Wednesday, May 10, 2017

24 Forbidden Kwestins You're Too Scared to Ask


tomdispatch |  Since the late eighteenth century, the United States has been involved in an almost ceaseless string of wars, interventions, punitive expeditions, and other types of military ventures abroad -- from fighting the British and Mexicans to the Filipinos and Koreans to the Vietnamese and Laotians to the Afghans and Iraqis. The country has formally declared war 11 times and has often engaged in undeclared conflicts with some form of congressional authorization, as with the post-9/11 “wars” that rage on today.

Recent presidents have conducted such wars without seemingly asking the hard questions -- whether about the validity of intelligence claims, the efficacy of military power, or the likely blowback from invasions, drone strikes, and the deposing of dictators. The consequences have been catastrophic for Afghans and Iraqis, Libyans and Yemenis, among others.  At last, however, we finally have a president willing to raise some of the hard questions about war. Well, at least, about one war. Or, rather, questions about one war that are, at least, hard to decipher.

“People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War?” President Donald Trump wondered in a recent interview, referring to America’s nineteenth century war over slavery. “Why could that one not have been worked out?"

Trump then suggested that, had President Andrew Jackson -- to whom he’s compared himself -- been in office, he would have avoided the conflict that claimed more American lives than any other: “He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War.  He said, ‘There's no reason for this.’”  Of course, Andrew Jackson, who fought in his fair share of America’s ceaseless conflicts (including against the British during the War of 1812 and the Seminoles in Spanish Florida), died in 1845, more than a decade and a half before the Civil War began.

No matter. The important thing is that we finally have a president willing to ask some questions about some wars -- even if it’s the wrong questions about a war that ended more than 150 years ago.
Today, TomDispatch regular Andrew Bacevich offers a cheat sheet of sorts: the real questions about war and national security that should be asked but never are in these United States.  Since it’s bound to take President Trump some time to work his way to the present -- what with all the questions about why we fought Japanese, Koreans, Spaniards, Filipinos, Chinese, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Haitians, Japanese (again), Germans, Koreans (again), Chinese (again), Vietnamese, and so many others -- it’s incumbent upon the rest of us to start asking Bacevich’s questions and demanding some answers.

The Last Nuremberg Prosecutor


cbsnews |  It is not often you get the chance to meet a man who holds a place in history like Ben Ferencz.  He's 97 years old, barely 5 feet tall, and he served as prosecutor of what's been called the biggest murder trial ever. The courtroom was Nuremberg; the crime, genocide; the defendants, a group of German SS officers accused of committing the largest number of Nazi killings outside the concentration camps -- more than a million men, women, and children shot down in their own towns and villages in cold blood.
Ferencz is the last Nuremberg prosecutor alive today. But he isn't content just to be part of 20th century history -- he believes he has something important to offer the world right now.

"If it's naive to want peace instead of war, let 'em make sure they say I'm naive. Because I want peace instead of war."

  • Twenty-two SS officers responsible for the deaths of 1M+ people would never have been brought to justice were it not for Ben Ferencz.
  • The officers were part of units called Einsatzgruppen, or action groups. Their job was to follow the German army as it invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 and kill Communists, Gypsies and Jews.
  • Ferencz believes "war makes murderers out of otherwise decent people" and has spent his life working to deter war and war crimes. 

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Healthcare Service Costs Depend on How Much the Provider Can Extract From You


kunstler |  If you seek to know why this country is in so much trouble, check out the lead reports about the health care reform bill in today’s New York Times, WashPo, and CNN. You will find there is no intelligible discussion in any of them as to what’s actually ailing US health care. All you get is play-by-play commentary about which political tag-team is “winning,” as if this were a pro wrestling match — with an overlay of gloat that the Republicans fell oafishly out of the ring in the early rounds.

Of course, an issue even larger than the health care fiasco is this society’s tragic and astounding inability to discuss anything coherently in the public arena, and that might possibly be traced to the failures of education in our time and its effects on the current crop of editors and news producers — people who grew up hearing that reality was just a constructed “narrative” and that one narrative was as good as another.

So, you would surmise from reading the papers (or their web editions) that the health care problem was simply a matter of apportioning insurance coverage. That is what the stage magicians call misdirection. Any way you cut the dynamics of health insurance, as practiced in the USA these days, it is nothing but racketeering, literally a conspiracy between informed players to swindle uninformed “patients.” The debate in congress (and the news media) is just about who gets to be swindled.

This is almost entirely due to the hocus-pocus of pricing for services. For an excellent dissection of all this, I urge you to read Karl Denninger’s comprehensive manifesto, How To Permanently Fix Health Care For All, which he posted one month ago. You have to wonder whether anybody in congress happened to read this, because the debate has been devoid of any of the crucial points that it addresses.

The way it works now, the so-called “providers” (doctors, hospitals) refuse to post the cost of any service, and then charge whatever they feel they can extract, subject to an abstruse and dishonest ceremonial “negotiation” with the insurance company. The result: hospital and insurance executives get paid multi-million dollar salaries, doctors get to drive fine German cars, and the patient gets financially ass-raped, kicked to the curb, and eventually stuffed into the bankruptcy courts.

Student Loans and Healthcare Costs are Ticking Time Bombs


libertyblitzkrieg |  Healthcare costs are obscene, something I’ve become intimately aware of since getting on individual plans several years ago. Even worse, it seems the predatory behavior continues to get worse and worse with each passing year. Which brings me to a MarketWatch post I became aware of yesterday titled, This Hidden Fee is Becoming Increasingly Common — and It’s a Nasty Surprise on Medical Bills.

