Links 12/4/19

Hoag’s Object Is a Galaxy Within a Galaxy Within a Galaxy (and Nobody Knows Why) Live Science. Sounds like a CDO.

A “Synchronized Downturn” Calls for a “Synchronized Response” Valdai Discussion Club

WeWork: Auditor EY didn’t warn about the risks Francine McKenna, The Dig

Brexit

Boris Johnson refuses to rule out leaving EU on WTO terms Guardian

On London Bridge LRB

Varadkar blow: Ireland to LOSE ‘privileged access’ to Brexit deal talks Express

What are Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats so desperate to hide? Open Democracy

Antisemitism and the Labour Party Verso

The OAS has to answer for its role in the Bolivian coup Guardian

The Politics of Destabilizing AMLO Jacobin

Instagram: the invisible force behind Chile’s protests Medium. Maybe. Beware of Internet triumphalism.

U.S. Marine Charged With Smuggling Guns Into Haiti NYT

Syraqistan

The Lessons of Russia’s Syrian Intervention for Washington and Brussels Gordon Hahn. Interesting, though I’m not sure I agree with all of it.

‘We Are Telegraphing Abandonment’ Foreign Policy

Iran says it killed ‘rioters’ in deadliest unrest in decades AP

India

India’s Economy Is Stalling. Critics Blame a ‘Climate of Fear.’ Foreign Policy

Varanasi shops give onions on loan by keeping Aadhaar Card as mortgage India Today

India’s Sacred Groves Are Disappearing, Taking Biodiversity and Culture With Them Gizmodo

Intelligence Reforms: Time for a Japanese James Bond Peter Tasker

China?

Protests test sympathies of Chinese mainlanders in Hong Kong Agence France Presse

China Suspends U.S. Navy Port Calls in Hong Kong The Maritime Executive

Opportunistic. Thread:

Top Chinese official praises Macau, warns Hong Kong to toe state constitutional line South China Morning Post. Read the room…

* * *

Chinese city fully launches face-scanning metro check-in service Xinhua. MTR take note!

US Congress condemns China for treatment of Uighurs Deutsche Welle

DC Deletes Comic Cover After Chinese Netizens Liken Imagery to Hong Kong Protests Radii

Mark Parascandola documents the scenery and sets of China’s booming film industry It’s Nice That

Photos capture fading way of life on China’s slowest trains Gold Thread

Trump Transition

Former official says Trump often refused to believe his intelligence briefings CNN

Welcome To The Potemkin Village Of Washington Power The American Conservative

How McKinsey Helped the Trump Administration Detain and Deport Immigrants ProPublica

Was Sheldon Adelson Acting As Bag Man For The CIA? The American Conservative

Party like a spy: Spookstock is intel world’s hush-hush bash AP

Impeachment

The report: Dems explain Trump misconduct USA Today (original). “But Schiff would not say when and where the evidence from the phone records came from.” My previously stated process concerns:

I am not saying that the “impeachment inquiry” by the House, or even conviction in the Senate, is necessarily a coup. I am saying that there are two litmus tests to apply: The first is whether power is appropriated by the Intelligence Community (as, for example, having a veto power over the selection of future Presidents, in practice or institutionally). The second is the question of exceptions: If, for example, the House impeached or the Senate convicted on the basis of evidence that the public was not allowed to see — and that most definitely includes intelligence “sources and methods” — that would be such a gross exception to the “old rules” that a change in the Constitutional Order, placing the Intelligence Community above both the Legislative and Executive Branches, could be said to have taken place. Crossing the Rubicon, if you will.

These concerns have yet to be allayed. I’ll need to look at the footnotes to the report carefully.

GOP impeachment report claims Trump did nothing wrong Axios (original).

Imagining a Senate Trial: Reading the Senate Rules of Impeachment Litigation LawFare. “Notably absent from the rules is any discussion of what evidentiary rules apply.”

GOP embraces a debunked Ukraine conspiracy to defend Trump from impeachment WaPo (but remarkably free of specifics. See again Yasha Levine, linked yesterday, who lists (here, here, and here) open source, mainstream coverage of these “debunked” theories, which WaPo does not “debunk,” let alone mention, this time around, nor does anybody it dumped out of its Rolodex. I guess selective memory erasure isn’t just for mouse studies any more).

Top House Democrat wants Mueller findings in impeachment articles against Trump McClatchy

Dear President Trump: The Ultimate Impeachment Deal Is to Abdicate Right Now Vanity Fair. Re Silc: “Who comes up with this stuff?”

Can’t You Read? Nina Illingworth. Review of Neiwert’s Alt-America: the Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

Our Famously Free Press

The topic is life in the Korean DMZ. However:

Note how some editor — editors write headlines — added “scary” to sex up the fear. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen the word “terrifying” in a headline, I’d be rich. And characters are limited in headlines, so a collective and consistent investment in a 10-letter word… says something.

U.S. regions hard hit by opioids to ditch class action, pursue own lawsuits Reuters

Class Warfare

Adolph Reed on Movements and Monuments Current Affairs (KLG25).

Labor Unions Team Up With Drug Makers to Defeat Drug-Price Proposals NYT

Human insight remains essential to beat the bias of algorithms FT

The Second Wave of Algorithmic Accountability Law and Political Economy

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

216 comments

  1. dearieme

    Welcome To The Potemkin Village Of Washington Power

    I read recently that the legend of Potemkin Villages is untrue. We obviously need a better class of metaphor.

    Reply
  2. dearieme

    Former official says Trump often refused to believe his intelligence briefings

    It’s Trump’s duty to be sceptical about his intelligence briefings.

    Reply
      1. a different chris

        Yeah, maybe.

        But “tell me a lie once, and I will no longer believe anything you say” is a pretty time-honored take on that sort of thing.

        Reply
        1. Kevin

          The real issue (as I see it) : trump’s ego will not allow another person’s thinking to infiltrate his own.

          And, if you believe in the time-honored ““tell me a lie once, and I will no longer believe anything you say”, why would anyone listen to trump after his inauguration exaggerations, and the landslide of untruths that have followed?

          Reply
          1. JohnnyGL

            You may well be right about trump’s ego causing a brain block, but on this site we get bored with things that are patently obvious and try to do analysis and discussion that digs in a bit deeper.

            The underlying assumption that needs to be attacked is that trump is the only lying maniac in dc.

            The reality is that trump while a lying maniac, he is also surrounded by lying maniacs (many who support and many who oppose him) who are probably not any better than trump himself. Those other lying maniacs are scary because they’re WAY better at lying than trump!

            Reply
            1. Kevin

              I understand your point.

              I don’t see any worth in digging deeper into a habitual liar or swamp of full of liars – I’ll watch dough rise and save on the stress.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                To pervert your metaphor; while “watching the dough rise” may be de-stressful, after the ‘rise,’ we all are forced to eat the “bread” produced. In this case, that process would be directly analogous to poisoning the public.

                Reply
            2. Robert Valiant

              “The reality is that trump while a lying maniac, he is also surrounded by lying maniacs”

              “on this site we get bored with things that are patently obvious “

              Reply
              1. scoff

                Of course we know it’s liars upon liars all the way down, and yet those liars keep getting re-elected.

                Makes you wonder about the voters voting for them.

                Maybe the corruption goes deeper into the body politic.

                And what can be done about it?

                Reply
          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            The problem is the other side isn’t a random person, even a “generic” person, or the hero of a Tom Clancy memorial novel. The other side is the U.S. intelligence agency.

            Like five people don’t know Trump is a liar* Its more a case of one set of liars who are under threat from not connecting to young people because they are perceived as liars and seeing their well maintained relationships with the Bush and Clinton crime families become worthless throwing a tantrum. Trump is a Republican after all which I think Latin for liar.

            The real issue is a decayed structure with a clearly corrupt institutional problem. I know Obama was President, but I’m not sure what processes made the intelligence community “woke” in January 2009. Given they don’t provide much in the way of security, the cries from the intelligence community will only reach the choir.

            *Outside the Rachael Maddow audience, I’m fairly certain most people don’t need to a constant reiteration of what is obvious.

            Reply
            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > I know Obama was President, but I’m not sure what processes made the intelligence community “woke” in January 2009

              That’s an interesting question. I would bet that Obama voting for retroactive immunity for the telcos for the multiple felonies they committed under Bush’s program of warrantless surveillance with “FISA reform” (July 2008) sent a very strong signal that Obama was somebody they could do business with. Then Obama looked “forward, not back” on torture. I would also imagine that Obama, by selecting John Brennan, then framed in the press as an almost spiritual presence, as his intelligence advisor, even after he had to withdraw Brennan’s nomination as CIA director* because of Brennan’s advocacy of torture, sent a very strong signal. The CIA would also have been very comfortable with the elaborate bureaucratic process Obama set up (“the kill list,” later the “disposition” matrix), for whacking targets, including US citizens, without due process.

              In considering the larger question of why the Intelligence Community leans liberal Democrat, we might also consider, besides all the favors listed above that Obama did for them, Pelosi’s long tenure on the Gang of Eight (so oddly not listed in Pelosi’s Wikipedia bio), a deformation professionelle in favor of globalization in addition to ideological commitment, and the status of a large portion of their personnel as members of the Professional Managerial Class in the DMV (District of Columbia, and the wealthy suburbs of Maryland and Virginia).

