Links 12/8/19

A Tiny Leak Led to a Massive, Unexpected Collapse at Kilauea Volcano Live Science

How a volcanic eruption helped create modern Scotland Nature

Australia fires: blazes ‘too big to put out’ as 140 bushfires rage in NSW and Queensland Guardian

The dark side of the Nordic model Al Jazeera

TED wants to become the global hub for the climate change crisis Quartz. No.

German industry hit by biggest downturn since 2009 FT (TP).


Iran frees Chinese-American scholar for US-held Iranian scientist Al Jazeera

How Iran Got North Korean Subs The National Interest (Re Silc).


Knife-edge? UK’s Johnson ahead but polls suggest majority might be tough Reuters

Calls grow to stop Boris Johnson with tactical voting as race tightens Guardian

Top British diplomat Alexandra Hall Hall quits with searing Brexit critique CNN

Jewish group names UK’s Corbyn top anti-Semite of 2019 Times of Israel

Russian operation believed to be ‘tied to’ leaked UK trade documents FT. “The potential link … first came to light after researchers at US social media analysis group Graphika and Washington-based think-tank Atlantic Council published a report earlier this week saying the tactics first mirrored those used by the group.”

Patient data from GP surgeries sold to US companies Guardian. Hell yeah. How else can we market to them when the NHS is privatized?


Hong Kongers mark half year protest anniversary with huge rally Agence France Presse

Hong Kong Protests photo thread (1). Not a dinner party:

Hong Kong Protests photo thread (2). Frontliners:

But remember the quote: “Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics.” The frontliners would have withered without organic, logistical support from the majority of Hong Kongers.

* * *

China has its own Hong Kong protest game that lets you beat up activists Abacus

World Bank says lending to China to drop Deutsche Welle

With People in the Streets Worldwide, Media Focus Uniquely on Hong Kong FAIR

Violence Is Sometimes the Answer Foreign Policy

New Cold War

Ukraine’s leader hopes for lasting truce, prisoner swap AP

Zelensky’s Opponents Fear He Is Ready to Capitulate to Russia NYT

What the West Gets Wrong About Russia’s Intentions in Ukraine Foreign Policy

Russian Federation Sitrep 5 December 2019 Patrick Armstrong

Questions Cloud Story Behind U.S. Sanctions Der Spiegel

Bolivian elections. Thread:

Bolivia seeking Israel’s help to combat country’s left-wing ‘terrorism’ i24

Chile anthem against sexual violence goes viral Jakarta Post

The Failed Attempt At Regime Change In Venezuela The American Conservative


Constitional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment Report by the Majority Staff of the House Committee on the Judiciary. (Linking to the embed at LawFare because it’s searchable, unlike the PDF from the House, which is images only). From page 23:

To the Framers, it was dangerous for officials to exceed their constitutional power, or to transgress legal limits, but it was equally dangerous (perhaps more so) for officials to conceal corrupt or illegitimate objectives behind superficially valid acts. Again, President Nixon’s case is instructive. After individuals associated with his campaign committee committed crimes to promote his reelection, he used the full powers of his office as part of a scheme to obstruct justice. Among many other wrongful acts, President Nixon dangled pardons to influence key witnesses, told a senior aide to have the CIA stop an FBI investigation into Watergate, meddled with Justice Department immunity decisions, and conveyed secret law enforcement information to suspects. Even if some of this conduct was formally within the scope of President Nixon’s authority as head of the Executive Branch, it was undertaken with illegitimate motives.

And from page 25:

A majority of the House finally determined that President Johnson posed a clear and present danger to the Nation if allowed to remain in office. Rather than directly target President Johnson’s faithless execution of the laws, and his illegitimate motives in wielding power, the House resorted to charges based on the Tenure of Office Act. But in reality, ‘the shaky claims prosecuted by [the House] obscured a far more compelling basis for removal: that Johnson’s virulent use of executive power to sabotage Reconstruction posed a mortal threat to the nation—and to civil and political rights—as reconstituted after the Civil War … [T]he country was in the throes of a second founding. Yet Johnson abused the powers of his office and violated the Constitution to preserve institutions and practices that had nearly killed the Union. He could not be allowed to salt the earth as the Republic made itself anew.’ Viewed from that perspective, the case for impeaching President Johnson rested on his use of power with illegitimate motives.

Interesting theory of the Johnson impeachment.

Not hearing anything coherent here, and the Iraq WMD material is quite damning:

2016 Post Mortem

Why are these people laughing?

But: “What is so infuriating about this is that, until relatively recently, free tuition was the norm at a number of leading public colleges and universities. The University of California first charged tuition in the mid 1980s; CUNY in 1976. Many others charged nominal tuition.”

Indictment Details How Emirates Sought Influence in 2016 Campaign NYT

Trump Transition

New lawsuit challenges Trump administration policy to collect foreigners’ social media accounts WaPo


My Time at McKinsey Pete Buttigieg, Medium

Obama Legacy

Obamas buy Martha’s Vineyard estate from Celtics owner Wycliffe Grousbeck New York Post. And not Oak Bluffs!

Health Care

1 big thing: The coming health care collision Axios. C’mon, man:

Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing faces $3.9M fine for installing faulty parts on 737 planes The Hill

Imperial Collapse Watch

Jeff Bezos warns US military it risks losing tech supremacy FT. Bezos figures out where the real money is.

The Privatization of US Indo-Pacific Vision FX Street

Navy Boss Hints At A Very Different Looking Future Fleet Of Naval Combat Aircraft The Drive. For the suggestion box:

Class Warfare

Harvesting the Blood of America’s Poor: The Latest Stage of Capitalism Mint Press. “[B]lood now makes up well over 2 percent of total U.S. exports by value.” Hey, why don’t they just learn to code?

What 60 Minutes Missed: 44 Percent of U.S. Workers Earn $18,000 Per Year The Stranger

Toughest jobs? Try working in a pet store CBS

Leading anti-vaxxer jailed as measles death toll rises to 63 in Samoa Ars Technica (Re Silc).

Performance artist eats $120,000 banana duct-taped to wall, calls it ‘delicious’ NBC

Kripke versus Kant LRB

Antidote du jour (via):

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.


  1. Alex

    Regarding the dark side of Nordics, I wonder to what extent the high CO2 emissions are driven by 6-month heating season. Somehow the article never mentions it.

    1. xkeyscored

      No details given, but it does say, “Of course, wintry climates require slightly more materials, but there is still much room for improvement.”

      1. Anon

        I noticed that same quote. I’ve traveled to Central America and housing and clothing of near-tropic civilizations require substantially LESS materials than those in the Nordic region. Daylighting also helps in resource reduction. Most civilizations in hot climates (US excluded) use passive cooling techniques to stay comfortable.

        Cold climates need to consume resources to heat their living environment for longer hours. I’m sure the Nordics can learn to conserve heating resources through better insulation (or smaller homes), but to compare near-arctic industrial civilizations to near-tropic agricultural civilizations is to compare apples to oranges.

    2. Alex V

      Heating is of course a significant energy user in the Nordics, but except for Denmark, traditional fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oil are not used for this purpose. Most home heating is either electric (with hydro or nuclear as primary source) or district heating via hot water (with waste incineration or biomass as primary source). None of these sources are carbon neutral of course, but compared to some other cold climates heating is not a place where there are huge reductions to be found. Some data in this regard can be found here. “Electricity, gas, heat, water, and waste” account for around 1/8 of emissions in Sweden, for example.

      1. Jesper

        It seems that the argument is (from

        Housing is another very basic need. The suggested 85 percent reduction in the material footprint of housing is based on a decrease in living space per person by nearly half to an average of 20 m2 per person while the energy and resource efficiency of houses would increase drastically.

        20 m2 is approximately 215 square feet.

        Often it is best to deal with the biggest problems first, some prefer to deal with the easiest problems first. I take it that the author is in this case recommending to deal with ‘problems’ where they might easiest might be addressed rather than addressing the problems with the biggest impact. I suppose that is why he wrote about the Nordics.

        Hopefully the author leads by example, that is surely the easiest to address by him.

      2. Krystyn Walentka

        While it is true that hydro and nuclear emit less CO2, the fact that you are still increasing the temperature of millions of homes by 70+ degrees must contribute something to temperature rise as well, no? I mean all that heat escapes into the world at some point.

        1. Jeotsu

          Given that solar thermal gain is (depending on latitude and time of year) on the order of 1kW per square meter, I would think that house-heating in winter is a rather minor component. At least one order of magnitude, maybe two. Perhaps those extra few % are significant, but again compared to the direct solar thermal uptake in the surrounding land landscape (assuming this is a detached house with a yard) it is rather miniscule.

          Roof color probably plays a bigger role in heat absorption/climate change — is your roof white or black? That equates to many, many MWh absorbed or reflected over the course of the year.

          We repainted our house roof light-blue for just that reason a few years ago, with the added (obvious) bonus that it helps to keep us cooler in summer.

            1. inode_buddha

              “Thanks for that. Looks like death from a thousand cuts anyway”

              Making concrete in order to build a hydro plant produces enough CO2 that its going to be just break-even anyhow until its a hundred years old, or some huge time span like that. My local plant is ~60 yrs old, and I can’t begin to tell you how much cement they used, but the amount is truly staggering.

    3. Jessica

      The poor and excluded cause much lower CO2 emissions, so if you don’t have an underclass, the average CO2 emissions will be much higher.

    4. jsn

      I suspect this is just a demographic extension of the simple fact the rich consume more to a rich society,

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Just tell people “I’m a Democrat!” (Bloomberg, Buttgig, Warren et alia) and fill out the papers. Hey Presto! The media will do the rest, ensuring people vote against every last one of their interests.

          Times were that you would be laughed out of the room and people would question your grasp of reality. These are not those times.

            1. Pat

              One of the many reasons why Bloomberg’s claim to have advanced affordable housing in NYC is not just laughable it is outright fraud.

          1. Procopius

            Well, let’s see, √164 = 12.85 = 12′ 10″. Figure a twin bed is about 6’4″x3′. You’d be pretty hard pressed to fit a wardrobe in there, much less a wardrobe AND a refrigerator. Is the street food good and cheap there?

    5. Polar Socialist

      Where I live (in the Nordics), heating is ~13% of the total national energy use. Houses and apartments tend to be quite energy efficient – which, of course, means that building here requires lot more material (triple windows, insulation etc). This likely drives the emissions up.

      Honestly, housing and industry here really do try to lower the lifetime energy usage. It’s the private consumption that keeps the meters raising. Exotic and/or cheap stuff* is hauled in here from around the globe, devices are replaced with new ones sooner than before and so forth.

