Links 4/17/17

Unravelling why shoelace knots fail Nature

Private equity bets big on software FT

Fed Puts Together Plan to Unwind Securities Portfolio WSJ

seriously, the guy has a point Greg Fallis. I had no idea that “Fearless Girl” was part of a marketing campaign by State Street Global Advisors. Peak liberalism?

Lloyds says ‘Hello’ to facial recognition banking FT. I don’t think the Iron Bank of Braavos would go for this, given the skillset at the House of Black and White.

The Feisty Group That Exposed Wells Fargo’s Wrongdoing Alternet

Prudhoe Bay well continues venting gas Alaska Dispatch

Tribal Members in Oklahoma Defeat Natural Gas Pipeline Company Indian Country (GF).

The Legacy of Monsanto’s PCBs: Oozing Pus, Birth Defects and Immune Problems Truthout (Furzy Mouse).


Britain set to lose EU ‘crown jewels’ of banking and medicine agencies Guardian (Furzy Mouse).

Support for Brexit hits a five-month high, with 55 per cent of UK population now backing exit from European Union Telegraph

Against all odds, a communist soars in French election polls WaPo


Turkey referendum: Opposition to challenge expanding Erdogan powers BBC

Here’s why Turkish opposition parties are contesting the referendum results WaPo

Al-Qaeda Suicide Attack Kills 100+ Children, Women – Whodunit? Moon of Alabama

North Korea

North Korea warns against US ‘hysteria’ as it marks founder’s birth Asian Correspondent

A ‘Cuban Missile Crisis in Slow Motion’ in North Korea NYT

Pence warns NKorea ‘era of strategic patience is over’ WaPo


Latin America’s Oil-Dependent States Struggle to Repay Chinese Debts The Diplomat. Let’s hope the Chinese don’t send gunboats…

China’s Social-Media Smoke Screen Harvard Magazine

In Pictures: Beijing hutongs – village life in the city Hong Kong Free Press

Death toll in Sri Lanka garbage mound collapse rises to 26 AP


Threatened Himalayas: What do we know? The Third Pole (J-LS).

Are Jan Dhan bank accounts actively used? Live Mint

India’s Digital Revolution The Diplomat

Indian IT may not be on its deathbed yet, but the threat of disruption is clear and present Factor Daily. Interesting if true…

The new back office: inside Goldman Sachs’ Bangalore hub FT. … or not!

Selling Mark Zuckerberg Buzzfeed

Cleveland police seek man they say broadcast killing on Facebook Reuters

Instant Recall The Verge. “At the end of last year, [the trade group Digital Content Next] surveyed its members on the financial performance of content published to third-party platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Google’s AMP project. It found that not one publisher reported earning more money through Instant Articles than they did through their own properties.”

Health Care

Single-Payer Health Care Is Seeing Record Support in Congress Truthout (Furzy Mouse).

Pence’s Medicaid experiment confounds expectations on the left and right Politico

New Cold War

Trump aide McMaster: Time for tough talks with Russia Reuters

‘Never Trump’ GOP foreign policy experts welcome his reversals but remain wary McClatchy. “Hope and change…”

17 Rules for Foreign Interventions The American Conservative (Re Silc).

Trump Transition

White House showdown on Paris deal set for next week Politico

Northwest EPA worker blasts new boss in resignation Seattle Post-Intelligencer (GF).

Congress needs to reach a budget deal in a matter of days. What could go wrong? McClatchy

Border Patrol struggles to recruit agents amid immigration crackdown Guardian

Perez touts unity tour with Sanders The Hill. Let me know how that works out….

In Travis County custody case, jury will search for real Alex Jones Austin American-Statesman

In Kiron, Iowa, pop. 229, the meaning of a life, a death and another cup of coffee WaPo

How Liberals Fell In Love With The West Wing Current Affairs

Class Warfare

Too Late to Compensate Free Trade’s Losers Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate

The False Promise of Universal Basic Income Dissent

Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That’s what’s wrenching society apart George Monbiot, Guardian

Society ‘flying blind’ over robots’ impact on jobs FT

Learning to Love Intelligent Machines WSJ

In his new book, The New Urban Crisis, author Richard Florida shows how cities can survive an uncertain future TechCrunch. “Florida equates the rise of cities to the growth of popular bands.”

Penicillin changes the behaviour of young mice The Economist

A new approach to identifying causal mechanisms: With an application to the effect of trade on labour markets and politics VoxEU

What Would Jesus Disrupt? Bloomberg. I believe this is answered by Matt 21:11-13, but what would I know?

Antidote du jour (via). Cat runs onto the field in Yokohama Stadium:

Nice kitty!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. fresno dan

    Too Late to Compensate Free Trade’s Losers Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate

    When the US began opening itself up to imports from Mexico, China, and other developing countries in the 1980s, one might have expected it to go the European route. Instead, under the sway of Reaganite and market-fundamentalist ideas, the US went in an opposite direction. As Larry Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, puts it, “ignoring the losers was deliberate.” In 1981, the “trade adjustment assistance (TAA) program was one of the first things Reagan attacked, cutting its weekly compensation payments.”
    The damage continued under subsequent, Democratic administrations. In Mishel’s words, “if free-traders had actually cared about the working class, they could have supported a full range of policies to support robust wage growth: full employment, collective bargaining, high labor standards, a robust minimum wage, and so on.” And all of this could have been done “before administering ‘shocks’ by expanding trade with low-wage countries.”

    The time for compensation has come and gone. Even if compensation was a viable approach two decades ago, it no longer serves as a practical response to globalization’s adverse effects. To bring the losers along, we will need to consider changing the rules of globalization itself.
    Yeah – always a day late and a dollar short. As well as how many articles have I read that state as fact that the problem is REALLY automation?
    NO, the real problem is that the plutocrats control the policies…

    1. Benedict@Large

      We have had “automation” since the start of the British Industrial Revolution. Why is it that only now it is ending work as we know it? The fact is that it isn’t. “Automation”, like “behavioral economics” and the like, is just the latest fad economists have selected to cover for the fact that their entire economics has failed.

      1. MoiAussie

        Why is it that only now it is ending work as we know it?

        I don’t disagree with your conclusion about economists, but part of the answer to your question is that computers, unlike all previous machines, are “universal” machines which can be applied to a potentially endless range of automation tasks. Hence, the pace and extent of automation is accelerating, and is not kept in check by the declining cost of computers, but by the rate of expansion and propagation of knowledge of how to allow computers to do what is demanded.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          …….. propagation of knowledge of how to allow computers to do what is demanded.

          Or perhaps it is the relatively recently acquired power to redefine “demands” to better align with the capabilities of computers.

          And so one gets companies like united airlines eschewing human judgement in favor of an algorithm selecting Dr. Dao to be removed from his flight at all costs and calling it “progress.”

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            This. Removing humans from decision-making in customer services (or other economic activities requiring discernment) has resulted in extensive crapification. There are so many little instances of it that we have coined a word for it here.

            There is very little likelihood that this will change as computers are more aggressively deployed. I.e. The first thing a user (customer) does when encountering a phone system decision tree is: try to counteract it, or find a way around it. We, almost all of us, treat machine interactions as blockades – offensive structures – that need to be circumvented. And we usually do this even when the computer blockade is non obvious, as is so often the case in website interactions.

        2. Adam Eran

          “Just machines to make big decisions…
          Programmed by guys with compassionate visions”

          –Donald Fagen, I.G.Y. (“Spandex jackets for everyone!)

      2. John k

        Failed who?
        To think economics has failed is to not understand the objective.
        Always seek answers in the direction of money flow.
        All success in reducing costs, not least wage costs, is reflected on the bottom line.
        The elite of both parties share the belief that economics since the 70’s has been an overwhelming success; explaining their support for her and the status quo.

    2. Carla

      “how many articles have I read that state as fact that the problem is REALLY automation?
      NO, the real problem is that the plutocrats control the policies…”


      1. justanotherprogressive

        +100 to your comment. There is a decided attempt by the plutocrats to get us to focus our anger on automation and not the people, like they themselves, who control the automation…..

        1. MoiAussie

          Plutocrats control much automation, but so do thousands of wannabe plutocrats whose expertise lets them come from nowhere to billionairehood in a few short years by using it to create some novel, disruptive parasitic intermediation that makes their fortune. The “sharing economy” relies on automation. As does Amazon, Snapchat, Facebook, Dropbox, Pinterest, …

          It’s not a stretch to say that automation creates new plutocrats. So blame the individuals, or blame the phenomenon, or both, whatever works for you.

          1. Carolinian

            So John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie weren’t plutocrats–or were somehow better plutocrats?

            Blame not individuals or phenomena but society and the public and elites who shape it. Our social structure is also a kind of machine and perhaps the most imperfectly designed of all of them. My own view is that the people who fear machines are the people who don’t like or understand machines. Tools, and the use of them, are an essential part of being human.

            1. MoiAussie

              Huh? If I wrote “careless campers create forest fires”, would you actually think I meant “careless campers create all forest fires”?

              1. Carolinian

                I’m replying to your upthread comment which seems to say today’s careless campers and the technology they rely on are somehow different from those other figures we know so well from history. In fact all technology is tremendously disruptive but somehow things have a way of sorting themselves out. So–just to repeat–the thing is not to “blame” the individuals or the automation but to get to work on the sorting. People like Jeff Bezos with his very flaky business model could be little more than a blip.

          2. a different chris

            >Amazon, Snapchat, Facebook, Dropbox, Pinterest

            Automation? Those companies? I guess Amazon automates ordering… not exactly R. Daneel Olivaw for sure. If some poor Asian girl doesn’t make the boots or some Agri giant doesn’t make the flour Amazon isn’t sending you nothin’, and the other companies are even more useless.

            1. Mark P.

              ‘Automation? Those companies? I guess Amazon automates ordering… not exactly R. Daneel Olivaw for sure.’

              Um. Amazon is highly deceptive, in that most people think it’s a giant online retail store.

              It isn’t. It’s the world’s biggest, most advanced cloud-computing company with an online retail storefront stuck between you and it. In 2005-2006 it was already selling supercomputing capability for cents on the dollar — way ahead of Google and Microsoft and IBM.

          3. justanotherprogressive

            Do you really think the internet created Amazon, Snapchat, Facebook, etc? No, the internet was just a tool to be used. The people who created those businesses would have used any tool they had access to at the time because their original goal was not automation or innovation, it was only to get rich.
            Let me remind you of Thomas Edison. If he would have lived 100 years later, he would have used computers instead of electricity to make his fortune. (In contrast, Nikolai Tesla/George Westinghouse used electricity to be innovative, NOT to get rich……). It isn’t the tool that is used, it is the mindset of the people who use the tool……

          4. clinical wasteman

            “Disruptive parasitic intermediation” is superb, thanks. The entire phrase should appear … automatically whenever “disruption”/”disruptive” or “innovation”/”innovative” is used in a laudatory sense.
            100% agreement with your first point in this thread, too. That short comment should stand as a sort of epigraph/reference for all future discussion of these things.
            No disagreement on the point about actual and wannabe plutocrats either, but perhaps it’s worth emphasising that it’s not just a matter of a few successful (and many failed) personal get-rich-quick schemes, real as those are: the potential of ‘universal machines’ tends to be released in the form of parasitic intermediation because, for the time being at least, it’s released into a world subject to the ‘demands’ of capital, and at a (decades-long) moment of crisis for the traditional model of capital accumulation. ‘Universal’ potential is set free … to seek rents and maybe to do a bit of police work on the side, if the two can even be separated.
            The writer of this article from 2010 [] surely wouldn’t want it to be taken as conclusive, but it’s a good example of one marginal train of serious thought about all of the above. See also ‘On Africa and Self-Reproducing Automata’ written by George Caffentzis 20 years or so earlier []; apologies for link to entire (free, downloadable) book, but my crumbling print copy of the single essay stubbornly resists uploading.

