Links 6/22/19

German firefighters rescue squirrel stuck in manhole cover AP

Seals can copy human speech and sing Star Wars theme tune, new study says Sky News. n=3.

It’s Younger and Cooler Than a Carbon Tax The Atlantic. The GND.

US gasoline prices rise after blasts at Philadelphia refinery FT

Report: Utility’s Negligence to Blame for Los Angeles Methane Disaster Earth Justice

Syraqistan

Trump Says He Was ‘Cocked and Loaded’ to Strike Iran, but Pulled Back NYT

VIPS Memo to the President: Is Pompeo’s Agenda the Same As Yours? Consortium News

White House Pushes ‘Trump Pulled Back’ Story – He Likely Never Approved To Strike Iran Moon of Alabama

Trump Doesn’t Need to Attack Iran: He’s Winning Already Bloomberg

Northrop Grumman used a fictitious war with Iran to sell its Global Hawk drone to the Pentagon Quartz (Re Silc).

Next Contestant, Iran: Meet America’s Permanent War Formula Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Read THIS Before Cheering the Next War Washington’s Blog

Brexit

Boris Johnson: police called to loud altercation at potential PM’s home Guardian

The Empty Promise of Boris Johnson The New Yorker. Qui est ce monstre?

How Oxford university shaped Brexit — and Britain’s next prime minister FT

Britain’s Next Prime Minister Has Probably Already Lost Scotland Bloomberg

There Are Some Fires That Get Put Out, and Some That Don’t n+1. Grenfell Tower.

Rosemary and thyme against Greece’s economic torpor Agence France Presse

China?

What France’s ‘yellow vests’ can teach Hong Kong activists about political protests and the use of violence South China Morning Post

Australians in Hong Kong say this could change everything Sydney Morning Herald

The Depressing Reality Behind Hong Kong’s Protests TNR

Debunking Misconceptions around Hong Kong’s Extradition law Controversy Medium

* * *

As growth slows, the spectre of local-government debt looms once more Economist

The Coming Sino-American Bust-Up Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate

RussiaGate

William Barr Looking Into U.S. Finding That Russia Wanted Trump to Win WSJ

Trump Transition

Trump Says He’s Weighing Democrats’ Plan for $15 Minimum Wage Bloomberg. “Make it $18!”

‘Some Suburb of Hell’: America’s New Concentration Camp System NYRB

Policing the Borders of Suffering Jewish Currents

Finally, the U.S. Is Getting Some Diplomats in the Field Foreign Policy

City of Secrets: Estimated 10,000 people in DC are spies WTOP. And that’s just the foreigners!

Trump denies new sexual assault allegation The Hill

Libra

European central bankers claim oversight over Facebook’s cryptocurrency Reuters

Mnuchin Says Guidelines Move Crypto Firms From ‘Dark Shadows’ Bloomberg

Facebook co-founder: Libra coin would shift power into the wrong hands FT

2020

‘An existential threat’: Bernie Sanders faces mounting opposition from moderate Democrats Guardian

Why Bernie Should Launch a National Voter Registration Drive Jacobin

Opinion: Listen to bookies, not polls: Trump has a good chance to be re-elected MarketWatch (EM).

Health Care

Obama Alums Tell Health Insurance Lobby “Medicare For All” Won’t Happen MapLight. Alums, plural. Thanks, Obama!

Police State Watch

This Louisiana Parish Allowed a Quarter of Its Sheriff’s Deputies To Work Security for a Pipeline In These Times

An Alabama megachurch will form its own police force after passage of controversial law CNN

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Reparations Are Not Just About Slavery But Also Centuries of Theft & Racial Terror Democracy Now! (GF).

Black Farm Families Are Losing Their Land. New State Laws Seek to Help. Governing

Cell Phones Are Probably Not Making Us Grow Horns Smithsonian. “The external occipital protuberance is a well-studied trait in anthropology.”

Getting Social Security Fixed May Be the Best Thing You Can Do for Your Finances NYT. After years of rentier propaganda, some sanity. “It is time for you to get political, and to start thinking of activism as a behavior equal to saving and investing.” Interesting proposition, if generalized.

Hello, Summer 2019! Today’s Solstice Marks Season’s Beginning Space.com

Antidote du jour (via):

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.

212 comments

  1. dearieme

    ‘Cocked and Loaded’

    Call me old-fashioned but I think I’d load the gun before I cocked it. Though I suppose the expression “loaded and cocked” might provoke the interpretation load-of-old-cock.

    Anyway, wouldn’t it be fascinating to know what the devil went on in the Pentagon and White House?

    Proposal: Congress take seriously its responsibility for declaring war. But the odious twerps won’t, will they?

    Reply
    1. sionnach liath

      The term ‘cocked and loaded’ dates back to the time when firearms used the flintlock to fire the charge. One had to ‘cock’ the flintlock hammer to be able to ‘load the pan’ with priming powder, which was in turn ignited by the falling flint and ignite the main charge in the barrel.

      Reply
      1. dearieme

        Fascinating; thank you. So it has nothing to do with the gun having been loaded with a musket ball or a bullet. Presumably by assumption that had already been done.

        Reply
      2. Carolinian

        He was probably thinking of the term “lock and load” unless he was planning to shoot the Iranians with a Brown Bess musket.

        Short for locking the magazine/cartridge into the gun and loading the ammunition into the gun's chamber. (Usu. used to show toughness, ambition, fear and other strong characteristics. Originally spoken by John Wayne in “Sands of Iwo Jima” as “load and lock”.)

        https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=lock and load

        Trump can’t even get his macho cliches right.

        Reply
          1. Tomonthebeach

            The unsettling aspect of this jovial chiding is that POTUS goes around the WH all day half-cocked and probably loaded – like when he said to attack Iran and then after some unnamed adult in the room reminded him of the gravitas of another war.

            The VIPS memo, though well-intentioned I’m sure, was a rambling, aimless rant signed by a large number of people whose titles suggest peripheral perspectives. That likely accounts for the distracting side whines. Trump has the attention span of a puppy not to mention the impulse control of one. He is not going to read past the first paragraph – if that.

            Alas, Trump is less like a rifle and more like shampoo – rinse off/repeat.

            Reply
            1. mpalomar

              Nixon used to wander the White House drunk, telling Kissinger to tactically nuke the Vietnamese or the Cambodians or whoever. Kissinger, Haig, Schlesinger and others would disregard and wait for Nixon to sober up.

              Now it’s flipped, Pompeo and Bolton want to blow things up and Trump is putting the brakes on if any of this farce is decipherable.

              Either way the rest of the world may be starting to look for the exits.

              Reply
      3. BobW

        Also where “half-cocked” comes from: some firearms would have an intermediate position to load the pan.

        Reply
    2. Tyrannocaster

      Does anybody seriously think he didn’t mean to say “locked and loaded” and just got it wrong? Although he does have the best words?

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        Wasn’t there a story months ago that Trump has interns write his tweets, and that they’re instructed to make mistakes? This is intentional. It’s pure trolling.

        Reply
          1. rowlf

            I’ve always regarded the Trump election as the populace flipping the bird to the political and chattering classes. Our betters try to make it that bigots and such voted for Trump rather than admit most of the electorate just doesn’t like them and when the impish Americans found out Trump really really bothered them it was game on.

            It is fun to think that trolling is taking place but still no way to run a railroad.

            Reply
            1. Harry

              Totally agree. I like to think its the electorate withdrawing their consent to the political class AND trolling them at the same time.

              I suspect they will continue to elect Trumps or worse until conditions get better. Or until the ruling classes can arrange to given us a choice of two of their nominees.

