Links 10/19/19

Thailand: Giant 4m-long king cobra caught in sewer BBC (furzy)

Extinction Rebellion and the Birth of a New Climate Politics New York Magazine (UserFriendly). Note the passing mention of Occupy Wall Street is all wrong. It lasted all of two months and was broken up by a seventeen-city, coordinated paramilitary crackdown.

Commentary: Growing preference for SUVs challenges emissions reductions in passenger car market IEA (guurst)

Johnson & Johnson Recalls Baby Powder Over Possible Asbestos Contamination Gizmodo

‘Fear Of Falling’: How Hospitals Do Even More Harm By Keeping Patients In Bed Kaiser Health News


Hong Kong protests: bring back app or risk ‘complicity’ in repression, Apple told Guardian

Cooling Economy Drives Chinese Officials to Prioritize Growth Wall Street Journal

Brexit. Relatively thin here because we’ll know how this breaks very soon and most of the news is horse-picking.

Time and motion Chris Grey. Important. Note his discussion of how key details of trade arrangements for Northern Ireland have been punted.

Johnson’s deal: The reality of what is being proposed Ian Dunt. Key section:

People’s lives will be damaged. They will be poorer. They will be £2,250 a year worse off by 2034. The nation’s finances will be hurt. There will, in the end, be more austerity. And this will be done just as the world is most uncertain, amid a bitter trade war between China and the US, when the WTO is being brought to its knees by Donald Trump.

Boris Johnson confronts Tory grandees and Labour in Brexit battle Financial Times. Will DUP + Tory defections exceed Labour crossovers? This is the calculus. The Letwin Amendment, to pass enabling legislation first, would force an extension, give MPs a chance to have a much better look-see, and undercut Johnson’s perceived momentum.

This is getting around on Twitter, not that it will move any votes:

Farage looks sweaty on the clip I saw, but I’m not dignifying him by including it.


Catalonia protests: Marches and general strike paralyse Barcelona BBC

Troops Locate El Chapo’s Son Sparking Intense Gun Battle Bloomberg (Bill B)


US Has Backed 21 of the 28 ‘Crazy’ Militias Leading Turkey’s Brutal Invasion of Northern Syria Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)

The Democrats’ Hypocrisy on Syria Peter Beinart. UserFriendly: “Peak reflexive anti-Trumpism.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Home Builders Ditch Nest After Google Ties Devices To Digital Assistant Bloomberg

“I sold my face to Google for $5”: Why Google’s attempt to make facial recognition tech more inclusive failed Vox

Trump Transition

As Trump Fumes, GOP Advances Goal of Lifetime Federal Judges New York Magazine (resilc)


Forget Trump’s “Meltdown”—Follow the Testimony New Yorker (furzy)

Ukrainegate Risks Handing Trump Another Gift Nation (UserFriendly)

Sharia law is already here — the IRS must respond The Hill (UserFriendly)

HUD officials knowingly failed ‘to comply with the law,’ stalled Puerto Rico hurricane relief funds NBC (furzy)


Biden struggles to reverse fall The Hill

Elizabeth Warren faced sexism and shed a husband teaching law at University of Houston Washington Post, UserFriendly: “More hagiography.”

Missing From Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 Surge: Democratic Endorsements New York Times

Harry Reid: Elizabeth Warren More Corruptible Than Bernie Jimmy Dore

Would Warren’s Ideology Weaken Her as Democrats’ Nominee? RealClearPolitics. UserFriendly: “Mostly right, but assumes blue collar whites can’t be won back over.”

Beto O’Rourke 2020 Has Been Worse Than Useless New York Magazine

How Bernie Sanders won the endorsements of Ocasio-Cortez and Omar Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Clinton suggests Russia grooming Gabbard to run as third-party 2020 candidate The Hill (UserFriendly)

One reason why Sanders has been so orthodox on foreign policy, save showing sympathy for the Palestinians. But good news now is top trending hashtag is #QueenofWarmongers:

California Burning

PG&E CEO Says It Could Impose Blackouts in California for a Decade Wall Street Journal

PG&E Has No Intention of Paying People for Blackout Right Now Bloomberg

737 Max

Stunning 737 MAX text messages reveal Boeing knew of MCAS aggression in 2016 and misled FAA Seattle Times

Boeing lead pilot warned about flight-control system tied to 737 Max crashes, then told regulators to delete it from manuals CNBC

Mark Zuckerberg has defended Facebook’s decision to let politicians lie in ads MIT Technology Review

SoftBank and JPMorgan at odds over WeWork rescue Financial Times. Godzilla v. Mothra.

J&J Recalls One Baby Powder Lot on Asbestos Concern Wall Street Journal

Worst Case Scenario For Older Teslas Coming To Fruition As Some Won’t Charge And Screen Stops Working: Report Jalopnik (resilc)

Opioid settlement talks fail, landmark trial expected Monday Reuters

Class Warfare

Sallie Mae execs tan at Maui retreat while student debt crisis tops $1.6 trillion NBC (Chris)

Banning Out-of-Hours Email ‘Could Harm Employee Wellbeing’ BBC. This is silly and smacks of corporate-funded research favoring corporate backers. This minority needs to wrap their minds around composing now and sending later.

The problem with Amazon’s speedy shipping, in one graphic Vox (David L)

Antidote du jour (The Pleasant Lake Protective Association via Lawrence R):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ignacio

    Regarding protests in Catalonia, although there have been some violence and fires I believe that a large majority of demonstrators are pacific but, as usual, the violent are highligthed.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It’s an amazing moment. Hundreds of thousands of people in the streets in Catalonia, Ecuador, Lebanon, Hong Kong. Gilets Jaunes. Indonesia, Russia, Peru. Haiti, Egypt, Syria, Jerusalem, Iraq. All of them wanting some variation of Peace, Bread, and Land. And of course the MSM maintaining radio silence on the ones they do not sanction so people cannot connect the dots.

    1. Roger Boyd

      Separatism was ok for the breakup of Yugoslavia, but not acceptable for the core European nations, nor for the Ukraine.

      “Cui bono” is the operative decision process for the Western powers that be. Non-compliers will be disciplined until they understand their cognitive error.

      Same seems to go for popular demonstrations – Hong Kong good, France/Spain/Ecuador/Brazil not good or simply disappeared by the MSM.

      I start the day with Naked Capitalism, Moon of Alabama and Jimmy Dore – I need a good laugh mixed with my politics after a little too much of the truth.

  2. Livius Drusus

    Re: “I sold my face to Google for $5”: Why Google’s attempt to make facial recognition tech more inclusive failed.

    I feel like I am living in some cyberpunk black comedy. So the problem with facial recognition tech is that it is not inclusive enough, not that it massively enhances the surveillance power of governments and corporations? I sometimes get the feeling that many people would be fine with totalitarianism as long as it is sufficiently inclusive. Maybe some company will develop a woke panopticon.

    I sometimes wonder if the future of totalitarianism will be right-wing (fascist) or some strange mixture of social liberalism and the national security state. Imagine a nanny state with advanced surveillance tech and a huge security apparatus to make sure everyone plays nice.

    1. cnchal

      > Maybe some company will develop a woke panopticon.

      Too late. It’s already here, except the woke part. Google is fouling up the Nest so the “SMART HOME BUILDERS” are ditching them and making the home even moar of a panopticon with Amazon.

      I am baffled by who would want to be constantly recorded and filmed in their own home to have their digital effluent uploaded to the cloud, to be pored over by someone in Asia working for 10 cents an hour telling the AI algorithm what’s what. Hey AI, that thing has a foreskin, that one doesn’t!

      Must be the same people that buy SUVs. Everyone’s a narcissist now, but I have news for you “folks”, the machine doesn’t care about you.

      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        The Woke Panopticon. Apt title. This is really the curious spectacle of a ruling class immiserating itself and putting on a dog collar.
        I’m working class. I can’t afford any of this stuff. I don’t use SIRI (I wanted the jetpack future, not the ‘communicator’ future) . My teenage kid has no interest in most of the wundertech, nor do his friends.
        Meanwhile, I see all around me, the affluent ‘elite’ rolling in self-manufactured guilt like neurotic dogs. The liberal age is ending. Their total inability to envision something other than a grey corporate One World where ethnos and gender are long forgotten relics of a fascist past is making them look for anything or anyone who will bring back the 80s, when the ‘responsible’ people were in charge and materialism was in the ascendant.

        1. Fíréan

          “Clinton suggests Russia grooming Gabbard to run as third-party 2020 candidate”

          Gabbard isn’t a third party candidate, has she expressed an interest to become so ?
          Is this an attempt to convey a warning, a shot across the bows. to all or any Democratic party members who might consider going “third party” ?

          Within the party Gabbard can be controlled and suppressed yet if she , or others, went outside that control they could be conceived as a serious threat.

          So, is Gabbard perceived as such a threat that Clinton comes out and makes this, seemingly ridiculous, statement ?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            There is zero evidence that Gabbard has any interest in running as a third party candidate, and you have to start organizing way way way in advance to get on the ballot in 50 states. So this is a second smear, that Tulsi is really plotting to wreck Team Dem’s shot against Trump.

            My guess is that Clinton was triggered by Tulsi’s remarks in the debate, specifically going into detail and saying that Trump didn’t start the mess in Syria, it had many parents. Hillary probably took that personally and should have.

              1. Procopius

                Yeah, I think it was Prince Bandar who bypassed her and spoke directly to Obama, chiding him for not entering the conflict, “People are dying over there.” She was trying to focus all our military efforts on Russia, because they wouldn’t join NATO or something.

            1. richard

              it is a little amazing to me that it is now a thing that politicians get to be offended by having their record brought up
              that seems different. Pols have always run from their record, but didn’t they used to at least look a bit sheepish about it?
              One outcome of this is that i now owe gabbard another $27. well done hrc. just dynamite instincts, once again.

              1. Procopius

                And what’s this about the DNC and DCCC joining together to back a challenger to Tulsi? I thought that was against their rules. Are they going to ban each other after 2020?

          2. Cuibono

            Since they know already that the party will pevent Sanders and his possible running mate, this makes great sense. Get out in front. Plant the idea that ANY third party challenge is Russsian Asset

        1. Hepativore

          Wait until they start pushing facial recognition programs at airports that you cannot opt out of. I heard that the TSA is already doing this in some places.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Not true. Some airlines (one or two) have adopted facial recognition scanners in Miami for international flights. You can opt out and from the reports I’ve read, it’s less hassle than opting out of body scanners. They look at you cross-eyed, you have to be a bit insistent, but then they process your passport the normal way.

        2. kareninca

          My father did a lot of construction work during grad school. When he went for fingerprints in his 70s for a conceal carry permit, he was told that his fingerprints wouldn’t do; they were worn down. He had to have them done over and over again. We sort of assumed that this was for real, but then my mom applied for a conceal carry permit and was told the same thing! And she has never done any physical labor ever. Do they just say this to delay the process? What will this mean for fingerprints for other things? That they can just tell you that your fingerprints are no good?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            No, some people don’t have prints that will print well enough with ink, which is the traditional way. I assume that may still be the standard (even if an optical scan would capture much more detail) because an inked fingerprint is a good approximation of the sort of print one would leave in real life situations.

    2. xkeyscored

      many people would be fine with totalitarianism as long as it is sufficiently inclusive
      I get that exact feeling with regard to militarism and imperialism. So long as drone pilots and special forces accept women and LGBT people, everything is just fine. How comforting to know your family was not necessarily wiped out by a white heterosexual man.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The COW leftists would be fine with totalitarianism as long as a “fair percentage” of the totalitarian leaders and enforcers are Minority and LGBQT . . . and NONE of them are deplorables . . . because deplorables would be the handy scapegoat object of the COW Leftist Rainbow Tyranny. The COW leftists support Rainbow Tyranny the same way that Obama supports Rainbow Oligarchy.

          1. MyFunnyIdeas

            Church of Woke. See Douglas Murray’s new book: The Madness of Crowds for an enjoyable dissection of our current cultural cul de sac.

    3. RMO

      “I sometimes get the feeling that many people would be fine with totalitarianism as long as it is sufficiently inclusive.”

      Only sometimes? I frequently run into people who would consider Animal Farm a heartwarming vision of a Utopia if only there were a horse, cow and a chicken sitting at the table with the pigs and humans, delightedly cackling at the brutal exploitation of their fellow animals at the end of the book.

    4. Anon

      I sometimes wonder if the future of totalitarianism will be right-wing (fascist) or some strange mixture of social liberalism and the national security state. Imagine a nanny state with advanced surveillance tech and a huge security apparatus to make sure everyone plays nice.

