Links 5/9/17

Marijuana’s active ingredient resets mice brains to youthful state. Ars Technica. I don’t think I want my brain “reset” to its youthful state. My body, on the other hand…

Owners of dead giant rabbit on United flight seek damages, probe Reuters

Bizarre, Giant Birds Once Ruled the Skies Scientific American

Market’s ‘Fear Gauge’ Nears 1993 Low WSJ

India finding it hard to end love affair with cash AFP

Former Obama EPA Official Now Lobbying for Atlantic Coast Pipeline LittleSis

Halliburton In Colorado: Board Member’s Donation Shows Power Of Oil And Gas Industry International Business Times

Partner Paper with Public School Parents in LA: Out-of-Town Billionaires and Trump Backers Attempt to Hijack Local School Board Election Hedge Clippers


U.S. poised to expand military effort against Taliban in Afghanistan WaPoi

Russia Blog #5: Afghanistan Syndrome Mark Ames, The eXiled

Syria’s Kurds march on to Raqqa and the sea Guardian

Syria: The New Government Plans For Moving East Moon of Alabama

Iraq fears for its future once Isis falls FT

French Election

Emmanuel Macron is the perfect product of Parisian groupthink The Spectator

France Has Its Businessman on Horseback Foreign Policy

Macron’s Win Makes the ECB Happy Handelsblatt Global

France’s New Leader Must Restore Confidence Der Spiegel. Shockingly sycophantic.

French election results: Macron’s victory in charts FT

French Election: Protest Vote for ‘Nobody’ Was Highest In Half a Century NBC. In fact, “‘Neither’ became the second-most popular choice in the runoff.”

French election a swansong for liberal globalism Lowy Interpreter. I remember a story, IIRC from the Battle of the Somme, where a British chateau general actually visited the front, saw the mud, and broke down in tears at what he had ordered his soldiers out into. Similarly, there was a journalistic genre in 2016 where reporters would visit the deindustrialized flyover states and report on the devastation they were surprised to find there (actual reporting, some very good, and quite different from The Moustache of Understanding chatting with the cab driver taking him to a luxury hotel). This article begins with a reporter from Le Figaro working in the same genre. Summarizing: In France, volatility voters did not win out. That does not mean that Macron has a mandate, no matter how much liberal goodthinkers — now busily rebranding themselves as “global” — on this side of the Atlantic, projecting their own precarious situation onto the French political class, may say so.

French Socialist Ex-premier Wants to Join Macron’s Movement Bloomberg

Jakarta’s Christian governor gets two-year sentence for blasphemy AFP

Islamophobia redux in Myanmar Asia Times


Kushner Cos. Pushes Investor Visas to Wealthy Chinese in Skyscraper Pitch WSJ

South Koreans vote for new leader, look set for record turnout Reuters

Our Famously Free Press

America’s growing news deserts CJR

Fox’s Unfamiliar but Powerful Television Rival: Sinclair Dealb%k, NYT

Six Ways the New York Times Could Genuinely Make Its Op-Ed Page More Representative of America The Intercept. Liz Spayd needs help.

New Cold War

How ‘Russiagate’ Got So Much Momentum Truthdig

5 things we learned from Sally Yates’s testimony on what the White House knew about Michael Flynn WaPo. I think “This one neat trick” is better headline clickbait than “5 things.” So where is that one thing?

6 Takeaways From Monday’s Senate Hearing on Russia NYT. Ditto.

Trump Transition

White House postpones meeting to decide on participation in Paris climate pact Reuters

Indian Firms Face Shifting Landscape as Trump Cracks Down on Immigration WSJ

2016 Post Mortem

Donald Trump is turning liberals into conspiracy theorists Chris Cilizza, CNN

Do Democrats Need to Tweet More Like Trump? Politico

Jimmy Carter on Sanders: ‘Can y’all see why I voted for him?’ CNN. My feelings on Carter are mixed, but at least he didn’t run around trading on his Presidency by stuffing his pockets full of Wall Street money; instead, he went to work volunteering to build affordable housing.

Health Care

Charlie Munger says single-payer healthcare is the solution Yahoo News. So now conservatives have permission. At some point, some faction in the political class, no matter how stupid or evil, is going to stumble into supporting single payer out of opportunism or desperation, and, having managed to get the sausage made, will cement their party’s majority status for a generation or two (although not the “never, ever” Clintonite Democrats).

Fact check: The pre-existing conditions debate USA Today

The Affordable Care Act: implications for health-care equity The Lancet. “Although the ACA improved coverage and access—particularly for poorer Americans, women, and minorities—its overall impact was modest in comparison with the gaps present before the law’s implementation.”

Groves of Academe

Uber and conservative activists on campus Crooked Timber (MR).

Yale’s Lawless Administration Jacobin

Laundering Privilege: How the Harvard Crimson Killed My Chapo Trap House Interview Paste

Harvard and its business school acolytes are due a rethink FT

A Journal Article Provoked a Schism in Philosophy. Now the Rifts Are Deepening. The Chronicle

The System To Collect Defaulted Student Loans Is No Longer Functioning Consumerist. Looks ugly.

How The Student Loan Collection System Ground To A Halt Buzzfeed

The Wrong Way to Fix Student Debt NYT

Class Warfare

Inequalities in Life Expectancy Among US Counties, 1980 to 2014: Temporal Trends and Key Drivers JAMA and U.S. life expectancy varies by more than 20 years from county to county WaPo

Gender Wage Gap for Union Members Is Half the Size of Non-Union Workers’ Wage Gap National Women’s Law Center. Economics has no relation to gender. Every liberal knows this. What’s wrong with these people?

Exploitation and Abuse at the Chicken Plant The New Yorker. As I keep saying, open borders cheap labor (which liberals meritocrats approve of, because markets, plus “we treat Maria like one of the family”).

Hourly workers deserve new thinking, better lives: Column USA Today

Voice of the Davos Crowd The American Conservative

Economic Democracy and the Billion-Dollar Co-op The Nation

Greater capacity to detect sound gives autistic people an advantage University College London

Why your next Echo command should be: ‘Disconnect me from the internet’ McClatchy

How the Aztecs predicted the apocalypse The Outline

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Uahsenaa

      Ah, c’mon, everyone knows that people without bank accounts shouldn’t be allowed to pay for anything ever.


      Yes, I have a sentimental attachment to the twenty dollar bill. It has nothing to do with the fact the best Chinese restaurant in town only takes cash…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What about Indian places? No cash?

        “The is a demonetized eatery.”

  1. Fox Blew

    Re: “French…swansong…globalism.” (Particular the comment from Lambert). John Ralston Saul focused on this moment in history in his book Voltaire’s Bastards. The scene at the Passchedaele swamp (which is still remembered by Canadians like Saul) where 250,000 Allies died must have been unimaginably grizzly. Launcelot Kiggel, who was Haig’s chief of staff and formerly commandant of the British war college was one of the few high ranking officers to go to the swamp. Saul: “The shock of actually seeing what had seemed so rational on a map at headquarters was too much for him. He broke into tears and cried. ‘God, God, did we really send men into that?!’

    1. David Carl Grimes

      If the premiere comes from Le Pen’s camp, who will have more power? Macron or the French premiere? Isn’t the President just a figurehead? Someone who attends to ceremonial matters like a US Vice President? Or is it the other way around? I’m not familiar at all with the French system of government.

      1. funemployed

        The fifth republic is weird. The president can either have extraordinary powers, or barely any, depending on whether or not he commands the support of the Assembly (usually, but not always, he does have the support of the Assembly because reasons). I have no idea how the fifth republic has lasted this long, frankly (no pun intended), but the french seem to be able to make it work somehow or another.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          As long as the trash is picked up, elections are pretty good for stability, versus royal blood lines.

