Links 11/22/19

I Bought an Elephant to Find Out How to Save Them Outside

Handel and the Bank of England Bank Underground

How to Buy Drugs London Review of Books

Melting with tenderness TLS. Bernard Pivot interviews Nabokov on Apostrophes, 1975.

Why you shouldn’t use your phone to shop online TreeHugger

Nearly 100,000 Pounds of Packaged Salads Recalled Due to E. Coli Concerns Consumer Reports

Against Economics New York Review of Books

Imperial Collapse Watch

Blame Over Justice: The Human Toll of the Navy’s Relentless Push to Punish One of Its Own ProPublica. UserFriendly: “sad, but predictable.”

Scientists Issue Warning To Humanity: Climate Change Depends On Microbes Discover (david l). From June, still germane.

Oxford Dictionaries declares ‘climate emergency’ the word of 2019 Guardian

Why the electric-car revolution may take a lot longer than expected MIT Technology Review

The Wall That Would Save Venice From Drowning Is Underwater WSJ

Health Care

No Safety Switch: How Lax Oversight Of Electronic Health Records Puts Patients At Risk Kaiser Health News

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Facebook and Google’s pervasive surveillance poses an unprecedented danger to human rights Amnesty International

Brexit

Do Not Despair of This Election Craig Murray

L’affaire Epstein

Queen sacks Prince Andrew: Monarch summons distraught Duke of York to Buckingham Palace, orders him to step down from public duties and strips him of £249,000 ‘salary’ amid fall-out from his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein Daily Mail

The toxic prince: Andrew handed royal P45 after tipping point reached Guardian

Julian Assange

Advancing Propaganda For Evil Agendas Is The Same As Perpetrating Them Yourself Caitlin Johnstone

Class Warfare

THE PRICE AIN’T RIGHT: AN ECONOMIC INEQUALITY QUIZ Capital & Main

Report: Sacklers using fake doctors, false marketing to sell OxyContin in China Ars Technica

Minor crimes, major time San Francisco Chronicle

As Rents Outrun Pay, California Families Live on a Knife’s Edge NYT

Obama warns technology has created a more splintered world LA Times. Continuing to state the obvious. And note the final paragraph. Ka-ching!

2020

OK Obama, It’s Time to Cancel Centrism TruthDig

Noam Chomsky: Democratic Party Centrism Risks Handing Election to Trump TruthOut

Sanders’ Plan to Fight Global Climate Disaster Too Ambitious, Says NYT FAIR

California high court strikes down state law targeting Trump tax returns The Hill

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg files paperwork to run for U.S. president Reuters

Warren Raises ‘Corruption’ Alarm After Trump, Zuckerberg, and Thiel Hold Secret White House Meeting Common Dreams

Democratic establishment reaches boiling point with Tulsi Gabbard Politico (furzy)

While to be sure the source isn’t exactly impeccable, both Glenn Greenwald and Jimmy Dore have retweeted this.

Our Famously Free Press

How the Collapse of Local News Is Causing a ‘National Crisis’ NYT (SF)

Newsonomics: By selling to America’s worst newspaper owners, Michael Ferro ushers the vultures into Tribune Nieman Lab (SF)

737 MAX

A union of 60,000 aviation workers warned of more disasters like the 737 Max crashes if Congress doesn’t pass new rules on plane maintenance Business Insider

Syraqistan

Reports of War Crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan Highlight the Failures of Both Wars Counterpunch. Patrick Cockburn.

Iran loosens internet restrictions after protest shutdown Al Jazeera

After years of investigations, Netanyahu charged with bribery, fraud, breach of trust MondoWeiss

The road toward Greater Eurasia Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Trump Transition

Mike Pompeo scorns the law because powerful men like him never have to follow it Independent. Robert Fisk

Attempt to ‘Criminalize Basic Human Kindness’ Fails as Activist Scott Warren Found Not Guilty on All Charges Common Dreams

‘Insurgents’ lobbied Trump for war crimes pardons with little Pentagon involvement, officials say WaPo

US to Europe: Fix Open Skies Treaty or we quit Defense News

China?

Make BNO Hongkongers full British citizens, Boris Johnson urged by top political figures as UK election approaches SCMP

India

‘Cotton has now become a headache’ People’s Archive of Rural India. From October, still germane.

Without Internet, Kashmir’s Doctoral Scholars Are Stumped for a Way Forward The Wire

Antidote du Jour (LR):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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218 comments

  1. Chris

    I am so tired of hearing the establishment criticize people who can imagine a possibility for foreign relations outside of bombing brown people. Peace does not mean isolationism. Isolationism is not a guarantee of peace. What Tulsi has said in many, many, many, interviews is that she wants to pull us out of regime change wars. She wants to sit down and discuss our interests with other world powers. She acknowledges that you can’t have peace in a region without talking to the leaders involved, which will of necessity sometimes include people you don’t like or who have committed atrocities.

    Rather than accept that this is what we have always done in the past, the consensus in the mainstream media appears to be that merely talking to dictators is appeasement. Meanwhile, we end up protecting Al-Qaeda in Idlib, and killing many innocents, with our current actions. This is madness. It cannot continue. Yet I can’t imagine how anyone we elect will ever be allowed to stop it.

    Reply
      1. WheresOurTeddy

        only a week behind Sanders in her denouncement

        paging Liz Warren….paging Liz Warren…will Liz Warren come to the Foreign Affairs window please…

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘only a week behind Sanders in her denouncement’

          But at least she was not content to repeat CIA talking points about Venezuela. Or buy into the whole Russia!Russia!Russia! deal. Bernie has to be called on things like that.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            I think you have to bear in mind that most of the elite are still insisting on RussiaRussiaRussia. Fiona Hill certainly did in her testimony, and she’s the media’s shero of the day. Bernie can’t object too strongly that it’s a load of codswallop. I didn’t notice his endorsement of CIA talking points.

            Reply
    1. Acacia

      This, because the mainstream consensus is that the sun must not set on the American Empire — though that’s exactly what’s happening — and thus we must continue the regime-change wars, and any attempt to change course is shot down as “appeasing dictators”.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        It dawned on me that we’re repeating 1989 in a similar fashion to the USSR, where there was no unrest as the long Afghanistan war came to a close and the Soviets went home, as tumult in Tiananmen came to a head, while client nations in the bloc party behind the iron curtain decided to end Communism as they knew it.

        Our client nations must be getting awfully queasy with the Capitalist cuisine we’ve been serving them, no?

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s not likely we see something like Ivan the Terrible, (or Formidable, Fearsome or some other translation for it is not always one to one correspondence between languages), and followed by Times of Trouble here.

          Reply
        2. Olga

          There is absolutely no similarity between the US foreign wars and overthrows of non-complying governments and what USSR was trying to do in Afghanistan. Sorry… (there was no internet back then, otherwise we’d all know that the USSR was asked to come help by the then-current Afgt. govt. – help with insurgency, which the US was feeding, with precisely the goal of drawing the USSR in).

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I mentioned nothing in that regard, only the similarities in both waning superpowers as they reached their zenith, which involves Afghanistan.

            p.s.

            If the Soviets were such honored guests, why’d they leave with their tails between their legs?

            Reply
            1. witters

              And that’s why the Great USA will never get out of Latin America (or anywhere, really, since Vietnam) because an ‘honoured guest’ can’t leave “with their tails between their legs.” (It takes but the merest scratch, Olga, for this stuff to come to the surface, as I’m sure you know well.)

              Reply
            2. Anon in so cal

              This article chronicles some of the US CIA aggression towards Russia over many decades, including CIA funding of Jihadis in Afghanistan, for purposes of marshaling attacks within Russia and against Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

              The CIA provided weapons to about 100,000 Jihadis, many from several nations, with the help of Pakistan’s ISI.

              https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/12/11/cia-islamic-jihadist-alliance-against-russia-is-63-years-old/

              Reply
            3. Procopius

              … why’d they leave with their tails between their legs?

              Because they backed the wrong side in the ongoing civil war and couldn’t sustain their commitment. On the other hand the “winning” side didn’t have full support of the people, which is why there was still a civil war going on when we seized the chance to back the corrupt Northern Alliance against the harsh, inflexible Taliban. If we were sensible we would have left with our tail between our legs ten years ago.

