Links 8/10/19

Yves here. I am getting some popups. This may be happening to you. Apologies if so. This is not supposed to happen. I have told our ad service to get rid of them and I hope this will be remedied pronto.

New research shows that elephants and other animals can suffer from PTSD CBC

Mysterious, Ancient Radio Signals Keep Pelting Earth. Astronomers Designed an AI to Hunt Them Down. LiveScience

Increasingly Frequent Marine Heatwaves Can Kill Coral Almost Instantly, Study Finds BBC

Dark Matter May Predate the Big Bang, New Math Suggests Science Daily

The Gulf Stream is slowing down. That could mean rising seas and a hotter Florida PhysOrg (David L)

In Russia’s Wildfires, Climate Change Is to Blame Bloomberg (UserFriendly)

Climate change is making it more dangerous to eat certain fish Grist

No One Understands Lyme Disease Bloomberg


Trump Says It’s ‘Fine’ If September China Talks Are Canceled Bloomberg

Peter Navarro says US will take strong action against China if it devalues yuan to ‘neutralize tariffs’ CNBC

US hits back at China for targeting diplomat in Hong Kong Guardian

North Korea

North Korea tests ‘short-range ballistic missiles’ BBC

Donald Trump gets ‘beautiful’ letter from North Korea’s Kim Jong Un DW. Two can gaslight.


Kashmir: Moscow for resolving issue in accordance with Shimla, Lahore pacts The Hindu (J-LS)

‘Double standard’: A hard right American political conference spreads its wings in Sydney Sydney Morning Herald. Kevin W: “The real story is in the names of the people attending – a real nest of vipers. Alternate article on this story at


UK economy contracts for first time since 2012 amid Brexit worries France 24

No 10 cancels staff leave, hinting at likelihood of snap election Guardian

Simultaneous wind farm and gas-fired power station failures are blamed for one of Britain’s worst power cuts in years as millions are hit by blackouts – with homes, airports, trains and even traffic lights going down Daily Mail

Russia Admits Mysterious Missile Engine Explosion Involved A Nuclear ‘Isotope Power Source’ The Drive

Italy’s Matteo Salvini calls for fresh elections as coalition fractures Guardian (UserFriendly)


U.S. Sanctions Turn Iran’s Oil Industry Into Spy vs. Spy New York Times (Kevin W)

Withdrawal of US troops in Syria strengthened ISIS resurgence, DOD watchdog says MSN (resilc)

Turkey to annex northern Syria with US blessing Asia Times (Kevin W)

California School District Agrees to Desegregate After State Investigation New York Times (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Oh my God: If you let anyone other than Apple replace your recent iPhone’s battery, expect to be nagged by iOS The Register (Kevin W). Apple probably thinks they are being super nice by refraining from bricking your phone.

Trump Transition

Roseau feels the strain as Minnesota-Canada border hassles take a toll MPR News. Chuck L: “Collateral damage”

I Can No Longer Justify Being a Part of Trump’s ‘Complacent State.’ So I’m Resigning. Washington Post (furzy)

The FBI Told Congress Domestic Terror Investigations Led to 90 Recent Arrests. It Wouldn’t Show Us Records of Even One. ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Most Latinos Now Say It’s Gotten Worse For Them In The U.S. FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

Trump administration authorizes ‘cyanide bombs’ to kill wild animals Guardian (furzy) :-(

DNC Chair’s Latest Resolution Could Torpedo Climate Debate Push, Activists Fear HuffPost (UserFriendly)

Republicans are becoming economic populists again. That’s a good thing Guardian (UserFriendly)


In Shift From 2016, Bernie Sanders Shares More Personal Tales Wall Street Journal (UserFriendly)

Biden in Iowa Says ‘Poor Kids’ Are Just as Smart as ‘White Kids’ Bloomberg

Tulsi Gabbard on Syria, Iraq, Kamala Harris and the 2020 Primary – Rolling Stone (furzy)

AOC’s voting bloc looks to its next targets in New York Politico (UserFriendly)

Court Upholds North Dakota Law Stripping Voting Rights From Native Americans TruthOut (furzy)


Trump flirts with action on gun control The Hill. Gaslighting.

President Bill Clinton: Reinstate Assault Weapons Ban Now Time. UserFriendly: “Look who wants to have one tiny bit of his legacy not be in tatters.”

L’affaire Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein documents show how girls were lured into his life Miami Herald (Chuck L). Ugh.

Epstein, or How Your News is Cooked Ilargi

CEOs Who Cheat In Bedroom Will Cheat In Boardroom, Study Shows Bloomberg. Erm, not quite. Ashley Madison people were actively looking to cheat and find fellow purposeful cheaters. Some “cheaters” have a single indiscretions or fall into an affair (get attracted to someone when their marriage is going through a bad phase), so it’s not clear to what degree these finding apply to less purposeful cheaters. So worth further study.

Our Fabulously Free Press

Trump is reportedly planning an attempt to regulate Facebook and Twitter over alleged political bias Business Insider (Kevin W)

Revealed: how Monsanto’s ‘intelligence center’ targeted journalists and activists Guardian (furzy)

‘The Family’: Netflix Series Investigates America’s Secret Theocracy Rolling Stone (furzy)

Malaysia Indicts 17 of the “Untouchables” at Goldman Sachs Wall Street on Parade (UserFriendly)

How the Supreme Court Is Rebranding Corruption Pro-Market

‘Global Economy is Probably in Recession’ Reuters

Class Warfare

The Descent Into Cruelty Current Affairs (UserFriendly). Filed here because IMHO this sort of conduct can be rationalized by the perps and the people who gave the orders by virtue of seeing the people as lesser.

Elderly couple found dead in murder-suicide left notes that they couldn’t pay high medical bills Daily Mail (J-LS)

Antidote du jour. Margarita: “This little guy performed almost an instantaneous costume change – as soon as he spotted me admiring him – and probably thought “‘let’s see if you can do this!'”

And a bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Henry Moon Pie

    “seeing the people as lesser”

    On the same theme, I submit for review of the NC readership a “cute” little cartoon called “Three-Eyed Billy” from Dailykos’s cartoonist. Note the patch on the t-shirt, bare feet and the musical background. It’s pretty clear who is being seen as lesser. No surprise. The site owner infamously celebrated premature deaths among these “deplorables” because they voted wrong, or at least he claimed they did.

    The not-too-distant ancestors of “Three-Eyed Billy” were among the core members of the New Deal coalition through the UMW and other labor organizations, but they’re just not woke enough to be worthy of being considered human by the Dem elites of today, much less potential partners in a political revolution.

    1. JBird4049

      What gets me is the common refrain of “we were just following orders’ or “just enforcing the law” and “it’s following policy.” Just where have we heard this before?

      What really is upsetting is that in the historical case of just following orders, not following orders just might get you, and maybe your family, dead. Today, not following orders often just gets a shrug, or even a thank you, but some still find it better, no, easier to do evil.

      Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said what I am feeling better than I ever can:

      “Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an unuprooted small corner of evil.

      Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Peter Navarro says US will take strong action against China if it devalues yuan to ‘neutralize tariffs’ ”

    In further news, the Pentagon has announced that if Iranian troops wear body-armour in firefights with US troops in case war breaks out, that they will take strong action against them.

    And my god – that bird bouncing that golf ball was just hilarious.

    1. gsinbe

      Lots of birds (species) use a hard substrate to break open their food – snails, for example. My guess is that the bird thought those golf balls were yummy eggs that would splatter open when he/she smacked them on the concrete. Probably pretty shocked and disappointed when they bounced…

        1. dcrane

          It’s not inconceivable to me that the bird is capable of fun, but the other explanation is also easy to believe.

        2. Mike

          It is easily conceivable to me that people would rather anthropomorphize bird behavior instead of understanding it.

  3. chris wardell

    The Republican senator Josh Hawley has accused his party of failing to protect Americans from capitalism. He’s right
    I’m skeptical of Republicans who decide to finally embrace what leftists have been proposing for decades. Especially if it’s Josh Hawley proposing it.
    I’ll start believing that the GOP (and the Dems too) are embracing the views of their constitutents the moment they decide to set term limits, support unions, and blast their corporate sponsors.

    1. Chris

      Do people still want term limits? I haven’t seen much discussion or read many articles about that topic in several years.

