Links 5/7/17

Ben Carson would not approve of Vienna’s social housing; it’s too nice Treehugger

Chinese authorities recall thousands of tonnes of ‘stinky feet salt’ SCMP

Mountaineer, 85, dies attempting to reclaim title of oldest to climb Everest Guardian

How to Settle down with Dystopia The Baffler

Pet dogs are the new must-have accessory at the smarter office Guardian

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

UNESCO report: surveillance and data collection are putting journalists and sources at risk The Conversation

Lawyer: Cops “deliberately misled” judge who seemingly signed off on stingray Ars Technica

Fight Brews Over Push to Shield Americans in Warrantless Surveillance NYT

World leaders from May to Trump to Erdogan are all promising to unite their countries while doing the exact opposite Independent Patrick Cockburn’s latest.

Class Warfare

Dismissed: Low-income renters in Baltimore become migrants in their own city Baltimore Sun (furzy)

Apple-Picking Robot Prepares to Compete for Farm Jobs MIT Technology Review

Puerto Ricans Face ‘Sacrifice Everywhere’ on an Insolvent Island NYT

Ivy League vs Russell Group TLS

Imperial Collapse Watch

War and Empire: the American Way of Life Counterpunch (Sid S)

Guillotine Watch

Rich List 2017: No Brexit ‘chilling effect’ on wealth of super-rich BBC

Doctors warn Minnesota measles outbreak still “early” as cases increase CBS News

Buffett Says Money Spent on Plumbers Better Than on Hedge Funds Bloomberg

BUFFETT: Wells Fargo made 3 huge mistakes during the fake accounts scandal but one ‘dwarfs all the others Business Insider


Idaho GOP Congressjerk: “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care” boingboing

GOP braces for healthcare blowback at home The Hill

Republicans’ health-care plan could launch some ugly political battles in state legislatures WaPo (furzy)

Our Famously Free Press

Hell hath no fury like The New York Times scorned by Hollywood Columbia Journalism Review

UK Elections

Third of people considering tactical voting at general election to block Tories’ hard Brexit, poll reveals Independent


That Astonishing Tory Ferguslie Park Super Triumph 149 Craig Murray (Chris G)

North Korea

Running the North Korea marathon showed me a surprising side of the country I didn’t know existed Quartz


Trump wants a new Afghan surge. That’s a terrible idea Politico. Do any of these people read any history?

Questions for US military after doubt cast on efficiency of Afghan bombing Guardian. resilc: “mother of all dudzzzz.”

2016 Post Mortem

Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta on President Trump Der Spiegel

The Democratic Party Is a Ghost Jacobin

Hillary Clinton’s Absolution NYT. Frank Bruni should go back to doing restaurant reviews– something he had a talent for– rather than bland political stenography.

Chelsea Clinton Labelled a Hypocrite for Urging People to ‘Give Money In Proportion to Your Purse’ Heat Street

‘Yes, It’s a Crime’: Dem Senator Calls For ‘Special Prosecutor’ to Investigate Huma Abedin Mediaite (furzy). Nice to see Blumenthal go after Team Blue sins.

In a Beijing ballroom, Kushner family pushes $500,000 ‘investor visa’ to wealthy Chinese WaPo

French Elections

Le Pen Is Just A Gargantuan Polling Error Behind Macron FiveThirtyEight


France vote: ‘Criminal offence’ to publish hacked data Al Jazeera

Did Macron Outsmart Campaign Hackers? Daily Beast (furzy)

Macron ou Le Pen? Début du vote en métropole AFP

What Is to Be Done in Venezuela? The Nation (Sid S)

Venezuela is Starving WSJ

Trump Transition

Donald Trump hasn’t quite thought through his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican Your weekly Robert Fisk fix.

New contender emerges to become Wall Street’s top cop: sources Reuters

A Civilian-Controlled Military, If You Can Keep It American Conservative

27 national monuments may have protections cut or curtailed under Trump’s review Chicago Tribune

Circuit Court Nominees In The Trump Administration: A Nationwide Round-Up Above the Law

More Companies Willing to Take on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau WSJ


China corporate credit crunch looms as screws tighten Asia Times

Renminbi is merely pausing, not retreating, in its global growth FT


India Empowers RBI to Resolve World’s Worst Bad Debt Problem Bloomberg

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. frosty zoom

    ah, yes, the double-breasted golden hornswoggle!

    the favourite bird of bankers.

    1. Antifa

      This colorful species typically builds its nest quite low on the tax tree or in any available hedge, layering its ostentatious lair with Get Out of Jail Free cards, and a golden parachute for extra security.

          1. craazyboy

            Yikes! A Raptor! Wonder what is costs to keep those things fed. Nature is a terrifying place.

              1. craazyboy

                It may be the same Evil Voodoo Princess that claimed Chelsea’s mind and lower abdomen.

                I think they got Colbert, too. Chelsea of Cheshire likes cats and can’t resist imprinting a living tattoo on kitty rear ends from afar. It’s hidden by fur, mostly, so no one ever suspects. Especially an owner who usually looks his cat in the face, and may overlook that the new weird purring noise is really evil laughter. Hopefully Steve does it that way. Cat safety, and all. Plus laws.

                Next, the tat has cat, then cat has owner. It’s sad. Irreversible, too.

      1. jonboinAR

        It’s curved beak is specialized for dipping into its down-tree neighbor’s 401k cache.

  2. David

    French election participation figures at 1200 local. Slight reduction from last time – 28.23% vs. 30.66% in 2012

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Merci, David.

      On the day that France elects a younger and slicker version of Jerome Cahuzac and Thomas Thevenoud, across La Manche, the Sunday Times is reporting that Blighty has more billionaires than ever. As Milksnatcher said that Saturday evening when South Georgia was recaptured, “Just rejoice at that news.” Some of these billionaires are at Newmarket, where I am typing from, for the 1000 Guineas classic this afternoon.

      Belle apres-midi et fin de campagne presidentielle.

      1. David

        At 1700 participation was down substantially from 2012 – 65.3% vs 71.96%. This was widely anticipated anecdotally, but it will be interesting to see what its practical effects are.

        1. RabidGandhi

          Le Monde is predicting record abstention. It appears the French don’t fancy Sophie’s Choice elections: the projected ~25% non-vote should far outweigh the gap between the candidates. Nevertheless, we should brace ourselves for a barrage of pundit barf on how the French People have spoken by rejecting extremism or endorsing populism.

  3. dcblogger

    Trump wants a new Afghan surge. That’s a terrible idea Politico. Do any of these people read any history?

    Questions for US military after doubt cast on efficiency of Afghan bombing Guardian. resilc: “mother of all dudzzzz.”

    the war won’t end until we persuade young people not to enlist.
    The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth
    please circulate this link wherever parents and young people will see it.

    1. ambrit

      Such a link has its uses, but until the economy, or anything else, supplies enough resources to everyone to guarantee a decent standard of living to the “cannon fodder” cohort, things will proceed as before. From what I have gathered from conversations with veterans over the years, the surest way to slow recruitment into the military is to provide convincing proof that joining up will definitely get one killed. Something on the order of tours of a Veterans Administration hospital for wounded veterans by Third Grade schoolchildren should help stop the ball rolling.

      1. Katharine

        Thanks, ambrit! Some ten or fifteen years ago, I knew a girl involved in JROTC who, in talking about possibly going to Iraq in a couple of years, said, “I wouldn’t be scared.” I said, “Then you wouldn’t be alive very long.” The idea of anyone approaching unknown dangers without healthy fear horrified me. It made me angry to realize that malleable teens were being “trained” in a way that exploited their desire to impress each other at a potential cost of their lives.

        I am thankful to say the Algebra Project ended up having more influence than the drill instructor. Last I heard, she was doing well.

        1. ambrit

          Good to hear Katherine. By the way, I am not hip about the “Algebra Project.” Somehow, it conjures up visions of cryptographers secretively toiling away in the basements of various D.C. and Langley locations.
          You are right about the teens being especially vulnerable to appeals to “solidarity” and “elite” self-identification. I remember a teacher in my High School who was a sort of Mr. Establishment type. He would set up “voluntary” psychological profile tests, which I only figured out later, to be taken by some of the “best and brightest” of the student body. (I fit that description early on, but something went “wrong” later on.) I have always wondered about who he was working for.
          Phyl and I were down on “the Coast” in Gulfport several weeks ago and, it being a Sunday, stopped in at a “fast food,” read that “self destructive urges realization” outlet. An older man was sitting by the door, wearing a Vietnam Veteran baseball cap. This area is a centre of military bases and retirees. A thirty something woman with two six or seven year old boys stopped them from exiting the place and exhorted them, and exhort is the right word to use to describe her tone and demeanor, to thank the old man “for his service.” “He’s the reason we have the freedoms we take for granted,” was her argument. So, the conditioning starts very young in some parts of the society.

          1. Katharine

            The original Algebra Project was a project of Bob Moses and his daughter’s teacher.

            There is a national organization which seems heavily institutional:

            The Baltimore Algebra Project is an independent entity inspired by Moses that claims to be “youth led and youth run” and is more political.

            Its “About Us” page starts with this statement:

            Our mission is to ensure that all students have access to quality, 21st century education which includes learning and mastering advanced math.

