Links 10/31/19

Sexy witch. Sexy nurse. Sexy Mr. Rogers? Inside the sexy Halloween costume industrial complex. San Francisco Chronicle

WiFi Is Illegal in This American Town. (And Yes, People Actually Live There.) Popular Mechanics

A Lineman Became a Doctor, but Dementia Made Him Retire. He’s Only 42. NYT

Tim Berners-Lee warns internet’s power for good is ‘under threat’ The Bolton News

Sports Desk

Nationals win first World Series title, storming back on Astros in Game 7, 6-2 WaPo

California Burning

Has the climate crisis made California too dangerous to live in? Guardian. Bill McKibben (Wat)

Hundreds Of Koalas Die As Bushfire Rages In Their Breeding Ground In Australia International Business Times

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

WhatsApp Sues an Israeli Tech Firm Whose Spyware Targeted Human-Rights Activists and Journalists New Yorker

Our Famously Free Press

Times public editor: When Times reporting is weaponized Columbia Journalism Review

Waste Watch

IKEA and H&M analyze the content of recycled fabrics TreeHugger

Environmentalists Slam ‘Climate Criminal’ Rex Tillerson for Spreading More Lies During Testimony in Exxon Trial Common Dreams

Grenfell Report Phase 1 Seeks to Blame the Firefighters 139 Craig Murray

Mr. Chelsea Clinton Tries Changing His Luck By Doing His Last Job Backwards Dealbreaker

1MDB scandal: Jho Low not off the hook despite US$1 billion settlement SCMP

Can America’s capital markets reinvent themselves? FT

Class Warfare

Amazon Is on the Attack Against Kshama Sawant Jacobin

Transit union head says MTA contract negations could ‘spin out of control’ NY Post

Protests, elections show LatAm tide turning against pro-market agenda Reuters

Chile Says It Can’t Host Climate, Trade Summits After Protests The Wire

Syraqistan

Lebanon deadlock remains after PM quits Al Jazeera

Revisiting the win-win-win-win outcome in Syria The Saker. chuck l: “A long, nuanced postmortem of what’s gone down in Syria and environs over the past five years.” Moi: Today’s must-read.

German Syria Proposal a Risk for Merkel Ally Der Spiegel

Remembering and Learning From U.S. Responsibility for the 1953 Coup American Conservative

Mainstream Journalists Who Refuse To Defend Dissident Journalists Are Worshippers Of Power Caitlin Johnstone

General Election 2019

General election: ‘Real change is coming,’ says Corbyn at Labour’s campaign launch – live news Guardian

New federal guidelines could ban internet in voting machines Politico. Still far short of landmarked paper ballots hand counted in public.

2020

Porch by Porch, One Pennsylvania Rises Capital & Main

Joe Biden to attend Seattle fundraiser co-hosted by Amazon general counsel Seattle Times

Bill Clinton Fuels Rumors of a Hillary 2020 Run: ‘She May or May Not Run’ (VIDEO) Gateway Pundit

In Defense of Tulsi Gabbard TruthDIg. Maj. Danny Sjursen.

I Can Defeat Trump and the Clinton Doctrine WSJ. In her own words.

Twitter to ban all political ads amid 2020 election uproar WaPo

Democratic Candidates Face Questions Seldom Heard On Campaign Trail Marshall Project

Campaign Death Watch Season Begins New York magazine

Boeing 737 cracks: union calls on Qantas to ground entire 737 fleet for investigation Guardian

China?

Exclusive: Beijing could ax extra tariffs on U.S. farm products to boost imports – China trade association chief Reuters

Mask ban means Hong Kong police could start removing Halloween make-up, with anti-government protest heading for Lan Kwai Fong SCMP

Hong Kong protests drag economy into recession – business live Guardian

India

This book asks if India has really considered its climate vulnerabilities in forming its policies Scroll

Cyberattack scare dogs India’s nuclear plants Asia Times

How foreign funds, using NBFCs as proxy banks, are leaving India and Indians poorer Economic Times

Democrats In Disarray

Democrats Lost the States. A New Book Says Activists Are Fighting Back. New York magazine

Trump Transition

Chomsky: Trump’s Actions on Syria Reflect the Foreign Policy of a Con Man TruthOut

Pompeo says Trump-Zelensky call was ‘consistent’ with administration policy The Hill

The New World is Emerging Before Us Voltaire Network (Wat)

All Things Halloween The Almighty Guru Happy Halloween!

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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163 comments

  1. Amfortas the hippie

    in the reuter’s thing on latin america:
    “…In Chile, which introduced market reforms long before the rest of the region and is seen by many as a posterchild of neoliberalism,…”

    “market reforms” seems sort of inadequate as a descriptor of how all that actually happened.
    on the other hand, it’s kind of remarkable that reuters is quoting Branko.

    Reply
  2. witters

    Tim Berners-Lee warns internet’s power for good is ‘under threat’ The Bolton News

    I read it. It is empty. Says nothing. Seriously, Why?

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      My Inner Cynic suggests seductively in my left ear that this is part of the campaign to introduce Censorship in the guise of ‘Reforms’ to the present “Wild West” Internet. Like the Cattle Barons and Railroad Magnates back in the Nineteenth Century did, today’s Robber Barons want to introduce “Regulators” to ‘police’ the formerly free wheeling discussions available in the ether. If ‘Consent’ cannot be manufactured, it will be enforced.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that you might be right. And it won’t be through ‘nudges’ but simply that people that disagree with the narrative will just be banned as happens on social media now.

        Reply
      2. chad

        More formally they want to introduce regulators to raise the cost of entering the market to something unattainable to all who are not currently established in that market, and they are willing to manufacture consent to get it, provided they are not caught.

        That’s probably why both the right and the left both have evidence backed claims of unreasonable censorship :/

        If you’re typing out some hyperbolic but true anecdote about censorship that is reasonable, please stop.

        Reply
      3. inode_buddha

        They lost that battle when net neutrality went down. As in, the wires were supposed to be content-neutral. What, did people really think it was about money?

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          Long ago the Pirate Bay guys had cooked up a sort of WiFi dead-drop device, whereby passersby could upload and download whatever was on it. The Internet-of-Shit industry has made Wi-Fi microcontrollers deliriously cheap, $2-$3 each for an FCC-compliant module. A relatively inexperienced electronics hobbyist could just add power supply and a storage medium, and Samizdat 2.0 is served.

          Reply
    2. Randy G

      Yes, the ‘Sir’ Berners-Lee piece was amazingly content free. Maybe the “Contract” will have us all standing up whistling in excitement but probably not.

      Obviously, the threat to the Internet is not from grotesque commercialism, strangulation by power mad corporations, surveillance by the sinister NSA, or endless CIA talking points masquerading as news — it’s from uncivil ‘losers’ rudely casting aspersions on our benefactors in Washington and their corporate ‘partners’ around the globe.

      Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      How come there aren’t hyphenated names with say seven hyphens in the UK? they always seem to limit themselves to one.

