Links 9/26/19

Cats Like People! (Some People, Anyway) NYT. So everything’s gonna be OK!

Rentier capitalism does not come with a reset button New Statesman

A climate intelligence arms race in financial markets Science (abstract only, sadly).

WeWork illustrates everything that’s wrong with the economy and with our capitalist system — and shows just how far that system has gone off the rails Matt Stoller, Business Insider

Danske Bank Executive Ensnared in Money-Laundering Scandal Found Dead Bloomberg

Uber stopped its own investigators from reporting crimes to the police The Verge


Parliament Returned For A Toxic Day Of Frustration, Bitterness, And Fury Buzzfeed

Boris Johnson lays ground for ‘people vs parliament’ election FT

Tesco, Sainsbury Warn of Brexit Threat to Tomatoes and Lettuce Bloomberg

Merkel’s political twilight sees Germany’s influence wane FT


How Yemen’s Houthis are bringing down a Goliath Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

Benjamin Netanyahu offered chance to form Israeli coalition FT. Ma nishtana

Egypt’s anti-Sisi protests explained in 5 key questions Africa News. Lots of protests, these days.

Russia and the Asia-Pacific Lowy Institute

The Koreas

How a sanctions-busting smartphone business thrives in North Korea Reuters


US bill on Hong Kong democracy, which has angered China, gets approval in House and Senate committees South China Morning Post

Why the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 Must Be Opposed Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers and K.J.Noh, Black Agenda Report. “… the US is already credibly accused…” The link is to a YouTube from CGTN, “which is part of Beijing-based China Central Television (CCTV) and under the control of the Publicity Department of the Communist [sic] Party of China.” Really?

Between Washington and Beijing Lausan 流傘 Collective, Jacobin

What’s with the tiny roller?


* * *
Chabuduo! Close enough … Aeon. So China has crapification, too!

The Quantified Country SupChina

Alibaba unveils AI chip to boost cloud plans and cut reliance on US Nikkei Asian Review

‘We refuse to return to New Order’: Students protest against controversial bills Jakarta Post. The bills are the revised criminal code. They have demands:


(The source is at least blue-checked. That’s all I can say.)

Indonesia says at least 20 killed, dozens injured in Papua unrest France24


Young boys tortured in Kashmir clampdown as new figures show 13,000 teenagers arrested The Telegraph

Modi’s War The Caravan

Shamshuddin: a spanner still in the works People’s Archive of Rural India

Trump Transition

US govt watchdog barks at FAA over 737 Max inspectors’ lack of qualifications The Register

Air Force testing vegan napalm Duffel Blog (KW).


Forgive the wretched excess; the political class is losing its mind. –lambert

House’s move toward impeachment leaves gaping questions about the road ahead WaPo. Like “What does ‘impeachment inquiry’ even mean?” Here is the H.R. 803 (text), with which the House initiated the impeachment of President Nixon during WaterGate. Resolution sponsor and House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Peter Rodino (D-NJ) on the House floor:

Our responsibility in this is clear. The Constitution says, in article I; section 2, clause 5:

The House of Representatives, shall have the sole power of impeachment.

We are asking the House of Representatives, by this resolution, to authorize and direct the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate the conduct of the President of the United States, to determine whether or not evidence exists that the President is responsible for any acts that in the contemplation of the Constitution are grounds for impeachment, and if such evidence exists, whether or not it is sufficient to require the House to exercise its constitutional powers.

As part of that resolution, we are asking the House to give the Judiciary Committee the power of subpoena in its investigations.

And (importantly) from House Judiciary Ranking Member Edward Hutchinson (R-MI):

Mr. Speaker, the first section of this resolution authorizes and directs your Judiciary Committee to investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist to impeach the President of the United States. This constitutes the first explicit and formal action in the whole House to authorize such an inquiry.

The last section of the resolution validates the use by the committee of that million dollars allotted to it last November for purposes of the impeachment inquiry. Members will recall that the million dollar resolution made no reference to the impeachment inquiry but merely allotted that sum of money to the committee to be expended on matters within its jurisdiction. All Members of the House understood its intended purpose.

But the rule of the House defining the jurisdiction of committees does not place jurisdiction over impeachment matters in the Judiciary Committee. In fact, it does not place such jurisdiction anywhere. So this resolution vests jurisdiction in the committee over this particular impeachment matter, and it ratifies the authority of the committee to expend for the purpose those funds allocated to it last November, as well as whatever additional funds may be hereafter authorized.

I’m the very last person, at this point, to invoke the Norms Fairy, but it’s worth pointing out that whatever it may be that Pelosi has actually done, it does not conform to the “explicit and formal action” performed by the House the last time the Democrats impeached a Republican President. Nor have I heard of any monies explicitly allocated for this purpose.

Trump and House Democrats are ‘crossing the Rubicon’ with impeachment showdown, and nobody knows where it will lead WaPo. Worth noting that Caesar crossing the Rubicon brought on a civil war and the end of the Roman Republic; see, or rather listen to, Mike Duncan’s History of Rome podcast, episode “043- Insert Well Known Idiom Here.”

Why the House Democratic Caucus Was Able to Move So Rapidly Toward Impeachment Ryan Grim, The Intercept. Perhaps I’m not as au courant with Democrat nomenklatura jargon as I once was, but “front-liners” is new to me (it refers to the freshperson Democrats elected as a result of Rahm Emmanuel’s Nancy Pelosi’s strategy of moving the Democrat center of gravity toward conservatives in 2006 2018). Speculating freely: The only other place I’ve routinely encountered “front-liners” is in Hong Kong protests, where it denotes the black-clad protesters battling the police. Perhaps this really is how the heroic members of the #Resistance see themselves…. Certainly “front-liners” has, as it were, better mouth-feel than “Blue Dogs.”

Washington Post editorial quietly broke open Trump’s Ukraine scandal Politico. If I wanted to invoke the Norms Fairy again, I’d say that doing reporting on the editorial page is a little odd, but Fred Hiatt says it’s OK, so I guess it is.

* * *
Pelosi has finally taken ownership of impeachment. Now she must own the process. Donna Edwards, WaPo. Pelosi has always owned the process (see above). That’s what a Speaker is for.

Weak, Exhausted Nancy Pelosi Given Saline Drip Following Hours-Long Attempt To Stand Firm In Convictions The Onion

Why Ukrainegate Is Nothing Like Russiagate Foreign Policy. If the Democrats impeach narrowly on Ukraine, they’ll have to treat three years of RussiaRussiaRussia as a sunk cost.

A Flagrant Abuse of Power The American Conservative

Trump’s Ukraine transcript: Unwise words but no proof of a crime Jonathan Turley, The Hill

How to Talk to Your Aging Parent About Colluding With Foreign Governments McSweeney’s Internet Tendency


Detained The Marshall Project

How the global fish market contributes to human micronutrient deficiencies Nature

Historic find suggests bottle-feeding not a modern phenomenon Guardian (KW).

Slow eco-friendly washing machine cycles put more plastic in the environment, tests show Telegraph (TL).

Mont Blanc: Roads closed as experts warn glacier may collapse The Local (Italy).

Here’s How We Are Silenced by Big Tech Of Two Minds (DS).

Algorithmic Colonialism Rumman Chowdhury (dk)

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. The Rev Kev


    So I was watching the TV news on the whole impeachment story tonight when I went into power-save mode for a few minutes due to a lack of intelligent input.

    1. flora

      “Impeachment” : The Dem estab will do anything to avoid talking about Medicare for All and other good policy proposals….

      1. Dan

        Make that a conversation point.

        “Another Democratic distraction from delivering Medicare for All Americans”

        only with Bernie Sanders

        Print it, cut it down to the minimum size, mount on card stock, clear packaging tape to apply/weatherproof it, to the back of your car.

      2. lordkoos

        I’ve been saying this for weeks to my liberal friends, but they cannot get it. This is the ultimate distraction, and will be a media feeding frenzy for months on end, obscuring much more important issues.

      3. Harvey

        It’s more than a distraction. It’s a sustained attack. Such sustained attacks have usually been directed at left leaning challengers, not a right wing incumbent. Trump is the first leader of a western nation for a long time who was elected without the blessing of the dominant wealth/media/military complex.

        How to tell? First, there is uproar in the press about the person, revolving around what they once said or did. Leaked phone calls, conversations, images, smears and innuendos etc.
        The uproar is all consuming, fills pages of newspapers, hours of tv coverage, and now of course FB, Twitter, etc etc. Finally the public become weary, or there is nothing left that hasnt been said, or the accusation is found to have no merit. It all quiets down and the candidate tries to pick up the pieces.

        Then after a few days of calm, suddenly there is a new all consuming uproar in the press about the candidate, leaked phone calls, conversations, images, smears and innuendos revolving around a new issue.

        Rinse and repeat until the election.

        Happening now against Corbin in the UK. Antisemitismgate, IRAgate,++
        Happening now against Trump in the US. Russiagate, now Ukrainegate, ++

        Not Sanders yet, not worth the bother because he has a snowballs chance in Hades of getting the nomination. If that changed then Sanders would get the same treatment.

    2. Drake

      I can’t even watch TV anymore without a bit of self-prescribing to make it bearable. And that’s purely for entertainment—I don’t have access to anything strong enough that could get me through news or anything that pretends to be educational.

    3. Winston Smith

      It is most unfortunate that at a moment like this, all we can get from most media is just a bigger headline (often misleading) and a louder blaring of “shock words”-impeachment in this case. Repeat ad nauseam.

      That being said, is there not a cogent case to question and examine the president’s record and actions given that he has done everything to prevent any legitimate action by congress on these issues?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        by congress on these issues?

        This phrase is doing some heavy lifting. Impeachment is a political act. Given some of Trump’s other problems, the question is why this particular instance. Why is it so narrow?

        The grift of frequenting Trump hotels seems far more open and shut than an unnamed whistleblower who heard about the phone calls.

        Pelosi and friends aren’t focused on “these issues” as much as the overheard phone call from the Saintly intelligence community. Nothing these people have done has warranted any kind of good faith trust. If #resistance really cared, they would demand nothing but the best people to investigate Trump. Mueller’s record prior to his Sainthood was one of lying about WMDs and roughing up teenagers with emotional problems.

        1. Winston Smith

          I would humbly submit that considering the impeachment of Trump to be the only available path to hold the president accountable in the present circumstances does not by any means translate into tacit support for the democraps‘ inertia on issues such as you mention further below (healthcare the economy climate change).

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Again, the heavy lifting. Watch your back.

            The Democrats could move to impeach Trump or hold him accountable on various issues such as ICE abuses and concentration camps or the Trump Hotel grift. You would notice I mentioned the hotel problem and not healthcare in this comment.

            The refusal to hold Trump accountable for things that are fairly obvious and not dependent on the ilk of Robert Mueller are odd indeed.

            1. Winston Smith

              perhaps there is a fundamental misunderstanding as to what “these issues“. I take these issues to be all those you mention above and elsewhere.Take your pick or take them all. The emoluments clause does not seem to have much traction in the courts-lack of precedents? I would much prefer to have Trump defeated electorally and resoundingly. I do not care that much for the “resistance”.

