Links 4/29/19

Are dingoes just feral dogs? Anthropocene

The Profound Lesson of the Notre Dame Fire Der Spiegel

The Labor Market for Financial Misconduct NBER

Stealth Consolidation: Evidence From an Amendment to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (PDF) Thomas G. Wollman (DK). n= 57,000. From 2018, still germane.

Telecom giants battle bill which bans Internet service throttling for firefighters in emergencies ZDNet

We need to talk about terms and conditions Giovanni Buttarelli, European Data Protection Supervisor

Boeing 737 MAX

Airlines face profit hit over Boeing 737 Max grounding FT

Insurance questions mount over Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 Property Casualty 360°


Theresa May faces big loss in upcoming English local elections FT

Nigel Farage reveals how Brexit Party is funded – ‘Received one BIG donation’ Express

Brexit: Labour hints at backing deal without referendum The Week

Brexit: Wales’ first minister refuses to back another vote BBC

The Spies Who Came In From the Continent Foreign Policy. Post-Brexit, expect UK intelligence to service the US intelligence community even more slavishly, if that’s possible.

So Where is the Swedish Warrant? Craig Murray. On Assange.

Spanish PM’s Socialists win snap polls marked by far-right gains Agence France Presse

Spain’s Vox Party Hates Muslims—Except the Ones Who Fund It Foreign Policy

Investors Focus on Spanish Government Coalitions Bloomberg

Podemos’s Green New Deal Jacobin (JB).

Germany’s F-35 fighter rebuff raises questions for Nato partners FT


Iran sees oil above $100/b, repeats threat of Strait of Hormuz closing S&P Global Platts but Iran says intends no closure of Hormuz Strait for int’l shipping New China

In Case Brought by School Speech Pathologist, Texas Federal Court Becomes the Third to Strike Down Pro-Israel Oath as Unconstitutional The Intercept

How the U.S. Miscounted the Dead in Syria Foreign Policy

The Kosovo War at 20 The American Conservative


Police break up clashes in West Bengal, Mumbai votes in fourth phase of massive poll Reuters

The Election Fix: What does Modi’s mid-election media blitz say about the BJP’s thinking? The Scroll

India Raises Import Tax on Wheat to 40% to Support Local Farmers Bloomberg

‘No point in hanging ourselves…’ People’s Archive of Rural India

Sri Lanka attacks: why the wealthy and successful become suicide bombers South China Morning Post

Najib’s SRC trial: Subsidiary company’s account flagged as high risk, court told The Star. Najib has failed to get his indictment quashed.


China needs deeper reform rather than more economic stimulus, central bank adviser says South China Morning Post

US warns China on aggressive acts by fishing boats and coast guard FT

Making Sense of China’s Reaction to the French Navy’s Taiwan Strait Transit The Diplomat

In Pictures: 130,000 protest looming China extradition law, say organisers, after Hong Kong jails Umbrella Movement leaders Hong Kong Free Press


Trump Is Guilty as Not Charged Elizabeth Drew, Project Syndicate

GOP ready to step up spying case The Hill. Incredibly sloppy headline but I note that, as with Benghazi, Republicans are failing to come up with a pithy narrative summary that the press can recycle. Although you’d think it would be worth asking how oppo (the Steele Dossier) came to be laundered through a FISA warrant. Will that happen again in 2020?

Trump Transition

Nuclear arsenal at the ground level Federal News Network

Trump’s Approach to National Security: Whatever Benefits Me Defense One

Our Famously Free Press

New York Times Cartoons Influenced San Diego Synagogue Shooter? Moon of Alabama. By Betteridge’s Law, no. That said, the links in the chain of causality here are no less strong (or weak) than those for “Russian meddling” memage.


Democrats face new civil war in primary fight The Hill. Democratic strategists clutch pearls, head for fainting couch. Film at 11.

Corruption claims, mailbox send Hawaii power couple to trial AP

How a Kuwaiti’s Ponzi scheme left a trail of blight in Buffalo The Buffalo News (MR).

Cash grab: As asset forfeiture quietly expands across Pa., abuses follow WHYY (MR).

Guillotine Watch

Cantor Fitzgerald Doesn’t Want This Woman Talking About Her Mug in Court Bloomberg. The one with the Bernie Sanders logo on it…

Class Warfare

Uber drivers plan shutdown in Philly, six other cities Curbed Philadeiphia (MR).

Luis Kutner: The Declassified Life of a Human Rights Icon Our Hidden History

Opinion: Toward an international definition of citizen science PNAS. If citizen science is ever to become part of the Jobs Guarantee, this work is important.

Antidote du Jour (via Jedidiah Purdy):

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. Ignacio

    RE: Spain’s Vox Party Hates Muslims—Except the Ones Who Fund It Foreign Policy

    This article reflects very much what is the true meaning of far-rigth with roots around the world and crossed financial ties. VOX would be seen with sympathy by Trump, Bolton and the like. The conclussion is that islamophobia is not the main characteristic of these not-so-far from fascism types, they agree with muslim far rigth.

    One thing that i believe is ignored is that, though it is true that VOX feeds on catalanophobia and islamophobia and feminism-phobia, their results are first and foremost a consequence of the political failure of the conservative People’s Party (PP). With such an extreme political backpack VOX is a self limited political entity that won’t grow more except possibly in the next european elections because the wave is still alive and the failure of PP will still be too recent in time, and its current leadership has fallen in disgrace. Also, in these elections VOX’s growth has been limited by the high turnout that favoured the left. Thus I expect they will reach peak results in june’s european and municipal elections.

