Links 8/18/19

Scientists have discovered how memories are inherited World Economic Forum (original). Epigenetics, albeit in flatworms.

Countries most exposed to climate change face higher costs of capital The Economist

America’s mega-emitters are starting to close E&E News

“Kochland” Examines the Koch Brothers’ Early, Crucial Role in Climate-Change Denial The New Yorker

‘The Devil We Know:’ How DuPont Poisoned the World with Teflon Organic Consumers (DL).


Yemen Houthi rebels target Saudi oil field Deutsche Welle


Jeremy Corbyn pleads with MPs: back me now before it’s too late Guardian (KW).

Brexit: predictions set to panic? EU Referendum


No need for PLA, we can handle crisis: HK police Asia Times

A Walk In Hong Kong Idle Words. Interesting on the key role played by public transportation in the protests. Our Baron Haussmann-like overlords are smart to destroy it.

Hong Kong’s top accounting firms added to mainland Chinese media’s protest hit list South China Morning Post

Hong Kong Protesters Are Worried About Facial Recognition Technology. But There Are Many Other Ways They’re Being Watched. Buzzfeed

Opinion: Int’l trade never a “politics free” business Xinhua. Getting Amazon’s attention.

* * *

The US military’s logistical train is slowly snaking toward China Military Times. From May, still germane.

Give No Heed to the Walking Dead The Scholar’s Stage

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Remade Dissent

Lula: “US hand” on everything that’s happened in Brazil Brasil Wire. Lula: The US government “created the Lava Jato investigation to take our oil.” Perhaps Chavismo is stronger than imagined?

Down and out in Dhaka The Interpreter


Yes, Kashmir is angry but don’t edit out the rest of the story Times of India

States of Kashmir n+1

New Delhi’s Demographic Designs in Kashmir Foreign Policy

Mystery surrounds explosion at Russia military site FT

Trump Transition

Trump to extend reprieve for US companies selling to Huawei FT

American Imperialists Have Always Dreamed of Greenland Foreign Policy

Trump Isn’t Crazy to Want to Buy Greenland Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

If I Were Still Conservative Patheos. Well worth a read.


Biden: ‘There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there’ The Hill

What will it take for the Democratic establishment to abandon Biden? The Week

Rooting for a Recession Is Dangerous—Especially Under Trump The Nation (Re Silc).

Trump’s large union crowd at Shell was given the option of not showing up — and not getting paid Post-Gazette. “‘This is just what Shell wanted to do and we went along with it,’ said Ken Broadbent, business manager for Steamfitters local 449.”

Here’s why the once solidly Republican state of Texas could become a ticking time bomb for Trump’s GOP Business Insider (KW). “White, college-educated voters in Texas’ growing suburbs.”

Democrats in Disarray

Congressional Black Caucus Institute Takes CoreCivic Cash, Boosts Policies That Help Private Prisons ReadSludge

Our Famously Free Press

Memo to mainstream journalists: Can the phony outrage; Bernie is right about bias Salon. MSNBC has been what it is for some time:

I said above that there’s “almost never a memo or order from top management” to newsroom journalists. In normal times, the media system works smoothly without top-down directives. But in times of crisis, such as during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq — when I was a senior producer of MSNBC’s primetime Phil Donahue show — there may well be orders and memos.

As the invasion neared, top management at MSNBC/NBC News ordered us to bias our panel discussions. If we booked one guest who was antiwar on Iraq, we needed two who were pro-war. If we booked two guests on the left, we needed three on the right. When a producer proposed booking Michael Moore, she was told that three right-wingers would be required for balance. (I thought about proposing Noam Chomsky as a guest, but our stage couldn’t have accommodated the 28 right-wingers we might have needed for balance.)

During that period, we were told by MSNBC brass that invasion opponent Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general, should not appear on the channel. Apparently, some sort of blacklist.

When the Donahue show was terminated three weeks before the Iraq invasion, internal memos that had circulated among top NBC News executives actually leaked. (God bless whistleblowers!) One memo said that Phil Donahue represented “a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war. . . . He seems to delight in presenting guests who are antiwar, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration’s motives.” The memo described a dreaded scenario in which the Donahue show would become “a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.”

Mass Media’s Phony Freakout Over Bernie’s WaPo Criticism Is Backfiring Caitlin Johnstone, Medium (KW).

When It Comes to Local News Mergers, Bias Top Concern Gallup

Health Care

American Medical Association leaves coalition fighting ‘Medicare for All’ The Hill


Mass shootings give rise to bullet-resistant backpacks Stars and Stripes

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Inmate 76318-054: The Last Days of Jeffrey Epstein Ali Watkins, Danielle Ivory and Christina Goldbaum NYT. Oh, Ali Watkins. Good call, Dean.

EXCLUSIVE: Jeffrey Epstein shipped $100K cement truck to ‘P*dophile Island’ three weeks before damning expose was released, paying for machine up front so it would arrive quicker, as experts say he could have ‘literally covered up evidence’ Daily Mail. Suicidal tendencies. Obviously.

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Myth of American Military Dominance War on the Rocks (Re Silc).

F-35 Test Fleet Struggling with Low Readiness Rates POGO

Hand-hold phone bans don’t seem to improve safety, but they bring in cash Knox News. Law enforcement for profit wins again.

Class Warfare

Mike Duncan of the “Revolutions” podcast:


In order to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation. Matthew Desmond, NYT (Re Šilc). “Around the world, there are many types of capitalist societies, ranging from liberating to exploitative, protective to abusive, democratic to unregulated.” Not sure how wage labor can ever be characterized as “liberating,” but liberals gotta liberal.

A.I. Is Learning From Humans. Many Humans. NYT. Training our replacements on the grand scale.

Every Penny a Vote LRB. “[T]he notion that neoliberals were, by and large, moderate in tone and inclined to compromise, only to lose their way in the 1970s and 1980s, is chimerical. The foundational intellectual work was radical, and took place before the Second World War.”

How Do You Actually Change Things? Current Affairs. First slowly. Then all at once.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote. Winter in Australia:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Ignacio

    RE: Brexit: predictions set to panic? EU Referendum

    It is an interesting discussion on the politics of Brexit. I wonder anyway if disruptions migth come in unpredicted ways. Whether or not there will be a massive flight of EU workers and how this affects services and food sector is, apparently not discussed in the leaked document. I am also thinking on what migth be happening to other supplies from EU countries. For instance if some EU producers are seeking alternative markets. For instance I have read that Spanish vegetable and fruit producers are actively trying to market their products in other EU countries.

        1. Ignacio

          They will have to complement Operation Yellowhammer with Operation Pinkpiglipstick. Won’t they?

    1. Summer

      As much as cooperation and respect is needed with other countries, this should be a lesson that maybe a country shouodn’t grow to a size where it can not support itself internally in cases of emergency.

      But that view takes the assumption that a country is full of citicizens all with full rights and priveleges. It’s an assumption that the masses inside a country are more than just a holding pen of labor to exploited by multi-national corporations.

      1. Ignacio

        In this case being the UK an open economy means sensitive to brexit-related disruptions. Whether despite this the UK is resilient is something we are going to check soon. Islanders are peculiar in some many ways and they will certainly adapt to changes in relative short time, with big or small losses, but they will.

    2. Tom Bradford

      While I wouldn’t claim there are any lessons to be directly learned, much the same situation arose in 410AD with the withdrawal of the Legions from Britain – essentially Europe in the form of the Roman Empire leaving Britain.

      While I’ve no doubt many scores were settled and those at the top suddenly found themselves uncomfortably exposed and probably helpless to help themselves there is no evidence of any great chaos or social mayhem. The archaeological evidence is that the Roman villas and towns slowly decayed and were abandoned as society adjusted to the new conditions.

      Indeed some see this as a golden age – a time when the population was no longer burdened with an upper, non-productive class, a bureaucracy and the demands of a far-away Government – and of course this is the period just before the time of ‘King Arthur’ uniting the Britons and leading the resistance against the Saxons.

      What’s scary is that Johnson apparently greatly admires Churchill – another Briton who lead a resistance against an evil continental threat – and who may very well be engineering a situation in which his unacknowledged Churchillian/Arthurian qualities can be brought to the for and win him a place among those greats of British history.

  2. UserFriendly

    America’s mega-emitters are starting to close

    Ah yes, Navajo Generating Station, the mega coal plant that the Sierra club insisted on putting in Indian country because it didn’t want nuclear or hydro.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Happy to report that back in the day I put up a giant poster in Zion Natl Park saying Burn Watt Not Coal. We put it up in plain view before Sec’y Watt’s visit to the park. We installed it halfway up a very difficult rock climb (a 5.10 offwidth) and the Park Service failed to retrieve it, they even tried a flaming arrow which started a small brush fire.

        After the Sec’y saw the sign the Park Service came to the local saloon (The Bit and Spur in Springdale, UT) to hire some rock climbers skilled enough to bring the sign down. We raised our hands and got paid $250.