      I’m still torn on whether it would help anything. On the one hand, term limits would remove coprolites like Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell, Hoyer, etc. On the other hand, it would undoubtedly make the issues with the parties worse. Do you really want Team DNC to gain parliamentary authority? If our system goes to limited terms for office, then the parties will move to maintain and control “their” seats even more than they do now.

      1. Adam Eran

        Term limits have been tried in California’s State elections for a while now. Its origin was to get rid of Willie Brown (Kamala Harris’ one time boyfriend). Brown ran for mayor in San Francisco (and won), and the leadership of the senate and assembly is now completely at the mercy of (unelected) staff.

        That’s worked out ever-so-well for CalPERS, hasn’t it?

        1. barefoot charley

          Term limits were a worthy experiment. It failed. It institutionalized party musical chairs in which seats are assigned and career trajectories managed long before candidates appear on ballots. Party leadership is strengthened and further estranged from accountability.

          Without stable committee chairs and political roles, institutional memory resides in staff, whose own careers live and die by the credo: (Their) Agency Uber Alles. So abuses of power become institutional instead of personal, and the few ‘reporters’ remaining have a much harder time tracking abuses and assigning responsibility. CALPERS is an excellent model of the effect. Its formal autonomy is irrelevant–all agencies are autonomous without effective oversight and informed relationships between players.

          1. Cal2

            Here’s an example of financial and political musical chairs in California from the states best political reporter:


            “[Governor] Newsom is succeeding someone who could be considered his quasi-uncle, since his inauguration continues the decades-long saga of four San Francisco families intertwined by blood, by marriage, by money, by culture and, of course, by politics – the Browns, the Newsoms, the Pelosis and the Gettys.”

            “The connections date back at least 80 years, to when Jerry Brown’s father, Pat Brown, ran for San Francisco district attorney, losing in 1939 but winning in 1943, with the help of his close friend and Gavin Newsom’s grandfather, businessman William Newsom.”

        2. Lambert Strether

          > Term limits have been tried in California’s State elections for a while now. Its origin was to get rid of Willie Brown (Kamala Harris’ one time boyfriend). Brown ran for mayor in San Francisco (and won), and the leadership of the senate and assembly is now completely at the mercy of (unelected) staff.

          This happened in Maine in a different way. The institutional memory is maintained by the lawyers/lobbyists who write the bills (and by activists who oppose them, but being dedicated volunteers or poorly paid NGOers, they are institutionally far more fragile).

      2. Angie Neer

        Lambert has observed that, in his experience, term limits mean that only the lobbyists and other non-elected parties are able to form long-term plans and alliances, therefore leaving the elected schlubs at their mercy.

      1. Ed

        But democracy IS broken, and limiting the terms of officials put in through fixed elections is different from limiting the terms of officials in office due to elections conducted according to international standards.

        1. Eureka Springs

          If parties had democratically developed binding platforms, then term limits of ‘bound to the platform representatives’ should be a natural part of the process.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I have heard about this guy recently and went to his Wikipedia entry to see what he as all about. It is what you would expect-

      I read also that he proposed an Act with another Senator to do with trade recently but for historical reasons, I would be very suspicious of any Act that had the name Hawley attached to it.

      1. Deschain

        He has proposed a bill that would regulate loot boxes in video games. It would be a shame if they don’t call it the Loot-Hawley act.

    3. annie

      matt stoller has been extremely positive about josh hawley–says he’s one of the few congresspeople to really take on big tech and monopolies.

      1. Cal2

        If Sanders/Gabbard2020
        doesn’t happen, then how about




    4. dcblogger

      Term limits means that lobbying is the only career path for politicians. It also means that there is no one in the legislature with institutional memory. This disastrous California energy deregulation bill was passed after term limits went into effect. I have never understood why that did not discredit the idea of term limits.

      1. Inode_buddha

        I like the way the Dutch did it back in the 1600’s: Political service was drawn from an eligible pool much like the Draft. One could decline at the expense of full rights as a citizen. An annual stipend equal to their last year’s pay was given to those drafted to support their families, and then they were sent away to a town 200 miles away, to be the councilman, or whatever for a period of a few years. Local citizens were routinely polled on the performance of their draftee politician.

        1. mpalomar

          The Athenians at some point in their messy experience with democracy used something similar I think. I’m not sure how well it would work in the US but worth a go.
          The other problem is democracies seem to work best in smaller entities, city state size. The US has reached imperial size and apparently the only way to pare down to manageable size is going to be through collapse.

          1. The Rev Kev

            The Romans had an interesting system for how you rose in public office. There were minimal age requirements for each job and young men would alternate between public offices and military commands as they went up the rungs. By the time you went through the system you were likely a very qualified person with a broad range of experience behind you both in political and military affairs. You would not have a small town mayor (cough-Buttigieg-cough) trying straight for the top job in this system. It broke down in the end as ‘special’ people were given special exemptions from the requirements but it worked while it lasted.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > Political service was drawn from an eligible pool much like the Draft.

          >T he Athenians at some point in their messy experience with democracy used something similar I think


        3. Procopius

          The history of “the Low Countries” is extremely interesting. Barbara Tuchman explained some of it from the last half of the18th Century in The First Salute, and C.W. Wedgewood explained some of it from the early 17th Century in her The Thirty Years War, because the Low Countries were an important causal factor in the 30 Years War. It’s amazing that the idea they were even allies survived. The political institutions they devised should have failed completely, yet somehow survived.

    5. hunkerdown

      In what other job do you have an absolute right to sell capital equipment out the back door, bust open the vending machine and company safe to appropriate all within, order the corporate security forces to kill bystanders at will around the entire industrial park, booze it up with your fellow workers, AND get paid until the end of your scheduled shift?

      The problem is that the very idea of “terms” gives the ostensible representative a right to and interest in their office, which is fundamentally corrupt. If you can’t fire them, you’re not the boss, and 250+ years of marketing material to the contrary does not change that fact.

    6. pasha

      i worked as legislative staff for many years, in oregon and minnesota, two “clean government” states. it takes time to learn how to legislate, to acquire knowledge in the nuance of passing — or, especially, not passing — statutes. term limits turn all the power over to lobbyists and bureaucrats.

      but yes to support of unions and blasting corporate sponsors

    7. Odysseus

      Term limits are a terrible idea. What is the appeal of requiring laws to always be drafted by inexperienced rookies? Why is politics an area where experience is a negative?

  4. Tom

    “… animals can suffer from PTSD.” It’s well documented in dogs and many dog owners have experience of it.

    1. dearieme

      I came into the government inspired by a president who convinced me there was still some truth to the gospel of American exceptionalism Oh, for God’s sake, how many countries did he bomb, how many people did he assassinate, and how many lies did he tell about it all? How many political opponents did he spy on in the US, or harass with the Internal Revenue? Do grow up, sonny.

      Over three tours abroad, I worked to spread what I believed were American values: freedom, fairness and tolerance.

      Is he too naif and credulous to be any bloody use or is he being disingenuous? He should ask his chums in the US Army and the CIA whether they aim to spread freedom, fairness and tolerance. Then ask the splattered wedding parties.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > Over three tours abroad, I worked to spread what I believed were American values: freedom, fairness and tolerance.

        If the Oxford comma isn’t part of your value system, forget it.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      90% of the people I graduated high school with in my rural northern CA town will be surprised to learn this, on account of them somehow being both white and poor.

      In Joe’s defense, we’re thousands of miles from the Acela Corridor,,,

          1. JBird4049

            Manning merely was an embarrassment.

            Being found to have be frequenting a child sex ring is one of those few things that even today can hurt almost anyone. Money, or no money. Even if you avoid prosecution, your reputation might be destroyed. A political, or entertainment, career finished, or shame at the local church, synagogue, or mosque. Maybe being ostracized.

            Did the man have any family to worry about? Even a monster might have people he loved and cared about.

            1. Procopius

              I’m pretty sure his parents are dead, but he had a brother. He was only 66, so I presume his younger brother is still alive. He seems not to have married. I’m really, really suspicious of calling it suicide. I guess we’ll soon find out if had had a “fail-safe” or “dead man’s switch.” If a cache of thousands of files, photos, and videos suddenly appears I will guess that he did. Meanwhile, I suspect he didn’t, which left him vulnerable to “suicide.”

        1. mpalomar

          And Assange is currently getting some variation of the ‘treatment.’ Revealing war crimes was bad enough but the Vault 7 revelations were unforgivable.

