Links 1/20/18

These Lake Superior caribou faced death. Then a helicopter came Minnesota Public Radio (Chuck L)

Federal government says Canada lynx numbers safe, proposes to remove protections Quetico Superior Foundation (Chuck L)

Check Out This Sneaky Railway Smuggler Tram Makezine (resilc)

Pope shocks Chile by accusing sex abuse victims of slander Associated Press (Chuck L)

Earth’s Relentless Warming Sets a Brutal New Record in 2017 Bloomberg

China Builds Experimental 33-Story Air Purification Tower That Turns Smog Into Clean Air Core77

Peeved by price gouging and shortages, hospitals will now make their own drugs ars technica (resilc). A step in the right direction, maybe….drug company prices are so bad that it’s hard to think this isn’t profit driven.

A small chemical reactor made via 3-D printing allows for making drugs on-demandTechXplore (Dr. Kevin)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai says AI is more profound than electricity or fire The Verge (David L). “‘He would say that, now wouldn’t he?'”

How to tame the tech titans Economist

User succumbs to a seizure in virtual reality while other players can only watch The Verge (Kevin W)


Chinese investment in the US crashed in Trump’s first year in office Quartz (resilc)

US says China WTO membership was a mistake Financial Times

The Unprecedented East China Sea Oil Spill Atlantic

China wants to reshape the global order Axios (resilc)


Britain could be back in the EU within a generation, hints Theresa May’s de facto deputy David Lidington Telegraph

No Brexit deal on financial services if UK diverges from EU, says Merkel ally Politico. Deadly. As we’ve been saying….


From the article (hat tip Richard Smith):

In addition to the £2.6bn Section 75 pension deficit, Carillion’s liabilities when it went bust included £1.3bn owed to its banking syndicate; £350m arising from early payment facilities with suppliers; cross-guarantees of £630m relating to bonding facilities; £170m of convertible bonds guaranteed by the company; and an unknown debt to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, £16m of which was due by the end of the month.

This is a big deal. The amount of pension shortfall, reported a few days ago and presumably based on published financials, was just under £600 million. So this means accounting fraud, big time. Plus the clowns were paying dividends and hefty exec bounuses until July 2017.

Varoufakis Reveals Outburst Against “Stupid” Tsipras Greek Reporter (margarita)


Twilight of the Kurds Foreign Policy

Trump’s State Department spent over $1m in Iran to exploit unrest Medium. JTM: “Looks like more than a piddling $1 million.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Finding Your Voice Intercept (Bill B)

Can Software Predict Crime? Maybe So, but No Better Than a Human New York Times (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

CDC to Scale Back Work in Dozens of Foreign Countries Amid Funding Worries Wall Street Journal

Trump Is Turning the State Department into a Global Weapons Dealer Alternet (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Trump’s Inaugural Address, One Year Later New York Magazine (resilc)

Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Legality of Trump Travel Ban Wall Street Journal

Massive raids threatened against immigrants in California WSWS (Randy K)

Trump’s Entire Nativist Agenda Is Based on a Lie Vanity Fair

Buy a flat, meet Trump Jr’ offer criticised as ‘ethics atrocity’ Guardian

Fierce battle erupts over declassifying intelligence report The Hill:

Scores of Republicans viewed the controversial memo in secure settings at the Capitol and concluded it contains hard evidence that the special counsel investigation into whether Trump’s campaign officials had improper contacts with Russia were sparked by the politically motivated actions of senior FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials.

Online users go wild for ‘future president’ Ivanka Trump Daily Mail. Resilc: “President of delusionalism.”

The Other Government Shutdown: Mulvaney’s Weeklong Assault on the Consumer Bureau Allied Progress


US shutdown looms after Senate vote BBC

What happens if the government shuts down The Hill

Troops and families: Here are some ways a shutdown could affect you Army Times

Loneliness is contributing to our increasingly tribal politics Financial Times

Democrats in Disarray

Clinton And Bernie Allies Are Still At Odds Over Caucus Vs. Primary Rules For 2020 BuzzFeed (UserFriendly)

The Resistance Is Turning Its Fire on a Conservative Democrat New York Times (resilc)

Before ‘Roe v. Wade,’ The Women of ‘Jane’ Provided Abortions For The Women Of Chicago NPR (Kevin W). The US is a serious outlier among advanced economies by not having the right to abortion be a matter of law (as in provided for in legislation)…

Babe Turns a Movement Into a Racket Atlantic (resilc). Important and well done.

Much “Consensual” Sex is Non-Consensual — #MeToo and the Muddy Middle Ground of Social Communication Gauis Publius

EXCLUSIVE: Black Alabama student who made racist sorority video go viral talks aftermath The Grio (Judy B)

Senate Democrats Join Hands With Republicans to Sell You Out to Banks SplinterNews (resilc). Key quote:

According to the Times, the bill’s supporters argue it would “offer much-needed relief to small banks and credit unions in parts of America that have been struggling under regulations that had primarily been aimed at the biggest banks.” That’s right: Every bank smaller than the 10th biggest bank in America is now a struggling small bank, just trying to make ends meet.

$10-Billion IPO of Leveraged Buyout Queen Flops, Investors Bleed Wolf Richter

Class Warfare

Why Companies Fear Disclosing CEO-to-Workers Pay Bloomberg

Human Trafficking is Off the Charts, so Texas State Attorney General Produced a Documentary to Alert the Public Waking Times (Judy B)

Pedestrian attacks self-driving car in the Mission Curbed

Opioids in the Suburbs The Weekly Standard (resilc)

Antidote du jour. ChiGal:

My neighbor’s happy pup Piper playing in the North Carolina snow today–this is the Piedmont, mind you, not the mountains!We must have gotten close to a foot of the fluffy white stuff and she was loving it!

Naturally it was a snow day across the board–school and work cancelled, no one driving anywhere if they could help it, cuz I think maybe they have like 1 snow plow here or something.

And a bonus. Are they ravens? Tracie H: “Heckle and Jeckle discussing the WSJ while watching golfers at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    So a year has passed in our rescinderella saga since assuming the position, and then the clock struck midnight…

        1. Wukchumni

          “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”~ Dr. Johnson

          “Turning onto scenic Palos Verdes Drive South, one encounters breathtaking grandeur: the vast ocean, an infinite horizon. And then there is Donald Trump’s 70-foot flagpole flying a nearly 400-square-foot flag.

          The flagpole that Trump illegally erected at his Rancho Palos Verdes golf club over a year ago is at the center of a simmering controversy between the billionaire and the California Coastal Commission. The conflict is the latest in a series for Trump, who has long had a do-it-without-permission approach to his real estate holdings.”

        2. Arizona Slim

          If you wrong a Raven, it remembers.

          This is the title of an article that recently appeared in NC Links.

    1. Scylla

      I wonder if that is Hugin and Muninn? Knowing a bit of mythology, I might feel uncomfortable being watched by a pair of ravens such as those.

    2. knowbuddhau

      Thanks, love ravens. Best thing about the local disk golf course is that there’s a pair of them, and one or two more. Love standing under them as they talk in that mellifluous talk.

      Just so happen to be on my way there rn.

      Now that’s two antidotes in a row featuring birds in my daily experience. Sooner or later, instant karma’s gonna get me.

      I’m on roll just like a pool ball, baby
      I’m gonna be there at the roll call, maybe
      At the Depot

      –Tom Waits, Depot, Depot

    3. kgw

      Many ravens at Palos Verdes…Walking at Pt. Vicente, there are always ravens flying along the cliffs or sitting on the fence posts.

    4. Wukchumni

      We have crows around these parts, and the sound they made sounded like ‘gaweah’ to the Wukchumni indians, so the Kaweah River was named after said mensa avians. We have 4 forks of the Kaweah here, but being modest, only claimed 3 of them for our namesake.

  2. timotheus

    Re Pope shocks Chile: “You must have faith–but when bishops are accused, I want to see the smoking gun.”

    An historic blunder that will undermine a lot of Francis’s good postures on other topics. The accusations are overwhelming and entirely consistent with dozens of other priest-abuse cases worldwide. Unfortunately, the evangelical Protestants in Chile who will benefit from this are worse (e.g. loved Pinochet).

  3. allan

    Federal Law Now Requires States to GPS Track Disabled People Using Attendants [The Mighty]

    … To live independently, I have personal care attendants (PCA) who assist me with getting out of bed, dressing, using the bathroom, cooking, house cleaning, shopping, driving and just about everything else. My PCA care costs about $4,000 per month, and no private insurance offers coverage for it. I have no choice but to be on Medicaid, and am in a self-directed Medicaid waiver program, in which people with disabilities control our own care. We hire our own personal care attendants, set the days and times they work, where they work and how they assist us.

    People with disabilities have a constitutional right to live in our own homes and communities and make decisions about our lives, established in the Supreme Court ruling Olmstead v. LC. But now that right is under attack from an unexpected source … the 21st Century Cures Act. It was designed to streamline the approval of new medications and medical devices, but they slipped in another policy change many people didn’t know about. It’s called electronic visit verification (EVV). It requires all Medicaid funded personal care programs to implement a system for verifying a PCA’s identity and the date, time and location where personal care services were provided. If states fail to implement EVV by 2019, they lose up to 1 percent of Medicaid funding. …

    Some states are already rolling out their systems, outsourcing them to private companies that are collecting our GPS locations and biometric identity data. These companies, notably Sandata Technologies, lobbied to have EVV tacked on to the 21st Century Cures Act. Now they stand to profit handsomely by invading the privacy of people with disabilities and our personal care assistants. …

    But her emails! Another terrible outcome of BernieBro/JillStein sanctimonious purism … oh, wait,

    … In his remarks before signing the bill, President Obama praised the bipartisan support behind the legislation and focused specifically on the funding for NIH research efforts, such as the Precision Medicine Initiative, the Cancer Moonshot and the BRAIN initiative. … President Obama also noted that NIH’s Cancer Moonshot initiatives in the legislation had been named in honor of Vice President Biden’s son, Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015. … Vice President Joe Biden said that the bill “will fundamentally change the culture of our fight against cancer.” …

    In a statement, Russell Branzell, president and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), praised the enactment of the 21st Century Cures Act for spurring interoperability. … CHIME also lauded the bill’s provisions that address the issue of accurately identifying patients and matching them to their health records. …

    The author of the piece in The Mighty needs to realize that her interoperability
    is more important than her privacy. Because Beau.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > But her emails!