              * I don’t know if it’s my VPN, but a Google time search on Brennan for this time period comes up with extremely thin results. The Brennan nomination was an enormous controversy at the time, and should have opened a lot of eyes.

              Reply
          3. Katniss Everdeen

            …… trump’s ego will not allow another person’s thinking to infiltrate his own.

            In the age of Trump, everyone’s a psychologist.

            Seventeen years on, super-spook john brennan admitted in his “memoir” that his “identification” of WMD in Iraq was a “mistake”–he got all caught up in “seeing what he wanted to see” or something like that.

            Under those, and countless other, circumstances, I hardly think that questions like “‘Why is that true? Why are we there? Why is this what you believe? Why do we do that?” indicate some kind of pathological “ego” issue.

            And if they do, thank the lord Trump is afflicted.

            Reply
            1. Oregoncharles

              Yes, shockingly, that sounded like the President paying attention and doing his job, incidentally making them do theirs. The interviewee wasn’t even complaining about it.

              Whether the product is any good is another matter.

              Reply
          4. WJ

            It is obvious that intelligence chiefs lie to Presidents. It is obvious that Presidents lie to the people. Neither should believe uncorroborated assertions made by either.

            What do you think initelligence chiefs told Trump about what we now know was a staged chemical attack in Douma?

            What pictures of dead ducks is Gina Haspel [sic] first reported to have shown Trump to push him to kick out all the Russian diplomats during the Skripal charade? Why do you think the author of this article issued an unintelligible retraction of this claim weeks later? Once it was discovered from the UK side that there were no dead ducks?

            The upper levels of US, UK, and NATO intelligence agencies are thoroughly corrupt. Probably more dangerously corrupt than Trump.

            Reply
            1. John Beech

              I think Trump is fighting a near hopeless battle. Since he’s taken office, the following has happened;

              – NATO countries are paying more
              – Allies are paying more (Japan, Korea specifically)
              – Regulations are being reduced
              – Troops are being withdrawn
              – Predator countries are being called out
              – He’s doing better than anybody else with NK
              – The stock market continues on a tear
              – Unemployment is really, really low

              Meanwhile, he’s opposed at every step by the left – and – the media in combination (seemingly, if you think about it, these folks are actually working on behalf of the Russians as who do you think loves seeing the President tied into knots more than Putin). If you vote Democrat, is this OK with you?

              Moreover, the Democrats immediately set out to invalidate the 2016 vote – first with Russia-Russia-Russia, and now with impeachment. Oh, and the basic narrative of ‘everything’ he does is . . . he’s wrong.

              Yet considering all this; he’s making progress with NK (or at least we’re not at war (especially when the easiest course of action is to do what everybody else did – and – the media wants, e.g. condemn their leader). Add to it, because he doesn’t engage Putin in a war of words, he’s perceived to be his puppet – yet things aren’t getting worse with Russia (remember, Crimea and Georgia happened under the watchful eye of President Obama).

              Speaking of the last President, remember this; he’s the guy who said to Russia’s President Medvedev, “I’ll have more flexibility after the election.” Do you remember this at all? Somehow this is/was OK with both the media and voters of the Democrat party – but are ‘you’ OK with that statement?

              Finally, imagine the boss who stands over the janitor as he sweeps and issues corrections to how he sweeps. Or the guy who criticizes the secretary as he types. You know, the type of boss who micromanages his employees every move. In your opinion, is he a good boss? Is this the kind of guy you’d like to work for? And do you do your best work for him?

              Seems to me we’re trying to micromanage President Trump. we elected a guy to make better deals for us (all of us, not just the Republicans). But what’s happening is kind of like someone standing behind me while I’m playing poker. Someone who is sharing what my cards are with the other players! This is how I see the media ‘and’ the left. And it’s because in their desire to tear him down, they hurt his ability to negotiate. Damaging the President they despise damages America.

              I mean, are you totally unaware of the high stakes game in which he is presently engaged with China vis-a-vis the tariffs and his election chances? Honestly, it makes me wonder if it’s just that so many folks are stupid, or easily led. And what’s the agenda of those in the MSM doing the leading? Are they just in it for the money, or are they secretly working at the behest of the Russians? far fetched? Look at the results.

              Soul searching times, if you ask me.

              Reply
              1. WJ

                Let’s get some things straight.

                1. Democrats, MSNBC, etc. are not “the left.” They are liberals. Liberals oppose Trump and the left. The left opposes Trump and liberals. The left are people who tend to support Gabbard and Sanders as *compromise* candidates. Liberals are people who (claim to) think that Gabbard is a Russian asset and Sanders is a state communist.

                2. Regulations being reduced is not a good thing.

                3. Troops are *not* being withdrawn in most cases. It is announced that they are being withdrawn, but then are merely moved around and/or replaced quietly by others. I do think that Trump would *like* to withdraw the troops. (This is what made him a better choice than Clinton.) But Trump is neither principled nor courageous enough to follow through on this in opposition to his Israeli base of donors, so we have the current waffling in Syria, Iran, etc.

                4. “Predator countries are being called out.” Good God this is a Joy-Ann Reid level of analysis.

                5. Increases in the stock market have little bearing on most people’s economic well-being. Hence highest rates of inequality since Great Depression, etc. etc. opioids, etc.

                6. The unemployment rate is a rigged statistic, as it no longer counts as unemployed people who have stopped looking for work. Also, almost all of the new jobs are low paying jobs, not family supporting careers in a profession or trade.

                7. On North Korea. I think point 3 covers this as well.

                Finally, it does nobody in this country or other countries any good to perpetuate the Russian-interference myth by suggesting that liberals are *themselves* Russian assets. This is the sort of predictable, stupid, suggestion you would expect Lindsey Graham to make.

                Reply
                1. Carey

                  >Liberals oppose Trump and the left. The left opposes Trump and liberals.

                  That is a usefully succinct formulation. Thank you.

                  Reply
                2. Kilgore Trout

                  +1. Nice summary of the current state of affairs.
                  Liberals have all gone Neo-Con, and have embraced austerity for us mopes at home as well. Putin must only shake his head at how liberals have embraced the IC line, wondering: Are Americans really that brainwashed? Or stupid? Sadly, On the basis of the evidence, the short answer to both is a 3-letter word. Manufactured consent seems to confer manufactured stupidity. Or is it the other way around?

                  Reply
              2. cnchal

                > And what’s the agenda of those in the MSM doing the leading? Are they just in it for the money . . .

                Yes. Venality pays their bills.

                Reply
                1. Plenue

                  Maddow types, certainly.

                  Then there are the Chris Matthews and Joe Scarbourough types who are simply very, very stupid.

                  Finally there are people who actually have some shred of credibility and integrity, like Chris Hayes and…well, just Hayes, really. I’m convinced that on some level is well aware of what he’s doing and what he’s become. Almost feel sorry for the multimillionaire.

                  Reply
              3. shinola

                The modern Democrat party is about as far “left” as Richard Nixon. Trump does nothing to purposely benefit anyone other than Trump. That anything he does benefits anyone else is purely coincidental.

                Reply
                1. John Beech

                  Weren’t those campaign promises? If the definition of self-dealing is fulfilling those, then it’s game over for America because that’s exactly what we elect politicians to do! My point is; President Trump is directly addressing the very issues for which I cast my vote in his favor. Yet here’s the thing, with these 140 characters . . .

                  I hear Joe Biden’s son was knocking down $50k each month while his Daddy was in charge of Ukraine for the President, is it true? So corrupt!

                  . . . the President accomplishes the same thing of which he is accused, bringing the Biden-shenanigans to light. Remember, this is all about him trying to bring down Biden as his main opponent and involving a foreign power. Yet he easily accomplishes the same without the drama. This is why I basically give no credence whatsoever to the Democrats’ argument.

                  And once the shouting dies down, he could follow up with another 140 characters . . .

                  I’ve heard Hillary was for sale. Now that’s she’s out, her foundation is going broke. Shifty Schiff should be looking at real DC-corruption.

                  . . . and honestly, do you doubt he could play this game endlessly without ever needing to involve others? Haven’t you ever heard of the law of parsimony?

                  Thus, and no offense, but it’s my view this President didn’t (and never has) needed anybody’s help to shine light on what’s going on. Moreover, pretending he did – especially with this is a argument – is totally null with me.

                  Find me a real crime and I’ll help tie the rope but this isn’t it.

                  Reply
                2. JBird4049

                  As left as Nixon? Actually, none of the Democratic leadership, or members of Congress, except for the handful like Bernie Sanders and AOC.

                  People just do not understand just how far right the country’s government has become.

                  Reply
                  1. Yves Smith

                    Yes, I regularly joke, “that great American socialist Richard Nixon” for implementing revenue sharing and backing a guaranteed minimum annual income. He was also opposed to right wing Republicans wanting to roll back the New Deal.

                    Reply
                3. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > The modern Democrat party is about as far “left” as Richard Nixon

                  Less so (granting the left/right spectrum, which I do not. Politics is not two-dimensional). Try to imagine today’s liberal Democrats establishing the EPA. (If they did, it would probably work like ObamaCare; an enormous public/private/citizen boondoggle, with a carbon credit marketplace or some such. “You want to purchase an incandescent light bulb? Just get your credit at the Carbon Store™!” Imagine the possibilities….

                  Reply
                4. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > That anything he does benefits anyone else is purely coincidental.