      *Food, clothing, materials…

      1. Ignacio

        And how much is heating (including hot water) on household total energy use?. I guess that well above 60%

    6. pebird

      The article doesn’t really say much. We know Norway produces and exports huge amounts of fossil fuels, probably the highest per capita production. But the article does not note if that is accounted for in their “calculations”.

      Instead we get the admonition to consume less (why not produce less), with an implication that a high level of social services is associated with high CO2 emissions.

      1. xkeyscored

        an implication that a high level of social services is associated with high CO2 emissions
        I didn’t get that impression at all, rather that the two are fairly independent. (I’d go further and say in the long run, high CO2 emissions will result in lower levels of many things, including social services.)

        “Nordic countries have it right when it comes to public healthcare, education and progressive social democracy, but they need to dramatically reduce their consumption if they are to stand as a beacon for the rest of the world in the 21st century.
        The good news is that the high levels of welfare for which Nordic countries are famous do not require high levels of consumption.”

    7. Vegetius

      “Nordic countries have it right when it comes to public healthcare, education and progressive social democracy, but they need to dramatically reduce their consumption if they are to stand as a beacon for the rest of the world in the 21st century.”

      Change ‘consumption’ to ‘immigration’ and the sentence reads much better, particularly in the case of Sweden.

      You can have all the rest of it ‘right’ but if you get immigration wrong you will eventually see the rest of it first corrode and then collapse. This break with pseudo-religious orthodoxy will be for many people as painful as it is necessary.

      1. Off The Street

        Norway casts a wary eye east and worries about how to avoid becoming like Sweden. Small countries don’t have the capacity to absorb large numbers of immigrants especially over short timespans. The problems are compounded by press that ignores the populace and champions its own vision. :(

  2. The Rev Kev

    “My Time at McKinsey” Pete Buttigieg

    No doubt written in blank verse i.e. he is saying that it is up to McKinsey to fill in the blanks of his career outline.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Thanks for reading it. I really can’t stomach the guy. He uses a certain didacticism, endemic to elite technocrats, that makes me want to ask him to simply cut to the chase. Though I have noticed that some otherwise intelligent people (co-workers) actually appreciate his rhetorical shtick. I’d be interested in knowing if anyone else gets the same vibe off him.

      (note to Lambert – I get sent to moderation for every comment, is there anything that changed a month or so ago?)

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        He uses a certain didacticism, endemic to elite technocrats……

        It’s beyond annoying. Every description of his work with mckinsey begins with, “I served…” Example:

        Working in Washington, I served a logistics and shipping provider working to identify and analyze potential new sources of revenue. This was my last study while at McKinsey.

        (My guess would be that those “new sources of revenue” would be the federal government.)

        The sabbatical he took from mckinsey was to indulge his “passion for public service.” Blech.

        He sounds like he’s applying to be a barista at Starbucks.

        1. Carey

          Also, this from Buttigieg:

          “..I never worked on a project inconsistent with my values, and if asked to do so, I would have left the firm rather than participate.”

          Can you say a little more about your “values”, Sir?

          1. pretzelattack

            he meant “i’ve never encountered a project inconsistent with my values, and don’t anticipate doing so in the future”.

          2. Geo

            “I never served on any projects that brought relief untethered from debt to the poor and disenfranchized, nor did I partake in any ventures which may have had the effect of compromising any power structures which are beneficial to the class of elites I so desperately want to be a part of one day soon.”

    2. John

      Mayor Pete: Fill in the blanks in your resumé or forget it. There is too much secrecy as a general proposition and an old corporate NDA is way down the list.

        1. DJG

          inode_buddha: The NDA thing is bogus also in the sense that Buttigieg, running for president of the United States, is pretending that a private contract with a corporation is going to hinder him. He’s running for president: He should dictate to McKinsey what he is doing.

          Can anyone imagine how quickly this clown will be rolled by the soi-disant intelligence community? Well, we can’t tell you about the genocide in Yemen that we’re sponsoring. And Gina? No, Gina can’t be held accountable–and you can’t fire her. It’s all in some Intelligence Community NDA. Don’t think of replacing the head of the FBI, pookie.


      1. poopinator

        Even if the NDA wasn’t an issue, why would anyone take Pete at his word for his description of who he worked with and what he did at this point?

        Pete had impeccable credentials for a modern day neoliberal technocrat. He could have written his own ticket to work anywhere. He chose McKinsey despite its storied history of corruption an unethical practices. That’s all that anyone really needs to know about the guy.

  3. Wukchumni

    Glad to hear about the coterie of firefighters from North America that have descended on Aussie, the Lucky Country needs all the help it can get!

    We’ve spent so much money and lives fighting boogiemen we tend to call terrorists, with much fawning over a team with a losing record, you’d think they won the championship just about year in dubious battle…

    I’d applaud efforts to create a national firefighting team along the lines of our military, as the enemy is at our door not in some backwater engaged by Blackwater.

    Wildfire season here is dead & gone, lit a couple burn piles yesterday before the deluge set in and they met their match.

    1. JTMcPhee

      The enemy, seems to me, is “us.” For building into fire-sweep areas, and all the “policies” and “freedom choices” and “homo economicus” preferences that have started to finally bottom out.

      Hey, “we” made war on drugs and poverty. And Terrists. “Let’s” get on a war footing against wildfires. Lighting up the burn piles is a good start. C + O2 = CO2?

      Make the world safe for lifestyle-choice “development” into those sylvan glades again.

      1. Wukchumni

        Elysian fields are where you find them in the underworld of the Sierra and the best ending to a cinder-ella story is to have rain pour from the heavens, damping down the smoke.

        Some of the various Yokuts tribes communicated via line of sight ridgeline fires, and it felt like that yesterday, as everybody knew the time was ripe, and there must’ve been 6 or 7 pillars of white ascending other than my work.

        1. Susan the Other

          very interesting Wuk that you are doing what you recently recommended and by all accounts it’s a tried and true method.

    2. Jessica

      A national firefighting team is a great idea as a substitute for the military.
      And while we are at it, let’s make sure that that team is properly equipped, particular to protect their lungs. I met someone who fought the big Fort McMurray fire in Alberta, Canada a few years back and already a large percentage of the fire fighters had cancer. Burning houses produce all manner of strange, hostile chemicals.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Yes to respiratory protection. A good chemist friend from the US EPA died of testicular cancer, likely linked to exposure (even with personal protective equipment and working in hoods and glove boxes) over many years to the soup of industrial chemicals he had to test for in effluents and air emissions from a bunch of chemical plants, notably those of Monsanto and Dow Chemical.

        A little side note for those who believe in science as search for truth: Dow Chemical’s (now DowDuPont, of course, after a Big Deal Merger as a waypoint on the race to the bottom) plants were and probably still are a major source of stuff like polychlorinated dibenzofurans and dioxins. So a couple of Dow’s “scientists,” working a corporate strategy, came up with a piece titled “The Trace Chemistries of Fire.” Supposedly proving that almost all the environmental spread of those particular species and others was a result of incomplete combustion in a wide variety of sources, like municipal waste incinerators and open burning of mixed waste. So Dow took a shot at laying blame for its externalities on the whole culture. Dow also constantly tried to minimize the science showing that particular persistent forms of PCDDs and PCDFs had no “safe exposure levels.” Most studies since then conclude that the precautionary principle (mostly abandoned) was the correct approach:

        The following case studies for four of the most widespread and extensively studied environmental hazards show that (1) there is no apparent threshold for health risks with dose-response relationships over exposure ranges far below those generally used in animal studies, and, in some cases, (2) there are higher risks per unit of exposure dose at low exposure levels.

        But of course the orders of magnitude of exposures and effects that Dow posited (“See? Our stuff is not so bad, in the great scheme of things!” were just another bit of “science fraud.” Another lawyer I worked with got interviewed by the WSJ concerning another of Dow’s frauds and obfuscations. He got a few moments of fame for telling the reporter that Dow was just a giant octopus, which when threatened emits a big squirt of black ink as a smokescreen to distract attention and hide behind. And the WSJ actually published his remark.

        There’s probably a certain amount of truth to the notion that when materials containing chlorinated compounds are burned, tiny amounts of chlorinated dioxins and dibenzofurans, polynucleated hydrocarbons and other chemical species are created. And a lot of stuff like heavy metals also gets volatilized and then inhaled by us mopes as vapor or attached to particulates from combustion.

        So yes, firefighters trying to bat cleanup by ”containing” and “knocking down” the structure- chemical/refinery/etc.- and wildfires that human stupidity has set the stage for, deserve respiratory protection. So do the rest of us. But the regulatory structures, even where the science voices in the mix demonstrate that zero exposure to various chemicals is the only sane standard if human health and ecological health are to be valued and protected, are overwhelmed by the “disruptors” of business as usual — people who should be forestalled from making the damn compounds until THEY meet the burden of proving the actual safety and benefit of their tripe.

    3. skippy

      Couple of things about the Oz bush fire thingy …

      Firstly large amounts of funding was cut to buff balance sheets because everything is about having a “surplus” whilst everything is privatized. Reminiscent of the repression, sorry I mean recession, we had to have whilst Keating sexed up our assets for international capital. Some umbrage of recent due to changes in international ownership.

      Anywho the second factor is regulation in build, land, and water use over a period of time when climatic factors were a known, but, ignored for ideological reasons alone – similar to the anti vaxxers mind set.

      Lastly heaps of these bush fires are in areas which are not or have never been prone to bush fires E.g. areas which have never burned ever, I’m talking ancient. This is all topped of by wild topography, limited transportation access in or out, increased fatigue of firefighters, huge logistical issues, and the knowledge that humans can’t put some of it – fully out – unless were get flooding rain E.g. storms and fronts bringing in rain only slow down the spread. That’s not to say brief strong storms can start more fires do to lightning.

      So whilst its good PR to have a few firefighters come around to give a hand, it really does nothing to alleviate the problem, more like a fact finding mission with some information sharing.

      Interestingly or not the whole thing at the moment is geared to save property [tm] first and foremost, lives are secondary, and it should be noted that summer has just started – records have already been broken.

      Wellie off to another post WII weather board house with 80s brick lower remodel and silky oak windows.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The Gosford Fire outside Sydney is at 500,000 acres, the sun has turned into a red dot, people complaining about breathing and all saying it looks and feels absolutely apocalyptic.

        Great speech by Green Party Senator Jordan Steele-John, with the required level of vitriol. I copied it onto my blog.

