Links 4/20/17

[Note from Outis: These links were actually compiled by Lambert. However, comments were somehow disabled on the original post, so I am reposting it in order to fix that problem.]

California readers, Yves requests that I thank you for responding so quickly to our last-minute request for letters supporting a Public Records Act reform bill (where “PRA” is California-speak for “FOIA,” and the reform is real, not “reform,” i.e. neutering). So thank you! –lambert

Giraffes must be listed as endangered, conservationists formally tell US Guardian :-(

Iceberg Alley: Newfoundland’s new tourist attraction The Independent

The Nightmare Scenario for Florida’s Coastal Homeowners Bloomberg (Kokuanani).

Medieval medical books could hold the recipe for new antibiotics The Conversation

Overcoming Opioids: The quest for less addictive drugs AP

Exclusive: Buffett likely voted shares to back Wells Fargo board Buffett

Goldman Sachs crashes to bottom of the class as bets turn sour FT

Snowden’s Box Harpers


Trump administration talks tougher on Iran but sticks with deal — for now CNN

Talent War Shows Nuclear Deal Rewards for Skilled Iranians Bloomberg

West does not want to investigate incident in Idlib, Russian diplomat says TASS


Chinese Investment Scandal Highlights ‘Shadow Banking’ Risks NYT

China’s Stocks Refuse to Drop More Than 1% Bloomberg

Japan Needs More People Bloomberg


Drought, rising costs and the quest for clean technology is rapidly driving India away from coal The Scroll (J-LS).


French Election Shocker: Pollsters Baffled by Four-Way Race Bloomberg

Latest: Euro rises after poll predicts Macron win Guardian. From the poll results: 0.5 + 1.5 + 19 + 7.5 + 25 + 1 + 19 + 4 + 0.5 + 22 = 100. No undecideds, apparently. Huh?

Macron Wants to Change France. But Will Voters Elect an Unknown? NYT

Why does Le Pen get so much support from young voters? Al Jazeera

The EU must prepare itself for President Le Pen in France Euronews

Nightmare of a Jean-Luc Melenchon-Marine Le Pen run-off spooks global markets Australian Financial Review

Profile: Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far-left candidate shaking up the French election The Conversation

Innovative campaign lifts Mélenchon FT

The Mélenchon Factor Jacobin

Lethal Weapon star backs Jean-Luc Mélenchon Politico


British General Election Called for May 8th Ian Welsh

There is something grubby about Theresa May’s snap election The Spectator

With the rightwing papers leading the election charge, May need only follow Guardian

Theresa May and the Crisis of British Progressivism The New Yorker

Jeremy Corbyn rules out anti-Tory election coalition with SNP The Herald

Theresa May urges British voters to reject ‘coalition of chaos’ The Irish Times. A “coalition” is unlikely ever to exist…

Theresa May distances herself from Daily Mail’s ‘Crush the saboteurs’ headline Irish Independent

How May’s Election Bet Could Help Scots Independence Forces Bloomberg

Brussels starts to freeze Britain out of EU contracts FT

Britain loses 1 billion pounds through VAT fraud and error by Amazon and eBay sellers Reuters

2016 Post Mortem

Hillary Clinton Is a Loser The American Conservative. “Shattered can be read without gaining any knowledge of the comparative size of staff of Trump versus Hillary, the number of voter contacts, how voters are approached, fundraising differences, media market strategy, or really any of the quantifiable mechanics of a political operation that might inform why a campaign loses.” I’m 20% of the way through the book; it’s certainly a gripping read! I’ll let you know when I finish….

Hillary camp scrambling to find out who leaked embarrassing info NY Post. “They have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (attributed).

How Hillary Lost the White House WSJ

DNC Vice Chair Keith Ellison Offers Stunning Critique of Obama: ‘Could Have Been a Better Party Leader’ Mediaite

New Cold War

Maxine Waters Loses Her Mind to “Anti-Russia Dementia” – Like the Rest of the Black Caucus Black Agenda Report (MR).

It’s time for Democrats to drop the Russia ‘shtick’ Michael Tracey, CNBC

Exclusive: Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 U.S. election – documents Reuters. Wake me when the sources aren’t anonymous, there are documents I can see, there’s something beyond yammering about RT and Sputnik News, both of which have the circulation of a smallish blog. And a demonstrable effect on voters.

