Links 4/26/2017

More people than ever before are single – and that’s a good thing The Conversation

People whose ‘brain age’ is older than their real age more likely to die early Guardian

Q&A: Hawaii reassures tourists after brain parasite cases Ap (David L)

The Growing Movement of Men Who Secretly Remove Condoms During Sex Broadly (Dan K)

Discovery of plastic-eating worms offers chance to finally get rid of world’s growing piles of litter Independent.

Guillotine Watch

Nordstrom sells jeans with fake mud on them for $425; Critics let loose WXYZ Detroit (Hana M)

Tom Brady gives much to Best Buddies, but has taken millions for his own charitable trust Boston Globe (judy b)

Retailers Are Going Bankrupt at a Record Pace Bloomberg (resilc)

Why Is Congress In Such A Rush To Strip The Library Of Congress Of Oversight Powers On The Copyright Office? TechDirt (Chuck L)

The Right’s Green Awakening Jacobin

First Map-Based Car Navigation System Debuted 14 Years Before GPS The Institute (em)

New Cold War

American Imperialism Leads the World Into Dante’s Vision of Hell (RR). Truthdig. Important.

ELECTRICAL SEPARATION Irussianality. Chuck L: “As Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov put it, Ukraine’s action ‘is one more step on Ukraine’s path of tearing the territories away from itself.’”

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Powerful US XKEYSTORE spyware was distributed to Japan in addition to European allies (RW) Leak of Nations. So now we have Six Eyes rather than Five? That’ll make me sleep more soundly at night..


Brussels demands EU citizens in UK for five years get permanent right to stay as Brexit stance toughens Independent

French Elections

The French, Coming Apart City Journal (bob k)

France’s next big challenge: defense policy Politico

Complacency threatens Macron in France’s unhappy democracy AFP

What Macron will say about Greece The Unbalanced Evolution of Homo Sapiens


Turkish Airstrikes On Kurds Complicate U.S. Operations In Iraq And Syria Moon of Alabama


Erdogan’s Referendum Victory Has Left Turkey With an Uncertain Future The Wire

‘We’re eating the Mercedes’ Politico

Inside Turkey’s Irregular Referendum WSJ

Why Did So Many Cheer Turkey’s Democracy While It Was Dying? Dani Rodrik’s weblog

North Korea?

China’s Shift on N.Korea Brings Big Risks and Opportunities The Chousunilbo.  Far-fetched? Perhaps, but consistent with some coverage. And ask yourself, would the US be sanguine about an analogous threat so close to its borders: e.g., imagine a potential attack on Quebec. Perhaps there’s no major policy shift here but signalling to get Kim Jong-un to back away a bit.

Did Trump-Xi call reveal subtle shift in China’s stance on North Korean nuclear crisis? SCMP


Ted 2017: The woman who wants China to eat insects BBC

China’s steel battles with west set to intensify FT

A desperate escape Reuters

Trump Transition

JUDGE BLOCKS TRUMP THREAT TO WITHHOLD ‘SANCTUARY CITY’ FUNDS AP What a shame: Immigration policy by executive order isn’t working out any better for Trump than it did for his predecessor.

Congress Members Want Feds to Stop Messing With Legal Weed Rolling Stone. resilc: “would be funny if sessions’ war on drugs gets trump unelected in 2020.”

How Trump’s Pick for Top Antitrust Cop May Shape Competition NYT

Does Trump Actually Think Democrats Will Vote for His Tax Cuts? New York magazine (resilc)

Will Donald Trump have the guts to call the Armenian genocide what it was? Robert Fisk’s latest.


Renewables drive creative destruction of energy landscape India Climate Dialogue

H-1B whistleblower Théo Negri on how lottery, salaries are gamed by TCS, Infosys, Cognizant First Post

Rights Activists Call Out Attorney General For Calling Army’s Use of Human Shield “Smart” The Wire

South India’s Drought Part 4: Water crisis in Tamil Nadu is a manifestation of climate change, say experts Firstpost

University of California administration is paying excessive salaries and mishandling funds, state audit says LA Times

Class Warfare

Workers who really do ‘support our troops’ are getting their wages slashed WaPo

Obama Starts Cashing In Directly For Bailing Out Wall Street Ian Welsh martha r:  “a rant, & can’t be said too often.”

Barack Obama Reportedly Accepts $400,000 for a Wall Street Speech New York magazine Resilc: “man of da peeps.”

Obama’s $400,000 Wall Street speaking fee will undermine everything he believes in Vox (SC). This story seems to have touched a nerve with readers.

Democratic state attorneys general decry student loan rework by Republicans Reuters. em: “More than enough hypocrisy to go around on this one.”

Congress nears deal on help for miners The Hill

Health Care

California Health Care Bill: Big Corporate Money Opposes Single-Payer Proposal International Business Times. David Sirota’s latest.

Some States Are Making It Easier To Get Birth Control Guardian

Why Abortion Is a Progressive Economic Issue  NYT. Democrats have long been speaking out of both sides of their mouth on the abortion issue, leaving it to the courts to uphold what limited abortion rights women have, and failing to extend statutory protections to guarantee abortions are widely available. That’s what safeguarding abortion rights means– not trotting out the woman’s right to choose slogan and the selection of Supreme Court Justices boogeyman every four years– as the be-all and end-all on abortion rights. When’s the last time any of these people went to the mat to try and mandate that public and private insurers pay for abortions and treat them as they do other health procedures?

United Removal Fiasco

United Airlines Passenger Was Violent in Removal, Police Report Says NYT. Note the contrast between the police report’s account and the widely-shared smartphone footage

United Airlines in new PR disaster after giant rabbit dies on UK flight Guardian The rabbit died. Oh dear.

Antidote du jour. Another one of my favorite birds:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. zer0

      Present day lobotomy. Ok, not exactly, but has very limited uses.

      Of course, now everyone is talking about how we are going to mesh chips with the brain, you know, to advance humankind by allowing one to browse FB while driving. Reminds me of the 50’s when people thought we would be living on Mars by the 80’s.

  1. Kukulkan

    Why Is Congress In Such A Rush To Strip The Library Of Congress Of Oversight Powers On The Copyright Office?

    Rush? They put up a video on YouTube on the subject back in December, four months ago. Doesn’t seem much of rush to me.

    Maybe because reform is long overdue? And the new Librarian of Congress is a Google shill who figures copyright is an outdated concept that gets in the way of Google’s ability to profit from the labor of others? Or the fact that it would bring the copyright office into line with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, the other agency that oversees intellectual property rights. Of course, the big difference is that Google benefits from Patents and Trademarks, whereas they just want to exploit copyrighted material without compensating the creators.

    1. Ranger Rick

      It’s a complicated issue that doesn’t simply boil down to “because large corporations object.” You can see it all across the Trump-era government right now: someone high up in Congress decided he really, really doesn’t like the way the government is used to pick winners.

      When these agencies and organs of government are allowed to make exceptions and rules and regulations for a good cause, they are ultimately proving the “limited government” activists right: the laws have become so overreaching and poorly-worded that they require interpretation and arbitration just to function as intended. Removing the ability of the government to be flexible in its application of the law applies pressure on the legislature to either repeal or amend.

      In the Library of Congress’s case, you have what is normally an unimportant, unaccountable civil servant deciding what is and isn’t legal copyright infringement with respect to the DMCA. Oh, and to add to the pile of issues this raises, none of the Librarian’s exemptions are carried forward. When the exemptions end, all created works under the exemption become infringing again.

    2. RUKidding

      Do you have links or information showing Dr. Hayden, Librarian of Congress, as a “Google shill”? I’m not aware of that and would appreciate more information. Have done a little searching on this and not finding anything.

      The fact that they started the job search sometime around the new year – and Dr. Hayden apparently is getting close to choosing an applicant for the position soon – is pretty fast moving for a top govt position of this nature. One may quibble over the term “rush,” but my understanding is that the Library of Congress is moving the application/interview/choice process fairly quickly for a job of this nature.

      Given that this position has always resided under the LoC, I’m a bit skeptical about claiming how Dr. Hayden is only concerned with Google benefiting from this. Any info you could provide in this regard would be appreciated.

    3. Kurtismayfield

      Really, that is your supportive argument? That the internet companies want to stop extending copyright? Copyright is now almost a century (Thanks Sonny Bono). How much more time should Disney be able to protect it’s cartoon mouse?? 200 yrs? 300 yrs? You tell me.

      1. craazyboy

        Someday, it will be Mickey, The Tyrannosaurus Rex.

        And all similar – say, TRex Mike, Mr. TRex, Dyno Mouse, etc….

      1. frosty zoom

        my knowledge is googleplexian!!!

        (actually, i used bing images through duckduckgo; india bird red cheek crest, the terms; oh, the fingerprint we leave!; i think you’ll quite enjoy the website with every birdsong ever; i’ve written music (midi!) incorporating animal sounds; i believe that music is the human synthesis of the sounds of nature and like any synthesis, is rarely as good as the original (think cherry flavouring))

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      I like that name, bulbul.

      I wonder if the name is connected to the Korean dish, bulgogi.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        Quite a common bird in some parts of Asia– I’ve seen them in India, Nepal, Bangladesh. Can’t recall any sightings the one time I visited Pakistan. I see from Cornell’s e-range map that they’re also found more or less directly east of the sub-continent– but not as far north as Korea. Thus you might see them in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos etc. Can’t recall seeing them on any of my visits to those countries, but as I said, they’re quite common, and I wouldn’t necessarily have remembered a sighting.

        Alas, I think there’s no connection with the Korean dish.

        1. Anonymous

          Red-Whiskered Bulbul

          Yes, very common in SE Asia: Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, etc.

          Bulbuls have the most wonderful songs and calls.

          1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

            Yes, fantastic songs and calls: See the clip I uploaded above. Cannot recall ever seeing one on various visits to Malaysia or Singapore– but that’s no doubt since they’re so common elsewhere, I might not have noticed. I tend to remember birds I see that I haven’t seen (often) before.

  2. Fox Blew

    Re: “More people…are single…and that’s a good thing”. I’m fine with the snapshot provided by the author for today. But as a left-of-centre 40 year old, I’m a touch worried about the next generation(s). I should add that my assumptions are based on nothing more than my own experience in small-city Canada. “Singles” are more common today than I can remember. They are more “progressive” socially and politically. And yet, they are not having kids. In my city, who is having kids? “Conservative” or “centrists.” And while I am example of someone who rebelled against my parents, many kids don’t. They are brought up to share much of the same views on society as their parents. If we have generations of kids who are raised by conservatives, won’t society evolve in a more conservative direction? I know this is simplistic. It still makes me wonder.