            We value the intelligence of Baltimore City Youth by paying a living wage to teach math to their peers; training their existing leadership skills; and supporting their vision for a just, more equitable Baltimore and beyond. Quality Education, adequate employment, proper healthcare, and safety is the right of every Baltimore City Youth.

            I have admired it for a long time.

        2. neo-realist

          The problem with lack of fear is the lack of exposure to the horrors—those of us who were kids in the 60’s and 70’s saw Vietnam war footage of bloody wounded soldiers getting medevaced to helicopters and shots of flag draped coffins on planes; We saw journalists embedded w/ Americans fighting in the trenches. A lot of today’s youth have come up on sanitized video game depictions of war and war video games—-white beams blowing up people and buildings. They get manufactured naivety.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Curious how the US can decimate an entire region’s civilian population– killing approx 3 million people– but what really constitutes “exposure to the horrors” is seeing footage of the perpetrating army’s casualties.

            Easy solution: drones instead of boots on the ground, or just fight the wars clandestinely (i.e., hidden from the US population’s sight, but obviously not at all clandestine to the victims).

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              There was an old StarTrek episode where supercomputers fought the battles, then afterwards depending which side lost their citizens would just queue up for liquidation

      2. Procopius

        I didn’t save the link, but I found out that Time reported 71% of volunteers can’t pass the physical to join the military. I wonder if we could create an army as large as WWII if we needed to.

    2. perpetualWAR

      And young people will stop enlisting when they see a viable alternative to poverty here at home.

      1. dale

        And in Mexico and C.A. countries. I met a family in Nicaragua who had contributed two sons to U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. In exchange for a tour of duty, I believe six years but perhaps four, the enlistee is guaranteed citizenship.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Compared with the French Foreign Legion:

          Although it is part of the French Military, it is the only unit of the military that does not swear allegiance to France, but to the Foreign Legion itself.[6] Consequently, training is often described as not only physically challenging, but also very stressful psychologically. French citizenship may be applied for after three years’ service.[7] Additionally, any soldier who becomes injured during a battle for France immediately becomes a French citizen under a provision known as “Français par le sang versé” (“French by spilled blood”).[7] As of 2008, members come from 140 countries.

          I don’t know if Imperial Storm-troopers in that far, far galaxy work the same way. Maybe those who have been there can tell us.

          1. Carl

            Starship Troopers is the Verhoeven film that had the explicit citizenship for military service trade-off.

            1. craazyboy

              Except Libertarian Heinlein was serious, I think.

              Tho I always got the feeling from the film the film maker intended to satirize Libertarian ideology. I think it was the cool campiness and parody.

              1. gepay

                The movie was so corny it worked as entertainment so I agree, intended satirization.

              2. Jeremy Grimm

                Listen to the director’s commentary on a DVD of Starship Troopers. The movies is a satire and more. Starship Troopers is an anti-war film too clever by half.

                1. Procopius

                  Too clever by half is right. It was an awful film. I really liked the book, but the idea of a “moral science” where you could prove whether or not a proposal was morally sound is absurd. So is Asimov’s psychohistory.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s the chicken-and-egg question.

        Which will have to come first?

        Normalize labor supply (H1B/H2B/documenting) and increase labor demand (restore manufacturing), and fewer will enlist from the Homeland.

        But, where there is a will, there is a way, and the planners will recruit globally in today’s global world of defeating evil everywhere.

        And, so, a higher level of chicken-and-egg question:

        Which has to come first – No meddling in the Middle East or Single Payer?

        My guess is the former, and that will lead to or let us afford the latter (without invoking MMT,,and reducing violence at the same time).

    3. Altandmain

      The big problem is that lots of Americans end up joining the military for economic reasons. Let’s face it, despite attempts to glorify the US military, the cruel reality is that many enlist due to limited opportunities in the civilian world or because they cannot afford a university education.

      I suppose the rich like it that way. That’s the big obstacle. They need their cannon fodder and their domestic economic policies keep people on the economic margins.

      1. Synoia

        The US Military has the best benefit package for young Americans. Helath Care and College are covered.

        Other than rich parents, that’s an attractive set of benefits.

        I recommend joining the Air Force. Mostly Officers (Pilots) get into action, and ISIS etc, don’t shoot down many planes.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Rich parents.

          Not parents, but Uncle Sam is still family, and richer.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Join the military, and get raped (or get to rape)!

        “The US Military’s Sexual-Assault Problem Is So Bad the UN Is Getting Involved,” , which is a bit of an inside joke, since the UN, and NATO too, provides fig leafs for the fraudulent “justifications” and “ratiocinations” for Imperial warring that produces the ZOMG RAPE! “crisis” that a short trip through the search engine shows has been front page (for a news cycle) since at least the ’60s — “Most Victims Are Men: 5 Realities Of Rape In The Military,” And the raping gets done to Wogs everywhere too —

        Band of brothers, and all that…

        And sorry, XX people, I have to wonder at the ferocious desire of a lot of women to be given the “right” to not only join what was called in my day, “Sam’s Green Dream, obsolete usage given the sand and rock coloring of today’s “battle dress,” but to get the “right” to go Kill Wogs Just Like The Boys. When I was young, feminism was a thing — had all kinds of meanings and features, like the right to put bumper stickers on the VW Bug that read “All men are pigs, but some make good pets!” One of the claims was that if women ran things, violence would be a thing of the past. Oooo0kay then. But hey, killing wogs can be really exciting! if they don’t successfully shoot back or blow your a$$ up! The whooping and hollering as a 1,000-pound GBU blows up half a “compound” and sends identifiable body parts flying through the air is just exhilarating! No questions asked, about why the Fokk are we even here, taking casualties and building our own revenge culture and becoming only all too cllub-and-spear human. Because hey! the League of Warriors and Gunmen is such a strong and satisfying place to hang out!

        And besides, you get another $225 a month for Hostile Fire Pay, in addition to your basic pay of about $2,500 a month as an E-4 (officers “slightly higher”, see this chart:

        And if you are injured, you can fight with the VA for years or decades to get the maximum “award” of what is, after all, “workers comp” for soldiers, of about $3500 a month if you are permanently and totally disabled. What a deal! and all those in-service benefits! like learning a trade you can carry over into a job with the vast mercenary military out there, since there’s llimited crossover for a lot of stuff you learn (police departments excepted, of course).

        I do get a kick out of some of the military-sillies youtube pieces where women attempt to kick in doors and insert into structures and have a bit of a challenge… Makes me a “male chauvinist pig,” I guess, but three wives have found that in the main, I make a good pet…

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        The movie “Winter’s Bone” makes a compelling case for the kind of desperation driving some — probably too many — of those who enlist in our military.

    4. polecat

      ‘Enlist’ in what ? ….

      The Military? ….. or those new-age Hessians ….. e.i. Blackwater, Xi …. ???
      Then there’s CONgress to CONsider ….. examples : lily-livered Lindsey, and … mealy-mounthed McCaine …..

      HeyZeus Help U.S.

  4. fresno dan

    War and Empire: the American Way of Life Counterpunch (Sid S)

    In the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s 1991 attempt to annex Kuwait the U.S. deliberately destroyed much of Iraq’s water and sewer infrastructure. The Pentagon even admitted on its website that these acts would lead to mass outbreaks of disease. These were certifiable war crimes under international law. After Saddam’s defeat the U.S. also imposed widespread sanctions on his regime that included preventing necessary medicines from reaching Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens perished as a result. In an infamous interview in 1996 Madeleine Albright, then the Secretary of State, was asked to justify the deaths of 500,000 children. She defended these atrocities by saying “I think this is a very hard choice but we think the price is worth it.”
    This condition of ignorance is the effect of the incomplete and, too often, dishonest orthodoxy in required school texts and by the distortion of the real past by popular culture, Hollywood films and corporate controlled network television, especially the purported “news.”
    As I write these words Trump has launched missiles at a Syrian airfield, employed the U.S.’s deadliest weapon short of nukes in Afghanistan, bombed Yemen, and sent troops to Somalia. His Secretary of Defense, former General James Mattis, affectionately called “mad dog” by his troops, threatens Iran, falsely accusing it of violations of the recently signed agreement on nuclear proliferation. Trump is recklessly threatening North Korea, potentially creating an extreme risk of a nuclear event that would certainly also engage China. He has called for an increase in military spending that by itself is almost larger than the entire military budget of any other country.

    When one looks at the stenography coming from the news media today ((‘with the bombing os Syria, Trump became presidential’)), I can’t help but look at the whining coming from the NYT as reflected in today’s link section in the below link and think of it as poetic justice:
    Hell hath no fury like The New York Times scorned by Hollywood Columbia Journalism Review

    The media, whose Pentagon and Watergate publications are like a man whose only accomplishment was scoring a winning touchdown in high school and who incessantly yammers about it is pretty much how the NYT and WP behaves, doing nothing for the almost 50 years….

    1. JTMcPhee

      If one reads the rest of that counterpunch article, what is there left to say about “the American project?” So glad I had the opportunity to do my little bit to advance that Project. Nice to see the inventory of what “our” owners and rulers have got us up to, all in one place.

