Links 2/3/2020

Scientists find record warm water in Antarctica, pointing to cause behind troubling glacier melt Phys.org

Risk of ‘stranded assets’ from 2025, new oil report warns EU Observer

Uber looks to radical financing to fund driverless cars FT. “Car fleet investment trusts would establish autonomous vehicles as new asset class.”

Which pot strain works best for gambling? Vegas budtenders share their tips LA Times. News you can use!

Mastercard chief says breaking up global payments system is ‘stupid’ FT

Brexit

Europe Can’t Afford to Alienate the UK Der Spiegel

Nissan drafts plan to double down on UK under hard Brexit FT

Is everything OK over there, Britain? Have you tried turning the UK off and on again? ISPs, financial orgs fall over in Freaky Friday of outages The Register

#2019-nCoV

Wuhan Coronavirus Looks Increasingly Like a Pandemic, Experts Say NYT. “The virus’s most vulnerable target is Africa, many experts said. More than 1 million expatriate Chinese work there, mostly on mining, drilling or engineering projects. Also, many Africans work and study in China and other countries where the virus has been found.”

Coronavirus Concerns Spur Nigerian Authorities to Close Chinese Market in Abuja VOA

Coronavirus freezes return of China’s legions of migrant workers FT

The Pandemic of Xenophobia and Scapegoating Time

* * *

‘The results look good so far:’ Thai doctors tout promising treatment for Wuhan coronavirus Fortune. Waiting for journal publication.

Small Weapons Are the Most Potent in Virus Fight Bloomberg

Early evaluation of the Wuhan City travel restrictions in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak MedArxiv. From the abstract: “By combining epidemiological and human mobility data we find that the travel ban slowed the dispersal of nCoV from Wuhan to other cities in China by 2.91 days (95% CI: 2.54-3.29). This delay provided time to establish and reinforce other control measures that are essential to halt the epidemic.” However, the so-called Wuhan travel ban gave those who could leave plenty of time to do so.

China coronavirus: labs worldwide scramble to analyse live samples Nature

* * *

Virus threatens U.S. companies’ supply of Chinese-made parts and materials WaPo

Vietnam moves to block coronavirus risk to supply chain Nikkei Asian Review

* * *

Coronavirus forces world’s largest telework experiment Japan Times

Increased social distance in action:

So from atomized neoliberal individualism we go to… even more atomized neoliberal individualism.

* * *

The Novel Coronavirus Originating in Wuhan, China: Challenges for Global Health Governance JAMA

Top WHO official says it’s not too late to stop the new coronavirus outbreak STAT

China?

Chinese history Mekong Review

Syraqistan

US demands more from Taliban on ceasefire before deal AP

Egypt-Israel gas line attacked by unidentified assailants – report Jerusalem Post

Iran not sharing evidence from airline crash with Ukraine after audio leak: Iran official Reuters

Trump’s Iran Strategy Isn’t Working as Well as He Thinks Defense One

Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of helping Epstein, reportedly hides in Israel Jerusalem Post. Oh.

Duque weaker than ever after Colombia’s radical power shift Columbia Reports

Chile Congress Passes Tax Bill to Fund Post-Riots Social Program. Bloomberg. About those “post”-riots:

Chilean Protest Murals Harvard Library

Impeachment

The final impeachment vote is near. Here’s a look at the big week ahead CNN

Democrats’ Dubious Impeachment Subtext of Treason Michael Tracey, RealClearPolitics

It’s crucial to emphasize that this is the first impeachment in American history where foreign policy has played a central role. As such, we now have codified by way of these impeachment articles a host of impossibly dangerous precedents, namely: 1) The U.S. is in a state of war with Russia, a nuclear armed power; 2) the sitting president committed treason on behalf of this country with which the U.S. is in a state of war; 3) the president lacks a democratic mandate to conduct foreign policy over the objections of unelected national security state bureaucrats.

Is the reality of what was done here going to set in any time soon?

You say “unelected national security state bureaucrats” like that’s a bad thing!

Schiff: ‘Nothing’ Democrats could have ‘done differently’ in impeachment probe The Hill

Trump Transition

1 big thing: Trump’s sense of invincibility Axios. After hubris, nemesis…

2020

In Iowa, anxiety and unpredictability cloud caucus finish AP

Our Famously Free Press

Dear Netflix: Please Label Propaganda Clearly, At Least Forbes (Furzy Mouse). From October, still germane.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Global Satisfaction with Democracy 2020 (PDF) Bennett Insitute for Public Policy, Cambridge University

Why Democrats share the blame for the rise of Donald Trump Robert Reich (!), Guardian

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Google Maps Hacks Simon Weckert. “99 second hand smartphones are transported in a handcart to generate virtual traffic jam in Google Maps.” This is awesome.

Hiding in plain sight: activists don camouflage to beat Met surveillance Guardian

Imperial Collapse Watch

Costliest U.S. Carrier Isn’t Ready to Defend Itself, Tests Show Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Any Child Who Dies of Hunger Is a Murdered Child Daily Beast

The Primary Mechanism Of Your Oppression Is Not Hidden At All Caitlin Johnstone, Medium

Marcescence: Why Some Trees Keep Their Leaves in Winter Weather Underground

Spider biologist denies suspicions of widespread data fraud in his animal personality research Science

Why Is Everybody So Damn Angry? Who.What.Why (Re Silc).

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

Leveling up my cat game!

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.

174 comments

    1. human

      Vince Foster.

      She could make it two firsts (or three, or more depending on counted events) to the complete embarrassment of the American public.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Sorry, I did click the link. Actually, the article makes more sad than anything.

        A bit of historical cluelessness. FDR was welcoming the hatred of his fellow rich autocrats who objected to his New Deal and the efforts to save the United States from that whole fascism and/or civil war thing. Does Rachel Maddow think her efforts to maintain the plutocracy/kakistocracy is the same thing? Or is Bernie Sanders the new Vladimir Lenin or Joseph Stalin?

        A talented woman who has good reasons for fighting President Trump and the Republican Party, but who, like so many others refuses to see the reasons for Trump’s accession and Hillary Clinton’s loss aside from ascribing racism and sexism to the Deplorables. She could fight with the truth, but chooses to use lies instead. Her own efforts merely strengthen President Trump and the national plutocracy.

        Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Why not? It’s time for a woman to break the glass ceiling as a democratic party running mate!”-half of Mother’s devotees upon hearing the news.

      Would anyone really be surprised to hear this?

      Reply
      1. Eureka Springs

        Geraldine Ferraro…. after thirty years of having glass shards removed from that long shattered ceiling.

        Reply
        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          Thank you. I was wondering how someone could completely lack any historical knowledge, especially very recent historical events, then remembered what country I was in.

          Reply
            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              My opinion of “liberals” has become so low I would assume “Ferraro” is a bit too ethnic for the half of Mother devotees who recognize the name to be counted.

              Reply
              1. Toshiro_Mifune

                I had assumed that either the writer of the article and/or Clinton were stating… It’s time for a woman to break the glass ceiling as a democratic party running mate . It is all too believable that either would have forgotten about Ferraro.

                Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            You can see why I would not be surprised if half of “Mother’s devotees” would jump to that conclusion. I thought it was on the nose.