    They must have received a lot of money from other extreme iranian and not iranian organizations. VOX controllers were conspicuous in electoral colleges yesterday.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      At least Vox got a lot less than Podemos. It looks like the next Spanish government will be somewhat left wing. But is there a chance PSOE might do a deal with Ciudadanos?

      I’m curious about the concentration of Vox voters down in the south. Is there any particular reason for this? I can’t help noticing they are big in areas with lots of northern retirees and holiday makers….

      1. Ignacio

        They first succeeded in Andalusian regional elections. Apparently their stronghold is Almeria (about 19% votes) where thousands of migrants work in the greenhouses followed by Granada (14,1%) and Malaga (14%) all in the eastern part of Andalusia. So, much of it comes apparently from the agricultural “success story” below plastic that produces several crops of vegetables per year.

        And yes, Podemos had better results than expected. The high turnout, VOX fear and a good intervention in TV debates helped Podemos.

      2. vidimi

        that was my thought as well. the votes seem to be concentrated around benidorm and other places swarmed by the worst kind of british tourist in the summer.

          1. Cal2

            Following leftist logic, there are no nations, no borders and no national identities, therefore British tourists should get to vote in Spanish elections, just like illegals get to vote in local California elections.

            If Vox is such a fringe party, why so much pressititute shrieking about them?
            Just ignore them. They must actually be a threat to the Soros funded divisive parties in Spain and Europe.

            Instead of looking at Vox’s positions on banks, the equal application of the law, immigration and the disenfranchisement of Spanish workers, the constant repetition of smears against Vox, created by opposition party followers, sounds like the utterances of the hysterical and now debunked Russiagate! parrots in the U.S.

            1. Ignacio

              Tourists voting? You mean british residents. Legal residents can vote in municipal elections where they reside but regarding general elections as long as they are UK citizens they will vote in the UK. After brexit, british residents will keep their right to vote in municipal elections.

            2. Procopius

              … now debunked Russiagate! parrots …

              They may have been debunked but they’ve doubled down. They’re the ones calling loudest for impeachment (pace Elizabeth Warren) because “the evidence is so abundant.” They really do not seem to be aware that a large majority do not find persuasive what they call evidence.

      3. Ignacio

        Sorry PK I forgot to answer your question. I think we can safely rule out a coalition between PSOE and Ciudadanos. There are various rifts but Catalonia is unsurmountable. Ciudadanos leader is from Catalonia and he knows well how radical independentist have become so xenophobe to make the atmosphere almost unbreathable so by no chance he will allow dialogue with them.

      4. Oregoncharles

        The south of Spain is also the closest to Morocco and the last area to be freed of the Moors. There’s an exceptional amount of history there – and there are extremist Muslims who do not accept the loss of Iberia (I forget the Arab name).

        1. Synapsid



          The name was derived from the Arabic for the Vandals, who were already there.

        2. Yassine

          The Arabic name of the Iberian peninsula was Al-Andalus, which gave el Andalucia in Spanish to designate the land occupied by the Arabs, which in turn became the name of the southernmost autonomous region where Vox is thriving. So it makes sense that the “extremist Muslims” would see this as a taunt and would be currently plotting to conquer Al-Andalus back.

          Thank you for being on the lookout, OregonCharlesMartel, the Rereconquista will need you !

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Are dingoes just feral dogs?”

    And this is what happens when the politicians start saying that they know more than the scientists do. The dingo’s ancestry came from a form of Asian wolf and from what I have read, their descendants came over from New Guinea when ocean levels were lower. Are they feral dogs? No. Over the past two hundred years the dingoes have cross-bred with dogs introduced by Europeans so that the only pure breed Dingoes left are on Frazer Island off Queensland’s coastline. At best then they are part dog – the ones on the mainland. Are they feral? Of course they are. Anything released into the wild here goes feral. Some cows escaped from the First Fleeters and a generation later a wild herd of them was discovered south of Sydney in Camden area. Same with pigs, water buffalo, camels and a host of other animals released into the wild. They all go feral. Same with a lot of people too. I suppose that you can say is that the Dingoes are in a similar position to the wolves of North America where farmers want them all dead because markets. And this explains why some want to label them as feral dogs which is total bs of course.

  3. Svante Arrhenius

    Thanks for the excellent civil asset forfeiture read. It was very enlightening to hear a conversation between my girlfriend, who’s ex specialized in Nissan Z and BMW M’s culled by PA’s county-mounties and a coworker who’s Queens chop shop pretty much stuck to Honda Accords, he’d take with a buddy driving a chase car. The notion that this is a given, down to specificication of color, packages or 3rd Party accessories was kind of a surprise to me. They saw no irony in the similarities between MO of cops and crooks, since it’s all about the Benjamins?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > this is a given, down to specificication of color, packages or 3rd Party accessories

      I’ve started to watch clips from The Wire (after working my way through The Thick of It). I think with good reason.

    1. John k

      IMO this is important link worthy of stand alone discussion by one of nc’s writers.

      1. KB

        I agree John. Been pushing it….also be sure to read the comments, Kip is responding to them and just as helpful as the article. He says he will continue responding tomorrow. That is if you are replying to my link, if not, well disregard I guess. Hard to tell sometimes.

    2. Oh

      After reading it I have a less faith in Sanders. If he cannot draft a M4A bill that cuts out the insurance monsters, I wonder if I can rely on his other campaign promises.

      1. jrs

        Sanders is likely the best of the lot. He does want to do the right thing for the right reasons. But I keep an open mind about *some* of the others,so long as record and money trail (who donates to them) is kept in mind.

        But when Butigeig says we can’t get there now, he is actually indicating real political difficulties. But not impossibilities. I’m not saying I support him at all, but they may even support the same type of healthcare bill. Jaypal has nothing to lose and isn’t running for Prez.

