Links 11/16/17

Yves here. I know it is silly to even notice, but my favorite cat Blake would have been 20 today.

Indonesia’s food chain turns toxic as plastic waste exports flood in Guardian

How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms and Changes Your Results Wall Street Journal. A blockbuster. Remember how Google downranked the WSJ in search? See summary if you can’t get past the paywall: Google search results have more human help than you think, report finds ars technica


China’s Internet Is Flowering. And It Might Be Our Future. The New York Times. Resilc:

They have masses of people to throw at any and all things to commercialize them. Was chatting with friend at AMWMB/Ghana this morning. Chinese cleaning our clocks in West Africa in trade, soft power. Same in Latin America. We already lost the 3rd World War.


FARAGE FOLDS Boris Johnson gets election boost as Brexit Party reveals it won’t put up candidates in another 38 non-Tory seats The Sun

And there are still four weeks to go … Chris Grey. We haven’t made much of the end of 2020 cliff edge because the UK can ask for (supposedly only) one one or two year extension as of July 2020. Note that if the UK were to need an additional extension or realize it needed one after July, I would still think it would be granted but with a price attached. Another assumption (paging David and Clive) would be that once a deal was approved, any later riders would not be subject to Article 50 provisions (unanimous approval for an extension) but a mere qualified majority.

The Fragile Boris Johnson Craig Murray (Chuck L)

Iain Dale: Worryingly for the Conservative Party, it’s unclear how Tory Remainers will vote Conservative Home

Brexit: the wheels of the bus Richard North

Bolivia Coup

Bolivian Coup Targeting Indigenous People Institute for Public Accuracy

New Cold War

Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally” Counterpunch (resilc)


Iraq: Is This What ‘Winning’ Looks Like? American Conservative (resilc)


Patrick Cockburn · Thriving on Chaos: After al-Baghdadi London Review of Books (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Most Americans think they’re being constantly tracked—and that there’s nothing they can do

How Chilean Protesters Took Down a Drone With Standard Laser Pointers NextGov (resilc)

Trump Transition

Interview on Trump Foreign Policy with Robert Kagan Der Spiegl. Resilc: “Kagan is like a mutant virus or cockroach. He lives on forever.”

Trump Lies Don’t Bother Some People. Scientists Want to Know Why Los Angeles Times (Dr. Kevin)

Trump Intervenes in War Crimes Cases Against Three U.S. Military Members Wall Street Journal


Yovanovitch impeachment testimony gives burst of momentum to Democrats The Hill

Trump Just Released a Rough Transcript of His First Ukraine Call Where He Talked About Beauty Pageants Vice (resilc)

New witness claims first-hand account of Trump’s push for Ukraine probes The Hill

The Media Is Hopelessly Addicted to Donald Trump New Republic

From Dan K, live tweetstorm of address. Or you can view it in Threadreader

Health Care

Trump Administration Releases Transparency Rule in Hospital Pricing Wall Street Journal

Court rules Kentucky discriminated when it prohibited ‘IM GOD’ vanity plate WDRB (resilc)


Hillary Clinton Says She Is Being Urged To Run By Many, Many, Many Voices In Her Head Babylon Bee (BC)

Private Equity’s Chicken Little Dance Adam Levitin, Credit Slips. On the bogus math in the attacks on Warren’s plan.

Elizabeth Warren Retreats From Medicare for All New Republic (resilc)

Elizabeth Warren’s Tax Plan Would Bring Rates Over 100% for Some Wall Street Journal. Taxing unrealized capital gains????

Democratic Savior? Deval Patrick Repped Predatory Loans, Big Oil Daily Beast

Inside The Buttigieg Moment FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

How Can Democrats Get the Black Turnout They Need In 2020? New York Magazine (resilc). Notice change from original headline.

L’affaire Epstein. Hhm, on a momentary low boil, maybe due to Prince Andrew’s fake confessional on BBC?

AP sources: Epstein jail guards had been offered plea deal Associated Press (Chuck L)

Syria’s Assad Says Jeffrey Epstein Did Not Kill Himself Newsweek. BC: “Oh boy! The meme has really caught on.”

U.S. restaurants remove dining rooms to speed off-site food frenzy Reuters. EM:

Hey, why risk going out and having to possibly interact minimally with actual people, when you can just melt into your coding or gaming chair and be impatient with the various harried gig economy ‘independent contractors’ who bring you the food while you both enrich the TechBro scammers whose contribution consisted of pasting together a software app and conning the technorati into making them out to be the Next Big Disrupto-Thing?

737 Max

American Airlines flight attendants have literally begged not to work on the Boeing 737 Max when it returns, union boss says Business Insider (Dan K). This is a big deal. The union is going to war with Boeing.

The Holy-Cow Moment for Subprime Auto Loans; Serious Delinquencies Blow Out Wolf Street (EM)

State AGs prepare to widen probe of Google to include search, Android businesses: report MarketWatch

Another Airbnb Party House Ends In Violence; Parents suing Airbnb KGTV

The Economist Who Wants to Ditch Math Marker (UserFriendly)

The odds don’t favor KKR if it does a leveraged buyout of Walgreens MarketWatch (UserFriendly) Headline buries the lede, which is that PE does not outperform is properly measured.

Class Warfare

I Found Work on an Amazon Website. I Made 97 Cents an Hour. New York Times (Dan K)

The great American tax haven: why the super-rich love South Dakota Guardian (Craig S)

Ph.D. student poll finds mental health, bullying and career uncertainty are top concerns Inside Higher Ed. Resilc: “My advice is to go to Eastern Carolina Univ and get a BS in industrial technology and become an electrical contractor. Good for life.”

The Intersectional Left’s Political Endgame Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine (resilc). Hoo boy.

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus from guurst:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Livius Drusus

    Re: The Media Is Hopelessly Addicted to Donald Trump

    Trump has been great for the media business. This article is from 2018 but I have read a number of pieces claiming that Trump has been good for the media business, particularly the TV news networks and newspapers.

    Of course, one could argue that the media helped to make Trump president by giving him a huge amount of coverage in 2016. Trump likely knew this and took advantage of it. People love sensationalism and controversy and Trump represents those things quite well.

    1. .Tom

      The media is hopelessly addicted to ratings, ad sales, impressions and subscriptions. You can’t leave the audience out of it. The media found that Trump sells and we’ve had the 24-hour Trump Show (I’m thinking of The Truman Show) since.

      Taibbi described US elections as years ago having turned into something that’s half reality TV and half sports with high quality production, lots of air time, and plenty of top commentators critiquing each play, etc. But the players/contestants are dismal. Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, John Kerry, … Trump just walked into that and took the spotlight because he’s a very good reality TV star, a natural. Ratings, ad, subscriptions all went way up.

      In this game the pols, media and public are inter-dependent parts of a system that evolved to where it is now. The media deserves its share of the blame but you can’t put on this show without players and an audience.

      The other thing that bothers me with articles like this that blame the media is the implication that it’s the media’s job to fix it. Do we really want to task media corporations with reshaping our politics?

      1. Big River Bandido

        What he said was that Trump was terrible for America but great for CBS, which is far more damning of Moonves.

  2. dearieme

    Federal prosecutors offered a plea deal to two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein on the night of his death, but the officers have declined the offer

    Wouldn’t you decline the offer too? They might well be Clintonned otherwise.

    About some of Trump’s antics: it seems to me that many Americans simply don’t realise how much power the Constitution gives the Prez on foreign policy and on running the Executive. It accords him the power of a king – and not some namby-pamby late-18th century British king but a mid-17th century Divine Right king.

    1. Oji


      Treaties? Senate approval needed.
      Appointments? Senate confirmation needed
      Trade agreements? Senate approval needed

      War? Constitutionally, may only be declared by Congress.
      Even the War Powers Act and AUMF, though overly-permissive (IMO), proscribe Presidential foreign policy powers.

      And if the Congress would do its job, extra-judicial assassinations– especially of U.S. citizens– would not exist either. Not to mention the clandestine– and overt– overthrowing of foreign governments.

      This “absolute monarch” line is being pushed by Trumpers, closet Trumpers, and Dem-haters alike, including some well-known bloggers, who suddenly fancy themselves Constitutional scholars.

      1. hunkerdown

        Executive agreements with other countries? No Senate needed.
        Appointments? Mere figureheads, easily circumvented by setting up a favorable next in line.
        Trade agreements? As useful as a bicycle on a fish, better cancelled as a genre.
        War? Who needs that when the intelligence community is a fourth branch of government.

        >And if the Congress would do its job, extra-judicial assassinations– especially of U.S. citizens– would not exist either
        Tell that to Judi Bari. Or Michael Hastings.

        This absolute monarch line is also not entirely unfriendly to Berners, who reject the professional-managerial 10%’s right to rule right alongside Trump boosters. The Norms Fairy is nothing more than office politics that kills real people. I’d rather have a proper king than sham democracy like the US. At least the king wouldn’t be obsessed with continuity of business like the current “steady state” is.

        1. Robert Valiant

          QUESTION: “War? Who needs that when the intelligence community is a fourth branch of government.”

          ANSWER: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, et al.

          Come on — war is business because it’s all business because business is America’s business. It’s the answer to EVERY vexing political question.

        2. Oji

          You’re arguing apples vs oranges; the original post refers to de jure authority, to which I responded in kind, whereas you are talking about de facto power and practice.

          It is patently wrong to assert the Constitution grants Presidency the authority of an absolute monarch. That was the assertion.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Making shit up against our written site Policies.

          Most executive agreements are handwaves with no legal force. Any agreement with a foreign government of any meaning = a treaty and is subject to Congressional approval.

          If you think appointments are mere figureheads, I suggest you look at the role Timothy Geithner and Eric Holder. Obama had no interest in banking and he let Geithner dictate policy. And Obama was unable to change policy at the FHFA even though many Dems were calling for the head of acting director Ed DeMarco. We pointed out firing DeMarco would be pointless since his replacement would come from the four deputies, and all were on the same page as DeMarco.

      2. JTMcPhee

        “if the Congress would do its job..” “Constitutionally…”

        Nice notions, somewhat inconsistent with what a lot of people recall to be the actual situation. Hope you keep the unelected Supreme Court, now packed with people appointed by “conservative” presidents and “approved” by the nominally divided Senate, somewhere there in the Constitutional analysis.

        1. neo-realist

          If the Supreme Court as presently constituted were around in 1954, it would uphold Plessy vs. Ferguson. Roberts would argue that separation of the races doesn’t constitute racism. He would say those fine southern politicians are giving the blacks all the resources the whites are getting and there isn’t any reason for the Federal Government to meddle in their affairs. The same Roberts who said we didn’t need a voting rights act because racism in the south wasn’t a big deal anymore.

          We’ve backslid quite a bit since the 50’s, 60’s.

        2. Oji

          Again, this is a redirection of the topic, away from the OP and my response. If you want to discuss de facto, fine, but that was not the original assertion, and it I never claimed the U.S. gov. functions in accordance with Constitutional law, as written.

          Not sure why you think you have an argument, in any way, that directly addresses what I actually said.

      3. Lord Koos

        We’ve been at war almost constantly for the last fifty-odd years, while there has been no official declaration of war since WWII. Congress abdicated that responsibility a long time ago.

        I read somewhere that the reason for this is that in an official declaration of war there are very strict provisions against war profiteering, including harsh penalties. Perhaps others can say if this is true or not? It makes sense in that it would keep companies like Halliburton out of court.

    2. mrsyk

      Everyone participating in this debate should read the Threadreader post of Barr’s speach, an illuminating conservative take on this issue.

    3. marym

      Wherever one thinks it falls on the spectrum from general grift to high crime , asking the head of another country to dig up dirt on one’s political opponent isn’t foreign policy.

      If Trump’s defense is a president’s authority to conduct foreign policy, maybe he ought to have policies and a change process. Otherwise, the argument, if one thinks there is one, is for smash and burn.

      And what follows is up for grabs, with the radical, authoritarian, white ethno-nationalist, dominionist, misogynist right currently best positioned to fill the void.

      1. Monty

        “asking the head of another country to dig up dirt on one’s political opponent”
        I think his defense is that he was trying to shed some light on the meddling and coercion that occurred over there before, during and after Obama’s coup, and what their newly installed Ukrainian puppets did (at Biden/Obama’s behest) to influence the 2016 elections in the USA.