              Reply
              1. JBird4049

                IIRC, the monarchy was overthrown in a coup by the communists, and ticked off some of more conservative Afghans, who started to resist,

                which drew in the Soviets to “support” the regime whether the Afghani government wanted it or not, using increasingly brutal, ultimately near genocidal, tactics,

                which faltered when the CIA got stinger missiles that could bring down the Hind helicopters,

                which denied the Soviet army the ability to effectively transport, supply, and support its soldiers, and that meant the increasingly enraged population could not be defeated,

                which caused the Soviets to give up, depriving their client government their means of survival, and the resistance is simultaneously abandoned by the United States,

                The warlords gain power, take Kabul, murder the leadership, and then fight among themselves destroying what hadn’t already been destroyed,

                The Taliban (religious students) at some refugee camp got frustrated enough that they decided to try to overthrow the warlords and (probably surprising themselves) succeeded.

                That government was a repressive, authoritarian, religious nightmare, but generally made sure that one’s wife and daughter would not be raped and sort. of (mostly) stopped the warlords unending warfare.

                For supposedly supporting al-Qaeda, that government was overthrown by the American government and the current kleptocracy installed.

                So Afghanistan, a formerly prosperous, somewhat modern and westernized kingdom has been turned into an economically backward wasteland after four decades of continuous fighting.

                Great job everyone!

                Reply
      2. Carolinian

        Or the mainstream consensus sees itself as still living in the 1930s, intent on correcting the mistakes of that appeaser Neville Chamberlain and standing up to the latest Hitler–whoever that might be. It’s not just that they love to spin “narratives.” They also see themselves as part of one. In this context Tulsi’s realism is anathema. Meanwhile the rest of us worry whether the delusions of the elite will get us all killed.

        Reply
    2. dearieme

      She has views on foreign policy that are so outside the mainstream …

      When I worked in an academic department I noticed that one of my colleagues used “mainstream” quite uncritically as a word of praise. He was much the dimmest chap among us.

      Reply
    3. .Tom

      That’s the actual political consensus too, not just the media position. If you’re not a client state then by definition you’re a rogue state or a failed state. (Reminds me of the church’s categorization: if you’re not christian then you’re therefore either heretic or heathen.)

      But the mainstream Washington consensus doesn’t have the solidity that it used to. Fewer people are paying attention to (what Richard North drolly refers to as) legacy media (more people listen to Joe Roegan than read NYT op eds). And recent elections suggest (to me) that much, perhaps most of the electorate trust this consensus so little that they are ready to support an outsider that stands in clear opposition to it.

      And the mainstream is now visibly spending more effort fighting insurgent voices than it used to and the methods and arguments show they are trying to hang on to power rather than building political capital on a genuinely popular agenda.

      This is all quite a change relative to recent decades.

      Reply
      1. WheresOurTeddy

        the democratization of information has not just pulled the Overton Window left, it has pulled it wider in every single direction

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          > the democratization of information has not just pulled the Overton Window left, it has pulled it wider in every single direction

          Which you can’t do with a two-dimensional construct, i.e., the Overton Window was always wrong.

          Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        “Legacy” media is a good word. I wish I had thought of that.

        If we were to combine “legacy” with “MSM”, would we have an epithet of disdain and disgust even more lethal to the target if aimed well enough?

        The Legacy MSM. Entrench it enough through enough repetition that eventually LMSM will automatically stand for Legacy Main Stream Media.

        Reply
    4. QuarterBack

      It seems to me that the loudest voices decrying “Isolationism” are selling empire as somehow being inclusive.

      Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          > Gotta have the empire because diversity. A rainbow of oppression

          Yes, I have the outlier theory that one reason for ipol, at least at the top schools, is to make sure our globalist PMCers can take meetings without committing gross cultural and social gaffes. Nothing to do with justice at all, just aesthetics and civility.

          Reply
    5. dcblogger

      Obviously no one wants to learn anything from the fact that Gabbard is polling better than party putative luminaries. They seem incapable of entertaining the idea that endless war is not popular.

      Reply
    6. divadab

      Yes and relying on Democrat bribe-takers like Bob Menendez (“Assad the Butcher of Damascus” he shrieks in his greasy lying manner) to do anything but attack Gabbard in total bad faith is a fool’s errand.

      Go Tulsi! Tell the truth and force the cockroaches like Menendez to reveal their perfidy!

      Reply
  2. ambrit

    “Yet I can’t imagine how anyone we elect will ever be allowed to stop it.”
    We, the People, should take a page from ‘their’ playbook and “Not ask for forgiveness.”
    (Meant as a reply to Chris, above.)

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      TL;DR version….

      Various govts gaslit people and passive-aggressively undermined them over time, then true believers in neoliberalism scrapped them altogether.

      Reply
    2. Bugs Bunny

      The article is silly. France got a billion euros a year off the wealth tax and the first thing Macron did upon taking office was to abolish it. One of the principal demands of the Gilets Jaunes is to restore it. Among all the demands, this is the only one that Macron said was completely off the table. He knows exactly where his power comes from.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the National Front ( Le Pen) ran on Total Restoration of the Wealth Tax . . . would she get the Yellow Vest vote?

        Reply
    3. Pookah Harvey

      The article states, ” Whether it (the wealth tax) raises the estimated revenue is another question.”
      No that is not a question. The revenue doesn’t matter.
      As Nader noted, you tax what you don’t want in your society.
      Bernie Sanders, ” “I don’t think that billionaires should exist.”

      Reply
      1. mpalomar

        Yes, if you can change the conventional wisdom spouting (or is that spewing) forth on MSM to accept the premise of MMT.

        The powers that be are nothing if not flexible; Cheney said, ‘deficits don’t matter’ when you’ve got regime change on the agenda.

        Democracy if it is to work must be based on economic democracy otherwise the political part never stands a chance.

        Reply
    4. Tim

      Read that before. Not deep or tight enough logically. Seems more like exuces via correlation rather than direct causation left undescovered by not wanting to dig any deeper.

      If better researched, the article could probably have been about how the rich convinced the Neoliberals to trick the public into giving them all the money back.

      Reply
    5. xkeyscored

      Emmanuel Saez, a left-leaning economist at the University of California, Berkeley — who has analyzed the Warren and Sanders wealth tax proposals — said the wealth taxes failed because governments created scores of exemptions that undercut its ability to draw revenue.
      “The wealth taxes in Europe have failed by and large,” Saez told Business Insider. “Either they didn’t raise that much revenue because of big exemptions for asset classes or they’ve been repealed.”

      Also, the taxes in Europe often kicked in at much lower amassed wealth than what Sanders and Warren are currently proposing, and it impacted a much larger share of citizens.
      Saez and Gabriel Zucman — a left-leaning economist who partnered with Saez — cited “a large exit tax” of 40% on net worth that’s a feature of both the Sanders and Warren tax plans, triggered if a wealthy individual attempts to renounce their citizenship to evade the Internal Revenue Service. They also pointed out there were “myriad exemptions” on taxable assets that European countries allowed in their programs that both progressive candidates tossed out. The thresholds when the tax would take effect is also much higher in their proposals.
      And does the US government need tax revenues to fund whatever?

      Reply
    6. Yves Smith

      There was a much better OECD report that described what had happened.

      A big problem that no one want to acknowledge is a lot of wealth of the rich is held in assets that are hard to value, like private companies and unique real estate. The reason PE firms get away with doing their own valuations (which BTW routinely vary considerably when more than one firm owns a stake in the same company) is that an independent valuation would cost ~$30,000.

      The IRS has lost every large estate tax case over valuation issues.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Why has the IRS always lost those cases? Are lacking the funding for good tax attorneys of their own or they cannot afford to do their own valuations?

        Reply
  3. Livius Drusus

    Re: Obama warns technology has created a more splintered world.

    I agree with Obama but as the article points out, he was very friendly with the tech industry when he was president so there is a feeling of “too little, too late” here. Still, I appreciate any major voice who is willing to critique tech since I think there is a powerful cultural taboo against critiquing technology. People are too worried about being called Luddites.

    As for Obama’s points, I think he is spot on. For example, there is some evidence that the internet is actually helping to perpetuate job market inequality.

    Internet perpetuates job market inequality
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190626124950.htm

    Anyone who has tried to look for a job in the last decade or so will probably understand what the study reported about how low-wage jobs are becoming “black holes” and that it is getting harder and harder to move out of low-wage work.

    I have friends who have literally tried for years to get out of low-wage employment and followed all of the latest advice about job searching and networking online and they have had zero success. In my opinion job searching was easier and more effective when it was largely done in person.

    Reply
    1. Jesper

      Thanks for posting that link.