      What a rotten effing Glob we live in. And it sure looks like there’s no fixing any of it, short of the end game…

      “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

      1. Anon

        The lame ignorance of the American people about US history, is beyond frustration. I, too, had the opportunity to partake in “war games”, but stealthily defied conscription.

        A lifetime spent trying to explain to peers that Russia lost as much as 30% of of its populace,( while the US but 0.3%), and created the physical resistance that enervated Nazi Germany (and really should be credited with defeating Hitler) is beyond exasperation. Hopefully, the book “War and Empire” will do better.

  5. stefan

    “In many respects, globalisation has turned out to be more destructive to the status quo than communism ever was. “

    A money quote from Patrick Cockburn.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Communism was actually harmless to the status quo. It was Russia’s response to the West trying to crush communism, namely, to convert to a military dictatorship, that caused all the harm.

      And this is almost always the case. It is the elites’ response to their fears and not the fears themselves that causes all the damage. As it turns out, the elites are terrible at running the world. All they can think of is their money, and this paranoia drives all rational thought from their minds.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Er…Communism was a threat to the status quo. Remember the “moderate suburban Republican” types of Prussia (I’m sure they were polite) threw their support to Hitler and his rabble for fear of Communists and trade unions who might raise taxes and spend money on social programs when the German military was already preparing for a major arms build up.

        Communism was never a threat to John Q Public. We already say “comrade” when we say “mister” etc. The Ruskies copied it from us.

    2. RabidGandhi

      There was communism? Must’ve been during my Soused Period, as I have no recollection. In my sober years, however, I do remember there being Communism™ in the soi disant Soviet Union.

      Cockburn should know better.

      1. ambrit

        Weren’t the Inca society and others of that region run along communitarian lines?

        1. RabidGandhi

          That was certainly during my 1500-year drunk, so I can’t say. What I can say is that the auctothonous communities ’round these here parts to this day still associate the Incas with slavery, top-down tyranny and societal disruption. But up farther up north YMMV.

          1. ambrit

            Hmmm… The Hegemon of it’s day, eh?
            Then there came along “La Layenda Negra.”

          2. Anon

            “auctothonous”. I assume is the bleary-eyed version of autocthonous. Which is a synonym of indigenous. Meaning, in context, native communities.

            R_G, are you on the east coast or west, of SA?

            1. clinical wasteman

              uh … yeah, a typo in a valid synonym (for ‘indigenous’, I mean: some indigenous political movements in the Americas do lay claim to ‘native’, but others in the Pacific most certainly do not).
              But why this merited a correction I don’t know.
              And SA? South Africa? Sociedad Anónima? Surely not South Australia (only one coast, there’s a clue in the name)? At least until a truly horrendous seismic/tectonic event intervenes, Argentina doesn’t have a west coast either.

        2. polecat

          Well yeah … Beating hearts were on the house … er … temple !
          and then there was that ‘communal’ victims water pit to be thrown into …..

  6. fresno dan

    ‘Yes, It’s a Crime’: Dem Senator Calls For ‘Special Prosecutor’ to Investigate Huma Abedin Mediaite (furzy). Nice to see Blumenthal go after Team Blue sins.

    On Morning Joe, Thursday, Willie Geist opened an interview with Connecticut’s Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal by asking point blank if Abedin’s actions were criminal.

    “Do you believe that is a crime,” he asked.

    Blumenthal said quite possibly.

    “If there was classified information and it was improperly passed to a person unauthorized to receive it. Yes, it’s a crime,” he said. “Without knowing what the intentions were and so forth, there is potentially a prosecutable crime.”

    “Isn’t that what Director Comey said?” asked Geist.

    “There was nothing new to come from this additional trove of emails,” said Blumenthal.

    “Should it have been prosecuted,” host Joe Scarborough jumped in.

    “It still may be potentially. It’s not outside the statute of limitations. Who will decide it? That’s why we need a special prosecutor to review all of this investigative material.” he said before artfully pivoting back to questions over Donald Trump and Russia.

    Well, if you interject “intentions” into the law, it seems to me your allowing the same escape clause used by Clinton. If Blumenthal, with all the caveats and wiggling, isn’t really saying ‘let sleeping dogs’ lie, than one also probably believes that Goldman Sachs does God’s work….

    1. Jim Haygood

      As the Jihad on Drugs has made brutally clear, federal criminal offenses are now per se crimes, requiring no mens rea (criminal intent).

      Possession is conviction, whether or not the accused knew drugs were there, or even if someone else planted the forbidden substance without their knowledge.

      Contrast the merciless Jihad on Drugs conviction mill with the kid glove treatment of the political elite, in which the director of the FBI helpfully supplies alibis that have no force of law anyhow.

      Club Comey: have you received the tap on the shoulder, comrade?

      1. fresno dan

        Jim Haygood
        May 7, 2017 at 8:37 am

        Which is EXACTLY the opposite of how the laws are written. We like to say “a nation of laws, not men” when it should be amended to reflect reality, “a nation of laws to allow the wealthy to weasel out of any crime while allowing any non-wealthy person to be convicted of anything”…..

        Getting what you want from the American court system is very much like anything else in America – the more money you have, the more certain you are of getting the outcome you desire….

      2. polecat

        Prime Example Exhibit #1 …. Hunter BIDEN !

        Walks on GAS …..

        Floats on COKE ….

        Rich Kid …… Why U No PAY No Consequences ?

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Time for drug-detecting jeans, that will also give directions.

        “No excuse to have those drugs on you now!”

      4. John Wright

        In this Northern California region a few years ago, a local bail bondsman ran a radio campaign, maybe to encourage others to co-sign the bail.

        “Friends don’t let friends do time.”

        This describes the actions of the various Dem/Repub political “friends” in D.C.

        No one politically connected ever does time.

    2. RabidGandhi

      I actually clicked on the link in the outlandish hope that JLS was referring to Sidney Blumenthal. No such luck.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Me too. I was hoping for a little DemocRATs desert sinking ship narrative. Always popcorn time when the crooks turn on each other.

  7. MoiAussie

    War and Empire: the American Way of Life
    Another must read from Counterpunch

    Citizens of the U.S., like myself, who have long studied these matters and have opposed our nation’s imperial policies know that what these men, and many others like them, have proposed is exactly what they accused Nazi Germany and Communist Russia of attempting. Of course, proponents of what the first Bush deemed the “New World Order” in 1991 allege that this American imperium will constitute a radical departure from past empires and will instead usher in and guarantee a new age of democracy and human rights for all humanity. They assert this even as their bombs and those of their allies shatter the lives literally of millions in the Islamic world.

    And they assert this as the rights of Americans at home are being rapidly dispensed with, and US democracy has become a joke and a sham.

    1. Carolinian

      I’ve begun to believe we should blame our current dysfunction on Woody Wilson, the original R2P-er who sought to “make the world safe for democracy.” Not only did the vain Wilson make a hash out of the Versailles conference and its aftermath but he also gave America the vile Espionage Act. However his actions at Versailles had a profound effect on subsequent history including WW2 and the current mess in the Middle East. Today’s demented moral warriors like Dubya and Hillary could be Wilson’s children.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Warmongering for regime change abroad, inventing a witch-hunting red scare, posing as pacifist and then manipulating a reluctant public to go to war, steadfastly pushing legislation to curtail individual rights… HRC or Wilson? You make the call!

        Democrats: Plus ça change

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Not to mention a “federal” reserve system and income tax to make sure it was all “paid for.”

      3. PhilK

        On Wilson: Some quotes from the essay “The America That Was Free And Is Now Dead”

        By the time Wilson reached Paris in December 1918, political liberty had been snuffed out in America. “One by one the right of freedom of speech, the right of assembly, the right to petition, the right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the right against arbitrary arrest, the right to fair trial . . . the principle that guilt is personal, the principle that punishment should bear some proportion to the offense, had been sacrificed and ignored.” So an eminent Harvard professor of law, Zechariah Chafee, reported in 1920. The war served merely as pretext. Of that there can be little doubt. In a searing civil conflict that threatened the very survival of the republic, Americans, under Lincoln, enjoyed every liberty that could possibly be spared. In a war safely fought three thousand miles from our shores, Americans, under Wilson, lost every liberty they could possibly be deprived of.
        . . . .
        When a Hollywood filmmaker released his movie epic “The Spirit of ’76”, federal agents seized it and arrested the producer: his portrayal of the American Revolution had cast British redcoats in an unfavorable light. The film, said the court, was criminally “calculated . . . to make us a little bit slack in our loyalty to Great Britain in this great catastrophe.” A story that had nourished love of liberty and hatred of tyranny in the hearts of American schoolchildren had become a crime to retell in Wilson’s America. The filmmaker was sentenced to ten years in prison for recalling the inconvenient past.
        . . . .
        On his last morning in office this terrible ruin of a man was asked to pardon Eugene Debs, rotting his life away in a federal penitentiary. Unforgiving, Wilson refused. He had pity only for himself. Today American children are taught in our schools that Wilson was one of our greatest Presidents. That is proof in itself that the American republic has never recovered from the blow he inflicted upon it.

