Links 10/14/19

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A solution for food waste in Maine schools: Feed it to the pigs AP

How to build a more responsible corporate capitalism FT. “[T]o prosper well into the future, managers, and those who oversee them, need to take account of the wider health of the societies in which they operate.” Or be seen to.

Yield Curve Flips to Positive Again. Celebrate? John Authers, Bloomberg

Our Shrinking Economic Toolkits Project Syndicate

My Letter to the Editor of New York Times Magazine Sully Sullenberger

Broken (see also macOS 10.15 Vista). As soon as you assume that Apple is strangling the Mac product line while still collecting a premium price everything makes sense.


Trump’s Syria Blunder Could Bring Order to Chaos Bloomberg. O felix culpa!

Hezbollah and Israel: Deterrence at the edge of destruction Middle East Eye

One Month After Worst Oil-Supply Halt, Aramco Says All Clear Bloomberg


Brussels baffled by UK’s ‘complex’ proposals to fix Brexit deadlock FT. I didn’t know “baffled” was in the diplomatic lexicon.

Boris Johnson’s relationship with the Queen hits ‘rock bottom’ as he is accused of forcing her to deliver a ‘party political broadcast’ for the Conservative Party Business Insider

Jeremy Corbyn warns MPs against backing Brexit deal – even if it is put to referendum Sky News

Nobody does class warfare better:

Cash-strapped English cathedrals become temples of enjoyment The Economist

The Koreas

South Korea to Deploy Snipers to Hunt Down North’s Sick Pigs Bloomberg

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite Is an Acid-Black Comedy That Eats at the Mind New York Magazine


Measuring misery Reuters. Hong Kong misery index.

Hong Kong Has Weaponized The City’s Subway Against Protesters Buzzfeed

Why Hong Kong’s secret societies are attacking protesters PRI

Québécois (and Catalans) know where this leads. Fascinating thread:

* * *

China auto sales fall again in ‘Golden September’ as turnaround hopes fade Reuters

Why US businesses should be worried about China’s corporate social credit system SCMP (the annotated version).

The NBA-China Disaster Is a Stress Test for Capitalism The Atlantic

Ecuador president, indigenous leaders agree to a truce France24

Ecuador: A Rebellion for the Renewal of Struggle Toward Freedom

New Cold War

Russia’s Energy Diplomacy Brings Geopolitical Dividends The National Interest


Finding a Vaccine for the Impeachment Derangement Virus The American Conservative

Secret testimony aimed at keeping Trump in the dark, says Adam Schiff Bloomberg

The House doesn’t have to be ‘fair’ in its probe. But it should give Trump due process. John Yoo, WaPo. If there’s anybody who “cancel culture” ought to be nuking, it’s John Yoo. But having rehabilitated George Bush, liberal Democrats are now platforming his torturers. “Look forward instead of looking backward,” I suppose (though I’d speculate we have Obama’s failure to prosecute torturers to thank not only for “Bloody Gina” Haspel as ([x] woman) head of Trump’s CIA, but for today’s open alliance between the intelligence community and liberal Democrats. So never say there’s not a silver lining).

Trump Transition

Macabre Video of Fake Trump Shooting Media and Critics Is Shown at His Resort NYT. Real-life Bush administration torture advocate legitimized by liberal Democrat house organ, no problemo. Videos, cue the hysteria.

President Trump and Bernard Arnault to Open New Louis Vuitton Factory in Jefferson County Texas Women’s Wear Daily

A Million People Are Watching ‘Fortnite’ Streamers Watch A Black Hole Ahead Of ‘Chapter 2′ Forbes


Everything You Need to Know About the October Democratic Debate Time

Back in Action at the Debate, Bernie Sanders Has Much to Prove NYT. Sidney? Is that you?

Elizabeth Warren is still Trumpworld’s dream candidate Axios

Obama Legacy

The Obamanauts Corey Robin, Dissent. Strange that Robin couldn’t get this excellent review published in a high-circulation venue.

Health Care

The Fermi Paradox in US Health Care Donald M. Berwick, JAMA. It’s not “waste.” It’s rent.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Pandora’s Inbox: The Army and Social Media The Angry Staff Officer

Guillotine Watch

In the rush to harvest body parts, death investigations have been upended Los Angeles Times. The original headline was better: “Body Parts Harvesting Hinders Coronor Autopsies.”

Class Warfare

The ‘Glass Floor’ Is Keeping America’s Richest Idiots At The Top HuffPo

After ICE Raids in Mississippi, Community Is Still Reeling The Intercept (Re Silc). Funny how never arresting employers is a bipartisan consensus.

Situationism À L’Envers? Perry Anderson, NLR. Review of Adam Tooze’s Crash; Tooze’s preliminary response.

Revealed: Google made large contributions to climate change deniers Guardian. Gotta keep those data centers chill…

Capital stranding cascades: The impact of decarbonisation on productive asset utilisation (PDF) Louison Cahen-Fourot, Emanuele Campiglio, Elena Dawkins, Antoine Godin, Eric Kemp-Benedict Vienna University of Economics and Business

A working-class green movement is out there but not getting the credit it deserves Guardian

Antidote du jour (via):

The sunlit uplands…

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. jsn

    Bloomberg, Trump, Syria, bolded corrections:
    “He is running head-on into opposition from many in his own party, who are still more inclined to earn higher incomes to ensure the threat of terrorist future attacks.”

    1. xkeyscored

      The US has long been a major state sponsor of terrorism, as with the Contras in Nicaragua or the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan. It refrained from attacking France when it blew up and sank the Rainbow Warrior. Its supposed opposition to terrorism is restricted to those terrorists whose aims do not correspond with perceived US interests.
      As for “even if Trump doesn’t succeed in ending the forever wars,” I’ve seen nothing to indicate that he wants to, let alone that he’s trying to. He appears to perhaps want to get the USA out of the endless wars it has stirred up, not to end them. I say appears to and perhaps because sending more troops to Saudi Arabia seems likely to embroil the US in yet another round of conflict.

      1. dearieme

        The US has long been a major state sponsor of terrorism, as with the Contras in Nicaragua or the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan.

        How about Ireland: was US political support for the IRA terrorists only from individual politicians or was there state sponsorship too?

        1. sleepy

          Mostly from individual politicians and citizens who supported a united Ireland. I don’t know of any organized state sponsored support for the IRA, though I think the US government made a decision to at least appear to be neutral since it didn’t actively support the UK’s military and constabulary terrorism against the Northern Irish catholic community in the 70s and 80s. Imho, that paid off with the US involvement in the Good Friday agreements.

          1. makedoanmend

            Further to your point about the constabulary, the US government did ban all weapons sales to that force as its was, to say the least, an entirely sectarian based organisation. It was subsequently replaced as part of the GFA.

            The nationalist community in the six counties had a rather different take on who (plural) belonged in the Terrorist category.

      2. skippy

        Fun fact …

        Recently talked to a bloke that was from the Central American region you note. Him and his mother were interviewed some time back by a NGO in reference to death squad ops people. Seems some of these useful sorts were later parachuted into L.A. as refugees back in the day – after good works.

