Links 11/1/19

Unraveling the Secret Origins of an AmazonBasics Battery OneZero

The powerful forces reshaping America’s capital markets FT

Dan Rasmussen: The Private Equity Boom is Risk for Main Street The Reformed Broker

‘Not on my list’: private California firms fight fires, raise concerns Agence France Presse

German court dismisses climate change challenge to Merkel Deutsche Welle

Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn sets campaign tone by targeting rich individuals FT

There’s been a surge of young people registering to vote in the past 24 hours CNN (dk).

Brutal attack sends shockwaves through Irish borders FT

Toxic regulations, not the fire brigade, are to blame for the Grenfell deaths The Spectator. C’mon, man.

Syraqistan

Russia, the Indispensable Nation in the Middle East Foreign Affairs. The Blob lost. Let the search for traitors begin!

How the New Syria Took Shape NYT (TP). VIsually represents this post on the correllation of forces in Syria in yesterdays Links.

Death toll in Yemen war reaches 100,000 Guardian

Saudi Arabia hosts its first WWE women’s wrestling match BBC

China?

China Hints at Greater Hong Kong Role, From Schools to Elections Bloomberg

China vows bolstered legal measures over Hong Kong protests AP

Domestic workers search for rights amid pro-democracy protests Al Jazeera

* * *

China Oct. factory activity expands at fastest pace in over two years: Caixin PMI Reuters

No Trump or Pence in Bangkok Has Asia Questioning U.S. Strategy Bloomberg

Cambodian oil: the dream that refuses to die Nikkei Asian Review

Survivors say burning train took 20 minutes to stop, 74 dead ABC

Bolivia to audit hotly contested presidential election after protests turn deadly France24

Impeachment

The most important part of the Democrats’ impeachment resolution Vox

Trump’s audacious impeachment defense CNN

What Do Scholars Say About the Impeachment Power? and The Strategic Underpinning—and the Limits—of the Republican ‘Due Process’ Defense of Donald Trump LawFare

The Failed FBI Plot to Paint Trump Doing Deals with Putin Larry Johnson, Sic Semper Tyrannis. It’s extraordinary — by which, I suppose that I now mean it’s completely normal — that after three years of hysteria, RussiaGate, which from day one was couched as impeachment-worthy, doesn’t even feature in the actual impeachment inquiry, now that we have one, even though the cast of characters and what LeCarré would calk the “handwriting” are both the same. Which doesn’t in and of itself invalidate UkraineGate. But holy moley.

Adam Schiff Is No Friend of Progressives Truthdig (DG). DG writes:

What we have here is the center-right of the Democrats fighting with the rightwing-by-definition Republicans for control of the spoils. Sort-a like the Clinton impeachment, but with narrower grounds. And Joe Manchin lurking in there somewhere, as a swing vote, like Joe Lieberman but somehow even less appetizing. As if I would write “appetizing” about Joe Lieberman.

This all is much uglier than meets the eye and getting uglier.

Schiff says transcripts from impeachment inquiry interviews could come ‘as early as next week’ CNN.

What Can We Expect from Televised Impeachment Hearings? The New Yorker

New Cold War

US diplomat says ‘open skies’ treaty with Russia is intact FT

Trump Transition

USDA finalizes location for research agencies in Kansas City The Federal Times

Trump Says He’s Swapping New York for Florida as Main Residence Bloomberg

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

What’s Going on With Jeffrey Epstein’s Autopsy? Rolling Stone. Dueling forensic pathologists!

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The FBI is Tracking Our Faces in Secret. We’re Suing. ACLU

Waterfront Toronto board votes to keep Sidewalk Labs’ Quayside project alive CBC

Police State Watch

Police blew up an innocent man’s house in search of an armed shoplifter. Too bad, court rules. MSN

Sports Desk

Nationals Admit World Series Win Would Be Way Sweeter If Franchise Was Still In Montréal The Onion

My Life As A Minor League Baseball Clown Deadspin

Our Famously Free Press

The dread hand of private equity ended up killing Deadspin Guardian

‘It opens a new front that regulators can attack’: can Twitter’s political ad ban force Facebook’s hand? The Drum

Mods! The Baffler. On The New Yorker.

Max Blumenthal Arrest Exposes Hypocrisy of Western Media and ‘Human Rights’ NGOs FAIR

Health Care

Air Ambulances Are Bankrupting Us (and No One Cares) MedPage Today. Thanks, private equity!

Class Warfare

Chicago teachers’ strike ends after 11 days. CPS will have 5 make-up days of school USA Today

Lots of Job Hunting, but No Job, Despite Low Unemployment NYT

Colleges Should Not Have to Have Food Pantries The Nation

Societies change their minds faster than people do The Economist

Still messing with our heads LRB. “He’s ridin’ around in the back of a staff car, his body’s gone but his head’s in a glass jar…”

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

162 comments

  1. John Beech

    So the Democrats with Rep. Schiff in the lead are setting the groundwork for how impeachment of the President will proceed. Good. This will be helpful for the next time around when Republicans are in control.

    Personally, I am glad for this impeachment because the media has done its best to minimize Burisma and the role of the VP and his son. Instead of the question being, what on Earth was our VP doing, why did the President (Obama) withhold $1B from Ukraine? What we’re doing is focusing on DJT for being a hateful boor and having a very Trumpian way of communicating. We’re shooting the messenger. But before this is over, we’re going to learn more than either side wants.

    Finally, I don’t give a hoot if there was quid pro quo. Only a Democrat building a case against a Republican President would suggest there’s something wrong with what we all learned on the playground . . . nobody gets something for nothing.

    Reply
    1. Sionnach Liath

      I would like to have someone set out exactly what is the the legal basis for describing a ‘quid pro quo’ (statutory or otherwise) as a violation of law. So far I have not seen or heard any such discussion.

      Reply
      1. Jesper

        Here is one story about alleged bribery and quid pro quo:
        https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/11/15/16656784/menendez-corruption-supreme-court

        A quote from the article:

        Sen. Menendez’s trial — his co-defendant was the eye doctor Salomon Melgen — was fascinating not because of any scandalous revelations, but because of the lack thereof: There were no smoking-gun letters in which Menendez offers a governmental favor for rolls of cash, or wiretaps on which he is overheard offering a seat on a board in exchange for getting Melgen’s son a job.

        Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          Do keep in mind, menendez was never pressured to resign, or primaried, or rebuked in any way. He was endorsed by the top figures in the party.

          He’s still sitting pretty in the senate.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Do keep in mind Bob Menedez is in a safe Blue seat and was being primaried. His challenger might not be AOC, but even a vaguely honest person is a threat to DC.

            Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Another story of bribery. Robert Heinlein, the scifi author, once commented on a well-know case of bribery in his day in which a “jug-headed” court found the guy offering the bribe innocent of the charge but that the guy who was supposed to have received it as being guilty as charged.

          Reply
          1. pasha

            heinlein was referring to “the teapot dome scandal” of the harding administration, in which secretary dohenny was convicted of taking a bribe from the sinclair oil president, but mr. sinclair was lateracquited of paying the bribe.

            sinclair, by the way, was the last person to have been found in “inherent contempt” of congress. lacking a jail, congress kept him for months in the luxurious willard hotel!

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Thanks for that info. It was earlier than I thought it would be and did not associate it with the Teapot Dome Scandal.

              Reply
        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > he is overheard offering a seat on a board in exchange for getting Melgen’s son a job.

          Melgen’s son is not, of course, “Hunter Biden,” so it’s all good.*

          Newer readers may not know this, but Yves defenestrated the SEC’s Director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, Andrew Bowden, over this very issue, in 2015.

          NOTE * In the latest Useful Idiots, Matt Taibbi has a great riff, where he points out (paraphrasing) that Hunter Biden, who risked getting shot to purchase crack, has a level of bad-assery that Donald Trump, Jr. will never have (troubled though Biden is). I mean, can you see Don Jr. risking a bullet for anything? Very sad waste.

          Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        In general, in our “nation of laws,” the definition of the word “legal” can best be described as “fluid.”

        These days, “legal” is most accurately defined as whatever the democrats and msm say it is, while “illegal” is whatever Donald Trump does.

        The idea that “legality” is open to political interpretation and selective application is, evidently, enshrined by the founders in our Constitution, which is prayerfully and solemnly respected by our elected officials in accordance with their sacred oaths.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Paul Manafort languishes in a jail where he will spend the rest of his life for crimes related to his Ukraine lobbying.

          For his crimes related to the same Ukraine lobbying John Podesta is languishing in a seaside villa in Italy.

          It all depends which team you’re on.

          Reply
    2. oliverks

      I respectfully disagree with the statement there is nothing wrong with a quid pro quo. Now I am not a legal expert, so I am not arguing it was against the law, but to me it doesn’t sit right. The rest of this post assumes the quid pro quo took place.

      If Trump had called the president of Ukraine and offered his own money, on his own time, as a private individual to dig up dirt on the Bidens, then I wouldn’t have be too concerned. Once again I don’t know the legality of this, but he isn’t using government resources to do it.

      That is the big difference in my mind. If Trump did the quid pro quo we shouldn’t accept it. This is our money, our country, that Trump is using for personal gain. It doesn’t matter if it is Biden or Trump doing this, we should demand politicians to be held to a higher standard.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that a more provable case would be Hillary Clinton’s time in office where if a foreign government wanted to see her in her capacity as US Secretary of State and get some influence on some US policy decision, then a large donation to the Clinton Foundation would work wonders. It was like something out of the old Ottoman Empire.
        I was listening to a TV interview with Maria Butina and her treatment by the legal system for someone snared up in a political situation. Want to know what she said was one of the worse things about the US legal system? It was that it it had ‘selective prosecutions’. Some people get charged while others are never touched no matter what they say or do. With Russiagate alone, there are agents of the FBI that should be wearing prison orange right now in a just system.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          The Saudis alone gave Clintons/foundation at least $25 mil…. I am pretty sure it was just for Hillary’s pretty eyes. Yes, selective is the operative word here.

          Reply
          1. inode_buddha

            I would go beyond “selective” and call it “double standards” and “hypocrisy” which is the tell of a big lie.

            Reply
        2. oliverks

          Rev,

          I hope that greeting is not too informal.

          The reason the democrats lost the last election is because Hillary was such a horrible candidate. She was clearly on the take, in fact the Clinton’s came across as grifters.

          In no way do I want to imply Trump is the only bad actor (assuming the quid pro quo is true). I just think everyone in public office should be held to a higher standard.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            This is a reason, but putting it on Hillary alone undermines the state of Team Blue. Obama’s race and relative newness to the political scene were indictments on Team Blue along with Howard Dean defeating the Clinton hack to become DNC chair.

            I believe Hillary is actually among the best the neoliberals have to offer. I use to think they should have tried a Beto or a Mayor Pete in 2016, but with internet 2.0, the schtick that protected Bill and even Obama is too obvious. Their word salad will be parsed and their actions are still easily researched.

            Reply
            1. dearieme

              In Britain it’s possible to impeach someone even after she’s left office.

              Presumably not in the US?

              (Mind you, our last impeachment was in 1806.)

              Reply
              1. Procopius

                I think the action would be meaningless in the U.S., although perhaps at the end of the 18th Century people were still concerned about such things as honor and reputation. That’s what Alan Greenspan was counting on to insure the banks did not engage in fraud, although I think if he had really thought about it he knew better. Come to think of it, that’s one of the (unstated?) assumptions in Econ 101’s explanation of why the unfettered market is supposed to work.

                Reply
                1. JBird4049

                  I am too lazy right now to do the necessary research, so I am just riffing off my memory; however, even a threat impeachment at the federal level is almost unheard of, which means that there is not much settled precedent. From what I understand, impeachment can only happen while they are in office and is supposedly a lifelong ban from office. It is in the Constitution to enable the Congress to remove from office at any time as a means to check their power.

                  Before President Clinton’s impeachment trial, President Nixon promptly resigned when he was told that the House was going to start impeachment process. However, while Clinton was a slimy, adulterous perjurer he only perjured himself because the Republican vendetta used Congress to destroy him using his ethics free sex, while Nixon actually was breaking and trying to subvert the law.

                  Reply
                  1. The Rev Kev

                    Here is a thought. Wikipedia says that after impeachment-

                    ‘Following conviction, the Senate may vote to further punish the individual by barring him or her from holding future federal office, elected or appointed.’

                    Assuming that the Republicans were suicidal enough to vote for impeachment but do not bar him from further office, what happens if Trump once again stands for President in 2020 using the massive groundswell of outrage and revenge to get back into office once more?

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

                    Reply
                    1. JBird4049

                      Ow. That would be interesting?

                      I think that President Trump should be a convicted felon. He is a vomitous waste of an individual, and yet, if Sanders, Warren, or Gabbard were not on the ballot, I would likely vote for Trump. Using impeachment as a political ploy should have painful consequences. And if Biden or Clinton were were on the ballot, then obviously a coup attempt would be happening and that really should have consequences.

                      The impeachment trial of President Clinton hurt the Republicans bad. Not because people liked the liar, but because it was so nakedly partisan and even unfair or unjust. The entire time political economy of the country is even more corrupt now and widespread that impeaching Trump for doing what everyone is doing would probably blowup nicely.

                  2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    Quaint history.

                    Recall that just a few short weeks ago we were told with certainty that Trump was a Russian agent guilty of treason. Treason carries the death penalty.

                    So the Dems have handed the Doomsday Weapon to the Repubs. Given this precedent I would expect the Repubs to launch impeachment proceedings against whichever Dem occupies the Oval Office next. Thanks, Obama. Thanks Hilary. Thanks Nancy.

                    Reply
                  3. Lambert Strether Post author

                    > However, while Clinton was a slimy, adulterous perjurer he only perjured himself because the Republican vendetta used Congress to destroy him using his ethics free sex, while Nixon actually was breaking and trying to subvert the law.

                    Twenty or thirty years on, I believe that Clinton did break the law: The Lewinsky Matter was a case of workplace abuse.* The Republicans were (I think) ideologically opposed to the very concept, and that allowed the Democrats to reframe it as between “consenting adults.” Which wouldn’t work for Weinstein today, and should not have worked for Clinton then.

                    Adding, on perjury: IIRC, and I’m too lazy to research this, perjury has to be material. Whatever it was that Clinton did (and was disbarred for) was in the Paula Jones case, which wasn’t material to the Lewinsky matter.

                    NOTE * Which caused Lewinsky a great deal of suffering for her whole life, while Clinton sailed merrily on, and is still a respected party elder.

                    Reply
        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Speaking of Russia, in contrast, or for comparison, I seem to recall that there were two impeachment attempts against Yeltsin, and none so far, as far as I know, against Putin.

          Don’t konw if that has anything to do with being selective over there in Russia. And none against Xi or Jiang, though I can’t say whether that option is available in China.

          Reply
      2. Eduardo

        This is our money, our country, that Trump is using for personal gain.

        IF Biden did something wrong and/or illegal as VP (I’m not saying he did) it is a matter of public interest. It may align with Trump’s interest but it is also a matter of public interest.

        Similar to, but different, how the DOJ investigated (FISA warrant etc) the Trump campaign for alleged wrong doing.

        This is a very interesting time.

        Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            “Inappropriate” is his middle name – really, it’s part of his persona and part of what got him elected.

            And, of course, the reason the more refined among us find him so very offensive. Which he is, gotta give him that.

            Reply
          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > inappropriate

            So we’re gonna impeach Trump for being crass?

            What’s the difference between reaching into the cookie jar with your own hand and using a catspaw do it?

            One might even argue that the liberal Democrat approach to corruption (see comment here) is worse, morally, because it involves more people in the grift (Luke 17:2).