        1. Alex Morfesis

          Wilson meant war with mexico…veracruz didn’t really mean war…and those Yangtze river patrols that continued during his “peaceful” administration…

          “make the world a safe for democracy”

          Cause ya gotta keep that democracy thing under lock and key…

      4. nobody

        William H. Seward, in 1867:

        Our nation with united interests blest,
        Not now content to poise, shall sway the rest;
        Abroad our empire shall no limits know,
        But like the sea in boundless circles flow.

      5. Jeremy Grimm

        Wilson also brought in Walter Lippmann and his crowd to help manufacture and control public opinion for entering and continuing World War I.

  8. fresno dan

    Questions for US military after doubt cast on efficiency of Afghan bombing Guardian. resilc: “mother of all dudzzzz.”

    After dropping its largest conventional bomb ever used in combat in Afghanistan on 13 April, the US military said the massive ordnance air blast, or Moab, was a “very clear message to Isis” that they would be “annihilated”.

    Defence secretary Jim Mattis said the bomb was “necessary to break Isis”. The Afghan government claimed the bomb killed 94 Isis militants, while harming no civilians.

    That seemed like deja vu to me for some reason. So I started looking for a similar phrase, but while doing that I was surprised to learn:

    Well, looks like I missed the war ending….but with the war ended, one would think we wouldn’t have to be dropping the world’s biggest bomb…

  9. Ex-PFC Chuck

    Do any of these people read any history?

    No. “History is bunk!” Henry Ford

    1. sid_finster

      “The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ … ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'”


    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      History written by the victor is likely to be bunk.

      Or at least be skeptical.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        The history of the British and later the Russian incursions into Afghanistan whether told by victors or losers should give warning. Both sets of accounts may contain bunk and require skepticism but even so — their lessons are difficult to ignore without great ignorance combined with remarkable stupidity, hubris and all too often greed for the cashflows from weapon sales and market destabilization.

  10. allan

    GOP braces for healthcare blowback at home The Hill

    The substance of the article doesn’t back up the headline.
    Fewer than a dozen out of the 247 GOP in the House are holding public events
    during their hard-earned break, and most of those are in safely red districts.
    On the other hand, concierge service private events with campaign donors
    who would benefit from the $600 billion tax cut in the AHCA – that’s another matter.

    One of the few GOP in at least potentially competitive districts to have town halls is Tom Reed
    in the Southern Tier / Finger Lakes area of NYS:

    Reed gets an earful about health care at town halls on Saturday [WXXI]

    …The Republican legislator from the Southern Tier showed up Saturday at a fire station in Hinsdale, a small town in Cattaraugus County. Reed, who voted for the bill, got an earful of loud, angry voices from more than 100 people who came despite the rain

    Some said they’re afraid they’ll lose coverage of pre-existing conditions such as cancer and diabetes.

    Reed told them he hopes the new health bill will bring down costs, while he said Obamacare is collapsing. …


  11. Marco

    RE Jeremy Corbyn’s 10 Pledges: What is it with the Left’s love affair with LONG LISTS?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Remember Gingrich’s Contract On With America?

      He was smart enough to format it differently — no geeky Arabic numerals, spelled out the eight or ten points — And then the Reds (remember, “Red” was “evil” until arouind the time the Contract was written, soon became the rallying color of the so wrongly denominated “Right”) went ahead with their majority and Quisling Dems and did what they said they would.

      And are still bragging about it, and using the approach as the model for ongoing undoing of any comity and decency and “fairness” in the former slave nation called “America:” “The Contract with America: Implementing New Ideas in the U.S.”,

      Make a plan and stick with it. Maybe that only works for people whose cognitions and motions and bents are what makes up the sharks and shrews, speaking of lists,, that fill out the 0.01% (Powell-class) and their suck-ups and remoras “Dear hearts and gentle people” are just prey animals…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Wasn’t “Contract for America” a relatively short lived campaign?

        Newt did have the luxuries of a Democratic retirement cycle and the usual Clinton campaign effort to run against. Rahm Emmanuel was the White House point man for House races in 1994. He held a similar role in 2010. If you loved Hillary’s experience, here comes Rahm.

        The Contract for America did keep their voters focused on GOTV efforts,but the Congress went from a historically diverse to a historically white Congress even after the 1992 race where Bill only had 43% of the vote. The lesson here is gross Democratic incompetence. NAFTA and Hillary’s usual bungling (healthcare in this case) were more likely culprits.

        1. Alex Morfesis

          The lesson here is gross democratic “theatre”…a sweet lie vs a cold hard truth is always easier to swallow and sell…

          day dontz cares abouts us…
          when you gonna get dat straight…
          pass that bottles back over heres…

    2. RabidGandhi

      I agree about the optics, but it should be noted the 1945 manifesto worked brilliantly (until demolished by Teflon Tony), and it was certainly not Tweet-length.

      What I was looking for in this latest version: crystal-clear commitments to concrete public benefits that could be clearly proven to have been broken if not fulfilled by 2022. In this regard, yes I would have preferred a simple bullet checklist, but compared to previous Manifestos, it is a step forward with concrete promises (eg. 1m new houses, nationalising the railways, ending zero-hour contracts, National Investment Bank…) mixed amongst the weasel words (eg “with social justice at the heart of our environmental policies”, “We will take action to tackle violence against women…”).

    3. makedoanmend

      10 items is a long list?

      Well, I suppose Corbyn-Labour could have just written – Hope.
      (That worked out so well in the US.)

      Or we could just believe the Right’s trickle down theories coded as – Dope.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Publish the Macron data dump, huffs the French electoral commission to la presse française, and you’ll be punished.

    This is Maginot Line II, based on the fantastical belief that gagging the dead tree media will render Macron’s embarrassment invisible. One is reminded of ex-president Kristina Kirchner in Argie-Bargie, fruitlessly trying to silence her tormentors in the press by starving them of newsprint. Leaks don’t need paper no more!

    Naturally the US MSM is ripping copy off the clattering Operation Mockingbird teletype: “The Macron leaks prompted swift alarm in the United States, where many believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was again trying to put his thumb on the scales of a Western election,” duly screeched Reuters stenographers.

    Here’s hoping that 4chan’s leak contains some damaging dirt, so that Macron’s presidency will be dead on arrival … and we can be afforded the solemn spectacle and pageantry of a european presidential impeachment. Arf! Arf! Ah-roooOOOOooohhh!!!!

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I won’t link to the likes of 4chan but you can check out the /pol/ subgroup there.

      Frankly it doesn’t amount to much but admittedly, I only looked at what’s there. There’s a letter about a bank in the Caymans but no context. Some very odd joking from his campaign manager though wrt masturbation.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Still can’t get over that he’s named for a diacritical mark … ¯ .

        Howdy, Monsieur Macron. I’m Sir Em Semicolon Tilde. Pleased to meetcha.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Excusez moi M. Tilde, no time to chat right now. Umlaut for my meeting with the Troika and must follow my marching orders so as not my asterisk.

    2. RabidGandhi

      Kirchner’s opponents in the press own the only company that produces newsprint paper (Papel Prensa SA, illegally adjudicated by the dictators to the country’s major media monopoly, Grupo Clarín under very nefarious circumstances).

      At no point did Kirchner’s media law or any other legal actions ever threaten Clarín, La Nación, Perfil or any other newspaper with being deprived of newsprint paper; quite the opposite: it guaranteed that there would be equal access to Papel Prensa’s products, as opposed to the current monopoly situation.

      Quit making sh*t up.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Mish was once fined by the French 8,000 euros, for quoting a French blog.

      Be careful quoting, eve here, of stuff there.

  13. dcblogger

    America’s Biggest Corporations Are Quietly Boosting Trump’s Hate Agenda

    The Center for Popular Democracy and Make The Road New York have
    launched a campaign to draw attention to nine companies – Goldman Sachs,
    Blackstone, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Blackrock, Boeing, IBM, Uber,
    and Disney. This “Corporate Backers of Hate” campaign
    calls on companies to disassociate themselves from the Trump
    administration and end corporate practices that benefit from his agenda.

    1. HBE

      My question is where were these organizations when the dems presided over mass deportations for 8 years?

      The article hyperventilates over the fact that in Trump’s first 100 days 21,000 illegal immigrants have been detained, while nary a peep during the 8 year period the dems (with corporate backing as well) actually deported ~85,000 every 100 days.

      It’s almost like liberals (and liberal orgs) don’t really care about immigrants at all, and are using them as a temporary club to swing at the other tribe with, to be dropped and forgotten as soon as their tribe regains power.

      1. Arizona Slim

        They care about immigrants when they are looking for nannies and landscaping help.

  14. RenoDino

    Trump wants a new Afghan surge. That’s a terrible idea

    Not a terrible idea if the idea is to set up a massive permanent U.S. base camp on the Chinese border. It is time we stop thinking about this “war” against terrorism gone wrong and accept the fact that U.S. military strategy is now fully committed to a plan to surround China. The fight against terrorism there is a major nuisance. It will never deter us from our central mission to neutralize China. What’s sixteen years and a trillion dollars as a down payment on a commitment that will span centuries, God willing? Once one accepts the end game, all these day-to-day struggles simply become the cost of doing business.

    For more fun, check out the Wakhan Valley, the most isolated and difficult border crossing in the world.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      Iskander of Macedon settled his soldiers there permanently. Maybe that’s the way to go – marrying the local Sogdian women.