        The reason behind all of this is in connection to the advent of MS-13.

        Chafing at the bit, one more day to go before starting a full grinding job on a Qld’er – grrrrr ….

  2. Winston Smith

    Not sure about the link mentioned above between HK, Quebec and Catalonia. I would exercise care in comparing Quebec with other independence movements elsewhere: two democratic referenda on the subject of Quebec independence did not produce a majority vote for independence (albeit the second one was a narrow margin defeat).

    1. jcmcdonal

      Also, the Quebec independence movement largely got everything they wanted, just without leaving Canada. I don’t hope for the same in HK…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Quebec could in theory go it alone with a US benefactor and cut Canada in two. Hong Kong has no real leverage. Washington matters less in Beijing than in Toronto :) Take that!

        Then there is the larger movement of civil rights and anti-colonial efforts around the world. The HK protesters are waving the flag of a country currently run by Boris Johnson, a person who hasn’t faced a national election, just an election by a small Cadre of party supporters.

        1. Winston Smith

          The fact is that the majority of Quebeckers are not that unhappy in the Canadian Federation. A famous quebec comedian summed it up perfectly: “Un Québec indépendant, dans un Canada fort” (an independent Quebec in a strong Canada).

        2. Synoia

          I’m sure that some in the UK would welcome Boris’ move to HK. It’s not so sure that any in HK would welcome his “help.”

          Would his ego fit into the small territory of HK?

        3. Kevin

          Whomever “partners” with Québec will have to shoulder their debt – which, when I last checked was significant.

          Myself, I’d take Québec if for nothing more then Montreal’s food!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        4. mpalomar

          Quebec sovereigntists are also entangled with the complicated issue of the rest of Francophone Canada; the Acadians in the Maritimes, the Franco Ontarians, the Métis and other Francophone in the prairies and even BC that would be left without the centre of gravity Quebec provides to language and cultural rights.

    2. L M44 E

      Ontario has to worry every day that I will warm up my C13 diesel engine in my war canoe and sail north across Lake Erie for an excellent breakfast. If the mounties do not show up, I’ll plant the flag and claim ownership. Finally, completing manifest destiny and the war of 1812 – we have it all!!!!

  3. Otis B Driftwood

    Regarding the Ember article in the NYT about Sanders, I would encourage others to post a question for the debate. My question, fwiw, was specifically to Ms. Ember about her negatively biased coverage of the Sanders campaign.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I would disregard anything that Ember writes about Sanders. Jimmy Dore did a video on her about three months ago with Katie Halper and demonstrated that she only has a finance background (along with her husband) and seems to have been specifically recruited by the New York Times to lead their attack on Sanders. Below is the link to the 31:41 minute video “Another Ethically Challenged NYTimes “Journo” Is Covering Bernie’-

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      Could we reexamine the NYT please? It has run almost nothing but anti Sanders stories. They have printed stories they knew were BS in advance of printing on every subject imaginable for 2 decades now. The have printed numerous false stories and then their glaring omission of stories that might be important to anyone other than the rich and costly. They support the elite slaveringly.
      So why would anyone trust that kind of mouthpiece after serial failures to be honest? Why would you figure the embarrassing stains will come out? Is it the “only game in town”? “I don’t lose too much to the house”, “I thought it would get better”, its only a flesh wound…….
      does one expect a different outcome after hundreds of tries?

  4. Juneau

    re: Body part harvesting hinders coroner’s autopsies (sic)

    I got a chill reading this. My doctor’s group has been pushing to get people to sign up as donors. They are corporate though my doc is a good clinician and tries to stay above the fray. Still, I didn’t realize this aspect of healthcare had been corporatized. Dummy me. Used to be that hospitals sent teams to harvest organ and transport them. to the waiting donors without the middle man. No more apparently. Still wondering about how this company might be offering incentives to get more people to donate.

    1. katiebird

      It’s bad enough that we are expected to donate organs to be transplanted while everyone else involved in the process makes money off the procedure. Especially since many needy patients can’t even consider transplants because of the extreme costs.

      But, I had no idea donated parts were used for corporate profit!

      1. katiebird

        Here’s a quote,

        Although the companies have emphasized organ transplants, in far more cases nationwide they harvested skin, bone, fat, ligaments and other tissues that are generally not used for life-threatening conditions. Those body parts fuel a booming industrial biotech market in which a half-teaspoon of ground-up human skin is priced at $434. That product is one of those used in cosmetic surgery to plump lips and posteriors, fill cellulite dimples and enhance penises. A single body can supply raw materials for products that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

        “Although the companies emphasized organ transplants” …. does anyone filling out those little donor forms know they are giving their bodies to some company to make a couple hundred thousand bucks?

      2. T

        Gruesome news you can use: if you are the person the hospital has to talk to about organs, start talking about the bill.

        It’s a cold hard world, and these are cold hard times.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      This is just too ghoulish.

      All I could think of as I read the article was the creepy serial killer in Silence of the Lambs who kidnapped heavy girls and starved them for a few days to loosen their skin so he could skin them to make a dress for himself.

      I never signed the organ donor card because I was not about to keep someone like dick cheney above ground. But this… skin ground up, sold for big bucks, and used to enlarge some goomba’s penis????

      I. Don’t. Think. So.

      1. mpalomar

        “The creepy serial killer in Silence of the Lambs,”
        – Now I know why I avoided ever seeing that movie.

        my skin ground up, sold for big bucks, and used to enlarge some goomba’s penis????
        – Yes that thought occurred to me too; though I always suspected I had it in me to be something of a big prick.

  5. Drake

    The Fermi Paradox in US Health Care Donald M. Berwick, JAMA. It’s not “waste.” It’s rent.

    Precisely. It’s amazing how great paradoxes can be resolved when you define the terms correctly. Because $2000 ambulance rides are ‘waste’, and emergency room practitioners that aren’t on the same plan as the hospital. I’d even quibble about it being rent, it’s often outright predation on the most vulnerable.

      1. Drake

        Perhaps, and I know that the concept of rent has a long history in economic thought, but what I think of as rent is a regular and transparent charge for something obvious, often bound up in many layers of law, even if the legal protections are often inadequate. Health care is another beast entirely. The payments are large, unexpected, opaque and often unexplained and inexplicable, and your rights are at best also unexplained and inexplicable, if not non-existent. That’s not rent, that’s piracy or extortion. Add to that the neediness and often helplessness of those so extorted and you have ‘the finest healthcare system in the world’.

    1. Synoia

      The Fermi paradox could be not so great a paradox when one considered all the conditions:

      Temperate orbital zone
      Collision with large body to redistribute minerals
      Large moon to generate tides and beaches, the birth place of land life
      Stable Sun
      Unintelligent life destroyed, multiple times
      Rise of the mammals
      Longevity of the so call “intelligent” species
      Climate change
      Immolation predicted less that 200 years after the invention of radio (detectable external signals)

      Assign a probability to each, and the probability of a simultaneous “intelligent like us” civilization coincident with ours falls to a very small number.

