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.

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.”
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 (, 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

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“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.





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 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.


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.

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