Monday, October 31, 2016
What was with James Comey’s Friday letter to congress? It looks to me like the FBI Director had to go nuclear against his parent agency, the Department of Justice, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, his boss, in particular. Why? Because the Attorney General refused to pursue the Clinton email case when more evidence turned up in the underage sexting case against Anthony Weiner, husband of Hillary’s chief of staff, Huma Abedin.
Over the weekend, the astounding news story broke that the FBI had not obtained a warrant to examine the emails on Weiner’s computer and other devices after three weeks of getting stonewalled by DOJ attorneys. What does it mean when the Director of the FBI can’t get a warrant in a New York minute? It must mean that the DOJ is at war with the FBI. Watergate is looking like thin gruel compared to this fantastic Bouillabaisse of a presidential campaign fiasco.
One way you can tell is that The New York Times is playing down the story Monday morning. Columnist Paul Krugman calls the Comey letter “cryptic.” Krugman’s personal cryptograph insinuates that Comey is trying to squash an investigation of “Russian meddling in American elections.” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid chimed in with a statement that “it has become clear that you [Comey] possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers and the Russian government.” How’s that for stupid and ugly? It’s the Russian’s fault that Hillary finds herself in trouble again?
Earlier this week, lawyers at the DOJ attempted to quash a parallel investigation of the Clinton Foundation. They must be out of their minds to think that story will go away. Isn’t it about time that a House or Senate committee subpoenaed Bill Clinton to testify under oath about his June airport meeting with Loretta Lynch. He doesn’t enjoy any special immunity in this case.
Speaking of immunity, when will we learn what kind of immunity Huma Abedin may have been granted in previous cycles of the email investigation? Plenty of other Clinton campaign associates got immunity from prosecution earlier this year, rendering bales of evidence on their own laptops inadmissible in the email server case.
Things as yet unknown: Where is US Attorney (for the Southern District of New York) Preet Bharara in this case? He works for the DOJ, but he is known to be an independent operator, and he must be already involved at least in the underage sexting case against Weiner, meaning he’s had access to an awful lot of collateral evidence from Weiner’s laptop, and must have obtained some kind of warrants of his own.
What appears to be unraveling is the AG Loretta Lynch’s effort to protect Hillary Clinton and now, in this Alfred Hitchcock movie of a presidential election, she’s trying to make it look like James Comey is stabbing Hillary in the shower. (Film buffs note: in Hitchcock’s Psycho the character played by Janet Leigh made off with a bundle of money from her place of employment before Norman Bates worked his hoodoo on her at the motel.)
Trump, of course, is playing the escapade up in his usual idiotic way. It would be unfortunate if it ended up getting him elected — but how would it not be unfortunate for Hillary to wind up in the White House under a cloud of possible indictment? She will be doing Chinese fire drills with a special prosecutor the whole time she is in office, tempted at every moment to start a war with the Russians to divert attention from her legal problems.
Soon we will learn what kind of tensions are roiling between the FBI and the DOJ, and internally within each of these agencies. There are too many pissed off people there to prevent leakage, and probably plenty of email memoranda among the officials that would nicely lay out a trail of incrimination leading into the Attorney General’s office itself.
What a fine mess. And anybody who thinks that any of it might be resolved before November 8 will be disappointed. This story has so many legs, it looks like a Amazonian centipede compared to the lumbering cockroach that was Watergate. The awful proceedings will grind on and on while the US economy and its vampire squid matrix of financial rackets implode in 2017 along with the European Union and global trade. How do you like The Long Emergency now?
Sunday, October 30, 2016
(Interestingly, a commenter at Nancy Nall's blog recently suggested Clinton and Trump be moved aside for a Pence-Kaine contest.)
My alma mater, that excuse for a newspaper that should be made to surrender its Pulitzer Prize, used just that argument to justify its endorsement of Trump on Friday. I knew it was coming; I mean, the editorial page editor has been pee-dancing (Roy’s priceless phrase) around Trump, mainly over GUNZ, WHICH HILLARY IS GOING TO TAKE AWAY, JUST LIKE OBAMA DID. [...] It’s a pathetic argument, which seems to run this way: Yes, Trump is a problem, but Pence! And Hillary is SO BAD. So vote Trump, because Pence.
I’m so embarrassed to have ever worked there. My new resume line is that I worked at “the News-Sentinel, a Knight-Ridder daily which, sadly, no longer exists.” It’s true. What’s left is a shopper.