      It is already here.

      My town has video camera’s (for crash/plate reading) at most signalized intersections. All city-owned facilities have video capture devices and the tourist harbor area has new cameras that can track any movement. Not only is your vehicle being identified, but your pedestrian movement as well. (It is only the lack of NSA-like server farms that mandates they “dump” the oldest data sooner rather than later.)

  3. ObjectiveFunction

    I know readers here these days are mainly riveted by the extended seppuku of the Reagan-Thatcher/Blair-Clinton neoliberal consensus, but Jeff Snider’s recent is interesting, and ominous. Here’s the meat:

    Most if not all attention is focused on China. While the correct target, everyone is coming it at from the wrong direction. The world awaits a crash in Chinese exports engineered by US tariffs.

    [But] China isn’t being driven down by a few billion in US tariffs. The system is once again experiencing widespread overproduction – meaning deflation. PPI fell by 1.2% year-over-year in Sep 2019, while factory gate prices fell by nearly 2%. [Yet] food and tobacco prices climbed an incredible 8.4% yoy, mainly thanks to mismanaged pork herds.

    Chinese technocrats are not actually patient geniuses playing some hidden long game. They are hanging on merely hoping something goes right.

    As China goes, so does everyone else down the supply chain; it’s what puts the sync in synchronized downturn.

    1. Sylviaatt

      Try as I may–I cannot find the article on the Snider site where you got these quotes. Could you provide a better link?

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      For those financially curious I highly recommend Alhambra’s Dollar University, 6 parts and extremely well-explained.

      We’re told 2008 was a banking crisis and is mostly behind us. In fact it was and is a monetary crisis and is very much with us.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Clinton suggests Russia grooming Gabbard to run as third-party 2020 candidate”

    I am going on the theory that Hillary decided to punch down on what she perceived to be a weaker opponent and ended up pulling back a bloody stump! Did she learn nothing from what happened to Kamala Harris?

    1. Fraibert

      It’s amazing that Russia is now the Democratic bogeyman.

      The realist side of me suspects this is also intended because the elite are invested in distracting the populace from paying attention to China. After all, if Russia can influence elections in the ways the Democrats are alleging, China could do the same, no?

      1. Oh

        There are so many people who believe this nonsense. There are propaganda videos (“we have a video for that”) that purport to back up the story.

        1. barefoot charley

          Hillary legitimates bot-ism, the mental disorder that perceives differing opinions as inhuman, mechanically marshalled, and treasonous. You know, like Bernie.

          So we already know what’s responsible for the Democrats’ loss in 2020. Thanks again, Hillary!

          1. John k

            I’m sincere in being thankful that her incompetence expressed itself in the election rather than the presidency. Her loss weans we got the lesser evil.
            Plus, there’s way more room for the left without madame pres.
            And the latest is just like russia3… more evidence she just makes sh1t up when smearing. But tulsi not one to just roll over for the queen.

          2. Plenue

            God, the responses from the Clintonites on that Gabbard tweet. These people are idiots. There’s no other word for it; these people are just stupid human beings.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              The fine film Trumbo chronicles the last time America went absolutely insane with Red Fever.

              Really a problem when the country that runs the world gets ergot on the rye.

              All you can do is keep fighting the good fight until the fever breaks. And summon the courage to keep speaking the truth. Go Tulsi: #QueenofWarmongers

              1. meeps

                >Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard returned fire Friday afternoon, challenging the 2016 Democratic nominee to join her in the 2020 primaries.

                Yeah, that part of her response bothered me, too. I agree with Gabbard’s criticisms of Clinton, but why would someone as measured as Gabbard propose something so horrendous?

                Being a soldier, she’s not afraid of a fight, and there are reasons to beat the third-way red-baiters to a bloody pulp in public for all to see. Doing so now might help Sanders and the left-flank to survive the coming onslaught from that direction.

                There is the possibility, though, that a thought experiment carried to its conclusion in a Clinton vs Gabbard primary leaves voters with two choices who don’t support M4A. Both are on record on that point, and it has been posited on this site that’s the primary objective of the modern democrat party. I’m also not entirely convinced that Gabbard would end the war on terror just because she supports an end to the regime change wars that Clinton clearly supports. Though Gabbard’s position relative to Clinton’s is an improvement, I think people should be careful not to project more hope for peace on the candidate than she might be planning to deliver.

                Trump called attention to obvious truths in his campaign making even the GOP blush, but that didn’t mean he had any intention of righting the wrongs. He isn’t helping the forgotten in fly-over; he gave tax breaks to those least in need of them. Obama campaigned on single payer, yet he passed a republican-crafted private insurance mandate. Exposing ugly truths may be the way of the day to garner support because working people can identify with these, but it isn’t the same thing as stating an unequivocal position about a counter response.

                I hope I’m wrong and this isn’t some grotesque, reverse-psychological play on the part of the DNC to use the intense hatred of Clinton to rally support for what Van Jones called, “their darling.”

            2. Oregoncharles

              That’s plausible, given that the Clintons are already out of public life, demoted to minor celebrities. I understand the fear that she will run again, but I don’t think that’s really possible. We’re just about at a generational transition. It’s already dragged on, with an implausibly old presidential field.

              1. Lambert Strether

                I think that the Clinton network still exists, and there is a segment of the voting population that remains extremely loyal to her, and feels that she was hard done by (I won’t use the word revanchists but feel free to think it). Loyalty, like fear, is an asset class in politics.

                The political power of the Clintons is diminished but real, and they will never stop maneuvering to preserve or increase it (and profit, of course, from the book deals, the television appearances, the speeches, etc.)

    2. Watt4Bob

      It’s with extreme sadness that my gut reports its current suspicion, that being, it may require four more years of Trump to eradicate the Clintonista/DNC infection within the body politic.

      OTOH, the Ukraine-gate thingy might blow-up in their faces, but even that may take too long to digest on the part of that portion of the public that aimlessly follows the zombie party’s insistence that TINA.

      IOW, it takes too long to turn the Titanic that is the DNC, and it’s steaming full-speed while the crew on the bridge is arguing over the rent on Boardwalk with a hotel, and they’ve turned off the radio because they’re sick of Bernie’s insistent iceberg warnings.

      The people have spoken, and they continue to speak, yes, there is an alternative, and if you want more proof, just keep doing what you’ve been doing.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’m hoping Ukraine-gate takes out BOTH “major” parties. Remember, they’re already crippled, with barely more than a majority of support for both of them. Indeed poills show something like 70% “wishing there was a third party” – even though so far, most people won’t votte for them (there are plenty). There’s no knowing what will break that grip on the national psyche, but we seem to be creeping up on it.

    3. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      She has the touch of Titus Andronicus.

      ” Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumb shows
      Pass the remainder of our hateful days?
      What shall we do? let us, that have our tongues,
      Plot some deuce of further misery,
      To make us wonder’d at in time to come “.

      1. Synoia

        Without the Honorable Roman Exit option.

        Maybe we should all club together, buy, and present her with a sword?

    4. Stephen V.

      As a former State Green Party treasurer (consistently savaged by Dems) I can say that for the Hill folk, they feel that Dem life as we know it on this planet would end with a vibrant 3rd Party candidacy. The fact that ballot access alone is incredibly difficult / expensive is no accident.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        The Hill article linked to above misses one part of the interview that was included in the WA Examiner coverage:

        This came out of Clinton’s smear hole with absolutely no sense of irony whatsoever:

        “They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate, and so I do not know who it’s going to be, but I can guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most need it.”

        Oh really Queen Hillary?!? The only reason anybody is still interviewing Clinton and broadcasting her unsubstantiated hitjobs rather than remembering her as a small historical footnote, if at all, is because of a big eared billionaire who won nearly 20% of the vote in 1992. If it weren’t for 3rd party candidates, she’d be squawking her nonsense on a street corner somewhere rather than on national media.

        1. jeremyharrison

          If not for Perot, the Clintons would have just been high-powered lawyers in Arkansas. And with Bill philandering with the tough women exclusively from that region, Hillary’s fame would have been one episode of “Snapped”.

        2. Acacia

          DNC/Clintonistas must regularly warn their followers that even the mere thought of a third party candidate is sin/defection/betrayal.

    5. Carolinian

      I’m on the road but just caught the Fox News channel discussion of this while having some McDonalds. Hilarious. One guy said it’s far fetched but ya know Hillary has been proven right about lots of things in the past. Even this bunch, though, thinks Hillary is around the bend. She’ll always have Maddow

    6. Ignim Brites

      Hard to imagine what Secretary Clinton’s agenda was in making this comment. Perhaps it was something like this: If I completely destroy the Russia Teapot by making this absurd allegation, I will also, at least, put ice cubes in the Ukraine Teapot. Insofar as the leading Dem candidates are completely onboard with impeachment, cooling the Ukraine Teapot undermines their candidacies, perhaps fatally. Then the question for a desparate party will be: Who are you going to turn to?

    7. Drake

      One interesting possibility from all this is that we could end up with a 2020 election in which two unpopular candidates are running more against Hillary Clinton than against each other. I’d buy that for a dollar.

    8. Susan the other`

      I think this is so blatant for Hillary to even consider, that, maybe, somebody hacked Hill’s email and sent Gabbi this stupid and frivolous insult. The Hoaxgate movement is so pervasive – why can’t it be traced? It might well be the DNC that is the Joker here so they can say, Somebody hacked us! again and again. The stakes are too high for nonsense games; Seth Rich anyone? And apparently, from one brief blurb, one of the serious objectives of the Trump administration sending Rudi off to Ukraine was to get evidence on who hacked the DNC computer. It looks like Assange will go to his grave, and Chelsea as well, before they reveal this info.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If Hillary never said that herself, let her come out and say so.

        Every second that goes by confirms my feeling that Hillary said it as a perfect expression of everything Hillary is and stands for.

  5. Phenix

    Has Bernie commented or show support for Gabbard yet? I am already frustrated that be is giving Biden a pass on corruption and supporting the permanent states coup.

    1. Oh

      And he doesn’t seem to be on the ball in rebutting the false claim about M4A is something we don’t have money for (as pointed out by Jimmy Dore.

      If he doesn’t go on the offensive, the DimRats will marginalize him and eliminate him faster than you think and we’ll get Obama II in Elizabeth Warren.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Sanders, when asked by Biden how will we will pay for your healthcare program, should have curb-stomped him by turning to the cameras and saying:

        ‘My fellow Americans. Because of our present healthcare system, about 45,000 of you watching this tonight will be dead this time next year because of our healthcare system and 500,000 of you and your families will have to declare bankruptcy due to a healthcare issue. And for this privilege we Americans pay twice as much money as any of developed country in the word. You all deserve better and don’t let anybody tell you different. Senator Biden – your reply?

        1. Mike

          And, if this weird infotainment show left time, THEN he could add on Iraq, Syria, Bankruptcy Bill, private prisons, his non-opposition to payday loan scams, etc. etc.

          Not a debate, and truly disgusting that Dems are allowing themselves to be perceived as a clown car comedy with cheese for brains & curmudgeon added. 2016 was the chance – he is now being swamped, unless the polls can be totally ignored…? Is he holding out for state visits and personal appearances to save him from this 3rd-place fate?

          1. Watt4Bob

            unless the polls can be totally ignored…?

            There’s no question that the polls can be ignored, right up until they indicate Biden tanks, and even then, they need way too many grains of salt because they’ll just pick another candidate to push.

        2. Portlander

          Yes, I noticed Bernie didn’t go strongly on the attack against Biden until Biden hit him and Warren with “vagueness” on M4A. Bernie fired back on Biden’s Iraq war vote, but it was too late and off-topic to cause a ripple.

          I think all the candidates laid off Biden because it would seem like kicking the old codger down the stairs, when he’s falling very well on his own.

          All the 2nd tier candidates aimed their fire at Warren, to no avail.

        3. inode_buddha

          “We’ll pay for it with 1/2 of the money that people currently giving to the insurance companies. The people who earn that money will get to keep the other half”

      1. Keith in Modesto

        But, in politics, we need leaders that:
        a) support policies that really benefit us
        b) are genuinely on our side
        c) are able and willing to fight, and fight hard when necessary.

        We need to see Bernie hit hard, in the primary, at Biden and Warren. He can do it in a measured “not mean” way, that’s fine, but he has to name and call them out. People need to see that he can and is willing to do that. He will gain more support when people see that he can fight. Cause we’ll need a fighter to take on the Washington establishment.

        1. Steve H.

          “We, not me.”

          The abc you have involves ideas to events/things. He has defined, as well as anyone in this race, the core set of ideas which are translated into universal concrete material benefits.

