Links 10/13/19

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This record-breaking pumpkin is heavier than a small car and big enough to fit inside CNN

Some corals ‘killed’ by climate change are now returning to life New Scientist

Global economy is at risk from a monetary policy black hole Larry Summers, FT

Wall Street paid big fees from public funds — and takes more in secret profits Philadelphia Inquirer. From September, still germane.

Private equity firms go small after string of big deals collapse FT

Brexit

Brexit party voters will decide Boris Johnson’s fate Spectator

IS SUMMIT GOING ON? Boris Johnson talks DUP into major climbdown sparking negotiations for last minute Brexit deal The Sun. But see–

Dodds warns mooted Brexit compromise ‘cannot work’ RTE. Dodds is Deputy leader of the DUP.

Brexit: a future so opaque EU Referendum

John Hume on the end of the Unionist veto in Ulster LRB. From 1989, still germane.

Syraqistan

Betraying the Kurds Yasha Levine

American Exceptionalism And The Myth Of Abandoned Victory LobeLog

India

Realty bites: Indian property slump leaves beleaguered banks exposed Reuters

Modi, Xi inject new momentum in India-China ties, decide to set up new mechanism for boosting trade Times of India

Falling: Love and Marriage in a Conservative Indian Family Long Reads

‘This is the darkest period of our life’ People’s Archive of Rural India

Japan sends in thousands of troops after massive typhoon hammers Tokyo Reuters

China

What China’s May 4th Movement can tell us about Hong Kong protests: listen to the people Hong Kong Free Press

Clock ticking on Hong Kong luxury store closures if protests continue – it could end up like a third-tier city in China, LVMH executive says SCMP

* * *

Trump said he made the ‘biggest deal ever’ with China for farmers, but a written resolution to the trade war is still a long way off Business Insider

China makes few concessions in trade truce with US FT

‘Phase 1’ of US-China deal was easy, now comes the hard part Nikkei Asian Review

Apple Told Some Apple TV+ Show Developers Not To Anger China Buzzfeed

Army deployed in Ecuador as protests descend into violence Guardian

Explainer: What’s behind Haiti’s deadly protests, and possible outcomes Reuters

Peru’s Leader More Popular Than Ever After Shutting Congress Bloomberg

20 ways Lawfare led to Brazil’s State of Exception Brasil Wire

New Cold War

Ukrainians Are More Concerned With Russia Peace Talks Than Trump Call NPR

Everything on Display Russian in Global Affairs. “The White House’s decision to release the transcript of the telephone conversation the U.S. and Ukrainian presidents held in September 2019, albeit with the former’s consent, creates a precedent with far-reaching consequences.”

Impeachment

Is Impeachment Now Inevitable? Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

What Happened in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry This Week NYT

The Cipollone Letter: Trouble in the White House Counsel’s Office LawFare

Adam Schiff has 2 aides who worked with whistleblower at White House Washington Examiner

The Impeachment Loophole No One’s Talking About Washingtonian

2020

What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To? NYT. An especially crude hit piece.

A Few Informed Thoughts From a Veteran Cardio Rehab Nurse on Bernie’s Heart Attack Common Dreams

Ukrainian Oligarch Victor Pinchuk Is Putting His Money On Joe Biden For President At $40,000 Per Month – That’s $3,000 More Per Month Than Burisma Was Paying Hunter Biden Dances With Bears

Calling All Class Traitors Medium

Groves of Academe

Rotten STEM: How Technology Corrupts Education American Affairs

Confession: I fixed my kids’ admission into top colleges Greg Palast, Tikkun

Our Famously Free Press

Digital First Media Outsources Design Abroad for Higher Profits The Intercept. There’s nothing “creative” about this destruction.

MSNBC and Daily Beast Feature UAE Lobbyist David Rothkopf With No Disclosure: a Scandalous Media-Wide Practice The Intercept

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Bill Gates Met With Jeffrey Epstein Many Times, Despite His Past NYT. “Two members of Mr. Gates’s inner circle — Boris Nikolic and Melanie Walker — were close to Mr. Epstein and at times functioned as intermediaries between the two men.” Nothing to see here!

Dennis Muilenburg stripped of Boeing chairmanship FT. About time.

Class Warfare

Treated Like Meat: Women in Meatpacking Say #MeToo In These Times

‘I Have Rights:’ How Undocumented Laborers Are Exploited During Disaster Recovery Gizmodo

‘I don’t think they know we exist’ WaPo

Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans collapse: What we know, don’t know day after tragedy Times-Picayune. Here in the First World, buildings under construction aren’t supposed to just collapse.

Out of Time Lapham’s Quarterly

Antidote du jour (via):

From the United States Department of the Interior: “Holly takes the salmon cake and is the fabulous champion of #FatBearWeek!”

Bonus antidote:

Who do you identify with?

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

292 comments

  1. BigAg F1?

    The giant pumpkins – is competition some sort of Formula 1 for BigAg? Are the pumpkins chemobiological monsters pumped up with the latest carcinogenic stuff stuff from our lovely agrochemical friends?

    Reply
    1. inode_buddha

      Had a neighbor that taught bio at the local university, he grows them. Sort answer is nope, there is a certain breed of pumpkin, and you prune the vine in a certain way, and the old timers used to feed them milk. He routinely gets 900-pounders. Course you need to have good soil.

      Reply
  2. s.n.

    the Times on Gates & Epstein (via Gizmodo):

    At one point in 2011, Gates wrote in an email that Epstein’s “lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me,” …
    …The spokesperson also said the email Gates wrote was, of course, only “referring only to the unique décor of the Epstein residence.”

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      “the unique décor” — meaning the young girls festooning the manse, ready and (after sufficient drugging and ‘training’) willing to be dragged into any nearby bedroom by one of the visiting VVIPs? I’m picturing the mansion as a kind of giant vending machine for teen hookers. Indeed, a rather unique décor, that.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        A few years ago, it was acknowledged in the press that there are (were?) at a minimum hundreds of underage girls (and boys) working the streets in every American city. Most of the people who are terribly outraged by Epstein weren’t outraged enough by that revelation to actually do anything that actually solved the problem (usually abusive home environments). This is not a new problem, and Epstein evidently did not have a “dead man’s switch.” The case is over, he did not leave incriminating evidence behind. The calls for further “investigation” and prosecution are window dressing.

        Reply
        1. Stephen Gardner

          Correction: he didn’t leave any incriminating evidence that wasn’t found by the authorities and either destroyed or repurposed.

          Reply
  3. Robert McGregor

    “Bill Gates Met With Jeffrey Epstein Many Times, Despite His Past “

    Every celebrity who intermingled with Epstein (Gates, Nikolic, Trump, Clinton etc.) are falling over each other to disavow they were ever friends with him. I don’t know why they don’t admit that hey, they liked the benefits Epstein offered (networking, celebrity, money, girls), and didn’t realize the extent of his criminality. Epstein as “a case” is interesting on many levels, and they shouldn’t be so conformist and scared for their reputations that they need to lie that they weren’t intertwined with him in a big way.

    Reply
    1. Jack

      “they shouldn’t be so conformist and scared for their reputations”
      A bunch of them should be in jail but I’m sure the current administration isn’t going to turn the DOJ loose and investigate anyone.

      Reply
      1. Charger01

        The recent example of Harvey Weinstein cones to mind as well. He was a profilic political donor and cultivated relationships with elites.

        Reply
    2. rattlemullet

      His criminality was well known to all who intermingled with him. He was an elitist pimp and they were his clients for under age girls. Also you forgot to mention Dershowitz perhaps the worst of the worst. They were and are sexual predators paying no consequences for their action.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Dershowitz might rack up the most criminal accounts, but he wasn’t protecting Epstein all these years. And unlike the others, Dersh wouldn’t have an array of escorts. Bill was reported to have shaken his Secret Service detail to fly the friendly skies. There are plenty of people out there who know about Epstein’s clientele.

        Reply
        1. Suzie Alcatrez

          How do you know that about Dershowitz??

          His quotes on sex with underage girls are peculiar to say the least and his vehement defense of Epstein’s ‘associates’ curious.

          And why has he not been on FoxNews since the death of Epstein? Is he banned from the network?

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            I especially liked his claim that he could not have had sex with the girl giving him a massage because he never took his underpants off. Sounds like what some high school kids believe.

            Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      Had a rather disturbing thought about Epstein the other day. I believe in spy-craft it is said that if you catch a major spy or one defects, then you can assume that there is still a major one in place. Now putting this idea to the side for the moment, I think that we can agree that the wealthy can afford a range of personal services such as personal trainers, masseurs and also if desired high quality call-girls/gigolos as well. Fair enough.
      But there must be a sub-set of wealthy/powerful people that want services that are actually illegal such as underage girls for which they seek the venues to have their wants fulfilled. Jersey’s House of Horrors comes to mind here. So supposing that Epstein specialized in providing this underage girl “service” to wealthy/powerful clients on both sides of the Atlantic, would not then be the inference that there is another “Epstein” that does the same for underage boys? Someone we have not heard about yet?

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        Yep.

        Whitney Webb recently wrote a series for Mintpress about the use of sexual blackmail by intelligence services. She covers it.

        Reply
        1. Craig H.

          Her last post had a guy on the record saying Epstein is Mossad. I forget his name but he is an Israeli national.

          Of course the source is a spy, i.e. professional liar, so it is a view into a house of mirrors. Congress could subpoena Acosta and put him under oath and ask him who told him to back off but the chances of that seem nil at this point.

          Reply
          1. JohnnyGL

            His top assistant, Ghislane Maxwell, had a dad who was supposedly tied in with Mossad pretty heavily, too.

            There’s more than a few Mossad links to be found.

            Reply
          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            In our age we’re controlled by unexaminable rumors by unknown spies while the most detailed actual facts about our own personal lives is collected and shared and monetized by all.

            Panopticon for us, Hall of Mirrors for them. Now that the CIA is selecting our president and reporting our news and FaceGoogle is telling us what we’re allowed to think and say it seems we’re all just supposed to curl up and die.

            Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          I actually thought about them but they are not an organization that you find mixing with the jet set. Crimes of this nature for them are more local affairs.

          Reply
    4. dcblogger

      I can only imagine the desperate activity on behalf of assorted lawyers, PR fixers and the like to disappear every photo of their client with Epstein.

      Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      still wish Wallace would have been president after FDR instead of Truman (’44 convention was some weapons-grade BS), but the Kansas City gangster was right about the spooks

      Reply
      1. Olga

        It was published only in one edition of Wapo, exactly one month after JFK’s assassination, and never appeared again. After he left office, Truman stayed out of any limelight; this was his one public statement. The editorial is damning, as he figured out exactly what was what.
        RE MT’s article – it should be clear to all that since early 2017, we’ve been living in a slow motion coup d’etat. The only thing missing is angry housewives, banging pots and pans in the streets.

        Reply
    2. marcyincny

      My thoughts ran to events some ten years later and the Church committee. The national amnesia of Americans never fails to disappoint…

      Reply
      1. Carey

        Does the blame belong fully on the citizenry, or are there some other quite concentrated entities who might benefit from an induced social-cultural amnesia?

        Reply
    3. Mike

      Uh-huh. And did Truman realize that the agency he helped create had convoluted oversight built into its activities? Did he realize that “laws” and “regulations” have to be enforced? What was the mechanism of that enforcement? How much was the public allowed scrutiny of its actions, to serve as a buffer against transgression? How much “secret” was “hide it from the investigators”?

      Harry was an uninformed Vice-President at the time he took the helm after FDR’s death. Only there to appease the corrupt wing of the Dem’s who wanted a dangerous VP out and their cash funnel in, he had a steep learning curve ahead, and often turned a blind eye to that which was inconvenient or too much for his inexperienced brain. The OSS and its ties to the Mafia, the dance FDR did between corporations and unions before and during WW2 – all was strange turf that he learned – unfortunately, AFTER he was out of office.

      Wait – this sounds awfully familiar.

      Reply
      1. Montanamaven

        Melvin Goodman wrote “Failure of Intelligence: Decline and Fall of the CIA”. He was making the same argument that Truman was alluding to. He was a CIA analyst. He felt the failures were in the “operational” wing not with the analysts. The spooks were the problem. Just before Melvin’s book came out in 2008, Tim Weiner wrote “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” published in 2007. Weiner sifted through over 50,000 documents that had recently been released. Weiner’s history made the CIA look like a bunch of really incompetent elitist spies who didn’t predict the Korean War nor the Fall of the Soviet Union and a lot in between. Fancy pants guys from the Ivy League were the first recruits. Of course, the CIA strenuously objected to Weiner’s book.

        Reply
        1. Mike

          Read both of them, and find the books are but photographs of a moving story line. The OSS was indeed a bunch of Ivy adventurers seeking excitement when spying was imagined as Mata Hari stuff. Having been put on a professional basis in 1946, and having the luxury of coupling with the Mafia to “free” Italy, of course the agency was not about to let that cat out of the bag-man’s maw without a fight. These experiences, and the loopholes within the regulation sphere, drove much of what they did under the table, to come out when the assassination of Diem in Vietnam plus Operation Mockingbird hit the public, and the LSD experiments were exposed. None of this, books included, has had any affect upon their ongoing activities except to drive it and their funding further underground. Remember Gary Webb?

          Reply
        2. xkeyscored

          the CIA look like a bunch of really incompetent elitist spies who didn’t predict the Korean War nor the Fall of the Soviet Union and a lot in between.
          Do presidents and their administrations see the CIA primarily as a source of intelligence? I doubt it, and I certainly don’t. I see their primary product as coups, assassinations, destabilisation, arms trafficking and the like, which they seem quite adept at. The outcomes may be atrocious, but that may be the intention.

          Reply
          1. Lord Koos

            The CIA is simply a covert task force that serves western corporate interests, the same interests that control US policy foreign and domestic.

            Reply
          2. mpalomar

            I’m not sure but my impression is policy makers would of course require good information. There are analysts who apparently do or once upon a time did honest work required for policy formation.

            Then there are the others including the dark operations side which Truman was finally hipped to as dangerous and out of control; presumably the dime dropped shortly after the JFK assasination.

            The Presidents Daily Brief (PDB) is put together by the intelligence agencies.Ray Mcgovern of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) has talked about participating in this during either the Nixon, Carter or Reagan administration (can’t remember which) and how the PDBs can become politicized and weaponized. He mentions a younger Bill Casey as willing to fix intelligence, (stove piping etc) to fit the policy aims of factions within the foreign policy establishment .and of course he rose to the top of the agency.

            If it is true that Kennedy said he wanted to break up the CIA, retain the information end and jettison the rest, he curiously didn’t live long enough. It still needs to happen but it is an indication of how entrenched and sure of themselves characters like Brennan and Clapper are that they’re sloppy enough to not even sufficiently cover their tracks, which are apparently all over the Russia collusion fiasco.

            Reply
          3. Procopius

            There has always been a division between the “Intelligence” and “Operations” parts of the CIA. The Operations part is what brings the money in. Back in the ’60s I was told that the analysts referred to the operations guys as “knuckle-draggers” because they tend to be more physical. Certainly the knuckle-draggers have been in the ascendancy since 9/11.

            Reply
  4. Mark K

    Re: “What is Tulsi Gabbard up to?”

    I thought that today’s selection in Poem of the Day — a daily email service from the Academy of American Poets — was a particularly appropriate lens through which to view the Times’ “article” about Gabbard.

    Editor Whedon, by Edgar Lee Masters (from Spoon River Anthology)

    To be able to see every side of every question;
    To be on every side, to be everything, to be nothing long;
    To pervert truth, to ride it for a purpose,
    To use great feelings and passions of the human family
    For base designs, for cunning ends,
    To wear a mask like the Greek actors—
    Your eight-page paper—behind which you huddle,
    Bawling through the megaphone of big type:
    “This is I, the giant.”
    Thereby also living the life of a sneak-thief,
    Poisoned with the anonymous words
    Of your clandestine soul.
    To scratch dirt over scandal for money,
    And exhume it to the winds for revenge,
    Or to sell papers,
    Crushing reputations, or bodies, if need be,
    To win at any cost, save your own life.
    To glory in demoniac power, ditching civilization,
    As a paranoiac boy puts a log on the track
    And derails the express train.
    To be an editor, as I was.
    Then to lie here close by the river over the place
    Where the sewage flows from the village,
    And the empty cans and garbage are dumped,
    And abortions are hidden.