Here's the Wikipedia list of newspaper endorsements in the 2016 presidential election.
Friday, October 28, 2016
Croatia has a young left-populist political movement rooted in protesting foreclosures—now questioning NATO, EU https://t.co/ZrWZlpUjdX— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) October 27, 2016
(It's a good show.)
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Remembering Tom Hayden, Jack Chick, and Kigeli V of Rwanda, among many others.
Monday, October 24, 2016
It’s getting hard to give a shit about this election, though you might still care about this country. The damage has been done to the two long-reigning political parties and perhaps that’s a good thing. They deserved to be dragged into the gutter and now they can either go through a severe rehab or be replaced by as-yet-unformed coalitions of reality-based interests.
Trump did a greater disservice all-in-all to the faction he supposedly represented. Their grievances about a grift-maximized political economy were genuine, and Trump managed to make them look like a claque of sinister clowns. This cartoon of a rich kid with no internal boundaries was unable to articulate their legitimate complaints. His behavior during the so-called debates verged on psychotic. If Trump loses, I will essay to guess that his followers’ next step will be some kind of violence. For the moment, pathetic as it is, Trump was their last best hope.
I’m more comfortable about Hillary — though I won’t vote for her — because it will be salutary for the ruling establishment to unravel with her in charge of it. That way, the right people will be blamed for the mismanagement of our national affairs. This gang of elites needs to be circulated out of power the hard way, under the burden of their own obvious perfidy, with no one else to point their fingers at. Her election will sharpen awareness of the criminal conduct in our financial practices and the neglect of regulation that marked the eight years of Obama’s appointees at the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The “tell” in these late stages of the campaign has been the demonization of Russia — a way more idiotic exercise than the McCarthyite Cold War hysteria of the early 1950s, since there is no longer any ideological conflict between us and all the evidence indicates that the current state of bad relations is America’s fault, in particular our sponsorship of the state failure in Ukraine and our avid deployment of NATO forces in war games on Russia’s border. Hillary has had the full force of the foreign affairs establishment behind her in this war-drum-banging effort, yet they have not been able to produce any evidence, for instance, in their claim that Russia is behind the Wikileaks hack of Hillary’s email. They apparently subscribe to the Joseph Goebbels theory of propoganda [sic--P.Z.]: if you’re going to lie, make sure it’s a whopper, and then repeat it incessantly.
The media has been on-board with all this. The New York Times especially has acted as the hired amplifier for the establishment lies — such a difference from the same newspaper’s role in the Vietnam War ruckus of yesteryear. Today (Monday) they ran an astounding editorial “explaining” the tactical necessity of Hillary’s dishonesty: “In politics, hypocrisy and doublespeak are tools,” The Times editorial board wrote. Oh, well, that’s reassuring. Welcome to the George Orwell Theme Park of Democracy.
Of course neither Trump nor Hillary show any signs of understanding the real problems afflicting the USA. They don’t recognize the basic energy equation that has made it impossible for industrial economies to keep growing [Emphasis mine.--P.Z.], or the deformities in banking and finance that result from official efforts to overcome these implacable conditions, namely, the piling up of ever-greater debt to “solve” the problem of over-indebtedness.
The beginning of the way out of this quandary will be recognition that the federal government is the greatest obstacle for America making the necessary adjustments to a world that has changed. If Trump got elected, I’m convinced that he would be removed from office by a military coup inside of a year, which would be an epic smash-up of our political machinery per se, comparable to the period 44 BCE in Rome, when the republic crashed. Hillary would bring a more measured discredit to the system with the chance that our institutions might be rehabilitated — with the cherry-on-top being Hillary’s eventual impeachment for lying, a fate that her husband and the late Richard Nixon both wiggled out of one way or another.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Friday, October 21, 2016
Folks: Of course I read French's article. That's why I said it was mostly about tweets…— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 21, 2016
Folks: It is my opinion that there is too much complaining about mean, ugly, even vile attacks on Twitter. 1/2— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 21, 2016
Nevertheless, not every opinion needs be expressed. So I regret my @DavidAFrench tweet, because there was no need for comment from me. 2/2— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 21, 2016
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
It is a pity to let large areas of the country become depopulated as the natural resources are used up and cheaper labor is available elsewhere and to have able-bodied people reduced to living on the dole or scratching out a living with marginal small businesses or lousy jobs as prison guards in private prisons. What does Clinton have to offer them? They are not part of her base. Of course Trump has nothing for them either, and that is their blindness, to believe that Trump will usher in a new era that would honor them as the backbone of America, as in the mythical good old days.
