Links 7/30/2017

Spotted hyenas are smart, social and ruled by females Treehugger

On World Tiger Day, five lovers of the big cat describe their most thrilling brush with the animal A day late, but better that than never.

Honolulu bans ‘phone zombies’ from texting while crossing the street MarketWatch

Yesterday, I got into an argument with Chelsea Clinton. On Twitter. About Hannah Arendt. Corey Robin

How California Can Utilize Surplus Marijuana Other Than Smoking Weed International Business Times

Canada Aims for Tech Talent, Emboldened by Immigration Worries in U.S. WSj

Police State Watch

34 criminal cases tossed after body cam footage shows cop planting drugs Ars Technica


China’s quest to become a space science superpower Nature

486 face punishment for links to China’s fake research paper scandal SCMP

When in doubt, nuke China Asia Times

Trump ‘disappointed’ with China after North Korea missile test BBC

War Drums

Countdown To War On Venezuela Moon of Alabama

Strange Fruit: Venezuela has an Opposition that Nobody Should Support Counterpunch (Micael)

Which Way Out of the Venezuelan Crisis? Jacobin

Judge balks at FBI’s 17-year timeline for FOIA request Politico

Politicians’ social media pages can be 1st Amendment forums, judge says Ars Technica

Hackers break into voting machines in minutes at hacking competition The Hill

Refugee Watch

EU accused of ‘wilfully letting refugees drown’ as NGOs face having rescues suspended in the Mediterranean Independent

Top German Automakers Sued in U.S. Over Two-Decade ‘Cartel’ Bloomberg

A Divine, and Divisive, Institution Handelsblatt. Bundesbank turns 60.

The Haze Is Back Vice

Imperial Collapse Watch

Measuring up US infrastructure against other countries The Conversation

How thousands of Britons are at risk from ‘world’s biggest online scam’ Independent


An Irish Sea border would damage British-Irish relations Spectator

Border chaos will hit hard after Brexit, says report Guardian

Too fat to stand and their flesh rots while they’re alive: The REAL reason America’s ‘Frankenchickens’ have to be washed with chlorine as US industrial farming practices are exposed ahead of possible post-Brexit trade deal Daily Mail

Mick Jagger has written not one, but two hideous songs about Brexit New Statesman

Theresa May’s disastrous immigration targets pushed the UK into an uncertain Brexit – things are set to get much worse Independent.

British government divided on free movement after Brexit Reuters

Playboy, bon vivant and the last emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai chafed at his role as France’s puppet SCMP

Class Warfare

New York property speculators have figured out how to evict everyone BoingBoing

Facebook worker living in garage to Zuckerberg: challenges are right outside your door Guardian

Monopoly was invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism Aeon


On the Syrian frontline, the battle against Isis is reaching its crescendo Independent. Robert Fisk.

The energy factor in the GCC crisis Al Jazeera


The Need for Examination of the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill The Wire

Does Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk ignore the role of the Indian army? BBC

Health Care

Dems pivot to offering ObamaCare improvements The Hill

If Americans Love Moms, Why Do We Let Them Die? NYT

The Conservative Case for Universal Healthcare American Conservative

As Trump steams, Senate Republicans consider new repeal effort Politico

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Apple Removes Apps From China Store That Help Internet Users Evade Censorship NYT

Class Warfare

‘I wonder if it’s worth getting up’: life in Corby, the debt capital of Britain Guardian

These five countries are conduits for the world’s biggest tax havens The Conversation

Voices From the Sweltering Inside Jacobin

New Cold War

The Kremlin is done betting on Trump and planning how to strike back against U.S. sanctions WaPo

Russia to Seek 700 U.S. Embassy Job Cuts Over Sanctions Bloomberg

Democrats in Disarray

What’s The Matter With Democrats? Thomas Frank Explains International Business Times. From earlier in the wee, although I just spotted this.. Worth a read– and apologies if I’ve reposted something linked to earlier by Yves or Lambert.

Trump Transition


The Only Person With Sense In the Trump Administration Ian Welsh

Trump threatens insurer payments — and health care enjoyed by Congress Stat

Tillerson Mulls Closing War Crimes Office American Conservative

The Memo: GOP in shock over White House drama The Hill

Inside the end of the Priebus era Politico

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. MoiAussie

    The Mick Jagger link points to a review of a Royal Shakespeare Company production. The Jagger article is here.

  2. Yves Smith

    I have to point out, and I should have yesterday, that the NYRB article quoted in Boing Boing about rent controlled and stabilized apartments has some serious inaccuracies and therefore does tenants a disservice

    For instance, it says landlords can refuse to cash tenant checks and therefore claim tenants never paid the rent and evict them. If you send your check certified mail you have proof it was delivered and the landlord refused to process the payment. Timely delivery payment of rent is sufficient to be under compliance under NY rent regs. Similarly, a tenant has a right to have a roommate in NYC irrespective of any clauses that a landlord may put in a lease that claim otherwise. Those provisions are not enforceable.

    Many tenants do not know their rights. This article by giving bad information does damage to them and helps predatory landlords.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      I’m glad to see this article highlighted again. Despite Yves’ objections, I think it’s an important look into the problems of housing in hot markets.

      I didn’t see the section on roommates or rent payments as particularly inaccurate — only as examples of ways that landlords harrass tenants into leaving, primarily because tenants “don’t believe in the courts because they’re used to it working against them…That’s what landlords count on”. Certainly a landlord knows that no court will entertain an ‘unauthorized roommate’ case, but they can (illegally) threaten the tenants who don’t know their rights, as you and the article point out.

      I agree that the article could have been much stronger in pointing out that these discriminations are unenforceable, but the writers were trying to give an overview of the way the gentrification game is played, as well as the other distortions in the housing market, rather than providing a primer on tenant protections. (The numbers quoted on the 421-a laws and developer tax breaks are amazing, and I think there’s a financial time bomb that’s coming down the road.)

      In the late 1980s in Park Slope, Brooklyn, as its 2nd wave of gentrification was taking off, friends went through 5 years of the ‘landlord refused to cash rent checks’ problem. They (and other tenants) did send checks via certified mail and kept good records, but it was an additional expense ($3-5 per check), and time drain to go to the post office each month (many of these neighborhoods are underserved with postal facilities, not everybody can give up a lunch break, and often limited post office hours don’t help).

      1. Yves Smith

        The article did NOT point out that roommates are ever and always legal in NYC. Nor did it point out that there are specialized housing courts, or that tenants have strong legal protections but are cowed into not asserting them. The article also exaggerated the magnitude of typical rent increases in stabilized apartments (I live in one and the increases are the same city-wide) and also gave the impression that the shrinkage in rent stabilized units was due largely to successful landlord efforts to get their hands on those apartments. In fact, people die, move to other cities, get divorced, etc. My building had a fair number of rent stabilized units when I moved in and now has very few because the tenants in them died or moved to nursing homes. The article mentions the loss of rent stabilized units on the Upper West Side, insinuating it was due to mean landlords. When I moved to the Upper West Side in the early 1980s, it was full of notably old women. I suspect their die-off was a big, if not the big, factor in the loss. In the first co-op I owned, I had a hold-over renter in the unit next to mine, in her late 70s, who would fit that profile.

        I know a guy who personally contributed to destabilization because he lived in a stabilized unit and told the landlord he’d take another stabilized apartment if it came up and was cheaper than his. Landlords can raise rents even on stabilized units upon a tenant vacancy by 20% if they make enough capital improvements. So they could destabilize his former apt or get it closer to destabilization that way.

        By the time he was done, he was renting (I am not making this up) 5000 square feet at some insanely low price by having gotten several bargain basement units and combining them. This was in the 60s between 3rd and 2nd Ave.

        The article mentioned only vacancy destabilization, not income destabilization.

        It also didn’t mention another big way that units become “destabilized” which is income related. If your rent is over $2000 a month (and many if not most are now above that level) AND the tenants in that unit have a total income of over $250,000 for two years in a row, the landlord can destabilize the unit. The city and landlord send a form that the tenant sends to New York State for the state to say yes or no as to whether the income was above the reported level. Some tenants lose their apartments due to non-compliance too (if you don’t file tax returns, or just fail to send in the forms).

        The point is that it gave the impression that tenants are powerless and have no recourse, which is unhelpful. The big point, that the vacancy destabilization threshold is destructive, is correct, but I don’t believe in overegging the pudding. The raw facts, on how landlords bully low income tenants, are bad enough.

        1. Seth A Miller

          High income deregulation has always been mainly theater, to assist the neoliberal agenda of turning rent regulation from a property right into a means tested entitlement. The statistics show that only a fraction of deregulations ever happened on this basis, and most of those were on default. (E.g., Shapiro v. DHCR, as I recall, who was one day late with his form). I once represented a set of three roommates, two with very low incomes, one a social worker, at the time when the regulations set the threshold at 175K: they, not Bianca Jagger or Faye Dunaway, were always the real face of deregulation.

          There are always going to be eye popping stories of tenants who have amazing deals, particularly if they are rent controlled and the landlord doesn’t navigate all the hoops needed to get the rent increased (7.5% per year since 1971, but the paperwork is a serious burden). They aren’t the real story, either statistically or structurally. The most common scenario is that tenants are pressured to move, and after 1997 cannot move as of right to a new rent stabilized apartment, and so nearly every vacancy involves deregulation, usually fraudulent deregulation, with the tenant faced with having no certainty about the outcome of any challenge to the landlord’s version of the facts.

          Yes, there were other problems with the article (as I mentioned to Lambert when I sent it in): it doesn’t really give a sense of the history, of going from a city that was universally rent regulated, including commercial rent control of every single storefront and office, to an almost totally free market for newcomers, and gets the specifics of the history wrong. But it gives a good feel for the issue: the huge payoff for deregulating units, the harassment, the banks and wall street underwriting speculation on the eviction of working class tenants. The focus often is on existing tenants, who as you point out, have significant rights, but Albany and the real estate industry have always known that the real structural change comes from what happens to apartments when they become vacant.

          1. Yves Smith

            I’m not disagreeing re high income destabilzation save that I have read about stories of people who lost their apartments due to non-compliance.

            And even though the stories of people with high incomes in rent stabilized or controlled apartments are flogged way out of proportion to their existence in the wild, I do know several people personally who fall in that category or alternatively, by common sense standards ought not to get a break but do. For instance, there’s a woman in my building with a 2BR stabilized apt who spent $1 million renovating it after a kitchen fire. This is not building urban legend: she’s taken me on a tour of her apartment to show me what she did. So she may not have $250,000 in income but she clearly has a nice balance sheet.

            One thing that I believe helped at the margin was the Bloomberg 311 service. My impression is that line has facilitated the city cracking down pronto on landlords who don’t heat apartments/buildings enough in the winter. That was a favorite way of getting rid of tenants: just freeze them out in the winter.

            But the real story is intimidation of low income tenants who don’t know their rights. And that landlord harassment isn’t against the law when it ought to be. People who are paying the rent and in compliance with lease should have the right to live peaceably in the space.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Recipients can refuse registered or certified mail, especially if they have to sign for it ( we ran into that when trying to return a key). We took that one to court (in Oregon, not NY), and could see the judge make up her mind and lose interest – just before the landlady admitted that our son had paid the rent – hence should not have been evicted. So I can see why tenants might not have much faith in courts; in fact, it’s the same class solidarity issue Thomas Frank talks about in relation to politics.