              1. Yves Smith

                I don’t mean to seem hard on you but you need to stop because you are out of your depth and are among other things, demonstrating you haven’t even bothered to read Jerri-Lynn’s unpacking of emoluments.

                Impeachment has absolutely zero to do with the courts. It is a political process. Trump could be impeached for eating burgers in his bed if there were enough votes. But we like to pretend we are respectable and have due process so we don’t do things that way.

                More seriously, ONLY Congress has legal standing to pursue emoluments. Standing is a threshold issue in litigation.

                And if the House were serious, as opposed to really just wanting to keep generating bad headlines about Trump for fundraising purposes, they could have started impeaching him over violating the Emoluments Clause the moment they had a majority, when the newbies were sworn in. This is easy peasy to prove: Trump has had foreign diplomats who have been doing business with the government staying in the Trump Hotel. And it would give a great excuse to go rooting in Trump’s finances, to the extent they could be argued to be connected to other violations.

                1. Winston Smith

                  I am thankful for your enlightening comments and it is the reason why I appreciate Naked Capitalism which btw has by far the best Brexit coverage. You are not being hard on me.

                    1. Winston Smith

                      Your annoyance with the excruciating MSM coverage is shared by me and others come to NC, I am sure.

        2. Hepativore

          I honestly do not see what is the point of even trying to impeach Trump at this point. Regardless if even the House of Representatives votes to impeach, the measure will be dead in the water when it reaches the Republican-controlled Senate, especially with Mitch McConnel as the senate majority leader.

          Since Trump’s first term is almost over, it would be wiser for the Democrats to grin and bear him for another year and a half and make sure he does not get elected for a second term. A failed impeachment attempt would blow up in the Democrat’s faces and probably give Trump a major boost in popularity because of the martyr-effect. After all, Bill Clinton experienced a major poll surge after the Republican impeachment attempt.

          Finally, if the Democrats really wanted to try and impeach Trump on something, they should have used the violation of the Emoluments clause instead of wasting their political capital on the Russia hysteria. However, it is too late now, and the foreign governments involved were Saudi Arabia and Israel. Since they are our “bestest friends ever” so that would never happen.

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            The problem with your idea is Joe Biden. The Democrat establishment is pushing hard for his candidacy, but he will certainly lose to Trump in a general election. Biden is a heavily damaged candidate that will be easy for Trump to destroy on the campaign trail.

          2. Ford Prefect

            My suspicion is that Pelosi and Schiff see this as an opportunity to start pulling on the loose thread in the sweater to see what starts unraveling. It was in a “routine” Watergate hearing where the existence of the Oval Office system suddenly plopped out of the sky. Without that revelation, Nixon would probably have retired from the office in 1976.

            Also, if there is an official impeachment inquiry, it will be difficult for the Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, to say no to any Congressional subpoenas that appear remotely related. Once they get documents, the investigators will probably find emoluments evidence and other things like rat droppings in an abandoned building.

            Trump doesn’t appear to be subtle or careful about covering his tracks. His bullying of staff is also likely to create the potential for multiple John Dean’s who take truth serum before they testify to Congress in order to avoid prison.

            1. Yves Smith

              This “official impeachment inquiry” is a con you’ve fallen for.

              Impeachment is a formal process. It starts with on the record votes: of articles of impeachment. This is not that.

              Pelosi has done a big headfake with her “formal impeachment inquiry” which the media has uncritically taken up. There is no such thing. All she is doing is rebranding the existing investigations.

              1. Susan the other`

                that explains her dual responses then, one day she says the House is delusional with revenge and hatred of the Donald; two days later she says he abused his office, etc… Nancy is trying to avoid impeachment with all her charms.

          3. inode_buddha

            Problem with the Emoluments clause is that the Dems themselves are neck deep in it, and Trump isn’t afraid to drag that skeleton out of the closet.

    4. Carolinian

      At a moment during the 1968 Vidal/Buckley debates–the moment where Buckley finally erupts and threatens Vidal that he will “sock you in the jaw”–the camera cuts to Vidal who has a half smile, cat swallowed the canary expression. You wonder if Trump, the provocateur, has that expression this morning. Buckley spent the rest of his life regretting that moment and if the Dems lose the election due to their foolish hysteria they will regret it too. They are unlikely to defeat Trump by playing his game.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        The #McResistance TM is far less worried about Trump’s re-election than it is about a Sanders getting the Democratic nomination.

        With Trump’s (likely) re-election, they continue to increase fund-raising, clicks and ratings (Ka-Ching!), whereas if Bernie is the Democratic nominee, that gravy train is potentially derailed.

      2. divadab

        I think he said “I’ll sock you in the jaw, you quee-ah!”

        Buckley highly over-rated, in my view. Vidal one of the great American political thinkers, queer or not not relevent!

        1. Carolinian

          Agree totally. Buckley’s long running TV show, Firing Line, was produced by our SC Educational Television network. He had some stalwart friends among the textile tycoons.

        2. Plenue

          I’ve noticed with several conservative ‘intellectuals’ that there’s a mean spirited bully lurking underneath and if you scratch enough it will come out, usually in shockingly stupid ways.

          They’re also often big on homophobia. Fake historian Niall Ferguson once got caught ranting about how Keynes (who the right treats as an evil boogieman even though he was a conservative anticommunist who wanted to save capitalism) was shortsighted because he was a childless gay man (thus showing Ferguson’s own lack of research, since he’s just parroting the ‘we’ll all be dead’ quotemine).

          So much of what passes for conservative thought seems to just be attempts at gussying up ugly ideas.

            1. Procopius

              I believe Ferguson is basically a novelist, although for a while he was lionized as a histiorian because he wrote a “counterfactual” history in which the Germans won World War I. Newt Gingrich wrote a couple of “counterfactuals” in which the South won the Civil War. Trouble with counterfactuals is, you can have anything you want happen, so they really don’t demonstrate anything. He even did a whole TV series on money which was not very good. Completely ignored the evidence from Sumer and Babylon.

        1. Carolinian

          There’s an entire movie about the debates called Best of Enemies.

          But the famous big moment is doubtless available on Youtube.

          And reportedly Vidal had a framed news story about the debate hanging in the bathroom of his Italian villa. All gone now, including the villa which he sold after moving back to America for health reasons.

        2. ambrit

          I remember seeing it live on television. My Dad was big on politics, being a old style English Trades Unionist and a bit of a Trot. He had those two conventions on our television in the living room set to the exclusion of all else. Even back than, the Vidal-Buckley pairing was anticipated to produce ‘sparks.’ Boy did it ever.
          Then there was my teenaged shenanigans during the ’72 conventions. We lived on the Beach by then. Getting to the Convention Centre was easy. So was getting tear gassed. I got both.
          Grainy footage of the two ‘sparring’:

    5. Kevin

      Trumps goose is already cooked.

      Yes, the man has a rabid base that would not even flinch if he stood in the middle of fifth avenue and shoot somebody. However, in my opinion, his shenanigans over the last few years has not gained him any voters – in sum, I believe he has lost more than he has gained in term of followers.

      Just my opinion.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that this will totally galvanize Trump’s voter base when they see him being persecuted for wanting Biden’s crimes – which he boasted about in public – to be investigated since the media gave Biden a pass. So this will be a repeat of the whole Russiagate saga.
        Trump will give America’s billionaires a several trillion dollar giveaway, order that the F-35s be rebuilt out of gold and that America’s National Parks be turned into industrial and nuclear waste dumps. The Democrats will give all their votes to Trump to make sure that all these new laws are passed while they tell their voters that it is important to concentrate on Ukrainegate instead.

            1. Wukchumni

              Had half a dozen jet overflights above our campsite in a grove of mostly 15-17 foot wide @ eye level Sequoia trees, and one of them was really loud and my campmates all mentioned that after it whizzed by, and of course it was a F-35 heading home, west to NAS Lemoore.

              The arrival of the jets was preceded by years of debate and controversy, primarily over concerns about the increased noise. The F-35s will be nearly four times as loud as the F-16s, according to the Air Force.


              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Are the F-35s loud while in flight or are they also loud while on the ground? Because if its while they are in flight, who cares?

                1. Anon

                  Have you ever been in the High Sierra when an F-16 screeches past 100 feet (or less) above a mountain pass? It not only startled me to near myocardial infarction, but sent the Big Horn’s on Mt. Baxter into a near death ,frantic scramble across the scree.

                  There is plenty of room at Rainbow Canyon (Death Valley) for these pilots to turn themselves into pink mist.

                    1. ambrit

                      They fly, just they do nothing that they are tasked with very well. Simpler, cheaper and more ‘mission’ focused aircraft could do what they are supposed to do, in the air. On the ground, as machines to facilitate graft, the F-35 class of aircraft have no peers.

        1. Hank Linderman

          Yes, the previously squishy Trump voters will finally find a spine.

          Ummm, actually, most Trump voters I have met while running for office in Kentucky were already rather galvanized.

          I’m reading conflicting reports on Biden’s involvement in Ukraine, never mind that hiring a son of an American politician is questionable. And sadly, normal.

          1. jashley


            How quickly they forget.

            Manafort,Podesta,Clinton etc etc etc.

            This is a bid by the Trump deep-state haters and the same group has been in bed with many monied interests in Ukraine for decades. The deep state of both sides must shutdown any airing of Ukraine corruption over the years.

            The money leads straight back to those who do not wish to be seen as criminal looters.

            This in a nutshell is why the game must be protected.

            Expect some unfortunate “accidents”.

          2. Lemmy Caution

            Yes. the Biden story had been around. The Intercept has done several stories on it, including this one where the author writes:

            “There is no question that Biden did, during a visit to Kiev in late 2015, threaten to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees unless Shokin was dismissed. But the vice president, who was leading the Obama administration’s effort to fight corruption in Ukraine, did the country a favor by hastening Shokin’s departure, Kaleniuk said, since he had failed to properly investigate corrupt officials.
            “Shokin was fired because he attacked the reformers within the prosecutor general’s office,” Kaleniuk said, “reformers who tried to investigate corrupt prosecutors.”

            The article goes on to say:

            “Among the most prominent cases of official corruption Shokin had failed to pursue was against Yanukovych’s environment and natural resources minister, Mykola Zlochevsky, who had oversight of all Ukrainian energy firms, including the largest independent gas company, Burisma, which he secretly controlled through shell companies in Cyprus. After Zlochevsky was forced from office along with Yanukovych in 2014, his gas company appointed Hunter Biden to its board.”

            TLDR: Biden pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin precisely because he wasn’t zealous enough in prosecuting Bursima.

            1. pretzelattack

              robert mackey is as untrustworthy as james risen. they’re the two most prolific russiagaters at the intercept.

            2. lambert strether

              So far as I can tell, “properly” investigating corruption in Ukraine is boiling the ocean. Biden had to know that, since his son was being given brain-genius level money for being a warm, albeit well-connected, body.

              So whatever errand Biden was running for Obama had nothing to do with corruption, except as a matter of public relations.

          3. bob

            What about hiring a senator? John McCain, along with the clinton cabal, were neck deep in Ukraine with some very ugly people. Didn’t seem to hurt them at all.

            How is anyone taking any of this seriously? First, trump was in with the russians. Now he’s on the other side of the shooting war with Ukraine?