        1. marym

          This may be a lack of knowledge on my part, but I don’t know of Trump expressing concern about “meddling and coercion that occurred over there before, during and after Obama’s coup” except specific elements related what he considers pro-Clinton election meddling in 2016.

          See reply to Oregoncharles @ 5:40 pm for additional comment.

          1. kiwi

            You haven’t heard this (Trump’s concern about 2016 election meddling) because your ears are closed.

            Oh, and this? If Trump’s defense is a president’s authority to conduct foreign policy,

            Have you heard of the Constitution? It’s right in there – take a look sometime.

            1. marym

              My comment was that I hadn’t heard of his references to corruption and meddling except in regard to election meddling.

              My argument was that digging up dirt doesn’t constitute foreign policy.

              The Constitution does not reference “foreign policy.”

              Article II does of course require that the President take care that the laws are faithfully executed. Perhaps that would include adhering to the existing treaty with Ukraine regarding the process for investigations, IANAL.

      2. Oregoncharles

        So running for President becomes a get-out-of-jail-free card? Remember, Biden has no official status at all at this point, let alone months ago when all this happened.

        1. marym

          After I submitting my comment I did start to look into the timeline a bit, so thanks to you and Monty for the push to look further. I used the timeline. Trump had an interest in the right’s version of election interference (collusion of some Ukrainians with the Clinton campaign to reveal payments to Manafort – Trump tweet calling for an investigation in timeline entry July 25,2017).

          I don’t know when Trump became interested in the server-in-Ukraine element of the CT (not in this timeline).

          The first timeline reference to Biden-Burisma is Giuliani pressing for an investigation in [timeline entry] late 2018.

          So I agree, this was before Biden announced his candidacy. I would still not agree that it’s defensible as foreign policy, rather than seeking fodder for a political campaign to counter Russiagate, as Trump has no particular concern with the concept of using family connections for personal gain, corruption of other kinds and/or in other countries, or the existing agreement with Ukraine for investigating corruption.

          1. hunkerdown

            And commissioning salacious tabloid confabulations from disgraced ex-MI6 hacks like Richard Steele, then stovepiping them into FISA warrants, is totally legit? The Democrat Party needs to stay out of this and let the people decide, and if that weren’t a complete repudiation of their entire business model, they would.

          2. kiwi

            Another flatlining comment from you:

            “as Trump has no particular concern with the concept of using family connections for personal gain, corruption of other kinds and/or in other countries, or the existing agreement with Ukraine for investigating corruption.”

            Trump held up aid to Puerto Rico because of corruption in PR (and the dems were outraged, just outraged!!). And lo and behold, some officials have since been arrested for corruption. Well, while PR isn’t technically another country like Ukraine is, there exists a precedent for Trump concern over corruption and misuse of taxpayer funds.

            Aren’t you the least bit curious where the money that Burisma used to pay Biden came from? I suspect it came out of our taxpayers pockets.

            And the sham swooning over corruption by the anti-Trumpers is precious. With the way all of the diplomat types are crying over any change by Trump, I would bet that most of them are on the take.

            Either that, or they need to read, “Who Moved My Cheese?” and grow up.

  3. QuarterBack

    Re the Warren tax rate.

    “ Economists generally think taxes on profits, capital gains and dividends discourage investment and hurt economic growth. In this case, the effect is unclear because companies could still attract investment from individuals, foreigners and tax-advantaged retirement funds, pensions and endowments that aren’t subject to Ms. Warren’s wealth, capital-gains or personal-income taxes.”

    Well, get ready for the return of the phrase, Ich bin ein Berliner

    1. Pat

      Not for nothing, but the phrase “economists think” should immediately be met with derisive laughter,and acknowledged as what it is usually a scare tactic intended to discourage an action that will switch the status quo that said economists and/or their sponsors profit under.

      IOW I call BS on their ability to prognosticate the real extent of the “discouragement” or its effect.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The top income tax rate during the US’s golden age, the 50’s and sixties, was 80 and 90%. It coincided (correlation/causation) with a prolonged boom. So the economist think has been thoroughly disproven here in the US, within living memory.

        Economics is mostly political ideology, disguised with a lot of math. Their remarkable failure to predict much of anything is a direct result and proof.

        1. inode_buddha

          It also coincided with being the only industrial power with any manufacturing capacity since EU and Japan were reduced to rubble.

          In the 70’s US businesses grew fat and complacent, not keeping up with new tech. Business managers grew greedy, desiring cheap foreign labor via free trade deals. Japan capitalized on this and ate our lunch — we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

          Now its the Chinese, and the business managers *still* don’t give a flying leap about US workers. It makes me wonder if they give a care about the US itself. Maybe they shouldn’t have the use of our services, or our markets, if they can’t take care of their own.

    2. Alex Cox

      “Ich bin ein Berliner” means, roughly translated, “I am a donut.”

      Kennedy meant to say “Ich bin Berliner”, but then as now neither the president nor any of his advisors apparently spoke a foreign language.

  4. Wukchumni

    Translucent liquid falling from the sky & much lower temps are expected by late Tuesday, which ought to put paid to the wildfire season here, although I may have just jinxed us, sorry.

    All in all, a very much milquetoast year* in terms of comparing the last few seasons of conflagration, not that i’m complaining.

    * past performance isn’t necessarily an indicator of future performance

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Hillary Clinton Says She Is Being Urged To Run By Many, Many, Many Voices In Her Head”

    I wonder out of curiosity, whether when she asked them their names, if they replied “I Am Legion”?

    1. Oh

      Hillary, I think they got your number
      If everybody wants you
      Why isn’t anybody callin?
      You don’t have to answer
      Just leave them hangin on the line
      Oh-oh-oh calling Hillary

    2. neo-realist

      If I were a closet republican in Hillary Clinton’s circle of aides, I would tell her to run because she would go down in flames a second time because she is such a lousy campaigner who doesn’t connect with people outside of the deep blue cities.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Thanks for this and thanks to Yves for sharing Blake with us that we too may remember and NC be a home for along with everything else, compassion.

    1. Pat

      The non human companions of our lives have always had the power to mark us and help provide the context of both our past and encourage the development of the best of ourselves. They deserve to be remembered as much as the human companions we have lost.

      Happy Birthday, Blake.

      1. Tvc15

        Nicely said Pat. They become family in a sense. My wife has acknowledged the birthday of her first dog every year since 2004. Not foolish at all, conversely can be celebrated.

  6. rob

    Scientists wanting to know why people don’t care about trump lies…
    That is a good question.
    These are “the Value voters”… the “conservatives”….the ones who profess to be “religious”…. People who in general, are haughty about being “moral”.. in some way above others..
    Was there an example of jesus somewhere that painted a picture of “righteously dealing with the devil”…
    what a joke. 4,000 misleading statements so far @22 a day on a trump timeline.

    How do you square those circles?

    Of course it is the same for the loyal democrats who profess to be progressive,yet back clinton and obama and the democratic establishment. Even though to their credit , they are not so stupid as to make such regular and obvious lies. They at least live in the land of causistry and equivocation.

    1. Wukchumni

      Every man has a right to be heard; but no man has the right to strangle democracy with a single set of vocal cords.

      Adlai Stevenson

    2. hunkerdown

      Really? That sounds too much like conventional wisdom to be accurate. Are you sure they’re not simply volatility voters who want to break the managerial class’s rice bowls? Or, are you sure it isn’t revenge for the Democrats running a sham election?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Or maybe people don’t believe the “fact-checkers,” or the “17 intelligence agencies” who “definitively established” that Putin hacked the dnc and got Trump elected without even conducting an investigation.

        How many of Trump’s thousands of purported “lies” are the result of his refusal to accept that one “fact?”

        Having said that, I’m glad that Trump’s existence has blown up another one of the more nauseating and deliberately misleading cover-ups by media to excuse politicians who are more acceptable to them–use of the word “misspoke.”

        1. Alex Cox

          I don’t think “17 intelligence agencies” supported the idea that the Russians hacked the DNC server. It was three intelligence agencies – the FBI, CIA and NSA – all of whom were in the spotlight, in a very negative way, as a result of Wikileaks and Snowden, and who have now reinvented themselves as champions of democracy, or at least the Democratic party.

          1. Off The Street

            Any nuance was lost on CNN, as they browbeat viewers with that 17 agencies shtick. I wondered aloud at the time just how Coast Guard Intelligence was involved, and if that indefensible position in the Hamptons, or was it Martha’s Vineyard, or maybe both, could be in danger. Later I was relieved to learn that the Coastie honor was preserved.

        2. Danny

          And don’t forget the Hate-grifters at the Southern Poverty Law Center, who publish an official list of “hate groups,” and round condemnations of Trump that the MSM media often cite.

          “Dees’s firing marked a stunning fall for a man long regarded as a civil rights icon. He got his start selling mail-order cookbooks, tractor cushions and other items. He later harnessed his expertise in direct-mail marketing to raise millions of dollars for several presidential candidates and eventually for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

          The civil rights organization Dees co-founded in 1971 now boasts a six-story building in Montgomery and satellite offices across the country. Its endowment topped $470 million last year, and contributions more than doubled to $132 million in the year after Donald Trump’s election. ” Dees gets $375,000 of your “fight hate” dollars a year.

    3. linda amick

      Huh? The American people get nothing but lies from the main stream media replicating the daily lies of government representatives. The lies have destroyed CONTEXT and the result is any opinion is as good as any other. This is a bipartisan objective which serves as cover for doing exactly what they please.

      1. anon y'mouse

        this is the most astute comment on this phenomena.

        whose lies are ya gonna believe?

        choose whichever make you feel better about yourself, or the world.

    4. JTMcPhee

      “I did not have sex with that woman.” “We tortured some folks.” “War on Iraq is a matter of national security on accounta WMD.” It’s not tu quoque or relativism to point out that the Empire is ruled by a uniparty representing the interests of great wealth.

      How many lies does the average person tell in the course of a day, a week, a year? Trump rides the Zeitgeist. And having triggered the loyalty response in a lot of people, hypocritically or dishonestly or not, he gets the fruits of his planting.

      “Deceit, lying, and falsehoods lie at the very heart of our cultural heritage. Even the founding myth of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the story of Adam and Eve, revolves around a lie. Our seemingly insatiable appetite for stories of deception spans the extremes of culture from King Lear to Little Red Riding Hood, retaining a grip on our imaginations despite endless repetition. These tales of deception are so enthralling because they speak to something fundamental in the human condition. The ever-present possibility of deceit is a crucial dimension of all human relationships, even the most central: our relationships with our own selves.
      Why We Lie elucidates the essential role that deception and self-deception have played in evolution and shows that the very structure of our minds has been shaped from our earliest beginnings by the need to deceive. Smith shows us how, by examining the stories we tell, the falsehoods we weave, and the unconscious signals we send out, we can learn much about ourselves and our minds.”

      A lot of people recognize that the Establishment lies in massively larger ways, with the intention to crush dissent and manufacture “consent.” Trump offered the hope of some real change, unlike what Obama peddled to the rest of us twice.

      Sounds like the framing proposed is that bit of Hillarinadvertence, the comment about “deplorable people.”

        1. Wukchumni

          Look at the Santa Claus lie, not being a parent, i’m not the one to ask, but how do those that perpetuate it feel in retrospect after their kid spills the beans?

          1. inode_buddha

            I remember when my kid brother asked me where we came from, I told him I got him in a cracker jack box. He still turned out normal. Relatively speaking.

        2. mpalomar

          I thought internal language (IL) was innate and related to thought according to Chomsky, I don’t recall it had its genesis in lies.
          Actually it’s lawyers we would not have developed but for the need to lie.

          1. urblintz

            Perhaps he meant or said “words” as opposed to language… i may be misremembering but i’ll try to find the interview referenced. My tiny mind has not fully wrapped itself around his linguistic theory as much as his politics and he was most likely making a political observation.

    5. T

      Amazing that this question is asked in a world where Trump is completely an aberration.

      Indeed, the dif is mostly a lack of subtlety.

    6. kiwi

      Give me a break.

      The entire article was predicated on the assumption that Trump lies so much more than anyone else in politics.

      First of all, those on the left have bastardized the meaning of so much language, that words that used to have specific meanings are changed to mean anything they wish. What exactly is a lie? Nowadays, it is defined as virtually anything Trump says.

      I question the very ‘counter’ of the lies because the complete bias and inability to distinguish between lies, proposals, and opinion is completely absent.

      Examples of these alleged “lies”: (1) Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall.

