Links 11/9/19

Russian goat who made unlikely friends with tiger dies PhysOrg (Robert M)

House Plants Have Little Effect on Indoor Air Quality, Study Concludes New Atlas

The Carbon Bomb Scientific American (David L)

How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong New York Times (Eugene L, David L)

The fusion energy dream is inching toward planet-saving reality Washington Post (David L)

CDC announces breakthrough in vaping lung injury investigation The Verge

The world’s first Gattaca baby tests are finally here MIT Technology Review


Trump Says U.S. Hasn’t Yet Agreed to Roll Back Tariffs as Part of China Trade Deal Wall Street Journal

In China, Shutterstock Censors Hong Kong and Other Searches Intercept

China’s pork imports may hit record 4.6 million tonnes in 2020: Rabobank Reuters (TP)

All the international brands that have apologized to China SupChina (resilc)


Revealed: private surgery for NHS patients soars under Tories Guardian (resilc)

General election poll of polls: Boris Johnson on course for 96-seat majority Telegraph. Recall the polls predicted IIRC a 30-40 seat Tory majority for Theresa May’s snap election. Having said that, I have no idea if they’ve improved their methodology since then.

Lord Ashcroft: My focus groups in three heavily remain-voting Liberal Democrat targets Conservative Home. A snapshot of sentiment.

Boris Johnson accused of misleading the public over his Brexit deal in Northern Ireland Guardian

Moody’s lowers UK credit outlook to negative on Brexit ‘paralysis’ Financial Times

Britain’s premier election debates won’t include parties opposed to Brexit CNN

Jail terms for 13 bankers over Monte Paschi scandal Financial Times

Greece tells MEPs: Migration on islands “explosive, beyond manageable capacity” Defend Democracy Press (furzy)

Brazil’s former president Lula walks free from prison after supreme court ruling Guardian

New Cold War

Interview with Mikhail Gorbachev: ‘It Was Impossible To Go On Living Like Before’ Der Spiegel

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

UAW-Ford contract gives green light for stepped up monitoring of workers WSWS

The Next Freakout: Foreign Spies in Surveillance Valley! Yasha Levine

Imperial Collapse Watch

The “Deep State” Is a Political Party New Republic (resilc)

Trump Transition

ICE and complicity JWZ (resilc)

Steve Bannon: Roger Stone was our unused WikiLeaks ‘access point’ Politico

The Untold Story Of How Clinton’s Budget Destroyed The American Economy Business Insider

Is This Man Social Security’s Unlikely Rescuer? American Prospect (resilc)

Secret chats involving Republican lawmaker reveal fresh evidence of plots and paranoia Guardian (Chuck L)

They Are Racist; Some of Them Have Guns. Inside the White Supremacist Group Hiding in Plain Sight. ProPublica (furzy)


Democrats aim to impeach Trump by Christmas The Hill

This Is No Ordinary Impeachment Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine (resilc)

New transcripts tie Mulvaney to quid pro quo effort The Hill


A Dem for All Seasons? New York Review of Books (resilc)

Does her healthcare plan make Warren too liberal to win? Los Angeles Times. JTM: “All the news we’re told to print.”

Our Famously Free Press

Megyn Kelly interviews Producer fired for Leaking ABC Amy Robach hot mic about Jeffrey Epstein story YouTube. BC: “So, ABC sat in the Epstein story for three years because it did not meet “journalistic standards” (despite first hand testimony, photo corroboration, and other women with similar stories) , but there is no problem with reaching across TWO separate networks to fire someone based on suspicion?”

Sioux tribes amplify calls against pipelines after Keystone spills 383,040 gallons Grand Forks Herald (furzy)

737 Max

Southwest pulls Boeing Max jets until March, nearly a year after grounding Reuters (resilc)

Boeing 737 Max: How Deregulation Kills People (Chuck L)

WeWork’s Adam Neumann sued over $1.7bn package BBC

EU’s Vestager says Google’s antitrust proposal not helping shopping rivals Reuters

PG&E Bankruptcy Protections Could Mean Less Money for Wildfire Victims Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

MUSEUM OF NEOLIBERALISM Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives (lb)

What’s Best for the Children of Vermonters With Opioid-Use Disorder? Seven Days Vermont (resilc)

More than a third of millennials approve of communism, YouGov poll indicates Independent

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus (Richard Smith):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. noonespecial

    Re: Fires in the Amazon

    “President Jair Bolsonaro decided to make yet another controversial [dim?] move by allowing for the expansion of sugar farming in the planet’s biggest rainforest. Bolsonaro annulled a 10-year-old regulation that had banned the expansion of sugar-cane planted in the Amazon, in a wetland savanna known as Pantanal, and in indigenous and reforested areas, according to a resolution published in the country’s official gazette on Wednesday, local time.”

    NC readers will rightly speculate that private investors outside of Brazil have a hand in wanting more sugar for their coffee.

    *bold word is my edit.

      1. davidgmillsatty

        If they are making biochar like the ancient Amerindians did, it is a positive thing not a bad thing.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Does anyone have any evidence that they are? It would really surprise me if they are, but if anyone has any non-fake evidence, they could always bring it here.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Of course you have to crank in the factor that life expectancy is now decreasing every year. Sort of like a deflation.

          1. Procopius

            Well, it’s a class thing. Professional/managerial class, life expectancy is still increasing. It’s the working class, and especiall white working class, particularly white working class males, whose life expectancy is decreasing. Back when Obama was trying to foist his “Grand Bargain” on us, somebody pointed out that the story was that we had to make janitors work longer because lawyers are living longer.

            1. petal

              My father died from cancer less than 2 months after turning 64. The medical bills forced me to leave Cornell as they refused to re-do my financial aid. His brother died at 31 from a heart condition. My cousin died last month(early 50s), my SIL at 54 2 years ago. My family is blue collar and have worked hard all their lives. So you can imagine the disdain I read that with.

    1. hunkerdown

      It’s an ironic, modest proposal. It shows well how much of deficit hawkery is just concern trolling.

      If even that expense proves too much for the deficit hawks to handle, then maybe we can move up the age of eligibility by one month or one week. At that point, we’re talking about the cost of a few weekends for Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

      “What do we want?”
      “Medicare for a Few More!”
      “When do we want it?”
      “After Warren gets out of office!”

  2. petal

    I know at this point it’s kind of old, but while looking for a video of Warren at Dartmouth, I found a video of Biden answering questions at his health care town hall that I wrote about. Will keep looking for Warren video.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “The world’s first Gattaca baby tests are finally here”

    And in an act of irony while reading this article, which film should I happen to be watching but – “Gattaca”. This is a supremely under-rated film about how this technology could all play out and I can recommend watching it. Hey, it even has cars that you plug in and charge each night. This is how this technology might play out in real life-

    But the way that it will play out is that only the wealthy will be able to afford to do this. But they will be chagrined to discover that their progeny will not be able to buy their way to the top if they do not have the “right” DNA. On the Wikipedia article on this film, the bioethicist James Hughes criticized this film and said that society could develop genetic information privacy laws to mitigate discrimination based on DNA but the film makes clear at the beginning that these were just a bad joke in that society.

    1. Harold

      Just reading quickly, it seems to me that the criticism by Hughes is given undue weight and not presented in the encyclopedic tone required by Wikipedia.

      1. ambrit

        Wikipedia has a problem with ‘issue oriented’ editors rewriting articles to push various agendas. This sounds like a case of that.
        “Who watches the watchers.”

        1. davidgmillsatty

          That is putting it mildly. My granddaughter was been taught by the sixth grade that Wikipedia is not a reliable source.

          1. JBird4049

            The one good thing about Wikipedia is the list of sources that many articles have. There might be a problem with the spin, but the sources can help.

  4. rkka

    Re the Clinton surpluses, one factor they leave out is how Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan repeatedly raised interest rates while Campaign 2000 was going on, despite the surpluses. It’s almost as if he was deliberately tanking the economy.

    1. notabanker

      It’s quite interesting that it has taken 20 years for MMT to become mainstream, without calling it MMT of course.

      I wonder if anyone, or anything, will be left in 20 years to write about how healthcare became such a drag on the private sector that the government had to step in and fund it.

      1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        Healthcare (sic) Drag Step-in.

        It will probably take a war. In the UK it took the Second World War. After the First World War the returning soldiers were promised a country fit for heroes by Lloyd George which was not delivered. Churchill was of a similar ilk and was ousted in the general election at the end of WW2 because of the undelivered promise by the Liberals who counted Churchill as a sometime member.