            1. flora

              This is starting to look like whaz-is-name’s (Rove?) playbook : Accuse your opponent of your crimes.

              I don’t normally link to Daily Orange, but this is as good an outline of said Rove tactics as I’ve found:


              The current Dem estab owes W so much. /s

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              Orange Man is bad. He even corrupted the once good Lindsey Graham.

              I also think the little people in the #resistance were promised that Saint Mueller would restore the Clinton Presidency and treat everyone to brunch. Between rising healthcare premiums etc, the elected Democrats are under pressure to maintain their bulwak of support against the left.

              I’m not sure its even about this Biden thing as much as its just been cooking. The Democrats accused Trump of TREASON from day 1 while offering to work with him on pretty much every hideous thing he has tried to do such as the wall. Schumer’s position was a shorter wall that would still be useless and have all of the environment problems of Trump’s wall. Pelosi didn’t want to do impeachment because It would mean work for her office that didn’t involve sassy clapping or cocktail parties.

              My sense is Democrats are being asked about three things when they go home: when are you impeaching, healthcare, and global warming (jobs not JAWBs too). The Democrats aren’t proposing fixes to ACA because it was always wildly inadequate to dealing with the healthcare crisis, and back in 2010, the Democratic elite message was just give it a time. If they lose the #resistance, they’ll have lost the most loyal bloc to the Team Blue Unity rallies.

              1. bob

                I saw Lindsey on a rare stumble into mainstrean news recently.

                This is the man who took the time his was given to question Eric Holder about the effectiveness of an AR-15 against marauding masses. In a hearing about the GROSS behavior of bank regulators and prosecutors acting in concert to do nothing.

                And he’s being interviewed as if he has any other agenda than power seeking. The man never met a principle that he didn’t turn into a chance to get in front of a camera with the worst dog whistles available to him at the time.

          4. David J.

            Next door neighbor here in the 6th CD! Supported Reggie Thomas in that primary and did a little with the local Our Revolution group at the time. Just wanted to say “thanks” for running your campaign last cycle.

        2. jrs

          Is that a legitimate way to investigate Biden’s alleged crimes (corruption perhaps but actual crimes I’m not sure). No. So moving right along.

      2. Tom Bradford

        I was going to opine along the same lines. Don’t forget he lost the popular vote in the election and while his subsequent record I would hope has lost him the support of some of those who voted for him in the hope of getting something else, I can’t imagine it would have won over many who voted against him in the first place, even with Hilary Clinton as the alternative.

        Of course how this would play out in that weird US Conclave that actually chooses the President I’ve no idea.

      3. Plenue

        Trump doesn’t need more voters. He just needs more to show up in key places than do for the Dems. Since the Dems seem intent on forcing a candidate (Biden or Warren) with less charisma than a rock with a smiley face painted on it, Trump may just be able to win. He doesn’t have to do anything other than let his enemies shotgun their own feet off.

    6. CanCyn

      This: “If the Democrats impeach narrowly on Ukraine, they’ll have to treat three years of RussiaRussiaRussia as a sunk cost.” I’m betting they won’t. They have no shame and will not even be remotely embarrassed by their wasted years. They lost the election to Trump for goodness sake and didn’t spend even 1 minute being embarrassed by that!

      1. bob

        The know nothing narrative that seems to be emerging is that Russia and Ukraine are all the same, wiping at least 5 years of a shooting war, that the US was supporting with weapons, out of the american consciousness.

    7. Chris

      Some interesting commentary here:

      If a president asks a foreign leader to investigate a political rival (essentially asking him to dig up dirt on Biden) does this warrant conducting an impeachment inquiry? If it doesn’t, how many lines do we allow Trump to cross before we say enough is enough? Further, and not inconsequentially, what role did Barr and Giuliani have in this whole affair?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Wow, mention of “lines”.

        Like maybe a better line would be a president starting a war without the approval of Congress? (Nixon, Clinton, Bush, Obama, so far not Trump).

        Or perhaps the war crime of torture? (Bush, Obama, Trump).

        Or perhaps the use of the intelligence agencies to thwart your political rivals or attempt to overturn the results of an election? (Nixon, Obama, so far not Trump but we don’t know).

        FBIGate RussiaGate 2.0. The original resulted in Trump’s popularity going up, UkraineGate will be no different. So maybe best to ask why the Dems would want that?

        A: Because Trump in power is perfect for them. They get to whine and Kabuki and shadowbox, fundraise massively on The Orange Monster Who Makes Us Feel Icky, make bank from sweet media sales, virtue signal, show people They Are Doing Something, while buttressing the corporo-fascist status quo, demoralizing people from going to the polls, and fending off any real chance at reform (Bernie, Tulsi).

        1. VietnamVet

          The weird thing is that I think Donald Trump intent is to use son Hunter to tar Joe Biden as corrupt like he did to Hillary Clinton. Ukraine reeks of corruption. But Democrats know that the Obama Administration is the peak of righteous meritocracy. Or as Mrs. Alan Greenspan said on NBC last night that all this is a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Reality is the opposite. Russia has continuously had a naval base in Crimea since 1783 and fought England, France and Germany over the centuries to keep it. It is not farfetched to say that Barrack Obama and Joe Biden greenlighted the Kiev coup and the Ukraine civil war in order to enrich their families. This should come out as Donald Trump contests the second intelligence community coup attempt in the House impeachment process. Democrats will have shot themselves in both feet at the same time. Nancy Pelosi elevation to be an unelected President like Gerald Ford would be the first shot in the skirmish between nationalists and globalists that ignites the second civil war.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Also, James Baker gave a verbal commitment to the U.S.S.R. that we wouldn’t move NATO to the Russian border. Then we did. Putin is correct to say that the United States is not “agreement capable.”

  2. Redlife2017

    Re: How Yemen’s Houthis are bringing down a Goliath Pepe Escobar, Asia Times
    That is today’s must read. Mr. Escobar found a very interesting person to speak with. We are very much staring at real oil shocks that will make the 1970s look like child’s play.

    Good thing the US has ramped up their fracking. I mean besides for the environment and drinking water and stuff…

    1. Paradan

      We have about 35 billion barrels in the ground, and we use 7 billion a year, oh, and for some brilliant reason were exporting. So less then 5 years of cheap gasoline left.

      1. The Rev Kev

        And that explains the attempted grab for Venezuela’s oil fields – the biggest in the word – and just next door.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Gee, what’s wrong with just paying market price for the oil that the Venezuelans were fortunate enough to be born on top of? That’s sort of what the Empire and the West and the Chinese and Japanese do with the Saudis, though of course the market value of US military hardware seems to be tanking… It’s not like there would not be plenty of opportunities to financialize that trade, and foster more opportunities for corruption and all. /sarc off/

          1. TimmyB

            We’ll be paying market price for Venezuelan oil all right. The question is “Who will we be paying?”

            Will we be paying the socialist Venezuelan government, that plows the profits into social programs for the benefit of poor Venezuelans?

            Or will we be paying a US oil company, that returns the profits to its wealthy shareholders?

        2. Redlife2017

          Excellent point. As always, there is the “reason” and then…there is the REASON that something must be done (e.g. Venezuela, Iran).

          As as a note to Paradan – the exporting of the oil reminds me of the exporting of oats and other grains from Ireland during the Famine (“more than 26 million bushels of grain were exported from Ireland to England in 1845, a “famine” year.”). I mean…grifters gotta grift…Capitalism is nothing if not consistent in its commitments.

          1. The Rev Kev

            There was an earlier famine a few decades before the 1845 one but it was ordered back then that no food be exported out of Ireland but be used to feed the people instead. By 1845 mercantile forces had taken over in Britain and a contract was a contract to them. As a side note-
            The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, on hearing of the famine, wanted to send £10,000 in aid but was talked down to only £1,000 so as not to donate more than Queen Victoria who had sent only £2,000. He did, however, send three ships packed with food which the Royal navy unsuccessfully tried to intercept to stop-


            1. laughingsong

              Heck, the Choctaw raised around $700 and sent it to Ireland for famine relief. . . less than 20 years after the Trail of Tears. I think there’s a memorial somewhere, in Co. Cork I think.

        3. Drake

          As I understand it, US refiners need Venezuela’s heavy crude now as a complement to American light crude. Each on its own is not broadly useful, but mixed together in the proper amounts, magic. I think Iranian crude is also a useful mix, but since we made that option untenable, Venezuela is the next best option. Oops, we made that one untenable too.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Good points! Is the lack of sufficient heavy crude part of the driver on plastics production [– which I believe uses naptha — part of the light fraction — as a plastics precursor]?

          2. rd

            Yes. That is why they have been fighting bigly over Keystone XL. That is a key link to bring Alberta heavy crude from the oil sands down to the Gulf. It can be used in lieu of the Venezuela crude in the refineries structured to refine that type of oil. So the difficulty in getting the Alberta heavy crude has put the emphasis on the Venezuela oil that can just be tankered across the Gulf. If the Gulf refiners could get Alberta crude in large quantities right now, we probably wouldn’t even know that Venezuela existed.

        4. Synapsid

          Rev Kev,

          Venezuela and Mexico have long been two of the four or five biggest suppliers of crude to the US. That’s why the refineries on the Gulf Coast (three of them Venezuelan) are configured to deal with it.

          All the while Chavez was complaining about the Evil Empire that was planning to overthrow him Venezuela was shipping its crude to the US to be refined.

      2. Alex morfesis

        Yup….we have been 5 years away from total depletion and world disaster since the powell memo….but somehow….magically….golly gee there was oil and gas there too….whowoodathunk….and golly gee….those cubans in Venezuela…almost exactly rhymes with them protecting gulf oils little drilling operations in Angola….because reality is annoying thing to think about…..

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Reality is indeed an annoying thing to think about. But are you suggesting there is an infinite supply of oil or that oil is mysteriously created inside the Earth, always ready to meet or exceed any demand for it? What reality do you live in? Hubbert’s original paper is available at []
          It has to be found on the Wayback so it takes a few minutes. I believe the Devil is in the details but I’m not sure what prediction of total depletion you are referring to.

      3. Amfortas the hippie

        i’m considering going long on Mules.(altho burros would be more manageable, given my disability)
        several of my neighbors, once or twice removed, have gone long on draft horses for a decade or more.

