Links 6/21/19

Hawaii governor gives go ahead to build giant telescope on sacred Native volcano The Hill (DL).

The Microbiologists’ Warning Nature Microbiology

One Small Colorado Town Ran Out Of Water. How Did It Happen? KUNC

Easy Does It Across Global Central Banks in 2019’s Busiest Week Bloomberg

Driverless Cars May Be Coming, but Let’s Not Get Carried Away NYT. Just as soon as we get the quantum computers up and running…

Survey: Autopilot name causes people to overestimate Tesla capabilities Ars Technica

Millions of Business Listings on Google Maps Are Fake—and Google Profits WSJ


Spoiler alert, a scoop:

Trump Approves Strikes on Iran, but Then Abruptly Pulls Back NYT. “Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down, the [senior administraiton] official said.” Probably couldn’t cope going through the “Donald Trump became President” coverage a second time.

And the the build-up to the (anti-?)climax:

Trump calls Iranian shootdown of Navy drone a ‘fly in the ointment.’ Say what? Los Angeles Times

FAA prohibits operators from flying over some Iran-controlled airspace Reuters

Yes, Iran shot down a U.S. drone. Here’s why you (still) don’t need to worry. Monkey Cage, WaPo

The Drone Iran Shot Down Was a $220M Surveillance Monster Wired

If we’re headed for regime change in Iran, get ready for a military draft. We’ll need one. USA Today (!).

As tensions with Iran escalate, the Pentagon says little to the news media WaPo

Bolton Argues War With Iran Only Way To Avenge Americans Killed In Upcoming War With Iran The Onion

Democrats Who Think the United States Can Reenter the Iran Deal Are Fooling Themselves Foreign Policy


How the Brexit debate was flushed down the drain FT

Jeremy Hunt narrowly finishes second, as Boris Johnson storms to victory in final ballot The New Statesman. One more round to go.

EU leaders fail to agree on new leadership slate during summit FT. “Fractious.”


Hong Kong Students Resume Protests, Snarling Downtown Traffic Bloomberg

Measuring the masses Reuters

US or China? Why Washington might not like Southeast Asian nations’ response South China Morning Post

Addressing America’s Operational Shortfall in the Pacific War on the Rocks


Indian cities are running out of water World Economic Forum (DL). Not just Chennai….

Trump Transition

I’m a Jewish historian. Yes, we should call border detention centers “concentration camps.” Vox. Yves: “I suspect the border camps are worse than the internment centers for the Japanese in WWII but I haven’t dug to be sure.”

How cut-rate SoBe hostel launched Jerry Falwell Jr. ‘pool boy’ saga, naked picture hunt McClatchy. Pass the popcorn.


Festival of Sanders:

Bernie Sanders ‘doesn’t have a clue’ — Leon Cooperman says a lurch left in 2020 could hurt stocks CNBC. A billionaire investor.

The Ruling Class Will Not Tolerate the Sanders-Led Assault on Austerity Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report (nippersmom).

Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialism Speech Was a Landmark Jacobin

Bernie Sanders’ Vision of Democratic Socialism Makes Both Sides Nervous The Real News Network

‘This is a change election’: Amazon-backed Seattle Chamber endorses City Council candidates Seattle Times


Via Richard Smith, from Nicholas Shaxson of Treasure Islands fame, a thread:

Nouriel Roubini Says Facebook’s GlobalCoin Has ‘Nothing to Do With Crypto’ CoinDesk

Facebook usage falling after privacy scandals, data suggests Guardian

Boeing 737 MAX

Fight for Survival on Doomed Jet Came Down to Two Cockpit Wheels Bloomberg

Imperial Collapse Watch

This is a real slide from an Air Force brief on the real threat of incels Task and Purpose

Shocking revelation in Navy SEAL war crimes trial: Witness says he is the real killer MPR News (CL).

Class Warfare

Walmart got a $2.2 billion tax cut. Now it’s laying off workers Salon

Households face £172m bill from failed energy suppliers FT

The American Room Medium. From 2014, still germane.

Understanding Microsleep — When Our Minds Are Both Asleep and Awake Discover. One good reason for two pilots on board.

The Sameness of Cass Sunstein TNR. Good clean fun.

Around the world, people likelier to return wallets with more cash Agence France Presse

Antidote du jour (via):

And an anti-antidote:

The land of Oz!

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. The Rev Kev

    “Addressing America’s Operational Shortfall in the Pacific”

    I put this article through a semantic analyzer and it came out with the following – “Moah money please!”

    If you think that that snake swallowing that croc is pretty bad i the anti-antidote, check out what one couple found when enjoying a romantic getaway-

    1. a different chris

      Croc caption writer needs to think a bit more, though – there isn’t any “moment” when a snake swallows anything that relatively big, it takes a while.

    2. Olga

      On the “shortfall” article… it is amazingly tone-deaf. But that is the problem with a country that has turned so much of its economic life (and even existence) to the MIICC. Generals are paid to see everything through the lens of battle. By the time they realize (if ever) that the “threat” from China is not a military one, it’ll be too late.

      1. carycat

        The Generals only threat are the rare tax payers that are not drinking the kool-aid and even rarer legislators who want to slow down military spending. They have their eyes firmly on their advancements and perks, plus very generous sinecures post retirement from the armed services.

        1. BlueMoose

          Perhaps that has something to do with why a $220M drone was shot down instead of a plain old $50M drone? We need to sell more $220M drones. Lets get inventory moving! What good does it do to sell 10 $200M drones that just sit there or drone over Antartica? I’ll tell you: it does nothing for our bottom line! How can we sell more $200M drones? Anyone?

  2. Svante

    Welcome back… Somehow, I’d kept getting the same Error message and actually had to peruse the internet, alone… BEFORE coffee! Figured it was ICE or Google Memory Hole®

      1. Svante

        Did you just keep on tapping, like one of those chimps on cocaine? I sure did. Guess, this means we should go to hateful friggin’ PayPal, again. I’ve BEEN down Birmingham, WAY too much! You can’t find EVERYTHING at BigLots, Aldis and Bessemer Flea Market! I’m offering to schlep stuff onto the truck?

    1. Cal2

      Re your last link, here’s what magnificent local independent journalism looks like.

      Imagine the San Francisco Chronicle, or the L.A. Times running this?