                  As I keep saying, Lincoln was very concerned to have offenses, and victories before the 1864 election. So, here we have one of the most serious decisions a President can make, entailing deaths in the hundreds of thousands, and:

                  1) Lincoln would have “personally benefitted,” via re-election, and also

                  2) The Union would benefit, because the Democrats were (would have?) run George McClellan, pro-slavery copperhead and also

                  3) Humankind would benefit, because by the destruction of the Slave Power, millions would be freed from bondage

                  This notion that any decision made by President that benefits his re-election is out-of-bounds is bizarre. We want Presidents to do what will get them re-elected. This is a democracy! This is particularly clear in the case of Trump and Ukraine, because the Democrats not indicting him for emoluments: They’re indicting him for seeking re-election! That is the supposed personal benefit!

                  I don’t know where this idea that Presidents are selfless, almost saintly decision-makers standing above the political fray comes from; the West Wing? Wherever, it’s deeply authoritarian.

                  NOTE * If today’s Republicans were not so inept, they would be pointing out that all that dirt flung at Trump in the Steele dossier applies with equal force to Hunter Biden and the Biden campaign. To make this more clear, mentally substitute “Hunter Biden pee tape” for “Hunter Biden $50K.” It’s obvious kompromat, and if Biden were a Republican, cause to plant a mole in his campaign, to protect “our democracy.”

                  Reply
                  1. JBird4049

                    I think that the Republicans are not so much inept fas just as dirty as the Democrats. If you have just as much filth as the other guy, pointing out their dirt brings up yours.

                    Or maybe they are just inept buffoons. Honestly, I am having a hard time following this folly as it is just so wacky it is making me actually sick in my stomach. Is this just what is what they want? Do I need to start buying Pepto-Bismol just to keep following this? Fudge.

                    Reply
              4. JEHR

                If Trump is the epitome or embodiment of the national character of the US, then there are more than just Trump who should answer for what is happening in their country and the world.

                One thing I have noticed is that everyone who deals with Trump becomes a dissimulator or a prevaricator himself (see video) or herself.

                Reply
              5. Lambert Strether Post author

                To this list we might add:

                – Killing TPP, hence retaining our national sovereignty (and I believe the ISDS replacement kills ISDS as well, even if it is bad on labor)

                – No major land or air war (not Ukraine, not Syria*). Yes, all the horrid low-level stuff continues, including what looks like an effort to make the Americas a walled garden with us as imperial hegemon via covert action, but we have nothing like rebooting the slave markets of Libya with a bombing campaign.

                I don’t love Trump, and his domestic policies are awful; see gutting food stamps. But it’s stupid to blind ourselves (“know your enemy”), and IMNSHO there are as many continuities with Trump and Obama as differences (as was also true with Obama and Bush). That’s particularly true with immigration, the symptom being the heart-tugging photos of migrants at the border, which keep turning out to be from the Obama administration, in a savagely ironic comic turn.

                Reply
            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > there were no dead ducks

              Not those ducks, anyhow.

              > The upper levels of US, UK, and NATO intelligence agencies are thoroughly corrupt. Probably more dangerously corrupt than Trump.

              Given that they will be in power when Trump is gone — and probably anxious to seek vengeance, too, like all reactionary regimes — yes.

              Reply
              1. JBird4049

                And now I am having visions of American death squads in the United States doing the same ethnic/social cleansing as was done in Central America during the 80s to 90s. The perpetrators were taught in the School of the Americas run by the United States military, equipped and financed as well after all.

                Thank you for pointing it out.

                Reply
      2. Louis Fyne

        The world would have been a better place if Bush outright refused to listen to the intelligence community post 9/11.

        And the OPCW report on Syria, which led to US cruise missiles flying into Syria, has been proved to be outright wrong.
        Just saying.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          The world would have been a better place if Bush outright refused to listen to the intelligence community post 9/11.

          Back then it was the Bushies pushing the IC to be more hawkish. Cheney would visit the CIA headquarters and tell them what he wanted.

          The CIA seems to go up and down on the evil scale over the years but at the moment we are definitely in an “up” phase.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Cheney would visit the CIA headquarters and tell them what he wanted.

            And Cheney also demanded, and got, access to raw intelligence (which a customer should never be given because they’re not competent to make any assessments).

            But there’s also this, from 2004:

            About two weeks before deciding to invade Iraq, President Bush was told by CIA Director George Tenet there was a “slam dunk case” that dictator Saddam Hussein had unconventional weapons, according to a new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.

            That declaration was “very important” in his decision making, according to “Plan of Attack,” which is being excerpted this week in The Post.

            It is true that there were worker bees doing good work, and who sought to make their views known, in an enormous episode of bureaucratic infighting. But I think the institution was also fatally compromised (not that the CIA wasn’t pretty compromised to begin with).

            Reply
        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I believe after 9/11 the White House (Cheney) told the “intelligence community” what to find and like all true patriots, they paid people to impress the boss by telling him exactly what he wanted to hear.

          Reply
        3. jsn

          Yes, but like Chomsky’s critique of talking heads, “you wouldn’t be allowed in your position if you didn’t believe that” is equally true of Republicrat leadership.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            GHWB was almost late, for dinner. I’d imagine he’d pair well with a nice saké.

            Nine airmen escaped from their planes after being shot down during bombing raids on Chichi Jima, a tiny island 700 miles (1,100 km) south of Tokyo, in September 1944. Eight were captured. The ninth, the only one to evade capture, was future US President George H. W. Bush, then a 20-year-old pilot.

            After the war, it was discovered that the captured airmen had been beaten and tortured before being executed. The airmen were beheaded on the orders of Lt Gen. Yoshio Tachibana (立花芳夫, Tachibana Yoshio). American authorities reported that Japanese officers then ate parts of the bodies of four of the men.

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

            Reply
            1. Danny

              You implying that the Japanese could or should have eaten the Prairie Oysters that spawned W? That’s sick.

              That would be a history changing meal.

              Reply
            2. Harvey

              Oh how I love the cannibalism stories. You know the ones where the barbaric natives around the world ate their babies and enemies in the old days. Ridgy didge they did..

              And our recent enemies are cannibals. In WWI and WWII, our enemies ate their babies, and us if we were captured, it was on every menu.
              Yummmmm.

              Reply
                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Love yr screen name. Obscure enough to keep most people guessing, but those who get it get a good laugh. And double entendre too, mes compliments

                  Reply
                2. ObjectiveFunction

                  Wow, just watched this in its riveting entirety on YT. The Commentariat continues to enrich my aging brain, many thanks again!

                  You ate the natives too? No. They moved fast, and we couldn’t catch them. So unpopular soldiers became victims? Troublemakers and selfish ones…. I could find water and guide them in the jungle.

                  Reply
              1. Jack Parsons

                Some survey of cannibalism stories around the world found that almost all of them were slurs against “those people in the next valley”.

                The Marine father of an old girlfriend of mine claimed that his squad found Japanese soldiers who were killing and eating villagers, and murdered them.

                Reply
                1. JBird4049

                  The demonization of the Japanese was wrong, but their actions, which did include mass atrocities like germ warfare and human vivisection as well as isolated examples of cannibalism were evil enough

                  Reply
              1. meeps

                > Don’t believe everything you read in Wikipedia. Much of it is unsubstantiated.

                Let us hope then, that a Bezos TV adaptation of William Gibson’s, The Peripheral, is one such rumor. I’ve a feeling it would cause Lambert some distress.

                From the wiki:

                Television adaptation
                A TV series adaptation was commissioned in 2018 by Amazon to be developed by Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan.[17] The series was put into development in April 2018 with a “script-to-series commitment”,[18] receiving a firm go-ahead in the middle of November 2019. Beyond Joy and Nolan, executive producers include Athena Wickham, Steven Hoban and Vincenzo Natali.[19] It will have hour episodes and be developed by Kilter Films, though Amazon Studios.[20] Warner Bros. Television is also involved as a producer, with Scott B. Smith as writer.[4] Smith created the series, and will executive producer and also be showrunner. Natali will direct the show’s plot.[21]

                Reply
          2. WJ

            It’s a Wonderful Life 2

            Lol. But also fundamentally a mistake to focus overmuch on the importance of specific individual persons. In the absence of G dubs himself, there would have been found his functional equivalent etc.

            Reply
        4. Leftcoastindie

          Actually, it’s too bad Bush didn’t listen to his intelligence people in the first place prior to 9/11.

          Reply
      3. tegnost

        outright refusal cannot be the result of skepticism? What’s this “difference” you refer to? Also it would probably be trumps id that is refusing to listen, and his ego is supposed to mediate between the id and the super ego…I mean aren’t you skeptical of trumps motives/intelligence and thus refusing to see any other possible state of affairs?

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          for the record I personally am skeptical of pretty much anything that anyone from either side of the corrupt and compromised black hole of self serving lobbyist funded team players with their various and unstructured personal/corporate agendas, and I refuse to believe anything they say without some form of decent citation.

          Reply
          1. nippersdad

            Well said.

            I listened to about ten minutes of the testimony of two different witnesses in the car this morning and came away with more questions than they even attempted to answer. At this point neither party or any of its’ minions have any credibility with me at all.

            AFAIAC, they ALL just need to be investigated en masse, and then sent to the Hague and investigated again.

            Reply
      4. Procopius

        If you read her description, it wasn’t outright refusal. You have to get through several paragraphs first, but by the end of the article she was describing a good customer for a genuine intelligence agency. It was critical skepticism, demanding they back up what they were saying, unlike the corporate MSM, who accept the most bizarre claims on faith. “How do you know that?” is a good question. More people should ask it.

        Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Yes, but point out the idiocy of generals is such low hanging fruit.

        After all plenty of people said giving arms and money to religious extremists would be bad but General Petraeus is an “expert”. Then Obama let him do It In Afghanistan reinvigorating the Taliban. All things considered knowing more than a general is pretty much a given even for Trump.

        Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            Remember Panama/Noriega! And the most recent War is a Racket victory over Bolivia… Regime change coups as extension if foreign policy by other means.

            Reply
          2. JBird4049

            Actually, the last invasion of Panama when general and President for Life Manuel Noriega got too uppity. Massive destruction and large numbers of civilian dead just to swap out a former yes-man with a new yes-man. That “war” was a disgraceful and disgusting crime. But it was a “victory.”

            Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Trump: “I know more about ISIS than the generals.”

        That’s a pretty low bar, though [rimshot. laughter]. From The Week, an interesting article on the history of ISIS:

        ISIS was born out of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. When U.S. administrators, under Paul Bremer, decided to “de-Baathify” the Iraqi civil and military services, hundreds of thousands of Sunnis formerly loyal to Saddam Hussein were left without a job — and they were mad. Al Qaeda chose to capitalize on their anger and established al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) to wage an insurgency against U.S. troops in Iraq (Saddam was secular, but his intelligence and military supporters were able to make common cause with the jihadis of al Qaeda).

        During this time they were quite active

        So, at the very least, ISIS is yet another case of blowback. Whether Generals, or Trump, can be said to “know” this is an interesting question.

        Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The best part is the 17 agencies is from an intro slide show. The Coast Guard and the NRO are part of the 17.

        Reply
          1. Procopius

            I remember there were hints in the MSM that the FBI was refusing to sign on. I don’t know what Brennan and Clapper gave Comey to get him to agree.

            Reply
  3. Wukchumni

    By all rights, Devin Nunes should be my Congressman, but I got gerrymandered. I’ll admit he’d be more interesting to make fun of than my duly elected dullard Kevin McCarthy-who seems to be Devin’s Ruprecht of the dirty rotten scoundrels duo, and has become quite schooled in the game of initiating lawsuits for tremendous amounts of money for damage incurred to him, and he used to be a $250 million lawsuit filer, but what if you missed a few eyeballs while courting favor by virtue of a nuisance suit not getting noticed?

    Yesterday Devin upped the ante, suing CNN for $435 million.

    Reply
  4. Wukchumni

    A “Synchronized Downturn” Calls for a “Synchronized Response”

    Accordingly, the use of regional institutions in a coordinated effort to support global growth impulses enables the world economy to make use of a greater part of the Global Financial Safety Net (GFSN) that may be employed to support growth.

    Are they describing a circus trapeze act, or merely free money with strings attached?

    In any event, here’s the soundtrack, for Fucik sake:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B0CyOAO8y0

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Yaroslav Lissovolik worked in the International Monetary Fund, in Washington, where he was Advisor to the Executive Director for the Russian Federation (2001–2004). In 2004 he joined Deutsche Bank as Chief Economist and became Head of Company Research in Russia in 2009, and then a member of the Management Board of Deutsche Bank in Russia in 2011. In 2015-2018 Yaroslav Lissovolik was Chief Economist and subsequently Managing Director of Research and Member of the Management Board at the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB). Since 2018 he has been Senior Managing Director — Head of Research at Sberbank Investment Research (CIB).

      The author’s credentials are former-IMF neoliberal globalist banker, so I think it would be much wiser to lose him down a well than to take his advice to heart.

      Reply
    2. JP

      From a high altitude and a longer time perspective, a global situation of an unsustainable population based on rapacious resource extraction facilitated by a new more liquid kind of money that could grow with the ever expanding gross product. More and more of the resource extraction is monitized in less tangible but higher margin social extraction. As we near a tipping point for the whole house of cards, it looks like the latest popular extraction is the money itself.

      channeling Thorsten Veblin

      Reply
    3. Susan the Other

      The only thing I do not like about this existential change phase (there should be a more dramatic word like the great political vanishing, or general-disappearance or vacuum-event, or maybe amnesia by insignificance) is that it leaves us almost without a memory – without a coherently accepted discourse. So the Valdai Club is looking at reorganizing how we relate – like a “galaxy within a galaxy or a political turducken” (first link). It’s almost reassuring that somebody understands the chaos and the bereavement in a political sense of loss. Or do they? But this is the season for drinking lotsa wine. So cheers. The breakdown for organizing the Global Financial Safety Net sounds feasible. But it remains as useless as anything we have ever done unless it includes the rehabilitation of the environment. The dedication to do so far into the future. And my greatest unease is that oligarchs will intentionally undermine the value of sovereign fiat when it comes to doing the best social/environmental work at a local level. Fiat coming from an agreed-upon, free-flowing well of cooperation. Could be all new territory.

      Reply
  5. zagonostra

    >M(edical)IC

    …we are not exaggerating when we talk about an oligarch takeover of the US pharma and healthcare industries. It’s real. And very real people suffer for real.

    As far as we know, this is the first report to reveal this mind-boggling extent of monopolization and concentration of ownership in US pharma and healthcare. This monopolization is fast approaching Soviet levels, with the same lethal consequences…

    How is it that America manages to get the worst of all worlds when it comes to healthcare. The Awara study shows that in addition to the original sin of corporate greed, the exorbitant costs of the US healthcare system stem from layers upon layers of distortions with which the system is afflicted. Each part of the healthcare industry contributes to what is a giant monopoly scam: the pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers, drug wholesalers, drug stores, group purchasing organizations, health insurance companies, doctors, clinics and hospitals, and what should be impartial university research…

    The most important lesson for the rest of the world from this case study of the US healthcare sector is that the US ideology of neoliberalism and the crony capitalism that it breeds does not bring real life value for an economy, on the contrary, we have seen that privatization is detrimental over state ownership and public services in the healthcare sector, and therefore it must be the case in many other core sectors of the economy as well…

    Unfortunately, I think the US healthcare system is unreformable – as is the economy at large. One day the whole economy will just implode and reform itself through a cataclysm of epic proportions, as was the case with Soviet Russia.

    https://thesaker.is/the-oligarch-takeover-of-us-pharma-and-healthcare-and-the-resulting-human-crisis/

    Reply
    1. jefemt

      ahhh, THE MIC… really like that one!

      That goes up there with S L I C C (self-licking ice cream cone…)

      The news about the threats and assaults on the National Health Service in GB are distressing.

      As Jackson Brown wrote, “Oh it’s so far the other way my Country’s gone…”

      Reply
    2. inode_buddha

      “Unfortunately, I think the US healthcare system is unreformable – as is the economy at large. One day the whole economy will just implode and reform itself through a cataclysm of epic proportions, as was the case with Soviet Russia.”

      Sad thing about it is, I’ve been saying this since about 1990, but was dismissed as a nutter. Probably due to the lack of a degree and connections, but I think it’s obvious that the US will implode the same way the Soviets did, for similar reasons, and both of our illustrious political parties will go down the drain pointing at each other and taking zero responsibility while Wall St fiddles….

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        It has been fun to watch us fall apart similar to the USSR, albeit in a Bizarro World fashion, with a capitalist twist.

        Amazon is G.U.M., Aeroflot is a highly ranked airline-while ours are anything but, We build walls to keep people out-they built them to keep people in.

        How we emerge from the crass dive is the X factor. I suspect it’ll be similar to the USSR, when after it went away, lots of Soviet Bloc party militaria suddenly become available in the west, want to be an Admiral, comrade? $20 buys you the hat.

        Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            “There are no exact guidelines. There are probably no guidelines at all. The only thing I can recommend at this stage is a sense of humor, an ability to see things in their ridiculous and absurd dimensions, to laugh at others and at ourselves, a sense of irony regarding everything that calls out for parody in this world.”

            Václav Havel

            Reply
      2. Jessica

        One big difference between the USSR just before it ended and the US now is that the USSR elite had something else to jump to, namely capitalism.
        To a considerable degree, the USSR economy did not collapse, rather the elites who had been managing it on behalf of the state ditched the state but kept control of the economy, thus turning themselves into oligarchs.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          Another big difference between the USSR and the US, as Dmitry Orlov has pointed out, is that the USSR didn’t have rentiers forcing people out of homes or locking people out of public works at the time of collapse. Any society is nine meals away from revolution, as one Alfred Henry Lewis said.

          Reply
          1. norm de plume

            Yes, Orlov had unique insight having spent formative years in both US and Russia. Post collapse, the people stayed in their own homes and, having had for decades to supplement food supplies with home grown vegies and fruit, were able to avoid starvation. Also they were pretty good at fixing and mending things Westerners would have turfed and replaced.

            But the main difference he saw was in the populace’s level of expectation. Accustomed to a relatively low level of income without much prospect of improvement, the Soviets shrugged their collective shoulders and put one foot in front of the other as they always had. Orlov thought that perspective entirely absent in most US citizens, and therefore that a sudden collapse would cause much more chaos there than in Russia.

            Reply
        2. JohnnySacks

          Thank you! The outcome of any cataclysmic change may not be the outcome one expects (or, it may be, depending on one’s political association, race, and/or socioeconomic position) Russia went full on reversion to neo-tsar oligarchs. “But at least here’s food in the stores” is what my 1980 refusenik refugee friend’s tsar-loving family says (they’re yuuge Trump and Putin fans!)