          The Fourth Republic only failed because the system couldn’t comprehend Algeria not being part of France as bizarre as it seems. This became a crisis, but if De Gaulle stroked out or was hit by a mortar in 1945, there might not be anyone of standing to have ended the Fourth Republican. French soldiers would still be brutalizing villages in Algeria.

          Versailles is discussing another surge in Afghanistan after all.

      2. vidimi

        the french president has the power to issue “executive orders” more far-reaching than american presidents can.

        1. funemployed

          Except when he doesn’t have any power, which only happens sometimes during cohabitation. French politics are, um, unique.

    2. Synoia

      I once asked my father, if Douglas Haig was a famous general.

      He paused, thought, and said, “I suppose so, he killed as
      many of us as the others.”

      We never again discussed WW 1.

      Great uncle Henry, never came back to England. He went to Central America.

      In every church, and town square in it UK are WW 1 and WW 2 war memorials. When at school, all of my peers had family members killed in WW. 1 and WW 2. 100% as I recall.

      Poppy day was always a sober event, Nov 11th.

      The refrain for the daily church service, no separation of Church and State in the UK was “We shall remember them, repeated twice.

      1. David

        Nitpicking I know, but “we shall remember them” is a quotation from a poem by Lawrence Binyon, and has nothing to do with the Church.

        1. Yasha

          Nevertheless, it is used liturgically by the Church of England. From “An Order of Service for Remembrance Sunday” (See: Times and Seasons, All Saints to Advent):

          ¶ Remembering

          An older person says
          They shall grow not old,
          as we that are left grow old;
          age shall not weary them,
          nor the years condemn.

          A younger person may reply
          At the going down of the sun
          and in the morning,
          we will remember them.

          All affirm
          We will remember them.

          The beginning of the two-minute silence may be signalled.
          Silence is kept.
          The completion of the silence may be signalled.

  2. Marco

    RE Exploitation on the Chicken Farm: Revolting. I would gladly pay to see Case Farms founder Mr Shelton (and his professors at Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management where he graduated) “processed” through his own plant machinery. What is the legality of small chicken coops in most residential back yards? Because either I start eating my own birds or I eat Mr Shelton…Hannibal Lecter style.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Just make that college so expensive no one can afford it.

      That way, no kids and no chicks will be harmed again.

    2. MtnLife

      Laws vary by locality. Eating your own birds is best. You’ll remember/learn what chicken really tastes like. I intensely dislike the times we have harvested but you feel incredibly compelled to use everything and the meat tastes “alive” (can’t describe it any other way), seemingly feeling more nutritious. Stay away from the fast growing meat birds though. It’s a pretty horrific process to watch them become too fat to move, break their legs, or have heart attacks. Either go with good dual use birds like RI/NH Reds, Barred Rocks, or a heritage breed meat bird that grows slower.

      1. Marco

        Thank you! My grandparents raised chickens and rabbits for meat in the back yard during the 1950s and they lived within the Detroit city limits (northwest side near Telegraph) on a tiny lot in a working class neighborhood. I doubt most larger cities would allow that now but I could be wrong.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          There was a trend allowing it in many cities a few years ago. In my city of ~ 40K or so, you are now allowed up to 6 hens (but no roosters) in the backyard as of about ten years ago.

          It was all started by a little girl who wanted to raise her own laying hens for eggs but couldn’t at the time. She started a website and publicized her cause but despite widespread public approval, the city hemmed and hawed for months trying to determine if backyard chickens might bring on the apocalypse (although at the same time they did manage to fast track some zoning changes developers wanted against the will of the public – funny how that works). They finally acquiesced when it was determined that the wealthier suburb next door was now allowing the practice and that town was not swallowed up into a sulfurous abyss.

        2. Yasha

          Seattle allows up to eight chickens (or other domestic fowl) per residential lot. But no roosters. A small number of dairy goats is also allowed.

          We have a neighbor with four ducks, all with names like Scooter, Scylla & Platypus. He has built them a nice coop in the fenced yard of his townhouse and a pond with with constantly recirculating water. In the afternoons they can often be seen walking down the parking strip, eating clover, dandelions, and other good things. There are several households with chickens nearby.

          My impression is that Seattle household poultry are pets first, egg-layers second, and very rarely a source of meat.

      2. a different chris

        I can’t imagine eating my chickens (although I threaten them with it regularly) but I have no doubt the difference in taste is the same as their eggs vs. even the most expensive store-bought ones. Which is to say, beyond belief.

        1. polecat

          In chicken yard, chickens eat you ! **

          **given the opportunity …. ‘;]

          “They’ll eat your eyes for jujubes !”

        2. MtnLife

          I know the feeling as a good number of ours we consider to be pets. However, we do let our flock grow organically which means we inevitably ending up with more roosters than are needed so in the interest of not totally annoying our neighbors with more than 5 roosters, and not feeding them all winter, we occasionally have some dirty work to do come fall. We try to place them if we can but sometimes there’s nowhere to go and anyone else who takes them will just be eating them anyhow. May as well be our meal.

        3. gepay

          The saying “he’s no spring chicken” – comes from the barnyard. Roosters need to be eaten right as they learn to crow – their first attempts are pathetic. otherwise they become as chewy as rubber – so one must stew them for hours or use a pressure cooker. this definitely affects flavor and texture.

    3. a different chris

      What’s amazing is that the “demand for chicken” has increased greatly so they, uh, had to find a cheaper way to produce it? WTF?

      Funny how what Economics teaches doesn’t ever seem to match up to the real world in any way shape or form.

    4. polecat

      Our laying hens (4) live in approx. 220 sq. ft. of yard (about 1/8 of our lot surrounds)… with an additional ‘covered’ space to stay dry in when it rains or when it’s windy, should they choose to do so, plus the coop proper. As for eating said birds … it will only happen when they expire for old age, then into the stock pot they go, assuming they haven’t already been scavenged upon … you know, feathered dinosaurs and all that !

    5. nycTerrierist

      Something to consider for everyone: how about not eating animals?

      (cowers under desk)

      1. MoiAussie

        Animals is such a huge category. Treating all members of it the same way seems quite arbitrary. Would you object to my eating (humanely killed) worms (annelids), snails and clams (molluscs), or cockroaches and moths (insects). How about barnacles and sponges? What if I harvest zooplankton or eat jellyfish – those are animals too.

        Personally, as an omnivore, I avoid eating carnivores and most other omnivores, but don’t have a problem with eating herbivores, provided they are well treated.

        What is it about plants, other than their inability to run away from you, that makes killing and eating them acceptable? Why is ending the life of a plant or a fungus for nourishment less objectionable than ending the life of an animal?

        More importantly, if eating animals is bad, how do I stop my chickens from eating worms?

      2. MirandaC

        I was a vegetarian when I left my hometown–out of solidarity with meat processing plant workers. Those have been disastrously shitty and dangerous jobs for 40 years.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Or at least eat less meat.

        I do believe successful vegetarians (its not like a six month event) tend to have a “come to god” moment from recognizing those sweet animals they saw at a petting zoo can become food, visualizing the food as parts of the animal. People with experience of livestock at an early age dont have this experience and lack the emotional drive to not eat meat, being use to livestock.

        Eating less meat would probably be a better focus as people might actually try it. I only eat three or four servings of meat a week. I am going to a minor league baseball game and they do have a deal on hot dogs so I would be meat free from Saturday at noonish to Tuesday night. I ran five miles last night.

        1. Vatch

          eat less meat.