Here are a few excerpts:
When Jackie Thennes decided to switch doctors earlier this year, the hospital system in her Chicago, Il. suburb seemed like the natural choice. She’d been to the immediate care facility multiple times before for screenings, and the doctor was in-network.
But Thennes, who is 50 and looking for work, got a nasty surprise when the bill arrived in the mail: along with an anticipated charge for the doctor’s visit, she was also charged a “facility fee.” At $235, the fee was slightly more than the doctor’s visit itself.
Thennes tried to contest the charge with the hospital system, but to no avail. And while she said she won’t go to the facility again, she worries about getting hit with the same fee somewhere else.
This is “going to deter me from getting the medical attention I need,” she said. “I’m going to get sick just worrying about it.”
These kinds of facility fees are common at hospitals, where they help pay the hospital system’s overhead costs. But as doctors’ offices increasingly are being bought up by big hospital systems, patients are being charged facility fees of up to hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket without warning and without the ability to contest them.
The rate of hospital-employed doctors increased by almost 50% between July 2012 and July 2015, according to an analysis conducted by the nonprofit Avalere Health for the Physicians Advocacy Institute. By July 2015, nearly 40% of doctors were employed by hospitals, the analysis found. The trend occurred across the country but was especially prominent in the Midwest.
It’s hard for patients to research which doctors charge facility fees, since there’s no comprehensive resource to track it, said Chuck Bell, programs director for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports.
There is one foolproof option, though, Bell said: ask pre-emptively.
Still, “why should patients have to do this?” Bell said. “Health care has become this outlier bad, terrible customer experience. Even a mechanic has to tell you up-front what the estimate is for working on your car.”
Moving along, let’s take a look at a very disturbing trends happening with regard to student loans, which as you know are almost impossible to get rid of, even in bankruptcy. They essentially follow you to the grave.

Also from MarketWatch:
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced a bill with several prominent co-sponsors last week that would prohibit the government from garnishing borrowers’ Social Security disability and retirement checks to pay for defaulted student loans. This marks the second time the Senators have tried to curb this practice; they introduced a similar bill in 2015 was never enacted into law. And given today’s highly partisan lawmaking environment, getting the bill through this time may not be much easier.
“It’s a challenge,” Brown told MarketWatch. Still, he said he’s hopeful lawmakers will respond to growing concern on this topic from constituents. “Senators and House members are hearing about this problem more and more. We’re hearing all kinds of people calling us surprised that [the government] can do this.”
And indeed, the government can. The federal student loan program provides many options borrowers can use to manage their debts, but once borrowers default, the government has extraordinary powers to get its money back, including garnishing tax refunds, Social Security checks and wages.
A growing number of borrowers are losing out on a portion of their Social Security checks to pay back student loans. The number of borrowers over 65 facing this predicament jumped 540% between 2002 and 2015, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office in December.
Multiple factors explain that spike. For one, over the past several years we’ve witnessed rapid growth in the number of students going to college or returning to school during their career. But perhaps more important, rising college costs over the past few decades means that it’s more likely that an older adult would have taken on a student debt either to pay for their own schooling or that of a child.
The challenges these older or disabled borrowers face paying back their loans is increasingly pushing them toward the financial brink. The 1996 law that allows the feds to garnish Social Security benefits over student loans requires that they leave the borrower with a minimum of $750 in benefits. But that floor hasn’t been adjusted since the 1990s to account for the rising cost of living. In 2015, about 67,300 borrowers over 50 had their benefits garnished below the poverty line from just 8,300 borrowers in 2004.
Student loans and healthcare are both ticking time bombs and I see no real effort underway to tackle them at the macro level where they need to be addressed. Watch these two issues closely going forward, as I think fury at both will be the main driver behind the next populist wave.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Unified, Independent, and Sovereign


Counterpunch |  It somehow makes US Americans feel good that the “commies” finally came around and saw the light.  It’s a psychological and emotional salve that reassures the gullible, the uninformed, and the nationalists that the sacrifices on their side were not in vain.  The problem is it’s dead wrong.

3.8 million of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s fellow Vietnamese and over 58,000 US Americans did not die in a war of economic systems or ideologies.  The world is not binary and the cause for which they gave their all was not about a free market vs. a centrally planned economy.  It was about Vietnamese governing Viet Nam without continued foreign interference, occupation, and war.  Viet Nam won the war because it expelled yet another foreign invader.

Despite what embittered Vietnamese-Americans and diehard veterans who desperately want to believe, and want you to believe, that the loss of limbs, life and sanity were not in vain, it’s really that simple.

The “hardline communists” of whom you spoke, Mr. Viet, were also pragmatists – out of necessity.  They made the fateful decision to bend rather than break with the Đổi Mới (renovation) reforms of 1986, which began to bear fruit in the mid-1990s during my first visit to the country of your birth.  Viet Nam has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is considered to be one of the great success stories of the developing world.  It also ranks 5th among countries sending their young people to study in the US.

In spite of extremes of wealth and poverty that are characteristic of any rapidly developing economy, Viet Nam’s government has been praised for converting wealth into national well-being, i.e., helping to create a rising tide that raises all boats, certainly not a claim the US can make, where extreme wealth concentration and a resulting oligarchy are the order of the day.  (20 US Americans own as much as wealth as 50% of the population.)

The Communist Party is not a monolith, as you know.  In fact, there’s probably more diversity of opinion within this one party than in the US in which “there is only one party…  the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat”, as another US writer and public intellectual, Gore Vidal, once described the US political system.  I know this because Viet Nam is not a country I visit from time to time; I have lived here for over a decade.

Bún Thịt Nướng - Bún Bò Xào


theculinarychronicles |  Truth be told, most of my “mom-meal knock offs” aren’t 100% authentic. But that sure isn’t do to lack of trying! She was so quick maneuvering around the kitchen–throwing a little of bit of this and a little bit of that into pans that we could never keep up. Let’s not even begin to get into how she never measured!

So, on one recent weekend, I found myself recreating a meal that we often had growing up– Bún Thịt Nướng or Vietnamese Grilled Pork over Vermicelli Noodles. It’s not a dish that I eat (or more like “order“) often these days but when I do get the chance to enjoy it, I am reminded of how it really is a great depiction of Vietnamese cuisine. An extremely savory and mutli-layered flavor protein, combined with tons of fresh herbs, pickled veggies, cold noodles, various textures, and all enhanced by a spicy nước chấm (dipping sauce). And like many Vietnamese dishes, Bún Thịt Nướng is not difficult to make but it does take some time preparing as there are many steps and components to the dish.

I spend most of the time below describing steps to preparing the pork so if you have any questions, about the condiments in particular, feel free to shoot me an email. Since I was too lazy to pull out the grill, I ended up using my tried and true All-Clad grill pan to cook the pork. It worked fairly nicely but if you want the true authentic flavor, I’d recommend using an outdoor grill with with one of those wire mesh grilling baskets. You can pick one up for really cheap at most Asian grocery stores. You can’t beat the slightly charred flavor produced by cooking it that way. Plus, if you’re ever in Việt Nam, you’ll see that it’s the way my peeps do it.