      And lawyers are expensive.

      1. Yves Smith

        Oregon is not NYC. This article was about NYC rent regs. I suggest you pay closer attention.

        New York City has a specialized housing court and also a set of regulations that apply to rent stabilized and controlled apartments. And more generally, NYC and San Francisco have the most tenant-friendly rent regs in the US. Sending your rent in = paying your rent according to the regs. Sending it certified is proof you did indeed send your rental payment.

        People regularly plead their own cases. Judges have seen landlords pull every trick in the book and are not landlord friendly. There are also tenant advocates who will plead on behalf of tenant, although I’m not sure what it takes to get one involved.

        Having said that, some tenants would find it hard to take time off to make a court appearance if they couldn’t get a tenant advocate.

        Merely sending your rent in certified mail tells the landlord you are on to their game and are prepared to mount a legal defense. Some will back off.

        A lawyer who has won important tenant cases in NYC separately wrote Lambert pointing out other errors in the article.

    3. Seth A Miller

      Knowing your rights goes a long way toward winning the battle, and I agree that the article should have been clearer about the reasons why some of the tactics cited are illegal. But this is New York. Eviction cases that are bogus, that depend on lies by landlords and ignorance by tenants work in hundreds of thousands of instances.

      The article doesn’t mention the degree to which we have lost what used to be a principal source for tenants of good information: with the advent of buildings that are partly unregulated, due to co-op conversion in the ’80s and then outright deregulation in 1997, and due to the loss of a common ethos of organizing, it is now rare to find a well-organized building with a functioning tenants’ association. Buildings that are mostly free-market or mostly owner-occupied cannot be organized to the degree needed to be effective, and this means that tenants are on their own in getting information.

    4. Peter L.

      “For instance, it says landlords can refuse to cash tenant checks and therefore claim tenants never paid the rent and evict them. If you send your check certified mail you have proof it was delivered and the landlord refused to process the payment. Timely delivery payment of rent is sufficient to be under compliance under NY rent regs.”

      This is true: my wife and I experienced this three times about ten years ago. Our landlord accepted rent checks, didn’t cash them, and then claimed to housing court that we didn’t pay rent. It was a little bit humiliating when we were first subjected to the “mail and nail.” A sign was posted on our door, for all our neighbors to see, saying that we had not paid rent, and that we had to answer a petition to evict because of this alleged non-payment.

      We had proof of trying to pay. The landlord’s lawyer agreed to a stipulation admitting that we tried to pay. Yet, the landlord then did this twice more, even though we now sent our checks requiring a record that they were received. I never understood the tactic, since it seems bound to fail. Nonetheless, the first time it happened we were scared and humiliated having to go to housing court. The second and third attempts to evict us felt routine, even though they were frustrating and time consuming.

      I don’t feel that NYRB article claims that landlords can do this legally, nor implies that it works. Greenberg only says, “One of the tactics owners employ is to hold rent checks without cashing them and then sue tenants for nonpayment.” I suppose it would have been better if Greenberg stated clearly that this tactic has no legal basis.

      I believe the same thing happened to others in our building.

      1. Yves Smith

        While I agree the NYRB article did not say this was legal, the subtext clearly was that tenants were powerless to fight against abusive landlords and they never indicated once that particular methods employed by landlords were illegal. Nor did they mention that NYC has a special housing court with judges that have seen landlord abuses over and over and so are not pro-landlord, which is presumably the case in the overwhelming majority of courts in the US.

        Even though this sentence is in the middle of a paragraph, it appears to be the thesis statement for the last 2/3 of the piece. It certainly is consistent with the framing:

        Landlords have found enough loopholes in tenant protection laws to make widespread displacement a viable financial strategy.

        Yet what the article talks about is NOT “loopholes” when the sentence above says the reverse: it is all legal if abusive.

        What the article discusses is either the law working as anticipated even if it reduces the amount of stabilized housing (it never mentions the scenario of landlords getting vacant units via routine vacancies like death, divorce, job loss, people moving out of the area and making capital investments, which allow you to increase the rental price by 20% to over the $2700 vacancy destabilization level) along with a significant, and likely predominant amount of flat out illegal conduct by landlords. I do not see once the article saying that the strategies depicted are illegal. This does a huge disservice to tenants AND prospective reformers.

        The article also misses a key bit of the backstory: the city used to have SROs as in single resident occupancy hotels. These were the bottom rung before homelessness, and they were an important, if very shabby, backstop for people who had some minimal income and has lost their apartment. I forget the precise mechanism, but they started disappearing in the 1980s. That’s another element of the political/policy support for gentrification that increased homelessness.

        1. aletheia33

          in view of the importance of your points, as you say, to those abused by their landlords and those who are trying to help them, i hope someone will write a letter to NYRB about these misleading oversights in the article.

          i will add this is typical of the sloppiness one sometimes sees in NYRB journalism. sometimes right on the nose, but other times woefully blindered.

  3. fresno dan

    What’s The Matter With Democrats? Thomas Frank Explains International Business Times

    Sirota: This gets to a question about “expertise.” If, as you argue, very smart, well-educated folks are making bad decisions, what is the alternative?

    Frank: There is another option that I eventually figured out while I was writing this book because the first thing I did was to say, “Well, look, government by expert has, is failing us, you know?” I’d dig around in the past. Has it ever worked? The first thing you come across is the book you mentioned, “The Best and the Brightest,” when the exact same thing happened during Vietnam, where you have these experts from, and again, they’re mostly from Harvard, but from various other Ivy League institutions. It’s the same problem. They won’t listen to voices from outside their discipline, and they show this extraordinary deference to one another, to the people at the top.
    Sirota: Which area of “expertise” do you think these problems are most prevalent in?

    Frank: The worst offender is economics. This is a discipline…I went to the University of Chicago. I have firsthand experience with these people, and they get things wrong all the time. They predict things that never happen. Things happen that they had could never have foreseen. They’re just constantly, constantly getting things wrong, and they’re protected. They’re shielded from any kind of accountability by the nature of the professional discipline.

    When you decide that this is how you’re going to define expertise, this is how you’re going to define excellence, is by going to the top people in a discipline like that — oh my God, I could predict even before you start what a disaster it’s going to be. There’s many other disciplines that are the same way. Political science. This is an endemic problem.

    The other problem, I talked about how they have this deference for each other at the top. They have zero solidarity for people below them, zero.

    Here’s what I realized. Basically, the unofficial philosophy of the Democratic Party is meritocracy, as defined by education. Everybody gets what they deserve, and what they deserve is defined by how they did in school. This is pernicious doctrine in all sorts of ways, but one of the most pernicious ways is that there is no solidarity in a system like that between the people at the top and the people lower down in the hierarchy. This is killer.
    “If, as you argue, very smart, well-educated folks are making bad decisions, what is the alternative?”
    They are not making bad decisions – FOR THEMSELVES – mere coincidence everybody’s income but theirs goes down for the last 40 years???. They can care less if the pie grows or doesn’t grow – they want to gobble it all up.
    Of course they are gonna lie and pretend they can’t understand what is happening and they are working oh so hard to fix it….

    1. DanB

      As much as I value Frank’s work, I find him still hoping the Dem. Party is redeemable, that is, can be reformed from within. The arrant fact is that the Dems did not want to help those outside their professional class and the 1% this professional class serves. Also, it is noteworthy that the concept of corruption does not come up in this interview.

      1. Quanka

        while I understand and agree with the skepticism posted here about the possibility of reforming the democratic party, I don’t think the full debate has been had about reform vs. third party. Building a party from the ground up is challenging bordering up against impossible. Clearly, although they may be wealthy, the current Democratic leadership is pretty inept and I am not convinced they cannot be overthrown. Thats not redeeming the DNC, its throwing out the crooks.

        1. Mike

          Quanka – Do not despair. “While Rome was not built in a day, neither was its destruction” – I’ve heard it all before. The problem with constantly harping about how hard it is to change things is that while you are stopping to comment upon the difficulty, work has to be done to prepare the change that will come with or without you. Sudden movement by people who have almost reached the top of their patience is what creates change, and it happens to coalesce suddenly when you are trying not to see it. We are truly confronted by the choice of progress or … barbarism. Everyday people are choosing today, and smart people will find a way to communicate with them (not AT them, as the DP does).

        2. Oregoncharles

          @ Quanka: Sorry to sound like a cracked record, but the groundwork has been done and that party exists – not quite in every state, but in enough. It’s difficult, but no, it isn’t impossible.

          Again: the real barrier is assumptions – that it’s “impossible,” that we have a “2-party system,” that voting against Democrats is voting for Republicans. TINA: There Is No Alternative. Reactionary propaganda then, reactionary propaganda now.

          Those assumptions are perfect examples of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

          And yes, the party remains quite small, with little immediate political impact, precisely because of those assumptions. The attempt to “overthrow…the crooks” has been going on for at least 30 years (the lack of memory here is astonishing), and all it’s done is to drive the Dems yet further to the Right, to the point where Obama was well to the right of Bush on most issues, and further solidify the duopoly.

          “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then if you don’t succeed, don’t be a fool: give up.”

          And on the bright side: the last election, grim as it was, was a clear sign that the major parties are losing their grip and there’s a populist revolt going on – however deluded. In fact, it was more effective in the Republican party than the Democrats. It won’t be the handful of political junkies commenting here that make the difference; it will be millions of people who just won’t take it anymore. Let’s hope they can pull of a political “revolution,” because the real thing is just too nasty.

        3. kyria

          Somehow the Democrats aren’t inept when protecting their turf.


          “Several discrepancies arose during the convention and the vote. Protesters with the National Nurses United were told to “shut the f**k up” by California Democratic Party Chair John Burton, who stepped down from his position this year, and DNC Chair Tom Perez’s convention speech was met with boos. During the chair election, several in attendance alleged that delegate credentials were not properly authenticated and the vote itself lacked the transparency necessary to ensure a fair and free election.”

        4. tongorad

          Ours is an age in which there is no shortage of smarties telling us what can’t be done.

        5. DanB

          I did not say redeem the DNC, I commented on the Dem Party. Yes, a gigantic effort seems needed to unseat the Dem Party. But the nature of social instability suggests that what seems obdurate morphs into silly putty.

    2. Cat Burglar

      Frank takes a second to criticize credentialed expertise by comparing Obama’s experts with the experts that visited the Vietnam war upon the nation, and finds them pretty similar. But he finds them less competent or effective than FDR’s Brain Trust. You’ve got to admit — even if you don’t like what he did — that somebody like Floyd Dominy of the Bureau of Reclamation, who came up through the New Deal, was certainly competent.

      It looks like Frank is making the case that credentialism functions to hamper the circulation of talents — it sure does block personal opportunity.

      1. Yves Smith

        Roosevelt’s “Brain Trust” included a lot of people who would be considered wild-eyed lunatics and/or fringe thinkers. They were not men with shiny credentials who all came from very similar backgrounds.