          Excellent suggestion. If one advises a meat eater to become a vegetarian, one will almost certainly encounter resistance. Many meat eaters consider vegetarians to be fanatics, which may be true in a few cases, but not all. But a person who eats less meat is still a meat eater, and can hardly be considered a fanatic, so such a recommendation would be more acceptable to the meat eater. Most Americans would experience health benefits from increasing the proportion of fruits and vegetables in their diets — less risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, for example. This came up in this weekend’s discussion of aspirin:

      4. MtnLife

        Ever thought about what would happen to the food supply if we didn’t? When used correctly, animals replenish the soil of lost nutrients (no petrofertilizers needed) and control pests (no pesticides). If we didn’t hunt deer/groundhogs/wild hogs (have to kill 7/8 hogs just to keep the population steady)/ground squirrels we wouldn’t have much food left. This will lead to a huge predator increase that will impinge upon human habitation (can’t wait for toddlers to get carried off by packs of coyotes) as they chase the aforementioned herbivores. I mean, not eating meat is a pleasant idea and all but good luck getting Mother Nature to cooperate. Btw, I’m not a hardcore carnivore. I try to eat as little meat as I can and make sure that what I do eat is sustainably and humanely raised (by me if possible). I feel the same way about my vegetables though.

          1. witters

            The thing is, if we all go vegetarian, 7 billion or so of us, then we will need massive fields of grain, pretty much everywhere we can have them. These will be monocultural ecological deserts. It will be genocide.

            1. Vatch

              Billions of people already have diets that are mostly vegetarian. The problem is the one or two billion who eat too much meat. Well, that’s not the only problem — there are too many people, period. But I digress.

              As for monoculture, of course that’s bad, but it’s not a requirement. Different crops can be mixed in checkerboard fashion. It’s not necessary that there be a one large region of maize, another large region of wheat, a third large region of soybeans, etc. Crops can be rotated, too.

      5. different clue

        How about yes eating animals if they eat things people can’t eat directly? Thereby turning human non-food into human food?

        How about yes eating animals if they are grown on pasture or range and therefor are used in a management system which phyto-fixes and bio-sequesters more carbon than it emits?

    1. gepay

      It’s a pretty low hurdle but Obama was better than Trump or Hillary but but stilll a disaster as far as the general well being of the Americans and the world are concerned.

    1. fresno dan

      May 9, 2017 at 8:04 am

      Saw that article and this one below as well that references the Eli Lake article also and adds some details

      McMaster seems to me to be the one that got Trump back in good stead with the blob, so I find it dubious that Trump would actually overtly get rid of McMaster. But if Trump were to do that….I would expect a fusillade of ‘loose cannon’ reporting….

      1. MoiAussie

        Well, Trompe does have past form for firing people. There are probably replacements available who are well-respected enough but not quite so gung-ho to put more boots on the ground everywhere. Or he might choose someone worse, I suppose it depends on who gets in his ear on this. As long as it’s not Petraeus or one of his minions.

        Here’s an odd thought: keep McMaster on a tight leash until the russian BS blows over and Mike Flynn is sufficiently rehabilitated to allow his triumphant return. Trompe and Flynn were apparently pretty tight during the campaign.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Vietghanistan II [WaPo article above]:

    President Trump’s most senior military and foreign policy advisers have proposed a major shift in strategy in Afghanistan that would effectively put the United States back on a war footing with the Taliban.

    The new plan, which still needs the approval of the president, calls for expanding the U.S. military role as part of a broader effort to push an increasingly confident and resurgent Taliban back to the negotiating table, U.S. officials said.

    The plan comes at the end of a sweeping policy review built around the president’s desire to reverse worsening security in Afghanistan and “start winning” again.

    Start winning again” — AH HA HA HA

    Thought it was Charlie Sheen ranting for a sec.

    If you can’t win after sixteen years of trying (or even define what “win” would mean in that alien context), maybe it’s time to down tools and go home.

    They don’t call it the graveyard of empires for nothing. At least this lunatic windmill tilt will forever put to rest the myth that the military is being sent on hopeless missions by clueless, non-veteran politicians. Trump’s ex-military guys are doing this to themselves. Now they will own this bloody quagmire.

    1. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      May 9, 2017 at 8:09 am

      “Thought it was Charlie Sheen ranting for a sec.”
      If ONLY we could have a president with Sheen’s vast knowledge of history, great intellectual curiosity, laser focus, legendary work ethic, unquestioned moral standing, and great probity with women….how much, much better off we would be….

      I had a few posts the other day where I admitted I missed the OFFICIAL end of the Afghanistan war. So I guess dropping the world’s biggest bomb was a police action (which I imagine US police will shortly emulate) so now….we’re back to being at War? Is this a NEW congressional declaration or is this under the general any terrorism anywhere can justify us doing anything….

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe if you control Afghanistan, you control the New Silk Road.

      Sogdians were the major merchants up and down the old road, and Samarkand was a particular important point.

      1. Vatch

        Wasn’t Sogdiana a little north of present day Afghanistan? Maybe some new wars are needed in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. (Sarc — not directed at you, MLTPB)

    3. different clue

      One hopes Afghanistan will finally someday become a graveyard for Pakistan as well, considering Pakistan’s pivotal role in supporting the Taliban in degrading Afghanistan to this point.

      If an empire could turn Afghanistan into not-a-graveyard, it will be China. Because China would only neo-imperialize just enough of Afghanistan to secure China’s own copper-and-other-minerals interests in certain mine-able parts of Afghanistan.

  4. MoiAussie

    (This was a reply to Jim above at 8:09 that somehow ended up at the top level.)

    The Russia Blog #5: Afghanistan Syndrome piece is worth a read on this. I’d missed the earlier WaPo articles cited that have been running the blame the Russians for Arming the Taliban line. Included is the usual WaPo “anonymous spokesman says” crud:

    A senior U.S. military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence on the issue, said the Russians have increased their supply of equipment and small arms to the Taliban over the past 18 months. The official said the Russians have been sending weapons, including medium and heavy machine guns, to the Taliban under the guise that the materiel would be used to fight the Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan. Instead, the official said, the weapons were showing up in some of Afghanistan’s southern provinces, including Helmand and Kandahar — both areas with little Islamic State presence.

    It’s the usual double standard, where the US hands out weapons to anyone who looks vaguely like they might use them against Isis or against Assad, then acts surprised and blameless when their “moderate rebels” sell them to Isis or someone else. But if the Russians supply the Taliban with weapons to use against Isis, that’s unquestionably just a ruse.

    As Ames points out, what the Russians may well be doing, as with Syria, is trying to move towards a political solution that minimises the risk of the spread northwards of conflict. In any case it’s Pakistan, the Saudis and the their usual Gulf buddies who are the main supporters of the Taliban, but the blob can’t blame its “allies” too publicly. The NYT expose late last year of that dirty business is carefully crafted to be as understanding and apologetic for mentioning it as possible.

    The US deserves everything it gets from the Taliban in Afghanistan, considering the CIA created them. Perhaps a resurgent Taliban might motivate minds in Washington to reevaluate their sick relationship with the Saudis and mini-saudis.

  5. cocomaan

    The “Donald Trump is turning liberals into conspiracy theorists” is absolutely the case in my corner of the world. A browsing of social media among people I know is just awful. Most of it includes “articles” from weird sources. Fake news is alive!

    Cillizza left out another gem, the “EPA will be forced to close databanks”, which was really a spokesperson saying that they’d be forced to shut things down in the event that the government wasn’t funded.

    In the meantime, Trump’s actually damaging moves go unreported, like what Haygood and MoiAussie are posting about Afghanistan.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Much like Benghazi, there is plenty of awful stuff to get Trump on, but if they Dems use those, they won’t be able to do them.

      Take immigration. Obama’s 2008 stance didn’t hurt him, but it’s really tough to for Dems who were silent for eight years to hit Trump on a decline in deportations.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Obama much preferred H1B workers and about-to-give birth Chinese female tourists.

        We will see how much the former will be reformed and if the latter will continue to overstay.

    2. MoiAussie

      There is obviously a YUUGE business opportunity on both coasts of the US at the moment for a startup offering group therapy sessions for liberals afflicted by Trump-induced insanity. I’m not sure whether it should be based on baseball bats and Donald dummies, medicinal mary jane, or chanting sessions led by Huma and Debbie clones, but the focus groups can sort all that out.