        Note: he is properly scathing about the so-called “opposition” Labor Party, which today is making major speeches about how coal is AOK. They have become an “opposition” in the same vein as the US Dems.

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    the mintpress thing on late stage capitalism/vampirism is just about the most depressing thing i’ve read in a long while.
    so i sent it to everyone i know,lol.

    coupled with the cost of living “gobankrates” article….rather the Brookings thing it referenced(…it’s just more confirmation for many of us, here….but revelatory to certain lovable bubble-dwellers i happen to know or am related to who insist that “everything’s fine”.
    such missives are tiny little pin-pricks to that protective membrane they run around in.

    1. tegnost

      In a bit of synchronicity, I expect the collapse will be sudden, as with the caldera. I think we could lose a few metres off the top of the mountain without much regret. It would be fun to watch wall st dissolve in lava.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I’ve been thinking about Orlov, lately>
        and about how the experts failed to see what was painfully obvious to those in the mix(but who also expected things to just sort of limp along)
        ergo, i’ve long expected the party to continue at the top, and us’n’s to continue to limp along….until something essential breaks and everything just sort of stops.
        I’ve been actively planning for that scenario for 20+ years(and implementing it as best i could in spite of familial resistance)

        and that makes me think of that Rand Corp(se) offering a year or more ago where the two sorority girls were shocked to learn that people mostly hate their jobs and would eat their bosses if they thought they could get away with it.
        selling plasma has been a thing for most of my life….it kept the street economy going in austin 30 years ago…but now is a bigger exporter than corn and soy?
        if that ain’t an indicator, i don’t know what it will take.

        (and speaking of roadside economic indicators: our recent B-Ball trip to san angelo. in addition to the thousands of unsold cotton bales, and new rich ranch acquisition and lack of street/yard lights…i saw two(2) dollar stores that were actually boarded up….as in gone out of business and abandoned to erosion. what, pray tell, does that say about that microeconomy?)

        1. inode_buddha

          In the spirit of being even more cheerful, downtown Niagara Falls has been a black ghetto for most of my life. The only Kentucky Fried Chicken, on Main St. no less, went under an boarded up decades ago. The only places still open on Main St. is the police station, a bank, and the Burger King. Everything is boarded up and covered in graffiti. When I was in HS the population was hovering around 80k; today it is slipping under 20k, and we have more stray cats than humans. City hall reports that they no longer meet the minimums for incorporation with shared services. And yet somehow the rents have still gone up 25% in 10 yrs — what’s this BS about supply and demand??

          1. Wukchumni

            My wife had relatives in ‘Stink City’ as she related they called it in the 60’s, and on my only visit to Niagara Falls 15 years ago, you got the sense that it was kind of similar to Pittsburgh in what an awful place both cities were back in the industrial day.

            We went to a casino there, and it was the convention center which had been swapped with a Native American tribe, so as to have a casino there in lieu of lack of usual conventional conventions.

            I’m playing blackjack, and the ‘ceiling’ above me is hundreds of feet high, and after partaking a bit, I inquire where the other punters are from, and all locals.

            1. inode_buddha

              Frankly, I think Stink City was better back in the day, because people were happier: they still believed they might have a future.

              The current Casino is a disgrace, IMHO, the old downtown was much nicer 35 yrs ago. Brightly colored building and crowds of pedestrians, all the shops and clubs open.

              Now that I think about it, why don’t we turn our toxic waste dumps into tourist sites, say Love Canal, the old Union Carbide property, the Bell Aero plant, etc etc. People can go pay money to see desolation and cancer, while being reassured that all the shareholders got away with it because its the American Way!(TM)

              1. Wukchumni

                After having seen Niagara Falls about 374x on tv, all it did was make it look small and I was overwhelmed when I saw it in real life from the Canadian side, wow.

                As interesting was the drive from Buffalo, as all along the way on the American side of the Niagara River were long since shuttered industrial factories of every flavor only stopping at the border, where there were fruit orchards and nobody threw a spanner in the works there, as there had never been any factories to fall apart.

                …what a contrast

          2. Big Tap

            Niagara Falls, U.S. I presume not Ontario, Canada. Of course the Canadian side has a better view of the falls.

            1. inode_buddha

              Yes, much better. I give the Canadians a lot of credit for brains. OTOH much of what was produced in Buffalo/Niagara was crucial to Allied efforts after 1939…

    2. Danny

      Plus, “What 60 Minutes Missed: 44 Percent of U.S. Workers Earn $18,000 Per Year”
      points out what the Stranger article that hosted it also missed, or deliberately ignored:
      “…one of the major cultural shifts that occurred with the re-liberalization of economics (also called neoliberation, a return to economic practices and ideas that dominated the second half of the 19th century) in the early 1970s was the disaggregation of the working class and the dissolution of the very concept of class identity. The disaggregation, which also involved breaking the power of unions, led to the atomization of the job market; and the dissolution of class consciousness led to one economic group, the wide and very deep “middle class.”

      Not one single mention of Immigration, legal and otherwise as part of this process.
      Thought experiment: What would be the effect on rents, used car prices, public health clinics, welfare caseloads and the availability of low wage jobs, plus the ability of all workers to demand higher wages and a larger share of increasing productivity and profits, if the SIX Percent of California’s population that are illegal aliens were to be deported for example? (Not even taking into account legal immigrants.)

      It’s time for America’s poor and ex-middle class to punch up at the elites that are using immigrants, legal and otherwise, as an economic fulcrum to enrich themselves, destroy class consciousness, hammer down wages, destroy unions and consolidate power.
      Immigrants are not the enemy.
      The elite that use them to destroy the middle class certainly are, as well as are the malicious, or duped, useful idiots that militate for even more immigration, or legalization, which just leads to more waves of illegals awaiting legalization.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
        Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I’m in?
        Should I hate em for having our jobs today?
        No I hate the men sent the jobs away”

        in the same manner that the Planter Aristocracy undermined the Reconstruction by pitting poor white folks against their newly freed black neighbors, the Current Aristocracy divides everyone below them.
        we should stop helping them do this.
        It’s done…the “illegal people” are here, having made a life for themselves, often overcoming ridiculous odds and hardship, after that very same aristocracy ruined the places they came from.
        they should be welcomed into the fight that matters…that against the actual parasites…the parasites who run things.
        the violent, parasitical elite is the enemy…and not just of Americans, but of everyone…including their pet enabling class.
        so stop playing their games and helping them.
        withdraw your consent, don’t bank with them, don’t use their cards, don’t shop for anything but what you actually need.
        and talk about it to everyone you meet…you’ll be surprised how easy it is, once you learn to avoid the pavlovian terrorwords…and you’ll also likely be surprised at how much we all have in common, once the lenses are cleared of the elite generated bullshit.
        the less comfortable they are, the easier such evangelism is…and it is the only way i can see that is left to us to counter the rule of the parasites. they own all the rest of the levers of change, but they can’t dictate what’s said between two random people at a bus stop in san antonio. That’s the front line.

        `Rise like Lions after slumber
        In unvanquishable number–
        Shake your chains to earth like dew
        Which in sleep had fallen on you–
        Ye are many — they are few.’


        1. Danny

          “…No I hate the men sent the jobs away”
          That certainly applies to the off shored jobs.

          As for the continent’s worth of imported scabs who debauched the jobs stateside, the plutocrats congratulate the “progressive poor,” for helping to promote their arrival, and they especially value the socially parsing and looking down upon your fellow Americans in the resistance, instead of looking up in their direction.

          Feel free to sacrifice your patrimony and birthright for the benefit of the recent arrivals, but don’t expect others to acquiesce. Keep clouding the issue, keep creating more tools of your own economic destruction with the short sighted and soft suicide of humanitarianism. Eventually you will be so insignificant, your opinion and efforts on their behalf won’t matter and they won’t even bother to semantically steer you or pretend that you even exist.

          The illegals “who have have made a life for themselves here” have no stake in this country, send most of their money home, can leave when expedient and they laugh at you, gringo.

          “Don’t bank with them, don’t use their cards, don’t shop for anything but what you actually need,and talk about it to everyone you meet…you’ll be surprised how easy it is, once you learn to avoid the pavlovian terrorwords…and you’ll also likely be surprised at how much we all have in common…”
          We don”t, and we do, with a slightly different message than you. Peace ‘Bro.

          1. Calypso Facto

            Feel free to sacrifice your patrimony and birthright for the benefit of the recent arrivals, but don’t expect others to acquiesce. Keep clouding the issue, keep creating more tools of your own economic destruction with the short sighted and soft suicide of humanitarianism. Eventually you will be so insignificant, your opinion and efforts on their behalf won’t matter and they won’t even bother to semantically steer you or pretend that you even exist.

            I bet it must feel good to unload all that hate into the comments section(s) and no doubt you feel like you’re ‘right’ but you ain’t correct and Amfortas was kind to try to respond to some of your unceasing vitriol in an effort to make you think and wake up. You aren’t here to discuss, you’re just here to repeat the same bullsh!t right wing talking points that radicalized you (patrimony? birthright?) because you seem to be incapable of engaging with reality without finding a target to kick down at. Instead of, as Amfortas suggested, punching up (where it will actually make a difference).

            But I guess punching up doesn’t have that rush of insulting someone in a fit a rage when they disagree with you!