            Reply
          2. russell1200

            Maybe she read William Gibson’s novel “Agency” and discovers that if she had won the election, she would have stopped WW3.

            So she has pseudo-history on her side as well. LOL

            Of course, this WW3 emergency hasn’t occurred within the main timeline. I seriously doubt it was intentional by Gibson, but I find the idea that she would be involved in a threatened WW3, that hasn’t occurred with Trump’s victory, entirely plausible. I particularly like the parts where Gibson sites that Clinton still has a functional State Department as a good thing.

            Reply
            1. lyman alpha blob

              She should read Neal Stephenson’s SevenEves where the Clinton-esque character comes very close to wiping out the entire human race due to her own selfishness.

              Reply
          3. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, TM.

            It was the same in the UK over the summer and autumn as the UK version of Clintonites, who also worship the Clintons, banged the drum for Harriet Harman to be speaker of the Commons and ignored Betty Boothroyd. It would appear the BBC and Guardian do not employ fact checkers.

            Reply
        2. George Phillies

          And before her, limiting myself to female candidates for Vice President who received one or more electoral votes, my good friend Antonia Nathan.

          Reply
    3. Woodchuck

      Assuming she would be a running-mate for Biden and he wins, I would seriously start having doubts about his chances of surviving the full 8 years.

      Reply
        1. John D.

          Yeah, but in this scenario, Hillary’s liable to sneak into his bedroom one night and smother him with a pillow.

          Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        There’s also the possibility of a Kerry-Chelsea ticket combining both of their talents in one, ‘ineptotism’.

        Reply
    4. WheresOurTeddy

      She’s worse than Tom Brady needing to be in my face during the Super Bowl every year whether his team makes it or not.

      Reply
      1. p coyle

        i have to admit, i don;t know how tom brady got his face in during the big game. i would have to assume some sort of advertisement. (no teevee in my house). but i would bet it was filmed before the playoffs even started, you know, back when tom brady had a 96% chance to be the winning quarterback in the super bowl.

        Reply
  1. Donald

    The whowhatwhy interview was amazingly obtuse in some respects. The underlying message was that on a material economic level everything is fine, but people feel alienated from the elites. The interviewee at tge end looks back at the good old days when a lowly bureaucrat could walk into Kissinger’s office on a whim.

    What little bits of insight there are in that piece are buried under a claim that people have gone nuts when they never had it so good. They claim we need new elites and the current ones are in a bubble, but the current elites could just as easily read this as a recipe for trying to be more “ open” while still thinking ordinary people are behaving in a totally irrational way.

    It’s exactly the sort of deep thinking I would expect to see in the NYT Sunday Review.

    Reply
    1. Donald

      My last sentence about the NYT Sunday Review wasn’t clear. It didn’t appear there. But it was the sort of piece I would expect to see there— a big thumb sucking piece that portrays populists as crazy folk who have nothing material to complain about beyond a sense that the elites are separated from them. It’ really just the Information Age creating a new way of thinking and interacting, but there is no trace, no hint, that there might be some substantive reasons for people to be upset.

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Perhaps it’s the interview format but I though the guy was mostly just babbling. He doesn’t seem willing to acknowledge that the decline in respect for government and of honesty from government was in many ways the result of a concerted plan and political movement as represented by the Powell memo and big business. The internet has little to do with it. People are angry because they should be angry even though, yes, Americans are much better off economically than those in poor countries.

      If he really wanted to get to the root of the problem perhaps this onetime employee of the CIA should say a bit about his former employer. The real issue may not be that the masses are increasingly unruly and out of control but that the ruling classes are. That humility that he thinks they should adopt–like a little lighbulb going off in their heads–isn’t going to come voluntarily.

      Reply
    3. jsn

      If you look at the form of psy ops, the opening gambit is to put something exactly like this piece out well in advance of the expected problem, in this instance the festering legitimacy crisis, to promulgate a benign explanation for that problem, in this instance information overload and fracture.

      That the elites are transparently self dealing was glaringly obvious while Secretary Clinton continued to take in cash through her foundation in the administration who’s Treasurer openly stated he had deliberately”foamed the runway” with homeowners for the benefit of insolvent banks. About the time the author published his book.

      To put this BS out there just after the House avoided the Emoluments Clause in it’s impeachment of a stunningly corrupt president is the icing on the cake.

      Reply
    4. The Historian

      Amazing obtuse in some respects?

      After finally slogging through that article and looking for at least something redeeming – sorry, I didn’t find anything – I realized that it was just a chat between two Ivory Tower types who can only see the world from on high – much like pre-WWI British aristocrats trying to solve the world’s problems by talking only to each other.

      Gurri claims he is a researcher? Well, perhaps a real researcher would actually go and talk to the people he’s supposedly researching to find out why they are angry instead of just going to conferences and talking to other people just like himself. Perhaps he’d find out that things are not so rosy for people actually living in Chile or France – that perhaps they live with a great deal more stress and uncertainty than he does, even though they have cars and laptops and cell phones just like him. Perhaps he’d find out that their economies really are not the same as his – what a shock that would be to his thinking!!!

      Reply
      1. Watt4Bob

        In his book, Gurri argues that the digital revolution would, by transforming the information space, enable the public to participate more and more in politics.

        Gurri isn’t doing analysis, he’s doing disinformation.

        If he was doing analysis, he’d understand, like the rest of us, that we’ve been priced out of participation in politics, we have been relegated to the sidelines, and our opinions and anger have no political outlet, let alone impact.

        The 10% divide the spoils of their efforts, which means what the 1% leave on the table, and there is almost nothing left for the 90%, who are left to squabble over the reason we’re so neglected, and alienated.

        And this is where Gurri comes in, he’s the guy whose job it is to convince us that there’s no reason to be so angry.

        So I think the economics plays a part in the elite interpretation of the revolt of the public. I am way less sure when you look at what the people themselves say. They’re angry at the elites for very different reasons. They’re angry because the elites are too distant, they’re too far away. It’s supposed to be a democracy and they’re too distant, and there’s some truth to that.

        Gurri is inviting us to believe that part of the problem is the ‘elites‘, (who correctly understand that we’re angry about the economic sh*thole their policies have left us in), are wrong, and that we’re really much more angry about how ‘distant‘ they are.

        I’ve got some news for Gurri, America’s elites are not distant, they’re right here, with their hands in our pockets, looking for our last pennies and we’re wishing they’d emigrate to Mars, or some other far away place too ‘distant’ to allow them to continue robbing us.

        Gurri’s job is to convince us that we can’t believe our lying eyes.

        The cat’s out of the bag, he should start looking for a different job.

        Reply
        1. p coyle

          the ungrateful poors! having accepted their participation trophy, the internet, they continue to insist on maintaining their deplorable “opinions” and “anger.”

          perhaps gurri is just having a snit. his peer group expected us to stare at the screen and eat our fast food and prescription drugs. and cheer for ourselves because we are, because “progress,” enabled “to participate more and more in politics.”

          i am not sure, if this is indeed disinformation on gurri’s part, who he is actually trying to deceive…

          Reply
    5. Krystyn Walentka

      Waiting to listen to this on my ride to Death Valley this morning but I am in Barstow, CA right now and your comment struck a chord because if the idiots at the NYT have ever been to Barstow they would know why people are angry. This place is an imperialistic economic outpost, and if there was an American version of MadMax it should begin right here.