      It should be multi-multi-level, bigger than Amway and Avon, a real unicorn, with kickbacks for downstream sign-ups, free pink pussy hats for all, and franchised purple premises adorned with stalinesque portraits of HER everywhere. Call it maybe “Resist ‘R’ Us”.

      Craazyman, fill in the details please. I’ll settle for a moderate monthly commission check.

    3. Byron the Light Bulb

      Some might see an existential threat to the USG. Klaxons blare when a former Director of National Intelligence sits before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee and testifies, “Russia’s influence in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election is the high-water mark of their efforts since the nineteen-sixties to disrupt and influence our elections”. HQ is a real Chatty Kathy about those sort of things and is just full of beans.

  6. fresno dan

    Exploitation and Abuse at the Chicken Plant The New Yorker. As I keep saying, open borders ⊂ cheap labor (which liberals meritocrats approve of, because markets, plus “we treat Maria like one of the family”).

    A Guatemalan immigrant, Osiel was just weeks past his seventeenth birthday, too young BY LAW to work in a factory. A year earlier, after gang members shot his mother and tried to kidnap his sisters, he left his home, in the mountainous village of Tectitán, and sought asylum in the United States. He got the job at Case Farms with a driver’s LICENSE that said his name was Francisco Sepulveda, age twenty-eight. The photograph on the I.D. was of his older brother, who looked nothing like him, but nobody asked any questions.
    s usual, he said, there weren’t enough ladders to go around, so he did as a supervisor had shown him: he climbed up the machine, onto the edge of the tank, and reached for the valve. His foot slipped; the machine automatically kicked on. Its paddles grabbed his left leg, pulling and twisting until it snapped at the knee and rotating it a hundred and eighty degrees, so that his toes rested on his pelvis. The machine “literally ripped off his left leg,” medical reports said, leaving it hanging by a frayed ligament and a five-inch flap of skin. Osiel was rushed to Mercy Medical Center, where surgeons amputated his lower leg.
    Case Farms has built its business by recruiting some of the world’s most vulnerable immigrants, who endure harsh and AT TIMES*** illegal conditions that few Americans would put up with. When these workers have fought for higher pay and better conditions, the company has used their immigration status to get rid of vocal workers, avoid paying for injuries, and quash dissent. Thirty years ago, Congress passed an immigration LAW mandating fines and even jail time for employers who hire unauthorized workers, but trivial penalties and weak enforcement have allowed employers to evade responsibility. Under President Obama, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agreed not to investigate workers during labor disputes.
    Besides the outrageous exploitation of immigrant workers…..
    Didn’t we have a “law” passed making our ID’s super duper secure and a giant pain the as* to get at the old DMV after September 11 ??? Seems like our counterfeit proof ID’s fail for the same reason every thing else is all f*cked up – corruption, corruption, and more corruption.
    Laws – enforced ONLY when it doesn’t interfere with profits….

    *** ?AT TIMES? I imagine someone at that plant is always doing something against OSHA law…

    1. Charger01

      Eric S. covered this extensively in Fast Food Nation, that immigrant labor (read this as cheap, intimidated) is required to run the processing plants at full tilt. You need fresh labor every 18-24 months as the turnover is tremendous. Consider this before purchasing Tyson or other factory farmed meat products. Local butchers or better yet 4-H/FFA produced livestock is best in my opinion.

    2. MoiAussie

      Horrifying story. Here’s a ProPublica followup debunking Case Farms’ response to the story, with links to the OSHA investigation of the subcontractor Case was using to try to avoid employer liability.

    3. Huey Long

      RE: OSHA

      Yes, you’re right there is always somebody violating OSHA laws at this plant, and that would be management.

      I highly doubt the lock-out/tag-out procedures, policies, and training are up to snuff at this facility because if they were this gentleman would still have his leg.

      Who’s responsible for the LOTO program and compliance? Management.

    4. Eclair

      I remember reading an LA Times investigative report on chicken processing plants (Purdue, I believe) in the southeast. This was in the 1990’s. The reporter actually met with ‘agents’ whose job it was to recruit people in Mexico and Central American, provide them with transportation and deposit them into servitude in the plants. He described in horrifying detail the conditions the workers endured in the plants; freezing cold for 12 hours a day, mangled fingers, along with the usual no overtime pay and shorted wages.

      The plant managers knew the workers were undocumented; a feature, since unionized workers would never put up with the slave-like conditions. I was horrified and never ate super-market chicken again. (In retrospect, I should have been more ‘pro-active.’ A few weeks ago I met an 80 year old woman who said her one regret in life is that she never joined the Marines and learned to be a long-distance sharp-shooter.)

      But, we now have a whole generation of kids who have grown up on a diet consisting of chicken nuggets … and mac and cheese (and don’t get me started on the automation of dairy farms!!!) So, I guess, everyone is better off./s

  7. oh

    Why your next Echo command should be: Disconnect from the internet.

    Next time someone jokes about your wearing a tin foil hat send him to Dr. Herbert Lin.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      “A group of MIT students decided to test the performance of different tinfoil beanies to see how various designs (the “classical,” “fez” and “centurion”) interacted with commonly used industrial radio applications. They found that all three designs actually amplified these mind control rays radio waves, suggesting that the tinfoil hat meme might be a false-flag operation engineered to trick the wily and suspicious into making it easier to beam messages into their skulls.” []

      Dr. Lin might propose a different solution than a tinfoil hat. (I think Lambert might have linked to this in a past set of NC links.}

  8. MoiAussie

    South Koreans vote for new leader, look set for record turnout

    It will be interesting to see how the election of a left-leaning South Korean president will play out. Moon objects to the US “defensive” THAAD missiles being rush deployed before the elections and favours SK being in the driver’s seat on reducing tensions with the North. Trompe is unhappy that SK don’t want to pay for the amazing new toy being forced on them (“It’s phenomenal. It’s the most incredible equipment you’ve ever seen — shoots missiles right out of the sky”), despite a previous agreement that the US would pay. Trompe was apparently furious when McMaster told the Koreans they needn’t pay.

    He also hates the state of the US trade balance with South Korea. If only he could just get ‘murkans to stop buying all those Samsung and LG phones and TVs and those Hyundais! Fortunately it won’t depend on that, as SK sees the writing on the wall is is trying to up its LNG imports from the US.

    Of course, if Moon proves insufficiently compliant, another colour revolution could be organised.

    1. cocomaan

      Confirmed that we’re in a time warp.

      “I just don’t see the point in crying over a dead rabbit, you know, who never even feared death to begin with.”

        1. cocomaan

          Jimmy Stewart will probably say “Aw shucks”, but Lewis Carroll is going to be pissed! He missed his royalties on the Jefferson Airplane song.

    2. craazyboy

      The Donnie Darko remake is out!

      I can see the plot progressed with American culture, the giant rabbit has been co-opted by greed and neoliberalism, and is currently employed as a United Airlines Stewardess_Martial_Arts_Trained_Security_Officer.

      And is trained to say, “What’s up Doc?”


  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Jimmy Carter on Sanders: ‘Can y’all see why I voted for him?’ CNN. My feelings on Carter are mixed, but at least he didn’t run around trading on his Presidency by stuffing his pockets full of Wall Street money; instead, he went to work volunteering to build affordable housing.

    We need more people to say ‘money isn’t everything.’

    And here is a perfect example for the Museum of Not-Doing: “He could have make those $400,000 speeches, but he didn’t.”

    Often, not doing anything harmful* is not visible. Here, it is. We can all see it, in contrast with Bill and Barry.

    *Not doing something positive, like not going after bankers, when expected, can be quite visible, for those with eyes to see.

  10. Carolinian

    A passage worth quoting from the Paste Magazine/Harvard link.

