Links 4/14/19

Join Dr. Michael Hudson, New Testament Scholar Dr. Aliou Niang, and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Biblical Scholar and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign for panel discussion on Michael Hudson’s book, And Forgive Them Their Debts, at The People’s Forum, 320 West 37th Street, New York, NY, from 6-9pm on April 15, 2019. From the announcement:

Debt plays a central role in upholding the economic and social order of the day. In the US, mounting debt and the crippling financialization of our lives is taken as fact. Our political leaders see no real problem and offer no serious solution. This was not always the case. Throughout antiquity, widespread debt-cancellation was understood as a moral and practical necessity. In a significant new book, And Forgive Them Their Debts, economist Michael Hudson traces the biblical demand against debt and the long history of economic jubilees. Counter to dominant history and theology, Hudson reveals how the Bible itself is concerned most with the moral failure of economic systems, rather than personal sin.

* * *

Kakapo chicks still hatching New Zealand Geographic

Finance ministers say global growth will ‘firm up’ FT

Cause for jubilation is very much exaggerated as global markets are sleepwalking in unison toward a cliff’s edge. Here’s why South China Morning Post

Uber’s Big I.P.O. Filing Is Hiding Some Massive Red Flags Vanity Fair

Impact of high debt levels on least developed countries ‘cannot be overstated’, says UN UN News

The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed City Lab

Stratolaunch Flies World’s Largest Plane for the First Time

Pepsi Plans to Project a Giant Ad in the Night Sky Using Cubesats Futurism (DK). No.


Assange Faces Time in ‘Britain’s Guantanamo’ After Years in Embassy Bloomberg

CIA’s Vault 7 Files Launched New Case Against Assange – Attack Intends To Prevent Further Leaks Moon of Alabama. One answer to “Why? And why now?” Well worth a read.

4 Myths About Julian Assange DEBUNKED Washingtons Blog

Partnering with Assange was unpleasant. But work like his is crucial. Alan Rusbridger, WaPo. But see next–

The Assange Arrest is a Warning From History Counterpunch

The WikiLeaks Case: Democracy Dies in Empire Zero Anthropology

Here Are The Never-Before-Seen US Government Damage Reports Made In The WikiLeaks Aftermath Buzzfeed. Mark Ames: “Right on cue.”


Exclusive: Candidate In Farage’s Brexit Party Is Profiting From EU Exit Uncertainty Huffo. Because of course they are.

The British Parliament in the Age of Brexit Der Spiegel

Jeremy Corbyn: the man versus the movement FT

Filling a gap: the clandestine gang fixing Rome illegally Guardian (JBird).

“More Than One Million Pains”: Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys on the Central Mediterranean Route to Italy (PDF) The Women’s Refugee Commission


US willing to face ‘repercussions’ from China on trade — Mnuchin FT

China says it respects EU laws and standards as 16+1 becomes 17+1 with new member Greece South China Morning Post

Broken Bones, Broken Home: The Life of a Child Con Artist Sixth Tone


The Election Fix: What have India’s politicians promised to do about the water crisis?

India still awaits the good times Le Monde Diplomatique


Venezuela’s military, despite U.S. expectations, has not turned on Maduro WaPo. We can’t even invade a country in “our own backyard.” Thanks to swivel-eyed, mustachio-ed loon John Bolton for bringing clarity to the situation.

Former Venezuelan general with ‘treasure trove’ of intelligence arrested for drug trafficking Reuters. Hmm.

Sudan coup: Military leader vows to ‘uproot regime’ BBC

New Cold War

Court Russians and Soviet Emigres Yasha Levine, Influence Ops

Trump Transition

White House eyes nuclear weapons expert to lead challenge to climate science Science

Cars Are Weird Current Affairs

Democrats in Disarray

Nancy Pelosi appears to condemn both Ilhan Omar’s 9/11 comment and Trump’s video attack, enraging Democratic activists Business Insider. I feel for Pelosi, I really do. On the one hand, Ilhan is a “rising star” and above all photogenic for the diversity happy snaps, plus “listen to black women” yadda yadda yadda. On the other, in their 2018 ballot choices, liberal Democrats shifted their party’s center of gravity toward personnel from a military/intelligence establishment whose raison d’etre, for the last 18 years or so, has been blowing faraway away brown people to pink mist. Here, Pelosi tries to paper over this contradiction, but the paper is tissue-thin:


Of course, “memories” aren’t “ground,” the technical term here being reification, a transformation neatly signaled/concealed with “sacred.”

Bernie Sanders pushes back at critics of his new wealth: ‘I didn’t know it was a crime to write a good book’ CNN. When I buy a book, and I buy a lot of books, I expect to pay the author.

Police State Watch

The Punishment Bureaucracy: How to Think About “Criminal Justice Reform” (PDF) Yale Law Journal Forum. Well worth a read.

SC inmate’s baby died in toilet: Lawsuits allege rampant medical neglect in prisons Greenville News

27 possible graves have been discovered at a reform school with a history of brutality WaPo

Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police NYT

Neoliberal Epidemics

Suicidal Attempts and Ideation Among Children and Adolescents in US Emergency Departments, 2007-2015 JAMA. “This analysis of a large, nationwide sample demonstrated that ED visits for SA/SI doubled among youth between 2007 and 2015.”

Guillotine Watch

Lori Loughlin Felt She Did What Any Mother Would Do, Report Says HuffPo. Speaking of Cersie Lannister…

UCLA knew of a cash-for-admissions deal, years before the scandal Los Angeles Times

Class Warfare

Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men Economica. From 2010, still germane.

Hollywood writers begin firing their agents over fee dispute CNN

Your Student Loan Servicer Will Call You Back in a Year. Sorry. NYT. Sounds like HAMP.

Mathematicians Discover the Perfect Way to Multiply Quanta. Be fruitful?

In Bubbles, She Sees a Mathematical Universe NYT

Antidote du jour (PM):

Bonus antidote:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Spoofs desu

    Yes… those bees are busy—somebody once estimated that if bees got paid minimum wage, a jar of honey would cost >$1,000.—Enjoy that honey wheat toast!

    1. DJG

      Having just used a small jar of unfiltered organic honey, which is a remarkable thing in itself, to clear up a cold, which honey can do, all I can say is that Nancy Pelosi’s yammering about the sacred is mere sloganizing. Should we talk about the sacred? Well, then let’s apply that category to bees, not monuments to endless war.

      1. polecat

        I do it every day, when the bees are out and active .. and I Always tread lightly amoungst our beehallowed ground. Wouln’t want to step on a momentarily exhausted forager !
        If, however, a stinging Nannycycrat suddenly landed in my yard, I’d reach for the intersectional killjar .. rhetorically squeaking …
        Of course, That’s what WASP traps are for …

      2. Judith

        I use honey on burns. Recommended to me a long time ago by the head of the USDA Bee Culture Lab at UW Madison, when I worked there as a student.

        1. Carl

          I thought this was a crock, frankly, until I spilled a pot of boiling pasta on my thigh earlier this year, resulting in second degree burns on the entire upper leg. Twenty minutes of cool water rinse plus applications of local honey over the next 24-48 hours sped the healing process, and it went so well that there is now no evidence whatsoever of this severe burn. You better believer I’m a convert now…

          1. polecat

            Soy sauce also is good for burns, insect stings/bites, abrasions and the like … at least in my personal experiance. Honey however, Does have excellent antiseptic properties, due in part to hydrogen peroxide being a constituent in it’s composition .. and to propolis, which is the bee glue derived from various plant resins that honey bees collect and deposit around the hive to seal cracks and gaps …
            I coursely filter my honey to remove any of the wax from processing (pressing the comb), as well as any miscellaneous bee parts, but there is always some propolis that gets pressed out of the comb along with the honey, which is fine by me.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If soy sauce is good for burns, and honey is good for burns, would a mixture of soy sauce and honey be double-good for burns?