      …seems like a target rich environment

      Reply
      1. rtah100

        There is a Tory MP from a landowning family of great history, Richard Erne-Erle-Plunkett-Drax, who very sensibly goes around as Richard Drax in town because it is easier to park and much more fuel efficient but no doubt takes the four-cylinder special for a spin on Sundays. His ancestors built one of Britain’s longest boundary walls as a poverty relief measure in the early 19th century. It is a majestic brick thing with occasional stag-besculpted triumphal archway gates, running alongside the A31, whose impatient drivers like to embed themselves in it with depressing frequency when overtaking because the road is single carriageway and the stretch in question is straight but full of hidden dips….

        Reply
  3. John A

    Re Times public editor: When Times reporting is weaponized

    Once again, the MSM keep baldly stating that the alleged Biden – Ukraine corruption story has been ‘debunked’.
    Funny, I am still waiting for evidence of such debunking. As with the ‘compelling evidence’ claimed by Teresa May that somehow Russian agents were behind the Skripal affair. Both Skripals, incidentally, remain totally hidden from view and unavailable to be interviewed to provide their version of what happened.
    It seems these days that if the media state something, we are supposed to accept it as plain fact. Not in my book.

    Reply
    1. GramSci

      I had lingering hope for the Columbia Journalism Review, but yeah, I guess they’ve now gone over to the dark side.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        Right, because an obviously corrupt oligarch was concerned that an obviously corrupt prosecutor my press charges, Biden’s prevention of that prospect is obviously not corrupt even though Hunter was a dingleberry to the threatened and then protected oligarch.

        Two wrongs obviously make a right.

        Reply
    2. ambrit

      What gets me is that formerly, a newspaper or journal was up front about it’s ideological leanings. Papers had names like “The Southeast Central Whig Intelligencer,” or the “Brotherhood of Pain Paraphernalia Review Digest.” You knew what you were in for when you bought either.
      Today? “We publish the objective truth! [For some definition of ‘objective.]”
      Free Thinkers are always a threat to the Status Quo.

      Reply
    3. jeremyharrison

      “Psst…NYTImes – Trump is weaponizing your reporting.”

      “What! How dare he? It’s OUR job to weaponize our reporting!”

      Reply
    4. Rhondda

      The CJR author’s position rather astounded me. Am I wrong in understanding his position to be “no one should report on anything that could in any way conceivably be ‘to the benefit’ of the bad orange man? Ssssh. Even if it’s true, let it rot over on the ‘conspiracy’ PropOrNot sites?” Because that what it sounds like to me. He doesn’t seem to see that as a form of ‘weaponization’ — but I do.

      And re ‘weaponization’– whenever I hear Our Betters locking onto a term and the term is everywhere, my antennae go up. It’s a froth of lazy groupthink, a junk drawer in which to slide away pesky things that are too complicated for us plebes to ponder. Because if we pondered them, we might realize they aren’t pesky shenanigas, like kids TPing a house for halloween — they are criminal actions. I don’t think I have ever seen the word “shenanigans” printed so many times as the NYT business pages during the economic meltdown caused by FIRE white collar crime.

      Newsflash for Mr. CJR– I and practically everyone I know don’t read or believe your rags anymore — and this sort of thing is exactly why. You journos sold the rest of us down the river for Langley’s fiat and mockingbird songs. “Democracy dies in darkness.” Ptui. Go cry to your deep state overlords.

      Reply
    5. Carolinian

      It’s typical CJR–the NYT sin is in giving attention to what CJR considers “fake news.” CJR are defenders of the foreign policy establishment and people like Biden right down the line.

      Reply
    6. Katniss Everdeen

      What’s this article even about?

      But when it comes to pondering the possibility that its work—sound as it may be by traditional journalism standards—might have adverse outcomes if it’s twisted and mischaracterized, the Times often retreats to an inside-a-vacuum reading that cuts it off from any responsibility for the afterlife of coverage decisions it makes.

      hunter DID get the job and the money. joey DID tap his watch and threaten to take the taxpayer’s billion and go home if the guy wasn’t fired and he was. (At least they didn’t “report” that joey swears that “the U-kraine” never, ever came up over Thanksgiving dinner and he had no idea what hunter was up to over there.)

      So what’s the author’s contention–you shouldn’t “report” things that look bad because people might get the “wrong” idea that they are? Sounds exactly like Assange’s “crime” of telling people things they were never supposed to know, and might remember at crunch time.

      Reply
      1. JB

        Aaron Mate interviewed Max Blumenthal regarding the Bidens and Ukraine
        https://thegrayzone.com/2019/10/07/trump-meddled-in-ukraine-and-hes-not-alone/

        Max Blumenthal:
        “So what Giuliani has done, and I think maybe his mistake is he’s gone overboard and tried to allege that Biden, going in, in late 2015, early 2016, to Ukraine and demanding the firing of the general prosecutor, the attorney general of Ukraine, Viktor Shokin, was related to an investigation Shokin was carrying out against Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company that had hired Biden’s son Hunter Biden as a board member to the tune of $50,000 a month, in order to cover for his own son.”

        “Now that may have happened, it may be true. It wouldn’t surprise me at all. The problem is there’s no concrete evidence to prove it, and so the Democrats are hammering Giuliani about that and saying it’s completely meritless. And right now, it is.”

        “What isn’t meritless is the fact that the same month that Joe Biden made his first big visit to Ukraine in April 2014 to raise the morale of this flailing government that had been installed by a coup that Biden personally midwifed, his son Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of this insanely corrupt company, by its oligarch founder Mykola Zlochevsky, who was currently under investigation in the UK and had $23 million of his assets frozen by the UK government because he was considered to be so corrupt.”

        Much more from Max Blumenthal in the interview…but the issue stems from Giuliani overplaying his hand so the Democrats have “something” as a defense of Biden. This is enabling the media to crowd out the rest of the story.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          Regardless of whether it happened or not, for Biden to even joke about it was unprofessional and Unpresidential and he needs to go spend time with his family. Or, it would be, if professionalism were anything but upper-middle preening for one another.

          Reply
    7. Tomonthebeach

      I might have given Biden some slack about the BAD judgment of Burisma, but the China fiasco is tar that just does not wash off. Several stories have offered litanies of Biden involved in actions to make a lobbyist grin. You would think that any National political committee, say the DNC, would be astute enough to realize that Backroom Joe comes with as much nasty baggage as Crooked Hillary.

      Reply
  4. jeremyharrison

    “Has the climate crisis made California too dangerous to live in?”

    No. But thanks for the hyperbolic drivel that follows your question in your article, Mr. McKibben.

    Oh, well, I suppose you could say that it’s risky to live in neighborhoods where local politicians allowed subdivisions to be built in forests that have burned and re-forested themselves regularly since the last Ice Age, but aside from that, no again.

    Certainly the tide of people that keeps flooding into the state doesn’t think it’s too risky. And the people who consider leaving list their reasons, which mostly boil down to the tide of people that keeps flooding in, driving up housing costs (reason #1 – 71%), and shift the Cali government bluer and bluer (reason #2 – high taxes – 58%, and reason #3 – political culture – 46%).

