Links 1/28/2020

This Shimmering Black Rock Is a 2,000-Year-Old Exploded Brain Vice. Or my brain. After reading the news.

Column: That Wells Fargo accounts scandal was even worse than you can imagine Los Angeles Times

Warren Buffett Is One of the World’s Richest Fossil-Fuel Billionaires Bloomberg


The Wuhan Virus: How to Stay Safe Foreign Policy. Helpful tips.

WHO corrects China virus global risk level to ‘high’ Agence France Presse

That’s it. That’s the article:

Short global (physical) connectivity. Long social distance.

Cruise Lines Act on Coronavirus Risk Maritime Executive

Hong Kong cuts transport links with China to limit spread of coronavirus FT

Not a lot of cars or pedestrians:


Confusion and lost time: how testing woes slowed China’s coronavirus response Reuters

Chinese people are using “Chernobyl” to channel their anger about the coronavirus outbreak Quartz

Wuhan seafood market may not be source of novel virus spreading globally Science

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) NEJM. Resource page.

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) updates PhilStar. Resource page from English press in the Philippines. Their enormous diaspora gives them an incentive to keep track.

Airport security trays carry more germs than toilets, study finds CBS. From 2018, still germane.


Police stations with Taiwanese characteristics:


Kobe Bryant’s Death Is Top News In China, With One Hashtag Drawing 4 Billion Views SupChina


Brexit: What happens after January 31 FT

Meanwhile, at the Louvre:


France admits its police are too violent The Economist


Deal of the century offers non-sovereign Palestinian state Middle East Eye.

Lula: We knew that Blair knew there were no Iraqi WMDs Brasilwire

Venezuela Weighs Privatizing Oil in Face of Economic Free Fall Bloomberg

Ally of Venezuela’s Maduro hires DC lobbyist to build ties AP

How Western Left Media Helped Legitimate US Regime Change in Venezuela FAIR

Bolivia’s Anez sparks fierce backlash with election bid Reuters

Bolivia sees 135,000 more registered voters for coming special elections Xinhua

Bolivia Taps Lobby Firm Hired to Sell the Coup in Honduras The Intercept

Beaten, mutilated and forced to undress: Inside Chile’s brutal police crackdown against protesters Independent


Hundreds of Huts of ‘Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrants’ Razed in Bengaluru, Turns Out All Are Indians News18

New Cold War

The Fate of the China-Russia Alliance The National Interest

Auschwitz, the Holocaust, and the Fog of Propaganda War Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon


Republicans float ‘one-for-one’ witness deal to give up John Bolton after bombshell leaks from his book implicate Donald Trump – but want Hunter Biden to testify in exchange Daily Mail

Bolton Blows Up Trump Team’s Foolhardy Quid Pro Quo Defense Andrew McCarthy, National Review

The revelations about Bolton’s book may not be so devastating for Trump Jonathan Turley, WaPo

Bolton Pledges To Donate All Proceeds From Book Towards Killing Iranians The Onion

Trump Transition

Outbreaks of lethal diseases like Ebola and the Wuhan coronavirus happen regularly. The US government just cut funding for the hospitals that deal with them Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (GF). Everything’s going according to plan!

Supreme Court allows Trump’s ‘public charge’ immigration rule to take effect CNBC


Ex-MI6 spy ‘fabricated dossier on Trump and prostitutes’ The Time of London. I guess that explains why Pelosi heaved three years of RussiaGate hysteria over the side when crafting the articles.


‘They let him get away with murder’: Dems tormented over how to stop Bernie Politico. First quote: Third Way. Second: Rahm Emanuel. Come on, man.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Leaked Documents Expose the Secretive Market for Your Web Browsing Data Vice. “The documents, from a subsidiary of the antivirus giant Avast called Jumpshot, shine new light on the secretive sale and supply chain of peoples’ internet browsing histories. They show that the Avast antivirus program installed on a person’s computer collects data, and that Jumpshot repackages it into various different products that are then sold to many of the largest companies in the world.”

Our Famously Free Press

Ignore the chyron, that’s not the issue:


A Bourbon-like inability to learn.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew is called uncooperative in Jeffrey Epstein investigation Los Angeles Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Chilling role of ‘the Preacher’ confirmed at CIA waterboarding hearing in Guantánamo Guardian

Class Warfare

Hundreds of Amazon employees publicly attack its climate record FT

How Capitalism Underdeveloped Rural America Jacobin

Glenn Greenwald has his reasons Non-Zero

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. Carla

    The Wuhan Virus: How to Stay Safe Foreign Policy. Helpful tips.

    I hope these tips will be disseminated on sites that are not paywalled. I had only got through tip 4 or 5 when the FP paywall crashed down. Please post a link here if you encounter the tips elsewhere. Thanks.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Just some interesting color around the Corona:

          My son is on the team responsible for sequencing the individual strains arriving here in Australia. They tested one single nasal swab from a suspected carrier and came up with the following:

          70% of the DNA was human, the rest Other.

          80% of Other was identifiable bacteria, viruses, and other matter. 20% was unidentifiable.

          Of the 80% they identified 5100 different bacteria and viruses (from 5.2 million records they had to number crunch). These included: gonorrhea, herpes, staph, strep, equine flu, parvovirus, chlamydia, salmonella, shigella, botulina, Yersinia pestis (bubonic plague), hepatitis, and Yes:

          1 single solitary Novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV).

          They also found human, cat, dog, pig, rat, and horse fecal matter.

          It’s a moveable feast, like I guess we all are. Apologies to those who might be on their lunch hour.

    1. BillK

      After investigating, it was the Ghostery Firefox extension that blocked the FP paywall from running. (Not because I am in the UK). :)
      Recommended extension – I’ve used it for years.

      1. David B Harrison

        My favorite version of the full body condom was the movie “Naked Gun” with Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley.

      2. Paul Boisvert

        Naturally…the security officer always tells me not to put my toilet in the tray, it won’t fit right.

        A gag we loved in high school:
        “Did you know that wolverines kill more people than sharks every year?

        “Wow, I didn’t know that.”

        “Definitely…but then, wolverines rarely kill sharks…”

  2. caucus99percenter

    “Auschwitz, the Holocaust, and the Fog of Propaganda War” — Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

    The link ends with a backslash — it needs to be removed, or replaced with a regular forward slash.

    1. Olga

      A fair article – the trauma of the war – in which no Soviet family went untouched – will never be comprehended in the US. Its effects are still felt today. But I’d object to the author’s statement that ” in Russia the push for Word War II commemoration has reached ridiculous proportions.” First, the “push” is no greater than it had been in the past; and second, faced with so much revisionism (e.g., Poland not only demolishes memorials to the Red Army, but has started to ask Russia for reparations for “damage” during the war), the importance of keeping history straight is that much more urgent.
      Russians have now decided to open the old archives, so the truth about the war would not be lost or “revised.” (And the most cynical role is played by the Germans – how dare they take part in this revisionism?! Sitting quietly somewhere in the corner would be more appropriate.)

        1. Olga

          The Polish elite played a particularly toxic role in the run up to the war. Having signed an agreement with Hitler in 1934, they then went out of their way to scuttle any possibility of the USSR securing an anti-Hitler alliance with the Brits and French. After Munich, they actually carved out a bit of Czechoslovakia for themselves – those lil’darlins.
          One would think that the devastation of the ensuing war taught them a lesson… but one would be wrong. They’ve merrily resumed their toxic ways. Some people just never learn…

      1. Wukchumni

        Our mass murder sprees are quite something, occasionally 22 people are murdered in cold blood, but nothing compared to what the Soviets did to the Poles in Kaytn Forest, where they murdered 22,000.

        And you wonder why the Poles demolish memorials to the Red Army, ha!

          1. Wukchumni

            Could have mentioned how the vaunted Red Army stopped short of Warsaw and let the Nazis raze it to ground, but the last thing we need in this thread is overkill.

            1. ambrit

              Full agreement. I personally knew a friend of my Dad’s who fought in the Warsaw Uprising and later escaped to Sweden. His wife survived the camp at Auschwitz. Their attitudes towards the Red Army were, to say the least, in conflict.

            2. David

              No, this is a myth. The uprising in Warsaw was organised precisely when it was in order that the city would be liberated and under non-communist control (by the Polish government in exile) before the Red Army arrived. The idea was to present the Russians with a fait accompli. Didn’t work out like that.

              1. Procopius

                When they entered Poland, the Soviets had the same logistical problem that the Germans had when they entered Russia. Polish railways use Standard Gauge (1435 mm), while the Russian Gauge is 1522 mm. That means that you either need to change the wheelset of wagons crossing the border or shift the goods to a different train. It was one of the factors that made the German defeat probable — their armies moved faster than their supplies could. The Red Army ran out of fuel for their tanks and had to stop for supplies to catch up. The leaders of the Warsaw uprising didn’t know that and expected the Red Army to keep coming at the same speed. This, of course, does not prove that the Soviet halt was not intended to produce the result it did, but it may have been unintended.

            3. anon in so cal

              Here’s an objective historical discussion of Poland’s actions during this time period:

              “Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland in September 1939?

              (The answer: No, it did not.)


              “No doubt a big reason for this falsehood is this: Britain and France did sign a Nonaggression Pact with Hitler that “partitioned” another state — Czechoslovakia. That was the Munich Agreement of September 30, 1938.

              Poland too took part in the “partition” of Czechoslovakia too. Poland seized a part of the Cieszyn area of Czechoslovakia, even though it had only a minority Polish population. This invasion and occupation was not even agreed upon in the Munich Agreement. But neither France nor Britain did anything about it.