          Reply
        3. anon in so cal

          Flashback 1998:

          “The Harvard Boys Do Russia”

          “After seven years of economic “reform” financed by billions of dollars in U.S. and other Western aid, subsidized loans and rescheduled debt, the majority of Russian people find themselves worse off economically. The privatization drive that was supposed to reap the fruits of the free market instead helped to create a system of tycoon capitalism run for the benefit of a corrupt political oligarchy that has appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars of Western aid and plundered Russia’s wealth…..

          ….Essential to the implementation of Chubais’s policies was the enthusiastic support of the Clinton Administration and its key representative for economic assistance in Moscow, the Harvard Institute for International Development. Using the prestige of Harvard’s name and connections in the Administration, H.I.I.D. officials acquired virtual carte blanche over the U.S. economic aid program to Russia, with minimal oversight by the government agencies involved. With this access and their close alliance with Chubais and his circle, they allegedly profited on the side.

          Yet few Americans are aware of H.I.I.D.’s role in Russian privatization, and its suspected misuse of taxpayers’ funds.”

          https://www.thenation.com/article/harvard-boys-do-russia/

          Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the US will implode the same way the Soviets did

        There’s one obvious difference, in that there will be no Harvard Economists to assist us with a “Big Bang” afterwards. Or will there?

        Reply
        1. inode_buddha

          Maybe Oxford/Eton can help the US become a colony again, in a mutual aid deal. “Special Relationships” and all that.

          Reply
    3. Oh

      The whole economy imploded during the great recession and if Obomber had nationalized the banks and thrown the rascals in jail the oligarchs would’ve learned a lesson. Instead, look what we got – a corrupt President who gave more to the MIC through his healthcare “reform”.

      Reply
    4. Kurtismayfield

      This is a wonderful read that every US citizen should read. I almost want to link it on Facebook just to see if people actually read it before attacking it. It shows has far gone our current system is. The fact that Vanguard controls it all makes it even more shocking.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        No, it is significantly wrong. It depicts Blackrock and Vanguard as active investors which is false. They are not owners. The beneficial owners of the funds own and vote the shares. This sort of hysteria undermines the piece.

        Reply
  6. jeremyharrison

    CNN reports that “Former official says Trump often refused to believe his intelligence briefings.”

    I’m shocked that CNN would say something so complimentary about Trump….

    Edit – oops, while I was typing this, someone above already made the point….

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      That reads as

      1. Sour Grapes by the intelligence community
      2. Common Sense exhibited by Trump

      Remember “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq.
      Or the success in Libya, Afghanistan, and Vietnam, and 9/11.

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Party like a spy: Spookstock is intel world’s hush-hush bash”

    ‘Now in its seventh year, Spookstock has raised millions for the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which look after the families of CIA officers and special operations forces killed in the field. Last year, after expenses, each charity received about $400,000.’

    Last year they were really excited when there was a $2,00,000 contribution for each of these charities but this had to be revised when it was found that the contributions came from the Counterfeit Division of the CIA.

    Reply
      1. anon y'mouse

        they would all go as Agent Smith, the replicating hologram that chased Neo through 3 movies.

        second vote is James Bond–everyone knows who he is, so how does he get his work done? weird secret agent, using his own name and all.

        Reply
      2. ambrit

        Since the operative word is “spook,” let us turn this one on it’s head and suggest that the attendees wear white sheets, with matching conical hats, in honour of “the Spirits,” of course. Now, this might be an inversion of the ‘traditional’ American definition of “spook,” but what is a psyops department good for if it cannot pull this one off?

        Reply
    1. Craig H.

      1. it isn’t that hush hush if it’s on the AP wire
      2. I did like this part:

      “But the centerpiece is the concert. Spookstock headliners have included Peter Frampton, ZZ Top and the Steve Miller Band. Kravitz, 55, reflected an attempt to skew a bit younger, Kelton said.”

      I looked it up and Anderson was 29 years old when they put out “Too Old to Rock and Roll and Too Young to Die”. Which is a much better title than it was a song. (They weren’t too old to put out great albums though because the next one was “Songs from the Wood”)

      Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Graydon is long gone is he not? Dunno about the sissy part.

      Trump resigning has been the fond fantasy of the Resistance from day one. Remember when showboat MIchael Moore tried post election to get into Trump Tower and tell Trump he should step aside for the good of the country?

      Reply
  8. Field Marshal McLuhan

    Hoag’s Object Is a Galaxy Within a Galaxy Within a Galaxy (and Nobody Knows Why) Live Science. Sounds like a CDO.

    Good for them that central galactic real-estate prices never go down! Besides, if anything does happen, they can always get the rubes in the Magellanic clouds to eat the risk.

    P.S. – Lovely pair of mollusks this morning!

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      they can always get the rubes in the Magellanic clouds to eat the risk.

      The Maoris didn’t call it the land of the long white cloud for nothing, although occasionally the nights are clear & amazing. We had hiked up to the Mueller Hut for an overnight stay in Mount Cook NP, and never has a celestial object been more in my face than the Magellanic clouds that eve, wow!

      By the time we heard the Mueller Glacier calving far across the way, it had already happened a few seconds earlier visually, so we had that going on as well. A magical night it was.

      The hut accommodates around 40, and is a worthy walk.

      https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/canterbury/places/aoraki-mount-cook-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/mueller-hut-route/

      Reply
    2. voteforno6

      Hoag’s Object Is a Galaxy Within a Galaxy Within a Galaxy (and Nobody Knows Why)

      I think Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) was trying to figure that out in Knives Out.

      Reply
  9. Henry Moon Pie

    How must humans change to at least halt if not reverse our trashing of the planet? A new article on Resilience.org points to a reduction in “power” as a necessary change:

    [O]ur only way out of our predicament is to give up various forms of power, often to significant degrees. Humans are well acquainted with the problem of over-accumulation of power, and cultural evolution has supplied plenty of ways of solving it—from the ancient Australian Aboriginal tradition of not hunting the red kangaroo in its mating season, to trade unions and democracy, environmental regulations, and modern billionaires like Tom Steyer who say, “Please tax me.” Today’s local newspaper here in Santa Rosa, California, featured a story about crab fishermen on the Sonoma coast who are voluntarily delaying their crabbing season (thereby incurring a substantial financial loss) in order to protect migrating whales.

    I don’t know whether Tom Steyer merits a mention, but the power analysis is one way of bringing home just how fundamental a change is required.

    Reply
  10. fajensen

    Varadkar blow: Ireland to LOSE ‘privileged access’ to Brexit deal talks Express

    This article reads a lot like the usual Brexit Bumf: “England decides everything”, “Trade deals are so easy that Chris Grayling could do one”, covered with a thin sauce of “The need us more than we need them”.

    One hopes that Macron will finally rise to the occasion and put a nail in it or this misery will never end!

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its an odd article – I can’t find the article in the Irish Independent its based on. It seems to be just stating the obvious, that any trade negotiations post Brexit will be much more technocratic and ‘normal’. What it doesn’t mention is that because the fish issue is so politically hot for the French, Spanish and Dutch that it won’t just be Ireland clamoring for specific concessions from the UK and taking a hard line.

      Reply
    2. makedoanmend

      Ireland never had so-called “privileged” access during Brexit deals talks. Therefore, it can not lose such alleged privileges. As a member of good standing within the EU, and the only country that will have a land border post Brexit, Ireland sought and found unanimity among all EU members for support of the Good Friday Agreement(GFA) and attendant trade issues. It seems the writer of the Express piece is projecting onto Ireland what they themselves believe should be their own privileged ballywick.

      Also, the new EU commissioner for Trade through to 2024 is a certain Phil Hogan whose remit includes deciding, along with intimate consultation and consensus with all of the EU, the entire trade interests of the EU. Commissioner Hogan happens to hail from Ireland and belongs to the same political party as Taoiseach Varadkar. While Commissioner Hogan must certainly put the interests of the EU above those of Ireland, and he has done just that as commissioner for EU agriculture previously, I’m sure he’ll keep an eye open on issues that affect Ireland.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Ah yes, I forgot about Big Phil. Whatever you think about his politics he is undoubtedly a very formidable politician and negotiator. The UK won’t get much out of him. As a Commissioner, he won’t be allowed wear the green shirt during negotiations, but to paraphrase a comment I heard on his nomination, he’ll certainly be wearing green underwear.

        Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    When Yuri blasted into outer space, I blasted into inner space orbiting the solar plexus and came out of the capsule today, way back when.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      UFC 86

      General Tso’s Chicken vs Chicken Kiev

      Live from Kowloon, poultry in motion

      HK$49.95 PPV
      HK$59.95 PPV (HD)

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From Wikipedia, on General Zuo Zhong Tang of the Tso’s Chicken fame:

        Zuo was outspoken in calling for war against the Russian Empire, hoping to settle the matter by attacking Russian forces in Xinjiang with his Xiang Army. In 1878, when tension increased in Xinjiang, Zuo massed Qing forces toward the Russian-occupied Kuldja. The Canadian Spectator stated in 1878, “News from Turkestan says the Chinese are concentrating against Kuldja, a post in Kashgar occupied by the Russians… It is reported that a Russian expedition from Yart Vernaic has been fired upon by Chinese troops and forced to return.”[7] The Russians were afraid of the Qing forces, thousands of whom were armed with modern weapons and trained by European officers. Because the Russian forces near the Qing Empire’s border were under-manned and under-equipped, they agreed to negotiate.

