Links 9/8/19

NOAA spots massive hurricane over Tehran Duffelblog

Idleness The Point

The World War I Battle That Changed the World Forever American Conservative

Google is banning ads for quack cures after years of profiting from them MIT Technology Review

New Mexico Abolishes Spousal Privilege And I Have No Idea Who To Talk To About That Above the Law

Venice: Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’ Wins Golden Lion, Roman Polanski Wins Silver Lion Hollywood Reporter

Our Famously Free Press

Democracy Dies From Bad Fact-Checking The Nation

From mind control to murder? How a deadly fall revealed the CIA’s darkest secrets Guardian


The Rights of Guns New York Review of Books Garry Wills

Here are the gun policies for America’s largest retailers The Hill

Boeing 737 MAX

Former Boeing official subpoenaed in 737 MAX probe won’t turn over documents, citing Fifth Amendment protection Seattle Times

WeWork Goes From Hot to Not as Dream Value Plunges $45 Billion Bloomberg (The Rev Kev)

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch


Apple takes flak for disputing iOS security bombshell dropped by Google Ars Technica


Wave of GOP retirements threaten 2020 comeback The Hill

Warren and Clinton talk behind the scenes as 2020 race intensifies NBC News Ut oh.

DNC blocks virtual caucuses in Iowa and Nevada Roll Call

N. Carolina election tests Trump clout, suburbs’ GOP flight AP

G.O.P. Plans to Drop Presidential Primaries in 4 States to Impede Trump Challengers NYT

L’affaire Epstein

MIT Media Lab founder: Taking Jeffrey Epstein’s money was justified MIT Technology Review

How an Élite University Research Center Concealed Its Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein New Yorker. Ronan Farrow. Wowsers.

Taking the credit: can universities tackle academic fraud? FT

Class Warfare

How to Major in Unicorn Many of the freshmen now arriving in Palo Alto came to raise capital and drop out. A cynic’s guide to killing it at Stanford. New York magazine

The Human Cost of a Cheap Manicure Teen Vogue

“People Are Homeless Because of the Failure of Our Capitalist Economy” Jacobin

John McDonnell: ‘Change is coming. It’s as simple as that’ FT

Strike with the Band The Baffler. Kate Wagner.

Universal Basic Income + Automation + Plutocracy = Dystopia Caitlin Johnstone


Amid Communication Blockade, Kashmiris Robbed of the Right to Mourn Their Dead The Wire


These Incidents Raise New Questions about the Security & Operability of the Banking System in Mexico Wolf Street (e mayer)



The Impossibility of Immigrants Refusing to Integrate into British Society (guest post by Hasko Von Kriegstein) Daily Nous

Brexit: leaving it too late?

Amber Rudd quits cabinet and attacks PM for ‘political vandalism’ Guardian

France says EU won’t approve Brexit delay as things stand Reuters

Varadkar will stress to Johnson priority on protection of NI rights RTE

Trump Transition

Air Force crew made an odd stop on a routine trip: Trump’s Scottish resort Politico (The Rev Kev)

National Weather Service workers are ‘disgusted’ at their NOAA bosses for ‘throwing them under the bus’ and backing Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian WAS headed for Alabama as ‘Sharpiegate’ rumbles on Daily Mail

16 of our readers’ funniest responses to Trump’s Sharpie-marked hurricane-warning map Good. Moi: Please take a look. Some of these are very funny. My favorite: Donald Trump plays darts.

Trump says he canceled secret meeting with Afghan president, Taliban at Camp David WaPO


Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    The World War I Battle That Changed the World Forever American Conservative

    Its interesting that lovers of counterfactual history (which seems a common vice among historians) love to discuss the ‘what if’s’ of WWII, but rarely do about WWI. But as this article says, the Battle of Marne was a very close run thing, and if the Germans had prevailed, they would almost certainly have won the entire war. The article comes very close to saying that this would have been a good thing – and you could certainly argue that it would have led to less overall destruction (except maybe in the East, where the Germans would have rampaged, probably to Moscow), and the horrors of the mid-20th Century might have been avoided. Almost certainly France and Britain would have been left more or less as they were, just more chastened after the blow.

    But it can’t be avoided that while none of the empires of the time were things of beauty, Germany under the Kaiser was particularly unlovely – their only saving grace being their relative disinterest in grabbing large chunks of Asia and Africa. And this was more due to logistics than anything else. I don’t know what Europe would have turned out like with a dominant and confident and autocratic Germany, although its hard to think that it would have been much worse than what actually happened.

    (oh, and I hope all Mods enjoyed their much deserved break).

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      PK – it might interest you to know that among that thin khaki line at the first battle of the Marne were sharpshooters from :

      The 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers
      1st Irish Guards
      2nd Connaught Rangers
      2nd Royal Irish Rifles
      2nd Royal Irish Regiment
      2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers

      It was a British Isles effort from all corners.

    2. Jon Cloke

      Relative disinterest in grabbing large chunks of Africa? The same Kaiser who said “No one can dispute with us the place in the sun that is our due”?

      The same Germans who birthed their concentration camps and genocidal instincts in the Herero and Namaqua genocide?


  2. Ben Wolf

    Warren is going to win, and that’s because she’s bright enough to make the alliances needes for the candidacy. Sanders, on the other hand, has been a raging outsider for so long his idea of coalition-building is firing a flame-thrower in all directions.

    And forget about the young being a deciding factor: they’re all throat and no vote.

    1. ACF

      While I want Sanders because I’m much more confident he’ll be the change I believe in, I would be ok with a Warren win, because she’s defined the problems correctly and on some topics has good solutions. The President can set an agenda, which is more about problem definition and priorities, but can’t dictate solutions. Congress still enacts laws. My biggest issue with Warren generally is that her solutions don’t routinely match her problem definitions, most strikingly on health care. But if we give Sanders/Jayalapal sufficient votes, I don’t see Warren vetoing improved Medicare for All. Down ballot races, especially primaries in safe seats, are extremely important this cycle. Die hard Sanders supporters need to see that and make sure that whomever wins the Presidency, we win Congress.

      Re flame throwing v alliances, if the potential allies are corrupt and drive the agenda of corporate America and the 10% on up, I don’t know that making the alliances rather than going around the putative allies is good. Yes I put Clinton in that camp. Not at the Trump level–I voted for her rather than Trump, a 3rd party, or sit out–but yes, I see her as corrupt and good for the few not the many. The question is can you go around them and win. Sanders will see.

      1. a different chris

        Thanks. Maybe I should resurrect the old “ditto”…. but that’s much better than the response I would have written to Mr. Wolf’s now repeated whining, which not to my credit would have mostly consisted of exasperated (family blog).

        Anyway as a generic rule that as usual the Democrats don’t understand, identifying you enemies is as useful as making friends when it comes to political power.

      2. tegnost

        so incrementalism then, and eleventy dimensionality (add this to this and that to that and in spite of the fact that there’s no real power shift miraculously positive changes will happen{(but only changes that don’t upset any rice bowls of the favored classes)}). Also, brush up on grammer, “Sanders will see.” is not a complete sentence, but a stunning admission that Sander’s eyes, with apparently the assistance of glasses, seem to operate in the accepted fashion. What are you implying that Sanders will see? I will add, since we are I guess getting into the meatier part of the election hysteria, I voted for pres. in my life thusly Carter, Mondale, Dukakis Clintoon, twice, Gore. Kerry, Obama twice, but I had to be pressured to do so by incrementalists the second time. I didn’t vote for anyone in ’16. I will never vote for another republicrat, read that as “centrist dem”, as long as I live.

        1. ACF

          I don’t understand your response to my comment. I support Bernie; I have been participating in trying to get other people to support Bernie; I will be ramping up my efforts in that regard after my local elections happen, because I’m more focused on those now. I don’t support incrementalism as a strategy. My big critique of Warren is the meagerness of many of her solutions. But as I said, she’s the only other candidate who gets the problem definition correct, and in a President, that really matters because of the bully pulpit and agenda setting role the presidency has. Congress has to draft and pass the bills. I don’t see Warren vetoing improved Medicare for All, though I also don’t see her organizing the masses to try to get it done (which is one reason I want Sanders, not Warren).

          As to my grammar, well, surely my point was understood–Sanders is making a bet that he can reject out of hand the Democratic establishment and any carrots they offer because he believes he doesn’t need them. While I personally agree with him, we’ll all find out if he is right when we learn who wins the nomination.

          1. tegnost

            My feeling was that you were pitching warren as the safer choice, with the fear line being “Sanders will see.” implying that there was some kind of gamble involved with joining him and going that route into the great unknown. To me Warren is another candidate who won’t change things but will tweak around the edges. That she would be forced to deal with more progressive legislation were there to be more progressives down ballot is an excellent point and would be good no matter who wins, if something like that gets as far as the presidents desk I would say it would be high risk for any of the prospects to veto. Pardon me if I was unfair.

      3. Ben Wolf

        Your response is appreciated, but moves away from my point. Warren is going to win the primary because she is resolved to do so at any cost. King Bro is looking for some kind of weird moral victory from a lot called “the people”, who don’t matter in American politics and never did. He’ll be forgotten just like failed crusader Eugene Debs.

        1. ambrit

          Poor Liz, fated to be stabbed in the back by the Clintons. Warren will never win because she is, at heart, a technocrat. She does not have the skills set to successfully navigate the shoals and reefs of retail politics. Senator from Mass.? Come on now. As close to a sinecure as one can find in modern day America.
          Warren is being played for a fool by Clinton. Mark my words.
          Brokered convention.
          Unity candidate.
          Guess who.

          1. dcblogger

            I do not get this need to hate on Clinton, it is over. the only thing she had going for her in 2016 was her inevitability, now that is gone and with it her only power.

            1. jrs

              If one really thinks Clinton will be the nominee, I don’t know, it deteriorates into conspiracy theory. Now I never say anything is impossible unless it literally is, as I don’t have a crystal ball, however it’s beyond unlikely I’d say. The nominee will be someone who is actually running for Prez as of now. Could even be Kamala, but won’t be Clinton.

                1. ambrit

                  The majority of the Clinton crime family career is perfectly “crazypants.”
                  The Webb Hubble machinations. The Mena “Bibles and Bullets” airlift to Nicaragua. The multiple “Semi Consensual Sexual Encounters” of Bubba Ho Tip Clinton. The China Bedroom in the White House. The last minute reprieves of felons at the end of Bubba’s administration. The Absurdist “Puff But Not Inhale” cannabis indulgence. Etc. Etc.
                  The rough picture all these ‘events’ paint is of a pair of Grifter Politicos who would do anything to appease their egos.
                  Do not underestimate the power and allure of ambition.

            2. Hepativore

              The main problem is Clinton and her fellow ideologues like Obama/Pelosi/Schumer refuse to go away and what they represent. The “Clintonites” still seem to have a stranglehold on the party even if Clinton herself does not realize her political career is over. Yet Clinton is still hanging around behind the scenes like when she was vetting Kamala Harris at the Hamptons.

              Now we see the Clinton wing trying to ride their way back into power on the back of Warren after their embarrassment in the at the hands of Trump and Sanders.

              Clinton’s influence is like a huge rotten tree with a very deep root system. No matter how far and wide you dig to pull it out, there is always more of it tangled with something else. I thought better of Warren for awhile, but it looks like we have another “Obama” on our hands; All talk but no actual “change”.

              1. Carey

                “I do not get this need to hate on Clinton..”

                I do:

                “Clinton’s influence is like a huge rotten tree with a very deep root system. No matter how far and wide you dig to pull it out, there is always more of it tangled with something else. I thought better of Warren for awhile, but it looks like we have another “Obama” on our hands; All talk but no actual “change”.”

                Thanks for that well-said and accurate paragraph.

                1. hunkerdown

                  For better or worse, Hillary has become a metonym for bourgeois neoliberalism. She, personally, may be out of the public picture, but the Party cadre is still numerous and still life-partnered to their brand strategies.