    I realize you’re pushing your agenda of warning people about the dangers of climate change. But since 99.9999999999999999% of Americans are not climatologists, you have to state a reasonable case for them to share your alarm. Writing articles with titles implying that a state of 40,000,000 people is too dangerous to live in because of climate change, while almost no one here is thinking of leaving for that reason, just makes you look stupid, sways no one to your point of view, and in fact, just does the opposite – it makes those non-climatologists who are somewhat agnostic on the issue think, “These alarmists are clowns. Oh well, no need to give this subject any further attention, except to laugh at how they’re recruiting children to go on school strikes….”

    But then, your article doesn’t strike me as an attempt to persuade anyone – it seems more like an effort designed to get some fawning applause from those who share your views and marvel at your hyperventilating prose and Gerry Mulligan references.

    Reply
    1. Fiery Hunt

      Gotta say…
      Yep.
      Uninhabitable? I wish more people thought that. Remember…the Oakland Fire Storm was Oct. 1991; 28 years ago! There’s nothing new about this “new normal”.
      Perhaps we should just say we shouldn’t be so stupid about development, and resources, and corruption. Not as sexy though…

      Reply
      1. Fiery Hunt

        PS let me just add…I recognize climate change is real and catastrophic.

        It’s just that we continue to make its effects even worse through greed and corruption. ..things we can control.

        Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            In Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner opined that Los Angeles could support a population of 100,000 based on locally sourced freshwater circa 1900.

            The idea there’s around 20 million in the vicinity now, means a lot of people are going to hit the Jackpot.

            Reply
            1. Carolinian

              Recently toured Mono lake–drained by LA which attained rights to the inflowing streams. Polansky and Towne gave us the whole saga–fictionlized–in Chinatown and LA’s seizure of eastern Sierra water resources left much bitterness (they have since been enjoined from taking Mono’s water). “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.”

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                A fun little side trip off of Hwy 395 is to the tiny town of Keeler on the other side of dry Owens Lake.

                There’s a 20 foot high dock as a testament to what the lake level used to be once upon a time, as ships went to and fro across it.

                Reply
                1. JCC

                  I have a friend that lives in Keeler and visit every few months. He keeps me up-to-date on LA Water’s harassment of those that don’t cut down trees on their property that “use too much water”. Apparently only LA is allowed to grow trees.

                  The Water War stories about the Owens River from Bishop down to Owens Lake in the 30’s are interesting. Bombs, pipe cutting and more were S.O.P back then.

                  Reply
          2. inode_buddha

            “And population. Something we should control.”

            Maybe we could outlaw single-use condoms. Multiple-use only, or abstain. Remember, the best rubbers in the world have Uniroyal written all over them!

            Reply
      2. Lee

        I suspect the overlords of finance capital, the banks and insurance companies, might at last wise up and step up, putting an end to imprudent development in fire prone areas. One cannot get a home mortgage in California without insurance. No doubt the rich might, should they choose, self insure against the fire risk, hiring private landscape managers and firefighters. As for the rest of us, who knows. Perhaps we’ll just be left to die of thirst during the next drought.

        Reply
      3. Krystyn Walentka

        Yes, this is akin to the “Deer Problem” we have in my very small town. People move into a place that has a historically high deer population because of low predation and now they are a “problem”. I over heard a woman frustrated that she could not keep the deer out of her yard no matter what she did. I told her not to be mad that the deer are smarter than her. She did not like that comment much. :)

        Reply
          1. Krystyn Walentka

            Thank you for remembering. Yes, for now I did. January 1st I am homeless again though. I had to sell my van because I could not afford to fix some issues with it but managed to get funding from a homelessness program to rent from a slum lord for the next three months. Will head to Arizona then to buy another van since they seem to be cheaper there.

            I did sell the van for a profit though, so my luck might be changing.

            Reply
            1. Monty

              Good luck with everything!

              For future reference, I think quite a nice place to enjoy the van life is Santa Barbara, CA. (apart from the gas price) When I was there recently, they seem quite friendly to overnight vans in the parking lot next to the pier. Ocean view! It’s just 8-9 hrs from AZ too.

              Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          As my neighbor said about his escape-artist dog: “He may not be very smart, but he has all day to think about it.”

          Reply
    2. Ted

      Yeah, when I came to So Cal in the early 1990s, I did some work as a grad student with Hot Shot crews in the state, and watched the coastal hills burn up a bit of Laguna Beach in 1993. Fire storms have always been part of the state’s story. Since then, what has really changed is the unchecked, poorly planned development of every hill or low-lying mountain between Santa Barbara and Camp Pendelton on the coasts and at least as far as Banning to the east. FIRE as an unregulated, unquestioned economic sector has dominated the state’s economy and politics for decades. Sadly for me McKibben’s hyperbolics only serve to turn attention away from the actual political-economy of California, and a long passed need to reign in developers and their minions. As I recall, our handsome governor is the son in law of a fabulously wealthy developer for Christ’s sake.

      Reply
      1. Norge

        I moved from NYC to California when I finished my schooling 50 years ago, in part because I was tired of the rampant corruption. I still think California less corrupt than NYC or Boston or Chicago but it’s very corrupt. Most city councils and county boards of supervisors are owned by local developers and real estate interests. Building in flood plains is as endemic and problematic as building in the path of the next inevitable wild fire.

        Reply
      2. witters

        Right. None of this “Jackpot”! hyberbolic nonsense. Everything is as it always was climate wise. Ignore the CO2. Its all the CEO.

        Reply
      1. Lee

        I don’t know about “sobering”. I’ve been sober for a dozen years now and it made me want to have a drink. ; )

        More seriously, he pretty much hits the nail on the head unfortunately and so we are left with:
        https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/cea73f7b-8498-4bec-80d7-9b8b9e9c714a

        For some reason, I have been recently recalling a passage from the poet Shinichi Takahashi’s poem Horse:

        A horse goes round and round,
        Dancing now, with joie de vivre,
        Under the cliff of death.

        Reply
    3. anonymous

      Our foothills have been periodically burning since before the Indians were here. The people who build houses in the foothills and the governments that allow this are to blame.

      Probably 97 or 98% or Californians live in places that have effectively the same fire danger as anywhere else – the gargantuan and hideously expensive fire services we support in this state are almost entirely for the benefit of rich people in the foothills.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Prices of real estate have gone up to the point, where it might cost 30% of what the same home in SF will fetch, here in ritchie richville.

        Reply
      2. jrs

        density, density, density – a human scaled density mind you (which is always proposed for the valleys where most people live anyway, not the foothills).

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          For what its worth dept:

          Relatively few Native Americans lived in what is now SD/OC/LA/SF, as water was iffy.

          Meanwhile in the Sierra foothills largely:

          Estimates for the pre-contact populations of most native groups in California have varied substantially (See Population of Native California). Alfred L. Kroeber in 1925 put the 1770 population of the Yokuts at 18,000. Several subsequent investigators suggested that the total should be substantially higher. Robert F. Heizer and Albert B. Elsasser 1980 suggested that the Yokuts had numbered about 70,000. They had one of the highest regional population densities in pre-contact North America.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yokuts

          Reply
      3. Lee

        A great many of more modest means retire to or make a living in the xeric, fire prone foothills. There are reasons, financial and aesthetic, for doing so. Until it all goes up in smoke that is.

