get some people arrested and then wash it all off. Public arrests are very much core to their strategy.

  22. Carolinian

    Caitlin: Chelsea Manning is back in jail, possibly for a long time.

    of course the fauxgressives who’ve been shrieking about Trump’s “war on the press” for two years have nothing to say about this administration setting a horrifying precedent by throwing a whistleblower in jail in order to force a journalist’s source to testify against them. Of course the McResistance who’s been screaming bloody murder about Trump saying mean things about Jim Acosta has nothing whatsoever to say about this administration pursuing the arrest of a journalist in a precedent which would be devastating for press freedoms around the world.

    “If Chelsea Manning changed her name to ‘Pussy Riot’ and her location to ‘Russia,’ we might hear some outrage from official Washington and the Beltway press corps that claims to care so much about press freedom,” said journalist Max Blumenthal today.

    “I continue to find it astounding that media stars have spent two years prancing around proclaiming Trump poses a grave threat to press freedom because he tweets insults at Chuck Todd, while they ignore by far the greatest press freedom threat: their attempt to prosecute WikiLeaks,” added journalist Glenn Greenwald.

    Where are the pearl clutchers and couch fainters when a real outrage happens?

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/03/09/us-re-imprisons-manning-to-force-her-to-testify-against-wikileaks/

    1. richard

      I was just watching livechat! saturday! for the j. dore show, and he was covering this extensively. Greenwald was commenting on it too. It’s very sad how little coverage it’s getting. I think a surprising number of people might also be uninformed/misinformed about exactly what a grand jury is ( not that I mean that as an excuse, just an additional thing to consider.)
      I don’t get how NBC, et al don’t see this as a direct threat to their existence as well. Because I see it that way. Ofcourse, we may define “existence” differently.

    2. bob

      The whole case that she was called as a witness to is under seal, also. Secret courts.

      All of the radical centrists agree – she should be back in jail.

      GG has the best rundowns on this mess.

      An important reminder: Chelsea Manning is in prison is because the DOJ is trying to prosecute WikiLeaks for publishing classified docs. *Even the anti-press Obama DOJ* concluded they couldn’t do that because it would threaten core press freedoms.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/julian-assange-unlikely-to-face-us-charges-over-publishing-classified-documents/2013/11/25

  23. dcblogger

    When Bernie wins in November 2020 and brings with him a new crop of progressive members of congress it will not be pretty. Trump is not the only one who is going to lose his mind.

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding both the Economist article on the rapidly increasing mortalities from meth and Samantha Bee’s clip on the opioid epidemic and the Sackler family on boingboing.net: a telling chart this week of the relentless rise of ‘Deaths of Despair’ from drugs, suicide and alcohol by Naema Ahmed at Axios based on CDC and Census Bureau data:

    https://www.axios.com/deaths-suicide-drugs-alcohol-mortality-rate-epidemic-18971e4f-760f-415d-910d-046de83c967c.html

    In 2017, 151,000 Americans died of suicide or causes related to drugs or alcohol — the highest rate in U.S. history. And life expectancy has already fallen in the U.S. three years in a row largely due to these trends, even while the global average life expectancy continues to rise. This does not include side effects on lives and society from related personal impairment and increasing numbers of foster children. Appears that neoliberalism, debt and enormous economic inequality can have deadly side effects. Would be interesting to also see a label on a hypothetical neoliberal economics prescription bottle.

  25. crittermom

    >Trump Transition: “Group Sues for Docs on Katherine Grokas DHS Job”

    “… the group [Democracy Forward] initially filed a records request in November and received an acknowledgement from Homeland Security, but the department has since failed to meet response times required by statute.”

    Sooo… evidently there’s no penalty for failing to meet the statute?
    Actually not surprising, I suppose, when it has to do with the govt releasing information.
    And it seems the only recourse is to file again? Wow. Talk about BS.

    This also caught my eye:
    “A source with knowledge of the situation said [Sebastian–husband] Gorka did indeed resign—but only after being informed on Friday by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that his security clearance had been revoked, which would have made it impossible for him to continue in his White House job.”

    Hmm… yet she’s allowed to keep her job (which I’m sure requires clearance)?

    When I worked as a security guard we had a married couple also working (opposite shifts).
    When the husband got fired they let his wife go, too, citing ‘security’ reasons.
    And that was as a lowly unarmed security guard.
    Yet regarding DHS apparently that (common sense) rule doesn’t apply? *heavy sigh*

    I’m SO tired of two sets of rules regarding those in power & we mere citizens.

  26. Cal2

    Bulldozing barrios brings billions to Beto’s bride’s bequest:

    “The plan calls for a joint effort between the public sector and private investors. The city of El Paso will provide the infrastructure and muscle. Private developers will put up the money, pooling their cash in a financial vehicle called a real estate investment trust, or REIT, that will buy properties.

    “El Plan,” as it’s become known, was received with enthusiasm by El Paso’s elected officials, including Mayor John Cook, a songwriter and father of six; City Councilwoman Susie Byrd, a good-government crusader; and 34-year-old Councilman Beto O’Rourke, a boyish-looking, fourth-generation El Pasoan who runs a Web-based technology business….”

    https://www.texasobserver.org/2483-eminent-disaster-a-cabal-of-politicians-and-profiteers-targets-an-el-paso-barrio/

  27. ewmayer

    “John Kelly Unloads: Working for Trump Was Awful, and His Wall Is Stupid Vanity Fair (resilc)” — “And daddy never loved me as much as my older brother”, added Kelly, in between sobs.

  28. cripes

    Re: yesterdays piece on Billionaires getting testy about private jet fee gouging and incomprehensible billing. To all pharma, hospital, insurance CEO’s please let me know where I can send you my medical billing, so you can straighten it out for me.

    Jackasses.

  29. The Rev Kev

    And in news of an idiotic nature, an American was found trying to transport a mortar shell through Moscow’s main airport in his luggage. The bomb squad was called in but it was found to be non-explosive. The passenger, who was initially detained, was found to be an US Embassy employee who was let on his way afterwards but without the shell. Sounds like an idea that John Bolton would come up with. Can you imagine if a Russian Embassy employee was found trying to bring a mortar shell through Dulles International in Washington? Be funny if it was the same shell that Russia had smuggled into Washington DC through their diplomatic luggage. Story at-

    https://www.rt.com/russia/453411-us-embassy-employee-mortar-shell/

  30. Anonymous2

    The silence of the UK media on Brexit is telling and worrying. It indicates the power of the government to shut down discussion when it wants.

    By the government I mean of course the people who really run the UK – Rupert Murdoch, the Barclay brothers, Lord Rothermere – as opposed to the clowns and puppets in Westminster.

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