Links 5/13/19

PLOS

The Diplomat

Deutsche Welle

Our Finite World

McClatchy

FT

NYT. Good to know pharma’s dirty all the way through, not just the Brands.

New York Magazine. Interesting. If enormous global monopolies don’t have to show a profit, how do the locals ever compete?

Mother’s Day

The South African

Jacobin

Sarah Kliff, Vox

Julia Ward Howe, Plough

Buzz

KHN

Venezuela

Reuters

At the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC:

Full video available here:

— Roger Waters (@rogerwaters)

AP

Syraqistan

AP. “Publicly available satellite images of the area taken Sunday showed no smoke or fire.”

Der Speigel

It Defense One

Foreign Policy. “By overturning an election in Istanbul, he may have triggered a Turkish Spring.”

NYT

Brexit

FT

Reuters

Bloomberg

Guardian

HuffPo. And no doubt would have provided question wording and a time-line, too, given the calendar 🦄🦄🦄.

Asia Times

RussiaGate

Jack Goldsmith, and Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare

National Review

The Nation

The New Yorker

. NYT. Paragraph eight: “In January, The Times announced a joint venture with Verizon to build a 5G journalism lab.”

Trump Transition

Bloomberg

Vox. Chained CPI?

Federal News Radio

Says Bloomberg

The Hill

Our Famously Free Press

WaPo

Politico

2016 Post Mortem

Eschaton. As I’ve been saying, when the rules you understood going in say you win by putting points on the board, you don’t get to claim you really won because you racked up more yardage (say, in California but not Wisconsin).

Boeing 737 MAX

FT. “‘I think our leader has done a really good job in keeping the company focused on delivering a fix to our part of this issue, and also to begin planning for long-term changes which I think are going to be quite far reaching and not just for Boeing but for the industry at large,’ [David Calhoun, lead independent director on Boeing’s] board told the Financial Times in an interview.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Andrew Cockburn, Harpers (KW). Well worth a read.

(PDF) Will Irwin, Joint Special Operations University Press. Page 2: “Joint doctrine defines a resistance movement as an ‘organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to resist the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability.'” Hmm. .

Class Warfare

PortSide

The American Conservative

Globe and Mail (eg).

Antidote du Jour ():

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.

172 comments

  1. Alex V

    “The climate change story is half true” is an interesting piece of analysis

    It however assumes a global default on debt and an end or reversal of “growth” would be a bad thing… I think David Graeber would likely disagree. A worldwide reset of financial insanity could also enable a reset of climate destroying insanity.

    1. Carla

      One can sign the position statement of the Center for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy (CASSE) here:

      1. Isotope_C14

        Gotta love the commentariat here. Excellent link Carla, thanks.

        “Economic growth, as gauged by increasing GDP, is an increasingly dangerous and anachronistic goal…”

        Worth signing, I suppose, though I suspect we are a little too late.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          This has been said before, that, for example, last year’s GDP was bigger than the GDP of the year before that, and yet, as has been the case for the last few decades, things seem to get worse with each passing year.

          In that case, it would say, going back to the year before last year, with a smaller GDP, life was better.

          If we reverse the process, and go back to the GDP of the year before last, would we get back to the state of things in 2017, which seemed to be better than things in 2018?

          That is, if things seemed better with a smaller GDP, maybe we ought to aim for a smaller GDP, or at least to not fear irrationally about smaller GDPs, until we have more concrete, rational, scientific evidence.

        2. Carey

          I’ve been wondering if there are any at all among the Few who realize that the following is coming, and quite soon:

          “your money’s no good here, Mister…”

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            That is something of a worry. Paper money might not be worth much in a collapse — unless there remains some faith things will turn around. Skills and knowledge may prove a much more durable currency.

            1. Wukchumni

              If you’re worried regarding paper money, put all of your assets into a Nickel Defense…

              They are 75% copper and cost almost a Dime to make…

              …whereas a Benjamin costs around 20 Cents to print

              The only slight difficulty in the scheme, is where do you put all of those 44 pound $200 bags of them, where $10,000 would weigh in at over a ton?

        1. Isotope_C14

          The CO2 is partly irrelevant now.

          The unmeasured N2O NOx and somewhat measured CH4 are all quite a bit of a larger set of problems.

          All are greenhouse gases, all have variable half-lives and all are being released by microorganisms that can not be stopped.

          That’s the whole problem with making science simple, is when you try to get Lawyers, Businessmen, and Politicians to understand, they are ill equipped. They do not have the skill-set to understand complicated molecular interactions at not just “Standard Temperature and Pressure” but also at higher levels of the atmosphere. Chemistry at cold temperatures is very slow, and if you happen to be in a transatlantic flight, you might see how cold it is outside at 35000 feet, though some may have disabled those sensors for “national security”.

          Our goose is cooked, best to take care of the bucket list, there isn’t much time.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      It was an almost absurd analysis. Yes, some the dude made some good points given conventional thinking about economics but the article did not address the fact that, if we want to do something about climate change, we have to change our society and social mores and that should be obvious. To try and “do” something about climate-change and assuming both the continuation of predatory capitalism and the culture of narcissism is just not possible. What is possible is to transition by easing us into the “collapse” needed for a new less selfish and more spiritual civilization to emerge. We do that by investing in alt energy, which is devalued in the article, and multiple possibility with unfolding storage devices and other technologies that could move us into a carbon-lite future that are deliberately not covered in the mainstream media.

      If we want to avoid civilizational collapse (as opposed to “economic” collapse) we must adapt to the new realities starting with science and technology and then working to actually act on what we know about social science, cognitive science, psychology and so on which our society almost completely ignores unless these findings can be used as weapons to dominate others through mind-control (advertising/propaganda) or war.

    3. Harbinger of Sorrow

      This article makes a number of points which should be debated, at best:.

      1) A GDP-based economic system should be replaced if following it ensures humanity’s demise via climate change or economic collapse. Perhaps we shouldn’t accept it as gospel or an irrefutable lense.

      2) Math on the viability of renewable energy from a website formerly entitled TheOilDrum.com? Hmmmmm.

    4. Carolinian

      Here’s the nut

      Very few dare talk about the real problem we are facing–a huge number of limits coming at us from many directions at once. World population has risen too much relative to resources.

      Of course it’s much easier to blame the Koch brothers–and they do deserve blame for denying the problem altogether–than ourselves for loving and wanting to have children. But if the author’s theory that energy = the economy is true then clearly demand will outstrip supply absent some new scientific breakthrough. Where he may be off is that humans are very clever at breakthroughs including ones we can’t yet predict.

      1. vidimi

        i think that is the main point of the article. to the extent an economy exists, it is predicated on energy use. it is in effect a truism but widely missed.

        as a lemma, being screwed one way or another seems to be a mathematical inevitability

    5. Eclair

      Gail Tverberg has been writing interesting and thought-provoking analyses for years. I did a fast read through her latest this morning (I mean, it’s Monday and it’s raining (again!) here in Chautauqua County, NY … do I really need to wallow in depressing news?)

      She does some sharp needle-sticking in the balloons of ‘renewable’ energy solutions … wind and solar, pointing out that of the ‘renewables,’ only wood burning is ‘sustainable.’ Wind turbines and solar panels consume lots of fossil fuels in their manufacturing, installation and maintenance, especially if large-scale battery storage is added in.

      She points out that the planet has arrived at a point where multiple systems are reaching a tipping point … draining of aquifers, pollution of oceans and rivers (with subsequent collapse of aquatic life), sinking and flooding of heavily populated coastal areas.