Trump Transition

White House defends portrayal of ‘armada’ push toward Korean peninsula Reuters

Tillerson Says Strategic Patience Has Failed With Iran, North Korea VOA

Exxon Mobil Seeks U.S. Sanctions Waiver for Oil Project in Russia NYT

How Billionaire Trump Adviser Evades Ethics Law While Shaping Policies That Make Money For His Wall Street Firm International Business Times

GOP Targets Trillion-Dollar Tax Break for Democratic States Bloomberg. The state and local tax break.

Ajit Pai, F.C.C. Chairman, Moves to Roll Back Telecom Rules NYT

Most Texans do not want Trump’s border wall Business Insider (DL).

How Harvard Business School Helped Turn Steve Bannon into a Monster Vanity Fair

How to Stand Up to Trump and Win Nicholas Kristoff, NYT. I dislike the “fight back,” “stand up,” and “bullying” tropes because they imply category errors; politics and microaggression are not commensurate. That said, Kristoff does some actual reporting here, interviewing Gene Sharp and Jamila Raqib, among others.

Class Warfare

Study Says New York City’s Richest People Benefited Most From the Recovery Bloomberg. Thanks, Obama!

The Jobless Economy Jacobin

The evidence is piling up — Silicon Valley is being destroyed Matt Stoller, Business Insider

Meet PINLogger, the drive-by exploit that steals smartphone PINs Ars Technica

Our Food Supply: Always In Season, Always At Risk NPR

Drones and driverless tractors – is this the future of farming? Guardian

For Cods Sake: The Future of a Collapsing Fishery EcoWatch (GlennF).

Antidote du jour, for the French election:

Bonus antidote:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Buddy

      That is a joke ’bout compensating homeowners hit by climate change, right? They were happy with my subsidizing their view/proximity to the seas for decades.

      1. Outis Philalithopoulos Post author

        No, there really were technical problems this morning – the first comment was a test to make sure things had started working.

      2. different clue

        We need a way for the “climate pessimists” living along the Florida coast to get together with the Climate Change Skeptical optimists living inland ( and sometimes heard from in these comment threads) so that every pessimistic coastal homeseller can find an optimistic inland homebuyer. We need to do this basically . . . now . . . before the Climate Skeptics change their minds.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos Post author

      No, this is the right thing to do. I will delete the stub in ~10 minutes.

      1. Linda

        Thank you, Outis. All your work and now I don’t have a comment to make. I will just say thank you, and happy 4/20 to you and all.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I wonder how many moles the Israelites have in place in “our” governments at all levels, and in the military and corporations? How big is a miole, again? Oh yeah, But we’re not supposed to ask that kind of question…

          But it seems other people are aware and have asked it, and apparently there are some answers: “Israeli spying on U.S. at an ‘alarming and terrifying level’” AFP,”

          There’s links within the link, for those who want to follow it further. I also just saw an article, already forget where, that puts the Israelites ahead of the UK and France in the number of nuclear weapons they have and can shoot off — 400, it said. “YHWH’s Holy columns of smoke by day, and pillars of fire by night…”

          1. Byron the Light Bulb

            “The Israelites”!? The Rude Boys have gone renegade…

            [Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir // So that every mouth can be fed // –Poor me Israelites, ah]

      1. polecat

        ‘Somebody is off message’ …

        I think somebody smoked a big phat one …. and spilled the seeds ‘;/

  1. DJG

    On the wisdom of medieval medicine. We underestimate the middle ages in the Mediterranean and the high middle pages of France and Germany. Here’s some additional info, on the medical school at Salerno in Italy. Scholars are still mining the books and the techniques.

    What’s remarkable, too, is that they had developed many effective surgical techniques by then, although anesthesia lagged.

    And note that women were trained as physicians, too, mentioned in the description.

    There was another famous medical school in Montpelier in southern France. Anyone an expert on the history there?

    And surely there are Greek texts from Constantinople to investigate.