      “That was the year CALPERS became the lead investor in another large Anderson Valley vineyard owner, the arguably even more ecologically destructive AltaTech Viticulture of Napa County (formerly Premier Pacific Vineyards). CalPERS’ initial investment of $100 million in AltaTech marked the first time it had ever purchased a stake in an agribusiness. The pension later added an additional $100 million investment in the company. Today, AltaTech claims to own the largest vineyard portfolio in the country with acreage in Washington and Oregon, and holdings running up California’s coastal zones from Santa Barbara to a massive 30-square-mile slice of the Gualala River watershed on the Sonoma-Mendocino border….”

      1. Svante

        Wow! This kinda reminds me of actual journalism? I’m thinking of the birth of ProPublica. How several local/ regional outlets (dailies, as well as alternative weeklies, radio stations and blogs) managed to sell the relative truth, at first, by direct narrow-casting via the internet (soon replaced by Koch, Bloomberg & Scaife “interns” or top sekrit social networking advocacy solutions specialists, from K Street).

  3. zagonostra

    >Festival of Sanders
    This article on the front of today’s online Guardian with the title “an existential threat: Bernie Sanders faces mounting opposition from moderate Democrats” belongs under this category:

    Moderate Democrats have stepped up their opposition to Bernie Sanders as part of a concerted effort to isolate him from the sprawling field of otherwise “mainstream” and “electable” candidates for the 2020 presidential nomination.

    1. Carey

      I like Sanders’s tweet, embedded in the piece you linked:

      Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders)

      The cat is out of the bag. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is publicly “anybody but Bernie.” They know our progressive agenda of Medicare for All, breaking up big banks, taking on drug companies and raising wages is the real threat to the billionaire class.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        BuT SuRly oNly Turmp can TWitter?

        What if every campaign tweets during the debates? Will they be disqualified?

  4. voteforno6

    Re: The Ruling Class Will Not Tolerate the Sanders-Led Assault on Austerity

    I’m sorry, but this story is a little out there. The author seems to think that there is some grand conspiracy of wealthy people manipulating events, all to keep the rest of us down. The wealthy certainly oppose Sanders, and all that he represents, and they will fight him, fair or foul. They don’t have nearly as much power as the author supposes. If they did, the Sanders movement would’ve been strangled in the crib in 2015.

    For that matter, the elites have amply demonstrated their incompetence. They couldn’t stop Trump; what makes one think that they can pull of a global conspiracy to oppress the masses? The elites are not that smart, and they are certainly not that courageous. They have wealth, to be sure, but much of their power rests on the belief that they have power. The biggest threat to them isn’t even Sanders; it’s the possibility that people will realize the truth about them.

    1. nippersmom

      The biggest threat to them isn’t even Sanders; it’s the possibility that people will realize the truth about them.
      But that’s a big part of why Sanders is a threat; he’s making people more aware of that truth.

      1. Tomonthebeach

        I think Trump and his base have amply demonstrated that people will NOT realize the truth about them. They have had 3 years of lies, distortions, malfeasance in office, cabinet turnovers for corruption, nepotism, inhumane treatment of refugees on our border, and ever-escalating wars that the lead billionaire (Trump) said he would end. No evidence of any people getting woke.

            1. Cal2

              BTW, Why are you quoting an article that bases anything on the Southern Poverty Law Center scam? Makes you look far less credible.


              Another version from the Main Stream Media. Even they are onto this scam:

              “Not only is Southern Poverty Law Center a hate group, they’re lazy. They just care about raising money. We checked out their “hate groups” at random.”

              “One’s a vinyl-record grunge music shop in Portland. Oddly, its owner “donates ‘a hell of a lot’ to NPR & other progressive groups”:

              “The SPLC put him on the hate list because he sells a record by this band that sometimes uses fascist imagery: But most grunge music stores sell some weird and violent music.”

              “A 2nd hate “group” is “Catholic Counterpoint.” It turned out to have been a one-man conspiracy-theorist site run by a guy who died in 2016. His site no longer exists. But he & the music store are STILL on SPLC’s “hate” list.”


    2. Mark Gisleson

      You misunderstand how it works. With only five media companies left, omitting key news stories is now remarkably easy.

      Think of all the times you’ve learned something on NC, tried to share it with your friends but they just didn’t “get it” because their news context didn’t include anything of the sort.

      It’s not so much that news is being suppressed as just ignored, and few Americans have alt-news sources to alert them to the omissions.

      1. Annieb

        “Few Americans have alt-news sources to alert them to omissions.” I would say that most Americans, besides twenty-something’s, are resistant to alt-news and give credence to sources who are in the MSN rather than to anyone who “just puts up a website,” as I heard one person describe it. Even when I describe a writer’s credentials, such as Chris Hedges who used to be a war correspondent for the NYTimes, people are resistant to his views because he writes for Truthdig. A relative often responds “why should I listen to someone I’ve never heard of?” This relative is a well educated professional who keeps up to date with MSNBC and NYTimes. Quite a common attitude, I think.

        1. jrs

          And then there is a significant portion of the population getting it’s news from alt sources like right wing media, it’s alt I guess as it’s ahem a different perspective, but it’s wrong. Chris Hedges is good on the facts, the prescriptive stuff meh, but he gets it right on reporting.

        2. kees_popinga

          I sent a Consortium News link to a co-worker (and Clinton supporter) re: the presence of Nazis/neofascists in the Ukraine Euromaidan opposition and she didn’t believe me until I pointed that the main source for the Consortium piece was the Guardian. She was turned off by Robt. Parry’s passionate writing style. (This person also thought the US was supporting the government so I don’t know why I bothered.)

        3. Svante

          MSNBC/ CNBC… SEO’s such, nowadays, we play “guess their cellphone” at work. Granted, iPhones & HTCs don’t actually prod you into entirely different Weltanschauung; depending on metasearch, news reader, browser & bloatware… oh, they DO? So NU?

      2. Carolinian

        Right. Good Pepe Escobar column on Brazil and how their media oligarchy is trying to defend the (secret) US takeover.

        Arguably he consolidated US media have become ground zero of upper class power in this country and, as we see in current news, they are perfectly fine with a new war without any public input whatsoever. Mondoweiss had a column about how the NYT had to cut off the overwhelmingly anti Iran conflict comments that opposed their editorial complacency over confronting Iran.

        However there is a check on elite power and it will be the huge blowback when gas prices hit $5 a gallon and American troops are dying for no discernible reason in yet another pointless ME conflict. Trump won, if barely, because many people in this country do indeed know that their rulers are terrible and wanted a change. It’s sad that this very flawed individual was the best that our “democracy” could come up with for that purpose.