        And so the NHS was a war-baby of which the Right has never accepted legitimacy. Aside from anything else it was not their invention and therefore was dis-owned by the first unwritten rule of power-politics. They continue to give it lip-service in order to get elected. They chip away at the National Health Service – exposing it to the market in a manner that echoes the Romans’ tactic of “exposing” their unwanted babies in the great outdoors.

        nb The Incredible Sulk is steeped in the language of the Romans: Latin.


        ps I know that this is not the correct use of “sic” but it is apt.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      He also kept rates too high during Bush the Senior’s prez run, so at least he was evenhanded. We wrote how Clinton and Gore came to an “understanding” with Greenspan and reappointed him.

      If nothing else, the nutty stock market was reason to tap the brakes. Mind you, I’m no Greenspan fan, but Gore ran a really tepid campaign and was unsure as to how to position himself re Clinton, and that issue was often in the press and distracted attention from his campaign.

  5. cnchal

    Whenever I read ‘asset manager’ my mind thinks ‘asset stripper’. They got their billions by taking everything possible..

    Bernie Sanders: “The business of Wall Street is fraud and greed”.

    1. John

      Asset manager:(1) one who toys with the lives of others (2) one whose eye is blinded by greed to the result of his actions

      1. xkeyscored

        Just as much a death dealer! From the OED, mortgage:
        [a. OF. mortgage (13th c.) lit. ‘dead pledge’ (see mort a. and gage n.): whence med.L. mortuum vadium and mor(t)gagium.
           For the explanation of the etymological meaning of the term current among 17th c. lawyers, see the following quot.
           1628 Coke On Litt. 205 It seemeth that the cause why it is called mortgage is, for that it is doubtful whether the Feoffor will pay at the day limited such summe or not, & if he doth not pay, then the Land which is put in pledge vpon condition for the payment of the money, is taken from him for euer, and so dead to him vpon condition, &c. And if he doth pay the money, then the pledge is dead as to the Tenant, &c.]

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      never forget: we almost elected to the presidency the Mormon version of Richard Gere’s corporate raider character from Pretty Woman

  6. xkeyscored

    How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong New York Times
    A very misleading title, and the rest of the article furthers the idea.
    True, many scientists, and especially the IPCC, made rather conservative predictions back in the 1990s. But they basically got it right. It is industry, politicians, and the rest of us who chose to blithely ignore all warnings and instead continue pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    1. davidgmillsatty

      It is beginning to be a serious debate about whether they got it right. Too much massage of the data. For a reality check, go luck up your state’s highest recorded temperature. And then ask yourself how can this be? For example, we have not come close to breaking the record temperature set in Death Valley in the 1930’s. And then go look at the record temperatures of your state. Did the mercury thermometer change or was it something else?

  7. xkeyscored

    Boeing 737 Max: How Deregulation Kills People
    The article expresses surprise that deregulation kills people. It even concludes with this: “My question here is simple: Who besides the mavens in the White House thinks that stripping away regulation from oversight responsibilities in the environment, health and transportation actually believes that we are safer?” which appears to imply that deregulation is meant to ensure safety. This is news to me. I thought it was all about allowing capital a free hand to pursue profits, and the hell with safety. Could Schwadron (the author) provide any reasoning or evidence for this extraordinary claim, and if so, why not provide it or link to it in the article?

    1. kiwi

      I personally believe regulations can be made more efficient and effective. But that obviously depends on the reg involved, and I have never seen specifically where the deregulation touted by the WH ties directly to various business owners who say reduced regulation has helped them. I know some environmental regs have been rescinded…I guess that might affect energy.

      But I love the way people are tying Boeing to Trump when Trump had nothing to do with Boeing’s manufacturing and probably nothing to do with any regulations affecting its manufacturing. Maybe Trump has some stock and called up the CEO years ago and said, “now, those airplanes really don’t need that tiny part, do they, and don’t spend so much money on software, okay?”

      1. davidgmillsatty

        A pilot friend of mine, a captain for United, tells me that the FAA is 10,000 inspectors short. There is no doubt that most of that shortage occurred before Trump.

        Many other countries now consider the FAA to be a joke. They no longer look to the FAA as a regulative body to be trusted.

        1. epynonymous

          you ever go to the National Air and Space Museum located right next to the FAA headquarters in D.C.?

          Very questionable history there.

  8. notabanker

    Deep State is a political party:
    CIA Director John Brennan (“the worst CIA Director in our country’s history,” according to Donald Trump)

    The last Useful Idiots podcast interviewed John Kiriakou and he had an interesting perspective on the rise of Brennan about 56:20 in. The whole interview is worth listening to, recommended.

    1. Mike

      My main concern with Kiriakou is his presentation of “the deep state” as the “federal bureaucracy”. I think this is a misdirection ploy that leads us away from a true analysis of what the term means. I do not like the term itself because it takes away any class basis for such a grouping, and is conspiratorial at its heart, when we need to know that our system has evolved (devolved?), quite in keeping with its nature, into an authoritarian elitism that relies on corporate, media, and financial operatives who must run the austerity and secrecy measures needed for the system, which is in crisis and must steal from us to survive, to continue without interference or profit loss. To narrow this to “federales” is an error and a classic misdirection away from a true analysis.

      1. Hopelb

        I think you nailed the present state of enterprise corruption here,” who must run the austerity and secrecy measures needed for the system, which is in crisis and must steal from us to survive, to continue without interference or profit loss. ”

      1. JBird40049

        Ah, but saying the truth will have you marked as treasonous and seditious, which the “news”’media will loudly support.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Democrats aim to impeach Trump by Christmas”

    In other news for events bound to happen before Christmas, the Boeing 737 MAX will be cleared to fly throughout the world, fusion energy reactors will be set to go onto mass production and the UK finally Brexits the European Union.

    1. anon in so cal

      Democrats are apparently pinning their hopes on possible testimony from arch NeoCon John Bolton, an architect of the US war on Iraq who advocates for preemptive US military strikes on North Korea and Iran, and wants troops on Russia’s border.

      1. Monty

        You never know your luck. If he really has beans to spill, he might get Epstein’d before he gets his chance. I wonder if the media would find it suspicious at all? He should certainly avoid helicopters, light aircraft, french chauffeurs, kayaks, communal showers, hanging Christmas lights, getting poked with umbrellas and such, until his testimony is in the book.

    2. Ignim Brites

      Wasn’t this supposed to happen before Thanksgiving? A more plausible story would be headlined “Pelosi expects impeachment to collapse before Christmas”. With Willie Brown leading the charge Baby Schiff is completely outclassed.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      Wrong holiday. Yom Kippur would better fit the Democrats’ apparent need to use Donald Trump as the scapegoat. Dems would surely avoid actually touching the Donald (too “EWWwwww!” I sure) and need only mention him along with using one of the accepted epithets. Once we’re rid of Trump, we will be again be at one with the universe as we were back in the halycon days of Obama the Holy.

    4. JohnnyGL

      The way the whole impeachment saga is unfolding thus far….narrow grounds for impeachment pursued by dem leadership…anonymous whistleblower who’s still employed at CIA…Bolton as star witness….closed door hearings led by the rotten Adam Schiff…

      This is looking more like a neo-con mutiny than anything else.

    1. John

      Vaping: what do you need to know beyond don’t do it?
      Easy for me to say? Yes. I smoked for thirty years stopped cold and eighteen years later, I had lung cancer, which happily I survived. That vaping is less harmful than smoking in the long run is as yet unproven. In the short run it has a downside that even smoking did not have… or so it seems to me.

      1. Monty

        Vaping: what do you need to know beyond don’t do it?

        Perhaps you could try reading the article to find out?

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Outstanding article! I’ve been following the vaping stories but this is head and shoulders above anything in the mass media.

      I had two exposures to this kind of vaping. One was outstanding but the next was horrible, and I told my friend to throw away whatever he had just bought. I’m sure it was cut with vitamin e oil after reading this article.

      Today’s pot is plenty strong enough, far stronger than hash used to be. Vaping with a rig is dangerous (if your vaping doesn’t involve an oil ‘rig’, you’re not at risk for any of this).

    3. scarn

      Great reporting. If you vape legal THC oil, only use known brand cartridges sealed in box with testing info printed on them. Myself, I would avoid the “generic” cartridges some of the bigger merchants have started offering.

        1. Monty

          Because carrying it surrounds you with a tell tale odor that draws unwanted attention. The cartridges don’t have that pungent aroma, so they are low profile and SFW ;-)

  10. ptb

    In a solar-generation climate zone, that solves the problem of timing mismatch, but it means you increase the peak load for electric service in the workplace, have to upgrade the transmission to get it there, double the number of chargers required (you will still want chargers available at or near home).

    (In a wind-generation climate, there may be no benefit at all, but I realize that’s not what started this discussion).

    As mentioned in the other post, I would humbly suggest we take a lesson from the rest of the world, and stop doing suburban commute (currently the biggest use of vehicle miles) with single occupancy vehicles. It’s called a park-and-ride. Or a bus. They come in electric too, costs less to deploy per person-mile, saves not just energy but road space, reduces traffic, gives you back the hours you spend each week staring at random people’s bumbers, etc etc etc.