        Fun times…but alas the plant got built anyway.

        1. Wukchumni

          That’s a classic, out of reach but not the message.

          Watt seems like a nice guy compared that Navy Seal clod.

    1. Anon

      That is not the only error of judgement by the Sierra Club. The SC, specifically David Brower, were select culprits in the damming of Glen Canyon in the 1960’s. Their rationale was that sacrificing Glen Canyon was necessary to save the Grand Canyon. Wallace Stegner told Brower, who had never seen Glen Canyon, that the Grand could not hold a candle to Glen!

      Today’s Sierra Club is only marginally better.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Rooting for a Recession Is Dangerous—Especially Under Trump”: ‘Over the last few months, comedian Bill Maher has repeatedly rooted for an economic crash, seeing it as one sure method to defeat Donald Trump next year.’

    Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) –

    A mental condition in which a person has been driven effectively insane due to their hatred of Donald Trump, to the point they will abandon all logic and reason. Often they will be reduced to falling back on their lizard brain and seeing the FBI and the CIA as their saviors.

    e.g We had to burn down America in order to save it from Trump!

    1. Kurtismayfield

      The derangement syndrome has shifted from Clinton, to Bush Ii, then to Obama, now to Trump. There is a hardcore 30% on both sides that are in it for the tribal battles of Red vs. Blue. Look at Biden’s poll numbers.. do they ever change? That is the tribe.

      1. urblintz

        Ya know, I love my brother… Ph.D, published novelist and poet, head or Lit Department at small liberal arts college, tenured…

        member of the tribe, alas.

        I’ve decided that it’s his unwillingness to do the work needed to see through the smokescreen of his success. He’s certainly intelligent enough to understand things and will easily (perhaps too easily?) be persuaded by a logical and factual argument. I had no trouble getting him to vote for Bernie in 2016. But ultimately the blue blinders go on and he just doesn’t want to spend time on politics so his default mode is LOTE: Democrats and only Democrats.

        1. Librarian Guy

          My brother is a follower of the Dem herd, he genuinely cares about others and is not well-off (unemployed the last time we talked, as his wife was recently as well) but somehow he brought all the propaganda about how that “traitor” Assange (not even American) needs to be brought over here to be tortured & punished for life for daring to reveal embarrassing info about the Anointed Hillary. He shouted at me when I was trying to have a rational discussion, finally (I am patient and stubborn) he admitted conditionally that sharing information on US War Crimes (the Collateral Murder video) might’ve been a positive contribution to society, but, but . . . I even got him almost to admit that the War Crimes was the real reason Assange will be martyred to our wonderful NatSec state, but Trumpism makes him see red every minute, whereas the calm “drip, drip” of Obamite outrages (HRC coups in Libya, Honduras, etc.) never even registered.

          I think you nailed it with “unwillingness to do the work needed”, overwhelmed and harried, it takes too many steps outside of the safe Consensus view, there’s some fear lest one depart too much from the “safe” middle.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          Trump = ratings.. if he was showing video of him tweeting and brushing his teeth the media might show it

          Plus he is the greatest distraction. Pay no attention to how the homeless population keeps increasing, or how Auto deliquencues are at the same level as in 2008. Just show Trump.

      1. Librarian Guy

        Agreed. It’s the equivalent of “hopes and prayers” for the victims after the pretty much daily mass shootings of our Market Paradise. Might palliate the magickal thinker’s uneasiness for a few moments, but it’s not even the butterfly on another continent flapping its wings with respect to outcomes.

    2. Darthbobber

      “Rooting for” a recession has no impact at all that I see, unless you’re deployng a few Bearish billions along with the rooting.

      Team donkey could focus on how not-great the present economy is for most, but they actually do their best to anathematize those who go there.

  4. Ember Brody

    This might be nothing and is more than likely just me being paranoid… but since the Epstein brouhaha, I have been getting ads for clothing for teenage girls/young women. Weird.

      1. Stephen V.

        Jeffrey Epstein reportedly told women and young girls that he was a modeling scout for Victoria’s Secret. The financier never worked for the lingerie retailer, or even, technically, for its parent company, L Brands. But he had a close relationship with the head of L Brands, Leslie Wexner, assuming an unusual degree of control over Wexner’s assets and personal life, according to reporting by The New York Times. Epstein seems to have exploited his proximity to Victoria’s Secret to facilitate his alleged crimes. According to Alicia Arden, a model and actress, this was Epstein’s ruse when he lured her to a Santa Monica hotel room and assaulted her in 1997. When Maria Farmer, who worked the door at Epstein’s New York mansion, asked why so many young girls were going in and out of his home, she says she was told that they were auditioning to be models for the lingerie brand. Some of them, she told The New Yorker, were wearing school uniforms.

        1. Librarian Guy

          From what I’ve read and heard, the Vic’s Secret CEO, Wexner, is the only legit “billionaire” who Epstein financially “advised”, nobody else has been dragged out into the light as the source of Epstein’s wealth, as well as the owner of Ep”s Upper E. Side mansion . . . in which case the liberty taken would seem to be small, there was some kind of important relationship there, at the very least Wexner served as a cut-out for wherever Jeffrey’s wealth & power truly emanated (Mossad? CIA?)

          Another sleazebag who’s undoubtedly sighing in relief as the Epstein trail of evidence is being obliterated.

          1. Fíréan

            I had posted on Wexner yesterday, and thank you for allowing my post to go though.

            Wexner used Southern Air Transport (SAT) to ship his products from Hong Kong to Columbus ,Ohio. He and Epstein encouraged the move of SAT to Rickenbacker, where Wexners corporation The Limited was located.

            Southern Air Transport was the C.I.A. transport airline used for drug and arms smuggling. After the sale of SAT. the business continued and the airline was involved in the Iran-Contra affair.

            This article, with sources, originally investigated and published by Columbus Alive in 4-22-1999. reposted here more recent, fills in the detials :

   Published Columbus Alive 4-22-1999

            Only covers activities in Ohio so no reference to the other famous state Governor, and friend of Esptein until recent, who was also invloved with the smuggling of drugs by the palate load ( specific cocaine) through Arkansas.


              1. Librarian Guy

                Thank you, that was some data I didn’t know about, but it all conforms well, & there’s plenty more (I’m sure) for those willing to connect the dots.

                As to that “other Governor” and (Mena), Arkansas drug smuggling, I’m well aware of what you are alluding to. It helped the Contras smash the Nicaraguan Sandinista government, however, so of course was done with the best “patriotic” intentions for the deep state . . . I always found it hypocritical that the right wing American Spectator “exposed” Clinton for this in the 90s when he was president, while surely they supported the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government and never would’ve printed a word about it had Arkansas then had a Republican government. (And no, I don’t like President or Mrs. Clinton, never a big supporter of either one)

    1. Oregoncharles

      I am, too, but I think it predates the Epstein furor. Probably the clothing industry suddenly adopting internet advertising.

      It contradicts the concept of tailored advertising; no one on our IP has shopped online for women’s clothes – ever, I think. Strictly thrift store shoppers.

      And fashion is hardly a major topic here at NC, aside from a couple of pieces on “fast fashion.”

  5. The Rev Kev

    “How Do You Actually Change Things? We are so small and it can feel so hopeless…”

    “If you think you are too small to make an impact, try spending the night in a room with a mosquito” – African proverb

    1. polecat

      Funny you mention that, TRK. I’m currently reading a book just recently published, about the insect that changed the course of History … on more then a few occasions .. the one baring a long, piercing proboscis !

    2. Geo

      Great quote! As someone who is currently dotted with mosquito bites from such an evening it holds quite a profound meaning. :)

    3. Wukchumni

      On our backpack trip to the Mosquito Lakes earlier in the week, the mossies were forming in V-pack formations overhead, as dogfights raged just outside my headnet. A solitary mosquito spent the night in our zippered shut tent, more trying to get out than on attack mode.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Aptly named, then. We’ve encountered that, near the lakes on the east side of the Cascades. Made hiking pretty miserable, since we didn’t have bug nets. One attempt was pretty humorous: you had to keep moving, with a cloud of buzzers strung out behind you. Our sons move faster; when they got too far ahead, rather than wait, they’d march back to us, turn around, and march back up the trail.

        We gave up, stayed in the cabin and mostly played games.

    4. richard

      Nice proverb!
      There’s a fun folktale I like to read my class every year about mosquitos; I can’t vouch for its authenticity (supposedly West African iirc) but it’s very musical and lyrical and great to read aloud. Mosquito wants to marry Ear and sings a sweet zzzzzz song to tell Ear how much in love he is, but Ear says he/she is in love with Head, because mosquito is too little and weak to love. Then he goes to Chest, and sings his crush song, but Chest is in Love only with Arm, because Arm is strong, mosquito is not, etc.. Then Mosquito goes to Leg, and you get the picture, rejected again.
      After all the rejections, mosquito turns the zzzzz charming song into a zzzzz song vowing revenge! Something like, “weak am I? I’ll show you!”
      I read it simply because I love the different zzzzz song ms. quito sings to different parts of the body. Yes, it’s true, parts of your child’s education are just that arbitrary!