      Places like this do not exist for the people who live here, they exist for the larger economy. They exist for the people who work at the NYTs.

      Reply
    6. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      This exactly what I thought as I read the piece. I honestly couldn’t finish it when he starting going on about how it’s not about economics. As a former CIA analyst, it explains a lot about the intelligence community’s inability to catch a clue.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The emperor has no clothes story wasn’t about the emperor but the subjects. This guy is just peddling what 1% want to hear and even name checks 1848 which they vaguely remember from 7th grade.

        Reply
    7. Susan the other

      I think he’s trying to say “Don’t throw the good out with the bad.” But he can’t seem to clarify which is which. This little fear is his nemesis. He most certainly doesn’t have a handle on the most critically bad things that have been allowed to exist for far too long. This guy doesn’t have a clue, and the fact that he’s getting this nonsense published means he’s got connections. There’s a reason for that. He doesn’t mention deep widespread American poverty and inequality. Why not? He doesn’t mention the good aspects of China’s “State” Capitalism. Doesn’t wanna discuss any possible political cross-pollination. Why not? He won’t go near Bernie. Nor even Liz. He acts like the neoliberal ideology was really of no significance. He thinks all the bad stuff will die from attrition along with the contentious boomers. He’s not concerned in the slightest about climate change or overpopulation. He’s easily the most boring propagandist ever. “The public refuses to make positive proposals.” Right. He’s clearly deaf and dumb. Information overload? I don’t think so. Maybe reality overload. But whose fault is that? I think this guy’s a creationist. He certainly has no clue about evolution; or the evolution of information. It happens when you have sufficient proximity to rub two brain cells together. If you have two to rub.

      Reply
      1. Watt4Bob

        He’s easily the most boring propagandist ever.

        !

        Being a ‘media analyst‘ will probably do that to a person.

        Reply
    8. Plenue

      Who are all these people who are supposedly angry anyway? Trump supporters? In my experience most people are too depressed and distressed trying to survive to be angry, much less to channel anger in a political way.

      Closely related is the claim that the US is becoming more polarized and tribal. It isn’t. The Republicans and Democrats may be becoming completely irreconcilable with each other, but half the country that could vote doesn’t, and the largest and fastest growing group of voters are independents. Most people are simply checking out on political engagement entirely.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Worthwhile to keep in our minds: writer’s like this is are not stupid, misinformed, living in an ivory or concrete tower. They reflect and support the PTB agenda and mission for the monied people ( and the upper social/ economic class in America). They are disingenuous in their look-over- here and not over there tactics. Propaganda ? Of course…

        Until the dispossessed, impoverished, and for some, desperate people see that the “elite” will keep the propaganda supported by MSM and the PTB and become more cognizant that the world isn’t really going around because of some twisted version of manifest Destiny , then the “elites ” will keep on with their narratives. I do see Sanders as alight in the darkness. Let’s stop dancing as fast as we can…more and more to just to keep from falling off the mery-go- round.

        Reply
      2. lordkoos

        You’re right about the depression and anxiety, but I see plenty of anger out there, and the internet is probably the angriest place of all.

        One of the things that struck me while living in Thailand was the amount of laughter I would hear in comparison to the USA. Thailand has its political divisions to be sure, but the Thai population in general seem happier, not a surprise.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          The internet, especially places like Twitter, is both an echochamber and a loudspeaker. I put limited stock in it representing much about wider society.

          Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “US demands more from Taliban on ceasefire before deal”

    How the might have fallen and Pompeo must know it. I remember the sort of deals being offered in the Bush and Obama Presidency. Under how they would have tried to do things then, this is how a Taliban deal would look like now-

    1) The Taliban agree to give up fighting.

    2) The Taliban recognize the Afghan government as the sole government in Afghanistan.

    3) The Taliban give up all their weapons and all members will register with the government for identification.

    4) The Taliban relinquish all control of any parts of Afghanistan that they occupy.

    When these demands have been met, the US Government agrees to start negotiating with the Taliban.

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Two articles out today put into high relief the state of Empire:

      1. The US negotiating the terms of our surrender to the Taliban after 17 years and $2 trillion;
      2. $428 billion spent *so far* on a jet that can’t fly (F-35), can’t fulfill any of its missions, and doesn’t shoot straight. We got 490 of them for our money, so a mere $874 million apiece. Each one of them has 890 software errors that need fixing so I guess that’s around a million bucks per error.

      But OMG No! we can’t “afford” the most basic health care or to get our kids an education without turning them into lifelong debt slaves.

      Draw your own conclusion. Mine is that the history books will call us T.S.E.E (The Stupidest Empire Evah)

      Reply
  3. Jesper

    About: “Why Democrats share the blame for the rise of Donald Trump
    A couple of things came to mind. One is the difference in the photos of Sanders and of Clinton. Probably the (chosen?) difference is intentional, one is passionate and one is calm to the point of being laid back. The ‘keep calm’ often works but sometimes it provokes the opposite reaction to what might be intended.
    Another thing that comes to mind is this little remark:

    although he didn’t win the popular vote, and had some help from the Kremlin

    ‘Some’ is a vague word. The only way to change that word to ‘no’ (in this case) might be to destroy Kremlin…. Or is there another way?
    & the closing remark:

    authoritarian demagoguery

    well…. The establishment is talking from a position of authority, some people might call what they do authoritarian demagoguery and one of their problems is that they are simply not very skilled. Many of the the ones following and supporting the status quo are just that, followers and supporters of authoritarian demagoguery with not a lot of thinking involved.

    Reply
      1. russell1200

        There was no collusion.

        But the Russians were posting facebook ads and what-not. It’s just highly dubious that they had any influence what-so-ever on the election. When you look at the ads they purchase, they are so banal as to be nothing more than a small drop in an ocean of noise.

        Reply
        1. What?No!

          It’s just highly dubious that they had any influence what-so-ever on the election.

          Can we not just say now that they did not have any influence? What does it take to influence a US election? $100K in facebook ads? Yes it does or no it doesn’t ?

          Reply
                1. Dan

                  I hope Bernie’s campaign uses this at some point, particularly the part where he talks about jobs and infrastructure. That portion speaks directly to a lot of people who are still on the fence between Trump and whomever. The military spending part speaks to a lot of people too, though that can be twisted by the other side since Russia is back in play now, and of course “terrorism” is the never-ending bogeyman. But this is a powerful example of Bernie in action that can be used to highlight the contrast between politicians who tell their constituents one thing and then don’t do anything or actually do the opposite, vs Bernie on the floor actually fighting for people.

                  Reply
        2. Plenue

          Even just going this far is conceding to part of the Russiagate narrative. Just because ‘Russians’ do something doesn’t mean it was done at the behest of the Kremlin. Russia is a country of nearly 145 million people.