              Reply
              1. RepubAnon

                The 0.1% love Trump – he’s cutting their taxes and loading the courts with activist far-right judges. The Supreme Court is signaling that they may rule the administrative agency rule-making process a violation of the separation of powers. This would gut the federal government’s power to issue regulations, and might void all the existing regulations – like the ones on banking, media ownership, insider trading…

                What’s not to like – if you’re in the 0.1%…

                Reply
    3. anon in so cal

      Elijah Magnier weighs in on the aborted Iran strike:

      “….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.

      Iran is not inclined to help Trump come down from the tree he has climbed and would rather keep him confused and cornered. Furthermore, Iran would love to see Trump fail to win a second term, and will do everything to help oust him from the White House at the end of his mandate in 2020…..”

      https://ejmagnier.com/2019/06/21/iran-and-trump-on-the-edge-of-the-abyss/

      Reply
      1. Harry

        Quite. I guess if you are gonna turn this into an existential fight, then dont be surprised if the Iranians refuse your offer of a face saving climb down.

        By the same token (and in the Magnier piece) we should assume Iran continues metaphorically poking Trump with a stick for the foreseeable future. Till he finds a humanitarian reason to ease sanctions. Probably not a good time to insure ship traffic through the Straits.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Apparently Trump listens to what Tucker Carlson says who has views way out of kilter with the MSM. Jimmy Dore just ripped CBS for bringing on a retired Admiral who recommended war – but without mentioning that said Admiral is on the Raytheon Board. Here is a refreshing segment by Tucker which features a brilliant smack-down on John Bolton. I know that a lot of people have problems with some of Tucker Carlson’s opinions but here he says what I believe a lot of Americans are thinking-

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c0jMsspE7Y

          Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              What a fascinating question, I’ve been shocked to find my own and Tucker’s views closely aligning. Maybe The Benjamins of Tucker’s popularity trump the everday benjamins that Rupert gets for touting Forever War. Are there ways to make $ from Not-War with Iran? Other than growing food and all of regular peaceful commerce that is. There must be a hidden Benjamins angle to Tucker’s peaciness somewhere

              Reply
            2. Etherpuppet

              Quite a few dissenting opinions on the you tube: Sam Seder, Michael Brooks, Young Turks, Kyle Kulinsky, Jimmy Dore. This is just a few.

              Reply
  2. dearieme

    Hello, Summer 2019! Today’s Solstice Marks Season’s Beginning

    The notion that summer starts on the same day in Alaska, Hawaii, Florida, and so on is either rather sweet or entirely demented.

    Reply
      1. dearieme

        But what sort of loonie would mark the start of summer by “peak solar”? It’s bonkers. It has nothing to do with the meaning of the word “summer”.

        Reply
        1. Joe Well

          Wow, not sure quite what to say, except that this is an easy one to resolve. The summer solstice is the same for the entire Northern Hemisphere. By that definition of summer, it is summer in the entire hemisphere.

          Nearer the equator, locals have different “popular” definitions of “summer” since the title of the earth on its axis affects them much less. People might call “summer” the time of year with the least rain. They might even say that the seasons are not evenly divided into three months.

          For that matter, many businesses in the US say that “summer” starts on Memorial Day in May and ends on Labor Day in September, but that is clearly a different definition of summer.

          I’m guessing that’s what you’re referring to? But obviously that’s not what we’re talking about here.

          As for what kind of “loonie” defines summer that way…umm…scientists?

          Reply
          1. Off The Street

            Canadian dollars, aka Loonies, began their migration south, followed eventually by Twonies ;)

            Reply
          2. dearieme

            By that definition of summer Nobody but a bloody fool would entertain that definition of summer. It’s just not what summer means.

            …umm…scientists? There’s no Law of Nature that says scientists are welcome to redefine simple English words.

            Reply
            1. skippy

              Etymology

              summer (n.1)

              “hot season of the year,” Old English sumor “summer,” from Proto-Germanic *sumra- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old High German sumar, Old Frisian sumur, Middle Dutch somer, Dutch zomer, German Sommer), from PIE root *sem- (2) “summer” (source also of Sanskrit sama “season, half-year,” Avestan hama “in summer,” Armenian amarn “summer,” Old Irish sam, Old Welsh ham, Welsh haf “summer”).

              What does English have to do with it.

              Reply
              1. dearieme

                What does English have to do with it?

                The original idiocy was written in English.
                Hello, Summer 2019! Today’s Solstice Marks Season’s Beginning

                See?

                But by all means extend the point to all the Indo-European languages:

                Reply
            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              I read a prediction once, based on the growing divergencies between English as spoken in different places, that “English” would eventually divide into a number of languages similar to eachother in the way that French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, etc. are similar to eachother. We might call them the Anglance languages.

              Ameringlish, Britinglish, Englandish, Singlish, Hinglish, Spanglish, etc.

              Reply
                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  I didn’t make Spanglish up. It is an evolving language along the US/Mexico border and maybe going deeper into both countries.
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanglish

                  It has been suggested by some that members of Anglophone American culture should take and repurpose the pejorative word “gringo”. If so, perhaps we could call the USA version of English by the name Gringlish. In which case Spanglish could become Spangringlish.

                  Reply
        2. Ignacio

          Peak solar marks the start of the warmest/hottest season. Because of thermal inertia the distribution of these days in the calendar is not symmetrical respective to the summer solstice day and it is hotter after it. It is not a loonie thing but something that humans experience every year with variations. The same for winter, of course. The coldest days occur typically after, nor before the winter solstice.

          Reply
  3. dearieme

    Seals can copy human speech and sing Star Wars theme tune, new study says

    God, they’ll be teaching them to play the bagpipes next.

    Reply
    1. mpalomar

      The site required privacy violation so I didn’t read, yet I had hoped that perhaps they meant Navy Seals.

      Reply
    2. Geo

      They kind of already sound like a one-piped bagpipe. Really cool though!

      On a related note: One of my cats loves music and has even added simple piano notes to a few songs of mine. A musician friend who creates digital instruments recorded her vocal sounds and turned them into a midi instrument that sounds amazing (used some effects to better harmonize it so it barely sounds like cat vocals anymore) and has used it on two tracks for a current project of his.

      Whenever I play the midi instrument using her vocals on my keyboard she comes strolling into the room to listen. She also loves petal steel slide guitar and seems to sing along to it often.

      Reply
    3. a different chris

      And tell me grey seal
      How does it feel
      To be so wise
      To see through eyes
      That only see what’s real
      Tell me grey seal

      Reply
    4. ambrit

      There is a 501st Kilted Trooper Brigade. For “real.”
      However, in the phenomenal world, during the Second Irak War, one of my brothers-in-law was posted to Kuwait as Shore Patrol. He decided to dress up as a Jedi Knight for Halloween. He was pulled into the Base Commanders office soon after he went out in public and forced to disrobe. “We don’t want to incite the natives by dressing like Crusaders” was what he was told. Nothing happened to him because he pointed out that nothing had been posted about the subject.

      Reply
  4. Tom Stone

    I’d bet that the Briarwood Presbyterian Church’s Police force would qualify for the 1033 program.
    They could get a free tank ( MRAP)!
    How cool would that be?

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      I can see an armaments race heating up between the sects in Alabama.
      The ‘Troubles’ come to Briarwood!

      Reply
      1. skippy

        South Park covered this in the Starving Marvin episode, Sally Fields cameo was “triumphant” [chortle].

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          I’m going to have to look that one up! Sounds fun!
          That Sally Fields cameo wasn’t the one about the film “Not Without My A–hole” was it?