              Hitler seized the remaining part of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. This had not been foreseen in the Munich Agreement. But Britain, France, and Poland did nothing about it.”

              By September 17, 1939, when Soviet troops crossed the border, the Polish government had ceased to function. The fact that Poland no longer had a government meant that Poland was no longer a state.

              On September 17 when Molotov handed Polish Ambassador to the USSR Grzybowski the note Grzybowski told Molotov that he did not know where his government was, but had been informed that he should contact it through Bucharest. See polish_state_collapsed….”


            4. OIFVet

              Wrong. After Operation Bagration, the Soviets did take an operational slow down in order to consolidate, resupply, and secure their logistical rear. It is basic military science, and given the huge areas liberated by the operation and the sheer number of troops involved, it was a vital necessity for any army. Still, Rokossovsky (who was actually Polish, not Russian) did attempt to speed up the build-up to the push into Warsaw, at the urging of the Allies by way of Stalin. As part of that build-up, he attempted to coordinate with Armia Krajowa, the Polish Resistance group that launched the uprising and which was de facto under the command of the exiled government in London. They flat out refused to cooperate, and indeed some of its elements attempted to hinder Soviet and Polish army elements when they attempted to cross Vistula and establish a bridgehead in September 1944. These Soviet and Polish groups were forced to abandon the attempt until the larger resupply and rearm effort was completed.

              So Poles can cry me a river, they are their own worst enemies. They are so grating, even the Western Europeans within the EU have become rather fed up with their act. And the Israelis were none too subtle about Poland’s history of anti-semitism after Poland refused to invite Russia to the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz.

              Most of all though, let’s be informed by history. There used to be a time when Poland was the power and the aggressor against Russia, even taking Moscow at one point. Eventually the roles reversed as Poland declined and Russia rose. Poland’s main beef is that Russia succeeded where they failed.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Still, the estimated killings of Poles by the Nazis is 1.8 million, while Polish Jews is estimated at 3 million – doesn’t make Katyn massacre any better, just saying.

          On the recent anniversary Der Spiegel were caught out on Twitter after stating that American forces liberated Auschwitz, leading to the eminent German publication being forced to recant.

          1. ambrit

            I knew a woman, wife of a friend of my Dad’s, who was in Auschwitz, and told of being ‘liberated’ by the Red Army. Her husband fought in the Warsaw Ghetto during the infamous ‘Uprising.’ Two widely different views of the Red Army in one family.

        2. urblintz

          Has there ever been an accurate number given for the native americans slaughtered by our government’s noble venture in manifest destiny?

          1. jefemt

            Check out 1461… pre-Columbian western hemisphere tome… Charles Mann (?)

            Lots fewer souls on the earth in the md-1400s…

        3. Olga

          It would, of course, help to know a bit of (unrevisionist) history… Katyn did not happen outside of the destructive role Poland played earlier, including the 1920 attack on the USSR, the 1934 agreement with Hitler, and its nasty role when the USSR tried to secure a united front against Hitler and during the Munich agreement time (do read about this, it is fascinating history). All those things happened way before Katyn.
          Focusing only on certain incidents and outside of their historical context rarely leads to an enlightened understanding of the situation… but can go a long way toward maintaining opportunistic mythology.

            1. Wukchumni

              What I don’t understand in regards to the ‘Katyn’ fable, is why the USSR finally admitted to committing such a heinous act, in 1990.

              Why admit to doing something that didn’t happen?

              1. Winston Smith

                Notwithstanding the massive propaganda effort to blame the germans for it…this is a very ugly discussion-Katyn or no Katyn.

            2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              Perhaps the reason why Katyn is remembered & publicised is the fact that in some ways, including numerically it was the equivalent of ” The Terror ” during the French Revolution, as those slaughtered were the so called creme de la creme of Polish society.

              It has been called Aristocide.

              1. anon in so cal

                There’s this, also:

                “In August 1937, the Polish General Staff issued directive No. 2304/2/37, which stated that the ultimate goal of Polish politics was “the destruction of all Russia,” and that the promotion of separatism in the Caucasus, Ukraine and Central Asia using, in particular, the capabilities of military intelligence. Declassified documents indicate that the Polish General Staff even created a special unit for working with national minorities in the USSR – the Prometheus organization, with its headquarters in Paris.”

          1. Winston Smith

            Whatever the “destructive role of Poland played earlier”, it was still the cold blooded execution of 22000 prisoners of war-no rationalization can change that

            1. Olga

              One would hope you’d have equal – or perhaps even greater – outrage over the indiscriminate bombing of the German civilian population by UK/US(?). Or the atomic bomb deployments in Japan(?). Plus, see the above comment by anon-in-so-cal…
              War is a horror anyway one looks at it. It is always better not to start one… as it tends to develop in the most unpredictable ways.

              1. Winston Smith

                Of course and also for the 3.8 million soviet POWs who died in Nazi custody. They are not forgotten although we don’t hear much about them in US discourses of WWII.

                “any man’s death diminishes me,
                because I am involved in mankind.
                And therefore never send to know for whom
                the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

      2. Tom Bradford

        Re the article’s allegation that the West is ignoring or downplaying Russia’s part in Hitler’s defeat, I don’t know how it is in the US but in the UK where I came of age in the early 60’s and so had plenty of relatives who’d lived through the war, there was never any denial that the Russians were instrumental in the defeat of Hitler – I well remember an Uncle who had fought in France in 1944 telling me that D-Day and the liberation of France would never have happened, or would have been a disaster had it been tried, had not the bulk of the German Army and certainly most of its best been on the Eastern Front facing the Russians.

        I dare say that many exposed only to the Hollywood version of the war are not aware of this, but Hollywood is not in the business of producing historical documentaries. For anyone interested the information is there and I’m certainly not aware of any concerted, high level attempt to brush the Russian contribution out of history. Nor can I see any reason to do so.

        1. Winston Smith

          The math is easy: 80% of german casualties occurred on the eastern front. The biggest battle of WWII was Kursk etc

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Not just casualties – never at any stage of the war was less than 80% of German divisions on the Eastern Front. D-Day wasn’t even the biggest military offensive of June 1944- Operation Bagration was. And Bagration wasn’t the biggest offensive of the summer of 1944 – Operation Ichi-Go was even bigger in terms of troop movements, lest we forget that by some measures, WWII in China/Manchuria was an even bigger meat grinder of a war than the Eastern Front. In comparison to those two, the Western Front was a minor series of localised battles.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      My parents hosted a German foreign exchange student when I was in college. He would sometimes talk about World War II. He claimed Hitler might have conquered the Soviet Union if he had allowed the peoples in the buffer lands the German Army crossed on their way to Russia, to join with the German Army. From what I gathered from what he said those populations were ready to follow Hitler if it meant they could rid themselves of Stalin. Of course Hitler’s “eugenics programs” changed their good opinion of him. I have no idea where the German foreign exchange student got his information — his father had been an officer in the German Army as a geologist if I recall correctly.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Those who wanted to did join the German forces from all over Europe in the form of foreign Waffen SS – about 500,000 in total. The Dutch for instance sent around 33,000 & this included many in Eastern Europe who also joined the effort by helping to exterminate the Jews. Many of these lunatics were in Berlin for the last stand & entertained themselves by hanging old men & kids from lamposts for not having the correct fighting zeal.

        1. Winston Smith

          France also, Division Charlemagne…there is a famous memoir “Le rêveur casqué “from one of its members, Christian de la Maziere

          1. Wukchumni

            The best memoir of the war in that regard, is The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer, a Frenchman in the Wehrmacht on the Russian front.

        2. OIFVet

          Hitler himself rather appalled that Slav “untermenschen” were allowed to join the SS, but join some did. Some of them were so barbaric that even German SS were appalled and revolted by their cruelty. Many of those who survived fighting the Soviets were then quietly allowed to come into the US and Canada. What really galls me is that within Eastern Europe, and with the support of the US and EU (financial and otherwise), the children and grandchildren of these SS veterans are attempting to rewrite history, painting their fascist ancestors as nothing more than freedom lovers under whose rule the country flourished. This is the case in Bulgaria, in Hungary, in Croatia, in Romania, and elsewhere. It’s revolting on so many levels.

      2. David

        This is sometimes known as the “rational Nazi” argument. But there were no rational Nazis. The expansion to the East was based on the enslavement, expulsion or extermination of virtually the entire Slavic population. Official German documents talked of 30-40 million dead initially with more to follow. The Nazi view of the world (competition to the death between races) made any other outcome impossible.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I don’t believe it was part of their grand strategy. From my understanding, the original plan was to simply drive Jews and Romanies* out, the extermination idea came later. The Grand Strategy was to create an empty plain across eastern Europe for Germanics to settle. The Jews and Gypsies may have been first to get it, but the Slavs were certainly next in line.

            *odd how everyone forgets that Gypsies were part of the holocaust too.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              But kill-the-Jews was certainly an important Nazi goal in its own right. I have read somewhere that they diverted train cars FROM supplying the Eastern Front TO shipping the Hungarian Jews ( whose ongoing existence irritated the Hitlerian leadership) to the extermination facilities. And Hungary was not scheduled for eventual depopulation of Hungarians for German settlement.

              So there you go.

              One could say that the Holocaust was ” art for art’s sake” on the part of the EuroNazi Hitlerians . . . . German and/or otherwise.