    I also note that the middle ages are when many cookery books appeared, and most are preoccupied with sanitation and health in a way that we would recognize from our modern perspective. Some of the recipes from cookbooks from Spain and Italy are still in use.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Which is the shorter trip:

      1. From the Middle Ages to Utopia
      2. From today’s Global Warming Age to Utopia

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Only those who follow ideological “isms” are looking for Utopia. The rest of us just want to learn from history and make honest livable lives for ourselves and future generations….

        1. Massinissa

          I dunno man, IMO, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you land upon the stars”.

          If you just ‘try to make liveable lives’ you just end up with some mess that works for awhile like capitalism but ends up breaking down eventually.

          1. different clue

            The Nazis pursued a Utopia.

            The Communists pursued a Utopia.

            They made a mess and left one behind.

            And Capitalnism wasn’t about making livable lives. It was about creating a Get Rich Utopia.

      2. DJG

        Prime Beef: To be zen about it:

        No utopias.
        Only the trip.
        Only the attempt to emerge from history.
        An obsession with marzipan isn’t so bad.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Monk: What is Zen?

          Joshu: Have a cup of tea.

          Monk: Served with or without marzipan?

      1. DJG

        The article in Treehugger is the same article as at The Conversation. The Conversation’s article is dated earlier. Hmmm. Some cyberlifting?

        The solution given for the Voynich manuscript doesn’t persuade: Let’s see a translation, please, by the brilliant Russian scholars.

    2. Susan the other

      In Germany they have an entire pharmacopeia of herbal medicines; they are over the counter. We bought gelomertyle (sp?) which eased and cured our summer colds and were interesting to taste (Myrtle).

  2. Pat

    Reposted from the temporary Links area:

    Somehow my reaction to this ‘revelation’ is probably not what the Israeli government wanted. Of course I figured out a while ago that any reports that support American military action in the Middle East are likely to either be exaggerated or outright bull, because Israel needs America to be their enforcer and most of their positions are NOT in our interests. But funny how this is coming out when Trump’s base is reacting badly to his getting back into the Syrian misadventure AND there is a whole lot of information actually making it out to the public that this was a boondoggle false flag operation. Remember Israel was sure about Iraq having WMDs as well…

  3. Tenar

    Re French Elections

    Something that’s been missing in most of the reporting on the French elections is that, in the event that Le Pen makes it into the second round, she would likely be beaten by any of three other frontrunners – not just Macron. According to Sciences Po’s Cevipof, which has been running a French presidential election panel study with around 12,000 individuals, the second round results would be:

    Macron 61% – Le Pen 39%
    Mélenchon 57% – Le Pen 43%
    Fillon 55% – Le Pen 45%

    One of the Cevipof’s researchers told me that they were really hoping for a Macron – Le Pen win this Sunday because it’s what the panel study results have shown all along and that any other outcome would reflect badly on their work. It was said partly in jest, but I found it to be very revealing of the mentality of a certain class of political “experts”…

    Also, despite the fact that no one cares what Hollande thinks (and that he clearly does not comprehend that, when he comes out against something or someone, it only makes that someone or something more appealing) I get the sense that his “something smells wrong” may prove all too prescient – just not in the sense that he meant (i.e. Mélenchon making it through – although I certainly hope he does!). It’s Fillon. If he were to face off with Le Pen in the second round that would be the true disaster. The choice would be so unpalatable that many people on the left would refuse to vote for him to block Le Pen – it’s why the polling margins between their theoretical second round is only 10%. His current resurgence in the polls reminds me of Republican voters “coming home” to their party last November. Despite Fillon’s scandals, voters might just hold their noses and cast a ballot for him anyway.

    1. Yves Smith

      I’ve been looking for Melenchon v. Le Pen 1:1 polls and hadn’t seen any. Thanks for this.

      However, re Melenchon, I’m told big business would pump for Le Pen over him.

      1. Oregoncharles

        do you think that would help Le Pen? It might be poison, given the climate being reported.

        1. Yves Smith

          An interesting thought. Given the short time between the first and second round, big corporate interests would not have time to hone their messaging, so yes, it could backfire if it were Melenchon v. Le Pen.