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            there’s 3 kinds of labor arbitrage at play: 1. send the physical plant(means of production) to china and other cheap labor/low regulation countries, and move around as needed to evade changing conditions and laws. 2. those HB-whatever Visas, wherein Texas, after damaging the spanish teacher certification process, for instance, wants to import spanish teachers from mexico. and 3. the “illegal” kind, wherein usa corpgov invades/screws up/destroys nations(usually after they show some tendency towards enlightenment), then opens the border just enough for the now desperate people to head this way, where they find the fields welcoming, and the slaughterhouse open for business.
            it’s all just facets of the same, larger thing.
            are you angry at the chinese peasants who aren’t as peasanty as they used to be for taking the opportunity handed to them?
            I’m not. I’m mad as hell at the Bosses who thought their union problems would go away if they betrayed their own country by sending away the Plant.
            it is the same mechanism with the “illegal” immigration…de facto forced migrations to come work for cheap with no rights, starting with the shittiest jobs, so no one initially cares(or notices)
            I’m not mad at the mexicans(or nicaraguans, etc etc etc)…they’re just people, doing what seems best for them, often(in my experience) with much less of a bird’s eye view of the larger geopolitical/economic picture than we enjoy, here.
            it’s, again, the frelling Bosses that are to blame.
            and it serves no one’s interests BUT the Bosses’ to hate on a bunch of differently derived victims of the same Machine…in the same manner that the Crackers ultimately lost when they accepted the Planter’s self-serving bargain.
            The Bosses have been hollowing out this country(and almost all others) for a long time. but we’re still falling for the same counterproductive argument, that it’s the fault of just about everyone else on the planet…except for the one’s who are actually and literally to blame for all of this.
            to “fight” cheap labor here and abroad, we become Free Labor in service of continued global rapine. They don’t even have to conscript us…just yell at us, frighten and confuse us enough, and play on our already extant prejudices and ignorance, and we do it for free.
            we can’t beat them by continuing to do their dirty work.
            kicking their other victims does nothing to the perpetrators, nor does it compel them to stop victimising you, me or anyone.
            it only encourages them.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              prophet beard says to expect an influx of Bolivian and Venezuelan “illegal people” in the near term.
              right wing zealots having a coup(with help from cia/school of americas/etc) generally has that effect.
              they’ll mostly still be brown people, so you might not find it within you to make the national distinction, but it’ll happen.
              just like it happened with nicaragua, el salvador, guatemala, and mexico after nafta.
              i suppose you could join the Legions and go “fight them there”, or whatever…but they’ll still come. because we will have destroyed them, and given them no choice.
              and the Machine gets an added benefit from this 3rd form of labor arbitrage…it gets a dead horse to beat you with, get you all riled up and incoherent, ready to swallow their bile and keep pointing down…in order to make certain that you don’t think to look up.

            2. inode_buddha

              AMEN and PREACH IT BROTHER

              –blue collar skilled in the northeast.

              Watching my entire country get sold out and gutted by the very American bosses for the last 40 years, has been one of the most disheartening and infuriating events of my life. And the lies they tell… almost completely without repercussions, and lecturing everyone else about “shared sacrifice and responsibility”.

            3. Futility

              @Amfortas: +1000

              Very well put, we have to resist the urge to look down but look up instead.

              back to vampirism :
              The Swiss documentary mentioned and another one were shown a while back on Arte, a French-German public TV station. Another horrifying detail was that often these places are set up close to areas where drug-trafficking is going on. The blood donation companies put the money on electronic cards that the dealers take as payment.
              They also showed the health effects extensive blood donations have on Mexicans who cross the border solely to ‘donate’ blood. It is really detrimental.
              But Europe also shares blame since it creates the demand in the first place. Even though donation for money is banned here, the controls for non-EU plasma are very weak.

    3. Eduardo

      I used to say that to see the future of the 90% of humans in the USA look at factory farming today.

      I was wrong. It is already here. 90% of us humans are treated as commodities with the only consideration being maximizing profit.

  5. tegnost

    Someone should ask hillary how long it took her to pay off her student loans. I’ll postulate that no one in her generation needed student loans.

    1. bob galak

      Not exactly true. Many private schools were out of reach for many people, Especially if you had to live on campus. However, the cost was still relatively small compared to tuition today. I also don’t remember administrators making outrageous salaries.

    2. Cpm

      Not true. Plenty needed loans and plenty took them.
      But at that time you could go bankrupt on them.
      And you didn’t need a lawyer, just a workbook with forms
      from an organization called ProPer. At least in Cali.
      Hard to say about Hilary. She went to pretty expensive schools.
      She probably was a grind and got a full ride. But you still have living expenses.
      Don’t think her parents were wealthy?

      1. ambrit

        Oh yeah, her parents were well off. Her father started and successfully ran a textile company. The family moved to Park Ridge, Illinois in 1950. I’d say they were pretty well off.

        1. LifelongLib

          Always thought she was the one with money and connections. Pretty obvious it was Bill who had the political smarts and charisma…

    3. GramSci

      I’m of her generation, and I needed student loans. But National Defense Education (sic) loans charged only 3% interest, and something like 10% was forgiven for each year I taught high school.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Great comment on the twitter thread on hillary / stern’s “Free chocolate milk for everybody” (tee hee):

      It’s especially bad when people old enough to remember free college pretend that it’s a crazy idea. The memory hole is real.

      Except that there’s no memory hole–they know exactly what they’re doing.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Hapless Dems always falling into the trap “how you gonna pay for it?” $1.5 trillion.

        Answer: The General Accounting Office says banker bailouts cost us $29 trillion and led to banker bonuses hitting record levels. When did we decide we wanted to pay for that instead of educating our workforce?

      2. Off The Street

        And worse, they pretend not to notice. That takes some practice, given cameras, cell phones and microphones all over.

    5. Pat

      That would not be true. They weren’t the unending weight they now are, but student loans were around. I got into every school I applied to, but wasn’t brilliant enough or connected enough for more than token scholarships and aid at the top private universities. Even in the seventies, my family and I calculated I would need loans of between 10 and 20 thousand to cover the four years of expenses (uncovered tuition, fees, room and board) depending on the school and the offered package. I decided that was ridiculous and went to a state school where the tuition and fees were cheap and mostly covered and I knew that I could live off campus with minimum wage part time jobs and roommates for less than R&B. My guess is that Rodham Clinton probably didn’t have loans because even private schools were much cheaper, her family was well off and well connected and she was enough of a paper overachiever to get a fairly decent package.

      It was also a time where you did get a higher paying job not an unpaid internship with a degree.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        While watching college football yesterday, there was a halftime contest, sponsored by dr. pepper, that featured two college students pitching footballs into a can.
        The winner got 100,000 dollars, the catch was, it HAD to be used for tuition.
        So essentially a nice little present for the college of their choice.
        Sweet /s

        1. D. Fuller

          A circus. Two gladiators facing off to wipe out their student debt.

          Or a lottery to be picked to toss the balls.

          Bread and circuses.

          Keep the poor hoping by displaying that lucky winner out of thousands upon thousands. “You to can be a winner like this guy!”

    6. Annieb

      At the University of California, state scholarships were plentiful and covered full tuition. NDS loans and work study grants (pt jobs)covered the rest. It covered living expenses and books. I graduated from University with $600 in loan dept. At the time it was worrying to me but now seems relatively minuscule.

      I don’t think people take into account the devastating effects of inflation over the previous decades, as well as the greatly reduced state support for higher ed. Sanders plan to eliminate public college tuition is a necessary policy to level out inequality, somewhat. That and cancel student loan debt.

      And , I can’t end without expressing my utter contempt for Hilary Clinton.

      1. ambrit

        And why do I get the feeling that HRH HRC and Howard Stern are as ‘two peas in a pod?’ Plus, I’m not certain as to who this comparison is an insult to.

        1. GramSci

          You have to admit that Howard has a talent for bringing out the sick sense of humor of the ruling class. First Trump’s family-blog-grabbing, now Hillary’s chocolate milk. They just can’t resist humiliating others. It makes them feel so powerful and giggly.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Iran frees Chinese-American scholar for US-held Iranian scientist”

    Most of the stories like this that I have seen are about Xiyue Wang and him being reunited with his family. At the end a brief mention is made of the guy swapped who was named as Masoud Soleimani. He was the highly-regarded Iranian researcher that was taken at Chicago’s airport on trumped up charges in a set-up which was mentioned in Links about a year ago. In effect, he was taken hostage in the same way that Meng Wanzhou was taken hostage in Canada at roughly the same time. Not exactly a winning strategy long term this-

  7. Clive

    Re: Russian Reddit Redacted Report Redoubtable Red Scare

    You have to be a U.K. resident to gain a sense of the full, awful, crazypants reporting on this. That such a barely-if-at-all sourced non-story story can be given any airtime, let alone make the headlines, is a shocking indictment of how low Our Famously Free Press has sunk here.

    What next? Some guy on Facebook says he saw Corbyn reading Dostoevsky so this proves he’s an enemy agent, he believes it to be true, no-one’s denied it, that how facts work these days so, there you go, case proven.

    1. synoia

      Karl Marx is buried in the Higate Cemetery. My Brother in Law, a lifelong Tory, is buried well to the right of Marx.

      However, while a lifelong Tory, he was an MD and a staunch supported of the UK’s NHS.

    2. xkeyscored

      In parallel with this, the resignation of Alexandra Hall Hall, the UK’s Brexit ambassador to the US, got on the BBC news a couple of days ago, but since then I don’t think I’ve heard it mentioned once.
      And it’s worth remembering how Arthur Scargill, the miners’ leader during their strike, was accused of being a Soviet agent when he alleged that Thatcher intended to close all the mines anyway. How would he know, they asked, unless he was in cahoots with Moscow whose spies had obtained secret government plans, and besides, the mines won’t be closed if the strike ends? [The strike ended after a year, and soon after, mines started closing en masse.]

      1. shtove

        One of the reports I read on Hall Hall mentioned that she’d worked for the Atlantic Council. Mirrors much?

    3. integer

      The source of Reddit’s claim is the Atlantic Council. Perhaps it’s mentioned in the FT article but I couldn’t get around the paywall.

      Reddit’s lone source on this claim is the NATO/US/Burisma/arms industry-funded Atlantic Council.

      Reddit’s Director of Policy, Jessica Ashooh, is the Atlantic Council’s former Middle East Strategy Task Force Deputy Director (and an ex-UAE govt official)

  8. timbers

    Poor Hillary. Please stop picking on her. When I went to college, I decided to forgo not quite free but very inexpensive classes at the University of Minnesota and instead bury myself in crushing debt of $2,500/yr with the Dept of Education so I could go to the University of Chicago. And that got me part talk prestige when everyone would tell me Illinois University is a great school! So as you see it was totally worth it.

    But I worked myself out of that debt hole all by myself!

    But seriously, maybe Anderson Cooper should have broadened his interviews by including Hillary on 60 minutes instead of the Mayor. Hillary has been concerned about poverty her whole career. Maybe she can share tips on how to open your own Foundation and put friends and family on it’s payroll with good jobs at good wages.

    1. Geo

      Remember when Chelsea Clinton spoke at a “young entrepreneurs” conference to “teach the entrepreneurial mindset to youth in under-resourced communities”?

      Chelsea was chosen because of her entrepreneurial success as VP of the Clinton Foundation (amazing she was able to land such an esteemed position!) which I’m sure was both inspiring and relatable to those kids from poor and disenfranchized backgrounds.

      For a good laugh:

      1. John

        Every time I read something like the Chelsea Clinton comment, I am reminded of the Ann Richards’ classic line, “Poor George, he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        well, now.
        that is a disturbing website,lol.
        and chelsea’s preferred fee? 100K to a million?
        to talk?
        impart her wisdom(tm)?

        reckon it says a lot that she thinks she’s worth it.

