Links 2/24/17

Laid off: Swedish workers could be given paid ‘sex breaks’ to improve well-being International Business Times

Pope suggests ‘better to be atheist than hypocritical Catholic’ Reuters (UserFriendly)

Mulberry leaf extract could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes The Conversation

Why Nothing Works Anymore Atlantic

Constant Phone Checkers Are Totally Strung Out MIT Technology Review

New Cold War

The Increasingly Unhinged Russia Rhetoric Comes From a Long-Standing U.S. Playbook  Intercept. Glenn Greenwald’s latest.

Killer, kleptocrat, genius, spy: the many myths of Vladimir Putin Guardian

Why We Must Oppose the Kremlin-Baiting Against Trump Stephen Cohen weighs in on the New McCarthyism.

The Very Drugged Nazis NYRB

Not From Venus, Not From Mars: What We Believe About Gender and Why It’s Often Wrong NYT

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Amazon resists Echo murder evidence call BBC

Truth to Power Jacobin. Discussing Noam Chomsky’s seminal antiwar essay “The Responsibility of Intellectuals”, published fifty years ago.

The Accidental Elitist The Baffler


China Trumps U.S. in Tackling Climate Change Truthdig

Russia and China’s Enduring Alliance Foreign Affairs

Homicides in Chicago outpacing last year after deadliest day so far in 2017 Chicago Tribune


The Bitter Battle for Mosul Counterpunch. Patrick Cockburn’s latest.

Syria – A Confused Trump Strategy Lets Erdogan U-Turn Again Moon of Alabama

Geert Wilders Follows the Trump Twitter Trail Der Spiegel

Le Pen Aides Met UBS, BlackRock, Barclays to Explain Euro Exit Bloomberg

Le Pen Calls for “Europe of Nations”, Blasts EU as “the Problem” Michael Shedlock

Tyson Seeks Lead in No-Antibiotics Poultry WSJ

Health Care

How states are using the law to bring drug executives to heel MedCity News

10 plastic items you can give up right now Treehugger

How Politics Could Put the Reliability of Future Elections at Risk MIT Technology Review

2016 Post Mortem

Chelsea Clinton Is Exploiting the Resistance to Elevate Herself Politically NY Observer


Ola, Uber drivers begin cab strike in Bengaluru LiveMint

Uber driver: Company isn’t paying the full 80% of a fare that I’m owed Ars Technica

Waymo sues Uber for allegedly stealing self-driving secrets San Francisco Chronicle (em)

Dear Old Blighty

PPE: the Oxford degree that runs Britain The Guardian

Trump Transition

Trump furiously attacks China as top dog in currency manipulation SCMP

Steve Bannon, heir to Plato TLS

Steve Bannon: Trump is ‘maniacally focused’ on executing promises The Guardian

Mexico rejects ‘unilateral’ US migration moves Public Radio International (furzy)

Who are the 43 people that have Donald Trump’s ear?

Obama lawyers form ‘worst-case scenario’ group to tackle Trump Politico

Transgender teen moves forward with Supreme Court challenge after Trump action CNN (furzy)

Trump admin rescinds plan to reduce private prison use The Hill

Is anti-Trump furor papering over Democrats’ working-class woes? CNN (furzy)

Business Leaders Send Donald Trump Their Deregulation Wish List WSJ

Manufacturing CEOs Push Border Tax During Meeting With Trump  Bloomberg

Trump plans to roll back Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Here’s how he’ll do it. Vox

The 20th century saw a 23-fold increase in natural resources used for building The Conversation

US prime property is magnet for illicit wealth, warns Treasury FT

Restricting People’s Use of Their Courts Counterpunch. Ralph Nader weighs in.

The Horrifying Starvation of Yemen Continues The American Conservative

UN: $4.4bn needed to prevent ‘catastrophe’ of famine Al Jazeera

Police State Watch

Ars Technica Live: What to do when border officials ask for your passwords Ars Technica

French human rights ‘at tipping point’ as state of emergency continues, says Amnesty International Independent

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. DakotabornKansan

    I attended another town hall meeting last night. This one, Missing Moran (Kansas Republican US Senator Jerry Moran) Town Hall Meeting, was organized by Johnson County MoveOn.

    There were easily twice as many attendees than last night’s Indivisible Kansas Constituent Health Care Town Hall meeting, with standing room only that extended out into the lobby. They had many, many more people than expected and obviously did not have a large enough venue.

    Among the many worthy JoCo MoveOn main issues listed in their handout, several stood out:

    • Safeguard the Affordable Care Act
    • Trump’s connections with Russia requires investigation by an independent commission

    The program began with an audience member reciting her letter to Senator Moran about Russia’s interference in our election.

    Despite my initial impression being that this Putin “meadow mayonnaise” does not portend well, there six excellent speakers who covered a wide variety of issues and provided examples of how to become activists within the community.

    One speaker used Joe Hill’s “Don’t Mourn, Organize!” to say “Don’t Resist, Organize!”

    A rabbi, representing an organization of faith voices from around Kansas, spoke on the issues of Islamophobia and racial injustice.

    Two Indian-American men, Garmin Aviation Systems Engineering employees, were victims of a shooting at a local bar and grill Wednesday. One was killed. A witness claims the shooter yelled “Get out of my country!” toward the victims, thinking they were “Middle Eastern.”

    An activist with the Kansas Sierra Club emphasized the climate emergency and the need for immediate action.

    A representative from Planned Parenthood Great Plains discussed the growing need for its services and volunteers in the face of fierce political opposition.

    Saving the ACA was the focus of another speaker. No mention of Medicare-For-All.

    An editorial board member of The Kansas City Star talked about media coverage of town hall meetings and how to secure increased attention on the issues, not necessarily on the meeting itself.

    During the audience questions and comments, a young man from Lawrence (Kansas University) brought the elephant into the room (condition of groupthink no one wants to challenge): the Democratic blame game – Putin “meadow mayonnaise” and Bernie Sanders + Hillary Clinton’s and the Democratic Party’s support of Wall Street and the billionaire class and their failure to represent the working class.

    For me it was the highlight of the evening. Not so much for many others, I fear. There was a definite chill in the air in response. Perhaps his remarks unnerved them with reason. Most people would rather deny a hard truth than face it. Now what state do they live in? Denial. Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who do not find it.

    1. WJ

      Wonderful. Move-On pushing fake issues to the applause of a mostly oblivious and moralistic liberal Resistance. Why did I ever doubt you, USA?

      1. Katharine

        That seems a remarkably simplistic response to a description of a diverse group of people with mixed opinions. They may not know yet how to accomplish what they want, but at least they are getting together and talking about issues of concern, which is a thing most Americans probably haven’t done in years.

        1. witters

          And they’ve agreed the problem is TRUMP (& PUTIN!), not neoliberalism. Talk about “a simplistic response”! And this is a “diverse group with mixed opinions”?!?

          1. Katharine

            Did you read what DakotabornKansan wrote?

            six excellent speakers who covered a wide variety of issues and provided examples of how to become activists within the community.

            More details are there if you go back and look.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              For me it was the highlight of the evening. Not so much for many others, I fear

              If ‘many others’ = ‘they,’ then ‘they’ agreed the problem was PUTIN!, etc., though the elephant was in the room.

              1. Katharine

                They are still diverse with mixed opinions, even if less on that topic than on others discussed. You have to meet people where they are and find what common ground you can, not just write them off as stupid or dishonest because they don’t agree with you on everything you care about. That approach sounds like a variant of “deplorables” thinking, which I thought many of us had agreed was counterproductive as well as arrogant.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I read DakotaBornKansan’s observation as many in that room still refusing to find any common ground, if not dismissing dissenters as stupid, as far as the blame game is concerned, and commenter witters seemed to see that same.

                  1. Katharine

                    Okay, difference of opinion, or maybe of perspective. I stay in touch with a large extended family, including some who might have regarded that crowd as a bunch of pinkos. It’s an ongoing education in finding what common ground you can and using it as a basis for continuing communication. In the words of a favorite fictional character, “Take the day’s measure of good and be thankful.”

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          I think you missed the point that the discussion of issues apparently ensued despite the planned agenda rather than because of it. To me, especially given MoveOn involvement, it appeared the Democratic establishment fully intended to co-opt the event by keeping it focused on the screaming non-issues.

          There is also the problem that, in the past, people who sat around discussing things then went home and back to “real life.” Unless these town halls include information on how to organize (including the very real dangers attached thereto), which it seems this one did, they’re going to be nothing but the same kind of bitch sessions one can get on social media 24/7 any time TRUMP!!! breaks wind.

      2. different clue

        Some of the issues are fake. ( ” Russia Russia Russia!”) Some of the issues are strategically dis-stated and incompleted so as to divert attention in pro-OverClass directions ( “Save ACA!”) Some issues are real. But they are so cynically and cleverly mixed up together so as to suck in and keep-conned many people who want better and deserve better.

        I think that is why counterClinton hashtags are part of what is needed.
        and any others people might care to invent.

    2. DH

      At least the Brownback Laffer Curve Grand Experiment is still progressing at full throttle.

      There were enough votes in the House to override Brownback’s veto of a tax increase but fell just short in the Senate. So Kansas is still turning into a fabulous economic laboratory sand box trying out all of the
      Austrian School, Heritage Foundation, Grover Norquist, and Koch Brothers economics wet dreams. so far, it seems to be working out like everybody but Brownback and his intellectual mentors thought that it would. another year or two and the data set might be conclusive although there is a good chance they will still be convinced that they just didn’t do it big enough.

      1. different clue

        As various nonKansas places begin recovering, Kansans for reality-based approaches should move to reality based areas and let Kansas become another South Sudan before the eyes of a marvelling world.

