Links 12/9/19

Live: White Island erupting: At least five people dead; cruise ship tourists missing New Zealand Herald

The future of money and the payment system: what role for central banks? (PDF) Bank of International Settlements. “The monetary system is founded on trust in the currency. This is something that only the central bank can provide. Like the legal system and other public goods, the trust underpinned by the central bank has the attributes of a public good.3 To coin a phrase, I would like to refer to ‘central bank public goods.'”

The Shock and Awe Era for Central Banks Is Over Bloomberg

Listen up you bunch of bankers. Here are some pointers for less crap IT The Register (original). Paging Clive…

U.S. banks’ reluctance to lend cash may have caused repo shock: BIS Reuters. See NC here.

Greta speaks:

That’s very unlikely to be true. Those in power aren’t “ignoring” the climate crisis; they’re figuring out how to profit from it. (See here for an example.) That’s what disaster capitalism is all about — see Puerto Rico — and absent a theory of change, what it will continue to be about.

Brexit

Tactical voting guide 2019: the 50 seats where it is vital to keep the Tories out Guardian

Johnson vow to implement Brexit deal by December 2020 in doubt FT

Northern Ireland customs protocol could thwart Brexit plans Guardian (KW).

A Warning From Northern Ireland. Is Anyone Listening? The Atlantic

This may be Brexit Britain’s finest hour Politico

Emmanuel Macron Wants to End France’s Welfare State Jacobin

Austria struggles with marauding Krampus demons gone rogue Guardian. “At an event [in] Salzburg on 23 November this year, about 1,000 goat-demons roamed the streets of the city.”

Syraqistan

Was Pensacola Shooter part of a terrorist Cell inside Saudi Officer Corps? Juan Cole

Saudi Arabia – a family holding company, not a friend. Sic Semper Tyrannis

Exclusive: U.S. says drone shot down by Russian air defenses near Libyan capital Reuters. And we want the wreckage back.

Israel Becomes Major Hub in the International Cocaine Trade, Abuse Rising Haartetz

Bolivia after Morales: An ‘ungovernable country’ with a power vacuum The Conversation

Evo Morales heads to Cuba amid talk of an eventual comeback Guardian

Students keep driving protests demanding change in Chile AP

2019’s mass protests are missing the spectacular results of 2011 and 1989 WaPo

China?

Hongkongers await Beijing olive branch after rare weekend of calm Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong: counting the health cost Lancet

Discipline:

* * *

China copper imports hit 13-month high in November on improved factory activity Reuters

Doing Business With China: The Only Guarantee is That There Are No Guarantees China Law Blog

Beijing orders state offices to replace foreign PCs and software FT

China Says All People Held in Xinjiang Camps Have ‘Graduated’ Bloomberg

China hopes trade war deal will come ‘as soon as possible’, vows once again to reform economy South China Morning Post

China’s Quest for Legitimacy Project Syndicate

New Cold War

Russia and China’s ominous new friendship CNN. Nice work by The Blob.

NATO’s Dirty Little Secret Is Out The National Interest

Trump Transition

US government drops case against Max Blumenthal after jailing journalist on false charges The Grayzone

Trump heads to court in fight over emoluments The Hill

Impeachment

Barr Allows for Release of Additional Details About Ex-Spy Behind Steele Dossier NYT. Looks like the Inspector General’s report will come out later today. That should be exciting.

Impeachment inquiry: Nadler may add Mueller counts against Trump Guardian. More cowbell.

How the Schiff Report Deals with Disinformation LawFare

2020

Fear and Loathing? The 2020 Election is a Repeat of 1972 SportsGeek (UserFriendly). This is awfully fun, and it’s good to see SportsGeek moving onto the beats DeadSpin had, before those private equity morons destroyed it. (Superdelegates, however, were implemented in 1982, not 1972). Read all the way to the end.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Propaganda, Anti-propaganda The Baffler. On the CIA’s torture program.

Health Care

Where the Frauds Are All Legal Elisabeth Rosenthal, NYT

Much of what we accept as legal in medical billing would be regarded as fraud in any other sector.

I have been circling around this conclusion for this past five years, as I’ve listened to patients’ stories while covering health care as a journalist and author. Now, after a summer of firsthand experience — my husband was in a bike crash in July — it’s time to call out this fact head-on.

Firsthand experience so often does the trick.

Sports Desk

Masters of the Universe Are Taking Over Your Local Sports Teams Bloomberg

James Dolan hired consulting firm that caused confusion, paranoia among Carmelo Anthony-led Knicks Clutch Points (TJ). From August, still germane.

Boeing

Pontifications: Stop hitting the snooze button, Boeing Leeham News

‘It’s Time For You to Die’: How flaws in the SC prison system led to 7 deaths in a single night Post & Courier

Socialism’s Biggest Hero Is a Bourgeois British Capitalist Foreign Policy (UserFriendly).
Class Warfare

How business elites sold the “urban renewal” lie to the Rust Belt Salon. Bangor, too. We destroyed a lovely brick train station in favor of a wasteland of parking lots and banks.

Wall of banana exhibit vandalized with lipstick at Art Basel: ‘Epstien didn’t kill himself’ Miami Herald

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.

117 comments

  1. zagonostra

    >American Exceptionalism/Danny Haiphong

    It is noteworthy that this kind of airing of analysis of “American Exceptionalism” is coming from a “Jag off” comedian. I wonder if there is a link between the fascination with “the Joker” movie – which I haven’t seen – and truthful comedians – as opposed to those who serve the empire like a Colbert.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKIDhlH62W4

    Reply
    1. DJG

      zaganostra: And for a supposed set of knucklehead comedians, they shred Pamela (Y’All Can Fight Them There) Karlan. Through simple logic. Through some basic questions about how one should present a legal argument.

      Which shows how wigged out the Democrats have become.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GLtiNSmGlk

      The joke about Trump’s kid during testimony (testimony!) at a hearing about impeachment: That’s just what James Madison had mind…

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        Then we have chotacabras though these are real. Caprimulgidae birds got that name meaning goat-sucklers because they were thought to do so. These insectivore birds were commonly seen where goats live probably because goats clear the vegetation and these clearings are Caprimulgidae favourite hunting sites.

        Reply
    1. Fritzi

      Nah.

      Probably a temporary spike at most.

      It’s a many decades old problem, worse in one year, better in the next, though most older people say it was much, much worse in the days of their youth.

      I’m doubtful of there being any general trend of it getting worse, but it is definitely as temporary confined as it always was, and actually still pretty organized and disciplined, I’d relativize the anonymity as well.

      These are still in the overwhelming majority dudes that are not using costumes that can be bought in any random shop.

      If Krampus started appearing around the year all of a sudden….