              Miso is made from other things than soybeans. But it is a semi-similar fermentation process to fermenting soybeans for soysauce . . . I think. Would miso contain some of the same burn-healing chemicals etc. as soysauce? If so, would a 3-way-mix of miso/soy sauce/ honey be triple-good for burns?

      3. Richard

        I’m not super into the idea of sacred, but I’m attracted to the notion of bees being sacred. How odd.

  2. Samuel Conner

    Re: the bonus antidote, as a courtesy to neighbors I dig up my dandelions out of the front lawn (and then feed them to my compost worms)

    But this year, I’m growing them in pots in the back for salad greens. I don’t like paying for salad, and am uneasy about the safety of the supply chain. Thanks to this, I’ll leave the blossoms on until they have gone to seed.

    1. c_heale

      Apparently the dandelion leaves are best before flowering (according to what people have told me). Could be best to pick some leaves and then let them flower.

      1. Roxan

        Delicious, blanched and fried with bacon, dressed with cider vinegar. A hillbilly spring tonic! Lots of vitamins. I even tried planting them but like most wild plants, they grow where and when they please.

      2. marieann

        Yes, you have to get them before they flower. I pick the dandelions, purslane and chickweed and add it to lettuce thinnings for my spring salads. I call dandelion wild arugula since they both taste similar

    2. jackiebass

      If you dig them early you could eat the greens. Dandelions get bitter once they blossom. I know people that gather them in the spring for greens. Once they flower the gathering ends because the greens are very bitter. Where I live you can buy dandelion greens in early April at local farmers markets. Probably pots of loose leaf lettuce would work better in early summer. It like cool weather so the season is over when it gets consistently hot. Buttercrunch is a good lettuce because it has great flavor and is more tolerant to heat. I grow it in my garden. I thin it out and it form a loose head.It’s my favorite. If you have a space that gets sunlight you only need a small space, 5’x5′, would keep you supplied. You can plant a small amount every 2 to 3 weeks to have a consistent supply until cold weather arrives.

    3. polecat

      I always leave some to grow unhindered, whilst trying to snap off the spent flowers BEFORE they go to seed. Alas, I always seem to miss a few. When I concoct my herbal bee-tea syrup to feed new or food-stressed colones, I try to include (when in season) Dandelion flowers into the mix, along with our home-grown Chamomile and Melissa.

      1. tegnost

        I don’t currently eat dandies, but I do use them as a natural “roto tiller”, the tap roots can, over a few years break up the worst of soils…dig them up and fill the hole with clover seeds, bees like them, too…

    4. curlydan

      as a discourtesy to my neighbors, I’ve often dreamt of sending my two boys round the neighborhood, blowing dandelions seeds near the nicest lawns and watching my neighbors’ heads explode.

      A guy can have dreams, right?

        1. ambrit

          We’re fortunate in having both in our front “lawn.”
          I have observed the decline in honey bees by watching what buzzes around the clover flower balls.
          Time to ban neonicotinoid agricultural additives.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Till we can get enough power to get them banned, in the meantime we can at least support foodgrowers who have self-banned them from their own operations. We can also grow our own food and pre-ban them from our own gardening operations.

            Also, for those people who like sweetness-delivery-systems, perhaps consider making honey your sweetness-delivery-system of choice. The more money beekeepers and honey producers make, the stronger a lobbying force they can become against the use of neonicotinoids. And the more some of them at least will seek out and support no-neonic organic farmers to be their pollination-services-needed clients of first choice.

            ( Vegans will tell us not to eat honey, because honey depends on bee-slavery and bee-exploitation and bee-oppression. Has anyone considered the possibility that the Vegans are a NeoNicotinoid industry front group?)

    5. anon in so cal

      Immigration and the economic status of African American men:

      In Los Angeles, African American men were previously able to make a decent living performing janitorial work. They were unionized, and fairly well-remunerated for the skill level. Those jobs were steadily taken over by illegal immigrant workers, with a commensurate decline in wages.

      This article places the blame on predatory business owners:

      “Employers in industries from meat packing to agriculture have used immigrant social networks to aid restructuring…”

      Somewhat analogously, public educational institutions throughout California, both K-12 and college/university, have seen a decline in levels of African-American students and a surge in Hispanic enrollment.

      Significant amounts of federal funding is used to assist predominantly Latino students.

      In 2011, GearUp, alone, received $177 Million:

      “the federal government released $177.4 million for 66 grants under Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) that will help some 275,000 at-risk students to prepare for college and receive the support they need to achieve success in post-secondary education…

      …The grants continue EPC’s particular focus on working with parents and families to create environments and support to help underserved, predominantly Latino students, reach UC or another college or University.”

      1. neo-realist

        I would have presumed that many kids from poor African American families would have been considered at risk and would have been able to take advantage of and benefit from the GEAR UP programs. Did the program put a premium on immigrant status for qualification for such a program versus being an American born citizen?

        1. Summer

          I read the ” Hidden Horror of How Hudon Yards Was Financed” (links above).”
          “Specifically, the project raised at least $1.2 billion of its financing through a controversial investor visa program known as EB-5. This program enables immigrants to secure visas in exchange for real estate investments. Foreigners who pump between $500,000 and $1 million into U.S. real estate projects can purchase visas for their families, making it a favorite for wealthy families abroad, namely in China. EB-5 is supposed to be a way to jumpstart investment in remote rural areas, or distressed urban ones.”

          It’s all like this.

          Last people in the country that should ever have to pay taxes is actually black Americans.
          I think the native tribes have managed some exemptions.

        2. anon in so cal

          It’s doubtful the program was limited to certain demographics. Supposedly a major criterion was household income.

          It is the case that African Americans have been leaving California in large numbers for over a decade, due to many factors, including gentrification, energy costs, employment opportunities, etc. Areas that used to be historically African American, such as Compton, are now predominantly hispanic. Public California colleges that used to have relatively high black enrollments have seen the numbers dwindle. Maybe there are causal links between loss of traditional black employment sectors and their outward migration? IDK

          Were programs similar to GearUp available when African American students were present in large numbers? IDK

    6. Oregoncharles

      My business partner uses them as winter greens – they’re mildest then. But we have mild winters and dandies are evergreen here. You can also roast the roots and use them like chicory for “coffee” – haven’t tried that.

      There are cultivated strains that are less bitter; might want to look those up.

      Tidbit: The Permaculture books include an enormous catalog of plants and their uses. Dandelions have the longest list of uses of all – I don’t begin to remember them. They can be used to make rubber – that white sap. I talked with an aging horticulturist who worked on that project during WWII. You know how they seem unkillable? he said that if you set them out in an acres-wide monoculture, they develop all sorts of pests and diseases.

      Apparently it’s a lot cheaper to tap rubber trees.

  3. timbers

    Regarding Democrats in Disarray/Nancy Pelosi,

    I’d like to see Omar respond to Trump or (who ever) that criticizing her 9/11 references disrespects the memories of the millions of brown skin people America, Bush, and Obama 9/11’d on an almost daily basis at one point. And if American cry-babies can’t handle their one singular teeny tiny 9/11 moment, they need to grow up and join the rest of the world that America 9/11’s whenever it feels like it.

    But that’s just me.

    1. Pavel

      I was listening to a UK call-in show and the female host was going on about what a monster Trump is because he is “separating children from their parents” at the border. (Ignoring the fact that Saint Obama did the same thing, and HRC famously said the USA should send children at the border back to Salvador.)

      In any case, all the brouhaha about Omar’s 9/11 statement — people and especially politicians need to learn the concept of “blowback” (Ron Paul being a notable exception here). bin Laden specifically cited the US sanctions against Iraq, which led to the deaths of 500,000 or more children [“It was worth it” — M. Albright] as one of the causes for the WTC and Pentagon attacks.

      Obama’s drones alone killed 3000 civilians I wager.