    Reply
    1. Eclair

      Mark K, wow! Masters is the lens, as are all great poets, concentrating the disdain and anger we feel towards those who use power for ignominious ends. Thank you.

      Reply
    2. DJG

      + + + Edgar Lee Masters, who updated the Greek Anthology to U.S. necessities. I wish that he weren’t half-forgotten–even here in Chicago, where lived for so many years. He has been a major influence on me as a writer, and I will also point out that his sensibility is still very much alive here in the Great Lakes States.

      Reply
    3. Plenue

      Rather than whining when journalists dig up dirt on someone, how about that person not have dirt in the first place?

      While most of that article is a crude hit job, the connection Gabbard has to Indian Hindutva fascists is extremely ugly. They’ve donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to her campaigns. It goes far beyond mere PR stunts with Indian politicians that she’s ‘obliged’ to do because of her background (she has no such obligation by the way. She’s not Indian; she’s just a practitioner of the Hindu religion. I’m also pretty sure that the Hindu nationalists she hangs out with would reject her as ethnically impure if she weren’t politically useful). It’s all in her FEC filings.

      There’s currently a lot of hand-wringing among Gabbard supporters about this ‘smear piece’ article: https://caravanmagazine.in/politics/american-sangh-affair-tulsi-gabbard which I’m guessing few of them have bothered to actually read. It’s real journalism. Jimmy Dore recently had Ro Khanna on his show, where Khanna put on a very poor show of being a weaselly politician. But one of the things he had to ‘answer for’ was drawing attention to the article. The timing of when he did it (right after a debate) was clearly calculated, but that doesn’t make the information in the article invalid.

      She’s also okay with drone strikes: https://theintercept.com/2018/01/20/tulsi-gabbard-syria-isis-al-qaeda/ and is a Zionist, complete with fear-mongering about Iran and its non-existence nuclear weapons program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxXcUNct18Q

      I’ve donated to Gabbard (I’m sure you won’t believe me) on the grounds that we need even a compromised anti-war voice in the debates. But I was never enthusiastic about her, and have become even less so with time.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’m becoming a single-issue voter, kind of like the anti-abortion crowd.

        I happen to think that stopping The War gives us the scope and the resources to solve everything else.

        There is precisely *one* (1) candidate who takes this view. (Put Bernie and Israel and Russia and Syria and drone strikes under a microscope sometime and see what you see). Tulsi is to anti-war what Bernie is to working class interests, and neither is perfect. I happen to think the former is the route to solving the latter so it’s Tulsi for me all the way.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          I have little confidence in any politician- Sanders being the walk-the-walk exception- but Gabbard is at least saying the unsayable
          about USA USA’s Perma-Wars. Is she more controlled oppo?
          Seems likely, but I’m glad for her words, at least.

          Reply
  5. MK

    Here’s another impeachment loophole.

    Trump is removed by the Senate, but continues to campaign and is ultimately re-elected in November 2020, taking back office from president Pence.

    Reply
    1. marym

      US Constitution Article 1 Section 3

      Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

      Reply
        1. marym

          After reading your comment and looking around a little more, I found a few references saying the conviction and the consequences would be separate votes. The precedent is from the removal of 2 judges, with the disqualification from future office only needing a simple majority.

          The Senate claims that it may impose these sanctions by separate votes: (1) removal, involving the ouster of an official from the office he occupies at the time of his impeachment trial, and (2) disqualification barring the person from ever serving again in the federal government. In 1862 and 1913, the Senate took separate votes to remove and disqualify judges West Humphreys and Robert Archbald, respectively. For each judge, a supermajority first voted to convict followed by a simple majority vote to disqualify.

          https://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/1/essays/18/punishment-for-impeachment

          Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      I have another idea. All the Democratic Senators could go hide in the basement at the end of a day’s session. Then, when it was two in the morning and all the cleaners have gone home, they could come up out of the basement and go into the Senate Chamber to convene a new session. They could then pass two measures. The first would be the impeachment of Donald Trump. The second would be that this could not be reversed. They could all then fly home on their magical sparkly ponies. The worse thing that you could say about this idea is that it is by no means any worse than what the DNC is coming out with at the moment.

      Reply
      1. notabanker

        Oh, I like this. They could invite Greg Palast to cover it and he can write about how this system really sucks and this is all wrong to do what they are doing but it’s all by the rules and he agreed to cover it out of love for his kids and fellow man, or perhaps it’s his white privilege, or maybe a fat paycheck from the NYT because film school bills are expensive ya know. And when there is an uproar from the people that voted for Trump, the ones whose jobs have been sent overseas and healthcare is bankrupting them, they call all join his rabbi’s “Revolutionary Love” movement to change the world one person at a time, evidently starting with Felicity Huffman.

        Reply
        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Don’t forget dyslexia. The kind that only a PUBLICLY financed $50,000 a year elite private school can resolve. I mean, what’s a social crusader daddy to do?????

          I wonder if Palast has ever use the word “looting” in any of his articles?

          Reply
          1. John Wright

            Per the article, Palast has a best selling book “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy”.

            Maybe he will have a similar follow on best seller, “The Best Education Money (and connections) can Buy”.

            And to make the book easier to write, he has some relevant personal background material that can assist with the initial book outline.

            Reply
        2. kiwi

          I can’t tell if you are serious or not.

          ” And when there is an uproar from the people that voted for Trump, the ones whose jobs have been sent overseas and healthcare is bankrupting them,…”

          The jobs were sent overseas well before Trump took office. It started in the ’80s (as in the 1980s). Healthcare was bankrupting the citizenry well before Trump took office. Michael Moore’s movie, Sicko, came out in 2007 to report on healthcare problems which had been happening well before the movie came out.

          The ’80s and 2007 are well before 2017, the year Trump took office.

          Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Fun story: what the cabal of banks wanted in the creation of The “Federal” “Reserve” was the right to regulate themselves. This was their BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). They were absolutely flabbergasted when they also got the right to create and issue the money, it says right in The Constitution that’s against the law so you can’t blame them for not expecting to get it. Who knew they would let them replace the sovereign currency with one created by private commercial banks? Hilarity of course ensued.

          Not many people know we got along pretty well without a central bank until 1913. There were plenty of banking crises, but they had one key difference from the crises today: they ended.

          Reply
          1. Hamford

            Boom!

            As awesome as MMT is, I don’t know how it can work in this system where money is created by a quasi-governmental (ahem banking cartel) organization. This cartel will always hold the currency power unless the congress / treasury can reinstate pre-1913 conditions. (And why would they, with Goldman Sachs alum running the show every time?)

            Time to start minting some Trillion Dollar Platinum Coins- courtesy of the U.S. Treasury!

            Reply
              1. Hamford

                Indeed. You think the Fed will continue to “lend” money to the treasury without fuss or conflagration for stuff that provides stability to the population, and subsequently decreases the rentier class’s proceeds?

                Reply
      2. Hepativore

        Even if Trump were actually impeached, I have yet to hear about what congressional Democrats would hypothetically do with a Pence presidency, as he would arguably be worse than Trump. As a metaphor, it would have been like removing W. Bush from office and handing the presidency to Dick Cheney.

        As bad as Trump is, he is too scatterbrained and incompetent to follow through with or enact half of his ideas. Pence on the other hand would be more dangerous simply because of his focus and his ability to plan ahead. However, the DNC and the intelligence community might actually want somebody like Pence because of the fact that they might think that he is more controllable than Trump. Also they might think he is less likely to continue this crazy talk about troop withdrawals in some of our endless wars.

        Reply
        1. Montanamaven

          “However, the DNC and the intelligence community might actually want somebody like Pence because of the fact that they might think that he is more controllable than Trump. Also they might think he is less likely to continue this crazy talk about troop withdrawals in some of our endless wars.”

          That’s my guess.
          Weren’t TPTB during Nixon’s 2nd term annoyed with him about not getting behind Milton Friedman’s Neo Liberal shock doctrine ? I thought I read this somewhere and had something to do with Nixon’s wage and price freezes? So they got rid of him. Can somebody speak to this?

          Reply
          1. anon in so cal

            Pence is an anti-Russia NeoCon.

            Dems would welcome him:

            “a President Pence would likely break sharply with the America First program. Pence’s entire record, particularly in the realm of foreign policy, is of a hawk. A Pence administration would represent a resurrection of the neoconservative wing of the GOP. Pence would be inclined to pursue an even harder line against Iran, North Korea and China, while dumping overboard as useless ballast Trump’s protectionist trade policies…..

            ….“It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life. You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen. Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of you will join the fight on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific, where North Korea continues to threaten the peace, and an increasingly militarized China challenges our presence in the region. Some of you will join the fight in Europe, where an aggressive Russia seeks to redraw international boundaries by force. And some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere…..”

            https://nationalinterest.org/feature/if-mike-pence-becomes-president-neocons-will-stage-comeback-84526

            Reply
  6. KLG

    Great piece by Greg Palast, a hell raiser and an honest man. The fact of White Privilege is indisputable, but I have always made the point to others that it is at its vilest potentcy in the Case of George W. Bush. Thank you, Mr. Palast, for confirming my argument. Incidentally, Shrub did get into Harvard, but only after the University of Texas (Law School?) turned him down IIRC. Hook ’em ‘Horns!

    Also, too, I am one class traitor who is all-in for Bernie, and Naked Capitalism (yes, I did increase my monthly subscription by 33%). Working class, first generation college student who has done well enough in my first choice of academia, but I’m most comfortable with the “staff.” The problem with too many of my colleagues is they have never had to work for a living, so as not to starve while living on the street. This shows, every day.

    Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      The increased commodification of education necessarily means that those who go on to be the next generation of professors will overwhelmingly come from the moneyed class.

      They will bring their class biases with them.

      To the rulers, this is a feature, not a bug.

      Reply
    2. xkeyscored

      The problem with too many of my colleagues is they have never had to work for a living, so as not to starve while living on the street. This shows, every day.
      Exactly. The ‘Professional-Managerial Class’ typically have absolutely no idea what it’s like to be poor or working class. This shows, regardless of their sincerity or good intentions, or lack thereof.

      Reply
    3. June Goodwin

      Uh, go ahead: Max Out for Bernie. It’s a bit frustrating though because then you can’t give more every time things get worse. (until he’s the nominee).

      Reply
    4. LifelongLib

      Well, first he labels it “White Privilege”, then concedes that most actual white people don’t have it and that it mainly stems from money and understanding how to manipulate the system. “Class Privilege” would be a better description.

      Reply
  7. ChristopherJ

    Yves, finally got around to sending you a small donation and sent you a longer form email, which might be in your spam folder.

    Hot off the press, we just had a Ford Mustang win our Barthurst 1000.

    Not an Australian Ford, as we no longer make them and I was watching some of the fall out on the excellent SBS series on TV, Struggle Street. Not good around Broadmeadows and Geelong these days – high levels of unemployment associated with the closure of auto makers like Ford.

    Well, it seems we have short memories of how Ford abandoned Australia and Australian workers for money, as the company still sells its cars here and the Mustang is the poster car for cashed up Australian bogans everywhere.

    Reply
  8. flora

    Yesterday’s links included this from Matt Taibbi:

    We’re In a Permanent Coup.

    I think he’s correct. My question is why Trump; why now? W was a buffoon (but had Cheney as a ‘minder’.) So why the coup attempt against Trump instead of just waiting out 4 years and voting in someone else?

    /Putting on my foil bonnet here:

    Decades ago I started hearing from young men in my uni’s business school that the inevitable course of big business was control of government and eventually control of the world; corporations would become so large and powerful that government would no longer contain them. I thought these young men were completely wrong. Then I read some some MSM magazine interviews with CEOs of international corporations who were saying the same thing. I thought the CEOs were dreaming.

    Little by little, however, things have moved in exactly this direction. The culmination was supposed to finally arrive with passage of the TPP and TPIP. Both O and Hills were pushing hard for there passage, right up to the election, even though both deals were/are electoral poison for the Dem voting base. The Dem pro-TPP candidate lost and the anti-TPP candidate won.

    These NAFTA on Steroids deals include:
    Countries would be obliged to conform all their domestic laws and regulations to the TPP’s rules—in effect, a corporate coup d’état. The proposed pact would limit even how governments can spend their tax dollars. Buy America and other Buy Local procurement preferences that invest in the US economy would be banned, and “sweat-free,” human rights or environmental conditions on government contracts could be challenged. If the TPP comes to fruition, its retrograde rules could be altered only if all countries agreed, regardless of domestic election outcomes or changes in public opinion. And unlike much domestic legislation, the TPP would have no expiration date

    Backers of the TTP plan were/are not the Dem party’s base.
    If [Obama] does go all in for the TPP, he will find himself in strange company—with groups that promote policies that critics argue are responsible for the growing gap between a wealthy few and an increasingly impoverished many.

    And then….Trump was elected. Howls of outrage from the global corporatist-everywhere ensued. Trump didn’t push for the global corporate agenda – which seems to include (pulling my foil bonnet on tighter): continued mayhem in the ME and LA and SA. driving enormous streams of refuges north into Europe and US and destabilizing electoral politics in the north (Trump is trying pull back from the ME and to stop the flow of powerless labor into the US) ; a war on cash and a search for an international cashless ‘currency’ of which Libra might have been the first attempt; ‘trade’ deals that are more about end-running democratic law and rule making by unelected international bodies or tribunals (deals that Trump hasn’t passed ) than about trade.

    That all makes Trump anathema to the global corporatists, imo, and that is why the rolling coup against him continues. /removing my foil bonnet.

    Hope this comment gets out of moderation.

    Reply
    1. flora

      adding, lest anyone be unsure of my point

      The above is not a defense of Trump-the-man but an explanation of why I think the globalists hate him … and I think Bernie would get the same treatment or worse if he gets elected.

      Reply
      1. June Goodwin

        Probably, but all the more reason to try Bernie. Second guessing got us here (besides the venality), so maybe we should stop second guessing. Incidentally, the “class traitor” article by Jeremy Toback is good too.

        Reply
        1. Mike

          Nothing wrong with supporting the candidate that espouses the programs and policies you want, and that millions desperately need – just be aware, electing him will NOT be the end of the battle- merely the beginning of the next phase(s).

          Voting, as it is organized currently, will have to be so overwhelmingly in Bernie’s favor that all the fixing can’t put Humpty back together again. We, not him, to paraphrase the slogan.

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            Yes. If he wins the presidency and attempts to implement his declared agenda, which I think he would unlike so many politicians, there will be massive and determined obstruction and sabotage from most of the powers that be at every turn. Without organised popular mobilisation, it’ll be a dead end, and furthermore held up as a failure of socialism.
            Voting will be the easy part. The power balance will decide what actually happens.

            Reply
            1. hunkerdown

              This is true. That makes it all the more necessary for we the people to sabotage them back. A bunch of dyslexic kids with daddy’s money are no match for tradesmen.

              Reply
              1. Carey

                >A bunch of dyslexic kids with daddy’s money are no match for tradesmen.

                Especially when their for-now enforcers decide to
                cut out the middleman..