        2. Briny

          He was “found unresponsive” in his cell at 6:30 AM, yet only “rushed to New York Downtown Hospital” at 7:30 AM. Guess they really, really needed to make sure he was dead first.

          1. Brian (another one they call)

            It was novichok for sure, they rubbed it on his …… How much was the contract for, and does the prison get that money for the needed repairs now?

            1. John A

              They must have sprayed the novochok on his cell door knob. That’s the way to do it. Especially as it doesn’t affect anyone else who touches the door knob.

          1. Ian

            I am hoping that there were files and video confessions secreted away, released upon the time of his death that will prosecute a lot of truly nasty people.

      1. barrisj

        Raul Ilargi predicted weeks ago that Epstein would never emerge from jail alive, as way too many powerful people want to shut him up before trial…as Josef Stalin was rumoured to say, “Man is problem? No man, no problem”.

        1. sammie

          Yes, but it was not Stalin, who said those words… it was Beria. Let’s keep our attributions straight. I have a conspiracy theory all figured out – E. was lured into the US, thinking that revelations could damage Trump. When that did not pan out so much, E was disposed of. Mystery solved.
          No, seriously, the first question is why he even came back to the US.

          1. dearieme

            the first question is why he even came back to the US

            True. Perhaps the second is whether he’s really dead or whether he’s just been smuggled out of jail. Just as plenty of people must want him dead there might well be an employer who still wants him alive. FBI? CIA? Mossad? The Mob?

            1. Monty

              You think you can catch Jeffery Epstein? You think a guy like that comes this close to getting caught and sticks his head out?… my guess is you’ll never hear from him again.

              And like that – *poof* He was gone.

              1. GERMO

                Good one
                but why does this news put George Carlin’s voice in my head?
                “It’s a big club — and you ain’t in it!”

            2. Brian (another one they call)

              Epstein “is” smart enough to set up a doomsday device for his personal protection. It goes off upon the news of his death and releases all the information to make the rich and famous squirm and slither. If he told everyone about it, they would have a great stimulus to keep him alive, anywhere. Perhaps he was spirited out of the jail and sent to one of the hideouts? It really would make sense and the jailers could do it easily.

            1. Darthbobber

              I haven’t found Conquest to be a stickler for rigorous accuracy. And it surprises me not at all that Richard Pipes wrote this revew/puff for this particular book.

              Not that it matters greatly, as whether stated or not Stalin’s acts demonstrate his adherence to the basic idea. Which had not escaped the attention of countless predecessors in the ruler biz.

            2. Plenue

              Robert “Soviets are like Martians” Conquest isn’t a reliable source on much of anything.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I guess that there must be a bunch of “clean-up squads” going around the world seizing records, photos, etc and having a heavy word with a lot of people. British intelligence would be part of this effort because it has come out that a Royal was also dipping his wick with underage girls. Maybe the reason that he had his “suicide” is that they found the stuff that he kept as insurance and so he was no longer needed alive. This was real turd world stuff at work here.

        1. barrisj

          It still is a remarkable commentary on the state of affairs that there is informed speculation on the jailhouse death of a notorious suspect, where “malign forces” may have conspired to snuff him to avoid embarrassing disclosures in a subsequent trial…chilling, that.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          “…they found the stuff that he kept as insurance …”

          They hope they got it all,lol.
          he was obviously clever(you don’t get to do what he did for that long by being a moron)…perhaps he had a deadman switch, as it were, and some cutout is busy right now sending flash drives to all and sundry.
          I hope so.
          I like it when the rich and powerful are living in fear.

          1. bob

            Whomever ‘found’ the insurance should be scared to death. Some junior DOJ investigator finds the video of Prince Andrew, Trump, Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak having sex with 14 year olds.

            Where do you go with that? There isn’t a hole deep enough.

        3. Cal2

          Next headline.

          Mysterious hacker destroys digitized evidence against Epstein.
          Officials at a loss to explain what happened. Hard copies were destroyed weeks earlier.”

          Bet Clinton and Dershowitz are high-fiving each other today.

        4. WheresOurTeddy

          “British intelligence would be part of this effort ”

          Don’t you mean “leading this effort”?

            1. flora

              Just what was on her private server when she was Sec. of State? It would be irresponsible not to speculate. /s

    1. Stephen V.

      Yes that Corey D is excellent. Whitney Webb is as well.
      And now we hear that Epstein has *committed suicide ” while on “suicide watch.” Help me. I’m not a lawyer but I don’t see how this helps his powerful partners in crime…

        1. polecat

          Sure, complete with goggles, flippers, and a set (or three) of airtanks ! How else is one to able to swim to the submersible, and thus reach the Abyss of Anonymity ..

          1. pretzelattack

            i think they just whacked him. somebody gave up his insurance, or they found it
            ; end of story. or maybe they gave him a choice, nice fairly quick end by hanging yourself, or some much more unpleasant exit later, when he goes to prison.

            1. john ashley

              Why have we not had some Congressional hearing(or something from the msm) on the Acosta dude that was told by
              ?????????????????????????????”To back off Epstein , he is intell”!

              Where is that someone and why has Acosta dropped down the rat hole?

              Trump/Barr what is the story here?
              Why would you appoint the dude in the first place knowing the background of that sordid deal?
              Who in the gvt gave him the all clear to come back in the first place?
              if he was “Intell” then I find it hard to believe he wouldn’t have been warned, unless he was setup.

              Where are the epstein pilots and why are they not splashed all over the MSM?

              This stinks and it seems not to be much follow-up on the easy questions.

      1. fdr-fan

        It helps the other people involved because without a defendant there isn’t a case. Without a case, no reason to continue the discovery process.

        1. hunkerdown

          Not so fast. First, Epstein’s not the only defendant. As a former Federal prosecutor explained to Courthouse TV reporter and former prosecutor Adam Klasfeld:

          Background. An important note after Epstein’s death: no one else will have standing to challenge the search warrant on his house. Everything will be admissible against any other defendant without possibility of a motion to suppress.

          Second, fines and restitution can still be levied against his estate.

          At least, until some bent #Resist cop creates a slow gas leak and the place eventually explodes.

    2. Olga

      Thanks for posting this; well worth a read. I guess we’ll never know the depth of depravity lurking in the high places.

    3. s.n.

      Former MCC inmate: There’s ‘no way’ Jeffrey Epstein killed himself

      The following account is from a former inmate of the Metropolitan Correction Center in lower Manhattan, where Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive Saturday, and declared dead at a hospital of an apparent suicide. The ex-convict, who spoke to The Post’s Brad Hamilton and Bruce Golding on the condition of anonymity, spent several months in the 9 South special housing unit for high-profile prisoners awaiting trial — like Epstein.

      There’s no way that man could have killed himself. I’ve done too much time in those units. It’s an impossibility.

      Between the floor and the ceiling is like eight or nine feet. There’s no way for you to connect to anything.

      You have sheets, but they’re paper level, not strong enough. He was 200 pounds — it would never happen.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “US hits back at China for targeting diplomat in Hong Kong”

    Oddly missing from this article is the actual photo of that US diplomat meeting those HK protesters in that luxury hotel. I had to go looking for an article that showed it-

    In that article, one of those protestors dropped himself in it when he said “I even went to Washington several times, so what’s so special about meeting a US consul?” Umm. Did he think that through before saying it? Can you imagine what would have been said if leading members of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement had been photographed with a Chinese diplomat at the time?

    1. pjay

      My favorite line of the Guardian article:

      “The Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao published a photograph it said showed the diplomat talking with student leaders in the lobby of a luxury hotel.”

      The paper *said* it showed the diplomat talking with student leaders — because it *did* show the diplomat talking with student leaders! How very “thuggish” to point that out, though.

    2. Lambert Strether

      True. OTOH, getting one’s self photographed in a hotel lobby isn’t exactly deep cover, is it?

      If the thesis is that U.S. intelligence is the driver for the Hong Kong protests — i.e., HK is Maidan, a color revolution — I’m still not buying it.

      1. Jessica

        They are probably trying to drive it, but I doubt that they are actually a major factor. The folks on the edge of the black hole that is China as a superpower – Hong Kong and Taiwan – are motivated enough on their own to try to not get pulled in.
        In the case of Hong Kong, the percentage who have relatives in Canada may be significant.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wonder if he kept an “insurance policy”. They do say that the pen is a long arm from the grave.