      None of this is to excuse Trump in the slightest — he has in fact continued Bush’s and Obama’s worst policies. But until Americans take a good hard look at the real causes for 9/11 and change their behaviour as a result there will only be more deaths on all sides.

      Tulsi Gabbard is the only Dem who seems to have an inkling about all this. The rest of them can go to hell.

      Here endeth the rant.

      1. jackiebass

        I’m a life long democrat but not an Obama fan. I didn’t vote for Obama either time. I watched him in the senate and thought he was too much of a Hawk and too business(Wall Street) friendly. He and Trump both got elected by peddling what Meryl Haggard calls Rainbow Stew. Hope and Change and Make America Great sound good but neither Obama or Trump tells you what their slogan really means.Obama didn’t separate all children Only children of felons were separated under Obama.

        1. Chris Cosmos

          But isn’t that what people seem to want, i.e., rainbow stew? Myth always trumps reality and truth. Intellectuals want “policies” and “programs” but the people, in general, want meaning a sense of some kind of larger frame-of-reference. This has been proven over and over and over and over and over again. Sometimes we luck out and get someone like FDR who actually takes an interest in the American people but mostly we don’t.

          1. DJG

            Chris Cosmos: “rainbow stew.” Perfect. I think that you have captured the Usonian Zeitgeist. I’m going to use your term.

            Although I will add that for some people, Rainbow Stew is too much. What I see these days is Rainbow Stew Lite played as a zero-sum game (no dessert!).

          2. richard

            I don’t know that what you say has been proven “over and over and over and over again.” I do think I understand your point that policies that promote (for instance) democratic socialism are one thing, and feeling like we’re all in this together is another, or feeling like we’re creating a better world for children, or something like that.
            I totally agree that we need more than just policy. We need a shared dream, too. But assuming that we all want haggard’s rainbow stew is accepting a paternalistic and contemptuous premise. The people are fooled and will always be fooled seems to be one assumption, accepting that goddamn rainbow stew.
            The dreams that coalesced during FDR’s time were not imposed top down, they sprang out of actual experiences during a major collapse of capitalism. We didn’t get lucky; we had a dream of a better future and policies to go with it and pushed fdr to the left as hard as we could.

      2. Mike

        Pavel, you have 2 out of 3 with some added items necessary. 1)Obama not only separated, but deported more than Trump has – so far. This has not much to do with Dem Vs. Rep as it has to do with the dire need of capitalism to show it is in charge, and will decide which firms get the immigrants and which ones won’t (payoff necessary). The media follows its establishment channels. 2) Bin Laden’s statements cannot be a basis for anything, since US government was caught several times mistranslating him, then making fake videos claiming Al Qaeda involvement. The FBI could not list him or Al Qaeda as perpetrators due to, ala Trump, no evidence. We still have no actionable perpetrator. 3) True on Tulsi, but she is channeling Mike Gravel in his 2008 rants on foreign policy during the Democratic debates where he joined in (will Dems succeed in blocking him now?). Their cue cards told them to laugh, as if Gravel was an old insane escapee from Bedlam, so his anger was deflected and distorted. Tulsi is more measured and specific. They may still laugh, but not as loudly if Sanders AND Gravel are on board (via Black Agenda Reports, who is a sheepdog here?).

        My summary – be skeptical and critical, and pay attention to history – very much so. Re-Rant over.

      3. John

        Tulsi Gabbard is alone in her understanding. Is it a surprise that the MSM, the DNC, et al are doing their best to avert their eyes from her?

      4. marym

        Comparing Obama and Trump deportation numbers

        Nation 12/2017 Why Numbers Alone Obscure the Real Deportation Story

        There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of deportation: those which kick people out of the country quickly for getting caught crossing the US-Mexican border, and those which round up people who are already living in the United States—the “interior.” One big reason for the decrease in deportations is that fewer people are crossing into the country from Mexico…

        If one looks only at what are called “interior removals,” Trump has deported more people than Obama did in his final two years. In fact, in his first eight months in office, Trump deported 61,094 people from the interior, 37 percent more than Obama did in the same period in 2016.

        Politico 8/2017 Trump deportations lag behind Obama levels

        Another factor is the immigration courts, which face a backlog of more than 610,000 cases, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

        [ICE acting director 2013-2014 John] Sandweg partly blames the paralysis on Trump’s decision to scrap policies that required federal immigration officers to place a priority on apprehending serious criminals instead of non criminals and lower-level offenders.

        “When you go out and you arrest a whole bunch of people willy-nilly, [the judge] has got to fill his docket time hearing those arguments,” Sandweg said.

        Family separations
        jackiebass @ 9:23 am is correct. The Obama policy for arriving families was largely to keep them intact. He does deserve criticism for his attempt to keep them in detention longer, a court battle which he lost; and for family separation and other cruelties of “interior deportation.”

        Trump as “monster” for separating families
        The more serious criticism of the press is their lack of follow-up on what happened to the children. Consider how quickly they were disappeared and the acknowledged lack of record keeping, there was a plan and it didn’t include re-uniting them with their parents and likely not placing them with other family members. The children were apparently, in at least an informal definition of the term, trafficked. So what was the supply line and cui bono?

      5. anon in so cal

        Ilhan Omar:

        IMHO, Omar was fully supportable and laudable until she parroted AIPAC talking points regarding Syria.

        David Minzer on Bernie’s progressive foreign policy:

        “Bernie Sanders’s new “progressive” foreign policy, which targets an alleged axis of authoritarianism, is utter bullshit. it pretends that Maduro is in an alliance with Trump & MBS. ”

        Obama deportations:

        The Obama administration publicly stated it was deporting those with criminal records, but evidence suggests otherwise:

        “The Obama administration confirmed Monday that it began a new wave of arrests of Central American immigrant families over the weekend, moving forward with deportations of mothers and children despite an outcry from immigrant rights groups and potential political fallout for Democrats.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Trump brought up Saudi involvement and Shrub failures while calling Saint McCain a traitor which which is no one has heard of Donald Trump since his weird entry to GOP politics. Yep, politicians have to worry about 9/11 myths because. ..

    2. Plotinus

      It should be pointed out that the “some people” Omar referred to were almost all Saudis, thaat they were financed by Saudi Intelligence, and that while no *Americans* were allowed to fly after 9/11 the family and associates of the man accused of the attack (Bin Laden) were immediately flown out of the country and back to Saudi Arabia.

    3. polecat

      Democrats in disarray are like the Zante Misfits: They truly ARE from another world !

      Oh, and what ever you do, stay grounded and don’t let them get near you, they’re lethal .. and don’t let those cooool gotees phule you either.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “CIA’s Vault 7 Files Launched New Case Against Assange – Attack Intends To Prevent Further Leaks Moon of Alabama. One answer to “Why? And why now?”

    Another answer is that on the 25th of this month, a UN Special Rapporteur named Joe Cannataci was to have visited Assange in the Embassy and assess violation of privacy claims. The Ecuadorians realized that they would have some ‘splaining to do if this had happened. In addition, the 25th of April also happens to be ANZAC Day in Australia which is a day to commemorate our war dead and honour our veterans and is a big deal. I doubt that this was just a coincidence-–assess-violation-of-privacy-claims-11418104

    1. integer

      Assange fought a war, but he is not the kind of soldier that is celebrated on ANZAC day. I highly doubt it has any connection to the timing of his arrest.

      1. human

        It’s not that he would be honored but, that he would likely receive some publicity. Much like 9/11, this seems to have been a propitious time to tie up some loose ends.

        1. integer

          Why in the world would Assange receive any extra publicity because of ANZAC day? If anything, he will get less coverage in the Aus. MSM because the daily news cycle will have something else to focus on.

    2. barrisj

      Also from MoA, this link to an article in The Hill, which spoke to an “immunity” deal between DOJ and Assange if Wikileaks substantially redacted any “Vault 7” doc releases, and that this deal was quashed by Comey:

      How Comey intervened to kill WikiLeaks’ immunity deal

      One of the more devastating intelligence leaks in American history — the unmasking of the CIA’s arsenal of cyber warfare weapons last year — has an untold prelude worthy of a spy novel.