          Reply
  5. dearieme

    Boris Johnson: police called to loud altercation at potential PM’s home Guardian

    See: our slow-motion coups are quicker than your slow-motion coups. What has happened to America?

    Reply
  6. John Beech

    This Republican voter might vote for Bernie if given a chance because the guy walks the walk. Especially because I’m rather tired of talk-talk. But the Democrat establishment has its finger on the scale and like last time, his candidacy will be taken out back and shot. Too bad since I don’t think he can damage our nation because of Congress. What he would do is be more than Carter, our national conscience (incidentally, Carter was the last time I voted Democrat).

    Anyway, I know this blog is in love with MMT, but I don’t lean that way. Since taxes are already paid by the wealthy, it will be interesting to see where more taxes will come from. NY is learning about the mobility of tax payers. Other states will also. So will the national government. Do ‘you’ know how much you have to make to be considered 10% . . . just $120k/yr puts you in this elite club of about 35M people.

    Me? I don’t have any answers but feel free to try and strip away money I earn by working my axx off to pay reparations, to fund free college, to do all the other things and let’s see how long it takes me to sell off the business and cal it quits. Let someone else fight the battle. I’m tired of the BS by politicians who have no scruples when it comes to raising their own pay. Politicians with their finger in the till (how else does the wife of a governor from one of the poorest states become a multimillionaire?). Plus the media who foams at the mouth on demand.

    Reply
    1. mle detroit

      Money circulates. Which point on a circle is the starting point?
      You, JB, may find it pretty to think government money starts at your taxes. On April 14, do you fire up your printing press?

      Reply
      1. Geo

        My guess is if they do “Go Galt” they’ll move to some place that has single payer health care and other services they won’t allow here. Unless they plan on moving to the same remote island their tax shelter located on. Seriously, where will they go that’s more “greedy rich person” friendly than here?

        Reply
        1. Monty

          The national government doesn’t need to worry about taxpayer mobility. The Exceptional Nation™ is the only one in the world that taxes it’s citizens regardless of which country they actually live in.

          Reply
          1. jrkrideau

            he Exceptional Nation™ is the only one in the world that taxes it’s citizens regardless of which country they actually live in.

            Amazing the number of Exceptionalsl who rapidly adopt new citizenship. I know one or two former US citizens who suddenly became Canadian after 30 years in Canada as a US citizen when the US changed tax laws a few years ago. They could just not pay the extra US demands without nasty hardship.

            The US Gov’t does not need to worry about taxpayer mobility. It needs to worry about losing the taxpayer completely.

            Reply
        2. flora

          According Hayek :

          “Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision. Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance, where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks, the case for the state helping to organise a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong. There are many points of detail where those wishing to preserve the competitive system and those wishing to supersede it by something different will disagree on the details of such schemes; and it is possible under the name of social insurance to introduce measures which tend to make competition more or less ineffective. But there is no incompatibility in principle between the state providing greater security in this way and the preservation of individual freedom.”

          – Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, 1944

          So, no phil. justified reason for neoliberals not to provide comprehensive universal healthcare by government. Reason by greed is another matter.

          Reply
        3. skippy

          Its not like their key prophets begged for bennies like health care or anything before making the move to some perch in academia or anything ….

          Reply
      2. jrs

        It’s a class war and unless one depends on wages to live, the burden of proof is on them to prove they are on the side of working people, because there are plenty of reasons to assume otherwise.

        Reply
    2. Chris Cosmos

      I dont thibk you are wrong. If we can all acknowledge that the main oroblem in our society is that our society is systemically corrupt at all levels because of highly perverse incentives then we can begin to improve our situation. We have no way of knowing whethwr the information we receive is accurate, whether our vote ounts, whether our tax money is spent wisely or whether when we gobto court that sonething we can describe as justice will be carried out. I’m increasingky skeptical of programs of piecemeal reforms can help or whether tgey just make things worse.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        “..our society is systemically corrupt at all levels because..”

        That’s not my impression at all: as I see it, there is little corruption at the bottom,
        and the curve goes near-vertical, and quickly, as one moves “up” the food chain.

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          Fine.

          “Pretty much nobody here supports reparations as they are usually discussed by the media”

          Is that better?

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            My people were slaughtered by Catholics and driven out of France in the 16th century so I assume The Vatican will be sending me a check.

            (The absurdity and stupidity of “reparations” in one simple real world example.)

            But reparations talks are perfect for the Dems. They help divide people further, they give ample opportunity for identarian purity oaths and condemnations, and they will *never* result in *any* concrete benefits for actual people. So, pretty much a microcosm of the entire Dem Program. Good times

            Reply
    3. GramSci

      Now, now, John Beech,It’s probably too late to be chiming in on this thread this late on a Saturday, but unless your name is something like Jamie Dimon or Jeff Bezos or Lockheed-Martin, I don’t think MMT is coming after *your* taxes.

      MMT says that the federal government (as opposed to New York State, with respect to which you make a good point) doesn’t need taxes to fund programs. (New York State can’t print its own dollars.) According to MMT, the federal government only needs to collect taxes so that the likes of the aforementioned greed-heads stop acting like know-it-alls and stop sending dick pics to us taxpayers. This would still be a wealthy country if they–not you–stopped draining the money out of it into their off-shore accounts, lining politicians pockets, and gaslighting the public with their dick-pic op-eds in the NYT and WaPo about how Social Secuity is going bankrupt and we should all buy Gold!! Gold!! Gold!! from their “Honest Bankers”.

      (True, the billionaires could dump their offshore dollars in an attempt to sink the dollar, but in that case we should send them to Gitmo.)

      Don’t believe what the NYT and WaPo say that MMT says. Why believe anything they say?? Drop by this site a little more often and get it authoritatively.And do support Bernie. Like the bumpersticker says, “Billionaires Can’t Buy Bernie!”

      Reply
  7. John

    The oligarchs have hated Social Security since Roosevelt introduced it. The Clinton Obama Catfood Democrats have been willing to cut it as part of their greater betrayal of New Deal programs to suck up to corporate America. Republican crazy (Lewinsky scandal and racial Obama hatred) has been the only thing preventing a grand 3rd way bargain/betrayal. The distracted proles are are clueless. The NYT article fails to mention the most obvious solution, lifting the caps that protect high income earners. Of course. And God forbid an MMT view of the situation.
    It was watching you tubes of the MMT teachin in spring 2010 countering the Bowles Simpson Peterson conference to “fix” Social Security that I finally groked MMT.

    Reply
    1. dearieme

      Half a dozen years ago I read an article on the financial problems of Social Security: it said that they were small beer. The big worries, said the author, were Medicare and Medicaid. May I take it that that is still true?

      The British equivalent of Social Security is National Insurance, which pays our Old Age Pensions, and was set up before the First German War. Everyone but a few dunderheads understands that the National Insurance Fund is a mere accounting fiction: the pensions will be paid irrespective of anything short of abolition of the state. It was best summed up by a Labour Party minister in the postwar government: “the secret of the National Insurance Fund is that there ain’t no fund”. Exactly!

      Reply
      1. flora

        As long as unchecked healthcare costs (medicines, procedures, hospital stays) keep rising with no caps and no justification beyond whatever-we-can-charge*, then yes, Medicare and Medicaid are in financial danger … just like everyone else in the US.

        *compare US prices for medicines to the cost for medicines in Canada, for example.

        Reply
      2. skippy

        Extracting rents off a public good which at the end of the day adds risk to the business sector by diminishing capacity of labor to function … swoon …

        Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      1940 First monthly benefit check issued to Ida May Fuller for $22.54

      (Wiki)

      That’s 5 years after SS got going, a whole $22 in benefits.

