Open Thread 27 March 2017



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142 Responses to Open Thread 27 March 2017

  1. Red Cloud says:

    It looks like the R+6 have the northern Hama attack by the Idlib-headchoppers under control. Some Tiger Forces were moved there from Aleppo and they took Kawcab and some hills right away. The terrorists failed to take Qomhane.
    Any thoughts on what the next R+6 move should be?
    One idea would be to turn that bulge into a meat grinder and just wear them down before any sort of counteroffensive.

  2. helenk3 says:
    Sessions says no money for sanctuary cities.
    can some one answer this question please
    If I got caught robbing a bank in a sanctuary city and told them that I was al sharpton’s cousin from Syria here illegally and was robbing the bank because it did not conform to Sharia law, could I go to jail in a sanctuary city?

  3. turcopolier says:

    A guided tour of the ISS conducted by the departing commander. pl

  4. turcopolier says:

    Red Cloud
    They should not be allowed to escape from the exposed position that they have placed themselves in. Continued ground pressure must be applied to keep them moving. This makes them vulnerable to all that air power. Having weakened them that way the government should advance into Idlib Province and finish them. I favor a concentric offensive that ends with them squeezed against the Hatay border. pl

  5. turcopolier says:

    A lot of the “sanctuaries,” like Alexandria, Virginia do not call them selves that. they just take federal money and do what they please. pl

  6. John Minnerath says:

    The ISS and a Shuttle I captured passing over my house one night.
    I’d go for a ride in that thing in a heart beat.

  7. bks says:

    Cheney states that Russian interference in the U.S. election could be an “act of war”.

  8. Fred says:

    This morning it was the Democrats:
    and two weeks ago it was a Senator:
    So the Democrats are giving us a choice: is it “on to Moscow” or “vote for us” we let the Russians win? At least the Democrats can finally agree with Dick Cheney on something – war. Didn’t they vote for that one in Iraq, too?

  9. optimax says:

    It is with regret I inform the committee of the death in February of a long time reader and infrequent poster to SST, Euclidcreek. He was 67 when he died in his sleep of a heart attack, having lived with heart disease for over twenty years. A week before his death he emailed me, “SST is one of a kind, as is the Col.”
    He was my older brother and mentor in many ways: introducing me to SST; a music historian who introduced me and others to classic jazz and blues at a young age– the last few years he listened mostly to classical. An avid reader he introduced me to everything from hard boiled writers, such as Jim Thompson, to historians, such as Max Hastings. He enjoyed going to plays and the symphony. He was cultured but unpretentious, not wealthy but generous. I, along with his many friends, miss him greatly. He was a good brother and a good friend.

  10. Haralambos says:

    Thank you very much for this. It is breath-taking and inspiring as some of us look at the future of our human endeavors and dream.

  11. Bobo says:

    Congressman Nunes seems to have riled up the MSM and the Democratic Party and here it’s Monday night and nobody is saying they have ventured out to look at what Nunes saw last week. You have to assume that the material is there just waiting to be viewed. You would think his fellow committee members would of spent an hour or so to look over the Trump gossip supposedly in the mentioned Intel reports. Not even a fellow Republican Committeemember is coming to his side. This must be big.
    Now listening to that South Carolina Congressman last week grilling Comey and Rogers regarding how many people in each agency can unmask a U.S. Citizen. He knew something. Trump knew something when he sent his Tweets.
    Hopefully this whistleblower has some substance. Seems tomorrow’s full committee meeting has been cancelled.

  12. ked says:

    If I were the SecDef or CJCS, I wouldn’t be able to face myself in the mirror, given the billions of $s being sent my way (well, to contractors, mostly), while my CinC determines to shut down Meals on Wheels.

  13. ann says:

    I read recently that ISIS has been burrowing deeply into the Tabqa dam, which is an earthen dam on the Euphrates above Raqqa. A couple days ago I saw an article that ISIS was evacuating their people of Raqqa. And today this article on the partial collapse of this dam. Which would wipe out the river valley to the Gulf.
    My question to the Colonel. You want the eastern seaboard and major cities recaptured first. I think the military needs a plan for the collapse of this dam. Whether by an earthquake or a few sticks of dynamite, it would be a monumental event. Is this important and do you think the military should plan for this type of event?
    Thanks, enjoy the conversation.