    3. DH

      Unfortunately, the healthcare insurance debate has been simply a battle between competing ideologies. I don’t think Americans understand the key role that universal healthcare coverage plays in creating resilient economies.

      Before penicillin, heart surgeries, cancer cures, modern obstetrics etc. that it didn’t matter if you are rich or poor if you got sick. There was a good chance you would die in either case which was a key reason that the average life span was short.

      In the mid-20th century that began to change so now lifespan is as much about income as anything else. It is well known that people have a much bigger aversion to loss than gain. So if you currently have healthcare insurance through a job, then you don’t want to lose it by taking a risk to do something where you are no longer covered.

      People are moving less to find work – why would you uproot your family to work for a company that is just as likely to lay you off in two years in a place you have no roots? People are less likely to day to quit jobs to start a new business – that is a big gamble today because you not only have to keep the roof over your head and put food on the table, but you also have to cover an even bigger cost of healthcare insurance in the individual market or you have a much greater risk of not making it to your 65th birthday.

      In countries like Canada, healthcare coverage is barely a discussion point if somebody is looking to move, change jobs, or start a small business.

      If I had a choice today between universal basic income vs universal healthcare coverage, I would choose the healthcare coverage form a societal standpoint. That is simply insuring a risk and can allow people much greater freedom during the working lives. Similarly, Social Security is of similar importance because it provides basic protection against disability and not starving in the cold in your old age. These are vastly different incentive systems than paying people money to live on even if they are not working.

      Our ideological debates should be factoring these types of ideas in the discussion instead of just being a food fight.

      1. a different chris

        >that people have a much bigger aversion to loss than gain.

        Yeah well if the downside is that you’re dead this starts to make sense.

        >instead of just being a food fight.

        The thing is that the Powers-That-Be want it to be a food fight, as that is a great stalling at worst and complete diversion at best tactic. Good post, btw.

      2. HotFlash

        In countries like Canada, healthcare coverage is barely a discussion point if somebody is looking to move, change jobs, or start a small business.

        It is not a problem if you are unemployed. In fact, it is just not a problem. Period.

        Yeah. I live in Canada and am self-employed. I could not have done it without my good (could be better, but pretty good) health care. That’s healthcare, not insurance. I have no premiums. Nada. I have no deductible and no cap. Canadian citizens spend less than 60 cents for every dollar the US spends on health care. (Not convinced? For more info, different sources, try this search).

        Hello, that nearly 40% is eaten up by insurance companies. Think about it. We still have insurance companies here as well, they cover life, dental, prescriptions, dental, income replacement and other things our provincial plans don’t cover (it varies by province).

        And the coverage is pretty good here. I don’t pay for ambulance, I don’t pay for emergency, I don’t pay for cataract surgery, or flu shots, or shingles shots, or or that tumor they removed a decade or more ago. Not only did I pay nothing, I never even saw a bill. My neighbour Barbara paid *nothing* when she called 911 at 5am b/c she felt dizzy and fell — it was a heart attack, ambulance took her to the hospital to the hospital ; she paid nothing for the follow-up therapy, either.

        I can *totally* understand why insurance companies would be against this interruption to their gravy train, but I cannot understand why so many actual USian citizens seem to be against it. Just don’t get it.

    4. Altandmain

      As the rich became uber rich, they hid the money in tax havens.

      As for globalization, this has less to do these days with technological innovation and more to do with economic exploitation.

      I will note that Germany, Japan, South Korea, and a few other nations have not bought into this madness and have retained a good chunk of their manufacturing sectors.

      1. Mark P.

        ‘As for globalization, this has less to do these days with technological innovation and more to do with economic exploitation.’

        Economic exploiters are always with us. You’re underrating the role of a specific technological innovation. Globalization as we now know it really became feasible in the late 1980s with the spread of instant global electronic networks, mostly via the fiberoptic cables through which everything — telephony, Internet, etc — travels Internet packet mode.

        That’s the point at which capital could really start moving instantly around the world, and companies could really begin to run global supply chains and workforces. That’s the point when shifts of workers in facilities in Bangalore or Beijing could start their workdays as shifts of workers in the U.S. were ending theirs, and companies could outsource and offshore their whole operations.

  2. fresno dan

    This Sunday [Easter], tens of millions of American Christians will celebrate Easter, and thousands of children and their families will descend on the White House to take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll. As the festivities spill over the grounds of 1600 Penn., I wonder if anyone will stop to note the obvious irony: That President Donald J. Trump is very likely the least religious president to occupy the White House since Thomas Jefferson.

    I’m not saying Trump is a closeted atheist, but he’s no evangelical. As a self-proclaimed Protestant, or Presbyterian, or something he describes as “a wonderful religion,” Trump nominally attends the nondenominational Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.
    Where evangelicals emphasize asking God for forgiveness, Trump says, “I am not sure I have. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.” Compare these remarks to the more earnest faith of President George W. Bush, who claimed divine consultation before invading Iraq, or the incessant God-talk of candidates like Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Ben Carson….

    Since then, it’s hard to see what benefit America’s strong leaning toward theocracy has had. Comparing 17 first-world prosperous democracies on a number of societal health measures, social scientist Gregory S. Paul found that the most religious country of them all—the United States—had by far the worse measures on a number of criteria, including the highest rates of homicides, suicides, incarceration, STDs, teen pregnancies, abortions, divorce, alcohol consumption, corruption, poverty and income inequality. Correlation is not causation, of course. But if religion is suppose to be such a powerful force for societal health, then why is America—the most religious nation in the Western world—also the unhealthiest on all of these important social measures?***
    I almost posted this yesterday, but I thought that would be churlish.
    I read Trump’s “religious” remarks and find them extremely off putting. Than I read the religious remarks of other repubs, and I find them EVEN MORE off putting….

    ***Teen pregnancy – so much for the solemn pledges of abstinence made by teenagers….*** ***
    *** *** What is it with the US? How can anybody in hypersexualized America really believe American teens are gonna keep it in their pants?

    1. Linda

      This Sunday [Easter], tens of millions of American Christians will celebrate Easter, and thousands of children and their families will descend on the White House to take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll.

      The Egg Roll is today, not Sunday.

      It will be live streamed at as well as other pages.

    2. Linda

      Good morning, dan. Didn’t mean to seem to have only noticed the Egg Roll in your comment. It was the first sentence and the mistake caught my eye.

      Seems to me Donald has been doing a lot more God talk since taking office, than he did at the rallies.

      1. fresno dan

        April 17, 2017 at 7:59 am

        “Seems to me Donald has been doing a lot more God talk since taking office,…”
        I agree 1,000% – which just validates my view that Trump is all bullsh*ter. Elmer Gantry comes to mind.
        And another point – it strikes me that those saying Trump is a liar misses the point – Trump is more like a parrot in that Trump will say (parrot) whatever he believes is necessary to get the cracker (though I didn’t intend “cracker” to mean racists, but merely a reward, I note one can interpret that as one wishes….).

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          From my experience with Catholic school and church, I’ve long since determined “god talk” isn’t as relevant as “us v. them” talk. Hillary’s “deplorable” statement was just an affirmation of a view many “Christians” believe is held about them.

          Pointing out hypocrisy misses the point because it’s never been about religious doctrine as much as trying to belong to something and have purpose. Trump can miss every question about angels dancing on heads of pins, and it won’t matter. Trump in his own way embraced the evangelicals. In effect, Hillary said she wanted the non evangelical republicans who are so smart and moderate.

          In “The Merchant of Venice” (Act 1, Scene 3), Antonio says, “even the devil can cite scripture for his own use.” This is all they need because it’s not about scripture and never has been.

          Sanders, a Christ killer, is more popular because he appeals to the desire to belong and not be an outcast: medicare for all and even asking people to come forward with their student debt stories. It’s a “you are not alone” message.

          1. justanotherprogressive

            “Sanders, a Christ killer”????
            Were you being facetious?
            Seems to me Sanders is far closer to the teachings of Christ than are any of the major religions or the major politicians……

            1. fresno dan

              April 17, 2017 at 12:56 pm

              “Christ killer” is an anti-semetic trope used against Jews (Sanders is Jewish) – I interpret it as NTG using it to buttress his (NTG) point that the nominal religious affiliation is not as important to many groups as the signaling that one is on the side of a particular group’s cause (students – tuition). The fact that Sanders policies are actually more in line with Christian notions of charity and justice than many Christian politicians who yammer incessantly about Jesus is an ironic note.


              and finally, I don’t think Trump’s problem is hypocrisy and I don’t think he actually is. Therefore, the rather jarring juxtaposition of Trump wearing a Trucker hat with a suit (I assume expensive) by a man who is a billionaire who has never done physical labor in his life is not as important as the symbolic presentation of solidarity with truckers (i.e., “deplorables”). Any politician who is not actually a cowboy can wear a cowboy hat to signal to such a group support for their group – it is not hypocrisy. A small distinction – I don’t see Trump as a hypocrite when he wears the Trucker hat or when he goes to church – I see him as a bullsh*tter….
              Trump just sees himself in a narcissistic, unabashedly self promoting way that is divorced from reality or any modesty – its not so much Trump’s problem as it is supporters who bend themselves into pretzels (sorry pretzel guy) when the guy isn’t doing what he (Trump) said he would.

              As NTG points out, I think people want their own perceived “groups” acknowledged, respected, and protected – and ANY signal that this is the case buys a LOT of forbearance of such a champion…and (dare I say it) hope that it is so despite a lot of evidence it is not.

              1. justanotherprogressive

                Thanks Fresno. I wondered what that “whoosh” sound was when I read NTG’s post….

      2. craazyboy

        Tuesday is Korean Easter and millions of Korean Christians bury Dim Sum bowls in tens of thousands holes around the countryside. Korean children are then dressed up in smartly pressed and creased military uniforms and march around purposefully looking for the tasty treats. They have parades with rocket launchers too. The older kids drive the rocket launchers.

        Rabbits are sacred in N. Korea*, but not in Protestant dominated S. Korea. The CIA and Trump know that, too. Pence will lie about it. Bannon will call Pence a dirty liar.

        * N. Korean Psyops is able to make large rabbits cause commercial jetliners to crash. Sony made a movie about it. The veracity of the movie has been questioned. It may be a fake movie.

          1. Susan the other

            The first thing I thought when I saw that jack rabbit was Donnie Darko. But I thought nobody would know what I was talking about. Ha.

          1. craazyboy

            Holy Cow! That looks like the N. Korean Psyops Rabbit, maybe when it was just a young bunny. Bet the CIA fed it to our allies in Iraq. The bastards.

    3. Jagger

      ***Teen pregnancy – so much for the solemn pledges of abstinence made by teenagers….*** ***
      *** *** What is it with the US? How can anybody in hypersexualized America really believe American teens are gonna keep it in their pants?

      Hypocrites certainly deserve criticism but I don’t think we can criticize religion for a hypersexualized America. Religion is one of the few sources of resistance remaining in what appears to be a lost battle against a hypersexualized America and the consequences.

      1. Adam Eran

        Sorry, as a church-attending person, I object. Religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy. One example: Jerry Falwell, a “battler” against abortion actually supported it before his plutocratic masters told him it was a wedge issue.

        Positions on the wedge issues (abortion, the gays) are actually difficult to prove with scripture–not that it has the kind of authority it did before 35,000 variations on old manuscripts were discovered…in the 17th century. (Marcus Borg is the scholar to consult here).

        Meanwhile, the big issues — e.g. covetousness, forbidden very explicitly in one of the 10 commandments — is an *industry* in the U.S.

        I’ll believe these evangelicals are guided by the bible when I see them picketing Madison Avenue for promoting covetousness, or when I see them lobbying for a debt jubilee.

        Michael Hudson says Jesus’ first appearance in the Jerusalem temple was to announce just such a Jubilee… Boy is that ever ignored!