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Why would Pelosi lose her primary, if there is one? Isn’t she a perfect expression of everything her well-to-do limousine-liberal base stands for?

        2. Chris

          King. Bro.

          What a wonderful addition to the high level discourse on this site.

          By the way, have you spoken to Nina Turner lately? I’m sure that she and several million other women and people of color will be surprised to discover that they’ve actually been young privileged white males since 2015.

        3. ACF

          No, I’m not avoiding your point. I don’t think it’s possible to debate in a real sense, because the data don’t exist. Either Bernie will fundamentally change the electorate, or he won’t. If he does, he wins and he bypasses all of the Democratic Party insider power structure rendering such alliances irrelevant. If he doesn’t change the electorate, I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that he loses to Warren, regardless of the alliances she builds, but predicting who wins with a standard electorate is harder. And I fundamentally reject your claim Bernie is looking for a moral victory–I think he’s in it to win it, and we’ll discover empirically whether his theory of how is accurate. As to forgotten, in the long run we’re all forgotten, but I reject your dismissal of the impact he has had, is having, and will continue to have.

        4. jrs

          By the way I actually do think Sanders supporters have a hard (but not certain to lose) fight ahead of them. Fight the good fight. But Warren is probably not terrible.

          To mention some ahem “field work” on environmental/climate/etc. issues, and I don’t do everything as some kind of pure field work, I actually give a damn. I was talking to a Sunrise movement supporter, at a protest, they support Warren. I mentioned I support Sanders (I could well have supported Inslee though). Now these Sunrise people are of course young and many are too young to vote anyway so maybe not the most relevant data point. Then I was talking on an Extinction Rebellion person, older person, they were feeling Kamala for awhile and then weren’t, now looking at Warren seriously still considering Kamala. I mentioned Bernie. They “really appreciate what Bernie has done to renew the Democratic party, but not feeling Bernie this time”. I don’t know if environmental collapse doesn’t pushing you to wanting radical change, and if Bernie is losing some of those supporting radical change … I mean when you’ve lost the radicals to Warren and Kamala … It will be a hard fight. But not impossible.

          1. Phenix

            The Sunrise Movement reminds me of the Save Darfur movement back when I was in college. The people who were fighting for Darfur wanted nothing to do with my “radical” politics. I helped organize one of the first protests against the Afghanistan War and was active against the Iraq War. The were not interested in protecting all people from US imperialism they more comfortable protesting for the preferred victims.

            I see these new Climate based movements in the same vein. I am not familiar with their policy positions but since these radicals support neo-liberals….its safe to say that the climate debate is a safe space for their outrage.

            I have to see the policy comparison between the original Green New Deal, Tulsi’s Off Act and the new GND. I’m lazy right now so I wont but I suspect the Green Party and Off Act are both more radical than the GND.

            There is open conflict in the billionaire class over the GND and AGW. It looks like the proponents of the GND will win out but we do not know if it will be soon or radical enough to save the planet.

            And as always a radical peace movement is needed. The US Empire is an empire of oil and that oil fuels the US military. If we can dismantle the Empire with out an outright collapse then maybe we can radically reduce global emissions.

          2. Grant

            I think someone involved in Sunrise that backs Warren when her plan is not nearly as good as Bernie’s, and when his plan isn’t going far enough, has not made tons of sense of the issue they are organizing around. It doesn’t make logical sense. Neither does supporting Bernie last time but then moving on to Harris of all people this time. If a person moves on from Bernie to Harris, then policy and corruption are clearly not front and center. Why then did they ever support him? I place little value in anecdotal things like that, but to the extent that is happening, it just points to how utterly lost most people are. To the extent that is the case, it isn’t a problem for Bernie, it is a problem for the left broadly (same thing can happen of AOC runs in the future) and for anyone that cares about the environment. I mean, if people involved in Sunrise are not valuing the qualitative differences on policy regarding that issue, what of the average American? We have gotten to the point where only radical changes will save us and if a mass conciousness is needed to realize those changes and if that mass conciousness isn’t there, what hope is there? When I hear people not feeling Bernie, what I hear is that they aren’t feeling the policies he supports, or the people that need those changes.

            1. Carey

              FWIW, the one person I offered a Sanders sticker to who refused it- a 10%er-
              used very similar language.
              That person was a Sanders supporter in 2016, or said they were.

        5. Pookah Harvey

          Socialist party platform presented by “failed crusader Eugene Debs” in 1912.

          Tax Reform—The adoption of a graduated income tax, the increase of the rates of the present corporation tax and the extension of inheritance taxes……

          Minimum Wage—By establishing minimum wage scales.

          Social Insurance— ….a general system of insurance by the State of all its members against unemployment and invalidism and a system of compulsory insurance of their workers, without cost to the latter, against industrial diseases, accidents and death.

          Also in the platform was woman’s suffrage, public ownership of utilities and a shortened work day.

          Not sure what you mean by “failed crusader”.

      4. jrs

        there are some alliances that simply must not be made, IMO with fossil fuel etc.. I mean one could call that bright, I call it extinction, but hey maybe we could split the difference? /sarc Many other alliances are also questionable if they are with the money that keeps any real change from happening.

        Any of the Dem candidates could with strong grassroots pressure (that sadly does not exist right now!) be made to do good things (Trump literally can’t, it really is 100% hopeless there). But better to get a candidate who requires the least grassroots pressure possible to do the right thing.

      5. davidgmillsatty

        Warren will not make a dent in the deficit the Democrats have in rural and suburban America. Trump won 84.3% of the counties in the US. Sanders might improve on that because he seems to have some kind of appeal to rural communities that Howard Dean spoke often about.

        If Warren is the nominee she is likely to do every bit as badly in rural and suburban America as Clinton, possibly worse. Seems that people on the coasts just don’t have a clue about flyover America.

        It is looking to me to be a repeat of the 2016 election where the Democrats substantially win the popular vote and Trump wins the EC by a significant margin again. It might be even worse now that the Republicans have managed to make AOC, et al, the face of the crazy Democratic party and Trump has put the Pocahontas moniker on Warren and it has stuck like glue.

    2. urblintz

      Warren won’t get this 63 yr old ‘s vote. Her “alliances” with Wall Street, the Pentagon and now, Clinton, tell me all I need to know. They might get her the nomination, sure…. but, just as with Clinton, they lose her the presidency.

        1. Whoa

          +1 no more lesser evil.

          3rd party , write-in, or stay home

          The DNC forever alienated this 50 years solid D.

          1. John Beech

            Lukewarm R (every time since 1980) would have pulled the lever for Sanders in 2016 had Clinton and Company not bamboozled him). I knew he was toast when he didn’t attack on her emails. So I voted for Trump (or your dog had it been nominated) rather than vote for Clinton. And I will again if it’s anybody but Sanders! Anyway, the way the system works in FL is you have to change registration 29-days ahead of the primary. Had I known that for the last go around I would have changed registration to Democrat. Gonna do it this time so i can cast my vote for Sanders (if nothing else, I want to be able to tell my grand kids I did the right thing for the right guy). And if he doesn’t win the nomination, guess what? Yup, I’ll vote for Trump again rather than endure a thief like Warren or a more-of-the-same guy like Biden. If for no other reason that to see Rachel Maddow’s head explode. Say what you will but the last few years have not been boring.

      1. Karen

        Wall Street fears Warren–always has. They know she knows what she’s talking about, and has the courage of her convictions. That’s (practically) all I need to know to vote for her. She’s honest, she’s not taking large $ donations, and she’s right about what’s wrong. All of which can be said of Sanders, and he deserves our everlasting admiration and gratitude for being the standard bearer. There’s no question that Sanders made Warren’s success possible. But she’s also a pragmatist, more optimistic, and hopefully will bring enough smart and honest people along with her to figure out what the right solutions are. None of it will be easy.

        1. urblintz

          Wall Street does not fear Elizabeth Warren. She is a wealthy capitalist who most her life supported the GOP specifically for economic reasons. Her often admirable rhetoric on the banksters often does not match her actions, imnsho.

          1. dcblogger

            Wall Street hates and fears Warren. Remember when she was “unconfirmable”? It is a measure of how much the oligarchs hate and fear Bernie that they are taking a second look at Warren.

            1. Carey

              The candidates are only as powerful as their (true) backers.

              Warren has some 10%ers; Sanders has The People. She’s a ineffectual showboater
              (see Wells Fargo hearings, with *no results*).

            2. Lambert Strether

              > Wall Street hates and fears Warren

              “You can’t change a corrupt system by taking its money.” Which Warren has said she will do in the general (while virtue signaling to liberal Democrats in the primaries).

        2. tegnost

          I think Sanders is the most optimistic candidate I have ever witnessed, and I fail to see how someone who is offering to do less is more optimistic. I’ll leave pragmatic, smart and honest for another time and crawl back into my hole….Thanks so much for the NC brain trust and operational support staff, I hope you all had a restful time off as you enter the fall season. I intend to increase my annual donations this year due to the strenuous effort the election season brings! NC is a treasure to my daily life.

        3. Splashoil

          WS fears Warren like medical insurance and pharma feared Obama. Warren will not fight for us, anymore than Obama did or JB would do.

        4. MoB.

          Warren more optimistic?? No, clearly not. Bernie is the most optimistic one out there.

          You could argue that it is actually a handicap for him. But to believe in the possibility of real positive change in the way he does clearly shows he is way out front of Warren in the optimistic category

        5. John Beech


          No offense but how do you figure she’s honest? She claimed to be native American and appropriated a benefit expressly set aside for these disadvantaged citizens. That’s a tiny added chance in the game created for the Indians (feather-type not red-dot type) and she stole it. Since you can no more be a little of a thief as a little bit pregnant, she’s out in my book. Imagine if she had been a black woman wannabe and claimed to be African American, instead. Think she’d have a career in politics had she done that? So riddle me this; what’s different about a white woman claiming to be a native American versus claiming to be African American?

          1. davidgmillsatty

            Don’t care to defend her, but she has always claimed she never took any advantage of native American heritage. And I have always read that she has the support of people in the institutions where she went to verify that. If you know of something different, please share.

            As for her actual ancestry, many Americans whose ancestors have been here for generations have no idea as to whether what they have been told about their ancestry is true. Only the recent availability of DNA studies are letting us know who we really are and whether our ancestors were telling the truth about their genealogy.

            And it was common for people who lived in the west and southwest to be told they had some kind of native American blood. My father in law always thought he was part native American but DNA studies of my sister in law proved she was not, so in all likelihood he was not. These stories are far more common than people might think, especially people who are first second or third generation Americans who came from countries with a long consistent genealogy.

            But the Pocahontas moniker has stuck to her like glue and she is not going to get rid of it, regardless of whether it is fair or not.

            1. Yves Smith

              Her Texas bar license has her listing her ethnicity as Native American.

              And I hate to tell you, but the lawyers who are roughly my age or older (who are not Warren fans but not Warren haters, just not backers) on a widespread basis suspect that that did have something to do with her getting on the Harvard faculty. They simply do not take people from the second tier schools she attended, no matter how brilliant (unless perhaps they had tenure somewhere else first).

            2. Lambert Strether

              Here’s the bar license:

              As I’ve said, and will say again, three things worry me about Warren’s Cherokee ancestry issue:

              1) She did not ask the Cherokees. They would have told her that membership in the Cherokee tribe is not by blood.

              2) She did depend on Pod Save America (hosts: Obama’s speechwriter, Jon Favreau, and Deray) for their advice, which is why she went to 23andMe for the genetic test.

              This bespeaks an unwillingness to go outside the class with which she is comfortable. That’s already a problem for Democrats, as Thomas Frank shows. Would she, for example, take advice from economists trained at UMKC?

              Finally, 3) Trump got inside her head. That’s not good at all.

              1. Acacia

                Indeed, and Trump will likely succeed in addling her again as the race heats up. He seems very good at that.