                Reply
      2. Olga

        Yes, a good summary. (Although I am glad DT nixed the horrible TPP, I still don’t fully understand why he did it, given that most US businesses seemed to have been supporting it. Who among his backers was against TPP?)
        But the reason we’re watching a rolling coup d’etat is because ‘they’ cannot afford to wait – the world is changing too fast – plus, DT would likely get re-elected.
        While DT is thoroughly distasteful – it seems to me that if one evaluated his actions vis-a-vis other prezs, they are fairly mild (relatively speaking). The trade war is idiotic and contradictory, the scrapping of any environmental efforts is plain stupid, the handling of the immigration push has been cruel, and getting out of JCPOA was also pretty daft. Many other objectionable things – like putting industry cronies into positions at regulatory agencies and cozying up to KSA and Israel – are really not that different from other prezs (ok, he’s been more blatant about not being even-handed).
        The major difference then that I can see is that he’s refused (in spite of billowing rhetoric and show-off bombings) to engage militarily against any of the US’ professed “enemies’ or (made-up) ‘rogue states.’
        Could it be that – like with JFK – DT’s main – and most offending from blob’s perspective – failing has been his refusal to indulge MIIC with new wars? (And no, I am not suggesting some sort of equivalency with JFK, just alluding to the possibility of some similarity in one area.) There are ordinary people, who still support DT in spite of all the garbage – do they understand what is going on?
        (Btw, here is Steve Keen in 1 minute on why the tariff war is daft: https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/02/607647/US-Global-Trade-Tariffs-)

        Reply
        1. kiwi

          You need to ask?

          (Although I am glad DT nixed the horrible TPP, I still don’t fully understand why he did it, given that most US businesses seemed to have been supporting it. Who among his backers was against TPP?)

          Why did he do it? He had objected for years the hollowing out of US’s manufacturing capabilities and the resulting trade deficits.

          Who among his backers were against TPP? You can start with the voters of PA, Wisconsin, and Michigan to get your answer.

          As to the trade wars, realize that a trade deficit is just like the US handing money out of its pockets to China and other countries. Do you realize how decimated US manufacturing is now? Do you think it is a good idea for the US to be dependent on China for manufacturing and drugs or the east for oil? Do you understand this dependence and its impact on the middle class, not to mention the security of the US?

          Reply
          1. Olga

            Not sure you understood my comments – though, I did mean to say that tariffs do not a trade policy make.
            Sorry, I am too cynical to think that DT nixed TPP for some ephemeral joe6pack voter interests. That’s not how US politics works. If it ain’t backed by at least some money-men, the policy does not get implemented (there may be exceptions, though I cannot think of any). He did it because someone among his backers preferred it. But who?
            As for the notes about trade deficit – this is a vast area for discussion – and it is not as simple as you present it. And I was certainly not implying any ideas to which you object.
            The reason US de-industrialised (not a good thing, I agree) is because of the type of rapacious capitalism it chooses to cultivate – certainly, one without any industrial policy. The process won’t be reversed short of a concerted effort that would include specific policies – as evidence shows, tariffs won’t do that, and I doubt US would adopt a targeted industrial policy, since that implies (G forbid) some type of centralised planning. Ain’t gonna happen in USA, USA.

            As for simplifying – It is my understanding that one consequence of the US’ currency having a ‘reserve’ status is that it runs trade deficits:
            https://qz.com/1266044/why-does-the-us-run-a-trade-deficit-to-maintain-the-dollars-privileged-position/
            Researching this, I noticed that some disagree with this view (Dean Baker, e.g.) – and in support, they assert that euro and yen are reserve currencies and EU and Japan have trade surpluses. From what I know – neither one of those has the ‘reserve’ status quite the way the USD has it (e.g., oil being denominated in dollars). Big topic, though.

            (And fyi, I do understand about the US middle class – just believe that it is a little late to cry over it – that should have been done in late 1970s, the Reagan and Clinton yrs, when anti-union and globalisation policies were furiously implemented. As for security – the only threat from China is to the US empire and the semblance of military might (including its ability to destroy other countries). The undoing of the empire may actually end up benefitting joe6pack – if we all live that long.)

            Reply
            1. Montanamaven

              “The process won’t be reversed short of a concerted effort that would include specific policies – as evidence shows, tariffs won’t do that, and I doubt US would adopt a targeted industrial policy, since that implies (G forbid) some type of centralised planning. Ain’t gonna happen in USA, USA.”

              Trump ran on nationalism v globalism. He ran on protecting America and not protecting the world. He saw the example of what Russia has done after Putin threw out the neo-liberals who had pillaged the new Russian Federation. Putin is a nationalist. He, gradually with the in advertant help of sanctions, has made Russian pretty independent. They have no national debt. They are growing their own wheat instead of importing it. They have plenty of natural resources including a lot of water. They do not seek to expand because they are big enough already and have most of what they need. They also developed great defense systems while we fiddled while Washington burned. (Ideas courtesy of Dimitry Orlov. Hope I haven’t misstated him.
              Who backed him with money? People who thought he was another Bush? Military people who hate the CIA and NSA? I dunno know. But like Kiwi said, he took it to the silent majority, the forgotten men and women of towns like Newton, Iowa that made Maytag washers and dryers. People who saw their factories actually dismantled and sold to the Chinese. Farmers who have been screwed by almost everybody.
              I would suggest to the dimwit Democrats who back this slow moving coup d’etat that they watch the movie “The Death of Stalin” by the same writer as “Veep”. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or who you know. You could end up in a gulag or with a bullet in your head. And a lot of blood flowing in the street. The chaos around Stalin’s death was something I don’t want to live through. Taibbi saw first hand Russia in the 1990s. We do well to listen to him.

              Reply
              1. kiwi

                I just wish Trump would develop more policies to keep manufacturers from continuing to leave. I’ve read that jobs have both returned and been lost, and haven’t seen a net figure on whether Trump’s policies so far have resulted in a net influx.

                But the US must re-build its manufacturing – of everything. It should never be completely dependent on any other country for anything.

                Reply
            2. kiwi

              It’s exactly your fait accompli and too bad, so sad attitude that so dominated the political landscape on both sides for years that essentially drove the election of Trump.

              The draining of the middle class didn’t happen instantaniously in the 1970’s.

              The only threat from China is to the US empire….

              Really? I was talking about economic threat. If the US doesn’t re-industrialize, it is as good as gone. But China has been doing a good job of militarizing, too.

              The reason US de-industrialised (not a good thing, I agree) is because of the type of rapacious capitalism it chooses to cultivate – certainly, one without any industrial policy. The process won’t be reversed short of a concerted effort that would include specific policies – as evidence shows, tariffs won’t do that, and I doubt US would adopt a targeted industrial policy, since that implies (G forbid) some type of centralised planning. Ain’t gonna happen in USA, USA.

              It doesn’t really matter how these conditions happened. If the conditions aren’t reversed somehow, then the US will become another 3rd world country. Then again, parts of the US already are like a 3rd world country, thanks to business and political traitors alike.

              Maybe you should pay some attention to what Trump is doing rather than speculating why oh why is Trump doing something to reverse these conditions. It’s not as if tariffs are the only useable tool.

              Reply
          2. inode_buddha

            I had this crazy theory with no way to prove this, that he did it simply to stick a finger in Clinton’s eye. Remembering that the Clintons hold, or used to hold, a large chunk of WalMart. I wonder who else has huge deals in that sort of thing???

            Reply
        2. pretzelattack

          jfk indulged the mic a lot, he ramped up vietnam , tried to overthrow castro, tried to have castro assassinated, ran on a nonexistent missle gap, took the world to the brink when russia countered us missles in afghanistan with missles in cuba.

          Reply
            1. pjay

              A warning, though. If you start out hating Kennedy “hagiographies” (which I’m guessing pretzelattack does), then the early parts of the book will turn you off. But it is worth it to keep reading. The historical record on Kennedy has evolved since the 1990s. While he was a Cold Warrior, he always had a more nuanced view of the nonaligned Third World than the Establishment. And there is pretty good evidence that the Missile Crisis changed his views on dealing with Khrushchev and Castro.

              Even following traditional scholarship, though, I don’t quite get the statement that Kennedy took us to the brink. All evidence is that he pretty much prevented WWIII by resisting nearly his entire military establishment. Since much of that is actually on tape, I don’t think we can chalk that up to Kennedy hagiography alone,

              Reply
              1. pretzelattack

                he didnt have to blockade cuba. that took us to the brink. there was no need for the drummed up panic, but he exploited it for political reasons just like he exploited the fake missle gap. whether it’s being a good friend to joe mccarthy or cutting top tax rates, kennedy’s second term would have been like obama’s, imo, because he had similar values.

                Reply
                1. Kilgore Trout

                  Ahh, but there’s this from James Galbraith, about Kennedy’s intention to withdraw troops from S. Vietnam. Kennedy was increasingly disillusioned about the role of the CIA–after the Bay of Pigs and Cuban missile crisis, among other events–and the spooks in turn did not trust Kennedy. It may be why he was killed. If so, it was a CIA coup, and resulted in the more pliant LBJ inheriting the crown.

                  “Exit Strategy, In 1963, JFK ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam”

                  “The May conference thus fills in the primary record: plans were under development for the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam. On October 2, 1963, as we have previously seen, President Kennedy made clear his determination to implement those plans—to withdraw 1,000 troops by the end of 1963, and to get almost all the rest out by the end of 1965.”
                  http://bostonreview.net/archives/BR28.5/galbraith.html

                  Reply
          1. dearieme

            us missles in afghanistan

            It was actually Turkey, was it not? But it was indeed a reckless provocation to bung first-strike missiles on the doorstep of the USSR. It was extraordinary hypocrisy to complain when she replied in kind.

            And the US complaint was all nonsense anyway: what on earth did it matter whether Washington and New York were obliterated by missiles from over the North Pole or from Cuba? For all I know the Soviet complaint was strategic nonsense too though perhaps not: they had far fewer ballistic missiles than the US and so were perhaps more vulnerable to an overwhelming first strike.

            Reply
        3. anon in so cal

          Trump ended the Brennan CIA’s Operation Timber Sycamore in Syria and Brennan and NeoCons are still enraged.

          Reply
        4. Oregoncharles

          Steve Keen on tariffs: “so it’s disrupting the global trade system.”

          And that’s bad?

          Not that Trump is doing it WELL; more like a bull in a china shop. But “the global trade system” is itself dangerous.

          Reply
    2. tegnost

      yes,I’d say that the TPP is on ice, waiting for the next corporate democrat to revive it. I also think that the TPP is an almost unprecedented power play.

      Reply
      1. ddt

        Anyone asking dem candidates if they will revive TPP / TPIP if elected? I wonder how Biden and Warren would respond.

        Reply
        1. Big River Bandido

          It’s an excellent question, and the answer to it would be highly revealing. Which is why the networks will never ask the Democrats about it.

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth

            I think during one of the debates Biden mentioned that he’d revive the TPP. I don’t have a link, but I remember thinking, oh no – to pass that would be terrible. Of course, Biden is a corp. dem, so this makes sense. I think many “liberals” have forgotten what a battle was being waged against the TPP, so for that, I’m thankful that DT got us out of that monstrosity. The TPP was part of the globalists’ dreams, so maybe that’s another reason for the slow motion coup. .

            Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          That would be harder than it sounds. The original TPP was an everybody-but-China trade pact with America in the middle “setting the rules” as Obama put it. It is now an everybody-but-America trade pact and to get back in, America would have to actually negotiate their way in but you know that people like Trump would insist that the newer TPP will have to completely reorganize its rules so that it is more “fair” to America.
          If you thought that the Brexit negotiations were hard, this would almost be as bad. Trump and the establishment would not sign up for the present TPP without insisting on changes like that copyright should be extended to 500 years or some such. This would be talking about a whole new treaty and I do not think that the TPP countries would be motivated to do this, especially if their interests were downgraded in doing so.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            Haven’t the other countries found it impossible to finalize the pact? I thought they were on the verge of signing and then Canada backed out over the ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement) which was one of the big reasons for wide-spread objection in America.

            Reply
              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Does this new “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership” version still contain the ISDS Korporate Kangaroo Kourts ( “KKKs”) that the old TPP did?

                If it does, then the signatories have entered into a deeper level of servitude on the Corporate Globalonial Plantation.

                I hope Trump is just the first step in America defecting from the International Free Trade System and rejecting and cancelling its own presence in every Free Trade Agreement there is.

                Reply
    3. pjay

      In my opinion, this is an excellent overview of key Establishment economic interests behind the anti-Trump hysteria. Add to this some other ideological and/or economic interests within the military-industrial-intelligence complex, the neocon network (influential way beyond their numbers), etc., and we have the makings of a real “elite consensus.”

      I don’t give Trump much credit for having a coherent policy agenda (his neocon-driven moves against the Palestinians, Iran and Venezuela undermined whatever accidental positives there were in his instincts toward Russia, Syria, etc.). But as a bull-in-the-China-shop outsider, he has been remarkably clarifying in exposing the “liberal” faction of the establishment and its media lackeys for what they really are.

      Reply
    4. KLG

      Foil bonnet not required.

      Quinn Slobodian, Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism, 2018. Readable throughout.

      Reply
        1. KLG

          The most recent books from Wendy Brown are good, too:

          Undoing the Demos and a follow-up this summer, In the Ruins of Neoliberalism. Professor Brown, who was a student of Sheldon Wolin, raises the hackles of all the right people.

          And in the spirit of Reading List Sunday:
          Mark Blyth, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea

          Reply
    5. Chris Cosmos

      Thank you. Trump is doing exactly what I’d hope would and that is point out how extensive and deep the Swamp is. We’ve seen these sort of media-wide lynchings with people like Gary Webb and others who dared call out the CIA.

      One of the most debilitating parts of our conceptual frameworks is assigning the term “conspiracy theory” to any attempt to see a larger scale view of history than Churchill’s view of history as “one damn thing after another.” Even the idea of a Deep State if brought forwards used to be considered the height of insanity because, after the Church Committee hearings the CIA totally reformed itself and so on and so on. For any one who cares to look at our situation today in view of over a century of conspiracy after conspiracy that exists and has existed at high levels of great powers whenever the stakes have been high, today’s tableau offers as clear an illustration as I’ve seen over the past three years of the obvious existence of a Deep State wherein the corporate media is completely intertwined. One of the things that worried me after the end of the Cold War was that the US system, unencumbered by big power competition would absorb the Soviet system in spirit and become like our former enemies. I believe we are there now and have been for decades. Now we are seeing it fall apart with all kinds of hidden power struggles none of us can see.

      Reply
    6. DJG

      flora: Thanks. I have been very pleased that Lambert Strether keeps publishing articles from Brasilwire that show how President “Lula” and President Dilma Rousseff, after distinguished careers, were set up and charged falsely.

      I keep wondering: In spite of years of attempted and documented meddling by the U S of A in Brazilian politics, why Lula, why Rousseff? Considing some “fire-breathing” leftists like João Goulart, they were almost Fabian–slow, deliberate, careful of the law, consensus builders.

      Yet there is money at stake, as we see from the burning of Amazonia.

      So the delusions of globalization may also have undermined the Brazilian left’s campaigns to lift so many out of poverty–and Lula’s and Rousseff’s records are quite good.

      But globalization, and its various practitioners evidently are in favor of burning things to the ground to get their way. I recall Libya, now the torture chamber of North Africa, and Yemen, being strangled by genocide.

      I do believe in the saying, What goes around comes around. This is Taibbi’s warning, his great misgiving, his repulsion at what is happening. Because liberals think that there will be a “nice coup,” just as there was nice torture under candyman Bush II (and, likely, Obama) and there are nice bombs seeking out weddings and villagers. Yes, Trump is Barnum filled with sound and fury, but a nice coup during brunch is still going to be a coup. Too bad about the Constitution–pass the kale smoothies.

      Reply
      1. Rhondda

        I recall that at the time of the Snowden revelations, it was made known (perhaps via WikiLeaks) that the US was spying intensely via the internet in Brazil. Not anything national security related– spying on business for advantage. Dilma was furious, as I recall. She said Brazil would ‘build its own secure internet’. Brazil became much more prominent as a member of the BRICS, remember that? Ahh. Good times. They said they’d take Dilma down — and they did. Lava Jato is on Obama’s tab.

