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I had that thought about 7 hours ago.

Don midwest
Don midwest

How Corruption is Becoming America’s Operating System

Lynn Parramore: Tell us what motivated you to write this book after studying corruption in places as far-flung as Nigeria, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Nepal.

Sarah Chayes: When I was writing my 2015 book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, I realized we are on the same spectrum as those other countries. I just did not yet realize exactly how relevant that analysis was to the U.S., and how swiftly the calamities would come.

On Corruption in America begins with the 2016 decision in McDonnell v U.S., in which the corruption conviction of a former Virginia governor was overturned by a unanimous Supreme Court. What stunned me was the divergence between ordinary people’s understanding of corruption — basically, if it quacks like a duck… — and the unanimous view of elites across the political divide that corruption is something of minor consequence, beneath notice. The opinion, accepted by all eight justices, including the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg, warned that America was in more danger from the fight against corruption than from corruption itself.

I knew we were in for very serious trouble.

LP: What kind of trouble, exactly?

SC: I had been looking at countries with systemic corruption and no civic means of redress. These kinds of conditions led to violent explosions, ideological insurgencies, a massive movement that erupted across the Arab world, peaceful civic protests that in a couple of cases spiraled into world-shaking civil wars, mass migrations out of those regions, and what have you.

In the places I’ve studied, there tended to be not so much a veer toward the extreme, but a jolt. That’s the kind of trouble I saw ahead for the U.S. I think we already experienced it to some extent in 2016, and I suspect it’s not over.

LP: Your book looks at networks of people who exploit political and economic systems to increase their wealth by working across private and public sectors. Help us understand this in a historical context. What is new or distinct with corruption in America today? What are some of its features?

SC: I looked at the Gilded Age in particular — understood broadly, from about 1870-1935 — and here’s the shocker: almost nothing is different today. Then, as now, intertwined, even intermarried, networks of billionaire-equivalents seized the main levers of power and bent them to their own objectives.

They wove themselves into incredibly resilient webs, which included business magnates, top government officials (or sometimes people serving in the two capacities at once), and even outright criminals. Often, they traded places in these various sectors, working in business for a while, then government, then back in business, and so on. They bent and distorted public institutions and laws, or eviscerated them. They physically crushed resistance. They brilliantly divided the egalitarian coalition against itself, across class and especially racial lines. They veiled themselves in secrecy. They bought people off.

Then, as now, their chief revenue streams were public procurement, finance, energy, and high-end real estate. Pharma/processed foods and the tech sector might be today’s most significant additions.

LP: You note that both political parties are intertwined with corrupt networks. How does this manifest in the current election cycle? Some hope a Biden presidency would be a blow to corruption. What’s your take?

Don midwest
Don midwest

Lambert at Naked Capitalism on the debate

On health care policy: This is just bizarre (and I’m not going to check Biden’s website because a candidate should be able to describe his own policy in his own words, or his own staffers’ words). First, the public option is an option. Automatic enrollment, not being optional, makes no sense. Second, a means-tested public option that is in essence a Medicaid buy-in is like no public option I’ve ever heard of. Third, apparently Biden’s so-called public option is apparently geography-tested besides being means-tested: It will only apply in the 12 states that did not join ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. Fourth, why not just legislate Medicare expansion, if that is the goal, instead of this kludgy workaround? Biden’s odd version of the public option will no doubt increase coverage somewhat, but at the cost of even more complexity and hence no decrease in cost, leaving ObamaCare as vulnerable to assault as ever.

On Trump’s interruptions: They seem strategic in that they are designed to drive a wedge between Sanders voters and Biden. (Trump’s mention of the “manifesto” is lazy and sloppily ill-prepared. What he is doing is accepting the false hype of public option advocates that it will be both cheaper and better than private plans, and so will outcompete them. This of course assumes good faith on the part of the drafters of the public option legislation, a dubious proposition at best.


Moderna CEO says the global population could start getting access to its vaccine by late March or early April 2021

Bancel also told the conference that Moderna would not try to get emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA until November 25, 2020. Those qualified for emergency use include frontline health workers.

“November 25 is the time we will have enough safety data to be able to put into an EUA file that we would send to the FDA, assuming that the safety data is good, i.e. a vaccine is deemed to be safe,” he told the conference, according to the FT.

“The EUA, we think, will be an important medical tool to start addressing people at very high risk, like healthcare worker[s], like the elderly,” he added, according to CNN.

Last month Bancel told Business Insider’s Andrew Dunn that Moderna would most likely know in November whether its experimental coronavirus vaccine works.

I guess the Trump Inc family will be among the first to test it.

Don midwest
Don midwest

great idea!

start with the White House

heck, in the old days used blacks and prisoners and insane asylums to text drugs

so why not the White House?

join secret service and die!!!

protecting an ideology — yea yea yea


True that still use minorities and prisoners to test drugs, often without their knowledge

in fact, the current Covid 19 outbreak is a test of minorities and of our health care policies


Im for the R and R light congresscritter to take the “cure” first

Don midwest
Don midwest

Election Violence in November? Here’s What the Research Says

What the Numbers Say

Is post-election violence impossible in 2020 America? No.

However, data suggests it is unlikely.