      She links economic ‘prosperity’ with heavy fossil fuel use; the economy collapses and fossil fuel use declines. Conversely, fossil fuel becomes scarse/expensive and the economy collapses. Resource scarcity also leads to aggression and massive social disruption.

      She is pessimistic on the ever-widening economic inequality, facilitated by cheap fossil fuels, and foresees this leading only to breakdown of governments and more social unrest.

      She points out that climate scientist, bless their hearts, are not economists (who almost always have a political agenda), and that their models do not include the inevitable disruptions of world’s economic systems and the effects on governments.

      In other words, she is pretty sure we are headed for a sh*t storm that is much worse than mere flooding, wild fire, and drought. Oh, did I mention the rise of ‘super-bugs?’

      One can argue with her conclusions.

      1. shtove

        I haven’t read Gail for a couple of years. She seems consistent. Are we approaching the tipping point, or at it, or past it?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        pollution of oceans and rivers (with subsequent collapse of aquatic life),

        I hope she also mentions something not as visually polluting as overfishing.

      3. jef

        Gail also doesn’t factor in the fact that economic collapse would likely cause air pollution/aerosols to decrease causing temps to rise another 1 to 1.3 degrees very rapidly triggering even more back mechanisms which she also doesn’t factor in.

        The Climate chaos we are experiencing now is from emissions released prior to 1980s. Since then we have released an amount equal to all emissions prior. What comes next is an increase on top of what we now have.

        So nice try Gail but AGW is still real and #1 on the hit parade.

      4. PlutoniumKun

        While she makes some good points, there are plenty of problems with her analysis. For one obvious issue, the assumption that there is an inextricable link between energy use (or CO2 output) and GDP growth is nowhere near as close as she claims. There is in fact an enormous variation between high development countries in terms of their energy usage and CO2 emissions. This suggests there is very significant scope to reduce energy use without impacting on GDP (let along quality of life, which is only tenuously connected to GDP).

        The other issue I have with her analysis is her constant criticism of wind and solar energy – her arguments on these are barely good faith arguments. When people say ‘oh, it takes fossil fuel to build wind turbines and solar panels’ but neglects to mention that the production of fossil fuel, or the manufacture of fossil fuel engines takes massive amounts of energy, then its a bad faith argument. – and all those that are not directly or indirectly funded by fossil fuel come to the same conclusions – even allowing for the energy inputs to manufacture and maintain, there are massive savings In CO2 emissions in moving from fossil fuel to renewable sources. Its simply a false argument that is not supported by evidence and I’ve no idea why she insists on repeating it.

        1. Summer

          I can’t take seriously any IPCC Research discussed or undertaken that fails to mention the world’s largest military.

          If only between the lines, this article reads like more geopolitical strategizing with regards to China.

          1. pretzelattack

            i glanced through it, presumably because the savings in energy costs due to renewable energy could also be used by the military? it’s just a straight analysis of how much economic damage fossil fuel use does. the military recognizes the danger of climate change; they probably aren’t worried that switching to renewable energy would hurt their funding.
            I didn’t see a mention of china, and i don’t understand the point about geopolitical strategizing. if renewable energy were widely available, the chinese could use it to power the factories that currently produce the most fossil fuel emissions, since the west outsourced its manufacturing base.

            1. Summer

              “I glanced through it, presumably because the savings in energy costs due to renewable energy could also be used by the military…

              Or you cut back so they don’t have to? Presumably….

              Costs can be shifted. Who is paying the prices?

              It’s is talking about the global economy and not one word about the US military.
              Just marinate on that for a bit…

      5. wilroncanada

        There’s irony! Climate scientists are mostly/somewhat independent of the “reality” of economists who have a political agenda, and therefore understand the disruptions of economic systems and the attached politics. Economists with their political agendas, economists who assume GDP is the gold standard of measuring an economy, and with its attached politics, therefore a civilization?
        Hahahahahahahaa!

    6. a different chris

      I dunno, interesting in maybe how you can write something all over the place, and have a conclusion that doesn’t really tell you anything except that what you’ve just read does actually jump all over the place.

      What does she want us to do? Why does she want us to do it? How will that work?

      I don’t think she wants us to do anything, in this article she comes across a climate-denier that is going thru the 5 stages of grief, and is now at Bargaining: “We may even need to talk about adapting to climate change that is largely out of our ability to control.”

      Yeah, ok we can’t do anything about climate change that we instigated, that we know the sources of, but we can somehow figure out how to adapt to it. Sure.

      1. Synoia

        What does she want us to do? Die Soon and Quickly.

        Why does she want us to do it? Too many Humans on the Planet.

        How will that work? Revert to 1745.

      2. jrs

        It seems fairly: “it’s hopeless, bend over and kiss your @#$ goodbye”

        Of course some of that hopeless is in the context of capitalism it seems.

    7. John Wright

      World wide policy makers do know what works to decrease the growth in CO2 emissions.

      That being a drop in economic growth as evidenced by the results during the global financial crisis.

      But what national leader will lobby for a decrease in what is known as “economic growth”?

      Perhaps Trumps tariffs will help?

      I am beginning to view human caused climate change as an immensely long time delayed rebirth attempt by the ancient lifeforms that died to form fossil fuels.

      Ancient life forms may get another chance to re-evolve into existence in the new warmer world.

    8. Summer

      “Half-true” is right. The tale spun has no mention of the world’s largest military. Not one.

      “Service economies tend to require less energy per capita than manufacturing economies…”
      Yet the article also says energy consumptuon is tied to a high GDP.

      The author has decided that a car is a discretionary purchase. As if no social engineering took place, in the USA particularly, to make the automobile a necessity and that, if so, that’s all fixed now.

      I’d go on about the little “conceits” that put me of but, you get the picture.

      1. pretzelattack

        if i understand it, the article says fossil fuel consumption is tied to a high gdp, not energy consumption. it explicity asserts that switching to renewables would decouple this link.

        1. Summer

          But that decoupling has not happened.

          So the energy NOW is coming from where?

          And who’s switching? No mention of the military.

    9. drumlin woodchuckles

      As I was reading the Tverberg post I noticed these sentences . . . “A carbon tax sends high-carbon industries to Emerging Market nations, helping ramp up their economies. The country with the carbon tax on its own citizens then imports manufactured items from the Emerging Market nations with no carbon tax, aiding the Emerging Market countries without a carbon tax at the expense of its own citizens. How reasonable is this approach?”

      That statement only holds true in a Free Trade world. If Free Trade were abolished, that would not happen. For example, if America adopted a Hard Hansen version of a “carbon tax”, and forbid imports from the physical territory of any country which did not impose the exact same Hard Hansen carbon tax within its borders, then our thingmaking would not flee to those Carbon Tax Haven countries.

      Free Trade causes Global Warming. Free Trade makes solving Global Warming impossible.
      Abolish Free Trade and eliminate Globalization, and it becomes possible to address Global Warming. Otherwise, not.

  2. John Beech

    Trump’s Iran Escalation Poses a Threat for Germany Der Speigel

    Functional link:

    Me? I think Germany is about to learn the price of undermining SWIFT.

  3. rattlemullet

    Do you think people who write about political scandals will ever get past using the word “gate”? Attaching it to all political scandals. Ever since it was used a second time it seems as if the the writers of “gate” have become brain dead. After so many decades of “gate” this “gate” that it is has become a sad trope of the infantile journalistic reporting. Dumbing down the game so to speak. To me it has become the standard bearer of the start of poor journalism.

    There is only one gate but if you must persist then create the category Trumpgate. A moving crime show that russiagate category only serves to minimize the fact that an American political campaign had hundreds of s with Russians then lied about it and then lied about lying about it. I must ask do you believe Russia has Americas best interest in mind with all the they had with the Trump campaign?