        Reply
      4. skippy

        From time immemorial – the upper class seek views over their domain with a side of closer to the creator that put them there.

        Reply
    4. Tim

      I concur. Any place that you can live outside of shelter 365 days a year and still survive I’d consider pretty habitable. It’s a big state with a lot of people, stuffs gonna happen.

      Tornados, Blizzards, Hurricanes, fires, floods, brutal heat waves. Pick your poison almost anywhere you decide to live.

      Reply
      1. cnchal

        . . . and now for something completely different. From someone I call, to myself, ‘The Accountant’ and the alarm bell that is ringing loud and clear, except no one hears it as the peasants are sold out by Wall Street for a fat fee, again and again.

        https://deep-throat-ipo.blogspot.com/2019/10/repo-acalypse-now.html

        As an old time, simple minded bookkeeper I prefer a much easier and in my opinion, a more informative ratio. I refer to it as the “Cash to Deposits” ratio. As of the 2018 10K, JPM’s “Cash to Deposits” ratio was 0.17 ($256B/$1,471B), or 17 cents of cash on hand for every dollar of deposit “liabilities”. Of course “Bank Deposits” are the most current of current liabilities. “Current” means “I want my money NOW!” In other words, if 17% of JPMs “demand” deposits are moved/transferred or “demanded” they would run out of cash and would have to “do something” (i.e. borrow Repo money. call loans to non-systemic banks or sell assets overnight/immediately). In the “good old days” when we actually had a “time value of money” and a normalized yield curve, it made sense for a systemic bank like JPM, knowing the FED is a reliable/immediate backstop, to operate with as little cash on hand as possible (approaching zero) in order to maximize income. This strategy still makes sense today, but with a yield curve that looks like it got hit by a steamroller going down hill, it’s significantly less profitable. Of course, smaller “non-Systemic” banks that don’t have access to immediate/overnight money (e.g. Lehman, Bear, National City, Countrywide, WAMU, Wachovia, etc. etc.) simply are closed/absorbed if too many of their depositors suddenly “Can’t wait until Friday and want their Money NOW!”

        Now let’s take a look at JPM’s deposit composition ($1.471 Trillion) and cash on hand ($256 Billion) in relation to the world’s supply of dollars.

        1.) Per the above, we know that the sum total value of the world’s bank deposits is $114.2 Trillion (Excluding RMB deposits since RMB deposits aren’t reported by either the BIS or TIC).

        2.) Of the world’s $114.2 Trillion in bank deposits, $29.6 Trillion (26%) are denominated in US Dollars.

        3.) Of these $29.6 Trillion, $20.2 Trillion (68%) are “Owned” by foreign depositors/entities.

        4.) JPM, is arguably the biggest gorilla in the global jungle, with total deposits that represent a hefty 5% of total US Dollar global deposits, but with “Cash on Hand” of only $278 Billion representing less than 1% of all of the dollars on the planet.

        5.) Given that 68% of the world’s dollar deposits are controlled by foreign entities: The big question we have to ask is: What amount of JPM’s deposits (or for that matter, any of the big bank deposits) are controlled by foreigners, specifically Chinese Communist Party members, agents and operatives and secondly, under what conditions might they want to just wire it off shore to another non-US Bank? The next big question we must ask is: Are there any mechanisms to prevent these deposits from suddenly moving offshore, out of the reach of US Banks?

        Illusions can seem real and reality can be an illusion. Is the FED flying blind? Didn’t Yves tell us that two of the brains on the FED trading desk left recently?

        Let’s call this repo operation what it is, throwing money down a rathole without knowing where the rathole leads.

        Reply
  5. Wukchumni

    Nationals win first World Series title, storming back on Astros in Game 7, 6-2 WaPo
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It was an entertaining World Series, and per usual no teams from outside the USA were involved, although you might think that numerous Caribbean and Central American economies GDP gets raised a bit vis a vis enormous salaries paid.

    Late in the game, they mentioned the potential for a few players that will be free agents next year and one of them: Anthony Rendon, was looking @ a 7 year deal worth $210 to $250 million. I live a sheltered MLB life during the regular season that seems to last forever, and to be honest, had never heard of him.

    Contrast that with Sandy Koufax & Don Drysdale holding out in 1966 for 3 year $500k deals each after winning the 1965 World Series, but no dice, Sandy signs a 1-year deal for $125k, Don inks a similar contract for $110k.

    Owners never signed pro athletes to multi-year deals back then, what if a player got hurt or started playing poorly?

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >Owners never signed pro athletes to multi-year deals back then, what if a player got hurt or started playing poorly?

      ???? Not sure what your point is? Do you think that was a good time?

      I see that now the players, who despite their high income are still (very highly skilled) labor, have some serious representation. Owners, who are generally louses who either are the first generation of great parasites on society or Trumpian descendants of such (cough, Bob Nutting, cough) no longer have that kind of power over them.

      Which is a very good thing. Wish it would trickle down, but nothing every really does, does it?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        My point being that we’ve gone from one extreme to the other, and if you could point a finger @ when money grubbing really started happening in our country, it’s when the pro athletes started getting paid enormous amounts of moolah, which made Wall*Street jealous, it would appear.

        Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            The whole thing strikes me as obscene, seen from afar, and a funny thing is happening.

            Not in the playoffs or World Series, but fans aren’t showing up as much anymore. And it isn’t just baseball. NFL cameramen will screw up once in awhile and show that there’s about 1/3rd of the audience missing occasionally in games on any given Sunday, and despite the home run being elevated to junk-bomb status with 10% more hit than any other year, the league drew a million less fans than last year.

            It all seems familiar to me, and horse racing has got to the point where nobody goes anymore, and all the action is in off-track betting, just like spectator sports is going as far as tv coverage ruling supreme. The last NFL game I went to cost me $150 a seat for a view of the action vastly inferior to that on my telly.

            Reply
            1. shinola

              Yep. I’m a NASCAR fan but I have never attended a NASCAR race & have no desire to do so. TV coverage is vastly superior to any view I could get as an in-person spectator. (and the beer from my fridge is colder & cheaper and my living room couch is more comfortable than any track-side facility).

              Reply
              1. cnchal

                When you go to MIS and stand 8 feet away from where they are blasting by you at 180, that’s what your’e missing. Can’t get that on any TV.

                Reply
          2. Krystyn Walentka

            Agree! I find it fascinating when i hear people who are into sports complaining about how much money they make. It is like complaining how much money Bezos has and then ordering some widget from amazon next day prime.

            Reply
        1. a different chris

          I would agree with you if you would just change this sentence:

          >it’s when the pro athletes started getting paid enormous amounts of moolah,

          It’s when pro sports suddenly started getting enormous amounts of moolah. The players should get the majority of this, methinks, but it should be tempered at least by these sports paying for their own damn stadiums.

          Mystified as how the Pirates can have a broadcast network pay for their games but said network doesn’t apparently pay anything to the city that provides the site that hosts 50% of said games. Just for starters.

          The whole thing is family-blogged to the max just don’t put it on some kids from Puerto Rico or East KaBumfluck Oklahoma, is what I’m saying.

          Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Minor leaguers have it rough. Making it to the Show outside of being there once for the September call ups more or less guarantees a Major League Baseball CAREER these days. That wasn’t always true, but its been that way for a while.

        Reply
      3. mpalomar

        On one hand these athletes are at the top of a wing of the entertainment industry; the average pro player in most sports has a six year career or less so the money should be big up front.

        That said I can’t abide the whole pro scene, takes the joy out of any game which should be about play, creative free form stuff. Pro baseball lost me decades ago when they started doing the wave, I think it has probably only gotten worse. There was an elegance to the slow pace of the game that has been turned into constant noise and distraction to fill the dreaded quiet.

        Capitalism has turned sports into something awful, the joy has been replaced by delirium and mania. In the US municipalities are building stadiums with luxury boxes for teams whose owners are worth hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions.

        Reply
    2. DJW

      Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale had no leverage in 1966 because the reserve clause was then a part of the player’s standard contracts. Baseball players signed nominal one year contracts with their teams but were not free to negotiate with other teams at the conclusion of the year because the reserve clause bound them to their teams in a form of indentured servitude. St. Louis Cardinal’s outfielder Curt Flood challenged the reserve clause in a case that went all the way to U.S. Supreme Court but the Court ruled in favor of ML Baseball. Later pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally challenged the reserve clause before the NLRB. They had each played a year for their teams but without signing a contract. Since they had not signed a contract the arbitrator ruled that they were not bound by the reserve clause and could negotiate with other teams. Thus, free agency was born

      Owners today don’t have to sign players to multi-year contracts if they don’t want to for whatever reason. The players are free to negotiate with other teams and the owners are free to negotiate with and sign other players

      Reply
      1. eg

        I was a little boy living on the west end of the island of Montreal when the Expos franchise was born. Saw games at Jarry Park featuring “Le Grand Orange” Rusty Staub.
        Ran home from school in time to see Rick Monday’s homer off Steve Rogers end the dream of a playoff berth — baseball died for me that day.

        So, I guess I’m happy for the Nationals, but it’s mostly wistfulness for what might have been …

        Reply
    3. Alex morfesis

      Owners pay to keep players from starting other leagues….afl and aba pulled in the tv contracts and that is why the owners pay and will continue to pay…

      Not because the players have real leverage but to prevent competition by holding on to the marques players to insure no other league can get its footings….

      It will be interesting to see how this current attempt to flush out minor league baseball by reducing competition and teams might blow up in managements face if it uncorks emough decent sized little stadiums to
      allow a

      “aaaa” league to develop….

      Many global outlets looking for content….half a billion dollars for 300 South Park(tm) repeats is an interesting turn of events…

      A league of 8 teams in Florida playing 80 games instead of the ridiculous 162 games would be a little more than 300 games per year…

      8 x 30 players instead of 25…

      maybe change the rules a bit to only 8 innings…use a smaller japanese type ball…

      They pay to avoid the “stars” from jumping ship to a competitive league…

      baseball and all major sports induce premature demolitions of existing larger stadiums to reduce the chance of another aba or afl showing up….

      but baseball in front of 10 to 15 thousand people (by adding seating bleachers style as most minor league stadiums have zero outfield seats)…

      plenty of mlb games play to smaller crowds now..

      Reply
  6. JohnnyGL

    For those who are wondering about the wisdom of Tulsi launching a massive counter-attack against HRC, and re-orienting her campaign (only slightly) to run specifically against HRC and Trump, I would point out the following:

    She’s hitting a new high in nationwide polling, putting up her first 4% in a recent USA Today/Suffolk poll. There’s similar perkiness showing in her early primary state polls in NH and Iowa.

    In short, it seems there’s plenty of appetite for an anti-clinton fighting spirit in the democratic party electorate.

    This message should NOT go unheeded by the Sanders camp, who’ve been frustratingly cautious on foreign policy, thus far. Perhaps this will embolden them?

    Reply
    1. jeremyharrison

      She also just pulled down a 5% in a New Hampshire poll.

      She’s carving out an interesting lane….

      Since my email is on Yahoo, I often scroll down their newsfeed. There had been almost no articles on Tulsi, and those that appeared had the Clintonesque spin to them – but today, there were 3 on her – and all 3 seemed reasonably neutral. She’s getting exposure, and a bit of traction.

      Reply
  7. Eric Blood Axe

    The problem with American football is those big helmets, which give the players the illusion their brains are protected.

    Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    Sexy witch. Sexy nurse. Sexy Mr. Rogers? Inside the sexy Halloween costume industrial complex. San Francisco Chronicle
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Halloween (my third favorite gift receiving day of the year after my birthday & xmas when I was a yout) used to be strictly for kids aside from Elvira, who took vampire campy cleavage to new levels.

    I for one welcome the Halloween costume industrial complex, although thanks to the great firewall, i’ll have to guess what a sexy Mr. Rogers frock looks like.

    Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Campaign Death Watch Season Begins”

    Kamala Harris can restructure and re-organize all she wants but the last I heard, she still has that shiv sticking out the side of her with the initials “T.G.” on it from the Debates.

    Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    Was drinking barley soda with a friend that has the most sought after of all positions working for the National Park Service-a full time job, and he’s the 3rd friend this year with their finger on the pulse of the action that has mentioned aside from way too many deer, everything else in a 2 legs good or 4 legs good fashion has seemed to have been raptured somewhat in Sequoia NP.

    One of the 4 bear sightings* he had was a bruin that was tearing apart a Sugar Pine cone to get at the pine nuts within which are the most nutritious of all Sierra nutmeats here, and the largest of all pine cones. (around 20 inches long)

    Sugar Pine trees were the hardest hit by the drought & bark beetles, its estimated that 80% of them went toes up, and it was tantamount to taking away a key source of food for the bears, so they seem to have disappeared also.

    I saw very few new fallen Sugar Pine cones when traipsing around the forest on & off-trail this summer.

    * the most he’s ever seen in any summer was 65 or so

    Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    Hikers mostly enjoy Turnbull Canyon, a 4-mile loop trail in the Puente Hills Preserve, for its scenic views. It’s also home to so many ghost stories and urban legends that Ryan Murphy could make an entire season of American Horror Story about it.

    Largely uncorroborated legends surround clandestine meetings of occultists, one of them rumored to have kidnapped several local children from an orphanage for ritual sacrifice. Others claim UFO sightings, KKK gatherings, and disappearing specters. Even more surround an old asylum that burned down decades ago. One tale speaks of a teen who came upon an electroshock therapy contraption that fried him to a crisp when he strapped it on his head, despite the fact that the power should have been long cut off.

    While many of these more lurid tales have little, if any, evidence to support them, Turnbull Canyon has been the site of at least a few well-documented horrors. In 1952, Flight 416 left New York City only to crash into the hills here. All 26 passengers and the plane’s three crew members were killed. In 2009, a young woman was attacked by a group of men who slit her throat, threw her down the canyon edge, and left her for dead. The woman was able to make her way to a nearby residence, where she received help and, despite serious wounds, survived. In 2011, the body of 41-year-old woman was found in the area; her boyfriend was convicted of her murder six years later.

    https://www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/los-angeles/most-haunted-places-in-california?utm_source=email&utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=5020130
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Turnbull Canyon always had a reputation for being a strange place where you didn’t want to be there at night, scary stuff. I heard all of the tales mentioned above and then some.