      Reply
        1. Monty

          Better to let them in, then let them starve on the street?

          If they have been granted refugee status, the government is bound to comply with the international treaty it’s a signatory of. https://www.unhcr.org/1951-refugee-convention.html

          I have got a green card and i don’t qualify for any government checks. Just the opposite in fact. There is a big difference between a refugee, a citizen and a plain old immigrant.

          https://www.unrefugees.org/refugee-facts/what-is-a-refugee/

          Reply
          1. Cal2

            “Better to let them in, then let them starve on the street? ”

            No, we let our fifth generation or more, citizen veterans and our homeless with no other country to go to, starve on the streets, or eat cat food at home, while we give money to the “qualified” poor who choose to come here and give the world’s young illegal aliens full medical coverage:

            https://www.nationalreview.com/news/california-to-provide-full-health-benefits-to-illegal-immigrants-under-age-26/

            Reply
            1. Oh

              Your view should be to favor assistance for the citizen veterans and homeless rather than show your distaste for assistance to the qualified poor while fighting the unjust wars that brought many of them the misery. So sad that many people like you forget that others are human beings too, legal or “illegal”.

              Reply
              1. Cal2

                Yup. One man, one vote.

                A couple Billion ‘qualified poor’ would like to move here and get S.S.I.
                That would do miracles for carbon emissions, housing prices, the environment, our infrastrcture and our tax burden.
                Feel free to write a check to the charity of your choice.

                Oh, and presidents get elected that way.

                Reply
                1. richard

                  you push this same line all the time
                  your warnings and calls to alarm are directed towards some of the least powerful people in the world
                  and at the same time that we have f*$#*&% camps
                  I get what you’re saying
                  but just stop punching down and take a deep breath and think about class

                  Reply
                  1. Cal2

                    At least I’m consistent.

                    I favor my fellow citizens, of all classes, races and incomes and want to see our taxes spent on those to whom we have an obligation, not on the military, nor other people that are not our responsibility.

                    Get out your checkbook.

                    Reply
                    1. Carey

                      ..especially considering the long-term carrying capacity of the North American
                      continent is maybe one third of its present
                      population, at best.

                2. marym

                  There seems to be some breathing room here before the “couple Billion” become an issue.
                  2012 survey

                  About 13% of the world’s adults — or more than 640 million people — say they would like to leave their country permanently. Roughly 150 million of them say they would like to move to the U.S.

                  Potential migrants who say they would like to move to the U.S. are most likely to come from populous countries such as China (22 million), Nigeria (15 million), India (10 million), Bangladesh (8 million), or Brazil (7 million). (Link)

                  2017 statistics

                  In fiscal 2017, 748,746 people received family-based U.S. lawful permanent residence.

                  Each year, about 50,000 people receive green cards through the U.S. diversity visa program, also known as the visa lottery. Since the program began in 1995, more than 1 million immigrants have received green cards through the lottery…Citizens of countries with the most legal immigrant arrivals in recent years – such as Mexico, Canada, China and India – are not eligible to apply. (Link)

                  Reply
    3. Gary

      Lifting the cap as the most obvious solution to the funding problem has been timidly mentioned for umpteen election cycles, then just fades away to general silence on all sides. Haven’t heard anything about it lately. They don’t want it, and we ain’t gonna get it.

      Reply
    4. Glen

      Where were the crazies worried about debt when 2008 happen? We were told to pay up all the banksters crooked frauds or the world was going to end. And it was WAY MORE than any projected debt in Social Security.

      I think I heard that this year, bankster bonuses alone were more than the bottom 60% of Americans made working.

      Reply
  8. Carolinian

    https://ejmagnier.com/2019/06/21/iran-and-trump-on-the-edge-of-the-abyss/

    Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.[…]

    Trump wants to win the war of appearances, but is facing an Iranian regime as unaccommodating to him as he has been to Iran. Trump seems oblivious of the fact that economic embargo is an act of war; by unilaterally blocking the export of Iranian oil and so crippling Iran’s economy, Trump has already declared war on Iran.

    Trump’s hero Reagan was more sensible and confined himself to invading Grenada rather than taking on a country of 80 million people that controls the flow of much of the world’s oil supply. But the Dems love sanctions as much as the Repubs and the willingness of the rest of the world to go along–so far–means they are just as much to blame should economic disaster hit.

    Reply
    1. Ford Prefect

      Its not clear to me that Trump understands that international relations is different from negotiating with a city council over the architecture of a golf club.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Well, like I say, Obama and the Congress adopted the same bullying economic war approach toward Russia. What’s their excuse?

        Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        Its not clear to me that Trump understands that international relations is different from negotiating with a city council over the architecture of a golf club.

        His gambit is invariably sticking a gigantic old glory on a overly tall flagpole @ one of his golf courses, and then using it as a ruse to get what he wants from a city council that isn’t nearly as ‘patriotic’ as he.

        Would the Iranians back off if a 200 foot wide by 87 foot tall flag were flown from the USS Gerald Ford?

        Reply
  9. cgregory

    Trump played chicken. He hoped the Iranians would respond, giving him his Gulf of Tonkin. Bolton probably was behind it. We, of course, would have supported him had they attacked…

    Reply
  10. cgregory

    Trump was playing chicken, hoping Iran would respond and give him the Gulf of Tonkin moment we’d all rally behind.

    Reply
    1. Ignim Brites

      Maybe. Because the US does not really have any existential interests at stake in the Middle East, the whole of the “policy” and “tactics” is riven by personal ambitions and animi as well as unterhered ideological commitments. Because nothing really is at stake, everything can be in play no matter how tenuous the connection to any national interest. Trump probably gets this. I wouldn’t doubt that his tactics are as much aimed at neutralizing the neocons as at neutralizing the mullahs. In this respect, look forward to tensions being ratcheted up next week prior to the Demo debates, so that the candidates are goaded, actually herded, into increasingly anti-war postures. Demos might think they are being trapped into classic “weak on foreign policy” positions, but actually they will be providing cover for Trump’s execution of the next phase of US retreat initiated by the 2008 presidential campaign and election.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        I have no doubt that our DImRat sunshine patriots would rally behind the war cry. The exception would be Tulsi Gabbard. After all, these people are the ones who voted for the Patriot Act and its renewal with even more stringent (faschist) provisions.

        Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Of course, Sanders ” is not a Democrat” . . . . as leading Catfood Democrat Clinton reminded us from time to time.

            Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Before the Patriot Act vote, milspec-quality anthrax powder was mailed to the offices of Leadership Democratic Senators and other places. I think this was a message that they might be quietly assassinated if they did not see to it that the Patriot Act got passed.

          A message from “whom” . . . ? Why . . . from “whomever” granted and provided access to milspec-quality anthrax for unknown operatives to send in the mail. That’s “whom”.

          Reply
  11. Chris Cosmos

    I’m old enough to have marched for Civil Rights in the 60s but I thoroughly oppose reparations for a number of reasons. First, slavery happened too long ago and you’d have to gauge everyone’s percentage of “slave blood” to it right. Who would get reparations? Susan Rice and other successful part slave blood people.

    The idea is ludicrous. Even if it is well-meaning, which I think it is, what it will do is permanently divide the country and inspire rebellion. Yes, slavery was a horrible thing but where do you stop? Chinese immigrants were treated brutally (check it out sometime) in the West, worse that the Japanese. Native people were and treated even worse and endured deliberately genocidal policies from the US government–what about them? What about Mexican immigrants being hounded and mistreated in the Southwest? What about the Irish, the Catholics and Jews in the South and we can go on to smaller groups.