I was quite pleased with the final dish. The warm grilled meat over the cold veggies and noodles are a perfect pairing–particular for warm summer days.

foodforfour |  This refreshing vermicelli noodles with wok-tossed beef is our family’s favourite during the summer months. Thin juicy slices of beef with beautiful flavours of lemongrass is served on a bed of cold vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, topped with sprinkles of fried shallot and chopped peanuts, and drenched in fish sauce.

This dish is really easy to make and also very versatile. The vermicelli noodles salad and fish sauce forms the basis of many popular Vietnamese dishes as the beef can be substituted for another type of protein. Other Vietnamese vermicelli noodle dishes are served with pork skewers (bun nem nuong), grilled pork ( bun thit nuong), spring rolls (bun cha gio), sugarcane prawn (bun chao tom) and grilled fish.

The trick to preparing this dish is to prepare all your ingredients before you start to stir fry. Fish sauce dipping sauce can be made the day before to save time.

Nước Chấm


wikipedia |  Nước chấm (Vietnamese: [nɨ́ək tɕə̌m]) is a common name for a variety of Vietnamese "dipping sauces" that are served quite frequently as condiments. It is commonly a sweet, sour, salty, savoury and/or spicy sauce.

Nước mắm pha (mixed fish sauce) is the most well known dipping sauce made from fish sauce. Its simplest recipe is some lime juice, or occasionally vinegar, one part fish sauce (nước mắm), one part sugar and two parts water. Vegetarians create nước chấm chay (vegetarian dipping sauce) or nước tương (soy water) by substituting Maggi seasoning sauce for fish sauce (nước mắm).[citation needed]
To this, people will usually add minced uncooked garlic, chopped or minced Bird's eye chilis, and in some instances, shredded pickled carrot/white radish and green papaya for bún. Otherwise, when having seafood, such as eels, people also serve some slices of lemongrass.

It is often prepared hot on a stove to dissolve the sugar more quickly, then cooled. The flavor can be varied depending on the individual's preference, but it is generally described as pungent and distinct, sweet yet sour, and sometimes spicy.

Nước Mắm


wikipedia |  Fish sauce is an amber-colored liquid extracted from the fermentation of fish with sea salt. It is used as a condiment in various cuisines. Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in numerous cultures in Southeast Asia and the coastal regions of East Asia, and features heavily in Burmese, Cambodian, Filipino, Thai, Lao and Vietnamese cuisines. It also was a major ingredient in ancient European cuisine, but is no longer commonly used in those regions.

In addition to being added to dishes during the cooking process, fish sauce is also used as a base for a dipping condiment and is prepared in many different ways in each country. It is eaten with fish, shrimp, pork, and chicken. In parts of southern China, it is used as an ingredient for soups and casseroles. Fish sauce, and its derivatives, impart an umami flavor to food due to their glutamate content.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Empires Decline and Fall Due to Military Overreach and Economic Bankruptcy


theburningplatform |  In Part One of this article I detailed how propaganda has been utilized by the Deep State for decades to control the minds of the masses and allow those in control to reap the benefits of never ending war. In Part Two I will discuss recent events, false flags, and propaganda campaigns utilized by the Deep State to push the world to the brink of war.

The people realize they have been screwed and continue to be screwed by the politicians, bankers and corporate fascists running the show. This is the major reason Trump was elected. People were desperate for someone who offered them a promise of economic revival and reduced government interference in their lives.

The problem is no one is capable of saving the US Titanic. The iceberg was struck sixteen years ago when the Deep State engineered a plundering campaign driving the national debt from $5.8 trillion to $20 trillion, and unfunded welfare liabilities to $200 trillion. Unpaid for tax cuts will not save us. Unpaid for shovel ready infrastructure projects will not save us. Threatening foreign countries with tariffs will not bring manufacturing jobs back. Excessively low interest rates will not spur investment, but it will create a pension crisis and impoverish senior citizens.

Devaluing your currency when every country in the world attempts the same “solution” will not work. Passing an Obamacare lite healthcare plan that keeps mega-corporation insurance companies and hospitals in charge solves nothing. The demographic time bomb of boomers turning 65 cannot be reversed. Providing the appearance of normalcy and improvement by artificially boosting the stock and real estate markets to all-time bubble highs only makes the coming crash that much more devastating.

It is clearly evident to me the drumbeat of war is louder than it has been in decades as this Fourth Turning enters its ninth year. Every previous U.S. Fourth Turning has climaxed with a more horrific war than the previous, as the technological “advances” allow the Deep State controllers to create cannon fodder more efficiently. The year 2011 seems to have been the nexus for the Deep State to create new enemies and sow the seeds of discontent and revolution around the globe. U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq in 2011, while troop levels in Afghanistan remained low.


Retail Apocalypse 2017



Saturday, May 06, 2017

Unpaywall


filmsforaction  |  Getting blocked by a paywall can be irritating, especially if you’re trying to access peer-reviewed scientific research. Open access advocates would certainly think so. To paraphrase Richard from HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” who doesn’t want free information? Well, there may now be a way to get scientific publications for free — and it’s completely legal.

Open-source nonprofit Impactstory, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, has developed a web browser plug-in called Unpaywall, and as the name suggests, it’s a way to get through to paywalled research papers for free.

“Now more than ever, humanity needs to access our collective knowledge, not hoard it behind paywalls,” according to Unpaywall’s website. “Lots of researchers feel the same; that’s why they upload their papers to free, legal servers online. We want to help bring that open access content to the masses.”

SUPER LEGAL
Unlike similar services that rely on means like automated web scraping, Unpaywall’s method of getting full-text access to scientific journals is totally legal. It scans a database of more than 90 million digital object identifiers (DOIs) for copies of papers that the researchers themselves have uploaded, whether on some pre-press servers or university websites. Unpaywall is also completely secure, as it doesn’t ask you for any personal information.

Best of all, to use the service, you just need to install the plug-in on your Chrome or Firefox desktop browser. A little lock symbol will appear every time you visit a journal article’s landing page. If the lock is green, you have access to a full-text copy of the article. A gold lock means an article already has open license access from the publisher.