        6. Grant

          I do not even know in our context what it means to be a pragmatist. I hear people that call themselves that craft environmental plans that assume we have more time than we do. They create healthcare policies, Warren doesn’t bother with that, which will kill thousands a year, will still result in job lock and bankruptcies. They look at decades of wage stagnation, massive inequality, systemic corruption, crumbling infrastructure, an environmental crisis and a society falling apart and they assume that the system that produced this will go on indefinitely. It really isn’t pragmatic if you want to solve any of our problems, it is just pragmatic if you want to be the nominee of one of the two rotten parties that have rigged out political system. Let’s face it anyway, we all know she wouldn’t be getting all of this fawning coverage in the corporate media and wouldn’t be polling as she is if Bernie wasn’t there.and if he had no chance of winning. Right now, it appears that if Biden drops out, Bernie is set to benefit more than anyone else. If that was to happen, no one in Biden’s rough ideological area has any chance. So, Warren it is, and she is already “pivoting” because she sees a chance to maybe grab this thing and knows that it likely means shedding her progressive veneer.

          Her plans are not actual solutions (many, like her student loan cancellation bill, are overly complex), since the changes we need require radical changes and her ideas are largely not very radical. She would begin negotiations from a compromised position, and she said herself that she will take corporate bribes in the general election. She isn’t right now because you know who is in the race and is not taking their bribes. So, those compromised plans will be further compromised, at most. My guess is that most will collect dust. People can argue that she would nudge us in the right direction, that never actually leads to those changes. If you propose policies that will at some point require us to take on the interests Bernie wants to take on now, at most you are just kicking the can down the road. We will do a little now, fufure generations will have to actually do what is needed. They won’t get the chance though, because incrimentalism never actually leads us there. The small changes are always reversed once an election goes the other way.

          I remember someone running in 2007 and 2008 that talked about change. This candidate was going to re negotiate NAFTA, he would get out and march with union organizers, he talked about corruption and a system that was rigged against working people, he was a progressive capitalist. He actually won, his party got wiped out and it was the context Trump emerged from. What will happen when those radical, needed, changed are not put in place? Things will continue to get worse, because anything short of structural changes are not enough anymore. So, the context that produced Trump will remain, if not worsen. And then the environmental crisis hits. I think that we have reached a point where the USSR was near the end. The system simply could not change fast enough to deal with massive societal problems and a rapidly changing situation. To me, Warren just might be our Gorbachev. It is a shame, because we have a chance at our Tommy Douglas.

      2. ambrit

        The Clinton 2016 campaign killed off the LO2E argument for voting Democrat.
        Don’t underestimate the intelligence of this younger cohort of the voting public. They now see that the two legacy parties are really wings of one party.
        “The Lesser of One Evil” doesn’t sound quite right.
        What I worry about concerning this development in the 2020 campaign is just what will Hillary demand in return for her ‘support.’ If I was Warren, I would not only keep an eye out for treachery from the Clintons, but I would not trust any of the old guard of the Democrat Party either.
        If I were a cynic, (Heaven forfend!) I would see this latest twist in the torturous tale of politics, American style, as an attempt to set Warren up to ‘peak’ too soon before the convention so as to deny her, as well as Sanders a first round nomination. When the convention gets thrown into a ‘brokered’ state, the gloves come off and anything goes.

    3. Chris

      You’re certainly entitled to your opinion. And you do seem to have just one opinion. Sanders = teh worst. But I wonder if you’ve thought about what you just wrote.

      If seeking solutions outside of the accepted calcified norms that have become conventional wisdom for the Democrats (I.e., single payer will never ever happen, means testing, corporate support is better than citizen engagement, etc.) is “firing a flame thrower in all directions”, maybe it’s time to reconsider the conventional wisdom?

      And if we “forget about the young…” why are we doing all this? In terms of the country they are who will end up inheriting the fruits of our labors and mistakes. In terms of voting, they can change outcomes significantly. Why ignore them? Further, I’m voting based on what I think would help my kids. You think I’m not going to talk to them about what they want and consider it?

      It’s clear you favor anyone but Sanders from your posts on him this election season. But being “bright” isn’t enough to win anything and maintaining any relationship with a Clinton is currently seen as toxic. Not to mention if the DNC, Clinton allies, and others were so smart and the right people to build allegiances with… why have they all failed to hold on to legislative seats at all levels of government for so long? Why did they spend so much money to lose the 2016 election? Why is it that whenever they put out a proposal which isn’t received well by the citizens, they instantly assume it’s just a PR related failure? Why are we here with an awful economy, stuck in multiple wars we can’t win, and dependent on an economic and military rival for our commodities and manufacturing base? The Democrats oversaw most of those decisions and the people Warren is cozying up to supported them. How bright do you have to be to think these people know what they’re doing?

      Please troll better.

      1. DJG

        Thanks, Chris + Fiery Hunt. You both reflect my sentiments. Bernie Sanders is only a “flame thrower” to those who think that the status quo is glorious. So the Warren Realists sudden erupting here are, ironically, a-okay with Trump world and the Republicans. Soon we will be treated to disquisitions on Reaching across the Aisles of the Houses of the Congress. To what end? You don’t have to be Greta Thunberg to know that the U.S. has enormous economic and environmental problems caused by the unstopped rightward bipartisan drift.

        Warren is wonderful if you also thought that Eisenhower was the bee’s knees as prez.

        1. ambrit

          In the matter of taxation, Eisenhower was way to the left of anyone presently running for President, in either party.

        2. Chris

          Thanks all.

          I always wonder why people think Warren is a realist? She’s got a plan for everything…but no explanation as to why the laws we already have on the books weren’t used to stop Wall Street from blowing up the country? She does know how to talk about our problems but the solutions she proposes are incremental changes – what’s going to be left once those ideas get through congress? And how bright do you have to be to give Trump all the fauxchahontas material he needs with a bogus DNA claim?

          If this is realism I need more fantasy in my life.

    4. Mark Gisleson

      Please do forget about the young. Bernie isn’t, and these young people are not like our generations were at their age. Thanks to our fecklessness, young people are coming of age in a world going downhill in a handbasket and they take that very seriously. Activists tend to have low birth rates (anecdotal but prove me wrong) and young people have lower birth rates now. In activists, this shows a cynical awareness (woke+++), which in young voters can be used to turn them out to vote.

      They will vote in record numbers, and they’ll be voting overwhelmingly for Bernie. It will be fun to watch and it will electrify this nation once everyone turns off the nightly news and finds an internet channel (like Naked Capitalism) to get real news from. Say what you like, Bernie gets people excited in a good way.

      This country needs to be excited in a good way. We need to be brought together, not algorithmically divided.

      1. Wukchumni

        We’re pretty rudderless in terms of what we stand for, no semblance of national meaning or goals we’d like to achieve that would unify the country.


        I’d like the next President to be outdoorsy, and not in a 18 hole fashion, we’ve had enough bad hacks.

        1. tegnost

          I think a more appropriate boating metaphor would be a boat with two motors, the right side one going full speed, the left one not, and the captain complaining that he must keep turning right in order to go straight rather than simply giving some more impulse to the left engine. You can place in the role of captain any person who thinks the status quo is a natural development, when in reality it’s all been engineered to be exactly this way. Thus we may be able to conclude that “smart people” believe going in circles at a high rate of speed is progress.

      2. John k

        I went to a Bernie rally in 16, line so long I was unwilling to lean on cane for an hour… but the younguns did wait.
        Takes a lot more effort to go to rally than to vote. Way shorter lines. And they need fundamental change way more than I do. And four years on, fewer Clinton supporters, more young, and they’ve seen four more years of neolib.
        Plus, several still in when primaries begin maybe splits those that voted Clinton in 16.
        Cautiously optimistic.
        Granted her courting Clinton is a good fit with increasingly disaffected Biden supporters.
        Might come down to Repeat of 2016, Liz subbing for Clinton vs Bernie. Maybe Bernie does better this time with the black vote…

        1. John Beech

          Bernie’s doing better with the Republican vote because I just changed my affiliation. Did it online, took less than 5 minutes! Add one vote for Bernie in central-Florida!

      3. davidgmillsatty

        Well he won’t get people nearly as excited this time around as he did last. HRC support and Russiagate have hurt him big time with a lot of his 2016 supporters. A lot of Berniecrats are very lukewarm this time around. I will vote for him in the primary if he has a chance to pick up delegates in my state, but there is no point to vote for him in the general because he does not have a snowball’s chance in hell here. Probably vote green again in the general.

        1. jrs

          It could be the case the momentum was better in 2016 as the economy was worse. There was more suffering, thus more momentum for change. The economy is better now than in 2016 – and of course 2016 was not the worst years or anything (and if wishes made it so, I’d bring on a recession right now just to get rid of Trump alone but …).

          Are a lot of people still suffering, sure they are, but quite frankly a lot of people are ALWAYS suffering in this country, it’s just the background noise, there’s always people drowning even in “good job markets”. It’s just in worse economies the suffering reaches more widely. So critical mass on that, I have no idea. And maybe people will vote for other reasons.

    5. Otis B Driftwood

      This is yet another myth offered by those who are frightened of the change Sanders and his coalition of genuine progressives represent.

      Sanders has a long history of sponsoring and co-sponsoring joint legislation in Congress. One example: Sanders lead a coalition with Republican Mike Lee to pass the Yemen resolution in the Senate earlier this year.

      Go to GovTrack and compare the legislative records of Sanders and Ms. Warren.

      Three pinochios for Wolf’s latest comment.

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        I need to correct my comment. In fact, Sanders gets a low rating from GovTrack for sponsoring legislation in Congress. This has and will be (see above) used as a bludgeon to argue that he would be ineffective as President.

        But that’s the point, isn’t it? His candidacy and the movement he represents (see Our Revolution) is about changing government (and the legislation produced by Congress) to reflect the will of the People and not moneyed interests. So the better answer here is to say, the real measure of Sanders history in Congress is his principled opposition to so much that has passed through Congress that has contributed to unprecedented wealth inequality, wars without end, and a climate crisis that is undeniable.

    6. NotTimothyGeithner

      Is “the aliiances” narrative the new “most experienced ever”? Its a non-quantifiable claim with little or no meaning to explain away the lack of committal to Medicare for All and awful foreign policy stances? Because alliances are needed with “white flight Republicans”, the preferred voters of Team Blue types?

      1. flora

        Team Blue doesn’t need to fool all of the people all all of the time, just enough of the people one election at a time. They specialize in the retail short game and the wholesale long game cons, imo. (by which I mean they talk vaguely new deal dem and vote Reagan gop.) ;)

        1. Carey

          “..They specialize in the retail short game and the wholesale long game cons, imo..”

          Beautifully said. that’s Our Dems!

          “first slowly, then faster.”

        2. hunkerdown

          If finding the best extemporaneous liar were not the purpose of the primaries, they wouldn’t run them state-by-state over a series of months.

    7. Phacops

      Yep, that’s all we need for Clinton insiders infesting the Warren administration. Next Warren will become a deficit hawk to explain to the American people that what we need is continued austerity because, as she continues to point out, she’s a Capitalist.

    8. Medbh

      My preference is for Bernie, but also donated to Warren and Tulsi. However, I will not vote for Warren if she coordinates with Clinton. You cannot make alliances with corruption. The Clinton neoliberal political philosophy is the problem. Their ideas have failed, and they represent everything that is wrong with politics today.

      You do not coordinate with slave owners to abolish slavery, and the Clinton political apparatus will not dismantle the very political structure and philosophy that creates their power.

      People are looking for real change, and after Obama, I’ve learned to be careful to watch what candidates do and not just what they say. Warren coordinating with Clinton does not mean that she is bright, but rather that she is insincere or naive.

        1. Carey

          I want to modify this a bit:

          “Warren is Hopey-Changey v2.0 [but this time we really mean it!]”


    9. nippersdad

      Re: “raging outsider.”

      As the only outspoken New Deal Democrat in the race, that says a lot more about the dishonesty of the “Party of the people” than it does about him. If the Dems want to be just another variant on the Party of Reagan then they need to say so and suffer the consequences.