          To this day there has been no compelling evidence that the actions of groups like the Internet Research Agency were anything other than a commercial revenue scheme. They ran ads in the hopes of getting clicks. It was an election season, so political ads were some of what they ran (they also ran stuff like both pro- and anti-Beyonce ads). And those political ads were all over the place; not just pro-Trump ads but [Buff} Bernie ads, and ads both for and against Clinton.

          I think the fact that they ran different kinds of political ads is part of why there was a gradual retreat on the claims of what exactly ‘the Russians’ did, from explicit claims that they agitated for Trump to lesser charges they were trying to ‘interfere’ or ‘influence’ US politics.

          Reply
          1. lyman alpha blob

            But there is lots of evidence that our own made in the US of A corporate media went out of its way to give free publicity to Trump but somehow everybody always forgets what Les Moonves gleefully admitted.

            https://fair.org/home/trump-bad-for-america-good-for-cbs/

            Yeah, [Trump’s] getting a lot of free media, but all that’s happening out there, there’s a lot of money in the marketplace, there’s a lot of money in the marketplace….

            They’re not even talking about issues. They’re throwing bombs at each other, and I think the advertising reflects that. Most of the ads are not about issues; they’re sort of like the debates. They’re saying, he did this or he did that. Doesn’t say what I stand for.

            I’ve never seen anything like this, and this is going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say, but bring it on, Donald, go ahead, keep going.

            Reply
        3. Yves Smith

          I see Pleune address this but I feel compelled to underscore his point.

          “The Russians”. Please stop. Even that is unhelpful. “The Russians” do not equal the Russian government.

          Most of the histrionics were about a St. Petersburg troll farm. None of these ads have been connected to anyone official.

          The rest was about the DNC leak to Wikileaks.

          Reply
      2. divadab

        It’s a required declaration of faith a la “I believe in the father, son, and holy ghost”.

        Flipping Democrats are doomed with the filthy delusional corrupt liars in charge. Thx internet for exposing the scurrying cockroaches for what they are.

        Reply
      3. JP

        That would be confusing the conclusion with the collusion. Muller stated that the Russians were actively working to undermine the electoral process of the US but could not find conclusive evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign. I have to agree with Glen Greenwald, Trump is a criminal not a traitor.

        Reply
  4. Wukchumni

    Virus threatens U.S. companies’ supply of Chinese-made parts and materials WaPo

    Finding a replacement for Chinese suppliers would not be easy. Dayco, a maker of engine parts and drive systems in Troy, Mich., said it would need two years to qualify new U.S. suppliers and to secure the needed approvals from its customers to use them.

    Most wristwatches were made in Switzerland and until the fall of France in June 1940, that’s where the English imported them from.

    Wristwatches were a much needed item for soldiers to coordinate attacks, etc. The UK had to come up with it’s own industry in a hurry. They had the urgency of war forcing their hand, er wrist, whereas the issue now is where are the riding lawnmowers, snowblowers, weedwhackers, and other power tools going to come from?

    Reply
    1. inode_buddha

      I think nobody cares about lawn mowers etc. That is not a problem. The problem is where do you get your industrial machinery from. Lathes and mills, robots, chillers, sorters, crushers, ball mills, pumps, gearboxes, drills, etc etc. Right now, what little is left of domestic industry is getting by with re-purposed old machinery, or newer imported stuff. There isn’t anything else. If China refuses to sell, then most of the lights in the US will go out. And it was our own dumb fault. The people who got rich from globalization don’t give a damn since it doesn’t hurt them.

      “Money has no fatherland. Financiers are without patriotism and without decency. Their sole object is gain.” — Napoleon

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        If China refuses to sell, then most of the lights in the US will go out. And it was our own dumb fault. The people who got rich from globalization don’t give a damn since it doesn’t hurt them.

        Yes, it’s a sticky deal keeping up appearances when you depend on somebody else’s platform…

        It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

        Orwell

        Reply
        1. lordkoos

          China makes a huge percentage of the pharmecutical drugs that Americans take. Talk about national insecurity… the Chinese have the US by the nuts in so many ways.

          Reply
      2. Phacops

        Not merely that, but also machine tools – those tools that allow you to create other machines necessary for a manufacturing economy. In my lifetime I’ve seen the USA go from a leader in machine tools to a has-been.

        Even were we to start immediately with a rational industrial policy that mirrors our mercantile goals,it will be a generation before we can recover from the damage done by unregulated trade and if people can be convinced that manufacturing is a worthwhile career. Gotta start by defenestrating the MBAs and cripple the hold that finance/Wall Street has on our activities.

        Reply
        1. Lee

          Speaking of Wall Street, the market is rebounding today. I want some of what they’re smoking.

          If the Coronavirus threat has already stopped spooking them, let’s see how they react to Bernie’s strong showing in the primaries.

          Reply
        2. inode_buddha

          Yep. South Bend Indiana used to be a center of lathe manufacturing. Irony of ironies. All around the Great Lakes, actually…

          like I said, lathes. mills, crushers, ore roasters, pumps, gearboxes, etc etc etc.

          Milwaukee hand tools are made in China. Anything owned by Apex tool group (Crescent, Nicholson, etc etc)

          I’ve spent my life in industry, now 53 yrs old. And what really galls me about it is that those who offshored have the balls to keep charging American prices while using the poorest labor in the world, and then claim that they would have to raise prices if they come back. That is why I personally boycott anyone who has offshored, although my employer cannot do that for business reasons (multi-million dollar maintenance budget)

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            That pricing thing is endemic. I worked for Culligan Corp., the water treatment people, for a while in the early 70s. Water softeners need a valving system to refresh the ion exchange resin, backwash the calcium and magnesium. Culligan originally manufactured the valve bodies that sit atop your water softener out of brass billets, with some 90 machining operations to produce the finished part. They charged $119 (1972 dollars) for that part, reflecting the tooling costs, labor and material, and the cost of sending the parts out to be degreased.

            Then one of their smart people who knew about plastics got them to buy injection molding equipment, to make the valve bodies out of PVC. They sold the machinery that was used for brass bodies, and sank the costs of the molds and injection equipment pretty quickly, because they continued to sell the plastic valve bodies for $119. The unit cost of one of the plastic parts was something like 89 cents for material and a buck or two for labor.

            Nothing new.

            Reply
          2. John Beech

            No offense but you cite handtool makers like Milwaukee while the conversation is about machine tools. So as someone who purports to have made his life in industry your expertise seems shallow because Wells-Index (Muskegon), Clausing (Kalamzoo), and Cincinatti are producing machine tools (lathes and mills) in that neck of the woods. And don’t forget Hardinge (Elmira, NY) and Haas (Oxnard, CA) plus there are many others because these are merely a few of the machine tool makers casting and machining tools in the USA, which I can cite off the top of my head.

            Reply
            1. inode_buddha

              Hardinge is a couple hours drive from me. I do know all about the machine tool makers because I’ve spent my life using them. Such as Monarch, Carlton, LeBlond, etc etc. Columbus-McKinnon is still hanging in there (pun). Miller and Lincoln are still there but getting frayed around the edges.

              My larger point by mentioning milwaukee and other hand tool makers, is that it won’t just be heavy industry that is negatively impacted. Most regular readers are not familiar with all the brand names and former companies.