    3. Chauncey Gardiner

      Brought to mind Jesse Eisnger’s new book “The Chickenshit Club”, the honorable source of that term – former FBI Director James Comey in addressing US prosecutors in Manhattan in 2002 – and to whom that label should be attached.

      1. allan

        Excellent Matt Stoller Twitter rant today on Dems going through the revolving door
        to and from big law firms.
        It’s not just lack of criminal prosecution – it’s lack of anti-trust and other enforcement actions.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Yes, Christine Varney certainly proved to be a big disappointment in her role as U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division. And Stoller names other names and takes no prisoners.

  4. JTMcPhee

    So hyena bands are ruled by females. Which happen to have large “fake penises” hanging from their undersides. And maybe that “appendage” ain’t the best adaptation? And Ruh-Roh, occasionally the males get uppity: , which includes this snippet– our data are consistent with hypotheses suggesting that male aggression toward females in this species either serves to inform females about male fitness or represents sexual harassment.

    Is this post offered as support for the notion that females do a better job of ruling, or as an astringent for feminist sensibilities, or just the general interest one ought to pursue in learning about the complex universe into which we were born? Or what?

    1. Eclair

      Not sure about hyena bands, JT, but, as we drove across Nebraska yesterday, I listened to an interesting story on baboon bands. In the context of, is war just ‘human nature?’ Or, baboon nature.

      Apparently baboon bands are notoriously violent, with the male baboons attacking each other routinely. With the females being pretty much subservient and keeping their heads down to survive.

      One band, because they ate garbage at a site frequented by tourists, contracted a disease (TB, I believe, although that this part was related during a potty stop at a rest area), which killed off most of the aggressive males.

      The researcher returned a decade (?) later and the band had transformed into a peaceful unit, with the females playing a more dominant role. They accepted new males into the band, groomed them (actually, not metaphorically) and apparently “taught” them to be more laid back and gentle.

      Also at rest areas, were large, powerful pickup trucks, big engines, big wheels, lots of torque, shiny (i.e., they were not farm trucks). Driven by tough-looking males. Lots of camo and tattoos. And testosterone.

      Not that guys in three piece suits with handmade Italian shoes can’t be masters of violence. As well as some women. But violence as a way of life would seem to be a learned thing.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Well gee, I guess it’s all simple, all that’s required is to kill off most human males and let the gentle females that survive teach the new cohorts to eschew the violence that for some reason typifies most human social groups, all through our history. WW I killed off a big chunk of the males of Europe, but then WW II comes along… I guess not enough males got killed to reach that threshold of incipient pacifism, generosity of spirit and comity… I wonder how that kinder gentler band is faring these days?

        1. Lee

          When food is scarce, spotted hyenas of both sexes practice facultative siblicide.

          I have spent some time observing wolf behavior in Yellowstone. The most aggressive wolf I know of was an alpha female, #40 of the Druid Peak pack. She routinely lead raids slaughtering the cubs of other packs in their dens. She was not unique in this regard. However, she was so aggressive toward other pack members that two of her own female relatives, a sister and a cousin, finally turned on her and killed her.

          Among dogs, most males will tolerate aggression from a female without responding in kind. Responsible breeders will destroy males that do not display this restraint.

          As for humans, first there is sexual dimorphism. Men are physically better adapted to inflict simple physical violence than women and so are assigned the jobs of protecting the group. Also, women are much more essential to species reproduction than men. One man, twenty women can produce 20 offspring. Not so many other way around. Men are more expendable and therefore get the higher risk jobs if one does not count the risks of childbirth. As culture and technology render these physical differences irrelevant, I’m sure that female homicidality will achieve expression equal to that of men.

        2. sid_finster

          Someone wants to see the world led by the Margaret Thatchers, the Golda Meiers and the HRCs.

          Because those are the people who are attracted to power and will do anything to get it, regardless whether male or female.

      2. craazyboy

        Monkey Dude says, emphatically, that Gorillas are a-holes and all belong in the Army. Marines too. Seals would be a problem, of course. Plus, they work for bananas.

        He says some are gay too, and actually want to join the military!

        1. craazyboy

          Monkey Dude says human males can knockup 20 human females. But Gorillas can’t.

          The girls scream really, really loudly!

    2. Oregoncharles

      The other example are bonobos, our nearest relatives. Matriarchal (clue: females often get their way by offering sex) and peaceful, unlike chimpanzees. And sexuality similar to ours (otherwise unique in the animal kingdom). Again, the females have enormous genitals – women can be glad they don’t have to lug that around. If you’re dominant, it pays to advertise.

      Aside from scientific interest, I think the point of the article is that it takes all sorts and there are more options than we usually realize.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Afterthought: There are human societies that are matrilineal and run, at least in part, by women. Mostly in Southeast Asia, certain pueblos in the American Southwest. They’re scarce, and so are bonobos compared to chimpanzees – or people.

        OTOH, we now have the material conditions for a non-patriarchal society – Lee sketched the reasons for it. Incidentally, or not, bigger, stronger males reflect combat mating, at least in the past. And people sometimes slip into it – remember the bar scene in “Good Will Hunting”? A very human example of combat mating: fighting over a female.

  5. fresno dan

    The con here, of course, is that the little baby Terminators we’re breeding could start talking about us behind our backs. They could plot to overthrow us in terms we wouldn’t be able to translate. Maliciously trained AIs – say, those incentivized to destabilize an electric grid – could independently communicate with vulnerable systems in an indecipherable language which would make it very difficult for human hackers to understand what happened and troubleshoot.

    &ju340000 Ioozsxc dksi 4 didid ememem *& ))) tyuiii uuuuree3

    I was only able to translate the first portion of the first sentence:
    Take one fresh crazyboy and/or polecat, peel and quarter, and bake for an hour in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for every 4 pounds….

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      This snippet of the FB AI-created language made more sense to me:

      “I can i i everything else,” Bob said.
      “Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to,” Alice responded.

      Sounds like a typical domestic dispute, I hope they work it out.

  6. Marco

    RE FaceBorg / Zuckerberg cafeteria wage slaves living in a garage. Thought experiment: Aliens from outer space impose strict socialist economy planet-wide. How do you requisition (and distribute) massive personal wealth locked in company stock.

    1. a different chris

      >massive personal wealth locked in company stock.

      Isn’t that an interesting concept, though? If it’s “locked” then is it wealth at all? Can’t buy bread with it.

      I always thought if I was Bill Gates or even 1/100 of that, I would make sure the inheritance tax was completely gutted, then get younger rich people to simply loan me money against my will (the actual will, not my “will”). So when they got the money back nobody would have paid any taxes on it.

      1. John Wright

        One should look how this wealth is actually purposed.

        Last century I worked for Hewlett-Packard when “Bill and Dave” were still active in the company.

        Employees knew that Hewlett and Packard had a lot of wealth captive in HP stock, but employees could see that this represented the buildings, facilities and intellectual property that represented the Hewlett-Packard company that was providing the employees with decent jobs.

        I don’t remember employees begrudging the wealth of the founders, especially as they and their families lived fairly modestly..

        There was one minor gripe I heard from one employee, he related how there had been an open house for the public and he saw someone at the back of the shop using a oxy-acetylene torch.

        He started to walk back to tell him to put it away.

        It was Hewlett, welding a broken fireplace grate.

        The employee told me “If I had his money I wouldn’t be in here on a Saturday welding a broken fireplace grate”.

    2. HBE

      You nationalize it. Wealth is a measure of power and control, which at the basest level really amounts a claim on resources. Take that resource from the self serving oligarch and treat at as the national (global) utility it is.

      Co-ops are great, but the only way for them to compete in the vast majority of industries is if we had some massive global scale monopoly busting, which in a generation or two would easily revert back to monopoly (which is always what happens). They are temporary solutions, band aids concealing the more permanent fix.

      It is abundantly clear consolidated private power produces extremely poor results (struggle, suffering, despair) for 90% of the population. Why let such a failure continue, or give it the chance to re-emerge?

      1. craazyboy

        All you need to do is engineer a crash and a short, sharp, depression. Then the Guv can show up for bankruptcy court and scoop up the remaining real assets, after zeroing out stockholders, bond holders, bank debt, last minute debtor in financing emergency loans from banks, etc…

        The jobs and real assets run unmolested thru this whole scenario. Just put on a hiring ban and you emerge from recession, prolly straight into inflation! (Party!)

        The Fed does what they do best, bring cash to the party!

        1. bronco

          Except that the government is always corrupt and the process would be twisted to help certain individuals at the expense of others.

          When the apartheid regime got tossed in south africa they were not replaced by angels.

          The revolutionaries in France did not stop cutting peoples heads off after a week or two.

          No one can be trusted with power over others

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

            If true, then does monetary power corrupt monetarily?

            “Another free F-35? No? How about another free bailout for our man in Cuba, or our friend in the Middle East? There is more where it came from. Just press a button, ex nihilo, voila.”

  7. timbers

    The markets are sick. We have to help them get healthy:

    Health Care

    Dems pivot to offering ObamaCare improvements The Hill

    “…almost 90 Democrats endorsed four specific reforms –– based on the proposals from the New Democrats and Blue Dogs –– designed to prop up ObamaCare’s struggling individual markets.”

    “Toward that end, roughly 40 House members from both parties have gathered behind closed doors in recent weeks in search of agreement on ACA reforms, particularly those focused on the individual markets.”

    1. Fiery Hunt

      All they seek is “higher shared responsibility ” in the form of higher penalties for those who see thru the Bezzle of private insurance in the individual markets and refuse to be part of it.

      Screw the neoliberal Democrats.

  8. Carolinian

    Thomas Frank:

    Then I say, “Well, has there ever been a time when it worked?” This is where it gets interesting because, of course, there is. Government by expert has worked. The Roosevelt administration. They call them The Brain Trust. It worked very well. They pulled us out of the Depression. They won World War II. These guys were awesome. I start digging around. Who were these guys? Here is the fascinating thing. They were brilliant, but they came from all different walks of life. They weren’t all these highly credentialed academic authorities. That’s not what they were. This is the thing that you finally realize. There are highly intelligent people all over America, from all sorts of backgrounds, in all sorts of different industries. The best minds in banking aren’t necessarily at Goldman Sachs…

    What I discovered also is there is a lot of pathologies of professionalism. We had been talking about one of them, which is that they show this deference to one another at the top. Another is that they don’t listen to voices from outside their discipline. You have the problem of orthodoxy.

    Frank seems to be saying that in its transition from makers and builders to knowledge workers the US has lost its great strength–a certain genius for the practical. Or, as someone recently said about our politics, it’s no longer about what you know and experience but about who you are. The classless society has developed a class system, and to its great peril. We may have to become poor again if we ever expect to become great again. The credentialed experts could bring that about soon enough.