      2. vidimi

        my gut tells me this is what would happen, though, maybe it wouldn’t be enough. in my circles, though, it’s the liberals and card-carrying PS members who are most opposed to JLM. i’m not sure they would come together behind the candidate in the second round or stay at home.

        for example, someone posted on my facebook feed an article about how one cartoonist got flamed for carricaturing Mélonchon and wrote an article denouncing his supports. it’s the bernie bros thing all over again.

  4. katiebird

    The Snowden’s Box story is great!! I haven’t read something so informative, readable and entertaining in ages…. Thank you. I would have missed it without your link.

    PS… I have the worst stiff neck ever. Or I would type out what I love….

    1. Carla

      I am so frustrated that the Snowden’s Box piece is behind a Harper’s paywall. If they’d charge 50 cents to read one article, I’d probably pay it and pile up a big bill at the end of a month, but their charge of $46/yr or $6.99 per one article is just not within my budget.

        1. Linda

          From the popup I got, it sounds like they allow you one free article (a month?), and then you need to subscribe to read more. Maybe Carla had visited prior recently. ?

          1. Chris

            Have you tried using Tor Browser? To the website it looks like a different user/IP address every time you refresh the TOR circuit.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Wasn’t the article free?

        I have a Harpers subscription. My one little luxury. I look forward to getting a real magazine in the mail every month. The short stories are awesome.

        If you can get to a newsstand or bookshop that carries it, there are usually loose subscription cards in Harpers that offer a substantial discount. Take one.

        1. DJG

          Yep. Paper Harper’s is something like $19.00 a year. Lately, one does have the doleful task of plowing through the gear-grinding from Rebecca Solnit in the Easy Chair column up front. (She’s no Lewis Lapham.) Otherwise, Harper’s is well-done, has good visuals, and is part of the Naked Capitalism, Jacobin, Baffler, lefty “Russki stooge” contingent. Worth the subsciption.

          1. Bugs Bunny

            Sad that we can no longer include The Nation or Dissent in that ‘contingent’. I miss those days. If someone wants to correct me, I await the deluge.

            1. olga

              I will subscribe to Harper’s – as it has good stuff, but one can also use a different browser.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Also a subscriber, for many years. Not quite as good (or as political) as it was with Lapham, but still worthwhile. In contrast, I find Solnit’s writing easier to take than Lapham’s, which was blindingly purple, but know her to be none too honest, based on some earlier examples.

            I also recommend it – Solnit aside.

        2. habenicht

          Totally on board with this. I remember getting my first Harpers relatively late in life killing time at an airport. Then read it cover to cover. Been a subscriber ever since ($19.00 per year).

      2. funemployed

        You’re only allowed one, but if you close and reopen your browser and then go incognito and search for it, Harper’s will think you’re a new person (I feel a bit guilty every time since there are so few publications like Harper’s out there, but money’s very tight these days.)

        1. justanotherprogressive

          True! Information is getting more and more expensive. Pretty soon, information will only be for the rich – only propaganda will stay affordable, but no doubt they will find a way to make us pay more for that too…..

          My pet peeve is scholarly articles that were written on the taxpayer’s dime, but are locked behind pay for view firewalls like Elsivier….it’s one of the reasons I take a course a semester at my local university – to get access to their great library. Turns out it is cheaper doing that than subscribing to all those journals or paying Elsivier each time…..

          1. Anon

            Yes, and the online access is quite zippy, too. (Nothing like a fiber optic connection to the ‘Net.)

    2. AnnieB

      Snowden’s Box is excellent! I think it’s a valuable article to pass on to friends who still use the tin foil hat label for those of us who are wary of government surveillance of digital communication. Also, enlightening as to the stress that journalists endure to bring whistleblower info to the public. Thanks to NC for posting it.

  5. allan

    Pesticide maker tries to kill risk study [AP]

    Dow Chemical is pushing a Trump administration open to scrapping regulations to ignore the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.

    Lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO is a close adviser to Trump, and two other manufacturers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three of Trump’s Cabinet agencies. The companies asked them “to set aside” the results of government studies the companies contend are fundamentally flawed.

    Dow Chemical wrote a $1 million check to help underwrite Trump’s inaugural festivities, and its chairman and CEO, Andrew Liveris, heads a White House manufacturing working group. …

    Organophosphorus gas was originally developed as a chemical weapon by Nazi Germany. [That’s right, AP, go full Godwin why don’t you.] Dow has been selling Chlorpyrifos for spraying on citrus fruits, apples, cherries and other crops since the 1960s. It is among the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States, with Dow selling about 5 million pounds domestically each year.

