Links 4/24/19

The Predator That Makes Great White Sharks Flee in Fear The Atlantic

Global warming may boost economic inequality Science

We ignore the disaster in the antibiotics market at our peril FT

Edison asks for bigger profits, says bills would rise $14.40 a month for the average home Los Angeles Times and SCE says investors need bigger profits because of fire risks Los Angeles Times (KB).

Sickly sweet or just right? How genes control your taste for sugar The Conversation

Beware of Economic Theories Claiming to Explain Everything Bloomberg. Horseshoe theory, applied to macro.

Boeing Woes

Al Jazeera had the story of how Boeing was crapifying the 787 five years ago (Richard Smith). Thread:

Remember, again, that the set up for Boeing’s 737 pratfall came when it stumbled and lost its balance with the late and over-budget 787, whose manufacture was driven by management’s desire to build in union-busting South Carolina. Now that some online ticketing agencies can tell you what aircraft type your flight will use, it would be nice if they could tell you whether the actual aircraft was union-built. (Airbus is unionized in Europe, but not in its U.S. plant in union-busting Alabama).

Boeing faces Wall Street in likely ‘lost year’ of financial fallout from 737 crisis WaPo

Google Spinoff’s Drone Delivery Business First to Get FAA Approval Bloomberg. Self-certified?


Theresa May plans new Commons Brexit vote in high-stakes move FT

The awkward truth is that a Norway Brexit almost certainly wouldn’t work The UK in a Changing Europe

Ireland takes steps towards cementing Wales and Scotland as allies Irish Times


Belt and Road debt trap accusations hound China as it hosts forum FT

Dominance or development? What’s at the end of China’s New Silk Road? South China Morning Post. Part one of a series.

China’s African swine fever crisis ‘very serious’ with stocks falling and pork prices set to hit all-time high South China Morning Post

ASF situation in Asia update Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Tank Man Jeff Widener. 82.

Could The U.S. Navy’s War Plan Orange (For Fighting Japan) Be Used Against China? The National Interest

Sri Lanka has a history of conflict, but the recent attacks appear different The Conversation

Chronic malnutrition stunts Asia’s rising-star economies Nikkei Asian Review


Reporter Sharmine Narwani on the secret history of America’s defeat in Syria Salon

Trump Administration Struggles to Get International Support for Syria Plan WSJ

Navy SEALs Were Warned Against Reporting Their Chief for War Crimes NYT

Trump’s ‘Zero’ Pledge on Iran Oil Sales Tests Key Relationships Bloomberg

Oil falls as supply still adequate despite Iran sanctions, but market tightening Reuters


Trump tightens sanctions on Iran’s oil exports—How India will respond Brookings Institution

It took just one acre to grow faith in organic farming Business Line. n=4000, though only two farmers are interviewed.

The wilderness library People’s Archive of Rural India

World Earth Day: Colonialism’s role in the overexploitation of natural resources DownToEarth


Venezuela Imports Crude for the First Time in Five Years Bloomberg

Embassy Protection Collective Will Refuse To Turn Over Embassy To US Puppet Government: Arrests Expected Venezuelanalysis

The IMF Is Fueling an Argentine Crisis – Again Project Syndicate

New Cold War

Russia Sees Its Future in China and Eurasia The National Interest

Putin-Kim Summit: A Long Overdue Event Valdai Discussion Club

North Korea’s Kim arrives in Russia for summit with Putin Channel News Asia

Fortress America rises in South Korea Asia Times

Zelenskiy faces battles with Ukraine’s hostile parliament Reuters


Russiagate was journalist QAnon (Part 1) Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone. A hilarious (and courageous) must-read.

Mueller Time is Finally Over The American Conservative

The Great Republican Abdication Paul Krugman, NYT

Mueller’s report looks bad for Obama CNN. “Russian meddling” is useful to the right, too!

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

How Nest, designed to keep intruders out of people’s homes, effectively allowed hackers to get in WaPo (KW).

Motoring With Big Brother The American Conservative

Suspect Accused Of Smashing 42 LinkNYC Wi-Fi Kiosks Spotted In New Video WLNY

Class Warfare

Workers of the world, embrace your value chains Council on Foreign Relations

Splits go all the way to the top. Thread, from Abigail Disney:

Which dynasty next? The Waltons?

Climbers brought in to help protect Notre Dame from elements Guardian. Now the hard part begins.

Traveling is an elitist nightmare The Outline

Antidote du jour (Kokuanani):

Kokuanani writes: “I have a new rescue dog: a ‘senior’ mastiff named ‘Frances.’ The last of our rescue chows died in December, and it was finally time for me to go back to the shelter. She is the sweetest [and snoozy-est].”

Bonus antidote (DK):

Leveling up my dog and cat game!

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. anonymous

    Boeing, and its less than good-faith relations with unions, is right up front in Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas. Published in 2004 — 15 years ago.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Damn. One more book to read. I never did, since the book was used as a club in the Red State v Blue State big sort*. So perhaps the book is a lot more subtle than I thought (especially given Listen, Liberal! which I did read.

      * IIRC, the whole meme took off with a joke map, with the Red States being, like, Christianistan, and the Blue States having joined Canada, but Google is so crapified I can’t find the map, ffs.

      1. Plenue

        Frank’s central point is how Republicans play their own brand of identity politics, with contrived wedge issues, to get people to keep voting for them while being objectively terrible in practical terms. The political strategies of the two parties is far more similar than it is different.

        He also emphasises that conservative dominance of media maintains a widespread belief that politics consists entirely of a binary choice between vaguely defined ‘freedom’ and, uh, ‘not freedom’, pushed by liberals. This is why so many are convinced college is an evil placed filled with communists; the simple act of being introduced to the vast landscape of human political thought is itself bubble bursting.

        You could take away the message that ‘republicans r stoopid’, but not really any more so than ‘I keep voting for neoliberal minorities’ Democrats.

  2. el_tel

    Re Brexit Irish Times aricle. I have no problems with this article (given what I know about Brexit though someone like PlutoniumKun is better qualified to comment).

    However, and this may sound a little esoteric/off the beaten track, I get a little discomfited by publications that are beginning to engage in “clickbait”. The Irish Times, out of ALL major global news organisations, blatantly broke the embargo on releasing their review of Avengers Endgame – they went one hour early yesterday and “cornered the market” in google searches. I wouldn’t have been fussed about this except their review was pretty out of line with most others: quite negative and written in a very “clickbaity” way. Just for the record, though I like the MCU movies, I’m perfectly open to reviewers not liking them. But releasing your review early and written in a rather inflammatory way? Hmmmmm.

    On a different subject – I have engaged a lot with Mentour Pilot regarding the 737 debacle, and indeed NC picked up his “increasing” concerns. I like it when an external source shows the ability to adjust their thinking following thoughtful articles from sources like NC. But I equally get very annoyed when external sources “blot their copy book” with behaviour that casts serious doubt upon their integrity, particularly when the “key article” NC is reporting on may well be a serious and well-reported one. The Irish Times has made itself look like a “clickbaity source” (which the Guardian and NYT are increasingly doing) when the article referred to looks legit.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I agree that the Irish Times (in line with so many publications) has gone clickbaity, although nowhere nearly as bad as other publications. And its a little better now they are paywalled (hence not looking so much for random clicks). But as a regular reader I’ve learned to just look under the byline and see if the journalist is an old print one (reliable) or a new one who thinks something he read on Twitter is news. The IT now is really two newspapers – one fairly old style establishment and reliable, with a ‘new media’ add on to drive revenue. It seems to have been moderately successful so far.

      For what its worth, I think that article is reasonably good. A few weeks ago I was listening to the leader of Plaid Cymru interviewed on RTE and he was making many similar points. Welsh nationalists have definitely come to the conclusion that a closer relationship with Ireland is vital as Brexit loosens traditional bonds. There have always been links with Scotland, although the current leadership of the SNP have been quite slow to take advantage. I think within the Irish government there has been a recognition that just dealing with London is inadequate – Ireland needs regional contacts throughout the UK, hence the re-opening of the Cardiff consulate. One of the many ironies of Brexit is that its reawakened an old 19th Century dream – the idea of a Celtic alliance of free nations outside the UK/GB. Its particularly ironic that its happening with an Irish government dominated by a bunch of right wing anglophiles once derisively known as the ‘Tory Boys’.

      On a wider perspective, the issue of a United Ireland has arisen because of Brexit, despite the best efforts of the Irish government to pretend its not. But I think they see the notion of promoting links with Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, etc., as a way of broadening and softening the situation in NI. Of course, if the DUP had a brain between them, they’d use this to their advantage, but they clearly lack anything vaguely strategic in thought.

