Links 9/16/19

Fisherman gets shock as he reels in ‘dinosaur-like’ fish with huge eyes Sky News

Common pesticide makes migrating birds anorexic Science

Private equity returns are not all they seem FT

Private Equity Tries to Protect Another Profit Center Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt, CEPR


Brexit secretary raises possibility of standstill transition deal FT

Brexit: UK will reject any delay offer, PM to tell Juncker BBC. I may have lost the plot here, but:


Jeremy Corbyn could leak classified US intelligence to Russia and Iran if he becomes prime minister, think tank warns Donald Trump Daily Mail

France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen charged over EU funding scandal: lawyers Deutsche Welle


Oil prices soar after attacks halve Saudi output FT (KW).

Trump says US locked and loaded in response to drone attack AP

Its Lifeblood Attacked, What Are Saudi Arabia’s Options Now? Bloomberg

Brazen drone strikes lead to questions about Saudi air defense Jerusalem Post

EXCLUSIVE: Iranian drones launched from Iraq carried out attacks on Saudi oil plants Middle East Eye. Source: “a senior Iraqi intelligence official.”

A coordinated drone attack has knocked out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil supply Technology Review. A round-up.

* * *

Afghan peace talks: Trump tweets, Taliban fights Le Monde Diplomatique

Kabul Relieves Traffic Congestion By Creating Car Bomb Lane Duffelblog (KW).

Trump Called Out ‘Where’s My Favorite Dictator?’ When Looking for Egyptian President at G7 Rolling Stone. Trump says the quiet part out loud again.

Last Time a Jewish State Annexed Its Neighbors, It Disappeared for 2,000 Years Foreign Policy (Re Silc).

How Ultra-Orthodox Perks Set Israel Election Agenda Bloomberg

List of drone recent drone stories. Thread:


Tear gas, water cannon vs. bricks and Molotovs after thousands defy protest ban on Hong Kong Island Hong Kong Free Press

View of the Hong Kong protests from the Mainland. Thread:

Not clear why the average Chinese worker would back liberal democracy in Hong Kong in any case; maybe less corruption? Is that case being made?

China’s slowdown deepens; industrial output growth falls to 17-1/2 year low Reuters

Chinese village produces 60% of world’s oil painting replicas Nikkei Asian Review

Thai Belt and Road project bumps into finance and liability issues Nikkei Asian Review


Venezuela’s opposition says Norway-mediated dialogue with Maduro ‘is finished’ Reuters

Trump grew weary of Bolton’s push for military force against Venezuela McClatchy

The Gospel of Oil Boston Review (TH).

Trump Transition

Are Trumpians or Boltonians in charge? Lowy Institute

Brett Kavanaugh is hit with a fresh sexual misconduct allegation from his time at Yale in the 1980s amid claims the FBI did NOT investigate the incident before his contentious confirmation Daily Mail

Wichita police, State Department investigated burglary of Pompeo’s storage units McClatchy. Odd.

The Spy Who Failed Scott Ritter, Consortium News

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

‘If I Happen to Fall out of a Window, You Can Be Sure I Was Pushed’ (interview) Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel

Understanding Snowden’s options. Thread:

The World’s Most Important Political Prisoner Craig Murray. Assange.

Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing Board to Call for Safety Changes After 737 Max Crashes NYT. “The committee recommends flipping the reporting lines, so that top engineers report primarily to Boeing’s chief engineer, and secondarily to business unit leaders.” Good to see that the Board is not completely supine. Nonetheless, see the final paragraphs on PowerPoint.

India plans to conduct its own checks on Boeing 737 MAX jets Seattle Times

U.A.E. Doesn’t Expect Boeing 737 Max to Fly Again This Year Bloomberg


‘People Actively Hate Us’: Inside the Border Patrol’s Morale Crisis NYT


A « pure » MMT? MMT France

Class Warfare

In Coal Country, the Mines Shut Down, the Women Went to Work and the World Quietly Changed NYT. A heartwarming story, where after the mines closed and deaths of despair soared, women joined the workforce to work doing treatment for opioids and workplace injuries. So everything’s going according to plan. Interestingly, the Letcher County of the story is the site of the Trillbillies podcast.

Kaiser healthcare workers plan for nation’s largest strike since 1997 Salon

46,000 UAW workers go on strike against GM, America’s biggest automaker CNN

Corruption Cases in the Auto Workers Complicate Bargaining Labor Notes

Is the US Economy Having an Engels’ Pause? The Conversable Economist. Yes, that Engels.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. dearieme

    Drones: it was a false-flag attack by –

    Russia. Israel. Brexit. Jordan Peterson. Venezuela. Canada. A bunch of guileless drone hobbyists. Ethiopia. President Assad. Uighurs. The CIA. The US Marine Corps. The US Navy. The US Army. The US State Department. The Texas National Guard. The Royal Shakespeare Company. The Vatican City. The Freemasons. Les Amis de Notre Dame. Jeffrey Epstein. Greenpeace. Serbia.

      1. Ignacio

        Actually the fastest way to fight climate change would be to “drone” 50% of world refinery capacity with the prevention of calling employees to evacuate minutes before.

        1. Wukchumni

          Our tether is the same as everybody else, whatever is in the gas tank of our car/s, for us around 33 gallons max.

          Stopping the world would bring on chaos, a rupture that cuts convenience off at the past.

          1. Ignacio

            Chaos or some necessary difficulties? You can work on the demand side or on the supply side. I am starting to think that the demand side will never be ready for the challenge, thus one can act reducing supply. Bombarding is of course an exaggeration but production cuts could prove to be easier, or at least simpler, targets than demand cuts.

            1. Ignacio

              For instance, oil importers. Put a limit to oil imports and decrease the limit every year. The society will have to adapt and it will force steps that otherwise are delayed because of procastination.

            2. Wukchumni

              If the county bus could get gas when everybody was out of luck all of the sudden and went cold turkey, maybe it’d keep the same 3x a day (once a day on the weekend) schedule from here to Visalia, the problem being that it’s kind of a short bus that holds about 30 people for a population of around 150,000 that it services along the route. We’d soon resemble a similar vehicle in the 3rd World, laden with purchases hanging from the side, by those lucky to get a seat.

          2. Eclair

            I am providing free rides to Amish neighbors when they have shopping or other errands that are beyond the usual buggy ride. Actually we have a kind of barter system, but don’t tell the IRS. Plus, they are fun to hang out with. Hoping they will return the favor at some point :-)

    1. Craig H.

      There was a great link in that Moon of Alabama yesterday that was published on mint news in July. The Yemenis / Houthis / whomever (I am a dilettante on these topics) had an exhibition of their arsenal.

      UAE’s Yemen Troop Withdrawal Follows New Houthi Weapons and Threats of Attack on Dubai;

      The Houthi strategy of striking the Saudi-led Coalition on its own territory appears to be working, as Saudi Arabia’s main partner in its war on Yemen, the UAE, recently announced it would begin a drawdown of troops from the country. by Ahmed Abdulkareem; July 9, 2019

    2. Monty

      One strange coincidence was there an extremely high volume rotation into beaten down oil related stocks at the end of last week. Paid off bigly today. Was that the Houthi’s re-balancing their 401k accounts?