    As a result, traces of the chemical are commonly found in sources of drinking water. A 2012 study at the University of California at Berkeley found that 87 percent of umbilical-cord blood samples tested from newborn babies contained detectable levels of chlorpyrifos. …

  6. vidimi

    sorry to see a talented reporter like Matt Stoller have his career in such free fall that he’s now writing for businessinsider.

    also, shame the rest of that snowden/poitras article is locked.

    1. diptherio

      Uh…what are you talking about? Today’s top story on their website is about Maxine Waters and the rest of the Black Misleadership Class’s anti-Russia obsession (that’s linked to here) but that’s about it. Scroll down and count how many more times you see the word Russia….hardly what I’d call “non-stop”.

  7. fresno dan

    Nothing about the end of Bill O’Reilly???

    I posted very late about this yesterday, but I find the memory hole in my news feed TODAY kind of amazing – not one story in my feed on O’Reilly.
    Is O’Reilly such a bad dream to the MSM that they just want to forget him? Are the media corporations thinking “but for the grace of God go I” with regard to sexual harassment?

    And I am not making the point that the media brought O’Reilly down. The women filing complaints are first, of course. But there is tremendous documentation that sex harassment has been going on…since day one at FOX (20 years ago when FOX started). But if finally a tidal wave of sexual harassment information hadn’t been linked, I doubt the advertisers would have revolted against FOX, and money is the first, second, and entire motivating factor of Murdolch.

    If Megyn Kelly is such a great reporter, and America is where no injustice occurs for long, and where everyone gets WHAT THEY DESERVE (according to FOX), why didn’t she report sexual harassment years ago??…..(because the money was too good?? OR Kelly, being a lawyer, knows that the American legal system is of the rich, for the rich, by the rich? OR that Murdolch cared more about PROFIT than “family values” and that reporting it was pointless???) AND the US vaunted legal system that allows judgments against bad actors to be SEALED and therefore allows terrible conduct to CONTINUE (for decades)?

    In the chapter (first released by Radar Online), Kelly claims that after MONTHS of harassment, the 76-year-old “crossed a new line” in January 2006 when he grabbed her and repeatedly tried to kiss her. Upon shoving him away, Kelly alleges Ailes asked her the “ominous question” of “When is your contract up?” before trying to kiss her for a third time.

    Ailes’ attorney Susan Estrich told PEOPLE in a statement: “Mr. Ailes denies her allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct of any kind.” The statement also referred back to Kelly’s words about Ailes on Charlie Rose: “I really care about Roger. And he has been NOTHING but good to me. And he’s been very loyal. And he’s had my back. And he’s LOOKED OUT for me.”
    Contradictory – no?
    To paraphrase a certain conservative: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good female reporters at FOX news to do nothing.

    The hypocrisy makes me want to vomit. I can see the sexual harassment enterprise that was FOX being hidden by FOX – but why the very next day….nothing by the rest of the media??? Really, I saw Anderson Cooper essentially saying “who knew” (about sexual harassment at FOX – SERIOUSLY???)

    Will Greta Van Sustren talk about what Ailes did to her? And she is on MSNBC – the silence on the matter is deafening ….or perhaps obvious. Not making those with MONEY look bad is the first priority of ALL media…

      1. begob

        One thing I picked up, which may explain why this story broke, is that the complainants took advantage of a window opened under Obama where mandatory arbitration was outlawed in this type of case. Window promptly closed under Trump, as far as i know.

    1. philnc

      Do you really think that Fox is the only company where sexual harrassment has been tolerated, if not actively engaged in by senior management, over the years? The rest of corporate America, especially the media, are afraid of what comes next. The lights came on in the kitchen the other night but O’Reilly is just the first of the cockroaches to get squashed as they scurry for cover.

      1. fresno dan

        April 20, 2017 at 1:41 pm

        “Do you really think that Fox is the only company where sexual harrassment has been tolerated, if not actively engaged in by senior management, over the years?”