    1. jo6pac

      Thanks this well thought out but sadly his ideas on how Amerika can recover from years of stupid won’t happen.

      A good read.

  6. southern appalachian

    Mike Duncan: “because, for me, the most likely scenario involves 1% types building impenetrable compounds in the remaining habitable zones patrolled by a ring of drone weapons to vaporize any prols who get too close.”

    I don’t know about that – my guess is they’ll accidentally vaporize the proles who knew how to make the tools and dies to make the replacement parts, and the miners and factory workers who produced and processed the raw materials to make ammunition and a thousand other things.Putting money on the people with a plow over the eventually inbred aristocracy.

    Put another way, a complex, interconnected global economy necessarily creates positions and opportunities for individuals to direct/extract portions of the economy; as the complex, interconnected global economy unwinds those positions and opportunities vanish. But you always need a yam, or equivalent.

    1. Big River Bandido

      You have a point. Most of the 1% have been so pampered and coddled, always having people to cater to their every wish, that they are completely incompetent — can’t do a damn thing for themselves. I worked for CEOs who truly had no clue how to order their own lunch or make a plane reservation. If they actually had to work, we would quickly see how helpless they are at the most basic skills.

      1. Geo

        After the crash in ‘08 I had a friend who worked for a financial firm whose job became helping their clients learn to live with their new economic reality. Everything from selling unnecessary assets to teaching them how to buy their own groceries and clothes – even things like doing their own laundry and cooking. Some of her stories were hilarious. The level of disconnect these once-rich people had from the activities we all tackle daily was astounding. In many ways they were like children being forced to do chores and resisted/protested the efforts to teach them things they felt were beneath them all while being unable to grasp how to do these tasks. More than once she had to explain that the person(s) could no longer afford a personal shopper or chef in her attempts to explain why they had to learn to do this stuff.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Sort of an embarrassing job, considering the firm she worked for had let their clients down pretty badly.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Back in 1997 when Labour won power in the UK, a lot of Ministers were no longer in power after having a good long run. These mandarins has been all powerful and had staff running around doing ereything for them. One ex-Minister’s wife asked her husband to run down and get some groceries as they were short. Baffled, he actually had to ask his wife how to do it. True story that.

      3. lordkoos

        They’ll have their servants with them in the compounds I’m sure. It’s all fun and games until someone needs to see a doctor…

    2. Oregoncharles

      JM Greer had some thoughts on that; in his “back to the future” scenario, the guards had rebelled and the result was mansions full of skeletons. Nasty thought, that, really. I’m not sure it’s all that realistic, if the richies have enough sense to take good care of the people they depend on. Supply chain problems are more realistic.

      1. southern appalachian

        Well, stuff wears out. And increasingly, you can’t fix it. There’s an assumption of the availability of cheap energy, of a continued subsidy, built into the product life cycle. When it breaks, you ship it to somewhere else. Or we ship you a new one.

        There was some forum with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and they remarked how at a different point in history – most, in fact – their skills would not have led to their relative wealth; I think that is what we are going through, a changing of the environment, both literally and figuratively.

        Anyway, read Greer often. Supply chain disruptions are enough – and won’t take some dramatic complete melting of the Poles or so on, just a continued degradation of the environment in a few places, and millions will have to move. That’s enough..

        Like to think we are capable of adapting, that we could plan for it, could make accommodations. But seems that being good at coding or picking stocks is not the skill set we need at the moment in our leaders. Don’t mean to pick on those two in particular, it’s a general failure.

  7. dearieme

    there’s “almost never a memo or order from top management”

    Just as there were no memos from Hitler or Lenin instructing some of their dire deeds. Yet anyone who thinks Hitler or Lenin is innocent probably needs his head examining.

        1. Olga

          Lenin cannot be properly evaluated outside the context of the 19th cent. Russia – defined by extensive (and unmovable) oppression and exploitation of 98% of the Russian population.

        1. Ember Brody

          That’s just a reference to an audio book. do you have one to a page number in particular?

        2. Olga

          As compared to whom? Amazing how anti-Soviet and anti-Russian propaganda takes hold even with folks, who really should know better.

    1. notabanker

      Anyone who has working in a large corporate environment understands this well. “Pick your battles” is the common refrain.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Sure makes a person wonder about all those “polls” showing biden’s “overwhelming” support, which no “gaffe,” gibberish speechifying, or admitted lack of physical stamina seems to shake.

      I’d imagine no memo is necessary to prevent some talking head from blurting out, “How is this even possible?”

    3. ambrit

      You overlook the “Wannsee Conference” wherein the ‘Final Solution’ of the “Jewish Question” was worked out. Industrial scale evil takes massive amounts of planning. Strangely enough, it is the Ten Percent who does the fine detail work on any big atrocity. Someone has to design the bombs, gas chambers, police tactics, and the myriad other details needed to accomplish anything big and nasty. The “Fearless Leaders” merely give the directions. Once the mindset is established in the bureaucratic system, the rest follows.
      See, my favourite explication of this process, the Feynman Addendum to the space Shuttle Challenger disaster report.
      The original Appendix-F:

      1. polecat

        ‘SOMEONE has to design the intrusive AI, ‘dynamic’ autonomous jackals, KRISPR Critters, and slaughterbots ….’

        1. Oregoncharles

          During WW1, the most famous British chemist – I forget his name now – refused to work on war gas, a rare example of overweening ethics and very brave in wartime. Someone else did it, instead, of course; there are plenty of technicians.

      2. dearieme

        You overlook the “Wannsee Conference”

        Oh no I don’t: Hitler didn’t write any instructions for the conference. It ought to be a salutary lesson for historians: the absence of written instructions from him does not imply that he had no hand in the genocide. All it implies is that he didn’t want any instructions from him on record.

    4. Randy G

      dearieme —

      I think you need your head examined for comparing Lenin to Hitler. Maybe you’re confusing Lenin with Stalin? Are you actually that foggy on Russian and German history?

      1. dcblogger

        Stalin being worse than Lenin does not = Lenin good. Lenin was bad. The last section of that audio book is Emma Goldman’s meeting with Lenin. You really do not have to be a cold war fanatic to recognize that Lenin was bad.

        1. Olga

          So Goldman – who thought political assassinations were just fine – is now our standard to judge revolutionary Russia/USSR? Have you fully thought through the line of thinking you’re promoting?

      2. Olga

        Even comparison with Stalin does not hold – if one takes the time really to study history.
        Once and for all – the fake equivalency between Hitler and anyone Soviet was developed right after WWII as a part of the western propaganda effort to discredit USSR and its victory over the Nazis. Hard to believe today, but after WWII, USSR enjoyed high moral authority and credibility all over the world – even in the west. It won over the Nazis and did not suffer great depression. From the standpoint of western elites, this had to nipped in the bud… or the working class could get ideas. And thus started demonisation of Stalin and all things socialist/communist. (Anyone familiar with the sordid history of what was Churchill should take a second look.)
        And comparison with Lenin – who died not long after Hitler’s beer putsch – is plain daft.

        1. Alex morfesis

          Soviets defeated who exactly ? Oh yeah, that backpedaling to moscva was a “strategic” retreat….and that invasion of Poland after the Luftwaffe lost a quarter of it airplanes in two weeks against a Polish airforce with hardly any airplanes ?

          The gnatzee war ends by Halloween 1939 had not the great patriotic and heroic Soviets invaded Poland….although obviously also a little bias as that other famous ithakan, metaxas, forced Barbarossa to be moved from March to June by his suicidal insistence on actually shooting back at the axis clowns.

          Half a million Hellenes died so the great soviet patriotic victory can be photoshopped into the narrative….

          heroes fight like Greeks

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Mike Duncan…because, for me, the most likely scenario involves 1% types building impenetrable compounds in the remaining habitable zones patrolled by a ring of drone weapons to vaporize any prols who get too close.”

    There is another scenario. The United States currently has 1.3 million people serving in the US military and there are also about 20.4 million veterans out and around. In addition, there are approximately 4,400 bases in the United States of varying sizes.
    What this means is that if things fall apart, you have about 22 million people with military training that will have access to all the stores on those US military bases. Those impenetrable compounds then suddenly become desirable storage depots for plundering after the inhabitants have been cleaned out from a distance.

    1. Ember Brody

      Exactly. I actually read a comment on another site (can’t remember which) where a vet literally said that that was his plan if it comes to it. “I and my buddies will come and take your shit and either kill you or use you as slaves.”

    2. Geo

      Comedian Bill Burr had a joke about that. Addressing all the “doomsday preppers” out there saying basically all they’re doing is storing supplies for the bullies.