“We’re able to deliver an OA copy to users more than half the time,” Jason Priem, one of Unpaywall’s creators, told The Chronicle of Higher Education. He’s excited for the service to hit critical mass: “That’s when people start thinking, ‘Hey, why are we paying millions of dollars to subscribe to tens of thousands of journals when our researchers have about a better-than-even chance of reading an article with no subscription at all?'”

Replacing Delusional Economics With a Reality-Based System


Counterpunch |  Keen’s “Minsky” model traces this to what he has called “endogenous money creation,” that is, bank credit mainly to buyers of real estate, companies and other assets. He recently suggested a more catchy moniker: “Bank Originated Money and Debt” (BOMD). That seems easier to remember.

The concept is more accessible than the dry academic terminology usually coined. It is simple enough to show that the mathematics of compound interest lead the volume of debt to exceed the rate of GDP growth, thereby diverting more and more income to the financial sector as debt service. Keen traces this view back to Irving Fisher’s famous 1933 article on debt deflation – the residue from unpaid debt. Such payments to creditors leave less available to spend on goods and services.

In explaining the mathematical dynamics underlying his “Minsky” model, Keen links financial dynamics to employment. If private debt grows faster than GDP, the debt/GDP ratio will rise. This stifles markets, and hence employment. Wages fall as a share of GDP.

This is precisely what is happening. But mainstream models ignore the overgrowth of debt, as if the economy operates on a barter basis. Keen calls this “the barter illusion,” and reviews his wonderful exchange with Paul Krugman (who plays the role of an intellectual Bambi to Keen’s Godzilla), who insists that banks do not create credit but merely recycle savings – as if they are savings banks, not commercial banks. It is the old logic that debt doesn’t matter because “we” owe the debt to “ourselves.”

The “We” are the 99%, the “ourselves” are the 1%. Krugman calls them “patient” savers vs “impatient” borrowers, blaming the malstructured economy on personal psychology of indebted victims having to work for a living and spend their working lives paying off the debt needed to obtain debt-leveraged homes of their own, debt-leveraged education and other basic living costs.

By being so compact, this book is able to concentrate attention on the easy-to-understand mathematical principles that underlie the “junk economics” mainstream. Keen explains why, mathematically, the Great Moderation leading up to the 2008 crash was not an anomaly, but is inherent in a basic principle: Economies can prolong the debt-financed boom and delay a crash simply by providing more and more credit, Australia-style. The effect is to make the ensuing crash worse, more long-lasting and more difficult to extricate. For this, he blames mainly Margaret Thatcher and Alan Greenspan as, in effect, bank lobbyists. But behind them is the whole edifice of neoliberal economic brainwashing.

Keen attacks this “neoclassical” methodology by pointing that the logical fallacy of trying to explain society by looking only at “the individual.” That approach and its related “series of plausible but false propositions” blinds economics graduates from seeing the obvious. Their discipline is the product of ideological desire not to blame banks or creditors, wrapped in a libertarian antagonism toward government’s role as economic regulator, money creator, and financer of basic infrastructure.

Keen’s exposition undercuts the most basic and fundamental assumptions of neoclassical (that is, anti-government, anti-socialist) economics by showing that instead of personifying economic classes as “individuals” (Krugman’s “prudent” individuals with their inherited fortunes and insider dealings vs. spendthrift individuals too economically squeezed to afford to buy houses free of mortgage debt) it is easier to start with basic economic categories – creditors, wage earners, employers, governments running deficits (to provide the economy with money) or surpluses (to suck out money and force reliance on commercial banks).

Friday, May 05, 2017

Genie Energy and Oil in the Golan Heights


lewrockwell |  QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong I live in Israel and today I listened to your podcast with Macrovoices. At some point you mentioned that there is more oil in Golan heights than in Saudi Arabia -and this oil belongs to genie energy. Is it true? How can it be that nobody knew nothing about this in Israel? Are you sure 100 % about this information? I will be happy to know more about this.

ANSWER: Yes. This is one of the best kept secrets. You can imagine that if this went into production, then the disputed Syrian land issue occupied by Israel would come to the forefront. This is why it gets no play but this is one reason Obama was working to overthrow the Syrian government. They would not have political people on the Strategic Advisory Board if they did not need political strings pulled.

Politically, you have the Pipe Line from Qatar being one major issue that was to compete with Russia in selling gas to Europe, which is why Putin is involved. He is not involved in Egypt, Israel, or even Afghanistan. This is the reason why Putin has an interest in Syria and the mainstream media of course championed Obama claiming he was defending children. Then we have Genie Oil and strategic oil reserves within occupied Syria. Just look at the people who are are heavy hitters on the Strategic Advisory Board of Genie Oil!  Not bad for a company nobody has heard of and the glaring issue is why do you need heavy hitters like this just to pump oil? Location! Location! Location! The mainstream media is not going to report on this issue. They even have Rupert Murdoch on their Strategic Advisory Board. This is hush hush in the mainstream media.

American-British Politicization of Anti-Semitism


counterpunch |  Since the inception of the the State of Israel, one Israeli government after the other has insisted that the Israeli state officially represents every last Jew on the planet – thus conflating nationality and religious identity. The fabricated nature of this claim has become more obvious as Israeli behavior and culture has grown ever more racist and the policies of its governments more blatantly in violation of international law and the norms of human and civil rights.

While much of the rest of the world has strived to increase diversity and tolerance, Israel and a small number of other states (such places as Myanmar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, etc.) go about practicing official discrimination, segregation, and expulsion. As they do so, they inevitably produce cultures that those who support human and civil rights can only describe as ugly and deformed. As a consequence, more and more Jews have responded by disassociating themselves with Zionist Israel.

What then has been the response of the Israeli government? It is, essentially, to spit in the face of Jews supportive of human rights. The Israelis seek to force the issue by using their influence and that of Zionist lobby surrogates to push for new laws in key foreign lands, such as the U.S. and the U.K., to make criticism of the Israeli state legally synonymous with anti-Semitism. The U.S. and British adoption of the suspect portion of the “working definition” of anti-Semitism cited here is a step in this direction, and a consequence of Zionist pressure.

It should be noted that Israel and its supporters, being the “deep thinkers” they aren’t, have created an reductio ad absurdum situation. To wit, anyone who publicly condemns Israeli human rights violations (that is Israeli racist acts) must be anti-Semitic (racist) – even if they happen to be Jewish. That is what you get when you pursue particularistic expediency over the general logic of tolerance and humanitarianism.