    1. Uahsenaa

      I have to agree at least a little. I am actually much further to the left than either of my parents, but I think that has a lot to do with the fact that my father was active in a trade union his entire working life, I and my brother were made to tag along to stand on picket lines, and that we were in general given a model example of what leftish politics looks like in day-to-day life. I work in a white collar world that, while most people profess “liberal” values, when it comes to class, they just can’t be bothered. I’m not sure how I’d fall politically, if it weren’t for my parents’ example.

      1. a different chris

        Interesting – you say you are “much further to the left…” but you dad might say how can you be left at all unless you’ve walked a picket line regarding your own job.

        I am just a blowhard that calls himself “left” but doesn’t do anything meaningful about it, so I am sensitive to this sort of statement. I am not “left” of your dad no matter how much wishful thinking/furious posting on blogs I do.

        Anyway, I’m just not worried about the kids. Even discounting natural rebellion as you do, they are growing up in a different world. This makes bigger, more successful blowhards than me keep redefining “left” “right” and whatever just to keep their sinecures on MSNBC and etc. Pluck somebody directly from 1997 (not that long ago at all) and show them Milo Yanniapolis (sp?) and think about how they would react. Gay people are suddenly OK, so does this mean everybody is now a Leftist? Obviously not, the definitions have been changed since “gayness” doesn’t work anymore to keep us fighting amongst ourselves.

        We are all just people.

        1. Uahsenaa

          Interesting – you say you are “much further to the left…” but you dad might say how can you be left at all unless you’ve walked a picket line regarding your own job.

          Um, it’s not exactly clear to me what you’re trying to imply here, but I have walked a picket line for my own job, several times, both as a grad student and a lecturer. What’s more, I was personally involved in the creation of the lecturers union at Michigan. My dad, for all his virtues, never had to harangue a bunch of people being assaulted daily with university propaganda to put their livelihoods on the line for a common cause, so I’d appreciate your not casting aspersions my way.

          And I say I’m well to the left of my parents, because I am. Like most New Deal/Great Society Dems, my parents have been done right by capitalism and are enjoying their financially secure retirement. Never in a million years would they consider giving up that stability if it meant overthrowing capitalism, or workers controlling the means of their livelihoods, or ensuring the United States cannot continue using its military to make people’s lives miserable around the world. I would more than happily give up my own financial security for such a goal.

          And when faculty I work with make pretenses towards solidarity with the contingent employees whose misery they are in no small part complicit in, I call them on it. I have myself been part of the contingent wasteland for some time (though I currently have prospects for a better job), and because I have been put in the unfortunate position of trying to teach college freshman how to think and write for some time now, I’m more than a little worried about them. There is a remarkable lack of intellectual curiosity among them that I see getting worse every year in addition to a sense, coming from those of both liberal and conservative backgrounds, of being entitled to a degree of comfort in their college careers that won’t do them much good in the long run. I don’t think this is their fault, though, but rather that of an academic world that wants nothing more than to keep its grift going in perpetuity.

          tl;dr – don’t make presumptions about who I am

    2. tony

      I’ve tried to find a progressive answer to this for a few years and they don’t seem want to think about it. They have some thought stopping cliches about progress being inevitable, that the conservatives are dying out, about brown immigrants coming in and replacing the conservative whites while adopting the (implicitly superior) white progressive culture.

      What I’m seeing is Gen Z is already becoming more conservative in the US, and this seems to be international. Israeli conservative Jews are defeating feminism, in Russia feminism is being defeated and the birthrate is going up, Erdogan and many Muslim clerics preach high birthrates as their primary weapon.

      There is a reason most societies have certain commonalities. There are limited ways of arranging a society that can survive.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Religious-based high birth rates usually peter out, lest the country become ungovernable.

        Iran did the same thing in the 1980s, then rapidly reversed course.

    3. zer0

      It’s a bad thing.

      More people are single because they 1) have massive student debt 2) cannot afford a house 3) have a hard time finding a steady job (constantly moving around/gig economy).

      Single motherhood rate has skyrocketed in America. Huge opioid/prescription drug epidemic, clearly related. Lowest percentage of young men in the work force.

      Maybe if you’re sequestered in a posh area of Chicago, NY, LA, San Fran, etc, then the single ‘craze’ might seem like people wanting to ‘party’, but that’s because the wealthy are always single (even if they are ‘married’).

      For the other 95%, it is, and ALWAYS will be, related to the economics of their generation. Look at the Baby Boomers: they were birthed after the US won WWII, amidst the economic successes of that generation! Look at Europe after the war: low birth rates, high cost of living. Look at Japan: big boom after the war, then low birth rates because of high cost of living.

      1. tony

        That is part of it, but religious people with traditional morals consistently manage to produce kids, while even in a good economy, with free education and healthcare, and state support for parent, progressive people still can’t manage replacement rate.

        1. neo-realist

          Educated progressives understand that parenting is hard work, do their personal inventory’s, discover it isn’t for them and don’t follow through with it if their dispositions are not cut out for it. The religious and traditional types have more kids because, in many cases, they assume parenthood is a given traditional adult responsibility, or succumb to familial and friend pressure, and also, many religious and conservative types don’t like using protection, so “accidents “are much more common–I’ve heard men of that kind say, on a few occasions, that they had the kid because the woman didn’t take care of the protection, cause the woman is supposed to do that.

        2. hunkerdown

          Yes, tony, fertility cults work, for some value of “work”. The error is in absolutely equating biological reproduction with social reproduction. Some of those kids will find their parents and their fantasy justifications for the reproduction of the working class are full of shite, and that their own upbringing was miserable and stultifying. As a child with most of my family being bourgeois liberal centrists, and understanding that my personal experience does not define others, I did. Besides, fewer people stuck with a blackmail chit and giving company to parents’ misery means more dissidents and more “aunts” and “uncles” in a position to drop truth bombs on youth.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe if you’re sequestered in a posh area of Chicago, NY, LA, San Fran, etc, then the single ‘craze’ might seem like people wanting to ‘party’, but that’s because the wealthy are always single (even if they are ‘married’).

        Not sure if the wealthy are always single.

        Not sure if the wealthy who are married always act ‘single.’

        Also not sure if many singles in Chicago, NY, LA, SF are wealthy.

        It’s likely, though, that there are a lot of partying. Here in LA, there are many parties.

      3. Yves Smith

        No, the big driver of low birth rates in Japan (having worked there) is:

        1. Birth control

        2. Women being able to get decent jobs

        3. No adjustment in gender roles whatsoever despite 1 and 2. Being a wife sucks in Japan. The men are never home, they stay out late drinking with work buddies (this is required culturally). Because immigration is severely restricted (partly due to racism, partly pragmatic, since housing costs even decades past the bubble are still very high) there is no cheap servant class to give mothers a break. The best they might have is having their mother chip in, but that is a mixed bag, and just given how spread out cities are, the grandmothers are seldom nearby.

        The birth rate in Japan was well below replacement level as of 1989, the peak of the bubble era, at 1.57. It was only as of 1987 that a law in Japan requiring companies to hire women into professional jobs (as in no more relegating them to tea lady roles) became effective.

        Even with Japanese women having limited access to decently paying work, the birth rate kept falling through Japan’s boom years. It was 2.13 in 1969. The fall from 1969 to 1989 was much greater than from 1989 to now (the birth rate is 1.42). It does not at all comport with your tidy story.

        So a lot of young women, who are called parasite singles, are simply not marrying. They live wth their parents, save a lot, and still have a very nice lifestyle. They correctly see marraige as a bad deal for them.

        In general, you guys do not get that marriage is an institution designed for men. Well-designed survey (as in ones not structured with bias in their questions) repeatedly find that the happiest groups in the US, in order, are: married men, single women, single men, and married women.

        Now because groups like this are very large, variation within each group will be greater than between groups. So yes, there are married women who are happier than single women and married men.

        It’s a big blind spot on behalf of most men regarding who really benefits from marriage, at least in terms of happiness (it is too long to have a conversation here about the intense programming of and social pressure on most women to get married and have children). This is confirmed by the fact that divorces in the US are instigated far more often by women than men even though the male-female pay disparity means women are much less well positioned to support themselves economically than men.

    4. Katharine

      I think this may be oversimplification. Consider the young man raised by somewhat left-leaning parents and educated in a Quaker school who became a racist murderer. You really cannot predict reliably how people will respond to their upbringing when they are confronted by the realities of the world they are living in.

    5. JohnnyGL

      Yes, it’s simplistic. I used to think like that, somewhat. I no longer think it makes sense. People’s lived experiences are what shapes their views. If this were true that ideology were genetic/learned from parents, how would you explain changing views on drug policy or homosexuality? There’s no precedent for those.

      To the extent that people are radicalized, it’s from their experiences. The Cuban revolutionaries grew out of a reaction to life under Batista’s rule, and saw what happened to Guatemala when they tried to use democratic means to implement socialism and were overthrown in a violent military coup. This pushed the Castros and their associates in a more radical direction.

      Same thing with Hugo Chavez, he only really became a radical post 2002 coup.

      Much like the war on terror keeps creating more opponents to US policy (who could have predicted Russia, China, Iran, Syria and even Egypt all getting along to oppose the US-led west???) and even helps create more terrorists (as well as more radical support for imperialism, clearly an element of trump supporters DO actually want more, nastier warfare. Though I think other Trump supporters want less.)

      Neoliberalism’s war on normal people keeps creating radicals (not exclusively on the left, either).

      Please don’t take this as a smear to compare radicals to terrorists or anything like that, I’m only making the point that policies have consequences, and really bad policies often create more radical opposition, and some of those radicals are good, some aren’t.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If neoliberalism keeps creating radicals, then it’s less formidable than the major religions.

        Typically, over thousands of years, a mostly (say, Shinto) nation remains a mostly (here, Shinto) nation.

        Does that religion do it with hard power alone (threats to the nonbelievers) or soft power (a really convincing story)?

    6. Vatch

      Cripes (at 9:48 AM) and PlutoniumKun (at 10:16 AM) commented on this, and PK mentioned the movie “Idiocracy”. In 1951, long before that movie was made, Cyril Kornbluth wrote “The Marching Morons”, about a future in which people are much less intelligent than now, because for hundreds of years, the less intelligent have been outprocreating the more intelligent. There’s a summary of the story at Wikipedia, and there are some spoilers, of course, so beware.