        1. Geo

          I really enjoyed that her two listed qualifications/attributes were:

          1. VP of her parents’ foundation
          2. Daughter to her parents

          Meritocracy! They didn’t even try to pretend she has any real accomplishments of her own.

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          the Clinton Foundation was the most overt, shamelessly public influence peddling and money laundering scheme i’ve ever seen

          1. inode_buddha

            the Clinton Foundation was the most overt, shamelessly public influence peddling and money laundering scheme i’ve ever seen

            And yet it’s Trump who they’re howling about, for doing the exact same thing… These people have no shame whatsoever, having sold their souls a long time ago, they have nothing left to offer.

    2. bob

      You have the Clintons, who focus on the philanthropy angle with their non-profit foundation.

      Then you have the Biden’s who are branching out into the public sector with their international gas company expertise.

      There is a way forward for everyone. Success is easy, it’s just a matter of hard work and staying true to your principles. The modern democrat party is really showing us all the path to success.

  9. Chauncey Gardiner

    Per today’s link to Deutsche Welle, appears that the president’s tweets calling on the World Bank to stop lending to China had an effect. From CNBC yesterday:

    “World Bank lending to China has fallen sharply and will continue to reduce as part of our agreement with all our shareholders including the United States,” the World Bank said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

    Unsurprisingly, the president also displayed an understanding of MMT in saying:

    “Why is the World Bank loaning money to China? Can this be possible? China has plenty of money, and if they don’t, they create it. STOP!” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

    According to the linked article from CNBC, the World Bank loaned China $1.3 billion in the fiscal 2019 year. So although the World Bank’s loans are relatively immaterial in the overall context of the trade relationship, I share the president’s view on this matter. While China runs a very large trade surplus ($378.6 billion in 2018) with the U.S., China doesn’t create U.S. dollars and the dollar remains the dominant global reserve currency.

    1. Susan the Other

      I have noticed an uncanny confluence. Too many times to be just by chance: Trump makes these pronouncements just before it happens. Like his comment on the terrorist attack in Sweden just a day or two before it happened. And he just smiles and pretends he’s that smart. Give me a break Donald. As far as MMT goes, Trump might well appreciate it, we won’t know until the old system collapses – which we can all see coming, almost as clearly as a terrorist attack. China is secure because they never really let their guard down, capitalistically. They have gone into recession and it will be a focused effort to keep their economy running smoothly, but Trump is right – China only needs to play nice with the World Bank in order to do a brisk trade with western capitalists. Who themselves are just exploiting a carry trade in goods.

  10. Jessica

    Any proposal, critique, or movement that does not explicitly work against the current concentration of power and wealth will, one way or another, be put in service of the current concentration.
    “The dark side of the Nordic model” is an example of this.
    The author chooses as his target the one visible model of somewhat less inhumane capitalism. For our purposes, it does not matter if he aimed his fire in this direction because he himself is a conscious agent of neoliberalism or because he knew that such an attack would gain more support (=unconsciously aligning with neoliberalism). He may actually love the Scandinavian model and wish that he were there rather than in the U.K. and simply intend a gentle chiding that others will put to use in the service of converting Scandinavia to something more inhumane, such as how his own country functions.
    The point remains: If one leaves the concentration of power and wealth unmentioned and unopposed, then what you say or do will be put into the service of that concentration, against your will if necessary.
    Of course, serving the current concentration of power and wealth is sometimes the wisest course. “Hmm. Paying my rent/mortgage aids the oligarchs, so I won’t pay it.” is quite impractical much of the time. Sometimes it makes sense to work for small reforms, for example improvements to homeless shelters, even though those reforms reinforce the system that is creating the problem. To otherwise would be to hold those most harmed by the current system hostage to its eventual replacement by something more humane.

    1. Polar Socialist

      You may have misread the writer. At least elsewhere he’s a strong proponent of protecting “the commons” (public services) and achieving global income equality. He thinks that GDP is really stupid measure of economy, and that “green growth” is possible.

      I think he’s actually for de-growth. And in the article his point seems to be, that Nordic countries are well positioned to lead in changing the world towards consuming less by setting human well-being (not in general, but every member of society) and ecology as the prime meters of progress.

      1. Jessica

        Yes, I am judging the writer only by this article.
        I am not saying that his intention is necessarily to aid the pressures to neoliberalize Scandinavian economies, pressures which are quite strong. Rather that an article like this will be used to do so because there is nothing in it to prevent that.
        TLDR: The price for ignoring fundamental causes is high.
        TLDR2: Watch for “the starving children in ___ would love to have the food you don’t want to eat” to be taken to a whole new level.

        1. Carla

          You make an excellent point, Jessica, and I wish more people were aware of it. I agree: Those who do not distinctly call out and activity work against the concentration of power and wealth will be used to further increase that power and wealth, no matter what their intentions.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Bolivia seeking Israel’s help to combat country’s left-wing ‘terrorism’ ”

    On the bright side the Israelis have promised acting President Jeanine Áñez access to the latest surveillance and spying techniques that Israel has managed to develop over the past fifty years. They have promised Brazil that they can do for Brazil’s Indians and Mestizos what they have managed to do for their own Palestinians – but without all those embarrassing walls. Well, excepting for the richer/whiter parts of the capital that is. Experience counts they claim.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        “Brought to you by the world leaders in fascist authoritarianism with racism at its heart”

      2. D. Fuller

        Good old-fashioned police militarization leading to incidents in The US such as this:

        South Florida UPS driver, motorist killed in reckless police shootout in rush hour traffic

        cosplay-police pretending they were in Baghdad back in 2003 performed a “tactical assault” that turned bystanders and motorists into “human shields”. The UPS driver was killed in the assault by police. Note, the UPS truck had GPS tracking.

  12. a different chris

    >TED wants to become the global hub for the climate change crisis

    The “hot air” jokes write themselves, don’t they?

  13. Wukchumni

    Playing Nancy, she makes such an odd argument for not impeaching Bush the younger over leading us into oblivion while claiming that Clinton was impeached over ‘being stupid’.

    4,491 U.S. lives lost over nothing in the ‘stanbox, a massive amount of wealth frittered away, along with our standing in the world, versus a Bill advised blow job.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Billy wasn’t impeached for a bj.
      He was impeached for lying in a court of law.
      Paid paula jones 800,000 and lost his law license.
      Kind of a big deal.

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s more than one kind of bj, and he blew it by getting caught in fragante dereliction of delicto with the intern next door, devil with blue dress on underlying it all.

        I only ever knew one fellow i’d describe as a sex hound, and this was in the 80’s, and he lived in New Orleans and would have relations 3-5x a week with heretofore complete strangers, he had a way with women.

        Bill Clinton reminds me of him.

        Lying was the ruin of him, and Al’s chances.

      2. D. Fuller

        Here on nakedcapitalism awhile back, there was a discussion about process crime. Bill Clinton lying under oath was a process crime.

        Obstruction of justice is also a process crime. One can argue whether or not Trump is guilty. That is for elsewhere.

        Attempting to induce others into a crime, is itself a conspiracy; criminal conduct. Trump could very well be guilty of such. Again, that is not a discussion for here at this time.

        As for Bill Clinton investigation? Receiving a bj had nothing to do with Whitewater – the original impetus of investigating Bill Clinton. The Republicans went on a fishing expedition.

        Now, I’m no fan of Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton. Or Trump. However, it is amusing to see Republican Party squirm and holler about Democratic investigations when Republicans themselves are guilty of much of the same or similar. Whitewater. Benghazi (six more fake investigations). Etc.

        Democrats took the Republican Playbook – Whitewater Chapter? And used it. Though, much less effectively. Democratic leaders are insanely bad at messaging or constructing conspiracy theories. They should have hired Karl Rove or some other Republican willing to work for them, to construct the conspiracy theory of “RUSSIA!RUSSIA!RUSSIA!”.

        Russia did interfere. But not in any way that has ever been discussed in MSM. If Hillary Clinton would have won? Republicans would be the ones hiring Mueller to investigate Hillary Clinton for foreign collusion. That is they way the Russians wanted it. Indeed, the Russians did nothing illegal in their efforts to sow FUD among American institutions (FBI, CIA, etc).

        Meanwhile, Republicans are now blaming Ukraine for 2016 election interference. Sure. There is plenty of statements by Ukrainians. And Manafort listed in that suspect ledger. Oh, wait. Israel has had a subtle hand in influencing American elections for quite some time. American subsidiaries of foreign corporations can now make donations to political parties or SuperPACs – as long as only Americans on the board make that decision /wink /wink

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Pelosi knew about torture through the gang of eight for years, so I now assume she knew directly about Shrubs case for war. There is a reasonable expectation she, Daschle, Gephardt, and Reid should join Shrub, Tony, and Dick as inaugural whites prosecuted in the ICC. Oh if only the woke set was worried about the imbalance there?

  14. Trout Creek

    Regarding the article “what-60-minutes-missed-44-of-us-workers-earn-18000-per-year” rings true. If you examine the Social Security Administration’s wage statistics for 2018, you’ll find the median wage was $32,838.00 or about $ 16.41per hour if you assume 2000 hours per year. I doubt if 2000 hours would be the average number worked. The SS numbers also include everyone who submitted a W-2 so it would include many part-timers of all ages.

    1. The Historian

      Perhaps you should reevaluate your math? Your $32,828 number is the median, i.e., the half-way mark, meaning that 50% of the people earn less that that. It is entirely possible for 44% of the population to earn much less than that, say $18,000?

      Your table shows that over 33% earn less than $19,000 but this ignores those who do not have to pay income taxes – those people who earn less than the required amount to file.

      1. The Historian

        I also don’t see anything in your link about gig workers that are considered private contractors and therefore don’t get a W-2, but instead get a 1099 form.

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        Federal Minimum Wage, December 2009: $7.25/hr
        Federal Minimum Wage, December 2019: $7.25/hr

        Any questions?

    1. ambrit

      Two examples to counter your point; Hitler and Stalin. Too extreme? Try Franco. He carried out State Sponsored Political Violence for decades, and died at the ripe old age of 82, still in power.
      Non-violent non-cooperation relies on the counter-party possessing a conscience. Many, many power hungry people fit the description of sociopath. They have no functioning conscience to lever against.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        1789 France / 1917 Russia / 1922 Italy are examples where violence or the threat of it succeeded for a time

        1. Yves Smith

          Also (not admitted in the US) labor in the 30s. That helped Roosevelt get his reforms through by enabling his allies to argue they needed to come to terms with labor or risk Communism becoming ascendant:

          While the bureaucratic leadership of the AFL was unable to win strikes, three victorious strikes suddenly exploded onto the scene in 1934. These were the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934, the leadership of which included some members of the Trotskyist Communist League of America; the 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike, the leadership of which included some members of the Communist Party USA; and the 1934 Toledo Auto-Lite strike, which was led by the American Workers Party. Victorious industrial unions with militant leaderships were the catalyst that brought about the rise of the CIO.

