Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Real Why of Hillary Clinton's Loss  (Oh, And U.S. Attacking Russia)  There's No 9/11 Here; Move Along  (BitCoin Going to a Trillion Dollars?)



The Billionaire Bonanza report stated: “Our wealthiest 400 now have more wealth combined than the bottom 64 percent of the U.S. population, an estimated 80 million households or 204 million people.” That’s more people than the population of Canada and Mexico combined.
IPS’s Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie know it is not a “natural phenomenon,” how the rich got rich at the expense of the rest of the population. They say it’s the result of “unfair economic policies that benefit those at the top at the expense of those at the bottom.”
This IPS report, "Billionaire Bonanza," says “All combined, households in the bottom one percent have a combined negative net worth of $196 billion. For comparison, the top one percent, a category holding the exact same number of people, have positive $33.4 trillion in combined net worth.”
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Republican House Members Think a $450K Salary is Middle Class

In China, Trump Becomes the Capitulator-in-Chief


Paying Off Post-9/11 U.S. War Debt Could Cost $8 Trillion

The Assault On RT America*
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This is America today. And the incompetents ruling incompetents want war with Iran, Korea, Russia, China. Considering the extraordinary level of incompetence throughout the United States, I guarantee you that we will not win these wars.

Just to start with the good news:

In other words, the First Amendment, along with the rest of the US Constitution, has been repealed by Washington’s assertion of raw power, not limited by law or even morality.
I am not being facetious when I tell you “don’t expect to live much longer.” We are ruled by mindless, insane, psychopaths who believe that the US is invulnerable. These dumbshits are likely to get us all blown off the face of the earth.

So, there's a possibility there's a more important national issue than Hillary Clinton's book tour on our agenda right now.

Wouldn't it be mildly humorous if her media-oriented book chat, Trump's international reconciliation farce and the RUSSIA! RUSSIA! RUSSIA! orchestrated furor were all just smoke and mirrors for those eager to put the Russians out of the energy biz?

Those pipelines. Almost like memories from a distant past. But . . . wait . . . .

The U.S. did so much good in Afghanistan, and Iraq, and Libya, and Syr . . . .

The future awaits those not already totally consumed by the smoky mirrors.

One more powerful thought:

Having grown up during the second half of the 20th century, I don’t recognize my country today. I experienced life in a competent country, and now I experience life in an incompetent country.
Everything is incompetent. The police are incompetent. They shoot children, grandmothers, cripples, and claim that they feared for their life.
Washington’s foreign policy is incompetent. Washington has alienated the world with its insane illegal attacks on other countries. Today the United States and Israel are the two most distrusted countries on earth and the two countries regarded as the greatest threat to peace.
The military/security complex is incompetent. The national security state is so incompetent that it was unable to block the most humiliating attack in history against a superpower that proved to be entirely helpless as a few people armed with box cutters and an inability to fly an airplane destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon itself. The military industries have produced at gigantic cost the F-35 that is no match for the Russian fighters or even for the F-15s and F-16s it is supposed to replace.
The media is incompetent. I can’t think of an accurate story that has been reported in the 21st century. There must be one, but it doesn’t come to mind.
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Want to know the real story of why Hillary Clinton lost? Don't consult the "National New York Times Enquirer."

The Clinton/Obama wing of the party has historically leaned toward reducing government deficits, public/private partnerships, means testing for government services, and as global, interventionist military presence. Politically, it has sought to align itself (and raise money from) corporate interests, Wall Street, and the national security establishment.
Expediency, self-interest, and cynicism play a role in this thinking, but I believe it’s often based on sincerely held beliefs about how the world works — economically, politically, and in foreign policy. I think it’s wrong, but I think it’s sincere.
For their part, many Democrats in Clinton wing  judge the left harshly. They’ve stoked false “Bernie Bro” memes, dismissed progressive proposals as unachievable “ponies,” and liberally thrown “Putin’s Puppet” accusations at those with whom they disagree. They’re dismissive of policies such as Medicare For All, a new Glass-Steagall, the breakup of big banks, an end to job-killing corporate trade deals, and the downsizing of our military and national-security complexes.

My buddy Lee has the rest of the story.





Not to mention the infamous Lionel!



Don't read the comments attached to these videos. They are just TOO RICH (and well-informed)!!!

(e.g., Inisfad  My exact impression:  Brazile did this with the full knowledge and support of the DNC and Democratic elites. They knew of no other way to extricate themselves from the Clinton machine, where they saw that they were losing all support due to this relationship. Brazile was basically ‘used’ to start the severing of this relationship.
or:

SheLikesSteel  Donna Brazile was brought in to sweep the Bernie issue under the rug, and to get him quietly onboard with the Hillary game - which she did. She was also the tried and trusted captain of the DNC who could be counted on to help Hillary cheat her way through the campaign - which she did. Now she releases a book that basically helps the DNC, Clinton, Obama, et al. thumb their noses at America. There's a plot yet to be uncovered in this story.)

And then there's Jimmy Dore (doubling down on the last damage control? P.S. Evidently, according to her memory, she did not write "her" book):



The shouting will not stop until after the hi-jinks of the last election have been truly exposed, and it's difficult to see its normal culmination in lawsuits and/or jail time as almost every institution in the USA! USA! USA! is involved in the charade.

What are the odds of actually disemboweling this beast?

99 - 1?

And why is this dilemma so incredibly important now?


*   . . . Put the censorship campaigns together and the message is clear:  Left-wing critics, already marginalized by the state, must be silenced.
It would seem, given how we are locked out of the corporate media and public broadcasting, that the assault is overkill. But the ideology that sustains the corporate state, the “free market” and neoliberalism has lost all credibility. The corporate state has no counterargument to its critics. The nakedness of corporate greed, exploitation and repression is transparent across the political spectrum. The ideological fortress erected by corporate power and sustained by its courtiers in the press and academia has collapsed. All it has left is a crude censorship.
Complicit in this censorship is a bankrupt liberal class. The institutions tasked with defending press freedom — including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists and PEN — along with major news outlets such as The New York Times, have served as the corporate state’s useful idiots. Only a handful of journalists, including Truthdig Editor in Chief, Robert Scheer, grasp and decry the very real danger before us.
The charge that RT and these left-wing sites disseminate “foreign propaganda” is the beginning, not the end, of a broad campaign against press freedom. Once this precedent of state censorship is normalized, far more tepid and compliant media outlets will be targeted. Max Blumenthal wrote two good pieces on AlterNet about the puppet masters behind the censorship campaign. [Click here and here.]
The venom of the state toward its critics was displayed in a report by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections,” issued Jan. 6. In the report seven pages were specifically directed at RT America, much of the language focused on the journalist Abby Martin. Martin became one of the best-known critics of the corporate state during the Occupy movement. Her show on RT, “Breaking the Set,” which had been off the air for nearly two years when the report was published — a glaring error for an intelligence community awash in budgets of tens of billions of dollars — was denounced as a disseminator of “radical discontent.” The report complained that RT gave airtime to third-party candidate debates. The document attacked RT hosts for asserting that the two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a sham. It excoriated the network for covering Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street and fracking.
The report charged:

RT’s reports often characterize the United States as a “surveillance state” and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use.
RT has also focused on criticism of the US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall Street greed, and the US national debt. Some of RT’s hosts have compared the United States to Imperial Rome and have predicted that government corruption and “corporate greed” will lead to US financial collapse.

The “Alice in Wonderland” quality of the report would be laughable if it was not so ominous. The United States, in fact, is a surveillance state. Civil liberties have been eviscerated. Police brutality is endemic. Our drone wars have made us state terrorists. The economic structure serves the wealthiest corporations and oligarchs. Wall Street is run by a criminal class. Our debt is unsustainable, especially once the dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency, and like all decaying empires we are headed for collapse. The DNI report clarifies what the ruling elites fear — not fake news but the truth. And the truth is that the elites have destroyed the country and are traitors to democracy.
The DNI report was followed by a congressional hearing on “Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online,” held Oct. 31. Executives of Facebook, Twitter and Google were grilled about their roles in distributing fake news and extremist content that in the words of Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley included “spread[ing] stories about abuse of black Americans by law enforcement.” The executives promised to double down on their censorship, and they did so.
The ruling elites are desperately trying to shift the focus away from the cause of the political insurgencies on the left and the right — extreme social inequality. It is for this reason that critics who highlight and explore the roots and causes of social inequality must be discredited or silenced. If social inequality is accepted as the driving force behind the decay of the American state and the mounting rage of much of the population, then the structures that profit from this inequality will come under assault. All the elites have left is to paint their critics as “agents of a foreign power.”