      This is not a lie, it is merely a policy position he took at the time, a questionable assertion, yes, but not a lie…not to mention the fact that Mexico is now using its troops to keep immigrants from crossing its southern borders

      (2) Trump said his phone call was “perfect”

      This is merely Trump’s opinion of his call.

      The article is just another effort to smear Trump supporters with some veneer of science.

      1. skippy

        Yet some feel compelled to polemically frame things with the term left even when since Third way – Washington consensus there has been no left to speak of.

        I would also question the authority and its well spring to claim ownership to the meaning of words. The right has a long history of making it up as it goes and is intractable in responding to new information that refutes past meanings or refines them if it threatens its world view or its management over it.

    7. lyman alpha blob

      Rather than trying to understand why Trump’s “lies” don’t bother some people, perhaps those scientists should instead try to learn the difference between lies and bullsh*t and also remember the words of muckraker extraordinaire IF Stone – All governments lie.

      Trump’s behavior is not new; it’s his style the elites object to. His is a funhouse mirror version of a traditional politician and the “normals” don’t like what they see when repeatedly forced to look into it.

    8. Darthbobber

      I presume the study focuses on Trump to extend it’s readership by linking to a hot button current thing. They could easily replace it with a generic question about people’s level of concern about politician’s lies in general.

      Of lawful professions few have a lower reputation for veracity than professional politicians as a group. And their collective reply is at one of its historic nadirs so far this millennium. You probably have to go back to the gilded age (which the present greatly resembles) to find an equivalent level of contempt expressed among the public for it’s representatives in general.

      I’ve watched team donkey over in Jersey a few times reelect a guy that even most democrats regarded as corrupt, because the alternative was-gasp-a Republican. I know antichoice people of a religious bent who believed in 2016 that the Donald was crooked, a liar, and of dubious personal morality. They also believed, correctly, that he would push their issue.

      1. Pat

        Which means they had a more accurate take of the “liar” than much of the electorate did of the previous Democratic Presidents. Neither Clinton or Obama did much to willingly push voters issues. Donors and power brokers were the pretty much the only ones who saw their issues advanced. And the excuses given were …gasp…LIES.

        Might as well pick the liar who occasionally says the underlying truth out loud.You are screwed either way.

    9. Braden

      When you are presented with two choices, and neither choice will ever listen to your concerns in any meaningful way, then the choice is between “same” and “different”. Don’t ever blame the American voter for choosing “different”. It’s the only thing that makes our putative democracy vaguely democratic.

    10. Harvey

      Clinton, the approved choice of the smart and the cultured, heir to the Obama velvet throne, was the cool kid for the 2016 election. She and her supporters knew Trump was a moron and a joke and his supporters were deplorable nobodies, uneducated, stupid, uncultured bores.

      So what legitimacy does a president elected by knuckle dragging nobodies have? None. At. All.

      What is happening now in US politics is that the country is being subsumed by the rage of the cultured, professional, smart, urban and woke parts of US society. Rage that Trump took away what was rightfully theirs, the US presidency. It’s utterly irrelevant that he was legitimately elected.

      All the Russiagate, Ukrainegate, sexist, racist beating of the drum every day, every day, every day comes from the cool kids outraged at being beaten to their rightful prize. And worse, they are signalling that their rage has no end. If you stand in their way they will use every means to crush you.

      So. Good. Luck. To. Sanders. He cannot win. And thats a good thing. Because if he wins, they will destroy him.

        1. Harvey

          I forgot to say that Sanders won’t lose because his supporters are the deplorables, but because his supporters are not those approved by the cool kids.
          The coolest of the cool kids, aka Obama, said as much today, voters don’t want to see “crazy stuff”, read that as a warning against Sanders and Gabbard, and maybe Warren.

          There is a definite set of cool kid positions that must be obeyed. Not allowing affordable health care for all is a big one. But neither Sanders nor Gabbard are obeying. Biden is. Warren is coming round.

          If the Democrat powerbrokers dropped the ball and Sanders became president, Pelosi et al would delegitimise any position he took that they didn’t approve of, and if Sanders persisted, they would give him the Trump destructor treatment, day after day after day.

          No sarc intended.

            1. Harvey

              Hope is the opium of the voters. Bang for buck is the opium of the donors.
              Democrats cater nicely to both. As do Republicans.
              Wouldn’t it be a better world if the voters got results and the donors got to hope?

      1. The Rev Kev

        If you follow that theory to its logical conclusion, then you would have all authority of government deriving from the President of the United States – and that at any time it would be his prerogative to take back that power from whatever authority or branch of government that he assigned it to. Of course under such a legal theory, having four year terms would become a hindrance that would have to be “reviewed”.

    1. juliania

      Actually, I thought it was very good – until the last paragraphs on prisoners’ rights which didn’t fit with the historical analysis. Food for thought – thanks for posting.

  7. timbers

    Trump Lies Don’t Bother Some People. Scientists Want to Know Why Los Angeles Times (Dr. Kevin)

    Maybe while they are doing their investigation into why some people aren’t bothered by Trump lies, Scientist could also look into why some Scientists and non Scientists weren’t bothered by Bush’s and Obama’s lies, either.

    But they have a point.

    I’m not especially bothered by Trump lies maybe because of low expectations and knowing how he is. I was bothered how Obama lied with impunity and rarely got called out (even defended by his supporters some who believed anything and everything he said). I was bothered by Bush’s lies about the Iraq War as that was the time I started to pay more attention to politics.

    I thought at the time exposing Bush’s lies, would make a difference, stop the war.

    It didn’t.

    1. kiwi

      Yes, that is what I find so fascinating – the fact that people hate what Trump does when other presidents have done exactly the same thing.

      How could those toward left do so many 180s? They love having troops overseas and want war now, they love the spy agencies now, they don’t believe in the Constitution now, they don’t believe in free speech or innocent until proven guilty and on and on. They even celebrate the deep state now.

      It really calls into question whether any human anywhere has any core beliefs, or if everything they think is based merely on their feelings for someone.

      I always knew people are biased, but I never realized the depth and breadth of it until now.

      1. inode_buddha

        It’s one of those disgusting human traits where its OK if *their* guy does it. Basically reducing our politics to tribalism and team sports, objectivity be damned. Those who fall into this mode of thinking aren’t really looking out for what’s best for the country, as a whole. I think they care more about their team than anything else.

        1. Oregoncharles

          And totally forgetting, or denying, that soon it will be the OTHER side’s “guy.” The shoe is now on the other foot, and pinches badly.

  8. witters

    Of course it is the same for the loyal democrats who profess to be progressive..They at least live in the land of causistry and equivocation.

    Why the “at least”?

  9. The Rev Kev

    “How Can Democrats Get the Black Turnout They Need In 2020?”

    Speaking as a white dude, I could make a few suggestions. How about, to prove to black Americans that they mean to support them, they start by ensuring that every single adult black voter in America is a registered voter. A real get out the vote campaign.
    That they spend money fighting restrictive voter ID laws in States they try to suppress black votes. That any black person who wants to stand for a political position is given the resources to do so by the local Democratic party branch so that they have a chance.
    Of course I would go further and say that they should dump the Black Caucus as well. I mean, they had eight years working with a black President and through their collective efforts black voter participation dropped off a cliff so what is the point of having them?

    1. Off The Street

      Dems will only support blacks when the party changes

      to What can we do for You?
      from What can you do for Us?

      1. kiwi

        Just stop with the propaganda.

        You are essentially saying that people are too stupid to make up their own minds, not to mention that if there was Russian propagandist activity, it was miniscule compared to our own internal propaganda.

        Democrats are coming to a major reckoning, having always taking the black vote for granted. Well, there are blacks who see through the dem charade and are questioning their support of the party, and there are many black leaders doing the same.

        Even when I voted dem (lifelong dem, but I won’t ever vote for a dem again), I wondered why there was such strong support for the dems amongst the blacks. I simply didn’t see a reason for such loyalty.

  10. Wukchumni

    The troubles with dribbles…

    Historians in 2843 will have no idea why the world starved itself to death, as all the evidence will have gone away, not leaving a clue as to how it happened, another one of those unexplained mysteries in the making.
    Indonesia’s food chain turns toxic as plastic waste exports flood in Guardian

    1. Oregoncharles

      Actually, there will be a layer of plastic all over the world. I suspect it will be clear enough.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The truth of the matter is that those future historians will discover that 80% of the world’s population was starving while the other 20% was dieting.

  11. Darthbobber

    Most unintentionally funny line from the Newsweek Assad “debunking. ”
    “While le Mesurier served in the British Army from 1990 to 2000 there has been no public record of him working with the British secret intelligence service.”
    Waiting with bated breath for a version of this line to be appended everytime the blob “identifies” another Putin agent.

    Maybe there’s an authoritative public roster of spooks and if your name doesn’t appear you must not be one?

      1. Darthbobber

        I knew a few MI people. Their work was mighty prosaic. Though every intelligence-related outfit has engaged in considerable mission creep since those days.

  12. Wukchumni

    Yogi the bearerist threat in our hood’ must have hightailed it out of the front porch of the back of beyond after pillaging my plums without paying, as my pride & joy @ the all cats and no cattle ranch has safely made harbor, that of forbidden fruit in the guise of a Sierra Beauty tree loaded with them-a gross equity.

    Easily the best tasting apple variety we have here and doesn’t need a pollinator either. A good keeper also, you can store them @ room temp for up to 3 months according to what i’ve read. I’ll just have find out for myself.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Prince Andrew interview: Jeffrey Epstein stay was ‘wrong thing to do'”

    Nobody but nobody gets near the royals without the spooks checking them out to see if they are a danger to them. There is far too much at stake for them not to. Certainly they would have briefed good old Andy what Epstein was all about. I can see it now-

    Spooks: “Prince Andrew – you cannot have anything to do with this man. He is a kiddy-fiddler. He hands out underage girls like Michelle Obama does lollies at a funeral. You could get blackmailed if you do as he would have every room rigged with cameras. The scandal could bring down the entire Royal Family. You could find yourself under oath in Court!”

    Prince Andrew: “Thank you for your timely warning. You have done well in warning me. You may go now.” (waits till they have left the room, reaches for his mobile) – “Hey Jeff baby, Andy here. We right for the weekend? You can fire up the Lollita Express. Is Bill coming? Good. Make sure that you bring that Virginia bird again. See you at the airport.”

    1. Monty

      I wonder if there is a kind of UK embassy (UK soil) that surrounds the royal family as they move through the world? If that is the case, then the age of consent within his “soil bubble” is 16. If that bubble extends 6-10 feet from Andrew, and he was there in the room every time Jeff got down to “business” with a teen, he might technically have made it all perfectly above board and legal. Perhaps this could explain the lack of successful prosecutions?

    2. Mel

      Maybe the British spooks wouldn’t think the kiddy-diddler thing was worth mentioning. I remember my reaction to the situation in John LeCarré’s Smiley’s People where the visiting corn-fed CIA agents took the case away from Connie Sachs and her sympathetic gay Russia Analyst. Stupid intolerant CIA, I thought. But what if they’d read the Savile file before the visit? Hmm.

    3. xkeyscored

      Maybe the British spooks wanted a hold on the royals.
      Spooks: We’ve checked out this pimp, and MOSSAD and the CIA say he’s OK.
      Andy: That seems like the honourable and right thing to do. Wow!

  14. JohnnyGL

    From the black turnout article in NYMag:

    And ideology aside, a self-conscious pitch to black voters may not work for a candidate who for whatever reason doesn’t resonate with the target: Pete Buttigieg has an impressive agenda for black empowerment he calls the “Douglass Plan.” His African-American following remains very small.

    No he absolutely doesn’t.

    His record on S. Bend policing is awful. It shows he has no courage to confront racist cops and donors and hold them to account. TYT’s Jonathan Larsen has covered this very well.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      For “liberals” caring that Serena Williams wins a tournament they almost certainly didn’t watch is maybe more impressive than something something civil rights. They wouldn’t know anything other than a vague recognition of MLK’s “I have a dream” speech. After they’ve done that, they can go back to appealing to their fellow white flight neighbors…”moderate republicans.”

      How does Pete Buttigieg have a plan for “black empowerment”? Even this smacks of white paternalism. The guy who converted to the WASPiest religion will offer empowerment. Yikes! 40 years ago, Pete is easily a rising star in the GOP. Ezra Klein is running monthly articles on whether the Democrats are ready for a “smart republican”, not noting his slavish devotion to Paul Ryan.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Tangentially related,

        I don’t think people stop and realize what an athletic marvel the achievements of the Williams’ sisters are.