    1. ptb

      To: moderators
      hmm comment above was in reply to xkeyscored, whose comment somehow ended up here but just disappered

      1. xkeyscored

        Sorry, here’s the comment again (it was meant for The One Metric That Matters For Electric Cars, where I transferred it):
        re Joe Well, But how do you deal with the mismatch of solar energy and cars charging at home at night?
        Why recharge them at home at night? Many cars are driven into cities during the day, where they are concentrated in small areas, making the provision of recharging facilities easier, precisely when the sun is shining. That would appear to be the obvious time to charge them, assuming we’re going to have them.

        And re ptb:
        Upgrading the transmission to a few city centres would presumably be easier than extending it to spread out suburban areas. And would we still need anything like so many chargers at or near home?

        1. ptb

          Souldn’t it be all work areas to which people drive, not just a few city centers? Any route that ~500 people travel daily can be served by bus. I have a hard time seeing how you set up the charging and transmission at that scale.

          Regarding number of chargers: if you want it to be like a gas station, i.e. fill up in 3 minutes, then the number of chargers is nice and low. But that energy transfer rate is many megawatts of electric service per pump.

          Slow down the charging to 3-4 hours, the peak power is more reasonable, but then each station can accomodate about 2-3 cars per shift, every couple of days, so…. it’s a lot of chargers.

          The middle ground, a 30 minute charge operation at a place other than work or home, creates a disruption that is not unlike being delayed or in traffic. It’s kindof a no-mans-land for the use case.

          Would public chargers all around still be better than one per vehicle at home? Yes, but it’s the same mental battle for personal vs shared transport infrastructure. Again… mass transit would be a better use of the resources.

          1. xkeyscored

            Yes, I meant work (or other) areas to which many people drive daily. I said “a few city centres” as distinct from many more separate suburban locations.
            I don’t understand your point about numbers of chargers. The cars already congregate in these places. You’d need basically the same number of chargers whether they are centrally or peripherally located (fewer if they’re doing 2-3 cars a day centrally than peripherally at people’s homes doing one per night). And, if my understanding is correct, it’d be easier to have many chargers in one place (one high voltage line in) than the same number spread around (many more kilometres of power lines, much less efficient).
            As you say, mass transit or less transit would be better, but if we’re going to have EVs, perpetuating the individualistic notion of Every Free American having their own home charger as a human right seems a ridiculous way to go about it.

            1. ptb

              If neither work nor home, you are talking about something that operates like a gas station. This necessitates the “fast charger”. “one high voltage line in” will be a monster.

              More importantly, my point was not that the actual problem of energy efficiency in the urban/suburban commute *could* be solved, its that it *has been* solved. Just look outside the US.

              In my opinion, well intentioned people steering the climate change discussion into advocating for public $$ for electric car infrastructure development are overlooking that. Not that it is a bad thing, just illogical to make a priority in funding, from either a climate or transport point of view. As opposed to reducing mostly unnecessary work being done by energy, which mass transit does.

          2. Alex morfesis

            You forget the conversion factor value of real estate and the lower ratios from urban verticalization.

            Hit a wall here in st pete. Lousy public transport. Current lameduck mayor using tourism dollars to help his noncity outerisland golfing buddies get low wage workers with express bus that no one but his slavelabore friends need.

            Instead of joining that fight….Arranged for the possibility of a zero cost express bus run to take 500 folks from the forgotten southside to the good paying jobs parked by the egde of st pete near its underused airport and figured it could also take 500 nimby fakers south to downtown on the way back….

            Except the apexklownz running this area are not interested…

            making money changing farmland to suburban use is much easier and profitable vs the higher cost of specialized contracting costs once you get above 25 feet.

            Had the long term executive director of the area builders association tackle me after burping out about underused 4% lihtc at a fakeandshake public forum on affordable housing….quickly realizing she was simply looking to skope out my capacities to adjust the plans of her members…it was an amusing cat and mouse meeting….

            Unfortunately for the local slaverists my mother was born outside of Havana so as of Monday we move onto to the second inning….

            Paraalante !!

            Oh…but back to the city…and the buses…the administration refused to open a parks department location 30 minutes early to accommodate the needs of the south side left behinders…coming up with fake excuses about running a “closed” daycare operation in a public building….even when it was offered to pay for a county sheriff to sit at the facility as security….

            But the reality is the cost of hiding bribes in an urban environment is much higher and harder than pulling it off in the suburbs. And please don’t imagine the poynter institute does locally with the “$t pete onion” what it proclaims they do in training the next generation of teleprompter reading scribes for “hard hitting” reporting….an honest review of the articles burped out by the local onion over the last 20 years would probably show attacks only against the unapproved opposition.

            To conclude…at least in the gr8 olde you ess of hey hay haeee the right choices can not write themselves in as the bribes flow more freely and easily with an innumerate cooperative set of scribes where zero reporting is done unless attached to a former friend who is a pr hack…zero reporting….

            There is a whole lot more slush to pass around in coverting farmland/grazeland to sawdust and Styrofoam prophouse developments then trying to hide cash flowing inside an urban environment where many counterplayers can just be “presented” and front paged by a compliant poynter…

  11. The Rev Kev

    “They Are Racist; Some of Them Have Guns. Inside the White Supremacist Group Hiding in Plain Sight.”

    So then, when can we expect a ProPublica article ‘Documenting Hate’ on Antifa? Wait – they did one. Kinda. This one was about Antifa people who hunted down people online and doxxed them and seemed sympathetic to them. Any violence or harassment against their targets by the people in black afterwards remained unmentioned. And anyway, Freedom of Speech is only for people that deserve it-

    1. Tomonthebeach

      There is also the USA Today article on outlawing hate speech which seems relevant. US fascists take advantage of the 1st Amendment and say that outlawing their racist, supremacist, Nazi, anti-Semitic rants is unconstitutional. It is rather clear that such freedom of expression was NOT in the minds of our founding fathers. It is perhaps time to reviews our tolerance in light of growing mass murders by fascist hate groups. The ProPublica article on the Patriotic Front (which it is not) was a rather soft-glove depiction of these people. What they actually say online is far more vituperative, malevolent, and assaulting that that article depicted.

      Hate speech seems to aid in recruiting white middle-class loners, slackers, and losers such as military bad-conduct dischargees by giving their self-loathing an external causal target. Too often targets are children. When speech becomes a public safety threat perhaps we can treat it as such without the US constitution melting down.

      1. Monty

        It is rather clear that such freedom of expression was NOT in the minds of our founding fathers.

        Is it? Can you elaborate?

        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

        There really doesn’t seem luck much interpretive wiggle room to me.

      2. LifelongLib

        If somebody’s a Nazi, I want to know about it. I want him right out in the open waving that swastika, tossing those sieg heils, and talking about what a great guy Hitler was. However unpleasant that may be for the rest of us, it’s better than him sneaking around with his friends and communicating the same ideas in some sort of secret code. Free speech let’s me know exactly what I’m dealing with.

      3. lyman alpha blob

        US fascists take advantage of the 1st Amendment and say that outlawing their racist, supremacist, Nazi, anti-Semitic rants is unconstitutional. It is rather clear that such freedom of expression was NOT in the minds of our founding fathers.

        I don’t think it’s that clear at all, considering said founding fathers were all slaveholders.

        1. davidgmillsatty

          All? That is some revisionist history since the northern states did not support slavery and many of the founding fathers were from the north.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Financing slavery was every bit as sophisticated as CDOs in the run-up to the Crash, and when it crashed in, IIRC in the 1830s, New York banks happily took up the slack. Similarly, plantations were a big market for northern textiles and manufactured goods generally. To my mind, this makes the achievement of the abolitionists and Northern sentiment as embodied in the Republican Party all the more remarkable and laudable. They had powerful interests of their own to oppose, not just the Slave Power.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > founding fathers were all slaveholders

          That’s simply not true. Ben Franklin, for example, did not own slaves. Nor did John Adams.

          Slavery runs through everything that the founders did — that’s what Madison is thinking about when he writes on property rights and factions — but we don’t need over-egg the pudding with falsehoods.

      4. Telly

        “Hate speech seems to aid in recruiting white middle-class loners, slackers, and losers such as military bad-conduct dischargees by giving their self-loathing an external causal target.”

        If we had a decent economic system maybe these people wouldn’t need to become the losers you so loath. We need free speech to talk about how to bring about that system. And, why would you trust the same people who create the conditions that create the losers you seem to hate to create a system to arbitrate what counts as hate speech when they so clearly hate large segments of the population.