      The study matches my experience:
      Apply for a job on a website and encounter the deselection process put in place. The deselection process includes (but is not limited to) automated keyword seach and filtering, HR deselecting based on their own personal preferences (bias) and the classic – just delete (throw away) a percentage of applications as there is almost no value in going through all applications (a good candidate is good enough, why bother to look for perfect)
      Get recruited and suddenly the hoops which are essential for applicants to jump through disappear as by magic.
      Get referred in and again the hoops which are essential for applicants to jump through disappear.

      About 15 years I worked with people who in their previous careers had been working as recruiters, they referred to the HR-department as the ‘anti-hiring’ department. Their logic, based on their experience of daily interactions over several years with HR, was that HR would never be the one who decided who would get hired but since HR had to be seen doing something the HR department blocked people from getting hired. HR was in their eyes an obstacle to overcome, nothing more and nothing less.
      The ways to avoid the obstacle of the anti-hiring department were: either be referred in or have a very rare and sought after skill. People with neither will have to suffer the deselection process controlled by HR.

      The worse the job market is the worse the job matching is. The logic is fairly basic, if the job market is bad then people help family and friends which effectively closes off those jobs for others. And if the job-market is bad then people stay in jobs they are a bad fit for as a bad job provides more income than no job.

      In my experience then the people who do not believe in the black holes of low wage jobs often either started their career 25-30 years ago or they suffer from the survivor bias.

      Reply
      1. Off The Street

        HR has two main jobs.
        1. Protect the employer against the employees.
        2. Get the payroll and benefits processed on time,
        The rest is minor, but gets highlighted by HR people. That is according to some people who have had HR reporting to them.

        Reply
      2. neo-realist

        In other words, they started their career 25-30 years ago and, in many cases, were fortunate enough to remain with the same employer, or maybe one other, and did not have to deal with the indignity of layoffs and having to grovel for positions in new companies, or possibly start new career tracks, which can start at low wages.

        The people who don’t believe in black holes think “What’s the matter with you, why can’t you make it the way I did?”

        Reply
        1. jrs

          Yes but assuming they aren’t comfortably retired, these are the people that are scared, really scared at a deeper level than even those who have had bad bouts of unemployment, although the precariat is also scared. But those at the same job forever etc. are people that will defend the status quo to the death, not just because they benefit but because they are scared out of their minds. On some level I suspect they DO KNOW see…

          Reply
          1. Carey

            That’s my impression, as well. There’a a whole lot of turf-defending, and half-hearted belief-defending going on right now, as the ship sinks beneath the waves.

            Reply
      3. Danny

        “The logic is fairly basic, if the job market is bad then people help family and friends which effectively closes off those jobs for others.”
        And if the job market is bad then why wouldn’t you help your countrymen and neighbors the same way?

        Retail;
        “You want our spending? Hire local people of different ages and treat them well.”

        Business services; “I would be more comfortable discussing our future business spending with a mature experienced long term employee, no interns, who can speak to me directly, without the intermediation of a website.”

        Want me to buy through a website? Let’s discuss major discounts then.

        Reply
        1. HotFlash

          I wonder how much sales tax revenue states, and even some cities, have lost due to on-line purchasing. I know that NY tried to implement sales tax on on-line purchases a while back and some online sellers responded by refusing to ship to NY. Nearly impossible to track goods coming in from out of the country, anyway. I rarely see any customs duties or HST on the stuff I get from China, etc.

          Anybody know?

          Reply
      4. Mark Gisleson

        Great explanation. Part of the work I did writing/editing resumes for career development clients was getting them to understand the difference between “selling” themselves and creating a resume that wouldn’t get automatically sorted into the larger stack.

        You also identified the workaround: referrals aka cronyism. Since most job seekers can’t manufacturer cronies, I used tricks to suggest as much (“cc”s are a great way to suggest you’re connected).

        Worse still is the question of whether most jobs are even necessary or beneficial. That I can’t blame on HR.

        Reply
      5. jrs

        Recruiting helps but it’s not magic bullet, and increases the chances but not that much. Then there is the fact much of the recruiting is being done out of India and is mostly a dead end. But decent recruiters exist, but it’s still no magic bullet at all. It’s only slightly better odds is all.

        Searching for a job recently is horrible, something has changed for the worse.

        Reply
    2. tegnost

      “People remark on the polarization of our politics and rightfully so,” Obama said. “People rightfully see challenges like climate change and mass refugees and feel like things are spinning out of control. Behind that, what I see is a sense of anxiety, rootlessness and uncertainty in so many people. Some of that is fed by technology and there’s an anger formed by those technologies.”

      The only spinning I see is Obama portraying people’s sense of anxiety, rootlessness and uncertainty
      as something that he had no role in creating. I’d say he’s worried about his legacy, but I doubt he’s worried about his bank balance…

      Reply
      1. WheresOurTeddy

        “…what I see is a sense of anxiety, rootlessness and uncertainty in so many people. Some of that is fed by technology and there’s an anger formed by those technologies.”

        Barry, what’s causing the anger is called The Second Gilded Age and you perpetuated it with great vigor. We are the people who know and remember. Those who don’t should read Matt Stoller.

        Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        DC is Hollywood for ugly people. This is like a Western star fuming over people watching space movies. Its the bank roll and celebrity.

        Reply
    3. xkeyscored

      Obama warns technology has created a more splintered world
      NATO technology splintered Libya while Obama was president, reducing it to a failed state fought over by rival gangs. US technology has been used to further splinter Yemen, starting under Obama, reducing an already unstable state to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. But all that pathetic neoliberal creep is worried about is what voters in the USA read, hear and think.

      Reply
    4. Anthony G Stegman

      The old adage “who you know is more important than what you know” is vastly more relevant in the internet age. It is nearly impossible to land a well-paying job by applying for it online. In fact, that approach is a complete waste of time. Better off to head for the nearest gold course. Most hiring managers hire people they already know from previous employers, or they solicit referrals from their employees. Only the most desperate hiring managers will request HR to recruit job candidates.

      Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          > The most successful workers will be those who can manage relationships in an empathetic and emotionally intelligent way.

          In other words, given the givens, playing the long con successfully.

          Reply
        2. kiwi

          Ugh. As an intj, the thought of emotions taking up more time at work just disgusts me. Too many people are just black holes of emotional neediness. And there is no way to satisfy the need.

          Reply
  4. russeell1200@gmail.com

    “She [Gabbard] sort of seems to be filling a pretty strange lane. Is there a part of the party that hates the party?” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “It’s a little hard to figure out what itch she’s trying to scratch in the Democratic Party right now.”

    Repeat: “Is there a part of the party that hates the party?”

    To quote Billie Eilish: “Duh”

    Reply
    1. David Carl Grimes

      Tulsi has been very effective at cutting people down to size. She did it with Kamala and Kamala never recovered. She’s now doing it with Mayor Pete. I wish Bernie would do the same at some point. He’s too nice.

      Reply
      1. katiebird

        I am not sure about the Bernie thing. It is known that he is angry and grouchy. And that isn’t really true!

        Maybe if he was also not nice it might be too much?

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          To me, its the Bill Belichick philosophy of letting the enemy weaknesses take care of themselves. Most of the Democratic Party is run by Republicans who don’t like Christian/Country pop enough to sit through ear garbage. Simply being next to them exposes it.

          The perceived “strength” of Biden and insiders is the ability to marshal and deploy resources (see the state parties letting Hillary pilfer them in expectation she was going to undo the Obama wrecking of the party; the Clintons were a mess too, but her insider status and not being Obama gave the impression they were vaguely competent) to win elections. Sanders needs to shed the image of being the random cool guy in the party who is too cool for the regular group and didn’t put together the party. The Clintons preyed on this with the claims “she got things done.” This was insane, but narratively this is a problem about the perception of insiders.

          I like pointing out the system is corrupt which certainly got Chris Matthews panties in a twist.

          Reply
      2. Otis B Driftwood

        And yet he’s the only candidate who called out the coup in Bolivia. This subject got no mention in debate and Gabbard, to my chagrin, missed this opportunity to criticize imperialism.

        Reply
      3. Big River Bandido

        Gabbard’s attacks have drawn blood and create openings for others. But the great value of them is that they’ve generally put her targets on the defensive. From there, they all commit the same huge, unforced error — they show their true selves, which are unelectable.