One can ask how it is that American and British, as well as other politicians and law makers, who are themselves part of cultures that are even now seeking to overcome racism, can buy into such an illogical argument?

Their doing so seems to be an expression of the electoral marketplace. Politicians need money to survive in their chosen career. As long as it does not cost them an overwhelming number of votes, they will sell their support to high bidders. And, no one bids higher than the Zionists.

This means that democratic politics is most often not a principled activity. It can be idealized, of course, but as long as it is dependent on incessant fund-raising, it will be corrupt in practice. That is why the Zionists can easily arrange for most Western politicians to selectively suppress free speech in their own countries and support racism in Israel.

American-British Collusion with Nazi Germany


strategic-culture |  What the latest release of UN Holocaust files shows is that Washington and London were indeed well aware of the Nazi Final Solution in which millions of European Jews and Slavic people were being systematically worked to death or exterminated in gas chambers. So the question again is: why did the US and Britain not direct more of their aerial bombing campaign to destroy the Nazi infrastructure?
 
One possible answer is that these Western allies had a callous disregard for the Nazi victims. Washington and London establishments were themselves accused of harboring antisemitic prejudices, as can be seen from the scandals when both these governments spurned thousands of European Jewish refugees during the Second World War, in effect sending many of them to their deaths under the Nazi regime.

Not excluding the above factor of Western racist insouciance, there is a second more disturbing factor. That the Western governments, or at least powerful sections, were loath to hamper the Nazi war effort against the Soviet Union. Notwithstanding that the Soviet Union was a nominal «ally» of the West for the defeat of Nazi Germany.

This perspective harks to a radically different conception of the Second World War in contrast to that narrated in official Western versions. In this alternative historical account, the rise of the Nazi Third Reich was deliberately fomented by American and British rulers as a bulwark in Europe against the spread of communism. Adolf Hitler’s rabid anti-Semitism was matched only by his detest of Marxism and the Slavic people of the Soviet Union. In the Nazi ideology, they were all «Untermenschen» (subhumans) to be exterminated in a «Final Solution».

So, when Nazi Germany was attacking the Soviet Union and carrying out its Final Solution from June 1941 until late 1944, little wonder then that the US and Britain showed a curious reluctance to commit their military forces fully to open up a Western Front. The Western allies were evidently content to see the Nazi war machine doing what it was originally intended to do: to destroy the primary enemy to Western capitalism as represented by the Soviet Union. This is not to say that all American and British political leaders shared or were even aware of this tacit strategic vision. Leaders like President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill appeared to be genuinely committed to defeating Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, their individual views must be set against a background of systematic collusion between powerful Western corporate interests and Nazi Germany.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Risk Transferring Interventionists and Their Mental and Moral Defects


medium |  Skin in the Game is necessary to reduce the effects of the following divergences that arose mainly as a side effect of civilization: action and cheap talk (tawk), consequence and intention, practice and theory, honor and reputation, expertise and pseudoexpertise, concrete and abstract, ethical and legal, genuine and cosmetic, entrepreneur and bureaucrat, entrepreneur and chief executive, strength and display, love and gold-digging, Coventry and Brussels, Omaha and Washington, D.C., economists and human beings, authors and editors, scholarship and academia, democracy and governance, science and scientism, politics and politicians, love and money, the spirit and the letter, Cato the Elder and Barack Obama, quality and advertising, commitment and signaling, and, centrally, collective and individual.

This idea is weaved into history: all warlords and warmongers were warriors themselves and, with few exceptions societies were run by risk takers not risk transferors. They took risks –more risks than ordinary citizens. Julian the Apostate, the hero of many, died on the battlefield fighting in the never-ending war on the Persian frontier. One of predecessors, Valerian, after he was captured was said to have been used as a human footstool by the Persian Shahpur when mounting his horse. Less than a third of Roman emperors died in their bed –and one can argue that, had they lived longer, they would have fallen prey to either a coup or a battlefield.

And, one may ask, what can we do since a centralized system will necessarily need people who are not directly exposed to the cost of errors? Well, we have no choice, but decentralize; have fewer of these. But not to worry, if we don’t do it, it will be done by itself, the hard way: a system that doesn’t have a mechanism of skin in the game will eventually blow up and fix itself that way. We will see numerous such examples.

For instance, bank blowups came in 2008 because of the hidden risks in the system: bankers could make steady bonuses from a certain class of concealed explosive risks, use academic risk models that don’t work (because academics know practically nothing about risk), then invoke uncertainty after a blowup, some unseen and unforecastable Black Swan, and keep past bonuses, what I have called the Bob Rubin trade. Robert Rubin collected one hundred million dollar in bonuses from Citibank, but when the latter was rescued by the taxpayer, he didn’t write any check. The good news is that in spite of the efforts of a complicit Obama administration that wanted to protect the game and the rent-seeking of bankers, the risk-taking business moved away to hedge funds. The move took place because of the overbureaucratization of the system. In the hedge fund space, owners have at least half of their net worth in the funds, making them more exposed than any of their customers, and they personally go down with the ship.

The interventionistas case is central to our story because it shows how absence of skin in the game has both ethical and epistemological effects (i.e., related to knowledge). Interventionistas don’t learn because they they are not the victims to their mistakes. Interventionistas don’t learn because they they are not the victims of their mistakes, and, as we saw with pathemata mathemata :


Necessary Symmetry Between What You Pay and What You Receive


medium |  Symmetry, symmetry everywhere — Belief and worship requires an entry fee — The Gods do not like cheap signaling.

Note: I am posting these excerpts from SKIN IN THE GAME as I am ending the grueling Greek-Orthodox lent period which, for the most part, allows no animal products. This diet is particularly hard to keep in the West where people use butter and dairy products. But once you fast, you feel entitled to celebrate Easter; it is like the exhilaration of fresh water when one is thirsty. You’ve paid a price. Your holiday is different from that of others who stole it.

Fasting is one of the human sacrifices that make like different from an experience machine — or, worse, a hedonic, pleasure-seeking mercenary pursuit. Recall our brief discussion of the theological necessity of making Christ man –he had to sacrifice himself. Time to develop the argument here.
The main theological flaw in Pascal’s wager is that belief cannot be a free-option. It entails a symmetry between what you pay and what you receive. Things otherwise would be too easy. Accordingly, the skin in the game rules that hold between humans also hold in the rapport with the gods.