      1. el_tel

        Thank you. My (less informed than you) impression was that the Irish Times was generally doing well. My “problem” is that in the absence of someone like you to show who is an “old school” journalist, I worried that we might find it difficult to trust who was real and who was clickbait. Again, it sounds like a really stupid issue to bring up, but lots of people out there saw the Irish Times really break the rules on a (trivial) issue like a movie and the reputation of the paper has taken the sort of immediate hit that the Guardian only accumulated over 10 years.

        Your advice regarding looking under the byline is welcome. I hope I and others can remember to do this.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Gentlemen.

          @ PK. I listened to the RTE interview, too, and was not surprised that it did not get any coverage on this side of the Irish Sea, at least in England.

          I agree with you about the SNP being slow to take advantage, not just with Ireland, but with France, too, and if only at a cultural level at first.

          Last year, some elected officials from the Channel Islands met Norman regional and French central government politicians, including foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, to discuss enhanced cooperation post Brexit. Apparently, Le Drian was stunned when the kite of some form of integration was flown by the island delegation.

          At work, it’s interesting to see a couple of senior leadership positons transfer from London to Dublin. Much of the recent traffic has been to Frankfurt.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Thanks Col., They are building like crazy here to give your leaders a desk. Lots of office developments breaking ground – its just in the Irish Times property supplement today that a 10,000 sq m block (very large by Dublin standards) is breaking ground just a matter of weeks after getting its permission.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, PK.

              On this side, some landlords are repurposing their City and Canary Wharf properties from commercial to mixed use, i.e. commercial and residential. Much of the funding is from overseas funds, not banks. At the same time, many City shops and eateries have closed over the past quarter or two. There seems to be more homeless people about, especially younger people and women. The signs of stress are plain for all to see, but either not observed or discussed.

              1. Redlife2017

                +1000. It’s not discussed in polite society. Which is why I’m glad I have some unpolite society to live in…

  3. Doggrotter

    Edward Gallagher, his crew should have shot him. I’m opposed to the death penalty, but it’s a war zone. Everyone washes their hands, careers protected, reputations saved. Innocent lives saved.

    1. Eclair

      And, the language! “Special Warfare Operator” as the official title for a soldier? I have been at gatherings where MIC executives constantly refer to American soldiers as “our Warfighters.” As if the entire enterprise is some kind of on-line game.

      1. a different chris

        Without the draft, then to most of the US population it might as well be a game. Maybe not on-line, more like football except nobody gets to actually watch.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      No death.

      Dishonorable Discharge seems in order.

      Make a big deal about it to new recruits.

    3. dearieme

      In the Second German War my father had a subordinate who murdered some prisoners. My father’s response was to draw his revolver and say “If you ever do anything like that again I’ll shoot you myself.” The threat worked.

      It must be harder when the murderer is senior to you. I suppose your suggestion that his crew should have formed themselves into a quasi-trade union and shot him is the practical solution.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Such people as that subordinate are always to be found in wartime. Soldiers are just people after all and there are all sorts of people in the world. From reading history books, I suspect that such people often end up getting killed in action as when you get down to it, who is to say from which direction a lethal bullet came from?

        1. WJ

          The SEAL phenomenon is in my opinion also an expected side effect of the endless, pointless, wars, open and covert, of the American Empire.

          Some SEALS are meatheads, but most are quite bright; from casual conversations with a few of them it is apparent that they easily see through the “justifications” offered for American intervention here or there–from Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya to Syria to the Congo, etc. Their cynicism about the *real* reasons for their being called to fight and potentially die for their “country” produces among them a culture of hyper-allegiance to other SEALS–military law, international law, be damned. They are also placed on a pedestal–they are in effect mythologized–by popular media and political culture and view themselves as “untouchable” because they’ve been told, in so many words, that they are.

          The end result is the behavior of Ed Gallagher, Tony DeDolph and Adam Matthew (who murdered Green Beret Logan Melgar), and the “Tomahawk” crew that operated in I believe Iraq and purportedly was caught scalping their enemies.

          There is nothing noble about U.S. military engagement overseas and most American soldiers and seamen know this. When the leaders of your country are lying to you about their own purported interests in “justice” and “peace”; when they defy international military law openly as a matter of principle, then is it any wonder that people like Ed Gallagher commit war crimes?

          1. Tomonthebeach

            During my 32 years in the Navy – the latter 20 as a psychologist, whenever I encountered uniformed psychopathy they usually wore SPAWAR devices. Having been through some of their training as a line officer and having evaluated BUDS training as a researcher, it is rather obvious that this specialty attracts ruthless people. It is far easier to kill from a distance than to sneak up in the dead of night and slit the throat of your victim or blow him and his family to smithereens at 2 AM. Few of us can do that as a full-time job without expecting PTSD.

            Perhaps more disturbing is that serious psychological problems which would rate discharge or medical retirement do not apply to SEALS. They get pills and therapy and sent back to work. Officials like Bolton see no problem there, but when an administration views most the world as shithole countries full of terrorist losers – tolerance for atrocities is the norm.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Who needs to join the military to become a psychopath? An estimated 60% of Americans play online video “games” where the objective is to blow the heads off of other players or carjack grandmothers and smash them to the ground. A good proportion of the rest go to the the movies or watch TV and get the same kind of “entertainment”. Try finding a game or a movie or show where this does not happen (yes, there are some).

              Some future Gore Vidal will look at our “civilization” and observe that we were a nation whose central value and obsession was the violent mistreatment of our fellow man.

              Peace out.

              1. Greg

                Yes and no. Hugely popular AAA-rated gorefest games are very visible. There’s a massive upswell in the last decade in “builders”, but they tend to be very diverse and have a much flatter distribution, so they can be invisible when your exposure is only via other media.
                At some point I’ll tote up the steam and gog etc rankings by genre and work out how many budding pyschopaths are balanced by budding engineers, but my feeling is post-minecraft it’s not as skewed towards the blood and guts as it once was.
                Of course, I also know from multiplayer experience that blood and guts games are propped up in large part by returned US vets (who spend a lot of time in barracks on consoles), so causality may be not quite in the expected direction.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > There’s a massive upswell in the last decade in “builders”, but they tend to be very diverse and have a much flatter distribution, so they can be invisible when your exposure is only via other media.

                  In general, I would like more commentary and links sent in on games. It’s an enormous cultural phenomenon about which I know little (since I view games as a time sink, based on my experience with Pong). One can’t understand the 18th C without having some understanding of the novel.’

                  1. Briny

                    Sorry, I can’t help you on that one as the games I play are mostly strategy, save the occasional run-through on Diablo II LOD (really old). They don’t even bother with copy protection as we go out of our way to buy them. Otherwise the category would disappear.

              2. Plenue

                You’re failing to understand fiction as fiction; eg, people enjoy being destructive in video games precisely because it isn’t real, not out of some desire to actually do these things.

                And fake violence as spectacle has a long history. Examples include martial arts movies with long, elaborately choreographed fights that in no way resemble actual combat, and hyper-gory horror that cranks the blood up to absurd degrees.

                Also, the ‘smashing grandmothers’ is I assume a reference to the Grand Theft Auto games, which there’s been media moralizing about for decades. That franchise is deliberately absurd (go on enough of a rampage and they’ll eventually call in the army to stop you, at which point you can carjack a tank and continue rampaging. ‘Die’ and all that will happen is that you wake up outside a hospital after hearing an audio clip in which your lawyer somehow gets you off). This is all part of a wider attempt at satire that runs through all the GTA games (whether it’s actually any good at being satire is another issue. GTA 5 is pretty abysmal on that front).

                There was a game, Hatred, released a few years ago that literally was nothing more than a civilian murder simulator, with no humor or attempt at satire. Reception alternated between mockery and revulsion.

      2. georgieboy

        The notion that subordinates might gather together to eliminate the Alpha-Bully is central to the hypothesis put forward by Richard Wrangham recently, in his book The Goodness Paradox.

        Wrangham thinks that the roughly 300,000 years of juvenilization (smaller jaws and skulls, lighter bones) of humans can be attributed to a kind of cultural self-domestication, wherein the clans that are ancestral to modern humans got into the practice of taking the really bad bully out back — as a group — and safely killing him.

        Human morphology has changed like the change from wolves to dogs, as well as other familiar barnyard animals. And similar changes can be seen from chimps on the north side of the Congo River to bonobos on the south side!

        Not stated at length in his book, but the inference in his hypothesis is that the proto-human clans who did not eliminate their Alpha-Bullies eventually got eliminated/absorbed by the ones who did, once the super-cooperator cultural ball got really rolling in the last 50,000 years.

        As an aside, Wrangham is another rigorous student of evolution who got the Stephen J Gould politically-incorrect treatment, like E O Wilson did in the 1970s. In Wrangham’s case the trigger was his book of two decades ago, Demonic Males. Nothing like the fury of an Orthodox Marxist!

        1. Briny

          That makes a heck of a lot more sense! One of the questions that keeps popping up in the archeology journal articles I’ve been tracking is “who domesticated us?” Since our genetic and morphological changes pattern well with those species that we have domesticated.