      I postulate that a long established intelligent civilization would completely avoid all contact with us. The insanity (greed) could be infectious.

      1. witters

        Assign a probability to each, and the probability of a simultaneous “intelligent like us” civilization coincident with ours falls to a very small number.

        Indeed, perhaps even less than 1.

    2. Cuibono

      To be fair, he does say this:
      “Many health services research studies have shown that, under the payment systems currently in charge, some of the very methods for waste reduction that Shrank et al cite would reduce profit for the health care organizations that use them.”

    3. Cuibono

      Berwick is incredibly week kneed here however esp when he writes:
      “In local markets, physicians can champion changing payment from fee-for-service to shared risk and forms of global payment that encourage everyone to end wasteful care. ”

      THese methods have been tried and failed. they do not save money or lives.
      He knows that.
      Why does he fail to call out M4A?

    4. Susan the other`

      That it was published by the JAMA is interesting. It omitted some stuff. Like the skim private health insurance takes (at least 20%); like the monopolistic pricing privilege given (given!) to the pharmaceutical companies. So if those two are not included, just how big is the “massive waste” – much more than 30%. We could probably eliminate 50% of the “waste” (i.e. blatant graft and grift) by doing tiered medical services. State run facilities that take care of basic medical necessities. That stuff is way cheap to do. And the bigger medical situations, like cancer, various surgeries, etc. could be monitored and audited with much higher precision. $800 billion is lots of fudging. The JAMA can see the writing on the wall and this is probably the first of more red herrings to come.

  6. Eclair

    RE: President Trump and Bernard Arnault to Open New Louis Vuitton Factory in Jefferson County Texas.

    Should this not be listed under “Class Warfare?” About 20 years ago, we spent a few days in Lyon, France, because my spouse was working near there. We wandered about the ruins of the Roman colosseum, and then spent an afternoon poking about in dim, low-ceilinged hovels of the silk-weavers’ quarter. It’s where the workers produced the hundreds of yards of fabric used to adorn the Palace at Versailles. The contrast between the conditions of the workers and the splendor surrounding royalty and their enablers provided me with a visceral understanding of why the French Revolution had to happen.

    One sees a unique marketing opportunity here: mashed up human skin to inject (See: “In the Rush to Harvest Body Parts …” LA Times) for plumping up sagging faces, could be delivered in a thousand dollar LV-emblazoned tote bag. (That LV stuff is sooooo ugly!)

    1. Quentin

      Discerning women and their impeccable partners insist on imitation Louis Vuitton only available in places like Canal Street, New York City, and the Grand Bazar of Tehran. Or in a pinch, secondhand will do.

      1. Synoia

        Really discerning women favor Hermes, LV is for the unwashed masses.

        As I understand Hermes’ business practices, Hermes appears a master in tying sales, which I believe are illegal in the US.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The French Revolution happened because the rich stopped buying the silk. It might not be as useful as lowering the tax burden on the little people or building bridges, but it kept people employed and money flowing or trickling to local communities. Versailles was built with out facilities, so it may not have been so wonderful.

      “Learn to code” is the 21st century “let them eat cake.”

      Between policies of asset inflation, the fantasy of the gig economy, and reckless MIC spending, I see us stuck in a deranged Versailles situation. Enough to stumble forward, but a change without corresponding structural changes, not asking CEOs to sign pledges, will be a disaster.

      1. Summer

        A CEO “pledge”?
        Wouldn’t be worth the paper it would be written on.

        Akin to, “if I ask nicely, the rattlesnake won’t bite me.”

        1. inode_buddha

          I’ve never seen a pledge that they will honor unless it is backed up by either a lawyer, or a gun, or lot of money.

          Previous employer had a very nice, slick employee manual published, espousing how wonderful everything is because these are our policies (not that they were followed except in the most narrow literal sense). Company was privately held by one family. Large employer, 3-digit millions revenue. The very last page of the book had only one line, in very fine print: “Subject to change at any time without notice”.

          My immediate co-worker saw that, and dropped the book in the nearest waste bin.

    3. barefoot charley

      Those Lyon streets of the Croix Rousse contain testaments to earnest liberal benefactors and catholic reformers who recognized what was wrong and how to right it. One faded hoarding in a neighborhood church implied that the most famous and effective reformer it celebrated died in poverty, of despair. This was generations after the revolution.

  7. Heidi’s master

    The Fermi Paradox article seems somewhat clueless as to why waste has not been eliminated. It considers that maybe waste is income or profits. Good grief most any investigator would say “Show me the money” trail and I will show you the vested interests that prevent waste reduction.

    1. Robert McGregor

      @Heidi’s, He says, “The viscosity comes from legacy investments in capital structures, legacy workforce habits and configurations, and legacy thinking, blinding even smart executives and boards of directors to the need to change.

      That is a roundabout way of referring to the “vested interests that prevent waste reductions.” It’s too bad there isn’t an “Uber for Medicine,” where some stupid billionaires would finance a losing operation where you can call an ambulance from your App, schedule your doctor’s appointment, etc., see the exact prices of procedures. If you need a colonoscopy, you could look at the App and see how the pricing compares between Clinic A & Clinic B like you now compare the price of the trip to the airport between Uber and Lyft.

      1. Procopius

        Can’t remember where, but a couple years ago I read an article that was puzzling over the finding that most people do not actually search for the most cost-effective non-emergency treatment alternatives. The example used was clinics providing CTI scans. Apparently the practice is not for hospitals to provide the scans for patients/doctors, but for the doctor to tell the patient he needs a particular type of scan (CTI, MRI, etc.) and schedule an appointment for the patient to bring the scan back for the doctor to interpret (I dunno, I haven’t been back to the states for a long time, so I don’t know how medicine is done there now). According to the article, there are web sites that list the (many) clinics, give their exact locations, and how much they charge. Despite this information patients tended to go to the closest clinic even if it was more expensive. I thought when I read the article that the most likely explanations were: none of the patients knew about the information sites, most of the patients were told by their doctor to go to a site that the doctor knew, or the price differences were so small the convenience factor over-rode the cost factor.

  8. xkeyscored

    Hezbollah and Israel: Deterrence at the edge of destruction Middle East Eye
    “The Israeli drone attack against a Hezbollah target in a southern suburb of Beirut on 25 August, followed by a limited Hezbollah retaliation on the Israeli-Lebanese border a week later, were the first major breaches of the status quo that has prevailed between the two adversaries for the past 13 years.”
    A typically obfuscated timeline. The September !st Hezbollah attack was likely a direct retaliation for an Israeli attack only two hours earlier. Most mainstream press articles either ignored the Israeli attack altogether, or portrayed it as some minor act of arson. Debka reported “Israel forces fired 155mm shells into the Shebaa Farms pocket of Mt Dov,” and “Heavy Israeli machine gunfire was also aimed into the Shebaa Farms area.”
    Israel sets fire to Lebanese wood to thwart stealthy Hizballah infiltrationSep 1, 2019 @ 15:06*
    Hizballah opens cross-border fire on northern Israel. IDF respondsSep 1, 2019 @ 17:05*
    *Israeli time, I guess

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that the problem is that Hezbollah does not obey Israel’s rules. Normally they go like this-

      Israel attacks someone weaker than it. They then issue a statement that if that weaker opponent dares retaliate, that they will be hit them harder. Rinse and repeat.