        Even it’s Wikipedia, and many have said it is not always reliable, I believe it was Russian, and not Ukrainian, in the passage above.

        And that Xinjiang was in Russia’s intended sphere of influence, then, and likely today. They had a keen interest there before, and still today, I believe.

        Zuo was admired by Chinese as a patriot, who was appointed to the Grand Council of the Qing dynasty, and also as a great general. From Wikipedia:

        Zuo was admired by many generals who came after him. During the Republican era, the Kuomintang general Bai Chongxi wanted to reconquer Xinjiang for the Nationalist government, in Zuo’s style, and expelled Russian influence from the area.[8] Zuo was also referred to by Kuomintang general Ma Zhongying (a descendant of a Salar noble) as one of his models, as Ma led the National Revolutionary Army’s 36th Division to reconquer Xinjiang for the Nationalist government from the pro-Soviet governor Jin Shuren during the Kumul Rebellion.[9]

        A few notes.

        General Bai himself had been compared to the great military strategist, Zhuge Liang (or Kongming, nicknamed Crouching Dragon – this was around 200 AD, way before the film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). So, he was known as Little Zhuge.

        The 36th division was made of almost entirely of Hui Muslim troops. Hui Muslim was a term used at one time to distinguish ethnic Han Muslims from non-Han Muslims. And general Ma was a Muslim, which one can guess confidently knowing Ma and the Muslim (the ‘Mu’ part) sound alike, and Ma Chinese, especially those in the north, and even more so in the northwestern China, are likely Muslim.

        Also, the Hui Muslims did not always align themselves with Uyghurs, fellow Muslims, as they fought in Xinjiang.

        As for the pro-Soviet Union general Jin, active around 1928 to 1933, Wikipedia has this to say:

        Jin expanded Yang’s system of internal surveillance and censorship. Besides increasing the strength of both secret and ordinary police, he introduced internal passports which gave him greater control over internal travels thus tightening internal security, as well as giving additional source of revenue for his administration. Traveling outside the province became almost impossible.[3]

        All these (historical imperial-power-players, and internal measures used by China) to keep in mind as we fellow the Uyghur situation in Xinjiang.

        Reply
    2. jefemt

      Wonder if they have made it over to Portland, or are relying on their Idaho panhandle/ NW Montanny bros to cover that ongoing duty…

      Innerestin’ times

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        No, it doesn’t. FFS.

        There seems to be this tendency, call it vulgar semiotics, to believe that appropriated signs from one context always have the same meaning in other contexts. (True for, say, the swastika, and look at the effort that exercise in global branding took.)

        Since symbol manipulators have a lot of political power in our own country, this style of “analysis” carries great weight. In fact, it’s a hall of mirrors.

        Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It should be noted that as of now, Hong Kong protestors had previously protested without the presence of the Azov Battalion.

      And what they have been demanding should not be put aside because of this.

      Reply
  12. allan

    Compare and contrast:

    A Man Suspected Of Carjacking Died After Officer Put Him In a Sleeper Hold. He Was Driving His Own Vehicle. [BuzzFeed]

    A man who died after a Northern California sheriff’s deputy put him in a sleeper hold because officers believed he was suspected of carjacking was, in fact, driving his own car when he was pulled over, officials said Monday.

    Shortly before dawn on the morning of Nov. 27, David Glen Ward was driving his green Honda Civic in Sonoma County when officers tried to pull him over. Ward had reported the vehicle stolen at gunpoint a few days earlier, but he did not update authorities that he had apparently since found the car. …

    vs.

    William Barr Says Those Who Don’t Show More Respect To Cops May Not Get Police Protection
    [HuffPost]

    … “But I think today, American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers,” Barr said. “And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves ― and if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.” …

    The frogs are getting close to medium rare.

    Reply
    1. BobW

      I was in LA during the Rodney King riots. For several days the LAPD was conspicuous by its absence. Shopowners in Koreatown set up barricades and firing lines. Rumor was that many of the fires were set by property owners for the insurance money.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I remember watching on tv, the looters pushing out to the Miracle Mile, and a friend with a store a few blocks away from the festivities, was terrified inside he told me, in retrospect.

        I took a hike to Parker Mesa Overlook in Topanga State Park, which has the best view of L.A., but you gotta earn it. On a clear day, you can see the Channel Islands, down to Palos Verdes Peninsula, all the way out to the San Bernadino mountains and everything in between.

        Looking back towards South Central & environs, there were dozens of smoke flumes in the distance, giving it the look of a WW2 European city that had been bombed an hour earlier.

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      In that case those communities will have to form their own well-self-regulated Community Militias to keep their own community order. And those communities will have to arm themselves and ammo themselves and train themselves and prepare themselves well enough to keep the police out of those communities.

      Reply
  13. Carolinian

    The Assange story in American Conservative

    The UC Global S. L. team was also ordered by its boss to install stickers that prevented the windows of the rooms that the WikiLeaks founder used from vibrating, allegedly to make it easier for the CIA to record conversations with their laser microphones. They also took a used diaper from a baby that was on occasion taken to visit the activist in order to determine if the child was his by a close collaborator.

    So rather than sipping shaken not stirred martinis at some foreign casino our intrepid secret agents are sifting through baby poop in order to get the goods on Assange. Guess it’s not all glamor back at Langley.

    Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “The OAS has to answer for its role in the Bolivian coup”

    Well considering the Organization of American States has it’s headquarters in Washington DC, why should there be any doubt as to what their true purpose is.
    Anybody notice that one of the signers on that letter is Stephanie Kelton?

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      The News Hour is just as bad as MSNBC although they have to pretend to be a little more objective. You’ll recall that during the PBS anchored debate back in 2016 one of the moderators (probably Woodruff) was heard on open mike to say “oh god” as Bernie spoke on a non establishment approved topic.

      Woodruff has worked at NBC and CNN and is as MSM as it comes. When at CNN she did their politics show and during the California recall vote years ago she was all rah rah at the notion of Schwarzenegger replacing the elected gov. I seriously doubt she’s any more than a faux liberal.

      Reply
      1. nippersdad

        They have been bad for a very long time now. I stopped watching the News Hour when Brooks and Shields both agreed that anti-war activists during the Bush Administration were unAmerican. I remember being so annoyed that I actually got one of the producers on the phone and read him the riot act. I told him to look up the Geneva Conventions, that maybe he might find them relevant at some point in his career.

        Not that it made the slightest bit of difference, but it made me feel a whole lot better.

        Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    U.S. regions hard hit by opioids to ditch class action, pursue own lawsuits Reuters
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    In 2017, many more people overdosed on opioids and checked out forever, as did all of our soldiers that died in the Vietnam War, and the running total of deaths from opioid overdoses is over 700,000 since the turn of the century, which is about double the amount of our military deaths in WW1 & WW2.

    And now all we’re arguing over, is money.

    Reply
    1. flora

      We’re arguing over the best way to cause enough financial loss to the companies profiting from over selling opiods that they’ll stop the practice. imo. Good for the states.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        IMHO the best way to deal with corporate malfeasance, generally, is to inflict something they can’t buy their way out of.

        Particularly, have you noticed in cases like these, how often there is no admission of guilt? The reason why is because corporate officers are supposed to be able to hide behind the limited liability of the corporation.

        Take that away so they become personally liable for the company’s behavior, and watch the dramatic change in their behavior. Watch them become upstanding citizens, in fact.

        Notice, I am not talking about being liable for a company’s financial performance (since the “Free Market” is supposed to deal with that), but rather for their social behavior.

        Reply
  16. Samuel Conner

    That’s not Dumbo, it’s (more nearly) Pikachu.

    I suspect that one of the hazards for the Ds in a Senate impeachment trial is the (to my mind) likelihood that the Rs will work into the defense demonstrations of the validity of what WaPo and other MSM corps have been calling “debunked conspiracy theories”. It seems quite possible to me that a trial would do more damage to Biden than to Trump.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Did not the Democrats see this coming? Of all the issues, Ukraine is the one that entangles the establishment front runner. Also, from if Jonathan Turley is correct in his assessment, provided in his opening statement before Congress, the legal basis of the case against Trump is weak.

      I have previously discussed the striking similarities
      between the Johnson and Trump inquiries in terms of the brevity of the investigation and
      narrowest of the alleged impeachable offenses.

      a structure. The physics are simple. The higher the building, the wider the foundation.
      There is no higher constitutional structure than the impeachment of a sitting president
      and, for that reason, an impeachment must have a wide foundation in order to be
      successful. The Ukraine controversy has not offered such a foundation and would easily
      collapse in a Senate trial.
      https://d3i6fh83elv35t.cloudfront.net/static/2019/12/Turley-Testimony.pdf

      Finally, I don’t think most Americans give a damn about Ukraine, nor are they any longer shocked and dismayed at the rat phking and other shenanigans that go on in high places that have little or no effect on their material circumstances.

      Reply
    2. Stormcrow

      There are potentially also deeper issues at stake. Lambert rightly worries about signs of a permanent coup. I find the coverage in wsws.org to be on point (if not cheering).

      Here are some of their comments today about the book by Anonymous called A Warning, which is apparently now #1 on the New York Times ’ nonfiction bestseller list.