      2. Karrinina

        I’m rather new here, quiet, and maybe too wary of saying much until I am confident I have a thorough understanding, so this is my first comment — although I did contribute my goats to the antidote. Anyway, as a Kansan, this seems like an appropriate place to make my debut. I’ve been gently challenging my fellow Dem friends and family to think more critically about the facile party line, though I’ve held off recommending NC right off the bat. They aren’t ready to see criticism of Obama or a debunking the Russhysteria. I fear they’ll read “neoliberal” and think they’re under attack. Any advice for me, and folks like the KU student at the town hall, on how to help others wade into the pool instead of leap?

        Also, maybe I’m paranoid, but I think Brownback et al WANT to take down public education & state social services while transferring wealth to their designated “worthy” ruling class. No amount of appealing to sense or pointing out the disastrous consequences of their policies is going to change their minds. We need to understand that and formulate a new strategy, perhaps combat cynicism with cynicism, as much as I hate to say it.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Ah Black Agenda Report – one of the best sites on the internet, and one of a group I can count on one hand (this one included) that doesn’t give John Lewis a pass for being part of the problem for waaaaaay longer than he was ever part of any solution.

    3. jo6pac

      Safeguard the Affordable Care Act
      • Trump’s connections with Russia requires investigation by an independent commission

      I agree dnc talking points.

      Thanks for going to the events.

    4. izziets

      “During the audience questions and comments, a young man from Lawrence (Kansas University) brought the elephant into the room (condition of groupthink no one wants to challenge): the Democratic blame game – Putin “meadow mayonnaise” and Bernie Sanders + Hillary Clinton’s and the Democratic Party’s support of Wall Street and the billionaire class and their failure to represent the working class.”

      Please enlighten me. What does this mean? What are you referring to? What did this gentleman actually say or ask?

      1. Dead Dog

        I assume the young man said the truth. Takes courage in a room full of ‘adults’. I’d say.

        I interpreted that he said the Trump-Putin stuff is just rubbish, and that the Dems support Wall St, the rich and ignore the working class.

        1. Vatch

          I was a little confused by the insertion of the words “Bernie Sanders” between the Putin phrase and the Clinton Wall Street phrase.

  2. PlutoniumKun


    PPE: the Oxford degree that runs Britain The Guardian

    Having once found myself by accident sharing a house in London with bunch of Oxford PPE and law graduates I found this very enlightening. At the time I had no idea that it was famous for churning out future PM’s, so I found it curious how many of these 20 somethings were furiously pursuing a future in politics or journalism (this was just as Blair won his first election and everyone was so happy and enthusiastic about finally seeing the back of the Tories). I was struck by how little they actually knew of the people they hoped to represent – they immediately seemed to nominate me as a font of knowledge of British working class life, despite being neither British or working class, simply by virtue of having lived once in Birmingham.

    The thing that struck me at the time was just how small the clique of people with aspirations for rule was – coming from Ireland, I thought it was only in a small country that all the people who wanted control knew each other and drank in the same pubs. But it seemed the exact same in the UK. It is only more recently I’ve noticed that despite the sheer size and diversity of the US, it seems the exact same rules apply in Washington and New York and SF and LA. All the super rich and powerful (and aspiring powerful) all seem to know each other and socialise with each other and send their kids to the same schools. Its remarkable to see the same dynamics at work everywhere.

    As for the degree itself, I notice that few if any of the famous names with that degree (with one or two minor exceptions) seem to actually have much applied practical knowledge of economics. I’ve always thought that the most dangerous course you can put anyone on is ‘an introduction to economics’. It would seem that the PPE gives just enough economics to send them astray, without knowing enough to critically review what they think they know.

    1. Carla

      P-K, a fine example of the clique phenomenon is the reportedly good friendship between Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump.

      And re: applied practical knowledge of economics — the ruling class knows all it needs to: “economics” always works in their favor.

      1. DanB

        Economics was divorced from political economy in the academy, where the ideology of economics as a science with no political ramifications took hold to justify the real-world workings of political economy. Much of our dilemma lies in the fact that those who hold power over contemporary institutions have no empathy for those not in their socioeconomic strata, and no knowledge of how the modern world they think they rule is in fact unsustainable in numerous ways.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Do they teach empathy in school?

          Maybe a Ph.D. in Empathy?

          “It’s OK you’re low-information. With this degrees, you can help your heart grow bigger.”

      2. Dave

        God, I thought Amy Carter was nauseating until I learned more about Chelsea Clinton.

        Converted for cash, lives in a ten million dollar Park Avenue condo, her meal ticket turned out to be a failed hedge fund hustler and now she’s the “voice of the people?”
        Elect the white dog#, he could do a better job.

        #”His master’s voice.”

        1. NYPaul

          All true, but,

          at least she displayed a hint of decency and reality based candor when she ripped her parents (mostly Hillary, I believe) over the fiasco of failure in their Haiti relief effort. Up until Chelsea’s visit to Haiti Hillary had been basking in the glory of ginned up reports authored by her staff of groveling minions gleefully reporting on their non-existing “success” in that ravaged island.

          A hint of what was coming in Chelsea’s report was revealed in the words, “The incompetence is mind numbing,”

    2. footnote4

      It would seem that the PPE gives just enough economics to send them astray, without knowing enough to critically review what they think they know.

      But at what point in economics training do students begin to ‘critically review’ the received dogma?

      1. Anonymous2

        If I recall correctly, from my contemporaries who did PPE , in my day you only needed to do one paper in economics to get a degree in PPE. You also , I think, were required to do one paper in philosophy. Most of those I knew found these subjects the hardest so tended to do as many politics papers as required to make up the necessary number (6?).

        PPE was also then regarded as the ‘sportsman ‘s subject’ as the examiners were thought the least demanding, to allow plenty of time on the training field or the river.

        This was a very long time ago so of course it may all be different now.

      2. justanotherprogressive

        I guess that depends on what your goals for your life are. Again, perhaps it is different today, but when I took Economics and Philosophy, you could think whatever you wanted, but you had better regurgitate the “current view” in your papers and on your exams. Those who did not, did not get the grades to get them in to an Economics Master’s program….
        When I took Economics, the Austrian and Chicago Schools were the only acceptable ways to think about Economics….if you didn’t agree, you were better off switching majors……

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I did three years of a BA in Economics in the 1980’s, all the time being very disturbed at what I felt were very questionable assumptions. By the end, I didn’t feel I’d learned anything, but I thought I was smart enough not to have been too ‘contaminated’ (I was wrong about that).

        Its only years later, doing a lot more reading that I found out that my gut level feelings on it were right – I just wasn’t smart enough to be able to work out myself what the problems were (or to find good alternative reading, in those pre-internet days when I could only read what was in my library). Only reading JK Galbraith and Henry George and a few minor dissenting economists gave me a hint at other interpretations.

        1. Dead Dog

          Yes, mate me too. The degree did get me up the ranks of the public service, but it was only when the Internet came on that I was better able to critically examine the fluff that I was taught. At best, I got some really good critical thinking skills and my ability to write improved greatly.

          Still, the article provides some evidence that there is club establishment in the UK. People you know, you know…

    3. Ottawan

      Many years ago, I had the same experience at Queen’s U in Canada. One time I squared off against about 100 future politicians who thought people don’t vote due to apathy…classes packed with people eager to go directly into politics after studying, without working various jobs first (or any jobs for the very rich).

      I thought they were a bunch of fools, but then Stephen Harper – a guy with no non-politics work experience – became the top dog in federal house, so I guess I’m just old fashioned?

  3. fresno dan

    BANNON: But I think we — the center core of what we believe, that we’re a nation with an economy, not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders, but we are a nation with a culture and a — and a reason for being.

    I think ‘ that we’re a nation with an economy, not an economy with a nation ‘ would have been a little catchier.
    But I think in a nutshell, that is what all the discontent is about from the bottom. The whole Davos man rejiggered social Darwinism using “THE SCIENCE OF ECONOMICS” that says the rich getting richer is just like geology – unstoppable forces is what people are rejecting. This doesn’t mean Trump will fix it or even try to fix it – as I’ve said, if neither party will help the downtrodden, the one that at least acknowledges there are downtrodden has a big advantage…

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      We’ll see who wins, Bannon or the entire global corporate establishment that owns both parties. My money is not on Bannon.

      Interesting that he said “nation with a culture” and not “society.” A society is a collective unit held together by shared beliefs, rights and obligations, including the obligation to look out for, and consider the interests of, everyone in the society. It is a collective of different parts. A nation with a culture is a singularity. Obviously, it can be infiltrated by those with the wrong culture, and so needs culture police (and real police) to police its boundaries and its culture. There are always enemies within and enemies without.

      1. JohnnyGL

        I hear you, but at this point, it’s still a big improvement over “we’re a bunch of atomized individuals maximizing out utility”.

      2. WJ

        This is a very good point. In the 20th century, the two self-corrections for a disembodied global economism have been nationalism-fascistic and democratic-socialistic. I agree that Bannon’s emphasis on “nation” and “culture” points in the former direction, and so even as I do think he’s right in pointing out the problem, I don’t think his ideal solution is likely to lead anywhere good.

      3. Leigh

        They despise “society” and want to see it gone.

        By society, I mean people knowing each other and helping each other out. They want everyone to hate each other and rely upon them. I discovered this on a blog post at AEI (American Enterprise Institute), which is one warped site!!!!

        Shortly after that post, was a post on how African Americans should be grateful we brought them here….sick puppies out there.

    2. witters

      One might also point out that nationalism is an ideology of citizenship, and that under neoliberalism citizenship means increasingly nothing at all. Then one might point out that neoliberalism can only make room for this uprising of nationalism as a claim of, and cry for, citizenship, by allowing it on the right, not the left. This enables neolberalism to coopt any left in an “anti-Fascist” project of ‘resistance’ (actually, objectively, in support of status quo neoliberalism). It is ugly.