            Reply
        1. John Zelnicker

          @Eduardo
          November 1, 2019 at 9:40 am
          ——-

          It is indeed a very interesting time.

          If Trump or the administration was really interested in corruption by Americans in Ukraine, there are, IIRC, bilateral prosecution treaties that call for cooperation between the countries’ government prosecutors. Barr could have made a request through the appropriate channels for an investigation of the Bidens’ activities and avoided all of the backlash.

          Of course, that method probably would not work fast enough to help Trump for his re-election. Besides, it’s more fun to bully and coerce someone to do what you want.

          Reply
          1. Eduardo

            @John Zelnicker

            I was just making the narrow point that investigating a potential illegal act by a VP is a matter of public interest even if it aligns with personal interests. I’m not saying it was appropriate.

            Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Is it also a question of style?

              Some chief executives are more hands-on. Here, is it a question of Trump doing something himself, instead of delegating?

              I think I read in the last day or two that Pompeo said it was the current administration policy whatever Trump said or did regarding the current topic. That would put it more towards the public, away from the private or personal.

              Reply
        2. anon in so cal

          Biden absolutely did perpetrate illegal acts as VP, but Biden’s most illegal deed was something the blob continually advocates: regime change and plunder.

          Victoria Nuland helped engineer the Maidan putsch in early 2014 that toppled Ukraine’s democratically-elected president and ushered in the Poroshenko puppet regime with its Nazi elements. No surprise that the alleged whistleblower was copied on emails from Nuland concerning Ukraine.

          Obama presided over this. Nuland was his Asst SoS for European Affairs. The only minimally positive thing Obama did was subsequently temporarily hold up funds to UA. The funds are used in the US proxy war with Russia taking place in UA. With US funds and weapons, UA forces attack the eastern, ethnically-Russian, provinces of Donetsk and Donbass.

          Adam Schiff, by the way, got substantial assistance from UA arms merchant Igor Pasternak, whose arms sales help fuel the war.

          If one wants examples of massively quid pro quo behavior, Hillary Clinton’s actions as SoS illustrate how donations to the Clinton Foundation could be exchanged for State Dept favors. This is chronicled at the Thompson Timeline.

          It’s possible to simultaneously loathe the majority of Trump’s actions, but support Trump in the Russiagate and Ukrainegate / impeachment sagas. Impeachment is essentially Trump versus CIA Dems and the CIA.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            … Nuland was his Asst SoS for European Affairs.

            Emphasis added. Was there some reason you did not mention who was the Secretary of State who promoted Victoria Nuland to that position? And necessarily approved the coup (as Obama necessarily must have)? And who hired Robert Kagan as a consultant to the State Department (although in comparison to other things that was really minuscule)?

            Reply
          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > If one wants examples of massively quid pro quo behavior, Hillary Clinton’s actions as SoS illustrate how donations to the Clinton Foundation could be exchanged for State Dept favors. This is chronicled at the Thompson Timeline.

            Link: the Thompson Timeline. Paul Thompson. We’ve linked to them before, back in 2016. Thompson is an “independent researcher.” Independent researchers were great during the foreclosure crisis. On the other hand, they’re hard to vet and sometimes get lost in the complexity and go off the deep end. So…

            Reply
      3. djrichard

        If only Trump put governance in place to make sure such things were lawful. Like GWB did with John Yoo to document that torture was lawful. And I still remember Obama’s ultimate verdict on “Bankers gone wild”, that while what they did was unappetizing it was “lawful”.

        This is the fiction without which our simulation breaks down. I fully expect when the impeachment gets to the senate, the real choice that the GOP senators will be facing is:

        a) do you want a new simulation to supplant the simulation we already have? One which can’t be easily bucketed into black buckets vs white buckets for the little people as proscribed law enables us to do? Indeed, one where moral high ground and virtue lose their power?

        a) Or do you want to continue with the simulation that we’ve been operating under? The horse that brought you here?

        If I’m a GOP senator, I sacrifice Trump. For the good of the country don’t you know.

        Reply
        1. oliverks

          In the case of GWB and the John Yoo document, I agree it was despicable. You can argue it violated the Geneva conventions (and American Law). However, he wasn’t making the decision to hurt political rivals.

          The Obama case is also problematic, and I wouldn’t want to defend that. But once again, he wasn’t try to hurt political rivals.

          That is really the key point here. While politics is corrupt, if you get to the point where you are suppressing opponents with state resources, you are moving into very dangerous territory.

          Reply
          1. djrichard

            LoL, I admire your ability to navigate these waters. As long as the playing field isn’t being tilted unfavorably when it comes to our elites …

            And I fully expect that this will be front-and-center when it comes to our elites in the Senate debating the simulation they want to operate under.

            Because this is either / or. Me channeling the GOP Senate, “Let’s give Trump the benefit of a doubt. Let’s pretend he wanted to do this on the up-and-up and make it lawful. Is there a way we could imagine this being lawful? Well then by all means let’s make it so and grandfather Trump into this new reality. So glad our simulation is flexible enough to embrace this.”

            But if they can’t get there, and if there isn’t a way Trump’s advocates in the Senate can otherwise thread the needle and stay within the simulation, then I think he’s done for.

            Reply
            1. Oregoncharles

              President Pence is a good thing? It’s been a long time now that VPs were chosen primarily as impeachment insurance.

              And no one is talking about impeaching Pence first.

              Reply
              1. JBird4049

                Vice President Pence is a charismatic politician who would almost happily work with the Deep State. I have not given it much thought, but he would likely get the Security State to work with him to keep him in power and ultimately put in a kind of theocratic regime. Keep in mind that this might be overwrought, but what I have read is uncomfortable, even disturbing.

                He is less boorish than President Trump so I certainly see him offering himself as a replacement. Impeach the boor and get me; a man willing to work with and for the right people!

                Reply
          2. djrichard

            But just imagine if the GOP Senate gave Trump a pass. What if the GOP Senate collectively says, “eh, so what. Even if we can’t codify Trump’s behavior into imagined law, this isn’t a BFD even if there was a law against it. And there isn’t a law against it”.

            How are we as little people supposed to embrace this? It puts our whole framework of law into a different prism. Which laws are BFDs? And which ones can I as a little person break as well? It would be the wild west – something the elites would normally fear. “But you know what, Trump is important enough that we’re willing to embrace this wild west”.

            Such a result would be earth shattering. It would be simulation shattering.

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the hippie

              “How are we as little people supposed to embrace this? It puts our whole framework of law into a different prism.”

              the little people accepted, if not embraced(more like simply forgot about it…too messy) the upending of the rule of law post 9-11.
              where’s my habeas?
              (looks under desk)
              in this case, then, trump…since he somehow got in there…has been used as a new 9-11…a shock to the system that divides us into warring camps(walked through mom’s house a minute ago: msdnc has polls for/against impeachemtn/removal at neck and neck, and this is ALL they’re covering(even the scroll)), and further obscures whatever’s going on under the carpet, behind the walls, and outside the window.
              Your allusions to beaudrillardian simulacra is right on the (fake) money,lol.(and that woman who went nuts on the phone, disappeared and died, clamoring about the Matrix!)
              the only possible upside i can see is if biden and the clintonists get swept up into the whole mess–ukraine and russiagate began with them after all…glass houses

              Reply
              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > the only possible upside i can see is if biden and the clintonists get swept up into the whole mess–ukraine and russiagate began with them after all…glass houses

                Yes, it would be great, or at least wonderfully clarifying, if they all could lose

                Reply
          3. Bugs Bunny

            You’re right, and it’s whataboutism to say that Clinton, et. al., are just as or even more guilty of impeachable, or even criminal, acts.

            The problem as I see it is that the Blob wants Trump out and any possible pretext is good enough to run with. The Dems are doing the job for the Blob, and where this goes will be even worse for the US than the past 40 years have been.

