Links 9/19/19

Repo chaos tests Wall Street confidence in NY Fed’s Williams Reuters

Federal Reserve cuts rates as policymaker splits deepen FT

Scotiabank slammed for ‘muppet-grade security’ after internal source code and credentials spill onto open internet The Register. Paging Clive.

Margrethe Vestager’s second chance Politico

Amazon’s Next-Day Delivery Has Brought Chaos And Carnage To America’s Streets — But The World’s Biggest Retailer Has A System To Escape The Blame Buzzfeed (TH).

Justin Trudeau admits 2001 brownface photo was ‘racist’ ABC

Climate Change Is Going To Do A Major Number On How We Get Around LA LAist


Finnish PM: UK must make Brexit proposal by September 30 Politico

Brexit: ‘Mother of parliaments shut down by father of lies’, QC tells court in jibe at Boris Johnson – as it happened Guardian

Boris Johnson’s lies are plunging Britain into a dark morass FT

Parliament suspension 2019 BBC. Index to a series of BBC stories

Beyond Brexit – what a US-UK trade deal will really look like CAPX. Britain’s future is trade with the Five Eyes + India.

Novel and Naughty LRB. Review of Radical Parliamentarians and the English Civil War.


Trump Mocks Sen. Graham’s Calls for War, Asks How Iraq Worked Out (Re Silc). This is not normal! Oh, wait…

Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ and Seeks Coalition to Counter Iran NYT

Houthi rebels overturned the chessboard Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

Saudi Arabia shows ‘material evidence’ of Iranian involvement in oil attacks Sky News. Saudis to US: “Let’s you and him fight.”

Attack on Saudi oil facilities highlights danger of ‘kamikaze’ drones CBC

Saudi – UAE Split on Yemen Not What it Appears to Be Real News Network

To Make A Deal With Iran, Consider Culture, Not Cliche Lobe Log

Netanyahu accepts need for Israel unity government FT

Siberian Shaman ‘Kidnapped’ While Crossing the Country to ‘Expel’ Putin – Reports Moscow Times


Hong Kong cancels National Day fireworks on Oct 1 as protests continue Hong Kong Free Press

US House speaker Nancy Pelosi backs congressional legislation on Hong Kong South China Morning Post. Here are the bills: H.R.3289, S.1838. These are reporting bills. Support for the bills is bi-partisan and across the ideological spectrum, such as it is. No Presidential candidates have signed on. From the summaries: “The State Department shall allow otherwise qualified Hong Kong residents to obtain visas to work or study in the United States, even if the applicant had been arrested for participating in certain nonviolent protests supporting human rights or the rule of law.”

How China Unleashed Twitter Trolls to Discredit Hong Kong’s Protesters NYT. “[A] sprawling Russian-style disinformation offensive from China.” Holy moley. Have these morons never heard of Hillary Clinton and David Brock’s “million-dollar trolls”?

* * *

Debt-Wracked Chinese Companies Dump US & Other Foreign Assets, Become Net Sellers Overseas for First Time Wolf Street (EM).

Apple’s Brand in China Takes a Hit From Backlash Against Trump Bloomberg

The myth of China’s “Great State” New Statesman

Millions may risk jail as Indonesia to outlaw sex outside marriage Reuters. A new criminal code.

Hip hope: Universal Music opens Southeast Asia HQ betting on rap Reuters

Trump Transition

Trump Picks Low-Key Operative as National Security Advisor Foreign Policy

The Trump Doctrine, Revealed Bret Stephens, NYT. The deck: “The president combines the rhetorical impulses of Bob Dornan with the strategic instincts of Dennis Kucinich.” You say that like it’s a bad thing.

Bolton unloads on Trump’s foreign policy behind closed doors Politico

Revealed: how US senators invest in the firms they’re supposed to regulate Guardian (Re Silc).

Marie Kondo urges nation to thank veterans for their service before discarding them Duffel Blog

Democrats in Disarray

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Learned to Play by Washington’s Rules NYT. “‘Very rarely does a member enter the House and exit the House as the same person,’ said former Representative Steve Israel, Democrat of New York.” Israel is the worst of the worst.

Money From Nothing: Democrats’ Socialism for Free RealClearPolitics (UserFriendly: “So MMT is correct, but the source of evil socialism is now”).

Obama Legacy

Did Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, launch the new cold war? (review) WaPo. “People who revere Obama, and view his presidency as a semblance of normality, will not appreciate Kuzmarov’s offering.” Damn. Another book to read.

Health Care

Road To Universal Coverage: Addressing The Premium Affordability Gap Health Affairs. [clears throat]. “The l-o-o-o-o-n-g and winding road….

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

This Company Built a Private Surveillance Network. We Tracked Someone With It Vice. License plate readers.

Guillotine Watch

Martin Shkreli’s drug company is losing money — and its salesforce feels cheated STAT

Class Warfare

Tracing Chris Arnade’s Steps in America’s Inner Ring Suburbs The American Conservative

5 Everyday Objects That Are Secretly Saving The World Cracked

Twitter launches the ‘Hide Replies’ feature, in hopes of civilizing conversations TechCrunch. Let me know how that works out.

The tech backlash is real, and it’s accelerating The Verge

A 21st Century Breakup Inside the divorce rattling Silicon Valley and Democratic politics. New York Magazine

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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. PlutoniumKun

    Saudi Arabia shows ‘material evidence’ of Iranian involvement in oil attacks Sky News

    Just to show the quality of the reporting, this report says:

    The drone shown by Saudi Arabia matches one displayed at a defence show in Iran

    And the Guardian ‘Analysis’ says:

    The missile debris the Saudis displayed at a press conference on Wednesday evening appeared to be that of an Iranian Quds-1 missile, with a range of less than 1000km, and possibly as little as 500km, said Michael Elleman, from the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

    And yet, go to the Wikipedia page on the Quds-1 and says the Quds-1 is a Houthi (not Iranian) designed weapon which is similar to, but not identical to Iranian models. This wiki page links to a June Janes Report which elaborates, with a photo of an identical drone, shown publicly 3 months ago by the Houthi.

    The Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah (popularly known as the Houthis) unveiled on 7 July weapons that it has been using to attack Saudi Arabia in recent months, including a ground-launched cruise missile that may have been used to attack Abha International Airport on 12 June.

    Saudi military spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki previously identified the cruise missile used in that attack as an Iranian Ya Ali. However, the Quds cruise missile displayed by Ansar Allah looked substantially different from the Ya Ali that was unveiled by Iran in 2014. Most notably its engine was mounted on top of the missile, rather than inside it with an air intake below.