        Reply
  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Confession: I fixed my kids’ admission into top colleges Greg Palast, Tikkun

    Kudos to Palast…..I guess. But I would have preferred something more than the “all I’m guilty of is too much parental love / what would you have done?” self-absolving garbage.

    For instance, how did his son, with “sucky” grades and “sucky” test scores even make it through to graduation from the “top-tier college” that he apparently had his “heart set on,” just not enough to work for it in high school? Are we supposed to believe that, having not legitimately earned admission based on “merit” in the first place, he magically became a capable, diligent student who competed honestly with the other students who had? (Assuming there are some of those around.)

    Maybe he should consider using his legendary investigative skills discovering whether the reputational deference accorded degrees “earned” from these “revered,” yet seemingly easily gamed, institutions is warranted at all. People have been making national policy by virtue of these “credentials” for awhile now and, IMNSHO, the results have been far less than impressive.

    As for jail time, I don’t think it’s unwarranted, as long as these well-heeled cheaters get a bill. Ultimately, I think the better punishment is having to drag a zero like hunter biden (yale law!!) around with you for the rest of your professional life, and having it come back to bite you in the butt at the least opportune time.

    Reply
    1. Whoamolly

      If I had Palast’s resources I would have done the same thing.

      I suspect Palast knows many of the “elite”. He also knows that 80% of them are there largely because of “pull” or “inherited wealth”. They ain’t smarter, tougher, or better.

      Given that’s the way the world works what do you do? Condemn your kid to a lifetime of quiet desperation working in a job like slinging boxes in a Walmart warehouse? Or use everything you know to get him/her into the ‘elite’? Which also means Palast’s grandkids have a better shot at a decent life.

      Two thumbs up for Palast. He beat a rotten system. And he had the guts to tell everyone how it’s done.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        yes, always good to teach your kids about how in the real world cheaters prosper, and that it’s always easier to forgive yourself rather than asking permission from people who might refuse…

        Reply
        1. notabanker

          For sure, why make them do their own work and learn how to support themselves when you can teach em how to use “connections” grift at a young age. Should they not use them, and hence disadvantage their own children,…..

          Reply
        2. Rod

          Well, I did read in a link here about the novel(to me) concept of developing ” flexible ethics” in Business School Undergrads.
          And then again, imo, parents can really only teach their kids about what they believe and hold valuable.

          Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Did you read the article? He didn’t have the resources so he scammed the taxpayers. Because his daughter wanted to make movies. And so he could keep up with robert de niro, fer chrissakes.

        Since age 11, my daughter wanted to be filmmaker. Problem: she was illiterate. “Dyslexic” was the diagnosis.

        So we sent her to a private school, the best; De Niro sent his kid there too. The tuition–$50,000+ a year. I didn’t have $50K, but I had $5K to pay for expert doctors and a lawyer. Armed with the expensive doctor’s report, our lawyer successfully sued the City of New York to pay the total tuition for the swish private academy.

        I’m sure he could have lovingly afforded a reading specialist. And he didn’t tell anyone how he wangled private school tuition out of nyc taxpayers.

        Reply
        1. Isotope_C14

          Well said Katniss,

          This puts Palast into a different sort of box for me.

          Why in the world would he admit to this?

          What lesson does this teach his kid? To win at all costs?

          Reply
            1. JBird4049

              The man was worried about his dyslexic daughter having any kind of life at all. I might condemn his violation of his stated ethics, but I cannot condemn his concern for the welfare of his own child, especially as with his knowledge, connections, and his experience as being working class, he probably knew what her future would be without that degree.

              Severe dyslexia and being illiterate are great obstacles against survival, let alone success, in today’s high use of the printed word. This written exchange for example would be impossible for some dyslexics, and for other dyslexics would have required intensive tutoring to learn how to deal with their obstacles.

              Much like my four thousand dollars a pair of hearing aids and the years of speech therapy and auditory training. In situations like that every possible advantage that can be got should be gotten.

              If she wanted to be a carpenter, well fine, but maybe she wouldn’t and even for the trades the ability to read and write is very useful.

              Reply
              1. Katniss Everdeen

                Word is that Cher was dyslexic. And she was dyslexic before the taxpayers “owed” well-connected dyslexics de niro level private school tuition if they had a lawyer who could finagle it for them.

                And what’s this “…..and even for the trades the ability to read and write is very useful?” Have you ever tried to install crown molding?

                Reply
                1. JBird4049

                  Have you ever tried to install crown molding? Can’t say that I have, but I am not sure what the point is. The point I was trying to make was that many vastly underestimate the need to read.

                  Instructions, directions, messages, are usually written. Want that certificate or license in whatever to get that job doing whatever, you probable have to do some reading. If you cannot, then, if you are not screwed, your options in life are still limited. I have know dyslexics who were smarter than me, but couldn’t complete high school, or barely, (Quoting me: “A credit for social interactions? That’s how you graduated high school?”) like roommates, co-workers, or my better half.

                  Brains, abilities, desire, are all different than the, depending on the aspects of a person’s dyslexia abilities to read, write, or process auditory or visual input. Just is. The ability to live, to survive today depends greatly on the ability to read. That is just how our society is structured. Just like my ability to work or attend classes depends to a large degree on my ability to hear, which depends more on my hearing aids than on my intelligence.

                  So, too damned often, those without disabilities discount just how hard life can be, at least in some areas, having a particular disability is, and just how unrelated they can be to general intelligence, ability or desire. Which again, is a reason for my not getting made at Palast especially as he explained it, in writing, why he did what he did. I just cannot get mad at somebody trying to do right for their child, especially with any sort of disability in today’s neolibera dystopia.

                  Reply
                  1. Yves Smith

                    I call bullshit. You are now acting as if “dyslexia” = not being able to read at all, which is false. See my comment below.

                    It depends on how severe the dyslexia is and even some severe dyslexics rise to the top of fields….like the law.

                    Einstein was apparently had dyslexia, along with Leonardo da Vinci, Richard Branson, Walt Disney, JFK (that may not count Because Rich Parents), and Stephen Spielberg.

                    Reply
                2. Carey

                  >And what’s this “…..and even for the trades the ability to read and write is very useful?” Have you ever tried to install crown molding?

                  hear, hear.

                  “filmmaker… how nice!”

                  Reply
              2. Yves Smith

                A much better case than Cher being dyslexic.

                Superstar lawyer David Boies, former Cravath partner who ran the monster IBM anti-trust case defense, is dyslexic. Severely dyslexic. Has to have things read to him. Compensates by having developed his memory to be freakishly accurate and retentive.

                One story (which I thought was in the New Yorker but years back and too many more recent stories for me to find it) was he was at a business dinner. At a nearby table some people were talking loudly through the entire dinner. He had some business connection to them, maybe some were member of his firm.

                He had been fully attentive to what was happening at his table and actively participated in the discussion.

                On the way out, the people at the noisy table were carrying on. He stopped and told them they should not be having conversations like that in public and proceeded to recount what several of them had said, entire paragraphs, verbatim.

                All the dyslexics I have known have been very bright and often excellent teachers/lectures, which I think is due to their frustration as to how they were taught. Another dyslexic I know didn’t have any special parental boost (non-legacy, this was the 1970s when parents couldn’t game the SATs or have their kids in glam summer programs). Graduated from Harvard magna highest (meaning he had a summa thesis but his grades outside his major fell short) and won the Marshall scholarship, so read economics at Oxford. Later wound up at McKinsey.

                Reply
          1. Geo

            In a system that is rigged against you the only way to get ahead is to break the rules. Following the rules of a rigged game guarantees you lose.

            Reply
            1. Katniss Everdeen

              How do you figure the rules are “rigged against” the likes of Greg Palast and Felicity Huffman?

              From where 99.9% of the population (of this country let alone the world) stands, they won big time.

              What’s the problem–not enough respect for their less-than-stellar gene pools?

              Reply
      3. scarn

        The issue was hardly a choice between warehouse or Harvard. There are millions of people in this country who earn good livings with degrees from state schools, or technical certificates, or just because they started at the bottom of a trade and worked their way up, or because they started a business and made a good go at it. Nearly everyone I work with or know falls into that category: business owners, construction foremen, engineers, police, fire, nurses, etc. Who cares about the elite degrees? Finance pros and lawyers, in my experience. And it’s not because the elite degrees map on to more earnings, necessarily. The small time capitalist with a degree from ASU can make as much or more money than the Harvard Law attorney, with less of their own labor. The elite degrees are about meeting a social standard, not about education or future earnings. And they definitely aren’t a solution to staying out of the precariat.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          Good points all, but a minor quibble: 90% of new businesses fail. Succeeding to the point you can make a good living from a business you start requires a lot of luck. There are a lot of people who try hard, work hard, and still lose.

          Reply
      4. Henry Moon Pie

        “Given that’s the way the world works what do you do? Condemn your kid to a lifetime of quiet desperation working in a job like slinging boxes in a Walmart warehouse?”

        I don’t think those are the only options. What I want for my children is for them to be able to structure their lives in a way that maximizes their ability to pursue their dreams in an ethical way without having to sell out all their principles. I’ve suggested to them that the primary key for this is to avoid debt and wage slavery. Live as simply as possible. Eschew “keep up with the Joneses.” Learn how to make repairs and improvements yourself. Acquire education only on to the extent it is a necessary prerequisite to pursuing those dreams and choose educational institutions based on net cost rather than prestige. Don’t be afraid to rely on friends and family, and don’t fail to be reliable when those friends and family depend on you.

        It’s possible to navigate even through this perverse system to a fulfilling life that benefits people other than yourself, but it’s a lost cause if you’re determined to live a “middle class” lifestyle.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          88It’s possible to navigate even through this perverse system to a fulfilling life that benefits people other than yourself, but it’s a lost cause if you’re determined to live a “middle class” lifestyle.**

          Yeah, a middle class life is not the only choice, but in places like California, the realistic choices are increasingly being in the 9.9% that is the Credential Class or in the bottom 80% that are the working or poor classes, with a narrow 10% that is the middle class. All of those classes except perhaps the upper part of the Credentialed Class are increasingly living in the precariated masses. Soar with the Godly Elites or drown in the precariat.

          That is one of the reasons for my not excoriating Greg Palast, for the choices of the past, which enabled one to be ethical, no longer exist. So to be ethical might mean a lowering onto the street, or even into the ground, instead of a modest lowering of financial circumstances.

          Reply
      5. Whoamolly

        Wowzers. Looks like I hit a sore spot.

        Will say again. I don’t see that Palast did anything unethical or illegal.

        If I were in his situation–i.e. a world class writer and investigative reporter who knows how to work the system–I would have done the same.

        And yes, I did read his post. Quite carefully. I have read and donated to Palast for years.

        And my deepest heartfelt congratulations to anyone who succeeded through hard work, study, self reliance, and self improvement, and who taught those values to kids. I like to think I taught those values to my kids too.

        Reply
        1. witters

          If I were in his situation–i.e. a world class writer and investigative reporter who knows how to work the system–I would have done the same.

          Nifty way to subvert the Categorical Imperative, Whoamolly. (“As I would have cheated where he cheated, then it is fine for everyone to cheat!”)

          Reply
        2. Yves Smith

          I disagree. Getting NYC to pay for his kid to go to private school is looting. And he effectively said he entirely rewrote his boy’s essay and did the graphics. “The words were all his” is the lowest common denominator of content production. It’s pretty close to saying none of the sentences were his.

          Reply
          1. Whoamolly

            The NC commentariat is universally condemning my stance. If so, then I must think it through again.

            I don’t see that Palast did anything illegal, but I might be wrong.

            Right now, I see it as a parent using his intelligence to outwit a system designed to crush people like him, and to favor insiders and the extremely wealthy.

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              Neither you nor they are “wrong.” That is why this discussion is painful and heated. It is just the ranking of the importance of difference values. Personal, familial, or public values, choices, and responsibilities.

              Our current system is corrupt, too often gamed and looted, and the more corrupt the system, the greater the cost of not being corrupt yourself, and often the greater the cost of failure with often not you, but the people who depend upon you, the people you care about paying the cost. Whereas in the past there was a glass floor for society in general so whining about the cost of being ethical could rightly be mocked, today there is not a glass floor, but a pit that will swallow you. More, while personal responsibility and responsibility to your society are important, so is responsibility to those who depend upon you. At times, like today, they often conflict. Then the hard and perhaps unfair choice is which of the three to follow first.

              It is a painful conundrum.

              Reply
    2. a different chris

      >For instance, how did his son, with “sucky” grades and “sucky” test scores even make it through to graduation from the “top-tier college” that he apparently had his “heart set on,”

      My son’s academic achievement level has improved every step, from hopeless in junior high to amusingly dead-center of his class (something like 180/360) in high school to getting up there in the small college he was able to get into and now he’s just finished his master’s.

      So maybe the kid just did alright in a college setting focusing on things he was interested in.

      Reply
      1. kiwi

        Yes, I was never good at school – too bored to study, but I did well enough on the college exams to get admitted. My love of reading kept me from total failure.

        Flunked my first semester, learned my lesson, and studied my butt off the rest of the time and graduated with the lowest level of honors.

        Reply
        1. pasha

          i always hated studying, but i was more afraid of being drafted, so i struggled to get a “c” average in college to keep out of vietnam. suddenly, in junior year i woke up and began enjoying studying and mastering a subject. even led me to grad school, which molded me. some of us take longer to grow up, i guess.

          of course, back then tuition, books, and room and board were cheap, and a male could earn enough in summer factory work in detroit to afford college. those privileges are long gone

          Reply
      2. Harold

        What were the sucky grades and test scores actually, exactly — average or really bad? It sounds to me like Palast, a self-starter & self-made man, is being really hard on his kids. Even now he suggests that there is something deeply, intrinsically wrong with them because they are “fragile.” These loaded terms are hardly objective. Maybe a parent shouldn’t have to wait until the kid is 11 years old to find out that they need help in reading, for example. This is an example of school failure.

        On the other hand, everyone knows that for poor kids and their families there are neither safety nets nor second chances. It’s sink or swim, but that shouldn’t mean everybody should drown

        Reply
      3. RMO

        My grades from 7 on were terrible. I didn’t actually graduate from high school during my last year and in the end got my diploma by taking a correspondence algebra course. I attribute this mostly to being desperately unhappy in school starting with grade 6. It was bad enough that I had a complete breakdown into severs depression and missed the entire school year after grade 9. When I enrolled in university in my 20’s I was in a better place emotionally and found the environment far more pleasant. In my university career (and the aviation maintenance engineer program I took later) I had excellent grades. In no class did I come out with less than 85% as a final grade. This was despite the fact that the courses I took post secondary were much more difficult that anything I did from K-12 .

        I have no problem entertaining the notion that others may have had the same sort of experience.

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          Ok just weird. I hated high school (timed served) and dropped out from university to go to aircraft maintenance school. Several aircraft maintenance friends in Japan and other countries had the same path.

          Reply
  10. Poopypants

    Tulsi Gabbard has proven that voters will actually respond to honesty and sincerity.

    This is a threat like no other to the Democratic Party.

    The DNC along with it’s mouthpieces, CNN, MSNBC, The NYT and NPR cannot tolerate truth and honesty, so Tulsi is targeted.

    I can’t see how anyone has any respect for the Democrats at this point.

    I long ago decided to only observe the festivities rather then get involved. Trump, while so universally hated, is exactly what the Democrats and the rest of the US deserve, if not much worse.

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      honesty and sincerity
      I’m equally impressed by her calm level-headedness. Personally, I recoil from the loud, hyperbolic and adversarial style of most politicians. Even Sanders rubs me up the wrong way with his hectoring, shouting manner, much as I support him otherwise.
      Am I alone in finding calmness and willingness to engage in rational dialogue desirable but rare in our leaders?