The United States increasingly resembles a totalitarian state. Our anemic democracy is on life support. A reasoned debate about social inequality or the crimes and misjudgments of empire is becoming impossible. This presages a frightening future. There will be many “good” Americans who, when the history of this moment is recorded, will be responsible. And one day, to their surprise, they too will be victims.
Don't watch this video if you don't want to find out what was really happening to the buildings during the 9/11 attack. It'll inform and perhaps surprise you.





And these testimonies have absolutely nothing to do with why the U.S. has gone to war against most of the world since 9/ll.


Max and Stacy let us into what sophisticated investors think of gold and other old-fashioned investments:










Lee Camp and Company at "Redacted Tonight" provides the last bit of insight we really need to enjoy the irony of existence today in the USA!






Applause! Applause!

But where is Himmler when we need him?


Thursday, October 26, 2017

(Roooskies!) Time To Open Our Eyes and View the Damage? (Obama Exposed As Trumpists Intensity Builds)  Hefner Finally Dies, Will Playboy?  (Affleck Apologizes, McGowan Is Shut Down by Twitter?)  Needing to Rebalance Economy  (With Nothing To Lose, Why Stay?)  Building a More Equitable World  (Max, Stacy, Randy and Noam!)



Rooossia? Hillbots? Bernbots?

Trumpers?

Whom to blame for the 2016 election fiasco?

As a former software "wiz" it's hardly a surprise to me. Many were the days when I spent long hours at my desk "improving" the code, and then being told by my managers (nonprogrammers) that I was wasting my time, baby . . . get over it!

And shit software will still remain more profitable than software that would make our lives easier, better, faster, and safer. And yeah, we would probably have to wait a few more months to get it. It might even need a better business model than collecting and selling your personal information to advertisers and whomever else comes calling.
I could keep writing about this, there’s a career’s worth of pieces to write about how bad software is, and how insecure it makes us, and I have written many of those pieces. But like writing about hackers compromising terrible systems, I don’t want to write the same thing telling you that software is the problem, not the Chinese or the Russians or the boogeyman de jour.
You, the person reading this, whether you work in the media or tech or unloading container ships or selling falafels, need to learn how computers work, and start demanding they work better for you. Not everything, not how to write code, but the basics of digital and internet literacy.
Stop asking what the Russians could do to our voting machines, and start asking why our voting machines are so terrible, and often no one can legally review their code.

And it turns out that many of our regular election participants like it like that.

Don’t ask who stole troves of personal data or what they can do with it, ask why it was kept in the first place. This all goes double for the journalists who write about these things — you’re not helping people with your digital credulity, you’re just helping intel services and consultants and global defense budgets and Hollywood producers make the world worse.


The social mechanisms ensuring the triumph of the money vultures are even more pervasive now. Wouldn't you have thought that shame might have factored into their future actions? Just a little?

Free speech is not supposed to be limited to words that give no offense to anyone. What this definition of free speech does is to eliminate all criticism of wrong or criminal activity and all dissent against war, police brutality, and political, social, and economic programs. In other words, political correctness silences a population. Silencing is permitted regardless of whether the “offensive” statement is true or false. . . . There is no freedom in such a system. As George Orwell said, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

If the U.S. citizenry don't open their eyes soon and see the devastation that neoliberal/-conism has delivered, there will be no freedom of expression (or middle class) left that matters.

“It’s been my view since circa 2003 that [the oligarchs] would hold up the system with printed money and credit creation until every last crumb of middle class wealth was swept off the table and into the pockets of those in position to do the sweeping.
“Obama delivered nothing on his original campaign promises. He was going to “reform” Wall Street.  But the concept of Too Big To Fail was legislated under Obama, and Wall Street indictments/prosecutions fell precipitously from the previous Administration.
“Obama left office and entered into a world of high six-figure Wall Street-sponsored speaking engagements and to live in a $10 million estate in Hawaii paid for by the Chicago elite (Pritzkers etc).  Now Obama will be paid off $10’s of millions for his role in aiding and abetting the transfer of trillions from the middle class to the elitists. Look at Bill and Hillary – need I say more?  Trump has reversed course on his campaign promises twice as quickly as Obama.  Almost overnight after his inauguration, Trump became a war-mongering hand-puppet for the Deep State’s ‘Swamp’ creatures.
“The media has been willingly complicit in this big charade. Much to my complete shock, Brett Arends has published a commentary on Marketwatch which, from an insider, warns about the media:

‘Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world. Once upon a time you saw people like this in every newsroom in the country. They often had chaotic personal lives and they died early of cirrhosis or a heart attack. But they were tough, angry SOBs and they produced great stories.
‘Do you want to know what kind of people get promoted and succeed in the modern news organization? Social climbers. Networkers. People who are gregarious, who “buy in” to the dominant consensus, who go along to get along and don’t ask too many really awkward questions. They are flexible, well-organized, and happy with life. And it shows.’
“This is why so many reporters are happy to report that U.S. corporations are in great financial shape, even though they also have surging debts, or that a ‘diversified portfolio’ of stocks and bonds will protect you in all circumstances, even though this is not the case, or that defense budgets are being slashed, when they aren’t, or that the U.S. economy has massively outperformed rivals such as Japan, when on key metrics it hasn’t, or that companies must pay CEOs gazillions of dollars to secure the top ‘talent’ when they don’t need to do any such thing and such pay is just plunder.” http://investmentresearchdynamics.com/the-sqeeze-is-on/
The American leftwing has been transmogrified. The left, which formerly stood for “peace and bread,” today stands for Identity Politics and war. The working class has been redefined as “the Trump deplorables” and splintered into separate “victim groups”— women, racial minorities, homosexuals, transgendered. The oppressors are no longer oligarchs who own the means of production. The oppressor is the sexist, misogynist, homophobic, heterosexual, fascist, white supremacist male working class.
. . . By splintering the working class into victim groups, Identity Politics has made opposition to war and income inequality impossible. In place of unity, Identity Politics has dismembered the working class and directed its energies into internal disputes. We now have fistfights in London’s Hyde Park between radical feminists and transgendered activists. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4891484/Fists-fly-politically-correct-rally.html
Diana Johnstone has shown how Antifa, the violent arm of Identity Politics, has turned the leftwing into a suppressor of free speech and a supporter of war. See https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/09/antifa-in-theory-and-in-practice/ and https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/10/23/harmful-effects-antifa-diana-johnstone/.

. . . It seems simple enough that if a person doesn’t want to be offended by a speaker, don’t go to the speech. On the other hand, if a person wants to learn what the opposition is up to, why miss the chance? In the end, political correctness is about regulating what can be said and controlling explanations, not about protecting the hyper-sensitive from hurtful words.

Everyone knows the history preceding these events. What is puzzling is the interpretation placed upon them.

Obama is a Right Wing President.  That is all. He is a Reaganite, and to the right of Reagan, but somewhat to the left of the Tea Party, which puts him in spitting distance of Atilla the Hun (his record on civil liberties is, according to the ACLU, substantially worse than George W. Bush’s. He deported more Hispanics than George Bush ever did, etc…)  Obama had plenty of power to make more of a difference than he did, and he chose not to.  In the small things, in the big things, when it came to economic policies and to non identity based civil liberties, he virtually always did the right wing thing.
Obama is the first president in post-war history (and maybe all of history) whose economy gave more money to the top 10% than the entire value of all productivity gains in his Presidency. Even George W. Bush didn’t manage that.

Could Obama Have Fixed the Economy?

by Ian Welsh
October 17, 2017
I want to revisit this. Obama was the last person who had a real chance to change and fix things. A crisis is an opportunity. FDR used the Great Depression to change America. Reagan used stagflation to change America. Bush used 9/11 to change America.
Obama could have used the financial crisis to change America. He did not. That was a choice.
His failure leads straight to Trump and various other pathologies. It is a straight line. Failure has consequences. Belief in the status quo (which describes Obama to the T) has consequences.
So, here’s what I wrote about this November 6, 2014 and many other times…
I’m hearing “Obama couldn’t have fixed the economy.  Wage stagnation is not his fault, it’s been going on for decades!”  (For the record it’s been going on for at least 34 years, probably 39, and for some parts of the population, for 46 (that’s when wages for working class white males peaked.  Which is why they’re pissy.))
This argument is, to give it more courtesy than it deserves, bullshit.  I wrote about this back in 2010, and you can read that article, but let’s run through this one more time, because you will never get good leadership if you keep excusing your leaders for betraying you.