    In other words, the Saudi’s are showing what is almost certainly a Houthi designed weapon, one similar to, but with distinct differences from the Iranian model. The other report linked in the Wiki page, to the National Interest article, points out that the Houthi weapon appears to use a Czech manufactured turbojet while the Iranians use a Russian one.

    It took me perhaps 2 minutes using Wikipedia to show that the Sky and Guardian articles are probably bunk. The missiles as shown by the Saudi’s are almost certainly Houthi made and designed (the Saudi’s even use the Houthi name, the Quds-1, the Iranians call theirs the Ya Ali!). Is this really the best they can do?

      1. polecat

        Yes, its best not to drink the Giardian watered-down gunk .. unless ‘press’ed through a high quality truth filter.

        1. R Zarate

          Thanks of that link. I skim the Guardian most days, mostly to see what stories they cover and what they don’t.
          There were so many examples in that article about what is wrong with the Guardian you could spend all day dissecting it.

          The final lines, “abandon the misleading and destructive idea that – thanks to a combination of ubiquitous data capture and personal passions – the truth can be grasped directly, without anyone needing to report it.” is entirely self serving, because it suggests he does know what’s going on and “we” don’t.
          I know I don’t know what’s going on! That’s why I read so much every day from a wide spectrum of sources in an attempt to find out.
          I’m sure as hell not going to rely on William Davies.

    1. L M44 E

      Thank you.
      My doubt is because the saudi press conference displaying the weapons has the right side table labeled ‘May 2019’.

      Further, they sell us 17 billion for oil but only purchase 7.66 billion, which is military, not fords and chevies.

      We are not their favored market to shop in.

    2. Tomonthebeach

      To add to the incredulity of the Saudi evidence…..

      Normally, when there is a fire as hot as that of a refinery, metal melts – even disintegrates. So, the junk the Saudis showed were drones that they characterized as ones that missed the target. However, out of the other side of their mouths, the Saudis assert that the astonishing precision of the drone strikes proves Iran culpability. Can you have it both ways? The Houthi hit the refinery with pinpoint precision, yet missed the entire refinery with the drones on display.

    3. EricT

      I’ve heard that newspaper owners during nazi Germany were held accountable in war crimes tribunals for promoting war and sentenced to 5 years. I think we should go back to that standard. No one is held accountable anymore, so we experience these stupid false flag distractions from the truth trying to incite war.

      1. Mike

        Operation Mockingbird lives!!! It’s too bad these characters can’t be dumped outside the 3-mile ocean limit, citizenship revoked…

      2. Duck1

        Julius Streicher published the Nazi newspaper Dur Sturmer and was tried as a major war criminal at Nuremberg and executed in 1946.

    4. Dan

      The rockets the Gaza inmates use are often basically cardboard tubes with explosives. A.K.A. “Fireworks”

      The Iron Dome defensive system? The very best technology that American taxpayers can provide with massive profits to the MIC.

      Learn about operation Paperclip. Now there was some rocket technology.

      1. David Mills

        Norman Finklestein gives a very good analysis of the failure of the “Iron Dome”. In that, he indivated that the “missiles” used by Hamas amount to not much more than modified fireworks.

        The damage on the storage tanks is very uniform. If the UAVs involved only have an 18kg warhead, are they using a shaped charge / EFP. Also, given tfat thdy are shooting at something that burns easily, they could’ve used thermite… WaWaWa.

    5. lambert strether

      > The drone shown by Saudi Arabia matches one displayed at a defence show in Iran

      Well, I should hope so!

      I mean, I was very nice, and didn’t ask if the drone’s tubes were made of aluminum….

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Millions may risk jail as Indonesia to outlaw sex outside marriage”

    On the bright side, Indonesia is set to establish the world’s leading research center for the study of Epididymal Hypertension (Google it!).

  3. timbers

    Regarding your posts about the drone attack on Saudi Arabia, MoonOfAlabama has a unique analysis I have not seen elsewhere.

    He message is SA buys U.S. military equipment.

    U.S. military equipment is mostly focused on aggression and offense, and hence has little to offer in terms of what SA needed most: a defense that could stop the drone swarm.

    Hence, SA is buying military equipment from the wrong country.

    In contrast, Russia excels the U.S. in defensive military, because Russia is focused on defense not aggression. That’s why it a similar U.S. attack of a drone swarm on Russia’s military base in Syria, the attack was 100% repelled.

    Saudi Arabia should have been purchasing Russian military for defense, not U.S. military for offense. If it had, it’s oil fields and nation would be protected from attack.

    MOA made a comment on his site a while back. He said NC has blacklisted him, in response to a comment he made on this site. I don’t know the details, but I can say w/o his view on the attack on SA oil, an interesting and unique view has been omitted in Links.

    1. Geo

      This same take was over at Raw Story where they portrayed it as Putin trolling Trump (not sure how this squares with the “Trump is a Putin patsy” narrative they always push, but that’s a different subject) and thought it was a fascinating perspective: how America sells offensive while Russia is selling defense.

      There are so many layers to that to unravel. The biggest one I imagine is piece of mind. With strong defense you can rest a bit. If all you have is offense you must always be on the attack using the bully method of “keeping the peace” (“We’ll fight them there so we don’t have to face them in the US” – G.W. Bush).

      And, any world leaders who saw how US protection of its strategic allies worked out for Saddam and the Iraqis, again I imagine it’s more appealing to have defense from invasion instead of a US-dependent offense.

      Nice to see this idea starting to gain some traction. We could use a seismic shift of priorities away from offensive militaries and toward defensive. I wish it was us leading the way on it instead of being the antagonist in the narrative though.

    2. R Zarate

      NC make friends with MOA again. MOA has great insightful articles that stand the test of time. I was sorry when I heard you had fallen out.
      You are two of my most reliable sites.
      Go on, you know you can : )

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Its absolutely true that Russia close air defences are far better than US ones. But its simplistic to say its all about Russia preferring defence, the US attack. The Russians have plenty of offensive weaponry.

      US strategy has always been about establishing full air superiority before operating on the ground, so its never seen the same need for multiple layers of air defence. Remember, Russian systems are highly mobile, which makes them just as useful for offence as defence.

      The Saudi’s and UAE have actually been aware of this, which is why the UAE use Russian Panstir-1 systems, and the Saudi’s had already signed a deal for the S-400 from Russia (although I suspect the latter was all about making nice with Putin, I doubt they will ever be delivered, at least not in their most advanced form).