      Reply
        1. xkeyscored

          I’m not sure she isn’t angry at times. She doesn’t let it go to her head. She maintains her focus, without wavering from her position.
          I noticed this particularly obnoxious bit in the NYT What Exactly is Tulsi Gabbard Up To? article: “Most controversially, she has repeatedly defended the brutal Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, whom she met in January 2017.”
          I’ve never heard her defend Assad, but I’ve often seen her accused of it. Much as I liked George Galloway’s performance in the US Senate answering accusations that he had had contacts with Sadaam Hussein, it was highly confontational. Do we want a US president with a confrontational style?
          Gabbard’s approach is not confrontational, but just as determined. She states calmly and convincingly that she met Assad and she’ll happily meet the worst and most evil leader imaginable in the hope of at least finding understanding. I’m impressed, and hopeful.

          Reply
            1. JBird4049

              Which is interesting is it not? Speaker Pelosi gets a pass for meeting with the President (For life) Assad, but Tulsi Gabbard does not. One set of rules, and often laws, for the Right People, but another set for the Wrong People. And of course our open and free mainstream media flat out ignores this. Oh my how surprising! /s

              Reply
              1. anon in so cal

                When the US targets a foreign leader, to be deposed, smearing that leader is step #1.

                Assad has been accused of various crimes, some or all of which he did not commit. Back during the post 9/11 era, wasn’t Syria a rendition site? Did that mean the US was OK with what occurred there and wanted what was done there done to individuals provided by the US? And, what about Gina Haspel and the CIA’s torture record?

                Reply
                1. Procopius

                  Among the cables Chelsea Manning turned over to Wikileaks was one from the ambassador to Syria informing the State Department of progress in their program to undermine the regime starting from, IIRC, 2006. I think it was sent in 2011, but don’t know how to search for it in the Wikileaks database to find it.

                  Reply
        2. Whoamolly

          Anger doesn’t work as a persuasion tactic. Plus chronic anger ruins health.

          Thus, it is smart not to be angry.

          Reply
    2. Plenue

      Well, they’ll respond to perceived honesty and sincerity, and what they read into it. Since most people still don’t bother to actually look into candidates, they don’t realize Gabbard is also honestly and sincerely a Zionist who is okay with drone strikes. And any information contrary to their rose-colored view is dismissed as a ‘smear piece’.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        You look into any of them and they’re not perfect. Bernie’s quite keen on weapons manufacturers building their stuff in his state, and much vaguer about anti-militarism and imperialism than Gabbard.

        Reply
      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I look forward to the entry of your immaculate candidate. They extinguish their campfire because too many mosquitoes are flying into it. They subsist on air and water because plants have feelings too. They are poly-gendered because otherwise they would offend somebody somewhere. They don’t use the pronouns “He” or “She” because those associate with obsolete power formations. They ask permission before attempting to shake someone’s hand. And they travel to campaign rallies exclusively by horse-drawn cart in order to limit their carbon footprint.

        GMAFB. Even if Tulsi were a Zionist we can hardly kowtow to Israel more than we do today. And meantime she would take steps to de-escalate our multi-trillion war economy. Count me in.

        Reply
    3. Mike

      ++1 – And, of course, your graveside summary of the Democratic Party does not bode well for Tulsi or Bernie. While being attached to an ‘acceptable” machine gets more votes and media attention, it leaves some of the honesty crumbs on the floor, scampering to get out of the way of the feet coming for them.

      Reply
  11. anon in so cal

    Re: American Exceptionalism (Lobelog):

    Ditto to one of the comments:

    A commonly held view, popular both in the United States and abroad, is that for the past 70 odd years, the U.S.. . .has used its military force and economic strength to craft and lead a security and economic order that has benefited the entire world

    Really? That’s a commonly held view, that the country that brought the world the complete destruction of North Korea, the Vietnam war killing millions, the disastrous Iraq war and many other wars, plus the killer sanctions on many countries benefited the entire world?. . .I don’t think so.”

    https://lobelog.com/american-exceptionalism-and-the-myth-of-abandoned-victory/

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      It has been a little bumpy but nothing like the period of two world wars. I think the post-war period showed the talent and, mainly, good intentions of the American leadership class that transformed the world. The Pax Americana worked as a great platform on which a more peaceful world could be built. However by the end of the Cold War corruption began to overwhelm the System and it’s been more degenerate every year.

      Reply
      1. pjay

        Wait… what???

        After a while reading comments, you feel like you are able to identify the central concerns and ideological orientations of most regular commentators.

        But you just shot that theory down.

        Do you really think the “corruption” began at the *end* of the Cold War period, and that Pax Americana worked well before then and showed “the good intentions of the American leadership class”?

        Reply
      2. Massinissa

        If anything, it was the opposite, with the earlier parts of the cold war actually being worse… At least to some degree.

        Reply
      3. xkeyscored

        The Pax Americana worked as a great platform on which the USA could enjoy peace in the sense of not being attacked within its borders, until 9/11.
        Some of the countries in notabanker’s list experienced a 9/11 a week thanks to the good intentions of the US leadership class.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          The earliest coups post 1945 were of democratically elected governments in the Americas that were considered too leftist, not communist or socialist, just leftist and threatening the profits of American businesses. They were replaced by often brutal regimes that were always corrupt, and always friendly to American businesses. That is hardly a good thing.

          Reply
  12. xkeyscored

    American Exceptionalism And The Myth Of Abandoned Victory LobeLog
    I found the tone of this whole article dubious to say the least, and in some parts it seems to revel in the very US exceptionalism it purports to critique.
    The blunder of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq
    -as if it was an unfortunate mistake, not the crime of the century

    More than 4,500 Americans were killed in the Iraq War. … Let us also not forget that at least 500,000 Iraqis died as a result of the war. Hundreds of thousands were maimed. Millions were left homeless. Iraq was left a country brutalized, traumatized, and ripe for the rise of the Islamic State.
    4,500 dead from the US. Oh, and as an afterthought, 500,000 Iraqis.

    I think I see where this writer is coming from.
    A commonly held view … is that … the U.S. … has used its military force and economic strength to craft and lead a security and economic order that has benefited the entire world. … Such a view … sidesteps the manner such “ordering” often requires.
    I’d say such a view assumes the USA is fundamentally good and well-intentioned, giving it the right to order the world, even if it needs to rethink its tactics. This, to me, is US exceptionalism, with barbaric results around the world. Seeing it as an unbridled and rampaging rogue state, often as not allying itself with the worst dictatorships and criminal gangs, makes much more sense of its foreign policy over the last several decades.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I regret to opine that as far as the deep state is concerned, all those dead Americans come under the category of “expendable assets”. I would also wonder about that total of American dead in Iraq. About halfway through the occupation when the Iraqi resistance as at its most fierce, casualty reckoning was changed so that any Americans killed in Iraq due to accidents, diseases, etc. were no longer added to the casualty account for the Iraq campaign. I am not sure but I do not think that soldiers that died of their wounds in Cyprus or Germany were added either. One Russian general stated at the time that US casualties were being hidden in Cyprus so take that for what it is worth.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        4,500 or 45,000. The number pales in comparison to the number of Iraqi dead, and the chaos that engulfed the country and the region. Similarly with the war on Vietnam, which claimed 60,000 US lives, more if you count hidden deaths, compared to two million Vietnamese, mostly civilians, by US estimates. (Vietnam’s estimate – 3 million.)
        Quibbling about the number of US dead trivialises the scale of the death and destruction US imperialism sows around the world. Those within the USA may understandably feel their loss more; the rest of the world may not see US lives as more inherently important than their own.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Politically speaking, to the American public, the number of Iraki dead is of marginal utility while the number of American dead that can be directly connected to that war is determinative of policy ‘adjustments’ that follow.
          Theoretically, change in American policy can be engineered through ‘public opinion’ within America. Changing American policy from outside the us will take a major war being fought on American soil. Since America is a nuclear armed power with a paranoiac leadership elite, no rational foreign power will attempt that. Low level irregular warfare against the American regime, on the other hand, can be created through the support of bellicose internal American opposition groups.
          I would not be at all surprised to soon see signs of a nascent American Colour Revolution.

          Reply
      2. Wyoming

        Regarding your comment on the casualty counts.

        I do not believe this is accurate and I just spent some time googling the subject to see if I could find any evidence it was correct. I cannot. All the sources I could find included both combat and non-combat numbers and the total. The totals were also remarkably consistent across both official USG sources as well as the various sites which are non-official which catalog such things.

        Indeed one source I used to frequent often listed both the place of injury as well as the place of actual death. And places like Landstuhl and Walter Reed hospitals were frequently listed. I used to look at this site as I knew a few of those who were listed or knew their fathers, but have lost track of it now and could not find it during this search I just completed.

        It is certainly true, on the other hand, that the USG and military go out of their way to obscure and/or hide the numbers of civilian deaths (as well as exaggerate opponent military deaths) we are responsible for (always have always will) just as our opponents exaggerate or minimize along the same lines for the same reasons.

        Reply
        1. Wyoming

          I thought to add something.

          The casualty numbers are sort of a two edged sword in a sense.

          When opposition to current military actions is high there could certainly be a tendency to be ‘slow’ to acknowlege them perhaps. But over time this would wash out and real (or perhaps even somewhat exagerated) numbers would be used. We see some of that today I think.

          We in the US are clearly in a mythologize or celebrate the military and military service cultural mode. It is commented on all the time. It is a bit harsh to say but the more men and women who die in service the better it is to feed that cultural mode (which is certainly a feature not a bug of the system we use to manipulate people).

          So over time I do not think there would be a tendency to hide these numbers and if one looks at the casualty numbers for our various wars they always seem to be on an upward trajectory. Note Vietnam, the Iraq and Afghan wars, and even the first responder totals related to 9/11.

          I don’t remember the numbers for Korea and WWII climbing this way over the years. There were a couple of men in our neighborhood when I was young who’s early deaths were obviously related to war time injuries, but no one seemed to count them that way then, and I am sure the USG did not even know about them. They would now. Just like half the men in the neighborhood had PTSD issues from WWII and Korea (pretty much all of them did really) but no one made the issue out of it we do today.

          Just a few days ago down at the police station there was a discussion going on among the veterans where some young guy was commenting on the Iraq war of the early 90’s being not like a real war compared to the Iraq war he fought. Then, of course, one of us old guys pointed out to him that what he experienced in Iraq was just a taste of what Vietnam was like for him. And I was sitting there thinking about my mothers first husband who fought in North Africa, Sicily, Omaha Beach and the Hurtgen Forest and what his reaction might have been to what we see today.

          Reply
          1. Lord Koos

            I’m not sure that much of the glorification of the armed forces originates organically from the American people, rather I believe that a big reason that Americans tend to mythologize and/or celebrate the military is the near-constant propaganda out of Hollywood. (I see where they have just released another installment of the “Top Gun” franchise.) The sheer amount of graphic violence in both films and video games is also striking. I don’t see that amount of violence portrayed as often in films from other nations.

            One reason that we have less battlefield deaths in modern warfare is that medical technology has improved remarkably since the Vietnam war. Fewer soldiers die now, although the quality of life of the injured who survive is questionable, and a likely cause of the record-setting number of suicides among veterans.

            Reply
              1. Plenue

                Once you drill down into the specifics of the numbers though it appears the majority of those suicides aren’t from GWOT personnel. It’s older people.

                For what it’s worth, I have a neighbor who did three tours in either Iraq or Afghanistan. He thought it was great fun, and is now chilling on his pension.

                Reply
            1. LifelongLib

              My mom (in her 90s) says that before WW 2 the U.S. military was seen as a dumping ground for ne’er-do-wells. Nobody thought it was an honorable profession. From what I can tell from my own reading, America inherited the old English fear of and contempt for the military, and only changed its views fairly recently.

              Reply
              1. neo-realist

                Did the views change with the rampant deification of the military that started to happen after 9/11 w/ the pursuit of Bin Laden in Afghanistan?

                Reply
                1. LifelongLib

                  Well, it stopped being downright disreputable during the run-up to WW 2 and on through the early 60s, when for the first time in U.S. history there was a long-term draft and a large standing military maintained, with a much greater percentage of people serving. Of course the military’s popularity suffered in Vietnam and immediately afterward. In my view it was Reagan who started the process of what you call deification…

                  Reply
          2. The Rev Kev

            @Wyoming. Thank you for your extended answer to my comment. My misgivings as to the totals comes from something that happened here in Australia years age. During the Vietnam war, Australia too sent troops to that country and when it was all over, the official Government count was about 50,000 troops that had been sent.
            The trouble was that the vets reckoned the total to be way off and that there were far more soldiers went than counted but the government denied this and did so over the next two decades and it did not matter which of the two political parties were in power. Any push back against the official government counts was firmly denied.
            Then US Vietnam vets pushed through the building of the Wall in Washington and some memorial was decided on to be built here in Australia. This required a roll call of all those that served and it suddenly came up that there were 60,000 Vietnam vets and not the 50,000 vets that the government had been claiming for over two decades. So I ask you – how does a modern bureaucracy miscount 10,00 men? But that may only be Australian bureaucracy.
            And just as a curiosity, here is a trailer for an Aussie film that came out this year on a battle called Long Tan during the Vietnam war to show you the Aussie experience of this war. I happened to know once a New Zealand helicopter pilot that was dropping resupply ammo boxes during this battle-

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E0J11-rB7Q

            Reply
    2. Shonde

      “makes much more sense of its foreign policy over the last several decades.”
      Finished #20 of Maj. Danny Sjursen’s American History for Truthdiggers: A Once, Always and Future Empire last night. As I was reading the preceding sections, to me it became apparent based on Sjursen’s analysis that our country has always been what it is now. This is nothing new. As Sjursen says, “The past is prologue.” It has always been a “unbridled and rampaging rogue state”.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        I think there have been times when it’s moved towards building a rules based international order embodying some standards of conduct. An order constructed to its advantage, to be sure, but less of a rogue state.
        Apart from that, yes, exactly.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          No, a rogue state even then – albeit, with smooth edges, since they occasionally needed ‘allies.’ The rules were implemented only if they benefited the US (remember, after WWII, US had the run of this planet). And then they were enforced with unprecedented force (open and clandestine). There is no honest way to put lipstick on this piggy.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            There has always been an ongoing movement of Americans to make American a honest, decent, and law abiding with the possible intent of expanding it worldwide; as that would hinder the power, prestige, and profits of the American Elites, there has always been a movement to deal with, sometimes lethally, the reformists.

            It has been a centuries long struggle that seesaws between the two, with the corrupt usually winning, but often in varied degrees. In the past seventy years, the corrupt have won just about every fight and reversed most of the successes of the reformers in the twentieth century. The victory being won over Americans murdered, imprisoned, or ruined financially.

            Note that this struggle is not completely tied into the struggles between classes or between parties, but rather instead that raw power, greed, and ruthlessness should determine what happens regardless to the cost to society at large.

            It is the struggle between the idea that the general welfare and human decency is more important than the idea of Social Darwinism.

            Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    Brexit-

    Well, as Colonel Blimp would say in these time of trouble for the UK government-

    “Gad, Sir! (Boris Johnstone) is right. The government is marching over the edge of an abyss, and the nation must march solidly behind them.”

    Reply
  14. fdr-fan

    What is Tulsi up to? It’s a good question. She’s definitely on the right side of the most important question.

    Natural Law: Never attack, always defend.

    Among our leaders, only Harding and FDR and Eisenhower were on God’s side. All the rest were evil.

    Those three presidents subdued Deepstate in different ways, so there’s a pretty good set of “user manuals” for the procedure. Tulsi doesn’t say anything about methods, doesn’t specify what she will DO to change the pattern. It’s not enough to talk about “we the people” and “holding accountable”. Those are totally empty phrases.

    Reply
    1. pjay

      From Eisenhower’s user manual: Give the CIA carte blanche. Put the Dulles brothers in charge. Go play some golf.

      I wasn’t sure if this was satirical.

      Reply
      1. Mike

        I do so hope it was. FDR managed to save the bleeping capitalist nature of this economy until the war could Right it again (pardon the pun). His economic programs, while giving employment and hope to some, did not recover the economy, and his austerity in his second term almost sank it again. If I knew more about Harding (ashamed to say I don’t) I’d probably lump him into this blender, too.