        Better strategy is for Sanders to sit back and let the corporate candidates continue to destroy themselves. He’ll reap the benefits without getting his hands dirty, and without alienating other candidates’ supporters the way Clinton and the establishment candidates always do. This strategy has been working well for him so far.

        Reply
        1. Danny

          “Gabbard’s attacks…make them…show their true selves, which are unelectable.”

          It is often a physical manifestation, which when combined with the audio criticism of them, is fatal in the age of video.
          i.e.
          Kamala’s face going into lockjaw instead of the faux nasal southern accent, hair bobbing soulfulness.
          Or
          Mayor Pete’s lower lip curling up like a little girl about to cry when Tulsi called his cowardice?

          Reply
          1. Jeff W

            …Mayor Pete’s lower lip curling up like a little girl about to cry…

            What struck me was Buttigieg’s alternation between looking like a crumpled heap and seething with a sort of petulant anger. His bland wonky corporate McKinsey mask completely falls away. It’s very revealing—I get the sense that Gabbard, with her precision attacks, knows exactly what she’s doing—and it’s not a pretty picture.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              Yes, and by contrast, Gabbard, who has been pounded way more often and harder than either of them have been, is far more controlled. Her eyes stay the same and you see only a slight tightening in her lower face. It comes off as just an acknowledgment that she’s been attacked and is readying her comeback, like an athlete shifting his weight to the balls of his feet.

              Reply
              1. skippy

                If I may may good lady …

                McKinsey dudes and dudiets function off an assumed social superiority by proxy of meritocracy aka I went too or work at …

                Gabbard has a more variate background that regardless of innate ability required a more assertive self, something I think you might be familiar with.

                Reply
      4. Lambert Strether

        > I wish Bernie would do the same at some point. He’s too nice.

        I used to think that but now I’m not so sure. If others can do the work, why not let them? For example, he didn’t need to draw clear distinctions with Warren on #MedicareForAll — Warren did it for him, and IMNSHO paid a price in the polling for doing so.

        Reply
      5. norm de plume

        You need both nice and not nice in leadership, depending on the situation. Bernie has a lock on nice (Pete is more in the ‘cute’ basket) and no-one gets near Tulsi for not nice. Another reason why they are the dream team, along with age and youth, domestic and foreign, etc.

        Nice is there for the long haul, but this is Bernie’s last chance and he needs some kick ass not nice to help get him over the line. Likewise, while Tulsi’s capacity and apparent relish for well-aimed verbal violence is necessary to open and shift Overton windows, it can’t win on its own.

        That face tightening of hers for me indicates that she is perhaps in the high risk group for hubris, something home-stretch Bernie has left far behind, if indeed it was ever an issue for him. You can imagine Tulsi being a pretty good hater, but hate and Bernie just don’t seem to exist on the same page.

        He has his eyes on the prize, and not for himself. It really is the issues 24/7 for him, and the chance to get in there and change, well save his country really. Attacks just fall off him, charging ahead as the clock ticks. I don’t get the sense with him that he cares or even notices who makes them, it’s a 10th order issue. Whereas with Tulsi, you feel names are internally taken, boxes ticked or unticked.

        Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      What a bunch whiny, petty people.

      Between the politico article and the nyt style article in today’s links…..really reminding me of matt stoller’s critiques of team dem culture.

      To their credit, at least some sources used their names. In the past, they’ve all moaned about her anonymously.

      Reply
    3. ptb

      “Is there a part of the party that hates the party?”

      the working class, and an increasing part of the middle class

      (oh yeah and people who have some kind of weird objection against war crimes.)

      Reply
    4. ptb

      oh he’s a good one

      “She has views on foreign policy that are so outside the mainstream as to be a real liability to the Democratic Party”

      Translation: she opposes existing pro war policy and is running on that issue, putting it front and center. And readers should understand that is a core, red-line, do-not-cross issue essential to the party, and anyone not on board with the pro war agenda is not a Democrat.

      I feel like we’re back in 2004 . . .

      Reply
    5. nippersdad

      Coons has a short memory. It wasn’t all that long ago that there were marches and protests against Bush’s wars, and then came Obama and all of them are war criminals now.

      The itch that I would love to have scratched is to see them all at war crimes tribunals in the Hague. If that makes me a part of the party that hates the party it has become then I declare myself guilty as charged.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        see them all at war crimes tribunals in the Hague
        Then see if Trump follows through on threats to rescue any US citizens facing the ICC.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          And guess what. He would have legal justification for doing so, courtesy of George Bush’s American Service-Members’ Protection Act, nicknamed the “Hague Invasion Act”-

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Service-Members%27_Protection_Act

          The thing is, Trump is just using the tools that were left to him and following what others have been doing. As an example, several news agencies like Reuters and AFP had stories on the 100,000 migrant children were detained in US border facilities. That is, until the UN said that these were locked up under Obama, not Trump. So these stories were deleted from the net-

          https://www.rt.com/news/473848-reuters-afp-scrub-migrant-children-story/

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            Sure. I said “Trump” because he’s the current front man, not because I think evrything was wonderful before he came along!

            Reply
    6. Katniss Everdeen

      “She [Gabbard] sort of seems to be filling a pretty strange lane….”

      Gabbard’s “lane” is not the only thing that seems “strange” here. From the Examiner article on criticism of Tulsi’s wardrobe choices:

      Yet where Friedman goes seriously, sinisterly wrong is arguing that the look isn’t working, and sinking into deranged, hypocritical attacks on the congresswoman. Friedman argues that when Hillary Clinton wore white pantsuits, it was feminist and iconic, but when Gabbard does it, she is “using her white suits to tap into another tradition, latent in the public memory: the mythical white knight, riding in to save us all from yet another ‘regime change war.’”

      It gets worse. Friedman continues that Gabbard’s white pantsuits are “the white of avenging angels and flaming swords, of somewhat combative righteousness,” and the white of “cult leaders.” Friedman writes that Gabbard’s wardrobe “has connotations of the fringe, rather than the center.”

      Setting aside the fact that such “obvious” symbolism never occurred to me, wasn’t it just this past January that all the dem women wore white to the State of the Union address in display of some sort of solidarity or other and were universally lauded for it? That group would, presumably, have included Tulsi Gabbard.

      The democrat party increasingly seems to be desperately flailing in its search for a coherent direction and it’s causing some serious whiplash. So much loud-mouthed “leadership” in the party, and nobody is able to wrestle the group back onto the straight and narrow.

      You get the impression that all these haughty, previously imperious politicians are standing in front of a wall throwing tons of mud and then arguing about what’s sticking and what isn’t. And getting plenty of that mud all over their white designer clothes in the process.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        “Trump/Obama/Bolton/Bush/etc wore a suit and tie, universally recognised as symbolising loyalty to the patriarchy.” How come we never see this?

        Reply
        1. RMO

          She’s wearing all white! The white of Tom Wolfe! Of Boss Hogg! Of Geoffrey Holder when he was in Live And Let Die… and those 70’s 7Up commercials! The white of Mr. Rourke from Fantasy Island! Run! Run for your lives, the whole world is crashing down around our ears!!!!!

          Reply
          1. kiwi

            In the fashion world, it is said to wear all white if you want to make an entrance, and it works. I thought the choice was great.

            It is a great color (or non-color) for Tulsi and goes very well with her hair and complexion. She would look great in any number of very bright, attention-getting colors.

            Reply
    7. mnm

      Chris Murphy he’s a Clinton democrat. I send him tons of emails that the dems are a Clinton party of the rich and corporations. I can’t be the only one. Once I got back an email that stated people usually contact him over spam callers and things like that.

      Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “The toxic prince: Andrew’s role as active royal over after tipping point reached”

    It seems that his behaviour has been such that few are stepping forward to defend him. Here is an article that discusses some of the stuff that he has been doing that has earned him no brownie points-

    https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity-life/royals/prince-andrews-decades-of-unpleasantness-revealed-from-huge-ego-to-divalike-meltdowns/news-story/c91a26113bbbb0fd1426b1f63ca00ee6

    I like to think that when the Queen gave him his pink slip, that a single thought passed through his mind and here it is (Note: Not Safe For Work)-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj2eix1bYrc

    Reply
    1. DJG

      Rev Kev: And yet who would have thought that a break in the case would come from the feckless Windsors? Although the prospect of presiding over Scottish independence may have concentrated Elizabeth’s and Charles’s minds.