    2. DH

      Here is an interesting piece from about 6 years ago looking at myths about Afghanistan wars and occupations:

      The most interesting part of the points made is the concept that while foreign armies can regularly defeat the Afghans on the battlefield, it is just really hard to occupy the country.

      The US has run into the same strategic error that many colonial powers have made, namely that winning fixed piece battles is the same as pacifying the country. The irony is that this truism includes the founding of the United States where the British regularly won battles and occupied the new nation’s capitals, but could not control the countryside and eventually had to leave due to the steady bleeding of men and treasury.

  15. RenoDino

    BUFFETT: Wells Fargo made 3 huge mistakes during the fake accounts scandal but one ‘dwarfs all the others Business Insider

    For almost a year before the scandal broke, I was receiving daily emails from Wells Fargo to change my password because of a security breech. Turns out that was their own employees trying to break into my accounts. Nice.

  16. From Cold Mountain

    John Podesta: “[Trump] has put together a group of people now that are realists, who are experienced, who know the consequences of false starts in military actions. He’s listening more to James Mattis and less to Steve Bannon.”

    Holy. Moly. He thinks that listening to James “Mad Dog” Mattis (who wants war with Iran and who is a war criminal) is a good thing?

    This is why I do not vote anymore.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Podesta is the guy who believes Area 51 houses a UFO. Its quite reasonable to expect people of the Clintons’ caliber to surround themselves with well dressed morons.

        1. polecat

          Let’s hope, for his sake they’er Thermians .. and not ol’ ‘Lobster Face’ …. ‘;0

          1. ambrit

            AArrgthhhh!!! I just got it! Lobster Thermidor!!! In other words, we’re all toast!

      1. Optimader

        Area 51 has hosted many UFOs but they are of a domestic origin, that is the nuance lost on morons like Podesta.
        I saw a UFO last night, it was big, had lights and was fairly quiet. Probably a 787 shoving off from OHare.. but ill never know?

        1. diptherio

          When asked if he believed in UFOs, Robert Anton Wilson replied that of course he did. He saw things in the sky all the time and didn’t know what they were…hence, by definition, unidentified flying objects.

      2. craazyboy

        Podesta also knows Putin is trying to steal our UFO.

        He got word from Robbie Mook’s intel focus group, corroborated by 17 DNC intel agencies!

        Plus, who’s to say a Predator drone isn’t a UFO?? Waddaya gonna do, call the pilot and ask for his ID? What if he does answer and claim he’s a robot? Who’s robot? Where was this robot built?? [Warning, Earth people. My aim sucks!]

        The questions abound.

  17. Benedict@Large

    Here’s the video clip of Rep. Labrador (“Nobody dies …”)

    Labrador ledes by dismissing the questioner, but upon completion of his response, the audience explodes with rage, … which makes me wonder how freaks like this get elected to begin with. Either local media grossly misrepresents these people during the campaign coverage, or a lot of ballot boxes are being bought. I give equal odds to either.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      And remember kids, don’t do drugs.

      ‘No one ever got fired for slavishly following the groupthink. At least, no one worth mentioning.’

    2. hunkerdown

      He, himself, looked pretty indefensible. I think that audience could have had a new Congressperson if they wanted it badly enough.

  18. dontknowitall

    Re – “Renminbi is merely pausing, not retreating, in its global growth”

    Interesting intersection this Sunday morning regarding China and the neoliberal grip on southern EU sovereign debt. The Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno is in Beijing meeting people over the possibility of Portugal issuing some of its debt in Yuan, a first for a member of the EU.

    I do not have any idea right now what it will do to the current dollar/euro mechanism of enforcing neoliberal austerity economics on Portugal and other PIIGS since Chinese view infrastructure investment more positively in a bad economy. Portuguese socialists have been steadily working to escape Eurogroup imposed austerity and the country may actually exit EU excessive deficit procedures before summer according to the Prime Minister. If anyone has some ideas where this might lead politically or economically please share…

    1. RabidGandhi

      I’m no expert, but it seems like an Iberian game of chicken with Brussels. Both Portugal and Spain technically were liable for huge EU fines, but the EC backed off because, per Pierre Moscovici, “[a] punitive approach we didn’t feel would have been most appropriate at a time when people are questioning Europe”. Translation: Portugal had already veered left and Spain was without a government, with an outside chance of Podemos having a major say in the budget. So when their keesters were on the line, the EC was smart enough to pull back. Now Spain has a conservative government again and Austerity is back on the menu, making it easier for Brussels to isolate and punish Portugal, if they feel safe in doing so.

      1. craazyboy

        Well, the EU might like the idea of Portugal pushing it’s problems into the future – denominated solely in yuan. Rules be damned! It was probably Junker’s and whatshisname’s idea. Tho it’d be safer if they have Italy refi in S. African Rand. That would be payback for those Hollanders! A political correctness twofer!

      2. Dontknowitall

        Thank you RabidGandhi

        Indeed last year they were above the 3% limit but in Portugal this year the deficit is below that restrictive limit so the EU executive was pleasantly surprised. Spain is a different story. With U.K. leaving yet another vote for austerity economics is gone and we will see if Macron is saner. I feel austerity as unquestioned policy at the EU level is gone.

        1. RabidGandhi

          I wish I could be as optimistic. Macron is being elected on a promise to cut 120,000 public sector jobs, lower corporate income tax, and tighten the exchequer. IMNSHO, Austerianism is the One True Religion of the ruling class, and they will only go against it (or allow transgressions against it) when they have their backs against the wall.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is the game of chicken China thinking they are in charge when the loan is delinquent or Portugal assuming China doesn’t have the necessary Repo Man to collect (unless Portugal needs to borrow more, then she will have to be nice to China)?

        1. Dontknowitall

          None of the above. Probably diversifying investors and show there are options other than the old club. Portugal has a long history with China too.

  19. B1whois

    I asked this yesterday, but it was late in the day:

    Last week I returned from a month in Northern California to my almost-new-home of Uruguay. I got off the plane in the early afternoon and I was amazed to see a difference to the quality of light that I have never seen before. Buildings looked like they were glowing and my it was so intense that my eyes actually watered for the first few days. I seem to have adjusted now but I am interested to know if anyone has had a similar observation in another place or has any theories about it.
    If this phenomenon is unique or especially enhanced in this region then my theory is that it is related to the hole in the ozone over Uruguay, OR the South Atlantic Anomaly
    The SAA is associated with a weakened area of the earth’s magnetic field which “leads to an increased flux of energetic particles in this region,” according to the article. Do any of these things sound like they could affect the visual perception of illumination/brilliance of sunlight? Thanks in advance for any comments, as I am greatly intrigued by this mystery!

    1. RabidGandhi

      Personally, I find the sun to be particularly punishing in Buenos Aires, but not here in northwest Argentina. I have no concrete data on this, just a personal observation.

      1. Carolinian

        Elevation difference? I’ve just been rollercoastering across our magnificent American West and the changes in light are hard to miss.

        1. RabidGandhi

          Could be; I’m no expert. But shouldn’t being closer to the sun and higher up with ostensibly less cloud cover/air pollution translate into more direct rays?

          1. Carolinian

            But less diffusion from dust and humidity. I’m no expert either but find the light on our SC coast to be oppressively bright. Where I live would be considered foothills.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I remember visiting Crete and one time the afternoon light was very strange but just on the one day. It was as if everything were seen through a tangerine filter. Never seen anything like it before or since.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Heh, could be. Pretty sure I hadn’t given myself an attitude adjustment that afternoon. I usually wait until after dark for that…

      1. Alex Morfesis

        The sirocco…1 of the 8 winds of the mesoyian(Mediterranean to you latin types)…the grecola used to and still sometimes does sweep in just south of ithaki…and a “maistrali” is the soft after effect of a mistral and it’s clear skies…

        The 8 winds are from the navigational tool, the “wind rose”/compass rose where the 8 are said to come from the 12 historic winds of ancient times…

        Positioned to the center of the universe for all sailors…ithaki…that place on the map north of zakynthos

        Before the magnetic compass…there were the 8 winds…

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Altitude? Thinner clearer air can make everything at a distance look closer. Things can look uncanny while you readjust.

      A bit prosaic, but I was just reading about ‘seeing the Elephant’ in the early US.

      1. Synapsid


        It gets colder above Antarctica than it does above the Arctic because Antarctica averages well over a mile high and the Arctic Ocean is, well, at sea level.

        The destruction of ozone that creates the ozone hole occurs on the surface of ice crystals; the energy source is solar ultraviolet. The greater cold above the Antarctic permits a much larger population of ice crystals than can form above the Arctic and they can spread over a wider area.

        1. footnote4

          Top response at the link says re the polar stratospheric clouds containing the culprit solid nitric acid:

          You can see them sometimes in the Arctic, but not nearly as often as in the Antarctic. Oddly enough, this is caused (mostly) by there being more mountain ranges in the northern hemisphere. Mountain ranges can induce atmospheric waves that travel up into the stratosphere and perturb the stratospheric vortex. … Without that perturbation, the stratosphere can just keep cooling down by radiating to space all winter while there’s no sunlight. This is why the Antarctic is so much colder than the Arctic, and why polar stratospheric clouds form there much more often.