        –been on a news moratorium for most of september…too many Philip K Dickian parallels with Roman history, etc…and just sheer exhaustion…mostly with the demparty .
        spent the month working on infrastructure….water lines to the expanded bedspace, as well as across the road pasture(tired of dragging hose)– acquisition of cast off materiel, from the dump(gutters, structural steel,city mulch, telephone poles) as well as from old lady garage(abundant small gauge lumber, for everything from birdhouses(esp. grasshopper eaters) to nest boxes to top bar hives)—and i finally found a source for abundant horse manure, uncontaminated with immortal herbicides, within driving range.
        the last week has been all about collecting half rotted cow pies from neighbor’s fields, and making “shit tea”(with molasses!(and crushed charcoal from the bbq/campfires)), and spraying/throwing the resulting brew all over everything(smells like….victory)…this method takes the micro-flora and -fauna in the poo and turns it up to eleven. spraying/throwing it on all the beds jump starts the in situ composting that’s currently under way, with all the bean and tomato and squash carcasses, along with the rotten hay, and chopped up late summer cover crops. fixin to plant wheat everywhere(aleleopathic, and overwinters be tilled in, come spring)
        this method also makes perfectly clear my wisdom and foresight in making certain i have an outdoor shower(it’s windy, here. I smell like a sewer after these exercises)
        also been cutting and splitting firewood—including giant oaks blown down on the highway ROW(texdot will just burn it up, if it ever rains again)
        helps that wife has been averse to the morning teevee “news”, as well…an accidental correspondence….so it’s only in the last few days that i’ve been aware at all of the crazy that still reigns out there.(preznit pence is a real possibility?…even with just nancy in the room, that man is a full body woody. surely there’s a pill for that)
        i recommend such sabbaticals.
        especially if there’s opportunity for embeddedness in various natural processes.
        turns out that the stupid and the evil will trundle on just fine without me(or you)
        even found occasion to hold a campfire symposium with my eldest and his buddies regarding Eudaimonia.
        i’ve been reading a lot, too(actual books,lol)virgil’s georgics, hesiod, carol quigley and robert ingersoll:
        this last,to wit:
        ” Fortunately for us, there have been traitors and there have been heretics, blasphemers, thinkers, investigators, lovers of liberty, men of genius who have given their lives to better the condition of their fellow-men.

        It may be well enough here to ask the question: What is greatness?

        A great man adds to the sum of knowledge, extends the horizon of thought, releases souls from the Bastile of fear, crosses unknown and mysterious seas, gives new islands and new continents to the domain of thought, new constellations to the firmament of mind. A great man does not seek applause or place; he seeks for truth; he seeks the road to happiness, and what he ascertains he gives to others.
        A great man throws pearls before swine, and the swine are sometimes changed to men. If the great had always kept their pearls, vast multitudes would be barbarians now.
        A great man is a torch in the darkness, a beacon in superstition’s night, an inspiration and a prophecy.
        Greatness is not the gift of majorities; it cannot be thrust upon any man; men cannot give it to another; they can give place and power, but not greatness.
        The place does not make the man, nor the sceptre the king. Greatness is from within. ”

        and downal wyth bluddy behg hid

        1. Eclair

          Happy to see you back, Amfortas. I had missed you in the last few weeks and was concerned that either you or your wife had health problems. Sounds like you had a profitable (only in the most sustainable sense of the word) month.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          That’s a great quote about greatness, [Hmm???] It recalls to my mind Shelley’s Ozymandias. Looking for a picture of Ozymandias’s feet, the search engine lead me to the Ozymandias of Amarillo, Texas. []

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            aye. this shares the number one spot with the above in my fave quotes list:
            ““Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid … Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” -Bertrand Russell

            be the guy that steps out of the Cave, dammit.
            it was the Weirdos who finally came down from the trees and investigated the carcass.(likely ate the maggots, first)

            one must take the time to step back, and soak up the sky
            watch from the pool as the dragonflies fly around and screw.
            follow the ants, fer dog’s sake.(i like to follow the guinneas around in the Falcon*)
            observe the sunrise(‘eos rhododactylos’)…it’s not as silent as it first seems.
            rustlings in the grass.
            “Be still thou prairiebird, my Soul!!”

            (*golfcart with rifle rack; my work truck—so when an aging aunt or whatever wants to take a look around the place, i can say “we can take the Falcon…”(Han Solo,Empire Strikes Back))

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              Thank you. I was not aware of this quote from Bertrand Russell. He is one of my heroes from my early teens. Although there were many remarkable events in Russell’s life, the one event that most impressed me was his completion with Whitehead of the Principia Mathematica in an effort solve Hilbert’s second problem “a finitistic proof of the consistency of the axioms of arithmetic”. This lengthy and much criticized work was followed some years later by Godel’s theorems. I was impressed that Russell carried on and moved to other things.

        3. inode_buddha

          Let me know how it works out, I’ve always wanted a mule named “patience”. I have zero patience for the hypocrisy and corruption in our current system but I am happy to support a small-business mule breeder.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            problem is lack of sufficient pasture, and lack of sufficient labour(a jack donkey is something to take very seriously, and not just from the enormous swinging cod…but, i grew up with a number of jennies, and get along with them just fine. I also have a phobia/aversion to horses, due to childhood stampede) burros serve similar purposes, just within reason(small, hardy, patient, long-suffering)…and, like donkeys, are not at all persnicketty about forage(think: mouthfulls of stickerburrs, and contentment). also like donkeys—and unlike horses—they won’t eat themselves to a horrible, rolling death if given the chance.
            sancho panza and sister sarah will be our patron saints.

            i need their manure, as well.
            starting to gear up for barbadoe sheep, too…maybe 10, tops….borrowing a ram from the neighbor when necessary.
            need the poop, and the mowing(pastures are too lush,lol), and they don’t really like tree bark like goats do.
            would it be recognised as a political statement to make a beer run riding a burro with a pack train in tow?
            the hill people hippie version of Mennonites.

            1. Susan the other`

              Amfortas, when I’m thinking turning the capitalist world on its head and going grassroots I’m thinking of you. Localize it, recycle it, adapt it, make it better, guard it.

            2. inode_buddha

              Every time I read your posts, I think fondly of my dreams enshrined in the Whole Earth Catalog. That’s the way it should be done, I strongly feel that homesteading in the traditional sense is what humans were meant for.

              Bummer about the forage — Its as green as can be around here, and the land available would make you weep for joy — but I’ve no money, (medical bankruptcy) and no knowledge of animal husbandry.

              Here ya go, 20 acres about 2 hrs south-east of me for $80K.


        4. Dan

          Amfortas and all other hands on activists, take note of Community Cleanup Days, when householders can put out all the garbage they want free.

          More building gardening material etc than you could ever use. Besides saving money, It’s environmental too, reuse instead of landfilling it.

    2. David

      Escobar makes the same mistake that other commentators have made when he quotes the Merkel/Macron /Johnson statement on the attacks. Far from suggesting that Iran was ‘definitively ‘ responsible for the attacks, the statement just says that the only ‘plausible’ interpretation is that Iran ‘bears responsibility’ for them. It doesn’t suggest that Iran has sole responsibility, and it doesn’t suggest the attacks came from Iran or were carried out by the Iranians. Statements like this are drafted with exquisite care, and if the three nations had evidence of direct Iranian involvement they would have said something different. Decoded, the statement says essentially ‘ we are pretty sure that the Iranians were involved in some way, but we are not sure how and we need to find out more.’ The statement may merely allege that the Iranians agreed to the attacks, or even encouraged them. It may also mean that Iran gave the Houthis technical assistance or training. So in practice Escobar’s source (who talks only about missiles, interestingly, not drones) isn’t necessarily contradicting the European statement.
      Oh, and the accompanying photo is highly unlikely to be of a ‘ballistic missile’ in spite of the caption. It’s far too small. It’s probably some kind of cruise missile. An actual Houthi ballistic missile looks like this
      Escobar may be right about the oil industry, but, as often, he’s rather vague about other issues.

      1. Ignacio

        Good observation. Regarding the accompanying photo I think it is very difficult to notice the scale. Those onion-shaped deposits are enormous and the visible holes are really really big so it is not clear to me what kind of missile could have done it (I have no idea on ballistics). By the way, the holes are roughly oriented to Mecca.

        1. Ignacio

          Another observation, we could try to do the exercise of summarizing the number of dubious attacks on which anyone in the trio ‘bears responsibility’. Please, the innocent to throw the first stone.

      2. Susan the other`

        I’ve usually trusted Escobar. But this time he showed his hand. All the obfuscation about the attack on Saudi oil is disappointing. It left me with one big question – who actually is behind this? I don’t think it is Iran and I don’t think the Yemenis did it either. The subtle point that the Saudis are losing control of their own country might be the purpose of his editorial. We have now been informed that Saudi Arabia is not long for this world. That part I believe. And a new question might be who, besides the board of Aramco, will run this part of the world? A congress of all the factions, heavy on the Shiites?

          1. Susan the other`

            I don’t believe it on a gut level. The Houthis are not idiots but that doesn’t make them capable of fending off the other interests and firing off those missiles or drones – whatever they were. My instinct tells me somebody, who?, let them do it. Iran doesn’t have the control to “let them do it.” But we do. And Russia does. It marks a turning point in power to my thinking.

            1. Olga

              The thing is – gut level has little to do with it. Only facts matter. I think someone (maybe MoA) made the point that they had inside KSA help – which would explain the precision they achieved.

                1. ambrit

                  Which Faction within the KSA? From what I have been reading, the Kingdom is run like an early Middle Ages feudatory state.

            2. Yves Smith

              You don’t understand the tech. Drones are not missiles. Drones are to computer-guided missiles as early 1980s PCs were to early 1980s mainframes.

              I recall reading stories 5+ years ago of tech experts raising big red flags about drone tech, that all it took was a smartphone + some not horrifically daunting coding + what amounts to a hobbyist toy plane to do a ton of damage. This is simplified but not much. Consumer level tech has become so powerful that it can be redeployed to be not that far behind military tech in drone-land.

              You apparently missed PlutoniumKun’s extensive discussion about how the Houthis showcased their own drone at a recent air show, which I assume was for commercial purposes. They thought it was good enough to get in the arms merchant game.

              1. Susan the other`

                I did miss this stuff. But it forces the whole thing to evolve. If everybody can drone and nobody can defend against it (yet) then it makes every military conflict moot. So that’s good. But I’m skeptical of the “nobody can defend” part for one thing. It’s like calling of the secret service when you want to kill someone. Go have a cup of coffee and come back when we’re through; like Jeffrey Epstein’s unfortunate suicide.

      3. John k

        Just as when isis is found to have us made weapons it can be said us is involved in isis terrorism.
        Of course, starting me wars may not be called terrorism.

      4. Olga

        No, D – sorry, but it’s just semantics. It kinda reminds me of May’s “highly likely” regarding Skripals. The points that seem to be missed are: (a) most people will only remember that Iran is responsible (as they will not ponder the finer points you allude to) – which is exactly the way propaganda works (i.e., the fuzziness); (b) it clearly puts the three under the “US vassal” umbrella; and (c) if the three were serious about maintaining JCPOA, they would not be accusing Iran – even indirectly – but would do something to support it, actively.
        So many people are so easily misled.

        1. Susan the other`

          Speculating here. France and Germany (the UK is no big puzzle) have fecklessly decided that Iran needs to be sanctioned, agreeing with the US, because they really no longer have a dog in this fight. I suspect they have both decided that Russian oil and gas are their future. And good for them. The UK, almost a strange bedfellow, has long been anti Russian gas and oil because (I think) the UK, the US and Israel are maneuvering as fast as they can to get an energy monopoly of Saudi Aramco oil piped to the Mediterranean to feed Europe for a tidy profit. Russia is their competition. Iran has long since been handed to China, imo. But we’ll see.

          1. Olga

            EU was desperate for Iranian (and maybe Qatari) nat. gas – hence JCPOA. Now that the NordStream II is almost built, maybe Iranian gas supplies are less of an issue. They still, however, should be trying to avoid an attack on Iran, as that will certainly not end well for anyone, and particularly the EU.