          He does just fine at personal rebuttal. “I wrote the damn bill!”

          I suggest that to move through support of persons, rather than ideas, means sticky attachments to the imperfections of people. If I support U, does that mean I support all of U, and if so, do I have to defend Ur past? It’s high-resolution idpol, where the silos include past behavior and changes of mind. Do I support Gabbard’s LGB.. statements in the past? Warren’s Republicanism? Let others attach to Sanders history, only Biden has a longer body of work to judge him by.

          Better to get people to attach to ideas, like M4A, and then refine the argument to particular points of policy and legislation. This lets the bench develop itself through action and not favors.

          1. barefoot charley

            I can’t yet imagine that Bernie expects to win the nomination and run a strong campaign. He knows that swamp Democrats aren’t like swamp Republicans–the difference being that, while Republicans fear their base, Democrats despise their base. Glaring difference! Trump controlling his party base made swamp-Reds paddle into his ship, sinking or rising didn’t matter, and they’ve ended up floating his boat.

            Whereas a genuine Democratic populist will be sunk with his fool followers by party stalwarts, along McGovern lines, ideally in the primaries, like Bernie got Bernied last time.

            If Bernie won the nomination, he would lose the party. I think that could be a fine thing for the future of party politics, but admittedly, it’s best for Trump first.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        In politics and government/governance, ” personnel is policy”. Therefore, great strategic minds discuss people.

    2. Zagonostra

      A test, a moral test, is before Bernie and Warren. How will they respond to the Tulsi-HRC exchange?… It will be very revealing, an unconcealment to be Hiedigarian about it…

      1. Shonde

        Yang’s response on Twitter, “Tulsi Gabbard deserves much more respect and thanks than this. She literally just got back from serving our country abroad.”

        Neera Tanden responded to Yang with, “Very disappointing. I’d gladly discuss her record of supporting Russia’s actions in Syria, Assad, LGBTQ issues and many more. Happy to chat anytime.”

        Yang is already taking heat for mentioning during the last debate that the US interferes in other countries elections so I was pleasantly surprised that he tweeted some support for Tulsi.

        Tanden on her Twitter is openly asking for contributions to the campaign of the person who is primarying Tulsi’s congressional seat.

        Anybody heard or seen a response from Joe Biden?

        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          Tulsi Gabard’s tweet:) Made my morning to see that thread. Marianne Williamson tweeted her support for Tulsi.

          That HRC sees any upside to entering this discussion shows how little she had learned since 2016. The last thread of respect I had for HRC (and it was a single thread) is gone.

        2. Fiery Hunt

          Whatever happened to the “you’ll be blacklisted if you work to unseat an incumbent!”

          Does it apply to Neera, DNC?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The calculation is that they can say nothing and let it pass. I hope Tulsi piles on some more, she’s not winning the rigged game so she needs to change the game.

          Bernie/Warren could say something like this:

          “We respect Hilary’s long service to this country but we think questioning the loyalty of a Congresswoman and war veteran just divides us further. Meeting with our adversaries is a necessary part of foreign policy and refusing to bomb a country does not equal isolationism”.

      2. John k

        I imagine warren like a deer in the headlights. Left? Right? Stand still and they won’t see me?
        Bernie might just say the idea is absurd, and leave it at that. For better or worse he doesn’t do personal attacks, he does policy.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Warren will ignore it.

        Bernie might respond, but he always takes 24 to 48 hours when it is something out of left field. And this is a weekend when he is rallying with AOC in NYC, so his staff is preoccupied with trying to maximize the impact of that.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Does Sanders think that if he were to be nominated, that he might hope to get some Clinton-supporter votes? Would that motivate him to be nice and forgiving to Clinton in this matter? Is he afraid that if he supports Representative Gabbard in this matter . . . . that he will lose the tens or even hundreds of Pink Pussy Hat Clintonite votes that he somehow thinks he might otherwise get in the event of his nomination?

          1. hunkerdown

            I think the best outcome for Sanders, and the vast majority of the American public, would be to get all the Clintonites to stay home. First in the primary, then in the general. Whoever wins or loses, Clintonites would have been deprecated and everything they say can then be dismissed with “You didn’t turn out for us. Sit down and shut up” or “Go back to the GOP where you belong.” Transpersonal exclusion is a tool that works both ways. Also, ideally, Clintonites wouldn’t be anywhere around ballots where they have time and again proven they cannot be trusted.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            No, Sanders knows the Hillary operation cheated him five ways to Sunday in 2016. Standing aside is not about trying to win Hillbots. They’ll go to Warren, which is why Warren is certain to keep her mouth shut.

            It’s that Sanders, who been criticized for having his honeymoon in Moscow when it was Communist, can easily be added to the “Rooskie under the bed” list.

            If he stays silent, this is about avoiding losses, not trying to curry favor with people who’ve already made clear they hate him.

            1. inode_buddha

              So… what if they add him to the list anyway?
              I would *love* to see him leave the Dems, take all of his support with him, and win, leaving the Dems sitting there like an empty Dixie cup after a party.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Chile President Pinera declares emergency as capital rocked by riots Reuters:

      SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera declared a state of emergency in the capital Santiago early on Saturday, as the city of 6 million descended into chaos amid riots that left a downtown building engulfed in flames and its metro system shuttered.

      Video, presumbly of said building:

      Add oil…

        1. Oregoncharles

          Further thought, looking more closely: I think that’s cladding burning. At least it’s an office building, not apartments, and at night.

          But 3 have died, in the supermarket that was burned. It’s looking like an actual uprising, as in Ecuador.

          Any updates? I didn’t see much on it – the protests, not just this fire.

    1. jefemt

      Your comment got me off my lazy ass to look up numbers that I have been wondering about for a while, but sloth and rigor have been battling hard for my seat at the table.

      I wondered— how many working age (18-65) adults in US are in full time, third-party employment?
      How many are self-employed?

      Question arising because my feeling is that tax returns are ONLY simple for those with typical employer/employee paradigm. And there can’t be that many who can file 1040 EZ.
      Intuit or IRS— EZ 1040 has not been in my world in years. The accountants, lobbyists and special interests win when it comes to our byzantine tax code!

      Attendant curiosity— self-employed who would LOVE to see single payor, a good robust CARE system for all, instead of the present I -got-mine divided patient ‘group’ — it should be simple stuff to rally all the troops, right?
      What google helped me find:

      329 Million Americans, Oct 2019

      43 Million under 18 (?)
      27 Million over 65 (?!!)
      131 Million Full-time-employees, of which in 2016 6.5 million were self-employed incorporated
      9.5 million self-employed sole proprietors.
      201 Million Total

      Where are my 128 million other souls?

      While single – payor would be greatest good for greatest number, those who could benefit most are a vast minority.
      Look how powerful/ how much sway the minority over 65 group carries. Y-AARP!

      I look up at those numbers and wonder at their accuracy or veracity. But, google and the internet can’t be wrong, right?

      OK- hope all have a great weekend.

      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        It’s good to remember that voting activity always rises with age. This is not something new, it is a typical USA voting pattern. I boil when my political friends are always blaming young people for not voting like it was different when we were growing up.

        What is new is the large increase in voting in the youngest cohort (I think it was 18-30) in the 2018 midterm election. It went from 20% to 36% That’s is the rate at which they voted.

        1. John k

          10 mil new voters since 2016, 10 mil mostly older ones died. Newbies that vote will mostly vote Bernie, dems that died mostly voted Clinton. And my lib peers that went Clinton then are mostly for warren now. Demographics favor Bernie.
          IMO the boost in young voting is permanent, will increase in2020 bc the young have somebody that represents their needs. Favors Bernie.
          Where will biden supporters go? Those that want a female pres before they die are already for warren. But probably those that want a republican light will favor warren, Harris or Buttigieg. Not clear.
          Biggest plus for Bernie is crappy polls that only get 6% response from land line phones, must be the oldest with nothing to do. IMO heavily favors Bernie.

        1. The Historian

          Even by your link there are still some missing people, local reader.

          The US Census claims 63% or 206 Million in the civilian labor force, BLS claims 147-149 Million workers on their site.

          Adding farm workers, the total rises to about 148-150 Million workers.

          There are also estimated to be about 15 Million self-employed people in the US according to BLS. That still leaves a deficit of about 40 Million workers from the US Census numbers. Where are they?

          If you use the unemployment rate of 3.5%, that only accounts for about 11 Million of that missing 40 Million.

          BTW, if you only use US Census numbers, the number of missing workers is about the same – at 40 Million. It is just more work ferreting out the numbers.

          1. sleepy

            From what I can tell, the “missing” workers are no longer in the workforce, i.e., they have no job and are not actively seeking one/given up, and so counted as neither employed nor unemployed.

          2. pasha

            you are failing to include/ deduct the 7% (23 million) who are disabled, the 4% (13 million) whose criminal records keep them from employment, and the large number of caretakers who work for free for ailing relatives

      2. Oregoncharles

        i don’t see partnerships on that list – of interest since I’m in one, as are a lot of self-employed people. Technically, mine is an S(?)-corp, with two proprietors.

        Most of the rest are probably not employed – students, house-husbands, or homeless.

  6. dk

    Mark Zuckerberg has defended Facebook’s decision to let politicians lie in ads MIT Technology Review

    I have yet to see any coverage of this speech mention (let alone discuss) out what I consider a salient fact: Facebook is pulling several millions of dollars per *week* from fact-exempt political “content,” and has been doing so for over a year. And the 2020 campaign isn’t even in high gear yet, my spitball estimate is that FB can make over a billion dollars from the US election alone, that’s on top of what they’re already pulled in.

    Facebook’s ad targeting tech is of course ideally suited for political purposes, negative as well as positive; the negative is generally better funded.

    Zuckerberg never mentions this direct profit in the speech, unless I missed it. I feel that it’s relevant that Facebook increases its opportunities for revenue from the political market with this policy.

    And in that context, well over half of the US political revenue is from the Trump campaign. I wonder whether this largest customer’s preferences are a factor in Zuckerberg’s decisions.

    Tangentially the right is always ready to complain vociferously about FB and other “platform” media bias against their “views” (inhibiting the left is of course a patriotic duty as well as a corporate responsibility to shareholders).

  7. FreeMarketApologist

    A much stronger take on the rather soft MIT article on Zuckerberg:

    It so happens that Zuckerberg’s personal desires and corporate defenses are now aligning with the Trumpian right, while hardening him against the populist left.

    and notes it was very convenient to criticize TikTok, as they are competitor to FB, and that Zuck wants FB to be a player in China.

    The result is Zuckerberg delivering manifestos against authoritarian governments abroad while cozying up to the one that controls the U.S.
    “The solution is to verify the identities of accounts getting wide distribution and get better at removing fake accounts,” he said. “We now require you to provide a government ID and prove your location if you want to run political ads or a large page. You can still say controversial things, but you have to stand behind them with your real identity and face accountability.”

    Well, what possible good does that do us when the Trump campaign is posting campaign ads debunked by third-party fact-checkers, and the company decides that’s fine? These people aren’t anonymous, and they’re openly lying, without consequence.


    That Zuckerberg is willing to stand before an audience and distort the infamous history of how Facebook came to exist in the first place signals an indifference to the truth that renders him an automatic ally of the current regime.

    1. Lord Koos

      I thought this was interesting:

      Zuckerberg’s “…speech was very well received on Facebook’s live-stream (to a bizarre extent: the comments were almost exclusively positive).

      I wonder how many shills, bots and fake accounts were commenting.

      1. barefoot charley

        Speaking of sickening, let’s keep noting that what Russia is accused of is routine Facebook advertising by algorithm, sold instantly to all comers. It’s Facebook’s product, and Russia does what Pepsi does. If there were standards for Trump and Russia, would Pepsi have to tell the truth? And poor British Petroleum? And Juul? It would be the death of advertising, this ‘truth’!

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Indeed. I hate Fleecebook as much as the next NC commenter, never had an account and never will, and long for their demise. But I fail to see why they should be held to a higher standard regarding political ads than network television, newspapers, or any other media.

          My place of work recently divested itself of a couple TV stations, but prior to that we used to rake in millions in extra revenue due to political ads every four years. Our CFO used to joke that if any pollsters asked who we were voting for, we should say we were undecided and would only be able to make up our minds by watching more political commercials.

      2. Oh

        And how much of the critical responses were filtered out by the algos.
        In a saner world, Zuckerberg et al will be in a jail cell.

    2. Tom Doak

      Please don’t place any credibility in “third party fact-checkers”. Their integrity is right up there with the bond rating agencies who gave us the subprime crisis.