  4. timbers

    GOP ready to step up spying case The Hill. Incredibly sloppy headline but I note that, as with Benghazi, Republicans are failing to come up with a pithy narrative summary that the press can recycle. Although you’d think it would be worth asking how oppo (the Steele Dossier) came to be laundered through a FISA warrant. Will that happen again in 2020?

    Obama/Dems set the precedent of using FISA and government spy resources directly against their political opponents in a Presidential campaign. I’m not saying it’s never been done before, just that is was not done quite as explicitly “legally” like Obama&Co did with the Steel Dossier.

    So it’s possible Republicans know they can do the same to Dems in future elections – deploy the NSA, FBI, CIA, etc to spy on Dems to influence the outcome of elections.

    Kind of like how Pelosi, Obama and other Dems took impeaching GWB because the Iraq War, off the table, perhaps because she and other Dems expected future Dem President would be doing a lot the same things GWB did.

    Just few more giant steps towards a run of the mill dictatorship, I suppose.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Kind of like how Pelosi, Obama and other Dems took impeaching GWB because the Iraq War, off the table, perhaps because she and other Dems expected future Dem President would be doing a lot the same things GWB did.

      Pelosi has been in this group for a long time. With a few exceptions, my guess is Cheney made sure every member of the Gang of Eight knew about “enhanced interrogation techniques” and signed off on them. After all, the President has a recording device in the Oval Office. Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Daschle (noted tax cheat), and Gephardt were likely in on every decision. It wasn’t about expectations of the future but what they had already done.

      “Sworn to secrecy” isn’t an excuse. If Pelosi knew about torture, she’s responsible for funding it.

    2. pjay

      These “investigations” are always careful about exposing much Deep State activity. Lambert was right to mention Benghazi. As in that case, the Republicans will make this a partisan battle and be careful not to go too far. The DOJ IG report will only cover the FBI’s role. Brennan? Clapper? CIA? GCHQ? MI6? Didn’t see them mentioned in this story. It will be tricky, though, given the central importance of the Steele dossier and the foreign intelligence connections I predict a lot of attention to partisan lovers Strzok and Lisa Page.

      Democrats would do the same thing. Iran-Contra? October Surprise? 9/11? Call in Lee Hamilton, don’t look too hard for evidence (or ignore it when it hits you upside the head), maybe blame a few scapegoats for “incompetence” or excessive zeal, and put it to bed for the Good of the Republic. Democrats and Republicans will call each other names, we will all choose sides, nothing will change.

    3. Chris Cosmos

      I don’t think, at this time, deploying the intel agencies against the Democrats will work. Much depends on which factions are dominant in these agencies and how far the Dems will stray from the imperial agenda. At this time most of the intel agencies see their best play as being against Trump because he did not bother to set up “deals” with them early on and that seems to have pissed a lot of people off. We’ll see if that sentiment remains after the next election.

      1. Stephen V.

        Totally agree that investigation = Coverup in this case. But I wonder if Assange and his unwavering assertion that DNC was A LEAK not a hack will be a mere footnote in the long run or something more. The list of peeps NOT called to testify besides Assange includes Craig Murray and Kim Ditcom.

    4. Oregoncharles

      The thing that struck me about “Benghazi” was that it was a very clear case of deep incompetence or negligence, yet the Republican response carefully avoided that obvious, devastating case in favor of made-up or trivial accusations, like whether it was called “terrorism.”

      It’s almost as if they were deliberately hiding the real problem, protecting Hillary while getting maximum publicity and fund-raising potential among their own. I don’t really think they’re as stupid as they appeared.

      1. pjay

        They could not really reveal what was behind these events, which included our own role in stirring up the jihadists to destabilize Libya, the fact that Stevens was part of a CIA operation and that part of the attack was on a CIA outpost, the fact that Libyan weapons were being funneled to Syria, etc. All of this had to be covered up. The Republicans tried to make hay out of it by claiming Hillary didn’t adequately “protect” our people, but, as you say, there was always something missing in their narrative.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit: Labour hints at backing deal without referendum The Week

    Brexit: Wales’ first minister refuses to back another vote BBC

    I think Corbyn is on very thin ice right now over Brexit. He has done a reasonable job in keeping Labour together (since they are even more split on Brexit than the Tories, that’s no mean feat), and his ambiguity hasn’t been too electorally damaging – but I can see a disastrous election for Labour if they don’t commit to a second Referendum. People tend to see local/Euro elections as a time to send a message to parties – and this means potentially Labour getting eaten about both ends. There can be few Labour members now neutral about Brexit.

    The big danger for him is that everyone is already assuming a disaster for the Tories – an equal drop for Labour would be the big news of the election and Corbyn himself might not survive that – and hundreds of disappointed Labour would-be-councillors might seek a new home.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Germany’s F-35 fighter rebuff raises questions for Nato partners FT

    I suspect a key factor in this is that Germany realises that the F-35 is something of a trojan horse to undermine the European military aviation industry. Only France now actively develops modern combat aircraft to any significant degree (although older models of European aircraft are still in production) and Europe has missed out on developing any fifth generation (stealth) aircraft. I think Germany realises that only the prospective NGF German-France 6th Gen aircraft can re-establish Europe as having an independent capacity, although no doubt it will prove staggeringly expensive. It would be interesting if they joined up with the Japanese to save costs – and this would accelerate the move to more multi-regional world with several blocks all with their own formidable militaries.