      A fundamentally dishonest yet and endlessly repeated Clintonite talking point. The institutional issue is not that Clinton had a separate email account, but that she had a private email server and did her public business as Secretary of State on it (commingled with private business like, we are told, her yoga scheduling and Chelsea’s wedding plans. IIRC, this so-called private material comprised approximately half the data on the server, which Clinton had deleted before turning the remaining material over to the FBI).

      I think Clinton set a rotten precedent, since the decision-making process of public officials should ultimately become a matter of public record. Clinton, by privatizing her official communications, made them ultimately unreviewable, and made her office unaccountable. Privatizing the communication of public officials is also an open invitation to corruption, shocking and shameful in a putative democrat.

  4. timbers

    From “Trump is turning the State Dept into an arms dealer”:

    The Trump administration will soon announce its next move in the ongoing assault on diplomacy and human rights currently taking place in the United States. Through a plan dubbed “Buy American,” the administration is calling for U.S. attachés and diplomats to play a larger role in the sale of U.S. weapons, effectively solidifying their role as lobbyists for the arms industry rather than agents of diplomacy.

    I think I prefer Hillary’s method: Making who benefits from U.S. arms sales the province of the Secretary of State or some other elite public office holder the establishment supports and pocketing what can be had via donations to a Foundation. That way, “arms sales” under Trump is instead done in a different less blatant way by creating the “need” for U.S. arms by doing various regime changes instigated by the U.S….in affect creating an “arms sales” opportunity without being so in-your-face Republican Honest about it all.

    Then we can back to laughing at the latest FB post showing how awful Trump is that our friends insist on showing us on their iPhone. Policy free condemnation of the present to replaced by policy free support for the good guys (Dems).

  5. Jen

    Oh, Lordy.

    “In a final dash to avert a shutdown, Trump cancelled plans to depart for his Mar-a-lago resort in Florida, where he was due to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office. Instead, Trump spent the day negotiating with congressional leaders.

    The president hosted Schumer in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon, the two New Yorkers talking over cheeseburgers in a small dining room adjacent to the Oval Office.

    A source briefed on the meeting said Schumer [Captain of the Resistance!] offered not only to meet Trump’s full funding request for a border wall but also agreed to boosting defense spending “far above” what the White House requested.

    In exchange, Schumer requested a short-term measure that would keep the government open for a few days, in the hopes of reaching a broader compromise. The president seemed amenable to Schumer’s approach, the source said, and told the Democratic leader he would broach the topic with Republicans.”

    Wonderfully clarifying, as Lambert would say. I told several colleagues yesterday that Team D was insufficiently feral to proceed with a government shutdown. What I failed to consider was how perilously close the emperor [s]s were to revealing to one and all that they have no clothes.

    Never underestimate the democrat ability to [family blog] a two car funeral.

    1. Quentin

      Oh, apparently the Democrats are now all-in onTrump’s border wall. Jimmy Dore runs a clip showing how Hillary Clinton previously supported what she calls a barrier, emphatically not ‘TRUMP’s WALL’.

      1. jrs

        It’s just a wasteful government spending program, like the military. Since when has anyone in either party been against throwing money down the toilet in return for some pork for their own constituents or in order to trade votes. Odd noone plays hardball for any spending that could do any good like repairing collapsing bridges. Imperial collapse watch indeed.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I will admit to not paying all that much attention to this latest kayfabe nonsense, however I did see some Yahoo headlines proclaiming the Dems were forcing the government shutdown over immigration.

      Because it worked so well for the Republicans when they forced shutdowns in the past – people just seem to love it when they can’t get access to government services! And of course they want to shut down government for people who can’t even vote for them, not for something that would actually benefit everyone like forcing an increased federal minimum wage or medicare for all. Nope, let’s shutdown government to benefit a few for the sake of political theater rather than any real conviction, and if successful, those new immigrants will help keep wages even lower. Brilliant.

      1. marym

        There are arguments to be made about the relationship of immigration and wages, but if these 800,000 young people all leave, US wages and employment opportunities won’t improve. Studies indicate it will harm the overall economy; and in some areas exacerbate existing worker shortages.

        It’s just an unnecessary cruelty, part of an immigration strategy designed by white supremacists.

        Here’s How Much Money Rescinding DACA Could Cost the U.S. Economy

        According to the CATO institute, deporting these recipients could cost the government at least $60 billion. Overall, rescinding the program would reduce economic growth by $280 billion.

        Another report, published by progressive advocacy group Center for American Progress and, found that repealing the program could cost the U.S. $460.3 billion in economic output over the next decade, and that contributions to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security could drop by $24.6 billion.

        What Older Americans Stand to Lose if ‘Dreamers’ Are Deported

        The number of workers who benefit from the program is tiny alongside a national labor force of more than 150 million, and the DACA workers are spread out relatively evenly across most industries.

        In health care, on the other hand, the economic impact could be significant…

        Surveys of DACA beneficiaries reveal that roughly one-fifth of them work in the health care and educational sector, suggesting a potential loss of tens of thousands of workers from in-demand job categories like home health aide and nursing assistant.

        At the same time, projections by the government and advocacy groups show that the economy will need to add hundreds of thousands of workers in these fields over the next five to 10 years simply to keep up with escalating demand, caused primarily by a rapidly aging population

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Thanks for the links. I recently had to spend most of a day wandering through a hospital and was surprised to find that most of the hospital’s support staff were recent immigrants, or at least that was my assumption judging by the name tags and languages I heard being spoken.

          My guess is also that these recent immigrants performing an essential service (keeping the hospital clean and patients fed decent food) were not paid particularly well. With so many people in this country who have given up looking for work, I find it hard to believe the studies that say that current citizens stand to lose so much if there were fewer immigrants. Perhaps if there was no one else to take those jobs, but of course there are current citizens who would take those jobs if they actually paid enough to live on.

          I, like the vast majority of USians, am a descendant of immigrants. But I’m also aware that at the time my ancestors came through Ellis Island, the US had an open immigration policy because industry was looking for cheap labor. So while I do not oppose immigration per se, I’m not a big fan when the purpose is to make the rich even richer at the expense of the immigrants themselves and everybody else.

          If the government were serious about solving the immigration problem, they would start arresting the execs in the meat packing, construction, and other industries who hire undocumented workers deliberately. The government would also create fairer trade policies that don’t displace people from their own countries like we currently do by dumping cheap corn on Mexico to the point where Mexicans can no longer make a living in their own countries. But the government doesn’t do that because it would upset the rich people who keep them in office. This current debacle doesn’t indicate to me that the Dems really have immigrants’ best wishes at heart – it’s just more political theater.

          1. marym

            I agree with most of what you said.

            I’m strongly pro-immigration, having always thought that diversity was the strength of our country, and that immigrants bring constant opportunities for renewal. Thus, I have to take care to pay attention to what may be reasonable arguments about restrictions in specific forms of immigration.

            The issue right now isn’t that someone, even the most ghastly among the Republicans, may not have an arguably legitimate reason for a specific proposal. It’s the foundation of gleeful cruelty, racism, and white supremacy that needs to be fought.

            The Democrats aren’t fighting that. It’s like the ACA – propose a real benefit to a real sub-set of people, while strengthening everything that’s bad about the status quo.

            Here’s a tweet with a summary of the positions ( a little hard to read, click on the screenshots). The tweeter, from CATO, calls the Republican demands “endless and extreme,” but “both sides” are extremely harsh.

            1. GF

              Some questions about the 7-11 arrests of the illegal immigrants working at the franchised 7-11s. Since, according to 7-11 Corp, the stores are franchises the Corp has no responsibility for who is hiredat the individual stores. I don’t know (does anyone) if the contracts with franchisees state that since it is illegal to hire illegal workers, does it state that in the contract and thereby forbids franchisees from hiring them? Were the franchisees of the stores arrested for hiring the workers as it is illegal to hire them? Were the franchises taken back by 7-11 Corp for breaking federal law by hiring the illegal workers? Will the feds be arresting the millionaire/billionaire execs at the San Francisco and Silicon Valley locations soon to be raided (See WSWS link above)? Just wondering.

          1. marym

            There’s a link in the comment to a similar finding from CAP, and here’s a link (PDF) to the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy that says they pay an estimated $2 billion in state and local taxes.

      2. Lee

        Of all the issues over which the Dems could draw a line in the sand, this one won’t play well in Peoria. In spite of strong popular support for DACA, a lot of voters might reasonably question Dem priorities. That Trump and the Dems are doubling down on identity politics, largely ignoring politics of class, makes me nervous and irritable.

        1. marym

          I wish they were not just fighting to protect the Dreamers, but fighting against white supremacy, a dangerous ideology.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I wish they had actually “fought”* to protect Dreamers when they had the chance in 2010:

            The DREAM Act would have passed if Democrats had shown unity on the measure.

            But five Democrats voted against the legislation: Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and both Montana Democrats, Jon Tester and Max Baucus. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced his opposition to the DREAM Act Saturday in a statement Saturday but missed the vote.

            Thanks, Blue Dogs! So much of our current plight is in reaction to gross failures of Democrats to govern when they were given control of the Executive and Legislative branches in election 2008.

            * Always “fighting,” never winning. That’s our Democrat Party!

            1. marym

              Yes, thank you for not losing sight of this. Past failures by the Democrats must be part of any analysis of how we got here and what we need to do to move forward.

    3. Brucie A.

      However Kelly but the kibosh on it, leading to this golden nugget:

      Stephen Miller is the president for immigration policy. H.R. McMaster and Jim Mattis are co-presidents for national security. Some shifting amalgamation of aides are president for domestic issues. Trump is president for tweeting things he saw on TV.

    4. marym

      The “bi-partisan compromise” to which Schumer added those offers also ends family-sponsored immigration and the diversity visa lottery. To my knowledge, Democrats haven’t even bothered to counter Trump’s outrageous mischaracterization of these programs, let alone argue for their retention.

  6. The Rev Kev

    Trump’s State Department spent over $1m in Iran to exploit unrest

    I too find that very hard to believe. After the Ukrainian putsch, Victoria Nuland was caught admitting that Washington had spent about five billion dollars setting conditions for what happened in the Ukraine. I suppose that would include everything from journalists right up to the hard-core activists that were earning a hundred dollars a day at the Maiden. For Iran the amount of money spent over the years must go into the tens of billions – at least. And all those bases ringing Iran ( must cost a pretty penny each and every year. If you really want to go into it, the opportunity cost from Iran’s isolation must be into the hundreds of billions by now. Good thing nobody needed that money.