    We used to have avocado wars utilizing overripe ones from a residence on Turnbull Canyon, that would splatter all over you when hit. You had to be careful procuring them though, the owner had a reputation of shooting at interlopers on his property, utilizing rock salt as bullets.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      p.s.

      Ask anybody that’s been there, and its agreed that Redwood Meadow is haunted. It’s a dozen mile backpack trip to get to one of the most remote Sequoia groves in Sequoia NP, and the park superintendent in the 1930’s had a cabin built for himself, so when he rode his horse there, he’d have a place to stay.

      It was constructed using Sequoia wood blocks for the base as the wood doesn’t rot and can last thousands of years until it decays, as long as it lived, and Sequoia shake shingles (fireproof largely) while the rest of the cabin is board & batten construction using usual lumber.

      Somewhere way off trail nearby is a set of mortars with the original stone pestles still in them. About 15 years ago we were there for a trail crew party and I brought a pound of coffee beans along and we took turns grinding them, and it was as if the 130 years of never being used was nothing, ready to go it was and ground the beans nicely.

      https://www.backpacker.com/stories/california-s-land-of-34-thoughtful-34-giants

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          May you only receive full-size candy bars when requesting treats on your appointed rounds, and although it’s far away on Wall*Street, say hello to the Great Pumped’kin for all true believers.

          Reply
      1. Lord Koos

        We use our stone mortar and pestle regularly… a stone-age food processor works better than a blender for a lot of things.

        Reply
  12. JCC

    On Sjursen’s Truthout article “In Defense of Tulsi Gabbard”:

    I agree with the article almost 100%. My one quibble is that Ms. Gabbard has already defended herself with regards to Assad. She has stated more than once that she does not support Assad, but that dialog is important before launching bombs, as well as during.

    Also, her relative low key support of Modi and others pales in comparison to our support of worse. Netanyahu, Guaido, and the House of Saud come to mind. Yet article after article has been coming up lately in our mainstream press using this as a not-so-subtle cudgel against her, never mentioning our Govt.’s far more than verbal support of many, and far more brutal, dictators around the world.

    In fact, see the American Conservative article on Iran linked here today which led to the support of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, and his exceptionally brutal, CIA-trained, SAVAK.

    Reply
          1. urblintz

            You mean she successfully petitioned Obama to do something he didn’t want to do?

            …I’m not sure many can make that claim.

            Still, one should not mistake defense of Gabbard’s having suffered the vile (and frankly, stupid) machinations of the DNC/Clinton machine for support of all her policies or a vote for her in the primaries. I will be voting for Bernie

            But, personally, I consider attempts to misdirect our attention away from Clinton’s Russia derangement far more deceptive and antagonizing than her policies or anything Gabbard has ever said on the record, including the truth she spoke about the only person to ever lose an election to Donald Trump.

            Reply
          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Oh Noes!!! The leader of one of the most populous countries on Earth, and a U.S. government official (Tulsi) had the unbelievable temerity to *meet* with him!

            When of course she should have been refusing to meet and lecturing him about how he should run his party and his country and threatening to withdraw support (or worse) if he didn’t do what she told him right away.

            (Meantime, in other news, the leader of the absolute MidEast monarchy best known for beheading gay people and stoning people to death for adultery contributed *tens of millions of dollars* to the charitable foundation of a former Secretary of State and presidential candidate. No lectures on how he should run his country were heard, not even the firm rebuke she used on Wall St execs when she told them to “cut it out”).

            Reply
    1. Jessica

      I have a general policy of cutting a politician some slack for their support of the less savory from their ancestral homeland. Arab-Americans and Palestine, Ukrainian-Americans and Ukrainian nationalism, Irish-Americans and the IRA, Jews and Israel, etc. many folks find it difficult to be critically realistic toward the land of their parents or grandparents.

      Reply
    2. Plenue

      The problem is that her support of Modi, limited or not, clearly comes as a direct result of her taking hundreds of thousands in campaign donations from his supporters.

      Reply
      1. carycat

        In 1994, Patrick Leahy (along with a bunch of other Irish-American Congressmen and Senators) persuaded President Clinton to grant a visa to Gerry Adams, leader of the Sinn Fein, political wing of the Irish Republican Army. This was during the IRA’s bomb throwing days, well before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. As Congressional critters goes, Leahy is one of the better ones. But at the time, Adams is nominally a “terrorist” (according to Her Majesty’s Government) while Modi is an elected head of government. If you want to look at support for odious head of states, look no further than the bipartisan fawning over Netanyahu. As far as I can tell, TG hasn’t done anything outrageous for the American Sangh support except those people (and Modi) are brown, so TINA.

        Reply
  13. Olga

    More on LatAm changes
    https://consortiumnews.com/2019/10/29/pepe-escobar-the-age-of-anger-exploding-in-serial-geysers/
    Argentina after Macri
    “Well, the paradigm will soon be evacuated, leaving behind a wasteland: $250 billion in foreign debt; less than $50 billion in reserves; inflation at 55 percent; the U.S. dollar at over 60 pesos (a family needs roughly $500 to spend in a month; 35.4 percent of Argentine homes can’t make it); and, incredible as it may seem in a self-sufficient nation, a food emergency.”

    Reply
    1. RabidGandhi

      Escobar over-eggs the pudding. Yes poverty has become much worse under Macri, and millions of families are struggling to make ends meet due to his disastrous policies, but there is not “mass starvation” in Argentina.

      Also, while it’s great to have him shining a light on Axel Kicillof– the former Finance Minister who is a solid Keynesian economist now elected governer of Buenos Aires Province– it should be noted that President-Elect Fernández purposefully avoided even so much as consulting with Kicillof or any of his team from the previous Kirchner administration, instead opting for a team of “orthodox” economists who have already ruled out deficit spending.

      So there are no grounds for Escobar’s claims of Fernández representing the people against neoliberalism until Fernández proves otherwise.

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “German Syria Proposal a Risk for Merkel Ally”

    Neocons are to be found in every country. I’m not sure how Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s idea of deploying German soldiers between Turkish and Syrian troops in Syria was ever going to be a good idea. How would you transport it there? How will it be resupplied? Where will the logistical underpinning come from? German troops sometimes have to rely on civilian helicopters to transport them around in Afghanistan and borrow vital gear like body armour. You think stuff like that will be found for Syria? What about other equipment? Half of it is broken at any one time and spare parts are a problem. Below is an article describing the problems the Bundeswehr has-

    https://www.dw.com/en/german-military-lacks-equipment-and-recruits-says-damning-report/a-47281996

    And this is the force that she wants to send to Syria. Think about the potential problems. What if some of them are captured by Jihadists? Are they prepared to deal with that? Who will provide air-cover for them? How will they deal with IEDs? Will they try to push their way past Turkish, Russian & Syrian army patrols? What about medical evacuation? Where is all this manpower to come from when they cannot make up the numbers to fill the ranks of the Bundeswehr. Maybe Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer should show the way and move her office to this zone.