      1. Steve H.

        After thinking about your comment, I realized that, with 1% of the population being psychopathic, of course somebody is going to do a drone attack on oil resources, equivalent to shorting United Airlines before 9/11. It’s inevitable, politics not needed, just greed. The only reason I can think it hadn’t been done before is the mutual downside for all oil producer/refiners. Now the cat’s out of the bag, be ready. (Lookin’ at you, Houston.)

  2. Steve H.

    > A « pure » MMT? MMT France

    The last paragraph has a dangerous ideological overreach, but its core is important:

    “[Keynesianism] does not recognize the currency as a monopoly of the State and therefore does not recognize the power of the State to determine, create a constraint, structurally influence the term of exchange of the currency.”

    I just finished the Piketty’s “Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right” ( and find the argument strong in terms of understanding intraelite competition. The shift in Left (US Democratic) Party dynamics as being based in education coincides with the indoctrinational aspect of institutional economics. It’s insufficient to say that mercantilist ideology leading to neolibralism is the root of the problem.

    One thing MMT brings is an understanding of the debit side of the ledger. I have seen a chaired social scientist simply not getting unemployment dynamics in the US. The concern with stability coupled with aging means a desperation for the pension to not degrade. Since finance capitalism offers returns of multiple orders of magnitude over productive investment, it puts the educated formerly working-class into the teeth of the exploitative trap, that is built on personal debt (consumer, mortgage, student loans).

    So what remains are the identity silos, which serve to break working class coalitions (see “Coal, and the Harlan County Coal Miners Who Blocked a Train Over Bankrupt Blackjewel’s Wage Theft”). An example is the love for Obama amongst liberals without regard to his being a pitchfork shield for the bankers. It seems impervious to the working class middle finger that Trump represents.

    A particular point to note is the near flatlining of the vote as a percentage of population at around 40% since mid 20th century. This coincides with the decreased civic engagement Putnam outlines in “Bowling Alone.” And it needs to be pointed out, to those who believe that not voting signals the election is not legit, that not voting hands power to those who do vote. Don’t gerrymander yourself.

      1. Oh

        Many people I know parrot the following:
        “It’s your duty to vote and not voting gives power to the other side”.
        I’ve never felt that way because the candidates nominated by either party suck.

      2. Plenue

        So at worst it’s completely pointless*. Well that’s not a reason not to do it. Not to get too maudline, but the right for universal sufferage was fought for. And I’m not talking about soldiers on a battlefield, because it mostly wasn’t done there. It was mostly achieved against the express wishes of the elite of our societies. Just as a matter of principle if you can vote, you should. Not voting is literally what our rulers want.

        *and objectively it’s not pointless. It just isn’t. To pick a big example, Trump won basically because a significant number of people didn’t bother to show up to vote at all, which gave him the edge he needed where he needed it. His victory was measured in the hundreds of thousands. If just a fraction of the millions who previously voted for Obama but didn’t vote at all in 2016 bothered to show up, Trump wouldn’t be president. And as much hyperbole as there is about the ‘Age of Trump’, his election has had significant consequences (some of them even positive). It’s certainly caused a meltdown and crisis among the political class that doesn’t want you to vote. Voting mattered, both in terms of those who voted and especially in terms of all the people who said “my vote doesn’t matter” and didn’t.

        To pick another couple of examples, the Brexit vote most definitely mattered. The Irish referendum on gay marriage mattered (and as disillusioned with LGBT and identity politics as I may be, gay marriage is something that should exist, at least if the state is going to be involved in marriage at all)

        1. Oregoncharles

          2 out of your three examples are referendums, which make law or change policy directly (or just wreck things, like the Brexit vote).

    1. jsn

      Your last point, okay, but voting then just legitimizes what the NeoLib Demoblican monopoly has ordained.

      Go UAW, whatever it’s corruption problems, they’re shavings of pennies on the dollar compared to our Capital Corruption, and go health care strikers and coal miners! General Strike!

      The flat withdrawal of the consent of the governed, it seems to me, is the only way out of this mess outside WW3, which TPTB seem to be drumming for to get their bacon out of the skillet!

      1. a different chris

        You vote third party, write in somebody if you have too, just show up and certify that you don’t accept the results, R or D. Otherwise they assume you do.

        Why is this so hard?

        As far as Carla’s survey, well yeah obviously not this time. And almost assuredly not next time. But sooner or later, as people find themselves squeaking into office they are gonna start thinking about that 20% that didn’t vote for them or their opponent but was willing to show up and be counted anyway.

      2. kiwi

        And what exactly do you think would happen if all withdrew their consent?

        We would call the government illegitimate and then what? The pols would just get few friends to vote for them.

    2. Steve H.

      To (at this point) two comments encouraging don’t-vote: when less than half those eligible don’t vote, you can’t expect majority opinion to hold sway. This benefits those who wish to hold power in the hands of the few. AOC may have dialed it back, but she did a hostile takeover of a power seat to get to where she is.

      Point being, increasing turnout is more likely to help those who live through their labor. Decreasing turnout helps those for whom democratic process is an annoyance.

      1. Carey

        Are you thinking that our votes are accurately counted, even if they’re not for one of the
        approved™ candidates? For example, we’ve been told that Stein / Baraka and the Green Party garnered only *1.03% of the vote* in the 2016 Presidential election, despite the two brand-name candidates being arguably the worst in modern history. Do you find that believable?

        1. Steve H.

          At the time, my district only showed three votes for Green, which shocked me. After talking with people in the neighborhood I realized how deep the O-llusion ran. So I believe it’s possible.

          Try this: that Sanders got robbed indicates he could pull, broadly speaking, half the D vote. If he got through that, he could still get McGoverned by the DNC with faint help. And then, the Presidential. What your concern is goes to why Lambert calls for paper ballots, hand counted.

          I’m looking at, if the D party fails, take half their votes and put them to a new party, say Indiparty; take 1 in 4 R votes, add another 10% new voters by those disenfranchised, and you have a new majority party. Global elite donors look at the D party and see no ROI, away goes funding. We’ve had one hostile takeover of the White House, why not another?

    3. Susan the other`

      It did make good points – points of refinement from an already socialist perspective. We here just cut to the chase by easily acknowledging the concept of sovereign fiat. MMT France talks about inflation control and “redenomination” whereas we here are talking about the idea of “pure” inflation that has only to do with scarce resources at which point the market corrects without a lot of monetary manipulation. So their deficit spending is not based on sovereign fiat whereas ours is. We think of MMT maintaining demand, employment and social well being in a slowing economy; the French are thinking of maintaining the value of the currency and coming toward MMT from their old perspective of deficit spending as debt spending. Maintaining the value of the currency just got a much wider scope in France – that of all of society, and the implications for the value of a good society to be the counterbalance of their deficit social spending; they are on the verge of getting it. It was so logical and so very French I could almost smell the cigarette smoke.