  4. timbers

    New Cold War

    Never watch MSN, TV, etc. But each day going to and coming from work I pass thru my roommates den to the car in the garage while his TV plays. The TV news is often about Russia when it’s not about the latest natural disaster. Russia this Russia that. It’s scary and out of control. David Brooks on NPR robitically refers to Putin as “a tyrant who kills people” but never mentions Obama assassinated American children and bombed more nations than Hitler. Andrea Mitchell tells us Putin “influenced the election in Ukraine” and stole Crimea and hacked the U.S. election and something must be done.

    Reading NC, MoonofAlabama and others, then seeing what’s on MSN is like night and day.

    It’s an obsession and these people can’t see how ridiculous they sound.

    1. tgs

      Agreed, liberal TV is now in the grip of what could only be called hysteria about Russia. But what is the end game? Do these people really want war with Russia? Have they even thought about the ramifications? Obama’s calculated ramping up of this hysteria in the weeks before leaving office was truly craven.

      1. Carolinian

        The end game, they think, is to get rid of Trump. Like high minded people everywhere they see their own motives as pure and therefore their desired ends as justifying unsavory means. This could even be a succinct description of that fave HIllary concept, “responsibility to protect.”

        1. tgs

          The end game, they think, is to get rid of Trump

          That may the end game of those in the ‘resistance’, but there are other things afoot. First of all, for some in the ‘resistance’ McCain and Graham are fair haired boys standing up to Russia alleged expansionism and desire to subvert western democracy. We are deploying american troops and tanks on Russia’s borders. McCain and Graham were recently in Ukraine urging attacks on the breakaway areas. The pentagon recently floated the idea of introducing more american boots on the ground in Syria. And the liberals are convinced that the liberation of Aleppo was the greatest humanitarian crime since the holocaust.

          In short, the actions those who think the endgame is getting rid of Trump dovetail quite nicely with those who really do want a military confrontation with Russia.

      2. PKMKII

        But what is the end game? Do these people really want war with Russia?

        Nah, Putin hysteria, along with lashing out at Bernie and Stein supporters, is a pacifier for them. A comforting placebo that tells themselves, no, we did nothing wrong, it was those darn Russians that just got in the way and it was so unfair! We really did win, but they tampered with the election and so it’s not right and we deserve a do-over!

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          If it’s not Putin’s fault Hillary lost, what does it say about the Democratic establishment and Hillary’s “electibility” voters?

          2000: Nader! Argle Gargle!
          2002: You can’t beat a war President!
          2004: The Republicans had so much money it was impossible to get John Kerry on TV or something
          2006 to 2008: huh,, nothing to see here, move along
          Hillary’s 2008 primary defeat: Barack Obama is the greatest politician in the history of ever
          2010: it’s a tough environment
          2012: Presidents never have coattails
          2014: don’t worry voters will luuuuve Hillary
          2016: Stein, no Comey. ..wait, uh no, eh. ..Russia
          2018: Look the superhero genre is running out of steam. How could you expect Democrats to do well in that kind of environment?

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          I can’t believe I haven’t heard about this. Since your link says a scotus response was due on 2/21, I looked it up:

          The Resistance has taken the first official step toward ending the nightmare that is Trump’s presidency. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has just advanced a case that could kick Trump’s entire administration out of office.

          SCOTUS will begin the early stages of hearing this case, known as Blumenthal vs. U.S., on March 17th. If successful, this case may remove Trump and his appointees from office.
          The hearing on March 17th won’t be a full-blown case. The Special Master, appointed by the court, will present evidence on both sides.

          Then, the justices must decide if the case meets their standards to receive a full hearing. If four of the eight justices agree that it does, the case will move forward.

          Truth is stranger than fiction.

          1. sleepy

            I think that case will go nowhere. The SCt will view it as a political issue, not a judicial one, and punt.

            1. Pat

              That would be the best choice. Probable worst outcome more tantrums from those behind the case and their supporters. Anything else spells violent response to me.

              1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

                I agree that the Supremes are unlikely to accept this constitutional challenge brought under the guarantee clause– which I confess I’ve never heard of.

        3. Vatch

          From the article in Daily Kos:

          The petition cites evidence of such an invasion, namely the Russian hacking, and asks that the entire 2016 election be nullified, all the way back to the primaries, on the grounds that cyber-territory in the U.S. was invaded with the intention of altering the results of our Presidential election. The petitioners seek an entirely new election.

          So does this mean that Bernie might still become President?

          1. NYPaul

            “So does this mean that Bernie might still become President?”
            LOL, I know you’re kidding, but the sick reality is they would happily prefer Steve Bannon for President over Bernie.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              To clarify – we need to investigate previous invasions when we were invaded by money from foreign agents.

          2. neo-realist

            It may end up going to the Speaker of the House—-Paul Ayn Ryan…….with a suitcase of privatization on steroids.

      3. Sandler

        You’re over thinking it. It’s about attacking and weakening Trump. It’s an easy way, you call him treasonous rather than engage in policy debate. The election interference stuff lets you blame someone else for your loss versus looking inwards.

        1. Pat

          This is really a reply to all three of the people who pointed out that the attack is at Trump, which is yes the agenda of most of those in the media and political class going PUTIN! RUSSIA! PUTIN! TREASON TREASON TREASON!!!

          But as with so much of our misleadership class they miss that their agenda and the agenda of others is not necessarily the same thing. I would say there is a good 15% of those who are stirring this pot consistently who are, as Lambert actively working a soft coup but one that is not directed at Trump entirely, but at the Presidency itself. Their agenda is not just to weaken or destroy him, but to make sure that the office has no power over the MIC/IC and whatever they must do to enrich themselves. That never again will any President refuse to play ball. And yes I also believe that group is stupid regarding the long term results of their actions. See South America, See the Middle East most particularly the fall out from Iraq/Libya/Syria in Europe. If they believe that Russia will not strike back in a way that will have huge fallout (possibly even literally) to the US, they are not just stupid but deranged.

          As has been said here over the entire election process, this election and the resulting hysteria has been wonderfully clarifying for those with the courage to look. So much of our actions in the last decade have been about shoring up the profits of selected industries/companies from our so-called trade negotiations to our actions in the various countries and regions throughout the world. All of it done with little or no interest in the consequences outside of the benefits for those chosen few. This is no different. And if it means war with a nuclear power, or two, so be it. Nothing will be allowed to get in the way. And all the good liberals throwing away their Donald Trump ties and making UnPresidented for Unprecedented jokes while running around with their hair on fire because Trump tweeted something outrageous and console themselves because Russia! are just pawns in the game.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I’m beginning to wonder how deeply Team Blue fanatics took the birth certificate stuff or believed that it affected voters.

            My own bias is to assume the worst thing I can imagine and then to prepare myself for the Republicans to shock me. If one actually believes in “moderate Republicans”, I could see how Republican behavior in 2009 would be akin to finding out Santa didn’t exist, and adults who believe in Santa or “moderate Republicans” are doomed to be childish. What could drive Republicans batty? Picking an issue championed by Sarah Palin. This works if one believes in “moderate Republicans.”

            For an element, Democrats are trying their own “birth certificate” issue.

            I just thought of the DKos complaint that Republicans would never credit Obama when he supported Republican positions. Is it possible these people (Team Blue types) are so damaged they can’t possibly see the world outside of the Team Blue v Team Red paradigm?

            1. JohnnyGL

              Hillary did quite well with moderate Republicans. The problem is that Schumer’s quote had the geography all wrong. They aren’t in OH, PA, MI. They all turned out to be in the suburbs of LA, SF, NY and NoVa. Only the last one of those did anything for her in a swing state, and she only won it by ~5% or so.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Pawns in a chess game are not aware that they are pawns, usually.

            Even the kings. They move where game players move them.

            1. Vatch

              Pawns are potential Queens. That’s may not be directly relevant to this discussion, but it is important to keep in mind. Most of us are nothing more than Pawns for most of our lives, but occasionally it is possible for even a Pawn to have significant influence over events.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The truth of the matter?

          Explain how the Russians “hacked” the elections when the closest thing to evidence center is the Russians spearfished the private emails of a private citizen and private club in this case Podesta. Since the framing is so outrageous and the people making the claims such as John McCain are less than credible, it’s unlikely they are simply looking for the truth.

          The last part is “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Why hasn’t the evidence been released? Obviously, we aren’t hiding it from the Russians anymore. Then of course past history often shows, regimes in trouble on the domestic side do what? Lash out at mysterious villains who are both all powerful and stumble bums at the same time. It’s been Russia before, Jews, Catholics, Muslims, killer bees and so forth.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Take Hillary’s claims about 17 intelligence agencies agreeing with her or Obama’s orders to the CIA.

            First, why does the Coast Guard or the guys who move the spy satellites matter in this case? They don’t, but Hillary chose to include them. They are part of the 17 agencies. Why did she do that? I don’t know, but I suspect she is as dishonest as ever.

            Obama instructed the CIA is another problem. Was this a political move for the benefit who just know FBI and CIA or was it announcement he wasn’t serious because he knows the NSA would handle these problems since the last Cabinet Reorganization? Both of these claims are major red flags.

            If they were interested in the truth, they should remain truthful at all times.

        1. WJ

          Well, I had given up on The Nation years ago but this just seals the deal. Holy shit. The best is all the attacks on Cohen for being “partisan” and not listening to the Washington Post and NY Times–you know, all those mainstream corporate entities The Nation’s readership has always deferred to. What a joke liberals are. Jesus.

          1. Katharine

            But if it’s the comments and not the article you object to, why blame The Nation? They’re the ones who published the article.

            1. witters

              I see no mention at all of blame or blaming the Nation in WJ’s words. I do see “What a joke liberals are”. More careful and respectful reading please!

