Links 1/17/2020

Scientists Design Bacteria-Based Living Concrete Smithsonian

Banking’s Problem Child May Be Due Another Tantrum Bloomberg

Euro zone slowdown has bottomed but no big bounce in sight: Reuters poll Reuters

Big Brother Australia aims to ban cash spending Asia Times

Extreme mega-fires force rethink on fighting blazes FT

The solution to the plastic waste crisis? It isn’t recycling Guardian


EU’s funding for UK’s poorest areas ‘must be matched after Brexit’ Guardian. Lol no.

Harry and Meghan, and why members of the Royal Family can’t live in Canada Globe and Mail

Shares in French retailers sink following wave of strikes FT Finally some coverage.


Iran crisis: Tensions reach boiling point as Iraq defies US to sign Putin missile deal Express

Crisis & Critique: The Return of Guaido? Venezuelanalysis. Last year, two Presidents. This year, two Parliaments?

Founder of Blackwater mercenary group Erik Prince took secret Venezuela trip to talk mining with regime National Post

Colombia’s anti-government protests to resume on January 21 Colombia Reports

More military and police presence on Bolivian streets Prensa Latina. Cuba, but U.S. coverage is so miserable, what can I do?


Amazon not doing a favour by investing $1 billion: Piyush Goyal The Economic Tiimes

‘Post’ nudged to fall in line The Telegraph

Investors from UK to Japan keen on developing new Indonesian capital The Star


China’s Improving Economic Data Masks Deeper Problems NYT

Xi’s Wider Fight With U.S. Is Only Just Beginning After Trade Deal Bloomberg

Beijing sets sights on mighty Mekong as passage to South China Sea Agence France Presse

Short of Time: Julian Assange at the Westminster Magistrates Court Counterpunch

New Cold War

Putin’s new PM promises ‘real changes’ for Russians Agence France Presse

Vladimir Putin Prepares His Succession Gilbert Doctorow

Russian Federation Sitrep 16 January 2020 by Patrick Armstrong Sic Semper Tyrannis. Good round-up.

Trump Transition

Donald Trump nominates Federal Reserve critic to central bank’s board FT

Trump Attaches Severe Restrictions to Puerto Rico’s Long-Delayed Disaster Aid NYT



‘Impartial justice’: Can partisan senators serve as unbiased jurors in the Trump impeachment trial? USA Today. Federalist #65, worth reading in full:

A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself….

Where else than in the Senate could have been found a tribunal sufficiently dignified, or sufficiently independent? What other body would be likely to feel CONFIDENCE ENOUGH IN ITS OWN SITUATION, to preserve, unawed and uninfluenced, the necessary impartiality between an INDIVIDUAL accused, and the REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE, HIS ACCUSERS?

Caps in original.

About that oath of ‘impartiality’ senators just took WaPo

Pelosi impeachment manager is calling for McConnell’s recusal from Trump Senate trial Miami Herald

* * *
Impeachment of the President Normally Requires a Crime

White House violated the law by freezing Ukraine aid, watchdog says Politico

McConnell Should Toss Out This Malicious Impeachment Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

* * *
Pompeo stonewalls as evidence emerges of possible surveillance of ex-Ukraine ambassador CNN

Trump again denied knowing Lev Parnas. So Parnas’ lawyer posted more robust proof. The Week. My priors are that Parnas is just another Curveball; he certainly did come onstage at an convenient time. It was a sign that Benghazi had passed The Hairball Horizon™ when names that only somebody obsessing over the detail would know started appearing in headlines.

* * *
Collins says she’s ‘likely’ to support calling witnesses for impeachment trial The Hill

John Roberts likely to play modest role in impeachment trial AP

Bad Timing for Jury Duty NYT. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet. Regardless of whether the trial is short or long, it’s hard for me to see how Pelosi handing controll of the election calendar over to Mitch McConnell was an act of strategic genius.

Establishment Pundits Go Nuts Over New Russian Hacking Conspiracy Caitlin Johnstone, Consortium News. This isn’t Parnas, it’s some other hairball.


Why Elizabeth Warren’s Social Media Is Flooded With Snake Emoji Wired

Death Threats Will Force Virginia Lawmaker To A Safe House During Pro-Gun Rally DCist

Health Care

Smart shopper (dk):


Read all the way to the end.

‘Alarming’ one in five deaths due to sepsis BBC (Re Silc). World-wide. See NC on sepsis here.

Decreasing human body temperature in the United States since the Industrial Revolution eLife. “[M]ean body temperature in men and women, after adjusting for age, height, weight and, in some models date and time of day, has decreased monotonically by 0.03°C per birth decade.”LL

Class Warfare

Change Agent: Gene Sharp’s Neoliberal Nonviolence, Part Two (JS). Part one.

Certain Unflattering Truths The Baffler

The happy emotions are not necessarily what they appear Aeon

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. Another Scott

    I think Pelosi got exactly what she wanted to out of the impeachment timing. It’s not lost in the holidays, which means she’ll be able to fundraise against it during the spring. She’ll get to tell donors in the Beltway, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood about how horrible Trump and McConnell are and how giving money to Democrats is the only way to stop them. And progressive policies, in the form of Sanders’ agenda will be pushed to the background.
    Meanwhile, Republicans will actually work on advancing their agenda. McConnell will rubber stamp Federalist Society judges; regulation will accelerate; Trump will continue his chaotic and destructive foreign policy.

    1. JBird4049

      Speaker Pelosi’s concerns are probably keeping the Democratic, and even the Republican, Parties alive. Both of the parties are fragile with President Trump as The Orange Cthulhu/Savior that must destroyed/saved being used as distraction from the unwashed’s demands of reforms, any reforms; if that means staking, decapitating, burning to ash, and then scattering to the winds any combinations of parties, politicians, and organizations, not excluding the wealthy, so be it.

      Any system that can protect Jeff Epstein, child pimp to the powerful, or that refuses to deal with the changing climate regardless of the cause, is universal unwanted, or there is always the “great” economy. So Pelosi’s goal is more of survival of her world rather than winning or losing this presidential election.

      1. inode_buddha

        +100 This is why Sanders needs overwhelming numbers such that cannot be manipulated, particularly in the general. Even if he has to use write-ins in states that will behave honorably.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Picture yourself a well-off DNC insider (Sorry, if that’s a hard ask). If it comes down to Trump vs. Sanders, which outcome benefits you and your relationships to power and wealth better: four more comfortable status quo years in opposition or Bernie doing a teardown remodel of your house?

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    Regardless of whether the trial is short or long, it’s hard for me to see how Pelosi handing control of the election calendar over to Mitch McConnell was an act of strategic genius.

    As soon as I heard that Pelosi was delaying the handoff of the impeachment articles I took it that she was doing so in order to distract from the primaries.

  3. pretzelattack

    another possible reason warren’s social media is being flooded with snake emojis–people perceive her as a snake now.

    loved how the wired story phrased this–cnn reported, and warren confirmed–like warren didn’t cause it to be leaked in the first place, and like she wasn’t the sole source for their story.

    1. JohnnySacks

      She may not have leaked it in the first place, we’ll never know though. Was it a private conversation, professional to professional, regarding the objective reality of the current American political climate 3 years ago? Whoever leaked this should have had their face ripped off by her and/or her people. She may be knowledgeable on finance and banking, but her political instincts have always been piss poor. The ‘Pocahontas’ meme was started by Howie Carr, lightweight third rate Limbaugh wannabe Boston radio blowhard, and should have been deftly diffused years ago.

      But this current crap is designed and executed flawlessly by the establishment (Sorry, I hate that term, but it sweeps up more than just CNN). Divide the two top progressives, each of their supporters refuse to go to the other, but go to Biden instead. And it’s grinding right of center status quo, no effect on what got Trump elected in the first place. A sweep of both houses in 2022, followed by a Tom Cotton presidency in 2024. Net gain: zero.

      1. pretzelattack

        she caused it to be leaked, i believe. i don’t think it was some overzealous staffter, but then i don’t think he said that in the first place, which would mean warren was lying from the start. moore has a lot of examples of things she has been deceptive on over the years, though he still has stars in his eyes over her and clinton.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Of *course* Warren leaked the story. MJ Lee’s CNN article quoted 4 unnamed sources, none of whom were at the meeting, all from the Warren campaign. That means the whole thing is coming from the Warren camp.

        But it’s still not a legit news story unless one of the 2 participants can confirm it. Sanders denies it. Warren? After her people clearly put the story out there, she’s not willing to vouch for the lie herself, but she’s not willing to deny it, either.

        That’s dirty tricks, enabled by despicable journalism.