      Sanders strikes me as the only “real Democrat” running, with the potential for a coalition that won Roosevelt enough terms that the Constitution was changed to prevent a recurrence. Maybe that is what worries them so much?

      1. Whoa

        Wife went to Sanders event in Chico.
        People filled the hall. Couple hundred turned away. Sanders stepped out to speak to people standing outside in sun.

        Wife was struck by his vitality and charisma. She said, “every picture I have seen of him is a little old man. Thats not who he is at all.”

        I then explained how one can photograph people to make them look old and little. It’s a choice of angles, lighting, lens width. Then there is editing—choosing most unflattering shot.

    10. tegnost

      I’m starting to look forward to seeing your handle because I know I’m about to read something completely hilarious. And your comment as it stands has in itself a certain “flame thrower” appeal.

    11. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Lol @ ‘Building Coalitions’

      While Warren wins over the 10%, Bernies uniting the 90% aka Working Class.

      Are you a DNC troll? Whats ur deal, Wolf?

    12. Jeff W

      Sanders, on the other hand, has been a raging outsider for so long his idea of coalition-building is firing a flame-thrower in all directions.

      It might be that being (at least perceived as) “a raging outsider” who is “firing a flame-thrower in all directions” is not a bad thing. We have an occupant in the White House who won the Presidency being and doing exactly that.

      But, in fact, this video from David Doel shows Sanders as entirely the opposite. Republican Bob Ney, former U.S. Representative, Ohio, said working with Bernie Sanders was “amazing.”

      Ney recounts the story of how Sanders came into his office with a bill (dealing with cost-of-living increases for seniors). Ney liked the bill and said he would be” on it. Sanders said, “No, this isn’t about pride of authorship, I want to pass this. You take the bill.”

      Ney says

      He got more done than he’s been given credit for. He wasn’t, like I said, “the pride of authorship” guy. He was honest, you knew what he said was what you could take to the bank. I can’t say enough about the personal integrity and the zest and the tenacity for working people that Bernie Sanders had and has.

      And then there’s how Sanders worked when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont:

      Most of Burlington’s business leaders initially distrusted Sanders. They didn’t know what a socialist would do once he held the reins of power. But even many of Sanders’s early opponents came to respect and even admire his willingness to listen to their views and his efforts to adopt progressive municipal policies.
      views and his efforts to adopt progressive municipal policies.

      “When [Sanders] first ran for mayor, he was running against guys like me,” [Burlington mover-and-shaker and long-time Republican Tony] Pomerleau recalled in a recent interview.

      Pomerleau [who had planned a mega-project for Burlington ‘s waterfront] wasn’t happy when Sanders opposed his waterfront development plan, but he gradually got to know the mayor and came to admire his pragmatism, his bulldog tenacity to get things done, and his support for the local police.

      “Bernie and I worked very well together for the betterment of the town,” Pomerleau said. “We were the odd couple.”

      That, to me, doesn’t sound a lot like “a raging outsider” who is “firing a flame-thrower in all directions.”

      1. Phacops

        Thank you for this comment. The more I learn about Bernie’s actions the greater I realize that his moral compass bends towards justice. America would be well served by his presidency.

        1. Jeff W

          Thank you.

          “…his moral compass bends towards justice”

          I agree. The guy is, to put it in one word, truly a mensch. It’s such a rare quality in US politics that people often can’t see it for what it is. We really can’t afford to pass him up.

    13. Roger Boyd

      Warren will win because she is an acceptable incrementalist candidate and therefore will be more fairly covered by the media, supported by the DNC etc.

      The latter were looking for an “anyone but Bernie” candidate and after Tulsi Gabbard destroyed Kamala Harris with some truth bombs (interesting the way the DNC selected only polls that showed her below the next debate requirement?) Warren became the best option. Biden is obviously showing that he will implode under the stress of a Presidential campaign, so quite possible that he pulls out (after doing his job of removing Bernie as the leader in the polls) and endorses Warren?

      So then we will have two scenarios (1) Trump wins again (2) Warren wins and immediately starts back-pedalling and compromising and the Republicans win again in 2024 as the voters become disgusted with the Democrats once again – just like with Obama;s second term.

      The only way out is a third party or a grassroots takeover of the Democrats to throw out the neoliberal apologists and opportunists.

      In the interim, the middle class will become more squeezed, the poor poorer, and the US more dangerous to other nations as it fights to keep China from diminishing its global power position.

      1. Carey

        Yes- and who’ll be counting the votes? It was said that Stein-Baraka
        got only 1.03% of the 2016 Presidential vote, despite the two brand-
        name candidates being probably the worst in history. No way.

    14. John Beech

      Ben, I’m a bit late to this but here goes. While I could readily support Senator Sanders, I couldn’t possibly support Senator Warren. Why not? Simple, it’s because she took something that wasn’t hers. In my view, you can no more be a little bit of thief as you can be a little bit pregnant. Either you are, or you aren’t. Sadly, she is demonstrably a thief for claiming the benefit, expressly set aside for native Americans, as her own. She abused a system of which I approve (a leg up for disadvantaged native Americans). So unless Senator Sanders somehow manages to pull off the hat trick (beating the DNC, beating the media, and beating the other candidates), then I’ll be voting for Donald Trump once again. As for Vice President Biden, I feel he’s part and parcel of the same problem. Maybe not corrupt like Secretary Clinton, but part of the same crowd. birds of a feather and all that.

      1. davidgmillsatty

        Is there any proof of that claim? It keeps getting thrown out. But as far as I know it has been successfully shot down every time.

    15. Grant

      Your posts here on Sanders reek of privilage. The other day you said that he was on the way out and you said good riddance. I am sick to death of people like you. Who is she coalition building with? Not working people, the poor, communities of color. The well off. Her supporters are relatively well off, she is cozying up to other privileged individuals and interests. She is meeting with the same rough group of corrupt people that led us here. They have no solutions to any of our problems, but they hold power in that corrupt party. Her coalition building is not intelligent if she wants to put in place structural changes, that will never happen with her. It is smart though if she wants to win the nomination in that party. The Democrats are thoroughly corrupt, not internally democratic and long ago abandoned the poor and the working class. The party has no policy coherence, ideological coherence and has no solutions to any of our problems. She is a much better match for that party than Bernie is. He is actually serious about change. But she has always been horrible on foreign policy, waffles on single payer (which, I am guessing, you don’t really care about), has a number of advisers that are problematic and has already said that she will almost certainly take corporate bribes if she wins the nomination. Many privileged and well connected Democrats really like that. Bernie’s environmental plan doesn’t go far enough, but his runs circles around hers. There will be no one around to remember much if things don’t radically change soon, and they won’t with her. You can cheer on if Bernie exits the race, just shows how indifferent you are to the people that would benefit from his policies and from him taking on the very people Warren is courting.

      Bernie has been trying to work outside the system because putting pressure outside corrupt systems like ours is what is needed to put in place the structural changes we need. It is impossible that change will happen from within the system, and if she was serious about change, which she isn’t, she would work outside the system too. The labor movement, civil rights movement, the environmental movement didn’t advance anything by working within the system, mass movements put pressure on the system and it responded with things like the 40 hour work week, the weekend, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the like because it feared larger structural changes. Tommy Douglas and the social democrats in Canada put pressure on from outsidr the system, organized people and eventually implemented their Medicare system once they were given power. Same with the social democrats in Sweden, Labour in the UK. Warren’s plans all fall far short of what is needed, which means she begins negotiations from an already comprised position. Litle will change if she wins, the educated, privileged, relatively well off yuppies backing her are okay with that. What do they care if tens of thousands die in this healthcare system every year if she doesn’t push strongly for single payer, which she won’t? They, you, are okay. In 2016, people that supported Clinton did her no favors. Their class bias, arrogance and privilege made it really hard to support her, and as it turns out, she had no votes to spare. The same will be the case again if she wins. The privilaged will say tone deaf, privileged and arrogant things to people in desperate need of the changes Bernie would put in place and they will show utter indifference to what is coming for us in regards to the environmental crisis.
      We will continue to fall apart as a country. The only chance we have, which is an uphill battle, is to organize from outside the system, and if that fails, you will act in a way that turns off people you will need. I would be willing to bet that Warren would prefer people like you not act in this way, but what can you do? The poor and working people are suffering, things are getting progressively worse, and their constant whining really annoys you.

      The Democrats are only about a quarter of the population now, and Bernie is only going to win if non Democrats flood that party and save us all from the typical Democratic primary voters. It can still happen, but I think the Democrats in places like NY and California will once again step in and will not let it happen. As they said in court, those in charge of that party can just pick someone, and if Bernie is set to win, that is what they will do. They would blow up the party before those in chage of that party hand it over to the peasants. They have too much to lose if Bernie wins. So, good ridance, right?

    16. Lambert Strether

      > firing a flame-thrower in all directions

      This is, shall we say, analytically impoverished. I mean, Sanders obviously isn’t firing a flame-thrower in “directions,” because he’s not firing at the working class. I think you need to get that knee seen to.

  3. Livius Drusus

    Re: G.O.P. Plans to Drop Presidential Primaries in 4 States to Impede Trump Challengers

    This is surprising. Could any Republican beat Trump in the primaries? Trump seems to be pretty popular with the Republican base. If I was Trump I wouldn’t be worried about any primary challengers.

    1. flora

      The latest “hope” seems to be the economy will fall into recession in 2020 and that will cost T votes. Except, the service sector – finance, insurance, healthcare, pharma, etc – is 70% of the economic GDP now, and it’s still increasing in growth and value, not declining. It can even make money in an inverted yield curve. Hard to see a recession in those stats, imo.

      1. nippersdad

        They make money until they don’t, though.

        It is worrying how underwater so many people are on a variety of fronts, and the parasites are subject to the health of their hosts.

        1. flora

          I agree with your comment about parasites. I thought the Big Banks’ subprime loan scam blowing up would hurt the Big Banks. But no, O’s admin rushed to their defense and gave them financial supports to keep them and their current CEOs and boards fat and happy. That was well beyond what was necessary to keep the global financial system from seizing up. 2008-9 should have killed off bank fraud and customer abuse, but it rolls on mostly unchecked with near guaranteed govt support, imo.

          All this talk about the “need” for negative interest rates is another sop to the financial parasites, imo. Sure, it would crush Main Street even more but the govt stopped caring about Main Street a long time ago, imo.

          I expect the “beats will continue until morale improves.” ;)

    2. Wukchumni

      It’s kind of Nixonian in a way, not as if Tricky Dick needed a team of inept burglars to break into the DNC @ Watergate, for it wasn’t as if McGovern posed much of a threat.

      And really shouldn’t it be ‘Praytorian Guards’ as the evangs are pretty much his entire electoral base now?

      1. ambrit

        Oh, I would disagree. There is an almost palpable disgust at the 10% out “on the street” today. The poor are beginning to wake up to the fact that meritocracy, as promulgated by the 10% class, is a sham. the poor always either hated or loved the Rich. Now, the 10% are being mentally conflated with the Rich, and thus separated out from the poor.
        That angry mob of peasants soon to be rampaging through the chateaus of their “betters” have modernized. Now, instead of carrying flaming torches and pitchforks, they carry Maglites and ARs.

    3. Bugs Bunny

      They’re keeping the NH primary. That will give Weld some slots on the Sunday shows and maybe even 20%.

      At least one of the nearly extinct species of non raving loon Republicans will be seen and heard for a fleeting moment, until political science confirms their full transmogrification into “centrist” Dems and NYT columnists.