    1. pretzelattack

      there is no solid evidence of any russian interference in the u.s. election of 2016. don’t minimize that fact.
      there has been a sustained propaganda campaign to convince the american public that there was. that needs to be investigated.

      1. redleg

        Russiavape.
        How’s that? It flows off the tongue better than “Russia-scapegoat-toadlick”.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Russiavapegate.
          Russia-scapegoat-toadlickgate.

          Concede nothing to the Clintoform propagandists.

    2. Carolinian

      Even assuming there were such s please explain what motive you think “Russia” or, if you prefer, Putin has other than the hope that we will mind our own business. Since Russia has now embraced capitalism we are no longer even ideological competitors. The era of imperial maneuvering and “the great game” is so 19th century and this is the 21st. The correct response to Trump’s supposed s is not “is it true?” but rather “who cares?”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Also consider rising evidence ( covered on Sic Semper Tyrannis blog recently) that these s were in fact false-flag decoy-honeytraps set up by the Two Biggest Eyes ( US Intelligence and UK Intelligence) to set up and bad-jacket a naive gullible Trump and his naive gullible Trumplings.

    3. Donald

      I don’t think our two political parties have America’s best interests in mind, though yes, the Republicans are worse.

      I also don’t think the people who want us to obsess over the evil Russians have America’s best interests in mind. It is a distraction from the failures of our own political class and an excuse for our own interventions, which occur on a vastly larger scale than whatever the Russians might have done in the election.

    4. vidimi

      as to your last point, there is a better chance that russia has americans’ best interest in mind than the american ruling class.

      if the american ruling class is the greatest threat to the american public and if the russian state is antagonistic to this ruling class’s interests, more power to them.

    5. Quentin

      You do shake an outsized rattle, rattlemullet: ‘an American political campaign had hundreds of s with Russians then lied about it and then lied about lying about it.’ Please specify and document.

    6. Roger Smith

      A moving crime show that russiagate category only serves to minimize the fact that an American political campaign had hundreds of s with Russians then lied about it and then lied about lying about it. I must ask do you believe Russia has Americas best interest in mind with all the they had with the Trump campaign?

      This is why I disagree with the further link sharing to NYT et. al. Surprised the 5G story wasn’t shoehorned in here.

    7. marym

      The use of “-gate” is part of US English now. It’s in dictionaries. Languages evolve.

      Maybe it would have been Trumpgate if the Resistance ™ had focused their resources on a more substantial range of issues. Except for a few promising bursts of energy (the Muslim ban, the 2017 attempted repeal of the ACA with no alternative), it’s been all Russia all the time. On even responses to some Trump outrage du jour unrelated to Russiagate were frequently just “Oh Mueller save us.”

      Russiagate has been loyalist Democrats’ chosen miracle cure for this troublesome president. It didn’t work but it did serve to keep close attention from issues that would shed too much light on a whole range of evils of which Dems are at best marginally less evil.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And also too in-addition as well, the Clintonites should remember that Trump was nominated because of Clintonite Democrat collusion with the MSM to pied-piperize Trump into the spotlight and then into the nomination.

    8. Pookah Harvey

      On May 10, Brookings hosted a , former FBI General Counsel, who cleared the Mueller investigation. He makes it clear that the investigation was initiated because of the continued paranoia that the FBI still has with Russia. Apparently the FBI sees Russia as an active antagonist that is always trying to take advantage of our political system. A “bad actor” that we must constantly watch.
      It would be nice if they saw Israel in the same light.

      The entire tape is . Baker makes the Russia paranoia clear several times.

      1. P

        I should add that it would be nice if the FBI looked at international corporations in the same light also.

    9. Carey

      “..s with Russians..”

      I just got some Chromium Oxide polishing compound from… OMG Russia!!! today. Good price on evilbay; very good, non-financialized product.

      Call me a Bad Person.

      yeesh

  4. Krystyn Walentka

    Re: Your 5G Phone Won’t Hurt You. But Russia Wants You to Think Otherwise.

    The truth is exactly the opposite, scientists say. The higher the radio frequency, the less it penetrates human skin, lowering exposure of the body’s internal organs, including the brain.

    5G emissions, if anything, should be safer than previous generations,” said Dr. Marvin C. Ziskin, a medical doctor and emeritus professor of radiology and medical physics at the Temple University School of Medicine.

    Health concerns were raised last year when a large federal study showed that 2G signals could produce brain cancer in male rats. But officials discounted a direct link to humans, saying people received smaller doses.

    See what they did there? They used a study on 2G frequencies to show that 5G frequencies were fine. This they always do.

    Also, many other “scientists” are saying that these EMFs effect biology in another way, through ion channel activation, increasing cell signalling by opening these gates and letting things like calcium, sodium, and potassium to enter cells in large pulses.

    It shows that real MT (Mobile Telephony) EMFs are far more damaging than 50 Hz alternating magnetic field (MF) – similar or much stronger to those of power lines – or a pulsed electric field (PEF) found before to increase fertility. The MT EMFs were significantly more bioactive even for much shorter exposure durations than the other EMFs. Moreover, they were more damaging than previously tested cytotoxic agents like certain chemicals, starvation, dehydration. Individual parameters of the real MT EMFs like intensity, frequency, exposure duration, polarization, pulsing, modulation, are discussed in terms of their role in bioactivity. The crucial parameter for the intense bioactivity seems to be the extreme variability of the polarized MT signals, mainly due to the large unpredictable intensity changes.

    And the “becasue Russia” bit means I am domain blocking the New York Times forever.

    1. ambrit

      Thanks for the ‘sciencedirect’ link. I’ve been worrying about 5G for a while.
      The “Russia” pseudo-connection is now standard policy at the Times it seems. More than domain blocking, a ‘grassroots’ campaign of ridicule for the “RussiaRussiaRussia” meme is needed.
      Is there anything similar to the old ‘Lampoon’ publications now? A ‘moderne’ version of ‘Spy’ magazine? We need one badly to “take the Mickey” of this Neo-Conformism movement.

    2. Cal2

      According to Physicians for Safe Technology, risks from 5G include:

      Damage to the eyes- cataracts, retina
      Immune system disruption
      Metabolic disruption
      Damage to sperm
      Skin damage
      Collapse of insect populations, the base of food for birds and bats
      Rise in bacterial resistance and bacterial shifts
      Damage to plants and trees

      Why do new technologies always get the benefit of the Null Hypothesis Theory?
      In a field where you need 99.7% confidence to be considered “evidence” (3 Sigma).
      You would need tens of thousands of people and expose half of them with 5G, and wait twenty years to “prove” anything under this bar.”

      “So we need “beyond reasonable doubt” threshold, say for civil court? ”

      “Why do all these purported supporters of 5G get to pick which side is the null hypothesis? Why don’t we go with the null hypothesis that 5G DOES cause cancer etc? Now you prove with 99.7% confidence that it does not. Good luck.

      Any online/browser experts who can validate this idea?
      Invite the New York Times into your email, then flag all their communications as spam, making it more likely that all their messages, everywhere, to everyone, will be automatically shunted to spam folders?

        1. Cal2

          I will go with that. It’s almost impossible to validate scientific things if one is not a scientist.

          There’s a lot of B.S. out there, but does that invalidate the precautionary principle when applied to new technologies?

          Tobacco
          Asbestos
          D.D.T.
          ScotchGard
          Non Stick cookware
          bisphenol
          Roundup

          Were all “perfectly safe”, until they weren’t and billions of people had been exposed to them are the ungrateful dead.