      But the Houthi attack is a genuine game changer for war. The Houthi’s have demonstrated how a weak and poor adversary can hit an advanced country very hard using very cheap and simple weaponry. They probably did it with Hizbollah (not Iranian) help, so the Israeli’s will be looking on with great concern.

      This is one reason why the US tried so hard to keep GPS under US control, and why most other countries, including Europe, built/are building their own systems. With cheap GPS guidance pretty much anyone can now do a long range air strike with parts you can buy on Ebay and put together in a garage.

      No doubt everyone will invest very heavily in anti-drone weaponry soon, but this is a new arms race – it won’t be long before the likes of the Houthi will be able to make them even stealthier using fairly cheap and available coatings and mouldings.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    The myth of China’s “Great State” New Statesman

    A very good read – and I would say essential reading for those who have a habit of taking Beijing’s statements about its borders at face value (as the article points out, nobody in China mentions the awkward fact that the Great Wall is in the middle of China, not on its borders). The fringes of China – and this includes Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, much of Yunnan and of course Taiwan – are only relatively recent additions to ‘China’, and not ones necessarily gained with the consent of the residents.

    1. Fritzi

      Of course, unlike some other countries, the chinese made the mistake of not completely wiping out the previous residents.

      A lesson for the future perhaps?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Those wiped completely in China, recently or three, four thousand years ago – how would we know about them?

        Whatever happened to the people of Hundred Yue (Baiyue)? Completely or nearly completely wiped out? They used to live as far north Shandong and as far inland as Sichuan.

        What about the people of Ba (around present day Sichuan)?

        This sad story can, in fact, be found in every corner of the world, from the Mayans to the tribes named in the Bible, wherever there have been humans.

    2. Ignacio

      While this is true and it could have occured in 1912 that the Tibet and Xinjiang could, but didn’t, become independent like Mongolia (which needed USSR helping hand) did. The “rigths” China could claim on those territories were, at the time, very recent as compared with the very objetionable rigth –in its moment– of Jews on current Israel. Nowadays, China can claim more that 100 years of “ownership” on these territories which is longer than the about 70 years Israelis can claim now. Both Israel and China can go on with slow motion spatial & racial occupation and “cultural cleansing” policies and one justifies the other. Now India has joined this select club in Kashmir so this looks like an endless game. I wish current chinese goverment would be as tolerant with different cultures/religions as Kublai Khan was, although less beligerant of course.

      Anyway it is true that most of us are very ignorant on asian history and the article is a very good read. I wish, I could make a long and quiet trip between Tashkent and Urumchi!

  5. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the Asia Times article about Houthis, just to add that the Houthis need not march all the way from Yemen to Eastern Province, where much of what’s left of Saudi (Arabia)’s* oil is located, to link up with allies. There are Shiite communities along the southern end of the Red Sea. There are also Sunni communities who feel more kinship with brethren from Yemen than with the Al Saud and other Najd tribes, including the Wahhab clerical clan. The border area of Hadramawt, where the Bin Ladin family and the KSA 9/11 hijackers came from, is disputed by KSA, likened to a family business by Menachem Begin*, and Yemen. Further up the Red Sea coast, there are Sunni communities who feel more kinship with the Hashemites than with the Al Sauds. Along the border with Iraq, there are Sunni communities who remember the Al Rashid family’s influence under Ottoman overlordship. The Al Rashid family provided the mother of the late King Abdullah, a monarch who tried to ease some of these differences / tensions and was very different from the Sudeiri seven back in charge.

    * Before the KSA government and parastatals trade any oil, using Deutsche as one of their bankers, the Al Saud family get a share for their own trading. The different branches have relationships with different western companies. The royals are paid in cash and oil.

    The conflict with Houthis and Shiites in Eastern Province have been bubbling away for decades, well before the western MSM decided to blame everything on Iran, if not Putin. My father was told about these conflicts when he arrived in Riyadh in late 1992, a posting that was to last more than twenty years. One of the colleagues who explained all that was a young woman who said there was no way an Al Rashid northerner like her could marry someone from the Hadramawt.

    Yesterday morning, UK based readers may have seen an interview with the young lad serving as KSA’s ambassador to London, Khalid bin Bandar. His father, formerly ambassador to Washington, owns the Glympton Park estate in Oxfordshire and a splendid collection of single malts.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      Yesterday while in the pickup on the way to an appointment the kid asked me if I had heard about the Saudi oil strike. I opined that yes, I had, and asked what caused him to bring it up these few days after it had happened?

      Apparently a class at his HS had a discussion about it. Sounded from his description that the teacher mainly toed a government line about Iran being responsible. I asked if anyone in the class had brought up any dissenting opinions. Not really, said he.

      I asked what he knew about the Houthis, the Saudi-led war there, civilian casualties, the US support for bombing anything that moves (or doesn’t move) and whether there might be any possible justification for the other side in a war like that to…well, you know…strike back.

      He agreed that seemed logical.

      The conversation strayed into Saudi crimes, 9/11, Mossedegh, Iran-Contra, Iraq 2003, etc after that and I probably blizzarded him with too many facts and figures subsequently….but one thing he reiterated, and maintained that he will *not* change his existing opinion on: He is not now, nor will he ever, be enlisting in any combat service.

      Once the drums beat, the flags fly, and our doughty doughboys and doughgirls start marching off to their own generations Splendid Little War in Persia, we shall see…propaganda on teen males minds is a terrible thing…but if and when he gets his draft notice, I will do pretty much anything to hide him, get him to Canada, or otherwise throw any monkey-wrenches I can into that tanks treads before they squish him flat.

      I guess I’m a Traitor. :)

      1. JohnnySacks

        Traitor? That makes two of us. No child, grandchild, etc. will EVER entertain that notion for a split second if I have my way. How historically ignorant, by design or otherwise, does one have to be to be unaware of the story lines and failures of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. What were/are we even doing? Now the case against Iran we’ve been sold for decades is coming to fruition – are we fighting for Netanyahu? Bin-Salman? Fluffing the equities market? What’s worse is militarily, Iran makes the previous three look like a farm team comprised of cripples and our casualties will overtake Iraq and Afghanistan within days.
        But there will be winners, always basically the same: Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, etc. Build it, cash in, blow it up, wash, rinse, repeat.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks CS, thats fascinating – the overlapping alliances in the whole peninsula are so opaque and complicated, only an idiot could think that outsiders could pick ‘good’ guys and ‘bad’ guys to support or bomb. But it seems that includes most of our leaders.