    4. UserFriendly

      It does not recognize the currency as a monopoly of the State and therefore does not recognize the power of the State to determine, create a constraint, structurally influence the term of exchange6 of the currency. He therefore fails to accurately describe the process leading to inflation, while MMT does.

      Yet one more area where we would have been a million times better off if Kalecki was the one who got famous for discovering the problem of insufficient demand.

      What is Inflation? M. Kalecki

      1. Susan the other`

        Thanks. Inflation is scarcity and should be dealt with by rationing; by sufficient supply; by good wages. How this gets so confused is amazing. Thinking here about Bitcoin – manufactured scarcity. It’s the impatient speculator’s favorite investment. Funny. But interesting that it appeared just as the world was getting a grip on the definition of inflation.

  3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Very odd how they’re saying the drones came from Iraq. Wait, not odd at all, that way they can say it was the Iranians. If it was the Houthis, direct from Yemen (which is what I believe) then they risk the chance the world awakes from its slumber and asks “why are the Yemenis mad?”. Awkward question. Awkward answer. Gimp U.S. taxpayer doesn’t even *know* his tax dollars helped starve an estimated 50,000 Yemeni children to death.

    Kind of like “why did Osama Bin Laden attack the U.S.?”. (I dunno, did he ever say why? Um well, yes, he did: because U.S. troops had invaded holy Saudi territory).

    1. Bill Smith

      “the Houthis, direct from Yemen” Don’t know, but what is the distance the drone traveled even in a straight line for that to have happened? On the other hand the Houthis have done this a half dozen times already? Just with nowhere near as much success. There were some events in 2017 and I can remember March, April, May and July in just 2018.

    2. Wukchumni

      You kind of wonder whats to stop a concerted drone attack on refinery complexes anywhere in the world, they’re sitting ducks against $15k kamikaze drones piloted by an endthusiast bent on throwing a spanner in the works.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Good point that. When a bunch of civilians are murdered you have the usual blather of how we must ‘stand strong’ and ‘resist terrorists’ said by people that have their own body guards so you wonder if these politicians will say the same when a few refineries are attacked and if the response will be the same.
        With the spectacular success of this attack, you wonder too how the Middle East is going to look in a few short years when every country is armed to the hilt with these things. Countries like Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, etc. will be a lot more risky to attack then.

    3. Winston Smith

      And why are the Houthis so mad might lead to the question “why did the US president winner of the Nobel peace prize tacitly support this saudi onslaught”.

    4. ex-PFC Chuck

      The comment thread at this 9/14 post at SST contains an informed discussion on why it probably was the Houthis of Yemen who did this and how they were able to do so. The disturbing gist of it all is that it was achievable mostly with readily available, inexpensive parts and software. Also pertinent is this prescient scenario sketched out fifteen years ago by John Robb at his Global Guerillas blog.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I linked to Robb yesterday. Those comments at SST are interesting. I would really like to see a complete, worked example of how a Yemen-built drone could do what these drones are said to have done.

        When I think of a military-grade drone, I picture something guided by a human using a joystick. But it may be that all these drones needed was some GPS coordinates (although, if the photos of the surgically drilled tanks are genuine, the coordinates would have had to be quite precise).

        1. ambrit

          The Americans used on the ground troops, (special forces types,) to aim laser beams at targets during the “clandestine” actions against the old Libyan regime. The stand off missiles used the laser reflections to target on. Thus, pinpoint accuracy. [I heard this story from a genuine special forces man who also mentioned the American special forces taking casualties in getting out of Libya after the attack.] Thus, in the Saudi attack, no particular GPS magic needed. Many times, the old methods are still the best.

          1. Acacia

            Funny how laser beams are today “old methods” though Goldfinger did have a pretty swell industrial model.

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      Isn’t the Iraqi parliament moving to dismiss all U.S. troops? The empire hates to give up colonies.

    6. Chauncey Gardiner

      But it’s nice to see that at this hour our sacred neoliberal stock markets are being actively defended and the hit has been skewed to the euro et al and Brent crude oil rather than Bucky and West Texas Intermediate Crude. Surprised that coffee is dropping, though. We might need a lot of it in the days ahead.

      1. ambrit

        The Sacklers are going to make a financial ‘killing’ off of this. Imagine all the ‘walking wounded’ there are going to be among the defenders of those 800 odd American bases around the “colonized sphere.” This is the recipe for great demand for both opioids for pain relief and amphetamines for ‘alertness’ during ‘conflict resolution’ exercises.
        As a friend opined a few years ago when we were discussing the world situation; “Go long pain, and pain meds.”

    7. Carolinian

      Moon has detailed photos of the damage and pooh poohs the above Middle East Eye report

      Middle East Eye, a Qatari financed outlet, reported yesterday that the attack was launched from Iraq by Iran aligned forces in revenge for Israeli attacks in Syria. The author, David Hearst, is known for slandered reporting. The report is based on a single anonymous Iraqi intelligence source. Qatar, which is struggling with Saudi Arabia and the UAE over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, would like to see a larger conflict involving its rivals east and west of the Persian Gulf. The report should therefore be disregarded.

      However he also doesn’t buy the notion that the missiles/drones came all the way from Yemen. They may have been launched from within Saudi Arabia.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t think it’s that much of a revelation that a Middle East source might have funding and an angle; Al Jazeera is financed by Qatar, too, after all. And since neither I nor the NC commentariat just fell off a turnip truck, I flagged the link with this qualification: “Source: ‘a senior Iraqi intelligence official.'”

        Many links are posted as a jumping off point for discussion, rather than as an endorsement of a thesis — in cases like this one especially, where there’s no agreement on the most basic facts.

        More information on MEE here.

        1. Carolinian

          I wasn’t attacking your link–just passing along some extra information. I think the details of what was damaged are interesting.

          Trump has been criticized for saying he was “locked and loaded” and waiting for the Saudis to say who attacked them. But what he really may have been saying was “if you want to pin this on the Iranians then be ready to face the consequences.” Could be that Iran’s constructive ambiguity will continue.

    8. Procopius

      This is from July, but still relevant. The author thinks he understands why the UAE is withdrawing (some of?) its forces. Juan Cole over at Informed Comment points out that the Houthis launched a drone attack in May that showed they can now reach at least Riyadh, and supposedly they have improved their missiles since. Of course Pence and Pompeo both want to blame Iran, to please Netanyahu.

  4. Wukchumni

    …the not oft seen Marty Feldmanta Ray?

    Fisherman gets shock as he reels in ‘dinosaur-like’ fish with huge eyes Sky News

    1. Dan

      The eyes are much larger than normal because he reeled it in from 2,600 feet. Imagine a human floating in outer space without a space suit; the eyes would bulge and the blood boil. Fisherman is lucky it didn’t explode in his face.

      1. Lee

        Brings back memories of Fishing for Mackinaw Trout in Lake Tahoe. They tend to hold deep and balloon up when reeled up to the surface. It was like hauling in a waterlogged shoe. No fight, no fun.