        We do have to stop this perpetual icon-izing of individuals, and study our history and its “heroes” with an itsy-bitsy bit of skepticism/criticality.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          “His economic programs, while giving employment and hope to some, did not recover the economy”

          Yes, they did. And that’s not even counting WW2, which domestically amounted to the New Deal taken to extremes.

          Reply
          1. Mike

            Sorry, please look up the stats and unemployment records- while improved, there was not enough “recovery” to actually call off the Depression. After the ’36 election, stringency and budget cuts increased the disappointing figures which remained until the runup to war (Lend-Lease and arming the French and Brits). Meanwhile, he protected the class buddies of his from wrath and bought them time to become the industrial heroes of the war effort.

            I’m not saying they had no effect – just that the levels of the 1920s were not met until war. The aim was not to do the working class huge favors, but to hold off the pitchforks which never came.

            Reply
    2. Olga

      The assertion that Eisenhower subdued the deepstate is sure news to me. That comment about golf seems much more accurate. Although – just maybe – he may have belatedly appreciated what happened under his nose, and decided to utter a few words of warning. Not that it did much good in the long run (or short).

      Reply
    3. Massinissa

      Eisenhower spent his presidency enabling the deep state and the military industrial complex, then spoke against it in his farewell address, and much of posterity is conned into believing Eisenhower somehow fought against said MI complex…

      Reply
      1. pjay

        Yes. I actually think Eisenhower’s farewell address is important — as was Truman’s CIA editorial noted above. But both were examples of trying to shut the barn door after the horses had already escaped.

        Reply
      2. neo-realist

        I suspect he may have enabled it to the extent that it contained Communism abroad, but became much more concerned over time that it started to usurp more and more of the power of the executive and legislative branches of government and the resources of the federal budget that would otherwise have been used for the “commons.”

        Reply
  15. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Interesting take on oil & the downward trend of Dr. Copper & how the discretionary spending squeeze chickens are coming home to roost. Most notably in the UK with the collapse of Thomas Cook which is at least part of the reason as Wolf Richter has reported that Spain is bailing out it’s tourist industry.

    The article also points out a flaw in the Green New Deal, which I don’t consider that I have the required expertise in order to agree or disagree.

    https://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2019/10/08/peak-oil-demand-is-now/?fbclid=IwAR2L_qi7ZWJYqlvGEMuUYxa8IUw2x5GBPIrmSEvgaSO2V8QhP4h3dev7qdQ

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Yeah the take on Copper is interesting: copper price as a key leading indicator. I didn’t read it completely but I couldn’t find that flaw. It talks about the flawed tech-driven peak oil as how the “new economy” failed to bring less oil dependence but I don’t find this remotely related with the GND.

      Reply
    2. Foy

      Very good article, thanks for posting Eustache, their analysis of the oil market is similar to what Gael Tverberg at Our Finite World has been saying about oil prices in the long run for a while, becoming too expensive for consumption (and hence contracts growth and GDP) but not expensive enough to justify investment for future production.

      Reply
  16. xkeyscored

    Everything on Display Russia in Global Affairs
    Another definitely dodgy article, IMO.
    In a sense, we have come to the point where diplomacy as a trade is standing at death’s door. There is simply no need for diplomacy if one cannot discuss important things confidentially, discreetly and frankly. Communication turns into an exchange of official statements, a show of strength and subversive operations (if they can still remain covert, of course), but certainly not into a dialogue designed to reach an agreement. Remarkably, this is happening not because of the information revolution or qualitative changes in technology, as many expected, but because of dreadful squabbles and professional degradation that have plagued the political elites in many countries at once and, above all, because of the fierce struggle for power.
    I’d argue the USA is a declining empire, thrashing around and lashing out wildly in a vain attempt to retain its supremacy, all the while knowing that it can’t.
    I don’t see Russia and China conducting foghorn diplomacy. On the contrary, their diplomacy, and China’s in particular, still takes place mostly out of the public gaze. We only assume it must have been going on when one or another announces it has secured a deal.
    It’s US diplomacy that is on its last legs, not diplomacy itself, and this reflects the status of the US empire.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      I wonder about that, well beyond the hibernation strategy in the article:

      How long have corals been around? I’m guessing a long time; they’re polyps. There’ve been other episodes of severe temperature and climate swings – the last, comparable one was, IIRC, around 70 million years ago. In geological time, yesterday. Did corals survive that? How?

      Reply
  17. tegnost

    speaking of socialism for the rich…

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/eastside/bill-gates-and-jeff-bezos-live-there-so-why-is-medina-asking-its-residents-to-pay-more-in-property-taxes/

    FTA…”Meanwhile, opponents question the city’s past spending and say that they are already taxed too much. One longtime resident calls the proposed levy a “Hail Mary” designed to squeeze more money out of residents while failing to curb municipal spending.

    How did they get here?

    At 64 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, Medina’s levy rate is among the lowest in the state. Bellevue’s, for example, is 92 cents and Redmond’s is $1.15.”

    They could always cut back on the 24/7 surveillance, that could get some of those pennies back in their pockets where it can be better used to shield their kids from competition…FTw…

    Reply
  18. JohnnyGL

    Re: ‘Betraying the Kurds Yasha Levine’

    This post is fine, as far as it goes. Yes, America’s foreign policy doesn’t make sense unless unless you view it through a cold, cruel imperial logic of divide-and-rule.

    However, I’ve got thoughts on this situation.

    1) The Kurds are hardly passive victims in this. You should feel bad for them in the way that you feel bad for a person who gets mistreated by a lying/cheating spouse, but, still stays loyal because they are in it for the money.

    2) Changes to foreign policy involves creating winners and losers, this is inevitable. The unfortunate fate of the losers can usually be cast as a kind of betrayal. But, of course, a different decision would have created different losers, and those losers also would have a case to scream, ‘betrayal’. Here’s Kim Iversen making the case that if we continued to back the Kurds, it’d be a ‘betrayal’ of our promises to our Turkish allies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWQmjKbJg3A

    3) The idea that the only way to improve the situation of the Kurdish people is with a separate nation is a dangerous, simplistic, even colonialist idea.

    African Americans have had a long history fighting for better treatment and justice in the United States, is anyone proposing to carve out a chunk of America to create a separate nation for African Americans? Does anyone realistically think that a separate nation would improve their lot? Of course not….because we believe in a pluralist society where there’s room for everyone.

    Why can’t the same be done for the Kurds in Turkey? Iraq? Syria? Yes, those nations have at least as much ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity as America, and yes, those societies can be reshaped to treat various minority groups (like the Kurds) better.

    4) People in the Pentagon want to make a future Kurdistan like a 2nd Israel in the region. The creation of a settler-colonial ethno-state was a bad idea back in 1948. It led to a lot of forced migration, endless conflict, and has been a playground for great power meddling in proxy wars. There’s been no solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and there isn’t one in sight. Creating a Kurdistan would undoubtedly reproduce that situation in a nearby region. It’s great for arms dealers…terrible for everyone else involved.

    5) Yes, I get that the story of an egalitarian society making its way in a rough neighborhood tugs at the heart strings of leftists everywhere who dream of a better world. Even Noam Chomsky has been charmed into making statements about protecting the Kurds. This is a mirage. There’s no way that having the Pentagon sending air support, cash, and weapons to a group of people is going to make that society flourish and foster more egalitarianism. Quite the opposite, it’s going to lead to more conflict and more militarism and more corruption.

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      There’s no way that having the Pentagon sending air support, cash, and weapons to a group of people is going to make that society flourish and foster more egalitarianism. Quite the opposite, it’s going to lead to more conflict and more militarism and more corruption.
      I agree with all that you say, but suddenly and abruptly pulling US support is clearly and predictably leading to increased conflict, not to mention the prospect of ISIS regrouping..

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        That might be true, too.

        But it might also be…

        1) Media overhype to push a narrative. Recall the great Aleppo freakout of 2016 during the presidential debates. Debate moderators were throwing around words like ‘genocide’. Urban warfare is rough stuff, but it was nowhere CLOSE to genocide.

        2) Taking the lid off a boiling pot that’s been simmering for 5 years of US weapons and cash being dumped into that region….and now the Turkish backlash has to be THAT much harder, stronger.

        Reply
      2. kiwi

        So, where does it stop? Does it ever stop?

        There are numerous groups throughout the world that are oppressed.

        Does the US just continue to spend blood and treasure trying to solve unsolvable disputes forever and ever?

        The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for centuries…

        Reply
        1. marym

          So, where does it stop? Does it ever stop?

          Some suggestions:
          Stop being arms merchant to the world.
          Stop interfering in other countries’ conflicts in the first place.
          Stop creating chaos as breeding grounds for ISIS, etc. and then hiring Kurds, etc. as our mercenaries to fight them.
          Stop sending US soldiers as mercenaries in other countries’ conflicts.

          Reply
          1. kiwi

            I agree with you.

            My questions were directed toward a poster above us who said “I agree with all that you say, but suddenly and abruptly pulling US support is clearly and predictably leading to increased conflict, not to mention the prospect of ISIS regrouping…” in apparent objection to removing troops from the area.

            Reply
            1. marym

              Until we stop doing those things, just moving a few US troops out of the way appears to be for the sole reason of facilitating a massacre, not the more readily justified goal of extricating ourselves from other people’s conflicts. We have relationships with both sides, and with their allies and enemies. We’ve armed both sides. In addition to historical relationships among people indigenous to the area, the overall situation is in part a product of US intervention. This is still “our” conflict in many ways and we’re not extricated or absolved.

              Reply
              1. kiwi

                “… just moving a few US troops out of the way appears to be for the sole reason of facilitating a massacre, not the more readily justified goal of extricating ourselves from other people’s conflicts.”

                Really? You believe that the sole reason for Trump moving troops is to facilitate a massacre? Would you say the same if a not-repub who was in office did the same thing?

                Finally we have someone with some political will to do what most US citizens have supported for years: get out of the endless wars and quit being the world’s police force. And what happens when that desire finally appears to be happening? Oh, it couldn’t possibly have happened for the stated reasons; there has to be some other reason or motivation.

                Do you have any idea how much Trump has had to fight on his own turf, against people he appointed, just to get a few troops withdrawn here and there? Almost everybody with political power supports the forever wars.

                What appears to be chaos to most not-repubs is really Trump trying to find people who support his positions when it comes to forever wars.

                Reply
                1. neo-realist

                  It’s a shame that Trump could not use his alleged pacifism to keep the Iranian Nuclear Deal in place, since removing it has caused tensions and tit for tat responses that may potentially escalate into a wider war that he doesn’t want. He may be perfectly happy to maintain maximum pressure stalemate till November 2020, but if the Iranians enrich uranium to nuclear weapons breakout before then and or a drone attack by a proxy of ours or the Iranians escalates into WWIII, the president will Trump his goal of removing us from the wars.

                  Reply
                2. marym

                  Yes, I would and have said similar about Democrats who pursue war during both Dem and Rep administrations.

                  No, I don’t know what troubles poor Trump has had pursuing his agenda, only what we can learn of the results. He has certainly executive-ordered his way on many other issues.

                  Air strikes and civilian casualties: (See thread starting here for multiple comments with Links to multiple sources)
                  Arms trafficking (Link)
                  Total troop increases (Link)

                  The Pentagon is sending about 2,000 more troops to Saudi Arabia, including squadrons of fighter jets and air defense missile batteries, Defense Department officials said Friday.

                  …the new wave of units will push the total number of U.S. troops the Pentagon has added to the Middle East since May to 14,000

                  Reply
                3. xkeyscored

                  Really? You believe that the sole reason for Trump moving troops is to facilitate a massacre? Would you say the same if a not-repub who was in office did the same thing?
                  Yes, I would most definitely say the same about a Democrat doing the same thing. I see little significant difference between the two main US parties in terms of foreign pollicy.
                  And I’ve no idea about Trump’s reasons. I’m talking about the – entirely predictable – results.

                  Reply
            2. xkeyscored

              in apparent objection to removing troops from the area
              No. My comment was about suddenly removing troops without warning or consultation, when it was pretty apparent this would lead to an uptick in conflict, not an end to the chaos the US did so much to start.

              Reply
    2. Wyoming

      I think your comments lack some perspective.

      The Kurds are an ethnic group which has roots perhaps as far back as 3000 BC, but without question are accounted for in histories from the 600 AD’s. Their desire to have independent control over themselves is hardly a simplistic colonial idea. Nor is anyone else’s acknowledgement that in a better world they would have their independence in any way contemptible. I cannot see much analogical relevance between their situation and your descriptions of a bad marriage or the African American situation either.

      It is certainly true however that, while Israel (and certain US ideologue’s) might see some strategic benefit to a Kurdish state, the states of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria have in the past committed serious mayhem to ensure that such a state does not exist. And they are now and will certainly in the future do the same again. It is just not going to happen in any probable world. That their desires for independence will continue to lead them to allow themselves to be manipulated, used and discarded in the future is pretty likely also.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        “Their desire to have independent control over themselves is hardly a simplistic colonial idea. Nor is anyone else’s acknowledgement that in a better world they would have their independence in any way contemptible.”

        Everyone, everywhere wants a measure of control over their lives. This isn’t contested. What I’m contesting is the idea that the best way to achieve that control, security, prosperity, etc. is through an independent political entity, a state. That may be the idea of many Kurdish elites (and probably the ones the Pentagon hands over buckets of weapons and cash to), but it may not be a broad-based view among the population. I’m not well-versed in this area to speak in detail about opinions of average Kurds.

        Yes, many African American leaders in history thought justice while living within the borders of the United States was impossible and wanted an independent state, either carved out of US land or back in Africa (the Liberian project). I don’t doubt that many current Kurdish leaders think the same thing.

        So, this isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. Also, that idea could be wrong-headed. In my view, the history of Israel’s creation suggests it is, in fact, wrong. This isn’t anti-semitic….lots of Jewish leaders in various places thought it was a bad idea at the time, too. A unified Jewish-Palestinian state might have been a better idea. Who knows?

        Reply
      2. John k

        Kurds has an opportunity to make a deal with Assad, decided they didn’t have to bc us would protect them. Not wise to trust US for anything important.

        Reply
    3. DJG

      JohnnyGL: I think that your point 5 is the reason why the Kurds are being “betrayed” by the U S of A. There is no way that the US elites and the “intelligence community” want an egalitarian, leftist Kurdish Rojava Republic in the region. The reason is simple: It won’t take long (most likely the Kurds were already holding their collective noses) before the Kurds figure out how incompetent and amoral Washington is. I tend to doubt that the Kurds of northern Iraq, who have done well, are all that sanguine about American involvement. They happen to live in an area of more fortunately, more easily separable geography. And the Peshmerga are tough.

      The Kurds in Turkey are in a dilemma. The Turkish state finally allows limited cultural expression for the many Kurds there–estimates start at 20 million. Yet Turkey consistently has been brutal toward minorities–ask the Alevi, the Armenians, the Pontic Greeks who once lived there.

      Right now, the Kurds are caught between nasty Turkish nationalism (which the U.S. elites seem to be oblivious to), U.S. dabbling by our foreign-policy geniuses, and their fraught relationship with the Assad government. The horrible irony here is that the Assad government may be the only fairly honest dealer for them. I don’t envy the Kurds.

      For a good glimpse of the Kurdish YPG and Rojava, I recommend the graphic novel by the brilliant Zerocalcare entitled Kobane Calling. It is in Italian. I don’t know why it hasn’t been put into English….

      Reply
      1. Alex

        The fate of Yazidis, Kurds and Iraqi Christians shows what happens to minorities in this region who don’t have a state or sub-state entity like Hezbollah to protect themselves. And Syrian Christians and Alawis would probably be expelled or exterminated if not for timely Russian help. And while the US actions certainly didn’t help it’s also not true that they have been behind every conflict in the Middle East: Turkish and Iraqi persecutions of Kurds and Saudi oppression of Shia pre-date American interventions.