      I do think its correct to say though that the House of Saud is nowhere near as strong and secure as so many assume. Power structures like theirs require a perception of invulnerability to maintain their integrity. Once the cracks start to appear I think everyone will be astonished at the speed it will fall apart. Its usually the mercenaries who do their dirty work who see the weakness first – I’m sure MBS is looking very nervously at his military structure and bodyguards.

  6. dearieme

    Drones and cruise missiles: the first jet-to-jet combat happened in 1944 when a Gloster Meteor of the RAF brought down a V-1 cruise missile of Literally Hitler.

    You’d have thought that with 75 years notice, and a bundle of experience at using cruise missiles and drones to assassinate wedding parties and so forth, the US might have been minded to devote some thought to how to defend itself and its allies from attack by such devices. Instead it spends extravagantly on fighter aircraft and aircraft carriers that, essentially, simply don’t work.

    I suggest that the ruling class in the Pentagon over the last 20 or 30 years be arrested, put before a firing squad, and shot. Pour encourager.

    Meantime be sure to keep your Carrier Strike Groups far out to sea. True they couldn’t do any useful fighting out there, but on the other hand there would be time and opportunity to teach all the matelots how to swim.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The business model is to get paid building and launching the multi-million$ drones, but then also to get paid to rebuild what they destroyed: bridges, water treatment plants, schools, hospitals etc.

      Somehow preventing the drones from doing their damage would eliminate half of the revenue stream.

      And you can’t have drone inventory piling up, you need a good flow, so we need a renewing list of countries to host the festivities. There are a few countries left on the list that so far have not received this flavor of American diplomacy, I’m sure we can find some people in Paraguay and Burkina Fasso we don’t like for some reason.

    1. ddt

      Maybe spraying your license plate with hairspray will work? I hear they do this in Europe to thwart traffic light cameras.

      1. Hepativore

        The trouble is that the very same places that are pushing things like facial recognition software and unchecked camera surveillance are also probably going to outlaw attempts to thwart them as some of the anti-survelliance measures and methods are visibly obvious to human observers like law enforcement officials.

      1. Carolinian

        I finally got around to reading the Times/MSN article and here is the gist.

        Although Boeing’s designers were aware of timetables and competitive pressures, the mistakes they made were honest ones, or stupid ones, or maybe careless ones, but not a result of an intentional sacrifice of safety for gain. As always, there was a problem with like-mindedness and a reluctance by team players to stand out from the crowd. Even more pernicious was the F.A.A.’s longstanding delegation of regulatory authority to Boeing employees” a worry that is perennially available to chew on if you like and may indeed be related to the configuration of the troublesome system as it was installed. Nonetheless, in Seattle, at the level where such small choices are made, corruption, like cynicism, is rare.

        That is not meant as a blanket defense of Boeing. On the corporate level, the company is the worst sort of player–a corrosive agent that spreads money around Washington, pushes exotic weapons on Congress, toys with nuclear annihilation, sells all sorts of lesser instruments of death to oppressive regimes around the world and dangerously distorts American society in the ways that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against in his prescient 1961 farewell address. But hardly any of that matters in the story of the 737 Max. What sent an expensive new Boeing into the ocean on that beautiful, bright morning in Indonesia? It is understandable to look for a simple answer. Laying the blame on a poorly implemented system, even a complex one, made the accident relatively easy to understand and also provided for a material solution: Simply fix the system. But the focus on a single shoddy component–as the news media and government regulators have rushed to do–has obscured the larger forces that ultimately made these accidents possible.

        Doubtless many here would quarrel with the first paragraph but in the stupid versus evil equation you do have to question why Boeing would knowingly send out a plane prone to crashing when the reputational damage of any airline crash is so devastating. Safety after all is in their selfish interest and not just a matter of altruism. So stupid may have the upper hand.

        And to the second paragraph, he’s obviously not whitewashing Boeing but in fact just the opposite. The article is really about something else which is the importance of pilot culture and the perils of airline cost cutting. As for MOA, this was not, IMO, one of his better pieces.

        1. Senator-Elect

          Good comment! The Langewiesche article is worth reading, making many useful points, and should not be dismissed. Unfortunately, he comes down on the wrong side of things in the end.

          He says that the pilots’ errors were the deciding factor in these accidents, not MCAS. But that could be said of virtually all accidents, as pilots could have theoretically averted many crashes if they had just done xyz amazing maneuvers. That’s not how accident investigations work, and he knows better than to put it that way.

          Langewiesche also fails to explain how, even if the pilots did individually perform badly, they could not be expected to escape the limitations of the context in which they were trained and did their job. Like the rest of us, pilots are products of their environment. How is it the pilot’s fault that Lion Air does a bad job of recruiting, training and fostering airmanship among its pilots? How is it the pilot’s fault that Ethiopian (and many other airlines) recommends its pilots engage the autopilot at 1000 feet and keep it on until 500 feet above the destination runway, eroding or failing to build hand-flying skills? I don’t think he meant it to be a “blame the pilots” article, but it comes out that way. In fact, it is a “blame the system” article, as it should be, but readers probably won’t come away with that conclusion.

          1. Carolinian

            I think he outlines pretty clearly the mistakes and bad faith that will doubtless cost Boeing large settlements. Pilot error and poor maintenance may bring other defendants into the suits.

            Reportedly there was an MCAS failure for a flight out of Phoenix before the fatal accidents and the pilots shut the MCAS off and continued on to Reno. The point being that the two fatal crashes were not necessarily inevitable just because Boeing produced a bad system. To me the article is useful for showing that there is more going on here than simple greed and misconduct on the part of Boeing.

    1. Camp Lo

      But how do events of individual human fragility support sweeping theories of systemic change? The pilot’s take on a complicated sequence of events fails to take into account the Marxist perspective. Pangs that come with knowing control is an illusion doth not, the clicks make’th. Agitation. Now that is where the geld is at.

  7. T

    Speaking of the million dollar trolls- was the budget and scope ever published?What I read was Brock announcing they were expanding to $1m. What was spent before? What was spent after? For all I know, the million increase was for one quarter and increased from $700k.

    Need to get over this, but the $1m factiod was not a solid number.

  8. Craig H.

    > Novel and Naughty LRB

    Writer gets Muggletonians into the third sentence. This is a word that should be used at every opportunity. Amaze all your Harry Potter fan friends. Muggles were really a TRUE FACT!

    What we really need now are the Ranters.

  9. Wukchumni

    Was chatting with my neighbor about 6 months ago, and I asked if he’d ever seen any drones overhead, here on just the other side of nowhere?

    He related that last summer they were on their deck and one came overhead for a few minutes and then was gone.