    1. Sid_finster

      I did not live in Ukraine during the putsch, but I was there during the “Orange Revolution”, and I worked in an office on Khreschatik, about 100 meters from Maidan.

      After work, I would talk to some of the “activists” and “freedom fighters” occupying the tent city in Maidan and along Khreschatik.

      They freely admitted to being paid. The salary was always the same – $100 per week and free food.

      Later, I met a Ukrainian-American, who was working in Kiev at that time. He told me that he was in part responsible for the funneling of these payments. I cannot independently confirm his story, but I also have no reason to doubt it.

      1. heresy101

        Oliver Stone’s documentary on Ukraine has just been released in the US:

        And, in his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Stone solicits Putin’s take on the significance of Crimea, NATO and the US’s history of interference in elections and regime change in the region.

        The film was originally released in 2016, but unsurprisingly, Stone came up against problems distributing the film in the US and western countries.

        A Russian-dubbed version was available almost immediately and was aired on TV in Russia, but people in the ‘free world’ were left without access to the full film.

  7. Clive

    Whatever your personal ethical and moral position on abortion is, not having access to it in your own geographical area is class warfare — well off women will always be able to travel (and travel fairly inconspicuously) as medical tourists to jurisdictions where abortion is lawful.

    Low-income women can’t.

    1. Tracie Hall

      I too go with Ravens as opposed to crows–same family (Corvidae). Ravens are usually bigger, and apparently are often seen in pairs (crows hangout in groups), and have wedge-shaped tails, as opposed to the crow’s fan shaped tail.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Didn’t Irish women have to go over to England to get abortions because the strict Catholic regime in power at the time refused to let women have abortions, whatever the circumstances? When the authorities were aware of a case I think that they wouldn’t let that women travel until she was too far gone on pregnancy too. And that was not that many years ago either.

      1. integer

        I’ve heard that Kyu Sakamoto song before, though had no idea what it was about and would not have known where to begin if I had ever tried to look for it. Thanks!

  8. Louis Fyne

    because the market!

    (New England has a shortage of pipeline infrastructure, so during cold snaps NE burns lots of bunker oil and high prices makes importing Russian LNG, from UK storage tanks, profitable at the right price)

    Three weeks after picking up a controversial cargo in the U.K., a liquefied natural gas tanker made a U-turn one day before it was due to deliver it in Boston.

    The vessel is carrying a cargo from storage tanks at a terminal near London, which earlier received the first fuel from the $27 billion Yamal LNG plant in Russia’s icy north.

    The Gaselys vessel that was set to arrive on the U.S. East Coast on Saturday is now heading back toward Spain’s port of Algeciras near Gibraltar, and should get there next week,

    1. Scott

      My understanding is that oil tankers do this fairly often, changing direction in the middle of their trip to get the most advantageous price. What’s new is that the ship was carrying LNG instead.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Apparently it is still on it’s way to Boston. Here is a quote from something that I read this morning-

      “Previously, it was reported that the tanker Gaselys, which was carrying a batch of Russian liquefied gas, was deployed in the Atlantic Ocean but stopped and changed course, heading to the Spanish port of Algeciras.
      The gas, after all, will be delivered to the The United States, which was bought from Russia because of rising gas prices on the East Coast, to $ 6,300 per thousand cubic meters.”

    3. Swamp Yankee

      I would hesitate to take claims of inadequate pipeline capacity here in New England at face value, or attribute them any value, really. The local utility companies used exactly this line during the very cold winter of 2014, whereas, after the fact, it turns out they were merely restricting supply and gouging prices a la’ Enron in California:

      The pipelines currently under consideration, one of which is contrary the Massachusetts Constitution by cutting through a state forest, and are being built against widespread opposition, are for the most part designed to export energy supplies rather than deliver them to New England itself. Moreover, they are more dirty energy at a time when this region, and the nation and the world, desperately need more clean energy, small-scale grids, and other aspects of a new energy regime.

      I believe Naked Capitalism covered this at the time.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > The pipelines currently under consideration, one of which is contrary the Massachusetts Constitution by cutting through a state forest, and are being built against widespread opposition, are for the most part designed to export energy supplies rather than deliver them to New England itself.


  9. katiebird

    Maybe these are dumb questions …. There must be some reason Legislators want the ability to Shutdown Government…. Because they surely could put a clause in every budget, appropriation and spending bill to raise the debt limit enough to accommodate the expense (or abolish the debt limit entirely) …. So there is an advantage to this event… What is it?

    What will this Shutdown accomplish? Will there be a real benefit (Expanded and Improved Medicare for Everyone…. Withdrawal of Troops from dozens or more countries… Jobs for everyone? Will Dreamers be granted citizenship?… Something real)

    Does anything good ever happen from these events? And if so, why isn’t this threat used as routinely as the symbolic filibuster to either keep something awful from happening or force something great to go through?

    If not, why bother??

    I see a ton of headlines about the cost and the impact but I really don’t get Why Now and What For.

      1. Fraibert

        As far as I can tell, this is one of of the big reasons for it–to get people all riled up for their respective political “sides.”

        Shutdowns, or the threat of shutdown, also has the additional “benefit” of continuing to foreground the belief that taxes pay for government spending, because it emphasizes the “government as big household” framework that needs a spending plan.

        1. Jim Haygood

          ‘it emphasizes the “government as big household” framework that needs a spending plan’

          That’s why us hard money mossbacks adore it so much. :-)

          But our only spending plan is a 6% of GDP deficit: pedal to the metal.

          Everybody told me you can’t get far
          On thirty-seven dollars and a jap guitar
          Now I’m smokin’ into Texas with the hammer down
          And a rockin’ little combo from the Guitar Town

          — Steve Earle, Guitar Town

        2. jrs

          you would think a shutdown would be an incredible negative for whatever party it could be attributed to. What are those idiots shutting down the government for again? And no it’s never something with broad appeal.

    1. paddlingwithoutboats

      Richard Wolff has addressed why we have the deficit ceiling and described it as a way to play the game of politics. It allows the ongoing theatre to continue, the hand wringing and, importantly, the whittling away of government spending; “we can’t afford to …” Because both parties use the opportunity to advance agendas about reducing government, and it is a long play game, there will be a need to have annual tournaments to make this incremental reduction of social spending along side the individual politicians’ charade of being on the voter’s side.

      Should a budget deficit be set at all is the real question, given that the government prints the money. But as long as the 60 year slog to cut taxes on the rich and corporations continues its death march, there will be the fiction of not having enough money to pay for the social services, infrastructure and other government fiduciary tasks. The whine about not having enough money never includes raising money by returning to tax rates prevalent in the nostalgic 1950s.

      The taxes since that time have created a squeeze on individuals to cover the government spending which helps them ally with those who really benefit from tax reduction.

      The game goes on.

    2. John Zelnicker

      January 20, 2018 at 8:57 am
      This time the shutdown is due to Congress failure to pass a budget, not the debt ceiling, although there is some wailing about how much the new tax bill will add to the total. I’m sure that raising the debt ceiling will soon be another ridiculous fight.

      paddlingwithoutboats, above, has a good answer to Why.

      1. katiebird

        I totally missed that. …. So does this mean the Republicans can’t cough up 51 votes to pass a budget?

      2. katiebird

        Ah! Thank you… I was totally confused

        From Kevin Drum, Mother Jones:

        Republicans Control Everything, But Still Can’t Pass a Budget

        But it’s worth pointing out why it’s happening now. It’s because appropriations are normally handled via reconciliation, which allows the majority party to pass them with only 51 votes. This year, however, Republicans decided to use the 2017 reconciliation bill for repealing Obamacare and the 2018 reconciliation bill for passing their tax bill. So there’s nothing left, and that means they need 60 votes in the Senate.

        This is the only reason they have to negotiate with Democrats in the first place.

        1. jrs

          thanks very confusing, I was trying like heck to figure out if they needed a majority or 60% but that makes it clear.

          1. bronco

            Not there yet , remember Kevin Drum is wrong about everything all the time so whatever you picked up , flip it 180

    3. djrichard

      In the immortal words of Rahm Emaneul, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” And who needs a real crisis when you can manufacture them?

  10. integer

    I assume that the star of today’s antidote du jour is wearing a pink jacket, but it kinda looks like it has almost been sliced in half, with the cold stopping the bloodflow.

  11. Synoia

    China Builds Experimental 33-Story Air Purification Tower That Turns Smog Into Clean Air

    China builds Experimental 33-Story Air zPurification That emits 3 times as much smog at the Coal firepower station as it removes from the air.

    One cannot solve a problem, smog, caused by electricty generation with increased use of electricity.

    1. Craig H.

      They may think they are accomplishing something but they can only sweep the problem under the rug and replace one pollutant with another. Unless they have discovered a next Law Thermodynamics which engenders perpetual motion machines.

      I wonder if Chinese search engines permit this kind of information to be given to any citizen with a computer there.

      1. JBird

        If it’s in a wealthy, or even middle class, area of a city, the government might not care much as long as the pollution goes elsewhere. Like to the poor farmers’ villages in the countryside. If the air cleaner pulls in as much as it puts out in pollution, the national pollution stats remains the same.

      2. Salamander

        It’s worth looking into. The system uses simple convection, driven by radiant solar heat. No electricity at all. Moving the air couldn’t be more low tech.

        I’d personally like to know more about the filters…

  12. Jim Haygood

    Craazymon Fund — no crack-up no cry — is a seesaw that flaps like butterfly wings. Junk debtors on the left, emerging entrepreneurs on the right; gold the pivot between. After 22 months (chart):

    Both emerging market stocks (in Craazymon Fund) and the S&P 500 (in its benchmark) have done incredible, up 64 and 46 percent respectively. Chart:

    Off to watch the government eclipse.

    1. Anon

      Just wait. Soon you’ll be Knock, knock, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. (Pleadin’ for entry w/o portflio.)

  13. Jason Boxman

    What I never see reported anywhere — and maybe I’m looking in the wrong places — is why there is no discussion ever of the Democrat’s Budget Control Act that led to these spending caps in the first place. When stuff in the Times talks about negotiations over these caps, it is never mentioned. It’s simply alluded to as if spending caps were always a feature of reality, when that’s false.