Part of the argument is that Obama couldn’t do almost anything because Obama only controlled the House, the Presidency and didn’t quite have 60 votes in the Senate in his first two years.  Because this is the case, I’ll deal with this argument in two parts.
In the first we will discuss something that needed Congressional approval.
The Stimulus: Negotiating 101, people, is that you always ask for more than you want. Obama asked for too little, and a huge part of his stimulus was tax cuts. Worse than this, his stimulus was structured terribly. What you do with a stimulus package in a recession and financial collapse is you use it to restructure the economy. That means things like moving the entire federal package of buildings over to solar, and buying from American companies. (Don’t even try to natter on about trade deals, the US is more than happy to ignore trade rulings it does not like.) That means putting aside a huge amount of money to refit every American house to run on renewable energy, which are jobs which cannot be offshored or outsourced, they must be done in America.
That means building high-speed rail, and using eminent domain to get it done. It also means moving money off the sidelines which would otherwise sit there by providing a clear direction for the economy so that private actors invest hire and invest
.
Note that Obama did not negotiate properly, he did include a huge amount of tax cuts (right wing ideology), and he produced a stimulus which did not restructure the economy or get private money off the sidelines.  I wrote extensively about this at the time.   None of this is post-facto judgement:
January 5, 2009: The day the news leaked that 40% of the stimulus was tax cuts, I wrote it wouldn’t work.
January 17, 2009: The full details are out, I write: “For ordinary people however, there will be both wage deflation and real asset deflation…
Now, all the things Obama could have done which DID NOT require Congressional approval:
Prosecute the Bankers: This is an executive decision.  Entirely an executive decision.  There was widespread fraud, and no senior executive on Wall Street could credibly claim to not know of it.  Seize their emails, indict them under RICO statutes (ie. take away all their money and force them to use public defenders), and throw them in jail.  Do not let them get off with fines that are less than the profits made, effectively immunizing them.  This means they will keep doing fraudulent and destructive things, because doing so made them personally rich.
Oh, also, there are now fewer, bigger banks.
Take Over and Break Up the Banks: The Federal Reserve had trillions of dollars of toxic sewage on its books which it borrowed at par, which could not sell on the market at par. But Ian, you cavil, “the Federal Reserve is independent of the President.” No. The President can fire any member of the Board of the Federal Reserve except the Chairman for cause and replace them. Letting the financial collapse happen might qualify as cause. Even if Bernanke refused to leave, he would be outvoted on every issue by Obama’s people. Once you control them, you return all the tosic sludge to the banks. They go bankrupt. Which leads to:
Make Stockholders and Bondholders Take their Losses: Yes.  This will wipe them out. That’s the point. The problem with the rich isn’t primarily that they are rich, it is that wealth allows them to largely control the government (I trust this is non-controversial. If it isn’t, I hope you’re on the payroll and paid to believe such sewage.) Making them take their losses breaks their power. Once their power is broken, it’s a lot easier to get everything else done. This is also a popular move. (There are ways to fix the pensions which go bankrupt, another time on that.)
Using the Banks you Took Over and Broke Up, Lend!  These banks are now under Federal control. They do what the President wants, when the President wants it done. They start lending to create small business, rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, move to renewable energy, and so on and so forth. (Read THIS, for what the US needed to do at the time. Again, written at the time.)
There are many other things Obama could have done, that he chose not to do.  It is entirely fair to judge Obama on the economy because not only did he never do what was needed to fix it, he did not even try.  Everything he did that was supposedly to fix the economy was insufficient and he was told so at the time by people who had been right about the oncoming financial crisis, in advance.
Even in small things, like aid for homeowners, the Obama administration, even when it had both the authority and the money (which it did), chose to do as little as it could
.
Obama is a Right Wing President.  That is all. He is a Reaganite, and to the right of Reagan, but somewhat to the left of the Tea Party, which puts him in spitting distance of Atilla the Hun (his record on civil liberties is, according to the ACLU, substantially worse than George W. Bush’s. He deported more Hispanics than George Bush ever did, etc…)  Obama had plenty of power to make more of a difference than he did, and he chose not to.  In the small things, in the big things, when it came to economic policies and to non identity based civil liberties, he virtually always did the right wing thing.
Obama is the first President in post-war history (and maybe all of history) whose economy gave more money to the top 10% than the entire value of all productivity gains in his Presidency.  Even George W. Bush didn’t manage that.
Yes, stagnation of wages and wealth, and even the drop of both in many sectors while it concentrated in the hands of the rich is something which has been going on for decades. It is hard to stop.
But, because of the financial crisis, Barack Obama had the opportunity.  Calls against TARP were running, according to my sources, 200:1 to 1200:1 against. It failed to pass the first time.  Nancy Pelosi said she would not pass it if an equal proportion of Republican House members would not vote for it also.  They refused to do so.  It would have died except for one thing: Obama twisted arms to make it happen.  As the Presidential candidate (and likely future President), he had the ability to do that, and he did.
Again, Obama did not fix the economy because he did not want to. Or rather, keeping rich people rich was  more important to him.  You can argue, if you wish, that he was not willing to break up the banks because it would have been catastrophic.  That argument cannot be dealt with fully here, without doubling the length of an already long essay, but I will be gauche and quote myself, once more, from 2008:

Now it’s the US. America can try and sweep this crisis under the carpet and pretend there isn’t a huge overhang of bad loans and worthless securities. If it does so, the best case scenario is that the next twenty years or so will be America’s Bright Depression (Stagnating economy). Best case.
I will tell you now that the best case has not happened.  As the charts in this post show, the economy stagnated for ordinary people through the recovery and boom of this business cycle.  During the recession there will be job losses again. Most of them will not come back in the next recovery and boom, and neither will wages.
This is Barack Obama’s legacy.  Those like Paul Krugman (what happened to Paul?), who pretend that Obama is a great president are laughable.  History does not grade on a curve “well, we aren’t all chewing on our boots”.  Obama had a historic opportunity to be the next Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Instead, he chose to save the rich, and let them eat everyone else.  This was a choice, he could have done other things.
Nor is this a noble failure:  he did not try.  He did not use the real tools he had at his disposal.
I note, finally, again, because I know most readers will have heard over and over again that Obama saved you from armaggedon, that the US economy cannot be fixed until the wealth, and therefore power, of the very rich is broken. It can not be done.  However bad you think it would have been if that had been allowed to happen, this economy will continue to get worse because it was not done.
Read the entire essay here, and if you have a spare moment, go on over to Ian's place and thank him for his courage in pursuing the truth for so many years. And read his Comments section for some of the best economic analysis you've been offered since Bush II was king. Two examples follow:

I wrote:  “The big problem with Obama is the same problem Hillary has:  his economic advisers are Democratic versions of “neo-liberal” radical free marketeers, so it is going to be the major intellectual breakthrough of their lives to have to admit that most of what they know and believe about economics is wrong.”
On April 22, 2008, I argued that it was necessary to Euthanize Wall Street to save the economy: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/04/22/501153/-Euthanize-Wall-Street-to-save-the-economy
I cited the Federal Reserve Board’s Report on the Condition of the U.S. Banking Industry for the second quarter of 2006, which showed that derivatives holdings of the 50 largest bank holding companies totaled $117.6 trillion, and that those derivatives had no relationship to their ostensible purpose: to make it easier, or less risky, to provide loans. I cited a February 2007 Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report, Credit Derivatives and Bank Credit Supply, which reached the same conclusion, though the banking jargon used tried to obfuscate the point. I cited a February 2005 report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Consolidation in the U.S. Banking Industry: Is the Long, Strange Trip About to End?, which concluded that mergers of banks were driven more by “empire building and increased managerial compensation” than economic efficiencies. And I ended by outlining the need for a financial transactions tax. 
After Lehman Brothers imploded in September, I reposted most of that article in Let Wall Street Burn http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/09/17/602022/-Let-Wall-Street-Burn
Pissing away $700 billion http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/10/30/11112/750
posted 10/30/2008 – On how inadequate the “stimulus” was:  Debunking the Great Myth of the Financial Markets http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/5/24/105511/478 posted 05/24/2009 – Presents the evidence that the financial system no longer serves the function of credit mediation for an industrial economy, but in fact is looting the industrial economy.
Roosevelt created 4 million jobs in one month http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/1/8/101352/1485 posted 01/08/2010 – intended to show what could be done if there was will to do it.
_________
Let’s cut to the chase. Obama did what a self-professed “moderate 1985 Reagan Republican” would do – ensure that the biggest corporations the world has ever seen remain viable while sacrificing those that service the lower classes. Everything he has done since has only increased the security of said organizations against the rise of an angry populace. It was what Obama was paid to do with being the first non-100% Anglo to hold office as President.
Let’s take another glance at American History. After the nation wiped out the Native peoples and stole their lands, there was nothing left within our borders for the wealthy to grow their fortunes to their satisfaction. Enter the Imperialists, delivering new opportunities for exploitation by stealing a major chunk of what remained of Spanish possessions.
We are at such an impasse again. The nations friendly to corporatist exploitation have essentially been tapped out. Nike shoes are no longer sufficient to keep Vietnam on the side of Uncle Scam, so now the US is supplying patrol aircraft and the latest in electronic surveillance equipment so PRV can sting the dragon for us. The US is waging a “war on terrorism” in order to have an excuse to go after the oil reserves of Muslim nations not friendly to corporatism. The Ukraine has been thrust into the breech as the excuse to attack Russia, whose economic growth threatens to violate the Wolfowitz Doctrine that no nation can be allowed to become more economically powerful than the US.
There are so many more examples of the US positioning itself to exploit all of the natural resources of the world for the sole benefit of “American” multinational profit. The US is going to war to dominate and control the world, and no one - especially not the lackeys of the EU - will be immune from delivering tribute to Neo-Rome.
Once this is accomplished, the global thieves will only have each other to devour. Like the elite of the Middle Ages, they will wage war upon each other for increased dominance over the rest. He Who Dies Owning Everything is the goal – and mere humans mean nothing to them.
_____________

Who's left?

Is anyone left?

Oppenheimer: If you had asked me that two years ago I would not have had an interesting answer. But now, it seems like we are in this moment "maybe it isn’t premature to call it a left-wing resurgence. The left seems to be influencing the public debate in ways that it hasn't in a long time. That hasn't played out at a concrete policy level yet, but it is influencing the discourse."
The contest between Bernie and Hillary has divided leftists and liberals in a way that is really evocative of some of the periods I write about in the book, of the thirties, the sixties and seventies. In a lot of ways it is a comparable dynamic to what produced some of these apostates from the left.
Jaffe  Presumably, anybody who is going to read your book knows who Ronald Reagan is. But, we really don't do a very good job in this country of talking about history. There are probably a lot of people who don't know who Whittaker Chambers is. How do you convince those people that they should care about these people and why they are relevant to today?
Oppenheimer: Chambers had such a dramatic life and he was a spy, so it was easy to make him interesting. He had very public confrontations with Alger Hiss. Hiss, a high-ranking State Department official, was accused of being a Communist spy; Chambers testified against him. It was the trial of the century.
I thought Burnham was a fascinating character. He was part of this small Trotskyist world, which seemed kind of romantic and absurd. There is not a lot written about him, so I gave him a long chapter.
Activists who were or are deep in the weeds in Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter might read the Burnham chapter and think, "Yes, I totally see how these small little groups where people totally orient their lives around them will produce these odd inside cultures where people are getting incredibly fierce about stuff that seems incredibly abstruse to anybody outside."
_________

Puerto Rico is our current perfect example of what Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine foretold.

Ian Welsh pinpoints the publicly unmentionable national theft:

The disaster relief has been bungled. It shouldn’t primarily be a matter of money in any case, the island should be flooded by work crews from all over the US with the materials they need to do the repairs, and the necessary heavy equipment to clear blockages, while large airlift is used to get to areas that are more remote.
This is a logistical exercise, the US has the capacity, and the US has chosen not to use the capacity, it is that simple.
As for the debt, most of it should simply be forgiven. The US government has the ability to do that.
We have a weird idea that debt is sacrosanct in our society, an idea which is totally out of whack with what makes good societies or good economies.
Good economies are based on easy debt forgiveness. People who lend money have a responsibility to not over-lend, and if they do, they deserve to lose their money. If you lend money to deadbeat Uncle Bob, you don’t expect to get it back. If you lend money to someone already in hock to three other loan sharks, well, you’re probably not getting that money back.
Excessive debt cripples people and economies, making them unproductive. Easy bankruptcy removes the debt so they can move on, and it also removes lending ability from people who have proven they have bad judgment about who to lend to.
Easy bankruptcy doesn’t mean “keep everything”, but it does mean keep everything necessary for economic and personal viability. In personal terms, tools and primary residence and car and so on. In government terms, all the lands and buildings and equipment and so on required for the government to do its job.
Puerto Rico is an economic cripple. It doesn’t have the resources to fix itself, DC refuses to send sufficient help, and more debt isn’t going to fix its problems, any more than more debt has helped Greece.
Pathetic.

Hush up, Rose!

And all the rest of you broads.

Because, after all, who is more at risk than women during these turbulent times?

As a victim of this type (and several others) of assault, I think I see the connection.

Does anyone else?

Just how much further do these stories need to go to make an impression on the public at large?

Actor Rose McGowan, one of the accusers of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, has had her Twitter activity suspended. McGowan had earlier tweeted “fuck off” to actor Ben Affleck and accused him of lying about his knowledge of Weinstein’s history of sexual misconduct.
. . . McGowan has been a vocal figure in the Weinstein scandal since the New York Times broke the story last week and has been using Twitter to express her support for other women who have come forward, as well as to attack those who she sees as being complicit, including the Weinstein Company board of directors and high-profile Hollywood figures such as Matt Damon and Affleck.
On Wednesday, Affleck apologised to actor Hilarie Burton for groping her during an appearance on MTV’s Total Request Live in 2003. He had earlier published a statement condemning Weinstein for alleged acts of sexual harassment, prompting the Twitter responses from McGowan, who claimed Affleck was aware of the mogul’s behaviour.
McGowan has been one of the most high-profile actors to have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, alleging the film producer sexually harassed and assaulted her when she was in her early 20s. She reportedly received a settlement of $100,000 from Weinstein over an incident that took place while she was filming the movie Scream in 1997.
. . . The move by Twitter is likely to reignite controversy over its free speech and harassment policies, after the company recently said it would not ban Donald Trump over his tweets apparently threatening war with North Korea.
_____________

Diogenes is still searching.

So few honest (powerful) men.

So little time.