        1. voteforno6

          On top of that, she was out in front of the cameras pushing the story as well. I was a little surprised that they took it to the extent that they did. Also, I found it interesting that the story about the volunteer script for the Sanders campaign came out just prior to this one, almost as if they had planned this one-two punch.

          1. Darthbobber

            They had. The script was the “border incident” designed to portray the coming aggression as defense.

      3. WJ

        “Divide the two top progressives, each of their supporters refuse to go to the other, but go to Biden instead.”

        Except that this framing is false. Warren, among other things:
        (1) withheld endorsement of Sanders in 2016;
        (2) voted for Trump’s Defense Bill; (3) cheered Trump’s denunciation of socialism in his address to Congress; (4) does not support any universal programs that benefit labor, including M4A;
        (5) marches in lockstep with MIC propaganda on literally *every* foreign policy issue;
        (6) is clearly engaged in classic triangulation strategies to maintain her “progressive” moniker, thereby siphoning off crucial percentage points from Sanders;
        (7) is willing cynically to throw principle under the bus to avoid disastrous defeat in Iowa;

        I could go on….

        There is only one candidate of the people in this primary, and that candidate is Bernie Sanders.

        Stop this nonsense about a Warren and Sanders “coalition”; that’s total nonsense intended to weaken Sanders’ support and I’m sick of hearing it repeated.

        1. Howard

          “ Stop this nonsense about a Warren and Sanders “coalition”; that’s total nonsense intended to weaken Sanders’ support and I’m sick of hearing it repeated.”

          I absolutely agree. However, it is not Warren that Sanders needs but a segment of her supporters that he wants when Warren drops out. Bernie has to thread a fine line so as not to alienate these voters.

        2. Deplorado

          Also, did she come out in support of Harvard graduate students trying to unionize? I believe she did not. That’s enough right there.

      4. Samuel Conner

        Re: ” each of their supporters refuse to go to the other, but go to Biden instead”

        I can’t imagine that many Sanders supporters would migrate to JB if Sanders is damaged by this.

        Recently reported in an item linked at NC is that Sanders is 2nd choice among many JB supporters in Iowa. Me thinks that Warren’s shiv-sticking is more likely to benefit JB than EW. Krystal Ball’s assertion that this is a replay of EW’s 2016 positioning — siding with the establishment candidate since that’s the likeliest winner — looks sound to me.

        1. Lil’D

          Locally, several friends who can’t quite get Bernie are making Bloomberg into a palatable progressive (in their minds). Warren and Buttagieg losing steam and near universal dismay at Biden. Nobody likes Klobuchar. Steyers ads are good…

          I think Bernie will “win” California … the organization is relentless.
          Mild FYI at state of play in a purple part of California

      5. lordkoos

        It’s not dividing two progressives – it’s separating the one real progressive from the pack. Warren is toast.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The last paragraph in that Wired story was very telling. It claimed that Bernie supporters were guilty of sexism in attacking Warren when you don’t see the same with males figures. But the heart of that attack – that was co-ordinated with CNN – was Warren claiming that Bernie was guilty of sexism by that bs statement that he was supposed to have made. This is having your cake and eating it at its worse.
      It was Warren that was guilty of being sexist by trying to claim the high ground on the basis of her genitals. It is noteworthy that when Tulsi Gabbard met with Bernie, that he encouraged her to run and never said to her that a women will never be President. Meanwhile, whoever set up this whole fracas – probably Clinton & Obama people – must be laughing that they have the only two progressives in the race going for each other. Warren should have listened to Mister Rate’s advice here. They probably have the shovel ready for her-

      1. Darius

        Warren’s statement before the debates was, “We don’t need to discuss it anymore. We’re friends and we should move on to more important issues. First, let me drop this turd on his living room floor. But then let’s move on.”

        Yes. Warren desperately wants this “out there,” but without her fingerprints on it. This is patently obvious, but the neoliberal media is wall to wall with the scam message.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Warren is not a “progressive”, and her base mostly does not overlap with Sanders’ base. The PMC is mostly in the Warren and Buttigieg camps.

        1. Phenix

          This…Warren is a R2P liberal that believes in “markets” ie reform neoliberalism. Her job ia to keep idpol and PMC voters away from Sanders.

        2. Howard

          I agree that members of the PMC for the most part support either Warren or Buttigieg but I also see significant numbers of young people out here in Los Angeles that support Warren. Bernie will need theses votes in CA come March. Warren is digging her own grave and I say let her keep digging. If she finishes 3rd in IA and 3rd in NH she will be gone before CA.

        3. flora

          Significant of nothing, I notice Warren and Buttigieg have the same eyebrow style. So, Joe can name Petie as his VP and it’s all jake, like naming a young Warren, right? /s

        4. Matthew

          Yeah, I think that message needs to be solidified pretty quickly now. My read on the primaries so far is that Warren has actually done Sanders a service so far by splitting the attacks from the neoliberal media and candidates, essentially making it look like there was more of a progressive contingent in the race than there actually was. If the Sanders campaign handles this dust-up correctly, it could be the cleanest uncoupling they could hope for.

          But people on Sanders’ side need to go look at Warren’s big policies and all the escape hatches they give her to avoid achieving any actual progressive outcomes. They need to look at comments by Harry Reid and others that cast doubt on her commitment to Medicare for All. And they need to take seriously her promise not to build a power base outside of traditional Democratic Party power structures, since as we know, these structures are the first enemy that needs to be defeated for progressive change to take place in this country.

      3. Phiddle

        Is this a case of Clinfestation? Consider the high Warren campaign staffers who had important positions in the 2016 Clinton campaign, and were presumably disposed to believe the BernieBros misogynist memes as manufactured by the Clintonites:

        Roger Lau, Warren Campaign Manager. Advisor to Clinton on Massachusetts politics; Director of Clinton MA campaign 2008
        Tracey Lewis, Senior Advisor for Organizing. Deputy Executive Director and COO at the DSCC and Director of Primary States for Hillary for America in 2016, also directed Clinton surrogate operations at the Democratic National Convention, 2016
        Caitlin Mitchell, Chief Mobilization Officer. Vice-president of Digital at Emily’s List from April 2015 (Recall that Emily’s List endorsed Clinton in April of 2016, contrary to their previous practice of not endorsing a candidate in primary races.)
        Hannah Fine, Early States Mobilization Director. Organizer on Hillary for America in IA, KS, NY and MA, June 2015-May 2016
        Samantha Hicks, Media Analytics Lead. Battleground States Analyst, Hillary for America, Aug-Nov 2016
        Andrea Sun, Advance Director. Press Advance on Hillary for America, June-Nov 2016
        Elizabeth Gramling, Chief Operating Officer. Director of headquarters operations and services, Hillary for America, April 2015-Jan 2017
        Helen Brosnan Northeast Political Director. Surrogate and communications associate, Hillary for America July-Nov 2016

        1. Samuel Conner

          It would be a rich irony, and karmic justice, if Clintonite advisors in EW’s campaign, for the sake of their own vengeful agendas against Sanders, give her advice that she doesn’t have the political sense to realize will damage her.

          It’s a twofer, or threefer — damages both Sanders and Warren, and by elevating JB makes it possible to redeem HRC’s 2016 loss (by comparison) with an even more humiliating JB 2020 loss.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Clinfestation . . . good new word.

    3. timbers

      The article says most of the negative comments using snakes taunting Warren, is Sanders supporters, but in truth notes it’s the internet and there is no way to actually say this with confidence.

      Regardless I hope the Sanders organization firmly tells it’s people to not do this in any way, forget it, and move on to what Bernie wants to talk about, and talk about that instead.

      They only something for Bernie to loose, if he is not careful, it this kind of fight.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Jane has already sent a message that is exactly that.

        FWIW, I’ve also read a good chunk of the trending #refundWarren tweets were from her supporter’s retweets. Twitter doesn’t differentiate between supporters or detractors.

        1. flora

          I agree with this. On a side note about CNN’s possible incentives, there’s this from January 10th:

          CNN Agrees to Pay $76 Million to Settle Allegations It Violated Federal Labor Law

          The National Labor Relations Board said the settlement with unionized broadcast technicians was the largest monetary remedy in its 84-year history.

          “The agreement came just days before the broadcast employees’ union, which is part of the Communications Workers of America, had planned to picket outside the next Democratic presidential debate, which CNN is hosting on Tuesday at Drake University in Des Moines. The union said it had told CNN, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic candidates who had qualified for the debate of its plan to picket the event. ”

          Sanders is the only consistently pro union current Dem candidate, imo. I can imagine CNN having an extra special reason for the ugly debate treatment. ( too foily?) ;)

    4. Big River Bandido

      I have never read Wired. Are all articles published in this rag as shoddy and biased as this crap?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Wired is usually very good and precise, as you’d expect in a tech magazine. I guess they are trying to fill space at a quiet time of the year. But there are certainly parts of that article you wouldn’t expect to get past a half competent editor.