      Some of the characters are household names, thanks to the Russia scandal: James Comey, fired FBI director. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Department of Justice (DOJ) official Bruce Ohr. Julian Assange, grand master of WikiLeaks. And American attorney Adam Waldman, who has a Forrest Gump-like penchant for showing up in major cases of intrigue.
      The effort resulted in the drafting of a limited immunity deal that might have temporarily freed the WikiLeaks founder from a London embassy where he has been exiled for years, according to interviews and a trove of internal DOJ documents turned over to Senate investigators. Read the draft immunity deal proffer that the Justice Department was considering for Assange here.
      But an unexpected intervention by Comey — relayed through Warner — soured the negotiations, multiple sources tell me. Assange eventually unleashed a series of leaks that U.S. officials say damaged their cyber warfare capabilities for a long time to come.

      Solomon has written extensively on RussiaGate and related stories, and appears to have some reputable sources…but, as usual – caveat lector.

      1. Oregoncharles

        That link to The Hill is all too plausible. One wonders what Comey was doing – as well as what possessed Assange to kill the negotiations.

        Comey: just incidentally, this suppressed whatever technical information Assange had on Russiagate. Do you suppose that’s a coincidence?

        1. norm de plume

          The significance of the MOA piece is that it provides a genuine rationale: the idea that the arrest was arranged because the US wanted revenge was never enough. Milk already spilt, the bag the cat vacated – who cares now?

          No, it was the unspilt milk, all those bags with cats still in them that counted. If Russiagate can be shown to be homegrown; ie, that the intelligence/security services conspired to interfere with domestic politics rather than some flyover nation or other, then those involved could plausibly be accused of a seven letter offence that begins with T. And Russiagate may only be the iceberg’s tip.

          What sort of operation might be endangered by more Wiki leaking? Here might be a clue:

          ‘Assange’s greatest hope to escape an extradition is a change of government in Britain:

          Jeremy Corbyn @jeremycorbyn – 19:34 utc – 11 Apr 2019
          The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government.

          The time it will take for the extradition case to move through British and EU courts is likely long enough for Labour to win a general election. With Jeremy Corbyn in charge Assange would likely be safe. It is one more reason for the transatlantic establishment to prevent a Corbyn win by all means available to it’

          Might the prevention of a Corbyn win itself be one of the operations at risk? To scoff at such a scenario is naive; after all, if Britain’s MI5 can insert a ‘mole’ into the Bernie Sanders campaign you feel it is only natural that the CIA might return the favour. Particularly when a senior British Army general can publicly opine that they might stage a military coup if Corbyn is elected. And then there are the British soldiers who used a poster of Corbyn for target practice.

          Picking Corbyn off is a twofer: not only do they avoid the scary prospects of socialism, pacifism, environmentalism, all sorts of icky do-gooderisms; they see off the Assange threat to their control of ‘the truth’ as well.

          The nut: are the intelligence and security services of the West engaged in actions that support and further the interests of the citizens in their countries, or are they doing the work of the American military/industrial/financial establishment? (or can it be argued that the interests of those two blocs are aligned?) Is the prosecution of Assange a direct result of their fear that Wikileaks could publicise the fact that those services are engaged not just in the corruption of the political processes of other countries but of each others’ and their own? Are they an anti-democratic ‘fifth column’ cloaked in the garb of national service, but actually undermining the integrity of our politics and governance?

          The stakes could not be higher, hence the urgency.

          Who was it that first made the formulation that concludes the Zero Anthropology piece- that we can have Empire or Democracy, but we can’t have both? Dani Rodrik? How true that is.

          It was good to see Assange’s father plead yesterday for him to be extradited back to Australia. I was reminded of the long effort of David Hicks’s dad to bring him home. You would hope most parents would do the same for their child, errant or otherwise. That applies to governments too.

          But hang on, forget all that. He’s a narcissist isn’t he? Well that does it! Lock him up and throw away the key!

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If Assange worked with others to help Wikileaks evolve into a stand-alone keep-going organization which will continue its work with Assange endungeoned or assassinated, then he did a good thing to help make sure the work will continue.

            If he designed Wikileaks to be a reflection of his own ego, then it will die when he goes offline.

            We will see what his long-term view of Wikileaks and its future ( or not) is/was in due course.

      1. Carey

        I don’t see them eating each other; they have their carve-outs, and each has a
        more-or-less exclusive on rents extracted from the citizenry in their particular
        domain. Works, for the very Few.

        For now

    1. allan

      The 9% is basically treading water. The .9% is doing quite well. The .09% is ripping it. The .009% …

      Check out this graph, comparing income growth from 1946-1980 with that from 1980-2014
      for the various powers of 10 segments of the pie. Then remember that these are percentage increases of income.
      The absolute increases would require a chart that wouldn’t fit on the side of a house, much less a computer screen.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          They own the movies/TV shows, not the news channel.

          Fox news was spun off

          Immediately preceding the acquisition, 21st Century Fox spun off the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Television Stations, Fox News Channel, the Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and the Big Ten Network into the newly-formed Fox Corporation.

          There was a lot of hubbub about Disney having too much control over the news and sports world, so that was part of the agreement.

          The good news is that there is a chance Lisa Simpson will become a Disney princess in the future *fingers crossed*.

          1. Inode_buddha

            Ahh, thanks for the correction. I really wish they had got the news and left everything else…

            1. ambrit

              Don’t worry. The ‘Designed by Committee’ tag will soon be on almost all “entertainment” broadcast over the USMSM.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed”

    No real surprises about the shenanigans that New York pulled with all that money. There’s history there with this sort of stuff. After 9/11, billions were allocated to New York for reconstruction of what had been lost but a big chunk of that was diverted to luxury development projects. Hey, it’s Chinatown. You want to know what the worse thing is? What was built with all those billions. A mate of mine would describe Hudson Yards as being as ugly as a hat full of a**holes.
    Just in contrast, I want to share two links. Singapore’s Changi airport has just opened the Jewel Terminal and it is magnificent. Imagine that if the Vessel and its surroundings had been built along what Singapore had built instead. New York would have cause to be proud then-

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      It’s good to see the addition of greenery which the waterfall will help in nourishing & I like the roof, which reminds me of a favourite inner space, that of the courtyard at the British museum.

      From what I have seen of the Hudson Yard development, the main focal point could have been designed as a film set for the HQ of some extraterrestrial evil empire. Evil spawn of the Guggenheim museum perhaps which was also supposedly built to benefit the Bilbao community, which it totally failed in doing so.

      I wandered a little while ago through the Dublin docklands development, which was largely deserted except for a school children tour of the theatre, which overlooked an also largely empty plaza that the Aztecs would have been proud of. Cold steel, blank windows, an adjacent line of empty cafes with the only other sign of activity being that of the odd pedestrian using it as a short cut. It struck me that I could have been pretty much anywhere & the whole place put me in mind of paintings & drawings of the 1930’s fascist Italian Futurist movement.

      I had a similar experience last week on a smaller scale in part of the Belfast Docklands development, which for some unknown reason has bronze figurative sculptures of farmers dotted about, one with a line of sheep, whose sculptural incompetence I suppose is meant to mean something in a post-post-modernist way.

      Still, IMO Brutalism, glass & sharp steel suit these times.

      1. JBird4049

        Still, IMO Brutalism, glass & sharp steel suit these times.

        The Futurist movement had at least the appearance of some kind of a dark and majestic soul although of a Sauron like quality. I truly loathe Brutalism, but the best of that puts to shame much of the modern more icky attempts at individualism by adding glass and steel harpoons to the Brutalist style. A style that not only lacks soul, never mind a heart, but is a lethal cloud to all the buildings around it.

  6. Pelham

    Re rising immigration and the rising joblessness and incarceration of black men: Shouldn’t this pretty much blow apart the rainbow coalition? I’m betting this study goes nowhere in the mainstream.