This past week was not a good week for women. In the United States, it was reported that a man who allegedly raped a 12-year-old girl was granted joint custody of the resultant eight-year-old boy being raised by his young mother.
Earlier in the week, the severed head and legs of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who disappeared after entering inventor Peter Madsen’s submarine, were discovered near Copenhagen. A hard drive belonging to Madsen, Danish police said, was loaded with videos showing women being decapitated alive.
A Swedish model received rape threats for posing in an Adidas advertisement with unshaven legs. The University of Southern California’s dean of medicine was dumped after reports resurfaced that he had sexually harrassed a young medical researcher in 2003. A number of men at liberal publications were revealed to have contacted Milo Yiannopoulos, urging him to attack women – “Please mock this fat feminist,” wrote a senior male staff writer at Vice’s women’s channel, since fired. And, of course, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was described by the New York Times as a serial sexual harasser; his alleged offences, according to a TV journalist, including trapping her in a hallway, where he masturbated until he ejaculated into a potted plant.
This week, the New Yorker ran a follow-up story by Ronan Farrow (the biological son of Woody Allen, who has repudiated his father for his treatment of his sisters), expanding the charges women have made against Weinstein to include sexual assault. He quotes one young woman who said “he forced me to perform oral sex on him” after she showed up for a meeting. She added, “I have nightmares about him to this day.” Weinstein denies any non-consensual sex.
Saturday 7 October was the first anniversary of the release of the tape in which the United States president boasted about sexually assaulting women; 11 women then came forward to accuse Donald Trump. And last week began with the biggest mass shooting in modern US history, carried out by a man reported to have routinely verbally abused his girlfriend: domestic violence is common in the past of mass shooters.
Underlying all these attacks is a lack of empathy, a will to dominate, and an entitlement to control, harm and even take the lives of others. Though there is a good argument that mental illness is not a sufficient explanation – and most mentally ill people are nonviolent – mass shooters and rapists seem to have a lack of empathy so extreme it constitutes a psychological disorder. At this point in history, it seems to be not just a defect from birth, but a characteristic many men are instilled with by the culture around them. It seems to be the precondition for causing horrific suffering and taking pleasure in it as a sign of one’s own power and superiority, in regarding others as worthless, as yours to harm or eliminate.
Or perhaps it’s an extreme version of masculinity that has always been with us in a culture that gives men more power and privilege than women; perhaps these acts are the result of taking that to its logical conclusion. There must be terrible loneliness in that failure to perceive or value the humanity of others, the failure of empathy and imagination, to consider oneself the only person who matters. Caring about others, empathising, loving them, liberates each of us; these bereft figures seem to be prisoners of their selfishness before they are punishers of others.
. . . It’s the authoritarianism of violence that seems too often overlooked, the acts that are the opposite of the democratic ideal that all people are created equal, with certain inalienable rights. There is no greater authoritarianism than that of someone who violates the will, the body, the wellbeing, or takes the life of another. The crimes in question, from sexual assault to mass killings, seem designed specifically as assertions that the perpetrator has the power of a god, the victims are powerless.
That powerlessness of others seems to be desired and relished in these cases. It’s time to talk about the fact that many men seem erotically excited by their ability to punish, humiliate, inflict pain on women – the subject of a lot of porn. When you jerk off while cornering an unwilling woman, you’re presumably excited by her powerlessness and misery or repulsion. Another of Weinstein’s victims told the New Yorker, “The fear turns him on.” Fox News founder and CEO Roger Ailes took pleasure, according to his victims, in degrading the employees he sexually exploited and harassed. Journalist Gabriel Sherman reported in 2016, “The culture of fear at Fox was such that no one would dare come forward” until Gretchen Carlsson broke the silence with a lawsuit. This year several black employees sued the network for racial discrimination.
We’ve also recently had a host of obituaries for Hugh Hefner. Some included the arguments that Hefner and his magazine were harmless or liberating. But they insisted that women were for men to use if they met a narrow definition of attractiveness, and to mock or ignore if they were not. While often portrayed as part of the sexual revolution, the magazine and Hefner were instead part of the counter-revolution, figuring out how to perpetuate women’s subordination and men’s power in a changing era.
The young women who lived in – and sometimes described feeling trapped in – the Playboy mansion were there to please the old goat at the centre of it and his friends, and not the other way around. Some of the playmates ended up dead – Dorothy Stratten’s face blown off by an estranged ex-husband at 20, Paula Sladewski’s body found “burned beyond recognition” in a Miami dumpster, and so forth. News anchor – and Roger Ailes victim – Andrea Tantaros said of the Fox network, “behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fuelled, Playboy mansion–like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny,” which is not an endorsement of the Playboy mansion.
There is a solution, but I don’t know how we reach it, except in a plethora of small acts that accrete into a different world view and different values. It’s in how we raise boys, in what we define as erotic, in how men can discourage each other from the idea that dominating and harming women enhances their status. Perhaps it’s in young men in power learning from the fall of Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, and now Harvey Weinstein – and myriad Silicon Valley executives and more than a handful of academics – that women have voices and, sometimes, people who listen believe them, and the era of impunity might be fading from view. Though the change that really matters will consist of eliminating the desire to do these things, not merely the fear of getting caught.
He's so sorry now.



Are we catching on yet?

The power structure certainly has.

People in search of a miracle voted for Brexit.

None found so far.

People generally didn’t go to Blakenall Heath unless they came from there. Unemployed men would sit around in their front gardens on discarded sofas, looking bored. Some of my parishioners spent all day in their dressing gowns. Burned-out cars decorated the roadside. Back then the vicarage was ringed by flats whose residents would frequently shoot at each other with air rifles. At night, the pellets would ping off our roof. Even the local police didn’t like going into Blakenall Heath. It was treated as a ghetto.
Blakenall Heath seethed with the anger of the unheard. And that anger found its way into my bones. It wasn’t just about the poverty. It was deeper than that. As the months went by, I began to get some sense of what it felt like when nobody listened to or cared in the slightest about what you said. It felt like no one gave a shit. Every now and again the place would show up on some list of crap towns for posh people to snigger at. Other than that, you weren’t noticed.
In Blakenall Heath my politics changed. Both theologically and politically, my student liberalism had few answers for a place like this. Indeed, I began to suspect that the broadly progressive version of capitalism that I had accepted might even be a part of the problem. These weren’t the “left behinds” – a term that implies that with a quick hop and a skip they might just catch up. This place was the inevitable byproduct – waste product, even – of market forces, and the price that more prosperous parts of the country had secretly accepted as worth paying for the many other benefits that capitalism delivered to them. The problem was systemic.
In Walsall, 67.9% voted leave in the referendum, on a huge turnout. And then, this year, they voted out Walsall North’s longstanding Labour MP, David Winnick, who had campaigned to remain in the EU. Remainers will never understand what went on here if they think it’s just about money. Homo economicus – who seeks to optimise their economic prospects through rational self-interest – doesn’t live in Blakenall Heath. Homo economicus doesn’t buy his cooker through weekly instalments at BrightHouse at 69.9% APR. A remain campaigner told me about a doorstep encounter he had on a bombsite of a council estate in the Midlands. “You have a lot to lose financially if we leave the EU,” he explained, rationally.
“Oh, yes,” she gestured to her run-down surroundings, sarcastically. “I could lose all of this?” Which is why Brexit pub logic goes something like this:  so what if the country collapses economically? At least then they will know what it feels like to be us.
Remain still don’t get why so many people voted leave. They keep repeating that it is the poor who will lose out the most, appealing to Homo economicus. They keep believing that it was stupidity or gullibility that made poor leavers side with dangerous fools like Boris Johnson. But that is not going to cut it. The people who really hate the way Brexit is going are the people who have got something to lose. When you have nothing to lose, being told you could lose it all doesn’t really count for much. Which is why the more Nick Clegg and his Waitrose friends speak of the coming apocalypse, the more some will feel:  fine, bring it on.
This logic has understandably panicked the progressive middle classes. But the language of the cliff edge offers little fear to those well practised at falling off it. And until we find a radical way to rebalance our economy, such that all share in its benefits, the middle classes will find that democracy will sometimes hand power to those who are perfectly prepared to play chicken with economic failure.
Comments:
It's revealing that the 'progressive liberal' argument over Brexit is generally predicated on neoliberal ideology. Everything is reduced to basic, and base, economic argument.
Sadly, the neoliberal corporatism of the past 30 years has created precisely the body of disenfranchised voters described above who are utterly immune to this appeal to the very forces that put them where they are.
I think it's nearly impossible for those who have lived and prospered under the system of corporatism fostered by both the Tory Party and the EU to comprehend that there are a huge number of people who would gladly see that entire system burned to the ground without a moment of remorse.
Well written, but I don't think the 'equality of misery' argument quite as simplistic as the author suggests. Leave voters aren't necessarily saying 'things can't get any worse' and taking aim at their nose to protest about their faces. There is a little more logic to it than that.
The plight of ruined post-industrial areas came about because of a political and economic philosophy that claimed it was a good idea to allow, or even encourage, the demise of mass-employment industries.The argument was that we would be better off packing airline meals and manning call-centres and that advanced economies could never compete when it came to labour intensive, heavy industrial work (Germany didn't get the memo). And having shed millions of jobs, the next smart step was to import millions more workers.
This wasn't just 'Thatcherism', it became the conventional wisdom of all three parties and mainstream economics. Brexit is a backlash against globalisation, mass immigration, liberal opinion and conventional politics. The EU neatly encapsulates all those betrayals. Of course people voted against it.
Is it very stupid of me to ask why people would stay in such a place if it has no future.
The poverty trap. You can't leave, you can't afford to. So you stay and become poorer, or at the very least remain as poor. Whole families can't decamp, can't pack the truck and head out west. A single person might but they would likely find precarious work, they have to live somewhere and that takes up an enormous amount of a small wage so there is still nothing to contribute to the family waiting back home. It's never about people moving, it should be about bringing work back into the communities
No, they could just abandon their communities and way of life and become the sort of itinerant, low wage human capital that the EU wants to service its corporate dream.