  9. Ignacio

    Re: Mass Media’s Phony Freakout Over Bernie’s WaPo Criticism Is Backfiring Caitlin Johnstone, Medium (KW).

    I conclude that Sanders’ move has been a clever one.

    1. richard

      Yes, and here he is following a path trump set down and the only one worth following: Critique the elite messengers. They are hugely distrusted; a poll Johnstone linked showed a majority of ‘mericans think that sources pay for news stories. The suggestion would be considered risible among elites, yet it’s really not too far off the mark, is it?

    2. Hepativore

      I worry that the people that the people that would listen to Sanders’ critique of how biased the media is are people that already suspicious of mainstream coverage. However, the people who already hate Sanders such as the establishment Democrats, Clintonites, and pro-Biden voters that are propping up Biden’s campaign will not be swayed. These are the sorts of people that are still listening to CNN and MSNBC for their news in the first place.

      1. richard

        the polling Johnstone linked did show that self-identified dems were far more likely (42% iirc) to trust msm source- exactly the bunch whose biases are (for the most part) confirmed by msm.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          The epstein affair has kind of introduced a wild card as far as trust in the msm.
          A large percentage are doubting the official narrative and the more they push it, the greater the credibility gap.
          Now the guards are not cooperating with the doj probe, so that adds another layer too.
          Oh what a wicked web we weave…

            1. foghorn longhorn

              It’s hard to imagine anybody associated with this sordid affair not being in some kind of peril.
              Could have a canoe accident like william casey, which somehow just slid right under the radar many years ago.

                1. pretzelattack

                  yeah i think woodward had that in one of his books–veil maybe. supposedly had a last second conversation with casey iirc.

          1. Oregoncharles

            The guards are exposed to prosecution or, at the least, firing, so they’d be very foolish to co-operate.

  10. Musicismath

    Re: that NYT article that tries to explain capitalism’s “brutality” as being a product of racism, first and foremost.

    There was a discussion on an academic board lately where someone posted a query about the Victorian and Edwardian term “slavie.” They’d seen a derogatory description of a “slavie” in a book and asked how common it was, assuming it was a racist term for a black African slave. It had to be explained to them (and a bunch of other American academics — historians all — who piled on with similar assumptions), that no, a slavie was a white British domestic servant, a maid of all work, who occupied one of the lowest possible ranks in the hierarchy of employed persons, and was looked down upon by practically everyone. Some Americans pushed back: no, surely they asked, this had to have been a black slave. No white person would be treated with such systematic exploitation and derision by others who shared her skin colour.

    Eventually, a British academic posted, saying her own grandmother had been a slavie, and describing (in exhaustive detail) how gruelling and exploitative and low status the work was. That killed the thread. No one else has posted. Of course, this silence could mean several things. Perhaps other posters considered her post inappropriate or impolite. (One thing I’ve noticed liberal academics find especially embarrassing is references to, or detailed descriptions of, actual wage labour. It’s almost as bad as talking about student debt, grad school unionisation, or their PhD students’ chances on the job market.)

    But then I thought of another explanation: once they discovered that it didn’t fit in the standard anti-racist frame, the matter just had no further interest or meaning to them. They moved on.

    But on a wider level, I also wonder if the current way of thinking about whiteness (as a transhistorical category of identity to which people belonged regardless of class or status) is increasingly preventing people from being able to understand the basics of how history actually happened. Victorian Britain (home of the slavie) was one of the most exploitative and unequal societies that has ever existed, and it was so while being well over 99% white. The “racism is the origin of capitalism’s brutality” argument simply can’t account for that—the idea that there might be forms of capitalist exploitation brought on by factors other than racial discrimination; that whiteness did not automatically protect people from maltreatment. But then again, I sometimes wonder if Americans assume it was African slaves working in those factories and down those mines, dying of disease and exposure and starvation on the streets of Borough. Or perhaps they are unaware of this part of capitalism’s history entirely, and (not being an outcome of racism) they are indifferent to it.

    In the case of the NYT journalist, I genuinely wonder if he believes all those 18th-century ships’ captains sailed to Africa on the way to the slave markets motivated entirely by racial hatred and not by the chance to make, say, an enormous profit.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That is quite a fascinating anecdote that with a rich vein of implications. I did wonder about one possible explanation for those historian’s discomfort and that was when that British academic posted how her own grandmother was once a slavie. Could it be that when such stuff happens to black people, that is one thing that you might be able to look at dispassionately as you are talking about The Other. But to learn that this happened to white people as well – because capitalism is an equal opportunity enslaver – then this could mean that this actually happened to your own ancestors and your own family. That British academic saying so was a brutal reminder of this point which was one reason why the thread died. It cut just too close to home.

        1. Dan

          But, applying evil to one monocolor, i.e. Bernie’s pledge to fight “white nationalism,” will alienate many white voters who might otherwise vote for him out of economic interests, to vote for Trump again.

          1. polecat

            Yes, this, I think, is a big miscalc on Sander’s part. He should use caution when playing up those tattered and dogeared sjw race cards ..

            Alas, there are Bigger Shad to fry, imnsho.

            1. Carey

              Agree, it’s a mistake. I wasn’t happy to hear about Sanders using this term, which has been happily provided, IMO, by those who serve our
              corporate overlords.

              Divide et impera

          2. neo-realist

            I suspect the “white nationalist” sympathizers for the most part would vote for Trump regardless of Bernie’s stand or lack thereof on white nationalism. If he did pledge to fight it, I don’t believe he would get enough of a significant vote to make a difference.

            I believe “Blood and Soil” comes first with those types way before the economics.

            1. Dan

              You got it bassackwards. It’s the vast majority of undecided white voters that Bernie needs to attract, not alienate.

              Any voter who subscribes to whitenationlistphobia is going to vote for Bernie vs Trump.

              What you are saying is akin to claiming that undecided black voters would not be offput by a candidate who rails against black nationalists and talks about black criminality.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                With the U.S. something like 62% white this has the risk of morphing (in some people’s minds) from “anti-white supremacy” to “anti America”.

                Is the calculation that he needs to say one thing for the primary (and rally the base), then pivot to a more inclusive message in the general?

                1. polecat

                  Well, we can hope* that that’s Sander’s intention.

                  * I Really hate that word .. !

                  Kinda like what ‘folks’ is to Lambert …

                    1. polecat

                      Anymore, I find ‘hope’ to be a much overused woke buzz-word … Why actually DO something to rectify and/or reverse bad outcomes … when ‘wishing for hope’ will suffice just nicely !

                      A recent prime example: “HOPE AND CHANGE” !! ….. Well, we all know how THAT worked out.
                      Give the plebs a teensy, tiny bit o hope, and watch their back pockets get filched, or their vital needs swirl down the grifter’s drain .. lickitysplit ! I don’t want some politician or wokester spewing false platitudes about ‘hope’. What I want, the sentiments of which have been stated here in one form or another, is Concrete Material Benefits … instead of that wispy, nebulous, always-outta-reach .. “Hope”.

                2. inode_buddha

                  In many people’s minds, Sanders already is anti American simply by being a socialist. That is all they need to know.

          3. JBird4049

            “White Nationalism” is very often, and deliberately so, conflated with being an American nationalist. The racist Alt Right Movement, the neoconservative, dog whistling Republican Party, and the deplorable hating neoliberal Democratic Party all want this; by conflating supporters of white supremacy with supporters of American people’s social and economic wellbeing as the same thing splits whites from the rest of the population into several smaller pockets of alt-right racists, reactionary Republicans, the woke 10%, and the politically homeless plurality, or perhaps majority, whites who are not tribal uber alles or extremists.

            1. Aumua

              This is all true, but also don’t minimize the fact that there is a very real white nationalist/neo-fascist movement that is gaining a lot of traction, especially with young people, through a focused campaign online to recruit susceptible minds. They believe in a “white” ethnostate, and that America should be that state.

              That being said, yes it is a clusterfamilyblog with the hysterical and false conflation with nationalism in general.

              But also the white nationalist’s propaganda is very well developed, and has been creeping into more mainstream right wing thought for a while now.

            2. Carey

              “ conflating supporters of white supremacy with supporters of American people’s social and economic wellbeing as the same thing..”

              This. Thank you.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I wonder if this is a uniquely American failing – the inability to imagine slavery as anything other than racism. For a lot of Americans, slavery means people of one race/ethnic group exploiting those of another they consider to be inferior, but for most of history race had nothing to do with it. There were slaves throughout ancient societies and race is almost never mentioned.

      Writing the made also me wonder about our current liberal elites. They are not so gauche as to believe white men should run everything and seem to consider society to have become equitable if there are representatives of all the various ethnic groups among the elite. The catch is these elite are so enlightened that they now feel free to make slaves of all the ethic groups in return. That’s why you don’t hear much protest from the Democrat party about the slow motion coup in Venezuela for example – because it’s OK to beggar a bunch of Latinos just as long as Perez is head of the DNC!