      I note this remarkable bullet point in the Daily Mail article:

      Lawyers for Epstein’s victims called for Andrew to sit down with FBI agents and give an in-depth interview under oath ‘without delay’ with calls for Americans to head to London to speak to him if he refuses;

      Reply
        1. Bugs Bunny

          It might be fun to use the old police strategy and have 3 separate interrogation rooms with Andy Windsor in one, Slick Willy in another and Dersh in the third.

          Get em to rat each other out.

          Reply
        2. Blair Out

          So will we see the war criminal and paedophile Tony Blair next on the humiliation block?
          Funny how these people never go to jail for crimes that other gets lifetime sentences for.

          Reply
        3. Tvc15

          That would be great, but I won’t hold my breath. The FBI seem to get their marching orders from the ruling class that they are supposed to be investigating. I think the “investigations” of HRC’s server and the Kavanaugh allegations demonstrate this point. I want to see justice imposed on the ruling class, but when they write the laws and control the investigating entities I don’t have much hope it will ever happen. I’d love to be proven wrong.

          Reply
          1. Carey

            I hear you. JH Kunstler *keeps claiming* that we’re going to see high-level indictments as a result of the Durham™ and Horowitz™ investigations / whitewashes. When’s the last time that happened;
            maybe the later-pardoned Scooter™ Libby?

            Yeah, wake me up when that happens, but until it does..

            Reply
    2. bronco

      serious question , why do the people living in the UK allow the royals to exist?

      Why are there princes and queens and knights and earls anywhere in 2019?

      why aren’t they all being hung from the nearest lamp post or treelimb?

      If ever there was a glaring example of wealth inequality its the existence of the aristoracy

      How can people believe they live in a democracy if they have a picture of a friggin queen on their money?

      Reply
      1. WheresOurTeddy

        the French and Russians had the best policy toward monarchy

        In England they worst they do is take your allowance away

        Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In China, it was different, traditionally.

            (For those who are more advanced, with your indulgence, as Wikipedia is about to be quoted, as an introduction to this comment). Former kings or emperors, and their families, were usually, though not always honored in ancient China.

            From Zhou Dynasty:

            Around 1046 BC, Wen’s son Wu and his ally Jiang Ziya led an army of 45,000 men and 300 chariots across the Yellow River and defeated King Zhou of Shang at the Battle of Muye, marking the beginning of the Zhou dynasty.[d] The Zhou enfeoffed a member of the defeated Shang royal family as the Duke of Song, which was held by descendants of the Shang royal family until its end. This practice was referred to as Two Kings, Three Reverences.

            Clicking the link, Two Kings, Three Reverences takes us to another Wiki page, this time, in Chinese:

            二王三恪,又稱二賓三恪、二代三恪、三恪二王後,或單稱三恪、二王,是中國古代政治禮制,屬賓禮之一,歷代王朝分封前代王室後裔爵位,稱為二王後、三恪,給予封邑,祭祀宗廟,允許在國邑內保留其自身政治文化傳統,用以懷柔安撫,顯示本朝所承繼統緒,標明正統地位。所謂「恪」,即表尊敬之意。杜佑《通典》考證「三恪二王後」,以為封前两朝代後裔為二王後,封前三朝代後裔則稱為三恪。

            Here, 通典, at around 1.7 million words, was written around the 9th century, during the Tang Dynasty.

            Reply
      2. jrs

        I think maybe because it is better to have royals doing crazy things and being in the media 24/7 for nonsense than have a president doing crazy things and being in the media 24/7 for nonsense. It’s a far better vehicle for the projection of the public crazy. It does less harm. It’s worth the cost?

        I could live in Denmark and have royals around (yes they do too), or I could live in America and under Trump. Gee, tough decision. I mean if Trump was king (which is what he really wants to be anyway) and had very little real political power, but was a very good court jester for the media to focus on, I’d take it. We have Hollywood stars, which are our royals, but it still isn’t filling the need exactly.

        Reply
      3. shtove

        Watch the latest episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, the show that explores the ancestry of celebs. This one is with Danny Dyer, a poor eastender who dun good – chuffed as a bishop’s knickers to discover he was descended from Edward III. Along with about forty seven billion trillion others.

        The forelock tugging when he meets a co-descendant with the title of Lord is painful.

        Reply
      4. ewmayer

        “why do the people living in the UK allow the royals to exist?” — Two main reasons occur to me:

        1. It reminds them of the halcyon days of empire, when the Brits were the cat’s pajamas, the sun never set, etc. It’s not dissimilar from, say, Habsburg nostalgia in Austria, but unlike the Austrians the Brits were on the winning side of WW1, so abolishing the toxic monarchs was never forced on them by circumstance. The French make for an interesting ‘third way’ in this regard – at the same time they have plenty of empire nostalgia and ‘Napoleon’-named things, the revolution there was so ugly and bloody that the royal excesses which sparked it will be forever remembered through that lens, which precludes empire nostalgia from morphing into nostalgia for living royalty. Of course they have their own kind of modern version in form of an elite uni-and-public-service set, but that is quite different than the literal royals and peerage in the UK, which still have official legal standing by way of e.g. the house of lords and the sovereign having extraordinary (though *cough gough whitlam* ‘rarely exercised’ *cough*) powers w.r.to the governance of various former colonies including Australia and Canada, despite those nations’ pretences of being democracies.

        2. Tourism!

        Reply
      5. RMO

        Show me some convincing evidence that republics have done better for their citizens than constitutional monarchies over the last century or so, or some concrete ways that having a monarch has made Canada a substantially worse place to live than the U.S. and maybe you can convince me to see if I can get my fellow citizens to rise up.

        Reply
    3. Danny

      Interesting contrast with the Cult of Princess Diana, who shacked up with some Arab playboy after dumping Bonnie Prince Charles, the Respected One.

      Reply
  6. toshiro_mifune

    An update on a story covered in 2PM Water cooler a few weeks ago. Google’s Stadia, this is their attempt to enter the gaming market and transform games into a ‘Software as Service’ venture, went live on 19 Nov.
    So far the reviews have been…. very negative. From basic “It doesn’t work right” to more meta “Who is this thing even for?”

    https://venturebeat.com/2019/11/18/google-stadia-review-it-works-but-so-what/

    https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/11/google-stadia-might-be-gamings-future-but-in-the-present-it-looks-rough/

    Gamer’s Nexus quote “Google’s old motto was ‘Don’t be Evil’. To be fair them they had nothing about being incompetent”.

    https://youtu.be/i6dyrtnLU_w

    Reply
    1. Charger01

      Jim Sterling has been on the beat about this from the start. You also need superclass Internet connection to use it properly.

      Reply
      1. CitizenGuy

        What I like about Jim’s critique is that it goes beyond whether Stadia is a good product (it’s not). He criticizes the capitalistic policies that have rendered the US into little fiefdoms owned by monopolistic cable companies. Nobody has a fast enough Internet connection to take advantage of Stadia! What’s worse is that Google seems to honestly believe that the cable companies will simply wave away data caps for all the extra traffic Stadia generates (20-30 gigabytes per hour). It’s delusional! Here’s a link to his critique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQeMk1DTaiM&t=0s

        Jim Sterling is a game critic / journalist with a clear disdain for how capitalism has corrupted the industry.

        Reply
        1. RMO

          I found S terling through Ross Scott’s youtube videos (the reverse of the way a lot of Sterling subscribers found Ross because of his coverage of Scott’s “games as a service is fraud” videos). Yes, the important thing is not how good the product is but the seemingly insatiable corporate drive to take away ownership, control and freedom from citizens. Games aren’t the most important facet of this but it is one of them.

          Reply
    2. cnchal

      Oh no! Moar power sucking data centers to keep those zeros and ones alive, and because Google uses so much power to spy on everybody, they get a fat subsidy to boot, when they should be paying triple retail.

      Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      @ toshiro_mifune & CitizenGuy – Thanks for those links on Google’s Stadia. Jee-zuz. This stuff isn’t even beta software. Going by the number of promises for future deliveries of features, it is more like vapourware. Even if the US had the best internet on the planet with the fastest speeds there is still no reason to buy it. Just the number of externalities that you have to have to get the game going is verging on the bizarre.

      Reply
  7. Winston Smith

    Pivot/Nabokov reminds of “Bouillon de culture”, the french literary TV show hosted by Pivot. Far from being a stiff intellectual affair, it offered a variety of interesting guests and themes. One episode on champagne sticks out: a lot of the experts on the topic were french speaking brits. The success of the show rested on his passion for books.