        1. Cal2

          Trump is right. We have no right to get huffy about an unmanned drone over disputed waters.

          The U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian Airbus full of civilians over international waters.

          “The July 3, 1988, downing of Iran Air flight 655 by the U.S. Navy remains one of the moments the Iranian government points to in its decades-long distrust of America.”

          Trump is the first president since Jimmy Carter to have not started a new foreign war.

          Good old Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama dropped 20,000 bombs on seven countries.
          Including some new ones in his own wars…

          1. EricT

            The Iranian air liner was shot down in Iranian air space( Moon of Alabama rehashed it ). If Iran did the same to the US we would destroy them.

            1. Cal2

              Even worse.
              Wonder how the U.S. would react to Iranian naval vessels in the Gulf of Mexico? Or, the St. Lawrence Seaway?

              The way the vocalizing rectum with the white mustache is talking, you’d think that there were oilfields in Iran or something.

    3. Svante

      A true conspiracy junkie would assume Bernie and Trump were features, not bugs. There are indeed, folks that psychologically traumatized! This is certainly not to discount Hunter Thompson’s corollary (check out the link, I’d posted here, earlier).

    4. Kurtismayfield

      I’m sorry, but this story is a little out there. The author seems to think that there is some grand conspiracy of wealthy people manipulating events, all to keep the rest of us down.

      It is out the n the open, there is no conspiracy.

      Who owns the media?
      Who owns most of the internet sites?
      Who owns Congress?

      1. J7915

        Given the prevalence of fire-walled links from the makers, shakers and opinion deciders, it is credible that there are a limited #s of decision makers behind some curtain.

        Before the internetnet local newspapers were fairly comprehensive national and some international coverage. Now the NYT, WSJ, WAPO, etc. Assume the want to stay informed citizen will subscribe to their, on the coast, or across the country news.

        During the ’16 campaign I bought the NYT & WSJ daily. After adding up the $$$, I just resigned myself to being a typical fly over country type, very few purchases of “important” MSM papers, and no info from the local Buffett owned paper. Which can’t even rate as a birdcage liner, too thin.

    5. Lee

      The election, or even the nomination of Sanders by Democrats, could trigger a general strike by by private capital, tanking the stock and credit markets, with attendant adverse effects on the real economy, is a likely scenario and need not be organized by a group of conspirators behind closed doors.

      What would a Sanders government be willing and able to do to keep the real economy functioning under such circumstances will become the key question.

      1. pretzelattack

        it’s basically what the u.s. did to bring the rest of the world to heel in the early 70’s, and what the banks did to justify avoiding prosecution and failing–“see we’re too big to fail, nice little economy you have there too bad if something happens to it”.

        1. Svante

          That’s what makes this perversely enjoyable. They sure ain’t afraid of BernieBros, Bernie or nascent, grasping-at-straws “left,” covered by media, blogs, whomever? They’re TERRIFIED of Dominionist, know-nothing ‘baggers waking the fuck, up? Try to find “They Live,” on YouTube? Robocop? Idiocracy?

        2. Hopelb

          What makes their bailout blackmail possible are 401k’s and pension funds. Bernie, Tulsi, Warren should get out in front of Trump’s threat that the stock market will crash if he is not re-elected, describing their “bailout” plans and whether or not these even bigger to fails will receive a dime, or be put into receivership,broken into manageable bits with postal/state banks taking over.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sanders…private capital…stock and credit markets.

        Not all Socialist countries are the same.

        For example, in the USSR, the first stock exchange (since 1917) was created in 1990. And they did not have much private capital to speak of.

        Under the current socialist CCP rule, it’s more like capitalism.

        So, there are different possibiities (now, or in the future) under Sanders’ democratic socialism,

      3. John k

        Capital seeks the highest after tax return available. Austerity and inequality is starving the economy of demand from the bottom half, and that is during a time of peak markets and historically low interest rates… imagine the inevitable recession when excess leverage leads to failures, pushing the business cycle into recession. By many measures leverage is now at record levels.
        A sanders election might need to the deficit spending needed to put cash in the hands of the working class.

        1. a different chris

          >Capital seeks the highest after tax return available.

          I used to think that but now I just think “Capital seeks the highest level of control available”. If Big Boss can get on the phone and make people cower, that’s what he lives for. The bank account is just score-keeping.

          The problem with Big Gummint is that it can holler back.

      4. Oregoncharles

        You realize there is already a “capital strike”? There are untold – as in hidden in overseas accounts – billions stashed away that are not being used for productive investment in the US. Some of it is used abroad; much of it is just in the financial center casinos.

        The excuse is that they don’t see demand that would justify investment. Something of a Catch-22 – closed factories make for little demand.

        How much worse could a “capital strike” get?

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          What is a capital strike? Was eviscerating the manufacturing culture along the Ohio River Valley not a capital strike?

    6. pjay

      “The author seems to think that there is some grand conspiracy of wealthy people manipulating events, all to keep the rest of us down…They don’t have nearly as much power as the author supposes.”

      If by “grand conspiracy” you mean twelve guys in a room planning out World Domination from a mountaintop fortress, then you might be right. Otherwise… are you kidding me?!! Mechanisms of elite domination, exploitation, and manipulation — including those described by Ford — have been so well-documented that they are hardly denied anymore. Even the American Political Science Association had to finally admit it officially in the early 00’s (after dodging with various definitions of “pluralism” for most of its existence). Of course it is institutionalized and relies on ideological hegemony (thus the role of the ’10 percent’ often noted in NC commentary). But even so, there are organizations and powerful individuals who have actively planned many of the policies that have brought us to our present condition (you can Google “the Powell Memo” for a blueprint, but there are countless examples).