    4. Ranger Rick

      Surprising that they decided it was a good idea, anyway. In Colorado, where they pulled this stunt in 2016, they enraged the electorate, who promptly (the very next year) forced through open public primaries that independents could vote in.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    The Impossibility of Immigrants Refusing to Integrate into British Society (guest post by Hasko Von Kriegstein) Daily Nous

    I think this is one thing that the US does much better than Europe. The notion of being a ‘hyphen’ American (Italian-American, Chinese-American, etc) is a very reasonable one that allows people to maintain their identity, while becoming ‘American’. The French approach it by calling everyone with citizenship ‘French’ and maintaining an official blindness towards cultural difference, which also conveniently allows them to ignore the disadvantages faced by African, Asian or Arabic French. The Germans I think tried to dodge the entire question by pretending that all immigrants were there temporarily (gasterbeiter), creating a serious issue with second generation immigrants. Ireland simply labels every incomer ‘the New Irish’ and asks how good they are at football.

    Oddly enough, the British were ahead of the game, in inventing the term ‘British’ to allow Scots and Welsh, etc., to join the party of Imperialism. The great mistake I think was not allowing that term to encompass non-Atlantic islanders, leaving the many new incomers with an ambiguous identification. To an extent it happened – I’ve noticed that Black and Asians in England tend to call themselves ‘British’ rather than ‘English’, although that will quite likely create a nasty ambiguity if and when the real Brexit project – English independence from the Scots – comes to pass.

    1. Roger Boyd

      South Americans are also “American” as so technically are Canadians and Central Americans. The arrogance of the Monroe Doctrine lives on in the usage of the “American” designation by citizens of the United States of America.

      I much prefer to not have the “-” which is simply divisive in many cases (“African-American”, “Native-American” etc. doesn’t seem to give the right balance between citizenship and diversity), like “British” or “Canadian” etc.

      In Canada, I find even relatively new immigrants can get quit pissed if you refer to their previous citizenship – they are very proud to be referred to as simply “Canadian”. When I was an executive I even got into HR trouble for trying to celebrate the diversity of my group at a townhall!

      The notion of “British” was arrived at after much war and strife, including the beheading of a Scottish Queen (ironically it was her son that consolidated the notion of “Britain”). Even afterwards, the Scottish Highlands needed “levelling” into acceptance. Britain may soon not be so given the possibility of Scottish exit.

      1. Synapsid

        Roger Boyd,

        “The arrogance of the Monroe Doctrine lives on in the usage of the ‘American’ designation by citizens of the United States of America.”

        French: les Americains
        Italian: gli Americani
        German: die Amerikaner
        Russian: Amerikantsy
        Spanish: los Americanos
        Portuguese: os Americanos
        Norwegian: Amerikanere

      2. wilroncanada

        As a Canadian I tend to use the term “USites”. “USians” just seems so awkward to pronounce. Sort of like residents of Paris are “Parisites”.

      3. davidgmillsatty

        The USA is the only country with America in its name and has no other specific identifier in its name. Every other country in the Western Hemisphere can identify their citizens by a particular name.

    2. David

      The difference is that the French see citizenship as adherence to a set of values rather than to skin colour or origin. The battle between those who wanted to define being French along racial lines and those who wanted to define it along social and political lines was won pretty handily by the latter after the defeat of the Vichy regime.

  5. Steve H.

    > Strike With The Band

    A lot misplaced in this article. We’re doing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this coming weekend with Mendelssohn’s music, which he scored to the script. It is a magnificent co-joining of two great creators. The way we are doing it, as Mendelssohn intended, integrated, may not have been done in a hundred years.

    This article contains a suggestion which would mean no one would hear either again. Not coming from money has always been a problem for artists. Athletes, too. To suggest killing off the art to fix the problem is sick.

    1. Carla

      My mother held an advanced degree from Juilliard, my dad was a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, and my older brother, of the Oberlin Conservatory. None of them came from wealth. All of them made their livings–and their lives–as classical musicians here in flyover country. None of them had any college debt whatsoever. The world has changed completely.

      1. Reify99

        I have a MM from what was, at least in the 80’s, one of the top schools in the country. Then had two adjunct positions at lesser state schools in MO and OK. At the last one,
        of the 30 faculty, 18 were adjunct positions, meaning no benefits and no job security.
        Private teaching on the side, church jobs…
        Fatherhood came and, after a year, decided to go into nursing. It worked out.
        I’ve kept music going though. Starting my second album now, at 68.

      2. Wukchumni

        We’ve were fortunate to have really talented classical musicians from the Colburn School in L.A. make our tiny town their venue for playing concerts for about 6 years, and the musicians were almost all Asian-Americans, and oh so good.

        But you have to wonder where they end up, as large cities are cutting back on civic orchestras and the like with reckless abandon.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Brexit

    Everything is in too much flux right now to be sure what’s likely to happen. Its clear that Johnson is grossly out of his depth, but still the Brexiters hold most of the cards, and its likely that they can steer the bus over the 31st October cliff if they really want to do that (I have my doubts if this is their real endgame).

    But I do think Andrew Rawsley in the Observer today is worth a read. He concludes that we may see Boris defenestrate himself.

    To have any chance of pulling off this massive gamble, he will have to retain credibility with pro-Brexit voters.

    Any hope of doing that would be shattered were he to go along to the EU and grovel, as Brexiters would see it, for another delay. Breaking the law would land him in the courts. Asking for an extension while protesting that he has been forced into it by parliament would look no better. In Brexiter eyes, that would turn him into a pathetic puppet prime minister. Though no one in the opposition parties is prepared to admit this in public, the boost this would give to the Brexit party at the expense of the Tories is one of the reasons the opposition wants to delay an election beyond the end of October.

    Allies report that Mr Johnson has privately said that he would rather resign than be the prime minister who asked for another postponement of Brexit. I think I believe that. Either Jeremy Corbyn or someone from the so-called Rebel Alliance would then have to take over in order to ask for the extension – after which the temporary unity between them would likely start to crack. Boris Johnson would campaign as the leader of the opposition, a role in which he would be more comfortable anyway, asking for a Tory majority to deliver the Brexit that parliament had stopped. I know it sounds incredible, if not insane. And yet once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. In so much as there is any logic left in British politics, it points towards Boris Johnson being impelled to depose himself.

    This leaves the UK in one hell of a mess. Would the EU then just take pity and offer a caretaker PM (presumably Corbyn) a very long extension? Would Corbyn accept it?

    1. vlade

      Given the brokeness of the opposition, I believe that the only way to stop Johnson is to pass the WA – and avoid holding elections till spring.

    2. David

      I thought the Rawnsley piece was pretty good as well.
      What it and several other weekend think-pieces show, I believe, is that there are now a series of obstacles that Johnson will have to overcome if the UK is to crash out on 31 October. These may include any or all of Parliament, the Queen, the Courts, his own party and Cabinet and the EU. That would be a tall order even for a tactical genius, and Johnson, as has been cruelly exposed this week, doesn’t have the tactical sense of a hamster, which he otherwise quite resembles. This is different from the position even a week ago, where it seemed that all he had to do was nothing.
      I have no idea how this is going to turn out, and no idea, really, of when the substantive crisis might be over. Months? Years?

    3. Ulrich G.

      Thank you very much,

      one possible solution in terms of preventing a backstop for the whole of the UK seems to be a purely Irish solution(i.e. border in the Irish Sea). Correct me if I´m wrong, but wasn´t the `whole UK` backstop something the EU agreed to as a favour/concession to Ms. May? To keep the DUP on board, in order not to threaten her majority?
      Given that BJ doesn´t seem too bothered about antagonizing (and potentially loosing) the whole of Scotland and given the fact, that BJ has lost his majority anyway by kicking out 21 members of the Conservative Party, wouldn´t the easiest way forward just be to `throw the DUP overboard` and change the withdrawl agreement with the EU to a NI only backstop?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, the border on the Irish Sea was the original EU offer, it was widened because it was clear that the DUP would veto it (despite it clearly being in the economic interest of Northern Ireland).

        It has been suggested in Ireland that it could be revived if Johnson decides he could dump on the DUP. The DUP are in a bind because they don’t want an election, so he may try to call their bluff.

    4. Portlander

      A scenario that seems plausible is that Johnson will seek legal review and therefore delay while Parliament is prorogued. Perhaps this will entail seeking review by the courts. Johnson does seem to have a good case (e.g. Bercow’s ruling that Queen’s Consent not required will not be upheld). Or, the courts may punt (“political”), giving Johnson room to maneuver. Of course, he can always resign and ride on popular anger in the next election. Or maybe not:

      Not knowing the “man & woman in the street” view, I’m curious about this scenario: Johnson resigns; caretaker PM asks for 3 month extension; EU Council grants 24 month extension, which caretaker PM approves; new elections in November. Here the election backdrop is: fait accompli, Brexit averted for another 2 years. Politically, would that take the wind out of Johnson’s & Farage’s sails in the next election, or make them stronger?

    5. The Rev Kev

      Lately I have begun to wonder if Boris is seeking to pull the UK out of the EU on October 31st – deal or no deal – and having accomplished that, do a David Cameron and hands in his resignation on the grounds that he has done what he intended to do. I would not put that beyond him and of course being out of government, it would free him to pursue financial investments in the resulting chaotic economic conditions and cash in.

    6. Summer

      Re: Brexit

      I’m just curious to see if there are food or medicine shortages in the event of “no-deal.Don”
      Australia, New Zealand, Canada – all subjects of the monarchy still. Don’t really see how they would let Britain go without food or medicine.

  7. ACF

    Re spousal privilege, is this is the normal boundary of it: “Defendants in New Mexico could invoke the spousal communications privilege to prevent their spouses from testifying about confidential communications during the marriage, even after the marital relationship ends.” (From the ABA article that ATL linked to). The breadth of that privilege is pretty amazing. The context of the case was a defendant trying to block is ex-wife and estrange wife from testifying about the defendant’s murder confessions (including showing wife 1 the body & more).

    And speaking of crazily broad privileges, since when did the 5th Amendment prevent the turn over of documents? I thought the 5th amendment was supposed to be about torture (and it’s wisdom is seen in all the false confessions exposed by the Innocence Project and its kin). Not simply a way to interfere with discovery. I mean, sure, expand the 5th Amendment to police interrogation in a way that minimizes false confession, but extend it to document production? Seems whackadoodle to me. Have any cases allowed that use to date?

    1. shtove

      I think that’s pretty straightforward for Congressional hearings, although I could be wrong. Different matter when it comes to a police investigation.

    2. sleepy

      As I understand it, while the fact of possession of documents themselves and their later compelled production can be considered a violation of the 5th amendment, the contents of those documents can be admitted as evidence if under conditions that don’t tie the compulsion to the defendant.

      It is the “possession and turning over” that is the self-incriminatory act, not the contents. If the documents can’t realistically be introduced without tying them to the defendant’s original possession, then I suspect the documents stay out of evidence.

      At least I believe that’s what the law was 40 yrs. ago. Now, who knows?

      1. ACF

        That’s interesting re the possession and turning over. From a policy perspective that seems very overbroad to me–criminal or Congressional hearing–but that doesn’t mean I’m right as a matter of constitutional law. Any idea on the contours of spousal privilege elsewhere?

        1. sleepy

          The purpose of the privilege is to protect/honor the closeness of the marital relationship. Some states define the privilege as one where the non-testifying spouse can claim it, even if the other spouse wants to testify. Some states say that if the testifying spouse wants to testify willingly, even if the other objects, that’s ok.

          Most states define the privilege as ending once the marriage ends. Given the number of states, there no doubt are more ins and outs than I’ve covered.

          1. davidgmillsatty

            I think trust is the issue and the reason for the privilege. Hard to make a marriage work without it. And if the privilege is going to be destroyed upon divorce, that also undermines trust.

          2. ACF

            Based on that description, it sounds like NM was pretty extreme–the non-testifying spouse could enforce even as to exes. But to eliminate it entirely also seems very extreme.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Chandrayaan 2 Landing LIVE Updates: Orbiter images awaited from ISRO from highest-res camera of any lunar mission”

    Today the Indian Space Research Organisation refused to comment on stories how the last image transmitted by Chandrayaan 2 in its descent showed an astronaut already standing on the lunar surface hefting a man-pad and wearing a Pakistani shoulder patch.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Somehow, I can imagine this story getting passed on and soon 10 talking heads will be debating it on Times TV. Well done.