    To borrow Matt Christman’s spot-on phrase, Harvard and the meritocracy it sits atop exist first and foremost to launder privilege. He’s not wrong. If someone in one of my classes seems particularly slow or unengaged, I just have to google their last name and figure out what hedge fund their dad runs. The illusion of meritocratic success is so central to every student’s self-worth because it’s why we enrolled— “how could I say no to Harvard?”—yet collapses so quickly upon closer examination that the only response is to not talk about it. And by dropping my interview with CTH, The Crimson proved that point by their own logic.

    Kushner guy (Harvard Class of 2003) explained?

    1. barefoot charley

      Do I recall right that Daddykins gave Harvard $5 million in the years before young Kushner got in? Millennials’ education is expensive!

      And the article is informative good fun.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Isn’t the theory on Malia Obama’s one year delay in going to Harvard is that legacies without the “grit” to get in in their own merit have to wait a year?

  11. allan

    Comey’s Testimony on Huma Abedin Forwarding Emails Was Inaccurate [ProPublica]

    FBI director James Comey generated national headlines last week with his dramatic testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, explaining his “incredibly painful” decision to go public about the Hillary Clinton emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

    Perhaps Comey’s most surprising revelation was that Huma Abedin — Weiner’s wife and a top Clinton deputy — had made “a regular practice” of forwarding “hundreds and thousands” of Clinton messages to her husband, “some of which contain classified information.” Comey testified that Abedin had done this so that the disgraced former congressman could print them out for her boss. …

    The New York Post plastered its story on the front page with a photo of an underwear-clad Weiner and the headline: “HARD COPY: Huma sent Weiner classified Hillary emails to print out.” The Daily News went with a similar front-page screamer: “HUMA ERROR: Sent classified emails to sext maniac Weiner.”

    The problem: Much of what Comey said about this was inaccurate.
    Now the FBI is trying to figure out what to do about it.

    FBI officials have privately acknowledged that Comey misstated what Abedin did and what the FBI investigators found. On Monday, the FBI was said to be preparing to correct the record by sending a letter to Congress later this week. But that plan now appears on hold, with the bureau undecided about what to do. …

    Hospital Hero™ and former general counsel of both the largest military contractor
    and of the largest hedge fund in the world. Just calling balls and strikes.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      CORRECTION: the largest hedge fund in the world is the U.S. Federal Reserve…you know, those guys whose job it is to ensure liquidity by providing emergency credit solely to quality borrowers at high rates of interest? And are supposed to remove the punch bowl as the party gets going in order to preserve the value of the product they administer?
      Stagflation, in spades. Where’s our Volcker?

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Kushner Cos. Pushes Investor Visas to Wealthy Chinese in Skyscraper Pitch WSJ

    Time to reform the investor visa program – no passive real estate deals, but something that employs America workers, except those who are self-employed.

    “I’m applying. I intend to employ me and myself to teach Americans how to sit in a room quietly. I have no money. I’m a meditating Chinese proletarian.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not surprising.

        By the way, real estate properties should be taxed progressively.

        Million dollar homes, no matter how small or shabby, should be taxed more.

        Even higher for homes over $10 million.

        The highest for those over $100 million – say, 10% a year.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Kushner’s sleazy scam echoes Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe’s GreenTech, which — it saddens me to report — has fallen on hard times:

        GreenTech Automotive is in trouble.

        The electric car company tied to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently laid off employees at its Tunica County, Miss., location, despite getting generous subsidies.

        “They have laid off 20 people and only have about 50 working,” Lyn Arnold, president of Tunica County’s Chamber of Commerce, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They haven’t yet met their jobs or investment targets. They’re struggling, but they’re still there.”

        Investor visa programs require the creation of PERMAMENT jobs. McAuliffe’s scheme at least makes a nod in that direction, with its few dozen positions. In most countries real estate projects, with their temporary construction jobs, do not qualify.

        Thanks to the absurdly low US threshold of ten (yes 10, I said ten) jobs, Kushner apparently can meet this hurdle by hiring ten doormen and boiler operators at his building.

        Hoovering up money in China by peddling one’s gaunxi [connections] to the US ruling elite is as smarmy as it gets. Trump used to design his buildings to exude “brass, glass and class.” But when it comes to his hired help, “brass good, class bad.

  13. ProNewerDeal

    If Canada-style MedicareForAll is 100, & no healthcare availability whatsoever is 0, how would you estimate

    1 the 2009 pre-ACA system documented in Michael Moore’s Sicko documentary
    2 ACA
    3 The 2017 AHCA/Trumpcare bill the House just passed

    1. a different chris

      35? Some enlightened states may have to now do something as people have gotten a taste of an very undercooked version of something, when done right, would be very good. But those states (CA, NY?, MN?) are certainly big but far from a majority of the population.

    2. Pat

      Adding an immediate 40 point penalty for insurance without healthcare being a norm before during and after ACA

      Pre ACA 20
      ACA. 45
      AHCA 30 to 35 depending on state choices.

      For some reason the national statistics have us with less than 20% of the population being insurance free preACA. I put that right up there with employment and inflation statistics for accuracy.

  14. Enquiring Mind

    Pre-existing conditions exist in humans. Somehow, other countries manage to deal with that fact and even deliver medical care to all their citizens more cheaply. The American healthcare non-debate seems like a giant n-factor model that is manipulated to ignore the obvious structural drivers in our sub-optimal results. Re-framing the issues to incorporate facts may be one way to attempt to come to a plausible, cheaper, more humane solution.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Also not debated – cost containment.

      Are drug companies charging too much?

      Are hospitals bills generated in another universe?

      Are doctors making too much money?

      1. blkwhiskey

        I’m definitely not making too much $$$ (right now, Navient [that bastard child of that silly wench Sallie Mae] gets any income that would laughably be considered discretionary).

        Then again, 75% of my pt panel is on Medicaid or Medicare…so I guess I’m doing it wrong

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Any health product corporation whose price increases exceed core inflation for five years running should be treated like a bankruptcy. Creditors paid off, shares destroyed, and remaining assets put up for bid so someone else can have a go.

        It is obvious the pond can’t afford that lily pad.

  15. pebird

    Munger supporting “single-payer” concerns me. We need to start being a little more specific.

    “Public single-payer”

    1. craazyboy

      The old geezers at BH aren’t long for this world, so I wonder how energetically they would support this foreign concept of “Medicare For All”.

      But I really do believe those two are grounded firmly enough in reality, that they truly realize that MFA is our only workable, “fiscally responsible” choice at this juncture.

      Our Healthcare Industrial Complex will take down the entire country, then world, long, long before our MIC will, regardless how hard our MIC tries to be First!

      Hurting America is a major hot button for both of them and gets their testosterone flowing faster than a hot bath and red wine.

      BH has huge ownership in the insurance fields, but I think they have cleverly skirted around the health insurance field. Then, like I said, the health insurance industry will ultimately kill everything else they have.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        “Hurting America” is a phrase that has absolutely no meaning for this crowd.
        Instead the question is “Can we bezzle?” If “yes” then proceed, but make sure to wrap the bezzle in lots of flags and slogans.

        1. JTFaraday

          Yes, well their position is “it’s bad for for American businesses.” But their position isn’t “it’s bad for American businesses AND go die.”

          OTOH, I have seen plenty of people scared of a market collapse cheering on the AHCA “because tax cut to the rescue,” which is just gross.

  16. LT

    Off topic, but something coming soon: NOlympics LA.
    LA has its bid in to host the 2024 Olympics.
    There’s an article in The Nation about it.

    In addition to more unneeded, surveillance state hell it would bring, the displacement, and taxpayer drain, it is a hit to affordable housing that no Angeleno should stand for.