          Mom’s an anthropologist. Also an electronic engineer and silversmith, but that’s beyond the point. All the kids of anthropologists are weird, Natural outsiders looking at our perverse behaviors especially other children, cliques anyone? So, guess how I turned out?

      3. Briny

        I would have drawn and fired immediately. That kind of thing wasn’t tolerated in my US Navy and everyone knew my views on that.

    4. nippersdad

      One of the very few things that I remember from my time at a military academy was a retired marine colonel who taught military science telling us that the first thing to do when put out in the field is to frag the lieutenants that come out of the war colleges. We didn’t think he was joking at the time.

      Unless “the fog of war” has changed much, I doubt that such things are rare.

      1. dearieme

        In the Second German War, Evelyn Waugh was shuffled around His Majesty’s forces because his superiors were convinced that eventually men he commanded would murder him. (Their sympathy, I gather, was with the men.)

        1. norm de plume

          I can certainly believe that. Still, he wrote one of the funniest war books of them all – Men at Arms – full of memorable cranks at all levels of seniority. Really, the only character not played for laughs to some degree was the protagonist Crouchback, a sort of Waugh self-fantasy, wealthy scion of an ancient Catholic family.

          His talent for satiric skewering was external only.

      2. Off The Street

        My neighbor during undergrad was a returning GI. On one of his war story evenings he said that the only reason that his idiot lieutenant was still alive was that he wasn’t able to find a frag grenade. He left us impressionable youths with notion that his sentiments were quite common among draftees. Having interacted with quite a few Vietnam-era vets, I saw firsthand the struggles they faced during re-entry to society and how little support they received.

        A friend with significant exposure to the VA labyrinth helps younger people navigate and not get buried by paperwork or shuffled off into some forgotten corner. Knowing the forms and processes and escalation paths is part of the vet order of battle, even if not widely publicized.

      3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Nah, its still true. One of the few times i saw a 2nd Lieutenant bullied it was because he went to West Point. He was kind of a dipshit but even as a Specialist i felt sympathy for him.

        You cant spell LOST without LT afterall.


        1. Old Jake

          Interesting comments about 2nd Looies. Just think about it for a moment: these are the guys who had to have a recommendation from their Congressfolks.

        2. skippy

          In RGR 175 we used to walk across the street so not to salute butter bars, not that some tried to cross to make us … lol ….

    5. BobW

      One of my cohorts in a homeless camp, back when I was in a tent, came out of Leavenworth prison after serving a term for butt-stroking an officer with a sniper rifle. This officer, against orders, sent a team forward resulting in the needless death of my friend’s buddy, ending with his brains on my friend’s shirt. My friend got prison, the officer was discharged.

      1. newcatty

        War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing…unless you think the money the MIC gets in their pockets is worth it. That goes all the way down to the not so bright men and women who volunteer to be “War fighters ” to the bright ones, who justify being in positions to harm and kill other humans, cynically knowing real reasons for being in the “racket”. They enable the system to go on, too. Hear they are having problems getting enough plebes to join up…Will they bring back the draft?

  4. sporble

    Re: “Mueller’s report looks bad for Obama” CNN

    Excellent at pointing out that Obama did nothing to stop Russian interference.

    However, the article also contains this:

    “In 2010, he [Obama] and Eric Holder, his Attorney General, declined to prosecute Julian Assange, who then went on to help Russia hack the Democratic National Committee’s emails in 2016. He arguably chose to prioritize his relationship with Putin vis-à-vis Iran over pushing back against Russian election interference that had been going on for at least two years.”

    “hack the DNC emails”?! Looks like yet another MSM attack on Assange (and excuse for Obama’s failure).

    1. DJG

      sporble: Read Taibbi’s article, listed just above the CNN link. Taibbi contradicts the whole thing. The point of Lambert Strether’s posting the CNN mess of an article–and look up top for the CNN author’s biog and years in the swamp of reactionary politics–is that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. After years of accusing Trump of being the pawn of RussiaRussiaRussia, it now turns out that Obama was a distracted and “soft” pawn of the Russians, too.

      It is always outside agitators who are ruining the American way of life for us, now isn’t it?

      1. nippersdad

        Re: “It is always the outside agitators…….”

        Here is a timely example of that, it looks like the DNC et al are going after The Intercept.: “Says one Democratic operative, frustrated with The Intercept’s relentless attacks on the Democratic center, ‘Grim apparently doesn’t ever want to win an election again and is dead set against anyone who does.'”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Scorched earth battle plans.

          Pyrrhic fights.

          For some time now, we have been warning ourselves to be prepared.

        2. pretzelattack

          wow a circular firing squad among the centrists. the intercept has been catapulting propaganda about russiagate for a couple of years now, although it does have some good articles from reporters not named risen.

        3. Geo

          Funny that the DNC sees The Intercept’s role as helping them win elections. Says a lot about how they view the media – and probably how much of the media sees itself.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It looks to me like a new battle line has been drawn, and Obama is not indispensable any longer.

        This also presents a new litmus test for the other D candidates. Will Sanders finally cut loose, speak up for Trump (only as it relates to this case), and against those involved?

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Although Obama challenged HRC, Obama never changed the personal. Republicans and Clintonistas alike were welcomed and celebrated far beyond the ceremonial position offered to Hillary.

        Why is Neera Tanden being taken seriously? She’s been a major player in two incredible defeats against “long shot” candidates. Official Washington didn’t become an Obama town, and this is largely due to Obama choosing to be part of the Clinton dynasty as opposed to emperor in his own right which he could have done. Instead of raising a new class of Democrats loyal to him he largely abdicated that role to the Clintons.

      4. Susan the other`

        Calling the news media “cultists awaiting passage to Heaven’s Gate on the Hale Bopp Comet” was wonderful. Taibbi’s take down is more detailed than Glen Greenwald’s and more entertaining but they both established important facts about the conflation of “collusion” and “obstruction” by the pearl clutches. The fact that there was no collusion effectively exonerates Trump from the accusation that he obstructed justice. He more or less obstructed injustice, at worst. Glen Greenwald used this unavoidable conclusion against David Kay Johnson on Democracy Now and left both DKJ and Amy (two otherwise very objective journalists) looking a little chagrined. What can anybody say now? Not much.

        1. newcatty

          Saw that play out on Democracy Now, too. Greenwald has “debated” Kay Johnson before and won the hour. Kay Johnson seems to have little objectivity when it comes to Trump delirium. IIRC, Johnson has helped feed his rice bowl on Trump stories for years. Yes, they were quite chagrined. Amy does ask for that sometimes…I met her once in person, and this will come across as sour grapes( and it should) at a book signing table at a green event sponsored by a well known microbrewery and almost everybody there walked around with a brew to drink. I had copy of her book, spouse wanted it, and I volunteered to go stand in line for signing. Thought it would be long enough to finish it. Well, line moved right along and there was I with some brew left in the plastic, biodegradable type glass. This was first of any alcohol of the day, BTW. Amy glares at me and says Oh my…we’ve got a drunk one here. I was just taken by surprise and put book in front of her. Said nothing. She scribbled her name. I ran. Not a personal fan, but watch the show for noose.

      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        > he point of Lambert Strether’s posting the CNN mess of an article–and look up top for the CNN author’s biog and years in the swamp of reactionary politics–is that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

        Exactly. A classic case of “it’s out there.” And at this point, Obama is a surprisingly raw goose (given how feral Republicans generally are).

    2. WJ

      “who then went on to help Russia hack the Democratic National Committee’s emails in 2016.”

      This is pure propaganda. There is no evidence to support this claim. Unless you think that unhinged tweets from Chuck Schumer count as evidence.

      The lies are becoming so blatant, so crassly obvious, that it boggles the mind.

      1. pretzelattack

        i’m starting to wonder if pravda and izvestia were more honest than the nyt and the post?

        1. WJ

          Perhaps a state that *explicitly* censors media for the sake of the “Truth” is required to accommodate as much actual truth as it can so as to retain some cultural purchase.

          Perhaps a state that *implicitly* censors media for the sake of the “Truth” is not required to accommodate as much actual truth, because the majority of its consumers are unaware that they are being fed propaganda.

          If something like the above dynamic is correct, then it would seem to follow that a state’s capacity to effectively control the ideas and beliefs of its citizens under a regime of *implicit* censorship is greater than its capacity to do so through *explicit* censorship.

          Hence I would not be surprised if Pravda turned out to contain more uncomfortable truths in its pages than the New York Times or Washington Post do in theirs.

      2. pjay

        As Lambert said, “Russian meddling” is useful to the right, too!