      There are certainly loads of examples of elite incompetence. But they *believe* they have power because they *do* have it. One of the ways it has been exercised most effectively in the US is to indoctrinate educated liberals that belief in concentrated elite power is a form of “conspiracy theory.” This prevents examination of the real mechanisms of power by those in the best position to inform the rest of us. For this reason, even though I think your comments are well-meaning, I believe they are part of the problem.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        nah. that’s a sit down with a fifth of tequila video.
        as is Hedges’ 3 part interview with Sheldon Wolin just ere he died.
        “conspiracy theory” as a conversation ender/round file is itself a very successful conspiracy.
        there’s even a foia-ed cia document about it, in response to the JFK conspiracy theorising that wouldn’t die.
        C Wright Mills, Domhoff, Bertram Gross( are good, documented and scholarly places to start.
        Carol Quigley, too.
        parts of my family(small manufacturing servicing Big Oil) have rubbed elbows with the aristocracy…enough so that as a kid, i went to a few “bar-B-ques” at posh mansions in gated communities, where the adults wore business casual, sipped wine, and were mean to the butlers and other various servants.
        The hosts’ kids were to a person little sh&theads that i wouldn’t pi$$ on if they were on fire…even way back then.
        every little town has an elite(in my little town, the movers and shakers meet informally, mostly…but also in a back room when the lions club meets), and every big city has several competing elite groupings…all of them are connected by networking and business and fraternity and marriage…and all of those connected to the regional elite class, and on up to global.
        the aristocracy is hardly as monolithic as we tend to think…myriad competing interests and ideologies.
        there isn’t a “walnut paneled room where all the decisions are made”, a la the X Files….
        instead, there are a million such rooms…and the decisions made in them are often at cross purposes to each other.
        their windshields are a little bit cleaner than ours, and their steering wheels are more connected to the tie rods than ours will ever be…but they ain’t Sauron.
        the best thing the super rich have going for them is their relative invisibility.
        we rarely even know their names.
        in fact, one of my family members who still keeps a toe in those waters said a few years ago that when sheldon adelson, etc started talking on TV, and becoming a household name, many of his contacts in that world were angry at adelson, et al. for letting slip the painted veil that had hidden them for so long.
        they much prefer to wield their power behind closed doors…and pretend to be merely “upper middle class” the rest of the time.
        i say we eat them anyway.

        1. Chris Cosmos

          Good comment. In a totally different context I can vouch for what you say. The atmospherics are very much like the movie Eyes Wide Shut.

    7. Am Expat in Mindanao

      voteforno6, allow me to suggest you check out Abby Matin’s “the empire files” channel on Youtube, particularly the video inteview of author Peter Phillips on his book Giants: The Global Power Elite.
      I found the interview extremely edifying, as I did Glen Ford’s piece.
      Here’s a link:

  5. Carolinian

    Iran–you left off this one.

    It appears we are in the crazy situation where people who are supposed to be working for the president are doing every thing possible to start a war that he doesn’t want. And why are these contrary folk currently employed? Talk to Adelson. Should the world–and it would be the world–be embroiled in a fresh MIddle East disaster it can be chalked up to the Supreme Court’s foolish money equals speech ruling.

    1. Jesper

      Who had the authority to authorise the now aborted ‘retaliation’? I suppose there are some situations where ‘retaliation’ has to happen quickly without asking for permission or authorisation but is a downed drone serious enough of a situation?

      1. Carolinian

        Pompeo reportedly told a Congressional group that the AUMF covers Iran. He and Bolton are gung ho for a war that they can fight from thousands of miles away.

    2. anon in so cal

      Re: Iran

      David Stockman has a good assessment of the situation.

      “….the journalistic information intermediated by the internet and the cable networks has largely been reduced to noise, devoid of signal. Or at least any historical context beyond the here and now.

      The currently threatened escalation of Washington’s economic war on Iran into an actual shooting war is a fraught case in point. Based on the news coverage since the two oil tankers were damaged yesterday you’d think that a crew of bloody-minded aggressors in Tehran had up and decided out of the blue to attack the whole world via disrupting its 18 million barrel per day oil lifeline through the Straits of Hormuz.

      The truth of the matter, however, is just the opposite. The blatant aggressor is Washington and the dangerous confrontation now unfolding is utterly unnecessary.”

      (realizing ZH is not a good source)

      1. Briny

        Perhaps not a “good source” but still occasionally a useful source. Just stay out of the comments! Blech!

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the crazy situation where people who are supposed to be working for the president

      Remember that recent story where some variety of spook was attacking the Russian power grid, and didn’t tell Trump because they thought he might tell them not to?

      Same deal here.

      1. J7915

        I think the worry was that Donald would tell Vlad.

        Maybe this ends like the famous, notorious, wire tap under the Berlin Wall. There are hints that the Soviet High Command knew abut it and fed doctored info.

        What if the Russian Grid the spooks hacked into is a decoy? Does not manage the power grid, but the hack divulges US capabilities?

        Why does a power grid have to have access to the ‘net and be hackable? How did ConEd communicate with their power stations to request more KW output before the ‘net?

      2. John k

        Somebody must have told trump the response was on its way.
        If trump wants this to stop he has to fire people, starting with Bolton. Not firing encourages rogue action.
        Plus donors like Adelson might be more miffed that he stopped action once launched than if he quietly prevented action from launching.
        I hope trump is now disabused of the notion, if he ever had it, that he could best control the mad dogs by keeping them close.

    4. djrichard

      I think I’m with MoA on this one. It’s a game of chicken. And it looks like Iran is winning at the moment as they’re more willing to throw the wheel out the window.

      It really makes me wonder at Trump’s deal making abilities. He should have seen this from miles away that there was no way that Iran was going to play the game otherwise. Same deal with Venezuela.

      His only alternatives are to climb down from this tree or double down. Where this time he kept the wheel on the car and swerved, next time he’s going to have to throw the wheel out the window as well and let the chips fall where they may. Or instead of that, go back to diplomacy and relationships. And strangely enough, now that we’ve had all this theater, I do have confidence in Trump to get back to diplomacy and relationships. Albeit still with plenty of theater.

      1. Cal2

        Wonder what a reelected Trump, should the Democrats run anyone other than Bernie+Tulsi, would do to rectify this? He’s kind of handicapped before the election.

        Reminder, he’s the first president since Carter to not start a new war.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The game of chicken is over. Iran is simply going to respond now. The lesson from Libya is that the U.S. is a dangerous, irrational power. Presidents come and go. This is an extensional crisis for Iran. A state cannot tolerate infringements of sovereignty.

        With the aggressive nature of the U.S., there isn’t any potential U.S. sympathetic audience left in Iran.

        I’m not certain where the U.S. is. Libya followed by Syria demonstrated the “adults in the room” are crazed, and the opposition to the Iran deal by leading Democrats such as Chuck Schumer has demonstrated the U.S. political elite are not simply going to be improved by Trump leaving the scene.

        As for what really happened, U.S. military forces aren’t prepared to defend themselves. They might be prepared to support limited strikes, but wars aren’t about proportion, they are about winning. If the U.S. launches one missile into Iran, Iran should light everything up. Remove the threat. My guess is this is where Iran is.