    And I wonder if this is to shield Obama and the Democrat party from any accountability?

    1. katiebird

      I did have a vague memory of that Act (Wikipedia Link) … Thank you. Of course, by then the Dems had lost their powerful majorities.

      I cry thinking of all the things they could have done during those first two years of Obama’s presidency. Including abolishing the stupid limit forever.

      1. Pat

        I cry thinking of all the things they could have done refused to do during those first two years of Obama’s presidency. Including abolishing the stupid limit forever.

        Fixed that for you.

        I no longer live in denial and cry thinking of time, effort and even occasionally monies wasted to help elect Democrats, who spent that two year period using smoke and mirrors to disguise that they were all about business as usual. The big donors got served and the constituents got bupkus with a side of the dog are my homework tales.

        1. katiebird

          Yes, I should have clarified the phrase with “if they had any interest in doing anything good or helpful” after the word “done”

          I knew at the time what they were doing and didn’t have much expectation that they would do what needed to be done…. But wow. I really didn’t expect that they would be so horrible with so many issues. I thought there would be some improvement in my personal health insurance situation. Ha! We are paying almost $900/mo just for my policy.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Not Obama as much as his enablers, the NPR tote baggers. Obama even dared his followers to hold his feet to the fire. They didn’t. Obama demonstrated he craved the approval of crowds. He was forced to act when problems such as dadt and the Shinseki problem reached him. With less worship in the first two years, he might have wound up not being a former President with what I consider to be a notable lack of hagiography.

      There is nothing noble about seeking compromise with Republicans. This was true long before Trump was running. This is the other part of the problem. Tolerating anything less than scorched Earth on the GOP was an epic failure that would only let the GOP live to screw the country another day.

      Acknowledging how we as a country reached this point points the finger at the bourgeois Team Blue types.

      1. fresno dan

        January 20, 2018 at 10:15 am

        good points, although I have come to the opinion that so much dem “compromise” is merely advertisements for positions that the dems never had any intention of supporting or enacting…

      2. Pat

        Funny I seem to remember a rather unseemly reaction to a little attempt to hold his feet to the fire called Occupy Wall Street. I also remember things of importance to his constituents being dropped and ignored, but multiple attempts to pass a grand bargain not to mention expansion of military involvement and spying on Americans where Americans who should have been praised as whistle blowers were hunted, hounded and tortured.

        We will have to disagree about the blame – The delusional totebaggers or the guy on the make? Although I do think we can blame Trump on the NPR crowd for refusing to take the blinders off.

        1. Wukchumni

          It’d be like embracing Jackie Robinson as a harbinger of change in 1954, if his 8 year batting average was .183 with 11 dingers in all that time, and he was prone to making lots of errors on field and never stole a base.

  14. Wukchumni

    Was having a chat with a friend that manages 21 airbnb type vacation house rentals here yesterday afternoon, and told her a shutdown was likely and she related that it’s the best time for it to happen, as she only had 1 house rented this weekend, as it’s dullsville on account of there being no snow up in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia NP, where 99.93% of the tourists go, and it’s colder than a witch’s tit up there as an added bonus.

    She told me that during the last shutdown in 2013 in October, that her reservations mostly got cancelled, along with every motel in town.

    The reign of error is contemplating leaving the National Parks open during the shutdown with skeletal crews of NPS employees on hand, but that’s just asking for trouble, which means it’ll probably happen.

    1. jawbone

      NPR reporter pointed out this morning that while roads are being left open for visitors to national parks, there’s no provision for plowing said roads should a good snowstorm occur….

      People might want to include extra blankets, water, canned foods with opener, etc., to be ready for a long winter’s nap. Freezing to death is a possibility, but, hey, for the Trumper types that means fewer tree huggers to vote against Trump and Repubs.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s comical really…

        He donates his first quarter’s $78,333.32 paycheck for being president to the National Park Service, while cutting the overall budget of the NPS by 13%.

        Now he wants to keep the NP’s open on a shoestring, hope it doesn’t break.

  15. doily

    On Brexit interview with the German MEP in Politico

    German MEP Brok says Germans don’t care about UK Brexit fantasies. UK spokesperson says, ”We are confident of negotiating a deep and special economic partnership that includes a good deal for financial services.” But Brok says, “But on financial services [the U.K.] must be clear that they can’t have totally equal treatment as they have until now, without keeping the standards of the EU on financial services.”

    On the UK/EU border in Ireland, Brok says, “I have no solution.” He says, “If [the Brits] fulfill the same standards in Northern Ireland as you need it for the internal market, then it’s possible.” The UK spokesman says the wished-for “deep and special economic partnership with the EU” would include Northern Ireland, but no matter what there will be “no new regulatory barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K.”

    Help me please. For the UK to achieve its goals re financial services, Brexit must basically be a non-Brexit. For the UK to uphold the Good Friday Agreement and avoid a hard border in Ulster, Brexit must basically be a non-Brexit. Or, we get a Brexit that cripples the financial services industry in the UK and creates a big fat mess in Ireland. Are there other options?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Are there other options?

      Basically, no.

      This is the craziness of the whole Brexit thing. The only viable Brexit that doesn’t do severe damage is a Remain in all but Name Brexit, which basically means the UK gets to be part of the EU without having a say in any aspect of EU policy. Its unfortunate that people who should know better keep trying to advocate all sorts of bizarre fudges, which are highly unlikely to work in reality. The obvious example is the Irish border – a lot of people are pushing various highly complex ways in which it can work, all of which would be hugely complex and expensive and would almost certainly prove unworkable.

    2. a different chris

      >Or, we get a Brexit that cripples the financial services industry in the UK and creates a big fat mess in Ireland.

      Well the people that voted for Brexit, as far as we can tell, were people that felt that they got crapped on from “London” and believe strongly that Ireland is another country and thus should also slog off.

      See, you are talking about “new losers” in this thing. But there are a bunch of “old losers”, and they arguably just gave up and voted to at least drag everybody down to their level. Maybe a bit of hope in there that they could stop being losers, but if not what did they have to, well, lose?

      Don’t underestimate the very human capacity to screw others just as a result of simple pique. And when it’s poor working class vs. financiers who seem to get richer every day, it’s hard not to understand a little.

      Meanwhile the Good Ship Europe continues to move slowly towards it’s own rocky shore.

      1. begob

        The south-east around London voted leave – that’s a lot of wealthy retirees. Labour supporters voted 2-1 to remain.

      2. doily

        Thank you. Understood about the “old losers” from little England, or England-minus-London, and their pathological but understandable reasons for voting Leave. They don’t seem to be politically well represented. And it’s difficult to tell the Irish to slog off when your current weak and confused government is dependent upon a handful of MPs from across the Irish Sea. It seems reasonable to me that the Brexit alternative which cripples the City and messes up Ireland is just not in the cards, which means the old losers will keep on losing. But how we get to a Remain in all but Name Brexit is not at all clear to me.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I don’t actually think there is a reasonable route to Remain in all but Name Brexit, because to get there you’d need a government willing to swallow its pride and tell some truths. That just doesn’t seem to be on the cards. The Tory Party are entirely captured by hard liners, and Labour is ambiguous on the whole topic. I think there is a core in the establishment who want this, but has no idea how to manoeuvre the ship around to get it. I think the best hope for them is a sort of permanent suspension of A.50, but I don’t actually think the EU would accept that.

  16. fresno dan

    Much “Consensual” Sex is Non-Consensual — #MeToo and the Muddy Middle Ground of Social Communication Gauis Publius

    The #MeToo movement is about sexual assault in the police sense, but it’s also about encounters like these. As my title says, much “consensual” sex is non-consensual. This is certainly a prime example.

    What was Ansari thinking? Perhaps this: She let me take off her clothes. My hands have been on her and in her. I read that as Yes. I just need to get her the rest of the way [to intercourse].

    What was Grace thinking? Likely this: He’s way out of control. How do I out of here without starting a huge fight?

    Are incidents like this rape? No, but they come close. Are incidents like this consensual? Only literally, in that Grace stayed within the norms of etiquette by not screaming, punching or accusing him of a crime. But in no other sense did she consent.
    First, the article has a good point about the social aspects of how people handle making passes, “norms of etiquette” and accepting or rejecting passes, etcetera…..degrees of consent OR amount of enthusiasm with regard to sex – I imagine many, many…..many times the male is much more enthusiastic about having sex than the female, but the female goes along just to shut the guy up. Sex drives differ.

    And it seems to me we are in a world where we seem not to see the obvious – how many stories does one hear of males complaining that their (female) date was too aggressive sexually??? How many coital couplings occur where the woman is far less enthusiastic than the male? (present readership excepted – I’m sure EVERY NC reader is absolutely fabulous)

    But the article loses me when it discounts the biggest NON-VERBAL CUE that occurred – Grace taking off or allowing her clothes to be removed. This is a Rubicon, and it signals a whole plethora of assumed and implied acquiesces to sexual activity. And AGAIN, if Grace does not have agency with regard to that, than really, there should be no un-escorted interactions between Grace and members of the opposite sex.

    From the BABE article:
    Grace says her friends helped her grapple with the aftermath of her night with Ansari. “It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault,” she told us. “I was debating if this was an awkward sexual experience or sexual assault. And that’s why I confronted so many of my friends and listened to what they had to say, because I wanted validation that it was actually bad.”
    I certainly believe Grace has the right to criticize Aziz and has a point regarding his abysmal conduct. But calling it sexual assault (maybe in some hyper legalistic NY state definition of 3rd degree sexual assault) is a bridge too far —- I really think this diminishes the seriousness with which the issue should be taken.

    1. MtnLife

      She wanted validation that HE was the bad one. Not her, the one who picked Aziz up while she was on a date with another guy (for those that don’t know, that pretty much eliminates all prospects of a long term relationship when you know one party will jump ship at the first opportunity- right in front of you). That he is the bad one for not reading her signals (super mixed as they were) when she ignored every signal (very clear) that he gave. That he was pushing for a short term relationship of a more sexual nature that she didn’t want and ignoring that she was pushing for a more serious relationship that he didn’t want. The night didn’t work out the way she expected, therefore, Aziz is a horrible person. What a load of crap. Gotta love the lack of agency and responsibility on her part.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I believe there was a brand of feminism — Dworkin/MacKinnon? — that viewed all sexual relations between men and women as assault. Because of the power imbalance? It’s been awhile.