              1. Katharine

                But he said he had written off the Nation and this “seals the deal” which did seem to imply he condemned them for the comments.

                1. WJ

                  I overstated in reaction to what appears to be the dominant ethos of their current readership, which I agree need not align perfectly with their editorial range. My mistake.

    2. Olga

      Unfortunately, too many Americans – even many with good education – believe it.
      This seems worse than even at the height of the cold war.

      And the end game? “Trump’s decision to normalize relations with Moscow poses a direct threat to Washington’s broader imperial strategy to control China’s growth, topple Putin, spread military bases across Central Asia, implement trade agreements that maintain the dominant role of western-owned mega-corporations, and derail attempts by Russia and China to link the wealthy EU to Asia by expanding the web of pipeline corridors and high-speed rail that will draw the continents closer together creating the largest and most populous free trade zone the world has ever seen. This is what the US foreign policy establishment and, by inclusion, the Times are trying to avoid at all cost. The economic integration of Asia and Europe must be blocked to preserve Washington’s hegemonic grip on world power. That’s the whole deal in a nutshell.” (from

      In other words, it is the fear of not only losing power, but becoming completely irrelevant once the majority of the Earth’s population – which lives in EuroAsia – combines into (let’s hope) a more peaceful co-existence.

      1. John Wright

        Where were these “even many with good education” people when the movement of American and European manufacturing to China/Asia occurred?

        Preserving USA manufacturing could have been an important part in any effort to “control China’s growth” .

        The “many with good education” should be forced to make a case to the American people to justify the need to “preserve Washington’s hegemonic grip on world power.”

        Perhaps 10 years ago, at a lecture-book signing featuring an Ivy League Finance professor, I heard him say something like this, “Some people say America might no longer be a world power. My cousin lives in Switzerland, Switzerland is not a world power, and he seems to be doing fine.”

        At times I feel the USA has many citizens who have employed themselves (and their families) by first stirring up trouble around the world and then positioning themselves to “fix the problem” they caused.

        It is time to be more like Switzerland.

        1. Olga

          They certainly should have to make that case – but the problem is that the only truly honest case they could make is “hegemony, so that i may preserve my fancy job and a fat paycheck.” Everything else is pretty much humbug.
          On the China part – a friend working for a well-known Sil. Valley company was there in the 90s, when on many trips to China and India, he witnessed the transfer of technology (mainly to the Chinese). When objecting to the transfer of the source code, the US execs told him to be quiet. He had a few kids to feed…

          1. Pat

            I have never understood how anybody who supposedly cares about national security could ever look at our actions regarding China and manufacturing especially tech over the last several decades and not being screaming about it.

            Code, design, airplane construction, parts construction, etc should always have faced severe controls regarding where and how it could be sent or done for security purposes. And people consider me naive.

            1. John Wright

              This goes back a long time, even to the 1960s and 1970’s


              One can read how the Nixon administration ignored warnings about shipping precision machining equipment used in manufacturing military equipment to Russia

              The Commerce Department granted Russia access to this precision machinery over the objections of the defense department.

              One can argue the military contractors may not be too concerned about current USA technology sold overseas, IF these contractors are in a position to then bill the US government for EVEN better future technology.

      2. sleepy

        Unfortunately, too many Americans – even many with good education – believe it.
        This seems worse than even at the height of the cold war.

        At age 66 I certainly remember the Cold War and would agree with you. Not to sugarcoat that era, but the cold war “game” as played by the US and the Soviet Union–at least most of the time–seemed to have some rules and structure and mutual restraint. Not so much this new version.

        If something as serious as the Cuban missile crisis would occur today, I question whether diplomacy and cooler heads would prevail.

      3. VietnamVet

        I served in the First Cold War and I have seen anything like this. Liberals labeling the Trump Administration as “a Russian puppet government”. This is insane. It will kill everybody in the Northern Hemisphere.

        The Russian scapegoating has to be the reaction to liberals complete loss of power. It is irrational lash back. If the Democratic Party cannot self-criticize and adopt policies that actually help working families, it will die. Not even in a surveillance state like East Germany could the top 20% exploit the bottom 80% and survive. It also has to do with globalist oligarchs like George Soros being shut out. They are not going wait four years to again get their wishes granted immediately. This hysteria is laying the ground work for the 25th Amendment to elevate Mike Pence and dispatch Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.

    3. LT

      It’s a way to promote dismissiveness of criticisms of the establishment rather than address criticisms.
      Disagree? Oh, you’re just a Putin stooge…

  5. ProNewerDeal

    If I understand correctly, given the Thursday announcement, cannab1s consumers with legal rec or decriminalized rec for small amount/personal usage possession are now at risk of felony crime. If I understand correctly, it is possible that DOJ/DEA will raid legal dispensaries in CO & slap felony charges on all the workers & customers present.

    Democracynow interviewed law professor, who interpreted the Trump immigration announcement as meaning that ALL undocumented persons with the exception of the DACA “Dreamer” cohort are subject to random deportation. No word on fines (much less felony charges) for Illegal Employers. I wonder what the Trump plan is, if a coherent one exists? Perhaps deport 5-20% of the undocumented workers, while keeping the remainder in a permanent fearful state & thus with even LESS negotiating leverage at their job?

    I feel like Trump is creating multiple cohorts of fearful USians with his nebulous policies, e.g. any cannab1s user fearful of getting felony charge, any Muslim concerned of not being able to travel outside the US & being able to return, people with serious ongoing health conditions fearing their ACA Medicaid or ACA private insurance will suddenly get cancelled, etc. Trump is an Extreme Jerk for this, moreso even than 0bama was. 0bama was a jerk for his callousness & willful ignoring for the cohorts negatively effected by the ACA (Medicaid 55-64 yr old estate recovery, ACA Individual Mandate payers, etc), for constantly threatening the Grand Ripoff & TPP. Yet Trump’s Jerkish Evilness seems that it may be Even Worse than 0bama.

    1. ambrit

      Worse than Obama? Hmmm….
      I would say that this is almost an Apples (polisher) versus Oranges (hair) comparison.
      Obama is/was the suave crook. A smooth talker who stole your wallet while beguiling you with patter about this and that. Trump seems to be more of an “Honest Graft” type of operator. Of the two, at least the “Honest Graft” politico understands that the people have to get something out of all of the dealings. This idea states the simple imperative guiding political self preservation. As people (Way) Down South say; “When the shark takes a bath, he splashes a lot.”
      As for cannab1s, well, the game always was to instill fear in the populace. A cowed and paranoid people will not have the time nor the inclination to seriously pursue political solutions to their problems. They’re too busy worrying about that “knock on the door.” States rights, wasn’t that issue settled in favour of the national government back in 1865?
      Let us not forget that that Stalwart Paragon of “Law and Order,” Elliot Ness, made his career through chasing and ‘subjecting’ practitioners of Prohibition avoidance to the tender ministrations of the Law.
      I seem to remember once seeing a cartoon that contrasted Law and Justice. Justice was the traditional blindfolded goddess holding a sword in one hand and scales in the other. Law, however, was depicted as a tart with her hand out .

    2. Vatch

      And when the feds arrest otherwise law abiding people for using marijuana, they’ll be able to put those people into the private prisons that Jeff Sessions likes so much. More profits for the rich owners of the prisons!

      Then there’s Scott Pruitt destroying the already heavily weakened EPA, and Foreclosure King Mnuchin promising to work with the Congress to lower taxes on the rich even more. Because he thinks there isn’t yet enough difference in wealth between the richest 0.01% and the rest of the population.

      Trump is genuinely worse than Obama, and that’s really saying something, because Obama had so many flaws.

      1. Pat

        Because putting otherwise law abiding people in prison for using marijuana is new? Private prisons have just happened?

        Call me wild and crazy but ultimately I don’t care if Trump or Obama is worse. Until someone or some political group breaks the mold and actually puts the well being of the American citizens first it is all of a piece.So when a whole bunch of Americans wake up and demand change of more than the figurehead, maybe I’ll care that many consider Trump worse than Obama, otherwise it is just same old same old.

          1. Pat

            Under Obama the use of private prisons merely shifted.

            That order was only announced last August and did not affect those used by ICE.



            You know the ones that the Obama administration enabled by unilaterally approving them. But that would be a Russia Today link.

            Once again the reality is much more gray than it would at first appear.

            1. Vatch

              Hey, I agree that Obama was bad. I said so in the last sentence of my comment at 10:40 AM. I just think that Trump is worse.

              1. Pat

                The one thing I like about Trump is that all of a sudden things that people barely noticed are huge problems. And while I recognize that you and others here were not asleep at the wheel, I’m still of the opinion that until Trump and his merry band of majority Republicans (Thanks, Obama! and DWS and Tim Kaine and …) become far more effective than they are currently, just making an announcement doesn’t mean the status quo is changed that much. Similar to that we’re going to shut down private prisons thing.

                I’m not saying that Trump and his administration may not reach new heights and become the pinnacle of awful. He could become the national Brownback. I just don’t think not hiding they are awful automatically puts him ahead of Bill, George and Barack.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  One more conspicuous difference – when it comes to Trump, the speed with which predictions about Trump-related future is made is truly impressive.

                  He is exceptional, as perceived by his critics, is that sense.

                  1. Vatch

                    Yes, well the speed with which he nominated some truly bad or unqualified people to cabinet level positions is also impressive:

                    Scott Pruitt
                    Steven Mnuchin
                    Betsy DeVos
                    Andrew Puzder (withdrawn, fortunately)
                    Tom Price
                    Mike Pompeo

          2. bronco

            They weren’t actually being phased out any more than asset forfeiture was phased out. The two things were mentioned It was going to be done sometime or another …. probably maybe.