      1. JBird4049

        The melding of racism and slavery is a form of identity politics.

        The elimination of the vast numbers of extremely poor white Americans, including many who were better off only by comparison to black slaves, from American history is interesting. The fact that many people have known people who suffered in appalling poverty only a lifetime ago, but don’t know this is disturbing.

    3. marym

      Do you have any further references to the term slavie (or slavey which turned up in some search results as a term for a female domestic servant) and/or the legal status of the people to whom it was applied, and to their children? On-line dictionaries indicate it was a slang term for a domestic servant.

      1. Musicismath

        Yes, it’s simply a domestic servant, but the term usually seems to have denoted the maid-of-all-work, who would typically have been the sole servant employed in households of lesser means and responsible for all the domestic chores. An extremely difficult, poorly paid, and very low status job.

        I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that such a servant was a literal slave, just that the Americans on the thread seemed to have a difficult time parsing the phrase and what it meant.

        1. jax

          Oh, you mean the second shift that most women do in working class families now? A tribute to the slavey who soldiers on.

        2. Oregoncharles

          I wonder if the term referred back to indentured servants (thanks to DK for reminding me of the term), debt slaves, who were very common before the 19th Century – not sure when the practice ended. They were white, of course, but not chattel slaves – indentures had a fixed term. DK’s post talks about them in the New World. Race ideology may have served partly to prevent them from aligning with the African chattel slaves.

    4. DK

      Makes me think a bit about the founding of Jamestown, a thoroughly fascinating and disgusting tale all around. Corporate venture supposed to turn a profit from the start to wealthy investors back in England, made up of mainly two types of people: lower gentry with no better prospects, who would stand around refusing to work while the colony starved repeatedly; and indentured servants who were forced or conned into coming, who would of course do all the work. The focus of the colony became agriculture only after it was realized that there were no mountains of gold or silver that could be appropriated from the natives, as the Spanish had done, and slavery was introduced when English-Irish-Scots settlers and Indians proved unfit for harsh agricultural labor in malarial swamps.

      Capitalism’s brutality led to slavery, which led to racism. It was a pretty natural growth given the circumstances.

      1. Musicismath

        Yes—a similar story unfolded in the British West Indies. The original 17th-plan called for the plantations to be worked by English, Scottish, and Irish indentured servants and transported criminals, with the assumption that they would provide a founding settler population that would eventually become self-sustaining. It was only after tens of thousands died over a few decades due to malaria (leaving only a small number of descendants) that the owners turned instead to African slave labour.

      2. The Rev Kev

        The only redeeming factor about Jamestown was that it was lost to history and forgotten. It was never built up into a city or destroyed in the construction of a mall. That is, until it was rediscovered which has been an absolute bonanza to historians and archaeologists. It is a vivid window into the earliest times into Colonial America. They have even been able to identify some of the bodies of the buried-

    5. Susan the other`

      Also in that category – LRB on Slobodian’s analysis that neoliberalism became globalization became neocolonialism and then failed by virtue of having no place left to go. Ending with the caveat that ordoliberalism shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the political history of Europe – it’s who they have always been. They have alway’s been afraid of government in the hands of ordinary people. The problem the EU creates for itself imo is that rigid Ordo doesn’t work in a dynamic world. It’s just an ideology, sort of an approximation like E=MC2. It has never stopped to really understand what makes an “economy” work for everyone. And always when the ideology fails the corruption is denied. Which is why MMT is so very smart. It picks up the broken pieces that all that neoliberal denial pretends aren’t even there and says, ‘Look, this is what we need to do in the real world to make capitalism work.’

    6. Katniss Everdeen

      But then I thought of another explanation: once they discovered that it didn’t fit in the standard anti-racist frame, the matter just had no further interest or meaning to them.

      That is the problem with pushing an agenda of “racism” when the problem you’re trying to explain is actually one of class exploitation. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Or abandon.

      I’m often struck by this when msnbs features latinx “academics” or think-tankers shrieking about Trump’s “racist” and immoral immigration policies denying latinx immigrants their chance at the “american dream.” This is usually followed by the “doing jobs americans won’t do” rationale.

      When commenting on the recent ICE raids in Mississippi (msnbs), victoria defrancesco soto, an ardent Trump accuser, latinx “advocate” and a latina herself, asked this (paraphrasing), “Who else will work in the backs of restaurants and chicken processing plants?” Who else but her fellow, far lower class latinxes. No possible chance of racism there.

      But is there anything that resembles modern day “slavery” more than the jobs available to illegal immigrants or the conditions under which they do them? Other than foxconn or the Mariana Islands, of course.

    7. Ember Brody

      Great post, thank you. In Irish Gaelic, the work Sclábhaí (pronounced sclawvee), means drudge or plodder. Generally the position in days gone by (not so long ago) of Irish labourers or housemaids.

      1. Off The Street

        Wondering about naming trends among Irish, specifically about Bridget, or Brigid on the western side of the Irish Sea. Once that term was a synonym or somewhat derogatory term for maid, as so many were young Irish women. Naming trends change over time, but did Bridget’s popularity wane in part due to that connotation?

        There are probably other names that have similar histories. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch, at least in America, to find that people used to have more awareness of the original meanings of names, like Bridget as a girl’s name of Irish origin meaning “strength or exalted one”, given downward trends in historical or literary studies.

        1. Oregoncharles

          I believe Brigid was a pagan Irish goddess. Wikipedia: “Brigit, Brigid or Bríg (/ ˈ b r ɪ dʒ ɪ d, ˈ b r iː ɪ d /; meaning ‘exalted one’) was a goddess of pre-Christian Ireland.She appears in Irish mythology as a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the daughter of the Dagda and wife of Bres, with whom she had a son named Ruadán.”

          Adopted by the Church as mythical saint.

        2. Ember Brody

          Sorry for the late reply but yes, Bridget would be seen as very old-fashioned now and would have a connotation of rural backwardness. Irish (Gaelic) names are, however, still very popular in Ireland.

    8. Aumua

      I highly recommend “The Invention of the White Race” by Theodore Allen for an in depth, and meticulously cross referenced exploration of the intimate relationship between capitalism and racism. It describes how the early American ruling class, the plantation elites, created the “white” race to be a social buffer between themselves and revolution, as part of a deliberate policy of social control, and how racial oppression of dark skinned people followed from this policy.

      You can find this book here by the way:

    9. eg

      “White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America” outlines how indentureship preceded racialized slavery in the US.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “F-35 Test Fleet Struggling with Low Readiness Rates”

    And this is how Russia or China beats America. They declare war and then sit back and do nothing. After a month of flying patrols, the whole F-35 fleet is now on the ground due to lack of spare parts or being unable to boot up. In actual combat, the F-35s lose a plane for every one they shoot down. This is regarded as catastrophic as it will take years to make good the losses so the F-35s are pulled back from combat operations. The same happens for the F-22s. The US is reduced to using planes designed before disco died.

    1. J7915

      IIRC there was a novel written in the 60s about the US lost superiority because they had this super plane, could only buy a very few…and the aircraft had some critical failure mode that became obvious during combat?

  12. timbers

    My 2 cents are, provide free healthcare and low cost housing. Let folks work the rest out themselves. Giving basic income? What’s the point if you can’t afford healthcare & housing. But that’s just me.

  13. ambrit

    Don’t knock ‘Ali Watkins’ too hard. She is employing an old standard subservient female’s ‘get ahead’ strategy. As Faulkner or perhaps Fitzgerald quipped about an ageing Hollywood actress, “She slept her way to the middle.” (Probably, in all honesty, Leigh Brackett wrote it.)
    So, Ali is in the same league as Kamela. Not bad to be linked with the ‘ordained’ Democrat Party Vice Presidential candidate. (The top spot is still up for grabs?)

    1. Off The Street

      The Watkins-Harris Connection

      Wheels up – Lolita Express flight has departed
      Heels up – in-flight servicing commencing

  14. KLG

    Desmond’s article is good, but he writes that Barings was a commercial bank. No. Not a trivial error. Are there any knowledgeable editors at the NYT? /s

  15. Mikerw0

    I don’t think Bernie has the same level of devoted support he had four years ago. My limited circle seems to either never talk about him, finds him stale, or the real reason they backed him was distaste of the Clintons.

    In 2016 the dust-up WAPO and MSM would have produced much commentary. Today crickets.

    I suspect that on top of it all they just want to beat Trump and that is over riding someone who might actually improve things. They both don’t see Bernie as accomplishing that, or don’t understand that just beating Trump isn’t sufficient as the whole cycle will keep repeating.

    1. Pat

      IMHO you cannot discount the dilution of the message. In 2016 his key policies were just impossible. If you believed in affordable healthcare and education and wanted an increased minimum wage, Sanders was it.