      The trouble is that Hezbollah can give as good as it gets. Hezbollah kicked Israel out of Lebanon back in 2000 and when Israel tried to invade them again in 2006, they broke their teeth on Hezbollah’s second stringers. For Israel, Hezbollah has become a peer competitor and that is something that they are finding hard to deal with.

      1. xkeyscored

        A peer competitor, but a highly assymetric one, as the jargon goes.
        Israel possesses nuclear weapons, as every country in the region is only too well aware.

    2. Roy G

      The article is fairly well reasoned, however, it doesn’t include the latest chapter; In early September in a Friday sermon, Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah would no longer tolerate Israeli drone incursions. Two days later, Hezb shot down an Israeli drone doing just that, and then AFAIK there have been no more Israeli drones since.

      The author also does lip service to the Israeli P.O.V. when at the end he references Hezbollah’s missiles as ‘essentially Iran’s.’ While the ties to Iran are real enough, Hezb has been largely self-sufficient and self-determining for many years now. Israel and the Western Media shortchange them at their own peril as Hezb are a legitimate resistance that now have support of broad swaths of Lebanese, including Aoun.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I recall a time when South Africa was roundly demonized and sanctioned for apartheid, the pressure was instrumental in its downfall. The whole world was watching. But ask someone about Israel’s present-day apartheid for Gaza, complete with internment camps, and receive the full crickets response.

        1. Roy G

          Indeed, and the Palestinians get more real support from the Shia Hezbollah than the lip service from their Sunni counterparts.

  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    Corey Robin is too kind. It’s obvious the “Obamanauts” and Obama himself are lazy children. They have no problem doing the fun and meaningless activities and fantasize about TV shows, but they had no interest in accomplishment or the work it requires.

    The crisis of the ACA website isn’t solved by calling in the Sebelius, addressing what went wrong,, determining how to fit it, etc, but immediately pivoted to not embarrassing Rashida Jones. In general, self reflection seems to be absent from these memoirs. My prediction is Obama never releases one.

    There are no small visions, just small people, and the Obama administration was teeming with them. The trivia of John Kerry spending three weeks in Vienna is perhaps the most mindless trivia one can imagine. George Marshall didn’t three weeks abroad for the Marshall Plan.

    1. KLG

      Shorter Corey Robin: Barack Obama has never engaged in a serious political fight he might lose.

      What else matters?

      He fooled me in 2008. But I had not yet read Adolph Reed on Obama, 1996, in The Village Voice (RIP). Excerpt on Reed’s Wikipedia page.

      1. cripes

        Well I sympathize with your disappointment, but can’t understand what was not clear about Mr Obamas artificial ascension to the throne.

        His 2004 “keynote” speech at the democratic convention that screamed 2008 IdPol presidential nominee, his stately walk into the senate unopposed by sacrificial lambs Jack Ryan (sex club scandal) and Alan Keyes (joke) where he served barely half an undistinguished term as he bided time for his presidential appointment. I suppose he was practicing his condescending, snarky debate performance against Hillary and Mitt.

        Appointing a raft of filthy Wall Street retreads to cabinet, at the height of financial panic, even before his inauguration, foaming the runway, “little single payers” the ACA, the Grand Bargain, normalizing extrajudicial assassination with baseball card selections every Tuesday in the White House, we all know what followed.

        A disgusting, transparent spectacle.

        I only pray that the lure of elitist token “minority leaders” will forever be sullied by the shame of the Obama Cult.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          well, the Bush Darkness was pretty exhausting, after all…
          I fell for it, too…the first time.
          but the economic team soured me pretty quickly.
          the flowers all dried up after that..

          the worst part, for me…out here…was trying to fight the local teabillies on their incivility and ignorance, but not any longer being able to even pretend that the dems were at my back– either personally, or ideologically, or morally.
          the language was no longer adequate, and the bumperstickers were faded and torn.

          1. KLG

            Yes, I confess to a case of Bush Derangement Syndrome, which caused me to miss the signals. The Shrub squeeze toy my graduate students gave me still. sits on my shelf as a reminder. But by March 2009 I knew we had been had. One other thing, though…My then early-20’s daughter registered hundreds of voters, the vast majority of whom voted for Obama in this purple state. She wasted a lot of energy but learned an early lesson.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          I heard audio of that “keynote speech”, probably on NPR back then, and I said to myself, “this guy will be President”. I didn’t even know what he looked like, anything about him. It sounds horrible now, or more probably, it was horrible then and I didn’t know enough to recognize it.

      2. marym

        It took me till the end of 2009 and the healthcare issue to figure it out. I hadn’t read Reed either, but thinking of some of the signals I dismissed along the way, maybe I’d have rationalized that for a while too!

        1. John

          I was sucked into the Obama vortex only to be disillusioned with the bailout of the banksters. The only thing that kept me with one foot in the boat was the unrelenting opposition of McConnell who was so clearly putting party ahead of the country. In retrospect I feel like a sucker. The “Obama experience” causes me to look with a jaundiced eye at young pretty inexperienced candidates. I see another flim flam job.

    2. pjay

      Yes. Way too kind. Robin has the capacity to be much more critical. In his defense, I suppose a legitimate review of so many books has to give their content its due; which is, as you say (and Robin points out), pretty small.

      One thing that does come through for those of us who can’t believe these people could actually believe what they profess: they can. They are that oblivious. At least most of them.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “The House doesn’t have to be ‘fair’ in its probe. But it should give Trump due process.”

    So the Washington Post is making John Yoo of all people a respectable person once again. I joked the other day that perhaps Yoo could be one day be made Chief Justice on the US Supreme Court but I am no longer so sure that it could not happen. Two other things I find hard to believe here. John Yoo is now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. So much for liberal California but Berkley? Back in the 60s the students at Berkley would have run someone like Yoo off the campus. How the times do change.

    1. smoker

      According to his current wiki page, Yoo has been a Law Professor at Berkeley since 1993. I had thought it was after his criminal deeds with Cheney and Bush, as his older wiki pages didn’t note the year. Most Liberal California™.

      I notice his current wiki page still doesn’t note who his parents were, I suspect they didn’t immigrate to Philadelphia as ‘nobodies’ though, maybe the State Department would provide that tidbit.

      1. smoker


        I had thought it was after his criminal deeds with Cheney and Bush, as his older wiki pages didn’t note the year.

        meaning, just after, because I looked up yoo immediately after that nightmare, and the wiki page made it appear that he had been brought on at Berkeley after that nightmare, versus almost a decade earlier..

  11. cnchal

    > Broken (see also macOS 10.15 Vista). As soon as you assume that Apple is strangling the Mac product line while still collecting a premium price everything makes sense.

    Like sin taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, there should be a sin tax on data centers. Instead of Amazon, Apple, Google and the rest bargaining for cheap power, they should pay triple the homeowners rate to discourage their use.