        1. ambrit

          Whoever wrote that quote obviously never had any run ins with Nation of Islam, La Raza, or JDL zealots. If one is to assert the essential unitary nature of the human race, that must also include a full panoply of virtues and vices, irrespective of sub group affiliation.
          This entire “hate speech” campaign looks suspiciously like a version of idpol.

        1. ambrit

          My ‘Inner Cynic’ takes that as a ‘given.’
          How difficult will it be for the Powers to morph the racial and ethnic ‘Hate Speech’ categories into Socio-Political categories. For your mention of Leftists, the Powers need only criminalize the rhetorical opposition to “our G– given Capitalist system” to assure the full flowering of “freedom” in Exceptional America.

    2. Acacia

      ProPublica claims that Patriotic Front is 300 people.

      Am I alone in wondering why a group of 300 people in a country of 327 million is considered a major threat to our way of life, especially when they have to chat in the dark on the Internet?

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Mark Ames: It’s hard for a lot of people to accept the bitter truth about Obama’s character—cynical, hollow, elitist.”

    And people wonder why voters did not turn out in droves to elect his successor to preserve his legacy. That stunt with the glasses of water was one of the most despicable acts that I have ever seen in politics. You can see he put it to his lips but he never actually drank it. It was not enough that he ignored the crippling of a generation of children through lead-poisoning, he had to go out of his way to put the boot in and mock them.
    And this may have been why Michigan went to Trump unexpectedly back in 2016. That may have gone a long way to explain too why black voters in other States like Wisconsin did not bother turning out to vote either. Here is a Jimmy Dore video that talks about this (some swearing)-

    1. Darius

      Even though Michigan Gov. Rick Scott was a hard right reactionary, he presents as a mild mannered successful moderate reasonable middle aged businessman. This set off the ass kissing reflex hardwired into Obama’s psyche. He was obsessed with impressing people like Scott as being the “grown-up” in the room, and getting their acceptance and approval. Also Obama is all about image over substance.

      1. Plenue

        My favorite episode is when Obama wanted to show a movie at the White House and invited Republicans to come see it. No one showed up.

        The Obama years are a bizarre combination of a guy who couldn’t wait to bend over backwards to his ‘opponents’, and those opponents having an irrational hatred that prevented them from working with the guy who could have given them pretty much anything they wanted. Instead they fought against a guy who was basically enacting their own agenda.

    2. Joeseph

      How many of those people in Flint relocated to Ann Arbor, Detroit or anywhere else so as not to “cripple” themselves or their children?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        How many of those people in Flint had the kind of money it takes to relocate to Ann Arbor, Detroit or anywhere else?

    3. Big River Bandido

      I’m not sure “unexpected” is a fair description. Certainly the Democrats in that state understood; they were begging Team Clinton for help, all to be told that the simulations all said Michigan was in the bag for Clinton.

      In fact, Michigan and Wisconsin ought to have been red flags from the beginning. Sanders won both in the primaries. In Michigan, Clinton established a minimal presence, visiting only Detroit. Sanders organized everywhere, and did especially well in the heavily Muslim city of Dearborn, which provided his margin of victory. All that alone should have warned Clinton that she had to work for those states.

      That’s to say nothing of her complicity in the assett-stripping of the Rust Belt through trade agreements and austerity policies. Clinton was always going to be a very difficult sell in this region — in the end, she lost 5 “must win” Democratic states, and barely carried Minnesota, a state which hasn’t been contested by a Republican in 40 years. None of this could fairly be characterized as “unexpected” by someone close to the ground.

      That said, the Flint water episode might be a metaphor for some black voters. I suspect Ferguson and the collapse of the economy loom larger, though.

      1. Tom Doak

        But Hillary throught voters had no alternative after the primary because TINA. That’s been the strategy for decades, and that it is no longer reliable is still news to the old guard and those in safe districts like Pelosi.

    4. Chargeŕ01

      Michael Moore claims (during a live podcast with chapo trap house) that the water was actually from air force one, as the school had its water turned off for several days. Ugly if true

      1. John k

        Doesn’t seem likely. They’d of had to color it brown, or used a flat coke, and if that had happened Obama would have drunk it.

        1. The Rev Kev

          When Margaret Thatcher died, her funeral procession was accompanied to people singing ‘Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead!’, so despised was she for the colossal damage that she caused. Perhaps when Barry the Billionaire passes away, as his funeral procession travels out to Arlington, people alongside the roads could raise a glass of water in his memory.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Perhaps if they were also wearing ” nobama” T-shirts, that might make the picture even stronger.

            I envision a “nobama” T-shirt looking like this. It would have a big portrait of Obama on it with the universal circle-slash symbol for “no” superimposed on the face of Obama.

            And the big black-letter caption could say: About Damn Time.

  13. jackiebass

    In the article about private surgeries exploding for NHS patients the writer mentions the lack of qualified surgeons. When Brexit happens this problem will probably get worse.Without the free flow of people , goods, and services , there will be fewer foreign trained doctors coming to Great Britain. My opinion is the people will gain autonomy, but will lose many things they now have. The country will suffer from what it lost by being part of the EU. It will take decades to recover. I don’t believe most of the people understood all of the things that would happen upon leaving the EU. Probably many still don’t understand. Propaganda from all sides clouds the issues making it difficult for the average person to make an informed decision. This happens big time in US elections and unfortunately on the entire planet.

    1. davidgmillsatty

      I think the average person outside the large urban areas understands how bad the EU was for them. They probably weren’t getting this vaunted medical care anyhow any more than rural America gets the best doctors and hospitals.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “All the international brands that have apologized to China”

    Nothing like a good old shaming list. Most of them seem to be luxury goods anyway or entertainment. So self-censorship is bad, m’kay? So let me ask the obvious. Why is it so bad when China does it but not us in the west? Where are all the articles criticizing Bezos and Amazon in the main stream media – like the Washington Post. What about the ones calling out Israel as an apartheid state? What about all the articles criticizing the US military overseas and quoting Tulsi Gabbard? I don’t know about you but all I am hearing is crickets. Is China bad for doing this? Probably. But let us not pretend that we are so lily white in the west.

    1. xkeyscored

      The evil communist China asks that companies doing business there respect their territorial integrity. Would the UK welcome Chinese companies advocating a united Ireland, or the USA native Americans regaining their lost lands? I doubt it.
      Meanwhile, the US deals with countries and companies incurring its displeasure with sanctions, from those that killed half a million children in Iraq to the thousands of companies and individuals on the SPECIALLY DESIGNATED NATIONALS AND BLOCKED PERSONS (“SDN List”).

      1. JBird4049

        What China considers its territory is rather and the draconian methods used to maintain not only almost absolute control, but silence over its actions is objectionable; its fellow competing American Empire follows a similar path, although different in its particulars, that is broadly the same.

  15. djrichard

    Seems like some wannabes are behind the curve on what capitalism is all about

    In preparation for thousands of layoffs, which the company has reportedly delayed because it can’t afford severance, the non-unionized group who call themselves the WeWorkers Coalition submitted an open letter requesting fair separation terms, continued health insurance, and “a seat at the table” for continuing employees. They’ve also asked for compensation for lost equity after the company’s valuation dropped from $47 billion to $8 billion.

      1. Bernalkid

        Lost equity, that’s a good one. Should the bosses give them the smoke or the mirrors? Requires the wisdom of Solomon.

  16. jefemt

    Fusion— inching along. Ha!! penned by an MIT researcher, one might have thought he’d have used Metric language– by the millimeter?

    Never say never- it could come to pass. But if I had a nickel for every article that said, Its just a decade or two away!” over the past 6 decades…

    Two decades of funding for research, on top of grad and Phd schooling, well, that is about a working lifetime in modern western societies. Boy, my cynicism sometimes even startles me!

    PBS / Frontline special on AI (Artificial Intelligence) the other day mentioned that AI may well help us solve some issues, with the ability of AI to run countless alternative scenarios paradigm and bias free. Maybe fusion will be one of these instances.

    I’m not holding my breath, and as I look around at the nearly inevitable failure rate and entropy of man’s contrivances, it seems that man-created AI might be prone to failures as well.

      1. Synoia

        We possess an fully working Fusion Reactor that we use every day, 24 x 7. In addition it lies at a somewhat safe discordance from us all.

        It needs no maintenance and pays no dividends to any billionaire, and is free for use by all.

        1. ambrit

          And said fusion reactor will have no waste disposal issues within the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, this reactor throws off the occasional Coronal Mass Ejection and Carrington Event. Well, we live in a rough neighborhood. Live with it.

          1. cnchal

            > . . . this reactor throws off the occasional Coronal Mass Ejection and Carrington Event.

            Will that take out the data centers? If so, it can’t happen soon enough.