        1. Jagger

          Your correlating the hypocritical actions of the leadership with the ideals of a religion. Corrupt leadership may delegitimize those individuals but does not delegitimize the ideals of the religion. Is the ideal of America totally dependent on the actions of its political leadership? Personally, I think there is far more to America than just the president and congress whether corrupt or not.

          1. hunkerdown

            Ideals only serve in practice to create primordial debts, buttress power differentials, and enable selective malfeasance. I fail to see the social utility of any of those products and believe humanity would be better off repudiating them and their vectors. Disease is not a public good.

            1. Jagger

              Well I am using this definition of ideal: “a person or thing conceived as embodying such a conception or conforming to such a standard, and taken as a model for imitation”. I guess you are welcome to your definition.

          2. JTMcPhee

            I think “America” is maybe a shibboleth of some sort, but there is not a dam’ thing left of the stuff I was taught and brought to believe, as a young person, Boy Scout, attendee at the Presbyterian Westminster Fellowship, attentive student of Mrs. Thompson and Mr. Fleming in Civics, Social Studies and US History classes, and all that. I was well enough steeped in that stuff to let “patriotism” overcome better sense, strongly enough to enlist in the Army in 1966.

            Maybe you think “The Birth of a Nation” captures the essence of our great country?

            What is or are the ideal(s) of “America?” Get rich quick, violence on all fronts, anti-intellectualism, imperial project across the planet? “Democracy?” If you trot that out as a “feature”, you better explain what you mean, with some specificity. More to America? If youtube is any guide, try searching it for “syria combat” or “redneck” or “full auto,” or all the really sick racist and extreme stuff — a pretty sorry place. But we all recite the Pledge so dutifully, don’t we? and feel a thrill as the F-22s swoop over the football stadium?

    4. diptherio

      Correlation is not causation, of course. But if religion is suppose to be such a powerful force for societal health, then why is America—the most religious nation in the Western world—also the unhealthiest on all of these important social measures?

      It’s at least as reasonable to assume that our religiosity is a result, rather than a cause, of the social ills the author mentions. Why were enslaved Africans in the American South so religious? Why do many people who are suffering and insecure look to a religious or spiritual faith to comfort and psychologically protect them? Seems like social oppression may well be the driving force behind high-levels of religiosity, rather than the reverse. Just sayin’.

      1. grayslady

        Why were enslaved Africans in the American South so religious?

        Actually, they weren’t all that religious. The slave owners allowed them time off on Sunday for religious services. The slaves were savvy enough to make sure that “services” were an all-day affair. Even meals and socialization were woven into the Sunday religious celebrations. That practice is the genesis of many AME and AME-Z all day (or most of the day) Sunday services today. (I learned that bit of information in my Black Religion college course many years ago.)

        1. craazyboy

          That would explain all the singing and dancing. No red wine, tho. Bummer.

          Think how things could have been different if the South had won and Napa Valley had grape plantations?

      2. witters

        You and Marx: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”

    5. sid_finster

      I am mystified by the number of people who think that Jesus Christ personally guides the actions of a man whose life is as sybaritic as a Roman emperor and who isn’t exactly known for religiosity, repentance or self-doubt.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Yea, I am mystified by that too…..if Jesus, as the Son of God, is all powerful and controls all behavior, does that mean that Jesus committed suicide? (P.S. DO NOT ask that question in Bible class – it WILL get you kicked out!).

        1. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

          If there isn’t bounded rationality, there is no middle ground – only unbounded irrationality instead.

  3. fresno dan

    Selling Mark Zuckerberg Buzzfeed

    The most obvious example of the new and improved Zuckerberg is his 2017 personal challenge: to travel to all 50 states and talk to “folks” about their lives and concerns for the future.

    As I just posted about religion, if I ran the universe, first thing I would do is dam* for eternity any squillionaire who used the word “folks”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I suppose it’s too much to hope that whoever buys him will keep him for their very own and not share him with the rest of us.

      1. fresno dan

        April 17, 2017 at 9:02 am

        Good pint aby….
        and if they are on a listening tour to hear the concerns of folks – they get double d*mnation….

    2. DH

      I thought Facebook was already doing that by scanning everybody’s posts and feeding them in to algorithms.

    3. John Wright

      Maybe Zuckerberg will get smacked down by Obama.

      Obama owns the word “folks”, having well established his prior ownership.

      Maybe a donation from Zuckerberg to the Obama library will help smooth the waters.

      1. grizziz

        When did folk become the new N-word? I can appreciate the dig that is felt with the implied derision of a powerful person attempting to share briefly in the experience of the weak. It is also possible to deride my peers within the appropriate context as Obama did in using the royal we in, “We tortured some folks.”
        I worry about the cultural appropriation of the language by the neoliberal identitarians who seek to rule through taboos rather that reason. Feelings are going to be hurt when personal identities are so tightly bound to language, no amount of policing will stop that.
        I am against Mr. Zuckerberg and the system that has allowed him to garnish an outsize share of the economic and cultural resources of the globe, however in the context of the article it is the Buzzfeed reporter which scare quoted folks and the word cannot be directly attributed to Zuck.

    4. Dead Dog

      Everywhere he and Bezos and so on go, they should face angry people asking for their stolen money back. They should not be able to walk through civil society without feeling our anger

    1. fresno dan

      April 17, 2017 at 7:49 am

      That’s pretty good. I wish the cat had just stayed at that first level after having climbed up the fence, out of reach, but still in view. Than the fans could have had something amusing to watch while a baseball game transpired.
      (HEY, I can make biting comments because I watch regular season baseball games occasionally – but like the article says, they are just a visual and auditory accompaniment for beer ingestion)

        1. pretzelattack

          steroid use is suspected, news at 11
          “that cat never hurled a hairball half that far before”–losing manager.

  4. MoiAussie

    Al-Qaeda Suicide Attack Kills 100+ Children, Women

    An MoA commentor reports that the group Nour al Din al Zenki which is is financed, armed and promoted by NATO, is responsible for this latest atrocity in Syria. IOW, another NATO war crime.

    1. fresno dan

      April 17, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Apparently, we only care when “beautiful, beautiful babies” are killed. Quick, do an air lift of American cosmetics so that we can extend our concern / sarc

        1. craazyboy

          They can get ’em on now! Just package ’em up on the pallets stacked with $100 bills and air drop them wherever we know there are friendly terrorists. It’ll all work out. Helicopter money always does.

  5. voteforno6

    Re: How Liberals Fell In Love With The West Wing

    I’m not surprised at all that the professional Democrats out there view American politics as an extended episode of The West Wing. It should come as no surprise, considering the impact that 24 had on the views that many have about torture.

    As far as politics-based TV shows go, The West Wing isn’t bad, and is probably a little less ridiculous than the American version of House of Cards. Neither one of them is good as the Danish TV show Borgen, though.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The West Wing isn’t bad?

      -Rob Lowe had the relationship with the hooker who was nympho and made lots of money while she went to prestigious law school so it was okay. The hero Is really helping her. And Lowe’s liberalism meant she didn’t take his money.
      -the mindless support for free trade; “trade stops wars”
      -the Supreme Court nominee situation; hey let’s get one guy who thinks guys should marry called Rodriguez and one guy who makes. Hitler look emphatic and call it a day because centrism is great!
      -Sheen did Welfare reform
      -Lawrence O’Donnell. He didn’t become insufferable on MSNBC. His episodes were the worst.
      -the moderate Republican fetish
      -“smart wars”
      -an insane portrayal of deficit hawks as reasonable

      The show was garbage. The joke is “who is the office Jonah?” On “The West Wing”, they were all Jonah. The Hillary Clinton campaign and Obama Administration were the West Wing put into action.

      1. Pat

        Admission, I loved the West Wing. I also enjoyed 24. In particular, West Wing is a joy for self admitted acting addict. And yes it played to my sensibilities, but even I began to realize that the episodes that meant the most to me, the ones that really resonated and stayed with me were the ones where the underlying issue was not solved or changed by working in the White House who most of the time just put on a bandage on it for themselves (and the viewers). So Veterans still didn’t get their benefits and the care of a “grateful nation” but a funeral, drunk drivers still kill, etc. And on return to it a decade later, things like how crazy the voters are, and only a really smart staffer can realize that they are not seeing the real problem for the trees began to grate unbearably.

        Oh, and NTG, don’t forget the Rob Lowe character was the speech writer for many of the Bartlett early speeches, which when you think about it is the prototype for the Obama administration talk pretty about things and dazzle them before failing to change anything prototype. He also later ran for Congress, loses and becomes a highly paid lawyer (because?) only to give it up to become the Deputy Chief of Staff of the first Latino President. (And maybe I am the only one who can see so much wrong with that.)

        1. diptherio

          I also enjoyed 24.

          That’s the show where an American Patriot saves the day through torture, right? No accounting for taste, I suppose….

          1. craazyboy

            Sure, but Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland took it nearly as often as he dished it out. And it was him against a world full of bad guys.

            Good series, you just need to remind yourself it’s only the TeeBee.

            FYI – This is really his full name!

            Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland

          2. Pat

            I’m a fan of whodunnits and 24 was at its base a whodunnit/stop them before they can do more, and a well crafted one at that. The thing is that the one season I watched it, there was far less torture in it than probably one fifth of a season of Criminal Minds. Now CM does supposedly make the case the torturer is a criminal, but when it comes to torture porn (like the movies SAW) CM is near the top on television. And torture is one of those things that many people do find entertaining though they vocally condemn it. And most have not thought out the larger political and social implications of it. We are savage creatures with a veneer. Where 24 and Zero Dark Thirty are detrimental is they make people think torture actually works in real life rather than in fantasy.

            1. jrs

              or life in this society is so boring and unrewarding that people need ever more violence (fictional OR real) to entertain themselves. Granted people have always liked stories with violence, but it probably does play in.

              1. witters

                And if you are an atheist getting off on the righteous violence, then go the whole hog, and embrace Hell Fire & Eternal Damnation. (Or stop saying people who do are dumb, when they are just you, a step further.)

        2. gepay

          i think house of cards and game of thrones to be more realistic about politics in DC than the West Wing. I watched West Wing and enjoyed it because they did a good job of making characters that I enjoyed watching. it had some elements of reality about electioneering. other than that – it was for NPR listening Democrats.

      2. Musicismath

        Yeah, I nodded along to that article, but was surprised that it didn’t connect the dots between liberals’ love of war, sorry, “humanitarian intervention” and the appalling post-9/11 “West Wing” episodes. As we say around these parts, those storylines were “wonderfully clarifying.”

        1. montanamaven

          “The Newsroom” was like “The West Wing” a fantasy version of the real deal. But embedded in both fantasies was the same embrace of the exceptionalism of the USA, USA, USA. American politics should only be dished out to us in comedic form like the first two years of VEEP. If you want to get a funny view of our class system and urban versus rural dynamics, and just want a good laugh, watch “Schitts Creek” starring Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.

          1. Pat

            Anyone who has given money to a Sorkin production has largely gotten that (although less for his television industry set pieces), it is a feature of his work along with the soaring emotional speech by the lead. Don’t forget that Sorkin’s first big work had the following speech (delivered in typical style by Jack Nicholson in the movie):

            You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives…You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
            We use words like honor, code, loyalty…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ’em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!

            1. Carolinian

              Sorkin is a Front Row Kid goes to the movies. His basic theme is that Smart People are cool, with doses of sentimentality and high mindedness thrown in. I guess my objection is that it is indeed a fantasy version of the world while pretending to be the inside dope. But some of his scripts are better than others without a doubt.

            2. Plenue

              I’ve always been confused by this speech. How are we, the audience, supposed to take it? Because I take it as the unhinged ravings of a madman. We need people like him on ‘the wall’? To do…what, exactly? Stop the Cubans? And how does hazing and killing his own soldiers help accomplish…whatever he imagines he’s accomplishing?