        Dems and Repubs now get to bicker back and forth about who was the biggest “dupe” for the Evil Rooskie Meddlers. Media gets to cover this “story” from their partisan platforms over and over. Deep State sits back, smiles, and continues its work to make sure the one Indispensable Nation isn’t overtaken by any hegemonic pretenders. Politicos may not get around to discussing M4A. It’s all good.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There is one possibillity that all American patriots should consider, and that is, by being so incompetent in accusing Russia of meddling, the promoters of that idea is actually making Russia look good (‘an innocent victim’ of a false charge…the intended goal of this false flag operation, under this hypothetical possilibity).

          That is, the promoters are the real puppets of Putin (in this case).

          If this then leads to impeachment, and as Trump says now, and if that flips the 2020 election, then, we’d be looking at the real Russian meddling (a long game, from a patient puppet master).

          That above is one possibility to keep in mind (not saying it is the case, but just something to keep an eye out for). And patriots may have to speak up.

      3. jrs

        yes, even if we believe the intelligence claim that Russia hacked the DNC, there is no evidence, and noone is even reasonably making the claim that Assange helped them. It’s quite literally pulled out of thin air, fiction made up on the spot.

  5. bassmule

    Re: The Great Abdication–“American values.” Right.

    “As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?”

    –Alexis de Tocqueville

    1. Redlife2017

      I’ll go with the great Dr. Hunter S Thompson:

      “This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”
      From “Fear and Loathing: on the Campaign Trail ‘72”

      1. Svante Arrhenius

        Thank you! You’ve made my day. Perhaps, every day should start with an apropos aside, by a competent and astute journalist, delta blues singer, old-timey vaudevillian, psychotic psychic or jazz-era mobster?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One question (assuming the description still fits now, as it was in 1927).

        Do those 220 million plus (because there are more today), used car salesmen (and saleswomen) deserve Medicare For All, when they have no qualms about a lot of things?

        “Well, there are times we have to be more critical of ourselves, just as the Chinese, for example, have to be more critical of themselves…because we and they care. And we have to read Dr. Thompson in that light. So, yes, those Americans still deserve Medicare For All, having qualms, or no qualms, about a lot of thing.”

        “No, he was not exaggerating. We don’t deserve it. We are bad.”

        And the debate goes on.

        1. Redlife2017

          Ha! No idea what the good doctor would think about Medicare for all, but his feelings about W. were that he had sullied in America what Nixon couldn’t. He didn’t view Americans as generous and kind. But in everything I’ve read of his, I haven’t noticed a horrible moralism where he would say “we are bad people we don’t deserve anything.” The dude was a drug addict and not one to moralize about people in the traditional sense. He hated murderers. He hated imperialists. He liked McGovern and voted for him even when he knew he would lose. And McGovern was more lefty than anyone until, oh, Bernie. So, he was no right-winger.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks. It sounds like (from the book) we all have to come to terms with our past, and it’s simplistic to group all 220 million or more Americans in one category.

            And by debating or discussing, we can learn from our mistakes.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Do those 220 million plus (because there are more today), used car salesmen (and saleswomen) deserve Medicare For All, when they have no qualms about a lot of things?

          We deserve universal concrete material benefits not because we are good, but because we are human.

  6. Steve H.

    >Reporter Sharmine Narwani on the secret history of America’s defeat in Syria

    “I no longer think journalists should be treated with a special kind of immunity when they get a story this wrong, repeatedly, and people die in the process. I prefer to call them “media combatants,” and I think that is a fair and accurate description of the part they play in wars today.”

      1. Steve H.

        Couple this with state denial of Assange as a journalist.

        Not entirely tangential, the book on Putin you brought to my attention didn’t seem to have much sourcing for his earlier years. And Seymour Hersh is being touted as a Russian stooge.

        Odd that Bernays didn’t title his book ‘Public Relations.’

    1. Steve H.

      > “I’m not just talking about the strengthening of the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa], the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Eurasian Union, etc. I mean the world’s networks are shifting hands, too. What will happen to Western-controlled shipping routes now that Asia has started to build faster, cheaper land routes? Will the SWIFT [bank messaging] system survive when an alternative is agreed upon to bypass U.S. sanctions everywhere?”

      Qiao LIang, 1999: “Perhaps, in the not too distant future, the military means will be only one of all the
      available means in wars such as one of fighting terrorist organizations of the bin Laden category.
      A more effective means that can strike at bin Laden in a destructive way is perhaps not the cruise
      missile, but a financial suffocation war carried out on the Internet.”

      So instead, thus US joined forces with al Queda in Syria (which turns my stomach) and is now overplaying its hand with SWIFT abuse.

      Qiao Liang, 2015: “This means that a new era has already arrived, while the American reaction is still slow. Alibaba deals were all made directly with Alipay. What does direct pay mean? It means that the currency is already out of the transaction stage, and the American leadership is built on the dollar. What is the dollar? It is a currency. In the future, when we no longer use money, traditional money settlement will become useless. When money becomes useless, will an empire built on money still exist? That is the question to be considered by the Americans.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What did Qiao Liang mean by ‘money becomes useless,’ and ‘an empire built on money?’

        1. Steve H.

          From ‘One Belt, One Road‘: “Why does the US economy need and so strongly depend on international capital flows? The reason is that after the August 15, 1971 dollar-gold decoupling, the US economy gradually gave up on physical production and left the real economy.”

          Yves: “For a currency to function as a reserve currency, there need to be large stocks of it in foreign hands. That happens only if the currency issuing country runs significant trade deficits over time.”

          If I read it correctly, he is asserting that the leveraging of the dollar as the reserve currency is coming to an end. It’s a very interesting speech on financial conflict; Qiao Liang co-wrote ‘Unconventional Warfare,’ which was the Chinese version of Full Spectrum Dominance.

          I’m sensitive to the possibility of a ‘wall comes down’ moment in the next couple of years, so I’m attending to this quote of Yves as a bellweather:

          “Repeat after me: you have to run sustained current account deficits, so it is widely held overseas, and you have to have deep and clean enough capital markets so that people who are willing to hold your currency are also willing to invest.”

          1. Steve H.

            Following up, he specifically mentions Alipay as a mechanism. Wiki notes “In 2017, Alipay partnered with SnapPay to allow Canadian retailers to accept Chinese currency from Chinese shoppers.”

            Effectively, the payment platform is a kind of strategy to undermine dollar hegemony. I have no idea if it will work, but Chinese experiments with overtly tying financial credit with social credit means that cash is not the way to freedom. It doesn’t matter if you can afford the ticket if they don’t let you on the train.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Bypassing the dollar means less global demand for it.

              With all the dollar money created floating out there, reduced demand would suggest money destruction via taxation, in order for dollar-money supply to align with dollar-money demand.

              (Alternatively, China, not wanting to accumulate more dollars, will either let its dollars sit idle, or used them to buy American resources, putting constraints and limits on resources available for the American economy. Thus, the need to reduce dollar-money supply).

              Is this what we are looking at: Reduced Chinese and others’ demand for the dollar, higher taxes for Americans (or lowering government deficits – cutting back on Medicare For All, for example)?

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


            How does the leveraging of the dollar as the reserve currency come to an end?

            Would it still be the reserve currency, but no more leveraging? What does it look like?

    2. Chris Cosmos

      It is a great interview. I was surprised that she is allowed to be published in Salon which has turned into a mainstream Democratic Party site much like HuffPost. So I stopped reading it even though it was once, like the New Yorker (of old), Mother Jones and others was a pretty good publication. So many of these publications went over to the dark side like NPR way back when. These organizations became minor league farm clubs for “the bigs”, I guess. “Journalists” have to make a living and most of them turned into propagandists to stay “respectable” as the Russiagate fiasco proved. A look at Salon proves clearly that they are doubling down on impeachment and Russiagate and National Enquirer style headlines based on no evidence at all so how Narwani’s ideas are still published confuses me. Anyone know what’s going on in these publications.

      1. pjay

        I had the very same reaction. While founder and longtime editor David Talbot was very good, Salon has published some absolutely miserable “liberal” BS in recent years by some of the worst offenders. In this article, Narwani calls out practically the entire journalistic establishment in very strong terms over their Syria coverage. The author/interviewer, Patrick Lawrence, has also done some very good work.

        Regardless of the mystery, this is an excellent article (apparently there will be a Part 2). I hope everyone reads it and passes it on to their “liberal/progressive” friends.

      2. barrisj

        Her dismissal of the ubiquitous “White Helmets” was spot-on…just google “White Helmets disinformation” and note the dozens of articles in the Western media assailing Russia and the Assad administration for conducting massive “disinformation campaigns” against the “heroic” WH “observers”. I recall an article published a few months ago taking down the WH, but have been unable to locate it.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Probably an article by Vanessa Beeley or Eva Bartlett. They have both of them done stuff called actual journalism and at least one of them have done a take down of the White Helmets. Some of their videos are on YouTube as well.