          Some things are pretty obvious. Met a man the other day who, for a monthly cash fee,
          “can program your cell phone to emit ‘Healthy Radiation’ which will alter the molecules in your food to be more beneficial.”

          Yes, people are handing him money.

        2. Aumua

          I’ve just spent a few hours chasing down links and reading studies, and I’m still not convinced. Maybe there is something to the notions of cell phone radiation causing harm, but I haven’t seen any rigorous explanation offered yet of how non ionizing radiation can affect cells and DNA, except by heating of course.

          My take: the jury is still out.

    3. DonCoyote

      . Made me think of Nader’s”Unsafe at Any Speed”. And the IoS/5G has a new lolcatz slogan “In ur body disrupting ur cells.”

      And that NYT article:

      It’s economic warfare,” Ryan Fox, chief operating officer of New Knowledge, a technology firm that tracks disinformation, said in an interview. “Russia doesn’t have a good 5G play, so it tries to undermine and discredit ours.

      Even though the NYT wrote (two years ago) about how New Knowledge was influencing the Alabama special election through creating bots.

      More on how unreliable of a source New Knowledge is and

      If you, like Most Americans, want the war in Afghanistan to end or support withdrawing troops from Syria, U.S. gov’t-contracted cyber-meddling firm @NewKnowledgeAI says you’re a Russian bot.

      So greetings, my fellow Russian bots. Let’s unionize.

      1. Carey

        Thanks for that link, and where do I sign up for the union?

        The Few are working hard to kill off the many.

    4. redleg

      Don’t forget
      We like modern weather forecasting more than the 1970s version, right?

    5. Tomonthebeach

      Wait a minute. I want to put some popcorn in the Microwave. This debate is so exciting. Let’s see, how does my oven pop corn anyway? Now I remember, they bombard it with radio waves from the same band as 5G. Hmmmm.

      Kind of ironic to think that we might end the human race in order to have better apps. Hope NYT is right and the Russians are just another evil empire like ours.

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps one should keep reading the NYTimes’s pro-5G corporate hasbara in the spirit of knowing the enemy. If we don’t keep reading NYTimes’ 5G propaganda and sales literature, how will we keep full track of the International 5G Conspiracy’s ongoing machinations against an unaware mankind?

  5. Chris Cosmos

    The Der Spiegel article is an accurate description of German concerns on Iran but it full of canards like the notion the US is abandoning the “mediator role” in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. That’s an absurd statement. Since Clinton abandoned the Oslo process, more or less, a peaceful settlement of the issue has been utterly impossible. Clinton essentially gave the green light on what were once called “illegal settlements” which today are called “settlements” which prove my point. It was Clinton who started the purely “might makes right” trend in foreign policy faithfully continued in much more heroic terms after 9/11 by all US Presidents.

    As for Germany it is precisely their encouragement of US imperialism that has given strength to the still dominant neoconservative hyper imperialist foreign policy of Washington. Both the German ruling class and the German people have behaved either in a cowardly manner or encouraged US aggression around the world particularly in German support of NATO which is a clear instrument of Washington’s neoconservative project of uniting the world into one Empire under the direct control of Washington.

    Germany is the one country that could be the focus of a rebellion against the unipolar policies that threaten to drag the world into some kind of, at best, low-grade world war and at worst the end of civilization as we know it. Germany ought to be opposed to almost all US policies particularly the ones I’ve mentioned and climate change.

    1. vidimi

      the german foreign minister just recently gave a speech criticising the UN for being too harsh on israel.

      i guess the germans never met an ethnic cleansing they didn’t like and remain true to their habit of being on the wrong side of history.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Oslo probably died when the Likud arranged the Rabin assassination. Oslo certainly stayed dead-for-all-time when Shimon Peres rejected the opportunity to call a snap election right then and there based on the concept of crushing and exterminating the Likud assassinationists; and rooting them out of Israeli public life once and for all.

      Uri Avnery wrote an article about Peres’s sabotage of peace-possibilities at many key opportunity-moments, including Peres’s refusal to hold immediate elections right after the Rabin assassination.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Saudi Arabia says 2 oil tankers damaged by sabotage attacks”

    What’s the point of rigging a casus belli to get a world-wide campaign against Iran going when nobody is even sure what even happened or who might be even responsible? This is like the coupla times though when Assad had the terrorist on the ropes in Syria and a bogus gas attack “happened” which led to a western attack on the Syrians. Now when there are stupid accusations flying about Iran, a series of attacks just “happens” just across the way from Iran. It will be interesting to see who falls for it enough to provide military forces. I would have said few but considering how many western countries lined up to attack Venezuela, you just never know. My own guess here on what happened? Probably Saudi Arabia & the UAE had some of their Jihadist buddies transported to this area from Syria to help Bolton & Pompeo to have something to thunder about.

    1. farragut

      Speaking of bogus gas attacks, new evidence from OPCW strongly supports the notion the Douma attack was staged.

    2. polecat

      Sounds like WhiteHelmets commandering BlackShip … but I see that you already eluded to that

      “Yo ho yo ho a jihadi’s death for thee”

    3. Sharkleberry Fin

      Pump the paranoia [disinfo?] brakes. Iran’s frogmen did a professional job, putting holes in the outer hulls but left the inner hulls intact. Almost scuttled the vessels. No casualties. The Fujairah facility bypasses the Strait of Hormuz, so Iran sent a message the Gulf facilities are even more vulnerable to disruption then anticipated. The oil embargo went into effect May 2. Quds Force and Shite militias went to ground in Iraq, disappearing from bases. Hamas fired 320 missiles, each with a new 250 kg warhead. Hizballah swapped out older officers for younger ones to keep up with quicker tempos. None of these actions are subtle nor can they be fabricated for a casus belli.

  7. Bruce F

    I came across with Stan Goff. He talks about, among other things, reskilling as a tactic to change our politics. Permaculture. Dunbar’s Number.

    In the words of the interviewer —

    This was a fascinating look at how power can operate for people without all the power.

  8. pretzelattack

    i see on yahoo news that sweden has reinstituted rape charges against assange. i’m sure this is some move in the convoluted plan to get him into u.s. custody, but i’m not sure which side is making it.

    1. vidimi

      my first instinct is that this is a good thing and it will allow julian to clear his name or face the music if he really is guilty.

      but i’m increasingly thinking that it’s a way to maximise his incarceration before he is sent to the US.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Putin and Trump’s Ominous Nostalgia for the Second World War”

    I am not sure that you can say that Putin is nostalgic for WW2. In that war he lost his father, who was killed in action, as well as experiencing the death of an brother, a grandmother and several uncles. Not much to get nostalgic about there. Out of 170 million people before the war, Russia lost about 28 million people dead. The US had a population of about 133 million at the time and lost about 418,000 dead. Proportionally speaking, can you imagine the effect of America suffering 25 million dead in WW2? No, me neither. The past few years Russians have taken to remembering those lost by having what they call the Immortal Regiment where ordinary people carry pictures of family members lost in the war-

    1. a different chris

      See, you’re talking about some person “Putin”. Nobody cares. But the MSM is educating us about PUTIN a supervillian whose face can be seen hovering above Alaska.

      1. Wyoming

        You are correct.

        Putin’s father fought in the war and was wounded. His mother (a civilian) was also wounded. Five of his uncles (fathers side) died in the war as well as many of his mothers relatives. Putin’s older brother died of diphtheria during the siege of Leningrad.

        I am sure he has intense feelings and opinions about WWII. Nostalgia? I highly doubt it. My parents who both served in WWII had very intense feelings and opinions about the war, but if you had told one of the them they were nostalgic for it you would have been lucky to get out of the room.