Ninety-five percent of the 12,607 political demonstrations in the U.S. between May 24 and Sept. 19, 2020, were peaceful. There were 351 other kinds of incidents, including imposing curfews and perpetrating physical attacks. In 29 of those, there was violence against civilians, where 12 people were killed, nine of them by the police. And in an additional five drive-by shootings, three police officers were killed by the extremist group the Boogaloo Bois.

Considering the number of people involved in the recent Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 protests, and the fact that many were heavily armed, these casualty figures are surprisingly low. According to the data, the majority of deaths were caused by police, not vigilantes or protesters, and all of the perpetrators (with the exception of two drive-by shooters), police and civilians alike, were taken into custody.

Like the U.S., France experienced protests and riots, in addition to multiple terrorist attacks, prior to Election Day. There was even a government plan to handle the potential violence and instability that might ensue if Le Pen were elected. And yet, as the most polarizing elections in decades concluded, there were few riots and no killing.

So, What Will Happen in November?

Researchers cannot perfectly predict political violence. Their analyses rely on the past.

Add to the equation a notoriously unpredictable incumbentagainst a backdrop of unprecedented social and economic conditions, and making accurate predictions about potential post-election bedlam is impossible, as much as scholars and others may try.

While I think some concern is valid, it is important to remember that there is a big difference between using a call to arms to mobilize your voters and instill fear in the other party’s supporters, and staging a post-election insurrection, which could subject its instigators to charges of sedition, if not high treason.

Ultimately, the three factors discussed here suggest that fears of widespread violence by vigilantes and activists during and after Election Day should be treated as fears, not as a probable outcome.



Don midwest
Don midwest

Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 21 123

I have only read through a few of Craig Murray’s comments on the “trial”

Apparently, he was in secret stuff for govnt for 20 years so knows that saying a person is an X means that this is a political statement, not a national security secret. For example the state dept logs obtained by Manning. So not revealing operatives, but protecting people. Hence, not a security risk.

Some of the days he goes to lunch with the witnesses. He has met with Assange many times over the years (my recollection, could be wrong)

This was a show trial. Lies by US. Not allowing full statements.

The linked notice contains transcripts at the end. One of Noam Chomsky and another by a person involved in setting up the secret taping. Recall that Ellsberg was acquitted because of the break in in his shrink’s office. This is worse. And the right wing billionaire Adelsonb

What hotels does Sheldon Adelson own?
He is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and the parent company of Venetian Macao Limited, which operates The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

has been siphoned in Spanish courts because of his funding of the video of Assange in the embassy.

(Max Blumenthal on his site has articles about CIA involvement in this through meetings in the Sands Hotel and funding of the spy effort on Assange. That is another source on this.)

Craig Murray took a rest before going to the final court session

A friend last night gave me the cold comfort that I should not worry about the hurried close of these proceedings reducing the public gaze on the evidence and the arguments (and I think there were altogether nine witness statements yesterday), because that public gaze had been extremely limited, as indeed I have been continually explaining. In other words, it makes no difference. I follow that argument, but it goes against some fundamental beliefs and motivations I have about bearing witness, which I shall need to develop further in my own mind.

In the next few days I will try to bring you a synthesis and analysis of all that passed on Wednesday. Now I need to go to court and see the last few dribbles of this case, and exchange last glances of friendship with Julian for some months.

Don midwest
Don midwest

Found the Max Blumenthal article about the link of the CIA to spying on Assange

Exclusive: Spanish judge seeks Sheldon Adelson security chief in Assange spying case

The judge’s interest in Nagel indicates that the Spanish investigation is now probing the suspected role of US intelligence as the guiding hand behind UC Global’s criminal spying operation.

Before he was hired as Adelson’s Director of Global Security, Nagel serving as the top cyber-crime investigator for the US Secret Service – a role which earned him a medal of commendation from the CIA. Together with Lahav, he was likely to have played a central role in coordinating between Sands, UC Global, and US intelligence.

Throughout this period, Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands employed Brian Nagel as its Director of Global Security. Nagel earned his stripes through nearly two decades at the US Secret Service, helping the agency set up an array of anti-cybercrime partnerships with the FBI, Los Angeles Police Department, and Department of Homeland Security.

To take down cyber-thieves, Nagel reportedly employed wiretaps, used undercover informants and oversaw an initiative to “turn the tables on criminal groups” by empowering law enforcement to use “the same technologies” hackers and cyber-criminals typically employed.

His efforts ultimately earned him the CIA’s Intelligence Community Seal Medallion, an award given to non-CIA personnel “who have made significant contributions to the Agency’s intelligence efforts.”

Nagel was mentioned in the Global Intelligence Files published by Wikileaks which consist of thousands of internal communications by employees of Stratfor, a US-based intelligence firm known as the “Shadow CIA.” In an October 2009 email, a Stratfor analyst detailed Nagel’s offer of a contract for Stratfor to conduct “proactive monitoring” of security threats against Las Vegas Sands casinos around the globe.

In December 2017, UC Global’s Morales made one of several trips to Adelson’s Venetian hotel in Las Vegas. From there, he sent instructions to employees on setting up a secret surveillance channel from the Ecuadorian embassy in London that could be fed back to another party without Ecuador’s security services noticing.

“David Morales obviously didn’t have the technical knowledge,” a former UC Global IT specialist who received the instructions testified, “so the document must have been sent by another person. Because it was in English, I suspect that it could’ve been [created by] US intelligence.”