              1. Pat

                Oh you are supposed to take it that Jessup is unhinged and has twisted the purpose of the American military and its mission to protect Americans, and what that mission should entail, that he is deranged. And that the purpose and intentions of our military in Cuba (and by extension everywhere) are good and right and it is only because of a madmen here or there that good men go wrong. Hence the conclusion where the hero gets to explain about forgetting you protect the weak, those unable to protect themselves, you don’t kill them. As for the hazing and killing of his own men, driving away dissidents, screw ups and/or those who think for themselves is time honored tradition, even sometimes to the extreme of killing.

                For me the beauty of it/irony/disturbing thing is that Sorkin’s Jessup is not wrong about Americans not wanting to know about the guy on the wall aka the front – or what they do there, and he has also pegged why we can be all rah rah military and not care about torture and murder. People do not want to know the truth of how we often achieve or go about our military objectives. It is why Chelsea Manning has been tortured, demeaned and imprisoned and yet the people who committed the crime he exposed…Why we condemn Assange and yet Petraeus has as good a shot at being President as anyone…Why Tulsi Gabbard is now being hounded by Democrats for speaking truth to power about Syria… etc, etc, etc. So once again Sorkin refuses to go full into that and condemn the system, telling the audience that this is an exception not the rule, we are still freakin’ wonderful.

    2. Annotherone

      From the West Wing article:
      “The West Wing “took something that was for the most part considered dry and nerdy—especially to people in high school and college—and sexed it up”, former David Axelrod advisor Eric Lesser told Vanity Fair in a longform 2012 feature about the “Sorkinization of politics”.

      I didn’t watch West Wing on TV as I wasn’t in the USA during its original airing times, but we bought DVDs of the series and watched it in 2012, by which time I’d become plenty cynical about US politics in general! Looking back, rather than (or as well as) depicting politics’ “Sorkinization” I’d say that West Wing = the Hallmark-ization of US politics.

    3. Plenue

      One thing from the article that really stands out to me is where he talks about how the administration in The West Wing doesn’t actually seem to stand for (or accomplish) much of anything, and viewers could project their views onto it. Compare this to The Thick of It/In the Loop, where the party of the characters is never specified, only there it’s part of the joke. They’re just ‘The Party’ and the other side is ‘The Opposition’. Intentionally or not, this has the effect of portraying British politics as filled with parties that aren’t actually terribly different internally, and just obsessed with optics and media relations. Both Armando Iannucci and Aaron Sorkin have created shows that portray politics as vapid, empty, and stupid, only Sorkin thinks this is something positive and praiseworthy, that this is how ‘serious’ politics should be.

      Also, bah, Borgen. I dropped that show after the “we must stay the course in Afghanistan, because…reasons” episode.

      1. Marina Bart

        The Thick of It also makes it clear that the intelligent but vicious consultants lead the dim-witted elected officials and party bureaucrats (all of whom went to Oxbridge) around by the nose.

        Literally no one in the world of The Thick of It is both competent and admirable. One episode does suggest that Malcolm Tucker, the famously nasty PR and messaging expert, honestly believes that his party is better for workers and regular people. But there’s no way to map his beliefs onto policy. So there’s no way to test whether he’s a Blairite or an old fashioned Labor dude. (I think it’s pretty clear his unnamed party is Labor and the other unnamed Party is the Tories — there’s even a season whether that party is in a coalition with another, weaker party that’s clearly the Liberals.)

        Of the many, many moments I love from the The Thick of It, I can’t decide whether my favorite is the cleaning lady screaming at the idiot aristocrat MP, with Malcolm and his hench (IIRC) stepping in to apologize to her for the idiot aristocrat, or Malcolm’s long speech describing Star Wars:

        (Warning: Malcolm Tucker’s vocabulary is not fit for a family blog — another way The Thick of It is superior to West Wing.)

  6. Linda

    seriously, the guy has a point Greg Fallis. I had no idea that “Fearless Girl” was part of a marketing campaign by State Street Global Advisors. Peak liberalism?

    The creator of Charging Bull has a point whether or not Fearless Girl is part of an ad campaign. You no longer look at Charging Bull as a stand-alone work of art and appreciate it for itself. Now you look at the two pieces and how they interact, relate, and interpret the art from that. It makes Charging Bull something different than it was when alone.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Interesting article–I had no idea any of this was going on, and I’ve never even heard of Fearless Girl.

      But one thing’s for sure. If DiModica decided to pick up his bull and go home, Fearless Girl would be being fearless somewhere else so fast it would make your head spin.

      1. a different chris

        From an artistic perspective, I do now see where DiModica is coming from.

        But also thinks it serves him right for spending his time and money to make a tribute, at the moment its worst excesses splattered all of us in sh*t (real sh*t, not bullsh*t), to Wall Street. For god’s sakes. Hopefully he learned something.

        The more I look at them, the more I think neither of them is very good art. Leni R. would have been proud, though.

        1. Emma

          Despite the PR for the financial services firm, I think McCann wished to inspire young ladies to stand up to both mindless aggression and dominance.
          The whole matter would be all the more interesting if the McCann team behind the stunt, were themselves, inspired by the work of Evelyn Dunbar and her painting titled:
          ‘A Land Girl and the Bail Bull’ which is at the Tate in London:

          Despite what McCann or even DiModica have to say with their ‘art’ here, personally speaking, I think the painting by Dunbar is more meaningful.

      2. clarky90

        Maybe Fearless Girl is a Levite, the tribe commanded, by God, to destroy the worshipers of The Golden Calf?

        “The Bible records that the tribe of Levi did not worship the golden calf. When Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said: ‘Whosoever is on the LORD’s side, let him come unto me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them: ‘Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel: Put ye every man his sword upon his thigh, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp……. (Exodus 32:26-28)”

      3. hunkerdown

        Good. No art or art work is entitled to dictate its context or its interpretation, and that di Modica thinks he can exclude commentary on his work is unhinged. If he loves that Great American Spirit so much to spend $350k fetishizing it, perhaps he ought to respect that Great American Value of freedom of discourse. People like him are the reason we can’t have mold-breaking audio collages like Paul’s Boutique anymore. It’s just a bit disappointing that the co-optation in this case was commercial rather than popular, but bronze ain’t cheap.

    2. UserFriendly

      I had no idea that “Fearless Girl” was part of a marketing campaign by State Street Global Advisors. Peak liberalism?

      You should have, I submitted this weeks ago but it didn’t make the cut.


      Behind this piece of creative activism is the advertising giant McCann-Erickson, a company that boasts of “award-winning work” for other enlightened superbrands, such as Camel, Nestlé, Bacardi, Mastercard, and Coca Cola. Their client, State Street Global Advisors, is one of the world’s biggest investment management companies, known for multiple lawsuits for its mishandling of pension funds, including a class-action for investing in mortgage-backed securities and other shady debt instruments in the lead-up to the financial crisis. They also have billions invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline.


      Rigidly hereditary aristocracies, as the book notes, are often short-lived compared to “adoptive organizations”, like the Catholic Church. This point was not lost on the rulers in Orwell’s novel:

      “In the crucial years, the fact that the Party was not a hereditary body did a great deal to neutralize opposition. The older kind of Socialist, who had been trained to fight against something called ‘class privilege’ assumed that what is not hereditary cannot be permanent.”

      Like the Inner Party of Oceania, a woke oligarchy will be more acceptable to the masses — as exemplified by our current celebration of Wall Street board rooms that fight for women’s right to raid our pension funds.

    3. Kukulkan

      I really don’t get this Fearless Girl thing. I mean, the statue’s posture and attitude says “Fearless Girl”, but the placement in front of the charging bull changes that to “Stupid Girl” because, no matter what her psychology and attitude, she’s about to get gored and crushed, leaving her severely injured, if not dead. Simple physics.

      If that’s not the message the statue is trying to convey, then someone needs to move it out of the path of the charging bull.

      And I always thought the bull statue was a reference to a bull market and that somewhere else on Wall Street there was a statue of a bear. If there isn’t a bear statue, someone should add one.

      1. DH

        Even bullriders have clowns in barrels to distract the bull away from him when he “dismounts”. A statue of Sean Spicer in a barrel nearby might make the whole Fearless Girl – charging Bull trope make more sense.

      2. Patricia

        I think the bear needs to be sitting on the bull while on top of him, the fearless girl stands. And under the bull, all the way down, turtles…

        That’s a sculpture I might go see…

        1. Patricia

          Conversely, the bull-artist could turn the bull around so the balls’ end faces the girl. And then the girl-artist could move that statue, and we could have years of fun watching them moving and moving.

          Or the bull-artist could put a gold-brick wall in front of the girl, and then the girl-artist could move the girl on top of the wall and….

          But no, being essentially non-creative, they sue.

            1. perpetualWAR

              We could build a fire under Charging Bull and rename it
              Brazen Bull. Perhaps even shove Jamie Dimon inside?

      3. montanamaven

        Oh boy, i wrote my comment below over two hours ago when there were no comments on “Fearless Girl” article and then got distracted with real life. Then I posted it before refreshing. Anyway I was right about the comments being better here than on the Greg Fallis site.

        i too wondered about where to put the bear. I did think of putting Putin and Comey on the back of the bull and Hilary with her hand on the shoulder of “Fearless Girl”. But I like the rodeo clown idea. But so many clowns to choose from.

      4. perpetualWAR

        Did everyone read the latest Mexican news about bull fighting? The matador got gored in his bum with 11 inches of bull horn. How’s that for a little payback?

        :( the bull still didn’t make it outta the ring, tho.

      5. Dandelion

        Of course, it has to be a girl and not a woman, because any female power must be diminutive — so that rather than looking at all threatening, she looks charmingly impudent. One could chuckle, pat her on the head, say fondly, “You go, girl!” and then tell her the grown-ups now are talking with the bull now and it’s time for her to go to bed.

        1. Marina Bart

          THANK YOU.

          Rather like the cutesy pink hats, girls are allowed to be fearless as long as they are not yet sexually mature.

          After that, it’s be afraid; be very afraid: of your physical safety, your size, your smell, your desire, your mind, your hair (which needs to be luxuriant in one location, and absent or rigidly restrained everywhere else), where you go, what you do, what you say, what you think — I know men are increasingly contrained by some of these forces, as well. But it’s not yet as extreme and comprehensive as it is for women.

          Fearless Girl is perfect neoliberal feminism. It is created by an ad agency (the entire industry is run by men and notorious for workplace misogyny as well as misogynist messaging), to deceptively shill for a financial product designed to entice goodthinking liberals into cleansing themselves by how they invest their money (gained, of course, within the confines of exploitative patriarchy capitalism). It uses the image of a sexually immature young girl as its symbol, and then places this image opposite an existing piece of art in order to contextualize a message of strength that would otherwise be completely absent from the image on its own. So as a “message,” Fearless Girl is essentially stealing from the charging bull. The bull can exist on its own. The girl cannot. The bull, created as guerrilla art initially, has had proper permitting for years. So Fearless Girl the advertisement unquestionably undermines the strength and power of the independently created, pre-existing statue. I think his interpretation of his work is nuts, but that’s irrelevant. An independently made piece of public art is being undermined by a deceptive corporate advertisement that hides its rapacious capitalist intent behind a female form. (Say, what recent political campaign does that sound like?)

          If you treat the statue of the girl as necessarily requiring the bull to make its statement, it’s basically saying, “Hey, girl, you’re about to die.” If she’s “fearless,” it’s because she’s stupid. She has no weapon. She is not showing any plan to handle the bull — it’s not like she’s preparing to vault onto its back, which would actually make more sense with selling the fund. She is alone, because under neoliberalism we all must face the predations of the market alone. If this was real life, she would be dead very soon. So the implied message is profoundly dishonest. No young girl by herself with only her “fearlessness” can face down a charging bull.

          And if you don’t treat the girl as requiring the bull, what’s left? Either a kid who looks like they’re having a tantrum because someone told them they had to do their homework before they got the new Netflix password, or a child being used as a human shield. (There’s a disturbing lack of expression on her metallic face.)