      Reply
      1. Neil S

        I’m 61 years old, and read the newspaper daily since I was 18, often read news magazines, and I never read of scary clowns, and never heard talk of them, until three years ago. There could well have been isolated incidents here and there, but that’s all.

        Reply
    2. Fried

      I’ve only read about this in the Guardian, and I live in one of the places mentioned in the article. Demons going rogue are always a worry, of course.

      Reply
  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: Antidote–

    Future rulers of Earth, we salute you!

    We have an ongoing, multi-year debate with raccoons who want to live in our attics, chimneys and porches. They can climb anything. They can chew and claw their through through about anything. My smallest vice grips is missing, and I swear they stole it and are using it to dismantle a patch I put over one of their holes. It’s just the right size for their evil little hands.

    I remember discussions from my youth how the cockroaches would survive even nuclear winter. Well, if climate change and elite myopia manage to bring about the collapse of civilization, it will be those clever, determined raccoons who take over our place and, literally, our places.

    Reply
  3. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the Brexit links and yesterday’s Using History to Understand the UK’s Hidden Wealth, readers may be interested in https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/07/englands-last-roar-pankaj-mishra-on-nationalism-and-the-election. Mishra is married to Mary Mount, daughter of Thatcher’s adviser Sir Ferdinand Mount, brother of the Telegraph’s Harry Mount and cousin of David Cameron.

    @ Norm de Plume: Thank you for asking for my thoughts about the hidden wealth post. I was away over the week-end and just catching up. The post was good, but should have elaborated on the use of trusts, facilitated by the likes of banks like Coutts and law firms like Farrers, to hide and transmit wealth across the generations, undeclared assets overseas, including land in North America (vide the Grosvenor and Cecil families), and how payments from the nationalisation of coal mines, railways, canals and some Highland estates and even some Irish estates were made to accounts overseas. Much of the land in the UK has been held by the same family since the Norman Conquest, so won’t be on the Land Registry. However, the Treasury has records from the “people’s budget” of 1909 and WW1. The Department of Transport has more up to date records. A little used source of material is anecdotal evidence from rural areas. Villagers, estate workers et al talk.

    @ The Rev Kev; Thank you for highlighting the Vestey family. Their Assynt “sporting” estate in Sutherland and farms in England, including studs around Newmarket, are subsidised by the taxpayer.

    Reply
    1. Norm de plume

      Many thanks Colonel, well worth the wait. Where there’s a will (and shedloads of wealth) there’s always a way…

      Reply
  4. Stephen V.

    Trust the currency? What does that even mean…trust the CB?
    Another world is possible::
    Money is bookkeeping.

    https://www.ft.com/content/cf875d9a-5be6-11e5-a28b-50226830d644

    To build Sardex, they turned to financial history, drawing on studies of ancient credit systems, the Swiss WIR and John Maynard Keynes’s proposal for an International Clearing Union at Bretton Woods, a version of which was implemented as the European Payments Union (1950-58). There was logic in this approach; for if the financial crisis proved anything, it was that the history of finance is not linear. “There’s no reason to think that financial markets are more progressive than the financial institutions of the Renaissance,” says Massimo Amato, an economist and historian at Bocconi. “Common sense is never outdated.”

    Reply
  5. David

    The National Interest article on NATO suffers from the usual problem of not actually having read Art 5 of the Treaty to the end. After the “attack on one is an attack on all” bit, it continues by saying each signatory “… will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force.”
    In other words, the US was not actually committed to military action at all, but only to the action it “deemed necessary”. In the negotiations, this get-out clause was seen as essential, or the Treaty would not have been ratified by the Senate. With the formation of NATO, and all the main military positions held by serving US officers who took their orders from Washington, most European nations recognised throughout the Cold War that the US had effectively managed to have all of the control with none of the risks. In many ways that situation remains the same.
    As a result, any crisis in Europe would effectively have been handled by negotiations between the US and the Soviet Union. because the US controlled NATO’s military forces it was impossible for the Europeans to act militarily without US approval. The French, for example, whoa been left in the lurch several times by the US during WW2 were terrified that, in the event of a crisis, the US would simply cut a deal to give up some territory before the fighting became too destructive. De Gaulle left the NATO Integrated Military Structure essentially to preserve the French capability to fight on even if the US decided to “surrender” everybody else. Doing the Cold War I never came across anyone who seriously questioned the French analysis – it was the tactics for dealing with the US that people disagreed about. The standard British view, as put to me by a number of senior officers was “let’s make sure the first guy who gets killed in the next war is an American.”

    Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “Masters of the Universe Are Taking Over Your Local Sports Teams”

    This is not a good development this. If they operate like private equity funds, they will sell the player’s contracts, sack all the staff, load up the sports team with a billion dollars of debt, force them to sell all property including stadiums, grab the money and run leaving a smoking hole in the ground behind them.

    Actually, it could be worse. There is a famous cricket competition called the Sheffield Shield in Australia. For nearly a decade the Pura milk company took over sponsorship so they renamed the competition, I kid you not, the Pura Milk Cup. In America, they might seek to commercialize sports teams according to where they are based so-

    The New York Mets become the New York Ubers
    The Atlanta Falcons become the Atlanta Cokes
    The Seattle Seahawks become the Seattle Windows
    The North Charleston Cougars become the North Charleston Boeings
    And the Sacramento State Hornets become the Sacramento State CalPERS

    Reply
    1. petal

      Ah yes, the Pura Milk Cup! I was there when it was changed from The Sheffield Shield to Pura Milk Cup. Couldn’t believe someone thought it was a good idea. What a joke.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      Watched a NHL playoff game on the telly from the late 70’s a few months back, and it was so clean as compared to the advertising clutter along the boards that didn’t exist once upon a time.

      The venue for Los Angelenos was ‘The Fabulous Forum*’ in Inglewood and I can see it now, all the ticket takers & ushers in utilitarian togas, mock Romans if you will, and not a shred of advertising in the place, it just wasn’t done back in the day, people would have objected to the owners ‘selling out’.

      * now a house of worship, ye gods

      Reply
      1. Mark Gisleson

        Each year I hit a point when I mute the sound on my NBA team’s broadcasts and listen to music because the game announcer and color guy simply refuse to call the game in progress and instead talk about air travel hassles and ticket offers. Merch is taking over sports and it’s a really crappy look.