    1. ambrit

      The “multi regional world with several blocks all with their own formidable militaries” you mention sounds eerily like Orwell’s world of “1984.”
      What is fascinating about the non-American weapons development is that the “other regions” seem able to keep up with and occasionally surpass America with significantly smaller military budgets. “The Market” isn’t as utilitarian as promoted.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think one thing that’s concerning a lot of countries is the realisation that they could spend billions on defence and then discover that all their expensive hardware has kill switches built in – and not necessarily by the main supplier of the weapon (just think of all those Chinese chips in US aircraft and missiles, and the same may well be true of some Russian weapons). The days when countries felt comfortable having the US or Russia as an ally and sole arms supplier seems to have gone. Although of course the Russians have proven far more agreement-capable than the US in recent years.

        So there seems an upsurge in countries – from Japan to South Korea to India to Turkey and the European countries – all wanting to develop their own highly advanced combat aircraft. And notably, they seem to be trying to make them as 100% domestic as they can (probably learning from the Swedes, who can’t sell their Gripen fighters without US approval, which it can’t get because it undercuts the F-35).

        I think the significance of this is that all these countries are sensing that we are moving to a multipolar world, whether Orwellian or not, and they all want to be prepared for it. The result of course is a staggering waste of resources on weapons when we have far more urgent needs.

        The other question though is whether these countries succeed – the Indians, Chinese and Japanese have all run into difficulties with their programmes and may end up just producing very expensive substandard replicas of better US and Russian aircraft.

        1. ambrit

          I hadn’t thought about ‘backdoors’ in electronics components. This fact alone should put paid to the ‘Outsource Everything’ economic model. (The underlying rationale for the ‘Outsource Everything’ model is the good old fashioned “New World Order” concept.)
          The generally unspoken question bedeviling the big ticket weapons projects is that of purpose. There are some truly excellent “smaller” weapons programs in the world. One constant in their ‘genes’ is the idea of “form follows function.” The venerable A-10 aircraft is superlative at it’s defined role; close air support. The series of Brazilian “Tucano” prop aircraft are supreme in there ‘limited’ roles, and relatively cheap to boot! I’d say that the smaller “Second Tier” nations and Alliances are where to look in the future for the ever elusive “Affordable Military.”
          Alas, I’m with you on the issue of military spending being a waste of resources, but, and it is a big but, there are lots of “Evil Actors” about willing to expend the Public’s Treasure to make sure those like us don’t get to set the priorities for the nations. (I seem to be practicing for the ‘Faulkner Award’ today.)
          The basic takeaway from this should be that: “All economic policy is the continuation of class war by other means.” (Von Clausewitz would probably agree.)

          1. Procopius

            I’m pretty dubious about the possibility of “backdoors” in electronics components, but that may just be my own failure of imagination and ignorance of electronics. For some reason, after World War II the U.S. military seems to have adopted the idea that “more complex is better.” That ends up with $4 billion aircraft carriers with catapults and elevators that don’t work and “stealth” fighters that can only fly two hours a week, if it’s not raining, and only have 185 rounds for their guns. Works great for enriching the MIC, though.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Making Sense of China’s Reaction to the French Navy’s Taiwan Strait Transit”

    It’s all fun and games until the Chinese Navy becomes a blue water navy and decides to start doing freedom of navigation exercises through French Polynesia and near New Caledonia.

      1. Anon

        I believe the SB Channel is considered territorial water of the US. Cargo ships pass through under treaty agreement. A China Navy ship would probably be considered a threat/provocation.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yes, once China ruled the seas…back in the early Ming Dynasty.

      Adm. Zheng’s treasure boats might have passed throught the Santa Barbara channel.

      Similarly interesting, historically, was the French campagin in Keelung, Taiwan, during the Sino-French war of the late 19th century. From Wikipedia, Keelung Campaign:

      The Japanese captain Tōgō Heihachirō, the future commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy, visited Keelung during the war aboard the corvette Amagi and was briefed by French officers on the tactics the French were using against the Chinese. Togo’s guide was the young French engineering captain Joseph Joffre, who had been sent to Keelung to lay out the new French forts after Duchesne’s March victory. Commander-in-chief of the French Army at the start of the First World War and victor of the crucial Battle of the Marne in 1914, Joffre would end his military career as a Marshal of France.[51]

      1. dearieme

        Adm. Zheng’s treasure boats might have passed through the Santa Barbara channel.

        That’s hardly likely: the purpose of the voyages was to “show the flag” in lands that were already well-known, not to go exploring.

        1. Oregoncharles

          There appears to have been trade, and some immigration, with Mexico. California was part of Mexico at the time.

  8. Chris Cosmos

    Trump Is Guilty as Not Charged

    Elizabeth Drew is always good on the details of the surface level type of conflicts within the Washington milieu and she writes well and coherently. So it is a bit of a surprise when I read the usual incoherent article about Russiagate. So steeped is she in the world she inhabits she doesn’t understand how silly she sounds to those of us who don’t accept the media Narrative. She claims that “Russia” through the figure of Konstantin Kilimnik, “a Russian/Ukrainian intelligence figure” (says who–her contacts in the CIA?) stole the election in the battleground states (how?). This is ridiculous. Even Drew suffers from Trump derangement syndrome. So she is implying here that Russia hacked into state computers to change election numbers without any proof or any indication there is proof out there other than demanding a 9/11 style commission (which even the chairmans have said was deeply flawed). What’s wrong with these people in Washington? I mean where was the commission to investigate the, clearly, stolen election in Florida in 2000, or Ohio in 2004 or the deals made by Republicans in 1968 with the South Vietnamese government or the deal made with the Iranian government in 1980?

    But let’s assume that the Russians did manage to get into the computers and steal votes from Clinton and tipped the scales. Wouldn’t this cause people like Drew to urge election reform? Wouldn’t the media inform us that, from a technical point of view, our election system is one of the worst if not the worst in the developed world? Wouldn’t it demand paper ballots and recounts in close elections? This obsession with Trump and the “deplorables” in the non-elite areas of the country, where I live, is inviting a warm or cold civil war in this country that appears almost deliberate.