    Turned out it was 12 year boy, a neighbor a quarter mile away that had been there-drone that. The kid showed his parents close-up photos and video of our neighbors, and they were mortified, and told him not to do that again, bad Billy!

    It was a little eye opening, the ease of eavesdrop.

  10. L M44 E

    Thank you.
    My doubt is because the saudi press conference displaying the weapons has the right side table labeled ‘May 2019’.

    Further, they sell us 17 billion for oil but only purchase 7.66 billion, which is military, not fords and chevies.

    We are not their favored market to shop in.

  11. Carolinian

    That’s a devastating article about Amazon’s delivery van system that kills grannies and babies while the company declaims any responsibility. However I notice it is three weeks old and have seen little about it on other outlets. We know why a certain newspaper in DC won’t expose their owner’s quasi criminal enterprise, but where is the rest of the MSM? Doubtless Bezos gets away with it all because Wall Street loves him and they are the ones calling the shots. But while business friendly media like the NYT may spend most of their energy on Trump (they have criticised Amazon in the past), surely it’s time for a major media outlet, not a web outlet, to undertake a Bezos smackdown.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      It is devastating. But it’s also pretty much the same way amazon staffs and runs its warehouses–amazon controls everything except the workers, who are “employees” of “contractors,” and without whom amazon couldn’t operate. Unless they made good on their threats of better-than-human robots, of course.

      So how to explain the Tampa “entrepreneur” who, while “noticing” that she was not being paid by amazon, accepts 17 more delivery locations all over the country, hires 300 employees and taps two lines of credit in an attempt to keep her “business” going. Before being sued by an employee and amazon, emptying her mother’s retirement account and ultimately filing for bankruptcy that is.

      Or this:

      Indeed, Amazon enjoys a glut of entrepreneurs eager for a chance at owning their own chunk of its delivery network. A Facebook group dedicated to people hoping to launch Amazon delivery companies has more than 500 members. They offer each other tips on how to pass the video interview (be sure to use Amazon’s STAR method for answering questions) and thoughts on whether or not $10,000 is actually enough to get started ($30,000 is a safer bet, some say).

      Do ANY of these “logistics entrepreneurs” do any friggin’ research before they enter into an agreement with this piece of shit company, or are they too eager to make bank on the backs of the poor schlubs that they hire?

      amazon would be dead in the water if these people weren’t so stupid. Get a clue from FedEx, a REAL business, and tell them to take a hike.

      1. Carolinian

        Amazon recently said they would be sticking with humans in the warehouses much longer than they thought. Turns out the slaveys are necessary to keep Bezos in illusory success and vanity rockets. Nobody seems willing to question whether his retail innovations are in fact practical.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I’d guess doorstep delivery by drone will follow the same innovative trajectory. Which is to say never gonna get off the ground.

        2. lambert strether

          As usual, regulatory arbitrage is clothed in the cheap finery of “innovation” and “disruption.”

  12. The Rev Kev

    “The Trump Doctrine, Revealed”

    This article was pretty bad so I took a look at the author Bret L. Stephens and it all came together. This is a guy that wrote a book called “America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder” so of course he has his own agenda. He pushed for the Iraq invasion, was part of the Stop Trump movement and was dead against the Iran nuclear deal-

    But a reference reminded me where I had seen this guy’s name recently-

  13. Wukchumni

    Make America Grateful Again snarled traffic in sojourn from $100k a plate tributes to our liege in the golden state on a doge & pony show, where he super chastised us.

    …a Dollar here, a dolor there

    1. ambrit

      “…doge and pony show,…” It was held at Venice Beach?!?!?
      Next thing you know, the City Parents will be renaming the next mintropolis over ‘Marina Del Lago.’

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Did Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, launch the new cold war?”

    Absolutely. Trump here is only continuing Obama’s policies but I have no idea why Obama had this desire to push America into a new Cold War with Russia. Probably find that he was doing this on behalf of other actors in the government but he did no favours for ordinary Americans who have to deal with the consequences. Was it because Russia managed to get hold of Crimea and stopped the western-sponsored Jihadist winning in Syria?
    It was just not the continuous sanctions that he put on Russia but the breaking of norms to try to put the boot into Russia and get them to get up a grudge against America. Stuff like closing Russia’s oldest Consulate in San Francisco as well as those annexes in Washington and New York, expelling 35 Russian diplomats and their families about Christmas time at short notice. It was like it was personal for Obama. I think that history will judge Obama to have been a very small man.

    1. Phil

      the answer to this is simple. Putin has been known to throw the odd billionaire in jail. And our billionaires don’t like that.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Was Epstein a billionaire or not?

        I think there was some debate as to whether he was or was not.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        C’mon folks, it’s all about bringing back the good times. You know, when the nefarious Red Boogieman was the all-purpose Other we could frighten the kids and grannies with. Pick their pockets while they’re cowering under the bed, make the Rooskies and their gargantuan economy and implacable philosophy the existential enemy about to overwhelm Mom and apple pie. (The CIA made sure to puff up their economic figures when in fact the Soviet economy was actually approximately the size of Belgium plus vodka and their grocery stores were empty).

        The outbreak of peaciness when Potemkin-land fell over in 1989 was the real existential threat to America’s war-based economy, it didn’t hurt that billionaires needed their place at the trough but the real driver was the S&P 500 and how to keep it going in a P&L world (Peace and Love).

    2. Carolinian

      Besides isn’t the opposition always attacking Trump for not being sufficiently down with the New Cold War? They can’t seem to get their Manchurian Candidate story straight.

      1. Plenue

        I’m surprised to see a major outlet even acknowledge that there’s a new Cold War. I thought Trump was Putin’s puppet? How did this get back the WaPo editors?

    3. Camp Lo

      Russia happens to be the first state since WWII to invade and annex a sovereign European nation. Think about that. Cold war? It’s a hot war now. History holds low esteem for appeasement. Trump is a self-serving Chamberlain, a President willing to personally profit off of 21st century Anschluss.

      1. ambrit

        I do hope that your comment was snark. Crimea, if that is what you mean, voted to rejoin Mother Russia. If you want to play the ‘indiginous peoples rights’ card, we might as well give the whole place back to the Scythians.

        1. Roger Boyd

          The local population voted for independence from the Ukraine after a coup unseated the duly elected President, and the already in the Crimea Russian troops supported that right. The Crimea was part of Russia until Khrushchev (a Ukrainian) gave it to the Ukraine. The Crimea simply went home.

          Yugoslavia would be the first European nation to be invaded – remember Kosovo, Coatia etc.? The West supported their right to self-determination. They bombed the hell out of Serbia to make it happen.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The voting-to-exit is quite random, and never a sure thing, it seems.