        The pro leagues are doomed. Each year their market will shrink because they greedily took their product off the airwaves, broke it into pieces and hid it behind multiple online paywalls.

        rant/ And I’m tired of watching basketball games in which the home team wears a dark color uniform that is not their team color, and the visiting team wears a white uniform with trim that is not their normal color. All because some rich kids will want a complete set of all the different Barbie outfits their team will wear this year. /rant

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Found the same with cricket games and rubbish comments. You sometimes wondered if they were watching the same cricket game as I. My brother used to watch the cricket but then muted the sound. He then turned on the radio to the station that would be broadcasting comments to the game which had to be more focused on what was happening on the filed. Might be worth trying some time if you can find the right radio station.

          Reply
    3. Poopypants

      Apparently there’s a new College Bowl game this year sponsored by Tidy Bowl:

      The Tidy Bowl Toilet Bowl Cleaner Bowl.

      Reply
        1. Jim Thomson

          You must have Super Bowel control.
          Best time to go out shopping, or anywhere.
          One meets the nicest people then.

          Reply
          1. Mark Gisleson

            One of the secrets to a good life is to know which local sports teams are popular, then do your errands while their games are on.

            Reply
    4. Bugs Bunny

      Stadium and ballpark names regularly juggle through various corporates.

      The worst for me is the august Home of the Milwaukee Brewers: from County Stadium (implies the people own it, I always thought) to Miller Park to … American Family Insurance Park.

      David Foster Wallace took this to its ultimate conclusion in Infinite Jest – Subsidized Time

      https://infinitejest.wallacewiki.com/david-foster-wallace/index.php?title=Subsidized_Time

      “Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment”

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Everything has changed, now the majority of the crowd pleads for premeditated suicide of those allergic to goobers during the 7th inning stretch…

        Take me out to the ball game,
        Take me out with the crowd;
        Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
        I don’t care if I never get back.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          I prefer the Wayne and Schuster version”
          Take thou me to the ballgame,
          Take thou me with the crowd,
          Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks,
          Wash it all down with a flagon of sack.

          Reply
      2. Stillfeelinthebern

        Alas, I spent many hours in County Stadium. It was inexpensive fun to sit out in the bleachers and enjoy a summer night with fellow citizens. Have not been in the “new” park and probably never will go there.

        Reply
    5. Petter

      David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest took this corporate naming to the limits of the absurd, namely, the government sold the sold the dates of the years to advetisers as revenue enhancement.
      From the Wiki:

      https://infinitejest.wallacewiki.com/david-foster-wallace/index.php?title=Subsidized_Time
      ————————
      Subsidized Time

      In the book’s future, advertising’s relentless search for new markets has led to a world where, by O.N.A.N. dictate, years are referred to by the name of their corporate sponsor.
      CHRONOLOGY OF ORGANIZATION OF NORTH AMERICAN NATIONS’ REVENUE ENHANCING SUBSIDIZED TIME™, BY YEAR
      Year of the Whopper
      Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad
      Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar
      Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken
      Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster
      Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office Or Mobile (sic)
      Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland
      Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment
      Year of Glad

      Reply
      1. Petter

        Oops, a bit late in posting the above. Bugs beat me to it. Didn’t see his comment.

        Ever tried. Ever fail. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
        Samuel Beckett

        Reply
      1. ewmayer

        …At which point I would switch my allegiance to a WA local junior-college squad, the Walla Walla No I do NOT want fast, free shippings. :)

        Reply
  7. Louis Fyne

    That banana art headline buried the lede….$0.25 banana sold for $120,000.

    Heckuva of a 100 year ride in modern art since Marcel Duchamp.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      To me it was a signifying moment when we became a Banana Republic. (hat tip to O Henry)

      Lets replace a $120k banana with a similar amount in US Treasuries, and there isn’t much difference aside from the former being loaded with potassium which will stop you from cramping up if you eat one shortly before going on a long hike.

      Reply
  8. Winston Smith

    I was surprised that no one mentioned the NYT article “Finland is our capitalist paradise” in the Sunday edition.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I saw today that Finland has elected the youngest leader in the world, 34 year-old Sanna Marin, and she will lead a women-led five-party coalition, which includes Left Alliance’s Li Anderson, 32; the Green League’s Maria Ohisalo, 34; the Centre Party’s Katri Kulmuni, 32 and Anna-Maja Henriksson, the 55-year-old leader of the Swedish People’s party.

      https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/finland-leader-world-youngest-pm-34-191209080354618.html

      Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      “Finland is our capitalist paradise”…

      made possible by: city-state level population, few legacy post-industrial brownfields, superbly educated populace, cultural-ethnic-linguistic homogeneity, social cohesion, much less materialism than the US, much less inbound migration.

      Just saying—any reporter can cherry-pick an outlier nation’s positives and say that it’s an elixir for the world.

      Reply
      1. Winston Smith

        The point of the article was not for the US to be like Finland. What the author sought to demonstrate is that contrary to what people are led to believe in the US, it is possible to have capitalist system with some common sense social policies-just saying.

        Reply
  9. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Thanks for the antidote! Terence McKenna once suggested Raccoons are ideally suited to replace humans if we blow it. Hopefully they are as kind as their faces suggest.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I’m pretty sure Marmots are the last of the mohicans as they probably sleep through whatever catastrophe befalls the rest of Earth’s inhabitants, and wake up after 9 months of hibernation in their hidden dens to rule the world.

      Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      nope,lol. not kind.
      I’ve observed them a lot, from a darkened room, and with the night vision scope.
      they are very organised, and work well together in accomplishing various tasks…like opening gates and doors, and moving buckets, turning on water faucets, etc.
      there’s a large mob that lives in my neighbor’s woods to the south of me. every night, they trek single file down the side of the dirt road, stopping here and there to investigate things.
      3-6 will leave the group to look into some new thing, and rejoin the group further down the road.
      very efficient. I am reminded of the Fremen, in Dune.
      last 3 years we didn’t have either an acorn or a pecan crop(damned grasshoppers), and this encouraged the coons to try new things.
      compost piles, especially.
      i had already been encouraging the possums to turn the piles for me, by burying a chicken bone in each of them.
      the coons went nuts,lol.
      tossing the straw and such everywhere, and dragging out whatever was on the bottom.
      the trash and the chickens and ducks are secured…geese are loose, under a yard light…and, especially when they’re nesting/have babies…will gang up on a group of coons and beat the hell out of them.
      that’s something to see, too.
      the weirdest racoon experience was during the lack of pecan/acorn season, last fall.
      awoke to a bunch of banging around, and a strange screaming on the front porch(where old bacon grease and chicken bones go(for the coons)).
      opened the door and it was a racoon riot. 20 or so of them running around at full speed, screaming, chasing each other.
      3 chased each other directly towards my nekkid a$$ and i had to utter a Word of Power in order to retreat into the house(yelled incomprehensibly).
      grabbed the rifle and just shot into the air, and they vanished within a second.
      eerie.

      Reply
      1. Craig H.