    Official Washington is now officially insane–used to be mainly Republicans that were acting wacky and in need of either tranquilizers or psychedelics now the Democrats have dived into full-tilt crazy as well. I’ve never seen anything remotely like this.

    1. pjay

      “I’ve never seen anything remotely like this.”

      This is my first reaction as well. I’ve been reading Drew for decades, always with several grains of salt (as I do with any supposed “insider”). But as with so many other “journalists” today, this seems extraordinary.

      Of course we’ve always been blatantly lied to and/or fed disinformation unwittingly by the media. I honestly can’t decide whether things have always been this bad but today’s internet technology allows for more immediate exposure; or whether it is really becoming as blatantly Orwellian as it seems.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        No they have not been always this bad. Even if the reporting followed Chomsky’s model the profession had its honest reporters who could get space in the media. Sy Hersh could once publish in the USA, today he cannot.

      2. Carolinian

        I’ve been reading Drew for decades

        You have stamina. She has always been a specialist in telling the conventional wisdom at considerable length. “Brevity is the soul of wit” is not her mantra.

        1. pjay

          All true. I’m not quite as masochistic as it sounds. I didn’t read Drew for pleasure, but for a certain type of information that can be gleaned from this kind of journalist with connections. Very much “conventional wisdom” — the reason for the salt. But she could be informative at a certain level, perhaps the “surface” level of political conflict as Chris C. says. However, that kind of stuff seems much less relevant today, at least for me.

    2. marcyincny

      “Wouldn’t this cause people like Drew to urge election reform?”

      It’s questions like this that made me dubious from the start and eventually made me realize that many of the liberals who I’d assumed had positions based on knowledge and reason were in fact only emotionally connected to their political leaders the same way most conservatives are to theirs.

      There’s the corruption of the electoral system fed by red-blooded Americans and there’s also the billions spent on “national security” that apparently doesn’t even detect foreign activity in our elections and can’t provide definitive evidence one way or another. Or does it? Who cares?

      1. Chris Cosmos

        I think liberals have envied the right-wing as it evolved from conservatism to mania–it’s kind of a rush to be a true-believer no matter how absurd the belief. Now the “left” is even more rabidly unreasonable than the right which has evolved considerably into some interesting factions. I exclude here, of course, the real left not the fakers that Thomas Frank called out in his book.

    3. jrs

      There’s supposedly a county in Florida that may have actually been hacked, but for that to have changed the election you have to have shown that that literally changed the electoral vote outcomes and I don’t think they have that.

      1. JBird4049

        Thanks, nice parody, and yes as the parody says using the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution would have been effective. Interestingly, that clause could possibly be used against much of Congress as well unlike the collusion charge.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “New York Times Cartoons Influenced San Diego Synagogue Shooter?”

    An Israeli cartoonist did his own version of that New York Times cartoon and it was an absolute zinger-

    So if the New York Times is one of the main newspapers of the establishment, and that newspaper has been coming out with cartoons that are anti-semetic as well as homophobic, does this mean that they are playing to their readers here?

    1. barefoot charley

      That’s a brilliantly funny cartoon, thanks!

      That said, political cartoonists can’t be politically correct. They’re cartoonists!

  10. diptherio

    Dang, if that moth’s wing wasn’t cutting off the blade of grass, it’d be totally invisible!

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Thanks, took a second look. I got confused, took it for a plantidote. Amazing camouflage!

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Nigel Farage reveals how Brexit Party is funded – ‘Received one BIG donation’’

    With absolutely no proof of any kind or any indication of such, why do I suspect Stephen Bannon having an involvement here?

    1. barefoot charley

      fwiw I’ve seen assertions that certain financiers aim to set Britain up as Europe’s one-stop offshore financial cesspool. That two years out EU financial institutions must become more regulated and integrated, hence fleeing creates new opportunities for pirates and termites just outside the system.

      I’ve never seen such perspectives here at NC–think there’s anything to this? At least it accounts for ‘one big donation.’

  12. Brindle

    2020…. re: Democrats / civil war….

    Sanders is facing a coordinated attack by the Dem establishment on several different fronts. There are the corporate Dems who will paint Bernie as a mean, vindictive unpleasant guy and the identity politics/ black mis-leadership wing who are having some some success in painting Sanders as out of touch with African-Americans.

    From the Hill piece:

    —“The level of nastiness we see here is completely up to Sanders and his camp,” said Jon Reinish, a Democratic strategist.

    “Joe Biden is an optimistic guy. I can’t think of a sunnier or more unifying person. The way he communicates is in stark contrast to Sen. Sanders, who unfortunately tends to campaign in a language of grievances, conspiracies and victimhood. It’s my hope that Sen. Sanders campaigns on his own merits and policies, but so far his surrogates and he have engaged in the same old attacks. No other Democrat is doing that. Sanders is the one that sets the tone for his campaign here,” he added.—

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Realpolitik-wise, why is Trump doing this?

        Conversely, why hasn’t Sanders said anything about those working hard to expose Putin’s man, Trump?

        1. Procopius

          Conversely, why hasn’t Sanders said anything about those working hard to expose Putin’s man, Trump?

          Perhaps he, like me, thinks Trump actually isn’t Putin’s man?

    1. Brindle

      Here is a bio of Jon Reinish:

      Here is that code word again–“access”…which really means extract money from poor people.