      2. JAMES GRAHAM

        Yes he was born in 1952.

        But why let a minor fact interfere with a greater truth?

      3. The Rev Kev

        Well that was a major stuff up on my part. Too busy at the time digging into population data and casualties so misread that the father was severely wounded but not killed. Lucky for Russia that. I think though that it is quite touching how the Russians try to keep alive the memories of those who were lost in the war. It is like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington listing the names of all 58,000 people lost in Vietnam which was built in spite of fierce resistance on the part of Reagan’s Washington establishment. It was said back in the 70s that a major reason why WW3 never broke out was because all the Russian leadership lived through the horrors of war and knew what it was all about.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe ideas exist in a realm of their own. They are there, whether we humans express them, verbally or literally, or not.

      And, so, the idea that the USSR emereged from their Great Patriotic War a world superpower was, is and will always be around. From time to time, some humans will express that idea.

      That’s a separate idea from how many Germans, Americans, Chinese, Russians, etc died during WWII.

      And some humans will feel a profound sense of sadness meditating on that idea; while some other humans will experience nostalgia thinking about the first idea.

      Moreover, a few humans might entertain both ideas, either at the same time, or at different times.

    3. Olga

      With a headline like that, I did not expect much from the article – and was not disappointed. And its uselessness was confirmed, when I saw the author’s name. But I suppose if one can combine anti-trumpism and anti-putisnism into one – why not occupy some precious newsprint real-estate…? I do wish NC would quit linking to Gessen’s stuff- she is so knee-jerkingly anti-Putin that it makes one’s teeth hurt. Plus, she’s never beyond twisting facts to get her made-up points across. There is enough useless propaganda all around – I don’t see any need to add to it.
      And yes, VVP did not lose his father in the war (he was born in 1952), but he lost his brother and his mon almost died in the siege of Leningrad. There are very few Russian families (and most people from the former USSR) who were not affected by the war. To call it nostalgia is truly daft (not to mention heartless). To the extent Russians remember and commemorate the war – it’s more a reflection of the fact that similar dangers and Russo-phobia have not been eliminated. On the contrary, they’ve been ramped up.

    4. vidimi

      let’s not forget that the soviets started the war with the germans and were only betrayed later. too often the soviets are portrayed as valiant warriors for the side of good, but there may not have been a world war ii without the molotov-ribbentrop pact.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that you might want to dig into a history book or two about this. It was Germany that launched a massive invasion of Russia on 22nd June 1941 in what they called Operation Barbarossa, not visa versa. It was the largest invasion force in the history of warfare-

        You blame Russia for starting WW2 because of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact but it was not that simple. Stalin wanted a pact with the west but they could not have cared less about the concept and so sent envoys on a slow boat to Russia. Russia was militarily weak at this point so signed with Germany to buy time to arm up.
        If this sounds familiar, it is like the time that both the UK and France sold out Czechoslovakia in 1938 in the Munich agreement when they abandoned it leading to the German occupation of that country. That was when Neville Chamberlain came back to the UK waving a piece of paper saying “I believe it is peace for our time.” Germany bluffed again and again and each time countries folded rather than make the call.

        1. vidimi

          that is what i said: the USSR had a pact with Germany which Germany later betrayed. but for the first two years of the war they were allies.
          and the USSR too invaded poland after germany did on a flimsy argument that since poland no longer existed, it was ok to do it.

          1. The Rev Kev

            The USSR and the UK also invaded Iran together in ’41 to secure Iranian oil fields and ensure Allied supply lines and the UK had no qualms about doing so. Apparently the Australian Navy also played a part here. I bet that the Iranians remember that little episode.

  10. Adrian D.

    I’d take the NYT’s Syria torture piece with a huge pinch of salt, given that it appears to cite as evidence the debunked ‘Caesar’ photo-trove and the (US funded) Syrian Network for Human Rights.

    Meanwhile – and hugely significantly – it appears that the OPCW has been highjacked by the US, UK and France with a leaked report (produced by OPCW’s own engineers) proving that the images of chlorine cylinders at the site of the 2017 Douma incident were certainly faked. This information did not make it into the final ‘Fact Finding Mission’ (FFM) report.

    This leaked report was passed to a set of UK academics who have been relentlessly smeared by the MSM (The Times and HuffPost being particularly aggressive) – their work demands much wider exposure – it’s rigorous and compelling:

    1. Donald

      I have given up ever knowing the truth about the Syrian war. I suspect that at least some of the torture accusations are true, but most of the Western reporting has downplayed or completely ignored the atrocities of the insurgents and our support for them.

      I used to think the human rights organizations could be trusted to give all sides of the story, but I have lost trust in them too. They are too close in their attitudes to the “ humanitarian interventionists”.

      1. AdrianD.

        @Donald – you and me both. I fell down a bit of a rabbit-hole as far as Syria was concerned when (on a boring train journey) I decided to download an HRW report into alleged CW use in Syria. Even on first reading I couldn’t believe how shoddy it was – ‘witnesses’ contradicting themselves and each other (sometimes in the same paragraph) and ludicrous statistics – my favourite being their Khan Sheikhoun crater measurementes in bold type that said they thought it was the size of a teaspoon!

      2. JohnnyGL

        Patrick Lawrence’s 2 part interview with Sharmine Narwani is very good. I’m about 1/2 through right now.

        She talks about how bad the media’s role has been, calls them. “media combatants”. I like that term.

        One real howler is how the US Cent Command refused to name a single organized group that was part of FSA, which they kept training and supplying. The FSA itself wasn’t really a group, it had no leadership, no organization, no command and control structure. It was almost like a marketing term for whomever the US supported and was working with. Narwani explains the reasoning was that every group had Al Qaeda ties and committed awful atrocities and the US didn’t want to openly be seen to be collaborating with any of them.

        1. Roy G

          Agreed that Narwani’s summary of facts is spot on, and significantly bolstered by the fact that she performed a huge amount of actual on-the-ground journalism, which is more than can be said for the 101st keyboard division who’s reportage consisted of official stenography and whatever could be sussed out by the pool or happy hour in the finer hotels of West Beirut.

      3. Summer

        What do you know that has remained true?
        Saudi Arabia and Israel are the USA’s biggest allies in the Middle East.
        Clarifying?

        1. Summer

          Oh, and France’s interest in Syria has remained consistent for the last 100 years or so.

    2. jo6pac

      Thank You, the nyt has a problem with the truth unless it comes from the New Amerikan govt;-)

    3. pjay

      Thank you for this comment. Even for the NYT this is pretty blatant: recycling of old and discredited propaganda by two organizations set up to disseminate it: the Syrian Network for Human Rights and the Commission for International Justice and Accountability. One wonders why, at this particular time, is a “new” Assad demonization story needed.

      I have to say today’s Links are depressingly full of propaganda.

      1. pjay

        Adding: the CIJA was in the middle of the ‘Ceasar photos’ story. The plan was to do a “Milosevic” on Assad once the opposition won; some of the same people were involved. But Russia decided they didn’t want a repeat performance.

        Tim Hayward is one of the UK academics mentioned by Adrian D. For those who are interested, he has a very thorough discussion of the ‘Cesear’ story, with many useful links and references:

    4. Geo

      We know Syria tortured prisoners because that’s why we had (still have?) blacksites there.

      America’s foreign policy: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

      1. wilroncanada

        Even that may not be an accurate depiction. (Caveat: I do think Syria tortured some prisoners.) It may have been that the US tortured prisoners in rented or commandeered Syrian premises. We know that one Canadian was tortured in Syria, whether by the US or Syria, I’m not sure. But then we, Canada, handed him over to the US who flew him to Syria for torture. All for nothing.