    1. JBird4049

      You will think it would. However, the Black Misleadership Class, the black elites that came into power following the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s has neutered reformists efforts first in the black community and later in the white as a quid pro quo for their being recognized and supported by the general national ruling elites. The use of Identity Politics and the concurrent disparagement of class solidarity and alliances across race, class, societies, and even religions has allowed the neoliberalization of our whole nation.

      In addition, the creation and use of nuanced, balanced, well thought out positions has been destroyed at least partially consciously because that would enable the splitting apart the simplistic good/evil, black/right holy crusade thinking that has been useful to those in power.

    1. DJG

      diptherio: This is a solo performance. Is the whole litter still on your place? I thought that you had six puppies. Thanks for this video.

      1. diptherio

        Thankfully, there’s only one puppy left here on the farm. The others have found their new flocks to guard throughout the Northwest. And thank goodness for that! We’ve already got 3 adults on the premises and they’re not exactly cheap to feed. They’re working dogs, and we’ve only got so much work for them around here.

      2. diptherio

        Adding: that goat kid came way early. Not premature, mom just snuck into daddy’s pen before we intended to breed her…So anyway, that kid and his brother were born before the other 3-6 we’re expecting and his brother…well, his brother just disappeared one evening without a trace. We’re thinking an eagle, most likely, as he was just seemed to vanish. So this kid’s a bit of a loner among the goats, and therefore decided to make friends with the (then) two puppies still at the farm. Now that we’ve only got the one puppy left, they keep each other company quite a bit. Cute and bittersweet, that’s life in the country.

        1. marieann

          Aw!! they are real friends, I’m glad the little kid found a brother replacement.

          They are so cute together, and I am so enjoying their videos.

        2. Pat

          The pup has gotten so big! Hurrah for good homes and herds for the others! And an even bigger hurrah for found friends/family of our pup and kid. Lovely.
          Congrats to Freya. And the whole family.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Venezuela’s military, despite U.S. expectations, has not turned on Maduro”

    Unsaid is the thought among members of the Venezuelan military that if Greedo succeeds to power, that they and their families will be sold down the river into a neoliberal hell on earth. I doubt too that any other country in South America would be willing to send troops into Venezuela to fight and die just so that Trump can get Venezuela’s oil. That sort of thing might even lead to a few changes in some of those governments if tried. I think that in any case that Maduro has now short-circuited that idea. He has just announced that he wants a million more militia members recruited which makes outside invasion an idea that is dead on arrival. In any case, I bet that they have not forgotten in South America the Paraguayan War back in the 1860s which led to 70% of its adult male population dying. You remember stuff like that so you have to be careful about starting general wars in this region-

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I don’t think invasion is “on the table.” It’s obvious that the go-to techniques are: 1) bribery/threats; 2) sanctions; and 3) sabotage/covert operations. Will this work? With time and with international cooperation maybe it might succeed in destroying the current regime but it will never succeed in installing a right-wing government without decades of social chaos, guerilla war and so on. We have to remember that the Washington Empire is also called the “Empire of Chaos” because the end-result of US policies always seems to consist of destroying civil society and creating a combination of rule by the military and/or criminal gangs as we see in much of Central America and the MENA region. I think it’s critical to understand this and get away from the rhetoric of seizing natural resources or fighting for “freedom” and opposing “socialism” that’s not the policy in my view–the policy is to destroy civil society as the original neoconservatives suggested–they saw, the MENA region as the test case for destroying not only regimes but civil society so that it can be built up from the bottom up, essentially, copying the CIA’s efforts in the 50s (MK-ULTRA) to destroy individual personalities so they can be more easily controlled and programmed. To put it another way, the policy of Washington is to control for the sake of control–power for the sake of power.

      1. Procopius

        … the end-result of US policies always seems to consist of destroying civil society and creating a combination of rule by the military and/or criminal gangs …

        That’s been the preferred practice of the State Department since the McKinley administration. They call it “stability.”

    2. Ander Pierce

      I don’t believe invasion is on the table, though with imperialist bastards you never know, it would certainly raise the value of Lockheed Martin for a bit :P.

      Odds are there will be more sabotage, isolation, and information warfare, with the intention of destabilizing the society until a large enough segment of the population capitulates to Guaido (or is alienated from Maduro on account of economic sabotage) that neo-liberal austerity can be implemented, and US-allied military bases be stationed in the (absurdly defensible) region.

      I doubt that the Bolivarian government’s large popular base or leadership apparatus will allow this to happen, but if I had been in Chile in the 70s I wouldn’t have expected Pinochet to bomb the presidential palace. We’ll see.

      1. Killkillkill

        “raise the value of Lockheed Martin”
        Exacto! Chaos and perpetual warfare is the goal, so an invasion is still in the cards. Eric Prince will provide the men.

        Think Libya – kill off the leader that had oil, was striving for independence (Creating a gold-backed African currency e.g) and had Africa’s best welfare state. Can’t have that!

        On top of that, Venezuela has a process for real common people involvement in the legislation process. They call it democracy. The US and EU-misleadership hate the thought of having people interfering in their destruction of the lives of its citizens.

  8. NoOneInParticular

    Re: Sanders Pushes Back…

    What he needs to say when this non-issue comes up is “Yes, I got lucky. Not everybody does. That’s one reason we need Medicare for All, free college tuition, and a $15 an hour minimum wage.”

    1. Lee

      My neighborhood has quite a few accidental millionaires. They are mostly older people who bought their homes years ago. I don’t see many of them living the high life. They just putter modestly along.

      1. Wukchumni

        Everybody in my Mom’s assisted living place in not exactly tony Whittier, Ca., pretty much sold the home they bought in 1965 for $22k, for around a million before they moved in. She’s been there 3 1/2 years and if she makes it to 100, they will have effectively blown through her million bucks.

        1. Lee

          Similar to my parents. My sole surviving parent died in her eighties in a small, well run, and expensive home for dementia patients about six months before her money ran out. If she had outlived her life savings she would have ended up in a not so nice place. The often jokingly intended phrase “just shoot me” begins to take on new meaning as one approaches the final event horizon.

        2. Phil in KC

          If you live live long enough and DON’T have a couple million stashed away, you are quite likely to end up in Medicaid-funded assisted living or nursing. IN my Midwestern state, plenty of state legislators and the former governor were all wealthy and protected from this harsh reality that is staring down 90 per cent of their constituents.

          Finding all this out while getting my oldest sister into a nursing home. God help me when my time comes. Our economic system robs you even to the day of your death, no matter how poor.

    2. Ignim Brites

      “Bernie Sanders pushes back at critics of his new wealth: ‘I didn’t know it was a crime to write a good book’”. Sanders defends his income in terms of the labor theory of value. So where is the analysis of the expropriation of surplus value? Were the editors and other workers at the publisher fully remunerated? What about Amazon workers? Of course, Sanders is not a Marxist. If he were he would need to explain whether or not he accepts the leading role of the largest and most successful Communist Party, namely the Chinese. In truth there lop is nothing in the Sanders program that couldn’t be endorsed by leftish Christian Democrats, Gaullists, or Bismarckian conservatives for that matter. So why does he call himself a socialist? Is he talking about nationalizing anything besides health insurance? Is he talking about mandating that doctors and nurses accept government employment? Is he talking about seizing the endowments of private universities (or public ones for that matter – looking at you Austin)? He calls himself a socialist because he has a youthful (sophmoric) mind. He enjoys the frission of being a “revolutionary”. This is why his age and ancient ideas are so enthusiastically received by the young. Of all the candidates, he is the youngest mentally.

      1. Mike

        One would be hard pressed to consider Sanders anything but an FDR Democrat. His being an independent for as long as he was only speaks to 2 things: the drift of the Democratic Party to the right (away from FDR as far as possible), and the comfort zone of being an independent, away from being held responsible for DP idiocy as it moved right. Sanders is only “redical” compared to neo-liberal corralling of all thought and action into the pig pen of current acceptable limits.