  14. C L says:

    I am curious as to where you think the anti-Trump jihad should end. Should it end in removal of the 45th president of the US? Should it end in removal of both Trump and Pence because they were illegitimately elected as agents of a foreign power? pl”
    PL I was pressed for time yesterday and feel a better explanation is due.
    In essence the POTUS is not democratically elected as say a congressman, mayor or senator. The voters recommend in their ballot choice, the unelected delegates are sent to the electoral college and they select the President. The electoral college could have given their votes to Jill Stein had they so wished. There is no re-do or undo of an election regardless if it was legitimate or not. The electing public has even less of a say in the election of the VP.
    The anti-Trump jihad is more like the anti-Trump admin jihad and breaks in to the following:
    1). New Admin failure on the basic ABC of staffing. Who did (not) do the vetting of personnel? I keep returning to Flynn and the VP botched cover-up of firing reason. ‘Lied to VP about meeting with Rus. Amb.’ is not the reason, ti’s the excuse. Non vetting of foreign turkish agent Flynn is the reason.
    As I recall the meetings between Flynn & Rus. Abm came to light via the ambassador casually mentioning them in public, which sent the snoops to his testimony hearing to check why Flynn hadn’t mentioned this.
    This basic lapse is on the VP and politburo around him. POTUS having no knowledge of any government norm or procedure delegated this to them.
    The IC state apparatus is justifiably on this jihad and on Manafort/Cohen/Stone foreign connections. I see POTUS left standing but stripped of all sycophants.
    2). Trump Org + Russian money. Nothing here of interest except for the taxman. This money needs an outlet and legitimizing. Real estate is the way to do it. Trump org provides the platform and its payback is Trump name lit up in giant neons on these buildings. His cut is small, his underlings make out like bandits on the details. Nothing but typical business investment sleaze.
    The pearl clutches are on this jihad and will get nowhere.
    3). Election meddling + Russia. The system got played, royally so – but no laws broken. The Russians identified the same flaw that others exploit, namely online opinion is easy to manipulate. Take any online ‘poll’ from the last decade and see how easy multiple votes and vote bombing is to do. The TV orgs that use online polls for their gameshows (e.g. big brother, the voice) don’t even bother restricting the amount of votes one person can cast.
    The Rus took it a step further and identified that in our drive to let ‘you the viewer decide’ our main platforms used robots to track what topics were of interest using algorithms. These algorithms have been under constant attack since google introduced its rankings based on keywords, links etc… and have been gamed continuously.
    And so they gamed the system using bots to amplify any chosen message. The algorithms search for a surge of interest especially in retweets, the bot swarm provided this. This amplification worked so well when coupled to emotional outlets as ALT-Right or ALT-left it created a storm (especially on the ALT-Right) that overwhelmed and eventually removed the human element trying to referee a fair game. The golden example is Facebook’s news curating unit being fired en mass because they refused to cow to the twitter bots. These curators saw news topics like Pizza-gate overwhelm legitimate news such as the turkish coup attempt and were completely dumbfounded as to how. Small left Bernie organizations were bombarded with fake members, their feeds overloaded with fake macedonian news sites – to the point where these sites administrators were posting on their home pages notices saying – Do not believe anything on our site – I presume this site also came under some random attack – but it is moderated by humans not computer algorithms and thus immune-ish.
    The saying ‘call a man crazy enough times and he will believe it and act crazy’ comes to mind. Using pizza-gate as an example, once the bot-swarm had retweeted this stupidity 10,000 times, those predisposed to believe this crap took it bait hook and sinker, after all it had been retweeted 10,000 times and 10,000 people can’t be wrong.
    This is the Trump Election Jihad by FBI / justice dept probe and ongoing election interference probe will sort out. A useless report will be published recommending how to avoid this interference in the future.
    Secondary fallout such as – was Breitbart colluding? – I think not, they were given what they wanted without looking the gift horse in the mouth and were played. It looks so simple in hindsight yet non of us comprehended it in real time, including them, Perhaps they bought some bot time to drive their ratings, yet overwhelming news sources and macedonian websites, fake members etc… is beyond their organizational skills.
    4) 44 spying on 45. – This is the Jihad that could get him removed, this has POTUS/USA integrity written all over it. It is driven by the ‘last honest men with integrity in government’. This is the lie too far that conservatives can bring him down with if they choose. The parameters of the lie are clearly defined – ‘Trump tower + Obama personally ordered + specific time- This cover-up is in play and hard to do – see Nunes squirm. All excuses so far have not met these defined criteria. Trump tower was tapped – in 2013 not 2017. The transition team was tapped at white house in transition – wrong locale, the claim is at Trump tower. Ditto for Obama personally tapping him – No POTUS after Nixon can do that.
    This is the Congress Critters Trump Jihad if they choose to remove him.
    5) DNC hacking + Wikileaks. Wikileaks I should say ‘got played’ but their mission is to publish leaks regardless of how they come by them. Perhaps our government should leak to them other countries secrets and see what happens. DNC, RNC, USGOV, Big Biz, FBI, Cyber crime div, etal… Shame on all of you for being so sloppy in your security.
    This is the Tech Jihad and will lead to many white papers down the internets. We will hear close to nothing about this and understand even less.
    My feeling is the USA is under attack by a classic ‘Divide and Rule’ strategy. The exterior player is using our social media against us effectively since we have given up on communal norms such as agreed upon facts (Flat earthers’ are making a comeback, fake moon landing, no holocaust etc…) and refusal to call an un-truth a lie.
    We outsourced the referees of the public debate to the ‘like’ button and the machine algorithm.
    As yet I see no solution except a huge jolt to the national psyche for quick sanity realignment – such as 9-11 which I prefer not living through again. (I lived at 400 West Street – the WTC address was 100 West Street.) Though our collective 9-11 reaction hastened us in to this modern age of no-truths.
    The other half chance we have is the POTUS who I didn’t vote for, who’s organization owes me money for labor provided and stiffed me during the calamity of 9-11.
    Here is the mad genius who can simplify something like ‘Medicaid for all + corporate tax relief (by removing health obligations) + Stupid wall + Jobs Program + tax reform’ distill it into a bumper sticker and sell it to the emotional/raging right and left – all to feed his ego of being loved.
    Carpenter/woodworker, Manhattan NY
    No formal education

  15. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Does anyone here know more about this or have any comment? Headline: “US Forces Block Syrian Army Advance in Preparation For Syria Partition.”

  16. Peter AU says:

    At the 1.16 mark in this short news video, John Kerry states the US detected the launch and trajectory of the missile that shot down MH17. I take it the launch flare and rocket engine burn heat traces were detected.
    How accurately can a launch area be determined if a launch is detected by heat trace?

  17. Stumpy says:

    helenk3, I would offer the suggestion that the people of Iran pretty much actualized that idea back in 1979. Sounds like a tit-for-tat public relations tactic, imo.

  18. turcopolier says:

    A lot of bloviation. Do you want Trump removed or not? pl

  19. SAC Brat says:

    Some giveback to TTG: Frank Sinatra singing Pass Me By
    I really enjoyed watching the movie Father Goose after you brought it to my attention. When I was a stupidvisor I always tried to understand the motivations, learning skills and character of the people working for me to get the best results from my crews like the Frank Houghton did. A fun film with real world physics.