          In short, Fearless Girl is reprehensible legally, artistically and politically. It is the opposite of female empowerment. It is a perfect representation of how women are diminished in this economic system, as a symbol of how all art and human agency is diminished in this system. In that regard, it is unintentionally important art.

          It should be moved.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Yes, a statue of a Knossos bull dancer facing the bull would be wonderful, for those who got the reference. But suggestive; they wore very little. It was a truly astonishing thing they did; modern bullfighting is a pale echo.

        2. craazyman

          Nobody calls this for what it is — plagiarism and energetic vampirism

          Also, nobody acknowledges the thing isnt bad as a bronze sculpture. It has a strong gesture and a dynamism of its own. Cultural analysis isnt the only frameework for seeing

          But they shiuldnt jump in front of a national icon and try to co-opt it with a shameless appeal to sentimentality. Thats just embarrasing, to be that empty of inspiration. She should go make it on her own, not fake it and plagiarize the energy created by a man’s work , hanging on to a man like that. This does have the limp and odious vibe of a marketing stunt

      6. Vatch

        she’s about to get gored and crushed, leaving her severely injured,

        Maybe she’s from the planet Krypton.

    4. flora

      ” It was commissioned as part of an advertising campaign developed by McCann, a global advertising corporation. And it was commissioned to be presented on the first anniversary of State Street Global’s “Gender Diversity Index” fund, which has the following NASDAQ ticker symbol: SHE. And finally, along with Fearless Girl is a bronze plaque that reads:

      Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.

      Note it’s not She makes a difference, it’s SHE makes a difference. It’s not referring to the girl; it’s referring to the NASDAQ symbol. It’s not a work of guerrilla art; it’s an extremely clever advertising scheme. ”

      I keep thinking ‘fearless girl’ and that awful Pepsi ad are both attempts to leverage social buzz from the Womans March to sell a product – a la Eddie Bernays’ “Torches of Freedom” ad campaign back in the day.

      1. Pat

        All of which is why I was not offended by the photos of the guy pretending to piss on Fearless Girl, and I was beyond amused by the idiocy of someone who put an umbrella over her during a storm (also photo).

        It is not art, it is not a feminist statement, and it deserves to be pissed on and rust in the rain. But people have bought the bull and not the statue.

        I like the bull statue. There is something that captures both the power and the destructiveness of an unaware raging Wall Street in that statue. And while I haven’t been down there since the advertising item was added, it struck me that would also diminish the power of the bull image by diverting the way it was focused on a contracting route as the two streets merge in front of it.

        1. craazyboy

          I whole thing seems to work better if they rename her “Candy Store Girl”.

          P.S. That reminds me. I once knew a very hot stripper named Candy that worked at a strip club named The Candy Store. But that’s a completely unrelated story.

      2. craazyboy

        It would all be more believable, for me anyway, it they chiseled a nice pink granite hat for Fearless Girl.

      3. jrs

        perhaps at least chisel out the advertising part (the “SHE makes a difference”). But it’s probably too late for that by now, they got their advertising.

    5. PhilM

      It takes a biblical mastery of exegesis to construe this statue as some kind of statement of feminism. The reality of the sculpture is this: a foolish youngster without adequate supervision is undergoing a fatal accident; her ignorant defiance will soon be agony and terror, and probably a meaningless, avoidable death.

      Here’s a sculpture: the farm owner, successfully sued by this girl’s parents for neglecting to build idiot-proof fencing and post adequate signage. Bankrupted, his prize bull slaughtered by court order, he is shown committing suicide by fentanyl overdose.

      Or this, probably best done by Di Modica himself: a boy running to pull her from the bull’s path. While he could entitle it, “Brave boy risks his life to rescue girl from fatal consequences of her own foolishness,” some would prefer “Tat for tit.”

    6. Alex Morfesis

      Charging bull dude is a proud member of that dangerous terrorist organization, fullahbullah (a licensee of hizbullah caymens)…he illegally dropped the bull statue on wall street and must have worn out many sets of knee pads by now from getting his annual “temporary” permit renewed without question…

      Personally the crazy little girl needs to have someone place a roaring baby polar bear next to her left with a leash attached to her left hand and the bear roaring at the bull…therefore it would be a bit more realistic, as a prodigy girl with a keyboard and capital can “in theory” short and cellar box a bull market…

      To make it historically correct place a flowing cape with “H3G” on the back of the little girl as hetty greene was already handling her rich whaling families finances and books in her early teens…she was what we would today call a child prodigy…and hetty was a monstrous risk taker and played major league hardball…

  7. rich

    Cohn has Randal Quarles as a Fed candidate. He’s a PEU promoting himself as a “longtime Carlyle Group partner”:

    Trump’s Potential PEU Fed Vice Chair

    Reuter’s reported:

    The vacant Federal Reserve vice chairman’s seat is a key regulatory role Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn and his colleagues on the economic team want to fill soon. Cohn has interviewed nearly two dozen candidates and has whittled the list down. Randal Quarles, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration is one of several candidates left, a source familiar with the process said.

    In June 2003 Quarles spoke on Iraqi Reconstruction. Ten years later an analysis of that effort showed:

    Iraq Reconstruction Cost U.S. $60 Billion: Left Behind Corruption And Waste

    Despite a $60 billion U.S effort to rebuild Iraq, life for most Iraqis has not improved significantly, according to a bitter and regretful retrospective by Iraqi officials and U.S. diplomats, military officers and politicians.

    Randall Quarles left President George W. Bush’s U.S. Treasury for The Carlyle Group where he served on their financial services team. Carlyle made a fortune on BankUnited, which it obtained from the FDIC with billions in subsidies. That sound strikingly familiar to IndyMac and Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s current Treasury chief.

    The potential Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve served under President George H. W. Bush.

    During the Administration of President George H.W. Bush, Mr. Quarles also served at the Treasury; first as Special Assistant to the Secretary for Banking Legislation from 1991 to 1992 and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Policy from 1992 to 1993. In those roles, Mr. Quarles was a principal member of the Treasury’s effort to design comprehensive reform of the laws governing bank capital markets activities.

    Randall Quarles rotated from government to Carlyle, a politically connected private equity underwriter (PEU). Bank capital markets imploded after Quarles left his Domestic Finance position with the W. Bush administration. Carlyle’s press release on Quarles hiring stated:

    “Before joining Carlyle, Mr. Quarles was Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, where he led the Department’s activities in financial sector and capital markets policy, including coordination of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, development of administration policy on hedge funds and derivatives, regulatory reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and proposing fundamental reform of the U.S. financial regulatory structure.”

    That’s the junk that blew up in 2008. Candidate Donald Trump wouldn’t touch a guy like Quarles. Will President Trump appoint another PEU to retain a system that rewards those with the most?

    Buyout shops have seized on a performance enhancer that artificially jacks up results, according to many industry executives.The practice isn’t illegal, and is largely cosmetic, but it allows private equity firms to goose what’s known as their internal rate of return, or IRR.

    Greed requires those with oversight to look the other way. Quarles played a role in several government performance debacles. I expect none of this to come up if he is nominated for Fed Vice Chair.
    Posted by PEU Report/State of the Division at 10:56 PM

  8. Christopher Fay

    Charging Bull always reminded me of Merrill Lynch due to ML’s ads in the 1980s bull market. Even the zombie remnant of that at Bank of America gets the benefit of the statue. It to me seemed to be a fetish for the Markets; a piece of art respectful of its patrons. And it has a relationship with the pavement it stands on, the walls surrounding it. I can see it in isolation. I think pompous girl helps belittle it. The two together belittle themselves. So they’re an aid to society.

    1. fresno dan

      Christopher Fay
      April 17, 2017 at 8:42 am

      If I made a statue of Hillary and placed Hillary just in front of “fearless girl” would that mean fearless girl is with her???

      And in reaction, what would it mean if someone placed a statue of Trump underneath the bull, and it was taking a big bronze dump?

      Than I would make a 40 story statue of Godzilla about to step on them all….

      1. MoiAussie

        What would be better would be a statue of HRC facing the fearless girl, to encourage the meme that fearless girls are ready to face her down.

        1. a different chris

          haha good idea, but may I (rudely*) point out that, like the last line of Animal Farm, the bull and Hillary nowadays look pretty much alike! So just put a shapeless purple dress on it and good to go.

          *I am “woke” enough that I do have some reservations making fun of a womans’s appearance, but Hillary has just gone so far over the line at this point… and in fact it’s more Ms Clinton’s attitude that I’m calling out here.

          1. craazyboy

            IMHO, you are on safe ground when fashion sense is used for virtue signaling, political messaging, and is your party platform shoes you stand for and on.

        2. Gareth

          Better yet, a statue of Hillary behind the fearless girl, poised to kick her into the path of the bull while holding a sign that reads “Because Markets”.

  9. oho

    Ok, dunno the official Naked Capitalism stance on Mike Cernovich. So if all links to him are verboten, no probs…. (from April 8)

    Given that above link citing a McMaster aide, throwing out this Cernovich article on his observation on how the NSC has been filled w/McMaster loyalists (aka Neocon/preemptive-strikers) versus the Flynn/Bannon camp (aka pragmatic-realists).

    “Petraeus’ influence in the NSC remains strong.

    McMaster was called Petraeus’ golden child by some commenters, noting the strong influence Petraeus had over McMaster. Petraeus was considered for the position of NSA, but withdrew his name from consideration once McMaster’s name was included on the short-list. McMaster’s appointment allowed Petraeus to maintain control over the NSC without bringing his considerable baggage to the position….”

    1. fresno dan

      April 17, 2017 at 9:00 am

      oho, I used to look at a lot of right wing stuff and be very skeptical of it. Than my skepticism of “mainstream” has gone up to be equivalent to my skepticism of the right wing stuff.
      You just have to read the stuff and decide for yourself if it is credible AND relevant. I have found very few “reporters” really are even trying to be objective. I carry no water for Trump…or for Obama – its a very lonely place other than at NC….

      EXAMPLE: Napolitano of Fox is suspended because of the article about Obama admin using foreign intelligence sources.

      Now the mediamatters article I link below is critical of Napolitano. I link to it specifically to distinguish between facts in an article and spin. In my view the article is trying to “spin” (or emphasize – I’m really not trying to “spin” my comment) the story as to it being about discredited “wiretapping” and that foreign surveillance was specifically ORDERED by the Obama admin – now, I AGREE that is a very, very important point that Obama did not order specifically foreign searches (at least that we know of now) and that as far as that is concerned, the mediamatters point appears CORRECT.

      But in my view, it is NOT THE ONLY POINT. The real point to me is that surveillance on US citizens can occur without a warrant when it happens overseas, that this is happening constantly, and apparently this information can come back to the US, again, apparently without any safegrards***. I leave it to people’s own sense of skepticism if this arrangement is ever used to circumvent getting a warrant on a US citizen (HECK, I leave it to people’s skepticism if the FISA court is nothing but a circumlocution of the US constitution)
      The FACT is that there are FACTS out there, and certain people have FACTS they want to emphasize, and other FACTS they want to de-emphasize…..

      ***does anyone know when the British have surveillance of US citizens and they send it to the US, what procedures or constraints on those conversations are???

      1. dontknowitall

        I believe the controlling law is section 702 of the Patriot Act and Executive Order 16333. To be sure you should check out Emptywheel’s website because she has done a thorough analysis of all of this and it is all archived in her website.

      1. Pat

        Unfortunately you are probably right. And a certain portion of the so-called liberal intelligentsia aka Clinton wing I am exposed to, loves them some General Petraeus. Scary, I know.

    2. Susan the other

      Chernovich is considered by NC to be a very reliable source, I think. And his analysis of McMaster’s push for more troops is accurate. I didn’t like the article because I felt it failed to account for the difference in Mattis and McMaster in any coherent way. And Trump just gave the Pentagon the ability to make its best decisions and follow through on them. (this was reported after Chernovich’s article). Amazing really. But that puts Mattis in charge and he would rather work with the other interests fighting in Syria than unilaterally. McMaster, it was implied by Chernovich, was all for sending 150,000 troops in to finish the job. So there is a huge leeway of possibilities according to Chernovich. Maybe the military is softening up the public to accept what seems to be an attitude of having had enough and wanting to just go in and take care of business. They all seem to agree on that.