  7. Redlife2017

    Re: Matt Taibbi’s Russiagate was journalist QAnon (Part 1), had me feeling very sorry for Carter Page. I instantly thought of a Tom Hanks movie I loved as a kid in the 80s called The Man With One Red Shoe. The CIA needed a spy to go after, so they used the fact that Tom Hanks arrived from an international flight wearing one red shoe. It’s pretty bloody similar to what happened to Carter Page (but played for mid-80s laughs – ahhh when a person could be AGAINST the CIA).

    It’s these sorts of reasons why I refuse to get on board the whole Trump is an evil hosemonster thing. ‘Cause if this is the moral resistance, I don’t want to be a part of it.

    1. Brindle

      One can see Trunp as “an evil horsemonster thing” and also want no part of the “the resistance”. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

      1. Redlife2017

        I realise that I wasn’t as clear in the above statement, as I really dislike Trump. But I suppose I just have a hard time with him being extra special hosemonster evil. He’s America’s Id, the unconscious made conscious. He’s George W. Bush without the 9/11 or the belief in God. He’s Hilary Clinton without the “we came, we saw, he died” quote. He’s John McCain without the Vietnam war record (but the same record as W.). He’s Reagan without the uplifing language of Morning in America and having an astrologer help set the direction of his policies. He’s Richard Nixon without the collaboration of his close confidants (the amazingly evil Kissinger, Agnew, & Hoover) in actualising his horrible impulses towards evil, control, and cover-upery. Trump is an amoral a-historical used car salesman pigmy of a man. But extra special evil? I have a hard time with that.

        But maybe I’m wrong and Trump is the modern-day Richard Nixon:
        “Let there be no mistake in the history books about that. Richard Nixon was an evil man — evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it. He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Nobody trusted him — except maybe the Stalinist Chinese, and honest historians will remember him mainly as a rat who kept scrambling to get back on the ship…
        Nixon was no more a Saint than he was a Great President. He was more like Sammy Glick than Winston Churchill. He was a cheap crook and a merciless war criminal who bombed more people to death in Laos and Cambodia than the U.S. Army lost in all of World War II, and he denied it to the day of his death. When students at Kent State University, in Ohio, protested the bombing, he connived to have them attacked and slain by troops from the National Guard.”
        Hunter S Thompson, He Was a Crook (his 1994 Obituary for Richard Nixon)

        I know these comparisons may seem lame, but I like to put people into their historical place….

        1. Brindle

          I don’t disagree. I do think Trump might be the worst president as far as the environment goes and maybe women’s reproductive rights.

          1. jrs

            and made some of the worst appointments ever. He really is a new level of bad (but expect lots of denial on this), but not for the reasons usually discussed.

            1. Carey

              If one disagrees that “He [Trump] is a new level of bad..”, is one
              necessarily in denial?

          2. Copeland

            And might Nixon be the best president as far as the environment goes?

            Strange thought to contemplate…cognitive dissonance.

        2. Pat

          I see a missed a very important name in there. Try he is Obama with drama.

          And I say this as someone whose dislike of Obama grew as he made me long for Nixon, a far better President by comparison. And Nixon was deeply corrupt and evil.

          1. Redlife2017

            Yes! Very true. I didn’t know what to put for Obama, so thanks!

            And yes, the Nixon vs. Obama comparison is awful to think about. And I feel like you do. Nixon was pure evil, but he could at least make a bloody deal. Can you see Obama getting the EPA or doing wage/price controls? Obama is a bloodless version of Nixon. Actually all our politicians now are bloodless, evil technocrats. Nixon would have hated them. Meh.

            1. marym

              Trump’s offered nothing positive in terms of policy. He and the people with whom he’s surrounded himself, are all about actively doing harm to most demographic groups, institutions, treaties, “norms,” programs, regulations, and other countries. I think that, the hate rallies/hate tweeting, and the flagrant personal profiteering make him at least a different kind of evil added to the more established and bipartisan forms.

              1. Pat

                I have a slightly different view of Trump, as in he is not different he is just not selective and never subtle. We have seen all the destruction and hate before. About the only thing new is the lack of pretense.

                And I do think jettisoning the TPP was still a win. I would also say that the destruction of ACA is speeding the acceptance of single payer AND making it more possible faster. Small maybe, but both positive.

                1. marym

                  I should probably add a note “except for trade, which I don’t understand” to any global criticism of Trump. He’s gotten some good marks from people at NC who know more. How much Trump knows about it in detail is open to question too – he describes tariffs as money paid by the country that exports to the US, and mis-states trade balance statistics regularly. At least with trade he seems to want to build something. I would argue about the ACA though. Opening a space for M4A may be a good consequence, but it was the destruction that he intended, not any positive plan.

                  1. Lambert Strether Post author

                    I think of Trump as a catalyst. He is making every “reaction” in which he is involved go faster (and also like a catalyst, is unchanged by them; so far as I can tell, he doesn’t learn, probably doesn’t even think he needs to). For example, given the Democrat Party’s proven ability to decapitate social movements, President Clinton would have meant no DSA, a greatly weakened Sanders movement, no AOC, no Ilhan, no Sunrise Movement, no GND, etc. Remove the catalyst, slower reaction!

                    I’m not a worse is better guy, so I’m not making the Machiavellian argument that these are reasons to vote for Trump. I am saying this the situation, and there are opportunities to be gained from it.

                    1. Pat

                      And thank you for seeing the gains and noting them. As broken as I believe things are I often forget the growth of outside factors appearing and gaining traction in the battle to correct and change the situation.

                  2. Pat

                    Oh the help for single payer was inadvertant no doubt. Just noting it happened.
                    Although for me the most significant and frightening aspect of the Trump presidency is not how bad it and he is. And he is bad, the epitome of every bad, greedy, corrupt, venal, mean spirited aspect of the presidency and political inepitude we have known in my lifetime. No it is that the disintegration of our system is not limited to the top office, but is so clearly on display in every check system of our checks and balances. Congress, the courts, the press, all broken, inept or in collusion with the terrible ideas and policies. Donald Trump is the natural evolution of government by and for the biggest donor and merely the cherry on top of the stinking edifice.

        3. Carl

          I agree with this. I still think GWB was one of the worst presidents ever, and Trump just seems a little more crass and obvious, still saying things out loud that previous Rs would only whisper. Extra-special evil? There’s a lot of competition for that title.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            GWB certainly blew hundreds of thousands more faraway brown people to pink mist, openly favored torture, and destroyed the Fourth Amendment, too. Of course, Obama rationalized and normalized all that, as did Clinton, so it’s all OK. “He gave Michelle candy!”

            I would go so far as to say that anybody who thinks Trump is a worse President than Bush either is too young to have lived through Bush, is a fool, or is a tendentious fool.

    2. Carolinian

      Yes great article although he does go on. Shorter version: MSM seized by mob psychology and if they could string up the prez like in some old movie they probably would. They believed he was guilty because everyone they know believed it and so there was no downside to not believing it. It’s similar to a recent phenomenon in my town that I keep complaining about where everyone (not me) routinely runs through stop signs if no traffic spotted. The attitude seems to be: everyone else is doing it and nobody is stopping us so it must be alright. Letting the hive mind do your thinking for you probably accounts for more disasters than we care to admit and is one of the downsides to being “social animals.” Kudos to Sanders–not always on the mark–for saying basta! What the US lacks–hugely–is intelligent leadership.

      1. Donald

        I think articles like that need to be long–Taibbi has to point out all the ways the press was wrong or it is too easy to dismiss. Of course the true believers will dismiss him anyway–I looked at his Twitter account and he has a bunch of liberal McCarthyites commenting after his tweets.

      2. Chris Cosmos

        I don’t think everybody thought Trump was guilty. Journalists know they have to tie the Party line or they’re out. Pulitzers (Hedges, Hersh) won’t save them and neither will high ratings (Donahue, Schultz). If you have proven to be consistently wrong but are good with the Party you will be promoted and never ever fired. Members of the media aren’t all stupid, they know very well the official stories are wrong but money talks the language of love to the creeps who now inhabit the meduascape.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          How anyone could think Trump colluded with Russia knowing our McCarthyite past….These people are nuts and greedy af worshipping at the foot of Mammon.

          And thank Zeus Taibbis a good guy. The Russian Hysteria ran concurrent with Taibbis #MeToo nothingburger so he had to have been feeling pressure from all sides. I suspect Taibbi et al to become even better journalists and people lighting the way to Libert…Canceling all the debts.


          (and Caitlin Johnstone!)

    3. Off The Street

      Taibbi’s article makes me wonder at what point did readers and viewers stop thinking for themselves. So much of the coverage of the whole matter was so over-the-top and laugh out loud silly and shameless.

      Eagerly awaiting part 2 for more entertainment while the DC follies grind to some end and various politicians and media stenographers retire in disgrace if not in incarceration.