  20. C L says:

    Leaning No, seeing the line of succession as competently worse. I’ll take the devil I know well

  21. turcopolier says:

    You need to start looking at maps. It is impossible to understand military operation without maps. I never said anything about the seaboard or the major cities. The seaboard is already in government hands. You are putting words in my mouth. Idlib Province is a semi rural area that lies at the heart of western Syria and which is held by the jihadi enemy. Their men must be killed in that area and now in northern Hama Province and then this region must be wiped clean of jihadi and Turkish presence or the Syrian government will not survive in the long run. The Tabqa Dam? Yet another bright shiny object with which to divert attention from what should be the main priority, but, Assad seems to share your opinion. He will learn the hard way. The dam itself is a major feature of the Syrian efforts over many decades to control water flows in the two rivers. These are major civil engineering works (the Mosul dam is another). The militaries of any or all countries are incapable of dealing with such huge engineering projects in the context of an ongoing war. Basically there is nothing that can be done about the neglect and/or undermining of these big dams by our army or any other. pl

  22. turcopolier says:

    I find all this talk about “the Turkish agent Flynn” to be amusing and reflective of a lack of experience of how international business woks. pl

  23. turcopolier says:

    We grieve with you and miss his voice among us. pl

  24. helenk3 says:

    I am one of the people who at the last minute voted for Trump. People that know me know I was not for him for my own personal reasons. As I was getting ready to go vote for a 3rd party candidate there was a hillary clinton commercial on the tv. she was talking about continuing obama’s legacy. So on one hand I had Benghazi or the other hand I had bad pay. I live in Florida now so I felt that my vote made a difference. I do not think he is some god that is going to change the world. I do think he loves this country something we have not had for 8 years and if clinton had won we still would not have. He is the elected president of this country. Hoping for him to fail is not in the best interest of this country. That is one reason I used the language I learned from vets on the railroad when I see sleezy slug schumer on the tv. As Lincoln once said ” a country divided against itself can not stand”
    I suffered through the biggest enemy of my country in my lifetime installed in the white house by the dems. I will not stand back quietly and let these same people destroy an elected president because he is not of their party and follows their agenda.

  25. helenk3 says:

    I am sorry for your loss. prayers for his friends and family.
    may he RIP

  26. C L says:

    I’m all for him moving his career along from military to international business – yet he took money to represent Turkish Gvmnt interest less than 6 months ago, then failed to disclose this, or see the conflict of interest, while taking up the NSA role.

  27. Fred says:

    I am sorry to hear this news. I mourn your loss.

  28. Fred says:

    Feel free to make a donation.

  29. turcopolier says:

    I don’t know Flynn and doubt that I would care to but he was working for a consulting company that had a Turkish contract. So far as I know he did not directly work for the Turkish government. There is a difference in that and it is a legal matter of some importance. pl

  30. C L says:

    BTW I particularly had a chuckle upon hearing he discussed kidnapping the Turkish cleric Gullen? in the lobby of the Essex hotel. That place has more microphones than light fixtures.

  31. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    My sympathies on your loss.

  32. C L says:

    I would ask – What qualifications and unique skill sets does this barely retired Marine officer bring to a Dutch based international consulting firm representing the Turkish government during that government’s time of crisis. There are plenty of legitimate reasons, not to mention we are in an alliance with Turkey via Nato. Then why the oversight in forgetting to mention this job, and how does one explain away discussing a highly illegal midnight kidnapping of that regime’s declared enemy in the comfort of the Essex hotel lobby.

  33. turcopolier says:

    Flynn is an Army officer. He is a hustler with three stars. pl

  34. helenk3 says:

    now the dems want Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation. He says NO

  35. BraveNewWorld says:

    Normally I would agree with you. But with Tillerson talking NFZ, safe zones and nation building in the Kurdish areas and the Kurds talking about folding both Raqqa and Deir Azzor into their new nation state the US is a far bigger risk over the long run than AQ in Syria.

  36. steve says:

    “I do think he loves this country”
    I dont. When it came time to serve he went to a private doc and got proof that he had a boo-boo on his foot. Did he volunteer to help in any other way? Just exactly what has he ever done to show that he loves the country? Any major efforts to help support any cause other than himself? Veterans? Police? Widows? Children? Guy has billions and essentially none of it is being used to support any worthwhile cause. Nah, he doesn’t love this country. He loves the people who believe him when he says he loves the country.
    Nonetheless, you are correct that we should want him to do well. I hope he succeeds in putting more people back to work. He promised that under his health plan everyone would be insured, and it would be cheaper. It would be Great! Hope he succeeds with that. He is going to cut our taxes while also cutting our debt. Hope he figures that one out too.

  37. steve says:

    It is the failure to disclose that is so bothersome. If it was legal and aboveboard, why not disclose it? OTOH, maybe military pay is a lot better now than when I left and $500,000 hardly seems worth mentioning.

  38. Mikey says:

    Credible? IMO, No, a con man along with his lawyer Klayman
    Journalist James Risen Sued for Reporting Post-9/11 Contractor Was Con Man
    “Frances Townsend, a Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush, admits to the magazine that the bar code idea sounded far-fetched, but said the government had no choice but to pursue the leads Montgomery passed them.
    “It didn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility,” she said. “We were relying on technical people to tell us whether or not it was feasible. I don’t regret having acted on it.”
    “It was a branch of the French intelligence services that finally helped convince the U.S. government in 2004 that the bar codes were fake after they and the CIA commissioned another company to try to detect the messages and were unable to uncover anything.”
    Report: Programmer Conned CIA, Pentagon Into Buying Bogus Anti-Terror Code.

  39. helenk3 says:
    here is a link of the dems wanting Nunes to step down
    they must be really scared of what he found out

  40. wisedupearly says:

    A more interesting question is does Trump want to stay?