      3. Biph

        That was true for both the Japanese and Germans in WW2 they would conquer areas those areas would celebrate their “liberation” from Stalin or colonialism and the Germans and Japanese would quickly show themselves to be no better and sometimes worse than the previous occupiers.
        Stalin is a very mixed bag to say the least. There is no denying that he was a mass murderer on a scale with the worst in history, but without his rapid industrialization program , which caused a lot of suffering in the countryside starving farmers to feed the factory workers, the USSR wouldn’t have been able to beat the Germans.

      4. teacup

        Fascism = the privatization of everything. Neoliberalism is fascism clothed in pseudo-scientific economic discourse.

      5. PlutoniumKun

        Plenty of military historians have wondered what would have happened if the Germans has specifically set out to recruit east Europeans to their cause – millions certainly would have been happy to join up in a war against the Soviets. There is little doubt that Nazi race war obsessions ensured many of their new eastern possessions were a drain rather than a resource. There can be little doubt but that a focused effort to put the willing to work (either in factories or at the front) could have made a significant difference to the war, as Germany suffered severe labour shortages – to the extent that much of the western front was manned by very unwilling foreign conscripts.

        However, all the new recruits in the world aren’t much help when you have severe constraints on physical war materials such as oil and tungsten and other crucial materials, and unless they could have seized the key Soviet oil fields and mines very quickly, the war effort was always doomed once the US joined in.

  3. Pavel

    Christ, those CNN commentators chortling over their jokes and mimicking Trump voters… I thought HRC’s “deplorables” comment was bad.

    If I ran the Trump campaign I would run this and then add: “You know who can find Ukraine on the map? Hunter Biden, after they started paying him $50k per month.” BOOM.

    And oh by the way—a pox on all their houses.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Judging by the size of the crowds at his rallies, thousands camping out overnight in NJ in the frickin winter, it looks like the trumpster is pretty much a lock in 2020.

      1. Wukchumni

        Doesn’t he attract a crowd on his never ending rally tour about the same size as a fake wrestling match?

        There was a phrase in the 19th century that captures and encapsulates our current saga, and with the bonus that the leader of the pack is a pachyderm.

        “Seeing the elephant”

        American pioneers of the Overland Trails talk of the excitement and anticipation of heading west to see the elephant. Elephant “sightings” often begin with excitement and high ideals only to be disappointing or disenchanting. The high excitement followed by the low frustrations are what epitomize the elephant as something most wanted to “see” but few would have wanted to “see” again.

        1. Dan

          “Doesn’t he attract a crowd on his never ending rally tour about the same size as a fake wrestling match?”

          It’s a little bigger than that:

          Wildwood is Cape May County, Jeff Van Drew territory. This is why he switched parties. According to the articles around here the last few days, license plates have been seen from all over the country. I’m about 45 minutes from Wildwood. Thought about going just to check out the scene but I’ve decided against it.

    2. Lemmy Caution

      I believe Burisma was paying Son of Biden $83,333.33 per month, which comes out to a nice even $1 million per year.

      That is double or triple the salary paid to board members of many of the biggest corporations in the U.S., as reported in a 2018 USAToday article entitled 25 companies that pay their board of directors a shocking amount:

      CSX Corp. — Average compensation per board member: $324,195
      Oracle Corp. — Average compensation per board member: $552,899
      IBM Corp — Average compensation per board member: $334,068
      Citigroup Inc. — Average compensation per board member: $297,407
      Wells Fargo & Co — Average compensation per board member: $337,668
      Goldman Sachs Group — Average compensation per board member: $560,131

      If those salaries are shocking, then we need a new word to describe Hunter’s compensation package.

      1. a different chris

        Well, not to defend Hunter for sure, but he was supposed to at least show up every day, right? How often does the CSX/Oracle/IBM/etc board even meet? And for how long? And do they do any preparation at all (haha, that would be like, work).

        1. Lemmy Caution

          Not clear what he contributed. This October 2019 Reuters article based on interviews with more than a dozen people, including executives and former prosecutors in Ukraine, notes that:

          Biden never visited Ukraine for company business during that time, according to three of the people.

          1. dcrane

            Interesting note: The article says

            [Hunter’s] presence on the board didn’t protect the company from its most serious challenge: a series of criminal investigations launched by Ukrainian authorities against its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, a multimillionaire former minister of ecology and natural resources. The allegations concern tax violations, money-laundering and licences given to Burisma during the period where Zlochevsky was a minister.

            But the documentary below on the consortium news site points out that the “investigation” of Burisma’s tax dodging was settled by Burisma paying a small fraction of what was owed, with no other repercussions if I recall correctly. So it sounds like the new prosecutor brought on after the firing Biden precipitated introduced America’s lame whitewashing form of “justice” for corporate wrongdoing. This could easily have been the intent all along.


        2. lyman alpha blob

          Wouldn’t showing up every day require that he actually be in Ukraine? I may not have my timeline right, but it seems like he was very busy in the US philandering with strippers and his dead brother’s wife while trying to score crack.

          1. chuckster

            it seems like he was very busy in the US philandering with strippers and his dead brother’s wife while trying to score crack.

            You say that like it’s a bad thing.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              Ha! So full disclosure, back in the salad days I may have somewhat resembled that description myself. But I never got my $50k/mo for it….

              1. Lemmy Caution

                With a last name like Blob, I’m not surprised.

                Now, if Hunter’s last name hadn’t been Biden, would he have landed all those Board of Director gigs?

                Here’s Hunter — not always the sharpest tool in the shed — answering that question in his ABC News interview.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Yes and here is a nice quote from the current front runner in the Democratic primary race to be President of the United States:

                  “Nobody has ever suggested that my son ever did anything wrong!”

                  He either:

                  A: Should be on soft foods and maintenance medications in a supervised facility; or

                  B. Has an acute and intuitive sense of exactly how gullible America’s voting population is.

          2. Geo

            Biden in ‘93:

            “It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re the victims of society. I don’t want to ask, ‘What made them do this?’ They must be taken off the street… Lock the SOB’s up!”

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      And joe was only vice-president. Imagine if he was president. hunter could start a “charitable foundation” and goldman sachs could pay him half a million $ to hear him “speak.” Arf arf.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Re that ‘brief CNN segment late one Saturday night in January as the perfect encapsulation for why it happened’ and them laughing how Trump does not know where the Ukraine is.

    I heard a story of how Henry Ford, I think it was, was on a witness stand many decades ago and was being quizzed on his general knowledge which he was failing at – badly. When the lawyer went in for the kill, Ford said that he did not need to know all that knowledge himself.

    He said that he had a button on his desk and when he pressed it, he could have summoned the best experts in the world in any particular subject to tell him all he needed to know about a subject that he wanted to know about. Ford had made his point and Trump as President is in a similar position.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Oh brother. This is what happens when you want to sell a book of insults and you’ve already used up all your insults.

        1. Plenue

          Asinine conspiracy theory.

          The actual story of the Pearl Harbor strategy is a lot more interesting. In fact it was originally a much more ‘brilliant military coup’.

          The original plan was to not just sink the fleet but to occupy Hawaii, denying the US a base to conduct operations into the Japanese sphere of influence. This plan never left the Imperial Navy because they were afraid even alerting the Army to the existence of the plan would cause the Army, which was politically more powerful, to get the plan canceled altogether.

          The compromise plan in light of the inability to occupy the islands was to at least bomb the entire base into oblivion, denying its use to the US for months or even years. This never happened because the commander of the attack fleet was an ideological opponent of air power who resolved, without telling anyone else, to only do the bare minimum effort required of him.

          The Pearl Harbor attack as it actualyl happened was a pale shadow of the original vision.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          So I checked the link and IIRC Media Matters is David Brock’s baby – the opportunistic once Republican liberal basher who has now aligned with Hillary Clinton and ran her “Correct the Record” troll campaign. I saw a link to something about John Solomon and thought ‘why is Media Matters promoting Solomon since he has done recent reporting against the Bidens who are good friends of Herself’ but it turns out they don’t like Solomon because although he was once a “mainsteam reporter” he is now closely aligned with Fox News. Which presumably was OK when David Brock was doing it.

          I don’t doubt that the info in your link is true – Trump has been pretty clear about watching Fox – but I’m with Lambert here. Reading the news and trying to figure out which of these charlatans are working for what side and why turns my brain into volcanic residue sometimes.

          Time for a walk.

          1. marym

            I try to post links from known sources (and which may quote or link to other known sources) so readers can consider the likely biases. The author of this piece also regularly live-tweets the Fox/Trump tweet sequences, so, imo,his statistics are likely accurate, whatever one’s interpretation of what it all means and what interests are served.

        2. ewmayer

          Compared to the so-called liberal MSM like CNN, post-2016 Fox has seemed a bastion of probity, relatively speaking. So Trump believing everything he hears on Fox makes him a sage compared to the crazypants stuff the self-anointed enlightened class has been hearing on their preferred echo-chamber media and gleefully retweeting. And last time I checked, it was the same self-anointed enlightened class, not Trump-the-ignoramus, which for the last 3+years has been actively trying to overturn the constitutional order based on lies fed them by political-activist creeps in the nation’s metastatic Intel complex. So whose willful ignorance is the more dangerous?

    1. Ted

      If this is the 2020 strategy for the media and DNC, then the election is over. Again. Trump’s white house may be perceived as a chaotic mess … but his white house gets what it wants done. Tax cuts, huge stock market gains due to wildly loose central bank policies, the wall, huge military expenditure increases, space force, a policy of in your face political assassinations, etc. etc. All delivered on a silver platter by the congress critters. He survived Russia, Russia, Russia a will not be removed by the senate over Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine. His base sees him as a winner, and there is a lot to show for this belief.