To summarize, in a Judeo-Christian place of worship, the focal point, where the priest stands, symbolizes Skin in the Game. The notion of belief without tangible proof is not existent in history.

The strength of a creed did not rest on “evidence” of the powers of its gods, but evidence of the skin in the game on the part of its worshippers.[1]

Susan Rice Protected From Having to Answer for Politicizing SigInt Against Trump


CNN |  Susan Rice, President Barack Obama's former national security adviser, on Wednesday declined Sen. Lindsey Graham's request to participate in a judiciary subcommittee hearing next week on Russian interference in the US election, CNN has learned. 

A letter obtained exclusively by CNN from Rice's lawyer, Kathryn Ruemmler, outlines the grounds for her decision not to appear. It was addressed to Graham, the Republican chairman of the judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism, which is holding the hearing, and senior Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.
 
"Senator Whitehouse has informed us by letter that he did not agree to Chairman Graham's invitation to Ambassador Rice, a significant departure from the bipartisan invitations extended to other witnesses," Ruemmler wrote. "Under these circumstances, Ambassador Rice respectfully declines Senator Graham's invitation to testify."
 
A source familiar with Rice's discussions told CNN that when Graham invited her, Rice believed it was a bipartisan overture and was prepared to accept. However, Whitehouse indicated to her that the invitation was made without his agreement, as he believed her presence was not relevant to the topic of the hearing, according to the source.
 
Rice considered the invitation a "diversionary play" to distract attention from the investigation into Russian election interference, including contacts between Trump allies and Russians during the campaign, the source said.
 
Whitehouse told CNN that "with the exception of that invitation, Senator Graham and I have agreed on all witnesses that have been invited to this hearing."

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Elites Seek Censorship Via Artificial Intelligence


consortiumnews |  Since the Times is a member of the Google-funded First Draft Coalition – along with other mainstream outlets such as The Washington Post and the pro-NATO propaganda site Bellingcat – this idea of eliminating information that counters what the group asserts is true may seem quite appealing to the Times and the other insiders. After all, it might seem cool to have some high-tech tool that silences your critics automatically?

But you don’t need a huge amount of imagination to see how this combination of mainstream groupthink and artificial intelligence could create an Orwellian future in which only one side of a story gets told and the other side simply disappears from view.

As much as the Times, the Post, Bellingcat and the others see themselves as the fount of all wisdom, the reality is that they have all made significant journalistic errors, sometimes contributing to horrific international crises.

For instance, in 2002, the Times reported that Iraq’s purchase of aluminum tubes revealed a secret nuclear weapons program (when the tubes were really for artillery); the Post wrote as flat-fact that Saddam Hussein was hiding stockpiles of WMD (which in reality didn’t exist); Bellingcat misrepresented the range of a Syrian rocket that delivered sarin on a neighborhood near Damascus in 2013 (creating the impression that the Syrian government was at fault when the rocket apparently came from rebel-controlled territory).

These false accounts – and many others from the mainstream media – were countered in real time by experts who published contrary information on the Internet. But if the First Draft Coalition and these algorithms were in control, the information scrubbers might have purged the dissident assessments as “fake news” or “misinformation.”

The American Deep State Isn't Evil - Because RUSSIA!!!


technologyreview |  “The single most prevalent Russian response is to attack the critic,” he says. “They use a ‘vilify and amplify’ technique.” Critics are besmirched, sometimes in an official announcement, sometimes through proxies, sometimes through anonymous sources quoted in state media; then paid trolls and highly automated networks of bots add scale. In response, an ad hoc blend of civilians, private companies, and NGOs has evolved to cast a bright, shining light on MH17 and Russian aggression in Ukraine, Syria, and the Atlantic partnership. Exemplifying the values Italo Calvino outlined in Six Memos for the Next Millennium—lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, multiplicity, and consistency—their methods are in sharp contrast to the West’s generally sclerotic response to a revanchist Russia. 

Nowhere is this weakness more brutally apparent than in Russia’s use of digital technology to reinforce its greatest tool of statecraft: maskirovka. The literal translation—“little masquerade”—disguises the density and importance of this elusive concept. “Military deception” misses its deep cultural roots: maskirovka involves camouflage, denial, and a deep finesse. As James Jesus Angleton, the founding counterintelligence chief of the CIA, put it, “The myriad stratagems, deceptions, artifices, and all the other devices of disinformation … confuse and split the West [with] an ever-fluid landscape, where fact and illusion merge, a kind of wilderness of mirrors.”

The most powerful weapon in the maskirovka armory is disinformation, a word acquired in the 1950s from the Russian dezinformatsiya. A generation after the Cold War, the acknowledged masters of “deza” are deploying disinformation technology against the compromised immune system of liberal democracy. “And at this point,” says Andrew Andersen, a Russian-born security analyst at the University of Calgary’s Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, “the West is losing.”

“The first thing you need to understand is that this is a war,” says Andersen. “This is not a joke and not a game of any kind. It’s not ‘socializing with your friends on social networks’—it’s a real war. Even those who don’t want to take part have to behave in accordance with the laws of war,” he says, alluding to Trotsky’s notorious epigram, recalled by several of the interviewees for this story, that translates loosely as: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”

bell¿ngcat vs. Theodore Postol


bellingcat |  Since the April 4th 2017 chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun a number of individuals and organisations have attempted to promote narratives that promote the idea that the attack was a false flag. One prominent voice stands out among these individuals and organisations, that of Professor Theodore A. Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Professor Postol was previously known for his work with the late Richard Lloyd on the August 21st 2013 sarin attacks in Damascus, claiming the White House version of events was false, with Postol in particular attempting to point the finger of blame at rebel groups. His status at MIT has made him particularly popular with conspiracy theorists who cite his work and credentials when promoting their false flag theories around the attack.

With the latest attack in Khan Sheikhoun Professor Postol has returned to the fray, publishing a series of reports claiming to show the version of events as described by the White House is false. This has yet again drawn much positive attention from conspiracy theorists, and even a small amount of mainstream attention.