        Non-native fish stocking dates as far back as the late 1880s, when rainbow, brook, brown, and lake trout (also known as mackinaw) were all stocked in the lake for recreational fishing. Lake Tahoe was once home to the leviathan Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, which can grow over four feet in length and up to 40 pounds, and acted as the top predator in the lake. However, heavy commercial harvesting during the Comstock mining boom, watershed degradation from logging and grazing, and the introduction of voracious lake trout and brown trout all led to Lahontan Cutthroat being completely wiped out of Lake Tahoe in the 1930s.

  5. The Beeman

    regarding Brett Kavanuagh allegations, Dave Chappelle made an interesting comment about how brittle our culture has become.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Dave Chappelle said he doesn’t believe victims. F*** Dave Chappelle.
      And I say that as a former fan.

      1. Roger Boyd

        We have courts of law to decide guilty/innocent and the believability of testimony. I hate Kavanagh as much as the next liberal/socialist, but this kind of bullshit just allows the neoliberal DNC to keep going along its merry way of making sure that the billionaires feel nice and cared for while ignoring the real issues.

        The US is now an oligarchy, with wealth inequality that would make the Great Gatsby happy and we are debating whether some guy at a frat party stuck his penis in some girl’s face decades ago. How many other drunk frat party boys did very much the same decades ago. And what about Creepy Old Joe (or slick Willy?), feeling up kids and women is fine if you are a senior Democrat? Complete f**king hypocrisy and irrelevant bullshit.

        P.S. The Dems could have gone after Kavanagh against many real issues with his judgements, but that would have shone a nasty light on many of their own. So we get decades-old accusations (which they are, they are not facts).

      2. Late Introvert

        Did he really? Did he make that sweeping statement? Or did he make some jokes and express doubts about two individuals in one particular case, where no one knows what really happened? I know I lean towards MJ being guilty, but I don’t really know, or care much. But I do hate it when comedians are condemned for just questioning the truth.

      3. Drake

        I don’t believe evidence-free, undocumented memories from 30 years ago that suddenly arise as a political hit-job, but that’s just me. Chappelle knows this sort of crap might be hitting him next.

        There were plenty of reasons to oppose Kavanaugh. Democrats as usual chose the worst.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Its Lifeblood Attacked, What Are Saudi Arabia’s Options Now?”


    Verb: negotiate; 3rd person present: negotiates; past tense: negotiated; past participle: negotiated; gerund or present participle: negotiating

    Obtain or bring about by discussion.
    e.g. “MBS negotiated a new ceasefire with the Houthis”

    Synonyms: arrange, work out, thrash out, hammer out, reach an agreement on, agree on, come to terms about, reach terms on, broker; More…See Henry Kissinger

    1. Drake

      I doubt it will trend much on Twitter, but this story really is the biggest of the year. The Saudis just had half their capacity taken offline by a few cheap drones. That’s really earth-shattering geopolitical news, and shows how fragile SA really is. Unless I missed something they don’t even really know at this point with certainty who launched the attack, or from where. Mind-boggling.

    2. Procopius

      There was a meeting in Ankara in September 2018, which included France, Germany, Turkey, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. America was not invited. KSA agreed to stop supplying and funding salafist jihadis in Syria and to start negotiations with Yemen. The story received no coverage in the mainstream media, and KSA’s withdrawal was never mentioned at all. That meeting and agreement was reached as a result of MbS’s murder of Khashoggi. Perhaps this will encourage them to resume negotiations.

  7. Wukchumni

    Chinese village produces 60% of world’s oil painting replicas Nikkei Asian Review
    $8 Van Gogh!

    I’ve got this year by year chronicle encyclopedia of the USA from 1910 to 1992, and famous paintings that fetched between $50k to $500k from the 30’s to 50’s, now sell for $100 million or more. The bubble is strong.

    I’m sure they’re more impressive than a 4 hour rendering of “Sunflowers” done presumably while you wait.

    As with other collectible fields, yeah whatever paintings done by lesser knowns, the kind of art a middle class person might’ve had on their walls, has really done nothing in terms of valuation, a dead end really. Young adults could care less.

    But with the creme de la creme, the 1%’ers are knocking heads in bidding wars. Every lot sold in auction has a clearly defined winner, and all else are losers. The painting is only part of the picture of conquest by acquisition.

  8. Braden

    The Jerusalem Post raises the most important WTF question about this strike. Maybe, if the drones came from Iraq, it would be difficult for Saudi air defenses to identify them before they reached the refinery. However, that refinery is less then 50 miles from a major US airbase and the home of the US Fifth Fleet. It’s also less then 100 miles from CENTCOM headquarters. Are we willing to suggest that these drones eluded detection by US AND Saudi air defenses for hundreds of miles of travel through one of the most monitored air spaces in the world?

    It’s difficult to comprehend how this attack succeeded. 10 drones? 100+ miles. Through an area already being monitored for such attacks due to increased tensions with Iran?

    1. a different chris

      Not really a surprise. We are trained to look for high and fast, not low and slow. Add a little wavering in the drone’s pattern and you might write it off as a flock of birds even if you do notice it.

      This is a new era. So we are now two wars behind in our fighting methods, great.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’m thinking this is a “Russian fleet at Port Arthur”-level event.

        For the vast sums we pay our MIC you would think there would be someone in there who understood a threat like this.

        Though it may be practically impossible to defend against.

        Hey I have a winning strategy, courtesy of Rodney King: why can’t we all just get along?

        (Brief fantasy about President Tulsi Gabbard hosting a global Peace and Reconciliation conference, followed by en era of cooperation and prosperity).

        1. VietnamVet

          Yes, this highlights the terrible importance of the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure. The world has turned upside down once again. Non state proxy forces can destroy an opponent’s livelihood. The neoliberals’ purposeful creation of failed states bites back. Hundreds of billions of defense spending was utterly wasted. The likelihood that Iraq was one of the launch sites is being play down by the media because of the US occupation. America cannot attack the Shiites militia proxy forces without being either kicked out by the Shiite Baghdad government or restarting its earlier bloody battles with them. Attacking Iran itself will close the Gulf and crash the world economy. Peace is the only alternative.

    2. Camp Lo

      Surface-to-surface low-flying turbo-jet cruise missiles carrying 400 kg warheads at an altitude that never tops 100 m evades every type of missile defense system. “Drone” being a euphemism for these cursed instruments, because the Iranians have named this specific cruise missile after a town called “Hoveyzeh” which fell victim to Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons. The use of these furies portents severe malignancy. I think United States is going to war once again because the benevolent one in the Oval Office cannot get himself re-elected otherwise. Iran feels betrayed and is hoping to catch the Gulf, and more compellingly, POTUS, off-balance by striking before allied forces can deploy.

      1. ambrit

        I’m wondering about what would set off a second serious round of strikes. If Iran is really behind this strike, I wonder about the middle level degree of damage. Is this a ‘warning’ strike, or the opening of an offensive? Nothing here makes complete sense. Now, if the Houthis did do this on their own, it makes sense. The Yemen War acquires a strategic bombing component.

      2. kiwi

        Trump will likely win in a cakewalk. The dems are crazy and prove it over and over on a daily basis. (and I was a lifelong liberal dem)

        1. Wukchumni

          A carnival cakewalk isn’t that easy to win, the way I remember it being played was you’d start with say 30 people and 29 seats, and everybody would lunge for one of those 29 seats when the music stopped, and then it was down to 29 people and 28 seats, all the way down to 2 people and 1 seat, a war of attrition over apple pie or a chocolate cake.