    2. Lambert Strether

      I believe “validate” is pronounced vaaaaal-i-date; important to get that first syllable at the proper pitch, length, and nasality. The first word in #MeToo is “me” for a reason, no?

      One reason I find this discourse discouraging is that I, along with a lot of other men and women, already went through a sexual revolution in the 70s; I forget what wave it was. And many of us (of both sexes/all genders*) changed our behaviors and understanding of the relations between men and women because of it. Apparently — if you think of the intergenerational timing, 30 years ago — many families of that time raised their sons very badly indeed. But how, exactly? And why? And what is to be done?

      So here we are again. Of #MeToo: What are your demands? In the 70s, there was serious analysis being done at a structural level; see e.g. Shulamith Firestone. Is there some figure of equivalent stature today that I’ve missed?

      Oh, and this: What is Babe? Meet the site that published the Aziz Ansari allegation:

      Mitzali, 24, told Mashable over email that the site [Babe] started as an “experiment” about a year and a half ago…

      “I can’t bring myself to be away from it while all these responses are coming in,” the managing editor at had texted a friend, explaining why she’d be glued to her computer during the social outing. She was fielding fact checks and edits for a story about sexual misconduct that would shake the entertainment world later that weekend.

      At that time, she was an editor at The Tab, an online publication founded by University of Cambridge students in 2009. The Tab has since received a $4 million investment from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and has spread to 80 universities in the UK and U.S. The site runs mainly off of student contributors posting stories on campus-based editions of The Tab, like those at Arizona State University, Harvard, and University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

      Rupert Murdoch is about as vile a squillionaire patriarch as there is. So why is this smart young feminist taking his money?

      * Thailand has, I believe, 15; there are handy charts going around.

  17. Wukchumni

    We’re in the 5th poorest county in California, so the powers that be are always looking for revenue enhancement, and it tends to come vis a vis DUI checkpoints or busting stores for selling hooch to underage* decoys, and a couple of establishments got busted last week in town, and the fine is $250 & 32 hours of community service for the clerk, and $5,000 for the store, ouch!

    Eight local business owners were cited on allegations they sold alcohol to children during a Tulare County Sheriff’s Department decoy operation.

    For two nights, minors working with deputies went into 28 local business in an attempt to buy alcohol. The operation focused on rural portions of the county.

    The decoys were closely monitored by deputies, officials said.

    * the liquor store I frequented in my teens would sell to damn near anybody, and I remember going in clad in roller skates to score a sixer one time, just to test limits.

    1. Anon

      From the Link: “Statistics have shown that young people have a higher rate of drunken driving fatalities than the general adult population, deputies said.”

      I believe texting and driving will soon overtake alcohol as the source of crashes.

  18. crittermom

    RE: Lake Superior Caribou
    “Eight cows and one bull landed safely on the Slates (island)…”

    I’m bettin’ that’ll be one happy bull come mating season, with no competition to begin with.

    I always enjoy the nature articles. Thanks, NC.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chinese investment in the US crashed in Trump’s first year in office Quartz (resilc)

    Good news – more money for 33 story purification towers in China.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China wants to reshape the global order Axios (resilc)

    That is apparent from just following the news.

    Unfortunately, it’s more ‘same hegemonic structure, different hegemon this time’ kind of reshaping of global order.

    1. Olga

      Perhaps not quite… One hegemon is bent on war and chaos, the new one on trade and development… I may be naive, but the choice hardly seems difficult.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Sino-Indian War of 1962.

        And the Sinoa-Vietnamese War of 1979.

        Humans everywhere are not that different. And the Chinese know about and are beginning to play the Economic Hit Men game.

  21. Bill

    and the govt is already answering the shot across the bow by hospitals wanting to make their own drugs:

    Gottlieb said the FDA is also preparing a new policy to give state boards of pharmacy more flexibility to oversee compounding pharmacies that ship drugs interstate and is still working on guidance to encourage more pharmacies to register with the FDA.

    According to the American Pharmacists Association, 7,500 pharmacies specialize in compounding medicines, which traditionally involved mixing tailored doses for individual patients in response to a specific prescription.

    1. Jean

      But, when it comes to the government, in this case the Veteran’s Administration, they can make their own drug for Leishmaniasis for pennies a dose, since big pharma didn’t bother or care about “our heroes”. Profit is the only principle.

  22. SoldierSvejk

    China wants to reshape the global order Axios (resilc)
    Pepe Escobar has a good piece, too:
    And this is the best BRI map I’ve been able to find so far
    Whatever one thinks of China, the constructive (and construction) projects seem more promising for the humankind’s long-term survival than the constant military drumbeat coming from the other side. Which brings one to N. Korea – is the so-called crisis not just a way to distract and scuttle China’s efforts?

  23. Alex

    Re Trump’s Entire Nativist Agenda Is Based on a Lie

    Apparently Trump is willing to sacrifice his companies’ profit for the society’s wellbeing

  24. Steve H.

    Some references from “Scientific American” lately have had an odd whiff about them. They’re owned by Springer Nature: “Springer Nature is an academic publishing company created by the May 2015 merger of Springer Science+Business Media and Holtzbrinck Publishing Group’s Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, and Macmillan Education.”

    Following breadcrumbs brought a couple of notes. One was “In 2011 Macmillan Publishers Ltd was fined GBP 11.3 million by the High Court in London, in respect of gains through corruption by Macmillan Education in East and West Africa between 2002 and 2009.[4] Subsequently, Macmillan Education stopped operating in East and West Africa.” What is of note is that though this statement has been replicated, the primary links have rotted, rather quickly.

    Also was the connection to an overall scandal: “Publishing: The peer-review scam.” When I was a kid, it was the job of an editor to vet a range of reviewers. This could set up an old-boy bias, but a good editor had reviewers with competing views. The current system seems well-crapified.

    There was a time when Scientific American was inspirational and provided clarity. Now, possibly not so much.

  25. Adrienne

    Much “Consensual” Sex is Non-Consensual — #MeToo and the Muddy Middle Ground of Social Communication Gauis Publius

    **Sigh** no mention of the primary context of the #MeToo movement, which is the position of female-bodied people under patriarchy, aka Feminism. I wrote a long comment yesterday so I won’t repeat myself.

    TL;DR: Women and girls are raised to never so say “no” to men, so we rely upon social cues to express our preferences and having men respect those social cues.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Enlighten me then, what preference does the “social cue” of removing your clothing express?

      1. Adrienne

        OK, OTPBDH, I’ll respond, even though it’s probably a waste of my time…

        Consent is a continuous process. What if, during a sexual encounter, a woman takes off her clothes, and then the man tells her he plans on a little recreational strangulation (to use a particularly offensive example)? She can’t say no anymore? What about any other specific sex act that she does not wish to perform? No “nos” allowed after the initial “yes”?

        Rape apologists have been using arguments like yours forever. Is that what you really wish to be perceived as?

        1. Adrienne

          OTPBDH, I retract that statement “even though it’s probably a waste of my time.” I will assume you asked your question in good faith, despite the rather condescending tone. The only reason I am even discussing this on NC is that the commentariat here are, by and large, intelligent and decent people. I suspect a significant portion are older males—who may not be well-acquainted in feminist realities—and so I feel it is worthwhile to provide perspective where warranted.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Good point about consent being a continuous process, I don’t recall reading however that Azizi was suggesting strangulation or anal sex. Does removing one’s clothes signal just a desire to be naked, with required checkpoints for additional intimacy required after that?
            And lets not posit extreme positions (“rape apologist”) to someone merely trying to understand and navigate some apparently new ideas on the exchange of power between people known as “sex”.

            So, now that we have established that I think rape is a terrible crime; and that I think power relationships between men and women (especially economic power but also legal and political and sexual) need readjusting, can we get to a practical discussion?

            To me this new discussion feels very clinical and as a result extremely “unsexy”. I also think there’s a strong current of Puritanism, witness the reaction by Catherine Deneuve et al., by the Continent that was glad to see the Puritans go, that think Americans adding clothing to Greek statues in state capitol buildings is risible, that thought Mitterand’s wife and lover both appearing at his funeral was touching, and thought the idea of a president being impeached because of a blowjob was the peak of hysteria. There’s also a strong element of denying that humans are biological beings, if how the entire entire rest of the animal kingdom behaves is any kind of guide. Maybe it’s not? Maybe we really are “higher beings” now? It’s also instructive that Babe magazine has chapters gushing about “rape fantasies”: are those to be denied and forbidden too? What happens to the women who have them? Are they “wrong”?

            But back to “clinical”. Well-meaning correctionistas doing battle with the god Eros may win the battle but lose the war. Why would I risk sex that requires a series of formal, contractual agreements and checkpoints along the way? Which leads me to wonder what form of sex do the correctionistas want, if any? Seems like the answer is “sex solely on their terms”. But isn’t that just putting the “power shoe” on a different foot?

            Overall it all leaves me feeling sad. We used to have college campuses buzzing with free and open ideas, any and all ideas. As Deneuve said “creativity requires the power to offend”, but can’t have any of that any more. And now sex also becomes a complicated PC dance, with consent apps and checkpoints and lawyers ready to pounce. But you better be sure your consent app gets daily updates, you never know when “placing your hand momentarily on the back of a woman wearing a backless dress” a la Garrison Keillor overnight goes from a mundane act to a punishable offense. No wonder Silicon Valley is so excited about sex robots.

            1. Adrienne

              Yes, one can see a streak of Puritanism in all this, if one chooses that lens. And yes, having to continually negotiate consent can seem “unsexy,” and as killing any possibility of spontaneity.

              But I’m not talking about legalistic, mechanistic approaches to sexual congress– I’m talking about expectations and sex-based socialization. I’m talking about the asymmetric power structures between male-bodied & female-bodied people. I’m talking about a loooong history of men excusing their behavior because of a supposed inescapable biological urge that is beyond conscious control. I’m talking about victim-blaming. I’m talking about the lack of respect that men have towards what they do, and expect to do with, women’s bodies.

              Ask your average female to read the description of the encounter between Aziz and the young woman, and I’ll bet you get a significant number of them who will nod and say, yeah, been there… Pressure to do what you don’t feel comfortable with. Pressure to move faster than you want to. Pressure, coercion, even from a “nice guy” which is really, really uncomfortable.

              Yes, things are different now. Women are tired of the same old s**t and are starting to speak up about it. That’s what #MeToo is: women all over the world saying, ‘hey this has been going on for a long, long time and we’re not gonna stay quiet about it any more.’