    This coming fight will fit well under “Class Warfare” and “The Bezzle”

        1. RUKidding

          Allegedly because that country would be the only one to see the financial benefit of the Games. While it might be true that, if the Games were located in one country, eventually that country would reap some financial rewards from it, the converse is true now. I don’t believe any country benefits financially from holding the Games.

          We’re always touted with how there’ll be all this money to be made from it, but it doesn’t pencil out. By the time the citizens pay for all the expense of putting these things on – what the attendant building of special arenas, housing for the contestants, etc, changes to transportation, security, etc – the financial benefits dwindle rapidly.

          I don’t even know why any country would want to put on the Games anymore. It’s a huge rip off boondoggle.

          I’d be happy to see it located in one or maybe two (summer v winter games) countries and be done with it.

          1. jrs

            it’s a neoliberal way of doing infrastructure spending?

            Pity any town that has the games generally as it is a nightmare and not a boon for anyone who lives there having to put up with it. But you do have to admit when the Olympics comes to town, the potholes might get fixed, and the highway expanded. Potholes are not going to get fixed just for the people who actually live there you know!

          2. marym

            Based on minimal knowledge * it’s basically all about the grift – predatory developers, gentrification, looting of the commons, no permanent and few temporary jobs for locals, disruption of local services, a holiday destination for the rich.

            * the Boston process as it unfolded on twitter; Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy by David Zirin; and bits and pieces from time to time about US sports stadium grift in general.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Athens games were terrible financially, and weren’t the modern Olympic games a way for colonial powers to pretend they were brutish empires by connecting themselves to ancient Greece (at least the seemingly civilized parts)?

    1. Jess

      Don’t know about the impact on affordable housing but I do know two things about the L.A. Olympic bid:

      First, L.A. and the surrounding area have all the facilities needed in terms of not only stadiums and arenas but cycling, rowing, aquatics venues. They also have Olympic village accommodations in the form of dorms at USC and UCLA. (In fact, used during the 84 Olympics for just this purpose.)

      Second, the 84 Olympics actually made money, hundreds of millions and, IIRC, the dividends from this annuity still put money back into the community.

      In these respects, L.A. is an outlier among potential Olympic host cities.

      1. jrs

        they’ll have to hide all the homeless people, only there are so many tent cities now it’s not even possible.

        And traffic, oh dear heavens, traffic …

        1. Jess

          Traffic is actually a funny thing. Prior to the 84 Games, everyone was predicting carmageddon. Instead, so many locals decided to go on vacation and get out of town the freeways and major surface streets were wide open. I recall driving south on the 405 to Long Beach in the late afternoon to watch a volleyball match. There was hardly anybody else on the freeway. It was wide open. Got there so fast I couldn’t believe it. And it was that way all over town all during the games. Best freeway driving on my 64 years in L.A.

    1. polecat

      GOOD ! I’m glad he’s being called out on signing that letter …
      Mr. Sanders really needs to ‘re-think’ his policy towards Israel’s apartheid-like actions !

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama’s ability to get away with murder is leading to a real surprise for Democrats as they never faced accountability. They tried to hide behind Hillary.

        They don’t have much experience with being challenged by voters or challenged from anything other than a right wing framing.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hourly workers deserve new thinking, better lives: Column USA Today

    This and higher minimum wagers vs. the real challenge.

    The real challenge: The Fed war on wage inflation. They let rising food prices, rising health care prices, etc slide, except rising wages. At the first amber rising wages warming, they go ‘nucular.’

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Donald Trump is turning liberals into conspiracy theorists Chris Cilizza, CNN

    People turn to conspiracy theories when all logical explanations fail. That, actually, is a good response, quite logical.

    The danger, for the addict, is when there are still logical explanations, but the addict refuses to examine them.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bizarre, Giant Birds Once Ruled the Skies Scientific American

    And one day in the future, there will again be bizarre flying objects ruling the skies.

    Don’t be alarmed though; they are winged billionaires overseeing their global empires.

    1. polecat

      I think the Flying Raccoons will get there first ….

      ‘Reach for the sky’ …. with nimble, dexterous ‘hands’

      as a plus .. Banksters always taste better when ‘caught on the wing’ !!

    2. craazyboy

      They’ll be dressed in black, three piece Armani suits and Edward Green lizard skin and eagle claw knee-high boots. [$$$$$$]

      No feathers, too peacockish and gaudy, but just a single, large, gold ring on the right index talon. They cause the ruin inscription to glow, “Heil, Six Eyes”, and use it’s powers to dominate the serfs below.

      There is no hope. The Hobbits have all been co-opted with KFC franchises.

  20. allan

    Tribal leaders demand apology from Hatch after he said they ‘don’t fully understand’ Bears Ears implications
    [Salt Lake Tribune]

    After Sen. Orrin Hatch said Sunday that American Indians “don’t fully understand” what they would lose if Bears Ears is “made clearly into a monument,” tribal leaders have called his comments offensive, and they demand an apology.

    Willie Grayeyes, chairman of the pro-monument Utah Dine Bikeyah board, said in a written statement Monday that it’s “offensive” to believe “that Native Americans do not have a will of their own, or if they do take a position that their position is influenced by a non-native person.”

    American Indians “understand the special and sacred landscapes at Bears Ears National Monument better than anyone,” Grayeyes said, and “have stewarded these landscapes for thousands of years.” He said American Indians are “very pleased with the language used in the proclamation that protects the things we care about and gives us a voice in our future.” …

    Native Americans are the ultimate back row kids, who don’t need to be man-splained by a Beltway dandy
    who puts on his jeans and denim jacket once a year for a campaign photo-op
    and wouldn’t know the difference between cryptogamic soil and cryptography.

    1. MoiAussie

      Congratulations, for this comment and the one below on the UC audit, you have earned the NC “best compact takedown” award for 2017-05-09. Keep up the good work!

  21. Lee

    Marijuana’s active ingredient resets mice brains to youthful state. Ars Technica. I don’t think I want my brain “reset” to its youthful state. My body, on the other hand…

    Report from a human guinea pig:

    In my youth, I usually did not respond well to Marijuana; it usually made me anxious. I did not use it for decades. Now, at three score and ten, I find low THC marijuana helps with chronic pain and it puts me in what I would describe as a playful mood and it sometimes causes me to be a bit more physically energetic. But it also makes me stupid. I therefore confine myself to lighthearted banter and simple tasks involving no power, sharp edged tools or motor vehicles when I use it and usually confine my usage to evenings. Dosage is highly determinative in my experience and there appears to be considerable variability in individual responses to the drug. I look forward to this drug being more thoroughly researched. It seem it has much to offer but as with any drug there are some risks as well.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I had the same problem with MJ. Made me stoopid, which is an order of magnitude greater than stupid.

      1. craazyboy

        But it wears off, making it an order of magnitude better than chronically stupid :)

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Don’t miss “Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia” on Vice channel, especially the episodes about mushrooms and salvia. He respects and explores the sacred component. Very moving.

    2. craazyboy

      “Dosage is highly determinative in my experience and there appears to be considerable variability in individual responses to the drug.”

      So true. Almost to the point of being a brainless trope statement.

      Good news is, preliminary clinical trials performed by a small group of researchers in an open green grass field with used pizza box bunny seats indicate evidence that there may be statistical correlation between the exact ratio of human DNA and bunny DNA in the test subjects-researchers.

      More research is needed. [we ate the original reports and supporting notes]

      A larger clinical trial is suggested, say 1000 human guinea pigs, 500 female for gender representation [big white fluffy bunny tails and human reinforced corset lab wear for authenticity and ease of identification – bunny race and fur color will be anonymous and statistically randomized for obfuscation purposes. Besides, the legal department liked the idea.] , and it’s OK if the rest are male. Double-blind protocol, of course, but we can’t guarantee no one will peak.