Rural flight explained.
Perhaps the depopulation of rural areas is not permanent. What if people start to move back?
Rural Futures: Relocalization
Monday, October 17, 2016
It must be obvious even to nine-year-old casual observers of the scene that the US national election is hacking itself. It doesn’t require hacking assistance from any other entity. The two major parties could not have found worse candidates for president, and the struggle between them has turned into the most sordid public spectacle in US electoral history.
Of course, the Russian hacking blame-game story emanates from the security apparatus controlled by a Democratic Party executive establishment desperate to preserve its perks and privileges . (I write as a still-registered-but-disaffected Democrat). The reams of released emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and other figures in HRC’s employ, depict a record of tactical mendacity, a gleeful eagerness to lie to the public, and a disregard for the world’s opinion that are plenty bad enough on their own. And Trump’s own fantastic gift for blunder could hardly be improved on by a meddling foreign power. The US political system is blowing itself to pieces.
I say this with the understanding that political systems are emergent phenomena with the primary goal of maintaining their control on the agencies of power at all costs. That is, it’s natural for a polity to fight for its own survival. But the fact that the US polity now so desperately has to fight for survival shows how frail its legitimacy is. It wouldn’t take much to shove it off a precipice into a new kind of civil war much more confusing and irresolvable than the one we went through in the 1860s.
Events and circumstances are driving the US insane literally. We can’t construct a coherent consensus about what is happening to us and therefore we can’t form a set of coherent plans for doing anything about it. The main event is that our debt has far exceeded our ability to produce enough new wealth to service the debt, and our attempts to work around it with Federal Reserve accounting fraud only make the problem worse day by day and hour by hour. All of it tends to undermine both national morale and living standards, while it shoves us into the crisis I call the long emergency.
It’s hard to see how Russia benefits from America becoming the Mad Bull of a floundering global economy. Rather, the Evil Russia meme seems a projection of our country’s own insecurities and contradictions. For instance, we seem to think that keeping Syria viciously destabilized is preferable to allowing its legitimate government to restore some kind of order there. Russia has been on the scene attempting to prop up the Assad government while we are on the scene there doing everything possible to keep a variety of contestants in a state of incessant war. US policy in Syria has been both incoherent and tragically damaging to the Syrians.
The Russians stood aside while the US smashed up Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. We demonstrated adequately that shoving sovereign nations into civic failure is not the best way to resolve geopolitical tensions. Why would it be such a bad thing for the US to stand aside in Syria and see if the Russians can rescue that country from failure? Because they might keep a naval base there on the Mediterranean? We have scores of military bases around the region.
It’s actually pretty easy to understand why the Russians might be paranoid about America’s intentions. We use NATO to run threatening military maneuvers near Russia’s borders. We provoked Ukraine — formerly a province of the Soviet state — to become a nearly failed state, and then we complained foolishly about the Russian annexation of Crimea — also a former territory of the Soviet state and of imperial Russia going back centuries. We slapped sanctions on Russia, making it difficult for them to participate in international banking and commerce.
What’s really comical is the idea that Russia is using the Internet to mess with our affairs — as if the USA has no cyber-warfare ambitions or ongoing operations against them (and others, such as hacking Angela Merkel’s personal phone). News flash: every country with access to the Internet is in full hacking mode around the clock against every other country so engaged. Everybody’s doing it. It is perhaps a projection of America’s ongoing rape hysteria that we think we’re special victims of this universal activity.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
If the election is close, then we can block both Clinton & Trump from getting 270 votes & take this election to the House.— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) October 16, 2016
It's a long shot but not impossible. In Hawaii, he's not on the ballot and write-ins aren't allowed.
Friday, October 14, 2016
Differing visions for the post-fossil fuel future at recent Oberlin conference. https://t.co/Zf3XBBpxpV— Post Carbon Inst. (@postcarbon) October 13, 2016
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Monday, October 10, 2016
Last night’s debate raises some interesting questions, such as: would the Romans have elected Caligula if given the chance to vote? Can the Republican party recover from Donald Trump? If the party poobahs “pull the plug” on Trump, as some are threatening to do (that is, cut off funds to his campaign), will they go down the drain with him anyway? Is the USA a nation or just the world’s biggest comedy club? Where is the Deep State when you really need it?