His latest report, generously titled “The French Intelligence Report of April 26, 2017 Contradicts the Allegations in the White House Intelligence Report of April 11, 2017” (mirror) attempts to further attack the White House version of events using the recently released French report on the Khan Sheikhoun attack. Professor Postol states in this report that a “reading of the report instantaneously indicates that the French Intelligence Report of April 26, 2017 directly contradicts the White House Intelligence Report of April 11, 2017” and that “the discrepancies between these two reports essentially result in two completely different narratives alleging nerve agent attacks in Syria on April 11, 2017.” He concludes his introduction to the report by stating “it raises very serious questions that need to be investigated and reported to the American public.”

Professor Postol claims the following for his dramatic conclusion:
The French Government has released a report that totally contradicts the already dubious allegations in the WHR.
The French Report instead claims that there were at least three munitions dropped from helicopters in the town of Saraqib, more than 30 miles north of the alleged sarin release crater identified by the WHR.
The WHR claims that a fixed wing aircraft was the originator of the airdropped munition at the alleged dispersal site. The French Intelligence Report alleges that a helicopter was used to drop sarin loaded grenades at three different locations in Saraqib.
Both reports cannot simultaneously be true.

bell¿ngcat


wikipedia  |  Bellingcat (also spelled bell¿ngcat) is an investigative search network founded by the British network activist Eliot Higgins. It uses open source and social media investigation to investigate a variety of subjects ranging from Mexican drug lords to conflicts fought around the world. Bellingcat brings together contributors who specialise in open source and social media investigation, and it creates guides and case studies so others can learn to do the same.[1] Bellingcat began as an investigation of the use of weapons in the Syrian civil war. It first received international attention with its analysis of forged data on satellite images of the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 during the still ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Automating Suspicion


theintercept |  When civil liberties advocates discuss the dangers of new policing technologies, they often point to sci-fi films like “RoboCop” and “Minority Report” as cautionary tales. In “RoboCop,” a massive corporation purchases Detroit’s entire police department. After one of its officers gets fatally shot on duty, the company sees an opportunity to save on labor costs by reanimating the officer’s body with sleek weapons, predictive analytics, facial recognition, and the ability to record and transmit live video.

Although intended as a grim allegory of the pitfalls of relying on untested, proprietary algorithms to make lethal force decisions, “RoboCop” has long been taken by corporations as a roadmap. And no company has been better poised than Taser International, the world’s largest police body camera vendor, to turn the film’s ironic vision into an earnest reality.

In 2010, Taser’s longtime vice president Steve Tuttle “proudly predicted” to GQ that once police can search a crowd for outstanding warrants using real-time face recognition, “every cop will be RoboCop.” Now Taser has announced that it will provide any police department in the nation with free body cameras, along with a year of free “data storage, training, and support.” The company’s goal is not just to corner the camera market, but to dramatically increase the video streaming into its servers.

With an estimated one-third of departments using body cameras, police officers have been generating millions of hours of video footage. Taser stores terabytes of such video on Evidence.com, in private servers, operated by Microsoft, to which police agencies must continuously subscribe for a monthly fee. Data from these recordings is rarely analyzed for investigative purposes, though, and Taser — which recently rebranded itself as a technology company and renamed itself “Axon” — is hoping to change that.

Taser has started to get into the business of making sense of its enormous archive of video footage by building an in-house “AI team.” In February, the company acquired a computer vision startup called Dextro and a computer vision team from Fossil Group Inc. Taser says the companies will allow agencies to automatically redact faces to protect privacy, extract important information, and detect emotions and objects — all without human intervention. This will free officers from the grunt work of manually writing reports and tagging videos, a Taser spokesperson wrote in an email. “Our prediction for the next few years is that the process of doing paperwork by hand will begin to disappear from the world of law enforcement, along with many other tedious manual tasks.” 

Analytics will also allow departments to observe historical patterns in behavior for officer training, the spokesperson added. “Police departments are now sitting on a vast trove of body-worn footage that gives them insight for the first time into which interactions with the public have been positive versus negative, and how individuals’ actions led to it.”

But looking to the past is just the beginning: Taser is betting that its artificial intelligence tools might be useful not just to determine what happened, but to anticipate what might happen in the future.
“We’ve got all of this law enforcement information with these videos, which is one of the richest treasure troves you could imagine for machine learning,” Taser CEO Rick Smith told PoliceOne in an interview about the company’s AI acquisitions. “Imagine having one person in your agency who would watch every single one of your videos — and remember everything they saw — and then be able to process that and give you the insight into what crimes you could solve, what problems you could deal with. Now, that’s obviously a little further out, but based on what we’re seeing in the artificial intelligence space, that could be within five to seven years.”

As video analytics and machine vision have made rapid gains in recent years, the future long dreaded by privacy experts and celebrated by technology companies is quickly approaching. No longer is the question whether artificial intelligence will transform the legal and lethal limits of policing, but how and for whose profits.

The Stigma of Systemic Racism Handed Over to "Machine Intelligence"...,


NYTimes |  When Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. visited Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute last month, he was asked a startling question, one with overtones of science fiction.

“Can you foresee a day,” asked Shirley Ann Jackson, president of the college in upstate New York, “when smart machines, driven with artificial intelligences, will assist with courtroom fact-finding or, more controversially even, judicial decision-making?”

The chief justice’s answer was more surprising than the question. “It’s a day that’s here,” he said, “and it’s putting a significant strain on how the judiciary goes about doing things.”

He may have been thinking about the case of a Wisconsin man, Eric L. Loomis, who was sentenced to six years in prison based in part on a private company’s proprietary software. Mr. Loomis says his right to due process was violated by a judge’s consideration of a report generated by the software’s secret algorithm, one Mr. Loomis was unable to inspect or challenge.

In March, in a signal that the justices were intrigued by Mr. Loomis’s case, they asked the federal government to file a friend-of-the-court brief offering its views on whether the court should hear his appeal.

The report in Mr. Loomis’s case was produced by a product called Compas, sold by Northpointe Inc. It included a series of bar charts that assessed the risk that Mr. Loomis would commit more crimes.
The Compas report, a prosecutor told the trial judge, showed “a high risk of violence, high risk of recidivism, high pretrial risk.” The judge agreed, telling Mr. Loomis that “you’re identified, through the Compas assessment, as an individual who is a high risk to the community.”

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against Mr. Loomis. The report added valuable information, it said, and Mr. Loomis would have gotten the same sentence based solely on the usual factors, including his crime — fleeing the police in a car — and his criminal history.