  41. Bill Herschel says:

    Well, thank you immensely for this. If I were up there, and I looked out the cupola, I would be scared to death. Not of falling, but of never getting back. She is one cool customer. In reality, it’s probably safer than driving to the store to get a loaf of bread. And it does make you just curse over all the Russophobia being purveyed by the MSM. It would probably do Andrew Higgins of the NYT a world of good to spend three months up there. I wonder if he would come back a changed man. I guess it depends on how much he’s getting paid.

  42. Bill Herschel says:

    I can’t imagine that Trump will not serve out four years as President. Why on earth would the Democrats remove him? He has eliminated the entire Republican Presidential candidacy and now has eliminated the Speaker of the House. He has preserved the Affordable Care Act in a government completely controlled by the Republican Party. What more can he do? The only area in which he might conceivably be at odds with the Democrats is over Russia. But will it matter? How many Congressional Districts are their in Russia?
    A Republican Coup d’Etat? Pence for Trump? Never.
    Speaking of Andrew Higgins, there is a long article in the Times about the youth of Russia flocking to the streets to protest the corruption of the Putin regime by Higgins. I wonder if they get the Times in the ISS?

  43. different clue says:

    Acres USA, a farm/garden/agronomy magazine I get, is having its annual March Madness sale on some of the books it offers through its bookstore. I neglected to write about this in time for the last Open Thread so I am making sure to mention it for this one.
    Many of the books are info-dense for their area and might be good additions to the library of the serious garden hobbyist or micro-farmer. Some of them are in fact agronomy books addressed to working commercial farmers who are interested in the “Acres” approach. Some of these books are neither available nor even mentioned in other places.
    Another area of inquiry that Acres pursued very hard when the founder and editor/publisher Charles Walters Jr. was alive was the state of America’s body political-economic and how it got that way through all the stages from the Founding till now. Aside from hundreds of thousands of words that Walters and others wrote on the subject in the paper itself, Walters wrote a couple of dense books on the subject. I have them and I have read them and try understanding them. As a layman, I can say that I understand them only very partially. But I intuitively sense that they are rich in real facts and real analysis and real history. Reading these books and some others would allow someone to arrive at “a whole other narrative” and “a whole other understanding” of our economic history and situation . . . to compare to the various competing mainstream explanations we are offered.
    It was from these book that i first learned of the saying well-known-at-the-time that “Depressions are farm-led and farm-fed”. It was from these books that I first heard about two bills passed by Congress designed to abort the Depression building in rural America . . . McNarey-Haugen and Fordney-McCumber . . . and President Coolidge’s veto of both. I learned nothing about this in High School or University or anywhere. I read about economist Carl Wilken, whose thinking was involved in counter-depression measures during the New Deal, who was invited to speak before Joint Sessions of Congress, and whose name became so forgotten since that it didn’t even need a Cone Of Silence to prevent people nowadays from hearing about it.
    The two books by Walters I would really recommend are this one ( ) and this one
    Another book focuses more narrowly on a deeply anti-farmeritic policy-based assault carried out against many tens of thousands of farmers in the 1980s. Here is a link to it.
    My sense is that these three books would be useful for understanding our current social-economic situation and political-cultural condition. Some of the other books would be good from various agronomic standpoints. And “the more you buy” the “more you save”, as long as one limits oneself to the books one really wants.
    Anyway, here is the link to the sale.
    ( And actually, they are calling it the Cabin Fever Sale).

  44. Peter in Toronto says:

    Gents, any of you paying attention to Tucker Carlson’s show? He has basically openlu declared war on the Deep State security apparatus and brought to light topics which I have never heard or seen discussed on network television in my life…
    It’s remarkable, actually.

  45. optimax says:

    Thank you for your kind thoughts.

  46. Mokeu says:

    I don’t know Montgomery. But from what I’ve read he sounds like a con-man.

  47. Mikey says:

    Yes, they did. That’s when they lost me. Except for Robert Byrd, but then he became a KKK member as a result.

  48. b says:

    Flynn’s contract (or that of his own consultancy) was with a Dutch company owned by a Turk near to Erdogan but was initiated by Israeli gas interest. In effect Flynn was working for the Israelis.
    His task was to use U.S. power to calm/bribe Erdogan so that a pipeline from Israeli off-shore gas fields to Turkey (and onto Europe) could be build.
    Giving Gülen to Turkey, as was allegedly discussed, was part of the “gifts” for Erdogan that the U.S./Flynn was told to pay to get a green light for the Israeli pipeline. Was that in the U.S. interest? Who, of the people involved, cared?
    A cool $530,000 contract for 4 month of part-time hustling is quite a reward.
    Good that he is gone.

  49. LondonBob says:

    Like so many English language phrases that is from the King James Bible. Credit to Lincoln for using it though.

  50. Nancy K says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. Your brother sounds like he was a wonderful person.

  51. Nancy K says:

    You most likely will continue to have bad pay. Do you really think Trump and his band of billionaires cares about your salary.
    Are you saying Trump cares about the country but Obama didn’t. It must be because Obama wasn’t born in the USA.

  52. turcopolier says:

    you are remarkably Marxist in your POV about rich people. I know quite a few who care very much for poor people. the Guggenheim’s would be a good example. pl

  53. turcopolier says:

    London B
    In the clandestine HUMINT bidness, a basic aspiration is to recruit your liaison. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t. In my long life of spookery I was in liaison so much with foreign services that I was frequently polygraphed to see which side I was still on. pl

  54. georgeg says:

    I mourn your loss. We need more “renaissance” men and women to make this a better world…..