              Guys, you’re hearing things that you haven’t heard before–that doesn’t mean that it’s new, it just means that women are no longer keeping silent, or restricting their complaints to other women.

              I’m glad #MeToo is making people uncomfortable. It should make people uncomfortable: to know how many women have faced harassment, who face harassment on a daily basis. How popular media and porn culture feed misogyny. How women are objectified and dehumanized in a patriarchal culture.

              I’m also not surprised that so many men simply don’t get it. How, they ask, can we even have relationships if a guy doesn’t even know if his partner is consenting or not? Women say, how can you be so clueless?

              I don’t have any answers. Maybe, though, if more men thought more about their expectations for sexual relationships, and considered how those expectations align (or do not align) with their partner, we could start to change the ways things are. I think it’s happening with the younger generations of men, who seem much more in touch with their own feelings, and thus are more capable of empathy and a true respect for women.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                This comment creates the impression that you are young. This was all discussed at great length in the late 1960s and well into the 1970s. This isn’t new ground. (Addition, I see Lambert made a related observation above)

                And I can tell you, having watched it, that the women who went to college a half generation after the women who wanted more power at work and in sex were followed in a surprisingly short amount of time by young women who (in large measure, there was and is a large range of views among women, even of the same generation) more strongly embraced gender stereotyped roles that the women who were pushing for “liberation” on many fronts. It was obvious when recruiting on campus. If you looked at women in college in the 1970, jeans and sweatshirts were the norm. No one wore makeup. By the 1980s, you saw most wearing makeup and many wearing skirts and otherwise giving the impression that looking date-able was important (I was doing campus recruiting so I visited a lot of colleges and have a pretty decent sample. The change in dress code and comportment was striking). This is confirmed by social sciences research finding that the 1970s were when gender role stereotyping was at its lowest level (one indicator was children’s toys and clothing).

                In other words, some women who appear to be newbies to NC (they are at least newbies in terms of not having commented before) have been arguing about the sexual dynamic with Ansari as a reflection of male patriarchy and men having too much power. Yet my experience is that when lots of women (as in a big swathe of a generation) started wanting things to be different, the cohorts not much younger than them, when they became adults, sent highly visible messages that they wanted to adhere to traditional gender role behaviors. So why should men behave any differently sexually with that message being broadcast?

                1. Anon

                  I’ve commented on these relationships previously (months past).

                  I’m on a local college campus every day (mostly). Much of the man/woman relationships I see play out are between folks who are 19 to 23 (or so).

                  There is a large Asian and European cohort on campus.
                  The difference in interaction amongst them is very different than how American males interact with females. I would attribute much of the difference to culture, not biology.

                2. flora

                  Late 60’s/early 70’s the draft lottery for young men was in full swing. If his number came up he was sent to the army and his life was changed forever. It was the luck of the draw. Maybe there was more appreciation by young men and women of the dangers of lotteries back then, including the pregnancy lottery. The pill didn’t eliminate the pregnancy lottery, it only shifted the odds a little.

        2. Jean

          Or, she allows penetration, then changes her mind?
          Only the restoration of good old fashioned Victorian morals and the institution of the Billy Graham Rule* will prevent abuse in your book.

          It seems that the elimination of sex between (white) men and women is the next agenda item as the long march of programmed self loathing and civic destruction proceeds through our civilization.

          *Never be alone with a woman in private unless your wife is present.

          1. JTMcPhee

            More than one “Billy Graham” has no doubt taken the opportunity for a fun threesome with that “woman and wife,” in private. Not much of a rule, eh?

        3. Lambert Strether

          > What if, during a sexual encounter, a woman takes off her clothes, and then the man tells her he plans on a little recreational strangulation

          Perhaps a case that isn’t an edge case would be more useful to look at:

          Grace compares Ansari’s sexual mannerisms to those of a horny, rough, entitled 18-year-old. She said so to her friends via text after the date and said the same thing to me when we spoke.

          I read the story of “Grace”‘s bad date; ultimately, Ansari does take no for an answer, even if “Always Be Closing” seems to be his ugly, bro-ish methodology. There’s no suggestion of manual strangulation, or asssault, or rape.

          I’m sure you don’t wish to be perceived as a person who throws inflammatory terms like “rape apologist” around as a rhetorical form of bullying, so maybe we could agree that doesn’t apply to the case at hand? (Or, if all forms of sexual intimacy that involve a power imbalance are to be regarded as rape, have that discussion?)

      2. Adrienne

        For some additional perspective on sexual consent/coercion:

        Normalization of coercion?

        The researchers found that the teenagers thought women would generally be reluctant to have anal sex, and would participate only if persuaded, or even coerced into it, and that the act might hurt them.

        The researchers wrote that it seemed women commonly saw their role as accepting or declining their partner’s request for anal sex, rather than being an equal decision-maker about this sexual activity.

        “It seemed that men were expected to persuade or coerce reluctant partners,” the researchers said.

        However, the researchers noted that some young men in the study did say they avoided anal sex because they believed it might hurt their partners.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          Since the subject has been broached, allow me to say (as a middle-aged man) that they only time I’ve engaged in this with a woman was when she asked me for it.

          If a researcher had asked me about it as a young man, I’d probably have given the same answer as these young men (that it might hurt) but now I know that it really depends on the person and what s/he wants. You can’t be in someone else’s mind. I guess that’s the whole point.

          Sex is a hard thing to talk about when you’re not doing it. People need to talk to each other.

    2. cocomaan

      Women and girls are raised to never so say “no” to men

      This feels a little disingenuous. Heck, there’s the “Stop, don’t touch me there, this is my no no square” song that was funded by abstinence only education.

      Here’s a fun article about it:

      Here’s a link to the song:

      No is one of the first words babies learn. We make jokes about that.

      If we’re going to take away agency from women completely by saying things like “women are taught never to say no”, we might as well start funneling that money back into abstinence-only education, because it apparently is the only sex ed that’s teaching people how to effectively communicate. The stripping of women’s agency strikes me as being puritanical, so maybe feminism and evangelical Christianity have more in common than we think.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I really think that we have to be very careful here about the implications of where we could be going. I will always remember a group of ultra-feminist wanting to introduce the concept of retroactive rape. What that means in practice is that a woman might have a wild, one night stand with a guy and then several months later decide that their head was not in the right space and that now they would never do such a thing. Therefore, this guy was actually raping her at the time and should go to prison. It is groups like this that help relations between men and women turn toxic. It’s is why yesterday I put a link to a film clip of a depicted future where even one night stands would have contracts written beforehand so that things like his would not come up down the road.
      Sorry but that young woman’s story sounds as disingenuous as Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that women”. This situation was not a five minute thing but by the sequence of events must have gone on for quite some time. There was not one point where she could not have stopped, grabbed her gear, and said “I’m outta here!” but she never did and now she wants this jerk to pay for her lack of actually making a decision. As for women and girls being raised to never say “no” to men, well, nowhere that I have ever seen and I have lived in three continents. The truth is that as far as a woman’s favours are concerned, that it has always been a seller’s market where men have to change their dress, speech and deportment to find favour, however bizarre. Consider this.
      I’m sure that many men here have noted that women often like the “bad boys”. I was once at a table with a dozen guys, all native English speakers and not one from the same country, and we were bemoaning this phenomena. Many of us were dissatisfied because to attract women we had to take up these rolls (we were all single and on holidays). What really annoyed us was that girls would pick the “bad boys” over the “nice guys” and would then be surprised when the “bad boy” would do the dirty on her by sleeping with her girlfriend, sister, mother, etc. These girls would then take it out on all men and were saying that all men were dogs. Go figure. I think that, sadly, it led to a loss of respect for women but there it is.

      1. Objective Function

        Yup. As the book says, Date the Wingman.

        Women as a group on balance though seem to make as many stupid choices as men as a group in the courting and mating game.

        During my years of coaching high school, college and even adult sports teams there would always be some lucky bugga on the boys team who would become the anointed object of desire for the girl athletes. He was rarely the most obvious candidate by any obvious alpha type measure of looks or personality, and not necessarily a jerk or a ‘playa’ either. In fact, he rarely had any agency in his election.

        But there would be an observable, and occasionally nasty, competition among the ladies for the attention of the Crush Object. Did all girls play along? No. But you could see they were all basically aware of the game.

        (I’ll leave the barroom theorizing on evolutionary drivers of this kind of groupthink to that guy who used to work for Google).

    4. Lambert Strether

      > **Sigh** no mention of the primary context of the #MeToo movement, which is the position of female-bodied people under patriarchy, aka Feminism

      If #MeToo itself doesn’t have that understanding, that’s your ascription of context, not the context. For example, I just read the Babe piece; and while one could, if one wished, translate “Grace”‘s words into the context your comment provides, neither party involved in the incident does.

      Frankly, I wish that were the conscious context, because then there’s be something to engage with programmatically.

  26. Steve H.

    > A small chemical reactor made via 3-D printing allows for making drugs on-demand

    If you’re interested in that, you might be interested in this.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I was less impressed by the 3-D printing than the statement: “Each reactor requires the design of a single blueprint and instructions on how it is to be used to create one particular drug.” Most of the 3-D printed vessels looked a lot like scientific glassware. I think I would trust borosilicate glass reactors over what appears to a be some kind of plastic. The modular designs of the reactor vessels is also interesting. They looked like bottles with different combinations of standard flow valves assembled together and mounted on top.

      There are 3-D printers for printing glass in development but there is also large catalog of standardized scientific glassware around. It’s not cheap but it’s not outrageously expensive. The real trick is collecting up the reactor and process designs.

      A move by hospitals to manufacture their own drugs — perhaps followed by a move by communities to manufacture their own drugs would increase the resilience human communities. I am curious what drugs — and I would add vaccines — can and cannot be manufactured on small scales. That would point to products which should be kept in larger inventories locally and point the direction for further efforts at extending smaller scale production capabilities.

      The Four Thieves don’t seem to have made much progress since I last visited their website. I’m afraid the effort required to do what they are trying to do is beyond the means of a small association without corporate support or government support — neither of which is likely. Until the Corporate capture of our government is ended even the essentially corporate hospital drug making initiatives will run into fatal legal difficulties.

      1. beth

        Considering that in Indian many have made a lot of drugs to compete with the Major Drug manufacturers, I would not quickly dismiss that this could work. I am not familiar with lawsuits for those starting up. Maybe patent law forbids this now.