        I played a decent amount of tennis when I was younger. It’s really expensive and no one who’s even remotely poor plays.

        It’s worth noting that no one before or after has come up that was as poor as they were.

        1. Wukchumni

          Tennis stars are quite often spokespersons for Rolex watches, earning healthy endorsement money in a sport where they don’t keep track of time.


          When I was barely a teenager was the salad days of playing tennis, it was everywhere in the later 70’s when the craze peaked. My high school courts were used used religiously (no lights) and it was Head’y times, not so much now.

          Around 1975 this condo complex opens up about 1/2 mile walk from the house, and its got 2 brand new tennis courts, with lights for playing @ night, along with a swimming pool, jacuzzi and workout gym and sauna, the whole package.

          Somehow I wrangle the lock combination out of one of the residents early on, and was there so often with friends, that one of the residents there-a fellow in his 40’s, was kind of like the condo detective, always complaining to me about people that didn’t live @ the complex trying to sneak in and he busted them and pretty much banished them from coming back as he had a heck of a memory, little did he know I was an interloper’s interloper, ha!

          1. Oh

            Tennis stars are quite often spokespersons for Rolex watches, earning healthy endorsement money in a sport where they don’t keep track of time.

            Great observation! I like that!

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Some of the Best American Athletes of all time.

          Up there with Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens.

  15. Winston Smith

    I earned a PhD in chemistry in the mid 90s and have been fortunate to be able to earn a decent living with relatively short bouts of unemployment. This is due in large part with luck-my specialty was/is marketable in biotech and pharma. Many are not so blessed by providence. I also emerged from my studies still somewhat sane.

    When I talk to younger people considering such an endeavor, I emphasize the risks and the fact that at the time, I had no idea where I would end up career wise. One need not do a PhD (in most instances).

    1. Jokerstein

      I got my PhD in Organic Chemistry in 1986 (from Bristol, a Russell Group uni), and had no trouble finding employment in industry. I ended up in combinatorial and theoretical chemistry in 1998, at which point I took advantage of my de facto Oracle DBA position to make the switch to that field, and eventually into information security.

      In my experience, employment in industry for my cohort has been relatively steady, though not particularly well paid relative to the approximately 1/3 of chemistry BScs who went into accounting.

  16. Clive

    Re: Brexit Cliff Edge

    I’m beginning to seriously wonder if a U.K. / EU trade deal is even being made part of the medium-term planning and assumptions.

    With the NI protocol in the revised Withdrawal Agreement, Great Britain gets access to the Single Market for manufactured goods and agri-food. A basic principle of the Single Market is that once goods are placed on the market — as they would be when distributed in the UK (NI) mini Member State-lette — they are then free in circulation throughout the EU27 (or perhaps I could start terming it the EU27¼). I’ve not read a detailed explanation of how the NI protocol will work in some real-world examples and documentation of the importation as a process and a full rule-set, but from what I can glean, so long as the goods themselves are placed on the market by an economic operator which is a NI-registered entity, there is no specific requirement to even have the consignment — as an act of logistics movements — physically pass through the province.

    So, for instance, an auto parts maker could manufacture their products in England, place them on the market via an economic operator shell company registered in Northern Ireland but then simply distribute the goods into the rest of the EU Single Market directly from their factory in England. There’d be some paperwork — as happens right now — to verify CE conformity requirements, the CJEU would gain jurisdiction over the standards enforcement via the economic operator and placement on the market in NI plus, and this is the new bit but it’s hardly onerous, a customs adjustment and possibly import duty payment (because the goods would be “imported” (in inverted commas because it is a bit of a sham import as the goods never in reality hit the territory) and “exported” to/from NI).

    Some manufacturers might find it worth their while genuinely doing their manufacturing or final distribution in NI. Or to set up a formal branch office in NI rather than a post office box address or agent of convenience there. But the paper trail is the important bit, so as long as the businesses do that, everything can carry on much the same as it does now.

    What, then, does a real, live trade deal bring to this party? The customs adjustment is a bit of a faff, maybe, so you’d get rid of that. But for a multinational of any serious scale, that’s only a smidge of admin so probably not a material concern. For Mom and Pop level exporters, who really do find that they absolutely have to place their goods on the Single Market as “native level” access, I imagine managed service providers will spring up to help facilitate this NI round-tripping as a packaged offer. Again, once you’ve set it up, the thing runs itself, so long as you do really produce conforming products. An eventual trade deal would, for manufactured goods and agrifood, merely assuage a few niggles rather than be transformative.

    The big gap is, of course, in services. But then we’d have to ask, exactly how much benefit is any trade deal for services? Usually, they’re not that much net help. And for the things that really matter to U.K. — financial services and insurance — the EU27 would hardly have much incentive to give carve-outs. Unless it was for something equally useful in return, like fisheries rights. But politically (primarily) and even to a lesser degree economically, signing these away might not be worth the UK’s while, even if finance and insurance got unrestricted Single Market access in return.

    So, cutting a long story short, I’m not convinced a trade deal is going to warrant being given much of a push by the U.K. and possibly the U.K. will simply wait and see how the NI protocol-enabled Single Market access for manufactured goods works out for export businesses. If it all proves to be too much of a friction-inducer, this will prompt more serious attempts at brokering one. But if everyone can muddle through using the NI workaround (or on a plain WTO vanilla basis, if exporters don’t want to set up an NI-based economic operator) then, conversely, it’ll be left to whither on the vine.

    1. Anonymous 2

      I am no expert, but I have seen a number of comments from people claiming to be UK businessmen exporting to the EU. The problem they see for themselves with the way matters appear to be going is that they sell both goods and related services to their customers. If they cannot supply the services (maintenance etc.) then the customers are much less likely to buy the goods – and the profits are in the sale of the related services. This does seem to be a significant portion of UK exports of services, which are not just financial services.

      I confess I have yet to try to get my brain around all this and must read the latest Withdrawal Agreement text, which I confess I approach with reluctance after trawling through the 580 or so pages of the previous version.

      I agree however that it seems far from clear exactly how this is all going to work. We can at least comfort ourselves that Johnson also seems to be unclear about what he has signed the UK up for.

      1. Clive

        They’d really have to provide specific details to enable sensitivity analysis to be undertaken. I’m not sure how you’d be in a pickle with the Withdrawal Agreement if you are supplying, say, plant or machinery and bundle a service or maintenance contract. The contract to do the maintenance would have to be fulfilled locally, by (usually) a branch or regional office in the countries you sold your equipment to. Never have I heard of a maintenance operator running, for instance, an equipment repair facility from the U.K. as a base for plant running in, for example Germany. Perhaps a few in Northern France or the Republic of Ireland might be viable, but plant maintenance and servicing is always and everywhere a locally (geographically convenient) setup. Too much traveling time kills responsiveness and poor responsiveness means elongated down time — unacceptable in a production environment.

        A maintenance contract would be, almost always, provided as a local operation and thus automatically be fulfilled by an economic agent based in the EU27 country it was running in. Now, some businesses may have not bothered with the hassle of establishing a legal entity in a Single Market member State and rely on their U.K. incorporation being valid anywhere in the EU. But setting up a subsidiary in the relevant EU Member State or States is a fairly trivial exercise. There may be tax implications however, so it could be this is one of the reasons for the unhappiness you’re relating from those sorts of businesses.

        However, even the EU have said the days of this kind of tax arbitrage are numbered. The Apple tax case in the Republic of Ireland was a clear statement of this by the Commission. Member States which use tax policy to attract business to reside in that country are deemed to be giving unlawful state aid (and quite right that judgement was, too). So if that was the reason for those businesses moaning, then it’s only about a coming attraction which will bite them on the bum sooner or later anyway.

        As I say, there may be some other substantive problem. But it’s no use trying to guess, we’d need to have the facts to tell us for sure.

        Worth pointing out too that, by common consensus, the Single Market in services has been a damp squib. Even the Commission is fed up with persistent Member State prevaricating and foot dragging over implementing Directives to remove barriers to entry — but it remains to be seen if this coughing and spluttering and threatening fines will have any effect on what is a very hard to implement policy.

        1. Anonymous2

          Thank you Clive. Interesting comments. As you say we would need to know more to have a properly informed view.

          I have however come across some claiming to be exporters who do make day trips to other EU countries to support their products. Of course they may be lying or be very atypical. I left the world of work too long ago to have any sort of informed view. But thank you again for your -as usual -intelligent insights.

    2. Oregoncharles

      This implies that the EU caved and is giving an independent UK access to the Single Market. We were told they would never do that.

      Should create quite a lot of revenue for NI – they’d be crazy to turn it down. And for the Republic, to the extent goods actually pass through.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Interview with Robert Kagan”

    And Germany’s Lügenpresse, or lying press, is still on the job. Looking at the first question where Der Spiegel asks: “U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria had grave consequences: He opened the gate for a Turkish invasion into northern Syria, strengthened the influence of Russia and Iran and undermined the confidence of in the reliability of the United States”, you wonder if Robert Kagan wrote the questions for them.

  18. Lee

    Yves here. I know it is silly to even notice, but my favorite cat Blake would have been 20 today.

    Not at all silly. My Airedale would have been 15 this next Dec. 4 , if he hadn’t died last Feb. 10.

      1. Jokerstein

        Rufus was the name of a corgi who launched all Amazon’s production website changes until he died. His owner used to place Rufus’ paw on the mouse, and have him click the button.

      2. cripes


        “I know it is silly to even notice, but my favorite cat Blake would have been 20 today. ”

        Well then, count me as silly.
        Little cats and wiggly dogs loom large in our domestic lives.

        I remember and mark the birth and passing of my animals, who are fully formed beings, albeit lazy, cuddly and oblivious to worldly concerns outside the orbit of their daily lives.
        Thank God.

        1. Jokerstein

          A fundamental difference between our furbabies and the horrible humans who also manipulate and control us is that a sufficiency of comfort is enough for the FBs. They make it a win-win rather than a zero-sum game.

  19. Stephen V.

    Kunstler’s latest from his blog
    Cluster (familyblog) Nation::

    State’s allies in the Democratic majority congress want to help overthrow the occupant of the White House because he’s interfering in the department’s foreign policy. The lifers at State are the same ones who executed a coup in 2014 against Ukraine’s government and threw out the elected president Victor Yanukovych because he tilted to join a Russian-backed regional customs union rather than NATO. State’s diplomatic lifers are old hands at coups. Now they’re at it at home, right here in the USA.

    1. jef

      Lifers at State Dept. (with lots of help from see eye eh) execute the orders but those orders come from other Dept. and non-depts. right here in the USA.

  20. roadrider

    Re: Ph.D. students

    Entering a Ph.D. program was the worst mistake I ever made in my life. For all its pretense of liberalism and progressive values academia is an exploitative feudal system that I wish I had never seen the inside of. Took me years to recover from it after I quit in disgust. Fortunately that was decades ago but it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

    1. Yasha

      Updating to the latest version of the Bypass Paywalls for Firefox extension allowed me to read the article.

      After installing this extension the first time — by clicking on the “Download and install the latest version” link on the Github page — you may need to return to the Github page periodically (you can get there via the Bypass Paywalls icon it adds to your toolbar) to manually update it, as sites like the WSJ and Washington Post continue developing their paywall defenses.

      There’s a Chrome version, too, but it’s more complicated to install.

      1. Alex Cox

        If I install that “Bypass Paywalls for Firefox” add-on, I grant permission to 80 plus websites to “access my data.”

        Do I really want to read the WSJ so much that I am prepared to let all those sites access my data? What data, specifically, will they be accessing?

        1. Yasha

          It’s my understanding, from reading the Firefox page on “Permission request messages for Firefox extensions,” that this message means that you are granting the extension permission to access your data when accessing those sites, not that you are granting permissions to those sites.

          So what data is being accessed? According to the developer, it’s the site headers and cookies, which the extension modifies in order to allow you to bypass the paywall.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Yovanovitch impeachment testimony gives burst of momentum to Democrats”

    Wikipedia mentions: “Yovanovitch was respected within the national security community for her efforts to encourage Ukraine to tackle corruption, and during her tenure had sought to strengthen the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau, which had been created to bolster efforts to fight corruption in Ukraine.” What actually happened is that the first time she met Ukraine’s General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, she gave him a list of Ukrainians on a ‘Do Not Prosecute’ list-

    I mentioned a link yesterday that talks about what people like Yovanovitch are all about so I will repeat it here-

    1. kiwi

      Yovanovich is pathetic, as is the dems’ attempt to present her as some sort of witness to a crime by the President.