    1. MoiAussie

      There are experts, and there are those with credentials. The former are those with a deep understanding of some domain and all the necessary abilities to perform at top level in that domain. The latter have often demonstrated only one thing – an ability to acquire credentials. Unless the credentialling process actually evaluates expertise and sets a high standard, do not ever expect those with credentials to be experts.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think a crucial element in the growth of credentialism has been the loss of permanent jobs, with the principle that people learn over time within a structure and so have diverse skillsets to use in a crisis, and what I would term MBAism – the notion that you can train ‘managers’ to oversee any major project, with the implicit side effect of gradually downgrading technical skills. Anything vaguely complex now is off-shored to a specialist company, with a very narrow set of skills. I think there has been a real loss of ‘deep’ knowledge and skills right across the public and private sectors in much of the developed world.

        1. montanamaven

          I like the term MBAism. Masters of Baloney Arts I like to call it. “We don’t need no stinking badges” is another way of putting it.

          1. Yves Smith

            DC is run by attorneys, not MBAs, but you see the same sort of arrogance and not even considering that they don’t know what they don’t know.

        2. ambrit

          Even in your “specialist companies” the race to the bottom continues. This ties in with short-termism and ‘cost containment’ as guiding forces. In construction now, an “Anglo,” of any colour or creed, is the ‘official’ head of project while cheaper workers from anywhere and everywhere do the actual work, on the cheap. Several of these “Figurehead Managers” I have spoken to recently all remarked on the deterioration of the quality of the finished products they were involved with. Add MBAs to this mix and you multiply the evils inherent in such arrangements.
          The rebuilding of Americas’ infrastructure, if it happens at all, will require a rebuilding of the American skilled workforce. Such an endeavour takes years to do properly.

          1. joe defiant

            the degradation of quality of finished products has more to due with the profit motive than the workers skill. you think mexicans can’t lay brick and put up plaster? its much cheaper to use pre fab and sheetrock but the quality is much worse…

      2. Allegorio

        Credentialism is the new authoritarianism. The credentialed appeal to their authority as opposed to convincing through reason and explanation. It’s all about jargon and orthodoxy. It is likewise corruption, the level of cheating and favoritism at the credentialing institutions is truly appalling. Again it is the old canard about it’s not what you know, but who you know, the professional classes reinforcing each others credibility, not by reason or facts, but by orthodoxy and professional privilege. Like I said it is the new authoritarianism.

    2. David

      Have to agree. One of the most worrying features over the last generation or so has been the deskilling of organizations, such that all you are left with is managers who basically know nothing except how to tick boxes and shout for outsourced skills when they are needed again. The old idea of the wise, experienced, manager who’s seen and done it all has basically gone for ever.
      You can see this in the Brexit fiasco. The ability to prepare for and conduct complex international negotiations is not something you can outsource, or pick up in an online distance-learning course. It requires a whole set of complementary skills, and most of all it requires a lot of experience, knowledge and judgement. If the UK government can’t find people with those qualities any more, well, it’s their own bloody fault.

      1. Synoia

        They have those people.

        How well are they managed?

        The article 50 trigger should be pulled AFTER you have both a complete plan and a dseign redy to implement.

        Assuming: Plan->Design->Staged execution->Test-> pilot->roll out.

        Instead May deliver Ready-Fire-Aim a well know management recipe, and renowned for producing chaos.

        The six phases of projects applies, and punishment of the innocent includes most of the inhabitants of the UK.

        One the other hand, where was the effort buy the EU to address and resolve the sentiment behind Brexit? Which example did people observe, the Kind and Gentle handing of Greece, Italy Spain Portugal or Ireland or determined measures to ensure that EU wide banking include depositor protection and banking laws applied equally to all (including all German Banks)?

        Including perhaps democratic accountability for the EU commission?

        Neither side is the innocent party here. One side appears venal, the other appears stupid.

        1. Yves Smith

          Huh? UKIP and the Tories, amplified by press barons, lied about the EU to the public. You seem not to understand that.

          The reason that the UK did as well as it did despite Thatherism (austerity, de-industrialization, rising income inequality) was rising integration with the EU and the boost of access to a bigger market offsetting the drag of her policies. Several studies confirm this.

          I am not saying the EU is terrific but the EU is way less problematic than the Eurozone. And more relevant to this discussion, it did the UK a lot of good. But the UK seems to be stuck in imperial fantasies and can’t stand to be part of a multi-lateral group, even one where it had a big voice.

          The UK also had cut itself an exceptionally good deal with the EU, yet would constantly whinge and behave badly in Brussels, and demonize the EU at home. And they’s also act as if they were racially superior to Europeans. So they also have no good will with EU officials.

          The UK has hollowed out the Foreign Office. It has only about 40% of the employees it had years ago. So it is thin on raw manpower as well as on skills.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Thanks for emphasising this, Yves. One of the frustrating things I’ve found about discussing Brexit, even with otherwise very well informed people, is just how lacking in perspective and knowledge many are about the subtleties of European structures and power politics. Its bad enough that senior British politicians and commentators don’t understand (or don’t want to understand) the difference between the ECHR and the ECJ (despite demonising both), but plenty of progressive minded people don’t seem to understand the difference between the EU, the Eurozone, and various other European structures.

            It all seems to be one big blob in peoples minds, a lightning rod for everything that people find wrong about multinational structures. As you say, the EU is by no means perfect, but it is a very popular institution around Europe, particularly in smaller and more peripheral countries (in particular among younger people, something Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t quite grasped), usually for very good reasons. The Euroskeptic grumbling you hear from various countries at various times are almost always based on local, specific grievances, rather than an objection to the overall concept, so have never really threatened the EU. Its only really in the UK (and to a lesser extent in Denmark) that opposition to the EU in principle is deep-rooted.

            I think a key problem is that while the Germans and French long understood that they strengthened their country in the long run by losing some decision making power to the EU (and by extension giving more power to the smaller countries), the UK always saw its alliance with the US as being ultimately more important. So the UK has tended to see it as an alliance of opportunity, let by economic considerations, and never a political project.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Aren’t most of those people off working for the EU? And now they have a conflict of interest. Britain needs them back, and the EU can’t really trust them anymore.

        Trouble is, they may not want to go back to Britain now they’ve “seen Paree.” Or even Brussels.

    3. ChrisPacific

      The phrase “Thomas Frank explains” is guaranteed to set my teeth on edge. That said, he does have some useful things to say in this one.

    4. ewmayer

      So when the Dems – or more broadly the gatekeepers in most disciplines which have perfected the art of never being held to account for their inanities – say “expert”, “experienced” and “skilled” they mean “credentialed”. I.e. they blather about “meritocracy” but mean precisely the opposite.

      BTW, my one major objection to Frank’s Listen, Liberal was that he pretty much bought into the whole Russia! Russia! hysteria, which at the time was being used by the warmongers via-a-vis Ukraine and Syria, but of course post-election has been repurposed and vastly amplified by the “HRC – the most expert, experienced, skilled presidential candidate in history – is inevitable” crowd. Another shining example of the art of never being held to account.

      1. Richard

        I loved Frank’s writing for The Baffler in the 90’s, and the quality of writing he was able to attract as editor. He excelled in his critique of business culture, setting the lofty, empty rherotic and triumphalism of that era’s elite class against the reality of its attack on workers, extended from the Reagan era with the full connivence of democrats.
        Since then, he’s upped his profile somewhat, and has taken on the Democratic Party as a sort of unwilling client, giving them all sorts of advice. I’ve always thought this a fool’s errand, but who knows, maybe someone is listening now.

  9. kurtismayfield

    RE: 34 criminal cases tossed after body cam footage caught cops planting drugs.

    Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said that, in all, 123 cases are under review in the wake of a scandal in which one officer has been suspended and two others put on administrative duty. Body cam footage revealed nearly two weeks ago showed one of the officers planting drugs when he didn’t realize his body cam was recording

    Not one mention of prosecuting the officers in the entire article. Everyone knows that cops do this, and they get away with just a slap on the wrist. The procecuters of this country better wake up and realize that by not pressing charges against LEO’s, CEO’s, and high political figures for breaking the law they are supporting lawlessness.

    1. ambrit

      The excellent documentary “The Thin Blue Line” by Morris comes to mind. The discussions about prosecutors are priceless.
      Herzogs’ “Into the Abyss” shows the other end of the social dimension of the “criminal justice” system.

      1. kurtismayfield

        Suspended and administrative leave.. so they still have their jobs.

        Imagine if a Teacher, Nurse, or firefighter was caught doing the same thing. Their careers would be over.

    2. Randall Stephens

      Respectfully, Kurtis, many of them appear to think that support is part of their job.

    3. Allegorio

      The deference to the police is all part of making the world safe for billionaires. They are still the proverbial slave patrols. The police are never held accountable because their service is needed to protect the rich and the powerful. By not being held accountable they can identify with their masters who are also never held accountable and are there when they are needed to shut down protests, as in Occupy Wall Street etc.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Countdown To War On Venezuela Moon of Alabama

    Strange Fruit: Venezuela has an Opposition that Nobody Should Support Counterpunch (Micael)

    Which Way Out of the Venezuelan Crisis? Jacobin

    Maduro has made a lot of mistakes, but I think his handling of the security issues has been very good. I think its clear that the policy is to let the protests burn themselves out, and not give a pretext for a ramping up of violence, or an overt intervention by the US. It seems that for all the hardships in Venezuela (much exacerbated, it must be said, by the governments economic ineptitude), the majority of the population are still pretty much behind the government.

    I would not put it past either the CIA or internal elements in Venezuela to create a big false flag ‘incident’ with lots of fatalities in order to precipitate some form of intervention (direct or indirect, covert or overt). The pressure on the Venezuelan government is intense, and they only have to make one mistake and they will be the new Honduras. Ironically, the one thing that may save them is Trump miscalculating over Iran, resulting in a big rise in oil prices and the US becoming even more dependent on Venezuelan crude.

    1. MoiAussie

      No doubt the CIA is exploring options, and some kind of false flag or “accident” may be among them.

      China is a significant investor in Venezuela, perhaps an ally. Venezuela owes China some $60B and is behind on its repayment in oil. reported in May China Urges Respect for Venezuela’s Sovereignty.

      “We sincerely hope and believe that the people of Venezuela can handle their internal affairs properly, maintain national stability, along with economic and social development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a press conference.

      Stability in Venezuela is in China’s interest. They may also know a lot about what the US is planning.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think though that the difference between Venezuela, and the Ukraine/Syria/Iran/North Korea is that Venezuela is in the US’s ‘back yard’ in military and geopolitical terms. I don’t think there is much the Chinese could do to stop the US intervening, unlike with those other countries.

        1. mpalomar

          I don’t know if there’s much the Chinese can do yet I wonder how the perception of the US and its backyard is playing in Latin America these days. Though a counter r/evolution is indeed occurring as the tentacles of the imperial vampire squid insinuate its once loosened grip within the political process of Venezuela and the rest of Latin America, recent history saw the election of Chavez, Morales, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, the expulsion of US ambassadors and support for the ongoing rule of the Castros in Cuba.

          Chile experienced its own 9/11 at the hands of the US in 1973 and along with Mexico “in 2003, at the United Nations, neither…were supportive when the U.S. sought a new U.N. resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq.” In 2005 a regional summit was held in Mar del Plata, Argentina; MERCOSUR blocked the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) which the US was pushing.