      1. Carolinian

        He sold his sex plane back in June and then returned to America where he probably knew he would be arrested. Sounds like he was told to fall on his sword and that was the “insurance policy”–for all his rich friends. What happens next will determine whether we have a new “grassy knoll” that will linger for years.

        Or the above is just a crazy theory, his jailers were careless etc.

        All credit to the Miami Herald for turning over the rock the rest of the media ignored.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      And on a Friday night…admittedly, I’m surprised they didn’t wait until the NFL started.

        1. harry

          Without the corroboration the named names will deny deny deny. Are you really gonna believe your lying eyes?

          Its like when they unfairly accused Michael Jackson.

        2. Brindle

          No, I think think the whole Epstein episode is effectively over. The ultra-elites will not be named or inconvienenced any more. Watch the MSM now lose interest in pursiuing the matter.

          1. Bugs Bunny

            I see interest waning already. The plaintiff lawyers are talking taking his estate, Guardian and NYT basically running obits. FoxNews was all over it earlier today but has moved back to protecting gunz rights.

            Nothing to see here folks, carry on with your business.

    3. Chris

      Though shalt not jeopardize thy betters. Their interests and pursuits are not for you to understand or comment upon. A loyal slave learns to love their master’s lash…

      I never thought Jeff would make it trial, but I did think he’d make it to at least one threatening interview where he would tease something devastatingly bad about Trump. As it stands now, Ms. Ghislane should be watching her back. She might be found have shot herself twice in it if she’s not careful. Convenient that Mr. Epstein won’t be around to fully exonerate Trump and other bad that the media are convinced were involved with Epstein’s depraved life. Also convenient that we’ll never really know how he got his wealth and connections.

      But as has already been said, perhaps he had a dead man’s switch of sorts and all the black book details will be published posthumously.

      1. HomoSapiensWannaBe

        Or, maybe Epstein is very much alive and enjoying martinis on a remote, private island with Ken Lay of Enron fame?

        1. pjay

          Yes. I hope it is not too tin-foily to express a fervent desire for an incorruptible coroner and coroner’s report. Then again, that didn’t help much in Robert Kennedy’s case.

          1. Tvc15

            I don’t think any skeptical theory surrounding this very convenient “suicide” should be off the table. Regardless of what the truth may be; this confirms to me that the broad web around Epstein was powerful and now none of it will see the light of day.

          2. sammie

            Or JFK’s. A suggestion was made that he’s been moved into a witness protection program (a regular one, or an “ultimate” one). Whatever the case, a certain Andrew is certainly breathing easier today.

            1. roadrider

              The incorruptible coroner (Earl Rose) was not permitted to do JFK’s autopsy. Instead, the body was essentially stolen by the Secret Service, in violation of state law (the Feds had no jurisdiction – it was not a Federal crime to assassinate the President until 1965 IIRC) and transported to a military facility where two administrator types who were inexperienced with medico-legal autopsies and who had to worry about their pensions were overseen by a crew of high-ranking (Generals, Admirals, etc) officers who directed them to not perform certain procedures that would reveal the number and direction of shots).

            2. Fíréan

              Aaron Katersky posted this on twitter early (usa time ), and i read it there too. Yet i find it not on Katersky’s twitter account now. Make of it what you will, yet was popsted before the msm announced “death” of Epstein.


              I do not post direct link to original source as viewers here may not wish to link to that website in general.

              There is still a case to answer for why he was let off lightly in 2008, and the accusations made by the victims against those who assisted Epstein and/or partook in ANY illegal activities with Epstein.

              Any of Epstein’s associates who may be incriminated would not gain by his death in jail as they can now not be aware as to what he may have already told or whether he has incriminated them.

              His initial “attempted suicide” gives credence to any future story of a successful suicide.
              And as has been stated elsewhere, from persons who have experience of the institution where Epstein was incarcerated, there is no way to “hang” yourself in those cells.

              So, was it a dead man switch ? I’m agree with “Sammie” here. Yet who got him out ?

      2. lordkoos

        The usual procedure when you are put in jail is that they take away your belt, shoelaces, etc – anything that could possibly be used to hang yourself. You would think with a super important prisoner like Epstein there would have been even more careful precautions taken. I have still read no real details about his death. People getting their stories together I suppose…

      1. Robert McGregor

        The most important prisoner in the world, and they cannot prevent him from hanging himself?

          1. jo6pac

            My thought also. The officers just happen to stop by his cell around midnight with a rope that they just received from his former friends. Note on it said you know what to do.

            It was just getting to be interesting, so now what happens?

            1. Carolinian

              His madame Maxwell is in the middle of a civil suit so it isn’t over.

              I’d say that if we don’t get a full accounting then people will assume everyone is guilty. No more warm and fuzzy stories on my local news about Prince Andrew.

              1. Katniss Everdeen

                I’d say that if we don’t get a full accounting, then people SHOULD assume everyone is guilty. And treat them as if they are. There’s a picture of “prince” andrew with his arm around an underage, bare-midriffed Virginia Roberts fer chrissakes.

                Enough of this shit is enough.

          2. polecat

            *Any ccc footage, by chance, showing any brief appearances by that British nurse of Skripal fame ??

            *since we’re conspirators now ..

              1. Procopius

                Gee, somehow they weren’t turned on at the time. What a shame. Just an unfortunate oversight.

    4. pjay

      Rich pervert kills self. Case closed. Nothing more to see here folks.

      About as predictable as the sun rising in the east. Any bets on how vigorously our MSM follow up on this?

      1. pretzelattack

        damn those russians, assassinating our prisoners. he did have a history of this; he beat himself up in his jail cell not long ago. wonder if his hands were tied behind his back, like those guantanamo prisoners.

    5. Summer

      It’s a message to anyone else thinking of coming forward as a witness…in any case involving high profile abuse.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Come on, everybody, you all know of Vlad P’s occult powers, and that The Russia did it.

        1. GERMO

          Except that Ariel Castro actually hanged himself — incidentally the Wikipedia article mentions that after Castro’s suicide he was taken to OSU’s Wexner Medical Center, named for…wait for it…Epstein buddy Les Wexner… (just a taste of the CT madness to come, i suppose)

  6. Jessica

    The article about dark matter predating the big bang made no sense to me. It said that dark matter may have been formed in the inflation phase, but that (theoretically) happened _after_ the big bang.
    Is there something that I am missing?
    Hopefully our commentariat can explain this.

    1. Synoia

      They are searching in the dark (matter) for a theory, but cannot find one.

      Or the news report comes from a company who have fired all their copy edotors.

      Or both.

    2. Dirk77

      Word on the street that I heard is that dark energy is due to quantum fluctuations of the vacuum. Dark matter, since its effect is only through gravity, would then be the distortion of space-time caused by these fluctuations. So any time you have space you have dark energy and dark matter. What causes space? I have no idea.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      I was just about to ask the same question. Here’s the quote from the article:

      Using a new, simple mathematical framework, the study shows that dark matter may have been produced before the Big Bang during an era known as the cosmic inflation when space was expanding very rapidly.

      I’ve read Alan Guth’s book on the subject and he is quite clear that per his theory inflation is an extremely brief period of rapid expansion immediately after the big bang.

      Here’s Guth talking with god about it.

      Science Daily isn’t exactly Science or Nature when it comes to scientific publications and I have seen them botch more than one article. I’ve also seen them post articles referring to rather dubious and unscientific sources, although this one cites Johns Hopkins. My guess here is the research may be legit but whatever person or computer program compiled the article [family blog]ged the details.

    4. Craig H.

      Modern cosmology does without logic. It is another Establishment Narrative.

      There was once a world renowned geologist Warren S. Carey. Everybody who ever met the man was unanimous that he was a top-rate mind. He had a personal problem in that he considered oceanic plate subduction a physical impossibility and promoted an expanding earth. He was not a lone crackpot. Many geologists and geophysicists by number although an utterly insignificant number by percent agreed with him. (There are a _lot_ of geologists and geophysicists.) He wrote a magnificent book, Theories of the Earth and Universe, Stanford University Press, 1988.

      The last time I was in the Stanford University Earth Science Library it was there on the shelf. In twenty years it had never once been checked out. It’s out of print but if you can find a used copy cheap grab it.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      My previous comment seems to have been abducted by skynet but I was having the same question as you. From the article:

      Using a new, simple mathematical framework, the study shows that dark matter may have been produced before the Big Bang during an era known as the cosmic inflation when space was expanding very rapidly.