      1. ambrit

        Yeah, but what about the ending of the story? That’s a real plot twist cautionary tale.
        I have known several very smart people who foreswore procreation for various reasons. Given that the very “substandard” seldom reproduce, and that true genius is still unpredictable, the “Marching Morons” premise lacks real support. If I remember correctly, intelligence is distributed across a bell curve in all studied populations. What needs to be rethought is the idea that nature is the sole determinate of any societies distribution of “smart” and “not so smart” people. Nurture plays a very big, if not equal, role compared to nature in the “smartest droid in the cubicle” sweepstakes. So, all us paranoid something or other supremacists, the word is out; even “deplorables” produce “superior” individuals when given the same resources as “us.”
        As far as Idiocracy goes, well, a culture can be stupid even when the “average” member thereof is pretty smart. Conditioning, Comrades, conditioning.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          What needs to be rethought is the idea that nature is the sole determinate of any societies distribution of “smart” and “not so smart” people.

          Not only this, but it is possible to be very smart and an ignoramus at the same time. In fact, I would argue most of us are. To me, the scary problem is lost knowledge. I do a lot of historical digging in economics and sociology and industrial relations and it is truly unbelievable the number of things that were common knowledge as recently as the 60s that have basically been forgotten. I am constantly listening to supersmart 20- and 30-year olds on “the left” who don’t know how unions work, don’t know how things are made, don’t understand really basic things. I’m ranting now.

          1. ambrit

            It may be viewed as “ranting,” but what the process is is the impartation of hard won knowledge to a systemically resistant younger population. “Elders” were revered once because they were the institutional equivalent of today’s Internet.
            A good rant is a real joy, for both giver and perceiver.

        2. LT

          It’s pretty “idiotic” in this country with plenty of Ivy Leaguers setting policy.

          Last thing to fret over are alleged IQ scores. It’s a form of testing that has its own set of blinders on.

          The Soviet Union prized, prioritized, promoted science and engineering. It wasn’t for lack of scientists or engineers that it collapsed.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The really intelligent would have been out-reproduced for 200,000 years or more, in that case.P

        What if greedy people out-reproduce kind and generous people? Would we all be greedy today?

        Perhaps greed isn’t inheritable, while intelligence, measured by IQ, is.

        Can wise-ness be inherited? Or can each generation begin anew, with hope of being wise, even with a lower combined IQ, even as prior generation has not been wise?

    7. crittermom

      Fox Blew,
      You bring up a good point.
      Having been divorced and on my own for 30 yrs now, taking care of myself, in my own limited experience I’m tending to notice that it has more to do with their political affiliations as to whether they remain single/divorced or married, but admittedly, I’m seeing it from a very narrow point of view in relation to where I currently live.
      My ‘best friend’ here is a staunch Republican. (I’m a Bernie supporter).
      Admits she doesn’t even like kids, & hers are grown yet their lives are disastrous.
      She doesn’t care. She has money and all she wants.

      Third marriages for both she and her husband. ‘Required’ children from first marriages (and dare I mention she’s a staunch ‘Christian’, as well, spending many hours a week helping with affairs at the church?). She had originally said she’d be there for me and drive and stay with me since my recent cancer diagnosis.

      Career union jobs for both her and her current husband from which they each receive hefty pensions yet would never consider themselves Dems now. No way! Republican all the way (so they can hang onto all they’ve earned without having to contribute to those less ‘fortunate’).

      Oops? She apparently spoke too quickly.
      I’m starting aggressive chemo in two weeks (cancer in a larger area than originally thought, so being treated aggressively, with surgeries, etc to follow into the winter).
      The Dr said the first treatment is the worst so wants me to stay in the city for a week so I can do a follow-up since I live hours away. (I’ll be staying at the same cancer center housing as I did for the tests)

      My friend’s husband won’t ‘allow’ her to be gone for a week to stay with me, despite the fact he goes hunting anywhere from a minimum of 2 weeks, up to 6 weeks, each year. *snort* sarc/

      She then offered money so I can hire a caregiver, instead. Wow. Was hoping for a friend during this most difficult time.
      I’ll take it since I must have someone there according to the house rules since they don’t have medical staff there & the office is only open during the day. It’s just HOUSING for patients from out of town. Not medical care. (Tho’ I fear I may now have blown her offer of financial help after commenting that I was sorry her leash didn’t stretch that far).

      So while I have friends in Denver who would be there for me (Bernie supporters), I’m stuck with a bunch of Republicans where I currently live (after the bank stole my home in CO) and I’m seeing an attitude of ‘I’ll be there for you, as long as it doesn’t inconvenience me and if my husband lets me’.

      My friends in CO are mostly divorced/single, & progressives.
      So I’m basically facing going through this alone, with strangers caring for me. (A downside of being single, I suppose, yet most of the time I enjoy it. I can eat oatmeal for dinner if I choose, & my time is my own to pursue what interests me and I’m not kowtowing to a partner as she chooses to do).

      Have you noticed the political affiliations in regards to married w/ children v single, in your neck of the woods, or am I just wanting to jump to a conclusion from my narrow scope of view?

      If it’s only ‘conservatives’ having families, that may not be a good thing for the future if they’re instilled with the same values as their parents.

      1. ambrit

        Sorry to hear about the cancer. Phyl went through some Immunotherapy recently. You really do want to line up some friendly help, if only to give you emotional support. If the “home” available to you has a kitchen, do consider pre-preparing some dinners and snacks and storing them in the freezer or fridge. (Phyl uses frozen watermelon for nausea. It works for her. Please do some research on what to expect, except I suspect you have already done so.)
        Finally, do view all “well meaning advice” with a jaundiced eye. A lot of the things I thought that I knew turned out to be wrong. Phyllis doesn’t let me live that one down. Humility is hard.
        Best of luck from both of us.

        1. crittermom

          Thank you.
          This diagnosis is still not as devastating to me as having the bank steal my home. It actually pales in comparison, to me personally.
          I was able to survive that, so I’m confident I’ll survive this, too. (Thanks for the tip about frozen watermelon. Yes, they have community kitchens and I’ve already begun cooking some meals to take–if I’ll have any appetite)

          I’m maddest that it’s gonna set me back a year or two in publishing my children’s books, which are my (only?) hope for ever owning a home again.

          As I’d said, what I needed was a friend, but I was offered financial help, instead, to hire a stranger because my cancer would require a week of my friends time which apparently she’s not willing to give (or her husband won’t let her).

          So I must continue to wonder, in regards to the article about ‘more singles’, if political affiliations plays a part, as in, progressives have more of ‘it takes a village’ attitude, working together for a common good, while conservatives are more apt to offer some money, but not the imposition of their time?

          As noted in the article, the singles are more involved in their communities. IMHO the married conservatives are more focused on themselves and their personal gain.

          Am I being too narrow-minded because of my recent personal experience with so-called ‘friends’?

          I usually dislike such generalizations (there are always exceptions), but in the ‘hood where I currently reside, that seems to sum it up quite well.

          1. ambrit

            A shot in the dark here, but, I’ve found that the degree of “empathy” shown by any individual is pretty much a function of the character of that person. Unfortunately, character is not valued enough to be taught or encouraged in the social education systems. Sadly, as you have discovered, there is also a “group” empathy at work as well. I find that many of the “middle class” people I encounter act as if they are afraid of losing status. Any deviation from a group norm is viewed as a potential source of “shunning.” So, I’ve seen normally friendly people treat me with “distance” when other members of their core social group are around. This added to financial stress can badly warp a person’s “style” of life.
            I sometimes think that there are both social “liberal” and “conservative” trends and political ones, each being linked but not fully congruous. Your half-hearted “friends” have been talking the talk but not walking the walk. Even though you are faced with an existential threat, do pity them but not become too invested in them. Their actions are manifestations of their inner struggles. You have your own struggle. Do not be hesitant to be selfish. You deserve the best, demand it.
            Good for you about the children’s books! I once wrote up a synopsis for one centered around the question; “Daddy, where will we sleep tonight?” Phyl’s storyboard was about the adventures of a beach ball on a windy day at the beach.

    8. Sutter Cane

      I too am a “lefty” Internet blowhard, single with no kids. I have had thoughts similar to those of Fox Blew, above. I also agree with zer0 in the comment about economics being a factor.

      If I had been less economically anxious, previous relationships would have been a lot easier and who knows, I might have ended up as a parent. Definitely poverty and all the associated problems contributed to the dissolution of at least one previous relationship. But, I know people a lot poorer than I was who still started families. Me, I had no desire to bring a kid into the world who would have to grow up even poorer than I did, attending even crappier schools, facing even more debt to attend college, and even worse job prospects.

      As a friend in a similar situation said, people who are smart enough to not have kids, don’t.

    9. LT

      The article pretty clearly says another likely outcome of more singles is an expanded view of what “family” means. Nowhere in it does it say single people are trying to over-throw the “nuclear family,” which can be a narrowing of the definition of family and community (as given in examples in the article).
      Don’t see why that’s so worrying.

    10. Procopius

      I dunno, I think of adolescent rebellion, and suspect that there’s more of it than you admit. Until they reach middle age, anyway,and then they suddenly realize they’re just like their parents. I think my values are less conservative than some of my father’s, I’m pretty sure a lot of my liberal values come from him, and I see myself acting, sometimes, the way I think he would have.

  3. craazyboy

    Discovery of plastic-eating worms offers chance to finally get rid of world’s growing piles of litter Independent.


    Hmm. Makes one wonder when Monsanto will start spicing our plastic, and how big are these “worms”?

    1. From Cold Mountain

      For every technological problem there is a technological solution, and another bigger technological problem right around the corner.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Today’s solution is tomorrow’s problem.

        The internal combustion engine was a solution to a problem.

        So was the nuclear bomb.

        1. zer0

          So, how much is it worth to Navigate said problems? Cause sure as hell wont do it for free…hence, environmental engineering isn’t thought of as a lucrative field….hence, no one gives a flying shit about the environment.

          1. craazyboy

            I meant the Dune Navigators will lead us to the galaxy, and global warming causes earth to become Arrakis. The Giant Worms live happily ever after.

            Not so for indigenous humans. Without the internet to propel innovation forward, we just gave up. But the earth was repopulated with New Asians from Alpha Centauri, managed by a nice robot. He calls all of them “Will Robinson”. They are used to feed the Giant Worms, now that all the plastic is gone.

    2. polecat

      Maybe it’s time to get those ‘sandworm hooks’ out of the closet, and be ready for a parting of the segments …

      1. ambrit

        Sorry, but John Varley, in one of his “Cirocco Jones” books put paid to sandworms using simple physics. Something about the square of something as size of worm increases and friction.

          1. ambrit

            Keep the spice flowing and ye buzz will return.
            PS. Doesn’t anyone get the connection between this piece of “futurist” zoology and Crichton’s “The Andromeda Strain,” or Cristopher’s “No Blade of Grass?”