      His message in November is going to be, I may be a crass, gauche bully (well liked by many) … but I have been an effective president. He will win.

      1. neo-realist

        Trump’s high risk approach of knocking off a top dog general of an enemy may come back to haunt his re-election chances: If the blowback starts happening in the form of bleed-out of American soldiers, diplomats, and civilians coming back to the states in coffins in the next 10 months, his re-election chance aren’t all that sure. Keep in mind, Iran hasn’t really gotten serious yet about the retribution, and they’re enriching uranium without restrictions.

        He may get away with the crazy central bank policies through November, but not the reckless ME Policy.

      2. False Solace

        > but his white house gets what it wants done

        To be more accurate, the establishment gets what it wants done. Very little distance between Obama’s policies and Trump’s. They serve the same masters. Trump uses different cultural signifiers and his team’s jerseys are red instead of blue. Both lay the environment to waste and appoint corporate sellouts to judgeships.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > the establishment gets what it wants done

          The establishment, like everything else, is split. The establishment definitely wanted TPP and Trump immediately killed it. To his great credit, I might add (at least of national sovereignty is your goal).

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Which speaks directly to the Democrats’ gross dereliction of duty. With a narcissistic POTUS like Trump, flattery and misdirection work best. Insults and lies? Not so much.

      This administration could have been much less damaging had Democrats cooperated to coopt. Instead they mau maued Trump and made things worse.

    3. Lee

      I seem to recall reading long ago and possibly far away that when a reporter asked Henry J. Kaiser if he ever regretted not having gone very far with his formal education that he replied that whenever he needed a PhD he had hired one.

    4. Partyless Poster

      The whole Republicans are stupid thing really grates on my nerves.
      If they are so stupid how come they keep winning?

      1. ewmayer

        “If they are so stupid how come they keep winning?”

        Because they had their evil-commie buddies in the Kremlin hack Our Democracy™, dontchaknow!

    5. Tom Bradford

      If the button really does summon the best experts in the world who are of one mind it would certainly be useful. But what happens if they aren’t of one mind – and even the experts might disagree on what is meant by ‘Ukraine’ in the present day, ie does it include the Crimea? So even with expert advice you still need the ability to rub your own brain cells together.

      Plus, who decides who qualifies as an ‘expert’? In Trump’s case it appears to be anyone who agrees with him.

      (Dunno why this ended up here. It was intended as a comment following The Rev Kev. way up above!)

  5. Toshiro_Mifune

    More enormous anti-government protests in Paris

    There was a time when if the MSM stopped covering something like this it would have just slowly withered. That ended at least a decade ago, arguably more. The MSM/TPTB/etc, at least on an institutional level, haven’t realized it yet. Maybe some of the individuals in it have, but the weird institutional intelligence hasn’t. I don’t know how long it will take until it does and what the change in tactics will be to make things go away that it doesnt want to deal with….. I hope that made sense

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      When the advertisers realize…this Is one aspect of cable news hostility to Sanders. He simply won’t dump money on useless ads. Hillary’s non stop ad blitz on MSDNC won her 0 states and pushed 0 congressional districts intof the win column. I think the goal was to turn on the TV and for HRC and her staff to hear how good they were.

  6. David Carl Grimes

    The Bernie freakout in the press is gaining momentum

    Running Bernie Sanders Against Trump Would Be an Act of Insanity
    By Jonathan Chait

    1. Winston Smith

      The Bernie freakout: not focusing on this but the rumbling one hears frequently is that there is a “thick oppo file” on Bernie that will bring him down subito presto…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s the binder next to Mittens’ binder full of women.

        Biden and Sanders have been public figures or years. Biden’s problems stem from his very public record, but sanders has a public record too. Yes, opposing the Iraq War might be scandalous to the #nevertrumpers, but this is it. Instead they will try innuendo, but that’s all they have because we would know at this point.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          The lack of an oppo book on Sanders must make a lot of people very afraid I expect. To paraphrase Frank Herbert, that which you cannot destroy, you cannot control.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            The Clinton campaign produced an oppo book on Sanders, because of course they did.

            Peter Daou saw it, and says there’s nothing in it.

            Now, that doesn’t take into account, this time around, (a) the press putting the book on blast or (b) just making stuff up a la Guy Steele. But it does suggest that taking Sanders down along that route won’t be as easy as people like Frum* and Chait think.

            Also, there is a saying that you must introduce yourself to the voters, or your opponents will do that. That happened to Kerry, when Rove swiftboated him. But Kerry was a mediocre and not well-known Senator. Sanders has been introducing himself to voters at a feverish pace since 2016.

            I think the more appropriate analogy for oppo and Sanders would be Reagan. I’m too lazy to find the link, but when Democrats started running focus groups on how to take down Reagan, they ran some of the insane things Reagan had said past the test subjects. They flatly refused to believe that Reagan said those things (even when presented with documentation). Reagan’s persona was that strong. Needless to say, Sanders has a very strong persona.

            NOTE * Frum’s metaphor, in his Atlantic cri de couer was telling. He said in essence that the Sanders campaign was in essence a ragged guerilla army who would — this was his analogy for oppo — be facing a “modern army” for the first time. What Frum, useless idiot, forgets is that irregular forces have a rather good track record against modern armies.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Hopefully the Sanders supporters will be ready to adopt an attitude of “forgive and accept” when the Never Berners start to fling what oppoo they have.

        ” Bernie and his young wife honeymooned in Soviet Russia!” Really? Youthful indiscretion. Who among us hasn’t had an Aqua Buddha Moment?

    2. voteforno6

      So, if Professional Wrong Person Jonathan Chait says that it would be bad to nominate Sanders, does that mean that it would actually be a good idea?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Chait and David Frum. The last time they agreed so openly a million people were murdered in Iraq, so…I assume they are worried a Sanders Presidency will result in far less dead non-whites than they wish.

        1. JBird4049

          Or far less dead whites than they wish as well. I have started equating the current neoliberal regime as managers of an animal rendering plant with the general American population as the rendee and profit as the ultimate render. Scaling it up to the rest of the Earth works as well.

        2. JBird4049

          It would also result in fewer dead whites as well. I am starting to think that the current neoliberal regime in the United States is like the management of an animal rendering plant; the general American population are disposable rendees to be rendered into profit for the management with any unprofitable bits to be sent to the trash. Just scale up for the rest of the Earth.

          Going further, much of the United States’ current wars really are the actions of the United States Rendering Company, Inc. rendering other countries into profitable bits.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Remove the stuff after the ‘?’. It is good of you to post the actual text content of the link though, thanks.

  7. Amfortas the hippie

    just getting to the NYT thing on Sander’s “troll army”.

    i remember distinctly how toxic alternet became…and not because of Lefties, at all.
    the hillarytrolls were indistinguishable from the right wing trolls i’d tangled with for years…in tactics, rhetoric, and the sheer ugliness.
    I was banned from Kos—-to be fair, i was only hanging around at that point sporadically, and specifically in order to watch Team Blue, and counter them, when possible(politely, and often with just a wapo link directly contradicting their claims)
    the gist of this article,and what all the complaining about Tone is really about, is that sanders’ supporters aren’t as well trained and surveilled and policed as Team Blue…they’re uncouth and rambunctious and angry as F66K….and this is their greatest sin. Nowhere is it indicated clearly that such people…below the 10% enabling class on the socioeconomic ladder, have a viable beef with the Way things are.
    the implication, as in 2016, is that “we’ve built a perfect world, why are they complaining?”(see: The Last Men, who hop about, and blink)
    like my stepmom’s friend said once, after i had mentioned that my farm truck only goes the 10 miles to town and back, because i don’t trust it to go further—“you should go get a new one”
    “just call Triple A”…”Just get better insurance”,””just move to where the jobs are”,”just call a plumber”.
    it’s bad enough that they can’t see the devastation their LOTE amorality and laurel lounging has allowed, or encouraged….to deny outright the existence of coordinated trolling operations on behalf of their side just makes it worse.
    there’s real pain out here in the places the bubble dwellers don’t go…or just breeze through on their way to somewhere else.
    their preferred policies and candidates fail utterly to address this, and must be challenged.
    but challenging them seems to be regarded as tantamount to treason….and racism, sexism, homophobia…
    “everything’s fine” = “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”

    1. Clive

      There’s numerous topics in economics and politics — I won’t list them all, we all know what they are — which, in the field of public discourse or debate, have degenerated into two (or more) factions who are content to do nothing better than screech at each other from their intransigent, unwavering viewpoints. Kos is a case-study in this decline and fall from grace.

      Social media or comments sections are the medium, couldn’t-care-less-for-truth-and-evidence is their coin of exchange.

      It is now, I conclude, impossible to have any kind of discussion on these often weighty matters. That’s bad enough.

      What’s worse is that this kind of wilful consumption of bandwidth and skewing of sources of information is a despoiling of the commons. Public forums are a shared resource. They are part of the social fabric of our modern lives. They represent potential to improve human understanding and relations, but that is potential which is at the moment completely wasted.

      Every so often a new venue is created where thoughtful, accurate and illuminating articles are posted, and a small, dedicated and committed band of people join together to contribute and consider the issues of the day. But almost as soon as these outlets appear, they’re swamped by the rent-a-mob and descend into some clique-y, bunker-mentality hovel for the True Believers (of whatever persuasion where the belief is considered sacrosanct).

      The fault for this ruination of our public conversational spaces is not with the media. It is with ourselves.

      I do look for signs of the emergence of self-policing. To date, however, I look in vain.