  8. Roger Smith

    Up Next, the Disney Channel Original Movie, Game of Thrones!

    Walt was interested in running an animation studio/connected projects. Contemporary business is all about making profit off of nothing.

  9. Yikes

    Asia Times / Unedited Pentagon Press Release
    Just dialing for dollars?

    The French are foreigners. They are weak. Colonialism is dying. The white man is finished in Asia. But if the Chinese stay now, they will never go. As for me, I prefer to sniff French shit for five years than eat Chinese shit for the rest of my life.”

    The Koreans have long ago gotten so use to sniffing it that they outdid the Chinese in establishing neo-Confucianism, and they certainly understand the white man in Asia is just a tool (in both senses). Perhaps that base is just another bit of corruption that the modern South Korean state has become equally famous for.

  10. jfleni

    RE: Edison asks for bigger profits, says bills would rise $14.40 a month for the average home.

    Hogwash – it’s just more plutocrats screaming GIMME!

    1. Cal2

      Maybe the state could seize Edison’s holdings through eminent domain at the same time as Pacific Gas & Electric’s? That would harmonize and make more efficient the conversion of the entire state, sixth largest economy in the world, into a giant public power entity which is being discussed after PG&E’s multiple manslaughters caused by their negligence.

  11. Tom

    Theresa May plans new Commons Brexit vote in high-stakes move FT

    Can anyone kindly summarize this plan for me?

  12. David

    “Sri Lanka has a history of conflict, but the recent attacks appear different.”
    You don’t say? The title alone pretty much sums up the lamentable way in which the media covered this episode in the first few days. Everyone with any knowledge of the country rushed into print with essentially the same story – civil war, ethnic tensions, buddhist nationalism, need for reconciliation and communal singing of “Kumbaya”. Completely ignored was that this kind of complex attack, against six targets simultaneously (it now appears there were eight planned) requires resources and planning far beyond anything available domestically in Sri Lanka. It now seems pretty clear that only the suicide bombers and the drivers etc. were local, and that training, planning and logistics were done from outside. This is a massive up-yours gesture from ISIS to remind people it still exists, and has only a passing relevance to the history of that unfortunate country. It seems likely that the immediate perpetrators were Sri Lankans who had been radicalised by Salafi preachers and had been in Syria with ISIS.
    Unfortunately, the story is now well on the way to being subsumed into the religious tolerance narrative, with which it has almost nothing to do. The effort that will no doubt be going into foreign-funded community reconciliation schemes would be far better devoted to going the country a functioning security apparatus.

    1. Summer

      And this:

      Sri Lanka attacker studied in UK and Australia, says minister | World news | The Guardian

      “This group of suicide bombers, most of them are well-educated and come from middle or upper-middle class, so they are financially quite independent and their families are quite stable financially. That is a worrying factor in this,” he said. “Some of them have I think studied in various other countries, they hold degrees, LLMs [law degrees], they’re quite well-educated people.”

    2. Bob

      “the story is now well on the way to being subsumed into the religious tolerance narrative”

      Tolerance is all the msm has to offer. After the new Zealand shooting they say we need to be more tolerant of Muslims. After the Sri Lanka bombing, you guessed it, we need to be more tolerant to Muslims since “Easter worshipers” for what happened in new zealand.

      Will they ban the Koran the same way they banned Tarrant‘s manifesto?

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, you are quite right. I know only the very basics about Sri Lankan politics and society, but it struck me as soon it happened that there was something very ‘off’ about the attack. It was obviously far more focused and planned than, for example, the Bali attacks a few years ago, and the targets – Christians and rich tourists – didn’t seem consistent with the notion of an oppressed minority striking out at the perceived oppressors. Most of the media seemed at sea and just fell back on the usual clichés.

      The only rationale that I can think of was that an opportunity arose for Isis sympathisers to attack there, and the churches and hotels were the only targets they could identify that would specifically hurt the west. Its curious though that one of the bombers apparently lived some time in the UK.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Is it ISIS? There were other Al Qaeda successor operations and allies. ISIS just made a play to be the top dog in the wake of Bin Laden and his crew being dead because they were rock stars for that kind of audience. Part of ISIS’s means to approach top dog status is to claim credit for rainy days. Its their schtick, so in the absence of hard evidence, I don’t think ISIS claims are to be taken as evidence. They’ll claim credit for anything they think they can.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          They’ve released photos of the bombers pledging allegiance to Isis and all dolled up in that nice black and white gear, so the ‘claim’ seems to be the real thing.

          From what I can understand from my quick read through of todays newspapers, it looks to have been run and organised by one particular preacher from Pakistan (I think) who settled in Sri Lanka and developed a bit of a cult following. Looks like he managed to get significant support and logistics from outside.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            This is disheartening. ISIS appears far more keen on slaughter than Al Qaeda proper which preferred more symbolic destruction.

            ISIS is far less keen on suicide bombers. They might foment new more active celebrity type terrorists.

            1. Summer

              “ISIS” sounds like a useful tool for somebody…don’t know how much it does for religion in the long run.

              1. Svante Arrhenius

                Was thinking cui bono, myself. Problem is: nowadays, we’ll likely never know? Fertile time for kleptocratic regimes to pull all sorts of agent provocateur or psy-op type brutality to play one despised minority against, say a rival political, sectional or business faction?

            2. David

              AQ was’ roughly a Leninist vanguard party hoping for a revolution in an indeterminate future. IS is more like a popular militia that wants everything now. This does look like the IS I’m afraid, or at least it’s hard to see who else it could be. The worrying thing is that the bombers seem to be ex-combattants from Syria returned home, with training and indoctrination. They probably needed foreign help with logistics but I suspect that they could still manage relatively simple attacks on their own. And there are literally thousands of such people, from dozens of countries, many on their way home.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                I’m convinced the Bin Laden inner circle just enjoyed reading their press after a time. They were too old for a second revolution and embraced suicide bombers as a way to stay in the lime light but not risk anyone who might supplant their rock star status. They won their war in the 80’s.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Its curious though that one of the bombers apparently lived some time in the UK.

        Several of the 9/11 attackers lived in Germany and were highly educated (urban planning, as I recall). Contact with “the West” doesn’t necessarily entail conversion to Western values (see, e.g., De Tocqueville, supra).

  13. zagonostra

    Paul Krugman

    The opening two paragraphs of the NYT Krugman piece below really blow my mind. I’ve been following Matt Taibbi , Glen Greenwald, Aron Mate, and others in the alternative media for a long time and 1, I didn’t know Russia was “hostile”, 2 that in any meaningful way Russia had any effect on 2016 election 3, “meeting definitions” is the essence of law, and lastly that the Mueller report would have chastened Krugman and other MSM pundit’s after hawking a patently false narrative for 3 years.

    So all the “fake news” was true. A hostile foreign power intervened in the presidential election, hoping to install Donald Trump in the White House. The Trump campaign was aware of this intervention and welcomed it. And once in power, Trump tried to block any inquiry into what happened.

    Never mind attempts to spin this story as somehow not meeting some definitions of collusion or obstruction of justice. The fact is that the occupant of the White House betrayed his country. And the question everyone is asking is, what will Democrats do about it?

    1. Chris Cosmos

      The obvious and over-the-top actions of mainstream media figures seems like a cartoon version of Goebbles’ Ministry of Propaganda with its hysterical pronouncements–it is even going beyond the excesses of the Soviet press during the period I read it on occasion (70s-80s). Are we now going to have death camps for those of us who don’t buy into the Russiagate fiction? Is Max Blumenthal goin to Gitmo? This would be the logical conclusion because the reporters you mentioned and most people who post here are clear traitors according to asshole factotums of the “intel Community” aren’t we? What next?

    2. Janie

      If Russia wasn’t hostile before, it may become so. Jon Huntsman, our Russian ambassador, said in a speech today that his job is becoming redundant because we have “200,000 tons of diplomacy” afloat in the Mediterranean Sea.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        This has a long history in our country–it’s was called “gunboat diplomacy” and it may have worked with small weak countries but will not work with Russia and China. Today US “diplomacy” has one goal only–complete economic and political control of every square inch of planet Earth. The oligarchs centered in Washington have been able to con the American people to fully support this plan. The interesting fact is these vaunted aircraft carriers like the old battleships are sitting ducks to a new generation of missiles so Huntsman’s pathetic swagger is just to show the chumps where their money is going so they get to stick out their chests in pride.

    3. todde

      the democrats are going to do the same thing that Krugman ‘does about it”.

      Say things. That is it. Tough talk from pussies doesn’t amount to much.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        “You gonna BARK all day, little doggy, or are you gonna BITE.”

        Reservoir Dogs

  14. jfleni

    RE: The Antitrust Case Against Facebook You Need to Know About.

    Anybody can torpedo this mailing list scam (-look carefully to inspect the toupee on top of the sophomore CEO-) by just ignoring it. It’s just more online NOISE!