          So…The ozone hole is worse in the southern hemisphere because there are fewer mountain ranges there. Earth science is weird!

      1. ambrit

        I don’t know if I would go so far as to consider the NC Commentariat as a branch of the Illuminati.

    4. John

      Might have more to do with your state of mind than external phenomena…leaving the mind fog of american mass psychosis and coming into an area of better mental health.

    5. bob

      Talk to photographers about “light”. It can be a million different things. The major one is the angle at which the sunlight hits the earth, and then the angle that the earth in that position is facing. Dawk vs Dusk light is as good a place as any to start. Elevation is the next strongest effect. Weather then changes all of this. Photographers love “overcast”- diffuse light.

      There is a science to it, but it’s normally better to just appreciate it. The human eye does a much better job than cameras at seeing different light levels. The photo geeks are trying to replicate that. It’s hard.

      This was a good read, with examples-

      The chart of “stops” illustrates the human eye vs camera differences well. HDR requires several different exposures to capture the same range that the human eye captures very quickly, while moving…

    6. Anon

      Air pollution (none)?

      NorCal is in Springtime…Uruguay is in Fall (angle of the sun)?

  20. LT

    Re: Health Insurance Bills

    The Democrats are now calling the AHCA “homicidal.” All it makes clear is that the private health insurance industry and a healthcare industry of high overhead (not related to actual care) are homicidal.
    We have a government in the throes of the most depraved 19th Century assumptions .

    1. Cynthia

      Yes, what’s killing healthcare more than just anything else is overhead costs, which is literally spirally out of control! Some of these spirally costs are due to having a multi-insurer healthcare system, resulting in an overly complex and utterly opaque billing system, which has often been dubbed as a “Rube Goldberg” contraption that’s more likely to make you sick than get you better.

      However, quite a bit of these costs are due to providers, namely hospitals, having way too many managers and back office workers on the payroll. Over the past two decades or so, their numbers have grown by leaps and bounds, if not hyperbolically, while the number of frontline nurses, as well as frontline doctors, have remained essentially flat. It doesn’t take a doctorate in hospital management to understand that patient care and patient safety can’t improve by adding more layers of management or by adding more (electronic) paper shufflers to the back office or even by adding more consultant jobs to the payroll. Patient care and patient safety will only improve when hospitals truly put patients first, and that can only be done by adding more doctors and nurses to the frontlines. And this won’t cost hospitals an extra dime, in fact, it’s likely to save them money. Lots of it. The savings will come by shifting licensed nurses, as well as licensed physicians, out of the boardroom, out of the corporate suite, and out of the back office and onto the frontlines of care.

      For starters, hospitals could shift their assistant nurse managers back into a more traditional “charge nurse” role, where they can be effective leaders as well as providers of care. As a bonus, morale and thus retention among frontline nurses would improve simply because they would feel better, thus work better, just knowing that the person directly in charge of them is more of a supportive colleague rather than a ruling authoritative figure. Or, even better, cross-train these mid-level micromanagers to become care managers, as well as transitional care managers. This can be done without compromising patient care and safety. In fact, if anything, patient care and safety would improve, and surprisingly so, even to the biggest believers in micromanagement.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Anecdotal but relevant:

        I lived in the US for 40 years and then transplanted to Australia. Most doctors I visited in the US were small practices; but for an office with two Drs you’d usually have 3 or 4 gals in back with stacks of files, on the phone with networks and providers and payers.


        The two doctor office here usually has one gal and just some patient files on hand. She books appointments and takes payments. She presents me with the bill; I hand her my bank card and health card. By the next day (two at most) the reimbursement in already in my bank account (I kid you not).

        Australia has a dual system: private health cover (as above, higher level of service, costs about a third of my US costs), and public. Which is free.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      I love reading the bits of fiction that the health insurance industry sends me about my doctor visits. The totals are always astronomical, and I wind up paying a small percentage of it. What I never see is the actual money that the insurance companies send to my doctor. I would propose the following:

      #1. Instead of health insurance companies giving the payments to the doctor, they write a check to the patient (actual money changing hands)

      #2. Then, the patient sends the payment to the doctor.

      If this system was in place I could guarantee that costs will magically go down. Of course you would have to ban rebates/refunds/kickbacks from the doctor to the health insurance company.

  21. HBE

    A perfect summation of liberal hypocrisy from commenter orange pretzel, on the (definitely not running) Chelsea Clinton heatst article.

    “This is the problem with rich White liberals in general. They are against school choice but attend private schools. They claim to be proponents of diversity but live in all rich White neighborhoods. They are concerned about income inequality but don’t tip. They are concerned about climate change but run their Air conditioners before May 1. They subscribe to Net Jets. The hypocrisy is nauseating!”

    It most certainly is nauseating, which is generally why I find virtue signaling liberals worse to interact with than staunch conservatives.

    1. Arizona Slim

      These days, I am getting along better with conservatives​ than I am with liberals​.

      1. polecat

        It’s kind of a weird feeling Arizona Slim, isn’t it ….. ?!

        Metaphorically speaking, I feel like I’m stuck in a Klein Bottle … and can’t get out !

      2. Montanamaven

        Me too, by a long shot. Yesterday all the liberals were talking about was the Russian hack of French elections. With conservatives I can actually discuss health care, tax cuts, etc in a calm and rational manner. I heard Huckabee say this morning that affordable health care was neither a privilege like some right wingers think or a right like the Dems think, but rather something we all feel is important. Wow. He said, affordable heath care was like highways. It is not a right to have good highways, but it’s really really important so we all get together to pay for them. Wow. That and Charles Krauthammer saying we will have single payer in 7 years and my world has completely flipped upside down.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I blame Obama. Actually Bubba started the inversion, and Obama nailed it down to the floor.

    2. perpetualWAR

      My “liberal” Seattle-ite neighbors doubled the size of their home (for 2 people….I mean, come on, everyone needs 5000 sf in which to live) yet they think they’re “environmental” because they drive a Volt.

      I want to vomit.

    3. jrs

      this might be more convincing if everyone else had taken a vow of poverty but that doesn’t seem to be the case (even the poor don’t although they can’t always afford basic necessities). Maybe the homeless are pure enough for this person? That is a low impact lifestyle.

      The type of liberal they are looking for is maybe Chris Hedges but he probably comes across as a bit too austere for most (he fascinates me because that kind of seriousness I’ve only ever seen in the religious left and I grew up around it – but you will be hard pressed to find it anywhere else in American society).

      Before May 1st, and it doesn’t matter where you live? Even if you live in Phoenix where it reached 98 degrees before May 1st.

      1. HBE

        It’s not about purity, it’s about hypocrisy. Which the comment makes abundantly clear but you still chose to ignore it, to strawman.

        I have more respect for a conservative with views I find completely odious, than a liberal who espouses views more aligned with my own, but who take actions and stances completely at odds with those espoused views or only holds those views when they are personally or tribally useful.

        1. jrs

          It’s a continuum. But I suppose conservatives are going to be just fine no matter what their personal lifestyle. While liberals are expected to be pure as the driven snow and otherwise get lectures if they ever flew on a plane to take a vacation (and not because they had to to keep employed). Meanwhile Trump is in Mar-a-Lago every weekend. Or own more than one internet connecting device. Or eat meat. Or don’t recycle every thing and do worm compositing in their kitchen.

          And there actually is no real distinction between say trying to buy a house in a neighborhood with good public schools and sending kids to private schools (and in some circumstances the full private school tuition is CHEAPER as the former is richly reflected in highly bid up housing costs). When happens when college educated people become parents though is they start thinking about these things. It happens almost invariably. I’ve heard so many nauseating conversations about “good school districts” (that would be public schools in my life I can’t say). And it happens whether or not they vote R or D!

          1. HBE

            “But I suppose conservatives are going to be just fine no matter what their personal lifestyle.”

            Um, conservatives make up the vast majority of those dying in flyover so they are already not “just fine”.

            “While liberals are expected to be pure as the driven snow and otherwise get lectures if they ever flew on a plane to take a vacation…”

            No, the issue is the liberal hypocrisy of expounding their virtuousness in being environmentally woke, and lecturing those in flyover about how they are contributing to global warming and how horrible they are for it. Then turning around and jumping on said plane for vacation.

            Yes the plane ride is environmentally damaging, but that is not the issue here, the virtue signaling hypocrisy is the issue.

            And again you chose to completely walk around the issue of nauseating liberal hypocrisy with your answer, non-answer.

    4. Corbin Dallas

      A single anonymous internet commenter that sounds like a concern troll is now evidence for all libs in general? Give me break and read the internet with a grain of salt please.

      1. hunkerdown

        You and I both know that’s not “evidence”. I can see that the statement is a principle of organizing the anecdotal observations that most of us have observed of a certain propensity to dishonest signalling. It’s odd how the most liberal of liberals need authorities to make all their judgments for them, being apparently unable to form and discard opinions of their own when and as needed. Now, I grant that the most ilberal of liberals want us to ignore what we see in front of our “lying” eyes in favor of their Kingdom of Market Heaven or whatever, but they would, wouldn’t they.