            It’s already painful that I can say without irony that I think the last “honest” president the country had was Nixon.

            Reply
            1. inode_buddha

              The Dems had no problems with corruption for the last 30 years. Now that Trump is in office, they have a problem with corruption.

              Pointing out sheer hypocrisy is not whataboutism, it’s righteous anger. It doesn’t exonerate Trump; rather, it condemns and damns the Democrats.

              As a voting, tax paying citizen, I do in fact have the right to judge.

              Reply
              1. Kurt Sperry

                To me, “whataboutism” often seems a weak charge to level. It can be used to lazily dismiss counterfacts without examining them, and is commonly seen used as a defense for hypocrisy.

                Reply
                1. inode_buddha

                  I just can’t get over the sheer gall they have to go screeching about the other guy doing the exact same stuff their guys were doing. That is why the Dems have zero credibility, even IF Trump has committed wrongs.

                  Reply
              2. VietnamVet

                Republicans were crazy to invade Iraq; destabilizing the Middle East which keeps getting worse, year after year. This year, we were 10 minutes away from a world war with Iran. Democrats by pushing the Kiev Coup and restarted the Cold War showed that they are just as insane. RussiaRussiaRussia was scapegoating of their manufactured enemy to cover up for their incompetence in 2016 election. The House Impeachment is delusional. All it will do is highlight the corruption in Ukraine and the seizure of a nation that risks a nuclear war so their corporate profiteer donors and the Biden Family can rake in more riches.

                Reply
                1. JTMcPhee

                  I recall darn few ANYbodies objecting to the invasion of Iraq. Rice flowed into a whole lot of rice bowls as a result of Cheney’s big jag.

                  For those wanting to wallow in bad memories, Wiki has a truly marvelous list of all the “operations” and “battles” in Iraq from 2003-2001. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_coalition_military_operations_of_the_Iraq_War Lots of Grandiose Big Deals, kicking in doors while going after “criminals” and “insurgents,” after cleansing the place of Ba’athist Elements, lots of efforts to make the roads safe for the beloved invading troops, and my favorite, in 2006, Operation Make Damascus Beautiful, detailed as “humanitarian,” picking up the cigarette buts and detritus left by several years of “sectarian violence” and “counter-insurgency.”

                  A real panoply of exercises in futility and stupidity — but lots of medals and ribbons for the troops, and lots of well-known knock-on effects. We do a lot of “war,” but we sure as heck do not do it anything close to “well.” We do manage to do that idiocy, at least, in a bipartisan framework.

                  Reply
            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > You’re right, and it’s whataboutism to say that Clinton, et. al., are just as or even more guilty of impeachable, or even criminal, acts.

              No it isn’t. It’s pointing out that the system is the issue, not the person. It’s also not rewarding people who have no moral standing to make the charges by giving them power.

              Reply
              1. JBird4049

                Which is about the only reason I would vote for Trump; If was still eligible for office despite being impeached, I would want to make the impeachers pay for their coup; normalization of such illegitimate tactics is the ultimate reason for the fall of the Roman Republic and I despise our current small souled “leadership” even more than I do loathe Trump. They are the reason we have President Trump after all.

                Reply
          4. Katniss Everdeen

            Um, what exactly are you saying here?

            Torturing innocent foreigners with electrodes and stealing the property of millions of americans through blatant fraud is bad, but when you expose the corruption of a “political rival” you’ve REALLY crossed the line?

            With all due respect, I beg to differ.

            Reply
          5. urblintz

            “You can argue it violated the Geneva conventions (and American Law). However, he wasn’t making the decision to hurt political rivals.”

            are you serious?

            Let’s weigh this out: politicians trying to “hurt” rivals (which is essentially their main job today) in my right hand and violating the Geneva conventions in my left… oh wait… stop… OUCH! My left arm just fell out of its socket!!!!!

            Reply
          6. Oregoncharles

            Oliverks – so you think maybe political allies are going to hold politicians to account? Isn’t this precisely why we have an adversarial system at the top – and for that matter, in our courts (where it’s a bit more dubious)? That’s the disadvantage of a “one-party state”, and the reason we consider it corruption when the parties collude.

            Reply
          7. Lambert Strether Post author

            > he wasn’t making the decision to hurt political rivals.

            Do you have a theory of what political parties are for? Or how democracy works? Do you really think that all politicians aren’t at all times calibrating their actions in terms of political benefit? This is what we want them to do. That’s why we elect them!*

            > While politics is corrupt, if you get to the point where you are suppressing opponents with state resources

            No different from laundering oppo through the FISA court to plant FBI goons in an opponent’s campaign.

            NOTE * The real issue, I think, the place where the contradictions become visible. is that the President is a single person. “Energy in the executive” demands that he take political advantage into account. I think the case would be different for, say, the membership on a local zoning board, or even a cabinet level department.

            Reply
        2. Procopius

          Minor quibble: What he said, if my memory is accurate, was, “Some of what they did wasn’t against the law,” implying that some of what they did was and he knew that but chose to “look forward, not back.”

          Reply
      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > This is our money, our country, that Trump is using for personal gain. It doesn’t matter if it is Biden or Trump doing this, we should demand politicians to be held to a higher standard.

        I agree and disagree.

        I agree because obviously we don’t want to live in Third World country where every office is for sale, from tea money on up, and everybody decries corruption in others while claiming that they are honest. To cite the usual trope:

        The real kicker is not the famous “shocked, shocked” but “your winnings, sir.”

        I think all liberal Democrat prattling about the rule of law is ridiculous. The last time we had any semblance of the rule of law was under Bush who, bless his heart, prosecuted Enron. If we had the rule of law under Obama, Gina Haspel would be in the dock at The Hague (instead of head of the CIA), and some bankster CEOs would be at Club Fed (instead of still running their firms and richer than ever). It’s all virtue signaling, just another way of saying “Yay, team.”

        I also don’t think Democrats have any moral standing at all. As I keep saying, if Trump were a liberal Democrat who wanted to dig up oppo on the Biden family’s ties to Ukraine, he would have hired a law firm (like Perkins Coie) to hire a cut-out (Fusion GPS) to hire an operative (intelligence community-adjacent foreign national Steele) to pick up a shovel. Trump being Trump, he went direct (“He’s so crass.”) But I don’t see any moral difference between the two. An act is still wrong, no matter how many layers of indirection are used to achieve it.

        So I really do think we are left only with realpolitik: It’s a matter of who wins, the bad Emperor or the Praetorian Guard. Emperors come and go. The Praetorian Guard is forever. Name your poison.

        APPENDIX Liberal Democrat: “You must love Trump.” Sigh.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          Both are poisonous and both ultimately destroyed the Western Roman Empire. We can’t survive the Praetorian Guard long term, but multiple bad presidents will also be just as fatal. And thinking that they (whoever they might be) will be able to control the patsy(ies) and keep everyone safe is suicide. Going Godwin’s here, I can point out that the business leadership and the officer corp thought that they could keep a retired corporal in control. But then Hillary Clinton thought the game show host and real estate tycoon was also the perfect patsy.

          Somehow, the political norms of forty years ago, or suitable replacements, must put back in place. Otherwise it’s just surfing from one calamitous wave to another until the wipeout.

          Reply
    3. Carolinian

      The rightie sites are making much of former CIA head John McLaughlin’s statement on C-SPAN–“thank God for the Deep State”–and his view that it is quite proper for intel agencies to defend the “national interest” against a president who–legally–they are supposed to serve. It’s almost identical to what the Burt Lancaster character says in the climactic scene of Seven Days in May. In that 60s movie a member of the Joint Chiefs tries to stage a coup because the unpopular president is too soft on Communism.

      All of which is to say that impeachment is an appalling thing and an attempted power grab that liberals and Dems once made cautionary movies about. The fact that the Republicans have as little respect for democracy as they do offers little excuse.