          High oil prices and demand for natural resources enabled the independent course Brazil along with Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela were charting. The crash of 2008 further alienated the non aligned economies of Latin America from the economic vision the US was pushing. The ongoing global recession reduced demand for natural resources and weakened these movements but how far the US can walk it back to the good old Monroe Doctrine days is mooted. The failure of the coup against Chavez and the ugly badly handled coup in Honduras has further underlined the nature of US’ desired heavy handed relations in the hemisphere.

      2. ambrit

        Heaven forfend that some billionaires yacht be sunk in Maracaibo bay. “Remember the Xanadu!” will call the right thinking of America to arms.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Yeah, this ain’t 2002, the Chavistas have seen the full CIA/NED regime change playbook and have fended off challenge after challenge. The population is tired of the opposition trying to make the country ungovernable. They know there’s no plan other than “restoration” of the pre-Chavez political order.

      Honduras was a very different situation, Zelaya didn’t have enough time (or will?) to build organizations among the poor. Venezuelans know exactly who and what they are dealing with.

    3. John k

      Majority still behind…
      Gov has refused to allow a referendum on Maduro to go forward in spite of opposition apparently meeting requirements for same.. and no doubt gov would have many advantages, including sole access to press, among others, in any vote. Same as in last election.

      Seems to indicate gov does not believe your assumption of maj support… and they have a better idea than anybody else.

      I do agree they have made sufficient Econ blunders to deserve being outed, including
      Two ex rares, fav for insiders, so massive corruption and cap flight,
      Sacking experienced oil workers,
      Not keeping agreements with oil co’s with needed exp for their very heavy oils,
      Pol appointments based on loyalty, not exp.

    4. Allegorio

      There are already false flags, most of the fatalities are the protesters murdering Chavistas, in some cases burning them alive. When the Main Scream Media announces the number of fatalities during the protests this is never made clear and it is implied that they have been killed by the government.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          I think they’re clearly positioning her for a political run– but for exactly what, I remain unsure. Surely just having Clinton DNA doesn’t mean anyone would think she’s remotely qualified for the top job… yet.

    1. skippy

      In reading I found Chelsea Clinton had a waft of banality, the family has a track record of actions which does not square with the public perception management. It is in the reconciliation of these two and the focus by the family on the PPM that generates this odor.

      This is exampled by evoking Hannah Arendt, over a limited scope event, too the level and scope of what Arendt spoke of, for point scoring or burnishing her image [brand]. The fact that an – individual – used naked violence in act of rage is somehow comported to the cool calculating and detached actions which effect multitudes that Arendt spoke of is….. well… that laugh in the room issued by Hillary at Gaddafi demise.

      disheveled…. massive categorical error…

  11. PlutoniumKun

    An Irish Sea border would damage British-Irish relations Spectator

    Border chaos will hit hard after Brexit, says report Guardian

    Too fat to stand and their flesh rots while they’re alive: The REAL reason America’s ‘Frankenchickens’ have to be washed with chlorine as US industrial farming practices are exposed ahead of possible post-Brexit trade deal Daily Mail

    Mick Jagger has written not one, but two hideous songs about Brexit New Statesman

    Theresa May’s disastrous immigration targets pushed the UK into an uncertain Brexit – things are set to get much worse Independent.

    British government divided on free movement after Brexit Reuters

    I think a key takeaway from the past few weeks is that the UK government is absolutely nowhere near having a view on what it wants from Brexit, and the clock is ticking away. You can’t negotiate anything if you don’t know what it is you want from the negotiations. The only thing that the government seems to be focusing on is a belated realisation that they will need more time, and so the talk about a 3 year phasing in period. But I don’t see any enthusiasm in Europe for agreeing to this. In many ways, it would be as complicated to agree this phasing in as it would to agree a deal for a soft Brexit.

    Its been reported in Ireland that the new PM, Leo Varadkar, has expressed strong opposition to what he sees as UK attempts to come up with half-assed proposals for keeping the Irish border open. Varadkar is right wing and reflexively pro-British (as is his party), so if he has decided that there is no reasonable fudge, its reasonable to assume that there is an almost universal belief in Europe that the UK is a lost cause, and a hard Brexit, and hard border, is the only likely outcome. If they have decided this, then their only focus will be on minimising the impact on Europe, the UK’s views will be irrelevant.

    1. GF

      To get a fuller understanding of the food, pharma and medical takeover of the food industry, watch “What the Health” on Netflix then read the book. You will be amazed at how corporations have taken over to feed the triumvirate.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Canada Aims for Tech Talent, Emboldened by Immigration Worries in U.S. WSj

    Will that be Tech Talent from the US?

    Or is that another declaration that these border-less tech-profiteers “will not hire Americans…never, ever. They never, ever quit?”

  13. Carolinian

    Re Corey Robin, Chelsea and “the banality of evil.” If Chelsea wanted to find a better example of Arendt’s phrase she might look a little closer–within her own family.

    “We came, we saw, he died.”

      1. JohnnyGL

        Yes, correct, a home run for Carolinian.

        Corey Robin still did us a service by exposing ruling class morons for being….well, morons. How many college grads look at her glittering resume and think, “she MUST be smart by virtue of that sterling resume”. For the professional classes among us, they’ve got to come to grips with the idea that, yes, family connections brought ALL of that to her. They’ve got to come to grips with the idea that there isn’t a SHRED of the meritocracy that they so dearly want to believe in. The ruling classes really are intellectually bankrupt. They don’t even understand the crap that normal college sophomores learn.

        1. Off The Street

          Forgive me if you have already seen this article about Clever Sillies. I am old and do not remember where I stumbled across the story. It may have been on NC, in the comments or somewhere similar. In any event, Chelsea could have a new career as a poster child for the Clever Sillies movement.

        2. montanamaven

          You are right that we have to keep pulling the curtain back and exposing the middling minds that run the government and who appear on the TV as experts for what they are. And so Robin deserves credit for using Twitter. Because we then also see how Twitter is used to rally the troops behind Chelsea rather than for an intelligent conversation. Blogs like this are the best places for a discussion. After listening to 5 minutes of the Sunday talk shows, I run back to NC for smart conversation.

    1. MoiAussie

      The banality idea is about great evils committed or condoned by ordinary people, those who aren’t psychopaths. I’m not sure it properly applies in HRC’s case.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hillary was an architect of the policy in Syria. Obama had his infamous vote to make the decision. Eichmann was a bureacrat, carrying out orders of others who expressed revulsion at his actions and found a way to live with them.

      Eichmann is a particularly heinous example, but his brand of evil was a more intense version of say the teacher in Germany in 1938 who recognized the promotion to principle they were gunning for would require a few extra appearances at the Hitler Youth rally.

      A drive to say balancing the budget over the social costs of what that balancing act means is more representative of the banality of evil. If the Clintons weren’t such obvious grifters and really bought their triangulation act, triangulation as a philosophy would be a better example of the Clinton’s banality of evil.

      Seemingly small everyday actions where the actors can maintain distance from the victims represent the banality of evil. Arrendt lost friends over the book. When a person questions a politicians decision or statement such as Hillary’s boast and is shouted down for not understanding politics (Obama has to look tough for his 2012 effort then he can be good) is closer to the banality of evil. Process takes precedence over results and goals.

      Hillary Clinton is actively evil.

      1. Carolinian

        Hillary would probably say she was just doing her job in Libya and Syria and if thousands or hundreds of thousands had to die then that’s the way the cookie crumbles. After all one of her mentors and associates was Madeleine yes-all-the-dead-babies-were-worth-it Albright. Hillary probably sees herself as a functionary rather than a visionary which is why she was always talking about her supposed competence.

        Maybe this isn’t exactly what Arendt meant but a lot closer than Chelsea’s version.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Hillary might say this, but her ability to shape the process is radically different than Eichmann’s. Obama granted her authority. Eichmann would be closer to the staffers who then had to ship the guns. There are many little people who are supplying the Saudis with weapons right now. They go into to work they punch a clock and make sure the shipment will get to Riyadh on time. Lesser Eichmann’s but Eichmann’s none the less. The evil of people like Hillary is dependent on participation of people who don’t (this is from a different book I believe) don’t make an active decision to be good or evil. Hillary and her ilk could be stopped. Its the difference between Powell’s “I was a good soldier” routine and General Riper of the Millenium Challenge who I suspect leaked the original report. Riper (if it was him or whoever) knew he had a moral obligation to act not to follow the men in authority. Eichmann himself was disturbed by the results of his actions and instead of reacting throwing himself into work, finding ways to encode what he was doing.

          I don’t think Chelsea had a clue what “banality of evil” means. Its just a cool sounding phrase for her other people find meaning in. When Corey Robin pointed out Chelsea didn’t seem to know the phrase, Chelsea doubled down and declared her public ivy degree gave her authority over a random twitter user (who, Chelsea seemingly unaware, is PHD from Yale.) I would contend Chelsea’s willful ignorance is closer to the banality of evil.

          The last part of the book where Arendt coins the prhase is a critique of how the Israelis kidnapped (as their was no legal arrangement made) and held a show trial for Eichmann. She lost a lot of friends.

          “And just as you supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations – as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world – we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.”

    3. aletheia33

      sorry, sentiment understandable, but “we came, we saw, he died” is not what arendt meant by the phrase–though i’m sure we could readily find a clintonian phrase more apropos to her meaning.

      i found robin’s explication, in his 2 posts on this issue, clarifying as to what arendt actually said and meant. as someone who has devoted a chunk of his life’s work to studying hers, he is qualified to correct and explain it to the rest of us. i’ve been edified by and grateful for everything i’ve read of his on arendt, including this latest.

      chelsea clinton’s use of the phrase “banality of evil” could well be the first instance of the phrase being used as a standard refrain from hillbots and dem party identity politics pushers, using it to lend credibility and gravitas to their dangerous and misleading propaganda against the sane wing of the democratic party (sanders et al.) and everyone left of it.

      i am in favor of loud yelling “foul” when such abuse/adaptation of any phrase’s original meanings first occurs. corruption of language being at the vanguard of the corruption of politics and society to the point we are at now, where practically no values, political or non-, remain.

      i thank robin for stepping up this time to that task, in this case one i suspect he is more qualified than any but a handful of other scholars to perform.

      i don’t use social media, but i shall, if and when i hear that phrase lightly bandied about among friends who voted for HRC and otherwise remain uninformed about how royally the dem party is screwing the american citizenry, i shall speak up as corey robin has. thanks to what he has written on the subject, i’ll be able to do that articulately.

      1. montanamaven

        Yes, I learned a lot from Corey Robin’s explanation and also Not Timothy Geithner’s helpful corrections of my reading of Robin. Chelsea seems to latch on anything awful to tie to Donald Trump. But in this instance, she was way off base and way out of her league.

    4. Jean

      May I recommend: Margarethe von Trotta’s “Hannah Arendt,” “Marianne and Juliane,” “The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum,” and “Rosa Luxemburg.”

      Happy viewing… or heartbreaking, revelatory and cathartic.

  14. montanamaven

    Listening to Thomas Frank makes my head hurt. How smart can you really be if you thought Obama was smart? That was the conventional wisdom in 2007-2008. And Frank just took it for granted. Obama never said anything remotely original. His great speech of 2004 was about a myth not a reality. “There are no two Americas”. That’s Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” and Obama wrote about how he understood Reagan.