    3. diptherio

      The old Hindu baba I go hang out with in Nepal is insistent that ganja is an “old person’s drug.” Youth best stay away. Anybody with responsibilities, ditto. But once you’re retired and achey, go for it. I’ve also heard good things about infused lotions for arthritis, which doesn’t have the psychological effects of smoking it.

      1. polecat

        Yeah .. I need to try those infused lotions … for my gout !

        oh .. and maybe a couple of those ‘MoDo’ candy bars ….. for good measure ‘;0

    4. ChrisPacific

      I observed the same effect myself once when playing chess with a guy who decided to toke up after the first game. After putting up a pretty good battle in the first, he almost immediately lost the ability to think ahead and predict move sequences. As a result he made almost constant blunders and I thrashed him in the following games. He was actually pretty bummed about it as I don’t think he had smoked enough to stop caring about the outcome.

    5. vidimi

      i second this experience and believe that mj use in my youth made my brain permanently slower but i think it’s also contingent on what strain of mj one uses. in north america, high THC varietals are de rigueur but low THC strains may have less adverse side effects.

  22. Andrew Watts

    RE: U.S. poised to expand military effort against Taliban in Afghanistan

    The dropping of the MOAB was nothing more than a PR stunt that can’t cover up the reality that the Taliban now controls as much territory as it did at the time of the 2001 invasion. In fact the MOAB bombing coincided with a Taliban offensive in Kunduz province that is currently going quite well for them. Given the futility of militarily supporting the client-state regime in Kabul I’d bet Pentagon planners are aiming for what a previous president called “peace with honor” through their renewed intervention.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    French election a swansong for liberal globalism Lowy Interpreter.

    I watched a 1998 PBS documentary on Lenin the other night. Apparently, there was famine in his home province once, and he refused to help, on the basis that things had to get worse before they could get better.

    I wonder, subconsciously, if the French voters did the same to the kind of liberalism preferred by global elites, neoliberalism.

    “But students in neoliberal degree programs, like business administration, etc, or those who graduate to work for neoliberal corporations, it will not be free college tuition. They will have to pay for it retroactively.”

  24. allan

    UC audit reveals president’s office has extravagant taste [SF Chronicle]

    University of California President Janet Napolitano’s office spent more than $4,000 on one employee’s retirement party and thousands more on other going-away, staff-appreciation and holiday parties, perks that are not typically seen in the public sector and that raise questions about lavish spending practices as the university increases tuition and fees on students.

    The new details come after state auditors found $175 million in secret reserves in the office of the president, money that lawmakers said should have been disclosed to the public and the Board of Regents, which oversees the 10-campus university system.

    Financial records obtained by The Chronicle through the state auditor’s office Monday give some insight into spending habits in the UC president’s office, but the auditor’s office warned that the records it received from the university are incomplete. Auditors who examined the finances of Napolitano’s office said they were blocked from accessing many documents they say would have shed light on how some of the $175 million was spent.

    Among the documents the auditor says UC never fully produced were those detailing foreign and out-of-state travel, catering, airfare and entertainment expenses. UC said auditors failed to ask for the right budget codes in making their request.

    Surely we should be celebrating this intersectionality of health industry billing practices
    and higher-ed administration oversight evasion.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Slim here. Napolitano used to be governor of this state.

      On the positive side, she was known as a hard worker. An acquaintance ran her Tucson office and said that Napolitano had to have something to work on at all times. Even when she was being driven around.

      On the negative side, there was her departure from AZ. She campaigned for Obama back in 2008, and we locals figured that she was outta her if he won. He did. And the quid pro quo was naming her as head of Homeland Security. In the immortal words of one of my neighbors, “What does she know about Homeland Security?”

      Answer, which was learned by all Americans: Not much.

      After Napolitano went to DC, Jan Brewer became governor. Gawd, what a disaster she was. She made Jane Dee Hull look competent.

      1. RUKidding

        That’s the rub. I understand that Napolitano was a good Governor of AZ. Then, I think, she got kicked upstairs to Homeland Security, and that was Peter Principle in action. What did she know? And how good of a job did she do? I really can’t say but wasn’t impressed.

        Now, somehow, she’s been given a sinecure at the UC system in CA. The UC and the Cal State university systems are simply RIFE with Grifting, Graft, Corruption and financial wheeling and dealing at the upper levels. All the various higher ups from Provosts to Deans etc are making whacking huge salaries – based on Ye Olde Wall Street notion that “the Best” will work for these systems only if they’re paid huge salaries with lots of giant perks. As if that greed is not enough, then they do all sorts of other shenanigans to line their already bulging pockets.

        WTF was this fund about and why did Napolitano HIDE it?

        Meanwhile, there’s less and less full-time professorships bc they can’t “afford” them, so a huge amount of the “teaching” happens via wage-slave adjuncts. And the students find their fees increasing and increasing. And of course, both universtity systems manically chase after foreign students – to the detriment of CA students – because they can charge them even higher tuition fees.

        It’s a huge racket in CA. A very shameful thing.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Governor is currently one of those jobs where you don’t want to oversee a huge tax increase or services cut and the governor will be hailed as a hero. To be considered bad, you have to be really bad. Even guys like Blago and “Taliban” Bob McDonnell were popular governors from the governing stand point. They both had legal issues, but as long as they weren’t actively destructive, they could pretty much claim credit for fixing potholes and remain popular.

          So much of what states do is now dictated by federal standards and minimum spending arrangements. Any random person off the street with an eighth grade education could serve as governor of a state.

          “As governor, we balanced the budget…” is one of those pet peeves of mine because the states can’t spend U.S. dollars into existence and have to collect. Guess what no one works for Lousiana Loonies and Cali Croners. They can only spend what they have, and their balanced budget provisions have exceptions for bond sales which are more generous than the states will be able to sell on the open market. They amazingly all have balanced budgets, even Vermont which has no balanced budget legal language.

  25. Andrew Watts

    RE: Syria: The New Government Plans For Moving East

    I sincerely doubt that Jordan is going to launch an incursion with the goal of occupying Eastern Syria. They’ve had a hard enough time of securing the border region with IS maintaining positions that are well within artillery range of Jordanian cities. That’s on top of the problem of refugee camps being breeding grounds for jihadist recruits. Previous attempts by the New Syrian Army (NSyA) ended in humiliating failures. Eventually this led to the disbanding of the NSyA. Who were not only infiltrated by IS but caused some of the NSyA fighters to defect to them. Ahh, just another example of moderate rebels in action.

    The forces loyal to the government in Damascus aren’t going to reach Deir Ezzor in days. It’s likely that it’ll take weeks and possibly months to relieve the city. The desert is a perfect place for hit and run tactics that IS excels at. There isn’t any cover for armor/motorized infantry on flat and open terrain. Additionally, IS is probably well fortified in al-Sukhnah and the surrounding hills/mountains. For the SAA/Hezbollah/Russia to maintain their lines of supply/communication they’ll have to be cleared making this campaign longer and harder than anybody anticipates. There’s also the slim possibility that the besieged city in Deir Ezzor isn’t even the primary target and the offensive will swing north and attack Raqqa with SDF moving in from the north.

    Finally, b’s assertion that the US/SDF’s actions is causing IS to re-direct it’s fighters to the western area facing the Damascus aligned forces is wrong. In fact IS pulled some of it’s fighters from Hama/Homs to protect Raqqa and it’s position on the southern bank of the Euphrates River Valley. While the Caliph is calling for jihadists to head to Raqqa. That bit of analysis is governed by confirmation bias.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Less freedom to appear to be more free.

      Now, they know who is talking to who.

      “These two cell phones were in the same location for 30 minutes.”

  26. lyman alpha blob

    RE: America’s growing news deserts

    CJR starts out with this intro (emphasis added):

    As local newspapers have closed across the country, more and more communities are left with no daily local news outlet at all.