      3. Acacia

        Trump doesn’t need to go to war to get re-elected. The Democrats have learned absolutely nothing from 2016 and are self destructing.

      4. rd

        The Navy’s Phalanx system is designed to be the last line of defense to address this for missiles and drones.

        Maybe the Saudis can put some of these around key installations.

        However, I wonder where the proof is that this is drone damage and not internal sabotage.In that region, it may be easier to infiltrate the work force and plant bombs than hit something with large drones form 100+ miles away.

  9. Steve H.

    > The Spy Who Failed Scott Ritter, Consortium News

    Wow. By far the most complete coverage I’ve seen. This plus Binney… Sun Tzu was very clear about the value of spies. But the bureaucratic layers that he didn’t deal with seem to allow an increased level of crapification. And always, always, always, the hubris of the persons involved is the mercury on the aluminium.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Wichita police, State Department investigated burglary of Pompeo’s storage units”

    I wish that Lambert had not included this link here. I have just wasted the past ten minutes considering what Pompeo would have stashed away in those storage units. What would be there in those two lockers that he would not want stored at his own home. I mean, we all know what would have been found in J. Edgar Hoover’s storage lockers if he had any….

    1. T

      Worth it for the fellow witness quote. “I half expected Black Hawk helicopters to show up,” witness Bradley Sampson told the Kansas City Star. “Heaven forbid they take some of his bottled water or campaign signs.”

  11. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the MMT article from MMT-France. Appreciated the authors’ position regarding the issuance of money as a monopoly power of the state. However, we have developed a partially privatized hybrid monetary system in the U.S. where roughly 97 percent of money is issued by banks through the extension of debt that is only backed by limited guarantees of the state under FDIC insurance, albeit those limits were ignored post-GFC to protect the payments system among other reasons.

    In the EU, money creation and control powers have been delegated by treaty to the European Central Bank, a supranational entity. The negative real interest rates being imposed on EU depositors by the ECB outside the sovereign states framework in a deflationary economic environment are an economically detrimental form of regressive taxation that supports austerity policies.

    Now we are seeing proposals emerging for cryptocurrencies, such as the Libra which is being developed by a large transnational corporation. Thus, legitimate questions arise concerning limits on the state’s money monopoly power, and what the practical implications are for applying MMT to address social and economic issues.

    1. Steve H.

      Chauncey, I don’t disagree with anything you say. However, there is a definite ‘cui bono’ in both the US GFC response, and in EU austerity measures. The benefits have gone to the speculative finance industry, and removed the speculation, and the costs have been to working people. Those have been political choices by the monopoly.

      The cryptocurrencies don’t have a stick to go with the carrot; not unless you can pay taxes with them. So state issuance still has the force to address social and economic issues, and in fact has been, just in the wrong direction.

    2. Grant

      The notion the cryptocurrencies could replace something like the US dollar, to me, is nuts and so divorced from reality to be outright dangerous. When you got to the store right now to buy a loaf of bread, there is one unit of account. A loaf of bread costs two dollars, or whatever. Okay, the US dollar is now on an even level with Bitcoin, the Libra and other cryptocurrencies. Maybe one is “worth” more than another (how that would be determined is beyond me if there is no longer a single unit of account to measure and compare these things), but that loaf of bread is not just two dollars, it also would have a number of other values, denominated in a number of the cryptocurrencies. Who knows, maybe some stores might even take one, but not another. How is a poor or working class person, hell anyone, to operate in that environment? People are already drowning because of this system and can barely keep their heads above water, and now we are going to make it all even more complex and daunting. How would taxes be paid, even if you wanted to? We would no longer pay taxes only with dollars, say we allow people to pay taxes with a number of cryptocurrencies. Okay, you only have Bitcoin, and it collapses in value, you can’t trade them for something worth more to pay taxes, then what? How does the state determine what your taxes are, if there are a sea of cryptocurrencies, and how would the average person figure out how to pay taxes if they are forced to hold dollars, along with a number of cryptocurrencies (you have to hedge, right, don’t want to throw all your eggs into the Libra basket)?

      Beyond that, if we realize that we have an environmental crisis, and if we know that the human economy does have to shrink relative to the ecosystem we draw resources from and use as a sink for wastes, if we acknowledge that because of this and the non-market nature of the crisis that far more comprehensive economic planning is needed, how exactly could we realistically plan if we do away with the dollar and go with a sea of cryptocurrencies? Explain how such a thing would work, without devolving into chaos. The situation is already extremely complex, and doing that would result in the complexity exponentially growing.

      It seems to me that people don’t think things through much in regards to real world problems and issues if we did what the proponents of cryptocurrencies are in favor of. Seems to be totally unrealistic and a recipe for disaster and chaos.

      Private interests do not take non-market impacts into account when making investment decisions. We cannot realistically monetize most of these direct and indirect nonmarket impacts anyway. Having an institution that can make investment decisions that takes non market impacts into account, like the state can, is of fundamental importance if we want to deal with the environmental crisis. In modern capitalism, private interests not only focus entirely on information within markets, but they also benefit from externalizing costs. I don’t see how private financial capital and cryptocurrencies are up to the task. Maybe I am missing something though.

      1. Procopius

        There are statutes that specify “legal tender.” You can pay your taxes in dollars. Period. If some store owner wants to accept bitcoin as well, up to him, but he HAS TO accept dollars.

      2. Acacia

        Thanks much for this comment. I agree with part of your concluding paragraph. Not a crypto expert or evangelist, but I will attempt a few replies. First, I think it’s important to separate Libra from the discussion. It’s not really a distributed, decentralized system like Bitcoin, and doesn’t use a blockchain. The claim is that it’s “decentralized” but you’ll need to pony up $10M entrance fee and $1B market value to join the Libra consortium. It’s backed with a basket of fiat, so really it’s more a prepaid token than a currency, backed by an elite group of players. It’s riding on the coat tails of the crypto phenom.

        Next, regarding the “worth” of cryptos and the problem of which stores will accept them, their complexity, etc., bear in mind that already many people in the world operate in places with more than one currency (e.g., cities/towns near borders, or duty-free zones). At present, payment with crypto may seem complex, but in fact the new model isn’t much more difficult than getting and using a credit card. In a number of ways, actually it’s simpler. You get a wallet app. You buy some crypto to put in that wallet, and then you use the address of the wallet to make payments. For convenience, it’s a QR code that gets scanned, but in fact you could do it without any app, smartphone, etc — just enter the address and amount you want to send. People are already using all kinds of local payment apps, cards, etc. In China, QR codes are used for everything. You may not see this so much in the US, but cashless payment systems are very common in other parts of the world. Adding to this may provoke a viscerally negative reaction for you, but it’s not really so complicated. At present, we are in a transitional phase in which there are a number of different, competing crypto technologies, but there will be a shakeout. If cryptos find a place, there will probably only be a couple that are generally accepted. Price volatility is also an issue, and that will have to settle down.