  15. Carolinian

    Re picking your airplane by place of origin–this is a rather dubious idea. If the concern is safety then one should point out that the Boeing tanker aircraft that the Air Force rejected were made in unionized Everett, Washington. This is a management problem although having more experienced workers certainly can’t hurt.

    If the concern is union solidarity then there’s the fact that these are assembly plants using components from other places. A purely union made plane is probably impossible. Refusing to fly Boeing planes altogether might be a more rational approach to supporting the union but very inconvenient for you. Southwest flies nothing but.

    And finally the Charleston plant had a union organizing vote and the union was rejected (although management intimidation may have been a factor). Reviving unions in this country will take more than pretending it’s only about bad management or right wing politicians. The poor quality of the unions themselves may have something to do with it. WSWS–not exactly a capitalist stronghold–is constantly bashing the UAW.

    1. Utah

      My last two flights were right before and right after the Boeing crisis but I chose my flight based on the fact that I was going to be on an Airbus. A Southwest flight (Boeing) caught on fire in Salt Lake City right before the Southwest flight lost its wing last year. I lost faith in Boeing and Southwest with those two incidents. I don’t love the airline monopoly because these problems seem more likely to happen as market share increases.

      1. Carolinian

        Personally I don’t fly much at all but air travel these days is extraordinarily safe–certainly safer than traveling by car–despite the recent accidents. And for a long time the 737 was the world’s biggest selling airliner with a proven track record which is likely one reason Boeing hacked up a new version rather than an all new airplane. Judging from news reports you are probably right to be more afraid of the airlines themselves and their practice of jobbing out maintenance to poorly qualified offshore operators. Southwest has been accused of this.

  16. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Great news seeing that EVIL Navy Seal Chief arrested. “Free Eddie” more like ‘Free the Enlisted GOOD SEALS’ AND hes being Court Martialed because 7 junior SEALs snitched on him for killing Iraqi CHILDREN. Look at his photo That is everything that is wrong with the US Military Elite. They even have a word for what the SEAL did: Pirate! Sounds like the Special Operations are like Boeing.

    As a former Army Ranger Training dropout, its great news to hear the young men and women questioning their superiors and whistleblowing.

    PS i see “Pirate Chief Gallagher” kicked out with all his benefits and landing a sweet gig with Raytheon and Fox News.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Mueller’s report looks bad for Obama”

    Oh god. CNN does not give up, does it? They have built themselves a bridge to nowhere but are still going ahead. How about I rewrite the title of this article to match its contents-

    ‘Obama Guilty of Collusion with Russians! Full story to be revealed on The Rachel Maddow Show tonight.’

    And with efforts like this from CNN, Trump sails into his second term in 2020.

    1. Robert Valiant

      Trump is the most accurately representative POTUS ever; why shouldn’t he win a second term? MSNBC and CNN hoist on their own petard is hardly even necessary. We all need to understand what America is, and who Americans are. See the Hunter Thompson quote above.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If Sanders stays quiet on this, the silence could be used against him.

      That’s one possible trap that has been set.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      My sense is the loyalists to the Bush and Clinton families are under pressure.

      I can’t find it, but I believe it was a Politico article about Democratic electoral fortunes in 2014. Pelosi was dealing with upset donors who saw the polling by telling them HRC in 2016 is going to set everything right, but they need to build now. One large bundler wanted to know why her money shouldn’t have simply gone to the Boys and Girls Clubs.

      What does Neera Tanden bring? Based on her public face, she has nothing going for her other than she has been able to sell access to Hillary Clinton. She’s an architect of two disastrous campaigns. Obama by not establishing his own brand of politics and people instead just borrowing left himself open to being sacrificial lamb for the Neeras. Even now, who is the Obama candidate? Biden?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        So under pressure that they may take the whole D-party ship down with them in 2020?

  18. UserFriendly

    Argentina is NUTS. They are taking out a HUGE IMF loan in USD so they can buy…. Pesos, the currency they can print. sigh.

    1. Philip

      For anyone who is interested in some background…
      Fernando Solanas excellent 2003 documentary Memoria del Saqueo , w/English subs

      Dr. Michael Hudson discusses the real purpose of the IMF loan(s) on TRNN

      And Whitney Webb over at MintPressNews is doing a series of articles on one of the big “plays” which has been ongoing since at least Carlos Menem’s Presidency.
      (part 2, contains a link to part 1)

  19. Steve H.

    ChristopherJ, thank you for suggesting! I find some sites are unreadable without it.

    1. ChristopherJ

      No worries, Steve. It can’t do NYT paywall, but most articles seem to get something from this site.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Tank Man”

    Quite an entertaining story this and it was not that long ago. Of course this could not probably happen again. Not so much because of much better Chinese security but on links yesterday there was a story of how such photo journalists were biting the dust. Reading this article you can see rather than just a massacre of innocents, it was almost like a civil war going on. Of course I could not help thinking about a “what-if”.
    Just suppose that this movement really took off with support from other sectors of society and that in the end the Chinese Communist party leadership had to stand down. First problem is who takes charge and history suggest that there are always ruthless opportunists waiting in the background for their chance to grab power and wealth (e.g. Russia’s 1917 October Revolution). So let us suppose that China is still made the workshop of the world as things are more favourable for foreign firms to come in as there are no longer a central strong government to set the conditions. Over time a class of oligarchs arise to take real power. In the west we call these oligarchs billionaires.
    What this means is that these billionaires sell the Chinese people down the Yangste River but hard and turn the country into a neoliberal paradise. Well, a paradise for the billionaires that is. So in 2019, how would such a China fit into the world? How stable would it be? What would be the condition of the Chinese people? I have my own guesses but none of them good. They all end up with yet another revolution.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, it was interesting – I remember when it was happening I was backpacking and staying in a hostel in a small town so I had the weird sensation at the time of seeing history change while only being able to see it on a cheap TV. Of course, things didn’t really change at all.

      A close friend of mine grew up in a village far from Beijing – she remembers as a child being brought out with all the school kids to greet a wounded soldier home told to cheer him as a hero of Tiananmen. Even at the time she said, she was wondering why someone would seek to injure a national soldier in the middle of Beijing.

    2. Conrad

      There’s no way he would have got across the border on a new passport in this age of centralised databases. And I guess there’s a possibility that Mr Widened may find any international travel difficult now he’s confessed to visa fraud so publically. Or am I overestimating the reach of today’s border control agencies?

  21. JCC

    The headline from Bloomberg should read “Beware of Economic Theories Claiming to Explain Everything (Today)”

    It’s not science
    , a short pdf article written by Neil Postman that applies just as much to economics as it does to any other social “science”.

  22. dearieme

    On Trump: probably the first public scandal of his life in which he’s been genuinely innocent


    Tell me, who is investigating which of the present Dem runners for their “links” to Putin?

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Russia Sees Its Future in China and Eurasia”

    Why is this a surprise? After the treatment that Russia has been getting from the west, why would they not turn towards the east? As for an example of what they have been copping, how about this. The current US Ambassador to Russia – Jon Huntsman – said there is little need for his craft as “200,000 tons of diplomacy” are patrolling the Mediterranean by which he meant the aircraft carriers USS Abraham Lincoln & USS John C. Stennis. Yes, that is right. An Ambassador said that. He called it “forward operating diplomacy.” Call it Gunboat Diplomacy 2.0 to threaten Russia with.
    If I was a Russian, I would point out that the warhead weight of a Kh-47M2 Kinzhal ballistic missile is only 500 kgs.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It is a surprise, because Russia could, instead, see its future in Russia.

      SImilarly, China could see China’s future in China.

      I would say, for China to see its future in Russia (or Russia and Eurasia), or for Russia to see its future in China (or in China and Eurasia), is not as natural.

      Another possibility is for Russia to see its future in Europe. People have been pretty good at linking articles about Europe not agreeing with the US.

      1. witters

        You are right, MLTPB, trade is a no,no. I mean, it never went on before!

        From your favourite source: “Trade originated with human communication in prehistoric times. Trading was the main facility of prehistoric people, who bartered goods and services from each other before the innovation of modern-day currency. Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago.[7]

        In the Mediterranean region the earliest contact between cultures were of members of the species Homo sapiens principally using the Danube river, at a time beginning 35,000–30,000 BCE.[8][9][10]

        Some trace the origins of commerce to the very start of transaction in prehistoric times. Apart from traditional self-sufficiency, trading became a principal facility of prehistoric people, who bartered what they had for goods and services from each other.”

        Time to get over it, right? And look inwards…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I’ve been slowly reading Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday; pre-state societies nevertheless could have very sophisticated, long-range trading routes (and without a cash nexus, too).

  24. Brindle


    Beltway fantasies about Biden kicking Bernie’s ass,
    I think it would most likely be the other way around. Anonymous source obviously a corporate/centrist Dem.