        What in the world makes you think I do?
        I think my asking the rhetorical question “Are the media corporations thinking “but for the grace of God go I” with regard to sexual harassment?” is pretty implicit that the lack of attention to FOX’s sexual harassment problems means the media and THEIR ADVERTISERS really don’t want all the obvious questions like, “How did this go on for DECADES?” asked. And that the lack of attention pretty much shows it is not to be considered an important issue.

  8. Katharine

    Regarding the French polling numbers, they may represent choices of those who have made up their minds. Since the previous article said up to 40% were still undecided, while the one from Australian Financial Review says 28% may not vote and of those who plan to 28% are undecided, given the narrow margins between candidates, it does look like a cliffhanger. I wonder how many prospective voters are thinking, oh, it (whichever they mean) would be wonderful but it won’t happen.

    1. John k

      I suspect many secretly support pen, just as many secretly supported Brexit… also, polling in US often miss cell phones, maybe there, too, in which youth vote might surprise…

  9. allan

    Neiman Marcus is now borrowing money to make interest payments on its debt [MarketWatch]

    A rolling loan gathers no loss.

    That appears to be the adage guiding upscale department-store chain Neiman Marcus, which has opted to make the coming interest payments on its high-yield bonds by issuing more debt, instead of burning through cash.

    The company said it was electing the payment-in-kind (PIK) option on its $600 million in 8.75% notes due to mature in 2021 for the coming six-month coupon period through Oct. 14, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The move is aimed at enhancing its liquidity, the Dallas-based company said. It will pay PIK interest at a rate of 9.50% for the interest period, which started on April 15. The current yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury is just 2.20%. …

    You can’t spell Potemkin economy without PIK.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Isn’t the use of PIK notes a good indication of Minsky’s “Ponzi phase” from his Financial Instability Hypothesis ?

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Jobless Economy Jacobin

    How likely will the candidate get his or her economics degree with a thesis like this: “It’s Jobs, You Stupid Economists?”

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Iceberg Alley: Newfoundland’s new tourist attraction The Independent

    It’s likely an audience-participation tour.

    “Come see the icebergs melt. Come help the iceberg melt…with your flights, your physical presence and your living needs.”

    1. Anon

      What I find interesting with this event is that the bergs (apparently 100+ feet tall) are described in some articles as being in shallow water. Huh?
      90% of a berg is underwater. That would indicate they’re floating in water hundreds of feet deep; hardly shallow.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Overcoming Opioids: The quest for less addictive drugs AP

    The pessimist in me is thinking that that will be the way we have to cope with greed and corruption.

    No complete eradication of greed or corruption. We can only hope to reduce it a little bit.

    “We understand your greed. Instead of $3 billion, can you live with $2.9 billion?”

    1. Arthur J

      Oxycodone was developed in the hopes it would be less addictive than heroin. I am less than sanguine about what they might come up with this time around.

      1. PhilM

        Morphine is almost free, completely predictable, and generally works fine for people who can tolerate the adverse effects of opioids. For the terminally ill, heroin is the right drug, and should be available here as it is in Europe. If you need something with a different name because you are scared of the word “morphine,” then hydromorphone is potent and effective, with a good adverse effect profile. Oxycodone and codeine are both just bullshit. Like the “enantiomer drugs,” such as esomeprazole, it is all about patents. Complete corruption by perverse incentives and drug laws.

      2. hunkerdown

        Oxycodone may yet be less addictive, if Purdue Pharma and other “rights holders” didn’t develop a dosing regimen that could well have been maliciously calculated to induce addiction. More research is needed, but not by the industry incumbents.

      3. Gaianne

        The pharmaceutical cycle goes well back into the 19th century:

        Opium works, but it has a bad side effect–it is addictive. Chemists start searching for a drug which is effective but without the addiction. Toying with the opium molecule itself, they discover heroin, which surely will not prove addictive. Heroin is soon used everywhere by everybody.

        And heroin works, only–oops–it has this bad side effect–it is addictive. Chemists start searching . . . and discover morpine which is surely not addictive. . . soon used everywhere by everybody.

        And morphine works, only–oops–it has a bad side effect–

        Hypomorphine works, only–oops–
        Codeine works, only–oops–
        Delauded works, only–oops–
        Oxycontin works, only–oops–

        The next greatest new thing will work, only–yes–we have seen this movie a few times before.