        2. David

          Believe me (been there, done that) these semantic points are critical. This is not a message addressed to the general public, but a message addressed to Iran (we think you were involved somehow even if we are not quite sure how) and the US (we’re not going too hard on this) among others.

          1. Olga

            Would it surprise you to know that if those three were trying to relay a serious message to Iran – they’d probably do it via non-public channels? The problem is that so many believe that what we read in the papers is actually what goes on between the countries. Obfuscations and semantics work wonders precisely in the propagation of propaganda. Reading between the lines and knowing that important stuff is not made public are some of the lessons.

  3. lakecabs

    As a small taxicab company owner reading Matt Stoller’s article on we work was spot on. Being attacked by counterfeit money has been a terrible experience.

    He alludes to one way of getting rid of this crap is dumping it on the pension funds.

    However I feel like they need more of a backstop to be secure in their fraud.

    They must have the ability to bury this crap on the Feds balance sheet.

    The amount of money they are throwing around on these terrible ideas is to much not to have a secure way out.

    1. Jesper

      Yep, that article was great. I am not a business owner and possibly that is the reason why what resonated the most with me was this bit:

      Across the West, the basic problem of a corrupted productive process is becoming a quiet crisis. The reason is simple. The people that do the work in organizations are increasingly excluded from the decision-making about the work. That is why Boeing is losing its ability to build planes, why we can’t build infrastructure, and why New York City is on the verge of disaster.

    2. Arizona Slim

      That article bopped me over the head. Especially this part, where he notes that Neumann “owns buildings personally he leases to WeWork.”

      Well, fellow NC-ers, the same thing was happening right here in River City, er, Tucson.

      As mentioned previously, I was a member of a now-defunct coworking space. The building was — and is — owned by a fellow who owns an entire block of Downtown. He also was a part-owner of said coworking space.

      But, fear not, if you’re looking for commercial office space in Downtown Tucson, the place is still for rent. At 25 bucks a square foot, which is pretty pricey for this market.

      1. inode_buddha

        Point of data, last time I was looking at warehouse/industrial space in Buffalo during the late 80’s the prices were under a buck a sqft. I don’t even bother to follow anything about real estate any more, it’s just too depressing.

        1. RMO

          The first I heard of WeWork was when I saw an ad pop up on YouTube. Despite the ad obviously being fairly expensive to produce it did absolutely nothing to explain what WeWork actually was. It made it look like a tech unicorn take on a temp agency, with some strong cultish overtones. I was surprised when I found out what their actual business model was. Unlike Uber and Lyft I could see a potential way to profit for them – but it would be pretty much impossible to pull off as it would require them flat out owning enough property in enough cities to have de facto price setting power for office space rental over multiple markets. Considering they were leasing space themselves – sometimes from their grand exalted leader to his personal profit – I doubt that was even a megalomaniacal fantasy for them. Today’s business leaders don’t seem to have much on the old fashioned robber-barons do they?

    3. rd

      Our society is showing the impact of not having a modern Roosevelt and Pecora.

      After the Pecora Commission rooted out a lot of misdoing, we didn’t see another round of fraud and investing stupidity similar to the late 1920 until the dot.coms in 1999.. The lack of investigations and decent legislation meant we got a repeat in 2007 with sub-prime and we have now witness Theranos and WeWork among others. Congress, Treasury, and the Fed appear to have put their money on Gresham’s bad money.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “How to Talk to Your Aging Parent About Colluding With Foreign Governments”

    I thought this quite uncalled for the tone of this article. I mean, here is aged dad that gets his son a good gig earning the big bucks in a foreign country and when there is a threatened investigation, dad uses his powerful position to get the government investigator fired by threatening to withhold big money from that government. And all the son can do is bemoan his dad’s behaviour?
    What? What was that? Oh, I’m sorry. I thought that they were talking about the other old guy colluding with a foreign government.

    1. Eclair

      Exactly, Rev. And, not only colluding with a foreign government so as to get your offspring a job, but acquiescing to the overthrow of the original foreign government that was going south and thinking of aligning with the wrong second foreign power, just so we could install a new foreign government that would be more amenable to allowing the old guy to install his offspring in a position that would allow the old guy’s government to exercise control over the valuable natural resource.

      1. EricT

        I wonder how the timing went. Did the Ukraine gas company owner first become a subject of the ‘corrupt’ prosecutor, then the owner hired Biden’s son, then Biden got the okay from Obama allowing him control of the loan guarantees, and then assert the power of the Ukraine president? Or, did the gas owner hire Biden’s son, then become subject to investigation and use Biden to fire the prosecutor? The first way is much more damaging for Biden and looks like quid pro quo or taking a bribe from a foreign citizen using the power of being VP of the USA to enrich himself and protect the gas company owner.

  5. Steve H.

    > A climate intelligence arms race in financial markets Science (abstract only, sadly).

    A wee bit more here:

  6. Phil

    From Eliot Weinberger in this week’s London review of Books, talking about American migrant camps:
    “In one camp a visiting legal team meets three girls who are trying to watch over a two-year-old boy ‘who had wet his pants and had no diaper and was wearing a mucus-smeared shirt’. The girls say the boy had been handed to them by a Border Patrol agent, who went into their cell and asked: ‘Who wants to take care of this little boy?’”
    That the Democrats want to impeach Trump over Hunter Biden (can Hunter speak Ukrainian?) rather than this kind of thing makes me wonder if Pelosi takes her orders direct from Rupert Murdoch. Fox News will love raking through Biden’s dirty laundry

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The migrant scandal is a bipartisan affair. After all, the House controls the purse strings among other powers and the duration of the crisis. “Liberals” were unironically sharing pictures from the Obama Administration to show the horrors of Trump because nothing bad happened until November 2016 and Lindsey Graham was good.

      With Biden, he’s been a water carrier for corporate interests and fracking while remaining a good standing member of Team Blue. If he’s a baddie…so there is an interest in protecting Biden. He’s particularly evil and should have been shunned for years.

      The foreign policy angle has an appeal too because anything too embarrassing can be put under “oh well its classified”. Being that its in Eastern Europe, it helps appeal to the people who still have “In Mueller we trust” bumper stickers.

    2. Eclair

      Phil, apparently, there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits rounding up brown people and forcing them into concentration camps. Ask the Great Lakes nations of the Anishinaabe, or the combined Cherokee nation in the southeast (who were force-marched cross the country before being ‘resettled’ into camps,) or the Lakota of the Great Plains, who still live in deplorable poverty on the Pine Ridge and Rose Bud ‘reservations.’


    3. SpringTexan

      A lot of people are thinking this. When Trump went after immigrants, nothing was done; when he went after Biden, he may be impeached. Says everything on their priorities.

      However, if they will just impeach, at this point I’ll take it, better than not impeaching.

      1. pretzelattack

        it gets president pence, at best. or it rebounds on the democrats, who may well have miscalculated once again.

        1. jsn

          This will get the Dems at least 4 more years on the Medical Industrial Complex teat.

          M4all was dangerously close to getting real traction: this can keep it out of view until after Trump is reelected.

          Of course, Trump could still steal this issue…

  7. Steve H.

    “I think you should ask for VP Pence’s conversation, because he had a couple of conversations also”

    King Tr*ll is Cronus, consumes all.

  8. Otis B Driftwood

    Regarding the Stoller article on WeWork, I’m reminded of a episode from my boyhood some 40+ years ago. My father was a traveling salesman for a office supply manufacturer. One summer, he took me on one of his road trips. It was great fun. He told me about one of his customers, a large office supply retailer in Michigan, who told him that they wanted to sell products below cost in order to drive their competitors out of business, and then turn around and raise prices higher than when they were before they did this. He went on to say that they wouldn’t do this because they were afraid of the legal consequences.

    Nothing is new under the sun. But times have changed and, as Stoller explains so well, this type of sociopathic behavior is now normalized and rewards the few who have learned to exploit the system. So maybe capitalism used to work (or at least worked tolerably well) because bad actors were kept in line for the most part. No mas.

    1. jef

      I don’t see it as “worked then…doesn’t work now” so much as the logical progression (conclusion?) of capitalism.

      Capital concentrates. So lets declare a winner and start a new game structured according to what we learned from this one.

    1. Grant

      To me, the WFP endorsement by itself isn’t much. The WFP is not a huge national player or anything. But, it shows on the one hand what those in power will do to manipulate the democratic process, and how Warren is willing to do things that are the exact opposite of the things she says in public. It also says a lot about how the media used the story. It leads someone to the logical conclusion, assuming they are logical, that this is happening left and right and that similar things are at play behind the scenes in pushing for Warren. And she is more than happy to play along. Sanders is different than her in many ways, but another is integrity, and he wouldn’t stoop to this type of stuff just to gain power, in part because it would obviously require him to abandon his principles. Those behind the scenes doing this are doing so because they know that she is going to play ball, at least more than he would. Well, she apparently has been doing lots of outreach to superdelegates, and what do you think they are telling her? Clinton had control of the DNC last time around and financially bailed it out. Does that, at least to an extent, still remain? Maybe it explains why Warren met with Clinton. Some of this is speculative, but when Warren’s campaign manager and daughter are in charge of Demos, they give a large grant to the WFP, who then endorses Warren by a process that wasn’t democratic or transparent, and when the endorsement and the reaction it causes are used as propaganda for Warren and against Bernie, it certainly doesn’t look good for Warren, the WFP or Demos. It also doesn’t make a future with her in charge look like something I want to support, especially when there is a far better option available now. Warren would be much better than Trump, but she also isn’t enough. We need more structural changes, and that requires us to challenge those she is cozying up to now. She has taken their money and will again. Those giving her money are not charities, they expect something in return and she knows it.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        As they say, that’s how the sausage gets made. Here’s the thing about Warren or any politician if you want to be in the game you have to be in the game and play by rules of Machiavellian politics. With a militantly ignorant public, money and bag men/women everywhere and, above all, a set of carefully and scientifically calibrated to neatly all demographics mighty Wurlitzer there is only the Game. Democracy in the Jeffersonian sense is a delusion.

        1. pretzelattack

          the sausage she wants to make is moderate republican sausage circa 1985. sanders wants to make new deal sausage.

        2. Grant

          The delusion is thinking we can solve our societal problems and deal with the environmental crisis with this system as is and without radical changes that those in charge of the system and the media oppose. Doing what happened with the WFP shouldn’t be excused, especially with how it has been used by the media. Just looking the other way as these decisions are decided on by organizations (which have included unions in recent years) in undemocratic and non-transparent ways isn’t a good idea and shouldn’t be excused, especially when done to prop up a corrupt system that is failing society. If the Warren campaign and the media decide to highlight that endorsement, no reason why they shouldn’t then also answer to how the decision was arrived at, the connection between her campaign and Demos and the financial support given by Demos to the WFP. That would be more understandable anyway if we could solve our societal problems by playing the game in this system. But, we can’t. We need changes that those interests are opposed to, and sometimes systems can no longer solve their problems internally. You cannot reason with those with power in this system. Change happens by challenging them and removing them from power. If that doesn’t happen, given the structural changes we need and given how inequitable our society is, we are toast. I see no logical reason either to not challenge her on talking about the corrosive impact of money in politics when she is doing just that (and is being called out by large donors for her hypocrisy) and when money and influence led to the WFP’s undemocratic decision. You can say that anything but this is a delusion, I would counter that other countries long ago put in place the structural changes (like single payer) that we have not because they were more democratic. Social democracy in Sweden, for example, utilized national democratic planning and solidaristic wage bargaining. It got to the point where, in the mid 70’s, it discussed a fully worker owned and run economy. I would prefer something like that in the face of the environmental crisis, instead of dealing with that crisis within this broken system.