    —“I think from that side of it, Bernie doesn’t like Biden,” the strategist said, adding that the theory around Democratic circles is that “Bernie’s camp is the source of much of the Biden opposition being dropped.”

    “So I wonder if Bernie goes on the attack early and — which then makes Biden have to choose [to] ignore the attacks and do his own thing or get down in the mud and kick Bernie’s ass,” the strategist said.—

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bernie’s camp is the source of much of the Biden opposition being dropped.”

      So Bernie Sanders invented internet search engines? Wow!

    2. neo-realist

      Biden would need some good policies that benefit main street other than “the steady hand” that would guide the country to kick Bernie’s ass, wouldn’t he?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s better to talk softly and wear big kicking boots, for anyone in that game.

      And we are only at the talking stage this time.

    4. Pat

      Said strategist probably has an underwater batting average. I really do want all ‘informed’ commentary from strategists to include their win/loss ratio. As in lost the last three campaigns they were on.

      That said, there is a whole lot of projection going on about Biden. Biden has never really kicked anybody’s ass. He barely edged out Palin in opinion polls following their debate (One poll had the big winner being neither.)

  25. Summer

    Re: Sri Lanka…History Of Conflict

    That article seems to point the discussion towards marginalized communities.

    As more is revealed, I”m wondering how all of that is going to square with this:

    Sri Lanka attacker studied in UK and Australia, says minister | World news | The Guardian

    “This group of suicide bombers, most of them are well-educated and come from middle or upper-middle class, so they are financially quite independent and their families are quite stable financially. That is a worrying factor in this,” he said. “Some of them have I think studied in various other countries, they hold degrees, LLMs [law degrees], they’re quite well-educated people.”

    Not exactly the pictures of poor, young men being rounded up from the countryside or dissaffected migrant youth with trouble assimilating that are often described.

    1. Brindle

      From the article it appears that ISIS or an off-shoot is responsible for the bombings. Interesting that Saudi Arabia in not mentioned anywhere on the whole Guardian piece–the 800 LB gorilla in the room when it comes to anything ISIS affiliated.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        KSA ISIS connected? I thought KSA supported and backed the different al Qaeda-type jihadis operating in West and South Syria.

        What does KSA have to do with ISIS?

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Could The U.S. Navy’s War Plan Orange (For Fighting Japan) Be Used Against China?”

    Probably not. It was lucky for the US Navy that they did not implement Plan Orange in 1941. Nearly all those crippled or sunken battle-waggons at Pearl Harbour were salvaged, re-floated and went on to see sterling service for the rest of the war as Pearl Harbour is only about 45 feet deep. If they had charge out into the open ocean the Japanese carriers would have nailed them and they would have sunk into very deep waters.
    As for charging off to China, lets try some numbers. I believe that there are less than 300 active ships in the US Navy spread around the world. In WW2 it had about 6,770 ships to use. The Chinese Navy has twice as many ships – about 600 – and they are all around China. US Navy carriers have a much smaller range – about 500 miles I believe – than they did in the 1970s due to the aircraft chosen to fly from them. That article mentions that China’s ship killing DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missile has a top range of 2,500 miles – maybe. And China does not have to take Taiwan. They only have to isolate it and use it for bait.
    I have no idea why he used the D-Day landings as an example of a good landing. It succeeded because most of the Germans that would have manned those defenses were in Russia and were already dead. Most of the German soldiers at D-Day were second stringers. Well, except for one section where the battle experienced German 352nd Infantry Division was located at what was called Omaha Beach. History records that section as “Bloody Omaha” as a result.
    I am not sure what this author wants but it is time, I think, to redo Plan Orange in the Age of Missiles.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s possible China can be baited into starting a war when a declaration of Taiwan independence is announced. Then, China trying to take Taiwan would be the opening act of that war.

  27. dearieme

    Could The U.S. Navy’s War Plan Orange (For Fighting Japan) Be Used Against China?

    It’s not often you see such an explicit ambition for “the generals to fight the last war”. It’s almost sweet the way this chap sees the role of a surface fleet, when its role will mainly be to provide targets for submarines and missiles. There’s plenty of room in Davy Jones Locker.

    If he were serious about stopping Red China invading Taiwan he would presumably be thinking about how best to hide or protect the Taiwanese missiles, and submarines, necessary to sink a Chinese invasion fleet, not romancing about the US sending a fleet to Taiwan’s rescue by dashing across the Pacific. Or, more daring, how best the Taiwanese should pre-locate weapons of mass destruction within the PRC.

    Come to think to it he might consider how the Red Chinese might use pre-located WMDs to persuade the US not to go dashing to anyone’s rescue. Is there yet a category of CWMDs – cyber weapons of mass destruction? Awfully cold, much of the USA in winter.

  28. dcblogger

    If you accept the narrative of RussiaGate, then yeah, why didn’t Obama warn us? Trump would have lost by 50 states. Actually, after 9/11 and RussiaGate why do we have the NSA and CIA, cause they sure did not protect us.

    1. pretzelattack

      yeah, and democrats now decry “hatchet jobs” on mueller. it’s a core value of both parties.

  29. BondsOfSteel

    RE: “The awkward truth is that a Norway Brexit almost certainly wouldn’t work”

    Hmm. So the article is titled incorrectly. It should be “The awkward truth is that a Norway Brexit almost certainly wouldn’t work to limit immigration”. Duh.

    The real awkward truth is Brexit is about immigration and bias, and the article above is exhibit one thousand in that argument.

    P.S. What’s most shocking is that the press would still be looking for unicorns a month post Brexit deadline.

  30. Tomonthebeach

    A better metaphor than a HORSESHOE for political positions would be an ENGAGEMENT RING. The distance between fascists and antifascists is often far less than the separation from two ends of a horseshoe. After all a horseshoe is a symbol of something that fell off a horse. An engagement ring is a symbol of mutual commitment.

    So why an engagement ring? The two ends of an engagement ring are normally separated by a diamond. Diamonds are clear but very hard surfaces which make the two opposing ideologies visible to one another, however, the facets distort their mutual views. The ensuing frustration triggers hostility. Positions on the rest of the ring can see each other more clearly, and both sides see a path to compromise leads away from the diamond.

  31. allan

    Supreme Court Bulldozes Classwide Arbitration Route [Courthouse News]

    In a new boost to corporate might, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday that ambiguous contract terms do not pave the way to classwide arbitration. …

    Penned by Chief Justice John Roberts, the decision emphasizes class arbitration is fundamentally different than individual arbitration and does not come with some of the benefits that might make the signers of a contract interested in an arbitration clause. …

    Calling balls and strikes for Team .01% since 2005.

    File under Contracts Are Sacred Except When They Don’t Say What We Want.

  32. WestcoastDeplorable

    Glad to see NC found the Aljeezera piece on Boeing’s 787. I posted it here in the comments awhile back. If you haven’t seen it, please take the time it’s worth it. Out of 15 workers polled, 10 said they would NOT fly on the plane they’re building!

  33. Glen

    Edison asks for bigger profits, says bills would rise $14.40 a month for the average home Los Angeles Times and SCE says investors need bigger profits because of fire risks Los Angeles Times (KB).

    Wow, just wow. How about we just take over Edison, and then spend that money PREVENTING FIRES?

  34. JBird4049

    Traveling is an elitist nightmare The Outline

    When I read the article I saw this sentence which now describes San Francisco.

    But the city also feels increasingly preserved under glass.

    The City used to be a somewhat funky and bohemian working class city, but now it is a sterile bed and board for the techno elites, and it started way back in the early 70s, maybe mid 60s. That could actually be used to describe other parts of California as well. I wonder how many cities have had this happen them besides New York and Paris?

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      New Orleans is trying.

      Under the auspices of ‘Human Trafficking,’ the New Orleans City Council almost shut down 14 of the citys Strip Clubs in/around Bourbon St.

      1. newcatty

        Jonathan Holland Becnel,
        See your point about the city strip clubs being almost shut down, as attempt to sanitize it. But, if women working there are human trafficked, under age runways or brutally kept in the place, then that is another thing. Let’s be clear: abuse of girls and women is tragic, criminal and has to stop.

        1. JBird4049

          Abuse has to stop, and I know nothing about New Orleans’ strip clubs, but much of the increasing efforts to ban or control everything has justified as needed to keep us “safe.”

          Some of the dance closings in San Francisco in the 90s was justified because they sometimes were loud and occasionally drunk people got robbed and prostitution being around was probably added. Of course, SoMa then already being a rundown area for decades with frequent robberies and the occasional knifing was ignored. As was the more dangerous adjacent Sixth Street and that developers were trying to either demolish or renovate the warehouses. Lots of lovely and very expensive high end lofts, apartments, and condos that most people can not afford. They did succeed and sixth is still sketchy.

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