  8. jfleni

    RE: Commentary: Growing preference for SUVs challenges emissions reductions in passenger car market.

    SLOB UV preference is NUTS and stupid!! Everywhere in the country and the world, polticians are straining to build or rebuild PUBLIC transit! BART, Chicago transit,the T,NY,(even Cuomo the epithet) are all looking at new leases on life. The SLOB-UV mania will just be a historical footnote,and not soon enough either!!

    1. jefemt

      I keep waiting for the bulgemobile to become a stranded asset.

      Unfortunately, until we get some collective agreement on a new direction, political will to recognize MMT and what it should fund— IMHO the critical importance of a transition to the ‘green’ New Deal and ALL of its attendant policies, I think it will be a l o o o o n g wait…

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      “Everywhere in the country and the world, politicians are straining to build or rebuild PUBLIC transit! BART, Chicago transit,the T,NY,(even Cuomo the epithet) are all looking at new leases on life.”

      I hope you are right. What is happening to convince you that there are some new efforts “to build or rebuild PUBLIC transit”? Do these new efforts have substance? I am stuck with a perception that a lot of happy talk, political posturing, and money goes into state, city, and federal infrastructure construction, maintenance, and repair, but how much construction, maintenance, and repair comes out? [Disclaimer: I drive a 20-year Corolla and live in an area with some of the best PUBLIC transit in the country — most of whose supporting rails, trains, and buses are old, in need of maintenance, and past their planned end-of-life — crowded and they’re not a cheap ride.]

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And how much money is spent to build and maintain the roads that SUV owners drive their SUVs on . . . compared to how much money is spent to build and maintain mass transit?

  9. John

    Is Clinton World such a hermetically sealed bubble that Hillary’s attack on Tulsi was seen as a good idea? It was on the same level as Joe McCarthy’s rants about Communists in the State Department or taunts on the playground.

    1. inode_buddha

      If Tulsi really wanted to give the Deep State (TM) some Deep Heating (also TM), she could get an Army lawyer to sue…

        1. inode_budha

          It would be great to see Clinton try to dodge the discovery phase, and whatever shakes out of that.

    2. divadab

      It speaks to either: 1) her corruption and moral bankruptcy – she knows it’s not true but she lies habitually, because, that’s just how the Clintons roll – smearing opposition with whatever fakery they can come up with; or;
      2) she is that stupid and paranoid she actually believes the RUssia Russia Russia hysteria.

      EIther way (and it may be a combo – stupid, paranoid, AND morally degenerate) it’s embarassing and sickening that anyone takes this crap seriously. Contemptible. Perfect expression of an utterly corrupted system.

      1. flora

        I think, now, it’s not a question of true or false; it’s a question of raw power, who has it and what they’ll do to keep it. In the Dem party Clinton world still has power and will do almost anything to keep it, imo.

        If these lies don’t work she (and her CIA/FBI friends) will find new lies to club party challengers.

            1. flora

              I suppose if her MSM ‘friends’ don’t recite the prescribed pro-Clinton liturgy they’ll be targeted for the unemployment line. Must be horrible to go into journalism hoping to bring light and then be reduced to reciting someone else’s talking points.

        1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          Their power is slipping rapidly. Too many rocks have been turned over and too many dark & squamous things revaealed writhing blasphemously beneath. A return to the days of DNC glory is at this point impossible. People forget things too easily, but too many revalations too quickly have eroded faith in the meta stability of the civilization. And as Tainter might happily point out, its elasticity and resiliance in the face of crisis have been stretched to the utmost.

        2. Carey

          >I think, now, it’s not a question of true or false; it’s a question of raw power

          This seems very close to the mark.

          1. Carey

            Adding: Can you imagine being a Clintonoid right now- what one would
            be required to say / do / believe™?

    3. ambrit

      Unfortunately, “Tail Gunner” Joe McCarthy shaped the socio-political culture of America for a generation with his very effective propaganda war. The Clintons are well on their way to achieving the same result.
      The so called ‘smart’ people back in the ‘fifties chuckled about the ‘buffoonish’ McCarthy and predicted that he would collapse in a soiled heap once the ‘masses’ saw through his antics. That did not happen. Today, this generation of ‘smart’ people say something similar. As the ‘RussiaRussiaRussia’ meme has shown, a bold and bright shiny lie can have a lot of staying power. Who cares if that meme is silly and easily debunked? If it manages to shape the ‘official’ public policy of the government, it wins the ‘First Past the Post’ political horse race. As a result, expect yet another generation of governance to be based of deceit and falsehood.
      There is an incredible amount of angst and anger ‘out there’ in the general public. If Sanders or a surrogate does not stoop down a bit and pick that ‘power’ up off of the street, someone else will. That someone else could well be from the far Right.
      It can’t happen here? Just watch.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “stoop down a bit and pick that ‘power’ up off of the street, someone else will. That someone else could well be from the far Right.”

        absolutely…prolly by means of the parts of the gop universe that isn’t already aligned with vichy dems coming out as long hidden labor lovers(sic), and advocates of welfare capitalism, and of reshoring the MIC.
        of course, this is an iteration of another side of the last cold war…relying on evil empires to justify such “industrial policy”….so from a certain level, it’s not too far from what the corpdems are pushing

        meanwhile, the little people struggle on, unnoticed, save in hysterical caricature.

        its interesting that, here in this far small-c conservativeplace*, the only people i hear more or less overtly agitation for continuing(and/or More) war are democrats in good standing(ie: not apostates, like me,lol)

        (*caveat on my local anecdotage: total county pop=4500…consistent # of people who vote: 300 or so dems, 600 or so gop, and 2-12 third party. the rest don’t bother:80% or so)

        1. Mike

          Ambrit, Amfortas – You could make a great POTUS/VPOTUS team, if only we had a country that would allow for more than two tribes.

          Our opposition is too nice, too civilized, too peaceful as yet. Most hope this storm will pass, as past storms have, without bother, without our effort. Woe betide such grave -ity.

        2. flora

          A bit of family farm vs neoliberal big-business history.

          How neoliberalism came to the small family farms and small towns in
          flyover country. ( If you read the recent Committee for Economic Development’s ‘research’ papers you’ll see a decided neoliberal slant toward big business and even monopoly, imo.*)

          In 1962 the Committee for Economic Development issued their

          Adaptive Program for Agriculture report

          Big business wanted small farmers off the land in order to consolidate farm land in favor of big business’s wishes. See the list of committee members.

          From the 1962 report:

          Net migration out of agriculture has been going on for 40 years, and at a rapid rate.Nevertheless, the movement of people from agriculture has not been fast enough to take full advantage of the opportunity that improving farm technology and increasing capital create for raising the living standards of the American people, including, of course, farmers.
          Costs of movement, lack of knowledge of non-farm job opportunities…and other obstacles, have stood in the way of an adequate rate of movement out of agriculture.

          National agricultural policy has not focused on removing these obstacles, but has tended itself to deter the out movement by concealing the necessity for it. Our purpose in this policy statement is to suggest a program that will assist farmers in making the adaptation they have been making. We hope thereby to enable farmers, both those leaving agriculture and those remaining in it, to earn higher income.
          -my emphasis

          The farmers were expected to ‘adapt’ to the needs of big business.
          Always the promise of a better the life for the little guy (‘learn to code’) when the real goal in this case is agriculture consolidation and increasing monopoly, imo.


          1. Watt4Bob

            Microsoft recently announced it was putting money into a large research project in North Dakota, a fully autonomous farm.

            I can’t see these projects as anything except proof that the rich hate us, and wish they didn’t have to pay us to produce the stuff they wish to sell us.

            It don’t make sense, but I guess being a billionaire means you don’t have to makes sense.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              “I can’t see these projects as anything except proof that the rich hate us, and wish they didn’t have to pay us to produce the stuff they wish to sell us.”

              1. we should be careful with generalisations(“all country folks are racist morons”)
              2. yes, i think a faction or two within the elite do ,indeed, hate our guts and wish we were dead.
              as a further insult, some care for us, but in the manner of keeping cows.
              of course, actionable and reliable information is limited.
              I’d like to see a safari into Versailles.

              1. Watt4Bob

                No, I mean autonomous, as in no human interaction necessary.

                Or at least that was the word used to describe the project, and I don’t doubt the intent.

                Driverless cars are a side effect of the perceived need for driverless trucks.

                The point is, in the never ending search for increased profits, no stone is going unturned, and one obvious cost of production is labor, no employees means no labor cost.

                No truck drivers, no farm hands, no employees, means more profits.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  but who will buy whatever’s produced, and with what?

                  or is the plan more along the lines of aeon flux/logan’s run?
                  sounds attwoodian, to me.
                  are the bunkers that near to completion?

                2. polecat

                  “No truck drivers, no farm hands, no employees, means more profits.”

                  At which point, we get down to the Brondo phase ..

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Charles Walters Jr. wrote about this as well as about other aspects of the FedGov’s anti-farmeritic plans to engineer and apply a broad plan of farmer cleansing all over America, using various forms of manipulated Market Stalinism. Here is a link to the book.

            Acres USA carries a book about a further step in the FedGov’s farmer cleansing mass-farmicide policy against farmers and farming in the book Night Came To The Farms Of The Great Plains. It is about the very carefully engineered and applied
            “farm crisis” of the 1980’s. One might say that farmers were the first major group of people in post World War Two America selected for Targeted Jackpot Design Engineering.

        3. Robert Valiant

          I think I read once that people in the old CCCP used to vote at higher rates than those in the U.S.A., and they only had one party to pick from. I’m baffled that we Americans don’t see more significance in our lack of political participation than we do.

          “None of the above” wins nearly every time, at least the national level.

          1. polecat

            But in ways where it really counts, it seems that one party is what we have .. and oh boy, can they party !

            Go ahead, flip that coin …

      2. Plenue

        “That someone else could well be from the far Right.
        It can’t happen here? Just watch.”

        I agree. For all the ‘Trump is a fascist!’ rhetoric we’ve been bombarded with for three years, he isn’t. He’s just a petulant clown. The actual fascists could well be waiting in the wings.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Part of a historical trend that. You use an element like socialists to help get you into power and then dump them lest that oppose you in power first opportunity you can. A modern example?
                Obama used a movement called Obama’s Army to help propel him to Washington but when he got there, one of his first acts was to sell them down the river as he no longer needed them. Tried to call them back for 2012 but a lot of them had lost interest by then.

              2. Plenue

                The actual socialists in the Nazi Party were centered around the Strasser brothers. They were purged after the 1933 election, when they were no longer needed and when their socialist demands (like seizing the land of nobles) became too much of an annoyance. Gregor was murdered as part of the Night of the Long Knives, while Otto fled into exile.

                There’s a quote that drifts around certain parts of the internet emphasising that National Socialism is Socialist. It’s usually attributed to Hitler. The quote is real, but it was actually said by Gregor Strasser. The Nazi Party literally murdered its socialists when they were no longer useful.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Like Obama? With his co-ordinated beat-down of Occupy all over the country? And his ramp-up of FedGov omni-surveillance? And his Mussolinian donation of Government service and protection to the Black Hat FIRE Sector perpetrators? And so on?

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      That these truly deranged statements are made by someone who still claims, legitimately to a significant number of americans, to have actually been elected president in 2016, should scare the shit out of everyone.

      That these statements are not called out for the truly deranged craziness that they are, by every single “news” outlet that has been given the privilege of use of the public airwaves to “inform,” should also scare the shit out of everyone.

      If there’s any silver lining in this whole sorry mess, it’s that Tulsi Gabbard has been given an opportunity to finally say what so many of us have been thinking for three long years but no one with a national platform has had the balls to say. Regretfully that includes Bernie.

      This may turn out to be the same kind of definitive moment that Trump had in 2016, when he was the only one willing to say that w. bush had lied us into war in Iraq. I’ve no idea what hillary hoped to provoke by talking this kind of crazy, but my guess would be that she’s nowhere near up to finishing what she’s started. Nowhere near and getting farther away by the day.

      1. ambrit

        Don’t underestimate Hillary’s raw ambition. She is a junior partner now in ‘America LLC.’ Thus, she will have the backing of a large segment of the American Elites. Many have said that the elites do not care about what the ‘masses’ think, or do. The elites sail along as if they were the ‘Great Helmspersons’ who benignly order and arrange society for “everyone’s” benefit. If that means the semi-public perversion of the political system, then so be it. It’s all for ‘their’ good after all!
        I’m sticking to my guns and predicting Hillary as a “Unity Candidate” foisted on the hapless Democrat Party at a brokered convention.