      I, like you, suspect most of the damage is done by the self-satisfied and self-regarding denizens of our middle class who regard any threat to the cozee-comfee certainties of the world they enjoy as an existential crises to be robustly defended against wherever it is seen.

      1. The Historian

        Hear! Hear! I’ve abandoned reading many comment sections and blogs precisely because of this! I’ve also abandoned those websites and blogs that depend on hyperbole to get readers.

        1. inode_buddha

          Interesting, the comment sections are usually the only thing I read, no matter where I go. Certainly they are the most entertaining, and often mind-broadening areas. OTOH you do have to filter through a lot of poop to find the corn nuggets.

          1. Hepativore

            Balloon Juice turned into a cesspool of Clintonites and Obots circa 2015 with the election. Even as we speak, the level of anti-Sanders derangement frothing at the mouth over his campaign is stunning. Annie Laurie, one of the writers there seems to have dedicated her entire blogging to how much she hates Sanders.

            1. prodigalson

              Balloon Juice is a sad case. I used to enjoy that site during the Bush years, when it seemed like they had a principled stand against the wars. Then the Obama fake out happened and the dear leader must never be questioned. Digby was same, same. I haven’t spent any length of time at either site in years aside from a recent glance at balloon juice. I think the vast majority of the progressive sites from the mid-2000s turned about to be democratic tribalists and nothing more.

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Somebody argued that what we have now is not division, but engagement. And this is a good thing.

              Before social, people took a more distanced view of politics. Yes they were Dems or Repubs but politics had not really penetrated their lives.

              Now with social, politics has become an integral part of peoples’ social identity. With a few clicks they can join a very vocal debate that reaches millions, not just a few shlubs within earshot of their bar stool. Much more engaging.

              Late night comedians used to run a joke or two at the start about how bad Reagan or Carter were. Then on to the show. Now comedians are entirely (not often funny) politics. Ditto Ladies Who Lunch shows.

    2. tegnost

      Yes, I’ve long marveled at the irony of the Correct the Record crowd hollering about Cambridge Analytics, whose budget was a miniscule fraction of the cost of Brock’s baby (what’s that? another used to be republican telling dems what’s ok and what’s not? Say it ain’t so…;)

    3. Eustache de Saint Pierre


      This 10% you speak of remind me the old self regarding Aristocracies, but perhaps more to the top end when they perhaps have similarities to courtiers. The only thing that I like about Louie XIV was that one of the reasons he built Versaiiles was to basically imprison this class & make their lives for the most part a total misery, with some families actually going bankrupt trying to afford to keep up with the ludicrous fashions.

      I think that they also have a talent for a similar form of hubris.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        problem is that our Versailles is distributed…much like our Bastille…it’s everywhere.
        when the criticisms from on high started coming down on Occupy…about their diffuse leaderlessness, that’s what i thought about. Where does Mr Exxon live? Where does one hafta drag the guillotine to??
        it’s “Lower Manhattan”…and “martha’s vineyard”…a in the riveroaks neighborhood in houston….but it’s also none of those places. everywhere and nowhere, globally distributed and highly mobile…..i looked it up: exxon literally lives everywhere, in every state, and almost every country. a bit of fancy card stock, and it “moves”, out of reach. the human perps aren’t much better. watch crowds in downtown houston: who’s the ceo?
        wall street types bought up boat docks all around manhattan after 9-11,lol.
        so in many ways, our elites are worse than those of Versailles…at least they could Find theirs.
        every mention of “the Elite”…or whatever word my eavesdropees and interlocutors use reflects this abstractedness.

        1. Wukchumni

          Yes, there are versions of Versailles scattered all over the place, see me-dig me palaces.

          This 38,000 sq ft model sold late last year for $94 million, after a price reduction from $250 million.

          “Real estate developer Bruce Makowsky personally curated the car collection, making sure to offer the lucky owner of this stunning mansion only the best that money can buy. Oh, and in case of a fire, you can use extinguishers with Dom Perignon to put out the flames, because Makowsky thought to turn champagne bottles into working fire extinguishers fit just perfectly with the idea of the Billionaire Mansion. ‘I wanted to redefine what super-high-end luxury homes are all about,’ Makowsky explains. ‘I wanted to break all the molds.’”

        2. Lee

          We don’t need to lay our hands on particular individuals; we just need to take control of their assets. We and our ilk also live everywhere.

          1. Wukchumni

            All of my adult life, those with extravagant trappings have been celebrated as having achieved the ultimate in our consumer-driven economy…

            …you get the feeling that worm is about to turn

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            aye. It’s counterproductive to in any way attempt to “get them”.
            That’s a big part of my point.
            it ain’t 1765 france.
            (is trump the Fronde?)
            the defensive cordon around that dispersed and amorphous elite is more sophisticated than anything in history: from armies and superweapons, all the way down to controlling the narrative/chaos generation.
            they’ve got us beat on so many levels…and are well prepared for violence. this is a war for the minds of the masses, and that’s where it has to be fought.
            i suggest, in addition to everything else, a strategy modeled after 1st century evangelism.
            secular street preachers and talktoafenceposters.
            spread humanism like a gospel.
            and remember that within my lifetime, that’s exactly how the american right came back from their post-scopes wilderness…by secularising evangelism,and making things like “no new taxes” a sort of secular religious affirmation.

            1. inode_buddha

              I like to think that I can “get them” in the same way they get me: through economic means. Like not participating in their economy, buy everything used, with cash. It’s easy to find them; most are in Delaware, in the form of a shell corporation. Notably, Microsoft is in a post office box in Nevada (no state taxes).

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                so, if “corporations are people, my friend”, and one somehow got a hold of exxon’s corporate charter and burned it, would that be “murder”?
                and, more to the point, would it make any difference, at all?

                we’re almost all-cash, too.
                debit cards make me nervous…too abstract, and the $ i think is in there tends to vanish due to some fee or another.
                and i learned long ago, from BOA…and a bounced paycheck..that me and checkbooks don’t belong together(I burned my last one with great ceremony)
                i’ve never had a credit card, and had only 2 loans in my life.(both long ago paid off)
                my credit score is like below 100.
                and that should be cool…but it apparently ain’t: the trendline points directly to being forced to wave your latest iphone in front of an electric eye of sauron to get a cup of coffee, and to otherwise being fully plugged in, all the time.
                as alluded to earlier, when they no longer make any dumb lightbulbs, i’ll switch back to beeswax candles and kerosene lanterns.
                (or just go to bed when it gets dark, like great grandparents did til they died in the 70’s)

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > i suggest, in addition to everything else, a strategy modeled after 1st century evangelism. secular street preachers and talktoafenceposters. spread humanism like a gospel.

              That is a very interesting idea. Makes me think of Chris Arnade and Dignity.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > problem is that our Versailles is distributed

          And/or inaccessible, in Montana or bunkers in New Zealand. Then again, it could be argued that the peasants burning the land records in the chateaux*, which were distributed, performed acts of equal or greater importance than the Parisians, at least with regard to destroying feudalism.

          * Data centers…

    4. josh

      It’s just bourgeois morality nonsense. Being uncouth is a far greater sin than printing absolute nonsense in the NYT. Those in the media class and, forgive me, the PMC have never personally been called on their rank horse deposits. Now that it happens on the regular on twitter, it is great violence! Nevermind the wars they push, healthcare prevented, and general cynical careerism at the expense of others. Being polite to many of these people is just lying; pretending they intend to convey facts or argue in good faith.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      All you need to know is that the Times quoted Candice Alston and Sady Doyle as authoritative sources. No wonder they hired Ben Smith away from Buzzfeed; “you gotta know the territory,” as the saying goes.

  8. Olga

    How to get what you want, and influence friends (from Lula: We knew that Blair knew there were no Iraqi WMDs Brasilwire):

    “In March 2002, George W. Bush administration hawk John Bolton, then under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, travelled to Europe and arrived at the OPCW headquarters in the Hague to warn its recently re-elected director general. Bustani recounted to Mehdi Hasan for the Intercept: “Cheney wants you out,” Bolton said, “You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you.” Bolton concluded his ultimatum with a brazen threat: “We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York.”

    We are so s*%&ed… lovely antidote, though.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      If Bolton is called as an impeachment witness, Trump’s defense team ought to have that quote on everyone’s lips before Bolton sets foot in the chamber. What a farce all this is, trying to paint Bolton, one of the biggest warmongering pigs this country has ever seen, as someone with any credibility or integrity.

      On the bright side, if this farcical rat fight among establishment elites leads to exposing all of their rampant corruption and Sanders winning the presidency, well then more please!

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The list of Heroes rehabilitated by the TDS crowd is remarkable:

        George Bush
        James Clapper
        John Brennan
        John McCain
        And now John Friggin Bolton. Oh he’s such a hero. Oh we should believe anything and everything he says

        1. polecat

          Party distinctions matter not much anymore, it seems. But class distinctions certainly do.

          I will vote on account of the candidate’s policies, not the party’s.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “‘They let him get away with murder’: Dems tormented over how to stop Bernie”

    Even as a non-American, this is so funny this article. if you look at the silhouettes of those Bernie supporters in that image, you can almost see them holding chairs end-on. And when Rahm said “We need a nominee who draws them to the Democratic column.” what could they possibly offer average Americans? Nothing but vote-blue-no-matter-who? Incrementalism? Joining the TPP? That’s not gunna do it. You can hear the panic in this article and the fear for their rice bowls. You want to know the funniest bit. If you look at the bottom, they have this article filed initially under-

    ‘Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Warren 2020, Joe Biden, Joe Biden 2020,’

    You have to expand it to see Bernie Sanders as a heading much further down.