        Most disturbing to many who did support him, but abandoned him, is the compromise he makes with DP talking points and mythical American history (9-11, Venezuela, Assange are but a few). He nods to these myths as if they gain him acceptance and makes him more “electable”. His economic policies do not confront the opposition he will get from those deep institutional portions of capital (banks, multi-nationals, health giants, pharma, media) who have become intertwined with big government so tightly. To make an omelette here, the whole egg carton must be torn apart and examined for the enemy within – something he will not do, won’t have the following to accomplish, and would force him to become the Stalinist he loathes. His foreign policy constantly compromises his actions domestically.

        Chinese Communist Party? Please, they are about a “communist” as the Pope. No connection whatsoever.

      2. TroyMcClure

        Of course the editors and other workers at the publisher were not fully remunerated. That’s how a capitalist enterprise works. Bernie is not the publisher.

        Why is this seemingly so difficult for some of you?

      3. WJ

        I have seen Sanders more regularly identify as a “democratic socialist” or “social democrat,” the model being roughly Finland and other Nordic capitalist states with robust infrastructure, welfare, education programs and relatively high degree of social mobility.

        I do not believe that China is anything near the state socialism you ascribe to it. China is a capitalist state economically that uses ideology of “the People” to control and monitor information and dissent. It is the classic case of a capitalist / repressive regime prophesied by Max Weber 100 years ago.

        In general, labels are less helpful than enumerating comparative concrete policies between countries and parties within a country.

        I suppose I am close to agreeing with the classic Marxist critique of capitalism but I recognize (as do most of us Marxist sympathizers) that the label “socialism” like the label “capitalism” has multiple uses and contextual meanings such that a moderate welfare-capitalist state of the sort envisaged by Sanders is often labeled “socialist” for a variety of obvious reasons not worth restating.

        1. Ignim Brites

          Thr praxis of the Chinese communist party is implicitly a criticism of Maoism. The Party has abandoned the attempt to build socialism through the agricultural peasantry and retuned to Marxist orthodoxy which understands the industrial proletariat as the class required to build socialism. Hence the nearly concluded period of industrialization. Now the Chinese proletariat through their agent, the CP are prepared to take leadership of the world socialist revolution. Socialists in the West need to be prepared to com ed to heel.

          1. WJ

            Unless the Chinese proletariat are lifted by the wave of a “world socialist revolution” already in progress, then the only thing they are in a position to “take leadership in” is being the first to be crushed by the tanks of their nation should they get out of line. Crazy to think that China is not driven by and beholden to private capital.

  9. Carey

    From ‘Sabina, Our Hero’, by Rod Dreher:

    “That image is from a short visual editorial about privacy in The New York Times, by Farhad Manjoo. The Times has just launched an editorial initiative called the Privacy Project, in which the editorial page will examine issues of privacy in the digital age. Today, editorial page editor James Bennet introduces the series by asking, “Do you know what you’ve given up?” He’s talking about how, for the sake of convenience, we have surrendered an immense amount of personal data, and access to data, to private corporations..”

    NYT working hard to normalize what they claim to only be reporting on, in my view.
    The conditioning continues.

  10. dearieme

    Seven years confinement seems to me to be pretty harsh punishment for the sort of made-up sex crimes that Assange was accused of in Sweden. Why did he opt for it? Presumably fear that the USA would otherwise somehow have him tortured or killed or locked up forever?

    Could Trump just pardon him and draw a line under it all? Or, at least, under the non-Swedish stuff? No doubt the Swedish business would then vanish like the morning dew.

    1. Oregoncharles

      The “Swedish business” already did vanish, twice, apparently because there’s no case. If they bring it back now, it’s purely as a favor to the US – only it would be a competing extradition. He’d probably rather go to Sweden; I would.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        But if he went to Sweden, who could guarantee that agents of the DC FedRegime would not Extraordinarily Renditionize him to Guantanamo Hotel or the Padilla Suite?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Pepsi Plans to Project a Giant Ad in the Night Sky Using Cubesats”

    Maybe if Pepsi announces that they will carry this idea out, that Coca-Cola sign a pledge in public never to clutter the sky with advertising but to leave it free for everybody to enjoy – unlike the other guys! Wouldn’t take much to get together a campaign to boycott Pepsi if they try. I wonder how many billions of dollars they can afford to lose? People dislike billboards along roads. Why would they tolerate them in the night sky?

    1. crittermom

      Apparently, Pepsi is just the first to sign up for this type of advertising.
      It seems to be a new way of advertising in the future that is planned. (my emphasis)

      “Orbital billboards are the revolution on the market of communications.”
      “… and a $20,000 investment will buy eight hours of advertising in the night sky.”

      ‘Obnoxious’ and ‘horrifying’ are the two words that first came to mind when I read this article.

      Followed by, ‘Aww, hell no. Absolutely not. No way. No!’

      Take away our night skies? That is definitely crossing a line. (“Hunger Games” comes to mind, of course)

    2. Carl

      My first response to seeing advertising in the sky would be the same as seeing a drone: shoot it.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Can you imagine if this had been a thing three years ago? You would have gone out at night to relax and when you shifted your gaze to the stars, you would see in the skies signs saying ‘Vote Trump’ and ‘Vote Hillary’.

    3. WJ

      The Chaldeans once pursued wisdom by gazing upon the stars; we Americans pursue commercial profits by gazing upon our own projections. Ah the progress of civilization.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      This isn’t Pepsi planning this. This is some crappy little group of Russian biznissmons. Perhaps if ” the World” would pay them a multi-billion dollar ransom, they would abandon their plans. And then “the World” could pay a multi-billion dollar ransom to every crappy little group of biznissmons who threatened to do the same.

      Or “the World” ( or somebody with the power to do it) could shoot it down as soon as it is deployed. Shooting it down would cost less money than ransoming it down.

  12. allan

    With close industry ties, FAA safety chief pushed more delegation of oversight to Boeing [Seattle Times]

    In 2012 the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General sent investigators to interview Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) technical staff in Renton, where engineers working under manager Ali Bahrami were responsible for certifying new planes developed by Boeing.

    The investigation substantiated employee allegations that FAA managers did not always support efforts by their technical experts to ensure Boeing complied with safety rules. It found “a negative work environment” where safety engineers feared retaliation “for attempting to hold Boeing accountable.” …

    With the MAX crisis jolting public faith in both Boeing and the FAA, Bahrami, now the executive at FAA headquarters in Washington D.C. specifically tasked with ensuring aviation safety, faces the daunting task of restoring confidence in his agency and in the process of certifying aircraft as safe. …

    During his tenure in Renton, Bahrami spearheaded efforts to delegate more inspection and certification work to industry, and specifically to outsource much of the safety analysis of new Boeing jets to Boeing itself. …

    And why shouldn’t he have? Greenspan’s Theorem tells us that

    Capitalism is based on self-interest and self-esteem; it holds integrity and trustworthiness as cardinal virtues and makes them pay off in the marketplace, thus demanding that men survive by means of virtue, not vices. It is this superlatively moral system that the welfare statists propose to improve upon by means of preventative law, snooping bureaucrats, and the chronic goad of fear.

    Who do you want signing off on a plane – a superlatively virtuous John Galt,
    or some snooping, statist bureaucrat, goading with fear?

    1. VietnamVet

      Seattle Times has been the only media outlet truly reporting on the 737 Max debacles. The crashes are a direct result of deregulation and defunding government safety oversight. If repeated enough times, the safety of air travel becomes a false reality. Just as state propaganda repeats how great the economy is today as trillions of dollars are transferred to the wealthy. The Seattle Times said “The last commercial passenger airplane lost in a crash in U.S. airspace was 10 years ago. In the decade since, airlines have flown 7.4 billion passengers safely to their destinations on 90 million U.S.-regulated flights with exactly one passenger death: on a Southwest Airlines 737 last year when an engine disintegration in flight blew out a window.” This overlooks the Asiana Airlines 777 crash in 2013 at San Francisco International Airport which killed three passengers who were ejected from the aircraft. Two because they were not wearing seat belts and the third in the seat that was run over by rescue vehicles. Just an oversight or is this a bizarre world when not being killed inside the aircraft means not being included in United States air travel safety statistics?