        Reply
  19. Pelham

    Re the betrayal of the Kurds:

    Those so concerned about this should pick up a black rifle and a plane ticket and go help them. Seriously. That’s what volunteers did with the Lincoln Brigade defending the Spanish Republic 80-some years ago, and boots-on-the-ground combat hasn’t changed that much since then. Godspeed, Max Boot.

    Meanwhile, I see no reason why US troops who take a serious oath to put their lives on the line to defend their country and Constitution should be required to engage in conflicts that have absolutely nothing to do with either. I suspect the pundit consensus on such situations would be, shall we say, somewhat different if they or their kids were to be subject to an active draft and liable to be pitched into one of these extravagantly counterproductive meat grinders.

    Reply
    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “I suspect the pundit consensus on such situations would be, shall we say, somewhat different if they or their kids were to be subject to an active draft and liable to be pitched into one of these extravagantly counterproductive meat grinders.”

      And if there were a draft, the kids of the spokesmodels who deliver the “news” would never be drafted. It would be the same people going into the military as now. No American draft will ever be fair and just. It will always protect the rich and connected. That was true in the 60s. It was even true in the 40s though the social cost of using those advantages was fairly high. It was true in the Civil War where the requirements for obtaining an exemption were out front.

      Drafts do not stop or shorten wars. They enable bigger wars. Drafts force a choice that no government should ever be allowed to force. And they never have been nor will they ever be fair and just.

      Reply
      1. Pelham

        Certainly they haven’t been fair historically. Good point. But I wouldn’t give up on the draft entirely, since the volunteer military now is pretty unjust as it is.

        We apply all sorts of criteria to who does and doesn’t get drafted, so perhaps we should add a class-and-privilege distinction as well, with kids from the wealthiest households the first to be called up. I think most of the people I know would be willing to get behind that idea — though it would admittedly be tough to implement.

        As for enabling wars, I think we may have reached a turning point with Vietnam. Granted, that was a huge war, but it generated enough opposition that the draft was effectively shelved. Now it’s the volunteer military with only half a percent of the population having a household member in uniform that enables us to engage in these many launch-and-forget conflicts.

        Reply
        1. Henry Moon Pie

          “We apply all sorts of criteria to who does and doesn’t get drafted, so perhaps we should add a class-and-privilege distinction as well, with kids from the wealthiest households the first to be called up.”

          We must be living either in a different time or a different place because it is beyond my ability to imagine that what you describe could possibly happen–for real–in the United States of America.

          We should be trying to cut the supply of cannon fodder by discouraging people from joining the military rather than increasing the supply by forcing people to become trained killers.

          Reply
    2. Portlander

      I agree with you and with Yasha Levine. This was, in fact just as inevitable as “betrayal” of the South Vietnamese. High-minded words like “betrayal” conceal a less noble agenda. People like Lindsay Graham are realists and don’t really care about the Kurds. But the Kurds have been very useful because they have been such good servant-soldiers, time and again. They were betrayed by the British in 1948, by the U.S. (to the Shah) in 1974, today, and again in the future.

      As with Vietnam, the U.S. has battle fatigue in the Middle East. My sense is that Erdogan said to Trump, “OK, this time I’m not fooling around, I’m coming in, and if your troops are still there, so much the worse for them.” Trump (I believe) realized that the political support for staying in Syria would evaporate with the first body bags, and was unwilling to surge more troops to keep us there. If Trump did not pull out voluntarily, Erdogan would have shoved them out, obviously a politically humiliating outcome.

      Erdogan gave Trump notice a year ago of his intentions. If there is any blame, it probably belongs with Bolton. Congress never approved U.S. troops there in the first place, and our presence there was always militarily and politically tenuous. Trump really had no choice but to withdraw. I do agree Trump could have prepared the Kurds better.

      As for root causes (for Syria, Yemen, Libya), these are all failures of HRC and Obama, which in turn are spillovers from the failures of GW Bush (Iraq, Afghanistan), and on and on. But the ultimate failure was that of the American people who refused to learn the lessons of Vietnam about the limits of U.S. military power, and who had much greed for ME oil so they could keep driving their gas guzzling cars. Now, we don’t need the oil so much, and we can afford to withdraw. Syria is only the latest symptom of our weakness in the ME, and this is the real source of the rage of Lindsay Graham et. al. We will soon be out of Afghanistan and Iraq as well. And Saudi Arabia. And Israel. They will all need to find new friends.

      ISIS prisoners refugees were other pawns in this game. Europe carries the associated risk–of more mass movement of these people to their shores. Europe will need to somehow fill the power vacuum our withdrawal creates. Might disintegration of the European periphery be one of the reasons for the desire for Brexit in the U.K.?

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Trump might have wanted to avoid the US troops being embarrassed. A few months ago the Syrian army took back part of Idlib province. There was a Turkish Observation Post there doing all it could to help the Jihadists. So the Syrians bypassed it and left it stuck way behind the lines doing nothing with Syrian troops literally taking selfies of themselves in front of this post.
        The Turks were probably also planning on bypassing this small US bases in their attacks and leaving them surrounded by Turkish troops which would not have been a good look, especially when the Turkish troops would have escorted them back south. So Trump simply pulled them out overnight so that the Republicans and the Democrats – or did I repeat myself? – had no time to come up with a law to stop him doing it.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The NATO vs NATO aspects are very amusing. In a not-so-funny way. But wasn’t that the eventual outcome anyway, when keeping NATO going when it’s enemy and entire raison détre disappeared

          Reply
    3. Oregoncharles

      ” required to engage in conflicts that have absolutely nothing to do with either. ”
      This is actually a bit misleading. I wrote a longer comment on this yesterday, and some others have pointed o it up above. The US soldiers near the Turkish border were no engaged in an active conflict; they were there as a “tripwire” so that Turkey could not invade, as it did immediately they were withdrawing. They were preventing a conflict that is now hot. UN peacekeepers can be ignored; US ones cannot. It’s a good example of Trump’s impulsiveness and incompetence.

      No, it was not a good situation. As said above, the Kurds needed to reconcile with Assad in return for autonomy. There might have been better US policy to restrain Turkey, too. A resurgence of Turkish imperialism is a very bad thing.
      Those things didn’t happen, largely because of US imperialism.

      Reply
    4. anon in so cal

      Just checked Twitter and there are a series of encouraging tweets from Elijah Magnier.

      “The Syrian Army agreed to take in hand all #ISIS prisoners, families and those on the run.

      #Europe will have to deal with #Damascus now.”

      https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1183459033874911233?s=20

      “Elijah J. Magnier
      @ejmalrai

      #Turkey feared a well-armed and powerful YPG, the PKK Syrian branch, previously supplied/protected by the #US.

      Now that the US is pulling out, #Damascus shall not allow any attack or threat against Turkey and won’t accept an independent Rojava.

      Adana agreement is back on track.”

      https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1183463289147269122?s=20

      And this:

      “US troops ‘leave’ Kobani as Turkish incursion advances and Kurds make deal with Damascus”

      https://www.rt.com/news/470871-us-troops-pullout-kobani-turkey-damascus/

      This morning, I tweeted the title and link to this article, and got swarmed by an angry Twitter mob:

      “Syria must be free of foreign military presence, Russia should also leave if Damascus no longer needs its help – Putin”

      https://www.rt.com/news/470777-putin-interview-syria-future/

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Thanks for those links. Some good news – I figured that making peace with Damascus was their best bet, once the US stopped preventing it. And Syria gets some effecive troops ou of it.

        Still people getting killed, though, and no assurance that Erdogan will go quietly.

        Reply
  20. david

    The first Brexit stories are starting to appear now. The Guardian is pretty downbeat, but I can’t find any details of the Commission statement that’s supposed to have been made. More soon, no doubt.

    Reply
    1. David

      OK, the statement has now appeared. It’s normally the rule that very short statements like this are made when there’s really no good news to report. Obviously, we are a very long way from any deal, and nobody wants to sound too optimistic.

      Reply
        1. David

          It does. It’s also interesting that the Commission describes these as “technical talks”, which in Eurospeak very clearly refers to the stage before there is any question of a political-level discussion. The talks are continuing tomorrow, which means that the best that can be hoped for by the EC on 17 October is that some kind of potential way ahead will have been mapped out, for future work if there is approval for it. We are, in other words, a very long way from an agreement, and the EU, at least, seems to be taking an extension more or less for granted.

          Reply
            1. Portlander

              Watching this from afar, I’ve had the impression that this last burst of discussion was just theatre so everyone can say “they tried” and avoid blame for no-deal coming Oct. 31. Happy Halloween!

              Reply
  21. heresy101

    A couple of days ago, when I described PG&E as the second most evil corporation behind Monsanto/Bayer, someone countered that Amazon was most evil. While Dr. Evil of Amazon should be the first when it is time to fire up the guillotines, Monsanto/Bayer’s impact is so far reaching. A local article describes its many impacts, including poisoning wine and water: Aromas of Black Plum and Licorice, With Lingering Notes of Roundup
    https://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/aromas-of-black-plum-and-licorice-with-lingering-notes-of-roundup/Content?oid=27733083&showFullText=true

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Thanks for that link. Bayer-Monsanto’s evil is the greater by far, in my opinion, because
      their products’ damage would / will continue for generations, even if their products
      stopped being produced today. But then there’s the makers of depleted uranium
      weapons..

      Reply
  22. pjay

    Re: ‘Calling All Class Traitors’

    This is a useful class analysis of the anti-Bernie “resistance” among the ‘Professional Managerial Class.’ In addition to this concept from the Ehrenreichs, Toback also links to a relevant essay by Nancy Fraser published soon after the 2016 election, in which she discusses the end of what she calls “Progressive Neoliberalism.” Here is the Fraser link:

    https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/progressive-neoliberalism-reactionary-populism-nancy-fraser

    I think a number of NC readers will appreciate this discussion as we fumble around for political labels these days. But a warning for Warren supporters: she does not come off well in this piece by an all-in Bernie backer.

    Reply
    1. JP

      I was immediately put off by the Nancy Fraser piece and felt it was a pushed and narrow redefinition of progressive thought. Certainly no mention of environmental vectors common to progressive thought since the 60’s and very much alive today. She also seems to be saying you can’t be progressive if you are rich or educated because you will then most certainly be neoliberal.

      At the bottom of the article is a link to a rebut by Johanna Brenner that is much more coherent and historically informed.
      https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/nancy-fraser-progressive-neoliberalism-social-movements-response

      Reply
      1. pjay

        I don’t quite follow your argument here. Fraser was not really concerned with defining *authentic* “progressivism” (however we might define that ourselves), but rather with identifying the enemy, which she terms “Progressive Neoliberalism.” As near as I can tell, Brenner accepts that depiction of the enemy. To the extent that Fraser discusses her own vision of progress it is, in fact, an *expansive and inclusive* definition that, she argues, has been narrowed by the hegemony of neoliberal individualism and “meritocracy.” Nowhere does she say you can’t be progressive (in an authentic sense) if you are rich or educated. She does, however, suggest that some of the rich and educated have been seduced by “progressive neoliberalism” (that’s why she was cited in the original article by Toback). Personally, I think there is a lot to that argument.

        I am familiar with the work of both Fraser and Brenner. I like them both. At first I was puzzled by Brenner’s response, As I said, they both agree on, and oppose, what Fraser calls progressive neoliberalism. Further, all of the positive examples of feminist social movements discussed by Brenner would be supported by Fraser. So where is the disagreement?

        Actually, there is one. But rather than distort it with my own viewpoint, those interested can read it for themselves. Thank you for the Brenner link. Here is Fraser’s reply to Brenner:

        https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/nancy-fraser-against-progressive-neoliberalism-progressive-populism

        Reply
    2. Carey

      Thanks for that Nancy Fraser piece- essential reading, in my view. An excerpt:

      “..In its U.S. form, progressive neoliberalism is an alliance of mainstream currents of new social movements (feminism, anti-racism, multiculturalism, and LGBTQ rights), on the one side, and high-end “symbolic” and service-based business sectors (Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood), on the other. In this alliance, progressive forces are effectively joined with the forces of cognitive capitalism, especially financialization. However unwittingly, the former lend their charisma to the latter. Ideals like diversity and empowerment, which could in principle serve different ends, now gloss policies that have devastated manufacturing and what were once middle-class lives..”

      Here is Fraser’s response to Johanna Brenner’s critique:

      https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/nancy-fraser-against-progressive-neoliberalism-progressive-populism

      Reply
  23. Dan

    Indian arranged marriages seemed like a barbaric religious relic going against Anglo-American ideals of romanticism. Now, they seem to be a good idea that produces social, economic and familial progress as measured by the rapid rise of Indians in technology, wealth and influence. Now Hindus have the second highest average income of any religion in America.
    http://money.com/money/4526671/religion-wealth-income-jewish-hindu-atheist-episcopalian/

    Imagine if the average American family arranged marriages for their children. No one knows children better than their parents. They certainly know more than hormones. Arranged marriages would be a good thing for Americans.

    IMHO, The key to the success of arranged marriages is that Indians, value education itself as the key to a good life, unlike most Americans who value education as a means to more stuff like a house, new car in the driveway etc. Thanks to credit debt, Americans can now buy the often defective product called “education”, or skip it entirely, to get the stuff, for a while at least, with onerous payment and interest rates.

    Desirable brides and grooms have graduate degrees. People with graduate degrees are strivers and have higher I.Q.s. If deliberately put together with mates that are the same, their children will benefit from that mix.

    Elite Americans already have arranged marriages. It’s called attending Yale or Harvard and leveraging family wealth. The very same people that promote importing more ditch diggers with little or no education, and high fertility rates, from Central America, do so as a smart defensive move to further elevate their children’s relative status, and to obscure and distract from their privilege in our society .

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      Yes, because what society needs is even MORE social stratification. Have you not noticed that India is one of the most unequal of all extant democratic states?

      Also, a better explanation for why Hindus have high incomes in the US is that the majority of immigrants to the US from India are educated and come on H1B visas. India’s vast swathes of the poor mostly stay home.

      Reply
    2. Plenue

      Oh, sod off with your eugenics bull.

      Most cultural practises have some rational basis. That doesn’t make them all okay. Stoning women to death if they aren’t virgins on their wedding night has a certain logic to it if you emphasise property inheritance and have no effective means of birth control. The custom aids in social cohesion and stability. It’s also wrong because it’s self-evidently bad for women, both as individuals and as a class.

      Being barbaric and also aiding social cohesion are not mutually exclusive attributes.

      I also note how you very selectively focus on Indian-Americans. As opposed to actual Indians, living in India, the vast majority of who are dirt poor.

      Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      Well there were arranged marriages in places for example like Ireland and you had professional marriage brokers that would negotiate matters over some glasses of poteen. But you just know that if America started to do this, then Silicon Valley would want to monetize it and would say “We have an app for that!” or more likely there would be a start-up with billions in investments being made by Wall Street and you know that it would never be gamed or hacked.

      Reply
  24. smoker

    Re: Rotten STEM: How Technology Corrupts Education

    Couldn’t agree more, after witnessing the ever increasing ugly effects and inequality in Silicon Valley. I would have refined this paragraph though:

    Yet there are now clear signs of a movement against tech in edu­cation, especially before high school. In the United States, the classi­cal education movement as well as Waldorf, Montessori, and other alternative models continue to grow; many of these prohibit infor­mation technology in K–8 classes and yet manage to foster model students. The most popular private school in Silicon Valley is just such a school.8 Likewise, an elite private school in Sydney, Australia, the alma mater of three prime ministers, banned laptops in 2016 and required students to handwrite essays through the tenth grade: the headmaster said the school found money spent on interactive white­boards, laptops, and the associated software was a total waste.9

    There has always been a backlash against tech in education for the children of those who have made obscene amounts of money off of it, starting with Bill Gates. Also those backlash schools in Silicon Valley such as Waldorf, are pretty much off limits to those scrambling to make a living – for various reasons – even if their are possible (yet very, very difficult to qualify for, as I recollect reading ) reduced tuitions.