      Two “warnings” are to be drawn from this book:

      First is the enormous crisis of democracy in the United States, which has degenerated to the point where cabinet officials, most of whom are or were military officers, abetted by the media, discuss a coup as a legitimate means to resolve policy differences. The president, meanwhile, repeatedly threatens to say in office past the two-term constitutional limit, and effectively asserts unlimited and dictatorial executive powers.

      While the threat posed by Trump to democratic rights is immense, no one who opposes war and attacks on democratic rights can have anything to do with the aims and intentions of the author of this book. Behind his pilfered, cobbled-together quotations—he calls Plato an American historian—and his ridiculous attempt at gravitas, he is a bloodthirsty advocate of imperialist war.

      The Democrats, who have upheld this man and people like him as the “adults in the room” and the antipode to Trump, are infected with the same poison.

      The struggle to remove Trump and to hold him to account for his real crimes will have nothing to do with people such as “Anonymous,” or the Democratic impeachment campaign that is totally aligned with his pro-war agenda.

      https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/12/04/warn-n04.html

      Reply
  17. Trent

    “The choice is not between socialism and capitalism, but between a real market economy and the present oligarchy”

    Bernie should pound the table about this

    Reply
    1. The Historian

      What is a real market economy? Isn’t it an economy based on unrestricted competition? And with unrestricted competition, aren’t there very few winners and a lot of losers? To me, it doesn’t sound like it is all that different than what we have now.

      Reply
      1. Trent

        a real “market economy” in my opinion would consist of breaking up all corporations beyond a certain size and letting local communities and the people that live in them own the resulting market share given up by predator corporations that suck the money out of the community. A few months ago I was watching a video on youtube that showed many main streets in the USA during the 50’s 60’s and early 70’s and what I found striking was the lack of giant corporate names. Most main streets seemed to be local small business. Walmart destroyed those and amazon is now destroying Walmart. Both could have been avoided by enforcing the laws we already have on the books.

        Reply
        1. Trent

          also I think it would be good to enter into the debate the fact that we don’t even currently have “capitalism”. Move the window of discussion from just being attacked all the time about socialism and shine the light on cronyism.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > A few months ago I was watching a video on youtube that showed many main streets in the USA during the 50’s 60’s and early 70’s and what I found striking was the lack of giant corporate names.

          This is the world I grew up in, now long gone.

          Reply
      2. anon y'mouse

        it is increasing the ownership of what we have now by a decile point.

        as far as i can tell.

        so we will have the 4000 families in Ms. Astor’s ballroom rather than just the 400.

        i don’t actually see much change here. the 4000 are already included. they just “own” to a lesser degree, perhaps.

        Reply
      3. cnchal

        > What is a real market economy?

        One where governments didn’t heavily subsidize big corporations.

        One where the FED didn’t shove buckets of money up the backsides of the elite, so they could monopolize anything they want.

        One where the criminalty of the banksters would have resulted in half century prison terms for those at the top instead of being rewarded with trillions in zero interest loans, so they can do it all over again.

        One where a monopoly cannot sell dangerous and fake goods and fake copywritten works, physically destroy it’s employees and then throw them on the human trash heap with impunity, while grabbing massive government subsidies and paying zero tax.

        One where the Sacklers end up in a dungeon.

        One where . . . . . . . . . .

        That’s just for starters.

        Reply
        1. Trent

          exactly, and this is where the discussion needs to get. But then again they covered all this in the last democratic debate right?

          Reply
  18. Louis Fyne

    US orders $22 billion in new subs to counter China.

    National Security-Deep State-Pentagon narrative that China is an existential threat to the US continues.

    No DC Democrat speaks up cuz Connecticut and Virginia wants those jobs.

    (PS, of course the leaders of PRC are not angels, but they’re not an existential threat to the US either)

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/newport-news-shipbuilding-gets-boost-from-record-2422b-submarine-contract/ar-BBXFytU

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      As the arms race spilled over into the general public, its not known who was the first hand cannon fancier to make the trip to India in search of additional limbs, so as not to be outgunned, but the practice quickly became popular and microsurgery could be had for a relative pittance, with the downside being that hapless Hindus were doped, only to emerge with nothing from the armpit onwards, typically on the port side of their bodies, victims of illegal arms trade.

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      So, are these subs going to sneak up on China and demand that the Chinese load up all those toys, cell phones, computers, steel, furniture, cheap clothing, shoes and fentanyl that americans “need” and “can’t live without,” or are they just going to blow up the consumer economy’s “factory” and empty Walmart’s and amazon’s shelves in the process?

      Reply
  19. flora

    re: Dear President Trump: The Ultimate Impeachment Deal The Dem estab won’t run on programs voters want, so the only way Dems can win 2020 Is for you to Abdicate Right Now – Vanity Fair.

    fixed it. heh.

    Reply
  20. John Beech

    The OAS has to answer for its role in the Bolivian coup Guardian

    I find it interesting the mouthpiece of the British left, The Guardian, supports the idea of a leftist dictator being shoved out. Dictator? Sure, what else do you call someone elected, but who keeps extending the terms of how long he can stay in office? Dictator works for me and I don’t believe the OAS has anything to answer for. Seems leftists disagree.

    Reply
    1. flora

      The US was extraordinarily lucky in it’s first president, who gracefully left the presidency after 2 terms to return to managing his large farm and business, becoming a private citizen again. No drama, no troops, no ” l’etat, c’set Moi” . Few countries have been so lucky in their beginnings.

      Reply
      1. @pe

        Or he was dying from syphilis and had the basic common sense to die at home rather than fight for his position. Both are equivalent with the same consequences, but are just different ways to spin the same story.

        And, if you read the notes from the constitutional convention, his laying down of permanent dictatorial powers happened after it was clear he only had southern support and New England would not join the country under those conditions. Or, we can say that he refused the kingship and saved the republic.

        Again, both are true.

        Reply
        1. flora

          Or, maybe draining 5 pints of blood from him when he caught a terrible cold did him in. Blood letting, leeching, to remove the vile humors, was the latest thing for doctors in the 18th century.

          Reply
          1. @pe

            A rich, healthy 67 year old man doesn’t die from a chest cold (even in 1799). Let’s say that’s unusual. The 5 pints was obviously doctors panicking as his condition got worse and he was unable to breath. The most likely explanation is that he was not a healthy 67 year old, that he already had damaged lungs or a chronic infection, and we can only speculate as to the ultimate cause of that.

            Maybe karmic retribution over Ona Judge?

            It is interesting that he was made a commander-in-chief in retirement, but in fact only appointed an active major general who actually handled the case. Could be a political play to give the major general a bit more heft — or could be a sign that he really wasn’t up to the task, and hadn’t been up for the tasks for years.

            Reply
      2. GF

        Yeah. And if he just would have sold his slaves after being elected, signed an executive order on day one to end slavery and grant the freed slaves citizenship and signed another executive order to grant Native Americans citizenship, we might have ended up a decent country.

        Reply
        1. flora

          “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

          ― L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between

          I won’t condemn the entire set of founding fathers, as such, to hell based on how far this country has come since their time. They gave us this time.

          Reply
          1. @pe

            Why would you condemn dead men to hell? Or worship them? Or bother to judge them personally in any way?

            I mean, doesn’t it sound funny to say “I won’t judge Lenin/Stalin/Mao to hell based on how far Russia/China has come since their time. They gave them this time.”

            It would imply a weird relationship to them — the question isn’t whether they were bad guys in their heart-of-hearts, but their precise historical role. In fact, this may be a good principle in general — not to care whether strangers are “good” or “bad”, but what their social role is.

            Reply
    2. hunkerdown

      That’s agnotology. Bourgeois neoliberals are not the left. If the Graun is so bloody leftist perhaps you can point out more than two kind words they’ve said about Jeremy Corbyn instead of milquetoast identitarian warmongering Atlanticists.

      Reply
    3. @pe

      So, leftist pushes the limits of legality without crossing them — bad dictator. Rightist pushes legalism to the limit — good guy fighting the deep state.

      Or maybe, just tribalism without any deep ideological pinning? (And of course, this is equally applicable to tribal leftists without ideological justification).

      Reply
    4. JTMcPhee

      Laugh of the day — the Guardian being the mouthpiece of the British left. Must not read the Grauniad, then, or follow the rag’s assiduous adherence to conservative editing. Skripal, Bolivia, we have always been at war with PutinRussia, endless other examples.

      At least Morales allowed reasonably fair elections, over a lot of Blob efforts to “delegitimization.”

      Reply
    5. lyman alpha blob

      The OAS flat out lied. Human beings died as a result of those lies, and will continue to do so under the right wing cabal that has declared itself to be the new government.

      He may have had the court declare he was eligible to run again, but he was still democratically elected. While I don’t find this to be the ideal situation, I also note that Michael Bloomberg had the NYC council strike down term limits so that he could run for another term as mayor, which he won.

      Is Michael Bloomberg a dictator, too? By your logic he is. So why is he running for president of the US now instead of being run out of the country?

      Reply
  21. Danny

    Can’t You Read?
    “…while it may be absurd to say that all Trump supporters are white supremacists, it’s also utterly impossible to deny that none of them had a problem voting for one….”

    “Trump won 29 percent of the Latino vote against Hillary Clinton in 2016.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/05/trumps-support-among-hispanics-latinos-is-real-dont-assume-it-will-fade/

    “Trump received about 8 percent of the black vote in 2016.”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/08/us/politics/trump-black-voters.html

    “Chat with fellow readers online at Anarcho Nina Writes on Discord!”