    And then this:

    Peter Kadzis was a staffer at the Boston Phoenix for almost 25 years until the paper closed in 2013. Kadzis says social justice, political, and investigative stories took a hit, as did coverage about the city’s minority communities: “What it did is it removed from the scene, effectively, a political voice for their interests.”

    All good – except the Boston Phoenix was a weekly paper. Maybe not the best interviewee for a piece on the demise of daily papers. Boston is still covered by two major print daily papers. Seems like the CJR didn’t do their homework on this one. Sigh.

  27. allan

    AxelRove and ActualRove spotted in the same place at the same time:

    Karl Rove Talks French Election, Trump at IOP
    [Chicago Maroon]

    Institute of Politics Director David Axelrod sat down with Karl Rove, former White House deputy chief of staff for George W. Bush, to discuss international shifts in political ideology and the 2016 presidential election on Monday. …Rove commended Trump’s ability to hear points of view that diverge from his own, but criticized the infighting of the current administration, saying that staff members are eager to leak stories to the press, and that White House culture was entirely different when he worked for the Bush administration.

    “The idea that, in this White House, people are so disloyal to the President and their colleagues that they’re willing to conduct warfare in the pages of the Washington Post and The New York Times…I think this is completely unconstructive.” …

    “Conduct warfare in the pages of the WP and NYT.”
    You mean, Karl, that WH staff should only leak the name of a CIA operative
    if they’re loyal to the President and their colleagues?

    1. craazyboy

      That Rove is a sharp guy. I remember when he gave his reason for teaming with GWB – he said he was so impressed with GWB because GWB was such a good liar!

      1. Carolinian

        Here we thought it was Dubya’s way with affectionate nicknames. He called Rove Turdblossom.

  28. Olga

    This day (and on this site) should not pass without all of us acknowledging the 72nd anniversary of the end of WWII. We still – and for a long time to come – live with the consequences of that horrendous war. As I thought about those events, it dawned on me just how much WWII was actually a war against civilians. While we know of those who were transported to c. camps, what is less known is that many ordinary people were deliberately killed right in their communities. From conversations with people who lived through the war, it is clear that – as soon as German soldiers entered a town – orders were given brutally to kill many members of the civilian population. A war is bad enough, but the vicious targeting of civilians was unprecedented. I don’t know what could explain it.
    On Sun., I watched 60 Minutes (it’s been years since regular watching) because they had a segment on the last living prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials – Ben Ferencz. Towards the end of the interview, Lesley Stahl expresses her horror about the Germans who ordered or did the killing of civilians. She asked Ben Ferencz what turned these (otherwise normal) men into “savage beasts.” His response was quite interesting: they were patriotic human beings who – in their minds – did their best for their homeland. When she pressed him to label such men as savage, he asked: do you think the man who dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima was savage? A good question…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Something I asked myself the other day – were there Russian Germans or Polish Germans at that time, and what was life like for them during that time?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And now, another question: What did German soldiers do to German Soviet citizens? A lot of Germans were invited by Catherine to settle in Russia.

        1. Olga

          I can tell you exactly (at least from my family’s history): many German-Russians were sent to Central Asia (kids, women, old folk), where they spent the war and were not allowed to leave until a decree in 1957; men were sent to coal mines and factories to work. Their lives were hard, as they were viewed with great suspicion (plus, there was a war – with all that that brings, such as hunger). One distant relative was about 15-16 at the time; she said they were drafted into the “trud-army” (i.e., worker army). It must be remembered that labour was very much needed to produce stuff needed to carry out the war. It was tough – but one can see the necessity. Another story is from a person in Ukraine – he was not sent to Central Asia (i.e., Kazachs., Kirkizst.), but came under assault by German soldiers – no one trusted them. I think some were sent to Germany to work (akin to slave labour). Before the war, these Russian Germans had their own autonomous republic along the Volga river – well, that went away shortly after H. invaded. Families were broken apart, and many died.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            German Russians sent to Germany for slave labor?

            Nationality trumped racial purity in the Third Reich?

      2. olga

        I can tell you exactly (at least from my family’s history): many German-Russians were sent to Central Asia (kids, women, old folk), where they spent the war and were not allowed to leave until a decree in 1957; men were sent to coal mines and factories to work. Their lives were hard, as they were viewed with great suspicion (plus, there was a war – with all that that brings, such as hunger). One distant relative was about 15-16 at the time; she said they were drafted into the “trud-army” (i.e., worker army). It must be remembered that labour was very much needed to produce stuff needed to carry out the war. It was tough – but one can see the necessity. Another story is from a person in Ukraine – he was not sent to Central Asia (i.e., Kazachs., Kirkizst.), but came under assault by German soldiers – no one trusted them. I think some were sent to Germany to work (akin to slave labour). Before the war, these Russian Germans had their own autonomous republic along the Volga river – well, that went away shortly after H. invaded. Families were broken apart, and many died.

    2. Jess

      Actually, this is the anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe. The bloodletting would continue for another four months in the Pacific. Lots of good Allied men and boys lost in that period. Many on Okinawa and still others by British and Aussie forces in the India-Burma theater.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Don’t you love that people refer to warspace as “theatres?” So antiseptically descriptive…

  29. Katharine

    I can’t help wondering whether those brilliant politicians and Yale Law grads, Bill and Hillary, have any advice for President Salovey.

  30. Plenue

    Regarding ‘Russiagate’ and the Yates testimony; this is all incredibly weaksauce. Shockingly so, in fact. The most it shows is that the Trump administration is confused and amateurish. Well that’s not exactly a revelation. The core of the issue remains that Flynn talked to the Russian ambassador, something that is entirely legal and routine. There’s literally no story there. Russiagate is an insane liberal combination of Benghazi and Birtherism. Beyond shameful. Assuming anyone is still writing history 50 years from now, history is not going to be kind to any advocate for this nonsense.

    Also, on that note, Colbert’s recent outburst was particularly embarrassing.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      During the primary, Sherrod Brown, a supposedly pro-union guy, crisscrossed his home state and swore that Hillary had impeccable character and supported a long list of union issues. The Podesta emails revealed Brown was one of the people Hillary continuously promised to be her running mate well after she had selected Kaine before the campaign even started.

      On a practical level, Brown has always been a reliable vote, but his best “efforts” never result in legislation passing. He never holds other Democrats accountable and could always be relied on to campaign for a heinous Democrat.

      In 2016, he swore by Hillary. The Podesta emails reveal he had an offer on the table. If Sherrod Brown fighting for himself or the people of Ohio?

      We have to look at “OMG Russia” through this lens. How will people who voted for Hillary based on the word of Sherrod Brown feel about him if they realize Hillary bought his support? Given the party destruction in recent years, Brown will have a tough reelection on his hands.if he runs again.

  31. different clue

    I read that “article dividing world of philosophy” article and I was reading along . . . and I came to this quote . . . “egregious levels of liberal white ignorance and discursive transmisogynistic violence.”

    Is it any wonder that so many normal people loathe and despise “the left” when certain Leff Wing Innalekshuls keep expressing thoughts like what is behind that quote? They keep wetting themselves so often that they smell like a New York subway tunnel. Why would nice decent people want anything to do with anything like that?

    Leff wing Innalekshuls like whatever professor wrote that quote are a part of the problem the left has with reaching normal people . . . whether the left wants to admit it or not.

    1. JTFaraday

      Personally, I think the problem is not so much the ideas behind the comment as the heightened rhetoric in which it is expressed.

      Which is why, when it comes to race in America, let’s say, I think we should just teach history and ditch the heightened rhetoric (racism this and that, white privilege, etc). The problem with that, as I once mentioned in reference to postmodern theory, is that teaching history properly takes a great deal of time and our job training obsessed culture ain’t got time for that. So liberals try to make up for it with over generalization and a sense of urgency that, accompanied by a lack of supporting evidence, starts to resemble religious incantation.

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