              Cinccinatti Milacron disappeared years ago, its part of some euro conglomerate now.

              Clausing castings are poured in Spain. Republic Lagun, castings are poured in Spain.

              I will give you, Haas is made in California, not the Great Lakes.

              Reply
              1. JP

                Milwaukee indeed made machine tools. The machine tool division was aquired by Cinccnatti before Milacron. I have a Milwaukee #2 vertical mill. Scraped it in myself against a grade A granite plate. It is almost as accurate as a bridge type jig bore. The virtue of old seasoned castings for rebuilt machine tools is the stability of the cast iron. I have machined castings for Haas. Like a lot of cheaper off shore machine tools the castings are not seasoned and green cast iron creeps and sags. Not so bad in a CNC because it can be compensated to some degree in the software. In the US they used to age the castings for at least a year before machining.

                Reply
            2. inode_buddha

              WTF? Last I checked none of those are made in USA anymore, with the exception of Haas. And even their electronics are all Taiwanese.

              Sourcing parts all over the world and then assembling something here, is not “Made in USA”.

              Brown and Sharpe is a Swiss company now.

              I’m lapping in my own cylinder squares.

              Reply
        3. Montanamaven

          We got rid of “the machines that made the machines”. I’ve been sadly saying that for over 15 years. Germany did not make that mistake. China was buying products like washing machines, etc from them and us until they figured out they could just buy our tool and dye companies, lock, stock and barrel. What fools we were.

          Reply
          1. John Beech

            Can you name three machine tool manufacturers made in the USA? Can you name any? What entitles you to bloviate about that which you know nothing, a keyboard? Good grief, we have many tool makers in the USA! Just off the top of my head I can name Clausing, Wells-Index, Cincinnati, Hardinge, Haas, etc. The real problem is we have folks sharing their opinions and those reading them who forget opinions are like belly buttons, we all have them. What a crock!

            Reply
          2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            I know of a few companies in one particular industry both in Ireland & the UK who outsourced all of their production to China, while abandoning in house design for off the shelf Chinese products. I was informed by the miserable SOB owner of one them who for 5 years I had the displeasure of working for, that for a product he sold for 150 euro cost him 5 Euro to import from a Chinese company, going by the name of ” Wise Unicorn ” situated in Guangdong province which has just reported it’s 1st case of coronavirus – I imagine that he is now getting a bit edgy.

            I met the female owner of this enterprise whose ring bearing a huge ruby flashed almost laser like through the Dublin restaurant we were all sat in.

            Reply
        4. John Beech

          Oh please! The machine that can make itself is the lathe and it’s my opinion the situation is NOT as dire as you would paint it.

          For example, I have a 12×30 Monarch 10EE in our tool room – and – can buy another one just like it (similarly tooled) for less than $150k. More importantly, they can deliver it to us within weeks. These are cast and manufactured, e.g. ‘made in’ Sidney, OH.
          https://monarchlathe.com/products/lathes/toolroom/monarch-ee-series
          . . . and believe me, it’s a lovely piece of iron.

          But wait, you want something big, eh? Well, Cincinnati has a turning center that accommodates 100″ of swing, 480″ centers, and up to 100T (yes, tons). And Cincinnati is located in . . . errr, Cincinatti, OH which last I looked is in the United States.

          You say CNC instead of manual? All of the above offer numeric controlled machines, also. And note; while I can turn to Germany, still one of the world’s premier machine tool makers, the facts are Haas (based in Oxnard, CA) make quite decent CNC lathes in America (and vertical machining centers, too). And really high precision ones, too – think aerospace applications. Moreover, these are just a few of the many non-oriental suppliers that can deliver a Made in USA lathe to my shop floor within weeks to months!

          What about mills? These are made stateside also. For example, Hardinge (Elmira, NY) is in the machine tool business (offering, believe it or not, Bridgeport J-head manual mills, also) and although they recently merged with similarly high quality Swiss tool maker Kellenberger, they continue production in the USA.

          There’s also Wells-Index based in Muskegon, MI who are casting and machining manual milling machines in the USA. There’s also Clausing, of course (located for more than 100 years in Kalamazoo, MI) who are doing the very same thing. And the aforementioned Haas, has very nice CNC mills.

          Bottom line? We have foundries, forges, etc. as well. We’re not making as much stuff in the USA as we once did not because we can’t but because we choose not to. And I would suggest you be careful of what you ask because you might get it.

          Why? Simple; when an economy is dependent on manufacturing, then a slow down becomes VERY painful as compared to one with a strong service element to it like we have. Look at Germany during the next downturn of what our future could be like. They’re on top of the world right now because the world is financing their machine tools and automobiles with cheap money. However, when things turn south, and they will, then they’ll be hurting. So will everybody, but those dependent on manufacturing will be hurting the worst.

          Add to it, you have stupid people, like the liberals who decry manual work such as is performed in Amazon warehouses as dehumanizing. They say, Amazon is a harsh taskmaster. And/or that folks on assembly lines engage in demeaning labor. And/or that folks who engage in sewing occupations are working in sweatshops.

          You’ll find that type of stupidity routinely – right here on NC – where Amazon is frequently a target for ‘abusive’ labor practices (as if giving someone a job were abusive). And remember, folks performing these menial labors are folks who could have availed themselves of a college education for nearly free by going through a community college – and – whom if they had applied themselves, could have obtained scholarships for achieving a baccalaureate degree – but – who for various reason (lazy, stupid, pregnant, whatever) chose instead to screw off and enter the workforce (usually at the tender age of at 18 y/o), e.g. willingly chose to go work in the real world, instead. Now they’re stuck in dead-end jobs but whose fault is that? It’s certainly not mine! However, the real killer is there are people so stupid as to assume a job, especially if it’s of the manual variety, is not in and of itself worthwhile. That it’s somehow abusive . . . and some are right here running this show

          Speaking of labor, this raises the question of people to run these machines, right? It’s my experience there’s no problem getting them if you’re willing to pay what they’re worth ($50-60/hour gets quite decent machinists in the midwest, and $70 gets great people). Basically, it’s my further opinion there’s no shortage of qualified people if you get off your wallet. For example, my shop foreman makes $75/hour and he hires entry level guys beginning at $30 and we promote from within. And while I just own an itty-bitty company, the same holds true up the food chain.

          In closing, and no offense to your theory regarding machine tools manufacturing no longer being based in the USA, but I believe you’re mistaken.

          Reply
      3. polecat

        Don’t forget the face masks .. and any corresponding filter cartridges, gloves, eye protection, suits .. hazmat or otherwise, medical equipement & replacement parts …

        Tis a lot of Chinese inventory, soon to be unobtainium .. that all that glitters couldn’t buy !

        Reply
        1. GF

          How many of our military parts are machined and manufactured in China? How about the guns the military and second amenders use? How about the ammunition for those guns and military small arms ammunition? If anyone knows the answers I would love to know.

          Also, machining parts in China for aircraft carriers and F-35’s sure hasn’t resulted in lower costs.

          Reply
    2. Lee

      In how-to-videos and hand tools will lie our salvation. While you can’t pound a nail over the internet, it can teach you how to do it. Calloused hands will become fashionable—a sexy sign of fitness.