      Now there is a huge cadre of pretenders either giving lip service to these policies or attempting a bait and switch. So people think there is a similar route forward without the supposed and real problems that come with Bernie, see fear of socialism and obvious obstruction from both foes and friend.

      Although I will say anyone who supported Bernie at anytime now supporting Biden are either lying about their former support OR delusional. Delusional would also include the idea that Biden can easily beat Trump.

    2. XXYY

      Profoundly disagree. This may just be your circle. The guy is going great guns. He has the most money and the most volunteers of anyone in the race. Of course, the media is doing its best to pretend he doesn’t exist.

      The problems Bernie highlighted in 2016 have not gone away, they have gotten worse. Healthcare is catering. We have 12 years to profoundly cut CO2 emissions. College debt is crushing an entire generation of young people. He is finding a massive and receptive audience in much of the US population that does not see anything good on the horizon from either Trump or establishment Dems like Joe (“nothing will fundamentally change”) Biden.

      One recent data point is Sanders’ appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast program. At this point it has had more views (9.5 million) than the 2nd CNN Democratic “debate”, despite being advertised only by word of mouth.

      Bernie is doing extremely well, and is in much better shape than he was at this point in 2016 when he nevertheless managed to get 46% of the primary vote.

      1. skk

        I watched his interview with Rogan. Bernie was quite impressive. Unfortunately, he wasn’t asked questions about US clandestine and overt involvements in Iran, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Venezuela and far more other places.
        So I don’t know, from his own mouth, what his position on the US Empire is.


        1. Phenix

          Jesus. The man wants to divert defense spending to clean energy and efficiency. He wants to prosecute Big Oil. He is telling you what you need to know. Defense spending and oil are the US empire.

          1. richard

            that sounds a little like what andrew cockburn was saying on a radio war nerd podcast i was listening to recently (several months old, the podcast was about corruption in weapons systems procurement). The war nerd, or his awesome co-host whose name I can’t remember, asked Cockburn what he thought of the word “imperialism” as a descriptor, and Cockburn was like meh, i get that there was a british empire, but it’s unneccessary to add that level to the usian example. Just follow the money explains pretty much everything according to cockburn. Weapons manufacturers need made up threats to sell weapons, and what we call “imperialist war” is just how they use them up so they can sell more.
            I think there is something to this framing, but it doesn’t take into account the neo-cons that do manufacture actual imperialist ideology, and their part in all this. We all know it; you can’t watch any msm media reporting on Syria or Afghanistan or Venezuela and not run into it head-on. A weave of ‘merican exceptionalism, racist paternalism and troop love smacks you right in the face. Not a single cent attached to any of that necessarily, but it’s no less real. That is the imperialism that no candidate (not Sanders or Gabbard) has taken on. Maybe we’re not ready to take it on like that, or maybe as Yves suggested the other day all wars are regime change wars. Maybe simply calling attention to the calamitous disfunction in foreign policy based on “regime change” can achieve the same end or makes more sense as an approach for now.
            idk, but I strongly suspect that even if Sanders were to win, or even Gabbard, and to pull back from regime change adventures, the actually existing weave of imperialist ideology won’t just fall off like some vestigial appendage, and a reckoning awaits

        2. John k

          This would matter if, say, there were a number of long time progressives running…
          Or, if a large number of anti war people were running…
          But there’s only one of each, and tulsi, the anti war candidate, has no chance of getting the nom.
          So Bernie is the only game in town for fundamental change you can believe in.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            And you have to think that the people who run the country (for the benefit of a small country that used to be called Palestine) would be pleased to have one of their own tribe at the top.

            Or maybe that’s exactly what they don’t want: because executing their program through the goyim gives them a cloak of plausible deniability.

            (Taking the risk of being labeled “bigoted”. I’m not, just making a few observations that would seem to be supported by the facts).

      2. DK

        While predicting the future is a hazardous enterprise, I can confidently assert that unless the global economy crashes in a serious and sustained way, in 12 years CO2 emissions will be higher than they are now. I could go on at some length why this is the case, but no one is going to profoundly cut CO2 emissions voluntarily. We are locked in to economic growth at all costs, if only because it is necessary to service the growing amounts of debt being used to pursue or mimic growth. For the time being economic growth is pretty much synonymous with CO2 emissions, and this is highly unlikely to change in the next 12 or 50 years.

      3. dcblogger

        This may be obvious, but a word about Iowa for those who have never participated in a caucus. Each county is allocated a certain amount of delegates, so this is a county by county race, you can’t just rack up a massive turn out in Iowa city and win the state the way you could in a primary. Also, all the campaign managers know what the turnout was in 2016 and how many supporters they need to identify in order to win each locality. So that is what everyone is doing now. Those counts are the most important number right now and those numbers are closely held, even within the campaign. But each campaign knows how many supporters they have identified and how many they need. Directly the winner of Iowa is announced the entire race will have changed. I predict Bernie will win. I also predict that this election will quickly become Bernie vs Warren vs everyone else. Only Bernie and Warren are offering programs that have any real benefits for the Democratic base.

        1. dcblogger

          Michael Brooks keeps reminding us that Biden is strong and no one should underestimate him. Those numbers are real. Biden does not deserve those numbers, but he has them. In my canvassing everyone I talk to north of 50 supports Biden. Also all that racial stuff is a bigger negative with white folks than black folks. White people do not like embarrassing racism.

          Having said all that I predict that Biden will come in third or fourth in Iowa, assuming he is still in the race. One of Biden’s problems is that because he is the front runner he has attracted of the careerist and grifter consultants who want to work for the winning campaign. Clinton and Gore both had the same problem.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Well, you should share the head to head polls with your circle consistently showing Bernie defeating Trump without any messy deranged militarism.

    4. Geo

      I find the opposite within my little circle. Four years ago I was the outlier pushing for Bernie with others saying either “Who?” or that he would never be able to get elected. Now, even those who are barely politically literate know who he is and like him. They may still think he’s unelectable but if he can prove otherwise in early primaries that will change.

  16. Jef

    I like it. About 10 years ago I proposed what I called Farmonastery, where people could go and live a simple life on a farm. They got room and board plus high-speed internet and all they had to do was pitch in with chores. Lots of group gatherings were a big part of it. I pitched this concept on a very active website and received numerous inquiries over the next year or two.

    This combined with the summer camp concept and also something on the university level where many can live, learn, work, and not consume.

    Problem is that for it to make a difference it would need to be a majority of the population which would collapse the economy due to lack of consumption and lack of revenue flow for the leeches to tap into.

    1. Bruce F

      Good idea.

      I’ll say in my experience, the people/friends/family, who have come to the farm to take in “the simple life” were mostly useless when it came time to “pitch in with chores”. Showing up on time was a a problem. Most had a difficult time as soon as they started to sweat. They had a hard time making decisions when they were “uncomfortable”. They all lacked basic sense surrounding tools and machinery. I taught them how to use things safely, taking time away from my “simple life”, only to have most of them forget what I’ve shown them.


      Good luck with your project!

      1. JEHR

        Working on a farm, or even a farm coop, is not something you can do by “pitching in with chores.” These “chores” go from dawn to dusk and the time for relaxation depends on the time of the year (maybe during a winter snowstorm!). Farm work, especially work that is environmentally friendly, would take up most of a person’s time as it must be done slowly, carefully, and often, especially if farm animals such as horses are part of the work. Just read about farming in the early 20th century to get an idea of how hard the work was. Not everyone has that dedication to hard work.

          1. Adrienne

            Bruce, nice blog! Thanks for taking the time to keep it up.

            Love the row of sunflowers at the edge of your field! Last year we sowed some fancy-hued sunflowers at the edges of the garden beds & this year they self-sowed everywhere (tho they seem to be reverting to type, basic yellow). Self-feeding bird feeders and a great pollen source for the bumblebees.

            1. Bruce F

              Thanks for the kind words, Adrienne. Earlier this spring, right before I drilled the oats/red clover in that field, I broadcast, by hand, about 30 lbs of leftover “birdseed” sunflowers about 200 yards along that easement/access road. They turned out great! I love looking at them.

              1. Oregoncharles

                Have you looked into growing sunflowers as a commercial crop – for the seed, mostly. Apparently enough like growing corn to be pretty compatible, and they keep down weeds. A possible diversification. And an especially pretty field.

                1. Bruce F

                  it’s a possibility, though the challenge in this part of Wisconsin is that we get fall rains which can promote fungus/wet seed heads at the time of year when you want the heads to be drying down.

                  I don’t have any experience in growing them either. There’s a pretty steep learning curve on a lot of stuff that I do and there’s only so many hours in the day.

          2. Oregoncharles

            I read a couple entries. Good for you. The idea of that tractor as a high-tech workshop has considerable humor to it.

            Lamb’s quarters and pigweed are food – very good food, esp. the lamb’s quarters. The seeds are edible, too.