          1. ambrit

            Blast! There goes another free beverage at the Woolworth lunch counter!
            I would love to be proven wrong, but past performance suggests otherwise.
            No matter who is the eventual Democrat candidate, I see the present crowded field as sign of a “vast Centrist wing conspiracy” to deny Sanders the first round convention victory and throw it into the tender mercies of the Superdelegates.
            As I remarked above to another commenter, I see the possibility of an economic recession next year as favouring Hillary.
            I see the Clinton rationale, as presented to the ‘deplorable’ masses, as being something like; “We have to stop Trump and stabilize our fragile democracy before taking on any of these other ‘problems. Hillary will unite us in the Spirit of Saints Obama and Bush.”
            Add nauseum….

          2. wilroncanada

            I might take your money, but I’m out her on Vancouver Island (Canada’s wet coast).
            You’re overestimating the Clintons. In the small elite who are REALLY ELITE, the Clintons Are very much like the Trumps. They are useful idiots who can be flattered, if not ordered, to do the elites’ bidding, but as for real social class, their children could never marry into the family. These people are many steps lower than the top of the heap. They suffer the Trumps and the Clintons as fronts , so they don’t have to get their own pampered hands dirty.

            1. ambrit

              To twist your analogy a bit, during the later Roman Empire period, the Praetorian Guard, those who did the ‘dirty work’ for the old elites ended up in control through realizing their strengths and exercising them. the old guard elites might think that they have the whip hand now, but they had better be on the ball all of the time. a recent example of this sort of ‘transfer’ of power would be the National Socialists in Germany between the wars and their German financial and social elite “masters.”
              This is why I alluded to Sinclair Lewis’ classic book and play, “It Can’t Happen Here.”

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I will certainly vote for Trump if Hillary is nominated again. Will enough other people do so to give Trump a Nixon-in-72-size landslide?

    5. Henry Moon Pie

      I think it’s very likely that Clinton has helped Gabbard’s campaign. Anyone who listens to Clinton has already heard “Assad apologist” at least 100 times, and Clinton’s remark was the equivalent of a hanging curve ball tossed to Jose Altuve, especially for a candidate like Gabbard trying to make herself more widely known.

      So is Clinton that politically stupid? My guess is that the boost to Tulsi was worth it as far as Clinton was concerned. Hillary is sending a very public signal and commitment to the NeoCons and the MIC masters that the Clintonite Democratic Party is fully on board with their agenda and that any Democratic Party public official who doesn’t go along with the program will be smeared as a traitor by the Democrats themselves..

      I am so glad Clinton lost, but the threat is still there. And there will not be much value left in the Democratic Party name or organization after the Clintons are through with it.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        So is Clinton that politically stupid?

        Well, she did lose to a boorish, orange, nether-parts-grabbing, reality TV show star…

      2. inode_buddha

        “So is Clinton that politically stupid?”

        No I think she is too cunning for that. I think she is living in her own alternate reality which is what happens to liars: they end up living in unreality, completely unable to deal.

    6. Mark Gisleson

      Yes, it is (‘a hermetically sealed bubble’). You do not get into that inner circle unless you are unfailingly amazed by Her, Her works, and all Her ways. From that sycophantic core they rationalized the invention of their own political language and imposed it on the 2016 election so they could be in charge of who got to speak, and who had to shut up and be supportive.

      Cult, not a campaign.

      1. Plenue

        What I can never figure out is why Hillary Clinton? Why is it this mean, uncharismatic mediocrity that the weird cult of personality has grown up around?

        One of the reasons given for voting for her in 2016 was that she was ‘the most qualified candidate ever’. Aside from the fact that that’s almost certainly not actually true, her ‘qualifications’ were that she had been in multiple government positions. But she was bad to average in all of them.

    7. JBird4049

      Tail Gunner Joe’s little hell-baby McCarthyism destroyed many lives; political taunting and ranting, if done right, can kill just like a loaded gun; many Americans used anticommunism not because they were anticommunist, but because they wanted power, wealth, or even just revenge, and labeling others as Reds (Red baiting) got them what they wanted. That they destroyed lives, families, even countries with lies meant nothing to them.

      If Hillary Clinton is smearing Tulsi Gabbard as a Russian agent, or something similar, then she has become no better than Senator Joseph McCarthy.

      It was nice to see Van Jones shred Clinton on CNN. It warmed my bitter and cynical heart.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Beto O’Rourke 2020 Has Been Worse Than Useless”

    Beto who?
    I am beginning to understand why the American Presidential run is so long. There is a greater chance that you will see a candidate’s faults that way as seen with Beto here. Must be why in 2016 Hillary refused virtually all interviews until she could no longer put them off.
    She knew that without a “friendly” interviewer, that she was very vulnerable as seen is flippant comments that she made in public. Like when she was asked if she wiped her computer and she answered “Like with a cloth or something?’

  11. pierre

    Tulsi should quit the primary, endorse Bernie and, in the event of clinching the nomination, be his VP.

    1. divadab

      No way while she’s still standing tall at the “debates”. And honestly I doubt Bernie would choose her given his weakness on foreign policy but we live in hope.

      1. inode_buddha

        Maybe his weakness in foreign policy is the reason why he needs her, but he will have to be convinced of that.

            1. barefoot charley

              Bernie has to control how many sacred cows he gores, keeping the number low enough that the press at least quotes him. Just imagine if he said what adult Socialists know about American foreign policy. He would be drowned in Hillary-jibber, and disappeared from the NYT. He would become Faux News comic relief. I respect his understanding that you gotta start somewhere else.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Caitlin’s formulation bears repeating (brevity is the soul of wit):

                  “Russian Asset” Is A Meaningless Noise War Pigs Make With Their Face Holes”

      2. pierre


        A Bernie-Tulsi team would solidify the progressive base. It will also, most likely, attract midwest and rustbelt working class voters who went for Trump in 2016.

        Bernie will be in the forefront of domestic policy; Tulsi will be the peaceniks’ leverage in international relations.

        1. divadab

          I completely agree, Pierre. However, as Bernie has embraced the Russia Russia Russia narrative I think it unlikely he will select Tulsi. But, as I said, we live in hope…..

          1. pierre

            That Putin sought and worked to clandestinely influence the outcome of 2016 election is a given as it was also a given that US neocons and neolibs worked to install Yeltsin after the Red counterrevolution in the post Gorbachev era.

            I do not so much fault Bernie for embracing, partly or wholly, the Russian collusion thing. He is just concerned, I believe, in protecting a central tenet of western democracy, or at least what remains of it.

            1. urblintz

              no, it is not “a given” at all and in no way compares to what the US did to to install Yeltsin. Perhaps you believe that calling it a “given” makes it so but you’ll need a strong defense to make your case against the highly credentialed (Binney and the VIPS, etc.) who have provided ample evidence against what you claim as fact. Nevermind the federal judge who ordered Mueller to stop claiming the Russian government was involved because the assertion is devoid of any evidence which proves it.

              Bernie had to go along or be painted as a commie himself…. which will definitely happen should he show strength in the early primaries. Rock meets hard place. I too wish he could have avoided the Clinton trap of Russiagate but perhaps you can tell me how.

            2. pretzelattack

              i don’t think it is a given that putin sought that or worked for that. there’s been no solid evidence of that. i think putin largely regards the u.s. as a pain in the ass, whoever the president is. it’s a realistic position.

              1. pierre

                @ urb/pretzel

                Up until now it is not clear to me what Putin’s agenda actually is. Does he pine to restore the Marxist/Lenninist order or is he already quite comfortable with the current neoliberal capitalist Russian state?

                If it is the latter, what’s his beef with the west? To restore the supremacy of Russian empire? A perpetual clash of civilization?

                Or is there a part of him which merely says leave us alone, allow us to preserve our dignity and we then can work together to restore our global collective humanity?

                1. ambrit

                  I suspect that VV Putin is trying to insure the continuation of a Russian state after the eventual collapse of the Anglo-American empire. He lived through the chaos of the collapse and break up of the old USSR empire. He sees that coming in the West, and is positioning his country accordingly. His overtures to the East are proof of this.

                2. Amfortas the hippie

                  lol. I think all that is simple projection of the desires of those the msm work for…and that folks like my mom parrot incessantly.
                  it looks to me like putin came in the door as the anti-yeltsin…both personally and politically…and has been if anything a Nationalist, looking out for his own….including resisting the encroachments and provocations of the US Empire.
                  there was a saker(i think) article some time ago that laid out a case that, based on russia’s military procurement history(what they buy), their foreign policy was primarily defensive…not Imperialist or expansionist.
                  he’s not a socialist, nor some hero of the republic.
                  but nevertheless, russia could do worse…and has, on many occasions.

                  1. pierre


                    In other words he’s just another klepto/pluto/auto crat looking out for his and – by accidental extension – Russia’s interest.

                    Thanks for clarifying.

                    1. ambrit

                      @amportas made my day.
                      Just a hint of classicism with a heavy dollop of ambiguity. Plus, bonus points for the imputation of a gate-keeping function.

            3. divadab

              Not even close to equivalent. The ex-USSR was overrun with western (mostly US but many others) spooks, chancers, opportunists, and assorted crooks who, in Yeltsin’s case, pretty much ran the show. How much influence did the Russian boogyman Putin (oh fear him the evil dictator shriek horror /s) have on our election in 2016 with their miniscule efforts?

              The USA is a massive empire with many clients – all of whom try to influence our elections. Ukraine did it in favor of Clinton; Israel, Saudi Arabia, and others all weighed in I would argue with greater effect than the relatively small Russian efforts.

              To me the focus on RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA has more to do with ass-covering by the incompetent and corrupt Clinton campaign – who, after all, lost to a game show host. And Clinton’s accusation that a sitting Congresswoman, a veteran and still in the Reserves, is a Russian asset reveals the sheer slimey moral degeneracy of her and her people. The Dems lost with their cheating lying and incompetent candidate – they didn;t need any help from anyone else to lose.

              1. Oh

                First the DimRat leadership along with Hilly concoct Russiagate to divert attention from Hilly’s flaws and laws. Now Hilly’s calling Tulsi a Russian Asset. The MICC will love them for it it because it means more money spent on worthless weapons and endless wars anot to mention needless murdering. There’s got to be a way to stop this funneling of largesse.

                  1. divadab

                    Turley’s getting a bit squirrely in my opinion….but he’s right on on Clinton.

                    Squirrely Turley…… to me but I’m sure others have come up with it before…

            4. Katniss Everdeen

              I do not so much fault Bernie for embracing, partly or wholly, the Russian collusion thing.

              my god, this is what it’s come to. Excusing the “embrace” of demonstrably false and maliciuos political propaganda because everybody already believes it anyway and you might not get enough “votes” if you don’t go along.

              What “central tenet of western democracy” could that possibly be seen as “protecting”–election / one-person-one-vote theater?

            5. lambert strether

              > I do not so much fault Bernie for embracing, partly or wholly, the Russian collusion thing

              Another reason winning the general would be easier for Sanders than winning the Democrat primary. What do you do when a significant part of the electorate to whom you must appeal has lost its collective mind?

              1. ambrit

                “What do you do when a significant part of the electorate to whom you must appeal has lost its collective mind?”
                Simple, you lock them up. To which end the Security State stands ready to serve.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  nah…instead, appeal to their votes, with specific, broad and material policy.
                  go among them and listen.
                  earn their support.

                  1. ambrit

                    Wait a minute. Earn something? And, what is this ‘votes’ of which you speak Captain Kirk? Teach me about ‘votes.’ Etc. Etc.

              2. John k

                Silver lining is that if he gets nom those with tds will have to select between trump and Bernie… some might in fact be unable to pull either lever, and contemplate the end of all they hold dear at home.
                ‘Who would Hillary vote for?’ Defines the issue.

              3. inode_buddha

                It kind of warms my heart to see the Democratic leadership faced with the same kind of choices they’ve been foisting off on the American populace for so many decades. Either they nominate Sanders or they get Trump.

                  1. inode_buddha

                    Well, Hillary sure seemed PO’d about losing. And the Dems losing their collective minds with russiarussiarussia

            6. Yves Smith Post author

              Oh, come on. If $100,000 of FB ads could swing the election, the “Russians” weren’t engaging in messaging. They were practicing magic.

              Those ads were posted by a St. Petersburg troll farm. No connection to the GRU. 1/4 not even viewed once.Crude and all over the map.

              This is the sort of thing that has been held out as “Russian” influence, as if every person in Russia were on Putin’s speed dial and doing his personal bidding.

        2. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          Tulsi would pretty easily steal back all those folks who voted for Obama twice and then switched to Trump as a peace candidate.