      1. Susan the other

        Also today’s link from Reuters re McMaster getting down to business with Russia. McMaster wants to have the tough talks to sort it all out. Because “Syria’s government has got to go.” OK, and… McMaster thought Tillerson’s trip to Moscow and his meeting with Lavrov was a good start because relations are so bad right now that there’s “nowhere to go but up.” I think my compass is pointing to an agreement with the Russians to remove Assad. But they will never say it. If I were Assad, I’d want to get out – Syria is rubble, there’s not much left to govern; even if his enemies would leave him alone. They’re all just positioning themselves for the best deal they can get. And the threat of 150K troops on the ground is saying loud and clear that we will be the ones to decide the new direction for Syria. To my thinking.

        1. tgs

          You may be right. But that will be the end of Syria. The country is still filled with foreign backed jihadis who really want to establish an islamic state. The US may think it can take someone currently residing in France or the US and install them. But there is no one available with any popular support that I know of. Things almost definitely will get worse for Syria – the carnage will continue.

          And Putin must realize that those insisting that Assad must go also want Putin out as well. Surely, he sees that he has to draw a line somewhere.

          1. Susan the other

            maybe, but I’ve come to suspect that we like and want Putin there, but we don’t want Russian nationalists to know it… it’s so convoluted you can almost read anything into it… so the best way to grok it is to imagine the most useful and beneficial solutions. Which are few.

            1. Mark P.

              In 2017 Putin has become the reliable constant in international affairs, especially next to the idiots who’ve been doing U.S. foreign policy.

              People will miss him when he’s gone.

        2. Olga

          IMHO, you could not be more wrong. Russians went into Syria in Sept. 2015 – after notifying the whole world via a UN speech. The decision must have taken months to complete. What makes you think that after all the work and effort this took, Russians would suddenly reverse course? If they were to give up on Assad so quickly, why go in in the first place? Remember – they have a VERY LONG-TERM VIEW (just like the Chinese). The problem with demonising Assad (and anyone, for that matter) is that the US public ends up with a totally unrealistic view of the subject at hand (and not just a negative one). Just like with Putin – the story is not just about one man. There is a large power structure connected to each man. Neither one makes decisions in a vacuum. Russians and Iranians understand that if they give up on a unified Syria- which is what Assad represents – they would be next (Chechnya war, anyone?). One must assess these things from the perspective of the other – not from what the US would like.

        3. anonymous

          Isn’t the greater Damascus area relatively unscathed? Granted other vast areas are in ruins

    3. Christopher Fay

      The army is scattered to the four winds. Can McMaster render up 150,000 soldiers? 150 k means 450,000. one third in the field, one third recovering, and one third on stand by according to the Shinseki ratio.

  10. human

    Unravelling why shoelace knots fail

    I’ve also played with this, but, accept that knots become untied … because they are and happily take the time to rest a moment and retie them.

    My bank has facial recognition also. They recognize me when I walk in!

      1. oho

        i have a non-OCD OCD of wearing only slip-on shoes—unless they’re gym shoes or work boots.

        makes it easier to discreetly slip out of shoes on an airplane/at an office desk. and saves lots of random seconds that I waste here making pithy-wannabe comments on the internet.

    1. Gaianne

      The article really goes off the deep end. They call a half-hitch a trefoil–fine if you are a mathematical topologist–and then say shoe-lace ties are just a bunch of trefoils. That’s great if you are purely a theorist.

      I wonder how many people cannot tell a granny knot from a square knot. These both may be combinations of trefoils, but in practice it matters how the trefoils are combined. If you don’t think about it, you will reliably tie a granny. Granny knots fail all the time, it is one of their features. Square knots fail only rarely.

      There is an old saying that applies here:
      In theory, there is no difference between practice and theory.
      In practice, they are completely different!


  11. MoiAussie

    If anyone is struggling to access Learning to Love Intelligent Machines (WSJ), you can get to it by clicking though this post. YMMV.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Also, don’t forget to Learn from your Love Machines.

      Artificial Love + Artificial Intelligence = Artificial Utopia.

  12. libarbarian

    RE: “Fearless Girl”

    A few seasons back, South Park pointed out how easy it was for corporations to co-opt social justice rhetoric. Since then, life has stubbornly insisted on supporting that thesis.

    1. DH

      Every now and then the un-system bites back as we just saw with the Pepsi ad, although they did get a ton of free press, similar to United. That approach worked for The Donald…..

    2. Ernesto Lyon

      Corporations love non-class based identity politics. They love arguing that the real problems in society are not about economic inequality but rather on identity based sensitivity. You can learn the fancy sensitivity codes at your uppity college and look down your nose at the poor whites who don’t get the semiotic coaching. Business as Usual.

  13. allan

    The long, rough ride ahead for ‘Made in America’ [Reuters]

    Mini motorcycle and go-kart maker Monster Moto made a big bet on U.S. manufacturing by moving assembly to this Louisiana town in 2016 from China.

    But it will be a long ride before it can stamp its products “Made in USA.”

    The loss of nearly one out four U.S. factories in the last two decades means parts for its bike frames and engines must be purchased in China, where the manufacturing supply chain moved years ago.

    “There’s just no way to source parts in America right now,” said Monster Moto Chief Executive Alex Keechle during a tour of the company’s assembly plant. “But by planting the flag here, we believe suppliers will follow.” …

    The most likely components Monster Moto could produce in America first are black, welded-metal frames for bikes and go-karts, but they would have to automate production because human welders would be too expensive. …

    The same principle applies for much larger manufacturers, such as automotive supplier Delphi Automotive PLC’s (DLPH.N). Chief Financial Officer Joe Massaro told analysts in February that 90 percent of the company’s hourly workforce is in “best-cost countries.” …

    Weirdly, the concept of “best-cost country” doesn’t apply to the C-suite.

  14. dontknowitall

    About “In Pictures: Beijing hutongs – village life in the city”…

    I’ve wandered up and down Beijing’s hutongs and I find the article gives the wrong impression of hutongs. Many hutong were taken over by moneyed people interested in living close to the power centers in Beijing while giving the appearance of being with the common people. The plethora of discreet security cameras hint at this. For instance, in the hutong near the presidential complex in downtown Beijing, one of the traditional houses is owned by no less than Rupert Murdoch. Sure there are common people too but they are a dying breed as the traditional housing is fast being remodeled for the wealthy leaving only a shell of their former selves.

  15. aliteralmind

    Regarding Cleveland Facebook killing (originally reported as live, but wasn’t… it was recorded on video and uploaded afterwards), Trump supporters are taking it to heart. Partially that the news is hiding the fact that it is a black-on-black crime, but mostly just sympathy and anger at the victim’s death, and a desire for justice. They want to organize “since Black Lives Matter won’t.”

    Active threads:

    We Lost a Good American Today. Fuck Degenerate Murders

    God bless you Mr. Goodwin SR. Rather remember him this way. This crime has sickened my family and I

    Justice: If BLM won’t show up for this man, we have to. Cleveland pedes need to organize

    Gun-Controlled Chicago: 29 People Shot in Under 18 Hours. BLM has been SILENT

    Rest In Peace Old Timer. You did not deserve it. Justice for this man now!


    His name was Robert Godwin Sr

    Rest easy Mr. Goodwin, you’ve earned it

    Facebook wants to educate you about fake news but can’t respond to people being raped, murdered, or kidnapped on their video feed. Fuck you Cuckerberg.

    VERY FAKE NEWS: CNN Leaves out race of cleveland shooter to promote narrative of gun control rather than black on black violence

    CNN refuses to mention ethnicity of spree murderer who is livestreaming on Facebook. Cause, you know, that would help people avoid danger, but it might also hurt feelings and we can’t have that.

    The son of the Cleveland victim reacts to his fathers death. Let’s give him and his family our support

  16. Ulysses

    Allysa B. provides an interesting overview of the UBI issue in the piece linked above. She is even-handed and thorough, without blatant cherry-picking to promote any specific agenda.

    Yet the conclusion of her piece is profoundly dissatisfying.

    “Basic income isn’t the only way to make that demand, and it isn’t even a necessary part of it—but its utopian elements can help drive a more visionary agenda for labor.
    None of the UBI proposals we hear today—in Canada, the United Kingdom, or in France—is likely to be quite the basic income imagined by luxury communists (there aren’t enough of them to win an election yet), but they’re a start.
    Utopia is possible. If we want it, though, we’ll need to make it a part of the demands and visions of the left movements we build over the next few years. Because we can’t just invent the future—we’re going to have to fight for it.”

    If her real interest is in building powerful movements, more than the technical pros and cons of UBI or a Jobs Guarantee, why not share some strategic thoughts on how to build such movements? She is rightly unenthused at the prospects of accomplishing anything through politics as usual in the U.S., or other parts of the developed world. So how will these new movements seize power?!?!

    In other words– does she have any useful ideas on how to translate the energy of well-meaning doctoral students like herself, in places like New Haven, Ithaca, or Princeton, into positive changes in the working lives of people in places like Akron or Camden?

    Without including real strategies for the seizure of political and economic power by workers, these earnest discussions may only do what Alyssa B., herself, decries: “Instead of fighting off the dystopian future, settle into the interregnum of the present, with all its morbid symptoms.”

    1. marym

      So how will these new movements seize power?!?!

      adding: and what goals will they advance besides leisure?

      A guaranteed income that helps people pay for expensive insurance for still-unaffordable healthcare, or clothes and appliances that fall apart, or social services that don’t exist, or rent-extracting tolls and fees, or the bill for their poisoned water isn’t utopian.

      1. jrs

        on the other hand what goal did the movement for an 8 hour day and a 40 hour week advance besides leisure?

        1. marym

          It was a labor movement, not an 8-hr day movement. People expected to be productive and have enough of a share in the fruits of their labor to meet their needs, and enjoy their leisure.

          Neither automation nor an income guarantee will enable people to meet their needs, and enjoy their leisure in the examples in my comment and many other areas of our diminished economic life. That’s not an argument against an income guarantee. It’s a question about what problem it’s supposed to solve.

    2. HBE

      UBI in combination with corporate dominance is an absolutely terrible idea.

      After corps have exploited labor to the point they have no consumers (already happening), UBI just becomes a gov subsidy to oligarchs keeping them in power and the people out, when they (oligarchs and corps) would otherwise crumble under their own extractive overreach.

      UBI can be good, UBI combined with corporate dominance is most certainly not.

      Why do you think all the squillionaires are calling for UBI. It’s certainly not because they give a damn about the workers they’ve violently exploited for decades.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Britain set to lose EU ‘crown jewels’ of banking and medicine agencies Guardian (Furzy Mouse

    The Ca-exit equivalent would be losing ‘crown jewel’ money for Lawrence Livermore Lab, the Jet Propulsion Lab, and weapons research centers.

    1. Arizona Slim

      What if those labs were retooled and became sustainable energy research centers? Or centers for peace and reconciliation?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I like that, perhaps Britain could the same, even without their DC-equivalent money, i.e. Brussels money, retooling their own medicine agencies.

        1. Anonymous2

          The UK press is reporting that the UK is going to suggest it keeps its European agencies even after it leaves the EU. I am trying to work out if this is:

          1. A belated April fool.
          2. A bizarre negotiating strategy – trade off something it is not going to have against something else it wants, hoping the EU does not notice.
          3. Evidence that the British government is now suffering mental collapse following prolonged psychological stress.

          Other suggestions welcome.

    2. Susan the other

      apparently the EU is offended by the UK threatening to become a “low tax, low regulation” country right on the EU’s doorstep… it was stupid of May to threaten them with a race to the bottom if the EU didn’t give the UK new trade agreements asap; would those expedited new agreements serve to salvage some of the old banking and medicines concessions for the UK?