    Reply
    1. Winston Smith

      And of course lots on wine, history, food and some football (soccer). Fight nearly broke out during a show on Napoleon when one guest declared “Napoleon, c’est Hitler”.

      Reply
    2. Off The Street

      Americans benefit from yet another French contribution, via James Lipton and The Actors Studio, inspired by Bouillon de culture.

      Reply
    1. cnchal

      Amazon being over run with Chinese seller scams. How many “””software engineers””” would it take to clean that gigantic mess up, and would Amazon be able to turn a profit if the scams were shut down?

      Shorter version. Amazon with no scam = no profit. What would the stawk price be then?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        What if a brick & mortar store such as Lowe’s or Home Depot started selling shoddy counterfeit goods that were good for the bottom line, but disastrous for public relations?

        Was it worth making an extra $5-10 on the item?

        This is a typical 1-star review of a Chinese knockoff of an Orbit water timer I received from Amazon:

        The unit did not stop the water once time period ended and it ran for hours and hours wide open. Turning it from auto to off still did not stop the water so I had to turn off the water valve. Bought June 7th 2017 and already not working right.

        I will attempt to return/exchange defective product.
        7-26-17 Being sent a replacement and will see how this one does.

        10/17/17 Replacement outlet has now also failed and flooded my yard with 1000’s of gallons of water… trying to get refund since time frame has passed for return. I have had the 2 port design and it has never failed must be a single port flaw.

        Reply
        1. bwilli123

          I’m waiting until somebody finds Amazon is the best way to ship illegal pharmaceuticals from China direct, and this then becomes public news, causing Amazon to become a little bit more pro-active in general.
          Have never heard of this being done yet, but would be surprised if it hadn’t.

          Reply
          1. katiebird

            I am almost homebound with a broken foot. And was tempted to order some acetaminophen from Amazon (very cheap and same day delivery) but backed off because 1. Stupid idea and 2. I wouldn’t have the nerve to take it. Ended up finding some in the back of a closet in the end.

            Reply
          2. Monty

            There used to be a Thai seller on there doing that. There were also a few tattle tails writing stories about how to get high on Amazon, so they clamped down on certain keywords. The stock was $1000 lower at the time, so it made no difference.

            Reply
          3. xkeyscored

            How to Buy Drugs – London Review of Books (today’s links)
            This claims the ‘dark web’ has beaten Amazon to it, with high levels of consumer satisfaction.
            The internet has dramatically improved the experience of drug buyers. The market share of a dark web outlet depends almost entirely on its online reputation. … If drugs that a buyer has paid for don’t turn up – as once happened to Liam, the Manchester student – a savvy vendor will reship the items without asking for further payment, in the hope of securing the five-star customer reviews they depend on. As a consequence, the drugs available to the informed buyer are of a higher quality than ever before. They are also safer.

            Reply
              1. Carey

                Good point.

                There *will be* a USian Perestroika, though the ruling class
                seem to think we need a Civil War first, judging from their minions’ actions.

                Reply
        2. Monty

          All the packaged stuff in Home Depot is made in the same Chinese factories as the no name stuff on Amazon. They just put a known brand on it and mark it up 400%. The quality is the same. My legit orbit brand timer solenoid has failed and flooded the yard every year for 10 years running. That’s why Home Depot sell that part on it’s own, they always get stuck.

          Reply
          1. Danny

            Home Despot sells Square D electrical panel breakers, made to cheaper standards just for sale in H.D. Do not buy anything having to do with safety at H.D.

            Reply
          2. Eclair

            Lawn sprinkler systems: My nominee for Most Aggravating Product Producing the Least Social Good that Capitalism has Persuaded Us All That We Cannot Do Without, of the Week.

            We lived with them for years in Southern California, while they blew their sprinkler heads, burst their plastic underground pipes, and turned on mysteriously at inconvenient times. Until I ripped them out, along with the lawn, and put in jade plants and bougainvillea and rosemary.

            In Colorado, same problem, except that the pipes had to be ‘blown out’ every September so they wouldn’t freeze and break, releasing hundreds of gallons of precious water. For me, the sound of Autumn became the muted roar of our neighbors’ air compressors blowing out the sprinkler systems.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              About 77 fruit trees on a drip system depend on those timers, and yeah it’s a pain having to undo them & take em’ off when it gets below freezing 3-4x a winter, but so far so good.

              Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Attempt to ‘Criminalize Basic Human Kindness’ Fails as Activist Scott Warren Found Not Guilty on All Charges”

    Could it be that when that Arizona jury found out that Trump had pardoned all those war criminals, that they thought of the insanity of finding that human rights activist Scott Warren guilty for trying to save people’s lives? The cognitive dissonance must have been too much for them hence the not guilty decision.

    Reply
      1. ewmayer

        Note that Stillfeelinthebern’s link has more subtle bit of toxicity in it, via the ending ‘/amp’. Yves/Lambert, I’m guessing/hoping you folks have some sort of “pre-publication checklist” of things to do prior to posting the daily Links? Or perhaps some sort of automated script you can run an html draft file through to scan for naughtiness of various kinds? Grepping a draft Links page for ?-as-it-occurs-in-link-tracking (that is, ? not followed by a whitespace or linefeed) and /amp would be useful additions in that regard. The one bit of trickiness related to ? in links is that some URLs (e.g. Youtube videos) need the stuff following the ?, but given a list of ‘suspect links’ flagged by such a filter, it’s very easy for a human to separate the ones needing the ? form those using it for tracking. (And in case of doubt, easy to simply try the edited-to-remove-?… link in one’s browser).

        But in any event, we appreciate the hard work you folks do, and are happy to help catch any crud that slips through!

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          No, we all do things on the fly, by memory. I strip out the tracker garbage when I insert the link, which is what I assume Lambert and Jerri do. Tracker garbage also occurs after # in URLs too, BTW.

          Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Not really sure what to make of this latest defense of biden’s poor debate performances, so I’ll just put it out there. Evidently it’s not age-related feeble mindedness that accounts for his lack of verbal acuity, it’s that he stutters, and has since he was a child.

      I have to confess, the words craven, painful and “Oh, brother!” did come to mind. Articles have been written, in “better times” for uncle joe, that have touted his conquest of this malady as evidence of his hardscrabble grit and determination. Whatever works, I guess.

      Here is the Atlantic article, written by a person who stutters:

      https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/joe-biden-stutter-profile/602401/

      And here is a rather painful interview with its author illustrating the, IMHO, dubious point:

      https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/author-on-interview-with-biden-over-shared-experience-of-stuttering/vi-BBXbHix

      I almost wonder if this is not some attempt to goad the eminently goadable president into another episode of “mocking” the “differently abled.”

      Reply
      1. Odrot

        The greatest orator of his time (Demosthenes) stuttered horribly, but overcame it totally. If Biden had practised with pebbles (instead of Strom Thurmonds pe..er) in his mouth he might have better learned how to perform on stage.

        Reply
        1. RMO

          Churchill stuttered too (in the opinion of quite a few speech therapists) … Whatever else people think of him, most agree he was a good orator.

          And he didn’t plagiarize Neil Kinnock.

          I have a friend who had to go through quite a bit of therapy for his stuttering. Unlike Biden the stuttering, even when he had it, didn’t stop him from forming coherent arguments and expressing them.

          Reply
    1. jef

      Not sure the loon would.

      I contacted the wildlife rescue center in the area recently to ask about what I could do about the fact that I have lost dozens of chickens and ducks to predators. Everything from raptors, coyotes, racoons, weezels, skunks, etc.

      They said that there is an imbalance of predators but I am not allowed to do anything about it except keep my birds in a secure cage at all times and that hatching rates in the wild were way down too. I asked if this was just the seasonal norm and she said it used to be but now it is year around.

      I have used chicken tractors before but they are problematic for my property and the ducks can never be fully enclosed.

      Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    As Rents Outrun Pay, California Families Live on a Knife’s Edge NYT
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    When we moved here 15 years ago, every week in the local newspaper there would be 4 to 6 homes for rent from $800 to $1500 a month, and at the time in LA we’d be talking more like $2500 to $3500 a month, to give you an idea.

    Now there are no long term rentals, and each of those homes will fetch between $6k to $9k per month as short term vacation rentals from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

    The Superintendent for Sequoia NP spoke at our town hall meeting, and told us she couldn’t get qualified people to work here, because the nearest rentals are in Visalia, and parkies don’t want to live in a city and commute an hour to work.