      1. newcatty

        Trump can tweet about it. We’re on this. Our new terrific Space Force is in secret meetings with Indian Space Force to brazen Pakistani attempt to colonize the moon. Location of secret meetings is…well, guess. Will keep our great American citizens informed as meetings progress.

    1. Chris Smith

      I’m beginning to think we need to hire some kids on rumspringa to teach us all how to Amish. We then tear down all of this (handwaves at consumerist society) and live in small villages growing food and practicing crafts. Maybe that would be radical enough? And think of the energy savings!

      1. Christopher Fay

        Here’s a positive story of an enterprise expanding to Falmouth, Massachusetts. Bad Martha’s a beer brewery, had their new building made in Amish country and erected the barn. A steel grain silo was commissioned in Wisconsin. Grounds will include 1-1/2 acres for hops, blueberries and strawberries. The original building there was taken down as replacing an existing sceptic system was more expensive than starting from scratch. Story published in Friday’s Falmouth Enterprise. Pizza development not bombs.

      2. montanamaven

        Watched young people play “Tiny Towns” yesterday at a food truck festival on our little main street. Very popular board game I was told by the gamers at our game store who sponsored the tent where you could play this game.

        “You are the mayor of a tiny town in the forest, where the smaller creatures of the woods have created a civilization hidden away from predators. This new land is small and the resources scarce-–you can take what you can get and never say no to building materials. Cleverly planned and construct a thriving town, and don’t let if fill up with wasted resources. Whoever builds the most prosperous tiny town wins!”

        I bought and plan to try it out. I assume the tiny creatures will own the factory in the tiny town and run in cooperatively?

    1. ambrit

      Misprint. It shoud be ‘Alibama.’
      Since Iran is Shia, we had better wonder about where exactly, this ‘Bama place is. For, if, by the grace of God and his Prophets, this ‘Bama place is in a Sunni nation, then it would more properly be named ‘Abubama.’
      Either way, I seriously doubt if this ‘Bama place would be the dwelling place of the “Hidden Imam.”

    2. The Rev Kev

      I would be very worried if I lived in Alabama. Trump might decide to test his idea of how you can use nukes to break up a hurricane and figure that this might be an ideal time to try.

  9. Kurtismayfield

    “Universities are sacred institutions. We can no longer let them be turned into drive-through reputational laundromats for rich scoundrels.”

    Sometimes this “very smart” person is not really using his brain. Universities are just as corrupt as the society they are a part of. Admission scandals, shady donations, grade inflation, and research being bought by business.. all of these exist because if the nature of the society the Universities are a part of. These are features, not bugs.. and the “ivory towers” are painted more a shade of brown because of it.

    1. jrs

      the fact that one of their central (not only) purposes is enforcing the class system …

      but a class system would exist anyway? oh sure, but it really does segregate the laborers, provide justifications, etc. etc.

  10. scoff

    This article ought to pique the interest of the NC commentariat:

    Soil’s Microbial Market Shows the Ruthless Side of Forests

    This is, I think, the most fascinating takeaway from the article:

    Then came the part inspired by Piketty’s work on economics. Kiers and Whiteside added more phosphorus to one compartment than the other, setting up resource inequalities, with one fungal group controlling up to 90% of the element. The fungi responded by trading with the plants far more than when phosphorus was evenly distributed in the environment.

    Most impressively, the fungi moved nutrients from the “rich” to the “poor” region and grew faster in the poor region. Kiers’ team believes that’s because the fungi could extract a higher “price” from the plants in the form of carbon-rich sugars where phosphorus was scarce — though Kiers notes that they couldn’t track the carbon directly.

    A quote from one of the comments to the article captures my reaction better than I could have said it:

    There is yet another dimension. What makes this theoretical difference so contentious is the implication for political economy. Since Darwin, the “social Darwinists” have been saying that nature has constructed this beautifully “tangled bank” of interdependence using only the principles of pure capitalist competition. So you see, capitalism is Nature’s way, and if we just leave companies to compete freely, they’ll come up with the greatest good for the greatest number. Meanwhile, the multilevel-selectionists have been saying No, biological communities are vast, cooperative networks optimized for the good of all, with checks and balances to discourage cheaters. They’re more like socialist planned economies than like capitalist free-for-alls.

    Maybe this is just wishful thinking and I’m projecting my own thoughts onto the reality, but It seems that in the microbial world there’s a fundamental drive toward fairness that the human species has all but lost.

    1. skippy

      Amends, sore spot.

      Social Darwinism is a meme started by those seeking to burnish their ideological preference as “Natrual”. Herbert Spencer is the original author behind the term, seek his bio to gain a more detailed insight with connotations of genetic superiority – something the creator has a hand in IMO.

    2. Susan the other`

      interesting. Even the physicists talk about the evolution of the universe and how their theories have to keep up in a certain sense. But much of the “evolution” we see was already in full operation long ago and just continued on in spite of us and now, voila! we are seeing and understanding it. So of course, it is our own evolution that is the key to progress and good judgement. I’ve always thought capitalism was something akin to human life force in action. But on the other hand, I’ve always thought socialism was also. It’s a balance. Hopefully toward progress.

      1. newcatty

        Balance. Yes, but that balance needs to be created toward not just continuing our own evolution to choose the drive to sustaining the life force; but to choose to progress life as fully intended to create the world as a progressive world where service to self is not the basic motivation to choose our governance. It seems the time for fence sitting, compromising our moral choices, hiding in our cocoons ( no matter their structures), rationalizing exploitation of others, allowing the manipulation of us through fear is come to a critical point of choice. I am not a cynic or pessimist. I don’t have any answers. I try to live with integrity, but have my shadows like most anyone. I do meditate, pray, whatever one wants to call it for peace and sanity in this world. We know that the intent and the presence of the researcher does influence the outcome of the experiment. As we talk about this candidate or that one…one thing I will do is vote for a dem, if it is not repug in “progressive” clothing.

      2. Susan the other`

        “Nature’s way” is survival of the fittest. This was perverted and taken to justify winner take all in capitalism and neoliberal capitalism. But being the fittest simply means adapted better than the next organism to the environment. With our late stage capitalism it has been a grab and take frenzy of the previously successful, aka “adapted” – whether that adaptation was simply being connected politically or that the person had some spectacular talent. What’s missing in this equation is the niche. Nature has niches for every living thing. The fittest organism evolves within a niche. Niches where organisms thrive. From the smallest to the biggest. Capitalism has no such thing. There is just one relentless and hideous way to be “fittest” and that’s to compete for money and win. Capital. It is just a mindless monster that grows beyond its own capacity and resorts to eating everything else in sight. That’s gotta change. It can change. Or it can be shunned. Or it can be declared a crime against humanity and the planet. Or it can be allowed in special, highly regulated circumstances.

  11. The Rev Kev


    Of course if you truly want to understand the concept of idleness, you cannot do much better than read the works of a master of the subject – Jerome K. Jerome. Here is an example from his 1886 book “The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow” ( –

    “It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen.”

    Of course he really comes into his own when discussing the parallel subject of work-

    “It always does seem to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me: the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart.
    You cannot give me too much work; to accumulate work has almost become a passion with me: my study is so full of it now, that there is hardly an inch of room for any more. I shall have to throw out a wing soon.
    And I am careful of my work, too. Why, some of the work that I have by me now has been in my possession for years and years, and there isn’t a finger-mark on it. I take a great pride in my work; I take it down now and then and dust it. No man keeps his work in a better state of preservation than I do.
    But, though I crave for work, I still like to be fair. I do not ask for more than my proper share.”

    ― Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat

    1. Wukchumni

      Coinrinthians: 6:66

      In the USA idleness typically means you aren’t trying to make money doing something, wasting time when you could be making manna.

    2. Jeff W

      From William Pène du Bois’s delightful children’s classic The Twenty-One Balloons:

      “…To be sure, we work very hard on our day of the month; but recently we have spent considerable time in doing absolutely nothing at all.”

      “What’s wrong with that?” I hastily asked.

      “Nothing!” shouted Mr. F. “I am happy to see that you are a good loafer. Certain prudish people in other countries seem to find that ‘busy hands are kept out of mischief,’ or some other such silly idea. We have developed loafing on this island to such an expert extent that even our hands are completely relaxed. Our only work now, besides cooking, is in trying to make life more pleasant for ourselves and for each other.

      (I read that book when I was about 10 and, now that I think about it, that passage might have influenced me, unconsciously, far more than I imagined.)

      And the Japanese monk Yoshida Kenkō in his Tsurezuregusa or Essays in Idleness said

      “I am happiest when I have nothing to distract me and I am completely alone.

      Even if a man has not yet discovered the path of enlightenment, as long as he removes himself from his worldly ties, leads a quiet life, and maintains his peace of mind by avoiding entanglements, he may be said to be happy.”

      (That’s not quite about Idleness but it’s not exactly a paean to “keeping busy” either.)

  12. Polar Donkey

    It seems pretty obvious that Epstein was stealing nuclear secrets at Los Alamos and technology at MIT. Why else would he set up operations like this. All the scientists needed to sell their souls were some girls and a little money. Another failure of elites. What did Epstein do with the information? Did he sell nuclear secrets to Pakistan? Funnel technology to Israel?

  13. Craig H.

    Ronan Farrow’s article is well written.


    some staff in the office of the lab’s director, Joi Ito, referred to Epstein as Voldemort or “he who must not be named.”

    This is really fine detail work. On the other hand the only question which matters now in this story is which United State government official ordered Acosta to back off because intelligence. If we don’t find that out we aren’t going to learn anything worth knowing.

    And I am sad to say I don’t think we are going to find that out.

  14. mpalomar

    Universal Basic Income + Automation + Plutocracy = Dystopia
    “A universal basic income could work under a very different system, but the one thing all the most popular UBI/automation models being promoted by the billionaire class and by Andrew Yang have in common is that none of them seek to fundamentally change the system which enables plutocrats to shore up more and more power and control for themselves.”
    As Johnstone notes it is likely that any societal formulation containing the factor + plutocracy will probably sum to dystopia.
    “In the hands of a people’s government this (new deal) power is wholesome and proper. But in the hands of political puppets of an economic autocracy such power would provide shackles for the liberties of the people. Give them their way and they will take the course of every autocracy of the past – power for themselves, enslavement for the public.” -FDR

  15. Amos

    Alabama: what is upsetting is not that the administration used a sharpie on the weather map, though that is pretty upsetting, but the fact that Trump used a map from a days before to justify his tweet. Which leads to the observation that he was days behind in his knowledge about the storm. This seems a much more damning conclusion which, imho, should be the focus of the story.

  16. Watt4Bob

    Here’s a couple of links that extend the ‘Mind Control’ article to the present day.

    From twitter, concerning the ownership and organization of Cambridge Analytica/SCL.

    Same source, new group Emendata, with interesting connections to Betsy Devos and brother Erik Prince.

    It would seem that the effort by the CIA to master mind control that started after WWII, and included drugs and torture, ( MKUltra) have morphed into PSYOPS on the internet.

    They now have the ability to identify and profile individuals meaning that anyone can be individually, and most likely, automatically targeted for psychological manipulation by AI systems developed by these corporations for the purpose of insuring our masters against the possibility that we might ever threaten their hold on political power.

    Our democracy is not threatened by Russian meddling, ‘Our democracy‘ doesn’t exist anymore, it’s been turned into a video game, one that can’t be ‘won‘, but whose point is to lead the player around in circles, constantly presenting false choices that lead to dead ends and powerlessness.

    What they originally tried to accomplish with massive doses of LSD and physical torture, they’ve discovered can be more effectively done with micro-doses of dopamine and our own cooperation via the internet.

    1. Watt4Bob

      From Mind Control, by Peter Schrag, Pantheon Books 1978;

      “If the object of scientific management was to divest the worker of his craft, to de-skill him, and thereby make him controllable on the job, the effect, if not the object, of the broader social applications of behavioral science has been to create and justify new categories of disability and dependence that make the individual subject to manipulation in the world outside.”