            1. ambrit

              Yes, it will. Unfortunately, either would also take out the electric power grid. So, the Archdruid could end up a true prophet yet.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                That would force the Archdruid to give up something he really treasures . . . his computer and his blog.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  Something tells me that he has a full library and all his work is also on paper as well to keep him busy. In a thousand years time “The Works of the Archdruid” will be the main historical record of our era as all digital records were annihilated or decayed within a century after “The Great Event”.

      2. neighbor7

        Fifty years… In 1967 or thereabouts a “fusion fever” passed through the faculty of the small midwestern college where my father taught–“Buy shares now, it’s the wave of the future!” Dad was not a gambling man, and I’ve maintained his skepticism.

      3. Bugs Bunny

        Well, we do finally have those flat TV sets that you can hang on a wall. And video phones.

        Priorities, man!

      4. John Wright

        The editorial is a “hopium” appeal for more Department of Energy funding by Congress.

        “To that end, Congress should consider significantly increasing funding for fusion programs at the Energy Department, which was created to keep the United States at the forefront of discovery.”

        There is no time line given for large positive energy fusion to arrive or any idea of how it would scale up or arrive in time to make a difference.

        The (very few) numbers in the op-ed provide little optimism, the UK only PLEDGING to spend $246 million by 2040, China spending $1 billion, venture capitalists spending $1 to $1.5 Billion and 10’s of billions spent on the delayed ITER experiment with a goal of net positive energy in 2035.

        If the USA VC’s/UK/China are spending so little it appears there is little enthusiasm about fusion or are waiting to see the ITER experiment pans out in 2035.

        “Fusion will come to the rescue” may cause the further delay of societal changes to combat Climate Change.

    1. ewmayer

      “ability of AI to run countless alternative scenarios” — Cf. the classic Person of Interest episode “If/Then/Else”. Brilliant bit of writing there.

      Re. the latest fusion-energy-revolution-is-just-around-the-ever-receding-corner bit of shillery, I’m reminded about an op-ed cartoon (possibly by Cincinnati Enquirer legend Jim Borgman) about the then-current cold fusion hoopla, in which a scientist demonstrates tabletop fusion by applying a layer of glue to a wooden tabletop and sticking a second table, upside-down, atop it, thus fusing the 2 tabletops. Genius!

  17. notabanker

    This is no ordinary impeachment
    Thanks for this link.

    Orange man bad, evil, must go. Extinction level event. Must protect Constitution.

    Funny, no mention of the Constitutional rights to overthrow the Iranian government in the 50’s. Or the countless Congressional declarations of War that authorized all of the troops going overseas the last 30 years. But phone calls to Ukraine, yes there is where the line has been drawn. Sullivan is a two bit con man.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Yes Sullivan needs to have that TDS looked at.

      I stopped reading after this:

      He is the only candidate in American history who refused to say that he would abide by the results of the vote.

      He’s also the only candidate in American history ever asked that ridiculous question.

    2. ambrit

      “This is no ordinary impeachment” wins a prize for unintended irony.
      If the irony was intended, then the writer is more cynical than me. No mean feat that.

    3. shinola

      Seems ol’ Andy Sullivan has his pearls firmly clutched & his shorts tightly wadded. TDS claims another victim.

    4. integer

      But phone calls to Ukraine, yes there is where the line has been drawn.

      How about this phone call to Ukraine:

      Nuland: Good. I don’t think [opposition leader] Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

      Pyatt: Yeah. I guess… in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, the other opposition leader] and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this.

      Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the… what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in… he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it’s just not going to work.


      Nuland: OK. He’s [Jeff Feltman, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] now gotten both [UN official Robert] Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.

      Pyatt: No, exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it.

      Ukraine crisis is about Great Power oil, gas pipeline rivalry The Guardian (2014 – i.e. before Katharine Viner became (was installed as?) editor)

  18. djrichard

    Re: Stephanie Kelton, even shorter, “deficits don’t matter” a la Dick Cheney. Until the dem party gets bold and adopts this platform, I don’t see medicare-for-all happening. Because until then, the burden will be put on on medicare-for-all to make it pay go from a tax/spend perspective, just like what Warren is trying to do. And that’s a trap, a trap that no other spending has to go through, until the parties that be don’t want to spend at which time pay go rules come into play.

    Bernie needs to wave this flag. Reset the conversation now. Use Stephanie Kelton as the pointy end of the spear. There’s enough time between now and the election to not only survive the reaction that will ensue but more importantly to change the overton window on this.

    1. notabanktoadie

      Federal deficits create bank deposits at least purportedly for the general welfare.

      Bank lending creates bank deposits for the private welfare of the banks themselves and for the so-called* “credit worthy”, typically the richer.

      Both forms of deposit creation compete for the same real resources (labor, material, land, etc).

      Why then should government privilege/subsidize a rival, ”the banks”, for real resources whose purpose is not to promote the general welfare but their own welfare and the welfare of the richer, at the expense, one way or another, of the poorer?

      *So-called because, due to government privilege such as deposit guarantees, the banks extend what is, in essence, the public’s credit but for private gain.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, that it not correct. Federal deficits provide income to recipients in the form of revenues to business and paychecks to individuals. You are conflating this with lending when the mechanism is not at all the same. The funds come from the Federal Government and are most decidedly NOT created by banks.

        1. notabanktoadie

          Federal deficits provide income to recipients in the form of revenues to business and paychecks to individuals. Yves

          And where else may those paychecks (or direct deposits) go but into private bank accounts as private bank deposits?

          TreasuryDirect? But there fiat can only be saved, not used. To be used it must be transferred to a private depository institution (aka a ”bank”) whereby the bank receives new ”reserves” and creates a new deposit to match.

          Direct Express®? Since it issues a debit card? But DE works through Comerica Bank and the debit card is MasterCard.

          The cashing of a Federal check? Even if the US Treasury were not phasing out the issue of paper checks, physical fiat, aka “cash”, mere coins and paper bills, is a pitiful option wrt safety, including personal safety, and convenience.

          So, for most practical purposes, Federal spending creates private bank deposits and that’s an outrage, not an ugly necessity.

          1. notabanktoadie

            Rather, … for most practical purposes, Federal spending MUST create private bank deposits…

    2. Big River Bandido

      Politically, Sanders is on much stronger ground with his current argument. “You’ll pay less money once we get rid of your premiums” is a lot more simple and direct, and much more “practical” in terms of political argument because of its motivational impetus. By contrast, once you have to start explaining things — especially academic things — you’ve lost the political argument.

      MMT does not need to made a campaign principle…just a governing principle. If Sanders gets to the White House, he could make the case that we “fund” M4A just as we “funded the wars”. None of this requires explanation of of a theory, per se, to voters; merely that policy makers proceed on those assumptions.

      1. djrichard

        Just FYI, I try that “funded the wars” argument in the fray of the Yahoo news comment sections and the challenge back is that the wars pale in comparison to M4A. Which invites a debate on when is deficit spending too big and will M4A be the straw the breaks the camels back.

        So I don’t even go there. I basically assert the deficit doesn’t matter. And I don’t try resorting to selling them on MMT. My arguments are rooted in the idea how bond issuance worked under Lincoln when he had the greenback. They printed the bonds to swap for the greenback, from the winners who hoovered it up. And they printed greenbacks as interest on those bonds. Which the bond holders would promptly sink back into bonds, as they had nothing better to do with the money anyways (otherwise they wouldn’t be buying bonds to begin with). So in effect they were paying the interest back. The argument is the same, even though we have a debt-based currency instead of positive money. Only difference is that the Fed Gov can’t print the currency to pay the interest. But the result is the same, the interest issued by the Fed Gov is ultimately swapped back to the Fed Gov. Ultimately I don’t even bring up positive money – don’t need to to sell this story.

    3. davidgmillsatty

      Never heard a word from Bernie about this. Either he is clueless, thinks he will be scoffed at, or is just part of the economic status quo.

  19. Danny

    “The fusion energy dream is inching toward planet-saving reality”

    So many miles to go and promises to keep

    A complete hopium, tecno pipe dream that will not happen in our lifetimes, that of our children, or their children. The resources and money wasted on this would be better spent on installing solar panels and hot water on every building.

    There is already a perfectly acceptable, free, massive fusion reactor, outside your door.

    1. John k

      Back in the early sixties I read that in 30 years fusion generated electricity would be too cheap to meter. Now that we know more it’s 50 years away…
      I worked on the Iter program, learned enough to be pretty pessimistic.

    2. Aumua

      A complete hopium, tecno pipe dream that will not happen in our lifetimes, that of our children, or their children.

      Hey I like me some pessimism as much as anyone, but do you have any thing to support your blanket statements? I mean how do you know these things are true beyond a doubt?