            1. craazyboy

              Crichton was big on bio-engineered, sentient, nano life form swarms too. They can make a swarm cloud that looks like anything. Like cloud animals!

          1. ambrit

            Ah, similar to how politicians operate.
            A decent “explanation” offered for sandworm motive powers was that the worms “use” magnetic repulsion, since fine sand, especially when full of magnetic ores, will hold a static electric charge. Whoever did some of the “special effects,” deLaurentis has a lot to answer for in the afterlife, in the movie version of “Dune” might have had a similar idea. The moving worms were accompanied by, if I remember correctly, lightning flashes. In the ending of the book, static charges were instrumental in overcoming the Emperors defences. Indeed, I suspect a pun there on Herbert’s part, since the moveable fortress idea would be a form of “static” defence.

            1. craazyboy

              Yer over tinking dis one. After thousands of years of being eroded by wave action on the ocean bottoms, sand crystals have been eroded round – exactly like high tech ceramic ball bearings. The Giant Worm’s belly is the “bearing race”.

              1. ambrit

                Error in logic sweet cheeks. Perfectly round sand grains would end up in frictionless surfaces, and nothing for said wormies to push against. No movement then possible. Wormies would then have to “surf” the abyssal depths of Arrakis as the planet turned beneath them!
                Besides, there is no such thing as “overthinking” in Sci Fi, is there? (I remember a filmed interview with Herbert where he complained about the “shorthand” names for his preferred form of fiction. “Why not call it Cee Fee, instead of Si Fi?” he querried.)
                And anyway, isn’t the “precariat” the new “bearing race?” (Thought I’d slip that one in there.)

    3. cojo

      If you think bee colony collapse is bad now, just wait until these worms are unleashed on landfills around the world…

    4. wilroncanada

      Back in the 1980s there was an article in a sailing magazine here in Pacific Canada about a newly discovered polyester worm that was eating holes in sailboats. It was quite a story. It was also the April edition.

  4. Dita

    Re: California Health Care Bill – If passage of the bill depends on payoffs, maybe it’s time for supporters of the bill to pay them off too? A Governor Brown/California Health Care Go Fund Me page??

  5. PlutoniumKun


    Renewables drive creative destruction of energy landscape India Climate Dialogue

    Am I right in thinking that there seems to have been a very strong change in the past year in Modi’s energy policy? I thought he was elected very much on a pro-coal and pro-nuclear policy. India’s nuclear ambitions have always been based on dubious technological claims, but I thought they wouldn’t be able to resist taking advantage of cheap coal prices. Is it just that the economic case for renewables has become irresistible? I’d love to hear Jerri-Lynn’s take on this.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Just a quick reply: got to hop as I’ve promised to meet some people shortly. India’s strong policy commitment to renewables predates Modi and includes a mandatory minimum renewable quota that each state must meet, and an exchange system that allows states that are efficient renewable producers (e.g., Gujarat and Tamil Nadu for wind and solar, Rajasthan for solar) to trade renewably-generated power to states that are not efficient renewable producers.

      IIRC then-PM Manmohan Singh promoted renewables heavily since at least 2008– including committing India to generating 10% of its energy by renewables by 2020. Some states had already charged ahead on their own: Gujarat started promoting renewable power in the 1970s IIRC (beginning on a pilot basis) and now produces solar and wind power. If you drive around Gujarat– particularly along the coast along the Arabian Sea– you’ll see lots of wind turbines.

      Here’s a link to an 2012 article, “Shout it From the Rooftops”, I wrote about India’s solar policy but since I wrote it, it’s got stuck behind a paywall– plus the magazine changed its name to the horrid moniker, The Intelligent Optimist: (I had nothing to do with the name change but still, it’s horribly embarrassing to have one’s work appear in the archive of a publication that’s now so named.) I also wrote quite a few pieces around the same time in some on-line specialty publications, largely about solar but I recall a wind piece or two as well (I have no idea whether or not these venues still exist nor whether they can be found on-line).

      I’ll admit I haven’t kept up on the details of India’s current renewables policy. And I don’t know very much about Modi’s energy electoral platform and I don’t want to hazard a guess on whether his policy has changed since his election as I’ve not done the necessary research to be sure of my answer.

      But since you asked me directly to weigh in: What I can say is that India’s commitment to renewables predates Modi, and predates, as you express it, the economic case for renewables becoming irresistible.

      Please make allowances for any mistakes I may have made in this quick, off-the-top-of-my-head response to a direct question.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks Jerri-Lynn, thats really useful. I knew there was a pre-Modi policy in favour of renewables, but I was under the impression Modi was set on a Trump-like bonfire of the environment policy. Its good to know it hasn’t happened.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Yes, thanks for this. No doubt the yearning for breathable air in China and India has pushed large numbers of people to support better environmental policies.

          It’s hard to scream “drill, baby, drill” when you’re coughing and choking on smog!!! :)

  6. PlutoniumKun


    China’s Shift on N.Korea Brings Big Risks and Opportunities The Chousunilbo. Far-fetched? Perhaps, but consistent with some coverage. And ask yourself, would the US be sanguine about an analogous threat so close to its borders: e.g., imagine a potential attack on Quebec. Perhaps there’s no major policy shift here but signalling to get Kim Jong-un to back away a bit.

    Its an interesting take. The article suggests that China is so pissed with North Korea right now that it is signalling that it would not intervene if the US made a surgical strike on its nuclear facilities so long as no ground troops got involved, and that it is signalling its displeasure by reducing the supply of oil to Pyongyang. However, I seriously doubt that the Chinese would be happy to see a strike on North Korea, not least because the inevitable reaction – shells and rockets striking directly Seoul – would result in a situation which could be very hard to contain. South Korea would find it very hard to resist its own counter reaction. It is much more likely I think that perhaps Xi has agreed with Trump that a combination of Trump sword waving and China signalling it has lost patience might yield better diplomatic results. It certainly seems to be the case that the NK is having second thoughts about more tests.

    The article does however suggest that one key issue is the Chinese over -reaction to THAAD on South Korean soil. It probably is true to say that THAAD is no threat to China, but that doesn’t alter the fact that China does not agree. But it is possible that Xi and Trump have agreed to something on this. The Cuban Missile Crisis was solved of course with a tacit agreement about removing missiles from Turkey so perhaps THAAD could be the key for the Chinese.

    1. HotFlash

      if the US made a surgical strike on its nuclear facilities

      What could possibly go wrong? The US is, after all, famed for the precision of its surgical strikes. /s

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s Sunzi’s art of war deception or poker players’ bluffing.

      One clumsy actor could ruin the game, though, which does happen from time to time. Strictly for professionals only. Amateurs please don’t try this at home.

      1. craazyboy

        Reminds me of the scene where Hannibal Lecter convinces the pork billionaire to cut his own face off with a broken shard of mirror glass.

      2. Ernesto Lyon

        A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all … I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where … Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will set it off.

        Otto Von Bismarck, 1871

        His prediction eventually proved right with WWI in 1914.

        The smallest of fumbles in warcraft can quickly lead to calamities beyond anyone’s expectations or comprehension.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Jonathan Schell, “The Fate of the Earth.” There is no such thing as a limited nuclear war; the logic of war drives relentless escalation, until they’re making the rubble bounce.

          So soon they forget. All this was settled at least a generation ago, but now it’s creeping back. It’s making me very nervous.

    3. vidimi

      this looks plausible.

      if i were china, though, i’d be worried about the lunatics in charge of the world’s most powerful military and largest nuclear arsenal. having america self-destruct would be highly beneficial to china so, perhaps sensing inevitable increased american involvement in the middle east, china might want to open another front for america to ease tensions there and for the dumb yanks to overstretch themselves.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t doubt the Chinese feel they can manipulate the US now. In an odd way, the Chinese may well feel more comfortable with someone like Trump – the country is full of blustering man-children with more money than sense, so they know how to deal with that. They may well feel that giving Trump a ‘win’ will keep him happy and if it keeps that other man-child, the Korean one, in his place, then all the better. I would also suspect that they feel that keeping South Korea worried and unstable is quite useful too – the South Koreans will be very worried if they think Trump and Xi are agreeing stuff without filling them in on the details. And you can be pretty sure they are not.

  7. Jim Haygood

    ‘The brilliant American satirical songwriter of the 1950s and ’60s Tom Lehrer once attributed his early retirement to Henry Kissinger, saying “Political satire became obsolete [in 1973] when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”’ — Truthdig

    Yes. And the tragedy of the bloodthirsty sociopath Kissinger’s reinvention as a man of peace repeated as farce when ace drone assassin Barack Obama also was crowned as a prince of peace.

    No coincidence that a former prime minister of Norway (the country which makes these cockeyed awards) serves as NATO’s Secretary General [translation: “America’s poodle”]. He’s a man of peace too, you see.

    1. Carolinian

      One could put a better spin on it and say that the Nobels were encouraging Obama to be a man of peace after eight years of flightsuit man. Not that it worked of course. As today’s frankly rather depressing Links show, TINA reigns in the US, France, everywhere. Only true disaster will derail the neolib/neocon express.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’m struggling to think of the “true disaster” we’d need…the trillions of dollars and millions of deaths in Iraq didn’t even seem like a speedbump to slow things down. And glance at Afghanistan, the longest “war” in America’s history, we’ve already spent more just in rebuilding what we blew up than the entire Marshall Plan…and Kabul currently controls just 60% of the country. Everybody is making so much coin from war there’s no way we’ll give peace a chance, and nobody even floats the idea of a peace conference any more

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Fulbright realized that Washington’s resident crazies had turned the world inside out and concluded, “We come to the ultimate illogic: war is the course of prudence and sobriety until the case for peace is proved under impossible rules of evidence [or never]–or until the enemy surrenders. Rational men cannot deal with each other on this basis.”

      The ultimate illogic. Great quote.

      1. DH

        Its hard to know what victory and peace look like if you don’t know what the enemy or war actually are.

        I don’t think the US has ever figured out when they are dealing with a government, people, or terrorist group in many conflicts over the past 70 years. They go in thinking they are dealing with one and while they are there it morphs into other things, making grasping victory like grasping a pile of jello.

        We need some real lateral thinking, such as viewing renewable energy in North America, Asia, and Europe as a means to defusing fights over oil which drives tension and instability in the Middle East, South China Sea, and Eastern Europe steppes.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Renewable, and/or less consumption.

          Take the Turtle Lane, instead of the Hare Lane and that will make all the difference.