      I’ve read Alan Guth’s book on the subject and he is quite clear that per his theory the rapid expansion during the inflation happens immediately after the big bang.

      Science Daily is not Science or Nature when it comes to scientific publications and I have seen them botch some articles and use very dubious pseudo-scientific sources in the past. This one cites Johns Hopkins so my guess here is that while the research may be legit, the person or computer program that complied the article itself [family blog]ged the details because it really doesn’t make sense the way it reads.

    6. lyman alpha blob

      My comments on this keep getting disappeared so maybe 3rd time is the charm.

      I had the same question as you because according to according to Alan Guth’s theory, inflation happens after the big bang, and not before it. Science Daily is not the most reliable source in the world. My guess here is that the person or computer program that compiled the article screwed up the details since it doesn’t make sense as it currently reads in the article.

  7. diptherio

    An American Anole, if I’m not mistaken. I had one as a pet when I was a kid. He got pretty used to being handled, to the point that my mother, on one occassion, “wore” him to league bowling. He just clung to her lapel, quite contentedly, until one of the other bowlers came up and said “that’s a neat broach!” and reached out to touch it…at which point Bob the Anole skittered up onto mom’s shoulder and the other woman screamed. Pretty much exactly what mom was hoping for :-)

  8. scoff


    After reading the post and comments on “ageing” (I can’t get used to spelling it that way) I thought you might be interested in this. Don’t know if you’re familiar with isometric exercise, but it might be just what you’re looking for. Wikipedia defines isometrics as “a form of exercise involving the static contraction of a muscle without any visible movement in the angle of the joint.” Isometrics strengthen muscle groups but don’t require movement through a range of motion to be effective.

    Are isometric exercises a good way to build strength?

  9. Phillip Allen

    About the emu (?) and the golf ball. I think the bird thought the golf ball was either an egg or a nut, and was trying to break it open to eat it (as they do). I think it’s reactions are consternation, not “Gee, this is fun!”

  10. John B

    On “Russia Admits Mysterious Missile Engine Explosion Involved an ‘Isotope Power Source'”

    Ugh. Have the Russians revived the United States’ infamous radiation-spewing Project Pluto? Even the Pentagon in the early 1960s concluded that weapon system would be just too horrible to manufacture. From Wikipedia:

    Since nuclear power gave it almost unlimited range, the missile could cruise in circles over the ocean until ordered “down to the deck” for its supersonic dash to targets in the Soviet Union. The SLAM, as proposed, would carry a payload of many nuclear weapons to be dropped on multiple targets, making the cruise missile into an unmanned bomber. After delivering all its warheads, the missile could then spend weeks flying over populated areas at low altitudes, causing tremendous ground damage with its shock wave and fallout. When it finally lost enough power to fly, and crash-landed, the engine would have a good chance of spewing deadly radiation for months to come.

    On May 14, 1961, the world’s first nuclear ramjet engine, “Tory-IIA”, mounted on a railroad car, roared to life for a few seconds. Three years later, “Tory-IIC” was run for five minutes at full power. Despite these and other successful tests, the Pentagon, sponsor of the “Pluto project”, had second thoughts. The weapon was considered “too provocative”,[2] and it was believed that it would compel the Soviets to construct a similar device, against which there was no known defense. Intercontinental ballistic missile technology had proven to be more easily developed than previously thought, reducing the need for such highly capable cruise missiles. On July 1, 1964, seven years and six months after it was started, “Project Pluto” was canceled.

    1. Carolinian

      Don’t forget that in this latest tit for tat we are tat and they are tit. Turned out after the fall of the wall that NATO didn’t want the “peace dividend” and so the Russians need a foolproof defense.

      So we are the provocative ones although obviously if this weapon is impractical is isn’t going to serve their purpose.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Mysterious, Ancient Radio Signals Keep Pelting Earth. Astronomers Designed an AI to Hunt Them Down.”

    After inspecting those bursts of radio signals, astronomers were able to enhance the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope to record through composite framing the source of those bursts which they have now released to the public-

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Mysterious, Ancient Radio Signals

      From the article:

      one of the most peculiar (and frustrating, for research purposes) traits of FRBs appears to be real: The signals, once arriving, never repeat themselves. Each one appears to be a singular event in space that will never happen again.

      I wonder what the stars are trying to tell us.

  12. dearieme

    I came into the government inspired by a president who convinced me there was still some truth to the gospel of American exceptionalism Oh, for God’s sake, how many countries did he bomb, how many people did he assassinate, and how many lies did he tell about it all? How many political opponents did he spy on in the US, or harass with the Internal Revenue? Do grow up, sonny.

    Over three tours abroad, I worked to spread what I believed were American values: freedom, fairness and tolerance.

    Is he too naif and credulous to be any bloody use or is he being disingenuous? He should ask his chums in the US Army and the CIA whether they aim to spread freedom, fairness and tolerance. Then ask the splattered wedding parties.

    1. Olga

      Yes, my sentiments exactly. Naive, hypocritical, daft, oblivious to reality – hard to know which one applies to this particular promoter of exceptionalism (prob all). Spare me your (fake) agony.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “How the Supreme Court Is Rebranding Corruption”

    So, “the Supreme Court agreed with Skilling that he should not have been charged with honest services fraud because his crimes did not involve a bribe or a kickback.”
    I’ll have a go at this even though I have no legal training. The purpose of a bribe or a kickback is personal gain which is typically financial in nature. So is “services fraud” so therefore he should have been charged.
    Gee, that was easy that.

  14. TBone

    Thank you for bringing attention to the scourge that is Lyme. Many millions will suffer and possibly die before any serious, ethical medical treatment is allowed for humans to be treated beyter than dogs.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “The Gulf Stream is slowing down. That could mean rising seas and a hotter Florida”

    Any news on this front always seems ominous to me. I mean, rising seas and a hotter Florida would be the least of it. As that current sinks off Greenland, the heat is released into the atmosphere heating the air. As the prevailing winds blow to the east, the heated air blows over Europe and the UK which gives it its mild climate. Without it, Europe then has the climate of Siberia. Does anybody think that it would be easy to cope with Siberian temperatures in England or Germany? This has happened before about 12,000 years ago in what is called the Younger Dryas and it lasted for centuries. The people that lived there must have gotten hammered but good-

    1. Antifa

      Ah yes — the return of the Jotunn, the Frost Giants of the Norse religion. They are said to have started out as icicles, but grew to dominate all of heaven and earth.

      Legend . . . or history?

    2. polecat

      Would be ironic if the product of the slow-down (or stoppage) of the Atlantic Thermo-Hyline Ocean Current was a ‘flip’ to a new ice age …

    3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      What’s fascinating about looking into The Younger Dryas are the charts showing median temperatures over centuries.

      Basically all of modern civilization was able to rise because we have recently had an unusually long and stable period.

      And of course a little metal rock hurtling at us 5 times as fast as a bullet can change that in the blink of a planetary eye.

      Answer? Party on! It’s been a great run.

  16. tegnost

    I would have to say that we are not descending into cruelty, rather that our cruelty is being revealed.

    1. barrisj

      US prison have for decades epitomized cruelty and barbarism, which have been institutionalized and internalized by both the staffs and inmates. It has been said of a penal system that its values reflect that of the society of which it is a part, and when one sees blatant cruelty being played out by organs of the State on a daily basis, who can wonder at the brutalization displayed by those in authority directed toward the most helpless and vulnerable amongst us?

    2. AndrewJ

      The society I was born in and have lived in all my life, America, is exceptionally cruel. The truth is nobody out there actually cares about others. It’s a fad these days to spout lines about love and light, and to “brighten a stranger’s day”, but nobody really, actually cares.
      I do wonder what life is like elsewhere, or in other times.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Yeah i dont think so. Love is still very much alive round these parts. We take care of each other through the good times and the bad and welcome those prodigal sons, daughters et al back into the fold.

        Omina Fausta Cano

    3. Chris

      Is it too much to ask why no one in the press seems concerned why the companies where these illegal residents and undocumented workers were employed used e-verify? Or if they did, how all these undocumented people passed the check? And if the companies knowingly hired non-citizens with no right to work in this country, why aren’t people at the companies also being arrested by the authorities?