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        What do you expect from the ‘culture’ editor, graduate of Colgate, and resident of San Francisco?

      3. carycat

        I have been browsing Wired on and off since its inception to get a feel of the zeitgeist of the silicon valley tech scene and its collection of factoids. It is also my go to example of graphical designer ego running wild (more like going berserk) where their house style must have dictated that a certain percentage of the copy must be barely legible. They seem to be very fond of 6 point type with extremely low contrast background (e.g., black on dark blue or slightly different shades of yellow). Back in the day (1938), the Bell system has a bespoke typeface named Bell Gothic that it uses for telephone directories that is quite legible at 6 pt on crappy paper, but that is in high contrast black on white.

      4. Matthew

        The most prominent tech ideologies are libertarianism and centrist Dem techno-optimism. I would expect most of the opinions in the main popular-tech rag to stay securely in that range.

    5. Brooklin Bridge

      OK, I give up.

      The actual act of treachery strikes me as larger than Warren in its origins and more persistent in their cycle than her ability to support or coordinate. This looks like the tip of an iceberg of an all out and highly focused effort if need be on the scale of Russia-gate but with a more surgical aim, and probably coming from the DNC. And if so, certainly on behalf of very concerned money interests, to which Warren has likely agreed to go along (wouldn’t contradict her being the leaker) out of cupidity rather than as architect of her own unconscious desire to torpedo her presidential bid. It seems too well coordinated and too persistent for a single author and particularly for that politically a clumsy one. Like Russia-gate, it is creating its own reality in which Sander’s supporters are guilty if they try and defend or ‘get back’ at the accuser and complicit in the treachery if they remain silent. And the whole affair has the same media fault lines as Russiagate, again suggesting much the same origins. What Warren may only belatedly be realising is that the real purpose is to take them both out of the running though she has perhaps been promised some sort of recompense for the dirty deed.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Sanders people are finally getting what Trump has been saying about the media forever: these are horrible people and their “news” is fake. Of course The Orange Man was widely ridiculed for those assertions.

        In case people missed, this in-depth PBS interview of Steve Bannon gives extreme insight into the rise of Trump and what it took. It’s a step-by-step playbook for a President Sanders, since the first battles he would need to win after inauguration day would be with his own party, and with the media.

        1. inode_buddha

          Finally getting??? I’ve known it all along. I’m just shocked to see it applied to Sanders. Remember, I was a GOP up until Bush2. Now I’m a Sanders voter..

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Bannon makes some amazing points, and if the motives he ascribes to Trump are accurate then he does have some redeeming qualities.

            (Of course stating that in polite company instantly shortens ones dinner party invitation list, which is fine by me).

            I happen to think his China policy is 100% correct and has been a master class in the exercise of power. Step 1: slap hundreds of billions of tarriffs on, in complete opposition to orthodox thinking; Step 2: agree to a partial removal of those tariffs in exchange for significant concessions.

            China is our strategic adversary, end of story. Wall St and corporate America colluded to help China suck out the lifeblood out of the US middle class. Biden, Obama, Hilary, Bush did everything they could to play along, ka-ching especially for Biden’s kid. The sooner this gets understood and accounted for the better. Trump is smart enough to know he has a trump card up his sleeve: China domestically has the yuan but internationally is desperate for greenbacks.

            1. Procopius

              I don’t want to get into whether or not China is desperate for greenbacks, but have you noticed that the current account is slightly more in favor of China than it was before the tariffs?

        2. RoyG

          I think most of us got that when the DNC shivved Bernie and got caught rigging the game, only to spark the Russia!Russia!Russia! narrative for the MSM.

        3. ObjectiveFunction

          Like several folks here, I don’t do video, especially politics and especially alt right folk heroes. Are you aware of any transcription or summary? Cheers!

    6. Deschain

      I kind of wonder if the Clinton people in Warren’s campaign pushed her to do this, having a good sense of exactly how this would play out. EG, they’re not really working for Warren (and she’s not politically savvy enough to figure that out).

      1. WJ

        Again, on what rational basis should we assume that a Harvard professor, corporate lawyer, U.S. Senator who has a proven record of lying for her short term professional and political benefit does not know *exactly* what she is doing? Why do you think Warren *has* these people on her team in the first place?

      2. urblintz

        Indeed, the Clintonistas are probably hoping for another woman, or anyone, frankly, who will lose to Trump so that Hillary isn’t alone in securing such an ignoble footnote in electoral history.

        1. Samuel Conner

          Yes, and if that person loses to DJT after 4 years of his presidency, that is arguably a worse loss than HRC’s in 2016 when DJT was not yet a known quantity and one could rightly interpret his voters as pinning their hopes on a volatility candidate.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        But remember Team Clinton is also the same group that lost to Trump. Malice and incompetence are prerequisites.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          And at this point, hiring former Clinton staffers is effectively just asking for disaster.

    7. Bob Tetrault

      Jess McClintock, Warren’s communications mgr, former Hillary staffer in 2016, was the source for the story. That fact has dropped off the radar

  4. Wombat

    The ordering of candidate names in media stories is very revealing. When it is convenient they go alphabetical e.g., “Biden, Buttigieg ….”. Then when it is in their favor they go in polling order like when Warren has that brief stint in second, but rarely the 98% of the time when Sanders is in second. And Alas now the NYT just puts the senate candidates in the chosen order, “Warren, Sanders…” and selects a seemingly “getting things done” Warren for their story photo.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      such subtle machinations are fascinating, to me.
      hard, sometimes, to ascribe them definitely to some kind of agency, and they can be waved away as simply innocuous writing habits, etc.
      but it sure feels like there’s purpose behind them, which at least hints at some sophisticated entity.
      “pre-owned” vs “used”,lol.
      (sometimes not so subtle)

      1. JTMcPhee

        For those not familiar with this kind of stuff and the slick-Willies who manufacture it, seems to me this is an extension of the “cultural Cold War” carried on by the CIA’s elite-school intellectuals. The “troops” were pretty much all of the “thought leaders” and “influencers” starting during WW II and maybe never really ending. CIA got writers, reporters, actors, poets all on-side to peddle, with great subtlety, and via all parts of the media and publishing, the “message” of how great the West was and how dangerous and depraved “commynizm” was:

        1The 2013 publication of a new edition of Frances Stonor Saunders’ 1999 book The Cultural Cold War offers us an opportunity to reconsider its place in Cold War studies both when it first appeared and in the 14 years since. The story it told, of a group of intellectuals and intelligence professionals who together fought a cultural propaganda war against communism between the end of World War Two and the late 1960s, was not in itself a new one. Indeed, the final stages of her book narrate how the sordid details of this “consortium” were made public by a series of revelations across the U.S. media in 1967, culminating in the confirmation by ex-CIA agent Tom Braden in the Saturday Evening Post that the agency had funded large swathes of apparently autonomous cultural activity and were, as he wrote, “operating or influencing international organizations in every field.”1 Later that year, when Christopher Lasch’s excoriating article for Nation labeled the phenomenon “the cultural cold war,” it was already ossifying into a coherent narrative of deception and hypocrisy by the intellectual establishment, which resonated with the countercultural currents of the moment.2 Just over twenty years later, Peter Coleman’s 1989 history, The Liberal Conspiracy, retold some of this story from an insider’s perspective, focusing on the Congress for Cultural Freedom, the organization through which the CIA had covertly extended its operations into the cultural sphere. Coleman had served as editor of the Australian journal Quadrant, one of the many publications that subsisted on CIA money, and by his own account his history was committed to a rehabilitation of the Congress, discredited as it had been since the revelation of its backer. Saunder’s Cultural Cold War, then, when it appeared another decade later, represented a return to the 1960s narrative of betrayal, but with a fresh sense of indignation brought by a new generation. Saunders was 33 when it was published, and brought a certain zeal to her mission “to record those dead spots” of history muffled in official accounts. The Cultural Cold War turns, ultimately, on a contradiction that lies at the heart of much scholarship on midcentury art and literature. As she writes almost exactly midway through the book, with an indignation hard to muster for most contemporary literary scholars: “How could art be autonomous on the one hand and, where convenient, pressed into political service on the other?” (211). The fudging of this question by a generation of intellectuals, its elision or deliberate misconstrual, is her true subject.