  18. Jomo

    On “What would Jesus Disrupt?”, there is also the always disturbing (to me anyway) scripture of Matthew 10:34-36:
    Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Records of that are few.

      I remember reading in western propaganda of some such occurrences during the Cultural Revolution in China.

    2. Katharine

      But then there is the injunction to love your enemies, do good to them that hurt you. Nothing is simple.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Who are our enemies?

        All Russians? The 0.01%? Conservatives?

        How does one love? Some ‘punish’ because they ‘love,’ so they claim. “It hurts me to send you to your room than it hurts you.” Is to punish to love?

      2. MtnLife

        Lawyerly parsing. Yes, you are supposed to forgive your enemies as you lack the infinite knowledge of God so only God is allowed to judge. God’s enemies are therefore a totally different story. Deuteronomy 13 talks about killing an entire town (livestock included) if even one person there talks badly about God. Kinda scary when you realize how much the evangelicals have grabbed power in the military.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Yes. Makes you wonder whether the Christian missionaries actually read the contents of the book they were proselytizing, or thought about how it might be interpreted by the natives. In some cases the would-be converts did read it, decided they preferred the Old Testament to the New, and horrors ensued.

    3. PhilM

      “What have I to do with thee, woman?”

      Christ was apparently a true cynic. See the wikipedia article on Cynicism before judging that; it’s not original with me. Cynicism was open in its denunciation of all human convention. Nevertheless, it was non-violent, so “bringing a sword” means not the waging of organized war, but rather is a metaphor of conflict between those who support conventional morality and those who support the Cynical way of life; if indeed those were Jesus’s words (if there were any words of Jesus, for that matter), as they are mostly incompatible with the rest of his speech.

      Cynicism does derive from Socrates; from that part of the Socratic approach that questions community norms so aggressively that they have to kill you to shut you up. As for Socrates, so for Jesus.

      It’s amazing the doors that open onto the understanding of Christianity once its Cynical features are recognized, and the neo-Platonist frosting that was applied by Paul, and the forces of order later on, is demoted. The cake is actually quite inspirational; the frosting, pretty revolting. But the natural selection of ideas, that process which favors the survival of ideas that enhance power and authority, has decisively suppressed the Cynical core.

    4. Ben Fitzkee

      Matthew 10:34-36:
      Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

      I have always assumed that this referred to the inevitable conflict that arises from following ones conscience and not abiding by the customs of ones culture. If one believes there was a Jesus, and at least some of the stories attributed to him are true then we can say he challenged both the Jewish religious orthodoxy of the day, and Roman imperial rule.

      Start acting like climate change is an emergency. Organize, and fight for the interests of the 99%. Speak out against, and resist the American empire. Change your life, and take direct action to be the change you wish to see in the world.

      Doing these things sounds like a recipe for turning “A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law”. I have at one point or another, through word or deed, aided these causes and found myself in conflict with family and close friends. But as MLK famously said:

      “Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles.
      Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.
      Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it.
      Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?
      Expediency ask the question, is it politic?
      Vanity asks the question, is it popular?

      “But, conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    seriously, the guy has a point Greg Fallis. I had no idea that “Fearless Girl” was part of a marketing campaign by State Street Global Advisors. Peak liberalism?

    It seems anything neo is not good…neoliberalism, neoconservatism, maybe even, neoclassicalism.

    Can we not go back, or revive some thoughts/styles/ideas, etc from the past?

    Can we write the way we used to write (however it was), instead of Peak Oil, Peak Greed, Peak liberalism? How did we write before? Jump-the-Shark Liberalism? And before that, how did people write – something simple like, abbreviated, P. Liberalism, P.L. or something else, perhaps more elaborate, long handed, like, Has liberalism peaked?

  20. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

    Re: What would Jesus disrupt? (just the question, not the linked article)

    Wasn’t there something about money changers in the temple?

    My view is that Forex is the great threat to whatever commonwealth anyone lives in – if not now, sooner or later. Always cheaper elsewhere.

    So I reckon Jesus would disrupt the system of foreign currency exchange. I imagine that something more turbulent than disrupting the equilibrium of Forex trader’s desks would be involved. Now, that would be a miracle!

    1. PhilM

      Jesus rendered unto Caesar those things which are Caesar’s. He was getting the money-changers out of the temple, not getting rid of them altogether. The spiritual path is not material, or military, it is in the mind and the soul. People cannot pursue a material, political, or social agenda of any kind, even one of redistribution, and still be truly “Christian,” as Christ would have had it. They must give all they have and find their way in poverty. They must abandon judgment of the actions of their fellows. Just as Diogenes lived in a barrel, but did not much care about the decor of the Athens’ St Regis lobby one way or another.

      Ultimately the message was that to be poor and angry is to be a slave twice over; to be poor and happy is to be free of the chains of both wealth and resentment. Hence also the point that the poor are always with you; that has come up often here, and the real message is missed: that the most important thing is not necessarily to help the poor, but to be among them: to eliminate concern for material things from life entirely. The same goes for pain; turning the other cheek is not metaphorical; it is a statement that suffering imposed by others has only the meaning one gives it, and to deny that meaning is to deny them power over your mind.

      I’m not saying that all of that is right, or even arguable; I’m just saying that I think the philosophical basis of it should be considered more profoundly, and given more respect, than it often is, when it is used for political polemic.

      I believe Lambert’s point was exactly that: that the money-changers should be thrown out of the temple; that Blankfein is not doing “God’s work”; that the whole article was a depiction of the deliberate debauchery of the Christian message by conflating it with material enterprise. That article in the links was a spiritual horror show.

      1. HopeLB

        Has someone written a good book on the history of usury? When did it become acceptable in the Christian dominated US? Islam bans it. Shakespeare talked about it. Our founders lamented their usurious debts. Think I read somewhere that the Zionists pledged, after WW2, to get out of banking altogether?

        1. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

          The problem is that debt is about more than money. When blood is spilt on a large scale, there is moral debt. Think Australia in WW2; Britain, the mother country was unable to provide full succour and protection to its former child. The US took over that role (although it was probably not sought), and paid for the position with lots of lives in the Pacific war. Since that moral debt was created, Australia is always there for the US. This goes pretty much the same for Britain because of America’s huge commitment to defeating the Germans in Europe.
          Somehow, the USSR got left out of the accounting (damn that Hitler/Stalin pact) – they got eastern Europe, but as with most people possessions are never quite as satisfying as full public acknowledgement. This was something the US and Britain did not fully and adequately express, and will poison relations for centuries.

          Money debts pail into insignificance when compared to moral debts. If anyone has got a plans for a moral debt jubiliee, put her or him in charge of a financial debt jubilee – it should be a doddle in comparison.

  21. allan

    Pritzker defends progressive credentials in Democratic governor bid [Chi Trib]

    Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker on Sunday accused the media of trying to divide the primary field into categories of establishment and progressive contenders and said he’s firmly in the progressive camp despite his immense wealth.

    “Let’s be clear that it’s the media that’s decided to break it down into an establishment versus progressive. I’m a progressive,” the billionaire investor and entrepreneur said on WGN AM-720 in describing his work on child care, education, social justice and job creation.

    “There’s nobody running in this race and nobody on the other side — for sure, the governor — who’s created jobs like I have. So job creation is hugely important. It’s something I’m running on. I don’t know what you want to call that. I call that good for the state,” he said in reference to founding the private investment firm the Pritzker Group and the tech incubator 1871. …

    Because nothing says progressive like – literally – roasting strikers under heat lamps.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Latin America’s Oil-Dependent States Struggle to Repay Chinese Debts The Diplomat. Let’s hope the Chinese don’t send gunboats…

    It’s more profitable to send economic hit men.

    They can secure UN votes, or the other international agency votes, and many other diplomatic, geopolitical, military goodies.

    And when an empire is in the growth phase, perhaps some benefits will trickle down to the subjects. When it becomes static or begins to decline, their people will be deplorable and ask about how much it costs to maintain an empire and the injustice and wealth inequality that exist.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ‘Never Trump’ GOP foreign policy experts welcome his reversals but remain wary McClatchy. “Hope and change…”

    Film studies class about the real world…i.e. Reality-Film Studies.

    A classic Rashomon occurrence.

    The War party sees today’s Trump and remains wary. He will not fight.

    The Peace party sees today’s Trump and thinks he’s gone over to the War party side. War is on. He will get us fighting.

    You see what you want to see.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Against all odds, a communist soars in French election polls WaPo

    On the surface, the first thought is, is that another Let-Lenin-Back-to-Tsarist-Russia move?

    The moneyed people are so concerned, they have no choice but to ‘manufacture consent’ for a communist. “The future will take care of itself. Don’t worry about it.”

    1. David

      Just in case you took the headline seriously (as opposed to the story, which is undistinguished, but not basically wrong,) Mélenchon is not now, and has never been a Communist. He’s a left-wing Socialist, who was a Minister in a previous government, and would fit comfortably into the mainstream of any socialist party the 60s and 70s. He’s been doing better since the second TV debate, and has an outside (but no more) chance of reaching the second round. I confess to a sadistic pleasure in imagining how the French establishment would react to a second round Le Pen vs. Mélenchon. I mean, out of the Euro or out of the Euro? What a choice.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        David, thanks for overcoming that non-serious headline.

        Superficial headlines deserve ‘on the surface’ responses.

      2. Oregoncharles

        The headline was changed later, to “Leftist.”

        He is supported by the Communist Party, but that doesn’t mean what it used to.

  25. andyb

    RE: Wells Fargo debacle:

    I was a customer of First Union (15years), then taken over by Wachovia (with them for 10 years) which was “rescued” by WF at the onset of the Greatest Recession. Given that WF was merely one of the TBTFs bailed out by the public, and given confidence by an enormous Buffet investment, I was not overly concerned, even though it was clear that all of the TBTF banks were in dire straits. Then the dot connecting began. First there was the elimination for the TBTFs of FASB 157 (market-to-market evaluation of balance sheet assets); then came the Cyprus bail-ins. Then I read an analysis that explained that a depositor was really a creditor and would suck the proverbial if a bank went under. Which banks were the most at risk? Most likely those being propped up by the FED; namely the TBTFs. It’s my well researched opinion that all of them are technically bankrupt. So even though WF has a branch not 1/2 mile from my home, I switched to a credit union after the latest WF scandal became the impetus. The process was a pain in the ass, but gave me peace of mind, especially in these quite turbulent economic times.

    1. Bob Dobalina

      Glad to here it. I’ve several CU accounts, and want to start another. Luckily you only have to keep a $5 minimum in the savings account. One of the CUs pays 1.05% interest!

  26. Olga

    17 Rules for Foreign Interventions The American Conservative
    Ok, so how about just one rule: stop (bleep, bleep) intervening!
    Just stop!
    If nothing else, save yourself the time coming up w 10 or 17 other rules…
    The real question is why does Am. public condone these endless interventions abroad and subsequent destruction?
    For those wanting to know more, a really good interview: Birth of American Empire with Stephen Kinzer –

    1. oho

      >>The real question is why does Am. public condone these endless interventions abroad and subsequent destruction?

      Americans flat out don’t care and aren’t circumspective in the Establishment or amongst the people. (see post 1918-Europe….easier to blame everything on Hitler and UK/France than ask about the contributory effects of Woodrow Wilson’s 1917 intervention)

      as long as there are cheap sugar, cheap beef and cheap carbs, Americans don’t care what happens around the world.

      1. Jagger

        Americans flat out don’t care and aren’t circumspective in the Establishment or amongst the people.

        Funny, I care but for some reason I haven’t been able to figure out how to stop all those foreign interventions. Maybe if I just cared more, I could stop it. I will try that. Or maybe I simply lack the immense power required to confront and defeat a State intent on foreign interventions.

        Sort of like berating individual Joe slave for not ending slavery.