            Obama derangement syndrome. He gets credit for things he says he will do but they don’t happen. Trump derangement syndrome being the reverse , he gets blamed for things that may happen as if they already occurred

      2. RenoDino

        Recreational pot use is primarily in blue states. This is political retribution more than drug enforcement. I can think of some very wealthy prominent Democrats here in Nevada that have invested heavily into recreational pot. Las Vegas is predicted to become the biggest pot market in the world. I wouldn’t be surprise if the first DEA enforcement raids start in California where Trump lost by 4 million votes. Then the dragnet will move on quickly to the blue states of Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado.

        When the Feds start confiscating the assets of growers and dispensaries, they may not stop at business assets. All money becomes dirty drug money ripe for seizure.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Funny how when they’re out of power, soi disant conservatives rabbit on about federalism and states rights.

          Then they take the helm of the fedgov, and suddenly find it expedient to overrule the popular vote in eight states with 25% of the population, by federal fiat.

          Just goes to show what many of us have known for a long time: the R party’s commitment to federalism is as deep as a coffee cup. They luvvvvv using usurped federal power to shove “one size fits all” laws on drugs, abortion, etc down our throats.

          Ku Klux Jeff is donning his toga.

          1. Biph

            It would be very dangerous game for the Trump admin to play. They would get no help from local and State law enforcement in their efforts, in fact quite the opposite you’d likely see local and State law enforcement do what they could to hinder the feds. It would dump an issue that is moving one way at a pretty swift speed right in the Dems laps. They might not be smart enough to come out in favor of legalization because it’s a political winner, but just might do it to spite Trump. People running for Senate, Gov, Congress and State houses in favor of legalization in 2018 could bring libertarians and non-voters in with the already significant anti-Trump voters out there and result in a big blue wave that wipes out the GOP majorities in the House, Senate and State Houses and costs them more than a few significant governors mansions just ahead of the census. I would also expect to see a lot of jury nullification when the Feds try to bring forward charges in States with legal weed.
            I’m not saying the Trump admin isn’t dumb enough to try it, but they would be very very dumb to try it.

        2. TimmyB

          Trump will NOT be able to go after pot users and sellers in states where those users and sellers are in compliance with state law. Federal law currently prohibits the federal government from spending any money on such prosecutions.

          Of course, that law could change. But I don’t think it will.

          1. RenoDino

            Ruling is for medical pot, currently legal is 28 states and D.C. Rec pot is now legal in only eight states and five of those just past the law. The Trump administration said they respect the pain and suffering of med users so they will only go after rec users who just so happen to reside in mostly blue states and D.C. The rec raids will come and can be financed by asset forfeiture. This is an all cash business and that cash is easy to seize. Personal assets will probably be taken too. This is still a Schedule One Drug on the Fed’s Books. In other words, it’s a federally mandated top priority, states’ rights be damned.

            It’s also good way to take liberal money away from past and future political enemies.
            Revenge is sweet.

            1. TimmyB

              Nope. The ruling prohibits ALL federal prosecutions for pot possession and sales that are legal under the laws of the state where the possession or sale takes place. Trump can’t change this without Congressional action.

              The fact the defendants were selling medical pot, at a time when only medical pot sales were in compliance with California law at the time the defendants were arrested, doesn’t mean recreational pot is excluded from this ruling.

  6. Ruben

    Ha! Re. sex breaks for Swedish. I used to have sex-breaks instead of lunch-breaks, but that was because of my girlfriend at the time. What did you expect, she was waiting in the flat on a mini-skirt, man is not made of stone.

    1. funemployed

      Clearly the councillor from Overtornea has mastered the art of clickbait legislation. They are just regular breaks, during which workers may or may not have sex, like all other breaks.

    1. Praedor

      You’ll get my dairy (yogurt, milk, cheese) and eggs when you pry them from my cold dead hands. Who the hell WANTS to live without yogurt, milk, cheese?!!

      1. nick

        Ha, luckily you could just give high fat/low carb a try. Don’t even need to shell out for a book!

        But it’s still cool that some leaf might reduce glucose and insulin response by 20%.

      2. Chagri Lama

        Who the hell WANTS to live without yogurt, milk, cheese?!!

        So you call it life when you are afflicted with and suffering from the symptoms of diabetes? Sounds like there is some break in logic snd comprehension. If you haven’t the symptoms, then this means nothing to you, of course. But to those who do, removing the disease and its symptoms may be heaven-sent and should be pursued vigorously, to bring about the kind of life quality that others have.


        1. Praedor

          No. I meant the call for the diet, especially if there are alternatives to “going vegan” (ugh). I highly doubt that animal protein has ANYTHING to do with diabetes. At all. Protein of ANY kind has no role in diabetes.

          I take metformin but I’m not even remotely pre-diabetic or diabetic. Metformin is an amazing and cheap-assed old drug that has many benefits beyond treating pre-diabetes. It also has cancer preventative properties (to a variety of cancers) as well as general metabolic benefits. I buy mine from Mexico. I may go to the mulberry leaf if for some reason I become unable to buy metformin.

          1. Foppe

            There are no alternatives to a low-fat plant-based diet that permanently reverse diabetes 2. As for the rest — there are other reasons to want to adopt a WFPB(no oil)-diet.
            As for your statement about there being no relationship between animal protein and diabetic symptoms:
            Now, sure, diabetic symptoms, prediabetes and diabetes are different things, and animal protein doesn’t cause insulin resistance (for that, see below / the book I linked to), but the statement that there is no relationship at all seems to me obviously wrong.

      3. Foppe

        As En Vogue tried to tell the world: Free your mind, and the rest will follow. :)

        As someone who’s been eating this way for about 3 years now, I can tell you that there is no reason whatsoever to worry about tasteless food — you just need to start cooking differently. And especially if you have a decently stocked supermarket nearby, you’ll probably be cheaper off, to boot. (And that’s ignoring health care-related costs.)

    2. AnnieB

      Thanks, Foppe, for posting the link. I’d read about Barnard’s program before but hadn’t investigated. I always thought high carb would be bad for diabetics. Will read the book!

      1. Foppe

        Glad I could point you in the right direction. Sadly, most people (including most doctors) seem not to understand the difference between symptom and the underlying diseases. Hence the treatment of “high bp” “high blood sugar”, “high cholesterol” as diseases, rather than looking for the underlying causes. (Heart disease is similarly reversible — see the work of Caldwell Esselstyn, or John McDougall’s The Starch Solution, among others. But there’s hardly any money in it, whereas enormous numbers of careers depend on diseases of affluence staying at the same levels they are today. Consequently, this is hardly being pushed at all, even though / because it’s nearly free.)

        Anyway, to sum up: In the case of Diabetes 2, the problem is that fat sends out hormonal signals that interfere with / gum up the ‘lock’ that insulin is supposed to open (to let sugar into muscle cells), which is why people with D2 have much higher insulin production, combined with high blood sugar. (It is also why blood sugar spikes when you eat, say, pure red meat, even though that contains no sugar at all — just fat.)

        1. jrs

          insulin spikes from red meat because it has protein and protein does spikes insulin to a degree, just less than carbs.

          1. Foppe

            Thanks for the clarification — I should’ve looked it up, but it’s not really relevant to me (I don’t have D2, and choose not to use animals for ethical rather than dietary reasons, so ..)

            1. nycTerrierist

              Same here, I don’t use animals for ethical reasons.

              To readers considering a compassion based diet: I never feel deprived, taste-wise. A plant-based diet (including lots of seeds, nuts, avocado) and legumes can be delicious when seasoned to taste.

      2. Vatch

        I always thought high carb would be bad for diabetics

        I think the carbohydrate sources need to have a low glycemic index. That is, avoid refined sugar, and limit one’s consumption of potatoes and any bread that is not the whole grain variety.

        The prescribed vegan diet (≈10% of energy from fat, 15% protein, 75% carbohydrate) consisted of vegetables, fruit, grains, and legumes. Participants were asked to 1) avoid animal products (ie, meats, dairy products, eggs); 2) avoid fatty foods, such as added oils, fried products, avocados, nuts, and seeds; and 3) favor low–glycemic index foods, such as beans and green vegetables. These diet changes increase dietary fiber and complex carbohydrate at the expense of total and saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein. Portion sizes, energy intake, and carbohydrate intake were unrestricted.

        I’m not diabetic, though, so I’m not ready to give up avocados, nuts, cheese, and occasional meat (usually poultry). If my blood sugar levels rise, I’ll consider a more radical diet.

      3. jrs

        low carb can be good for diabetics, the thing is not everyone is a diabetic or anywhere close or needs to worry that much about it. Just don’t eat processed food all the time and take walks is good enough if one has no genetic susceptibilities and has shown no tendencies to diabetes (on blood tests etc.). Fast a bit if one is still worried (if one doesn’t have it that is, fasting has to be done a little more carefully with diabetes)

    3. Ed Miller

      I no longer believe what Neal Barnard pushes, but I won’t expand for brevity. I have tried the low-fat approach for years but I could never get my fasting triglycerides down below 100 even with lots of exercise – like running almost 6 miles a day. But after reading what a blogger had been writing for years about HFMPLC (high fat, medium protein, low carb) I switched by adding cheese, eggs and whole milk to my diet. One thing I did not change is that I avoid sugar with a passion. I avoid foods with sugar, even if natural, and especially high fructose corn syrup and other corporate crap. I treat it like poison, but a little poison won’t kill you (think alcohol) so a few times a year I will eat a little dark chocolate.

      After 30 years of fasting triglycerides in the 100-130 range (I was diagnosed as diabetic, prematurely in my opinion, by my ex-PCP) my fasting triglycerides level immediately dropped to mid-60s. Literally a step function drop from one blood test to the next one. I also lost 10 pounds – literally by eating fat. Read “The Big FAT Surprise” by Nina Teicholz.