    2. Tom

      Jimmy Dore interviewed Pramilla Malick about her nasty experiences with WFP. I learned from it about how DNC works through organizations like this. I also liked her comment about being opposed to endorsements in general, as they are undemocratic, being the result of back-room deals.

  9. Drake


    The redacted version of the whistleblower’s complaint has been released. I’ve only heard that it was someone in the intelligence community acting on information received from White House officials.

    At which point it occurred to me — is this Bolton’s Revenge of the Sith parting shot?

    1. Acacia

      George Webb says the whistleblower is a career spook, who has been close to James Clapper:

      In the document, the spook complainer admits to not being a witness to anything that was said.

      Total nothingburger, again. Deep state slides back the granite slab to take another swipe at Trump.

      The Democrats are looking like Bullwinkle, hoping to pull a rabbit out of the hat.

      1. Drake

        I think the timeline is pretty suspicious. Bolton was only there to convince the forever-war crowd that Trump was their man. Once he got shown the door in a humiliating manner, suddenly there’s a Ukraine leak and impeachment is revived. Bolton isn’t so much a man as a species of psychopath with tendrils everywhere. And he did a lot of closed-doors talking with like-minded officials once he was booted. I think as a group they took his firing to be the signal for another coup.

        1. Acacia

          Yes. The spook state seems determined to keep pressure on Trump, and the Democrats are only too willing to oblige now.

  10. marym

    Detailed timeline 2013-present for Ukraine involvement of both Bidens, Trump, Pence, Bolton, Giuliani, Manafort.

    The Ukranian prosecutor was removed for not doing enough against corruption.

    “The United States and other Western nations had for months called for the ousting of Mr. Shokin, who was widely criticized for turning a blind eye to corrupt practice,” the New York Times reported at the time.

    Vitaliy Kasko, a former deputy prosecutor general who had worked under Shokin and resigned in frustration at his stymying of corruption investigations, told Bloomberg News (in a May 2019 interview) that the office’s probe into Burisma Holdings had been long dormant by the time Joe Biden issued his ultimatum in 2016. “There was no pressure from anyone from the U.S. to close cases against” Burisma owner Zlochevskiy, Bloomberg quoted Kasko as saying. “It was shelved by Ukrainian prosecutors in 2014 and through 2015,” Kasko said.

    “Shokin was not investigating. He didn’t want to investigate Burisma,” Daria Kaleniuk a leading Ukrainian anti-corruption advocate, told the Washington Post. “And Shokin was fired not because he wanted to do that investigation, but quite to the contrary, because he failed that investigation.”

    There are plenty of reasons to investigate, document the issues, and potentially impeach Trump; and plenty of reasons not to vote for Biden.

    Maybe we’ll see more today as to whether putting pressure on Ukraine should be part of what should, imo, be an extensive effort for the former. As others have said, making it the sole reason for Dems to [pretend to] oppose Trump would not be useful. As far as reasons not to vote for Biden, the fired prosecutor doesn’t seem to be one of them.

    Additional links (NBC, CNN) to MSM brief summaries of the prosecutor issue. The CNN link also discusses the potential conflict of interest in H. Biden getting the job and being associated with the corruption.

      1. marym

        Source any older than this month for the claim that Shokin made this announcement about the $3M in (presumably per the text) 2016 (though the video shows 2006)?

        Even the Washington Examiner 09/23/2019 says:

        While Republicans say that Biden’s 2015-2016 pressure to fire Shokin was about protecting Hunter, there is no substantial evidence for that accusation, and there is significant evidence for an alternative, excusable explanation. Biden threatened to withhold up to $1 billion in aid from Ukraine unless Shokin was fired because of Shokin’s deep corruption.

        As also indicated in the Washington Examiner post, Giuliani has been making a claim about $3M “laundered” but there’s no further source for this.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        We’re 100% sure that Shoken is the prosecutor Biden boasted of firing at the CFR? I saw (from Clarky) a longer version of this, and that was the missing piece.

        A timeline would sure be handy, if there were a source trusted enough to produce one.

    1. Beniamino

      So Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion unless Shokin was demoted because he was absolutely outraged that Shokin had failed to investigate & prosecute the company that was paying his ne’er-do-well crackhead son a $50,000/month sinecure in exchange for ratifying its compensation packages? This being the selfsame son whom Biden had personally ferried to China the prior year in a government plane so that he could secure $1 billion + in foreign investments for the hedge fund that he had decided to launch after his father became vice-president of the USA? Sure, why not.

      1. chuck roast

        Shokin had an open case against Bursima. He wouldn’t investigate, but he wouldn’t shut the case down. Maybe somebody related to Shokin or his crew was shaking down Biden and his buds’. Old man Biden wanted Shokin removed because he was using the “open case” threat to blackmail his kid. Eventually, the old man gets Shokin removed and the new, “solid guy” shuts the case down and the shake down ends.
        Just a theory, but really, the kid ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      Soooo, the NYT, Bloomberg, WaPo, NBC, and CNN are trusted sources and there’s nothing to see here regarding Biden corruption?

      Ize got a bridge to sell ya!

      Manure factories, all.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        There are grades of manure. Bloomberg is much better than the other three; at some level, capitalists can’t lie too much, because otherwise they don’t know where to exploit or appropriate; they can’t completely blind themselves. That’s why “the New York Times is for fans. The Financial Times is for players.”

    3. Jesper

      You made me curious so I looked for more information, I found this:
      & what is considered illegal if done by US companies to the benefit of relatives of foreign goverment officials appears to be ok when done by foreigners to the benefit of relatives of US government officials.

      Though none of this looks great for the Bidens, it is, unfortunately, routine business in Washington to hire the family members of powerful officials in hopes of gaining influence over public policy. For example, President Jimmy Carter’s brother, Billy; President George W. Bush’s brother, Neil; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s brothers, Tony and Hugh Rodham were all involved in business interests that once drew concern.

      JPMorgan to pay $264m penalty for hiring ‘princelings’

      I suppose it is a matter of do what we tell you to do and don’t do what we do because…

      1. Cat Burglar

        The Ukraine’s realignment with the US always appeared to me to be a function of turning the Russian-owned oligarchs into western-owned oligarchs.

        The Vox article suggests that prosecutor Shokin was using the threat of investigating Burisma to shake down the oligarch for tribute. It looks like Hunter Biden — who had already been working for Burisma — was brought forward as an insurance policy under the new US-supported regime. You have to wonder if his legal work involved the UK Serious Fraud Office investigation into the oligarch owner, but there is nothing in the article to suggest it. But the man was allowed to decamp to Cyprus, presumably with all his money.

        For now, it appears that Joe Biden’s work in Ukraine was innocent work in service of geopolitical domination, and his son’s trading on the family connection was just a sideshow.

      2. Cat Burglar

        And, heck, according to a report on Mark Ames’s Twitter feed, it appears the Burisma oligarch, Zlochevsky, is an Atlantic Council funder!

        I guess Shokin’s problem was that he just wasn’t a big enough wheel.

    4. Carolinian

      But you are ignoring the case against impeachment which is that it takes sovereignty out of the hands of the people and puts it into the hands of the ten percent–the politicians, media, law professors. They will be running the show to suit their purposes and if they are lying about their true aims there is nothing standing in the way other than faction. And here’s suggesting that in fact they are lying–acting less out of outrage over Trump’s actions than hate and fear of the man himself. If corruption is the problem then the entire upper stratum of US society is a glass house as documented here every day. Between the elites and Trump it is utterly personal.

      The public will see this, or at least many of them not in that ten percent will see it. It’s not a good political move by the dems and arguably not a good moral or legal move either. We live in a democracy and that should be paramount. Let the voters decide on Trump and the Dems dig up the oppo if they can.

      1. marym

        I’m not sure if I do favor impeachment. I would like to see House Dems doing thoughtful, well-organized, public scrutiny of the assorted forms of Trump corruption and harm, but they’re probably not capable of doing more than grandstanding on one or two issues that don’t threaten to touch too closely their own history of corruption and harm.

  11. Ignim Brites

    Pelosi has finally taken ownership of impeachment. Now she must own the process.

    Actually, this is about Pelosi, probably with malice a forethought, giving ownership to the New York Times and Jerry Nadler. The target of the impeachment drive is Pelosi not Trump. Pelosi has now turned the tables and given ownership of the loss of the House next year to the Times and Nadler. Or to put it another way, the Gateway tunnel will never be funded by the Feds.

    1. chuck roast

      That may well be the case, but I have some news for you: as a part of the now defunct Gateway Tunnel Project, Governor Christie made off with millions of Federal Transit Administration dollars in a Pre-funding Grant Agreement that he used to upgrade existing train sets. I’m not aware that NJ was ever required to pay it back.

    2. Yves Smith


      Please do not spread disinformation. This is not impeachment. This is a rebranding of ongoing investigations against Trump, which were always assumed to have impeachment as the aim, for the rubes. And the press is amplifying this misinformation, big time.

      “Impeachment investigation” is a non-concept outside an actual impeachment. There is no impeachment here. Impeachment starts ONLY with the presentation of article of impeachment and a successful on-the-record vote. Then as Lambert indicated above, funds are generally allocated to move the matter forward.

  12. FriarTuck

    RE: Rentier capitalism does not come with a reset button New Statesman

    Reading this gave me an aneurysm from the hoops the author was jumping through to not mention Marx.

    Booga booga! Ooooh, scary, Marx! Marx marx marx!

    I wonder if filtering Marx’s criticisms of capitalism through someone modern and well spoken would have them be received better by policymakers. Like David Harvey or Richard D. Wolff.

    That can have policymakers separate Marx’s valid and accurate criticisms of capital and capitalism from the not so good predictions/solutions of authoritarian communism that others latched on to.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think this is about survival of the courtier class, what percentage of them can lay claim to being part of the meritocracy, and how many of them are anything other than faith based priests.

      Major reforms aren’t a threat to a factory owner at least from a lifestyle perspective (unless they are hiring sex workers; in a better economy, desperate people will be less desperate), but they are a threat to a class of people who are effectively priests of the 21st century. Bear with me despite it being politics, Dean’s 50 State Strategy followed to its logical conclusion would effectively remove the need for campaigns to solicit the advice of the Democratic strategerist class featured on Cable Infotainment. The results in 2006 and 2008 demonstrated field organizing produced results. Imagine if HRC had spent less money on ads to run on MSNBC and put that into field organizers in Wisconsin or Detroit.

      Every sector is so decadent and decayed or removed from the core business that any critiques are a threat to the elites in those sectors especially if they have no real skills or point. Even at this point, policy makers are so invested in a bad system that many are simply incapable of righting the ship themselves. Removal is the only way forward.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I do tire of explanations that say that Capitalism is at fault, from what I can see we don’t have any of that stuff around.