        I don’t know much about what I am going to mention here, but maybe someone else can add to what I say. A young man in his 20’s mentioned that there money available for Indian immigrates to the US for borrow money to start businesses in the US at a zero interest rate. I do not work with him any longer but I do know he was planning a business later in his career.

        Yes, I am speaking of 30 years ago.

  27. hemeantwell

    Whatever is Piper the Happy Pup playing with? At first glance it’s like a saber wound.

    That’ll be my bizarre Rorschach moment of the day for ya.

    1. Annotherone

      I haven’t yet managed to get my head around the photograph – it’s like a piece of abstract art! I guess the pinkish thing is a little bandana – one of those adornments some dogs sport, tied around the neck – and it’s floating in the breeze caused by wee Piper’s whirling dervish moves?

      1. Oregoncharles

        I thought it was his ear, turned inside out, as dogs’ ears will do. But no, on closer inspection it’s a quilted vest over his back.

  28. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Before ‘Roe v. Wade,’ The Women of ‘Jane’ Provided Abortions For The Women Of Chicago NPR

    And: Babe Turns a Movement Into a Racket Atlantic (resilc).

    From NPR:

    “Jane” was an underground network in Chicago that counseled and helped women who wanted to have abortions. The service was launched in 1965 by Heather Booth, then a 19-year-old student at the University of Chicago. Her friend’s sister was pregnant and desperately wanted an abortion. Booth found a doctor who was willing to perform the procedure secretly.

    So, in 1965, a 19-year-old female student figures out how to start an undeground abortion network that runs for 7 years, even learns to perform abortions herself and teaches others to do them to keep the cost down, and helps hundreds of desperate women before being ratted out and arrested.

    In 2017, a 22-year-old, new york “photographer” can’t figure out that going back to a guy’s apartment on the first date, letting him undress her, giving him two bj’s and allowing other interactions (about which she eagerly provides way too much information) while never even looking at the door, just might give the guy the idea that she was willing to “go all the way,” not that there was all that much of “the way” left to go.

    I could be wrong, but I’d bet the farm that Heather Booth, the 1965 19-year-old, would have handled Aziz blindfolded and with one hand tied behind her back. No gratuitous blubbering involved.

    What a pathetic difference two generations of privilege and gross overindulgence makes.

  29. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: Earth’s Relentless Warming …
    “Climate change used to occur over millennia. Now it’s happening over decades.”

    Actually that isn’t entirely true. Studies of paleoclimate document climate change over short time scales. The rate of the Earth’s heating is expected to accelerate and likely is accelerating now. As the thickness of Arctic ice decreases the shift from a white Arctic to a deep blue Arctic could happen through a very short time frame — perhaps a matter of years. And the it has happened before. The Bolling Warming in Northern Greenland (14,000 years ago) saw warming rates of 5-10 degrees C over a period of one to two years at northern sites in Greenland. [“Abrupt Climate Change Past, Present, and Future”, see ~20:30,

    I just noticed the youtube log for this video from 2014 indicates less than 1200 people have viewed it. That bothers me.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I’m not sure what to make of your comment. The speaker in the youtube video I linked to, Jim White of INSTAAR [whatever that is] at the University of Boulder Colorado, suggested the best guess for the event leading to the extreme speed of the Bolling Warming in Northern Greenland was a reduced extent of Arctic Ice — something happening now.

        And while I’m commenting I should make excuses for jumping on the assertion “Climate change used to occur over millennia. Now it’s happening over decades.” The statement still isn’t quite true — but on second thought I believe the author of the link intended to highlight unprecedented speed of the impacts humans have had in changing the Earth and the Earth’s climate. Dr. White points to several such impacts in his lecture.

  30. newcatty

    Ravens are harbingers of changes and are messengers. If one has the knowledge of this and more importantly the openness to this meaning of their appearance than be on the lookout for it. They are also manifestation of magic. ” Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart?”
    We live in Northern AZ. Ravens abound. Think it is one of the reasons it is magical here, if one is woken to it. A neat little anecdotal story: when first moved to our town we went to have a drink at the local, organic, cool cafe/bar. It was a sweet spring , late afternoon. The cafe is named: (wooo) The Raven! We opted for the upstairs deck with a view of trees, surrounding gentle hill tops and utility poles. As we seated ourselves, a pair of glossy black ravens slighted on closest pole and called out a message. Since we had just found home again, I thought it a welcome to the high country and a good omen.

    1. Oregoncharles

      The Irish goddess of war, the Morrigan or Morrigu, was visualized as a raven – I assume because they are scavengers and flock to battlefields.

    1. barefoot charley

      In my natal ‘hood of Chicago 40+ years ago, I bumped into a high-school biology teacher standing at my corner, listening and smiling. “Crows!” he cried. “City crows!” I’d marveled at them too, though they’re banal by now. By now coyotes, raccoons, deer, rabbits, possums and parrots have become urban banalities. Not then! It is fun to see, while we murder nature, its underwash slosh back at us. May the best animals win.

  31. Oregoncharles

    “No Brexit deal on financial services if UK diverges from EU, says Merkel ally ”
    Common sense – you don’t get to play in our game if you don’t follow our rules.

    Nor doe sit rule out financial interaction: most international finance is based on each side following their own rules. That’s one of the risks when you invest in another country. That’s a bigger game that the EU doesn’t control.

  32. D

    Just weighing in on theConsent issue.

    As others have noted (see here for a very short – but very clear – explanation), a women taking her clothes off is not consent to everything and anything a male chooses to do after she takes her clothes off. Not sure why that’s so hard for so many to understand, it’s really very simple.

    Further, given the horrid homelessness rate in this country and the fact that women have historically made far less than men, there are millions of domestically abused women, who take off their clothes for the men they live with, because they, and their kids if they have them, would be homeless without his financial support. What is that consent to?

    In many, if not most instances, those males present themselves as really nice guys, … initially. This is well known and has been going on for centuries. There’s actually even bleak humor among many women talking amongst themselves: if they want to be treated better , they’ll have to give some up to a male that treats them like a sperm vessel instead of a human being.

    Are there men who it’s highly enjoyable to have sex with, of course there are, but that’s not the subject, VIOLATION and economic/physical OVER POWERMENT is the subject.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, I disagree.

      She took her clothes off or allowed them to be taken off by a man who made it extremely clear he wanted to have sex with her. The removal of clothes was an acceptance of his “ask” in bidding terms. She changed her mind and left, but to say it was wrong for him to read that particular signal (which is your beef) that way is an astonishing stretch. And then to try to wrap that in the history of female oppression? Seriously?

      See Katniss Everdeen above, if you still don’t get it.

    2. paintedjaguar

      I’m with Yves. Sorry, but I’m just not feeling much sympathy for this anonymous “victim” (Grace). However I won’t go into a lengthy disquisition about women’s power, agency, and responsibility in sexual/social relations, the denial of which seems to be the foundation that “third wave” feminism is constructed upon.

      In the particular situation described, and without resorting to ridiculous escalations (“punching”, “kicking in the balls”), there is a time-worn and obvious social signal to use – even after the point of undressing or engaging in heavy petting. There is no ambiguity, it can be used by either man or woman, and is oblivious to differences in physical strength.

      What you do is, you say “I think it’s time for me to leave now”, you get up, push away, whatever and you put your damn clothes back on and LEAVE. You may or may not accompany this with signals that you are open to future interaction – your choice. No explanation is actually required. Yes, the other person may persist with verbal persuasion or even light physical contact (hormonal arousal is indeed a powerful drug), but using physical force to actually restrain you is Assault, both morally and legally, and has always been regarded as such. Yes, even if you’ve “led them on” (which you may have in fact done). On the other hand, such attempts at persuasion do NOT mean you’ve been victimized.

      None of this is in any way a new thing. It’s not something that changed with the Sexual Revolution. The only novel factor I can see is the introduction of an ideological fantasy that men have ALL the power in any male/female relations, that “The Patriarchy” or “Rape Culture” has somehow reduced women to helpless objects. This notion has resulted in a sort of Neo-Victorian prudery. In reality of course, women have made all sorts of social and legal gains while yielding none of their traditional prerogatives and choices that I’m aware of.

  33. Plenue

    >Twilight of the Kurds Foreign Policy

    To be honest, I’ve rather lost sympathy. They knowingly and willingly functioned as a proxy force for the US, and have laid claim to a large amount of territory they have little or no historic or ethnic claim to. Not to mention that they only started fighting ISIS after it threatened their areas. Early on in Iraq they were perfectly happy to leave ISIS alone (after seizing areas Iraqi forces fled from of course).

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe the Kurds have forgotten the lesson of not fighting neighbouring countries and stealing their land without having at least one border with a country sympathetic to your cause. Having an ally ten thousand kilometers away does not count in the long run. A lot of Kurdish expansion in Syria was through flipping areas that were previously allied with mobs like ISIS so are of dubious reliability. Stealing oilfields from Syrian Arabs sounds great in theory too but only if you have a way of transporting it to the markets in bulk – as ISIS discovered to their cost when the Russians went all Godzilla over their oil convoys. Apparently they have not been making friends in the areas that they have been seizing by kicking Arabs out of their homes and using them for themselves or levying special ‘taxes’ on non-Kurds. They should have gone with virtual autonomy under the Syrian government but, like their brethren in Iraq, were not happy with that and want the lot. There is now no possibility of a mini-Kurdistan with a corridor to the Mediterranean – if there ever was.

  34. Lee

    It’s nice to hear a national radio program, This American Life, deliver a pro-Sanders message in the fight against centrist Dems. It left the impression that win or lose in upcoming elections, the centrist Dems are losing their grasp on the electorate. I would add, that threatening a government shutdown over DACA may be morally laudable, but could well turn out to be an electoral dud.

    Fighting Amongst Demselves

    Ben Calhoun spent months following some key leaders in the Democratic party, to find out the party’s best strategy for the future. He got some answers. So many, in fact, that it is hard to say if a single strategy is even a goal, let alone a possibility. (30 minutes)

    1. voteforno6

      Hey, DACA is popular, so why not inconvenience citizens, in order to get something for people who aren’t technically citizens? I’m sure the general electorate will be just A-OK with that.

      Personally, I think that this whole shutdown is forkin’ stupid, on everyone’s part, but I’m not a political expert like those Democrats, who have lost a 1000+ seats nationwide over the past ten years, so what do I know?