            Could Virginia have just voted to leave the union?

            How many places in the world today would want to leave where they are now?

            Catalonia? The Basuqes? Sicilians?

      2. pretzelattack

        for one thing, russia was invited in to protect crimeans from the nazi thug regime in the ukraine; for another, crimea wasn’t a sovereign nation; last but not least, is invading a sovereign middle eastern or african or central american or southeast asian nation better? think about that.

        1. Camp Lo

          I was actually thinking about Donbass, but Crimea was sovereign Ukrainian territory, too. Ukraine has dealt with Russian aggression for the last 200 years. European wars are special because they have enormous body counts, religion is often involved, and Americans end up dying in them [disclosure: surprise, I’m American]. My community has Ukrainian refugees so I’m probably getting a one-sided story. But democracies have a duty to resist authoritarians everywhere. Right now the US is a lapsed democracy, so Europe is stepping up to the plate.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Ironicall, Kiev is called the “Mother of All Russian Cities.”

            Then, the Mongols invaded, and that city was done, and the center shifted to Moscow.

          2. The Rev Kev

            OK, let’s check the historical record. The old Soviet nation, along with members of the Warsaw Pact, did invade Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Hungary in 1956. But that was then. The modern Russian Federation is not into that game anymore. Like the British, they cut their empire loose a long time ago.
            As for the Crimea, they have been Russian since before the United States was a country. Fact. The Russian component in the Donbass is a more recent thing but the Ukraine also has a Polish contingent as well as a Hungarian contingent and I think that both Poland and Hungary were issuing their passports to those populations in the Ukraine when they saw the stark fascist streak in the Euoromaiden movement.
            If you want authoritarian movements, then I would suggest that you look at what is happening in the Ukraine with those torchlight parades, those neo-nazi formations fighting in the east, the crackdown on non-pure Ukrainians, etc. Those people in the Donbass are fighting for their survival and there is no illusion of what would happen to them is they were occupied.
            If, as an American, you see it as your duty to resist authoritarians, I would suggest that you take aim at Washington DC first based on how they are treating their own fellow Americans. Lots to go after there.

      3. vidimi

        what about Israel’s annexations of parts of Lebanon and Egypt, not to mention Gaza and the Palestinian territories not given statehood? think about that.

    4. Paradan

      I think it has to do with how are intelligence agencies started hiring private contractors (like Snowden) after 9/11. At one point it was about 75% of personnel. Around 2010-12 the FBI and CIA got nervous about Foreign agents infiltrating through the contractors. The Consulate was being used to help coordinate various informants, etc. Basically it’s the same problem as everything else, privatizing Government is a bad idea.

    5. Roy G

      I think the answer is quite simple: Obama ceded foreign policy to ‘the experts’ aka The Deep State, either because he didn’t know what he was getting into, and/or he was just ‘going along to get along.’ Imo this Faustian bargain is presented to every new President the day after he is elected. All of them in recent history except Trump have happily acquiesced. Trump has at the very least refused to do exactly what they say, while we all know that Hillary was an enthusiastic and willing handmaiden.

  15. David Carl Grimes

    Another hit piece from the Atlantic. If Bernie is stuck in neutral, why do they still need to punch him?

    “The Question Dividing Democratic Socialists
    Do they still need Bernie?”

    1. Lee

      KQED Poll: Harris Slips in California, as Warren, Sanders and Biden Lead the Pack

      California Sen. Kamala Harris has slipped to fourth place among likely Democratic voters in her home state, according to a new poll commissioned by KQED — the first survey of likely California primary voters taken since last week’s Democratic presidential debate.

      The poll finds Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders nearly tied for first among likely California voters — with 25% and 23% support, respectively — followed by former Vice President Joe Biden with 18%.

      1. Dan

        Wonder how Kamala’s ancestor’s owning 88 slaves will go over in Oakland and South Central?

        Quoting her father:
        “My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town)”

        The National Archives in London is a repository for records from the West Indies and Jamaica in particular. These records include wills, manumissions, correspondence, slave registers;
        “A return of slaves in the parish of Saint Ann in the possession of Hamilton Brown as owner on the 28th day of June, in the year of our lord 1817”

        See page 3/13 for the 88 slaves Kamala’s ancestors owned. PDF below

        I’m sure Bernie’s family never owned slaves. Nor I venture did Warren’s or Tulsi’s.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I doubt anyone much cares. Shes going no where. These primaries are about a path to victory, not a debate zinger. Harris’ campaign amounts to that she exists. She’s not even third in a race with basically three 70 year olds ahead of her.

          If Clintonistas weren’t so stupid or in it for the grift, they would tell her to get out. She doesn’t even have a point where she might serve as an adequate running mate by staying in.

          Since Harris largely ran on being Harris, I doubt even a competent staff could convince her to get out. One party state issues aside, the voters in this contest have likely voted for Harris before. She’s done. She’s from Caliornia too. If she wants to be national news, she can be. She’s not a rando Senator from Maine or New Hampshire. Harris is done.

        2. marym

          There are plenty of solid reasons not to vote for Harris based on her policies as a public official and candidate. The people you refer to as “Oakland and South Central” will no doubt evaluate those policies as thoughtfully or not as any of the rest of us.

          As far as having an ancestor who was an enslaver, it isn’t a disqualifier for the presidency. I’d be more interested to know why non-“Oakland and South Central” would focus on this aspect of Harris’s lineage.

      2. Grant

        That poll has Warren killing Bernie among black voters, more than doubling his support. Gotta wonder about that, I would be surprised if that was actually the case. Also shows Bernie doing really well among voters 18-34, close to her on voters 35-49, but getting beat handily by voters 50 and over. According to that poll, voters 65+ support Warren three times more than Bernie. Would be interesting to break it down by the income of the voters in that poll. Emerson’s poll has Bernie and freaking Biden tied at 26%, Warren with 20%. I have long stated that Bernie’s support is very likely understated in these polls, and Biden’s overstated, because of the likelihood of voters that normally don’t vote actually voting for Bernie.

        I also think that the Democratic Party, like 2016, will pull a bunch of BS to shaft Bernie. California is early this time, and if Bernie was to win, he would propel himself and have tons of momentum. So, the Democrats are going to screw him in every way they can in California, just as they have to local candidates on the left recently.