          Carrier pigeons instead of smartphone.
          Walking instead of flying cars
          One sliver spoon for several generations instead of 1,000 plastic spoons.
          Work the garden instead of visiting melting icebergs before they’re gone
          Meditate for Science, instead of March for Science

          Be creative, because inside each of us lives a creative genius…even at such difficult tasks as how-to-be-lazy-and-save-the-world.

    3. sid_finster

      You’d think that we had already reached the Ninth Circle of Hell, but when Saudi Arabia was elected to chair the UN human rights committee and the UN women’s rights committee (by secret vote, no less), it became clear that the Ninth Circle of Hell has a basement.

        1. John k

          They were thinking SA has far too much money and should share a bit.
          A conclusion our policy makers, not least the Clinton’s, reached decades ago.
          Strange it took those voting so long to figure this out.

    4. hemeantwell

      Much of the Truthdig article is ok, but this isn’t

      Part 2 will be published on Truthdig on Tuesday and trace the origins of Team B’s hardliners back to their roots in the Fourth International, the Trotskyist branch of the Communist International

      The idea that neoconnery is a simple derivative of Trotsky’s idea of “permanent revolution” is just sectarian axe-grinding. Trotsky argued for an ongoing revolutionary effort as necessary against an opponent driven by an expansionist, imperialist dynamic. Stalin’s “socialism in one country” assumed the possibility of a peaceful relationship that would not be tolerated. The assortment of critics who link Trotsky’s theory and its doctrinal implementation in some left sects to neocon thought omit the obvious consideration: that imperialism is not now taking an aggressively expansionist form because Leon advocated it. That the authors of the Truthdig article feel the need to make such a shallow, conspiratorial point suggests that they don’t really have much to offer rather than a rehash of reasonable observations organized around a sectarian thesis. In the process, they stunt efforts to understand in structural terms why, at this juncture, we’re seeing heightened aggression.

      1. Oregoncharles

        It was when I encountered that line that I stopped reading. I thought it was overblown, but that was the icing on the cake.

  8. Jim Haygood

    While the blocking of Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities is probably correct as a matter of law (the president can’t attach extraneous conditions to Congressionally mandated spending), procedurally it is odd.

    Courts usually defer ruling on an issue until it is “ripe.” Rather than dismissing the suit until some grants had actually been blocked, District Judge Orrick ruled in anticipatory fashion, which smacks of judicial activism.

    Second, although the amount of the grants in question was trivial in relation to the budgets of the plaintiff municipalities, the judge issued an injunction — a remedy appropriate to prevent material and irreversible harm, which certainly was not the case here.

    If this were any judicial district other than the Ninth, one would expect the appeals court to at least lift the injunction while litigation continued. But in Cali, anything is possible.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s as if CA is already a different country, with a free trade pact with the other 49 states and at the same time, toll-exacting of all those imports from across the Pacific..

      Why mess up a good thing when we here have benefited so much for rusting of the industrial heartland belt?

      1. Anon

        CA is a different country. Its building codes, environmental regulations, economic heft, university research, and many other measures, make it a very different “country”.

    1. DH

      The Portuguese have it all wrong. Despite the economy growing, it is clearly not successful unlike the tax cuts and austerity in Kansas which is a raging success despite lagging economic indicators.

      People are far too focused on things like data, instead of just believing in the true correct ideologies. After all, the only institution that has survived the past millennium or so largely intact is the Catholic church, and they are hardly based on data-driven belief systems.

  9. PlutoniumKun


    The Right’s Green Awakening Jacobin

    A somewhat confused article. The writer seemed to agree there is something to be said for tax based approaches to carbon emissions rather than regulation, but then falls back on empty leftist pieties:

    James Hansen’s proposal cannot be the axis of an alternative, nor the “first step” of an “exit strategy in social justice.” The solution can only come — or not come — from the convergence of the concrete struggles of the exploited and the oppressed.

    Climate change deniers exist on the left too – I’ve met some of them. They seem to think that climate change is an attempt by liberals to destroy the vision of an industrial workers paradise or something like that. I’m old enough to remember a time (back to the early 1990’s), when it was a question of policy and science, not ideology. There were some sensible proposals back then from right wing think tanks, back before the Koch Brothers and others enforced an orthodoxy. But incrementalism from the centre has failed. Only radical action can work now.

    In truth, no one policy or action can make any difference. We need taxes on carbon urgently – we also need strict regulations on buildings and products and emissions. And we need expenditure – urgently – on building up resilient systems and radically altering our energy supplies. I’d like to think that a left wing resurgence would supply this, but I’m not convinced it would. Protecting the planet is also protecting the poorest and most vulnerable, but it can only happen if the majority – including capitalists, etc., buy into it. In reality, this will only happen when society really starts to panic over it – by then of course it will probably be far too late – it probably already is.

    1. a different chris

      Yes that had me banging my head in frustration. There was apparently nothing specifically wrong with Hansen’s proposal except it didn’t match the author’s utopian vision. He didn’t even make a case for it getting in the way of said utopian vision, except for some vague fear that the author’s little tin horn would be even less heard because of, umm, honestly I don’t know. And I slogged thru every word.

    2. Oregoncharles

      There’s a division among the advocates of a carbon tax, between distributing it in a “revenue-neutral” fashion or using the take for research and development. Strikes me as a false alternative: skim off a percentage for research, then distribute the rest to the population.

      This should even help politically: it’s vital that it be seen as an environmental measure, rather than as a revenue source. So it has to be addressed specifically to fossil carbon, AND used, in part, to develop alternatives. Wide distribution gives everyone a stake (like Social Security) and makes it progressive; the research makes it environmental.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I agree – carbon taxes can only get popular support and be sustainable if the proceeds are visibly shared around. I do take issue sometimes with the people pushing for more ‘R&D’. The science and technology to dramatically reduce fossil fuel use is mature, available, and affordable. Whats needed is the political and economic push to implement the changes.

  10. katz

    Why Abortion Is a Progressive Economic Issue NYT

    Worth noting where the author is employed: ThinkProgress.

      1. HotFlash

        Or when Mrs Clinton selected Hyde-Amendment-supporting Tim Kaine as her running mate?

        Do they think we are stupid? The question answers itself.

    1. marym

      Clinton’s position on abortion is that there should be further restrictions, only the mean old Republicans are standing in the way. Sanders’s position is that it’s a woman’s choice. Omaha mayoral candidate Heath Mello, target of recent Clintonista virtue-signaling, has a mixed record.

      “It was Heath’s credibility with pro-life legislators that enabled him to take mandatory ultrasounds off the table and substitute a bill that stated that women had a choice to have one and to see the image,” said Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, of the ultrasound legislation.

    2. MtnLife

      I think that article, like most discussions of abortion, misses the two politically unpopular and intertwined elephants in the room: overpopulation and the male half of reproductive rights or lack thereof. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am totally for abortion rights and for them being included in health plans as well as all other contraceptive measures. What I’m against is the ability for a woman to hold a man economically hostage for nearly two decades against his will. I’ll relate a story about some friends of mine. Two upper middle class liberals, both using protection (pill and condom), end up getting the wife pregnant somehow. This nearly destroys the marriage as she has a sudden change of heart to wanting children while he was still against having them. Her response? “You can either pay for the child here as the father where you can see it or pay for it while trying to start your life over and never see it again.” How is this fair again?

      Economics frequently drive women to seek an abortion in the first place

      You don’t think this applies to men, too? Men make up the majority of the involuntarily unemployed/underemployed, women are graduating from college at greater rates than men, and thanks to Case-Deaton we know nearly 60% of working age men are on disability. How many of those guys do you think want to have their already unlivable wages garnished for the next 18 years? Granted, I do understand the horribly sexist and abusive time that caused the need for this type of legislation. That time has passed. Women have far more contraceptive choices available than men do and ALL of the post natal opt-outs that are adoption and safe haven laws are only available to women. It no longer makes sense for men to be shouldering the entire responsibility. I agree that abortion is a woman’s choice. I don’t believe it is her right to choose economic slavery for the man without his consent. BTW, really ironic when you consider how uppity (and rightly so) feminists are about consent. I believe both parents (all sexual and gender identities) should be made to sign some sort of rights and responsibilities contract to make things equitable, fair, and upfront. No more sexist the woman cares and the man provides crap. We should be more mindful as to the number of people we add to the population, focusing on doing so in stable homes and not reward people with $30k/month in child support (that doesn’t have to be spent on the child) because they were lucky enough to bed an NBA player for a night.

      To recap: I’m pro access pro choice, pro maternity AND paternity rights.

      1. Massinissa

        To be fair, if a man is dead set against getting children, he can always get a vasectomy. Honestly those two friends of yours probably should have done that. Heck, since the women were not interested in having children until they got pregnant, they probably would have been ok with the vasectomies.

        Still, I understand your points. I’m just saying, its not as if there’s nothing men can do other than condoms.

  11. roadrider

    Obama’s $400,000 Wall Street speaking fee will undermine reinforce everything he believes in

    Fixed it for Yglesias

      1. RUKidding

        Poor Obama! Suffering for wearing the “D” label. sob sob /yes sarc

        One wonders what kind of “deals” Trump will make for his speaking fees after he’s outta the White House?

      2. H. Alexander Ivey

        It’s his first one, cut rate for lack of experience. And Reagan not only could speak, he could emote as well – he was an actor after all.

  12. Corbin Dallas

    Vox is usually a neolib craphole, but this unintended takedown of the NYT’s new disgusting Op-Ed columnist, who sounds like a 50s racist/millenial Men’s Rights Activist, Bret Stephens, is excellent:

    With David Brooks, Tom Friedman and the rest of the stable of automated white dudes arguing for respectability politics and rule by the rich, it should forever put to bed the thought that the NYT is in any way liberal or left

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I sometimes wonder though if the NYT has some secret lefty moles in it. The right wing commentators they choose are such obvious idiots it can only be to discredit their ideas. As magazines like American Conservative have shown, there are quite a few intelligent, insightful writers on the right. They just don’t get gigs in the NYT.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Right wing writers at the New York Times are there to provide balm for the troubled spirits of the core subscription readers. They’re not looking for excellent, but unsettling conservative ideas; they’re looking to have excuses for the status quo. Without dirtying themselves by resorting to the muscular thugs at the WSJ.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      The trio are also Israel Firsters. A son of Brooks serves in the IDF, not the US armed forces.

    3. jrs

      I suppose they are meant to be conservatives who take moderate (or moderate sounding) positions, ok and we happen to actually HAVE a moderate conservative party in the U.S.: it’s called the Democrats.

      So anyone who agrees with them can just vote a Dem party ticket and most of the time get exactly the moderate right positions they want. Hey good to be them I guess, as many others on the political spectrum have no such representation.