    Reply
    1. Danny

      Any connection statewide? We cannot, and would not want to, build our way out of this situation caused by the decisions of our so called leaders.
      “California is home to almost 11 million immigrants—about a quarter of the foreign-born population nationwide. In 2017, the most current year of data, 27% of California’s population was foreign born, more than double the percentage in the rest of the country. Foreign-born residents represented at least one-third of the population in five California counties: Santa Clara (39%), San Francisco (36%), San Mateo (35%), Los Angeles (34%), and Alameda (33%). Half of California children have at least one immigrant parent.

      https://www.ppic.org/publication/immigrants-in-california/

      Reply
      1. Eclair

        My Native American friends are with you on this, Danny. Except their estimate of the number of ‘immigrants’ and their descendants is …. oh, about 98% of the US population.

        Reply
    2. Bugs Bunny

      The answer my friend, is outlawing short term rentals, except in dedicated buildings.

      We could call them “hotels”.

      But rice bowls.

      Reply
  10. diptherio

    I Bought an Elephant to Find Out How to Save Them

    The best way to save an elephant is to slice them up real thin and put them in a food dehydrator for 2-3 days. Then place in an air-tight container and store in a dark, cool place, and your elephants should be good for several years. [ducks]

    Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “Why you shouldn’t use your phone to shop online”

    Unmentioned is the security risk of using a desktop computer versus a mobile phone for shopping online. I have serious qualms about trying to access my bank account from my mobile but then again, I am a Luddite when it comes to digital security.

    Reply
    1. The Historian

      The No. 1 rule about digital security is: There isn’t any digital security. It’s a farce to make you feel better.

      A few of the people who have released my information, including my security clearance information, into the wild in the past 10 years:
      Department of Energy
      Office of Personnel Management
      Target
      Equifax

      and I still get notifications from smaller companies that they’ve had a security breach. No, nothing about my private life, or yours, is private any more.

      Reply
      1. Jokerstein

        It’s safe to assume that pretty much all your private information is available to the bad guys, including SSN.

        That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t make life harder for them.

        1. Freeze your credit. It’s now free with all the big three (Equifax, Transunion, Experian).
        2. Use two-factor/multi-factor authentication wherever possible for important accounts (avoid SMS confirmation if there is another method, but use it if it is the only one).
        3. Never take the opportunity to authorize a machine to log on WITHOUT repeating two-factor auth.

        Check out Krebs on Security – it’s a really great and relatively accessible security resource.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          I don’t like two factor authentication because they want your cell phone # which I refuse to give out. I put in my landline when political donation sites ask for my cell as the only # they want.

          Reply
  12. zagonostra

    >St. Augustine

    Such is life in the U.S. as captured in Augustine’s quote below – It’s just that the Democrats and the Republicans are squabbling over how to divide the “plunder” extracted from the 99%.

    Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale?… A gang is a group of men… in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention.

    One more quote that fits nicely…

    What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      Criminal gangs, from La Cosa Nostra to ISIS, usually have their version of justice, too.
      I’ve long wondered what differentiates states from gangs. Years of on-and-off thought on this topic have only reinforced my original intuition – not a lot.

      Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Perhaps, though the Koreans* might think otherwise

                *one of them, Rikidozan, who in the 50s’ and 60’s when Japan needed a hero, was constantly beating up American pro wrestlers in ‘Puroresu’ matches. He was murdered by the Yakuza.

                Reply
  13. DJG

    The NYTimes deals goes ultra-McCarthyist. Today’s deck on the main story:

    The former top White House aide denounced a theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, as she tied the president’s pressure campaign to Russian efforts to sow political divisions in America.

    This is fan-club internal politics. No, no, no, Ukraine isn’t part of the axis of evil. And, somehow, a country with a tenuous hold on reality and on “the rule of law” (a term much in use these days, let’s note), that is, Ukraine, is a major U.S. ally. Along with, ohhhhh, Moldova (?).

    It is highly unlikely that impeachment and removal will result from what is turning into a graduate school seminar by paranoids with proverbial axes to grind. (And, probably, too many hours watching Game of Thrones.) And everyone knows that conspiracy trials pretty much regularly fail in the U S of A, so we may get impeachment–but removal? The Senate conducting a trial?

    So: The hypothesis that some people have floated, that the regular Democrats are trying to paralyze the presidential primaries (read: Bernie Sanders), may have seemed too foily. But what other explanation can there be at this point?

    Besides internal politics among fan clubs, that is.

    Reply
    1. Eclair

      Well, DJG, with all eyes glued to the impeachment hearings, no one is talking about, much less developing and implementing policies to deal with our rapidly warming Planet. I would feel reassured if the Democratic Establishment were actually planning on addressing inequality, deaths of despair, miserable health care system, decaying cities and reining in the fossil fuel and extraction interests as well as corporate monopolies, once Donald was set aside. But, alas, I fear they will implement Trump Lite.

      Reply
    2. jrs

      The debates aren’t even getting viewership lately, way down. They are what they are. But it sure props up Biden, I mean regardless of policy, you can’t see Biden in action and think “yea this is who I want to take on Trump”

      Reply
    1. Another Scott

      So we have two presidential candidates who believe a coup happened in Bolivia, and the rest didn’t. It sounds like it’s an area of disagreement within the party. If only there was an opportunity where all the candidates are gathered with a panel of journalist asking them questions.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        If only there was an opportunity where all the candidates are gathered with a panel of indigenous Bolivian peasants confronting them on their policies. With a bit more than just questions.

        Reply
    2. WheresOurTeddy

      yet another instance where Bernie is light years ahead of everyone else, Tulsi gets there eventually, and everyone else is hot garbage

      Reply
      1. Off The Street

        SoCal has its own experience with hot garbage. At face value, that means trash truck loads dumped once the flames got noticed by motorists who alerted the driver.

        Politics and landfills, toxic runoff to go.

        Reply
    3. jrs

      Good. I thought she was avoiding this one to avoid offending those not on the left, but um people who don’t want to deal with the reality of latin america and u.s. imperialism um … they can’t handle the truth? So good she came out on this (hopefully not after doing market research …)

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Make BNO Hongkongers full British citizens, Boris Johnson urged by top political figures as UK election approaches”

    The West to Hong Kong rioters: “We support your fight for freedom and justice against the Chinese Communist Party”

    Hong Kong Rioters to the West: “Our campaign of violence is failing. We wish to apply for asylum to avoid retribution against us.”

    The West to Hong Kong rioters: “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Let’s not go getting crazy here.”

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not all BNO Hongkongers are protesters, much less rioters.

      And a British citizenship is desirable for a lot of people, in many places.

      Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    After years of investigations, Trump charged with bribery, fraud, breach of trust MondoWeiss
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Ok, so I changed a word on the headline, about a leader who accomplished everything he wanted before his swan song, with the final hurdle being that we gave illegal settlements our blessing.

    Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Report: Sacklers using fake doctors, false marketing to sell OxyContin in China”

    Hard to understand if the Sacklers are that greedy or merely plain stupid. In China, there are 46 criminal offenses eligible for the death penalty including white collar crimes. You can be on the chopping block for crimes like corruption, fraud, illegal fund raising, etc. but more to the point, they execute people for economic crimes like ‘Seriously endangering public safety (broadly construed)’ and the ‘Production or sale of counterfeit medicine’-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_offences_in_China#Economic_crimes

    Reply
    1. Monty

      That was the first thing I thought when I read about that too. It would be poetic if they did come a cropper and get punished over there! Here’s hoping!

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Knowing how the Sacklers operate, they’d negotiate payment down a hangnail on a pinkie finger being excised, as payment for manslaughter (what a weird word, looks like mans’ laughter) of Mandarins.

        Reply
    2. xkeyscored

      Greed rather than stupidity, I’d guess. China would have to get hold of the Sacklers to execute them.
      Interesting that an unregulated drug market doesn’t need to resort to fake doctors or marketing. “The internet has dramatically improved the experience of drug buyers. The market share of a dark web outlet depends almost entirely on its online reputation. Just as on Amazon or eBay, customer reviews will describe the quality of purchased products as well as reporting on shipping time and the responsiveness of vendors to queries or complaints.” – How to Buy Drugs London Review of Books

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        If you are traveling to or within Asia, you are at risk of your plane being diverted to an airport in China due to weather or other factors.