    The only Anarcho is in her logic, and self- appointed ventriloquism for minorities and all others for whom she tediously claims to speak.

    Reply
    1. marym

      Re: Turley (Democratic Clinton and Obama voter)

      Clinton Impeachment Testimony

      The allegations against President Clinton go to the very heart of the legitimacy of his office and the integrity of the political system…

      By threatening detection and accusation, the House deters misconduct by exposing presidents to the uncertain outcome of a Senate trial. Because the Constitution is written to make a penalty less likely in the Senate, it is essential that the House fully perform its detection and accusation role to achieve deterrence under this system. The Senate may then choose to acquit but the standard of conduct for future presidents has not been lowered by the adoption a narrow threshold definition in the House.

      Fire Eric Holder: Column

      In the end, Holder was the best witness against his continuing in office. His insistence that he did nothing was a telling moment. The attorney general has done little in his tenure to protect civil liberties or the free press. Rather, Holder has supervised a comprehensive erosion of privacy rights, press freedom and due process. This ignoble legacy was made possible by Democrats who would look at their shoes whenever the Obama administration was accused of constitutional abuses.

      Reply
        1. anon in so cal

          It is contained in Turley’s own testimony, which I linked to.

          Turley: “I would like to start, perhaps incongruously, with a statement of three irrelevant
          facts. First, I am not a supporter of President Trump. I voted against him in 2016 and I
          have previously voted for Presidents Clinton and Obama.”

          Reply
          1. marym

            If his intention was to convey that “even a Clinton/Obama supporter doesn’t think Trump should be impeached” my links suggest that when it comes to impeachment criteria it appears that he took a strong stand then on impeachable offenses and the need for Congress to set parameters, not “look at their shoes,” which isn’t reflected in his assessment of a Trump impeachment inquiry.

            Reply
    2. flora

      Thanks for the link.
      To complete the Turley para you quote:

      …To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump. My personal and political views of President Trump, however, are irrelevant to my impeachment testimony, as they should be to your impeachment vote.
      Today, my only concern is the integrity and coherence of the constitutional standard and process of impeachment. President Trump will not be our last president and what we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come. I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with
      the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.
      That does not bode well for future presidents who are working in a country often sharply and, at times, bitterly divided.

      I agree with Turley’s assessment.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with
        the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.

        There is discussion about broadening them to RussiaGate, presumably obstruction (and not the Steele dossier stuff).

        There was an enormous eruption of dunking on Turley on the Twitter, most of it content-free, from which I infer Turley said something important.

        Reply
    3. Anthony G Stegman

      In my view Jonathan Turley is primarily an attention seeker. He often takes an opposing view just to keep the spotlight on himself. It was obvious during today’s impeachment hearing that he enjoyed being the odd man out when it came to opining on whether or not Trump has committed impeachable offenses. I found Turley’s arguments against impeachment to be weak coffee.

      Reply
      1. flora

        Pop psychology-esque evaluations are interesting, but possibly amount to no more than “here’s what I think”. etc. (and I have been guilty of same. )

        Reply
  22. marym

    Trump administration tightens food stamp work requirements

    The final rule, announced Wednesday, will limit the ability of states to exempt work-eligible adults from having to obtain steady employment in order to receive [SNAP] benefits…
    Scaling back public benefits for low-income Americans has long been a Trump administration priority. The rule announced Wednesday is one of three proposals for cutting the food stamp program.

    Brandon Lipps, deputy under secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, said tightening the work requirement would save roughly $5.5 billion over five years. It would also cut benefits for roughly 688,000 SNAP recipients.

    The Urban Institute in a study released last month estimated that taken together, the three measures would affect roughly 2.2 million households, and 3.7 million individual beneficiaries.

    Reply
  23. Wukchumni

    Sports Desk:

    Interesting year in the NFL, the old guard rear back and throw QB’s have gotten rather ancient as of late, as youth must be served, with Lamar Jackson en pointe dashing through defenses, rarely with a pansy slide finish, no RB does that-why should he?

    This weekend is the acid test for the Bills, going up against Jackson & Co. to see what they’re made out of, game of the year.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Try: support@nakedcapitalism.com

      The moderators will probably see your appeal here, but email is more direct.

      I haven’t seen anything of yours that seems offensive, so probably a technical glitch. Again, I think NC tests the platform pretty hard.

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith

      Lee,

      I suggest you read our Polices. We commit to reviewing mod queue ONLY once a day and are clear we do not have the bandwidth to deal with individual complaints. This is a thinly resourced site and we prioritize producing new content.

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Also, if you ever posted the same comment twice, hoping “this time it will get through,” you just trained Skynet to think you’re a spammer. Same if you tried the same thing making only small changes, because now Skynet thinks you’re a spammer who’s trying to game the system.

      The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. Sorry.

      Reply
  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Japanese James Bond.

    From Wikipedia, on one of the governor-generals of Taiwan, Akashi Motojiro, who was a spy, about 100 years ago:

    In the period of growing tensions before the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, Akashi had a discretionary budget of 1 million yen (an incredible sum of money in contemporary terms) to gather information on Russian troop movements, naval developments, and to support Russian extremists, in particular Litvinoff, Orlovsky, and Lenin.[1] While based at Saint Petersburg, he reportedly recruited the famous spy Sidney Reilly and sent him to Port Arthur, to gather information on the Russian stronghold’s defenses.[2] After the start of the war, he used his contacts and network to seek out and to provide monetary and weaponry support to extremist forces attempting to overthrow the Romanov dynasty (see Grafton Affair).

    He also escaped assassination attemts by Ochrana several times.

    Reply
  25. Oregoncharles

    From the “Synchronized Downturn” piece: ” coordinated structural measures (including possibly in the sphere of trade or investment liberalization through plurilateral or other types of agreements) that may seek to amplify and reinforce the positive cross-border effects of fiscal stimulus. ”

    ” may seek to” – the author is being cagey, with reason. Is there any evidence that such measures actually promote groaf? There is lots of evidence that they promote inequality; but AFAIK, there was a downturn in world growth after such policies became predominant after 1980. That COULD have been diminishing returns (a phenomenon all too easy to forget), but it proves a negative: neoliberalization is not an effective growth promoter. It is good for the plutocrats, though, as was predicted.

    Of course, the other problem lies in that word “synchronized”. Globalization means that most international firewalls are gone; there are no refuges, by intent. That also means – by intent – that the US will be affected by a global downturn, esp. considering that the economy is now precariously perched.

    Reply
  26. Montanamaven

    Definition of Twit – “Silly annoying person”. Constitutional lawyer Noah Feldman, in my opinion only, is a twit.
    The whole process seems like the definition of a “show trial”. Jonathan Turley, however, was not “full of himself” or scoldy like Prof Karlan. Turley made the point that the Congress also can abuse their power. to try to get their own person elected. They are trying to change the past election and the one in 2020.

    Reply
  27. John

    Regarding intelligence agencies and crossing the Rubicon. I think that little river was crossed decades ago. At the height of the Vietnam war I was shocked to discover that there were 9 intelligence agencies in the US gov. That’s 16 or 17 now.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Here’s Wiki on Liel Liebovitz, the Israeli-American author of that NY Post piece on Iran being in flames: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liel_Leibovitz Hardly worthy of much trust, and other than the assertions he makes. Note that he is a “national security fellow” at the
      Foundation for Defense of Democracies, not exactly a progressive bastion. And the Iranians do at least get to vote in elections, and there is some tolerance of an opposition — unlike in the US and Israel and the various oppressive regimes both “support” — in large part to keep the Israeli State and the notion of Eretz Yisrael, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_of_Israel, afloat.

      Is the word “hasbara” still part of the acceptable lexicon, or is is it banned as “anti Semitic?” An explication by an Israeli of the concept and efforts: https://www.972mag.com/hasbara-why-does-the-world-fail-to-understand-us/27551/

      Anyone want to offer a resource whereby us mopes can Try to accurately parse what is going in on in Iran? And yes, ‘sanctions” (which even the Blob acknowledges are actors of “hybrid warfare”) can lead to disaffection in the mopery. Interesting that for all the predations and decimation of life for the US mopery, a product of “sanctions” of various sorts (on a grand scale, the acceleration of inward and upward wealth transfer, and the “policies” that beget deaths of despair and shortened life expectancies and crapification of everything) have not resulted in any significant uprising of mopes in America.

      Reply
  28. Oregoncharles

    “Adolph Reed on Movements and Monuments”:
    “Look, there are moments when the political situation is absolutely hopeless, and there are such moments, and that’s when you assassinate the fascist judge, or flip the bird to the eagle that’s coming down on you, but I don’t want to rush that moment. ”

    Which made me think of “Dance the Eagle to Sleep” by Marge Piercy, which imagines a lefty/hippy uprising on the verge of success…and ends with a nuclear explosion. (Never gather all your forces in one place, a lesson in at least 2 of her books.)

    And that’s enough depressing stuff for one day. It’s the reason I cling to electoral approaches.

    Reply
  29. JB

    re: Sheldon Adelson as a CIA bagman, it should come as no surprise for it wasn’t long ago when China determined that Sheldon Adelson was allowing the CIA to use his casinos in Macau to bribe or blackmail Chinese officials (published by The Guardian). Apparently, around this same time, China killed and imprisoned a number of CIA informants (published by the NYT).

    Reply

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