  55. helenk3 says:

    obama was mentored by bomber billy ayres. rev God damn America Wright, Frank Marshall Davis all of whom have no love for America.
    I do not know if he was born in a America or not. No one has ever answered when did he give up his Indonesion citizenship he got when step daddy adopted him.
    I am retired after 50 years of working. It was not me who had the bad pay problem but someone else in my family. She survived and is doing very well now.
    the harm obama did to this country will take years to fix and it will take more than one president to do so

  56. helenk3 says:
    If they started watching Trump in July before he was the nominee, has anyone ever asked did they watch the other candidates who were running? No one seems to be paying attention to that

  57. turcopolier says:

    I agree that it is good that he is gone. He is IMO an example of someone who parlayed a free education (ROTC scholarship) a pleasing manner to superiors and good official photographs in his file into three stars. Along the way he became a mechanistic constructor of target packages for JSOC killings. He went a long way on all that but finally ended up in a position in which character counted and he did not have it. $ 500,000 is not an exceptional fee for someone with a prominent or credible name. I turned down an offer like that in the mid 2000 decade. All that was wanted was my signature on an application for a DoD re-construction contract. pl

  58. helenk3 says:

    Thank you and Mokeu for the information.

  59. helenk3 says:
    now this makes me happy. we have been indoctrinating our kids instead of educating them for a long time now. maybe this will be the beginning of the end of that

  60. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Nancy, I believe it’s very likely that Trump consciously wants to help the “deplorables” who voted for him, and believes that he has the right policies to benefit them. But those policies do not include the direct confrontation with the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) sector which is essential if the American economy, and the society with it, is going to pull out if its current flight path into the turf. Trump will not, and perhaps can not, because he is embedded within that community. It’s yet another instance of the famous Upton Sinclair quote, “….it’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
    The German sociologist/economist Wolfgang Streeck observes in his recent book How Will Capitalism End that most comparative scholarship on capitalism is horizontal, that is it compares the characteristics of capitalisms in various countries and societies with each other without reference to time. He asserts, however, that it is even more important to analyze how an instance of capitalism evolves within a society over time. When you do that, Streeck argues, it becomes apparent that the success and stability of capitalism depends on the constraints imposed by the society in which it exists, but that because it is inherently innovative the capitalist economic players are continually breaking through those constraints. The non-economic institutions of the society are always playing catch-up and the capitalist economy eventually erodes those institutions to the point the whole edifice reaches a crisis point where it is in danger of coming apart. Here is how Streeck puts it:
    “As the site for the mobilization of future resources for present purposes of political pacification has moved from collective bargaining to electoral politics and from t here to markets for consumer credit and, finally, public debt, the ability of democracy to distort the economic on behalf of the moral economy has progressively diminished. Today, owners of financial capital are working with inter national organizations and debt-ridden nation states to insulate once and for all the economic economy from the moral economy of traditional social obligations and modern citizenship rights – and with greater prospect of success than ever in the four decades since the 1970s. As democratic states are being turned into collection agencies on behalf of a new global haute finance, market justice is about to prevail over social justice, for a long if not an indefinite period of time. In the process those who have placed their confidence as citizens in capitalist democracy must concede precedence to those who have as investors placed their money on it.” p 215
    And here is his description of what such a society looks like on the ground:
    “Contemporary capitalism . . would appear to be a society whose system integration is critically and irremediably weakened, so that the continuation of capital accumulation – for an intermediate period of uncertain duration – becomes solely dependent on the opportunism of collectively incapacitated individualized individuals, as they struggle to protect themselves from looming accidents and structural pressures on their social and economic status. Undergoverned and undermanaged, the social world of the post-capitalist interregnum, in the wake of neoliberal capitalism having cleared away states, governments, borders, trade unions and other moderating forces, can at any time be hit by disaster; for example, bubbles imploding or violence penetrating from a collapsing periphery into the centre. With individuals deprived of collective defences and left to their own devices, what remains of a social order hinges on the motivation of individuals to cooperate with other individuals on an ad hoc basis, driven by fear and greed and by elementary interests in individual survival. Society having lost the ability to provide its members with effective protection and proven templates for social action and social existence, individuals have only themselves to rely on while social order depends on the weakest possible mode of social integration, Zweckrationalität.” P 14
    Sound familiar?

  61. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Two items came to my mind after I read your summary:
    1 – States always have to intervene in the Market Economy to protect the substance of society from destruction; and, incidentally, the Market itself from self-destruction. I owe that understanding to Karl Polanyi –
    2 – Finance Capital is now the most powerful and insidious manifestation of the great sin of Usury – condemned by Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. That is what the rabbis, priests, and mullahs must confront and resist – and not scurry away under the fig leaf of “secularism”; in my opinion.

  62. helenk3 says:

    I try to watch it every night. He is doing a great job. He asked good questions and lets the guest hang themselves

  63. Sounds very familiar. “The Mountain people” by Colin Turnbull describes the last stages of such a society, though the specific forces of disintegration acting on the Ik tribe are different in type and, one hopes, degree.

  64. Sam Peralta says:

    Charles Hugh Smith presents the math on our runaway health care costs. This clearly is the single biggest financial issue that needs to be addressed but can’t, because as a society we have deluded ourselves over the past several decades that we can have a free lunch!

  65. Annem says:

    Amen. At critical times in our earlier history, when the captains of industry/robber barons squeezed workers just too far in the direction of unrest, a president would call said greedy barons to the White House woodshed for a little warning that by trying to soak up every last penny, they might be in danger of losing the whole thing. That is how some of the basic reforms about child labor, health and safety, working hours, etc., improved conditions in our industries. Those are among the conditions that no longer exist.

  66. LeeG says:

    Condolences Optimax, it’s a precious time we have on this Earth.

  67. Annem says:

    Erdogan uses the Gulen issue to lash out at the U.S. about other policies that anger him. It is a safe avenue because he knows that he cannot and does not really want to have Gulen return to Turkey to be tried in Turkey’s now executive branch-controlled courts, with all attendant media and foreign interest. It would be a terrible reminder of all that Erdogan has been up to over the last few years.