      I’m in the process of reading this book, it’s astounding how seamless has been the effort of our masters to train us not to revolt, considering that revolt would be the natural reaction to the realization that one has been enslaved by ‘masters‘.

      1. Off The Street

        Kompromat, crowd-sourced. That has been the unicorn prancing around, mocking the citizens as they volunteer evermore data, information, biometrics, DNA, ancestry, patterns dark or otherwise, and countless other thousands of cuts. The sentient being now hopes to avoid those snares but needs tools that are fast becoming illegal, if not already on the Librorum Prohibitum.

        What do you mean, pay in cash? What are you trying to hide?

        1. ambrit

          Clerk: “What do you mean, pay in cash? What are you trying to hide?”
          Customer: “Would you rather that I paid you off in lead?”

  17. Annieb

    Baby bear sleeping in Montana hotel bathroom- it’s a mystery why and how he/she ended up there. But the funniest part of the video for me was after they carried the bear out of the bathroom and all the people followed behind, every one of them with their phones outstretched video recording the event.
    OMG, the phones! I just returned from an airline trip, and every single person in the waiting area was staring at their tiny screens, except one older guy who was, shockingly, reading an actual paperback. And me, of course, as I was staring, appalled, at the screen watchers. I think we as a society are doomed if everyone is so addicted to and maybe even controlled by our phones. I know this is not an original observation. But it was just so blatant in the airport with all the people together as a group.

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      I see no difference between staring at a book and a phone, but I agree there is something dysfunctional about it all. To me it is the age old method of “divide and conquer”. Capitalism is tipping the scales towards the “me” or the ego against the “we” or community. I know its’ power because I see it in myself and I am constantly fighting against it.

      I have been in a Victorian tourist town the last few weeks and pretty much all you see is people taking these “snaps” and looking back down at their phones. Who looks at all these crappy photographs? I think some AI in the future will stitch all of these together and make a motion picture of the entire world.

      1. skippy

        I’m reminded of the popular science sort of articles pre GFC era talking about time travel. The line went that until we can wrap a singularity around a vehicle in attempting time travel the next best option was to amass enough data and shove it thought a quantum computer.

        Seems the rub comes in where, what is the purpose of such activities – better world or more profit – not that the accuracy of such endeavor would cause concern if the latter held true …

        1. newcatty

          Krystyn, if you by chance did not see the film Until the End of the World, 1991, then I hope you can access it . Your thoughts about a film that is a” motion picture of the entire world” brought it to mind. It is my favorite Science Fiction film. Not that I also don’t count the first Star Wars in that ranking.

      2. urblintz

        When someone sticks a phone in my face and says “here, look” I try, despite the rudeness of their gesture, to politely demure. My favorite is “I’m so sorry but I can’t look at phone screens. they make me dizzy. I can only use my phone with my ears not my eyes, thanks. I’m sure it’s a pretty picture.”

        Who looks at all these crappy photographs, indeed!

  18. Pelham

    Re Gunz: Garry Wills refers to “an absolutist Second Amendment.” Would he refer to an “absolutist” interpretation of any of the other amendments in the Bill of Rights?

    Probably not. But in fact, liberals like Wills are pretty much wedded to “absolutist” interpretations of the 1st and the 3rd through 10th Amendments, though they wouldn’t think of labeling those interpretations as such. Rather, the most extreme reading in each case is also the only proper one in their way of thinking — and mine, for that matter.

    It’s only the 2nd Amendment that liberals can’t resist picking on, trying every which way to hedge and distort its clear but uncomfortable intent. The result so far is a largely ineffective crazy quilt of laws across states, many of which probably violate the 2nd Amendment but few of which are disputed in any honest assessment of a right that should — as long as the amendment is in place — be enforced and defended uniformly across the country just as the other rights are.

    A valid and probably the most urgent kind of discussion we can have on gun rights should focus strictly on the 2nd Amendment itself and whether it should be kept, replaced or canceled.

    1. Wukchumni

      I noticed stories regarding backlash among gun enthusiasts who are claiming they’ll boycott Wal*Mart and other retailers that discourage open carry in their establishments, and then you wonder, well, just where else would they go to display their wherewithal aside from there and Target? (long a discourager of the practice)

      1. sleepy

        In my small Iowa town since Penny’s, Sears, KMart, Younkers, and Shopko (a regional discounter) have all closed and pulled out leaving only WalMart and Target behind, pickings are now slim for the open carry crowd. The only openly armed shoppers I have ever seen in years of living here have been two at Walmart.

        Probably not a wise move to open carry while shopping in our proliferation of pawn shops, smoke shops, used car lots, payday loan shops, and convenience stores that have replaced the big retailers.

        1. JBird4049

          Probably not a wise move to open carry while shopping in our proliferation of pawn shops, smoke shops, used car lots, payday loan shops, and convenience stores that have replaced the big retailers.

          What I get is that all the places one could shop for anything at all are not there. So we are arguing about the gunz instead of over the disappearing infrastructure of businesses and workers that use to provide the services that the whole community needs to function.

          It seems somehow convenient, if not fortuitous, that when the poverty and despair caused by the general and growing economic collapse happening is starting to actually be up for discussion, guns and racism pops up; having the latter drains the attention from the former is a good way for the current power structure of our sick society to maintain its existence.

        2. Schmoe

          Substitute Kohls for Target, and you just summarized my hometown in WI north of Milwaukee. I did not recall ever seeing open carry, however.

    2. DJG

      Pelham: Before you get into your, errr, unique notions of the Constitution of the United States, you might do a little reading.

      First Amendment absolutism is a thing, as the young’uns say:

      As a card-carrying member of the subsersive ACLU, I tend still to be a First Amendment absolutist.

      You might want also to spend some time researching the history of well-ordered militias. In the early Republic, there was no standing army. The Founders feared standing armies. So the militas were the army. Hmmm. And another oddity was that the Navy was quite separate for much of its history.

      So a little study of history will help here, eh.

      1. Pelham

        What I was trying to say is that a so-called absolutist interpretation of these amendments isn’t really absolutist at all. So it’s notable and hypocritical that characters like Wills (and others like him) describe a clear and frank reading of the 2nd Amendment as somehow extreme and “absolutist” but won’t do so when they offer similarly generous (and correct) interpretations of the other amendments.

        I’m fully aware of constitutional history, but some of us may need a little more instruction in syntax and grammar.

        Yes, there was no standing army in colonial times. The clear intent was to have a citizenry with full and complete access to arms forming a pool of men broadly familiar with them and ready to be called up for militia service as needed. However, the way the amendment is written, the clause dealing with that is not a qualifying but a descriptive clause. In other words, the founders were merely explaining why they were guaranteeing an unqualified right to bear arms for all — not just militia men.

        You could even make a less urgent but still valid argument today. It’s at least slightly helpful if someone joining one of our volunteer services has had some experience with firearms — though, of course, they’re no longer required to bring their own weapon to boot camp.

        Is that compelling enough to justify the 2nd Amendment now? Or are there other reasons to keep it in force? Or modify or discard it?
        Well, you could make a strong argument that the muzzleloaders of colonial times were radically different from today’s semi-automatic guns. They couldn’t be used individually in mass shootings, for instance, and enraged people who wished harm on others back then typically used clubs or blades. So if the founders were around today, they might weigh that in the balance and drop the right to keep and bear arms. That’s a fair argument — but it’s fair only in the context of a debate over whether to keep or discard the 2nd Amendment, not in a debate over what the amendment clearly says and guarantees.

        The founders wrote what they wrote. That should be the debate and the focus, not these endless, sneaky, condescending, two-faced, smarmy lectures, fables and polemics like Wills’ that try to wrench the 2nd Amendment into saying something that it just flat-out doesn’t.

        1. John Beech

          I’d like to see the press encumbered with an obligation to shoot straight. Like doctors have a Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, or like a fiduciary obligation for those providing financial advice.

          This way, ‘journalist’ like Rachel Maddow, Bill O’Reilly, et al wouldn’t be accorded the rights and respect of real journalist. Basically, those in the opinion business would be clearly branded as such.

          Basically, I pine for Sunday mornings where I could catch up on the events of the week and see civil discourse. Frankly, I cannot abide what has happened in recent years. Where, for example, Meet The Press is loaded with those who will shout their opinions. Ditto, all the other Sunday AM new shows I once enjoyed and now record and scan through in two to three minutes for something of potential interest.

          Now it’s all Trump is great from Fox and OAN, and Trump is garbage by the rest of the MSM (starting off with MSNBC, but including their masters like NBC plus the other two big ‘broadcasters’, plus cable heavyweights like CNN).

        2. Procopius

          My preference is to simply tax and license all semiautomatic weapons, including side arms. A high tax, along with the kind of background check used for people who want to license fully automatic weapons (machine guns). Incidentally, I think we ought to greatly increase the tax on those. I am not a hunter, but I was in the Army for twenty years and I have done some sport shooting at a civilian range, and I firmly believe that no one needs a semi-automatic rifle for hunting.

    3. Carolinian

      The Supreme Court, arbiter of that Constitution, has not interpreted the 2nd amendment as a prohibition on gun control. Therefore the Constitutional argument is a diversion that gun owners use to pretend they are defending the Founding Fathers while wrapped in the flag.

      The reality is that gun enthusiasts have a political power right to bear arms. It isn’t anything less vulgar than that.

      And of course repealing the 2nd amendment would take much greater effort than gun control legislation itself so that too is a diversion.

      1. Pelham

        The Supreme Court is a political institution that has issued all sorts of loopy decisions over the years. If you take these characters as a guide, you’d have to believe that George W. Bush was elected president in 2000 and that corporations are persons. The distinguished justices have also rather favored the practice of eugenics (Buck v. Bell).

        Yes, repeal of the 2nd Amendment might be hard. But I reject the idea that a high degree of difficulty necessarily constitutes a diversion. I also reject the notion that political power is necessarily vulgar.

        1. Carolinian

          Well to the extent that political power consists of bribing and intimidating legislators then it is rather vulgar. The gun lobby is considered the most powerful lobby in Washington–even more powerful than the Israel lobby according to some.

          And repeal is a diversion because if you have the votes to repeal then you have more than enough votes to control guns without repeal. You might as well just do that. On the Constitutionality the Court, whatever you may think of them, has spoken.

  19. Olga

    “People Are Homeless Because of the Failure of Our Capitalist Economy” Jacobin
    I started reading this, thinking that the headline is all wrong. Folks are not homeless because of a failure – on the contrary, many are homeless because capitalism has been a runaway success. Capitalism created a new class of people – one that owns all means of production or, increasingly, tech platforms that provide services. In that, it has succeeded spectacularly.
    I doubt capitalism was ever meant to benefit labour, since labour is just an input into the process of production – dispensable and interchangeable (more so as we head into the future).
    The problem with the headline is that it suggests that capitalism can be “corrected,” “un-failed,” or improved. It cannot. The essence of a capitalist is to seek ever more profit – correcting that (if it could even be done), would undo core principles of capitalism. (Ironically, capitalism with Chinese characteristics may have a different trajectory.)
    In the end, though, the author seems to agree – as expressed in this last paragraph:
    “My view is that people are homeless because of the complete and utter failure of our capitalist economy. Or maybe not failure. People are making money off of people being priced out and being denied services and eventually living on the street. Maybe it’s working exactly as it’s supposed to.”

    1. Wukchumni

      The only difference between Hooverville homeless encampments (jungles) of the early 1930’s and the ones I see now in L.A., was they didn’t have access to $30 made in China Coleman tents back then, so the ‘structures’ were made out of scrap wood & cardboard.

    2. Phacops

      One only needs to look at a tourism economy to see how capitalism with greedy actors leads to homelessness.