    Oppression against black people is not as bad now but endures. Providing special treatment because you have X percentage of African blood is going to set back the left a century and takes identity politics to new heights. Coates and others in the black community want a sort of cultural re-segregation as I saw on campuses back in the 60s when “black power” was the thing and cooperation with anyone white (including many Jews who gave years of their lives to the struggle in the South) was out of the question and was, in my view, one of the reasons the alliance of the struggle for black liberation, economic justice, and the anti-war movement went nowhere. Coates reminds me a lot of the Jewish use of the Holocaust described by Norman Finkelstein.

    Coates position is about as anti-left wing as it is possible to get. Separation of tribes and so on. If Democrats use reparations as an issue they will lose the Presidency and both houses of Congress. We need to get beyond ethnicity and work towards making life good for all of us which is entirely possible if we stop our war-making and preparing for war-making. I know that the stain of slavery goes very deep better than most whites and I also know the stain of all kinds of trauma alive and thriving throughout our society. If it was up to me–besides some kind of UBI, I would launch an army of therapists (not psychiatrists who have become drug pushers) to help so many people in pain that I encounter almost every day.

    Reply
    1. rd

      There are enough post WW II racial injustices that just focusing on repairing those would take a generation. A key example was the FHA redlining of new subdivision construction coupled with construction of interstates that effectively physically segregated the cities, including in the North. “Whites Only” bathroom signs weren’t needed because there were no blacks to use the bathrooms.

      I would prefer to see them focus on proactive programs to reverse these types of subtle measures and allow for wealth and income to equalize. If this could be accomplished, the reparations question would largely become moot.

      Reply
      1. Geo

        Agreed. reparations without systemic change could actually be a negative. It would allow the white-dominated system to claim it “fixed” the injustice issue while the newfound “wealth” within the black community gets targeted by the same rigged system that has wiped out so much of the wealth black Americans have tried to acquire over the past few hundred years.

        Investment in poor communities, schools, local businesses, better nutrition and access to clean water, less predatory lending, less oppressive policing and judicial sentencing, integration of communities (not just gentrifying but actual integration), and other efforts to uplift those who have been left behind would do more to change the systemic reasons of generational problems than a quick payout.

        One only needs to look at the statistical wealth longevity of lottery winners to see how ineffective mere payouts are to wealth accumulation.

        Reply
    2. Monty

      It’s not that reparations aren’t warranted, it’s that the effects you need to repair are so pernicious and deeply ingrained in the current order, you would to start again from scratch to make it right.

      Reply
    3. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. are we gonna start arguing about Blood Quanta, again?
      what’s my 1/8 Cherokee blood worth? or my 1/2 Irish?
      (when i cut myself, i can’t tell the difference)

      better to just write everybody a check.
      actually raise all boats, by fiat.
      when the proverbial ordinary american no longer has to kill herself to get by, i figure many of these age old grievances will fade into the background.
      but since the people running the show benefit from the division that this kind of thing foments, just the opposite will happen.
      and the twitterverse will rage with the clashing of burning strawmen, and we’ll let yet another opportunity slip right by us.

      Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      This is the worst idea that I have ever heard this reparations business as it will totally fracture public opinion in America and make them forget their true enemy – the billionaire class. But let us suppose that the magic sparkly ponies come through and every black person in America gets a cheque for $300 in reparations. First off, every black person getting this cheque will have to take a DNA test to find out their “blackness” and some will be surprised if not shocked. But wait – there’s more.
      If you have student debts or owe the Federal, State or Local government any fines and the like, that $300 will come off that so many will get zip in the end. But here comes the worse. After that point in time, any black person that takes up the cause off black injustice or discrimination in housing, jobs, etc. which are the real issues, then a lot of people will say “I don’t see what the fuss is. Didn’t you get your Reparations Cheque?” and it will undercut the cause of true justice and equality.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        Yep. almost certainly the point rev….see john beech above… the oli’s want wealthy dems and republicans to unite, less wealthy dems and repubs need to be separated at any cost

        Reply
      2. marym

        Pretty much whenever people have “take[n] up the cause of black injustice or discrimination” a lot of people say “I don’t see what the fuss is” with the critique that black people already [name some legal or cultural change], or that it would be divisive, or that it doesn’t resolve some other form of injustice.

        Regardless of arguments for or against the justice and/or feasibility of reparations for slavery and systemic racism, in my opinion establishment politicians (for and against) are currently using the discussion as shamelessly, and as counter to the interests of the 90%, as any other form of identity politics.

        Reply
      3. Felix_47

        Depends how the reparations are structured. I would think something like the native american benefits might make sense. Free education and health care for example. If public policy is to eliminate racism it might make sense to offer a substantial 18 year tax credit to people that have an interracial baby. The term marriage market is not an empty one. If enough money is on the table racism and different races could be eliminated in a generation. Bottom line it depends how the reparations are structured. I would not throw out the reparations idea so fast.

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          “I would think something like the native american benefits might make sense. Free education and health care for example.”

          I’ve got a better idea: Why don’t we just give EVERYONE free education and health care?

          Giving it only to people of color would be a surefire way of deepening racial division. Better to just go full MMT and give it to everyone.

          “If public policy is to eliminate racism it might make sense to offer a substantial 18 year tax credit to people that have an interracial baby. The term marriage market is not an empty one. If enough money is on the table racism and different races could be eliminated in a generation.”

          I don’t even words at this. This is like stuff right wingers frivolously accuse leftists of supporting.

          Reply
        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          agree the best solution is to honor the need for a grotesque wrong to be acknowledged but the actual details should “lift all boats” so as not to be divisive. Since Blacks have been systemically disadvantaged, they will be overrepresented in the population to be helped in any case. still, the acknowledgement of the injustice particular to them and them only is important.

          and agree with marym, sadly the issue is currently not being addressed in good faith

          Reply
    5. martell

      To his credit, Coates does bring up the Indian cases right at the start of the interview. This is to his credit because principles of retributive justice should hold generally. I’m not sure, though, that he’s thought through the implications of applying the principles he appears to espouse to those cases. What if it turned out that giving back that which was stolen required that the US, a political community consisting of hundreds of millions of people, cede the vast majority of its territory to sovereign native American nations, which I believe consist of a few million people? Are retributive principles plausible when they have such implications? If the answer is no, then we should reject the principles. If the answer is yes, then so much the worse for retributive justice. More precisely, we’d have to admit that a state is not always obliged to be just, since doing justice would sometimes be tantamount to destroying the community on behalf of which the state is supposed to act. This, in fact, is not a new idea. Rather, it fits into the rationale for the practice of amnesty, a practice dating back to at least the 5th century BC. Aristotle must have had something along these lines in mind when he noted that legislators sometimes, rightly, favor solidarity over justice.

      Considerations of state are especially important in this case because the US and its states are the most plausible agents from whom reparations might be demanded. States routinely assume responsibility for both previous acts of state and at least some acts of citizens, even though the acts in question occurred long ago. I believe that this was the reasoning at work in the cases of reparations for victims of WWII internment in the US as well as reparations paid by the West German state to victims of the Holocaust. So, if Coates and others argued that the US is responsible for wrongs done to black Americans, they would at least have identified a plausible responsible agent. Unfortunately, Coates isn’t very clear about who is to be held to account, about who is to pay back what’s owed. Sometimes, for instance, he says that reparations will serve to banish “white guilt,” thus suggesting that white Americans as such are to blame. In my view, the best that can be said about that proposition is that it is quaint. It is quaint to think that racially defined groups are like families were once thought to be: a wrong done by any member is a wrong done by all, so that, where retribution is concerned, they all have it coming.