    1. Monty

      If Sanders wins without an overwhelming landslide majority to help him out, my suspicion is that the country will be punished economically, in order to teach them a lesson about ‘socialism’. Sanders will be gone in 1 term or less, without backup.

      1. a different chris

        *This*. I worry about this a lot more than I worry about Sanders not getting the Oval Office. I think his odds are better than anybody else in the race to win the nomination. And if Trump is going to lose, Trump will lose. “Socialism” claims won’t save him, he’ll lose because enough people will be totally sick of him and would vote for Snoopy if that was the alternate.

        But then the real problems begin.

          1. pretzelattack

            heard that. i’m also worried about how they will sabotage a bernie presidency. that will absolutely happen, and the dems and repubs will find unity once again.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > how they will sabotage a bernie presidency

              Trump was only faced with a professional services strike.

              Sanders will be faced with a professional services strike and a capital strike (not to mention constant sabotage from party operatives).

              Why you need (a) an organizer-in-chief and (b) immediate delivery of universal concrete material benefits, by executive order if need be.

        1. Monty

          You think the wealthy elite who pull the strings in this country, and around the world, will go along quietly? Look at what happened to Jimmy Carter and multiply it by 100,000. I suspect every trick in the book will be thrown. Stock crash, high interest rates, property crash, a manufactured international energy crisis or 2, terrorism and a refusal to pass any of the legislation he promised to enact.

        2. Altandmain

          The ruling class.

          They are going to do everything in their power to make the Sanders presidency look bad. From trying to induce a recession to trying to make up news.

        3. neo-realist

          Capital Flight from the USA on steroids: Company offices closed en masse, massive outsourcing out of the country, massive layoffs.

          1. inode_buddha

            Like we haven’t already had massive outsourcing and layoffs? Why do people negotiate with extortionists? Good, I say; let ’em leave the country. Maybe we should take the opportunity to revoke their articles of incorporation in the US, and they can re-incorporate elsewhere. After all, it’s a global economy now, isn’t it?

            I’ve never seen the sense of paying first-world prices for products produced in third world countries or working conditions.

            1. Monty

              The way I see it, the US economy is a hollow house of cards, built on implied violence (F16s ICBMs etc) and moral hazard (Fed bailouts). Remove those from the negotiating table, and this economy will quickly become a smouldering crater as all the money goes away. Dust bowl II (aka Preppers delight) with 3x the mouths to feed. MMT only works when foreigners want your worthless paper.

                1. Anthony G Stegman

                  Only if the “controlled” currency has value. Since the US consumes far more than it makes it uses its currency to buy the difference. If the currency is worthless outside the US borders the effect on the economy will be severe.

                  1. BlakeFelix

                    But MMT says it won’t be worthless unless we make it worthless. Which we are heading towards, I think, but MMT also tells you how to stop it and I think that AOC is one of the few talking about that.

              1. inode_buddha

                Yep exactly. And it wasn’t the working class that caused this. Maybe real capitalism will actually happen, and new companies will arise to take their place.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  i stand ready to feed at least some of my neighbors. grew 300+ pounds of tomatoes in a 12′ x 30′ bed last year without even trying that hard…as in i planted on a lark, not having intended to garden last year at all, but to continue “gettin’ ready”(manure, etc)

                  i’ve been leaving “boxes of summer”(canned toms and green beans) at my nearest neighbor’s gate all winter, there’s so much of it.

                  1. inode_buddha

                    Ayup. 300+ lbs of wheat here, 50 lbs of beans. Up and purchased a bunch more. Not worried about water since the Niagara River is in walking distance a mile or so.

      2. Grant

        Trump has said himself that running against socialism is going to be difficult, and I am not sure how the people the socialists want to take on intentionally tanking the economy is going to hurt the socialist and social democratic critique of the present economic system. If Bernie is saying that the rich are screwing us, they would then openly screw us, and we wouldn’t be powerless to point out this obvious reality. It would be one thing if the trajectory we have been on has been a net societal benefit, and if society was in good shape. But, we have given these interests total power and look at the shape of society. It isn’t as if the capitalists have built up a lot of good will. I, personally, think it reminds me of François Mitterrand. He took over on a leftist platform, implemented some of his platform, and the financial markets attacked France. Eric Helleiner has a good background on this in “States and the Reemergence of Global Finance: From Bretton Woods to the 1990s”

        He showed that Mitterrand had options available that he chose not to pursue. The right at the time within the Socialist Party won out and he did do a u turn on policy. Bernie does have to have a comprehensive plan on what to do when, not if, capital tries to make his life hell. But, at the same time, the radical changes we need to deal with the environmental crisis alone are massive, and we don’t have tons of time. If we don’t start pushing in that direction now, it is over. So, a little perspective is needed. The choice moving forward is collective death or a different economic system. I also don’t know what people expect. If we want anything that benefits working people, those in power will fight it as hard as they can. That should be expected. They aren’t going to just roll over, and if people don’t get out and organize, Bernie isn’t going to get anything done. He has said as much and he is right. He isn’t Superman and social movements have to be active. If people support Bernie’s platform, they have to do a lot more than just vote to make it an eventual reality.

        1. Monty

          Interesting. What’s his plan for when capital tries to make his life hell? I haven’t heard about that. It seems like a very tricky situation to me.

          1. Grant

            I don’t know, I shouldn’t know, but if he has one, he sure isn’t going to let people know about it. But, that is why it is important to hire good, progressive (dare I say radical) economists. He has to have plans on how to deal with that, what can be done by executive order, messaging, working with people on the streets. It really isn’t about Bernie the person, it is the things he wants to see come about. It won’t happen with just him, and if we want to solve our largest problems, it will be a fight. Do we want to avoid societal collapse or not? Cause the wet pile of socks that Perez just named to run the DNC with him are leading us to collapse.

          2. Dan

            He’ll obviously be bringing his own monetary team. I don’t know how much of the public banking and other initiatives can be done directly via the executive. I imagine not much. How much pressure can he and his administration bring to bear on the Federal Reserve? I’d like to know more about this too. How do we counteract capital flight?

            1. notabanktoadie

              How do we counteract capital flight? Dan

              Allowing all US citizens (at least) to use the US dollar in account form via debit/checking accounts of their own at the Federal Reserve itself and abolishing ALL other privileges for depository institutions would GREATLY increase the demand for the US dollar.

              E.g. imagine the desperate need by US banks for US dollars as government-provided deposit guarantees are abolished?

              So let’s please stop thinking that government privileges for “the banks” are necessary; they aren’t – except for those with wicked motives.

            2. Amfortas the hippie

              “How do we counteract capital flight?”

              with Capital Controls, of course.
              like FDR.
              i think it’s instructive that i have only heard strangers use the words “capital controls” when the Laroucheites were handing out their ink-wet rags on Montrose in west houston, 30 years ago.
              I’ve carried such terms in my head, ever since.
              the corps(e) need a damned fence around them, although i do not know how much of a fence a president can do on his own.
              nevertheless, i look forward to the fight.
              and, like others have mentioned, i think capital flight would just prove us right…that the lords of capital are selfish little asses and can’t be trusted with a hole in the head…and that they are in no way “Heroes of the Republic”, nor shining examples of exemplary humanness, to be emulated and lauded.

          3. False Solace

            We know a crash is coming either way. In such circumstances which president would it be easiest to survive under? I’m going with Bernie. Plus, a crash would actually make it easier to pass stimulus.

            The 10% hate Bernie regardless. What are they going to do, screech louder?

      3. chuck roast

        Wait, wait…Trump is the Socialist! The rest of us are the capitalists! This should be Bernie’s take on it in case Trump is dumb enough to debate him. And he is not that dumb.

        Trump and his buds’ exercise collective ownership of just about everything, and if their little collective has missed something, you can be sure that they are in the acquisition phase. This is Bernie’s trump card. Stand el Douche on his head. He is the socialist and we all need his kind of socialism. How can you go bankrupt multiple times and still be a billionaire? Why if you are a socialist of course! How can you go bankrupt once and wind up living in a camper on the Deschutes Parkway? Why if you are a capitalist of course!

        Capitalism for the plutocrats! Socialism for the rest of us!

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        If Sanders supporters have spare energy/time/money left over from doing the main work of supporting Sanders . . . they might start planning on how to physically survive the hyperdepression which Sanders’ opponents will engineer for the country. The Sanderblockers would do their best to push America fast and hard into a mixture of Venezuelan chaos and disarray mixed with some Cuban “Special Period” deprivation . . . so they can say ” Look what Sanders did!”

        Sanderbackers and thinkers might start thinking about storing up a year’s worth of food, water, money, clothes, etc. etc. People might want to dig out their ” How to Survive Y2K” literature, because the Sanderblockers will try to create for-real the kind of conditions which we were afraid that “Y2K” might create by accident. Sanderbackers might want to think about how a pro-Sanders voterbase of a hundred million or so can physically survive and function through a year or more of ” Y2K ultra-mega-hyperdepression” . . . because that is what the anti-Sanders community will engineer on purpose in this country if we can elect Sanders.

        Which is all the more reason to elect Sanders . . . . to make the Sanderblockers reveal themselves even more openly for what they are.

    2. Woodchuck

      What made me laugh about this article is the title. “They let him get away with murder”. Actually murder is one of the things I’m pretty sure Bernie WOULDN’T want to do. But the people in power, be it rep or dem, have been getting away with ACTUAL murder for so freaking long it’s ridiculous. Assassinations left and right to “secure our democracy”, wars for made-up reasons, that’s all fine and good, nobody should get too much heat over it. If anything, supporting each and every war is a positive for many people.