      2. Carolinian

        And you are saying the general public in other countries do care (assuming they aren’t the ones being attacked)? The Brits and the French in recent years have seemed just as enthusiastic about intervening as we are. To me this is a lot more shocking than the complacency of my fellow Americans–people who live behind two oceans and are perhaps understandably uninterested in foreign affairs. This has always been true as was seen in the runups to WW1 and WW2.

      3. Kurtismayfield

        And yet the “isolationist” candidate win the election, and only took 70 days to go full neoconservative.

        The American people are damned by the MIC even when they vote isolationist.

    2. Judith

      Thanks for the book recommendation. I found an interesting review of the book (surprisingly in the NYRB, which I tend to avoid these days):

      The extended review includes many distressing details about the motivations for our wars of imperialism.

      I did appreciate the distinction the book makes between a continental settlers’ empire and an overseas empire, since so many define the beginning of US imperialism with the Spanish-American war.

  27. Montanamaven

    Remember this image of “The Charging Bull”?

    The comments of the Greg Fallis article were a bit bland compared to what the NC commentariat could come up with. But the comments for the most part are a decent example of John Michael Grier’s 2012 “Enacting Democracy” idea of engaging in a dialectic rather than tribal “warm fuzzies” or “cold pricklies” and, as such, were a least a conversation. (I bring this up because Alithea33 made a great comment on a discussion of “A March on Everywhere” Wondered why the article was written is such a bland/soft/smothering ?? style. The Archdruid calls this Phatic Commnication aka “How about those Steelers” or “Looks like a storm coming”. He calls for citizens to take the discourse to another level. To rediscover the joys of good discussion of the yin and yang of things.

    One of my first thoughts on this is the cagey reason for “The Defiant Girl” was that this stock fund SHE helped organizations that support gender diversity in the workplace. I am now suspicious of any “organization” like USAID being something other then what it seems to be. Why not just have more gender diversity rather than give money to some “think tank” or lobbying/advocacy group? Why not Occupy the offices of these “workplaces”?
    As to the art itself, I like the idea of adding to the scene with even more statues. The possibilities are endless.

    1. MoiAussie

      +++. At their best, conversations here are respectful, illuminating, discursive, and peppered with original, insightful contributions, like yours, that make connections between things understood and things not yet so well understood.

      Regarding SHE, the idea of a stock fund working to support gender diversity reminds me of green-washing, the cynical propagation of the illusion that a corporation cares about the environment in any meaningful way. I’m sure that, in some circles, there is already a term for the analogous deception of making token gestures on diversity, or trying to profit from appearing to support it. But I don’t know it.

      State Street may conceivably be not guilty of this. Again, I wouldn’t know.

    2. PhilM

      De Tocqueville remarked that Americans were so politically involved that they did not converse; rather, they expatiated. Everyone was so engaged that they would speak in paragraphs. The worm has turned. Nowadays, nobody will let a topic sentence finish; if it reaches more than 140 characters, they interrupt. Much less, a paragraph.

      My men’s group, in contrast, sits in respectful patience until each gentleman has made his point; once he has stopped, there is a pause for thought, and then the next man begins his thoughtful statement or humorous riposte or relevant anecdote. It is at once refreshing and relaxing. The only person privileged to interrupt is our waitress, and usually, she will stand and wait as well, having observed the salutary example of her clientele.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Our downtown is well supplied with statuary – not all to my taste. But one still gets a double take from me: a bronze, lifesize, and very lifelike statue of a dog. I’ve seen dogs sniff it. Maybe this relates to the discussion of dogs and loneliness below, but it’s one I always enjoy seeing.

  28. DJG

    What would Jesus disrupt? I think that the Beatitudes are about as disruptive as one can get. The rest of the New Testament is a long footnote to the Beatitudes (with plenty of embroidery and distractions by Paul).

    1. craazyman

      Probably the seafood business. And the bread business.

      If you’re a fisherman or a baker . . . you better find another way to make a living cause you can’t compete with “free”!

      Even the wine business. But there’s so many types of wine, that just turning water into wine may not disrupt all that much.

        1. craazyman

          Good point. And a lot less drugs, BMWs and Mercedes too.

          The whole economy could unravel like dominoes, come to think of it.

  29. DJG

    George Monbiot on human loneliness and its toll. I agree with his observations. I have been cataloguing them in my head for years, especially after a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness. A couple of recent trips to Rome have made that point ever more obvious to me: Compared to my North Side neighborhood in Chicago, where every other person seems to have a dog, and on weekends Clark Street is awash in dogs (on their way to the dog boutiques and the dog food truck), Rome has few dogs. Rome is much more densely populated, and the Italians still have each other, for good or for ill. And Americans use the dog as an odd means of making human contact, at least with other dog owners.

    But Americanization advances: I was surprised to see people bring dogs into the dining room of a fairly upscale restaurant in Turin. I haven’t seen that before. (Most Italian cafes and restaurants are just too small to accommodate a dog, and the owners don’t have much patience for disruptions.) The dogs barked at each other for while–violating a cardinal rule in Italy that mealtime is sacred and tranquil. Loneliness rules.

    And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves.

    That’s why the comments about March on Everywhere in Harper’s, recommended by Lambert, fascinated me. Maybe, to be less lonely, you just have to attend the occasional march, no matter how disorganized (and the Chicago Women’s March organizers made a few big logistical mistakes), no matter how incoherent. Safety in numbers? (And as Monbiot points out, overeating at home alone is a sign of loneliness: Another argument for a walk with a placard.)

    1. Katharine

      I particularly liked this point:

      In Britain, men who have spent their entire lives in quadrangles – at school, at college, at the bar, in parliament – instruct us to stand on our own two feet.

      With different imagery, the same is true in this country. The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling.

      1. DJG

        Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation. So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Being a social animal, we need a bigger brain. That’s what I have been told.

      Will loneliness eventually lead to a small brain?

      Keep in mind that socializing needs a bigger brain, humans are just hard to get along…especially when religion is involved.

    3. nycTerrierist

      Here in NYC, most of the neighbors I’ve met, I met walking my dog. Some turned out to be friends with common interests even. I never would have known this, if it weren’t for the dog. Dogs are great ice-breakers and just having to dawdle while the dog does it’s thing, one winds up interacting with all kinds of people.
      If dogs are a symptom of loneliness, they de-isolate us as well.

      1. aletheia33

        and thank goodness and praise for all the dogs,
        who keep so many of the lonely from going berserk.

  30. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Legacy of Monsanto’s PCBs: Oozing Pus, Birth Defects and Immune Problems Truthout (Furzy Mouse).

    The Överkalix study – 1836 famine in Sweden. Genes of children born decades later still altered.

    We don’t think about it, but fake foods, malnutrition in Deplorables country and all over would make America much less healthy, even if we could make those problems go away today (but we are not, and so, in reality, it will be much worse).

    And I much prefer free organic foods over free college tuition (some might, actually fairly likely, just use it to get a degree and work for a pesticide corporation).

    1. Susan the other

      I was thinking similarly about the article on penicillin and mouse sociability. Because we inherit all sorts of unexpected things via epigenetics. The study in Denmark about a year of abundance, a very good wheat harvest, which followed several years of just barely getting by – this feasting was shown to have a connection to diabetes in the grandchildren. Grandchildren, not children.

    2. UserFriendly

      WTF? Well I sure hope you enjoy your chance to play super market sweep at whole foods while I live in my friends basement for the foreseeable future with no social life, romantic life or even much of a reason to live because 9 years after graduation my net worth has gone from negative $120k to negative $130k. # Solidarity.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        No means testing. No certain min. GPA to qualify. High school graduation or not.

        Everyone gets free healthy foods.

        As for your specific predicament, it calls for student debt jubilee.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s student debt jubilee, not free college tuition at this stage for you, or if jobs do come back.

            Don’t lose hope. Stay healthy.

            Take care.

  31. Oregoncharles

    Don’t know if this has already been discussed, but it’s relevant to our ongoing discussion on computer security and system fragility:

    ” a litany of typically codenamed software “implants” with names like ODDJOB, ZIPPYBEER, and ESTEEMAUDIT, capable of breaking into — and in some cases seizing control of — computers running version of the Windows operating system earlier than the most recent Windows 10.”

    It’s from the Intercept article on the latest Shadowbrokers release, My first thought: who the hell is Shadowbrokers? Then I got to the above quote. Answer: Microsoft. It looks like they’re pissed, but also exploiting the NSA hacking to push more people to M’s own malware in Windows 10, which has proved remarkably unpopular.

    Further evidence for my conspiracy theory (is Microsoft a conspiracy?): further down, it turns out that Microsoft claims they had already patched the exploits, a month BEFORE the Shadowbrokers release, without crediting anyone for warning them. So Microsoft comes out smelling like roses, and the NSA are stinkers once again.

    So who are Shadowbrokers?

    (Note: I hope some more technically proficient than I will check up on my theory.)

  32. Oregoncharles

    In response to “Single-Payer Health Care Is Seeing Record Support in Congress Truthout”:

    “representing more than 48 percent of the Democratic Caucus.”
    Which is less than 48% of the House, which is only half of Congress. In other words, this is still just cheap theatrics for the Dems. They’re in no danger of actually having to vote for it, let alone pass it.

    It’s Democratic Party 101: sound good while NOT in power, then turn back into Republicans when they are. Have we already forgotten the theatrics in 2009, when they had complete control?

    Remember: the Democratic Party is OPPOSED to single-payer health care, especially when it matters. it doesn’t matter even a little what a minority of them say now.

    There IS a party that supports it.

    1. Adamski

      Despite this, it would be worth criticising those who don’t sign on for the bill. The goal when Dems are the minority party is to get the de facto party policy to change from supporting the ACA to supporting HR676. Like concessions to Sanders in the 2016 platform, it helps to make them do it in the end. Moves the Overton window and gets the policy more firmly into national discussion.

  33. ewmayer

    o Re. WH Easter, this is the way I would have framed it: “This Sunday [Easter], tens of millions of American Christians will celebrate Easter, and thousands of children and their families will descend on the White House to take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll. As the festivities spill over the grounds of 1600 Penn., I wonder if anyone will stop to note the obvious irony: That the Easter bunny and Easter eggs are obvious symbology borrowed from pagan springtime fertility rites, also reflected in the very definition of the date of Easter as the first Sunday following the first full moon following the vernal equinox.”

    o Re. Wall Street bull, one of my younger sis’ first jobs out of college was with Merrill, in the early 1990s, IIRC it was a few years after the Ivan-Boesky/Mike-Milken scandals rocked the Street. At some point while she was there ML held an internal “name the bull” contest. Her submission? “Ivan Bullsky.”

  34. EyeRound

    Pence’s Medicaid Plans–

    Well, it’s late in the day and 194 comments down the line on today’s Links, and nary a word about the Politico article soft-balling the discussion about forcing poor folks to get some “skin in the game” to pay for their Medicaid, as has been done in Indiana.

    People whose daily lives entail turning over every nickel, every dollar, have to hand that dollar over to the Indiana Medicaid fund or. . .get kicked into a “less generous” plan where they have to PAY MORE for their meds.

    There’s no reasoning here, just psyops on the poor: use money to “help transition them into private medical insurance,” IOW using money to massage their brains into a good attitude. Forget whether people actually have the money, private insurance is the way to go.

    Both the Pence-Verma plan and the fawning article reflect a mentality so perverse it can only arise in a society that is stupid, venal and brainwashed.

    1. Jeff W

      From the article:

      …neither has conservatives’ vision of a market-like system where patients with “skin in the game” make hard choices about their own health spending.

      “[S]tupid, venal and brainwashed” sums it up.

      The only reason that people would have to make “hard choices about their own health spending” is that a market-like system forces them to do so and the administrative complexity of a market-like system increases the expense, which makes whatever choice there is that much harder. It’s truly a perverse argument.

    1. Yves Smith

      Nobody outside China knows what is going on there. Also alludes to concerns re a crash or big dislocation. We had Grexit? and Brexit? headings when they were appropriate.

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