        But the 21st century brings a plot twist: Addiction turns addicts into cash cows. It turns neighborhoods into money. (This only works once–the neighborhood is wrecked and you have to move on to a new neighborhood. So you do.) Life is good. The pharmaceutical industry is happy.


  13. LT

    Re: The Jobless Economy
    The article deals with “non-institutionsalized” adult workers and falling rates of employment. While it mentions the fact that the USA has a huge! prison population and that has beating on the numbers, it doesn’t mention the jobs that go to prisons for cheap, slave labor. Also, in many states, the government itself is using the prison labor, including through contactors.
    When states hire private contractors who then use prison labor, that has to be the worst of all worlds for an economy.
    It makes no sense on any level that will do any good.

    Re: Vanity Fair article regarding Harvard Business

    Laughable. They allege ethics is taught at Harvard Business school, but then former students describe that they are mainly taught how to argue for self-serving ideas with no regards to right or wrong, only winning…even if it is just an argument.

    So we find out what is really wrong with the economy in the article on Bannon in Vanity Fair.

    1. vidimi

      indeed, the prison economic scenario you describe is stuff out of nightmares. america is saturn devouring his young.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      LOLOL…..Tom Perez trying the old “deflect” trick. Too bad he is soooo poor at it……Trump and Ivanka????
      It’s Russians, Tom, Russians!!!

    2. Vatch

      It’s good that people get to see Bernie Sanders and Tom Perez in tandem. I hope a lot of people start realizing how phoney the establishment Democrats are, and start supporting the insurgent left wing of the party. I hope they realize just how phoney Donald Trump is, too.

  14. thump

    To anyone who knows more about Japan: How does the report above, about “Japan Needs More People,” square with articles (I think I’ve read) about how young people can’t find steady, liveable, employment, if any. Thanks.

    1. Vatch

      I can’t claim expertise in Japan, but I can say that they definitely do not need more people. Japan is already overpopulated, with 2,958 people per square kilometer of arable land. Compare this to densely populated Bangladesh, with 2,122 people per square kilometer of arable land, and the Netherlands, with 1,639 people per square kilometer of arable land. Sure, city states like Singapore are much more densely populated, but those countries are dangerously overpopulated. Source:

      I’m afraid I can’t help with information about employment statistics in Japan.

      1. tony

        Japan’s survival depends on imported resources in a world where there are increasing threats on the availability of those resources. Japanese are lucky that their population is dropping.

  15. David

    On the French elections, all the figures I have seen are based on intentions to vote. That figure now seems to have climbed to about 70%, but it’s still historically rather low. Sunday’s poll may therefore be decided by differential turnout as much as anything else which means just about any result is possible. Tonight’s series of interviews with the candidates (Mélenchon on first, Fillon on last, apparently) is likely to benefit the smaller party candidates, as the last debate did, which means Mélenchon may well get another boost in the polls.

  16. a different chris

    Holy sh&t — Burn It With Fire:

    who have attended H.B.S.—eminences from Michael Bloomberg to Jamie Dimon, from Stephen Schwarzman to Sheryl Sandberg, and even George W. Bush

  17. Uahsenaa

    Geez, if that Bloomberg article is any indication of what passes for journalism on Japan these days, maybe I should find myself a new career in the newspaper business…

    This, for instance, seems to have been written by someone who’s not been paying attention for, I dunno, the past 30 years.

    [Abe] now needs to persuade Japan that substantially higher immigration is a vital necessity. So far, moves to increase the inflow have been masked — for example, by bringing in more low-skilled foreign workers under an expanded so-called training program (a device which, by the way, has facilitated abuse). A properly supervised guest-worker program is the least that’s needed, and it ought to include a pathway to permanent residency. Once the purpose is openly acknowledged, the government can also invest more in language programs and other measures to help newcomers integrate.


    Never mind the fact that in 2009 the government gave out substantial cash payments to immigrants in order to get them to leave, never mind how terrible language teaching is in Japan, never mind how Abe is the head of an ultra-nationalist right wing cabal, never mind how ethnic Japanese returnees are treated like second class citizens, and never mind how even in the ’80s, at the height of emigration from Latin America to the archipelago, people were practically up in arms in Japan about the sudden “foreign” influx, despite the fact that the only people they let in were direct descendants of those who had previously emigrated from Japan.