    Reply
    1. dearieme

      deploying German soldiers between Turkish and Syrian troops in Syria

      The earth must be warming from Bismarck spinning in his grave. Does the etiquette of German politics allow use of that Corbynism “Stupid woman!”?

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        True, but they are there through negotiations with the main actors and are in Syria with the permission with the Syrians. They did not try to barge their way in like is being suggested here. They also have the wherewithal to accomplish their mission which the Bundeswehr does not. Finally, if any group tried to attack the Russian forces there, then they could expect the Russian Aerospace forces to come down on top of them like a ton of bricks. The Germans would have to depend on other country’s air forces to protect them.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          I agree. My point was they’re acting like a third party is needed to be a buffer between Syrians and Turks…when that role is already being filled by Russia. The German proposal is a bizarre attempt to not only inject themselves into a scenario they have no claim to, but doing so in a completely redundant way.

          Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I went to high school from 1977 to 1980, and if you didn’t show up on Monday with a skit from SNL memorized and ready to be regurgitated, you were an outsider’s outsider.

        Reply
  15. Summer

    RE: “Protests, elections show LatAm tide turning against pro-market agenda” Reuters

    For crying out loud, I doubt the protesters are “anti-market.” They are anti-exploitation.
    Just like no one is anti-trade. Everybody shops. I could stand for a lot less dogma about how “markets” and “trade” are defined. An honest analysis is that, agree or not, people with different ideas about markets and trade want the stage.

    Reply
  16. sinbad66

    Revisiting the win-win-win-win outcome in Syria
    If you want a nice breakdown on the situation in Syria and the major players involved, indeed it is a must read. A damning indictment on our ineffectiveness there….

    Reply
  17. Slim Pickens

    I’m writing with regard to the pearl-clutching about Amazon’s attempt to buy the Seattle City Council elections. The commentators lamenting this development obviously do not live or work in downtown Seattle. I used to and am so happy that I moved to the burbs. Downtown Seattle has become a lawless, drug-infested, craphole. This situation has been brought to us by the city council’s severe lack of leadership along with virtue-signaling, rich white and Asians outside of downtown Seattle.

    Buying an election is a sub-optimal solution to this problem, but it’s better than having the current city council.

    Oh, by the way, just because Sawant calls herself a socialist doesn’t make her one. Calling myself Santa Claus doesn’t make me him. Sawant is more of a loon masquerading as a socialist. Bernie is a real socialist.

    Reply
    1. Plenue

      The businesses, lead by Amazon, rebelled against paying for an actual solution to the homeless problem. So spare me the hasbara.

      Also, ‘lawless’? Yes, things would be so much better if we just threw the addicts in jail!

      Reply
      1. Slim Pickens

        The tax didn’t just include Amazon, but also many other large employers like grocery stores. This would’ve increased food prices for the people that Seattle is trying to help. Your blind tax-and-spend attitude is what has helped Seattle get to this point. By the way, you can jack up taxes all you want on whomever you want, but if the money is not spent wisely or effectively, the tax increase will amount to nothing. Seattle spends $90 million on the homeless right now to no avail. Solutions without tax increases exist.

        As for your comments about addicts, I do not remember recommending throwing them in jail. You’re just putting words in my mouth so you can argue a point. Also, your comment implies that drug addicts are committing criminal acts. I recommend giving addicts treatment. I also recommend throwing people committing criminal acts such as theft in jail.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          Yes, I’m sure the people dumpster diving will really be impacted by increased food prices. Businesses also, by the way, simultaneously bitch about losing millions in potential profits because of addicts and used needles ruining the environs, while also refusing to pay for the housing that would go a long way to fixing the problem. You don’t get to complain about money not being ‘spent wisely or effectively’…and then rebel against paying for something that is wise and effective.

          Ah, I see, the lament about Seattle being ‘lawless’ totally wasn’t about how the homeless addicts can’t be rounded up anymore. Right. Sure.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            They shut down the 24/7 Wal*Mart Supercenter store here in Visalia from midnight to 6 am, as their best customers in the wee hours were homeless making off with stuff, and yes, they are our untouchables, law enforcement doesn’t want to deal with the squalor and most importantly, complete lack of getting any money out of them for petty crimes committed, so they get a pass.

            You can feel the tension building between the haves & have nots, intensities in tent cities in ten cities.

            Reply
          1. Plenue

            That ‘documentary’ is straight trash. KOMO is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, which literally mandates right-wing talking points.

            That video repeatedly claims that it’s ‘a drug problem, not a housing problem’, and presents the Amazon led revolt against a tax to provide housing, which would have actually changed things, as some sort of principled people’s revolt and ‘the moment it seemed like things might change’. It also hilariously criticizes how the city no longer allows cops to just endlessly arrest the homeless, while quoting from actual cops who all say that there needs to be a better solution than simply throwing addicts in jail. Later on it gets quotes from drug treatment specialists who say literally the exact same thing, yet this time it’s presented positively.

            And the whole thing is given in a forced tone a condescension that pretends to actually feel for the addicts, while also letting us know that business owners are also tragic victims.

            Also they censor dissent out of the comments section on that video (ask me how I know /s).

            Reply
            1. Lord Koos

              +1 from a former Seattle resident. KOMO cannot be trusted.

              One of the stupidest headlines I have ever seen in my life was in the Seattle Times a year or two ago, when on top of the front page in large font was:

              “The Solution to Homelessness — More Homes?”

              Ya think?

              Reply
              1. Oregoncharles

                How many are empty?

                Richmond, CA (with a Green mayor at the time) proposed to take foreclosed homes by eminent domain (hence, paying for them at their distressed valuation) and provide them to those who needed them. The banks pitched a huge fit (note that they would have been paid at the acual value), threatened a capital strike, and the city had to back down.

                It’s still a really good idea – especially in a big enough city that the capital strike would be very costly and would certainly be broken.

                Reply
                1. Yves Smith

                  Sorry, you have this wrong. All of the CA eminent domain proposals amounted to trying to seize underwater mortgages, NOT foreclosed houses. We discusses at length why this was never gonna fly because all of the proposals relied on buying mortgages at a price that violated long-established eminent domain principles, as in were too low and were thus stealing from investors like pension funds, insurers, hospitals, and foundations.

                  And it was not to take the houses and give them to the homeless or poor. It was to give middle class homeowners a financial break.

                  This was a scheme by private equity guys, who were going to take big fees and leave the municipalities as bagholders via big time litigation risk over the valuation. And you defend this? See:

                  https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/the-mortgage-condemnation-plan-fleecing-municipalities-as-well-as-investors.html

                  https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/banksters-useful-idiots-brockton-consider-dubious-eminent-domain-strategy-tainting-more-legitimate.html

                  https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/08/fhfa-threatens-to-kneecap-use-of-eminent-domain-to-condemn-mortgages.html

                  https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/08/beware-of-private-equity-guys-bearing-gifts-eminent-domain-mortgage-scam-hit-with-well-deserved-lawsuit.html

                  The last one is about the Richmond suit.

                  Spreading disinformation is against site Policies. You need to be way more careful.