      1. ambrit

        Well, I’m not a Physicist, though some do lurk on this site, but my understanding of the fusion ‘problem’ is containing the incredible energies involved in ‘hot’ fusion. From the cheap seats, this looks to be something best done off Earth, and the power ‘beamed’ back to the terrestrial globe.
        A lot of the hopium about fusion that I remember was concerning ‘cold’ fusion. In a class with room temperature superconductors. Requires a serious breakthrough in materials and techniques.
        Absent such a breakthrough, a commercial scale ‘hot’ fusion reactor would have the potential to wreak unimaginable havoc on a large section of surrounding land, infrastructure, and population.
        Short form; if you thought GE style light water fission reactors were dangerous, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
        (Real Physicists please step in to correct my mistakes. Seriously.)

        1. RMO

          I asked a physicist friend – her answer was that nothing in your post after “Physicist” was accurate. I’ll see if she has the time for something more in-depth.

          The “cold fusion” thing was short lived quackery that relates to fusion research in general as Laetrile does with the history of medical research.

          1. ambrit

            Ah ha! It seems that everything I (think) I know is wrong. Fair enough. Time to slink ignominiously off.
            Thank her for taking the time to straighten me out.

        2. Grebo

          This is totally off base. Hot fusion is very hot, meaning the atoms move very fast, but does not involve a huge amount of energy at any one time. If something goes wrong the fire goes out, it is not a chain reaction like fission.

          Hot fusion tries to recreate the conditions inside the Sun (a working model) to bang light atoms together by heating them up in a magnetic bottle. This is easily demonstrated, the trick is to get more energy out than you put in.

          Cold fusion (which most physicists scoff at) squeezes light atoms together inside a solid using an electric field. No-one has a repeatable demonstration though there are a few people still trying.

          A room-temperature superconductor was recently found. The only snag is it has to be under (really, ludicrously) extreme pressure to work.

    3. davidgmillsatty

      On the other hand, the radically different fission techniques using molten salt as a coolant were tested and proved at Oak Ridge in the 60’s. Molten salt as coolant is a radical game changer. All nuclear accidents have occurred as a result of water as coolant, which requires huge amounts of pressure to keep it liquid once its temperature reaches the boiling point. In all accidents pressure was lost and the coolant ability of water was lost.

      But when you use salt as a coolant, it stays liquid for about 1000C without the need to pressurize it.

      We never developed this molten salt technology after proving it in a reactor that ran for about 5 years in the late 60’s and early 70’s. But China is now going to do it, using all of the data we had from back then after it was made public and their first reactor experiment using molten salt and thorium is due to go online early in 2020.

      It is a game changer. It will mean that fusion technology will not be necessary or even desirable.

      Here is a video published by Oak Ridge on the reactor:

      1. Acacia

        Nope. Monju plant in Japan used liquid sodium. It operated for one year in 1994 and then a sodium leak (boils at 883 °C) caused a massive fire and shutdown for 15 years. There was a coverup about the damage and subsequent scandal. Finally restarted in 2010, and then shut down again after another accident involving heavy machinery dropped.

        As of June 2011, the reactor has only generated electricity for one hour since its first testing two decades prior. As of the end of 2010, total funds spent on the reactor amounted to ¥1.08 trillion.

        The project is considered a total failure and is planned to be decommissioned. Note that this means Japan’s original plan to recycle fuel is also a failure (but they have lots of plutonium to build bombs to drop on the DPRK and other unfriendlies).

        How does one say “boondoggle” in Japanese?

          1. Acacia

            True, but the Oak Ridge reactor also used sodium as a coolant.

            If the cooling system breaks, you’ll have liquid sodium coming out. And as you know, sodium catches fire on contact with any water.

            I fail to see how this tech is a game changer if the cooling system is failure- and fire-prone.

  20. dearieme

    General election poll of polls: Boris Johnson on course for 96-seat majority

    The vagaries of First Past The Post, the uncertainties about formal or informal alliances, and the prospect of lots of tactical voting all mean that I don’t put much weight on the polls. Add in the vote fraud that Mr Blair so cultivated, and the Postal Union’s threat to torpedo postal voting, and I reckon nobody don’t know nuffink, mite.

    1. Monty

      It’s always been clear that the English are, on average, quite a spiteful and incurious bunch, but 96 seats!?! Who are these people?

  21. Danny

    On the destruction of carbon sinks in forests and endangered species; When are the world’s nations going to start using their militaries for something useful?

    Make deforestation, over-fishing, and species endangerment illegal as part of all financial and trade treaties. If illegal logging occurs, use the local, regional or an environmental protection only military branch to stop and displace the loggers. If they shoot back, as they do in South America versus ineffective local forest rangers, kill them. Same with poachers in Africa.

    Illegal fishing trawlers or Japanese ‘research’ whalers on the high seas? One hellfire missile takes care of that with some unfortunate pollution as a result.

    The military solution has mostly worked to stop Somali pirates on the high seas, why can’t it be used to save world fish stocks, endangered species and threatened forests on land?

    If dubious anti-terrorism campaigns allow the use of military power around the world, why can’t we treat illegal loggers, fishermen and poachers as life threatening terrorists?

    1. John k

      Such good questions deserve good answers.
      Maybe can’t do that bc politicians have been paid off.
      If we are shooting ourselves in the foot, we are probably getting paid to do it. Think about our healthcare, gun laws, foreign wars, etc etc.

    2. heresy101

      If President Psychopath were to re-direct the military to these tasks, I’d vote for him unless he would be running against Sanders (which the Damnocrats will never let happen).

      1. kiwi

        Sure, he talked about bringing troops home and people on all sides attacked him for that.

        According to a poll at Fox news, there is bi-paritisan support for keeping troops in Syria. Most of the alphabet soup agencies support war from top to bottom. Unless that changes, I don’t see any re-direction possible by any president.

      2. kiwi

        Well, he tried merely to bring troops home, and all sides opposed him.

        I don’t see any president re-directing until the alphabet soup agencies are cleaned out.

        But it would help if opposition to military adventures were consistently opposed by US citizens instead of driven by their personal hatreds or affections of political actors.

  22. Tom Finn

    Re: “The “Deep State” is a political party”. What’s a true Liberal to wish for? Alignment with these people is not an option, but Trump’s presidency and the shared goal of his ouster will have most in the Democratic camp aligning with them. IMO

  23. Synoia

    How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong

    Nothing like doing a linear projection of a natural process to get completely useless estimates.

    Personally I believe we have 8 years at best, and effects will be widespread and increasingly catastrophic in 4 years or less.

    My opinion is based on the increasing rate of CEO resignations, and the five year plans they have reviewed and run away from.

  24. Alex morfesis

    50 years of womanpowyr….everything is wrong because everything is right…. While the world burps along insisting everyone can take credit for the fall 30 years ago of the Berlin wall when it was in fact simply one East German guard who refused to shoot his fellow Germans and instead opened up the gates to a new flood of history….

    But it was about 50 years ago womanhoodeez decided to change the world….not by anything other than an apparent communal Choice to just ignore the noise and just do…

    Nothing anywhere has properly calibrated what a profound change that rising up has done to all the algoz and plans and berbaze sauce…every apexklown calculatingly ignoring how the world has been so profoundly changed…

    So today I rise and toast “the womanhood”…soon those who danced with the missing in Chile might finally have a chance to smile…

    The blackdiamonderz are having to retreat…today is a good day to live…

    1. Danny

      Are you claiming that Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Margaret Thatcher, Merkel, Carrie Lam, Christina Kirchner and Winnie Mandela were not great examples of women in action leading their countries forward to prosperity?

      Things seemed to work better at least in America in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, when male veterans mostly ran things, although the military itself became a disaster.

      1. Alex morfesis

        Well….sarah palin can still see Russia from outside her window(although it seems tinaf the greek may have actually said it) and neither $hillary nor winnie ever ran a nation….

        Carrie lam is barely above an assistant principal in actual power and flo the insurance tv lady gets more respect.

        Kirchner ran(and runs again) a groundhogday country of which is not in much worse shape than when the nation was run by “proper and capable men”….

        Thatcher had the miserable task of running a nation in economic freefall polluted by obnoxious old fools imagining the glory of a Victorian era that probably never quite lived up to the dust gathering history books….and allowing herself to imagine morale would improve by increasing the whipping and beatings….

        And as for Merkel/mutti….despite what she has done to Greece….this author will not attempt to negate the dramatic increase in power for Germany navigated by her during her reign of error….

        But my toasting was not for the “annointed ones” but actually for just the average womanz of the world who has and have completely flipped the script….

        And as for the world having been run well in the 1950-1979 era by the mystery “male veterans” you proclaim….perhaps you should buy some better history books….

        the ones from your youth that came with crayons are turning a tad yellow..

      2. Monty

        “America in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s”

        The glory days, before all those pesky civil rights ruined it!

        1. Danny

          Don’t care.

          The majority of Americans lived better, worked less and had safer communities than they do now.