Lee Camp, as usual, sings our civilization to its demise.

Not willingly.


But don't listen to Jimmy Dore.

You might learn something new.

And much too disturbing.

















Max and Stacy (Keiser and Herbert) have the last word.

Oh yeah!


And did I mention that I met Max and Stacy at our favorite cheap0 store the other day?

SO MUCH FUN!!!!



Also, did I forget to mention that the brilliant Randy Voller was the featured guest addressing how we could decently run healthcare for all U.S. citizens?

Still feeling the BERN!







Surely.


Friday, September 29, 2017

U.S. Cares Nought for Its Citizens - Watch Out Puerto Rico! And VI and Guam!!!  (Merkel and Hillary Out? Not Far Enough!)  Germany Out of the EU?  (Senate Refuses to Stop Endless War)  Venezuela Stops Accepting $$$  (Shut Up Jamie Dimon!)  J.P. Passes  (Dems A Joke?)  Seth Rich Never Going Away  (Bannon Still Skunking)  Exotic "New" Trump Plague?  (SMASH the Duopoly!)


Imagine, if you will, how much money has been taken off the table of jobs-creation to pay for these "stars."

Who said there were no good jobs being created?

Cree Dangles Millions in Incentives for Its New CEO

Naomi Klein strikes again.

Or is it just that U.S. "leadership" can only get their policies passed during "manufactured" crises?

Or will today's natural ones suffice for those no longer paying attention?

Never Let a Serious Manufactured Crisis Go To Waste

Read Ian.

Now.
Keynes once wrote that most politicians are slaves of some defunct economist, generally whose name they don’t even know. That we should regulate the world through markets is an idea which would have been absurd to virtually everyone three hundred years ago, even as the divine right of Kings is absurd to us today. That corporations should shield their owners from liability is an idea which was bitterly opposed by most capitalists two hundred years ago. That greed leads to better outcomes was laughable to virtually everyone, including Adam Smith, who thought it worked only in very specific circumstances and lamented that tradespeople were constantly in conspiracy against the public.
That goods, including food, should be primarily divided based on market success is another idea that most of the world, for most of history, has never held.
What is oddest about our modern ideology is the same thing that is odd about virtually all ideologies: it contradicts itself. We do not have either free or competitive markets, and not one in a hundred free market ideologues could define a competitive market, nor would they want one if they could, since an actual competitive market reduces profits to nearly nothing. Free markets cannot exist without government coercion, yet we have come to assume that it is government which makes markets unfree, which is a half truth at best; it’s markets that make governments unfree when they buy government – and the first thing any good capitalist does upon winning a market is try to eliminate the free market, since an actual free market threatens a monopolist or oligopolist.
An ideology tells us what is thinkable and what is unthinkable, what is moral or immoral, ethical or unethical. Right or wrong. It either says that 90 percent taxation is right and good on great wealth, or an unthinkable burden on “value” creators. It defines what is value, for instance, privileging financial innovation which actually destroys genuine good production. It says that food that makes us sick is acceptable and that banning such food is unethical. It says that it is right and proper that men and women meet their needs by working for other people, without any ability to meet their own needs if the market deems them surplus beyond private or public charity. It says that land that lies fallow is not available for anyone to grow food, that pumping poison into water and food and air is acceptable, that rationing health care by who has the most money is the best way to do it. Or, it could say that healthcare is too important to allow people to buy their way to the front of the line.. . . .

Puerto Rico:  Late Imperial Possession
What is interesting about all this is not so much the scale of the disaster as the indifference.
It is more extreme than that which greated other catastrophes, as when New York was hit, and the areas where the lower classes were ignored, till they could be bought up.
But while more extreme it is in that continuum.  The US has become very bad at disaster relief, because US elites don’t really care unless it affects them.
It is impossible to imagine this level of indifference in the 50s thru 70s, whatever else their flaws.  Americans were proud of their ability to mobilize; proud of their protectorates, and could and would get material and people on the ground, fast.
This indifference, this lack of both fellow feeling and real pride (not saluting the flag, but making the country work), is, next to excessive corruption, the surest sign of America’s decline.
When do you think the U.S. will tire of electing arrogant, vicious, small-time, petty, self-serving, callous to anyone not related to them or a country/territory not belonging to them (or not), privileged, really stupid (in the worst way) con artists who have been driving the U.S. economy toward 4th world status since the 70's?
I wish it were soon.
Remember when it was verboten to mention the word "Nazi?" It was not considered de rigueur; after all if you could say "Nazi" any time you thought of it, that diminished its value as an expressive derisive.
Well, that's changed as we now have people called "Nazi" all the time who may just be concerned about their native country's future, and many who are actually "Nazis" (or neo-) not being mentioned at all in "polite" conversation (see Ukraine). 
To review the international election news (news not found on the NY/D.C. MSM):

Last Sunday’s German election was an opportunity for the German electorate to repudiate Washington vassal Angela Merkel and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and to some extent they did. But you would never know it from the news reporting.
The headlines were Merkel wins fourth term. In the US, Hillary’s folks emphasize that Trump lost the popular vote, but Merkel lost it by 70%. Only 3 Germans out of 10 voted for her. Her party’s vote fell from 41.6% in the previous election to just under 33%.
Merkel’s coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SDU) also suffered a vote decline that resulted in the SDU refusing to enter into another coalition government with Merkel. This means that Merkel has to go to the Free Democratic party (FDP) which got 10.7 percent of the vote and to the Greens which got 8.9 percent of the vote. That coalition produces 52.6 percent from which a government can be formed. Merkel’s “win” was such a defeat that she is perhaps on the way out.
Where did the votes lost by Merkel’s party and coalition partner (SDU) go?
They went to a new party that stands for Germany, and not for Washington, not for the refugees from Washington’s wars, and not for conflict with Russia. This party is Alternative for Germany (AfD). It is now Germany’s third largest political party with 12.6% of the vote and 94 seats in the German legislature.
As the party is against the massive Muslim immigration supported by Merkel and against Washington’s policy toward Russia, the AfD was promptly branded “far-right,” a term that is saddled with Nazi connotations.
. . . The German people have been so brainwashed by Washington since World War II that Germans have no positive conception of themselves, only guilt and fear of anything said to be “far right.” Yet, the third largest vote went to the “far right” party.
Clearly, in Germany a political party, which does not want to be in conflict with Russia or to be the dumping ground for the human residue of Washington’s wars in the Middle East and Africa, is defined by presstitutes in the US, Europe, Canada, UK, Australia, and even in English language Russian news services such as Sputnik, as “far right.”
Although it is encouraging to see 12.6% of the German people wake up, the vote seems to be based less on avoiding the looming conflict with Russia and more on not being the dumping ground for the human debris of Washington’s wars. How does one judge these two threats to Germany?
Germany does not exist, nor does Europe, if Washington brings nuclear conflict to the world. Germany does not exist if the country is overrun by other peoples fleeing from Washington’s atrocities in the Middle East and Africa.
In the first case, there is nothing left of Germany. In the second case, there is a country that is no longer German.
As far as we have evidence, Western Europe is captive by Washington and will go to its destruction rather than dissociate from Washington’s foreign policy. But there are signs of hope in parts of Eastern Europe.
Unlike Germany, some of the Eastern European countries have refused to accept their quota of refugees from Washington’s wars. The EU Commission itself accepts its vassalage function as a dumping ground for Washington’s “collateral damage,” the euphemism Washington applies to the casualties of its wars for profits and hegemony, and is suing the EU members who refuse their quotas of refugees. The former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, responded to the EU’s determination to impose immigrant quotas on the Czech nation by declaring:  “The time has come to start preparing the exit of our country from the European Union.” http://gatesofvienna.net/2017/06/vaclav-klaus-the-time-has-come-to-start-preparing-the-exit-of-our-country-from-the-european-union/
The dictatorial character of the EU is a good reason for every member to leave it. Countries already subjected to looting by American global corporations and financial entities have no spare money with which to support the victims of Washington’s illegal wars. For the EU to try to force Washington’s external war costs upon its members proves how much of a tool of Washington the EU is.
The more important reason for Eastern Europe, or that part of it that still has the capability of independent thought, is to avoid nuclear armageddon. Washington’s quest for world hegemony is driving the world to the third, and final, World War. Eastern European governments could prevent this looming war by breaking from their vassalage to Washington and forming a neutral buffer between NATO and Russia.
Such realistic behavior on the part of Eastern Europe could possibly even wake up Germany, France, and Great Britain to the extreme danger that they face as Washington’s vassals.
It is extraordinary, as I reported (http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/09/25/washington-initiated-military-conflict-russia/), that Washington has twice directed attacks against Russian military forces in Syria. This insanity can come to no good end. Americans are so out to lunch that they have no idea of the terrible war that Washington’s madness is brewing. Apparently, neither do the Europeans or the British.
Dear Europeans, yes, non-European immigration is a threat. So is conflict with Russia. Currently, due to your lack of leadership and any significant awareness on your own part, you are incapable of doing anything to save yourselves and the rest of us.
Exhausted, indoctrinated, brainwashed, can Europe do anything except submit to its and the world’s demise?
 How's that for starting your weekend off with a bang?
 Or this?