      —Jon’s work includes advising Fortune 50 corporations; providing strategic counsel to high-profile Democratic candidates, elected officials and party leaders on the local and national level; expanding access to quality education and health care —

  13. Frank

    Citizen Science.
    This is somewhat troubling to me. Oftentimes, a CS project begins at a very local level and is triggered by a corporation essentially invading a community to plunder some aspect of the community. At the outset the locals will not be organized in any way to evaluate the proposal and when they begin to educate themselves about the ramifications pushback will be fearsome. The industrialization of rural America is ongoing and very active – large dairy farms, fracking, wind turbines, broiler growing, mining,industrial sized hog farming and many others that potentially dispossess people of the full use of their homes.
    Once an individual or group begins to inform themselves by simply drawing maps, collecting wildlife information, measuring distances, and evaluating terrain to bring a community voice to life the push-back will be fearsome. Credentialed experts will be brought in claiming to have selected the best peer reviewed science which completely dismisses any local concerns. The peer review process is now known to have lots of baggage, but still has influence with unquestioning people. Additionally, every state needs money and regulatory capture has defanged a lot of environmental protection.

    So, one way to view this proposal is that it is a way of strengthening the corporate hand by establishing some guidelines which enable then to demean sincere and honest efforts by folks to protect their community.
    Excluding the community voice and weakening environmental protections is not a good outcome.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      but this “citizen science” is instigated by corps(and their analogs and symbionts) in the first place.
      it’s packaged and sold as some new, exotic thing…when it’s actually readily available.(the following has a significant caveat: my situation is not typical, to say the least; i live in the middle of nowhere, and make the best use possible of cripplehood/lack of local jobs i can physically do)
      I do science all the time….today, it’s compost and getting my ducks in a row for this:

      other ongoing projects are graywater management and the application of dry compost from the composting toilet to the pasture/orchard, as well as a great number of engineering projects and experiments( my microscope is older then i am, and I can’t afford things like soil tests and other lab services, but still.
      I keep a running catalog in my head of “Things that are alive, here”, as i roam around the farm, and look at things. (
      ….and note the interactions, in order to identify keypoints in the “system” that can be exploited/helped along.
      what’s lacking out there in the genpop that makes this behaviour weird? curiosity and time(which is why cripplehood is a blessing), i reckon….and a basic introduction to/familiarity with, science.
      The “citizen science” referenced is part of that broader agenda of exploitation that’s at the root of so many of our societal dysfunctions.
      unpaid researchers are what “they” want….another example of hyperinstrumentalism…like Morpheus in the Matrix, holding up a duracel battery.

  14. Carey

    I think JH Kunstler’s column today really hits the spot:

    How to account for Americans being the most anxious, fearful, and stressed-out people among the supposedly advanced nations? Do we not live in the world’s greatest democratic utopia where dreams come true?

    “..What if the dreaming part is actually driving us insane? What if we have engineered a society in which fantasy has so grotesquely over-run reality that coping with daily life is nearly impossible. What if an existence mediated by pixel screens large and small presents a virtual world more compelling than the real world and turns out to be a kind of contagious avoidance behavior — until reality is so fugitive that we can barely discern its colors and outlines beyond the screens?..”

    1. wilroncanada

      And the epitome of pixel fantasy, The Avengers (Disney, of course) pulls in more than one billion in a WEEKEND. Orwell and Huxley on acid.

  15. s.n.

    embedded deep within this article on an anti-vax flyer found in an Amazon order

    Boyle said the Amazon employee told her that though he had never heard of an anti-vaccine leaflet being slipped into a book before, workers had previously inserted notes on Amazon workers’ rights into titles. Two years ago, Metro reported that an Amazon worker was fired for sending a Jewish customer a note in her package reading “Greetings from Uncle Adolf”. In 2018, the Daily Mail spoke to a customer who reported finding a note in her delivery reading: “Please Help, Amazon is painful!”

    1. Polar Donkey

      Related to BDS article. Last week, I drove to rural Middle Tennessee to visit family. While driving, I saw an Israeli flag bumper sticker and a business flying an American flag and Israeli flag under it. I have not seen this before in Middle Tennessee, but I have seen it in Belfast. In Republican areas, I saw Palestinian flags and in Unionists areas, Israeli flags. I don’t see other countries’ flags been flown as a proxy for your own political conflict as a good sign for America.

  16. JohnnyGL

    Dropping this clip here for a couple of reasons.
    1) Stop the clip 30 seconds in and take a deep breath and think about those numbers of Repubs polled by Fox news. Go ahead, blink, and look at items 2, 3, and 4 on that list. You see them? Yes, that’s “Renewable energy, free healthcare and free college” all right in a row as being VERY popular with Repub voters.

    2) Notice how the conversation follows immediately after. The Ted Cruz pollster being interviewed blows it off entirely, saying those numbers will wither under scrutiny, saying “free stuff always polls well”. Neil Cavuto actually pushes back right before Kyle cuts off the clip and shows more concern.

    If I put my strategist/machiavelli hat on….I want repub leaders thinking EXACTLY like that pollster right up through the primaries and into the general when Repub voters suddenly start defecting to Sanders in open primary states and then again at the general election. Dem hacks will scream for more closed primaries, citing Republican ‘meddling’ (or blame the russians).

    538 has already pre-ordained the conclusion that Sanders can’t win ‘moderate’ or ‘conservative’ voters in team dem, let alone with cross-over voters. This poll should rebut any hasty conclusions on that front. The jury is VERY much still out on that one.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      538 has proven they are unreliable. This election season is unpredictable–why? Because once the debates start issues may come out that the mainstream media (all of it conservative–meaning it wants no change) can no longer hide. Just so we’re clear–if the Democrats had not cheated Sanders he would be POTUS today. I’m sure Sanders or someone like him will catch fire once the media gets out of the way a bit.