      But suggesting to pay for health care and college without spelling out the entire plan each and every time? He’s getting away with MURDER!

      1. Mel

        Speaking of Rovian tactics — attacking opponents for their strengths. I seem to recall from dubya days the complementary tactic of smearing enemies with Rove’s side’s own weaknesses. The defense (“No I’m not — that’s you”) could be derided as being childish copycatting.

    3. JCC

      I enjoyed every paragraph of that article and sent it on to friends. The fear, backed up only by innuendo and, dare I say it, pure unadulterated bulls**t (“we’ve left him alone”), was amazingly transparent.

      1. inode_buddha

        It’s going to be wonderful to hear all those rice bowls shattering all across the land in November…. like a sonic boom. These sociopaths have had absolutely no regard for the last 40 years…. its going to leave one hell of a vacuum

    4. Grant

      It is kind of amazing, infuriating. These people have been in power for decades, not people like Bernie, and look at the shape of the country. Look at what Rahm did to Chicago. And these worthless, corrupt hacks are going to warn us about who to vote for? They win primaries because they throw the party machine and their friends in the media behind corrupt, right wing candidates and those candidates outspend their opponents on the left by a wide margin. It is systematic corruption that maintains their power. They don’t fear Bernie, or the left as much as they fear democracy and giving power to working people and the poor. I don’t believe for a second that if they have to choose, that they would pick Bernie over Trump. They wouldn’t. They are in Trump’s class and agree with him on issues far more than Bernie. Their power within the system is entirely based on their connections to the Democratic Party, and its capacity to sell access to politicians that can pass laws. Bernie wins and that goes away. This is simply them doing what is in their interest and pretending that they care about others, when their records and policies show otherwise. Empty, soulless people, and I am itching to take them on. Most of them have no societal worth outside of that party.

  10. Wukchumni

    I’ve been clearing the all cats & no cattle ranch of dead & downed wood for about a decade, and the before & after photo in this link of an area in the frontcountry of Sequoia NP that has been cleared, is very typical of what you see all over the place here, lots of dry fuel waiting for its chance to ignite. The sprawling dead oak in the photo was rigor mortis for a decade or 2 and was mechanically removed, is about par for the course.

    Sequoia NP plans to be very aggressive with prescribed burns this summer/fall, including a nearly 1,000 acre one in Mineral King.

    “For over 50 years we have successfully reintroduced prescribed burns in this ecosystem,” said John Ziegler, fire management officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon. “By using scientific parameters and research, these projects don’t just reduce the risk from unwanted high-severity wildfires, but help to ensure the sustainability of our landscapes for generations to come.”

    Each year, managers prepare an Annual Fuels Treatment Plan that lists all the approved prescribed burns and mechanical fuel reduction projects that will help the parks accomplish goals. In all, for 2020 there are eight planned projects totaling more than 3,000 acres. Nearly 200 acres will be focused on mechanical thinning treatments to reduce hazardous fuel build up around parks’ headquarters and Grant Grove areas.

    Depending on weather and fuel conditions, the earliest projects planned for this year are the 244-acre Cedar Central Prescribed Burn and the 20-acre Ash Mountain Prescribed Burn, which will be done in the spring, conditions permitting. Additionally, the parks are planning for the 470-acre Tharp’s Prescribed Burn, 669-acre Lost Grove Prescribed Burn, 562-acre Park Ridge Prescribed Burn, and the 941-acre Deer Creek Prescribed Burn later in the year.

    1. Phacops

      Nice to see prescribed burns used to keep the forest healthy. Good for animals too.

      When I had lived in the Chicago area, and during the 80s when there was much movement towards restoration and enhancement of the remaining natural areas, it was recognized that not only were burns necessary to keep the tall-grass prairie healthy, the wonderful oak savanna to the West of the Des Plaines river suffered unless the understory burned periodically.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve noticed something interesting when i’m doing burn piles, in that the birds within earshot get really talky on account of the smoke and flames, probably a natural reaction to something that would normally set off alarm bells in their minds, as in Danger Will Robinson!

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      I’d love to burn our place…and the widow’s next door(because it would make sense, and we collaborate on such things any way)….clear out the undergrowth, especially the beebrush, which burns like lighterfluid, and knock back some of the weeds and cacti so we could come in with fresh native pasture seed.
      but it’s expensive to hire the VFD, and get the permits…let alone to hire a private bunch to do it, like some of the bigger ranchers do.
      not too long ago, when there was still a working farm culture out here, everyone would get together, with their respective field hands, for such endeavors.
      but i don’t have the water out to the pastures yet(bangs head on mom’s wall), and don’t have a tractor, or any of the equipment we’d need for such a dangerous activity.
      so it will instead be a temporary foray into goat raising, again,lol…and carry any surplus animals to the barrios to sell direct.

  11. pretzelattack

    centrist democrats tormented by looming possibility that the gravy train will go off the tracks, will no one heed their tragic plaint? sackclosth and ashes time, and in the distance, the sound of tumbrels.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Deal of the century offers non-sovereign Palestinian state”

    I heard about a similar deal offered to the Palestinians years ago. They would have no fixed borders, no military, Israel would control all access in and out the place, they would have no say in customs, no say in their economic development, no control of the fishing off their coast-line but it had one sticking point. I believe they have oil reserves off shore and the Israelis did not know how the Palestinians could sell access without getting money for it.

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman joining leaders of other Gulf States may pledge funding but with Saudi Arabia’s economic troubles, good luck in getting it. They will never see more than a fraction and probably a lot would be bespoke for such as funding Wahabbi mosques & schools and perhaps beach resorts for Saudi & Gulf State Arabs to go holiday at. Even if they did get some money, the Israelis would make it law that any money that they had be spent on Israelis goods for whatever price they set. So, Pentagon prices. $435 hammers and $784 spanners anyone?

    1. RMO

      “Deal of the century offers non-sovereign Palestinian state”

      So… it offers, essentially, less than nothing. Why am I not surprised?

      1. Duck1

        “Which shell is the pea under?”
        Trump and Netenyahu present the Deal of the Century to gaping MSM stenographers.

  13. dbk

    The Jacobin article on the (intentional) underdevelopment of rural America does a good job of pulling together many seemingly-disparate small and not-so-small rural misfortunes into an overarching narrative. Plenty of data – statistics too.

    One of the better summaries I’ve read about the inability (?) of IdPol Dems and economics-focused Dems to accept that it’s all interrelated:

    “Both schools of thought failed to grasp the different ways in which economic suffering, racism, and community decline have interacted to prepare the ground for authoritarian populism. They also grossly underestimated the human toll of the catastrophe engulfing rural areas and small towns, overlooking the “social pathologies of collapse” that have become ever more glaring.”

    This seemed obvious after the election – that it took professional politicians until after November 2016 to even start grasping what had happened seems a bit much. That they knew it but had nothing to propose would seem about right.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “This Shimmering Black Rock Is a 2,000-Year-Old Exploded Brain”

    The article says that the victims had their brains explode due to the heat and pressure of the pyroclastic flow. That could be good news that. With their brains destroyed, we do not have to worry about a wave of zombie Roman Pompeiians arising then.

    1. John C.

      The exploded Pompeiin brain makes me think of some youtube videos I once saw, in which someone (I guess on one of the Hawaiian islands) would place an unopened can of Chef Boy-r-Dee ravioli (and other canned food items) in the path of slowly advancing lava. Silly, yet I couldn’t turn away. Watched it over and over. The can starts to steam and then just pops open, and bubbling, cooked ravioli spills forth….

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        when i was a kid, we were always camping out in the woods, staying up all night to be hellions and playing with fire.
        once, a can of ranch style beans accidentally got knocked into the fire(we were jumping over it, of course), and no one noticed.
        3am, most of us asleep, and BOOM! flaming ranch style beans raining down all around us as we scurried over each other to get away.
        good times.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Once on a trip with fellow students in the San Juan Islands, we collected quantities of oysters off the rocks to roast in our campfire – the easiest way to open them. It still irks me that we didn’t recognize and didn’t gather the Olympia oysters, a delicacy.

          Anyway, we thought it would be a good idea to put the shells in the fire. Guess what? They go off like large firecrackers, spraying the area with fragments of shell. Fortunately nobody got hurt, but it was a memorable experience – over 50 years ago, and still vivid.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Leaked Documents Expose the Secretive Market for Your Web Browsing Data”

    That was Avast that does that? I use to use it years ago. But then came the Edward Snowden revelations so I pulled the on it and switched to Kaspersky.

  16. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Column: That Wells Fargo accounts scandal was even worse than you can imagine

    The article mentions that the practice of opening phony accounts started as early as 2002 which made me think of something I learned about that same year while working for WAMU. I worked in the WAMU corporate headquarters building in Seattle from 2001-2002 as a teller. Our branch manager was also a corporate VP. This was right in the middle of a huge acquisition phase for WAMU. Our base pay was quite low – not really enough to live on alone but WAMU had a nice monthly bonus system and if the branch met certain metrics, the bonus was often 50% of our base pay.

    The bonus was based on a few different things. One was how many mortgages the branch originated which placed a big incentive to push mortgages on people who may not have been able to handle them. We were doing so many mortgages that the tellers, most of whom were straight out of high school with no mortgage experience, were sometimes tasked with helping to process the mortgage paperwork. And we all know how that business turned out for WAMU.