        In my neighborhood (suburban with automobile traffic at all hours and lots of garbage and people who think it’s cute to leave pet food out for raccoons) the average raccoon has Jackie Gleason Body Mass Index. Up in the hills they more resemble Richard Simmons.

        Reply
        1. inode_buddha

          At this time of year, even the wild coons have an inch of fat on them (I’ve had to cook and eat a few in my day… they go well with rice and veggies in a stew)

          way up north here

          Reply
    3. anon in so cal

      We have a huge old persimmon tree in our back yard and last evening was the first night this year that some raccoons were scaling it. So far this fall it’s been assorted migratory and endemic birds but no mammals. We assumed they had all succumbed to rat poison. My neighborhood is intermittently a dead zone for wildlife.

      Reply
    4. Oregoncharles

      They are not (as kind as their faces suggest). They’re omnivorous predators, sort of like people.

      We used to try to feed our cat outside.

      Reply
  10. Carolinian

    That Charleston Post and Courier prison riot story is amazing and horrifying. While I don’t follow state news as much as I should it says something that I knew nothing about the

    deadliest explosion of prison violence in America in 25 years.

    The story makes it clear that a major cause of the incident was neglect of prison staffing and infrastructure by our cheapskate legislature. Nikki Haley–that Polyanna in spiked heels–is an all too typical business Republican product of that body. She made the state employees recite “it’s a great day in South Carolina” to callers while the lege swept the dark underbelly of our prison system under the rug. Clearly April 15, 2018 was not a great day.

    Reply
  11. salvo

    Those in power aren’t “ignoring” the climate crisis; they’re figuring out how to profit from it.

    this is very likely true, on the hand they might view climate “change” and the accompanying ecological breakdown as a threat to the very system which perpetuates the power relations they profit from because the systemic changes that would be required to avert the most catastrophique consequences of the climate crises may open the chance to overcome that system, to recreate the very fabric of society. On the other hand they surely try to figure out how to use climate change and ecological breakdown as tools to further consolidate the existing power relations to their advantage. As I understand it, it’s a game everyone is going to lose, as in the end they won’t be able to control the monster they are unleashing. The climate crises will bring about their own doom, too.

    Reply
    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Salvo.

      I attended the FT’s banking conference last Wednesday. The banksters are already lobbying for a loosening of the post crisis rules on capital, pay and investor protection. We heard that governments can’t fund a green industrial revolution. Banks can, but must be incentivised and protected from pesky rules, including bankruptcy.

      Reply
    2. jef

      Those in power are rejecting doing anything about the climate crisis because ALL of the proposed solutions, whether they have any effect or not on the crisis, hurts the economy. There are dozens of examples of Countries leaders proclaiming this out loud, no conspiracy here.

      All of the “economist” who shuffle around all the numbers and try to tell us we can solve the destruction of Earth’s biosphere and still grow the economy and get rich are full of …..hot air… probably a major cause of global warming too.

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Russia and China’s ominous new friendship”

    Meanwhile, in another time-line…

    The west helps Russia to modernize in the 90s and in 2010 Russia joins the European Union. With the Cold War finally over, they also join NATO alongside the Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus. NATO now becomes the largest peace-keeping force which proceeds to snuff out minor radical groups like Al-Quada.
    China, now hemmed in to the north and the south, shuts down plans to expand territorially and seeks a negotiated peace instead with the Russian diplomatic service acting as intermediators. With the relaxation of international tensions countries can now focus on the true threats to 21st century Earth – especially climate change – and trillions of dollars worldwide that were to be spent on weaponry are now diverted to scientific research to solve some of these problems along with conservation programs.

    Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Union, as in a marriage – it’ bad, per Summer (union bad) above, and worse, when one party marries someone else because another did not work out.

        If so, that does not seem like an auspicious beginning.

        Reply
        1. Summer

          This wasn’t supposed to be a reply to Rev Kev. My comment is in the wrong place.

          Union = trade union in my comment.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks for the clarification.

            Still, there is time to reflect before Being and Moscow go from friendship to marriage.

            Reply
            1. Oregoncharles

              that won’t happen. They, too, are rival great powers, with China in an expansive mood. Doesn’t rule out alliances of convenience (one-night stands?).

              Reply
  13. samhill

    Emmanuel Macron Wants to End France’s Welfare State Jacobin

    Right wing “reformers” somehow always manage to lump welfare and pensions together. People all over the world pay into pensions, public just as private, a good bit of their incomes too. France has a national run pension system, this isn’t just right wing rhetoric about “parasitical” or sinecure state employees as it would be in the USA. One can certainly argue that people pay into all other state benefits they receive too. Nat Health in countries that have it come’s from deductions in income, same as if private. Wherever, whenever you see pension reform mentioned what you’re seeing is the market kleptocracy coming for people’s life savings, plain and simple. The French are conscious enough to know it.

    Reply
    1. JEHR

      “Nat Health in countries that have it come’s from deductions in income, same as if private”: actually the money comes from government expenditures either directly or via the provinces.

      Reply
  14. a different chris

    So I’m one of those Americans who thinks “wtf is up with the Irish, and really wtf is up with the Northern ones wanting so bad to be part of England now and forever. I mean, England kindof sucks really. And doesn’t really seem to want them. Plus all the kids today are ‘losing their religion’ so it’s just weirder and weirder to stay apart.”

    But I pursued another link on the page — and found this:

    At present, residents of Northern Ireland can avail themselves of the U.K.’s National Health Service, which is free at the point of care, whereas the republic has a dysfunctional and expensive mixed public-private system.

    So they would get to go from the NHS to a system that sounds suspiciously like the US nightmare. I sure wouldn’t want to do that either. And they (from the linked article, I think) are way poorer than the southern Irish, so this could be literally a killer.

    Man the human world is so complicated. If we were a building with this many problems they would have long ago torn it down and built a new one.

    Reply
    1. makedoanmend

      The Irish system has what is called a 2-tier system. If you qualify (i.e. your poor’ish), you get free medical coverage via a card issued by the state. Qualification for prescription cards are not as hard to get – but not too easy either.

      Also charges for medical procedures in Ireland no where near approach what I have read about US charges. but prescription charges can be high by our own income standards.

      For instance, my sister-in-law fell and broke her hip in a freak accident last year. Ambulance service to two different hospitals (including one trip of over a 150km+), surgery for a pin in her hip, a weeks stay in a hospital in Dublin, return trip by ambulance, and three days in a rehab center, cost 869€. Since she was off work for several months, she got worker’s compensation that matched her wages and received a medical card. She had paid the hospital before receiving the card, but they refunded her the money she paid. (Her employer was obligated to allow her to return to work after several months, but he’s a nice fella anyway who never have denied her a job. And anyway people would think its bad form to deny a person their job back because of bad luck. It’s just not done like that in rural Ireland. Big cities may be different.)