      1. marym

        Trump says e-verify makes things too difficult for employers, and Cato says it doesn’t work anyway.

        President Trump made waves last week by saying that he didn’t want to mandate E-Verify because the system—which intends to stop illegal workers by checking their information against government databases—is too “tough.” He claimed that when he built the Trump Hotel in D.C., the system rejected nearly 30 people for each person it accepted. But Trump is wrong: E-Verify catches fewer than one in six illegal workers. It’s been more than a decade since E-Verify reliably stopped illegal hires.

        As far as ICE raids directed against the employees, and the resulting separated and frightened children
        Trump defends ICE raid strategy

        Asked Friday why there wasn’t a better plan in place to deal with the children after their parent’s arrest, Trump told reporters outside the White House south lawn, “You have to go in, you can’t let anybody know.”

        “I just hope to keep it up,” he added.

        “I want people to know that if they come into the United States illegally, they’re getting out,” Trump said Friday. “They’re going to be brought out. And this serves as a very good deterrent.”

        No mention, at least in this CNN excerpt, of job opportunities being created for US citizens. Not that cruelty to children should be considered by anyone to be a good way to create jobs, but in Trumpworld the cruelty is the point

        1. Efmo

          Especially a very good deterrent to those workers at those specific Koch locations starting to demand better working conditions. Those raids were most likely arranged by the managers, from what I have read. No need for E-verify under those circumstances.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > if the companies knowingly hired non-citizens with no right to work in this country, why aren’t people at the companies also being arrested by the authorities?

        Presumably the open borders crowd will defend the employers…

    4. Phacops

      An armed, cruel, society with police as an army of occupation. Add economic classes that are out of touch with each other and a lack of common purpose. I think things will be very entertaining when the U.S. encounters stressful conditions in the future.

      Where I live a full 42% of HOUSEHOLDS cannot afford the basics of life. These are those living in poverty as well as the working poor. See the ALICE studies (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) These people remain virtually invisible to those of better means and would probably have been invisible to me had my wife not been a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) representing the interests of children in the foster-care system. Needless to say, the second homeowners, the cottagers, the short-term-rental tourists, care little for anything except their own hedonism and care little about the working poor while expecting their service for scant remuneration. Cruelty in a more passive aggressive manner.

  17. Tyrannocaster

    Torches flare in the night, accompanied by the shrill blasts of horns. A huge crowd surges forward, mounting the ramparts, to cries of “Give me Biden or give me death!”

  18. Big River Bandido

    The headline of the Zaid Jilani article in the Guardian is probably overstating the case vis-a-vis Republicans as a party. While it’s possible a few Republicans (Hawley certainly among them) will be politically savvy enough to try and undercut the left with their own economic prescriptions, my sense is that voters feel it’s time for politicians to fish or cut bait and they don’t have any patience for phoniness and stunts. Probably some of the glow around Hawley being the GOP’s new working class hero is overblown, too. His tactics and successes so far — using hearings to spotlight his pet peeves with particular sectors of Big Business — are similar to Elizabeth Warren’s. So too, it appears, is the actual substance of his proposals — a lot of noise and no teeth.

    But politically, Hawley does impress me, and I think the left will have to learn to reckon with him. For one thing, he did a huge service to the nation, not to mention the Democrat Party, by retiring and humiliating Claire McCaskill. For another, anyone capable of taking down such an entrenched incumbent — a tool of the Clintonite neoliberal machine — clearly has strong political skills. The Republican Party is quite strong in Missouri; to reach the Senate at age 38 within such a strong state party organization is no small achievement. When he was first elected, I thought he might be an easy target in 6 years. I’m not so sure now.

    He’s clearly a thinking type at least (or at least fancies himself that way), has adopted a Kennedyesque public persona complete with the “model family”, and in a lot of ways, seems to be carving out a parallel space among the Republicans that Warren occupies among the Democrats. And judging from the subject of the book he wrote, he has presidential ambitions. A Republican presidential candidate from Missouri could be a formidable challenger. I’d watch out for him in the next decade.

    1. Darthbobber

      All he needed to do to to beat McCaskill was win the Republican primary and avoid the scandalous nonsense of their nominee six years before. She was as popular as a bag of tarantulas in Missouri.

      1. Phil in KC

        I saw McCaskill several times last year while she was campaigning for re-election. Didn’t have the sense to mingle with people who obviously liked her in the lobby of her hotel, spent a lot of time with health-care lobbyists in meeting rooms (obviously trying to kill M4A), and overall presented herself as out of touch with the average person. She deserved to lose.

        1. Big River Bandido

          All of this is true. Still, she had the machine behind her. Never easy to beat a machine Democrat in a place like that, especially in a Senate race where the incumbent protection racket is truly that.

  19. urblintz

    I watched “The Family” and found it to be muddled and confused.

    It is referred to as the most powerful political organization that “you’ve never heard of” despite being directly involved, through its leaders Abraham Veriede and Douglas Coe, with the National Prayer Breakfast, at which every US President has appeared since Eisenhower, and includes videos of Bush I, Clinton and Trump directly thanking and praising Coe’s work. There are lots of photos of Coe and Veriede with world leaders throughout the decades. Jimmy Carter, on video, gives Coe a full-throated, unconditional endorsement. Obviously to me is that a lot of people on both sides of the aisle knew about The Family despite its (self proclaimed) aim to remain secretive. Hiding in plain sight I guess.

    Indeed, I first heard of The Family many years ago through a multitude of reports on Hillary Clinton’s association with Coe’s group (google Hillary Clinton Douglas Coe The Family). There was also the very public “C” Street scandal (c. 2011) which figures prominently in one of the episodes, involving marital infidelities of John Ensign (Sen-R-NV) and Mark Sanford (Gov -R – SC) as well as illegal “gifts” channeled through this bizarre (and ridiculously cheap for D.C.) congressional boarding house. The scandal resulted in “C” Street losing “some” of its tax exempt status as a “church.” Then there were the accusations from the gay community in 2011 which very publicly named The Family/Fellowship (it had many names over the years) as the malign force behind Uganda’s anti-gay law. Again, a lot of people apparently knew about the organization. So at least one question that should be asked is why the general public “never heard” of it as it was hiding in plain sight.

    The first 3 episodes of the documentary do a good job of laying out the history of “The Family” while mostly steering clear of any overt partisanship as it connects, critically, both Republicans and Democrats to this malign Christian (right-wing) influence machine. The 4th episode, however, brings in the Butina scandal and posits that her association with The Family and her presence at the National Prayer Breakfast is proof that she was a Kremlin stooge. The filmmaker uses (in my opinion) laughable videos of Butina in leather handling and firing all types of guns and using the words “spy” and “spying” to describe the procedural failure to register as a “foreign agent” for which she was actually charged. It goes something like this: It was when the Family gave support to and helped foment the anti-gay propaganda laws in Russia that Butina became involved with the organization and was assigned to infiltrate US politics by attending the National Prayer Breakfast where she would represent Putin in a back-door meeting with Trump. All this happening at a time when Trump was publicly calling for (and getting blasted by both sides of the aisle) cooperation with Russia. So which is it? Is Trump a Kremlin stooge or a “Family” stooge? The film strongly suggests the “Family” has great influence over Putin (through his oligarch associates) and colluded with Russia to help Trump win. So Putin is the stooge? Or is he just pretending to be a stooge so as to utilize the access gained through The Family to upend our democracy?

    The 4th episode tells the tale of how US Congressman Siljander (acting on his own without State Dept. approval) and Coe went to Libya to meet Ghaddafi who was furious that they came and refused to meet them. Siljander says that Coe, trying to break the ice while speaking to Ghaddafy’s foreign minister, apologized that the USA had killed Ghaddafy’s daughter (in a US led but failed attempt on Ghaddafy’s life) at which point Ghaddafy melted like ice, turned over the suspects named in the Lockerbie bombing and began his well known transformation into a guy the West could work with after all. The film makes no reference to what happened ultimately to Ghaddafy during Obama’s administration, only making the point that The Family colludes with and influences some of the world’s most brutal national leaders. Of course, Obama spoke at the National Prayer breakfast as well…

    The last episode, after making a weak attempt at demonstrating that both conservative and liberal politicians/thinkers support The Family, ends with a photo montage landing on a still shot of Trump, implying (at least to me) that he represents the ultimate success of The Family’s effort to instill one of theirs as POTUS – despite having already shown that every president since Eisenhower has been in on the act.