    5. Oh

      Is there an independent source that confirms that Trump is not in favor of a war with Iran? I would like some kind of corroboration. From what I know of Trump, it’s quite possibe that he started the rumour that he’s opposed to the war. Why are we believing that he is?

  6. pjay

    Re ‘The two-state solution is dead. Let us take the obvious and humane path forward’ – Mike Gravel, Mondoweiss

    Gravel offers morality, sanity and authentic realism (vs. the BS version of foreign policy pundits). No wonder he is not included in the debates and is considered an “unserious” person (see his own comments). Thanks to Weiss for providing him this forum.

  7. GF

    Not to put too fine a point on it, Trump is waiting for the first Dem debate before launching the strikes. Distraction will take the wind out of the primary momentum.

  8. The Rev Kev


    Shock broke out among the participants of the Flying Death Robot Convention in Las Vegas when the news passed around that one of their own had fallen. Experienced drones know that it is a part of the job but it is always hard when it hits one of your own. Preparations were made to do a missing drone formation that day. One drone remembered him well:
    “Yeah, I knew him when he was a full-fledged General Atomics MQ-1 Predator in Afghanistan that was really gung-ho about the job. They nick-named him the ‘Wedding Crasher’ but it all fell apart when he blew up a wedding at Bagram Base itself. They busted him down to a recon Northrop Grumman RQ-4N drone and shipped him off to the Gulf. Very sad that. He was never the same drone again”.
    Others blame his demise on getting into bad company on the net with those who egged him onto more risky actions. One of these told him that in 2015 that Iran had 370,000 weddings in 6 months alone which fired up his juices. He never told anybody who he was talking but just referred to him as “The Mustache”.

    1. John k

      Really good.
      GA predators are the cheap ones… lots of weddings… er, bang for the buck.

      1. RMO

        Whenever I hear about General Atomics and drones I remember what El Mirage field was before they bought it. A family named Briegleb bought it after WWII and scratched and worked and turned it into a great soaring site. The made sailplane kits, hosted contests, taught many people how to literally soar like birds.

        Now it’s a site for manufacturing remote control spying and murder from the sky.

  9. Chris Cosmos

    On the surface making a war with Iran for, basically, the fact it exists makes no sense. Tit for tat measures will end up causing disruptions in the world economy and lead to more chaos in the region. A full-scale invasion and/or genocidal bombing may well be initially “effective” in killing hordes of Iranians but it will mean full mobilization of all US military forces including reserves and perhaps more since I’ve read estimates it would take a million soldiers to occupy Iran.

    So what is the point of the Neocon/Israeli/Saudi alliance in Washington’s policies on Iran? The only policy I see is the Neocon agenda of creating mass chaos in the region forever thus insuring arms sales which increasingly seems to be the heart of US foreign policy in all regions supported, it appears, by both political parties.

    The problem for Washington is that the rest of the world (other than the UK) is going to move away from dealing with Washington in any way.

    The good thing is that Trump appears to not want to escalate, unfortunately, he’s stuck with the Alice in Wonderland world of Washington.

    1. Edward

      Unlike Julian Assange, Field does not appear to be a “narcissist”, so he probably won’t be prosecuted.

    1. Carolinian

      St. Clair today on Biden

      + Biden on Strom Thurmond:

      “Long before he was a committee chairman; indeed long before he came to the Senate so many years ago, Strom Thurmond was the consummate public servant. Though he holds the record for the Senate’s longest filibuster, Strom Thurmond is a doer rather than a talker.”

      In his tribute to Strom, Biden neglected to mention that Thurmond’s “filibuster” was against the Civil Rights Act.

      Strom was a “doer” alright. He shared Biden’s sexual appetite, though perhaps not Creepy Joe’s trichophilia (hair fetish). Strom famously boasted that when he died they’d have to “whack my pecker down with an axe to get the coffin closed.”

      In their book on Thurmond Marylin Thomson and Jack Bass claim that then SC governor Thurmond had sex in the back of a police car with a convicted female murderer on the way to the death chamber. Thurmond married and had six children after the age of 60.

      Clearly Biden longs for the good old days of bipartisan horniness and winking at Jim Crow.

    2. djrichard

      LoL, I like it. I think it’s more than valid, but I’m not quite sure civility is really the word I would use.

      Maybe realpolitik is what’s being uncovered? Still, Trump himself is still a mask. How can the rulers not be? Even Bernie has his masking elements. And to be honest, I think we have leagues to go before we get close to the level of conversation needed for a true realpolitik. Even an election between Bernie vs Trump won’t get us to that level of conversation.

      The election regardless of who’s in it will still be WWF wrestlemania. It’s the stage the media crafts for us – the players simply have to play their parts.

      1. Carey

        This one isn’t bad, either-

        ‘Grampa Simpson runs for US president’:

        “..the notion that an older politician can restore the lost virtues of an earlier age has not exactly proved to be a winner. “Age has its virtues,” Robert Dole asserted as he accepted the Republican presidential nomination, offering himself as a “bridge to a time of tranquility, faith, and confidence in action.” Bill Clinton’s reelection team couldn’t believe the gift Dole had handed them and spent the rest of the campaign saying Clinton wanted to “build a bridge to the future,” not the past..”

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Still, Trump himself is still a mask.

        To me as well. Maybe his resistance to new wars will let us get the other seven or so straightened out.

  10. flora

    Op Ed in today’s NYT caught my attention with this headline:

    “F.D.R. Is Back in Fashion”

    Has the NYT suddenly had a change of outlook? No. Reading on I learn there’s a right way to think about FDR, and a merely opportunistic way to think about FDR. According to the NYT, Bernie is merely opportunistic.

    But there’s a right way and a wrong way to revive Roosevelt. Before we allow anyone to assume his mantle, let’s separate candidates merely seeking inspiration for big ideas from those misappropriating his legacy.

    Bernie Sanders, the most explicit of the Roosevelt wannabes, is in the latter category. He has repurposed the “Second Bill of Rights” address on his website to report that Roosevelt was constantly attacked as a socialist, so he must have actually been one — just like the independent senator from Vermont.

    ooh, I loves strawman arguments. not. Thanks, NYT, for clearing that up. /s

    Per FDR:

    (might take a couple of minutes to start playing.)

    1. flora

      Whoa… I just rechecked the NYT op-ed and see they’ve changed the headline! Good job, NYT. /s

      1. flora

        Even funnier: when I first linked the utube vid the sidebar optional vids were of other FDR speeches or history vids; the same side vids I still get if I go to the vid from the History Channel website.