      2. pjay

        Syrian security has certainly used torture, and they did “torture some folks” for us in the early stages of the “war on terror.” In the past, especially under Bashar’s father, they have been particularly brutal toward those suspected of sympathizing with the Muslim Brotherhood. The MB has been periodically attempting to overthrow the secular Syrian government for decades, on and off with the help of Western intelligence.

        But the crap in the NYT article is on a different level. It is part of a propaganda campaign aimed at the emotions and “humanitarian” concerns of educated liberals, based on the work of “independent” NGOs with Western intelligence connections and Western government funding. The aim is to legitimate “regime change” because Assad refused to bow down before US interests. Much of it has been discredited.

  11. Pavel

    That NYT article linking 5G fears to “Russian interference” is disingenuous at best and pure evil at worst. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about 5G and it is not just RT reporting on them. Just by searching “5G concerns” I came up with plenty including one from — gasp! — CBS, that well-known source of Russian propaganda (not):

    Here is one from the LA Times:

    One can argue that the jury is out on the dangers of 5G radiation. For the NYT to try to associate legitimate concerns with some sort of Russian plot is absurd. Shame.

    1. Cal2

      Weaker signals, sure, but carried shorter distances. Meaning instead of having a powerful cell tower atop a building half a mile from you, there’s one on the power pole outside your children’s window.

    2. Carey

      That NYT 5G piece was a humdinger. All propaganda, all the time now, from
      our Ruling Class.

      Act accordingly

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Is It A Feminist Right To Want More Sex? One Company Thinks A Pill Is The Answer”

    Well it is also true to say that company chemists have found a chemical compound capable of suppressing female libido on a semi-permanent basis. The name of it? It’s called “wedding cake”.

    1. IdahoSpud

      LMAO!!! Some truth to that…

      There’s an old joke that if you put a jelly bean in a jar every time you have sex *before* marriage, and then take one out every time you have sex *after* marriage, the jar will never run empty.

      As an aside, Alyssa Milano’s call for a sex strike is pretty funny. Her boyfriend (who is likely her ally politically) ain’t getting any. Meanwhile, sex life probably goes on as normal for her (male and female) political enemies. Maybe it even improves, just out of spite!

      1. Olga

        She must be reading ancient Greeks

        “Aristophanes’ comic masterpiece of war and sex remains one of the greatest plays ever written. Led by the title character, the women of the warring city-states of Greece agree to withhold sexual favours with their husbands until they agree to cease fighting. The war of the sexes that ensues makes Lysistrata a bawdy comedy without peer in the history of theatre.”
        Not that I disagree with her…

  13. zagonostra

    >Journalism: Chris Hedges Inteviews Matt Taibbi

    I apologize if below has already been posted.

    This interview gives an excellent synopsis of why the dismal state of the State will not change anytime soon. Unlike most NC readers, the vast majority of the populace is under the influence of MSM’s misinformation methods as outlined by Matt Taibbi.

    Gustav Le Bon talks about the distinction between the “affective self” and the “intellectual self” the former being centered on emotions, feelings, passions and the latter on reason. One is acquired without effort and is what the MSM forms/deforms the other is by great effort, sifting through propaganda and finding reliable sources of information and historical analysis.

    1. Craig H.

      I enjoyed that interview although it did not contain much new stuff. The part I liked the best was them musing about how everybody getting ahead in media was a C- student when they were in school and this sure seems messed up!

    2. Carey

      Thank you for this comment. I’ll say again that I think the Few are finding it
      laughably easy to control the great majority of the citizenry, since the advent
      of the smartphone.

      for now

      1. vidimi

        i am not sure i agree with this sentiment. i find it more and more the case that there has been a breakdown in trust in the media and taibbi talks about this a lot. people mistrust the corporate media and no longer believe everything they see and hear. in part, this has been why there has been a proliferation of conspiracy theories. people just don’t know what to believe any more.

        people left and right now both believe that the media tells them only stuff that is politically convenient. sometimes, it may even be the truth, but there is just no way to know when that is.

  14. Polar Donkey

    Just to point out something to the NYT about the graphic concerning electromagnetic wavelengths. Don’t have your 5g range overlap airport scanners. The first thing that comes to mind is an airport scanner strapped to your body or running 24/7 in your house. Whether accurate or not, that is what runs through peoples’ heads. PS-citing New Knowledge for anything undercuts your credibility as well. I kind of have doubts about anything coming from ex-NSA propaganda mercenaries.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Inside Syria’s Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent”

    Does the Syrian government torture prisoners? Yes. How do we know this? Because George W. Bush used to send people to Syria to be tortured in their prisons with the CIA ing questions to the torturers. This article though is something else and I did spot one thing that might explain it. It said that “Last year, the United Nations General Assembly voted to create and finance a new body, the International Independent and Impartial Mechanism, to centralize preparation of war-crimes cases.”
    As Syria has won that war, this article may be viewed as the first stages in laying the groundwork to bog down the Syrian government in war crime charges with demands that members of the government/military be flown to the Hague. That IIIM might be the one favoured to put this in operation. There is a precedent for this. The Sri Lankan Civil War went on for about a quarter of a century and the west seemed content for it to just grind on year after year. But when the Sri Lankan military went on an offensive in 2009 that ended in victory, there were frantic calls from the west to stop the campaign and for the military to stop attacking the Tigers. And what I remember at the time was calls for those in the Sri Lankan government and military to be put ion trial for war crimes. So not so much as a Right To Protect as a Right To Prosecute.

  16. tegnost

    “As I’ve been saying, when the rules you understood going in say you win by putting points on the board, you don’t get to claim you really won because you racked up more yardage (say, in California but not Wisconsin).”
    Thank you, I love that framing and intend to use it in the future.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For that same reason it was puzzling to hear the Sanders campaign, or supporters, in 2016, before the convention, but after the primary phase of voting had started, about the rules on super-delegates…rules operating going in.

      It seemed to be a very big deal at the time…relating to some narrow path to victory.

      1. Pat

        For some of us complaining it was more about how this obviously gamed the system and made a mockery of voter participation. We knew those were the rules. And that it needed to be changed going forward. While the change is still too small, at least there is now a window for the voters’ choice to win when that conflicts with the choice of the usual suspects before it was not possible.

        I would have more regard for the “she won the popular vote” contingent IF they were clearly and actively working to eliminate the electoral college.

      2. tegnost

        yep, eyes wide open, like in A Clockwork Orange…
        the “smoke filled room” thing

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          What the DNC was alledged to have done there (perhaps proven in the course of that proceeding). no matter how egregiously, does not bolster the argument that rules, agreed to beforehand, should be debated once the contest has started, which is the point under current discussion.

          1. Pat

            BUT and this is a very big but they do need to be discussed. Not used to dispute the outcome, but as undemocratic and unacceptable going forward, IF that is your position. Without discussion and yes outrage unfair rules do not get changed.

            And I say that as someone who has some doubts about eliminating the electoral college.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I agree with you that if they believe the electoral college needs to be changed, they should work towards that.

              That is, however, much harder, I believe, than changing the rule about super delegates, but not an excuse for doing nothing, if they have done nothing.

    1. JEHR

      Jean Vanier represents what we should be doing in all areas of our life; that is, acting in a sympathetic way to those people who are reviled and persecuted for things they have no control over or responsibility for. His life brings forth the concrete ideal of the . His was a simple and beautiful life lived with others and for others.

    2. boz

      Adding my thanks also.

      Hugely important to combat dehumanisation wherever and whenever it arises.

      Santo subito!