            1. Bruce F

              yes, they are food. I’m balancing doing the right thing by the soil with running a business (selling semi loads of organic grain). There is no market for lambsquarters. The USDA Organic label lets me do the right thing, which includes staying solvent.

        1. Stephen V.

          I concur with your comments. I meet regularly with farmer friends who describe the problem of young folk (not all) who are allergic to hard work but might dream of farming.
          Aside from the Yuge issue of acres to land–we have a huge 100+ year old cultural problem : we denigrate manual labor *en general.*
          But like much else this dichotomy is a false one.
          Philosopher / Motorcycle repair shop owner Matthew Crawford deals with this beautifully in his book “Shopcraft as Soulcraft. ” Farmer Wendell Berry has also mentioned this problem.
          Early Happy Labor Day to Lambert!

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Let’s look at an aspect of farming that is mostly overlooked, fencing.
            For a 40 acre tract, it requires one mile of fencing to enclose the perimeter. Times five strands of barb wire, you are looking at 5 miles of total fence.
            Placing a fence post every ten feet will require 528 posts.
            Then it must be maintained, because if you build it, a tree will fall on it or an idjut will drive thru it whilst texting.
            Then there is your water source, farming is not something you get into in your later years. It will put you in the ground fast.

            1. Off The Street

              As one who strung barbed wire, I don’t wish to get back into that business! If the wire breaks, perhaps due to a little nick, that line under tension comes flying toward you with teeth bared. Some called it stringing yellow jackets.

              1. foghorn longhorn

                Forgot to add, EVERYTHING, out here wants to bite ya, stick ya or sting ya.
                But watching country tv, nature, makes it all worthwhile.

          2. Wukchumni

            The average age of a fieldworker in the Central Valley is 45, and for what its worth, i’ve never seen an average white guy or gal toiling in such a way.

            The emphasis really ought to be on getting 20 year old Mexicans to take it up instead.

            1. tegnost

              yeah well I’d say you have your priors and a 20 year old Mexican (your word) isn’t constitutionally any different from any other race. Nice talking point you’ve got there…one things for sure, you are not going to do it.

            2. inode_ buddha

              Y’all need to get out more, up here in the northeast it’s only white guys working their family’s field… I’ve done it, working 200 acres of rare grapes myself, pruning and tying in January…

        2. polecat

          Even working my humble self-slavie suburban plot takes considerable time and effort, with the results not always forthcoming .. I don’t see much of the lumpen folk engaging in such efforts without a lot of trials, tribulations, and .. errors ! People need it disengage the use of their twitter thumbs, and start using their harvest hands ..

          ‘Playstations to Plowshares’ : that’s my unofficial motto.

          1. deplorado

            ‘Playstations to Plowshares’ — I love it!
            The Farmonastery is a good and even great concept too (of course not fitting at all with the psychopathic ‘groaf’ mindset), but yeah – on the personal level it would not be a good fit for everyone! But it doesn’t have to be for everyone.

    2. Oregoncharles

      You mean a commune, like in the late 60’s? A few of them are still around – I know of two in Oregon. A friend was the land manager for one. He doesn’t live or work there anymore. They have a considerable turnover rate.

      The big problem is the social engineering; Americans just aren’t used to a collaborative enterprise, or combining work and residence that way. OTOH, co-housing seems to be a big success here. Organizing the whole thing like a co-op business might help. But there’s a learning curve; you have to develop a whole culture.

  17. TroyIA

    Here’s why the once solidly Republican state of Texas could become a ticking time bomb for Trump’s GOP

    It may be bad for the GOP if college educated white suburbanites leave the party but that may not mean it’s a positive for leftist Democrats. An example I’m thinking of is southern Democrats in the 1960’s. Sure they became Republicans but they didn’t really change their political viewpoints. Rather than country club Republicans being pulled left it may be they join the Democrat Party and pull it rightward.

    1. Daryl

      As someone who lives in Texas, I’m not really seeing it. Sure, you can live in Austin, Houston, or Dallas and pretend you are not in Texas, but this is still a conservative and Republican-controlled state. Trump will be fine in 2020, and the Republicans will find a more agreeable person to run next time.

      On the state level, this state is gerrymandered along racial lines. It would require Democrats to want to actually win elections to begin to take seats. Many districts don’t even have Democrats running.

  18. XXYY

    because, for me, the most likely scenario involves 1% types building impenetrable compounds in the remaining habitable zones patrolled by a ring of drone weapons to vaporize any prols who get too close…

    This is said in jest, but I think the underlying idea, that a tiny minority of the population can shut themselves away and continue to enjoy their elite existence while everything else sinks into the swamp, probably has some credibility, at least with elites who are buying old missile silos and post-apocalyptic estates in New Zealand.

    This thinking might have had some validity hundreds of years ago (or perhaps not even then), but it comically underestimates the complexity and interconnectedness of the world today.

    Imagine the task of keeping even a simple billionaire residence going without access to, say, replacement parts. Even rather simple things like toilets and propane systems require highly manufactured pieces and parts, which would be extremely difficult to fabricate locally even with the necessary expertise and tooling. The inevitable trajectory would be a gradual collapse, over a few years or a decade, to a caveman-level of existence, where hands and teeth are the only implements still working (well, probably not teeth since the dentists had been left outside.). They may survive a few more years than the proles, but they will still certainly be the last generation.

    The sooner elites realize we are all in this together, like it or not, the better.

    1. Big River Bandido

      They will not realize it of their own accord. They will have to be beaten. And then we will have to run roughshod over them on policy.

    2. John

      As long as Amazon and Whole Foods keep delivering to my underground bunker compound and I allow my loyal security guards outside the razor wire a shower and a feast once a week…there should be no problem. My super neato 3D printer will will make anything else I need and I can always vacation on Mars with Elon and when I get bored with the bunker.

    3. Sutter Cane

      I guess I don’t see how the 1% will be able to keep their bodyguards and hired goons from just offing them and taking over their compounds once the rule of law is no longer a concern.

      1. Off The Street

        The extended family of goons are put through a battery of tests, starting with the choice of one marshmallow now, or two later! Once they pass, they sign in blood to receive those two marshmallows in the form of some offshore funding to secure the posterity of theirs after the dust settles. Or so that is the theory before the batteries, water, food and ammunition run out. /s

    4. Oregoncharles

      That picture, if actually sustainable, is called feudalism. Back to the Middle Ages. However: lords originally were warlords. They remained professional military, basically the officer class, until the system collapsed – partly because they had abandoned their function.

      1. Fritzi


        The coddled mega rich of today are in no way, shape or form equipped to take up the role of medieval lord.

        Their heads of security MIGHT.

  19. Carey

    ‘The Metaphysics of Woke Capitalism’:

    “..Finally, the discourse of identity politics is the discourse of woke capitalism, and at a deep level. Woke liberalism maintains a bizarre dialectic of individual liberation and group identity, mediated by the aestheticization of identity, which is to say, the association in identity of deep subjective impulses and desires with various commodity/consumerist/lifestyle fetishes. The functional upshot of woke capitalism/liberalism is the liberation of the individual from any identity or association which might constrain the ability of the individual to function as a fungible unit of economic production and consumption, and the conscription of the individual into group identities which facilitate consumption, and whose in-out group dynamics are oriented around struggles over representation in institutions of authority, which reinforces the givenness, or ‘naturalness’, of those institutions..”

    1. Musicismath

      Excellent letter. I’m seeing exactly the dynamic the writer describes with left-wing friends and family attempting to parent 10-15 year olds in the current climate. There’s a lot of complacency out there from liberals that young people are all basically like millennials. They’re not (certainly not the younger ones), and the observations about the role of meme culture as a kind of incubator for antic (but on a certain level, genuinely felt) pushback against liberal shibboleths that can act as a gateway to the alt-right is spot on.

      1. Carey

        Thanks for this comment. I’m not close enough to the action, my
        daughter being thirty, so it’s good and encouraging to hear some firsthand accounts of the quite young not necessarily being willing to swallow the New Orthodoxy Woke kool-aid.
        Turns out some people just don’t like being to told what
        to think and believe, especially when it flies in the face
        of their lived experience.


  20. EoH

    Re Epstein’s cement truck, yep, every don’t-wanna-live-anymore person is so obsessed with their legacy that they want to bury it under a ton of concrete. LOL.

    1. skk

      That area will have to be dug up. As will, yess I’m segueing to bring this aspect up, all the connections that Epstein had – with Leslie Wexner, Marc Rich, Maxwell, Charles Bronfman, Ronald Lauder ( yess *THAT* Lauder ) – all member of the pro-Israel philanthropy outfit – the Mega Group. And before that, back in the ’80s, the links with the pro-Israel organization B’nai B’rith, parent of the ADL of the links with Roy Cohn, Reagan’s man, Alan Greenberg of Bear Stearns. All connected to each other and to Epstein – and his sexual blackmailing operation on behalf on intelligence services – CIA and Mossad.