  15. Geo

    The banana art piece:
    “The Italian artist sold two editions of the piece to private collectors for $120,000 each and was negotiating a third sale to a museum for $150,000”
    And, regarding the eating of it:
    “’He did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea.’”

    $390K for “the banana is the idea”. Who says art is dead?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        What if used glue and brought up the inhumane conditions on factory farms? The banana represents the death of the natural world, and the clue, there to remind you of what happens to horses, is the perversion of the natural world on an inhuman march towards “progress.” Then you thank your Koch brother sponsors of the exhibit and blame little people.

        I enjoy modern art, but yeah, sometimes it’s just a scam or a missed deadline.

        1. Geo

          Had one teacher at art school who told us, “The most important decisions made at this school are made by the janitorial staff who each day have to decipher the art from the trash”.

    1. Jeff W

      You can’t be quite sure what part is loonier: the fact that an ordinary banana (“meant to be replaced as needed”) taped to a wall sells for $120,000 or that some guy comes along and eats it (itself proclaimed a work of “performance art”) or that everyone is talking about it, even though, as gallery spokesman Lucien Terras basically reminded us—perhaps taking an apocryphal cue from Freud—really, it’s just a banana. It’s meta all the way down. (I won’t argue that it isn’t art—thanks, Marcel Duchamp.)

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i dragged my highschool friends to the Menil Collection to see the Duchamp exhibit (“Fountain”—centerpiece was that famous urinal)
        late 80’s.
        made an impression on all of us(still some of the most cyniskeptical people i know)
        I’m reminded of a farside cartoon, wherein a cow has suddenly awaken to the fact that “hey! wait a minute! this is grass!…we’ve been eating grass!!”
        also late 80’s
        no one should be surprised to find ourselves in this sort of mess…just this specific, particular mess.
        that there would be a mess was inevitable.

      2. Geo

        I feel like modern art peaked with Duchamp and jumped the shark with Warhol. At this point, as a cultural influence, it’s an empty husk of an industry that merely serves the needs of the elite by giving rebellious rich kids a career making “art” that their rich family friends buy up as a means of laundering their own public image and their illgotten fortunes.

        1. ambrit

          Previous comment ‘disappeared’ by Skynet.
          Roughly, I propose “Mumble Core” as an example of your thesis as regards film making.
          As for “peak” art? Hmmm…. Perhaps Matisse, or Jawlensky, or Derrain, etc. etc.
          I like Max Ernst for ‘dada’ in all it’s glory.

      1. wilroncanada

        The State of Israel began before 1948, practicing on Palestinians in Palestine. Then they practiced some more from 1948 until now. That led them, having practiced so well at (home, sort of), to contract out to the apartheid regime in South Africa. Si,nce then they have branched out to contracting with Saudi dictators, US wannabe dictators, Central American dictators, Southeast Asian dictators, Middle Eastern dictators, and South American dictators.
        Like Donald Trump, they love them their dictators.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Boeing faces $3.9M fine for installing faulty parts on 737 planes”

    Isn’t Air Force One a Boeing plane? I hope that they checked out all installed spare parts. That could get embarrassing that.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Air Force One, along with the various presidential limousines, is mostly custom made. Though the nameplate may say Boeing (or Lincoln) the machines are built by specialized staff overseen by government agents. The hoi polloi may get faulty parts, but the president far less likely.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Not so fast. I was watching an episode of “Air Crash Investigators” where the cause was found to be dodgy parts. But when they went into the supply stream they found that Air Force One was one of the delivery points for this mob which caused a small panic until they went through it with a fine tooth comb checking for these dodgy parts.

  17. John Merryman

    Re; Student loans and numerous other forms of debt; It doesn’t seem to be observed much that money and many other forms of wealth are a contract, where one side is an asset and the other is a debt. So in order to create the illusion of wealth, debt has to be generated somewhere else.
    The result is a centripetal effect, as positive feedback draws the asset to the center of the community, while negative feedback pushes the debt to the edges. Given finance functions as the value circulation mechanism of society, it’s like the heart telling the hands and feet they don’t need so much blood and should work harder for what they do get. The Ancients used jubilees to reset this dynamic, but we lack the perspective.
    The difference between markets and capitalism is that for one, money is the medium which enables them to function, while the other treats money as the signal to extract from the noise of society and the economy, but trying to store a medium is oxymoronic. Blood is a medium. Fat is a store.
    Nature is feedback. Human culture is goals. The clash is real.

  18. petal

    Re: the selling blood article. I sell my blood. Every little bit of extra cash helps. Yeah, it’s demoralising when I stop to think about what I’m doing and how far I’ve sunk, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And yes, I can code. ha!

    I am ~$1300 away from paying off my last student loan. I graduated with $30k of it back in 2000. Hillary Clinton is a horrible person(I’ll leave it at that bc this is a family blog).

    Juncos, black capped chickadees, a crow, and a cardinal pair at the bird feeder so far today. Seeing the birds is a joy of winter. Have a good rest of your day, friends.

    1. Wukchumni

      I donated for years, and then a couple years ago got disqualified from ever giving blood again, because I spent a cumulative total of more than 6 weeks in the UK from 1980 to 1996, bovine intervention.

      1. ambrit

        I was denied the “privilege,” the term actually used to describe the transaction by the ‘clinic,’ to sell blood last year because I was too old, and used blood thinners for my hypertension. Go figure.
        Spending an hour in the ‘waiting room’ of a blood collection office was an eye opener even for cynical old me.

        1. Wukchumni

          This is the so-called “Blood thaler,” the once avidly collected crown contemporary to Hessian soldiers service with British regulars during the American Revolution. While the troops serving in America weren’t paid in these coins, they were indeed produced by the government who leased its soldiers out to the British. Roughly 16,000 soldiers from Hesse-Cassel served with the British in North America, the first of whom arrived in August 1776.

          1. ambrit

            Didn’t a lot of the Hessians, conscripts in fact if not in name, defect to their close cousins the Dutch of Upstate New York? At least, that’s the American History Propaganda line I was taught back in grade school.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Thanks for sharing your vulnerability and sacrifice, petal. The behavior of the two prominent individuals mentioned for mocking free college is nauseating. I hope the blood you gave saved someone’s life.

      1. petal

        Thank you. It is used in experiments by people developing new drugs, so at least it is going for a good cause and not being shipped out of country. Like to think it will help save lives or at least make someone’s quality of life better(via the new drugs). As far as HC and HS go, at least I’m not a worthless leech that has spent a lifetime doing nothing more than grifting off the pain, sweat, and creativity of decent, hard working people. A small consolation.

        Sorry about the mad cows, Wuk. I know a few people who can’t donate because of this.

        Just had 4 blue jays at once at the feeder. Pretty wild. Will try to get some photos.

          1. ambrit

            Sing out that divine Ludwig Van! And just admitting to being Wimpy is a pretty limp excuse pard.
            Anyway, we here in the Colonies have nothing to feel superior about. We have our own ‘Mad Deer Disease’ to worry about. An affliction similar to BSE is infecting the deer populations of the North North America.
            I wonder if something similar didn’t wipe out the Anasazi of the Southwest. There is evidence that they degenerated into cannibalism before they ‘disappeared.’ There is a BSE like affliction related to humans also, especially cannibals: Kuru.

    3. smoker

      I gave plasma at a plasma blood bank twice a week for a short while, when I was eighteen or nineteen – during the 70’s Oil recession – in my hometown. As I recollect, on the first visit you made less, but if you visited twice, that second amount would be higher, the total for both visits being $15.

      As in the article, it was in a poor part of town, there was a small bank right across the street to cash the check. It was very sad witnessing the majority of those donors. There would be many, older than I, outside drinking V8 to up their iron before the blood prick, which determined whether your plasma was going to be drawn. Many there, one might be lying next to in the row of mini ‘beds,’ had collapsed veins from repeatedly doing it for a very long period, and it would take quite awhile for the nurse to find a vein willing to offer any more blood.

      Thought that once I finally put myself through college, and earned a license in my ‘profession’ I’d never be in that needy of a position again. I was so wrong – for one, you mostly had to be willing to ‘look the other way’ with countless cheats, in order to make a decent living – but I won’t ever give my plasma again. I don’t even want to witness how bad its gotten since then – and it was bad then, in that city – and I particularly don’t want my blood plasma going to the likes of Peter Thiel.

    4. meeps

      Oh, petal, I can relate. School debts don’t produce assets that can be liquidated to settle them. Fortunately, the lenders aren’t bothered by whatever ‘liquid assets’ one might sell to pay up.

      My loans went into repayment in 2002 and I’ve slightly more left than you do, but I’m chipping away at them (as if with a manganese chisel at a tooth). Of course, satisfaction of debt is a political misdemeanor as far as the credit agencies are concerned, so I’ll become an unperson at that time unless I take on more debt to compensate. Something to look forward to, lol.

      Meanwhile, do enjoy the birdies.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Jewish group names UK’s Corbyn top anti-Semite of 2019”

    This was the result of a lot of discussion at the Wiesenthal Center. Some wanted to name the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as the top anti-Semitic person of all time but some dissidents pointed out that this would have meant that he was worse than Hitler. There was discussion whether they could have voted him as its second top anti-Semitic person of all time so that he would be behind Hitler but ahead of Heinrich Himmler. Much argument followed.
    The British media announced that they were willing to Photoshop Corbyn in a “brown-shirt” and a Charlie Chaplin mustache when reporting this story. Nothing new for us they said. One time we reported on Corbyn, we Photoshopped his hat to look like a Russian hat and had a photo of the Kremlin in the background of his head (Rev Kev here – yes, this actually happened).
    Some took offense at the charge that it would make the UK the pariah state of the world. “That’s Israel’s job” they replied. After further discussion they opted to make him the top anti-Semitic person of 2019 but as a compromise, they did insist on adding a statement that there was no collusion here nor were they trying to meddle with a foreign election. Only Russia does that. And if anybody said so, then obviously that it was only because they are antisemitic.

    1. flora

      Nice to know that groups or entities I once admired now show they have no principles whatsoever. Nice to know I’m not imagining their fall.