And . . .

Whoops! Don't tell the U.S. citizens!

Oil Rich Venezuela Stops Accepting Dollars

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

“But Jesus, when you don't have any money, the problem is food. When you have money, it's sex. When you have both it's health, you worry about getting rupture or something. If everything is simply jake then you're frightened of death.”
J.P. Donleavy passed at 91. Long live the Ginger Man.


___________

Seymour Hersh Is Scared to Tell Us What He Knows about Seth Rich

The great investigative journalist has, in public, said two very different things about the Seth Rich mystery; and, when urged to fess up what he really knows about it (in a private conversation that, unbeknownst to him, was being recorded), said he certainly will not, because he lives in “the real world” — meaning that he knows better than to take so grave a risk.
This “real world” is one where US journalists had better stick to the official line on story after story — a line that tends to be dictated by US intelligence — or else.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

And has Hillary come up smelling like the proverbial "rose?

More like skunk cabbage. Whereas Bannon is the skunk.

In any case, the future does not belong to Clinton no matter what happens or doesn’t on her book tour. The latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll, released after Labor Day, found that a record low of 36 percent had “very” or “somewhat” positive feelings of Trump, and even fewer — 30 percent — felt that way about Clinton. (Obama was at 51 percent.) Trump and his claque at Fox News want to believe that she’s still running for president; they persist in re-litigating everything from the emails to Benghazi even as the one-year anniversary of Election Day 2016 approaches. Whatever the masturbatory benefits of this fixation on the right, the fact remains that history is moving on, rapidly now, from all things Clinton.
Steve Bannon began his post–White House media tour with a long 60 Minutes appearance over the weekend, and seems to be supporting it through anonymously-sourced articles publicizing his access to the House Freedom Caucus, billionaire Robert Mercer, and the president (who continues to speak with Bannon “every two to three days”). Will Bannon be as much of a political force as these reports would make him seem?
Of course Bannon talks to Trump regularly — the proof is that the dissembling White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, so pointedly denied it after the 60 Minutes broadcast. And he will certainly be as much of a political bomb thrower as he’s always been.
It’s somewhat astonishing, as others have pointed out, that in a long interview Charlie Rose never asked Bannon about his collaboration with Mercer. Their plan to spend Mercer’s money in 2018 to challenge sitting Republican senators whom they see as disloyal to Trump, like Dean Heller of Nevada and Jeff Flake of Arizona, may create serious political havoc for the GOP. And when Bannon promises a “civil war” within the Republican Party over the fate of the Dreamers next year, he has both the media means (in Breitbart) and Mercer’s cash to fan the flames of anti-immigrant xenophobia and make that war as bloody as possible. However much power Bannon does or does not have in the White House, we can be certain that his sway over this president vastly exceeds that of Ryan and McConnell — and maybe even Chuck and Nancy.

New news on these well-trod grounds?

Only if you too don't know what happened.


Darkly Dreaming Hillary 

Losing the election to Donald Trump was her "dark midnight time of the soul," Hillary Clinton confided to rehab specialist Stephen Colbert on his CBS infotainment show. Fresh off his stint of normalizing and endearing professional liar Sean Spicer at the Emmy awards, Colbert was happy to do likewise for Clinton, whose marathon book tour is vying for attention with earthquakes, hurricanes and other disasters which always seem to unfairly threaten her campaigns.

. . . She joked that she'll be sticking around unless people take up a huge collection to send her someplace really nice. She demurred from mentioning an actual price for her departure. And since she already is someplace really nice, "I'm not going anywhere." Hillary called Trump's U.N. speech, which ridiculed the North Korean dictator as "Rocket Man," "very dark and very dangerous," threatening as it did to eclipse her own dark night of the soul, not to mention causing an endless loop of the Elton John hit to play inside people's heads.

Trump's words, Hillary complained, were very crass and not befitting the designated purveyor of "respectful" American aggression and exceptionalism.  It's always best to use words which are diplomatic and nuanced and democracy-spreading, she said. Maybe something more in line with how the then-Secretary of State respectfully described to a worldwide TV audience (via another CBS interview) the death-by-sodomy of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, after the US bombing campaign and right before another mass US-inspired immigration crisis:
(Click to enlarge.)



Perhaps that's what prompted her to dish to Colbert about Putin -  whom, she has absolutely no doubt, infiltrated the hive-mind of the American electorate and turned them into millions of zombie Trump-voters. Not only is Putin a giant pod creature from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," he is an evil manspreader whose sexism only added to the free-floating scourge of misogyny which helped propel Trump to his Dark Victory. Hillary also bragged that she got Putin so agitated one time in his dacha, he went into a manspreading frenzy. "He takes me down the stairs... into his inner sanctum... and then asked if my husband would like to come." (on a polar bear-tagging junket, not the other kind of threesome) Oh, the Hillmanity.

With that, Colbert uncorked a bottle of the Chardonnay which Hillary - once again - jokingly admitted is her drug of choice for the dark days of her lives. It's what got her through the agony of blamespreading, and then demanding gobs of money for it.  

Meanwhile, Darkly Dangerous Donald just got insanely handed, with no strings attached, more than ten times the money he'd asked for to help him pursue his dream-quest to redundantly "totally destroy" tiny North Korea:  a whopping three quarters of a trillion dollars.

Also in Trump's beady little sights:  Venezuela and Iran or wherever his pre-adolescent brain takes him next.
. . . I love the way the mainstream media is always in awe of this allegedly "rare" bipartisanship. The two right wings of the war party always act in lockstep when it comes to funding unlimited state-sponsored death. It seems like only yesterday when they near-unanimously funded Johnson's war in Vietnam after the phony Gulf of Tonkin attack (which was glossed over in the current PBS series, incidentally.)

Glossed over? I thought it was lied about outright.

But that's a subject for the next essay. Possibly. If I can remove the ashes taste from my mouth by then.

But this year was also something heartwarming and special, because the vote was also a "tribute" to Senate Hawk John McCain, who is bravely battling cancer, and who muscularly boasted on CNN last week that his treatment isn't costing him a dime, and who is once again the deciding vote on whether millions of other people will lost their own skimpy health insurance.
Giving a blank weapons check to a president whom establishment politicians and their media partners  purport to fear and loathe so much should call them out as hypocrites. But they are not about to expose themselves as such, especially since their message and "the narrative" is congealed within a handful of corporate-owned and controlled conglomerates.
So, just in case you need a good laugh, or a good cry, or simply a rapidly-spreading distraction from other realities, here's the full clip of the Clinton/Colbert Russophobic schmooze-fest (naturally, when Colbert bloviates that "we" have to stop the horrible things going on in government under Trump, he doesn't mean that we have to stop the permanent state of war. The topic never even comes up, because militarism helps pay Colbert's salary, and it enriches the CBS stockholders way too much. As CBS honcho Les Moonves famously said, "Trump might not be good for America, but he's damned good for CBS!")

Click here for the entire essay. Don't miss the Comments! Or the other startlingly well-informed essays found there.





Graham-Cassidy Failed, but Obamacare Is Under Attack for the Foreseeable Future 

Republicans will be back for blood after they bumble tax reform.