        Hiding in plain sight.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “Hiding in plain sight.”
          Aye. Behind mountainous piles of bullsh%t.
          fake moon landings, alien greys, the whole Laurel Canyon lurid soap opera(wherein the 60’s were a CIA Op….which, sadly, seems rather plausible, if i squint hard enough), and on and on.
          when i went to college, my folks nixed Philosophy(my greatest regret) and forced me into RTF(radio/tv/film)…wherein i got the into 101 version of “Copy Writing”, where we studied commercials(and read snippets of Bernays), and learned how to lie, cheat and fool people.
          I was always skeptical and antiauthoritarian, but this clinched it. I’ve been immune to and attuned to such shenanigans ever since.
          (so the ads bezos makes me watch so i can binge on Fringe are time wasted,lol)
          and that was the bottom floor, Initiate level of the Mindf&ck.
          wife and boys don’t like shopping with me,lol.
          If i’m not allowed my rather rigid,list based sprint through the store, and must hang around while they peruse, I give a class on psychological warfare, pointing out examples literally all around us…from which shelf what goes on, to width of aisles/layout, and on and on.
          once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

          1. Dan

            “once you see it, you can’t unsee it.”

            And if you don’t in some way act in accordance with what you see, depression and self-hatred will consume you, alternated perhaps with an incredible cynicism towards everything, even the “good” things, which is a wonderful relief valve for the angst. And then you start to care again, and try to find something substantive in an ephemeral world.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              rushing back to the farm to play in the dirt or sit under a tree is enough of a curative for me.

              i do feel imposed upon by this onslaught, i admit…while all the other “people of walmart” are oblivious, if not gleefully soaking in it(a strange phenomenon. does this happen in other countries?).
              hatred of commercials was one of the main initial reasons for ditching cable and going all online…back when netflix at least pretended to care about it’s customers.
              i can’t remember the last time that a commercial(or ad) had its intended effect on me…where i said to myself, “yes…that’s what i need”.
              if there’s a material hole in my life, i hunt around for a solution(thinking about one of those mantis tillers that you can lift with one hand, for instance, for the raised beds, since the hoe, et al. is getting harder to do effectively)
              but happy smiling people with a voiceover telling me how my global arthritis can be cured, so long as i don’t mind gaseous, oily discharge or brain eating infections just does nothing for me.
              and the subtler, sneakier ways of manipulating humans in the physical realm(maze-like store layouts so you pass by things you don’t need) just angers me.

              1. JTMcPhee

                Remember Olestra ™? That meta-fatty substance that Gave the taste of fat without allowing any uptake of Evil Fats, was going to fill every deep-fry vat on the planet, and make porking out on McDonalds ™ fat sticks a guiltless and consequence free activity?

                Until you got down to the fine print and the high-speed voice-overs that notes the most common side effect was “uncontrollable projectile diarrhea”? And the FDA required a warning on Olestra-containing products that prettied up the description a bit, ”This Product Contains Olestra. Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools (anal leakage). Olestra inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients. Vitamins A, D, E, and K have been added”

                The whole Wiki entry is worth a read for a primer on what is wrong with the entire regulatory capture process — or how Proctor&Gamble was able to force regulatory approval and also get an extension of its patent monopoly by strong-arming or buying off the “regulators.”

                Still available in some products in some countries, apparently — maybe sold as a laxative?

              2. Oregoncharles

                I like the micro-tillers a lot. In my experience, Mantis can be hard to keep running, bu tyou may be a better mechanic than I am (it’s 2-cycle, so fussy). They move quite a bit of dirt, and are best used by pulling it back towards you (watch your feet).

                Don’t you have a couple of perfectly good teenagers?

                I’ve encountered those maze-like store arrangements – maddening. Don’t see it any more; must have actually turned people off.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  year round(feels like) sports combined with the current cultural imperative of “keeping them busy”(for ‘normal” kids without cool farmer dads) puts a real sabot in my doings.
                  eldest(18, senior…with all the chaos, uncertainty, etc that comes with that) usually doesn’t get home til well after dark.
                  youngest(almost 14, fixin to enter high school chaos period) is not as busy, yet.
                  luckily, eldest’s buddies like our Work Days, where we tackle projects and eat like kings
                  but these are growing harder to coordinate, and will soon be impossible.
                  hence my sense of urgency to get the rest of the big infrastructure things done
                  I’ve also got a psychological aversion to being my mom,lol….a puritan tyrant who doesn’t believe in hanging out with friends or taking a day off.
                  once infrastructure is finally done, I’ll have set things up to where i can handle it with only occasional help

          2. Matthew

            How do you like it when they rearrange the store for no other obvious reason than to force their regular customers to search the aisles again?

            1. Oregoncharles

              I hate it when my Co-op does it, and complained bitterly. Helps to be friends with the store manager.

      2. WJ

        Edward Bernays describes this in some detail in his classic manual of propaganda, *Public Relations,* even using actual headlines and snippets from contemporary newspapers to help illustrate his points.

      3. lordkoos

        This stuff is most definitely not accidental. I try to pay close attention not only how things are presented and worded, but also to the type of images which are chosen, the lighting, whether the subject is depicted from some noble “presidential” angle, or in a more dark aspect, etc. It is all calculated.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i remember reading, maybe 15 years ago, that one of the remaining avenues to employment for folks in the humanities(sociology, psychology, even philosophy) was the murkier parts of the MIC.
          like a new, improved Operation Paperclip.
          seems almost passe, now,lol.

          1. Matthew

            Along the same lines, I remember hearing several years ago that the number one consumer of social science research is the US government.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Investors from UK to Japan keen on developing new Indonesian capital The Star

    Gotta laugh at this bit:

    “Each (investor) has offered their respective capacities and technologies. (Japanese conglomerate) SoftBank, for example, wants to provide autonomous vehicles, ” Soeharso said at the Presidential Office on Wednesday (Jan 15), but stopped short of mentioning any details about the German investor.

    Maybe they’ll call it Uber City.

    1. Wukchumni

      Meanwhile in Humordor, rival Columbian gangs into shrug trafficking are talking up an expulsion-a junta del este, with the leader from Cali going against the no meddling cartel.

      The Cali aims were so transparent, even my reliably hapless Congressman, could figure it out.

      McCarthy: Pelosi may have held impeachment articles to hurt Sanders’ election chances

      (Fox News)

  6. zagonostra

    >Politico Headline: Bernie ‘will play dirty’: Ex-Vermont governor slams Sanders

    Casuistry in it’s most blatant form…Bernie and his team will play “dirty” because they tell the truth and are not corrupted like the majority of RepDems.

    Peter Shumlin former Vermont governor states:

    “What I’ve seen in Bernie’s politics is he and his team feel they’re holier than the rest. In the end, they will play dirty because they think that they pass a purity test that Republicans and most Democrats don’t pass,” said Shumlin. “What you’re seeing now is, in the end, even if he considers you a friend, like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie will come first. That’s the pattern we’ve seen over the years in Vermont, and that’s what we are seeing now nationally.”

    1. GramSci

      Político days “Shumlin also had attempted to enact a single-payer health care system in the state, an effort that ultimately failed.”

      My recollection was that Shumlin *vetoed* single-payer. What do you recall, those of you closer to VT politics?

      1. cgregory

        Shumlin faded loathsomely on single payer, hiding his cards until after he was re-elected. A month after we worked our butts off to get him in, he said the proposed rise in the payroll tax was unsustainable.

        He could have gone to a graduated payroll tax based on the inverse ratio between the average pay of the bottom 50% of workers and the pay of the CEO, but never considered it.

        The Vermont Workers Center consequently introduced legislation to that effect, but in a very bad tactical misstep managed to offend most of its supporters in the Statehouse by failing to control all of its supporters staging a protest on Opening Day. The faction that got into the gallery and drowned out the invocation by the chaplain (himself a veteran of the Civil Rights movement) cost them a lot of short-term support. Shumlin didn’t have to spend much time defending his abandonment of single payer, and the Dems seemed to have developed tired blood on the other progressive issues, sad to say.

        1. Dan

          I lived in Vermont at the time. My recollection is that certain provisions in the ACA also caused major problems for Vermont’s single-payer ambitions. I don’t know the specifics – perhaps someone else can enlighten.

    2. T

      After all these years of playing dirty, attacking, smears, and still no reciepts from victims. The man is a dang Ninja!

    3. chuckster

      Just in time for Iowa:

      Sanders 2020: Not us, me.

      I guess we can expect to see ex-Governor Shumlin on Uncle Joe’s ads in the near future?

    4. zagonostra

      >Reuters Flap with Warren knocks Sanders’ strategy off course

      Like the Politico story the Establishment media is ramping up it’s dis-information game. I’m still curios on how much money Bernie raised since the debate. I know I went and made a donation to register my disgust with CNN/Warren. No mention of people like me in the Reuter’s article, but then again Reuter’s called the election for Hillary in 2016 in California before the polls were even closed so we know where their bias lies.