    I have a number of background jobs and processes on my iMac, which I basically treat as an always-on, home server. Some are run via cron, others by launchd. Some are run under my user account, others as root. A few examples:

    I have an AppleScript that runs every ten minutes and downloads photos from a server and imports them into
    – – – – – –
    It took around eight hours for to upgrade my 200GB iCloud Photos library the first time I opened it on Catalina. Since then, across multiple reboots, it simply refuses to update with new photos added to iCloud from other devices. Or upload new photos to iCloud that I imported directly on that machine. It just says “Updating…”, forever.

    Really? Billion of photos are taken, then stored on servers to what end? So AI can look at them and learn, what exactly?

    When one of those sparks of genius figures out how stupid the whole thing is, it will be lights out, unless humanity chokes itself to death first, storing pictures that will never see a human eye again, while gobbling vast amounts of electricity.

    A new day dawns, and crapification intensifies exponentially.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Billion of photos are taken, then stored on servers to what end? So AI can look at them and learn, what exactly?


      Human beings like to find patterns so they program their machines to do the same. Thinking you saw the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast doesn’t prove the Immaculate Conception, but clearly there are squillions to be made convincing the rubes it might be true so evidently sacrificing a planet is a small price to pay for our Silicon Valley overlords. They’ll just have some code monkeys make a new virtual one for their uploaded selves to play in.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      I used to run Little Snitch on my Mac until the sheer weight of the cookies bogged down the operating system (El Capitan and I would not update again to anything but Linux).

      It took me weeks to realize that a free music player app was running amok because I wouldn’t let it report my music library to the app maker.

      And Apple keeps forcing password updates on me to make sure I never remember what my password is (and god help me I can’t transfer data to my iPhone or iPad anymore with my computer unless they’re all logged into Apple [there’s an email workaround for that that which is just sad]).

      I am less disappointed in our government than I am in Apple.

    3. ewmayer

      I see in the “Aftermath” followup-post the author is already walking back his criticism and making nice with Apple C-suite bigwiggery – not because anything he said was incorrect, mind you, but because he now feels that holding company execs responsible for their decisions is somehow ‘unfair’:

      “Let me say this. I’m often highly critical of Apple. Because I believe in their vision of computing…” — Dude, “their vision of computing” has obviously degenerated in the past 10 years to “their vision of maximal rent extraction based on past-glory brand fumes”. Take the fanboi blinders off!

      “…Don’t get me wrong. I fully stand behind every criticism I leveled at Apple. From the specific bugs, to the broader statements about detecting a lack of focus on the Mac in recent years, to my final thesis about their lock-step, annual release cycle hurting the company’s ability to maintain software quality.

      But the part that wasn’t fair. The parts that I regret are my direct insults at those in charge. I’m all for eating the rich and all that, but in a general, class-warfare sense. When I’ve written mean things about Apple previously, I kept my words pointed at the company as a whole. Last week I took aim at a specific, small group of people.” — Which is exactly correct, because despite our corrupt corporatist courts having decreed that ‘corporations are people’, product decisions at corporations are in fact still being made by actual human people, the very same ones you called out in your “Broken” post for their clearly horrendous decision-making the OS release in question. Such decision-makers being rewarded for producing products people want and punished when they f*ck up is the essence of capitalist entrepreneurship, is it not?

      1. cnchal

        > Such decision-makers being rewarded for producing products people want and punished when they f*ck up is the essence of capitalist entrepreneurship, is it not?

        Yes. Furthermore, which people in crApple decided to have their latest and greatest Iphonie sprout 3 lenses. It is absurdity quadrupled. Then that precious picture of what’s for dinner uses up an exponentially increasing amount of electricity to upload it, store it on multiple servers because oh dear precious data that one can’t lose, to be retrieved and displayed probably never.

        Also, the relationship between the author and crApple is the same as the relationship between crApple and China. No truthiness allowed or you get cut off.

        Tech is a wasteland.

    4. Monty

      You only need to lose one set of digital photos of your infant children, or passed away elders, to realise the value of the cloud.

  12. anon in so cal

    Flashback re: US attitudes toward the Kurds:

    When the Kurds were being attacked by ISIS, in Kobani, in northern Syria, SoS Kerry dismissed their plight and:

    “suggested that preventing the fall of Kobani was not a strategic US objective. “As horrific as it is to watch in real time what is happening in Kobani, you have to step back and understand the strategic objective,” he said.

    …Notwithstanding the crisis in Kobani, the original targets of our efforts have been the command and control centres, the infrastructure.”

    1. Synoia

      There are Kurds in the Way. /s

      As I see it, the US pulled out and left an possibly insolvable problem for the Russians, possibly in an attempt to embarrass Putin, damage both his Syrian and Turkish friends, and further sow chaos at the western end of China’s silk road.

      Look like a possible US win to me. Let’s watch the US’ overtures to Turkey over the next few weeks. Turkey is more important to the US than either the Kurds or the Syrians.

      1. ambrit

        Ow! A gastronomic pun! Can Little Miss Muffet be far behind? And who will be the Spider in this psychodrama?

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Loving the NATO vs NATO aspect, it took 4 decades or so but Milo Minderbinder can finally take a bow.

        And here I thought the current drone bomb business model was already perfect: scare the pants off the hapless US taxpayer until he forks over the $$$ to pay for complicated multi-million $$$ flying robots that are completely destroyed the first time they’re used.

        But that model has one annoying flaw: you need a bad guy country to host the festivities. Impoverished grandmothers (preferably brown) standing next to a goat in a godforsaken land nobody can find on a map are perfect (Yemen, Sudan, Mali, etc). A flick of a joystick by a pimply-faced 24-year old in Ely, Nevada who didn’t feel like slinging burgers at McDonalds and Grandma becomes a charred red mist. Raytheon stock goes up! And the female Senator from Raytheon Massachusetts takes a bow. Jawbs!

        But this is an even better model, no need to constantly search for a new enemy: just bomb yourself! And I have an even better permutation: Brandon in Ely can just target the drone to hit: Brandon in Ely! Big savings on fuel. Or even better yet: just program the drones leaving the Raytheon plant to target: the Raytheon plant! That way you can constantly make bank rebuilding it.

        Where’s Jonathan Swift when you need him.

        1. polecat

          He’s sailing, by fair winds, right straight into the hyper-sonic lovin arms of the lilies•putin .. and singing “All together Now” as those new-found allies are towed the line !


    2. Katniss Everdeen

      So let me see if I’ve got this straight.

      A few weeks ago, the Kurds were keeping america safe by fighting against the Syrian army to oust Assad as part of the Syrian Defense Force, a group the u.s. supported.

      Now that Trump has stood down 1000 american soldiers and “abandoned” the Kurds, the Kurds are calling for HELP from the Syrian army to protect them from the Turks which Assad is, evidently, going to provide.

      And Russia is the only clear “winner” here.

      I suspect there is a strong element of making it up as you go along at work here.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        from 30,000 feet, i reckon it’s always been about screwing with russia.
        pipelines and access to the Med.
        our poobahs pine for the cold war.