      Reply
    6. Summer

      “First, slavery happened too long ago and you’d have to gauge everyone’s percentage of “slave blood” to it right. Who would get reparations? Susan Rice and other successful part slave blood people…”

      Really think about what you said there and you could see how it would have the potential to rip apart notions of black unity.

      And it’s not something the proponents of reparations have discussed openly. It boggles my mind that there hasn’t been a organization that has had this reparations conversation and planning with black people all over the country for a number of years before taking it to Congress.

      Reply
    7. Oh

      This issue was probably raised by Coates et al to help the DimRat establishment shut the door to Bernie and DSA.

      Reply
        1. Svante

          Every election cycle, massa’s media tries to get decent candidates to alienate reactionaries. So, now we’ll see a parade of “divisive” damned if you do, damned if you don’t issues; betcha Bernie will be on Steven Colbert, finally? So, Senator Whats yourname, you think “Free Stuff” should be DNC’s platform & Joe Stalin added to Mt Rushmore?

          https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/22/stee-j22.html

          https://earther.gizmodo.com/satellites-show-how-major-reservoirs-are-drying-up-arou-1825188190

          Reply
      1. flora

        You could be right. While the media has been focused on the reparations talk in congress the media has ignored :

        Eight pieces of draft legislation were being vetted to address critical gaps in protecting U.S. investors from financial fraud and make sure wrongdoers paid for their crimes.
        Despite the critical nature of the legislation to be discussed at this hearing, it received a news blackout from corporate business media, with the exception of a report that appeared in advance of the hearing by Francine McKenna of the Dow Jones news outlet, MarketWatch.

        What Sotomayor and her fellow Justices had done was to effectively allow financial fraudsters to loot the public for decades and then keep all the yachts and mansions they had acquired during all periods but the last five years.

        http://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/06/a-critical-house-hearing-gets-a-news-blackout-this-week/

        Reply
  12. Aron Blue

    The bookie advice is dead on. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I bet on him. Won 20 bucks. My liberal friends were PO’d!!!

    Reply
      1. Monty

        Have you spent much time mingling with ordinary Americans? There is a rather large subset who love him, and strongly approve of each and every thing he does. Especially true with his policies regarding immigrants and the poors. You only really need 30% of the electorate to win, and I would think that at least 25% of Americans fall within in this subset.

        Reply
        1. Knative

          I think Hillary would have won the election if she used a strategy to appeal to moderate Republicans. The others, besides Biden and the interchangeable centrist white guys, can read the room better than her.

          Reply
          1. Pat

            Her entire general campaign was about appealing to moderate Republicans. At least as far as the Beltway and Mainstream media define them.

            The problem is there are very few Beltway and mainstream media approved politicians who appeal to anyone outside their narrow parameters of “moderate” and “centrist”. Largely because those self same approved politicians serve a very narrow group of donors and no one else.

            Trump won over every “moderate” Republican primary contender. That includes ones who could supposedly read the room. No. Trump read the room.

            Once again the stakeholders in our current political system are going to set up an election where the crazy used car salesman flim flam guy is going to win because the option has little or no appeal and a record of selling out the very people they need to vote for them in order to win.

            Reply
            1. Cal2

              You forget that hardcore financial Democrats like me might see Trump as the best thing to happen to the ‘democratic Party, which would rather lose to Trump, than win with Bernie (again)?

              If a mediocrity like Status Quo Joe is nominated, Trump wins again and the corporate ‘democrats are finished. Thus, Trump winning would be the best reason, best opportunity and best rationale to completely rebuild the Democratic Party.

              Barring that, a mass exodus to the Republicans, turning them into what the Democrats used to be, might make more sense.

              Reply
              1. Pat

                Oh, I do think there are more than a few people who voted Trump to stick it to the Democratic Party, and will consider it again. I, however have been in the same room with the asshat and no, I cannot vote for him under any circumstances. It will have to be third party again (and btw that includes Obama’s second election.) I’m a lifelong Democratic that has watched my party morph into something that makes Nixon look almost decent by comparison (the illegal actions that led to his resignation finally being matched by the actions in the last Presidential election – both in regards to the primary AND the bogus Russia crap). I just don’t think that is what put Trump over the top and it won’t be what does it again. I do think if you expand it to ‘screw them all’, not just the Democrats you have it.

                However one difference, while there is almost a nihilistic appeal of he will probably screw me ‘again’ but there is no doubt Joe (or Ted or Jeb or Marco or Beto or…) will pick the gold out of the teeth of the dead, coupled with the hope that Trump might screw up all the usual winners as well to a lot of his support (outside of the wealthy Republican regulars). I’m not sure how many also have your idea that there is going to be something to rebuild, country, either party or anything else.

                Reply
                1. Cal2

                  Well said. You penultimate sentence is a little confusing though.

                  Prevention of nuclear war is The most important issues, thus foreign policy. The way the Duopoly Demopublican or Republicrat Party has been going since Carter is pretty much the same, thus requiring a change.
                  Bernie + Tulsi would be, IMHO, the best choice to beat Trump and to facilitate peace.

                  IF Biden won, would he change our foreign policy? The clown voted for Iraq, something like 3 times.

                  In spite of his asshattedness,
                  Trump has not started one new war
                  ,
                  unlike Reagan, BushSr, Clinton, Shrub or Peace Prize Obama.

                  He’s verbalized the danger of nuclear war, unlike any of the Democrats that I can think of. There are no great choices in presidential politics, only issues that equal survival.

                  Reply
      2. mac na michomhairle

        Obama was mostly even in polls with his Republican opponent until the first notes of the Recession started sounding.

        Trump can be defeated by any Democrat except Biden, if voting is confined to the 10% and to the Acela Corridor. No Democrat besides Sanders will have even a chance, if the rest of the country gets to vote. Rather than listening to the media, one should go talk to working people outside. Many many people are utterly sick of well-off smirking fools who know nothing about the realities of contemporary American life, lecturing them; and they do not trust the elites anymore.

        Reply
        1. Geo

          Well said!

          I know plenty of Republicans who don’t “like” Trump but like his tax cuts, his judicial appointments, and like his jabs at Pelosi, Waters, and other Dems they hate.

          Back in 2016 the only people I knew who were excited about Clinton were well-off professionals in Manhattan/Brooklyn and Santa Monica. I started taking photos of cars with election stickers and “Hillary ‘16” bumperstickers were almost always on luxury SUV’s whereas Trump stickers were more likely in big trucks and Bernie ones on old sedans and hatchbacks.

          So far in this election the only person I’ve met who is actually excited about Biden also owns a mini-mansion in the Hamptons and home in Malibu. Not exactly the mythical “lunchbox Joe” the media likes to equate Biden with appealing to.

          Reply
          1. Lepton1

            And yet Hillary won the popular vote by over 3 million votes.

            Bernie lost California by a lot. He was not popular here. My impression is that he was not considered serious as a manager. We have four or five cities here with larger populations than does Vermont.

            In 2018, a non-presidential election year, the Democrats won by a huge margin. 2020 will be favorable to the Democrats. Polling won’t be helpful till about February. My guess is that Senator Warren will be the nominee.

            Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “City of Secrets: Estimated 10,000 people in DC are spies”

    Well this is a non-story. Spies in Washington? In other news the grass is green and the sky is blue. Consider this – about a decade ago the Washington Post estimated that there were 13,700 registered lobbyists in that city. And that was just the registered ones who were representing such groups as Big Pharma, Big Oil, the NRA, Silicon Valley, Boeing, etc. So I ask you. Who has caused more damage to the United States. Those 10,000 spies or all those lobbyists changing and warping the laws of the US to favour the interests of their clients at the expense of the American people?