        But now, if I link from my above NC comment I see a lot of really disconnected and odd sidebar vids: on slavery, P-I issue, and Milton Friedman. Probably a co-inkydink.

        1. jrs

          The thing about making a reference to a person, is it can cut all ways if someone wants it to, though Bernie of course means economics. They say you should choose your heroes only among the dead, but even the dead like FDR have their problems.

          “He has repurposed the “Second Bill of Rights” address on his website to report that Roosevelt was constantly attacked as a socialist, so he must have actually been one — just like the independent senator from Vermont”

          The thing is by some definitions either are, by some none are. But Sanders at present is pretty close to FDR, LBJ etc. (which he wisely did not choose as a hero), economically only maybe better. It’s hard to talk policy about an article that doesn’t talk policy. Basically in some sense: ANY policy that moves things out of the capitalist market and on to either governments or the workers is socialist.

          “He’s betting that a younger post-Cold War generation won’t conflate his brand of democratic socialism with communism, as many of their elders wrongly do.”

          Yea those particular elders are as dumb as box of rocks. I mean why should we do anything but spit at people that literally haven’t had a new thought cross their synapses in 30-50 years. We have a crisis of environment and economics and they want to talk irrelevant garbage.

          1. flora

            ” It’s hard to talk policy about an article that doesn’t talk policy.”

            So, it was just a smear then. Thought so. Thanks

    1. flora

      Ronald Reagan used to say, “Trust but verify.”

      Tesla wants me to trust with no verification (besides their own claims) their claims are true.

      To Tesla, and Boeing, and FB, and Walmart, et al: “I need independent verification of your tech and financial claims.” (Didn’t our US regulators once perform that verification function? Wonder what ever happened to them. /s )

    2. PeakBS

      Will insurance companies be dumping Tesla much sooner than later – they’ve been raising rates pretty quickly so far.

      At least a few Tesla owners have been misusing Autopilot in this way, with fatal results.
      In March, a Tesla driver crashed into the side of a tractor-trailer in Florida. The Model 3 went completely under the truck, shearing off the Model 3’s roof and killing its driver. A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash, and the driver’s hands were not detected on the steering wheel.

      1. Monty

        There are ~37,000 total fatalities in US car crashes each year. They aren’t perfect, but Tesla cars are much safer that the majority of vehicles on the road. It’s bigger news when one fails because Tesla has a lot of enemies in various industries that would love for it to ‘go away’. Other brands are catastrophically failing multiple times every day, you just never hear about it.

        1. JerryDenim

          ” …but Tesla cars are much safer that the majority of vehicles on the road.”

          Very bold statement. Do you have any supporting data to back up your claim or is your assertion based on Musk marketing magic and technology sauce?

        2. urblintz

          How many Tesla vehicles are on the road? Can one extropolate the safety of a Tesla against other cars without doing the math?

          1. Monty

            I think there were ~200k Teslas and ~100m autos in US in 2018. ~0.2% of cars are Teslas.

            There are over 700 vehicle fires every day.
            We should see 1.4 Tesla fires every day in the US, if it was as dangerous as the average car. There were only 2 incidents in the entire year.

            Over 40000 deaths in car crashes in 2018. So we should have seen 80 Tesla fatalities. There was 1 known autopilot related death in 2018.

        3. proclos

          “They aren’t perfect, but Tesla cars are much safer that the majority of vehicles on the road.”
          What can this “sentence” possibly mean?

          1. Monty

            Seems pretty straightforward. Tesla cars don’t have a perfect safety record, but they are safer than most other cars on the road.

    3. John k

      All three Tesla models have the rare double like symbol from the owner satisfaction part of consumer reports annual survey, even though two of the three have spotty reliability.
      It was Tesla that built a nation wide link of charging stations, something a progressive gov not owned by fossil would have built. Big oil, which receives billions in subsidies, hates Tesla and wants trump to end e car subsidies.
      Tesla sales have taken so many sales from European and Japanese lux autos they are all coming out with their own e cars. VW alone has committed 50b to the conversion.
      Tesla sales success, and the coming emulation from other autos, has prompted some pundits to speculate that fossil cars won’t be produced after 2027. Fabulous if true.

      Tesla had to bear many costs the followers won’t as they enjoy the steady decline in battery costs. What if Tesla goes bankrupt, in part because of their large debt burden? No matter if the new debt free owners run it more efficiently, but Tesla has many enemies with deep pockets, not least big oil and lux autos that would prefer no change. The danger the new owners shut it down.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe they should not call it Autopilot mode but Assisted mode instead. When the the last sentence says ‘However, it should be possible for a driver-facing camera to detect this kind of behavior and intervene, bringing the car to a gradual stop if the driver doesn’t keep his attention on the road.’ then you know that the whole thing is fundamentally flawed.

  11. rd

    Re: Colorado town without water

    This is what a D for infrastructure looks like. Things work. And then they don’t. California is going to discover what it is like to be Venezuela this summer and fall when PGE turns off the transmission lines during high winds.

    We are already paying for not paying for infrastructure. Just not in taxes and fees to actually have nice things. Instead, we pay by having cars damaged on bad roads, sit in traffic unproductively burning fuel, schedule more time for delays etc.

    Business lose business when they don’t have water or power or they get flooded. We will pay for generations for the extra costs of children poisoned with lead in inner city as they are less productive and more likely to be in jail (paid for by taxpayers).

    So we have a choice. We can either pay to have nice functioning systems. Or we can pay the same or more money to not have nice functioning systems. For the US, being a First or Third World country is a choice. The country appears to be picking the latter.

    1. Carey

      “..the country appears to be picking the latter.”

      Mmm, the country, or the USian Ruling Class, who are grossly out of step with
      what *the great majority of the citizenry* have repeatedly shown that they want?

      Gilens and Page 2013

  12. lyman alpha blob

    Good opinion piece on the new Fleecebook “currency” from the Hill, which echoes my view that this is a solution in search of a problem –

    What sources of value are left?

    The only one I can see is as payment service for individuals who do not have access to existing banking services.

    This is what I don’t get though – you need to purchase the FB currency (I’m going to take Lambert’s suggestion from yesterday a step further and call this the Douche Mark!) with some other type of currency, presumably online, and presumably by transferring money from a bank account. The Douche Mark has been compared to paypal and you need to fund paypal accounts through a bank account or credit card. So how does this even help people without access to banking services? What am I missing here?