      That is not to say the Irish system is a patch on the UK’s NHS – it isn’t. The NHS rules. If you can afford private insurance in Ireland, it’s best to get. However, sadly our current Hucksters-in-government for the rich-and-only-the-rich would dearly love to privatise all health care just like the Tories in the UK want to.

      [on another note, I found the article entirely lacking in historical context, both recent and older: 1. The lawyer Pat Finucane’s murder was directed by British intelligence and this has been acknowledged by no less than former PM David Cameron 2. ~ 60% of the North voted to remain in the EU 3. almost 50% of the population (and growing) is nationalist and their concerns have been completely ignored North, South, East and West. You’d think everybody just wants to forget they exist. The North is an intractable problem but the GFA peace agreement was instrumental in somewhat normalising relations in Ireland since 1995. Brexit has and is going to harm all advances made, and so-called one-nation UK nationalism will kill it. 4. They forgot to mention that the DUP was up to its oxters in terrorist organisations (and there is some suggestions they still maintain communications with illegal organisations) and even toyed with trying to imitate SF, but they were pretty shit at it.]

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        Thanks for this. I assume the (greater) discussion has moved up to the next post so I’ll go become further depressed up there…

        Reply
        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          MD&M

          Agreed on all of that – my late wife had cancer treatment which was all free. Hospitals were Beaumont & St. Lukes in Dublin pretty tatty looking, but excellent care followed by a wonderful team of palliative nurses who made it possible for her to to spend her last days at home. That was in 2004 so I imagine things could have changed since back then when it was 25 Euro to visit a GP. Prescriptions are free in NI which i believe is not the case in mainland UK.

          A number of Southern Irish regiments also fought at the Somme occasionally with Ulster regiments, but unlike the UK participants did not receive much of a welcome home due to 1916 & all of that. Tom Crean had I believe a similar experience.

          Reply
          1. makedoanmend

            I am so sorry to hear about your wife. It’s not easy. Given your immediate and urgent concerns back in 2004, you probably don’t remember the Progressive Democrat Party (neither progressive nor particularly democractic) who ran the health portfolio. They sought to “modernise” all health services – so they closed many regional hospitals and built mega-hospitals in a few populous locations. This policy still holds true today. However, Ireland being small, no political party would dare deny health care for free to cancer patients. It would be political suicide. In fact, in the Cavan-Monaghan there is a fairly new and well equipped dedicated respite home for terminal cancer patients with facilities for spouses to stay as well.

            As for Irish soldiers fighting for the British Empire from 1914-1918 onwards, Ireland hadn’t been arbitrarily divided until 1921, so no imposed identity was recognised. Ireland was just Ireland, and in so many ways still is. The peace treaty of 1995 was making it more so until…

            It should also be noted during the turn of the twenthieth century that the Irish working people existed in abject poverty, and it’s especially noteworthy that the general strike of 1913 and subsequent lock-out by the bosses completely immiserated the Irish working class who lost the strike.* As a result there was a ground swell of new recruits to the British army just in time for the slaughter of the masses for European-wide imperialist competition in the form of war.

            Of course the British inadvertinly trained many Irish rebels previous to that and subsequently during the war of indepedence. Michael Collins, who commanded the IRA after 1916, was such a person. He was taught well. He subsequently infiltrated the colonial “data-gathering” network and assasinated the bulk of the imported Dublin based intelligence hit squad meant to destroy the rebels. Since the war of independence was raging on many fronts, including a new general strike, the return of soldiers from WWI didn’t have the significance that it did in other places. Ireland was in complete turmoil and didn’t have time for parades, and of course many of the ex-soldiers swelled the ranks of certain rebel brigades. By 1920, it was recognised that Ireland had, de facto, become its own mainland.

            *A great read about the conditions of Dublin working people can be found in the form of Strumpet City by James Plunkett. It’s poignant that the hero’s last recourse is to leave Ireland in british army uniform since he could no longer work and support his family after the srike was broken.

            Reply
              1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                I remember Mary Harney being a large part of that & I believe her son profited from it.

                Yes Dublin was the poorest city in Europe at that time & the Lockout starved the workers back to work. Connolly heavily involved with Larkin, soup kitchens with Markivicz & I think the ICA set-up to protect workers from police brutality.

                I read an old book on Connolly which had details of a petition signed by around 700 Irish businessmen demanding his execution by the Brits. Later speaking to a member of the Connolly Society I was informed that it was likely true, but had been written out of history & those details were not included in any other bios or histories.

                Anyhow, I imagine that they were likely very pleased when he was tied to that chair.

                Reply
                1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                  I imagine that you likely know about the brief time when divide & conquer failed in Belfast during the 1930’s, when protesters from the Falls road & the Shankhill joined together during the Rent Strike complete with marching bands.

                  The only song these bands knew that they could play without causing offense was ” Yes, we have no bananas “. It would be nice if the same unity could be displayed again if the bananas ran out due to Brexit.

                  I imagine that the DUP will be stirring the pot as a form of distraction.

                  Reply
                2. makedoanmend

                  Yep, Connolly, as good as Scottish person as you’d ever meet in a 3 day walk. He was the embodiment of a ground-level internationalist as far as I can tell. I often passed his memorial plaque in Edinburgh, but know that he is largely forgotten in the country in which he was born. (There is, strangely, a sort of independent protestant church named after him near the main Edinburgh library.)

                  I often wonder if they hadn’t tied the wounded Connolly to that chair for execution on 12 May 1916 that he might have made a difference for working people in Ireland over the longer term. After all, the ISRP had their own armed militia. However after the revulsion of the general population against the summary executions of 1916 rebel leaders so radically altered the political landscape, the ISRP kind of melted into the background as general disturbance took hold.

                  Much that happened during that period has been swept under the carpet as Liberaltarian ideology took hold in Ireland during the 1990s only to gain complete ascendency today via Fine Gael (with no small help from Fianna Fail and the Labour party). If memory serves me, there was a court case several years ago in which a senior judge more or less stated that the Irish revolution was meant to only to be interpreted as the transfer assets from the British to the Irish ruling class; that everything else was was basically aspirational nonsense that could be ignored – like freedom, self determination, equality, and fairness. That sort of nonsense.

                  Reply
  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Where the Frauds Are All Legal Elisabeth Rosenthal, NYT

    An “opinion” piece subtitled: Welcome to the weird world of medical billing.

    “Weird” is a euphemism for what, exactly? But the categories of fraudulent billing are clever. My favorite is “Medical Swag.”