      The best-laid plans of Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders were upended this week – and his campaign is struggling to get back on track.

      Instead, his flap with fellow senator, friend and progressive ally Elizabeth Warren over gender and electability has dominated the news, an unwelcome twist for a campaign that pulled into the top of the race in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire just weeks before the first voting begins.

      1. jrs

        yes curious isn’t it, it seems to me it came out pretty much RIGHT AFTER Sanders was #1 in an Iowa poll and the establishment was “omg he might win”

        On some level if the electorate falls for this they deserve what they get. It shows a complete inability to evaluate evidence (it’s he said she said, it’s simply not evidence). Unfortunately we all suffer for an electorate that is unable to think (I don’t reduce even preferring Buttigieg or Biden to “unable to think”, people have their reason. But otoh falling for this nonsense is frank illogic).

        Jury of my peers. Please no!!!

      1. zagonostra

        Yes indeed…

        “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

    5. WJ

      “they pass a purity test that Republicans and most Democrats don’t pass”

      “Playing dirty” means pointing out the undeniable fact that most candidates of both parties are corrupt.

  7. John Merryman.

    Why, with all the stuff coming out, do I get the sense the fix is in and they really will impeach Trump?
    The deep state Republicans really don’t like him either.
    Though looking at the Fed induced bubble in the markets, it would be a brilliant career move for Trump, to be outside the tent when that bursts.
    Imagine the excitement of a Biden, Pence campaign.
    Though doubt they get the 2\3rds, but no telling what will happen.

    1. Monty

      “Why, with all the stuff coming out, do I get the sense the fix is in and they really will impeach Trump?”

      Because that’s what they want you to believe?

      1. chuckster

        Yeah, I can see 54 Republican senators destroy their careers, buck the party and find Trump guilty. Sure I can. It would be the biggest mass suicide in recorded history. A Jonestown on the Potomac.

        OTOH – if Trump is the devil incarnate as he is portrayed, and is somehow removed and replaced by President Jesus-Whisperer, why would we need Joe Biden to even run? The Orange Bad Man will be gone and the Democratic Party would be able to declare “Mission Accomplished”. Pence would actually get re-elected. Nancy Pelosi would have once more pulled defeat from the jaws of victory. The Democrats sure suck. Not sure why Bernie bothers with them.

        1. John Merryman.

          Not saying they are particularly forward thinking and doubt it would happen, but I don’t know that Mitch McConnell having his back should be particularly comforting to the Trump.
          A week ago, I’d put the odds at a million to one. Today I’d put them at fifty to one.

    2. lordkoos

      The bubble will burst after Sanders is elected, so they then can blame “socialism” for the trashed economy.

      1. Dan

        Or, Sanders will lose to Trump, whether legitimately or not, and the lesson for everyone will be, “see, we told you: without our ‘neoliberal centrism’ you’ll get ‘authoritarian populism.'” Nothing else is possible.

        Now shut up and get to Starbucks for your latte. There is nothing else for you to see, do, or know.

    3. Procopius

      Do you mean, “… they really will remove Trump?” They (the House of Representatives) have already impeached (accused) him. /pedant

  8. Wukchumni

    So far Australia has not followed suit, but it has taken the extraordinary step of tracking the black economy by implanting nano-chips in all new $100 and $50 notes. There are 300 million $100 notes in circulation alone.

    Big Brother Australia aims to ban cash spending Asia Times
    The solution to the plastic waste crisis? It isn’t recycling Guardian

    If only these 2 headlines ran together it’d be news kismet, for Aussie banknotes have been made out of plastic (polymer) for over 30 years, and tracking devices in cash now?, formerly the last vestige of dumb money.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘nano-chips in all new $100 and $50 notes’

      I only read about those nano-chips today though we have been using these new notes for weeks now. Decades ago in my State it was talked about how the wheels of justice and development permits were greased with paper bags stuffed full of cash Looks like corrupt politicians will have to update their methods to the 21st century From now on, instead of paper bags of cash it will have to be Faraday bags of cash.

      1. Procopius

        Isn’t it more like, “It doesn’t matter who votes, what matters is who counts the votes?” In this case it doesn’t matter whether there are chips in the banknotes, what matters is who tracks the banknotes. I have no more trust in the Australian law enforcement than I have in the FBI.

    2. xkeyscored

      I’d imagine the chips are RFID chips, which, so far as I understand, need to be quite near a scanner to be tracked. Even so, criminal gangs might feel a need to adopt alternative forms of money for dealing amongst themselves, such as ammunition or cocaine briquettes.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        a question from the Luddite Faction: can those be disabled “accidentally” in the same manner that I “accidentally” disabled the magnetic strip on my drivers license…by putting my wallet in the door pocket of the car, by the speaker?
        or will it take stronger, “accidental” measures?

        1. inode_buddha

          Stick em in the microwave, in a bowl full of water. Instant neutered chips, in a minute or less. Take the bank notes or whatever out and iron them nice and crisp and dry.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              i imagine retailers would yell a bit about having to obtain the scanners to do so….although they are perhaps already built in to the robot checkers, a la walmart.
              where i go, checkout people just mark on the Benjamin with a marker…although i do not know what this tells them, if anything.
              as far as i know, in the usa, we already have that little bar code strip in the FERNs, but i guess only banks(and Treasury) cares about/uses those. Never seen any checker appear to, that’s for sure.
              and, too…if this tech is limited to bigger bills, I’ll happily purchase my contraband with 20’s, ones or even pennies(paid unlawful property tax that way, once…said unlawful tax was soon dropped)

              1. Oregoncharles

                The marker turns color if it’s counterfeit. I’ve asked a couple of clerks; they say they see as many or one or two fake ones a day.

            2. inode_buddha

              I imagine so, but who’s to say a chip can’t burn out? Around here they authenticate anything bigger than a 20. (NY-27th congressional district) The thing is, only larger institutions such as convenience stores chains and banks check — small-time operators will take whatever, especially if you are already familiar to them.

                1. Jeremy Grimm

                  Obviously it is not about counterfeiting. That is true … but if people microwave their money it is very easy for the government to require authentication using working microchips. Small businesses might not care until they had trouble depositing their money because banks were required to authenticate ‘large’ bills.

        2. lordkoos

          Run the bills through your microwave for a few seconds, that ought to take care of the chips.

          I’m saving the older $100 bills if I come across them.

          1. Wukchumni

            I felt sure a Sacajawea Dollar coin was following me, despite every effort on my part to give it the slip, I threw it off the end of a long pier, only to have it reappear in a fish dinner a few days later, and then I noticed her eyes on the coin were moving just like you’d see with a painting of a person on the wall of any Vincent Price film.

            I tried microwaving, but all I got was 2nd degree burns from picking it up after a minute in the hot seat.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              Yes … Sacajawea! I keep her coins separate. They go back for circulation in Latin America where she receives the respect she is due. Are there no other heroines who deserve notice on our coins … besides Sacajawea or Susan B.? I prefer female images on my coins and currency — call me sexist! I have yet to see coins to match the beauty of Liberty on colonial pennies or her beauty on silver dollars and half-dollars. I admit to being extremely sexist!!!!! I adore the beauty of the female, — beauty of form, beauty of spirit, and innate beauty of humanity.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      After reading the Guardian article I was unsure what the author thought should be done to deal with plastic waste. I left with the impression the author favored some form of what might fit into the category “simple living” — the doctrine discusses as a sub-topic in the link to “…Gene Sharp’s Neoliberal Nonviolence…”.

      The argument that glass containers would cost more to transport because they are heavier than plastic [and don’t forget — glass breaks] is a weak reason not to return to glass. But it might be nice if there were a few government regulations on glass containers and labeling — both the glues used and to outlaw printing labels on the glass. It would be nice if there were a few government regulations making glass recycling easier through control of glass formulations for containers and perhaps some size and shape regulations. But we can’t have government telling Big Business what to do! That would damage the Market.

      What about the fraction of petroleum that is used for plastics production? It doesn’t just go away. Perhaps we need some government regulation of petroleum producers to assure — ideally — that the plastics fraction is stored and kept for the future. Plastics are a remarkable and valuable material. Creating mountains of plastic wastes to maximize near-term profits is one more short-sighted practice of Neoliberal Capitalism. Burning plastic waste to eliminate the waste from our land-fills and to generate power impresses me as a great way to add CO2 and some very nasty smoke into the air.

    4. clarky90

      I just thought of how to solve homelessness, end poverty, teach resiliance and remediate piles of plastic rubbish! (Clarky puffs out his chest!)

      Place a $1 deposit on EVERY bit of plastic packaging.- even the plastic film on meat, plus another deposit attached to the plastic tray. Every individual piece of styrofoam packing, and plastic bag in a boxed product will also have a deposit attached. (The deposit amount could be any amount, why not $10???)