      (See: US Dem party estab threatening if your don’t for a Dem you’ll be electing a Rep, then puts Reps (Bloomberg and Buttegeig) up for nomination and chases after the Rep voters. )

  20. Wukchumni

    There used to be one non-Rx pot shoppe from north of the LA city limits almost to Modesto, in Weedlake (actually Woodlake, but I have no restraint over myself when it comes to messing with words) which counted tax coup to the tune of about half a million from reefer hadness there, which has gotten other little burbs wanting in on the action. Stopped in Farmersville yesterday and my gawd what a smokeasbord they’ve got going on, with a couple of newly opened establishments, quite sizable operations with no shortage of customers. I was 10th man charlie in line, and one thing about going into places like this, is you get to see who all the users are, and it runs the gamut from young adults to the world inhabited by AARP.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the sheriff here(sadly retiring out, to be replaced by who,?sigh) has an unofficial policy to ignore pot, except when kids are involved.
      this is due explicitly to the fact that the AARP-set have discovered the Noble Weed for their ill health and decrepitude….and those are the people around here who vote.
      it’s been a nice 8 years.
      one guy who was considering a run for sheriff…an acquaintance of mine, long time cop in neighboring town who is pot-friendly…recently beat up a meth dealer who was selling to his problem-kid…so he’s out.
      the others who are rumored to be running are time travellers from the early 80’s who are campaigning(such as it is) on being “tough on crime”, etc

  21. Basil Pesto

    I flew from Melbourne to Canberra today. The plane had a large contingent of volunteer firefighters from various Victorian country towns (they had hats with a checkered band, and also typically t-shirts with their local fire department on them)

    The nearest fire to Canberra, as far as I can tell, is 40km east. On the approach, on an otherwise clear day, the air became hazy about 10 mins before landing. There’s a light blanket of smoky haze throughout the city, and the air is slightly acrid.

    1. Wukchumni

      As drenched as the Golden State is now, there’s no good reason not to send a large contingent of our firefighters over, as they had one of the mellowest wildfire years in quite awhile, and aren’t all beat up physically and worn out, as has been the pattern in years past.

      1. sd

        30% of the California firefighters are prison inmates. And even though they are experienced, they are disqualified from working as firefighters once they get out.

        The world is broken in just too many ways.

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘Give me your tired, your Amazon workers, Your huddled student debtors yearning to breathe free, The firefighting inmates of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift up my beer beside the pub door!’

  22. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Impeachment

    If I were Trump’s defense team I’d replay that Pelosi clip until the American public had it memorized.

    And they’re going to base their argument for removal on “illegitimate motives”!?!? I’m not a lawyer but this seems like some pretty weak tea.

    At a trial, Trump could claim he asked for the investigation to drain the swamp for the good of the country after seeing Biden’s clip bragging about his own Ukrainian “quid pro quo”. Dems point out it’s personally motivated because Biden is a presidential candidate. Trump asks if it would be a problem if Biden wasn’t running. Dems claim that’s just a hypothetical because Biden is running. Trump points out that he’s running too so isn’t impeachment itself just a misuse of political power to aid the current Democrat frontrunner Joe Biden.

    Or he asks what the meaning of “is” is, drops the mike, and sits back and watches as all the beltway heads explode.

      1. Wukchumni

        I don’t mean to be catty, but does it look as if Nancy had $37,546 too much worth of plastic surgery work done?

          1. ambrit

            Could she be a later model of the original Disney Animatronics Politician, the not nearly maligned enough Ronald Reagan?
            My theory is that Hinckley ‘got’ Reagan, but for reasons of national unity, a robot replacement was employed for the rest of the “pining for the fjords” Reagan’s terms.

        1. Oregoncharles

          In at least one picture I saw, she looked really sick. Does anyone in SF know whether she’s really running again?

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Wait, did I hear her correctly:

        She *knew there were no WMDs*? That it was “a misrepresentation to the public?”

        And on the strength of that we wasted trillions and killed tens of thousands? But somehow this did not rise to the level of “impeachable”?

        And then I do not recall the nation having appointed her as queen:

        “There were overwhelming calls for me to impeach president Bush”? You, Madame Speaker? Not Congress? Surely you recall the existence of that august body, only through which you receive the power and responsibility to represent the huddled masses?

    1. bob

      The impeachment will only help Trump with his base. I saw a poll recently where support for impeachment had gone down since it has started. I’m guessing that the new face of the democrats, Mr. Schiff, is doing a lof of that heavy lifting. Making friends and influencing people.

      Who are the dolts that decided to put Schiff front and center, before the election next year? It even seems that the non-democrat in a bag press is not that impressed with him. He barely gets a mention in some of the stories I’ve read. Maybe his winning personality and his oozing charisma are too much?

    2. marym

      Biden bragged on video about his quid pro quo because it wasn’t a secret. Whatever we think of Russia/Ukraine policy during the Obama years, this was part of it.

      If there’s a Biden/Burisma component that merits further scrutiny, and Trump wanted to drain the swamp of corruption for the good of the country, he would have followed the process mandated for that purpose by the US/Ukraine treaty agreement.

      Well, and he would drain, rather than populate, the swamp with his own kids and cronies…but that’s another discussion.

    3. DJG

      lyman alpha blob (and, pace, marym): Someone kindly posted the Jimmy Dore episode about Pamela Karlan in the comments section here at Naked Capitalism. I watched it all (usually, I only dip in).

      Dore and the three other journalists, none of whom support Trump (or HRC, so far as I could tell), ripped Pamela “Shining City” Karlan to shreds. Yet the Democrats haven’t figured out, for all of the self-congratulations, that it was one more Democratic Party own-goal. Karlan was invective, needless foreign-policy assertions (as Dore kept pointing out), cliché (Shining City), cruelty (fight them there so we don’t fight them here). And then she took time to crack an obviously well-worn joke about Trump’s kid.

      At this point, Ken Starr is looking rational.

      At this point, those cranky old guys like Sam Ervin and John Sirica, who broke Watergate by sheer doggedness and by asking the same questions over and over, are looking like heroes of the Republic.

      Many people at Naked Capitalism have pointed out that the McResistance has tended to oppose Trump on esthetic grounds (those red Christmas trees!) and because he interrupted upper-middle-class clichés like brunch. Karlan was the perfect example–and the Republicans will soon have the feckless Democrats over the barrel.

      Meanwhile, the U.S. health-care system veers toward the medieval, with bleeding for profit. But there’s no time to fix that. Meanwhile, the endless wars have come home (massacre in Florida just one instance). But there’s no time to undo that. And Karlan thinks that her feeble Morey Amsterdam impression is going to overturn the government.

      My attitude: Let there be indictments, and let them come out by the hundreds.

  23. Joe Costello

    Ho ho – national security state impeachment report claims Congress determined 150 years ago President Johnson a “clear and present threat”, what havoc Tom Clancy has wrought on American culture

  24. Lambert Strether Post author

    This from the Sun was taken down, so I didn’t add it to links proper, but the UK intelligence community has lost its mind:

      1. richard

        Have it on vhs somewhere around here :) Loved it, wished it might come true…
        west wing for radicals

      2. shtove

        My local Royal Marine base was firing up for action last week. Audible from the train station. Chinooks, Sea Kings, assault helicopters. Last time they did that was in the three weeks leading up to the hijacking of the Iranian tanker off Gibraltar. Since then, silence.

      3. The Rev Kev

        They might be hard pressed to do that these day. The population of the UK is nearly 65 million people and through constant cost-cuttings the size of the military is now 81,500 regulars and 27,000 Army Reserves and decreasing. So each soldier would have to watch over 650 people on average. Yes they have the police and Navy, etc but the police have also been cut in numbers and all those forces would have to work in shifts meaning less than a third would be on the streets at any one time. The numbers no longer work since that TV series first come out.

        1. ambrit

          I get the feeling that in the TV series version, the public was all in in support of the ‘radical’ PM. That coup needed some ‘muscle’ to succeed. Today, from over our side of the ‘Pond,’ I see a country about evenly divided. A coup could do quite well if half the people acquiesce.
          For a similar dynamic, sit through, I dare you, both halves of “The Sorrow and the Pity,” by Ophuls the Younger.

  25. L_44_E

    Iraq WMD’s 2002.
    None nuclear as cheney claimed.
    5,500 to 6,000 artillery shells were dug up in Iraq in 2005 / 2006. Many were leaking.
    Filled with mustard gas, bacteria or virus.
    Over 80 soldiers disabled, possibly more because bad health effects appear years later.

    Our Burning pits caused leukemia and four known to have died.

  26. anon in so cal

    KSA: “A Family Holding Company, Not a Friend”

    “The Al-Saud family (thousands great and small) run the place as their private holding. Any talk of Saudi citizenship is a bad joke. In SA there are; The Family, their toadies and flunkies, the Wahhabi Ulema, foreign guest workers and tribal, rural Arabs some of them migratory and others small town people. This melange is held together by an effective police state that is restricted in power only by the royal prerogative.

    Modernization? Hah! MBS has confessed to the brutal murder of Kashoggi. The native masses, to the extent that they exist, have been intensively and exclusively conditioned with Ibn Taimmiya’s views on the inherent enmity between the Faithful Wahhabi Sunni and the Kuffar (infidels, i.e. us). The number of Saudi subjects of the king who are not horrified and disgusted by the West is trivially small.

    The US has maintained a relationship with this conglomeration since 1944 when FDR met aboard a US cruiser in the Gulf with the creator of The Kingdom. This symbiosis used to be justifiable on the basis of containment of the USSR and the oil of Arabia. Neither of those necessities exist any longer…..”

  27. Calypso Facto

    This is not an intelligent comment, sorry for not contributing to the Discourse. I cannot watch Nancy Pelosi mugging like a bad late night talk show guest. The licking of the fake teeth while she thinks she’s being humorous nearly sent me over the edge. The fact that she’s doing it while claiming that she was correct for not impeaching W but is correct for impeaching Trump… wooo boy yeah I need to go do something productive to vent the rising rage over the fact that this person is in a position of leadership over my long term future.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      My reaction too. We are to blame for letting such a person continue to do anything except bake cookies for her great-great grandchildren.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Downpunch Donnie strikes again. He’s a casually malicious heel and has been for years.