  17. Craig H.

    > Luis Kutner: The Declassified Life of a Human Rights Icon Our Hidden History

    Excellent! Fascinating figure who I had never heard of before today. His name is not in the index of my copy of Crossfire.

  18. dearieme

    “How the U.S. Miscounted the Dead in Syria”: ancient literature seems always to have exaggerated the size of armies, the numbers of casualties, and so on.

    In our superior times the lies go in the other direction.

    Sometimes it doesn’t matter. Remember that TV interview with Madeleine Albright? It was put to her that the Clinton embargo on Iraq had killed 500,000 children. I can’t say that I put any trust in that number, but nonetheless her response took my breath away.

    1. Plenue

      The number is almost certainly bunk. But the sanctions certainly did kill people, probably a lot of them. What’s telling is that she just accepts the premise and then says it was worth it.

    2. David

      Well, the almost universal experience is that casualty counts go down, not up, as the years go by and better research is done. (I say “almost” because I don’t know of any exceptions myself.) It was even the case for the WW2 bombardment of German cities, and most recently perhaps for the Kosovo war two decades ago. There are lots of boring reasons for this, including identifying body parts (as recently in Sri Lanka where the body count has gone down) accounting for people who fled, were believed dead but recovered, or were elsewhere at the time. On the other hand, there is also a process of competitive body count inflation in the early days among the media and NGOs for PR and fund-raising reasons. Amnesty is in financial trouble, and a report like this gets them good media coverage, as we see here. It’s unlikely the methods used would give an accurate figure: the only way to be sure is to actually count dead bodies and parts (classically, you count the number of left or right femurs) and do forensic tests to try to establish that the bodies are not those of combatants. For what it’s worth, I doubt whether the US military figure is any more reliable, given that they won’t have done the body-counts in this way, either.

      1. JBird4049

        Historians are very away of the problem of inflated numbers. The only exception that I am aware of the causality counts going up over time is of the American Civil War for they have revised upwards every few generations.

        However, there are very good reasons for that. The war was fought in over half of the continental United States with multiple large armies meandering through often lightly populated areas. Both the Union and the Confederate governments, not to mention the state governments, did not always keep very meticulous records with most of the Confederate records destroyed when Richmond burned.

        Add in that the minimum male adult fatality, not wounded, numbers are roughly 5% for the North and 15% for the South. Many of the dead were simply buried were they died and if they were lucky in an individual grave, with family notified by mail by survivors or medical staff because for the first few years there was no system to notify the family, even for officers. If not luck, buried in an unmarked mass grave with the family never knowing how, were, or when the soldier died.

  19. Summer

    Just another look at a smattering of another weekend in the USA (not talking about the movie box office either)

    “Meanwhile, there were more mass shootings around the United States over the weekend. In Baltimore, a gunman fired indiscriminately into crowds gathered for an outdoor cookout Sunday evening, killing one person and injuring seven others. Meanwhile, in Sumner County, Tennessee, police shot and wounded 25-year-old Michael Cummins, who was heavily armed, before taking him into custody Saturday. Investigators believe he’s responsible for seven murders at two homes over the weekend.”

    1. JBird4049

      Roughly homicides by the police, 174 deaths by opioid overdose, 129 suicides, and 47 homicides per a day or eleven hundred, seventy-one thousand, forty-seven thousand, seventeen thousand per a year respectively.

      Of suicides -23,000 and ~14,000 homicides are by guns. (Yes, ⅔ of gun deaths are suicides not homicides. Something I am always surprised by when restudying the issue.)

      Keep in mind that a number of homicides are still not reported to the FBI by the police with the CDC only knowing about by the coroners’ sent to them. This includes roughly 50%, Yes 50% of Native Americans killed on the Reservations, and coroners are often…encouraged strongly to change a finding of deliberate homicide into accidental or even suicide especially if it is problematic for the police or if the local government just wants the recorded local crime stats to go down.

      Just another day in Paradise for you and me.

  20. Matthew Kopka

    “Painting Podemos as a party of government and of struggle, Iglesias concluded with a social message also focused on environmental themes.”

    Tracking uses of this term on the left.

  21. Oregoncharles


    G. W

    July 10, 2018
    Prospective merger review is the most frequent application of antitrust law. It exempts transactions on the basis of
    size, though small deals can have large anticompetitive effects in segmented industries. I examine its impact on
    antitrust enforcement and merger activity in the context of an abrupt increase in the US exemption threshold. I
    find that among newly-exempt deals, antitrust investigations fall to almost zero while mergers
    between competitors
    rise sharply. Effectively all of the rise reflects an endogenous response of firms to reduced premerger scrutiny,
    consistent with large deterrent effects of antitrust enforcement.” Sorry about the formatting.

    Yet another example of how misconceived antitrust law is. In basic economic theory, consolidation is virtually NEVER in the public interest. Trying to regulate it is a formula for failure; it should be disallowed entirely. Then the challenge is to prevent businesses from growing so big they control their markets. Because markets operate primarily by process of elimination, like evolution, that will be a perpetual challenge – so you don’t want bureaucrats deciding what’s OK and what isn’t. Again, that’s a formula for corruption. Instead, there should be an automatic process, like sharply graduated taxes, that forces businesses to grow by spinning off pieces.

    That’s if you want to have a market system in the first place.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “Insurance questions mount over Boeing’s 737 MAX 8”

    Is Boeing actually bankrupt? The lawsuits are going to be ginormous.

    1. John k

      2018 net =10B

      300 deaths, 3mil per, triple damages, 10 mil per avg =3B
      Two planes @ 100 mil list = 200 mil (replacement of two costs Boeing about. 150 mil)
      Future discounts to airlines for loss of profits during fleet grounding, assuming 6 mo and 500 planes?
      (Profitable southwest made 3.5mil per plane last year)
      2mil each = 1B, equal to a dozen planes, or one weeks production.