      In the 2008 we decided Socialism was the way forward for the banks, we could have tried Capitalism then, had a few very bad years, then we’d be back on the road to recovery instead of still in ZombieBankWorld.

      I’m not sure how you could call federal government socialist handouts subsidies of the most profitable companies in world history (fossil fuel) Capitalism. These exceed all federal spending on education.

      The examples proliferate, far and wide. Permanent War as a permanent socialist handout to MIC companies. Health care grifting as a permanent socialist handout to Big Pharma Big Hospital and Big Insurance.

      The only Capitalism I can see is the kind for you and me.

      1. Some Guy in Beijing

        Capitalism eventually merges with the state. We can call it corporate socialism, but it is essentially capture of the policymakers. Our government didn’t bail them out because they believe in socialism but rather because they have colleagues and cronies in those companies and are incentivized by various mechanisms to protect them.

        TL;DR: Corporate socialism is a result of capitalism

    1. Drake

      There’s no freakin’ way the most common search on Poland is ‘Revolt in 1830’.

      Also, as I read the map, this is the most common Google auto-complete suggestion, not the most common search. There must be some tenuous relationship between those two things, but as there is nothing about porn or mail-order brides I’m sure it is a very tenuous one.

    1. Some Guy in Beijing

      That article is so spot on. I’ve now lived in three Chinese cities and visited others. Everything is falling apart as soon as it’s built. Nothing is taken care of properly.

      I worked in a university and the toilets were not cleaned with chemicals nor even soap. They were wiped with wet rags so that they looked clean, but I’ve used outhouses that smelled better.

  13. pierre

    Trump’s Ukraine transcript: Unwise words but no proof of a crime – The Hill

    Yeah, of course. Like it’s not really a crime for a mafia Don to order a hit or make an offer his rival gangster can’t refuse.

  14. AnnieMoose

    If Trump was concerned about Biden he should of prompted an official FBI investigation. Outsourcing said investigation through a foreign government I believe violates the constitution.

    1. pretzelattack

      what about outsourcing oppo research to crowdstrike or a foreign spy? and keeping classified material on an insecure and private email server, and not notifying the fbi when it had somehow been hacked or someone had downloaded files on a thumb drive?

  15. Maxwell Johnston

    Re Danske Bank Estonia–this is the most convenient “suicide” since Epstein. Who knows what secrets Aivar Rehe took to his grave? Amazing that the Estonian police immediately said that “…there will be no investigation into Rehe’s death.” Nothing to see here, folks. Move on, move on.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      I have read estimates of criminal activity accounting for 20% of gross world product (global GDP). Some suggest that is low. Of course Rehe knew of criminal activity (money laundering). They all do, at least the one’s that weren’t skinned alive and left in the ditch to fester with the other boy scouts.

  16. none seems to have been shut off. Anyone know how to find out if that is on purpose? It was CNN to be sure, but it was a very fast text-only news site like, where you could quickly see news headlines and stories, so I found it important.

  17. Carolinian

    Sadly pertinent yok of the day

    U.S. use of napalm has been limited since President Barack Obama signed the UN Convention on Certain Chemical Weapons in 2009, but former Obama administration officials predict that the Air Force’s new version will be used more often in the future. “Obama’s real concern about napalm was how it oppressed animals who had never voluntarily enlisted,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s former foreign policy vizier. “I think the country will have fewer qualms about napalm now that it’s plant-based.”

    Thanks as always for Duffel Blog

  18. Carolinian

    Re the BAR Hong Kong story–there’s another story going the rounds that Tiananmen itself may have featured heavy US involvement, that the pictures of the “massacre” were not from Tiananmen but another square and were actually pictures of dead cops and soldiers rather than students, that a black block instigated the violence.

    Perhaps some China hands like MLTPB can weigh in…..

    1. Plenue

      There were two protest movements at Tiananmen: the pretentious intellectual students who fancied themselves a vanguard who were in the square itself, and the workers who supported the students, but whom the students actively rejected, who occupied streets and buildings around the square. The students were eventually allowed to peacefully leave the square, but the workers, who had been gradually ramping up the violence, starting by murdering unarmed police who were sent in as the first attempt to break up the protests, were ultimately violently purged.

      The idea that it was a fake color revolution is a meme. Moon of Alabama has been pushing this, despite the fact that the ‘evidence’ he links to doesn’t at all support his narrative. In fact the declassified US government documents all consist of reports on the protests, with nothing to suggest control of them.

      Global Research is a dumpster fire and not a credible source for much of anything. They’re probably better than someplace like Zero Hedge, but that isn’t saying much.

      1. Carolinian

        Well my linked story–I’m just passing it along–offers up no proof for its assertions but then I don’t see any links in your comment either. The linked story says the “workers” were a mysteriously group who were even more mysteriously well supplied with rationed gasoline for making lots of Molotov cocktails. These improvised bombs were what killed the soldiers and police–often burning them in their APCs.

        But even if they were only rioting workers that still puts a different complexion on the government response. The implication is that Western reporting was even more in the tank then that it is now and exaggerated the good versus evil narrative–quite credible.

        1. Plenue

          Wow, Western reporting lied about something? What a shock!

          My core issue is this constant nega-American Exceptionalism where no one else has agency and absolutely everything everywhere is instigated by the CIA.

          1. Olga

            As a society, we are really in big trouble, when we become disensitised to the lies in “western reporting.” I thought the whole point of NC was to try and break through at least some of the lies. The comment is shocking in its nonchalance toward deliberate deception.

            1. Plenue

              I’m a weirdo who likes to have actual evidence for things. And by evidence I mean something more than “some activist leaders were seen in a hotel lobby with Americans”.

              Further, part of blaming everything on the CIA is an implicit building up of the CIA as vastly more competent than its record actually indicates. Oh, so the CIA is playing a significant role in Hong Kong? Riddle me this: how? Because from where I’m standing the CIA in particular couldn’t even manage a coup or assassinations in Venezuela, and in China in particular had the heart utterly ripped out of its operations just a couple years ago.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I also believe people in Hong Kong deserve to be heard about wanting to live in a more democratic society.

              2. lambert strether

                Readers will recall the WSJ story we linked to a few days ago that dig into how the protesters materiel (the hard hats, etc.) was funded; turns out it’s the HK professional classes, and not the National Endowment for the Humanities, lol). IOW, the tankies, wu mao or not, are wrong again, and not for the first time.

              3. Carolinian

                I believe the accusation about Hong Kong says that the NED is involved, not the CIA itself. You’ll recall the NED was created by the Reagan administration to take over the regime change operations from the CIA.

                If you want a more detailed argument for USG interference in HK I’d suggest the Zeese/Flowers article in links. As for your case for skepticism, that also applies to the NYT/MSM. I’d say the interesting thing about Tiananmen is that the established narrative is taken as a given with no deviation. We have no reason to trust what the Chinese have to say about it, but then that increasingly applies to US media.

                And finally the petrol bomb version of Tiananmen is a description of regime change failure by Bush admin assets. A much more violent government crackdown was hoped for by this account.

                1. Plenue

                  Substitute CIA with whatever agency or group you wish. My point remains the same.

                  I’ve never gone to the NYT or any other mainstream western media source for information on Tienanmen. This is a false dichotomy.

                  1. Carolinian

                    Have no clue about your reading habits nor so stated. I was pointing out that there’s an accepted narrative about what happened at Tiananmen and this alternative version which is popping up lately–not just on Global Research– and that both should be treated with the appropriate degree of skepticism.

                    Looking beyond the headlines and the MSM pack journalism is really what we are supposed to be doing here, no? That’s the value add.

                    1. Lambert Strether Post author

                      > both should be treated with the appropriate degree of skepticism.

                      Which they have been. Unfortunately, the so-called alternative narrative, which says that the HK protests are not organic, but driven by hidden hands from the US, was put to an evidentiary test, which it failed. In other words, unsurprisingly, the tankies*, especially the wu mao tankies, are full of it.

                      * I think it’s fair to call anybody who treats “Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China” as an entity capable of making a credible accusation a tankie.

              4. Olga

                I take it you never read Blowback by Chalmers Johnson. Or read files about the 9/11/73 coup d’etat in Chile. Or Iran, or Guatemala. Or Jakarta 1965. Or Australia cca 1975. Or heard about the Church Commission.
                The evidence of mischief is there – one just has to look for it. It ain’t gonna come to your doorstep on its own.
                (Or, read Confessions of an Economic Hitman?)

              5. Olga

                Here is one link – and before you dismiss it, consider that it quotes from the Hudson Institute (

                “The paradoxical duality of nearly open support of the unrest and denial of that support has led to headlines like the South China Morning Post’s, “Mike Pompeo rebukes China’s ‘ludicrous’ claim US is behind Hong Kong protests.” The article claims:
                US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said it is “ludicrous” for China to claim the United States is behind the escalating protests in Hong Kong.
                Pompeo rebuked Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, who had claimed violent clashes in the city prompted by opposition to the Hong Kong government’s controversial extradition bill were “the work of the US”.
                However, even US policymakers have all but admitted that the US is funnelling millions of dollars into Hong Kong specifically to support “programs” there. The Hudson Institute in an article titled, “China Tries to Blame US for Hong Kong Protests,” would admit:
                A Chinese state-run newspaper’s claim that the United States is helping pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong is only partially inaccurate, a top foreign policy expert said Monday.

                Michael Pillsbury, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland the U.S. holds some influence over political matters in the region.
                The article would then quote Pillsbury as saying:
                We have a large consulate there that’s in charge of taking care of the Hong Kong Policy Act passed by Congress to insure democracy in Hong Kong, and we have also funded millions of dollars of programs through the National Endowment for Democracy [NED] … so in that sense the Chinese accusation is not totally false.
                A visit to the NED’s website reveals an entire section of declared funding for Hong Kong specifically. The wording for program titles and their descriptions is intentionally ambiguous to give those like US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plausible deniability.
                However, deeper research reveals NED recipients are literally leading the protests.”
                Check the article for actual links.

          2. Carolinian

            Perhaps if the CIA would stop meddling all over the world they would generate less knee jerk suspicion. It’s not like blaming almost anything on the CIA is off the wall. They have been a shady outfit from day one.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I agree that we should stop meddling.

              And since it’s well known about the CIA, an opportunity presents itself for another power to come in with an operation that looks like ours. Reflectively or inductively, many will think what that power wants them to think. The only way to get around that is to give each case the full consideration it deserves of itself, and not just base it on ‘they did that so many times before.’

        2. lambert strether

          > Wel my linked story–I’m just passing it along–offers up no proof for its assertions but then I don’t see any links in your comment either.

          1) So why on earth are you passing it along, then?!?! I mean, you link to a story with a highly controversial thesis THAT HAS NO EVIDENCE? Where do you think you are? Some low-volume CT subreddit?

          2) Didn’t your parents explain to you that “just because the other kids are doing it doesn’t make it right?

            1. Carolinian

              Thought you were just joking. But if you want a comment then I’ll simply say that I was not promoting one of those forbidden CT but rather passing along what I thought was an interesting bit of revisionism “going the rounds” and asking those more knowledgeable than yours truly to comment.

              Some interesting replies resulted so I don’t see it as wasting anybody’s time.