        1. polecat

          “Projection” seems a mighty fine high .. when one is up in the stratosphere, huffing the very wisps of empire’s stinking fiat fumes.

      2. Plenue

        SDF are Syrian Democratic Forces, not Defense Force. It’s mostly just window dressing to make it seem like a genuine ‘opposition’ group; the heart of the force was always Kurdish. The tacked on Arab elements started melting away before the Turks even invaded.

        Kurds submitted to Damascus in a big way, Syrian Army units are being rushed to positions all along the border and contact line and are already engaged in fighting with the Turkish militant proxies northwest of Manbij. Lots of new Syrian red on the formerly Kurdish yellow of the battle map.

      3. The Rev Kev

        All those special forces that the British and French have there will also have to vamoose. The Pentagon was also trying to get other countries to put their units there and just recently Denmark agreed. If they are there they will also have to skoot.

        1. Plenue

          Seems at least some of the British have already fled into Iraq, while the French say they’re ‘securing’ their people, and had already said they will leave if the US leaves (which we seem to be doing rapidly).

          1. The Rev Kev

            The French yesterday were talking about securing their military and civilians. I wondered about the later until I realized what they probably meant. Those civilians are probably just spooks and mercs which seem to be standard fixtures in modern wars.

            1. polecat

              They are, I’m sure .. as with the rest of the western meat sacks, being shaken and stirred … with whatever IC•sis hasn’t, by now, melted in that desert expanse.

    3. Procopius

      At the time, although we did not know it, the State Department was supporting ISIS as an ally against Bashar al Assad. I did not see that statement from Kerry, but if I had I would have asked him to share with us what the strategic objective of our involvement in Syria was. I still think it was to prevent the pipeline from Iran through Syria in order to facilitate the pipeline from Saudi Arabia through Syria.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Finding a Vaccine for the Impeachment Derangement Virus”: ‘Can any of the Democratic candidates pull America back from this madness?’

    If any of tried to, if I was them I would be staying away from any grassy knolls.

    1. Dan

      Rev, I Like how he quotes Allen Ginsberg at the end. However, lest anything young person or one without historical memory think Ginsberg was some great poet, or respected literary figure, he was a loathsome child molester whose only promoter was his childhood confrere Larry Ferlin, who tacked -“ghetti” on the end of his name to sound Italian and created the loony literary library of the Beat movement in San Francisco, and became a multi-millionaire in the process.

      Ginsberg was a founding member of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). Like many homosexuals, he was molested in his own childhood. In June 1977, during the Boston/Boise scandal, in which he supported the defendants, Ginsberg said on TV, “I had sex when I was 8 with a man in the back of my grandfather’s candy store in Revere, and I turned out okay.”

      Ginsberg wrote: “Attacks on NAMBLA stink of politics, witch hunting for profit, humorlessness, vanity, anger and ignorance…I’m a member of NAMBLA because I love boys too – everybody does, who has a little humanity.”

      1. Plenue

        Part of being a fully functioning adult is to be able to engage in nuance. A person can be both repulsive and still have things of value to say. Examine what is said, not who speaks.

        “Like many homosexuals, he was molested in his own childhood.”

        This attempt at implied slander (‘gay people are just mentally damaged’) isn’t going to get you far around here.

        1. Dan

          “Around here”, what’s that supposed to mean?

          Are you cheerleading for Epstein’s words of wisdom?

          He offered the story himself in an interview.

          Implied slander? It’s not implied, I’m doing my best to crap on Ginsberg’s legacy as a San Franciscan who grew up around him and his followers. Does his homosexuality immunize him from criticism?

          Notice the quotation marks?

          1. Plenue

            “‘Around here’, what’s that supposed to mean?”

            This site.

            “Are you cheerleading for Epstein’s words of wisdom?”

            You mean Ginsberg? And yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing. If something is worthwhile, it’s worthwhile regardless of who said it.

            “Implied slander? It’s not implied”

            So you’re saying gay people are broken and the result of childhood abuse?

            “Does his homosexuality immunize him from criticism?”

            Saying it’s the result of abuse, and implicitly conflating it with pedophilia, are the problems here.

            And Conservapedia is an utterly worthless source of information.

    2. polecat

      There IS, nor will there ever be, a vaccine for OMB RAGE.

      So starvation of the Status quo it must surely be.

  14. notabanktoadie

    re: Funny how never arresting employers is a bipartisan consensus. Lambert

    In ancient Israel, the productive assets (almost entirely agricultural) were roughly equally owed by all Hebrews and with provisions in the Law (e.g. Leviticus 25) to keep it that way – so working for wages was not something a Hebrew ordinarily had to do.

    As a result, non-Hebrews were welcomed as a source of wage labor.

    Contrast that to the present USA where the citizens have been largely reduced to wage, debt and rent slavery by:
    1) government privileges for private credit/debt creation
    2) no limits to the concentration of land ownership in the private sector.

    1. Geo

      On that note, it’s amazing how much in the Bible is written about the evils of usury yet is ignored by those who claim to believe in that book and embrace our current financial system. Putting the needy in debt is one of the worst sins of the Abrahamic faiths, yet it is the foundation of our current system.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If we worship The Almighty Dollar as God, who is created, limitlessly and ex nihilo, by a more superior, omnipotent entity, what then, do we name it?

            Or should we not pronoune that?

            1. polecat

              It’s a shame we don’t have more of those sun glasses to give away to who’ll SEE, if given the chance.

              Jesus would’ve found them rather cool and efficacious , I believe.

      1. Partyless Poster

        Not to mention 2 of the 10 commandments are about “coveting”
        Seems like our entire economy would cease to exist if there were no coveting.
        One wonders what the world would be like if Christians actually read the bible.

        1. Procopius

          That’s why they’re not supposed to, unless accompanied by their pastor/priest/confessor. The movement started by Tynsdale and embraced by the Lollards and Non-Conformists was eventually disavowed by the Established Church.

      2. Brian (another one they call)

        “The Founding Myth” Andrew Seidel. It shows how christianity and christian nationalism is incompatible with the principles of democracy and our constitution. George Carlin would likely have approved. He did a wrap of of the 10 commandments that comes to similar conclusion.
        The reality of the farce is strong within us

  15. Craig H.

    > The NBA-China Disaster Is a Stress Test for Capitalism

    1. it is not
    2. the writer is mixing apples and oranges from the gitgo. A big sports manager saying something stupid on twitter has absolutely nothing to do with the Reason for Being of any corporate entity and he writes it is relevant to them all!
    3. James Harden kowtowing to his Chinese partners is the funniest thing I saw all year. How much money do you think that guy needs?

    Answer: more. A lot more. Him going bankrupt a couple years after he retires would be even better than Antonio Brown.

    This is not relevant to the real world. Writer needs to get a grip. He should interview Pat Riley.–pissed–pat-riley-s-message-to-the-miami-heat–to-the-media–to-everybody—just-get-a-grip—video-222045001.html

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A litte more detail on kowtow (from Wikipedia):

      In Imperial Chinese protocol, the kowtow was performed before the Emperor of China. Depending on the solemnity of the situation different grades of kowtow would be used. In the most solemn of ceremonies, for example at the coronation of a new Emperor, the Emperor’s subjects would undertake the ceremony of the “three kneelings and nine kowtows”, the so-called grand kowtow, which involves kneeling from a standing position three times, and each time, performing the kowtow three times while kneeling.