      Only these moderate conservatives are supposed to somehow represent the right wing wacko party in the U.S., only they don’t, their policies positions are basically modern Dem party. They can only HONESTLY (and they aren’t honest) contrast it with say powerless activists who take actual left positions but have almost zero power in the political system. However their role is to make it seem like the crazy right wing party is somehow moderate.

  13. roadrider

    re: More people than ever before are single – and that’s a good thing

    Good to see someone in the press not espousing the typical cult of marriage crap about how us miserable singles are going to be sicker, die earlier, are worse citizens, etc. All of which is based on “studies” of dubious design, conduct and interpretation (and which probably can’t be replicated).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One is not really single if one is living with a pet.

      That’s cheating.

      With that understanding, I can say I have been in a steady relationship (or two simultaneously) for good many years now.

      “I have not been single, but a solid citizen.”

    2. Arizona Slim

      I’m one of those never-married singles who takes special delight in annoying married people. Especially when I remind them about what a wonderful life I have had.

      1. witters

        “I’m one of those never-married singles who takes special delight in annoying married people”. Like my kids.

    3. LT

      I suspect the stigmatization of being single is a factor that keeps alot of women and men in abusive relationships.

  14. Jim Haygood

    It’s been widely accepted since Jack Bogle formed the first S&P 500 index fund in 1973 that passive indexing outperforms active management, on average. In a new paper, Pimco challenges this received wisdom, showing that it’s true for equity funds, but not necessarily for bond funds.

    A major reason, Pimco theorizes, is “non-economic investors” such as central banks. Since they are constrained from taking credit risk, they buy gov’t bonds without regard to price. Simply stated, their buying tends to overprice Treasuries and underprice corporate bonds.

    In the less liquid regime of junk bonds, ETFs that are obliged to replicate an index are likely to get front-run and transact at unfavorable prices, whereas active managers can time their transactions, as well as pass on some index components.

    Craazyman Fund’s 50 percent allocation to junk bonds resides in an actively managed fund for this reason. For the 12 months from Mar 31, 2016 to Mar 31, 2017, the Fidelity high yield fund which Craazyman Fund holds returned 16.47%, versus a 13.30% return for HYG and a 14.78% return for JNK (the two largest high yield ETFs).

    1. HotFlash

      Always happy to hear your Craazyman Fund updates. So, can I buy them through the Bank of Magonia?

      1. Jim Haygood

        A month-end update will be posted on Saturday. As of yesterday’s close, Craazyman Fund reached a fresh high. It’s up 19.32% since inception, vs a 12.50% gain for its 50/50 stock/bond benchmark (SPY/AGG).

        Craazyman Fund is a DIY virtual fund. Just follow the recipe. ;-)

  15. roadrider

    re: H-1B whistleblower Théo Negri on how lottery, salaries are gamed by TCS, Infosys, Cognizant

    The one thing Trump has done that I agree with is at least make an effort to expose the abuses of this system which Democrats supported and largely left alone when they had the opportunity to do something about it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Which is more than Sanders’ proposal of just requiring corporations to pay H1B visa holders more.

      You have to expose the abuses….looking back at what happened.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It doesn’t read like thye ‘can no longer afford to take care of each other,’ if it was about financially affordability (no mention of lacking money to do whatever care they need) or manpower affordability (social workers refused).

      It was the wife’s desire to not die in a hospital or, even at home (where else then?).

      she did not wish to end her days in a home or hospital where she believed that her deteriorating mental health was leading her.

      The story isn’t likely to end here.

      But it’s a big world and we will probably be talking about other issues in no time.

      Nevertheless, many of us will find ourselves in a similar situation.

      1. RUKidding

        Mrs. Beddows didn’t want to end her days in care home or hospital. The quote, above, does just say “home,” but earlier in the article it states several times that she didn’t want to go to a “care home” or hospital.

        It doesn’t appear as if the Beddows had financial issues. Mrs. Beddows had been in accident and apparently was struggling with some sort of dementia or other mental health issues and realized that she might not be able to remain in her house.

        It is an issue that will face most of us at some point. There was a French film several years ago called “Amour” that was about this exact same issue. The elderly couple in that film were financially well off, but the wife (in the film) also did not want to end her days in a care home or hospital.

        1. vidimi

          i interpreted that as being because the level of care is atrocious because of the funding cuts to these places. maybe i’m reading too much into it.

    2. McKillop

      I believe that you have mistakenly interpteted the incident. According to the newspaper report the couple were distressed by the woman’s fear of care in a hospital because of her increasing anxiety; the husband refused to accept government financial help and, suggestedly, succumbed to his wife’s pleading. The couple had family that were able to do little to alleviate the situation and the apprehensive fear of the wife.
      I’m not myself looking forward to care in an ‘old age’ home and would prefer a quick death rather than lingering in loneliness, but my druthers have little to do with neoliberal admonishing to ‘go die’.

  16. vidimi

    last one, on soros university in hungary:

    notice how orban waited for a republican presidency and a republican congress and senate to try to pull this off. it’s why most billionnaires bribe both parties lavishly. i wonder if that will change his habits at all and we’ll see some soros donations going to R groups next or if he’s happy he still has enough of his people at the EU.

  17. justanotherprogressive


    More Vox double speak?

    I can’t imagine why they would comment on Obama’s $400,000 speeches, after all they supported him during his tenure for all of the other things he did as a representative of their class…….he is hardly acting out of character now.

    Hope and Change was dead the minute Timothy Geithner was appointed Treasury Secretary. Did they not realize that? So why are they trying to resurrect Hope and Change now? To attempt to restore Obama’s plastic halo? Or to convince themselves that no, really, they DO have some sort of moral compass?

    1. DH

      You forgot Eric Holder. Appointing Holder ensured that nobody in finance would get prosecuted unless they walked up to the teller with a handgun and demanded the cash in the till. Simply re-allocating that cash through the backroom instead was perfectly acceptable as that would be done while wearing a suit instead of a hood.

      1. Vatch

        You could ask them. You’ll probably need to tell them that you are a journalist, because they usually don’t respond to people who aren’t their constituents. Heck, some don’t even respond to their own constituents. Please be sure to share their answers with us.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sounds like no use asking.

          Maybe they will vote for it, without sponsoring it.

          Democrats do that and Republicans too.

          1. John k

            No chance of voting for it, reps would never allow a vote.
            This is why it’s a great time to for a dem to co sponsor… and the understanding donors know and forgive. Today’s co sponsors will be able to tell young folks thirty years from now ‘I supported single payer before you were born’.
            How many co sponsors when dems controlled the house?

  18. cripes


    You may be onto something.

    If thoughtful and empathic people are less likely to have children, then perhaps it’s the selfish or the deluded hopeful more likely to populate the planet.

    And, our lack of community and shunning of the childless or single do not bode well for the increasing numbers of ageing and childless adults.

    If anything, millennials appear not to be marrying, forming households or families at anything like the rates of preceding generations. Demographics and economics inexorably drive down population growth. Our version of the plague.

    If we’re lucky, we are heading towards a world that will resemble present day Japan.

      1. Mark P.

        Come on, PK. Props to the classic Cyril Kornbluth short story from 1951, ‘The Marching Morons,’ which — as other commenters above point out — the film IDIOCRACY merely plagiarizes.

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    So, not sure what else to say about this except that it strikes me as beyond insane.

    “Fannie Mae Gives Homebuyers Struggling With Student Loan Debt A Break”

    “The nation’s largest purchaser and guarantor of mortgages, Fannie Mae, now says that it won’t hold it against borrowers if the monthly payments they’re making on their student loans aren’t even covering the interest they owe.”

    It would seem that there’s been a paradigm shift in this new economic normal in which we find ourselves. When you’re in a hole, now you’re supposed to keep digging. China must be down here somewhere.

    1. polecat

      How else is the U.S. supposed to bale out China for building all those ‘ghost cities’ ?

      They ain’t gonna fill themselves, you know ….

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      No unnatural acts required next time Fannie comes off the rails, last time they had to have something called “votes” and pass so-called “legislation”, this time around there’s a direct pipeline from the NINJA loan bag holder directly to the chump taxpayer’s pocketbook.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    People whose ‘brain age’ is older than their real age more likely to die early Guardian

    The heart, don’t forget the heart.

    We always only focus on the brain. “Are your smart?”

    Old hearts die younger.

    1. Katharine

      They weren’t forgetting the heart (and it wasn’t about “smart” but simply about the volume of brain tissue). They were looking for a predictive tool that would help doctors identify people at risk of early death in order to encourage them to adopt healthier habits. They freely admit they don’t have that kind of precision yet, but they have correlations that may prove useful with further development.

      1. Brian

        yes, and “there’s a sucker born every minute”, that will soon evolve to; “there’s a sucker born occasionally” to make everyone feel better about being suckered. Mutation doesn’t sound as good as “soon evolve”.

        but fake mud? Is there not dirt in which to revel in this megalopolis? Beware “The Caves of Steel”.

    1. craazyboy

      Ha. Just checked the label on my jeans. “Faded Glory.” Not so. hahahaha.

      Whatever happened to the soiled pair of Victoria Principal panties?

      Runway workers?!

      1. ambrit

        Hah! Remember “Hustler” mag’s scratch and sniff issue? All that was old is new again. Or the John Waters film in “Smellovision?”
        How low can we go? Film at 11.

    1. sid_finster

      The “evidence” cited was pretty weak, and doesn’t deal much at all with the counterarguments.

      Almost as if they started with their conclusions and then looked for arguments to back them up.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its hard to say, but it does look like they’ve taken that it was an air attack as a starting point without looking closely at the alternative arguments. I’d also note that even if the sarin matched Assads identically, that doesn’t rule out that they were stocks taken when Assad bases were over run. Lots of rebel weaponry was taken from Syrian military stocks.

        That said, I’ve found some of the arguments that its a false flag attack to be a little unconvincing too.

        1. vidimi

          agreed. too much working backwards from a conclusion on both sides. as a result, all i know is that i know nothing about who did it and neither does anyone else (except the culprits, obviously). so the propaganda is doing it’s trick for whomever is lying.

        2. Pat

          No doubt. There is one thing that the Assad did it contingent cannot explain, which is how does doing this in any way help him hold Syria and limit unwanted outside interference/attacks on Syria? It doesn’t. Unless and until they can come up with a plausible reason for him to have does this, the only logical conclusion is ‘he didn’t’, it was either 1.) an accident because of hitting a ‘rebel’ stockpile which has been used to get America back into the fray, or 2.) a false flag operation meant to get America back into the fray.