      “Stewart: “I would now feel compelled to ask you, Madam Ambassador, as you sit here before us, very simply and directly, do you have any information regarding the president of the United States accepting any bribes?”
      Yovanovitch: “No.”

      Stewart: “Do you have any information regarding any criminal activity that the president of the United States has been involved with at all?”

      Yovanovitch: “No.”

      The dems were playing sexual politics, hoping that selling this woman as a victim of some sort will work (actually, it has for some people) to support impeachment. The dems asked her about her fee-fees, as if her fee-fees were relevant.

      Oh, and now this badass diplomat was ‘intimidated’ by a critical Trump tweet.

      Ladies, you can’t have it both ways – always stomping around asserting your toughness then doing a 180 and whining about how someone intimidated you. (I’m a woman)

    2. anon in so cal

      Mark Ames had a tweet about Yovanovitch’s war hawk mentality and her Soviet / Nazi early experiences which are somewhat similar to Canada’s Freeland.

      Yovanovitch, Fiona Hill, Valdman have a pathological hatred of Russia that could lead to WW3.

      Here’s mention of Yovanovitch’s role in the Kerch Strait incident:

      “The Russian motive, Hill hinted, was that Yovanovitch had been one of the supporters of a display of US Navy firepower in the Black Sea, after the November 25 Kerch Strait incident; for details of what exactly happened, and the Ukrainian role in initiating…”

      1. VietnamVet

        There are two camps behind the Russian Aggression meme. In the first are Victoria Nuland, husband Robert Kagan and fellow Neo-Con John Bolton who opposed détente from the Reagan Era and for whom the Soviet Union still lives. The second group are aspiring technocrats and oligarchs who are first and second generation Eastern Europeans whose hatred of Russia still boils from earlier invasions and pogroms. Both groups discount the oceans between the continents that separate the nations and believe nuclear wars are winnable. They, like Adam Schiff, project themselves onto Russians. If let loose to retake control of Washington DC in 2020, they will destroy the world.

    3. kiwi

      And yet again, it appears that all roads lead to Soros. (from your link to Solomon’s article)

      I knew it…I suspected that all of the Ukrainian stuff was related to various people who wanted to somehow get their hands on Ukrainian assets.

      1. Off The Street

        Biden, Kerry, Pelosi and some others got their spawn into that lucrative Ukie energy market, and just in time. Those do-nothing, no-show jobs sinecures are getting harder to come by. The voting public has been sharpening tines on pitchforks and refurbishing eco-friendly torches, as they will be treated to an overload of nasty campaign ads exposing yet again the craven cupidity of the Potomac people.

        Most conventional media overlook what has been in the public domain for quite a while about the Burisma and related scandals. They have to pretend not to know, and are pretty good at keeping a straight face while reading the TelePrompTer scripts. When will there be some kind of truth-in-broadcasting legislation?

  22. David

    I’ll have a first crack at answering the Brexit/December 2020 question. (Incidentally, if you read nothing else read the linked Twitter thread from Simon Fraser).
    First, Qualified Majority Voting is primarily a mechanism for stopping smaller countries from being obstructive, and selling their agreement for concessions of some sort. It’s quite complicated, but in its current form, as explained on the Council website it amounts to 55% of member states vote in favour AND
    the proposal is supported by member states representing at least 65% of the EU population. (The UK would not count for this calculation). A blocking minority must include at least four Council members representing more than 35% of the EU population.
    Second, our old friend Art 50 has two (relevant) components here. Under S2, the UK has negotiated a Withdrawal Agreement. The contents of that agreement were approved by QMV. However, the extensions actually took place not under that section, but under S3, which is to do with the date on which the Treaties cease to apply (in practical terms the date of exit from the EU). S3 says that decisions to extend membership have to be taken by unanimity, which was indeed the case. So there’s a distinction here between the substance and the modalities.
    Third, the WA itself can be argued to contradict Art 50, in that it says that, even if the UK has left the EU and the treaties no longer apply, then during the transition period, until the end of 2020, “Union law shall be applicable to and in the United Kingdom.” (Art 126). We discussed this at the time. There are then several pages of exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions. Whether Art 50 still applies after Brexit I have no idea, but I doubt it, simply because that covers the WA itself rather than the negotiation of a new relationship, and the whole drift of these extra articles is towards actual laws, rather than procedural agreements, which is what Art 50 fundamentals is. But I stand to be corrected.
    Finally, there is an Article (218) in the latest version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU which describes the way in which the EU negotiates with outside actors. (Technically, the UK will be outside the EU but will be treated for some purposes as if it’s not). That Article (S8) says that the “Council shall act by a qualified majority throughout the procedure.” However, (there’s always a however) “it shall act unanimously when the agreement covers a field for which unanimity is required”, which is sensitive areas, for example those to do with security and defence.
    So the answer is, I don’t know, and neither, I suspect, does anyone else. My feeling is:
    The nearest thing to a precedent is Art 50, but remember that the extensions were to enable the orderly exit of a state, rather than to give more time to negotiate a series of political and trade agreements. And remember also that December 2020 is only the date at which the transitional arrangements stop. It was not set as the deadline for negotiations to be completed (even if this would be the effect) and indeed deadlines for negotiations are not common.
    One major element in deciding for QMV or not will be the range and depth of the agreement that the UK is looking for. Broadly, the more ambitious it is, and the more sensitive the areas it covers (intelligence cooperation on counter-terrorism for example) the more likely it is that unanimity will be needed.
    If you think this is as clear as mud, well it is. Nobody expected to be in this position, and it’s largely May’s incompetence and poor negotiating strategy that allowed it to happen. In any event, the EU will have to agree a mandate for the negotiations, and I expect they’ll return to the question at that point. Since the principle of an extension has been agreed, if required, they’ll have to decide how it will be handled.

    1. dearieme

      it’s largely May’s incompetence and poor negotiating strategy that allowed it to happen

      The Opposition has ended up having to campaign against Boris rather than against May. The Conservatives have been given a chance to campaign against Corbyn rather than some potential replacement. How all this has come about has escaped me. Remarkable incompetence by Labour? Fast footwork by other Opposition parties? Luck of the Boris? Act of God?

    2. dearieme

      it’s largely May’s incompetence and poor negotiating strategy that allowed it to happen

      The Opposition has ended up having to campaign against Boris rather than against May. The Conservatives have been given a chance to campaign against Corbyn rather than some potential replacement. How all this has come about has escaped me. Remarkable incompetence by Labour? Fast footwork by other Opposition parties? Act of God? Luck of the Boris?

      Given that the Speaker routinely helped them by ignoring his duties as determined by convention and precedent, and that the Supreme Court was likewise happy to invent a decision in their favour out of thin air, it’s striking that the Opposition still managed to snatch potential defeat from the jaws of victory.

      Still, five weeks is a long time in politics. Maybe Labour will win with a majority of Blairite dimensions.

      1. David

        In her rush to get Brexit “done”, May dived headfirst into negotiations without prior preparation, ceded the initiative immediately to the 27, agreed to have the WA and future status negotiations sequentially rather than at the same time, and to a date for completion of the status negotiations that wasn’t sensible to begin with. So after 31 January, the new government will be on the back foot, no longer a full member of the EU, trying to negotiate a settlement against the clock when (so far) it doesn’t even know what it wants. Any future government, even a majority Labour one, will be operating under essentially the same constraints. If there’s a greater example of mismanagement by a government in modern history, I’d be interested to know what it is.

        1. Monty

          Thanks David. Please don’t forget that Corbyn has alledgedly worn his sandals with socks. Surely that eclipses any mistakes the Tories have made?

    1. nycTerrierist

      O – the master gaslighter at work

      I find O’s lies (and arrogance) way more disturbing than Trump’s

    2. ptb

      re: the average voter doesn’t want universal health care or taxing the rich? how bout we ask them in a straight up format that doesn’t confuse the issue in various ways? that’s what primaries are for.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “how bout we ask them”

        like a referendum.
        ask the people directly.
        that this is never, ever, considered for such heady questions says it all.

    1. flora

      That’s pretty good. In a lot of ways, Nixon was the last ‘new deal’ (small letters) pres.; he started the EPA and tried to pass universal healthcare. Yes, I know all the negatives as well.

      The first neolib pres was Carter, followed by Reagan, HW Bush (don’t think he was a neoliberal), Clinton, etc.

      The moral of this story: support for neoliberalism or monopoly economics isn’t limited to a generation, and isn’t supported by everyone in any generation.

    1. Pavel

      Thanks for this. I have been a Murray fan for quite some time, and a keen Scottish independence supporter. He finds the silver lining in the Brexit cynical and chaotic cloud:

      The stars have aligned perfectly for those of us who support Scottish independence, and I am delighted that both Irish unification and Plaid Cymru have been given a bigger boost than seemed plausible just a very few years ago. This election is sordid, tawdry, corrupt and uninspiring; a fitting end for the UK and its long history of callous exploitation. Never has a state been more adept at using its system of law to shift resources from the poor to the rich. Never has a state’s dissolution been more overdue.

      [source as above]

      Hear, hear!

      1. dearieme

        Never has a state been more adept at using its system of law to shift resources from the poor to the rich

        It is the state in which the Industrial Revolution was accomplished and therefore the state, more than any other in history, that brought about a huge creation of wealth for the poor. The natural condition of mankind is grinding poverty: the Industrial Revolution let mankind escape that.

        1. a different chris

          Escape? “A short reprieve” maybe. And only for what is really a small handful of white people.

        2. inode_buddha

          Those who had the Commons stolen out from under them might disagree. They are long dead, but the political techniques remain.

  23. JohnnyGL

    Re: Trump lies

    Trump lies about trivial things in service of self-aggrandizement. Everyone can see through it. No biggie. It’s sort of comforting in its plain-to-see manner.

    Obama and Bush lied about important things and orchestrated elaborate deceptions to help accomplish horrible things. WAY more dangerous.

  24. Joe Well

    Re: Chinese cleaning North American clocks in Latin America.

    What is this referring to other than trade in goods and materials? I am confused because this was in the context of the internet.

    Latin Americans are fully in the embrace of Facebook and to a lesser extent, Google, and Amazon is making big inroads. Also there are local giants like OLX and that German clone company.

  25. Pelham

    Re Google’s whitelisting and blacklisting: Given the suicide example, it’s understandable why Google began doing this. Of course, the censoring is worrisome in other ways. But if Google merely let its search algorithm do its work to produce search results with no bias, the results might be pretty horrific.

    And that leads me to ask: Is the internet itself — in the broadest terms –doing more harm than good to our species? If it were found to be more harmful, would we be capable of ridding ourselves of the damned thing?

    Think of another instance in which some commonly used invention may be posing an existential threat. What if it were shown that widely used pesticides promoted by multibillion-dollar multinational ag companies are killing off the world’s bee population necessary for plant germination and human survival? Would we be capable of ridding ourselves of the clearly identified problem? Even this is, I submit, is unlikely. Another example: We know that fentanyl comes into the US from China and Mexico and kills tens of thousands of Americans each year, yet we do nothing on anything like the scale needed to address the problem, nor is anything of the sort even suggested.

    It’s just so odd that we’re so utterly helpless.

  26. JTee

    re: staffing shortages at the prison where Epstein was held.

    Surely “staffing shortage” is the wrong phrase to use here as it implies that they couldn’t find, couldn’t get ahold of workers. It also suggests no wrong doing on the part of prison officials (it was an act of God), when actually the case here is one of insufficient/improper staffing brought about due to cost cutting by management. Who chooses the wording here? Is it the “reporters”? The editors? Or are they just rewriting a press release from prison officials?

  27. Craig H.

    > Another Airbnb Party House Ends In Violence; Parents suing Airbnb

    It was apparently only a local story but there were arrests in the Orinda Halloween Party. The Chronicle and the Merc News had different tidbits. One said that one of the five dead people was a member of the hit squad. One said two of the dead guys were armed. One said there were uzis and mac10s (fully auto).

    Basically it was some idiot gangster whose favorite movie is Scarface and he thinks it’s a true life story. The thing that surprised me is the shortness of the criminal records for the arrested people and how short a time to pick them up. Three of the arrested guys had no publishable criminal history which I guess means they must have spent most of the time between their last juvenile offense which is secret and Halloween 2019 locked up or something.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve been wondering what kills the golden goose that is short term vacation rentals, and news spreads quick about the ‘killer deals’ going on.