      Red Green: And men, remember, if the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy

      .

      Woodworking with hand tools: https://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/home/

      Hand scything: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osNiBdDbod4

      Back ache free snow shoveling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQkGfqmD8Fc

      Reply
      1. Phacops

        Remember his man’s prayer:
        I’m a man,
        but I can change,
        if I have to,
        I guess.

        But, seriously, I’ve been able to find things online from fixing my Kawasaki Concourse ignition switch issue to finishing off the stem of a cedar strip canoe.

        Reply
        1. Lee

          How do you like the Concourse? I have a Honda 919, which is quite reliable and low maintenance. I too use online videos to do some of my own work on it.

          Reply
          1. polecat

            Wish they would bring back the Honda 90. One could almost hill-climb, at a crawl, up Mons Olympus with one of those things, on a gallon of hydrocarbons … even room under the seat for a spare habitat airlock seal, or even a bag of freezed-dried potatoes.

            Reply
          2. Phacops

            The Connie is a nice ride for touring. Mine is a 2009 and the design has been improved since. Last trip on it was a 3,800 ride to Colorado and back where I mapped out the really twisty roads over mountain passes.

            Reply
      2. inode_buddha

        I thought that stuff was common knowledge. I guess not. I mean, I basically grew up with tools in my hands and school in my head.

        Reply
        1. Janie

          Yard man brought his girl friend’s 19 year old son as a helper one day. I’d swear that boy didnt know which end of the shovel went in the ground. Part of it is growing up in apartments, as he did.

          Reply
          1. polecat

            What ? No shovel app. ??

            I’m shocked !

            People .. youngins included, will quickly learn which end of a shovel means business … should a pandemic get all hot and zoney like. Those trenches don’t dig themselves, you know.

            Reply
  5. farragut

    https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/01/31/how-bernie-sanders-broke-the-democratic-primary/

    “But the more we elect candidates who are better at selling grandiose fantasies than at passing bills or getting things done, the less chance we have of solving our very real problems, or of restoring Americans’ faith in government. Literally anyone can get up on a stage and talk about how they are going to change the world. As voters, we must demand more than that and support candidates who pair an ambitious but realistic agenda with the ability to achieve it. Otherwise, we will continue to be let down by representatives who offer a vision of change they can’t actually fulfill.”

    Another ‘anti-Sanders, pro-incrementalism’ hit piece. Also, convince me the quote above doesn’t reveal the author’s subconscious regrets about & frustration with Obama’s wasted potential.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      If the Democratic party was really capable of marginally moving forward with positive reforms that really were 1 step forward at a time, instead of the one step forward, one step back or worse one step forward, 2 steps back we get from them …

      People would probably support that!!! Yes, people might actually support incremental change if we got it, although we really do *NEED* more, but everyone isn’t a big picture thinker, and many are temperamentally conservative at root. (I support radical change mind you).

      The problem is we DON’T get that from the Dem party. We get the ACA (arguably a step forward) and threats to cut Social Security and insufficient help in a severe recession, we get better emission standards (a step forward), and more drilling (two steps back). The problem many people identify with is probably much less the Democratic party is incrementalist and much more: the Dem party can’t be trusted to do the right thing period, not even incrementally!

      And until the opinion writers get that, they just show themselves entirely clueless.

      Reply
      1. aletheia33

        thank you, great point.
        and it would not be realistic to expect them to act against what their own interests have become.
        as is so often said here, some other force has to change their best interest for them.

        Reply
      2. polecat

        To refine your musing re. The ACA. , if I may ..

        It may have arguably been a step forward for some .. but for most, it was 12 steps back down into CorpserateDeathCare Hell !

        Reply
    2. aletheia33

      actually reading this quot. out of context i read it as bemoaning trump/obama and describing why sanders’s way is better.

      words and images that fly on the wind cannot ultimately take the place of real people, on so many levels. alas how deeply enchanted we now collectively are by this magical delusion!

      Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      If the goal is to establish a “western-style democracy” in Afghanistan, the AP article may actually describe a “breakthrough”:

      Until now the Taliban have refused to talk to Afghan President Ghani’s government. Ghani has also been unable to agree on a negotiating team with Abdullah Abdullah who is currently his partner in Afghanistan’s so-called Unity Government……Ghani and Abdullah were the leading contenders in last September’s presidential polls. The voting was mired in controversy and is still without a final result.

      Inability to accept election results leading to chaos and paralysis in governance. After eighteen years, at least something american is rubbing off.

      Reply
      1. neo-realist

        Obama also kicked DNC chairman Howard Dean to the curb after the 2008 election even though his 50 state strategy gave Obama the congressional majorities that he consequently frittered away to keep his powder dry for his elite benefactors.

        Reply
        1. Oh

          I recall Dean becoming a neo-liberal and cowtying to the likes of Obama but he still didn’t kiss their feet or other parts of their anatomy enough.

          Reply
    1. Phacops

      I do not trust Reich. His pimping for NAFTA and PNTR with china then crying crocodile tears over the results is inexcusable. He is a blowhard whose only redemption would be crawling across America on his knees to ask forgiveness from every person he meets.

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Democrats must stand squarely on the side of democracy against oligarchy. They must form a unified coalition of people of all races, genders, sexualities and classes, and band together to unrig the system.

      Already tried that in 2008, and all we got for our trouble was a slick-talking television evangelist who ran interference for the oligarchy in trade for admission to the club, and sicced the “intelligence community” on anybody who tried to call him on it as a parting shot.

      Reich doesn’t seem to understand that rank and file americans get exactly what needs to be done, and it doesn’t involve an uber-oligarch named bloomberg.

      Reply
    3. montnanamaven

      Very funny! I got fooled by him when I entered electoral politics in 2004. Met him at the convention. Now looking back on that convention, the only person that I found honest and trustworthy was Molly Ivins.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Goddess bless Molly Ivins. Hope she is having a ball whenever, wherever and whoever she is now. If she would entertain a gig, even if just for “now, would she answer a call for guardian angel for the people still on American dirt?

        Reply
  6. Rod

    that caitlin Johnson:

    The reason people never use the power of their superior numbers to force real change, even though they’re being exploited and oppressed in myriad ways by the ruling class, is because they’ve been propagandized into accepting the status quo as desirable (or at least normal). The propaganda of the political/media class is therefore the establishment’s front line of defense. Its most powerful, and essential, weapon.

    one thing Sanders says so frequently is “We can do better than this” and ms Johnson has the reason why this simple phrase resonates so much across the population.

    Reply
    1. Woodchuck

      Kinda crazy how true it is too. I’ve had many conversation with people (about Healthcare among other things) where they just argue that the status quo is better than any big change even though it’s proven to be an absolutely terrible system by nearly any metric when compared to what other developped countries have for healthcare.

      And there’s no doubt what they hear in the news daily is a big reason for that. It’s so much easier to see propaganda for what it is elsewhere than when it’s hitting you daily.

      Reply
      1. lordkoos

        My favorite meme is this one:

        I just got back from the centrist rally. There were thousands of people holding hands and chanting “better things aren’t possible”.