    And supposedly the draw is it will provide payments services with negligible fees. Anyone with half a brain can see the bait and switch coming from light years away. If the Douche Mark does gain traction and eliminates existing payment services, you know those low fees aren’t going to last long.

  13. Summer

    RE: Libra

    The issues with the global economy aren’t created by currency but the overall ideology. Injecting another currency is just a power play to take advantage of the crisis of concentrated wealth. Libra too will become a form of concentrated wealth because of the underlying system it will operate within.
    I think of shopping for toilet paper. Some brands are characterized as “soft” or superior in some way to more generic brands. At the end of the day, I’m just wiping my ass with either.

    1. RopeADope

      Libra is masquerading as a solution to a problem when it is in fact the same problem but on steroids. Libra will be more efficient at concentrating wealth, destroying the planet and exterminating democracy than the central banks can ever be. Increasing efficiency within the money system begets rule by oligarchy/monopoly and eventually devolves into tyranny.

      I have seen comments that the proposal looks slapped together and is a joke. It looks that way because Facebook is trying to camouflage what it really is and they are doing a haphazard job. It is very likely that they went ahead anyways because they know they will face no serious opposition. What will stop Dem leadership from fundraising off big tech executives instead of doing their jobs?

  14. Stadist

    If we’re headed for regime change in Iran, get ready for a military draft. We’ll need one. -USA Today

    Is this for real?

    Aggressive neoliberal state solves the GINI index-issue: Forcibly draft poorest 10-20% and make them drive around hostile mountainous country in Humvees. But hey, at least they will finally get the respect of their country.

    However a thought occured to me, what’s the easiest way to deal with surplus people becoming unemployed by increasing automation? Wars. Alternatively also ever increasing global warming should reduce crop yields and generate surplus population that can’t be fed consistently. Assuming the agricultural shortfalls don’t spread evenly and happen randomly this should also lead to wars.

  15. bwilli1234

    On The Edge Of The Abyss
    from the usually well informed Elijah Magnier

    ” According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It seems a very credible article. The Iranians have called Trumps bluff and doubled down. They’ve left the ball in Trumps court to try to find a way out. As Magnier concludes, probably Trumps only non-war option is to signal to the Europeans that he won’t object to unofficial sanctions busting.

      Its very dangerous for everyone, but you have to admire the iron nerve of the Iranians, they’ve found Trumps weak spot.

    2. Olga

      Actually, if it is true that the US was asking for Iran to choose bombing sites, then the US has already lost. It has revealed that it has no stomach for an attack on Iran. Let’s hope this holds. (Time for Trump to talk to the Delphi oracle? And perhaps even to listen?)

      1. flora

        Not necessarily. Trump’s nemesis are the neocons, the crazies, imo. Or maybe Trump is the neocons nemesis. The game of chicken might not be the one that’s presented in the MSM.

  16. JerryDenim

    Bloomberg- Ethiopian 302 Trim wheels-

    “The startled pilots left the plane’s engines racing at nearly full power — an error that would make it harder to recover. Jetliners are designed to use full power for only short periods during takeoff and shortly afterward. Leaving the throttles so high is never done on a normal flight and their jet rapidly accelerated to dangerous levels that made it harder to control.”

    Exactly. The Ethiopian pilots who perished were given an extremely tough situation in a horribly designed airplane that should never been allowed to fly, but neglecting to adjust your power settings during a six minute long emergency as your aircraft overspeeds with a trim malfunction can not be waived away as a normal pilot oversight during a time of high stress. Professional airline pilots must be capable of flying malfunctioning airplanes in emergency situations.

    “It was taking more and more force on the control column to keep the plane climbing.”

    Of course it was, the crew was flying more or less straight and level with take-off thrust set, they were rapidly accelerating. More speed equals more airflow, more airflow equals greater control forces. Anyone with even the most cursory knowledge of aerodynamics should understand this most basic relationship between trim and airspeed.

    “The only way left to relieve the pressure on the control column was to crank the trim wheels in the nose-up direction.”

    No. This is incorrect. As the article has already indicated, there are two ways to relieve the control forces on a 737 with a disabled electric trim motor. What should have been the first instinct of the pilots, and the second way to reduce control forces would have been slowing down. Yes, I know the Captain’s side instruments were malfunctioning, but there were plenty of indications that the Captain’s side instruments were erroneous and should have been disregarded for airspeed. More or less level flight with take-off power set being primary among the multitude of clues.

    If the FAA wants to require Boeing to re-design a beefier manual trim wheel in the 737 Max and NG variants, I think that’s a great idea and I certainly think they have asked for it with their reckless behavior surrounding the design and certification of the Max. It would be great if the manual trim wheel in a 737 Max could be operated by a small child at 150% of certified Vmo. No objections. Still, at some point though, if you fly a really out-of-trim airplane fast enough it will always become uncontrollable. Over-engineering is great, but nothing is fool-proof if it’s flown badly enough.

    By all means, fix the 737 Max, it’s dangerous and it needs fixing. Punish Boeing. Perp walk execs and let’s see some lengthy prison sentences. Let the fines, settlements and awards run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, but in a rush to punish Boeing let’s not forget that pilots still need basic hand flying skills to safely navigate emergency situations when they arise. Automation does not work when critical aircraft indications malfunction, hence the reason I’m being a stickler on this topic. While being cheaper and easier than two well-trained pilots on every flight deck, automation, no matter how advanced, is no substitute for pilot hand flying skills.

    1. JDM

      Couldn’t agree more. Like you, I am continually perplexed that an important part of this story keeps getting overlooked. The Bloomberg article spends most of its time looking at the part of the trim system that was difficult to operate when tried, but almost completely avoids discussion of the part that worked just fine but wasn’t properly used. They only touch on it in the last few paragraphs:

      Roger Cox, also a former pilot who investigated dozens of accidents at the NTSB, sees it differently.

      Keeping a plane in trim and within a normal speed range are so basic that they’re assumed and don’t need to be explicitly restated throughout pilot manuals, he said. Pilots who fail to do so are making basic errors with severe consequences.

      “You can get an airplane so badly out of trim that it’s hard to recover,” Roger Cox said.

      For old head pilots like myself, it is almost unfathomable that a airline rated captain simply did not use the main electric trim switch on the yoke to oppose what MCAS was doing. This switch absolutely trumps MCAS ever time it is used (though the MCAS malfunction requires that it be used repeatedly).