    At the time of their deaths, my parents’ home looked like a “swag” warehouse. Three wheelchairs (for two “beneficiaries,”) walkers, canes, oxygen concentrators, mobile carts and oxygen tanks, various and sundry toilet seats and shower benches, all manner of new and improved plastic pill organizers, piles of boxes and bags of disposable supplies, and hundreds if not thousands of relentless EOBs.

    The place was so damn cluttered, you couldn’t have used a wheelchair if you needed to. It was an obstacle course of swag, all on the first floor, of course, since they never managed to score one of those motorized stair lifts to their bedrooms upstairs. We were on a first name basis with the medical supply delivery drivers.

    It was as obscene as it was depressing, but we were all “gratified” to know that somebody was paying their kid’s college tuition on the profit made by stuffing the once comfortable home to the gills with swag.

    PS. Following a link in the article I found this in a publication called “Clinical Advisor”:

    Using the PA’s National Provider Identifier (NPI) triggers the 85% payment rate, but a billing work-around exists that enable practices to collect the full 100% physician rate for services that PAs perform.

    Paying for a Cadillac and getting a Yugo is….”weird.”

    Reply
    1. Carl

      As is usual with the NYT, the comments (choosing “reader’s picks” over “NYT picks”) are much more revealing, and sad, than the piece itself. Privileged NYT reporter discovers the US sick are system is fraudulent seems to be the subtext.

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        So can we assume that the number of americans who love their “healthcare” and don’t want to give it up is now 159,999,998?

        Reply
  16. Watt4Bob

    I was talking with a colleague about my experience with surprise medical billing, he explained that he had left one of his previous positions at a cyber security firm after they were bought-out and the new management started invoicing customers who hadn’t been doing any recent business.

    These customers were ‘targeted’ by looking through the books and finding the ones who hadn’t had any activity in over a year.

    Straight up fraudulent billing, and perpetrators proud of their ingenuity.

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      If Buttigieg’s McKinsey time was remotely useful to his run, it would’ve been touted on his website on day 1.

      NDA my family blog….every management committee wants to be associated with a potential president soaring in the polls—unless it’s very embarrassing to their narrative.

      Reply
  17. Wukchumni

    Fear and Loathing? The 2020 Election is a Repeat of 1972 SportsGeek
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It does smell a little similar, newly hyper-aggressive Joe (he’s mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore!) looking to flame out soon, the Warren commission seems more unlikely, and the rest of the field are only sticking around on account of having to be in it to win it, if the frontrunners say adios.

    That leaves Bernie.

    One thing I find interesting regarding McGovern was he was indeed a war hero the likes of which John McCain wasn’t really.

    In the milieu of anti-militarism peaking leading up to the 1972 election, you’d think a peace advocate with a record like this would’ve done better than Tricky Dick, who honed his poker skills as a REMF in the South Pacific theater.

    Starting on November 11, 1944, McGovern flew 35 missions over enemy territory from San Giovanni, the first five as co-pilot for an experienced crew and the rest as pilot for his own plane, known as the Dakota Queen after his wife Eleanor. His targets were in Austria; Czechoslovakia; Nazi Germany; Hungary; Poland; and northern, German-controlled Italy, and were often either oil refinery complexes or rail marshaling yards, all as part of the U.S. strategic bombing campaign in Europe. The eight- or nine-hour missions were grueling tests of endurance for pilots and crew, and while German fighter aircraft were a diminished threat by this time as compared with earlier in the war, his missions often faced heavy anti-aircraft artillery fire that filled the sky with flak bursts.

    On McGovern’s December 15 mission over Linz, his second as pilot, a piece of shrapnel from flak came through the windshield and missed fatally wounding him by only a few inches.[46] The following day on a mission to Brüx, he nearly collided with another bomber during close-formation flying in complete cloud cover. The following day, he was recommended for a medal after surviving a blown wheel on the always-dangerous B-24 take-off, completing a mission over Germany, and then landing without further damage to the plane. On a December 20 mission against the Škoda Works at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, McGovern’s plane had one engine out and another in flames after being hit by flak. Unable to return to Italy, McGovern flew to a British airfield on Vis, a small island in the Adriatic Sea off the Yugoslav coast that was controlled by Josip Broz Tito’s Partisans. The short field, normally used by small fighter planes, was so unforgiving to four-engined aircraft that many of the bomber crews who tried to make emergency landings there perished. But McGovern successfully landed, saving his crew, a feat for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.(Wiki)

    Reply
    1. foghorn longhorn

      George Kent, the State Department official, testified that he raised it to you, and your staff.

      No, he didn’t say me. He did not say me.

      To your staff. To your staff, I stand corrected.

      I never, never heard that once at all.

      To your staff. And your staff told him he has no bandwidth for family matters.

      Well, my son was dying, so I guess that’s why he said it, because my son was on his deathbed. But that, that’s not the reason why — they should have told me. -NPR
      ‐—————-

      The dying son card again.
      The same son, with the wife that Hunter was banging, while still married.
      Dig joe dig

      Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    Not so long ago, admission of marijuana use, or having Juana the undocumented alien/maid in your employ, was enough to sink a politician’s chances of obtaining the holy grail.

    Is there a line now, what offense would it take to doom a campaign?

    Reply
    1. Sol

      Nothing, I suspect. People seem so tunnel-visioned. A candidate making the right promises – especially promising to go after the Other Side Wot We Don’t Like – will be allowed any indiscretion.

      Except Epstein. Americans may go down in history as never agreeing on anything except that Epstein didn’t kill himself. That stain might not wash off.

      Reply
  19. Krystyn Walnetka

    RE: “2019’s mass protests are missing the spectacular results of 2011 and 1989”

    I am thinking of a possibility that the reason these protests are “going nowhere” is because they do not have some Official $tate backing them. Meaning, they are the real deal.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      I question that they’re so lacking in results. They’ve brought down the PM in Iraq and the IMF deal in Ecuador, and earned major concessions in Chile, with more to come. Unfortunately, Hong Kong was a losing proposition from the start – but they’ve probably ruled out Taiwan’s re-accession forever.

      Macron is still talking big, but I suspect he’s toast. It keeps getting worse, and he keeps upping the ante. Delusional.

      that’s a lot. Anyway, I think in terms of 1968, not the more recent ones.

      And here? The distraction effect of our perpetual Presidential kayfabe is worth a lot – many millions – to the PTB. If anything does it, it’ll be the youth movement on global cooking.

      Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Savers were kings back in the day of high interest rates, your smug friends would tell you of certificates of deposit (CD’s) they had getting 18.32% per annum, and them came Volcker getting us eventually to the point where you’ll expect to earn nothing on your savings and like it!