    Reply
    1. rowlf

      How many lobbyists should be required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and haven’t?

      (yeah yeah, laws are for little people. I’m waiting for some poor freier to be charged with “Crimes Above Their Station”)

      Reply
      1. Geo

        Considering many lobbyists work for multinational corps (companies with no loyalty to borders) it should be fair to equate their actions with those who promote interests counter to the interests of the American people.

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          It makes one wonder why the Iranians don’t push a PR campaign against the US that “Your government doesn’t represent you anymore”… Show the Russians how to do an Information Operation. Lord knows there’s a lot of kindling in the American landscape.

          Reply
  14. Pelham

    Re Social Security: I’ve been subjected for decades to these threats from on high about snatching away Social Security and I’m fed up.

    The arcane arguments about funding and cuts and the finger-pointing lectures deserve a slap-in-the-face response. And that would begin with simply pointing out that the US has its own currency and can simply print the money needed to not only make SS secure but to also double or triple the payouts. No problem.

    As things stand, we’re told we can’t even count on the paltry checks these morons see fit to ladle out to people who’ve put in four decades of mostly poorly compensated, contingent work in jobs where they’ve had virtually no rights.

    On top of that, we have to endure being lectured individually about not saving enough toward retirement. Apparently this is based on zero understanding of the economy. For instance, Deutsche Bank came out with a study a few years ago that basically said Americans were saving too much. The average household savings rate was just a smidge over 5% of income. A bit more than that, the study said, and the US economy would probably tip back into severe recession.

    Keep that figure in mind. Now, what are we told from Day 1 when we launch our careers? Save AT LEAST 15% of your income toward retirement. And that’s not counting separate savings for a rainy day or college for the kids. What would have happened to our vaunted economy if households had actually followed that advice?

    Moreover, if we do save, we’re all supposed to face the grisly, gruesome task of calculating when we’re going to die so we don’t run out of money. What are we supposed to do if we figure wrong? Save one bullet in the revolver for that eventuality?

    Reply
    1. Oh

      The same a**holes who keep telling us that SS will run out of money are the ones chomping at the bit to increase “defense” spending, have us participate in illegal wars and bail out the banksters. We need to throw all these crooks out.

      Reply
  15. Carey

    ‘Sanders calls for Justice Department to criminally enforce antitrust laws against Teva and other generic drug companies’:

    “..The letter expresses deep concern about the Justice Department’s failure to enforce federal antitrust laws against generic drug companies. Only one company, Heritage, has been held to account for corporate criminal activity. And, that company was able to settle the case against it with a mere $225,000 criminal penalty–hardly enough to deter future bad conduct..”

    https://justcareusa.org/sanders-calls-for-justice-department-to-criminally-enforce-antitrust-laws-against-teva-and-other-generic-drug-companies/

    Reply
    1. flora

      Trusts and monopolies are anti-competitive, anti-open market. How can ‘the market’ and ‘market competition’ keep prices low when monopolies and cartels prevent competition and real market forces?

      The monopolies and the cartels need to be broken up and price caps to prevent pricre gouging. As it is now, we have a ‘pricing dictatorship’ by the monopolies, not competitive market pricing.

      Reply
      1. flora

        adding: FDR, in a 1932 campaign speech, said government should check oligarchy and ” secure the chance to work and the safety of savings to men and women, rather than the safety of exploitation to the exploiter.”

        The current Dem estab seems bent on securing the safety of exploitation to the exploiter.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Very strange how nobody really talks about FDR days. Very strange that. You would think that even Sanders could draw a straight line between what he is working towards and what FDR was talking about.

          Reply
      1. curlydan

        In fact, the federal government already has billions of $s earning interest for the Lakota tribes as compensation for stealing the Black Hills. But the tribal nations refuse the money. They want the land back, not the money.

        Reply
        1. Ignim Brites

          Once people are “woke” (soon and very soon) to the sensibilty of secession, we can in fact begin to think about restoring true sovereignty to Native American tribes over some lands.

          Reply
      2. Svante

        Well, we ain’t quite finished with it, just yet? Once we set off a super volcano, fracking Yellowstone, trigger the subduction zone earthquake or blow up West Virginia & Ohio with ethane. Didn’t Tecumseh foretell the white devils rerouting the Missithweepi beneath New Madrid or extinguishing the sun? Shit, we ain’t even started destroying their land? The planet?

        https://truthout.org/articles/the-white-mans-biden/

        https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/06/affordable-housing-minimum-wage-rent-apartment-house-rental/592024/

        Reply
    1. Plenue

      Natives aren’t a significant voting block. They also don’t have enough pop culture or media prescence to make them useful for berating white people.

      Reply
    2. Massinissa

      “Everybody strangely silent on the subject of reparations for Native Americans.”

      Not actually true: Elizabeth Warren suggested we should also think about reparations for Native Americans a few months ago, you can find articles about it through google.

      Reply
    1. polecat

      I’m waiting with baited breath as to what Sir Richard B. has to say on the matter ..

      … though it’d be rather hard to hear the reply from the din of all those crickets …

      Reply
  16. Robert Valiant

    Since taxes are already paid by the wealthy, it will be interesting to see where more taxes will come from.

    We should really change the laws so that upon obtaining a certain high level of wealth, individuals no longer pay any taxes at all – to reward success, and whatnot. Kind of what we have now, but formalized into law.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Only if said wealthy have to pay directly for any government provided service they receive from a surcharge on all food for the FDA to an added air traffic controller fee for every plane ticket and the fire and police surcharge… sort of like every sales tax and fee that gets put on that disproportionately hits the poor and under 10%er that no one counts as taxes only on steroids for those poor over taxed wealthy folk.

      Reply
      1. Efmo

        And for all the military excursions around the world to enforce adherence to American (mostly, though not all) corporations’ requirements for “growth” and profits.

        Reply
    2. Todde

      Meanwhile, in the realnworld, the stock market is as high as its ever been, with money from wealthy people.

      Seems like we havent taxed the wealthy enough.

      We will worry about capital flight when we see indications that it is happening.

      Not sooner.

      Reply
  17. doug

    “You don’t see [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi out there stumping for this,” she said. “I think it’s because she knows while there is some incremental gain in access, the cost will be dramatic, and that could lead to a decrease in access over time, potentially.”
    From the medicare for all article….

    SO, UP is DOWN. MORE access will lead to a DECREASE in access…
    straight from the brookings institute mouth..

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      and from the maplight:
      this: ““Americans don’t generally want to destroy the private health care system,” Axelrod said. “They want to strengthen it. And they think maybe they can augment it. They want options, and they mostly want to bring down costs.” ”

      I, for one, would like a source for that widespread love for private health insurance companies.
      was there a poll?
      did they ask poor people?
      or just random folks in the hall outside his office?
      only people i know who have insurance are my brother and my dad.
      the latter is pretty much set….the former feels compelled to stay at the soul killing job he hates because of the bennies.
      everyone else i know either has no healthcare, or some kind of government thing—be it the VA/Tricare, Medicare or Medicaid.
      anecdotally, most of the people i talked to in and around the hospital had either medicaid or nothing.
      prolly 80%.

      Reply
      1. rowlf

        I always enjoyed the reductio ad absurdum of using the health insurance model in other transactions.

        Imagine the model when at the grocery store? (the produce is out of network?) Buying fuel at a gas station? Or get really silly and use the model for paying taxes?

        Reply
    2. flora

      Or maybe Pelosi’s economic argument is about something else.