          1. ambrit

            I wonder, can a sitting Vice President also be the Secretary of Defense? (Talk about a unitary executive!)

            1. John k

              A vp could certainly be given charter to supervise state and def as pres focuses on main interest, which is domestic. IMO Bernie wants a strong team, not ego driven that he has to be in charge of everything.
              Plus tulsi at veep great insurance policy, deep hates her more than Bernie.
              IMO Bernie knows this, but winning is everything. Will she help that? Consider the veep debate vs pence… her performance in debates so far, and response to Clinton, says yes.
              If recession next year a ham sandwich would beat trump, favors tulsi.

                1. John k

                  I doubt it. Those in the bottom half hurt the most when the top half cut back. Poor people will be more motivated than ever to vote change. And even some in the top half will think we need to do different things bc their health ins covers less and less, and they’re getting older but still years away from Medicare.
                  Granted it makes the dem nom worth much more, oligarchs will open wallets for ABB… anybody but Bernie. But imo it is money down the drain.

                    1. divadab

                      Nope. She’s done. Beat by Obama, beat by Trump, now sounding off with demented conspiracy theories…..have another drink Hillary and please stfu.

              1. pierre


                The “it’s not about me, us” slogan is, imo, quite an effective and powerful message that should be highlighted more often in his campaign – it’s a strong contrast to the unapologetic narcissist currently in the wh.

      3. Hepativore

        A bigger reason why Tulsi Gabbard would unlikely be a running mate to Sanders is the fact that she is not a Medicare For All supporter as we found out not that long ago. Because that is such a central tenant of the Sanders platform, Tulsi effectively disqualified herself from a vice president pick.

    2. Shonde

      When I saw the Tulsi response to Clinton on Tulsi’s Twitter, I immediately sent her a contribution. In 2016 it was Bernie who introduced and made ideas that were formerly forbidden part of casual discussion. Now in 2019 when Bernie’s ideas are considered so mainstream that other Democratic candidates are touting them, it is Tulsi who is the candidate who is introducing what was formerly forbidden into the political discussion.

      I hope Tulsi gets tons of support from her gutsy and honest reply. We desperately need her foreign policy voice of sanity.

      1. Romancing The Loan

        I donated early on but had been souring on Tulsi Gabbard, although I don’t quite remember why – the silly threat not to show up to the debate? Had she been less than fulsome on Medicare For All? Not sure.

        But I sent her another $20 today just for the queen of warmongers comment.

        1. Shonde

          “But I sent her another $20 today just for the queen of warmongers comment.” Thank you.

          I too have been hot and cold re Tulsi but currently see her as being the only candidate directly confronting the McCarthyism of the corporate Dems which Hillary epitomizes. I am old enough that I was around when the original McCarthyism tied everyones tongues for fear of being called a communist. Now Russia, Russia, Russia is the substitute for communist, communist, communist. The intent to put fear into and tie the tongue of those who might dare to utter a word in opposition to USA foreign policy has been very successful to date until Tulsi came along. If Hillary is successful in sidelining Tulsi, we are all SOL and the red baiting will continue and could get much worse.

          1. Romancing The Loan

            Agreed. It’s disheartening and frightening how easily that dangerous nonsense has taken hold among so many people who ought to know better.

          2. ambrit

            Who will be our modern Whittaker Chambers? (If there isn’t a ‘real’ one lying about, the Neos will have to invent one.)

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              More important is who will be our Joseph Welch:

              “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

              Mr. McCarthy, I will not discuss this further with you…And if there is a God in Heaven it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further. “

          3. Amfortas the hippie

            “…Russia, Russia, Russia is the substitute for communist, communist, communist…”
            and the connotations are still there, 30 some years after soviet “communism” collapsed.
            a look at the tweets from pro-hillary shouters yesterday proves this out.
            and again, the facts of the matter don’t matter one whit.
            “bernie went to russia! + bernie is a socialist= bernie is a putin puppet.”
            no amount of pointing out the realities on the ground in the post-collapse russian political economy will dent that simple, idiotic syllogism.
            only silver lining is that True Believer Hill Folk are a tiny minority…but they have large megaphones.

            1. divadab

              Yes and they have the mighty Wurlitzer amplifying their disgraceful deceptions…..

              Anyway you can;t fool all the people all the time and Hillary, unlike her slick husband or showman Trump can;t even read an audience….

            2. Cuibono

              sadly i dont know if that is true. I am shocked almost on a daily basis to hear folks who still love her. It is the closest i have ever come to Falling down a rabbit hole

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          “queen of warmongers”

          I hope graphic artists and sketch comedians are busy making use of Tulsi’s blunt epithet. It could make an appropriate legacy for HRC in the public mind.

          1. polecat

            The H continually drips ‘acid-for-blood’ as a matter of course .. as she continues to spawn moar leathery punditic objects, after all…

            “Goddamn you MotHER-> was a democrat !”

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      In the face of unrelenting opposition from the entire establishment, the only way I see Bernie breaking beyond 25% is as a savior figure. That is, only by attracting a mass of non-ideological voters who conclude America must have a new New Deal (with concrete material benefits) NOW, and that only Bernie can be trusted to do anything other than gaslight.

      They will reach this conclusion only out of fear. And that fear comes from a sharp economic downturn and looming unemployment.

      In the absence of that fear, voters fragment and vote for whoever does Morning In America / hopey changey / uniter-not-divider best (and that’s not the Bern), or else for the “screw all of youse” brick toss that Trump represents.

      … And if these crisis conditions arise, Sanders will still need a safe Dem Establishment running mate. That’s probably Warren, although it could also be, say, a retired admiral, to reassure the corporate class that the socialist and peacenik stuff won’t be allowed to get out of hand. It is definitely NOT Gabbard, who is not a reliable establishment tool.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “…a mass of non-ideological voters who conclude America must have a new New Deal (with concrete material benefits) NOW, and that only Bernie can be trusted to do anything other than gaslight.”

        the first part has been in evidence…and growing…in the places i go and talk and eavesdrop(feedstore, etc), since 2015.
        people are less and less afraid to speak openly about this. anecdotal, yes…but still.
        the second part, i don’t know. there might be an environmental factor at work in my haunts that prevents folks from coming out openly for a socialist….for the longest time, “socialist” meant anyone to the left of Joe Lieberman(if not nixon)…and it was, of course, a common slur word on faux and rush…and was shouted(by former sheriff and his thugs–a tiny minority) in my little town at the democratic parade float as recently as 2012(hasn’t been such a float since).
        so for the same reasons that the local dems went into their hillforts and shut the gates, not-really-true-believers of times past are afraid that uncle billy jim might call them a pinko at thanksgiving.

        1. ambrit

          Perot was right on the money about NAFTA. He could have been right about the Admiral as well. At least the Admiral was honest, a rare trait in American politics.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I think Stockdale’s first line in the VP debate was “what am I doing here?”.

            But yes the short squeaky Texan from Perot Systems could have put us on a very different path.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Why should she? She is saying needed and useful things. And the longer she stays in the race, the more she tempts the Clinton to reveal its true self over and over again.

    5. Oh

      Bernie’s playing not to lose instead of to win. Therefore he’ll lose. He’s an honest and genuinely nice person but he’s so afraid to buck the DimRats.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Clintonian triangulation is actually a good strategy if you can assume the entire Left and then simply not go out of your way to offend the irrational center who somehow will have to be brought around to voting for Bernie in November 2020.

        Bernie proved in 2016 he could deliver 80% of his D party voters to Hillary.

        Hillary at this pee-soaked point in history can’t deliver her followers to anyone on the Left because she told them the Left was Satan and in league with Trump. She can’t walk that back and her ‘cougars’ will defect to Bloomberg just like they did to McCain in 2008. Their accusations that everyone else is betraying them is just projection and an acknowledgement that they’re already privately talking about which party to defect to if Bernie gets the Democratic nomination.

        But assuming that’s true, it’s not to Bernie’s advantage to give them an excuse. He goes along with many of their talking points, but not sincerely, imo. He’s looking to November 2020, and he’ll need Clinton votes. So long as he doesn’t go with a Clinton-approved Veep (assassination bait), I’m cool with letting Bernie’s people sort this out as they see fit.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          But I think halos are funny things.

          Obama had no problem pasting his race halo on the blackface-wearing racist in Toronto.

          Hilary could deliver her followers to someone on the Left, a few brunches on The View, get Ellen to chime in, some Instagram selfies. They could have that conversation with the Leftie first (“listen, son, here’s how it’s gonna go…”)

          But she won’t, unless there is some kind of power play sweet revenge for her.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        That it is utterly incorrect.

        He is trying a risky outsider strategy because that is the only one the Dems will allow him. He saw what they did in 2016.

        He is building a fundraising and GOTV operation that has nada to do with the Dems. He is appealing to young voters, who until 2018 had lower propensity to vote than older folks, as well as people not deemed likely and therefore not targeted by either party or pollsters. He has an insane level of support among restaurant workers, like 80%.

        But will they come out and vote? Even if they sincerely intend to, they are more subject to daily “shit happens” than more affluent people.

        1. Carey

          >But will they come out and vote? Even if they sincerely intend to, they are more subject to daily “shit happens” than more affluent people.

          I think they will. To me the question is “will the votes be accurately counted?”

        2. ambrit

          Your last line is an excellent reason to make Election Day a National Holiday. And, perhaps, keep the polls open a full, uninterrupted 24 hours.

          1. inode_buddha

            Can I take a moment to dream? In a similar vein…

            — Publicly funded elections (capping the media)
            — hard term limits (disincentivizing the rot)
            — ban lobbying except from individual natural persons

            I think that short little list would solve about half of what is so wrong in our system.

        3. JBird4049

          But will they come out and vote? Even if they sincerely intend to, they are more subject to daily “shit happens” than more affluent people.

          This needs repeating. The less you have, the more shit happens. The often dismissive attitudes of those who have of those who have not, and who insist that problem X is so much more important than the needs of the have-nots. Like bus fare or a working car to get to work, never mind to the polling station.

          That is why I am compelled to push back against identity politics, or even some of the more clueless efforts to put racism, sexism, homophobia, and other -isms. Hunger, homelessness, even sitting in the dark because you have no money puts an emphasis on what are the necessities of life; it is oversimplifying everything, but all those economic deprivations, including bigotry, are methods of class warfare.

  12. bassmule

    A fleeting thought after watching Trevor Noah’s “Seven scandals in one day” bit:

    Trump’s greatest ally now is Outrage Fatigue: throw up your hands and say “What a sh!tshow!” and turn off the TV. Never mind this impeachment crap. I think we need a Million Citizens March. Stand in front of the White House and chant “LEAVE!” until he does.

      1. Chuckster

        Hillary could be the Grand Marshall. And we could have floats from the CIA, NSA and FBI. And don’t forget the “baby Trump” blimp. Maybe a John Brennen Marching Band with all their lips taped shut but carrying a “Restore his Security Clearance” banner. Maybe a free treatment center to help people afflicted by Trump Derangement Syndrome. Off course a telethon to help get the DNC out of debt.

        It would be awesome and Trump would win in a landslide.

        1. Oh

          Will Michelle and Barack be in the color guard or the Kenyan contingent? And how about Google, Facebook, Netflix, Microhard and the rest of the SillyCone Valley’s usual suspects? Do they just supply funds or do they use the event to spy with their face recognition, e-mail and text eavesdropping and other software? The cops will be in full regalea with their float showing persons of color in cages being tazered. /s

      2. bassmule

        I’m sick of living my fears, OK? MAGA hats are not a majority. And it would make great TV, which is the ultimate political tool, no?

        1. divadab

          You don’t need a majority. And if teevee were really such a great political tool, how come Hillary lost with all the networks save Faux putting their thumbs on the scale in her favor?

          We could have had President Sanders but the Dems cheated to put their bought candidate in place and they lost because enough people know what she is. And IMHO if the current candidate show is any indication, they plan on losing again next year. It’s a flipping disgrace.

        2. JTee

          My fear is that Trump will be ousted, replaced by a “Her” or a Biden-type, and the assorted ghouls in the CIA, FBI and MIC will continue to dictate American domestic and foreign policy.

    1. lambert strether

      > . I think we need a Million Citizens March. Stand in front of the White House and chant “LEAVE!” until he does

      That certainly worked with Iraq. Oh, wait….

      Though I suppose DMV suburbanites who work for “the government” could surround the White House, blowing whistles and working in shifts. The Jeff Bezos Daily Shopper could then present that as a spontaneous uprising by outaged citizens

      1. chuckster

        And what happens when TWO million Deplorables show up in week 2 and beat the shit out of the million Hillaryites?