        Reply
    2. newcatty

      If I at be so bold, wow, in my above comment (before on Molly Ivins) , i resonated with the wonderful Johnson statement.

      Reply
  7. Off The Street

    That kitty is obviously pensive. He is thinking about a play date with those two other kitties at the top right of the page and wondering when they get to play together. Should he bring his own ball of yarn?

    Reply
      1. rowlf

        “Hello Kit and Cat, I’m calling from Kazakstan,

        I work for the government, so I can’t tell you too much, but I occasionally drive this government vehicle; it’s one of those van things? And twice it’s done a really funny thing I thought maybe you guys could help me with it.

        The twice that I’ve driven this thing off the line, when I first start it up, it starts great. It starts really, really well, and it runs incredibly rough for the first two minutes. This is one of those puzzlers.
        After the first two minutes, after this really rough ride, there’s kind of a jolt. And then it runs smooth for about six and a half minutes, and then at that point, the engine dies.”

        io9.gizmodo.com/the-time-an-astronaut-called-into-car-talk-from-the-spa-5924311

        Reply
  8. Ignim Brites

    “Democrats’ Dubious Impeachment Subtext of Treason”. None of the conclusions the author presents as having been codified actually have been. The may be codified in the minds of the impeachment managers but that is about all. Nevertheless, the “great white whaleism” of the “resistance” to pin something on Putin is worrisome and potentially dangerous. It will be interesting to see what will happen if bolshei Bernie takes a decisive lead in the Dem race. (Btw. Bernie is not a bolshevick. He is hardly even a socialist. Certainly, he is not a scientific socialist. But he will be characterized as such by his opponents.)

    Reply
    1. divadab

      IMHO impeachment a calculated distraction. Note the filthy Dems re-upped the “Patriot Act” and traded away fundamental aspects of the ACA while Adam “crock of” Schiff was raving away with lies and fakery which was never intended to accomplish anything but get people riled up.

      Go Bernie!

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of helping Epstein, reportedly hides in Israel”

    Good luck with asking the Israelis to give her up. Not going to happen. Here is an example of how it could play out. A dual Israeli-Australian citizen named Malka Leifer, as principal of an Israeli Hasidic religious school in Melbourne, faced 74 charges of molesting the girls in her school so she shot through to Israel back in 2008. The Israelis have been protecting her ever since and she has faced over 70 hearings. She claimed mental issues but a few months ago the court declared this bs where upon they granted her another hearing. Even in Israel, she is still abusing children but has been protected by the Ultra-Orthodox elements. Here is a coupla links on this strory-

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/14/malka-leifer-israel-to-speed-up-former-melbourne-principals-extradition-case

    https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/a-haven-for-paedophiles-the-ultra-orthodox-settlement-where-malka-leifer-hides-20180612-p4zkx4.html

    So what are the chances of having the Israelis cough up Ghislaine Maxwell to name names?

    Reply
    1. JTee

      I like the headline as well — very anodyne. I seem to recall that Maxwell has been accused of the procuring, raping and sex-trafficking of underage girls.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        Yessss … whisper moar into my ear, mr. Reich /$

        Sweet-n-sour nothings, uttered from another 1% waterboy, posing as a bearded economic intellectual … kinda like his twin in fraternity .. Paul K. !

        in response to KLG above ..

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      About the same odds as them sending back Jonathan Pollard. After all Ghislaine has also been said to be working for Mossad. There seems to be little dispute that her father was.

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Gentlemen.

        Further to Kev’s comment and the link, a couple of months ago, one British rag said as much without naming the country.

        A few months ago Kev wondered if Epstein was supplying the under age girls, who was supplying the under age boys and to whom. I asked a couple of senior policemen in London. Both said they had wondered the same and doubted they were the only policemen to do so and could think of some leads that were not being pursued for political reasons.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Thank you for that update Colonel. It is like a jig-saw puzzle where even though you do not have the exact pieces in hand, you know the exact shape of what it should look like.

          What an age we live in where pedophilic Princes and Presidents are shielded by the full power of the state.

          Reply
      2. JTMcPhee

        Another personality to recall: Billionaire Marc Rich, the guy who founded Glencore, was pardoned by Bill Clinton after convictions for a lot of bad stuff, like “sanctions-busting” for trading oil with Iran and other places. He moved to a very comfortable life in Switzerland, gave a lot of money to the Clinton Foundation, and his carcass is buried in Israel, thanks to his generosity toward that Curious State and apparent work for Mossad. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-marcrich-idUSBRE95P0CO20130626

        Reply
        1. Off The Street

          Rich also had a hand in the, ahem, liberation of state assets after the fall of the USSR, as noted in various publications about 20ish years ago. The receiving oligarchs got billions. Then Putin put them in a stand-still agreement, essentially saying Keep what you have, but that is the end of the pillaging.

          Reply
    3. Frank Little

      Thanks for these links, I hadn’t heard of this story before.

      If she were wealthier she probably would not have even had to flee in the first place. Les Wexner gave Epstein power of attorney and helped him buy the property and the plane where at least some of this abuse allegedly occurred. If there was any interest in actually investigating this trafficking ring he should have been put through the ringer for this connection alone. One of the first victims said that Epstein posed as a Victoria’s Secret recruiter before he assaulted her and told both Victoria’s Secret and the police as much. Wexner didn’t end his relationship with Epstein for another year and a half after that, even though he pretends like the allegations caught him totally off guard.

      Reply
    4. Caleb

      There is no extradition treaty between Israel and the U.S. That’s why Marc Rich and his wife headed there before Clinton pardoned them and they could come back to spend their billions here.
      Why are my tax dollars going to a country that does not cooperate with the U.S. Justice Department?

      But, there is an extradition treaty between the U.S. and Israel. Remember John Demjanjuk, the U.S. citizen and auto worker being sent to the kangaroo court there for trial as Ivan the Terrible? The Israeli Supreme Court overturned his conviction.

      Reply
      1. Monty

        “Why are my tax dollars going to a country that does not cooperate with the U.S. Justice Department?”

        Please report to your local American Dream Inc. center for re-education, before you start Googling any “fake news” about why that might be.

        Reply
  10. urblintz

    Netflix has agitprop issues for sure, but I’m far more concerned about all the contemporary Hollywood propaganda offered, supporting our murderous foreign policy and promoting a malign militarism which polls suggest a lot of the public has embraced. Capra’s WWII work, seen today, at least offers the opportunity to see, in hindsight, the racist xenophobia for what it was. A thinking person recoils from these now ironically exposed historic truths.

    I had to downvote that horrible “White Helmets” movie 5 times before Netflix took it off my queue.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Don’t forget the oily Putin standin character in House of Cards. On the other hand stories need villains and screenwriters probably don’t think very deeply about it. H of C went off the rails when they started trying to humanize their power couple whereas the original material was more of a satire. This happens because actors have great power these days and get tired of playing the bad guy/gal.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        To me the entire Netflix catalog is agitprop, I scrolled their recent offerings to see if I could find 1 (one) where the marquee poster did not include someone pointing a firearm, exploding a car, or punching someone in the face. Couldn’t.