      Westwood Village-cheek by jowl in proximity to UCLA was ‘the place’ to go in the City of Angles, that is until gang shootings hitting civilians in 1988 happened there, and then it almost became a ghost town, in comparison.

  28. Summer

    RE: “Hillary Clinton Says She Is Being Urged To Run By Many, Many, Many Voices In Her Head” Babylon Bee

    I want to laugh, but I’m going to back away slowly…

      1. GF

        Just finishing season 1 of Good Omens on DVD from our local public library. Holy water definitely worked in that TV series.

  29. Danny

    The Intersectional Left’s Political Endgame

    I would suggest that the author of the book relocate to and run for local office in San Francisco. The current mayor grew up in the housing projects and sheltered her felon brother who was fleeing the police. The racist extremism that Sullivan mocks in his article is actually almost official city policy there, and will become more so when the newly elected by the skin of his teeth district attorney takes office.

    “San Francisco’s incoming district attorney Chesa Boudin said upon his Saturday night election victory: “We will not prosecute cases involving quality-of-life crimes. Crimes such as public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, blocking a sidewalk, etc., should not and will not be prosecuted.” Oh, like they’ve been prosecuted so far??

    The other day we witnessed “youth” break six windows of cars in a row and pull tourist’s luggage out of them and load it into their getaway vehicle. 1:30 in the afternoon, people all over the street. The acted with impunity, knowing that they would get away with it, and if caught, would get probation or a sixth chance.

    36,000 car break ins last year. (Not a typo.) 6 prosecutions, 2 convictions. Tourism in the most popular spots, like the break in site, is down over 20% year over year.

    Just wait until the new D.A. takes office.
    In his own words:

    1. Tommy S.

      Please. Not only are you lying about convictions, you are saying there is a massive increase in crime in SF. Of course, with increased homelessness there would be more car break ins. But to portray it as a result of politicians elected is just not factual. I’ve lived in the Mission since 1985. Nothing is near happening now compared to late 80’s and early 90’s, when we , BTW, had a massive crackdown on ‘gangs’ and then Willie Brown unleashing the cops to beat up any kid on the sidewalk that even looked ‘gang’. Tons of beat downs even in broad daylight. And it didn’t decrease ‘crime’. Car windows broke on every street every morning from 1985 up to mid 90’s. All cities had a massive generational decrease in crime for early 90’s to pre aughts. And none of that decrease had anything to do with increased incarceration or tough on crime DA’s.

      1. Danny

        “Lying” is a pretty strong word. Please post a refuting link to numbers if you disagree.

        Here’s mine:

        Only 13 arrests in 7 years of SF online auto break-in reports, DA says

        “…Police generally make arrests in about 2 percent of car break-in cases.”

        Yes, my math was off. What do you expect, I went to a San Francisco public school! How about you Tommy, where are you from?

        Since your dredging up the remote past, as a “what about”, I can tell you that in the 1960s there were few gangs and the streets of all the city, except around the projects were safe.

        Now is all that matters; So what changed? District elections of out-of-town politicans infecting the city with their ideology. How’s that worked out?

        BILLION$ doled out by these politicans for homeless services do indeed have to do with the number of ‘homeless’ in San Francisco, the huge majority of which did not grow up here, did not attend school here, did not work here, but are voluntary migrants to the city attracted by the weather, the ineffectual police, handcuffed by the politicians and the services offered:
        i.e. 4.4 Million free drug syringes handed out by the city in one year.

        Here’s a tracker for car break ins:

          1. Danny


            As I said, my numbers were off, it’s “only” 31,122 car burglaries, last year.

            “Last year saw about 54,000 property crimes in the city – about 150 car break-ins, burglaries and thefts a day. But the San Francisco Police Department depicted the city as having turned the corner on the problem, using better coordinated responses to cut car break-ins by 14 percent. They said the criminal gangs who were behind most of the break-ins were less active. Yet a San Francisco Chronicle story printed earlier this month suggests that police have exaggerated their progress.”


            I understated the number of syringes. Always verify.

      2. kareninca

        What? I lived in the Mission in 1984 and 1985. I don’t remember seeing a single smashed windshield.

  30. DJG

    I read Andrew Sullivan so you don’t have to: I happen to have followed Sullivan’s career since he was Golden First-Gay Youngest Editor of The New Republic, which was holding on to the shreds of its left-liberal traditions even as it became a personal vehicle for Martin Peretz (and his reliably anti-Arab views). So TNR inflicted Sullivan and Leon Wieseltier on us.

    Sullivan is very much in the mold of high-placed “undesirable aliens” like Henry Kissinger, those oh-so-wise people imported to the U S of A to tell us colonials how to behave ourselves. Zbigniew Brzezinski was another. And Rupert Murdoch. (The impeachment fandango is populated with others.)

    Yet Sullivan is particularly unreliable on race, and whatever his disagreements with Kendi are, Sullivan’s analysis of race in the U.S. has always been bad. Let’s not allow him to forget the famous TNR cover photo of the pregnant black woman with the cigarette–because, as we all know, black women make toxic mothers.

    To me, there are two things to remark on here: First, that Kendi still has to talk about the problems that black people have with race. And if some of those problems are within “the race,” so be it. For many years, black people wouldn’t even comment on such matters, for fear that the information would be used against them. And it was.

    That Sullivan still has a career as a writer is the other remarkable aspect of this. Sheesh. U.S. stagnation, it’s a thing.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I don’t particularly like him, in the sense that I wouldn’t invite him to dinner, but I respect his writing and he does express a sort of liberal Burkean point of view in clear terms. It’s not a reprehensible point of view either.

      I also think that in this piece, he’s correct. Identity politics, carried to its ultimate conclusion, is illiberal cultural totalitarianism.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I didn’t think this piece was that bad either and agreed with his conclusion- definitely much better than him getting the vapors about Trump in another of his articles that NC linked to recently.

        And if you scroll down on today’s link, he gets into a very good and somewhat humorous discussion of sex and gender and how incomprehensible and ridiculous it has all become in today’s world. That was good stuff, he’s much better when not under the influence of his TDS.

        1. JBird4049

          The comments are the usual dumpster fire with personal attacks and accusations of bigotry as well as the determined conflating of biological sex with social gender. It is too bad that we do not have the multiple genders of many cultures and it is really bad that some think that denying that differences exist for whatever reason, while using only some metric of power, is good thing.

          Personally, I think much of this is like the successful efforts to break up the multiple alliances and organizations that were trying successfully to change the system. Civil Rights, actually any rights, of all kinds are intermeshed with class, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, you name it.

          So pull away the lower classes of women fighting for healthcare, daycare, public transportation and housing, which all particularly affected almost everyone middle class and below by ignoring those issues by emphasizing the issues influential upper classes of college educated women were more conserved about: gender equality in higher education, pay, and white collar jobs. Give the small Black Misleadership Class a devil’s bargain of economic success for ignoring the issues of class. Break the unions by getting their leadership to first get rid of blacks and later the communists, making easy to destroy.

        2. skippy

          Someone should sit him down and inform him of the realities of intersexuality – were talking 1 in a 100 ratios, and the inability of his antiquarian bench marks to reconcile that DNA reality.

          1. Plenue

            What about them? The existence of a small minority of people with developmental disorders doesn’t change the essential nature of humans as sexually dimorphic. Some people are born without ten fingers or toes too, that doesn’t change the fact that it is the normal default for humans to have ten of each.

            1. skippy

              Your joking right?

              “What about them?”

              Do you have any idea where that statement puts you and how it reflects on everything else you say.

            2. skippy

              “developmental disorders”

              If Yves allows me I would intellectually and scientifically rip you a new one that I could drive a galaxy though.

              People don’t get a choice/agency when two pairs switch places in the Y chromosome and for all intents seem female anecdotally, but genetically are male from a DNA perspective with no chance of reproduction. Not that it matters that antiquarian ignorance about social formation pigeonholes all not “normal” real [tm] people to the refuse of society.

              What a head job to arbitrarily advance oneself to a higher social strata based on ignorance and by that assume moral superiority.

              1. Plenue

                Unlike you, apparently, I actually understand and follow that whole ‘sex and gender aren’t the same thing’ idea that transactivists are constantly talking about but don’t seem to understand.

                Male and female exist in humans, that’s a simple biological fact. A small minority of people who for whatever reason have not developed clearly into one group or the other doesn’t change that fact for the species as a whole.

                What, if anything, your biological sex actually means socially is the realm of gender. Man and woman are not the same as male and female.

                I don’t care what social role people want to identify as. Wear what you want, and I’ll call you whatever pronouns you want.*

                Where I have a problem is when people think their gender identity allows them to impose on the biological rights if others. You can identify as a man or woman all you want, but you’re not getting into those bathrooms (for girls especially, I’m simply not okay with erasing what should be a safespace for them). Females especially are getting the short end of the stick on this. They’re being expected to give up physical spaces (doubley so if they’re lesbian; lesbian bars and clubs increasingly don’t exist in ‘progressive’ cities) and to submit to biological males steamrolling them in women’s sports.

                So I’m perfectly fine being a villain in your eyes. Because I am very confident in the justness of my position.

                *this only applies to adults. The people convinced that their kid is trans and getting their children on hormones are monsters, and need their kids taken away from them.

                1. skippy

                  “Where I have a problem is when people think their gender identity allows them to impose on the biological rights if others.”

                  I would argue just the opposite due to esoteric foundations that are in conflict with information that is contrary.

                  Basically your stating that for what ever reason your view supersedes royal science when it does not support ideology and should not be the time of day because of tradition and force is allowable to reconcile that factor as long as it favors your ideology.

                  1. Plenue

                    That’s…literally the opposite of what I’m saying? What I’m saying is the actual science of biology, and I’m not siding with an ideology when it runs up against the real world and impacts real people negatively.

                2. Lambert Strether

                  > lesbian bars and clubs increasingly don’t exist in ‘progressive’ cities

                  Link, please. This seems bizarre to me. And is the same true for (male) gay bars? Bath houses, if they still exist?

                  1. JBird4049

                    Since being “out of the closet” is no longer life threatening and cities like San Francisco, as well as the entire Bay Area are driving out all the other things that make a city a city like the people, it should not be surprising. And if you are among the shrinking number of people who can afford having a social life, you are no longer forced into a few bars to avoid ruin.

                    Fact is that this really is no surprise with me. Diners, bars, repair shops, anything “mom and pops.” Along with the bookstores that I used to go to, they and the jazz clubs all went away around here. Some of it was changing taste, sure, but with the rising costs of everything especially housing and the growing poverty, everything that makes a city a real city are leaving the cities.

                    Stationary stores, repair shops, a decent breakfast, good bye. There are plenty of places to get to get coffee. So, there’s that.

                3. The Rev Kev

                  ‘and to submit to biological males steamrolling them in women’s sports.’

                  Yeah, saw a bike competition where this Canadian guy came down to the US and cleaned up as his frame was much bigger than the women he competed with. South Park recently had an episode with this point in mind-


                  But if you are going to be honest, having a transgender person in say, a shelter for abused women has its own issues and there have been fights about this. Alaska put their foot down recently about this and sided with women in this fight.

                  1. skippy

                    Has nothing to do with the royal science that repudiates the ideological hand whingeing some are want to proselytize about.

                    Not that its been repressed since over 50 years ago when naturalists were funded to back stop esoteric views and suppressed the findings.

                    Wow even the last court case was a fiasco, evangelistic judge accepted the evidence against the concocted [funded] ideological argument.

                    Are we not men …. oh yeah …

                    1. Plenue

                      Wait, are you talking about literal esotericism? Like Jung and all that? Because that isn’t science, it’s mystical gibberish. It hasn’t been ‘repressed’, it’s been laughed out of the room.

            3. skippy

              Fyi I say that in recognition of your contributions without that perspecitive to this blog and the veracity of the information you submit E.g. the argument is specific, but has ramifications due to bias.

      2. Portlander

        Also, I sympathize with Sullivan’s seemingly retrograde point of view that having sex with the gender you want (e.g. trans) but not the sex you want (genitalia) can be a turn off. As a straight guy who has admired the beauty of some trans women, I could imagine myself in bed with one and finding a penis down there that isn’t mine. Count me a bit trans phobic on that score. But some old dogs can’t easily learn new tricks.