At the same time, the court seemed uneasy with using a secret algorithm to send a man to prison. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, writing for the court, discussed, for instance, a report from ProPublica about Compas that concluded that black defendants in Broward County, Fla., “were far more likely than white defendants to be incorrectly judged to be at a higher rate of recidivism.”

Bottom 50% of Americans No Longer Matter


mishtalk |  The Fed likes to brag about the “We saved the world” recovery.

However, the unfortunate truth of the matter is a record Half of American Families Live Paycheck to Paycheck.

Does it Matter? Let’s investigate.


Unprepared for Nearly Anything
  • 50% are woefully unprepared for a financial emergency.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) Americans have nothing set aside to cover an unexpected emergency.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 (31%) Americans don’t have at least $500 set aside to cover an unexpected emergency expense, according to a survey released Tuesday by HomeServe USA, a home repair service.
  • A separate survey released Monday by insurance company MetLife found that 49% of employees are “concerned, anxious or fearful about their current financial well-being.”
The Federal Reserve announced Friday that the U.S. has $1 trillion in credit-card debt. Consumers hit that number in the fourth quarter of 2016, but eased on revolving credit during January 2017. The Fed announcement showed revolving consumer credit hit more than $1 trillion once again in February 2017.
“Credit card debt is rising quickly, but delinquencies are still really low,” said Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst at the credit cards site CreditCards.com. “Many Americans are doing a good job of controlling their debts, but eventually with big debts and rising interest rates, it’s likely that something will have to give.”
Paycheck to Paycheck “Good Job”

Excuse me for asking but if half the nation lives paycheck to paycheck, is that really indicative of doing a good job at managing debt.

And as for “low delinquencies”, I remind you of my April 26 article Subprime Credit Card Losses Bite Capital One: Income Down 20%, Charge-Offs Up 30%.

Monday, May 01, 2017

HeLaFication: Who Owns Your Tissues and Your DNA?


In 1951, a woman died in Baltimore, America. She was called Henrietta Lacks. These are cells from her body. They were taken from her just before she died. They have been growing and multiplying ever since.

There are now billions of these cells in laboratories around the world. If massed together, they would weigh 400 times her original weight. These cells have transformed modern medicine, but they also became caught up in the politics of our age. They shape the policies of countries and of presidents. They even became involved in the cold war because scientists were convinced that in her cells lay the secret to how to conquer death.

"It was not like an ordinary cancer. This was different, this didn’t look like cancer. It was purple and it bled very easily on touching. I’ve never seen anything that looked like it and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that looked like it since, so it was a very special different kind of, well, it turned out to be a tumor." –Dr. Howard Jones, Gynecologist.

HeLaFication: Henrietta Lacks Biological Appropriation and Exploitation Without Compensation


nbcnews |  Over the past six decades, huge medical advances have sprung from the cells of Henrietta Lacks, a poor, African-American mother of five who died in 1951 of cervical cancer. But Lacks never agreed that the cells from a biopsy before her death taken could be used for research. For years, her own family had no idea that her cells were still alive in petri dishes in scientists' labs. They eventually learned they had fueled a line called HeLa cells, which have generated billions of dollars, but they didn't realize until this spring that her genome had been sequenced and made public for anyone to see.  

On Tuesday, the National Institute of Health announced it was, at long last, making good with Lacks' family. Under a new agreement, Lack's genome data will be accessible only to those who apply for and are granted permission. And two representatives of the Lacks family will serve on the NIH group responsible for reviewing biomedical researchers’ applications for controlled access to HeLa cells. Additionally, any researcher who uses that data will be asked to include an acknowledgement to the Lacks family in their publications. 

The new understanding between the NIH and the Lacks family does not include any financial compensation for the family. The Lacks family hasn’t, and won’t, see a dime of the profits that came from the findings generated by HeLa cells. But this is a moral and ethical victory for a family long excluded from any acknowledgment and involvement in genetic research their matriarch made possible. 

It took more than 60 years, but ethics has finally caught up to a particularly fast-moving area of science: taking tissue samples for genetic research. Thanks to the efforts of a dogged journalist, some very thoughtful science leaders in Europe and the U.S., and an ordinary family willing to learn about a complex subject and then to do the right thing to help you and me and our descendants, a long-standing wrong has now been fixed.  

The news of the day is that the analysis of the genetic makeup of HeLa cells, the most useful cells used in all of biomedical research, has been completed. But the real news here is that medicine and science have finally done right by the person from whom those cells were taken—Henrietta Lacks.

Is Kamala Harris Being Groomed For the 2020 Presidential Election?


counterpunch |  How do you sell elite rule to a 99% electorate? Well, don’t run somebody like Hillary Clinton, a lackluster campaigner with more 1% baggage than the Louis Vuitton stockroom.
There aren’t many politicians who can look you in the eye and say “I work for the bankers…but I care about you” and get away with it.

Obama could. Clinton couldn’t. Now that Obama’s termed out, the search is on for the telegenic candidate who checks the intersectional boxes but knows on what side the world’s bread is buttered.

My bets are on Kamala Harris as the intersectional box-checking, globalist friendly, appealing candidate now being groomed for a presidential run. Sooner rather than later, I’d think.

Judging by Emmanuel Macron, a handsome youngster can be transformed into a president even with a slim resume. Best thing is to get ‘em out in front of the voters while they’re young and fresh, and before they’ve had to accumulate too much of a track record of 1% accommodation.

That’s the Obama lesson. He came from nowhere and became President. Hillary came from somewhere and went nowhere.

It’s an interesting data point in the evolution of American politics that the Democrats doing what the Republicans used to do: find a charismatic front person who is also a tabula rasa to generate electoral mass appeal for elitist policies.

The key task, and one I’m guessing Democratic strategists have devoted a lot of effort to cracking, is how to convert the perceptual framing from “99% v. 1%” to “degraded lumpen v. the quintessence of America”.

Democratic Party liberalism pretty relies on meritocratic technocratic model to make the elite rule pill easier to swallow: the best and the brightest are recognized by an enlightened electorate and handed the keys to the America-mobile.

The people who don’t vote for Team Demlib are *ahem* unenlightened: low information voters, bigots, oh, what’s a good word? How about…Deplorables!

So what should we call Demlibs? The wise? The The woke? How about…the Adorables?