        1. ambrit

          Those poor ‘deplorables’ will be classified as ‘terrorists’ and shot in the streets. America is much closer to an authoritarian “crack down” than most realize.
          Or, best case scenario, both marches are marginalized and or ignored by the MSMs and ‘official’ America pretends that there is no protest at all. Something similar has happened several times before.
          What do the “Official Powers” now do when even semi spontaneous demonstrations break out? Shut down the social media and mobile communications systems. The main strength of any protest event is coordination between segments of the mass.
          The American revolution mongers of the 1770’s had their Committees of Correspondence.
          The ‘modern’ dissidents of the old USSR had their samizdat.
          The National Socialists and their Communist opponents had their proprietary newspapers.
          All these ‘tools’ of dissent could be suppressed, but still run clandestinely. Hard copy gives one that advantage.
          The modern social media, like Facebooks and Twitters are reliant on electronic media and third party platforms for dissemination. There are no hard copies to pass around and preserve. Electronic media are the essence of ephemera. They can be ‘disappeared’ with a keystroke. This is a case where the economies of scale work against the Public Good.
          See you at the barricades!

          1. The Rev Kev

            Nah! Barricades are so 19th century and they really did not work back then. They give the other side the initiative. Barricades pin you down to a specific area that you can be isolated in and be mopped up in. Hong Kong protesters have shown the way here. Small groups that assemble together quickly, take out their targets, and disperse quickly before slower moving security forces can catch up with them. Hit and run tactics using large crowds to hide their movements with.

            1. ambrit

              Do I detect the influence of old guard revolutionaries here? The old Maoist admonition to move through the people like fish through water applies.
              Still, command and control applies. Without secure communications between segments of the protesting population, new and or suddenly won advantages and gains cannot be adequately exploited.
              The basic countermeasure to large crowds of protesters is “good old fashioned” brutality. Not many individuals in a protesting mass are sufficiently motivated to risk injury and death. In that scenario, the protesters must fade away with the crowds, or risk annihilation.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Not so much old guard revolutionary but a believer in the maxim of adapt or die. Secure communications is key as you say though you may have to plan on using low-tech solutions if they get busted. Stuff like flags, callers, walky-talkies, etc.
                Brutality is a factor but security forces can be worn down over a matter of weeks. But playing by the rules with security forces does not pay and two examples come to mind here.
                During the 1916 Irish rebellion a bunch of them dug a trench to fight the British from in a main park just like soldiers do. The British took one look and then sent up a squad into one of the building overlooking this park where they shot down into that trench and cleared it.
                The second was the Occupy Wall Street protesters where the New York Police funneled 700 of them onto the Brooklyn Bridge, blocked them in, and then proceeded to arrest every single one of them. As Admiral Ackbar would say, “It’s a trap!”
                Fast smaller units that come together when the time is right is how you do it. It was how Napoleon Bonaparte did it with his armies so the technique is not new.

                1. ambrit

                  Of course now Rev, we must make the distinction between movements that wish to either take control of the state itself or those movements that are satisfied with disrupting the status quo.

  13. divadab

    Re: asbestos in talc – the same geological structures that contain talc also contain asbestos – there are talc mines and asbestos mines in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, for example. Not usually in the same zone but mining techniques are important. Back in the day talc, like coal, e.g., was mined using traditional labor-intensive underground mining techniques. But now with massive mechanization permitting removal of “overburden” (think mountaintop removal), the only operating local talc mine is a massive open pit. Mechanized open pit mining is less precise than traditional underground addit and stope mining and it makes sense to me that more asbestos is creeping into the talc mined so imprecisely.

    Anyway why use talc? Cornstarch is fine on a baby’s bum and it’s cheaper than talc and doesn’t smell like that weird fragrance they put in it. And if you don;t buy organic the roundup in the gmo version is hard on fungus…

    1. inode_buddha

      Ever heard of soapstone? There’s *loads* of uses for it, both industrial and domestic. Guess what, talc is just ground up soapstone. First I’ve ever heard of it being mined in the vicinity of asbestos, since its chemically a cousin to marble.

      1. divadab

        Not exactly – “Soapstone is relatively soft because of its high talc content, talc having a definitional value of 1 on the Mohs hardness scale. Softer grades may feel similar to soap when touched, hence the name. No fixed hardness is given for soapstone because the amount of talc it contains varies widely, from as little as 30% for architectural grades such as those used on countertops, to as much as 80% for carving grades.” Here’s the whole Wiki article:

        Both asbestos and talc are metamorphic minerals found in Serpentine belts – such as the ancient mountains of Appalachia.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I worked in a tire factory. Soapstone in that context contained asbestos, something I never learned while working there. I only saw it as a dried liquid that made rubber less sticky, easier to handle.

            1. ambrit

              Every welder and pipe fitter carries one of those metal pencil like holders for that purpose. I’ve done so too, when seconded to help the pipe welders and sometimes. the ductwork fabricators.
              I once had to stop a foreman from marking a big hole, as in over a third of the chord, to be burnt through a roof spanning I-beam. (He demanded my soapstone marker so as to mark the hole to be cut. That’s how i got involved.) He expected to be able to run the plumbing vent lines where ever he wanted. The ‘hole burner’ was one of our men who didn’t know better. I had to talk him out of doing it after the foreman told me to “get lost a–hole.” I was saved from firing by the General Foreman. (I lost my job a bit later anyway, but at least I had a few weeks to look for something else.)
              I still keep a pair of those soapstone markers in my tool box out in the garage.

      1. divadab

        I’d rather buy organic corn starch in bulk and not get J&J’s weird fragrance made from coal tar or mink anal glands….

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Worst Case Scenario For Older Teslas Coming To Fruition As Some Won’t Charge And Screen Stops Working: Report”

    So if a point is reached that so many people are bringing back their Teslas through all these faults to get fixed that it has a serious effect on Musk’s bottom line, what if he abandons the whole Tesla venture? In that lawsuit with the guy that he called a ‘pedo’ guy, Elon is crying poor mouth right now, I kid you not. Are all these Tesla owners really going to trust that someone like Musk does the right thing by them? And that he would risk his own finances to help them? I would not be so optimistic.

    1. RMO

      The remarkable thing is the nature of the problem: at some point it was decided to write log files to a soldered in flash memory at a truly insane frequency despite the fact that a look at the spec sheet for the memory and simple arithmetic would indicate doing this would send it to an early grave. I’m used to Tesla suffering from the syndrome that afflicts so many Silicon Valley tech start ups – that anything that is already being done by established industry must be incredibly simple – especially for bright new disruptive innovators! – and isn’t something they think it necessary to think about much, let alone learn from those who have been doing those things for decades. This is why so many of the problems Tesla has are in the century old field of mass production of cars. They have however done well with the new things they have been doing. This can be seen in independent investigations of the cars such as the Monroe Associates teardowns where they found the batteries, battery management systems, electronic hardware and software can be superior to their competitors but where things fell down was in the body structural engineering, build quality, ease and cost of production, fit and finish etc. (e.g. that the Model 3 body was more expensive to produce than even the carbon-fiber intensive BMWi3 as well as being heavier that other mass produced cars of the same size) In this case they massively screwed up in the area where they have previously done well and seem to concentrate on.

      1. J7915

        Anticipated obsolessence? I remember the IBM XTs, the cdrom battery was soldered on the mother board. The PCs were not expected to outlive the battery.

    1. ambrit

      That headline is a wonderfully devious hit piece on Sanders. Right there, out in the open, by inference, it states that Sanders is corrupt. Just not as corrupt as Warren. Two for one!

        1. ambrit

          That’s what I am afraid of too.
          If it is at all possible, I expect this election cycle to be even more corrupt than the last one.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “US Has Backed 21 of the 28 ‘Crazy’ Militias Leading Turkey’s Brutal Invasion of Northern Syria”

    Good Max Bloomenthal article here. Nice to see that John McCain found his spiritual kin going by that foto – fanatical Jihadists. Kinda like the time he was posing with real-life Nazis. I just realized earlier that there is a dog-that-did-not-bark moment going on here. Let me explain. In earlier times when somebody famous died, it was not long before people felt free to tell the truth about what this guy was actually like.
    You would see this in the release of books and documentaries about this person and you would discover that the guy visited the local brothel so many times that he kept a tab there. Or maybe there would be paper bags of money in his basement and had a gay relationship with the guy leading the campaign against the local LGBT group
    But McCain has been dead for over a year now and I cannot recall anything much coming out. Nothing about his betrayal of Vietnam MIAs or ratting out fellow prisoners in the Hanoi Hilton. Is control so total about what gets published these days that the establishment can protect the memory of one of their own. I have heard that people like Thomas Frank can find it hard to publish their books in the US but he is still alive and McCain, unless he has risen from his tomb like an unkillable vampire, is still dead. very strange this.

    1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      I think the things you mentioned in your comment were plenty. All that came out. The real story behind his ‘heroic resistance to torture’, &c… Also the incident where he crashed his airplane on a carrier deck and killed a lot of people. He was loathed roundly in the Navy.

  16. Summer

    RE: “Johnson’s deal: The reality of what is being proposed” Ian Dunt.

    The EU negotiators were pleased enough with it. No one liked “Mays’s deal.” The EU were.pleased enough with that too. No extensions have brought a better deal.
    Thus it becomes obvious the requests for an extension could not be about getting a “better deal” nor could any granting of extensions be about getting a better deal.

    Choices are still only no deal or remain.

  17. David

    Brexit developments for those who have the strength.
    Letwin amendment, delaying vote on the agreement reached with Brussels last week is passed with a small but definite majority. Government has its toys suddenly taken away.
    Johnson says he will obey the law but not negotiate an extension. Claims he is not obliged by the law to write. Speaker says he will write if instructed by Parliament to do so.
    No-one has any idea what Johnson means, what he will do, or what happens next.
    Just when you thought it might be safe to go back in the water……

      1. Andrew Thomas

        Latest is Johnson refusing to “negotiate” an extension with the EU, and claiming that he doesn’t have to. He may be right. The law requires him to request an extension. If the EU response yes anything but “no” or “yes, you have until x date” , then there is nothing to negotiate. But, I think he has to do at least that. However, if the EU responds with anything more complicated than that, does the law require Bojo to respond at all? And, if so, how?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It certainly does sap the will to live.

      Boris has just been sucked into Theresa May’s hell, mostly courtesy of the DUP.

      My quick reading of the papers (mostly RTÉ, it has the best instant response I think) is that the EU will agree an extension, although its hard to see what for. The longer this goes on, the more people will realise that the deal is awful for the UK – Ian Dunts article linked above explains why very clearly.

      So unless the Ultras can cook up some legal ruse to block an extension so driving the UK (and maybe the worlds economy with it) off the cliff in 2 weeks, then the government is being dragged back into the murk. It’s like a horror movie where the monster just refuses to die. If Corbyn won’t allow BoJo to force an election, then this will go on into 2020 until someone, somewhere, just cuts the final rope.

      The only positive I see in this for the UK is that amazingly, Parliamentary democracy is still actually working quite well, the system hasn’t completely collapsed into chaos. If anything, some sort of constitutional clarity is emerging.

  18. anon in so cal

    Syria: re: Prof Postol

    Scott Ritter

    “Professor Postol first appeared on my radar in 1992, when he questioned the performance of the Patriot missile during the Gulf War. He was right to challenge conventional wisdom then, as he is right to do so about Syria today. This is a sad day for those who search for truth.“


    “Prof Ted Postol has resigned from the editorial board of Science and Global Security effective immediately. After the Journal had decided to not publish his and others Peer-Review, after outside pressure from NATO-and UKFCO linked ‘Bellingcats’ Eliot Higgins and Co.”

    1. barrisj

      Ah, yes, the use of what the US military refers to as “ Willy Pete”…this harsh and caustic chemical has had a long-time and controversial use by many military forces round the globe, including the US, Israel, Russia, etc. While not explicitly banned by any international conventions, its use as an incendiary weapon is regulated ; however, WP has been used as an anti-personnel weapon in “non-incendiary” applications, and such uses have been extremely difficult to control, or even to prosecute as violation of , e.g., The Law of War. Wikipedia offers a comprehensive synopsis of WP history in warfare and insurgencies:

    1. Jack Parsons

      This is insanely funny. But I really don’t believe that independent hitmen exist. There certainly is not some craigslist-type hotwire where you post commissions.

      Psychotic killers working for some organization and doing murders for that organization, yes. But I really have trouble believing that there is a functioning independent market.