    1. voteforno6

      Referencing the Amazon article in today’s links, I wonder if this Apple case might be a precedent.

    2. Big River Bandido

      I only skimmed the decision quickly, but it appears that It’s only on the question of certerori, not the case itself (the merits of which are yet to be argued).

  17. Rojo

    I’d amplify the Military-Industrial Virus story from “Well worth a read” to “Today’s Must Read”.

    The piece encapsulates a lot of what we talk about on NC — MIC, Crapification, De-industrialization, Russigate.

    1. Hubert Horan

      Agree.
      Among other useful points, it explains the origins of the Boeing business/cultural problems that led to the 787 and 737 crisis that NC has been covering.

  18. barefoot charley

    Delightfully crazy WSJ cover story sez Bernie’s success in mainstreaming his criticisms means he’s no longer an ‘outsider.’ Hillary Democrats say it’s ’embarrassing’ that he’s a millionaire. He’s taken money from his family PAC, a full 20th of the public money he’s raised. The Gotcha Bar is doing the Limbo!

    Bernie Sanders, a Front-Runner With Financing to Prove It, Struggles to Retain Outsider Status
    The candidate who blasted the campaign-finance system as ‘corrupt’ has drawn support from outside groups with few restrictions and undisclosed donors

    1. barefoot charley

      The link:

      and the lede: BURLINGTON, Vt.—Bernie Sanders, the independent Vermont senator who came up through that state’s democratic socialist party, launched his insurgent campaign for president four years ago as an outsider challenging the Democratic machine.

      Now, in this early stage of the 2020 presidential race, Mr. Sanders is a Democratic front-runner and newly minted millionaire, with high name recognition and $18 million raised in the first six weeks of his campaign, so far outpacing his rivals. His campaign today has the trappings of the very establishment he eschews, making it a challenge to set himself apart in a wide field of Democrats, including some who have sought to emulate his previous run.

      (Being a frontrunner proves he’s a hypocrite!)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Outside – inside

        Those who are outside of what is inside are inside fo what is outside.

        And those who are inside of what is inside are outside of what is outside.

        (I think…)

        Unless you are right on top of the dividing line.

      2. jrs

        what is unstated and implied is that he is on the take, but come on prove it or stop with the baseless innuendo, though the money raising demands at that level of government are severe.

      3. Geo

        I guess this means WaPo is now a fringe ‘zine only read by outsiders and kooks? Does this mean Wall Street has been leveled and they’re all reduced to running numbers rackets and loan sharking in backrooms out in Stark Island now, too?

  19. dearieme

    It‘s Getting Harder to Track US Progress in Afghanistan

    It’s maybe getting harder to track the progress of the Monster along Loch Ness, and very possibly for the same reason.

  20. dearieme

    ‘I think our leader has done a really good job in keeping the company focused on delivering a fix to our part of this issue …’

    For this sort of management bollocks I find it irresistible to translate ‘our leader’ into German.

  21. JohnnyGL

    Good round up of current state of dem primary. Lots of overlap between Biden and Bernie, strange as it sounds. But, it also means there’s lots of potential upside for Sanders, too.

    There’s definitely name-recognition, but there’s a lot of yearning in the dem base to just pick a winner. Biden’s support, for the moment, is self-reinforcing. If/when Bernie can get himself a lead, he might be able to consolidate it by swinging the sizable chunk of the base electorate that just wants to back a winner.

    Continued scenes with big crowds, good fundraising totals, etc will help send that kind of message. I think it’s important for Sanders to keep LOOKING like a front-runner and LOOKING like someone who can succeed.

    1. Hepativore

      It still remains to be seen just how much of Biden’s lead is actually real, and how much it depends on how the polls were conducted and by whom. I know that many people are misguidedly nostalgic for the Obama years. However, it just seems odd that we are constantly being reminded by media sources of Biden’s “widening lead” by breathless media reports every second when the only time that Sanders is covered is through ridiculous hit pieces. Is it not strange that nobody ever mentions that Biden is not exactly a spring chicken himself with all of the “He’s too old!” sentiments from the anti-Sanders crowd?

      Admittedly, it is very hard to get an accurate picture of where the candidates stand because most polls are conducted by organizations that are heavily motivated by bias in one form or another.

      1. JohnnyGL

        The gap in Biden’s lead between the Morning Consult’s poll and the CNN one was ~10 points or so. That seems like a decent proxy, for now.

        Keep in mind with ‘electability’ being the main theme of the day, there’s going to be a lot of volatility baked into the polling at any given moment.

        It’s Biden’s to lose, for now. If/when he falters, expect a lot of ups/downs for a bunch of candidates.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Looking to Trump for inspiration?

      Even then, that is, even if Biden is ahead now, is he further ahead than whoever the front runner at this stage four years ago was ahead of Trump, who eventually overtook that GOP candidate?

      And furthermore, will Sanders, after calling out Trump as a fraud over the weekend, say (the Democratic equivalent of Trump calling out Bush) that Obama was a fraud (people can argue about, but that would be the equivalent)?

  22. Summer

    Re: Do Trump’s Tariffs Really Matter…Bloomberg

    “I would suggest there are two factors at work here. First, investors may be predicting, on the basis of the game theory everyone has been studying in recent weeks, that there will still be a painless resolution — that this past week’s events were merely a communication breakdown that can soon be resolved. Second, they may believe that tariffs aren’t that bad — or at least that they won’t have too serious of an effect on corporate earnings..”

    Of course higher prices are what they want. If a company wants to increase revenues when people are cutting back on spending or unable to spend more, squeeze more out of those who are spending or non-discrtionary spending. They are going to ride the prices up until they affect the people whose screams matter.
    They have been wanting this kind of inflation for the longest. They zero f – – – – that the majority of workers have not benefited from their monetary policies. The ones that have, they have a lot of cash sloshing about so they see high prices as the way too pump up revenue.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not sure how companies can immediately increase profits from tariffs.

      They can increase revenues, because some items now come with added tarriffs. That will mean bigger revenues.

      To get more profits, companies will have to increase their mark-ups, on top of the tariffs, so that, for example, an item is more than 25% more expensive at the retail lever, even though the tariff is only 25%.

      Perhaps, they will do that.

      Another way to increase both revenues, and profits, is to mark up higher those items not on the tariff list. This is easier when prices on many things and services, or in general, are going up.

      It’s possible, and maybe even likely, that we see both scenarios, but they are not the immediate results of higher tariffs, and perhaps we will read about them only after the damage is done.

  23. Summer

    RE: corporate-delusions-automation-fuel-cruelty-uber-and-lyft

    “Treating drivers as replaceable, disposable placeholders for algorithms is finally taking its toll. Uber even acknowledges as much in its IPO filing, which states plainly that the company plans to continue to slash wages. “As we aim to reduce Driver incentives to improve our financial performance, we expect Driver dissatisfaction will generally increase,” it notes. “Further, we are investing in our autonomous vehicle strategy, which may add to Driver dissatisfaction over time, as it may reduce the need for Drivers.”

    Replace “Driver” with any number of jobs. This is not a dream of only Lyft and Uber.

    The only worry the owners of capital have had is that actual workers of various skill and ability could run and control any business without them. As long as people, all kinds of different people, with uncontrollable human traits can attain the skills to run a businesss, some feel threatened.

  24. JohnnyGL

    Really good piece from Michael Tracey. Uncomfortable reading for us lefties, but he makes a lot of good points.

    1. Tom Doak

      Yes, his comparison of Biden to John Kerry wrapping up the nomination early in the 2004 campaign because he was so “electable” (and Bush was so awful) makes it sound like Democrat’s are eager to repeat the same mistake.