        As for paying taxes with cryptos, I would be very surprised if that ever happens, at least not in the US. Taxes are in effect paying tribute to the state and you must use fiat for that. By nature, cryptos are a form of money without a central bank. They make the CB redundant and undesirable. States want to control their fiat via the CB, and so they’re going to want to regulate cryptos too. Do we really need central banks? They are intentionally debasing our currency, after all. Doesn’t a 2% inflation target mean that in ten years, all of your assets lose 20% of their value? Remember: both the dollar and the pound sterling have lost over 90% of their original value. Economists like Richard Werner who specialize in banking argue that we no longer need CBs (he argues for local banks — am not sure of his take on cryptos). You put money in a drawer in your house and it’s just losing value. Exchange rates vary because different fiats are losing value at different rates. But what if there were a money that could not be debased? What if money were governed by the principle that “code is law”? That’s a crypto like Bitcoin, and I gather that’s a big part of the attraction.

        Regarding your concerns about the environmental crisis, naturally that’s an issue. But we already have a huge problem getting any consensus about that, and if there were an alternative to the petrodollar — which is more than just the metaphorical fuel for the American MIC, i.e., one of the largest energy consumers/wasters/CO2 producers in the world — might not that be worth investigating? Just as Russia and China’s efforts to de-dollarize will weaken the petrodollar system, a large-scale adoption of alternative payment schemes (heck, even barter) could be a force for change. The transition would not be to “a sea of cryptocurrencies”, but rather to one or two from the top of the heap that have proven their utility at the end of the transition period. The rest of them will be objects of speculation, and eventually die away. If you spend an hour on an exchange looking at what’s happening with most of those coins (i.e., not much), this overall trajectory will become clear. Your underlying concern seems to be “complexity exponentially growing”, and while cryptos are undeniably more complex, I submit the complexity would not grow exponentially. Cryptos represent a new paradigm, but a lot of the complexity that we see now are transitional phenomena that will fade.

        I agree with your last paragraph — a concise criticism of libertarian thought, I might add —, except for one very significant problem: yes, the state is important for regulating capitalism and doing something about the environmental crisis, but the state and Central Banks have already been captured by private interests. What can we do about that? In the US, our hope seems to be pretty slim: i.e., that Sanders or Warren get elected, that they don’t cave under the inevitable attack from the entrenched status quo, and that they have vastly greater success in bringing the bankster-industrial-complex to heel than any leaders we’ve had since, i.d.k., anybody?

        The big picture seems to be that the so-called leading economies of the world — US, Europe, East Asia — are all struggling with yuge debts, flagging growth, and unpleasant demographics. Probably the debts can never be paid off. The global economy is headed for a series of crises, no matter what. We just don’t know when and how bad. Are interest rates ever going back up? How do we protect what little we have? When it happens, will we turn to the CB governors, the BIS, and the Davos übermenschen to lead us into a shiny NWO, or will we have our own solutions?

        1. Odysseus

          Doesn’t a 2% inflation target mean that in ten years, all of your assets lose 20% of their value?

          No, that’s naive in several different ways. If prices for both wages and assets are increasing at that rate, your productivity is unchanged. It costs you the same amount of daily labor to buy your daily bread.

  12. Pat

    Spent last night learning how being a lefty who believes there is value to the BDS movement and that Israel has exerted too much influence on our government I am a secret insidious and destructive anti-Semite, but being a Zionist is really about celebrating not just Israel but equality and human rights. Zionists are not responsible and should not be tarred by stands and actions that are racist, illegal or violent by other Zionists. Those actions are not because they say are Zionists but because they are whatever. Jews who support BDS are suffering from peer pressure (or possibly Stockholm syndrome the examples of Jews supporting anti Semitic regimes added a whole other level to the just want to fit in theory). That I do not want them wiped off the face of the earth, oh wait I do want them to stop being Jews even though There is no evidence I do, see I am responsible for the positions of everyone in the movement. Same for Labour members and yes those pesky Palestinians even if they do not support Hamas.

    With little respect to the speaker, sometimes you have to recognize that your tribe is disliked and or disrespected because as a group their actions have been despicable. Taking non violent action to change or end those actions does not make one racist. Nor does it make me you weak minded and approval seeking. But smearing whole groups with a broad brush, well it isn’t confusing the situation that much anymore.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Afghan peace talks: Trump tweets, Taliban fights”

    ‘A Rand Corp. study by military analyst James Quinlivan concluded that the bare minimum ratio to provide security for the inhabitants of an occupied territory, let alone deal with an active insurgency, is one to 50’. Historically though, the ratio has been 1 in 40. So, lets run some numbers-

    Population of Afghanistan – 35,530,000 people.

    Number of troops needed to successfully occupy Afghanistan using that 1 in 40 ratio – 888,250 troops.

    Number of Coalition troops in Afghanistan at present – Around 17,000 troops from 39 NATO Allies and partner countries.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Why none of course. That work got sub-contracted out to the Taliban. The Coalition only made itself responsible for the export of all that opium out of the country which included using military transport – about US$4 billion worth. The doctrine for this was all worked out a long time ago during the Vietnam war era in the Golden Triangle area.

    1. human

      Heh. Monty’s reply above brought to mind General Montgomery’s WWII strategy of never engaging the enemy unless you outnumbered them 15 to 1 (also a famous martini ratio.)

      That would put the necessary troop count at some 525 million.

    2. Drake

      Those who have successfully subdued Afghanistan (or whatever the correct historical term for the area was at the time): Alexander (most of whose campaign was spent fighting insurgencies there), the Mongols, Timur (briefly). Those who have not: the Persians, the British, the Russians, the Americans. Those who succeeded did so by ruthlessness, heavy commitment of resources, and application of all the complementary items in the anti-insurgency playbook, military and otherwise. The others mostly wanted showpiece victories on the cheap with standard strategies and forces to gain the illusion of control.

      Afghans know who really intends to stay and who doesn’t. They’ve had a lot of schooling in it.

      1. Alex

        I remember reading somewhere that before the Mongols Afghanistan was conquered multiple times and it wasn’t particularly hard, and only after the Mongols destroyed the flourishing cities and the irrigation systems supporting them it became dirt-poor but lethal for subsequent invaders, with the possible exception of Timur.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          “Conquering” is kind of a wonky word in historical context and changing concepts of borders. Are we discussing merely replacing a few tax collectors and possibly easing the tax burden and maybe even removing a system of local oppression? Or are we discussing a heavy handed foreign government demanding total subservience and structural changes after a reign of terror?

          15th (? I might be off a hundred years or so) century historians decided to start calling sickly Alfie I, the Great instead of the “the Conqueror” because they liked the new system.

          1. Drake

            It was a pretty simplistic model I applied, probably over-simplistic. So many entities have come and gone in Afghanistan over the centuries it’s hard to even keep track of them all, political, military, economic, cultural, religious…and many have only tried to control the valleys and a few cities. But not that many outsiders have made a sustained effort to fully control the place (not even sure how much Timur could be considered an outsider) and integrate it into a larger whole. Alexander was pretty successful at it, but it took him a lot longer than it did to conquer Persia. Modern empires seem mostly to want to cow the place into submission with theatrical shows of force that have little behind them. That tends not to work anywhere these days, and Afghanistan is absolutely the last place it will work.