      Trimming should be like breathing for an experienced pilot, but that skill only comes from spending a fair amount of time hand flying. Sadly, too many airlines are emphasizing the automation over basic skills. The situation is probably not unlike Tesla owners who rely so much on the autopilot that they forget who is ultimately responsible for the safe operation of the automobile.

      1. JerryDenim

        “Sadly, too many airlines are emphasizing the automation over basic skills.”

        And I suspect you know why this is as well. Automation is crutch that masks the shortcomings of weak, inexperienced pilots that are being hired by many airlines around the world. You can drag them through the short and fairly easy training curriculum with all of the automation running full-tilt and the emergency situations well telegraphed in advance, but in the words of an expat pilot I knew working for a Korean airline, “as soon as the autopilot comes off, it’s a full-blown emergency every time.” Proficient pilots can be trained from zero anywhere, but it’s never going to be cheap, easy or quick. Airline management like management in other industries always want something for nothing, but in aviation the cruel combination of statistics and physics will make you pay up every time you start cutting too many corners.

  17. cnchal

    > Driverless Cars May Be Coming, but Let’s Not Get Carried Away NYT.

    . . . few experts in autonomous cars believe that the technology is ready to safely chauffeur occupants in any and all driving conditions. And that’s before the regulatory hurdles, including a quaint-seeming 1971 New York law that requires at least one hand on the wheel.

    Instead, for the foreseeable future, there are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Think of them as a co-pilot, not the Autopilot of Tesla’s marketing parlance but a wingman that amplifies human skills instead of replacing them.

    The correct word is atrophies instead of amplifies. The goal is to de-skill drivers with “driver assistance technology” whether mandated or an option, so the technology is defined as a necessity to drive instead of something less than worthless to any reasonably good driver.

    These building blocks of autonomy are becoming common on even the most affordable cars: electronic stability controls, certainly, but now radar, cameras and other sensors that perceive their surroundings and automatically accelerate, stop, steer, follow lanes or take evasive action. And every major carmaker in America has pledged to make automated emergency braking standard on all new models by September 2022.

    That’s lots of Chinese crapola built into your ride, ready to cost a fortune to diagnose and repair when it inevitably fails. I wonder what the scrap rate for these electronically laden cars will be? I bet if a few sensors go bad at once, it’s scrap. What a waste of resources.

  18. WestcoastDeplorable

    Boo-Hoo on the border camps…if the illegal immigrants don’t like the conditions in those camps, then they shouldn’t have crosses illegally and it should be a deterrent to repeat!
    But calling them “concentration camps” as AOC has done, is not only incorrect and foolish, it’s downright stupid!

    1. James

      Hmm… historical connotations notwithstanding, confining large amounts of people in a confined area against their will for an extended period of time pretty much by definition qualifies them as “concentration camps.” Perhaps plain old “prisons” or “detention camps” would be more agreeable and/or accurate? Perhaps if the optics weren’t so bad in the first place no one would be concerned about what label we used to describe them after the fact?

  19. noonespecial

    Re Vox and usage of term “concentration camps”

    To complement this piece, Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky sides with Rep. Ocasio Cortez on applying said term.

    Bershidsky quotes Hannah Arendt to backup his point of view:

    “Concentration camps can very aptly be divided into three types corresponding to three basic Western conceptions of a life after death: Hades, Purgatory, and Hell…To Hades correspond those relatively mild forms, once popular even in non-totalitarian countries, for getting undesirable elements of all sorts – refugees, stateless persons, the asocial, and the unemployed – out of the way.”

    1. lambert strether

      Leaving aside the institutional capacities we are building, what exactly are we supposed to do with people who cross the border without visas when required?* Where do we house them? That’s what I’m not hearing from AOC et al. Of course, if you believe in open borders, the question does not arise, but I don’t think that’s a universally accepted solution by the “concentration camps” crowd.

      NOTE * Is the issue the fact of confinement, or the conditions of confinement?

      1. noonespecial

        I reside in one of the countries in South America receiving its share of peoples from Venezuela. Some arrive with visa, others via what is commonly called “trocha”, land bridges where officialdom does not have a handle on stopping the flow. Signs abound in businesses reading “Venezolanos need not apply”, and yet here they are. Complicated to say the least.

        For the USA, the flow will continue, open borders, or not. Spending public monies on the newly arrived is a thorny issue. At minimum, a broad census with quicker paths to approved work permits may help. But it is fair to say that the following highlighted by Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch ought not to be spoken by the US DOJ:

        The Trump administration told the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday that the government is not required to give soap or toothbrushes to children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border and can make them sleep on concrete floors in frigid, overcrowded cells.

        Tom Paine’s (from Agrarian Justice) words help point the way:
        The present state of civilization is as odious as it is unjust. It is absolutely the opposite of what it should be, and it is necessary that a revolution should be made in it. The contrast of affluence and wretchedness continually meeting and offending the eye, is like dead and living bodies chained together. Though I care as little about riches as any man, I am a friend to riches because they are capable of good. I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable in consequence of it. But it is impossible to enjoy affluence with the felicity it is capable of being enjoyed, while so much misery is mingled in the scene.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > a broad census with quicker paths to approved work permits may help.

          Help whom?

          Quoting Paine:

          But it is impossible to enjoy affluence with the felicity it is capable of being enjoyed, while so much misery is mingled in the scene.

          So the argument is that the working class should suffer from the effects of labor arbitrage for the common good of humankind, while those advocating for that policy profit? I’m not sure Paine would approve/

  20. dearieme

    The people in these American camps are – unlike the Japanese of California and other parts of the USA during WWII – volunteers. They chose to invade another country.

    God alone knows why Jews, of all people, should choose to cheapen the comparison with German concentration camps.

  21. newcatty

    Thinking about Biden…his seemingly clueless and tone deaf remarks about showing good feelings and nostalgia for the good ole day’s “coridiality” with blatant racists( oh, mean “segregationists) is not just old Joe’s facility for embarrassing “goofs” when speaking in public. They are deliberate building of his brand. They are blatant signals that he is what you see, you will get. He can out Trump Trump. The most egregious of the recent remarks: “He never called me boy. He always called me son.” You can’t make this stuff up…

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Shocking revelation in Navy SEAL war crimes trial: Witness says he is the real killer”

    And just to take the ‘Eeewww’ factor to stage 11, the Navy Seal convicted in death of the green beret is being investigated for contacting the victim’s widow at party, without saying who he was, and they ended up exchanging phone numbers.

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