      The wealthy/disinterested can discard. The frugal will clean and return the plastic for a refund. The destitute will be able to make decent money by returning other people’s plastic waste.

      This would incentify retailers to cut out packaging. If there was a $1 deposit on a the packaging of a $1 packet of gum….?

      1. Grebo

        This idea is similar to what they did in Curitiba. Instead of paying money (which they could not issue) for sorted trash they paid in bus tickets (which they could).

  9. Carl

    I found the article on the comparison to the cost of living in the US and Russia embedded in the Sic Semper compendium fascinating. Perhaps deserving of a separate link? Anyhow, not something you’ll see on CNN.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I tend to believe the data on cost of living in Russia … but I also wonder at the source of the study, AWARA. It might have some economic interest in making Russia look a little better than it might really be. Maybe that offsets the bias I suspect exists in much of the U.S. data that’s reported. Things in the U.S. might be worse than the data reports.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Having a quick look through their reports, there is a certain amount of ‘Russia Yay!’ vibe running through them, so I’d be a little cautious in taking them too much at face value. Having said that, I think the general point is probably reasonable, disparities in income can be a very poor indicator of ‘real’ living standards, even within a country.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Harry and Meghan, and why members of the Royal Family can’t live in Canada”

    No offense Canadian readers but I would guess that Harry and Mee-again do not want to move to Canada to stay there but to use it as a base to visit a more lucrative region – America. That is where the big money is, the contacts that they want to make and the rest of the circus that they want to set up.

    Maybe they could have a word with Trump as he is into all the glitz and glamour. Give them permission to settle in the United States itself and give them a Secret Service team to protect them in return for a bucket load of good publicity. When that is done, and in alignment of who they want to mix with, he could then give them honorary titles. Maybe the Duke and Duchess of Martha’s Vineyard or the Earl and Countess of the Hamptons. It could work.

    1. Winston Smith

      As a Quebecer and given my ancestry of the conquered (by the British), I welcome their disdain of a permanent stay in Canada.

    2. td

      There’s a lot of overwrought reporting going on about the Sussexes. It is true that they might use Canada as a base for a far-flung lifestyle, but that would be because it’s easier to provide security than it would be in the U.S. and she already has many friends here, some quite influential. That would include a few of the local wealthy who obviously already providing advice and facilities.

      They actually have no special status in Canada from a legal perspective and are no threat to our independence, despite the opinion of Blob and Mail columnists. As might be expected, some people are star-struck but that would wear off soon enough. The Canadian public is not kind to the rich and powerful who are into highly visible display. Even Trudeau pretends to be just one of the middle class.

      Security for half of the year on a splendid west coast estate or nice digs in Toronto can be had at a reasonable price since there are many others in need of it and it’s a well-established industry. If the government chooses to provide it, it’s the cost of few guys living-in 24/7 and that’s something Harry can manage from what his mother left him.

      A good chunk of the media really hopes that they stay on the UK public mammary gland, just because it’s so east to be hypercritical and that beats having to do the work of real reporting.

      The Monarchy in Canada has roughly the same status and purpose as the ancient Romans who provided the U.S. with eagles on everything and so much public architecture. Trajan and Hadrian are not hiding in the basement of Congress, issuing secret orders, though that might not be totally a bad thing.

  11. Winston Smith

    Can we stop the Megxit blather? These people are multi-millionaires. Yes they are being harassed by the tabloids but their situation is enviable compared to at least 90% of the world(?)

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I would respect them so much more if they simply took a boat in the night to escape to Calais, or Ghent…allied with the Scots or the Duke of Burgundy, or whichever Charles is currently King in France – and started amassing an army of mercenaries, Aquitainers, rogue Normans, and disaffected Lords in the north country to retake the Crown of England at some point.

      I thought that’s how it was supposed to be done….

      1. John A

        To Jacobite
        Can just imagine one of them crying ‘a horse, a horse, a kingdom for a polo horse’.

        At the time Blair was talking about banning fox hunting, Charles, an avid hunter, said, if the legislation were passed, he should move to Switzerland.
        Polo, hunting, skiing, driving round in fast cars. That’s about the sum total of their interests, tbh

      2. JEHR

        It does not bode well for a happy marriage to try to work both systems at the same time; i.e., to have all the accoutrements of royalty and all the freedom of common folk. I don’t see how it can work in the long run to be halfway between two difficult worlds.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Prince Andrew? Isn’t he due to receive the coveted Michael Jackson Child Development Award soon?

    2. marcyincny

      I don’t know. The blather has proven to be a wild sort of litmus test. I’ve been rather horrified to see how many people feel compelled to voice an opinion on this subject, even here at NC. How can anyone know what goes on in the lives of public figures filtered by the media and how can anyone make any kind of emotional investment in them?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m for whatever makes people wake up to how monarchies need to be abolished. If it’s just a tabloid fodder, I’m okay with it.

        Harry could be a saint (not one of those genocidal madmen who baptized the survivor saints) and I would still prefer to see him and family imprisoned for continuing the madness of nobility.

        1. chuckster

          I believe that Joe Biden, once he amasses the required number of delegates, will need a VP who is young, female and multicultural to appeal to the IdPol masses. Why not Meghan? She needs a job, is still technically an American and we have the plus of Archie as an anchor baby living in the National Observatory. She’s better looking than Stacy Abrams and slightly less corrupt than Kamala, and when Joe goes to that big political convention in the sky, we have a couple who can sit down with the Obamas at Martha’s Vineyard and not feel overshadowed.

          Biden/Princess 2020

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I sense there is an element of the treatment by the royal family at play, so I imagine she would avoid Groper Joe.

          2. Massinissa

            “She pulled herself up by her bootstraps to become a Princess, and under a Biden presidency, you can too!”

        2. marcyincny

          Yes but what puzzles me most is how many people seem compelled to defend the British throne from a skinny American woman.

          Anne Victoria Clarke: “If anyone has a right to be mad at Harry and Meghan, it’s the people of Sussex, who have been left leaderless without their Duke and who are now defenseless against incursions from Hampshire and Kent.”

      1. Turing Test

        That article doesn’t establish that Canada must provide anything, it just contains idle speculation by an ex cop whose legal expertise doesn’t appear to extend to citing any particular piece of legislation.

        Some people like to see their name in print, and some news outlets will take a good story and run with it regardless of how dubious the sourcing is.

        1. Whoamolly

          Today’s Mail also says no protection entitled, as the couple apparently believed. Or a staffer believed…

          Dai Davies, a former chief superintendent who led the Metropolitan Police’s royalty protection unit, added: ‘Their naivety beggars belief. I have never heard of the phrase ”internationally protected people”.

  12. a different chris

    BTW, what exactly is the meaningful difference between what Soleimani did and what Erik Prince does?

      1. pretzelattack

        presumably iran sponsored soleimani. we know the u.s sponsors prince. also iran has a security interest in what goes on in iraq, the only reason the u.s. does is because it stuck bases and troops over there. a third, prince uses mercenaries, no evidence soleimani does afaik. a fourth, solameini’s forces, to the extent they were his and not just indigenous resistance to a foreign invader, didn’t ride around randomly shooting civilians for fun and taking selfies.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      One has fought groups like ISIS. One is open to performing services for the primary sponsors of Islamic terrorism in the world.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Founder of Blackwater mercenary group Erik Prince took secret Venezuela trip to talk mining with regime”

    This really sound like an Erik Prince wet dream where a bunch of tough mercenaries will rule over a mine and taking a healthy cut of that mine’s profits and shooting anybody that looks cross-eyed at them. Typically mercenaries are less effective than regular troops and whenever the mercenaries get above their heads, they call out to the regulars to bail them out. This happened time and again during the occupation of Iraq.

    Again, a lot of these mercenaries are recruits from third world countries with uncertain military discipline. The only real reason mercenaries are employed is due to ‘market’ demand and their use in places where it would not be politically acceptable to send regular troops. A lot of these firms work hand in glove with their respective country’s intelligence services or even at the behest of these same services. Sounds like Prince has his eye on lucrative mines that he wants under his wings.

  14. diptherio

    That twitter thread on health insurance snafus is proof positive we indeed live in the best of all possible worlds…or, if not the best, at least the most expensive.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Yes we do. I can’t believe people still blindly put up with this system. It’s a cabal of criminal organizations as far as I am concerned.

      Another example.. the Holy Cross rowing the just got into a vehicle accident:

      They started a GoFundMe page for the medical bills.. the goal is 200,000 grand. Imagine being in an accident like this and having to deal with tens of thousands of dollars in bills.. something that should be covered by multiple insurance. It’s insane the situations we are allowing to happen.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It’s appalling to see how most proponents of M4A allow themselves to be drawn into various kinds of “debates” about “how are you going to pay for it?”