That odor wafting across the land is the smell of Republicans with their hair on fire. Yet the gloat of astonishment on Hillary’s face as she witnesses the Queeg-like crack-up of her rival will eventually fade as she discerns the wreckage awaiting her in the oval office. Weep for your country!
The only good to come out of this sordid election is the certainty that a lot of political debris will be swept away in the Fourth Turning [Link added by me.--P.Z.] underway. Out of the miasma of idiocy and posture that is this election campaign, the hard-edged realities of our time will emerge and the TV audience will come to the stark recognition that it is not just another mere entertainment.
The other major nations of the world are not so much ganging up on America, as Hillary would have it, but reasonably attempting to ring-fence the mad bull that the USA has become — as the two candidates vie to start World War Three with China and Russia respectively. The last resort of the scoundrels in today’s version of the “yellow press” is to blame Russia for attempting to meddle in our election. War, children, it’s just a shot away.
It is getting to be too late to sort out all the confusion sown by this horrific campaign. From here on its really more a matter of the dust settling. In background of it all looms the train-wreck of global finance, which will be the true determinant of what the American people will have to do in the years ahead. During the weeks of the election distraction, the European banks struggle to conceal their insolvency while the politicians of Euro-land desperately try to paper over the cracks in these fracturing institutions. Few can tell what is actually happening in China’s banking system, but it’s sending out ominous tremors that are hard to ignore. But be sure it is all daisy-chained right into Wall Street and the US banks. The potential for wrecking markets and currencies around the world is extreme at this moment. It may only be a matter of whether it happens before or after the election.
Then we’ll see what happens when financial institutions can’t trust each other. Trade stops. Economies crumble. Pretenses evaporate. If it gets bad enough, the shelves of the supermarkets go bare in three days and you’re living in a permanent hurricane disaster without the wind and rain. Believe me, that will be bad enough. Hillary, if elected, will not get to play FDR-2. Rather, she’ll be stuck in the role of Hoover, the Return, presiding over a freight elevator of an economy with a broken cable. Expect problems with the US dollar. Expect “emergency” actions. Expect the unintended consequences of those actions.
If there is one outstanding upshot of these “debates” it must be their staggering failure to reassure the American public that they can expect effective leadership through the hardships ahead. There must be many others out there like myself wondering who will emerge from the rubble? I suspect it will be someone we haven’t heard of before, just as Bonaparte was unheard of in France in 1792. This is not entirely a nation of clowns, though it feels like that lately. [All emphases mine.--P.Z.]
Sunday, October 09, 2016
Putin on current US-Russian confrontation. "This isn't about Syria. It began with Yugoslavia." I.e. this was years/decades in the making. https://t.co/FTMFQcSm06— Roland Oliphant (@RolandOliphant) October 16, 2016
My twitter feed is a mix of Republicans and Democrats. Those two camps are apparently watching two different debates.— George Hawley (@georgehawleyUA) October 10, 2016
(I don't know if he follows Nall and Coulter. I'm only citing them as examples of the disparate response to the debate, which I am watching, actually, while I work.)
Can this team not find the Sudafed?— Nancy Nall Derringer (@nnall) October 10, 2016
NO MODERATORS AT NEXT DEBATE!— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) October 10, 2016
Saturday, October 08, 2016
Another major project is decluttering. The task of going through books, CDs, etc. and donating them, trading them in at the used-book store. I see others trying to pare down (hello, Hattie). Part of this: much too much stuff. And realizing that a great deal of content can be found online, or at the library.
The other work that everyone should do is learning about civics, history, current events. Again, a wealth of information is online, and at the library. And talk to others. Not everyone will be deeply involved in politics, but everyone should have at least a basic understanding of these subjects.
I enjoy work, actually. (And I like vegetables, too!) If I weren't busy with many other things, I'd post here daily with Nallian fluency.
Binz, the largest resort on the German island of Rügen.
Resort architecture "or Bäder architecture (German: Bäderarchitektur) is an architectural style that is especially characteristic of spas and seaside resorts on the German Baltic coast."
Friday, October 07, 2016
What the hell is a US Senator doing telling someone they "aren't welcome" to travel freely? https://t.co/oWAXPZ6BIJ— Justin Raimondo (@JustinRaimondo) October 6, 2016
This is what it's like to live in an ideological bubble. https://t.co/Rh5buXS1mz— Justin Raimondo (@JustinRaimondo) October 5, 2016
Thursday, October 06, 2016
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
By IrvingPlNYC (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Arizona Sun Corridor
Wasatch Front (could merge with the Front Range)
Monday, October 03, 2016
Louis Proyect: "Max Blumenthal Follows Ben Norton Down the Bloody Primrose Path."