  68. Sorry to hear that. He sounds a lovely man.

  69. Annem says:

    Yes, in spite of all facts to the contrary, there are still romantic Marxists [though not Stalinist or Leninist] hoping that a system could be put in place that would avoid the mistakes of previous experiments with communism. However, I’m not sure that MANY of the college students most critical of the political economy of the United States today find “communism” to be a viable alternative since it has failed, by evolving into kleptocratic capitalism a la Russia and China or, in the case of North Korea, willful impoverishment for the majority.
    The good news out of North Korea is that small drives rather than the more dangerous VHS or DVD are sold and traded around somewhat easily, giving people access to news, soap operas and consumer ads, that add to their restlessness. Of course, they still have to gather around a tiny cell-phone size screen to watch it with ear-phones while hiding under a blanket in bed. No revolution any time soon, but the government certainly knows that this access to the outside is too widely enjoyed to seriously attempt to stamp out.

  70. Laura says:

    He does not love this country. He loves himself.
    And he loves you because you voted for him…not because you are a citizen of the United States.
    No vote; no love.

  71. Laura says:

    Of course, you are right. I hope you also realize that Trump is no Guggenheim or Rockefeller. He has no
    hobbies or interests outside of himself that would lead him to WANT to give to social/charitable causes.
    It’s not about rich people—it’s about this particular rich person.

  72. SAC Brat says:

    Was your field name Miles Kendig?

  73. BrotherJoe says:

    Does anyone know the status of Larry Johnson’s blog “No Quarter” ?
    I’m unable to access it. Is it defunct ?

  74. Lurker says:

    “As I recall the meetings between Flynn & Rus. Abm came to light via the ambassador casually mentioning them in public, which sent the snoops to his testimony hearing to check why Flynn hadn’t mentioned this.”
    In light of this:
    Does it make sense to speculate that Flynn was fair game for the Russians. The ambassador “casually mentioning” their meetings was not altogether an innocent faux pass, as Flynn was representing Israeli gas field pipeline development competition interests against Gazprom?

  75. Fred says:

    “has anyone ever asked did they watch the other candidates who were running?”
    you mean like watching state representatives before they ever run for Congress? Of course people ask that question, just not the MSM.

  76. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater says to CL,
    You state: “The voters recommend in their ballot choice, the unelected delegates are sent to the electoral college and they select the President. The electoral college could have given their votes to Jill Stein had they so wished.”
    I believe that you’re quite wrong about that. That is an old urban legend that probably goes all the way back to Sleepy Hollow.
    Check out what happened in Colorado. That’s the way it works these days.
    The vote of the ‘faithless elector’ is automatically voided, and he or she who makes it is replaced.
    There may be some loopholes left, such as in Texas. But according to Legiscan, TX HB771 — which was filed 12-28-2016, and read for the first time in the House on 02-20-2017, and then referred to the House Elections Committee on the same day– this bill is now scheduled (as of March 27) for a public hearing. If the bill progresses it could become Texas law by September 1, 2017.
    H.B. No. 771 says, in part, in SECTION 2. (d): “An elector must cast a ballot for a candidate for president or vice-president that corresponds to the candidates who received the most votes cast in this state for those offices. An attempt to cast a ballot in a manner other then the manner required by this subsection:
    (1) is not valid and is not considered a vote cast by an elector; and
    (2) creates a vacancy in the position of the elector attempting to cast the ballot.”
    Further, I notice that the authority of the party’s state chair in Texas is reaffirmed. “(c) The party’s state chair may provide a list of alternate electors for a vacancy created under Section 192.006(d)(2)” –just partially quoted– “in a number not to exceed the number of electors described by Subsection (a)(2)(B).”
    This idea that an elector is legally only a ceremonial cipher, which is now being put forward by this long overdue TX HB771, is actually long settled law in the United States. Texas was behind the curve and is now fixing that. SCOTUS is not interested in any challenge, and will not hear same.
    It seems to me that it’s about time to put to bed this notion of the “Hamiltonian elector.” There is a ‘faithless elector” fail-safe now in place.

  77. helenk3 says:
    remember this? not too much outcry by the msm was there?
    now think about the never ending drumbeat going on now about Russia and political contacts

  78. Castellio says:

    My sincere condolences. I was wondering about him, actually, as I was interested in his comments and his moniker was so memorable.

  79. ked says:

    feel free to do anything besides making snide responses to other peoples comments.

  80. Babak Makkinejad says:

    …Every death diminishes me
    for I am involved with mankind…

  81. ann says:

    How about we close the dept of ed in Washington and create a competition between the States: the State that has the highest scores, everybody gets $500. Thanks for the best and the brightest.
    Of course, I would close six or seven other agencies as well. Too much paper not enough room for original thought.

  82. ann says:

    I read on Moon of Alabama, in the comments a couple days ago, Larry Johnson had voluntarily shut down his blog. You might check there for comments.

  83. Annem says:

    This certainly tells us something about what the teachers unions are NOT doing as the representatives of teachers operating in such a war zone. If they were standing up for decent teachers, they would organize and use their influence to insist on safe teaching and learning environments and let the bureaucrats worry about restorative or any other kind of justice.
    Ordinary schools are not equipped to deal with behavior that reflects far greater social crises and they should not be asked to deal with these issues that threaten the safety and progress of the rest of the kids.

  84. Annem says:

    Beyond the Russia foolishness, there are any number of problems of a legal/ethical nature looming for Trump that might encourage him to step down or he may give up in frustration over constant failures. He is way over his head in the “running a country” business. BUTtttttttt! Pence is VP and his earlier transgressions are minor. HE will be the next president….which translates into the Koch Brothers… choose your poison.

  85. Fred says:

    Senator Byrd became a KKK member because of the Russians? That’s a rather unique supposition.

  86. turcopolier says:

    I think he spelled his name “Bird?” pl

  87. Nancy K says:

    Gates and Buffet also a good example. Sorry to disappoint, I’m far from a Marxist.

  88. Nancy K says:

    You do not know if he were born in USA or not. that says it all.