      “It’s about politics and ideology: In a country that treasures the marketplace, how much of those market forces do we want to tame when trying to cure the sick? And in the cradle of democracy, or swampland, known as Washington, how much taming can we do when the healthcare industry spends four times as much on lobbying as the number two Beltway spender, the much-feared military-industrial complex? “ (my emphasis)
      -Steven Brill , “America’s Bitter Pill:”

      Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “US gasoline prices rise after blasts at Philadelphia refinery”

    John Bolton claims that Iranian drones are to blame. Must attack Iran now or be seen as weak.

    Reply
  19. Craig H.

    > Read THIS Before Cheering the Next War

    Excellent list. You maybe could make a much shorter list of the wars where inane propaganda to incite the masses was not.

    The Boston Tea Party was a false flag operation and I think they taught me that one in 3rd grade. Certainly by 5th. I don’t have all my school work from back then! :)

    Reply
    1. John k

      Not clear if interest cuts would hold off recession if we go to full scale trade ware. In this case trump loses 2020 to anybody. Unless we are also in a good sized hot war with somebody, in which case msm rallies around the cic.

      Reply
  20. Rod

    Depending on who’s doing the counting, the United States has attempted to overthrow foreign governments roughly 72 times since World War II. The script is often the same, and the Iran drama is following it. Go back through history and you’ll often see these elements:

    Matt Taibbi is really good–has a gift– at simplifying or getting right to the core of stuff.
    This how the sausage gets made.
    Year after year–President after President–as though the “peoples choice” matters not.
    It illuminates my real concern.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Interestingly, that list of 72 is only for the Cold War Years. So it doesn’t include the GWOT years or most of the Clinton years. We’ve got to be at about 80 by now.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Yes, Central America (3) Haiti(2), Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela, and there must be others. Rather impressive. Counting 1947 as the start of the Cold War this is more than an attempt a year.

        Counting before the Cold War we have Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Dominican Republican, the Kingdom of Hawaii, the Philippines, Russia, Germany, and Japan. Also, of the countries had more than one and I almost certainly missed some countries.

        None of these include the many countries like Iroquois Confederacy, the Cherokee, or the Choctaw, among others which each could be considered some form of a modern nation-state before we almost exterminated them. Not to mention all the other tribes that are mostly extinct.

        The United States loves it some overthrowing, conquering, and exterminating.

        Reply
  21. Wukchumni

    Mnuchin Says Guidelines Move Crypto Firms From ‘Dark Shadows’ Bloomberg
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Oh goodie goodie, i’m proud to announce the launch of Barnabas Collins Crypt-o-Cash, only usable after dusk.

    Reply
    1. newcatty

      This Crypto firm will be smirking used by the vampires and werewolves , that hide in plain sight in the world , wherever there’s bloodsucking and human beings are preyed upon as the greedy and corrupt use the poor and defenseless to feed their lust.

      Reply
    1. ewmayer

      Actually, both the $1 billion and the C-suite bonuses will be paid by ratepayers, since I don’t recall seeing anything to the effect of “PG&E will claw back $1 billion in executive bonuses paid out between years __ and __ in order to fund the damage-claim payouts.” Head, they win, tails we lose!

      Reply
  22. TBone

    Maybe, since the ME is suffering climate consequences & knows how much worse it will be for them, the purported desire of disrupting the oil supply chain will kick-start or force guzzling importers to take GND mobilization & immediate climate action seriously. A day dream I know, but…wouldn’t world war over oil achieve that outcome as well as rising prices force guzzlers to seek alternative energy sources sooner?

    Reply
  23. Geof

    From the Guardian article about moderat Democrat opposition to Sanders:

    “He has made it his mission to either get the nomination or to remake the party in his image as a democratic socialist . . . That is an existential threat to the future of the Democratic party for the next generation.”

    Moderates’ theory on how to win . . . is to appeal to the “woke and the still waking”. The best candidate . . . is someone who can mobilize a Democratic base that is increasingly young, diverse and liberal, while still appealing to independents, moderate Republicans and working-class voters

    Emphasis mine. They want to use identity politics against progressive economics.

    As a strategy for winning, it’s terrible. People are open to changing an obviously broken economic system. They’re not so keen politically correct self-shaming. Trump’s success makes this obvious. The real potential majority is exactly the opposite: economically progressive, but not socially radical.

    As a strategy for preventing that young diverse liberal base from mobilizing around bread and butter issues, and for polarizng their political opponents against progressive economics, it’s excellent. (I’ve seen a pattern of people alienated by identity politics walking into the arms of fundamentalist capitalist economics.) Heads we win, tails you lose.

    Reply
    1. Inode_buddha

      The fundamental flaw in all this is that the economy applies to *everyone* regardless of identity. In other words, we all share the same issues.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Yes, Inode_buddha. When liberty and justice, is truly for “everyone”, then the division between people will not be a useful wedge to divide and conquer the people in the country. Identity politics only works because of it being relentlessly propagated by both sides of the coin.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          Identity politics only works because of it being relentlessly propagated by both sides of the coin.

          Far too many people refuse to see this as the harm done to them outweighs any harm to others; their concerns and needs, however mild, are more important than the concerns and needs of others, however great.

          To some helping everyone in having all their needs met merely means that their grievances are being ignored.

          Reply
  24. Carey

    ‘The Guardian’s direct collusion with media censorship by secret services exposed’:

    “..Under the direction of these military intelligence handlers, the Guardian played a role in bringing other newspapers internationally to heel. The minutes note, “because of an agreement between The Guardian and allied publications overseas to coordinate their respective disclosures of Snowden material, advice given to the Guardian has been passed on to the New York Times and others, helping guide the disclosures of these outlets.”..”

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/22/guar-j22.html

    Reply
      1. JBird4049

        I thought that the “news media was supposed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. They used to do this occasionally. What a silly man I am.

        Reply
  25. Jeff W

    That Medium artlcle “Debunking Misconceptions around Hong Kong’s Extradition law Controversy” is maddenly vague.

    There are other ways to extradite the alleged criminal that do not involve an amendment [to Hong Kong’s Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and its Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance]. In fact, Taiwan has requested three times for a meeting to discuss a one-off arrangement to extradite Chan, but there were no replies from the Hong Kong government.

    What are the other ways? What’s the legal authority for a “one-off arrangement”? What’s the precedent, if any?

    Reply
  26. barrisj

    Heads-up for tomorrow’s links: Seattle Times out with more stellar Boeing/MAX reporting, this on the entire history of the infamous MCAS development:

    The inside story of MCAS: How Boeing’s 737 MAX system gained power and lost safeguards

    Early in the development of the 737 MAX, engineers gathered at Boeing’s transonic wind tunnel in Seattle to test the jet’s aerodynamics using a scale model with a wingspan comparable to that of an eagle.

    The testing in 2012, with air flow approaching the speed of sound, allowed engineers to analyze how the airplane’s aerodynamics would handle a range of extreme maneuvers. When the data came back, according to an engineer involved in the testing, it was clear there was an issue to address.

    Engineers observed a tendency for the plane’s nose to pitch upward during a specific extreme maneuver. After other efforts to fix the problem failed, the solution they arrived at was a piece of software — the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) — that would move a powerful control surface at the tail to push the airplane’s nose down.
    [more…]

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/times-watchdog/the-inside-story-of-mcas-how-boeings-737-max-system-gained-power-and-lost-safeguards/

    As usual, well-sourced, with graphics and documentation…full marks, yet again.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Thanks for that link. Notable the recurrence of “the engineers” did this, and “the FAA”
      did that: at whose behest? Certainly not The Suits…

      It’s a dark time.

      Reply

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