      1. JohnnyGL

        In 2020, the media both works harder to manufacture consent and is simultaneously less effective at doing so.

        I recall the Kerry campaign was a tremendous flop, going absolutely nowhere until Iowans rescued him from the brink in a last minute change of heart. The crazy thing was how quickly the polls shifted and suddenly Kerry ran up the score all across the country.

        Being from MA, I was skeptical and unenthusiastic about him. But seeing him get the “Swift Boat” treatment made me realize how awful the political game can get. First time I saw it happen in real time, with my own eyes.

        In any case, it’s an abject lesson about how when ‘electability’ is the dominant theme, the polls can whipsaw around like the jet stream. Expect additional volatility before this race is run.

    2. Carey

      That’s one take. I myself couldn’t believe it was written by Michael Tracey.

      If D’oh Biden gets the nomination, it’s because he’s the very Few’s errand boy, only. No way he beats President Trump.

  25. barrisj

    “Gig-economy” unicorns Lyft and Uber getting slaughtered during the “tariif-wars” market retreat…LYFT down nearly 40 pts. from opening-day “pop”, while UBER never moved out of negative territory since its Thursday IPO. I can imagine other over-priced SV startups putting on hold any IPO action for a while…even the usual suckers for these offerings are running away.

  26. Tomonthebeach

    McCarthy’s National Review piece on Russiagate omits one rather pertinent factoid. If Trump was not such a congenital scofflaw and liar, the CJ system would not offer such a ready source of leverage against him.

  27. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Talking to the Law Student With a Novel Theory About Amazon’s Power

    In the “The more things change, the more they stay the same” department, check out his bit about how to curb the rapaciousness of Amazon, et al –

    There’s also a state-law avenue — legislators in places like California or New York could pass laws that allow merchants and lenders to bring claims against companies like Amazon because they deem those rights unwaivable. So, they make it that even if you sign the contract, that contract provision is not enforceable because that’s a substantive right that you cannot waive.

    I’m currently reading Michael Hudson’s And Forgive them their Debts and the above passage sounds a lot like what happened thousands of years ago in the Near East. Hudson’s book discusses the ancient practice of rulers periodically wiping away debts, however creditors weren’t so keen on the idea. When someone took out a loan, creditors would try to make a debtor sign a contract saying they would disregard any subsequent debt jubilees and the money would still be owed in full. Rulers in turn would sometimes overturn or make illegal contracts with these sorts of stipulations saying royal decrees would be ignored.

    Solomon (who gets a fairly prominent mention in Hudson’s book) was right – there really is nothing new under the sun.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Perhaps the most important insight I get out of reading Hudson, although I don’t recall that he made the point explicitly is that, when a society advances enough to create money, a predatory financial class inevitably emerges. It’s baked into the cake of “civilization.” And whether or not a civilization endures for any length of time depends on whether or not it is able constrain the inevitable predatory class.

  28. Anon

    RE: Most Points Wins. . .

    This would be fine if we’re playing basketball, but the 2016 election was not. The Electoral College allows small states (especially those with less than 1 million citizens) 2 extra free throws (electoral votes) for their team. States are awarded electoral votes based on population 2 free votes (for each Senator). Each state was awarded two Senators via the Connecticut Compromise in 1787. (Senators were appointed, not elected, until the beginning of the 20th Century (1903?) In 1787 it probably didn’t seem like a big deal when California and Texas and Wyoming didn’t exist. But it does today, 2016.

    So the many small (mostly Red) states have an out-sized effect on a true democracy (one man one vote). It is these numerous small states with their two extra votes that makes so-called “swing states” important to presidential candidates (the only election that uses the EC format). Remove the 2 free throws of all the states and the Presidential election would be closer to “most points wins”.

    Make electoral votes proportional to the votes cast in each state and now your talking about a democracy (votes based on population); not an 18th Century program that today awards Wyoming (600,000 pop.) 3 votes and California (40,000,000 pop.–66x greater) 53 votes.

    It is the aggregate “free throws” of the small states that ‘wins’ a close ‘game’ for the Red team; from rules made in the 18th century for a game and teams that did not exist at that time.

    Time to step into the 21st Century; direct democracy for Presidential elections.

    1. Big River Bandido

      First, I personally do not agree that requiring a geographic balance of votes is necessarily a bad thing when it comes to electing a president, even at the “loss” of “democracy”; Clinton’s entire margin came from a single state (CA), which is no more competent to make national policy than what you call “red states”. The Electoral College was created, in part, to prevent the election of a sectionally-elected President. I believe that’s a worthy goal.

      Second, “red states” is b.s. language. It basically says no leftist candidate can win in Iowa or Ohio or Idaho — a conclusion which flies in the face of historical fact. Democrats lose so many states because of terrible policies and terrible campaigns which appeal to only a social and economic elite. The rest of the voters, those who are ignored by the two parties and receive absolutely zero benefit from them — in “red” and “blue” states alike — stay home. It’s much easier to complain about the rules of elections than it is to actually, you know, create policies that appeal to people, and then campaign on them. Democrats lose because they are phony, as thin as rain, and the most average voter can see right through them. That’s the meaning behind the “Wisconsin” reference.

      But the point of the “basketball” epithet is that Clinton (and Gore, for that matter) knew the rules going in and ran incompetent campaigns anyway. And THEN, after losing races that would have been *easily* winnable, they piss and moan about the rules not being fair.

      Sour grapes and sore losers.

      1. Anon

        Clinton & Gore may be sour losers. But that is NOT the point of my comment. My point is that it if you make an argument that winning on points (as in a game) is the goal, then pointing out the 18th Century rules of the game is necessary. Since voting for a US President is NOT a game without consequence.

        I used the term “red state” simply to point out the voting pattern of many small states in the 2016 election. The Electoral College does not create a geographic balance of any kind and was created to give the 1787 agricultural states (where many of the Founders lived) an advantage. An advantage that the Founders probably never contemplated in today’s nation of 50 states and a radical difference of population among them. The EC is essentially a form of institutional gerrymandering; it gives a distinct advantage to small state voters (Red or Blue).

        The issue isn’t whether or not California is more competent to make national policy (which is actually made by three different Branches of Government) it is whether or not the 40 million population of CA should have equal standing with small states in electing the President. (Texas with 29 million pop. will likely make a similar argument if Bernie squeeks by 77,000 votes in three “swing states”.)

        Without doubt the Democratic party isn’t meeting the needs/desires of some voters in “swing states”. But that does not resolve the fact that small states have a disproportionate effect on the EC.
        It is a structural defect in our democracy; no matter your Party. It is not one man one vote.

        Voters staying home is encouraged by a voting system (two dominant Party’s) that allows candidates to selective campaign in a few “swing states” and not campaign across the nation. The small states undeserved electoral weight is certainly discouraging the Repub’s in Blue states and Dems in Red states. Ascribing electoral votes proportional to voter preference in each state is better than the current winner take all arrangement and would likely encourage voters to participate more often.

        Without these changes, moving the US forward into an economically fair, judicially balanced, and socially responsive nation will be delayed years.

        1. Anon

          Addendum: Ohio is not a small state: ~12million pop. The median state population is 4.6 million (Louisiana).

  29. Roy G

    Agreed that Narwani’s summary of facts is spot on, and significantly bolstered by the fact that she performed a huge amount of actual on-the-ground journalism, which is more than can be said for the 101st keyboard division who’s reportage consisted of official stenography and whatever could be sussed out by the pool or happy hour in the finer hotels of West Beirut.

  30. Savita

    ‘Open Banking in Australia from 1 July, earth shattering for financial industry’

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