  89. Bandolero says:

    PL and all
    What are the plans for Yemen?
    What I see is the following: a Saudi-led coalition wreaks havoc and thereby strengthens Al Qaeda there. The US fights there – a little bit – Al Qaeda and at the same time supports the Saudi coalition strengthening Al Qaeda there.
    I understand well that this is not a mess created by Trump, but a typical policy of the Borg. But since Trump is now POTUS, I wonder what direction this mess might take now.
    To me it looks a little bit like the US may help the Sauds to win this war with a never ending insurgency afterwards or the US may help the Sauds just to entrap themselves in a never ending quagmire possibly leading to their own bancruptcy and more chaos in the region.
    Both these policies seem to me desastrous. Peace in Yemen seems to me farther than ever. What you think or know about US policy on Yemen?

  90. charly says:

    And you believe that the Kurds want Raqqa etc. to be in their hands or rebel hands. The Kurds will find a way to loose those territories to Assad and not by accident.

  91. helenk3 says:

    good idea. I like it

  92. Mikey says:

    Guess I wasn’t being clear. I was referring to the Iraq War vote. Byrd didn’t fall for it. That’s when the Republicans started bringing up his past.

  93. optimax says:

    We were raised in Euclid, Ohio and spent our youth roaming Euclid Creek Park without adult supervision. Somehow we survived.

  94. Phil Cattar says:

    Is this the same Dick Cheney who dodged the draft six times.I understand when asked about it, he said He had better things to do.I once read that a man could not be a Senator in ancient Rome unless he had served in the Roman Army……….We appoint draft dodgers to be Secretary of Defense……………………Maybe we should at least have a law in this country that only those who had served in the military could vote to send other people to war.

  95. Phil Cattar says:

    I agree, Usury is a sin.Einstein said that “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.He who understand it,earns it,he who does not, pays it.”

  96. Swamp Yankee says:

    Sorry to hear of the loss of your brother, Optimax. I wish you and yours all comfort and peace in this difficult hour. Rest in Peace, Euclidcreek.

  97. WarrenPeese says:

    Commercial of the Day.

  98. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is plenty of evidence publicly available in US in regards to the maleficence of Finance Capital that brought about the Global Depression of 2008. Yet, there has been neither a call for Revolution nor any civil unrest. I am doubtful that the free flow of information will change North Korean government.

  99. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I found Senator Byrd’s speech in US Senate, opposing the Iraq War, a moving tribute to his decency and his love for the United States as well as fear of God’s retribution as a consequence.
    Hillary Clinton voted for that war, she was not a member of KKK.

  100. C L says:

    Tidewater – I’m not sure if these state laws can be used to upstage the federal elector system, – Can an electors’ vote be changed after it is cast? or can they only be punished after their vote which doesn’t change the outcome of the vote? I don’t know.
    My take on the electoral college is thus: In the previous centuries before the communication & transportation revolutions, it made sense to have delegates go and physically expect the goods (Pres & V.P) before casting a final vote. Most voters would have never met or seen the candidates or an image of them, and known them only through broad sheets and pamphlets.
    The electors are sent to verify with their own eyes stuff like Polk isn’t Poxed. Grant ain’t a drunk or a woman. If found to be a fraud their votes could go elsewhere.
    This is a very tongue in cheek example – with apologies to the Presidents I just slandered

  101. C L says:

    I should have used the term ‘military’.
    On a lighter note, spring is back and with it the nesting birds who are partial to Time Warner Cables’ cable boxes as good warm shelters to nest in. My internet service was down as of yesterday due to a sparrows nest.
    A neighbor played them the soundtrack of osprey calls all night long, the sparrows moved out this morning and TWC came repaired cables and patched the nesters access holes.

  102. Nancy K says:

    “I will not stand back quietly and let these same people destroy an elected president because he is not of their party”. Yet you think President Obama, who was elected by a larger majority than Trump and had a much larger approval rating was the biggest enemy of the country. I don’t want Trump to fail but I am in total disagreement with decisions he is making so far. I also do not want him impeached as I have mentioned before.

  103. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Ambassador Indyk:
    This is from the man whose Dual Containment policy against both Iran and Iraq turned out to be a failure. But, hey, may be the second time it would work.

  104. FourthAndLong says:
    Very interesting summation of what is known and alleged about Trump, Russia, Flynn, Sessions, Nunes, the Mayflower Hotel meetings and the whole scurvy lot to date.

  105. 29th March. 2017. Brexit!
    Dear Mrs May,
    When we’ve got rid of the cronies over there can we start in on our own?
    Hope springs eternal

  106. FkDahl says:

    Interesting interview with former British Commando who got to lead a company of NDF in Aleppo

  107. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “Never ever try to look into others’ pasts; digging deep in a lovely garden is bound to bring up a few Earthworms.”
    Hadji Doulabi

  108. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I would like to solicit the opinion of this committee:
    “Would there have been a Brexit without the Syrian Civil War?”

  109. different clue says:

    Bill Herschel,
    Why “never”?
    I revoice yet again my deep suspicion that ALL the Leadership Democrats . . . Every SINGle ONE of them . . . actively prefer Pence over Trump.
    That is because Pence is “one of them”. He is a foreign policy and Forced Trade Agreement clintonite with the added drawback of being an Evangelical Missionist. But the Leading Democrats can accept that because he is a straight-up clintonite on every Borgist thing they live to support. He is a long-time politician just like them. He is a part of the swamp just like them. To them he is OOOO ( One Of Our Own) whereas to them Trump is NOKD ( Not Our Kind Dear). And that, apart from a bloodlust for revenge over Trump’s defeat of Mommy Wokest, is why they so totally support and advance the Putin Diddit narrative. Because they hope it can lead to Trump’s impeachment and removal and Pence’s installation in the Presidency.

  110. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    I’m proud of the member of the House of Representatives from my district, MN03. Only 24 other House members charged more for their votes to sell out our browsing privacy than the $50,500 the Mr. Erik Paulsen took in.