      Kneel three times, each time, while on the ground, putting the head to the ground three times.

      1. Craig H.

        google image search doesn’t fetch it but according to The Secret History (predates modern conventional history documentation standards) Theodora required supplicants to lay face down with arms fully spread to side and kiss her big toe.

  16. Tomonthebeach

    The Glass Floor is very real.

    My own life echos the assertions of this story. Although my branch of the family tree was a remote twig, my Great Uncle lived next door to Henry Ford. One of my late mom’s cousins lived next door to Mrs. Wallgreen, etc.

    In contrast, my next-door neighbors growing up were people you never heard of, much less trademark names. As a result, I had to work my way up from the proverbial 1950’s suburban middle class where 1-car garages were the norm. I worked fulltime to get through the local college, was drafted (couldn’t afford a pair of bone spurs), later got a masters at my state university, and finished my PhD at a small nondescript university, and lived very happilyeverafter.

    Some of my cousins, despite their wealth and privilege, are still dependents into their late 50s. When they turned 16 they all got a new Cadillac convertible. They had a pool out back in a gated, very exclusive, community. They could go to any school they wanted. Yet those same cousins got expelled from several universities for majoring in party-hardy and eventually got BAs 6-8 years later. One brother transferred to the state penitentiary after DEA found too many drugs in his dorm room. The oldest briefly ran the family empire but screwed up early on and was removed. Those brothers are still dependent on their parents to maintain the lifestyle in which they were raised – just biding time till they will get to return to their former lives of wealth and privilege after their parents die. Of course, the majority of my cousins who started near the top floor were able to leap even higher with diligence and talent. Not all rich kids are spoiled slackers and skaters.

    I do find it amusing to watch the Trump boys hijinx on TV. SNL really does their real lives justice characterizing them as idiots skating on that glass floor.

    1. John A

      As the saying goes in the north of England, apropos mill owners who make the money and their descendents that squander it, ‘clogs to clogs in three generations’. Although these days, the ones who make the money make so much it’s virtually impossible to squander it completely down the line. Case in point the Tetrapak wastrel son and his American heiress wife. Both serious heroin addicts. She died of an overdose, he kept her body locked in a bedroom in the multistorey house in London for weeks, preventing the staff from going in. Then he got picked up by the cops for erratic behaviour on the street under the influence and on investigating the house, the police discovered the very sad and damning story.

      1. Ook

        Seems this idea is everywhere: in Japan it’s 長者三代 (choujasanndai), roughly “wealth lasts three generations”.

  17. Christopher Fay

    In Taiwan there is a lot of separation the users are expected to do. Separate collection for food waste as potential livestock feed has been practiced for years

  18. Titus

    Well Lambert you got this right on the link about ‘the Fermi paradox‘ in medical care, one persons ‘waste’ is indeed another persons income – about $800 billion a years worth, really is there anything left to steal? To quote briefly;

    “The fourth explanation, politics, is the most plausible explanation of all. What Shrank and colleagues and their predecessors call “waste,” others call “income.” People and organizations (for-profit and not-for-profit) making big incomes under current delivery models include very powerful corporations and guilds in a nation that tolerates strong influences on elections by big donors.”

  19. Summer

    RE: The ‘Glass Floor’ Is Keeping America’s Richest Idiots At The Top…HuffPo

    This reveals itself in the stagnation and crapification of everything.
    Makes for an accelerated collapse.
    Be ready!!

    1. Procopius

      Also, it’s not only the richest idiots. Most of them seem to be in the 10%, though. Did you ever see Megan McArdle’s description of how the connections she made through her father and at school saved her from having to look for a job?

  20. xkeyscored

    Macabre Video of Fake Trump Shooting Media and Critics Is Shown at His Resort NYT
    This video isn’t just macabre, it’s an outright glorification of and incitement to terrorism. Trump enters a church, armed, and massacres everyone.

    Many parishioners’ faces have been replaced with the logos of news media organizations, including PBS, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and NBC. Mr. Trump stops in the middle of the church, pulls a gun out of his suit jacket pocket and begins a graphic rampage. As the parishioners try to flee, the president fires at them. He shoots Black Lives Matter in the head, and also shoots Vice News. … From there, Mr. Trump attacks a range of his critics. He strikes the late Arizona senator John McCain in the back of the neck. He hits the television personality Rosie O’Donnell in the face and then stabs her in the head. He strikes Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California. He lights the head of Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential rival, on fire.

  21. DJG

    Wowsers. Corey Robin pretty much buries the Obama administrations. The most remarkable person he mentions turns out to be the hard-to-take Valerie Jarrett. Who knew?

    A detail that indicates just how much Obama believed in defeating himself and then calling it a victory:

    His famous phrase, “Hard things are hard,” which was made into a plaque he kept on his desk, was not a reference to the Affordable Care Act, as is commonly believed. According to top strategist David Axelrod, it was a reference to entitlement cuts, to Obama’s genuine desire to impose some kind of austerity on Social Security and Medicare in return for a deal with the Republicans on taxes and the debt. Thankfully, the Republicans refused it.

    Sheesh. Yet the politics of impeachment is rank with a feeling of resentment and a desire for restoration. No wonder Joe Biden acts like a zombie. No wonder Hillary Clinton can’t get away from her absurd idea that the election was stolen from her by the Russians. No wonder we are stuck with the “leadership” of Pelosi and Hoyer.

    1. Geo

      It was republicans who voted against the first incarnation of the bank bailout too. Sometimes a broken clock tells the right time. But, between the two parties it’s like a never ending game of Russian Roulette for us little people.

  22. Jason Boxman

    And this is comical to read, because when the Obama administration had the undisputed power to save black homeownership and black wealth in this country (and every other citizen’s), it chose the banks and Wall Street instead.

    Jarrett sees matters differently: capital is an ally and instrument of political power—especially when that power is wielded by, and in the name of, African Americans.

    (Corey Robin)

    1. Duck1

      Another howler about Jarrett:

      A Robert Moses of the neoliberal age, she cuts ruthlessly through red tape, not to convert public resources into government action, but to siphon them off to businessmen and real-estate developers, who she sees as the true agents of progress.

      1. barefoot charley

        Valerie Jarrett’s grandfather was Robert Taylor, an effective mid-century advocate for pubic housing. The biggest and worst public housing project in Chicago was named in his honor, and torn down more than 10 years ago in a blizzard of Section 8 vouchers. Is it that she knows what doesn’t work? Or she knows what does? Among Obama’s earliest South Side funders were real estate grifters.

    2. LifelongLib

      But it wasn’t an either/or thing. If homeowners had been bailed out the money would still have ended up with the banks and Wall Street. IIRC there were “moral hazard” concerns, fears that homeowners who didn’t qualify for help would be alienated, etc.