      You went from not being able to buy a $100k home in LA in 1980 because you were looking @ catch 22% interest rates, but now its all better and closer to a 2.2% interest rate, and the house?, it Zillows for $777k.

      Reply
      1. cnchal

        You have the order exactly reversed. First came Volcker, then the 18.32% per annum deposit rates.

        The last honest central banker, worlwide, was John Crow of the Bank of Canada. 1987 to 1994. His desired inflation rate was zero, and politicians hated that.

        Perhaps Volcker was the second most honest central banker.

        Reply
        1. skippy

          You gotta love the proselytizing that savers are virtuous when there is about 34T in tax havens – after wages and productivity diverged, not to mention 600 billionaires roaming large in the body politic wrangling for favor in the writing of law.

          Quickly followed by lowering of underwriting standards, free flow of capital, individual responsibility, irresponsible to not speculate [peggy], et al, and the Hayekian dystopia that all altruism must be purged so the market can price correctly, which IMO necessitates that – everything – have a price … because that which does not have price has no value [tm].

          Reply
      2. skippy

        The freemarket lunatics were already taking over the asylum during the Vietnam war which made IR the only tool in the box, would have not mattered who was head of the Fed because the ideologues had painted themselves into a corner.

        Congressional people abdicated any responsibility to society for a well payed path to utopia, anyone one straying from the past is easily highlighted as a heretic and finds themselves the proverbial chicken before the monkeys. Greenspan and Bernanke, warts and all, have looked them in the eye and asked if they would like to run with the football. The looks of shock and horror to suggest that anyone would meddle in the divine distribution of the markets gifts and delay the day utopia arrives is a sin unparalleled.

        Suffering is need to make all virtuous upon final accounting.

        Reply
    2. curlydan

      William Greider’s “Secrets of the Temple” gives an extensive description of Volcker’s selection by Carter and Volker’s decision making in letting the rates get that high. As cnchal notes, Volker’s aim was to crush inflation by pushing up the rates.

      Unfortunately, the legacy of this action led future Fed chairs and Wall St to believe any wage growth had to be crushed as well, lest it trigger inflation.

      I did always like his statement that the last great financial innovation was the ATM card.

      Reply
  20. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: How the Schiff Report Deals with Disinformation LawFare

    What a discombobulated mess this is. Shorter version: If there’s no legitimate way to explain inconvenient facts, don’t mention them. Keep it simple, stupid.

    But there are some things the report doesn’t address. It’s silent on the subject of the “Black Ledger,” the document showing under-the-table payments from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovitch to Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. It says nothing about the political consultant Alexandra Chalupa. And there are exactly zero mentions of the Steele dossier.
    ——
    Compared to the lengthy primers on the Crowdstrike theory that abound online, the report’s explanation is laconic. It makes no attempt to explore why anyone might believe that an American cybersecurity company colluded with the Ukrainian government to facilitate a hack of the Democratic party…..The murmurings about why the FBI never examined the DNC’s physical servers? The committee doesn’t waste its breath on them.

    As has been mentioned about a million times, the acceptance of crowdstrike’s “hacking” conclusion as the sole “evidence” of Russian “involvement” on behalf of Trump has always stunk to high heaven. No surprise schiff steers clear.

    But I don’t remember anyone ever saying that crowdstrike “colluded” with Ukraine to “hack” dnc servers. Where’d that come from? “Helping” clinton by exposing her cheating doesn’t even make sense. The Ukraine election connection has always been about Chalupa et al. cozying up to the government the u.s. put in power in 2014 to dirty up Trump.

    Oh well, whatever. This whole thing is starting to make my head hurt.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      The rationale in that article was rather appalling. Just declare everything that doesn’t fit the preferred narrative to be a “conspiracy theory” that has been “debunked” but provide no evidence of said debunking because –

      Focusing on debunking a specific claim risks playing into this dynamic by giving the falsehood additional attention that prolongs its lifespan in the news cycle.

      If I’m ever in a bind with the authorities, somebody please remind me not to hire any of these Lawfare chuckleheads as defense.

      Reply
  21. Bazarov

    “Fear and Loathing? The 2020 Election is a Repeat of 1972 SportsGeek”

    Interesting article, but the historical parallel I’ve been most attracted to isn’t the 1972 race but rather the 1976 and 1980 Republican primary races. In 1976, Reagan makes a real go of it, only barely losing out due to establishment shenanigans. It’s hard to remember because of all the “St. Reagan” propaganda, but Reagan was seen as something of an insane, radical “Trumpian” figure–way outside the mainstream and repugnant to the establishment. So he loses in 1976, and his loss kind of energizes the Bircherite, racist, conspiratorial, money-loving, anti-communist right wing.

    In 1980, Reagan returns, having used the intervening years to expand his reach and become the “Bernie Sanders” of the right wing. After crushing the 1980 primaries, losing only a few states to George H.W. Bush, he “unites the party” by choosing Bush, scion of an old Republican family, as vice president, who by the way, really ends up running the Reagan Administration’s foreign policy out of a secret office at the CIA.

    Since Reagan represents the victory of neoliberalism over New Deal style state-capitalism (a shift that began with Carter), heralding a realignment of politics toward the right, maybe Sanders will represent the victory of a new system, itself the result of a realignment that began under Trump.

    Am I sounding crazy? I find this parallel more compelling.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      what is new deal style state capitalism, and how did a president with little power shift the democrats someplace they weren’t going already?

      Reply
      1. Bazarov

        Good questions! Here are some features of “New Deal Style State Capitalism” off the top of my head:

        1.) Union tolerance. They have (to use PMC-corporate nomenclature that I hate) “a seat at the table.”

        2.) Embrace of “big government”–creation of huge programs supported by a bloated sector of skilled public servants (who are kind of perpetually in “standby”). Here I’m thinking the moon landing/space program, social security, medicare/medicaid, and also, unfortunately, “Real War Mobilization” with a draft and maybe even declaration (Korea).

        3.) High progressive taxes.

        4.) Capital controls.

        5.) Heavy handed government regulation of the private sector (example: inspectors employed by the government[!] in factories as they operate in their day-to-day–like meat inspectors, etc.).

        Why I say that Carter (who also I suppose represents an ascendant cadre within the establishment) begins the transformation away from this system toward neoliberalism in that it’s Carter, if I recall my studies correctly, who really inaugurates the “We Need to Run Government like a Business” and “There’s too much Democracy–The Market is More Efficient” ethos of the presidency. There was enough life in the New Deal state at the time to stymie him in a lot of ways (similar to the resistance that Trump’s been getting?). I see Regan as a development of the Carter neoliberal tendency.

        Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      i think it would be way cool if it happened thataway.
      with Bernie as the Lefty Reagan, instigating a sea change that lingers on for decades.
      the Machine will, of course, pull out all the stops to prevent this, because it would be so transformative. They’d hafta start all over again convincing people that egalitarian prosperity is a Bad Thing(but without a significant religious demographic this time).
      Ideally, a Sixth Party System, too…because i don’t think the Democratic Party will tolerate any meaningful reform, and would rather cling to their cash and power as they sink beneath the waves.
      they’ll try a Big Center Party of Pragmatic Joy and Wisdom…”reaching across the aisle” to disaffected Kempers and lonely Reaganophiles…and keep on mouthing the Pablum Words of Centrism to empty rooms with cameras.
      short of an actual descent into warlordism, or a “new pearl harbor” i don’t really see how that lot stays around.
      i remember arguing with Team Blue on FB, 2014- 2017, asking what the Donors were gonna do when they lost all public support?
      just keep signing checks?
      lol.
      I reckon that the Trump Party will endure…and morph, after he exits, into the emergent faux new dealism of that Josh H-something senator guy(hawley?).
      i think that some disaster is much more likely, however.
      it’s how they roll.

      Reply
    3. rtah100

      But who will play the role of GHW Bush, safeguarding foreign policy from Bernie’s warm bath of socialism? Which Democratic establishment dynast’s turn has come?
      Michelle O? Chelsea C? A Biden or a Gore?

      I am not sure I like this analogy….

      Reply
  22. David Carl Grimes

    According to Kunstler, the Inspector General Report will be very limited in scope: No interviews of anyone of importance.

    “Therefore, you can be serenely confident that any charges of actual treason will eventually stick to members of Resistance in government service who did indeed plot a coup to overthrow the occupant of the White House. That process of discovery begins today in another part of the battlefield, when the DOJ Inspector General, Mr. Horowitz, rolls out his report on FISA court shenanigans. His inquiry, of course, was limited to current members of the DOJ and FBI, which leaves out many of the principal actors in that scheme: Jim Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Stzrok, Lisa Page, Michael Atkinson — all either discharged or moved onto other thickets in the reeking wetland of Washington DC. Anyway, the coup ranged far beyond the bounds of Mr. Horowitz’s scope on FISA abuse.

    Among those many others, the IG was not authorized to interrogate former CIA chief John Brennan, the Lone Ranger of RussiaGate, or James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Brennan’s faithful Tonto in the scam. Mr. Horowitz’s report will be necessarily incomplete.”

    https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-war-of-the-narratives/

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      That isn’t “actual treason” under the stringent Constitutional definition – but it sure is abuse of office. Sedition, maybe? but that’s a dangerous charge, a step toward dictatorship.

      Reply
  23. Plenue

    Re: Thunberg

    Oh no! Wagging your finger and lecturing is having no discernable effect on our elites. Who could possibly have seen this coming?

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Chastened by her actions, all of the owners of large oil producing concerns agreed upon an emergency meeting with Greta to kowtow to her demands, none of which included having them give her a pony with exactly 1 horsepower, but it was determined that all would stop pumping oil immediately if not sooner.

      Reply
      1. witters

        Rightly chastened by the NC commentariat, Greta slinks home, another child vanquished by the real movers and shakers (typing away).

        Reply
  24. Wukchumni

    Wall of banana exhibit vandalized with lipstick at Art Basel: ‘Epstien didn’t kill himself’ Miami Herald
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I’m as outraged as any over how people have lost the ability to spell words, and I think lipstick vogue’s message is muddled as a result in casting shade on the affair.

    Reply
  25. StillAboveWater

    Here is another take on the French pensions crisis. The money quote: David Brooks “blindly chooses not to see we’re no longer in a free market economy, we’re in a Winner Take All system where the unshakeable wealth of companies and individuals exerts control over the political and regulatory systems in ways that limit freedom and threaten the physical and emotional well-being of the ‘commoners’.”

    Reply
    1. skippy

      Adam Curtis yonks ago did a peek at the first wave of freedom theory proponents in the U.K. and how when their plans were implemented it worked out just the opposite of what was preached. The next stage was the fallout between some fellow travelers over who was at fault, for that, without even a modicum of introspection, more like nebulous ev’bal forces which of coarse can only be the result of faulty human voters [misinformed] or unpure politicians [lack faith [tm] for the long haul].

      Ergo the faithful are never wrong and the only thing that could be at fault is the birth cohort not accepting the programming or lingering altruistic forces in Government [totalitarian].

      Reply
    2. Sol

      Brooks is busy laboring under the majestic weight of understanding Italian cold cuts. It’s a super elite thing, a highly educated upper-class thing, we couldn’t grok what he goes through for us by holding this sacred knowledge. Say a prayer for him tonight, for without David Brooks and his superior hard-won knowledge, we are lost.

      Reply
  26. chuck roast

    RE: Us Government Drops Charges Against Max Blumenthal

    Interesting that in the legal filing the presiding judge’s name is blacked out, as are the names of the US Attorney and the Special Assistant US Attorney. Is the Superior Court of DC a Star Chamber? Shouldn’t this be a public record? Blumenthal’s arrest is a public record, but the administrative dismissal isn’t a public record?

    I don’t get it.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      A FOIA suit in the making. He is a journalist, after all.

      I assume they’re really embarrassed. They need to be named and shamed.

      Reply
  27. ewmayer

    “Listen up you bunch of bankers. Here are some pointers for less crap IT | The Register (original). Paging Clive… ” — Gah, the editor at The Register used the wrong collective noun. The correct phrasing is “wunch of bankers”.

    Reply
  28. chuck roast

    Socialisms Biggest Hero (Keynes)

    What a crock! Not a word about fiscal policy until he starts discussing MMT. Sorry pal, Stephanie Kelton did not invent deficit spending, “a sovereign has the fiscal flexibility to use deficits to generate full employment.” The real old-timey Keynesians who taught this were swept away in the ’70’s. Thereafter, it was all interest rates, monetary policy and the great new god “balanced budgets.” The third rail of fiscal deficits was the crazy aunt in the attic until 2009 when O-B and his tepid “new-Keynesian” advisors decided that an B$800 deficit might be OK when twice as much was needed. Of course, they are all happy to turn blind-eyes to repeated Republican fiscal excesses. What the heck, it enables them to walk to class and continue to teach the same old nonsense. No surprise that the author is a university professor.

    I have great respect for Keynes. A tremendous intellect. But left!? His theories were adopted because they met the reactionaries minimum need for economic stability and political control. After the Flint sit-down strikes they capitulated to labor, but within a generation they took back control of the intellectual and popular narrative including the presumption that fiscal-policy as a meaningful tool for pumping-up aggregate demand was toast. More propaganda about what constitutes the “left.”

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