            1. rd

              Alexander conquered the valley bottoms. Many of the people retreated to the hills where they would use guerrilla warfare against the Macedonians. Alexander would then wipe out a village or two and the people in the mountains left him alone to avoid the reprisals. That was the “pacification”. the Russians were doing the same thing, but the US supplied shoulder-fired anti-air missiles that could take down the Hind helicopters that were at the heart of the Russian strategy. The Vietnam War would likely have ended sooner if the North Vietnamese had gotten shoulder-fired anti-air missiles to take out US helicopters and supply planes.

            2. Drake

              The Soviet invasion was pretty serious and might have been a lot more successful if it hadn’t run up against cold war politics and the fact that Pashtuns can seek refuge over the border in Pakistan where they’re untouchable. Still, the Soviets didn’t seem to want to do more than put a puppet in place and get out. They could never make it safe enough for their puppet — the same flytrap the US fell into.

      2. Oregoncharles

        The whole western side of Afghanistan speaks Persian, aka Dari, so maybe they did better than you’d think.

  14. Dan

    Engels’ Pause:

    So the question in my non-economists mind is, what drove wages higher?

    Was it strikes and labor activism?

    Are we about to see the same thing here and now?
    Uber, G.M. and Kaiser, as some examples.

    Is software and automation the vulnerable point for labor activism?
    Example: How many different ways can one foil, cheat or F* up a self checkout machine?

    “Paging Ned Ludd, please pick up the white courtesy phone….”

    1. Monty

      “How many different ways can one foil, cheat or F* up a self checkout machine?”

      I was in a dystopian Walmart over the weekend and they had a huge monitor above the self checkout pen which is using some kind of AI to draw squares around everyone’s face, hands and carts as they used the checkouts. It also had “exiters” checking receipts, and it’s own resident police car by the doors.

      1. Dan

        Technical question: What would a laser pointer do to the sensors in the cameras?

        They sell big photos of one’s face mounted on cardboard at various office supply mega-chains. How about wearing a poster of someone else’s face on top of hats?– On the back of one’s head, –held on by rubber bands, mounted on the front or back of shirts?

      2. Dan

        Technical question: What would a laser pointer do to the sensors in the cameras?

        They sell life sized and larger photos of one’s face mounted on cardboard at various office supply mega-chains. How about wearing a poster of someone else’s face on top of hats?– On the back of one’s head, –held on by rubber bands, mounted on the front or back of shirts?

        Will it become illegal to “wear” someone else’s face?

      3. Carolinian

        Our dystopian Walmart has all the features you mention and seems to be doing more business than ever. The public doesn’t seem to mind much. Perhaps they realize they get the same privacy invasion every day on the web and even the cameras according to latest Snowden book.

          1. Carolinian

            One of our two Walmarts has an entire police substation–ready to nap those camera observed shoplifters.

            1. Monty

              No disrespect intended, but if your local Walmart has it’s own police station, consider moving. (if at all possible!)

              1. Carolinian

                I believe Walmart just donated the small space to give the police a place to sit and have coffee and donuts without having to return to the main station downtown. Crime wise our Walmarts are relatively sedate. That isn’t true in other places (where I indeed don’t live).

  15. Tomonthebeach

    Headlines like this “EXCLUSIVE: Iranian drones launched from Iraq carried out attacks on Saudi oil plants” were as inevitable as they are inscrutable. They are also irresponsible jingoism. “Exclusive” in this case refers to some guy’s opinion. The article even tosses in Syria.

    – That the drones came from Iraq is unproven.
    – That the drones were Iranian is unproven.
    – That the Iranians masterminded the Saudi oil field attacks is unproven.

    But the US is “Locked and Loaded” according to Commander-in-Chief Bone Spurs who likely picked up this boot camp firing range lingo from a TV sitcom. So, we can expect that some US Intelligence analyst will be Ordered to Prove the Iranians planned, provisioned, and initiated the attack – just like NOAA political weather forecasts.

    The infotainment media has ignored the fact that a hand grenade dropped from a toy drone on the right spot can set off a refinery disaster. It is not as though there is nothing flammable there.

    1. Oregoncharles

      A quibble, but, as others pointed out, a toy drone wouldn’t make it that far (even from Iraq). They were more likely remote-control full size or nearly aircraft. Interesting that the Saudi air defenses didn’t pick them up. Quite a failure, esp. if they came from a war zone.

      1. Procopius

        “On Tuesday, the media bureau of Yemen’s Operations Command Center displayed the Samad 3 reconnaissance drone and the Qasef 2K drone, both of which had not been previously publicly displayed. Both the Samad 3 and the Qasef 2k have been used to hit vital targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The drones were used to strike the Abu Dhabi Airport and Dubai Airport, as well as in several other recent drone and missile attacks targeting Saudi Arabia’s southern regions of Khamis Mushait and Jizan.” Mint Press, July 09, 2019.

        I believe the Houthi are building these things themselves, possibly using blueprints from Iran and maybe training by a couple of Iranian engineers. You have to realize that Iran is not able to send large quantities of anything to Yemen because there is no land route that does not go through Saudi allies, and the U.S. Navy imposed a blockade on Yemen in 2016, to support the Saudis. I’m pretty sure that’s a violation of the Constitution, but who was President in 2016? Not gonna get a lot of complaints there, amirite?

  16. Livius Drusus

    Re: In Coal Country, the Mines Shut Down, the Women Went to Work and the World Quietly Changed.

    This looks like an attempt to put some kind of positive identity politics spin on what is obviously a horrible situation. Contrary to what many people think, many working-class women don’t see joining the workforce as a positive thing as Michael K. Smith pointed out in a 2017 article:

    Working class accusations of “political correctness” are often a taking umbrage at such class cluelessness and its attendant snobbery. For example, in working class communities being a stay-at-home wife is a sign of elevated status and a much sought after luxury, not evidence of a backward attitude towards sex roles. (Trump won working class white women by 28%.) For many working class families, having mothers in the workplace represents not “liberation” but additional stress and disruption. By the Trump years a new generation of workers had lost any hope of fulfilling this aspiration, though their parents and grandparents had managed to do so. On the other hand, for professional and managerial women, being a stay-at-home mother represents a decline in status, i.e., “just a housewife.”

    Personally, I don’t care if women want to be stay-at-home wives or join the workforce, it should be their choice, but it is funny how professional-class people consistently fail to understand working-class culture, or at least certain subcultures, since I think people underestimate the extent to which working-class women have always worked.

    Also, I think poor and working-class men have become the new folk devils of our society, effectively replacing the “welfare queen” stereotype that used to apply to poor women with the opioid-addicted male hillbilly and the basement-dwelling male gamer as the new stereotypes, Dean Baker has written about how the media focuses obsessively on men who don’t work while ignoring that there has been a similar drop in labor participation among women. As usual, the issue is class and not gender.