      Here in the areas around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, rental of homes in the short term provides more income in the summer than can be obtained through yearly rental to permanent residents. This greed has created enormous distortions in the housing market. Combine this with low wages, frequently tamped down by use of J1 and H2b visas, and not only are people with minimum skills but a good work ethic marginalized, they are put under extreme economic stress. The result is that 43% of households in my county do not earn enough to afford the necessities of life. This has also created the situation where the majority of school children requires food assistance and have no permament address. Frequently, such families camp out during the summer and huddle with multiple families in a single house during the cold months.

      We have become such a cruel society up here in N. Michigan that the state of one’s teeth is a class marker. Meanwhile the profits of tourism go to a 1% while the remainder of us are left to cope with the externalities of crowded and worn infrastructure. I’m getting to detest tourists and second home owners as supporting a homelessness that they are blind to.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Democracy Dies From Bad Fact-Checking”: ‘The Washington Post is feeding into Trump’s agenda by turning fact-checking into an ideological weapon.’

    It seems so strange to see the words the ‘Washington Post’ and ‘fact-checking’ in the same sentence what with their history. After all, it was Jimmy Dore that suggested that the WaPo’s motto of “Democracy Dies in Darkness” is more a mission statement than anything else. I wonder if anybody at WaPo remembers the time that they waited until everybody had gone away for Thansgiving and then put out a front page story on an anonymous site called PropOrNot that stated that sites like Zero Hedge, the Ron Paul Institute, Black Agenda Report, Truthout, Truthdig,, CounterPunch and, wait for it, Naked Capitalism were nothing but fronts for Russian propaganda. And that is how a major newspaper set on fire 139 years of respected reporting and threw it into the air-

    1. montanamaven

      Very sneaky of them to use getting your facts straight as a weapon. I guess you have to say things like “roughly a half million people will go bankrupt from medical bills and the ramifications of illness like losing your job”. Or put a qualifier at the start of your speech. “Opponents of affordable health care will nitpick what I say and the statistics I use, but they can’t deny the overall urgency of figuring out what to do about the ludicrously expensive sick care we have.”

  21. Wukchumni

    These Incidents Raise New Questions about the Security & Operability of the Banking System in Mexico Wolf Street
    Mexican immigrants really only started to pour into the USA in the midst & aftermath of a 15 year battle with hyperinflation which saw the Peso go from 12.5 to the $, to 3,300 to the $, before the Nuevo Peso (1,000 Pesos = 1 Nuevo Peso) came along in the early 90’s.

    It pretty much wiped out what middle class Mexico had.

    Lets say you had 100,000 Pesos in the bank in 1977, that was equivalent to U.S. $8,000

    The same amount was worth U.S. $30 in the early 90’s, ouch.

    This current situation if it continues, could have the same effect, albeit in a different scope.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Indian rupee launched in 1948 at 1:1 with the USD, today at about $0.01.

      They circle each other, these debt-based bank currencies. One gets an advantage and eats the others. Then the one goes belly up itself when the issuer can’t help but overextend borrowing too much.

      Then reset. Happens on average every 43 years (average lifespan of a debt based bank currency).

  22. The Rev Kev

    Kudos, by the way, for whoever found that brilliant Twitter account “Military Giant Cats” that was in yesterday’s Links-

    Gawd, that is absolutely hilarious that!

    1. polecat

      I read the articls in it’s entirety, and woe to Zeus, what a rabbit hole the Israeli security state hath woven … through a motley $pider’s web of elite scumbaggery !

  23. Synoia

    The World War I Battle That Changed the World Forever

    Ignoring the double and triple alliances that set the political stage for WW I, as Bernard Shaw documented in his autobiography.

    Why is it that root cause analysis is so poorly practised?

    1. JBird4049

      Because the root causes of most things are complex and often puts the blame or the glory on many rather than the few.

      The various alliances of prewar Europe, plus the abilities of the general political class compared to the giants of the 19th century, and the fact that most of the leadership of all the polities were on summer vacation and mostly out of touch anyways leaving the leftovers in charge, and finally the almost automatic actions planned at the possible beginning of a conflict were very difficult to stop and using a tripwire to start.

      Restated, it took only one state declaring war to trigger everything; five empires and assorted states had the ability to start a general war because of these alliances: the less capable, even incompetent leadership was running all of Europe during the mass summer vacation: starting a war was very, very easy, while ending it was very, very difficult because nobody had made any detailed plans on how to stop, or even slowdown, forget about reversing the deployment of the military which required having some trust anyways of the other side.

      Saying all this makes calling the war as a fight against evil silly because what I just wrote was general knowledge and predicted by some before 1914. Someway to slow or stop the automatic deployment of troops if a mistake had been made was probably possible, but I have yet to read of anyone of importance suggesting this.

      1. LifelongLib

        According to “The Sleepwalkers” (which IIRC was discussed on NC) the mobilization plans were so complex that any attempt to stop or change them once they were started would have left the transportation systems in a hopeless tangle and the respective countries militarily paralyzed. Nobody was willing to risk that.

        1. LifelongLib

          FWIW the writer (Christopher Clark) has a rather favorable view of Austro-Hungary and believes that by the mores of the time it had a right to take military action against Serbia (an action which was greenlighted by Germany). He blames the Russian mobilization in response to this (which included mobilization against Germany as well, which had not yet mobilized) for starting the war.

    2. Procopius

      I haven’t read Shaw’s autobiography, and I’m afraid I’m unlikely to get around to it, but a really great description and analysis of the many treaties and alliances is in Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August. She also includes the Battle of the Marne, along with a description of the strategic thinking of the French High Command. I’ve been trying to get into The Sleepwalkers, by Christopher Clark, but keep getting diverted. He does give a really good description of the development of the situation in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the Balkans, especially Serbia, but he’s just not as good a writer as Tuchman.

  24. Synoia

    One Very Bad Habit Is Fuelling the Global Recycling Meltdown…

    When I moved to the US, I read that US consumers generated e bags of garbage for every 4 bags of groceries they bought.

    So I tested the assertion. It was correct, except that the 3 bags of garbage were also bought to package the groceries.

    The root cause of the continuing garbage generation, and crisis, is branding and packaging – an integral part of US retailing and “adding value” through branding.

    Packaging wrapping packaging wrapping packaging ad nauseam. The problem is not the consumer, it is the PRODUCERS, the manufacturers and large retailers.

    Why am I expected to be expert is what is and is not recyclable when I’m forced to buy the packaging which I did not want to buy?

    1. Duck1

      Recycling should be like cigarette packaging, the producer should have to print in large bold letters across anything “Warning not recylable” destined for the trash stream.
      Recycling should be prominently labeled for maybe 4 waste streams: “Recycle waste #1 bin”, etc.
      Regulations should be nation wide.
      There should be a real in nation operation for recyling mainly funded by producers and consumers.

  25. notabanktoadie

    and that must necessarily include taking control of automation technologies. from Universal Basic Income + Automation + Plutocracy = Dystopia

    Rather, let us recognize that automation is, and has been for centuries, financed with what is, in essence, because of government privilege for depository institutions, the PUBLIC’S CREDIT but for PRIVATE GAIN.

    So what is called for is not neo-Luditism, but reform of the finance system according to ethical principles and restitution for its victims.

    Reform might easily include replacing all fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending with a Citizen’s Dividend equally to all citizens.

    Restitution should include asset redistribution since what is, in essence, the public’s credit has been misused to finance private gain.

    1. montanamaven

      I’m rereading Morris Berman’s “Why America Failed.” In the chapter titled “The Illusion of Progress”, Berman chronicles small group of Americans who railed against the religion of progress for over a hundred years. Thoreau, Mario Savio, Edgar Allan Poe, Hawthorne, Lewis Mumford, the landscape painter Thomas Cole, Marshall McLuhan, Wendell Berry all decried the manifest destiny and odes to the machine. But they were considered cranks or eccentrics. Anthropologist, Robert Redfield labeled it “moral vs. the technical order”, asserting that in traditional or folk societies meaning was given whereas in modern ones it had to be constructed.” In a moral order there is a sense of belonging. In a technical order people feel lost. We have made great progress in the technical order but not much in the moral order.

        1. Montanamaven

          Yes, Christopher Lasch! “The Culture of Narcissism” and The Revolt of the Elite. They are on my list of essential books for low information liberals. Berman mentions Lasch as an advisor to Jimmy Carter which I did not know. Add Dimitry Orlov to the bunch of Debbie Downers.

          1. Wukchumni

            Orlov reminds me of a dog chasing a car that’s never going to stop, despite the car always outdistancing him.

            One of these days, said car will run out of gas, and he can lick the bumper & wag his tail, not necessarily in that order.

    2. Procopius

      Dean Baker points out frequently at Beat the Press (cepr dot net/blogs/beat-the-press/) that the automation so many MSM stories whine about has not happened. The evidence is obvious: if jobs were being lost to robots, then productivity would be growing much faster than it is, because more stuff would be produced by fewer workers. That is not happening.

  26. dcblogger

    DC zeitgeist watch, Prepper Magazine seen in the checkout line at the Harris Teeter at the Potomac Ave Metro Station (the east end of Capitol Hill for those unfamiliar with DC). So apparently there is a market for that among DC’s elite. So, anyone else here from Greater Washington? Is Prepper Magazine on display at checkout in Chevy Chase? Georgetown? Potomac Palisades? McClean? Great Falls?

    1. Off The Street

      Oppo research, maintaining appearances, coffee table signifiers? Cross-indexing those magazine readers with second, or more, home owners would be informative, scary and a few other things.

      Of course, execution of preparations comes with numerous risks like trying to crowd through the exits all at once. It is bad enough getting out of DC on a rainy afternoon, let alone accompanied by impatient paranoids being chased by angry mobs. Say, does Lyft even go in that direction?

    2. Wukchumni

      We have a supermarket chain called WinCo that’s kind of prepper happy, the owners being Mormons, I think.

      A few months ago right by the checkout they had Mountain House freeze-dried entrees, kind of in the location you’d expect to find People magazine. In the back of the store they’ve got 50 pound bags of beans and the like, #10 size cans of long term storage foodstuffs, etc.

    1. Lambert Strether

      This is from August 17, so I’m not sure what value you’re adding by posting it now. A protest that can get millions people into the streets, multiple times… Even if it’s “made for TV” (dubious) that’s surely not it’s most important or interesting characteristic. To put this another way, is being media savvy a bad thing, if you want to run a successful protest?

  27. Wukchumni

    A very timely re-reading of Barbara Tuchman’s March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, with a special emphasis on the latter.

    We can’t finish the debacle in the ‘stan box, because a GI Joe got killed, is right up there with LBJ’s best & brightest refusing to negotiate with the North Vietnamese unless it was on our terms.

    1. VietnamVet

      The news is getting rather grating lately. A commenter tonight said the death of one soldier didn’t matter since fourteen had been killed already. There was another reason for canceling the Presidential meeting with the Taliban. Then Congressman Cheney and Senator Klobuchar piled on. Oh, the horror, meeting with Terrorists at Camp David. The 18-year-old war will continue until it peters out; some NATO personnel flying out safety at the the end, the rest expendable. Living in Kabul is Russian Roulette. The problem is that this is true of the whole world thanks to Joe Biden’s helping hand flying off to Kiev to restart the Cold War in 2014 and Donald Trump’s abrogating the nuclear arms treaties.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Let’s call “the meeting with the Taliban” what it actually is: negotiating the terms of the U.S. surrender.

        The terms currently include the U.S. releasing 13,000 Taliban prisoners.

        We paid a cool trillion and our puppet Kabul government is not even invited to the talks.

  28. Savita

    For PlutoniumKun, a comment you made about Americans having a hypenated nationality eg, Afircan-American, Italian-American. You reminded me exactly of a post made by an Irish language teacher, it was in fact posted here on NC a couple of years ago. All the things he, as a ‘global ‘ European, finds so frustrating about the US. Number 9. ‘Heritage’ speaks exactly to this point

    17 Cultural Clashes this European had in the US by Benny Lewis.

    Our Rev Kev is a bit of an honorary USerican I suspect, not just his detailed knowledge of obscure US facts but even uses your lingo!

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