    It’s not an acculturation problem. It’s a “the Japanese government wants practically no immigration at all” problem. Since at least Koizumi, the government has been on a steady rightward drift. They hardly did anything about the declining birthrate when the political situation was more amenable. How’re they supposed to achieve a seismic cultural shift–which is what suddenly allowing mass immigration would be–when the prevailing winds are blowing in exactly the opposite direction? The fact that anyone could look at contemporary Japan and think Abe is the man to do this means they need to get their head examined.

    1. Mark P.

      Coupled with the fact that Japan has got more older people than anywhere else in the world, and IIRC is destined by 2030 to become the world’s first majority-aged (over 60) society, and Japanese resistance to immigration is a large part of why they’ve had their obsession with robotics R&D for the last thirty years.

      They know where they’re headed, and they’ve adopted a different strategy than have Western societies (so far).

      1. olga

        Anyone who’s been to Japan knows how little the Japanese like foreigners… so increased immigration makes no sense. Maybe they could be the first to confirm a theory that an advanced capitalist society does not need too many people. Just the ruling elite and robots to do all the work. It would also be one way to conserve the Earth’s resources.

    2. ook

      I see these articles often, where country x has a problem because they need more young people, and the only possible solution is massive immigration from the 3rd world, because we can’t possibly take the obvious steps of
      1. greater labor protection to make work more flexible for older people and women, combined with
      2. a restoration of the labor protection that made it easier for young families to lead a middle class life on a single income.

      This is linked to the idea that any woman not attached to a corporate drone job is somehow a wasted resource for the country, which stems from a massive societal romanticization of corporate drudgery as the ultimate expression of one’s humanity.

      And as an aside, I have permanent residence in Japan, and it was much easier to get than my previous US Green Card.

  18. Cujo359

    Re: It’s time for Democrats to drop the Russia ‘shtick’, it’s interesting that this opinion piece has shown up on CNBC. Michael Tracey has been a consistent critic of the “Russia hacked our elections” sillliness, and I’d rather assumed that MSNBC would be fully on board with feeding that hysteria as long as they can get away with it.

    I don’t have any arguments with Tracey’s article. It all seems rather obvious, in fact, if you’re not inclined to believe nonsense because the “right people” are repeating it. If those articles in yesterday’s Water Cooler are to be believed, the Democrats are having no trouble raising money. They clearly have their share of P.T. Barnum’s favorite demographic right where they want them, so I don’t see the Dems taking Tracey’s advice any time soon.

  19. Susan the other

    And also too, Thank You for Henri. My fave bete noire. Melancholia has no mercy. merci ;-)

  20. djrichard

    West does not want to investigate incident in Idlib, Russian diplomat says

    I used to work in marketing. And when I came across a marketing campaign that I didn’t believe in, the response would be, “why are you trying to undermine my campaign?”.

    Which is why we have competition in the US, right? So the public can discern between different marketing campaigns to choose which is best.

    But boy, those marketing campaigns to dive in head first are exciting aren’t they. And really, once campaigns have momentum, how do you stand in front of that train? And forget about the people wanting to even question the campaign. “Sorry I can’t hear you, the wind from the train is too loud”.

    It’s how we’ve been trained on how to evaluate alternatives: don’t sell me on why this train is bad. Rather, sell me on why your train is better. If you don’t have a train to sell me, then why are we even talking?

  21. Oregoncharles

    “Hillary camp scrambling to find out who leaked embarrassing info NY Post”

    IOW, they admit that it was a leak, not a Russian hack.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “How Harvard Business School Helped Turn Steve Bannon into a Monster Vanity Fair”

    And everyone else, too. It’s teaching pure, unmitigated, fulminating arrogance. I suspect the other Ivy BS’s are very similar – and my father used to recruit from them for his business. There’ve been some changes, or the disease is ever more deeply embedded.

    No wonder they crashed the economy in ’08.

    (Yes, I know Yves went to Harvard – and then ejected from their orbit. There are always some exceptions.)

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