    What could have been a good exposé on bi-partisan corruption hiding behind Jesus ends up a bit too one sided while perpetuating the russia-phobia presently infecting the minds of so many who should know better, imho.

    I intended this comment to be more thorough (I can hear sighs of relief from any who actually read it all). I also wanted to comment on the irony that a “secret” US Christian group successfully fomented, in Russia, anti-gay propaganda legislation (based on US anti-gay prop laws existing in 8 US states at the time) which resulted in the US gay community protesting against and hating on… Russia and Russians? Shouldn’t we (I’m bi) be taking on The Family first? In all the over-the-top reporting about it, especially during the Russian Olympics, I don’t recall anyone ever making that point.

    1. Schmoe

      Thanks for saving five hours of my life. I was thinking of making that my next Netflix series.

    2. pjay

      Thanks for this review. I thought Shalet’s book was pretty good, and disturbing. But when I read the description of the Netflix series, *especially* the part about Butina, I began to suspect some “mixed motives” were involved in its production. You have justified my suspicions. Just reinforces my skepticism about *any* mainstream media account of historical phenomena.

    3. urblintz

      I should add that the Rolling Stone article linked by Yves reflects, imho, the same problems I see in the film by obscuring the bi-partisan nature of the affliction…

      I suppose, then, that, rhetorically, it’s an accurate review…

    4. marym

      Thanks for the interesting summary and commentary. The Family and C Street were published around 2008 and 2010 so the Russiagate stuff must be add-ons to whatever the original insights were. Back when I bothered with cable I saw Sharlet on Maddow from time to time, and probably read a bit from one of the books, but didn’t absorb enough to recall how bi-partisan or not they may have been at the time.

      1. urblintz

        It’s interesting, though not surprising given the radical leanings of someone who gave up on the Democrats 3 decades ago, that I always associated the Family first and foremost with Hillary because the articles I mention above were the first where I encountered it. Here’s a link that goes back to MJ in 2007 written by Sharlet. And I should have emphasized that the Russia-gate stuff was mostly generated by the film maker, although I think Sharlet commented on it (it may have been a clever edit to suggest he was replying to the documentarians POV) and I too wondered how far Sharlet’s timeline advanced. He does mention that he’d written 2 books about it … and tried to give them both a happy ending because he still maintains some small but genuine sympathy for his associates in The Family.

        1. urblintz

          Upon further reflection, I believe the problem I have with the series may be an unstated conflict of opinion between Sharlet and the producer/director Jesse Moss and thank you for nudging me to think further about Sharlet’s book/article pre-dating Russia-gate. Almost worth re-watching parts of it again…

  20. Dan

    California School District Agrees to Desegregate After State Investigation

    In 2011 the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education named Sausalito’s Willow Creek Academy one of the top charter schools in California.[8]
    Is there a lack of funding in nearby Marin City schools that’s causing problems?
    Despite the second highest spending per pupil in the entire state of California, Marin City test scores are among the lowest in the state.

    Parents in Sausalito who pay $3,000 a month for a one bedroom apartment, or two million for a house, plus the recurring property tax based on that, now get to have their children go to school with the sixth generation of housing projects residents since World War Two, for their own good, you understand.

    Little Rachel can now play on the field where Tupac Shakur was shot down by a rival gang and there have been hundreds of incidents of gun violence in the area around the housing project school.

    Maybe the kiddies can ride the bus to school? Since there have been 30 armed robberies of bus passengers in the Marin City in the last few years, the SUV driving parents will opt to make four round trips a day for a year, and then will most likely sacrifice the wonderful opportunity for diversity and move out of town, leaving it once again, a place for adults only, as it was before the charter school was established.

    Amazing how the social engineer parasites keep feeding off what’s left of our civic institutions. Like the frog and the scorpion, it’s just their nature to destroy the host culture in which they live.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Maybe those rich Sausalitans shouldn’t have fenced off their “culture” in a charter school? Maybe instead of being “social justice warriors” online and segregationists in real life, maybe, just maybe they should have seen the repercussions of their wealth inequality and tried to do something about it?

      Nah. The money’s too good.

      1. Dan

        Wealth inequality? Tried to do something about it?
        So what are the “rich Sausalitans” supposed to do about it, besides pay a school levy on top or their high property taxes? Whether or not they have children, or send them to private school elsewhere?
        Marin City schools get all the money they need. See link.

        Maybe the parents of these kids in Marin City should get involved in their children’s education? Too busy working?, hardly, the parking places are full in front of each unit all day usually.

        Marin housing officials drop controversial truancy eviction policy
        Marin Independent Journal
        Posted: 10/23/2013
        “A controversial truancy policy proposal under which public housing tenants faced eviction if their children failed to attend school has been dropped in favor of a volunteer program urging parents to monitor class attendance.
        “Shirley Thornton, a Sausalito-Marin City School District trustee, said that with the district sometimes facing a truancy rate of roughly 20 percent on Mondays and Fridays, a “little added oomph” was needed to get parents to make sure their kids attend school…”

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Parents in Sausalito who pay $3,000 a month for a one bedroom apartment, or two million for a house, plus the recurring property tax based on that, now get to have their children go to school with the sixth generation of housing projects residents since World War Two


          Do ya think the $3,000 a month apartment costs might have something to do with the six generations living in housing projects?

          But sure, I understand…it’s their fault. Parents just don’t care. Money’s been thrown at the schools, right? Can’t understand why a policy to evict people if their kids are truant would be dropped…

          Can’t have “those” kids screwing up your kids’ chance to pay $3,000 for an apartment or 2 million for a house, now can we?

            1. Fiery hunt

              Sorry if my sarcasm confused you.

              You do realize that if an apartment costs $3,000 that it might prevent people of more modest means from renting them, yes? That without affordable housing (of which Marin County is notorious for its lack of), people of modest means might get stuck in housing projects? For 6 generations even? And that keeping less “aspirational” (read that as “rich”) kids out of your schools is nothing more than trying to reinforce the wealth inequalities that have blown up over the last 30 years with the hope your kids will enjoy the same rigged benefits you’ve enjoyed?

              Most plainly…Do you understand that having the money to buy a $2,000,000 house doesn’t equate to being better or more deserving of educational opportunities?

              I suspect you don’t.

              1. Dan2

                Dan and Cal2 should get together and rattle off crypto right wing talking points to each other, and compare stories about how awful the Bay Area is. I bet they would get along famously and have an incredible amount in common!

                1. Fiery Hunt

                  Oh, the Bay Area’s pretty awful right now and it doesn’t take being a right winger to see it…but I think Cal2 is in the working class and Dan’s pretty much part of the neoliberal ruling class so no, don’t think they’d agree on much.

                  But who am I to pigeon hole people? I’m just a guy trying to understand the world.

    2. rps

      “.. get to have their children go to school with the sixth generation of housing projects residents since World War Two, for their own good, you understand”

      Ah, social engineering at its finest. I remember back in 1971 living in suburban Illinois when the first busing boom was implemented for the sake of the children’s’ own good. Being a part of that way-back social experiment, parents pulled out their kids who won the reciprocal lottery to attend the housing projects highschool and were quickly enrolled into parochial high schools. A prosperous time for private high-schools back then. However, the local suburban public highschool ran out of classroom space with the overflow of bused students. The brilliant social experimenters determined to implement split classroom shifts. What a mess with school starting at 6am and the next shift starting at 11am with morning and afternoon students overlapping. Add into the mix sports, clubs and other school activities at the end of the day which was around 5/6pm.

      A grand time indeed with Nixon in office, long lines of cars waiting at the gas pump due to gas shortages. Little flags with a star in the middle hanging in the windows of homes for their sons and daughters in Vietnam fighting another rich man’s war. City services slashed, state, city and county taxes hiked and no christmas lights hung due to outrageous energy bills while validating your patriotism through enforced frugality. By then, The benevolent overlords of change had also determined to cut more school programs (who needs music and art?) and cutting out school lunches. They kindly added vending machines filled with candy bars, chips and pop you could grab on the run between class bells. All for the good of sacrificing the children….. The good ole political bullshit days of yore makes me misty-eyed.

      1. Dan

        Nothing like living through forced busing. Wonder how many kids ended up being victimized by school violence?

        Money to fund schools is important, but more important is parental involvement, i.e. “culture”.