    2. Grant

      I sometimes do work within the DSA in my neck of the woods. At least of those I have talked to, the people here like Bernie far more than anyone else running in that party. It isn’t close, and people don’t agree with or trust Warren, for a number of reasons. The reluctance in regards to backing Bernie is the reluctance to associate with the Democratic Party. More than anything, people don’t feel that the Democrats will ever allow Bernie to have power, they cheated him and will likely again, and they have no faith in that party, its leaders and many of the voters in that party. We had a discussion two weeks ago, and the person I talked to was pushing for the Green Party candidate, not because he didn’t like Bernie but because he was convinced that Bernie will never be given a chance in what amounts to a corrupt, right wing party. It is hard to argue against it, although I don’t like the defeatism of it all. Yeah, they aren’t likely to give him power, but we should try none the less, and if we organize well, it is possible. The left elsewhere faces far greater odds, especially in developing countries. Besides, those that want third parties could use what the Democrats are going to do as an argument to leave that party and to create an alternative infrastructure.

      I, personally, would like the DSA to grow to the point where it could exist as a party that could run against Democrats, instead of being the left flank of that party, which despises the left and working people. Kshama Sawant has done well outside the Democratic Party as a candidate affiliated with Socialist Alternative. Ginger Jentzen and Ty Moore came close to winning. These are local elections though, and that seems to be a good place to start for left wing third parties. I think it is more problematic in the short term when it comes to presidential elections.

      In regards to Bernie, I personally think that he represents a rare opportunity and those DSA chapters would not likely exist if it wasn’t for his run and his work in recent years. To dismiss him in that way, to me, points to problems on the left. Our ideas are very popular, but the left barely exists in national politics. Why? I think the stuck in neutral thing is funny. The media lies about him, attacks him, and has recently been ignoring him. Yet, he still sits in second place nationally in polls that are likely understating his support, leads in key swing states and would (as things are now) likely benefit more than anyone else if Biden dropped out. How can anyone in the DSA be indifferent to that? At the very least, if that is the case, them screwing him over would make the Democrats look even worse, and they can’t afford to look worse. Even if they do screw him over, as things are developing, it almost certainly would come with a huge cost. That, to me, is progress.

      1. lambert strether

        > I, personally, would like the DSA to grow to the point where it could exist as a party that could run against Democrats, instead of being the left flank of that party

        Whether DSA can do that is the $64,000 question; I think we would agree that the current strategy of endorsing candidates is meant to be a step along that road.

        I think the liberal Democrat nomenklatura senses the threat, in its dim way, and that’s why WFP is now being stood up, both as a straw for the Dems, and as a competitor in the space for a genuinely left party, which the Cuomo-endorsing WFP most definitely is not.

  16. Livius Drusus

    Re: The tech backlash is real, and it’s accelerating.

    The problem with whatever tech backlash we see today is that it focuses too much on companies and not enough on tech itself. Just to use one example, I don’t think surveillance tech is good even in the hands of ethical companies or governments. Even if I thought the people watching me were completely ethical, were only out to catch “bad guys” and only wanted what was best for me, I still do not want to be under surveillance.

    If techno-tyranny ever comes to the West it will most likely be brought about for ostensibly good reasons like enhancing security and public health or merely as consumer convenience, not as outright fascism. For example, if human beings are ever microchipped it might start out as an anti-crime measure, perhaps to prevent child abduction. Most people will be fine with this because most people will not want to be seen as arguing against measures intended to stop child abduction. If you refuse to microchip your children you will be seen as an unfit parent so the social pressure to allow microchipping will be huge. However, microchipping will not end there. It will be extended to other vulnerable populations such as the elderly and then eventually to all people.

    Unfortunately, most people believe that all new technology represents progress and it just depends on how we use it. I don’t find this argument to be very convincing. Technology brings about changes that are often impossible to control and direct in ethical ways. We have seen this over and over again with unintended consequences arising from the development of new technology. Each new technological development is a social experiment and ordinary people are forced to deal with whatever consequences arise, hence the overly accepting attitude most people have to technological progress. I think this is an extremely dangerous attitude and one that is going to lead us to disaster in the near future.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      IF techno-tyranny ever comes to the West……?????

      I’d say it’s already here and has been for awhile. That you and plenty of others don’t seem to realize it means the project is a smashing success. Microchipping will be a piece of cake.

      1. Cuibono

        Precisely. Heck folks are donating their genomes en masse. Your medical records are largely fair game. Your entire shopping, eating, travelling histories are known.
        Your conversations at home. Every email, text, web page you are connected to…

        What is left?

  17. lordkoos

    My own personal, small-scale tech backlash was after the latest Windoze 10 1903 update which broke a bunch of my favorite old applications. The last straw… so after 25 years of being a Microsoft customer I installed the latest Linux Mint OS on my laptop. The learning curve wasn’t as bad as I though it would be and I couldn’t be happier with it – no bug-laden updates, no spying/telemetry, no bloat-ware, and no anti-virus needed. If you have the drive space, it’s very simple to set up a dual-boot on your computer and try it for yourself:

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        There is a mostly practical Linux OS for smartphones: Lineage OS.

        You can buy a cheaper older phone and install it (with a slight learning curve) using Linux Mint.

        But there is no place safe from surveillance on the internet. And a lot of the things people do to hide them selves make themselves more of a target via fingerprinting.

        My tech backlash is using it less. A lot less.

        1. lordkoos

          Yes, but at least the linux stuff is harder to hack. The problem with the Linux phones as I understand it is the lack of applications.

          I get what you mean though. Like if you use a VPN, that is likely a flag. Which is why everyone should use one…

    1. Carolinian

      The only reason to stick with Windows would be the legacy applications which exist in such abundance. However Linux Wine can handle many XP era and earlier programs and a virtual machine can run the latest Windows and its applications (if you have plenty of memory).

        1. Carolinian

          To run more recent programs you may have to load all the latest dotnet packages from Microsoft. The web has instructions on how to do this with Wine (it may or may not work depending on the program). I’ve found that legacy programs from the early naughts on back almost always work. Of course you do have to have an x86 computer. Some of those earlier MS programs are written in speedy code and better than more recent offerings.

            1. Carolinian

              My Chromebook converted to Linux is Intel 64 bit and runs Wine just fine. I’m using quite a few Windows programs inside Linux–some quite useful and without open source equivalents.

              Try this site for help running specific Windows programs


      1. Tom Bradford

        I was perfectly happy with Windows 7 but avoided 8 and don’t want a bar of 10. With 7 coming to the end of its support I switched to Mint a few months back and have had no problems save that my favourite mail app, Pegasus, regrettably doesn’t have a Linux version.

        I prefer dual booting rather than Wine, and a Linux install makes that easy. My reason for retaining access to Windows is for some great old games which take over the OS to an extent Wine can’t cope with.