          And nothing in his history says he is so stupid or crazy as to not to realize that would be the result.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I agree completely. The reason I don’t believe Assad did it is because he had no motive whatever to use sarin at that place at that time. On the contrary, he had much to lose (not least by annoying the Russians). Using Occams Razor, its hard to think of any good explanation for why he would have given the order. Whatever you think about Assad, nobody has accused him of being an idiot.

            Thats not to say that the alternative explanations (false flag, or accidental release) are straightforward. For example, the ‘false flag’ arguments I’ve seen put a lot of focus on the ‘rescuers’ not using protective equipment when helping people. But the reality is that sarin breaks down very quickly in the environment and is only really toxic when respired. None of the first responders in the Tokyo subway attacks died or were seriously ill, despite them being entirely unaware that sarin had been used. So there are holes in those arguments too.

            One theory that hasn’t been explored, but I think might have some validity, is the ‘fuck-up by someone in the airforce’ idea. Given how run down and war weary the Syrian Air Force is, I think its quite possible that someone simply made a mistake and used some old sarin bomb stocks thinking it was explosive or napalm. Or someone at a low level simply misinterpreted an order.

    2. polecat

      The French …. ALWAYS trying to one-up everyone else !

      …… in this case the NeoCONs in Washington D.C.

    3. jawbone

      How do they know the chemical is sarin? According to experts in the field, those dying of sarin have bluish tone to the skin, along with expulsion of intestines, and so forth.

      I heard this on BBC this morning and thought, hey, there goes another false news source. /s

  21. George Phillies

    “The EU has toughened its Brexit negotiating stance”

    In the rest of the universe negotiations are said to attempt to move toward agreement, rather than away from it. One might start to wonder if the Europeans are trying to ensure that there will be a sharp ending in two years less a bit. When you combine this with the claim that the UK will need to negotiate membership in the WTO, because they are currently only a member by being part of the EU, matters become even more amusing.

    From New York Magazine on Obama getting $400,000 “…there are significant differences between Obama racking up Wall Street speaking fees in 2017 and Hillary Clinton doing the same three years earlier…”

    Yes, that’s true. With Obama there is sure knowledge that there was value delivered by the politician as witness the vast numbers of bank prosecutions these last eight years. On the other hand, if you pay off a politician before the election, first he has to win, and then he has to stay bought, so you are taking a chance.

    1. Oregoncharles

      This dictating terms of independence still strikes me as very strange – the epitome of arrogance, for one thing. And impractical.

      Much worse than impractical: wars have been fought over this sort of issue, IN Europe.

      That said, it strikes me as a sensible solution, to say nothing of humane. Removing people who’ve been there that long is going to be disruptive to both Britain and their countries of origin. I suspect this is just what Britain will end up doing.

  22. oprimader

    Discovery of plastic-eating worms offers chance to finally get rid of world’s growing piles of litter Independent.

    Ted 2017: The woman who wants China to eat insects BBC

    I see an opportunity coalescing in my mind…

    1. polecat

      So those tacky plastic simulated sushi restaurant entr’ee displays REALLY ARE edible ….

      who knew !

  23. reslez

    Amazing, I can’t read the “Trump Team Turns On Wikileaks Co-Founder Julian Assange” story on NC today because it’s filtered by the spam/malicious filter here at work. Maybe the thought police don’t like the word Wikileaks in the URL. What a sad, stupid commentary. I’m sure someday they’ll just filter all of NC. Oddly enough they don’t mind MSNBC or NYT or other purveyors of establishment trash.

    They also filter Twitter, so I can’t read a big chunk of the Watercooler links (It’s helpful that Lambert pastes in most of the text, but I can’t click on them for context and all the images are blocked).

    1. Linda

      That story is a reposting of an article at Real News Network. It is a video with transcript below it.
      Maybe the filter will let this crazy url through:

      In the comments, I posted a link to an article by Julian Assange on this topic published in the Washington Post opinion pages yesterday. Worth reading.

      If they are inaccessible, I hope you have a computer and can view them at home.

  24. rich

    Ivanka is starting her own foundation — and is accepting checks from foreign governments: report

    Now it seems that First Daughter Ivanka Trump is starting her very own foundation that she will operate while working inside the White House — and she’s reportedly already securing money from foreign governments.

    Axios’s Mike Allen reports that Ivanka Trump has started building a “massive fund” whose goal is to “benefit female entrepreneurs around the globe.” One source even tells Allen that “Canadians, Germans and a few Middle Eastern countries have already made quiet commitments” to the fund, as have “several corporations.”

    Allen claims that President Donald Trump is a big supporter of Ivanka’s plan, and he says that Trump has already started talking with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim about how to get the foundation off the ground “in a big way.”

    1. RUKidding


      Disclaimer: I disagree no matter what party “label” you affix to yourself.

      But color me utterly unsurprised. This was the GOAL of the Trump family from Day Numero Uno. Any Trump voters who thought otherwise – especially those upset by the Pay-to-Play Clinton Foundation – were totally delusional if they thought the Trumps weren’t going to do The. Exact. Same. Thing.

      Undoubtedly, Ivanka & the rest of that amoral grifting family will run rings around Bill and Hill in terms of “fund raising.” Disclaimer: not that I agreed with, endorsed or otherwise approved of what the Clintons did. Just saying: we ain’t seen nothing yet.

    2. Oregoncharles

      They learned nothing from the furor over the Clinton Foundation? Or was that just on NC?

  25. PlutoniumKun


    The French, Coming Apart City Journal (bob k)

    This is a dense read, but a really fascinating and interesting take on the French situation, with obvious relevance to the US and UK and elsewhere. Geography is an old fashioned subject, but still has plenty of insights.

    When France’s was a national economy, its median workers were well compensated and well protected from illness, age, and other vicissitudes. In a knowledge economy, these workers have largely been exiled from the places where the economy still functions. They have been replaced by immigrants.

    Its struck me on travelling through France that there is a real contrast not within towns and cities (as so often seems the case in the US or UK), but between them. Its impossible to take the standard Anglo take on France that it is in chronic decline seriously when you travel through so many of the obviously prosperous and beautiful cities like Nantes and Bordeaux, and numerous beautiful smaller towns and villages. Stroll around on an average evening and you see cafes and bars full of stylish people, lots of chic shops and beautifully maintained houses, with great public facilities. But there are also plenty of towns in France which look like they’ve been hit with a neutron bomb. Its unsurprising that its those places where the FN has displaced the left wing as the most popular party.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Yes, an interesting article & with most probably business as usual Macron for the next four years, I have the suspicion that the situation will not improve. I imagine that Le Pen & Melenchon’s support will grow, with the latter possibly also picking up support from Hamon’s people who could be feeling somewhat disillusioned.

      I like the term ” Glass Ceiling Left ” & it seems to me that if the proverbial were to eventually hit the fan, there has developed a possible inversion of previous revolts which at their bloody heart developed in the capital, & unlike the case with 1789, it might now be a case of marching in rather than out.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes – its not the first time I’ve heard the formulation, but I like the description of the elite being in favour of equality – but only within the elite. Hence the focus on the French version of identity politics. I also like his explanation for why many of the French working classes are so hostile to many social policies such as more public housing and investment in education. It does make sense that they see these as primarily benefiting the banlieu immigrants, not the traditional working/lower middle classes.

        I have no doubt that Macron will be very much business as usual – but with possibly a more vigorous push for labour market deregulation. The only good thing I would see about him is that (so far as I’m aware), he seems to realise the importance of a fundamental reform of the Euro, and his position as an establishment posterboy may give him the position to do something about it.

        The interesting question though is how Le Pen plays things. Macron is obviously clear favourite, but I don’t think she can be ruled out. It would seem to me she has two clear options – campaign agressively for anti-establishment left wing votes (I see Melanchon is reported as urging his supporters not to vote FN, but is refusing to call for a vote for Macron), or to go more aggressively for Fillon’s conservative reactionary vote. I don’t think she can do both.

        1. Oregoncharles

          The Melenchon vote is much larger, and much angrier.

          She’ll get the Fillon vote regardless.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I’m not sure I’d agree that the Melanchon vote is larger. Fillon got slightly more votes despite his disastrous campaign (although if you add in the fringe left candidates, the right got less). I was surprised – I didn’t realise there was such a large french base of orthodox catholic conservative voters in France, because thats essentially all he got so far as I know. But I don’t think its true to say that they will automatically vote Le Pen, certainly the more religious would find much of the FN policies unpalatable, as would many of the business people who support the right.

            I may be wrong, I just don’t see what sort of campaign Le Pen can run that would simultaneously appeal to anti-establishment left wingers and traditional catholic conservatives. I think she’s got to make a firm push for one or the other.

            1. vidimi

              indeed, most fillon voters will go to macron. a lot of them are from the wealthy bourgeoisie

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I wonder if the legendary “French Pride” can attract Fillon-istas as well as Melan-choli-ites. LePen came out swinging along this axis, saying of Macron “he’s not a patriot, he’s a Europeanist”

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            And wow: we may have done nothing for the poor, but we did appoint the first disabled lesbian parking commissioner
            How true does that line ring for the Vichy “Left” in the US

        3. Massinissa

          I don’t even understand why anyone would think Macron would be anything but business as usual.

          For gods sake, he was the minister of the economy under Hollande. You cant GET more ‘business-as-usual’ as the sitting presidents Economic Minister.

          The French say their most important concern is the economy and how Hollande supposedly mishandled it (he did), and then 24% of them just go and vote for his Minister of Economy who was the mastermind behind the Macron Law that began deregulation of the economy? The unpopular deregulation law Hollande passed by decree (because the public AND the parliament were both opposed to it!) is literally called the Macron Law, for gods sake, it literally has his name on it! I just don’t get it.

          1. rich

            Giustra began in banking. “My background’s banking,” he says. “I’ve been financing mining companies since 1993, even during the most difficult periods in the business. I don’t know if you were around during the late 1990s; everyone became a high-tech, internet promoter overnight, and I was one of the few guys who stayed with mining.”

            His biggest win? “I think our biggest win is about to happen,” Giustra says, talking in short bursts, as if he’s got a minister waiting on line one. It’s possible.

            In 2015, a fleet of helicopters landed at Columbus Gold’s flagship Montagne d’Ore project in French Guiana, a former French colony still under French rule.

            Flanked by heavily armed soldiers and secret service personnel, out hopped Emmanuel Macron, a former M&A banker at Rothschilds who had just become France’s Minister of the Economy.

            Two years later and he is tipped to become the youngest President of France, after winning the first round of voting in presidential elections on Sunday. Macron has never previously fought an election, but has cruised through a fiercely competitive campaign, as other candidates have knocked each other out.