      Seems highly unlikely to exceed last year’s net.
      Damage to Boeing and faa rep…
      But if fixed by August, no recurrence, just a bump in the road… or a couple holes in the ground…

      Granted, you’d think the board would sack the executives for such a disaster, bonus more likely.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “So Where is the Swedish Warrant?”

    So put him on a plane to Sweden. Right now. Is there a US extradition warrant on file there? Could the Swedes legally extradite him for practicing journalism?

    1. pretzelattack

      assange was very worried that sweden would send him to the u.s. under their extradition treaty with the u.s.

      1. Oregoncharles

        True. But at the moment they have no grounds to arrest him. He could fly out of Sweden (to ?) before the US sent an extradition warrant – and it would be very questionable whether it would be valid in Sweden. Has to be something that is a crime in Sweden.

        1. pretzelattack

          i read that sweden helped rendition people for the u.s. to torture sites in eastern europe and maybe the middle east; i don’t think those people violated any swedish laws, though maybe it was done under the terrorism framework and treaties, at least technically. the u.s. and ecuador haven’t exactly followed the law so far, i don’t trust either the u.k. or sweden to.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Indeed, Sweden has been involved in rendition-


            And here is a section from Wikipedia that goes into a lot more detail on how that happened-

            In December 2001 Swedish police detained Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad al-Zery, two Egyptians who had been seeking asylum in Sweden. The police took them to Bromma airport in Stockholm, and then stood aside as masked alleged CIA operatives cut their clothes from their bodies, inserted drugged suppositories in their anuses, and dressed them in diapers and overalls, handcuffed and chained them and put them on an executive jet with American registration N379P. They were flown to Egypt, where they were imprisoned, beaten, and tortured according to extensive investigate reports by Swedish programme “Kalla fakta”

  24. cripes

    Catapulting The Propaganda:

    Speaking of planes, riding in the car this morning, I heard yet another NPR “expert” pontificating, this time, about the FAA communication failures on 9/11. Then he goes on to say that planes striking buildings were ne-e-ver on anyyybodies radar that day and how it could never be foreseen, with no pushback from the interviewer dummy.

    For 18 years there has been no doubt that numerous government agencies anticipated, planned, trained, had specific warnings and carried out mock exercises for these scenarios for many years, including the day of Septemba ll.

    In addition, front line enforcement efforts to investigate prior to the event were systematically buried. See: Coleen Rowley.

    Timely Alert II was a “disaster drill” held that morning at Fort Monmouth, an Army base in New Jersey, about 50 miles south of New York City. Fort Monmouth services also directly assist in the emergency response later in the day.[4] Military exercises (war games) planned for September 11, 2001 included Global Guardian, Vigilant Guardian and Vigilant Warrior.[5]

    The National Reconnaissance Office had an exercise scheduled for 9 a.m. September 11, 2001 involving a corporate jet crashing into one of the four towers of the NRO Headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia. It was not made public until almost a year later.

    The continuous stream of lies, lies, lies; about terra, about wahr, social security, medicare, ad infinitum fogs the ability of the public to be informed, make judgements or voting decisions based on anything more than personal biographies of the parade of corporate puppets vying in the selection process for Chief Propagandist.

    Of course, people just want to see the whole thing come crashing down. It’s the rational choice in the circumstances. Why should anyone be surprised a deplorable sits in the Oval Office?

    1. JBird4049

      Promoting the lie that the 9/11 attacks were unpredictable gives cover to those responsible and excuses for increasing the surveillance state, weakening the Constitutional protections, and for the War Against a Tactic (terrorism) and the perpetual droning of a least six countries, three of them completely illegally.

      The only real surprise was the use of box cutters to hijack a plane. The instructions before 9/11 was to obey the hijackers. Until then the freedom fighters, or kidnappers, usually would give their demands, get the money or the trip to wherever, and the passengers and crew would have a story to bore their families and friends for a few decades. Which is what those terrorists were counting on.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I wonder how many people remember the TV series “The Lone Gunmen” which was a spin-off of the X-Files. It had an episode where there was a plot to fly an airliner into a building in New York and was on the air shortly before 9/11 but the whole thing dropped down one seriously deep memory hole. From that film clip, it looked like it was one of the twin towers-

    3. Oh

      I stopped tuning into NPR (National Propaganda Radio) and the Newshour on PBS (Propaganda Broadcasting System) several years ago.

      1. JBird4049

        NPR and PBS were always a followers a bit of the mainstream, but did not spew verbatim the Party’s propaganda uncritically by occasionally pushing back on the obvious lies as well as doing some real and serious reporting.

        Nowadays they have…changed. Whereas before I might disagree with some of the conclusions and wish that the reporting had been deeper, I could trust the basic honesty of it. I am not sure it’s a conscious change, or at least entirely, but instead some involuntary blindness. The staff can not see something that contradict and change their existing views of reality. It is like that disappearing episode of The Lone Gunmen.

        Oceania was not at war with Eurasia. “Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” It is an example of doublethink in groupthink, which is a terrifying thing to see.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Telecom giants battle bill which bans Internet service throttling for firefighters in emergencies”

    “Gee Senator, we’re really sorry about your mansion and all your possessions burning down but as we explained to your colleague from the House of Reps, when we firefighters went to call in more units to save your homes, we had out data throttled by the Telecom. You know, the one that you help oversee. It did look like a nice home before it went up. You’ll have to excuse us already. There is a fire-front heading towards the mansions of some of those Telecom executives and the Teleco have promised unrestricted use for our Internet needs for the duration. Have a nice day.

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