        We linked to this China Law Blog post recently. It describes what regularly happens if you merely decide to take your business out of China or merely threaten to take it away from a particular Chinese supplier. Notice the lawyers stress risk to persons and the difficulty of being sure you won’t wind up accidentally in China:

        https://www.chinalawblog.com/2019/11/the-right-way-to-reduce-your-china-product-costs.html

        Reply
    3. WheresOurTeddy

      I support the extradition to China of the Sacklers and all applicable company executives for crimes against the sovereign nation of China and her noble population. Let justice be done.

      Reply
    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Billionaires in China can perhaps offer ours some advice.

      “Make sure you’re on side of the current power.”

      There is no guarantee Beijing will do what progressives here want.

      And that is the point to remember. If we want to reform the US, see a more progressive America, talking about more Eurasia heartland alliance, or more powerful weapons, costing much less, thus more can be manufactured, is not a sure way to Nirvana.

      Those who wish will have to do the heavy lifting, and not outsiders.

      Reply
  17. Eclair

    RE: Caitlin Johntone’s Advancing Propaganda for Evil Agendas is the Same as Perpetrating Them ..

    This: “Before they launch missiles, they launch narratives. Before they drop bombs, they drop ideas. Before they invade, they propagandize. Before the killing, there is manipulation. Narrative control is the front line of all imperialist agendas, and it is therefore the front line of all anti-imperialist efforts. When you forcefully oppose these agendas, that matters, because you’re keeping the public from being propagandized into consenting to them. When you forcefully facilitate those agendas, that matters, because you’re actively paving the way for them.”

    Reply
    1. inode_buddha

      I have yet to find any one making less than $150 k per anum who can even think about saving like that. And that would be in a low-cost area, not likely to find that sort of combination there.

      Reply
    2. xkeyscored

      Why save your money when he’ll pay you to be there?

      Many of his employees have foreign passports.
      Romanians serve dinner in lavish banquet halls. South Africans tend to guests at the spa. Britons bake elegant pastries. …
      But that’s only part of the Trump resort work force in South Florida.
      Alongside the foreign guest workers and the sizable American staff is another category of employees, mostly those who work on the pair of lush golf courses near Mar-a-Lago. Not offered apartments, they have been picked up by Trump contractors from groups of undocumented laborers at the side of the road; hired through staffing companies that assume responsibility for checking their immigration status; or brought onto the payroll with little apparent scrutiny of their Social Security cards and green cards, some of which are fake.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/09/us/mar-a-lago-undocumented-workers.html

      Reply
    3. Yves Smith

      If you are a live-in in NYC where competition for good nannies and housekeepers is fierce. As in not paying rent is the only way this is conceivable, and outside of places where the employers have to be nice to the help to keep them, it has to be terrible (and even where the clients have to be nice, not having distance from your employers is still very taxing).

      Reply
  18. Summer

    Re: The Road Toward a Greater Eurasia

    Where’s the divide really? They are all ultimately talking about the same thing within the same frame: the primacy of commerce over people. The divide remaining is the binary choice between the USA’s system of control or China’s. They’ve assigned themselves the roles as arbiters of that simple minded binary.

    Reply
  19. Wukchumni

    The Western Divide Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest is preparing to implement several prescribed burns on Federal lands as early as conditions allow. The prescribed burns are an important part of the overall forest restoration strategy and will include both pile burning and broadcast burning.

    There are many benefits associated with prescribed burning. The burns consume material on the ground, open up space for regeneration to occur, and return nutrients to the soil which supports regeneration. This activity enhances wildlife habitat and improves watershed conditions. The resulting healthier forest is more resilient to future threats. Prescribed burns also help protect communities by reducing fuel loads and fuel continuity around the community, lowering the risk of a high-severity wildfire.

    https://www.recorderonline.com/news/prescribed-burning-begins-above-springville/article_abefb388-0bae-11ea-836c-f3e7a45eb036.html
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I’d like to see more of this, and the weather forecast calls for 6 days of rain/snow starting on Tuesday, which will do all the heavy lifting as far as extinguishing the prescribed burns.

    Reply
  20. Danny

    “A union of 60,000 aviation workers warned of more disasters like the 737 Max…”

    If it’s OK per the globalists to maintain U.S. aircraft in places like El Salvador or China- to save money, then why isn’t it OK to house long term U.S. prisoners in those place– to save the high cost of incarceration in the U.S.?

    I’m sure the Democrats who have given away U.S. jobs and hammered down wages with immigration and the gratuitous cross border movement of people could have no objections to what the prison guard unions think, nor to the culturally enriching mixing of prisoners with say, Mongolian or Burmese guards. Bonus points for diversity, the prisoners would learn a foreign language and could appreciate novel cuisine.

    As to electronic health records failing; they probably couldn’t figure out how to make money off the patients along the way.

    Electric cars? I would definitely buy one when the price point approaches a standard gas vehicle of the same cargo capacity and overall cost and it can be charged with a standard 120v, or 220v wall plug.

    Reply
  21. WJ

    Several of the links today as well as the discussion emerging in the comments bring me back to a post by Yves earlier this week on “Why Aren’t Americans Rising Up Like the People of Chile and Lebanon?,” and especially to this point made by scarn in the ensuing thread, which seems to me to hit the nail on the head:

    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/11/why-arent-americans-rising-up-like-the-people-of-chile-and-lebanon.html#comment-3245165

    scarn’s analysis leads me to forward a more general hypothesis, which I was hoping some others here might be able to refine, correct, modify, refute, etc., as they think needed.

    Why is it the case that the citizens of every one of the United States’ client states/allies in the “Western” world–I mean those in the Five Eyes, the major NATO players, and Israel–enjoy free healthcare, stronger job security, more secure retirements, better public education at the primary level, cheaper education at the university level, greater longevity (trending), etc. than do the citizens of the United States itself? Why should this be the case when, conversely, the military and financial institutions of the United States are recognized as enjoying an obvious primacy in relation to these other states?

    Could it be the case that the US’s military and financial primacy on the international scene *requires* and *depends upon* the comparatively high degree of material insecurity to which its citizens are subjected on the domestic level?

    Could it be that the reason why US citizens can’t have Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, a unionized work force, a non-militarized police force, and debt-free education is because giving them these things would afford them the material freedom to engage in collective political action–i.e. in protests and marches and the like? For by undertaking such action the US citizenry might come to exercise some degree of *real* power over US military and financial institutions. But because this would likely spell the end of the US Empire, it can never be allowed to happen.

    Australians, Canadians, Germans, the French–all these citizens can be afforded a degree of material freedom, and hence comparatively greater rates of political participation via protests, etc.–that US citizens must never be allowed. For no political action undertaken by these foreign citizens can ever truly endanger the military and financial institutions of the US. Only the political action of US citizens could do that.

    This hypothesis, if correct, might also have a bearing on those three famous assassinations of the 1960s…

    Reply
    1. jrs

      Sure it’s repression but relative to what? To much of Europe maybe. I mean I’m not sure what subtle oppressive measures exist there and the U.S. it can be subtle. I mean sure you can be Julian Assange in full on persecution from the U.S. govt. But also you can have your ability to work ruined and die in a gutter much less ceremoniously.

      But is the U.S. actually repressive relative to parts of Latin America? Really? Many countries the killing people for protesting the government is plenty more overt. So it’s at most a partial explanation for the lack of real resistance.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I would add that there were protests here in the ’60s.

        So, there is the time element, with the country evolving/changing. If it happened before, it could again, perhaps.

        And compared to Rome, citizenship at the core is similarly sought after by those from the provinces or client states, and more than the Romans, also desired by people from competing powers*.

        *Not familiar with migrants from Parthia wanting to move to Rome.

        Reply
        1. Adam Eran

          Federal funding of higher education has diminished 55% since 1972. This makes for a generation of (educated?) debt peons, furthering the insecurity. When I posted this previously, other commenters mentioned that the state cuts have dwarfed federal ones.

          Reply
    1. integer

      From the article:

      …people like William Taylor, Fiona Hill, Marie Yovanovitch, or George Kent have nothing to gain personally from the testimony they are now providing to Congress.

      Those people are all rabid anti-Russia ideologues whose beliefs and livelihoods are threatened by Trump’s disinterest in using Ukraine as a platform to undermine Russia’s national security and economic interests. Walt probably felt the need to write the article after getting some disapproving looks and cold shoulders from his TDS-afflicted colleagues in the hallways of Harvard lol.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > nothing to gain personally

        Except for their careers, their consulting contracts, their seats on boards, their book deals, and whatever they’ll make as talking heads. And of course the GoFundMe’s.

        Reply

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