          1. skippy

            Seems to predate neoliberalism [woke conservatism – industrial libertarianism] becoming dominate aka everything is a market TINA.

            Don’t see how that correlates with anything outside that paradigm.

      3. xkeyscored

        “America in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s”
        Ah those halcyon days!
        Coups in Iran and Guatemala! Wars on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia!
        Threatening the world with nuclear annihilation, and nearly getting there!
        9/11 in Chile! Etc etc!
        John Bolton for president?

  25. jax read

    “Greece tells MEPs: Migration on islands “explosive, beyond manageable capacity”

    No country suffered more than Greece under the EU’s austerity hammer and anyone who has seen the geography of its islands knows they are fragile, unforgiving environments barely capable of sustaining their native populations. That Greeks have been expected to humanely manage the tsunami of immigrants on its shores is one of the bitterest outcomes of Fortress Europe.

    Now wait for the climate refugee inundation of northern climates to see enlightenment values completely jettisoned.

    1. Danny

      They seem well organized compared to the ongoing charade of an election department in San Francisco. They still have not figured out who won Tuesday’s election for District Attorney and other issues.

      A refresher course in San Francisco corruption might be entertaining and informative:

      Jim Jones Busing In Out-Of-Town Voters (1975).
      Rev. Jim Jones was alleged to have bused in hundreds of non-San Franciscans in 1975 to help his political allies George Moscone, Joseph Freitas, Harvey Milk, and — who’d have guessed? — state assemblyman Willie Brown (who gave Kamala her first injection of political capital), win their local elections. “When Jones wanted someone elected, he got them elected,” ex-People’s Temple member Wanda Johnson told the New York Times in 1978.”

      Jone’s payoff, an appointment by the mayor he helped elect, to the powerful San Francisco Housing Authority, allowing Jones to give taxpayer funded housing project units to his followers. This before he flipped out and orded the mass “suicide” of 918 of his disciples at Jonestown.

      1. Danny

        Update; the son of the Weather Underground bombers, Chesa Boudin, barely won. Look forward to the city going into further free fall.
        36,000 car burglaries last year. 6 prosecutions, 2 jail sentences. Horrid ruination of “justice involved individuals,

        “Boudin went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and later attended Yale Law School. He spent a summer clerking on the South African Constitutional Court and learned about South Africa’s halting transition to “an imperfect, to be sure, but a racially inclusive, democratic society, and with it one of the most progressive constitutions in the world.”

        People like Albie Sachs, an activist who opposed apartheid and got his arm blown off by a bomb for his troubles, and Edwin Cameron, an anti-apartheid lawyer, became his models for social change—two white reformers who didn’t do war with the system but massaged it into something more equitable…”

    2. Plenue

      Doesn’t paint a flattering picture of Sawant. She didn’t vote for the minimum wage increase (but claims credit for it passing), and doesn’t bother to listen to constituents and their requests.

    3. martell

      Good news and bad news if you ask me. Last time I checked, Sawant was the most prominent leading member of Socialist Alternative, a Trotskyist cult.

      1. Massinissa


        This is why Socialists never get anywhere, incessant factionalism on lines drawn almost a century ago when there are precious few of us around as it is… I’m not a trotskyist myself but surely they can’t be as bad as the damn capitalist oligarchs?

        1. ambrit

          Stalin seemed to think so, and he ran things in a fashion that Capitalist Oligarchs dream of.
          People make fun of the old Soviet Union as a cautionary tale concerning the perils of running a “command economy.” Today, I assert, the Capitalist Oligarchs are running a “Command Society.” Considering how America is coming to resemble the old Soviet Union more and more, I’ll stay with my theory.
          “That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!”

        2. martell

          Apologies, I was unclear. I’m not really all that concerned about the fact that they’re Trots, although I do find it ridiculous at this point in time, truth be told. I’m more concerned about the cult like characteristics of the organization. Then again, the two are probably linked. Aren’t cults known for ideological purity and for placing founding, oracular figures beyond all criticism? Wouldn’t that pretty much guarantee that the group look more and more ridiculous as time goes by and circumstances change?

          And regarding how bad things can get, I doubt it’s possible that they can never get worse. Case in point, when it comes to dystopian futures, I’m pretty sure Socialist Alternative would give the “capitalist oligarchs” a run for their money.

          1. jrs

            I don’t think it’s cult-like, I think it’s ideological and purist. And I don’t think that’s the same thing. There actually is a cultish hard left org, Revolutionary Communist Party or something, Dave Avakians group. That’s an actual cult, straight up. If there was more evidence SA was like that, I’d consider. I think they are ideological and purist.

            “Aren’t cults known for ideological purity and for placing founding, oracular figures beyond all criticism?”

            No there has to be more going on than just this to be cult-like (a lot has actually been written on the characteristics of cults). By this criteria the DSA could be accused being cult-like with worshiping Sanders and AOC. But I don’t think this point is legit. At worst it makes one a “poltical groupie” maybe. I don’t think it makes a group a cult or cult-like just by itself, there has to be more.

            Since capitalism aims to kill 7 billion people at present (if nothing is done about climate change etc.) I’m not so convinced that much is worse. I’d agree multiple bad future possibilities exist. You also have to look at PROBABILITIES, while I have no formula for that, the probability SA takes over the country or something is pretty much non-existent, but they provide a push from the left. The probability that neoliberalism reigns and gets worse and worse for the average person is strong. The probability that capitalist driven ecological destruction kills us all is much greater by far than that of SA gaining power.

        3. jrs

          Exactly. SA is not necessarily my thing (though I could be won over, just from what I’ve seen), but literally we need every possible push from the left we can get. This is a victory.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Trotting out the “Trotskyist”? Talk about your tired, ahistorical, brain dead, right-wing boilerplate epithets!

        Better trolls, please.

        1. martell

          Have you been to their website or read their literature? I’ve done both and I’ve attended meetings of the local chapter, about five. Checked out when they asked for 5% of my income and required that I attend a weekend retreat devoted to learning techniques for selling their newspaper. In any case, I believe “Trotskyist” is a fair description. Doubt they would deny it.

        2. Harold

          Deny it ? They embrace it.

          excerpt: After Trotsky

          As with all Trotskyists, we trace our roots back to Trotsky himself. We in Britain, however, came from the Workers International League (WIL), set up in 1937, and the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), formed in 1944. We believe that the analysis of this party and its leaders, like Ted Grant, Jock Haston and others, was more accurate than the perspectives of others. They anticipated the development of deformed workers’ states in Eastern Europe and China, in particular. The leadership of the “Fourth International”, Ernest Mandel, Michael Raptis (Pablo), Pierre Frank and others, believed that this phenomenon – the creation of deformed workers’ states – was an impossibility. Faced with reality, however, they did a somersault. Then they went to the other extreme and Tito, in Yugoslavia, became an “unconscious Trotskyist” as did Mao Zedong.

  26. JohnnyGL

    I was reading the twitter thread on Carl Beijer’s link of Warren’s comments about billionaires.

    Lee Fang is an excellent reporter and often a very good commenter, but I think he’s being a bit pedantic in his “Bernie’s tax plans won’t ACTUALLY get rid of all billionaires”.

    I’m reminded of the very important point that was often made when the librul pundits were trying to make sense of success of the Trump campaign and it was said that Trump should be taken ‘seriously, but not literally’.

    Bernie’s statements about ‘billionaires should not exist’ is a value statement intended to convey his willingness to confront the rich and powerful. It’s not a LITERAL policy proposal.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Also, there’s a bunch of other comments in the thread about dodging taxes and skimming off low wage workers, lax environmental regulations, etc….being the way to get a billion.

      That’s not really it. Yves is much more accurate when she says ‘inheritance’ and ‘skimming by asset mgrs’. I’d throw in real estate, too. But I think it makes sense to lump those in with the broader concept from Marx of ‘primitive accumulation’ or David Harvey’s ‘accumulation by dispossession’.

      Privatization, financialization both present great opportunities for skimming off tremendous value from society and placing it in the hands of a select few. Launching enclosures of some piece of the public domain where the public doesn’t see actual $ leaving its accounts is the easiest sell, politically.

      “Hey mining, logging, and oil companies….here’s some free resources to exploit for pennies on the dollar”

      Intellectual property rights and copyright protections are another monster giveaway that Dean Baker has hammered on for years.

      Matt Stoller had an excellent piece the other day on how federal government policy made Bill Gates a billionaire. It certainly wasn’t because he was an awesome software writer….there’s lots of those out there! The government loosened anti-trust policy in what turned out to be one of the biggest innovations of the last 50 years (the rise of software and the PC). Gates and Microsoft was allowed to use his strong position in the operating software space (Windows) to muscle out all competitors to Microsoft Office.