    The last time I visited a Silicon Valley High School was for adult Foreign Language Classes, held after hours in classrooms, nine years ago. One could feel the ‘creative destruction’ at hand even with the isolating seating arrangements, and certainly with that ghastly copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged made available to the students. Watching them leave their classes glued to their phones versus their peers was nausea inducing and heart rending.

    Not that the elites haven’t always protected their heirs from their own malice in business. I’ll make a guess that historically the elite’s heirs weren’t subjected to some of the destructive aspects of Public Education like that hideous game of Musical Chairs that was (still is?) common public school ‘entertainment.’ Their are always enough chairs for the heirs of the elite, they are never to do something so publically unrefined as to battle over a chair to sit on, when their are far more insidious ways to steal a place to rest for someone. One can see the effects of decades of Musical Chairs instruction in the utter absence of park benches for the weary and broken to sit on.

    Reply
    1. Plenue

      “adult Foreign Language Classes”

      I once heard a techtopian type say that we don’t need to learn other languages, because everyone can just use programs like Google Translate.

      Obviously there’s a lot stupid about that idea, but talking purely practically, Google Translate is effing awful.

      Reply
      1. smoker

        Oh my yes, a ton of stupid to say the least. And so very, very much lost without a good instructor (particularly one whose native language it is) and fellow students in that physical room to socialize in the language – including body language and eye contact – with.

        A very antisocial and selfish world has been created by STEM™, just within the span of two decades.

        Reply
    2. neo-realist

      Thanks to crowded buses and subways, the weary and broken, in the cities at least, are used to a lack of seating.

      Reply
  25. Oregoncharles

    “Falling: Love and Marriage in a Conservative Indian Family”
    I haven’t finished the piece – it is indeed long – but the gist so far is that arranged marriage seems to work quite well for a lot of Indians, something that, e.g., their American daughter finds hard to understand. As most of us would.

    It raises a problem that haunts me: our mating system, aka dating, isn’t serving us well. It makes a lot of people miserable and a few dangerous; worse, at a 50% divorce rate it fails in its task of creating stable families to nurture children – and adults, for that matter.

    If we step back and look at it, that is not surprising: we expect young people in the full throes of hormone poisoning to make wise choices of someone to spend the rest of their life with. Not surprisingly, 2nd marriages have a better success rate. There’s something to be said for parents making that decision – but I don’t think that’s coming back any time soon. It had its own pitfalls – this author’s parents may well be an exception.

    Personally, I see this as major unfinished business from Women’s Liberation/Second Wave Feminism. We knew at the time that big changes were needed in marriage, courtship, and sexual behavior, but only some of them happened, and a lot of the initial insights got lost.

    A big part of the problem for us is that the pair bond isn’t meant to stand alone. In most societies, it’s supported by an extended family and community that most of us simply don’t have. Of course, it can be oppressive as well as supportive. But abandoning it is a trap we’ve fallen into, without obvious ways out.

    Reply
    1. Ook

      The father in that article struck me as being quite wise in his pronouncements.
      Hormonal lust fades after several years: fundamental compatibility doesn’t.
      Faithfulness over the course of a life-time defines what it means to “love” someone. It’s ridiculous to ask a couple of horny 25-year-olds if they “love” each other and base a life on that.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Supposedly infatuation – that initial lust – fades after about 7 years. There is some evidence (I don’t have links to hand) that it fades MORE for women; which would explain who the unfaithful guys are being unfaithful with.

        Let’s remember that recent surveys show people just plain having less sex, married or not. Some of that is the economy. But it means that people are lonelier and more alienated.

        Reply
  26. Dan

    New Orleans Hotel Collapse.
    Damn! And they thought they could rush it to completion in time for Mardi Gras.

    Compare the New Orleans just in time, minimal material construction techniques rushed ahead to the massively built Empire State and Chrysler Buildings that withstood bombers hitting them, or the enormously strong World Trade Center buildings, with a massive 6″ thick steel box core that the Patriot Act popped out of.

    Drone videos online show the red rooftop A-leg steel Truss balanced on the crane cable far away from its center of gravity, either poorly placed or the choker slipped along the I-beam. I surmise the outer legs of that crashed down onto the lip of the freshly poured concrete balcony and that precipitated the cascade.
    Those little holes along the skinny concrete deck are where post-tensioning cables in greased plastic jackets are tightened like guitar strings to add strength to the deck and minimize thickness, adding more headroom and maybe an extra floor.

    If those weren’t tightened yet b/c concrete hadn’t cured, the deck was as strong as wet cardboard.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      I hadn’t thought about the tension cables. They are indeed tightened after the concrete is cured to a sufficient strength. (Concrete never really stops curing.) That tightening process is a truly hair raising experience. You are always waiting for the cable to snap and whip on out of the deck, destroying everything in it’s path.
      The [family blog]ers running these construction companies today have developed a variety of ‘Magical Thinking’ where the laws of physics are subordinate to the company’s schedule.
      Hilarity ensues. Your Mortality Might Vary.

      Reply
  27. Summer

    Just doing some random reading about the pre-WWI global economy and came across this bit.
    It made me think of the Marketwatch articles on personal finances and budgeting of the upper-middle class and wealthy that get skewered at least once a month.

    http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/TCEH/2000/eight/html/Slouching2_8preWWI.html

    “Many of the processes that have blossomed since to make our industrial–post-industrial–economy were clearly underway by the start of the twentieth century. But they were for the most part only seedlings. In what matters most, in the warp and woof of everyday life, our counterparts in the industrial core of the world economy around 1900 still had more in common in their styles of life with their predecessors of 1600 or 1700 than with us today.

    In 1902 an anonymous college professor wrote a four-page article for the Atlantic Monthly in which he pleaded for more money for college professor salaries, and claimed to be vastly underpaid. The Þrst thing to note is his salary: he claimed that the “average college professor’s salary”–the salary that he saw as clearly inadequate and unfairly low–”is about $2,000.”

    Yet $2,000 was four times the average of GDP per worker at the turn of the century. In order to match turn-of-the-century professors in terms of income relative to the national average, a professor today would have to make an academic salary of $220,000–a height rarely attained even by Nobel prize winners, and far above any average.

    The second thing to note is that our professor sees himself as a reasonable man. He is not asking for what he would see as the “large salar[y], commensurate with what equal ability would bring in other lines of work ($10,000 to $50,000)”–or 20 to 100 times the then-current average level of GDP per worker. Today, 20 to 100 times average GDP per worker would be between $1,100,000 and $5,500,000 a year. The top 7,000 households in the United States today have incomes that average $500,000 a year. At 50 times average GDP per worker (roughly the mid-point of G.H.M.’s range, corresponding to a salary of $2.5 million a year), we are down to less than 1000 households in today’s United States.

    That an ordinary professor could feel that his talents ought, in some sense, to earn such an enormous multiple of the average income is a sign of how unequal an economy and society the turn of the twentieth century U.S. was. Yet as this professor goes through his budget, he expects his readers to nod and we modern readers do indeed nod that his family is indeed strapped for cash.

    The Þrst large expense he lists is for personal services: “We must pay $25 a month for even a passable servant” and add to that $10 a month for laundry, for the regular “servants will do no laundry work,” $1 a month for haircuts, and $2 a month for a gardener. Already, on personal servies alone, we are up to $445 a year–roughly the average level of GDP per worker in 1900. But the professor sees himself as having no choice but to make such large expenditures on personal services. If he doesn’t, his household will fail to make a properly upper-middle-class impression: the lawn must be trimmed, the house dusted, the clothes cleaned, and the children washed. He has no gasoline-powered lawnmower, no electric hedge clippers, no vacuum cleaner, no dishwasher, and neither a washing machine nor a dryer. Consumer durables take the place now of what took servants’ sweat (at least for college professors’ households) a century ago.

    Food bills average $55 a month on food–enough to buy 170 lbs. of veal cutlets (present market value perhaps $800), or 500 pounds of chuck roast (present value perhaps $1000), or 1000 lbs. of bread (present value perhaps $1100). Note that $55 a month works out to be $660 a year, once again considerably more than a year’s average GDP per worker on food alone. In general it was hard to economize on food at the start of this century: food and fuel consume almost half of consumer expenditure for the average household in 1885, but only a Þfth of consumer expenditure in 1987….”

    Reply
    1. Hamford

      Ahh! I immediately recalled this Wall Street Journal piece lamenting the plight of those bringing in $130 K a year but unable to stay in the upper middle class.

      Your 1902 quotes sound like this:

      Jonathan Guzman and Mayra Finol earn about $130,000 a year, combined, in technology jobs. Though that is more than double the median, debt from their years at St. John’s University in New York has been hard to overcome.

      The two 28-year-olds in West Hartford, Conn., have about $51,000 in student debt, plus $18,000 in auto loans and $50,000 across eight credit cards. Adding financial pressure are a baby daughter and a mortgage of around $270,000.

      “I’m normally a worrier, but this is next-level stuff. I’ve never been more stressed,” Mr. Guzman said. “Never would I have thought with the amount we make I would have these problems.”

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/families-go-deep-in-debt-to-stay-in-the-middle-class-11564673734

      Ecclesiastes 1:9

      Reply
    2. LifelongLib

      My first thought (and in fact it’s noted further down in the article) is that the working class of the time was much worse off than the working class of today, so using it as a benchmark for what a college professor’s salary should be is anachronistic. And as far as the way of life, my parents as children in the rural 1930s lived what was essentially a 19th century life — houses with no electricity or running water, outdoor privies, etc. It’s very difficult to make comparisons with today from those distant times.

      Reply
  28. Cuibono

    I am curious as to the utility of that times piece on gates…
    Besides selling prurien news it seems to me some rather larger game is on display here.
    Like “watch your step we can destroy you with ease”

    Reply
  29. Hamford

    Found this bit in the Grey Lady’s hit job on Gabbard particularly perplexing:

    Brian Levin, the head of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino, said Ms. Gabbard had “the seal of approval” within white nationalist circles. “If people have that isolationist worldview, there is one candidate that could best express them on each side: Gabbard on the Democratic side and Trump on the Republican side,” Mr. Levin said.

    Oh boy! Didn’t you know? Hitler was an isolationist. Guess this is the new trope … populism = deplorable, isolationist = white nationalist.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Yes, I noticed that bit, too. I wonder when the folks™ that Ms. Lerer is writing for will realize they’re becoming a steadily-smaller group.. :))))))))

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      A basic example of ‘driving’ a meme. The ‘officially approved’ American view is that Isolationism is bad, and Globalism is good.
      Also, a little bit of sleight of trope is being tried out here. The identification of Isolationism and White Nationalism is not even asserted in the short quote, just implied, as in guilt by association. At the end, the journalistic joining of Gabbard and Trump would point to a ‘sinister plot’ within the DNC to foist HC upon us again. Who else can unite the disparate elements of the Nation in opposition to these Godless Isolationists? (A rhetorical question. This entire political campaign cycle has descended into an exercise in empty rhetoric.)

      Reply
  30. Wukchumni

    I’m a part time doomeratti, whose main effort is stashing around $777 worth of food on hand, if the Jackpot comes calling via EMP, asteroid, or some long forgotten volcano gets real uppity again. or pick your malady.

    Initially it’s an insurance policy, and truth be said, the idea of eating cheap canned & dry food ain’t me, so the lions share of it breezes by it’s use-by-date uneaten, and what was mutual of emergency policy turns into an anonymous gift to our food bank, and they don’t care abut use-by dates, so it’s all good, a win-win.

    Took over half a car load a few days ago…

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Our stash is mostly beans, rice, and oatmeal, which we eat daily. Buying by the bag saves us some money, too.

      Footnote: first time I ordered all that, I checked and established that the beans and rice came in 20 lb. bags, which fit neatly in a 5-gallon plastic bucket. Turned out the oatmeal comes in a 50-lb. bag – and it’s fluffy. The bag is over 4 feet long and might make a decent dance partner.

      My remaining worry is that our well pump requires electricity, as does our stove and the freezer. There are other ways to cook, but getting water might be a problem. Another role for solar cells.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        Split green peas are a staple for me, but I haven’t found a good organically-grown source for them in larger than 5-pound bags, so far.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          We order them from the local Co-op – which we’re fortunate to have. (My wife doesn’t like split peas, so we don’t stock those.)

          Starting a “food conspiracy” – ordering group – might be a real contribution to community survival, and save you a bit of money. It’s how our co-op started, decades ago.

          Reply
  31. VietnamVet

    This appears to be a night that changed the world. The Kurds invited in the Syrian Arab Army who reportedly are occupying Manbij. With Russian air support of Syrian troops, Turkey cannot attack further into Syria without starting a world war. If the front stabilizes, the USA can safely withdraw all its troops and contractors out of Eastern Syria. Like Saudi Houthi war, the only rational way forward is peace and a withdrawal by all nations back within their national borders. If Vietnam is an example, Lindsey Graham and his fellow neo-cons will self-implode and declare that America was stabbed in the back, once again. The media will ignore that the Obama Syrian regime change campaign was a complete failure. Donald Trump’s Impeachment will become even more heated and detached from reality.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I’m guessing that it is the response of the Russian Aerospace Forces that will be key here. If they provide air cover to the Syrian forces, then that will be game over for the Turkish military. Maybe not for the Jihadist groups that Turkey supports but the Syrian army has a ton of experience dealing with that sort. I am willing to bet in any case that if the Turkish Air force tried to be smart here, that there are more than a few Russian pilots looking for payback for that Russian plane ambushed by the Turkish Air Force years ago. I guess too that the Ottoman Empire will not be looking to re-establishing itself in Syria then. And this time the Arab League is backing the Syrians which will help it go back into the fold once again.

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        Some sources are reporting Russian units (military police?) are deploying with the SAA outside Manbij. They may be putting their own grunts out front to really dissuade the Turks.

        Reply
    2. ambrit

      That would be rich irony. Trump to be impeached for stopping a war.
      I assume, you being an old commenter with a sense of history and all, that you deployed the “stab in the back” trope as an allusion to post-WW1 German politics? Both were and are cases where Empires were and are falling to pieces.
      I hope the Syrian Kurds came to their senses in time to avoid obliteration.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Thinking more about it, I realize that the “Kurds” are not a monolithic group, but comprise several main factions. So, will this agreement in Manbij and if luck is with the Syrians, Kobani, be extended to the rest of the SDF dominated Northeast of Syria? If so, this is a game changer. It would give Iran a clear corridor to the Mediterranean coast for oil transport, and safe eventual sale to Europe. It will also be a nail in the coffin of the Yinon plan.
        See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yinon_Plan
        We live in interesting times.

        Reply
      2. VietnamVet

        After the Vietnam defeat, the right wing very much used hippies and liberals as scapegoats who stabbed Americans in the back and lost the war like Germany after WWI. However, its most insidious and effective use was in service of the Reagan Counter Revolt that restored aristocratic rule and ended government by and for the people. In Chuck Norris’s “Missing in Action” movies, the US government intentionally left Prisoners of Wars behind in North Vietnam. The Black POW/MIA Flag still flies in front of the Washington DC VA Medical Center.
        https://www.cbsnews.com/video/watchdog-reveals-staggering-deficiencies-at-va-hospital-in-dc/

        Reply
  32. Carey

    Sully Sullenburger’s response to William Langewiesche’s NYT Magazine piece on 737 MAX:

    “..As one of the few pilots who have lived to tell about being in the left seat of an airliner when things went horribly wrong, with seconds to react, I know a thing or two about overcoming an unimagined crisis. I am also one of the few who have flown a Boeing 737 MAX Level D full motion simulator, replicating both accident flights multiple times. I know firsthand the challenges the pilots on the doomed accident flights faced, and how wrong it is to blame them for not being able to compensate for such a pernicious and deadly design..”

    http://www.sullysullenberger.com/my-letter-to-the-editor-of-new-york-times-magazine/

    Reply

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