        Reply
    2. Caleb

      Obviously you haven’t seen Jack Ryan (on Amazon).
      “Upsetting images”
      I wonder what the triggered snowflake that wrote that whiny screed thinks about his grade school nieces and nephews getting the full holocaust education unit in public elementary school?

      Reply
      1. urblintz

        omg, J.R. – didn’t think anything could beat “Homeland” or “24” for pernicious psy-ops and blood-soaked chest pounding.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          You ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until the “real” thing shows up in your town. Small town corruption is bad enough, but, being ‘small town,’ is somewhat manageable. When the corruption becomes State and Federal, and endemic….

          Reply
      2. Carolinian

        I watched about five minutes of it. A plague on both their houses. Obviously Amazon is worse although it should be said that both services have distributed some good shows, movies.

        Reply
        1. Caleb

          And the acting! Why not just push a mannequin around the set. It would have been cheaper than hiring John whatshisface.

          Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “Costliest U.S. Carrier Isn’t Ready to Defend Itself, Tests Show”
    ‘The Ford “will likely be short of berthing spaces” once the Navy fully evaluates personnel requirements for the ship’s crew as well as the air wing and temporary detachments on board.’

    I think that I know how the US Navy will solve this problem. Had a book on carriers once which described life aboard them. It spoke of how you had to be careful walking the corridors that you did not step on sleeping sailors.

    Reply
  12. farmboy

    Chinese officials hope the US will agree to flexibility on some promises in the phase 1 trade deal, sources tell Bloomberg News

    The deal has clause that the countries consult “in the event that a natural disaster or other unforeseeable event” @salehamoshin
    snookered

    Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    Which pot strain works best for gambling? Vegas budtenders share their tips LA Times. News you can use!

    …and the companion article which never ran

    How hammered should you get on free cocktails while gambling, and which hard liquor is best for hardway combinations on the craps table?

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      When, oh when will the casinos start supplying free “smoke” to the punters? (Casino owned growing farms come next.)

      Reply
  14. Oh

    “Why Democrats share the blame for the rise of Donald Trump ”
    A more apt headline would be “Why Democrats are to blame for the rise of Donald Trump”

    Reply
  15. marym

    Re: Impeachment

    There’s merit to arguments against the Democrats’ impeachment fiasco being built on their notion of treason in their fantasy war with Russia, and Ukraine as a wartime ally.

    However, it detracts from those arguments to claim that foreign policy is the president doing whatever he wants in respect to another country; that what Trump was doing was foreign policy.

    There are Constitutional provisions, treaties, and laws constraining what a president can do regarding foreign aid and investigating US citizens.

    Reply
  16. petal

    Bernie Sanders climbing in new NH poll on eve of Iowa caucuses
    “Bernie Sanders continues to lead his Democratic rivals in New Hampshire just hours before the Iowa caucuses, which could hand him a crucial victory in the first contest of the race, a new Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald-NBC10Boston poll reveals.

    Sanders has boosted his support in the Granite State to 31% of likely Democratic voters, a seven point lead over former Vice President Joe Biden and 14 points ahead of Elizabeth Warren, who has stalled at 17%, according to the poll.

    Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in fourth place at 8%, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is at just 4% support, and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is at 3%.

    Just 7% of New Hampshire Democratic voters say they are now undecided.”

    Reply
    1. John k

      7% of voters that were polled are undecided.
      Polled voters have landlines.
      6% of voters called on landlines respond to pollsters… likely leading to the same 6% being called over and over.
      100% of voters that respond to pollsters have so little to do that they are willing to spend time to pollsters. Perhaps a high fraction of this lot are older and/or live alone.

      Reply
    2. Plenue

      However the next few weeks and months play out, I’m going to take a distinct pleasure in never having to here from or about Pete Buttigieg ever again.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I completely share the sentiment but am not so sure, he would be well suited to be Bloomberg’s VP.

        So having chosen a Goldwater Girl as their candidate, then elevated former Republican Liz, and then entertained the man who gave the keynote address at the 2004 *Republican* convention and served 12 years as the *Republican* mayor of New York, can we finally agree with G.Vidal that America has one political party with two right wings?

        Reply
  17. RubyDog

    Chinese history – Appreciate this thoughtful and intelligent perspective from the Mekong review, which contrasts with so much of what is written about China with either a Western media anti-China bias, or blatant pro-China propaganda from mainland sources.

    Reply
  18. Ignacio

    RE: Wuhan Coronavirus Looks Increasingly Like a Pandemic, Experts Say NYT. “The virus’s most vulnerable target is Africa, many experts said. More than 1 million expatriate Chinese work there, mostly on mining, drilling or engineering projects. Also, many Africans work and study in China and other countries where the virus has been found.”

    Yep, and what about Burma or Bangladesh
    NGOs raise alarm over returning Myanmar workers from China
    Experts say Bangladesh risks coronavirus outbreak even as no case reported yet

    Of course, nothing known about North Korea

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      Pretty soon the wicked evil wizards of virology will understand all the splices of various illness genes to create a virus that does not explode in virulence, shutting down whole economies, but instead quietly seeks out the human reproductive process and permanently disables it. That would seem to be a goal that cannot ever be mentioned. It would be interesting also, imo, if they could create a virus to permanently disable the human drive for power and tyranny and overconsumption. … virology might be the most promising thing in today’s technology.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Be careful with what you wish. In the SciFi film “Serenity”, a major part of the story revolved around the planet Miranda. The Alliance government seeded the populations of tens of millions there with a drug in the air processors to make them more docile but it worked too well-

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-NVs68X_S4

        Reply
  19. Oregoncharles

    “Europe Can’t Afford to Alienate the UK
    An Essay by Romain Leick ” (Der Spiegel)

    An opposite point of view. No idea who Mr. Leick is, but he’s arguing the EU has as much to lose as Britain. He does make a case, mostly not-economic – one strong point is that the alternative is for Britain to be a dependency of the US, not necessarily in Europe’s interest – but I’ve no idea how strong it is. Yves’ case that Britain has more to lose economically is convincing, mostly based on size, but not the only factor. And he fails to go into detail about the ways the EU “alienated” Britain – which was just barely willing to join in the first place.

    His other point, largely independent of Brexit, is that the EU is going to have to get used to being a “confederation” (probably the right term) and not a “union.” His sarcasm at Macron’s expense seems justified. Macron has quite enough problems at home and is trying to cover them over with EU cheerleading.

    Useful to have a contrasting case made here.

    Reply
  20. Oregoncharles

    Current title for “Egypt-Israel gas line attacked by unidentified assailants – report Jerusalem Post” : “ISIS claims attacked Egypt-Israel gas line, gas flow undisrupted”

    Has anybody else read “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, Lawrence of Arabia’s account of his guerrilla campaign against the Turks in Arabia? It contains extensive, detailed instructions for blowing up a rail line. I thought of it immediately in reference to a modern equivalent: pipelines. Unless deeply buried, they’re just as vulnerable; you only have to interrupt the flow at one point to render the whole thing useless.

    Reply
  21. Dan

    Iowa Democratic Party just released a statement about the delay, saying essentially it’s due to extra quality checks because of the new format. They did say that about 25% of results are in and turnout appears to be about the same as 2016.

    Reply

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