    1. kiwi

      Thanks for posting this information.

      Most people here are professionals who have no clue about other people think. Their continued state of bewilderment and fury over people voting for Trump demonstrates their cluelessness.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          Sanders ’16 and ’20 voter here, and I understand and sympathize why people voted Trump in 2016. Clinton gave them nothing at all to vote for and a whole lot to hate.

          Then again, I am working class and have no illusions about this being a meritocracy, much less cling to the delusion to justify my cushy position. Sanders 2020.

        2. Livius Drusus

          Yes, I should probably add that I didn’t mean to include NC readers when I wrote “professional-class people.” I know that many professionals post here and most of them actually understand working people very well. I was generalizing, which is always risky, but I don’t want to make my comments longer than they already are so I used “professional class” as a shorthand way of describing certain affluent people who are clueless about how less affluent people live.

          1. jrs

            professional whatever the heck that means is a pretty fluid category, unless you are talking seriously credentialed (doctors and lawyers and the like). I mean yes there are middle class people with stable jobs and they may be fortunate right now (I despise their way of thinking but so it is), but those could go away, and then these same people will drive for Uber. I’ve seen it happen. It also happens that people in precarity get better jobs again of course.

      1. nippersmom

        As an architect, I probably qualify for your definition of a “professional”, but I am no more bewildered or furious over people voting for Trump than voting for Clinton. I am far from unique amongst the commentariat in that respect. You seem to be confusing NC readers with certain vocal elements of the Democratic establishment. You might consider making fewer assumptions about groups of people you don’t know, lest you appear to have no clue about how other people think.

        1. kiwi

          I used the word “most,” not “all.”

          The definition of “most” is rather flexible, running from a majority (which would be 50% + 1) to almost all, based on the online dictionary, but the descriptions of the word seem to emphasize a larger proportion. It may not have been the best choice of word.

          Lest. I like that word. Lest you misunderstand my original comment, I’ll clarify: the word “most” does not mean “all,” and essentially states that there are exceptions (like you!!!).

          But I think I’ll go back and look over the comments from the election forward in Trump-related posts. I’m too curious now.

      2. coboarts

        This was one of the first sites to make the case that, “Trump might win.” I think that’s why we got put on that propornot charade thing. The NC case was made based on an understanding of class realities and the reality of America’s inequalities and the mechanisms that drove/drive it. You must be new here. Grab a cup of coffee and have a read.

      3. jrs

        yea I don’t care much what your “other people” think, they lack all class conscientiousness. bah, they will only ever be useless enablers of their own oppression.

      4. jrs

        some people made a mistake in voting for Trump, I see little need to crucify them for their political mis-calculation if they have no plan to repeat it – live and learn.

        But otherwise people years into the Trump presidency still supporting Trump … people are furious because his policies are terrible (and so is how he is as person which matters more to some that others). Different people have different polices that they hate him for most. But his policies are objectively bad for working people as well (although the economy is not at it’s worst), so spare me this defense of Trump in the name of the working class.

        1. kiwi

          Well, the people at his New Mexico rally right now sure are happy. Trump cites the following for NM: a 30% increase in new business applications; wages in NM are increasing at > 3% per year; the lowest unemployment rate for Hispanics to wild cheering…

          Then there are the Latinos cheering wildly for him; Latinos for Trump signs flashing all over; cheers when he talks about other economic topics, such as energy independence, and when he talks about the border walls…

          (Santa Ana Star Center is a 7,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a suburb of Albuquerque.)

          Yep, the misery and fury of the attendees are just palpable through my television.

          Maybe these people are all paid off.

          (not that rallies are a measure of eventual electoral votes)

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Is the US Economy Having an Engels’ Pause?”

    I have reservations about this article when it compares Britain between 1780 and 1840. I know enough UK history to say that for the people of 1780, the Britain of 1840 would be well nigh unrecognizable. The technology was different, people’s attitudes were different, the whole economic structure was different. In a lot of ways you could say that the differences were greater than the similarities so I have reservations about the validity of this idea.

    1. Summer

      “Of course, historical parallels are never perfect. The prominent inventions of the first half of the late 18th and early 19th century–mechanical spinning, coke smelting, iron puddling, the power loom, the railroad, and the application of steam power–did not have an identical interaction with labor markets and workers as the rise of modern technologies like information technology, materials science, genetics research, and others.”

      Some expression to differences are given in that statement. The difference and concern on their radar is the technology coming after white collar jobs or the professional class.

  18. Aron Blue

    re: My Favorite Dictator – didn’t even read the story – just erupted into peals of joyous laughter. This chimpanzee reaction in me is telling – he’s so good at reaching out and evoking that primate pant-hoot haw-haw-haw. Only Bernie can beat him and I don’t how the DNC will possibly allow it.

    1. Baby Gerald

      The story lost me when the author writes, ‘He has frequently sung the praises of dictators including Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Saudi Prince Muhammed bin Salman.’

      I just love how he can make so much of Trump’s free and easy use the word ‘dictator’ then loosely apply it to the presidents of countries like Russia and China where, despite any disagreement one might have with these nations’ leadership, are clearly not dictatorships in any traditional sense of the word.

  19. WheresOurTeddy

    ‘People Actively Hate Us’: Inside the Border Patrol’s Morale Crisis NYT

    Yes, we do. MANY MANY of us. What you are doing is evil. You should be aware of that. If you’re not, that’s what we’re for. If that creates a morale problem, follow that tiny, small voice you suppressed in order to even accept the job. That’s called “your conscience.” I realize many of you may have not listened to it for a long time, and many be unfamiliar with it completely…

  20. Dan

    “Number two: make sure that we bring into the help the — [closes eyes] the student, the, the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home. We need — We have one school psychologist for every fifteen hundred kids in America today. It’s crazy. The teachers are reca — Now, I’m married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. [Closes eyes briefly] We have make sure that every single child does in fact have three, four, and five year-olds go to school — school, not daycare.”

    Biden’s brain is dying.

    Will the Democrats stop F* around and just nominate Bernies Sanders?
    Pretty please.

  21. ewmayer

    “Chinese village produces 60% of world’s oil painting replicas | Nikkei Asian Review” — I bought onesuch about 15 years ago, a half-scale (quarter-area) replica of this painting by Russian prerevolutionary painter Mikhail Nesterov. Think I paid around $300 for it. Even at full-scale it wouldn’t fool any kind of discerning eye, but it’s quite nice, has a 3-D texture an artwork-poster lacks, and is hanging in its frame on the wall right across from my work desk as I write this. It arrived as a rolled-up canvas in a cardboard tube, the seller apparently managed to avoid import duties by labeling the item “commercial sample”.

    Notice the “Order an oil Paint Reproduction” link to right of the above WikiArt image — I’m 99% sure the linked outfit gets its repros from either the above-mentioned Chinese village, or some other Chinese artists’ collective.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “A « pure » MMT ?”
    Sorry, but going on about how pure you are gets tiresome very quickly.

    Furthermore: talking about MMT in France is talking about Leaving the Euro, which specifically and intentionally rules it out. Do they mean to make that case?

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