    I understood his appeal.”
    It was the same appeal that the military bases back in Hawaii had always held for me as a young boy, with their tidy streets and well-oiled machinery, the crisp uniforms and crisper salutes.”

    Obama and his wife never stopped talking about US exceptionalism.
    So Frank fell for the idea of smart Obama surrounded by smart people like Larry Summers? Did he not read “The Shock Doctrine” (2007) or “How Harvard Lost Russia?” (2006). He certainly never read Glen Ford and the people over at Black Agenda Report.
    Anyway, better late than never, I suppose. That he has discovered that there are a lot of smart people who didn’t go to Harvard or U of Chicago is a good thing. You’d think he would have figured that out in Kansas at a local bar.
    And I’m glad he went back to find out when hiring really smart people worked. Things were pretty desperate and communism was a serious threat. (And Huey Long). So Roosevelt hired Mariner Eccles, (Brigham Young College) a Republican banker, to run The Fed. He was an admirer of Keynes. The lawyer Ferdinand Pecora investigated the banks and exposed them as crooks. I haven’t read Frank’s latest, so I don’t have his bibliography, but I hope he read “The Hellhound of Wall Street” by Michael Perino. Lots of smart people like a former artesian-well digger turned Senator, were pretty darn good at investigating the bankers.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “JohnnyGL’s” point about the Chelsea/Corey dust up below connects to Obama. Frank decided they were smart, but he doesn’t provide any kind of evidence or examples of their brilliance. He just assumed they were smart, mentioning several economists. I believe Frank might be the kind of person who finds math scary and might simply be impressed by the regurgitation of large numbers hence his celebration of Summers.

      1. Allegorio

        I think here Frank succumbed to credentialism. They must be smart, they graduated from Harvard didn’t they? There must be a recognition that there is a fundamental difference between smart and moral. Eichmann was smart, he knew how to rise in the Nazi party, but he was not moral, he did not act for the greater good. Likewise Obama and Clinton are smart, they knew how to get ahead in the nomenklatura, but they are definitely not moral beings, acting only in their own and their class’ interest. Being smart but immoral is the definition of the “banality of evil”

        1. MoiAussie

          It’s rather childish to think that being “moral” is binary, that some are, some aren’t. Whatever set of moral principles you choose, you’ll find that individuals’ compliance with them falls on a spectrum, with lapses varying in both severity and frequency. You too, no doubt.

          And of course, you have a perfect right to offer up a definition of the “banality of evil”, but to proclaim that yours is “the definition” seems hubris, especially as you didn’t invent the term.

          Personally, I don’t think it’s got much to do with being smart.

          1. Allegorio

            “It’s rather childish to think that being “moral” is binary, that some are, some aren’t.” @ moiAussie

            Don’t really understand your criticism. Read Corey Robin’s paper on Hannah Arendt’s work, this is precisely the definition of “the banality of evil” namely acting in one’s own interest instead of considering the greater good. To act for the greater good even when it results in diminished self interest, that is true morality and has been the basis of morality since the Vedas declared, “thou art that” and Christ’s “do unto others”.

            Arendt’s position, for which she was severely ostracized was that Eichmann did not act out of hostility to Jews and was indeed appalled by what he had to do, but did it anyway because it was in his self interest to do it, hence the banality of evil. Self interest is so universal as to be banal. Acting against one’s own interest to further the greater good, is indeed not universal and hence extraordinary, yet this is precisely what Arendt advocated. Corey Robin’s essay posits that it is this adherence to absolute morality was what her critics found so uncomfortable.

            It is this abdication of morality that has led us to our current imbroglio, irreconcilable political differences, war as a first resort, do not convert your antagonists to your point of view, simply eliminate them because if they do not support your self interest they must be evil and eliminated. This is what is childish. Morality is not some arbitrary set of precepts that you either follow to some degree or don’t, it is the ability to take into consideration the views of others and to recognize that everyone has their own self interest and that does not make them evil and expendable. The task of morality is to reconcile those divergent interest in a way that benefits all to the maximum degree, not one over the other. This is the foundation of the “Golden Rule” the basis of all morality.

            The criticisms of Arendt were that she did not demonize Eichmann as exceptionally evil, but just an ordinary man caught up in an evil system. This is analogous to today’s political discourse that demonizes one’s opponents as evil and irredeemable, as per Putin is a truly evil man, or in Congressional testimony that lying is in the Russian’s “genes”. The problems are not with system or process acting in one’s self interest, but all problems are caused by bad apples, deviants the irredeemable, which relieves the protagonists from having to persuade their antagonists or consider their point of view. Because they are evil none of that is necessary, it is only necessary to eliminate them. This is what passes for morality in our political culture. Enlightened self interest indeed. Expediency is not morality, but it is often the “smart” if not necessarily moral thing to do.

            1. MoiAussie

              You said: Eichmann was smart, […] but he was not moral. […] Likewise Obama and Clinton are […] definitely not moral beings.

              I said: It’s rather childish to think that being “moral” is binary, that some are, some aren’t.

              Clearer now? You seem to think that people either are, or are not, moral. I think such binary classification of people is ludicrous. Any individual will be moral (according to any reasonable definition of the term) sometimes, but not invariably. Frequency and severity of moral lapses will vary.

              And I note that your newly adopted definition of the banality of evil has nothing to do with being smart, as I suggested, unlike the first.

              1. Allegorio

                My point was not that some people are either moral or not. My point is that in our modern meritocratic culture “smart” is often conflated with “moral”. The smart thing to do is not necessarily the moral thing to do and that they often diverge.

                Our culture worships “smart” and has no idea what it means to be moral. Notice how our Prevaricator in Chief never tires of talking about how smart he is, even as he lies and cheats his way to to the top, often neglecting to pay people who do work for him.

                Self interest is king, morality be damned. It is this apotheosis of self interest to the detriment of morality that has led us to imminent collapse of our planetary life support systems, universal poverty and endless war. Yes Der Drumpf is indeed smart amassing vast wealth for himself and his family, but at what cost.

                In fact, in our current cultural paradigm, being moral, acting against one’s self interest for the greater good is despised. Witness Trump advocating for police brutality. “Don’t be too nice.” If you advocate for the greater good, you are a “wuss”.

                Hippie punching is the order of the day on the political right, both Republican and Democratic. The left is despised for the very reason that it advocates for the greater good and not just the parochial self interest of the individual, family and tribe. Social Darwinism is the order of the day. Social Darwinism is certainly immoral. It may be smart to advance your own interest, to out compete all your competitors, winner take all, but is it moral?

                The political right’s shibboleths that if only everyone acts in their own self interest the invisible hand of the market place will sort things out and everyone deserves what they get. This is the essence of immorality, but indeed it is very smart and expedient.

                It is very smart and convenient to own a car, makes life so much more productive for oneself and one’s family, but when everyone acts in their own self interest with no consideration of how one’s actions effect the greater good we get climate destruction and planetary disaster.

                Again smart and moral are not synonymous, a distinction few in our culture are willing to admit, but which was the point of Hannah Arendt’s work, the banality of evil, ordinary commonplace actions that lead to great evil, climate destruction and the end of civilization. Enlightened self interest means self interest tempered by morality, in very short supply in our “greed is smart” culture.

    2. Plenue

      I find Frank extremely useful precisely because he seems to essentially be a bonafide liberal. He also said he voted for Clinton in 2016 because he was scared of Trump, and because he genuinely thinks Clinton was qualified and would have made a great president. His critique of her is essentially one of strategy: she ran as a resume candidate, and this failed to connect with voters, especially all the ones screwed by Clintonite policies (yet somehow Clinton is still qualified to be in charge?).

      He’s useful because he is essentially a true believer liberal and old school FDR/Truman type Democrat. He’s close to, and fundamentally one of, the liberal intelligentsia. It’s easy to find people on CounterPunch or Jacobin to say all these things, and far more, but someone like Frank is far more likely to be listened to. He’s one of the liberal crowd, and it says a lot if even someone like him is making these critiques.

      Not that it seems like anyone is listening anyway, at least not the people in charge. He wrote an entire book (before the Democrats had even been destroyed yet) that effectively explains why they lost, and yet apparently no one in the party has so much as contacted him for input into an election autopsy.

      1. Oregoncharles

        And he still hasn’t caught on? I like his work, in general, but this does not speak well of him.

    3. Adam Eran

      Personally, I found Frank’s Listen Liberal a pretty fierce indictment of the Democrats. He may have been fooled by Obama–precious few Americans were not…and are not!–but he still manages to document generations of Democrats throwing their traditional FDR constituents (labor, the poor) under the bus.

      A few examples:
      1. Edmund Muskie opposes our last liberal president (Nixon) by proposing austerity.
      2. Jimmy Carter discards his labor support to deregulate trucking and airlines, showing Reagan how to do it. (Teamsters supported Reagan in the next election)
      3. Clinton not only sets up the Great Recession’s frauds by deregulating Wall Street, he runs a budget surplus, transferring debt to the private sector, making it more vulnerable to financial fraud. He also colludes with Newt to “end welfare as we know it.” Before that “end” 76% of those needing public assistance got it; after: 26%. He also put the drug war on steroids, increasing incarceration even more.

      …oh yes, and Frank points out that Clinton had a deal to privatize Social Security with Newt that would have been enacted (pre-Great-Recession) if Monica Lewinsky hadn’t come along. We all owe her a vote of thanks.

      …so Frank may have held out hope for Obama, but he’s really held the Democrats’ feet to the fire in his last book.

      1. Livius Drusus

        I am glad that you mentioned Carter’s deregulation of trucking and airlines. People always criticize the Teamsters for supporting Reagan and other Republicans but they don’t seem to know why the Teamsters did what they did. It was revenge for Carter’s deregulation policies.

        Honestly, I wish more unions had the guts to do what the Teamsters did instead of slavishly supporting the Democrats. Some Democrats treat labor unions like political booty calls, only good for money and troops around election time but are told to go away when it comes time to govern. For example note Obama’s betrayal of labor when he failed to fight for EFCA, failed to stand with labor in Wisconsin and pushed for the TPP. Unions should try to play both sides of the aisle like corporate America does.

      2. HopeLB

        Our Revolution should open a donation making traveling museum displaying artworks that convey their message, among which should be a bronze (possibly disquised paper maiche) of Monica, one of whatshername rummaging through Monica’s closet for the blue dress and one of Newt and Clinton crying into their boubons because they did not get to privatize SS with some art object hinting that on the brightside,Clinton, at least got RTP underway with Serbia’s bombing, no Congressional approval required.

    4. Vatch

      There’s nothing wrong with Thomas Frank’s comment that Barack Obama is smart, because Barack Obama really is smart. Sadly, Obama didn’t use his knowledge or intelligence to benefit the nation. Instead, Obama used his talents to get elected President twice, and to support policies that would enable him to receive huge amounts of money after he retired. He achieved his goal.