      I really should add that the best way to eat good foods is to only shop around the edge of the supermarket, where you find fresh vegetables, dairy and meat/fish. Although frozen veggies are fine, avoid all “food” in a box in the middle of the store. That stuff is where you find CHD.

      1. Foppe

        To be clear: you followed a diet that included no animal products, no vegetable oils? And you couldn’t get your total cholesterol levels to drop below 150? (Trig alone is irrelevant, and sensitive to fruit and simple sugar consumption, among other things. Could you explain why you mention triglyceride levels when your worry was diabetes, btw? I don’t see an obvious connection, other than diabetes comorbidity with CHD.)
        (I ask because most diets that are marketed as “low-fat” still provide at least 20% of calories in the form of fat, and do not tell you to eliminate all animal products and oil.)

        1. Ed Miller

          I am late returning but that is so wrong I hope I can straighten out some things for others. I did not mention cholesterol so why did mention it? Recent studies have showed that cholesterol is not the problem as once thought. There are a lot of erroneous health claims which started with Ansel Keys and the low fat hypothesis. Others pointed to sugar as the big health risk but they were shouted down. Today serious researchers are recognizing sugar as the big food problem.

          Fasting triglyceride levels indicate whether your body has an adequate insulin response. Sugars of all kinds and carbs, especially refined carbs, spike the blood sugar levels. If you can’t handle the spike you are carbohydrate intolerant. The high blood sugar is converted to fat. Fasting triglyceride level is key to recognizing type 2 diabetes. Cholesterol is not a factor – that is an old argument that was never actually proven. There is a lot of misinformation about diabetes that has been around for a long time and it is sustained largely by corporate interests – specifically big pharma so they can maximum drug sales. We have been inundated by corporate propaganda.

          A Mark Twain quote hits the point on what most American “know” today:

          “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t true.”

          1. Foppe

            I did not say cholesterol is a factor in diabetes development. I said the opposite. But it sounds to me like you’re confusing triglyceride levels with insulin levels — the latter are indicative of (pre)diabetes, not the former.

            Anyway, although you did not answer the first part of my question, your reference to Ansel Keys when it comes to “low fat” suggests that your definition of “low fat” differs markedly from the definition Barnard uses, in that it is still much too high. Again, to be compliant with Barnard’s diet, you would neat to stop eating all animal products, and all oils, So no “low-fat” chicken, etc., allowed. If you adhere to that. (pre)diabetes (and chd, for that matter) is reversible. If not, probably not, and only at the cost of your increasing your risk for other diseases.

            Yes, the sugar lobby exists. But big meat/dairy is also very much a thing, and their merchants of doubt had a much easier sell than those employed by Big Tobacco.

      2. Vatch

        Even though I eat some cheese and meat, I try to keep my consumption of saturated fat low. A lot of my fat comes from low saturated fat sources like olive oil, flaxseed oil, and avocados. While browsing about the Teicholz book I found a reference to this article:

        The point of the article is that increasing saturated fat consumption will reliably increase a person’s LDL cholesterol, and lowering saturated fat consumption will lower one’s LDL cholesterol. But different people will have widely varying absolute levels of LDL cholesterol. Prior to changing the consumption of saturated fat, people will be at very different levels of LDL. Similarly, after changing the consumption of saturated fat, they will still have different LDL levels. But the changes will always be comparable and in the same direction.

    1. oho

      i’d argue the US has the ultimate ‘you take care of it’ hand versus China as if/when North Korea collapses those refugees are heading the unfenced NK-China border.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s not what China said in the 50’s about North Korea, and before that in the dying days of the Qing dynasty when the Japanese marched almost all the way to Beijing.

      Prior to that, the same ‘it’s your problem’ mistake led to China losing the Ryukyu islands.

      From Wikipedia’s the Taiwan Expedition, 1874 or Japanese Invasion of Taiwan:

      The settlement in 1874, brokered by the British, included a reference to Chinese recognition that the Japanese expedition was “in protection of civilians”, a reference that Japan later pointed towards as Chinese renunciation of its rights over Ryukyu. In 1879 Japan referred the dispute to British arbitration, and the British confirmed Japanese sovereignty over the Ryukyus, a result which was not recognised by China.[6] Nevertheless, Japan used this as the justification for taking de facto control over Ryukyu, moving the king of Ryukyu to Japan and incorporating Ryukyu as a prefecture of Japan.

      As for Putin and chess, how did Obama the 11 dimensional chess grand master fare in the game in Ukraine?

      1. oh

        The grand master has switched to golf now. I doubt that his scores are any better than when he played 11th dimensional chess. But he has drivers :)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For Deng, it was better to be with the US and isolate the USSR.

        Today, China would not like to be the one getting isolated, when the power to her northwest cooperate with the power across the Pacific ocean.

  7. hemeantwell

    Re the Greenwald piece on anti-Russian hysteria, I’m delighted to see that he starts off referencing I.F. Stone’s work. He draws from Stone a good quotation discussing how McCarthyism was fortified by the beastly portrait of the Soviets. Good enough, but what Stone, in my view, did extremely well was to pore over the neverending spinning effort by the War Department to “analyze” Soviet war capabilities to justify military-industrial complex bloatage and belligerence. His patient combing of congressional committee reports filled a succession of NYRB articles with great exposes of exaggeration in the service of the services, with each branch of the military vying with the others to produce a Soviet boogey that could best, and possibly only — dare we take the risk!? — be countered by festooning that branch with dollars. A good memoriam by Greenwald.

    1. Carolinian

      Yes he praises Stone but also praises the Guardian article in today’s links that casually asserts that Putin “seized” Crimea and started wars in Ukraine and Georgia. In fact the Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine (at Putin’s urging no doubt) and the wars in Ukraine and Georgia were started by the Ukrainian and Georgian governments respectively. Hard to take a debunking article seriously when it is sloppy with the facts.

      Which is to say the Great Greenwald seems to also suffer from TDS but it may be a mild case. He thought the Flynn leaks were a good thing before he seemingly changed his mind. Confused maybe?

      1. mpalomar

        Cohen has been very good on Russia for a long time. It’s over an hour but this talk he gave in California covers Ukraine and Georgia and not the way you suggest. Cold Warriors in the US pushing for confrontation.

        A faction within the deep state is pushing the Russia hysteria. Bill Moyers has an interesting interview from a couple of years ago with a long time Republican Ways and Means staffer who wrote a book on what he descirbes as the deep state.

        1. Carolinian

          You mean the Bill Moyers who now claims Russia hacked the election? This mental disease is finding many unlikely sufferers.

          And we’ve had plenty of debates here pro and con Russia but I believe nobody has managed to explain why events taking place in central Europe are somehow any of America’s business. There’s no question that Putin has been seeking to maintain Russia’s sphere of influence over neighboring countries but in the case of the Georgia war (triggered by a Georgia government attack on ethnic Russians) and the Ukraine and Crimea situations–triggered by a US sponsored coup against the elected government–he had plenty of provocation. Meanwhile the US elites think we are entitled to a sphere of influence that covers the entire planet. This is madness,and a madness I seriously doubt the American public would endorse.

          1. Dead Dog

            Meanwhile the US elites think we are entitled to a sphere of influence that covers the entire planet.

            Yes ++

    1. cocomaan

      This would be an immense political miscalculation on their part, not that they seem to give a damn anymore.

      But weed isn’t just about keeping down the hippies, Jews, and blacks as it was during Nixon’s time. Now little grannies in Florida are taking it for their sciatica. Boomers are turning to it after Rx has failed them over and over again in our corrupt healthcare system.

      There hasn’t been any official AG moves on this, so maybe they are testing the waters. Either way, those little grannies are going to be saying molon labe soon, haha

      1. John Parks

        I have been waiting for some grad student, searching for a thesis, to grab onto the opportunity to study possible decrease in domestic dispute/violence records as a reflection of changing over from alcohol to marijuana. My conventional wisdom predicts a change but there again, it needs to be proven or debunked.

        1. Carl

          You’re correct, at least anectdotally. When I was a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office, one of our duties was serving as “night magistrate prosecutor” on the weekends, to relieve the guy who did it during the week. Over the course of a 7 pm to 4 am shift, I would review all the arrest reports of police officers for probable cause before the accused saw the magistrate. I can tell you that nobody in San Antonio got off work on Friday night, smoked a few bowls and then decided to beat their spouse, but plenty of guys got off work, drank a case of beer and then decided it was time to beat the old lady.

    2. LT

      You have to look at it as criminalizing people in the Western states that do not vote Republican. Also, the states that have legalized recreational use, except for Alaska and maybe one other, did not contribute to the Republican electoral win. They’ll sacrifice a few Republicans for the bigger prize of possible felony charges interrupting the voting rights of Libertarians, Democrats, any “others.”
      Just one theory. But it still remains to be seen how enforcement will play out.

      1. cocomaan

        Given that Florida has legalized medical, and the number of people there who need it medically, and how they went last election, I am not sure what the endgame is here. It clouds the issue for me.

        Maybe the AG will go after the West Coast, but there are indeed states that went red that also have robust medical programs.

        1. LT

          They make more bones about the legalization of recreational use.
          That’s why I figure the West could be more in the cross-hairs.

    3. PQS

      Republicans only believe in States’ Rights when it comes to voting rights, transgender bathroom access, abortion, and guns. Not marijuana.

      I’m sure as soon as someone tells Trump how much money is being made in marijuana, this position will change since T will want in on the action for himself, no matter what hobbyhorse Jeff Sessions tries to bring to the table.

  8. wellclosed

    re: Plato’s little boyz – – Can’t we at least get a platonic relationship with democracy first?

  9. craazyman

    This Definitely link material. No foo foo science or 50-year old Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders this time.