      Reply
      1. flora

        This is a fight within the executive branch of government. The intel agencies are part of the executive branch of US goverment.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          They are an unelected branch full of holdovers from previous administrations. When the CIA was created during the Truman administration they were supposed to be an intelligence function only to keep the president informed of the world situation. They have no role other than as servants to the elected leader and that applies to the military as well. Famously, also during the Truman time, Truman fired MacArthur when he defied Truman.

          What is happening now is a return to a very dangerous period in US history and the Dems are all for it.

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            In our Imperial “Game of Drones,” one has the power and influence that one can take. The mythology and shibboleths about how the Republic is SuPPOSED to function are just that. “We are an Empire now, and we make or own reality” trumps “We have given you a Republic, if you can keep it.” Not that our sainted ancestors had in mind creating a place full of equality and brotherhood and all that — Like they used to say of the social and economic structure of the Big Law Firm I worked for, “You eat what you kill.” And there’s no sharing of the carcasses between the Bigsters that make the kills.

            Reply
          2. Procopius

            Dean Acheson was a hawk. I think he supported Alan Dulles in making sure the CIA had an operational arm. Truman opposed it but in the end gave in.

            Reply
          3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            C-SPAN Thank God for the Deep State:

            Someday I want to lurk in the audience of a confab like this, then raise my hand with a question. Deadpan delivery will be essential.

            “I have two questions, #1 can the speaker comment on the fact that the United States of America is a constitutional republic, and #2, is the speaker familiar with the term “democracy?”

            Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > This is a fight within the executive branch of government. The intel agencies are part of the executive branch of US goverment.

          This still isn’t as clear as I would like it to be, but it helps to write it down–

          I don’t believe that’s correct. If you believe, as I do, that today’s impeachment drive is just another aspect of a campaign that started, at the very latest, in December 2016, and that it’s being driven by a flexnet of (factions in the) Intelligence Community + (factions in the) Democrat Party + their “assets” in the Media — IC + DP + M in short form — and that RussiaGate and UkraineGate are two plays from the same playbook, rather than isolated, spontaneous events, then there are interesting Constitutional issues raised. Start by noting that the DP and the IC do not have Constitutional status, and M is only mentioned in the First Amendment, and is not part of the Federalist Paper’s division of government into legislative, judicial, and executive powers.

          Secrecy, the coin of the realm* for IC, DP, and M, is, so far as I can tell from the Federalist Papers, an executive function.**

          However, today’s implicit Constitutional Order breeds together IC, DP, and M to create a monstrous Constitutional chimera: If the power of secrecy is an executive function, we have the Legislative Branch + IC performing it together (claimed to be oversight, but including operational detail) through the Intelligence Committee (on which Pelosi sits, and under whose aegis Schiff is leading the impeachment inquiry), we have the IC + P performing an executive function together (early stage criminal investigation) through authorized “leaks” of secret material to the press. And we have all of this optimized for electoral gain by DP***, which has fingers in the pies in the IC and M.

          I see the impeachment process as the IC playing for all the marbles, in that if the impeachment process succeeds in removing Trump, we might as well consider IC as a new, Fourth Branch of government (pace Dick Cheney), since they will have achieved veto power over Presidential appointment****, with DP + M slipstreaming along behind them (money; power). This truly would be a change in the Constitutional Order, on the order of crossing the Rubicon. (That’s why I keep focusing on whether any aspect of the indictment will be secret, because if a President can be impeached based on evidence the public cannot see, it’s game over for representative government.)

          NOTE * Literally so, when television appearances, book deals, and GoFundMes are considered.

          NOTE ** And that makes sense as a matter of design. For the Judicial Branch, secret law is not law. For the Legislative Branch, how can we have a representative government if the Congress can pass laws that the people don’t know about, for reasons they cannot see?

          NOTE *** I’ve never been able to determine, institutionally, what the DP is, though a criminal gang controlling the ballot instead of the street seems to be the closest analogy.

          NOTE **** Then there is the whole issue of IC overseeing the integrity of the election process.

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            But of course the Senate isn’t really going to remove Trump and if he is re-elected then it invalidates the whole strategy and indeed may provide a fatal blow to the power of the IC and the M. Personally I think the people conducting this don’t really know what they are doing. It’s all FUD. Syria was the same way–just keep things chaotic.

            Reply
    4. flora

      Impeachment hearings generally take place in the House Judiciary committee.

      Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have the right to make their own rules governing their procedure, and to change those rules. Under current rules, the actual impeachment inquiry begins in the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives.

      https://litigation.findlaw.com/legal-system/presidential-impeachment-the-legal-standard-and-procedure.html

      So why did vigilante Nancy give the process to the Intellegence committee (Schiff) ? Didn’t like the answers she got from the Judiciary committee?

      This whole thing is a farce in terms of US democratic norms. Now, if you’re talking about Brazil…. meh.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        My opinion, and yes it is opinion, is that Nadler really wanted to impeach Trump and annoyed the cr*p out of Pelosi by continuing to pursue it even when she publicly kept taking it off the table. Once Mueller tanked and then Biden began to appear vulnerable, the need to politically weaken Trump became more important. So certain intelligence parties brought Ukraine to the fore. But no one really wants a real impeachment where Trump has rights, so the dog and pony show moves to someone who knows the score. It will still blow up in their faces eventually, but for now the Dem leadership and their allied spies and generals have all the controls.

        Reply
        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Plus nadler got tied into knots and made to look the absolute fool when trying to question Corey Lewandowski. In public.

          I’m sure pelosi’s well-honed political spidey sense suggested that nutcase nadler simply wasn’t up to the job.

          Reply
        2. JTMcPhee

          I’d add that the push polls/fundraiser pleas from the “National Democratic Training Committee” appear to indicate only two possible strategies for their Dems:

          Run a negative campaign against Trump, or Run a positive campaign And standing up for Democratic policies.

          With of course no listing of those Democratic policies, because of course all us insiders getting these campaign fundraising pitches just KNOW what those policies are.

          Quite a pitch:

          The National Democratic Training Committee is the largest progressive [sic]organization exclusively dedicated to training Democrats to run for office and electing Democrats to every level of office.

          We’ve already started our preparations to take back the White House and elect more Democrats in 2020. But to do it, we’re going to need all Democrats to step up and do their part.

          That’s where you come in. Will you rush a $3 donation right now to support and elect Democrats in 2020??

          Or you can choose a larger amount from the drop-down menu…

          Reply
        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          For the bougies who obsess over Maddow’s latest Glen Beck routine, Team Blue has been calling Trump a traitor for three years now, even demanding he recognize the results of the Presidential election when he wasn’t a sitting President.

          Pelosi thought she could simply dismiss this when she got what she wanted, but Team Blue electeds found their most loyal supporters actually expected treason trials and the marshall of the Supreme Court (oh Louise Mensch, you embarrassed Tory) to arrest Trump and restore Hillary or at least a Bush to the White House. Without their control of local apparatus and friendly faces to blunt left criticism of Team Blue, they run the risk of more AOCs which is what they don’t want. Without built up loyalty of years of blind voting, an AOC type is going to beat the crap out of a Bob Menendez.

          Pelosi doesn’t want to clear out Trump because then the next thing Team Blue loyalists might demand is more results, so she gave the job to an obvious clown like Schiff.

          Reply
          1. Pat

            No they do not removal NOR do they want a trial in the Senate, unexpected consequences and all. And frankly considering so many other times Pelosi has tolerated people who look like fools, Jerry is not being sidelined for that. He wants that trial in the Senate and cannot be counted on to circumvent that at that appropriate time so he cannot be in charge. (And I fully predict a whole lot of Dems will look like fools during this and that will include Schiff at some point or another.)

            Reply
        4. Procopius

          There’s no reason to think the subject of impeachment has “rights.” None are laid out in the Constitution. The process is conducted however the House of Representatives wants to do it. It’s like the Star Chamber. It was established to rein in entities too powerful for the courts to deal with. The Star Chamber was abused after it had been established. It looks like the same is going to happen with impeachment. And as another commenter mentioned above, the Republicans are going to do the same except worse the next time they have the House and the Democrats have the presidency.