      Also, it didn’t hurt that his dad was an intellectual property rights lawyer….giving Gates a leg up on how important those property rights can be.

      When Dan Riffle says, “every billionaire is a policy failure” he’s really on target.

      1. Jeff W

        Matt Stoller had an excellent piece the other day on how federal government policy made Bill Gates a billionaire.

        Speaking of Matt Stoller, The Hill posted an excellent interview with him (“Matt Stoller: Obama’s ‘catastrophic response’ to financial crisis”) which gets at both the systemic issues and the individual responses (primarily President Obama’s response) to the 2008 financial crisis.

        There’s a bit of fascinating historical analysis, too: how, in the Democratic primary of 1932, Al Smith wanted to run on Prohibition and capture the business interests of the day but FDR chose to run on the economy—which, although Stoller doesn’t say so, sounds eerily like today’s s
        divide between those Democrats emphasizing social issues and those focusing on economic issues. (Smith later joined the American Liberty League, a group of conservative Democrats who opposed the New Deal.)

    2. chuck roast

      I need something to do this winter. So, I’m thinking of starting an insider club. I want to call it OINK…stands for Oligarchs for an Improved Newport (but I haven’t figured out the “K” thingy yet).

      In order to join the club you would have the choice of giving me a mere million dollars or writing an article for the OINK website. Articles could be something like Newport Has Too Many Rhode Islanders, or Millionaire Trash Cluttering Up Bellevue Avenue. Maybe, Billionaire Blood Drive, about how to get the dog-walkers, drivers and servants to give blood to the Billionaire Blood Bank.

      The possibilities are really endless.

      What da’ ya’ think?

    3. jrs

      It’s a moral statement. That there should be a MAXIMUM income and amount of money one can have. If we got the masses on board in just believing that, not in perfect equality, but in HARD limits to inequality, even if they didn’t have any means to make it possible politically now, it would be revolutionary. It would cut the ideological support for the existing system at it’s root. It’s not just ideology that supports they system of course, but ideology is one of it’s supports, delegitimization is not by itself political change, but it’s necessary.

  27. Carolinian

    Re impeachment–This is good and outside the paywall

    Democracy, let us remind ourselves, is not a system for finding the ablest leaders but a system for legitimizing outcomes, good, bad or indifferent. Which brings us to the real crux: Mr. Trump’s opponents rejected his legitimacy from the start, pushed fabricated allegations, spoke of impeaching him before he even took office.[…]

    They were not satisfied with opposing him. They sought to destroy him. Mr. Trump, it’s easy to see, believes he must stick around and continue to wrap himself in the immunities and powers of the presidency simply to defend himself and the legitimacy of his 2016 victory.

    When history assesses blame, Hillary Clinton, and not Mr. Trump, will be the biggest sinner of our time. Mrs. Clinton continues to flog the claim, and increasingly wildly, targeting Greens and dissenting Democrats, that Russia controls our politics.[…]

    In a few years, Mr. Trump’s passage through our national life will not seem so hysterically important as it does now, though an opportunity has been lost. Mrs. Clinton, whatever she may have achieved in life, deserves to be remembered finally as the coward who put the country second because she couldn’t accept the legitimacy of her defeat.

    Which is to say that the rationale for impeachment is that an urgent need outweighs the legitimate process of selecting the leader by the vote of all the people. On that basis the Dems would at least have a better excuse trying this two years ago rather than preceding an election. That the media refuse to agree shows their lack of common sense, or perhaps honest principles.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      It’s been said that Trump was as surprised as anyone that he actually won in the first place. My feeling is that had the Democrats simply left him alone to make a fool of himself, he would have tired of the presidency, not run for a 2nd term, and stepped down a “winner”. I also think he wouldn’t put up too much of a fight against Sanders were he the 2020 Dem nominee. Sanders is not really part of the Blob that made fun of Trump several years ago at that Beltway backscratching party. Anyone else in the current field though he will come after with a vengeance.

      1. xkeyscored

        I think Trump would have lost had Sanders been the 2016 Dem nominee. But the Dems preferred to lose rather than allow a self proclaimed socialist into power.

  28. Amfortas the hippie

    found this very worrying story via cryptogon:

    open larceny by county government, enabled by the state government.
    and it’s apparently been going on for some time.

    we had a similar, but far less dire, problem with our county tax assessor, ten or more years ago. state had outlawed ad valorem taxes on vehicles, but our county persisted in collecting them.
    stepdad fought them for years…state comptroller said her hands were tied(no enforcement mechanism, i guess(!?)).
    at the very end, after a few years of threats and suits and countersuits, they started talking about seizure, and he paid it($300 in loose pennies!(my idea)). then they suddenly stopped assessing/collecting that particular tax, with no explanation.
    the most striking thing about the whole ordeal was there was no recourse…the county tax assessor is apparent;y a law unto himself…violating clear state law doesn’t matter.
    it sounds like this is the state of affairs in Michigan, just much, much worse.
    i haven’t checked, but i’d bet that it’s being done by people who yell alot about the sacrosanctness of Property(just not your property)

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Transition”

    Well, well, well. The GOP wants Hunter Biden and the whistleblower to testify in the impeachment probe. It seems that they are not onboard with secret witness and unexamined witness giving testimony. Facebook and YouTube may announce that they will suppress the name of the “whistleblower” but their name is already known and it was someone that worked with Joe Biden. This could get interesting-

  30. The Rev Kev

    Looks like the Michael Flynn case is coming back to haunt the FBI and the agents involved. His interview was a set up and the record that was supposed to have been made after the interview itself went MIA. Now four different version of this interview record have turned up which is in itself mighty suspect-

    2020 may become the year that will be know as the Year that the Chickens Came Home to Roost.

      1. Jokerstein

        Makes me want to have paper tissues with Greta printed on them (my original reaction was more scatological).

    1. notabanker

      I unironically embrace the funding of free bicycles for all Harvard / Berkley PhD philosophy students so they may ride freely within the auto-driving Tesla infested cities of America. Free of shame, of course.

    2. inode_buddha

      I guarantee these goofballs have never lived in the real world. Watch how fast their cities implode when civilization collapses. All we have to do is stop sending food to them. Sell it somewhere else.

  31. VietnamVet

    The “Honey Cut” vaping deaths are a direct result of deregulation just as Boeing’s 737 Max Crashes or Perdue Pharma’s Opioid Crisis. It started with financialization, the 2008 crash and bankers getting off scot-free. But the corruption has spread throughout society. This is how the rich are getting richer, exploiting workers, pushing addictions and environmental degradation. No political party advocates government reregulation of their donors. Early deaths will explode. At best, Elizabeth Warren will try to tax the Elite, but the Blackouts will spread, seas will rise and the riffraff’s lives decay; ’till they can’t take it anymore.

  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a random police-citizen-interaction video from off the Reddit. It is happening in that great bastion of Latte lapping Limousine liberalism known as San Francisco. ( Note that none of the people in the video can afford to own a limousine).

    It shows the police not freaking-out, not brutalizing, etc. Just acting calm, cool and collected while they go about their business of ( as far as I can see) deliberately arresting a citizen for the non-crime of eating food on non-BART property. Since the police are doing exactly what their masters have told them they are supposed to do . .. . and since they are doing it exactly the way they have been trained to do it . . .so far as I can tell . . . the problem would appear to lie right exactly with what the police’s masters have told the police they are supposed to do. How do the citizens regain mastery over the police and tell them better things to find and go do?

    Here is the link.

    This site is called “public freakout” but I don’t see the offices freaking out anywhere in that part of the video we are being shown. So again, the problem appears to lie with The Deciders who have Decided to tell the police that this IS exACTly what they ARE supposed to do.

    1. kareninca

      I just sent that to several people.

      I already don’t take BART since it isn’t safe; there is a lot of dangerous crime on BART. To see the police arrest some guy for eating his breakfast sandwich on the platform – well.

  33. Ignacio

    General elections again in Spain. According to polls VOX, the xenophobe party could get about 47 seats. Sad if so.

  34. Carolinian

    Harris/Politico on the existential angst of the stenographers

    What’s more, a fair appraisal of the past generation has to acknowledge that bipartisan assumptions in the Washington governing class and establishment media are at least partially complicit in some of the largest policy debacles of the past generation (bogus assumptions before the Iraq War, the 2008 financial meltdown). On politics, candidates who were most attuned to the purported wisdom of the Washington operative class were thwarted in the fight for power on multiple occasions when the consequences were huge (the 2000 presidential election, the 2016 GOP primary and general election).

    Ya think? Alex Cockburn once lampooned the then Macneill/Lehrer News Hour by conjecturing a show where the guests debated the pros and cons of Swift’s Modest Proposal for the Irish poor. DC is a place where the press cloak of “objectivity” blandly seeks to normalize absurdities. Perhaps we should blame it on the J schools.

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