                  Reply
            2. Kurt Sperry

              Yeah KOMO “news” as a source, low information, kick down, kiss up, right wing agitprop is about it.

              And as for electing Bezos-bots to address homelessness, the idea would be risible if it were even remotely funny.

              Reply
    2. jrs

      Well what’s the plan for it not to be a drug-infested @#$#hole in your words? Throwing them in jail? Uh, I don’t think so. More drug treatment facilities? Or what exactly?

      I suspect many would argue Sawant is more of a socialist than Bernie.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        “You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
        Another day older and deeper in debt
        Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
        I owe my soul to the company store”

        Reply
  18. Eudora Welty

    Re: Seattle, Sawant & Amazon.

    I’m trying hard to figure out what has dramatically changed here, besides the arrival of Amazon.

    1) Seattle police under federal oversight
    2) city voted about 65-35 to legalize marijuana in 2012
    4) general wealth in the city, not equally distributed, but notably in home prices
    5) decent climate year-round for living outside.

    It wasn’t until I heard about a column in the NYT saying as much that I figured out that Seattle is experimenting with decriminalization of drugs & “decriminalization of being poor.”

    I’m not against it: we’re wealthy, young, liberal-minded around here. It looks like we may gain a 2nd socialist on the city council to collaborate w/ Sawant. The police already have their hands tied due to federal oversight. Why not use the unforeseen wealth, liberal nature, and mild climate to do experiments with social change.

    To a large degree, if you don’t like what’s going on here, you are free to sell your house for a windfall & move away. A developer can turn that single-family home into multi-residence housing. We need that to happen anyway, to change the redlining zoning & equalize socioeconomic status across the city. Right now, Seattle is unaffordable for a lot of working-class people.

    So, there’s more to that Sawant/Amazon situation than was written about in the article, composed by a Sawant staffer in his free time

    Reply
    1. Eudora Welty

      To add:

      I was openly musing about this with a woman who is getting an advanced degree in epidemiology: why is there so much open drug use? She said, “that’s clear. Seattle voted for legal marijuana.” I had to connect all kinds of dots because at first that made no sense to ne.

      Also, I moved into a dumpy neighborhood in 2006, but boy was that fortuitous! My cheap studio has only doubled in rent, but I am a 5-min drive from Amazon HQ & I have a front-row seat to major cultural change.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        “legal marijuana.”
        Huh? That isn’t just the same old “gateway drug” scam? An epidemiologist should know better, unless there’s more here than meets the eye.

        Reply
    2. Lord Koos

      5) decent climate year-round for living outside

      Oh give us a break please. If you enjoy cold and damp, Seattle’s great for camping.

      Reply
    1. Jessica

      I have to disagree with Voltaire Net’s take on the Kurds. The Kurds in Syria lost 11,000 dead fighting ISIS. The Rojava Kurds in particular are leftists and feminists and have major, major ideological quarrels with ISIS and the other jihadists.
      As to the Armenian Genocide, most of that was committed by Turks, some of whom had been ethnically cleansed out of the Balkans when those areas fought their way free of the Ottoman Empire. Kurds and Muslims who had been ethnically cleansed from former Ottoman lands taken in war by Tsarist Russia also took part. Much of the genocide was committed in the name of jihad and Muslim supremacy.
      Some of the genocide was committed by marching Armenians out into the northern Syrian and Iraqi desert to die in the area that would be ISIS a century later.

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        Not such big quarrels that they weren’t happy to steal territory from Iraq after ISIS ran the Iraqi military off, and only gave the territory back when forced to.

        Reply
    2. Rhondda

      I really enjoyed the 3-part series on the Kurds at VoltaireNet, as well. Much to chew on there and makes sense of a number of ‘erratic facts’ that I just couldn’t figure. A gooder.

      Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I do not know about the quality of the “three part on the Kurds” and probably never will after reading: “The New World is Emerging Before Us”. Lenin’s predictions cited at the close carry too much baggage from old ideas of dialectical materialism. Much as I might wish — I could not interpret the events cited in the link as evidence that financial capitalism is “dying before our eyes.” I do not know how Lenin refined and extended Marx’s dialectical materialism, which may be part of the problem. Marx’s dialectical materialism is too close to Hegel’s Weltgeist for my comfort. I need analysis a little closer to the ground, something more along the lines of Machiavelli.

      Reply
      1. David

        Me too. I’ve heard some wild conspiracy theories in my time, but the idea that International Finance Capital financed the 2001 attacks ..sorry, no.

        Reply
  19. Summer

    RE: Revisiting the win-win-win-win outcome in Syria – The Saker.

    How about “revisting” again and naming (yes NAMING) the global corporate interests? Y’know, the puppet masters these players are servicing?

    Reply
  20. Danny

    “Mr. Chelsea Clinton Tries Changing His Luck”

    Chelsea is best friends with Ivanka. They have a lot in common. Their father in laws both did time in federal prison. Both got their daughters in-law to convert to Judaism.

    Edward Mezvinsky spent time in federal prison for a felony fraud scheme. His wife is a former television reporter and adoption advocate who lost her Congressional seat after casting the deciding vote for Bill Clinton’s federal tax-raising budget.

    Kushner Sr, Did 14 months for financial corruption and videotaping sex to dissuade his relative from testifying in a grand jury trial.

    “Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that “one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes” he prosecuted more than a decade ago when he was a US attorney was committed by the father of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner…
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/30/politics/chris-christie-jared-kushner-father/index.html

    It’s a small club and fortunately you aren’t in it.

    Reply
  21. Oregoncharles

    From “Times public editor: When Times reporting is weaponized Columbia Journalism Review”: “the Times often retreats to an inside-a-vacuum reading that cuts it off from any responsibility for the afterlife of coverage decisions it makes. ”

    Isn’t that absolutely correct? The last thing we want is a newspaper suppressing a story because it might be misused or have an unwanted political impact. They do quite enough of that. Then there’s the conclusion:

    “When truth is under threat, as it is today, journalists cannot preserve a cherished craft like monastic scribes for an enlightened age that may come centuries hence. Defending the role of the truth means being aware of—and trying their best to avoid abetting—those who are seeking to dislodge truth from our politics now.”

    He actually demands that journalists play politics with their reporting, suppressing inconvenient truths. In this case, because they’re bad for Biden’s campaign. Journalists do that, of course, including the Times. But advocating it, in public, seems bizarrely low – and this is the vaunted Columbia Journalism Review.

    He also openly uses “conspiracy theory”, which is propaganda, in its most propagandistic way: to mean “stories I don’t like.” Stories he thinks should be suppressed, for political reasons. Overall, this is TDS at its worst.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      “When truth is under threat, as it is today”

      Yeah, unlike those halcyon days when the NYT pushed the blatant lies about Saddam Hussein and WMD’s to assist W in committing an aggressive war (you know the act that was defined at Nuremburg as “the supreme war crime”) or when they deliberately sat on revelations of W’s shredding of the Constitution with a massive illegal surveillance program because the were concerned it would affect the outcome of the election. But now truth is under threat!

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        “We have to destroy journalism in order to save it!”

        I will say that Zucman makes an extremely compelling case for the deprofessionalization of news.

        Reply

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