          Reply
    5. jrs

      “why did the President (Obama) withhold $1B from Ukraine? ”

      because it was widespread international consensus to do something about the corruption of that prosecutor.

      Btw Schiff might be end up being primaried by the Democratic Socialists of America, but only because they want an actual leftie in office. It’s a bit dangerous as they might be smeared for being in league with Republicans, which they most certainly are not. Not sure the status of this.

      Reply
    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I don’t give a hoot if there was quid pro quo.

      When a peripheral nation like Ukraine (or the UK, etc.) deals with an imperial hegemon like the United States, there’s always a quid pro quo. I mean, unless you’re a dedicated West Wing watcher or one of those “responsibility to protect” people. Nations have no friends, only interests. –Lord Palmerston (paraphrasing)

      The issue is whether there was a quid pro quo that redounded to Trump’s personal benefit. To a Martian, from not 30,000 feet but three million miles, how would this ever not be the case? Suppose Trump managed to pull off a peace deal in Ukraine and won a Nobel Prize. Wouldn’t that benefit him personally, since it would help him get re-elected? (And isn’t that what we want in a President? Seeking re-election?*) Of course, if you believe that foreign policy should be run by administrative fiat, that’s deeply nefarious.

      Much closer to the ground, we’re left with the so-called transcript. Which Trump promptly released. Do people really believe he did that because he thought it would hurt him? Even if he understood it to be grounds for impeachment?

      > But before this is over, we’re going to learn more than either side wants.

      Agreed.

      NOTE * Yes, that’s the claim. The quid pro quo isn’t a Moscow hotel deal, or kompromat. It’s that Trump did something that would help him get re-elected. Is that really where we are? Of course, you can argue that Trump hadn’t made the exchange for some noble purpose, but to do Joe Biden down, but come on, man.

      Reply
  2. Wukchumni

    Still messing with our heads LRB.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    From a collectibles standpoint, something from Franklin, Benito, Winston or Joseph is pretty much chopped liver in value compared to any relic that came from Adolf.

    There’s a weird infatuation with him, without end.

    You wonder what a 25 year old presently thinks of somebody that died 50 years before they were born, whose tenuous connection is an aged great grandfather who fought in the war?

    Reply
    1. Danny

      Probably triggered in that 25 year old by the unit on the 80 year old Holocaust that has been mandated in the public school curriculum for a decade?
      Tell a kid something is really bad and they will be fascinated by it.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I dunno. I was 8 years old when the war ended, and I was traumatized by the pictures in Life Magazine of the death camps (even worse than the concentration camps, which were still in use), but there’s something about the Nazi paraphernalia, the medals, the swastika, the banners, the arm bands, that just touches my inner self. I was recently able to buy a replica of the Wehrmacht M-43 field cap, without the insignia (made in China). I could easily buy the cap insignia to sew on, and the swastika doesn’t trigger any feelings among the current generation of Thais, but I just have misgivings. I won’t do it. Still, I have that urge to go ahead that I have to fight. The pageantry of the Nuremburg Rally is moving, despite what it represented.

        Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “Max Blumenthal Arrest Exposes Hypocrisy of Western Media and ‘Human Rights’ NGOs”

    And this is why I also take care to check out a few Russian news sites daily. They cover stuff that the mainstream media won’t. As an example, I understand that RT was the only news organization in place when Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy. What is useful about Max Blumenthal’s arrest is seeing who protests about it and who makes sure that this news is front and center. Of course the mainstream media is looking the other way but if organizations like the Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) are steering clear, then that could be interpreted as a demonstration of the fact that these are ‘captured’ organizations whose work should be mistrusted.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Yes, RK, detecting the layers upon layers of deception that pass for “news” has become a necessary skill. Better learn it now, lest we never make our way out of the muck.

      Reply
    2. JTee

      Crosstalk RT had an informative segment today on the Blumenthal arrest and its significance. Ray McGovern was a guest speaker. Agree about seeing who keeps silent in this affair.

      Reply
  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Off-topic but responsive to an earlier request for material re: the 60s, there’s an old 58-minute documentary on YouTube that I found quite interesting. It was produced in 1968 by the CBC, and it’s quite sympathetic to the hippie movement. Most of the film is focused on Haight Ashbury, but there’s also a lot of footage shot at a rural commune in NoCal. The best part about it is the documentary’s willingness to let participants speak for themselves. There’s no dominating narrator.

    A few takeaways for me:

    1) the emphasis on each person’s power to create was central to the movement;

    2) the hippies’ disdain for politics was countered by a strong impetus to care for people on a face-to-face basis; and

    3) the role of work as social cement and moral foundation was rejected, in part because it was becoming clear that human labor was becoming less and less necessary to provide material needs.

    Reply
    1. Robert Hahl

      Histories of the ’60s tend to be about the decade from 1965 to 1975. I liked both of these:

      Daydream Sunset, The 60s Counterculture in the 70s by Ron Jacobs

      The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan by Ron Perlstein

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Picture book, might be hard to find: “Flashing on the Sixties,” by Lisa Law. Chronicle Books, San Francisco. Picture of Pigasus in there (I suspect they used different pigs in different cities).

        I was photographing then, too, but not at the heart of the action.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Just leafed through it. Amazing number of famous performers. She was REALLY at the heart of things – which was the music.

          Reply
      2. VietnamVet

        I was there. A huge cultural switch occurred in 1964. Before it was crew-cuts; afterwards long hair. That was the year the George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump went off to college. LBJ escalated the faraway war in Vietnam. 1965 was the start of that generation’s revolt against the War and tick-tacky Little Boxes. This led to global aristocracy’s counter revolt in the 1980s that resulted in neoliberalism, deluded incompetence, spreading protests, and the Empire’s fall half a century later.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          You could track that cultural shift in the music across the eras. 1964 was the year that the Beatles came to America and some great music came out of that era afterwards. The counter attack I would date to about 1973 when the wheels came off the world’s economy. In fact, that was also the year that GPD continued to climb to the stratosphere while wages in the US flat-lined and have not gone up since. The 70s were when the pieces were being put into place and the 80s was when they made their move with Thatcher in the UK and Reagan in the US being made leaders for the shift.

          Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      There are two groups of “hippies”. The older set probably fits in the documentary as you describe. The second set is almost a proto-yuppie group. Though they like festivals and drugs, the social cohesion isn’t there, and many were just goof offs rich kids in the second younger set as many of the issues addressed by the original hippies were fixed. They just wanted to seem cool. Its like rap in the 80’s versus JayZ today. Hillary Clinton, Tipper Gore, and Joe Lieberman were desperate to stop people from hearing truth tellers (truth is open to interpretation I suppose but truth tellers do try) versus some of the more dull and generic rappers of even a few years later who are acclaimed by the same people who just tried to stop blacks from even producing their own music.

      The boomers so often railed against were often in the second set if they weren’t out and out John Birch society hanger ons.

      Also its not fair to include Lieberman with Hillary and Tipper. When Hillary was expressing her fondness for Goldwater, Lieberman was registering black voters in the deep South (A couple years off).

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        One thing I left out earlier that also struck me: these early hippies were mostly outcasts from society already. As one interviewee explains, they (and this included the interviewee) were social rejects or outcasts for a variety of reasons. They were often runaways looking for a home. They wound up connected to groups like the Diggers or the Merry Pranksters that included older individuals, including some “Beats,” who provided some direction and leadership, albeit in very unconventional ways.

        This was definitely not a “top down” movement with which we have become so familiar that most of us are extremely cynical when we hear about yet another “color revolution.” It was a movement that started with people who were already not well-equipped for the “straight” world (“straight” and “square” are the terms used in the movie for the dominant culture). They were joined by the disillusioned who included many who were well down the road to “success” before the counterculture called.