      I know it’s incorrect here to evince any sympathy for Lisa Page; the linked article with its rote assertions about “Russian interference” makes that clear. But the s**t Trump sprays at her is excessive, and bogus. And characteristic of the way he operates, particularly his random, out-of-the-blue public attacks months after the ‘events’ that made her almost famous. He should’ve completely forgotten she existed by now….. but he gets value out of letting other would-be detractors know that if they cross him, he’ll keep crushing them lonnnnggggg after they’ve formally lost to him. Just because.

      He always aims for mid-range people. Not the real little guys, just the ones who might – in aggregate – have enough power to damage his interests over time. The overly nice ones who delude themselves about their own probity. They aren’t admirable….. but he’s a flagrant heel. And I can’t enjoy any of his “successes” even when his targets are precious.

      1. integer

        He always aims for mid-range people.

        Like Clinton, Obama, Comey, Brennan, and the liberal media establishment.


    2. Duck1

      Careerist FBI lawyer who texts foolishly is unfathomably delusional about DOJ vs. power:
      “It’s very painful to see to places like the FBI and the Department of Justice that represent so much of what is excellent about this country, not fulfilling the critical obligation that they have to speak truth to power,” she tells me.

  28. smoker

    Re: Violence Is Sometimes the Answer

    Protesters get slammed by critics whenever they use force. But for the state, it’s normalized.

    I would add that outrage – righteous anger – at, and any emotion which doesn’t show the proper deference to the State, is increasingly being portrayed – and many times punished by Law Enforcement – as out of line . But for the State (e.g. Nancy Pelosi), even when it’s not righteous anger, and its actually meanness and sly abuse of power, it’s normalized:

    A few examples of the Public’s righteous outrage (way too many to list going on):

    ● The State has lied to bomb a sovereign Nation for profit, to date Iraqi death estimates over a million.
    ● Their children have been sent to and killed in that immoral and unlawful war for profit.
    ● A community’s (e.g. Flint) drinking water is poisoned through willful neglect and malfeasance.
    ● Millions lost livable wage jobs and the roof over their heads via a State sellout to the Banks and the Technocratic Oligarchies.

    The populace can easily become suspects (especially if impoverished) unless they pretend to be brain dead happy consumers (versus citizens), even when they can no longer afford to buy anything. The despairing populace may become reported as unstable and in need of Big Pharma and a trip to a behavioral lockup, if they’re seen weeping in despair at an injustice perpetrated, or allowed to happen, by the State.

    1. smoker

      I should add: quite hideously and subtly the words violence and outrage have been slyly conflated, by the powers that be, to always mean the same thing, when they are not at all the same, particularly in the context of Injustices allowed and perpetrated by The State, where there is an enormous imbalance of Power as against the average citizen.

      A sense of Outrage, at least in my sixty plus years, is usually used in the context of a moral crime that has been committed; and most who feel it are highly opposed to both violence, and the particular violent act – physical, financial, or psychological – which had been committed.

  29. Geo

    In an interview with Biden where he gets defensive about his so, this little gem at the end is notable:

    “And if you hear people on the rope line saying, ‘I’m a Republican,’ I say, ‘Stay a Republican.’ Vote for me but stay a Republican, because we need a Republican Party.”

    He later added that he’s concerned about what would happen if the Republican Party was totally “clobbered.”

    “I’m really worried that no party should have too much power,” he said. “You need a countervailing force.”

    As is said so often here, Dems don’t want power. They are the Washington Generals to the GOP Globetrotters – there to lose. Complicit in the scam.

      1. Geo

        I just love the fact that the GOP controls the Executive, judicial, and half the legislative branch of our government – not to mention all the peripheral GOP control through appointments over the years, and Joe is worried about the Dems having too much power!

        Hey Joe, maybe try winning a few elections before worrying about Republicans being marginalized?

    1. flora

      Check out Bloomberg’s ad buys. If this is poker he’s going to push Joe off the table. Joe’s gotta be burning through serious money to fend off Bloomberg’s ads. If this is a former Republican staging a hostile takeover the the Dem party well, the Dem estab has declared itself for sale for years. So there’s that. heh.

      1. Geo

        I wish Bloomberg would attack Biden but in the ads I’ve seen it seems his only targets are Trump and Sanders.

        Why they’re running:
        Biden: Trump is evil, socialism is worse
        Buttigieg: Trump is evil, socialism is worse
        Bloomberg: Trump is evil, socialism is worse
        Warren: Trump is evil, capitalism needs tinkering
        Sanders: The current system is evil, government should serve the citizenry

        Seriously, if nothing else, the primaries have made it clearer than ever that the real enemy of Dems is the will of the people. Granted, they’d made it pretty clear already, but they’re not even trying to hide it anymore. I will not be the least bit surprised if we see a literal coup in 2020 if Sanders and/or Corbyn win elections.

        1. ambrit

          I’m worried about the same dynamic arising. Plus, for irony overload, the American Coup will be fronted by the Democrat Party!

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Guy at town hall: “your son was paid by a Ukrainian gas company”

      Biden: “That’s a damn lie!”

      What do a people do when their leaders entirely lose touch with what is collectively agreed to be objective reality?

      I mean, nuance and interpretation and spin are one thing. This is not that: the man is admissable. He and Corn Pop can share a padded room. Soft foods only, maybe some soothing music and a set of crayons and coloring books to pass the days as the cognitive ship sails over yon horizon.

      1. Geo

        Or, he’s using the Trump/Clinton tactic of blatant denial of observable reality. Seems to work for them. Seriously, what has worse consequences now days, admitting wrongdoing and apologizing, or stubborn dismissal of truths? Those who apologize get tossed aside whereas those who steamroll critics gobble up more and more power.

        Biden is still #1 in the polls by a healthy margin. Seems his cranky ways are working for him.

        1. flora

          Billy Clinton’s formulation that voters would rather vote for a candidate that is “strong but wrong” instead of a candidate who is “weak but right” * comes to mind. Interesting he didn’t include ‘strong and right’. Why didn’t he consider the possibility of ‘strong and right’? (This might be the whole strategy of the 3rd Way, DLC march on the New Deal.) The ‘strongman’ philosophy. heh.

          *“When people feel uncertain, they’d rather have somebody that’s strong and wrong than somebody who’s weak and right.”

          Bill Clinton quotes (American 42nd US President (1993-2001), b.1946)

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I don’t disagree, my sense however is that Clinton and Trump perform said acts cognitively, whereas Sloppy Joe reminds me all too much of my own father, when his age and brain chemistry conspired to eventually take him to a special mental universe all his own. He could walk and chew gum no problem, but the phrases that emerged gradually made less and less actual sense.

      2. Joe Well

        There were ancient societies where the price of admission to the elite included handing over a child to be sacrificed or deforming your skull so you looked like a Ferengi.

        Pretending Joe Biden is mentally competent isn’t so bad, is it?

    3. Daryl

      > “I’m really worried that no party should have too much power,” he said. “You need a countervailing force.”

      Yes if one party held onto power for too long, people might start to wonder why they never do anything good with it.

  30. Susan the Other

    The Magnitsky Act. Der Spiegel. This was a well written account and it points the finger at Browder but it was less satisfying than an earlier one, written here I think, which made a strong case against Browder as a con artist and a money launderer. Who just managed to get all the bigwigs in Congress to back him. No doubt they had all invested in his funds.

    1. Geo

      Ha!!! That was amazing! Thank you. We’ve become a society so demented that reality is more obscene than any satire is capable of being.

      It’s an obvious tie-in with the latest Marvel propaganda film, “Captain Marvel”, and a perfect encapsulation of neoliberal #feminism where being tools of empire equates equality. I wonder if pink p*ssy hats will become standard uniforms for the Air Force?

      I’m awaiting Hillary/Chelsea’s sequel to their latest children’s book, “Gutsy Women 2”, featuring Gina Haskell, Lynndie England, Madeline “The Price Was Worth It” Albright, and Margaret Thatcher. Something to really inspire young girls so that they can one day grow up to torture, bomb, and pillage poor brown kids across the globe!

  31. newcatty

    The Mountain Pygmy Possum…amazingly cute and so innocently bearing with being held in a huge human’s hand. I nominate it to be the star in a new Disney “kids ” film. The possum could be The New Micky. Could come out with it for the “Easter/Spring season big release. Plenty of time to manufacture baby possum toys …made where?

  32. martell

    Regarding “Kripke v Kant:” truly bizzare coming from Richard Rorty. For one thing, I have a hard time imagining a contemporary philosopher who’d be more unfriendly to Rorty’s own views than Kripke. The former nonetheless portrays the latter’s work as epoch making. And what is Kripke’s earth shattering achievement supposed to be? Apparently, he made it fashionable for philosophers to start making claims about de re necessities again (necessities pertaining to things, as opposed to the means of representing things, e.g., language). In other words, he revived pre-Kantian metaphysics. How did Kripke’s argument go? Seems it relied heavily on “intuitions” about the truth conditions for counterfactuals in possible worlds. Whose intuitions? Ordinarily folk, supposedly, and regardless of the fact that it would take some doing to even explain to non-philosophers what a possible world is supposed to be. And what exactly have post-post-Kantian, post-Kripkean metaphysicians discovered, ground having been broken for their many and sundry research projects? My guess: exactly nothing.

    To top things off he, Rorty, a very relaxed pragmatist if ever there was one, off-handedly refers to Wittgenstein as a kindred spirit, another pragmatist of the relaxed variety. Had LW still been around, I’m pretty sure he’d have reached for the nearest poker.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I read quite a bit of it; it further convinced me that philosophy might be sort of fun, but is largely pointless.

      Actually, it was giving me a headache.

    1. ambrit

      Really big if true. Nominally UK citizen and a Russian citizen being held incommunicado on an American base in England?
      What would be fun is if a Spetznaz team ‘extracted’ the two back to Mother Russia. Then run round the clock video of the two bopping about Moscow.
      “Back in the US, back in the US, back in the USSR!”

  33. sbarrkum

    Related to the sale of blood link.

    This gift of sight is so common here, it’s become an unwritten symbol of pride and culture for Sri Lanka, an island of about 20million people located off the southern coast of India.

    Despite recently emerging from a quarter century of civil war, the country is among the world’s largest cornea providers.

    The desire to help transcends social and economic barriers. Prime ministers pass on their corneas here along with the poorest tea farmers. Many Sri Lankans, about 67 per cent of whom are Buddhist, believe that surrendering their eyes at death completes an act of ‘dana’, or giving, which helps them be reincarnated into a better life.

    The U.S. is the world’s biggest cornea provider, sending more than 16,000 corneas to other countries in 2010, according to the Eye Bank Association of America.

    But Sri Lanka, which is 15 times smaller, actually donates about triple that number of corneas per capita each year.

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