    1. Allegorio

      As I stated before, it would have been far better for Progressives if the Republican health insurance plan had succeeded. It will be far harder to reform healthcare once the ACA is “fixed”

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How California Can Utilize Surplus Marijuana Other Than Smoking Weed International Business Times

    1. too much water consumption for growing versus what otherwise was there before (trees?)
    2. Hemp is highest oxygen producing plant (more O2 than the trees it replaces, comparatively)
    3. Smoking releases CO2.

    What do conclude from the above?

    Grow but don’t smoke it, when we have a lot of excess water?

    “Just chew it, when we are not in a drought.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s another alternative. Good call.

        “Don’t smoke. No second hand smoking…the kids in the apartment!”

      2. MoiAussie

        Eating something (digestible) is equivalent in CO2 output to burning it, just a bit slower.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    Regulating Facebook and Google?

    Calling Amazon antitrust monopoly?

    Taxing the wealthy (making over $5 million per)?

    But where is Single Payer?

    1. HBE

      I assume that none of these things will happen, but since I’m in a mildly optimistic speculative mood.

      I would say Bannon is playing it smart and holding out for the inevitable implosion of the ACA (I give it 2 more years, a growing vicious cycle of increasing consumer costs and continued market pull-outs will be its undoing), as constituents would be much more receptive and vocal in their support of such a common sense and practical solution as single payer.

      And after an implosion and the ensuing chaos who is going to risk going against it?

      Wishful thinking, I know.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Like the Brexiting UK, we’re looking a few turbulent years.

        Will fastening one’s seat belt be good enough?

        1. ambrit

          Sorry, but all the seat belts have been recalled.
          The next best thing is a padded room.

      2. montanamaven

        John Mc Cain called for open and transparent hearings on health care. I would love it that this time the committee would hear Physicians for a National Health Plan actually get to testify rather than being arrested by Committee Chair Max Baucus (and laughing about it). That might be an example of the banality of evil?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Eichmann didn’t laugh about killing Jews. He was distressed and when he realized what was happening he came up with new code words so he wouldn’t have to think about what he had and was doing and could go back to being a happy little German who follows orders.

          The banality of evil in the case of the great ACA debate of 2009/10 goes to the people who convinced themselves Obama understood politics better than anyone and just needed louder clapping from the negative nellies. Many loyal Dem partisans know healthcare sucks, but they convinced themselves that ACA was all that was politically feasible whether due to evil members of the caucus they can’t ever replace or the filibuster. They then went back to being happy little Democrats and to hang on every word Maddow said. Its easy to await a savior and to put faith in a leader than it is to demand action. They weren’t denying coverage. The ACA proponents didn’t make that couple jump off the roof the other day because they can’t afford treatment. They just wanted to be happy little Democrats and recapture the feeling of November 2008.

          Many of these Dem partisans actively worked against their own interests even when they know better. They aren’t insane. They just chose not to do good. Men like Baucus and McCain have been actively evil. McCain following orders in Vietnam might represent the “banality of evil”, but McCain has since criticized fellow pilots who would purposely miss their target because they didn’t want to hurt people. I believe McCain called these pilots cowards. McCain is actively evil.

          The “banality of evil” is about normal people. I don’t hate Jews, but would I have participated to get by? Eichmann didn’t appear to have any psych problems. He didn’t have any issues with Jews. So what happened?

            1. Andrew Watts

              It’s a little bit more than that. Arendt didn’t think Eichmann was a monster or insane. Even while he repeatedly demonstrated his incapacity to sympathize with the people he was helping exterminate. Eichmann made the trains run on time and in his mind at least that didn’t make his actions evil. This viewpoint demonstrated his lack of self-reflection and inability to connect with the experience of others. Arendt thought that bureaucracy gave birth to this attitude given that ordinary human beings are devalued into meaningless abstracts with no actual standing in reality.

              I hesitate to apply the banality of evil standard to any individual(s) given that evil is evil no matter the guise it takes and Arendt was boardly applying it on a collective rather than an individual basis.

              Economists as a profession fits the bill though.

              1. aletheia33

                thank you. a great clarification, along with nottimothygeithner’s comment.

                i am surprised by the number of comments on this thread that show less than clear understanding of arendt’s meaning when she made the phrase “banality of evil.”

                some commenters are making jokes of the phrase, and others seem not to care about the precise meaning. not sure why this rubs me so the wrong way, but i feel compelled to register it. it’s one thing to make fun of a phrase commonly and correctly understood. it’s another thing not to be concerned about whether it is or can come to be commonly and correctly understood.

                based on the comments today, i can only conclude that the phrase will never be commonly or correctly understood. all the more reason to push back against any attempt to put it forward as a popular meme. however hopeless such pushing back.

      3. Allegorio

        I am sure that the chief fix the Demopublicans are contemplating is to increase the penalties for not signing up for “health” insurance. Mo money Mo money Mo money! That will be how they keep “health insurance” companies in the exchanges. Trust me there is so much money to be stolen here that unless Senator Sanders is elected by a landslide and there is a complete overhaul of Congress the ACA will never be repealed, in fact I am sure that the Demopublicans are planning to roll Medicare into the ACA.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump threatens insurer payments — and health care enjoyed by Congress Stat

    Bailouts for members of Congress will end very soon.

    Wonder if he can touch their pensions as well…

    Or is that one branch of government not just encroaching upon the powers of another, but actually threatening their members?

    “No money for the drone operators and surveillance tech guys. Congress will not bail them out.”

  18. JohnnyGL

    Re: Corey Robin’s twitter spat with Chelsea Clinton

    Many ordinary people instinctively assume that members of our ruling class are on a very high level, intellectually, and that they are careful with their words.

    I see this less as an academic argument about some texts that college sophomores often read and more about an ’emperor has no clothes’ kind of moment where those college sophomores can have a look for themselves and say, “Wow, I understand this stuff better than Chelsea Clinton and I couldn’t even get an A in this class. And, additionally, a super-famous Hollywood film director volunteered himself, needlessly, as an attack dog to defend the intellectual bankruptcy of a member of the privileged class”

    Without twitter, this wouldn’t have been exposed and these glimpses of honesty wouldn’t be plain for all to see. Moments like this chip away at the fraud that we live in a kind of meritocracy, ruled by the best and brightest among us.

    1. Allegorio

      Donald Trump is the greatest testament of them all to the “banality” of the ruling class.

  19. Terry Flynn

    China’s fake research paper scandal.

    People in glass houses…..If only basic research principles (like quoting a FDA/UK MRC/whatever-funded literature review) as the basis for a research study were followed in certain areas of academia (health services research) in the west *cough*USA*cough* then we could nip what will become the next replication crisis in the bud in the so-called “proper academic establishment who love to gloat about China”.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Too fat to stand and their flesh rots while they’re alive: The REAL reason America’s ‘Frankenchickens’ have to be washed with chlorine as US industrial farming practices are exposed ahead of possible post-Brexit trade deal Daily Mail

    I frankly think this is more urgent than free college tuition.

    Mandatory organic food, for all, and not just to continue with the current practice of ‘everyone fends for him or herself.’

    It’s so intuitive, even children can see that, way before they reach the college age (regardless of whether they eventually go or not).

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.*

        *today’s PB reference – done.

          1. a different chris

            Princess Bride.

            But I do think you used it correctly! – I suspect WT does too, he/she just couldn’t resist the joke.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        With all the college graduates we have today, if we don’t ask why people in the UK (plus the EU and elsewhere) are freaking over, what is (US) college education for?

        1. Allegorio

          A college education is chiefly used to justify privilege. In my experience college professors are extremely sensitive to ethnic privilege, being beneficiaries of the same.

      2. newcatty

        Jrs: more urgent if you are thinking effects on the environment etc..

        The entire and interrelated situation of big ag, industrial farming; factory farms of most animals consumed as food
        In America; filthy and cruel (to the animals slaughtered and the human workers) processing of the animals (includes chicken eggs); the huge monopolies of coporations that produce processed, pesticide and herbicide and chemical saturated “food”; the ruinous run-off of those chemicals and the waste of factory farms’ animals into waterways and lands ( mostly in lower economic and peoples of color neighborhoods and towns); the resistance and greed of fosil fuel corporations in last grabbing of profits over life and health of peoples, animal and plant life and the whole environment. I will stop here. I try to walk my talk. One way is that my spouse and are vegan. Read a new book: What the Health by Eunice Wong with Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn for well written and researched book on subject. Includes some insights and facts on our “health care” system in America.

        1. Allegorio

          Again to beat a dead horse, the banality of evil, profits over people and the planet. Self interest uber alles. This is the crux of right wing philosophy, “how dare you make me consider the interest of anyone other than myself, my family and my tribe” This is why “lefties” are despised by the right, “tree huggin hippies” Social Darwinism is the raison du etre of American neo-liberal Kulture. You find the same deriding of the left by the likes of Neera Tandan and the Clintonite Democrats and for the same reason. How dare you inhibit my careerism by making me consider the consequences of my careerism. The only consequence that matters is that I become filthy rich and lord it over the “deplorables”.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Wow! At first I thought this article was another swipe at Walmart used-to-be-able-to-shoppers. Also sounds like what happens in late stage diabetes — horrible.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    “They weren’t large in number, maybe a few hundred among hundreds of thousands, but their appearance in the film would have provided a good reminder of how utterly central the role of the Indian Army was in the war,” he told Slate.

    Yasmin Khan says that their “sheer scale of the contribution” has become apparent in Britain in recent years. “No longer is it simply an island story of heroic, plucky British fighting against Nazi-occupied continental Europe; it has now become increasingly customary for historians to refer to the contribution made by Asian, African and Caribbean servicemen in the 1940s”, she writes in her book.

    1. The movie is more or less about one event, Dunkirk, not about covering the whole war.

    2. Everyone is precious and central.

    3. We can say others are ignorant or forgetting this or that, but we ourselves can be ignorant or forgetting too. For example, just Asian, Africa and Caribbean servicesmen in the 1940’s? What about servicewomen? What about Pacific Islanders? What about non-servicemen and non-servicewomen, including so-far-not-mentioned European civilians, and Asian, African, Caribbean and other civilians?

    1. Off The Street

      The logical consequence of the Nimrod-Indian Defense Strategem is that directors and producers will need to namecheck the universe. After all, in addition to those forgotten proles, downtrodden and misbegotten, what about the aliens tipping the balance of key battles, influencing Der Führer’s thoughts and actions or otherwise having unseen impacts. /s

      1. ambrit

        s/ Oh boy. There we go again. Vril is not exclusive. The Tibetan monks working for the S.S. were probably globe trotting Pashtuns. Neu-Schwabenland managed to turn back “Operation High Jump” in 1946/47 and now masquerades as Neumayer Station. “Iron Sky” is a documentary. Tinfoil hats are not addictive. /s
        Arthur C. Clarkes’ story “The Nine Billion Names of God” sets out the perils of “name checking the universe” quite well. Be careful what you ask for, you might get it!
        For real Nazi Tibet actions, see:

    2. Synoia

      Dunkirk, the File ignores the German Army’s action.

      The beginning of the film called them “The Enemy” not the German Army or Wehrmacht.