        1. Plenue

          I think you’re entirely normal, and far from alone. The reality is that most humans, straight, gay, and bi, do rather care about what the genitals in someones pants are.

          For all their constant screeching, trans people are 0.6% of the US population. Add a few percentage points of ‘allies’ to that, but that’s it. The majority of the population expects men to have penises, and women to have vaginas, and are not keen on the idea of a ‘male’ or ‘female’ without the appropriate genitalia. The shaming of lesbians for being ‘genital fetishists’ for not wanting to date/screw transwomen is probably the ugliest and most ludicrous example of where this culture war is currently.

          I genuinely think this whole thing is largely a fad. A horrible, damaging fad, at the very edge of identity politics insanity. I think in 15 or 20 years there’s going to be a lot of psychological fallout from this, especially among people who were pressured into getting hormones or surgeries as children.

          1. Danny

            Agreed about identity politics insanity. We have several relatives teaching in Bay Area Middle Schools. Progressives are not going to like the direction that many kids raised on this P.C. pabulum are going.

            We grew our hair long to rebel. These kids, including lots of minority students, actually a majority hereabouts, are turning into Trump supporters and in some cases hard core conservatives–with long hair and the ostensible hipness. Everything goes in cycles. Nothing is permanent, except tattoos and genital mutilation.

          2. Carey

            I think a good question is “what, or who, exactly, is driving this fad?”

            So far, divide-and-rule is working really, really well.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > “what, or who, exactly, is driving this fad?”

              Yep. And especially now. Seems like a divide-and-rule tactic that has major surgery as an outcome is a sign of diminishing returns.

            2. Plenue


              I don’t know how much stock to put into it, but this article argues that it’s being driven by a combination of drug companies that want to sell the transition hormones, rich ‘philanthropists’ who are themselves trans, and civil rights organizations who are ideologically committed to the cause.

              Certainly it seems like the trans rights movement has advanced far more quickly, and had far more money poured into it, than gay rights ever did. I suppose it could be argued that the gay movement did all the groundwork over decades, and so follow up movements have an easier time establishing themselves.

              Again, trans people are 0.6% of the population. My perception is that most people just don’t particularly care about them as an issue at all, outside of them wanting access to the other sex’s bathrooms, which goes over like a lead balloon. Not hate or fear, at worst they view transactivists as frequently obnoxious weirdos.

          3. Lambert Strether

            > The shaming of lesbians for being ‘genital fetishists’ for not wanting to date/screw transwomen

            I need a link on this one. I mean, get out, how can that be true?

            “Genital fetishism” would seem to be adaptive at the species level, even if you’re Gethenian, and you don’t know which organs are functional until the hormone kick in).

            1. Plenue

              It’s called the cotton ceiling: if you’re a lesbian who doesn’t accept, quote, “girl dick”, then you’re the weirdo with a problem. It’s a form of gaslighting, really.

              This sort of ‘discourse’ is completely ubiquitous on trans reddit and social media. I’m sure real-world interactions are more civil*, because the anonymity of the internet always enables (or even drives) people to be jerks and say what they really think.

              Also ubiquitous on trans social media is death threats to anyone who dissents from The Truth™. Any attempt to engage in nuance or debate is labeled hate speech and harm is wished upon the speaker.



              Here’s a couple places that catalog the kind of stuff I’m talking about.

              *not always though. I’ve seen multiple stories of trans assaulting ‘TERFs’.

        1. skippy

          Not that rightwing proselytizing is the original IdPol, out the gate, the creation of the IdPol meme was concocted as a slur to rally the faith’full [tm] against the “traditional” mangers rights’ of ownership to administer reality.

          Yet these same people are desperately clutching at their pearls to forward the same failed economic agenda, talk about priorities ….

          1. Geo

            That’s the biggest issue I have with the current “IdPol” movements. There is a lot of effort to define and divide which plays into the efforts of the establishment to keep us all squabbling over tribal alliance instead of a broad solidarity.

            On one level I get it: people who have been marginalized and now have a voice want to be able to define the conversation for once instead of being told what parameters they are to speak within. But, too often, they are utilizing the same form of “my identity vs. yours” the powerful have used against us forever instead of “my cause is yours” framing that would better serve a productive rights movement.

            That said, I feel the current era is merely a backlash (thus, the song) against the binary narrative that has dominated so long. It’s a bunch of identities planting their flag in and staking a claim to their place in our society, which always causes some conflict. My only hope is the backlash doesn’t create a worse pendulum swing back on them because those that have newly acquired their voice and rights are small minorities of the population and if the backlash against IdPol gains institutional backing they will lose those gains quickly and, as history shows, will have to fight for another millennia or two to acquire them again.

            I don’t have any good answers because I understand why they wouldn’t want to compromise or accept incremental social change but I do fear the aggressive push is dangerous for the rights movement in the long run. People don’t change overnight and the movements have made huge progress in just the past decade. Might be wise to let attitudes, awareness, and opinions catch up. But, who am I to tell them what to do? :)

            1. skippy

              I would be quite happy for society to have that conversation supported by the best information at hand, at the moment, but the whole everything is a – market dynamic – including politics seeking market share dominance is nothing but adversarial E.g. you and yours will be destitute I.e. no monies no voice and like Hudson says: you can bet three ways – lol.

            2. Plenue

              As Lambert has said in the past, a good use of intersectionality would be to include economic class as an identity, and then analysis to view society as a series of venn diagrams, making alliances based on overlapping interests.

              As identity politics is actually used, it’s a tool of divide and conquer, sub-dividing everyone into ever smaller boxes.

              1. Lambert Strether

                > economic class as an identity

                My hidden agenda here is that it would overwhelm everything else, since 90% of the population (say) is working class, and the various other identities some fraction of that. That would smash a lot of aspirational rice bowls in the NGO world though.

                (I look at it all as a data structure from the standpoint of set theory. Some would quarrel that the set membership function for working class identity would be waged labor, hence material in the way that subjective claims are not*, but I think that would go down a rabbit hole analytically. I think the key social function of identity politics is to explain to 10%-ers how to run meetings and do HR in large corporations, especially those with international jobs**- the sort of shiny multicultural/multinational high-powered professional one sees in Apple ads, e.g. Nothing to do with justice, sadly….)

                * “She came from Greece she had a thirst for knowledge”

                ** Spitballing, totally, but I bet that’s why a McKinsey consultant had no problem using stock photos of Kenyans in a mailer to South Carolina blacks.

                1. JBird4049

                  I might be reaching in my conclusions here, but here it goes… As Geo and others have said, a lot of money and effort has been spent, but I think that the effort has been ongoing since at least the Second World War.

                  The fight against socialism and later the New Deal was successful when they started using propaganda against, and later by, the literati in the 60s to weaponize civil rights using Identity Politics against economic class politics; a modernized use of how racism was used to split the working class with its unions and social organizations into its ethnic/racial parts.

                  Maybe identity politics used in economic class warfare has been ongoing in what is now the United States for about four hundred years now? So while the major surgery you mentioned might be extreme and hopefully the last stop, the strategy has been very successful.

        2. Plenue

          Sorry, but you should be extremely bothered by ‘left’ identity politics. Because it isn’t new; it’s been around for decades and is a key part in the rise of neoliberalism over the last 40 years. It’s one of the ‘progressive’ substitutes offered up as a replacement for real class based politics.

          1. skippy

            I disagree Plenue ….

            Neoliberalism is and always has been a fundie conservative agenda based on some very ideological underpinnings with tones of esoteric foundations E.g MPS was not funded by progressives or have you forgotten the Murdock and Koch era.

            So how is far and balanced working when such views below are considered unclean.

            Karl Marx, Das Kapital (1867)
            Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899)
            Joseph Schumpeter, The Theory of Economic Development (1911)
            Nikolai Kondratiev, The Major Economic Cycles (1925)
            Gunnar Myrdal, The Political Element in the Development of Economic Theory (1930)
            John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory (1936)
            Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation (1944)
            Paul Sweezy, Theory of Capitalist Development (1956)
            Joan Robinson, Accumulation of Capital (1956)
            John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society (1958)
            Piero Sraffa, Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities (1960)
            Johan Åkerman, Theory of Industrialism (1961)
            Axel Leijonhufvud, Keynes and the Classics (1969)
            Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (1971)
            Michal Kalecki, Selected Essays on the Dynamics of the Capitalist Economy (1971)
            Paul Davidson, Money and the Real World (1972)
            Hyman Minsky, John Maynard Keynes (1975)
            Philip Mirowski, More Heat than Light (1989)
            Tony Lawson, Economics and Reality (1997)
            Steve Keen, Debunking Economics (2001)

            On the other hand they don’t put the gleam in the eye of Capital and as such don’t get the market share due to funding distribution[.]

            1. Plenue

              I genuinely don’t get what your point is. The Democrats have thoroughly adopted the economic ideas of the Republicans is what I’m saying. That’s been the case for decades. They are fundie conservatives economically at this point.

              1. skippy

                “Sorry, but you should be extremely bothered by ‘left’ identity politics. Because it isn’t new; it’s been around for decades and is a key part in the rise of neoliberalism over the last 40 years.”

                What part of your narrative that ascribes agency to some dog whistle of left is incoherent and was a major factor in right wing neoliberalism economics or politics.

                Its on the same level of the whole cultural Marxism meme.

                You drown the left in your umbrage of its lack of market share due to funding because it cant compete on a dollar bias …

                1. Steve H.

                  A reference footnote: ‘Cultural Marxism’ is the right-wing name given to an acknowledged strategy of the Frankfurt School.

                  IdPol is so corrosive to the left-wing that if it is a strategy, it’s a great one. But I’ve seen no sourcing to indicate it was deliberate.

                  1. Plenue

                    I would point to Clinton’s New Democrats, that combined ‘they have nowhere else to go’ with ‘the most diverse administration ever’ as evidence that it is a deliberate strategy.

                    The decisive turn against working class economic policies is objectively demonstrable, I would think. So if no one ever had a literal meeting where they sat down and discussed what ‘progressive’ things they should use to fill the class politics vacuum (and I’m not at all generous enough to assume such meetings didn’t take place. I’m convinced they did), then patronizing earnest, genuine ideas about intersectionality just happened to be conducive to the needs of the Democratic Party, but not as part of a coherent strategy.

                    I think the timelines of the rise of identity politics thinking and the decline of class thinking match up pretty well.

                  2. skippy

                    There are two cultural Marxisms, cultural which merely states ‘culture as being imposed by a capitalist culture industry and consumed passively by the masses.

                    The second one Cultural Marxism is a common snarl word used to paint anyone with progressive tendencies as a secret Communist. The term alludes to a conspiracy theory in which sinister left-wingers have infiltrated media, academia, and science, and are engaged in a decades-long plot to undermine Western culture. Some variants of the conspiracy allege that basically all of modern social liberalism is, in fact, a Communist front group.

              2. skippy

                But to that I would reiterate it has nothing to do with my original comment on intersexuality and how that confronts various right and left factions in social formation and how it bleeds into economic theory contra to the author in questions framing of the topic.

                The author is talking out of his proverbial ass in concocting an ex ante narrative, go figure why such men get perches in perpetuity.

    2. notabanker

      I thank you for your service. I carried the water for his Orange Man Bad, Trumpacolypse Impeachment gig and I’m done with him. The guy is a tool.

    3. hermeneut

      The problem with Sullivan’s piece is that he entirely misses and/or obfuscates the point of Kendi’s book. Kendi is exactly not arguing for a reductionist identity-based politics. He argues that it is power itself that needs to be confronted, not racist ideas or politically correct language or simply the identity of those who hold positions of power. Sullivan’s paranoid liberalism is certainly right to demand democratic solutions to racism and other unjust power relations, but he performs a disingenuous slight-of-hand by tying an excerpt from a speech of Kendi’s to the subtle and radical arguments of Kendi’s book. Note, for example, Kendi’s chapter on the need to tie anti-racist efforts to anti-capitalist work, and vice versa, an argument that I would think would resonate within the Naked Capitalism readership.

      If there’s a weakness in Kendi’s _How to be an antiracist_ it is perhaps that his arguments are best understood in relation to the deeper history he spells out in his previous book, _Stamped from the beginning_. Read together, Kendi’s approach, centering the necessary confrontation with power over the often self-defeating policing of racist ideas, becomes both more clear and convincing. Kendi’s proposals for change are inclusive (says me, a white, male, middle-aged public-school teacher) and provocative and anything but totalitarian. Sullivan misuses Kendi’s work to build a defense of the liberal status quo — don’t let him get away with!