      1. barefoot charley

        The moral hazard concern I recall was that if we let banksters profit from unregulated profligacy and fraud, they’ll keep doing it. I’d say by now we have “immoral proof.”

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        I did wonder about the possibility of something along those lines & I suppose that Madrid needs to be seen to apply some punishment, but making even living martyrs does not usually end well.

  23. cripes


    The world’s largest rodents, Capybaras are friendly herbivores related to Guinea Pigs, reside exclusively in South America, weigh up to 150 lbs and will approach humans for food and petting. I learned this walking the Botanic Park in Rio De Janeiro. As I bent to drink from a fountain, I felt something nuzzling my ankle and was startled to find a juvenile Capybara weighing about 50 lbs peering up at me with expectation in his beady eyes. He followed me for a bit hoping for a handout before he wandered off in search of better prospects.

    Still wish I’d brought some nuts or a fistful or swamp reeds for him.

    1. Ignacio

      Nice guys they are! Called capybaras in Brazil, chigüires in Venezuela and carpinchos in Argentina the offspring call mum’s attention with a kooy! kooy!

    2. Doggerel

      Capybara stands by the old gum tree
      Little ones nearby looking twee
      Laugh capybara laugh
      Cuz you coulda been in Oz with kookaburra

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Kinda like very large guinea pigs of which I have 2 named Jack & Dougal named after 2 priests in the TV series ” Father Ted ” – we did have Ted as well in the form of an old dog but he died 2 years ago.

        I honestly don’t know how anybody could hurt or experiment on those little guys, although I can understand why South Americans peasants / Indians would eat them.

    1. Angie Neer

      Thanks for the laugh! That article left my jaw on the floor. It’s the best example of mindless “entrepreneurs are our saviors” rah-rah nonsense I’ve ever seen. “Real Clear Markets” indeed.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Would you believe that this article originally ran in Forbes? Then some editor must have had a god-what-have-we-done moment and the whole article was 404ed from their site.

    1. Geo

      I went to college for a year in Canada, just a few miles across the border. It was amazing how much that invisible line changed the news I received about the United States. Eye opening for me. Ever since then I’ve tried to include as much foreign news and history into my reading as possible. All media will have a bias of ideology and region/loyalties, but if I want to understand my own home it’s good to find out what my neighbors and broader community thinks of it. Similar reason I imagine a lender prefers to look at my credit score over just asking me for my own opinion of my credibility. :)

  24. Carey

    Excerpt from yesterday’s linked piece ‘Rotten STEM: How Technology Corrupts Education’:

    “..How did we get here? The American public education system, a rusted-out 1976 mustard sedan whose “check engine” light is always on, is driven by a psychopath who wants, by turns, to crash it for the insurance, to insist that cars can be submarines, and to spend hilarious sums on unnecessary parts.

    Libertarians with their vouchers would rather send the vehicle over a cliff, cash the insurance payout, and save themselves. Progressives want to replace the curriculum with pamphlets based on social theories invented five minutes ago, submerging the institution in an absurd soup. “Sober-minded centrists” promote coding, gadgets, and the Taylorization of the classroom, the equivalent of gleaming cus­tom chrome rims on such a tired auto: pointless, expensive, embarrassing, distracting enough to cause an accident, and no help what­soever for the corrosion happening inside the engine block..”

  25. Susan the other`

    Wirtschaft Uni, Vienna. The Institute for Ecological Economics. Capital Stranding Cascades. Decarbonization and productive asset utilization. I’ve never seen such a lovely graph – a rainbow graph of the epicenter of industrial decarbonization spreading out to all the dependent industries. This is what Gail Tverberg has been telling us. It is a systemic problem. To be “productive” at this point all industries must cut back capacity. They don’t say it; but if you can’t figure it out you will lessen the catastrophe by self-sacrifice. It’s a very good analysis of what needs to be trimmed.

  26. Summer

    It wouldn’t be so bad if a lot of big businesses started bowing down to China’s censorship.
    Could open up pathways for other businesses that don’t.

  27. Stormcrow

    Whitney Webb
    Her latest on Epstein: Three Scrubbed Reports

    While the Jeffrey Epstein scandal has largely faded from media coverage in the United States, it has continued to attract attention abroad, particularly in the United Kingdom in connection with Epstein’s long-standing association with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and the Queen’s son. … Yet, since Epstein’s arrest in July, many of these older articles on Epstein and Maxwell, as well as those focusing on the Epstein-Prince Andrew relationship, have disappeared from the archives of several prominent U.K. media outlets that reported on these relationships years ago. … [Webb recovered access to the scrubbed articles.]

  28. Roy G

    Regarding ‘Secret testimony aimed at keeping Trump in the dark, says Adam Schiff,’ it is both remarkable and disheartening that so many people on the nominal left have fallen so hard for Trump Derangement Syndrome that they are OK with such abuses of power. ‘Secret Whistleblower’ really? What really seems like an obvious tell – that this person was immediately and universally anointed as a whistleblower (and a CIA agent to boot!) – only makes sense if one can differentiate between legitimate whistleblowers such as Kiriakou, Binney, Manning and Assange.

    Also strange is the fact that so much trust is being given to an obviously deranged character like Schiff. Again, perhaps not so unusual if one credulously accepts that Brennan, Clapper, Comey et al are somehow true defenders of Democracy.

    1. neutron

      “obviously deranged character like Schiff” Really? Now who is suffering from a derangement syndrome?

      The whistle blower(s) reported concerns to the IG who investigated and found there was merit in their concerns. The identity of the whistleblowers is kept secret for their own safety so Trump and Barr can’t exact revenge. Also, the testimony should be kept secret for now so that other witnesses aren’t biased by public testimony. Eventually, the transcripts will likely be made public.

      Congress has a legitimate function of oversight of the Executive branch.

      1. pretzelattack

        “for their own safety”. horsecrap. and a cia plant distributing hearsay is not a “whistleblower”. the cia has no business trying to game the political process.
        this “for their own safety” propaganda is right up there with the clinton death list, just goes to show the thin veneer of difference between so called centrist democrats and the republicans they claim to be their political rivals and enemies (then they share sweets in skyboxes).

  29. ewmayer

    “Brussels baffled by UK’s ‘complex’ proposals to fix Brexit deadlock FT. I didn’t know “baffled” was in the diplomatic lexicon.” — I’m reminded of that funny scene early in the film Highlander, where a couple of the NYC cops go to grab a bite at hot dog cart, only to have the pretending-to-be-borderline-illiterate vendor (played by Damien Leake) take the mickey out of them by displaying a copy of the latest edition of some local tabloid whose cover is all about the failure of the NYCD to find any suspects in a series of grisly beheading murders. Vendor: “Hey! What does ‘baffled’ mean? Hee hee! What is ‘incompetent?’ Ha ha!”

  30. Jack Parsons

    In the Warren/Trump/Dream article, we learn that:

    Warren is at the top of the Democratic primary’s fundraising field, just behind Bernie Sanders, and has turned out massive crowds at her events.

    I believe the word would be ‘near’ the top. They just can’t help erasing Bernie, can they?

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