        Simple answer:

        Every major industrialized nation has it. Are you saying America is not as capable as they are?

        Go on the front foot. Make the questionner own a response to that question. Make them unpatriotic for even suggesting America can’t do it.

        1. Kurtismayfoeld

          I go right for the jugular..

          “If I am a multi national Corporation, why am I going to open an office or a factory in a country where I have to pay the health insurance costs of my employees? I can just open in a country that actually pays for its own, does it for cheaper, and saves me money.”

          They really don’t know how to counter that.

    2. Yves Smith

      What is sad is the guy seemed to have missed out on the real play: get the cash discount (usually applies for lab tests of all sorts) and then submit to his insurer for reimbursement.

  15. pjay

    Re ‘Certain Unflattering Truths’

    This is only part of one hell of a paragraph-long sentence:

    “… I longed for writing that could effectively capture the unimaginative hedonism and fundamental sociopathy of the current tech boom: its insistence on alienating us from everything worth having, only to sell it back to us stripped down and restructured according to the values (and, worse, aesthetics) of ahistorical libertarian vampires, whose kink for giving billions of dollars to unqualified frat boys with underdog complexes had resulted in the disruption-beyond-recognition of subtlety and flirtation and dining and travel and journalism and democracy and one of America’s great counter-cultural cities, among other things I had loved absentmindedly…”

    Perhaps the book she is reviewing doesn’t quite do it, but the author of the review comes close.

    1. smoker

      I learned my lesson about those who work/worked in the Silicon Valley Technocracy writing expose books after I bought Jaron Lanier’s disappointment (in my opinion), You Are Not a Gadget. Lanier still works for Microsoft, the last I noticed, having made tons of money from it, and still being able to present himself in a manner no one else – particularly if black, hispanic , or female of any race could begin to get away with without significant connections and not end up homeless. I never bought such a purported, yet faux, Technocracy Expose again. Get them from the library, and then buy them – not at Amazon – if you think they’re keepers.

      As to:

      … had resulted in the disruption-beyond-recognition of subtlety and flirtation and dining and travel and journalism and democracy and one of America’s great counter-cultural cities

      I don’t know, I think the Baffler’s now London based author needs to work on that sentence ending far longer. The technocratic disruption has, and is, destroyed/destroying countless lives, literally, across the world, and certainly in it’s own California Bay Area/Silicon Valley domicile – teeming with homelessness and dread fear of it.

  16. Off The Street

    The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.

    That describes so much of what has become tolerated, even expected, behavior in DC, among the elected ones and their fellow-traveler anointed. Some growing revulsion among the voters but not enough yet to offset the spin and reality distortion. There is an element of abused electorate.

    Perhaps the pending posturing of politicians will provide a civics lesson or two to reveal just how far we have fallen from the 18th century vision and ethos.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thanks for the link — I’ll check it out.
      RE: “Change Agent: Gene Sharp’s Neoliberal Nonviolence, Part Two” —
      The Neoliberal Nonviolence link [“Change Agent: Gene Sharp’s Neoliberal Nonviolence” — added because I didn’t immediately identify the reference to “Neoliberal Nonviolence” alone] is long and convoluted but provides interesting background on the origins of many ideas about nonviolence.
      “… “nonviolent direct action” or “strategic nonviolence,”…” the power of which lies in “…public symbolism…” and “…media attention….” — and has the side benefit of “not disrupting production”.
      “…radical decentralization of movement organization, and consensus is a common decision-making method…” — This is one idea I thought especially stupid about Occupy — although it did make it more difficult for the Government to identify a head to cut-off. This link suggests an interesting complementary between “consensus decision-making” and a war-time field manual on sabotage. “Indeed, though consensus was not developed as counter-insurgency strategy—it goes back to the Quakers—its effects, highlighted below, tend toward paralysis. They call to mind a 1944 Office of Strategic Services how-to field manual on sabotage, which has a section on organizational obstruction. Its advice includes, “Never permit shortcuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions,” “Refer all matters to committees…Attempt to make the committee as large as possible—never less than five,” and “Be worried about the propriety of any decision—raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group…”

      I was surprised by William (Bill) Moyer’s early affiliation [one of the founders] with the Movement for a New Society [MNS] with its ties to George Lakey — Gene Sharp’s ‘apprentice’.

      Further down in the link — Howard Ryan — who is critical of the MNS:
      “Ryan’s final critique of MNS is its fixation on “simple living”: “It is my contention,” he writes, “that the vast majority of working people are living a heck of a lot simpler than is often suggested by simple living advocates.”131 Ryan also takes issue with MNS’s call for “de-development”…”
      “Simple living” and “de-development” seem to resonate in discussions of the Green New Deal.

      I try to judge arguments based on their qualities rather than the qualities and the prejudice I may have toward their proponent. Gene Sharp is a stork who seems all too comfortable keeping the company of cranes.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thank you for clarifying that Bill Moyer is not one from television. I was mistaken in what I concluded from reading the Neoliberal Nonviolence link. I always liked Bill Moyers — with an ‘s’ [I should have checked … sorry] — and his commentary. I’m glad I don’t have to question that regard based on this link.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Somebody in Occupy, when asked why they didn’t have (designated) leaders, replied “Why would we give them a sacrificial lamb?”

        I’m very familiar with consensus process, from the Green Party; have facilitated quite a few meetings. For us, and probably for the Quakers, it’s a remarkably slick way to make decisions, because we start out close together. Usually there is consensus after a bit of discussion. In theory, we can resort to a vote; but we’ve learned that overcoming a block is usually a disaster. If somebody feels that strongly against an idea, it’s better to start over.

        Caveat: this is in fairly small, ideologically defined groups. Occupy was not only a much larger gathering, but very diverse. That’s one reason they never came up with demands: it would have torn the group apart. It was more of a Stop! sign than an ideology. (I’m not sure how the Gilets Jaunes, apparently rather similar, came up with a list of demands. Would like to know more about that.) Consensus would be much more difficult if you don’t essentially start with one. Consider, though, that holding a vote would probably have split the group(s) early on.

        The discussion makes it clear to me that the article would be worth reading – a major advantage of the comments.

    1. Grant

      “They’re just getting started on Sanders, though.”

      If four years is just getting started, then yes.

  17. Brian (another one they call)

    Thanks for the antidote; I used to dislike possums. Now I look at them as one of the saviours of our gardens. They love chewing all that we call waste, as well as the bugs nothing else will touch. Our garden is a possum welcome zone. I had to pull one out of the pool in winter. I don’t know how long it had been swimming but it was close to the frozen limit. I put em in a cat carrier and put it by a space heater until it thawed out. It hissed at me once, but looked back as I released em from the carrier as though to say thanks and cover the damn pool eh?

  18. Craig H.

    > Short of Time: Julian Assange at the Westminster Magistrates Court Co

    When it came to the trial judge’s attention that government misconduct, including the FBI’s interception of Ellsberg’s telephone conversations with a government official had characterised the entire effort against the whistleblower, the case was dismissed with prejudice. Ellsberg’s treatment had “offended a sense of justice” and “incurably infected the prosecution”.

    Sigh. The good old days. Joe McCarthy only dreamed about doing this to commies. And the Cold War is over and the commies lost. I have to think about something else or I will just get really really pissed off.

  19. JEHR

    Re: ‘Alarming’ one in five deaths due to sepsis. . . .

    Brought back memories that I had forgotten of my mother’s death 17 years ago. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, had by-pass surgery, had part of bowel removed and suffered from congestive heart failure. She also developed a bedsore on her genitals. From one article I read, at this stage the sore could have been successfully treated. But it continued to get worse in spite of the fact she was visited daily by nurses for change of bandages and other treatment. That was one question I asked after her death about why the bedsores never healed and I never received a satisfactory answer.

    How to Prevent Sepsis
    The best way to prevent sepsis in a patient is to prevent bedsores from occurring in the first place. This requires the utmost attention from the caregiver and nursing home attendants, as well as the medical professionals who work in a nursing home facility. Everyone involved in a patient’s care must deliver quality care and assure frequent movement of immobilized patients.
    . . . .

    Since bedsores tend to develop on areas of the skin with little to no fat, inspections of the heels, ankles, knees, tailbone, hips, shoulders, and back of the head are also beneficial. If caretakers do notice signs of a stage 1 bedsore, they should move the patient more frequently and keep the area dry. At this stage, bedsores are likely to heal on their own.
    The more a bedsore progresses, the harder it becomes to treat and the higher the possibility for serious complications. However, sepsis is a preventable medical condition with appropriate care and surveillance.