            It is welcome news for Columbus, which has a French advisory board, boasting some of the best connected political advisors in Paris.


            Like you said…business as usual.

      2. vidimi

        the vichy left is applying all the pressure it can to get mélonchon, the candidate of la france insoumise, to submit and endorse macron. they just don’t get it.

    2. Mark P.

      Yeah, ‘The French, Coming Apart’ is a really good piece. Then I looked at who wrote it and saw it was Christopher Caldwell, and I wasn’t surprised.

      Nevertheless, Caldwell’s more customary environment is the NATIONAL REVIEW. It’s a changed world where some of the most relevant, non status quo analysis is coming from the Right.

      Nature abhors a vacuum, though, and that applies to social analysis and policy too. When so many people are so desperate, if the Liberal Left is joined at the hip with the neoliberal TPTB — in fact, is the neoliberal TPTB — in repressing truthful analysis, then to some extent it’ll be thinkers on the Right who then fill that space

  26. allan

    Trump’s plan would cut the income tax rate paid by public corporations to 15 percent from 35 percent and reduce the top tax rate by pass-through businesses, including many small partnerships and sole proprietorships, to 15 percent from 39.6 percent, Mnuchin said.

    However, he added that rich individuals would not be able to use the lower business rate as a loophole.

    Like water running downhill, compensation for the .1% seeks the lowest tax rate.
    This will be a full employment act for lawyers and accountants.
    For the back row kids, not so much.

    Trump administration to unveil tax plan with big cuts for business [Reuters]

  27. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Today’s Guillotine watch

    I’ll preface this by admitting once again to being an irrational homer when it comes to Boston sports. That being said, I think this Brady piece is misplaced. Brady teams up with a charity to help it raise millions of dollars that it likely would not have been able to without his presence at their events and is compensated for his efforts by funds that he then gives to other charities. The horror, the horror…. ;)

    It’s not like Brady was funneling $$$ through fake charities to fund his own lavish lifestyle (that would be the Clinton Foundation). My wife works in development and this is just how charities work. It would be nice if people simply donated to worthy causes out of the goodness of their hearts and sometimes that does happen, but often it’s more like what’s described in the article. She is often in charge of putting together donor events which usually involve nice food and adult beverages (donors aren’t going to show up for nothing) and at times has had potential donors give her drink orders prior to the event. “My husband only drinks Tanqueray so you’ll need to have some on hand at the bar” and that type of thing.

    It would be nice to live in a world where philanthropy was unnecessary but until then, this is how the charity sausage gets made. And all the funds collected that don’t go straight to the charities’ beneficiaries help keep caterers and others in business which is not a bad thing.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Rights Activists Call Out Attorney General For Calling Army’s Use of Human Shield “Smart” The Wire

    Total war and a variation on the Theory of Strength and Safety in Numbers? Birds and fish use it.

  29. Montanamaven

    I’m starting to redefine myself as “conservative” to my “conservative” and “liberal” neighbors. I say that I am appalled by the wasteful health care system we have here. I was raised in a Dutch community in the Midwest, my father being 1st generation. The Dutch are known for their thriftiness and things like “Dutch Treat”. Here in Montana we buy our bulls from the Dutch ranchers in Churchill. No bargains, but top quality breeding cattle. So we should pay for good quality heath care, but not for health care CEOs outrageous salaries. We should pay the going rate for drugs, but not 10 times what Canadians and Germans pay. In fact, we should pay for cures and not all these drugs. We should pay more for family doctors or at least the same as sports doctors. We should support our military by paying them a good wage and keeping them out of wars that cost too much to fix them up after being blown up. They should be deployed here at home. The governmeant is bloated, but you don’t get it skinny by firing people. You get it skinny by not paying for military hardware or outrageous hospital bills. It’s conservative to abhor greed and grift. It’s conservative to abhor war which is super wasteful. “Mind your own business” , but be there for your neighbors when they need it.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Me too. Maven.
      I am sick of national policies that hurt me but benefit the few and the captured.
      Health care, housing, finance, tax policies, technology (how long before it’s illegal to work on your own car?), trade, etc…

      The Democrats have made it very clear, in the words of DNC Tom Perez, that “they don’t give a shit” about me. Think about how different my comment would have been if Sanders had been allowed to run…

      The Republicans may be all about hurting people but at least it’s not me for once.

  30. DH

    Jamie Dimon just wrote an op-ed about how people are struggling to get ahead and recognizing that income inequality is an issue. I assume that if he can change the income inequality metrics, he will be eligible for a big bonus.

    He is touting that JP Morgan is increasing their minimum wage from $10.15/hr to a range of $12 to $16.50 (I assume it is geography specific based on cost-of-living). This is good – it means that the ratio of his pay to the line worker will drop from astronomical to just ginormous which will be a vast improvement.

    The Onion and SNL are struggling to keep up with the actual news. I think only Mad Magazine stands a chance of looking like something that is not real news.

  31. JEHR

    Who in his/her right mind would have considered the possibility of Goldman Sachs creating the tax reform for the USA in 2017!! Now we can see firsthand how the rich will enrich themselves to the ends of the earth. Watch inequality grow to such dimensions that it will be totally unbelievable. The top 10% will achieve all that they wish for. Really–no “death” tax!! Woe are we. My god but the base for Trump has a lot to answer for. On the other hand, the other party would have done the same only slower.

    Also rumours that NAFT will be thrown out in its entirety. I can only hope that the country that comes out the worst for these changes is the one that proposes the changes. Talk about despair–how can anyone not despair of this flummerygimletry! Shitgibbon! and douchewaffle!!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The top 10% will lose out to the 0.1%.

      The top rate goes from 39.6% to 35% for the 0.1%.

      Many in the top 10% will see theirs go from 28% or 33% to 35%.

      That is, under Trump’s proposal, the top 10% will now share the pain of the 0.1%.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think if some singles were to marry their pets, and filed jointly, they would pay less.

    2. Marina Bart

      On the other hand, the other party would have done the same only slower.

      Any evidence to back up that assertion?

      Goldman would have been in charge either way. Doesn’t it seem more likely that Hillary would have been faster and more efficient at doing this crap, with the New York Times, WaPo, Comcast, et al., cheering her on? (That’s not to say she personally is more competent than Trump — I don’t think she is — but all of Washington was waiting to help her do this stuff.)

      Stop blaming Trump’s base. Blame the person who put Trump in power: Hillary Clinton. (Bear in mind that the real swing demographic was probably the abused, despairing Democrats who stayed home and refused to vote at all.)

      Given all the realistic options, I think just cancelling NAFTA outright would be the best one. But I don’t pretend to be an expert on all the economic repercussions that would ensue. It’s pain either way, isn’t it?

  32. Tim

    Am I the only one that caught the brief breaking news flash on CNN yesterday about all 100 senators being invited to the whitehouse by a who’s who of US defense? They said it never happens that all 100 are requested. It was to discuss North Korea. Something is simmering on the pot right now.

    I’m torn with North Korea. I don’t like us meddling and sabre rattling in general, but it does seem irresponsible to allow, if one has the means to prevent, a dictatorship to posses nuclear weapons that can destroy major metropolitan areas of your country.


    1. lyman alpha blob

      I agree – we should definitely have someone intervene to depose Trump and take his nukes away tout de suite!

    2. polecat

      I think the idea of the Norks ability to launch nucs against the U.S. is null & void, due to the fact that if they were to do so, little kim and his countryside would verily become an ash tray, and that D.C. sabre-rattling is a canard …. they are after bigger fish !

    3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      What, precisely, did we want the North to do after we positioned our nukes on their borders, starting in the 1950’s?

      They sent us repeated clear signals that they would be willing to de-nuke if we would back off. And their Dear Leaders would have been Gaddafi’ed long ago had they not acquired nukes of their own.

      Doesn’t help that we are already in a state of war, so even former niceties like Congressional approval of any US war-making would not be required. Talk about a hair trigger, now with an orange-haired TV pitchman whose short fingers have suddenly become very twitchy indeed

    4. Massinissa

      What could we possibly do to them, that would result in anything other than them shooting off nukes in their defence?

      They’ve never used nukes before and the best we can do is assume they are blustering like they have been the last 60 years and leave them well enough alone.

      The only kind of force that would potentially work is MAYBE a first strike that turns NK to rubble in a few minutes time, and I don’t think Trump is ready to do that. If it went wrong it would be a disaster of historic proportions. Theres just nothing realistic that can be done about NK.

    5. witters

      Here’s a thought:

      “I’m torn with the US. I don’t like us meddling and sabre rattling in general, but it does seem irresponsible to allow, if one has the means to prevent, a kleptocratic militarised oligarchy to posses nuclear weapons that can destroy major metropolitan areas of your country.”

  33. JTMcPhee

    How many eyes? Why are the Likudniks/Israelites and their state security espionage apparatus that has completely penetrated “our” intelligence and policy apparatus and gets direct feeds of pretty much everything “our side” (sic) gets its digital and hum into paws on, omitted from that list?

  34. robnume

    On American Imperialism: The words which came into my mind while reading this article were these: “…I’ll jail and bury those committed and smother the rest in greed. Crawl with me into tomorrow or I’ll drag you to your grave. I’m deep inside your children,, they’ll betray you in my name.” Rage Against the Machine, 1999.
    The United States is the most propagandized nation in the history of the world and it amazes me that so many believe the lies printed non-stop by the lamestream media.
    I guess this is why teaching critical thinking in college has disappeared completely from curriculae.

    1. JTMcPhee

      There’s been a significant debate here about whether there is such a thing as a “deep state” or “something or other,” and what it might be. No definitive answer(s), I guess, though possibly an enforceable orthodoxy…

      I wonder, since people here are open to inquiry about fundamentals, whether there is such a thing as a “nation” that might be labeled “the United States?” What unifying element(s) or directions or character might define it? I used to think it was important to emphasize the common elements that seemed to be the social cement that held all the parts more or less in alignment and sort of flying in formation. Argued strenuously with a couple of profs that wanted to analyze it all and break down and de-bunk all the Great National Myths, in service to Truth, whatever that is (philosophy profs provided unsatisfactory exegeses on the subject, and don’t get me started on pastors and Bible study teachers…) So a big chunk of the Antarctic ice cover is about to bust off and float away. Wonder what parts of the personification/hypostatization called “America” will be sloughing off next?

      Not, as our rulers and owners have made clear, that the category “nation” is anything but a convenience of “statecraft,” or tax avoidance, to be invoked, ignored, or discarded depending on the interests of the rulers at the moment or the motions of their minions, who so often, these days, seem to be off doing their own things…

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