      Now digging up more evidence regarding that is also an important part of the story.

      Most of this information is the work of Whitney Webb, who does scrupulously credit other reporters as needed and is currently getting her 15 minutes of fame. For more, google her and catch her articles and podcast interviews.

  21. EoH

    Re Trump’s purchase of Greenland, yes, his idea IS crazy. It is as unfiltered, chaotic, and implausible as any other “idea” Trump comes up with. It’s not an idea any more than a cough or chortle. As a real estate developer, Trump thinks everything is for sale, the negotiations are only ever about price.

    Sure, there are reasons to want Greenland’s resources. But Trump doesn’t want to pay market value for them. He wants to ignore the locals and buy their resources in bulk for a song, in the manner of Jefferson buying the Louisiana Territory. The idea is fatuous and long out-of-date.

    Greenlanders don’t want to replace their connection to Denmark with second-class status as part of the US. They’ve seen how Trump treats Puerto Rico. Denmark doesn’t want to sell them and their land to an oaf of a president, who cares about either about as much as Leopold cared for the Congolese.

    1. Geo

      “But Trump doesn’t want to pay market value for them.“

      When do we ever pay market value for another nation’s resources? That’s what our military is for. /s

      1. jo6pac

        You bet. I say Amerika attacks and occupy Greenland now. If any Greenies don’t like it then ship them to Denmark. If Denmark doesn’t like it then tariffs and close it to all trade;-)

      2. EoH

        Nothing special, I suppose, in a guy who doesn’t drink alcohol imposing 100% tariffs on French wine. Just another excuse to raise prices for luxury goods at his properties.

        Tariffs!! is all he knows about trade and foreign policy, and he knows nothing about them. He’s just willing to make everyone pay for things he doesn’t value, which is a pretty large universe. I wonder what he’d say to 1000% tariffs on golf balls, clubs, and grips, denture-grip and tan-in-a-bottle.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe Denmark can play swapsies. The US gets Greenland and in return Denmark gets Alaska. Sounds like a fair trade to me. Well, maybe the Danes insist that the US keeps the Palins though.

  22. Summer

    RE: Cement Truck to Ped Island…

    And this:
    “Other items sent to Epstein was a tile and carpet extractor that weighed 191 lbs and was sent to his New York home from the US Virgin Islands on March 11….”

  23. flora

    re: What will it take for the Democratic establishment to abandon Biden? – The Week

    Maybe realizing that ‘Barack Obama version 2’ is going backward instead of forward? nah…

    From Harper’s Magazine, July 2009:

    It is impossible not to wish desperately for [Obama’s] success as he tries to grapple with all that confronts him: ….

    Obama’s failure would be unthinkable. And yet the best indications now are that he will fail, because he will be unable—indeed he will refuse—to seize the radical moment at hand.

    ….The trouble is that we are at one of those rare moments in history when the radical becomes pragmatic, when deliberation and compromise foster disaster. The question is not what can be done but what must be done.

    We have confronted such emergencies only a few times before in the history of the Republic: ….Probably the moment most comparable to the present was the start of the Great Depression, and for the scope and the quantity of the problems he is facing, Obama has frequently been compared with Franklin Roosevelt. So far, though, he most resembles the other president who had to confront that crisis, Herbert Hoover.

    The comparison is not meant to be flippant. It has nothing to do with the received image of Hoover, …. To understand how dire our situation is now it is necessary to remember that when he was elected president in 1928, Herbert Hoover was widely considered the most capable public figure in the country. Hoover—like Obama—was almost certainly someone gifted with more intelligence, a better education, and a greater range of life experience than FDR. And Hoover, through the first three years of the Depression, was also the man who comprehended better than anyone else what was happening and what needed to be done. And yet he failed.

    Does anyone think Joe Biden – Senator for the credit card companies – will do what Obama did not do? Joe will keep the billionaire donors and DLC centrists happy, imo, and little else.

    1. Oh

      In a saner world without the propaganda both Obama and Biden would be revealed for what they really are – con artists.

    2. Telee

      Biden: ‘There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there’

      He sure will! Just like he supported the Iraq War, the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, worked with Strom Thurmond to write the crime bill which filled the prison industrial complex with black and brown people, set up the student loan debacle, supported Nafta ( Trump has already talked about that,) aided the republian anti-busing position, advocated cutting social security etc. Just what we need? I won’t vote for this corporate democrat who has betrayed the people. Besides, I think Trump will beat him handily in the election.

    3. sleepy

      I don’t wish Biden on anybody, or Trump for that matter, but a Biden presidency would imho doom the democratic party. I don’t think any number of consultants, branding agents, and marketeers would be able to resurrect it. That’s the good news.

      The bad news is that I think a failed Biden presidency is likely to result in a repub presidency in 2024 that will be far nearer fascism than the current blowhard.

      1. polecat

        Campaign slogan for 2024 :

        – Vote Benevolent Dictator – ‘Because THAT’S The Only Choice Left That’ll Work !’

    4. Lee Too

      So I read the piece from the The Week after a couple beers. But that’s a relevant perspective. I read it also while being a bit old. I am soon to be 74. But Good God, Biden is a bad candidate because he’s WRONG, not because he’s old. Do people like Mr. Walther have any idea how condescending the business of failing powers and being mid-seventies comes across? More to the point, are they really willing to write off this demographic at the polls? Jesus, I knew so many people who were “old and failing” in the only sense that counts — lacking imagination, thinking which was driven by glands and received opinion — when they — and I — were in our twenties! Are we really going to set a “do not use after” date on our candidates when we have so many old codgers just managing their thirties?

  24. Adrienne

    Great discussions & links today. So thankful for the clear heads… I would be hard-pressed to stay somewhat sane these days without the great people here.

    [Ugh, realized I mis-typed my email address. Sorry, mods..]

      1. Bugs Bunny

        My first 2020 donation b/c of your link. Thanks. I don’t think she has a chance but I sure want her in the debates.

        Who knows, she might even become a dark horse.

        1. Carey

          Thanks for the corrected link, and I’m going to send Gabbard a few more bucks, too. Yes, it’s important
          to have her in the next debates for sure.

    1. dearieme

      The pick of the Dem candidates by a million miles. Bet she’s not a Lenin apologist either.

      1. witters

        Lenin be there is the morning,
        Lenin be there late at night,
        Lenin take whatever’s wrong,
        and make it right,

  25. a different chris

    OMG an idiot in so many ways. From “Bellingcat”:

    I just wrote 4000 words on @TulsiGabbard’s “Reports on Chemical Attacks in Syria”. Dear Reader, it’s really bad. …\

    Yes it is “really bad”, Elliot, yes it is. Oh wait you weren’t talking about your 4000 near-random word spew? The one that would make Alex Jones blush? A note, BTW: attacking Dr. Postel from afar since he burned your butt head-to-head shows some real guts, there. Just let go, dude.

  26. polecat

    “Bellingcat” – The guy who probably had no option .. but to rent the Durstley’s under-stairs that Harry Potter vacated !

  27. richard

    Okay, I would like to give a boost to Radio War Nerd podcast, which I’ve been listening to this weekend. I was all set to listen to the first of their 6 episodes on the 100 years war (like most ‘mericans, my world history background is shite), and it’s the beginning of the episode and they’re just talking about this and that: Argentine culture and and history (war nerd was there) the mueller report (this was from march), and then cohost Mark Ames says:
    “you pay no price for being wrong in some professions (journalism/academia)” referring to russiagate
    the war nerd agrees:
    “especially for being wrong in a group
    but for being right
    especially prematurely and intuitively right
    there is often a heavy price to pay”
    just an example of the good sense you get
    along with the political and military hardware knowhow
    and they haven’t even got to the 100 Years War yet!
    sorry for the fan boi outburst, I only break it out a couple times a year

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Scientists have discovered how memories are inherited”

    It would be interesting to see if they can map historical events to DNA. The Black Death which wiped out a third of Europe in the mid-1300s should have left behind a marker or two because it was so traumatic to the people that lived through that era. If they could do this, then you could wonder what else they could note markers for.

  29. anon in so cal

    Online petition asking the DNC to “Include Economist, Emerson, Suffolk polls for DNC debates” so that Tulsi Gabbard can qualify for the upcoming debates.

    “We the voters ask that you include polls from the Economist, Emerson and Suffolk for the September and October DNC debates. Since the end of the July debates, only a handful of polls have been released, far fewer than what was previously being released. We ask that these polls be included so Secretary Julian Castro and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard be included in the debates. They have far exceeded the donor threshold and clearly have grassroots support, which is essential for any election.

    Include these polls so the candidates can qualify for the debates. It is imperative we have unique voices on a debate stage and both these candidates have offered unique solutions and it has clearly resonated with the grassroots base as they have both exceeded 130,000 unique donors.”

    Courtesy of Curry Dobson’s Tweet:

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