  20. JBird4049

    On that twitter thread on Adam Weinstein’s American in Healthcare Land journey, from what I understand, it ain’t the police, the corruption, the guns, or anything else really that baffles non-Americans. People might not like or agree, but they understand it. But, it is our whole medical system. A universal WTF?

    1. Matthew

      A couple years ago I read a Guardian explainer on our health-care system (probably from a link on NC). The first question was, “Why is US healthcare so expensive?” And the answer was, basically, “Because the prices are too high.” The best/worst/blurst part is that this answer is probably correct.

    2. Oregoncharles

      having clicked on the link, I never actually got to that part; not sure how far down it was. This is my experience of Twitter links: I don’t arrive at the material intended, and have no idea how to get there quickly. So if it isn’t in the bit posted, I don’t see it.

  21. Richard H Caldwell

    Thank you so much for the links to the article on Gene Sharp. This is the kind of “rosetta stone” content that I count on Naked Capitalism to surface and highlight to my attention.

    1. pjay

      Ditto. Many thanks for posting this article. It is long and dense, but very much worth it in tying together many threads in the repression of class analysis among academics and activists and the weaponization of “non-violent resistance” in the service of neoliberalism. Reading this history, especially the heart-felt (and fruitless) critique of Sharp and the MNS by Howard Ryan, brought back memories of living through some of these same debates in the late 70s and early 80s. But beyond historical interest, it is valuable for understanding today’s mystifying political narratives and the interests behind them.

    2. John Steinbach

      Yes! This analysis, and part 1, are required reading for activists from the 60s to the present. The “New Left’s” anti communism and obsession with process over analysis stymied organized struggle these past 50 years. I write this as a lifelong activist.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        So interesting. Also troubling: Sharp’s was a theory of state transformation easily compatible, philosophically and practically, with neoliberal free market fantasies and programs of vast privatization

        Touches on something I’ve been asking myself for a while: what is the key existential battle? Which rampart should we man?

        Taking over the state, with its potential to be a force for good (but also inheriting all of its flaws)?

        Or focusing on something that more fundamentally leads to a redress of imbalances: the relationship of the worker with the means of production.

        The Steve Bannon interview I linked above talks about a prior relationship that used to exist: his Dad worked 50 years for the phone company and owned a few shares of company stock. He pledged those shares to buy his house. The phone company in return gave him a stable income. Bannon’s Dad had skin in the game of capitalism and in return capitalism had a stake in his Dad.

        Today’s average worker has no ownership of the means of production. None. And the means of production, at least partially as a result, has no ownership stake in the average worker.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I was there, still am, and don’t recognize the New Left in what you’re talking about. For one thing, “analysis”, ad infinitum, is a splendid way to stymie any action at all (so is “process”.). And by “anti-communism,” do you perchance mean anti-authoritarian? If so, a darn good thing.

        In fact, I think the various descendants of the New Left, including the Green Party, are all the political alternative, and most of the action, we have left.

  22. anon in so cal

    Re: “The Happy Emotions Are Not Necessarily…”:

    Boddice wrote: “A country such as Denmark, for example, which regularly tops the ‘happiness’ charts, nonetheless has a history of high suicide rates. Happiness and well-being markers for the state of a national economy have little to do with how a given individual feels.”

    So, in the first sentence, Boddice seems, like Durkheim (in his explanation of differing suicide rates in France and Germany), to be committing the ecological fallacy, but then walks it back in the second sentence?

  23. Amfortas the hippie

    looks like a policy shop movement might be emerging:

    lack of think tanks has been a weakness for the Left for a while…can’t compete with the big money centrist and righty shops.
    by contrast, when i turned our first pool(200 gallon, 6 foot in diameter, galvanised water trough) into a hot tub(by placing it on blocks and building a fire under it), I was certain to paint “Think Tank” on the side.
    so I’m cautiously optimistic.
    I just hope they can keep the meddlers and wolves clad as sheep out.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Roosevelt institute is pretty old, but they’ve been all but dormant for a long time.
        american prospect is old, too.
        i just dig that people are starting to think seriously about what to do with political power if we can manage to take hold of it, and that that thinking(which, after all, has always been out there in the weeds by the roadside) is finding it’s way into the hive mind.
        i was pointed to both of them via links i happened across on VOX.
        feels different.

  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Collins says she’s ‘likely’ to support calling witnesses for impeachment trial

    Oh really? And as if anyone cares.

    Old Susie Q has a fairly strong Democrat challenger to her seat in this year’s election which is why we are seeing this headline.

    Collins has been running this same playbook for years to keep her “moderate” reputation. She gets out some press in the run up to an important vote making it seem like she maybe just might possibly vote along with the Democrat caucus. Then she cuts a “deal” with her own party where she agrees to vote their way in exchange for the rest of the GOP doing something liberal-sounding later which the rest of the GOP immediately forgets about as soon as Collins casts her vote their way. Rinse and repeat. That way she gets to be the center of attention as a potential swing vote even though she reliably votes with the GOP on just about every issue of importance and never really had any intention to do otherwise.

    Hey Susie, be sure to let us know when McConnell makes good on the Kavanaugh deal.

  25. anon in so cal

    Fighting fires the Aboriginal way:

    “”The Australian government is now beginning to see the benefits of indigenous peoples taking care of their land,” said Joe Morrison, one of the pioneers of the project. “Aboriginal people who have gone through very difficult times have their language, customs and traditional knowledge invigorated and celebrated through Western science.”

    1. skippy

      One small problem with that is today is not like yesterday, compounding matters is vast swaths of these bush fires happened in places that never burned or were never burned by indigenous people. The windows for burns are shorter and as noted the smoke from them has health problems for cities and towns down wind.

      E.g. past environmental conditions are not a baseline in formulating policies wrt the new and changing conditions. A lot of activity in the bush is going to require a whole new approach, just the infrastructure of it self is quite limiting, economic viability near and far term – some of which contributed in setting the stage for this season.

      Controlled burns are a band aid at best.

  26. Wukchumni

    Banking’s Problem Child May Be Due Another Tantrum Bloomberg
    It was so much fun clicking on this link, what could the culprit be, a large bank fined a scintilla for being the money launderer of choice for the drug cartels, or another large banking concern bailed out by the trillions, now demanding more or it’ll throw a tantrum, or what?

    It turned out to be a real letdown, just the European bond market, how droll.

  27. noonespecial

    Re: Colombia and 21 January

    Bogota’s new mayor, Claudia Lopez, announced on 1/16/2019 that the special police force, ESMAD, will not be first in line prepared to respond to vandalism and destruction of property.


    First response line is a group of, “100 mothers peace ambassadors who are parents of some members of the Esmad and young protesters…[in addition] the Esmad will not be armed with the type of shotgun that caused the death Dilan Cruz.” (my translation, article in Spanish). “This chain looks to guarantee a peaceful protest, the mayor urges protesters to support a social sanction against those who commit acts of violence during the protest.”

    Note – Cluadia Lopez and some members of the new cabinet participated in the November 2019 march.

  28. Phacops

    I love those ‘possums. They are not susceptible to tick borne diseases and happily eat those nasty critters. I’d welcome ‘possums around my house any day.

    1. Wukchumni

      It’s kind of a given that a coyote made off with your missing cat, but I wonder how many possums do in domestic pussies?

      1. inode_buddha

        None. Usually they ignore each other, my direct observation. They both benefit each other and I’m sure they are aware of it. Possums are welcome at my place, in fact they sometimes hibernate in the crawl space under the bedroom. Cats can easily eat them but simply don’t .

  29. Tim

    “Tensions reach boiling point as Iraq defies US to sign Putin missile deal”

    That article headline where you finally know beyond a shadow of a doubt things are NOT going according to plan.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Yes and in our post-consequences world a certain J. Biden gets a free pass for his role in getting us into this unbelievable mess.

      We get the leaders we deserve, if our leaders are stupid and wrong it means we must be too.

  30. Carey

    >We get the leaders we deserve, if our leaders are stupid and wrong it means we must be too.

    I definitely do not agree with that statement.

    Don’t like Dubya Bush? Ok, here’s Obama.
    Don’t like Harper? Ok, here’s J. Trudeau.
    Don’t like Sarkozy? Ok, here’s Hollande.
    Don’t like Hollande? Ok, here’s Macron.
    Don’t like Abbott? Ok, here’s Morrison.

    And so on…

    This is not the People’s fault; and it’s almost like they have no say in the matter, whatsoever.

    1. Carey

      Adding: Someone said here awhile back “neoliberalism will stop when people stop voting for it”, and frankly that comment really frosted me, because what I see is citizenries around the world mcVoting over and over to do just that, to no effect at all..

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