    Another metric was new accounts. As tellers, we didn’t open accounts but we were tasked with marketing products to customers and were supposed to give a spiel to anyone who walked in about improved checking accounts, etc. and direct them to the new accounts desk if they took the bait. We were required to track how many recommendations we made on a monthly basis and our bonus was dependent on making a certain number. This particular metric was new in 2002. The problem was that most of our customers were people who worked in the 50 story building that contained the branch – we saw the same people every day and they definitely did not want to hear a sales pitch every time they came down to make a simple account transfer or get $20 out to pay for their lunch. When I pointed out to a manager that I really needed the bonus each month in order to pay my bills, but that the only way to meet it was to annoy the heck out of the customers, he looked at me and said “I think you’re smart enough to figure out what to do.” In other words, just make it up. I don’t know what metrics the new accounts people had to get their bonus, but I never heard any of them say they were ever pressured to open up unauthorized accounts at WAMU.

    That being said, one day in 2002 our branch manager told us that WAMU, despite record profits in 2001, would be cutting the bonuses of rank and file employees like myself in 2002 and putting a cap on them no matter how well the branch did. When I asked why, he told us that every year industry executives get together every year and compare notes and it was determined that WAMU was paying out higher wages than the rest of the banking industry and they wanted to be more in line with the industry average. I’ve always wished I had a tape recorder going at that meeting because I believe that is pretty much the textbook definition of collusion.

    Anyway, based on this corporate VP’s admission, it seems very possible to me that this practice of pressuring employees to open new accounts was discussed industry-wide at the time and Wells Fargo decided to take it to another level than what had been going on at WAMU.

    Opening up fraudulent accounts is pretty bad, but industry-wide collusion to keep wages down and profits up is even worse. Maybe someone ought to take a look into that as I’d be very surprised if this practice of executives from different companies comparing notes had actually stopped.

    1. diptherio

      It’s been going on forever.

      “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” ~Adam Smith

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. there’s even a milk cartel.
        if you ain’t in the club, selling your organic, grassfed milk is very much like selling weed in the alley.
        My milk lady friend actually met her customers in the one grocery store’s parking lot for the hand-off…just as a quiet statement on the absurdity of it all.
        I’m a Black Market Farmer, too, and consider it a marketing advantage.

  17. Wukchumni

    Warren Buffett Is One of the World’s Richest Fossil-Fuel Billionaires Bloomberg
    I knew there was something lurking under that folksy facade of flesh & bone, who would’ve guessed it was 92 octane?

  18. John Wright

    Perhaps this belongs under the Guillotine watch:
    Yesterday I delivered the payment for pool service for the property owner who happens to serve as a key person in the impeachment trial in the Senate. The accountant wrote the check from the other side of the continent from the property. It reminded me that I had just seen the person’s name also the weekend before: at Jeff Bezos’ party following the meeting of the Alfalfa Club. Forbes describes the Club and the attendees at the party: The brief history of the Alfalfa Club shows the identity politics of the Democratic Party but the joint class interests of the Democratic and Republican elite. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s presence at the Bezos’ party shows the common ties between the Trump administration and Bezos.

    At the same time, the Trump administration’s food stamp cuts seem prepared to escalate the deaths of despair: The comparison of the Alfalfa Club/Bezos Party and food stamp cuts reveals the extent of the economic bifurcation and the governmental policies, Republican and Democratic, that have brought about these principles.

    It seems to me that the Sanders Campaign could use these images, the parallel of Bezos’ party that had welcomed the Clinton’s and Obama’s and the Bush’s, and the cut in food stamps to powerfully portray the contrast and government policy. I’m sure the food list at the Bezos party and estimates of its costs would exist somewhere.

    Nice to know that Jerod and Jeff live in the same neighborhood!

    1. marym

      Trump administration cuts to Social Security disability benefits

      [TheTrump administration’s proposal] would cut Social Security disability benefits by $2.6 billion over 10 years… It would require millions of beneficiaries to re-prove their disability — and navigate a complex web of red tape and paperwork — every two years. Hundreds of thousands of people could lose benefits even though their condition has not changed.

      …the administration’s own accounting [found] that the new policy would cost nearly as much to administer ($1.8 billion) as it would “save” over 10 years by taking away survival benefits.

  19. Mikel

    Re: Impeachment / Bolton

    With Bolton’s “attack Iran” mindset, it’s enough to make one wonder, just wonder, if Trump isn’t getting a signal that impeachment is on as long as war with Iran is off.

  20. Bill Carson

    File this under Syraquistan. Possibly big news.

    U.S.A.F. E-11A Crashes in Afghanistan.

    The Air Force has just four of these aircraft, all operating in Afghanistan, and they provide mission critical communications links between different communications platforms in the field. Basically, a wi-fi in the sky, operating 24/7 over Afghanistan.

    If this plane went down as the result of a mechanical failure, that is one thing. But if it was shot down, that’s another thing entirely. Perhaps the resistance is growing tired of all the bombing.

    US Airstrike Total in Afghanistan Hits New Record in 2019

      1. Bill Carson

        Indubitably. I’ve been monitoring the news (read: rumors) about this. More outlets are picking up the ‘story.’ The CIA has issued a soft denial. (Brought to you by the government that claimed there were no ‘casualties’ in the Iranian rocket attack.) There seem to be very few pictures of d’Andrea to start with, so I doubt we will have a picture confirming that he is still alive.

        Regardless of whether that target was on board, this appears to be an important development. I’m sure the DoD and AF will show us ‘proof’ that there was a mechanical failure, but the doubts will be hard to squelch.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          If the CIA man was indeed on the aircraft it is possible that he was offered up to Iran as a “we’re all even now” gesture. Nothing is as it seems to be. Never forget that. Never.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Apparently the details are very controversial. My wife found a lot about it over on Information Clearing House – sorry no link, haven’t gotten there yet. Some claim a very high-up CIA official, responsible for the strike on Soleimani, was on the plane. Pure speculation: did Iran supply their enemies in the Taliban with anti-aircraft weapons?

      I didn’t really think it was over with that rocket attack on the base in Iraq.

  21. DJG

    From the article about CIA waterboarding, and so-called Dr. Mitchell, and so-called Dr. Jessen:

    [Mitchell] He also conceded he and Jessen were beginning to feel a bit exposed. They realised they were the only ones in the interrogation room not wearing a mask, and the torture was being videoed.

    “I wanted [the station chief] on tape,” Mitchell said. “My mental calculus was that Dr Jessen and I were the only ones on that tape.”

    Torture as office politics. These slobs are no better than Eichmann. Time for some jail time.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I believe torture is a hanging offense. Nuremberg, you know.

      Not that I believe in capital punishment – but legally, there are exceptions.

      Just to state the obvious: he’s testifying that he knew full well he was committing a major crime.

  22. a different chris

    OMG!! Chipotle has been hit with a 1.3 million… that’s MILLION dollar fine in Massachusetts for Child Labor laws!! Oh. My. God. They had 13000 citations believe it or not and… and…. wait a moment?

    1.3million/13000 is $100 bucks a citation. That means it cost them a whopping extra days pay for every kid. And it’s no doubt tax deductible. Hey, it’s a business expense.

    Sigh. Never mind.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    The problem with the China #Coronavirus: Fat Tails and Naive Empiricism a la Cass Sunstein/S Pinker”

    The key phrase is “fat-tailed process,” but Wikipedia’s attempt at a definition was just as opaque as the phrase itself.

    I THINK it means loaded to the extremes, one or both (imagine a bell curve: it would be low inthe middle, high at one extreme or the other). If I still don’t get it, please chime in.

    As it stands, the article is incomprehensible without considerable knowledge of statistics. Does it make sense if you DO know statistics?

    Edit: who is meant to reach and influence? It appears to be standing on the panic button.

    1. ewmayer

      Reasonable working definition of a fat-tailed distribution for the non-stats-expert is “one for which the probability of statistical outliers is significantly higher than accounted for by most of the models being applied to the system in question.”

      The Gaussian (bell curve) exp(-x^2) is the classic case – said exponential decays extremely rapidly once one gets more than a few standard deviations away from the peak and this distribution is used in many models where it has no business being applied, simply because it is well understood whereas complex real-world systems are not. So, as so often occurs with the dismal ‘science’ of economics, the so-called experts prefer to work with well-understood mathematical models which don’t apply to system X rather thn grapple with the real-world messiness and complexity of system X. This justifies the characterization of such activity as a kind of secular religion, since a classic aspect of religious belief is the preference for neat just-so stories to real-world complexity and ambiguity.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “Oh, look.

    More enormous anti-government protests in #Paris, #France, today.”

    And Macron isn’t budging (Pinera in Chile is at least throwing bones to the demonstrators.) What does it take?

    I assume a lot of French people are asking themselves what’s the next step – and the same consideration is the reason the police are “too violent.”

    This and Italy are the very heart of the EU. Maybe Brexit isn’t looking so bad.

    1. HotFlash

      Def put a damper on turnout, eh? Channeling Pres Trump: “Wuhan virus is a hoax invented by China.”

      1. ewmayer

        Nah, you need to up your Trump-impression game – how about

        “Wuhan coronavirus is ANOTHER TOXIC CHINESE IMPORT – bad news!!!”

  25. FluffytheObeseCat

    Thank you for the link to Robert Wright’s piece at He did an unusually good job of elucidating & sourcing the disdain for Glenn Greenwald in our political media-consultant classes:

    It’s because Greenwald doesn’t subordinate ideological fidelity to tribal fidelity that the major American political tribes view him with suspicion….

    Pretty much the same reason why they despise Sanders. Both men are characterized by their habitual insubordination and lifelong disobedience to the status quo. The very reasons I have immense respect for both of them.

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