        1. lordkoos

          Yeah Win7 was the last decent OS from them. I used to use Pegasus long ago but have been using T-bird a long time now so that was easy since it came preinstalled with Mint, just had to import my address book and voila.

  18. Big River Bandido

    Hmm. Two NYT pieces in one week about how AOC is now defenestrated, with at least one quote from Steve Israel. I wonder if the Gray Lady has an agenda?

  19. Grant

    “Twitter launches the ‘Hide Replies’ feature, in hopes of civilizing conversations”

    This obviously benefits gaslighting neoliberals that get ratioed. Zerlina Maxwell, Neera Tanden, David Brock, they lie and get called out. They can now lie and the rebuttals will not be right there. It will benefit liars and propagandists that are called out more than anyone. Their lies and gaslighting are what degrade our discourse, not the responses to the lies and gaslighting.

    1. inode_buddha

      It happens everywhere, not just on Twitter. I’m rapidly learning to *print* stuff before it disappears.

    2. BenLA

      The best thing about twitter was all the replies to the lies and obfuscation.
      Taking the replies out will turn twitter into the msm and the platform will wither like the msm.

  20. bwilli123

    Good overview on the Rise of Right Wing Nationalism from Yasha Levine

    …”Most people probably don’t know that over the past 70 years America has done more to promote nationalism and far-right ideologies around the world than any other country on earth. I say this without exaggeration. No one else even comes close.

    Weaponizing nationalist ideas abroad while empowering nationalist communities here at home — this has been a major plank of United States foreign policy going back to the very end of World War II.

    It was first unleashed against the Soviet Bloc as a way to destabilize and foment insurgency and unrest among the region’s diverse, multiethnic population. But this strategy has outlived the Soviet Union and continues in all sorts of different forms today — deployed to meddle and subvert state institutions from Eastern Europe to Central Asia to Russia to China to Iran and beyond. A giant soft power apparatus has been built up over the years to pursue this goal. It’s become such an integrated part of America’s imperial management strategy that few even notice it’s there….”

      1. JBird4049

        …that over the past 70 years America has done more to promote nationalism and far-right ideologies around the world…

        It is true that after the 1960s, with the fall of the British and Portuguese Empires, the United States took over the management of the business. I would note that the American division of Overthrow Inc. really started in 1892 its practice of overthrowing democratic, or at least locally acceptable, governments often by military invasion, for the benefit of conservative and usually wealthy (American) elites, with the Kingdom of Hawaii, then later the government(s) of Puerto Rico and Cuba both repeatedly, as well as the conquest of the nation of the Philippines after the end Spanish-American War. That would be 127 profitable years.

    1. JTMcPhee

      I think you’ll find that policy goes way back before the end of WW II. “He may be a son of a b____, but he’s our son of a b_____” is inherent in the Monroe Doctrine and the rest of our imperial toolkit.

  21. Tim

    “Amazon’s Next-Day Delivery Has Brought Chaos And Carnage To America’s Streets — But The World’s Biggest Retailer Has A System To Escape The Blame Buzzfeed”

    I’m coming to the conclusion we need a new kind of law. Similar to manslaughter or being an accomplice, where criminal liability exists if the responsible individuals of a company set up preconditions of their business that FACILITATES or REQUIRES criminal activity. The burden of proof of intent based on a “reasonable understanding of likely outcomes” could be a condition of the law

    If you set up a system that required people to break laws (speeding), and ignore safety you’re guilty of their criminal offenses too.

    If you set up a server system designed to aid criminal facilitating communication, your guilty too.

    UPS says it pays $3 Billion a year in safety training related expenses globally. Amazon spends zero. SHouldn’t be that way.

    1. ewmayer

      The business model you describe has a name – racketeering – and all the laws we need are in place. They simply need to be applied to the white-collar mobs – here’s looking at you, Wall Street – and the techno-disruptor versions thereof. We don’t need new laws, we need regulators and prosecutors with guts and politicians who refuse to be bribed by the racketeers.

    2. JTMcPhee

      “The law” is already there — strict liability. In both civil and criminal law contexts. The Wiki explanation points out that this all depends on quirks of legislative language, like the intentional or inadvertent omission of a requirement to prove intent to commit a bad act. Do act XX, and go to jail or pay a big fine or penalty, doesn’t matter what you intended. You know, those quirky words or omissions that end up on the dry pages of statute books (and their new digital equivalents.) That get there by some alchemy of tradition, notions of goodness or right conduct, the need to deter destructive behaviors, public pressures, bribery and often careless draftsmanship, opening up the interpretive processes of “the law” or creating tools for prosecutors. Some few of whom (not in the “Justice Department,” it seems) care to unlimber the tools that are there in “the law.” So some prosecutors can apply public force to individuals, whether “natural” or “corporate,” to punish and deter bad acts that persist as prohibitions even in the thoroughly corrupted “law” and legal system.

      The legal tools, like antitrust legislation, and RICO, and the former criminal provisions of the federal Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, now pretty much lie rusting in their cases (or are removed or blunted by subsequent legerdemain via lobbyist- or “interest-group” (like ALEC) -written and bought legislators’ ratification, via modifications and repeals, or via hamstringing interpretations and limitations by the courts).

      “The law is for little people,” as the participants here know very well.

  22. KFritz

    Re:Antidotes: Way to up your Border Terrier content! The shelf behind the cat and sculpture is filled with…well used 33 LP record albums–museum pieces! The artist must be a codger!

  23. ewmayer

    Justin Trudeau admits 2001 brownface photo was ‘racist’ | ABC — I was kinda hoping for an Onion-esque punchline of “…promises to manumit remaining field hands as soon as harvest is finished” on this one, actually.

  24. ChrisPacific

    From the CAPX article on a post-Brexit US trade deal:

    At the Congressional level, things also look good, if not without some difficulties. Already, 45 Republican Senators have written to the White House making it clear they are on board for a quick and comprehensive accord. Critically, if the UK can persuade at least some of the the powerful Irish caucus in the Democratic Party that the Good Friday agreement will be upheld, all will be smooth sailing.

    That’s quite a handwave. Has the author been paying any attention to Brexit developments at all?

  25. meeps

    Road To Universal Coverage: Addressing The Premium Affordability Gap Health Affairs

    The musical interlude assisted my reading of the above whilst chuckling instead of swearing aloud. Eventually it arrives at how single payer can end the “glitch” but, really, why would anyone tolerate such a convoluted set of policy proposals? Could this tendency be an artifact of the convoluted shape of the human brain? If so, I question the value-add of all that extra surface area. It might be just taking-up space.

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