    I just discovered this great talk show interview called “Is there a Liberal Crackup” No kidding!

    Its about “The Collapse of Liberalism” after the recent election. Check it out. You have to wait a few seconds while the camera pans the audience, but then it starts up quick!

    I can’t believe this hasn’t been an NC link. This is so timely and erudite. Very analytical! It should be illuminating and inspiring of much contemplation.

  10. katz

    Why Nothing Works Anymore Atlantic

    Like people ignorant of the plight of ants, and like ants incapable of understanding the goals of the humans who loom over them, so technology is becoming a force that surrounds humans, that intersects with humans, that makes use of humans—but not necessarily in the service of human ends. It won’t take a computational singularity for humans to cede their lives to the world of machines. They’ve already been doing so, for years, without even noticing.

    Wait til this guy reads Marx!

  11. Eureka Springs

    Oh boy, worse than I thought. Checked out the congressional progressive caucus page to see how many members these days. About 70 names on that page. Only one Senator, Sanders who isn’t even a D.

    Then I took a look-see at the issues tab. Much of which hasn’t been updated since ’09.

    Not one mention of HR 676, single payer or medicare for all. Only the all to fecklessly familiar – no cuts to medicare, medicaid and S.S. posture.

    Nice to see some tax the rich and corporations language as well as cut MIC spending but aside from that there is no good reason to blame the aristo-crats when the prog caucus looks and acts like this.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeeft

      After Flynn, everyone has to be prepared when talking about cutting MIC and related spending.

      Probably a good test to if anyone is a real progressive, or if he or she will jump on the investigate-Russia bandwagon.

  12. Altandmain

    Glenn Greenwald on why the Democrats elected someone to sink Ellison:


    But as Ellison’s momentum built, the Obama White House worked to recruit Perez to run against Ellison. They succeeded, and Perez announced his candidacy on December 15 – a full month after Ellison announced. Why did the White House work to recruit someone to sink Ellison? If Perez and Ellison are so ideologically indistinguishable, why was it so important to the Obama circle – and the Clinton circle – to find someone capable of preventing Ellison’s election? What’s the rationale? None has ever been provided.

    In other words, Perez, despite his progressive credentials, is viewed – with good reason – as a reliable functionary and trustworthy loyalist by those who have controlled the party and run it into the ground, whereas Ellison is viewed as an outsider who may not be as controllable and, worse, may lead the Sanders contingent to perceive that they have been integrated into and empowered within the party.

    But it’s hard to conclude that a party that has navigated itself into such collapse, and which deliberately and knowingly chose the weakest candidate who managed to lose to Donald J. Trump, is one that is thinking wisely and strategically. As Chang persuasively argues, it seems Democratic leaders prioritize ensuring that the left has no influence in their party over strengthening itself to beat the Trump-led Republicans

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      If Democrats start winning elections, what does it say about Barack Obama’s political acumen? Obama selected Timmy and DWS for the DNC and backed Hillary, a candidate so crippled she lost to Donald Trump.

      The greatest sin for Obama White House was embarrassing Obama in any fashion. Ellison putting support into the off off year races and moving the needle in the four legislature races in November will further reinforce the narrative of Obama’s destruction of the Democratic Party.

      I wouldn’t overlook Obama’s own narcissism. After all, he is reputed to have said the difference between 1994 and the then upcoming election of 2010 was “you’ve got me” (Obama).

      1. voteforno6

        Hillary, a candidate so crippled she lost to Donald Trump.

        C’mon now, everyone knows that she won the popular vote, which means she’s the legitimate President…OH LOOK! RUSSIANS!!!

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Yesterday, I couldn’t remember the DLC candidate for DNC chair in 2005, so I had to look it up and besides being embarrassed because I have met him several times, I noticed his wiki page credits him as instrumental to the 2000 Al Gore popular vote victory.

          We held the lead for 39 of forty minutes.

      2. Jim Haygood

        NotTim will be as delighted as my goodself to know that there’s a movement in France to draft Obama as president:

        May Barack Obama become the 25th president of the French Republic in 2017

        This beats getting his mug on Mt Rushmore. Barry’s hiring a French tutor even as we speak. :-)

        1. allan

          Regarde en avant, pas en arrière.
          Vous ne voulez pas gâcher Mary Jo.
          Nous avons bégayé des gens.

          Nah, it’s just not the same.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Don’t make a mistake and draft Putin instead.

          No one would think to draft him anyway.

          Maybe we should draft Xi – the Go master.

  13. Ranger Rick

    That Politico article is absolutely shocking in its disingenuousness. They fully understand that the vast majority of regulatory agencies serve at the whims of the Executive branch. Try not to laugh too hard when you read a line that ends in “the politicization of government.”

  14. Vatch

    Giving passwords to border officials is worse than a breach of privacy. If the passwords provided read-only access to the person’s accounts, then this would only violate privacy. But few passwords are for read-only access. Once someone has a password, that person can delete data, write files, and send messages. The possession of a person’s password would allow border officials to create false evidence that a person has terrorist inclinations.

    This password policy is genuinely Orwellian.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘The possession of a person’s password would allow border officials to create false evidence that a person has terrorist inclinations.’

      It’s even easier than that: download a couple of sexual images of children from the FBI’s honeypot site onto the hard drive, and they’re done for decades.

      Mere possession of pixels is like mere possession of crack: it’s prosecuted with fanatical ferocity.

      1. Ernesto Lyon

        The FBI will no longer investigate child porn possession if there are fewer than several hundred images.

        Gives you an indication of how bad the problem is now.

  15. juliania

    A correction to the Reuters headline on the Pope’s comments is perhaps necessary. The transcript provides this:

    He said that some of these people should also say “‘my life is not Christian, I don’t pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, I do dirty business, I launder money, (I lead) a double life’.”

    “There are many Catholics who are like this and they cause scandal,” he said. “How many times have we all heard people say ‘if that person is a Catholic, it is better to be an atheist’.”

    It reminds me of the angelic saying in the Book of Revelation: “It is better to be hot or cold than lukewarm.”

  16. Anne

    Is it fair to ascribe some of the hysteria as being reactions to the very different personalities and leadership styles of the current and immediately-former president, and efforts by the media to feed off those differences and use them to drive Trump’s disapproval ratings?

    I ask because I think most of us are more than aware that some of the policies and agenda items of the current president are continuations of and/or expansions of policies and actions of the Obama administration – and I for sure do not remember the level of fear and public demonstration during the Obama years that is now accompanying what the Trump administration is doing.

    I went looking for some info on Obama’s deportation record, and came across this, which puts into better perspective, I think, the “but Obama deported more people than any president in history” claim that we hear somewhat infrequently – possibly because it doesn’t fit into the general Trump hysteria that seems to be gripping the media and probably those watching or reading it.

    From the article:

    Over the course of the Obama administration there was a pronounced shift in focus to the removal of recent border crossers and criminals rather than ordinary status violators apprehended in the U.S. interior. The underlying reasoning was to deter illegal border crossing and remove unauthorized immigrants before they become integrated into U.S. communities. As shown in Figure 1, interior removals decreased sharply from 181,798 in FY 2009 to 65,332 in FY 2016, while border removals stayed high and increased, from 207,525 to 279,022 over the same period.

    The combined number of individuals removed and returned decreased significantly between the first and second Obama terms: from 3.2 million to 2.1 million. This decline was driven nearly entirely, as described above, by the decrease in the number of individuals voluntarily returned, rather than formally removed. From the first to second term, returns decreased significantly, from 1,609,249 to 593,104, while removals fell only slightly, from 1,575,423 to 1,518,785.

    Also, removal priorities were increasingly focused on removing noncitizens convicted of crimes. In 2009, 51 percent of interior removals were of individuals convicted of what DHS described as serious crimes. In 2016, DHS reported that more than 90 percent of interior removals were of noncitizens convicted of serious crimes.


    While the Obama administration record is characterized by much higher removals than preceding administrations, it also shows less focus on increasing absolute numbers of overall deportations and a higher priority on targeting the removals of recently arrived unauthorized immigrants and criminals. The administration also placed a much lower priority on removing those who had established roots in U.S. communities and had no criminal records. This prioritization was achieved by a slowly evolving but deliberate policy, highlighted by the administration’s November 2014 executive actions on immigration.

    The whole article is interesting, and the inclusion of recent developments in policy is helpful.

    It appears to me that Obama’s approach was the more sensible and humane one: stop them at the border, make being stopped at the border more consequential so as to deter repeated attempts to cross, and work on removing those already in the country who met the three priority levels noted in the article.

    There’s no question that the entire undocumented community is running scared; there was an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun this morning, in which a physician reported that one of her patients who needed a life-saving medication was too afraid he’d be rounded up if he left his house to go to the drugstore. In families where children are citizens but parents are undocumented, there is fear that the children, by their presence in the community, will lead ICE to their parents.

    Part of Trump’s problem is he can’t keep his mouth shut; he is the elephant that a very thin staff is being charged with cleaning up after. Day after day, people like Tillerson and Kelly and Mattis are having to go out there and walk back something stupid that Trump said, all in an effort to maintain some semblance of diplomatic relations with other countries. Based on the remarks of one of the Mexican representatives, I’m not sure the walk-back strategy is winning – and I wonder how long these Trump administration representatives will have their jobs if they have to keep contradicting what the president is saying.

    Is it better to have such little coordination of message, to have this tension between what the WH says are its campaign promises and the need to keep the world from imploding on multiple fronts? What kind of credibility do we have in the rest of the world if no one’s sure what, exactly, is the plan? Trump’s describing the deportation efforts as a “military operation,” and Sean Spicer is trying to frame that as merely a descriptor, so as not to have Trump running afoul of the law. Kelly has to go out there and repeat that this will not be a military operation.