  13. XXYY

    Venezuela’s military, despite U.S. expectations, has not turned on Maduro WaPo

    Members of the military in oil-rich nations targeted by the US must have had a chastening example of what awaits them in the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq, when Proconsul Bremer disbanded the entire Iraqi army and cast hundreds of thousands into unemployment and desperation.

    Better to hang tough and remain in a member of a functioning organization that provides a paycheck and a pension, than condemn yourself to a future of squatting on a streetcorner hoping to get hired by ISIS. If that.

  14. DJG

    Chris Cosmos has invented (above) the term Rainbow Stew for what prevails these days in the public discourse. Here is your daily helping:

    Now, I will admit that I am a bad Catholic and a bad Buddhist who mainly talks to oak trees and bees these days (both are prophetic), but I am highly skeptical that what American needs is a debate between two former Catholics who converted partially for certain socioeconomic advantages. Buttigieg wanted to get married (because that’s what gay liberation is all about, y’know) and Pence wanted reassurance that his political rise is part of Divine Providence (TM).

    Yet Lambert Strether recently published a tweet from Yang indicating that 23 percent of the population is Catholic, 23 percent is un-religious, and some 6 percent would be Buddhist, Muslim, or Jewish. So you can see how Rainbow Stew from former Catholics may not be salubrious.

    Neither of these two careerwise is equipped to discuss religion in public–a former member of naval intelligence and a current member of a fringe-y evangical world. Religion belongs in the private sphere, and I would sent them home to read the Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi. Anything, anything to get us away from the stringent, greeting-card religion that so oppresses us.

    1. tegnost

      I’m afraid you have your attribution wrong, it was merle… from jackiebass

      April 14, 2019 at 9:23 am
      I’m a life long democrat but not an Obama fan. I didn’t vote for Obama either time. I watched him in the senate and thought he was too much of a Hawk and too business(Wall Street) friendly. He and Trump both got elected by peddling what Meryl Haggard calls Rainbow Stew. Hope and Change and Make America Great sound good but neither Obama or Trump tells you what their slogan really means.Obama didn’t separate all children Only children of felons were separated under Obama.

  15. JCC

    A little bit on Ecuador, re: Assange

    The Economist ran a story on April 12th, the day after Assange was arrested, praising Lenin Moreno’s economic policies, and blaming the previous administration for the “mess” that Moreno has to clear ups. (Of course, the idea that Moreno is handling the economy brilliantly, but somehow also needs over $10 billion dollars in loans is never addressed. A tiny logical contradiction compared with the nonsense the MSM dish-up on a daily basis).

    1. GramSci

      I had to dig a bit (since I haven’t su scribes to the Economist for over 20 years), but, sure enough, no mention of the 2016 earthquake that crippled Ecuador. Disaster Capitalism, or, as the Economist would rather call it, the Acts of God.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Also the collapse in the price of oil. Petro-socialism is proving a weak reed – one wonders if the shootdown was deliberate, though it cost the US industry dearly, too.

        Earthquakes are to be expected in the Andes, as in much of the rest of the Ring of Fire. The Inca, at least, actually built for earthquakes – their stonework remains unmoved while Catholic churches fall down on it.

        The four Pacific S. American countries might do well to set up a mutual-aid system for these predictable events.

    2. OIFVet

      There is another dimension to the story: the brewing scandal in Ecuador about Lenin Moreno and other members of his family being in possession of offshore accounts. It is unconstitutional for politicians there to have offshore accounts, so one way to diffuse a scandal is to create an even bigger one, while buying goodwill with the Empire.

  16. skk

    Re: and their Indian election article.

    The article focused on water scarcity. Since the article is about voting, It’s reasonable to see it applicable to humans not some Gaia level. With a stats,math bg, the chart ‘ s use of color irritated me. The 0-100 scale starts at yellow getting progressively redder as the values increase. Now that’s surely going to give an impression of warnings increasing to danger surely. Then I looked at how the color scheme looked when applied to the world

    Wow, poor poor Australia. Totally RED. And the USA ? Totally deep Amber ! And there I thought that the US cities got 24 hr centrally supplied water, unlike in India.

    There are other measures of water scarcity and better charts. Here’s an interactive tool for India that lets you chart different measures of scarcity

  17. DJG

    The report from the Women’s Refugee Commission is horrifying, yet it is important to take a look. Please steel yourself. This is the world we live in. This is what is happens when the Empire acts. This is what “muscular foreign policy” looks like taken out on the bodies of the poor and the unfortunate:

    A mental health provider working with refugees and migrants said that “most of the men have been raped in the prison in Libya,” while a protection officer commented that “it is so widespread. Everyone knows when a man says, ‘I’ve gone through Libya,’ it is a euphemism for rape.” A lawyer working with refugees and migrants speculated that “100 percent of women migrants [traveling the central Mediterranean route] experience sexual violence … [while] 98 percent of men and boys coming from Sahel and through Libya are exposed to sexual violence.” Some key informants were more conservative in their assessment; they recognized that sexual violence is being perpetrated against refugee and migrant men and boys, but did not speak to the possible scope.

  18. crittermom


    Those Kakapo chicks are adorable. Great shot.
    No doubt they’ll grow into their feet quickly? Those are big birds!

    Once again, NC inspired me to search further, not being familiar with Kakapo.
    I found an (old) article in which the first line made me smile:
    “Rangi, a missing male kakapo, has been found on Codfish Island after a 21-year walkabout.”

    I love nature!

      1. Jeff

        Yes, thanks for posting the Kakapo. I too had never heard of it and did a little web browsing. What an amazing bird! They can live to 120 years. Hope they can make a successful comeback and thrive despite all of the challenges from introduced predators, competitors, loss of habitat, etc.

  19. Carolinian

    That Yasha Levine is an excellent link. And while he calls Russian ethnic Russiaphobes “court Russians,” they might also be analogized to the Samuel Jackson Uncle Tom character in Tarentino’s Django Unchained–having cigars with the Massa in the drawing room. The point being that racial and ethnic stereotypes are fungible and universal and also the source of a great deal of hypocrisy on the part of those who make them the entire basis of their moral program or, in the case of a MIddle East nation, their state. Perhaps the great focus of our elites on thought crimes rather than behavior is that they’d find the latter so very inconvenient.

    1. polecat

      It’s all about trying to compensate for succuming to ‘small geographical johnson’ complex .. while simultaneously have 2 small hands tied behind someone else’s back !

  20. JeremyDenning

    “Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men”

    Wow. More ammo for those of us that would like to see working class defined more accurately and broadly than white, red state, and rural, A.K.A. Hillary’s “deplorables”, which are so fashionable to despise these days in certain well-to-do coastal enclaves. Borjas is one of the few economists with cover from an elite, neo-liberal institution (Harvard) that is willing to be honest about the true societal cost, and more importantly who exactly pays that cost when it comes to mass immigration.

    1. Cal2n

      Jeremy, If you haven’t already, suggest this masterful analysis of the economic forces at work in the U.S. Pre-Trump and very predictive of what’s happened.

      “…such elevated levels of immigration over the last few decades have led to an American population growth rate that is exceptionally high for a developed country. An exponentially growing population drives up housing prices and other asset values, greatly increasing the wealth of the One Percent but further injuring the economic prospects of ordinary Americans and worsening our economic inequality. I think it is hardly coincidental that the last forty years of high immigration rates have exactly coincided with forty years of economic stagnation for most ordinary Americans, together with an unprecedented concentration of wealth at the top….”