The Ponzi Scheme's Namesake Warned Us About the Power of American Greed

Remember synthetic CDOs? They're back.

Ian Welsh solves the mystery of the universe (not really kidding!):

… and think anything but that whatever Clinton’s IQ, she isn’t actually very smart.
It really takes an extraordinarily warped world-view to be able to believe the above.  The simplest explanation is just that she really is unable to think clearly.

Which I've said here, and offered huge evidence for (in the face of screaming Hillbots), most of this millennia.

Driftglass has written almost this same exact essay a hundred times. But he can't stop.

Help him stop!

After reading Thomas Edsall's column today, The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage reportedly got knee-walking drunk, downed a whole bottle of prescription Oxford commas and then threw itself off of a precipitously high dangling participle.
Because like pretty much every other Nerf Ball column about partisanship and politics the Beltway generates these days, Mr. Edsall's contribution to the genre is an exercise in attempting to write about why the GOP is a reeking shitpile of bigots and imbeciles without actually, y'know, talking about why the GOP is a reeking shitpile of bigots and imbeciles.
Right off the bat he tries to clear the very first hurdle from the wrong foot.
In the Trump era, Republicans have been revising their views on right and wrong.
No, Mr. Edsall, this is not some exotic new plague that arrived on our shores with the advent of Stupid Administration.
In fact, for decades the Republican party has depended entirely on it's reprogrammable, bigoted, brain-dead base to win elections - a base that has eagerly and radically revised their views on right and wrong over and over again depending on whether or not their party occupies the White House. And they have gotten away with it so often thanks to the invaluable assistance of the Conservative media and the Beltway media that by now they have been conditioned to believe that it is their inalienable right to just doublethink all contradictions out of existence - to wish, wish, wish away their own, inconvenient past as though it had simply never happened.
 And (that Driftglass is a national treasure!):

Here is what The New York Times paid Mr. David Brooks a large pile of money to write today:
Atlantis:  A Land of Contrasts.

Noah.

Noah.

Noah.

Noah.

Noah.
Noah
Noah. 
Both Sides!

Why won't Obama lead?

What?  You think I'm kidding?

From Mr. David Brooks in The New York Times today:

Harvey, Irma, Jose … and Noah.
And we're off...
Is there anything we can learn from hurricanes, storms and floods?

People have been asking that question for thousands of years, and telling stories that try to make sense of natural disasters. These flood myths are remarkably similar to one another...
. . . And here is the key paragraph:  the razor in the apple of virtually every single thing The New York Times pays Mr. David Brooks to write:

..That’s because we have trouble thinking about authority. Everybody seems to have an outsider mentality. Social distrust is at record highs. Many seem to swerve between cheap, antiestablishment cynicism, on the one hand, and a lemming-like partisan obedience on the other.

Floods are invitations to recreate the world. That only happens successfully when strong individuals are willing to yoke themselves to collective institutions...
In other words, floods, boy, I don't know.
The one salvageable metaphor from this puddle of awful is the image the ark.
Because once again that is exactly what David Brooks and the rest of the Beltway media drivel-mongers are building for themselves and their friends, right out in the open where everyone can see. Another great big Both Siderist lifeboat - just like the one they built after President Cheney lied us into the wrong war, just like the one they built after the Bush Administration collapsed, just like the one they built after the GOP chose to deal with the election of the first black president with a relentless, unified campaign of slander and sedition - on which they plan to once again sail away unscathed from yet another catastrophe for which they bear a huge amount of responsibility.

This is what we're up against . . . .

From CNN:

(CNN) Jane Pauley asked Hillary Clinton a simple question during a sitdown on CBS' "Sunday Morning":  Were there mistakes she made that led to her loss in the 2016 presidential race? Clinton's response was telling.
"I think the - the most important of the mistakes I made was using personal email," Clinton acknowledged. "I've said it before, I'll say it again, that was my responsibility. It was presented in such a really negative way, and I never could get out from under it. And it never stopped."
She's (sort of) right. There's no question that the decision -- during Clinton's early days at the State Department - to exclusively use a private email address/server was a massive mistake.
Not only was she the first secretary of state to exclusively use a private email address (others, like Colin Powell, had used both a private email and an official state.gov address) but the decision to use her own private server reinforced many of the negative perceptions people had about Clinton. 
. . . The email server story affirmed for people that everything, or at least lots of what they thought about the Clintons was true. It reminded them that for all of the depth of Hillary Clinton's resume, she was going to be carrying all of that baggage from the 1990s that lots of people wanted to be done with. 
(Side note:  This wasn't just people who hated the Clintons. That was already baked into her electoral calculus before the email server story broke. I am talking about people who were truly undecided about Hillary Clinton for president; they liked her smarts and her experience but just weren't sure whether they wanted to go back to the scandals and controversies of the 1990s.)
To my mind, however, Clinton's greatest mistake in the race wasn't setting up the email server. It was her total inability to recognize - and recognize quickly - the reasons why the server story was so dangerous for her campaign. 
If you look back at Clinton's reactions in the aftermath of Michael Schmidt's story revealing her email address and subsequent reporting from AP about her email server, it's clear she doesn't get why it could be a problem. 
Clinton stayed silent for a week after Schmidt broke the news. But then in a press conference at the United Nations on March 10, 2015, Clinton first revealed her absolute contempt for the story. 
"I went above and beyond what I was requested to do," she responded to one question about the setup. "The laws and regulations in effect when I was secretary of state allowed me to use my email for work," she said at another point. "That is undisputed." 
That not-getting-it-ness (as well as her overly legalistic responses about what she did and didn't do in regards the email server) continued for months and months.
At an August 2015 press availability that produced this famous GIF, Clinton repeatedly sounded defensive and lawyerly. "What I did was legally permitted, number one, first and foremost, okay?," she said at one point. At another, asked why she had wiped her server before turning it over to the Justice Department, Clinton responded sarcastically: "Like with a cloth or something?"

But no.

As a DoD employee holding a security clearance (yes, even several special clearances) for over 20 years (and many times being designated the leading security officer), I can say definitively that nothing I heard about her decision to use a separate unregulated server seemed in line with military standards (or permissions). If someone had been discovered doing that sort of dodge of institutional regulations during my term of service, they would have faced a tough prison sentence. Not a reprimand.

Funny how smart she must be to have dodged that situation.

And that Trump crowd?

Better students than I would have thought. All six of them (or have more piled on now?).

Max and Stacy explain all the other dodges available to those in the well-connected, in-the-know crowd.

 

My buddy, Lee Camp, has the final word on where our politics has ended up.

The toilet.




My sole acquaintance in NY now, the New York Crank, sees a way out.

NOT.

But the frontal lobes also exert an inhibiting or constraining influence on what Pavlov called “the blind force of the subcortex”—the urges and passions that might overwhelm us if left unchecked. (Apes and monkeys, like children, though clearly intelligent and capable of forethought and planning, are relatively lacking in frontal lobes, and tend to do the first thing that occurs to them, rather than pausing to reflect. Such impulsivity can be striking in patients with frontal-lobe damage.) There is normally a beautiful balance, a delicate mutuality, between the frontal lobes and the subcortical parts of the brain that mediate perception and feeling, and this allows a consciousness that is free-ranging, playful, and creative. The loss of this balance through frontal-lobe damage can “release” impulsive behaviors, obsessive ideas, and overwhelming feelings and compulsions.
Frontal-lobe damage can lead to difficulties with attention and problem-solving, and impoverishment of creativity and intellectual activity. 
Does that sound like somebody you've seen in the news recently? Does it sound like grounds for removing a sitting president, via the 25th Amendment

And from the peanut gallery? Love those peanuts!

Even when they try to tell the truth they can't help lying.  Case in point today, the ol' Maverick, for some reason granted a space on national TV to maunder on about global warming, which he claims to believe in:
"Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says he has no idea why his GOP colleagues deny basic climate science...
(Jake) Tapper... asks McCain why, with a few exceptions, the Republican party, “the president, the governor of Florida, et cetera, act as if it’s not real, even though the overwhelming scientific consensus is that it’s real and it’s man made?
“I don’t know because I can’t divine their motives,” McCain said."
He doesn't know their motives.
Well, he knows their motives perfectly well, as does any other rational person:  They are corrupt criminals who have taken bribes to lie about climate change.  Can't be admitting that, though.