      The ending of the film with the Spitfire’s (The Spitfire was NOT the leading fighter until 1943/44), pilot effectively handing himself over to the Germans, after running out of fuel. In no way would he shoot a very pistol into the plane an then not run like hell away for the plan. Empty fuel tanks with aviation gas fumes in them are bombs.

      That’s an amazing slur on the character of the fighter pilot. Surrendering to the enemy.

      Wen I was at school, as I recall, everybody pupil had relatives killed in WW II.

      More probably he’d have bail out over the beach, and let his plane demolish as much of the German Army as possible on crashing.

      I call bullshit on those plot lines.

      1. aletheia33

        yes but… if i were making that movie i would find it impossible to resist that last long cinematically breathtaking glide the whole length of the beach, while knowing he’s done for, one way or another. he could have taken a cyanide pill just when the enemy soldiers surrounded him–he wasn’t going to make it out of captivity in one piece, not mentally, at least, if at all. it’s so poetic. plus, the pilot is anonymous pretty much, an everyman. i like that.

        as for the plane’s anachronism, that is a problem, as the film is being hailed as being as accurate as a documentary. still, the accuracy is less important to the impact of the movie than other aspects of it.

        1. ambrit

          And what would the subtext of such a film today be? That the “gallant Britons” will escape from Europe and rise again with the help of the American Cousins?
          Dunkirk was an English “miracle victory” because of German bungling. If the Wehrmacht had not been frozen in place when they were, the British Expeditionary Force could have been bagged entire.
          What if, what if, what if…. What if our present “leaders” displayed some semblance of rationality and sense? But that’s just ‘crazy’ talk. Hah!
          As I have had occasion to say throughout my life: “If we knew what we were doing, we’d be dangerous!”

          1. aletheia33

            just FYI, nolan said he chose dunkirk as the subject of his big war movie because he wanted to avoid any event that could carry the usual evocations of glory and victory. a voiceover “broadcast” near the end of the movie describes the event as an unmitigated “disaster”.

            it is not an antiwar movie and could have been much more horrifying, and/or ironic, than it is. at the same time, it is clearly an effort to portray the reality of that war as it was conducted and as it was experienced by the soldiers, not any mythology.

    3. Annotherone

      I haven’t seen “Dunkirk” yet – can’t decide whether or not to go see it later today. I agree with points #1, 2 and 3 above – from what I’ve read of the movie.

      I was just over a year old, in England, in 1940, in an east coast port, bombed regularly during the war.

      I’ve always thought of the Dunkirk story as one of an amazing rescue effort – the story’s important co-heroes being ordinary people in small boats who helped to evacuate the beached soldiers. Whether those small boaters were all British isn’t mentioned in any review I’ve read, and there hasn’t yet been any outcry, as far as I know, that a certain nationality or type of person has not been depicted. However, I’m not holding my breath on that score !

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Kremlin is done betting on Trump and planning how to strike back against U.S. sanctions WaPo

    Nicely done.

    1. It validates the fake news Trump was Kremlin’s man. They put money on him. But no more.

    2. The Russians are coming.

    3. We’d be guilty of dereliction of duty if we fail to do something before they do.

    1. ambrit

      Using the phrase, “betting on [him]” implies that this is all just a game, thus, nothing to get worked up about. “Let the ‘experts’ do their special magicks and all will be perfect.”
      Does anyone else think that the grammatical construction of that sentence, used as the Title of the WaPo piece, is terrible? There should be an ‘is’ before planning, at the least. Standards are dropping like flies while copy editors go t–s up.

  23. craazyboy

    “All You Hear Is The Sound Of Silence”

    Got beat by a Turgid Blowhard Prick
    Won by waving round his Dick…
    To his screaming fans he’s just it.

    Got every jerk for President
    Why not a Prick to lead the Land?
    Wear a hat and no one cares
    It’s all PC, no one dares.
    All it leaves is ’08 and ’16 in the air.

    All you hear, is the sound…of Twitters.

    The toe cheese is stuck in your ear…
    Left over from a yesteryear

    All you hear, is the sound…of Silence.

  24. Jason Boxman

    And the wealth certainly makes itself felt inside Google offices. I’ve never seen so much food. All free. Mountains of it. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Every workday. Micro-kitchen’s well stocked. All free. And tons of food waste, beyond imagination. Private events have mountains of free food, much of which I assume goes to waste as well.

    1. tongorad

      I worked at MS back in the Win95 era. I recall similar antics with free food, especially after hours. It’s a ball & chain move by management to keep you shackled to work. “I bought you food to work through the night, and you want to go home?”

  25. Synoia

    Border Chaos after Brexit

    It was agreed well before the referendum was announced that the current HMRC customs clearance system, CHIEF, would be replaced in March 2019,” it states. “It’s now due to be delivered just before we leave the EU and, having been planned to deliver 60m clearances per annum, it will now need to deliver 300m per year, with no understanding yet of what the customs deal with the EU looks like.

    Ah, but management is on the job, and one has to consider if they could have said something different and kept their position (Iron law of institutions):

    An HMRC spokesman said the new system was “on track for delivery by January 2019″.

    Pray tell us, What new system would that be? The one planned (LAMO) or the one for post Bexit?

      1. MoiAussie

        Close. I believe it’s an Australian Scarlet Honeyeater. The flowering gum is a giveaway.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I just got a fundraising letter from an outfit called Friends of Bernie. It was ostensibly from Bernie and included a pitch for money that would help him fight the Trump agenda.

      Wait a minute.

      The guy is sitting US Senator. That position comes with a lot of power. Why does he need my money in order to exert the power he already has?

      That letter got tossed.

      1. annenigma

        I got the same letter. I wrote a note on the contribution slip and stuffed it back in the postage-paid envelope along with his/their two page letter and mailed it back.

        First of all, I asked for my primary campaign donation of $25 back because the ONLY reason I donated at that late date before the convention was because he repeatedly promised to take his campaign all the way to the convention. Then he broke his promise, showing that it was just a ploy to keep the money flowing as long as possible, and he’s still at it. I told them that his broken promise hurt those young people, more so because they had to raise thousands of dollars just to get to the convention where he ended up letting them down before they even took a seat. And he knew he’d do it. What a weasel. What a politician.

        Oh, and I told them to take me off their mailing list. If they don’t, I’ll keep stuffing their papers back into the envelope and they can pay the postage.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Why didn’t you at least tape in a few pennies to contribute to the cause — and add on postage? And why get off the list? Wouldn’t you like a chance to burn their mailing costs again in the future? I am trying to stay on Democratic Party mailing lists as long as I can so I can nick them again and again. And OBAMA — Please send me another request to help with your Presidential “library”. I do so want to help!

        2. Edward E

          I’m traveling the country searching for a Bernie action figure and everywhere he’s sold out.

          Thinking a relaxing golf weekend because I can’t get shyt done.

    2. Andrew Watts

      Just because an individual wields political power doesn’t mean they’re guilty of anything but it doesn’t mean they’re entirely innocent either. That’s kinda to be expected though. Bernie’s demoralized generation of activists repeatedly begged for crumbs at the table and they were generally ignored. Murray Bookchin pointed out a long time ago that Bernie was way too close with business interests. In all fairness, Bernie had/has to govern in a obscenely capitalist country and Bookchin was free to maintain his integrity in intellectual exile.

    3. John k

      A little disappointing Bernie keeps promising his plan but still nothing. And what’s wrong with Hr 676?

  26. Chauncey Gardiner

    Appreciated the informative link regarding the amazing ease with which hackers are able to break into voting machines. Why not paper ballots counted publicly by hand?

    1. Yves Smith

      The article is seriously misleading. Hackers can hack into individual machines not connected to the Internet.

      So what? Are evil Roosies going to run around the US and infect the machines with malware each by each with USB sticks??

      And even if they did, what would they tell those machines to do? The machines are not connected to the Internet or by WiFi. Anything too weird (too at odds with polls) would be noticed as suspect.

  27. robnume

    All of the talk about “meritocracy” misses the point that we in the U.S. practice restricted rather than unrestricted meritocracy. Restricted as to class, that is. In an unrestricted meritocracy the cream really does have a chance to rise to the top.
    The Dem’s may survive as a party due to the unlimited amount of money at their disposal via their technocratic donors. But they will never again be what they were during the 1930’s. And it couldn’t be more clear that they don’t wanna be. The time for a third party is long past due. We can do this, people. It’s a matter of survival. And I have long wondered why more folks survival instincts haven’t been kicking in. Because, ultimately, survival is what it’s all about.

    1. Massinissa

      Please, point out where this ‘unrestricted’ meritocracy actually exists. It sounds like No True Scotsman to me.

      I agree with the second half of your comment though.

      1. MoiAussie

        In an unrestricted meritocracy the cream really does have a chance to rise to the top

        And in the restricted version, it’s the scum that rises to the top.

  28. craazyboy


    By Greg Lake and King Crimson

    Mucho apologies to Greg Lake. ( He may be Scottish)

    You’ll note I didn’t use any punctuation. When I was all done and starting to work out the punctuation, I realized it didn’t need any and decided I didn’t want to complicate the message with useless punctuation.


    Along the park you walk with me
    The ducks and geese march along with us
    They all are bending knee

    Walk thee all along with me
    But please, watch out the tree
    For I am your Hill – are – ry
    And trees are really me

    Bring knee up high
    Show off some thigh
    Point toes up at the sky
    I smile and raise my eyes up high
    Lifted Kilt way up high

    So airily it makes me feel
    A spring breeze lifts my step
    We are sieging Johnny Depp
    Our Haggies stuck in his face
    The Wimp is such a wreak

    The little prick stole our Hillary
    On Ise Of Tree they met
    And Hillary spent 3 months in Tree
    While all the rest us wept

    A Monster in the Americas
    Warmongers at his behest
    Libyan Freedom Fighters can’t
    Keep Russians from their nest

    The Jews will have to save us there
    Put Terrorists to rest

    1. ambrit

      Nice go at it craazyboy, but, for my money, the original is spot on. It is said that Fripp was expecting the actual ‘End of the World’ soon and tinged the album with the belief.
      The problem with prophecies of doom is that doom indeed comes for us all, one at a time. Death needs no prophetic vision to make our acquaintance. As cultures go now, there indeed, doom walks daintily on cats feet. Not silently does it go, not secretly, but, unobtrusively and ubiquitously.

      1. craazyboy

        I do what I can. But then I don’t really feel like it sometimes and get my reactionary impulses which cause me to write songs like the ones up above.

        Watching The Planet of the Apes – War right now. The virus wiped out the humans and apes got smart. There is one last human army left.

        That could happen too.

  29. craazyboy

    I do what I can. But then I don’t really feel like it sometimes and get my reactionary impulses which cause me to write songs like the ones up above.

    Watching The Planet of the Apes – War right now. The virus wiped out the humans and apes got smart. There is one last human army left.

    That could happen too.

    1. HopeLB

      I still have a Planet of the Apes Tree House with action figures, we (I and my two sisters) got it for Christmas!Best Christmas gift ever!! The Titanic game made us cry when the shiup sank. It has this cool closet that hides communications equiptment. Maybe, I’ll bring it to an NC meetup so everyone can play with it.

Comments are closed.