  111. Jim MacMillan says:

    No IMHO.

  112. Eric Newhill says:

    No. The refugees were the camels that broke the straw’s back.

  113. SAC Brat,
    Nice. Thanks for that. Never heard that version before. I’ve identified with Walter Eckland from the first time I saw the film. As time went by, that identification has only become stronger.

  114. David Habakkuk,
    I’m thoroughly enjoying our conversation on the Russian info op and our effort to find the truth of the matter. I’m sure we’ll continue it later. I headed back up to Saratoga, NY on Monday to return to my housewright hobby. No phones. No TV. No internet except for an occasional trip to Lowes or Home Depot for supplies. It’s bliss. Talk to you in a week.

  115. Sans racines says:

    Sincerest condolences.

  116. “Would there have been a Brexit without the Syrian Civil War?”
    A view from outside the committee might be relevant, if biased.
    Judging by my own area I think most rural areas would have voted “out” and would have done so any time over the last few decades. Aside from that, the atrocious and deeply shocking murder of an MP, the fact that some newspapers were for Brexit, possible Turkish EU entry, the unpopularity of the Cameron administration with some core conservatives, the European refugee crisis, and the money, must all have been factors. Whether these factors merely strengthened views already held or actually made people change their votes – who can say? It was the general opinion that the vote would have been stronger for “out” had the MP not been murdered and I saw this effect in my own circle.
    But all those factors must only have influenced floating or undecided voters. Many, I’m pretty sure, had long since made up their minds and how the politicians or the media spun this or that didn’t really interest them. The result might have been different either way, but the deep division was and is there. Most “progressives” I know were genuinely appalled by the result. It was as if they found themselves living in another country, and one populated by a disturbing number of Neanderthals. The rest of us? “It’s nice having your vote count for once” was a general response, and maybe for many the surprising discovery that there were still quite a few sane people around. As I may have mentioned before, 2016 was that sort of year.
    I did say I might be biased.

  117. hemeantwell says:

    Re Russophobia, here’s an excellent compendium of summaries of recent critical articles.

  118. Mikey says:

    Yes, Byrd’s speech was very moving.

  119. ex-PFC Chuck says:
    Headline: “American survivors tell the inside story of the fatal explosion that killed a US military contractor with two children. The blunders that led up to his death expose deep problems in farming out much of America’s Syria strategy to private companies. Now, the feds are investigating.”

  120. Fred says:

    We elected Hilary’so husband President.

  121. Fred says:

    Sure. assuming Trump’s cut remains in place – just what impact will that actually have besides generating fake comments from the left about how it is going to close down and getting upset when it is suggested that the difference – at most 35% – be made up out of their own pockets?

  122. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    My condolences.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  123. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Does a “polygraph” really work?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  124. Bandolero says:

    Former AIPAC director Martin Indyk seems to me to be something like the personification of the Borg. But from what I understand Indyk and his friends have not much influence on middle east policy in the Trump administration.
    I see Trump’s own policy already in places like Syria, Iraq, likely in Egypt and Libya, too, but nevertheless, regarding Yemen I still fail to see a new policy in the Trump administration. It seems to me to be just continuation of the contradicting disaster of one the one hand supporting the Saudi coalition in the war on the GPC/Houthi alliance and Yemeni anti terrorist forces like the Yemeni Republican Guard which is strengthening AL Qaeda in Yemen and on the other hand needling Al Qaeda in Yemen with small scale US military ops against Al Qaeda.
    That doesn’t look much like a plausible strategy to me, but maybe I miss something?

  125. turcopolier says:

    Polygraph machines and their operators do work. The machine indicates anxiety with regard to certain questions. The operator must first establish a baseline of reaction for an individual concerning questions that cause a pronounced reaction in that particular individual. Once that is done then a carefully limited list of questions can be asked of the subject. These must be drawn up so that the only possible answers are yes or no. These are agreed on by the polygrapher and the subject before they are asked “for the record.” This process does not discern lying. It discerns deception, an attempt to conceal some embarrassingly inconvenient truth. This process has nothing to do with cultural attitudes toward truth telling since it measure a fear of revelation of deception, not truth telling. Because the process is so sensitive to polygrapher skill it is generally not admissible as “evidence.” OTOH it is very useful for investigative purposes and in establishing the veracity of intelligence sources. pl

  126. Valissa says:

    “In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.” Robert Ingersoll
    My condolences on the loss of your beloved brother. He will be missed here.

  127. Babak Makkinejad says:

    To the triad of “Keep Israel safe, Keep Iran down, Keep the Oil flowing” Trump has added: “Kill ISIS”.
    Business as usual as far as US position is concerned.

  128. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Many thanks. This is good to know.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  129. Ked says:

    You know so little about Meals on Wheels (or copping an ideological attitude is so far more important), about how it helps elderly to live independently of institutional facilities (especially endearing when it enables couples to live together longer), in their own homes, in their final years, that I think it is a complete waste of time for me to engage with you. My only request of you is that you never respond to any of my comments in the future.

  130. trinlae says:

    i think we need bilateral agreements:
    if a city gives sactuary to undocumenteds from india/mexico etc, for example,they in turn should have to offer sanctuary to equal number of undocumented americans.
    American corporations are like “let other countries educate their citizens, so we dont have to pay for that for our citizens, and then lets just get those people here to hire”
    Meanwhile, student loan burdened americans have to compete for jobs w people w no such debts, from places americans have no ability to go and compete.

  131. Lefty_Blaker says:

    Late response that you will probably never see but thanks for referencing Polanyis work. One of his main points that I use continuously in the fight over the fiction of free markets is that states always helped create “free markets” and they always intervene to regulate such so called free markets. This was done at the start and contInues to this day. The “free market” argument of the neoliberals is a canard and always has been.

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