      2. Olga

        Wasn’t Gene Sharp seen in China at the time of T. protests? Hard to see how anyone can with certainty make the “meme” assertion. As for GR – I’ve read it even before NC, and have yet to find anything wrong there. One of the best things there was a monologue by Chalmers Johnson, in which he likened MIIC to a cobra sitting on one’s head – either you feed it forever wars or it will bite you.

        1. Carolinian

          They are big on the “truther” CT but have a wide array of contributors. As always on the web it’s up to us to deploy our own judgment and parallel reading to decide what is credible. These days you have to take the same approach to mainstream reporting.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s possible we can’t decide, for now, or even for a long while, even deploying our own judgment and parallel reading.

            I agree with Plenue and PlatinumKun above.

        2. lambert strether

          > Wasn’t Gene Sharp seen in China at the time of T. protests?

          Gee, I don’t know. Neither do you. Idea: Do a little research and add some value instead of cluttering the comments section with uninformed speculation.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I’m afraid I’ve lost my sense of humor over unfounded speculation on HK. Yes, that Progressive article is good on Sharp’s equivocal legacy. From the article:

              Sharp drafted From Dictatorship to Democracy at the invitation of a Burmese activist. He was smuggled into Burma to assist in courses on nonviolent struggle for those resisting the military regime. He was in Tiananmen Square shortly before the tanks started rolling in. He has traveled to Israel and Palestine a number of times to disseminate his ideas. He was also invited into Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, this time by the governments themselves. He consulted with ministers on the nature and requirements of the campaign that they were using to peacefully secede from the Soviet Union. The three governments also used as a guide his book Civilian-Based Defense. The three countries became sovereign with almost no loss of life. His work has been translated into twenty-seven languages, ranging from Nepali and Chinese to Spanish and Arabic.

              I say equivocal because I don’t know if the outcomes in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia were that bad. Myanmar has turned awfully sour, but that — like the Hong Kong protests — is a result of factors organic to Myanmar and not Sharp’s advice.

              CT theorists of the “connect the dots” persuasion would say “Gene Sharp was at TAM, therefore the mastermind was observing the results of his plotting. See “Correcting attacks against Gene Sharp.” Sharp on TAM here and here. He was quite open about it…

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > have yet to find anything wrong there

          Treating “Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China” as an entity that can make a “credible accusation” isn’t wrong? What is wrong, if that isn’t? GR is generally coherent, I will grant. Most CT is. At least for awhile.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Before ‘false flag,’ before ‘color revolution,’ and in addition to the Art of War, there was the essay, ‘Thirty Six Strategems’ in China.

      One of them (from Wikipedia):

      Inflict injury on oneself to win the enemy’s trust
      (苦肉計/苦肉计, Kǔ ròu jì)
      Pretending to be injured has two possible applications. In the first, the enemy is lulled into relaxing his guard since he no longer considers you to be an immediate threat. The second is a way of ingratiating yourself with your enemy by pretending the injury was caused by a mutual enemy.

      Another one:

      Disturb the water and catch a fish
      (渾水摸魚/浑水摸鱼 or 混水摸魚/混水摸鱼, Hùn shuǐ mō yú)
      Create confusion and use this confusion to further your own goals.

      Or this:

      Kill with a borrowed knife
      (借刀殺人/借刀杀人, Jiè dāo shā rén)
      Attack using the strength of another (in a situation where using one’s own strength is not favourable). Trick an ally into attacking him, bribe an official to turn traitor, or use the enemy’s own strength against him. The idea here is to cause damage to the enemy by getting a third party to do the deed.

      Maybe this:

      Create something from nothing
      (無中生有/无中生有, Wú zhōng shēng yǒu)
      A plain lie. Make somebody believe there was something when there is in fact nothing. One method of using this strategy is to create an illusion of something’s existence, while it does not exist. Another method is to create an illusion that something does not exist, while it does.

      Altogether, there are 36 options.

      They were known, even back in 1989, and have been since the Southern Qi dynasty. It’s just a matter of finding out whether it was reverse psychology, or double or triple reverse.

      For example, in general, if one party looks bad, we now are faced with the question whether it is because that party is indeed bad, or if that party is making itself look bad, in order to make us think there is another party trying to make that party look bad.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > For example, in general, if one party looks bad, we now are faced with the question whether it is because that party is indeed bad, or if that party is making itself look bad, in order to make us think there is another party trying to make that party look bad.

        Agents, double agents, and triple agents. Is there a practical limit to infinite regress?

        1. Susan the other`

          Yes this is what happens. I’d just like to point out that this is evolutionary behavior. Monkeys do this: when they do something naughty (maybe their proto sense of lying through their teeth makes them self conscious), they stretch out their necks and look all around childishly in all directions and actually create an appearance of innocence. Watch them sometime.

    3. lambert strether

      I didn’t link to the Global Research copy of the same piece that BAR linked to; they too, therefore, commit the ludicrously bad error of treating a video from the publicity department of the CCP as “credible.” I expect BAR to have better standards, but not Global Research

      1. Plenue

        I genuinely like Black Agenda Report, but they have a tendency to be quite bad on foreign issues. They’re still pushing Rwanda Genocide revisionism:

        It’s one thing to say Kagame is a bad guy (he is), and that the genocide in Rwanda was followed by even larger amounts of killing, instigated by the RPF, in Congo (it did). But this doesn’t change the fact that the Rwanda Genocide happened, and that it was about Hutu massacring Tutsis and anyone deemed to be Tutsi allies. BAR outright denies these objective historical facts, claiming the RPF shot down the president’s plane, and that the slaughter was mostly done by the invading RPF army. Oh, also the Tutsi were evil controllers of Rwandan society for centuries (in the distance you can almost hear the sound of African studies majors screaming) and are now just an American proxy in Africa and so implicitly they deserved it anyway.

  19. PlutoniumKun

    Chabuduo! Close enough … Aeon. So China has crapification, too!
    The Quantified Country SupChina

    Great articles, and very close to the truth. Everyone who has travelled to China will have seen the buildings and structures that at first sight look perfectly good, but then look close…. and be horrified. Things are a little better now than they were when I first travelled there 25 years ago (when on my first night I twisted the apparently gold plated tap in my hotel room to have the entire tap and pipe come loose in my hand), but its still all too obvious. Old China hands will particularly point out those examples of Chabuduo from workers and companies that are perfectly capable of producing high quality goods (for export or for show), but almost take glee in selling crap to those who can’t get an alternative (mostly locals).

    This youtube vid is particularly hair raising for anyone considering buying or living in China – there are many other similar ones. And this is not an outlier, it is in fact quite typical, especially outside Shanghai/Beijing.

  20. Geo

    I get that science must study something before stating it’s a fact, but I don’t get why so many think cats don’t bond with people. I have two and when I’m away for long periods of time, I’ve had various caretakers for them from friends that drop in every other day to feed them to having them stay with a friend. Every time, even if they’d just been fed, they come running when they hear my voice. As for them recognizing their name? Easy test: if I call out the name of one cat that one comes to me. If I call out the name of the other that one comes to me. Also, once one of my cats went missing and I hadn’t noticed until the other was acting frantic. Asked her where the other one was and when I said the other cat’s name she hurried to the window and meowed. She’d apparently pushed out the screen and gone down the fire escape. Had apparently gone inside a neighbor’s apartment whose window was open.

    Not scientific studies but they definitely know names and form bonds. Heck, mine seem to have a decent vocabulary. They understand “food” (easy one), “outside” (they follow to the door), “drugs” (they go to where I give them catnip), “down” (the jump off the table or whatever they’re on that they’re not supposed to be on – though, this could be a tone of voice thing).

    Anyway, just don’t understand the reason why so many think cats are dumb or cold. Probably a lot has to do with lack of facial expressions and being less attentive than dogs.

    1. RMO

      I’m not even really a cat person and even I can tell they can bond with people quite closely. I do think it’s easier to see this with dogs as humans and dogs have been symbiotic for longer and we share a lot more of the same social structures and modes of expression. When I was first dating the woman I would marry I “cat-sat” several times for her when she went on trips and remember the obvious delight shown by her cat when she returned. When I came to the apartment during her absence her cat would come out to the hallway when I entered, look at me and give me a “Oh, you again… ” slightly disgruntled meow. I think it took her a long time to forgive me for the time I absentmindedly reached down and gave her the sort of head scruffle that dogs like.

      1. lordkoos

        My wife was looking after our neighbor’s cats for two months this summer, and it was obvious that they really missed their owner.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      As the ArchDruid has described in depth, our culture inculcates strong incentives to treat the rest of the world like robots. I treat dogs like really sharp toddlers, and have often had reactions from people who regard that as like talking to a vacuum cleaner.

      Also, specific to cats, people with ego issues can have a real hard time with their independence.

  21. Susan the other`

    The New Statesman – America. Jerome Roos (more of him please). “Rentier capitalism does not come with a reset button.” The trend is for profit with a purpose now. ( But profit remains the incentive apparently.) ” We need grassroots capitalism, not boardroom capitalism” I’d carry that thought further to say that boardroom finance capitalism should be eliminated. Capitalism is an open-ended idea. It can be whatever we need it to be. A good article. And at the bottom there was a reference to Roos’ book “Why Not Default?” Very anti global finance.

    1. Olga

      Capitalism may be an open-ended idea – but to the extent that profit and elevating private ownership above all else are two of its fundamental principles, there can hardly be redemption. Greed is what capitalism is built on – and one cannot put limit on greed. State-directed capitalism a la China may work better – but it requires a nation with a very strong moral compass. And I am not sure even China will be able to withstand the forces of greed in the long run.

      1. Susan the other`

        Yes, you’re right. This bothers me a lot too. But, like E.O. Wilson and others, I believe we come to our senses and realize we are biologically social creatures. It is our greatest asset (other people) and going along and getting along are age-old wisdom. I think war “breaks out” when we lose our senses – that’s one for the psychologists. When Roos says “there is no reset button for rentier capitalism” he is right; but that doesn’t preclude simply discarding the incentive of financial wealth and agreeing on another. It’s all capitalism to me. My choice is the environment and sustainability. And the theories of social gain (which capitalism embodied) will translate to this more sensible way of surviving. (I’m a hopeless optimist.)

  22. Oregoncharles

    ” Worth noting that Caesar crossing the Rubicon brought on a civil war and the end of the Roman Republic”

    Uh, well: crossing the Rubicon ( a river in northern Italy) was illegal and constituted a military coup. (Roman armies were supposed to be kept well away from Rome itself.) Impeachment is within the House’s Constitutional responsibilities. The phrase is just a little overused.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “How a sanctions-busting smartphone business thrives in North Korea”

    I don’t know why so many people have their knickers in a twist about cheap smartphones and parts going into North Korea. You think that the intelligence agencies would be ecstatic about that development. One of the very first things that the US did after invading Iraq was to build mobile towers throughout the whole country. After that they could tap the whole population after they brought mobiles in and spy on insurgents that were too lazy to pull out their sim cards when not in use.

  24. barrisj

    The Murray Waas NYRB article submitted early in the day never made it out of “moderation”…tant pis. Perhaps in tomorrow’s links?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m not finding “Waas” anywhere on the site or in the queues, and I’m not finding Waas on the NYRB home page. Please re-post. Thanks (and not just the bare link; we don’t want to trigger the Spam Overlords.

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