    Whatever tension or disagreement existed in the Obama WH, they certainly had much better control of what people on the outside were seeing or hearing; leaks generally worked for Obama, not against him. It looked better, but if better control of the message enabled the Obama WH to move forward with bad policy, it wasn’t really better, was it?

    If chaos in the WH is interfering with the implementation of bad policy, I think I’m okay with that. If the white nationalist faction that seems to have a death grip on the West Wing is hamstrung by opposition forces, I’m good with that, too.

    1. jrs

      At the end of the day one might be forced to admit the Obama administration’s immigration policy was taking the middle ground.

      But this offends everyone. It offends Trump supporters who want to believe Obama was letting immigrants in right and left and soft on immigration and thus increases in immigrants are to blame for our problems (but numbers immigrating were of course down – even if some of that was the bad condition of the U.S. economy – which has improved some since attracting an increase in immigrants recently). Those who want to hate on Obama will (and there are good reasons from the left) but this particular argument is not on solid ground.

      And it offends all those leftists who want open borders really even if they don’t say it, which was not the policy. The conditions in immigrant detention centers under Obama were no doubt brutal.

      Now one could criticize on H1Bs and so on, where policy was allowing in lots of people for Silicon Valley’s use etc., but that’s not the people crossing the southern border.

      1. Anne

        Well, I don’t think it offended everyone. I don’t believe in totally open borders, because there really is only so much room at the inn, and I think we have enough home-grown criminals that we don’t need to import any more. Honestly, I guess I’ve never understood the attitude that, but for the criminals that Trump thinks are poring into the country, we’d have no crime problem.

        I think Obama was attempting to acknowledge via his policies that the majority of people who are not in this country legally are hard-working, contributing in a positive way to the economy, and deporting them likely would mean breaking up families to no good end.

        We ought to be the kind of country that does take in refugees – but we also ought to be the kind of country whose policies don’t contribute to the creation of large refugee populations; perhaps contributing to the numbers of refugees imposes more of an obligation to assist than we might otherwise feel we had.

        With Trump, I feel like we’re living the nightmare of bumper-sticker, buzz-word leadership based on some generic idea of “greatness,” that doesn’t acknowledge how interconnected things are, or possibly even care about the laws of unintended consequences.

        Just wondering where we are in the arc of this pendulum swing – I suspect this is just the beginning, with a long way to go before it starts coming back in the other direction.

        1. Anon

          Agree with much of your sentiments regarding refugees (especially the allusion to US created ones).

          However, it’s not just US policy that is creating the flow of refugees (here and around the world). Climate change, human population increase, and resource hoarding are also in the mix. The holiday that is life in western industrialized nations is a compelling attraction to millions across the globe; especially those that have been able to acquire a modicum of education.

          Migration across the planet is not abating anytime soon.

  17. freedomny

    Does the Trump team encourage the Russian speculations – or are they merely stupid?

    Mikel JollettVerified account‏@Mikel_Jollett 17m17 minutes ago

    This is not a joke: Trump’s CPAC flags look EXACTLY like little Russian flags. ??

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Poor guy. I suspect he will be aghast when he sees how the French are trying to emulate Putin.

      What is the over/under on calls for “Russian stacking dolls” to be renamed “Freedumb stacking dolls”?

  18. Synoia

    PPE: the Oxford degree that runs Britain

    Only discovering this now? Google PJN Sinclair. Probable the most intelligent person I ever met.

  19. OIFVet

    Liberal intellectual consistency, Chi-town style:

    February 15: You’ll Need To Be Dead To Get An Honorary Street Sign Under New Proposal.

    Living people would no longer be eligible to be honored with a brown and white street sign under a measure endorsed Thursday by a City Council committee.The new regulations were proposed by 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale in the wake of the decision to remove two street signs honoring President Donald Trump outside Trump Tower.

    The new regulations — set to be considered by the full Council on Tuesday — are designed to prevent some of his “colleagues from making mistakes,” Beale said.

    February 23rd: Obama Expressway? Part Of I-55 Could Be Named For Former President.

    “Renaming I-55 for President Barack Obama would not only be an honor for America’s 44th president, but it will be the right measure we should approve for Illinois’ very own state senator and U.S. senator,” Ford said. “This would be one of many highways and byways that will be named for Barack Obama, so it is only right that Illinois be at the forefront of the many actions that will rename streets and highways for President Obama.”

    The House also is considering a measure introduced by Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Jefferson Park) to rename the I-294 Tri-State Tollway in honor of Obama. There are also measures in the Illinois House and Senate to create an Obama Day in the state.

    Yet some wonder why people are leaving Chicago and Illinois.

    1. Jen

      “My loyalty to my country and my principles and my heritage exceeds any loyalty to my party. I will urge other like-minded people — centrist liberals — to follow my lead and quit the Democratic Party if Ellison is elected chairman. We will not be leaving the Democratic Party we have long supported. The Democratic Party will be leaving us!”

      Well, if you put it that way…don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

      1. Pat

        I started to say that was my first reaction to hearing his opinion.
        Centrist liberals, another meaningless phrase in an era where the policies of a 60’s Republican President are largely to the left and far more liberal than those of the party he thinks will be leaving him.

    2. freedomny

      Boo hoo and good riddance.

      Alan Dershowitz, who unwittingly endorsed Ellison by “threatening” to leave DNC if he’s #chair, defends George Zimmerman AND Steve Bannon. – Katie Halper

  20. Oregoncharles

    “Not From Venus, Not From Mars: What We Believe About Gender and Why It’s Often Wrong”

    I have a problem with this one: the first actual example is wrong-headed. The example:
    ” “Were the young women of the tribe more impressed when the cautious described their uneventful days,” the columnist John Kay asks, “or when the bold recalled their heroic escape from danger?” Kay exhibits little awareness of the possibility that those rapt “young women” might be independent agents who themselves chose to take risks, or not.” The objection is irrelevant to Kay’s point. He appears to be talking about evolutionary pressures; the implication is that risk-taking was advantageous for males because it was valued by females. Those females’ own risk-taking choices are independent of the effect on males. (There is a connection: choosing to mate with a risk-taker is itself relatively risky. But there’s a payoff: more meat on the table. Women’s choices will vary depending on their own approach to risk – but the effect on men remains the same, as long as there’s a net benefit.)

    It’s a probably-relevant digression, but I think the effect Kay evokes is minor. The fundamental cause is that males are expendable (in most circumstances) because the birthrate depends on the number of fertile females, not the number of males. (Ask any farmer how many roosters or bulls she needs; the answer: one.) Birthrate drives evolution directly. So both physical and social evolution favor males being the risk-takers and seek to protect females.

    That said, there’s an important exception: top-of-the-food-chain animals that need to control their population. Guess what people are, especially now? Ordinarily, it pays long term to preserve females in case of disaster, but restrict the actual birth rate. Modern humans have passed that point, so the gender roles are changing dramatically – in some respects. OTOH, the personal-attraction factor that the quoted columnist invokes might well still apply, essentially as an evolutionary hangover. In fact, while women now join the military and police, personal courtship behavior has changed very little – so little, in relation to, say, the work place, that we have to wonder what’s built in and subject to biological rates of change. Not good news.

    I might go back to the article, but it sure got off to a bad start.

    1. Karen

      John Kay??? What the link led me to was a book review, written by Annie Murphy Paul about a book by Cordelia Fine titled “Testosterone Rex.”

      In any case, having managed to read the whole book review, I can tell you the logic presented does not improve. Did you notice that all the male risk-taking examples given are totally voluntary choices with frivolous payoffs, whereas the female risk-taking examples are situations where there is no other way to attain an important goal?

      In the discussion of sexual promiscuity that comes next, a straw man is set up and destroyed. If men today favor promiscuous sex, it doesn’t have to be because promiscuous sex made great sense for most men in past eras. It can be, and probably is, because the few men for whom promiscuity DID make sense – the Genghis Khans of the world – fathered far more than their fair share of offspring.

      1. Oregoncharles

        John Kay was quoted in the book review. I didn’t manage to finish it – actually had to leave.

        However, I did think the bit about women’s risk-taking was interesting. It’s virtually all reproductive, more or less; if they didn’t take those risks, some very serious, no more people. So the real point may be that men and women take DIFFERENT risks. Especially in the past, just having babies was enough risk for most people.

        I did see the Genghis Khan example. Silly. To put it another way: the difference is that men CAN do something like that, and women cannot (as in other mammals). A more current example was Wilt Chamberlain. So their programming allows for it, because there’s a big evolutionary payoff. Not that I’m speaking from personal experience.

  21. hakim

    Killer, kleptocrat, genius, spy: the many myths of Vladimir Putin at the guardian was the worst read. Ever. i saw it on the guardian a few days ago and gave it a miss, fiquring it was the usal BS. but after seeing the link on here, i thought give it a read. turned out to be a TOTTAL WASTE OF TIME.
    i swear sometimes i feel like the only thing i truly know and can ever know is that i know nothing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      C says A is always bad.

      C also says B is always good.

      At this juncture, you or anyone would have to wonder if there is something wrong with C.

      I mean, no one is always good and no one is always bad (“There, he took a break and was just sitting there doing nothing. Nothing good, but more importantly, nothing bad….not bad ALWAYS).

      1. Katharine

        Thanks for saying it! Too bad it needs to be said. Of course no one is always good or always bad. It’s part of what makes people interesting.

    2. dcrane

      Different strokes as they say…I found it extremely interesting (and I liked the style of humor). Unless the guy was blowing smoke I learned a lot more about Putin.

  22. robnume

    On phone checking: I turn off my phone when I am not using it; when i hold down the on-off switch to turn it off, the phone questions me: You want to turn off ‘the phone?’ as though turning it off is an unfathomable request. Fuck ‘smart’ devices. I’m the boss, here, phone, not you.

Comments are closed.