      The Republicans are best at blaming people for stuff, and the Democrats are best at virtue signaling, so of course that’s what they’re falling back on. Eventually they’ll cobble something together, but not before they can each claim “victory.” The baseball season can’t start soon enough…

      1. BenX

        The Democratic party is missing the mark here. They need to focus on wealth redistribution and economic inequality – that’s what people care about and why Bernie is a champion. Immigration is a racially driven Republican issue and doesn’t affect the wealth disparity one way or another, whether it’s morally reprehensible or not.

  35. audrey jr

    You know, it took me 40 years, exactly, to leave that F(family blog)n’ Democratic – don’t we wish – party. I sincerely hope it doesn’t take 40 years for the young people at this site to leave same.

    1. Massinissa

      As a twenty six year old, I became disillusioned with the democrats before I finished High School. Futile as it may be, I have voted for Jill Stein twice now. It was either that or not voting at the presidential level.

      I usually vote Democrat at local elections due to lack of options, though. Though I trust them about as far as I can throw them.

  36. Oregoncharles

    From “Much “Consensual” Sex is Non-Consensual — #MeToo and the Muddy Middle Ground of Social Communication Gauis Publius “: ” “[S]ex is a domain so intimate and personal that more harm can be done than in most social situations, and that given that heightened capacity for harm, we should expect people to operate with greater conscientiousness, concern and care …”

    G.P.’s article offers some important, subtle analysis. This particular quote raises a question it doesn’t acknowledge: Is this an intrinsic situation? From my memories of anthropology and social history, it isn’t, so we should wonder where it comes from. Although sex is obviously physically intimate and the consequences can be very large, many cultures view it much more, well, transactionally than ours does. For example, GP. mentions “droit du seigneur” societies (I’ve always wondered if that’s mythical – which is what his links says). There are a great many variations, including a few where women are the initiators (one in backwoods China – there’s a scattering of matrilineal cultures through southeastern Asia). Their attitudes are pretty transactional, too. And of course, there’s a wide range of attitudes among our peers, and not just sex-linked.

    So where does it come from? I speculate that it comes from the highly romanticized sexual culture G.P. says we’re moving away from. We may treat it as a social interaction, but still react emotionally as if it was a much bigger deal. This may actually explain “Grace’s” reaction: he started out treating it as a very romantic, ideal date, then got sort of crude back at his apartment. She has reason to feel betrayed. By the same token, she may have stuck around in an attempt to get the situation back on track, from her point of view. And he may have felt he’d earned more cooperation than he got. (A reminder: we’re all speculating about their motives.)

    Transitions can be hard. I guess the discussion over this and similar events is worth having, if it moves us along to a better understanding of a big transition.

  37. Filiform Radical

    From “Fierce battle erupts over classified intelligence report”:

    Because the underlying material supporting the memo’s conclusions is highly classified, Democrats noted, the document cannot be taken as proof of the allegations it contains.

    I’m glad the Democrats have such strong reservations about taking accusations based on classified “evidence” at face value…

    1. jgordon

      From all I could gather about the memo it lays out how the corrupt Obama regime manufactured it’s own evidence against Trump associates and then used that evidence to issue a FISA warrant so that the NSA could begin total surveillance of Trump from 2015 on.

      Just think, the corrupt NSA and FBI have been combing through Trump’s dirty laundry for years now and the best they could come up with was a phony Russia story that they themselves manufactured. By God, Trump must be the cleanest president America has ever seen to still come out the winner despite all that.

  38. Aleric

    Had a great time at the Minneapolis meet-up today – thanks to the organizer and everyone there.

    I didn’t mention something I encountered on the way there – so allegorical and fitting I had to laugh. A silver car with a Hillary bumper sticker, stuck blocking the pedestrian crossing, because they were trying to take a right turn on a left turn only one-way street.

  39. D

    Re, in the comments above, the male routine about how males sit around the table and lick wounds about how all the women payed no attention to them and only wanted bad boys; which horridly merged itself into the conversation about Consent.

    I call utter bull. I have a relative you remind me of, vividly. He had more than one women interested in him who was equally as kind, intelligent, and good looking as him, but he snubbed them, quite coldly, in his desire for a female who aspired to everything he didn’t.

    I’m not at all sure (it’s really quite amazing) how so many males turn that little whine into: all women want is bad boys. Though I’m sure, given enough time, some idiot will try to defend that.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’m sorry that you will this way, but the fact of the matter is that one person’s experience is an anecdote while a dozen shared experiences scattered over a dozen different countries over four continents is a pattern. Just Google the search term women bad boys and you will see that this actually a thing. My point was not that we were bemoaning this fact but that we were dissatisfied in having to change our personas to fit into these demands by so many girls.

      1. jgordon

        As a former man myself, and current masculine-presenting trangendered lesbian, I have unique insights from both sides of the fence here. On the topic of “nice guys vs bad boys”, the problem is that both genders are solipsistic and project onto each other what they themselves want.

        As you know, most men want to be treated well and respected by women in relationships and so treat women (they want relationships with) nicely and with respect to gain favor. But from the feminine perspective this type of behavior signals weakness and low-status, and nothing turns women off more than timid, lower-status males.

        It’s perfectly reasonable for women to not like men who are nice since this is a very immediate and clear signal that a man will never have much utility in providing for women and offspring, thus by default being unattractive. “Nice guys” should not get angry and complain about this; it’s just biology.

        If you are a man who was naturally born with a nice, agreeable personality–well, you know, some men were born missing limbs too. Not everyone can win in the dating world and mother-nature does have a way of selecting bad traits out of the gene pool. Luckily humans are capable of altering our behavior and thought patterns with knowledge and training, and this is a way for high-IQ/conscientious men to remain in the gene pool despite their pleasant personalities.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I actually agree with what you say here. That is why when we were younger, we altered our behaviors accordingly which worked. That is not in dispute at all. There is one thing though that haunts me in the quiet of the night and that is an old line from a play that illustrates the cost of doing so and it is this-

          “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any (wo)man.”

          1. Lambert Strether

            Of course, Shakespeare put those words in the mouth of Polonius, who would fit right at a White House run by either party establishment, so they are deeply ironic. It’s also an open question whether Hamlet is true to himself or not. Assuming Hamlet ended up doing the right thing (whacking Claudius, the usurper and murderer) was he nonetheless false to himself? The play is, after all, a tragedy.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I think that old Bill was being subversive in putting that line in by Polonius. If had come out of the mouth of an innocent or a regular character, we would not have been so struck by it but that line coming out of the mouth of Polonius makes you do a mental double-take and hence think about what is being said. Five hundred years later and the old Bill can still get a reaction.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      So now you make explicit that you have a projection problem. Charming. You realize this discredits you. And you are straw manning him too. And you think this is persuading independent parties. Honey, the more you talk, the more you are digging you hole deeper. You are now making personal attacks and engaging in name calling because you are losing the argument (this is what happens when people lose, they start getting nasty).

      You’ve also made repeated violations of our written site Policies, which you have apparently not bothered to read. Commenting here is a privilege, not a right and you are rapidly accumulating troll points.

  40. Young

    Self imposed abstinence prevents one to take one’s clothes off, therefore does not cause any misunderstanding.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      To offer a variant of Lambert’s point, nudity is typically part of getting laid but doesn’t have to be. Consider nudist camps and clothing optional beaches.

      1. Wukchumni

        I like to frequent natural hot springs where often you’d feel awkward with a stitch of clothing on in most locales, and yet there’s no implied suggestion to ‘get it on’ whilst soaking naked or afterwards.

        It’s all about having interesting conversations while attired in your birthday suit, how boring.

  41. integer

    British 15-year-old gained access to intelligence operations in Afghanistan and Iran by pretending to be head of CIA, court hears The Telegraph

    15-year-old gained access to plans for intelligence operations in Afghanistan and Iran by pretending to be the head of the CIA to gain access to his computers, a court has heard.

    From the bedroom of the Leicestershire home he shared with his mother, Kane Gamble used “social engineering” – where a person builds up a picture of information and uses it manipulate others into handing over more – to access the personal and work accounts of some of America’s most powerful spy chiefs .

    The teenager persuaded call handlers at an internet giant that he was John Brennan, the then director of the CIA, to gain access to his computers and an FBI helpdesk that he was Mark Giuliano, then the agency’s Deputy Director, to re-gain access to an intelligence database.

    He also targeted the US Secretary of Homeland Security and Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence from his semi-detached council house in Coalville.

    Gamble taunted his victims online, released personal information, bombarded them with calls and messages, downloaded pornography onto their computers and took control of their iPads and TV screens, a court heard.


    1. Oregoncharles

      OK, that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard today, or for at least a week.

      The kid has a very promising future, once he gets out of juvie. Actually, do they dare turn him into a real criminal?

    2. Lambert Strether

      > He also targeted the US Secretary of Homeland Security and Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence from his semi-detached council house in Coalville.

      Odd they aren’t mentioned.

      Presumably the the US Secretary of Homeland Security is Jeh Johnson (Obama’s final appointee).

      And Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence was James R. Clapper.

      Clapper (a perjurer) and Brennan (a torturer) are, of course, liberal icons and all over the teebee opining on the state of the Republic. I wonder if anyone will ask them what this little incident says about our organs of state security?

      1. integer

        From the article:

        Gamble used similar techniques to hack the home broadband of Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and was able listened to his voicemails and send texts from his phone…

        James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, was also targeted and all of his home phone calls were diverted to the Free Palestine Movement.

        Someone called Vonna Weir Heaton (“the former intelligence executive of the US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency”) is also mentioned.

        1. integer

          Also someone called John Holdren got swatted:

          Mr Obama’s senior science and technology adviser John Holdren had his personal accounts hacked and Gamble passed all of his personal details to an accomplice who used them to make hoax calls to the local police claiming that there was a violent incident at Mr Holdren’s house resulting in an armed swat team being deployed.

    3. Bugs Bunny

      What I found interesting was that he was going to stop, feeling guilty about it “because it put lives at risk, but then I thought they are killing innocent people every day”.

      Almost as an aside, they note his mother also had won almost 2 million quid in the lottery (!) and lost it in crooked property deals.

  42. integer

    find a group whose insecurities can be exploited

    Make that: find a group who feel they have been wronged, or whose insecurities can be exploited

    There is often a significant overlap between the two.

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