We'll see if Blumenthal replies to Proyect. Though he concedes anti-anti-Assadism has been "confined to marginal websites, including some very unsavory ones."
The fear factor is why analysis challenging regime change has been largely confined to marginal websites, including some very unsavory ones— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) October 3, 2016
Update: He does, sort of.
Kunstler: Sizing Up the Endgame.
All Hillary had to do last week was show up and stand at a podium for ninety minutes without swooning while Donald Trump barked and grunted his way through the half-assed press conference we like to call a “debate.” It was all I could do to keep watching the nauseating spectacle. It made you want to reach out and whap your TV upside its head, or maybe just shoot the fucker, like Elvis used to do.
The torment of who or what to vote for has become unbearable. I’d considered casting mine for Johnson / Weld, until Gary Johnson demonstrated that the front end of his brain is missing. Aleppo? Wasn’t he one of the Marx Brothers? I sense that Jill Stein of the Green Party is more Social Justice Warrior than EcoWarrior, and the last thing I want is for the rest of America to become one big college campus rife with trigger warnings and micro-aggression persecutions. Vote for Trump? Not if you chained me to the back bumper of a Toyota Landcruiser and dragged me over six miles of broken light bulbs. Hillary? Make that nine miles, and throw down some carpet tacks.
But wait a minute…! Here’s something to consider: a proposition put out by David McAlvany on his podcast last week: To Understand Election 2016 You Have to See 2020. (The new podcast is posted on Wednesdays, so to listen after Oct 5 you’ll have to click back a week.) The idea is that the winner of the presidential election is sure to be the biggest loser because the global economy is in the process of tanking, Long Emergency style, and the global finance system is going down with it. Whoever presides over this fiasco from the White House is going to be a bigger bag-holder than old Herbert Hoover in 1929.
The salutary part of the story is that such an epochal crack-up will sweep the establishment out of power. In the present case, this means discrediting the crony-capitalist, revolving-door grifters of the Wall Street / Washington axis, plus the neo-con military empire-builders bent on starting World War Three for profit, plus the economic central planners of the Federal Reserve whose desperate meddlings have nearly destroyed the necessary operations and meaning of money. And the cherries on top to get thrown out with the rest of this giant shit sundae would be the campus cultural Maoists. In short, vote for Hillary and let history flush them all out of the system.
A vote for Trump would let the aforesaid villains and bunglers off the hook because supposedly Trump represents free market business interests, and if he got elected they would be blamed for the economic and financial cataclysm which has been in motion for going on for two decades — and has accelerated mightily under the genial Obama. Whatever else you might say about free markets, had they been allowed to operate naturally, a lot of dead wood might have been cleared out of the financial forest by allowing failing institutions and companies to crash and burn. Instead, they were artificially propped up and hosed down with bailouts and other accounting frauds at all costs. The cost turns out to be the coherent workings of markets.
There can be little question that Hillary represents so much that has gone wrong in American public life under the Baby Boomer regime. The fact that she will be the oldest president ever at inauguration itself says a lot about the limitless cupidity of the Boomer political gen. They just don’t know when to stop. It’s history’s job to stop them now, nature’s way, by seating them at the banquet of consequences for all their poisonous cookery and quackery.
Watching these lamebrain debates, you get the impression that the folks running things, including media stars like the debate moderators, lack the slightest clue about the gathering economic storm. They are too busy reading the false weather reports posted by the Fed and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both Hillary and Trump seem to believe that we can winkle our way back to a 1962-style economy if we click our ruby slippers three times. That is not going to happen.
There are too many people on-board the planet and too few resources to keep them all going. It’s hard to say whether we might have managed the necessary contraction, say, starting back in the 1970s when the writing was on the wall and a truly honest president (one Jimmy Carter) spelled it out in plain English. We blew it, electing Ronald Reagan to enable the final feeding frenzy of the techno-industrial age.
Now it’s up to natural forces — and their galloping horsemen — to get the job done. So let us by all means throw out votes behind Hillary and let her rip so we can move on from there sooner rather than later and find new ways to remain civilized in the coming disposition of things.