        1. rps

          Different time and place back then. Undoubtedly there were adjustments made by both student populations. With that said, violence was the exception not the rule. The local student population came from a wide range of economic backgrounds including working class, blue collar, middle class, welfare and so forth across at least 3 suburbs plus the bused students. There were students who had part-time jobs before or after school too. No police presence, no gang graffiti in the bathrooms or on the outside of the school.

          I pulled out my senior yearbook and was amazed at the many extracurricular activities, sports, and clubs to join. Aside from the core – ed and honors curriculum, you could take wood workshop, home-econ, secretarial (typing and steno), auto-shop, glee clubs, speech & debate, etc…. (teachers had dual roles ‘volunteering’ to run these activities)

          As for parental involvement, looking back, we grew up with responsibilities and held accountable for our actions. Believe me, many parents had expectations and they kept us teenagers very busy. By eighteen, you were expected to be a self-sufficient adult.

  21. Watt4Bob

    As far as I’m concerned, the question is not what Epstein’s ‘friends’ were doing, we have his victims testimony and that’s that.

    Jeff’s friends were taking advantage of the young girls he controlled.

    The question, that will now go unanswered is what was Jeffrey Epstein doing.

    1. Heliopause

      In all the great waves of hysteria I’m seeing on the internet today about how obviously it was a murder, etc., no one seems to have noticed that it doesn’t make any sense for these powerful people to have Epstein murdered and leave his dozens of victims (not to mention accomplices, other witnesses, etc.) alive. You’ll also have to kill his lawyers, prosecutors, cellmates, anybody who conceivably has been talking to him in recent weeks. Also, why kill him now when you could easily have knocked him off in a car accident or some such during the many years he freely cavorted around the world, to far less public fanfare. One could go on.

      So while it’s possible that Clinton or Trump or somebody had him whacked there are more plausible scenarios:

      Someone on the inside killed him for his own personal reasons.

      Someone in intelligence had him whacked (recall the reports that he was an intelligence asset) for opaque reasons, perhaps only tangentially related to his sexcapades.

      This one is going to shock you: it really was a suicide.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I was just reading a report that Epstein had been taken off suicide watch. Meanwhile the MSM says “Jeff who?”

      2. Schmoe

        It makes perfect sense if you consider that the MSM, other than the Miami Herald, wouldn’t follow up on the original story.

        Maybe this time will be different, but I suspect this will get a lot of investigation from “alt” web-sites but if anything implicating intelligence agencies is uncovered, it will get as much attention as the internal OPCW report that the 2018 Douma gas attack supposedly committed by Assad was “probably” staged.

      3. ambrit

        You underestimate the arrogance of today’s elites. This was a message to anyone else contemplating blowing the whistle on Elite misdeeds. “Try it and end up like this. You are not safe anywhere.”

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        I would not be so confident. The NY Post has a former MCC inmate saying it’s impossible to hang yourself in those cells. Ceilings too low, no way to attach anything to ceiling, only thing you have that might do the job (sheets) too thin to bear weight, and Epstein was 200 lbs.

        And Lambert googled, and he can’t find any past suicides at the MCC.

        The difficulty of committing suicide would also make taking him off suicide watch less illogical.

        That means that this was at best assisted suicide.

  22. JBird4049

    A school district in one of California’s wealthiest and politically liberal counties has agreed to desegregate a flailing school that state officials found had been intentionally created for low-income minority children and then starved of resources.

    California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Friday that students at Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, a K-8 school started in 2013, were denied a rich curriculum in favor of a K-8 public charter school about a mile away that enrolls more white students.

    “Depriving a child of a fair chance to learn is wicked, it’s warped, it’s morally bankrupt, and it’s corrupt,” Becerra said at a press conference. “Your skin color or ZIP code should not determine winners and losers”

    Dude, if you are going with the “those Deplorables storyline” please be sure to be accurate. Cognitive bias can be a pain.

    Yes, social dysfunction can be extremely destructive, and throwing money at it does not automatically solve the self destructive behaviors seen, but we are talking about human beings here not scorpions

  23. rps

    “Trump administration authorizes ‘cyanide bombs’ to kill wild animals”

    Unlike what the headline implies, the cyanide bomb known as the M44 is a re-authorization and in use since the 1960’s. It replaced the original Coyote Getter which had been in use since the 1930’s.

  24. rps

    The Uncle of a Baby Orphaned in El Paso Mass Shooting Defends Trump’s Thumbs Up Gesture in Hospital Photo

    Tito Anchondo, the uncle of baby Paul Anchondo, told The Associated Press on Friday that Trump “was just there to give his condolences and he was just being a human being… Is it that hard to try and understand that a family is trying to not be sad at a moment like this?” said Anchondo, who also appears in the photo along with his sister. “We’re trying to be as strong as we can. … My brother is gone.”

    Tito Anchondo declined to describe the encounter with Trump in more detail, saying he had received death threats. “We should be coming together as a country at this time instead of threatening each other with hate messages,” he said.

  25. barrisj

    Posted a link to a article on the Trump/Melania photo-op holding the infant who was orphaned during El Paso Wal-Mart shooting…immediately published w/o “moderation”, then later pulled or disappeared…whaddup?

    1. Carey

      I’m not so sure it’s an “embarrassing” outcome for those most concerned, if you get my drift; more of an example for the Many, perhaps.

      Just one prole’s opinion, of course.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Withdrawal of US troops in Syria strengthened ISIS resurgence, DOD watchdog says”

    I think that the purpose of this article was to say moar troops, please. Look, in that article where it says “Syrian forces” what it actually means is Kurdish forces who have nothing to do with the actual Syrian forces. And the US aren’t really pulling back troops from there. Last I heard, there were over 2,000 of them there. What is happening is that mercenaries are being brought in – half of whom are American – to do the work and those numbers are never counted or acknowledged. The Russians say that there are over 4,000 of them in Syria and more are being brought in all the time.

    1. ambrit

      Good. They will be having a really rough time dealing with the Turkish army soon. Unless they are ordered to turn on the Kurds. Then all H— will break lose.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Malaysia Indicts 17 of the “Untouchables” at Goldman Sachs”

    Next headlines – Trump declares Malaysia a rogue nation. Demands government stand down and let democracy take control. Announces severe sanctions until this happens and threatens a blockade. Furthermore announces that the national oil company, Petronas, will have all overseas assets seized.

  28. Amfortas the hippie

    the question was raised…yesterday, i think…what are they gonna do with all those soybeans now that china won’t take them?

    I have the answer: walked by the tv at mom’s and there was a burger king commercial on, selling “burgers made from “vegetables””…with incredulous people marveling that it ain’t beef they’re eating.

    when all else fails, sell it to the american people as good for you and tasty too.
    expect to see this all over the place.
    …but i don’t think it will make up for the loss of chinese bellies.
    if the trade war lingers on long enough, I’d bet that soy diesel becomes a thing…with republicans clamoring for subsidies…”for the poor farmers”, of course.

    1. flora

      Best of all (if that’s the phrase) it’s a story the MSM can use to fill airtime and print space — replacing any reporting on the Epstein information coming out. ;)

  29. @pe

    The psychological/cultural effect of the Epstein suicide can not be overestimated. This will bury the moral standing of the elite among normal people who have been able to turn their eyes from the doings among the masters of the universe. To turn their eyes now require active insanity.

    Amazing. Much worse than the Kennedy assassination, where it was possible to reasonably believe that it was a clusterf*, possibly with a cover-up over just the incompetence, but no deep conspiracy. And that has been culturally critical in eroding the standing of the system.

    Even if Epstein in fact is just a screw up (all things are possible in this world), it’s impossible not to be suspicious — and that’s enough.

    1. ChristopherJ

      yes pe, it is a crisis for the rich. Those regularly here know generally how badly we are being screwed and our wallets emptied before we die…

      You won’t find the outrage that the camera wasn’t working from the msm.

      Old news in 5 days…

      But the stench will linger far longer.

      Whose next in the fair land of the United States?

  30. Phil in KC

    The Guardian story about Republicans turning back to economic populism in the style of Eisenhower mentioned legislation by Missouri Repub Senator Josh Hawley. Hawley has submitted bills would make it illegal for drug companies to charge more than they do for the same drugs in foreign markets, stop social media addictions, and–well, stuff that significantly helps average people.

    Why couldn’t the Democrat McCaskill do that? (Sigh) And she wonders why she lost. Still.

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