  22. NotTimothyGeithner

    The elite Democrats are infested with charter school loons. The rank and file oppose them. Arnie Duncan worked feverishly to undermine public schools.

  23. Carolinian

    Interesting story about Steven Spielberg playing loose with history (again–the dubious bits in Lincoln come to mind) by giving WaPo all the glory for the Pentagon Papers. The nut appears mid-article

    Moreover, the box office potential of three-time Oscar winner Streep as Graham and two-time winner Hanks as Bradlee—once described by The Wall Street Journal as resembling an “international jewel thief”—is undeniable.

    What matters history when another Oscar-nominated turn by La Streep is in the offing? Here’s betting the result will be bad enough that history will survive and the Timesmen can stop their kvetching.

    1. RabidGandhi

      From what I got from my quick read of the CJR article, it was not clear whether the film was actually going to mangle the Pentagon Papers episode and NYT’s role therein, but the NYT crowd was having a precautionary conniption nonetheless.

      Although I should add that I would not put doing so beyond Spielberg’s penchant for fantasy as fact, and furthermore my delicate intestines preclude me from watching either Post or Lincoln.

    2. voteforno6

      Maybe we should wait to see how this film turns out before we judge it. Also, it would be a mistake to dismiss out of hand what the Washington Post did during the Pentagon Papers episode. The paper’s decision to publish was not without risk.

      1. Carolinian

        It’s Streep I have a problem with. She certainly has her skills but you wonder how many other more interesting and less overexposed actresses were turned down for the part. Does Meryl have to be in everything?

        And of course the great irony is that the current NYT under Pinch instead of Punch would likely act quite differently. After all Comey says they call him up and ask for approval before publication.

  24. Arizona Slim

    About those “smart offices” with dogs: It​ will be fun and games until someone gets hurt.

    Happened to me last year.

    I was in one of those dog-friendly offices and a dog bit me in the leg. And I did nothing to provoke this dog. I was merely walking past its owner’s desk and minding my own business.

    I reported this incident to management​. They took my concerns seriously and that’s good. Because if I had needed any medical care, they would have been hearing from my lawyer.

    1. Carolinian

      The same thing happened to me while walking in my neighborhood. Apparently small dogs with female owners can be quite aggressive and protective–at least that’s what the Dog Whisperer says. Since it was a neighbor I didn’t insist that she call the city and have the dog quarantined for rabies, which I believe is the law for biting dogs in most states.

      1. craazyboy

        That amazes me. In my limited engagements with large service dogs is they are unbelievably docile, caring and intelligent. A great big black lab comes to mind – scratch her back and her whole posterior wags back and forth like Britney Spears on some really good crank. Another is a female magnificent pure white German Shepard, who adopted me at a party by first leaning against my leg, then slowly sat on my foot, pinning me into position for the remainder of the party. The owner was afraid she was permanently dumped for another!

        But I’d feel sorry for a dog cooped up at work all day.

        1. Carolinian

          Dogs spend most of their time sleeping and like to be with their owners. They may see the office thing as a good gig.

          And I was bitten by a small dog–small but quick.

          1. craazyboy

            Yeah, the usual alternative is not good – being locked up alone at home. The smarter they are the more they miss their humans, ironic as that may be.

            That’s when, driven by boredom, they chew up the $700 handmade British shoes or decide the toilet paper roll is a toy rather than the special purpose tool humans invented it to be.

            Then waddaya do? Send the doggie to a doggie shrink? [Real News story potential here!]

      1. subgenius

        Have you been in a workplace recently?

        Drugs are becoming a REQUIREMENT…how else to retain some semblance of sanity?

      1. perpetualWAR

        Noisy undisciplined children are one of my pet peeves. But, I still pay my taxes for their education.

      2. polecat

        This is YOUR BRAIN ….

        This Is YOUR BRAIN on DOG …. (pan to Kibbles and canine slobber strewn All over the office break room floor …. and dog logs deposited hither and yon, under cubicle decks)

            1. craazyboy

              Cats command humans to act badly.

              Most crazy people are cat “owners”. Some may own up to 100 cats.

              They’re the real gonzo whackos.

          1. witters

            “There are no bad dogs”

            That is unfair to dogs. Dogs are interesting, varied and complex. And some are bad.

    2. Jen

      Once had a secretary in my department who brought her rottweiler to work. It was a rescue and started getting very territorial. Thankfully her boss called me in to be the bad guy before something happened.

      On the other hand, I am glad that I can bring my dogs to work from time to time. I only do so when I need to keep an eye on them when they have medical issues. I have a golden retriever and a fluffy yellow rescue who, though advertised as such, is not a golden. They make the rounds when they first come in, then settle under my desk and sleep unless someone stops by to visit.

      Re: little dogs. When I was growing up our neighbor had an ancient chihuahua that everyone hated, including the neighbor. One day, my mom picked up a loaf of bread for her at the store and asked me to take it over. I approached the house carefully. The dog was nowhere in sight. When I knocked on the door the little bastard zipped out from behind a trash can and bit me in the a$$ with all two of its remaining teeth. I beat it over the head with a loaf of wonderbread until the neighbor came to my rescue.

  25. lyman alpha blob

    RE: What Is to Be Done in Venezuela?

    Thank you for posting this one – always a pleasure to read Greg Grandin. Good to hear a more balanced account of the issues there and nice to have a reminder that any current problems are not so bad as what was going on prior to Chavismo under the US-backed government of the time.

    Also glad he mentioned the strike in Brazil from last week that had tens of millions hitting the streets against the new extremely unpopular government that took over after the soft coup against Rousseff. I hadn’t heard about that before. Funny how we saw a lot more about her supposed ‘crimes’ in the runup to her BS impeachment but not so much about this.

    1. footnote4

      First misread what you had written as

      “… what was going on prior to Chavismo under the US-hacked government of the time”

    2. John k

      Yes, good to be reminded of pre Chavez, as well as other Latin news.
      But did not see any discussion of the worst own goal, two different official exchange rates, which allow insiders with access to the cheap one to both loot and get their own money out. Have to float, of course painful to insiders.

      Second own goal is land confiscation/control of farm prices to benefit city dwellers, which cuts local production a la Zimbabwe, similarly slashing domestic food production and boosting inflation. Have to get prices paid to farmers high enough to make a living.

      High or hyper inflation always begins with shortages, usually food, not money printing, which is a desperate attempt of a regime to maintain living standards of insiders and critical supporters, e.g. Military, police and judiciary.

      Eventually hopeless policies will be reversed, whether under the current regime or another, but lots of damage already, recovery will take a long time. Likely much worse before better.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Item n° 3 on Gabriel Heltand’s list in the article:

        3. Eliminating Venezuela’s byzantine currency system (a key factor generating corruption and shortages), by implementing a free float of the bolívar, remains the most “bang for buck” measure that should be taken to ease, and eventually resolve, Venezuela’s socioeconomic crisis.

  26. Altandmain

    File under class warfare:

    Wisconsin governor may seek waiver to let insurers hike premiums for pre-existing conditions

    Yeah the GOP is going to crapify healthcare further. Vote this guy out already Wisconsin, he’s messed up a lot and way past his expiration date.

    CNN is Clutching Their Pearls at the Thought of a Tulsi Gabbard Presidency

    Yeah the MSM is at war with Tulsi Gabbard because she stands for what she believes in and doesn’t intend to sell out.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Tulsi Gabbard is the strongest prospective presidential candidate for 2020, and if the Corporate Media wants to black her out like they did to Bernie, it is up to us to spread her name far and wide.

      Count. Me. In.

      1. John k

        She’s great on foreign policy, at least the part of getting out of regime change. MIC, and therefore MSM, hate her.
        Problem is she’s not a progressive, actually neolib. Perfect at defense.

        Similarly, warren is great at resisting banks and protecting the middle class from rapacious finance, but not, so far as I know, progressive on any other progressive issue… though maybe shifting? Finance, and therefore MSM, hate her. Perfect at treasury.

        IMO we need somebody hated by more corporate groups. Insurance, for example.

        I hold out hope for Bernie, third party because dems will never ever let him get nom, in spite of his age. Draft Bernie movement gaining force? Maybe warren as veep.

      1. HBE

        Some of that is pure dem oppo, but ok let’s say it’s all true. She is still far and above all others the best choice for 2020 (I believe Bernie will be too old), especially being anti war and with consistent views (see Syria).

        Please share your alternative candidate that actually has a chance.

        1. John k

          Not a lot of real progressives in office, dems do a great job keeping them out.
          Bernie will be 78 during the campaign. Reagan was 74 when he took office for the second time.
          So bernie is old, and maybe couldn’t stand the rigors of another campaign even if willing… and the vitriol will be worse than ever if he goes third, whether green or new. but what if he is willing, goes third party, and looks ok while campaigning? Would you vote for a typical dem or rep over bernie? You go to war with the army you have, not the one you want.

          I think he continues to hope he can reform the dems, but Perez shows him every day that’s not possible, they’re too addicted to the money. So every day, even as he tries to bring people to the dems by talking about popular policies people desperately need, Perez points out the real dem party opposes every one. Anyway, more flee that corrupt xxx every day… you don’t suppose Bernie is Samsun, pulling down the temple?
          Whatever. I continue to hope he can be drafted.