      “….the reason that Americans won’t take those jobs is often that the wages are just too low. Only recently-arrived illegal immigrants are desperate enough to take many of those terrible, low-paying jobs. A large hike in the federal minimum wage—perhaps to $12 per hour—would eliminate this problem. Americans and established immigrants would flock to such positions once the wages were more reasonable, while the relatively small number of jobs that disappear would be those that require exploitation of an ultra-low-wage workforce, jobs that should have no place in a developed economy.”

      1. Oregoncharles

        Last I heard, the fertility rate of US born women is a bit below replacement – where it should be. Increases consist entirely of immigration and children of immigrants, who often bring high fertility rates with them. That settles out in a generation or two – come to think, the Latin immigrants I know do not have a lot of children – but there’s quite a spike in the meantime.

  21. sd

    And now for something a little different…coming soon in May.

    Hatari is a political, multimedia project that aims to take the lid off the relentless, unfolding scam that is everyday life. They explain: “We cannot change things, but we can unveil the anomie of neoliberal society, the pointlessness of every minute spent in the futile race, and the low price for which man now sells himself ever more blatantly. We can scream at our own impotence, scream at our collective sleepwalk through routine, and implore our audience to unite, shoulder to shoulder, and dance. Dance, basically, or die. Hatari represent a considered reflection on hope and hopelessness, power and repression, of image, individualism, despotism, exposing the contradictions that arise when everyone is embedded within the same system and struggling to fight against it. We are Hatari. We are all Hatari.

      1. skk

        Sadly, I too enjoy it – and as nostalgia. But, mannnn the casual, sort of mild, but still.. racism in it.. It reflects its times of course. A gem of casual racism:

        Sean Mercer : [instructing Kurt and Chips before the shooting match] … and you – what is your name, anyway?

        Charles ‘Chips’ Maurey : Charles Maurey… ( said with a French accent )

        Sean Mercer : Sjarles Ma…?

        Charles ‘Chips’ Maurey : Charles Maurey
        Sean Mercer : Never mind, Chips will do

        Whereas, in the US, in the 90s, and 00s, when my ultralight, sailplane and single engined plane instructors asked me my name I told them my “insert slightly difficult for US BandB people to say name here “ but added – “given this type of activity, I don’t want you searching for words, you can call me anything you like, but CALL me ok ?”.

        But to a man they always said my full name – no short-forms, or anglicizations.

  22. Susan the other`

    Moon of Alabama on Assange going too far. Exposing Vault 7. It really seems like Vault 7 exposed Vault 7. If it is supposed to be so cyber-secret how come it wasn’t? That should be a legal question. When the masters of secrecy present their case to the court the judge should ask why they failed, not why Assange published.

    1. Carolinian

      The interesting part is that the exposure could have been avoided if Comey hadn’t interfered.

      1. barrisj

        Update from Craig Murray on the disgraceful manner in which District Judge Michael Snow despatched Assange to HMP Belmarsh quicksmart, and that a full legal team is in train:

        Chelsea and Julian are in Jail. History Trembles.

        Tonight both Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange are in jail, both over offences related to the publication of materials specifying US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and both charged with nothing else at all. No matter what bullshit political and MSM liars try to feed you, that is the simple truth. Manning and Assange are true heroes of our time, and are suffering for it.

        If a Russian opposition politician were dragged out by armed police, and within three hours had been convicted on a political charge by a patently biased judge with no jury, with a lengthy jail sentence to follow, can you imagine the Western media reaction to that kind of kangaroo court? Yet that is exactly what just happened in London.

        District Judge Michael Snow is a disgrace to the bench who deserves to be infamous well beyond his death. He displayed the most plain and open prejudice against Assange in the 15 minutes it took for him to hear the case and declare Assange guilty, in a fashion which makes the dictators’ courts I had witnessed, in Babangida’s Nigeria or Karimov’s Uzbekistan, look fair and reasonable, in comparison to the gross charade of justice conducted by Michael Snow.

        1. chuck roast

          Speaking of judges…the 4 Myths article is informative, and scarey. According to John Kiriakou, judge Leonie Brinkema of the US Eastern District Court, gave him the bum’s rush during his trial and wouldn’t even let him defend himself. Assange will be adjudicated in this court. Kiriakou figures that Brinkema, whom he calls a “hanging judge” will be assigned to Assange’s trial.

          Kiriakou: “Julian Assange doesn’t have a prayer of a fair trial in the Eastern District of Virginia.”

          Reminds me of Richard Pryor’s old saw: “I went down to the courthouse to get justice. And that what I got…”just us!”

          1. barrisj

            Does anyone truly believe that the DOJ – with the connivance of “friendly” judges – will accord Julian Assange anything other than a “fair trial”? Prosecutors have such enormous latitude to confect indictments by the handful, with the sole purpose of forcing the accused to plead out to so-called “lesser charges”, thereby avoiding public scrutiny and press coverage of a formal trial. The last several NSA/DoD whistleblowers had the boom lowered on them, and one can only presume that Assange will receive even worse at the hands of this government.

            1. polecat

              Well THAT’S outright scary … I can just imagine the judiciary looking the other way, while some fixer on the Clinton shadow payroll fires a raptor right into his holding cell !

              Hillary: “Can’t we just drone him ??”

      2. John k

        Assange wanted to speak to us officials, maybe pols, about the pedestal leak… woulda blown the Russia thing. Comey couldn’t allow it… wonder if what cia thinks of Comey…

  23. Lee


    Apropos of nothing in the current news, this paper provides the rational materialist, and historical view of the Hindu reverence for and taboo against the slaughter and consumption of cattle—analogous in some ways to the contemporary West’s relationship to dogs and cats. Not a long read, but quite instructive as an approach in how to understand the rational kernel of what at first might appear irrational.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Harris is my favorite anthropologist. Interestingly, the cow vigilantes are doing their best to sabotage the arrangement by attacking those who actually utilize cattle: the Untouchables (the have a preferable name, but that one xpresses their status) and Muslims.

      Since the Untouchables would love to get out of their caste, the whole system may break down, not exactly what the vigilantes have in mind. One assumes they aren’t thinking at all. Do they wear leather shoes?

  24. ChiGal in Carolina

    Tomorrow night Sanders is doing a Town Hall on Fox News. I for one want to see for myself how well he bridges the gap given whatever they plan to throw at him.

    1. Lee

      I’m looking forward to this outreach attempt. May he hammer home the message of universal concrete material benefits.

  25. Cal2

    “UCLA knew of a cash-for-admissions deal, years before the scandal…”

    What’s driving the California real estate market, in part are the large numbers of Chinese Communist princlings and their children, who are smuggling wealth out of China and buying not only real estate around universities,

    but also some schools.

    UCLA~”You See Lots of Asians”

  26. The Rev Kev

    “US willing to face ‘repercussions’ from China on trade — Mnuchin”
    ‘US demands for a more market-based economy. The US has demanded that it be allowed to impose penalties on China unilaterally, and without retaliation, if it finds that Beijing has flouted the deal.’

    If the US tries to cram these ideas down China’s throat, it will end in tears. Anybody remember the consequences of the Versailles Treaty in 1919 when the triumphant Allies forced their demands on Germany? The rebound effects of the treaty were, ahem, considerable as the years went by.

    1. Carey

      Observing with interest. TeamUSA™ seem to think they don’t need to keep their citizenry
      onboard with pesky old healthcare for All,
      and the like.

      Mmm, we’ll see who’s willing to go to bat for
      the very Few’s empire now.

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here’s a random photo with caption I just saw on the Reddit.

    Here is the caption: “Young oyster shuckers, Josie, six years old, Bertha, six years old, Sophie, ten years
    old, Port Royal, South Carolina, 1912. Work began at 4 AM. Be thankful for child labor

    And here is the site-link to the caption and photo itself.

    I looked at these kids and I felt bad. But then I remembered that at least they had White Privilege, so it was okay.

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