  19. xkeyscored

    Boeing lead pilot warned about flight-control system tied to 737 Max crashes, then told regulators to delete it from manuals CNBC
    The agency [FAA], which first certified the planes in 2017, said it is “disappointed that Boeing did not bring this document to our attention immediately upon its discovery.”
    Personally, I use the word disappointed when my local shop has run out of my favourite brand of biscuits, not when hundreds have died as a result of a corporation’s pursuit of profits.

    1. cnchal

      I don’t know how deranged an Amazon “spokesperson” has to be to prattle on defending the company, but they lost their self respect long ago. Venality pays well, and the abuse is mental instead of physical.

      The warehouse workers are all afraid of going on the record, due to the certainty that retribution will come down on them, which speaks volumes about the horrible conditions. This jawb churns through people and throws them on the human trash heap behind every Amazon facility, and the rest of society can pick up the tab for their care or they can go die.

      Here is something from not too long ago.

      After I transferred to the Pick department, I saw a fellow worker from AFE. She had transferred to ICQA (inventory control quality assurance). ICQA can function as a haven for workers who are trying to relieve themselves of the constant physical demands of the fulfillment center. What these workers do more than anything is count items in a bin to verify inventory data. In AFE, my fellow worker usually re-binned. I said, “You used to really hustle over there.” She said her feet would swell and then wouldn’t heal by the next shift, so it had a cumulative effect. Her back bothered her. She said, “No one should do AFE. All that should be automated.” In AFE, she had been a real go-getter, the kind of employee Amazon loves. She is strong and athletic, a young woman in her twenties. She wears athletic-type clothes. Her revelations made me think that many Amazon employees suffer their pains quietly.

      Meanwhile, governments support this massive abuse by directly subsidizing Bezos and grossly overpaying for AWS cloud computing which lets Amazon lose money on the warehouse and delivering crapola side, while being so abusive the warehouse employees call themselves the walking dead as they approach two years of working there.

      >Whose twisted sadistic control and efficiency fantasies are they fulfilling?

      SUV drivers and woke home panopticon owners.

      Now we have the spectre of Amazon running it’s own slate of politicians in Seattle, to further the chokehold on the gazzeles of Seattle. Every once in a while the gazelle kicks the predator in the jaw whereby the predator can’t eat anymore and starves in the bush.

      To the gazzeles of Seattle, start kicking, or else you die being devoured by Bezos. You will be doing it for the rest of society too, as this is just a dry run in an effort to seat the representatives from Amazon in Congress.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Lindybeige had a video on that Bronze age battle-site that was found which appeared on NC recently. He noted that the human body has to receive serious damage before it leaves marks on the skeleton like those found on this site. I wonder if in a thousand years when archaeologists find our skeletons, whether they will be able to identify those who worked at a Amazon fulfillment centers by the damage done to their skeleton.

      1. barrisj

        Customers do have a say on the type of delivery they wish for orders, at least for Prime members. First option for many orders is “next-day” guaranteed, with all the “last-mile” issues well documented…or, one can opt for the 3-4 day delivery, which doesn’t involve courier services breaking the sound barrier over city streets getting to the customer destination. Easy choice…or, of course, don’t shop on Amazon.

    1. divadab

      Thanks! I had to do a set of t-accounts to visualize what he was talking about but a really great explanation…..

  20. Summer

    RE: PG&E /Fires

    “The company’s equipment has sparked 19 major fires during windy periods in 2017 and 2018, mostly because vegetation blew into live wire…”

    That and other human carelessness, some arson are responsible for the great many.

  21. barrisj

    Very intriguing article by Berkeley Prof. Judith Butler appearing on the London Review of Books online edition of 24 October, 2019 entitled “Genius or Suicide”, an attempt at a deep-dive into the “thought processes” – an oxymoron, if there ever was one – of Trump, or, “What Makes Donnie Run?” (pace Budd Schulberg). Whether one is pro-Trump or anti-Trump, pro-impeachment or anti-impeachment, his behaviour the past few months one must concede has been exceedingly self-lacerating, and Prof. Butler’s article offers some possible insights into what motivates him to do what he’s done.

  22. David in Santa Cruz

    …the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain.

    This bears repeating.

    Tulsi Gabbard has exactly zero chance of being the Dem nominee — so why slander her? Because her cult-y upbringing and traumatic military service have given her the guts to be a truth-teller on the national stage — the only candidate of either party to rationally and articulately challenge the Blob.

    Tulsi can challenge the Military-Industrial Complex in a way that the presumptive front-runners, Bernie and Warren, don’t dare. The Blob is threatened from the right by Trump and from the left by Bernie and Warren. Clinton has always been their deranged proxy, Russia!Russia!Russia! their desiccated Cold War meme.

    Trump talked a great game against the MIC, but was always easily manipulated and neutralized (although he finally grew some stones over the illegal invasion of Syria). However, the Blob‘s DC careerists legitimately fear that their coup will be undone if Bernie or Warren bump-off Trump, as taking-out the Blob can fund Medicare for All, College for All, and rebuilding the infrastructure. This is only their first salvo, with Clinton and Bloomberg waiting in the wings to un-do the will of primary voters yet again.

    [BTW, this is my issue with Taibbi: the coup d’état happened long ago, when Eisenhower left office in 1961; a Director of the CIA has been President and the FBI proved itself over and over to be nothing but a kompromat machine.]

  23. inode_buddha

    re: PG&E I can’t believe the gonads on those guys. That is one outfit that begs to be nationalized, or state-ized or whatever it is. And the current leadership told off without pay. As time goes by I am more and more surprised how much the US resembles a corrupt 3rd world banana republic.

      1. JBird4049

        Much of the corruption in the Central American countries was imposed by the United States as any democratic and honest country was bad for American businesses. It was also claimed that they were communist and clients of the Soviet Union as well.

        Nice to know that later we neoliberalized America into a banana republic because it is good for business.

  24. Patrick Donnelly

    Have I got News for You, BBC, with BoJo’s sister on the panel.

    To repeat, there are massive opportunities to game the FX market over Brexit. Yves, you pooh poohed this as the motivation for Brexit.

    You may be correct. Switzerland is now surrounded by the EU. The UK may now have to take over the role it played and doing so means exit from the EU?

  25. Dan

    Was the baby powder made in China? No mention of source.

    Another suspect product, Nest thermostats, besides all the suspicions and problems with them, one must add P.G.&E’s “smart meters” to this mix because they are on tens of millions of homes without owner’s consent.

    Different kinds of electric motors have signatures that can be read and transmitted by smart meters in real time to third parties. Right there on customers’ privacy statement, “PG&E can and does share data.”
    “Washing machine at 2.P.M., vibrator at 3. Nice stress relief… Send her a customized ad for lube.”

    This can be coupled with your street address, bank routing number for autopay and all the other handovers of your personal data. Plants near “smart meters” die from radiation. They catch fire. They use the electricity you pay for to send out the cell signals to other meters thousands of time a day, plus repeat other meters.

    Avoid anything with the word “smart” in it.

    1. divadab

      The two biggest suggested searches on Amazon if you put in “baby powder” are “baby powder cornstarch” and “Baby powder talc-free”

      People are paying attention and in superfast realtime

  26. smoker

    In any sane world, how the hell was this allowed – so many things wrong with it, on so many infinite levels – what will culminate to horrid swarms of utterly unnecessary, physically dangerous and psychologically traumatizing (to bird, beast and insect); ever surveilling; increasingly energy/rare earths devouring drones, it’s mind boggling:

    Sky’s the limit! People can now order over-the-counter medication and snacks to be delivered to their homes by DRONE in Virginia town as Alphabet’s drone delivery service Wing begins

    What the f are so many imbibing, that they repeatedly – for their selfish convenience – blindly usher all things living into an increasingly hellish world. (I’ll never forgive the aholes who, from the jump, while reading of what a horrid person Jeff Bezos was/is, gave his company the license to destroy billions of lives and small businesses and professions, simply for their own convenience).

    1. Dan

      Anything under 400 feet is intruding in your airspace and can be shot down, as long as it doesn’t endanger others. You have to AFAICTell, be “using” the airspace, say to fly kites, or display decorative balloons.

      Sooner or later, someone’s going to market a slingshot powered net that can snag drones.

      Drugs? Bennies from heaven.

  27. barrisj

    I hesitate to post this, as it rather opposes the “Trump v. ‘Deep State’ – i.e., the intelligence agencies – narrative popular here at NC, but a very valuable contribution to this discussion is this piece by Boston U. Law Prof. Rebecca Ingber, where she discusses “resistance” in all its forms to policies of the Executive. I’ll not cherry-pick elements of her paper, but rather just the final paragraph, here:

    Bureaucratic Resistance and the Deep State Myth
    The term “deep state” is intended to describe regimes in which the elected government does not wield the actual power of the state, which is instead run by a body whom the public cannot see and has no power to control. Let us hold up the Ukraine saga to this lens. In this case one or more whistleblowers, as well as other actors inside the executive branch, have been trying to disclose to us, the people, in accordance with laws our elected Congress has passed, information about what our government is doing in our name. And it is our President, not some unelected, faceless bureaucrats, who is trying to keep this information from us, the people, who need it so that it can inform our decisions about whom to support, both in Congress and in the White House. Our elected President, wielding the enormous power of the executive branch, powers that our elected officials in Congress have over the years delegated to it, is the threat that should concern us. The deep state bogeyman is not. But it is not going to save us, either.

    Long read, but well worth the slog.

    1. pretzelattack

      this article assumes that there is only one accepted definition of “deep state”. few people argue that the intel agencies/contractor/bureaucrats or even the billionaires absolutely run the country. the argument is that they shouldn’t and are trying to. that’s not a “narrative”, there’s a real struggle going on between factions. revealing that the author is worried only about the president, and not the legislative branch, or the vast majority of the media, or the intel agencies.

      the problem is the people are not wielding power; the representatives they elect to various positions don’t represent the broad public interest, but the interests of donors, or of political factions vying for power without accountability.

      that doesn’t fit the popular narrative, blared 24/7, of trump vs the people of the u.s., and their ever so righteous defenders in the ranks of the media and centrist democrats. a war with russia is in nobody’s interest, and pushing this incessant propaganda about russian collusion and control of the government makes that more likely, just as it did when joe mccarthy was doing it.

      1. barrisj

        The article is at bottom about essentially the failure of “checks and balances” in modulating the headlong growth of the power of the Executive, and how, over time, Congress and the courts abdicated their respective rôles in asserting their constitutional prerogatives. Bureaucrats can slow-walk policies inimical to public welfare, the intelligence agencies can leak embarrassing or illegal actions to their favourite reporter or Congressional staffer, but ultimately to little effect in curbing a willful president. We’ve certainly seen just in the past 3 years how Trump has eviscerated the regulatory agencies, forcing career civil servants – “the bureaucrats” – to leave their respective departments, how the State Department has been stripped of veteran diplomats, with policies being made and carried out on an ad hoc basis by private citizens working for a President’s personal goals rather than for the public weal. In the Bush era, Congress passed the virtually opened-ended “AUMF”, justifying any use of the US military as the president felt was “necessary”. And followed that with the shameful “ USA-PATRIOT Act, opening the door to wholesale depredations of the Bill of Rights, amongst other evils. People are really kidding themselves into thinking that a rogue intelligence agency or the FBI can bring down a president…he can just fire his antagonists as Trump already had done, install a friendly agency or DoJ head – Haskel, Barr – and Bob’s your uncle. No, as the author says, the real problem is the untrammeled Executive, and each successive president establishes yet more precedents to even further strengthen the office, where the concept of the “Unitary Executive”, as enunciated by Yoo, Addington, et al in the Cheney-Bush years, pushes the US further into an autocratic state, the Constitution be damned.

  28. ewmayer

    “The Democrats’ Hypocrisy on Syria | Peter Beinart. UserFriendly” — That odd little short-link didn’t work for me (as in, it wasn’t very “user friendly”, lol) – here is a link to what appears the original article in The

    Democrats Are Hypocrites for Condemning Trump Over Syria | The Atlantic: Presidential hopefuls blasted Trump for abandoning the Kurds—but want the U.S. to pull out of Afghanistan under similar conditions.

    Note to my fellow links-suggesters: Please, whenever possible provide the original-article link. If it’s paywalled, an alternative source may be in order – but that wasn’t the case with the above article.

  29. JBird4049

    The BBC story on the 13ft venomous King Cobra showing the nonchalance of the workers catching it by hand makes me both embarrassed and not want to go to Thailand. The 2ft maybe rattlers local to me are nothing in comparison and the few times I have seen them, I went in the opposite direction.

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