  27. cm

    Interesting article about how long a veteran has to under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to file suit after a foreclosure. Big shocker: Dept of Justice sides w/ bank over a vet in sloppily-written law.

    1. perpetualWAR

      Our government knows the banks are literally stealing homes using manufactured and fraudulent documents. They don’t care. They are in collusion with the criminal banks.

        1. polecat

          Haven’t you ever seen parents with younguns in tow, attached to a recoiling leash ? I have .. and wish we had one of those when my child, then all of 3 1/2 years old, decided all she wanted to do inside the Monterey Bay Aquarium was RUUUUUUUNNNNN ! So the Mrs. polecat and I blew $$$ to spend barely 30 minutes there, spending most of the time trying NOT to lose sight of our precious little dynamo !

    1. Nippersmom

      Children have been coming to work with their parents for years. I’ve worked with parents who routinely brought their kids into the office when the kids had a random day off of school , or were sick (because clearly the rest of us didn’t want to miss the opportunity to be exposed to those germs).

  28. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    From the Guardians live blog on the French Election:

    “The independent centrist Macron voted in the coastal resort of Le Touquet, where he has a second home”

    Le Pen votes in the Heartland and Macron votes in a Coastal Resort where he has a second home.


    Ni-Ni as the French say…

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The French got Obama Rothschild Macron, so things will definitely keep getting worse and worse. New bottle, same old wine.

    1. craazyboy

      That’s how it works [sometimes] at the strip bar in our big college town. Have c-notes, will travel!

      Pair of Cs gets ya a pair of fake Ds!! hahaha. Suckers! But the merchandise looks great. Can’t find everything on Ebay, and all the pics are fake there.

      The $6 table dance is just the “hook”. Then the Little Lizard Brain takes over. Be careful out there. Hookers are real – not the figment of some pizza lover’s imagination.

  29. duck1

    Joys of the modern office. The neighbor cube houses a parrot that monotonically counts to ten, apparently the limit of its intellectual abilities. Across the aisle the dog howls at passing sirens. I turn my back and the other neighbor’s rescue barbary macaque steals my lunch. The boss saunters by leading his lobster. In the distance I hear sobbing and just make out that someone’s cat has eaten Stuart Little. The accountant has trained cockroaches to deliver messages in a format similar to a dot matrix printer. And I hear that fleas have lesser fleas.

    1. craazyboy

      Well, well. just cranked out another blues masterpiece in less than 10 minutes. I think I’m gifted, and found my place in society. Soon the hotties will discover me. And Krugman too. As soon as I add the chorus by Rush Limbaugh.

      The Parrot is a Metronome
      The beat don’t go to eleven.

      The sirens make the dog howl
      News be on at seven.

      Macaque do lunch on time
      Humans wait till eight

      The boss be eaten’ lobster
      Soon as he finds a plate.

      [TODO: Add chorus by Rush Limbaugh]

      Birds are small and eat a Little
      Cats prescribe their fate.

      Trained ‘roaches be hated by everyone
      HR policies come late.

      Fleas bite knees and everything else
      Even being just little.

      But even fleas need anything
      That they can soundly belittle.

      1. craazyboy

        Opps. Almost forgot the copywrite. Can’t let this one get away. It’s too good. hahaha.

        1. Aumua

          You can’t copyright that, cause I wrote it yesterday. See?

          © copyright Aumua.

          mine has the ©, so it’s more copyrighted.

          1. craazyboy

            Thief! Someone alert Homeland Security! I have witnesses!

            Also, I have an edit to make:

            “HR policy comes late.” Better alignment with beat. Rolls off tongue better too.

            Of course this is copywrite too. And copyright, copyrite, etc….

            I gave up trying to make funny ascii characters come out correctly in html posts. I don’t copywrite those. They are in the public domain, if you can find them.

  30. Jeff W

    “The Democratic Party is a Ghost” – Jacobin

    What we want to hear is not…(the Republicans!) and…(the Republicans!) and …(the Republicans!). What we want to hear is that there can be a better world…


    I’ve been saying, for close to a decade, that the Democratic Party is nothing more than the party of downward counterfactualism—i.e., things could be worse with the Republicans. That’s leadership? That’s vision? We’re supposed to want to vote for that? (Apparently, not enough of us did in this past Presidential election or during the Obama administration.) Even setting aside policy (which, presumably, is why we have politicians—to effectuate policy), these people are failures as politicians.

  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In a Beijing ballroom, Kushner family pushes $500,000 ‘investor visa’ to wealthy Chinese WaPo

    The Republicans’ New-Customers-More-Gullible strategy – rich immigrants, who will vote GOP.

    That contrasts with the Democrats’ similar, and very successful, strategy, with the difference that they have imported those likely vote for them.

    That’s how you make up for unhappy existing customers.

  32. ewmayer

    o Re. Everest/Chomolangma, we also had the article about this year’s aspirational-rich-adventurer traffic jam of guided Everest tourists there. The sensible thing to do would be to designate it a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ban the use of supplemental oxygen – that would slash the traffic right quick. As the legendary Reinhold Messner said, when you use supplemental O2 you are not climbing the mountain, you are bringing its summit down to you. But na ga happen – the countries owning pieces of the mountain make far too much money from the sale of personal seat licenses, erm I mean climbing permits. Neoliberal mountaineering for the win!

    o “Pet dogs are the new must-have accessory at the smarter office | Guardian” — Shouldn’t that be filed under Guillotine watch?

    o “BUFFETT: Wells Fargo made 3 huge mistakes during the fake accounts scandal but one ‘dwarfs all the others | Business Insider” — Is one of them not being sufficiently systemically risky to threaten to bring down the global financial system should the government dare to do anything that might impact the firm’s share price? As the GFC taught us, ya gotta have that credible threat of financial nukage in order to get your execs immunized and allow top shareholders like Uncle Warren grift off the ensuing government bailouts.

    o “Trump wants a new Afghan surge. That’s a terrible idea | Politico. Do any of these people read any history?” — “Terrible” or not depends entirely by which metrics one is judging the “success” of the mission. “Buck for Bombs” being the one “these people” use.

    o “Donald Trump hasn’t quite thought through his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican. Your weekly Robert Fisk fix.” — That’s a lot of rings to kiss. I expect DT’s personal trainers have him doing a strenuous regimen of daily lip-ups in order to get him into proper shape for the coming besame-mucho marathon.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      There is really no need to permit any climbing of the big peaks. The Bhutan government banned all high Himalaya mountaineering in the late 1980’s after many deaths. They changed the laws and focused instead on promoting a trekking industry with strict regulations to insure only locals could provide guide services and accommodation. The result was a far better spread of the benefits of tourism to mountain people and far fewer deaths. There are still many very high peaks unclimbed in Bhutan because of this.

    2. craazyboy

      Maybe Trump can get Alec Baldwin to go as his stunt double? Alec certainly has the facial pucker technique down…

      Then if they get Colbert to go in drag as Hillary in a pantsuit, any more gaffs along the trip can be deflected towards the Ds?

      It’s safer that way too. The Pope is the only one that won’t overtly get you killed. Even if he did, you just need to confess to the gaff, then you get to go to Heaven anyway. No torture, waterboarding with the girls, or anything else nasty and uncomfortable, either.

      1. craazyboy

        Sometimes I think of headlines after I post some fake news, but wtf, I can update stuff if I want.

        “Can Only Alec Baldwin Go To Russia? NYT, heartily endorsed by Wapo.”

        More fake sh*t:

        “Wapo Fires Reporter For Missing Important NYT Fake News. Wapo.”

        P.S. I hardly get outta this chair anymore. Maybe I can get the new Wapo reporter job? But I refuse to move to DC. Can’t afford it there. No matter how much red wine I drink on a park bench with my laptop.

  33. UserFriendly

    Third of people considering tactical voting at general election to block Tories’ hard Brexit, poll reveals Independent

    There is no such thing a not voting tactically in first past the post.

    Actually, elections with more than 2 strong candidates demonstrate why IRV is no solution.

  34. ewmayer

    This is re. 5/5 Links to A flaw in the design and The long life of a quick ‘fix’WaPo. The first two parts of a very good multipart high-level history of the Internet’s development.

    I also found the 2 pieces to be quite good and was just about to forward to several tech friends when I saw the author credit at bottom was to Craig Timberg, he of last December’s WaPo fake-news-blacklist infamy. Sorry, but once someone besmirches himself that badly, I refuse to forward any subsequent material, no matter how good it seems.

  35. John k

    Ed Harrison points out that only by promising, not threatening, to walk away will Britain have any hope of a reasonable deal with eu. This means passing a law to leave in two years regardless of negotiations.
    They need to start negotiating trade deals with commonwealth, Asia, Latin America, us, etc, no matter eu rules don’t allow it. New Zealand and oz for dairy and wine, Japan and Korea for cars, etc.
    loss of banking hurts bankers, so what? High paying jobs but not that many. Their loss will not be mourned in the midlands. London house prices will fall… good for locals.
    She will get a mandate, must use it immediately.
    There will be pain on all sides, only when German auto workers and French farmers see a loss of exports will eu find flexibility.

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