      1. martell

        So, you’re accusing the critic of the straw man fallacy. Kendi, you say, is actually arguing for the conclusion that “it is power itself that needs to be confronted.” Maybe. I haven’t read Kendi. But that sounds like an argument for doing nothing in particular (“confronting”) about an abstraction (“power”). Not much of an improvement on what you call reductionism, if you ask me.

        As for totalitarianism, does Kendi in fact call for the establishment of a committee of unelected officials who would monitor and police the speech of public officials, including elected officials? If so, I would concede that that’s a far cry from totalitarianism. It’s more like what went on in European societies (principalities mostly) before and during the age of Enlightenment, before, in other words, a host of pretty good Enlightenment ideas about speech and association were embodied in the laws of the lands in question. So, no, that proposal would not be totalitarian. But it wouldn’t be consistent with what I’d call the norms of a free society either.

    1. Oh

      And when you watch the link on Youtube you’ll be tracked again and your identity will be sold over and over!

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I don’t think this comment is appropriate here unless you explain your point of view and back it up, my friend.

    2. ambrit

      They might be PLA Cyberwarriors. They have the look of cellar dwellers. Of course, the two in the foreground could be officers. Many of the young lads in the background have the look of troopers.
      As psychological warfare, this is good for Pekin. “Loyal” troopers clean up the mess the “running dog imperialists” leave behind. Keep Hong Kong clean, tidy, and, if needed, safe for loyal Chinese.
      An added plus is to get the troopers outside of the ‘Tower’ for a day’s sunshine and exercise.
      Win-win for Pekin.

    3. Massinissa

      They all have military haircuts and they’re all large and musclely.

      Musclely asians look a little different than musclely westerners, buddy. These guys aren’t particularly ‘fat’.

  31. skippy

    File under you cant make this up ….

    Sniff …. the bygone days of Obama being a socialist commie whipping post for the right wing.

    The only thing more disturbing this week was the Julia Gillard beautification of Hillary I had the misfortune of reading at the Independent …. its like a Bernays’s ricochet …

    I think I need one of these …. The Isolator …

    1. ambrit

      What is comical about the Obama panegyric is how it tries to blast the ‘Overton’s Window’ rightward. Describing, straight faced at that, Joe Biden as a ‘centrist’ says it all. Warning against Warren as a Leftist is humourous.
      I’m curious as to whether the Republican Party apparat’s conception of Obama has actually moved, or was always there and tried to disguise it.
      In regards to the panegyric for HRH HRC, I’m sticking to my original idea that she will be ‘anointed’ at a brokered convention as the Democrat Party’s “Unity Candidate” for the 2020 election. This Hillary projecting has passed the trial balloon stage and graduated to full fledged Campaign Zeppelin Mode.

      1. The Rev Kev

        At least Obama was saying all this to “his own people”, namely at the Democracy Alliance – a group of wealthy Democrats who raise large sums for the party. His eight years of failure leading to the election of Donald Trump was bad enough. But to have a President elected that might actually push through reforms is intolerable to him as it would show him for the fraud he is.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Sorry skippy. That bit about Julia Gillard and Hillary has been going on for some time. From Wikipedia-

      “She had been a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Party candidacy for President of the United States, from as early as September 2014 when Gillard announced that she would “loudly barrack from the sidelines” should Clinton run. Having endorsed Clinton after she announced her candidacy in April 2015, Gillard appeared in a campaign video in October, wherein she advocated for the presidential candidate and her leadership surrounding women’s issues. Gillard attended the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on 25 July 2016, alongside former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The following day, Gillard published an open letter to Clinton in the New York Times, urging voters to “shame sexism” levied against the Democratic presidential candidate.”

      This might explain how it came about that Australia had given the Clinton Foundation some $88 million.

  32. Jeff W

    On The Hill: “Krystal and Saagar interview Nancy Pelosi challenger, Shahid Buttar, about her ‘neoliberal failures'” here.

    Buttar is his usual preternaturally articulate self, as always a pleasure to listen to, and covers somewhat different ground than in his interview with Katie Halper and Matt Taibbi on Rolling Stone’s “Useful Idiots” podcast mentioned in yesterday’s Water Cooler. Policy aside, I’d want this guy to win just so we’d have more of an opportunity to hear him speak.

  33. kareninca

    I just used google to find out what Pelosi’s son is doing in Ukraine, and the first page of results was all “debunking” (including Snopes, lol) of the notion that he might be doing something self-interested. Now it is true that I am just starting to look into this, and maybe the kid is swell, but I felt as if someone were protesting too much, by way of an “adjusted” algorithm.

    A middle-aged Clinton-Pussyhat-Democrat told me today that she had been watching the impeachment hearings and that she would never vote for Biden now since she can see how corrupt he is, along with his son. Won’t vote for Trump of course, but will never vote for Biden. That was interesting.

    Two young ladies came to my door today (Palo Alto area of Silicon Valley) to tell me about Warren. I asked them about the Dow implant case. They told me she had changed from her Republican days. I said that even when I was young I didn’t do anything like represent Dow. I also mentioned her plan to take only small donor money, while in fact rolling over her earlier non-small money, and said I didn’t think she had changed. They looked embarrassed. They asked me who I thought was a good candidate and I hesitated and then muttered Sanders (I disagree with him on a number of issues but at least he isn’t a fake).

    1. Lambert Strether

      > They told me she had changed from her Republican days. I said that even when I was young I didn’t do anything like represent Dow. I also mentioned her plan to take only small donor money, while in fact rolling over her earlier non-small money, and said I didn’t think she had changed.

      The Warren campaign needs better lines. Hard to believe they weren’t prepared for this line of questioning.

      1. kareninca

        This is prime Hillary territory; I’m sure I was the first person they’ve encountered who was anything but enthusiastic and supportive.

  34. The Rev Kev

    “The Holy-Cow Moment for Subprime Auto Loans; Serious Delinquencies Blow Out”

    Just winging it by memory but wasn’t it delinquencies of sub-prime home loans which kicked off the 2007 financial crisis?

    1. skippy

      Naw that would be a sharp recession not unlike the old S&L debacle, the crisis was founded on mercenary shorts creating a Minsky moment like a self fulfilling prophecy.

      But then some savvy sorts will tell you that their bringing liquidity to the market …

      1. skippy

        I would proffer the sub prime effect was just an example of the quality of contracts that enable the credit to be issued under the auspices of certain philosophical views, acerbated by incentive dynamics which amount to a special plea about investor demand w/ a side of equity bonus C-suite culture baked in and all of it soaking in bad maths and physics to justify the wonky risk evaluations that gave it a micron thick veneer of scientific validity.

        Per se so much RE was initiated on the premise that people would flip in 2, 4, 6 years which also has build quality dynamics due to original ownership claims vs later owners, but then again the developer lobby has been pushing the supply and demand meme since Milton and Stigler took the money and ran with it.

        1. ambrit

          s/ Yea and verily, the “Faithful” “know” that housing is an investment vehicle first, a place to live second. /s That didn’t end well. Now, the sub-prime auto loan sector has reached those Empyrean heights. I’m suspicious about credit card debt too. No one I peruse mentions it. We get the odd but regular solicitation to get a credit card, even though I wouldn’t loan myself ten dollars considering my “credit score.” The Financial sector is overreaching for yield today. Nothing good ever comes from that dynamic.
          Hope you and yours are safe from conflagrations. (Keep your supply of Phlogiston tightly bottled up!)

          1. skippy

            Sadly like some risk the unknown has occurred and the wife, after her trip of a life time ended with a stroke not two weeks later, not even 50 and fit.

            1. The Rev Kev

              So sorry to hear about that, skip. I remember you talking about her travels overseas a coupla times. Hope that she gets on the mend quickly what with being so young.

              1. skippy

                Our NC in house psychiatrist decamped said it was 6 years before a baseline could be evaluated, been there and done that … without this blog I would have not the opportunity for that perspective and able to further that introspection.

                Its a wee bit complicate and I would explain, wife’s ancestry from Scotland already has a thyroid drama and post her experience it seems its also a family trait for the stroke, brother recently had influenza A w/ pneumonia and had the audacity to have a stroke whilst getting an X ray for the pneumonia, albeit with out seizures. Seems the new retro on the house build was unhealthy.

                The thing is down here she is getting top heath care, caveat, yes due to her service as a paramedic for social good and business reasons she is not want for top shelf care. Yet that does not change the fact that she for psychological and physical reasons is living at her moms two doors down.

                If your memory serves back in the early NC days I suffered a DIA head trauma, quite the thing to front run an other but be powerless in confronting her experience.

                By the grace of goat I don’t live in the U.S.

            2. ambrit

              Damn skippy! That’s pure D s–t. Knowing a similar psychic dislocation at present myself due to events outside my control, also wife related, you have my sympathy. None of that bloody “..thoughts and prayers..” meme but something a bit more personal.
              As for your comment below about Mom’s place; be assured from this source, having family and support that close is a real help. Screw the Drama. Concentrate on the basics. You are not alone, despite the best efforts of the Bernays Sauciers to convince us otherwise.

    1. skippy

      Funding is a thingy …. till PE has a gleam in its eye …. this is known as friction-less capitalism … Gates said so …

    2. Daryl

      The article itself is dumb liberal Russia hysteria, but it doesn’t really seem to be trying to smear Tulsi specifically. Actually seems to be trying to pump the brakes while still entertaining the idea that Putin is trying to end the “liberal world order” whatever that is.

      1. skippy

        “liberal world order” – if I might assist its code for democracy of money with a side of credentialed professional meritocracy aka I have a MBA or work as a corporate lawyer and we are granted the right to both describe reality and then administrate it …

        Funnie story about that, once had an Australian client that was a corporate lawyer after doing 8 years in NYC and decided to build an east coast home in Queensland. Wellie she had a colour in mind for the interior of the house call quarter hogs bristle and after doing half the house inside she was adamant that it was not the correct colour.

        Especially after a visit to a friend in Sydney and then back up to Qld. Sadly I had to resort to a scientific means to show her that the colour was an exact match to her request. Seems she was completely unaware of the psychology of colours let alone judging them without all the other influences in a room compared to a bare one.

        LOL in my game there is a thingy called colour shock … once had a male client walk through the front door and physically lean back when confronted with the main indoor body colour called citron ice, only to mumble I’ll get used to it. Seems his Porsche collection dictated his perspective so his wife could down a few bottles of wine whilst engaging the services of her interior decorator and do some shopping …..

          1. ambrit

            Oh yes. I’m married to an artist, so, colour is definitely a “thing” in our house. She whipped out a colour wheel once to show me why one colour on the walls ‘demanded’ another particular colour on the doors. (It took her several days once to get through my thick skull how Cezanne balanced his colours in relation to the spacial composition of one of his works. It was a view of Mont St Victoire I believe.)

  35. Norm de plume

    I went to a talk Friday night at UTS in Sydney with journalist Quentin Dempster interviewing Jen Robinson, Julian Assange’s lawyer. It was put on by PEN International and the MEAA, the journo union who have at last managed to clear their throats about Assange.

    Some may recall Peter Greste’s contemptuous assertion when JA was illegally whisked from the Ecuadorean Embassy that unlike him Assange was no journo, an assertion many establishment journos in the West parroted. Almost as if they were told to… of course they weren’t but the mainstream hive-mind tends to operate on conventional if not received wisdom. It is an argument for the contention that, rather than great minds thinking alike, inferior ones do.

    There wasn’t much that was new but it was sobering to hear Robinson describe how she has to go thru extreme security measures not once, or twice, or three times but FOUR times every time she sees her client at Belmarsh – that’s four fingerprints, four body searches, four.. well, you get the picture.

    This is the Orwell of 1984 with an admixture of the Kafka of The Trial – and I would bet my remaining nut that not one of the people responsible for this darkly amusing yet chilling setup has read either (or indeed any) of the works of those two men. This of course proves their prescience: their forecasts are coming true without the creators having any knowledge of them.

    One thing that did emerge though was that Judge Lady Emma Arbuthnot will not be taking any further part in JA’s prosecution. These two stories will give you some idea why:

    Still, given how easy it was for them to find Michael Snow and Vanessa Baraitser to help destroy the reputation of English law in the incarceration of Assange, I’m sure they will have no trouble replacing her with someone equally aligned with power but with a tad less baggage to help send him to his doom.

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