        It’s also important to distinguish these folks from the political activists of the time. Savio, Hayden, Rudd were not hippies though they shared much of the same cultural critique. But while we say that, the YIPPIES, as signaled by their name, attempted to blend the two.

        Reply
      2. JP

        As a member of the older group we called them teeny boppers. I believe there was a mock funeral for the Haight community in about 1967. From 1966 LSD was a big driver on the west coast but the friendly aspect of that died with the murder of Super Spade. I can’t remember the year but I met SS in 67.

        At the time everyone was a friend but that image tarnished with low life thievery and speed use. Of my cohort the ones who went conservative were not younger but leaned Ayn Rand. In my experiance the defining feature of conservative thinking is that the left wants something for nothing. I don’t believe there was as much distaine for politics as for money.

        Most of the older generation, before the term hippy was coined, were college students or drop outs from solid middle class families.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          The earlier version were the hipsters. Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. I’ve never been able to read the book To me it’s as obscure as Ulysses, but a very good book and one that I identified with was The Subterraneans. Unfortunately, I was too young for the hipsters, and too old for the hippies. Silent Gen.

          Reply
    3. Jessica

      I think that the role of work was also rejected because the hippies arose from among the first generation trained as capitalist intellectual workers on a mass basis and whether or not all human labor was becoming less necessary, the corporate administrative tasks that the new intellectual workers were trained for were not humanly fulfilling.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        That explains why a lot of them worked their asses off as subsistence farmers. Some of them – friends of mine – still are.

        Reply
    4. chuck roast

      First line of The Port Huron Statement (1962)
      We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.

      Reply
  5. NotTimothyGeithner

    I see the Onion has dumped parody and satire permantly even for lighter fare with today’s entry. Coincidentally, the 1994 Expos were an amazing team, but if there was no strike, Pedro doesn’t wind up with the Sox.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      Good parody and satire stretches reality juuust enough to be funny, even illuminating, which is almost impossible nowadays. Even if The Onion does it right today, tomorrow it will be reality. This be giving the editors heartburn.

      Reply
  6. T

    If the Rilling Stone article is correct, Baden hasn’t actually seen evidence and is just being a celebrity expert, like a guest on Dr. Oz.

    Which seems to be a pattern with him.

    Anyway, Epstein cannot be prosecuted. Let’s move on to the other criminals who could easily be prosecuted with the evidence we now have. We have photos. Stacks of DVDs. Witnesses.

    Reply
    1. Fíréan

      ” Let’s move on . . . ”

      The ” let’s move on ” statement gives one to believe that there is something which you do not wish to be seen here.
      So let’s move on indeed, from prosecution of Epstein to investigation of who subverted justice and murdered Epstein . There are plenty of “other criminals” who were engaged with Epstein, investigation of Epstein’s crimes and death will lead their exposure given room to do so. There is plenty of justice to go round, it is not a rationed commodity.

      Reply
  7. Frank Little

    Re: What’s Going on With Jeffrey Epstein’s Autopsy?

    Some may remember Michael Baden from his work as a forensic pathologist on the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which as we all know totally resolved the speculation around JFK’s death.

    Luckily the cameras outside Epstein’s cell happened to malfunction the same night that guards also failed to follow the proper protocol, but I’m sure this confluence of factors will produce a totally satisfactory and transparent investigation, as it always has when a wealthy and well-connected person dies under strange circumstances.

    Reply
    1. JTee

      While the nature of Epstein’s death is of interest to me, the lack of inquiry by the media into his accomplices, associates, procurers and Johns so far is more significant.

      Reply
      1. Off The Street

        Milo Minderbender, and some others, would remark about how everybody gets a piece of the action. That action includes membership in the select club, for a nominal service charge of one’s soul.

        Reply
      2. Lord Koos

        It is all connected. From what I’ve heard Michael Baden was hired by Epstein’s brother as he did not accept the official suicide verdict. I think the whole thing is going to be swept under the rug, there is too much at stake for too many powerful people.

        Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Police blew up an innocent man’s house in search of an armed shoplifter. Too bad, court rules.”

    If this injustice has been okayed by the courts, then under this doctrine, this could apply elsewhere. For example, we have all seen stupid police car chases in the movies and you see cars being smashed up, bystander cars being crashed into and being spun out of the way, cars going through shop windows with people trying to leap of the the way, etc. Here is an example-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OziaaQX7AHM

    So if you had a cop that thought that he was Bruce Willis, under this doctrine then, could the courts say that all the shop owners, the car owners with written-off cars and personal injuries are all out of luck and are on their own?

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Many veterans became constables and are part of the Police Industrial Complex where in their previous calling you toss a frag grenade into some haji’s house and question why you did it later, that is if you question it at all.

      Nobody cared if you did it in the ‘Stanbox, why should anybody care if you do it here?

      OBL succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, in turning us into what we’ve become…

      Reply
      1. James Graham

        “Many veterans became constables and are part of the Police Industrial Complex where in their previous calling you toss a frag grenade into some haji’s house and question why you did it later, that is if you question it at all.”

        Actual combat veterans who believe the above para is correct: zero.

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        That is a funny thing, Wuk. I was reading accounts by soldiers criticizing modern police tactics. One soldier was watching the police tapes of an arrest that had gone wrong and he would say things like “We would never do it that way in ‘Stan” and “We would get court martialed if we did it this way”. They were very unimpressed.
        I saw a foto from the Ferguson riots and it had a squad of police in military gear with half of them pointing their rifles at a skinny black guy as if he was a suicide bomber. Stuff like that you remember and you forget all the other cops you come across who are just doing their jobs in just an ordinary way.

        Reply
    2. Procopius

      It does apply everywhere, you just haven’t noticed the very rare stories (“If it doesn’t bleed it not only doesn’t lead, it doesn’t get printed.”) that describe what the police actually do when they conduct a no knock raid on the wrong house. Aside from using a battering ram to shatter the door, they use sledge hammers to knock holes in the walls looking for hiding places for drugs and money.

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “No Trump or Pence in Bangkok Has Asia Questioning U.S. Strategy”

    So Pompeo sent out the following tweet-

    “We accommodated China’s rise, in the hope that they would become more free. In response, the CCP took advantage of our goodwill. Now, @realDonaldTrump is facing the reality of CCP hostility to the U.S. and our values. We must engage China as it is, not as we wish it to be.”

    How about I do some editing here?

    “We accommodated China’s rise, in the hope that they would become more Neoliberal. In response, the CCP took advantage of our gullibility. Now, @realDonaldTrump is facing the reality of CCP independance to the U.S. and our hectoring. We must engage China as it is, not as we wish it to be, if we want it to be subservient”.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Subservient is more a Western perspective than the traditional Chinese view based on Dao, where water, being soft, is seen as being able to prevail over hard rocks.

      At some point, Beijing might reveal to all that China is not the world’s police…certainly not there to do what we progressives in the West want to do (to reform, to progress, etc), but not being able to so far ourselves.

      Reply
    2. Olga

      Edit to your edit…
      ““We actively enabled China’s rise because it was profitable for our corporations, in the vain hope that they would become more Neoliberal (just like us). In response, the CCP took advantage of our gullibility. Now, @realDonaldTrump is facing the reality of CCP independence from the U.S. and our hectoring. We must engage China as it is, not as we wish it to be, if we want it to be subservient and obedient.”

      Reply
  10. Danny

    “Lots of Job Hunting, but No Job, Despite Low Unemployment”

    Paraphrasing a friend on ageism:

    “I will be damned if I will spend any of my discretionary money in a business staffed by twenty somethings or cheap labor immigrants when there are lots of older Americans who need to work. Those that employ a broad range of ages, pay them decently and respect them, get my loyal patronage and spending.”

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      Just where are these companies that “…that employ a broad range of ages, pay them decently and respect them, get my loyal patronage and spending?” I am having a harder time finding any business that is not a Borg store.

      Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    The Berlin Wall fell 30 years ago this week, and I was in East Germany around 1983 or so, driving from somewhere in Bavaria en route to East Berlin. West German roads were amazingly good, while the ones in the east weren’t much, a bit lumpy. The ‘autobahn’ was largely a 2 lane road, with all foliage and vegetation cleared out a few hundred feet on each side @ a minimum, and you’d spy hidden away machine gun nests occasionally, and there we were on the verge of running out of gas behind the iron curtain, when luckily a gas station appeared just as we were on fumes and the car was complaining. I kind of imagined it happening, a couple of Yanks in a thirsty rental car by the side of the road, hoping for said gunners to save us from ourselves, yikes.

    Funny, how the Berlin Wall kept it’s citizens in, whereas the neoliberal walls keep outsiders from coming in.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      my ex wife was there when they tore it down…drunk as a skunk, per the general mood…still had the foresight to stick a chunk of it in her pocket.
      it’s on a shelf in my Library, next to chunk of the alfred p murrah federal building.
      both chunks have a vibe to them.

      Reply
  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Air Ambulances Are Bankrupting Us (and No One Cares) MedPage Today. Thanks, private equity!

    Personal story some may find interesting.

    A year ago a medical emergency–serious burns on his arms and back–sent my husband to the local emergency room. He was ambulatory and in perfect control of his faculties.

    The emergency room physician felt unqualified to treat him, and recommended immediate transport to a burn unit 40 miles away. We had no idea what that transport entailed, but my driving him there was considered unacceptable. Both of us had visions of insanely expensive air ambulances dancing in our heads. He refused transport and checked out with the bandages the emergency physician had placed.

    Long story short, several days later we sought to have the burns evaluated at a different local clinic. We were told that they would not treat him since they were “affiliated” with the hospital that had seen him initially, and since he had refused transport, he had gone “against medical advice.” Sorry, not sorry. Go pound sand.

    The situation was resolved–he drove himself the 40 miles to the burn clinic–and today he is none the worse for wear, except for some scarring which doesn’t bother him in the slightest.

    Both of us still shudder at the thought of incurring an air ambulance bill of tens of thousands of dollars that, ultimately, would have been completely unnecessary. Not to mention financially devastating. But I will say, the whole situation was terrifying at the time, and it took the sum of both of our stubbornness and distrust of the medical establishment to resist the enormous pressure to comply.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      A Mississippi lady went missing last week in Sequoia NP, and not only did they send out a C-130 to look for her, the photo op in the link shows her after getting out of a helicopter @ Ash Mountain helipad.

      She’ll not be charged one penny for getting lost in the forest, nor was I when I broke my scapula when an ice bridge collapsed on me 15 miles deep in the backcountry in 1998, and I had my one (hopefully) free helo ride back to Ash Mountain.

      I find it very curious how there is seemingly an unlimited budget for search & rescue (not that i’m unhappy with it-although i’d request a F-35 come look for me should I too get lost) in the National Parks, as they’re being starved to death financially as far as much needed upkeep of existing facilities is @ $12 billion, and not coming anytime soon.

      https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2019/10/updated-missing-mississippi-woman-found-alive-sequoia-national-park

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      Emergency rooms are dangerous places if it isn’t a real emergency – which serious burns normally would be. I encountered pressure to have surgery when I went in with, it turns out, probably gallstones (don’t totally trust the diagnosis). Stubbornness won out, saving me the rather large Medicare co-insurance. I was only there because the clinic didn’t do imaging on Saturday, but the place creates its own psychology. The stones passed and the pain went away.

      Your ER was probably worried about liability; but refusing to see him because he used his own judgement tells you a lot about the clinic – one NOT affiliated might be better.

      Burns are horrible, and dangerous; having to fight the doctors over it must have been scary. Glad he recovered well.

      Reply
    3. dearieme

      Our local Air Ambulance is rather taken for granted – except for the couple of years when Prince William was a pilot for them. Then it tended to be featured in the local rag every time he landed somewhere. To be fair, it was rather a novelty.

      Reply
  13. Tomonthebeach

    Russia, the Indispensable Nation in the Middle East

    Is this not exactly what both Trump and Putin want? Yet MAGAheads call progressives evil commies and claim Trump is making America great.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      You are welcome to enlist with a Syrian based militia. They take volunteers. Students of history or the literate are aware America’s foreign policy in the Middle East since Carter has coincided with declines of standards of living. Its not a coincidental relationship.

      Besides Russia has 130 million people. They aren’t a hegemon by any stretch. Even the previous dope in the White House recognized that.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think Russia would prefer not to be called the Indispensable Nation in the Middle East.

        Just a guess. The name just sounds a bit negative.

        Reply
  14. Chauncey Gardiner

    Small matter in relation to some of the other topics under discussion here today, but I was disappointed in the article from FT.com about “The powerful forces reshaping America’s capital markets”. In my view, the writer discussed some of the symptoms, but not the underlying forces. Among those forces I would include the desire to perpetuate the debt super-cycle – which the growth in private equity LBOs, corporate stock buybacks and asset bubbles merely reflect; China’s emergence as the top sovereign global creditor of debt denominated in the sovereign currency of its host; the emergence and influence over the financial system by an economic and political elite that perceives its interests to be embedded in the status quo; and the gradual erosion of fossil-based energy in enabling comparatively easy economic growth and debt servicing at the macro level. Just my view.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      I hate to tell you but huh?

      Private equity guys do not have ideological motivations regarding their day jobs. They want to make a buck. The fact that borrowing is the way there is of no particular concern.

      Reply
  15. ObjectiveFunction

    The Amazon battery story is a must-read, imho, solid journalism, well footnoted.

    Amazon is big not because it’s offering new things, but because of its command of logistics. As Amazon expands into all modes of transport — cars, trucks, air and ocean freight — its logistics will likely become even more invisible. Amazon is fiercely secretive about its corporate footprint and masks its operations through a discreet network of outsourcing, making its supply chain hard to unravel.​
    Fulfillment and global logistics is increasingly a goal in and of itself. Companies that provide fulfillment and logistics services for themselves” are competition.

    Don’t miss the links, either:

    So if Goldman is humanity’s Vampire Squid, Amazon is the All Devouring Anaconda… And if we mopes aren’t important enough to squeeze any more, we get to eat what comes out the back end.

    Bezos has gone full Henry Ford, if not John D. Rockefeller. Time to blow the dust off our Ida Tarbell columns? Except our tribunes are too wrapped up in their own TDS Ourobouros to be bothered with boring old antitrust.

    Great meetup last Tuesday in NYC, by the way!

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      I can report that America’s highways are now crowded with “Prime” labeled 18 wheelers. So

      logistics will likely become even more invisible.

      may not apply in this case. Indeed I’d say Bezos is sending us a message–it’s his world and we are just living in it. That was the purpose of the silly but abortive drone idea and he’s merely switched vehicles. Prime labeled delivery vans are also becoming ubiquitous. When it all crashes to Earth these can be picked up cheap.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Re: “When it all crashes to Earth these can be picked up cheap.”
        That is assuming that the “Prime Movers” are sold into the secondary market. There is also the ‘Scorched Road’ option; crush all the excess rolling stock so as to keep the prices of available rolling stock up. This is the increasingly seen option being deployed in the secondary housing market. I have seen several fixable single family houses in our Half Horse town razed rather than sold at lower prices.
        One rental home owner said as much on a local media site recently.
        Squatters rights should be in every populist group’s policy list.

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Let those who buy from Amazon be consigned to their chosen existence as Jeffie’s little Amazombies, then.

        Let those who would resist do so by buying from NOmazon. Any NOmazon is better than Amazon.
        Walmart is better than Amazon. This is a war of utter extermination between Amazon and NOmazon.
        Jeffie-poo understands this and wages his war of utter extermination on that basis. Those among his targets who fail to understand that basic fact will fail all their Darwin Finals and will join the growing pile of Darwin’s Discards.

        Reply

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